Tag Aviation president and CEO Jake Cartwright has projected another record year for U.S. operations in 2006. Since January 1, 25 fully managed aircraft have been added to the fleet, raising the total to 100 aircraft at more than 60 U.S. locations.
Very light jets
Honda Aircraft revealed a number of intriguing details about the HondaJet program yesterday, including the airplane’s price, performance figures and the fine points of its service-network alliance with Piper Aircraft.
Piper Aircraft president and CEO Jim Bass yesterday unveiled the company’s next generation aircraft–the single-engine, six-seat PiperJet, an airplane priced at just under $2.2 million that adds another serious player to the market for very light jets.
Mecaer America (Booth No.1047) announced delivery of its first five landing gear shipsets to Eclipse Aviation for the recently certified Eclipse 500 VLJ. The delivery was made on September 29. Previously, Mecaer’s parent company, Mecaer S.p.A. of Borgomanero, Italy, delivered 30 landing gear shipsets to Albuquerque, N.M.-based Eclipse.
Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC) has successfully completed the maiden flight of its PW617F engine, selected to power the Embraer Phenom 100 very light jet (VLJ).
While Piper Aircraft is poised to unveil a new compact jet at its booth (No. 5785) this morning, Cirrus Design Corp.’s booth (No. 2957) will offer no such event, in spite of speculation that an announcement was near.
Eclipse Aviation CEO Vern Raburn surprised the attendees at a packed NBAA press conference yesterday when he predicted the company would build 525 airplanes by the end of next year. He also hinted that Eclipse already has firm plans for a follow-on aircraft model, but he would not elaborate further.
There are 12 very light jets currently in development, in flight-test or recently certified. Nearly all are clean-sheet designs, which typically consume more money and time than do derivatives, illustrating the faith manufacturers (and would-be manufacturers) have in this emerging market.
Start-up manufacturer Spectrum Aeronautical announced last month that it has selected the GE/Honda HF120 turbofan engine to power a new $6.2 million (2006 $) midsize business jet called the S-40 Freedom.
With the announcement, Spectrum became the second customer for the 2,050-pound-thrust engine, currently in development and slated for certification in 2009. The S-40’s certification and first deliveries are “targeted for” 2010.
One year after Embraer announced that it was jumping into the VLJ and light jet markets with a capital commitment of more than $200 million, the company has built a solid order book for its Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 models. The latest major order before the NBAA Convention was announced last month when Embraer revealed that Houston-based Magnum Jet has placed a $137 million order for 50 Phenom 100s and options for 50 more.