January 1

Lilium Jet plans flight tests for electric VTOL prototype

German start-up Lilium Jet will begin flight testing in early 2017 of a prototype for an electric-powered two-seat aircraft with vertical take-off and landing capability, the company announces on 5 December.

The launch of flight test comes after Lilium Jet closed a $10.8 million round of Series A financing by venture capital firm Atomico, which was founded by Skype creator Niklas Zennström.

The flight tests of a recently completed prototype moves the Lilium Jet “towards commercial production”, the company says.

Conceived by four engineers and designers at the Technical University of Munich, the Lilium Jet proposes to meet a series of ambitious performance targets, including vertically lifting a 600kg vehicle with a 200kg payload like a helicopter, then moving forward at speeds up to 135-162kt with a 165nm range.

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Photo courtesy of Lilium Jet

The designers selected a configuration that appears similar to the Aurora Flight Sciences Lightning Strike, another VTOL, electric-powered X-plane in development for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Except for the addition of a two-seat cabin, the Lilium Jet uses a bank of electric-powered fans arrayed across an aft-mounted, tilting wing, assisted by canard surfaces embedded with fans that rotate from vertical to horizontal flight modes.

The Lilium Jet prototype was developed following a series of flight tests using scaled models, including the 1:5 scale Hexa and Dragon and the 1:2 scale Falcon, according to the company’s web site.

Flight control is managed using by computers managing flaps and thrust.

“As a pilot you won’t have to worry about controlling the flaps. You simply push the throttle stick forward and the on-board computer controls all engines and flaps,” the company’s web site explains.

A software-based flight envelope protection system is added to reject unsafe pilot commands. If recovery is not an option, the Lilium Jet will be equipped with a whole aircraft parachute.

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/lilium-jet-plans-flight-tests-for-electric-vtol-prot-432153/

Category: Uncategorized
December 31

MEBAA: JetSmarter teams with Vertis to launch Dubai-London route

JetSmarter, the US-based members-only business aircraft shuttle service, has announced at MEBAA that it is teaming with the Swiss “boutique charter company” Vertis Aviation to provide its first Dubai to London flights.

The route, using an Embraer Legacy 650, launches on 8 December and the first flight is sold out, says Paul Grusevich, head of global expansion at JetSmarter.

JetSmarter’s business model resembles a “country club”, Grusevich says. Members can buy a seat on a scheduled departure for a fixed price, bookable via an app, and pay for an additional guest to travel. Most of its routes are within the USA, but it also operates in Europe and the Middle East.

Vertis, which has an office in Dubai, specialises in “exclusive marketing” of third-party aircraft. Chief commercial officer Catherine Buchanan says JetSmarter approached the company to source “the right aircraft” for the Dubai-London route. “We really like what JetSmarter is doing and believe the shared aircraft model is a perfect solution for the local charter market. There is a growing demand in the region for this kind of service, so we are extremely pleased to be their local strategic partner and look forward to helping them develop here,” she adds.

JetSmarter has about 5,000 members. Among its most popular routes are New York to South Florida and Riyadh to Dubai at weekends, with many high-net-worths choosing the service for leisure trips, says Grusevich.

For all the coverage from MEBAA visit our dedicated landing page

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/mebaa-jetsmarter-teams-with-vertis-to-launch-dubai-432152/

Category: Uncategorized
December 31

​MEBAA: Farnborough sees Middle East traffic rise

The Middle East is a key market for TAG Farnborough Airport as it enjoys a growth spurt, partly due to a rise in large-cabin business jets which are popular in the region.

Dubbing itself as the UK’s only dedicated business-aviation airport and a key London gateway, Farnborough is exhibiting at MEBAA and says traffic from the Middle East increased by 7.8% this year.

The UK airport located southwest of London has seen a 1.5% rise in movements so far this year, including a 7.4% increase in the number of airliner-derived business jets.

“A significant portion of our traffic is Middle East customers,” says Farnborough chief executive Brandon O’Reilly. “Much of this traffic from the Middle East is large cabin aircraft, along with flights from the USA.”

Farnborough has spent an additional £1 million ($1.3 million) to develop greater space at its terminal building with a new 80-passenger lounge. The airport has also expanded its crew facilities with a quiet lounge and “snooze” room along with a gymnasium and showers.

For all the coverage from MEBAA visit our dedicated landing page

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/mebaa-farnborough-sees-middle-east-traffic-rise-432155/

Category: Uncategorized
December 29

​MEBAA: Orient Global first to sign for BBJ Max 7

Boeing Business Jets has landed its first customer for the BBJ Max 7 in the shape of Asian corporate operator Orient Global Aviation.

The Singapore-based airline was revealed as the first customer today by Boeing Business Jets president David Longridge at the MEBAA show in Dubai. The aircraft is due to be delivered green in 2021.

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Orient Global’s director of operations, Edan Oestreich (pictured above left with Longridge), says the company already operates a BBJ1 NG as well as a Global 5000 and an Airbus Helicopters Dauphin. “We’ve chosen the Max 7 to replace the BBJ1,” he says.

Oestreich says that Orient Global evaluated the rival Airbus ACJ models but chose the Boeing option because of its greater range and its “low cabin altitude” offering, which he believes is essential for very-long-range flights.

Longridge says he sees Orient Global as a very strong prospect to order its newly launched Skyview Panoramic Window, which is available from 2018.

For all the coverage from MEBAA visit our dedicated landing page

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/mebaa-orient-global-first-to-sign-for-bbj-max-7-432150/

Category: Uncategorized
December 29

MEBAA: How show’s two 757s have very different roles

The two Rolls-Royce-powered Boeing 757-200s parked side-by-side at MEBAA may look similar from the outside but they are very different beneath the skin. One is equipped with a luxury cabin for the corporate charter market while the other serves as a flying testbed.

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The VIP-configured aircraft (N757AG – below) is operated by US charter company Funair, according to Flight Fleets Analyzer. Its interior, which Jet Aviation Basel installed in 2012, features a luxury seating area in the forward cabin, a large suite incorporating a double bed and bathroom/shower, and additional suites and seating aft. The aircraft can accommodate up to 39 passengers and serve up to 21 in full-flat beds.

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The other aircraft (N757HW – below) is used by Honeywell as a “flying science laboratory” for its aerospace technology, and its role includes the flight-testing of engines.

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After acquiring the former airliner in 2005, Honeywell spent several years modifying it into a flying testbed. Its interior is equipped with test stations which allow engineers to handle and monitor systems during trials. One of its most obvious modifications is the installation of a fuselage-mounted pylon on the starboard side to enable in-flight testing.

“The pylon is ‘installation-neutral’ so our testing is validated for each of our customers’ aircraft,” says Honeywell flight-test engineer Ian Bell.

The largest engine tested on the 757 so far is the HTF7000 series, which powers a number of midsize business jets.The aircraft is currently flying trials of a KA-band antenna for Inmarsat’s GX Aviation high-speed in-flight connectivity.

For all the coverage from MEBAA visit our dedicated landing page

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/mebaa-how-shows-two-757s-have-very-different-roles-432189/

Category: Uncategorized
December 27

MEBAA: AMAC bullish on PC-12’s Middle East prospects

AMAC Aerospace is returning to MEBAA in bullish mood as acceptance of the Pilatus PC-12NG is gaining momentum across the region.

The Basle, Switzerland-headquartered company is exclusive sales agent in the Middle East for the PC-12NG and its in-development stablemate, the PC-24.

“It’s been a slow start for us,” says Kadri Muhiddin, co-founder and chief executive of AMAC, which began marketing the Swiss-built high-speed aircraft in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Yemen, Kuwait, Iraq, Bahrain, Qatar, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey in 2012.

“We have spent the last few years promoting the aircraft in commercial and utility roles and educating people about the advantages of single-engined aircraft,” says Muhiddin, pointing to the PC-12’s agility, range, low operating costs and “great” safety record.

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Pilatus Aircraft

The effort has started to pay off. AMAC has secured three orders for the aircraft this year: two from Abu Dhabi charter start-up Gi – which received its UAE air operator’s certificate on 5 December – and the second from a private owner.

“The PC-12 can take off and land on most surfaces, it has a cargo door and payload of 1t – it is unique to the business aviation market,” says Muhiddin, who is a PC-12 owner himself.

He is unconcerned by the arrival within the next few years of Cessna’s rival executive turboprop-single, the Denali, which is scheduled to make its first flight in 2018. Comparing Pilatus with the high-end car brand, Mercedes, he says: “A company with a good name, reputation and history will always stay at the front.”

He is also confident the in-development PC-24 superlight business jet will be very well received in the Middle East.

“It has the versatility of a PC-12 in a twin-jet design”, says Muhiddin. AMAC has two orders for the aircraft, which is scheduled to enter service next year with US fractional ownership operator PlaneSense. “We hope to receive our aircraft in the last quarter of 2018,” Muhiddin says.

For all the coverage from MEBAA visit our dedicated landing page

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/mebaa-amac-bullish-on-pc-12s-middle-east-prospects-432183/

Category: Uncategorized
December 27

​MEBAA: Honeywell enjoys connectivity success

Honeywell has signed a raft of connectivity deals at MEBAA and the company’s regional boss says there has been huge interest in this arena at the show this year.

“Connectivity and services is the theme of MEBAA 2016,” says Raghed Talih, director for Middle East and Turkey at Honeywell’s commercial aviation division. “It is also the theme of business aviation at the moment.”

Three local operators have announced deals with Honeywell at the show for its JetWave Ka-band satellite connectivity hardware and GoDirect cabin connectivity services. These include Saudi VVIP charter company Sky Prime Aviation Services, Abu Dhabi’s Royal Jet and Arab Wings/Gulf Wings, which are both part of the International Wings Group.

Talih says the longer-term outlook for connectivity and services in the Middle East and North Africa is upbeat, although business may be slower in the short-term. “We see 2017 as being flat to down and we see 2018/2019 as when the trend really goes up.”

Introduction of new aircraft from manufacturers such as Bombardier, Dassault and Gulfstream will power this rise in demand. “It will ride on that wave of new equipment introductions,” he says.

For all the coverage from MEBAA visit our dedicated landing page

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/mebaa-honeywell-enjoys-connectivity-success-432201/

Category: Uncategorized
December 25

MEBAA: Piaggio and Al Saif join for Evo Middle East sales push

Piaggio Aerospace and its local sales agent Al Saif Aviation are out in force at MEBAA to promote the P180 Avanti Evo twin-engined turboprop to the region’s VIP and special missions communities.

Al Saif took delivery of its first and the region’s only Evo in October, and is hoping to launch services early next year. The Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based company – which is a subsidiary of real estate and consultancy firm Al Saif Group – was appointed by Piaggio in July as its sales agent for Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, Oman and Qatar.

“We are optimistic for the Evo’s prospects across the region,” says Al Saif Aviation president and chief executive Mohammed Khalifa Al Saif. “With the performance of a jet, a large specious cabin, impressive-range and environmental credentials, the Evo is a perfect fit for the VIP and special missions markets here.”

Al Saif also sees the Evo as a replacement in the region for the ageing, out-of-production Hawker 800-series business jets and Cessna’s small Citation twins

Piaggio and Al Saif are also promoting the Evo as a multi-mission platform, with flight calibration and air ambulance services just two of the many missions the aircraft can perform.

There are also two Avanti IIs in the Gulf, Piaggio says, both of which are in government service as a VIP transport. “The aircraft hasn’t had much exposure in the region. That is all set to change now,” says Piaggio chief executive Renato Vaghi. “Once customers experience the Evo for themselves, they will appreciate how great it is.”

For all the coverage from MEBAA visit our dedicated landing page

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/mebaa-piaggio-and-al-saif-join-for-evo-middle-east-432204/

Category: Uncategorized
December 25

Wanfeng acquires majority shareholding in Diamond Canada

Wanfeng Aviation Canada – a subsidiary of Chinese company Wanfeng Auto Holding – has acquired a 60% stake in Diamond Aircraft Industries Canada. The purchase is intended to inject much-needed investment into the London, Ontario-based company, allowing it to pursue new product development and evaluate a possible revival of the D-JET personal jet programme.

As part of the deal, Wanfeng, a manufacturer of parts for both the car and aviation industries, has secured the rights to the DA62 six-seat piston-twin and DA40 four-seat piston single programmes from Diamond’s independently owned Austrian sibling Diamond Aircraft Industries. Production of the two models will be transferred to Ontario in 2017.

Diamond Austria, based in Wiener Neustadt, near Vienna, will continue to produce the twin-engined DA42 and the Austro diesel engine family, for which it is the sole owner. The firm will also concentrate on bringing new products to market, including the Dart-450 aerobatic trainer and DA50 turboprop singles.

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Diamond Canada

“Diamond Austria remains completely independent,” Diamond Canada stresses, adding that the venture will continue to “assist with production and development activities” at the Ontario site. This could include the resurrection of the single-engined D-JET and the launch of derivative aircraft, both of which Diamond says are “subject to ongoing review”.

The D-JET was mothballed by Diamond in 2013, after it failed to secure enough funding to complete development. Nearly $200 million had been sunk into the project since its genesis in 2005, and three prototypes had amassed more than 700 flying hours when it was shelved.

Diamond Canada says Wanfeng’s investment “will support expanded production, sales and service activities globally”, with a stronger focus on the USA, the world’s largest business and general aviation market.

“This investment not only strengthens our Canadian operations, but the Diamond brand overall,” says Diamond Canada. “We look forward to continued exciting developments, growth in all markets and enhancing the ownership experience for Diamond owners and operators in the years to come.”

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/wanfeng-acquires-majority-shareholding-in-diamond-ca-432675/

Category: Uncategorized
December 23

Cirrus delivers first Vision Jet

Cirrus Aircraft delivered the first Vision Jet on 19 December to private owner and long-time customer, Joe Whisenhunt.

The handover also marked the opening of the company’s 68,00ft2 (6,320m2) finishing centre at its headquarters in Duluth, Minnesota.

The Vision secured US Federal Aviation Administration certification in October, capping a 10-year development effort involving more than 1,700h of flying on its four test aircraft.

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Cirrus Aircraft

Cirrus is the first to secure validation for a Part 23 single-engine jet. Other programmes – such as the Diamond D-Jet, Eclipse 400 and Piper Altaire – have been cancelled or are dormant.

Cirrus has secured around 600 orders for the $1.96 million Williams International FJ33-5A-powered Vision. The majority of position holders are present and former owners of the SR-piston single series, the bulk of whom are based in the USA, says the company.

The Vision has been a key focus for Cirrus since its launch as the SF50 in 2006. Even during the economic crisis, the manufacturer continued to work on the development. The acquisition of Cirrus in 2011 by China Aviation Industry General Aircraft gave the programme new momentum. The Vision is equipped with a Garmin G3000-based Cirrus Perspective Touch flightdeck and an emergency parachute system. It has a maximum take-off weight of 2,730kg (6,000lb), a range of around 1,000nm (1,850km), and a stall speed of 67kt .

Article source: http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/cirrus-delivers-first-vision-jet-432695/

Category: Uncategorized