Hawker Beechcraft announced only yesterday that it received FAA and EASA type certification for the latest King Air variant more than a month ago. Equipped with a new passenger interior styled after that of the company’s Premier 1A, the 350i is now the quietest of all King Airs, according to the airframer, with cabin sound levels reduced to an average of 78 dBA by extensive soundproofing.
Hawker Beechcraft tapped industry veteran Bill Boisture Jr. as its new chairman and CEO in March, replacing Jim Schuster, who retired after an eight-year stint at the Wichita-based aircraft manufacturer. Boisture’s business aviation career includes turns as president of fractional provider NetJets and aircraft manufacturers Gulfstream and Hawker predecessor British Aerospace Corporate Jets.
A shell-shocked business aviation industry is peeking out from behind the bulwarks and wondering if the lull in gunfire signals the beginning of an end to the battle.
“Flying has picked up again in a meaningful way, which is a good sign for everybody,” said Steve O’Neill, CEO of CitationAir, which announced last month it would be recalling 16 furloughed pilots and accepting its first two Citation Xs by the end of the year.
The National Aeronautics Association honored Hawker Beechcraft Corp. (HBC) here on Tuesday for two world speed records, accomplished on flights earlier this year in the company’s flagship Hawker 4000 and in a Beechcraft Premier IA. Both record flights took place in May en route to the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Geneva.
Although Hawker Beechcraft has released information recently about the Premier II and a delay in its planned certification and entry-into-service dates, the company has been notably silent about the Hawker 450XP.
Despite the recession, a significant number of new aircraft programs remain largely on track. OEMs such as Cessna, Dassault Falcon, Embraer, and Gulfstream all appear to be staying close to their development schedules, while Hawker Beechcraft has pushed back the Premier II until 2012 (from 2010). Newcomers Honda and Spectrum appear to have suffered some minor slippage, sending the earliest deliveries of those aircraft into 2011.
Bill Boisture joined Hawker Beechcraft as chairman and CEO on March 23. An experienced and current commercial/instrument pilot, Boisture flew fighters in the U.S. Air Force and graduated from the Air Force and Navy (Topgun) Fighter Weapons Schools, achieving the rank of major. He holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Air Force Academy and a master’s in business administration from the University of New Haven.
Eighteen months ago, the business aviation industry was happily floating in a sea of black ink. Now, a year-and-a-half later, it’s drowning in red ink. And it’s debatable whether the end of the economic recession is in sight or whether it’s a good idea to hang onto the life preservers just a little longer.
Despite the recession, a significant number of new aircraft programs remain largely on track. OEMs such as Cessna, Dassault Falcon Jet, Embraer and Gulfstream all appear to be staying close to their development schedules while Hawker Beechcraft has pushed back the Premier II until 2012 (from 2010). Newcomers Honda and Spectrum appear to have suffered some minor slippage, sending the earliest deliveries of those aircraft into 2011.
A newly expanded Hawker Beechcraft factory-owned aircraft maintenance and service facility has opened on Indianapolis International Airport. The FAA-certified center specializes in Hawker and Beechcraft products, including the composite-fuselage Premier and Hawker 4000.