The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) released its third-quarter delivery numbers last month, and while shipments of both business jets and turboprops this year have set records, the organization is warning of rough skies ahead.
Cessna Citation Mustang
The VLJ era started with a bang on March 6, 2000, when Eclipse Aviation announced the formal launch of the Eclipse 500, a program “designed to apply technological breakthroughs in creating a series of safe, reliable, low-cost jet aircraft that will enable transformation of the U.S. air transportation system.”
Blink is stepping up its low-cost European air-taxi network with the introduction of three more Cessna Citation Mustangs due to have entered the fleet around press time.
The FAA and Transport Canada have granted type certification to the latest version of Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PW600 family, the PW617F that powers Embraer’s Phenom 100 very light jet. The fadec-controlled PW617F delivers 1,615 pounds of thrust. The Phenom 100 is expected to receive FAA certification shortly, in time for deliveries to begin before the end of the year.
When Embraer announced the formation of Embraer Executive Jets and the launch of its Phenom 100 very light jet and Phenom 300 light jet programs, there were at least a half-dozen competing programs already in various stages of development. Today, only two very light jets from that group–Cessna’s Citation Mustang and the Eclipse 500 from Eclipse Aviation–are in service. The Phenom 100 is expected to join them in the coming weeks.
Frasca International (Booth No. 4636) has been awarded a contract by the FAA to build a Cessna Citation Mustang level-5 flight training device (FTD). The FTD, to be located at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City, will accurately replicate the very light jet’s Garmin G1000-equipped flight deck.
StandardAero (Booth No. 899) has received an FAA STC for the King Air 200 that involves removal of the airplane’s Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-41-series engines and upgrades to more powerful -42 engines.
Brazilian race driver Nelson Piquet, one of few ever to win three world championships, hasn’t slowed down. At LABACE he confirmed the purchase of a second Citation Mustang. He also owns a Citation X, the fastest civil aircraft in the world, and is rated to fly both the Mustang and Citation X. Cessna claims Brazil is the second largest regional market for the Mustang, behind the European Union.
Pratt & Whitney Canada, manufacturer of the PW610F engine that powers the Eclipse 500 very light jet, and Eclipse Aviation are jointly investigating the cause of a carbon buildup that resulted in an in-flight engine shutdown earlier this month.
It’s a David-and-Goliath story, but lately it has been getting tougher to tell just who’s the Goliath.