John Bingham, who has been president and CEO of Piaggio America and chief marketing officer at parent company Piaggio Aero Industries since 2009, left the company on May 30. The company said the move was a planned departure, but was delayed until after it had announced the upgraded Avanti Evo at EBACE in mid-May. Giuliano Felten, Piaggio Aero’s executive senior vice president of civil sales, took over as president and CEO of Piaggio America early last month.
Transatlantic ferry flights of four Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning IIs, due to make their international debut in the UK, were delayed this week by the engine fire that occurred June 23 at Eglin AFB. As a result, tentative plans to fly one or more of them over the naming ceremony for the UK’s new aircraft carrier were cancelled. HM The Queen will formally christen the big ship named after her, at Rosyth dockyard in Scotland on July 4.
Efforts by Iraq’s embattled Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki to urgently acquire combat aircraft to assist with the battle against Isis rebels have already born fruit in the form of Sukhoi Su-25 “Frogfoot” attack aircraft from Russia and Iran.
Sikorsky and Lord have completed the flight demonstration of a hub-mounted vibration suppressor (HMVS) intended to address crew fatigue and reduced equipment reliability caused by helicopter vibration. Eventually, the HMVS could be part of a larger system integrated into all Sikorsky helicopters.
Certification in hand, Airbus Helicopters is endeavoring to ensure a faultless entry into service of the EC175 medium twin, a critical product for the company in the highly competitive offshore oil-and-gas market. The first delivery, to Belgium-based operator NHV, is slated for the second half of this year, almost five years after the type first flew.
Honda Aircraft’s first production HondaJet made its first flight last week, from the company’s headquarters in Greensboro, N.C. Taking off at 10:18 a.m. on June 27, the HondaJet, with test pilot Warren Gould at the controls, flew for 84 minutes and reached 15,500 feet and 348 ktas. During the flight, checks included low- and high-speed handling characteristics, Garmin G3000 avionics functionality and operation of the landing gear, flaps and speed brakes.
From the standpoint of aerodynamics, there aren’t many ways to make a modern airplane a lot better in a single bound, but as computers gain power smart designers can eke out subtle gains and combine them to extract more performance, which is what the engineering team at Daher-Socata has done with the already successful TBM single-engine turboprop line.
Bombardier Aerospace announced on June 12 that the Challenger 350 received Transport Canada approval, with FAA certification expected “shortly.” An upgrade of the Challenger 300, the 350 has a new wing with canted winglets, a higher mtow of 40,600 pounds and greater fuel capacity for an NBAA IFR range of 3,200 nm versus its predecessor’s 3,065nm.
Unmanned aircraft system (UAS) manufacturer Insitu is developing a growth variant of its Integrator, the basis of the U.S. Marine Corps’ RQ-21A Blackjack tactical UAS. The new UAS is aimed at the military market but Insitu offered few other details.
The long quest by the U.S. Air Force to acquire a new combat rescue helicopter (CRH) appears to have concluded, with Sikorsky’s announcement that it has received an engineering and development (EMD) contract worth an estimated $1.28 billion for a derivative of the UH-60M Black Hawk.