…And Old Ones…

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Meanwhile, long-standing participants in the bizav marketplace have kept up the pace of developing new aircraft and new technologies. On one level, Gulfstream Aerospace leads the pack with the widest selection of large-cabin, long-range bizjets, especially now that its top-end products – the G350, G450 and G550 – have been certificated and will enter service in 2005. Gulfstream’s Enhanced Vision System (EVS) was well-positioned to take advantage of the FAA’s rule allowing certified enhanced flight vision systems (EFVS) to be used to determine "enhanced flight visibility" for Part 91 operators. Cessna, too, added several new models to its lineup, including the Citation XLS, Citation Sovereign, the CJ3, and upgraded versions of the CJ1 and CJ2. And 2005 likely will see the Citation Mustang’s first flight, followed by certification in 2006.

Raytheon, in turn, celebrated the 40th anniversary of its venerable King Air turboprop line, and last week added the Hawker Horizon to its stable, after obtaining a provisional FAA type certificate. But not all the news coming out of the traditional business aviation companies was good. For example, earlier this month, Bombardier Aerospace’s parent company experienced a turnover at its highest levels. And Safire, which struggled for many years to bring its light-light jet to market, ceased operations, probably for good. Eclipse, however, recently rolled out a certification test airplane -- complete with new Pratt & Whitney Canada engines – which will be the first of five flying test beds that will go through the certification process. In all, 2004 mostly brought stability to the industry’s major players, ushered in some new players and saw the weaker ones depart, sometimes without a whimper.