Cessna received full FAA type certification for its Citation Mustang, making it the first official entrant into the highly anticipated very light jet market. “This is an immense achievement,” said Cessna Chairman Jack Pelton, “marking another point in history when Cessna has led the aviation industry into new territory.”
The jet was successfully tested to as many as five airframe lifetimes (just two are required), and met more than 2,220 other test requirements. The type certification includes single-pilot operation, day and night operations, VFR and IFR, and reduced vertical separation minimums. Approval for flight into known icing conditions, which isn’t required for full type certification, is expected in the near future.
The six-place Mustang, powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW615F engines, reaches up to 340 KTAS. The entry-level jet has a range of 1,150 nm and a service ceiling of 41,000 feet. It features Garmin G1000 avionics with two 10-inch PFD screens and one 15-inch MFD screen.
“The Citation Mustang will bring the benefits of jet ownership to more people than ever before,” Pelton continued. “I think everyone will agree the final product our team created—in its polished fit, finish and performance—sets the highest standard for what this new generation of aircraft will be.” With 250 orders already placed, production of the Mustang is sold out into 2009.
Eclipse isn’t far behind, with a provisional type certification for the Eclipse 500. The company has already completed several jets that will be delivered to customers once final certification is achieved. Eclipse reports that an impressive 2,500 orders have been placed.
Also moving full steam ahead is Adam Aircraft, the recent recipient of investments totaling $93 million through funding led by venture capital firm DCM. “After looking at a number of emerging companies in the exciting VLJ space, we were particularly impressed with Adam’s demonstrated ability to efficiently deploy capital,” explained DCM General Partner Rob Theis, concluding that “Adam Aircraft will be at the forefront of this emerging market.” Adam will put the capital towards certification of the Adam A700 jet and production of the already-certified Adam A500 piston twin.
New Ways to Fly
A brand-new company, iFly, has launched its Exclusive Aero Club, a membership-only program designed to provide managed access to new Columbia 350 aircraft. Rather than purchasing a share in a plane—the corporate entity owns the aircraft—individuals will buy a membership. The typical hassles of ownership, such as insurance, maintenance and storage, will be taken care of by iFly.
With a 4-to-1 membership-to-aircraft ratio, iFly puts an emphasis on high availability. “Now more than ever, personal aircraft travel has the ability to transform your lifestyle,” commented founding partner Erik Lindbergh, grandson of Charles Lindbergh. “You can go where you want to go when you want to go.”
The aircraft fleet is based at six FBOs in Southern California, and there are plans to expand on a national level. Equipped with Garmin G1000 avionics, the Columbia 350s cruise at 191 knots and have a range of 1,300 nm. To learn more, visit www.iflysmarter.com.
There’s yet another way to become a Cirrus pilot, as well. iAviate in Virginia has launched a new ownership program that offers fractional share (from 1⁄8 to 1⁄2), partnership and lease options in new Cirrus SR22-GTS aircraft. Ownership burdens are taken care of for participants, who’ll also benefit from a comprehensive training program run by factory-certified instructors. Three aircraft have already been delivered to iAviate, with 12 more on the way. To learn more, visit www.iaviate.aero.
The first certification test flight of a Seawind amphibian built at the Quebec factory took place at Saint-Jean Airport on August 31, following successful engine, brake and ground steering tests. Prior to this flight, all other flying Seawinds had been built from kits. Potential options for the futuristic aircraft include a diesel engine, de-icing and air-conditioning. VFR certification is expected to take four months, followed by certifications for IFR, autopilot, FADEC and glass cockpit. Stay informed at www.seawind.biz.
|Einar Enevoldson and Steve Fossett|
Soaring The Stratosphere
Adventurer Steve Fossett has set yet another world record. Along with pilot Einar Enevoldson, he reached an altitude of 50,699 feet in a glider flying over the Andes Mountains. After being released from a tow plane at 13,000 feet, the high-performance Perlan glider, which has a 72-foot wingspan, “surfed” from one mountain wave to the next. The pilots used the opportunity to perform scientific research on how mountain waves interact with polar winds. Both aviators donned pressurized NASA spacesuits, helmets, foot heaters and hand muffs—temperatures fell as low as minus-57 degrees C. A little more than four hours after their release from the tow plane, they broke the 1986 glider altitude record (set by pilot Robert Harris in California) by 1,662 feet. This was the team’s third attempt, having flown previously in New Zealand, the United States and Argentina. As they flew above commercial air traffic in Chile and Argentina, radio calls broke the silence. “I couldn’t understand the Chilean controller describing us in Spanish to the airline pilot,” said Steve Fossett, “but I understood the answer by the pilot: ‘Wow!’” Learn more at www.stevefossett.com and www.perlanproject.com.
Aviation For A Cause
Twenty-six-year-old Preston Bentley is set to embark on a cross-country trip during which he’ll touch down in all 48 contiguous states in an effort to raise $500,000 for Cincinnati’s Ronald McDonald House. The nonprofit organization provides a “home away from home” for families of ill children who are receiving medical treatment at area hospitals. There are 259 such facilities across the country. Bentley’s young cousin, Seth Bailey, passed away two years ago from a rare medical condition, and Seth’s family spent many nights at the Ronald McDonald House.
Preston’s aircraft will be a 120 hp Thorpedo T211 powered by a six-cylinder Jabiru 3300, a light sport aircraft donated by Dallas-based IndUS Aviation. In only 30 days, his route will cover approximately 8,000 nm.
“This journey is about Seth and all the children who will benefit from the money raised in his name,” said Preston, who works at Blue Ash Aviation & Charter at the Blue Ash Airport, north of Cincinnati, Ohio. “I want to do something good for this world, and I want to see and experience as much of it as possible in the process.” Along the way, he’ll visit local Ronald McDonald Houses to interact with children. For more information, log on to www.rmhcincinnati.org and www.indusav.com.
Another coast-to-coast fundraising trip is planned by pilots Jim Carlaccini and John Long. Launching from Sebring Regional Airport in Florida, they’ll spend two months flying to California in an FPNA A-22 Valor LSA and an Airborne XT-912 flexwing/trike. They’ll be raising money for the Sunshine Foundation, part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation that grants wishes to children who have life-threatening illnesses.
Jim, who is a paraplegic as a result of a skydiving accident, recently soloed in the modified trike. Powered by a Rotax 912-UL, the aircraft has hand controls for the throttle and front wheel brakes. His accomplishment will raise awareness that disabled people can do whatever they put their minds to. John will fly in the Valor as support crew.
Pilots are welcome to fly a leg with Jim and John during their journey. For more information, visit www.fpna.com.
Pistons And Pylons
Strong winds and harsh weather prevailed during the seventh leg of the Red Bull Air Race World Series in Longleat, England, on September 2, putting a premature end to the event. British pilot Paul Bonhomme was named the official winner, based on a qualifying race the previous day. “It’s a shame the race couldn’t take place, but it would have been impossible under these weather conditions,” remarked Bonhomme. “I’d rather have won it on race day.” It wasn’t just the racers who were disappointed—more than 60,000 spectators showed up in the rain to cheer on their favorites.
With only two remaining races in the season, the competition is intensifying. Bonhomme, who flies an Edge 540, currently ranks fourth overall, and has his eyes on placing in the top three. American pilot Kirby Chambliss, also in an Edge 540, placed third in Longleat, but leads the World Series overall. The next race will be in San Francisco on October 7, followed by a final race in Perth, Australia, on November 19. To follow the action, go to www.redbullairrace.com.
The aviation world mourns the loss of William Garnett, 89, an aerial photography pioneer. The award-winning photographer piloted a 1955 Cessna 170B as his photo platform. His majestic photos of sand dunes, fields, forests and other geometric landscape patterns brought to life views not observable from the ground. The recipient of three Guggenheim fellowships, Garnett had work published in numerous magazines, including Fortune and The New York Times Magazine, and has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institution and the Getty Museum. Books of his include William Garnett: Aerial Photographs (1984) and The Extraordinary Landscape: Aerial Photographs Of America (1982), with an introduction by Ansel Adams. Garnett’s very first aerial photo was published in his Pasadena, Calif., high school yearbook. It was of the campus, shot from a biplane.
Alternatives to 100LL fuel, such as diesel and ethanol, have been making headlines recently. But batteries? Developed by Matsushita Electric Industrial for Panasonic, the Oxyride battery is up to 1.5 times more powerful than a standard alkaline battery. In a challenge proposed by Panasonic, students from the Tokyo Institute of Technology successfully built an aircraft that flew powered solely by AA-sized Oxyride batteries—160 of them, to be exact! With an impressive wingspan of 101 feet and manned by a 119-pound pilot, the plane flew at an altitude of 17 feet for a distance of approximately 1,300 feet. As suggested by Panasonic, “If they can fly an airplane, imagine what they can do for your portable electronics!”
Pacific Aviation Museum
The Pacific Aviation Museum-Pearl Harbor is opening its doors on historic Ford Island, Hawaii, on December 7, the 65th anniversary of the 1941 attack. The museum’s collection includes an extremely rare 1942 A6M2-21 Zero fighter, a 1943 F4F-3 Grumman Wildcat (one of less than 12 early F4F-3 models still in existence), a B-25 Mitchell Bomber, an N2S-3 Stearman that was flown by former President Bush during his WWII training and an Aeronca 65TC that was airborne over Oahu on the day of the attack.
The first phase of the museum to open, Hangar 37, will also feature interactive exhibits. A control tower built in 1938 and two additional hangars will complete the museum in the near future. Original bullet holes in hangar glass, strafe marks on the ground and even a bomb crater remain on the site. More details are at www.pacificaviationmuseum.org.