Heightened awareness of the steady growth in regional air traffic among small and medium-sized cities has convinced the Indian government to commit some $2 billion for the development of a 70- to 90-seat civilian aircraft. “This is a strategic sector where there is a need to have a presence in the long term, particularly in view of the rapid growth of our aviation sector.” said Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Rockwell Collins and Piaggio announced an upgrade program for the Piaggio Avanti twin turboprop. The program, available from Ruag Aviation, allows operators to upgrade their Pro Line 4 avionics to Pro Line 21. The Pro Line 21 P180 cockpit will be equipped with three or four 10-inch by 8-inch LCDs and Rockwell Collins’s Integrated Flight Information System, plus a new FMS and GPS-4000 that enables Waas LPV and space-based augmentation system with vertical guidance approaches.
Clearwater, Fla.-based Piaggio Avanti fractional provider Avantair shut down yesterday and furloughed employees as it “seeks alternative financing arrangements that it hopes will enable it to resume operations as quickly and efficiently as possible,” according to an 8-K SEC filing. Employees were also notified that “the company will not be in a position to fund payroll on June 28,” meaning they will not be paid for time worked since June 8.
As well as being a well-known manufacturer of UAVs and provider of special-mission aircraft conversions, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI, Chalet A206, Static B37 & B40) produces a wide range of sensors and payloads that are employed in the ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) role. A selection is being presented here at Paris, with a number of new systems on show.
Piaggio Aero has unveiled its P.1HH HammerHead unmanned aerial system (UAS) at the Paris Air Show. First announced in February at the IDEX show in Abu Dhabi, the HammerHead program is based on the company’s P180 Avanti II twin-turboprop business turboprop, but it has reinforced wings with greater area offering extended range and endurance.
A Heron 1 medium-altitude long-endurance UAV from IAI has recently participated in a demonstration of unmanned operations in civilian airspace, undertaken at Murcia-San Javier in Spain. The airfield is a military training base but is also used by commercial aircraft, and the operations of the UAV were timed to coincide with those by other airport users.
At an unmanned vehicles forum in Bonn this week, EADS Cassidian was again promoting what it now calls a Future European Male (Female) system. But the prospects of a pan-European program to match or improve on Male (medium-altitude long-endurance) UAV offerings from Israel, the U.S. and elsewhere have receded. France has decided to buy two GA-ASI Reaper systems, and there are indications that the UK will retain its Reapers beyond 2015, rather than retire them upon leaving Afghanistan.
Bombardier’s new Challenger 350 will feature an upgraded flight deck based on the Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 suite, but marketed by Bombardier as the Pro Line 21 Advanced. The Advanced version brings new capabilities to Pro Line 21 and will also be available as a retrofit on Challenger 300s.
Ruag Aviation has delivered its first cabin completion project, a Bombardier CRJ200 airliner that was transformed into a 10-seat VIP configuration. The entire cabin, including electrics, was reworked with a luxury interior that included wireless cabin entertainment, private area, club seating and dining areas. The company’s cabin interior program offers a one-stop-shop that covers design consultancy, cabin design, furniture construction, cabin integration and certification. It also offers exterior painting and design services.
With the rapid development of China’s economy and accumulation of personal wealth, traditional transportation means such as civil airliners and high-speed railways are no longer sufficient to meet the needs of high-end business people. Business and private aviation is increasingly emerging as an option for the wealthy, who are now having to decide on how best to access this mode of transportation.