The Raytheon/Hawker Beechcraft Premier I was initially designed to compete against Cessna’s CitationJet or “CJ” series and became the first composite-fuselage business jet to receive an FAA type certification in 2001. According to Business Jet Traveler, “the original Cessna Citation CJ looked like a lawn tractor and was slower to boot” compared to Premier I. Among very-light jets, the Premier stands out for its relatively spacious cabin as well as its low operating costs. Raytheon introduced a successor, the Premier 1A, before its aircraft concerns were sold to Hawker Beechcraft in 2006.
Beechcraft Premier I FEATURES
The Premier I cabin is one of the largest in its class, designed with spacious headroom for maximum passenger comfort. Its six-passenger cabin measures 13 feet 6 inches long, 5 feet 6 inch wide, and 5 feet 5 inches high for a total cabin volume of 315 cubic feet, one of the largest cabins among the light jet class. The jet also includes internal baggage space of 23 cubic feet, with an external baggage compartment measuring 55 cubic feet.
The cabin includes seven individual executive seats that can slide, swivel, and recline according to the passenger’s comfort. It also has fold-out tables on both sides of the aircraft that can be pulled out whenever the passenger needs them. Additional amenities include a beverage center and bathroom that comes with an electric-flushing chemical toilet seat.
The Premier I’s light composite fuselage and swept metal wing design give it impressive speed capability. The jet is equipped with two Williams/Rolls Royce FJ44-2A engines, which enable the aircraft to reach speeds of up to 461 kts and produce 2,300 pounds of thrust per engine. The extra thrust allows for increased payload and faster climb—according to Business Jet Traveler, the engines can propel the Premier to 41,000 feet in just 23 minutes and burn around 130 gallons an hour while the aircraft cruises at 450 knots. The Premier I has a range of up to 850 nautical miles when flying with seats full and NBAA IFR reserves.
In 2003, according to aerospace-technology.com, Premier 1 hit a new speed record flying the 1,152 miles between Wichita, Kansas, and a destination on the East Coast at an average speed of 639 mph.
The Hawker Beechcraft Premier I utilizes the Collins Pro Line 21, an integrated avionics system designed to enhance a wide range of business and commercial and military aircraft. The cockpit is fitted with dual controls that allows for the aircraft to be flown by a pilot and co-pilot or by a single pilot, according to Aerospace Technology. The Electronic Flight Information System (EFIS) and Rockwell Collins AHC-3000 Automatic Heading Reference System (AHRS) that the flight deck uses includes air data computers, flight management & guidance system, navigation receivers, and color weather radars.