The world of business aviation woke up to a surprise here at the Paris Air Show today with the unforeseen launch of a highly versatile new private jet. The all-composite Grob SPn Utility Jet is both a niche-filler and challenger, offered by its developers as the long-awaited successor to Raytheon’s Beechcraft King Air workhorses and a more-industrious alternative to the emerging crop of light executive jets.
Business Aviation » Business Aviation Aircraft
News and issues relating to business, aircraft, primarily turbine-engine powered airplanes and helicopters.
It wasn’t immediately clear how the Grob SPn light business jet program will be affected by yesterday’s crash of the second prototype near the company’s airfield in Tussenhausen-Mattsies, Germany, killing chief test pilot Gerard Guillaumaud, 45, the sole occupant. The Williams FJ44-powered aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff while returning to the runway and was destroyed. It first flew September 29 and had logged 28 flight hours.
In a letter sent yesterday to Eclipse 500 buyers, Eclipse Aviation outlined design changes to help the very light twinjet achieve promised performance goals. Changes include larger metal tip tanks, which add three gallons to the previously announced 16.5 per side, for a total of 19.5 gallons per tank. Total fuel capacity will be 1,668 pounds, while mtow will remain 5,920 pounds, for a decrease in useful load of 40 pounds.
Gulfstream Aerospace President Bryan Moss made his company’s position on supersonic business jets clear at a Paris press conference yesterday when he said, “If you want to get me fired, just report that Gulfstream is developing a supersonic business jet.”
Piaggio Aero Industries yesterday sold a Piaggio P.180 Avanti II to an undisclosed French customer. The new twin turboprop pusher will be delivered in January 2008. The deal was struck here at Le Bourget by the Italian manufacturer’s French agent Theirry Boutsen.
Selected by Grob to design and engineer the cabins for both the new SPn Utility Jet and the G-160 Ranger, Germany’s Rücker Aerospace could draw on the experience of its Spanish parent, which is a center of excellence for automotive styling and design.
When the Dassault Falcon 7X arrived at Le Bourget on Friday to begin its debut appearance at the Paris Air Show, pilots Yves Kerherve’ and Philippe Deleume taxied the new trijet not to the airshow static display right away but to the ramp of Dassault Falcon Services (DFS), just to the northeast of the air and space museum.
A market research study commissioned by Aerion Corp. has confirmed the demand for the Aerion supersonic business jet (SSBJ) concept to the satisfaction of chairman and chief investor Robert Bass, while low-speed wind-tunnel testing of an 8-percent scale model has shown the need for some refinements of the design.
Structural failure appears to have caused the fatal crash of the second Grob SPn prototype light jet near the company airfield in Tussenhausen-Mattsies, Germany, on November 29. Grob Aerospace CEO Niall Olver told AIN that the elevators and left-hand stabilizer separated from the aircraft before impact and were found “several hundred feet” behind the main wreckage. “We know they separated,” said Olver, “but we don’t know why.”
A high-performance but economical business aircraft designed in the UK will be manufactured soon in the United Arab Emirates after an agreement between the Gulf Aircraft Partnership and the Gulf Aircraft Maintenance Co. (Gamco) is finalized.