January 18

Embraer Executive Jets reports mixed fortunes for 2016

Embraer saw business jet deliveries fall slightly in 2016, to 117 aircraft from 120 the previous year, as a result of prolonged and persistent weakness across the sector.

The Brazilian airframer had shipped 74 executive aircraft – 48 light jets and 26 large jets – during the first three quarters of the year, but a backloaded delivery profile saw a further 43 units (25 light and 18 large) handed over in the final three months of 2016.

Analysis of the manufacturer’s quarterly delivery figures shows that its outstanding performer last year was the Phenom 300, with a total of 63 shipments, followed by the Legacy 500 (21) and Legacy 450 (12), the latter including the first units built at Embraer’s US facility in Melbourne, Florida.

More worrying, however, were the figures for the Phenom 100E – the lightest business jet in the portfolio: just 10 examples were shipped over course of the year, with none delivered in the final three months.

That marks the first quarter in the programme’s 12-year history in which Embraer has failed to deliver a single aircraft. This is largely due to the sickly owner-flyer market, which makes up a large share of the entry-level type’s customer base.

Embraer hopes that it can rekindle the jet’s appeal with a further update, called the Phenom 100EV, which features a Garmin G3000 touch-screen flightdeck and higher-thrust Pratt Whitney Canada PW617F1-E turbofans.

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While the delivery total for 2016 lags the previous year’s figure by three units, Embraer stresses that the total is in line with its annual forecast of “70 to 80 light and 35 to 45 large executive jets”.

It calls 2016 “a year of major challenges in the aviation industry”, citing global economic and political uncertainties as the major obstacles to growth.

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“In response to this scenario,” Embraer chief executive Paulo Cesar de Souza e Silva says, the company “is implementing important actions and making adjustments to be well positioned in all business segments it operates.”

He cites as an example its “stronger presence” in the midsize and large-cabin business jet sectors with the Legacy 450, 500 and 650, “which indicates a more balanced [product line] mix”.

The second-generation Legacy 650 is scheduled for delivery this year. The $26 million twinjet, called the 650E, will feature a synthetic vision system and auto throttle as standard, a restyled, three-zone interior with full HD in-flight entertainment, and an “unprecedented” 10-year or 10,000-flight-hour warranty.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/embraer-executive-jets-reports-mixed-fortunes-for-20-433241/

Category: Uncategorized
January 18

Kaman inducts first K-Max into re-opened assembly plant

Kaman Aerospace announced on 17 January inducting the first airframe into a re-opened assembly line in Bloomfield, Connecticut, for the K-Max heavy-lift helicopter, ending a 14-year hiatus.

The first K-Max off the re-opened assembly line should be delivered to a customer in the second quarter, with “multiple deliveries” following in 2017, Kaman says.

“Producing the initial airframe is an important milestone for the programme,” says Drake Klotzman, general manager for Kaman’s Air Vehicles and MRO Division.

Kaman built 38 K-Max helicopters over a 10-year production run that began in 1994. Using an inter-meshing main rotor system, the aircraft found application mainly in the forestry sector, supporting loggers and firefighting agencies.

In the last decade, the US Marine Corps used an unmanned version of the K-Max helicopter to deliver supplies to remote operating bases in Afghanistan.

By 2015, Kaman had announced plans to restart commercial production of the manned version due to strong demand.

Kaman also is developing and testing new roles for unmanned K-Max helicopters, including firefighting and humanitarian applications, the company says.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/kaman-inducts-first-k-max-into-re-opened-assembly-pl-433263/

Category: Uncategorized
January 16

Canada’s AirSprint adds first Legacy 450s

Canadian fractional ownership company AirSprint took delivery in December of the country’s first Embraer Legacy 450 business jets. Two examples of the superlight type were handed over to the Calgary, Alberta-based operator from a July 2016 order for 12. Another aircraft is scheduled for delivery this month.

“We plan to have five Legacy 450s in the line-up by the end of year, with the remainder of the aircraft joining us over the next few years to meet expected demand,” says AirSprint president and chief operating officer James Elian.

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“The aircraft will replace our five Cessna Citation XLS as the top-end offering. This model simply doesn’t have the range to satisfy many of our customers’ mission requirements, particularly those who want to travel across the country from say Montreal to Vancouver.”

The XLS has a range of 2,100nm (3,890km) – 800nm less than the Legacy 450, which underwent a minor modification last year to boost its range by 325nm.

“The introduction of the Legacy 450 also allows us to expand our service offering to include Hawaii for the first time,” Elian says. The company completed its inaugural service to the archipelgago in December.

“AirSprint also operates eight CJ3+ and 2+ light business jets as its entry-level offering. We plan to expand these numbers too,” Elian says.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/canadas-airsprint-adds-first-legacy-450s-432977/

Category: Uncategorized
January 16

INTERVIEW: Capt Kate McWilliams, airline captain at 26 years old

Have you always been interested in aviation?

When I was very young I wanted to be a veterinarian but after having lots of pets I discovered I wasn’t very good at looking after them. I did always have an interest in flying though after going to air shows with my godparents and when I was 13 I joined the air cadets where I got my first experience of flying an aircraft for myself. My school encouraged university but I didn’t feel like it was the right option for me – I wanted to travel and see a bit of the world but at the same time make the first steps towards my dream career. So I applied to a flight training school called CTC Aviation which trains cadets to become commercial pilots. It is a UK-based company but the flying training takes place in either New Zealand or Arizona, USA. I spent a year with them flying in New Zealand, and when I wasn’t flying, I was sight-seeing. Some would say my experience sounds like a pretty great ‘gap year’.

Why did you decide to become an airline rather than a military aircraft pilot?

From my experiences of visiting RAF bases with the Air Cadets I originally considered nothing other than a military career. Whilst looking at all of the options for flying in the military I was lucky enough to gain some very valuable work experience with the Royal Navy too. However, when I finished school in 2008 I was advised by a military pilot to look into commercial aviation opportunities. He pointed me in the direction of CTC and after doing some research of my own, I never looked back.

You received a lot of publicity earlier this year when you became the youngest airline captain. How has this changed your life?

The last few months have been something of a whirlwind since my story hit the press. I’m really not used to being in the spotlight but the whole idea of the publicity was to encourage other young men and women to achieve their dreams. As a result, I have been invited to many schools and careers events to share my achievement in the hope of inspiring those youngsters to achieve their potential which is something I am very passionate about!

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Does being such a youthful airline captain have its downsides?

I’ve never experienced a passenger or a crew member who was nervous because of my age. I am relatively young to be an airline Captain, but age is just a number. It’s all about experience, I’ve been flying for over seven years now and have accumulated thousands of flying hours which brings with it experience. I have passed the same exams and courses as every other captain, I just happen to have achieved it at a slightly younger age.

What is the best part of your job?

The thing I love most about my job is the unknown that comes with every day. Each day I work with a new crew and fly to a different destination which brings with it varying challenges such as weather, different approach procedures or air traffic restrictions. No two days are ever the same which keeps the job really interesting.

What is your next career move?

I’ve only been a captain for six months so at the moment I am currently enjoying the challenges that every new commander faces as they settle in to the left hand seat. But I previously worked in risk management and I would really like to bring that together with flying and work in a flight safety role in the future.

Where do see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years’ time I’ll be 36 and I hope the future is still orange. I see many opportunities for a long career at EasyJet with the potential to branch into other departments such as the flight safety team to help maintain our industry-leading safety record.

What do you do in your spare time?

My friends who aren’t in the world of aviation would argue that I have a lot of spare time with the shift pattern that I work. I honestly don’t know how they cope with just a two-day weekend as I always get either three or four days off at a time. So I like to make the most of staff travel and travel as much as I can. I’ve just got back from a long weekend in Vienna which was fabulous! But when I’m at home I’m a keen cyclist and a regular Parkrunner.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/interview-capt-kate-mcwilliams-airline-captain-at-432338/

Category: Uncategorized
January 14

SyberJet readies SJ30i for third-quarter maiden flight

SyberJet Aircraft says engineering work on the new cockpit of its SJ30i business jet is “95% complete” and the revamped light twin should make its maiden sortie in the third quarter.

The main feature of the redesigned cockpit is the airframer’s bespoke SyberVision flightdeck. Based on Honeywell’s Primus Epic 2.0 system, it comprises four 30.5cm (12in) displays and a host of features including SmartView synthetic vision, a moving map display system, electronic charts, TCAS II, dual flight management systems, graphical flight planning and onboard weather radar.

SyberJet, headquartered in Cedar City, Utah, has also upgraded the layout of the cockpit to boost its functionality and ergonomics. The sidewalls and ledges have been redesigned to provide maximum room for the flightcrew, while the engine control panel has been repositioned to the overhead panel to maximise visibility.

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SyberJet Aircraft

“The engineering work on the cockpit is almost complete and we are now installing wire harnesses [for SyberVision] in the first test aircraft,” says SyberJet general manager and director of sales, Mark Fairchild.

“Functional testing will begin as soon as the installations are complete. We are aiming for engine power-on in May, with first flight in the summer timeframe.”

The $8.3 million, Williams International FJ44-2A-powered SJ30i is an upgraded version of the SJ30-2, which was certificated in 2005 by its former owner Emivest Aerospace.

The SJ30 programme was acquired in 2011 by SyberJet’s parent company MTI, whose subsidiary Metalcraft Technologies was the aft fuselage supplier for the programme. Four SJ30-2s are in service today including an example – serial number 010 owned by US actor and SJ30 brand ambassador Morgan Freeman.

The sale to MTI included five unsold and incomplete units, three of which will be assembled and sold as SJ30is, says Fairchild. “Serial numbers 009, 011 and 012 are in various stages of build, from about 50% to 80% [complete],” he says.

“Serial numbers 013 and 014 are between 15% to 20% complete,” Fairchild adds. They will become the first examples of SyberJet’s new baseline model – the SJ30x. This version was created, he says, as Williams has stopped producing the -2A variant of the engine.

The $8.8 million SJ30x is scheduled to enter service in 2019, featuring remodelled seating and more fuel-efficient, higher-thrust FJ44-3AP-25 turbofans.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/syberjet-readies-sj30i-for-third-quarter-maiden-flig-433069/

Category: Uncategorized
January 14

Piper M600 secures Canadian approval as Archer orders rack up

Piper Aircraft has secured Canadian type certification for its M600 single-engined turboprop, and is preparing to begin deliveries of the flagship aircraft to local customers in February.

While the US airframer is tight-lipped on the size of its Canadian M600 orderbook, it does reveal that it has “several aircraft scheduled for delivery to the country” in 2017. Piper expects additional sales to come from local operators of its M500 entry-level turboprop-single and the piston-engined M350 “stepping up” to the six-seat model.

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Piper Aircraft

“M600 validation in Canada is exciting news for Piper and our prospective customers in that region,” says chief executive Simon Caldecott. “We have seen quite a bit of interest from Canadian owner/operators given the expanded range, payload and speed that the M600 offers.”

PIper lists the maximum cruise speed as 274kt (510km/h) and range as 1,480nm (2,670km), allowing it to connect major Canadian and US city pairs such as Quebec City or Vancouver to Winnipeg and Toronto to Miami or Anchorage.

Piper says the $2.9 million M600 “successfully addresses a segment of the market currently unserved in general aviation and at a price point significantly below that of our competitors.” These include the $4.9 million Pilatus PC-12NG and the $4.1 million Daher TBM 930.

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Piper Aircraft

The Pratt Whitney Canada PT6A-42A-powered M600 entered service in June 2016 following a 15-month certification campaign; Flight Fleets Analyzer records 15 deliveries of the type to date.

Brazilian and European certifications are expected in the first and second quarters of 2017, respectively.

Meanwhile. Piper has received an order from its Chinese dealership for 50 Archer piston singles. Beijing-based China Air Shuttle says the four-seat aircraft will help to feed the country’s growing pilot training school market.

Deliveries are scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2017, with local training provider and Seminole piston-twin operator Ruixiang Flight Academy the launch customer.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/piper-m600-secures-canadian-approval-as-archer-order-433059/

Category: Uncategorized
January 12

328 Support collaborates with Duncan on Challenger 604 refurbishment

Germany’s 328 Support Services has teamed with US engineering and completions company Duncan Aviation to certificate and deliver a fully refurbished Bombardier Challenger 604 business jet.

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328 Support Services

The Finnish-registered aircraft was handed over to its private owner last month, and the partners are planning to collaborate on other projects in 2017. Oberpfaffenhofen-based 328, a subsidiary of US company Sierra Nevada, has worked with Duncan on 31 business aircraft refurbishment and engineering projects since 2014, ranging from a long-range Bombardier Global Express to a superlight Cessna Citation Excel.

On the recent Challenger 604 project, 328 says it “verified all the engineering data and certificated the modification with a new European Aviation Safety Agency Part 21 minor change approval”. Duncan handled all the production, installation and testing activity for the large-cabin jet at its Battle Creek, Michigan facility.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/328-support-collaborates-with-duncan-on-challenger-6-433079/

Category: Uncategorized
January 12

Germany to acquire used A321 for VIP missions

Germany has signed a deal with the special mission division of MRO provider Lufthansa Technik (LHT) for the acquisition and conversion of an Airbus A321 for its air force.

Berlin values the agreement, signed on 5 January, at €90 million ($96 million), which also includes spare parts and training.

Conversion work is due to take place at LHT’s Hamburg facility and will initially be performed to civilian certification standards. Subsequently it will seek military airworthiness approval for any further modifications, such as the addition of a defensive aids suite.

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The converted airliner is scheduled to enter service in 2018, says the defence ministry, and will be based alongside its other VIP aircraft at Cologne-Wahn air base.

Germany currently operates two ACJ319s, a pair of A340 widebodies, and four Bombardier Global 5000 business jets.

It has not detailed the layout for the conversion, but refers to the A321’s ability to “transport 70 passengers”.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/germany-to-acquire-used-a321-for-vip-missions-433125/

Category: Uncategorized
January 11

Gama Aviation secures special mission contracts, as revenues rise

UK business aviation services provider Gama Aviation has secured two long-term special-mission contracts, which it says will help to bolster revenues by more than £10 million ($12.2 million).

The awards come as the Farnborough-headquartered company has reported an increase in revenues of more than 10% for the 12 months ended December 2016.

Gama’s first new contract was awarded by the UK’s National Police Air Service for the provision of maintenance, continuing airworthiness support and spare parts for its four Vulcanair P68R piston twins. The deal is for an initial three-year term, with an option to extend by two more years. The company has also secured a contract from an existing, unnamed client to provide aerial survey missions for a five-year term.

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Gama Aviation

“We are delighted to be starting the year positively with these two important awards, representing over £10 million in revenues over the period of the contracts,” Gama founder and chief executive Marwan Khalek says. “Both were competitive, and winning them reflects our strong special-mission capability in the UK, both as a primary and secondary contractor.”

Khalek is referring to long-established contracts such as with Scotland’s healthcare supplier, for which Gama has been providing ambulance support with Beechcraft King Air twin-engined turboprops since 1993.

Gama saw its revenues climb by more than 10% in 2016, mainly as a result of a rise in its global managed aircraft fleet from 147 to 165 units and a robust performance from its US operation. The company expects the growth to continue throughout 2017 and beyond. Its optimism is sparked by the merger on 1 January of its US management and charter business with the Landmark Aviation arm of fellow UK business aviation services company BBA Aviation. The partnership, which is known as Gama Aviation Signature Aircraft Management, has a fleet of more than 200 aircraft.

“This has been a busy and productive year for Gama Aviation,” Khalek says of 2016. “We have targeted and delivered organic growth and operational efficiencies despite challenging markets in some regions,” he adds, referring to the European market, where its charter and management services business saw a 15% fall in revenues, attributed to soft market conditions.

“The recent combination of our US aircraft management business with BBA is a clear demonstration of our determination to build scale into our business in ways that add value to our shareholders,” Khalek notes.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/gama-aviation-secures-special-mission-contracts-as-432984/

Category: Uncategorized
January 11

Dassault Falcon shipments fall again in 2016

Dassault Falcon business jet deliveries continued to slide in 2016, showing another year-on-year fall as a result of prolonged weakness in the large-cabin business jet market.

According to preliminary figures released by the French airframer on 5 January, Dassault shipped a combined 49 Falcon 2000S/LXS, 900LX, 7X and 8X business jets for the year to 31 December 2016.

Although Dassault says this is in line with its forecast of 50 shipments for the year, it represents a second consecutive fall in annual deliveries, dropping from 55 Falcons handed over in 2015 and 67 in 2014.

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Amjet Executive

Highlights for 2016 included the first delivery of its flagship 8X in October to Greek operator Amjet Executive; a further two units were delivered before the end of the year, Flight Fleets Analyzer shows.

Dassault also recorded a 17% fall in net sales during 2016, to 21 aircraft, with its backlog showing similar levels of erosion, dropping to 63 Falcons by 31 December – 28 fewer than the previous year.

Cancellations in 2016 included 12 examples of its developmental 5X large-cabin, long-range jet. This was originally scheduled for certification in 2017, but problems with the its Snecma Silvercrest engines have pushed back service entry to 2020.

Dassault will release its full 2016 financial performance on 8 March.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/dassault-falcon-shipments-fall-again-in-2016-433005/

Category: Uncategorized