By almost any measure NBAA’s annual convention, held September 10 to 12 in Orlando, Fla., can be considered a rousing success. Against the backdrop of heightened terror warnings, a call for tough new United Nations resolutions on Iraq, continued economic uncertainty and a day of emotional ceremonies across the nation to com- memorate the victims of September 11, the business aviation industry gathered to take its collective pulse, and–to the relief of the more than 27,000 professional visitors attending the show–discovered that it still had one.
According to NBAA officials, post-show figures for the convention confirm that attendance peaked at a surprising 27,785 visitors (that compares with an all-time record high for attendance of 30,106 in 1998), while a record-breaking 1,011 individual exhibitors occupied some 900,000 sq ft of booth space on the sprawling Orange County Convention Center floor.
Orlando Executive Airport, meanwhile, was host to no fewer than 152 aircraft on static display, including a record six aircraft never before displayed at a show.
Many attendees interviewed for this report said the convention hall and static area perhaps seemed a little less crowded than at past shows, but there was agreement that the quality remained high and, in spite of an economy that has yet to recover from recession lulls, business during the show was brisk.
All things considered, the anxiety that must have been felt by NBAA organizers in the months leading to the convention probably all but faded from memory as association chairman George Saling cut the opening ribbon on September 10 to officially open the 55th annual meeting and convention.
Just over a year ago, NBAA’s board of directors, forced to react to September 11, made the decision to delay the group’s 54th annual convention that was about to get under way in New Orleans. Due in no small measure to the economic slide that was exacerbated by September 11, the rescheduled convention last December, also in New Orleans, seemed a pallid imitation of the rollicking atmosphere of recent shows. Just over 11,000 visitors attended the postponed convention, where talk of security and access dominated most discussions.
That’s not to say last month’s show was without such talk. Dozens of well attended meetings and seminars on these very topics provided the industry an important forum in which to debate access issues and to formulate a plan of action going forward.
In an attempt to cultivate better understanding between business aviation and the government, NBAA invited Tom Blank, a senior Transportation Security Administration (TSA) official, to speak at the convention’s opening session. During his remarks Blank said the TSA is committed to working closely with the business aviation community to help thwart future terror threats against general aviation through common-sense approaches to improving security.
“I’m here today to invite the general aviation community to the TSA table,” said Blank. “TSA cannot succeed without the support of chief stakeholders like NBAA and others. One of the key themes I want to convey is that the line of communication between TSA and general aviation is open. You have a voice at TSA.”
While TSA must take adequate steps to protect the flying public, Blank told NBAA visitors that his agency does not want to unfairly deny anyone access to airspace or airports–a sore topic for the scores of operators who have been unable to use Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport since September 11.
“The TSA recognizes that the general aviation industry is vastly different from the commercial aviation side of the house,” he said. “The TSA is committed to work with all of the civil aviation community to ensure that we get it right as we look to improve security around the nation in the coming months. One thing is certain–we cannot afford to sit back, become complacent and wait for terror to attack again.”
Blank’s remarks were an important first step in assuaging the fears of many in the audience, who worry that new and onerous restrictions could do irreparable damage to business aviation.
On the eve of the show the White House placed America on a major terror alert for the commemoration of the September 11 attacks (U.S. officials raised the warning for the first time to Code Orange, just one tier below the highest level of danger). Yet attendees seemed to heed President Bush’s call for a return to normalcy, which, for those attending the NBAA Convention, meant only one thing–getting back to the business of business aviation. And now that the dust from the show has settled, that business appears to have been surprisingly healthy.
Cessna Launches Two New Jets
Among airframe makers, Cessna and Gulfstream grabbed the lion’s share of the headlines at NBAA ’02. For its part, Cessna announced not one but two new business jets–the Citation CJ3 (see page 3) and the Citation Mustang (see page 1). But the show also marked a banner year for the Wichita manufacturer in another, perhaps more meaningful way–the marking of Cessna’s 75th year in business and one-millionth customer, as well as the announcement of new business worth as much as $1.9 billion (if all options are exercised and at base sticker prices).
On the first day of the show, Puerto Rican businessman Juan Jose Bermudez was introduced as Cessna’s one-millionth customer when he signed for one of the new CJ3s. That CJ3 will eventually join the CJ1 and CJ2 already operated by the flight department of his Bermudez & Longo engineering company.
Bermudez was in good company, with firm orders for 156 CJ3s being logged by the end of the convention, including an order for 50 from fractional-ownership provider NetJets (which took an option on another 50) and an order for 25 from the CitationShares frax program. CJ3 deliveries are due to start in 2005.
NetJets also ordered a dozen Citation Xs, the first of which will arrive in 2004, while CitationShares committed to 25 Citation Excels, slated for delivery between 2004 and 2006. Also, fractional operator Flight Options announced that it is adding pre-owned Citation Xs to its fleet, with the first five aircraft being available to customers next month. A one-sixteenth share in the high-speed jet at Flight Options costs $937,500.
The new Mustang attracted no fewer than 217 commitments, including an order from former Formula One auto-racing world champion Nelson Piquet. The Brazilian businessman, who currently operates a CJ1, also ordered a Citation X.
Cessna chairman and CEO Russ Meyer predicted that the company’s 75th-anniversary year could prove to be its most abundant ever in terms of deliveries and billings. It is projected to deliver more than 300 Citations by year-end, as well as about 100 Caravan turboprop utility aircraft and 500 piston singles–collectively worth some $3.2 billion in revenues.
However, next year could be somewhat slower for Cessna, with revenues projected to dip by 8- to 10 percent. The company expects to deliver about 250 Citations, around three-quarters of which have already been sold.
Another highlight of Cessna’s NBAA presence was the debut of a full production example of its super-midsize Citation Sovereign. The new $12.695 million model is set to complete FAA certification late next year.
The Sovereign that made the trip to Orlando was S/N 001, a production version that, along with the first prototype, has logged around 220 flight-test hours. It featured a completed interior and exterior. Performance and specifications include a 2,696-nm NBAA IFR range; 446-kt maximum cruise speed; 47,000-ft ceiling; 3,694-ft balanced field length (ISA, sl); 30,000-lb mtow; seating for 8 to 11 passengers; and a Honeywell Primus Epic avionics suite with four 8- by 10-in. liquid crystal displays.
Gulfstream’s 3 Rs: Renaming, Rebranding, Repackaging
Not to be outdone, Gulfstream Aerospace launched the G150, a derivative of the midsize G100 (née Astra SPX). The Savannah, Ga. manufacturer also sought to ration- alize the nomenclature for its product range by renaming the GIV and GV families to meld with the G100 and the G200 (née Galaxy). The designations will include a G300, G400, G500 and G550 (see page 1).
The wider-fuselage, aerodynamically improved G150 benefited from a launch contract from NetJets, an order for 50 with options for 50 more, worth a projected $1.5 billion. Deliveries are set to begin in 2005.
Bombardier also played the renaming game, announcing that the super-midsize Continental will henceforth be marketed as the Challenger 300 (see page 4). But the Canadian airframer’s participation was about much more than mere semantics, as it debuted the first production example of the new Learjet 40 less than a fortnight after its first flight on August 31.
On the trip from the program’s Wichita home, S/N 2001 attained the Learjet 40’s maximum operating altitude of 51,000 ft, as well as its 462-kt high-speed cruise. The Model 40 was able to make such a prompt first public appearance because it has been secretly developed in tandem with the Learjet 45, of which it is a shortened derivative.
Learjet program director Thomas Hilpert explained that the Learjet 45-001 aerodynamic test aircraft had been used as the “donor” for the Learjet 40 modification, with a 24.5-in. section being removed from the fuselage. “Because we had a conforming donor aircraft, we actually had a conforming [Learjet 40] prototype for the first flight,” he told AIN.
Due to this “deplugging” process, the Learjet 40 has a new skin. In the parallel engineering process for the Learjet 40 and 45, Bombardier also had to shorten the lengths of any systems that ran through the section that was cut out. FAA type certification for the Learjet 40 should be achieved by next fall.
The Learjet 40 on display at Orlando Executive Airport featured a race-car-theme interior that the new model’s first 40 customers have selected at an additional cost of $140,000. The design is dominated by red and black and includes extensive use of embossed leather, graphite surfaces and metallic accents. Those opting for this special Indy 500 interior also get free access to next season’s races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Bombardier announced a sponsorship deal with the racing organization, covering naming rights to the Speedway’s landmark Pagoda control tower. The relationship will in fact start at the Bombardier ATV Copper World Indy 500 race at the Phoenix International Raceway next March 17.
Meanwhile, Bombardier announced an order from AIG for the new Global 5000. It also sold a pre-owned Learjet 31A to professional golfers Fred Funk and Jeff Sluman, along with their partner Gray Gibbs, who is president of Elite Air.
Trend to Smaller Jets?
New Piper president Chuck Suma, in an uncharacteristic endorsement, praised the launch of Cessna’s new Citation Mustang, saying it proves that the market segment for light jets is growing. (Piper for years has been hinting at the development of a light jet, but Suma revealed little on this front at the convention.)
Adding fuel to speculation that the light-jet segment may be poised to lead business aviation back to prosperity, Dassault Aviation chairman Charles Edelstenne said at NBAA that he has asked his engineers to look into developing a new-generation light jet. The move is in response to requests from operators seeking replacements for the out-of-production Falcon 10s and 20s. But Edelstenne declined to give a timetable for any prospective new development.
The French manufacturer’s current focus remains firmly on the integration of Honeywell’s EASy cockpit, and its new Falcon 2000EX and 7X. It reported that the 2000EX is now on final approach for certification. Deliveries of the 3,800-nm super-midsize aircraft with Collins Pro Line 4 avionics are set to start in the second quarter of next year. First deliveries of the EASy-equipped version should follow in the second quarter of 2004.
Meanwhile, said Edelstenne, development of the 5,700-nm Falcon 7X is accelerating. Final wind-tunnel confirmation of the design is scheduled for early next year. First flight should occur in 2005, with deliveries starting in 2006.
In addition to a newly designed wing, which Dassault claims will be 30 percent more efficient than existing Falcon wings, the 7X will be the first purpose-built business aircraft with fly-by-wire primary flight controls and sidestick controllers. It will also have the EASy cockpit.
Dassault’s annual NBAA breakfast gathering was as well attended as ever. Its keynote speaker was inventor/philanthropist (and pilot) Dean Kamen, who got guests’ attention with his new Segway two-wheel people-mover.
In other light-jet news, less than a month after the first flight of its Eclipse 500 minijet, Eclipse Aviation disclosed an order book bulging with firm orders for 1,357 twinjets and options on another 715. Non-refundable deposits amounting to $65 million and a production backlog of 30 months back this grand total of 2,072 aircraft.
“To our knowledge, the Eclipse 500 order book is greater than that of any single civilian jet in the history of aviation,” claimed company founder and CEO Vern Raburn. An Eclipse ordered now cannot be delivered before mid-2006, and fleet customer aircraft delivery commitments extend into 2008.
The six-seater, priced at $837,500 (June 2000 $) is expected to complete FAA Part 23 certification by the end of next year. Albuquerque, N.M.-based Eclipse expects to deliver about 140 airplanes in 2004, rising to a potential annual production rate of 1,500 in 2007. Nonetheless, Eclipse is still looking for another $110 million in financing to get it through certification and into full production.
Raytheon Splits Product Line
Raytheon announced it is going back to the future by separating its Beechcraft and Hawker product families for marketing purposes. From now on, the Hawker 800XP, the Horizon and the Hawker 450 (if it is relaunched) will collectively trade under the Hawker brand name (coined by British Aerospace before the sale of its business jet division to Raytheon back in the early 1990s). The enlarged Beechcraft product family will now encompass the Bonanza, Baron, King Air series, Beechjet 400A and the Premier I and its possible derivatives.
Support services for both Beech- craft and Hawker, said Raytheon, will continue under the name Ray- theon Aircraft Services. However, the manufacturer did announce that it would offer a higher level of support for the new Horizon that will “exceed heavy-jet-customer expectations.” Technical representatives will be assigned to “live” with new Horizon operators for a specific period of one to five years or six to 10 years, depending on customer needs. To date, 130 Horizons are on order, including 100 for NetJets.
During the NBAA show, Raytheon logged single-unit sales of a Hawker Horizon, Premier I and Bonanza, as well as three Hawker 800XPs, three King Airs and a pre-owned Beech 1900C. Mexican air-taxi firm Sarsa, which has operated Hawkers for 30 years, ordered one of the 800XPs.
Separately, Aviation Partners announced the Hawker 800SP blended-winglet program, for which deliveries will start early next year. The 42-in.-high winglets will cut drag for the original 800 Model by 7 percent, boosting range by the same degree (adding about 180 nm). With significantly improved lift/drag ratios, the 800SP will have better climb times and a Mach 0.03 speed advantage over the standard aircraft, adding about 18 kt to its cruise speed.
Legacy Comes to Town with FAA Ticket
Embraer’s Legacy arrived at the NBAA show having just secured its FAA certification, adding to its Brazilian and European approvals. Initial U.S. deliveries of the $20.4 million large-cabin twinjet can now get under way later this fall. The Legacy is currently backed by firm orders for 71 aircraft and options for 93 more.
Boeing Business Jets, meanwhile, announced a kit to provide a cabin altitude of 6,500 ft at FL 410 instead of the standard 8,000 ft. The upgrade will be available for both the BBJ and the larger BBJ2 either for green aircraft or as a retrofit and at a cost of less than $100,000.
BBJ president Lee Monson said the improved pressurization had been developed to meet customer demand for greater cabin comfort and to head off sniping by the sales teams of rival large executive jets. The kit consists of new pressure-controller boxes with improved software, a new cabin-altitude indicator and a pair of pressure-relief valves. No structural changes are necessary and certified mechanics, completions centers or the OEM itself can do installations.
Meanwhile, ShareJet announced that it will start marketing BBJ shares throughout Asia and the Pacific Rim. Behind the new venture are Japanese industrial group Nissho Iwai Corp. and U.S. aircraft management and service firm ACI Pacific. Each BBJ will be sold to up to four owners. The aircraft will be based in Guam, will carry U.S. registry and will be operated under FAR Part 121 or 135, complete with U.S. aircrews and mechanics. A Gulfstream V will be available to provide backup lift in the event of a booking conflict.
Boeing reported that it has now delivered 52 BBJs, with another 20 in various stages of completion. However, it acknowledged that new sales have slowed since last November, when the manufacturer announced an order total of 83. Last year, 16 BBJs were delivered, including eight in the first half of the year. The manufacturer had a BBJ on static display at the show.
Airbus, Boeing’s chief rival in the bizliner market, brought an ACJ operated by Paris Le Bourget-based charter firm Aero Services to the NBAA show. Airbus hopes to achieve 180-min extended twin-engine operations (ETOPS) approval by January. Most existing operators now have 120-min clearance.
First Production SJ30-2 Makes Debut
Sino Swearingen brought a production SJ30-2 light jet to an NBAA show for the first time, giving the aircraft a week off from flight-test duties and removing its air-data boom to make it more attractive. The new model, powered by a pair of Williams-Rolls FJ44 turbofans, can fly Mach 0.80, with an NBAA IFR range of 2,500 nm at Mach 0.78 and FL 450, consuming less than 737 pph of jet-A. The twinjet can maintain a sea-level cabin altitude up to FL 410.
Sino Swearingen said it has now completed S/N 4, which has just started functional tests. The aircraft will start flight tests this month. The jet is now having systems installed with a view to fully joining the flight program early next year. According to the company, the SJ30-2 is still on track to complete FAA certification by “the end of next year or first quarter 2004 at the latest.” Roughly half of the new entry-level product’s static tests are now complete, including the wing load limit test.
In the meantime, Sino Swearingen has started to manufacture wing and fuselage components for S/N 5 through 10 at its Martinsburg, W.Va. factory. Components are then shipped to San Antonio for assembly and tests. Employment at Martinsburg is set to rise from the current level of 80 to 150 by March next year and to 350 by September 2006.
The cabin mockup at the Sino Swearingen booth in Orlando showed some small changes to the design in the test aircraft. These will be incorporated into the production aircraft, including a new lower-cabinet configuration, a half-cabin-height partition and a recessed optional storage area that has replaced a full-length coat closet.
The company claims orders for 150 SJ30-2s. At the show, two new distributors were signed: Business and Commuter Aircraft at Lyon Bron Airport in France, and Sino Swearingen de Mexico at Mexico City Toluca Airport. There are now 27 distributors worldwide.
Avanti Sets Speed Record
Piaggio’s Avanti pusherprop twin breezed into Orlando Executive Airport, having set a speed record for Class C-1E/2 models (twin turboprops in the 6,614 lb to 13,228 lb mtow range). The 865-nm flight from Meacham International Airport in Fort Worth, Texas, was made in 2 hr 25 min, with the eye-catching Italian turboprop averaging a 361-kt cruise speed at 29,000 ft, despite confronting a 29-kt headwind courtesy of tropical storm Fay.
Having almost disappeared from the market in the mid-1990s, Piaggio signaled to the NBAA crowd that it is back with a vengeance. The company now expects to produce 21 Avantis next year and 27 in 2004.
Intriguing Concepts Abound
Denver-area Adam Aircraft came to Orlando to tout its new A500 composite centerline-thrust twin-boom piston twin, the first production-conforming example of which first flew in July. The $935,000 airplane is set to enter the market next summer.
Powered by 350-hp Continental TSIO-550E engines, the A500 is set to be certified for 25,000-ft cruise at 250 kt and with a maximum range of 1,150 nm. The 13.6-ft-long cabin should maintain a 5,000-ft cabin altitude at 25,000 ft.
According to company executive v-p Chris Finnoff, Adam Aircraft is in the process of appointing regional sales and service centers for the A500. He claimed that orders for more than 50 aircraft have been taken so far.
Another interesting program in the works, Colorado-based Aviation Technology Group displayed a full-scale mockup of its Javelin two-place business jet at NBAA. During the course of the show, it took orders for two more Javelins, and now reports firm orders for more than a dozen of the $2.2 million aircraft, which is set to enter service in 2005.
The Javelin is to be powered by a pair of Williams International FJ33-4 engines, providing for a Mach 0.96 cruise speed and a 1,500-nm range at a direct operating cost of 78 cents per mile or $407.12 per hour. Stall speed is estimated at 95 kt.
ATG president George Bye reported that his team has completed computational fluid-dynamics analysis and two wind-tunnel tests on one-fifth-scale models. The first prototype should be under construction by the end of this month, and first flight is slated for the first quarter of 2004, with FAA Part 23 certification to follow 18 months later.
Also, a mockup of the five-place Maverick personal jet (a kit plane) made it to the floor of the Orange County Convention Center along with its latest backer, celebrated aerobatic pilot Bob Hoover. With a pair of 750-lb-thrust MC750 turbojets, the Maverick is set to cruise at 350 kt and provide a range of up to 1,700 nm. An example of the real airplane was out at the static-display area.
The aircraft’s rate of climb is 3,000 fpm and mtow stall speed is 78 kt. Required takeoff distance is 2,200 ft and landing distance is 1,900 ft. Empty weight is 2,900 lb and gross weight is 5,800 lb. The airframe is 28.5 ft long, nine feet high and has a wingspan of 33.25 ft.
According to Maverick Jets president and CEO Jim McCotter, about a dozen kits have been delivered to date. The company’s production rate is currently five per month and it expects to double that rate.
Improved Service for PC-12s
Pilatus announced the expansion of its support network for the PC-12 turboprop single under the new brand ServiceWorx. Fixed-price support options now include the PlaneTrax electronic maintenance and flight-data tracking plan and Diagnostix propulsion monitoring. Both programs come free in the first year of PC-12 ownership and are thereafter priced annually at $2,000 and $995, respectively.
PlaneTrax forecasts maintenance requirements and documents actions taken as part of the aircraft’s digital log. It allows operators to record their flight time and access aircraft information in real time via a standard Web browser.
The Diagnostix service helps to identify engine-related issues, facilitating preventative maintenance. Pilatus said it is able to automate engine-condition monitoring and provide feedback for customers on recommended measures. Offered in cooperation with The Trend Group–a Pratt & Whitney Canada designated analysis center–Diagnostix is Web-enabled and integrated into PlaneTrax.
On the NBAA exhibition floor, the Swiss airframer also displayed an aircraft featuring a new corporate interior designed by BMW auto stylists based in California. This aircraft sold during the show to Pilatus’ Denver-based dealer, Aviation Sales. The firm also announced the sale of three of the $3 million PC-12s to UK operator Euroskylink, via British dealer Sloane Aviation.
Piper made up for a lack of new-jet news by announcing that a 15-percent useful load increase for its Meridian turboprop is scheduled for approval by year-end. Aerodynamic and structural changes, including the addition of vortex generators to the wings and underside of the horizontal stabilizer, will add 235 lb to the useful load. The airframe has been strengthened in the wing area and the changes are extensive enough to preclude their being offered as a retrofit.
The Meridian’s mtow will also be increased from 4,850 lb to 5,092 lb. There will be no increase in the base price of new production aircraft.
Ibis Aerospace, meanwhile, reported that its Ae270 turboprop single has reached one lifetime of airframe cycles during testing. This represents 20,000 simulated flight hours of stress and fatigue analysis en route to a development program total of 80,000 hr. A third conforming prototype is set to join flight tests in the Czech Republic by year-end. The aircraft is powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66 turboprop, allowing for a maximum cruise speed of 270 kt at 25,000 ft.
FAR Part 23 certification is expected by the end of next year and the airplane should be approved for single-pilot commercial operations. To date, orders for 69 Ae270s have been logged.
Socata Launches TBM 700C2
EADS Socata confirmed the launch of the TBM 700C2 turboprop single. It will offer an mtow increase from 6,579 lb to 7,394 lb. According to the French manufacturer’s CEO, Philippe Debrun, the C2 model will deliver better payload/range performance. With NBAA IFR reserves, it will be able to fly 1,184 nm with a 1,380-lb payload at a 255-kt cruise speed. Carrying a 900-lb payload, the new TBM will be able to take off with full fuel and fly 1,678 nm.
In other news, Commuter Air Technologies announced it is close to gaining the STC for an improved exhaust gas extractor for its Catpass 250 for King Airs. This will reduce backpressure by porting hot gases out more quickly and using a ceramic coating to get rid of cracking, pitting and surface soot. The STC, which will apply to all King Air 200s made since 1987, can boost speed by up to 10 kt and cut fuel burn by up to 20 pph per engine.
Meanwhile, Saab Aircraft Leasing and Piedmont Hawthorne Aviation teamed to display a Saab 340A reconfigured with a new executive interior. The Swedish-built model has been refurbished by Piedmont in Winston-Salem, N.C., and features leather seats, a full-service galley and toilet. It can seat up to 33 passengers in a corporate-shuttle configuration. Washington, D.C.-based Saab Aircraft Leasing has about 300 Saab 340s and 50-seat Saab 2000s on the lease market.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America appointed Aero Air of Hillsboro, Ore., as an authorized service center for the Mitsubishi MU-2. At the same time, Turbine Aircraft Components of Addison, Texas, was named as exclusive distributor for a number of aircraft overhaul components. There are six MU-2 service centers in North America.
Separately, Mitsubishi has contracted with Pacific Scientific to develop a new cockpit shoulder harness for the aircraft. The design features a three-point buckle with a positive locking mechanism.
In the NBAA show’s relatively modest helicopter contingent, Agusta Aerospace announced its first U.S. delivery of the new A109 Power Elite to Fisher Scientific of Portsmouth, N.H. The Elite comes standard with a four-tube EFIS, weather radar, KDM moving-map display and auxiliary fuel tanks. A special damper running from the main transmission to the forward airframe isolates the cabin from the rotor system, reducing both overall aircraft vibrations and interior noise.
The Italian-built rotorcraft was completed at Agusta’s Philadelphia facility. Fisher Scientific has owned and operated nine previous A109s since 1977.
American Eurocopter unveiled a new cabin interior for its EC 155 twin developed in partnership with Heritage Aviation Services. The new design is intended to offer something closer to a business jet standard of comfort while also improving soundproofing.
Using a multi-wall cocoon concept, the Advanced Iso-Quiet Cocoon Interior also allows the EC 155 to be outfitted with more varied seating configurations, from four-place VIP to 10-place high-density, with quick changes possible between these. An electrically actuated interior window can be fitted between the cockpit and cabin, and this can accommodate an MSA Accordia inner shade or a 22-in. monitor. Delivery of the first new interior is scheduled for December and it should be available worldwide in kit form next year.
Engine Makers Make Noise
The hottest engine news at this year’s NBAA show was Honeywell’s launch of the new TFE731-50 engine, offering up to 4,900 lb of takeoff thrust and featuring integrated nacelle and thrust-reverser systems. The new turbofan should complete certification in 2004. It is already being offered for several prospective new airframes, as well as retrofit candidates for models such as the Falcon 900 and 20, the Hawker 800 and 1000 and Learjet 60.
“The -50 is a low-risk derivative of the current -60 production engine, using a common core and a scaled wide-chord damperless fan,” said Honeywell v-p and general manager of propulsion systems Mike Redenbaugh. “We expect the -50 engine will enter service with a 3,000-hour hot section interval and a 10,000-hour compressor zone interval,” he predicted.
Honeywell explained that the new -50 derivative will include the -60’s N1 DEEC system with hydromechanical backup, single-crystal blade material in the high-pressure and first-stage low-pressure turbines and more effective cooling for the vanes and blades. The compressor is also being redesigned to be more durable.
In Orlando, Honeywell also confirmed that it is conducting “serious studies” into a new 500- to 1,000-lb-thrust powerplant for the light rotorcraft market. Separately, by year-end it expects to have completed a 14-percent power upgrade to the LTS101 engine for the AgustaWestland EH-101 large helicopter.
Williams International unveiled its latest and most powerful turbofan, the 3,000-lb-thrust FJ44-3, developed for Cessna’s new Citation CJ3. The new engine, which is already being flown on a CJ2 testbed aircraft, features a better than five-to-one thrust-to-weight ratio and a new, lightweight dual-channel Fadec. It is being developed solely by Williams, unlike the previous FJ44-1 and -2 versions, in which Rolls-Royce is a 15-percent partner.
In other engine news, Pratt & Whitney Canada and Honeywell have agreed to start doing component repairs for each other on some engine models. It is expected that this will cover Honeywell’s TPE331 and TFE731 engines, as well as its 36-100 and -150 auxiliary power units. The deal will also cover P&WC’s PW100 and PT6 turboprops and JT15D turbofan. The work will be done at Honeywell’s component repair facilities in Greer, S.C., and Phoenix, as well as at P&WC’s premises in Wichita Falls, Texas; San Diego; and Hubert, Quebec, Canada.
Hailing the investment as a sign of its long-term optimism for the business aviation market, P&WC reported on the expansion and upgrading of Pratt & Whitney Engines Services’ fly-in repair and service facility at Harrison Marion Regional Airport in Bridgeport, W.Va. The new 22,000-sq-ft building will include a quick-turnaround heavy maintenance line for the PT6, PW300, PW500 and JT15D engines.
By year-end, P&WC expects to start delivering the 800-shp PT6A-66A turboprops developed for Ibis Aerospace’s Ae270HP. Other new support programs include a plan for the PT6A-41/42 product line that will offer savings of up to $58,000 for customers who choose upgrades, such as new turbine blades and disks, as part of an engine overhaul.
Rolls-Royce Boosts Customer Support
Rolls-Royce introduced a new team of regional customer managers (RCM) to expand the maintenance and product support available to business aviation customers. The new service is immediately available to operators of AE3007 and BR710 engines.
All operators will have a dedicated RCM available around the clock. In total, 13 managers will be based in Long Beach, Calif.; Trenton, N.J.; Savannah, Ga.; Indianapolis; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; the UK; and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
In addition, three rival hush-kit providers at the show vied for the attention of operators of older Gulfstreams. Miami-based Quiet Technologies Aerospace said it would receive the STC for its GII/III hush kit in December, two months later than the revised schedule presented at last year’s NBAA event. The STC is now being offered at a special price of $1.5 million and will be installed in partnership with Business Jet Services.
Stage III Technologies of La Jolla, Calif. is now saying that its GII/III hushkit will be STC’d next spring and will be offered at a price of $2 million with a two- to three-week installation downtime. The system is being marketed and installed by Dallas Airmotive.
Finally, Really Quiet of Mojave, Calif., announced the selection of Midcoast Aviation to handle sales, support and installations of its $1.95 million hush kit for the GII/III. The STC was granted in January and downtime is four to six weeks, hopefully reducing to two or three weeks once the installer gets up to speed. Really Quiet is now trying to complete European certification for the hush kit “in the coming months.”
Avionics Companies Show Vision
While it would be premature to call 2002 the year of the enhanced vision system (EVS), news generated during the convention by companies developing EVS for business jets made it clear this was, at least, the year of the EVS exhibitor.
Bombardier announced it is developing an EVS with partners Thales Avionics of France and CMC Electronics of Canada for its Global Express. Flight testing of the system is expected to begin in the first quarter of next year, with customer availability expected in the first quarter of 2005. Texas Instruments’ flight department is the launch customer.
The Bombardier enhanced vision system (BEVS) will be offered as a standard feature on all new Global Express production airplanes delivered as of 2005 and will be available for retrofit through the Bombardier Business Aviation Services network. The price has not yet been solidified, although Bombardier Business Aircraft president Peter Edwards said at the show that it would cost “about $500,000,” making it competitive with the Kollsman EVS certified in the Gulfstream V.
Cessna, meanwhile, announced it has selected Max-Viz of Portland, Ore., to provide its dual IR-sensor-based EVS as an option aboard the Citation X and Sovereign. The EVS-2000 will be offered beginning next year on new Citation Xs and Sovereigns as well as a retrofit to Citation Xs already in service.
Max-Viz president Gregg Fawkes said a firm list price on the EVS-2000 for the Cessna jets has not yet been determined. The single-sensor Max-Viz EVS-1000 being installed and STC’d aboard a Challenger 601-3A by Total Aircraft Services at Van Nuys (Calif.) Airport (VNY) carries an $84,000 price tag. Both systems use uncooled IR sensors.
The EVS-2000 electronically combines imagery from a long-wave (eight to 12 microns) sensor and a short-wave sensor focused on 1.5 microns. Fawkes said the latter has proven to give the optimum detection and display of runway lights, which is essential for safer night and low-RVR approaches and landings.
Kollsman Avionics, the Merrimack, N.H. company that was the first to certify an IR EVS for business aviation (in the Gulfstream V), featured its latest product, Night Window, targeted at operators seeking only improved situational awareness during VFR night operations.
Able to fit on smaller aircraft, the $80,000 uncooled night VFR system can, like the Kollsman All Weather Window, project a photographic negative-like image of airport structures and ground features, either as a real-time overlay onto a raster HUD or displayed on an MFD.
The All Weather Window, said Kollsman, is the only commercially certified EVS in the world and the only real-time, fully independent equipment of its kind. It uses a proprietary cooled infrared sensor with sufficient sensitivity and resolution to reveal terrain and airport environments in weather-reduced day or night visibility. Kollsman Avionics expects its All Weather Window EVS, now in service on the GV, to be certified on the GIV by year-end.
Rockwell Collins Nabs New Business
Rockwell Collins, meanwhile, took the lion’s share of new business at the convention, at least in terms of being selected as a vendor for new aircraft programs announced at the show. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa company’s Pro Line 21 avionics system was selected as standard for both the Cessna Citation CJ3 and Gulfstream G150.
The information provided by the integrated avionics system–attitude, heading, altitude, airspeed, engine data, navigation maps, weather radar and TCAS surveillance–will be displayed on the CJ3 flight deck’s 10- by 8-in. high-resolution liquid-crystal displays. Bezel-mounted menu selectors will simplify access to display formats adapted for each phase of flight, said a spokeswoman.
The Pro Line 21 package in the G150 will carry as standard four 12- by 10-in. LCDs. Like the Pro Line 21 package on the CJ3, it is integrated with the system’s partitioned processing capabilities. The Pro Line 21 on the G150 will include the Collins FMS-6000 flight management system and Pro Line 21 CNS communication, navigation and surveillance sensors, supporting transition from voice to data communication and enabling operators to meet new regulatory and operating requirements, said Collins.
In other news from Collins, the company touted its latest acquisition, cabin in-flight entertainment supplier Airshow. At the convention, Collins launched Airshow 21, an initiative that seeks to merge cabin and cockpit electronics throughout the aircraft. And, separately, Airbus announced it has appointed the company as the “avionics supplier of reference” for its Airbus Corporate Jetliner (ACJ). Under terms of the deal, all ACJs will be delivered with Collins communications, navigation and surveillance equipment, unless otherwise specified by the customer.
Airshow, meanwhile, announced that it has joined forces with industry rival DPI labs, at least for the time being, to produce a cabin avionics system for business aviation travelers who need “uninterrupted access to news and amenities worldwide, including satellite-direct television, in-flight entertainment and cabin-management functions.”
The partnership came at the prompting of completion and refurbishment specialist Jet Aviation, which turned to DPI and Airshow as its choices to create the “next generation” cabin.
Key to the project is Airshow’s new Tailwind 550 multi-region airborne satellite-direct television system, interfaced with DPI Labs’ Smart-Link IIIO SL-III cabin-management operating system. Tailwind 550, specifically designed for multi-region satellite reception, including the Middle East, uses an antenna with 30 percent greater efficiency than currently available. Satellite reception is over the entire band, from 10.7 GHz to 12.75 GHz, to allow smooth transitions from one geographic service provider to the next by use of multi-region auto-detection technology.
TAWS Market Heats Up
On the TAWS front, Goodrich announced the long-anticipated receipt of TSO and STC approvals for its LandMark terrain awareness and warning system, which it also announced has been selected by Cessna as a special equipment option aboard the CJ1 and CJ2, and as standard on the new CJ3.
The LandMark TAWS class-B system generates a continuous lookdown view of terrain with predictive warnings derived from GPS position, track and speed, altitude and aircraft configuration. Goodrich said the system can present terrain imagery “onto the widest array of displays” and will interface with the Cessna jets’ EFIS displays. The LandMark system was FAA certified in August, the company said at the show, adding that type certification aboard the CJ1/2 was expected to be issued “in the coming weeks.”
Phoenix-based Aviation Communication and Surveillance Systems (ACSS), a subsidiary of New York City-headquartered L-3 Communications and French manufacturer Thales Avionics, recently added the L-3 Display Systems SuperSet 6.4 multi-function display (MFD) to its portfolio. ACSS, the product of a European Commission-mandated spin-off of the Honeywell/AlliedSignal merger, manufactures the TCAS 2000 traffic collision avoidance system and the soon-to-be-certified terrain and traffic collision avoidance system (T2CAS).
The SuperSet 6.4 MFD is the first entry into the commercial aviation market for L-3, which specializes in secure communications and display systems for military and government applications. Drawing on its military experience, L-3 built the high-resolution SuperSet display to meet a wide range of cockpit traffic, terrain and radar display requirements.
“The SuperSet family of displays is based on a new design using the latest AMLCD [active matrix liquid crystal display] technology,” said Bob McGill, president of L-3 Display Systems. “The SuperSet 6.4 MFD is a cost-effective, high-performance dis-play targeted at jet customers using TAWS, TCAS, cockpit display of traffic information [CDTI] and weather radar applications.”
FedEx, the first commercial customer of the L-3 SuperSet 6.4 MFD, recently selected the display as a companion to the ACSS T2CAS system on its fleet of Fokker F-27s.
Gulfstream Orders Arinc Broadband Link
Gulfstream announced during the show it has ordered 40 of Arinc’s new SkyLink in-flight broadband satellite communications systems for installation on its jets. It is the launch order for the system, which Arinc claims offers Internet connections that are five times faster and a third the price of Inmarsat’s rival Swift64 service.
Arinc senior director for in-flight passenger systems Tom Mullan said SkyLink is now achieving connection rates of around 540 Kbps. By the time the service goes fully operational during the second quarter of next year it is expected to deliver data rates as high as eight to 10 megabytes per second. The Annapolis, Md.-based company plans to sell monthly subscription packages similar in concept to those offered in the cellphone market–plans equate to a connection cost of around $3.33 per minute, said Mullan.
In a demonstration to Gulfstream last month, he said, Arinc accessed a Web site via a broadband landline, SkyLink and Swift64. Mullan claimed that SkyLink reached the site less than one second after the land connection was established, but several minutes before the Swift64 link.
But at the NBAA show Inmarsat marketing manager Simon Tudge maintained that Swift64 providers are not as far behind the new broadband service as the basic 64-Kbps connection rate would suggest. For instance, EMS Technologies has two 64-Kbps channels and, by using data compression, claims speeds equivalent to 512 Kbps.
AirCell, meanwhile, introduced two new airborne telecommunications products, the AST 3500, which combines cellular technology with the Iridium satcom network, and the ST 3100, which relies exclusively on Iridium. Deliveries of the systems are scheduled to begin next month.
Using AirCell’s patented airborne cellular technology, the AST 3500 provides telephone, fax, e-mail, data and weather information to the cockpit virtually anywhere in the continental U.S. The system’s Iridium transceiver accesses Iridium’s global network of low-earth-orbit (LEO) satellites that provide seamless worldwide satcom telephone and data services. Both networks feature air-to-ground and ground-to-air operation.
The new ST 3100 Iridium-only system provides telephone and data capability through the worldwide Iridium satellite network. It is identical in size and has the same installation flexibility as the AST 3500. Both systems are designed for easy retrofit into most existing AirCell installations, said a company spokesman.
Cabin-management system specialist Baker Electronics, meanwhile, made its presence felt at NBAA with the announcement of the new Baker MP System, a cabin-entertainment product that the company said will offer complete digital distribution over a single databus of command and control data, entertainment audio and video and computer network data. A redundant databus ensures system reliability.
“We believe the Ethernet-based system is the future,” said chairman and CEO Robert Barwick. The gigabyte Ethernet backbone, he explained, is a necessity for high-quality transmission and to accommodate growing bandwidth requirements. A modular arrangement of Ethernet zones within the cabin would also increase efficiency and allow for easier integration of other cabin equipment, such as laptop computers.
Describing the Sarasota, Fla.-based company as relatively young and agile, Barwick said Baker is moving ahead quickly in development of the MP System and expects to come to market with a product by next summer.
Jeppesen Announces Two Deals
Jeppesen took the opportunity at NBAA to introduce a new jet-fuel purchasing program, Jeppesen World Fuel Services, and a deal with Honeywell for e-charts.
Jeppesen formed an alliance with World Fuel Services, which supplies fuel at 1,500 airports around the world. Paul Stebbins, chairman and CEO of World Fuel Services, said that as corporate aircraft get larger and travel farther, finding fuel at a competitive price is important. With Jeppesen’s flight services and World Fuel’s global logistics and supply network, customers can expect to find competitively priced fuel at more than 1,100 airports around the world, the companies announced.
Jeppesen also offered details of an alliance to provide its Integrated Navigation Data Service for Honeywell’s Primus Epic with INAV (interactive navigation) avionics. The combination will provide “unequaled situational awareness,” said Ronald Bauer, Jeppesen business development executive.
The service includes a suite of worldwide navigation information, including electronic Jeppesen charts, en route navigation data, geopolitical boundary information, airspace and communications data, terrain data and obstacles. Electronic Jeppesen charts will be presented on Primus Epic with INAV’s 10- by 13-in. liquid crystal displays, and Jeppesen data will be used to provide graphical navigation information on the moving-map display. Pilots can graphically depict such information as navigation aids, airways, airspace boundaries, airports and runways. Terrain, traffic and weather can also be depicted on the displays.
On the completions, refurbs and maintenance front, B/E Aerospace showcased its latest innovations at NBAA, in particular its first fully electric seat for the Gulfstream V. The new seat features electric headrests, leg rests, track and swivel, lumbar support and recline mechanisms. The seat also highlights upholstery capabilities using a design in partnership with Robinson Design.
Also shown were the company’s latest-generation seats for the Gulfstream G200. Thanks to a “finite element analysis” process, these are substantially lighter than current seat designs.
B/E also had on display its “one of a kind” comfort seating system. The movement of the seat simulates “a subtle walking-like motion” designed to reduce restlessness, fatigue, discomfort, lower-back pain and stiffness.
SimuFlite Launches CJ Training Program
CAE SimuFlite added CitationJet pilot training at its Dallas/Fort Worth center, and courses are now available for inital, upgrade and recurrent programs. SimuFlite's level-D CitationJet simulater received FAA approval in August and joins a bevy of other Citation simulators already in operation at the Dallas center, including Citation II, III/VI/VII, V, Ultra/Bravo and Excel devices. SimuFlite also announced it has completed construction of a new 70,000-sq-ft wing at the Dallas center, the third major expansion of that facility in the last six years. The new north wing houses six simulatr bays, additional classrooms and office space.
Nordam Named Embraer Service Center
The Nordam Group announced that international subsidiary Nordam Europe Ltd. (NEL) has been designated an authorized service center for Embraer Aviation International. Selected structural airframe components, including flight-control surfaces and engine nacelles, are part of the authorization awarded in June. NEL, a joint venture with General Electric Aircraft Engine Services, is a full-service airframe component, reverser and nacelle overhaul and repair facility with rotable and spares support servicing the European region. Tom Wilson, NEL managing director and v-p of Nordam international operations, said NEL’s service center designation from Embraer was determined by past support to Embraer’s European customer base.
Becker Shows ‘Intuitive’ RMU
Becker Avionics used the NBAA Convention spotlight to introduce its new RMU 5000 radio management unit, part of a complete IFR suite consisting of communication and navigation transceivers. Designed to be “highly intuitive,” the RMU includes pilot-selectable features that Becker claims are unique to its offering. The company is planning to offer an Arinc 429 interface with the RMU, and also to provide an upgraded version that it said will be compatible with night-vision goggles. Becker also announced that its RT 5202 transceiver, capable of 8.33-kHz channel spacing, is close to completing certification testing.
Air Routing, Arinc Team on Flight Services
Air Routing International announced it has teamed with Arinc to offer business jet operators “a portfolio of more than 25 flight services for business aviation” under the trade name Arinc Direct. According to the announcement, “Arinc Direct offers a full complement of flight information and safety applications, delivered via datalink, as well as worldwide trip planning, concierge and ground handling services” arranged through Air Routing’s global network of service offices and agents. Part of the service includes security briefings from Air Security International, which monitors security problems around the world.
Weather Provider Unveils Storm Tracking Option
MxVision AviationSentry, a PC-based weather system designed exclusively for the aviation industry, now provides pilots and FBOs with storm tracking and lightning detection, a spokesman for data provider Meteorlogix said at NBAA. The service receives real-time data from satellite download, including regional and local radar, weather satellite photos and aviation-specific forecast maps. With the click of a mouse, pilots can see not only where a storm is, but also where it’s heading and what time it is expected to get there.
Collins To Offer WSI InFlight Weather
Rockwell Collins selected WSI InFlight to provide up-to-the-minute weather briefings to aircraft equipped with Collins Pro Line 21 flight-deck displays. WSI’s InFlight system uses satellite technology to continuously broadcast weather data and near-term forecasts to any aircraft equipped with WSI’s special-purpose antenna and receiver. WSI’s flagship weather offering, called NOWrad–which depicts areas of rain, snow and mixed precipitation, along with cell tops and movement and Metars and TAFs–will be included as a standard part of the Collins package.