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.
Beechcraft announced that it has certified and begun installations on a range of wireless in-flight connectivity equipment to fit low- and high-occupancy aircraft.
Aircell’s ATG 2000, which provides Gogo Biz in-flight Internet and Text & Talk voice services, is available with certified Wi-Fi as an upgrade through Hawker Beechcraft Services (HBS) for most Beechcraft and Hawker aircraft. According to the Wichita-based OEM, HBS is offering introductory incentives to operators who purchase an ATG 2000 system through the end of 2013.
Luma Technologies (Booth No. C11947) has revealed a new LT-4545 LED annunciator panel for the Beechcraft King Air C90, the latest addition to its Lumatech line of LED annunciator panels for the King Air family.
The LT-4545, a drop-in replacement for the existing incandescent annunciators incorporated in the C90 glareshield, will be compatible with newer model C90A, C90GT, C90GTI and C90GTx models.
Following a successful showing at the Latin American Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (LABACE) in August, Líder Aviação is hosting an exhibit at the NBAA show (Booth No. N536) and expanding its North American presence.
Líder is one of the largest aviation services providers in Brazil and during LABACE sold two Beechcraft Bonanza G36s for $760,000 each. Also at the show, Líder delivered the first Bonanza G36 to go into service in Brazil with the new modular interior.
Beechcraft provided an update on the company’s fortunes and handed over the keys to the first King Air 350i ordered by membership aircraft access provider Wheels Up on Monday at its static display at Henderson Executive Airport. The Wheels Up order, together with aftermarket support, is worth up to $1.4 billion, according to the parties.
Wheels Up, the U.S.-based aircraft access membership program scheduled to begin service this November, has named Gama Charters of Stratford, Conn., a subsidiary of Farnborough, UK-based Gama Group, as operator of its U.S.-based fleet of Beechcraft King Air 350i turboprops.
One result of the huge deal to sell up to 105 Beechcraft King Air 350i twin-turboprops to the new Wheels Up private charter membership company is that a comprehensive plan was required to support servicing of the airframes and engines. Thus both Hawker Beechcraft Global Customer Support (HBGCS) and Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) signed a long-term service agreement with Wheels Up here in Las Vegas on the eve of the show, covering support of the Wheels Up King Air 350i fleet and their PT6A-60A engines, respectively.
Beechcraft announced here in Las Vegas that it had added the Garmin G5000 flight deck as an option for its Hawker 400XPR upgrade program, in addition to adding a new wireless in-flight telecom option from Aircell, for both low- and high-occupancy aircraft.
Beechcraft said this week that had received official recognition from the U.S. National Aeronautics Association for a record for a “Speed Over a Recognized Course,” set for a transcontinental flight by its special-mission King Air 350ER flying from San Diego, Calif. to Orlando, Fla. last October. The King Air flew the 1,853.97 nautical mile route at an average speed of 331.08 miles per hour.
Beechcraft claimed a communications first for the AT-6, its losing contender for the USAF Light Air Support (LAS) program. Meanwhile, Embraer described progress in producing the winning LAS contender, the A-29 Super Tucano.