28 Press-Day Briefings Hint at Industry Health
By ANN Correspondent Dave Higdon
Aviation journalists from around the globe lined up for their
annual stint of drinking from a fire hose Tuesday when Press Day at
the 58th Annual convention of the National Business Aviation
Association delivered a staggering 28 briefings from companies
ranging from corporate-airliner maker Airbus to Max-Viz, the
provider of synthetic vision equipment for corporate aircraft.
It was, given the hasty retreat NBAA beat from its originally
scheduled location, affirmation of the current health and
heartiness in the business-aviation community. And with companies
such as Cessna and Mooney, Boeing Business Jets and Aviation
Technology Group, enjoying strong interest from their corporate
clientele, a reflection of both the solid state of the economy and
the need people still feel to do business face-to-face.
That strength is reflected in the numbers already available from
the 2005 NBAA convention: 1,142 exhibitors, a new record; 4,815
exhibit-hall spaces sold, another high mark. And about 100 new
companies exhibiting for the firs time at NBAA.
Here are some of the highlights spotlighted during the
opening-day marathon of press briefings.
Gulfstream Wins Joint U.S.-Israeli G150 Approval - Months
Newest G gets even quicker getting the quick nod.
Brian Moss smiled and expressed how good live is just before he
ascended the podium in Press Conference Room N220C Tuesday morning
to announce his company's early certification of the new G150,
Gulfstream's shot across the nose of competing mid-class jets. "And
I know how bad things can be from the other side," he quipped.
The G150 offers the largest cabin in its weight class, a range
250 nautical miles longer than originally promised, plus a
maximum-weight take-off roll 650 feet shorter than predicted. "I
want to commend our people in Savannah and Israel," Moss said of
the joint Gulfstream-Israeli Aircraft Industries product.
Boasting a cabin wider than its two nearest competitors, the
G150 also earned its wings delivering the higher performance
numbers mentioned above. When the G150 program launched three years
ago, the company promised certification before the end of the first
quarter of 2006. When the FAA and the CAAI in Israel issued their
type approvals Monday morning, the G150 landed officially about
four months ahead of schedule.
Gulfstream also advancing the cause of a Supersonic Business
Without a rules change
to allow civilian supersonic flight across the Continental United
States, the cause of a future Supersonic Business Jet remains a
lost one. And lacking technological advances that reduce the impact
and footprint of the standard sonic boom, the cause of changing
those rules remains equally out of reach.
So Gulfstream is tackling the technological challenge now in
hopes of winning that needed rules change in hopes of becoming part
of a future SSBJ advance somewhere down the airways with its SASS
II - the Supersonic Acoustic Signature Simulator II.
Designed to demonstrate the effect of sonic-boom reducing
aerodynamics, the SASS II also allows the individual to experience
the difference between the audible impact of a Concorde's boom and
the sound print of different developmental technologies designed to
reduce the sonic impact of a multi-Mach flying machine.
The issue of SSBJ's is one with a long history at Gulfstream
Aerospace. As far back as 1991, then-chairman Allan Paulson teamed
with Russia's Sukhoi Design Bureau on a SSBJ. The project wasn't to
be. Problems and business complications thwarted funding and
regulatory issues - specifically the U.S. ban - muted interest from
potential customers. But as recently as two years ago, two
companies announced their intentions to develop such
"We developed the SASS II to focus on the R & D to reduce
the boom as a technological tool," said Gulfstream's Press Henne.
"If the rule change it will make sense to pursue an SSBJ." And
Gulfstream still wants to lead the revolution.
Cessna launches Encore+: Destined to be the 26th new jet Cessna has
certificated in 10 years
First came the
straight-wing, long-cabin Citation V; the Ultra followed, then, in
1999, the best-selling Encore. Cessna chairman Jack Pelton used
part of Cessna's NBAA press briefing to announce the launch of the
Encore +. After winning approval for 25 new aircraft in recent
years, the Encore + would become the 26th aircraft the company has
certificated in a decade. "The Encore+ offers significant
improvements in efficiency, crew situational awareness, and payload
over its predecessor, the Encore," said Cessna's Chairman,
President and CEO Jack J. Pelton.
And like virtually every Citation to come along since the
original model 500 more than 30 years - and 4,500 Citations - ago,
the Encore + is an airplanes that one could say the customers
designed. "We're improving on this great design with a new version
of Collins' ProLine 21 cockpit and the optional features most
popular among our customers," said Pelton.
Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite encompasses many of the same
features as the Citation CJ3, CJ1+ and CJ2+. The Primary Flight
Displays (PFD) and enhanced Multi-Function Display (MFD) are
presented on three 8-inch by 10-inch active matrix color liquid
crystal displays. The copilot's PFD with second air data computer
is standard equipment and will meet reduced vertical separation
minimum (RVSM) requirements.
Other enhancements include the standardization of the Encore+
with Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS II), Mark VIII
Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS), and broadcast
graphical weather including Next Generation Doppler Radar (NEXRAD)
information, Meteorological Terminal Aviation Routine Weather
Report (METARs), and textual Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF). In
the cabin, new LED indirect lighting is now standard.
Cessna set an NBAA price of $7.995 million for Encore + orders
placed during the NBAA meeting; afterward, the price increases
$100,000. Cessna expects to win certification of the Encore + in
time for first customer deliveries in February 2007.
Cessna's Triple Threat: Three Citations make first NBAA
appearances: CJ1+, CJ2+ -and no horsing around, the Mustang
Many aviators today may not remember that Cessna named its
then-new light jet the "Citation" after the most-successful
thoroughbred in horseracing history - more than three decades ago.
So when Cessna launched its new entry into the VLJ market that
again the company turned to a horse for the name. Three years
later, the first Citation Mustang to grace an NBAA convention sits
in the static display at Orlando Executive Airport - along with two
other Citations making their NBAA debuts: The CJ1+ and CJ2+.
The Mustang holds claim to its own record-setting history thanks
to the triple-digit commitments landed at the NBAA of its launch at
that year's Orlando convention. Now, with certification barely a
year out, the Mustang backlog numbers more than 230 aircraft.
Meanwhile, the CJ1+ and CJ2+ -- both certificated earlier this
year - are contributing to a strengthening of sales for the Wichita
planemaker. According to Pelton, Cessna this year expects to
deliver 245 Citations this year and 290 in 2006. By year's end, the
company also expects to top deliveries of 850 single-engine piston
aircraft and 85 Caravans - sales of which now exceed 1,500.
In 2006, Cessna expects to celebrate delivery of its 5,000th
Citation. And that's not horsing around.
Airbus establishes Business Aviation Advisory Board
A familiar face showed up for the Press Day briefing of Airbus
and his presence marks the start of a new effort the company is
making to connect to the business aviation community. Airbus
contracted with former NBAA president Jack Olcott and his company,
General Aero, to organize the Airbus Business Aviation Advisory
Board. "Airbus is a very resourceful company with tremendous
resources that could be of great benefit to the business-aviation
community," Olcott (pictured below) told ANN.
"At the same time, Airbus has not established a connection to
the business-aviation community that makes people think of business
aircraft when they hear the name, 'Airbus'. So this panel has the
potential to be a win-win for both Airbus and business aviation,"
Olcott tapped three veterans of business aviation operations and
management to round out the BAAC. Among them are Tom Davis, who ran
Daimler-Chrysler's corporate-shuttle operation; Brett Lindsey,
president of Studio RD; Milt Hobbs, director of flight operations
for business-aircraft operator CableVision; and Charlie Ewers,
manager of global aviation services for petroleum company
Conoco-Phillips. "This is great implications for the community of
business aviation as well as for Airbus," Olcott said.
Milestones abound at NBAA…and the convention doesn't
start until Tuesday
Adam delivers first Customer A500
Monday, Nov. 7 is a day to mark in history at Adam Aircraft, the
day the first customer took delivery of the first A500. A500 Serial
Number 5 went to a Colorado Springs business executive after Adam
received its it's Approved Production Inspection System
certification from the FAA. Production Certification is expected to
follow in the first quarter of 2006. The company's goal is to
achieve production of six A500's monthly once certificated for full
Adam also announced the rollout of the first
production-compliant A700 jet VLJ, a step toward beginning FAA
certification flight tests. According to the company, Serial Number
002 reflects all the refinements generated during the developmental
test flights flown on Serial Number 001. Refinements have been made
in the Avidyne PFDs and MFDs, fuel belly pod, autopilot,
pressurization system, nose-gear configuration and gear doors.
BBJ breaks the century mark
Boeing Business Jets recently broke through the 100 mark, the
company announced Tuesday, with sales of the 737-700-based airliner
now at 102 units.
Launched in 1996 as a partnership between Boeing and General
Electric, the BBJ quickly became the best selling of the
ultralarge-cabin business jets with demand spawning a second,
even-larger variant, the 737-800-based BBJ2. The sale of the 100th,
101st and 102nd BBJs put the company ahead of its goal of achieving
the century mark by the end of 2005.
ACJ hits 50
Airbus also achieved a milestone with its ultralarge-cabin
business jet when sales hit 50 recently.
Based on the A319 airliner, the ACJ lays claim to the most
technologically advanced of its class thanks to the fly-by-wire
architecture of the A320 family of airliners. After two decades,
the A320 family still leads in fly-by-wire technology and stands as
the only business jet that can make that claim - at least until the
Dassault 7X enters service.