Donald Lowe, 82, a former vice chairman and director of Bombardier Aerospace, died on June 26 in Toronto, following a series of illnesses. His aerospace career began in 1975 when he was brought in to run United Aircraft (later Pratt & Whitney Canada) following a long labor strike. During his tenure, P&WC launched the long-running PW100 series of turboprop engines. In 1986 he joined a financially troubled Canadair as president and CEO, as it was sold by the Canadian government to Bombardier, and oversaw the launch of the CRJ series of regional airliners.
Hartwig Baier, 73, died early last month unexpectedly of a heart attack while on vacation in the Bahamas, depriving the button-down world of business aviation of one of its more colorful and highly regarded characters.
Former Bombardier Learjet chief flight-test pilot Pete Reynolds will be inducted into the Kansas Aviation Hall of Fame on April 15 at a ceremony hosted by the Kansas Aviation Museum and Wichita Aero Club. Reynolds had a major role in the development, testing and certification of virtually every Learjet model between 1973, when he joined Learjet, and 2003, when he retired.
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.
Flying Colours has been granted a supplemental type certificate (STC) from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for a new CRJ ExecLiner Corporate Shuttle created by the Canadian MRO, completion and refurbishment specialist.
With more than 25 ExecLiner corporate conversions of Canadair CRJ200 regional jets contracted and an expanding clientele in the Asia Pacific region for work on other Bombardier products, Flying Colours (Booth No. 912) is close to selecting a Far East partner.
Calgary-based KR Industrial Design & Consulting has developed the Aero navigation in-cockpit mount for iPads, which it bills as an “ergonomically mounted fixture” at a pilot’s fingertips. The iPad mount was recently certified by Transport Canada and is currently available for the Canadair Regional Jet, though other rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft models will soon be added, KRIDC said. Pricing for the Aero mount starts at about $1,200 per installation. The company is now working on FAA STC approval and is mulling EASA certification.
While much of the completion and refurbishment industry was battling to remain afloat during the recession, Flying Colours in the quiet Canadian city of Peterborough, Ontario, discovered a niche market in converting retired Canadair Regional Jets (CRJs) to executive use, and more recently, abundant work outfitting green Challenger 850s from Bombardier.
Asked at the 1986 Farnborough airshow what market share Canadair wanted for the Challenger corporate jet, Donald Lowe said simply, “We want our third.” Lowe was chief executive designate at the government-owned aircraft company that Canadian mass-transit manufacturer Bombardier had agreed to acquire just three weeks earlier.
Orders for Bombardier’s Challenger 850 are keeping Canadian MRO, completion and refurbishment center Flying Colours (Stand 1935) busy installing interiors in these purpose-built executive/VIP descendants of the Canadair CRJ200 regional jet.
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