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James Swickard

James Swickard
AEA Reports GA Avionics Market Of $6.3 Billion 

The Aircraft Electronics Association released the first of what is to be an evolving series of avionics market reports, finding sales by 19 manufacturers reaching nearly $6.3 billion in 2012.

The initial report, presented during the opening ceremonies of the association’s 56th annual AEA International Convention & Trade Show at the MGM Grand Hotel & Convention Center in Las Vegas, is designed to provide a picture of the value of the general aviation avionics market.

Piper Planning Pays Off With Steady Sales, Delivery Growth In 3rd Quarter 

Just more than a year ago, Piper Aircraft was executing a major strengthening of its worldwide dealer network and focusing on its core piston and turboprop product line, dropping its PiperJet program and matching production to forecast deliveries. The effort seems to be paying off in steady growth in sales and deliveries, according to the company’s third-quarter sales and delivery report released last week.

Honda Aircraft AddsRepair, Service Facility 

Honda has broken ground on a 90,000-sq.-ft., $20 million major repair and service facility on a 54-acre extension of the company’s campus in Greensboro, N.C.

The planned occupancy of the new facility at the Piedmont Triad International Airport (GSO) is set for the second half of 2013, “prior to the HondaJet aircraft’s entry into service,” Honda says.

The HondaJet development program has encountered a series of delays over the years, including a reworking of its GE Honda HF120 turbofan engine, which has yet to be certified.

FAA Proposes Stage 3 Helicopter Noise Requirements 

FAA is proposing to adopt International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) noise certification standards for helicopters. In a notice of proposed rulemaking released last week, FAA says that incorporating these more stringent noise certification standards into U.S. regulations is consistent with the agency’s goal of harmonizing U.S. regulations with international standards.

A helicopter certificated under this standard would be designated as a Stage 3 helicopter.

Eurocopter Expects Easing China Airspace Restrictions With Joint Venture 

Eurocopter is the latest aircraft manufacturer to invest in a Chinese joint venture anticipating that the Peoples Liberation Army will lighten prohibitive airspace restrictions that has put a damper on general aviation development. Helicopter operations typically have been limited to below 300 meters with requirements to land and depart from the same airport.

Nextant Increases Asia Presence With Order For 10 400XTs 

Nextant is building a presence in Asia for its Nextant 400XT program with the sale of 10 of the remanufactured business jets to Asia Pacific Jets and a distributor partnership.

The Asia Pacific Jets order calls for the aircraft to be delivered over three years, with the first two delivered by the end of this year. Singapore-based Asia Pacific provides medical evacuation and corporate charter services.

Embraer Launches Legacy 450 Fabrication, Legacy 500 Progresses 

Embraer Executive Jets has milled the first part for its mid-light Legacy 450 executive jet, marking the beginning of fabrication for the new aircraft.

Embraer Executive Jets President Ernest Edwards calls the first metal cut a significant milestone that brings the second of the company’s two new business jets “to reality.”

Cessna’s Latitude Gets Second Range Boost 

Cessna continues to tweak the performance parameters of its new midsize business jet, the Citation Latitude, announcing its second boost in range since the aircraft was unveiled last fall.

The new range, revealed during the Latin American Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition Aug. 15 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, is now 2,500 nm, a 25% increase from the original target.

Cessna Renames New Turbo Diesel Skylane 

Cessna is renaming its jet-fuel burning, turbocharged piston aircraft announced at the Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. The Turbo Skylane NXT is now the Turbo Skylane JT-A.

Shortly after unveiling the aircraft July 23, Cessna learned that the “NXT” name was already in use. German light-sport aircraft maker Remos uses NXT, as does kit-builder Nemesis Air Racing Corp.

Cessna Moves Ahead With Diesel Skylane 

Cessna Aircraft is developing a diesel version of its Model 182 Skylane that, when available in the second quarter of 2013, will replace the Lycoming-powered Model 182 Skylane that burns leaded aviation gasoline.

GE Aviation Launches Two H80 Turboprop Engine Derivatives 

GE Aviation is launching two derivative of its recently certified H80 turboprop engine, the H75 and H85 turboprops.

The H75 engine will be rated at 750 (shp) for both takeoff and maximum continuous operation, and the H85 engine will be rated at 850 shp. Like the H80, the H75 and H85 engines will be manufactured at GE Aviation’s facility in the Czech Republic and aimed at the agricultural, commuter, utility and business turboprop aircraft segments. Type certifications from EASA and FAA are anticipated early next year, GE says.

Eclipse Returns To P&WC For Eclipse 550 Engines 

Eclipse Aerospace is returning to Pratt & Whitney Canada’s (P&WC) PW610F engine to power the next-generation Eclipse 550 twin-engine business jet.

The PW610F powers the 261 Eclipse 500 aircraft currently in service.

The decision was largely expected, further cementing the company’s partnerships with United Technologies companies. UT’s Sikorsky has invested in the VLJ maker and is providing support, while UT’s PZL Mielec is providing major components, including the fuselage, empennage and wing.

GE Aviation Launches Two H80 Turboprop Engine Derivatives 
GE Aviation is launching two derivative of its recently certified H80 turboprop engine, the H75 and H85 turboprops, the company announced July 23.
Hawker Beechcraft Puts AT-6 Into Low-Rate Production 

Hawker Beechcraft Defense Company (HBDC) is putting its AT-6 light attack/armed reconnaissance aircraft into low rate initial production (LRIP) in Wichita.

‘Drop-In’ Unleaded Avgas Replacement Unavailable, ARC Report Finds 

A “drop-in” replacement for unleaded aviation gasoline is unavailable and alternative fuels would require a “significant” safety assessment, leaving a solution possibly years away, a committee has found.

There is no market-driven reason for a replacement fuel due to the limited demand for avgas and its special characteristics, the panel also said. Safety, liability and expense are additional factors in what would be a complex approval and deployment process.

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