Aerion says it has designed the next test article to fly in the centerline position under NASA's McDonnell Douglas F15B. Fabrication of the 40-in-vertical-span by 80-in-chord device is expected to be complete by the beginning of June. A series of ground checks will be followed by 1-hr supersonic test flights at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in June and/or July, depending on aircraft availability.

Embraer's development program for its midsize Legacy 500 had achieved several significant milestones by early May, including taxi runs at speeds up to 80 kts, and the beginning of ground vibration tests, in anticipation of first flight scheduled for 3Q­2012. Concurrently with this, the joint definition phase has started for its sister aircraft, the Legacy 450.

Eclipse Aerospace has signed an agreement with PZL Mielec to produce major components for the Eclipse 550. PZL Mielec, the Polish affiliate of Sikorsky and subsidiary of United Technologies Corp, will manufacture the fuselage, empennage and wings for Eclipse Aerospace in Poland and ship the parts to Albuquerque NM for final assembly. Eclipse Aerospace plans first deliveries of the Eclipse 550 in 2013.

In further news, Eclipse received a production certificate for the Eclipse 550 from FAA in April. Agency representatives presented the certificate to Eclipse Senior VP Cary Winter at a ceremony held at Eclipse's Albuquerque headquarters.

Cirrus Aircraft says its Cirrus Vision SF50 personal jet program is fully funded through certification and initial production with major investment by its new owner—China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (CAIGA). The company anticipates 1st customer deliveries in 2015.

On May 7 Hawker Beechcraft Global Customer Support (GCS) announced the successful first flight of the Hawker 400XPr engine test article. This was the first flight of an upgraded aircraft with new Williams Intl FJ44-4A-32 engines. The Hawker 400XPr upgrade combines the increased power of the Williams engines with the improved aerodynamics of Hawker winglets. Certification is anticipated in Sep 2012.


CAE inaugurated its 1st aviation training center at TLC (Toluca, Mexico City, Mexico) on Apr 25. CAE has also announced that it has signed a training service contract with Heliservicio Campeche, a helicopter operator serving Mexico's offshore oil and gas industry. The new CAE Mexico facility is the first advanced simulation training center for business jets and civil helicopters in Latin America. The training center currently offers pilot and maintenance technician training for the Bombardier Learjet 40/45 and the Bell 412.


Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) has launched a new diagnostic solution that automatically acquires, stores and transmits engine and aircraft performance data. In addition to traditional engine diagnostics and prognostics monitoring, P&WC's flight data acquisition storage and transmission (FAST) system solution allows for real-time monitoring of aircraft performance trends. Once installed in an aircraft, the FAST device measures its various performance indicators. When the engine is shut down, the data collected is sent wirelessly to P&WC's designated analysis center.

Concorde Battery Corp's FAA STC to upgrade Embraer Phenom batteries has received ANAC validation in Brazil. The STC replaces the existing lead acid batteries with 2 Concorde 24-volt 28-amp-hour sealed lead acid batteries.


Universal Avionics has received an STC from FAA for its 3rd-generation airborne datalink system, UniLink UL800/801 communications management unit (CMU). This complete STC package, granted initially for the King Air series, provides full FANS 1/A+ and CPDLC capability. Universal has also announced that the 1st installation and EASA STC approval for the CMU is under way in a Bombardier Challenger 601.


Pentastar Aviation has named Robert Lewis as president and CEO. He succeeds Rick Maloney, whose retirement from Pentastar in March capped a 4-decade career in aviation. Lewis comes to Pentastar from an industrial services company, where he served as senior vp of corporate development.

Yankee Pacific Aerospace (YPA) has appointed Rick Richardson as vp business development. Harvey Ticlo has succeeded Richardson as president of Cabin Innovations—a YPA company. Richardson was vp engineering at Lufthansa Technik Completion Engineering, the company's joint venture with Lufthansa Technik in Tulsa OK. Ticlo has over 20 years of experience in aircraft maintenance and modification, including serving as StandardAero's senior vp, business aircraft sector.