May-June 2006 On The Radar
In 2005, the general aviation industry hit $15.1 billion in billings, an all-time high and a 27.2% increase over 2004. The good news came from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) at their annual Industry Review & 2006 Market Outlook Briefing. GAMA (www.gama.aero) figures put worldwide shipments of general aviation airplanes at 3,580 units for 2005, up 20.8% from the previous year’s total of 2,963 units. " />
Several months ago, FAA Administrator Marion Blakely spoke at the Aero Club and delivered the opposite message: “A change in our funding system is not only necessary, it’s warranted. Our ability to pay the operations bills is literally tied to the price of a ticket. Low-cost carriers are driving the market, and there are more and smaller aircraft up there—you do the math. The equation doesn’t work.”
|A Citation upgrade|
Cessna’s entry into the VLJ category, the Citation Mustang, received a Type Inspection Authorization (TIA) from the FAA several weeks ahead of schedule. The TIA allows Cessna (www.cessna.com) to begin accumulating flight test hours on its prototype and keeps the company on schedule for customer deliveries by the end of this year. The six-seater will be certified as a single-pilot, FAR 23 airplane, with a projected cruise of 340 knots true airspeed (KTAS) and max operating altitude of 41,000 feet. Cessna says it has orders on the books for more than 230 Mustangs, which will join the larger Citation family of over 4,000 aircraft.
Eclipse Aviation (www.eclipseaviation.com) says it too is on track for 2006 customer deliveries. The Albuquerque, N.M.-based company has more than 1,000 flight hours on a fleet of five jets and recently broke ground on a 52,000-square-foot manufacturing center. Eclipse’s president, Vern Raburn, who got the world’s attention a few years ago when he announced that he would sell his new jet for less than a million dollars, said that the facility would allow the company to ramp output up to four aircraft daily. As of January 2006, Eclipse claimed an order log of 2,360 jets.
Another Less-Than-A-Million-Dollar Jet?
Sierra Industries out of Uvalde, Texas, has announced a different program to bring you a jet for under a million bucks, and there’s no waiting. The company is taking used Citation 500/501SP airframes and running them through a complete overhaul and refurb to deliver a “Sierra VLJ” for a suggested retail of $845,000. Its standard equipment includes GPS, TAWS, new paint and a new 6-passenger interior. The jets can be upgraded with RSVM, EFIS and digital autopilots. For more, see their Website at www.sijet.com or call (888) 835-9377.
Columbia Avionics has announced its efforts to install and certify new Innovative Solutions and Support (IS&S) flat-panel EFIS displays in Cessna Citation 500 and 650 series aircraft. The new system comes in one-, two- or three-panel configurations, and is meant to replace the existing electromechanical instruments. Get more information at www.columbiaavionics.com or call (573) 874-4141.
Czech-Mate Turbine Single
Ibis Aerospace Ltd. announced the European certification of its Ae270 single-engine turboprop. Because of reciprocity agreements between the FAA and the Civil Aviation Authority in the Czech Republic, American certification has been delayed (but is expected imminently) in the United States.
The Ae270 Propjet is a large-cabin, pressurized aircraft designed to carry up to 10 people, or it can be configured to carry cargo. To learn more, go to www.ae270.com or contact the company at +420-25576-2488.