After the 400XTi, everybody knew that Nextant would do another aircraft, but nobody guessed it would be the King Air C90. Nextant did consider new modifications for Hawker or Falcon jets, but the enthusiasm and support from GE and Garmin pushed the King Air to the top of the line, says Nextant Aerospace president Sean McGeough. “Our secret sauce is to pick a solid airframe then go to work on the engines, avionics and interior. The C90 was a natural fit to those criteria; it allows us to start walking customers up our product line – and there are 1,500 C90s out there that we can target.”
Nextant’s G90XT was actually born in Geneva at this year’s EBACE convention, where the three partners sat down and identified the King Air as the perfect entry-level product at the right price. “$2 to 3 million is the sweet spot,” says McGeough; “it allows you to transition up from a single, then to the 400XTi and then to our next product.” McGeough is clear that a third Nextant aircraft program is coming, although he says that it won’t be defined until the G90XT is properly established in the market. The next aircraft will be in a class above the 400XTi.
McGeough is disappointed, but not surprised, at Beechcraft’s hostility to the G90XT – if only because the OEM reacted in the same way to the 400XTi program. “Every one of those aircraft could provide aftermarket business for the OEM, a business that they really need, so I am surprised that Beechcraft wants to turn away potential customers. But it doesn’t stop us. They keep forgetting that the FAA sanctions what we do, the same as any OEM. Our STCs are blessed and authorized by all the proper authorities, who have given us their full support.”
For the G90XT program Nextant will use the existing STCs held by Garmin and GE – “We just have to merge the two,” says McGeough, “and we’ve already proved we can do that. Those STCs are in place, and that’s why we say we can make the first deliveries this time next year.”