The fractional market has undergone severe contraction this year, with CitationAir nearly out of the business of commercial business jet operations, Bombardier’s Flexjet sold to Flight Options parent Directional Aviation Capital and Avantair forced into
Beechcraft Super King Air
By all accounts, this year’s NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition was an outstanding success, bringing together the usual group of aircraft manufacturers, suppliers, operators, flight crew, mechanics, owners, buyers and anyone with an interest in the world of business aviation.
There were two major developments in the business turboprop sector this year and neither involved new aircraft. However, they did show where potentially the next growth area is for the turboprop market: downstream. Turboprops historically have been a useful vehicle for introducing new customers into the corporate aircraft market, provided operators can maintain price discipline. If not, bad things can happen. Case in point: after several years of public struggle, Piaggio Avanti fractional provider Avantair ceased operations in June.
Beechcraft announced that it has certified and begun installations on a range of wireless in-flight connectivity equipment to fit low- and high-occupancy aircraft.
Aircell’s ATG 2000, which provides Gogo Biz in-flight Internet and Text & Talk voice services, is available with certified Wi-Fi as an upgrade through Hawker Beechcraft Services (HBS) for most Beechcraft and Hawker aircraft. According to the Wichita-based OEM, HBS is offering introductory incentives to operators who purchase an ATG 2000 system through the end of 2013.
SimCom Training Centers (Booth No. N4907) announced at NBAA 2013 that it is using the Cygnus tool from Redbird Flight Simulations to link any aviation or navigation app running on an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch to a simulator. The “location” of the aircraft being flown in the simulator is passed to the portable device as if it were in an actual aircraft.
“We believe pilots should train the way they fly,” said Eric Hanson, president of Orlando, Fla.-based SimCom. “Cygnus allows SimCom customers to use GPS-enabled tablets in the same way they do in their aircraft.”
Private aviation membership services JetSuite and Wheels Up have forged a new partnership that will give reciprocal benefits to their customers. The agreement, which was announced today at the NBAA show in Las Vegas, will see Wheels Up members gaining access to JetSuite’s fleet of Embraer Phenom 100 and Cessna Citation CJ3 aircraft, giving them a light jet alternative to the new company’s Beechcraft King Air 350i turboprop twins.
Beechcraft signed an agreement with Pratt & Whitney Canada for the latter to support the PT6A-60A engines powering the King Air 350i recently ordered by private aviation membership company Wheels Up. The agreement enrolls the fleet in P&WC’s Gold Eagle Service Plan and covers parts and shop labor for scheduled engine overhaul and hot-section inspection, unscheduled engine and line replaceable unit maintenance, ren
BLR Aerospace (Booth No. C7034), announced here at NBAA that it expects supplemental type certificate (STC) approval soon for a King Air 90 Ultimate Performance Package, which will allow operators to realize the full potential benefits that BLR’s winglets can offer in operating efficiency. Approval was delayed by the U.S. government shutdown and furlough of non-essential FAA employees.
Wheels Up, the U.S.-based aircraft access membership program scheduled to begin service this November, has named Gama Charters of Stratford, Conn., a subsidiary of Farnborough, UK-based Gama Group, as operator of its U.S.-based fleet of Beechcraft King Air 350i turboprops.
One result of the huge deal to sell up to 105 Beechcraft King Air 350i twin-turboprops to the new Wheels Up private charter membership company is that a comprehensive plan was required to support servicing of the airframes and engines. Thus both Hawker Beechcraft Global Customer Support (HBGCS) and Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) signed a long-term service agreement with Wheels Up here in Las Vegas on the eve of the show, covering support of the Wheels Up King Air 350i fleet and their PT6A-60A engines, respectively.