Monthly Archives: September 2013

Cessna CEO Scott Ernest: Company will need help selling the Scorpion

Cessna Aircraft’s involvement in its first modern military jet, the Scorpion, will diversify Cessna’s business, Cessna CEO Scott Ernest said Thursday evening.

“We do know how to design jets,” Ernest said during a speech at a reception kicking off the Kansas Aviation Expo. “There is a tremendous amount of knowledge and pure engineering talent.”

Cessna engineers have been secretly working on the design and prototype during the past two years at Cessna’s Pawnee facility.

The process has helped Cessna learn about composite techniques that can be applied to future products, he said.

Now, “the thing we need is orders,” Ernest said. “We’ll either sell 2,000 of them, or we’ll sell zero.”

The company will need help selling the light jets, designed for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and attack missions.

It will need support from senators and the military, he said.

“We need somebody from the military to stand up and say, ‘This is an economical way to (do missions),” Ernest said.

He’d like to build 2,000 of them in Wichita.

But it’s too soon to say where they will be produced.

“I’m not going to commit to anything,” Ernest said.

If a government commits to buy the planes, “we may have to put some jobs there,” he said.

The plane is being built by a new Textron division, Textron AirLand, a joint venture with AirLand Enterprises. It was introduced last week at the Air Force Association Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition in National Harbor, Md.

The first flight is scheduled for this year, and low-volume production is slated for 2015.

Testing and early production will be done in Wichita.




Cessna’s Citation Latitude fuselage completes wing mate

Cessna Aircraft has successfully completed the wing mate on the first Citation Latitude test article, the company said.

Mating the wing to the fuselage is a program milestone as the Latitude approaches the first flight of its prototype, which is expected in the first quarter of 2014, it said.

Cessna announced the mid-size Latitude business jet at the National Business Aviation Association’s convention and exhibition in October 2011.

“It is very rewarding to see an aircraft take shape that, until now, you’ve only seen on paper,” Terry Shriner, Cessna’s business leader for the Latitude, said in a statement.

The plane’s design is driven in part by customer input on performance and cabin amenities, Shriner said.

“We started with a clear vision for the Latitude — to make the widest Citation, engineered with performance, luxury and value for which Cessna Citation jets are well known,” Kriya Shortt, Cessna senior vice president of sales, said in a statement.

The plane is designed to fly with two crew members and up to nine passenger and climb to 43,000 feet in 23 minutes.




Bombardier Business Aircraft chooses Montreal agency as agency-of-record

Bombardier Business Aircraft has chosen Montreal-based Sid Lee agency as its agency-of-record for its Learjet, Challenger and Global business jet brands, according to Marketing magazine.

Sid Lee will be Bombardier’s first agency-of-record for its business aircraft division, the magazine said.

Wichita’s Greteman Group does project work for the company.

Bombardier decided to unify its marketing behind a single agency two years ago to improve marketing efficiency and consistency across its brands, the magazine said. But the review was put on hold in May 2012 and restarted late last fall.

“Of the agency pitches under review, Sid Lee’s stood out for its long-term focus and multi-touchpoint recommendations,” Bombardier told the magazine.

New AOPA president Mark Baker to make appearance at Wichita’s Aviation Expo

Mark Baker, who took over as president and CEO of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association this month, will make his first public appearance in Wichita.

Baker is coming to Wichita for the inaugural Kansas Aviation Expo, said Expo organizer Jesse Romo.

The event is hosted by the Kansas Department of Transportation’s Division of Aviation and the Kansas Commission on Aerospace Education.

AOPA is canceling its Aviation Summit next year in order to focus on meeting members at community airports and hosting grassroots events.

With Baker’s appearance, “it’s kind of like we’re kick starting a new trend,” Romo said.

Baker will introduce Wichita aerial photographer Paul Bowen at a luncheon at the Expo on Friday, Sept. 27. Bowen is the luncheon’s guest speaker.

The Expo will be held Sept. 26 and Sept. 27 at the National Center for Aviation Training at 4004 N. Webb Road. The event leads up to the Wichita Flight Festival held Sept. 28 and 29 at Jabara Airport.

Baker replaces Craig Fuller at AOPA, who served five years as president and CEO.


Embraer: China to need 805 business jets over next 10 years

China will need 805 executive jets over the next 10 years with demand for large-cabin business jets to account for 51 percent of the demand, according to a just-released forecast by Embraer Executive Jets.

The market outlook was released at the Chinese International Business Aviation Show in Beijing, China.

China’s fleet of executive jets has grown an average of 27 percent annually from 2008 to 2012, fueled by a 26 percent growth in its wealthiest population. That’s according to the Hurun Report, Embraer said.

The overall environment calls for the development of business aviation to meet demand for business and leisure travel beyond the destination and schedule limitations of the airlines, Embraer said.

China is also improving its infrastructure and has added fixed-base operators, which are expected to rise to nine from five.


Local aviation aerial photographer Paul Bowen selected for Hall of Fame

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

Wichita-based aerial photographer Paul Bowen, has been selected as a 2013 inductee into the San Diego Air & Space Museum’s Hall of Fame.

Bowen, whose work has been showcased on more than 1,000 magazine covers and in countless ads, is one of nine honorees.

He joins the “Miracle on the Hudson” crew of US Airways Flight 1549; Red Bull Stratos Project/High Altitude Jumpers with Felix Baumgartner; the crew of Apollo 16; NASA’s Mission Control; WWII Navy Ace Dean “Diz” Laird; American Airlines retired chairman and CEO Bob Crandall; the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA); and WWII triple ace and test pilot  C. E. “Bud” Anderson.

“I am really humbled by this,” Bowen said. “We’re kind of besides ourselves.”

The Hall of Fame recognizes the accomplishments of famed air and space pioneers.

“They are some of the world’s most significant aviation pilots, crew members, visionaries, inventors, aerospace engineers, businessmen, designers, spokesmen and space pioneers,”  the museum said.

The inductees will be honored at a Legends of Flight celebration in San Diego on Nov. 16.

Courtesy photo

Here’s what the museum had to say about Bowen:

“Most often perched in the open tail-gunner’s position of a World War II era B-25 bomber, internationally renowned aerial photographer Paul Bowen has been capturing the elegance and essence of commercial airplanes for more than 40 years. His stunning images have graced more than 1,000 magazine covers and countless advertisements, and prominent corporate aircraft companies rely upon his unmatched technique to showcase their latest and greatest. The consummate professional, Bowen often finds his best shots while flying at 200 miles per hour in below-freezing temperatures just before dawn. Most often perched in the open tail-gunner’s position of a World War II era B-25 bomber, internationally renowned aerial photographer Paul Bowen has been capturing the elegance and essence of commercial airplanes for more than 40 years.”

Air Force KC-46A tanker design finalized

Boeing and the Air Force have validated the final design elements of the KC-46A aerial refueling tanker and concluded that the design can meet Air Force requirements, Boeing said Wednesday.

The step clears the way for production and testing of the tanker that will replace the current fleet of aging KC-135 Stratotankers.

“I’m pleased to report that the design of the KC-46A tanker has been locked down,” Air Force Maj. Gen. John Thompson, Air Force program executive officer for tankers, said in a statement. “This is great news for the nation’s war fighters. The joint government and Boeing team stayed focused on the design review objectives, and truly delivered.”

Boeing and the Air Force held a KC-46A Weapon System Critical Design review in July, which followed months of component and subsystem reviews, the company said.

The tanker is based on Boeing’s commercial 767-200ER.

If all options under the contract are exercised, Boeing expects to deliver 179 tankers so the Air Force. Boeing plans to build four test aircraft and deliver 18 combat-ready tankers by 2017.

Boeing’s 787-9 first flight to be significant

The first flight of the Boeing 787-9, the newest member of Boeing’s 787 family, is coming soon. And it will have greater implications than normal for a “minor model variant,” said an  industry expert.

The first flight of the 787-9 Dreamliner, a variant of the 787-8, would typically be of little consequence, said Scott Hamilton, an industry consultant with Leeham Co.

But the flight will have greater scrutiny than otherwise because of the “painful birth of the lead variant, the 787-8 and its troubled early service that included a 3 1/2 month grounding,” Hamilton wrote in a newsletter.

Boeing made significant changes to the 787-9 based on lessons learned from the 787-8.

Those included a reported 30 percent of the design and also changes to the design and production of the tail, the side-of-body wing join, elements of the wing’s internal structure, some electronics and to the lithium ion batteries that led to the grounding of all 50 787-8 Dreamliners in service, Hamilton wrote.

Dispatch reliability also remains a challenge for the 787-8s, “hovering around 98 percent.” Boeing wants to see it closer to 99.7 percent, the standard set by the 737 NB and the 777, he said.

That may not sound like a lot of difference, but it means a lot to the airlines, Hamilton said.

Expectations are high for the 787-9, he said.

“We hear the first plane emerged from the factory pretty ‘clean,’ that is without the troubles that bedeviled the -8,” Hamilton wrote. “Let’s hope the flight test program comes off without a hitch.”

Boeing also is planning another variant of the 787, a 787-10.


Airbus CEO takes his first flight on the A350 XWB

Fabrice Bregier (Courtesy Photo)

Airbus president and CEO Fabrice Bregier flew on board the company’s new Airbus A350 XWB for the first time last week.

The flight was a routine test flight that took place over the southwestern part of France, the company said.

So far, the A350 XWB has completed more than 150 flight test hours out of the 2,500 hours needed to be achieved by five flight test A350s in the next 12 months, the company said.

Spirit AeroSystems, based in Wichita, builds portions of the plane’s fuselage and wings.