The Elite Air-managed Hawker 800 formerly based in Van Nuys, Calif., will be returned to the company’s charter fleet sporting a new paint job and interior on June 13, this time based at St. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport. The aircraft will give Elite Air’s customers in the Southeast and beyond a desirable midsize option that seats up to eight passengers and has a range of 2,900 miles.
“It’s great to have the Hawker available for charter again at this critical time,” Elite Air Sales Director AJ Becker said. “We have really focused on meeting the growing light jet demand we’ve been experiencing in the past six months, and this aircraft will give our East Coast customers an option that falls directly between our extensive light options and our one-of-a-kind Challenger 350 super midsize.”
The Hawker 800A with the XPR upgrade offers increased stability over its predecessor and more efficient operations. The aircraft is capable of 447 knots at 37,000 feet. For long-range flights, it operates best at 400 knots at 39,000 feet.
“I think it is a fantastic airplane—very stable and comfortable,” said Tom Rissmiller, a veteran captain who’s been hired to lead the new Hawker crew. “And its range is good for that size airplane.” Indeed, the 800XPR is capable of coast-to-coast flights at industry-leading values.
Rissmiller, who has more than 15,000 total hours and more than 5,000 hours in Hawkers, will be joined in the cockpit by first officer John Ditwiler.
Rissmiller, who’s in the process of selling fixed-base operation Bay Air at Albert Whitted Airport, has long known Elite Air CEO Gray Gibbs through the aviation community.
“We’ve given Elite Air charters, and Elite Air has passed many charters to us,” he said of the relationship. “We’ve worked together for many years."