NBAA 2002

 - April 23, 2008, 8:00 AM

Considering the circumstances, NBAA, its membership and participants in the association’s 2001 convention in New Orleans were generally satisfied, despite the reduced numbers of attendees and exhibitors. This year, despite a struggling U.S. economy, show organizers for the Orlando event expect a show equal in scale to what had originally been anticipated in New Orleans. That would mean a static display of about 140 aircraft, 1,000 exhibitors and some 30,000 visitors.  And if the economy begins to rebound before the NBAA 2002 opens, it could become the largest ever.

Maybe it’s appropriate that after the cataclysmic events of last year, the NBAA’s 55th Annual Meeting and Convention will be held next to Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom.
Although the industry was able to salvage a greatly scaled down exhibition in New Orleans last December, it never came near the numbers that had been projected for the originally scheduled conclave in September.

Orlando, Fla., is now firmly ensconced in the association’s current three-city mix of convention sites, but this year marks only the second time that an NBAA Convention has been held in the popular tourist destination. From September 10 to 12, the “world’s largest purely civil aviation event” will return in the first of back-to-back gatherings in Disney World’s backyard. Ironically, the show’s second day will mark the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks that, among other more significant things, caused the postpone- ment of last year’s convention.

The rescheduled event just two weeks before Christmas drew 11,738 attendees to visit the 678 booths in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, and to the sharply reduced static display of about 40 aircraft at Lakefront Airport. That was far off the 1,000 exhibitors and 30,000 visitors that had been anticipated in September.

Next month, NBAA conventioneers will be able to sample the changes that have taken place in the Orlando/Disney World orbit and the Orange County Convention Center since the initial visit to central Florida in 1996. Orlando will be the site of next year’s convention as well, and the venue is also penciled in for 2006 and 2007.

The Orlando convention facility is the second largest in the country,  with more than 1.1 million square feet of contiguous space. Another one million square feet will be added by next year.

At press time NBAA said that sign-ups for exhibition space at this year’s show were running “approximately the same” as those for last September’s show. Last year in New Orleans, about 140 aircraft were scheduled for the static display at New Orleans Lakefront Airport. The static display this year will be on the ramp at Orlando Executive Airport (ORL) and will be sponsored by Vance & Engels Aircraft Brokers.

Due to the combination of September 11, an economy that was at a virtual standstill and a decision by major airframers Gulfstream, Raytheon Aircraft and Cessna to remain home, ostensibly to save money, there was precious little “hard news” to come out of NBAA’s truncated convention last year. A subdued mood cast a pall over the industry as it hunkered down to plan a course of action to meet new security challenges while protecting access to airports and airspace.

Nine months later, the doors to the bunkers are being cautiously opened. Cessna has said flat out that it will introduce a new product to its line of aircraft, and Gulfstream promises some “significant announcements.” Pressed on whether that might include a new version of the GIV, a company spokesman cautioned that focusing on one specific product “could be misleading.”

NBAA 2002 might be dubbed the year of the super-midsize, with three aircraft expected at the Orlando show now undergoing flight testing.

The first production Cessna Sovereign, which had its maiden flight on June 27, will be making its debut at the show. Three Sovereign airframes are dedicated to certification, a production-conforming prototype and S/Ns 001 and 002.

The prototype made its first flight on February 27, and by midsummer it and its production-model sibling had logged more than 145 flight hours. S/Ns 001 and 002 are to focus primarily on certification of systems and hot and cold weather evaluations.

Designed to meet both FAA and European Joint Aviation Authorities requirements during initial certification, the Citation Sovereign was announced at the 1998 NBAA Convention in Las Vegas in conjunction with the Citation CJ1, CJ2 and Bravo. FAA certification is expected in late 2003, with first customer deliveries in early 2004. Cessna already has orders for more than 100 Sovereigns.

Cessna said it will have the entire Citation fleet–the CJ1, CJ2, Bravo, Encore, Excel, Sovereign and Citation X–on the static line at ORL. In addition to the Citation fleet, the company will have a Grand Caravan and 182 Skylane on display.

As for the new aircraft, a Cessna spokeswoman would say only that the company will be making an announcement about a new product at a press conference September 9.

Gulfstream, which has been teasing the industry for more than two years with a reported follow-on to its Gulfstream IV-SP, expects to have all of its current models on static display at Orlando Executive Airport, along with the new GV-SP, which is undergoing certification testing.

The aircraft will be one of the test articles with an unfinished interior, but with the PlaneView cockpit defined by Gulfstream’s cursor control device, Kollsman’s enhanced vision system and Honeywell’s head-up display as standard equipment. Because it is outfitted for flight test, not everyone will get to walk around in it, the company said.

As far as any new aircraft is concerned, the company has been officially mum since it announced early in 2000 that it signed a $1.3 billion contract with its long-term engine provider Rolls-Royce for 150 next-generation Tay engines with options for 150 more. But since then it has stonewalled on what airframe the new engines would be hung.

At the NBAA Convention in 2000, Gulfstream president Bill Boisture acknowledged that the full-authority digital engine control (Fadec) system of the “Tay 2000 will fit nicely with other changes planned for the next GIV.” Then at last year’s EBACE Convention, one of the company’s long-time suppliers said it was developing systems for a new “GVI.”

A spokesman for the Savannah, Ga. company would say only that Gulfstream will have some significant announcements to make at NBAA. But he cautioned, “If you are going to speculate, don’t focus in on any one single issue.”

Regardless, Gulfstream announced in May last year that it had hired Kurt Erbacher as v-p for its GIV-X program to lead the design, development and certification of the next-generation of the airplane. Industry observers believe it will have an NBAA IFR range of between 4,500- and 5,000 nm.

Raytheon Aircraft
Raytheon is planning to have a “strong Hawker Horizon show,” featuring its new entry in the super-midsize sweepstakes. It made its first flight last August, nearly two years later than originally scheduled, and was to have made its debut at the originally scheduled convention last year. At 30 percent larger than the Hawker 800XP, it is the largest airplane that Raytheon has ever built.

The P&WC PW308A-powered Horizon is one of the first business jets to be equipped with the Honeywell Primus Epic avionics suite, which includes five 8- by 10-in. LCDs and a cursor control device. The company is guaranteeing an NBAA IFR range of 3,100 nm at Mach 0.82 with six passengers and a 200-nm alternate, or 3,400 nm at Mach 0.78. The company now expects certification of the $16.9 million Horizon no earlier than late 2003, with first deliveries in early 2004.

Meanwhile, the company is still finalizing its decision on whether to proceed with its Hawker 450 program announced at NBAA two years ago. The twin-engine light midsize business jet had been scheduled to enter service in 2006, but was placed on hold earlier this year. The company promised a go/no go for the $8.4 million aircraft in the third quarter of this year, but a company spokesman could not confirm that any announcement would be made in Orlando.

Raytheon will have all of its aircraft on static display, from the piston-engine Beech Bonanza and Baron, all three King Air models, an executive version of the Beech 1900D, Beechjet 400A, Raytheon Premier I, Hawker 800XP and the Hawker Horizon.

Dassault Falcon Jet
Dassault Falcon Jet will bring to the NBAA gala its advanced EASy flight deck, which will be available in all of its airplanes beginning next year, on display in the convention center. Honeywell’s tool for rapid advance system (TRAS), a computerized interactive program with a complete flight deck that is used to test all of the software for the EASy flight deck, will allow hall visitors to have hands-on experience.

The company will provide updates on the Falcon 7X, its latest three-engine business jet which was announced last year, as well as its Falcon 2000EX, which is currently in flight testing.

The 7X will provide a range of 5,700 nm and 20 percent more cabin space than the 900EX. With a price tag of more than $35 million, it will be positioned in range and price between its own 900EX, the Gulfstream IV-SP and the new Bombardier Global 5000 below and the GV and the Global Express above.

The Falcon 2000EX will have a range of 3,800 nm–up 25 percent from the current Falcon 2000–and will feature the EASy flight deck. Launched in October 1999, the PW308C-powered 2000EX is scheduled for certification in the third quarter of this year. The company will have a Falcon 50EX, Falcon 2000 and Falcon 900EX on static display.

Bombardier, which debuted its Continental super-midsize publicly at last year’s rescheduled show, now expects it to achieve certification next summer. It will be powered by Honeywell’s new AS907 engine, which received dual FAA engine and production certification in June.

The Canadian manufacturer already has orders for 125 Continentals, including 25 from its Flexjet fractional-ownership division. When it was announced at the 1998 convention, Bombardier said it was designed to fly eight passengers coast-to-coast in just under five hours. The super-midsize market then consisted of the Citation X and the Falcon 50EX, although the Galaxy (now Gulfstream 200) was nearing certification and Raytheon was working on the Hawker Horizon. Bombardier will also be promoting its Learjet 40 and 45XR variants, with a mockup of the former on display (see 'Learjet derives 2 new jets from its 45').

Embraer’s Legacy made its North American debut at last December’s NBAA Convention, flying to New Orleans after having received its Brazilian CTA certification just days before. This year it will be on static display at ORL having gained European Joint Aviation Authorities certification last month and perhaps with FAA certification also in hand.

Based on the Embraer ERJ-135 regional jet, the Legacy is positioned in the super-midsize category, although the Brazilian airframer boasts that it has the cabin of a Gulfstream IV aircraft. It considers the Legacy’s competitors to be the Hawker Horizon, Bombardier Continental, Falcon 50EX, Cessna Citation X and Gulfstream 200.

Once the Legacy wins certification, the first delivery will go to U.S. launch customer Swift Aviation of Phoenix, which has orders for 25 with an option for another 25. Embraer currently has orders and options for 168 aircraft, either in the executive or shuttle versions. The executive version has a cruise speed of Mach 0.8 and an NBAA IFR range of 3,200 nm with 10 passengers.

Sino Swearingen
Sino Swearingen will fly its SJ30-2 light business jet to Orlando from its San Antonio headquarters for its first-ever appearance at an NBAA Convention. Currently undergoing flight testing for an expected FAA certification late next year, the seven-place entry-level twin turbofan is expected to have a 2,500-nm NBAA IFR range.

Although a second SJ30-2 is nearing completion in San Antonio and will be turned over to flight testing in September or October, actual production will take place inMartinsburg, W. Va. In fact, work on the first customer airplane began at that 87,500-sq-ft facility in March. The first fuselage and wing set for S/N 005 is scheduled to be completed this fall.

The SJ30-2 on static display will have the production avionics, but the body will contain test equipment. A mockup of the “somewhat reconfigured” interior will be available for examination in the convention center. It will have a “more open look,” with lower cabinets and will more closely resemble the production aircraft’s interior design.

Activities and Seminars
The 55th NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention will actually begin on September 8 with the 6th Annual Chairman’s Charity Classic golf tournament being held for the first time since its inception at a Florida venue.

According to NBAA, last year’s tournament was “a great success” despite the rescheduling. “Our loyal sponsors and players enabled us to donate $30,000 to the September 11th Fund to go to the aid of the families of victims,” the association said.

Proceeds from this year’s tournament, to be held at Disney’s Bonnet Creek Golf Club, will go to Challenge Air for Kids & Friends, a Dallas-based organization that offers children with disabilities the opportunity to experience an airplane flight. Challenge Air conducts the flights for children throughout the U.S.

NBAA noted that with nearly 300 participating golfers, the chairman’s classic is a great way to network. It urged players to sign up early because the tournament sells out quickly every year.

Even before the golfers tee off with a shotgun start at 8 a.m., registration will already be under way at the Peabody Hotel across International Drive from the convention center for a professional development program (PDP) entitled “Flight Department Customer Service.” Offered in coordination with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the course is designed for managers and aspiring managers in the corporate aviation industry who wish to assess and understand transportation needs and desires of the company and its passengers to identify and communicate the intangible benefits and value-added services provided by the aviation department.

Also scheduled to begin September 8 are two-day workshops on emergency response to accidents: and employing the new international standards-business aviation operations (IS-BAO), as well as a seminar on domestic reduced vertical separation minimums (DRVSM).

September 9 will add a human factors workshop on secure work and travel (SWAT), another PDP on “Aviation Safety and Security,” an inspection authorization (IA) renewal course and the first day of the popular NBAA annual tax conference.

September 10 will be the official beginning of the convention with the opening general session at 8:30 a.m., featuring Edsel Ford II as keynote speaker and followed by the opening of the exhibition hall and the static display. In addition to being a member of the Ford Motor Co. board of directors since 1988, Ford bought DaimlerChrysler Aviation last October and reinstated its previous name, Pentastar Aviation. An independent warranty and service center for Gulfstream, Pentastar is headquartered at Oakland County International Airport in suburban Detroit. Ford is the company’s chairman and CEO.

Building on last year’s success in New Orleans, NBAA has scheduled a security session on September 10 to update the new federal security requirements and another on September 11 on best practices and guidelines for flight-department security.

In the former, a panel will present perspectives on the impact of new security regulations. The panel will consist of industry experts in the areas of airports, state and federal agencies and private security companies. The latter session will feature a panel of security managers discussing the meaning and significance of recent events and how they have affected their flight departments. They will also present new concepts for securing flight departments.   

The convention will officially end the evening of September 12, with the annual safety awards reception and banquet at the Peabody Orlando, the official convention hotel. The featured entertainment will be the Smothers Brothers, who performed at a previous NBAA to rave reviews and who were originally scheduled to perform last year. 

The NBAA board of directors selected James Raisbeck, CEO of Raisbeck Engineering, as the recipient of the 2002 NBAA Award for Meritorious Service to Aviation and J. Robert Duncan, chairman of Duncan Aviation, to receive the 2002 NBAA John P. “Jack” Doswell Award.

The Meritorious Service Award is presented annually to an individual who, by virtue of a lifetime of personal dedication, has made significant, identifiable contributions that have materially advanced aviation interests. The Doswell Award is granted for lifelong individual achievement on behalf of and in support of the aims, goals and objectives of business aviation.

Raisbeck has made a career of understanding fluid dynamics at an intuitive level and using this knowledge to deduce the energy of the flow around aircraft structures, reduce drag, enhance overall performance and increase safety margins in previously successful airframes. An aeronautical engineering graduate of Purdue University, he worked at Boeing and Robertson Aircraft Corp. before founding Seattle-based Raisbeck Engineering in 1973.

His engineering and aerodynamic innovations for business aircraft include the Mark II and Mark IV wings for the Learjet family, the aft fuselage locker for the Learjet 30 series, and aerodynamic and engine modifications for the King Airs, as well as improvements for various Sabreliners.

In 1996 Raisbeck’s Commercial Air Group completed recertification of the Boeing 727 to meet Stage 3 noise requirements without hush kits. Interestingly, he conceived the idea of a secure cockpit door before September 11, and the system has been in airline passenger service since last October.

Duncan was raised in an aviation family and graduated from Northwestern University in 1965 with a degree in business administration. He then joined Duncan Aviation, the family-owned aircraft sales company founded by his father Donald in 1956.
Duncan Aviation sells and services general aviation aircraft, with an emphasis on business aircraft, and is one of the world’s most respected aviation service organizations. The company, of which, the younger Duncan is now chairman, specializes in avionics, maintenance, completions and overhauls.

NBAA has a program for spouses that will offer such trips as a tour of the Kennedy
Space Center.