From new Cessna Citations to new versions of Hawker Beechcrafts to clean-sheet designs like Dassault Falcon’s fly-by-wire 7X, the world of business jets continues to grow.
Aircraft flight control systems
Aircraft systems provider Parker Aerospace (Booth No. 6841) announced it has won contracts with Embraer and Cessna for flight control subsystems.
Sikorsky Aircraft has successfully ground tested fly-by-wire (FBW) technology that will debut on 28 H-92s slated for delivery in 2009 to Canadian military forces. The H-92 is the military variant of the S-92. Sikorsky partnered with BAE Systems to develop the FBW system.
This year’s Paris Air Show at Le Bourget provided an opportunity for me to see Dassault’s new Falcon 7X up close before I got my chance at the left seat, alongside Dassault 26-year veteran senior test pilot Yves (Bill) Kerherve, who has since retired from the company. A former French Navy fighter pilot, Kerherve flew the ultra-quiet 7X through a series of maneuvers for the crowd on the opening day of the show.
Dassault Aviation’s Falcon 7X business jet, with a fly-by-wire, side-stick control system, promises to redefine the word “new.” At the Dassault Falcon Jet 25th Worldwide Maintenance & Operators Seminar, held in June in in Boca Raton, Fla., the company also described the virtual-reality program that promises to dramatically reduce maintenance time and costs for operators of the big, $37 million trijet.
Fly-by-wire (FBW) flight controls have been commonplace in fighters and Airbus airliners for years, but the technology has remained out of reach for all but a handful of business jet pilots. The notable exception in business aviation is the Airbus Corporate Jetliner, a descendent of the A320, which in 1988 became the first airliner with fly-by-wire controls and sidesticks to enter production.
Brazilian airframer Embraer’s new Phenom 100 very light jet is currently undergoing ground testing in preparation for its first flight. The VLJ has already concluded its engine run, which saw the Phenom’s two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW617F engines installed and tested on the airframe.
Eurocopter is investigating all-electric helicopter system architectures, including flight controls, with the goal of having them in service within 10 years. The Marignane, France-based manufacturer clearly intends to substitute electricity for current sources of energy for systems, such as hydraulics. The change is likely to result in lower maintenance costs and improved handling qualities.
U.S. equipment manufacturer Parker Aerospace (Hall 5 E21) is here at Le Bourget promoting its “core” flight-control, hydraulics, fuel and engine systems products in a “streamlined” exhibition stand. Parker is showing fuel-tank inerting systems, for which it has been working with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for the past four or five years, said technology and innovation group vice president Mark Czaja.
Barely a month has passed since what formerly traded as Smiths Aerospace formally became General Electric Aviation Systems at the closing of the U.S. engine maker’s $4.8 billion acquisition of the business. But according to the new division’s president, Dr.