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Hawker 400XP will not be in production for next 2 years

Hawker 400XP business aircraft

 Hawker Beechcraft announced Friday that it will stop producing its Hawker 400XP small business jet for the next two years.

Company officials told reporters in a conference call last week that the decision comes as Hawker adjusts to a 23 percent sales drop from a year ago within a challenging market for aircraft manufacturers.

“We made a decision that we think puts the future of that product out beyond the current economic problem and when we can see market recovery,” said Bill Boisture, CEO of Hawker Beechcraft, according to a report on the web site of Kansas TV station KSN.

The decision also comes at a time when the company has reduced its workforce and considered a move from Wichita, Kansas to Louisiana.

Gulfstream to add 1,000 to workforce

Those in southeast Georgia who anxiously wondered what would come from “Project X,” a year-old rumored development from Gulfstream Aerospace, can now rest easier. Meanwhile, economic and political leaders will probably consider popping corks on bottles of champagne.

During an announcement in Savannah this morning that included Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, Gulfstream said it will add 1,000 jobs in production and engineering as it expands its offices and facilities in the area.

A report on the Savannah Morning News web site said today’s announcement is a $500 million, seven-year deal that will increase the Gulfstream employee roster by 15 percent.  

The news provides another bubble of warmth within a cool economy that has seen several other aircraft manufacturers announce job cuts in recent months and comes with cheers from local leaders, who say the expansion by the area's largest employer with spur additional economic activity in the region.

Ultra-large jets and orders of new aircraft increased in the latter part of 2010, while Gulfstream reported a growth in revenue. The company was one of several aircraft makers to begin rolling out larger, faster business jets during the recent trend. During testing, its ultra long-range G650 recently earned the title of fastest civilian aircraft.

Is A U.S. Senator Subject To FAA Enforcement Action For Landing On A Closed Runway?

According to an Article in the Tulsa World, the United States Senator from Oklahoma, James Inhofe, landed his Cessna 340 on a closed runway at the Port Isabel-Cameron County Airport in Texas. At the time, the closed runway was marked with large X's to protect a crew that was working on the runway and a corresponding NOTAM regarding the runway closure had been issued.

The Senator stated that he only saw the X's about 20 seconds before he landed, which, according to him, was too late to change course. However, he was able to land on a part of the runway that was away from the location where the work was being performed. When asked about the NOTAM, the Senator stated "I did not know it because it was not given to me." Later, when the Senator wanted to leave, he used the airport's taxiway to take off.

What is interesting about this incident is that, after apparently notifying the FAA soon after landing and then talking with the FAA several days later, the Senator "expressed assurance that the agency will not take any action against him." I find that hard to believe.

Any other airman would be looking at an enforcement action alleging, at a minimum, violations of FARs 91.103 (requiring a pilot to become familiar with all available information concerning a flight), 91.139(c) (requiring compliance with a NOTAM) and 91.13(a) (careless and reckless) and seeking suspension of the airman's pilot certificate for a period of at least 30-90 days based upon FAA Order 2150.3B Appendix B (the FAA's Sanction Guidance Table).

[more]Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to encourage an enforcement action against the Senator. After all, he has always been a stalwart supporter of general aviation. Also, as we all know, stories reported in the media never include all of the facts. Perhaps the Senator has some viable defenses. However, it seems to me that the Senator should be subject to the same regulatory enforcement as every other airman. No more, no less.

It will be interesting to see what, if anything, happens. If the FAA does pursue an enforcement action, I hope the Senator filed his NASA/ASRP Form, and hires a good aviation attorney to defend him!

Robinson Helicopter to begin delivery on Robinson R66 Turbine

The FAA awarded certified the Robinson Helicopter R66 Turbine this week and at the same time, it awarded the company a production certificate to begin deliveries.

The first delivery was slated for Helistream Inc., a longtime Robinson dealer in Costa Mesa, Calif. Customers on the West Coast will be among the first to receive the Robinson R66 Helicopters.

It will be outfitted with a Rolls Royce RR300, which is based on the RR250 series. The design of the helicopter began in 2001, though the company did not jump head-on into its engineering until 2005.

 “Because we were not working to a hard deadline, we had the opportunity to refine and optimize the design,” said Pete Riedl, Robinson’s chief engineer. “The performance of the aircraft, so far, has met or exceeded all of our expectations.”

A new Cessna turboprop? Cessna E350?

The rumor mill churned at last week’s NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention in Atlanta, Ga., that Cessna Aircraft Co., may have something up its sleeve in addition to the Citation Ten it unveiled there.

In the video above, AOPA Pilot interviews Cessna CEO Jack Pelton and he hints that the aircraft maker might be developing a single-turboprop model to be marketed as an option in between the Corvalis TT and Citation Mustang.

“(It) would ideally have a cruise speed greater than 300 knots,” Pelton says in the interview. “And a price point between $1 and $2.2 million. We want to be south of the Mustang in terms of price.”

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Russ Niles writes for AvWeb this week that such an aircraft could compete with the Piper Meridian and Socata TBM 850, as Corvalis and Cirrus Aircraft pilots look to train up for an increase of range and speed.

Pelton has said he wants the Cessna product line to be ready to absorb new buyers as the economy rights itself. He told AOPA Pilot that he would like for a new product to be rolled out at the AOPA Aviation Summit next month in Long Beach, Calif. However, such an announcement may be “too soon,” he said.

An N-number has surfaced among aviation sleuths, N350CE, that shows up in our aircraft registration tool as a single turboprop two-seater registered to Cessna. It is listed there as a Cessna E350.

UPDATE: AvWeb now has what it says are images of the Cessna turboprop. Check them out here

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