Even as officials of the North Carolina Department of Transportation celebrated the centennial of manned flight at ceremonies on the Outer Banks on December 17, a state audit issued three weeks earlier was recommending some extensive cost-cutting measures with regard to the state’s aircraft operations.
Táxi Aéreo Marília (TAM) plans to transfer nearly all of its maintenance activity from São Paulo Congonhas Airport, Brazil, to the nearby Jundiaí Airport, where the company has already begun building a new hangar. The new facility is scheduled to open in midyear.
Cessna and Gulfstream are positioning themselves to improve sales in India. Cessna said it delivered two Citations and one Caravan to Indian companies last year. Before those deliveries, five Citations were based in India. This year, Cessna plans to deliver two more Citations in India. Meanwhile, Gulfstream named Air Works India at Mumbai International Airport, Bombay, its sales agent for the region.
Cessna named West Star Aviation of Grand Junction, Colo., an authorized Citation service center and warranty fulfillment facility, one of six non-factory-owned authorized Citation service facilities in the U.S. West Star Aviation consists of more than 20 acres of ramp space and 140,000 sq ft of office and hangar space.
The first Citation Mustang test aircraft was towed from Cessna’s Pawnee facility in Wichita late last month for initial engine runs. According to a company spokeswoman, the engine run was one of the remaining systems tests to be completed before first flight, which is officially “this summer” but could occur this month.
For the second time since 1975, Russ Meyer is not chairman of Cessna Aircraft. Early last month, Meyer quietly retired as chairman with the honorary title of chairman emeritus. Simultaneously, Cessna president and CEO Jack Pelton assumed the chairman post.
Pratt & Whitney Canada recently reached the rated takeoff thrust of 1,350 pounds in sustained ground runs of its new PW615 turbofan engine, which will power the Cessna Citation Mustang. Cessna expects to receive the first engine shipsets early this year. Certification of the engine is planned by the end of 2005, and Cessna expects to certify the Mustang in the third quarter of 2006.
Starting with the Citation X, Cessna is slowly rolling out new software versions of flight and maintenance manuals for its currently-manufactured business jets. The software, provided by long-time Cessna vendor Arbortext of Ann Arbor, Mich., is available in CD and online versions.
Premier Air Center of East Alton, Ill., has deep roots in the general aviation community. It began in 1947 as Walston Aviation on St. Louis Regional Airport and became one of the largest Cessna dealers in the world. The business changed hands a few times, eventually becoming Premier Air Center in 1984. In 2002 a group of investors, including Sam Haycraft, Mike Durst and Jim Swehla, acquired the company.
On December 9 Cessna Aircraft claimed another record, though this one does not involve any aircraft speed or distance. In support of its expanding customer services, that day Cessna held grand-opening ceremonies for its 443,000-sq-ft Wichita Citation Service Center, below, the largest general aviation maintenance facility in the world.