Aviation Technology - Page 7 Aviation Articles

Beechjet/Hawker 400XP Garmin G5000 Retrofit Program

Breathing New Life into a Timeless Airframe

By Mark Wilken
Director of Avionics Sales for Elliott Aviation

www.elliottaviation.com

At NBAA this year, spectators had the opportunity to see the Garmin G5000 first-hand in the Beechjet. This is exciting news for Beechjet/Hawker 400XP owners and operators alike as it further affirms the longevity for this aircraft. Because avionics parts obsolescence is becoming a prevalent issue in older airframes, the G5000 retrofit rids any obsolescence issues and further enhances the capabilities of this magnificent airframe.

Garmin recognized the importance of the G5000 program, as over 700 Beechjet/Hawker 400XPs/Jayhawk T-1A are currently flying, with many of them older and rapidly facing avionics parts obsolescence issues. However, this viable airframe is still a leader in the light jet segment. The aircraft features 450 Knot speeds with a 1,300+ NM range. Additionally, this airframe is based on a squared oval design with a flat floor, allowing a superior cabin cross-section for ultimate head and shoulder room.

Paired with the G5000, the useful load increases by 150 lbs or more. The G5000 is not just a partial avionics upgrade leaving much of the 1980’s technology but a complete replacement of the entire avionics suite including a new Garmin autopilot system. The G5000 instrument panel consist of three 12” LCD displays that provide the pilot and copilot with all the latest technologies including Synthetic Vision, Electronic Charts, XM Weather, WAAS/LPV, ADS-B, Engine Indication, MFD Range Rings including Reserve Rings, and more.

The 2nd half of this decade will see the Beechjet series aircraft facing CRT Display obsolescence, AHRS obsolesce, WAAS/LPV upgrades, ADS-B out upgrades and a rising cost per hour for avionics repairs. The G5000 will take care of all of these issues in one short downtime, making it a true upgrade that will keep this aircraft flying for many years to come.

With the G5000 officially flying in the experiential stage, customers are looking at this retrofit beginning late 2015. At Elliott Aviation, we are looking forward to installing the Garmin G5000 in Beechjet/Hawker 400XP’s from all over the world. We will be striving to achieve the same milestones that make our Garmin G1000 King Air retrofits such a success like a 15-day downtime, all new wiring, and industry-leading checkout instruction.

About the Author

Mark Wilken joined Elliott Aviation in 1989 as an Avionics Bench Technician. He was promoted to Avionics Manager in 1996 and joined the sales team in 2003. Mark has led many highly successful avionics programs such as the King Air Garmin G1000 avionics retrofit program. He recently led efforts for Wi-Fi solutions in Hawkers, King Airs and Phenom 300’s. Mark holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation Management from Southern Illinois University and is a licensed Pilot.

 

CAVEAT EMPTOR

The world of aircraft sales is fraught with risk and it is a wise buyer who retains professional assistance in the process of buying or selling an airplane. However, the risk in the selection process is not merely limited to what airplane to choose. In some cases the risk starts with the advisor you choose!

Just because someone holds themselves out as having years of experience in the aviation industry does not necessarily make them an expert in the preowned marketplace. This subset of the aircraft sales profession suffers from an overabundance of self-proclaimed experts who in reality have little or no experience in this unique arena. They may very well have held jobs directly related to the operation, maintenance or even sold new aircraft, but it is a misconception to think that they thus hold the skill set necessary to see a complex transaction through from start to finish. If the deal is more complex, such as a cross-border sale or dealing with a repossession, then you need to make sure that the agent you hire has that specific experience. Nearly all my peers at one time or another have encountered legal counsel who seem to think they can manage the deal better than an experienced preowned salesperson. Perhaps the perceived largess to be earned, accolades to be bestowed or allure of mixing with the top one percenters and business leaders the world over draws folks to the aircraft sales world like a moth to flame. Caveat emptor.

In absence of any regulation or requirement for formal credentials that substantiate one is qualified to conduct a pre-owned aircraft sales transaction, the prospective buyer or seller has little to go on in terms of validating a broker’s level of expertise other than perhaps word of mouth or advertising. While references and recommendations should be requested and verified, does the enduser really understand what qualifies as experience in the preowned aircraft sales marketplace? Being a nice person alone is not good enough. Having years of new aircraft sales experience is not enough. Having spent a career specializing in a particular area of the aviation industry is not enough. Advertising in the aviation industry can be a lot of smoke and mirrors and if you do not know what you are reading, you can easily be beguiled into believing that bigger is better. Anyone can create glossy advertising depicting a wide array of aircraft for sale, but do they really? All the while making claims as to their expertise in aircraft sales.

As you might have guessed, I am here to offer a short tutorial on what to look for when evaluating who to hire to handle your aircraft acquisition or sale. First time buyers in particular…pay attention! You are most at risk as you will for the most part have no basis for comparison. An experienced preowned aircraft sales expert is completely comfortable with taking a transaction from start to finish. As one would expect, they should have an industry network in place, first-hand experience working with the various maintenance facilities and other experts you may seek to employ in the sales process including escrow agents, free-lance technical advisors and legal counsel. After all you are paying that individual to in essence be a project manager and they should have a working knowledge of what each party in a qualified go-to team brings to the table.

An experienced aircraft sales professional will have access to research data for a particular make/model of airplane including comps on which to base what you should be paying for a targeted airplane. Indepth primary research of course assures you of complete coverage. If the salesperson you are dealing with is not able to reach out to each and every owner within a select make/model, then you are not getting what you are in part paying them for. While it doesn’t mean you should not buy an already advertised airplane, you do want to be assured you did not miss any off-market opportunities.

An experienced aircraft sales professional is familiar with all the documents necessary to conduct an aircraft sale. These include, but are not limited to, all FAA documents(if a domestic U.S. sale), transactional instruments such as a Letter of Intent (LOI) or Aircraft Purchase and Sale Agreement (APSA) and the International Registry. Most aircraft sales-professionals are comfortable in drafting at least a template for an LOI and the APSA. If your expert is reluctant to do so, then at the very least they should be actively engaged in assisting legal counsel in the construction of said documents, review and negotiation in an effort to accurately put forth the mechanics of the sale and otherwise avoid obstructions and encumbrances. The list of documents grows if the sale is cross-border in nature and this is not time for your “expert” to be learning how to conduct such a transaction. Of course there is a first-time for everyone and I don’t begrudge anyone a learning curve. As much as ninety percent of the transactions my company is involved in are cross-border in nature and on many an occasion we work with an agent representing the other side who has limited experience in such. Eighty-nine percent of the time they are grateful for the assistance we offer in navigating this territory and welcome suggestions as to how to speed the plow. After all, we share a common interest and that is to conclude the transaction.

Consider it a home run if you find yourself working with an aircraft sales professional who is comfortable with conducting a first-hand review of the subject airplane and records. While the level of familiarity with the plane and logs one should have need not be on the level of a pilot or A & P mechanic, it certainly should be to the extent that one knows what attributes as well as potential problems to look for. They should also be on-site during critical junctures in the prepurchase evaluation. This includes any time a repair is called for, at the time the discrepancy list is prepared and made available for review and at the conclusion of the maintenance so verification of fault rectification is made in a timely fashion. Caveat emptor.

Timing is everything they say and no less so when it comes to an aircraft sales transaction. An aircraft sales professional will have a keen sense of timing and will keep an eye on the specific dates of performance written into an APSA. While we all want to trust that everyone will do their job, an aircraft sales person may have to help marshal the deal along, particularly when it comes to the prebuy, and they should have no reservations in doing so. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. As well, they will have a checklist of what needs to be accomplished in order to close the deal and will keep the parties to the transaction aware of what is done and needs to yet be accomplished. There are delays and then there are delays, but don’t let the delay occur because tasks were left to within days of Closing. Caveat emptor. As this blog unfolds I realize I have just scratched the surface of the myriad of steps and tasks that encompass an aircraft sale. I could write a book, but then I could just keep writing my blog pro bono.

General Aviation's Avgas Problem: Low Lead to No Lead?

The general aviation industry is searching for an alternative for 100 low lead avgas (100LL). But it is really necessary?

By now we all know that human exposure to lead is unhealthy – most commonly, exposure to lead causes neurological problems in children and cardiovascular problems in adults. We’ve probably all made sure that our walls weren’t once painted with leaded paint and our lead pipes aren’t corroding and contaminating our drinking water. But have you considered that general aviation aircraft operations are the main source of lead pollution today? Those who work in and around small piston aircraft might be exposed to harmful lead pollution – and the EPA and FAA are ready to do something about it.

"Emissions of lead from piston-engine aircraft using leaded avgas comprise approximately half of the national inventory of lead emitted to air," claims the EPA. The organization estimates that about 41,000 tons of lead from avgas was emitted between 1970 and 2007. And, According to an EPA factsheet, the concentration of lead in the air increases near general aviation airports due to the use of 100LL fuel.

But our air quality is fine, right? And people have been using 100LL for years without adverse health affects…right? This might be true, but general aviation’s lead problem, while seemingly minor, is not a small problem at all.

Lead emitted from general aviation flight operations not only pollutes the air in and around airports, but it’s capable of traveling great distances before accumulating on the ground and in ground water. And, because there is no level of lead that is said to be safe when it comes to human exposure, the EPA and other environmental groups are pushing for the aviation community to adopt a lead-free fuel.

While many in the industry agree that it’s time to make the switch to an alternative fuel, others aren’t quite sure it’ll be worth the price. To the author’s knowledge, there have been no studies regarding the amount of lead in humans that work or live around general aviation airports, nor has there been any actual emissions testing on aircraft that operate with 100LL fuel. The EPA and other organizations have assumed that the hazard exists based on the amount of lead in avgas, and the fact that avgas is the only leaded fuel out there, leaving some people wondering if the problem even exists at all.

Regardless of the lack of information, the FAA has declared its agreement with the EPA and is taking steps toward a lead-free future, noting that general aviation aircraft are the only type of fuel-burning transportation that still uses leaded fuel.

In July 2014, the FAA received nine proposals for alternative fuels that would replace 100LL avgas, including proposals from Afton Chemical Company, Avgas LLC, Shell, Swift Fuels, BP, TOTAL, and Hjelmco. For the next few years, the FAA will be testing and evaluating these fuels during a two-phase, six million dollar per year program called the Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative (PAFI). They hope to have a solution that satisfies the entire general aviation fleet of 100LL users by December 2018.

As an aircraft owner, you might not be worried about air quality around airports or exposure to lead through your own piston aircraft use. But the transition to lead-free fuel is happening, and the bigger problem here is that an alternative fuel will affect all 100LL users in the not-so-distant future. Before long, aircraft owners could be faced with buying a new engine or at the very least, a certification process for a new fuel type. While the FAA hopes to find a fuel that will keep all aircraft flying, there is bound to be a cost associated with keeping 100LL aircraft in the air in the post-100LL days. And if you thought today’s avgas is expensive, a new type will probably cost even more.

Diesel might be the way to go, after all.

What are your thoughts? Is the creation of a lead-free fuel a necessary step into the future for GA, or have environmentalist organizations created a problem that doesn’t really exist? Comment and let us know!

National Aviation Day: A Look Back at Aviation through the Years


Photo: Library of Congress

August 19th is National Aviation Day, a day on which many of us involved in aviation reflect on the past, present and future of our industry. Since it's the past that got us to where we are today - an aviation industry focused on innovation and technology - this year on National Aviation Day, take time to consider how far the aviation industry has come. From the earliest balloons to the Boeing 747, and from the Wright Brothers to the F-35, here are a few aviation highlights that will take you back in time.

Early Flight
Birds and Balloons - Before airplanes, scientists were studying birds, balloons, and other flying contraptions. According to the Library of Congress, the first kite was invented as early as 1000 B.C. in China. The Chinese later used kites to measure distances and for reconnaissance. As kites and other flying wings were being developed during this time, Leonardo Da Vinci was studying the flight of birds and developing designs for flying machines. Balloons became popular in the 1700s, after the Montgolfier brothers powered the first balloon flights.

The First Fixed Wing Aircraft - Balloons were no match for Sir George Cayley, also known as the Father of the Aeroplane, who first noticed and recorded the four forces of flight. Cayley also design the first fixed-wing aircraft and was perhaps the first modern engineer, researching and recording the first theories about stability & control and wing dihedral.

Langley vs. Gustav Whitehead vs. the Wright Brothers - In the early 1900s, Samuel Langley was designing and building the first airplanes with a grant from the U.S. government. Langley was unsuccessful, and during the same time, the Wright brothers successfully made the first flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903. Later, witnesses would claim the Gustav Whitehead had actually successfully completed the first manned flight in 1901, two years before the Wright brothers, but his flight are unrecognized due to lack of proof.

Going the Distance
The 1900s brought considerable advancements in aviation. With two world wars, competition was heavy, bringing many "firsts" in aviation and rapid progression.

Crossing the English Channel - 1909 brought the first crossing the English Channel by a heavier-than-air aircraft - a simple monoplane piloted by aviation pioneer Louis Bleriot.

US Airmail - In 1911, the U.S. started using aircraft for air mail. In 1911, the first U.S. airmail flight occurred. Many more would follow, and in 1914, with World War I about to being, The Benoist Company started the first scheduled passenger airline service between St. Petersburg and Tampa, Florida.

Crossing the Atlantic - In 1919, the infamous Vickers Vimy made the first nonstop Atlantic crossing while the military developed bombers and fighter aircraft. Charles Lindbergh completed the first flight solo nonstop Atlantic crossing in 1927, becoming an aviation legend.

Barnstomers
The post-World War I era brought a surplus of inexpensive aircraft - specifically the Curtis JN-4 "Jenny" - to the civilian world, and people started flying these airplanes around to give rides and performing air show type stunts. These "barnstormers" as they were named, operated out of fields and traveled frequently.

Modern Flight
Post- World War I and World War II brought even more advancements, like instrument flight, jet engines, supersonic flight and a trip to the moon!

First Instrument Flight-In 1929, Jimmy Doolittle took off, flew and landed without any outside references. Doolittle is also credited with discovering the visual and motion limitations involved with instrument flight, including the idea of trusting the instruments over bodily sensations.

Jet Engines, Supersonic Flight and Moon Landings - The 1930s brought us the first practical jet aircraft - the HE-178 Heinkel - and Chuck Yeager's legendary flight that broke the sound barrier for the first time. By the 1970s, Boeing was making the 747 and the first Concorde entered service, capable of supersonic flight from New York to London in just less than three hours - incredible by anyone's account. And do you think Sir George Cayley or the Wright brothers have ever imagined we'd land on the moon in 1969?

While the supersonic transport aircraft industry didn't take off, today's technology is amazing, nonetheless. With airliners like the A380, capable of transporting over 800 passengers, stealth technology found in the B-2 Bomber and now the F-35, composite materials and electric powered aircraft, the aviation industry continues to advance in fascinating ways.

This year on National Aviation Day, what part of aviation history will you remember and celebrate?

New Wi-Fi solutions for King Air Operators

By Mark Wilken
Director of Avionics Sales at Elliott Aviation

www.elliottaviation.com

With growth brings increased travel demands and so does the importance to stay connected to the office and your clients. Think wi-fi is out of your price range? Think again! Photo courtesy www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The importance of connectivity is often understated during flight. Historically, the use of your cell phone or internet in-flight was never an option. However, that paradigm seems to be shifting as businesses tighten budgets and workload increases. Business aviation continues to play a key role in shaping the future of many companies. With growth brings increased travel demands and so does the importance to stay connected to the office and your clients.

As employees and passengers alike travel more, a business may see flight time as an opportunity to recap an important meeting or prepare for the next. Or perhaps catch up on email to make sure you are responding to your customers’ needs in a timely manner. Your key employees can get work done on the aircraft so they don’t have to later that evening with the family. While the cost-analysis of productively over downtime might be somewhat intangible, ways to increase productivity have always been attractive to a CFO.

Wi-Fi providers for business aviation are delivering cost-effective solutions to the consumer, with owners and operators recognizing the benefits to these systems. However, King Air operators have long been searching for Wi-Fi solutions. Typically, only larger aircraft had Wi-Fi options available that made sense for the size and mission needs of their aircraft. Now, King Air owners and operators have a cost-effective solution with the Aircell ATG 2000for a fraction of the cost of the larger systems. Having your King Air equipped with Wi-Fi will keep you connected and your productivity high.

Recently, Aircell announced promotional pricing for the ATG-2000. From now until December 31, 2014, customers can own this system for $45,000, plus installation costs. In addition to lower installation costs, Aircell has lowered their monthly subscription costs and added a pay-as-you-go option.

The Aircell ATG-2000 provides Gogo Biz® in-flight Internet access for up to five connected personal devices. Passengers will have the ability to check email and browse the web. Additionally, the system allows for voice services via either the Gogo® OnePhone cabin handsets or on personal devices through the Gogo® Text & Talk service. The Gogo® Text & Talk service allows passengers to use their own smartphones and mobile phone numbers to call and text in-flight.

The Aircell ATG system operates in the 1.5 – 3.0Mbps range with future initiatives to increase speeds. Most information available on the web, including simple pictures in emails, has increased from 100K to 5,000K (5MB) in data size. This type of usage requires high-speed data transfer to view most content. Recently introduced systems have entered the market for a lower cost, but these systems only reach download speeds up to 100Kbps. Remember the days of 56Kbps dial-up service? This isn’t even twice as fast. With Wi-Fi routers, you now share that single data stream with multiple users further congesting the network. With an Aircell unit, you won’t waste your time and money waiting for an attachment to download.

In addition to Wi-Fi connectivity, the ATG-2000 allows operation of Aircell’s all-in-one cabin entertainment system, Gogo® Vision. Gogo® Vision is business aviation’s first turn-key, on-demand, in-flight entertainment system that puts movies, TV episodes, news, weather, flight progress and more at your fingertips. It allows access to a full library of some of the best titles in entertainment via personal tablets and laptops. The service is delivered by Aircell’s UCS 5000, an all-in-one smart router and media server.

Mark Wilken joined Elliott Aviation in 1989 as an Avionics Bench Technician. He was promoted to Avionics Manager in 1996 and joined the sales team in 2003. Mark has led many highly successful avionics programs such as the King Air Garmin G1000 avionics retrofit program. He recently led efforts for Wi-Fi solutions in Hawkers, King Airs and Phenom 300’s. Mark holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation Management from Southern Illinois University and is a licensed Pilot.

End of content

No more pages to load