The 2010 National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) annual convention held this year in Atlanta, Ga., was an event to smile about if you’re in the aviation business. There was lots of positive news combined with a generally rejuvenated industry that’s had its fair share of bumps and bruises during the recession.
Some of the most notable announcements:
—Piper announced significant changes to their PiperJet, now renamed the Altaire. The new Altaire boasts a much taller and rounder cabin, with a nine-inch increase in height and four-inch increase in width. With the significantly larger cabin came a redesign of the external aesthetics that, compared to the PiperJet, looks much more like a jet than a modified Piper Meridian. The $2.6 million Altaire is slated for certification and first deliveries in 2014.
—Eclipse Aerospace made a splash by announcing their newest investor, Sikorsky Aircraft, with an agreement in principle to become a minority shareholder in the company that’s now supporting the Eclipse 500 VLJ. Sikorsky Aircraft is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation (UTX), the parent company of Pratt and Whitney, Canada, and the manufacturer of the engines installed on the Eclipse 500 jet.
—Net Jets announced that it had signed an agreement to purchase as many as 125 Phenom 300 business jets from Embraer Aircraft, which may be worth as much as $1 billion, includes a firm order for 50 Phenom 300 Platinum and options for up to 75 more.
—Garmin announced that it’s developing a revolutionary integrated flight deck for the Part 25 business-jet market. The Garmin G5000 is designed specifically for crew-flown turbine aircraft and combines a dual multisensor flight management system (FMS), touch-screen vehicle management units and multipane cockpit displays. These widescreen displays with touch-screen controls give pilots more useful information at their fingertips than ever before, such as worldwide weather, Garmin’s synthetic vision technology (SVT), aircraft synoptics, electronic flight charts and more.
—Cessna announced the new Citation Ten, a larger advanced version of the world’s fastest certified business jet, the Citation X. It also marks the debut of the Garmin G5000 avionics suite and a Cessna-exclusive advanced cabin management system, and it features more powerful and more efficient Rolls-Royce engines.
—Bombardier announced the addition of two new aircraft to the top of their product line, the Global 7000 and 8000 aircraft, with the 8000 flying farther than any other business jet with an impressive range of 7,900 nm (14,631 km) at Mach 0.85. It will connect Sydney-Los Angeles, Hong Kong-New York and Mumbai-New York nonstop with eight passengers. The Global 8000 jet will reach a high-speed cruise of Mach 0.90. Entry into service is scheduled for 2017.
Cyrus Sigari ([email protected]) is president of JetAVIVA and serves as P&P Light Jet Editor.