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 matingThursday, May 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.)
Bombardier Aerospace announced today that just one year after launching the Learjet 70 and Learjet 75 aircraft, it is returning to this year’s edition of EBACE with the first production Learjet 75 jet. Alongside the debutante will be three additional class-leading jets. The Challenger 300, Challenger 605 and Global 6000 aircraft will all be on display from May 21 – May 23, 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland at the 13th European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition.
“This year’s edition of EBACE will once again highlight Bombardier’s leadership in the industry,” said Steve Ridolfi, President, Bombardier Business Aircraft. “The debut of the Learjet 75 aircraft marks another exciting year of innovation and we look forward to delivering the first aircraft in the fourth quarter of this year.”
Growing Support Network to Put Customers First
Bombardier Customer Services team members will be on hand to highlight the continuing growth of its comprehensive support network. Within the past year, the team has converted its Frankfurt parts depot to a full-service hub to accommodate a wider range of parts transactions, opened a business aircraft-focused Regional Support Office in Farnborough, U.K. and continued to drive greater volume and capabilities at its wholly owned Service Centre in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Bombardier Aircraft on Static Display at EBACE 2013
Learjet 75 aircraft: The Learjet 75 jet features the pioneering Bombardier Vision Flight Deck with an interior influenced from its bigger stablemate, the Learjet 85 aircraft. This jet will soar above the traffic with a maximum altitude of 51,000 ft (15,545 m) and is capable of flying more than 2,000nm (3,704km)* between Geneva and Cairo non-stop*.
Challenger 300 aircraft: The dependable Challenger 300 jet offers true transcontinental range and superior long-range cruise speed, with eight-to-10 passengers. Its 3,065nm (5,646km) range connects Geneva with Dubai non-stop and NBAA IFR reserves. Its superior airfield performance allows it to operate out of 5,000 ft (1,524 m) runways with ease*. The Challenger 300 jet offers the best performance and value in its class, combined with a dispatch reliability that has consistently been above 99.7 per cent, it has exceeded customer expectations since its entry-into-service in 2004. Challenger 605 aircraft: The revered Challenger 605 jet builds upon the legacy of productivity, quality and reliability of its predecessor, the peerless Challenger 604 jet. Leading its market share segment throughout the world, the Challenger 605 aircraft features one of the widest stand-up cabins of any large category business jet available today and can soar six passengers 4,000 nm (7,408 km) from Geneva to Montreal*.
Global 6000 aircraft: The Global 6000 jet’s large cabin size and levels of comfort, combined with an optional stand-up shower and the Bombardier Vision Flight Deck, offers a perfect blend of high-speed range capability and traveller comfort. Offering the ultimate in technology, this intrepid jet can link Geneva with Tokyo and Geneva with São Paulo, non-stop, with eight passengers and three to four crew aboard*.
Honda Aircraft has extended by another year its target for obtaining certification for the HondaJet, to the end of next year, according to a company spokesman. “The engine is pacing the program right now,” he said, and the jet’s GE Honda Aero HF120 engine is now scheduled to receive certification in the fourth quarter. No further details were available at press time, but Honda Aircraft plans to provide more information at an EBACE press conference on May 20. The most recent schedule for the HondaJet had certification scheduled for this year, but that depended on engine certification, which was delayed by failure of an ice slab test in February 2011. The engine passed the test in August 2011, after a fan redesign that added thickness to the blade tips. At last year’s NBAA Convention, GE Honda Aero Engines said that it expected all certification testing to be done by the end of 2012, followed by submission of certification documents to the FAA early this year. Honda Aircraft announced that it had begun production of HondaJets last October and that a handful of jets were to be completed this year.