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North American Bizav Flying ‘Sizzles’ in August

Business aviation flight activity in North America “sizzled” last month, recording a 5.2 percent year-over-year increase, according to TrakPak data released today by Argus International. This is the largest month operations-wise since May 2008 and shattered the business aviation data firm’s 3.3 percent growth forecast for August; it is predicting 3.2 percent this month.

Last month’s results were fueled by a 10.9 percent year-over-year increase in Part 135 charter activity. Part 91K fractional flying also posted a solid 7 percent gain and, for the first time in several months, Part 91 activity was in the black, rising 0.9 percent.

Large-cabin jet activity continued to dominate the aircraft categories, climbing 7.2 percent year-over-year in August. This was followed by light jets, up 5.5 percent; midsize jets, up 4.8 percent; and turboprops, up 4.5 percent.

In individual categories, the Part 135 segment nearly had across-the-board double-digit gains, with the exception of light jets under this catergory, which rose 9.1 percent from a year ago. Part 135 turboprop, midsize jet and large-cabin jet flying soared 11.3 percent, 11.4 percent and 12.6 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, fractional light jet activity rose 17 percent year-over-year. Only Part 91 light jets recorded a slight loss, falling 0.2 percent.

 

by AINalerts  9/13/2017

2017-09-13T13:28:23-06:00 September 13th, 2017|Blog, Economics of Aviation, General Aviation, Uncategorized|

Learjet Turns 3,000 with the 100th Model 75 Delivery

Bombardier’s ceremonial handover of a Learjet 75 to Leggett & Platt on Friday commemorated two major milestones: the 3,000th Learjet manufactured and the 100th Learjet 75 delivery. The milestones come more than 50 years after Bill Lear helped pioneer the business aviation industry with the introduction of the Lear Jet 23 (the company’s original brand was spelled as two words, later changed to one word, Learjet).

Bombardier bought the storied manufacturer in 1990 and in 1997 introduced the Learjet 75 predecessor, the Learjet 45. The Model 75, with its Mach 0.81 speed and 2,000-nm range, offered a number of enhancements over its predecessor, including new canted winglets and other aerodynamic improvements and the Garmin 5000 suite. The first of the 75s was delivered in late 2013.

Leggett & Platt, the recipient of the 100th Learjet 75, is a repeat customer for Bombardier; the 75 is its second. Founded in 1883, the company also is a pioneer, but in sleep technology. Leggett & Platt introduced its first bedspring nearly 125 years ago and now is a diversified manufacturer of products found in homes, automobiles and offices. It operates out of 130 facilities in 19 countries.

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by AINalerts  6/5/2017

2017-06-13T02:14:15-06:00 June 5th, 2017|Aviation News, Blog, Uncategorized|

FAA Corrects Overflight Notams

The FAA issued new corrected Notams late last week that eliminate the “historically burdensome” requirements for foreign companies conducting business aircraft flights in U.S. airspace, NBAA said. Last month, the FAA published FDC Notams that excluded the previous special and less restrictive security instructions for aircraft registered in Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands.

In those Notams, foreign-registered aircraft weighing less than or equal to 100,309 pounds, including those from the aforementioned previously exempted countries, had to get a TSA waiver to fly through U.S. airspace. For example, this proved troublesome to general aviation aircraft operators in Canada who conduct domestic flights but fly a shortcut over U.S. airspace.

In recognizing its error, the FAA cancelled last month’s Notams and issued new ones that reinstate the previous requirements for the countries mentioned above.

by AINalerts

2017-06-13T02:14:39-06:00 January 18th, 2016|FAA, FAA Authorization, Uncategorized|

MIT Drone Avoids Obstacles Autonomously

a drone's-eye view

a drone’s-eye view

A researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has flight-tested a drone that can detect obstacles and avoid them in fight without any input from an operator, MIT said this week. Andrew Barry, a graduate student in the school’s artificial-intelligence lab, has tested the system in a tree-filled field at speeds of about 30 mph. The drone autonomously dips, dives, and changes direction to fly safely through the trees. Barry’s stereo-vision algorithm enables the drone to detect objects and build a full map of its surroundings in real-time. The software, which is open-source and available online, operates at 120 frames per second.

Barry said the system works because he realized that rather than trying to build a full map of the drone’s flight path, the drone really only needs to know what’s about 10 meters away — that gives it enough time to react and avoid the obstacle. “You don’t have to know about anything that’s closer or further than that,” Barry says. “As you fly, you push that 10-meter horizon forward, and, as long as your first 10 meters are clear, you can build a full map of the world around you.” Barry says that he plans to further improve the algorithms so they can work at more than one depth, and in environments as dense as a thick forest. The test drone, which weighs just over a pound and has a 34-inch wingspan, was made from off-the-shelf components costing about $1,700, including a camera on each wing and two processors “no fancier than the ones you’d find on a cellphone,” according to MIT.

By Mary Grady | November 4, 2015

2017-06-13T02:14:45-06:00 November 4th, 2015|Aviation News, drones, Section 333, UAS, UAV, Uncategorized|

Bombardier Looking For More Cash

CS100 PictureDays after throwing a $1 billion lifeline to struggling aircraft manufacturer Bombardier, the Quebec government is now asking the newly elected Justin Trudeau federal government to match the investment in one of the province’s biggest employers. The new government, which swept to power two weeks ago, will decide Wednesday whether to give the company money to help it weather a looming financial crisis. The cash crunch was alleviated by the investment by the Quebec pension plan but might not be enough to solve the long-term issues created by its over-budget development of the CSeries airliner and a falloff in business jet and railway revenues. “I will continue to look at strategic options across the board. We will continue to look and they need to make good business sense and create value for customers and for shareholders,” CEO Alain Bellemare told the Montreal Gazette. That could include selling off minority stakes in its airplane and railway businesses.

The $1 billion from Quebec is enough to finish the CSeries certification program. Bombardier is within weeks of certifying the smallest of the single-aisle airliner models, the 100-seat CS100. But the 160-seat CS300 has more orders and there wasn’t enough cash to finish its certification, according to some reports. Even after the airliners are certified, Bombardier will continue to burn cash as it sends the first ones out the factory door at Mirabel, near Montreal. Bombardier even offered to sell the program to Airbus but negotiations broke off when Canadian media got wind of the story.

By Russ Niles | November 1, 2015

2017-06-13T02:14:49-06:00 November 4th, 2015|Aviation News, Business Aircraft Industry News, General Aviation, Uncategorized|

Bombardier: We are 100% committed to the CSeries

Bombardier Executives

From left: Bombardier Commercial Aircraft VP-business acquisition Ross Mitchell and Bombardier VP-commercial aircraft sales Ryan DeBrusk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bombardier has reiterated its commitment to the CSeries, which is 90% through certification, after recently disclosing that partnership talks with Airbus had been called off.

“Bombardier is 100% committed to the CSeries. The CSeries is coming to market and the airplane will be here soon. We are getting further and further with the certification,” Bombardier Commercial Aircraft VP-business acquisition Ross Mitchell told media attending the European Regions Airline Association (ERA) general assembly in Berlin.

[The 100- to 150-seat market] is vitally important to airlines and it will continue to be vitally important. We are producing an aircraft for that market,” he said.

The comments follow Bombardier’s Oct. 6 disclosure that it had been in talks with Airbus over “certain business opportunities.” At the time, Bombardier said those talks were “no longer being pursued,” but the Canadian manufacturer added that it plans to explore other potential consolidation opportunities. Airbus also confirmed that the two manufacturers had been in talks, which have ended.

On the sidelines of the ERA conference, airBaltic CEO and CS300 launch customer Martin Gauss told ATW he is waiting on further information from Bombardier. “We would like a clearer statement from Bombardier on the status of this program. I want certainty, not only on deliveries—which I think they will achieve—but that they will still be supplying and building these aircraft in five years’ time,” Gauss said.

Responding to a question from ATW, Mitchell declined to reveal any further information on discussions with Airbus or any other potential partner. “Today we are focusing on the aircraft,” he said.

Instead, he shifted the focus to the CS100 being over 90% of the way through its certification. After 3,000 hours of test flights, Bombardier has moved on from “working the aircraft hard,” by subjecting it to weather extremes and water ingestion, to the final stage of function and reliability testing. This will include airfield performance, landings, turnarounds and on-ground operations.

Over the next few weeks, the CS100 will be making appearances at about 15 airports in Canada and 20 in the US, with the aim of certification by year-end. “We are now operating the aircraft like an airline would operate it,” Mitchell said.

Bombardier also confirmed that its production ramp-up is underway, including the first aircraft for CS100 launch operator Swiss International Air Lines, with its first delivery expected in the first half of 2016. “After the entry into service, we expect interest to accelerate more,” Mitchell said.

He added that the CSeries is “meeting and beating” its technical targets. The CSeries’ maximum range has been increased from 2,950nm to 3,300, exceeding its original target by 350nm, following the test program. Its fuel performance is also better than anticipated.

Bombardier has booked 603 CSeries orders and commitments to date, including 243 on firm order.

By Victoria Moores

2017-06-13T02:14:50-06:00 October 15th, 2015|Uncategorized|

Flexjet Aims Higher with ‘Red Label’

Fractional provider Flexjet is aiming to capture a bigger share of the high-end market with a new level of service it is branding as Red Label. Details of the service will be formally announced at this year’s NBAA annual convention in Las Vegas; however, Chris Bero, Flexjet vice president of global marketing, shared Red Label’s basic elements with AIN.

Kenn Ricci, chairman of Flexjet parent company Directional Aviation Capital (DAC) and a founder of fractional firm Flight Options, began developing the Red Label concept several years ago, according to Bero. When DAC acquired Flexjet in 2013, Ricci saw it as an opportunity to “bring fractional ownership to the next level,” said Bero. That meant a war on what Bero refers to as “greige,” the hybrid term for not only the interchangeable conservative gray/beige colors that historically have dominated fractional jet interiors but in a larger sense the term for what he characterizes as the ordinary level of service permeating the industry.

Borrowing from the luxury hotel industry and with help from aircraft OEMs and sister company Constant Aviation, Flexjet began developing a new series of aircraft interiors with greater passenger comfort, bolder colors and textures and closer attention to craftsmanship and detail. This became the foundation for Flexjet’s LXi-series Learjet 75s, Challenger 350s and G450s. Flexjet envisions three to four different premium interior designs per aircraft type. “It starts with the aircraft first. You will need to be a member of the Red Label program to fly on these select aircraft,” Bero explained.

But putting snazzier interiors in newer airplanes is only one aspect of the program. “Red Label has four main attributes,” Bero said. The first is “artisan interiors.” The second is dedicated crew assigned to a particular aircraft. “That will offer the maximum experience to owners flying on that aircraft. Those pilots will know that aircraft like the backs of their hands, they are comfortable with it, they know how it performs, and they are able to serve the owners and their guests on that aircraft specifically,” he said. “The third aspect is offering aircraft that are no more than five years old and in many cases younger.” The company–with 85 aircraft in its fleet now–will be taking delivery of 31 new aircraft this year and plans to expand the fleet by at least 50 percent over the next three years. There will be a maximum of 10 owners per aircraft. Finally, the company will guarantee a limited amount of use on the aircraft. “We are not running these things into the ground. We will be using them to the benefit of our fractional owners and not using them for charter or to carry jet-card customers,” he said.

Bero said Red Label also will offer customers access to exclusive entertainment events, VIP lounges and upscale ground transportation with an option for armed guards–“some of them ex-Navy Seals”–said Bero. Onboard catering will have a local flavor, with menu items such as deep-dish pizza in Chicago or a lobster sandwich in Boston. Libations will include special Red Label cocktails. Flexjet is looking at branded FBOs at specific locations with special Red Label lounges. The first one is slated to open at the end of the year in Naples, Fla., to be followed by others at Scottsdale, Ariz., Teterboro, N.J., and Van Nuys, Calif.

The company’s goal with the service is “to tap into the emotional side of jet travel. It’s not just a business tool; it’s what a private aircraft represents. We don’t want to be

[the shared car ride service] Uber. Especially when you are sitting in the cabin of a business jet for six to seven hours on international flights, you want the best of the best,” Bero said.

Pricing for Red Label has not yet been established but will vary with the type of aircraft selected. Bero said Flexjet aims to convert at least 25 percent of its customers to Red Label within one year of rolling out the service. “We’re not looking to market on price,” he said. “We’re looking at the luxury component that owners at the top of the fractional chain really want. We know customers will pay more for Red Label. They are looking for differentiation within the fractional space. Given today’s great charter rates, we know we have to plus up [fractional ownership] to remain competitive and to stand out in the marketplace. We’ve taken a whole new approach. It’s really a two-horse race [with competitor NetJets]. We’re ready for it.”

by Mark Huber
– July 16, 2015, 2:59 PM

U.S. Bizav Flying Really Accelerates in June

Business aviation flight activity last month in North America soared 3.4 percent year-over-year, according to data released today by aviation services group Argus International. This handily beat the company’s forecast for 1.9-percent growth in June; for this month, it is projecting a 2.7-percent climb.

The Part 135 charter segment was once again out in front, with flying up 6.2 percent from a year ago. Part 91 activity logged a gain of 2.5 percent, while fractional activity fell by 0.5 percent. All aircraft categories saw increases last month, led by large-cabin-jet and turboprop flying, which were up 6.2 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively. Light jet flying jumped by 2.5 percent while midsize jet activity finally turned the corner, rising 0.8 percent.

Looking at individual results, Part 135 turboprop flying logged the largest, and only double-digit, gain at 12.2 percent. Part 135 large-cabin jets and fractional light jets also had strong showings, climbing 9 percent and 8.5 percent, respectively. Fractional midsize jet activity saw the largest loss, dropping 5.5 percent. Argus’s TraqPak data logs serial-number-specific aircraft arrival and departure information on all IFR flights in the U.S. and Canada.

as reported by AINalerts, July 9, 2015

2017-06-13T02:15:03-06:00 July 9th, 2015|Uncategorized|