All posts tagged 'Business Aviation Aircraft'

Embraer Legacy 500 Makes 'Flawless' First Flight

Article By: Chad Trauvetter
www.ainonline.com

The Embraer Legacy 500 made a “flawless” one-hour 45-minute first flight today from the aircraft manufacturer’s headquarters at Brazil’s São José dos Campos Airport, marking the beginning of the midsize jet’s flight-test program. Embraer test pilots Mozart Louzada and Eduardo Camelier, along with flight-test engineers Gustavo Paixão and Alexandre Figueiredo, flew the fly-by-wire aircraft, performing handling and performance characteristics evaluation.

The Legacy 500 achieved first flight today from Embraer’s headquarters in São José dos Campos, Brazil.

As a result of the extensive use of simulation and ground testing, the aircraft was able to cover a “significant flight envelope” on the maiden flight, though the company hasn’t yet released speed or altitude data. Aircraft systems were assessed during the flight, including landing-gear retraction.

“This is the aircraft that will move us from industry player to industry leader,” said Embraer Executive Jets president Ernest Edwards. “The Legacy 500 breaks through the traditional midsize jet envelope to offer something that has never been done before. It is hard to overstate the importance of fly-by-wire technology. Fly-by-wire does for business aviation what GPS has done for navigation. It will empower more precision, efficiency, safety and comfort every time the aircraft flies.”

Certification and initial deliveries of the Legacy 500 are expected in early 2014. Its mid-light sibling, the Legacy 450, is slated to cross the certification finish line about a year after that.

Pre-owned Update

By: Bryan A. Comstock
www.ainonline.com

Finding a pricing floor for many models has been as elusive as the search for Atlantis, but recent market action is giving hope to underwater sellers. The typical summer plumping of inventory never occurred this year, setting the stage for what could be an active wave of buying in the final quarter. 

Retail transactions in the pre-owned segment are up over the same year-ago period among light and medium jets and about even with where they were last year in the large category. While a one-year look back might not provide enough incentive to do cartwheels, consider that you would have to look back at the peak years of 2006 and 2007 to find numbers close to the current level of sales.

A possible explanation for the noticeable uptick is the extremely attractive pricing that has swept through the market year after excruciating year and which may only now be close to a tipping point. Though buyers surfacing now are certainly not late to the party, it may take longer to sift through markets already plucked of their low-hanging fruit.

Seriously, Challenger 604s and GIVs for less than $5 million? Yes! While you might be looking at 10,000 or more hours in the logs, there are non-project aircraft that can be bought for a song. Of course, such low pricing on large-cabin aircraft compresses pricing not only on predecessor models but also on smaller segment markets, such as the super-mids and mid-cabins. G200s, Hawkers, Citations, Learjets are just deals waiting for a buyer. Any upside pop in consumer confidence (be it from QE3 or the upcoming election) could see fourth-quarter numbers eclipse quarter-over-quarter figures for the peak years. The resetting of these asset prices, coupled with the larger number of choices today, is the only way this could be possible. Despite inventory trending down over about 500 aircraft since 2009 (even as the fleet has increased), collectively just over 13 percent of the worldwide fleet is for sale.

Pressure on Newer Inventory

Once a buyer begins to apply his own parameters, however, the field of wings may diminish. For example, for a buyer wanting a 2000 or newer model, the percentage figure drops below 9 percent. If that buyer doesn’t want to look beyond North America, choices drop another 2 percent. A European buyer wanting to buy on home soil has even fewer options in terms of the sheer number to choose from, but twice as many in percentage terms when compared with the U.S. In Europe, 298 aircraft fall into the 2000 or newer grouping compared with 437 in North America. A buyer in today’s market should not overlook any offerings in Europe, as the glutted market appears to offer fertile shopping grounds.

Take the Citation Excel, for example, a popular midsize that saw its fleet size grow to more than 370 before a new and improved version came along. Still a well sought after aircraft, it shows up with only 8 percent of its fleet for sale, but half of the 30 are in Europe and only 11 in North America. The successor model exemplifies the point further. Equally popular, the XLS offers 21 for sale. Only six of them are based in North America and more than half are in Europe. Perhaps not as surprising is the Falcon 2000, where European and North American supply is even at eight, with only two others located outside these two areas. The Challenger 605 is just one more example. Of the 17 for sale at present, nine are based in Europe, four in Asia, three in North America, plus one delivery position.

The take-away here is that with more than 2,500 aircraft for sale worldwide it shouldn’t matter where you shop as there are plenty of deals to go around, and in the past several years we haven’t seen anyone raise the price of an aircraft that has been on the market. In addition, with such fertile hunting grounds, buyers seem less emotionally engaged than at other times. If a seller isn’t market priced, the buyer will explore the many other options that are available. While indicators imply that some model types have reached the bottom of the market, that doesn’t mean prices are going to shoot up anytime soon and buyers still have the decided edge at the negotiation table. Even the most popular of aircraft have absorption rates extending beyond a year.

(Image Credit: www.ainonline.com)

Embraer Starts Phenom 300 Production in Florida

Article By: Chad Trautvetter
www.ainonline.com

Embraer started Phenom 300 production at its Melbourne, Fla. facility this week, the Brazilian manufacturer announced today. Phenom 100s have been assembled at the Florida plant since early last year, with 14 of the U.S.-built light jets delivered to U.S., Canadian and Mexican customers to date.

The first wing and fuselage for Phenom 300 S/N 118 arrived last week at the Melbourne facility, and pre-production work on the assemblies is currently under way. The aircraft, which will be an Embraer demonstrator, will be moved onto the Phenom production line tomorrow, Melbourne facility manager Phil Krull told AIN. S/N 118 is expected to roll off the line in March.

“We have added the Phenom 300 to bring production closer to our customers,” Krull said. “Customers have been benefiting from the delivery of the entry-level Phenom 100 produced in Melbourne since last year and we are now ready to expand these operations.”

According to Krull, the Melbourne facility will deliver 15 Phenom 300s and 24 Phenom 100s next year. The plant has the capacity to manufacture up to eight Phenoms per month, he noted.

(Images provided by www.ainonline.com)

Gulfstream G280 Earns Its Wings

Article By: Chad Trautvetter
www.ainonline.com

The super-midsize Gulfstream G280, a joint project between Gulfstream and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), obtained full FAA and Israeli type certification today. This was an on-time arrival for Gulfstream, which had promised such approval in the third quarter. The aircraft received provisional type certification from Israel’s CAAI on December 29 and from the FAA on March 1.

“Gulfstream is excited to bring this aircraft to its customers, especially since we’re able to provide an airplane that does more than we originally announced,” said Gulfstream president Larry Flynn. The G280 has a range of 3,600 nm at Mach 0.80, a 200-nm increase over original projections. “It’s the only midsize aircraft that can reliably fly nonstop between London and New York,” he added.

The approvals clear the way for customer deliveries of the new twinjet. Gulfstream says it will deliver the first G280 before year-end to a “U.S.-based manufacturer with a worldwide presence spanning 190 countries.”

According to Gulfstream, the principal remaining item required before the FAA and CAAI issued full type certificates was an update to the software for the twinjet’s Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics. This hurdle was cleared today, when Rockwell Collins announced that the avionics system achieved FAA certification on the Gulfstream PlaneView280 flight deck.

Meanwhile, full FAA certification of the wide-cabin Gulfstream G650 is expected by the end of this month. The G650 received provisional FAA certification in November.

(Images provided by www.ainonline.com)

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