LEARJET 25B, PITTSBURGH, PA., NOV. 22, 2001–On Thanksgiving Day a business jet owned by Universal Jet Aviation crashed while on takeoff. The two pilots on board were headed home to Florida’s Boca Raton Airport (BCT) in clear skies and good visibility. Airborne for mere moments, the Learjet ran off the left side of Runway 28L and burst into flames, killing both pilots.
Although the Commission on the Future of the United States Aerospace Industry was created by Congress long before September 11, a Bush Administration official said the terrorist attacks served to highlight previously existing deficiencies in the U.S. aerospace industry.
BAE Systems may have to build another 14 of its Avro RJX regional jets, despite announcing its intention to scrap the program in late November. The UK manufacturer is now seeking to renegotiate contracts with launch customers British European Airways (BEA) and Druk Air of Bhutan. The British operator placed an order for 12 RJXs and options for another eight, and Druk Air holds a firm order for two.
A Cessna Citation V crashed immediately after takeoff from Switzerland’s Zurich Airport at 10:06 p.m. on December 20, killing both the 37-year-old pilot and the 35-year-old copilot, the only people aboard. The jet reportedly swerved to the right and the wing hit the ground immediately after taking off from Runway 14 for a planned flight to Berne, Switzerland.
Neither engine showed any signs of catastrophic failure or fuel starvation, according to the NTSB’s preliminary investigation into the crash of an Air Cargo Express Learjet 24D (N887TD, operating as Turbodog 36) nearing El Paso, Texas, on December 10. The two pilots were killed when the aircraft hit the ground in a “predominantly vertical angle” while descending on a clearance from 39,000 ft to 10,000 ft msl.
With all 173 Eclipse Aviation employees now figuratively under one roof at Sunport International Airport in Albuquerque, N.M., the company expects to begin assembly this month of its first flight-test airplane in preparation for the model’s initial flight next July.
With the completion of its first run on October 31, Pratt & Whitney Canada initiated testing of its 2,500-lb-thrust PW625F engine demonstrator. The company plans to develop a family of turbofans for light business jets. P&WC claims the PW625F will provide optimum performance and “significantly reduced ownership costs.” The engine is aimed at the market now dominated by the Williams FJ44 series.
A maxim of modern commerce states that the key to success in business lies in always staying a step or two ahead of the competition. Among business aircraft makers that means constantly making improvements to products, sometimes by starting from scratch with an entirely new aircraft, or at other times by making changes to current designs.
French aerospace firms Dassault Aviation and Onera have signed an agreement to work on research and development that rekindle Dassault’s interest in possibly developing a supersonic business jet (SSBJ). Onera is an aircraft design testing specialist. The agreement covers business aircraft, including the Falcon family and an SSBJ.
Here yesterday Dassault introduced a new version of the Falcon 900 large business jet–the 900LX, which features a 4,800-nm range thanks to the addition of winglets.