The first four years of the 2000s have been a trial for aviation. While the decade got off to a heady start in 2000 with the high times of the late-1990s boom still going strong, by the spring of 2001 the industry’s fortunes were taking a southerly course.
News and issues concerning aerospace companies, including formations, acquisitions, mergers and financials; and announcements of significant aircraft sales, delivery statistics and personnel appointments.
Personal jets, mini-jets, ultra-light jets, very light jets. The category has many names and now many contenders. But no company has yet brought a very light business jet to certification and production. Several programs that have been displayed over the years at past NBAA conventions, such as the Alberta Phoenix FanJet and Century Aerospace Century Jet, are now “on the shelf” and may stay there forever.
The state of Virginia officially broke ground at the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (PHF) in late August for an Aviation World’s Fair being planned for early spring 2003.
The September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. immediately cast doubt on the viability of next month’s Dubai Air Show in the United Arab Emirates (November 4 to 8). However, at press time show organizer Fairs & Exhibitions said no consideration had yet been given to postponing or canceling the event.
John Douglass hands over the presidency of the U.S. Aerospace Industries Association next week to former Federal Aviation Administration administrator Marion Blakey after a nine-and-a-half-year tenure.
Raytheon Aircraft has appointed Randy Groom president of its Beechcraft division, which consists of the Bonanza, Baron and Premier lines. The Beechcraft and Hawker brands were separated last year to focus and strengthen the level of quality and product-support efforts for the respective lines. Groom was formerly senior vice president at Piedmont Hawthorne Aviation in Winston-Salem, N.C., a Beechcraft authorized service center and dealer.
The FAA’s rules are a “barrier to the development and application of supersonic technologies in advanced general aviation aircraft,” said the General Aviation Manufacturers Association in comments submitted to an agency request for information on SST noise rules.
Bombardier Aerospace’s Belfast, Northern Ireland work- force has rejected a new pay deal and is threatening strike action. Trade union representatives had actually accepted a new four-year deal that was due to take effect at the end of this coming January, but this was rejected in a shop-floor vote on October 15.
General Electric’s research arm and the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (Darpa) have joined forces to develop an entirely bio-based jet fuel to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. The main challenge is to make the conversion process efficient. The project envisions a conversion efficiency, by energy content, of crop oil to JP-8 surrogate of between 60 and 85 percent.