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.

Kansas Transportation secretary announces aviation committee appointees

Kansas Transportation Secretary Mike King has named new members to the Kansas Aviation Advisory and Review Committee.

The committee advises the secretary on aviation matters and reviews current and proposed programs.

Members include Kansas pilots, airport representatives, air ambulance personnel and others.

Members include Missy Knott of Newton, chief operating officer of LifeTeam; Shelli Swanson of Salina, Salina Airport Authority director of administration and finance; Jason Wojteczko of Derby, owner of Compass Rose Aviation; Andy Hineman of Scott City, Spencer Flight and Education Center; Brian Youngers of Wichita, Signature Flight Support station manager; Ken Brock of Pittsburg, owner and founder of Names and Numbers; Kurt Barnhart of Salina, Kansas State University Salina, and Tim Tyree of the Kansas Association of Aerial Applicators and owner of Tyree Ag of Kinsley.

Nate Hinkel has been hired as marketing and outreach manager in the Division of Aviation. Hinkel will be based in Wichita.

 

Sikorsky CH-53K helicopter program hits major milestone

 

Courtesy image

Courtesy image

Sikorsky Aircraft’s CH-53K heavy lift helicopter program has hit a major milestone in its development.

Sikorsky has powered on the engines and spun the rotor head on the first prototype, the company said Tuesday.

Spirit AeroSystems builds the fuselage for the CH-53K in Wichita.

The helicopter is being developed for the Marine Corps.

The helicopter, called the Ground Test Vehicle, will undergo ground testing for about two years with Sikorsky and Marine test pilots at the controls.

It has been anchored to the ground at a remote outdoor test site in West Palm Beach, Fla., and outfitted with sensors to measure and verify the ability to operate safely under its own power, Sikorsky said.

Four more test aircraft are being prepared for flight tests, commencing in late 2014.

The first CH-53K is expected to be in operation in 2019.

Plans are for 200 aircraft, but production quantities will be based each year on funding allocations set by Congress and the Department of Defense funding priorities.

The Marine Corps plans to have eight active duty squadrons, one training squadron and one reserve squadron to support operational requirements, it said.

Airbus Americas posts jobs for Mobile assembly line

Airbus has posted its first hourly manufacturing positions for its assembly line in Mobile, Ala., the planemaker said Tuesday.

Airbus is looking for aircraft structure/installation mechanics, installers for aircraft cabin furnishings and aircraft electricians.

Last year, Airbus broke ground for an assembly line for its A320 family of commercial airplanes in Mobile. Major construction has begun.

Successful candidates will have two weeks of pre-employment training. If successful with the training, they will go for on-the-job training in Hamburg, Germany, Toulouse, France, and possibly Tianjin, China, before returning to Mobile for work.

Starting pay for all the positions range from $13 an hour to $22 an hour plus benefits based on skills, experience and education.

Hiring for manufacturing jobs will continue throughout 2014, the company said.

Spirit AeroSystems CEO receives pay, incentive raise

Spirit AeroSystems’ board of directors has increased the compensation of Larry Lawson, the company’s CEO and president.

The board raised Lawson’s annual base salary from $1 million to $1.05 million.

In addition, Lawson will be entitled to receive an award under Spirit’s Long Term Incentive Plan for 2014 and 2015 with a value equal to 435 percent of his annual base salary.

That’s an increase from 400 percent.

The change was listed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.

On Thursday, Spirit, Wichita’s largest private employer, recorded a net loss of $587 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, in part because of additional charges on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner program.

That compares to a profit of $61 million for the same time a year ago.

Spirit took a total of $546 million in pretax charges during the fourth quarter on a variety of programs.

For the year, Spirit recorded a loss of $621 million, compared to a profit of $35 million in 2012. Revenue for 2013 increased 10 percent to $6 billion.

For 2014, Spirit is forecasting revenue of $6.5 billion to $6.7 billion, based on Boeing’s 2014 delivery guidance of 715 to 725 commercial airplanes. Airbus is expected to deliver similar levels.

Yingling Aviation modifying King Air for EagleMed medical flights

Yingling Aviation in Wichita is in the midst of converting a Beechcraft King Air B200 for critical care emergency medical flights for EagleMed.

It’s Wichita-based EagleMed’s 16th King Air dedicated for air medical transport.

Yingling is removing the executive interior and installing air ambulance advanced life support systems approved for medical operations, according to EagleMed.

Workers are also installing a new forward cabinet for medical supplies, an aft cabinet for stretcher storage and supplies, side-facing passenger seats, LED lighting, a tracking system and a custom designed cabin intercom system.

The plane will be delivered later this month.

The pressurized turboprop is capable of flying in instrument conditions at a speed of 265 nautical miles per hour and has a range of about 800 miles round trip.

 

Boeing’s 747-8 commemorates Seahawks appearance in Super Bowl

seahawksBoeing is celebrating the Seattle Seahawks appearance in the Super Bowl with a specially painted 747-8 freighter.

The livery commemorates the National Football Conference Championship and the team’s appearance in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Boeing is a sponsor of the Seattle Seahawks.

The 747-8 is owned by Boeing and used for flight testing.

Here are some fun facts provided by Boeing:

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson’s longest pass this season, at 80 yards, was almost the same length as the 747-8 fuselage at 243.5 feet.

Russell Wilson threw for 3,357 yards this season, similar to the runway takeoff distance of the 747-8.

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin can dash the full length of the 180-foot  747-8 main deck in less than seven seconds.

The 747-8 can cover the length of a football field in one second at takeoff.

Southwest Airlines to temporarily operate Kansas City to Washington D.C. route

Southwest Airlines will temporarily operate a route from Kansas City International Airport to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport starting Feb. 1.

Southwest petitioned to ensure there was no interruption of service after Frontier Airlines decided to stop daily nonstop service beginning Jan. 31.

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, said Southwest’s decision is good news for Kansas air travelers.

“As the nation’s largest low-cost air carrier and MCI’s largest airline, Southwest is well-suited to provide travelers flying between Kansas City and Washington, D.C., with an affordable travel option,” Moran said in a statement. “Maintaining access to air service is essential to connecting Kansas businesses to the rest of the country.”

Last fall, Frontier Airlines was sold to Indigo Partners, a private equity firm. The new owners decided to discontinue Frontier’s current route exemptions, allocated by the Department of Transportation, for daily nonstop service between Kansas City and Washington.

While the DOT begins formal proceedings to reallocate the routes, which is expected to take months, Southwest Airlines will be allowed to serve the route on a temporary basis, Moran’s office said.

 

 

 

 

Wichita Aero Club gala brought some quotable moments

Saturday’s Wichita Aero Club gala drew a packed house as it honored Cessna Aircraft chairman emeritus Russ Meyer for Meyer’s contributions to aviation.

It also had a number of quotable moments. Here’s a few:

 

“He’s got great charisma, assuming it’s OK for a guy to say that about another guy.”

— Sen. Jerry Moran in a speech honoring Russ Meyer.

“If I can (say) Russ Meyer is my friend, my standing goes up a lot. That’s very important for someone in the business I’m in right now.”

— Sen. Jerry Moran

“He had a huge smile on his face. He looked right by me and said, ‘Russ.’”

— National Business Aviation Association president Ed Bolen, who had been impressed with himself that he had secured a difficult-to-get appointment with then U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow, on Snow’s greeting.

“It is very appropriate for Russ to receive this honor, because it’s hard to imagine someone who’s done more for his ‘adopted hometown’ of Wichita than he has. He is one of the most significant figures in general aviation history, and has probably had the largest impact on aviation policy than any other single person in the United States.”

— National Business Aviation Association president Ed Bolen

“Russ’s huge record of accomplishments extends well beyond aviation. “n fact, the last two times that a sitting U.S. president has visited Wichita, it has been at the invitation of Russ Meyer, and to see the philanthropic projects he’s been deeply involved in.”

— National Business Aviation Association president Ed Bolen

“One of these days, we’re going to learn that an award like this should go to the wife.”

—Russ Meyer, in accepting the Wichita Aero Club Gala award, on his wife, Helen.

“If you were anyplace in the world, if you looked up and saw two airplanes flying, chances were 50 percent that one of them was a Cessna.”

— Russ Meyer on the go-go years for general aviation during the late 1970s.

“It was not a campaign, it was really a crusade to save the single-engine market.”

—Russ Meyer on efforts to pass the General Aviation Revitalization bill. After its passage, Cessna restarted piston airplane production.

“I promise you this: If I were 25 years old today, I’d pursue a career in this industry in a heartbeat.”

– Russ Meyer during his speech at the gala.