Pratt & Whitney Canada Tests Phenom 300 Engine »

The Pratt & Whitney PW535E that will power Embraer's new Phenom 300 light jet was successfully test-run and achieved its full thrust at 3,360 lbs. at PWC's Longueil, Quebec facility, the company announced at NBAA this week. Company officials said the project is on time, and that will allow Embraer to maintain its development schedule on the Phenom. PWC predicts the engine will be certified by the end of the year. "The PW535E development program is progressing very well, as confirmed by this key milestone," said Dan Breitman, PWC's Vice President of Turbofan Development. The Canadian engine maker also inked a big deal with very light jet air taxi pioneer DayJet. More

NBAA 2007 Video Round-Up: Complete Video Reporting from the Atlanta Convention »

If there's one thing we cay with certainty about the 2007 NBAA Convention and Trade Show, it's this: Business aviation is healthy and keeping (very) busy. If you don't believe us, check out these three exclusive videos we put together while gathering news reports for AVweb at the show. More

NBAA, GAMA Rally Against User Fees »

NBAA President Ed Bolen and General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) President Pete Bunce told members and media representatives Tuesday that the fight is far from over to ensure that user fees are not part of the FAA reauthorization package currently before Congress. The House of Representatives have passed a bill that rejects user fees and the Senate Finance Committee recently followed suit but that bill is yet to go to the full Senate and there is plent of politicking that can throw the current trend off track. Bolen said those in aviation can't let up on the politicians now because the airlines are sure to keep up their lobbying effort. "We've all got to get involved," Bolen said. "We've all got to make our voices heard on Capitol Hill." More

L-3 SmartDeck Chosen for Cirrus Jet Prototype »

Cirrus Design has chosen L-3 Communications to provide the avionics for its prototype single engine jet. The announcement was made at the National Business Aviation Association's convention in Atlanta. L-3 calls the avionics package the SmartDeck and says it represents the "next generation" of flat panels. In addition to all the usual features found on the glass wizards, L-3 has included its Stormscope weather mapping feature, SkyWatch collision avoidance system and Landmark terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS). It says it tested the displays with pilots and human factors experts to try and make it as functional and intuitive as possible. Cirrus CEO Alan Klapmeier said the choice of L-3 for the first Cirrus jet does not mean that production models will necessarily have the gear. More

Epic, Kingfisher, Airbus Confirm -- And Confuse -- Strategic Partnership »

Wednesday morning in Atlanta at the 60th National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Annual Meeting and Convention, executives from Epic Aircraft, India-based Kingfisher Airlines and Airbus sat down to confirm rumors and reports of a new strategic partnership, releasing few details but giving rise to additional speculation. Rick Schrameck, Epic Aircraft’s president and CEO, Hitesh Patel, Kingfisher’s executive vice president and Arnaud Martin, vice president of the Airbus corporate and executive jet operation held a press conference in which they confirmed Kingfisher’s $200 million, 50/50 "strategic partnership" with Epic but left open the specific roles each other would play. Lurking in the background was Airbus, which presently has no formal agreement with Epic but has a longstanding manufacturer/customer relationship with Kingfisher, a large scheduled aircraft operation in headquartered in Mumbai, India. On its face, the new arrangement between manufacturer Epic and Kingfisher likely will prove a boon to both companies. But is there something else beneath the surface. Officials of all three companies delivered little more than a figurative shrug Wednesday morning. More

EADS Socata's TBM 850 Goes Garmin in a Bigger Way »

If your company already has what it claims as the world's fastest single-engine turboprop, what do you do to improve it and keep it competitive? New paint; new interior; drop the price? If you're EADS Socata, and the airplane is the faster-than-your-propeller-airplane TBM 850, the correct answer is "none of the above." Instead, you upgrade its avionics from a traditional Garmin 430/530 package and go full-boat with the Kansas manufacturer's G1000 integrated panel. "Two years ago, our customers asked us for more speed," said Jean-Michel Léonard, EADS Socata's CEO, referring to his company's decision to transform its successful TBM 700 into the 850. "We continue to listen to their needs, and as a result, we have taken the next step with the integrated cockpit panel -- which will ease pilot workload, save weight and reduce the cost of ownership. Playing with the TBM 850's known reliability was not an option, and we wanted a solid and fully integrated solution," Léonard added. More

Epic the Next Big Thing? »

Epic Aircraft has called an unscheduled news conference for Wednesday at the National Business Aviation Association convention in which it is expected to announce a major funding infusion from an Indian businessman -- but Airbus is also sharing the podium, and that might lend some credence to rumors that its parent company EADS was considering a shot at the very light jet market. (We heard the factory will be on the Isle of Wight, but we've also been told we're wrong.) Whatever is being announced on Wednesday, it's being described as a "strategic alliance" between Epic, India-based Kingfisher Airlines and Airbus. More

PiperJet Program One Year Old, to Use Garmin Avionics »

It was only a year ago, at NBAA 2006, that Piper announced its entrant into the personal jet market, a growth version of its venerable Malibu/Meridian platform powered by a single Williams FJ44-3AP turbofan. This year, Piper updated attendees on the PiperJet's certification flight testing program and -- to no one's great surprise -- announced it had selected Garmin as the new jet's avionics supplier. James K. Bass, Piper Aircraft president and CEO, told showgoers his company intends to fly the first PiperJet -- a proof-of-concept platform -- during the second quarter of calendar 2008, followed by three more airframes to play specific roles in a program leading to certification and delivery in 2010, per Piper's schedule. Of those three additional airframes, the first will be used for aerodynamics flight testing, the second for systems engineering tests and the third will be a conforming article expected to receive FAA certification. More

Embraer Eyes Expansion »

Brazilian airframer Embraer once again made the trek to NBAA from Sao Paulo this year, bringing with it updates on its forthcoming Phenom 100 and 300 bizjets at the low end along with plans to plug the gap between them and the company's top-of-the-line Lineage 1000 and Legacy 600. During a pre-show press conference Monday and an unveiling Tuesday at its booth on the convention floor, Embraer reminded attendees its Phenom 100 very light jet is already flying, having amassed 55 flight hours in 39 flights as of this week, all of which the company says are geared toward achieving certification and first deliveries by mid-2008. Eventually, the Phenom 100 flight-test effort will include four jets and about 1,800 flight hours. A second, fully instrumented Phenom 100 will soon join its older sibling "to confirm flight qualities, stall procedures, high-speed characteristics, and general performance," according to the company. Meanwhile, the Phenom 300's assembly process has begun at Embraer's plant at Botucatu, Brazil, where its rear fuselage is being built. But the company reserved most of its focus -- along with most of its booth space -- to present concepts of two possible future products: its MSJ, or mid-size jet, along with its MLJ, or "midlight" jet. More

New Cabin Systems from Rockwell Collins: Venue »

As business aircraft interiors grow ever more plush and connected -- broadband internet, telephone, fax and high-def video -- customers are demanding the same kind of operating ease they expect from home and office information systems. That's the driver behind Rockwell Collins' latest cabin information and entertainment product called Venue. The company's Airshow product, a first-gen system, is widely in use in hundreds of aircraft and Rockwell Collins' Tommy Dodson told journalists at NBAA in Atlanta this week that the company has made a major commitment to offer more sophisticated cabin systems. It also announced a range of software-based improvements for Airshow, including a new world clock feature, a detailed road atlas map for ground planning and a nifty flight instrument page reminiscent of Garmin's GPSmap 396/496, but based on the aircraft GPS and airdata system, not GPS alone. One upgrade includes a seat-side control panel with rocker switches, soft keys and a color GUI-based display for entertainment selection. More