Great Lakes Aviation appears to have escaped a brush with certain bankruptcy thanks to a recently signed agreement with Raytheon Aircraft that gives the Wichita-based manufacturer a 36-percent stake in the long-foundering airline.
From a humanitarian perspective, regional air transport suffered perhaps its most destructive 24-hour stretch in history last month. Three separate fatal accidents, all unrelated but for the category of aircraft they involved, shook the industry at a time it could least afford the negative reaction. Once rescuers finished counting, the death toll totaled 72 in Turkey, 46 in Peru and 21 in the U.S.
Raytheon Aircraft reduced its 2002 operating income loss to $4 million versus a loss of more than $750 million in 2001. The Wichita manufacturer attributed the narrowing of the gap to cost and productivity gains. The company also had several rounds of layoffs last year and has announced another 600 workers will be let go this year. In 2002, Raytheon delivered 174 Hawkers, Beechjets, King Airs and Premier Is compared with 217 in 2001.
Raytheon Aircraft revealed five new executive appointments, the third reshuffling of senior manage-ment designed to improve the company’s business and customer support since James Schuster became chairman and CEO in mid-2001. The changes fall in the midst of a significant decrease in sales and deliveries.
Two Raytheon-hired contract pilots and a potential buyer were killed when their Beech 1900C on a sales demo flight crashed December 9 in mountainous terrain near Eagleton, Ark. At press time, investigators had no clue as to what caused the crash of the 1990 twin turboprop, N127YV, registered to Raytheon Aircraft Credit. The flight had taken off from Wichita at 10:30 a.m., about an hour before the accident.
Growth at Salina Airport in Kansas has been so rapid that the airport is running out of hangar and office space for businesses that want to move to the airport. A new $6 million hangar complex is under construction and is on track to open in the third quarter. The 69,000-sq-ft complex includes 41,400 sq ft of hangar space, 22,600 sq ft of office space and a 5,000-sq-ft customer service area.
Hawker Beechcraft King Air A90, Wallkill, N.Y., July 27, 2007–The “very hard” landing of the King Air, breaking off the right main gear, was caused by the pilot’s improper flare, the NTSB concluded. The pilot had overflown the airport and saw no indication of wind speed or direction. The King Air flew over trees, then “dropped down” on approach “a little fast, and had a very hard landing.” There were no injuries.
Hawker Beechcraft King Air A100, Chino, Calif., Nov. 6, 2007–The crash of King Air N30GC, registered to RHB-JMJ of Chino, killed the two crewmembers, the only occupants. The twin turboprop was taking off from Chino Airport, where the visibility was a quarter mile in fog, and hit trees about three-quarters of a mile from the departure end of Runway 26R.
There are many new jets and a few new turboprops on designers’ drawing boards, but the volume of new aircraft making it to the entry-into-service point remains fairly low, considering all the projects in the hopper. Last year, only two new clean-sheet designs–the Quest Kodiak and Falcon 7X–joined the ranks of aircraft certified and beginning deliveries.
RAYTHEON BEECH 1900D, ALBANY, N.Y., OCT. 16, 2003–During the takeoff roll of a Beech 1900, operated by CommutAir as Continental Connection Flight 8718, the flight crew was unable to rotate the airplane and aborted the takeoff uneventfully. Examination revealed that when the elevator trim wheel in the cockpit was positioned to neutral, the elevator trim was actually in the full nose-down position.