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EBACE 2003 In Review

Numbers Up, Great Expectations ...

With the U.S. economy in the dumps and aircraft sales almost nil, several general aviation manufacturers hoped to turn the tide by showcasing their product lines overseas at the largest European business aircraft event. Held from May 7 to 9 in Geneva, Switzerland, the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition, or EBACE 2003, attracted thousands of attendees and more than 600 business aviation exhibitors, including Wichita's Raytheon Aircraft Co., Cessna Aircraft Co. and Bombardier Aerospace. EBACE Management announced this year's exhibitors were at record levels, up nearly 9 percent over last year's final EBACE 2002 numbers. EBACE 2003 featured 614 exhibits at Geneva Palexpo, 36 aircraft on static display at Geneva International Airport, 11 informational sessions and eight maintenance and operations (M&O) sessions hosted by original equipment manufacturers. The show is sponsored by the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).

... Raytheon Introduces The Newest Hawker ...

Raytheon Aircraft introduced the Hawker 400XP at the show amid much fanfare. "This new Hawker is a critical step in our overall strategy to create distinct branding references for our customers," said Brad Hatt, President - Hawker Division. "Hawker aircraft are known among corporate and fractional customers for their elegance, large cabins and dispatch reliability. That's a perfect description of the Hawker 400XP."

The Hawker 400XP (eXtra Payload) features a 200-lb. gross weight increase that was recently introduced to the production line on its predecessor, the Beechjet 400A.

A commemorative-painted Hawker 400XP appeared on static display at Geneva International Airport. A large Hawk Head logo graced the vertical stabilizer, and Hawker 400XP is scripted on the fuselage. Inside, Hawker logos were emblazoned into the carpet and headrests.

"The most significant overall benefit to customers is increased flexibility," said Hatt. "Customers have the additional operational capability to add another passenger, or operate with the same number of passengers and increase the fuel onboard by 200 pounds for increased range."

In conjunction with the 400XP's debut, Raytheon officials also announced a new European-based Hawker service facility. Chester, U.K., Aircraft Services facility was recently renamed Hawker Aircraft Services to emphasize its new commitment to servicing Hawker aircraft. Chester joins Hawker Aircraft Services in Little Rock as the main service destinations for Hawker owners.

... Eclipse Announces JAA Application, New Equipment ...

At the show, Eclipse Aviation Corporation announced it has applied for certification of the Eclipse 500 jet with the Joint Aviation Authority (JAA). The certification, under JAR-23, is anticipated in 2006. Eclipse also revealed that Reduced Vertical Separation Minimums (RVSM) capability and autothrottle have been added to its guaranteed standard equipment list, formalizing its long-standing plan to include these high-end features as standard on the Eclipse 500.

"We have a great aircraft for the European market. RVSM capability and 8.33 kHz radios, both required in Europe, come as standard features in the Eclipse 500," said Vern Raburn, president and CEO of Eclipse Aviation.

To initiate the formal process, representatives from Eclipse had their first meeting with the JAA in October 2002 and the company formally applied for JAR-23 certification in February of this year.

RVSM certification is required for all high-altitude operations in Europe from 29,000 feet to 41,000 feet. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will mandate RVSM compliance for U.S. operators in the same altitude band by the end of January 2005, thus the company's announcement on this new standard equipment on the E500.

European customers will also benefit from the inclusion of communication radios that have 8.33 kHz channel spacing, which is mandated in most European countries for altitudes above 24,500 feet.

... Other Manufacturers Show Their Stuff ...

Cessna held a briefing on its newest business jet, the Mustang, and also had its CJ1, CJ2, Bravo, Encore, Excel, Citation X and Caravan on static display.

Raytheon announced a new system for tracking parts inventory worldwide. It also had four aircraft -- the Hawker 800XP, Premier I, Beechjet 400A and King Air B200 -- on display. Of course, the company reveled in showing off the aforementioned Hawker 400XP.

Bombardier Aerospace was also on hand to exhibit some of its aircraft on static display, including the Challenger 300, which made its European debut at the show. Federal certification of the plane is imminent.

In addition, Airbus exhibited its ACJ, Boeing had a BBJ for resale, Dassault Aviation showed off its F2000 and F900, EADS Socata its TBM700B and Trinidad GT, and Embraer displayed the new Legacy.

... Blakey Addresses The Convention ...

FAA Marion Blakey attended EBACE and was the keynote speaker on May 7. Stressing the need to inspire international cooperation, Blakey said, "I believe we all recognize how crucial international cooperation is to the future of this industry. One of the natural byproducts of increasing global cooperation is change. The business aviation industry is certainly no exception." Talking about the changing face of aviation, she remarked, "We are seeing significant changes in the operational environment, major changes in the regulatory environment, and major changes in business practices. In short, itís no longer business aviation as usual." However, the most significant part of her speech was the announcement of a new initiative to conduct fractional ownership programs under Part 91 of our FAA regulations, yet with additional safety and oversight recommendations that are more consistent with air carrier programs. Blakey advised this was a three-year effort, which stems from the 1999 creation of the Fractional Ownership Aviation Rulemaking Committee tasked with exploring new regulations and alternatives for fractional operators. "Fractional ownership is a trend that evolved naturally, not because it was easy, but because it made economic sense. Fractional ownership is helping this industry grow ... We have an obligation to adapt to this new business culture," Blakey said.

... And The Envelope Please

Blakey was also on hand to attend the EBACE Awards Reception and Banquet at the Hotel President Wilson on May 8. There, the 2003 European Business Aviation Awards were presented to Ahid Quntar, managing director of Royal Wings/Arab Wings, and Andrew Walters, chairman of Regional Airports Ltd. Both were recognized for their work in the European business aviation community.

The Cyclical Nature Of Aerospace Work

Gulfstream Announces Limited Four-Week Furlough Program ...

Gulfstream Aerospace announced on May 1 a four-week shutdown of its initial phase of manufacturing operations in Savannah, placing more than 1,000 employees on furlough from June 30 through July 27. Management and non-management employees in direct manufacturing departments and designated employees in support departments will be affected. The company says customer deliveries and customer service will not be affected. Aircraft manufactured in Savannah include the large-cabin, mid-range Gulfstream G300; the large-cabin, long-range G400; and the large-cabin, ultra-long-range G500 and G550.

"With sales at a level well below prior years, we don't need to build as many planes as originally planned," said Bryan Moss, president, in a statement. "We determined that a shutdown and furlough was the best way to reduce the number of planes to match market demands."

Affected employees will be allowed to take vacation or use accrued personal business time, if they so choose. They will also maintain benefits such as medical insurance and accrue service time for pension purposes.

... While Bombardier Recalls 400 Of Its Furloughed Workers

Bombardier Aerospace has recalled most of the 500 workers furloughed at the company's Wichita plant late last year and expects to bring back even more over the next 90 days. In fact, 406 of the cut Bombardier employees are already back on the job. The company expects to call back 200 more workers, said a Bombardier spokesman. As the furloughed employees return to work, production is ramping up, with construction of components for the Learjet 60 is pretty much back to normal

Among those will be some of the 900 Bombardier workers who were laid off in the past year and a half. However, not everything is good at Bombardier. The company has given notice that it may close one of its six aircraft manufacturing plants in North America and Europe. In Wichita, city officials are considering offering financial incentives to lower the company's costs here and persuade it to stay -- or even expand. Discussions between the company and local officials on that topic began about two months ago. Now, Bombardier Aerospace officials have settled on the government incentives they will seek. Although the incentives would help the employment situation for Wichita workers, the company can't guarantee jobs, said Bombardier spokesman Dave Franson. "The answer is there are no guarantees," Franson said. "The whole process, which was initiated by local governments, was designed to help us be more attractive to our own corporate parents," he told The Wichita Eagle.

Bombardier To Launch GA Engine Line

Details Still A Big Secret ...

Bombardier is apparently pushing its way into your sandbox. Bombardier, which makes Rotax engines for light and ultralight aircraft, has developed a line of engines aimed squarely at the mainstream GA market. A very cryptic statement from the company says the "engines will deliver what pilots and aircraft manufacturers have been demanding for over 30 years." Which, of course, could be anything, but might imply a line of mid-horsepower, certificated engines with advanced electronic controls that run on unleaded fuels, weigh less, last long and require little maintenance ... then again, maybe not. Bombardier plans to offer its definition at a formal unveiling July 29 at EAA AirVenture 2003 ... but you may find out sooner. According to AVweb's sources, technical details of the engines are a closely guarded secret, but Bombardier will lift the lid a little during a media-only briefing May 16 in Orlando. Word is, however, that while media outlets will be let in on some of the details of the new engines at the Orlando meeting, they may be asked not to publicize them until the public debut at Oshkosh, or just before. While Bombardier has managed to keep this apparently ambitious development project under wraps for years, it remains to be seen whether the aviation press can be equally disciplined.

... Rotax Business Remains The Same

The new engines will be built in Austria and distributed through a newly formed company called Bombardier Aircraft Engine Corporation. It will operate independently of the existing engine business, which will keep right on making its popular line of small engines for ultralights and light aircraft. The company has reassured manufacturers, service outlets and end users that it's business as usual for supply, service and support and that the new engine company will not overlap the Rotax market. This announcement comes a month after Bombardier reshuffled its corporate deck and decided to sell off its Recreation Products division, under which the aircraft engine operations fall. The sale of the snowmobile, boat and ATV subsidiary will help shore up finances at the aerospace and railway products arms. The company's Web site says preparations for that sale are progressing. The Bombardier family, which founded the company to build snowmobiles, is said to be interested in buying back a chunk of the old family business.

Raytheon HQ News

Two Members of Holstein Family Named to New Positions ...

Raytheon Aircraft announced Jim Holstein, a 27-year aircraft sales veteran, has been named regional sales director for Hawker aircraft in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and part of Pennsylvania. His son, Shawn Holstein, takes over Jimís former position as regional sales director for Beechcraft products in the same area of the country. Jim Holstein replaces Jeff Dunbar, who recently was named vice president of sales at Flight Options.

Jim Holstein will continue to work from Indianapolis, where heís been since joining Beech Aircraft Corp. in 1976. Shawn Holstein joins the company from Flight Options, where he has been a regional sales manager on the East Coast. He previously worked for Raytheon Travel Air as a regional sales manager, and has also worked for Raytheon Aircraft Company.

... Plant Will Close In January Instead Of Summer

In other news, Raytheon announced it will close its plant for 10 days from Jan. 5 to Jan. 16, the company confirmed in late April. It's the second year the plant will shut down in the winter rather than following its previous practice of closing for a week each July. Business is slower in January than in the summer, when Raytheon Aircraft is ramping up production for the rest of the year, spokeswoman Jackie Berger said.

Gulfstream Offers The 'Royal' Treatment

Gulfstream Aerospace announced it will provide Royal Jet with two large-cabin, mid-range Gulfstream G300 Multi-Purpose Aircraft (MPA) that feature convertible interiors to meet the needs of two types of missions: VIP/executive charter and medical transport.

Royal Jet, a new business jet operator located at the Abu Dhabi International Airport in the United Arab Emirates, is the first customer to order the G300. The company, which is jointly owned by Amiri Flight and Abu Dhabi Aviation, will use the jets as its backbone in the start-up phase as a new aircraft charter provider in the Gulf Region.

The newly developed G300 MPA cabin converts from a 14-seat VIP passenger configuration to a medical transport by replacing removable club seats with self-contained medical beds. The cabin can accommodate two self-contained bed modules equipped with oxygen, compressed air, suction and A/C power. Powered by two Rolls-Royce Tay engines, the large-cabin, mid-range aircraft can fly 3,600 nautical miles nonstop, fly at a maximum speed of .80 Mach and reach an altitude of 45,000 feet.

To date, Gulfstream has delivered 15 medical transport/evacuation aircraft to customers around the world. The company says it sees this type of aircraft rise in an emerging market segment.

Cessna Bizjet Supplier Puts House In Order

The Wichita Eagle reports Avcorp Industries -- Canadian supplier to Cessna Aircraft Co. -- is in the midst of working out its financial troubles. The company provides wing boxes for Cessna's CJ3 and Sovereign aircraft. According to Cessna spokeswoman Jessica Myers, Avcorp's financial difficulties have not affected the aircraft manufacturer.

"We've received good-quality parts," Myers told the newspaper. "And they've been on time. Everything is going very smoothly with them."

Avcorp is renegotiating debt with its major lenders, arranging short-term financing, and working on a sale and leaseback of its land and building.

In other Cessna bizjet news, Raytheon Aircraft chief executive Jim Schuster told analysts last month that Cessna's newest business jet, the Mustang, now in development, is not in competition with Raytheon products. "It's a very different market," Schuster told the gathering.

Hawker Horizon Conducts 7.6-Hour Test Flight

Raytheon is patting itself on the back after a successful series of flight tests. The Hawker Horizon, the company's new super mid-size business jet, is the reason for this celebration. RC-3, the third aircraft to join the FAA certification flight test program, recently completed a 7.6-hour test flight over the central and southern region of the United States. This flight, which started and concluded at Beech Field in Wichita, exceeded the duration of any other test flight in Beechcraft and Hawker history.

During the flight, the crew validated performance predictions, evaluated extended system operation, and checked navigation, communication, and autopilot equipment. The mission, which was conducted primarily at low-to-mid-level altitudes, covered a distance of 2,227 nautical miles. The three Horizons currently participating in the program are currently testing avionics, performance and systems parameters. Later testing will demonstrate the maximum range capability of the airplane.

Raytheon claims the Horizon will provide ďhot-rodĒ performance with an anticipated climb from sea level to 37,000 feet in just over 13 minutes, and a current takeoff field length estimate of 5,088 feet (at maximum gross weight and ISA conditions) beating the performance guarantee of 5,250 feet. An NBAA IFR range of 3,100 nautical miles at Mach .82 is also guaranteed, with a maximum range of 3,400 nautical miles.

Safire Gives Its Jet A Facelift

Safire Aircraft, one of the growing number of GA manufacturers venturing into the light-jet market, announced last month that is has made substantial changes in the design and specifications for its personal jet program. The original S-26 light jet, with a composite airframe, will not be produced, the company said. The new design, called simply the Safire Jet, will have all-aluminum construction and be larger, heavier and faster. The change comes along with Safire's recent selection of the Williams FJ33-4 engine as its powerplant. CEO Camilo Salomon said in a news release that the choice of engine drove the need for other changes in the overall design. "The aircraft's structural weight had to be increased to accommodate the added weight of the engines," he said. Safire will be the final assembler of the plane. It will buy the components and subassemblies from other companies. The company has more than 720 deposits in hand for the $1.4 million aircraft. Deliveries are slated to begin in early 2006.

Wichita Workers Get A Helping Hand

Beleaguered aerospace workers in Wichita got a small break in late April, one they might technically not be entitled to, but welcome nonetheless. Thanks to some furious lobbying by one of their congressmen, Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Goddard), the Department of Labor has agreed to apply an unemployment insurance benefit extension for laid-off airline workers to those who have lost their jobs at Wichita's four aviation manufacturers. "It's a done deal," Tiahrt told The Wichita Eagle. The package will give the workers an extra 26 weeks of benefits, even if their claims have already run out. It was part of a $3.1 billion aid package aimed at airlines affected by 9/11 and the war in Iraq and there were fears it wouldn't apply to the Wichita workers. In the end, the federal Department of Labor decided it would let the state of Kansas interpret the eligibility standards for the extension and you can guess how they're handling that. State officials found a thread to hang the Wichita eligibility on with the bill's phrasing that the extension can apply to an "upstream producer or supplier for an air carrier." While Boeing workers in Wichita clearly qualified, it wasn't so certain for Raytheon, Bombardier and Cessna employees.

In fact, Cessna spokeswoman Marilyn Richwine had a hard time believing her company qualified but quickly accepted Tiarht's assurance. "It appears he should be the one who knows," she told the Eagle. But it's not just Wichita that's suffering. Gulfstream Aerospace announced Thursday it will close its Savannah, Ga., plant for most of July to allow production to match demand of its pricey bizjets. Other plants in California, Massachusetts, Texas, Wisconsin and Mexico will not be affected.

Sino Swearingen Crash Investigation Continues

The investigation into the crash of a Sino Swearigen test aircraft continues. Sino Swearingen lost its chief test pilot, Carroll Beeler, last month when the SJ30-2 twinjet he was flying crashed in rugged terrain north of Del Rio, Texas. Beeler, 59, had taken off from San Antonio, and was alone in the airplane. A chase aircraft witnessed the crash and reported it. The jet was flying at 0.9 Mach when it crashed, according to the San Antonio News-Express. No additional factual information has been released indicating any preliminary causes of the accident. The SJ30-2 is being marketed as a high-performance, long-range, single-pilot-certified, seven-seat twinjet. The SJ30-2 will reportedly operate at altitudes up to 49,000 feet and maintain a "sea-level cabin" to 41,000 feet. AVweb will monitor the investigation and report on any future investigative findings.

Biz AV's AD Watch

AVweb's coverage of Airworthiness Directives (ADs) includes the complete text of the documents, in Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF).

Bombardier

The FAA has issued a final rule for some Bombardier jets. This amendment adopts a new Airworthiness Directive (AD) that is applicable to certain Bombardier Model CL-600-2B19 (Regional Jet series 100 & 440) airplanes. This action requires revising the airworthiness limitations section of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness by incorporating new structural inspection intervals for the pressure floor skin of the center fuselage at fuselage stations 460 and 513; repair if necessary; and submission of inspection findings to the airplane manufacturer. The FAA claims this action is necessary to detect and correct in a timely manner fatigue cracks of the pressure floor skin of the center fuselage at fuselage stations 460 and 513, which could result in failure of the pressure floor skin and consequent rapid decompression of the airplane during flight. The agency says this action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition. This final rule becomes effective May 14, 2003.

Cessna 441

The FAA has issued a final rule for some Cessna 441s. This amendment supersedes Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2002- 09-13, which currently requires a one-time inspection of the fuel boost pump wiring inside and outside the boost pump reservoir and repair or replacement of the wiring as necessary on certain Cessna Model 441 airplanes. AD 2002-09-13 resulted from several reports of chafing and/or arcing of the fuel boost pump wiring inside and outside the fuel pump reservoir. This AD retains the actions required in AD 2002-09-13, makes the one-time inspection repetitive, requires the inspection and possible replacement of the wire harness, lead wires and fuel boost pump on Model F406 airplanes, and requires eventual installation of an improved design wire harness and fuel boost pump as terminating action for the repetitive inspections. The FAA claims actions specified by this AD are intended to detect, correct, and prevent chafing and/or arcing fuel boost pump wiring, which could result in arcing within the wing fuel storage system. According to the agency, such a condition could lead to ignition of explosive vapor within the fuel storage system.

PC-12

The FAA has issued a final rule for some Pilatus aircraft. This amendment adopts a new Airworthiness Directive (AD) that applies to certain Pilatus Models PC-12 and PC-12/45 airplanes. This AD requires owners/operators to inspect the pedestal leg assembly on aft facing passenger seats for correct configuration. If incorrectly configured, this AD requires modification to the correct configuration. This AD is the result of mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) issued by the airworthiness authority for Switzerland. The FAA says the action specified by this AD is intended to detect and correct pedestal leg assemblies on aft facing passenger seats that are in nonconformance with manufacturing standards. The agency claims nonconforming passenger seats could result in passenger injury in an emergency situation. This AD becomes effective on June 16, 2003.

Israel Aircraft Industries Ltd.

The FAA has issued Final Special Conditions for Israel Aircraft Industries Ltd. Model 1124 airplanes modified by Alternative Aviation Services. The agency claims these modified airplanes "will have a novel or unusual design feature when compared to the state of technology envisioned in the airworthiness standards for transport category airplanes." The modification incorporates the installation of dual Innovative Solutions & Support Air Data Display Units. In its notice, the FAA says "applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for the protection of these systems from the effects of high-intensity radiated fields (HIRF). These special conditions contain the additional safety standards that the Administrator considers necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to that established by the existing airworthiness standards." The effective date of these special conditions is April 18, 2003, but comments must be received on or before May 29, 2003.

Learjet 24/25

The FAA has issued Final Special Conditions for the Learjet Model 24/25 series airplanes, as modified by LJSC Ltd. The claims these airplanes "will have novel and unusual design features when compared to the state of technology envisioned in the airworthiness standards for transport category airplanes." The modification incorporates the installation of dual IS&S air data display units (ADDU) and a single IS&S analog interface unit (AIU). The agency says "applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for the protection of these systems from the effects of high-intensity radiated fields (HIRF). These special conditions contain the additional safety standards that the Administrator considers necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to that provided by the existing airworthiness standards." The effective date of these special conditions is April 14, 2003. Comments must be received on or before May 29, 2003.

Upcoming Biz Av Events

The following business aviation events will be held within the next few weeks:

Maintenance Management Conference
May 17-20, Charlotte, N.C.

Professional Development Program (PDP) Course
May 21, Charlotte, N.C.

Maintenance Manual Workshop
May 21, Charlotte, N.C.

Fourth FAA DRVSM Seminar
June 3-4, Chicago, Ill.


AVweb publishes the Business/Corporate Aviation Update on a monthly basis. To ensure that your business, corporate, and fractional aviation industry news is considered for publication, send it to us.