Embraer programs update

Third Phenom 300 certification test article on the assembly line at at GPX (Gaviao Peixoto SP, Brazil).

Embraer will soon deliver the first of 4 new aircraft it currently has in development. The company says certification of its Phenom 100 is scheduled within the next 2 months, and current plans call for delivery of as many as 10 aircraft before year end. Phenom 100 production is well under way at the company's facilities at QCJ (Botucatu SP, Brazil) and GPX (Gaviao Peixoto SP, Brazil), which will be the final assembly and completion location, at least initially.

Phenom 300 flight test article number 3 is now operational.

Embraer Marketing Intelligence VP for Executive Jets, Claudio Galdo Camelier, says combined Phenom 100 and 300 production for 2009 will be between 120 and 150. Most of these will be 100s, since the Phenom 300 is scheduled for certification in the 2nd half of 2009 with initial production rates expected to reach similar levels as those of the 100. Embraer reports taking more than 800 firm orders for the Phenom 100 and 300 from customers in more than 40 countries.

Embraer Exec VP Executive Jets Luis Carlos Affonso (L) and Marketing Intelligence VP Claudio Galdo Camelier discuss the company's progress with new business jet programs.

The company says it will have the capacity to build up to 17 Phenom 100s and 5 300s per month in Brazil. First production Phenom 100 fuselages are now on the assembly line at GPX. In addition, Embraer is building a delivery center at MLB (Melbourne FL) to serve customers in North America.

Phenoms destined for this market will be assembled and painted at MLB. To ensure the certification program is complete when production gets under way, Embraer is currently flying 4 Phenom 100 prototypes. The program has accumulated more than 1100 flight hours out of the projected 1300 for certification.

Phenom 100 production line at QCJ (Botucatu SP, Brazil).

In addition, static testing of the wing structure is now complete. Flight test on the Phenom 300 is also proceeding well, with 2 prototype aircraft now flying and a third in final assembly. Phenom 100 won't be the only Embraer bizjet to debut this year. The company also expects to deliver its first Lineage 1000. -Mike Potts

Industry

EASA has cleared pilots operating Gulfstream enhanced vision system (EVS)-equipped aircraft to fly approaches to within 100 ft of the runway. Using EVS, pilots are no longer bound to current approach standards requiring visual cues such as runway lighting. Pilots operating from the US to Europe are cleared to fly the shortened approaches. Operators of European-based Gulfstream EVS-equipped aircraft must get clearance from their base country.

In light of Grob Aerospace filing for insolvency in German courts, Bombardier has terminated its agreement to work with the Swiss-based company. The 2 companies were to develop Learjet 85 primary and secondary structures under the agreement. In a release Bombardier Pres of Business Aircraft Steve Ridolfi said, "Given the uncertainty surrounding Grob's insolvency, Learjet has decided to terminate its agreement with Grob Aerospace." The Canadian manufacturer announced its decision to take complete control of Learjet 85 development on Sep 17, 2008. Grob says it supports Bombardier's decision but still maintains it is an "interim insolvency of Grob Aerospace GmbH in Germany." The company tells Professional Pilot that the Swiss court did approach Grob regarding possible insolvency of its Swiss-based headquarters, but "they have postponed any possible further actions since we could assure them that we will be able to overcome this situation shortly."

Eclipse Aviation has restructured in what it calls an operational excellence program. The company has split its operations into manufacturing and customer divisions. Peg Billson is now manager of the manufacturing division and Mike McConnell is manager of the customer division. Billson was formerly the company's COO and McConnell was its CFO. Both divisions will be supported by Eclipse's existing corporate infrastructure, with Roel Pieper as CEO. Meanwhile, FAA is under congressional investigation for several accounts of complacency regarding safety issues, including certification of the Eclipse 500. Concerns raised by FAA officials during the type certification (TC) process, as well as problems experienced by Eclipse 500 operators, drew the Congressional Transportation Committee's Aviation Subcommittee to the safety issues. The Administration has heard testimony from FAA and NTSB officials and from Eclipse regarding actions taken during the TC process. An FAA special certification review of the Eclipse 500 was conducted in August to ensure the OEM had complied with FAA TC, which Eclipse officials insist the company did. Four incidents involving Eclipse 500s were also under review as part of the congressional investigation.

Zurich, Switzerland-based Execujet will expand its completion portfolio by the end of this year by adding large corporate jets. The company intends to meet what it sees as growing demand for Airbus ACJ and Boeing BBJs. Execujet will open a new showroom to demonstrate its abilities in both aircraft completion and updating preowned aircraft.

Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) has contracted Aeros Aeronautical to develop a technology demonstrator for a buoyancy assisted life air vehicle (BALAV) rigid air structure. The aircraft will demonstrate an aerostructure-a rigid airship of sorts-capable of offloading payload without being tied down or taking on ballast. This technology will also be used in the company's ML866 Aeroscraft, which, aside from being marketed as a military cargo transport, is being marketed for the tourism and business aviation industries. Aeros also recently completed testing of the buoyancy flight management system which stores and compresses helium to adjust buoyancy.

Regulations

TSA has released 6 security action items (SAIs) for FBOs. These recommendations of conduct are SAIs from the original Security Guidelines for General Aviation Airports (Mar 2004) revised for FBOs to improve security at airports in populated areas. The SAIs includes general airport security measures, suggestions on designating and training an FBO security coordinator and ramp security.

IATA, Eurocontrol and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO) will work together to improve European air traffic management. The 3 groups plan to see a reduction in fuel spent of almost 520,000 tons, saving European aircraft operators about $550 million. This will be achieved by reorganizing air routes throughout the continent.

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