Saab achieved the first flight of the Gripen Demo from the company’s Linköping airfield in Sweden on May 27. Crewed by test pilots Mikael Siedl and Magnus Ljungdahl, the flawless 30-minute flight marked the start of a three-year campaign, during which the fighter will demonstrate a wide range of new technologies destined for the Gripen Next Generation aircraft, as well as options for existing models.
There is a line in an old episode of the television series “M*A*S*H” in which one of the doctors, informed of a patient’s recovery, remarks, “I thought he was dead.” To which the other doctor replies, “He was. But he got better.”
On Sunday under a humid central Florida sky, a Piaggio P.180 Avanti settled to the runway at Orlando Executive Airport, setting a speed record for Class C-1.E/2 aircraft (twin turboprops 6,614 lb to 13,228 lb).
With delivery of a reconfigured Piaggio Avanti twin-turboprop pusher on September 19 and a second green Avanti expected this month, Stevens Aviation will bring its total output of the model to three. The October aircraft is the second of a series of seven completions being performed at Stevens’ Donaldson Center in Greenville, S.C., under an agreement with Piaggio America.
A second export customer for the French-made Dassault Rafale combat aircraft has emerged. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has begun negotiations to replace its 63 Mirage 2000s, starting in 2012. “Thanks to its multimission capability, the Rafale is perfectly suited to the needs of defending the UAE in the years to come,” noted a statement from French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office.
The developer of the single-turboprop pusher Jetcruzer 500 gave holders of its Class A and B warrants an additional month to convert their warrants, purchased five years ago when Long Beach, Calif.-based AASI held its initial public offering, to common stock. AASI’s stock, which was offered at $5 per share in December 1996, has been trading well under $1 for more than a year (at press time it was trading at about 25 cents). Said Dr.
Monaco-based Boutsen Aviation, whose president is former Formula 1 racing driver Thierry Boutsen, will take delivery today (if all goes to plan) of an Airbus Corporate Jetliner (ACJ), which will be outfitted with a Prestige VIP interior by Jet Aviation in Basel, Switzerland.
An STC’d RVSM avionics installation for the twin-turboprop Piaggio P.180 Avanti will be provided by Stevens Aviation of Greenville, S.C. Stevens was also selected by Piaggio to provide the interior installation and exterior paint for the airplane. Completions by Stevens are already under way on seven Avantis.
Piaggio Aero is about to deliver the 150th P180 Avanti II to a customer and the Italian airframer at last seems to be coming to grips with an unacceptably slow production process that has badly stalled its output rate for the program.
Piaggio Aero Industries, which emerged from receivership in 1998, found a new lease on life for its sleek P.180 Avanti business turboprop with the establishment of Piaggio America two years ago. A visit to the U.S. by Piaggio Aero president Piero Ferrari earlier this year brought fresh enthusiasm and a promise of new things to come. Speaking with AIN, Ferrari expounded on his expectations for the Avanti.