AVwebBiz Complete Issue: Volume 5, Number 11

March 28, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Embraer Delivers 100th Legacy, Plans Two New Bizjets

In a ceremony last week at its headquarters in São José dos Campos, Brazil, Embraer celebrated delivering its 100th Legacy 600 business jet since the type first went into service in 2002. The centennial Legacy 600 was presented to ABS Jets, a charter operator and aircraft management firm based in Prague, Czech Republic, and joins two other Legacys already delivered to the operator. “We are especially proud to receive this aircraft,” said Marian Jancarik, managing director of ABS Jets. “This is further proof of our confidence in a great product, two of which are already in operation with ABS Jets. The Legacy is the ideal tool for operations in Europe. Out of our Prague base, we can serve all European countries, without exception, and can even fly nonstop to most of the countries in the Middle East." While the delivery and ceremony marked a significant milestone for Embraer’s first business jet program, initially launched at the Farnborough Air Show in 2000, the airframer also reportedly is planning an additional two new aircraft to its fleet, to join the under-development Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 light jets. Those reports place the two new, as-yet-unnamed jets in a weight category between the Phenom 300 and the Legacy 600. In Embraer's fleet, only the Lineage 1000, based on the E-190 regional airliner, is larger.

“We see the delivery of the 100th Legacy as a confirmation of the remarkable acceptance that the jet has enjoyed, building a 13.6% market share in just five years,” said Luís Carlos Affonso, Embraer executive vice-president, Executive Jets. “This achievement is a testament to Embraer’s commitment to customers by delivering outstanding aircraft with ample space and premium comfort for a unique travel experience.” Now that the 100th Legacy 600 has been delivered, Embraer says it intends to continue increasing production rates, with delivery forecasts for 2007 and 2008 ranging from 25-30. Meanwhile, the planned two additional mid-market jets have yet to be green-lighted by Embraer's board of directors. If the company does decide to give the program for two new 8- to 11-passenger jets the go-ahead, it's likely an announcement would be made at this fall's National Business Aviation Association annual meeting and convention, to be held in Atlanta, Ga., Sept. 25-27.

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Eclipse 500 Upgrades On Track

A letter to customers and investors sent on Monday by Eclipse Aviation President and CEO Vern Raburn says that the Eclipse 500 performance modification certification program has moved into the final stage and is "on schedule" for completion by mid-April. "In addition, the Avio NG development program is making great progress and moving toward the scheduled completion this summer," he adds. Raburn also addresses the very light jet's weight since Avio NG is marginally heavier than the original system, and the performance improvements have added some bulk as well. "While these enhancements have increased weight in the aircraft … full fuel payload and useful load, remain unchanged," he says. Besides the product improvements, "we have made significant progress on weight reductions throughout the aircraft. From the moment we received our Provisional Type Certification at AirVenture last summer, we have had a corporate commitment to constantly improve the Eclipse 500, and one significant area of improvement has been weight reduction."

The weights for the final Eclipse 500 configuration with the complete performance modifications (extended tiptanks and drag-reduction mods) and Avio NG are as follows: max ramp, 5,950 pounds (a 79-pound increase); max takeoff, 5,995 pounds (up 75 pounds); basic empty, 3,629 pounds (a 79-pound increase); max fuel, 1,686 pounds (no change); zero fuel, 4,992 pounds (up 116 pounds); full-fuel payload, 714 pounds (no change); and useful load, 2,400 pounds (no change). Raburn emphasizes "that these weight increases will not affect operations … the performance improvements have actually resulted in improvements in virtually all areas of performance, not just in the area of speed and range." The letter does not address which serial number will be the first final-configuration Eclipse 500 to come off the production line, but it does commit to retrofitting airplanes delivered before the switchover.

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It's Official: Raytheon Aircraft Is Now Hawker Beechcraft

The Raytheon Company said Monday it has completed the sale of its wholly owned subsidiary Raytheon Aircraft Company (RAC) to Hawker Beechcraft Inc., a new company formed by GS Capital Partners, an affiliate of Goldman Sachs, and Onex Partners. First announced on Dec. 21, 2006, the long-rumored sale of Raytheon's civilian aircraft manufacturing business was worth approximately $3.3 billion in cash. The transaction includes Raytheon Aircraft facilities and other assets in Wichita and Salina, Kan.; Little Rock, Ark;, and Dallas, Texas. Also included is the Raytheon Flight Services FBO chain, with facilities in the U.S., the U.K. and Mexico. The transaction does not include Raytheon's ownership in Flight Options LLC or in Raytheon Airline Aviation Services LLC.

"Completing the sale of Raytheon Aircraft Company gives us further opportunity to invest in and grow our government and defense business and to deliver value to our shareholders," said William H. Swanson, Raytheon's chairman and CEO. GS Capital Partners is the private equity arm of Goldman Sachs. It has invested over $17 billion in the 20 years from 1986 to 2006. “We continue to believe strongly in the growth prospects for the business aviation sector, fuelled by new demand globally and supported by a robust market in North America,” Nigel Wright, an Onex managing director, said Monday. “The company’s brands are acknowledged leaders in the sector and its management team, led by CEO Jim Schuster, has the skills, experience and vision to enhance and grow the business and create substantial additional value.”

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Honda Names Three New HondaJet Suppliers

Honda Aircraft Company earlier this month announced entering into agreements with three North American companies to supply major components for its developing HondaJet. Garmin International will supply what Honda called a "state-of-the-art avionics system specifically tailored" to the new light bizjet; GKN, of Tallassee, Ala., will manufacture the fuselage sub-assembly; and Delta, British Columbia-based Avcorp will manufacture a wing structural component. Earlier this year, the company announced its world headquarters and a new manufacturing facility would be developed at Greensboro, N.C.'s Triad Piedmont International Airport. That construction is underway, according to Honda, and will eventually employ more than 300 on reaching full production. The manufacturing facility will perform final assembly of all structural components and parts, aircraft system assembly and installation, interior completion and exterior painting. Honda says its calendar will see the first deliveries to customers in 2010.

"We are pleased to be entering into a collaboration with some of North America's top aviation industry suppliers, as we continue to focus on developing an innovative aircraft of the absolute highest quality for our customers," said Michimasa Fukino, president and CEO of Honda Aircraft Company Inc. "The sourcing of these key components from suppliers in the U.S. and Canada is consistent with Honda's philosophy of producing products close to the customer." Honda says it has more than 100 orders for the $3.65 million jet and that its Greensboro production facility will become its 17th major manufacturing plant in North America, including two currently under construction in Indiana and Ontario, Canada. The HondaJet is expected to cruise at 420 KTAS and seat eight.

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Rolls-Royce, Embraer Celebrate 2,000th AE3007 Engine

Rolls-Royce and Embraer last week celebrated delivery of the 2,000th AE3007 engine during another ceremony at the airframer's headquarters in Brazil. At the ceremony, Rolls-Royce Chief Executive Sir John Rose presented Embraer President and CEO Mauricio Botelho with a customized gift in recognition of his company's AE3007 powering Embraer's ERJ family of regional jets and Legacy Business Jet for a decade. The AE3007A engine powers 20 variants of the Embraer ERJ 145, ERJ 140 and ERJ 135 regional jets, the Embraer Legacy 600 corporate aircraft and ERJ-145 military variants. Certificated in 1996, the AE3007 engine's nine different models, with thrust ranging from 7,000 pounds to 9,000 pounds, powers nearly 1,000 Embraer aircraft worldwide.

Sir John Rose said, "Rolls-Royce is proud to have been an integral part of Embraer's impressive development, growth and success over the past decade. We believe that our expertise and worldwide support network has made a significant contribution towards the success of Embraer, which has become a very significant and important customer for Rolls-Royce. We look forward to building on our relationship with new aircraft, new engines and new opportunities." Artur Coutinho, Embraer executive vice president for Industrial Operations, said, "Rolls-Royce willingness to invest and to make the AE3007 the most reliable engine in operation in the 50-seat market showed to be a relevant element in our ERJ family success."

Columbia Introduces 2007 Models
The 2007 Columbias have arrived. Fresh for this year are new, dynamic paint schemes for both the Columbia 350 and 400, as well as a host of thoughtful and unique features for the discerning aircraft owner. See how your new Columbia will look with the interactive online Paint Selector. Just go online and click on the "Paint Your Passion" icon.

The Rise Of Rizon Jet

A Bahrain-based company, Rizon Jet, this week announced its entry as a charter airline catering to the VIP-bizjet set within the Middle East, with a particular focus on the Gulf. For now, the operation is flying a single six-seat Beechcraft Premier 1A bizjet, with revenue operations expected to begin in April. Down the road, the company says it has the added goal of partnering with Hawker Raytheon Aircraft Company to set up a business jet maintenance center in the region. Serving the Gulf, Middle East and subcontinent, the company hopes to introduce a second light jet by May and expand to four aircraft by next year.

"The market is growing rapidly, and according to available statistics the number of business jets now operating in the region stands at 18 percent of all operated aircraft and it is a figure that is the highest in Asia," said Ibrahim Al Hamer, chairman of the company. Business jet growth in Asia stands at 15-20 percent locally, according to the Bahrain Tribune. Rizon plans to offer, along with flight services, personnel that would provide "highly competent secretarial services" and even "accompany our customer to attend business meetings, if required." All the services provided by Rizon are to be performed with the utmost professionalism and confidentiality.

Pratt & Whitney Upgrades Bellemare

Pratt & Whitney last week announced it is promoting Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) President Alain M. Bellemare to take on additional responsibility as executive vice president, Pratt & Whitney Strategy and Development, effective April 1. Bellemare will retain his current role at the Canada-based company while John Saabas, 47, executive vice president, Pratt & Whitney Canada, will assume increased responsibility to lead the company's day-to-day operations. In his expanded new role, Bellemare will lead the strategic planning and business development initiatives supporting Pratt and Whitney's short- and long-term business objectives. Bellemare, 45, will continue to report directly to Pratt & Whitney President Steve Finger. "I am very excited about this new challenge and look forward to taking a larger role in achieving Pratt & Whitney's growth objectives," said Bellemare.

"Throughout his career at P&WC, Alain has distinguished himself as a strong leader who delivers exceptional results," said Finger. "His broad knowledge and understanding of the aerospace industries and global business provide the necessary skills and experience to position Pratt & Whitney for the future." Bellemare joined Pratt & Whitney Canada as vice president, manufacturing in October 1996, was named executive vice president in June 2001, and was appointed president in June 2002. Prior to joining Pratt & Whitney Canada, Bellemare spent more than 12 years in a variety of engineering and manufacturing positions with Kraft Canada and Crown Cork & Seal Canada. Bellemare holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Sherbrooke and an MBA from McGill University in Montreal.

Avidyne TAS600 — Because Two Antennas Are Better than One!
Whether you're flying in a busy terminal area, navigating a long cross-country, or hovering over a city, seeing and avoiding traffic requires having the right information in real time. Avidyne's TAS600 Traffic Advisory Systems, with dual-antenna technology, provide significantly improved signal coverage and target tracking, enabling faster updates and enhanced performance over single-antenna systems, for maximum safety. Avidyne's TAS600 Series makes active-surveillance traffic alerting affordable. Visit Avidyne online.

Bombardier Takes "War On Error" On The Road

A few months ago, we told you about Bombardier's 2006 edition of its wildly popular "Safety Standdown," a four-day seminar focusing on safe business aircraft operation open to operators of all aircraft, not just Bombardier's. Now comes word the company will export a downsized version of the event to Europe, to be held May 24 and 25, in Geneva, Switzerland. [More] Instead of the four-day event, the 2007 European edition of the Standdown will run only one day, with a welcome reception for attendees held the night before. As with the U.S. version of this event, demand likely will be high; registration is free -- compliments of Bombardier, NBAA and EBAA -- but on a first-come, first-served basis, so prospective attendees should register early. Registration will close on April 30. For more details, visit Bombardier's Web site at the link above.

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Jepp Marks 30 Years Of Trip Planning

Has it been 30 years already? So it has, according to Jeppesen, since its International Trip Planning Services began operations as part of Lockheed DataPlan. Jeppesen acquired the business in 1989 and expanded it to its current full-service operation, covering the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and India. In addition the company says it has on-site trip planning operations housed at NetJets, Bombardier FlexJet and at Club 328. Jeppesen says its soon-to-be-middle-aged business provides a wide array of services for business aviation, including itinerary planning, flight planning, obtaining any required permits, a handler network ensuring quality ground services, the Jeppesen World Fuel Services program, on-site meteorologists, and more.

"The International Trip Planning Services business has matured and grown a great deal since it was founded 30 years ago," said Kevin Collins, executive vice president, Business and General Aviation. "Even with all the changes and technological advances, one thing remains as our unrelenting focus for this business -- getting close to our trip planning customers and delivering time after time to their very high standards." 2007 also marks the 100th anniversary of founder Captain Elrey B. Jeppesen's birth. The company has been doing business for more than 70 years and presently is a subsidiary of Boeing Commercial Aviation Services, a unit of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

DA40 Diamond Star a Fleet Favorite
Airline Transport Professionals, Beijing PanAm, Empire Aviation, Middle Tennessee State University, Utah Valley State College, and Utah State University have all selected the G1000-equipped DA40 Diamond Star. For value, efficiency, and safety, the Diamond Aircraft DA40 is the fleet favorite. For more information, click here.

AC-U-KWIK Now Available On Mobile Devices

Penton Media this week said its AC-U-KWIK pre-flight airport and FBO guide information is now available on mobile communications devices with Web access, including PDAs and cell phones. Available information includes airport listings, fixed base operator (FBO) information, airport phone numbers, fuel prices and Web sites, weather information and a distance calculator. One-touch dialing and Web access is available on some devices. The AC-U-KWIK Mobile Application is available for either North America or global data. More information on data and pricing is available at the company's Web site.

“We’re pleased to be able to bring our technology and information into the hands of aviation professionals,” said Frank Craven, publisher of AC-U-KWIK. “This is something that our customers clearly wanted and they now have access to our wide-ranging flight planning data through an application that has been optimized for these handheld platforms.” Penton Media aviation-related products include The Aircraft Bluebook®, Aircraft Insider and The Air Charter Guide™, among others.

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