When Eclipse Aviation founder and CEO Vern Raburn earlier this year declared that a retooled avionics system for the Eclipse 500 very light jet would be tested and certified within four months, many observers were skeptical. More telling, however, was the revelation that Eclipse’s hand-picked supplier team also had doubts about the accelerated timetable.
Six years after opening its doors, two-and-a-half months after flying its first fully conforming aircraft and less than a month after losing company chairman Bruce Kennedy in the crash of a Cessna 182, Quest Aircraft has been awarded the type certificate for its turboprop utility single. The clean-sheet-design Kodiak is a 10-place, PT6-powered STOL aircraft that’s big on payload and short on runway requirements.
Six years after opening its doors, two-and-a-half months after flying its first fully conforming aircraft and less than a month after losing company chairman Bruce Kennedy in the crash of a Cessna 182, Quest Aircraft has been awarded the type certificate for its turboprop utility single. The FAA awarded full day/night, VFR/IFR certification for the $1.3 million Kodiak after 32 months of development.
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.