Industry

Hawker Beechcraft rolled out the 2000th Beechcraft King Air C90 at its ICT final assembly facility in early November. The King Air C90 series is defined by all aircraft with LJ serial numbers, including the 90, A90, B90 and all C90 models. The 2000th aircraft, a King Air C90GTx, is slated for delivery later this year. The King Air 90 entered service more than 45 years ago and represents a significant portion of the entire King Air production, now totaling more than 6500 aircraft. The C90GTx includes an increase in gross weight and the addition of composite winglets.

Sikorsky Aircraft and Eclipse Aerospace have inked a deal for the helicopter manufacturer to take a minority investment in Eclipse "in principle." The agreement is presumably designed to help Eclipse support its fleet of 260 Eclipse 500 jets currently in service. "This agreement affords us an opportunity to invest in a great product and to further leverage our strong aftermarket and product support capabilities for fixed-wing applications," says Sikorsky VP of Strategy and Synergy Mark Cherry.

Universal Avionics and Greenwich AeroGroup's Western Aircraft have partnered to develop an enhanced flightdeck for the Dassault Falcon 900B. The upgrade includes high-resolution Universal EFI890R LED backlit LCD displays, including an engine indication unit which replaces analog engine instruments. The Universal UNS1Fw FMS will provide Wide Area Augmentation System/Localizer Performance with Vertical Guidance (WAAS/SBAS/LPV) capabilities at initial certification. Additional options include Vision-1 synthetic vision, single or dual side charts, graphical weather and capability for video checklists. Combined with Universal Avionics 800-series UniLink system (communications management unit), the FMS could assist operators in complying with upcoming datalink mandates such as FANS or Link 2000. STC certification is expected in mid-2011.

FAA has certified Rockwell Collins' en­hanced vision system (EVS) on a US Air National Guard Boeing C40C (BBJ). The Rockwell Collins EVS is available to current and future Boeing BBJ operators as a post-production modification. Installation of the EVS on BBJs requires an upgrade to the HGS 4000, a modified radome and an in­frared camera.

Avfuel has launched Avplan, a flight and trip planning subsidiary. Earlier this year Avfuel acquired Pacific Coast Forecasting to help pilots with trip planning and ground handling arrangements. Avplan Trip Support provides domestic and international flight briefing, weather analysis and support for flight departments, together with fuel prices at more than 2000 locations worldwide.

NASM opens Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight Gallery

On Nov 19, Washington DC's Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum opened its Barron Hilton Pioneers of Flight Gallery to the public. "Pioneers of Flight" replaces the original Pioneers Gallery, which opened in 1976. Exhibits include aircraft, artifacts and documents from the 1920s and 1930s. The gallery is divided into sections that highlight military and civil aviation, African American contributions to aviation, and rocket pioneers. It also features an educational center and special displays for children. Renovation of the gallery was made possible with the aid of a $10-million grant from the Conrad N Hilton Foundation. (Inset) Former Tuskegee Airman Ivan Ware (L) with NASM Dir Gen Jack Dailey at the media preview on Nov 16.


Maintenance

JetTech Aerospace has acquired Cascade Aerospace's completion division—a Boeing-designated BBJ completion and refurbishment center at GEG (Spokane WA). The company will now operate as JetTech Aerospace with Bret Burnside remaining as president. JetTech's 52,000 sq ft facility at GEG includes hangars, shops, 6 acres of ramp space and aircraft storage. JetTech is colocated with Associated Painters' new 41,000 sq ft aircraft paint facility. JetTech was awarded the contract for completion, including interior and exterior design, engineering, certification, fabrication and installation for First Virtual Air's new "green" BBJ.

Hawker Beechcraft has appointed West Star Aviation at GJT (Grand Junction CO) as an authorized service center to support the King Air, Baron and Bonanza. West Star also offers airframe and powerplant maintenance, major modifications, avionics installation and service, interior refurbishment and paint services. West Star South, a mobile maintenance team based at DAL, employs technicians who can perform light maintenance, inspections and engine changes on site.

Vector Aerospace has launched a new MRO at HLA (Lanseria, Johan­nes­­burg, South Africa). The facility will offer service and support for fixed and rotary-wing operators with PT6A, JT15D and PW100-series engines. Services include field service repairs, fuel nozzle maintenance, borescope inspections and limited repairs, as well as hot section inspections for PT6A and JT15D-series powerplants.

Legacy 600 to return to service after major repair by Constant Aviation CLE

Constant Aviation CLE has recovered and is currently repairing the Embraer Legacy 600 involved in the midair accident with a Gol Airlines Boeing 737-800 over Brazil in Sep 2006. The aircraft had been confined to Cachimbo—a remote military base in the jungle—since the accident. After years of legal maneuvering by the insurance carrier on behalf of the aircraft's owner, ExcelAire, the Legacy was finally released to Constant for recovery and repair.

The MRO's mobile aircraft recovery team flew to Brazil to assess the damage to the aircraft and perform maintenance, which consisted of wing repairs, avionics replacements, elevator repair and replacement, and extensive systems testing. A 10-member team of maintenance and avionics technicians, engineers and crew members spent 3 weeks at the military base getting the Legacy airworthy.

"The repairs were not that difficult," says Constant CEO Stephen Maiden. "It was the logistics that were a nightmare—getting our maintenance team work visas to travel to a remote part of Brazil and getting all the equipment there. We were pleasantly surprised by the condition of the aircraft, considering that it had been sitting there for 4 years. Fortunately, the engines had been run periodically."
Maiden said that the Legacy has been sold to a new owner and will be in the Constant shop for about 3 months undergoing a complete renovation "down to the skin."



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