Hawker 4000 Inches Closer To Reality

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It's been a long time -- a very long time -- in the making, but Raytheon's Hawker 4000 "super mid-size" bizjet may soon get its FAA certification papers. First announced at NBAA in 1996 -- yes, 1996 -- company officials tell AVweb they expect FAA certification in advance of this year's NBAA annual meeting and convention, which is set for mid-October, as noted above. Most recently, however, Raytheon was forced to seek temporary exemptions from amended FAA certification regulations involving hydraulics and fuel tank safety. Under the two exemptions, Raytheon will be able to obtain type certification under the rules existing when the aircraft was first envisioned, and amend its paperwork and retrofit in-service aircraft after the fact. Like Adam and Eclipse, Raytheon told AVweb FAA certification of the Hawker 4000 is "imminent." According to Raytheon, it will have until June 1, 2007, to complete certification of the jet's hydraulic system at higher pressures. By Sept. 1, 2008, it must comply with revised standards to prevent fuel-tank explosions like the one attributed to the crash of TWA Flight 800.

The Hawker 4000 is Raytheon's late-to-the-party answer to large and efficient jets like the Falcon 2000 and smaller Gulfstreams. It features a composite fuselage, supercritical wing, advanced Pratt & Whitney Canada FADEC-controlled engines, and Honeywell Primus EPIC avionics. Formerly dubbed the Hawker Horizon, Raytheon's newest offering has been plagued with delays. Earlier this year, for example, Raytheon said it sought a delay on its own to install a lightning-protection system on the second of its two certification prototypes. At that time, it expected FAA certification in February. Late last year, the company and NetJets announced an agreement for the airframer to supply 50 of the aircraft to supplement the fractional operator's global fleet at a total price exceeding $1 billion, making it the largest single non-military order in Raytheon Aircraft's history. At that time, the company said deliveries would begin in 2007 and continue through 2013.