Accompanied by stage smoke and theme music from the Superman movie, Pilatus Aircraft unveiled its long-awaited new twinjet project, the PC-24, today at EBACE. “The PC-24 is unique. It’s the only aircraft combining the versatility of a turboprop with the cabin size of a midsize jet and the field performance of a light jet,” said company chairman Oscar Schwenk.
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.
Daher-Socata is here at EBACE (Booth 1643) with its model year 2013 TBM 850 Elite, featuring a special cabin equipment package. The Tarbes, France-based company sold 38 examples of the single-engine turboprop last year, while its specialist aerostructures activities mean that it is involved in still-under-wraps business jet programs.
Piaggio Aero announced a reduced maintenance program for Avanti I/IIs today at EBACE, extending the heavy inspection intervals for the twin turboprop. Under the new inspection schedule, C and D checks–previously due at 1,500 and 3,000 hours, respectively–have been stretched to 1,800 and 3,600 hours.
Since it exited a 10-month restructuring process and Chapter 11 protection in February, the rebranded Beechcraft (formerly Hawker Beechcraft) has performed well and is even looking at possible new models to bolster its turboprop line-up.
GE Aviation is no stranger to the business aviation world. Its CF34 engines have powered Challengers for 30 years, while its larger engines are used by Airbus Corporate Jets and Boeing Business Jets (through its CFM joint venture with France’s Snecma). It is currently bringing the HF120 turbofan (in the GE Honda Aero joint venture with Honda Aircraft) and Passport 20 (for Bombardier’s Global 7000/8000) to the marketplace.
The first quarter of 2013 was mixed for used business aircraft sales, according to the latest market update report from Amstat (Booth 931), although the good news is that inventories of used aircraft continue to drop from the 2009 highs.
Hawker Beechcraft emerged from bankruptcy in February, restructured and rebranded as Beechcraft (Booth 7060), and the message it brings to EBACE is that it has refocused on the business of building and selling airplanes, and servicing and supporting what it builds.
Beechcraft has two “significant” elements to its show presence here. The stand in the main hall, said executive v-p of sales and marketing Shawn Vick, “is branded universally as Beechcraft and we are represented there by members of our African, European and Middle East teams.”
Beechcraft, which recently emerged from bankruptcy protection and is now focused on its piston and turboprop products, expects to sell its mothballed jet division in the coming months. According to CEO Bill Boisture, the company has already completed disposition of its remaining inventory of approximately 20 new and pre-owned Hawker 4000 and Premier IA jets, a move he said went “better than planned,” though he declined to offer details about the revenue derived from their sale.
Honeywell, which provides SmartView synthetic-vision systems (SVS) for Gulfstream business jets with PlaneView avionics, Falcon jets with EASy II flight decks and Pilatus PC-12 NG turboprops with Apex cockpits, is far along in its development of a combined vision system (CVS), which marries forward-looking infrared to SVS, for helicopters.