Posted on November 18th, 2016
Business aviation is evolving constantly and we always keep up to date with training, education, and news about the business aviation industry to better serve our clients. Following are business aviation news articles and stories from around the world that grabbed our attention this week ending November 18th, 2016:
Original equipment manufacturers’ (OEMs) ability to “read” business aviation markets and translate customer preferences into new models—no matter how narrow the niche—is a wonder to behold. Between derivatives of in-service models and clean-sheet designs, they have it down to an art form, not just a science.
But that raises the specter of whether there may be a mismatch between the number of product offerings and the size of the market, making an already challenging environment that much more difficult for all players, as Global Jet Capital CEO Shawn Vick suggests.
A 30-year veteran who has held senior leadership positions at some of the largest companies in business aviation, Vick recalls when OEMs offered no more than about 15 aircraft models in the late 1980s; currently, there are more than 40. “There’s not a bad one in the whole lot, but there is a lot of overlap and even duplication,” he said. “Many of them represent only small incremental step changes in capabilities.”
The fact that multiple OEMs are producing business aircraft with identical or near-identical mission profiles has been a major contributor to oversupply, depressing both sales and valuations in recent years, according to Vick. “Let’s not kid ourselves—the Great Depression of ’08-’09 laid bare the real extent of this problem.”
Vick welcomed Gulfstream Aerospace’s decision last month to end production of the G450 in early 2018. (The decision was based on the timing of initial deliveries of the G500, according to Gulfstream.) “We’ll see more airplanes come out of production at all of the major OEMs within the next 24 to 36 months,” he said. He also expects all of the major OEMs to further reduce production rates in the near term. The net result, he added, will be “more positive long-term trend lines” in the industry’s fortunes.
Colorado-based Boom Technology has unveiled the XB-1 supersonic demonstrator that will be used to refine the aerodynamics and propulsion for a Mach 2.2, 40-seat airliner and private jet planned to enter service in the early 2020s.
Several concepts for supersonic business jets have appeared since the retirement of the BAC/Aerospatiale Concorde fleet in 2003, but none have yet moved past the drawing board stage. Meanwhile, new regulations restricting take-off noise emissions take effect in 2017, making it even harder for a jet engine capable of supersonic speed to be successful.
The revealing of the two-seat XB-1 inside a hangar at Denver’s Centennial airport shows the level of the start-up’s ambition. The company already has attracted two commitments for a combined 25 aircraft worth more than $2 billion from Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and an unnamed European airline. The company founded less than two years ago is now in advanced development of a flying demonstrator with registration N220XB, denoting the aircraft’s Mach 2.2 speed goal.
During a speech given at NBAA 2016, Peggy Gilligan, associate administrator for aviation safety for the FAA, gave the business aviation community an update on government-industry efforts to improve the fatal accident rate for general aviation flight operations. According to Gilligan, the numbers show safety is improving, but the agency is seeking more business aviation participation in its Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing System (ASIAS) to improve safety even further.
FAA’s Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) system effectively serves as a warehouse of safety data for airspace users to continually access in an effort to improve the safety of their flight operations. Operational data about aircraft accidents and incidents are submitted to the ASIAS system on a voluntary basis by operators. The agency uses ASIAS to identify aviation systematic risks.
Gilligan told NBAA attendees that the business aviation community’s participation in ASIAS reporting has grown from the first two business operators to bring their data into the program in 2013, to now more than 33 corporate and business operators actively using ASIAS and the number is growing. The agency believes the more operators submitting data, the safer the entire system and its operators will become.
Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. today announced that the Polish Ministry of National Defense has signed an agreement to purchase two Gulfstream G550 aircraft. The aircraft will be configured for VIP transport and will be delivered in 2017.
“With its reliability, efficiency and durability, the G550 is a valuable tool for the Polish government,” said Mark Burns, president, Gulfstream. “Gulfstream has more experience in producing and supporting government and special mission aircraft than any other business jet manufacturer.”
The G550 is the most widely used in-production Gulfstream model for special missions and government applications. The aircraft’s ability to fly long ranges at altitudes higher than commercial traffic makes the G550 ideal for government use. With its 99.9 percent National Business Aviation Association dispatch reliability rating, the G550 also offers dependable transport with low maintenance requirements, regardless of configuration. The cabin’s industry-leading quiet sound levels and low cabin altitude help reduce fatigue among passengers and crew.
The G550 has the longest range in its class and has achieved more than 50 city pair speed records. With eight passengers, the G550 can fly nonstop from Warsaw to Los Angeles or Tokyo.
Embraer announced that its Legacy Family of business jets has set new world speed records, totaling six in 2016. The Legacy 650, Legacy 500, and Legacy 450 have each established new speed records in their classes for continental and transoceanic routes.
“These new speed records demonstrate the superior design characteristics of our Legacy Family of business jets,” said Marco Tulio Pellegrini, President & CEO, Embraer Executive Jets. “In addition to outstanding performance and premium comfort, each Legacy model delivers true business value, through unparalleled reliability at an unbeatable operational cost.”
The newest records were for “Speed over a Recognized Course,” of which four were set on the Legacy 500 by Embraer pilots Casey Davis and Sam Bennett. The first flight occurred on June 27, from Houston, Texas to Melbourne, Florida, with six passengers onboard, achieving an average speed of 435.52 mph in 2h02m. The second flight happened on June 30, from Bradley, Connecticut to Scottsdale, Arizona, reaching an average speed of 460.26 mph in 4h47m. The third flight took place on July 5, from Scottsdale, Arizona to Calgary, Canada, and the aircraft attained an average speed of 475.04 mph in 2h32m. The fourth flight was from Calgary, Canada to Reno, Nevada on July 8, registering an average speed of 435.51 mph in 1h57m.
Worldwide, general aviation airplane shipments declined 3.5 percent, from the same period last year, with 1,504 units shipped in the first nine months of 2016 compared to 1,558 units in 2015. Rotorcraft shipments declined 16.0 percent to 615 units compared to 732 units in the same period last year. Combined airplane and rotorcraft billings were $15.9bn year-to-date in 2016 compared to last year’s $19.1bn, a contraction of 16.5 percent.
“There’s no way to sugarcoat the fact that these numbers are not what we had wanted to see,” GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce said. “Unfortunately, they reflect the instability of the used aircraft market coupled with complicating global economic and geopolitical factors. What is encouraging is that every GAMA airplane and rotorcraft manufacturer has a new product development program recently completed or currently underway, so optimism for the future runs high.
“Now that the U.S. elections are behind us, we look forward to working with the incoming administration and the new Congress, as well as their counterparts across the globe, to highlight the importance of a vibrant general and business aviation industry with manufacturing, maintenance, and overhaul jobs at its core,” Bunce continued. “We also welcome a focus on making critical infrastructure investments, particularly airports and heliports, to support a safe and growing global aviation system. We stand ready to work with elected and appointed officials on policies that facilitate certification reform and product innovation, and improve the validation and acceptance of products worldwide.”
Turboprop airplane shipments generated a bright spot in the deliveries with 379 shipments, up 1.3 percent from 2015. Piston airplane deliveries declined from 719 units to 696 units. In addition, business jets slipped 7.7 percent from the same period last year, from 465 units in 2015 to 429 units this year. Piston rotorcraft fell 17.6 percent to 168 units shipped. A total of 447 turbine rotorcraft were shipped, a reduction of 15.3 percent versus the same period in 2015.