With a firm order for 10 Eclipse 500s and an option for 10 more, London, Ontario-based OurPlane becomes the first fractional customer for the very light jet, scheduled to enter service early next year. Unlike other fractional operations, OurPlane sells shares only in one-quarter increments. Eclipse 500 share prices start at $349,900, with a monthly fixed cost of $3,500 and hourly operating costs of $369, without a pilot.
Business aircraft sales and deliveries this year are showing early signs of recovery, if the report by one manufacturer points to widespread improvement for the industry. After increasing PC-12 sales by 35 percent last year compared with 2002, Pilatus is headed for a record-tying year. Officials at the Swiss manufacturer and at its U.S.
European authorities have again delayed approval for single-engine commercial operations in instrument meteorological conditions (SECIMC). Operators expected clearance this month, but at least 10 months will pass before such flights (roughly equivalent to U.S. SECIFR operations) win approval.
Representatives of Pilatus Business Aircraft were on hand January 8 to witness the unveiling of SimCom Training Center’s newest simulator, an advanced Pilatus PC-12 non-motion simulator installed at SimCom’s Scottsdale, Ariz. facility. Thomas Bosshard, president and CEO Pilatus’ U.S.
Pilatus Aircraft last month announced that the warranty period for all Honeywell avionics installed in new Pilatus PC-12s has been extended from two to three years. The new warranty benefit is applicable starting with PC-12 S/N 482 and covers standard Honeywell equipment, including the EFIS 40 displays; KFC 325 autopilot; KLN 90B GPS; RDR 2000 weather radar; and KC 165A navcom.
Manufacturers delivered 518 new business jets last year, some 23 percent fewer than the 676 shipped in 2002, according to the annual year-end report released last month by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. Last year’s figure is the lowest level since 1998, when 520 business jets were delivered.
In a special airworthiness information bulletin published on February 13, the FAA advised owners and operators of PC-12s to incorporate operational limitations that the Swiss civil aviation authority issued earlier this year as an emergency AD. According to the FAA, the AD was prompted by several incidents on approach where an abrupt nose-down pitch occurred after the autopilot was disconnected when the flaps were at 40 degrees.
Pilatus PC-12, South Bend, Ind., Dec. 14, 2004–The NTSB blamed the crash of PC-12 N922RG on the failure of the fuel control unit bellows, which resulted in a significant loss of engine power. The pilot made a forced landing on a roadway after, he said, the engine “abruptly and smoothly rolled back” shortly after takeoff from South Bend Regional Airport. The airplane’s wingtip hit two utility poles during rollout.
In a business world where a niche market may be the key to success, PlaneSense has apparently found both niche and success, operating a fractional ownership fleet composed solely of PC-12 turboprop singles and serving the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.
As Pilatus was celebrating the worldwide fleet of more than 500 Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67B-powered PC-12s surpassing one million flight hours, the engine manufacturer was working with the fuel control unit (FCU) supplier to obtain approval for an improved pneumatic system. P&WC expects to have an upgrade plan in place before the end of this month.