The flight-test of an experimental technology called Avoid, an infrared camera capable of detecting ash cloud particles before an aircraft might encounter them, has proved successful. Volcanic ash from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano grounded aviation across much of northern Europe for a week in 2010.
Bombardier has landed a new customer for its Q400 turboprop in Africa, inking a conditional order with Air Côte d’Ivoire for a pair of the 74-seat turboprops here at the Dubai Airshow yesterday. The national carrier of the Ivory Coast, established in January, has also signed for two options, convertible until November next year. Bombardier values the potential firm order at $69 million based on list prices.
Piaggio Aero and Selex ES announced at the Dubai Airshow that the first flight of the P.1HH HammerHead Demo unmanned aircraft system (UAS) technology demonstrator took place on November 14 at Trapani air force base in Italy.
ATR and lessor GE Capital Aviation Services (Gecas) have closed a $241 million deal here at the Dubai Airshow for five ATR 72-600 regional turboprops, plus five options. ATR CEO Filippo Bagnato and Gecas president and CEO Norman Liu signed the contract here on Sunday. “These aircraft will support the strong growth in regional air transport we anticipate over the coming years,” Liu said. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2015. Previously at the show, ATR (Stand 1424) also announced an order from Saudi Arabia’s Alpha Star Aviation Services.
Saudi Arabia’s Alpha Star Aviation Services (Stand 806) has signed a firm order for a single ATR 72-600, marking the first sale of ATR’s latest turboprop series in the Middle East. Alpha Star, which also reserved an option on another of the Pratt & Whitney PW127M-powered turboprops, now operates an ATR 42-600. It expects its first ATR 72 to arrive in September 2014.
Piper’s aircraft deliveries and revenues “trended up” for three consecutive quarters, continuing an improving trend in a challenging economy for general aviation aircraft. During the third quarter, Piper delivered 41 aircraft, including eight Meridian turboprop singles, worth $37.2 million. In the first nine months, the Vero Beach, Fla. aircraft manufacturer shipped 127 aircraft, including 20 Meridians, and revenue from new aircraft sales grew to $113.9 million, compared with $106.9 million during the same period last year.
There were two major developments in the business turboprop sector this year and neither involved new aircraft. However, they did show where potentially the next growth area is for the turboprop market: downstream. Turboprops historically have been a useful vehicle for introducing new customers into the corporate aircraft market, provided operators can maintain price discipline. If not, bad things can happen. Case in point: after several years of public struggle, Piaggio Avanti fractional provider Avantair ceased operations in June.
Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) has committed to a new agreement with Hawker Beechcraft Services to support its engines on both Beechcraft King Air twin turboprops and Hawker business jets. The engine maker will provide Beechcraft’s service division with comprehensive support including repair, hot section inspection and overhaul for the PT6As on the King Air family, as well as for the Hawker 1000’s PW305B turbofan, the Hawker 4000’s PW308A and the Hawker 400A’s JT15D-5.
Twin Commander Aircraft (Booth No. C9432) announced that authorized service center Eagle Creek Aviation Services of Indianapolis has completed a third Grand Renaissance Commander for the Colombian Army. The 690B had sat idle for three years before being ferried to Eagle Creek for the 10-month modification and refurbishment.