Textron closed its $1.4 billion acquisition of Beechcraft on Friday, bringing together Cessna Aircraft and Beechcraft to form Textron Aviation. While the two aircraft manufacturers are now combined within a single segment, “Cessna, Beechcraft and Hawker will each remain distinct brands to preserve their rich histories and respective strengths in the marketplace,” the company said.
Airbus Corporate Jets has appointed Benoit Defforge managing director. He will also maintain his previous role as head of the Airbus Corporate Jet Centre (ACJC).
Bill Chiles, president and CEO of helicopter operator Bristow Group, announced he will retire at the end of July but will remain with the company in a consulting role for another two years. He will be replaced by senior v-p and CFO Jonathan Baliff.
Every year since the start of the great economic downturn of 2008, the business aviation industry has watched business jet deliveries dwindle and searched for signs that the market might have finally hit bottom. The downward slide was finally arrested last year, according to year-end numbers released last month by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. For the first time since 2008, worldwide deliveries of business jets were higher than the previous year, with manufacturers handing over 678 jets last year, six aircraft (1 percent) more than in 2012.
I often get the feeling that general aviation is the red-headed stepchild in government’s view of the aerospace industry. With apologies to the late Rodney Dangerfield, GA seems to get no respect from the federal government. There have been three comprehensive studies on aviation in the past quarter century, and a few others on narrower topics.
A prototype of Cessna’s newest midsize jet, the Citation Latitude, flew for the first time on February 18, lifting off from Wichita Mid-Continent Airport at 10 a.m. with senior flight-test pilots Aaron Tobias and Marcus Mannella in the cockpit. During the nearly 2.5-hour flight, the crew tested the flaps, landing gear, pressurization systems, anti-ice capabilities, stability and control. The twinjet–which fuses a new, larger fuselage with the wings, tail and systems of the Citation Sovereign+–reached 28,000 feet and 200 knots on its maiden flight.
Cessna Aircraft’s Citation Latitude prototype has already achieved its full performance envelope, just one week after the aircraft’s maiden flight. In only its third flight, the prototype reached its maximum speed of 440 ktas/Mach 0.80 and altitude of 45,000 feet. In fact, the midsize twinjet made a direct climb to 45,000 feet with a gross takeoff weight of 29,000 pounds.
A prototype of Cessna’s newest midsize jet offering, the Citation Latitude, flew for the first time on Tuesday, lifting off from Wichita Mid-Continent Airport at 10 a.m. local time with senior flight-test pilots Aaron Tobias and Marcus Mannella in the left and right seats, respectively.
Yingling Aviation has been selected to convert a Beechcraft King Air B200 from a standard executive interior to a critical-care medical configuration. Jerry Pickett, Yingling’s v-p of customer programs, told AIN that medevac operator EagleMed will continue to fly both C90s and B200s in its mix and is not replacing all aircraft. The operator flies the King Air 90s in a single-bed configuration; the King Air 200s will have a two-bed configuration. “This latest project highlights the expanding services we offer at our facility,” he said.
Epic Aircraft said it remains on schedule to certify its E1000 all-composite turboprop single by the middle of next year. Deliveries of the $2.75 million airplane are slated to begin in the second half of next year.
The E1000 will be a certified version of the kit-built Epic LT with a 1,200-shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-67A engine and Garmin G1000 glass cockpit. Preliminary performance and specifications include a 325-knot top cruise speed, 1,600-nm range and a 34,000-foot ceiling.
Cessna Aircraft is set to deliver the first Citation CJ4 going to a Japanese customer. The Wichita-based aircraft manufacturer won a contract for three CJ4s from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) through its special-mission affiliate, Kanematsu of Japan. The twinjets will be equipped with flight inspection systems and as part of the JCAB’s mission will confirm the accuracy of air navigation capabilities, air routes and ATC facilities in Japan.