Piper Aircraft is launching a new initiative here at NBAA to promote its flagship Meridian single-engine turboprop as a business aircraft. The six-seat, $2.176 million M-Class Meridian features a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-42A 500 shp engine and Garmin G1000 glass panel avionics. Top cruise speed is 260 knots and maximum range is 1,000 nm.
Piaggio Aero Industries, Italian manufacturer of the P.180 Avanti II twin turboprop, and ACEA (Beijing) Aviation Investment Co., exclusive distributor for the aircraft in Mainland China, signed a contract here at NBAA 2013 yesterday with SR Jet, a division of Beijing-based Sparkle Roll Investment Holdings, for the purchase of two Avanti IIs with options for an additional eight.
Private aviation membership services JetSuite and Wheels Up have forged a new partnership that will give reciprocal benefits to their customers. The agreement, which was announced today at the NBAA show in Las Vegas, will see Wheels Up members gaining access to JetSuite’s fleet of Embraer Phenom 100 and Cessna Citation CJ3 aircraft, giving them a light jet alternative to the new company’s Beechcraft King Air 350i turboprop twins.
The business aircraft resale market continues to stall as the sluggish pace of activity seen in the second quarter has persisted, according to Amstat’s business aviation market update, released this week at NBAA 2013. “We were disappointed with the second-quarter transaction performance and were hoping for a better third quarter,” said Andrew Young, general manager of the business aviation market data provider. “In general, transaction activity for business jets and turboprops did pick up in the third quarter and inventories were down–both good signs.
Beechcraft provided an update on the company’s fortunes and handed over the keys to the first King Air 350i ordered by membership aircraft access provider Wheels Up on Monday at its static display at Henderson Executive Airport. The Wheels Up order, together with aftermarket support, is worth up to $1.4 billion, according to the parties.
GE Aviation (Booth No. N5500) is aiming to grow its Business and General Aviation (and Integrated Systems) business to $1 billion in revenues by 2020 from the $300 million level it is at in 2013. This is already significantly up from the $150 million it turned over in 2008.
Pilatus Business Aircraft is displaying a mock-up of its twinjet PC-24, announced earlier this year at EBACE, here at its NBAA booth (No. C12216) near the indoor static display. A prototype is currently under construction and is expected to fly late next year and certification and first customer deliveries are anticipated in 2017. Three aircraft will be used in the flight test program.
Wheels Up, the U.S.-based aircraft access membership program scheduled to begin service this November, has named Gama Charters of Stratford, Conn., a subsidiary of Farnborough, UK-based Gama Group, as operator of its U.S.-based fleet of Beechcraft King Air 350i turboprops.
Six General Electric H80-powered Thrush 510Gs now operate with China’s Beidahuang General Aviation Co., following delivery of the airplanes on September 6. A subsidiary of state-owned Beidahuang Group, in 2012 the company placed the largest single order for Thrush aircraft ever when it committed to 20 Thrush 510Gs. The Thrush 510G agricultural aircraft became the first aircraft to enter service powered by H80 engines in late 2012.
Fifty years ago, on Sept. 14, 1963, a pair of test pilots for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries pushed the power levers forward and a uniquely designed twin-engine turboprop raced down the runway then lifted into the sky. Powered by two Turbomeca Astazou turboshafts, the XMU-2, as the prototype was named, spawned the production version Garrett 331-powered MU-2 family, of which about 290 are still successfully flying worldwide.