Business aircraft maintenance, modification and completions firm Stevens Aviation today delivered the first Lear4Ever–an upgraded Learjet 35–to Dr. Steve Bass in a ceremony at its Greenville, S.C. headquarters. For $2 million and six months of downtime, the Lear4Ever program provides “a series of upgrades, retrofits and modifications” intended to modernize and extend the useful life of 20- and 30-series Learjets.
Years after testing an unusually shaped “spiroid” winglet on a Gulfstream II, Aviation Partners remains “intensely interested” in continuing research into the efficiency-boosting winglets, according to a company spokesman. Spiroid winglets look like a long thin winglet ribbon that was heated to the malleable stage then twisted back onto the top of the wing.
GKN Aerospace has delivered Blended Winglets for 767-300ER aircraft to Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) for certification flight tests in support of launch customer American Airlines.
The contract has involved the design and development of an 11-foot-tall winglet and will include manufacture of some 450 shipsets, with forecast peak production of up to 16 shipsets per month.
Under the cover of private funding, Honda has been secretly and very seriously developing its six- to eight-seat light turbofan twin. Though the automaker steadfastly maintains it has “no business plan” to manufacture the business jet, the project aircraft has a name, HondaJet, and the development program is well advanced.
The market for Gulfstream hush kits stands at fewer than 400 GIIs, GIITTs, GIIBs and GIIIs. These models are currently one of the softer areas of a soft market. This net number takes into account the 14 GIIs and five GIIIs written off over the years, as well as nearly 50 combined models that are serving in some government role and, due to the nature of their operation, would probably not need to conform to any noise requirements.
With the attachment of its wings and the hanging of the engines last month, Boeing’s first P-8A Poseidon reconnaissance aircraft is right on schedule and could soon be earning its first international order, according to the manufacturer.
Dassault added another wing-letted model to the company’s lineup, the Falcon 900LX, which will replace the Falcon 900EX following certification in the first half of 2010. Initial flight testing has demonstrated a drag reduction of up to 7 percent. Climb performance should improve by 10 percent, according to Dassault, and maximum range will climb to 4,800 nm.
Dassault Aviation CEO Charles Edelstenne is confident about the future of the French company’s broadening line of Falcons as it ramps up completion efforts for the 7X and prepares to launch its new super-midsize jet. But the pressure of a weakening dollar that is affecting all European aerospace companies is making the company cautious about future models.
GKN Aerospace is targeting $4 billion in annual sales by 2017, double its current level, and the UK-based group has already won much of the business it needs to achieve that total.
The company has achieved most of its dramatic growth to date–from sales of just $150 million in 1994 when GKN acquired the former Westland Aerospace to $2 billion today–through acquisitions, but going forward more of it will be organic.
After a successful flight program and anticipated certification, Aviation Partners Inc. (API) is announcing the Hawker 800SP blended winglet program, with initial customer deliveries beginning early next year.