May

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With the U.S. economy in the dumps and aircraft sales almost nil, several general aviation manufacturers hoped to turn the tide in May 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. Raytheon Aircraft introduced the Hawker 400XP at the show amid much fanfare, and Eclipse Aviation Corporation announced it has applied for certification of the Eclipse 500 jet with the Joint Aviation Authority (JAA). Raytheon aircraft's mid-sized Hawker Horizon 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. Safire Aircraft announced it was making 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.