NBAA Convention News

Industry Perspective: Hawker Beechcraft

 - October 14, 2009, 6:11 AM

Bill Boisture joined Hawker Beechcraft as chairman and CEO on March 23. An experienced and current commercial/instrument pilot, Boisture flew fighters in the U.S. Air Force and graduated from the Air Force and Navy (Topgun) Fighter Weapons Schools, achieving the rank of major. He holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Air Force Academy and a master’s in business administration from the University of New Haven.

Before joining Hawker Beechcraft, Boisture was president of commercial aircraft leasing company Intrepid Aviation and a senior advisor for private-equity firm The Carlyle Group. He also has years of experience in the operational segments of aviation, as president of fractional-share operator NetJets and former chairman and CEO of FBO chain Butler Aviation. On the manufacturing side, he served as president of Gulfstream Aerospace and British Aerospace Corporate Jets.

Shortly after Boisture took the job at Hawker Beechcraft, he said that returning to the manufacturing business “feels good, I’m glad to be back in it.” At the time, he was flying a Cirrus SR-22GT, but 30 minutes after his arrival at Hawker Beechcraft headquarters, Brad Hatt, president of commercial sales, offered to take the Cirrus in trade on a new Beech Bonanza. “Both are good airplanes,” Boisture said, “but understandably I have a strong bias for the Bonanza.” Since then, he has flown the Hawker 4000. “I was very impressed with the handling and performance of the airplane, and the way the systems are mechanized in the cockpit, the ergonomics–it’s just an overall very good airplane.”

The Hawker 4000 program has had its share of challenges, with a difficult and lengthy certification process and slow initial deliveries. According to Boisture, “We are concurrently producing and incorporating late changes in the type design that need to be filtered into the production line as we move forward. The delays in bringing the Hawker 4000 to market have been disappointing. We’ve made some good progress this year, but have work to do before we reach a predictable cadence.”