At face value, the new PC-24 jet, launched by Pilatus in May, should be well suited to Latin America’s needs and aviation infrastructure–not least because of its versatile operational performance which enables it to operate from short and unprepared runways (2,690-foot balanced field length at max takeoff weight).
Piper PA-47 PiperJet
On May 21, surrounded by crowds of eager attendees at EBACE (European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition), Pilatus chairman Oscar Schwenk called for the unveiling of Pilatus Aircraft’s long-awaited new twinjet project, the PC-24. When the black curtain dropped amid clouds of dry-ice-induced smoke to the theme song from the Superman movie, the fuselage mockup of the PC-24 was revealed.
Accompanied by plumes of dry ice pouring from the edges of a black-curtained mockup and the music from the Superman movie, chairman Oscar Schwenk called for the unveiling of Pilatus Aircraft’s long-awaited new twinjet project, the PC-24.
The future of business aviation in China will include single-engine jets, so says Jim Rice, chairman and CEO of VisionAire Jets, who is here promoting the Vantage composite jet. Rice came to ABACE 2013 not only to show the Chinese market the benefits of a single-engine jet, but also to tell potential investors about the VisionAire program.
The past year has been challenging but also marked a turnaround for Piper Aircraft. CEO Simon Caldecott has been on the job for a year, and the first decision he was faced with was huge: what to do about the single-engine PiperJet Altaire program. While just before last year’s NBAA show Piper had given every indication that the Altaire would continue, Caldecott used the occasion to announce that the program was being put on indefinite hold, although Piper has retained all the intellectual property developed for the Altaire.
After years of rumors about development of a fast, low-wing, single-engine turboprop, Cessna unveiled an aircraft interior mock-up in July to solicit prospective customer interest and opinion, gathering more than 350 detailed surveys during EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. While Cessna has not decided if it will move forward with the aircraft, spokesman Andy Woodward said the company was “very encouraged” by the positive feedback the concept has received to date.
Judging from the new aircraft programs that are speeding toward certification and those that are languishing, there is a clear indication of where the general aviation industry is heading. The trend is toward well financed, large-company programs involving mostly larger jets. With the exception of Honda and Cessna, smaller jets and turboprops are attracting little or no new money and will face growing challenges to eventual entry into service.
Despite some media reports stating that Piper Aircraft was recently sold to the Government of Brunei, the Vero Beach, Fla. airframer told AIN that the transaction of authority for the company from corporate finance and investment management firm Imprimis to Brunei’s Ministry of Finance was merely a formalization of the original 2009 sale of the company by American Capital. In a release the company stated, “Piper Aircraft has been an investment of the Government of Brunei since 2009.
Piper Aircraft is facing repayment requests of government incentives received in 2008 to help the company upgrade its Vero Beach, Fla., facilities to modern hurricane standards and buy tools and equipment.
Shortly after Piper Aircraft posted billboards in Wichita advertising for engineers, the company suspended further development of the single-engine PiperJet Altaire, “following a review to align the company’s business goals with the light jet market outlook, investment strategies and overall economic forecasts.”
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