While ATR and Bombardier continue to vacillate over plans to introduce a new 90-seat turboprop, Pratt & Whitney Canada keeps moving forward with a powerplant it believes will deliver a 20-percent fuel burn improvement over existing engines in the 5,000- to 7,000-shp range by the turn of the decade. Dubbed the Next Generation Regional Turboprop (NGRT), the engine would feature an all-new compressor, a miniaturized version of Pratt & Whitney’s patented Talon combustor and (probably) an eight-blade propeller.
When taking helm of a company that already owns a substantial portion of the regional aircraft market, one might be tempted to wonder if there’s anything more to be done. But Patrick de Castelbajac, who was appointed CEO of ATR at the beginning of June, knows there’s plenty of work left to do.
“When you’re at the top, the challenge is not only to stay at the top, but to find ways to continue to grow,” de Castelbajac told AIN. De Castelbajac follows Filippo Bagnato, whose four-year mandate, according to ATR’s statutes, expired at the end of May.
Among the debutantes at this year’s Farnborough Airshow is the Piaggio Aero Avanti EVO, the third generation of this eye-catching twin-turboprop business aircraft. The program was first revealed in May at the EBACE convention in Geneva, but the Avanti EVO’s appearance here is its first public outing at a major airshow.
Pilatus is to roll out the first example of its PC-24 business jet on August 1, just over a year after launching the model in May 2013. The aircraft is expected to make its first flight by year-end en route to European and U.S. certification in early 2017.
When taking the helm of a company that already owns a substantial portion of the regional aircraft market, one might be tempted to wonder if there’s anything more to be done. But Patrick de Castelbajac, who was appointed CEO of ATR at the beginning of June, knows there’s plenty of work left to do.
Honeywell has named JetSupport’s MRO division an authorized service center. The designation will broaden the MRO’s current maintenance capability, which includes the Citation 650 and Falcons. The initial authorization grants approval to perform maintenance on the Honeywell TFE731 turbofan and APUs. JetSupport plans to add Honeywell’s TPE331 turboprop and avionics products to its authorization.
JetSupport provides MRO services and support for business aviation and special-purpose aircraft.
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.
A preliminary report into a February 20 elevator disconnect incident on a Virgin Australia ATR 72 showed that maintenance technicians at Sydney Airport initially misdiagnosed the extent of the damage that occurred during that February arrival. The twin turboprop was later cleared to re-enter service and flew 13 more trips before severe damage to the tail was discovered in the area where the horizontal and vertical stabilizers were joined.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has certified the new Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127N turboprop to power the ATR 72-600. The PW127N offers 4.5 percent more takeoff power for better hot-and-high performance. Plans call for the PW127N to progressively roll into Avianca’s ATR fleet throughout this year and next. ATR expects to deliver the first Avianca ATR 72-600 equipped with the new engines “in the coming weeks,” allowing the airline to benefit from better takeoff performance at high-altitude airports such as its hub in Bogota, Colombia.
The plan announced last year by The Aviation Alliance to remanufacture Cessna 421Cs and Gulfstream IIIs is moving forward, according to company founder and managing director Geoff Miller, despite setbacks that have caused some delays. The California-based company is currently focusing on the Excalibur 421 turboprop conversion and hopes to have one completed in time for this year’s NBAA show in Orlando in October.