ANN's Annual Review Of The Year That Was: Business Aviation In
Final Compilations by ANN News Editor, Tom Patton
To perhaps as great an extent as the airlines, business aviation
felt the pinch of the faltering economy in 2009. After getting a
bad rap from members of the Congress, the President, and much of
the mainstream media, sales of business aircraft plummeted. While
much of the news was down for business aviation in 2009, there were
a number of bright spots as well. Here's a sampling of the stories
we brought you through the year in business aviation.
In comments made to TSA officials, National Business Aviation
Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen articulated industry concerns about the
agency's proposed Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) and
offered a process for improving the final rule on the
US Bankruptcy Court Judge Mary Walrath "verbally approved" the
sale of the assets of Eclipse Aviation to
EclipseJet Aviation International, a subsidiary of ETIRC Aviation.
Walrath reportedly approved EclipseJet's bid of $28 million in
cash, plus promissory notes and equity for the assets of Eclipse
The National Business Aviation Association announced programming and other elements from
the inaugural 2009 Light Business Airplane Conference (LBA2009)
will now be incorporated into the Association's 62nd Annual Meeting
& Convention in Orlando, FL...
National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO
Ed Bolen reiterated the potentially ruinous effect the group asserts
the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA's) proposed Large
Aircraft Security Program (LASP) could have, not only on small and
mid-size businesses that rely on their aircraft to weather the
current unforgiving economic storm, but on the general aviation
(GA) community as a whole...
The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) warned that businesses trying
to recover in the current, unforgiving economic climate would be
severely impacted by language in a bill to reform the Troubled
Assets Relief Program (TARP), first passed by Congress last
Embraer announced it received the Type Certificate (TC) and the
Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) from the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) for its Lineage 1000 executive jet. The STC is for the
jet's interior, which was designed, manufactured and installed by
PATS Aircraft Completions, a subsidiary of DeCrane Aerospace,
located in the United States...
Embraer made their first delivery of a Phenom 100 jet, on
Christmas Eve, in São José dos Campos. The aircraft,
which landed on New year's Eve in the U.S. after successfully
completing its ferry flight, was recently certified by
Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) and by the
Gaylord Entertainment Company -- owner of the upscale Gaylord
Hotels, the Grand Ole Opry, and other entertainment properties --
has drawn sharp criticism from TRT Holdings Chairman Robert Rowling
for poor performance, excessive overhead, and corporate waste...
the latter, alas, in the form of alleged excessive personal use of the company's corporate
Despite the efforts of many people at EclipseJet Aviation and
ETIRC to obtain necessary funding to close the purchase of the
assets of Eclipse Aviation, the closing of the sale transaction stalled and
the company ran out of time and money...
Hawker Beechcraft CEO Jim Schuster told employees the
Wichita-based planemaker will eliminate 2,300 positions, with many of those
cuts coming at the end of this week...
Gulfstream Aerospace celebrated the fuselage joining for the first Gulfstream G250, the
company's newest mid-cabin jet. The G250 forward, center and aft
fuselage sections were joined utilizing the most advanced assembly
Brazilian planemaker Embraer is the latest aircraft
manufacturer to announce massive layoffs, blaming a likely
reduction in orders and production during what looks to be a very
National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO
Ed Bolen met with Congressional lawmakers to discuss the concerns of the general aviation
community over the Transportation Security
Administration's (TSA's) proposed Large Aircraft Security Program
In an inadvertent illustration of the practical advantages of
non-airline flight -- the very method of corporate travel now
condemned by the White House and many lawmakers, it's worth
pointing out -- a US senator was provided with the use of a government plane by
the Obama administration to commute between Washington, DC and his
home in Ohio...
Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation announced it recently completed the first
flight of its S-76D helicopter, the latest version of the S-76
line. Company test pilots maneuvered the prototype aircraft through
taxi, hover, hover turns, and forward flight to 40 knots in a test
flight that lasted approximately 30 minutes...
General Dynamics announced its Gulfstream Aerospace subsidiary
will cut production of large-cabin aircraft and
green-plane deliveries this year, due to the "deterioration" of its
Garmin has scored yet another big "get" for its increasingly
ubiquitous G1000 avionics suite. The avionics manufacturer
announced the Federal Aviation Administration granted supplemental
type certification (STC) for the G1000 in the
King Air 200 and B200...
During the company's annual financial analysts meeting,
Dassault Aviation Chairman and CEO Charles Edelstenne announced sales results for 2008.
Dassault received a net total of 115 firm orders worldwide for
Falcon business jets in 2008...
Owners of Eclipse 500 jets -- essentially orphaned since the
manufacturer entered Chapter 7 bankruptcy --- united to explore the
acquisition of the assets of Eclipse
As the threat of a worldwide grounding of all S-92 helicopters
loomed, Sikorsky Aircraft noted the majority of the global S-92
helicopter fleet already has complied with the company's notice
to retrofit the aircraft's gearbox oil bowl with steel mounting
A top Cessna exec predicted the downturn in demand for business
jets is nearing its bottom. Roger Whyte, Cessna's
senior VP for sales and marketing, told the Wichita Eagle Monday,
"We continue to take orders; people are continuing to buy
airplanes; we continue to deliver airplanes." ...
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada's investigation of
the downing of a Sikorsky S-92 helicopter prompted the Canadian
agency to call for the grounding of all S-92s worldwide
until an emergency airworthiness directive (AD) has been complied
Cessna announced it would further cut back production of its
highest-dollar aircraft, as the US economy continues through a
"difficult and tenuous time."...
In its annual shareholders proxy statement filed with the US
Securities and Exchange Commission, the New York Times revealed
that its corporate bizjet has been put on the market for sale...
An unprecedented array of airline, business, travel, and
tourism industry leaders joined the Port Authority in New York City
urging full funding for NextGen initiatives to
overhaul the country's air traffic control system and finally put
an end to delays that plague the nation's air travelers...
At least eight bodies have been recovered following the ditching of a Eurocopter
EC225 Super Puma off the northeast coast of Scotland.
Search crews are working to find the other eight persons reported
onboard the helicopter...
Textron blamed credit markets which remained challenging for
additional production cuts at its Cessna Aircraft unit.
The company now says the already adjusted projection for deliveries
of 375 jets in 2009 will be trimmed further...
Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle proposed the sale of an under-utilized, 1984
Cessna Citation to raise a million-plus dollars toward his state's
David Green, Chairman of the Steering Committee for the Eclipse
Owners Group (EOG) announced that the EOG has signed a nonbinding Letter of Intent
with Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (HBC)...
Three air traffic controllers working Miami Center were heralded for their
quick-thinking in helping a passenger land a Beech
King Air 200, after the plane's pilot died shortly after
Hawker Beechcraft's new company CEO William Boisture Jr. said
in memo sent to workers that further 'work
force reductions' will be announced in coming weeks, affecting all
Honda Aircraft updated their HondaJet aviation program in
light of the effect economic conditions have had on the industry.
Due to 'delays' in delivering some critical components to Honda for
conforming aircraft production, the company revised the first
flight target for a conforming aircraft to January 2010...
Dassault Falcon's newest Falcon family member has its wings.
The Falcon 2000LX received certification from both the FAA and
The defense attorney for an Air Ambulance company reported that
the NTSB, on April 22, 2009, denied an appeal by the FAA and affirmed the
initial decision of Administrative Law Judge William A. Pope, II,
modifying an emergency order. The FAA sought revocation of the air
carrier certificate held by Air Trek, Inc., an air ambulance
operator based in Punta Gorda, Florida...
Gulfstream promoted Neil Vernon to director,
Demonstration and Corporate Flight Operations. In his new role, he
coordinates demonstration flights, showcasing the capabilities of
Gulfstream aircraft to potential customers around the world...
A controversial and much-unloved NPRM was withdrawn by the FAA in a rare victory for
common sense and the power of a collective industry response to
objectionable rulemaking. All the hub-bub concerned a proposed rule
published on December 1, 2006 (71 FR 70254). The FAA stated that it
is "withdrawing a previously published NPRM that proposed to revise
the system of ratings and require repair stations to
establish a quality program...
The NTSB said that the probable cause of a midair collision between
two emergency medical service (EMS) helicopters last year was that
both pilots' failed to see and avoid the other helicopter on
approach to the helipad...
According to a study by Frost & Sullivan, following
unprecedented growth in the last 5 years, Business Aviation faced harsh market conditions with aftermarket
suppliers holding back investment until recovery.
Embraer delivered the 1,100th aircraft of the ERJ 145
jet family in São José dos Campos, Brazil. The
airplane is a Legacy 600 executive jet, a model which has reached
over 160 deliveries to 25 countries, since entering service in
TCCA advised the Aircraft Electronics Association that the
minister of transport, the Honorable John Baird, has decided TCCA
should pursue further consultation with the
industry on the 406 MHz ELT regulation. He said the new rules
did not include specific alternatives to 406 ELTs, although it
included language that indicated an alternative method of
compliance was possible...
NBAA welcomwd the passage of a Congressional proposal to allow
the aviation industry to review and provide input toward TSA
proposals, while bringing consistency to the use of "security
directives" in TSA regulation...
Rolls-Royce formally opened its new North American
headquarters for On-Wing Care. It is the latest facility to open in
a global Rolls-Royce network of aviation repair and overhaul
Local 218 of The United Auto Workers, the union representing
manufacturing workers at Bell Helicopter in Hurst, Texas, rejected the company's last, best offer for a
three-year contract and went on strike at midnight Sunday...
In a direct May 2008 to May 2009 comparison, Aviation Research Group/US reports
that business aircraft activity, measuring all IFR flights in the
United States (including Alaska and Hawaii) grew in May of this
year, but still lags behind May of last year...
Diamond Aircraft Industries received EASA certification for the DA42 MNG. Christian
Dries, CEO of Diamond Aircraft was handed the EASA certification by
Frédéric Copigneaux, Deputy Director
The economic downturn hit the aviation industry particularly
hard, and workers at Cessna Aircraft in Wichita began really
feeling the pinch when the company told most of its remaining
workers to take a 4 week unpaid furlough, largely
shuttering the facility for a month...
Bell Helicopter has confirmed Transport Canada Civil Aviation
(TCCA) certification of its newest light twin engine
helicopter, the Bell 429. Bell has also completed the requisite FAA
Bell Helicopter filed a counter suit against rival Eurocopter
in patent infringement battle over the sleigh-type landing gear on
its model 429 aircraft. Eurocopter said Bell is infringing on a
1999 patent for the skids...
The Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation X2 Technology demonstrator
made another two test flights, one of which
included full engagement of the distinctive propeller for the first
The UAW Local 218 strike against Bell Helicopter continued, and
with both sides apparently far apart, the company started Monday
hiring replacement workers to keep its production lines
In its proprietary forecast of worldwide deliveries of new
business jets, market analysts Brian Foley Associates said it did not anticipate the industry topping 2008
levels within their 10 year forecast horizon...
Dassault Falcon celebrated a major milestone in the history of
the Falcon aircraft family with the delivery of its 2000th Falcon
at the Bordeaux-Mérignac facility...
While Textron had been saying since April that it would be
cancelling the Citation "Columbus" wide-body program at Cessna,
Cessna officials were confident it would be back in some form, and
that it was "just a matter of time." But Textron filed paperwork with the SEC driving the
proverbial stake through the heart of the project...
The NBAA welcomed reauthorization legislation introduced in the
United States Senate for funding the FAA and building upon the work
already done to develop a Next Generation Air Traffic Control
System, or NextGen...
Bombardier Aerospace continued to move forward with its Learjet 85 program. Several product
development milestones, including the completion of the second
proof of concept fuselage and the successful completion of all wind
tunnel testing have been achieved as the program forges ahead for
entry into service in 2013...
The FAA changed its certification standards for
transport category airplanes to require either the automatic
activation of ice protection systems or a method to tell pilots
when they should be activated...
Bombardier’s Global Vision cockpit successfully completed its first Bombardier
test flight on a Global Express XRS aircraft. Dedicated to testing
basic system functionality, the flight marks another significant
milestone for the program...
NetJets Inc. announced that Richard T. Santulli will be leaving the company he created. “After
25 years of working with the most talented group of people I could
ever have imagined, who helped build the premiere aviation company
in the world, I have decided to step down as Chairman and CEO of
NetJets immediately, in order to spend some more time with my young
family and pursue other interests,”...
The 2010 House Defense Appropriations bill included nearly $200
million for the Air Force to buy three new Gulfstream 550 jets, which the military
calls C-37's, for transportation of VIP's...
According to information released by the NTSB, if a
commercial pilot is diagnosed with OSA, the FAA 2006 Guide for
Aviation Medical Examiners states that an aviation medical examiner
(AME) must submit all pertinent medical information and current
status report and include sleep study with a polysomnogram, use of
medications and titration study [in which the optimal pressure for
CPAP is identified] results...
Eclipse Aerospace agreed to pay $40 million for the assets of
Eclipse Aviation, the makers of Very Light Jets based in
Albuquerque, NM which closed down earlier this year and went into
Chapter 7 liquidation. The bidding closed August 4th, and no other
company came forward with an offer...
The Bell Production Engineering Association, which represents
nearly 175 engineers at Bell Helicopter, reached a three-year contract with the
helicopter manufacturer by a three-to-one margin...
After learning of the departure of three top-level executives,
employees at Hawker Beechcraft were told the company is ceasing its 401(k) contributions to employee
accounts, and that a workforce reduction would be announced...
Cessna Aircraft Company has rolled out its latest variant of the Citation X. Cessna
announced the delivery of the first Cessna Citation X to be fitted
with Elliptical Winglets...
Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (HBC) made significant progress on the Beechcraft
Premier II program, with the first successful test flight of the
aircraft’s new engines on a modified Premier IA, and the
entry of the first Premier II fuselage on the assembly line...
The NBAA announced that aviation legends John and
Martha King will be recognized with the Association's American
Spirit Award for representing business aviation before Congress and
Gulfstream's long-awaited new G650 finally saw the light of day and was readied for a
first flight. The G650 was rolled outside last night, fired up the
APU and did their first engine runs...
The NTSB determined that pilot error was the cause of a 2007 incident
in which two people were killed when a Cessna 500 skidded off a wet
runway during landing, hit a house adjacent to the airport, and
exploded on impact...
Cessna has received Russian type certification for the Citation
Mustang from Russia’s MAK (Interstate Aviation Committee,
Aviation Register). The Citation Mustang is now certified in 60
countries including the United States...
Machinists union president Tom Buffenbarger said he planned to
invite President Barack Obama to come to
Wichita and see first hand what business aviation contributes to
the U.S. economy...
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. announced the appointment of Carey Bond as president of the
company's Sikorsky Global Helicopters business. Bond also retains
his previous position as Chief Marketing Officer and reports to
Sikorsky President Jeffrey P. Pino...
The NBAA welcomed the White House nomination of Dr. Mark R. Rosekind to the
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The White House
announced the nomination on September 30...
Congressman John Mica (R-FL) introduced H.R. 3678 in the U.S.
House Of Representatives to strengthen industry input on proposed
regulations from TSA, and bring consistency to their process for
issuing security directives...
Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services-North America (Vector) received FAA certification for the development
of an STC for an Integrated Cockpit Display System (ICDS) for the
Bell 407 helicopter...
Gulfstream Aerospace and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)
rolled out the all-new, super mid-size Gulfstream G250 at Ben Gurion International
Airport in Israel...
Stratos Aircraft has received the first deposits for its new Stratos 714 Very
Light Personal Jet (VLPJ). The announcement comes just as they send
off the full-scale cabin mock up to Orlando, Florida to be on
display for the first time at this year's NBAA Meeting &
The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) and the NBAA
announced plans to coordinate NATA's 2010 FBO Leadership
Conference, taking place in January...
Sikorsky's said that its X2 Technology demonstrator achieved a significant milestone in a flight
test, reaching a maximum speed of 106 knots. The test was conducted
at the Sikorsky Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach,
Forward Vision Systems and One Sky Aviation announced the
completion and award of an STC for installation of the
company's "Enhanced Vision System" EVS 100/600 on the R44 Model
The NBAA welcomed a recent decision from the FAA denying a proposed ban on nighttime operations
at Bob Hope Airport (BUR) in Burbank, California...
The NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots (NJASAP)
Executive Board received notice of NetJets Aviation, Inc.'s, intent
to furlough up to 495 pilots; the effective
furlough date is anticipated for mid January 2010...
Laura Wang-Woodford, a U.S. citizen who served as a director of
Monarch Aviation Pte Ltd., a Singapore company that imported and
exported military and commercial aircraft components for more than
20 years, was sentenced in federal court in Brooklyn to 46
months in prison for conspiring to violate the U.S. trade embargo
by exporting controlled aircraft components to Iran...
Sikorsky and Tata Advanced Systems Limited announced the signing of an agreement creating
a joint venture that will manufacture aerospace components for
Sikorsky in India...
During the certification process for the Sikorsky S-92A,
documents show that the aircraft failed a crucial test in which all the oil is
drained from the main gearbox to simulate a loss of oil during
flight. The test aircraft gearbox failed after about 10 minutes,
which is 20 minutes short of the FAA standard...
Gulfstream confirmed the first flight of its newest business jet and
the flagship of its fleet, the ultra-large-cabin, ultra-long-range
The NTSB issued a set of recommendations for the FAA and Public
Helicopter Emergency Medical Services Operators, following a 2008
fatal accident in Prince Georges County, Maryland in which three
people were killed and another sustained serious injuries...
The FAA issued a Safety Alert For Operators (SAFO) outlining training procedures for pilots of Learjet 60
aircraft. The SAFO is designed to ensure that Learjet 60 Training
curriculums properly address the best practices on recognizing
thrust reverser(s) stowage while commanding deployment during
takeoff and landing phases of flight...
A floatplane with eight people, one of them an infant, on board
went down apparently just after takeoff from
Saturna Island in British Columbia between the mainland and
Vancouver Island. Two people, one of them the pilot, survived the
Cessna delivered the 300th Citation X to its
authorized sales representative, Jetalliance, based in Vienna,
Embraer received the type and production certificates
for its Phenom 300 executive jet on from Brazil’s National
Civil Aviation Authority (Agência Nacional de
Aviação Civil – ANAC) in a ceremony held at
Company headquarters, in São José dos Campos,
The FAA has proposed a $4 million civil penalty for Spitfire Aviation
Services, LLC, of Fayetteville, Ark., for numerous violations of
Gulfstream providing new details about the G650's successful completion of its first series of
flight tests. During a 1-hour and 45-minute flight, G650 project
pilot Jake Howard and senior experimental test pilot Tom Horne,
along with flight engineer Bill Osborne, tested the
aircraft’s handling qualities, engine operability and flap
Sikorsky and AVIC celebrated completion of the first S-76C++
civil helicopter airframe produced in China...
Embraer’s Phenom 300 light executive jet was certified by the FAA, which granted its Type
Certificate following the same action by Brazil’s National
Civil Aviation Agency (Agência Nacional de
Aviação Civil – ANAC)...
Hawker Beechcraft announced the fractional jet company NetJets
has cancelled 90 percent of its outstanding
The S-76D helicopter program is entering production, signifying the latest
major milestone in the program that is manufacturing the next
generation model of the popular S-76 helicopter...
Bell Helicopter announced that Scott's Helicopter of Le Sueur,
MN has assumed ownership of the Model 47 type