Cessna Aircraft Company (SNF 001, 004) of Wichita and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU; NE 021-NE 025) of Daytona Beach, Fla., announced here at Sun ’n’ Fun a long-term agreement for the purchase of 57 Cessna Skyhawk 172s. Deliveries of 29 aircraft are scheduled for this year with the remaining 28 slated for delivery next year. The aircraft will replace the Cessna Skyhawks currently used in the university’s flight training program at its Daytona Beach and Prescott, Ariz. campuses.
Cessna Aircraft and Beechcraft are making their first public appearance as sister companies under the Textron Aviation banner this week at the Sun ’n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla., less than three weeks after Textron closed a $1.4 billion deal to acquire Beechcraft. Still, the companies have separate static display areas at the show because, as a spokeswoman explained, there wasn’t enough room at either space to display a combined Cessna/Beech lineup of piston and turboprop aircraft, ranging from the Cessna 172 to Beechcraft King Air 350i.
Continental Motors, a subsidiary of Beijing-based Avic, partnered with STC and custom design and installation services firm ASI Innovation of Reims, France, to acquire the type certificate, inventory and manufacturing rights for the F406 twin turboprop from Reims Aviation, which was declared insolvent last year. The F406 is an unpressurized, 14-passenger airplane manufactured by Reims Aviation and originally designed in cooperation with Cessna in the early 1980s.
Textron closed its $1.4 billion acquisition of Beechcraft on March 14, bringing together Cessna Aircraft and Beechcraft to form Textron Aviation. Scott Ernest, Cessna’s president and CEO since 2011, was tapped to lead Textron Aviation as CEO. Meanwhile, Bill Boisture, chairman and CEO of Beechcraft since 2009, was omitted from the Textron Aviation senior leadership team and “is moving on to new opportunities,” a Textron spokesman told AIN.
Textron closed its $1.4 billion acquisition of Beechcraft on Friday, bringing together Cessna Aircraft and Beechcraft to form Textron Aviation. While the two aircraft manufacturers are now combined within a single segment, “Cessna, Beechcraft and Hawker will each remain distinct brands to preserve their rich histories and respective strengths in the marketplace,” the company said.
Airbus Corporate Jets has appointed Benoit Defforge managing director. He will also maintain his previous role as head of the Airbus Corporate Jet Centre (ACJC).
Bill Chiles, president and CEO of helicopter operator Bristow Group, announced he will retire at the end of July but will remain with the company in a consulting role for another two years. He will be replaced by senior v-p and CFO Jonathan Baliff.
Every year since the start of the great economic downturn of 2008, the business aviation industry has watched business jet deliveries dwindle and searched for signs that the market might have finally hit bottom. The downward slide was finally arrested last year, according to year-end numbers released last month by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. For the first time since 2008, worldwide deliveries of business jets were higher than the previous year, with manufacturers handing over 678 jets last year, six aircraft (1 percent) more than in 2012.
I often get the feeling that general aviation is the red-headed stepchild in government’s view of the aerospace industry. With apologies to the late Rodney Dangerfield, GA seems to get no respect from the federal government. There have been three comprehensive studies on aviation in the past quarter century, and a few others on narrower topics.
A prototype of Cessna’s newest midsize jet, the Citation Latitude, flew for the first time on February 18, lifting off from Wichita Mid-Continent Airport at 10 a.m. with senior flight-test pilots Aaron Tobias and Marcus Mannella in the cockpit. During the nearly 2.5-hour flight, the crew tested the flaps, landing gear, pressurization systems, anti-ice capabilities, stability and control. The twinjet–which fuses a new, larger fuselage with the wings, tail and systems of the Citation Sovereign+–reached 28,000 feet and 200 knots on its maiden flight.
Cessna Aircraft’s Citation Latitude prototype has already achieved its full performance envelope, just one week after the aircraft’s maiden flight. In only its third flight, the prototype reached its maximum speed of 440 ktas/Mach 0.80 and altitude of 45,000 feet. In fact, the midsize twinjet made a direct climb to 45,000 feet with a gross takeoff weight of 29,000 pounds.