The prospect of marginally qualified pilots hurtling through the rarefied atmosphere of the flight levels in very light jets and promoting fear and loathing in the heavy-metal professionals–which is how some people view the imminent advent of the “Volksjet” era–has been a topic of lively debate of late, and no surprise to Eclipse Aviation founder, president and CEO Vern Raburn.
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.
Beyond the merriment that the very light jet is coming to market, the insurance industry is preparing to drop the curtain in the final act.
It’s an unusual fact that, unlike just about any other marketable items, very light jets (VLJs), alcohol and tobacco share one unique characteristic. Even if you have the money, the seller can refuse to sell them to you if you’re not qualified. What’s more, those qualifications are all based on time, measured in years for would-be drinkers and smokers, and in left-seat hours for would-be VLJ pilots. Of course, this is as it should be.
Bombardier recently delivered the 150th aircraft in its Global series. The milestone aircraft, a Global 5000, was delivered on August 26 to Dwight Management of St. Paul, Minn. The line entered service in 1997 with the first Global Express.
Northrop Grumman expected to begin last month “operational testing and evaluation” of its Guardian civil aircraft counter-manpads air defense system aboard an MD-11 and, later this year, a 747. The Rolling Meadows, Ill. firm said it received Department of Homeland Security approval for the Guardian design earlier this month.
Embraer’s Legacy business jet received Brazilian and FAA certification to use airports with elevations of up to 9,500 feet msl, allowing operations to Telluride and Aspen, Colo., and Quito, Ecuador, among others. Fifty-eight Legacys are operating in 15 countries, according to Embraer.
Around the beginning of this month Avantair was expected to take delivery of another Piaggio Avanti. This aircraft will be not only the 22nd for the fractional provider but also the 100th Avanti delivered–exactly 15 years to the month since the turboprop twin received certification in October 1990.
“The MU-2B turboprop does not need yet another certification review,” according to AOPA. The issue stems from two recent accidents involving MU-2Bs at Denver Centennial Airport. That led to a demand from Colorado lawmakers that the FAA investigate the safety of the twin turboprop.
One month after the inaugural Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition in Shanghai, China, Boeing Business Jets received its first-ever order from a Chinese customer. An undisclosed private individual based in Hong Kong signed a contract for a BBJ early last month, bringing the sales tally for the type to 98.
Last month James Bass replaced Chuck Suma as president and CEO of Piper Aircraft. The change was announced in a terse statement by the Vero Beach, Fla. manufacturer, but the decision would have been made by American Capital Strategies, the Bethesda, Md., investment firm that purchased Piper in 2003.