Gulfstream has received a provisional type certificate for its ultralarge-cabin, ultralong-range G650. This allows the company to begin interior completions in preparation for on-time deliveries commencing in 2Q2012. The 4 G650 test aircraft have over 2225 hrs in more than 675 flights. Seven production aircraft have flown in preparation for final phase manufacturing, and more than 20 are in various stages of production.

With nearly 200 corporate aircraft sold, Airbus has created a dedicated unit to service this growing sector. Airbus Corporate Jets will combine commercial, program and support activities and will link directly to its Airbus Corporate Jet Centre cabin-outfitting subsidiary. "We recognize that [our corporate jet customers and operators] have different needs, and our more integrated Airbus Corporate Jets division will help us to address these even better and more responsively," says Airbus Corporate Jets Pres Habib Fekih. In mid-November, the company sold its first ACJ321, the corporate edition of its A321 airliner, to Zürich, Switzerland-based Comlux.

Medrar Financial Group of Dubai, UAE, has bought a majority stake in Diamond Aircraft for an undisclosed sum. Diamond Pres Peter Maurer says the infusion of cash will allow the company to complete development of the D-JET VLJ. Diamond Aircraft had severe financial problems when Thielert, which had been supplying them with diesel aircraft engines, declared bankruptcy in 2008. Diamond eventually developed its own engine, the Austro, and continues to refit its prop-driven aircraft with it.

Piaggio Aero has delivered the first of 6 P180 Avanti II turboprops ordered by JSC Flight Inspections and Systems of Moscow, Russia. The remaining aircraft are scheduled for delivery in 2012.

South African politics may derail a deal for 2 long-range business jets. The government there had planned to order them for use by President Jacob Zuma and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, and negotiations have been under way with both Boeing and Airbus. However, opposition Democratic Alliance MP and Shadow Minister of Defence & Military Veterans David Maynier considers it "simply wrong to spend [$190 million] on business jets when millions of people in our country do not have housing, health or access to basic services." The South African government currently operates a Boeing BBJ for VIP transport.

Airbus delivered an ACJ318 to Gama Aviation FCZ in the UAE in Nov 2011. Configured with 14 seats, the aircraft is the largest in Gama's Middle East fleet. It is being managed for a private owner out of SHJ (Sharjah, UAE).

GAMA reports 3Q2011 airplane shipments

There is grim news in the General Aviation Manufacturers Assn (GAMA)'s 3Q2011 report on airplane shipments. Worldwide deliveries of new GA aircraft dropped nearly 10% in the first 9 months of the year compared with 2010. Bizjet shipments for the period declined from 491 to 427, while turboprop deliveries slipped from 232 to 223.

Corporate results vary widely this year. Through 3Q2011, Cessna actually managed to ship more of its Citation business jets—126, compared with 101 a year earlier. Bombardier's deliveries climbed from 107 to 115. However, Dassault Falcon Jet delivered only 35 aircraft in the first 9 months of 2011, compared with 67 in the previous year. And deliveries of the Airbus ACJ series plummeted from 11 to 6 for the same period, with billings declining from $880 million to $485 million.

In announcing this November that there will be further layoffs at Hawker Beechcraft, CEO Bill Boisture predicted that the market will remain waterlogged for at least 2 more years, thanks to slower growth in China and the European debt crisis. However, speaking at the Dubai Airshow the same month, Gulfstream Pres Larry Flynn noted that the UAE and Arabian Peninsula remain an exception.

"In a time of political and market change, businesses in the Middle East are investing strategically and for the long-term, and these investments span the world," Flynn said. "We see this as positive for business aviation in general, and Gulfstream in particular."


Beginning on Apr 5, 2012, FAA will charge for charts and other navigational products that could previously be downloaded free of charge. Individuals will no longer be able to access them at all. The move is expected to affect websites that have provided free online products and companies developing flight-related apps for the iPad and other consumer electronics. The agency has not yet announced how much it will charge for the data.

TSA Administrator John Pistole has named 24 new member organizations to serve 2-year terms with the agency's Aviation Security Advisory Committee (ASAC). Among them are NBAA and the Global Business Travel Assn. NBAA VP for Safety, Security & Regulation Doug Carr says, "We are pleased that the current leadership at TSA and DHS intends to continue including a business aviation representative on the ASAC. We are confident that federal security officials will benefit from the group's expertise and experience."


Preflight your iPad if you are counting on it to supply charts and approach plates. Its files of flight data are too big to fit in the device's permanent memory. Instead, they are stored in cache memory, where iOS5, Apple's newest operating system upgrade, can delete them without warning. Once you have made sure your charts are still there, aviation app provider ForeFlight recommends turning off your iPad's cellular and Wi-Fi service. The iPad only deletes data if it is downloading something, and that cannot happen if it is offline.

Garmin has halted production of its popular GNS530W navigation unit. The company also plans to drop the GNS430W in the first half of 2012. However, it has pledged to continue factory repair service and software up­dates well into the future. The old pro­duct lines have recently been supplanted by Garmin's new GTN600 and GTN700 series touchscreen navigators.

Duncan Aviation of Lincoln NE has received an STC for inflight Wi-Fi operations in Falcon 2000 and Falcon 2000­EX aircraft equipped with the Thrane & Thrane SwiftBroadband Aviation 700 satcom system. The new equipment offers 4 channels of global voice, a flightdeck datalink and up to 2 channels of Internet. The Falcon 2000 and 2000EX have previously been equipped with the Thrane & Thrane Swift 64 Aero HSD+ satcom system. The upgrade is available now.

Duncan has relocated its avionics facilities at TEB (Teterboro NJ) and STL (Lambert St Louis MO). The TEB unit has moved into First Aviation's new FBO facility and the STL shop is now in the TAC Air complex.


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