The combination of two 80-year-old Wichita aircraft manufacturers–Cessna and Beechcraft–under the new Textron Aviation umbrella marks its NBAA Convention debut here in Orlando. With 21 airplanes in production between the two factories, which are about 10 miles apart in Wichita, and a full-service network that is rapidly becoming capable of handling all of the Beechcraft and Cessna turbine models, Textron Aviation (Booth 220) and its president and CEO Scott Ernest continue to invest in new products as the integration of the two companies solidifies.
By aviation industry standards, Gulfstream Aerospace’s launch last week of its new G500 and G600 aircraft was a well-kept secret, especially since the programs have already been in the works for five years since 2009. Over the past 12 months, the U.S. airframer has seen rival Dassault Falcon refresh its product range with the launch of the new Falcon 5X and 8X models, but Gulfstream insists that its focus has been on boosting choice and the value proposition of its own family of aircraft rather than seeking to keep up with competitors.
Embraer started fabricating parts for its new E190-E2 on Friday, when it cut metal on the first prototype’s wing stub forward pressure bulkhead at its Évora plant in Portugal.
“The production of this first part, on schedule, is an important milestone in all aviation programs, marking the transition from the project stage to beginning the manufacturing phase of the airplanes,” said Embraer Commercial Aviation CEO Paulo Cesar Silva. “There is still a long road ahead, until it actually enters service, but we harbor no doubts as to whether we will deliver to the market the most efficient, modern and robust aircraft in this segment, as well as a very comfortable cabin for passengers.”
By the end of the third quarter, Embraer’s firm order backlog had risen to $22.1 billion, the highest in the company’s history and up from $18.1 billion at the end of June. During the third quarter, the company delivered 19 regional jets and 15 business jets (all Phenoms). Over the first nine months, Embraer delivered 62 regional jets and 64 business jets (54 Phenoms and 10 “large jets”).
The U.S. Army’s plan to acquire up to 110 Airbus UH-72A Lakotas, the military variant of the EC145, as primary helicopter trainers has met with a legal challenge from AgustaWestland (AW). AW alleges, “The army has acted unlawfully and unreasonably by restricting competition to only EC145 helicopters and by not opening the competition for its requirements to other helicopter manufacturers.”
OK, so it wasn’t an accident; it’s just that the NASA folks are getting rather good at intentionally crashing helicopters. The latest in its series of engineered rotorcraft crashes was conducted earlier this month when the agency dropped the more than four-and-a-half-ton fuselage of a former U.S. Navy CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter for the second time in little more than a year.
The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command awarded Pratt & Whitney a contract modification on October 14 for a seventh low-rate initial production lot (LRIP) of F135 engines for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The agreement includes the engine maker’s commitment to pay the cost of modifying the fan section in 150 delivered engines following a June engine fire that grounded the F-35 fleet and prevented its international debut in the UK.
Airbus won another big endorsement for its single-aisle series—potentially the biggest in its history—by securing a memorandum of understanding from India’s IndiGo covering 250 A320neos, the company said Wednesday.
The two industry teams the U.S. Army selected to build advanced rotorcraft designs under its joint multi-role technology demonstration (JMR-TD) revealed details of their proposals during the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) annual meeting this week in Washington, D.C. Bell Helicopter displayed a full-scale mockup of its V-280 Valor tiltrotor.
Embraer delivered the first Legacy 500 on Friday, less than two months after the fly-by-wire midsize jet obtained certification from Brazilian civil aviation authority ANAC. The launch customer, an unidentified Brazilian company, accepted the aircraft during a ceremony at Embraer headquarters in São José dos Campos, Brazil.