Undoubtedly, it is still too early to gauge all the effects the September 11 terrorist attacks will have on any segment of aviation. But the signs are emerging that business aviation–with its added security element of direct pilot/passenger interaction, as well as its easy-on, easy-off access–will probably soar above current levels. As in years past, each new group of business aviation experts learns from what is occurring around them.
What began as a concept that met with outright skepticism and indeed some hostility by the established aviation industry has blossomed into a viable branch of business and personal transportation that continues to fuel manufacturers’ production lines, gobbles up flight crews and, at least for now, staves off recessionary pressures by keeping order books fat.
The Harbin-Embraer Aircraft joint manufacturing venture on September 28 delivered the first of 100 airplanes to its biggest Chinese customer, Hainan Airlines Group (HNA) subsidiary Grand China Express.
Rep. Anthony Weiner’s (D-N.Y.) proposal to subject all general aviation passengers and property to security screening was short-lived in the face of strong opposition from general aviation interests.
General aviation was of one voice as it charged up Capitol Hill to shoot down the proposed legislation before it got off the ground, and Weiner withdrew the bill.
The Lufthansa Technik-led Platinet support program for business aircraft operators is up and running. The German aircraft maintenance and completions firm has assembled an initial group of partners for the service and is now looking to expand the geographical scope of the support network.
During a recent press conference to report quarterly results, Bombardier Aerospace president and CEO Pierre Beaudoin dismissed as untrue persistent industry speculation that the Learjet line is on the block or that Learjet assembly work and the role of the Wichita flight-test center would be moved from Wichita to Montreal. The Tucson facility will become a dedicated service center for Bombardier’s business and regional jets.
There were 12 nonfatal accidents, three fatal accidents and 21 fatalities resulting from U.S.-registered business jet crashes in the first nine months of this year, compared with seven nonfatal accidents, five fatal accidents and 15 fatalities in the first nine months of last year, according to safety analyst firm Robert E. Breiling Associates of Boca Raton, Fla.
Business aviation may win a few more converts as a result of the most recent Transportation Security Administration (TSA) edict expanding the use of manual pat-down searches during “secondary” screening.
The NTSB’s recently released factual report on the fatal crash of a chartered Gulfstream III at Aspen (Colo.) Airport (ASE) last March 29 does not provide a determination of cause.
While three companies are competing to market FAR Part 36 Stage 3 hush kits for the Gulfstream II, IIB and III, two–Really Quiet and Stage III Technologies–have been developing their respective systems much longer than either originally planned. Really Quiet could very well be the first to receive FAA certification, which is expected this month.