Big Bizjet Market Booms »

Despite the general economic malaise, it's good to be Gulfstream these days. Speaking to reporters at the NBAA convention in Las Vegas on Sunday, the company's new President, Larry Flynn, said that the good times continue to roll in the big-cabin bizjet market and the future looks strong. "Businesses that were once regional are now global," Flynn said. "And their leaders need long-range transportation. They recognize Gulfstream as the leader in technology, performance and product support, and that has translated into strong sales." He said the order book is at $18 billion, including $400 million added in the second quarter of this year, and production backlog is in the "sweet spot" of 18-24 months for most models. The flagship G650 is nearing certification and will have a market niche virtually to itself for several years until Bombardier's new Global 7000 and 8000 models become available. Meanwhile, Honeywell has issued its 20th annual bizjet forecast and it's showing a little more optimism from its 2010 crystal-balling. More

Restructured Cessna Stays Course »

Cessna's new CEO is promising a "renewed focus on our propeller [aircraft] business" following a major restructuring of senior management. In his first public outing as CEO since taking over four months ago following the sudden retirement of Jack Pelton, Scott Ernest gave a generally upbeat overview of the company operations and future. In an exclusive podcast interview with AVweb , Ernest said the company will focus on its existing product line and gauge future investments according to customer demand and feedback. "We're going to continue to invest in our product," Ernest said. Among the targets for that investment could be alternative fuels aircraft in the piston line. More

Photos from NBAA 2010 »

Click for more photos It takes a lot of work to put together a show as large and well-organized as the National Business Aviation Association's annual convention and conference. This year, NBAA pulled it off without a hitch in Atlanta, Georgia and before we sign off and head home, here's a quick snapshot of the professionalism and effort that go into the static display area at the show (including shots of some of the show's most important airplanes). More

Sikorsky May Invest In Eclipse »

In perhaps the most surprising announcement of NBAA 2010, Sikorsky confirmed it intends to invest in Eclipse Aerospace, prompting speculation that the sometimes bizarre story of the original very light jet might have a happier than expected outcome. "This agreement in principle affords us an opportunity to invest in a great product and to further leverage our strong aftermarket and product support capabilities for fixed-wing application," Sikorsky VP Mark Cherry said in a statement. Sikorsky President Jeff Pino, incidentally, has an Eclipse and thinks highly of it . Eclipse owner Mason Holland is understandably thrilled about the recent events. More

Palmer Honored By NBAA »

A blue-chip lineup of aviation icons were on hand at the National Business Aviation Association's convention in Atlanta on Wednesday to be named Wright Brothers Master Pilots. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan, former Cessna CEO Russ Meyer, former airline pilot and aviation entrepreneur Clay Lacy and legendary golf pro and business aviation advocate Arnold Palmer received the honors from FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. Test pilot and airshow legend Bob Hoover was unable to attend. Palmer was also given NBAA's Meritorious Service to Aviation Award, the association's highest honor. Meanwhile, business aviation in general got a collective pat on the back for its huge contribution to the Haiti earthquake relief effort. More

Legacy 650 Certified In Brazil, Europe »

Embraer celebrated the European and Brazilian certification of its Legacy 650 business jet at the National Business Aviation Association convention in Atlanta on Wednesday and the company says the FAA nod is imminent. The company is showing a 13-seat version of the aircraft at Dekalb-Peachtree Airport and Luis Carlos Affonso, Embraer's Executive Vice President for business jets, told AVweb the certification came right on time. "We announced the Legacy 650 at last year's NBAA and we said that deliveries would begin in the second half of 2010," he noted. First deliveries will occur within weeks. More

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