April 28

Gulfstream selects GKN as wing skin supplier for new G500 and G600 business jets

Gulfstream has selected GKN Aerospace to supply the upper and lower wing skins for its new large-cabin, long-range business jet duo, the G500 and G600.

The award marks another major step in the UK-headquartered company’s strategy to increase its presence in the business jet market.

GKN already supplies skins for the G550’s wings, and says it aims to “foster and grow its relationship with Gulfstream for the long term”.

The G500 and G600 upper wing skins are constructed in a single piece, thus eliminating fasteners and joints and consequently lowering weight and reducing maintenance, says GKN. The lower wing skins are comprised of several panels and incorporate a number of complex design features, it adds.

All the skins will be manufactured at GKN Aerospace’s advanced machined structures facility in Wellington, Kansas.

The G500 and G600 were unveiled last October and are positioned at the top end of Gulfstream’s eight-strong product line, between theG450, G550 and ultra-long-range G650.

The 5,000nm (9,260km)-range G500 will be first to market, with certification and service entry planned for 2017 and 2018 respectively. Gulfstream says the first test aircraft, T1, “has completed ground vibration testing and structural mode interaction testing in preparation for its first flight this year”. The other G500 flight test aircraft, T2, T3 and T4, are in various stages of production, it adds.

The G600 flight test programme will commence 12-18 months after the G500, with entry-into-service for the 6,200nm-range aircraft scheduled for 2019.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/Gulfstream-selects-GKN-as-wing-skin-supplier-for-new-G500-and-G600-business-jets-411631/

April 26

Solar Impulse appeal is selfie-evident

Selfie sticks have been banned in many public spaces, but Solar Impulse pilot Bertrand Piccard clearly likes the idea – catching this snap of himself piloting the solar-only aircraft over 1,344km and 17hr 22min from Chongqing to Nanjing, the sixth leg of a 12-hop round-the-world adventure that began in Abu Dhabi on 9 March.

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Bertrand Piccard, en route to Nanjing

Bertrand Piccard/Solar Impulse

Piccard and the support team will now be recharging their batteries before setting off for Hawaii – a crossing that could take up to six days. Piccard and his partner in the venture, André Borschberg, are taking turns at the controls of the single seater, which has the wingspan of a 747 but the mass of a small car and needs only the power equivalent of a motor scooter to fly day and night, relying on exotic materials and super-efficient solar panels and electric motors. The trick is to set off with as much power in the batteries as possible, charging during the day and then gradually losing altitude at night before the charging cycle resumes with sunrise.

The Swiss duo have spent more than a decade on the Solar Impulse project. Both are accomplished aviators, but they stress that the project is not about aviation – it is about energy, specifically about showing people that the world’s formidable environmental challenges can be solved with technologies that are available today.

As such, they are spending their time on the ground between legs meeting with schools, governments and other agencies to discuss their experience. In the event, they had plenty of time on the ground in Chongqing, where a stay planned to be as short as three days ended up lasting 20, owing to unsuitable weather for the run to Nanjing.

The flight is also hugely demanding of the pilot’s fitness. Piccard, a medical doctor, has developed diet, exercise, self-hypnosis and micro-napping techniques to extend endurance. But ordinary medical issues can also interfere. Borschberg was to have flown the Chongqing-Nanjing leg, but had to defer to Piccard in order to return home to Switzerland for treatment of migraine symptoms and shingles. He is, however, expecting to make the Nanjing-Hawaii run, the date of which is yet to be determined.

From Hawaii, Solar Impulse will fly on to Phoenix, Arizona, then to a mid-US destination, New York, and Europe or Africa before a final jaunt back to Abu Dhabi. The long weather delay in Chongqing threw the schedule to the wind, so at this point it seems certain that the original earliest-possible arrival date back in Abu Dhabi – 16 May – is off the radar.

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Take off from Chongqing Jiangbei International airport

Solar Impulse

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/Solar-Impulse-appeal-is-selfie-evident-411540/

April 26

Cessna marks Caravan’s 30th anniversary with new standard interior

Cessna has upgraded the standard production interior of its Caravan single-engined turboprop to mark the 30thanniversary of the high-wing, multi-mission aircraft.

The revamped cabin will feature redesigned seats that are 5% lighter and more ergonomic than the previous installations. The interior will also include a durable lightweight headliner and a new lower sidewall. Fabric lower sidewalls, carpet flooring and headrests will also be offered as an option.

Cessna has supplied nearly 2,500 Caravans since the first model was delivered on 25 February 1985. The fleet has so far notched up 13 million flight hours with owners and operators in 100 countries, the US airframer says, and the company currently manufacturers four versions of the Pratt Whitney CanadaPT6A-powered aircraft.

Earlier this month EASA became the tenth authority to approve the 14-seat version of its Grand Caravan EX.

The high-density seating should help the manufacturer boost Caravan sales within the European passenger transportation market. Cessna and other manufacturers of single-turbine aircraft are eagerly awaiting EASA’s final rulemaking on the operation of commercial single-engined turbine aircraft in instrument meteorological conditions. The agency expects to publish its “final opinion” in the third quarter for rulemaking by the European Commission in 2016.

Meanwhile, Cessna’s Citation M2 twin-engined light business jet has entered commercial service in Europe for the first time, following delivery of the seven-seat aircraft to London Biggin Hill-based charter and management company Catreus. Cessna secured EASA validation for the M2 in June 2014, following US certification six months earlier.

More than 60 of the 1,580nm (2,930km)-range, Williams International FJ44-1AP-21-powered M2s are in service to date.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/Cessna-marks-Caravans-30th-anniversary-with-new-standard-interior-411441/

April 24

​Flightglobal reshapes Flight International leadership team

After an amazing 14 years leading Flight International, Murdo Morrison is moving to a new role within Flightglobal to fully exploit his skills and enormous market knowledge across the aerospace sector.

Morrison is promoted into the role of head of strategic content, where he will manage Flight Daily News along with our strategic content programme, specifically including management of the Flightglobal thought leadership initiative, which seeks to deliver enhanced analysis and content widely to the aerospace market.

Craig Hoyle moves up to become editor of Flight International, reflecting the strong leadership he has demonstrated in the managing editor role at the magazine over the last year. Hoyle, who has been with Flightglobal since 2003, will be supported in his new role by Dominic Perry, who is appointed Flight International deputy editor.

“I’m delighted to be announcing these changes. We have always had a highly capable team associated with the Flight International publication and to be able to further utilise this enormous talent to the benefit of our customers is fantastic,” says Max Kingsley-Jones, executive director content for Flightglobal.

Meanwhile, the global editorial team has been strengthened with the appointment of Beth Stevenson to the permanent role of aerospace and defence reporter, based in London, and James Drew, who joins Flightglobal’s US bureau in Washington DC as Americas aerospace reporter.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/Flightglobal-reshapes-Flight-International-leadership-team-411590/

April 24

Bombardier breaks ground on new Chinese bizjet MRO

Bombardier and the Tianjin Airport Economic Area have broken ground on a new joint venture business jet MRO facility at the airport.

The nearly 9,000m2 facility is set to open in 2017, and will operate along similar lines to Bombardier’s wholly-owned service centre network.

“China, and specifically Tianjin, is a strategic location for business aircraft,” says Michel Ouellette, vice-president, aircraft programmes and customer services at Bombardier Business Aircraft. “We look forward to collaborating with the leaders of Tianjin to provide our customers with access to a full range of OEM maintenance services at their doorstep.”

Bombardier also has authorised service faciltiies and regional support offices in Shanghai and Hong Kong, as well as a parts depot in Beijing to support its Chinese operators.

The manufacturer adds that there are over 120 of its business aircraft in operation in the greater China region.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/Bombardier-breaks-ground-on-new-Chinese-bizjet-MRO-411560/

April 23

​Japan Coast Guard orders Falcon 2000 MSA

Japan’s Coast Guard has selected the Dassault Falcon 2000 Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA) to fulfil a patrol requirement.

A statement from Dassault says that the type was selected following a competition, but does not state the number of aircraft involved.

Dassault’s partners in the deal include L-3 Platform Integration and Thales.

Flightglobal’s Ascend Fleets database shows the Japan Coast Guard as operating four business jets, all optimised for the maritime surveillance role. These comprise two Falcon 900s and two Gulfstream Vs.

The two Falcon 900s were originally ordered by electronics company Sony, and handed over to the Coast Guard in 1989. The two Gulfstream Vs were delivered in 2002, but only entered service in 2005 after undergoing conversion work.

Overall, the Japan Coast Guard operates 89 aircraft, mostly helicopters.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/Japan-Coast-Guard-orders-Falcon-2000-MSA-411469/

April 23

Dassault prepares Falcon 5X for 2 June roll-out

Dassault is preparing to roll-out its Falcon 5X business jet on 2 June at its Bordeaux-Merignac facility, and says the all-new large-cabin long-range business jet is on track for first flight in the second half of the year.

The French airframer launched the 5,200nm (9,630km)-range twinjet in October 2013. With a fuselage diameter of 2.7m (8.9ft) and a cabin height of 1.98m, the 5X is the largest aircraft in Dassault’s six-strong high-end business jet family, and boasts the widest cabin in its class.

The Mach 0.9 aircraft is powered by Snecma’s Silvercrest engine, marking the first time a Falcon has been launched with an all-new powerplant, or one produced by the French manufacturer. The $45 million fly-by-wire aircraft is projected to have a maximum speed of 370kt (685km/h) and a maximum take-off weight of 31,600kg (69,700lb).

The 5X – which also features a next-generation EASy cockpit and Elbit head-up display – is earmarked for certification and service entry in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

The 5X is being developed in parallel with the airframer’s flagship type, the ultra-long-range 8X. The second of three test aircraft recently entered flight testing, and Dassault says the 6,450nm-range trijet is on target for certification and service entry next year.

The 5X and 8X will be completed at Dassault’s Little Rock site in Arkansas, USA. This campus’ footprint is currently being expanded by 23,200m2 (250,000ft2) to accommodate the new arrivals. The $60 million project is slated for completion in early 2016.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/Dassault-prepares-Falcon-5X-for-2-June-roll-out-411458/

April 21

EBAA joins forces with CEPA to co-host annual Prague-based expo

The European Business Aviation Association has joined forces with fellow trade body Central European Private Aviation to organise and promote the annual CEPA Expo in Prague, the Czech Republic. The collaboration will help raise the international profile of the regional event, the first of which was held in 2010.

EBAA has had years of experience organising industry events, not least the European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition in Geneva. Now in its 15th year, this annual event, which EBAA co-hosts with the US National Business Aviation Association, has become the largest dedicated business aviation gathering in Europe.

“This co-operation agreement between CEPA and EBAA provides the basis for increasing recognition and advocacy of business aviation in central and eastern Europe,” says CEPA chairman Roger Whyte.

“The new name, CEPA EXPO and EBAA Regional Forum, emphasises the greater scope and enhanced content which is being planned. I could not be more excited about what this means for the future growth of our industry in the CEE.”

EBAA chief executive Fabio Gamba says the tie-up will help the association increase its visibility across the CEE region, which he says has proved more challenging to penetrate than other parts of Europe. “It is now time to roll up our sleeves and pull together our respective strengths to turn this highly successful event into a truly not-to-be-missed event for business aviation.”

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/EBAA-joins-forces-with-CEPA-to-co-host-annual-Prague-based-expo-411023/

April 21

Pilatus posts record profits

Pilatus Aircraft, the Swiss manufacturer of the PC family of business aircraft and military trainers, has posted its strongest-ever annual results.

The Stans-based airframer recorded revenues of Swfr 1.174 billion ($1.2 billion) between January and December 2014, 16% higher than in 2013 – its previous record year. Earnings climbed by 30% during the same period to over Swfr 200 million.

Pilatus built and delivered 127 aircraft last year – 15 more than in 2013 – with shipments evenly split between its civil and military customers.

Improving conditions in the business aviation market resulted in a small increase in deliveries of the PC-12NG, from 65 in 2013 to 66 last year. Most of the single-engined turboprops were destined for US customers.

“In the USA, the slight recovery in the economic situation impacted positively during the year under review, even if we are far from the ‘golden times’ of pre-2008,” says Pilatus.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/Pilatus-posts-record-profits-411029/

April 19

ABACE: Textron announces raft of China transactions

Textron Aviation has announced orders for over a dozen aircraft in China and a new support offering for Chinese operators of the Cessna Caravan 208.

Textron’s key order order is for a Citation XLS+ business jet from FT Business Jets. Shanghai-based FT Business Jets plans to offer charter services, and the aircraft will be delivered later this year by Cessna-AVIC Aircraft (Zhuhai), the American company’s joint venture with China Aviation Industry General Aviation (CAIGA).

The company also announced orders for 13 Skyhawk 172 piston aircraft to four separate flying schools and general aviation operators.

Cessna also said that its joint venture operation in Shijiazhuang has received Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) approval to maintain the Caravan 208.

Initial CAAC Part 145 maintenance approval allows the joint venture to perform maintenance procedures required by the manufacturer up to 100 flight hours.

“Providing company-direct maintenance is an important step for our joint venture to eventually provide complete life-cycle support for the growing fleet of Cessna Caravan aircraft in China,” says Jackie Chen, general manager, Cessna-AVIC (Shijiazhuang) Co. Ltd.

“Having the maintenance facility located with our Grand Caravan EX production facility provides the most efficient setup for customers in the region.”

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/ABACE-Textron-announces-raft-of-China-transactions-411119/