29 December 2013

ASAP Moves to the USA

It appears that long time Canadian kitplane manufacturer Aircraft Sales And Parts (ASAP) has been sold and the company is being moved to Sealy, Texas.

ASAP was founded by Brent Holomis in 1988 as a parts supplier for the then discontinued Spectrum Beaver and Birdman Chinook ultralights. Over time Holomis went far beyond parts though, redesigning both those aircraft as the ASAP Beaver RX550 Plus and the ASAP Chinook Plus 2 and adding new aircraft to the line, like the single seat Beaver SS. His business expanded into making propellers, powered parachutes and their canopies as well, spinning those off to separate companies, GSC Propellers, as well as Summit Powered Parachutes, Steel Breeze Powered Parachutes and ASAP Canopies.

It seems that after 25 years of being located in Vernon, British Columbia, the company is now in the process of being packed up by its new owners, John and Kim Couch, and moved south to Texas and will be located at Gloster Aerodrome (1XA7) in Sealy, Texas.

The relocated company is expected to be open to accept orders early in 2014, under a new name, the Aeroplane Manufactory.

External links

27 December 2013

Beechcraft Sold!

On Boxing Day, 26 December 2013, Beechcraft was sold for about US$1.4B in cash.

The sale really wasn't much of a surprise as the company had been through a complete turn around and emerged from bankruptcy ready for sale. What was a surprise was that it wasn't bought by Chinese or Middle Eastern interests, but by Textron, an American company that also owns Cessna and Bell Helicopters.

The purchase had been rumoured a week or two ago by multiple news outlets but neither Textron nor Beechcraft confirmed it until Boxing Day.

The news is very good, as, not only will Textron keep building King Airs, which fit nicely into the niche left when Cessna stopped building multi-engined turboprops, but the Hawker Beechcraft 4000 and Premier 1A jets, which Beech had tried to sell off separately, will also be supported. It seems unlikely that they will build more Hawker Beechcraft 4000 and Premier 1A aircraft, but the existing fleet will be kept flying as Textron bought the type certificates.

The question of what will happen to the Bonanza and Baron piston-powered aircraft lines is unanswered at this point in time, but neither aircraft has a competitor in Cessna's current offerings, so their production may continue as well. I expect there will be more news on this in the early part of 2014, so as not to inhibit potential sales.

Here is my current list of western aerospace firms bought out so far by non-western interests. Note that Beechcraft isn't on the list!

  • Cirrus Aircraft - Government of the Peoples Republic of China
  • Continental Engines - Government of the Peoples Republic of China
  • Enstrom Helicopter Corporation - Chongqing Helicopter Investment Co, China
  • Epic Aircraft - Engineering LLC, Russia
  • Flightstar Sportplanes - rights, tooling and parts inventory purchased by Yuneec International, China
  • Glasair Aircraft - Jilin Hanxing Group, China
  • International Lease Finance Corp - 90% New China Trust Co Ltd, New China Life Insurance Co Ltd, P3 Investments Ltd and China Aviation Industrial Fund
  • Liberty Aerospace - 75% owned by the Kuwait Finance House, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kuwait Finance House of Bahrain
  • LISA Airplanes - 75% owned by Heima Mining Company, China
  • Mooney Aviation Company - Soaring American Corp, backed by Chinese investors
  • Piper Aircraft - Government of Brunei
  • Superior Air Parts - Weifang Tianxiang Technology Group, China
  • Thielert Aircraft Engines - Government of the Peoples Republic of China

External links

30 December 2013 Update

Textron CEO Scott Donnelly indicated that Beechcraft and Cessna would be combined to form a new light aircraft manufacturing concern that will result in US$65M-$85M in annual savings over keeping the companies separate.

14 December 2013

Ottawa Flying Club Christmas News

From the Ottawa Flying Club

The Ottawa Flying Club is very pleased to announce the acquisition of a Private Career College certification from the Ontario Government, allowing the OFC to offer Commercial pilot training and Instructor Ratings to our Members.

And Santa, who obtained his Private Pilot's Licence at the OFC years ago, has let slip that the brand new Redbird Flight Simulator, the cutting edge dual-yoke advanced training platform at the OFC, will be installed in our new Instrument Flight Centre of Excellence building just after Santa returns this December 25th!

Lots of excitement at the OFC this holiday season.

External links

10 December 2013

Electronic Canada Flight Supplement For Late in 2014

Nav Canada's recent Fall 2013 edition of their TechWatch publication has given an implementation date for finally achieving an electronic version of the Canada Flight Supplement. The company indicates this should happen about a year from now, in late 2014.

Nav Canada says:

The NAV CANADA Online Store went operational in early 2011 enabling customers to either order or download a range of NAV CANADA aeronautical publications online.

With 7,000 active customer accounts, NAV CANADA has seen steady demand for its publications over the web. More recently, with the added option of downloading some of its key publications in PDF format, the company is anticipating significant growth in the number of customers taking advantage of this service.

Customer Benefits:

Shifting to an authorized electronic format allows customers to print only the sections or pages of a publication that they need and access information through authorized portable devices. By providing immediate access to downloadable aeronautical publications, pilots planning their flights can obtain the most up-to-date information in a timely manner. Moreover, the publications are made available a full 10 days prior to their effective date.

Downloaded products are priced 20 per cent less than their paper equivalents. Customers also save on shipping and handling. Also available at the Online Store, at no additional charge, are the Canada Air Pilot General pages and a Change Page that allows customers to quickly identify all the aeronautical changes made from one publication cycle to the next.

Status Update:
  • Available for download are all seven volumes of the Canada Air Pilot (CAP), the Restricted Canada Air Pilot (RCAP) and the Water Aerodrome Supplement (WAS). Customers can purchase these products and then print their required pages. These products are official aeronautical publications and suitable for air navigation purposes.
  • NAV CANADA is currently working towards the availability of an electronic version of the Canada Flight Supplement with a release targeted for late 2014.

External links

06 December 2013

Cessna CEO: Skycatcher Has "no future"

I don't think this will surprise anyone: Cessna 162 production is about to be ended.

In October 2013 at the National Business Aviation Association convention Cessna CEO Cessna CEO Scott Ernest stated that the Skycatcher had "no future".

In my review of the Cessna 162 in November 2010 I noted that while the design did have some pluses, like the control stick, fit and finish and the doors there were many problems with the design, particularly:

  • The name "Skycatcher", which no one reacted well to.
  • The cockpit ergonomics, being unable to accommodate anyone over about 6'1".
  • Poor payload, which was 304 lbs of people and baggage on the one typical production aircraft I evaluated.

At one time the company had claimed that they had 1200 orders, which would have made the aircraft by far the most numerous LSA built, if they had all been delivered. But the initial target price of "under US$100,000" was not met and the price quickly increased to US$149,000, far above the price of its competition. The price increases contractually allowed production position holders to cancel and Paul Bertorelli of AVweb reports that "it gave position holders an opportunity to bail, and they did. In droves." So apparently orders are well down and dealers have aircraft they they can't sell.

At last count the FAA register shows 275 Cessna 162s in the USA, while Transport Canada shows none registered here.

Bertorelli lays the blame for the demise of the 162 on its high price, lack of performance and poor useful load compared to its competitors and he is probably right there.

The 162 had a troubled development history, with two prototype crashes, both during spin testing, resulting in some design changes. There were also wing modifications after the aircraft entered service, all at Cessna's expense, too.

Then there was the decision to have the aircraft built in China, which riled a lot of feathers in the aviation world. In the end the aircraft were built at Shenyang Aircraft, boxed up and shipped to Wichita, Kansas where they were assembled, had engines and avionics fitted, modified and then test flown by contractor Yingling Aviation (later moved to Cessna's Independence Kansas plant). With the cost of shipping that could only have contributed to the high costs involved.

Personally I think the design met its Waterloo when the prototype had its Rotax 912 engine replaced by the much heavier Continental O-200, at flight school operator insistence. That compromised the payload of the aircraft and left it as a de facto single seater.

In the final assessment it looks like even the famous Cessna name wasn't enough to overcome the shortcomings of this design and its price. The market has decided its fate.

External links

05 December 2013

Robert Kostecka To Present A380 Seminar at Rockcliffe

From Rockcliffe Flying Club

On Thursday, 12 December 2013 at 1830 hours, RFC members will have an opportunity to learn about the A380, from a fellow RFC member who flew this remarkable aircraft!

Rob Kostecka was a member of the international team of pilots that participated in the Operational Evaluation (OE) of the A380 in 2007. Rob will be discussing the many technical innovations of this remarkable aircraft and will also be talking about what this enormous aircraft was actually like to fly!

The talk will begin at 1830 hrs on Thursday, 12 December 2013. It will be free for all RFC members and their guests. Please let Brenda Reid know via email if you plan on joining us so we can provide space.

For those who would be interested, pizza will be available before the talk at 1745 hrs. For those who would also like to join us for pizza please let Brenda Reid know via email, so that she can place the order. Please note, if you are joining us for pizza, a $10 contribution will be requested.

The seminar is at RFC for now, but if a large number of people RSVP then it may be moved to the Bush Theatre at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

Mirabel Restrictions - November 2013 to May 2015

from Patrick Gilligan, COPA VP Operations

To allow for certification of the new CSeries aircraft, Bombardier Aerospace will carry out test flights within the Mirabel control zone, during which time some restrictions will be imposed in the control zone and the surrounding airspace at Mirabel airport.

Test flights will be carried out sporadically over spans of 1 to 3 days, during a 20-month period from November 2013 to May 2015. Restrictions during flight tests may affect Runways 06/24 and 11/29, the Mirabel control zone (excluding CYR 624), restricted area CYR601, and Class “E” transition areas located between 7 NM to 12 NM east and west of the Mirabel control zone (identified in green on sketch) and from 1,300 ft ASL to 2,000 ft ASL, depending on the type of test flight planned. A portion of uncontrolled airspace (Class G airspace), located west of the control zone and described below, will also be affected by restrictions

External links

03 December 2013

Planning Ahead For The 2014 Lancaster Airpark Fly-In

It is never too early to start planning for next year's fly-in season and Lancaster Airpark (CLA6), located just in between Cornwall, Ontario and Salaberry-de-Valleyfield Quebec is already planning for their 2014 ABC Fly-in!

In 2013 the Airpark ran its first ever "ABC Fly-in" focussing on Aeroncas, Champions and Bellancas and the event returns from 15-17 August 2014, so it is never to early to mark your calendars!

Organizer Brian Russell indicates that plans are yet to be completely finalized, but, as in 2013, if there is sufficient interest then provisions will be again made for floatplanes as well as wheeled aircraft.

As always all aircraft and visitors will be welcome. If you aren't flying an Aeronca, Champion or Bellanca then plan on coming to look at the ones that do fly-in.

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