Closed on July 17, 2000
In today's complex and fast-paced business world, companies large and small have turned increasingly to company-owned, chartered, or leased aircraft to fly their personnel around the country or overseas. Business aviation offers a higher degree of flexibility and efficiency than commercial carriers can provide. In an arena where time indeed is money, business aviation can provide a competitive edge.
This exhibit outlined the history of business aviation, the types of aircraft and airports used in private business travel, and the contributions of business travel to the field of aviation.
A similar exhibit station on this topic is now available for viewing at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.
Fax machines, conference calls, cellular phones, e-mail: none has replaced the need to travel to conduct business. In today's complex and fast-paced business world, companies large and small have turned increasingly to company-owned, chartered, or leased aircraft to fly their personnel around the country or overseas.
Though not unique to the United States, business aviation is more widespread here than elsewhere. Company operations are often widely dispersed, and the size of the nation makes flying a practical way to get around.
Business aviation offers a higher degree of flexibility and efficiency than commercial carriers can provide. In an arena where time indeed is money, business aviation can provide a competitive edge.
Business on the Wing
Why do companies use corporate aircraft? The two most important benefits are time savings and flexibility. Using company aircraft, business travelers can fly directly to the airport closest to their destination and to several locations in a day, thus saving flight time and overall travel time. Time aloft is productive and private: passengers can work comfortably and hold meetings en route. Flight schedules are flexible and can be tailored to the traveler's needs. If a meeting is canceled or needs change, new flight plans can be prepared immediately, even in flight. Other benefits include reliability and safety of aircraft, market access, efficiency, security, and privacy. As a result, companies that use aircraft are more successful where it counts: their annual income or assets or sales.
The corporate Fleet
The needs of a business and what it can afford determine the kinds of aircraft it uses. Business aviation aircraft range from small, propeller-driven airplanes for shorter hops to fast, well-appointed "bizjets" that can fly internationally nonstop. They typically fly into smaller airports to avoid congested commercial hubs. They are flown by company pilots, contract pilots, sometimes by the company owners themselves.
Engines for Business Aircraft
Business aircraft pioneered the quieter and more fuel-efficient turbofan engines now used also on nearly all commercial aircraft. All new business jets meet the most stringent Federal Aviation Administration noise level category, and many older models are being retrofitted with newer engines.
The Cessna Citation
THE WORLD'S MOST POPULAR BUSINESS JET
Named for the famous thoroughbred racehorse, the Citation fanjet series was introduced in 1971 and proved to be an immediate success. The original Citation could carry seven passengers. Its modest range of 1,900 kilometers (1,200) miles and cruising speed of 560 kilometers (350 miles) per hour fit the profile of most domestic business flights. It was small enough to land on short runways and was easy to handle, quiet, economical, and affordable.
Cessna developed the Citation to fill the gap between turboprop aircraft and larger or more expensive business jets, such as the Falcon 20 and Gulfstream II. The series has remained a continuing success story. It has twice won the Collier Trophy, aviation's highest award: in 1985 for its "unparalleled passenger safety record," and in 1996 for the Citation X design team.
Beechcraft King Air
KING OF THE BUSINESS TURBOPROPS
Introduced in 1964, the Beechcraft King Air is the world's most popular turboprop business aircraft. Offering full cabin pressurization, air conditioning, soundproofing, and two Pratt & Whitney PT6 turboprop engines, the King Air combines longer range and higher altitude flight with moderate operating costs and noise levels. Like its successful predecessor, the Queen Air, the King Air has a slow landing speed that enables it to use small airports.
Successive models of the King Air have provided increased range and performance coupled with larger and more comfortable interiors. Though challenged by new light jets, the King Air continues to dominate the twin turboprop market, providing the most sophisticated turboprop business aircraft available.