Robinson R66, Philip, S.D., Oct. 1, 2011–The light helicopter was destroyed and its owner/pilot was killed when the aircraft crashed in a pasture following an apparent in-flight breakup, according to the NTSB. The debris from the accident was spread over 15 acres and the main rotor was found approximately 500 feet from the fuselage wreckage. The flight had originated in Gillette, Wyo.
The U.S. Air Force will proceed with a service life extension program (SLEP) and avionics upgrade of 300 to 350 F-16 Fighting Falcons to compensate for an expected two-year slip in operational readiness of the F-35A Lightning II, service leaders told the U.S. Congress on November 2.
Budget cuts to the German Armed Forces will force the renegotiation of contracts with two divisions of EADS for the A400M transport, and for NH90 and Tiger helicopters.
China has ordered 250 AI-222-25F turbofans from the Ukraine to power production versions of the Hongdu L-15 advanced jet trainer.
A new version of the General Atomics Predator/Reaper UAV series with multiple sensor control is ready for deployment to Afghanistan after successful trials. A U.S. Army MQ-1C Gray Eagle was fitted with two additional EO/IR sensors under each wing.
The first five P-3C Orion antisubmarine warfare (ASW) and maritime surveillance aircraft modified with enhanced networking capability have been delivered to the U.S. Navy.
Gulfstream Aerospace expects to receive provisional type certification (PTC) of its wide-cabin G650 this year–possibly by the end of this month–followed by issuance of the full type certificate early next year. Deliveries will begin in the second quarter of 2012 “as we said years ago,” said Gulfstream president Larry Flynn.
NBAA is praising the Senate for passing an appropriations bill containing language that would reinstate the Block Aircraft Registration Request (Barr) program. The FAA dismantled the aircraft tail-number blocking privacy program in August. H.R.2112 was passed on Tuesday by a 69 to 30 vote.
NetJets terminated its franchise agreement for Middle East fractional aircraft services with National Air Services (NAS) of Saudi Arabia this week. NAS CEO Sulaiman Al-Hamdan conveyed the news to NAS employees in an email on Monday, while promising that the company’s business would continue as is.
Eclipse Aerospace announced at last month’s NBAA Convention that it is resuming new-build production of its iconic very light twinjet, newly dubbed the Eclipse 550. At the show, Eclipse began taking orders for the new jet, which sells for $2.695 million (2011 $). The company expects to produce 50 to 100 Eclipse 550s per year once production resumes in 2013.