Cooling demand from the recently buoyant Chinese market for business jets is set to result in weaker overall sales for 2012, Gulfstream Aerospace president Larry Flynn said this week at Jet Expo in Moscow. The U.S. manufacturer has seen a dip in new orders from China this year in a reversal of last year’s market conditions in which Flynn said, “Overheated orders from China drove our 2011 sales well ahead of plan.”
Having achieved some success in lifting import taxes for some foreign-made business aircraft, the Russian United Business Aviation Association (RUBAA) has said it will not lobby to eliminate duties for aircraft weighing more than 20 metric tons (44,000 pounds) operating empty weight (OEW). The decision, which is likely to frustrate Western aircraft manufacturers, was this week during Jet Expo 2012 in Moscow.
With FAA type certification of its new G650 and G280 in hand, Gulfstream is stepping up efforts to ensure that it meets its goal of making first customer deliveries during the last three months of this year. “We are focused on ensuring that deliveries start in the fourth quarter,” Gulfstream president Larry Flynn told AIN today at Jet Expo 2012 in Moscow. He added that G650 deliveries to Russian customers are scheduled to begin during the first few months of next year.
FlightSafety International began customer pilot training for the Gulfstream G650 yesterday at its Savannah Gulfstream Learning Center, just three days after the aircraft received FAA type certification. There are 16 pilots enrolled in the first class, which is expected to last 3.5 weeks and will be supported by two FAA-approved full-motion simulators, four graphical flight simulators (GFS) and 14 pilot instructors.
The wide-cabin, ultra-long-range Gulfstream G650 received full FAA type certification today, just days after the Savannah-based aircraft manufacturer obtained final FAA and Israeli approval for its super-midsize G280. Gulfstream Aerospace expects to deliver the first outfitted G650s to customers before year-end; it delivered 12 green G650s late last year after receiving provisional FAA certification in November.
Gulfstream Aerospace has extended the operating hours at its company-owned service center in Westfield, Mass., to provide 24-hour service Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on weekends. Gulfstream Westfield offers AOG support, airframe inspections, avionics installations and interior refurbishments. The MRO facility currently employs 168 people, including 90 A&P technicians and 16 avionics technicians. Facility technicians are certified to work on large- and mid-cabin Gulfstream aircraft along with Hawker Beechcraft, Dassault Falcon and Bombardier Challenger business jets.
The super-midsize Gulfstream G280, a joint project between Gulfstream and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), obtained full FAA and Israeli type certification today. This was an on-time arrival for Gulfstream, which had promised such approval in the third quarter. The aircraft received provisional type certification from Israel’s CAAI on December 29 and from the FAA on March 1.
The transonic speed spat between Cessna’s Citation Ten and Gulfstream’s G650 is likely to hit of the stops at Mach 0.95 when it encounters not “the sound barrier” but required safety margins. With the Ten’s top speed now pegged at Mach 0.935, Gulfstream’s G650 could thus leapfrog the Ten only slightly, if the Savannah-based aircraft manufacturer even chooses to do so.
To mark its one-year anniversary, privately owned Austin Executive Airport opened a new 26,650-sq-ft hangar, bringing its available leased shelter space to more than 63,000 sq ft. Built as part of a $33 million master plan by Houston businessman Ron Henriksen, the airport features an 18,249-sq-ft arrival canopy and a 6,025-foot runway that can handle the newest business aircraft, including the Gulfstream G650 and new Bombardier Globals.
On Friday, Cessna announced that it has raised the top speed for its Citation Ten to Mach 0.935, which would make it the fastest civil aircraft in service once certified. This eclipses the speed of its Citation X predecessor by Mach 0.015 and the currently stated top speed of the soon-to-be-certified Gulfstream G650 by Mach 0.010.