Flying 2019 New Airplanes
Flying

The New Airplanes Report

10 models that are about to hit the market.

The pace of new aircraft development continues to stimulate a great deal of interest in the next generation of business aircraft featuring improved performance, enhanced technology and cabin creature comforts that airplane buyers covet. While several new models — including the Gulfstream G500, Pilatus PC-24, HondaJet Elite, Generation 2 Cirrus Vision Jet, Daher TBM 940 and others — are seeing FAA certification translate into clear sales successes, a number of new airplanes still in the development pipeline are driving significant interest, some at levels we haven't seen in years.

Most of the development activity is at the high end of the market as new business jets and turboprops dominate in a general aviation business climate that has seen more light piston airplanes disappear from production than enter center stage in the last couple of years. And after some headline-grabbing announcements, little has been divulged about piston-airplane certification programs that seemed to be moving briskly forward just a year or two ago. Diamond Aircraft hasn’t announced the timeline for the development of the new DA50, nor has Pipistrel offered details of its Panthera single.

The Flight Design C4 four-seater that many saw as a lower-priced alternative to a new Cessna Skyhawk is on hold.

Updated certification rules for Part 23 airplanes may have conspired to put the brakes on up-and-coming piston-airplane programs temporarily. So too may have the soft market for new personal airplanes at the low end of the market, which can’t compete against the ready supply of older used models from the 1960s and 1970s that sell for a fraction of the price of what a new piston airplane does.

It’s a different story altogether in the rarefied air where bizjets and turboprops play, as well-heeled buyers look to trade up quickly and there seems to be a perpetual competition among ultra-high-net-worth individuals to own the biggest, newest and poshest airplanes. This helps explain the allure of new airplanes like the Embraer Praetor 500 and 600, Gulfstream G600, Falcon 6X and Cessna Citation Longitude, which represent the pinnacle of aircraft design both inside and out and are giving buyers ample reasons to place their order deposits, and then patiently wait for these new models to reach the market.

Gulfstream 600
The fly-by-wire G600 is the most advanced Gulfstream ever.Courtesy Gulfstream

Gulfstream G600

The Gulfstream G600 is a larger variant of the G500 that made its market debut last year. Both jets feature advanced fly-by-wire technology, powerful and efficient Pratt & Whitney Canada turbofan engines and the latest Honeywell avionics suite that is built around a multitude of cockpit touchscreens arrayed throughout the flight deck.

The G500 replaces the G450 while the G600 will supplant the G550, the earlier-generation large-cabin Gulfstream business jets based on the 1990s-vintage GV. The new models benefit from longer range, faster cruise speeds and quieter and more comfortable cabins. The G600 is capable of flying 5,500 nautical miles at its high-speed cruise of Mach 0.90. Gulfstream says it will enter the market this year.

Falcon 6X

The Dassault Falcon 6X is a new model the French manufacturer announced last year after problems with the Snecma Silvercrest engines for the Falcon 5X forced the cancellation of that development program. For the 6X, Dassault has selected Pratt & Whitney Canada's PW812D turbofans, from the same engine family that powers the Gulfstream G500 and G600.

The 6X is “largely based” on the Falcon 5X design, Dassault says, but it’s optimized to take advantage of the new engine, while offering greater range and a larger cabin.

The $47 million 6X will have a top speed of Mach 0.90 and a max range of 5,500 nautical miles, which will be the best performance figures of any current jet in the super-midsize category.

The 6X, like the larger Falcon 7X and 8X, will feature full fly-by-wire flight controls and advanced cockpit technologies. The cockpit is all-new, Dassault says, and based on the third-generation EASy III digital flight deck. It will be delivered with a full complement of safety and utility equipment, including Dassault’s FalconSphere II electronic flight bag and the FalconEye Combined Vision System — the first head-up display to combine enhanced and synthetic vision capabilities. First flight is scheduled for 2021.

Embraer Praetor
The Embraer Praetor 500 and 600 improve on the Legacy 450 and 500.Courtesy Embraer

Embrear Praetor 500/600

Embraer's Praetor 500 and 600 business twinjets are upgraded versions of the current-production Legacy 450 and 500, although there are enough improvements to make a big difference.

Due for certification this year, both aircraft use fly-by-wire technology, sidesticks and the Collins Pro Line Fusion flight deck that offer Embraer’s enhanced vision system, called E2VS, on a head-up display.

The jets will occupy spots at the top of Embraer’s midsize and super-midsize product portfolio, but the Brazilian company still will manufacture the Legacy 450 and 500 as long as there are buyers who want them.

The midsize Praetor 500 and super-midsize Praetor 600 both benefit from increased range versus the Legacy models that are priced about the same. The Praetor 500 boasts a range of 3,250 nm.

Embraer is targeting entry into service for the smaller of the two jets by the third quarter of 2019. The Praetor 600 has a range of 3,900 nm, with a projected entry-into-service date of the second quarter of 2019.

The Praetor jets are powered by Honeywell’s HTF7500E turbofan engines, and feature Honeywell’s Ovation cabin-management system.

The Praetor 500 carries a list price of $17 million and the Praetor 600 sells for $21 million.

Cessna Skycourier
The unpressurized Cessna SkyCourier is a dream come true for launch customer FedEx Express.Courtesy Textron Aviation

Cessna SkyCourier

Building on a three-decade business relationship with FedEx Express, Textron Aviation launched the clean-sheet, high-wing utility twin-turboprop Cessna SkyCourier 408 last year as an airplane designed from the start to whisk LD3 shipping containers between FedEx facilities. Due to enter service in 2020, the SkyCourier includes a large rear cargo door, making it an ideal feeder solution for FedEx Express, a longtime operator of Cessna Caravans. As part of the launch announcement, FedEx Express said it has placed a firm order for 50 SkyCouriers and options for 50 more.

The unpressurized SkyCourier will be powered by a pair of 1,100 shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65SC engines. Preliminary performance specifications call for a 6,000-pound-max payload capability, 200-ktas cruise speed and 900-nm max range, all numbers that put the new model in the operational sweet spot FedEx demands.

Textron Aviation also announced that a 19-passenger version will be offered, featuring dual crew doors up front and a single passenger door at the rear of the cabin. Max payload for the passenger version has been set at 5,000 pounds. Avionics will be Garmin's G1000 NXi system.

The SkyCourier carries a base price of $5.5 million.

Cessna Denali

The Cessna Denali single-engine turboprop is a product that aims to bulldoze its way into a crowded market that includes hot-selling airplanes such as the Pilatus PC-12NG, Daher TBM 940 and Piper M600.

Featuring a gorgeous cabin and cockpit and large rear cargo door, the Denali will be powered by the next-generation GE Aviation Catalyst turboprop engine. In 2017, GE announced first engine runs of its 1,240 shp Catalyst engine, which is designed for single-lever power and propeller control via Fadec, and which continues to undergo certification testing. The engine will drive a McCauley 105-inch-diameter composite, five-blade, constant-speed propeller with full feathering, reversible pitch and ice protection.

The $4.8 million Denali is predicted to cruise at 285 ktas and boast a payload with full fuel of 1,100 pounds, giving it a range of 1,600 nm at high-speed cruise — assuming one pilot and four passengers.

The Denali will feature the Garmin G3000 touchscreen avionics system with three large high-resolution displays and split-screen capability. It will also incorporate a solid-state weather radar, advanced TAWS and ADS-B capability.

First flight is scheduled for this year with FAA certification expected in 2020.

Tecnam P2012
The piston-twin commuter airliner could find a ready market among individual buyers as well.Courtesy Tecnam

Tecnam P2012

The P2012 Traveler from Italian piston-airplane maker Tecnam is the largest aircraft the storied company has ever produced. Selected by U.S. commuter airline Cape Air to replace its aging fleet of Cessna 402s, the 11-seat high-wing mini-airliner is designed for ease of maintenance and has docile flying characteristics, making it appealing as well to private individuals who might consider it a piston-powered alternative to the turbine Cessna Caravan or Quest Kodiak.

Powered by a pair of 375 hp Lycoming TEO540C1A horizontally opposed, turbocharged, six-cylinder engines, the P2012 can cruise at 190 ktas at 10,000 feet and has a max range of 950 nautical miles. FAA certification is expected this year, after which Tecnam will begin offering a VIP version of the $2.7 million airplane.

The P2012’s instrument panel is dominated by Garmin’s G1000 NXi avionics suite, with two 10-inch PFDs and a 12-inch MFD screen in the center. The system includes full ADS-B In and Out capability, Garmin’s 3-D audio system, angle of attack capabilities, a fully integrated autopilot and more. Cav Ice’s TKS system makes the airplane FIKI capable.

Cape Air has placed an order for 100 P2012s, with the first due to be delivered as soon as the airplane is certified in the United States.

Cessna Longitude
A big vote of confidence for the Citation Longitude twinjet comes from bulk buyer NetJets.Courtesy Textron Aviation

Cessna Longitude

The Cessna Citation Longitude business twinjet is on short final for FAA certification, having earlier secured provisional type certification, which has enabled the company to begin customer training flights.

While similar in exterior size as the Citation X+, the Longitude’s cruise speed tops out at 476 ktas compared with the X+’s 528 ktas. However, the interior of the Longitude provides more than 12 percent more elbow room and 4 additional inches of headroom for the passengers. The seats are fully berthable and there is a walk-in baggage compartment accessible from the cabin.

Flight testing is now fully complete, leaving mostly paperwork to finalize, according to Cessna’s parent company, Textron Aviation.

NetJets has placed an order for up to 175 Longitudes.

Cessna Hemisphere
The $35 million Citation Hemisphere would be Cessna's biggest bizjet ever.Courtesy Textron Aviation

Cessna Hemisphere

Textron Aviation has been forced to alter the certification timeline for the large-cabin Citation Hemisphere in light of troubles with the Snecma Silvercrest engine that will power the new flagship business jet from Cessna. Last spring, Cessna suspended the Hemisphere's development to give Snecma time to work through the engine issues that led to the cancellation of Dassault's Falcon 5X.

In October at the NBAA Convention, NetJets announced an order for 150 Hemispheres, and Cessna clearly still plans to produce the jet, although the development timeline remains unclear.

The $35 million Hemisphere is designed to fly 4,500 nmi and offer the widest cabin in its class.

Epic E1000
The sleek E1000 from Epic is one of the most highly anticipated new airplanes in years.Courtesy Epic

Epic E1000

The Epic E1000 single-engine turboprop is one of the most hotly anticipated new airplanes in the owner-flown market, boasting projected speed, range and efficiency figures that have would-be buyers salivating.

The certified E1000 is expected to cruise at 320 knots and have a range of 1,650 nm with a 45 gph fuel burn. Full fuel payload is an impressive 1,100 pounds.

Epic has taken deposits for a little under 100 airplanes, but that number is expected to rise rapidly once FAA certification is completed and production airplanes begin rolling of the line at the Epic factory in Bend, Oregon.

The six-seat pressurized E1000’s high-speed cruise numbers and roomy cabin might even help Epic win some light jet prospects. But until the certified airplane, a follow-on to the sleek Epic LT kitplane, is ready to prove its mettle in the real world, potential buyers remain in wait-and-see mode.

The certification timeline has been stretched a number of times as Epic works finish the last remaining items to satisfy the FAA.

The cabin and cockpit mockup Epic has been showing off at trade shows is, in a word, gorgeous, with a Garmin G1000 NXi cockpit up front and a modern, amenity rich passenger compartment to complete the package.

Full FAA approval of the $3 million E1000, Epic now says, is expected this year.