Bowing to some inevitable delays after September 11, Bell/Agusta Aerospace reports assembly of the first two BA609 tiltrotors is nearing completion, with engine runups slated to begin this month. First flight is still scheduled to take place at Bell’s Arlington, Texas flight research center before the end of the year, although industry observers have expressed skepticism that this deadline can be met.
Citing a need to realign its executive lineup in the face of an economy that was already softening before it was rocked by the events of September 11, Textron has dismissed Bell Helicopter chairman and CEO Terry Stinson, filling his former position with John Murphey, Bell president and COO.
Bell Helicopter last month officially opened its worldwide sales, support and training headquarters at Alliance Airport in Fort Worth, Texas. The facility, originally built in 1999 for Galaxy Aerospace, will also serve as the delivery center and training school for the Bell/Agusta BA609 tiltrotor.
In another sign of an economic recovery of some measure within business aviation, Cessna confirmed it plans to add 400 workers to its current Wichita employment level of 8,100. An increase in scheduled bizjet deliveries this year and next, along with the introduction of new Citation models, prompted the hiring, a Cessna official said.
Cessna Aircraft chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton said his company is internally moving on the Large Cabin Concept airplane as if it’s a “go program,” meaning Cessna is spending real money on the design and has begun vendor selection for the company’s largest business jet to date. “Had the show been later in the year, we definitely would have launched the Large Cabin Concept [LCC] airplane here at the NBAA Convention,” he told AIN.
Eric Mandemaker has assumed the role of CEO of the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA), replacing Brian Humphries, who has been named EBAA president.
“Had the show been later in the year, we definitely would have launched the Large Cabin Concept [LCC] airplane here at the NBAA Convention,” Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton told NBAA Convention News. “We’re ready to go.” The Wichita aircraft manufacturer unveiled the LCC cabin mockup and revealed basic details about the twinjet at last year’s NBAA show but has yet to officially green light the project.
Northern Air (Booth No. 4301), an FBO at Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Mich., has completed a major remodeling of its customer-service areas. According to the company, the four-month project “transformed an out-of-date and inefficient space into a modern, warm and conducive environment.” Northern Air, which has been in business since 1946, has 75,000 sq ft of heated hangar space at the Grand Rapids airport.
Cessna Aircraft is riding high on the crest of the business jet sales wave, and it just got a little higher this week at the NBAA Convention. Besides the volume orders from XOJet and Japan Air Systems announced at the show, the Wichita-based aircraft manufacturer has so far logged 53 walk-up orders from customers during NBAA 2007.
Cessna’s Citation Mustang entered service in Europe earlier this month when British-based entrepreneur Jane Howell arrived at the London-area Farnborough Airport on September 5, having flown the new entry-level jet across the Atlantic from Wichita. The delivery entailed 14 hours of flying and three refueling stops, but for the owner-pilot it was the trip of a lifetime.