A Record Year For Pilatus
The year 2006 was the best for Pilatus since the company was founded. They recorded a double-digit increase in number of aircraft sold; additionally, sales and operating income have been on an upward curve for the past four years. More than half the company’s sales (51%) were generated in North and South America, and more than a quarter (29.2%) in Europe, followed by Asia (9.2%), Australia (7%) and Africa (3.6%). In 2006, 102 aircraft were manufactured—13 more than in the previous year. With 90 aircraft, the PC-12 represented the highest proportion, followed by seven trainer aircraft and five Pilatus Porter PC-6s. For Pilatus, the limiting factor in the number of deliveries wasn’t sales, but production. It simply wasn’t possible to manufacture more than 102 aircraft in 2006, regardless of how many orders were received. For this reason, Pilatus is now planning a spacious extension. Pilatus also delivered its 700th PC-12 to a Canadian owner who will use the aircraft, his second PC-12, for personal and business travel. The owner explained, “The Pilatus PC-12 is an exceptional personal aircraft. With its speed, range, comfort and reliability, it has no rivals in its class. I’ve had a great deal of pleasure flying my first one throughout North America, and I look forward to many exciting trips in my second PC-12.” This same owner has already committed to purchasing a third PC-12, which will be delivered in 2010. For the past four years in a row, the PC-12 has been the top-selling, turbine-powered, business aircraft. To build on its success, Pilatus plans to introduce the Next Generation PC-12 later this year. Visit www.pilatus-aircraft.com for more.
Cessna Delivers The First Retail Citation Mustang
In April, Cessna delivered the first retail Citation Mustang business jet to Dave and Dawn Goode. It was the third production Mustang delivered from the Independence, Kans. facility. (Cessna is using the first two as marketing demonstration aircraft.) “We’re proud to be the owners of the first retail Mustang, and we’re excited about putting it into service,” said David Goode, president and founder of GOODE Ski Technologies and a former U.S. Ski Team member. “We plan to fly our Mustang to extreme ski locations to test out our newest line of snow skis,” he continued. “Having short-field capability will allow us to land at smaller, more remote airports near some of the best ski resorts in the world.”
On September 8, 2006, the Mustang became the first VLJ to be granted type certification from the FAA. Cessna plans to deliver 40 Citation Mustangs in 2007, with production ramping up to about 150 aircraft yearly by the end of 2009. The six-place Citation Mustang has a top speed of 340 KTAS (nearly 400 mph), a range of 1,150 nm and a service ceiling of 41,000 feet—well suited for getting above most weather and commercial traffic for more efficient operations. For more info, visit www.cessna.com.
Hawker Beechcraft Celebrates Beechcraft’s 75th Anniversary
Seventy-five years ago, on April 19, 1932, Walter and Olive Ann Beech formed the Beech Aircraft Corporation at the old Travel Air manufacturing facilities in Wichita, Kans. To mark this 75th anniversary, special Beechcraft celebrations and events will occur throughout the year, including a showing at EAA AirVenture in July and an open house in September in conjunction with the American Bonanza Society Convention at Beech Field in Wichita. Updates on events and activities as well as history and other information will be released throughout the year and can be found at www.hawkerbeechcraft.com.
“This year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the venerable Bonanza, the 75th anniversary of Beechcraft and the beginning of our new company, Hawker Beechcraft Corporation. We think Walter and Olive Ann would be very proud,” said Jim Schuster, chairman and CEO. “As we celebrate the past, we also look forward to writing the next book in the history of our great company.”
Beechcraft began with the classic Model 17 Staggerwing. Designed for the business traveler, the airplane proved to be faster than the military pursuit airplanes of the day. During World War II, the company produced the AT-7 and AT-11 (derivatives of another classic) and the Beechcraft Model 18, and they trained almost 90% of all U.S. Army Air Corps bombardiers and navigators. In 1947, the company introduced the Model 35 Bonanza, an airplane whose descendants continue in production today as the Beechcraft Bonanza G36.
Pioneering use of technology, such as composite materials for fuselage construction, has kept the company at the forefront of general aviation manufacturing for 75 years. With more than 45,000 aircraft manufactured and more than 36,000 still flying, the Beechcraft story is an enduring legacy that’s only beginning. Hawker Beechcraft Corporation is taking the best of two of the strongest brands in aviation and growing them into a company that will write the next 75 years of history. To share in the festivities, click www.hawkerbeechcraft.com.
Seeing In The Dark
L-3 Communication Avionics Systems’ infrared imaging system, IRIS, is expected to be certified on the King Air C-90 in the first quarter of 2007. Customer deliveries will follow shortly thereafter. Used for situational awareness, ground maneuvers and collision avoidance, terrain mapping and more, the night-vision system detects variations in heat, and creates an electronic image of objects. The black-and-white electronic image can be displayed on any system that provides an RS-170 or NTSC composite video input, and plans include compatibility with electronic flight bags and other display systems. L-3 Avionics Systems President Adrienne Stevens commented, “In keeping with our heritage of making advanced products available for general aviation, L-3 Avionics Systems has taken enhanced vision-system technology developed for adjacent markets and made it affordable.” Plans call for the IRIS camera to be offered as an aftermarket system as well. Visit www.L-3Avionics.com/IRIS to watch in-flight footage.
Diamond Super Star Makes First Flight!
On April 4, 2007, less than one year after the first flight of the D-JET, the DA50 Super Star piston single took flight at Diamond’s factory in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. The Diamond DA50 Super Star has a max takeoff weight of 3,670 pounds and is equipped with a 350 hp Teledyne Continental TSIOF-550J engine with FADEC control and twin turbo chargers.
Diamond CEO Christian Dries stated, “The DA50 Super Star will surely be a big hit, with powerplants including the 350 hp big bore as well as turbo-diesel engine options. We’ve planned an aggressive development and certification schedule, with production starting no later than January 2008.” Learn more at www.diamond
aircraft.com and www.diamond-air.at.
Sandel Helps Older Jets Adjust Their Attitude
Sandel has certified its SA4550 Primary Attitude Display for retrofit installation in such aircraft as Cessna Citations, Lear 20-series and other jets and turboprops with four-ATI or five-ATI panel displays. The modular SA4550 offers a technology upgrade for aircraft with older Sperry and Collins electromechanical ADI displays. The modular SA4550 offers a technology upgrade for aircraft with older Sperry and Collins electromechanical ADI displays. Paired with the already certified Sandel SN4500 Primary Navigation Display, the SA4550 provides operators with a complete PFD solution.
Featuring advanced PhlatLight display technology, the new LED-backlit SA4550 offers an affordable, easy-to-install aftermarket upgrade. With an easy-to-read display, long operating life, full complement of ADI features and intuitive interface, the SA4550 is ideal for a wide range of digital and analog aircraft. The introductory retail price is $20,500. Additional information can be found at www.sandel.com.
Piaggio Aero P.180 Avanti II Is Faster Than Ever
The world’s fastest turboprop just got even faster. The Piaggio P.180 Avanti II now flies at a maximum speed of 402 knots, or 0.70 Mach, at 31,000 feet, making the P.180 Avanti II the first business turboprop to reach this significant speed milestone. The speed bump from 398 knots comes with the European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) recent certification of the upgraded Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC) PT6-66B engine installation on the P.180 Avanti II.
“We’re excited about reaching this extraordinary speed record and are glad to have obtained the certification for the P.180 Avanti II’s new engines,” said Piero Ferrari, chairman of Piaggio Aero Industries.
The new engine configuration of the Avanti II gained official approval after an extensive development and test program carried out under the supervision of the Italian National Civil Aviation Agency (ENAC) on behalf of EASA. The introduction of upgraded PWC PT6-66B engines, which deliver approximately 8% to 13% more power in cruise and climb, results in higher performance, faster cruise speeds and more efficient operation.
This latest upgrade was accompanied by several other modifications and improvements to the Avanti II. The new and fully integrated Proline 21 avionics system reduces pilot workload and increases situational awareness. The Proline 21 is currently the most sophisticated avionics system for this class of aircraft. Maximum takeoff weight has increased to 12,100 pounds. Max zero fuel weight has increased by 300 pounds to improve payload capability with the same wing structure. And upgraded interiors now give passengers an even more stylish and comfortable environment. This is the fastest and most advanced business turboprop in the world and holds 17 world speed records. Piaggio America Inc. completes, delivers and supports the P.180 Avanti and Avanti II in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Contact them at www.piaggioaero.com/en/.
Boeing And Virgin Team Up In Biofuel Effort
Boeing and Virgin Atlantic have announced that they’ll work together to develop biofuels for jet aircraft and will demonstrate the results using a 747-400 by next year. The demonstration will be the first by any commercial airline. The two companies also said they would work together to reduce fuel burn and cut aircraft emissions on the ground by exploring alternatives to traditional operations at airports. For example, by towing airplanes to “starting grids” close to the runway before running the engines, fuel consumption and carbon emissions could be reduced by up to 50%. Trials in London and San Francisco have produced positive results, and work continues to develop effective procedures. Further details about the biofuel project will be announced later this year. To learn more about these green initiatives, see www.boeing.com and www.virgin.com.