The U.S. civil aviation and space programs have developed what Aerospace Industries Association president and CEO John Douglass calls “a creeping crisis,” where “almost every day some kind of relatively bad news has come in, despite what I consider to be an aggressive effort by our government to fix the security problems.”
News and issues concerning aerospace companies, including formations, acquisitions, mergers and financials; and announcements of significant aircraft sales, delivery statistics and personnel appointments.
With total sales expected to hit nearly $200 billion by the end of last year and a backlog of $360 billion, the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) sees a strong U.S. aerospace manufacturing sector continuing to set records over the next few years.
Aerospace OEMs are increasingly turning to the Nadcap safety auditing program to verify the standards of manufacturing processes down the supply chain. Twenty-three major manufacturers, including leading business aviation players such as Cessna, Raytheon Aircraft, Airbus, Boeing, Honeywell, GE Aircraft Engines, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, Sikorsky and Bell Helicopter, are now using the cooperative system.
With certification of the first of the very light jets (VLJs) somewhere on the horizon, manufacturers and interior designers are giving considerable attention to the challenge of creating a big-jet environment in a small-jet cabin.
Currently, about half a dozen companies are working on VLJs, all of them borrowing to some extent from the field of automotive design and fabrication.
The first edition of the International Heli Trade helicopter show in Geneva last month seems to have met exhibitors’ expectations. Visitors and organizers alike, however, may have been disappointed by the absence of such major manufacturers as Robinson and Eurocopter. But the conference program was rich and, from the first roundtable, it proved a good opportunity for operators to express their needs and concerns.
The number of trade days at the next Farnborough International Air Show (July 18 to 23, 2006) has been reduced from five to four. Instead of starting on Monday, as it has in the past, the event will run from Tuesday through Sunday, and the first four days will be reserved for professional visitors, while the weekend will continue to be set aside for the public. There is no officially designated media day.
Judging by the mood at last month’s NBAA Convention in Las Vegas, the good old days are most assuredly back for the business aviation industry. A record number of companies were shoehorned into more than a million square feet of exhibition space at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and there was a seemingly endless line of aircraft at nearby Henderson Executive Airport.
The National Air Transportation Association provides an annual salary survey for business aviation professionals including pilots, line-service personnel, maintenance technicians, inspectors, dispatchers, customer service representatives and stock clerks.
The forecasts released last month at the NBAA Convention from turbine-engine manufacturers Honeywell and Rolls-Royce and market research firm Inflight Management Development Centre (IMDC) agree: the business jet market has turned the corner. Honeywell and Rolls-Royce project delivery of between 500 and 550 business jets this year, on par with, or slightly above, last year’s deliveries.
Eclipse Aviation has accelerated its production schedule for the Eclipse 500 very light jet by seven months and announced plans for its customer-support network, an in-house program that would ultimately include seven centers. That would place a shop within one-and-a-half hours’ flying time from any U.S. Eclipse operator’s home base, the company said.