The termination of the agreement between Eclipse Aviation and Williams International, announced the day before Thanksgiving, is seen as a major setback for the Eclipse 500 very light jet program by many observers– particularly (and predictably) by the battalions of skeptics who have questioned the viability of the program since it was revealed in March 2000.
At last month’s NBAA Convention, Spirit Wing Aviation of Edmond, Okla., announced that it will begin producing its “virtually new” Spirit-Lear early next year. The company said the $2.2 million SpiritLear–a re-engined Learjet 25–will be priced lower than any other airplane offering its combination of speed, range and passenger capacity.
Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PW610F turbofan engine will power the Eclipse 500, the two companies announced on February 19, ending nearly three months of speculation about how Eclipse would get the program moving again after it terminated its agreement with Williams to use the EJ22 engine.
BOMBARDIER LEARJET 25C, LEXINGTON, KY., AUG. 30, 2002–The captain’s addition of forward thrust during the landing rollout, resulting in a lack of braking effectiveness, was listed by the NTSB as the cause of a runway overrun accident by Learjet 25C N45CP. A factor was the captain’s inability to deploy the thrust reversers for undetermined reasons.
Really Quiet has doubled the warranty on its Stage 3 hush kit and thrust-reverser system for the Gulfstream II. The new warranty is two years, 1,000 hours or 500 cycles, whichever comes first. Really Quiet of Reston, Va., was the first of two companies to receive an STC for installation of hush kits on Spey-powered Gulfstreams.
Spectrum Aeronautical has upgraded the engines that power its S-33 Independence very light jet, and the company is also reversing the order of certification for the S-33 and S-40 Freedom, moving the S-40 to the front burner. The reason for switching the certification plans is so that Spectrum can capitalize on the lack of competition in the midsize cabin class.
Automatic throttle systems are now available as a $220,000 option for new Gulfstream 200s, as well a retrofit for the more than 90 Galaxy/G200s currently in service.
Pratt & Whitney Canada is showcasing its latest green engine technologies at Paris centered on the 10,000-pound-thrust-class PW-10X engine it is developing for business jets and regional airliners.
Texas-based ComTran on June 1 received EASA certification for its noise-cutting “advanced jet nozzle” on MD-80 airliners. When so equipped, MD-80s will meet EASA Chapter 4 noise requirements. According to ComTran, the additional equipment brings neither weight penalty nor fuel burn increase. The company also claims it does not change engine operation. It is said to even cut maintenance costs.
For developers of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), combining sufficient speed, a high payload, maneuverability, low fuel consumption, high endurance and minimum takeoff and landing distances is a dream scenario. Italian company Nimbus is trying to make this proposition a reality with its Metaplane.