Cessna and its parent, Textron, rallied quickly to support president and CEO Jack Pelton’s credentials in the wake of a damaging 60 Minutes segment that aired last month. The CBS show mentioned that Pelton was among thousands who essentially purchased college degrees from an alleged diploma mill, specifically Hamilton University in Evanston, Wyo.
The general aviation industry continued a strong recovery through third-quarter deliveries and billings, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. New aircraft billings were up 19.7 percent, to $8.1 billion, in the first nine months of this year, while total deliveries of new GA airplanes increased 7.7 percent, to 1,928.
Cessna and Gulfstream are positioning themselves to improve sales in India. Cessna said it delivered two Citations and one Caravan to Indian companies last year. Before those deliveries, five Citations were based in India. This year, Cessna plans to deliver two more Citations in India. Meanwhile, Gulfstream named Air Works India at Mumbai International Airport, Bombay, its sales agent for the region.
Cessna named West Star Aviation of Grand Junction, Colo., an authorized Citation service center and warranty fulfillment facility, one of six non-factory-owned authorized Citation service facilities in the U.S. West Star Aviation consists of more than 20 acres of ramp space and 140,000 sq ft of office and hangar space.
Nearly six years after its launch at the 1999 Paris Air Show, Bell/Agusta’s AB139 medium twin-turbine helicopter has gained FAA IFR certification. The helicopter, which achieved Italian IFR certification in 2003, is equipped with a four-screen Honeywell Primus Epic EFIS. Three aircraft have been delivered to date. The order book currently stands at more than 80 aircraft slated for delivery to more than 40 customers, according to Bell/Agusta.
For the second time since 1975, Russ Meyer is not chairman of Cessna Aircraft. Early last month, Meyer quietly retired as chairman with the honorary title of chairman emeritus. Simultaneously, Cessna president and CEO Jack Pelton assumed the chairman post.
James Lara is the new president and COO of Tempe, Ariz.-based MedAire. Joan Sullivan Garrett, the firm’s founder, CEO and chairman, will concentrate on driving the company’s visionary leadership, high-level promotion and strategic growth. Lara served on MedAire’s board of directors from 1996 until early last year. Kjell Andreassen, executive v-p and COO, will be leaving the firm to pursue other opportunities.
On December 9 Cessna Aircraft claimed another record, though this one does not involve any aircraft speed or distance. In support of its expanding customer services, that day Cessna held grand-opening ceremonies for its 443,000-sq-ft Wichita Citation Service Center, below, the largest general aviation maintenance facility in the world.
A day after news of the NetJets order for 50 Hawker 400XPs, Cessna Aircraft parent company Textron announced that it expects no financial impact from the fractional provider’s earlier cancellation of an order for 50 Citation CJ3s. The company expects the canceled order, applied to jets slated for delivery in the late 2005 to 2008 timeframe, to be reallocated to existing customer orders.
As the Eclipse 500 was being rolled out last month, the Citation Mustang very light jet was fast taking form at Cessna’s Pawnee facility in Wichita. At press time, workers had already assembled forward and aft cabin sections, and the Mustang’s wings were being assembled.