October 25, 2005
By The AVweb Editorial Staff
|This issue of AVweb's Business AVflash is brought to you by
LIGHTSPEED'S THIRTY 3G HEADSET COMBINES
Both the FAA and Bombardier this month celebrated delivery of a brand-new Global 5000 bizjet to the agency's fleet at the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, N.J. The new long-range jet -- which was completed by St. Louis-based Midcoast Aviation with a unique interior designed for a wide range of future special-mission workstations -- will be used in the FAA's research and development program. Why does the FAA need a special-mission-configured Global 5000? Well, according to Bombardier, the jet will serve as an airborne research and development laboratory, utilizing its "exceptional payload capacity and endurance." Additionally, the company said, "the aircraft's cockpit systems and wing design are highly compatible with the wide range of leading-edge systems and technology that the agency routinely develop[s] and test[s]." In other words, and since "leading-edge technology" and "FAA" usually aren't used in the same sentence, the answer must be that the FAA didn't have one. Now, it does. The Global 5000's arrival brings to 11 the number of Bombardier aircraft in the FAA fleet, according to the company. This includes Challenger 604, Challenger 601 and Learjet 60 business jets. "The FAA now flies models from all three Bombardier business jet families, which clearly reflects its confidence in the superior quality and performance of our aircraft," said Derek Gilmour, vice-president, government and special mission aircraft sales, Bombardier Aerospace. Of course, that number does not include the agency's so-called "executive" fleet -- a Gulfstream GIV and two Cessna Citation Excels -- which are based at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, or other aircraft the agency uses around the world to perform routine tasks like airborne navaid testing and the like. Bombardier says the FAA's new Global was chosen, in part, for its multiple independent power sources and large cabin volume necessary to accommodate special research equipment. Other countries employing a Global 5000 in a special-mission configuration include Japan and Great Britain. To date, Bombardier has delivered 150 Global jets, including the 5000 model.
THE SJ30-2 IS THE WORLD'S FASTEST LIGHT BUSINESS JET
Sino Swearingen Aircraft Corporation (SSAC) said earlier this month that its to-be-certified SJ30-2 light bizjet has met or exceeded all of the company's performance specifications. Those parameters include speed, range, altitude and pressurization. The company's numbers include high-speed cruise of Mach 0.83, which SSAC says is faster than all light business jets in production, and a maximum range of 2,512 nm -- though not both at the same time. Presently, the company says it is finalizing the FAA certification process and expects to obtain its FAA Type Certificate, as planned, later this year. John Siemens, senior engineering test pilot for the SJ30-2, commented, It is good to know that our extensive flight test program has resulted in validation of our design goals. The SSAC test team has performed numerous tests to determine optimized performance. The company says the SJ30-2 fits into the light business jet category, which is usually considered as including aircraft weighing over 10,000 pounds but less than 20,000 pounds maximum gross takeoff weight. In addition to top speed and max range, other planned specifications SSAC says it has met include a maximum operating altitude of FL490 and a sea-level cabin to FL410. The SJ30-2 will also be certified for single-pilot operations, features a relatively low stall speed of 91 KIAS and will be comfortable with short-field operations, which SSAC says involves runways measuring less than 3,600 feet.
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Eclipse Aviation said this week it is launching a national tour -- its first -- to showcase the company's Eclipse 500 very light jet (VLJ). For the tour, Eclipse will take one of its prototypes, N506EA, to a series of seven cities during November. At those stops, the "FAA-conforming VLJ" will be on static display and Eclipse will host a reception at selected sites. In addition to the just-announced November tour, Eclipse said it plans to visit additional cities later this year and in 2006; the specifics will be announced later. Meanwhile, Eclipse also said it has chosen the Albany (N.Y.) International Airport (ALB) as the site for its new northeast factory service center. The to-be-built state-of-the-art maintenance and service center is one of seven planned by the company; previously announced locations include Albuquerque, N.M., and Gainesville, Fla. Construction of the Eclipse Aviation hangar at ALB is expected to begin in the spring of 2006, with completion later in the year. The facility will be built just south of the existing Million Air Terminal. A $1.5 million state grant will be used to assist the airport in building the new hangar and providing the additional infrastructure and runway access that will be required. To no one's surprise, the company says its planned Eclipse 500 road trips are designed to allow potential customers to get "up close and personal" with the airplane. Presently, Eclipse says it remains on track for FAA certification during the first quarter of 2006, with first customer deliveries scheduled to begin shortly thereafter. Additionally, Eclipse's scheduled November tour stops will be taking advantage of the two major aviation trade shows to be held in Florida that month: AOPA Expo, in Tampa, Nov. 3 through 5, and the NBAA Annual Meeting and Convention, in Orlando, Nov. 9 through 11. The other locations, which will include a static display and reception from 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., are: Mercury Air Center, Dekalb Peachtree Airport (PDK), Nov. 12; Wilson Air, Memphis International Airport (MEM), Nov. 14; Million Air, Addison Airport (ADS), Nov. 16; Trajen FBO Network, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), Nov. 18; and Piedmont Hawthorne, San Antonio International Airport (SAT), Nov. 20. The events in Atlanta, Memphis, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio require an RSVP to Eclipse, so interested parties should register via the company's Web site. Additional tour dates will be announced in the future through that site.
NEW GARMIN GPSMAP 396 WITH TERRAIN,
An all-but-forgotten product of the 1980s-era Burt Rutan-inspired canard-based design for business turboprops celebrated its 100th delivery this month. And, no, it wasn't a Beech/Raytheon Starship, which has since been sort of "decommissioned" by the company after only 53 examples took to the skies. Instead, it was the Piaggio Avanti P.180 that has finally achieved that milestone; the C-note aircraft was delivered on Oct. 10 to Avantair at the Piaggio America facilities in West Palm Beach, Fla. The 100th Avanti was liveried in a customized Avantair paint scheme. This is a proud moment for everyone at Piaggio, said Jim Holcombe, COO and executive VP of sales and marketing of Piaggio America. We are looking forward to delivering the next 100, and are quite confident the best is yet to come. The first Avanti production model flew in May 1990, and was certified in October 1990; the Italian-designed and -built aircraft is certified for single-pilot operation and seats up to nine passengers. Piaggio America Inc. completes, delivers and supports the Avanti aircraft in North America. Holder of numerous speed records, the Avanti is capable of flying over 1,700 nm at up to 395 KTAS and is certified to cruise at FL410. At 69 in height and 73 wide, the Avanti features a stand-up cabin that is larger than many mid-size jets.
Just in time for the winter flying season, Sikorsky Aircraft announced this month the FAA has certified the company's S-92 helicopter, when equipped with the new Rotor Ice Protection System (RIPS), for flight in known icing conditions. According to Sikorsky, the S-92 thus becomes the first helicopter directly certified by the FAA to the newest and most stringent standards. The RIPS is an active system that determines the temperature and moisture content of ambient air and applies heat to the main and tail rotor blades to remove any ice buildup. The FAA granted the known-icing certification after the company completed final flight tests in Alaska earlier this month. Those tests also included evaluations by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and by Transport Canada, the Canadian certifying agency. Sikorsky is seeking S-92 RIPS certification from both agencies. "One of the S-92's key features is its all-year, all-weather capability. Certification of RIPS adds to the S-92's reputation as the most modern and efficient aircraft in its class," said Jeffrey Pino, Sikorsky's senior vice president for corporate strategy and commercial programs. Most of the S-92 helicopters delivered to date or ordered include RIPS. Beginning this month, Sikorsky teams will visit customers to update the previously delivered RIPS equipment and activate the system for operation now that it has received certification. Sikorsky also plans to incorporate similar rotor-ice-protection equipment on the new S-76D helicopter, which is slated to enter service in 2008. The Sikorsky S-92 is the first helicopter to be fully certified to the harmonized FAA/JAA Part 29 requirements. It features a stand-up cabin, can seat up to 17 passengers and has a no-reserve range of up to 538 nm.
|THE COLUMBIA 350 & COLUMBIA 400 HAVE A NEW CORPORATE NAME|
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 http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/columbia/biz.
Just in time for next month's National Business Aviation Association annual meeting and convention, Gulfstream announced earlier in October some new city-pair speed records for its G550 bizjet. The new flights bring to 18 the total number of records Gulfstream claims. For one of them, a privately owned G550 established a new record between São Paulo, Brazil, and Moscow, Russia. For the other one, between Shanghai in the Peoples Republic of China and Dallas, Texas, a company-owned jet was used. Official recognition of the city-pair speed records by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) is pending. There are some 60 examples making up the in-service G550 fleet; collectively they've flown more than 28,000 flight hours and completed some 11,000 takeoffs and landings. For the São Paulo-Moscow flight, the G550 took off at 6:52 p.m. local time on Oct. 2, 2005. It flew 6,511 nm at an average cruise speed of Mach 0.80 and landed 14 hours, 12 minutes later at 4:04 p.m. local time at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow. The G550 had fuel reserves for another 1½ hours of flight. Chief Pilot Francisco Lyra served as pilot-in-command and Captain Ivo Martins served as second-in-command. Also onboard were Co-pilot Renato Mattos, who served as first officer, and one passenger. For the Shanghai-Dallas flight on Sept. 29, the jet flew 6,671 nm in 13 hours and 2 minutes. The G550 took off from Shanghai Pudong Airport at 11:36 a.m. local time on Sept. 29 and touched down at Dallas Love Field at 11:39 a.m. local time, the same day. Its average cruise speed also was Mach 0.8. Gulfstream Captain John McGrath served as pilot-in-command, while Gulfstream Senior International Captains Paulo Jancitsky and Skip Wilkerson assisted. Also onboard were Flight Attendant Kim Buckelew and four passengers.
Adam Aircraft this week announced it has named Shelly S. Simi as the company's new public affairs/media relations representative. Simi, who previously served as vice president of communications for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), will assist Adam Aircraft in broadening the companys communications and media relations activities. "With more than 17 years of experience in the general aviation marketplace, Shelly has built a solid reputation with the media. Her knowledge of the industry, coupled with her extensive media contacts, makes her the ideal choice to help us enhance the Adam Aircraft presence in industry publications and the mainstream business press. She will be a tremendous asset in our promotional efforts and we welcome her as a part of our team, said Joe Walker, Adam Aircraft President and COO. In addition to her service at GAMA, Simi has served as president of the Aero Club of Washington and is a founding member of Women in Aviation, International. Presently, she continues to serve on numerous boards of directors. Prior to joining GAMA, Simi was a Flight Coordinator with FedEx. She earned her Bachelor of Commercial Aviation degree from Delta State University.
TELEDYNE-CONTINENTAL MOTORS IS BUSY BECOMING
Flight Options, the fractional operator affiliated with Raytheon, this month named Bob Tyler as its new vice president, flight operations. Tyler joins Flight Options from TAG Aviation, where he most recently served as vice president, flight operations and standards. Additionally, he has held positions at Japan Airlines, Eastern Air Lines and Flight Sciences International Inc. I am proud to welcome Bob as a member of the Flight Options team, said Michael Scheeringa, chief operating officer, Flight Options, LLC. His knowledge of the general aviation industry, proven leadership and vast flying experience made him the ideal candidate for this position. Tyler has extensive experience in the areas of crew relations, flight training, and Part 91, 135 and 121 operations. He has flown more than 17,000 hours as a crew member on numerous military and commercial aircraft and has a JCAB type rating on the Boeing 747 as well as a FAA rating on the Falcon 50. He holds a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Florida State University and a MBA from Rivier College in New Hampshire.
In the Oct. 12 issue of AVweb's Business AVflash, we erred in our "Dude, Where's My Bizjet?" story when we listed the identifier for the Gwinnett County Airport/Briscoe Field in Lawrenceville, Ga., as "LVL." We know better -- it's "LZU" -- and can only plead having spent too much time at high altitude. That excuse sounds better than being in a hurry, having flown over the LVL VORTAC on numerous occasions and being familiar with the Gwinnett County Airport back before it had a three-letter identifier. Thanks to the alert readers who brought this one to our attention.
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...the next issue of AVweb's BizAVflash will be e-mailed to you on Nov. 16. See you then...
Business AVflash is a twice-monthly summary of the latest business aviation
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