Kestrel Making Progress »

Kestrel Aircraft hopes to move into its government-spec factory before the end of the year to begin work on certifying the big turboprop single. Company spokesman Adrian Norris told AVweb in a podcast interview at the National Business Aviation Association convention the private-sector funding needed to begin creation of the production version of the aircraft is "falling into place" and will supplement the government incentives being provided by the State of Maine in exchange for job creation. The new factory will be in a state-of-the-art Navy maintenance facility at the decommissioned Brunswick Naval Air Station. Although the company has a proof of concept aircraft, it's safe to say the final article will be substantially different, although no decisions have been made about the final engine or avionics choices. More

PiperJet Now Bigger And Better-Looking »

Piper went back to the drawing board with its single-engine PiperJet and the result is the Altaire. The new aircraft differs substantially from the proof-of-concept PiperJet and includes a redesigned fuselage that is substantially larger than the stretched Meridian body that served the original. The tail-mounted engine stays but the longer nacelle and reworked tail give the aircraft a sleeker appearance. Company Executive Vice President Randy Groom said the new aircraft is aimed at both the business and owner-pilot market and suggested larger versions of the aircraft are possible in the future. He declined to say whether future designs will have more engines. More

Hawker Beechcraft Unveils Hawker 200 »

An updated version of the Beech Premier that Hawker Beechcraft says is "worthy of being called a Hawker" was one of several surprise small aircraft announcements at this year's National Business Aviation Association convention in Atlanta. The Hawker 200 will be a little faster, have a little more range and fly a little higher than its predecessor, Hawker Beechcraft VP of sales Shawn Vick told a Monday news conference. The aircraft will also have an updated interior. He said 95 percent of bizjet flights are shorter than 1,000 miles and carry three or fewer passengers and he said the 200 fits that niche while offering greater performance and comfort than competitors. The aircraft will sell for $7.55 million. Certification is scheduled for late 2012 and deliveries will start in 2013. Vick also announced a new short-field King Air model he said will open up 1,100 more airports to the venerable turboprop twin. More

Electric 172 May Fly Early Next Year »

An electric-powered Cessna 172 proof-of-concept aircraft will be ready to fly by April of next year, Bye Energy and Cessna said this week at NBAA's Annual Convention. The two companies are collaborating on the project, which was announced earlier this year at EAA AirVenture. George Bye, CEO of Bye Energy, said the project is making steady progress. "This is an ambitious effort, but we are continuing to uncover additional efficiencies with electric-powered flight," he said. "We are grateful to Cessna for its continued collaboration and support." Cessna CEO Jack Pelton said progress toward first flight of the electric 172 demonstrator is "encouraging news for the future of mainstream general aviation." More

HondaJet Updates Program At NBAA »

HondaJet has updated and finalized the production design for the cockpit and cabin of its light jet, the company said at NBAA's Annual Convention this week. The new design incorporates the results of Honda's human-factors engineering efforts and flight-test evaluations and reflects the quality of materials, colors and finishes that will be available in delivery aircraft, the company said. HondaJet now has two conforming aircraft in its flight-test program and has started to assemble a third at its facility in Greensboro, N.C. The first conforming aircraft has been used to ground-test electrical and hydraulic systems in preparation for its first flight. The second airplane will be used for static structural stress testing. More

Aerion Completes Supersonic Flight Test Series »

Aerion Corp. is continuing to work on the design of its supersonic business jet, the company said at NBAA's Annual Convention this week. A series of flight tests this summer using a NASA F-15B at speeds up to Mach 2.0 provided data that is now being incorporated into the design of a test article for the next flight series. "Future tests will evaluate supersonic boundary layer transition properties as they relate to manufacturing standards for surface quality and assembly tolerances," said Richard Tracy, the company's chief technology officer. "Both [are] crucial to future production of Aerion's supersonic business jet." Aerion worked with NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in July and August, completing five flights to collect data on static pressure for comparison with computer models. More

NetJets Buys Up To 125 Phenom 300s »

Any doubts that Embraer will be a major player in the business aircraft market likely evaporated Monday as NetJets announced it intends to buy 125 Phenom 300 light business jets from the Brazilian planemaker. The sale may also signal some welcome stirring in the market that will lead to the first steps to recovery of the bizjet market. NetJets placed a firm order for 50 Phenoms and optioned 75. "We expect to buy all the aircraft," NetJets CEO David Sokol told a jammed news conference at Monday's NBAA press day. Sokol said the choice of the Phenom 300 was based on input from customers and the features and performance they want. More

Honeywell Predicts Bizav Rebound In 2012 »

Business aviation should begin its next period of expansion in 2012, according to the 19th annual business aviation outlook issued by Honeywell Aerospace at NBAA's Annual Convention this week. About 11,000 new business jets, valued at over $225 billion, will be delivered from this year through 2020, according to the company's analysis. "Despite a torpid recovery, there have been relatively few program cancellations and delays," said Rob Wilson, president of business and general aviation for Honeywell. "The pipeline of new high-value models supporting long-term growth remains strong.  Our survey indicates that international demand will still remain significant and contribute to longer-term growth." But in the short term, 2011 will likely be no better than this year, with an estimated 675 to 700 new business jet deliveries, Honeywell said. More

ABACE Returns In 2012 »

The Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition will return in 2012 after a three-year hiatus forced by the economic downturn. At a news conference at the National Business Aviation Association convention in Atlanta on Monday, NBAA and the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) jointly announced the resurrection of the event. The first one was held in 2004 and the 2009 meeting was cancelled because of the economic turmoil that ensued in 2008. ABACE 2012 has been scheduled for Feb. 28 -- March 1 at the Shanghai Hawker Pacific Business Aviation Center at Hongqiao Airport. Although business aviation in general has suffered in the last couple of years, Asia has been one of the bright spots. More

Cessna Introduces Citation Ten »

In keeping with the large-cabin, high-speed theme of this year's National Business Aviation Association convention, Cessna's major announcement of the show is an extensive upgrade of its flagship bizjet. In fact, Cessna says the makeover of the Citation X is so complete that it considers the new model, called the Citation Ten, to be a new airplane. "The launch of the Citation Ten is an example of our commitment, repeated throughout the recent downturn, to new product development, and it's a signal that we intend to do what we need to do to maintain a general aviation industry leadership position," CEO Jack Pelton said. The Ten is about 15 inches longer than the existing model, has a new cockpit, cabin and engines and is projected to be about 19 knots faster than the X, which may allow Cessna to hang on to its claim to have the "fastest certified business jet" with a maximum cruise of just under .92 Mach. More