Citing its intention to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as the standalone Beechcraft Corp., Hawker Beechcraft notified employees yesterday that it will begin the process of closing Hawker Beechcraft Services facilities in Little Rock, Ark.; Mesa, Ariz.; and San Antonio. The Wichita-based OEM also affirmed that approximately 240 employees will be affected at these locations.
Eurocopter announced today that Starlite Aviation is the launch customer for the new AS332C1e Super Puma medium-twin helicopter, a shorter-fuselage version that observers see as the manufacturer’s response to low-cost alternatives from Russia. The contract calls for two of the new helicopters to be delivered by the end of next year, following FAA and EASA certification. Starlite also has options for another two helicopters.
Offshore operator Bristow “entered into an agreement” yesterday to order 10 Sikorsky S-92 medium-twin helicopters and secured options for another 16. The move emerges as the operator is keeping 16 Eurocopter Super Pumas on the ground, following two controlled ditchings that affected the EC225 type in just six months. Both ditchings were caused by a failure of the main gearbox.
Bombardier has appointed Flying Colours of Peterborough, Ontario, and its subsidiary JetCorp Technical Services of St. Louis as authorized service facilities (ASF) for its Learjet and Challenger business jets. Flying Colours is known for its new green Challenger 850 completions as a Bombardier- authorized completion center.
Bombardier’s new CSeries CS100 will not fly until at least the end of next June, roughly six months later than the most recent target, according to the latest schedule published by the Canadian airframe maker. If all goes according to the latest plans, the smaller of the two-member narrowbody family will consequently enter service in the middle of 2014.
A new Japanese regional airline called Link plans to place the first of three new 70-seat ATR 72-600s into service during next year’s fourth quarter, marking the introduction of the Franco-Italian turboprops into a market until recently held captive by rival manufacturer Bombardier.
Appearing at the Japan Aerospace Exhibition, held in Nagoya from October 9 to 14, Link said it plans to lease the airplanes, but as of press time it remained unclear whether or not they would come from an existing ATR customer.
Lease Corporation International (LCI) has assigned several of the new-generation AgustaWestland helicopters that it ordered in February this year and expects initial deliveries to begin early next year. The company, which already has a diverse airliner leasing portofolio, is planning to place fresh orders with other rotorcraft manufacturers, according to CEO Mike Platt.
This formation of 27 Eclipse light jets was part of a larger group that descended on Branson Airport in Missouri for the Eclipse Owners Club Fall Fly-In last month. Forty-three of the twinjets met up in what was one of the largest gatherings of the same model private jet ever to land on a field at one time. Eclipse Aviation built 261 of the EA500s before it went bankrupt in 2008. Eclipse Aerospace, which acquired the company’s assets, announced it has restarted production with deliveries of the updated Eclipse 550 expected next year.
The U.S. Army gave the go-ahead for full-rate production of the Block III version of the Boeing Apache attack helicopter, which has been redesignated AH-64E. Potential export orders could add as many as 100 new airframes in the next few years. The AH-64E offers several improvements, including greater power, composite main rotor blades, net-centric communications, defensive system enhancements, modernized target acquisition designation sight (M-TADS), automated target detection and classification, and the ability to control UAVs.
The U.S. Air Force issued a request for proposals (RFP) for its “high priority” combat rescue helicopter (CRH) acquisition on October 19. The RFP begins a second campaign to replace the service’s HH-60G Pave Hawk search-and-rescue helicopters. In 2009 the Pentagon cancelled the original replacement program, which had been awarded three years earlier to Boeing for the HH-47 Chinook, after successive contractor protests and delays.