The Beechcraft King Air turboprop fleet has surpassed 60 million flight hours, the Wichita-based aircraft manufacturer announced today at the Sun ’n Fun Fly-in in Lakeland, Fla. More than 7,000 King Airs are in operation in 127 countries, including all branches of the U.S. military.
Oregon Aero (Booth No. A40-42), makers of comfort seat augmentation and custom upholstery for dozens of aircraft, is introducing its SoftSeat Posture cushions cut specifically for the Daher-Socata TBM 700 and 850 turboprop singles this week at the Sun ’n Fun Fly-in in Lakeland, Fla. The cushions, custom fit for pilot-right, pilot-left, forward- and rear-facing passenger positions, are available in every upholstery style and color that Daher-Socata offers for its aircraft interiors.
Although an RFP has yet to be issued, Alenia says it is delighted by the announcement of Malaysian defense minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi at LIMA 2013 that a Maritime Patrol System (MPS) is now the main acquisition priority for that country’s armed forces. The Italians believe the ATR 72MP would be a “natural choice.” The Malaysian requirement is estimated at between six and 12 aircraft.
Tony Cestnik, president of Anchorage, Alaska-based Aero Twin, carved a niche for himself and his business by making the Cessna Caravan more rugged to operate in the bush, and the experience he built in that untamed territory shaped his approach to the process.
Raisbeck/Hartzell swept-blade “turbofan propellers” entered service this month on a King Air B200. This aircraft is also the first installation of the Epic Platinum Performance Package with the new swept-blade props.
The first T-50 advanced jet trainer for the Indonesian Air Force has been flown in Korea by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). The first export order for the T-50 was placed in 2011, and is worth $400 million for 16 aircraft, according to the Indonesians.
While general aviation began to show signs of recovery in 2012, boosted by strong growth in rotorcraft and the agricultural turboprop aircraft segment, the slow economic recovery and economic uncertainties continued to plague business jet and multi-engine piston deliveries. However, “We see growth in business aviation demand over the long term driven by a growing U.S. and world economy, especially in the jet, turboprop and turbine rotorcraft markets,” the FAA said in its “Aerospace Forecast for Fiscal Years 2013-2033,” released yesterday.
Airborne Engines (Booth No. N5804), a subsidiary of M International, used Heli-Expo ’13 as the venue for signing a memorandum of understanding with Rolls-Royce to become an authorized maintenance center (AMC) for the M250 engine line. M International’s Airborne Engines, a supplier of aftermarket technical, MRO and supply-chain management services, will perform the M250 maintenance at its 32,000-sq-ft facility in Delta, British Columbia (Canada).
Russia’s Yakutia Airlines took the first of three Bombardier Q400 turboprops to its base at Yakutsk Airport in late January, marking the first-ever delivery of the big turboprop to a Russian operator. Yakutia’s new status as a Q400 operator follows type approval for the type by Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK) in June last year.
While the business aviation industry greets each morsel of positive economic news with cautious optimism, continuing financial indecision made 2012 another depressed year for turbine aircraft deliveries, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), which released its year-end delivery totals last month. Last year general aviation reached a milestone of sorts, according to GAMA chairman Brad Mottier. For the first time, he noted, shipments to North American buyers in all three airplane segments–jets, turboprops and pistons–dipped to 50 percent.