Next Generation PC-12 Flying Stateside
The prototype Next Generation PC-12, which is slated for certification at the end of 2007, has completed its first transatlantic journey from Switzerland. On its way to the United States, it stopped in Iqaluit, Canada, for a series of cold-weather trials before continuing on to Pilatus’ North American headquarters in Broomfield, Colo.
The Next Generation PC-12 features a number of improvements, including a fully integrated Honeywell Primus Apex avionics system, a new cockpit designed by BMW Group Designworks USA and a more powerful Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A engine.
“The entire transatlantic flight was great. All systems operated perfectly, and the aircraft completed its cold-weather testing a day early. During the cold-weather trials in Canada, the new systems performed exceptionally well and without any problems. The new avionics and the displays in particular exceeded all our expectations while experiencing extremely cold temperatures down to temperatures of minus-10 degrees F and below,” said Pilatus’ Director of Program Management Ulli Gehling.
The aircraft is on track for certification at the end of this year. Feel free to chill at www.pilatus-aircraft.com.
Record-High Industry Billings
Calling 2006 a “banner year,” the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) reported that last year saw record numbers, with increased shipments of every type of general aviation aircraft. Billings totaled an all-time high of $18.8 billion, representing a 24.1% increase over 2005. Shipments of piston aircraft increased 11.6%; turboprops jumped 11.5%, with 407 models shipped; and business jet shipments rose 18%, with companies moving a total of 885 units.
Cessna Aircraft Company shipped a total of 307 Citation variants and sold 73 copies of their Citation XLS, already the world’s best-selling business jet. Their shipments of piston aircraft reached 865, up from 822 in 2005. Piaggio Aero shipped 19 of their high-performance Avanti IIs. Raytheon delivered 280 copies of various model King Airs, Hawkers and their Premier Jet, and Piper Aircraft pushed 31 Malibu Mirages and 49 turboprop Meridians out the door.
The future looks bright. “As our manufacturers continue to fill their order books, GAMA anticipates another robust year for general aviation in 2007 and beyond,” said GAMA Chairman Dr. John Grisik. More details on GAMA’s reports are at www.gama.aero.
Avidyne And S-TEC Deliver First King Air 200 With Alliant’s Integrated Cockpit
Avidyne (www.avidyne.com) and S-TEC (www.s-tec.com) have delivered the first King Air 200 retrofitted with the Alliant Integrated Flight Deck. The installation, in a 1979 King Air 200, also realized an exceptional 368-pound increase in useful load with the replacement of the old avionics. Avidyne and S-TEC have also received an FAA STC for Alliant installation in King Air 90-series aircraft.
The Alliant Integrated Flight Deck for the Beechcraft King Air family is the first implementation of Avidyne’s Envision series of retrofit integrated flight deck products and S-TEC’s IntelliFlight 2100 Digital Flight Control System. The Alliant Integrated Flight Deck enables King Air owners to update their aircraft with state-of-the-art situational awareness and safety tools at a fraction of the cost of a new aircraft.
The standard Alliant Integrated Flight Deck package includes dual-redundant Avidyne EXP5000 10.4-inch PFDs, an Avidyne EX500 MFD, the S-TEC IntelliFlight 2100 digital autopilot, two-inch Mid-Continent standby instruments, and interfaces to most popular traffic, terrain, lightning and radar altimeter systems.
“The Alliant system transforms a proven and reliable airframe with a high-performance glass cockpit,” said Mark Sandeen, Avidyne’s VP of sales and marketing. “The Alliant King Air installation adds large displays, dual-redundant PFDs, enhanced safety and improved reliability. And it boosts aircraft performance and utility with a significant increase in useful load.”
Increased safety was paramount in the customer’s decision to purchase the Alliant package. “We fly our families in this airplane so we’re very concerned about safety,” said the new owner. “The Alliant system gives us a safer airplane. There’s greater redundancy with dual solid-state gyro and air-data systems, reduced pilot workload and greater situational awareness because everything is right there on the panel for you to see.”
Eclipse Launches Avio NG
Eclipse has partnered with leading avionics suppliers Innovative Solutions & Support (ISS), Chelton Flight Systems, Garmin International, Honeywell and PS Engineering to launch a new and improved version of the Eclipse 500’s Avio Total Aircraft Integration system. Dubbed Avio NG, the system provides Total Aircraft Integration through integral, redundant computer systems and advanced data- and power-distribution systems. Avio NG integrates the entire aircraft into one system, including avionics, engine operation, fuel system, flaps, landing gear, cabin pressure and temperature. It significantly reduces pilot workload by simplifying tasks, generating useful information, managing systems and assisting with troubleshooting. Avio NG also delivers significant enhancements providing next-generation digital avionics with demonstrated airline reliability. Eclipse will retrofit all Eclipse 500 aircraft with Avio NG by the end of 2007, ensuring a homogeneous Eclipse 500 fleet. Check out the Avio NG at www.eclipseaviation.com.
Green Jet Charter Company To Offset CO2 Emissions
Every time a private jet takes flight, CO2 is produced as a result. But now, thanks to a new partnership with Carbonfund.org, Arise Air is taking responsibility for its CO2. Through this partnership, Arise Air will immediately begin offsetting all the CO2 that’s produced by its flights.
“We continually receive requests from clients who are equally concerned about the environment as we are,” said Bryan Ellis, Arise Air’s president. “Working with Carbonfund.org made it easy and affordable for us to take control of our climate impact.” With Carbonfund.org’s assistance, the CO2 emitted by Arise Air’s jets will be offset by supporting reforestation and renewable-energy projects, such as mangrove restoration on the coast of India and the High Winds wind farm in Solano County, Calif. Log on to www.ariseair.com to learn more.
Sporty’s GPS Techniques Updated
Sporty’s has updated and expanded their two most popular Air Facts programs, GPS En Route and GPS Approaches. Pilots who use these in-depth programs will learn to operate their GPS units well beyond “Direct-to.”
GPS En Route shows pilots how to get the most out of their GPS, no matter the model. The DVD emphasizes flight-plan functions and shows several easy ways this can make flying safer and more efficient when dealing with busy terminal areas, weather, TFRs and special-use airspace.
The program also demonstrates how unapproved GPS units, even handhelds, can be useful when flying IFR. The DVD introduces T-routes, domestic low-altitude RNAV routes, and includes a demonstration of VNAV, a vertical navigation tool found on many handhelds and panel mounts.
Although GPS En Route isn’t intended as a tutorial on any specific model, this DVD features the most popular GPS receivers today, including the Garmin G1000, 430, 530, 396 and 496 and the King KLN-94.
GPS Approaches includes a new section on WAAS approaches. Richard Collins demonstrates how to fly these new procedures, which offer ILS-like vertical guidance and lower minimums to hundreds of airports.
Sporty’s has filled these programs with a unique combination of in-cockpit footage and computer graphics to illustrate the differences between LNAV/VNAV, LPV and ILS, and these programs employ visual aids to show what to watch for on the new WAAS approach charts. GPS Approaches also discusses the various approach modes, how and when to use automatic waypoint selection, potential traps on the GPS missed approach and more.
The GPS Techniques set includes both GPS En Route and GPS Approaches, and is available for $25.00. Order through www.sportys.com or (800) SPORTYS. All Air Facts programs may be downloaded for $9.95 (get a 25% discount if you order four or more) through www.sportys.com/download.
Jeppesen And Cirrus Team Up
Jeppesen and Cirrus have partnered up to create a new Web-based transition course for pilots moving into Cirrus SR20/22 aircraft. Included in the course are eight hours of online ground school and six scenario-based flight workshops. The course, which is the first in a series, will introduce pilots to Cirrus avionics and operating procedures and risk-management and decision-making. It also focuses on other safety-oriented themes including accident prevention, understanding aircraft systems and cross-country flight-planning.
“The computer-based course is engaging and easy to navigate,” commented Cirrus Flight Standards & Operations Director Bill Stone. “It can be used by the pilot at home, in a briefing with a flight instructor and in a classroom.” To learn more about the course, which will be available to pilots and instructors by late April, log on to www.cirrusdesign.com and www.jeppesen.com.
A New FBO At Houston Ellington Field Airport
Rocketman Jet Center has opened a new FBO at Houston Ellington Field Airport (EFD) in Houston, Texas. This facility is located just minutes from downtown Houston and NASA, and only two minutes from Hobby Airport. The new FBO is a state-of-the-art, 17,500-square-foot terminal hangar (with an additional nine acres for future expansion) offering round-the-clock ground-support services to business-jet operators flying into Houston. With services and amenities including aircraft ground handling and parking, executive lounge and business center, weather and flight-planning, private spa, workout center, conference room, flight room, limo service, concierge and pilots lounge, Rocketman Jet Center is dedicated to providing passengers and crew with the highest level of service and support they’ve come to expect. Arrive in style at www.rocketmanjetcenter.com.