Responding to an increasing number of business jet orders and lengthening backlogs–a boon for manufacturers, but a bane for customers–Cessna, Gulfstream and Raytheon (see item below) are ratcheting up production. Cessna plans to deliver 240 Citations this year (some 60 more than last year) and 270 to 290 next year.
Last Friday morning the Bell/Agusta BA609 civil tiltrotor flew over Central Texas with its outboard nacelles rotating forward to full airplane mode for the first time. BA609 project pilot Roy Hopkins and Bell pilot Jim Lindsey said the powered-lift aircraft reached 190 knots in this configuration.
In the final report on the February 2005 Cessna Citation 560 crash in Pueblo, Colo., the NTSB said it interviewed instructors about pilot training on Citation 560 de-icing procedures. The Citation 560 AFM recommends that pilots wait to activate de-ice boots until one-quarter to half an inch of ice accumulates to prevent so-called ice bridging.
Global events are apparently conspiring to create some increase in the cost of business aircraft interiors. Ed Harris, director of sales and marketing for Fiber Art of San Antonio, said his company has recently sent letters to its customers advising them that prices this year are going up by about 15 percent.
As part of an alliance with interiors specialist Yingling Aviation of Wichita, Cessna began offering the Oasis executive cabin interior for its Cessna 208 Caravan in October. The program has already produced 10 Oasis-cabin Caravans, and in May the company delivered the first of two aircraft to be registered in the UK.
Cessna’s new and expanded Citation service center in Orlando, Fla., opened for business on June 21. The 155,000-sq-ft facility, which replaces the original 47,275-sq-ft center built there in 1983, will be further enlarged to nearly 200,000 sq ft by October. Cessna is also building a massive Citation service center at its headquarters in Wichita.
AgustaWestland recently disclosed it is moving production of the A119 Koala single-engine helicopter from Italy to Philadelphia. Flanked by Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell and local politicians, company officials broke ground on March 2 on a manufacturing and final assembly plant at Northeast Philadelphia Airport, where about 20 Koalas will be built each year.
Bell Helicopter was at last month’s Heli-Expo in Las Vegas in force as usual, with a 412 and a 407 on display at its booth. At the static area, the Texas-based helicopter manufacturer had several new-design 427 mockups, an Eagle Eye UAV and a Bell 430. Another 430, along with a 427 and 407, was also available for customer flights from the convention center.
Cessna said last month it will increase production of its Citation X by more than 65 percent from 2006 to 2010, to meet “growing demand,” primarily from non-U.S. buyers. Such demand would reverse a five-year downward trend in which 12 Citation Xs were delivered last year compared with 14 in 2005, 15 in 2004, 18 in 2003, 31 in 2002 and 34 in 2001. “The business jet market outside the U.S.
The BA609 Tiltrotor program is continuing slowly toward certification, now planned for 2010. At Heli-Expo, a Bell spokesman confirmed that the company has applied to the FAA for a type certificate, which usually signifies serious intent because it starts the clock on the certification deadline (three years for Part 23, five years for Part 25), and it took orders for two more BA609s at the show.