Fred Furth has been flying since 1959 and has more than 8,000 hours in jets. But before he could take delivery of his new Citation Mustang in May, he had to get type rated like everyone else. Furth, who owns and pilots a Citation X and a Caravan, has been to FlightSafety International 40 times. You might think that such an experienced pilot would breeze through “Mustang 101.” Not so.
The annual Sun ’n’ Fun event in Lakeland, Fla., is similar to the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture Oshkosh, with its emphasis on sport aviation and light aircraft, but (as at Oshkosh) a growing number of turboprop and jet manufacturers are exhibiting at the smaller show at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport.
The scene was straight out of a science fiction movie. Thick coils of wire wound like serpents along the pale green walls. More wire slithered up from the floor in bundles as thick as rope. Part of an overhead instrument panel hung from the ceiling, suspended by yet more wires.
Of more than 30 new business jet designs now in various stages of development, no fewer than seven are very light jet (VLJ) projects represented here at the
European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition.
Nearly all of these projects are clean-sheet designs, typically absorbing more money and time than variants of existing designs and demonstrating the faith aircraft manufacturers have in this prospective new market.
Garmin is encroaching on rival Avidyne’s turf with the announcement last month that the G1000 avionics system will be offered as optional equipment in the Piper Saratoga II TC and 6X.
Cessna last month was close to certifying a software update for the Citation Mustang’s G1000 avionics system after avionics maker Garmin in February uncovered a programming glitch. The problem is causing course deviation errors and a loss of some navigation cues on the map display when the pilot attempts to load a new arrival or departure procedure without deleting a previously loaded procedure.
While FAA Administrator Marion Blakey and GA industry leaders wrangled over aviation user fees and taxes at the Aircraft Electronics Association’s 50th annual convention, avionics makers and dealers got down to the business of discussing new products and market opportunities.
This week Cessna celebrated two major turbine fleet milestones. The Caravan fleet reached 10 million flight hours and its Citation line has reached double that. The company also announced that it has addressed some teething problems and resumed deliveries of the Mustang, its entry into the VLJ market. Garmin has fixed a software glitch that wouldn’t allow users to alter an arrival after one was already selected on the G1000.
Like its non-turbine siblings–the DA40 Diamond Star and DA42 Twin Star–the Diamond D-Jet will feature a Garmin G1000 integrated avionics suite, Olathe, Kan.-based Garmin said yesterday. As such, Diamond’s very light jet single will have a three-panel G1000 flight-deck system with two primary flight displays and a multifunction display.
Honda Aircraft officials have decided to outsource manufacture of major portions of the HondaJet, including the fuselage and wings. The company also reiterated its plans to equip the HondaJet with a Garmin avionics suite, naming Garmin the official supplier of a system “tailored for the HondaJet.”