Category Archives: aircraft manufacturers

Boeing, Spirit AeroSystems reach milestone with delivery of 8,000th Boeing 737

Boeing celebrated delivery of the 8,000th 737 single-aisle commercial airliner to come off the production line on Wednesday, which also marks a milestone for Spirit AeroSystems.

Spirit, and Boeing’s Wichita commercial airline division before it, have built the fuselages for all 8,000 planes.

Spirit builds the fuselage, pylons and thrust reversers in Wichita and wing components in Tulsa.

Boeing has more than 3,700 Boeing 737′s on order. That includes 1,934 orders for the 737 MAX, an upgraded version with new engines.

The 8,000th 737 was delivered to United Airlines. Since 1965, United has taken delivery of more than 550 737s.

Boeing has been raising 737 production with continued rising demand.

Since 2010, it’s increased production from 31.5 planes a month to today’s rate of 42 per month. It’s planning production increases to 47 a month in 2017, and has hinted that production could be raised beyond that.

“The 737 program continues to innovate with new features and technology, meeting the needs of our customers now and into the future,” Beverly Wyse, Boeing vice president and general manager of the 737 program, said in a statement. “Boeing has a long and treasured history with United Airlines, and we’re proud they’re taking delivery of this milestone airplane.”


Wichita Manufacturers Association announces scholarship winners

The Wichita Manufacturers Association awarded 19 scholarships for 2014.

Sixteen companies that are members of the association provided funds for a named scholarship, two scholarships were provided by the association’s scholarship fund, comprised of member donations. And one scholarship is funded by the Wichita Area Technical College.

The winners are Jacob Dold, Bao Pham, Austin Towne, Brianne McNutt, Tanner Harpool, Jose Cisneros, Taylor Price, Arlene Raymundo, Nathan Ruzzin, Michelle Wheeler, Katherine Marceau, Henry Ramirez, Kyle Offutt, Phillip Osu, Talon Wanless, Conner Garoung, Maggie Koops, Colin Phillips and Ryan Wolfe.

They won $1,000 scholarships.

Wichita Manufacturers Association has more than 150 members, made up of managers and owners of manufacturing companies in Wichita and Sedgwick County.

The objective is to promote the general welfare of manufacturers, to educate the public about manufacturing companies and their products, to acquaint members with one another and their products and operations, to attract, advise and assist other manufacturers who may want to locate in the Wichita area, and to support educational opportunities and activities that promote and develop better manufacturing interests, methods and employees.

Cessna Aircraft partners with Liberty University

Cessna Aircraft has partnered with Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., to help students with flight training.

Under the agreement, students will learn to fly at Cessna Pilot Centers and enroll in online classes at Liberty that will qualify toward a degree in aeronautics at the same time.

Liberty also plans to offer classes to high school students who live near Cessna Pilot Centers so that they can take part of their training before they graduate, the company said.


Consultant: Growth in smaller jets in China may take time

Many experts have predicted that smaller business jets will play a large role in China’s business aviation market.

But that may be a long time coming if at all, said Brian Foley, an aviation consultant with Brian Foley Associates.

China’s preference for larger, heavier and longer-range business jets will remain in place for the foreseeable future, similar to what happened in the Middle East, Foley said.

Currently, 198 business jets operate in Mainland China, including 63 percent heavy jets, 25 percent medium jets and 12 percent light jets, Foley said.

The figures seem lopsided, compared to the worldwide average of 26 percent heavy jets, 34 percent medium jets and 40 percent light jets, he said.

China’s fleet closely mirrors the Middle East’s mix of the fleet.

“There are important reasons for this — including culture, politics, geography, trade and infrastructure — whose effects will be long-lasting,” Foley said.

Like the Middle East, China is faced with long internal distances and a heavy international travel need, which require larger aircraft.

Because of this, China’s medium and light fleet shouldn’t be expected to “catch up” to its larger fleet.

“More likely, the present mix will remain relatively constant even as the total fleet size increases,” Foley said.

That could impact Wichita, where planemakers build small and medium-size business jets.


Boeing launches the BBJ MAX

Boeing launched the Boeing Business Jet, or BBJ, MAX family of airplanes after receiving the first order from a customer.

It’s not disclosing the name of the customer.

The order is for the BBJ MAX 8, based on a 737 MAX 8, an updated 737 commercial jet with new engines, winglets and other improvements.

It’s a business jet with a range of 6,325 nautical miles.

“We are honored that an existing BBJ customer has become the first to select the BBJ MAX,” Capt. Steve Taylor, president, Boeing Business Jets, said in a statement. “The BBJ MAX provides more room, longer range and emits fewer emissions than its nearest competition, making it an ideal choice for today’s BBJ customers.”

The new BBJ family also will include the BBJ MAX 9, based on the 737 MAX 9, and is expected to offer a 6,255 nautical mile range. Plans for a BBJ MAX 7 are being studied.

Development of the 737 MAX is on schedule, the company said. First flight is expected in 2016 with deliveries to commercial airline customers starting in 2017.

Boeing has taken orders for more than 1,900 737 MAX jets from 37 customers.



AOPA publishes guide for starting a flying club

There are more than 600 flying clubs in the country, and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association wants that number to grow.

To that end, AOPA has published a new guide, “AOPA’s Guide to Starting a Flying Club,” to steer members through the critical steps of forming a club.

Flying clubs have a positive impact on the general aviation community, the organization says.

More than half of all active pilots are past or current members of a flying club.

“Virtually all of them consider club membership as a positive experience,” AOPA’s survey showed. “AOPA’s efforts around flying clubs are aimed at building a stronger community in which more people earn pilot certificates, pilots are more active and the flying lifetime of pilots is extended.”

The guide offers advice on how to choose the right airplane for insurance considerations and provides a collection of sample documents, forms and other resources, such as sample operating rules and aircraft lease agreements.

“This guide was created to provide a useful roadmap to pilots starting a club,” Woody Cahall, leader of AOPA’s flying club initiative, said in a statement. “It addresses the biggest roadblocks to starting new flying clubs and it provides common sense advice that pilots will be able to apply when launching clubs all over the country.”

AOPA also offers a flying club insurance program, aircraft financing, a monthly newsletter for clubs to share information, flying club webinars and a flying club network Facebook page.


Former Spirit AeroSystems CEO won’t run for re-election to the board

Former Spirit AeroSystems CEO Jeff Turner won’t run for re-election to Spirit’s board of directors when the board holds the company’s annual meeting in April, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

He will serve out the remainder of his current term, which ends during the annual meeting. Turner will continue to consult for the company under his consulting agreement, however.

Turner retired as CEO of Spirit a year ago but had stayed on as a member of the company’s board of directors.

In 2005, Turner led the sale of Boeing’s commercial aviation division to Onex Corp., which became Spirit AeroSystems.

“It was through Jeff Turner’s vision and leadership that Spirit was created,” Spirit said in an emailed statement. “The Company thanks him for his leadership and service to Spirit.”


Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon to enter full production with $2.4 billion contract for 16 planes

The Navy has ordered its first production lot of P-8A Poseidon aircraft from Boeing in a $2.4 billion contract, Boeing said Tuesday.

The order for 18 additional aircraft means the program will enter full production.

The order takes the total fleet to 53 and marks the transition from preliminary to low-rate production of the P-8A, which will bolster maritime patrol capabilities, the company said.

Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita builds the fuselgae for the P-8A, which is based on a 737-800 commercial aircraft.

So far, Boeing has delivered 13 P-8As to the Navy, which deployed its first patrol squadron to Kadena, Japan, in December.

“This milestone is a testament to the incredible effort and dedication of the team to deliver the P-8A to the fleet as planned,” Navy P-8A program manager Capt. Scott Dillon said in a statement. “The future of the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance community has begun to make history with the P-8As already delivered to the fleet. These full-rate production aircraft will give us the opportunity to deliver the best system through a cost-effective procurement contract.”

The P-8A will enhance the service’s anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, Boeing said.

The Navy plans to buy a total of 117 P-8As to replace its P-3 fleet.

Boeing’s P-8 team includes CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Spirit AeroSystems, BAE Systems and GE Aviation.

Cessna: Citation Latitude makes third flight, achieves maximum performance envelope

Cessna Aircraft’s Citation Latitude prototype has made its third test flight.

During the flight, the business jet successfully achieved its full envelope of performance, the company said.

It reached a maximum speed of 506 mph and an altitude of 45,000 feet with a gross takeoff weight of 29,000 pounds.

The plane made its maiden flight last week.

Michael Thacker, Cessna senior vice president of engineering, said in a statement that from an engineering perspective, Cessna’s team has designed a plane that is proceeding in a predictable, reliable manner.

The test plane is displaying characteristics of a mature system in its first few flights.

Cessna CEO Scott Ernest called the Latitude a breakthrough aircraft in many ways.

The plane is an affirmation of Cessna’s commitment to new product development, Ernest said

“The Latitude is an aircraft that delivers a lot of firsts from Cessna — the wide fuselage, the stand-up cabin with a flat floor, auto-throttles, the electric door and the improved cabin environment,” Ernest said. “All these achievements stem from listening to the voice of the customer and getting down to the business of delivering what customers need and desire.”

UBS report: Business jet activity continues upward trend

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

Business jet activity is continuing on a positive trend, and that’s good news for the industry.

The number of business jet takeoffs and landings in January was an estimated 4 percent higher than in January 2012, UBS analyst David Strauss wrote in an analyst report Monday.

The higher activity follows a strong December and has grown at a “solid rate” for six out of the past seven months, Strauss wrote.

Strauss estimates that average daily utilization of young business jets, jets from zero to five years of age, is nearly back to “pre-crisis levels.”

Utilization of the older fleet, however, is still declining.

By market segment, utilization of long-range business jets moved 11 percent higher year over year in January, mid-range business jets rose 4 percent higher, and short-range business jets rose 2 percent.

Takeoffs and landings increased the most at Embraer, with a 30 percent increase year over year.

That was followed by Gulfstream and Bombardier at 5 percent, Hawker at 4 percent, Dassault at 3 percent and Cessna at 2 percent.

UBS expects the North American market to continue to improve driven by pent-up demand by corporations to replace their aircraft.