The 2003 NBAA Convention celebrated the centennial of manned powered flight with some powerful and exotic hardware, including three new derivative airplanes that would have astonished Orville and Wilbur.
Aviation International News » November 2003
The first four years of the 2000s have been a trial for aviation. While the decade got off to a heady start in 2000 with the high times of the late-1990s boom still going strong, by the spring of 2001 the industry’s fortunes were taking a southerly course.
UltraJet, a membership-based charter company, has ordered 105 ProJets, the proposed very light twinjet from Westport, Conn.-based startup Avocet Aircraft, a U.S./Israeli joint venture. Announced at last month’s NBAA gathering in Orlando, the order is secured by a refundable deposit.
Personal jets, mini-jets, ultra-light jets, very light jets. The category has many names and now many contenders. But no company has yet brought a very light business jet to certification and production. Several programs that have been displayed over the years at past NBAA conventions, such as the Alberta Phoenix FanJet and Century Aerospace Century Jet, are now “on the shelf” and may stay there forever.
Raytheon Aircraft has appointed Randy Groom president of its Beechcraft division, which consists of the Bonanza, Baron and Premier lines. The Beechcraft and Hawker brands were separated last year to focus and strengthen the level of quality and product-support efforts for the respective lines. Groom was formerly senior vice president at Piedmont Hawthorne Aviation in Winston-Salem, N.C., a Beechcraft authorized service center and dealer.
Learjet–arguably business aviation’s most enduring brand name–turned 40 last month. At the NBAA Convention, Learjet team members and customers, both past and present, gathered to hail the anniversary of the Lear 23’s 4 p.m. first flight on Oct. 7, 1963. And, with the looming service entry of the new Learjet 40 and 45XR models, Bombardier is determined to ensure the 40-year-old avoids any sort of midlife crisis.
In separate efforts, Jet Aviation and Kollsman are the latest companies to explore possible anti-surface-to-air-missile (SAM) systems. Jet Aviation, a subsidiary of a Swiss-based company with U.S. headquarters in West Palm Beach, Fla., is reportedly in talks with possible system vendors Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.
A proposed AD would mandate replacing the pitot probes on nearly 160 U.S.-registered Hawker 800XPs because of reports that they have frozen above FL290, causing erroneous airspeed indications. New probes and their installation would cost about $14,500 per airplane, according to the FAA. Replacement would be required at the next 24-month inspection after the compliance date of the directive. Comments on the proposal are due by November 28.
Gulfstream has penned a letter of intent with Safe Flight Instrument for the supply of the latter company’s Enhanced AutoPower automatic throttle system as an option for new Gulfstream 200s, as well as for retrofit for G200s and Galaxies already in service. An STC for the system is expected by early next summer, upon the completion of 10 to 25 flight test hours.
Air China Business Jet will launch its planned charter service with a Gulfstream IV, the first large-cabin Gulfstream to be based in China. The aircraft was officially delivered to Air China representatives at last month’s NBAA Convention in Orlando, Fla. The aircraft is being provided under an initial minimum one-year lease, which also gives Air China the option to purchase a new G200, G300 or G400 before the lease expires.