November 9, 2004
By The AVweb Editorial Staff
This issue of AVweb's Business AVflash is brought to you by JA Air Center
FROM PORTABLE TO PANEL MOUNT JA AIR CENTER IS THE PLACE TO BUY GARMIN
Gulfstream Aerospace announced last week it has received its FAA type certificate for the Gulfstream G350, the company's latest large-cabin, mid-range business jet. The G350 was introduced eight months ago and is expected to enter service during the third quarter next year. The G350 is similar to its stable-mate, the G450, but has slightly (550 nm) shorter legs. The G450 was introduced October 2003 and received its FAA Type Certificate in August. In addition to their similar appearance, the G450 and G350 share the same flight control systems, engines, PlaneView flight deck, Honeywell Primus Epic avionics architecture and numerous upgraded systems. Because the G350 and G450, plus the ultra-long-range G500 and G550, all use Gulfstream's highly automated PlaneView cockpit, all models share the same type rating. Unsurprisingly, the G350 was developed by the same internal team that developed the G550 and the G500 which, earlier this year, was awarded the 2003 Collier Trophy. "We developed the G350 specifically for customers who require ample seating and cargo space, but who don't need long- or ultra-long-range capability," said Bryan Moss, president of Gulfstream. According to the company, the G350 has a long-range cruise speed of Mach 0.80 and 3800-nm range. Additionally, the G350 requires a runway only 5050 feet long for takeoff. Two Rolls-Royce Tay 611-8C engines, each producing 13,850 pounds of thrust, power the G350. "The similarity in design between the G350, G450, G500 and G550 results in cost savings in terms of crew training and maintenance," Moss added. The G350 fills the market position previously held by the Gulfstream G300 but features an additional range of 200 nautical miles, a larger cabin and cockpit and baggage area, an advanced-technology flight deck and an upgraded cabin environmental-control system.
LOOK TO THE PIEDMONT HAWTHORNE AIRCRAFT SALES TEAM WHEN YOURE BUYING or SELLING YOUR NEXT AIRCRAFT
Bell Helicopter Textron said last month its latest civilian helicopter, the model 210, will be ready for its first flight next month, with FAA certification expected to follow in January. The Bell 210 is a civil certified version of the company's venerable UH-1H Huey, albeit with a few upgrades. For example, the 210 starts with a refurbished UH-1H fuselage and then adds main rotor hub and blades, tail rotor, main and tail rotor support structure, transmission, rotating controls, and tail boom from the Bell 212. A single FAA-certified Honeywell T5317B engine will power the 210. According to Bell, the combination of dynamic components and engine produces a zero-time airframe, FAA-certified single-engine light utility helicopter. Work on the 210 prototype is on schedule at Bell subsidiary Edwards & Associates. Cost of the Bell 210 will be approximately $3 million, according to Bell, which adds that a comparable Huey-sized, off-the-shelf commercial helicopter would cost approximately $5 million. The Bell 210 will have a useful load of around 5000 pounds, 640 pounds more than the UH-1H, and its direct operating costs will be about $530 an hour, considerably less than other aircraft in the same class. Bell is targeting the 210 at the non-military government market.
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In the immediate aftermath of World War II, many thought there would be an airplane in every garage. When that didn't happen, hybrids capable of using the highways and the airways appeared, then all but disappeared. Many other attempts to come up with the right mix of technology and operational flexibility leading to a sky darkened by airborne vehicles of one type or another have similarly failed. Now comes the British firm Avcen, which has developed the "Jetpod" taxi with the hope it can be used to "offer a flying taxi service at little more than the cost of ... cab fare." One of the keys to the company's hoped-for success is a planned runway requirement of only 400 feet, using a jet engine exhaust design reminiscent of the AV-8 Harrier V/STOL fighter-bomber. According to the company, thrust would be directed down through the wings, both to reduce noise and provide the aircraft's short takeoff and landing capability. Avcen says proof-of-concept test flights are planned for the next 18 months. At this time, the company plans to sell the Jetpod for U.S. $9.3 million, a far cry from the very-light-jet prices being promoted by Cessna, Eclipse, Adam and others. Avcen believes the Jetpod would be able to travel the 24 miles from London to Woking in four minutes and, since it flies "significantly faster than a helicopter," could offer a flight from Heathrow to central London for less than 50 pounds ($100). "We believe once there is an aircraft that can do these things, cities will make space for it," said Avcen's managing director, Mike Dacre. "We're not talking about traveling to Paris. The whole point about this aircraft is that it will scoot you from the countryside to the center of London in two or three minutes." The company has also designed a hoverable unmanned robot that could be used for rescue missions or repair work.
IF YOUR CELL PHONE CAN SURF THE NET, IT CAN RECEIVE AVIATION WEATHER
Groen Brothers Aviation Inc. announced the Nov. 1 merger of its two wholly owned subsidiaries, American Autogyro Inc. (AAI) and Groen Brothers Aviation USA Inc. (GBA-USA). GBA-USA, which developed the first turbine-powered autogiro, the Hawk 4 Gyroplane, will take on the manufacturing, sales and marketing functions of AAI's SparrowHawk Gyroplane. Groen Brothers Aviation USA Inc. will do business as American Autogyro, for all of its SparrowHawk operations. According to the company, the merger will allow GBA to optimize its operations and emphasize the SparrowHawk. Jim Mayfield, formerly the president of AAI, and who led the team that developed the award-winning SparrowHawk Gyroplane, has joined the board of directors and has been promoted to executive vice president of Groen Brothers Aviation USA Inc. The SparrowHawk is a fully enclosed, two-place, centerline-thrust, statically and dynamically stable gyroplane available as a kit.
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Many changes in personnel and their roles have occurred within the business aviation industry in the last few months. While the National Business Aviation Association has arguably seen the most of them, a few notable others have occurred. Among them is the departure of Shelly S. Simi from her position as vice president of communications for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), where she has helped lead that organization's public relations effort for more than 15 years. Simi last month announced her pending departure -- scheduled for Dec. 31 -- saying she wants to spend more time with her family. No successor has yet been named. Elsewhere, Eclipse Aviation announced a series of executive promotions last month. Both Dr. Oliver Masefield and Don Burtis were promoted to senior vice president, senior fellow. Masefield previously served as the companys senior vice president of engineering and Burtis previously led Eclipses avionics & electronics organization. Additionally, Eclipse promoted Ken Harness to become vice president of engineering. Harness, who previously served as Eclipses director of propulsion systems in the engineering organization, will assume responsibility for the day-to-day management of Eclipses engineering and avionics/electronics operations.
STOP! DON'T TRUST JUST ANYONE WITH YOUR COMPANY'S AIRCRAFT INSURANCE
Raytheon Aircraft Services -- the airframe manufacturer's network of FBOs and maintenance operations in the U.S. -- announced last week that its Indianapolis, Ind., facility received the FAAs Diamond Award. To receive the award, which recognizes ongoing training efforts and maintenance-technician professionalism, a facility must have at least 25 percent of its employees participating in the FAAs Maintenance Technician Program. A total of 15 of the 18 RAS employees, or 83 percent, will qualify for an individual award.
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Signature Flight Support announced last month the acquisition of Executive Aircraft Services (EAS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Group4Securicor PLC, headquartered at London's Heathrow Airport. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Signature said the EAS facility is a traditional FBO and that the latest acquisition increases its FBO network to more than 60 locations worldwide, including 42 in the U.S. and 17 in Europe. "EAS represents a major strategic addition to our fast-growing FBO network, both globally and in Europe," said Beth Haskins, president and CEO for Signature Flight Support. "London is a major destination for business aircraft operators and with Signature operations now at both Heathrow and Luton we are ideally positioned to provide the most convenient and cost-effective level of support."
Apologies to those in both Philadelphia and Chicago for the faux pas published in this space last month that referred to Chicago as the "city of brotherly love." We know that reference applies only to Philly -- though it's sometimes hard to tell, what with the treatment we get from your TRACON. As for how that happened, we're still not sure. Yet, we apologize for confusing the issue and thank our readers -- both of them -- who took the time to write us about it.
...the next issue of AVweb's BizAVflash will be e-mailed to you on Nov. 24. Until then!
Business AVflash is a twice-monthly summary of the latest business aviation
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