The world’s economy, for the most part, is slowly and steadily improving, but that has not yet provided the general aviation industry with a shot in the arm. During the past year only two clean-sheet jet designs were formally unveiled–the Pilatus PC-24 and Dassault Falcon 5X–but these were known to be under way for many years before this year’s public program launches.
Textron and Beechcraft Corp. announced late yesterday that Textron has agreed to acquire Beech Holdings, LLC, the parent of Beechcraft Corp., for approximately $1.4 billion in cash. This confirms rumors swirling over the past few months.
Cessna Aircraft marked an early New Year celebration yesterday with the first deliveries of both the Citation M2 and the Citation Sovereign+. The $4.395 million M2 is a derivative of Cessna’s CJ1 and retains the same C525 type designation as the aircraft from which it is derived. Featured are such major upgrades as winglets, the new Intrinzic cockpit powered by Garmin G3000 touchscreen avionics, a restyled cabin and cockpit and new Williams International FJ44-1AP-21 engines.
Friday’s market chatter that Textron is set to acquire Beechcraft had still drawn no official comment either party as of press time. A December 20 report in the Financial Times citing only “people familiar with the matter” was enough to drive Textron’s share price up on Wall Street by almost 15 percent at one point to close at $37.29 by the end of the day.
Cessna Aircraft celebrated Christmas two days early with first deliveries today of both the new Citation M2 and the Citation Sovereign+ models. Deliveries began immediately following certifications by the Federal Aviation Administration, with the first M2 going to best-selling author, pilot and former Citation Mustang owner Stuart Woods.
Wheels Up plans to add Cessna Citation Excels and Sovereigns to its private aviation membership program, the company announced on Friday. The first Citations are set to become available to Wheels Up members around the end of the first quarter. Cessna is currently outfitting the first of these with Wheels Up’s blue-and-white livery and with revamped cabins providing Wi-Fi connectivity.
Textron AirLand’s prototype Scorpion twin-engine “tactical” jet, which was built by Textron subsidiary Cessna Aircraft, flew for the first time this morning in Wichita. The aircraft, flown by engineering test pilot Dan Hinson and copilot David Sitz, took off from McConnell Air Force Base and conducted “a range of handling maneuvers” for nearly an hour-and-a-half, completing the flight at 10:30 a.m. Central Time. The joint-venture company had delayed the flight for several days because of weather in Wichita.
Last Friday, the day after the Thanksgiving holiday, was one of those perfect Northern California late-autumn days, and it was a day off so I took my stepfather Dennis flying. Although he has a private pilot certificate he no longer flies. But every time I visit he asks if I can take him flying. This time, the answer was “Yes,” instead of the usual, “No, because I’m not checked out at any of the local airplane rental companies.”
A Cessna 208B Grand Caravan operated by Tropicair crashed November 25 in the Gulf province of Papua New Guinea killing three of 10 on board. The Caravan pilot was among the seven survivors. The airplane was on a domestic flight from Kikori to Gobe when it crashed into a river near an airstrip, possibly during an emergency-landing attempt.
Brazil’s civil aviation authority, Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil (ANAC), approved Blackhawk’s XP42A performance upgrade for the Cessna 208A Caravan. ANAC’s certification follows similar approval from the FAA in June that permits the engine upgrade on the Cessna 208A in the U.S. The XP42A mod includes a new 850-shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-42A; Hartzell four-blade propeller; composite cowling; high-efficiency inlet duct; larger oil cooler; and two new exhaust stacks. Blackhawk claims the package increases climb rate by 24 percent and cruise speed by 9 percent.