5 aircraft innovations on show at EBACE

Several members of our team are at EBACE (European Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition) in Geneva this week, sharing PrivateFly news, networking with industry colleagues and – of course – viewing the aircraft.

For AvGeeks like us, EBACE is always a global highlight of the industry calendar and a time when private jet manufacturers make their major announcements.

It’s an opportunity to showcase their latest developments and flagship aircraft to a large and captive audience. Both in the static display, for which 60 aircraft have flown in this year. And to share aircraft concepts and prototypes that haven’t made it to the runway yet.

Here are some of the manufacturer announcements that caught our attention this week.

Airbus: A new extra-wide VVIP airliner

Airbus ACJ350 XWB interior

The interior of the new ACJ350 XWB. Image: Airbus

At the very top end of the corporate jet market are VVIP airliner conversions, with the best known current models being the Boeing BBJ and Airbus ACJ range. Airbus brought a prototype of its latest ACJ for a brief stop at EBACE.

This is the ACJ350 XWB, a corporate jet version of its A350 airliner, with the XWB standing for ‘extra wide body’ – giving an indication of the impressive cabin size and comfort offered by this new ultra-luxury jet.

The ACJ350 XWB, targeted at heads-of-state and ultra high net worths, will be able to accommodate 25 passengers and fly 22 hours non-stop.

The highly-customisable and state-of-the-art interior will be luxury and modern, and employ a new interior fixing solution called Easyfit. This will equip each new aircraft body with 200 brackets, to which bulkheads, cabinets and fixtures can be attached, making it much easier for completions engineers to fit the cabin.

Pilatus: All eyes on its new PC-24 jet

Pilatus PC-24

Image: Pilatus

The Pilatus PC-12 propeller aircraft has been a big success story for the Swiss manufacturer over the past few years. And it has now entered the jet market, with the first test aircraft of its new Pilatus PC-24 making an appearance at the EBACE static display – and proving one of the most popular exhibits.

This is the show debut for the twinjet PC-24, after the test aircraft successfully completed its first flight in May 2015. The aircraft promises to be a very versatile addition to the jet segment, with excellent short-runway performance and ability to land on unpaved strips – basically a bigger ‘jet’ version of the successful ‘posh prop’ PC-12. Deliveries are expected in 2017.

Gulfstream: Renewable flights to EBACE & G500/600 on track

Gulfstream renewable fuels_EBACE 16

Image: Gulfstream Aerospace.

Renewable and green initiatives are always attention-grabbing in our industry. And Savannah-based Gulfstream flew a G450 & G550 into EBACE to join the static display, using their own new renewable fuel blend on transatlantic flights for the first time.

The fuel is Gulfstream’s own fuel blend of low-carbon, drop-in renewable fuel, derived from agricultural waste, combined with Jet-A jet fuel. This carries no performance compromise compared to conventional jet fuel or changes to existing jet engines. And a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Other announcements from Gulfstream at EBACE include its flagship G650ER‘s type certification from EASA (the European Aviation Safety Association) – meaning the world’s ‘fastest & furthest’ long range jet it can now be delivered to customers based in Europe.

And while it was expected that one of the test fleet for its new $45 million G500 aircraft would be making an appearance at EBACE, Gulfstream decided to keep it at home – so not to sidetrack the program’s progress. But the aircraft (and its bigger sister the G600) are on track for entry into service in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

Embraer: New E-Jet E2 completes first flight

Embraer E-Jet E2

Image: Embraer

Rival manufacturer Embraer also made environmental headlines at EBACE 2016, timing the first flight of its new E-Jet E2 around the show (although the flight actually took place back in Brazil). The E2 promises to be notably fuel- efficient, with up to a 24% lower fuel burn than its predecessors.

The E2 is a fuel-efficient version of the E190 airliner (which is the airframe basis for its VIP corporate jet, the Lineage 1000). The E-Jet is expected to enter service as an airliner in 2018 and hopefully a corporate jet version will follow, as it has done for other successful conversions.

Textron: More details (& orders) for its new single-engine prop

Textron SETP

Image: Textron

Textron Aviation, owner of Cessna and Beechcraft, held a press conference at EBACE to announce specifications of and first orders for its (as yet un-named) new single-engine turboprop (SETP). The $4.8 million aircraft’s plans were first made public at NBAA last November, with a cabin mock-up following earlier this year.

The aircraft’s concept has drawn comparisons with the successful Pilatus PC-12. Carrying one pilot and up to four passengers, it will offer a speed of up to 285 kts and a range of 1,600 nm – handling flights such as London to Geneva, or New York to Miami.

Textron have said it will have widest cabin in its segment, best operating costs, and offer flexible mission and cargo options (as it has a 53-inch wide cargo door). The new aircraft, targeted for a first flight in 2018, will add to Textron’s Cessna and Beechcraft families with a cost-effective and hyper-modern entry point aircraft.

While some of these innovations are years away, our expert Flight Team are ready right now, to give best pricing and advice on current private charter models. Contact us or call (24 hours) +44 1747 642 777.