Cirrus has restructured more than $13 million worth of loan and lease obligations related to its Grand Forks, N.D. production facility with that city’s Growth Fund. Cirrus employs approximately 90 people in Grand Forks who make composite component parts for its SR-series piston aircraft, which are then shipped to the company’s assembly line in Duluth, Minn.
Spurred by sluggish demand for light and midsize jets and the threat from Brazil’s Embraer, Cessna has enlarged its midsize cabin cross-section and refreshed one of the lightest jets it builds. The new contenders were revealed last fall in the form of the 680A Latitude midsize and the M2 update of the CJ1+. They compete with, respectively, the Embraer Legacy 450 (slated for certification in late 2014 and service entry in early 2015) and the Phenom 100 (in service since 2009).
Aerocon Engineering has developed for the Boeing 737-700, -800 and -900 a replacement forward airstair that the Van Nuys, Calif.-based company says is not only 50 percent lighter but also more reliable and requires less maintenance than the standard OEM equipment.
The new airstair is the culmination of a 24-month government contract. Aerocon CEO Benny Younesi expects an FAA supplemental type certificate (STC) in the middle of this year, and production has already begun.
Hungary extended until 2026 the lease contract with the Swedish government for the 14 Saab Gripen C/D fighters that it received in 2006 and 2007. The agreement was due to expire in 2016. According to press reports in Budapest, Hungary currently pays $130 million per year to operate the aircraft, which were surplus to Swedish air force requirements. Saab said it is pleased by Hungary’s “long-term strategic decision.”
The first NH-90 Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH) in final operational configuration was delivered to the French Army on January 30. “This is the culmination of the most important helicopter program ever launched in Europe,” said Eurocopter CEO Lutz Bertling. Earlier deliveries of the TTH version to Australia, Germany and Sweden attracted criticism in those countries for various deficiencies. But Eurocopter said that the final configuration includes field-tested avionics that enable the helicopter to carry out its missions night and day with no major restrictions.
Avjet has been offering aircraft sales, acquisition, charter, management services and oversight of completion and refurbishment projects since 1979. Headquartered in Burbank, Calif., the company maintains a presence in Washington D.C., Seoul; Abu Dhabi; Moscow; Tokyo; and other locations around the world. Avjet also owns and operates an FBO in Pagosa Springs, Colo.
Bell Helicopter and Eurocopter both claimed victory in a ruling by the Federal Court of Canada on Tuesday. The case centered around a Eurocopter-patented landing gear design that was apparently used on two Bell 429 prototypes. While the court dismissed 15 of the 16 claims filed against Bell, it did find that the Texas-based company violated Eurocopter’s patent on the two 429 prototypes.
Yesterday the FAA issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive (2012-02-51) that mandates the immediate replacement of main rotor blades on 697 Bell 206L, L-1, L-3 and L-4 helicopters after 1,400 hours, as opposed to the current 3,600-hour time in service limit, due to concerns about fatigue cracking. Special flight permits are prohibited under this EAD, effectively grounding hundreds of helicopters.
In response to increased demand for its VIP interior products, Boeing Business Jet completions specialist Greenpoint Technologies has bolstered its staff, adding Tim Pahls, previously v-p of sales with B/E Aerospace, as v-p of programs; and Ken Kummerow as senior director of engineering. The Washington state-based company also promoted Jim Baltrukovicz from program manager to director of program management. He will head Greenpoint’s current 747-8 VIP completion project.
GE Aviation, while it may still be associated largely with commercial and military powerplants, has been focusing its gaze on the business aviation market over the past several years.
Shawn O’Day, head of the company’s business and general aviation marketing, told AIN that although business aviation has historically been a segment of opportunity for GE, it is an area where the engine and systems maker sees potential. In fact, the company signaled its intention to expand its business and general aviation footprint at last year’s Paris Air Show.