Bombardier Aerospace’s case for the C Series may just have grown sounder last month as Boeing announced it would pull the plug on the 110- to 115-seat 717, the proposed Canadian jet’s main competitor. Boeing plans to end production of the weak-selling 717 by the middle of next year, after the last of a backlog of 18 airplanes rolls off its Long Beach assembly line.
Business Aviation » Business Aviation Aircraft
News and issues relating to business, aircraft, primarily turbine-engine powered airplanes and helicopters.
Keeping its promise, Albuquerque, N.M.-based Eclipse Aviation flew the first Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F-powered Eclipse 500 certification flight-test aircraft at 10:16 a.m. MST on December 31. The milestone marked the beginning of a 15-month testing program that will involve seven test airframes and culminate with planned FAA certification in March next year.
While the Raytheon Hawker Horizon was one of the first to blaze the super-midsize business jet trail when it was launched at the 1996 NBAA Convention in Orlando, Fla., it became the last of the new breed to be certified. The airplane gained provisional FAA approval just two days before Christmas, almost four years after the originally expected spring 2001 approval.
French supermarket tycoon Paul-Louis Halley, who had amassed a personal fortune estimated at $3.75 billion and was listed by Forbes as the 104th richest man in the world, died along with his wife and their pilot in the crash of a Socata TBM 700 (N30LT) at Oxford (Kidlington) Airport (EGTK), UK, on December 6. Inbound from Brussels Airport (EBBR), Belgium, the pilot was conducting an NDB/DME approach to Runway 01 at EGTK.
Bombardier began shakedown flights January 16 of the first Global Express XRS, a longer-range successor to the Global Express. The first flight lasted slightly more than four hours.
Deliveries of the 6,150-nm-range twin-engine business jet (already approved under the same type certificate as its predecessor) are expected to begin in the first quarter of next year.
A Gulfstream IISP (for Special Performance–GIIs equipped with Aviation Partners’ winglets) set a world speed record December 15 on its way from Los Angeles to Kitty Hawk, N.C. The record flight was made to honor the Wright brothers’ first manned powered flight 100 years ago. The GIISP made the cross-country flight in 3 hours 48 minutes at an average groundspeed of 548 knots.
Four Embraer Legacy Executive twinjets have joined Cleveland-based fractional operator Flight Options to provide owners with a large-cabin aircraft to supplement the company’s Challenger 601 and Gulfstream IV fleets, as well as allowing Hawker 800XP owners to upgrade. The Legacy Executive is an eight- to 13-passenger business jet version of the Brazilian manufacturer’s ERJ-135 regional jet.
The FAA last month issued three separate airworthiness alerts on the TBM 700 turboprop single. The alerts, which do not carry the force of ADs, but are “highly recommended” by the FAA, deal with a faulty GPU plug that could damage the power supply cable; possible interference between the pitot-tube supply line and the aileron cable; and corrosion-caused cracks in the attachment fittings of the tail fin.
The Gulfstream 500 received FAA type certification last month, and customer deliveries of the business jet are scheduled to start early this year. The G500, one of the eight Gulfstreams in the current model line, is a less expensive (approximately $37.5 million), shorter-range (5,800 nm nonstop) and less option-laden version of the $45-plus-million G550.
Stage III Technologies, which has been developing a Stage 3 hush kit for Gulfstream IIs and IIIs for more than five years, has received an STC for the Gulfstream IISP (the GII special performance model equipped with winglets). The La Jolla, Calif. company expects by May 1 to have STCs for the entire GII and GIII series. The Stage III system has no moving parts and adds no more than 20 pounds to the aircraft empty weight.