February 12

Cirrus begins deliveries of sixth-generation SR family

Cirrus Aircraft has begun deliveries of its sixth-generation SR piston-single family, which it describes as the “smartest, safest, most advanced models ever”.

Launched in January, the G6 version of the high-performance SR20, SR22 and SR22T features the new Perspective+ flightdeck, based on Garmin’s just-launched G1000 NXi platform.

The new suite offers 10 times faster processing speed than the earlier Perspective system, says Cirrus, along with animated datalink weather, SurfaceWatch safety protection, payload management, visual approach capabilities and wireless database uploads. Other features of the G6 include new Spectra LED wingtip lights, and “courtesy lights” installed underneath each wingtip, on each step, and in the baggage compartment.

The G6 SR20 also features Lycoming’s 250hp (186kW) IO-390 C3-B6 piston engine, which replaces the earlier models’ 200hp IO-360 powerplant.

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Cirrus Aircraft

Cirrus president for customer experience Todd Simmons says the G6 is “the result of the most innovative, capable and feature-rich set of upgrades we have ever applied to the entire SR product line”.

Cirrus launched the five-seat piston-single family in 1999 with the SR20. The all-composite type was the first certificated general aviation aircraft to be equipped with an emergency parachute – the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) – as standard. This feature is designed to lower the aircraft safely to the ground after a loss of control, structural failure or mid-air collision. Cirrus says CAPS has helped save the lives of nearly 150 people since its introduction.

The SR20 was joined in 2001 by its upgraded and more powerful stablemate, the SR22. The turbocharged SR22T completed the line-up nine years later. About 6,500 units have been delivered worldwide so far, with the SR22 accounting for the bulk of demand.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/cirrus-begins-deliveries-of-sixth-generation-sr-fami-433898/

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February 12

Luxaviation launches dedicated helicopter management and charter division

Luxaviation, the world’s second-largest business aircraft operator, has launched a dedicated VIP helicopter division, which it hopes will become the global name in high-end rotorcraft management and charter.

The company manages about 250 business aircraft and 20 helicopters across its network, which covers Africa, the Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean, Europe, the Americas and the Middle East. It also owns 24 fixed-base operations through its ExecuJet subsidiary.

Luxaviation Helicopters plans to expand the rotorcraft business organically, through joint ventures and by acquisitions. “It’s a logical extension of what we do,” says Charlotte Pedersen, chief executive of the newly formed company. “Our aim is to bring the luxury service standards of business aircraft into the helicopter world, and become the global brand for VIP helicopter charter and management.”

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Pedersen – who was formerly Luxaviation’s chief operating officer – stresses that the company is looking to work with local operators to develop the market together: “We want to work with established, well-respected local companies across the world who can support our customers,” she says. “This is a great opportunity for us to grow the business and to keep our clients within the Luxaviation network.”

The company is looking to manage helicopters from the mid-size category upwards, “but we will consider smaller models”, Pedersen says.

Luxembourg-headquartered Luxaviation began operations in 2009 with a single business jet. It started down the acquisition trail in 2011 with the purchase of German charter company FairJets. Since 2013, it has added five more companies to its portfolio through debt-funded acquisitions, including London Executive Aviation in the UK and Swiss business aviation services provider ExecuJet.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/luxaviation-launches-dedicated-helicopter-management-433948/

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February 11

AW609 prepares for icing trials as flight tests resume

Icing trials will soon begin on Leonardo helicopter division’s AW609 tiltrotor as the programme recovers from a nearly year-long flight test hiatus caused by a fatal crash of the second prototype in October 2015.

The third prototype aircraft will move soon from Philadelphia to Marquette in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to validate the AW609’s flight performance in known icing conditions, Leonardo says on 9 February.

The winter round of testing will keep the civil tiltrotor programme on track to receive airworthiness certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration in 2018.

The AW609 is the first fly-by-wire rotorcraft to apply for a commercial airworthiness certificate.

An interim investigation report released last June by Italy’s ANSV blamed the 2015 crash flawed control logic that reacted improperly to an unusual manoeuvre at the extreme limit of the AW609’s speed envelope.

The crash left Leonardo with the first prototype in Philadelphia and the third prototype in Italy. After flight testing resumed last year, the two aircraft traded places. The third prototype has since resumed flight trails to check out avionics and systems, performing basic hovering, hovering landing and maneouvres around Northeast Philadelphia Airport. The prototype will “shortly” perform short take-offs and climb up to 4,000ft, Leonardo says.

Leonardo also is working on the fourth AW609 prototype, which has been moved to the main production area in the Philadelphia factory to “ensure a smooth transition to the first production build aircraft” in 2018, the company adds.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/aw609-prepares-for-icing-trials-as-flight-tests-resu-434022/

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February 11

Airlander repaired and almost ready to fly again: HAV

The developer of the Airlander hybrid airship says it has repaired damage to its cockpit, sustained when it crashed on its second flight last August, and is looking to get the world’s largest flying structure airborne again in the next few weeks.

“Airlander is now structurally complete ahead of hangar exit and resuming the flight test programme. A rigorous testing and training programme has now commenced to prepare for Airlander taking to the skies again,” the Bedford-based company says.

It says flight deck instrument panels, the overhead console and associated wiring have been “reinstalled successfully”, adding that “power-on has been achieved and on-aircraft testing has begun”.

The accident took place on 24 August – seven days after the first flight – at the end of a roughly 100min sortie near HaV’s facility at Cardington, during which the pilots had taken the aircraft to 3,000ft and executed a series of turns at air speeds up to 35kt (65km/h). After a successful first landing, an “issue with the mooring mast” prompted the commander to take-off again and circle the airfield while the mast was being repaired, the company said at the time

During the second take-off, the 50m nose mooring line dropped free and trailed beneath the Airlander. The captain then decided to make a “higher-than-desired” approach to avoid the trailing line snagging on a fence or trees.

The high approach resulted in the aircraft hovering 120ft above the ground, something that was “outside the normal operating envelope”. Although the pilot retained control of the aircraft during the descent, HAV says, the “nose dropped, resulting in a low-speed impact” before the aircraft settled into a level condition on the ground. The crew shut down the engines and exited the aircraft, while the ground crew secured it to the mast. Neither pilot was hurt.

The flight test programme is likely to entail the completion of about six flights, or 20h, during the first phase, before a second, 80h phase sees the aircraft being taken to 10,000ft and flown at 65kt. A final phase of up to 200h will introduce night flights and flights outside visual flight rules, and of a distance of more than 75nm (140km) from Cardington.

The prototype Airlander 10 was originally built for a US military contract that was cancelled four years ago, with HAV buying back the rights to the design minus a series of US-designed avionics features covered by export restrictions. The company plans to construct a second example as the type-certificated aircraft.

Hybrid Air Vehicles’ chief executive, Stephen McGlennan, says: “We’re delighted to have made the progress we have in our repairs and look forward to restarting our test flight programme soon.”

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/airlander-repaired-and-almost-ready-to-fly-again-ha-434055/

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February 9

Stratos 714 personal jet set to appear at AirVenture and NBAA

US start-up Stratos Aircraft says it will debut its 714 very-light personal jet at two leading US business and general aviation trade shows this year, in an attempt to attract investment in the high-performance type.

“We are planning to display the proof-of-concept aircraft at the AirVenture show in Oshkosh in July and at the NBAA business aviation convention in October,” says chief technology officer Carsten Sundin. “This will maximise the aircraft’s exposure and help bring new partners to the table.”

The 714 made its first flight on 21 November 2016, after a five-year development effort. It has since chalked up a further five sorties, each lasting around 30min. “We would have flown more if the weather conditions were favourable,” Sundin says, in reference to sub-zero temperatures at the company’s Redmond, Oregon base. “We will step up flight testing when the weather improves, and will start to expand the flight envelope.”

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Stratos Aircraft

The aircraft has a projected top speed of Mach 0.7 with one engine and four passengers, with its 714 designation denoting these characteristics. The design goal also includes a range of 1,500nm (2,770km).

“There is nothing else like it on the market today,” Sundin says. The 714’s only competitor in the personal jet space is the in-production Cirrus SF50 Vision, which he says is about 100kt slower and has shorter range, at 1,200nm. “Our aircraft has the performance characteristics of a much larger business jet,” he says.

Privately owned Stratos hopes that November’s flight debut, coupled with the 714’s unique appeal, will attract additional investors and allow it to accelerate development.

Stratos will not open the order book for the model until it is able to commit to a certification date. “We don’t want to make promises we cannot keep,” Sundin says.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/stratos-714-personal-jet-set-to-appear-at-airventure-433960/

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February 9

Brazil opens WTO case against Bombardier financial aid

One day after Bombardier received a $282 million cash injection from the Canadian government, Brazilian trade officials, with the support of Embraer, formally requested consultations with their Canadian counterparts in the World Trade Organization over alleged subsidies supporting the CSeries aircraft programme.

The formal request for consultations comes nearly two months after Brazil announced it would challenge what it considers $4 billion in illegal subsidies provided by the Canadian government to Bombardier’s flagship CSeries airliner.

Sao Jose dos Campos-based Embraer competes in the same market segment as the CSeries aircraft family with E195 and next-generation E195-E2.

“The subsidies that the Canadian company has already obtained and continues receiving from the Canadian government have not only been fundamental in the development and survival of the CSeries program, but have also allowed Bombardier to offer its aircraft at artificially low prices,” says Paulo Cesar Silva, Embraer’s chief executive.

Bombardier launched the CSeries programme in 2005 with a commitment from the Canadian government to provide $350 million in repayable contributions.

The CSeries programme was supposed to enter service by the end of 2013, but Bombardier encountered technical setbacks in flight test that delayed the programme by 2.5 years. The company also suffered unexpected financial costs after the Learjet 85 business jet was cancelled, forcing Bombardier to write off more than $2.6 billion in development costs.

By the end of 2015, Bombardier faced what chief executive Alain Bellemare described as an existential crisis. That’s when the provincial government of Quebec shored up the company’s depleted balance sheet with $2.5 billion in cash injections, including $1.5 billion by a pension fund into the rail division and $1 billion into a new joint venture with Bombardier to manage the CSeries programme.

Bombardier sought an additional $1 billion investment in the CSeries joint venture from the federal government, but the Trudeau administration ultimately committed to a CAD$372.5 million ($282 million) pledge for repayable contributions, with most of that cash devoted to research and development costs for the Global 7000 business jet. The minority of Ottawa’s cash will be provided for the CSeries programme.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/brazil-opens-wto-case-against-bombardier-financial-a-433965/

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February 7

Diamond sells five DA40NGs to Ethiopian Airlines

Diamond Aircraft has sold five DA40NG piston-singles to Ethiopian Airlines, in support of the flag-carrier’s “Vision 2025” strategic plan to become the leading aviation group in Africa.

The four-seat aircraft bring Ethiopian’s fleet of DA-series models to 18 – made up of 16 DA40s and two twin-engined DA42s. The airline – headquartered in Addis Ababa – also owns a pair of Diamond aircraft simulators.

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Diamond Aircraft

Both models use the AE300 turbocharged jet-fuel powerplant manufactured by Diamond sister company Austro Engine, making them an ideal fit for the African airline training market, the Austrian airframer says.

“AvGas is hardly available in Africa,” the company notes, and where it can be found “it is often sold at multiple the price of jet fuel”.

Diamond says that of the 1,900 DA40s in service worldwide, 90% are used in a training role. About 60% of the 800-strong DA42 fleet is used for training.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/diamond-sells-five-da40ngs-to-ethiopian-airlines-433903/

Category: Uncategorized
February 7

Embraer Executive Jets makes Argentina debut

Two Phenom 100s have begun operations in Argentina, marking a debut for Embraer’s executive jet family in the Latin American country.

The Argentinian-registered, entry-level jets are being used for private and charter missions, says Embraer, which hopes their exposure will trigger more sales of the Phenom 100, and raise awareness of its seven-strong business jet family in the nation.

“This market is gaining momentum,” it says. “And we see more sales opportunities for pre-owned and new aircraft there.”

Embraer cites Argentina’s ageing aircraft fleet as a key reason for its optimism.“There are 170 business jets in Argentina, and 80% of this inventory is more than 10 years old,” it notes.

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Latin America is home to more than 100 Phenom 100s – from a global fleet of 340 – and the bulk of this inventory is based in Embraer’s beleaguered home market of Brazil.

“This is the region’s largest market, but the country’s political and economic situation is creating few [sales] prospects for us,” says the airframer, which is headquartered in São José dos Campos.

Meanwhile, Embraer’s service centre in Sorocaba, Brazil, has received approval fromArgentina’s civil aviation authority, ANAC,to perform maintenance on Argentinian-registered business aircraft.A similar approval for its Buenos Aires facility is imminent.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/embraer-executive-jets-makes-argentina-debut-433909/

Category: Uncategorized
February 4

Diamond’s piston-engined family gets flightdeck upgrade

Diamond Aircraft is replacing the Garmin G1000 integrated flightdeck in its piston-engined family with the next-generation G1000NXi.

Unveiled by Garmin in early January, the NXi features wireless cockpit connectivity, enhanced situational awareness, visual approaches and map overlay on the horizontal situation indicator.

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Diamond Aircraft

The first NXi-equipped DA62s, DA42s and DA40s are scheduled for delivery by the end of June, says Diamond, based in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. The company is also offering a retrofit programme for owners and operators of the 800-plus aircraft in service worldwide.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/diamonds-piston-engined-family-gets-flightdeck-upgr-433766/

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February 1

INTERVIEW: Sam Hill, CEO Quest Aircraft

What sparked your interest in aviation?

I grew up next to the airport in Greensboro, North Carolina and always enjoyed watching the aircraft land and take off at the airport. My neighbour owned a Stinson Voyager and would take the local kids up on the weekends. I got the love of flying from those experiences, however, it was a very rough flight between Greensboro and Washington DC that convinced me that this was what I wanted to do the rest of my life.

Tell us about your career to date

In 1966, I went to work as a Station Agent for Piedmont Airlines. From there, I went to the Aviation Academy of North Carolina, where I earned my commercial pilot, instrument pilot, multi-engine, flight and ground instructor ratings. I spent a year at Raleigh Durham Aviation as a charter pilot and flight instructor, before moving to Continental Grain Company where I spent 10 years as a corporate pilot. After that I spent five years with AVX Corporation in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina as director of flight operations before returning to North Carolina to take over as general manager of aircraft and flight services for Piedmont Aviation. I then spent several years managing various aviation projects as well as evaluating and developing strategies for aviation industry investments, including piloting the launch of Mil-Brooke Helicopters. In 1995, I joined the USA-based Embraer Aircraft Corporation and held several leadership positions. I was involved in starting Embraer’s corporate aircraft division and launching the Legacy 600, the company’s first executive jet. Following my time at Embraer, I spent time with a leading aviation consulting firm as the managing director of business development. I joined Honda Aircraft as senior vice-president of sales and marketing in 2008. I retired from Honda in early 2012. I was familiar with Quest and got to know the then-chairman of the board and acting chief executive, Dave Vander Griend, who had led the initial financing transaction for recapitalisation and new investment in Quest in 2011. I began doing some consulting work with Dave and Quest, and he asked me to take over as chief executive in November 2012.

What are the highlights?

Working with Mil Moscow Helicopter in Soviet Union/Russia to introduce them to how to do business in the West and to support Mil Helicopters in the field. (not that they took advantage of what we shared with them). Being part of the senior management team responsible for the successful privatisation and financial turnaround of Embraer and being part of the successful financial turnaround of Quest Aircraft.

The lowlights?

I have loved every chapter of my aviation career, however one of the biggest disappointments was not being able to deliver a HondaJet to the dealers who worked so hard to stay in the programme even though US Federal Aviation Administration certification was delayed beyond my tenure at Honda.

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Quest Aircraft

What does your current job entail?

As chief executive of Quest, I am responsible for all aspects of the business – manufacturing, sales, customer support, new business development, etc. However, our team is very capable and they handle all of the day-to-day details. I am very fortunate to work with such a capable senior management group.

Was it hard breaking into the single-engined turboprop market with so many long-established players?

Quest was started because there was a need for a modern turbine aircraft to replace the tired piston fleet used in Mission Aviation groups in remote areas of the world. The Kodiak was perfect for this purpose. Later this translated into a great niche aircraft for many purposes. Today, we have aircraft serving in almost all categories: special mission, personal use, government, commercial operations, and mission and humanitarian operations.

How is the sector faring today?

Competition is very strong, but we feel that the Kodiak 100 is proving that it competes very well in the market place.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

After 50 years in the industry, I still look forward to interacting with the people who love aviation as much as I do. We are very fortunate to be part of this relatively small group of special people.

You are set to retire in February. What are your plans?

I will be staying on as an advisor to Quest and also as a member of the board of directors. In addition, I will continue to be involved in other entities of Quest’s parent company, Setouchi Holdings. One of those is the recently launched SALT – an aircraft leasing and financing company, where I also serve as chief executive. I am also looking forward to less time traveling and more time at home.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/interview-sam-hill-ceo-quest-aircraft-432589/

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