At Airshow China2004–held from November 1 to 6 in Zhuhai, Guangdong–Russian and Chinese helicopter manufacturers revealed new medium-weight helicopter projects. For the first time, Mil exhibited a model of the Mi-54, and AVIC II revealed details about the medium utility helicopter it is studying.
News and issues concerning aerospace companies, including formations, acquisitions, mergers and financials; and announcements of significant aircraft sales, delivery statistics and personnel appointments.
At the NBAA Convention in October, Flight Explorer announced the launch of version 5.0 of its aircraft tracking software. The upgrade is available from the Alexandria, Va.-based company at no cost to existing subscribers to Flight Explorer Professional. The cost to new subscribers remains at $250 a month for a one-year contract for the basic system.
Important new features of Flight Explorer version 5.0 include:
British company Avcen has designed an innovative ducted-fan twinjet, called the Jetpod, that it claims will cruise at 300 knots yet take off and land in slightly more than 400 feet. The owners are currently looking for investors to help them to move the project off the drawing board and into proof-of-concept flight trials.
Expeditors International of Washington has teamed with Bombardier Aerospace to establish super warehouses with Caterpillar Logistic Services as part of a sustained program to improve Bombardier’s parts availability, tracking and shipping operations.
Raytheon Aircraft’s Hawker Vision 2003, a program to completely revamp the production line for the Hawker 800XP, won the Kansas Team Quality award and will be one of two teams representing Kansas at the national competition in Seattle in May. The team reduced the Hawker production line from 12 to seven stations, cut cycle time from 60 days to 40 days and achieved a $19 million inventory reduction.
An international technical consortium has completed trials on a new head-up display (HUD) that allows helicopter pilots to view the display through night-vision goggles (NVGs) and allows “virtually unlimited” head movement.
On October 29, AgustaWestland introduced the A119 Koala at its new home in Philadelphia, which includes 43,000 sq ft of hangars, avionics bays, manufacturing and completion space. The new facility, which hugs the suburban Northeast Philadelphia Airport, was built in a record seven months for $6.8 million, while employees trained in Vergiate, Italy. Total investment, including relocation, will exceed $12 million.
The technical board composed of Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, Boeing and associate member Snecma officially launched the Russian Regional Jet program last month following the completion of a full review of the project’s fourth development phase. The decision arose from meetings between Sukhoi and Boeing executives, who discussed details related to marketing and sales, design and development, production, certification and customer support issues.
You may be thinking outside the cockpit, but the other end of you is still firmly stuck in the cockpit, and the flight is a lot more pleasant if that end is in a comfortable place.
Mention Wichita, and most people in the business aviation industry immediately think of Cessna, Raytheon/ Beech, Learjet or Boeing. Aviation history buffs and old-timers are likely to add Laird Airplane, Culver Aircraft, Travel Air or Stearman
to the list. But it’s a good bet that very few, if any, would even mention the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR).