The 50th anniversary yesterday of the maiden flight of the first Learjet–the Model 23, on Oct. 7, 1963–begged to be celebrated, and Bombardier obliged with gusto, holding two events at its main assembly facility in Wichita over the weekend. Invited were current and former employees and their families, several special guests and owners and operators who brought examples of almost every Learjet ever produced.
Dwane Wallace, who led Cessna Aircraft from 1936 to 1975, was posthumously enshrined into the Aviation Hall of Fame on Friday. “Wallace’s visionary leadership brought Cessna Aircraft into the modern age through the expansion of the company’s product line, including the introduction of the world’s most successful line of business jets–the Cessna Citation,” said Cessna president and CEO Scott Ernest. “Wallace’s legacy is secure as the man who built general aviation around the world.”
A New York City bash on the deck of the Intrepid last night continued Flexjet’s six-city “Legends Redefined” tour to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Learjet. Attendees were invited to take a private tour of the Learjet 85 model and test-drive Aston Martins before sipping cocktails on the Hudson River. Flexjet has ordered 30 Learjet 85s, with deliveries scheduled to begin next year.
Every decade or so, sometimes more often, someone or some organization proposes “privatizing” the U.S. air traffic control system. In 1985 it was the Air Transport Association (ATA), now renamed Airlines for America, which released a study calling for a self-supporting federal ATC corporation.
In a serious blow to Boeing, Japan Airlines (JAL) has signed a purchase agreement covering 18 A350-900s and 13 A350-1000s worth $9.5 billion at list prices. The deal, which also includes options on another 25 of the mostly composite widebodies, marks the first order from Japan for the A350 and Airbus’s first-ever order from JAL.
Emirates Airline has worked for more than two years to assist Boeing in the design of the 777X, the new airplane expected to begin replacing the phenomenally successful 777-300ER at the end of the decade, according to Emirates president Tim Clark.
The General Assembly of the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) took place in Salzburg last week with a mixed picture of how airlines are managing, particularly with continued pressure from low-cost-carrier growth and regulatory burdens. In the ERA’s view, Europe has a major problem with central politicians who seem unable to understand the value of regional aviation that local politicians in its many outer regions have little problem appreciating.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines, which has operated at a loss since 2008, expects to break even in the current 2013/14 financial year and to return to profitability the following year after cutting its losses from $75 million in 2010/11 to $25 million in 2011/12. At a press briefing in New Delhi last week, the Asian carrier’s CEO, Kevin Steele, announced plans to rationalize and double the size of its fleet from eight to 16 aircraft to allow it to expand its route network with new services such as Dhaka-New York starting next April.
Pilots seeking to improve their manual flying skills should consider trying gliders, according to Captain Sarah Kelman. The former women’s world gliding champion and EasyJet safety officer told the Royal Aeronautical Society’s recent International Flight Crew Training Conference in London that flying gliders is beneficial to upset prevention and recovery training.
The Friends and Partners of Aviation Weather (FPAW) is looking for feedback from business aviation pilots about the quality of the information delivered through the Aviation Digital Data Service (Adds). The group, founded in 1997, represents a collaborative effort trying to resolve how the aviation weather community can provide pilots the best possible information on conditions, such as adverse wind, low ceilings and visibility and thunderstorms.