A recurring theme has run throughout my time at EAA AirVenture this week — aviation is so expensive. I can't afford to fly. General aviation is by no means a cheap hobby or means of transportation, but Nextant Aerospace is aiming to defer that cost by selling remanufactured planes.
Remanufacturing is not the same as recycling nor is it a modification program. It produces products at a fraction of new-build cost and with significantly lower raw material consumption and greenhouse emissions.
Nextant Aerospace currently makes the Nextant 400XTi jet, which is based on the Beech 400 and Hawker 400 jets. Now they're also coming out with the G90XT turboprop, based on the Beechcraft King Air.
Commercial plane manufacturers know that it's cheaper to upgrade proven models. For example, Boeing has been making 737s since the late 1960s, but they have upgraded it with four major generational design changes including the forthcoming MAX series. Nextant is applying this concept to the general aviation marketplace.
The H80 turboprop will replace the Pratt & Whitney PT6 to power the G90XT. GE's VP of Business & General Aviation Brad Mottier said, "The GE H80-powered Nextant G90XT will reinvigorate business aviation. It will incorporate new technologies, including an integrated electronic engine control for single lever power control and a new gearbox for reduced cabin and community noise. GE looks forward to being a key participant of this advanced engine-aircraft combination and developing additional value for our customers."
Nextant has displayed a mockup of the G90XT cockpit this week at EAA AirVenture. President Sean McGeough said:
"It's exciting to bring some of our latest design and engineering technology to Oshkosh for its first ever public appearance. Nextant is redefining the business aviation industry by combining the reliability of highly successful business aircraft with the latest technology in engines, avionics and cabin comfort. With our unique remanufacturing process we create as-new aircraft with performance that will match or surpass comparable new models for half the purchase price. That's the transformational message we're sending from Oshkosh to business aircraft customers everywhere."
The G90XT will carry its own FAA-certified production number and data plate and will be listed as a new type in the Aircraft Blue Book. Its cockpit will feature the Garmin 1000 instrument system. The plane comes in several configurations, seating 3-10 passengers, plus an air ambulance option. The interior is four feet, six inches wide and four feet, nine inches tall.
Other enhancements from the King Air to the G90XT include an ergonomically redesigned flight deck, digital pressurization, auto start and fully electronic engine control, and a redesigned cabin with enhanced climate control.
Aircraft photos provided by Nextant. H80 engine photo by Paul Thompson