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.
The firm started in 1999 as the HVLS Fan Co., an acronym for high-volume low-speed fans. That name accurately described the design and efficiency of the company’s products, but after three years in business, according to the Lexington, Ky.-based manufacturer, “we finally had to bow to the sentiments of our customers and concede that we do, in fact, design and manufacture some Big Ass Fans.” Hence, the current brand name.
Reno, Nev.-based Aerion is releasing results from recent flight tests of a natural laminar flow (NLF) wing test article this week here in Las Vegas, while the company continues to work to have its supersonic business jet enter service in 2020. The goal of these tests was to measure “real-world robustness” of supersonic NLF, which is a key technology for the Aerion SSBJ, in regards to surface quality and manufacturing tolerances.
Insurance is a necessity that operators hope never to put to use, but with operating costs, especially for fuel, running so high, any opportunity to save money is always welcome. Insurance underwriter USAIG is helping lower costs with its new Performance Vector Plus program, which can save flight departments as much as 15 percent on insurance premiums.
“We have worked a lot to define the volume and to look at how the 7X is used for long flights, to find the most comfortable and efficient way to use [the new 5X],” said Olivier Villa, Dassault senior v-p for civil aircraft.
The cabin volume of the 5X is 1,770 cu ft compared to 1,550 cu ft on the 7X. The unfinished cabin interior height is 78 inches, which is four inches more than the 7X/900LX, and the maximum width is increased by 10 inches.
Dassault Aviation, the French business aircraft and fighter manufacturer, launched its all-new Falcon 5X yesterday here at NBAA. A twin-engine, Mach 0.8, fly-by-wire business jet powered by Snecma’s new Silvercrest engine, the 5X is scheduled to fly before mid-2015, with certification and entry into service following in the first half of 2017.
Today at NBAA 2013, aircraft remanufacturer Nextant Aerospace revealed its next project–a King Air C90 outfitted with GE H80 turboprop engines, Garmin G1000 glass cockpit, zero-timed components, winglets, strakes and new paint and interior. Initial deliveries of the G90XT, a $2 million to $3 million like-new turboprop twin with single-lever power controls, will start later next year.
European companies might still face a serious challenge to remain competitive in an increasingly global supply base, but the growing membership of the European Aerospace Cluster Partnership (EACP) has found that cooperation in keys areas such as building skills and research and development work can benefit them collectively more than if they battle with each other at every level.
Honeywell researchers have added to or modified SmartView’s symbology, which is based on the company’s head-up display symbology, to help pilots more quickly and intuitively see where they are on the approach and where the airplane is going.
Aviation insurance underwriter USAIG is adding up to 15 percent in new discounts for business aircraft operators that incorporate certain safety programs. Through Performance Vector Plus, USAIG customers can earn “good experience returns” when they meet any of three safety standards during a policy year while also avoiding loss claims. Each standard met earns a 5-percent return, for a potential total return of 15 percent.