Posted on May 11th, 2019
There are more than 500 Gulfstream GIV aircraft in service. Over the course of its 25-year history, the airplane has earned an outstanding safety record—until May 31, 2014, when a privately-owned GIV crashed on takeoff at Hanscom Field in Massachusetts, killing all seven occupants.
In response to a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report on the cause of the accident, Gulfstream—in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)—by early 2016 will offer a redesigned gust lock system for retrofit for all GIV and GIVSP jets.
While the light jet market remains depressed, business turboprops are holding their own and development of new models continues, albeit unevenly. According to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, 603 new business turboprops were sold last year compared with 722 new business jets. That’s down slightly from the recent record 645 new turboprops shipped in 2013, but given the global economic slide, an impressive showing nevertheless. Digging deep into those numbers reveals that the primacy of the single-engine turboprop endures as they accounted for 474 of the total, and 157 of them were pressurized singles, predominantly the Pilatus PC-12NG and (with 51 delivered) the Daher TBM 900.
By acquiring Beechcraft and its line of King Air turboprop twins, Textron Aviation has emerged as the dominant industry force in the turboprop market with 221 combined deliveries of King Air twins and Cessna Caravans last year. King Airs comprise virtually the entire twin turboprop market. And it now appears that Textron intends to dust off what first emerged as Cessna’s plans to enter the pressurized turbine single market. This summer the company announced it would resume work on a concept first fielded at Oshkosh by Cessna in 2012. For now the company is saying only that the aircraft will have a top speed of 280 knots and a range of 1,500 nm.
Bombardier Inc. is anticipating a bounce back in orders for new business jets after a weak first half of the year as a pickup in demand in the United States and elsewhere offsets softness in emerging markets.
“[There are] lots of good conversations with customers, good activity,” David Coleal, Bombardier’s president for business aircraft, said in an interview Wednesday at the company’s facilities in Montreal. “We feel better about what we’re seeing as far as activity level versus the [second-quarter] time-frame. That’s the way it will manifest itself – in orders.”
The comments echo those made by Bombardier chief executive officer Alain Bellemare on July 30 and suggest sales momentum has continued through the quarter. The stock fell 8.6 per cent in Toronto trading.
The battle is joined. The Legacy 450 now has both Brazilian ANAC and U.S. FAA type certificates. And once again, Embraer has Cessna directly in its sights as it challenges its North American competitor for another class championship title. This time, it’s the new Legacy 450 going head to head against the Citation Latitude in the entry-level super-midsize category. Embraer modestly calls the Legacy 450 a “mid light” business jet, even though it has the same fuselage cross-section as its 3,100-nm Legacy 500 super-midsize jet. Cessna says its 2,850-nm Citation Latitude is a midsize jet with the most cabin volume in class.
The 2,575-nm Brazilian entry, though, sets new and higher standards for passenger comfort, cruise speed and systems technology in this size of business aircraft. Maximum cabin width is 5 in. greater and floor width is 7 in. more generous than the Latitude’s. But cabin length is about 15 in. shorter, so the Legacy 450’s overall cabin volume, excluding its 35-cu.-ft. aft internal luggage compartment, is within 2% of its Wichita rival’s.