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November 29, 2005

Business NewsWire Complete Issue

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
This issue of AVweb's Business AVflash is brought to you by … JA Air Center

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Boeing Adds New BBJ. Maybe

Boeing earlier this month announced a new version of its ber business jet, the BBJ 3, which is derived from the company's next-generation 737-900ER airliner. Billed as a more spacious offering than previous BBJs, Boeing says the 3 has 1,120 square feet of cabin space, 35 percent more than the original BBJ and 11 percent more than the BBJ 2. With up to five auxiliary fuel tanks, the jet will have a maximum range of 4,765 nautical miles (8,825 km). There's one problem, though: Boeing does not yet have a launch customer, or at least didn't when it made the 3's announcement on Nov. 21 at the Dubai Air Show. To date, 102 BBJs have been sold since the program was launched in 1996. There are currently 83 BBJs in service around the world; the fleet has generated more than 168,000 flight hours to date and 66,250 flights, with an industry-leading 99.9 percent dispatch reliability. "BBJ customers value long-range capability and cabin size and this product offering enhances both attributes of the BBJ family," Boeing Business Jets President Steven Hill said at the Dubai Air Show. "It is fitting that we announce our intention to offer this airplane at the Dubai Air Show, because we believe the airplane will have wide appeal in this region." Twenty-six percent of the BBJ worldwide fleet is based in the Middle East. The majority of BBJ 2s has been ordered from this region and they make up almost half of the area's BBJ fleet. The BBJ 3 would join the BBJ and BBJ 2 family of business jets, which are based on the commercially popular next-generation 737-700 and 737-800, respectively.

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Dassault Introduces 2000DX...

Earlier this month at the 58th NBAA Annual Meeting and Convention, Dassault announced a new addition to its line of business jets, the Falcon 2000DX. The 2000DX and its 3250-nm range will replace the Falcon 2000 in 2007, some 230 copies of which are flying. Dassault says the new 2000DX will feature the same interior as its even longer-range sibling, the 2000EX, but will be optimized for operators with different stage-length requirements. The company says its 2000DX design will be the only business jet in its class capable of landing with fuel tanks nearly full: The 2000DX can leave New York for Washington, D.C., and continue to San Francisco without adding fuel. The 2000DX will be powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW308C engines, rated at 7,000 lbs. thrust. "The 2000DX will carry on the long tradition of high performance, superior efficiency and cabin comfort that the Falcon family is known for," said John Rosanvallon, president and CEO of Dassault Falcon. The standard equipped aircraft will have the capability to climb directly to FL410 in 17 minutes and offer a low approach speed of 112 KIAS. The 2000DX will also come standard with Dassault's EASy flight deck. According to the company, more than 60 EASy equipped aircraft are currently in operation and the system has received high marks for its integrated features and intuitive displays. Certification and first deliveries of the 2000DX are expected by the end of 2007.

...As Falcon 7X Racks Up 100th Test Flight

Meanwhile, flight testing of Dasault's latest tri-jet, the Falcon 7X, continues with the company announcing the type's 100th flight, which took place Nov. 15. The mini-milestone involved the serial-number-two aircraft, and lasted 01:35. Since that flight, all three test aircraft have flown again with the 103rd flight being the return of s/n 03 from the U.S. where it attended the annual NBAA convention. The Falcon 7X flight test program is expected to reach 1,200 flight hours before achieving certification, which is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2006. Since its first flight on May 5, 2005, the Falcon 7X has accumulated over 330 flight hours. "We flew the aircraft all the way down to 85 knots," said Dassault test pilot Dominique Chenevier, "and were very impressed by the ease with which the aircraft responded to control inputs." During the NBAA convention, Dassault announced that ongoing design enhancements currently being tested could increase the range of the airplane close to 6,000 nm (the original projection was for 5,700 nm).


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Embraer Renames Legacy, Announces New Offerings

Embraer made a splash at this month's NBAA Annual Meeting and Convention by bringing its EMB-135 regional jet-derived and newly renamed Legacy large-cabin business jet and throwing two new smaller jets into its product mix. Embraer’s first business jet -- the Legacy -- is now called the Legacy 600, a change the company says was made to "be more in line with the Company’s new executive jet naming structure." Meanwhile, the Brazil-based airframer announced new very light and light jets, respectively the Phenom 100 and the Phenom 300. Both will feature Garmin's G1000 all-glass, fully integrated avionics suite built around three interchangeable 12-inch displays – two primary flight displays (PFD) and one multi-function display (MFD). The Phenom 100, powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW617F engines with 1,615 pounds of thrust, will carry up to eight occupants and offer a 1,160-nm range with four onboard. The Phenom 300 jet will be powered by P&WC’s PW535E engines, with 3,200 pounds of thrust each, while accommodating up to nine occupants; its range will be 1,800 nautical miles. "The Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 reaffirm Embraer’s commitment to the business aviation market, started when we launched the Legacy, setting new standards for cabin space and comfort, privacy, dispatch reliability and performance,” said Maurício Botelho, Embraer president and CEO. The smaller of Embraer's two new bizjets will be designed for a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.70 and a ceiling of FL410. Its big brother's MMO will be designed for Mach 0.78 and FL450. Both are expected to offer good short-field performance, according to the company. The Phenom 100 is expected to enter service in mid-2008 and will be priced at $2.75 million in 2005 dollars. The Phenom 300 is expected to enter service in mid-2009 and be priced at $6.65 million in 2005 dollars.

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.

Rockwell Upgrades, Certifies IFIS

Rockwell Collins this month announced several upgrades to its Integrated Flight Information System (IFIS) plus supplemental certifications for retrofitting the advanced avionics into new airframes. Additionally, the company announced that Cessna has selected its Pro Line 21 avionics suite for the new Encore+ aircraft, which is scheduled to begin deliveries in February 2007. The enhancements include XM WX Satellite Weather, a new "smart entry" capability allowing pilots to enter and access data faster, and more easily geo-referenced charts beyond the U.S, including Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The company says the new capabilities will further enhance situational awareness the system provides while reducing pilot workload. Meanwhile, Rockwell announced FAA approval for retrofits of its IFIS to Cessna Citation CJ1 and CJ2 aircraft plus the Hawker 800XP jets -- when integrated with the Pro Line 21 avionics system. “These enhancements demonstrate Rockwell Collins’ commitment to delivering situational awareness enhancements and more efficient flight operations by providing pilots with easier access to critical information,” said Denny Helgeson, vice president and general manager of Business and Regional Systems for Rockwell Collins. According to the company, the charting products now available to operators of retrofitted Pro Line 21-equipped aircraft are enhanced through proprietary graphics and color pallets designed to improve readability, especially at night. The new Encore+ flight deck will feature an integrated Pro Line 21 avionics system including three 8x10-inch LCD displays, the FMS-3000 flight management system, a fail-passive autopilot, Pro Line 21 Communication, Navigation and Surveillance (CNS) suite, solid-state weather radar, and the IFIS.


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Bombardier Launches Learjet 60 XR

Bombardier Aerospace this month announced its latest evolution of the venerable Learjet platform: the Learjet 60 XR. The newest Lear will be certified to FL510 and feature a high-speed cruise of 0.81 Mach, while pilots will fly behind a Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite including four 8x10-inch LCD panels. Behind the cockpit, a newly designed stand-up cabin will provide space for up to nine passengers and redesigned seats that improve legroom. The cabin will also include a larger galley and vanity cabinet, plus next-generation entertainment capability, light-emitting diode lighting technology, a reclaimed window in the aft lavatory and new modular floor plan. "With the introduction of the Learjet 60 XR aircraft, customers now have the best of both worlds - advanced avionics and ultramodern cabin features coupled with superior reliability and proven performance," stated Pierre Beaudoin, president and Chief Operating Officer, Bombardier Aerospace. Flight-testing is scheduled to begin by the first quarter of 2006. FAA certification is expected in the first quarter of 2007, with the first example to enter service soon thereafter. The price of a typically equipped Learjet 60 XR is set at $12.9 million.

Blackhawk Wants To Upgrade Your Baby King Air

Beech's smallest twin turboprop, the King Air 90, has always suffered somewhat for its reputation as, well, Beech's smallest twin turboprop. Basically an overpowered, more-reliable version of the classic cabin-class piston twin, the King Air 90 is neither faster nor larger than the company's other offerings yet it remains popular as an entry-level rung on the turbine ladder. Relatively stable and comfortable, the only thing it really needs is more speed. Enter Blackhawk Modifications, a Waco, Texas-based firm that has focused on supplemental type certificates (STCs) to upgrade the older '90's Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A engines with more powerful versions. Blackhawk also upgrades Cessna's Model 425 Conquest I with larger engines. According to the company, Blackhawk's King Air XP modification is a "simple, bolt-on" replacement of the airplane's existing powerplants with factory-new -135A engines, flat-rated to 550 shp for takeoff. No airframe modification is necessary except for older airframes with smaller exhaust stacks, according to the company, but the modified aircraft can cruise at up to 280 KTAS and maintain takeoff power to approximately FL180. Single-engine climb rate and service ceiling are also improved, as might be expected.

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Kollsman Advances Cockpit-Mounted Synthetic Vision

Avionics manufacturer Kollsman announced that its new Vision-Based Cockpit (VBC) -- one of the industry's latest synthetic vision systems -- recently made its first flight aboard a company test aircraft. Flight tests are being conducted to validate the system's compatibility with multiple avionics products and evaluate its operational use. The Kollsman VBC system is a modularized collection of various components, including GAViS, an externally mounted camera; ESViS, a head-down display, providing the pilot with a wide field of view of synthetic terrain and obstacles; and the m-ViS HUD, used to display imagery and flight guidance symbology and greatly reduce the size and weight of current HUD technology. The company's All Weather Window EFVS component, mounted in the nose of the aircraft, is designed to improve night and low-visibility instrument approach operations in accordance with FAR 91.175. Bob Di Meo, Kollsman’s program director and chief pilot, noted, “The Kollsman Vision-Based Cockpit provides the pilot with a new level of intuitive and increased situation awareness ... the guess work and worry are in the past.” Since it is modular, Kollsman says the VBC system "is structured to provide flexibility and allow the customer to select the configuration of technologies that best satisfies their value and operational goals, while improving safety at each step." Kollsman's EFVS was the first synthetic vision system certified by the FAA in 2001 and now has over 200 copies in operational service worldwide. At least one system has passed 5000 hours of flying time. Total orders for Kollsman’s EFVS have now exceeded 700 systems.

Sandel Offers New Four-Inch Displays

Sandel Avionics, which made a big splash several years ago with an all-electronic horizontal situation indicator (EHSI) in a three-inch form factor and recently followed it up with a similarly sized stand-alone TAWS instrument, has introduced two new four-inch cockpit display units designed to offer turbine aircraft operators with an upgrade path away from their electromechanical units. Sandel's new products -- the SN4500 EHSI and SA4500 electronic attitude director indicator (EADI) -- build on the basic backlit technology pioneered by the company's original SN3308 EHSI and offer moving-map functionality. Both the SN4500 and SA4500 offer 360-degree readability and are based on the same four-inch product platform. "These advanced displays for turbine aircraft are a natural extension of our philosophy that the latest technology should be made available to all classes and types of aircraft, to make flying safer and more enjoyable for everybody," said Gerry Block, Sandel's president. Among the SN4500's features are a wide range of interfaces to existing navigation and safety sensors, including weather radar and traffic data. The SA4500 allows either single- or split-cue options.

Watch Your Inbox...

...the next issue of AVweb's BizAVflash will be e-mailed to you on Dec. 7. See you then...

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Business AVflash is a twice-monthly summary of the latest business aviation
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Have a comment or question? Send it to mailto:newsteam@avweb.com.

Today's issue written by Joseph E. (Jeb) Burnside:
AVweb's editorial team: http://avweb.com/contact/authors.html.

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