Hawker Beechcraft’s King Air twin-turboprops continue to take the lion’s share of the Middle East turboprop business market, accounting for more than 70 percent of sales over the last three years. However, the type’s good endurance, configuration, capacious cabin and attractive operating economics have also made it a natural platform for a wide variety of special tasks, and many hundreds have been converted for special missions during the type’s long career.
If you walk around the static display here at MEBA 2012, a common theme emerges: there are hardly any airplanes on show that do not have upturned wingtip extensions.
The European Aviation Safety Agency has issued certification of Airbus’s Sharklet wingtip device for CFM-powered A320 family narrowbodies, the manufacturer announced Monday. Airbus said it expects the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to issue its own approval “very soon.”
The slow and destructive passage of Hurricane Sandy before the 65th NBAA Convention and Tradeshow opened in Orlando on October 30 generated great concern about the safety of travelers and worry about what they would find when they returned home to the Northeast. Although New York-area airports opened in time for return flights, many worried about widespread power outages, severe water damage, destroyed infrastructure and ongoing challenges finding out anything about local facilities because so much of the cellphone network was compromised.
Tamarack Aerospace has unveiled the first of what it promises will be a series of active winglet systems designed to relieve wing bending loads caused by winglets. The company’s active technology load alleviation system (Atlas) should be certified and available for installation on Cirrus SR22 G1 and G2 piston singles early next year, but Tamarack is also testing Atlas, which includes new winglets, on a Cessna CitationJet 525. Tamarack brought the Atlas-equipped CitationJet to the NBAA Convention in Orlando and gave demonstration rides during the show.
Though the light and midsize jet markets yet await their resurgence from the depths of the past business cycle downturn, at Learjet there is a near palpable sense of anticipation that such a turnaround is looming. The Bombardier division currently has three new models preparing for entry into service next year—the Learjets 70, 75 and 85–and has embarked on a major expansion at its Wichita headquarters.
The Lindbergh Foundation chose the first day of the 2012 NBAA Convention to award its prestigious Corporate Award for Balance to Aviation Partners Boeing, a joint venture between Aviation Partners (API) and Boeing created in 1999 to equip Boeing aircraft with API’s blended winglet technology. The winglets have saved billions of gallons of jet fuel and significantly improved the performance specifications of Boeing jetliners.
BBA Aviation subsidiary Ontic is expanding its capabilities. At its center-of-excellence MRO facility in Houston, the aftermarket support company is adding services for Hawker Beechcraft’s line of King Airs. Among the services offered are repair and overhaul of the turboprop twin’s landing gear, flight controls and ancillary structures including airframe structural and sheet metal work. Other systems such as the environmental and pneumatic control, mechanical power transfer and oxygen containment and distribution are also included in the services menu.
A comprehensive deal was signed here at NBAA for the first Blackhawk XP52 replacement engine modification of a Hawker Beechcraft King Air B200 equipped with Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics. The 3,500-hour aircraft is owned by LJ Aviation of Latrobe, Penn., which purchased it new in 2006.
The twin turboprop will also receive Raisbeck Engineering’s (Booth No. 2266) Epic Gold performance package, BLR winglets and LED lighting. The modifications will be performed by Hawker Beechcraft Services (Booth No. 2598) in Wichita.
Aviation Partners has flight-tested its new split scimitar blended winglet on a Boeing Business Jet. The new design adds a blended ventral fin and scimitar winglet tips to the original blended winglet design, and the company says the tests confirmed a “measurable speed increase and drag decrease.” However, the company does not have current plans to make the new winglet available for any specific aircraft. Aviation Partners is displaying a full-scale mockup of its split scimitar blended winglet here at its NBAA booth (No. 5035).