Next month marks the 60th anniversary of the birth of one of aviation’s great “might-have-beens.” The start of development of an aircraft that became a source of national pride. The start of an aircraft that could have been a world-beater. I’m referring to Canada’s mighty Avro CF-105 Arrow fighter. But an even more recent anniversary looms on Monday: the 53rd anniversary of its death.
The French Rafale is reportedly well placed to triumph in the long-running fighter jet contest in Brazil, and also to secure the elusive order from the UAE, following the type’s success in India. Indian air force commander ACM N.A.K. Browne told AIN that his country would not accept a revised bid from the losing Eurofighter camp for the 126-aircraft MMRCA requirement.
Having delivered a pod-equipped Boeing 767 multi-mission tanker transport (MMTT) to the Colombian air force in late 2010, IAI’s Bedek Aircraft division has now added a flying boom option to its MMTT offering. The design of the boom has been finalized and testing completed. The boom is an IAI-designed fly-by-wire (FBW) unit controlled from a remote air refueling operator’s station on the flight deck.
News highlights from the Singapore Air Show this week: Lockheed Martin announced a new version of the evergreen F-16 fighter designated F-16V. It includes the upcoming AESA radar upgrade as well as a new mission computer and cockpit display.
Flight Options, the second-largest fractional jet provider in the U.S., said 2011 was one of its best years and expects the momentum to continue to build this year. In fact, the Cleveland-based company reported a healthy jump in new fractional owners last year versus 2010.
“One of the statistics from 2011 of which we are most proud is that more than one-third of all new owners came from referrals–a strong and appreciated endorsement from our current owners,” noted Flight Options CEO Michael Silvestro.
Business aircraft flying activity in the U.S. slid 0.9 percent in January versus the year-ago period, according to TraqPak data from aviation services company Argus. This marks the second consecutive month of erosion on a year-over-year basis.
While Part 91 flying climbed by 4.5 percent over January 2011, it wasn’t enough to offset losses of 6.3 percent and 8.3 percent, respectively, at the fractional and charter providers. Flying activity at Part 135 charter operators has now declined for 12 consecutive months.
Hawker Beechcraft has sold a pair of Hawker 900XP midsize business jets to Jakarta, Indonesia-based Lion Air, with options for two more. The airline says it intends to use the jets to meet growing demand for executive charter services throughout Asia. The aircraft are scheduled for delivery in the second and third quarters of this year.
Indonesia’s Lion Air on Thursday inked a firm contract for another 27 ATR 72-600s, raising its order total for the new Franco-Italian turboprops to 40 and making it the manufacturer’s largest customer for ATR 72s. Regional subsidiary Wings Air already operates 16 ATR 72-500s and awaits delivery on four more. Deliveries of Lion Air’s first ATR 72-600 will start in November and run into 2015, Wings Air chairman and Lion Air president Pak Ruski Kirana told a packed assemblage of reporters and officials at the ATR stand. ATR places the value of this latest order at $610 million.
The Western world’s two remaining turboprop makers each made sales headlines at last week’s Singapore Airshow, where Indonesia’s Lion Air padded ATR’s already robust order book and Bombardier’s Q400 showed signs of life following a lengthy dry spell.
Bombardier Aerospace (Chalet CD61) confirmed Ethiopian Airlines today (Thursday) as the customer of an previously-announced order for five Q400 NextGen turboprops, and said that Horizon Air will buy two additional Q400 NextGens.