Raytheon Aircraft Corp. (RAC), which lost millions of dollars last year, has placed on hold further development of the Hawker 450, a twin- engine light midsize business jet that had been tentatively scheduled to enter service in 2006. Development of the jet was announced at the NBAA Convention in 2000.
Last month, bidders submitted proposals for the U.S. joint air-to-ground missile (JAGM) and they now await a contract award for a 27-month risk-reduction phase. That announcement is expected in August or September, with two teams being selected to demonstrate their technologies, including live-firing.
The Mexican air-taxi company Sarsa purchased a new Raytheon Hawker 800XP at the convention. Based in Monterrey, Sarsa has flown Hawkers for 30 years, and this is their 12th purchase of the aircraft. “They are so reliable you can bank on them,” said Felipe Cardenas, general director of Sarsa. The air taxi’s typical mission is 1.2 hr with four passengers. Twice a month, it flies from Toluca, Mexico, to New York nonstop.
Raytheon Aircraft Parts Inventory and Distribution Co. (Rapid) and Arnoni Aviation of Houston, Texas, have entered an agreement that makes more than 21,000 line items from Raytheon Aircraft’s excess and inactive inventory available on Arnoni’s Web site (www.125parts.com). “We feel that bringing Arnoni on board to help move some of our Hawker parts is a natural,” said Drew McEwen, Rapid v-p of sales.
Flight Options announced yesterday that it is adding the Cessna Citation X to its current stable of 10 aircraft models, with the first five aircraft becoming available on November 1.
Messier-Dowty believes that the success of its fully packaged landing gear for Bombardier’s Global Express and Continental and Raytheon’s Hawker Horizon has allowed the system-supplier concept to take root in business aviation. The group has high hopes of being named the landing gear system supplier for both Dassault’s new Falcon FNX program and Raytheon’s Hawker 450.
As of press time, Raytheon Aircraft (RAC) chose not to comment on the effect on its Travel Air fractional-ownership program from the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. A company spokesman did say that RAC had decided not to participate in the rescheduled NBAA Convention to be held in New Orleans on December 12, 13 and 14.
The Premier I and Hawker Horizon programs were already far behind schedule when Hansel Tookes, 53, became chairman and CEO of Raytheon Aircraft in August 2000. These programs were plagued by further delays under Tookes’ command, although the Premier I finally received certification on March 23 last year.
In an industry led by comparatively conservative, low-key individuals, one regional airline executive not only tolerates the spotlight, he welcomes it. Mesa Air Group chairman and CEO Jonathan Ornstein–now in his fourth year as head of one of the country’s largest regional carriers–has become one of the industry’s most controversial figures.
With apologies to Mark Twain, recent rumors of the impending demise of the Be-A-Pilot program have been greatly exaggerated.