On Friday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood laid out the likely consequences to his department and the FAA of possible automatic federal budget cuts, known as sequestration, that are scheduled to start March 1. In the absence of a revised budget deal between the Obama Administration and Congress, he said the FAA is planning $600 million in cuts through the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends September 30.
AINalerts » February 26, 2013
Canada-based Diamond Aircraft has again suspended its single-engine D-Jet program and has temporarily laid off the majority of its workforce while it restructures. “Regrettably, we need to suspend activity on the D-Jet program, pending the securing of additional funding,” said Diamond president and CEO Peter Maurer in a press release issued yesterday.
The emergence from bankruptcy of Hawker Beechcraft last week not only marked the beginning of the new Beechcraft Corp., but also signaled the end of the Hawker business jet line. Choosing to focus instead on its turboprop products, government contracts and aircraft service, the Wichita-based manufacturer has shut down all jet production and sold its remaining inventory of new and in-production Hawker 4000s and Premier IAs.
The wide-cabin Gulfstream G650 recently established four city-pair speed records in five days, the Savannah, Ga.-based aircraft manufacturer announced yesterday. “The G650, which entered service just over two months ago, is redefining what business jet operators can expect from their aircraft,” said company president Larry Flynn.
The G650’s most recent city-pair record came on January 28 on a flight from Moscow Vnukovo Airport to Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport. It flew the 4,774-nm route in 9 hours 33 minutes, with an average speed of 574 mph.
The FAA has begun the process that could lead to rewriting the standards for normal- and transport-category helicopters certified under Parts 27 and 29 of the FARs. On Friday, the agency formally issued a request for public comment due on or before May 23. Specifically, the FAA is seeking comments on whether it should revise the maximum weight and passenger-seat capacity for helicopters in both categories and make airworthiness standards “more efficient and adaptable to future technology.”
On Thursday, Finmeccanica’s board nominated Daniele Romiti as the new CEO of subsidiary AgustaWestland, replacing Bruno Spagnolini. Romiti, who was promoted from COO, has since been endorsed for the position by AgustaWestland’s own board. Spagnolini and Giuseppe Orsi, CEO of AW parent Finmeccanica, were arrested February 12 as part of an ongoing bribery investigation involving the sale of 12 AW101 VIP helicopters to the government of India.
Daher-Socata’s latest TBM 850 Elite version of its turboprop single includes an L-3 Avionics Trilogy ESI-2000 electronic standby instrument, which replaces an electromechanical instrument found on previous versions. The TBM 850 Elite, which debuted last year, also includes further improvements, such as two new interior leather colors, perforated seat backs for better comfort and an optional special package with a deluxe leather interior and a storage cabinet. The aircraft’s comprehensive maintenance program has also been enhanced.
Sandpoint, Idaho-based Quest Aircraft announced several promotions of key personnel today. Paul Duff, Jason Eddy and Steve Zinda have been promoted to vice presidents of their respective departments: supply chain; engineering and operations; and sales, marketing and customer service. Kenny Stidham, who joined Quest in April 2005 as the engineering test pilot, has also been promoted to the newly created position of director of flight operations and safety.
Bell Helicopter delivered the first Bell 429 light twins to customers in Nigeria last week. They are also the first Bell 429s to be shipped to operators on the African continent. One of the helicopters was handed over to the Nigeria Police Air Wing (NPAW) and the other went to the Nigeria Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). The NPAW will use the Bell 429 for general law enforcement, surveillance and force projection, while the NEMA will fly the aircraft for disaster relief and humanitarian support missions.
UK-based Bond Offshore Helicopters has won a $24 million contract with BW Offshore for transportation services to its “Limited Floating Production Storage and Offtake vessel” operated on behalf of Ithaca Energy in the Athena oil field, approximately 100 nm northeast of Aberdeen, Scotland. Operations are due to begin in March with an AgustaWestland AW139. The contract covers three years and includes options to extend the period.