Pilot Journal
Thursday, May 29, 2008

July-Aug 2008 On The Radar

On The RadarThe latest iteration of the turbine-single Pilatus, which received FAA and EASA certification in March 2008, has two big improvements that are split by the firewall. Up front, improvements in the 1,200 shp Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67P include the single-crystal blades and a new compressor design. Power upgrades make for faster climb and more stamina in fast-cruise power settings. Running off the back of the P&W powerplant are two monster 300-amp generators that ensure full electrical power and redundancy. These big dynamos are cooled and exhausted through special ductwork that ends in a tiny grill on the lower left side of the cowl, the only external clue that this is the newest PC-12.
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On The RadarNew Raisbeck Package For King Air B200GT
Performance comes in many dimensions, and Raisbeck Engineering has a new package for owners of the Hawker Beechcraft King Air B200GT, which was originally equipped with four-blade Hartzell/Beech propellers. The STC will yield increased aerodynamic efficiency that a pilot can use for more speed, greater range and additional operational flexibility.

The EPIC Gold package includes Raisbeck’s Ram Air Recovery System and dual aft body strakes. Though it’s barely visible to the unprepared eye, the performance increase is unmistakable. Because the Gold package is designed for airplanes that already have the four-blade Hartzells, pricing is roughly half the cost of the full EPIC Platinum package (which includes the four-blade Hartzell/Raisbeck for those 200/B200 aircraft originally equipped with three-blade propellers). The EPIC Gold package is priced at $61,012. More information is available at www.raisbeck.com.

On The RadarDiamond D-JET 003’s First Flight
On April 14, Diamond’s newest D-JET, S/N 003, lifted off from London, Ontario (Canada), on a first flight lasting one hour and 25 minutes, during which all test card items were completed.

On the outside, S/N 003 looks identical to S/N 002, which first flew on September 14, 2007. The most noticeable difference between the latest two models and the original prototype is a pair of small ventral fins, added for a bit more stability.

Each new aircraft is designed to continue and expand testing on additional systems and, consequently, has an expanded flight-test envelope. This latest unit’s duties will grow to include extensive proofing of avionics, fuel systems, autopilot and anti-ice systems. Later this summer, S/N 003 will be the first D-JET to be retrofitted with the production engine, a FADEC-equipped Williams FJ33-19.

Diamond’s personal jet seats up to five, with three-across seating on the rear “bench” and an optional, unique rotating copilot’s seat that allows “club” seating for four as the pilot takes care of the flight. Follow the progress at www.diamondaircraft.com.

On The RadarHondaJets Available For Sale In Europe
In a recent expansion of jet sales throughout North America, Honda announced the establishment of a sales and service strategy for Mexico and Canada. Now, responding to strong demand for aircraft from customers abroad, Honda plans to expand HondaJet sales to Europe.

The trend toward rapidly expanding high-line turboprop sales favors non-U.S. markets, with Europe’s being the largest. Just a few years ago, some 70% of such sales were booked to U.S. customers. According to several of the larger players in both the turbine and jet markets, sales have moved away from such heavy reliance on the States. The U.S. market has matured, the dollar is weaker and manufacturers are building to comply with not only FAA certification regimens, but also emerging international regulatory bodies.

On the service side, HondaJet’s goal is to have flight times of 90 minutes or less for all customers to their nearest facility. Completion of the U.S. HondaJet sales and service facilities is scheduled to coincide with the anticipated certification and first deliveries of HondaJet in 2010. To learn more about HondaJet, visit www.hondajet.com.

On The RadarKing Air PFD Retrofit From Avidyne & Southern Star
Avidyne Corporation and Southern Star Avionics received FAA approval for their jointly developed single PFD, designed as a retrofit for the King Air 90 series. This package integrates the Envision system with an S-TEC 65X autopilot. With this approval, Avidyne can now offer single-PFD and dual-PFD Envision options on King Air 90s. “This single-PFD Envision certification provides an even more affordable retrofit option for the single-pilot King Air 90-series owner looking to move up to a big-glass instrument package,” said Tom Harper, Avidyne’s director of marketing. “Avidyne now offers full-feature Envision retrofit solutions to meet the specific mission and budgetary requirements of single-engine piston aircraft up through RVSM-capable turbine-class aircraft.” Retail pricing begins at $34,995. For more information, log on to www.avidyne.com and www.southernstar.aero.


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