A Boeing Business Jets BBJ set a new world speed record this week on a nonstop flight from Los Angeles to Auckland, New Zealand, completing the 5,658-nm trip in 13 hours, 7 minutes and 54 seconds. The record-setting flight was monitored by the National Aeronautic Association. Owned by Samsung Electronics, the bizliner was flown to New Zealand for the first interior completion of a new BBJ by Auckland-based Altitude Aerospace Interiors. According to Boeing Business Jets, the BBJ is its best selling model, with 157 sold to date.
The Learjet 60XR was featured in a recent episode of National Geographic Channel’s Megafactories TV series. In this episode, the assembly of businessman David Morgan’s $14 million Learjet 60XR is highlighted to tell the story of how each business jet is assembled at the Wichita plant, as well as how Bombardier Learjet has reinvented itself to optimize production. The film crew captured how the production line runs and the technical expertise and monumental logistics behind each aircraft.
The Gulfstream G550 received type approval from the South African Civil Aviation Authority yesterday, allowing operators to register the ultra-long-range business jet in South Africa. “Gulfstream’s presence in Africa has grown dramatically, particularly in South Africa, which accounts for 24 percent of the entire Gulfstream fleet in Africa,” said Gulfstream senior vice president of sales and marketing Scott Neal.
The wide-cabin, ultra-long-range Gulfstream G650 received full FAA type certification today, just days after the Savannah-based aircraft manufacturer obtained final FAA and Israeli approval for its super-midsize G280. Gulfstream Aerospace expects to deliver the first outfitted G650s to customers before year-end; it delivered 12 green G650s late last year after receiving provisional FAA certification in November.
Gulfstream Aerospace has extended the operating hours at its company-owned service center in Westfield, Mass., to provide 24-hour service Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on weekends. Gulfstream Westfield offers AOG support, airframe inspections, avionics installations and interior refurbishments. The MRO facility currently employs 168 people, including 90 A&P technicians and 16 avionics technicians. Facility technicians are certified to work on large- and mid-cabin Gulfstream aircraft along with Hawker Beechcraft, Dassault Falcon and Bombardier Challenger business jets.
The Learjet 85, the first all-composite Part 25 business jet, remains on track for certification and entry into service next year, according to Bombardier. “Four test aircraft are in various stages of production,” the company noted, and shipment of the first pressure vessel from Bombardier’s factory in Querétaro, Mexico, to the final-assembly plant in Wichita was imminent (in mid-July). At the Querétaro factory, technicians completed construction of the first Learjet 85’s wing internal structure and the wing was moved to the final-assembly position for installation of the wing plank.
To mark its one-year anniversary, privately owned Austin Executive Airport opened a new 26,650-sq-ft hangar, bringing its available leased shelter space to more than 63,000 sq ft. Built as part of a $33 million master plan by Houston businessman Ron Henriksen, the airport features an 18,249-sq-ft arrival canopy and a 6,025-foot runway that can handle the newest business aircraft, including the Gulfstream G650 and new Bombardier Globals.
The global business aviation industry is anticipating a modest increase in flight utilization, according to statistics released by data tracker JetNet at its second annual iQ Summit in New York City recently. The Utica, N.Y.-based company conducts quarterly surveys through its JetNet iQ product, which it uses to gather information about the current state of the business aviation market and predict future trends.
For the past two years, the business aviation industry has pondered when the oft-mentioned bottom of the trough in aircraft deliveries might actually be reached. In a recent JetNet iQ survey, half of the respondents believe deliveries have already hit bottom, while more than 25 percent see the industry as showing some upward momentum at last.
Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, died Saturday of complications from heart surgery. Besides serving as a NASA astronaut, Armstrong was a project pilot on many pioneering high-speed aircraft, including the Mach 5 North American X-15. During his career, he piloted more than 200 different aircraft types, including jets, rockets, helicopters and gliders. Armstrong was also an aerospace engineer and university professor.