That the annual EAA AirVenture show offers a mouth-watering and impossible-to-swallow cornucopia of everything aviation was never more evident than at this year’s event, where a colossal Airbus A380 shared the ramp at AeroShell Square with Burt Rutan’s most outlandish creation yet, the spaceship-launching Virgin Galactic WhiteKnightTwo built by the talented crew at Scaled Composites.
Williams V-Jet II
Dr. Sam Williams, founder and chairman of Williams International, died yesterday at the age of 88, according to a statement issued by his company. Williams patented the small turbofan engine and built on his company’s successful development of tiny cruise missile engines to break into the rarefied world of civil turbine engine manufacturers with introduction of the FJ44 line of turbofans.
Eclipse Aviation in late May launched the Eclipse 400, a single-engine jet that will be a close relative of the Eclipse Concept Jet (ECJ) prototype revealed last July at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. The announcement was made at the company’s E-rrival customer event in tandem with news of a price increase for the twin-engine Eclipse 500 very light jet (see page 58).
At last month’s NBAA Convention, Spirit Wing Aviation of Edmond, Okla., announced that it will begin producing its “virtually new” Spirit-Lear early next year. The company said the $2.2 million SpiritLear–a re-engined Learjet 25–will be priced lower than any other airplane offering its combination of speed, range and passenger capacity.
Flight testing of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW615F–the engine Cessna selected for the Citation Mustang–got under way in Wichita on April 27. In an unusual move, initial flight testing is being conducted by Cessna on its own CitationJet testbed instead of aboard the engine manufacturer’s test aircraft.
Pratt & Whitney Canada is starting its second month of ground runs of the PW610F, the smallest of the company’s new PW600-series engines and the powerplant selected by Eclipse Aviation for its very light jet. On May 4 the engine achieved its rated takeoff thrust of 900 pounds after five hours of ground testing.