Cessna Aircraft subsidiary McCauley Propeller Systems is displaying its new Blackmac Carbon Series constant-speed propeller at this year’s Sun ’n’ Fun fly-in event in Lakeland, Fla. The world’s largest full-line propeller manufacturer expects to receive FAA certification in the first half of the year for the clean-sheet scalable design that features composite materials and uses a patented high-strength, low-weight continuous carbon loop blade retention system to reduce weight and improve product life.
Cessna Aircraft and Beechcraft are making their first public appearance as sister companies under the Textron Aviation banner this week at the Sun ’n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla., less than three weeks after Textron closed a $1.4 billion deal to acquire Beechcraft. Still, the companies have separate static display areas at the show because, as a spokeswoman explained, there wasn’t enough room at either space to display a combined Cessna/Beech lineup of piston and turboprop aircraft, ranging from the Cessna 172 to Beechcraft King Air 350i.
There is no question about it, Art Spengler and Fred Ahles are excited about Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Premier Aircraft Sales newest offering, upgrading primarily R and S model Cessna 172s from Lycoming to Centurion 2.0 diesel power, coupled to a German MT or U.S. manufacturered Hartzell Bantam propeller. The program, deemed the Premier Edition 172 upgrade, is a chance to revive the C172 market, if you ask Spengler and Ahles.
High-wing, low-wing, single-engine or twin, Italian aircraft manufacturer Tecnam showed off all of them at its stand, MD-021, on the opening day of Sun ‘n Fun 2014. The company introduced its newest model, the low-wing Astore LSA, of which has more than 30 are flying in Europe, to the U.S.
Austria-based engine manufacturer Rotax (Booth SE-014) has always been, at its roots, about performance and efficiency. After delivering 49,000 Rotax 912 water-cooled, 4-stroke Rotax 912 engines in the past 25 years the company is expanding the engine’s performance window once again with the introduction of the 912iS Sport at Sun ‘n Fun 2014. Several engines have already been shipped to OEMs, and the engine can be found on a new Kitfox at the company’s booth here at the show.
They say timing is everything, and just in time for the first large air show and general aviation aircraft fly-in of 2014 the FAA released 8130.2 (h), a draft policy that it sent to FAA field offices to help those who interact directly with general aviation to interpret 14 CFR regulations.
Textron Aviation subsidiary Beechcraft is commemorating the 50th anniversary of its King Air this week at the Sun ’n’ Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla. The current-production King Airs–the 350i, 250 and C90GTx–are on static display at Beechcraft’s exhibit area along the flight line, flanked by the Baron G58 piston twin and Bonanza G36 piston single. On Wednesday at 2 p.m., the company will celebrate the anniversary with cake, refreshments and giveaways at its static display.
The UK CAA has unveiled a series of dramatic measures stemming from the review it launched last September to improve the safety of offshore helicopter operations in the North Sea. Its primary goal is to improve the odds of passengers and crew surviving a ditching, but the exhaustive 293-page report also addresses pilot training, helidecks and a host of other safety topics.
If it isn’t blindingly obvious already that Cessna has made a huge shift to Garmin avionics in its lineup of business jets, then the addition of the G3000 flight deck to the Citation CJ2+ is yet another indicator of where the company is headed. The G3000 upgrade for the CJ2+ is part of a new package, called the Alpine edition, that is not an option for new jets coming off the assembly line in Wichita but is available only as a retrofit. Cessna has also switched the CJ3 to the G3000 system in the new CJ3+, but this is for new jets, not retrofits.
There were some surprises in the new-helicopter department at the Helicopter Association International’s Heli-Expo show, held during the last week of February, but the big news this year was the crop of orders, especially from helicopter leasing companies.