Two UK corporate flight departments have been quietly closed, and both companies appear to have been having a hard time finding buyers for their middle-aged, midsize business jets. The DeBeers diamond mining group is shutting down its Dravidian Air Services operation at London Heathrow Airport, and it is trying to sell its pair of 19-year-old Hawker 700Bs.
Aviation Partners now expects to receive certification of its winglets for the Hawker 800 next May, nearly a year later than originally planned. Failure to obtain certain engineering data from Raytheon Aircraft caused the delay, according to Aviation Partners. The Seattle company claims winglets allow the “Hawker 800SP” to fly 30 min longer or 180 nm further and 18 kt faster than a standard Hawker 800.
When the going gets tough, marketing departments heat up their branding irons. Or so it seemed at the 55th NBAA Annual Meeting and Convention in Orlando, Fla., last month. No fewer than three major business aircraft manufacturers announced new or reinvigorated brands for at least one of their offerings (see full stories elsewhere in this issue). The moves were as much a reaction to the wishy-washy U.S.
Business aircraft deliveries this year and next will drop slightly, while over the same 12- to 18-month period new orders should start to pick up slightly. These are the core predictions of the latest business aviation outlook report published by Honeywell Aerospace last month.
Hawker Beechcraft Hawker 800XP/Schleicher ASW27-18, Smith, Nev., Aug. 28, 2006–The NTSB blamed the midair of the NetJets-managed Hawker and the glider on the failure of the glider pilot to use his transponder and on the high closure rate of the two aircraft, which limited each pilot’s opportunity to see and avoid the other.
In the wake of the August 2006 midair between a Hawker 800XP and a glider, the NTSB has issued a safety recommendation that all sailplanes should have installed and active battery-powered transponders. The collision occurred about 40 miles from Reno/Tahoe International Airport, at an altitude of nearly 16,000 feet.
Raytheon Aircraft is introducing a new aircraft service plan that the company “promises will eliminate aircraft operators’ maintenance hassles.” Called Support Plus (Support +), the plan provides owners of Raytheon aircraft with selectable options covering all maintenance issues.
Hawker Beechcraft last week celebrated its first anniversary as a private entity, and the company reports it’s doing very well all on its own. On March 26, 2007, GS Capital Partners, an affiliate of Goldman Sachs and Onex Partners, acquired the former Raytheon Aircraft.
The Hawker 750 is now entering service, following FAA certification in February, and thus drops off the In The Works list. The 750 is Hawker Beechcraft’s second recent derivative of the Hawker series; the first was the 900XP, certified last August. The 750 adds a 32-cu-ft heated external baggage compartment by removing the fuselage fuel tank, but still offers NBAA IFR range of 2,116 nm with the standard eight-passenger Hawker cabin.
There are now 23 Hawker 4000s in the completion pipeline as Hawker Beechcraft continues function and reliability testing, the last phase before the FAA issues final type approval.