Hoping for five aces, RAC shuffles top execs

 - January 9, 2008, 10:03 AM

Raytheon Aircraft revealed five new executive appointments, the third reshuffling of senior manage-ment designed to improve the company’s business and customer support since James Schuster became chairman and CEO in mid-2001. The changes fall in the midst of a significant decrease in sales and deliveries.

Tom Sarama fills the newly created job of v-p of strategic programs. In this role, Sarama is expected to “lead the development and implementation of strategies that will result in transformation and growth,” Raytheon Aircraft said. Sarama had been v-p of engineering for two years. Before that he spent 18 years with Lockheed-Martin, where he was v-p of engineering.

David Riemer is the new v-p of product development and engineering, and he “will focus on directing and managing new product development programs for future growth, and all major product upgrades.” Riemer was formerly v-p of government business. Sherry Grady, who will replace Riemer, has been with Raytheon Aircraft since 1988.

In the company’s quality-assurance department, Bob Feazell and Glenn Oka have accepted new roles. Feazell, now director of the Hawker Horizon certification program, is responsible for quality management of the Hawker Horizon product line and certification of the aircraft. Feazell joined Raytheon Aircraft in 1996 from Raytheon Corporate Jets.

Oka, now director of product assurance, is responsible for all of Raytheon Aircraft’s quality-assurance engineering, inspection, internal audit, Six Sigma, quality-assurance support systems and customer-delivery activities. Oka’s career spans 27 years in various facets of quality assurance.

Hawker 450 Still in Limbo
With these appointments comes no word on the status of the Hawker 450 program. Early last year Raytheon Aircraft placed on hold further development of the twin-engine light-midsize business jet, which had been tentatively scheduled to enter service in 2006. The company had said it would decide in the third quarter of last year whether to resume development of the Hawker 450, postpone development or cancel the program, but there was still no disclosure of a decision at press time.

Last June Raytheon Aircraft released performance guarantees for the Hawker 450 to include a five- passenger range of 2,000 nm, a max cruise speed of 472 kt and a takeoff field length of 4,700 ft. Powered by two Honeywell TFE731-40 turbofans, the proposed $8.4 million Hawker 450 is designed to have a 71-in. stand-up cabin, double-club seating for eight passengers and Honeywell Primus Epic avionics.

The Hawker 450 would be the third member (behind the Premier I and Hawker Horizon) of the company’s new family of business jets to feature an all-composite fuselage. When the airplane was introduced at the 2000 NBAA Convention, Raytheon Aircraft said it had orders for 97 airplanes, 50 of them from Raytheon Travel Air, the fractional program that was taken over by Flight Options in March last year. The Hawker 450 is not one of the Raytheon Aircraft airplanes Flight Options agreed to keep in its shopping cart under terms of the takeover.

Meanwhile, Raytheon Aircraft is shutting down for two weeks this month on top of its usual week-long shutdown between Christmas and New Year. Except for a few departments, the company will close from January 6 to 17. The January shutdown is in place of the annual two-week closure in July. It is “purely because the industry is typically slow in the first quarter,” according to a company spokesman.