Arrivals and Standbys

  • Bailey S. Barnard, Mary Grady and Michelle Seaton

GETTING PERSONAL: NEW AIRCRAFT FOR OWNER-PILOTS

With its latest piston-driven model, the Corvallis TTX (www.cessna.com), Cessna is offering an alternative to the Cirrus SR22T. Unveiled last March, the TTX is expected to enter service by the end of this year. The TTX, which starts at $734,000, is the newest iteration of the Corvallis TT. The new plane boasts an all-composite fuselage, a 265 mph top cruise speed, and a range beyond 1,400 miles. It will fly faster and farther than the SR22T and will offer pilots a clutter-free cockpit powered by the touchscreen Garmin G2000.

Cirrus’s personal jet, the Vision SF50 (www.cirrusaircraft.com), seemed to have fallen victim to the recession. It was announced in 2006 and first flew in 2008, and then it fell off the radar. But China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Company, which bought Cirrus early last year for a reported $210 million, is now financing production of the nearly $2 million jet, which will be built in the United States. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2015. It seats as many as seven passengers in a cabin that is just over 4 feet tall and 5 feet wide. The cockpit is equipped with the Cirrus Perspective avionics package, which Garmin created specially for this aircraft. With a composite fuselage, an aerodynamic V tail, and a lone turbine engine generating 1,800 pounds of thrust, the jet will cruise at 345 mph, reach a ceiling of 28,000 feet, and fly as far as 1,265 miles without refueling. It is also equipped with Cirrus’s trademark Airframe Parachute System.

The Hondajet (hondajet.honda.com) also survived the recession and is moving into production. The Honda Aircraft Company in Greensboro, N.C., now has three Hondajets in the air undergoing FAA certification, with deliveries expected to begin next fall. The jet accommodates as many as five passengers in leather seats that slide, shift, and lock in place. The cockpit seats two pilots, but Garmin’s G3000 touchscreen avionics suite enables single-pilot operation. The cabin is 4.8 feet tall, 5 feet wide, and 17.8 feet long, and is equipped with a private lavatory and 66 cubic feet of cargo space. Its two turbofan engines produce 2,050 pounds of thrust each. The $4.5 million Hondajet cruises at about 480 mph and has a ceiling of 43,000 feet, a range of about 1,350 miles with four occupants, and a climb rate of nearly 4,000 feet per minute.

The debut model from Los Angeles–based Icon Aircraft, the Icon A5 (www.iconaircraft.com), is designed for recreation rather than transportation. The company plans to begin delivering the aircraft next summer for prices starting at $139,000. Like other recreation vehicles, the 1,000-pound A5 can be towed behind a car (on a specially designed towing trailer); its wings fold back, reducing its width from 34 feet to 8.5 feet. The unpressurized cockpit of the two-seat aircraft features a digital GPS map display, an auxiliary audio port, and removable side windows; the plane has an FAA-limited ceiling of 10,000 feet (or 2,000 feet above ground level, whichever is higher). The 100 hp engine faces backward from where it is affixed to the back of the carbon-fiber airframe and burns either automotive or aviation fuel. It powers the A5 to a top speed of 120 mph and a range of 345 miles. The plane has a takeoff and landing distance of just 750 feet on land or water and can be equipped with retractable landing gear. —B.S.B.

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