Cessna booked orders for 71 Citations in the third quarter, bringing the order book to just under 230 for the first nine months of this year, according to the company’s earnings report released this morning by the manufacturer’s parent company, Textron. Cessna delivered 61 Citations in the third quarter of this year compared with 41 a year ago and one higher than its forecasted range of 55 to 60.
Few, if any, Citation Mustang orders are for air-limo operations, and Cessna appears neither surprised nor alarmed.
CESSNA REIMS F-406 CARAVAN II, INVERNESS, UK, OCT. 22, 2004–Cessna Reims Caravan II G-TWIG, operated by Highland Airways, Inverness, Scotland, crashed in mountainous terrain 37 miles northwest of Inverness. IMC was reported in the area. The aircraft was substantially damaged and the pilot was killed. The aircraft had taken off from Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, and was en route to Inverness.
Information received during an FAA investigation into suspected unapproved parts indicates that Temperform USA, formerly of Mirada, Calif., had improperly heat-treated numerous aluminum parts that have aviation applications. Temperform was approved to perform heat-treating for many production approval holders.
Bell/Agusta AB139s seem to be headed far and wide at the moment. Deliveries of the new medium twin to the Namibian government and, most recently, to philanthropist the Aga Khan (see sidebar) are recent milestones, as the companies announce orders from Canada, New Zealand and the U.S. (The U.S. Coast Guard’s Deepwater order for up to 35 aircraft was a particular coup.) At press time, Bell/Agusta reported orders for more than 80 aircraft.
You might call Heli-Expo 2005 a triumph for Bell/Agusta Aerospace and particularly for the AB139. In the period covering European certification in 2003, FAA IFR authorization in December and last month’s show, eight AB139s have been handed over to customers, for use in roles ranging from VIP to air ambulance and a wide range of environments. Twenty-six more were ordered in Anaheim last month.
Following the first Bell/Agusta AB139 delivery to Helilario, production is now ramping up to meet deliveries to international customers later this year. The company said it already has a “sizable” order book for the helicopter, corresponding to two years of production. Preparation of AB139 customer-support and training activities is on target to meet introduction-into-service dates.
Cessna recently signed a ground-lease agreement at Williams Gateway Airport, Mesa, Ariz., possibly for the eventual development of a Citation Service Center. But, while Cessna confirms it has signed a lease for 11.7 acres of land at the airport, the company hasn’t disclosed what, or even if, it will build there.
Cessna and its parent, Textron, rallied quickly to support president and CEO Jack Pelton’s credentials in the wake of a damaging 60 Minutes segment that aired last month. The CBS show mentioned that Pelton was among thousands who essentially purchased college degrees from an alleged diploma mill, specifically Hamilton University in Evanston, Wyo.
The general aviation industry continued a strong recovery through third-quarter deliveries and billings, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. New aircraft billings were up 19.7 percent, to $8.1 billion, in the first nine months of this year, while total deliveries of new GA airplanes increased 7.7 percent, to 1,928.