April 9, 2015
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ABACE To Be Barometer of Bizav Market in Asia

This year’s Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (ABACE) opens on Tuesday at Shanghai Hongqiao Airport, but there are doubts as to the extent to which China’s austerity drive has affected the sector in the host country. Organizers say the three-day show is shaping up to be every bit as exciting as in years past, with more than 170 exhibitors and some 40 aircraft booked to appear. However, early signs are that it will be a show where people keep their toes in the market, hold their breath and hope the previous pace of growth and liberalization returns.

Held once more at the Shanghai Hawker Pacific Aviation Service Centre, ABACE is being co-hosted by NBAA, the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) and the Shanghai Exhibition Center (SEC), through a partnership with the Shanghai Airport Authority. The program for the event will include a safety conference on Monday and an opening general session on Tuesday morning. The static display will include a wide range of business airplanes and helicopters, from a Cirrus SR20 to an AgustaWestland AW139 to an Airbus ACJ319.

AIN will be publishing three daily editions of ABACE Convention News on the main days of the event, and sister publication Business Jet Traveler will be distributing a Chinese edition of its 2015 Business Aircraft Buyers Guide there. AINalerts will publish extra issues at ABACE next Monday and Wednesday, and live news, photos, podcasts and videos from the show will be posted on AINonline starting on Sunday.

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AEA: Retrofits Pushed Avionics Sales Growth in 2014

Total worldwide sales of avionics for business and general aviation aircraft totalled just over $2.5 billion in 2014, representing a 4-percent year-over-year increase, according to figures released today by the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) at its convention in Dallas. AEA’s annual market report shows that the value of sales was split fairly evenly between forward-fit (nearly $1.3 billion) and retrofitted equipment ($1.2 billion). At 51.4 percent, forward-fit equipment’s share of the market was slightly down from 2013, while the share for retrofit sales increased.

The dollar amount reported (based on net sales price) includes all components and accessories for cockpits and cabins, as well as software upgrades and portable equipment. The total covers both certified and non-certified electronics, in additon to all hardware, batteries and chargeable product upgrades. According to companies that separate their sales geographically, 62.6 percent of 2014 sales came from customers in North America, with the rest coming from around the world.

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Pilatus Tops $1B in Revenues for Second Year in a Row

Revenues at Pilatus Aircraft reached a new record last year at $1.21 billion, up 16 percent year-over-year and marking the second year that revenues at the Swiss aircraft manufacturer have topped a billion dollars. Earnings also climbed 30 percent from the year-ago period, to $207.4 million, according to year-end figures released yesterday.

Pilatus delivered 127 aircraft—split evenly between civil and military types—last year, 15 more than in 2013. The civil shipment tally included 66 PC-12 NG business turboprop singles, of which 50 went to U.S. customers. And of the 10 Pilatus Porter PC-6 utility turboprops delivered last year, nine went to China.

Meanwhile, Pilatus noted that it continues to move forward with its PC-24 program, with first flight pegged for next month. Certification and initial deliveries are still on track for mid-2017, the company added. Last year at EBACE, Pilatus took firm orders for 84 copies of the PC-24 before temporarily closing sales to prevent long wait times. PC-24 production is scheduled to start this year, with manufacturing slots currently sold out through the end of 2019.

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Gogo Unveils ATG 1000 for Light Bizjets, Turboprops

Gogo Business Aviation introduced the ATG 1000 datacom system for light business jets, turboprops and owner-flown aircraft today at the 2015 AEA Convention. Shipments of the $35,000 (plus installation) systems are expected to begin this summer. Using the Gogo Biz air-to-ground network service, the ATG 1000 enables e-mail with attachments and calling and texting with passengers’ own smartphones and mobile numbers. Gogo Biz provides service coverage above 10,000 feet in the continental U.S., portions of Alaska and Canada.

The ATG 1000 is software-upgradable, allowing customers to add connectivity features, such as web browsing, by purchasing a software key. As many as five Wi-Fi devices can be simultaneously connected to the datacom system. In the future, the ATG 1000 is also expected to support select cockpit and operational applications.

In other news, the company also announced three new data plans. A multi-network data bundle offers a 20-percent monthly discount for customers who have Gogo Biz and SwiftBroadband data from Gogo. The company is also offering a Gogo Biz unlimited data plan for $3,995 per month, as well as a one gigabyte data plan for $1,895 per month for lighter users. In addition, multi-aircraft discounts are available for its Gogo Biz and SwiftBroadband data plans.

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Honda To Debut HondaJet in Japan, Europe

Honda Aircraft is prepping its newly certified HondaJet for a 26,000-nm international tour that will involve stops in 13 countries, with a focus on Europe and Japan. HondaJet won provisional FAA certification for the light jet on March 27 and expects full certification “in the next few months” with deliveries to begin shortly thereafter. The company has not provided specifics about the HondaJet backlog, but has consistently maintained the company holds orders for more than 100 of the $4.5 million light aircraft that sports an over-the-wing engine design.

The tour, to launch later this month, will involve the aircraft’s first appearances in Europe and Japan. It kicks off with a public debut in Japan from April 25 to May 5, with a display at Narita International Airport and flight demonstrations. The aircraft will then head to Europe for EBACE, where it will be on static display. In Europe, the tour will involve demonstration flights in six countries: Poland, Germany, France, Belgium, the UK and Switzerland. 

Honda Aircraft Company president and CEO Michimasa Fujino said the light jet has “broad appeal” in Europe. The aircraft currently is offered in North America and Europe through the HondaJet dealer network.

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Aspen Adds AOA To Evolution Displays

Aspen Avionics has added an angle of attack (AOA) indicator to its Evolution primary flight and multifunction displays without the need to string new wires or plumbing, install any hardware or physically modify the airplane. The Evolution AOA is a software-only upgrade that uses Aspen’s ADAHRS to provide an algorithm-derived AOA indicator on the Aspen displays.

The Evolution AOA indicator can be displayed either on a half or one-third window on the Aspen Evolution multifunction display or as a smaller indicator on the upper area on the primary flight display, but in all cases, the AOA is in the pilot’s normal instrument scan. The AOA automatically shows up when the airplane is flying within the AOA indicator envelope, so at cruise speeds the AOA indicator disappears.

Aspen has not yet announced pricing for the Evolution AOA upgrade but expects to shortly. The AOA software upgrade must be done by an Aspen dealer and takes just a few minutes to accomplish via the Aspen display’s SD card reader. Following the software upgrade, a calibration flight must be flown. The upgrade is expected to be available in July.

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Hawker 800 Catches Fire at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport

A winglet-equipped Hawker 800 caught fire yesterday at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport as the crew was preparing for takeoff for a trip to Russia, according to the Flight Safety Foundation’s Aviation Safety Network. All six people aboard the aircraft escaped without injuries.

A surveillance video shows three separate fire vehicles from Ben Gurion Airport’s firefighting services arriving at the aircraft while people on board were running down the airstair to safety. The video appears to show a fire in the right main landing gear, and the aircraft was already leaning to the right, with the right wingtip near the ground, when the fire vehicles arrived. The cause of the blaze, as well as the amount of damage to the aircraft, is not yet known.

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Avidyne Expands ADS-B Options for General Aviation

Avidyne Corporation today announced the expansion of its portfolio of automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) solutions for general aviation aircraft by making its ADS-B 978 MHz series datalink systems available for its MLX200 and MLX210 978 MHz transceivers. This will allow Avidyne customers operating below 18,000 feet in U.S. airspace to meet the 2020 mandate for ADS-B out capability. The new option also allows operators to receive FIS-B weather and traffic information via ADS-B in on their displays.

The MLX200 transceiver provides 978MHz ADS-B in and out capability, which can be displayed on Avidyne’s IFD540 and IFD440 GPS/nav/com systems, and also on the company’s EX500, EX600 and EX5000 multifunction displays. The MLX210 unit is the same except that it has a compliant GPS sensor built in and does not depend on having a GPS source in the display.

At the Aircraft Electronics Association show in Dallas, Avidyne also unveiled the new AXP322 remote-mounted mode-S extended squitter transponder with ADS-B out. This can by controlled via the IFD540 or IFD440 units, which also provide an approved GPS position input to the AXP322.

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Upcoming Events
Hilton Hongqiao Hotel
Shanghai, China
4/14/2015 - 4/16/2015
Shanghai, China
(202) 783-9000
4/14/2015 - 4/16/2015
Hamburg Mese
Hamburg, Germany
+44 (0) 20 8271 2174
4/15/2015 - 4/18/2015
Friedrichshafen, Germany
+49 7541 708 367
Dublin, Ireland
(305) 767-4707
4/21/2015 - 4/22/2015
The Holiday Inn Capitol
Washington, DC
(866) 574-9125
4/21/2015 - 4/26/2015
Lakeland, Fla.
(863) 644-2431
4/23/2015 - 4/25/2015
Hilton Savannah DeSoto
Savannah, Ga.
(919) 956-4300
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