Viking's DHC6 Twin Otter 400 turboprop amphibian completed its maiden flight on Oct 1 at YYJ (Victoria BC, Canada).Viking flew the plane 6 days after its 1st power-on.

Tata Group of India has purchased 1/3 of Piaggio shares. The Indian company will help Piaggio further develop its business plans. At the NBAA convention in Orlando FL, Piaggio CEO Jose Di Mase said this cooperation will help the company explore "new products, new markets, develop better technology and industry capability." This partnership will also help Piaggio expand its service network into India as the country hopes to open nearly 500 airports by 2020.

Piaggio has announced a new factory in Finale Ligure, approximately 40 miles west of its existing factory. This new facility will be in the home of Piaggio's original factory, which is over 100 years old. Alberto Glassi says, "What we are doing is building a new one. We have received all the permits. We will start building this factory and it should be completed in 2010. That will greatly improve our activity and capacity to build aircraft parts."

Dassault and Jeppesen have formalized an agreement to begin providing performance software and data on electronic flight bags (EFBs) for Dassault's Falcon family by the end of 2008. Dassault will provide all performance data for its aircraft, while Jeppesen will contribute and update airport information and diagrams. (Photo L-R) Dassault Senior VP of Purchasing Jean-Paul Pellissier presents a Falcon 900EX model to Jeppesen Senior VP and General Mgr Gregory Bowlin at the NBAA Convention on Oct 7.

King Schools is offering its Icing Operations Pilot Certification course online. After completing the course, pilots can download a cockpit card. This saves pilots the cost and down time spent traveling and having to stay at hotels to complete the course.

Gulfstream has launched a new option for its large-cabin customers-PlaneBook for the Cabin electronic document manager. This system uses a tablet PC to give cabin attendants access to manuals, troubleshooting advice and checklists. All software in the package is customized to the individual aircraft.

Piaggio has signed Taj Air as its distributor for India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Mauritius. The signing, which happened at the Indian Aviation convention, also makes Taj Air the Piaggio service center for the region.

Maintenance

Berwind, a private investment management company, has selected Rolls-Royce CorporateCare for its BR725-powered Gulfstream G650. The new jet is scheduled to enter service with Berwind in late 2012. (L-R) Rolls-Royce Dir Sales CorporateCare Peter Ballard, Berwind Dir Aviation Kevin Boardman, RR Exec VP Customer Business Scott Shannon and VP Aftermarket Business Steve Friedrich at the Rolls-Royce booth at the NBAA convention on Oct 6.

Hawker Beechcraft has broken ground on a 66,500 sq ft expansion of its IND (Intl, Indianapolis IN) maintenance and service facility. Opening of the new facilities is planned for 2Q09 with 24-hr service starting in the following months. The new hangar, terminal, shops and offices will cost the company about $14 million.

Cessna has selected Kinch Aviation and Taneja Aerospace & Aviation to provide service to Citations in the UK and India, respectively. Kinch will provide maintenance service for the 105 Citations based in the UK. In India, Taneja's operations will be based at PNY (Hosur, India) near Bangalore City. The company is also responsible for the manufacturing of general aviation aircraft, structures and parts. Both companies also serve as Cessna sales representatives.

Piaggio has signed Elliott and Landmark Aviation to provide aftermarket support to its US-based customers. Elliott's MLI (Moline IL) facility will serve as Piaggio's service center for the US Midwest, while Landmark in SDL (Scottsdale AZ) will serve the Southwest.

Avionics

Satcom Direct and Honeywell have signed a joint venture to offer complete cabin connectivity flight support and cabin communications services in a single package. (Above L-R) Satcom Direct Founder Jim Jensen and Honeywell VP Business and GA Aftermarket John Bolton with certificate of partnership.

Kollsman says it will supply its EVS II for the Embraer Lineage 1000 and Gulfstream G250 and G650. The company has also received EASA certification for the system. EVS II allows aircraft to complete approaches with no visibility to within 100 ft of the runway.

BAE announced its new Quantum-HUD (Q-HUD) technology at the recent NBAA convention. With Q-HUD, EVS images are injected directly into the side of the combiner as holograms, rather than projected onto the HUD screen. Q-HUD will be 50% lighter and smaller than a traditional HUD and will provide a 15-fold increase in the size of the pilot "head motion box."

Universal Weather has launched a new version of its Aviation Weather Today service. The online weather broadcast will now be updated more frequently, and users will be able to view only the chapters of the broadcast they need.

Intl Communications Group (ICG) has announced it will be offering e-mail service for WiFi-enabled BlackBerry, iPhones and PDAs. The service, NxtMail, uses the Iridium satellite constellation to provide full Internet access. The concept behind using Iridium is that there will be no interruption in service. With land-based radio towers and satellites in geosynchronous orbit, users can go out of range of the service. Since Iridium covers pole-to-pole, users can go anywhere and get full reception.

ACSS, a division of L3, marked the production of its 10,000th TCAS unit and presented it to Dassault at the NBAA convention on Oct 7. One third of the ACSS TCAS units sold are installed on business aircraft. (Above L-R) L3 Aviation Products Group Pres Kris Ganase and Dassault Senior VP of Purchasing Jean-Paul Pellissier.

New Zealand-based Spidertracks has been added to Cessna's distribution network. Spidertracks offers a GPS and Iridium tracking service for vehicles. Product launch was in Mar 2007, and the company now has customers in 28 countries. Subscription to the service costs $20 per month and each downloaded message is 10ยข.

Hawker Beechcraft Services and DAC Intl have received an STC for the Gen-X Class III electronic flight bag (EFB) for use on the majority of the King Air product line. The STC allows for single or dual hard-mounted EFBs for a paperless cockpit.

Sandel Avionics has announced an upgrade to its SN4500 primary navigation display. The upgrade brings WAAS approach type annunciations to the SN4500. It features LPV, LP, LVNAV, and LNAV capabilities.

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