As it seeks to prolong the legacy of its 50-year-old PT6 engine dynasty, Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) is laying plans to refresh the epic product range at the top, middle and lower ends. Speaking with AIN ahead of this week’s NBAA show, P&WC president John Saabas confirmed that the manufacturer intends to cap the PT6 portfolio with a 2,000-shp version of the turboprop but indicated it is not yet ready to target a specific launch date.
Business aircraft activity last month climbed by 1.8 percent from a year ago, according to TraqPak data released today by aviation services company Argus. This was only the third year-over-year increase seen so far this year, it noted.
Avantair’s bankruptcy trustee filed a motion last week that seeks to sell a Socata TBM 700 owned by a wholly owned subsidiary and used solely for company executive transport. If Middle District Florida Bankruptcy Court judge Catherine McEwen approves the motion during a scheduled hearing on October 17, aircraft sales broker Corporate Jet Solutions would list the turboprop single for $1.85 million.
Hartzell Propeller’s “advanced swept airfoil” composite five-blade propeller for the Socata TBM 700/850 has received STC approval from both the FAA and EASA. The new design, specifically engineered for the TBM turboprop single, delivers faster takeoff acceleration, higher cruise speeds and better climb, as well as less noise, it said. According to Hartzell, the new propeller provides for a 100-feet-per-minute faster climb rate, while cruise is two knots faster than with the current four-blade propeller.
While the charter industry has seen some changes this year, the fractional-share business is undergoing a wrenching transition, with the shutdown of Avantair and the announced sale of Bombardier’s Flexjet to Flight Options parent Directional Capital.
Williams leads turbofans, Honeywell tops t-props
Quest Aircraft delivered the 100th Kodiak turboprop single during a ceremony today at its Sandpoint, Idaho factory, a milestone that comes less than six years after the first Kodiak was handed over to a customer in January 2008. Sunstate Aviation, a Part 91 operator based in Phoenix, took delivery of the centennial aircraft.
Membership-based private aviation start-up Wheels Up unveiled the exterior livery for its planned fleet of Beechcraft King Air 350i turboprops. France’s Happy Design Studio devised the blue-and-white paint scheme for the New York-based company in just 15 days. Wheels Up placed firm orders and options on 105 King Air 350is last month and expects deliveries to begin next month.
Total GA airplane billings in the first half of the year reached $10.4 billion, an increase of more than 25 percent over the same period last year, according to statistics released last month by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). The tally marks the first time since 2008 that the industry revenue has exceeded $10 billion in the first half of the year.
Palm Beach, Fla.-based Piaggio America–the North American representative for Piaggio Aero, the Italian company that manufactures the Avanti twin turboprop–will create an “OEM-trained team with the support of additional specialists furnished from Italy” to offer restoration services to fractional share owners of Avantis grounded by the bankruptcy of Avantair, Piaggio America president and CEO John Bingham told AIN yesterday.