At the Finmeccanica exhibit here at Farnborough (Outside OE2) visitors once again can find Alenia Aermacchi’s M-346 lead-in fighter trainer. At a first glance the aircraft looks the same as that exhibited at previous airshows, but close up it is possible to note some of the differences featured in this first preproduction aircraft, which was rolled out from the Italian group’s assembly line in April.
Nearby Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) is now offering an accelerated first officer flight training (FOFT) program, which trains first officer candidates to regional airline and corporate fleet standards in less than a year.
Israel has requested the possible sale of 25 Hawker Beechcraft T-6A Texan II basic pilot training aircraft. The Israeli Air Force is the last user of the French Fouga Magister basic jet trainer, which dates from the early 1960s. These aircraft have high fuel and maintenance costs and poor serviceability. If Israel takes all the requested options, the order could cost $190 million.
Hawker Beechcraft has apparently overcome quality-control problems in the manufacture of the T-6A Texan II turboprop trainer. The U.S. Air Force recently awarded the company two follow-on contracts worth $550 million for an additional 137 aircraft.
“Aircraft insurance is a fairly pragmatic business,” stressed Jim Harris, executive vice president of AIG Aviation, Atlanta. “We put very high liability limits on our clients–$100 to $300 million and even higher on some Fortune 500 companies. Considering we’re insuring $20 million aircraft flying near the speed of sound with millionaire executives on board, training is paramount in our book.”
At the Pilatus shareholder meeting earlier this year, triumphant chairman Oscar Schwenk declared, “In 2007, we sold more aircraft, we achieved a higher turnover, we attained a better operating result and we have a larger order backlog than ever!” With sales of the PC-12 pressurized business utility single turboprop aircraft peaking above output capacity for several consecutive years and trainer sales picking up, the Swiss manufacturer is truly
A big mission for a big company usually means a big airplane with a cavernous interior and enough fuel to carry a large load over thousands of miles. But to accomplish that there is always a cost-benefit compromise. When a big mission appears for a small company, the economics often translate into a small airplane, which means even more mission compromises.
Trade and marketing consultants Garsol Management Innovators of Makati City, the Philippines, have announced plans for the formation of an international flying school at Clark Field. This former U.S. Air Force base was abandoned some 10 years ago following the eruption of nearby Mount Pinatubo, which deposited large quantities of volcanic ash on the field.
As of June 13 at least 50,500 foreign nationals in the U.S. for flight training on aircraft with an mtow of 12,500 lb or more were required to suspend their training until their flight schools reapply to the Department of Justice (DOJ) on their behalf.
It might seem strange that the aerospace world awaits with such anticipation Singapore’s choice of advanced jet trainer, especially since it will probably involve no more than a dozen aircraft. But, as Alenia Aermacchi’s CEO Carmelo Cosentino remarked here at the show, “Singapore is one of the most sophisticated and demanding customers in the world–and we like that because we have the best product.”