The Obama administration delivered a proposed $496 billion base U.S. defense budget for Fiscal Year 2015 to the Congress on March 4. In a round of briefings at the Pentagon, service budget officials spoke of making difficult choices because of spending limits Congress imposed in the Budget Control Act of 2011, followed by deep “sequestration” budget cuts that took effect in FY2013.
On February 28 Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Rostislav Apollosovich Belyakov passed away, just days before his 95th birthday. Little known outside Russia until the late 1980s, Belyakov was the brilliant aeronautical engineer behind much of the successful MiG jet fighter dynasty. Despite taking on the running of the Mikoyan OKB (design bureau) from 1971, Belyakov remained very much a “hands-on” manager, leading or co-leading the design teams that produced the MiG-23, 25, 27, 29 and 31, which became the backbone of the Soviet/Russian air force.
Every year since the start of the great economic downturn of 2008, the business aviation industry has watched business jet deliveries dwindle and searched for signs that the market might have finally hit bottom. The downward slide was finally arrested last year, according to year-end numbers released last month by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. For the first time since 2008, worldwide deliveries of business jets were higher than the previous year, with manufacturers handing over 678 jets last year, six aircraft (1 percent) more than in 2012.
GippsAero’s beefy boxcar of an airplane may look ungainly, but once you climb in and fire up its 320-hp turbocharged Lycoming TIO-540, pull the flaps lever all the way up and push the throttle to 40 inches of manifold pressure, the big single leaps forward and soars into the sky where it belongs.
Bombardier’s Learjet 85 program is moving toward first flight (if it hasn’t already happened after this issue went to press), but the company’s plans to achieve certification and begin customer deliveries this year appear to be unachievable.
Russia’s Sukhoi Civil Aircraft has long claimed its Superjet 100 offers a level of technical sophistication that surpasses that of any Western regional jet on the market. Now, a new funding system state-controlled Vnesheconombank (VEB) devised with Sukhoi to support export sales of the Superjet 100 promises to place the Russian regional jet on equal footing with Western models in terms of financing cost as well, according to VEB deputy chairman Alexander Ivanov.
Last Friday Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced that his government had signed a $3.5 billion contract with Sikorsky for the co-production of 109 T-70 utility transport helicopters, based on the Sikorsky S-70i International Black Hawk. The announcement comes nearly three years after Turkey had declared the T-70 as its preferred choice for the TUHP (Turkey utility helicopter program) requirement, and some seven months after it had been revealed that there were to be delays in finally putting pen to paper.
Embraer delivered 119 executive jets worth $1.64 billion last year–up by 26 percent on 2012’s $1.29 billion–and nearly half of them (53) were handed over in the fourth quarter. The whole-year deliveries broke down as 90 light jets (60 Phenom 300s and 30 Phenom 100s) and 29 large jets (21 Legacy 600/650s and eight Lineage 1000/shuttles), and in the fourth quarter the tally was 38 light jets and 15 large jets.
Cessna Aircraft’s Citation Latitude prototype has already achieved its full performance envelope, just one week after the aircraft’s maiden flight. In only its third flight, the prototype reached its maximum speed of 440 ktas/Mach 0.80 and altitude of 45,000 feet. In fact, the midsize twinjet made a direct climb to 45,000 feet with a gross takeoff weight of 29,000 pounds.
Milestone Aviation Group signed a purchase contract today at Heli-Expo for eight AgustaWestland helicopters as part of the companies’ framework agreement, which was initially announced in September last year. The latest contract is for five AW139s and three AW189s for delivery by year-end. The framework agreement–which covers firm orders and options for 44 aircraft delivering over the next four years, when fully executed–represents the largest civilian helicopter sale in AgustaWestland history.