For the first time since the end of 2006, quarterly deliveries of business jets, turboprops and piston-powered aircraft finished in the positive, according to first-quarter 2013 statistics released last month by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). “We are pleased to see a shift to the positive for GA airplanes, which extends across all airplane segments,” said GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce.
Very light jets
Eclipse Aerospace has arrived with an aircraft on static display for the first time at EBACE. The manufacturer is represented by its official European distributor, UK-based Aeris Aviation (based at Branscombe Airfield in Devon), which is offering demo flights in the Eclipse 500 very light jet during the show.
“The HondaJet program is steadily progressing toward certification and first delivery,” Honda Aircraft president and CEO Michimasa Fujino said this week at EBACE. As previously reported, FAA type certification of the light jet has been delayed by a year to late next year, primarily due to delays in certifying its GE Honda Aero HF120 engines. EASA certification is scheduled to follow in mid-2015.
Embraer Executive Jets (Booth 7041) continues to expand at its headquarters in Melbourne, Florida. The business jet division of the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer has been assembling and delivering Phenoms since 2011 at the southeast U.S. complex and its customer center there has been open for about a year and a half. In addition, it is building a new engineering center, and there is ample room for further growth.
Cirrus Aircraft is here exhibiting its SR22 piston single on the static display in a bid to persuade business aircraft owners that “there is always a good reason to have another plane,” as Jan-Peter Fisher, a Cirrus representative in Germany, put it. For example, the SR22 can land at small airfields that cannot accommodate a business jet. The five-seater is “about the fun of flying,” Fisher went on, not forgetting to mention the high cruise speed for the category: 200 knots.
GE Honda Aero Engines has announced that its 2,095-pound-thrust HF120 turbofan intended initially for the HondaJet is nearing completion of certification tests and is on track for delivery of the first entry into service engines before year-end. “We now have a line-of-sight for certification and we are gaining experience on the fleet,” said GE Honda Aero president Terry Sharp.
Accompanied by plumes of dry ice pouring from the edges of a black-curtained mockup and the music from the Superman movie, chairman Oscar Schwenk called for the unveiling of Pilatus Aircraft’s long-awaited new twinjet project, the PC-24.
Michimasa Fujino, president and CEO of Honda Aircraft, said here at EBACE yesterday that, “The [HondaJet] program is steadily progressing toward certification and first delivery.” He now expects FAA type certification of the light jet in the fourth quarter of 2014, with EASA certification to follow within six months.
Honda Aircraft has extended by another year its target for obtaining certification for the HondaJet, to the end of next year, according to a company spokesman. “We are targeting HondaJet certification by the end of 2014, based on the engine testing and certification schedule,” he said. The jet’s GE Honda Aero HF120 engine is now scheduled to receive certification in fourth quarter 2013. No further details were available at press time, but Honda Aircraft plans to provide more information at an EBACE press conference on May 20.
Jim Rice, chairman and CEO of VisionAire Jets, surfaced at ABACE 2013 this week in Shanghai to market the benefits of a single-engine jet and tell potential investors about the program. VisionAire Jets is developing the all-composite Vantage Jet, which will be powered by a single Williams International FJ33-3AP turbofan and fly up to 1,500 nm with a pilot and five passengers.