At best, a total of 300 to 400 supersonic business jets (SSBJs) could be sold over the next 30 years, according to Andrei Ilyin, general director at Sukhoi Civil Aircraft. “The market is too small for competition,” he said.
The in-service fleet of Sikorsky S-92 medium-twin helicopters reached 100,000 total flight hours, the company announced last month. The first production S-92 was delivered in late 2004. There are now 67 S-92s in service, 11 of which fly an estimated 130 to 170 hours per month. To date, 13 of the aircraft have logged more than 3,500 flight hours.
The market for Gulfstream hush kits stands at fewer than 400 GIIs, GIITTs, GIIBs and GIIIs. These models are currently one of the softer areas of a soft market. This net number takes into account the 14 GIIs and five GIIIs written off over the years, as well as nearly 50 combined models that are serving in some government role and, due to the nature of their operation, would probably not need to conform to any noise requirements.
A major research program launched three years ago by the European Union has identified open rotors and natural laminar flow as key technologies to be taken forward in the Clean Sky joint technology initiative and potentially into the mooted replacement for the Airbus A320.
Gulfstream has recruited company veteran Robert Cowart to be the new director of supersonic technology development. He most recently served as project engineer for the supersonic technology program. In his new position, Cowart is responsible for the development of advanced technology supporting quiet supersonic flight over land, with a principal focus on sonic boom suppression concepts.
A Sikorsky S-76A crashed onto a helipad at Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids, Mich., during an FAA check ride on May 29, seriously injuring the pilot and the FAA inspector aboard. The helicopter was operated by Aero Med Spectrum Health.
Dassault Aviation CEO Charles Edelstenne is confident about the future of the French company’s broadening line of Falcons as it ramps up completion efforts for the 7X and prepares to launch its new super-midsize jet. But the pressure of a weakening dollar that is affecting all European aerospace companies is making the company cautious about future models.
Last year was a challenging time for Galileo, Europe’s fledgling global navigation satellite system (GNSS). It started with the collapse of the private consortium established to build the system and culminated in European Union transport ministers making a “do or die” decision to allow the European Commission (EC) to manage the project in conjunction with the European Space Agency (ESA).
Saab achieved the first flight of the Gripen Demo from the company’s Linköping airfield in Sweden on May 27. Crewed by test pilots Mikael Siedl and Magnus Ljungdahl, the flawless 30-minute flight marked the start of a three-year campaign, during which the fighter will demonstrate a wide range of new technologies destined for the Gripen Next Generation aircraft, as well as options for existing models.
It is almost five years since the Concorde retired, but little has been achieved in terms of replacing the world’s most iconic commercial aircraft.