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Luckily For Bizjet-makers, China Is Not Asia’s Only Market

and | Aviation Week & Space Technology

It is a case of Southeast Asia to the rescue. As demand for business jets slumped last year in China, the countries to the south stepped up. The overall Asia-Pacific fleet has barely grown, though trade in secondhand aircraft looks brisk. Notably, quite a few business jets have left China.

The Chinese industry can at least look forward to the easing of its worst operational restriction next year, with the opening of a ground facility at the new airport at Daxing by state-owned Capital Jet.

Southeast Asian countries collectively added a net 14 aircraft to their fleets in 2018, a 6% increase, according to a comprehensive annual report compiled by Hong Kong consultancy Asian Sky Group. Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan—counted together as Greater China—stagnated. Far from soaking up ever larger numbers of personal aircraft, as manufacturers once expected, Greater China’s fleet shrank by...

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Piper Meridian: Cheapest High-Performance Single-Engine Turboprop

| Business & Commercial Aviation

Piper’s PA-46-500TP Meridian, rebadged as M500 in 2015, made its debut in September 2000 as a 2001 model. It has been the lowest-priced pressurized, single-engine turboprop offered by an airframe manufacturer for nearly two decades. Piper created the Meridian by modifying a Malibu Mirage to handle and additional 500+ lb. of weight and higher cruise speeds and then replacing its 350-hp piston engine with a 500-shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A turboprop. Meridian most assuredly was a design-to-cost development program as reflected in the final product.

The Malibu, launched almost three decades ago, was the product of Jim Griswold, head of Piper engineering in the early 1980s. The aircraft was a near-perfect, clean-sheet, pressurized cabin-class piston single, one with clean aerodynamics, a high aspect-ratio wing and low empty weight. It was the first single to offer cabin-class twin comfort and speed with much lower operating costs. But Malibu’s turbocharged Continental engine and succeeding Mirage’s boosted Lycoming piston engine both failed to...

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From Africa To U.S., Drone Deliveries Taking Off

| Aviation Week & Space Technology

Two days and 5,400 mi. apart, delivery by drone took significant steps toward everyday reality. On April 23, the first air carrier certificate for a commercial drone delivery service in the U.S. was awarded by the FAA to Wing, the subsidiary of Google parent company Alphabet. A day later, Ghana formally launched the world’s largest medical drone delivery service, operated by Zipline and covering the entire country. Armed with its Part 135 operator’s certificate, Wing plans to engage with communities and businesses in Blacksburg and Christiansburg in southwest Virginia, close to where it has been trialing its delivery drones with...

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Yes, Business Aviation Flights To Moscow Are Expensive

Business & Commercial Aviation

It sure is, and we are talking about the fees assessed against operators visiting Moscow’s three principal international airports for landings, ground services, parking and related services: Vnukovo (UUWW), Domodedovo (UUDD) and Sheremetyevo (UUEE). BCA has come into possession of invoices from visits of business aircraft to each airport during late 2018 and early 2019. Here’s what we found.

In September 2018, one Gulfstream operator visited Vnukovo for three days. Among (but not all of) the charges were the landing fee of $588, a “terminal passenger fee” of $1,925, parking fee of $1,844, aircraft “guarding fee” of $335, passenger luggage clearance fee of $314, lav purging fee of $376, “traffic handling” fee of $530, towing charge of $333, ramp handling fee of $567, a catering bill of $541 and passenger transport charge of $379. Along with miscellaneous ancillary charges, this visit totaled $9,544.14.

Over at Domodedovo in November 2018, another Gulfstream, again visiting for three days, racked up a $1,004 landing fee and security charge, $1,080 for parking, a $2,392 passenger arrival and departure fee, a $3,947 hangar fee (which must have supplemented parking for one night), handling fees of $2,057, a single airside pass for $155, a $753 towing bill, a catering (one expensive meal) fee of $868, and a crew visa charge of $835. This and other charges came to a total of $14,898.

Finally, in January this year, a Bombardier Global Express visited Sheremetyevo, remaining for five days. This operator was docked $2,985 for parking, passenger (four) fees totaling $2,225, $796 for “airdrome security,” $1,220 for “traffic handling” (possibly, a navigation charge), $482 for ramp services, a $1,115 charge for handling, $1,366 for deicing fluid, $772 for one crew visa, a $542 “commercial fee,” $277 for crew transportation, an “urgent landing permit” fee of $355, plus a $114 “permit revision.” All this plus ancillary fees totaled $15,527.

FAA Certifies GE CT7-2F1 Engine

, and | Business & Commercial Aviation

GE Aviation reports its CT7-2F1 engine received FAA certification following more than 1,000 flight hours and more than 1,350 hr. of turn time. The engine powers the Bell 525 Relentless medium-lift helicopter. The FAA joined the Bell 525 flight test team in November and now is involved in certification flight testing. The final flight test vehicle was scheduled to fly at the end of March. The 525 Relentless program was launched in 2012. The aircraft is designed to transport up to 19 passengers.

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