Cessna's first production Citation CJ4 completed its first flight on Aug 19. Serial number 525C0001 is one of 3 CJ4s Cessna will be flying as test aircraft. The other 2 are the first prototype that first flew May 5, and aircraft number 0002, which is currently under construction. With these 3 aircraft, Cessna hopes to gain FAA and EASA certification by the end of 2009. The manufacturer plans to deliver the first of its 150-strong order book in the first half of 2010. Meanwhile, the prototype CJ4 has logged 90 hours on 59 flights since its May 5 flight. Power for the CJ4 comes from 2 FADEC equipped Williams Intl FJ44-4As. Rockwell Collins is supplying the Pro Line 21 avionics suite and Venue cabin entertainment and management system.

WSI extends Pilotbrief Online

WSI Pilotbrief Online interactive map showing route of flight in relation to terrain and convective weather.

WSI has added yet another feature to its Pilotbrief Online flight planning product. "Interactive Map," now part of pilotbrief.com, brings the interactive environment to a single map, giving pilots instant results and eliminating the need to switch between multiple weather product images.

Pilots with WSI's Pro-level subscriptions now have the choice of reviewing aviation-quality weather data using the "classic" interface or layering weather products on a user-definable map relative to their route on Interactive Map, which displays a pole-to-pole, high-res digital elevation model with weather, hazard and route overlays.

On a single, user-defined map, pilots can now overlay their routes and see radar (NOWrad), TFRs, Airmets, Sigmets and convective Sigmets, graphical Metars and satellite imagery, with as much detail as they need.

All the services listed above-plus freezing levels and precip, severe weather and thunderstorms, surface weather and forecasts, winds (observed surface, upper-air forecasts, and winds aloft from 5000 ft to FL 450), jet stream forecasts, significant high-level weather forecasts, and even active cyclones and volcanic ash charts-are available with a mouse click.

The map also features intuitive graphical briefing modes that walk the user though the process of choosing a route and obtaining a weather briefing. --Tim Kern

Industry

Delays in Grob's SPn twin-engine jet program have led the Swiss-based company to file for insolvency in Germany. CEO Niall Olver says, "Under the circumstances, our current loan provider has elected to discontinue its support." While Grob headquarters are in Switzerland, all aircraft development, manufacturing and testing are carried out at the company's wholly owned and operated airport at Tussenhausen-Mattsies, Germany. According to Public Relations Mgr Juliane von Heimendahl, Grob has been forced to file for insolvency in Germany because the company spends more money at its German facility, but there is a strong possibility that Grob will have to file similarly in Switzerland. Work is still being carried out at Tussenhausen-Mattsies, although at a slower pace to conserve money and materials. Grob flew the 4th prototype SPn on Aug 7.


Eclipse's Raburn steps down, company lays off staff

Eclipse Aviation Founder & CEO Vern Raburn (L) with his successor Roel Pieper and the Eclipse 400 after a press conference during EAA AirVenture 2008.

Eclipse Aviation CEO Vern Raburn has resigned following a financial agreement with the company's board of directors and majority shareholder European Technology and Investment Research Center (ETIRC). Under the agreement, intended to recover the company from its current financial situation, Roel Pieper will succeed Raburn as CEO.

Pieper has more than 20 years' experience managing international high-tech companies and is the founder and current chairman of ETIRC. Separately, Eclipse has announced that it will lay off approximately 650 workers, including temporary and new employees. Under its Operational Excellence Program, Eclipse is also scaling back Eclipse 500 production to achieve financial stability. The company says it plans to retain 11,000 employees and return to previous production levels next year.


Embraer showed the Phenom 300 in public for the 1st time in the static display at this year's LABACE, which was held at CGH (Congonhas, Sao Paulo SP, Brazil). (L-R) Embraer VP Marketing and Sales Latin America, Executive Jets, Breno Correa, Exec VP Executive Jets Luis Carlos Affonso, and Algar Aviation Exec Pres Rogerio Montalvao Elian. Meanwhile, the 2nd Phenom 300 has flown. A total of 4 test aircraft will take part in the certification program.

Boeing has finished work on the 1st BBJ3, which is based on the Boeing 737-900ER. DeCrane Aircraft at GED (Georgetown DE) is now installing a long-range auxiliary fuel system and head-up display in the aircraft, which is for an undisclosed customer. Following this work, which is expected to take 2 months, the BBJ3 will go to a completion center of the customer's choice before delivery in 2009.

SRA Intl has bought Era, which specializes in development and manufacture of surveillance systems. Since SRA already works with FAA on IT equipment, the acquisition will help extend that relationship, according to SRA VP of Communications Sheila Blackwell. SRA will retain Era's current management team and employees. Era has been instrumental in developing automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B).

APPH has broken ground on a new 62,000 sq ft facility at its Houston TX location. When complete, all of the company's Houston operations will be in one building. APPH, which builds hydraulic systems and landing gears, added a second building 5 years ago. London Air Services (LAS) has ordered 5 Bombardier Learjet 85s, valued at $86 million. This is the first Canadian order for the midsize jet. LAS was the Canadian launch customer for both the Challenger 605 and Learjet 45XR.

Maintenance

Bombardier has selected Global Aviation as an authorized AOG/line maintenance provider for its aircraft in the Pacific Northwest. Global Aviation is based at HIO (Hillsboro, Portland OR).

BBA Aviation is acquiring fuel and line operations previously operated by Hawker Beechcraft Corp (HBC). HBC's sale of the operations is meant to allow Hawker Beechcraft Services to concentrate on maintenance, repair, avionics and modifications.BBA gained sites in Van Nuys CA, Tampa FL, Atlanta GA, Indianapolis, IN, Houston and San Antonio TX.

StandardAero is planning an 80,000 sq ft expansion of its turbine engine overhaul facility at YWG (Intl, Winnipeg MB, Canada). The cost of expansion is being met with assistance from the Manitoba Industrial Opportunities Program, which has given StandardAero a $20-million loan.

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