HyperMach Europe Aeronautics—a joint US-UK-French company—has announced plans for a new supersonic business jet (SSBJ) called SonicStar. Announced at the Paris Air Show, the Mach-3.5 aircraft is intended to fly from London to Tokyo in 2 hrs or New York to Sydney in 5, with minimal sonic boom over land. Key to the design is a new engine, the "S-MAGJET 4000X," designed by SonicBlue of Portland ME. Optimized for FL620, the S-MAGJET is described as a hybrid electric gas turbine with specific fuel consumption of less than 1.05 at Mach 3.5. It would reportedly provide a 20% better thrust-to-weight ratio than existing models with 40% fewer core engine components and greatly reduced emissions. Because it is planned for SonicStar to be manufactured in Europe, HyperMach is supported by the UK Dept of Trade & Industry and other European authorities. SonicStar's first flight is planned for 2021. Richard Lugg, chairman of HyperMach and CEO of SonicBlue, was co-program manager of NASA's X33 reusable launch vehicle and the X43 hypersonic research vehicle as well as technology director for the Lockheed JASSM cruise missile prototype.
Hawker Beechcraft's final preproduction Hawker 200 light jet has taken to the air for the first time. Flight tests are more than half finished, according to Exec VP Shawn Vick. FAA certification is expected in 3Q2012, with first deliveries by year's end. The Hawker 200 will carry 4 passengers 1500 nm at cruise speeds up to 473 kts and altitudes up to FL450.
Bombardier sold 16 ultralong-range large business jets at this year's Paris Air Show. AVWest of Australia placed firm orders for 4 Global 7000s and 2 Global 8000s. The order is worth about $400 million, based on the 2011 list price. AVWest is a large corporate jet owner that also provides FBO and VIP service from Perth Jet Centre at PER (Intl, Perth WA, Australia).
A second sale, of 10 Global 8000s, went to VistaJet of Switzerland. The $650-million purchase brings VistaJet's backlog of orders with Bombardier to about $2 billion.
The OEM has also certified 2 new line maintenance facilities—Arab Wings of Amman, Jordan, for the Challenger 604/605, and AvWest of Perth, Australia, for the Challenger 604/605 and Global Express.
Finally, Bombardier has announced plans to add 4 field service representatives (FSRs) and 2 customer support account managers to its support staff. The new FSRs will be deployed over the next 6 months to France, Eastern Europe and South Africa.
Piaggio Aero has broken ground for a new production plant in Villanova d'Albenga, Italy. Beginning in 2013, the facility will manufacture parts and subassemblies for the P180 Avanti II and carry out engine manufacturing and repairs. Final assembly of the P180 will remain at the existing plant in Sestri Ponente near Genova.
Quest Aircraft is speeding production of its 10-place Kodiak single-turboprop utility aircraft, thanks to recapitalization and new investments received earlier this year. The company made its 50th delivery in May.
|House tackles GPS interference issue|
|On Jun 23 two House subcommittees held hearings on a possible threat to GPS. Later that same day the House Appropriations Committee acted to prevent the problem.
A joint hearing by the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Subcommittee on Aviation and Subcommittee on Coast Guard & Maritime Transportation was informed that Reston VA-based wireless broadband provider LightSquared planned to deploy 40,000 new ground stations using frequencies near those used for GPS signals. However, recent tests by the company itself had confirmed industry fears that they might interfere with GPS signals and disrupt or degrade the accuracy of navigation.
In response, an amendment to the existing 2012 appropriations bill for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) bans the authorization by FCC of LightSquared's new system—and that of any broadband provider—until concerns about GPS interference have been resolved.
The measure passed on a unanimous voice vote by the Appropriations Committee. The bill will now go to the full legislature for final approval.
Charter & fractional
Fractional leasing and charter operator JetSuite has moved its headquarters to SNA (Santa Ana CA). The firm operates a fleet of 11 Embraer Phenom 100 four-passenger jets and employs 40 pilots. CEO Alex Wilcox says the company hopes to double its flight staff over the next year.
Maintenance & overhaul
Lufthansa Technik has broken ground for a new maintenance hangar at the future BER (Brandenburg, Berlin, Germany). The 16-million-euro ($22.7-million) facility will be able to accommodate up to 5 short and medium-haul aircraft or a single widebody up to the size of an Airbus A340. It is scheduled to open when the airport does, in Jun 2012. Lufthansa Bombardier Aviation Services (LBAS) —a joint venture with Bombardier and ExecuJet—will also operate at the Berlin Brandenburg site. It is an MRO specialist for Bombardier's Learjet, Challenger and Global aircraft.
MRO Constant Aviation of CLE (Hopkins, Cleveland OH) has received an STC for Aircell's cabin wireless access point (CWAP) in an Embraer 135 corporate shuttle. CWAP provides in-cabin Wi-Fi service for Gogo Biz inflight Internet. The STC completes the first CWAP system to be installed in a corporate aircraft and the first Gogo Biz installation in an Embraer 135.
Santa Monica city officials have given up on banning "Category C and D" aircraft from SMO (Santa Monica CA). The city adopted the ban in 2008 on alleged safety grounds, but was immediately challenged by FAA. This January, a US Court of Appeals ruled against the ban as "unjust and unreasonable" discrimination that violated the terms of a grant agreement under which Santa Monica accepted federal funds for the airport.
Bombardier's Global Vision flightdeck has received certification from Transport Canada. It is the first certification covering synthetic vision on a HUD, part of the Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics suite. Certification from FAA and EASA are expected later this year, with entry into service scheduled for early 2012.