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.
Beechcraft Super King Air
Yingling Aviation has been selected to convert a Beechcraft King Air B200 from a standard executive interior to a critical-care medical configuration. Jerry Pickett, Yingling’s v-p of customer programs, told AIN that medevac operator EagleMed will continue to fly both C90s and B200s in its mix and is not replacing all aircraft. The operator flies the King Air 90s in a single-bed configuration; the King Air 200s will have a two-bed configuration. “This latest project highlights the expanding services we offer at our facility,” he said.
Brazil’s Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil (ANAC) has approved CenTex Aerospace’s Halo 250 conversion for the Beechcraft King Air 200 series. It allows any King Air 200 to carry up to 920 pounds more payload by increasing the maximum takeoff weight to 13,420 pounds from 12,500 pounds. A new Airplane Flight Manual supplement has performance data for takeoff flight path to 1,500 feet agl and the landing approach flight path in normal and icing conditions.
This week Beechcraft posted its fourth-quarter and end-of-year results, showing the significant increases that brought 2013 to a successful close. The figures were welcome to the company as it ended its first year of trading as a stand-alone entity, prior to the expected acquisition by Textron that is due to be completed in the first half of this year. The Wichita, Kansas-based company delivered 205 civil aircraft in 2013, compared with 125 in 2012. Adding to 2013’s figure was the delivery of 34 military trainer aircraft.
King Air deliveries climbed 52 percent last year, according to fourth-quarter and year-end 2013 delivery data released yesterday by Beechcraft. Shipments of the three in-production King Airs–the C90GTx, 250 and 350i/ER–rose from 89 in 2012 to 135 last year.
Cobham Satcom (Booth M87) recently appointed Jianmin Cui to the new role of regional sales director for China with its aeronautical sales team. The Denmark-based satellite communications specialist sees strong prospects for growth in China’s general aviation market; the Shanghai-based sales executive will also focus on the air transport sector. The group’s main product is the Aviator SwiftBroadband series of communications systems.
The first three aircraft in Beechcraft’s Hawker 400XPR upgrade program are undergoing final airframe modifications, the Wichita aircraft manufacturer announced yesterday. The first customer aircraft had a Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics system installed last year as part of the upgrade, and it recently returned to Beechcraft for additional modifications, including the installation of winglets and Williams FJ44-4A-32 engines. The second and third aircraft are also receiving new engines and winglets. They are expected to be finished in the first half of this year.
Beechcraft celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first flight of the King Air 90 prototype yesterday with three-aircraft formation fly-bys of the company’s current-production King Airs–the C90GTx, 250 and 350i–over its home base at Beech Field in Wichita. The King Air is the best-selling business aircraft in the world, with nearly 7,200 delivered and more than 60 million flight hours logged worldwide.
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 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.
- Page 1