Business NewsWire Complete Issue

September 13, 2005
By The AVweb Editorial Staff

This issue of AVweb's Business AVflash is brought to you by …
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NBAA Moves 2005 Annual Meeting To Orlando

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) announced earlier this month its 58th Annual Meeting & Convention will move from New Orleans, La., to Orlando, Fla. The announcement came in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Additionally, the dates for this year's convention have changed; it will take place from Wednesday, Nov. 9 through Friday, Nov. 11, a week earlier than originally planned and on different days than the normal Tuesday-through-Thursday. The Orlando Orange County Convention Center and nearby Orlando Executive Airport in Orlando, Fla., are the new venues. Importantly, the Orlando location is the correct one, not Las Vegas, as USA Today recently printed. According to NBAA, neither the location nor the date cited in the newspaper's article is correct. "Although we deeply regret having to leave New Orleans, we think that Orlando presents a very good opportunity for our Members and Exhibitors," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. NBAA also said it had secured a "strong hotel package," including nearly all of the major hotels in the Orlando area. Bolen expressed confidence that NBAA could meet the significant logistical hurdles and other challenges involved in relocating the convention on such short notice. "Obviously, there are significant issues to address as we work through the process of moving the show. We know that the business aviation community understands this, but in the end, we will meet the challenges and produce a world-class event that makes our members proud," Bolen said. The association said it continues to facilitate efforts by the nation's business aviation community to provide resources to relief and recovery efforts in the Gulf Coast region on its Web site.

Honda Video Features Experimental Jet

The experimental HondaJet created a great deal of interest and speculation when it made its first public appearance this summer at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, as we've reported. Now, with release of a video designed to enhance the company's branding throughout the world, speculation on whether the company will build, certify and market the innovative bizjet can really take off. The new video, one of the company's so-called "global ads," depicts two blue-jumpsuited men arriving at a hangar aboard a classic small-bore Honda motorcycle and checking out the jet before taking it for a spin. A notice on the company's Web site says, "Honda's advertisements have always aimed at being easily understood by everyone around the world, being conceptually true to what everyone expects of Honda, and being uniquely Honda: That is, something that goes beyond what everyone would expect." The same could be said of its jet, as well as the way in which the company kept it out of the public eye for almost two years before this summer's appearance at Oshkosh. The HondaJet global ad joins others on Honda's Web site featuring the company's robots, sports cars, motorcycles and auto racing activities. Could a more traditional ad for the jet be far behind?


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Sino Swearingen SJ30 Completes Another Certification Milestone

Sino Swearingen Aircraft Corp. (SSAC) last week announced reaching another milestone en route to FAA certification of its SJ30 medium-size business jet as Flight Test Aircraft serial number 0003 completed all of its required flight testing. Serial number 0003 is the youngest in the company's fleet of three flight-test aircraft, and has accumulated more than 725 actual flight-test hours. Test cards accomplished by s/n 0003 include high-Mach lateral directional tests, engine-fire suppression tests, unusable fuel tests, engine operating characteristics and engine-out conditions, air-starts, noise compliance, extreme cold and severe hot weather operations, engine-airframe natural icing tests and more. Test flights were performed by SSAC Senior Test Pilot Mark Elwess, Senior Flight Test Manager and DER Schuyler Horn, Senior Flight Test Engineer and Co-pilot Mark Fairchild and Senior Flight Test Engineer and Co-Pilot Patrick Carvel. Sino Swearingen Aircraft Corporation is FAA certifying the new SJ30-2 twin-engine business jet at San Antonio, Texas, with over 550 employees in four facilities totaling over 220,000 square feet in the USA coast to coast. The Sino Swearingen SJ30-2 business jet is designed to be a high-performance, ultra-long-range intercontinental jet operating at altitudes up to FL490 and speeds up to Mach 0.83. At its maximum altitude of FL490, the SJ30-2 will have a cabin altitude of 1,800 feet; it is designed to maintain a sea-level cabin through FL410 and will be certified for single-pilot operation.

Bombardier Delivers 150th Global

Bombardier late last month placed into service its 150th Global long-range business jet with the delivery of a Global 5000 on Aug. 26 to Dwight Management of St Paul, Minn. The airframe was the third Bombardier Global 5000 aircraft placed in service. "The aircraft's spacious, wide and comfortable cabin combined with its outstanding speed and impressive range made it the right choice to meet our corporate travel requirements," said Dwight Opperman, chairman, Dwight Management, a longstanding Bombardier customer. Bombardier's Global program, launched in February 2002, presently includes the Global 5000 business and will soon be followed with the Global Express XRS, which is scheduled to enter service in January. "The delivery into service of our 150th Global aircraft is a landmark occasion for this leading family of aircraft, and the promise of more great things to come," stated Duncan Koerbel, vice-president and general manager, Global product line. "We have more than 15 Global aircraft currently in completion, and strong worldwide market interest in both the Bombardier Global 5000 and the Global Express XRS business jets." The Global 5000 can fly transcontinental missions at speeds up to Mach 0.89, faster than any other aircraft in its class, according to the company. Launched in October 2003, the Global Express XRS will offer even more range and at higher speeds. Green aircraft deliveries of the XRS began in 2005.

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Cessna Flies First Production Citation Mustang Ahead Of Schedule

Cessna earlier this month announced its first production Citation Mustang (s/n 0001) took off for its first flight Monday, Aug. 29. The flight occurred a month ahead of a schedule Cessna established some time ago; the Mustang prototype made its maiden flight on April 23. The first production Mustang flew exactly two hours, performing basic systems and avionics checks, including engaging the autopilot, testing the airplane’s handling characteristics, performing operative gear and flap tests, activating the de-ice system and evaluating engine response and performance. “We have a strong team working on the Mustang program, and they’ve achieved a major milestone by getting production unit one off the ground a month early,” said Russ Meyer III, Mustang program manager. Three Mustangs are dedicated to certification: the Mustang prototype and serial numbers 0001 and 0002. To date, the prototype has logged more than 230 flight hours and completed envelope expansion and the initial development of aircraft systems and aerodynamic flight characteristics. Mustang serial number 0001 will be primarily used for avionics development and certification. “We expect to achieve FAA certification in the fourth quarter of 2006,” Meyer said. “Having the first Mustang production unit enter the program early will certainly enhance our progress toward achieving that goal.” The Citation Mustang was announced at the 2002 National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) convention. Mustang sales exceed 230 orders.

Bombardier Inaugurates New Worldwide Distribution Center

Bombardier Aerospace earlier this month marked the grand opening of its high-volume 238,000-square-foot aircraft parts distribution warehouse in Chicago, Ill. The company said the new facility offers operators of both Bombardier business jets and regional airliners worldwide greater speed, accuracy and quality of service than ever before. "The inauguration of our Chicago parts distribution hub is the result of a significant investment in systems and infrastructure over the past 18 months designed to provide our customers with an industry-leading level of service," said Desmond Bell, vice-president, parts logistics, Bombardier Aerospace. The facility is strategically located at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, operates around the clock and features an inventory of over 120,000 unique parts. "This is a major step in our drive to improve parts availability, quality and delivery speed, and, rather than an end point, it's just the beginning," Bell added. Parts from worldwide suppliers and from Bombardier's manufacturing sites and former warehouses in Wichita and Detroit will be housed at the new facility. Once the distribution center reaches full capacity this autumn, Bombardier says it expects to ship between 800 and 1,000 orders each day. Eventually, the facility will employ 200 full-time personnel, including several key employees previously located at the Wichita and Detroit facilities. The new Chicago operation and a similar facility in Frankfurt, Germany, are the foundation for Bombardier's newly redesigned parts logistics network. Both warehouses are managed under a long-term contract through Caterpillar Logistics Services Inc. Additionally, Bombardier will open new spare parts depots in Dubai, UAE, this autumn, and in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2006.

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Pilot Error Blamed In Eclipse 500 Gear-Up Landing

As AVweb reported last week, Eclipse Aviation Corporation's fourth FAA-conforming flight-test aircraft, N505EA, experienced a gear-up landing on Saturday, Sept. 3, at the Albuquerque International Sunport. There were no injuries to the two pilots aboard the aircraft, which was landing at the conclusion of a test flight. The company said the incident resulted from pilot error -- Eclipse did not name the crew -- and that no aircraft mechanical or electrical problems contributed to it. The flight-test aircraft was attempting to land on Runway 3. Subsequently, the aircraft was towed back to the company's hangar shortly after the event. Eclipse is still evaluating the aircraft, but initial reports indicate the damage to N505EA is repairable. The company currently has four other flying aircraft in flight testing. “We are very thankful that no one was hurt and pleased that the aircraft will fly again,” said Eclipse Aviation President and CEO Vern Raburn. “Due to a sturdy and well-built design, the Eclipse 500 can withstand events like this without injuries or catastrophic damage. We are evaluating the damage to the aircraft, but are confident that we will demonstrate how easily a friction stir welded structure can be fixed.”

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Second Gulfstream G150 Flies Two Weeks Ahead Of Schedule

Gulfstream Aerospace last week announced it added a second G150 business jet test aircraft, s/n 202, to its flight-test program two weeks ahead of schedule. The second production G150 aircraft completed its first flight Sept. 2 in Tel Aviv, Israel, flying for five hours and 30 minutes. During the flight, all aircraft systems were cycled and the test aircraft reached a maximum altitude of FL450 and flew at a maximum speed of Mach 0.865. Gulfstream will use this second aircraft for function and reliability testing, which started on Sept. 4. Gulfstream and Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) are developing the wide-cabin, high-speed G150 business jet. It is being built through its Certificate of Airworthiness at IAI’s facility in Tel Aviv and then flown to Gulfstream’s Dallas completions facility for its final phase of manufacturing. Gulfstream’s G150, the company's newest offering, is expected to enter service in the third quarter of 2006. “The pilots reported [the aircraft] flew flawlessly during its maiden flight,” said Pres Henne, senior vice president, programs, engineering and test, Gulfstream. The first G150 flight-test aircraft, serial number 201, has flown some 70 flights, accumulating more than 250 flight hours since its first flight on May 3 of this year. The aircraft’s dispatch reliability has enabled pilots to fly two test flights per day on many of the days the aircraft has been scheduled to fly. The average flight duration has been more than 3.5 hours per flight. Gulfstream says its G150 flight-test program remains on schedule for type certification in the first quarter of next year.

Signature Acquires Again

And the big get bigger. Signature Flight Support earlier this month said it acquired the PrivatAir FBO facility at Paris' Le Bourget Airport in August. After renovation this fall, the facility will be Signature's primary transient terminal at the airport. Additionally, Signature also said it has acquired Cape Aviation Business Centre at Cape Town International Airport, in South Africa. National Airways Corporation (NAC), a South African company operating a fleet of managed business aircraft, formerly owned that facility. Terms of the transactions were not disclosed. With these latest two FBO acquisitions, Signature currently operates at more than 60 locations in the United States, Europe, South America and Asia. "This acquisition represents an opportunity to increase our capacity at the busy Le Bourget Airport," Signature President and Chief Executive Officer Beth Haskins said of the PrivatAir FBO. The new facility adds an additional terminal, nine further hangars and a large ramp area. After a planned renovation of the PrivatAir facility, Signature intends to move its existing handling operation to the newly acquired property. In turn, The Cape Aviation acquisition provides Signature with its first location on the African continent. The Cape Town facility has full aircraft and passenger handling capabilities, customs and immigration assistance, fuel, on-site catering and other services. In addition to standard facility features like a passenger lounge and crew rest areas, the facility includes a private conference room with seating for up to 40 people.

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Boeing's BBJ Program Inches Closer To 100-Airframe Mark

Boeing Business Jets this week announced that the latest order for the company's VIP-configured 737 airliner brought its total sales of the ber bizjet to 98 since its inception. The latest BBJ sale was to a Hong Kong-based operator in the People's Republic of China. Boeing did not reveal the identity of the operator at the customer's request. Of the 57 customers who have ordered BBJs, 39 percent are private individuals, 38 percent are governments, 13 percent are corporate operators and 10 percent are charter companies. Currently, there are 84 BBJs in service around the world. About 10 percent of BBJs delivered are based in the Asia Pacific region. "We are absolutely thrilled and confident that this order will be the first of many in the growing China market for VIP airplanes," said Steven Hill, BBJ president. "The order also brings us closer to our 100th sales order, which we hope to achieve before the end of the year." Boeing said it recently established a dedicated BBJ field service office in the region. The field service office is located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and provides technical support to BBJ operators in the Australasia region and India. "Over the next few years, we anticipate steady growth throughout Asia, and the BBJ's spacious cabin, long range and sophisticated communication systems make it an ideal airplane for that region," Hill said. The BBJ and BBJ 2 are high-performance derivatives of the popular 737-700 and 737-800, respectively. The BBJ cabin offers 807 square feet of space; the BBJ2 offers 25 percent more cabin space and twice as much cargo capacity.

NBAA Offers Airspace Status Briefing

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) this week announced releasing its National Airspace System Status Briefing (NASSB), which it bills as a "user-friendly," Web-based product providing "valuable, real-time information for anyone involved in flight operations." The NASSB is available only to NBAA members, as an extra-cost service, and gives operators an instant snapshot of domestic ATC traffic management initiatives and restrictions. Using the information provided, NBAA says operators can quickly generate information making U.S. flight operations more manageable and efficient. The NASSB was developed by the NBAA GA Desk at the FAA Air Traffic Control System Command Center and provides information on ground delay programs, ground stops, arrival and departure delays, en route constraints, reroutes and departure restrictions. An additional component includes a collaborative convective forecast product. The association has posted sample briefings on its Web site, here and here. To activate and start using the NASSB product immediately, visit NBAA's NASSB Subscription Web page.

The Lancair Company has re-branded itself as Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation. The manufacturers of the Columbia 350 and Columbia 400, the world's fastest certified piston aircraft, made the change as part of an ongoing campaign to develop a unique identity for these premium aircraft. The schedule for the Fly Columbia Tour, an interactive Columbia experience, is posted online at

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