New Premier II Flies Higher, Faster, Farther

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Hawker Beechcraft announced the long expected II version of its light jet Premier at EBACE in Geneva in May. The Premier II will have more powerful engines for better takeoff and climb performance, and elliptical winglets that will help the airplane cruise higher and farther. The airplane moves into the FAA's Commuter Category of certification so it will not be bound by the 12,500-pound maximum takeoff weight limit that restricts payload and range in the Premier I.

With its composite fuselage the Premier I has the largest cabin cross section in the light jet category, and its swept wing helps deliver the fastest cruise. The new II retains those advantages but new Williams FJ44-3AP engines increase total thrust available to 6,000 pounds, a 23 percent increase over the Premier I. The increased power and the effective wingspan increase of the winglets will get the II to 45,000 quickly, where the efficiency of altitude increases IFR range to 1,500 nm. The certified ceiling on the Premier I is 41,000 feet, and range is around 1,300 nm.

Time to climb to 37,000 feet in the Premier II is expected to be 14 minutes, down from 17 in the I. High-speed cruise is up to 465 knots, and takeoff runway requirements, particularly from high-elevation airports on warm days, will be cut dramatically, the company says. With a 13,800-pound maximum takeoff weight limit the II is expected to have more than 900 pounds of payload with full fuel.

The Premier II will retain the Collins Pro Line 21 integrated flat-panel glass avionics system of the I with several refinements. The new engines will have fadec computer control, and the winglets will be manufactured from lightweight composites. Beechcraft expects the Premier II to be certified in the middle of 2010 with deliveries to begin soon after.