Shipments of new general aviation airplanes manufactured throughout the world totaled 1,766 units in the first nine months of 2002, down 16.6 percent from the same period last year, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). Turboprops took the biggest hit: from 284 delivered in the first three quarters of last year to 170 in the same period this year, a decline of 40.1 percent.
One OEM called it “an adjustment.” Another referred to it as a “reduction in force.” Yet another described an “involuntary separation plan.” But by those or any other names, the meaning is the same– “layoffs.” In the past 18 months, business aircraft manufacturers have announced layoffs of more than 9,000 workers and, barring a reversal of the current economic trend, there will be more.
With the Italian government still investigating the cause of the April 22 crash of a prototype Bell/Agusta AB139 helicopter near Monteleone, Rimini, in northern Italy, work toward certification is progressing. Unofficial accounts of the accident investigation point to human factors instead of mechanical failure during a high altitude, low airspeed flight.
Beset with stagnant civil sales, a stymied multi-billion-dollar, investment-intensive defense project and a dearth of new programs in the pipeline, Bell Helicopter Textron has decided, like the beer world, to take a chance on a “lite” product, in this case a new lightweight, lower-cost turbine single helicopter.
“We are dedicated to expanding our worldwide Citation product network and doubling the capacity of our Cessna-owned service facilities during the next five years,” according to Cessna v-p of service facilities Jim Morgan.
Cessna Aircraft chairman and CEO Russ Meyer (right) and Avfuel Corp. president and CEO Craig Sincock on August 29 signed an agreement that will reduce fuel costs for operators of any Cessna turbine-powered aircraft.
Bell Helicopter chairman and chief executive John Murphey is in the sort of corporate hotseat many top executives yearn for: command of a major corporation at the precise moment that corporation is in, if not the fight of its life, certainly some very tough times indeed.
Bowing to demands from an even more security-conscious aviation community, Bell Helicopter is offering the first FAA-approved night-vision-goggle (NVG) training program aimed specifically at commercial helicopter operators.
When the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., opened last month to tell the tale of news gathering, publication and broadcast and to champion the concept of a free press, it did not ignore the role of aviation in the news-gathering and -broadcasting process.
In a situation reminiscent of the dilemma JetStar owners face, a substantial number of Cessna 441 Conquest II twin turboprops could be grounded come September unless modifications are made to the contents and administration of a Cessna program designed to deal with aging-aircraft issues.