Imagine an airplane -- or house or car or spouse, for that matter -- that you have loved for decades but over those years you have wished for some changes and improvements in key areas. The Hawker line of business jets has been admired by legions of pilots and passengers for more than 40 years, and it continues to be a huge success. But many want more of the good things the Hawker delivers, and that's why there is a new Hawker 4000. The new 4000 does everything the Hawker is famous for, and a lot more.
Cabin comfort has probably been the most consistent strength of the Hawkers over the years and that was the starting point for the new 4000. To make the cabin even more comfortable the 4000 has a flat floor throughout, and six-foot headroom making it comfortable and easy to stand and move about.
The big 4000 cabin -- one of the first of what we now call the super-midsize business jets -- also has the room for a full capability galley, and a large, comfortable and private lavatory. At 25 feet in length, the 4000 cabin intrudes on the domain of the large cabin business jets.
Over the years pilots and passengers have had a love-hate relationship with the Hawker baggage compartment that is located in the forward cabin. Passengers liked the ability to access their stuff in flight, but loading the bags through the cabin door can be a hassle. The 4000 resolves that issue with a big baggage compartment located aft of the lavatory. The crew can load the bags through a low and easy to reach hatch in the tail cone without a ladder, but passengers can still access their gear in flight through a door in the bulkhead aft of the lavatory. This is not new to business aviation, but has previously been reserved for only the truly large cabin jets.
Over the decades the Hawker was refined and increased in range and performance to become a transcontinental airplane under all but the strongest headwinds. But everybody wants more range so that domestic trips are never a question, Hawaii is always within reach from the west coast, and crossing the Atlantic is routine. So the new 4000 has 3,000 nm of range even when flying at high-speed cruise of Mach .82.
But cruise range is more than simply how many miles you can fly at optimum cruise altitude with the fuel available. The usable range calculation is the result of how much runway you need with the fuel weight on board, and how fast you can climb to the fuel-thrifty optimum altitude. The new 4000 has both excellent climb capability and among the shortest runway requirements in the category.
When the runway is long and the air temperature cool all jets can live up to their maximum range potential, but the real world of business jets takes them to some pretty short runways in challenging parts of the world in terms of elevation or terrain considerations. An interesting example is Hilton Head, where the runway is just 4,300 feet long and the weather is usually warm, at least when most people want to be there. Since all business jets have a required minimum runway length that accounts for an engine failure at the worst possible point in the takeoff profile, the actual takeoff weight of the airplane is critical. If there is not enough runway available, takeoff weight must be restricted so the airplane can stop on the pavement after an engine failure, or continue safely on the remaining engine. That means fuel or passengers, or both, must be left out to comply with the takeoff requirements on a short runway. Warm temperatures complicate the situation by cutting into the power potential of the engines and by reducing the lift production of the wing.
But at the short Hilton Head runway with six passengers on a warm 30° C (86° F) day, the Hawker 4000 can carry enough of its total fuel to fly to San Francisco against the historic 85 percent probability winds. This is an impressive performance for any midsize jet, super or otherwise.
Another challenging, but very popular, destination is Aspen, where the 7,815-foot elevation robs jet engines and wings of performance. The problem is particularly acute in the summer when warm temperatures amplify the loss of performance. But a Hawker 4000 crew can load six standard 200-pound passengers and depart Aspen on a 90° F day and cruise at high-speed Mach .82 to Teterboro or White Plains near New York City. Again, historic winds are considered, and again, this is a trip beyond the capability of most business jets.