The aviation industry is urging quick confirmation of Michael Huerta as FAA Administrator by the full U.S. Senate. Earlier this week, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) rescinded a hold on the nomination of Huerta that he placed last summer. DeMint contended that Republicans shouldn’t appoint anyone as FAA Administrator until the Presidential election was decided. Huerta has served as acting FAA Administrator since Randy Babbitt resigned last December.
The closing of some Hawker Beechcraft (HBC) factory-owned service centers as a result of the manufacturer’s bankruptcy has changed the way customers have their aircraft maintained, especially in the Southwest U.S. Previously, the factory-owned HBC center in Mesa, Ariz., pulled business from the West Coast, Mexico and other areas.
The Embraer Legacy 500 made a “flawless” one-hour 45-minute first flight today from the aircraft manufacturer’s headquarters at Brazil’s São José dos Campos Airport, marking the beginning of the midsize jet’s flight-test program. Embraer test pilots Mozart Louzada and Eduardo Camelier, along with flight-test engineers Gustavo Paixão and Alexandre Figueiredo, flew the fly-by-wire aircraft, performing handling and performance characteristics evaluation.
FlyRealHUDs.com has developed an inexpensive HUD simulator plug-in that runs on the X-Plane flight simulator program. The FlyRealHUDs (FRH) plugin replicates the symbology and flight dynamics of real HUDs and comes in business jet and airliner configurations.
Piper Aircraft named Piper Summit Aircraft China Beijing as its authorized dealer in China for sales of new Meridian turboprop singles. According to Piper Summit CEO Jack Chan, the annual growth rate for piston and turboprop aircraft operating in China is nearly 40 percent, with this fleet expected to expand from 1,700 aircraft earlier this year to about 7,700 by 2015. The new Piper dealer conducted Meridian demonstrations for potential customers as the airplane flew en route to Airshow China 2012 earlier this month in Zhuhai.
VistaJet announced a deal today worth up to $7.8 billion for 56 Bombardier Globals, with options for up to another 86. Deliveries of this latest batch of Bombardier jets under firm order are due to begin in January 2014 and run through the end of 2017.
Tough economic times are resulting in innovations by carriers in the Asia Pacific region looking beyond traditional business models through strategic realignments and new product offerings. Recent ground-breaking deals include Virgin Australia selling a 10-percent stake to Singapore Airlines (SIA) and buying 60 percent of Tiger Airways; the new partnership between Emirates Airline and Qantas; and Etihad Airways purchasing a 10-percent stake in Virgin Australia.
The FAA has extended for a second year an operational evaluation of pilot initiated climbs and descents using in-trail procedures (ITP) in Pacific Ocean airspace. The trial involves 12 United Airlines Boeing 747-400s flying between the U.S. West Coast and Australia and New Zealand. Having extended the evaluation to Aug. 15, 2013, the agency said that it is also holding “exploratory conversations” with ANA and Japan Airlines to include some of their aircraft in the process.
Beyond an admission by China’s Comac that the development timetable for its new C919 narrowbody will be pushed back by a further delay of one or two years in the certification of its ARJ21 regional airliner, precise details on the program is progressing remain hard to pin down.
More evidence of capacity constraint among U.S. airlines appeared in a recent quarterly earnings report from one of the fastest-growing carriers in the country. Virgin America, which has seen annual available seat mile (ASM) growth average 28 percent for the past three years, has reconsidered its fleet expansion strategy and said it would move to cut the number of airplanes it plans to add over the rest of the decade.