The Model 390 Premier I is the first all new product of the Raytheon Aircraft Beech/Hawker combine to fly, and is an all new entry level corporate jet designed to compete head on with Cessna's highly successful CitationJet/CJ1 series.
Design work on the Premier I began in early 1994 under the designation PD-374. Development go-ahead was authorised in early 1995, and initial details of the new jet were released in mid 1995. Raytheon publicly launched the Premier I at the NBAA (National Business Aircraft Association) convention in Las Vegas in September 1995, where a full size cabin mockup was on display.
Construction of the first Premier I began in late 1996 and rollout was on August 19 1998. Four Premier Is were used in the flight test program with the first flying on December 22 1998. Certification was achieved in early 2001.
The Premier I was designed using CATIA computer aided design. Features include its composite carbonfibre/epoxy honeycomb fuselage, swept metal construction wings, T-tail and two WilliamsRolls FJ-44 turbofans.
The composite fuselage is an important feature for a number of reasons. Firstly, advanced production techniques (using computer controlled automated machines) means a Premier I fuselage can be constructed in just one day, whereas a conventional airframe would require one to two weeks to complete. The composite construction also allows greater (approx 13%) internal cabin space compared with a conventional construction fuselage of the same external dimensions.
The Premier I is certificated for single pilot operations. The flightdeck features the new Collins Pro Line 21 EFIS avionics suite with two 20 x 25cm (8 x 10in) flat panel LCDs.
Raytheon intends that the Premier I will form the basis of a new family of business jets.
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