January 25, 2005
By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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You might not have noticed, especially if your flight operations don't take you that high, but last week the FAA quietly implemented its long-planned reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM) in domestic U.S. airspace. By all accounts, neither operators nor the agency encountered major problems, in part because both sides have literally had years to prepare. That, and RVSM really is nothing all that new for anyone accustomed to international flight operations of any consequence. Still, implementing the 1000-foot vertical separation standard between Flight Levels 290 and 410, inclusive, within domestic airspace brought with it much hand-wringing among operators and other segments of the industry. Note, also, that in addition to U.S. airspace, RVSM was implemented on Jan. 20 in Canadian Southern Domestic airspace, Mexico, throughout the Caribbean and in South American regions. But, now that domestic RVSM has been implemented, some shouting may still erupt. For one, a new set of equipment suffixes has been added. The newly revised equipment suffix table changes the definition of "/Q" and eliminates the previous prohibition against filing "/Q" on an FAA flight plan. According to the FAA, the "/Q" suffix indicates that the aircraft has both RVSM and advanced RNAV capabilities (i.e., "/Q" = RVSM plus "/R" or "/E" or "/F" or "/G"). The "/W" suffix only indicates RVSM authorization. And two other hurdles remain: What operators of older, non-compliant aircraft will do and what, if any accommodations the FAA will make for flight-testing of aircraft which are, by definition, not RVSM-certified. In the former case, the costs to achieve RVSM certification may approach the airframe's value. Those operators may choose to forego the expense of RVSM and stay at lower altitudes, burning more fuel and dealing with more weather. And a solution is likely to be worked out among manufacturers and the FAA for test flights. The bottom line is that RVSM is in place and working, smoothly.
FROM PORTABLE TO PANEL MOUNT JA AIR CENTER IS THE PLACE TO BUY GARMIN
Gulfstream Aerospace on Jan. 18 rolled out the first copy of its G150 business jet from the Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) manufacturing facility in Tel Aviv, Israel. Attending the ceremony were certifying authorities, supplier representatives and members of the G150's development team. First announced in September 2002, the G150 remains on schedule for customer deliveries in the third quarter of 2006. As successive copies of the G150 are built and certified by both the FAA and the Israel Civil Aviation Authority, examples will be flown to Gulfstream's Dallas facility for the final phase of its manufacturing. "Our Gulfstream team in Israel has done an excellent job managing the design and build of the first G150," said Bryan Moss, president of Gulfstream. "They've sacrificed time away from their families to ensure this project is on budget and on schedule." Moshe Keret, president and chief executive officer of Israel Aircraft Industries, added, "Once again, we have proven [IAI's] technological capabilities, both in engineering and in manufacturing in this exclusive branch of our industry." The G150 is an entirely new cabin design for Gulfstream, with a cabin height three inches shorter than the company's large-cabin G450 and G550 series aircraft. The G150 can accommodate six to eight passengers in a choice of several cabin configurations and is powered by two Honeywell 731-40AR engines. The G150's planned top speed is Mach .85, with a ceiling of FL450. At its long-range cruise speed of Mach .75, the G150 should fly four passengers nonstop up to 2700 nautical miles, the equivalent of Los Angeles to New York, London to Moscow, or Rio de Janeiro to Santiago. Gulfstream has developed a full-size replica of the G150 cabin and cockpit to take on the road to cities throughout the United States.
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Earlier in January, on the 16th and half a world away in Toronto, Bombardier took its new-generation Global Express XRS business jet for its initial spin -- what the company called a "rigorous" four-hour, four-minute flight. The jet departed Bombardiers Downsview, Ontario, facility and, before landing, reached a maximum altitude of 47,000 feet and a maximum true airspeed of 518 knots. Launched in October 2003, Bombardier expects to receive the XRS's first Certificate of Airworthiness soon, to be followed by customer deliveries of completed aircraft in the first quarter of 2006. According to company officials, the first flight was used to test basic system functionality and assess aircraft handling and flying qualities. "Even with its increased fuel load, its clear the Global Express XRS displays all the same extraordinary handling capabilities and aerodynamic performance of a Global Express the best business jet in the world to fly, noted Capt. Manny Garyfalakis, manager of Bombardier flight operations, a 29-year career pilot who guided the aircraft on its first flight. Loaded with 25,000 pounds of fuel, takeoff weight for the first flight was 74,000 pounds. The XRS was step-climbed to 47,000 feet. Early in the flight, testing took place in an altitude block of 12,000 to 16,000 feet and included stall system checks and lateral stability assessments. Bombardier says the Global Express XRS will deliver the best speed/range combination in the ultra-long-range bizjet category. The airplane will have a maximum fuel weight of 44,975 pounds, letting it fly 6150 nautical miles at Mach 0.85 under certain conditions. Additionally, operators may benefit from a new zero-flap takeoff capability, allowing departure from high-density-altitude airports and runways. Bombardier says the XRS will feature the company's Enhanced Vision System, a second-generation, forward-looking infrared sensor providing synthetic vision in low-visibility conditions, as standard equipment.
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Forty-one years after rolling out the first example, Raytheon Aircraft Company announced this week it had delivered its 6000th Beechcraft King Air, a B200. The company last year celebrated the type's 40th anniversary with a special-edition King Air 350, which made its debut EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh then toured the U.S. until it was delivered in Las Vegas during the 2004 NBAA Annual Meeting and Convention. "The delivery of this 6,000th King Air, serial BB1884, is a tribute to all ... who have worked on this magnificent aircraft, said Randy Groom, president of Beechcraft. Beech announced the King Air on Aug. 14, 1963. The first example boasted a six-to-eight-seat cabin, a cruising speed of 270 mph, over-the-weather operating capability, and good slow-speed handling, permitting safe use of small fields and airstrips. By the first flight in January 1964, customers had placed orders worth more than $12 million. "Over the past 40 years Beechcraft has produced 20 different commercial models and a variety of special mission configurations to meet the needs of our commercial and military customers," Broom added.
Meanwhile, another turboprop maker marked a milestone: In just 10 years of production, Pilatus Aircraft has racked up the 500th delivery of its popular single-engine business turboprop. According to Pilatus, the PC-12 has been the top-selling turbine-powered aircraft in general aviation for the past three years in a row, and orders for 2005 continue at a record pace. The 500th PC-12 was purchased by Mr. Scott Archer, managing director of The Barclay Group of Scottsdale, Ariz. Established in 1939, Pilatus Aircraft of Stans, Switzerland, says it is the world's leading manufacturer of single-engine turboprops. Based in Broomfield, Colo., Pilatus Business Aircraft Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary, was founded in 1996 to provide completions, marketing, sales, and service for Pilatus aircraft in North and South America.
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Bombardier Inc., parent company of Bombardier Aerospace, last week announced reorganizing its corporate office and decentralizing certain responsibilities among its subsidiaries. The reorganization follows the previously announced creation of the Office of the President that regroups strategic and executive management responsibilities around the chairman and chief executive officer and the presidents of the corporations two main operating groups. A total of 60 corporate office positions will be eliminated. Casualties included Michael Denham, former senior vice president of strategy. The company also announced the appointment of John Paul Macdonald as senior vice president of public affairs, effective immediately. Mr. Macdonald assumes his duties in addition to his current communications and government-affairs responsibilities at Bombardier Aerospace.
Honeywell earlier this month named Robert J. Gillette president and CEO of its $9.8 billion aerospace business. Gillette succeeds Robert D. Johnson, who plans to retire in January 2006, and who will remain with the company for a year as a non-executive chairman of aerospace. Gillette has been with Honeywell since 1996 and was named president and CEO of Honeywell Transportation Systems in July 2001. In his new position, Gillette will be based at the company's Phoenix, Ariz., facilities. Johnson has been with Honeywell since 1994 and has led a number of the companys Aerospace business units. In 2005, Johnson will serve as chairman of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), the premier aerospace industry trade association.
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If you think you're seeing a lot more Avfuel signs at the FBOs you frequent, you're right. Avfuel Corporation announced this month that 53 dealers joined its network in 2004. Among new dealers the company has added are L.J. Aviation, Latrobe, Penn. (LBE); Lehigh Northampton Airport, Allentown, Penn. (ABE); Flower Aviation, Garden City, Kan. (GCK); Ranger Jet Center, Orlando, Fla. (ISM); Degol Jet Center, Montoursville, Penn. (IPT); Montgomery Aviation, Indianapolis, Ind., (TYQ), and Jet Service Center, Ft. Pierce, Fla. (FPR). Avfuel began as a small regional supplier some 30 years ago. Avfuel dealers are part of the fastest-growing network in the world, according to the company, which presently has more than 700 branded dealers and is the leading independent supplier of aviation fuels and related support services in the U.S. The company also offers affiliate programs like Avsurance and Avtank, plus a broad-based commercial contract fuel network.
No, not that mayor. Instead, Arlington Heights (Ill.) Mayor Arlene J. Mulder, chairperson of the OHare Noise Compatibility Commission, was named recipient of the 2005 Jay Hollingsworth Speas Airport Award, co-sponsored by the American Associate of Airport Executives (AAAE), the Airports Consultants Council (ACC) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). The award is presented to the person or persons judged to have contributed most outstandingly during the recent past toward achieving compatible relationships between airports and/or heliports and adjacent environments. According to the AIAA, Mayor Mulder is being honored for extraordinary leadership and personal initiative in educating the public, manufacturers, regulators and researchers about the impacts of noise. Her efforts also served to help reach a consensus on mitigation goals as well as promoting funding of noise-abatement research and development through participation in national and international advisory groups. The award will be presented on Feb. 24, 2005, during an AAAE/ACC symposium in Reno, Nev.
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Raytheon Aircraft Services (RAS) announced last week introduction of its Secure Start 1000 product, an anti-terrorist security device presently certified on most King Air, Diamond, Beechjet and Cessna Caravan models. The system consists of installing a double-access code keyboard to be used before starting an aircraft. According to Raytheon, the patent-pending design does not compromise flight safety and remains unlocked during flight. The keyboard also indicates prior tampering by unauthorized users, and will inform to the authorized flight crew that there has been a security breach. Raytheon says that the Secure Start system was developed to provide a proven theft deterrent system that disables the engine start circuits to unauthorized users. The Secure Start system can be installed during routine maintenance or an inspection.
...the next issue of AVweb's BizAVflash will be e-mailed to you on Feb. 9. See you then...
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