Demand at Beechcraft for special-mission variants of the King Air is growing at a rate the Wichita OEM finds at least gratifying and at most downright exciting.
Beechcraft King Air
Beechcraft has sold more than 50 King Air twin turboprops for special missions this year, according to Dan Keady, the company’s senior v-p for special missions. “That’s double last year’s total,” he told AIN.
Buoyed by the recent 50-aircraft order to remanufacture the Hawker 400XP fleet of Travel Management Company and fresh from the launch of a new aircraft remanufacturing program, Nextant Aerospace (Chalet B17) has brought its 400XTi light business jet to Dubai to make its airshow debut in the Middle East.
Euravia Engineering and Greenwich AeroGroup have entered into a partnership to provide MRO services for Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A and PT6T turbine engines on fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft in the U.S. Through its MRO facilities (Atlantic Aero in Greensboro N.C., Summit Aviation in Middletown, Del., and Western Aircraft in Boise, Idaho), Greenwich AeroGroup will provide engine inventory and component storage, logistics and distribution services across the U.S. and also between the U.S. and the UK.
There were two major developments in the business turboprop sector this year and neither involved new aircraft. However, they did show where potentially the next growth area is for the turboprop market: downstream. Turboprops historically have been a useful vehicle for introducing new customers into the corporate aircraft market, provided operators can maintain price discipline. If not, bad things can happen. Case in point: after several years of public struggle, Piaggio Avanti fractional provider Avantair ceased operations in June.
Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) has committed to a new agreement with Hawker Beechcraft Services to support its engines on both Beechcraft King Air twin turboprops and Hawker business jets. The engine maker will provide Beechcraft’s service division with comprehensive support including repair, hot section inspection and overhaul for the PT6As on the King Air family, as well as for the Hawker 1000’s PW305B turbofan, the Hawker 4000’s PW308A and the Hawker 400A’s JT15D-5.
Constant Aviation is expanding its national sales force and maintenance offerings through its three facilities in Cleveland, Ohio; Birmingham, Ala.; and Las Vegas, Nev. Constant now offers maintenance services on the Embraer Phenom 100 and 300 and Legacy 600 and 650; the Cessna Citation X; all Hawker 800 series; Beechjet/Hawker 400 series; and Bombardier Challenger 300 jets as well as the Piaggio Avanti and King Air turboprops. Offered services include airframe, engine and avionics repair, interior refurbishment and parts distribution.
SimCom Training Centers (Booth No. N4907) announced at NBAA 2013 that it is using the Cygnus tool from Redbird Flight Simulations to link any aviation or navigation app running on an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch to a simulator. The “location” of the aircraft being flown in the simulator is passed to the portable device as if it were in an actual aircraft.
“We believe pilots should train the way they fly,” said Eric Hanson, president of Orlando, Fla.-based SimCom. “Cygnus allows SimCom customers to use GPS-enabled tablets in the same way they do in their aircraft.”
Private aviation membership services JetSuite and Wheels Up have forged a new partnership that will give reciprocal benefits to their customers. The agreement, which was announced today at the NBAA show in Las Vegas, will see Wheels Up members gaining access to JetSuite’s fleet of Embraer Phenom 100 and Cessna Citation CJ3 aircraft, giving them a light jet alternative to the new company’s Beechcraft King Air 350i turboprop twins.
“Nose-to-tail” aircraft MRO and completions specialist Stevens Aviation is here at NBAA to announce several new service initiatives. A service provider for Beechcraft, Bombardier, Cessna, Embraer, Gulfstream, Piaggio and Pilatus, Stevens provides services ranging from aircraft painting to engine overhauls at five locations (Greenville and Greer, S.C.; Dayton, Ohio; Nashville, Tenn.; and Denver, Colo.) It has 124 technicians network-wide, with nine of them having earned “FAA Technician of the Year” honors.