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Upgraded and Raring to Go

A Look at Beechcraft's Premier IA.


September 27, 2007
By Stacy Bradshaw

354-beechRaytheon Aircraft’s Beechcraft Premier IA made a memorable appearance
at the CBAA show this past June in Montreal. Unveiled at EBACE in the
spring of 2005, the light jet is Raytheon’s only business jet in the
Beechcraft product line. Certified for single-pilot operation to FAR
Part 23, Amendment 52, Canadian certification is expected in the fourth
quarter of 2006.

Raytheon
Aircraft’s Joe Grubiak, product manager, Premier IA, Christopher
Charnley, vice-president Canada and Latin America and chief pilot
Trevor Blackmer were on hand to demonstrate the aircraft to WINGS
magazine.

The Premier IA is an upgraded Beechcraft Premier I. In
September of 2005, Raytheon Aircraft Co. certified the new Beechcraft
Premier IA. There are more than 150 Premier I/IAs now flying throughout
the world, says Joe. The upgraded and improved Premier IA is the result
of all the feedback based on customer experience with the earlier
version.

The Premier IA is the largest, fastest single-pilot
corporate jet on the market. It boasts a maximum cruise speed at FL330
of 451 KTAS and can seat seven passengers. The aircraft is powered by a
pair of Williams-Rolls FJ44- 2A engines. With a maximum range of 1,460
nm (2,705 km) and a 3,792-ft. (1,156-m) takeoff field length, the
aircraft has a great deal of versatility.

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On our flight out of
Montreal-Trudeau we were quickly up and en route. We headed north
toward Quebec City, climbing rapidly and gracefully to maximum
certified altitude of 41,000 ft. Although we were not tracking our time
carefully, we passed over Quebec City and back to Montreal in just over
an hour.

The Premier IA allows for a pleasant and comfortable
flight. The first stage of that experience started on the ramp. One of
the features that you notice as you prepare to board the aircraft is
the welldesigned, three-step staircase that allows the pilot and
passengers to board the plane quickly and comfortably. The air stair
door is made from carbon-fibre/epoxy honeycomb, making it very light
and strong.

Inside, the Beechcraft Premier IA has a more
streamlined and luxurious interior than its predecessor. Modeled after
the Hawker 800XP cabin, it features a new contoured cabin headliner
that increases passenger headroom. Once seated, it took a little time
to stop my automatic response of tilting my head, but after few minutes
I finally realized that the extra headroom really was there. In all,
the interior boasts 315 cu. ft. of cabin space.

The cabin chairs
have been completely restyled, with club seats that are fully
articulating. Raytheon has added side bolsters to the seatback and
bottom cushions. A new seat base contouring for more foot room for
fifth- and sixthseat occupants has also been added.

Other
improvements include a smooth single-action passenger work table
incorporated into the lower sidewall, better temperature control and
table storage with 115 VAC outlets and provisioning for the optional
Satcom flight phone.

The rest of the interior is equally
impressive. Restyled cabinetry choices allow integration of the
optional Rockwell Collins cabin entertainment system with CD/DVD for
both audio and video and airshow capability. Airshow 410 provides
realtime flight information and a slide-out 10.4-inch colour monitor
w/speaker. There is also a pullout audio-visual accessory storage
drawer.

Up front, the flight deck incorporates Rockwell Collins
Integrated Flight Information Systems (IFIS) into the existing Pro Line
21 (PL21) avionics suite. This advanced upgrade offers Premier IA
pilots a wide range of safety and situational enhancing information to
include map overlays (airways, airspace, geopolitical) as standard
features.

In addition to these standard features, options
include: Electronic Jeppessen charts, XM Graphical Weather (US),
Universal Graphical Weather (International), and integrated Rockwell
Collins HF System. Additional avionics and cockpit upgrades now
standard in the new Beechcraft Premier IA include a three-display PL21
arrangement, digital radio and audio systems, and IFIS cursor control
panel. The cockpit also includes improved rail-mounted sun visors and a
115-VAC laptop computer outlet.

The pilot’s station includes
three 10 X 8" Liquid Crystal Displays, two Primary Flight Displays
(PFD), one Multi- Function Display (MFD) and an electronic checklist.
Standard on this aircraft are dual AHRS and air data computers,
standard FSU, GPS, FMS, EGPWS, WX Radar and a maintenance diagnostic
computer.

The Beechcraft Premier IA also combines several
systems and design improvements into one package that includes: pilot
“Lift Dump On Demand” control for improved landing performance,
improved hydraulic brakes and anti-skid system for better brake feel
and pilot feedback at all braking levels, a sound-dampening “acoustical
liner” and lowered landing approach reference speeds.

Leading
the way in the light jet class, Beechcraft has maximized the use of
composite materials in this aircraft. The fuselage is a twopiece
forward and aft composite, carbon-fibre/- epoxy honeycomb construction.
It is 20% lighter, three times stronger and 70% stiffer than aluminum.
The ailerons, flaps and horizontal stabilizer are also composite for
added strength. These materials have translated into 13% more cabin
volume than in a similar aluminum aircraft fuselage construction, with
spacious nose (10 cu. ft./150 lb.) and tailcone (44 cu. ft./400 lb.)
baggage bays.

On a perfect flying day through the skies of
Quebec, Trevor provided us with an impressive demonstration. This is a
beautiful aircraft with speed and grace, ideal for corporate and
charter operations. When you consider the range and versatility of the
IA along with its low operating costs (US$2.02/nautical mile) and
US$6,100,000 price tag, the Premier IA looks like a great value
proposition.