The many lives of the venerable, hardworking Twin Otter would make a cat envious, and here at NBAA (Booth No. C7613) Ikhana Aircraft Services is featuring the twin-turboprop in its latest “re-life” as the Twin Otter X2.
Business Aviation » Business Aviation Aircraft
News and issues relating to business, aircraft, primarily turbine-engine powered airplanes and helicopters.
If you want to see the inside of a really big business jet–one that’s the size of an airliner–at the NBAA 2013 static display at Henderson Executive Airport, you may encounter a silk rope draped across the handrails at the bottom of the passenger stairs. A professionally attired man or woman standing by the rope will explain that the aircraft is being shown and then politely suggest, “Please come back later.” Later could take a long time.
The annual NBAA convention routinely serves as an appropriate time to reflect on activity in the pre-owned market for both light jets and single-engine turboprops. As we look back at the year that has passed, it’s fair to say that while these markets have not set any blistering records, some calm is in the air.
Learjet spent a good part of yesterday celebrating the “start of the delivery process” of its new Learjet 75. The first aircraft went to business entrepreneur Louis Beck and his Speedbird LCC. Beck, present at the delivery ceremonies, expressed satisfaction with the acquisition. He is a long-time Learjet owner and said he had never heard a pilot complain about Speedbird’s previous aircraft, a Learjet 45. And he added, “there’s also the unmistakable sex appeal that is Learjet.” The second delivery was five Learjet 75s to Canada-based charter operator London Air Services.
The Pilatus PC-24 mockup will make its North American debut next week in Las Vegas at the NBAA Convention. Pilatus will exhibit the mockup of its new twinjet next to an actual PC-12NG turboprop single at its NBAA booth (No. C12216). After a private event, the PC-24 mockup will be open to the public beginning at noon next Tuesday. Pilatus will not begin taking PC-24 orders until EBACE next May, however. First flight of the new jet is scheduled for late next year, with EASA certification expected in 2017.
This month Bombardier commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Learjet’s first flight even as the company struggles to launch a larger new flagship, the Model 85, and switch to composite airframe construction. Since 1963, Learjet has become one of the world’s most iconic brands, often generically misused to describe any make/model of private jet, and a conspicuous sign of affluence. Early Learjet owners included crooner Frank Sinatra and industrialist Louise Timken, and their aircraft were a far cry from the comfortable cabins of today.
Ah, that new airplane smell.
Cessna demo pilot Rip Lee and I climb aboard the factory-fresh Grand Caravan EX and I glance over at the Hobbs meter: 4.3 hours total time. Airplanes don’t get much newer than this.
While Gulfstream celebrates the 47th anniversary of the first flight of its first business jet this month, that very aircraft is in the process of becoming a museum piece, following a long service career. Grumman Gulfstream II S/N 0001 (built at the company’s Bethpage, N.Y. facility before the business jet division moved to Savannah), first flew on Oct. 2, 1966. After the certification flight-test program it was refurbished and sold to entrepreneur Robert Galvin, Motorola Corporation CEO, in 1970.
Cessna is completing certification flight-testing on its new $4.395 million M2 light jet and expects certification within “a few weeks,” company vice president Brad Thress told AIN. Earlier this week, Garmin provided the Wichita aircraft manufacturer with the final data load for the aircraft’s new Intrinzic cockpit, which features a touchscreen G3000 avionics system.
Bombardier apparently held a private “production rollout” of the all-composite Learjet 85 on September 7 at its Wichita facility, according to a YouTube video posted about a week after the event but removed yesterday shortly after AIN’s inquiry. A Bombardier Business Aircraft spokesman said he could not authenticate the video, even though it appears to have been professionally produced and includes titles with logos and typefaces, as well as music, consistent with other Bombardier-produced videos.