Having established an office in Hong Kong just under two years ago, aircraft broker Jetcraft is well positioned to exploit the burgeoning opportunities in the Greater China market for business and private aviation.
Bell Helicopter revealed at the end of March that it has sold three Bell 505 Jet Ranger Xs to China Star Aero Investment. The sale was made at Heli-Expo, held in Anaheim, California, in February, but not announced at the time. The agreement includes an option to purchase an additional seven aircraft.
Bell said that China Star Aero will use the new helicopter as part of the so-called “Beautiful China” tourism campaign. This will involve an aerial sightseeing initiative, which is supported by China’s central government.
Hartwig Baier, 73, died early last month unexpectedly of a heart attack while on vacation in the Bahamas, depriving the button-down world of business aviation of one of its more colorful and highly regarded characters.
Cessna Aircraft and Beechcraft are making their first public appearance as sister companies under the Textron Aviation banner this week at the Sun ’n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla., less than three weeks after Textron closed a $1.4 billion deal to acquire Beechcraft. Still, the companies have separate static display areas at the show because, as a spokeswoman explained, there wasn’t enough room at either space to display a combined Cessna/Beech lineup of piston and turboprop aircraft, ranging from the Cessna 172 to Beechcraft King Air 350i.
Textron closed its $1.4 billion acquisition of Beechcraft on March 14, bringing together Cessna Aircraft and Beechcraft to form Textron Aviation. Scott Ernest, Cessna’s president and CEO since 2011, was tapped to lead Textron Aviation as CEO. Meanwhile, Bill Boisture, chairman and CEO of Beechcraft since 2009, was omitted from the Textron Aviation senior leadership team and “is moving on to new opportunities,” a Textron spokesman told AIN.
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.
Bell Helicopter secured orders and purchase commitments for 196 new helicopters from customers during Heli-Expo, which was held last week in Anaheim, Calif. This number includes more than 170 letters of intent for Bell’s circa-$1 million light single helicopter, the Bell 505 Jet Ranger X, that was formally unveiled at the show.
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.
Bell Helicopter racked up orders and commitments for more than 110 helicopters at Heli-Expo as of this afternoon. The majority of these are for the company’s new Model 505 Jet Ranger X, which has garnered 94 letters of intent.