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    Resource: Aviation Convention News; Vo . 17, No. 12; Mi an Par , NJ; Novem er 1, 1985.

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    Staff eportWhen the curtain rose on the DallasNBAA gathering two years ago, it

    revealed a glimpse of he future. Theunveiling of the Gates-PiaggioGP-180-as it was then named-andthe Beech Starship charged the atmosphere and electrified the annualmeeting.

    It is now some 6 months later andanother NBAA Convention has comeand gone. Visitors to the full-scalemockups on the exhibit floor at NewOrleans were no longer gawking inwonder and awe. They were askinghard questions about delivery dates andfinancing packages, flight testschedules and equipment options. Inexorably, the present is catching upwith the wave of the future.

    Beech has opened its new500,000-sq-fi Starship productionfacility and is well on the way to completing six full-size Starship airframes,three for flight testing and certificationtrials and three for static and fatiguetesting. The wing was mated to the first100-percent-scale Starship prototypeduring NBAA Convention week in lateSeptember, and that airplane is expected to fly early next year.In the meantime, the proof-ofconcept (POC) 85-percent scale Starship , which tantalized the Oallasgathering with its " .. .is that a bird, aplane .. flash dance, has now loggedin excess of 500 hr aloft, during which

    it has not only proved its concept, butmade its shape-of-things-to-come nolonger appear radical.While Beech is " winding up" production of its first fuU-size Starshipprototype, Gates and Piaggio are moving steadfastly ahead with their coproject. The two companies- whichare attempting to cooperatively design,develop, and produce an airplane notonly between two continents, but between two cultures separated bylanguages and measuring systems-a reexpecting the first flight of their Avantiin April 1986.

    The forward fuselage of he first flying prototype Avanti is due outof Lear-jet's Wichita plant this month for shipment to Italy, where it wiJJ be matedto the Piaggio-builtwing and Sikorskyfabricated tail-cone/empennage. FAAtype certification is anticipated in thespring of 1987, following a year-longflight test program.

    By the end of this year, Gates willhave sunk 24 million into the Avanti;Piaggio, which conceived the design,significantly more. Through their jointventure, the two companies hope toshare t.he airplane 's considerabledevelopment risk.

    Putting t TogetherBeech has engineered a light, selfsupporting structure akin to an eggshell

    in concept. Laminated sandwiches consisting of inner and outer compositeskins bonded to Nomex honeycomb

    cores are molded in to desired shapesfor partsor components which are thengenerally self-support ing without theaid of rames and stringers. A fuselage,for example, can be simply a shell withfore and aft bulkheads but no internalstructure. Deriving much of ts strengthfrom unidirectional skin laminates, theStarship's main wing consists of lessthan 20 parts, only a few of which are

    . ribs.Five of he Starship production prototypes currently under construction

    have airframes laid up of graphite andNomex laminates. while a sixthactually flfSt on the schedule to flynextyear-has been fined with a fuselagewound of 9 miles of graphite filament impregnated with epoxy resin.Baked in an autoclave over a removablemandril, the fllament-wound fuselage,like the space shuttle booster casingsthat inspired it , is extremely light andrigid. Beech wants to study both typesof construction before making a production decision.Seeing Beech's huge new multimillion-dollar au toclave, whichdominates the new Starship productionfacilicy at Wichita and looks like a sectioncut from the hull of a Trident subml rine, one can't help but think thatBeech and parent company Raytheonmight be covering their bets on theStars.hip's success by developing an inhouse capability to subcontract its composite fabrica tion capabilities to othercompanies ins ide and outside of avia-

    8tECH STARSHIPHU.H SPEEDFli HT LOW SPEED FU NTFlAPS DOWN

    SKE:TCtflz IS ~ ~ E A T E . t tHAN / 1VARIABLE SWEPT C.ANARP

    STARSHIP: HANDLING THE PITCHMany canard-equippedairplanes omit flaps because they wouldrun out of elevator trying to counteract the pitchingmoment generatedwhen flaps are deployed.Starship's designers cleverly avoid the problem by a owing theairplane's forward canard surface to pivot forward and backward.This "variable sweep" is movable in flight. As shown, it is swept backat higher speeds, resulting in a shorter moment arm (distancebetween e.g. and center of lift of canard). At low speeds, with flapsdown, the canard is straight (no sweep) and the moment arm islonger, allowing the elevators(on the canard) to exert greater forceto cope with the downward pitch caused by the lowered flaps.(Sketches by Ron Neal, Gates Learjet.)

    tion. After all, that's what Sikorskydid, and theStratford, Conn. helicoptermanufacturer is currently poised toharvest an expected boom in compositeconstruction with a dedicated subcontracting operation in Alabama.

    ironically, Sikorsky will subcontract toGates-Piaggio for construction of allthe composite subassemblies for theAvanti.In many ways the more conservativemore on page 44

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    omparisoncontinued from page 42of the two, the Gates-Piaggio Avanti relies on astructure that is 60-percent alwninum and 40-percent composite media. The airplane's fuselageand main wingbox are fabricated of aluminumin the conventional manner, but with a new twistintroduced to general aviation airplanes by Gates .The fuselage is built from the outside in, thatis, formed skin pieces are held to contour in amassive vacuum chuck (a fiberglass femalemold drilled with vacuum holes) and frames areattached to the skin, allowing tolerances to bebuilt to the inside and not the outside. According to Gates Learjet general operations managerRonald Neal, The result is a completed articlewith close tolerances and extremely high quality.' 'Composites, laid up of Kevlar, graphite, andNomex by Sikorsky, constitute the remainder ofthe airframe, amounting to about 1 percent ofthe aircraft's empty weight. These subassembliesinclude the main wing control surfaces, forwardwing and nose structure, empennage, and enginenacelles . Explaining the Avanti's mixed-mediaconstruction, Neal confided that neither Piaggio nor Learjet had the resources to do a lot ofresearch in composites. What we're doing is using proven technology within our _esources and

    capabilities . I think we'll see airliners well intothe Twenty-frrst Century made of alwninum. Thedamage characteristics of aluminumstructures arewell understood. Not so for composites. Howmany people out there know how to repaircomposites?We can also build the airplane cheaper thisway, Neal continued, and you have toremember that the customer ultimately pays forR&D. Lightning protection is another factor. Weunderstand how to protect an aluminum airplanefrom lightning. Then there's maintainability andinterchangeability of parts. f a metal part doesn'tfit, you can alter it, but you can't do that witha composite part. You have to have the highestquality tooling to avoid that problem with composites.' '

    Two Ways To Skin raftThe Starship and Avanti offer an interestingcomparison in design philosophies, or the diversepaths that two creative engineering groups canchoose to accomplish the same objective. The

    airplanes' novel shapes also testify.to the compromises that engineers must accommodate inachieving certain des ign goals. Phrased as a question, the challenge facing Beech and Piaggioengineers when they sat down to delineate theirnext-generation airplanes was: How can we bestdesign an eight- to ten- passenger, FAR-23 turboprop that can cruise at the same altitudes andspeeds as the slower jets and fly at least 2,500

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    Midland Park, N.J. Nov. 1, 1985nmi carrying four passengers in an extremely quiet stand-up cabin? Or inBeech's case, ...a cabin as Large asor larger than the King Air 200?The FAR 23 stipulation was an important COllsideration, since the morestringent provisions of FAR 25 (required of jets and large transports)would significantly increase certification costs as well as complicateoperating procedures. But going withFAR 23 also meant that gross weighthad to be kept under 12,500 lb, thelow-end threshold for FAR 25. In orderto accommodate their large cabins,these would be big airframes, so keeping weight down was going to becritical. Hence, more than a little attention would be given to structure andconstruction media.

    According to Gates Learjct's Neal,the design group at Rinaldo Piaggiostarted with the cabin it wanted andengineered an airplane around it. Us ing the P: l 66 [an earlier twin turboproppusher produced by Piaggio] as abaseline,'' he reported, ''they quicklyrealized that to optimize interiorvolume, they had to move the wingcarry-through structure out of thecabin.

    Three Lifting SurfacesThis presented a dilemma at first,since they also wanted a fast airplane,and, in terms of minimizing in

    terference drag [at the cr iticalwing/fuselage juncture], a mid-wingconfiguration is best to create an endplate effect with the side of thefuselage, Neal explained. ' 'So to getthe end-plate effect while keeping thespar out of the cabin, they placed thewing behind the aft pressure bulkhead

    and thereby arrived at another dilemma , wh ich was how to maintainbalance and e.g. without having atail cone a mile long. Piaggio's solution was the so-called''three-lifting-surface concept.' ' Incorporating both a forward wing tobalance out the cabin,. and a small aftmounted horizonta l stabilizer/elevatorfor pitch control , the arrangement permitted a relatively short tai lcone.Although Piaggio could have gone toa pure canard configuration, as Beechdid, Neal claimed the three-surfaceconcept offered the best compromisebetween canard and conventional planforms. Added Learjet's new senior v-pof marketing Donald 0 'M ara, ''Afterthe Wright brothers, most designersabandoned the canard, probably forstability reasons. They realized that aco nventional tailp lane providedsuperior static stability.Not a true canard, the Avanti 's forward lifting surface works in conjunction with the conventional horizontalstabilizer to trim the airplane over abroad range of flight and e.g. conditions. lt is not used for pitch controland, in fact, is mounted to the fuselageat a fixed angle of incidence.Neal explained that the purecanard, by definition, has a muchlarger e.g. travel range, thereby making balance a major consideration.Everything you put in the airplanetends to make the e.g. move a longdistance. In addition, you must be verycareful in tailoring the control configuration of the main and forwardwings. Pi tch control is extremelycritical. To provide us better controlover balance and pitch, we retained the[aft-mounted] horizontal stabilizer and

    Aviation Convention Newselevator; but by optimizing the forwardsurface, we could keep the ft surfacesfairly small. Neal claimed that another advantageof the three-surface arrangement issuperior distribution of rim drag. Ina conventional aircraft, trim drag is thedrag associated with the tail in trimming the airplane- the mo re load onthe tail, the greater the drag. In theA vanti, the forward surface is designed to reduce downloading on the tailat c ruise. By redistributing trim drag,we minimize the total drag of theairplane. See sketches.)

    What The Flap Is AboutPitch stability of the pure canard isfurther aggravated, Neal continued,when flaps are incorporated in the mainwing. When you lower the flaps, thecenter of pressure moves aft and morelift s generated by the main wing.Unless the forward surface ca n compensate for the additional lift generatedby the main wing flaps, the tendencyis for the aircraft to pitch down , orbecome nose heavy. Piaggio solvedthis problem by simply adding flaps to

    the forward wing. Area of he forwardsurface flaps was calculated to balancethe lift produced by the main wingflaps. The two sets of dev ices arc interconnected by an electromechanicallinkage and deployed simultaneouslyby a single cockpit control.

    In keeping with the Starship's radicalimage, Beech adopted a correspondingly unique solution to the flappitching-moment problem, designing avariable-geometry canard sur face. Likethe wings of some tactical aircraft, suchas the Grumman F-14 fighter andRockwell B-1 bomber, the two sides of

    145the Starship 's canard can be swept foreand aft relative to the longitudinal axisof the airplane. In the Starship, ofcourse, the movablecanard is interconnected with the main wing flaps so thatwhen the flaps are extended, the leftand right sides of the canard, pivotedat their fuselage mounting point, swingforward.

    With the flaps in the retracted position, the canard surfaces are sweptback, providing a more favorable dragconfiguration for high-speed cruiseflight. Angle of sweep varies fromminus four degrees forward to plus 30degrees aft. By sweeping the canardforward, Neal observed, ' 'its centerof lift also moves forward, providinga longer moment arm, thereby balancing the additional lift produced bylowering the flaps on the main wing.''See sketch.)According to Beech' s executive v-pof engineering, Chester Rembleske, theWichita manufacturer settled on acanard configuration for the Starshipbecause t was the only way we couldget the performance and people accommodation we wanted with currentlyavailable engines while remainingunder 2 ,500 pounds. We simplycouldn't grow the King Air any moreto provide additional speed, range, ormore on next p ge

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    cominued from preceding pagecabin space Without busting the twelvefive [FAR 23] limit. As Piaggio used the P .166 as adeparture point, Beech's baselineairplane was the King Air200. (WhenBeech began to consider ideas for itsnext-generationairplane, the Dash 300King Air had yet to be launched. Supporting Rembleske 's comments above,Beech was forced to boost the KingAir's gross weight above 12,500 lb inorder to extract more performancefrom the airplane.) Beg inning in theearly 1970s, Beech investigated manyconfiguration including one withtwin engines mounted inside thefu selage driving a single pusher propa Ia Lear Fan- before settling on acanard , or tandem-wing,arrangement.

    The reasons were s imilar to Piaggio s: to get the wing behind the cabinand the engines as far to the rear aspossible to reduce vibration nd interiornoise. Unlike the Avanti, however, theStarship eliminated the conventionalempennage, incorporating rudders inlarge winglets, dubbed tipsails, onthe ends of the main wing. It wasbelieved that a conventional verticalstabilizer mounted on the fuselagewould serve as a sounding board,transmitting excessive noise and vibration into the cabin.Pitch control was shared by e levonson the main wing and an elevator onthe canard sur face. A small vent ral tinand rudder driven by an automatic yawdamper was added to the bottom of thetailcone to promote directional stabil ity in the event of m engine fa ilure.

    The canard planfonn gave us ad-

    vantages no other configura tioncould , Rembleske pointed out. A fewof hese included favorable empty- togross- weight capabilities and net wetted area for a given comfort envelopen .e cabin size] .. an extremely wideoperational e.g. range .. su pe riorvisibility from both the cabin andcockpit. . a deeper cabin with moreheadroom than the King Air's . ..andgood stall characteristics.According to Rembleske , Beechdesigned the Starship so ' ' the wholeairplane doesn't stall, just the c anard;then the nose drops, returning flyingspeed so that the main wing neverstalls. Posited Learjet's Neal : Witha pure canard airplane, you have to bevery sure that, in astall, the front surface stalls first, otherwise the airplanewill go 'over on its back.To assist it in tailoring the canardcon figuration to its needs, Beechret ined consulting engineer Burt Rutanof Mojave, Calif. , considered one ofthe country's leading authorities on thebehavior of tandem-wing airplanes.When Beech nd Rutan completed theirinitial renderings of the Starship, theaircraft bore an uncanny resemblanceto Rutan's popular VariEze kit plane ,prompting one wag to dub the big turboprop the HugeEze. Beech then cqmmissioned ScaledComposites, of which Rutan was oneof the principals, to build the85-percent-scale development prototype which Rembleske termed a bigwind-tunnel test model. During thetesting program, the scaled Starship hasflown as high as 42,250 t and in excess of 400 mph, demonstrating exce llent asymmetrical stabili ty

    th roughout its speed range. n JulyBeech announced that it Juu purchasedScaled Composites from utan and hisassociates and had appointed him aBeech vice presidentandmember of heBeech board o directors. Ed.}

    The POC Starship allowed Beech torefine the design before committingitself o building a more expensive fu llscale airplane. Constructed mostly offoam and fiberglass in the manner ofRutan ' s ki t planes, the POC easily ac-

    cepted modifications. Most notable ofthese are small fences positioned on thetop of he main wing between the flapsand elcvons and six smaJI projectionstermed vo rtilons attached to theunderside of the wing lead ing edge,

    three a side, in front the .elevons. nacelles are carefully sculpted to incor

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    to ofRembleske said the vortilons ' 'smooth.out spanwise flow over the wing andraise the angle of attack at which thewing stalls.

    In addition to Beech's test pilots, thePOC airplane hasbeen flown by FAArepresentatives and a selection of corporate aviators (most with King Air experience) to gaugepilot reaction, whichRembleske claims has been extremelyfavorable. Even though the final Starship design has been frozen , Beechcontinues to use the 85-percent aircraft,most recently to test installation of henew Dash 67 version of the Pratt &Whitney of Canada PT6A gas turbineswhich will power the full-size Starship.

    In the 12,500-Jb production Starship,the Dash 67s will be flat-rated at 1,000shp . each and will drive four-bladeposher props specially developed forthe airplane by Hartzell. Called je tfans by .Beech , the props haverelatively high disk loading. Thepowerplants are encased in slimnacelles mounted close to the fuselage(to minimize differential thrust insingle-engine operations) on the topsurface of he main wing. The nacellesare positioned so that prop disks fallalmost completely aft of the fuselage.

    The Avanti will also use a pair ofPWC PT6As; however, because themultinational entry's gross weight isprojected to fall 2,700 lb less than thatof the Starship , the smaller Dash 66version of the engine (flat-rated at 800shp) has been chosen to provide motivepower. Hartzell also is fabricatingprops for the A vanti, which will featurefour -scimitar-shaped blades of composite construction . While the A vanti s gas turbines are, likewis.c, mountedatop the aft wing close-in to thefuselage, like the Starship 's , the

    porate a subtle area-rule effect tominimize drag. n designing them,Neal said, we had to consider theprop flow field, wing juncture, and thefact that in the position where they'remounted, the fuselage is beginning topull away [taper to the tail].''Both aircraft employ high-aspectmain' wings; however , each is quite different in planform. The GatesPiaggio 's all-aluminum examplefeatures a straight leading edge, atapered trailing edge, and spans 45.4ft . According to Neal , it is based on' 'an advanced airfoil optimized for highspeeds and laminar flow. ' Designedfor Piaggio by aeronautical engineersat Ohio State University ,. the airfoilreportedly is derived ' 'from NASAstudies. At 62 .96lb /sq ft , the Avanti's wing loading is fairly high; Nealcited wing toading for the King Air 300as 46.2 and .the Cessna Citation as41 .2. The wing is simple, easy tobuild, he said, with machinedparts,front and rear spars, upper and lowerskins, and sheet-metal ribs.

    Starship's wing, with an average24-deg aft sweep , is contoured intothick , strake-like sec tions at the root ,lending it almost a ..cranked-arrowappearance. Most of the airplane's3,400 lb of fuel resides within themassive root sections. The wing .spans54 ft between its 8.5-ft-high tipsails,which are canted slightly inward. According to sources at Beech, the wingconsists of five different airfoils and isequipped with Fowler-type flaps whichsignificantly increase its area when extended, and a Hporous titanium leadingedge'' (also incorporated on the canardsurface) to accommodate -the.aircraft'sglycol anti-icing system.

    The-hearts of he airplanes-literally,their raison d etre- ar t ~ i r cabins,both of which are expansiv.e by turboprop standards. Beech likes to compare the Starship 's passenger compartment tothat of the HS 125 business jet.Five feet 6 in. wide, 5 ft 5.5 in. high,and a whopping 16 ft long (not including the cockpit), it is a foot wider,9 in. taller, and more than 3 ft longerthan that of the baseline King Air. The

    cabin contains fore and .aft baggagecompartments, both accessible inflight, with a combined capacity of 55cu ft. Configured with individual chairsand a side-facing couch, the cabin canseat up to eight passengers. With a differential of 8.4 psi, the pressurizationsystem will maintain an 8,000-ft interior at the Starship's maximum altitude of 41 ,000 ft.While a yard shor.ter than t he Starship 's cabin, the AvantFs passengercompartment is 6 in. wider and 3.5 in .higher. Gates-Piaggio likes to boast thattheA vanti 's cabin '' offers more heightthan the Fa lcon 200 and more widththan the Citation il l. ' ' Its42-cu-ft aftbaggage compartment can be loadedthrough an exterior. hatch and is also.accessible in flight. The cab in can beconfigured to accommodate up to sevenpassengers in ounge-type chairs. Witha pressure differential of 9:0 psi, theAvanti can carry a sea-1evel cabin to24,000 ft , or maintain. slightly over7,000 ft inside at its max cruise altitudeof 41 ,000 ft.

    Both airptanes will be certified forsingle-pilot operation (meaning an extra passenger can be carried in thecopilot's seat, fuel load permitting).

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    The Gates-Piaggio panel will combineboth electronic flight instruments(EFIS) and electromechanical gauges.We're not going heavy into EFIS, Neal said, ''because it costs money andadds weight.In keeping with its futuristic image,

    the Starship will offer an optional ''allglass'' flight deck in which all instrumentation, except standby gauges,will be electronic, including airspeedindicators, altimeters, and engine in-. struments. Incorporating no less than14 cathode-ray tubes (CRTs), thehighly integrated digital array, including a flight management systemand electronic tuning heads, has beensubcontracted to Collins whichshowcased a mockup of the panel at the NBAA Convention.' 'All engine instrumentation will becombined in a single CRT which alsoadds an advisory capability for warnings, Rembleske said. Called anEngine Indication and Crew AdvisorySystem .(EICAS) it's a step ahead of

    the system Boeing uses in its newgeneration {757 and 767] airliners, ' ' he

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    til recently, the simmering marketingconfrontation has begun to draw themout. To Neal's observation that' ' technical risk is much higher on theStarship, Rembleske answered, ' 'Idon't know what he's talking about.We know what our airplane will do; weknow its performance capabilities. It'sprobably been tested more before entry into production han any airplaneever developed. That's why w.e builtthe 85-percent-scale model. We knowwhat we 've got, and they still have tofly their airplane. ' 'Concerning comments by Neal andO'Mara about stability and pitch control of the pure canard configuration,Rembleske argued, We're shooting tomeet the same stability standards required for a conventional aircraft. Ifanything, we hope .to exceed themargins established by the F for. stability and control. You can come upwith any opinion, depending uponwhich side you're on.' 'All of our assumptions have beenproven out in flight testing of the85-percent airplane. We've flown it in

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    canard than it would be with a conventionalairplane. We went through the same steps intailoring the aircraft that we would have followedwith a conventional one.''Defending the Avanti's mostly aluminum construction, Neal said, I t gives us better controlover quality and weight and borrows heavily onour twenty years of building all-metal aircraft.Composites will make gradual inroads, but ourstudies indicate that you don't achieve the weightsavings you started out to get, and they're moreexpensive to produce. The materials cost moreconsiderably more-and they' re labor-intensiveto work with.

    Also, you need more floor space to fabricatecomposites because the molds have to be horizontal; you can't pour plastic uphill. There must bea reason why Boeing isn't designing all-compositeairliners. I admire Beech for what it's doing, butI think it's a costly process. O'Mara wasn't sokind: I think the only reason Beech is doing itis to get a smooth finish on its airplane, whichwe're going to achieve anyway with aluminum.Countered Rembleske, I think our experiencehas indicated otherwise. We re getting weightsavings, and if you use proper design, you canmake composites work for you in a weightsavings sense. Obviously, you ' re going to have-to establish design and manufacturing proceduresto keep costs under control, too.' ' One of thereasons why Beech chose to build the Starshipfrom graphite epoxy, Rembleske confided, wasbecause ' 'we wanted to maintain laminar flowover as much of the airframe as we could throughclean airfoils and a smooth, rigid skin that can

    retain its shape up to limit loads. You can't dothat with aluminum because it sags between ribsand frames under loading.''In terms of performance, Gates-Piaggio claimsa significant advantage over the Starship in speed.

    ' 'Superior aerodynamics'' and considerablylighter gross weight, they say, will allow theA vanti to achieve a maximum speed of 400 kt,nearly 50 kt faster than the Starship's projectedmax velocity of 352 kt . Anything above 370 willclean up all the turboprops and butt right upagainst the side of the Citation [I and II],' ' Learjet's O'Mara bragged. So there would be no hardfeelings in the debate with Beech, he added,''Building an airplane is a series of compromises.What we're talking about is how the two of ushave chosen our compromises.''

    Both manufacturers claim their airplanes willhave ''transcontinental range.'' Gates-Piaggiolists Avanti's range at 320 kt and 41,000 ft withfour passengers and NBAA IFR reserves as 2, 100nmi. Although we're getting into apples andoranges here, Beech cites ''range with max fuel,''economy cruise of 272 kt at 41,000 ft, and 45-min(VFR) reserves as 2,687 nmi, but does not mention the number of passengers conveyed.Maximum twin-engine rates of climb at sealevel of the Avanti and Starship are predicted as,respectively, 3,650 and 3,250 fpm. With oneengine out, ROC falls off to 1,250 and 1,180 fpm.Standard-day sea-level takeoff over a 50-ftobstacle will require 2,413 fi for the Avanti,2,400 ft for the Starship. With maximum fuelaboard, the Avanti's payload is limited to 810 lb,the Starship's to 915 lb.

    This is all very impressive for airplanesmotivated through the sky by propellers-untilone comes to price tags. The Starship may verywell turn out to be 40 percent more fuel efficientthan a jet , as its developers claim, but purchaserswill pay dearly to own this kind of performance.Or to put it another way, you could buy a lot offuel to fly a trusty and conventional King Air,Conquest, or even a used Lear 25 around for along time for the difference in price.Beech is quoting the equipped price of a Starship for 1987 delivery (certification is expectedin late 1986) as $3.3 million. Gates-Piaggio feelsit has another advantage over Starship with itsequipped price for Avanti of $2.7 million.Although quoted in 1983 dollars, O'Mara saidthe partnership's ' 'target is to stay in that range.I t has to be competitive.''For comparison, the 1985 price of a CitationII is about $2.2 million, while that of the recently introduced Citation S/II is just under $3million. At the NBAA Convention, Cessna announced an early-model Citation 500 remanprogram that would recycle and upgrade old 500sinto Citation I configurations and sell them for$1.5 million. Prior to Gates' 17-percent price cut,also declared at NBAA, a 1985 Lear 35A wasgoing out the door for around $3.9 million. AKing Air 300 currently claims something in theneighborhood of $2.6 million.Starship will move closer to the jets in termsof price but not necessarily performance, RonNeal said. We see our market as curren t KingAir operators and our competition as the Citation I and II. Those were our original goals and

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    they haven't changed.Chet Rembleske said Beech would also appealto current King Air owners with the Starship,but identified his competition as ''any of the $3-to $4-million airplanes, including the small jets.''How would Starship fare against A vanti? I can'tanswer that because I don't know what their

    airplane will do,' ' said the Beech engineeringchief who retired last month.While Gates-Piaggio had written no firmorders for Avantis by mid-August, Rembleskesaid Beech has been accepting $100,000deposits for Starships for some time, thoughhe defended the actual number of orderscollected as ''proprietary.'' f a Starshipcustomer agrees to buy a new King Air as aninterim aircraft, Rembleske commented, Beechwill waive the $100,000 deposit for a deliveryposition.While the A vanti and Starship have the lookof the future-and there' s no denying that lookssell-the trick of moving a turboprop through thesky at 350 kt at 41,000 ft has already been performed. P iper 's Cheyenne 400LS has been putting its block times up against the up-and-comingcompetition in its quest to win friends and influence people.The new technology represented by Avanti andStarship allows these airplanes to combine their350-kt and higher cruise speeds with the walkaround room of much larger aircraft. By breaking with past methodologies, their designers hopet eliminate the compromises business airplanebuyers have had to make in the past.

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