Scott BengstonLongtime Cessna executive Scott Bengston has joined EastWest Aircraft Sales. He worked for Cessna for 30 years, mostly as the contract administrator for the Caravan, but he also worked on the Mustang, M2, and 300 and 400 series programs.
The pilots of a Thomas Cook A330 had their hands full when the right engine of the big airliner failed on the takeoff roll at Manchester Airport in the U.K. Planespotter video by Eddie Leathwood shows a jet of flame exiting the rear of the engine followed by smoke and the delayed sound of the explosion. There were no reported injuries and the explosion appears to have been contained.
A California company says it has increased the top speed of the fastest fixed-gear single by almost 10 percent, added up to 30 percent range and given it a 40- to 50-percent increase in climb rate without touching the engine. In fact, says Lam Aviation, the Columbia 300 (predecessor to the Cessna Corvalis) saw all those improvements and more with new ailerons. It's not quite as simple as that. The Lam aileron allowed the installation of a smaller, lighter wing while retaining or improving handling across the full flight envelope. "The Lam Aileron enables aircraft to use smaller wings that weigh less and produce less drag, yielding higher cruise speeds and rates of climb, lower fuel consumption and improved ride comfort through turbulence, while also improving roll control and slow-speed flight handling," the company said in a news release.
Safran and Honeywell have unveiled an electric taxiing system for airliners that is expected to save millions of gallons of fuel and make airports much nicer places. According to France 24 the companies collaborated on the system, which puts electric motors on the main wheels to allow pilots to maneuver on the ground without using the main engines. The system is virtually silent and the weight penalty is more than compensated for by the smaller fuel load it allows aircraft to carry. It's estimated that about 5 percent of jet fuel is burned before takeoff and after landing and taxi times are on the increase at airports all over the world. The companies are demonstrating the system on an A320, which is actually at the upper end of the target market.
Diamond Aircraft Industries is partnering with Russia's Rostec to develop a low-cost, 19-seat, diesel-powered, composite utility aircraft designed to service communities in vast reaches of the country that have no road or rail links. The aircraft will be designed to replace the ancient An-2 biplanes and L-410 turboprops that ply these obscure routes now. "An-2 and L-410 [aircraft] currently in service have low fuel efficiency and high operating costs," said Rostec CEO Sergey Chemezov. "Creating a principally new aircraft will fulfill this niche and allow us to replace the obsolete fleet." Russia doesn't currently build any aircraft in that range and those built in other countries are updates of old designs, he said.
It's been a few years since there was a first flight of a clean sheet airliner design but it seems likely there will be two by the end of the month. Airbus announced the first flight of its A350 will be June 14 at 10 a.m. in Toulouse, France. Assuming that goes well, the A350 will become the main attraction at the Paris Air Show, which starts June 17. The company rolled out the prototype of the XWB (extra wide body) aircraft a month ago with a full paint job and the aircraft has been undergoing ground tests. The A350 is a direct challenge to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the highly successful Boeing 777, a new model of which will be on display at Paris. Meanwhile, in Canada, Bombardier is planning to fly its new CSeries single-aisle airliner by the end of the month.
Embraer has released a splashy new promotional video featuring its business jet spokesman, actor Jackie Chan. The video, described by Embraer as a "cinematic short film," has the production values of a Hollywood trailer and packs a plot, special effects and generous views of the cabin into a six-minute package aimed at getting across the leading-edge technology of the Legacy 500 business jet.
A New York state flight school owner says he'll be forced to close at the end of June because of a new sales tax ruling that has already cost schools and individual aircraft owners thousands of dollars. Bob Miller, who owns Bob Miller Flight Training in Buffalo, said in an interview with AVweb he predicts flight schools all over the state will be forced to close. He also said aircraft owners involved in leaseback arrangements with schools will be hit with taxes and penalties that will force them to cancel their deals with the schools because of a new interpretation of the sales tax code on flight school aircraft. Miller said that until this week, aircraft purchased for use for flight training were exempt from the 8.75 percent sales tax as were the lease payments schools paid aircraft owners for using the planes. But the state has changed its mind on the exemption. "This wasn't a change in the law, this is just some bureaucrat's new interpretation," he said. They've also made the ruling retroactive, Miller said.
Mike QuinnMike Quinn is the new general manager of Atlas Aviation at Peter O. Knight Airport in Tampa. Quinn was Atlas's first employee and was most recently the manager of the company's Merritt Island location.
The new owners of the rights to the former Sino Swearingen SJ30 business jet have been offered an "aggressive" incentive package to build the aircraft in Cedar City, Utah. The company is now called SyberJet. The package would be worth about $10 million in property tax relief for an enterprise touted to create 1,200 aerospace jobs in the town, which is about 250 miles south of Salt Lake City. "This is the best incentive we've offered to anyone in recent years," said Brennan Wood, director of the Office of Economic Development. The state is also reportedly reaching for its checkbook to sweeten the deal. SyberJet is also considering San Antonio, Texas, as its home but it's not clear what incentives have been offered there. Although the light jet market that the SJ30 would re-enter is the weakest segment of business aviation, SyberJet CEO Chuck Taylor says the aircraft's performance sets it apart.
The FAA says cooperation, not regulation, is the answer to quelling complaints about helicopter operations throughout the Los Angeles basin. The agency released a report that rejected proposals to channel helicopter traffic into defined routes to address noise and the perception of dangerous operations. There are dozens of helicopter tour operators and news outlets whose aircraft have been the object of complaints for decades but the FAA report says trying to regulate those activities beyond what the FARs already dictate would be next to impossible given the huge numbers of aircraft operations in general in the region. It says, instead, that helicopter operators should adopt voluntary good neighbor policies, something politicians who've been fighting for increased regulation dismiss.
Kingsley OkoliKingsley Okoli is the new regional sales director for Beechcraft in sub-Saharan Africa. Okoli was formerly an F-16 crew chief and fighter squadron logistics readiness officer for the U.S. Air Force.
A study funded by the European Commission and involving 35 aviation and government groups is taking a serious look at single-pilot operations for airliners. Advanced Cockpit for Reduction of StreSs and workload (ACROSS) will spend more than $40 million studying creating an electronic copilot to keep the human pilot flying correctly. The project is being coordinated by Thales Avionics.
A 32-year-old man has been taken to the hospital after he jumped out of an airliner while it was taxiing at Toronto's Pearson International Airport. As the Sunwing Airlines Boeing 737 headed for the gate at the end of a flight from Cuba just after midnight Monday, the passenger calmly opened one of the mid-cabin emergency exits and hopped out. The Globe and Mail reported the tired travelers were alarmed when one passenger started yelling that a door had been opened and someone had made an "early exit" from the plane.
Flexjet, the aircraft management arm of Bombardier, says it's hiring pilots to meet the demand of a huge increase in business. While airframe companies have continued to say demand for their products is flat, Flexjet says demand for its services is up 83 percent in the first quarter of 2013 over the same period in 2012. "With the economy picking up speed, owners who have been tentative since the downturn have started to gain more confidence and are taking more and more trips," said Flexjet President Deanna White.
St. Louis University's Parks College has conferred the first-ever Ph.D. in Aviation in the U.S. to Damon Lercel. The school has been working on establishing the degree for 10 years and the new doctor says it's an important milestone in aviation education. "The program offered not only an in-depth immersion in research, but also opportunities to interact with both the domestic and international aviation industries." Lercel said, "It's a victory for the advancement of aviation." The degree was also the first for the school.
Business aviation leaders say there is a "fragile" recovery underway and urged governments all over the world to amend or establish policies to shore up the industry. On the eve of the opening of the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva on Monday, CEOs of major airframers and business aviation associations urged governments to cut red tape and stop unfairly targeting the sector for tax and fee increases. "The difficult environment has dragged on," Reuters quoted European Business Aviation Association Fabio Gamba as saying. "Traffic has yet to recover to comfortable levels, while an industry turnaround is hampered by some government policy measures."
Pilots and operators who use SpiderTracks satellite monitoring devices in their aircraft can now register their device with the AFSS system to enable real-time tracking of their flights. In a news release Lockheed Martin, which operated the AFSS system, said by registering their SpiderTracks device, pilots can ensure that their flight progress is monitored from takeoff to landing and if the device stops moving, stops transmitting or sends an emergency signal, the system is instantly alerted. "As a result, the system is able to initiate search and rescue procedures with more precision and speed than previously possible," said Lockheed Martin. The service is free. The SpiderTracks system currently plots aircraft progress on a website that requires a login. The SpiderTracks partnership seems to be the test bed for a system-wide real-time monitoring system.
Embraer will fly its prototype Legacy 500 midsize business jet to the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva next week in the first public showing of the aircraft. Corporate Jet Investor is reporting that Embraer will also bring along its 2013 model Lineage 1000. "EBACE, Europe's premier business aviation gathering, is an excellent showcase to debut the Legacy 500 and the 2013 Lineage 1000," said Ernest Edwards, president, Embraer Executive Jets. The Legacy 500 was announced at the 2008 EBACE and had its first flight last November. Meanwhile, EBACE continues to be the go-to show for business jet vendors and customers in Europe.
Alan BarnesAlan Barnes has been named group managing director for JETS. He was previously at Inflite Jet Center as customer support manager.