Piedmont Hawthorne has entered into an agreement with Saab Aircraft Leasing (SAL) to market Saab 340 twin-turboprops for corporate shuttle use. The Winston-Salem, N.C.-based business aviation services group will seek corporate buyers and lessors for the Swedish-built regional airliners and will also refurbish the interiors and provide maintenance.
Pratt & Whitney Canada announced last year at NBAA 2000 that it had embarked on development of a new line of turboprop, turboshaft and turbofan engines, the PW600 series, spanning a power range from 1,000- to 3,000-lb thrust (500- to 2,000-shp), and a demonstration program for geared turbofan engine technology.
In a surprise announcement, Leland Snow, president of agplane manufacturer Air Tractor, said his company is developing a new passenger/utility turboprop airplane that will be put to work by the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI).
0Atlantic Coast Airlines ended 13 years of 19-seat aircraft operations when it retired the last of its Jetstream 32 turboprops on December 3. The Sterling, Va.-based airline began shedding the British-built turboprops from its fleet in mid-2000, when it flew 28 of the generally efficient but outdated airplanes to points throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.
Ibis Aerospace came to last month’s NBAA Convention with a restyled full-scale cabin mockup of its Ae270 turboprop single. The new interior provides fully adjustable leather seating in a club arrangement and includes two foldout tables, an ultrasuede headliner, a fabric-covered side ledge, adjustable lighting and environmental controls.
EADS Socata at EBACE outlined what its product launch might be next year–a twin-engine business aircraft that is bigger than its TBM 850 turboprop single. “The future product will have two more seats than the [six-seat] TBM,” said Socata CEO Jean-Michel Léonard. Socata expects to make a launch decision early next year. “Before that, four criteria have to be met,” he said.
Clintonville, Wis.-based Performance Conversions has received an STC for installing 751-shp Czech-built Walter M601E-11 turboprop engines and five-blade Avia propellers on the King Air C90-1, C90A, C90B, C90SE and E90. The conversion, approved last April on the basic C90, also decreases cabin noise, takeoff distance, routine maintenance costs and downtime for engine maintenance, according to the company.
Sales of pre-owned turboprop aircraft are a little like the old line, “I have good news and bad news. Which do you want first?”
Last year at this time, dealers predicted that the market was facing a rocky ride, with economic storm clouds already on the horizon and the presidential election still not decided. No one had any inkling of just how rocky it was going to become.
Russian charter operator Dexter Air Taxi has signed a fleet management program with Pratt & Whitney Canada covering eight PT6A-67P engines on its fleet of Pilatus PC-12 aircraft.
While people dealing in pre-owned turboprops are not exactly doing cartwheels over the state of their industry these days, most are optimistic that the downward spiral seems to be flattening out. They cite an apparent leveling of prices, which is bringing buyers back into the marketplace, and more favorable insurance rates.