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Textron’s Denali completes first flight

Textron Aviation last week announced its new single-engine turboprop, the Beechcraft Denali, took to the skies for the first time. When the Denali was unveiled in 2016, it was expected to fly in 2018, with certification following about 18 months later. However, delays to the development of the 1,300shp (970kW) Catalyst had a knock-on effect on the aircraft’s timeline. Textron is now targeting certification in 2023.

Engineered to achieve cruise speeds of 285 knots and full fuel payload of 1,100 pounds, the Denali is designed to have a range of 1,600 nautical miles at high-speed cruise with one pilot and four passengers. The Denali is the first aircraft powered with GE’s Catalyst engine, a more sustainable engine that burns up to 20 percent less fuel than older turboprop technologies. The FADEC-equipped, 1,300 shaft horsepower (SHP)-rated turboprop engine eases pilot workload with its single-lever power and propeller control. The cockpit features the Garmin G3000 avionics suite with touchscreen controllers. The cabin features a standard seating configuration of six individual reclining seats and offers a nine-place high density seating option.


Airbus reports promising results from 100% SAF test flights

Initial findings from a world-first study of the impact of 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on both engines of a commercial jet have provided promising early results.

The ECLIF3 study, involving Airbus, Rolls-Royce, German research centre DLR and SAF producer Neste, marks the first time 100% SAF has been measured simultaneously on both engines of a commercial passenger aircraft – an Airbus A350 aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines. Aircraft are currently only allowed to operate on a 50% blend of SAF and conventional jet fuel.

In April, the A350 flew three flights over the Mediterranean Sea pursued by a DLR Falcon chaser plane to compare in-flight emissions of both kerosene and Neste’s hydro-processed esters and fatty acids (HEFA) sustainable fuel. The team also carried out compliance tests using 100% SAF and no operational issues were experienced. The research team found SAF releases fewer particulates than conventional kerosene at all tested engine operating conditions. In addition, SAF has lower density but higher energy content per kilogram of fuel compared to conventional kerosene. “SAF has been shown to have a significantly lower carbon footprint over its life cycle compared to conventional jet fuel and now we are seeing it is advantageous in reducing non-CO2 effects too,” said Markus Fischer, DLR’s Divisional Board Member for Aeronautics.


Number of private jets registered in Europe has increased

Analysis from Colibri Aircraft, the private jet broker which specialises in the marketing, resale and purchase of pre-owned private aircraft, reveals there are around 2,444 pre-owned private jets registered in Western Europe. There were 2,414 in 2020 and 2,344 in 2019.

Germany has the largest fleet of registered private jets with 485, and this is followed by the UK (including the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey) with 453 (157, 241, 54 and 1 respectively), Austria (222), Malta (214) and France (169), Portugal (128), Switzerland (99) and Italy (74). Between 2019 and 2021, Germany saw the biggest increase in registered private jets during this period (a rise of 36), followed by Malta (30) and Guernsey (18).

The Isle of Man, the UK and France saw the biggest decline in the number of registered private jets between 2019 and 2021 – falls of 33, 22 and 10 respectively. Three main factors accounted for the buoyant performance. Those were the much-reduced airline service, Covid-19 hesitancy plus border times and liquidity looking for a home, according to Colibri.


People: George A. Antoniadis, CEO and President PlaneSense

Victor CEOs Toby Edwards (left) and James Farley (right)

George A. Antoniadis is founder, President, and CEO of PlaneSense, Inc., a leading fractional aircraft ownership program headquartered in Portsmouth, NH. Mr. Antoniadis leveraged his experience as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, Inc. to launch the PlaneSense program in 1995 to provide a better solution for private flying at a responsible price point. The program now includes a fleet of over 40 Pilatus PC-12 turboprops and Pilatus PC-24 jets that complete more than 35,000 flights per year across the United States, Canada, Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America. While the company has taken delivery of 75 PC-12s over the years, it is not currently still flying all those aircraft. PlaneSense sells aircraft out of the fleet after a period of time. The average age of the PC-12 fleet is currently 5.6 years. The company expanded its fractional program offering in 2018 with the delivery of the world’s first Pilatus PC-24 jet.

Mr. Antoniadis serves on the Board of Governors of the Air Charter Safety Foundation, is an Advisor to the Aero Club of New England, and is a Trustee of Anatolia College and Athens College, both in Greece. He holds a Master's degree in Electrical Engineering from the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. Mr. Antoniadis is also a licensed air transport pilot and often flies the PC-12s in the PlaneSense fleet.

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