Following congressional hearings last month on the February crash of a twin-engine turboprop near Buffalo, N.Y., senior officials from U.S. airlines, pilot unions and the FAA agreed in a closed-door meeting June 15 to several major actions to improve safety programs and pilot training at the nation’s airlines.
Aviation International News » July 2009
Aerion last month at the Paris Air Show said it is nearing a decision on an aerospace manufacturing partner to lead the development and production of its supersonic business jet (SSBJ) design. According to the company, the next step is to carry out a pre-launch phase jointly with the OEM to confirm the Mach 1.6 jet’s performance, costs and market before formal launch in the third quarter of next year.
Spectrum Aeronautical sister company Rocky Mountain Composites completed a test article version of the all-composite S.40 Freedom midsize jet fuselage at its Spanish Fork, Utah manufacturing facility. The fuselage manufacturing demonstrator (FMD) is the first of a series and was built as a single piece using co-cured carbon/polymer material, also known as the company’s FibeX process.
Honeywell last month said it completed initial testing of renewable jet fuel on its 131-9 APU and TFE731-5 turbofan engine. Bob Smith, vice president for advanced technology, said the company had seen “no degradation in engine performance or fuel consumption.” The biofuel was produced by Honeywell’s UOP unit using oil from jatropha plants and algae.
“Available business jet inventories look finally to be stabilizing,” UBS Investment Research noted in its latest business jet update, although pre-owned inventory remains at record-high levels, at 18 percent of the in-service fleet.
The first Gulfstream G250 super-midsize business jet had its Honeywell HTF7250G engines mounted on June 1 at Israel Aerospace Industries’ factory in Tel Aviv. The wing was mated to the fuselage on May 12, exactly one week after the first power-on test had taken place. The aircraft’s first flight is loosely pegged for “later this year,” while certification is scheduled for 2011.
The gap between U.S. business aircraft flying activity this year versus last year continued to narrow in May, according to TraqPak data from ARG/US. While activity in May was down by 15.5 percent from the compared year-ago period, TraqPak data also indicates that business aircraft activity in May increased 3.3 percent from April. More good news is that Part 91 activity eked out a 0.1-percent gain in May compared with the same month last year.
Now that JetDirect Aviation has closed and gone bankrupt and Wayfarer Aviation has arisen from the JetDirect assets, former employees of the once high-flying company have branched off in new directions. Wayfarer Aviation is the new charter/management firm owned by Brantley Partners, which purchased assets of JetDirect Aviation after that firm’s shutdown.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) appears to be taking seriously the 7,000-plus submitted comments opposing the proposed large aircraft security program (LASP) regulations. John Sammon, TSA assistant administrator for transportation sector network management, soothed attendees at the NATA Air Charter Summit last month when he said, “We rely to a large extent on NATA members for developing operational solutions.
“Up slightly.” That’s the hopeful phrase often on the lips of those in business aviation these days when describing the health of the industry. Up slightly–ever so slightly in some cases–and in too many cases, not at all.