Conklin & de Decker released the 2014 version of its Life Cycle Cost aircraft budgeting and financial analysis tool, which includes ownership and operating cost data for more than 400 business jets, turboprops, helicopters and piston aircraft. Specifically, it shows aircraft acquisition costs, operating costs, taxes and final residual values. According to Conklin, database prices are $795 for jets, $625 for turboprops or helicopters and $475 for pistons. A single-aircraft version is also available for $250 per aircraft.
Regional turboprop manufacturer ATR saw orders and deliveries grow again last year, reaching record levels and steady profitability, but it has not convinced shareholders Airbus Group and Finmeccanica to launch a new aircraft.
Singapore’s intention to upgrade its fleet of about 60 Lockheed Martin F-16C/D fighters was indicated by a recent notification to Congress by the Pentagon. But no choice has yet been made between rival upgrade systems integrators BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin. According to the notification, the upgrade will cost Singapore an estimated $2.43 billion, although this total also includes three new weapons.
The FAA is adopting an airworthiness directive (AD) that establishes a new life limit based on a prorated formula for some Sikorsky S-70, S-70A and S-70C components that were previously installed on military helicopters. Some of the parts, including the main rotor hub, main rotor shaft, main rotor spindle nut, rotating swashplate and main rotor gearbox, have been interchanged with military helicopter models with life limits different from those of the civilian version.
Bombardier Aerospace delivered 180 business jets last year, up one from 2012. However, the Canadian aircraft manufacturer missed its 2013 guidance by 10 business airplanes, “mainly due to the transition from the Learjet 40XR and Learjet 45XR to the Learjet 70 and Learjet 75, which entered service in the fourth quarter.” The company originally expected deliveries of these revamped light jets to start in the third quarter. It shipped 29 Learjets, 89 Challengers and 62 Globals last year, compared with 39 Learjets, 86 Challengers and 54 Globals in 2012.
Russian Helicopters is asking the Russian government for an extra RUB1.15 billion ($34 million) to complete the development of the Ka-62 medium twin. According to Russian newspaper Izvestya, this will come in addition to the $59 million already invested in the helicopter program.
Dassault Aviation received a development contract from the French Ministry of Defense for a further upgrade of the Rafale combat aircraft. Designated “F3 R”, the upgrade consists mainly of integration of the MBDA Meteor BVRAAM; the laser-homing version of the Sagem AASM air-ground weapon; and the new Thales PDL-NG laser designator pod. There will also be some improvements to the Rafale’s avionics and defensive systems.
The Army also plans to upgrade analog UH-60L models to the same capability of M models rather than purchase all M models. Last summer, it formed the new UH-60L Digital Product Directorate to lead the effort.
Cutter Aviation’s Phoenix facility has been selected by Beechcraft as an authorized service center (ASC) for the Beechjet/Hawker 400XP series. Cutter became an ASC for the King Air turboprop line and Beechcraft’s piston-powered Bonanza and Baron earlier this year. Cutter also holds ASC status for the Baron and Bonanza in Addison, Texas, and for the King Airs and piston aircraft at its Albuquerque, N.M. facility. Beechcraft is supporting its jet lines, even though they are out of production.
D’Shannon Aviation has developed new engine baffle systems for Beechcraft Barons and Bonanzas, designed to eliminate any loss of cooling air through the cowling and maximize engine cooling. The new Baffle Cooling Kits consist of engine-mounted aluminum baffles with high tear-strength silicone, and these mate with composite inserts attached to the upper cowling. During development the new baffles were flight-tested in ambient temperatures as high as 100 degrees F. The new kits fit Continental IO-550, IO-520 and IO-470 engines on the Bonanza and Baron.