Fifteen years ago, one of my first assignments for AIN was to travel to the NATA Convention in Las Vegas. (You are now reading one of my last assignments.) The schedule called for me to arrive in Glitter Gulch on Friday, April 5, 1991, for the final day of the convention.
Annual special reports and features from AIN Publications, including the reports from the annual FBO and Product Support Surveys. Other topics include Completions and Refurbishment, Cabin Electronics, New Business Jets, New Regional Jets, New Rotorcraft, pilot reports of aircraft and others, as well as one-of-a-kind special reports on numerous other aviation topics.
First the good news, or at least the news that most people in the international aerospace and defense industry can agree on. Last month’s 46th Paris Air Show was the most dynamic and commercially upbeat gathering of the global business since the June 2001 show, which had been staged in what now seem like halcyon days just before 9/11 and the still-unfolding torment of what has followed.
Two years ago at this time, Jim Renfro, president and owner of Highlands Aviation at Avon Park, Fla., said he was spending most of his time on the road, “drumming up business and hanging on.” Last July, he allowed that things were looking better and his small independent shop was booked through the summer. As it turned out, last year was “the best year we’ve ever had,” and as of June this year, the company was booked well into the fall.
In the aftermath of 9/11, the number-one priority quickly became answering “How did it happen?” and “How do we stop it from happening again?”
Four years later, we know how it happened, leaving the matter of how to stop it from happening again, and raising a third question: “How safe are we?”
If giant airshows such as Paris, Farnborough, Asian Aerospace and Dubai–even NBAA– represent business aviation’s economic engine, then EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., (July 25 to July 31) measures the pulse of flying’s human side.
Wu’s words were music to the ears of the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) and NBAA, which organized the inaugural ABACE show. AsBAA president Jason Liao, Raytheon Aircraft’s regional sales director for north Asia, told the conference’s opening general session, “Business aviation in Asia, and China in particular, is lagging behind.”
Like the overall U.S. economy, the business aviation industry is still exceptionally strong, as reflected by the healthy number of new business aircraft in the works. There are now 31 business jets in development, in flight-test or certified within the last 12 months.
Head-up displays (HUDs) provide pilots with an array of flight-related information, when and where they need it most. The thick piece of HUD combiner glass that folds down and locks into position in front of the pilot’s eyes puts a veritable visual feast of instantly recognizable symbology directly in the forward field of vision.
While business aircraft are one of the most important tools of investment bankers and venture capitalists, investing in new aircraft designs doesn’t appear to be on their radar this year. According to a report issued last month by the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), investors plan to increase their funding pools by about 10 percent over last year.
AgustaWestland A109S Grand
The order book for this uprated 109 variant currently stands at almost 60. AgustaWestland received EASA approval for the type in June (as its first customer, a Briton, took delivery) and FAA certification is expected by next month. The company planned to have delivered five airframes by press time and 10 more later this year.