Industry

First production Citation CJ4 rolled off the assembly line at Cessna’s ICT (Mid-Continent, Wichita KS) facilities on Nov 17. Standard equipment list includes a 4-screen Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite with electronic charts and graphical weather, TCAS II, EGPWS, Class A TAWS, dual Mode S Diversity transponders with ADS-B-out capability, and Multiscan weather radar. Power for the CJ4 is provided by 2 Williams Intl FJ44-4A turbofans with FADEC. To date, 3 CJ4 test aircraft have flown more than 1000 flights and accumulated over 1600 flight hours. First customer delivery is expected in 3Q2010.

Hawker Beechcraft Corp (HBC) delivered 4 King Air C90GTi turboprops to FAA in December. (L–R) FAA Flight Standards Service (FSS) Flight Program Mgr Euel Henry, FSS Deputy Dir John McGraw, HBC Chairman & CEO Bill Boisture and FSS Dir John Allen at the Dec 15 delivery ceremony at BEC (Beech Field, Wichita KS). FAA has operated King Airs for many years and will use the new aircraft to further support its flight standards flight program.

Embraer’s Phenom 300 light jet received FAA certification on Dec 14. This action follows on the heels of that of Brazil’s Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil on Dec 3. Customer deliveries are expected to commence in early Jan 2010. Last fall Embraer announced improved performance figures for the Phenom 300. Range has been extended to 1971 nm (with 6 occupants and NBAA IFR reserves), while takeoff field length at MTOW is now 3138 ft and landing distance at MLW is now 2621 ft. Meanwhile, fuel consumption of the Phenom 300’s P&WC PW535E engines is reported to be 6% better than first estimated.

Hawker Beechcraft has earned type certification for the Hawker 4000 from the Civil Aviation Administration of China. Deliveries to China are slated to begin during 1Q2010.

 

Charter/management

Metropolitan Aviation has launched a new enhanced website, metropolitanjets.com, which allows customers to request a charter quote directly from the site. It includes an online quoting tool, details on available charter aircraft, including onboard amenities and interior/exterior photos, and information on the company’s other services such as aircraft acquisition, sales, management, maintenance and hangar service. Metropolitan has also expanded its charter aircraft fleet with an additional Dassault Falcon 50, Hawker 400XP and Piper Cheyenne II, with plans to add a managed GIII. Metropolitan is headquartered at HEF (Manassas VA) with additional facilities at MMU (Morristown NJ).

Maintenance

West Star Aviation has opened an FAA Part 145 maintenance facility at CAE (Columbia SC). West Star will offer service on the Citation 500/525/ 550/ 560 and 650 series, Learjet 30 series, 40/45/55 and 60 series, Hawker 700 and 800 series, Falcon 10/100, and Falcon 20-5. Bill Holecek is the new service manager at the CAE repair station and plans to build a maintenance technician team to service aircraft operators based in the southeast US. Once fully developed, the new facility is expected to create more than 100 new jobs.

West Star offers airframe repair and maintenance, engine maintenance, major modifications, avionics installation and repair, interior refurbishment, paint, parts, surplus avionics sales and accessory services. In addition to its full-service FBOs at ALN (Alton IL) and GJT (Grand Junction CO) and a facility in Dallas TX, West Star has a Hiawatha IA location which specializes in the acquisition and sales of surplus avionics. It also offers maintenance at ASE (Aspen CO).

Avionics

ARINC has completed the first integration and testing of eXchange with Service by SKYLink on a Boeing BBJ. The installation combines Rockwell Collins’ eXchange satellite broadband avionics with ARINC’s SKYLink Ku-band satellite service and adds several inflight communications features. The system supports the Apple iPhone and UMA voice calling, access to e-mail and corporate intranet, the Internet, voice over IP (VoIP) global telephone service and videoconferencing. It operates on both SKYLink’s Ku-band satellite service and Inmarsat Swift­Broadband service for global coverage. ARINC Direct has expanded its SKY­Link network, which now includes substantial coverage of Europe, North and Central America, the Caribbean, parts of South America and the North Atlantic and Pacific flight tracks.

Bombardier has received FAA certification for the manufacturer’s enhanced vision system (BEVS) and head-up display (HUD) for the Challenger 605. BEVS permits greater situational awareness and the ability to observe runway lights and the runway environment in low visibility and darkness. A SureSight CMA-2600i infrared camera is located on the upper portion of the aircraft nose, which places the BEVS directly in line with the pilot’s visual reference point. Images of the approach, runway lighting and terrain scenery are displayed on the pilot’s HUD and on first officer’s MFD. The system provides pilots with the same flight-guidance symbology whether the EVS image is displayed or not. BEVS was developed by Rockwell Collins, the HUD and EVS integrator, and Esterline CMC Electronics, the supplier of the infrared camera.

Manifest

Long-time Midcoast Aviation executive Gary Driggers retired from the company at the end of 2009. Driggers started his career in aviation as a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War. He was a client of the St Louis-based MRO and completions center for many years before joining the company in 1988. Driggers also served as NATA chairman. His tenure with Midcoast involved various senior management positions, during which time the company grew from 100 to 1500 employees.

Last flight

Ed Stimpson, widely credited with revitalizing the GA industry by guiding the passage of the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994, died at his home in Boise ID on Nov 25. He was 75. Stimpson devoted his 40-year career to representing the interests of general aviation, serving as head of GAMA for 25 years, as US Ambassador to ICAO under Presidents Clinton and Bush, as president of Be A Pilot, and as chairman of the Flight Safety Foundation. But it is the General Aviation Revitalization Act for which he will be best remembered. The bill, designed to curb the frivolous product liability litigation that had plagued the GA industry for years, led to the resumption of small piston-engine aircraft manufacturing. Stimpson was the driving force behind the bill. Among numerous industry honors and accolades, Stimpson was awarded the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy and the NBAA Meritorious Service to Aviation Award, and more recently the Flight Safety Foundation/Boeing Aviation Safety Lifetime Achievement Award. Stimpson served on the Board of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for 24 years.

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