There are 12 very light jets currently in development, in flight-test or recently certified. Nearly all are clean-sheet designs, which typically consume more money and time than do derivatives, illustrating the faith manufacturers (and would-be manufacturers) have in this emerging market.
News and issues relating to business, corporate and private aviation, primarily regarding turbine-engine powered airplanes and helicopters. Subjects include aircraft, engines, personnel, acquisitions, accidents, safety, security and training.
Start-up manufacturer Spectrum Aeronautical announced last month that it has selected the GE/Honda HF120 turbofan engine to power a new $6.2 million (2006 $) midsize business jet called the S-40 Freedom.
With the announcement, Spectrum became the second customer for the 2,050-pound-thrust engine, currently in development and slated for certification in 2009. The S-40’s certification and first deliveries are “targeted for” 2010.
One year after Embraer announced that it was jumping into the VLJ and light jet markets with a capital commitment of more than $200 million, the company has built a solid order book for its Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 models. The latest major order before the NBAA Convention was announced last month when Embraer revealed that Houston-based Magnum Jet has placed a $137 million order for 50 Phenom 100s and options for 50 more.
Despite a rash of accidents in June involving U.S.-registered turbine business airplanes, there were fewer fatalities in the first six months of this year than in the same period last year, according to safety analyst Robert E. Breiling Associates of Boca Raton, Fla. However, the number of fatal accidents involving U.S.-owned business jets increased while those involving business turboprops remained unchanged.
Less than a year from its planned service entry next September, the all-composite Grob SPn light jet is preparing to make a serious push on the North American marketplace with new sales and product support initiatives being announced this week.
Enormous banners that hung from the façade of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando last month proclaimed the NBAA Convention offered “A year’s worth of business in just three days.” It certainly felt that way.
The record-setting event held from October 17 to 19 was a showcase for airplane introductions, product rollouts and announcements of stratospheric order tallies.
Honeywell’s turbine engine folks are poised for show and tell about something new from something old–the time-tested TFE731 turbofan family–and something a lot newer: advanced technology aimed at developing a state-of-the-art engine in the 10,000-pound-thrust class.
Spectrum Aeronautical (Booth No. 2142) continues to develop its Model 33 VLJ following the fatal crash of its sole prototype on July 25. In recent weeks the company has buttressed its engineering staff with new hires and is proceeding with the design and building of a conformal test article that will fly “in about a year,” according to Austin Blue, Spectrum’s president.
On August 8 Honda Motor Co. launched a new company, Honda Aircraft, which will certify the very light HondaJet in three to four years. The company is headed by long-time Honda engineer Michimasa Fujino, who spent the past 20 years quietly studying the aviation marketplace and technology before designing a new airplane that promises to offer strong competition in the sub-10,000-pound business jet class.
When Embraer decided to enter the business jet market after the successful launch of a family of regional airliners in the 1990s, the company’s chief executive had a clear vision for the future. Mauricio Botelho–the man who led Embraer’s resurgence after the Brazilian government privatized the company in 1994–was determined that Embraer also be a significant force in the market for business jets, and not merely a niche player.