Air Capital Aviation Report, July 23, 2006

Carl Chance

By Carl Chance, Wings Over Kansas’s aviation & aerospace correspondent, former news consultant and producer for Wingspan Air & Space Channel.

This is the continuing installment bringing you aviation and aerospace news and items of interest from Wichita, the Air Capital of the World.

Cessna Finds Strong Market in Europe for Citation Business Jets:

Cessna Aircraft Company, a unit of Textron, Inc., continues to strengthen its business in Europe for its line of Citation jets.

“This is our second largest market, behind the United States, and remains very important to us,” said Cessna Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Jack J. Pelton. “Our products continue to do well in Europe due to a number of factors — great performance and value, and a support network throughout the region that is second to none.”

Cessna is exhibiting a Citation XLS, Citation CJ3 and Cessna Caravan turboprop at the 45th Farnborough International Airshow 2006.

Pelton stressed that all of the Citation models are doing well in Europe, particularly the Citation XLS, the Citation Sovereign, the Citation CJ series – the CJ1+, CJ2+ and CJ3 – and the Citation Mustang, now in the final stages of certification flight test.

“We’ll deliver 26 Citation XLS models in Europe this year out of 67 total Citations headed to the region in 2006,” Pelton said. “The CJ1+, CJ2+ and CJ3 will make up more than a third of our European deliveries this year. The Citation Sovereign is also gaining a lot of strength in Europe, with the Sovereign making up more than a third of our new orders in Europe for 2006. And our Citation Mustang has done very well here, with about 30 percent of our orders so far coming from Europe. In fact, more than half our Mustang orders are from customers outside the U.S., a reversal of how business went in the past.”

The Citation Mustang, Cessna’s newest jet offering, has amassed more than 1,400 flight hours during its flight test, and certification is expected in the coming months. The Mustang, an entry level jet, is the logical bridge between the single engine piston aircraft line and the larger business jets produced by Cessna.

Beechcraft T-6: A Proven Solution for Global Training System Requirements:

The Beechcraft T-6B is more than just an aircraft, it is a complete, integrated primary pilot training solution. The Beechcraft T-6B system incorporates the full training spectrum: a resource manager, computer-based training and aided instruction, flexible training devices, customizable logistics support and a proven aircraft. It is the only complete training system, designed from the bottom up that is operational today.

“The T-6 training system has proven itself time after time,” said Jim Smith, vice president, Government Business. He added, “The T-6 trains pilots from nine different countries and has accumulated over 450,000 fleet hours. Over 375 aircraft have been delivered, more than 800 will be built through the year 2017, and support is guaranteed through the year 2050. Coupled with an advanced avionics system and 180-hour training footprint, it is the most cost-effective training solution available today.”

The JPATS program was awarded to Raytheon Aircraft Company in 1996 with training beginning at Moody Air Force Base (GA.) in October of 2001. The T-6A has over 300,000 fleet hours in the U.S. to date, the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy have ordered 418 aircraft, and over 300 have been delivered. In addition, the NATO Flying Training in Canada program purchased 26 T-6As and the Hellenic Air Force of Greece has received 45 T-6As.

Bombardier Delivers Third Learjet 45 XR to Global Wings:

Bombardier Aerospace announced today that Global Wings, Inc. of Osaka, the pre-eminent business aviation charter and services provider in Japan, has taken delivery of a third Bombardier Learjet 45 XR high-performance business jet – the aircraft that flies faster, farther, with more passengers than any other super-light business jet.

Launched in 2003, the Learjet 45 XR aircraft is an enhanced version of the popular Learjet 45 super-light business jet. Delivering superior performance at high altitudes and in hot climates, the aircraft is certified to fly up to 51,000 feet (15,454 m). Under certain conditions, it is capable of operating at cruise speeds of up to Mach 0.81 (534 mph; 859 km/hr) and maximum range of 2, 087 nautical miles (3,865 km) with four passengers, two crew and IFR reserves.

Government of Sindh Orders Bombardier Learjet 45 XR Business Jet:

Bombardier Aerospace announced that the provincial Government of Sindh, the second largest of Pakistan’s four provinces, has signed a contract to acquire a new Bombardier Learjet 45 XR super-light business jet. The transaction marks the first sale of a Learjet 45 XR jet into Pakistan.

Inspired by over 40 years of Learjet history, the powerful and proven Learjet 45 XR jet flies faster, farther, and with more passengers than any aircraft in its class. Certified to fly up to 51,000 feet (15,545 m) – above traffic congestion and inclement weather – the aircraft’s enhanced engine performance translates to reduced balance field lengths and faster time-to-climb under hot and high conditions.

In June, Bombardier celebrated the milestone delivery of the 300th Learjet 45 aircraft manufactured by Bombardier Learjet in Wichita.

Bombardier Wins Orders For Two Learjet 60 XR Jets From European Operators:

Bombardier Aerospace highlighted the surging demand for its business aircraft in Europe with two firm orders for its new Bombardier Learjet 60 XR midsize jet.

Nove Holding, based in Sofia, Bulgaria, became the European launch customer for the Learjet 60 XR aircraft. “We consider it a great advantage to be the first operator in Europe and I personally look forward to travelling to and from destinations across the continent on this exciting new jet,” said company principal Vassil Bojkov.

Introduced in November 2005, the Learjet 60 XR aircraft retains the unbeatable combination of value and high-speed performance of its Learjet 60 heritage, while adding a state-of-the-art Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite and a redesigned cabin. These features, together with legendary Learjet 60 performance attributes – best in class time to climb, impressive cruise speed and low operating costs – raise the bar for the midsize jet category on every count.

First flight of the Learjet 60 XR occurred in April 2006. As of July 14, the aircraft had flown a total of 23 flights totaling over 42 flight hours. Aircraft certification by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is expected in the fourth quarter of calendar year 2006, and the first Learjet 60 XR aircraft is on target to enter service in the first quarter of calendar year 2007.

Spirit AeroSystems Completes First Test Pylon for Boeing 787:

Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. marked the completion of the first test pylon for the Boeing 787 airplane with a ceremony attended by Boeing officials and hundreds of employees.

“This is an important milestone for our company,” said John Pilla, Spirit Vice President/General Manager – 787. “Today we get to see the result of everyone’s hard work and contribution to getting the 787 program underway.”

Spirit is part of an international team of aerospace companies led by Boeing that is developing the airplane. Boeing has selected General Electric and Rolls-Royce to develop engines for the new airplane. In addition to the pylons, Spirit’s Wichita facility is developing the forward section of the airplane. Its Tulsa operation is responsible for the fixed and movable leading edges of the wings.

Spirit AeroSystems also supplies engine struts and nacelles, vertical fin and horizontal stabilizer, inboard and outboard flaps, and front and rear wing spars for the Next-Generation 737 family of airplanes.

In addition, Spirit builds nose sections, nacelles and pylons for the 747, 767 and 777 aircraft. It also designs and produces slats and floor beams for the 777 airplane, and wing and fuselage components for the 747. The company also designs and builds aircraft production tooling.

WW II B-29 “DOC” To Be on Display at McConnell AFB Open House, Sept. 9-10th:

Today’s Wichita Eagle (Kansas.com) posted an article by Molly McMillin stating that the historic B-29 Superfortress will soon be ready for public display.

Tony Mazzolini, chief executive of the United States Aviation Museum is owner of the aircraft. Volunteers from Boeing, The Kansas Aviation Museum and individuals throughout Wichita have given countless hours of time in an effort to restore the aircraft to flying status.

“Doc” is now in Boeing’s Northwest hanger on the flight line located on the eastern side of South Oliver. The hanger location will allow for volunteers and the public to gain access and for tours to take place.

According to Molly McMillin, Wichita Eagle aviation reporter in her interview with owner Mazzolini, much more needs to be done.

Mazzolini stated to McMillin, that volunteers have mated the fuselage to the wing section and are in the process of installing wiring, control cables and the outer wing section. Also, the vertical stabilizer is being restored and volunteers are polishing the skin to a high luster. The plane’s engines must be overhauled and fuel bladders must be fabricated. At this point, finishing “Doc” will take $1 million to $1.5 million to cover some specialty manpower that may be needed and help with the engine overhaul and fuel cell replacement.

Bottom-line, if everything comes together with funding, resources and manpower, “Doc” could be flying within a year.

The Kansas Aviation Museum is planning on launching a capital fundraising campaign by mid 2007 to build a hanger to house “Doc” and other museum vintage aircraft.

Kansas Aerospace Employment:

Today’s Wichita Eagle classified job listings had an ad for Cessna Aircraft Company seeking a Propulsion Engineering Specialist/Sr. Propulsion Engineering Specialist.

For full listings of aerospace jobs available in the Air Capital, click on the WingsOverKansas.com Aviation Careers menu button.

I’ll have more news and items of interest in my next report. Please keep logging on to www.wingsoverkansas.com for weekly aviation and aerospace update stories, features, history and more.

For comments and questions, write to info@wingsoverkansas.com.