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.
If you already fly or maintain some regional airliners and larger business jets, including the Bombardier CRJ200 and Global Express; Gulfstream IV and V/550; Dassault Falcon 2000EX and 7X; Embraer ERJ 145, 170 and 190; IAI Westwinds and Beechcraft King Air turboprops, you may already be familiar with an innovative, on-wing engine-cleansing system called EcoPower Wash.
Yukon, Okla.-based repair and refurbishment center Legacy Aviation Services (Booth No. C9432) hired Russ Hampton as a service technician at its Clarence E. Page Municipal Airport facility. Hampton has more than 25 years of maintenance and technical experience on a wide variety of turboprop and jet aircraft, including the Twin Commander series, one airframe in which the company specializes.
Today at NBAA 2013, aircraft remanufacturer Nextant Aerospace revealed its next project–a King Air C90 outfitted with GE H80 turboprop engines, Garmin G1000 glass cockpit, zero-timed components, winglets, strakes and new paint and interior. Initial deliveries of the G90XT, a $2 million to $3 million like-new turboprop twin with single-lever power controls, will start later next year.
The term game-changer is grossly overused in aviation, but few would dispute that the arrival on the market of Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PT6 turboprop 50 years ago this year did indeed change the engine game. The breakthrough technology that allowed this innovative turboprop to displace the piston and radial engines of the day was P&WC’s combination of the “free-turbine” and “reverse-flow” inlets.
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.