GE Aviation is no stranger to the business aviation world. Its CF34 engines have powered Challengers for 30 years, while its larger engines are used by Airbus Corporate Jets and Boeing Business Jets (through its CFM joint venture with France’s Snecma). It is currently bringing the HF120 turbofan (in the GE Honda Aero joint venture with Honda Aircraft) and Passport 20 (for Bombardier’s Global 7000/8000) to the marketplace.
The first quarter of 2013 was mixed for used business aircraft sales, according to the latest market update report from Amstat (Booth 931), although the good news is that inventories of used aircraft continue to drop from the 2009 highs.
Hawker Beechcraft emerged from bankruptcy in February, restructured and rebranded as Beechcraft (Booth 7060), and the message it brings to EBACE is that it has refocused on the business of building and selling airplanes, and servicing and supporting what it builds.
Beechcraft has two “significant” elements to its show presence here. The stand in the main hall, said executive v-p of sales and marketing Shawn Vick, “is branded universally as Beechcraft and we are represented there by members of our African, European and Middle East teams.”
Beechcraft, which recently emerged from bankruptcy protection and is now focused on its piston and turboprop products, expects to sell its mothballed jet division in the coming months. According to CEO Bill Boisture, the company has already completed disposition of its remaining inventory of approximately 20 new and pre-owned Hawker 4000 and Premier IA jets, a move he said went “better than planned,” though he declined to offer details about the revenue derived from their sale.
Honeywell, which provides SmartView synthetic-vision systems (SVS) for Gulfstream business jets with PlaneView avionics, Falcon jets with EASy II flight decks and Pilatus PC-12 NG turboprops with Apex cockpits, is far along in its development of a combined vision system (CVS), which marries forward-looking infrared to SVS, for helicopters.
Hailing an exceptional last two years that have accounted for fully 20 percent of all the 1,250 ATR twin turboprop airliners sold to date, ATR North America sales and marketing vice president Mark Neely pointed out how evenly distributed the European airframer’s customers are geographically.
Wichita, Kansas-based wire harness maker Global Aviation Technologies has introduced a new annunciator replacement panel for the de Havilland Dash 8 turboprop, the company announced here at the RAA Convention. A so-called “plug and play” modification, GAT’s new panel replaces and combines the current Honeywell-Grimes caution advisory panel (Part Number 80-5035-XX) and warning annunciator panels (Part Number 75-0434-X) for the Dash 8-100, -200 and -300, cutting in half the number of LRUs operators need to stock.
Bombardier Aerospace announced last month that Nordic Aviation Capital of Billund, Denmark, has signed a firm purchase agreement to acquire four Q400 turboprops. Bombardier places the value of the contact, based on list prices, at $134.77 million.
Despite the difficulty ATR has encountered in penetrating the U.S. turboprop market, company CEO Filippo Bagnato continues to express optimism that the Franco-Italian partnership will experience a resurgence in what perhaps represents its final frontier of a sort. Now controlling some 60 percent of the market for 50- to 90-seat airplanes based on unit sales backlogs, the last Western maker of 50-seat-category turboprops sees itself as a potential lifeline for small U.S. cities and communities that can no longer support the services of regional jets of any size.
Despite some vacillation on the part of airframe OEMs still studying the form their respective 90-seat turboprop might finally take, development of Pratt & Whitney Canada’s engine offering continues on what company vice president of marketing Richard Dussault called a critical path leading to expected launch next year.