Aerion chief technology officer and director Dr. Richard Tracy told Aviation International News yesterday at EBACE that his company is “revisiting” the powerplant for its proposed $80 million supersonic business jet (SSBJ), citing the previously selected Pratt & Whitney JT8D-219’s inability to meet upcoming Stage 5 noise requirements. “The timing is right in the development schedule to do this,” he said. “And a new engine will give us more growth options for follow-on models. We’ve always said we were planning a family of aircraft. We see this as a step forward that builds on everything we’ve done to date.” Tracy said that Aerion made this decision about a week ago and has begun initial discussions with engine manufacturers. “There’s really no off-the-shelf engine available for the Aerion SSBJ, so we’re looking at several existing cores and then will have one of them customized for our airplane,” he added. An engine swap also allows the company to reconsider the aircraft’s specifications, with the most likely changes being more range than the originally specified 4,000 nm and a wider cross section. However, a cruise speed higher than the planned Mach 1.6 isn’t likely, Tracy said. Meanwhile, Aerion vice chairman Brian Barents said selection of an OEM partner should happen within the next year. “It’s a six-year development schedule and we’re working toward a firm 2020 certification date,” he told AIN.
Chairman Oscar Schwenk unveiled Pilatus Aircraft’s long-awaited brand-new twinjet project, the PC-24.
Exactly what they asked for, he said, was an airplane with the capabilities of the PC-12, but faster and with a larger cabin. “The PC-24 is one-of-a-kind. It’s the only plane integrating the versatility of a turboprop with the cabin size of a medium-size jet and the performance of a light jet.”.
The PC-24 airframe is all-metal and is created to operate from unimproved and brief runways, as little as 2,690 feet (well balanced field length) at mtow. Intended for Part 23 certification, the PC-24 can be flown by one pilot. Two Williams International FJ44-4A engines assist the PC-24 climb to its optimum altitude FL450 in under 30 minutes and achieve a high-speed cruise of 425 ktas at FL300. Range with an 800-pound payload (four guests) at long-range cruise rate and NBAA 100-nm IFR reserves is 1,950 nm. Optimum launch weight is 17,650 pounds and maximum payload 2,500 pounds.
With seating for six to 8 travelers or up to 10 in commuter setup, the PC-24′s cabin volume is 501 cu ft, “much even more than larger plane that expense twice as much,” Schwenk said. The cabin has a flat floor.
Calling it a “very versatile jet,” Pilatus on May 21 presented its brand-new, $8.9 million PC-24 twinjet at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exposition in Geneva. The airplane, which is still in the prototype phase, is set to roll out of the Pilatus manufacturing plant in Stans, Switzerland, in the 3rd quarter of 2014. Certification is planned for very early 2017.
The PC-24 will be powered by 2 3,400-lbst Williams FJ44-4A engines, which ought to allow maximum cruise speeds of roughly 425 knots, Pilatus said. The aircraft’s optimal variety with four travelers is projected at 1,948 nautical miles, and Pilatus states that the PC-24 will be “the first business jet worldwide with the ability to utilize very brief runways, paved or unpaved, and with a payload door standard.”.
A choice of cabin layouts will be available, from six- to eight-seat executive floorplans to 10-seat commuter setups to emergency passenger-and-cargo and medical “combi” arrangements.
The PC-24 will have an avionics suite that obtains heavily from the Honeywell Primus Apex air travel deck used in Pilatus’ PC-12NG single-engine turboprop. Pilatus calls the PC-24 suite a sophisticated cockpit environment (ACE). This will include four 12-inch display screens, the Smartview synthetic vision system, and TCAS II ability, together with an inertial reference system, WAAS GPS navigators efficient in localizer efficiency with vertical support (LPV), and visual flight planning functionality.
Oscar Schwenk, chairman of Pilatus’ Board of Directors, said he had no question that the PC-24 will be simply as effective as the PC-12, which has racked up more than 1,200 sales. “It’s not a ‘me too product,” he stated.
Two Williams International FJ44-4A engines help the PC-24 climb to its maximum elevation FL450 in under 30 mins and achieve a high-speed cruise of 425 ktas at FL300. Calling it a “extremely versatile jet,” Pilatus on May 21 introduced its brand-new, $8.9 million PC-24 twinjet at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exposition in Geneva. The PC-24 will have an avionics suite that obtains greatly from the Honeywell Primus Apex flight deck made use of in Pilatus’ PC-12NG single-engine turboprop. Pilatus calls the PC-24 suite an advanced cockpit environment (ACE).
By Robert Wall
Demand for corporate jets spanning Gulfstream (GD)’s $14.5 million G150 to the $4 million Embraer SA (EMBR3) Phenom 100 is failing to track a rebound in stock markets as companies focus on preserving cash.
Concern about the strength of the economic recovery in the U.S., the European debt crisis and the potential for more political turmoil in the Middle East is also contributing to buyers sitting on the fence, companies including market leader Cessna said this week at the Ebace business-aviation expo.
Manufacturers that had been forced to slash output from a 2007 peak as the credit crunch and recession sent demand tumbling had since counted on gains in corporate earnings and share prices to spur orders. The increasing number of high net worth individuals and demand from China had also been expected to revive demand, a bet executives said has yet to pay off.
“The stock market is at record levels but a lot of that is through cost control,” Scott Ernest, CEO at Textron Inc. (TXT)’s Cessna, said in an interview at the show in Geneva. “The ability for people to take a decision to spend a significant amount of money on a business tool such as a jet is difficult.”
Gulfstream President Larry Flynn said order weakness is mainly afflicting the market for smaller jets, in particular its G150, where production slots remain available early next year.
‘Slow to Close’
“Companies have the money, they have the earnings, but they are slow to close airplane deals,” Flynn said, adding that while the situation won’t hurt the business this year, it may do so in 2014.
The flagship $65 million G650, which can cover 7,000 nautical miles and fly close to the speed of sound, remains sold out through mid-2017 and the G280, first delivered last year, is still benefiting from the uplift new models generally get, he said.
Cessna is seeing a similar trend, with new planes enjoying greater demand, Ernest said. The six-passenger Citation M2 is sold out for 2013 and about 10 production slots are available next year. The company is also wrapping up development of the Sovereign, seating 12 and due for delivery in the third quarter, and the Mach 0.935 Citation X, slated for this year.
“The wallets have not fully opened up,” said Ernest Edwards, president of Embraer’s business-jet unit. “There is still not quite the confidence to get a strong recovery in aircraft sales.”
Signs of a rebound exist, Edwards said, with sales of Embraer’s smallest plane, the $4 million, seven-passenger Phenom 100, and the larger Phenom 300s starting to pick up in the U.S.
Bombardier Aerospace took the wraps off the Challenger 350–an upgraded Challenger 300 with a new wing, more powerful engines, larger windows and redesigned interior–today at EBACE. NetJets was also announced as the launch customer for the new $25.8 million twinjet, which is $1 million more than its fraternal twin that Bombardier will continue to offer. First deliveries of the new Challenger are scheduled to begin in May 2014. Notably, the Challenger 350 has a new wing with canted winglets that make the wingspan nearly nine feet wider (at 69 feet) than its predecessor. The longer and stronger wing allows both for an increased mtow of 40,600 pounds and more fuel capacity. With the extra fuel, the Challenger 350 has an NBAA IFR range of 3,200 nm versus 3,065 nm on the 300. The Challenger 350’s two Honeywell HTF7350 engines produce 7,323 pounds of thrust each, which is about 500 pounds more thrust than the HTF7000s on the Challenger 300. It also features an entirely new interior that lets even more natural light into the cabin thanks to its 20-percent larger windows. At the front end, the Challenger 350 sports the Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 Advanced avionics system. Bombardier converted its original Challenger 300 prototype to the full Challenger 350 configuration and has been flying it with these upgrades since March.
The 13th annual European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) opens at the Palexpo center in Geneva next Tuesday. Intelligence gathering ahead of this year’s three-day show suggests that as many as four new jet models could be launched. Pilatus is set to unveil long-anticipated plans for its PC-24. Nextant Aerospace is expected to announce a further development to its remanufactured 400XT. Less certain clues to possible EBACE news include scuttlebutt of announcements from Gulfstream about developments in the G450/550 segment of its product range and from Bombardier regarding a possible upgrade for the Challenger 300. Embraer’s Legacy 500, which is a direct rival to the Challenger 300, will make its international debut in Geneva, as will Bombardier’s Learjet 75. Despite Europe’s struggling economy, EBACE is once again expected to draw approximately 13,000 visitors and almost 450 exhibitors. A big part of the show’s success has been the way it has diversified geographically to include participants from neighboring regions such as Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Count on AIN for full coverage of EBACE 2013. If you are in Geneva next week, be sure to pick up our special EBACE Convention News editions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The latest news from the show will also be available on AINonline, and AINtv will have video headline news. In addition, AINalerts will be published daily next Monday through Thursday to bring the top EBACE headlines to your inbox.
The first production unit of the new Citation M2 has reached the significant milestone of wing and fuselage matingMay 16th, 2013
The first production unit of the new Citation M2 has reached the significant milestone of wing and fuselage mating. Certification is expected in the second half of 2013.
“The M2 program is progressing well, and we are all looking forward to advancing to the certification process and starting customer deliveries,” said Dick Friesen, Cessna value stream manager for the Mustang and M2 in Independence, Kansas. “This is the moment when we can see an aircraft take shape, and we hope it is equally exciting for our customers who want to start flying their M2.”
Wing mating is a critical juncture in the production process as it allows the team to start the engine installation phase. Wing mating also prepares the aircraft for the beginning of functional testing of the aircraft systems including avionics, hydraulics and flight controls.
The M2 was developed with input from the already strong Mustang customer base, and the engineering present in this aircraft reflects customers’ desires – resulting in a larger and faster jet with a greater range. Equipped with Williams International engines and 1965lbs of thrust, the M2 has a maximum cruising speed of 400ktas. Requiring a mere 3,250 feet for take off and landing, the M2 allows access to some of the world’s premier destinations where many other business aircraft are unable to venture.
Unlike any other business jet, the M2 is fitted by Cessna’s proprietary Intrinzic™ Flight Deck powered by Garmin G3000 avionics. The ergonomically designed passenger cabin is fully equipped for seven passengers and boasts a 1,300nm (1496m) flight range. Upon completion the M2 is expected to be certified for a maximum altitude of 41,000 feet.
The M2 is one of six new Cessna products to hit the market in 2013. The M2 is joined by the new Citation X and the new Citation Sovereign – aircraft that recently celebrated a production rollout and first production rollout, respectively. On the single engine side, the high-powered Grand Caravan EX entered service in December of 2012, the TTx had its first production flight in March, and the Jet-A fueled Turbo Skylane JT-A is in production line flow.
Business aircraft activity in the U.S. fell for the third consecutive month, with flying hours down slightly–by 0.4 percent–year-over-year last month, according to TraqPak data released on Friday by aviation services company Argus. As has been the trend for much of this year, Part 135 was the only operational category to experience a gain in flying activity, increasing 10.5 percent from a year ago and marking its seventh consecutive monthly increase. Part 91 activity was down 3.2 percent
year-over-year, while fractional flying dropped by 10.6 percent, the Argus data shows. By aircraft category, the turboprop segment experienced the only decline last month, decreasing by 5.7 percent from a year ago. Large-cabin jet flying led the pack with a 4.9-percent year-over-year gain, with midsize and light jets recording increases of 2.5 percent and 1 percent, respectively. There were several bright spots in individual market segments, including double-digit gains in Part 135 jet flying, with light and midsize charter jet flying up by 12.1 percent and 20.4 percent from last year. Large-cabin charter jet flying also climbed by a healthy 9.3 percent. Fractional turboprop flying saw the largest drop, falling 22.6 percent year-over-year. Argus TraqPak data provides “serial-number-specific aircraft arrival and departure information on all IFR flights in the U.S.”
Signature Flight Support will not slow its approach despite an environmental lawsuit that seeks to stall work on the company’s $82 million private aviation facility at San Jose International Airport.
“For Signature, our development project remains ‘full-speed ahead’ with a projected groundbreaking in the fall,” SFS President Maria Sastre said in a statement on Friday. “We’re as committed and excited as ever to work closely with San Jose and its leadership, along with airport management, to ensure our $82 million investment in San Jose comes to fruition.”
On Thursday, competitor Atlantic Aviation filed suit against the city of San Jose under the state’s California Environmental Quality Act. The company says the city erred by approving the elite jet facility without performing required environmental impact reviews. City Attorney Rick Doyle told me late Thursday the lawsuit is without merit. (Read more about the suit and what Atlantic charges by clicking here.)
Say hello to the droneliner. A business plane has flown an 800-kilometre round trip in civilian airspace without the pilot onboard operating its controls.
Instead, the plane flew itself like an outsized drone with continual monitoring of its autonomous manoeuvres performed by a pilot based on the ground.
The flight from Warton in Lancashire, to Inverness in Scotland by a British Aerospace Jetstream is being hailed as a milestone by members of ASTRAEA, a £62 million UK research consortium aiming to develop the technology that will allow civilian aircraft to share their airspace with drones – some of which could be as big as airliners.
The flight happened back in April but the details have only just been revealed. It took off with a regular pilot and test engineers on board. But once the aircraft was straight and level, the pilot handed control to the ground pilot and sat back for the ride, only taking over again for the landing.
The aircraft – a 19-seat propeller-powered business plane – was not merely on autopilot. It tested the detect-and-avoid technology, which drones in civil airspace will need to have to ensure they keep their distance from other air traffic and automatically undertake collision-avoidance manoeuvres.
The algorithm that runs this technology has been thrashed out with air-safety experts at the UK Civil Aviation Authority who have ensured it sticks to the “rules of the air” understood by pilots worldwide.
To test the system, fake objects to avoid were introduced to the flight computer, says Lambert Dopping-Hepenstal at BAE Systems, programme director for ASTRAEA.
“Because we were in shared airspace, all the sense-and-avoid manoeuvres we tested used synthetic targets. Any changes to the flight route were communicated to the ground-based pilot by air traffic control, with the pilot then instructing the aircraft to amend its course accordingly,” he says.
Jim Scanlan, one of the designers of the world’s first 3D-printed unmanned aerial vehicle at the University of Southampton, UK, is impressed. “I think it’s great. It’s good to see such progress in the UK – especially with the US hoping to open up its airspace to UAVs in 2015.”
The main thing ASTRAEA needs to get right is that sensing and avoiding capability, says Scanlan. “That’s the showstopper at the moment. Without a pilot they need a sensing system to replace the Mark 1 eyeball – one that can tell a hot-air balloon from a cloud.”
National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Applications for Scholarships Benefiting Students Now OnlineMay 13th, 2013
NBAA offers a wide range of scholarships for current and aspiring business aviation professionals, and in the coming year will provide nearly $100,000 for cash awards for tomorrow’s industry leaders.
Applications for five of these scholarships are now available online, with awards available for college sophomores, juniors and seniors who are preparing for a career in business aviation. The scholarships with upcoming application deadlines are:
- Alan H. Conklin Business Aviation Management Scholarship – due July 31, 2013
- William M. Fanning Maintenance Scholarship – due July 31, 2013
- Lawrence Ginocchio Aviation Scholarship – due July 31, 2013
- NORDAM Dee Howard/Etienne Fage Scholarship – due July 31, 2013
- UAA Janice K. Barden Aviation Scholarship– due Nov. 1, 2013
NBAA scholarship recipients often move on to more successful careers in business aviation. Since the scholarship program was launched during NBAA’s 1992 Convention, the Association has awarded several million dollars in monetary and training scholarships, said Jay Evans, NBAA director of professional development.
“It’s all part of a commitment by NBAA and its membership to attract more young people to work in business aviation and to help professionals already working in the industry grow and advance in their careers,” said Evans. “It’s a very big program right now, and a lot of people have benefited.”
While eligibility qualifications vary depending on the scholarship, all require that applicants supply at least one letter of recommendation and a written essay or statement explaining why he or she is seeking a scholarship.
Given the ever-changing needs of the industry, NBAA welcomes new scholarship sponsors. All the money donated in support of scholarships is tax-deductible. NBAA also is interested in setting up an educational endowment.
Over the years, NBAA and several of its Members have established scholarships to honor notable individuals in business aviation.
For example, NBAA and Conklin & de Decker established the Alan H. Conklin Business Aviation Management Scholarship to benefit undergraduates pursuing careers in business aviation management at NBAA- and UAA-affiliated institutions. The scholarship was created to honor the memory of Al Conklin, U.S. Air Force veteran, co-founder of Conklin & de Decker and a business aviation leader for more than 60 years.
The Lawrence Ginocchio Aviation Scholarship was created in 2001 by NBAA and the family and friends of the late Lawrence Ginocchio to honor his outstanding personal contribution to the business aviation community. The scholarship benefits undergraduate students officially enrolled at NBAA/UAA-member institutions. Notably, applicants should not only possess a passion for aviation, as Larry Ginocchio did, but also have utilized their interest or involvement in business aviation to enhance the lives of others.
In addition to monetary scholarships, NBAA also offers nearly $300,000 a year in training awards for industry working professionals, including pilots, maintenance personnel, schedulers, dispatchers, flight attendants and flight technicians. Training scholarships generally come in the form of a donated training event sponsored by various companies, and they typically are administered by an NBAA standing committee. “JetOptions is a member of NBAA and we support the scholarship programs that NBAA offers” said Gus Lira, JetOptions Private Jets Vice President.
Scholarships for working professionals include:
- Schedulers & Dispatchers Scholarship
- Donald A. Baldwin Sr. Business Aviation Management Scholarship
- Leadership Conference Scholarship
- International Operators Scholarship
- Maintenance TRACS
- Flight Attendants/Flight Technicians Scholarship
Scholarship application deadlines vary, and new applications are posted on a rolling basis throughout the year. For the latest application deadlines and an overview of each scholarship, visit www.nbaa.org/scholarships.