Hawker Beechcraft King Air E90B, Ruidoso, N.M., Aug. 5, 2007–The Southwest MedEvac King Air was destroyed when it crashed while maneuvering four miles southeast of the Sierra Blanca Regional Airport in Ruidoso. All five people on board–the ATP-rated pilot, the flight nurse, the flight medic, the patient and the patient’s mother–were killed. The airplane was en route to Albuquerque in VMC with the patient, a 15-month-old.
New Mexico’s license plates proclaim it to be the “Land of Enchantment.” And a growing number of business aircraft manufacturers are enchanted with New Mexico’s efforts toward becoming an “aviation cluster” of airframe manufacturers and supporting businesses.
Maui-based Pacific Wings exacted a small measure of revenge on Hawaiian gatecrasher Mesa Air Group last month when it won the rights to two of Mesa’s Essential Air Service destinations in New Mexico. Pacific Wings plans to start serving Hobbs and Carlsbad, N.M., from Albuquerque using four nine-seat Cessna Grand Caravans on June 1.
Englewood, Colo.-based Aviation Technology Group announced last month it had selected Albuquerque, N.M., as the manufacturing site for the two-seat, Williams FJ33-powered Javelin. The selection followed the approval by the New Mexico Investment Council of a “significant investment” in ATG at a meeting on January 20. The state’s Private Equity Committee had earlier recommended the investment to the council.
American Utilicraft last month said it will spin off Utilicraft Aerospace Industries, a newly formed Nevada corporation, as part of an agreement with The Navajo Nation, which is investing $34 million in exchange for a 25-percent stake in the new company. The funds will be used for Phase I FAA certification for the FF-1080-300 freight feeder.
There are signs of life at Utilicraft Aerospace, which now trades on the stock market as symbol UITA on the Over The Counter Bulletin Board. Utilicraft also announced plans to build a new facility at Double Eagle II Airport in Albuquerque, N.M. Early last month the company signed a letter of intent for construction of a 55,000-sq-ft facility where it will build the twin-engine FF-1080-300ER.
A Senate amendment that called for severe fines, loss of license and aircraft confiscation for violating the flight restricted zone (FRZ) in the Washington air defense identification zone was stripped from the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill last month.
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