Hooray For The SJ!
Sino Swearingen Aircraft Corporation is celebrating a well-deserved FAA certification for its SJ30-2 business jet. Approved for day/night/VFR/IFR single-pilot ops, the new speedster reports a cruise speed that exceeds 460 knots. Passengers will enjoy a sea-level cabin pressure all the way to FL410, and the SJ30-2’s max altitude is another 8,000 feet higher. The “entry-level” jet will compete with the Cessna Citations and Raytheon Premier I. Sino Swearingen says that customer deliveries are forthcoming. For more, log on to www.sj30jet.com or call (949) 851-0900.
|Embraer Phenom 100|
|Embraer Phenom 300|
|ViperJet MK II|
And Now To Brazil
Embraer has tossed its hat into the personal jet game. Back in May 2005, the company announced that it would start showing mock-ups of its two newest offerings: Phenom 100 (a VLJ) and Phenom 300 (a light jet). Both jets will use the Garmin G1000 glass cockpit. The Phenom 100 will carry up to eight passengers with Pratt & Whitney PW617F engines (1,615 pounds of thrust on each side) and offer a 1,160 nm range. It will have short-field talent and cruise at FL410 at Mach 0.70. The jet will be available in mid-2008 for a projected cost of $2.75 million.
The Phenom 300 has larger Pratt & Whitney engines: The PW535Es (3,200 pounds of thrust on each side) will bump the speed up to Mach 0.78 and the ceiling to FL450. This larger jet will carry up to nine passengers, and is expected to hit the market by mid-2009 with a price tag of $6.65 million. For more information, log on to www.embraer.com.
To Complete The Spectrum
The Spectrum 33, a 10-seat, all-composite twin turbofan, is another new entrant to the small-jet market. The new design will rely on Williams FJ33-4A engines for a snappy 415-knot cruise speed. The Spectrum is anticipated to be about the size of the Cessna CJ2 and expects FAA certification by 2007 or 2008. For more, visit Spectrum’s Website, www.spectrum.aero, or call (760) 479-0822.
Go, Jet Racer, Go!
The jet race is still teeming with contenders. Cessna reports that it’s ahead of schedule in the development of its Mustang VLJ. Eclipse, on the other hand, is suffering some momentary setbacks. As history has shown us, this situation will probably flip-flop every other month. In the meantime, there’s a flock of companies equally intent on herding their jets to market. Diamond Aircraft says it will unveil the first version of its single-engine D-JET at the Berlin Air Show in May before displaying it at the EAA AirVenture. Cirrus finally confirmed rumors that it, too, has been building a personal jet (yes, it will have a parachute). New Piper says that it will absolutely, positively build a jet as well, although no schedule is currently available. Elsewhere, the two-seat ViperJet MK II is in its flight-testing phase. The Vantage Jet earned a Brazilian CTA certification, allowing it to continue its development and flight-testing in U.S. airspace. The Javelin, which thinks it can climb at 10,000 fpm and cruise at Mach 0.9, is now flying as well. Sport-Jet moved from Colorado to set up shop in Guthrie, Okla., and expects to begin its trek toward final certification later this year.
|EADS Socata TBM 850|
EADS Socata just revealed its new six-seat TBM 850, a significantly upgraded version of the popular 750. The company claims that the pressurized, single-engine turboprop’s performance will nearly match the projected numbers for many upcoming VLJs, except with more friendly operating costs. The TBM 850 should cruise at a maximum 320 knots at FL260, about a 20-knot increase over the older version. Deliveries on the estimated $2.5 million plane are scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2006. See the airplane at www.socata.eads.net or call (954) 893-1400.
PC-12...And A Half?
The flagship Pilatus PC-12 has improved its performance, handling and comfort this year. The newest iteration allows for 530 more pounds of useful load and also adds winglets for a 72% reduction of control forces at higher speeds. Improved creature comforts include better seats for the crew and “warmer” LED cabin lights. Learn more from www.pilatus-aircraft.com or call (303) 465-9099.
New Barons And Bonanzas!
Celebrations continue in Wichita, Kan., where Raytheon is busy delivering its newly certified pistons, the Bonanza G36 and Baron G58. Both aircraft were given their new monikers to reflect the all-glass Garmin G1000 instrument panels recently certified by the FAA.
Raytheon announced the upgrade to its Beechcraft line at Oshkosh 2004. The new iteration of these piston classics incorporates Garmin’s new GFC 700 autopilot, Mode S transponder with Traffic Information Service, XM data-linked weather and entertainment channels, plus the new GWX68 color weather radar. Factory options include the L-3 SkyWatch 497 Traffic Advisory System, the L-3 Stormscope Lightning detector, which shows up on the aircraft’s multi-function display, as well as a Honeywell KN63 DME for use with Nav 1 or Nav 2. Raytheon reports that it has received a substantial customer response. For more, visit www.hawkerbeechcraft.com or call (316) 676-5034.
Happy, Happy Birthday
The Douglas DC-3, one of the world’s most inexhaustible airplanes, marked its 70th anniversary last December. Santa Monica, Calif., the DC-3’s birthplace, was the site of one of the most significant celebrations. The event featured a fly-over and fly-in of three of the vintage airliners, including the National Aviation Hall of Fame’s (NAHF) kid-friendly Duggy. Members of the Donald Douglas family, along with celebs like Cliff Robertson and Bob Hoover, enjoyed live swing music inside an original Douglas hangar.
Of course, the star of the show was the big, bright and yellow Duggy, which led the other DC-3s on a circuitous tour of Los Angeles airspace prior to landing for the celebratory event in Santa Monica. Duggy is the NAHF’s flying ambassador, a “spokesplane,” if you will, for the SkyReach education program. The DC-3 toured the country last year to inspire kids about aviation and to educate them about the accomplishments made by hundreds of honored NAHF inductees. Learn more from www.duggy.com or call (614) 783-6801.
More Pistons Across The Pond
While lots of European aircraft are coming this way as new light sport aircraft, both Cirrus and Columbia Aircraft are digging in for a more vigorous run at the European aviation market. Their presence there is nothing new, but their effort to gain more market share abroad is.
Columbia Aircraft unveiled an international service center in Italy. The new facility, located in Parma Airport, will sell and support Columbia 350s and 400s. Cirrus announced a joint venture with U.K.-based Britten-Norman to “reassemble” the wings and tails of SR20s and SR22s so they can facilitate deliveries to European customers. Prior to this arrangement, aircraft were ferry-flown from Duluth, Minn., across Greenland and then Iceland. Britten-Norman already manufactures the Islander, Trislander and Defender 4000. Cirrus also announced that it’s developing a presence in Shanghai, China.
|Blackhawk King Air|
|King Air upgrade|
Blackhawk XP Upgrade
Blackhawk Modifications announced that the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has approved the installation of the Blackhawk XP upgrade on the Beechcraft King Air C90A/B. This new STC approval, along with Blackhawk’s existing STC approval in the United States and Brazil, contributes to Blackhawk Modifications’ stake as one of the world’s leading Pratt & Whitney non-OEM engine sales companies.
The Blackhawk XP gives the C90A/B an approximate true airspeed increase of over 35 knots. Takeoff and climb performance are also greatly improved, especially from high-altitude airports. Available for the King Air C90A/C90B/E90 and the Cessna 425, the Blackhawk XP is a simple, bolt-on upgrade. The existing engines are exchanged for two factory-new 750 shp Pratt & Whitney PT6A-135A engines along with Pratt & Whitney’s exclusive 1,000-hour, no-calendar-limit engine warranty. No airframe modification is necessary. Contact Blackhawk at (254) 755-6711 or visit www.blackhawk.aero for a list of distributors near you.
Yes, But Do You Have A Rocket Baron?
Rocket Engineering, the folks who last year brought you a turbine Duke to complement their very successful Malibu JetProp, now have Beech Barons in their sights. The company announced its intent to certify retrofitted P-Barons to fly with PT6s on their wings. Company calculators indicate a projected speed near 305 knots and an initial climb rate of almost 4,500 fpm. For more, contact Rocket Engineering at (509) 535-4401 or www.rocketengineering.com.
Arnold Visits Robinson
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s visit to the Robinson Helicopter Company, the largest civilian helicopter manufacturer in the world, further demonstrated RHC’s status as a prime example of California’s aerospace acumen. The “Governator” recently toured the newly constructed 220,000-square-foot main building in Torrance with RHC namesake Frank Robinson.
RHC just announced the new “heads-up” pilot-side console available on its R44 Raven 1 and II. Set just above the pilot’s feet, the console puts a Garmin GPS in the pilot’s view, eliminating the need to look at the center instrument cluster before looking back outside. The new option can be ordered in three configurations: GPS, GPS/COMM or GPS/COMM/NAV. For more, contact RHC at (310) 539-0508.