NASA last month awarded grants to fund a five-month study on how to design and build an airplane that could demonstrate technology to reduce the sonic boom during supersonic flight. The four industry teams–Boeing Phantom Works, Raytheon Aircraft, Gulfstream/Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin/Cessna–have each received a $1 million grant.
Deliveries of the Beech King Air C90-GT, a more powerful version of the series intended to compete with very light jets, are scheduled to start in December. Two 750-shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-135 turboprops will replace the current 550-shp PT6A-21s. Raytheon said the engine upgrade will boost the C90’s cruise speed to 270 knots from 240 knots. Price is $2.95 million.
Thomas Seeber was promoted to president and CEO of Pentastar Aviation. He was previously president and COO.
Charles (“Charlie”) Tooley was named vice president of the aviation practice for Accordia. He was most recently the aviation regional practice leader for Marsh Aviation in Kansas City.
Chinese operator Hainan Airlines announced at the Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition that it will open an authorized service center for Raytheon’s Premier I and Hawker 800XP. This is the first time a general aviation manufacturer has launched a partnership with a service provider in mainland China.
Machinists at Raytheon Aircraft in Wichita are working under a new contract after failing last month to marshal enough votes for a strike. The Wichita Eagle reported that union members had voted to reject the company’s proposed three-year labor agreement, but they did not have the votes required for a work stoppage. Because the strike vote fell short, the contract was ratified.
In last month’s overview of the fractional aircraft industry, several consultants characterized Cleveland-based Flight Options as the least financially sound of the four major fractional providers. While official Flight Options pronouncements paint a rosier picture, recent data suggests that the fractional consultants weren’t far off the mark.
Deliveries of new turbine business airplanes–particularly from Bombardier, Cessna, Gulfstream and Raytheon–in the first half of this year shot up more than 31 percent compared with the same period last year, according to the second-quarter shipment report from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) released recently.
South Africa’s National Airways is opening a new maintenance operation for business jets at Johannesburg Lanseria Airport. The Jet Centre facility officially opened on October 1 and it will primarily support Raytheon’s entire jet line, including current-production types and the full spectrum of British Aerospace HS.125s. National Airways claims it will offer a level of service previously available only in Europe and North America.
Nine months after reaching a tentative sales agreement, Raytheon Aircraft and NetJets signed a contract for the purchase of 50 Hawker 4000s (née Horizons) for the latter company’s fractional fleet. Deliveries are scheduled to start next year and continue through 2013. In mid-2003 NetJets canceled a 1999 order for 50 of the jets because of certification delays.
Raytheon issued a new safety communiqué to advise Beech 1900 operators of another misleading illustration in the type’s maintenance manuals. The notice represents the latest in a series of manual revisions prompted by the crash of two Beech 1900D airliners that killed 23 people in 2003.