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Month: July 2023

Upgrade for the Beechcraft King Air 260 and 360 Turboprops

Izzy Kington from Business Jet Interiors – Reports

Textron Aviation has announced an upgrade for the Beechcraft King Air 260 and 360 turboprops – new CoolView windows manufactured by Lee Aerospace. Beginning in early 2024, all new King Air aircraft will be equipped with the windows.

According to Lee Aerospace’s independent testing, the addition of a thin metallic inner layer allows the windows to significantly reduce the amount of infrared light entering the cabin, for a cooler and more comfortable environment during ramp operations.

“At Textron Aviation, we’re committed to incorporating the latest technology and customer feedback into our aircraft to deliver the best customer experience for owners, pilots and passengers,” said Lannie O’Bannion, senior vice president, sales and flight operations. “The inclusion of CoolView windows in the Beechcraft King Air turboprops is a testament to our commitment to passenger comfort and our responsiveness to their ideas.”
The CoolView windows also feature a frost pane with an integrated window tint, to enhance visibility while reducing unwanted sunlight and glare. Textron Aviation also noted the frost pane helps reduce or eliminate unwanted ice build-up during long flights.

The King Air 360’s cabin environment also benefits from Textron Aviation’s standard Electric Air Conditioning System with Ground Cooling.
The CoolView windows are also now available as an aftermarket upgrade for Beechcraft King Air turboprops at Textron Aviation service centres or for purchase exclusively from Textron Aviation’s parts website.

Last Minute Package Available With Sandgrouse Travel

Sandgrouse Travel & Expeditions is one of our Partners.

They are all about luxury, experience and adventure. Their bespoke vacations extends well beyond the beautiful luxury hotels or lodges that they carefully select. Their ethos is that the ‘luxury’ treatment should extend throughout your entire holiday. And they have a very special, last minute offer for one very lucky party.

It’s a last minute package, available with a hugely unique experience including walked-up Royal Deeside grouse over Irish setters, fishing, a beautiful lodge in Braemar PLUS the Braemar Gathering and VVIP exclusive use of the pavilion.


Wednesday 30th August – Arrive at Callater Lodge

  • 4-nights accommodation – fully catered, including beverages
  • Based on 8 double rooms (maximum of 16 persons)


Thursday 31st August to Friday 1st September

  • Walked-up grouse over Irish Setters
  • including lunch and refreshments on the hill


Saturday 2nd September

  • Braemar Gathering, with exclusive hire of gallery area of Duke of Rothesay Highland Games Pavilion
  • Champagne reception
  • Fully catered and open bar provided by BaxterStorey
  • BBQ at Callater Lodge


Sunday 3rd September

  • Depart Callater Lodge after Breakfast

Total Cost: £50,000 + VAT

Sandgrouse Travel & Expeditions can also arrange for your party to be split if a couple of people are wanting to stalk or fish (rivers or hill lochs).

If you’re interested, please contact Sandgrouse Travel & Expeditions owner, Jonny Stage.

Call: +44 7736 004305



America’s FAA Approves The First Flying Car

Rachel Cormack from Robb Report – Reports

Alef’s bonkers flying car has been officially cleared for take-off. Alef Aeronautics’ two-mode vehicle handles the road like an automobile and hovers like an eVTOL.

The retro-futuristic hybrid, which can be driven on the road like a regular car or flown like a VTOL aircraft, was awarded a Special Airworthiness Certification from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that enables it to hit the skies under experimental status. The Californian company says it is the first time a vehicle of this nature has received government certification.

“We’re excited to receive this certification from the FAA,” Alef CEO Jim Dukhovny said in a statement. “It allows us to move closer to bringing people an environmentally friendly and faster commute, saving individuals and companies hours each week.”

Of course, there are a few caveats. First, the FAA told Flying that it issued the certificate for a precursor to the production model (the Armada Model Zero, not the Model A). That means the Model A, which is currently on pre-sale, will also need to be cleared to fly by the FAA. It will also need to meet the safety standards of the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

It’s also worthwhile pointing out that approval only allows the aircraft to be used for experimental purposes, such as exhibition, research, and development. It’s not like the average Joe can jump in the car for a test drive; it will be at least a couple of years before that happens. The company will have to wait for the FAA to certify eVTOLs for commercial use before it can sell, fly, or drive the Model A.

The FAA has also awarded approvals to at least two similar models, including Terrafugia’s Transition and Samson Sky’s Switchblade. Neither design is fully electric like the Model A, though. The two fixed-wing crafts can only come and go from airports, too, whereas the Model A can execute vertical takeoff and landings in a variety of locations. On top of that, the fully electric aircraft will have a range of approximately 200 miles on the road and 110 miles in the air. It will have a top speed of about 35 mph and will be able to seat two passengers.

Alef says it has received “strong pre-orders” from individuals and companies for the $300,000 (around £233,300) Model A. The company expects the first deliveries will happen in the fourth quarter of 2025.

How Many Pilots Do Private Jets Need?

Matthew Austin Ryan from Simpleflying – Reports


  • Private jet owners should consider whether they prioritize piloting their own aircraft or traveling with larger groups when choosing between single or multi-crew jets.
  • Single-pilot private jets like the Cirrus Vision Jet SF50, HondaJets, and Eclipse 550 offer advanced avionics and safety features, making them ideal for owner-operators.
  • Single-pilot resource management (SRM) focuses on the decision-making and multitasking abilities of one pilot, while crew resource management (CRM) emphasizes communication, teamwork, and coordination among multiple crew members for safe and efficient flight operations.

Depending on their priorities, private jet owners may benefit from single-crew or multi-crew aircraft. Those who plan to pilot their own aircraft may benefit from the simpler designs and operation of smaller, single-pilot jets, while those who plan to ride as a passenger and bring along larger groups may find that multi-crew jets will better meet their needs.

Below we explore several options for single-pilot business jets and consider the concepts of Single-Pilot Resource Management (SRM) and Crew Resource Management (CRM) involved in safely managing either single-or-multi-crew flight decks.

Generally speaking, most civil jet aircraft utilize crews of two pilots, but this is not always the case. Several smaller jets targeting more personal use are certified for single-pilot operation.

The Cirrus Vision Jet SF50 is a single-engine private jet that a single pilot can fly. Designed with advanced avionics and safety features, including a Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) that can deploy in emergencies, this is an ideal choice for owner-operators.

Alison Wilson via Flickr

HondaJets are another single-pilot-friendly aircraft known for their innovative design and fuel-efficient engines. It features an Over-The-Wing Engine Mount (OTWEM) configuration, which enhances performance and cabin space while allowing easy operation for a single pilot.

The Eclipse 550 is an additional relatively cost-effective twin-engine jet that can be flown by one pilot. Its lightweight design and modern avionics enable efficient single-pilot operations without compromising on performance.

Erik Salard via Flickr

Single-pilot resource management (SRM)
Single-Pilot Resource Management (SRM) is a concept that focuses on the decision-making and multitasking abilities of a single pilot in the cockpit. Unlike traditional Crew Resource Management (CRM), where there is a crew to share tasks and responsibilities, SRM places the entire onus of operating the aircraft on one individual. It emphasizes effective time management, workload distribution, and maintaining situational awareness.

Pilots who utilize SRM must be proficient in prioritizing tasks, knowing which non-essential activities are worth doing, and managing cockpit distractions effectively. They should have an excellent understanding of their aircraft’s systems and limitations to make informed decisions during critical phases of flight. SRM also emphasizes self-assessment and the importance of recognizing personal limitations so pilots do not succumb to task saturation or fatigue.

Crew Resource Management (CRM)
In contrast to SRM, Crew Resource Management (CRM) is utilized by pilots in aircraft with multiple crew members. CRM focuses on optimizing communication, teamwork, and coordination among pilots, flight attendants, and other crew members to ensure safe and efficient flight operations.

CRM training emphasizes the value of clear and concise communication, mutual respect, and the ability to work together efficiently, particularly during high-stress situations or emergencies. Crew members are encouraged to challenge each other respectfully and share responsibilities, fostering a culture of collaboration and safety.


Gulfstream Aerospace Announce Second G800 Flight

Kate O’Connor from AV Web – Reports

Gulfstream Aerospace announced on Thursday that its second G800 flight test aircraft has flown for the first time. The flight, which lasted 3 hours and 26 minutes, took place last Saturday at the company’s headquarters in Savannah, Georgia. Gulfstream noted that the aircraft flew on a 30/70 blend of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and reached a top speed of Mach 0.935. According to the company, the second G800 test aircraft will be used to test environmental control systems, avionics and flight controls.

“Gulfstream’s flight test team continues to make advanced strides forward for our company,” said Gulfstream President Mark Burns. “The G800 will bring the industry’s longest range to customers around the world, and we are seeing strong demand for this capability alongside the cabin comfort and quality Gulfstream is known for.”

Intended to be Gulfstream’s next flagship, the Rolls-Royce Pearl 700-powered “ultra-long-range” G800 business jet flew for the first time in June 2022. It is expected to offer an 8,000-NM range, maximum operating speed of Mach 0.925 and cruise altitude of 51,000 feet. The G800 will come equipped with the Gulfstream Symmetry Flight Deck and be capable of seating up to 19 passengers.

With cabin space for up to 19 passengers in four living areas, the G800 also features the Gulfstream’s latest cabin technology and comfort; hand-crafted, ergonomic seats; a high-definition circadian lighting system; 100 percent, never-recirculated air; the lowest cabin altitude in the industry; a plasma-ionization air-purification system; and 16 windows, which Gulfstream touts as “the largest in the industry.

The Ultimate Amenity – A Private Airstrip and Hangar

Robb Report – Reports

Whether you’re an aviation enthusiast or simply enjoy convenience, a private airstrip, helipad, or hangar are the ultimate amenities to experience the joy of aviation.

At these residential properties around the US, these remarkable properties allow aviation enthusiasts the freedom to fly at a moment’s notice. This means that you can embark on impromptu weekend getaways, enjoy scenic flights with family or friends, explore remote destinations in your area, or travel for something as simple as a round of golf a few cities away.

There are even homes in private aviation residential communities that bring together like-minded enthusiasts. No matter the reason, these homes take aviation seriously—with sleek, custom hangars and airstrips in the middle of the unspoiled wilderness.

Wellington, Florida
Located within the prestigious Aero Club aviation community, this $11 million estate pairs elegant, modern design with world-class amenities. Situated on a 1.3-acre parcel, the home features seven bedrooms, 8.5 bathrooms, 3.5 kitchens, and a resort-style backyard with a 50-foot heated pool and hot tub that fits 12. There’s also a 4,500-square-foot hangar with 22-foot ceilings and white high-polished epoxy floors—a decidedly chic space to store your small planes, helicopters, cars, or RVs.

Port Orange, Florida
This 3.4-acre property in Port Orange, Florida, listed for $6.25 million, is located in Spruce Creek Fly-In, one of the world’s most famous residential aviation communities. The neighborhood is situated around Spruce Creek Airport, where aviation-obsessed residents can practice their unique hobby or simply fly themselves home. This specific property has two private on-site hangars suitable for most business jets, general aviation aircraft, helicopters, boats, or cars. The airstrip is a 4,000-by-175-foot paved runway and membership to the aviation club is optional.

Decatur, Texas
This fly-in Texas home, listed for $14.25 million, spans 25 acres and has a Spanish-style main house, a 3,000-square-foot pool house, and a Parisian-style guest villa to host all your closest family and friends. The amenity-filled home includes a complete fitness center, a sports court for tennis, basketball, pickleball, and volleyball, plus a driving range, solar farm, putting gree, and outdoor entertaining areas. What’s more, there’s a helipad and hangar for storing small planes, helicopters, boats, ATVs, and more.

Alpine, Wyoming
This $14.75 million property at Alpine Airpark, one of Wyoming’s most famous airparks, pairs your dream rustic western-style cabin with convenient in-and-out fly-in access. Located just 35 miles from Jackson Hole, the turnkey property was originally built in the 1980s but fully renovated 14 years ago. There’s a main house and two guest houses, including a hangar home. The hangar features glue-lam beams and a rustic design and fits smaller jets and other boats, cars, or toys.

Yorkville, California
This $4.1 million aviation-ready property in Yorkville, just north of the Sonoma County line, has a modern architecturally significant main residence made of rammed earth, steel, and glass. It unites residents with nature from the floor-to-ceiling glass walls and doors with endless views over the Sonoma area. There is smart home technology, a solar-heated salt swimming pool, a yurt, guest cabins, and a convenient private airstrip and hangar for easy access.

Carmel, California
The former home of Apple co-founder Mike Markkula, last listed in 2020 for $37.5 million, is a 14,000-square-foot ranch in Carmel, California with a main residence, guest house, staff quarters, and its very own 2,900-foot paved airstrip and helipad. Here you have a working cattle ranch, barns, riding area for equestrians, a lake, and many creeks. Though it’s just 15 minutes from Carmel Valley Village, the private airstrip is convenient and provides a dramatic sense of arrival.

Couer d’Alene, Idaho
Sold in 2020, Sky Pine Estate on Lake Couer d’Alene in Idaho sits on 18 acres and is a one-of-a-kind western compound with a 16,000-square-foot house, boat house, beach, lake access, and unspoiled land. The lucky owner is surely an aviation enthusiast, as the home comes with a private helipad and not one but two private jet hangars and a nearby airport that may as well be private. The best part? You can land at the nearby airport and take your helicopter to your property’s private helipad.


The Opulent Interior of our Boeing 767 Private Jet Charter

We recently welcomed a Boeing 767 private jet to the UK in readiness for one of our clients. We’ve always been astonished with the elegance and style of the interior, and wanted to share with you a few rarely seen photos. It is an interior that would grace any Homes & Gardens magazine!

Some Key Facts

  • Length of 28.7m, width of 3.45m
  • A range of 6,700nm
  • Average speed of 475 kts/860 km/h
  • Manufactured in 2001 and fully refurbished in 2020
  • A capacity of 51 (7 VVIP, 15 Executive, 29 Premium Economy)
  • A crew of 2 Pilots and 5 flight Attendants
  • Luggage of 300 standard suitcases

Designed for experienced VIP travellers the BBJ767 delivers top-end comfort and luxury, the latest in-flight connectivity, a new air purifying system via ionisation, all combined with long-range capability.

With its 177 m2 / 1900 ft2 of cabin floor area, the newly refurbished VIP cabin combines the benefits of the widebody aircraft – such as comfort, space, and privacy – to produce a consistently harmonious passenger experience. It is equipped with the latest and fastest in-flight 2KU band connectivity for high-speed internet and non-stop streaming for all passengers.


Emirates Launching its own Regional Charter Service

Emirates Airlines – Reports

Emirates has launched an on-demand regional charter service, offering flexibility, convenience, privacy and comfort for customers who want to make short trips in the GCC from Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC).

Operated by the airline’s Phenom 100 twin-engine aircraft, customers can fly to a wide range of GCC destinations both within and outside of the Emirates network, with quick turnarounds to points in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and within the UAE.

The aircraft seats up to four passengers, and travellers on the short flights will be offered a well-stocked hamper of light bites and refreshments. Each passenger can check in one medium-sized bag weighing up to 15 kilograms, in addition to a carry-on handbag. Customers are encouraged to consult with their assigned booking representative or travel agent if they have any special requests.

The services offer discerning travellers with busy schedules privacy and a high level of flexibility, with a hassle-free ground experience. In Dubai, customers can expect Emirates Chauffeur Drive Services to transport them to DWC, and VIP treatment upon arrival with a dedicated representative who will support them throughout the airport journey, ensuring minimal pre-flight wait times. At their destination, customers benefit from fast on-ground escorted arrival and quick VIP clearance at customs and immigration provided by private terminal service partners. They will also have access to the private terminal lounge upon arrival.

RoyalJet LLC Expands into Malaysia

Sharrah Khilawala from – Reports

RoyalJet LLC and Sapura Resources Berhad (SRB) have signed a conditional Heads of Agreement (HOA) for the potential acquisition of SRB’s aviation business at Subang International Airport.

RoyalJet intends to establish a presence in the Southeast Asian private aviation market, by designating Subang International Airport as its regional hub for private charters and for their maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) business. This strategic move represents RoyalJet’s geographic expansion into the Asian market.

Mohammed Husain Ahmed, CEO of RoyalJet, expressed interest in the company’s growth prospects in Asia and sees this discussion with SRB as a solid foundation for building a stronger presence in the region. “We are keen to expand our business in Asia. The ongoing discussions with Sapura Resources Berhad’s aviation business offers promising opportunities”, he added.

“With support of the excellent bilateral relations of the two countries, we look forward on the discussions with RoyalJet,” said Dato’ Shahriman Shamsuddin. Both companies believe that the proposed acquisition of SRB’s aviation arm by RoyalJet is in tandem with the current plans to rejuvenate the private aviation industry, which would directly benefit Selangor’s economic development around Subang airport.

Managing Director of Malaysia Airports Dato’ Iskandar Mizal Mahmood says that this potential deal between Royal Jet and SRB complements the efforts to rejuvenate Subang Airport, “Our focus is to position Subang Airport as a premium city and regional airport, as well as further develop the general and business aviation sectors in Malaysia. The presence of Royal Jet in Subang Airport will create momentum in attracting more international aviation players into the ecosystem.”

Deputy CEO of MATRADE, YBrs. Puan Sharimahton Mat Saleh said “Subang Airport’s mature ecosystem is already recognised as a regional MRO hub for general aviation. International players stand to gain many advantages from the cooperation with Malaysian MRO companies which will boost the exports of this high-value services in the region”.

About RoyalJet

RoyalJet LLC is an Abu Dhabi Emirates affiliated company which leads the global premium private aviation sector and is chaired by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan. With its headquarters in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, operates mainly from its Fixed Based Operations (FBO) / VIP Terminal at Abu Dhabi International Airport and the company and its employees hold multiple certifications and licenses issued by the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority and the Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority. RoyalJet LLC, through its Abu Dhabi and San Marino entities, owns and/or operates 11 Boeing Business Jets and 3 Bombardier Global 5000/6000 aircraft, offering aircraft management, aircraft charter, aircraft leasing, medical evacuation flights, aircraft brokerage, flight support services, FBO services, aircraft maintenance, repair and CAMO services, aircraft acquisition and disposal services and VIP aviation consulting. RoyalJet LLC is a founding member of the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA), a member of various other industry associations, and its flight and ground operations are certified by the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) and under the Wyvern Wingman program. Its FBO is also a member of the industry leading Air Elite Network. RoyalJet LLC is also a proud multiple winner of the “World’s Leading Private Jet Charter” category at the annual World Travel Awards and its FBO has won multiple awards for its facilities and services.

The Pinnacle of Eco-Luxury: The Top 5 Best Green Hotels in the World

Christopher Parr Editor of Pursuitist – Reports

In a bid to redefine luxury hospitality, an emerging breed of hotels is combining opulence and eco-consciousness in a way never seen before. These trailblazers have incorporated sustainability into the very essence of their operations, setting a new standard for luxury travel. For discerning travellers seeking indulgence without compromising their commitment to the environment, we present the crème de la crème of the world’s green luxury hotels, as per top ratings and high-end luxury reviews.

1. The Brando (Tetiaroa, French Polynesia)
An emblem of eco-luxury, The Brando stands tall on Tetiaroa, a breathtaking private island in French Polynesia. This resort is entirely energy-independent, leveraging renewable sources like solar energy and coconut oil for power. With a strong commitment to protecting local biodiversity, the resort is a haven for luxury seekers conscious of their environmental footprint.

2. Soneva Fushi (Baa Atoll, Maldives)
Nestled in the tropical paradise of the Maldives, Soneva Fushi is where luxury meets sustainability. Built from sustainably sourced materials, this resort recycles a staggering 90% of its waste through its ‘Waste-to-Wealth’ initiative. With its organic gardens, solar power plant, and extensive marine conservation efforts, Soneva Fushi offers the best of both worlds – indulgence and eco-friendliness.

3. Bardessono Hotel and Spa (Yountville, USA)
In the heart of Napa Valley stands the LEED platinum-certified Bardessono Hotel and Spa. Epitomizing sustainable luxury, Bardessono combines eco-practices like using reclaimed materials in construction and geothermal heating in its spa with world-class service. With an on-site organic garden providing fresh produce, it’s clear that sustainability and luxury are perfectly in sync here.

4. Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel (Aguas Calientes, Peru)
In the lap of the Peruvian Andes, the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel presents a unique blend of luxury and sustainability. With an intense focus on preserving the rich biodiversity of the region, this hotel actively partakes in scientific research and conservation efforts. Local materials used in construction and carbon-neutral operations accentuate its commitment to sustainable luxury.

5. Six Senses Douro Valley (Lamego, Portugal)
Housed in a beautifully renovated 19th-century manor house, Six Senses Douro Valley in Portugal flawlessly integrates luxury and sustainability. Focused on energy efficiency, organic farming, and an innovative water treatment system, this hotel exemplifies sustainable luxury. Overlooking the stunning vineyards and the Douro River, guests here can truly immerse themselves in the ethos of eco-luxury.

In this age of environmental consciousness, these eco-luxury hotels are leading the charge in demonstrating that luxury and sustainability can harmoniously coexist. With their ground-breaking initiatives and commitments to preserving the planet, they offer a guilt-free indulgence that leaves every guest with a lasting impression. As the world gravitates towards a greener future, these hotels shine brightly as beacons of sustainable luxury.

Jet Startup to fly From New York to London in 90 mins Using a Hypersonic Jet

Taylor Rains and Pete Syme from Business Insider – Reports 

European startup Destinus is designing a series of ultra-speedy aircraft capable of reaching Mach 5. Liquid hydrogen combined with jet and rocket engines will allow the plane to cruise at 108,000 feet.

A rendering of a prototype of the Destinus L hypersonic jet. Destinus

Models “Destinus S” and “Destinus L” could connect cities like New York and London in just 90 minutes. The world has not seen a supersonic aircraft since the demise of the Concorde in 2003. The legendary plane connected New York and London in as little as three and a half hours, but several factors including its costly fuel-hungry engines made the Concorde difficult to sustain.

Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped several aerospace startups from coming up with new and environmentally friendly ideas for super-speedy planes. One of the most well-known is Colorado-based Boom Supersonic, which is making progress on its Overture jet. US carriers United Airlines and American Airlines have already placed orders.

However, there are a few other companies hoping to create an even faster aircraft that can outrun the Overture and the Concorde, including European aircraft manufacturing startup Destinus.

A rendering of a prototype of the Destinus L hypersonic jet. Destinus

Insider spoke with the Destinus team at the Paris Air Show in June to learn more about its hydrogen-powered hypersonic jet — take a look. At only two years old, Destinus has big ambitions for commercial hypersonic flight, which means flying at five times the speed of sound. The company’s revolutionary project is Destinus S — a 25-seater business jet that can fly up to 10,000 kilometers (6,214 miles) and cruise up to 33 kilometers (20 miles).

Twenty miles translates to about 108,000 feet, meaning the jet will soar more than 60,000 feet higher than current airliners. Destinus is also looking to build a widebody Mach 5 passenger jet known as Destinus L.

The aircraft will have the same cruise altitude but can travel up to 22,000 km (13,670) and carry 300-400 people. The company is expecting deliveries for the Destinus S to start between 2032 and 2035, with Destinus L coming in the 2040s — putting both behind Boom’s 2029 timeline.

Using liquid hydrogen for fuel and a combo of turbojet and ramjet engines, the plane would be able to connect cities like London and New York in just 90 minutes. The propulsion system is particularly unique. According to Destinus, the turbojet is paired with afterburners to speed up from subsonic to supersonic…



Continued Expansion Helps Pilatus Business Aircraft Grow

Pia Bergqvist from Flying Magazine – Reports

When the early morning sun crests over the high plains, it lights up the headquarters of Pilatus Business Aircraft, Ltd., which sits near the Rocky Mountain foothills in the northwest Denver suburb of Broomfield, Colorado. Located at the approach end of Runways 12R/L at the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (KBJC), the modern aircraft facility finishes and delivers the Pilatus PC-12 turboprop andPC-24 Super Versatile Jet, manufactured by Swiss airplane maker Pilatus Aircraft, to North and South American customers.

The roots of Pilatus Business Aircraft, also known as PilBAL, sprouted with the help of Chris Finnoff, alongtime turboprop sales guru who founded Turbo West Aviation, and sold various types of aircraft before turning his focus on the Pilatus PC-12. The first PC-12 was brought to the U.S. in 1994—the same year it achieved both Swiss and FAA certification—and the Broomfield facility opened in 1996 as a parts and distribution source for North American dealers.

Pilatus Business Aircraft, Ltd. sits on a mesa near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in the northwest Denver suburb of Broomfield, Colorado . [Credit Glenn Watson]

By 1997, PilBAL started interior installations, and in 2001, avionics options were installed in Broomfield.The capability allowed customers to make their final avionics selections later in the purchasing process, and, in those days, there was a wide variety of choices through field approvals.

When I first stepped foot in PilBAL’s facilities in 2017, the administrative offices were located in the airport terminal, while the avionics, parts inventory, flight operations, and interior fabrication and installation were spread across 14 hangars. Pilatus Business Aircraft clearly needed a new home. While the company considered other cities, the management settled on a piece of land across the runway, and the new facility opened its doors in 2018.

“A lot of us felt like fish out of water for a while having such a nice facility to work in,” said Mike Rector,vice president of production. “I worked on about six iterations of this building over a period of 15 to 16 years before we finally got the board convinced to build it herein this final configuration.”

When the PC-12 was first introduced, Pilatus expected a total production run of about 300 units. Finnoff’s vision and the continuous expansion in Broomfield have certainly contributed to Pilatus’ success in business aviation. The company will soon celebrate its 2,000th PC-12 and 200th PC-24 delivery.

The Main Event
Stepping through the entrance of the 118,000-square-foot main building, you’ll find offices for marketing, customer support, technical support, warranty administration, parts sales, engineering, and quality management. The office areas have a clean European feel, with a dominance of light wood and aluminum materials. Most exterior walls have large windows, bringing in natural light and providing stellar views of the rugged mountains to the west and the Colorado plains to the east. Around the open office spaces are several tall tables where impromptu meetings often lead to good ideas and solutions to problems.

While the main aircraft production is in Stans, Switzerland, all airplanes for North and South American customers are completed in Broomfield. The airplanes are ferried with bare cabins, so a lot of ballast is needed to keep them within their weight and balance envelopes. It’s a great opportunity for transporting equipment between the two headquarters, but other ballast is often used, as I’ll learn later in our visit.

Once in the U.S., the final avionics configuration is completed, with a lot of options for processing cards, software loads, entertainment and communications systems, and hardware. The airplanes then move on to the paint facility before the interior is installed.

An outside vendor produces seat frames and foam. Seat coverings for the worldwide fleet of PC-24s are completed at the Broomfield facility, while those of the PC-12 are outsourced. PC-12 and PC-24 customers have six design lines to choose from, with a mixture of neutral earth tones. Customers can choose a scheme, mix and match, or put their own stamp on the interior design, which can extend a project several months as materials have to meet regulatory requirements, said Marie Marschner, the director of sales administration, who is also a flight instructor. Also, the lines on the seats and sidewalls must remain consistent.

Pilatus ferries the airplanes generally with a base exterior coat and empty cabins. Pilots wear immersion suits and bring other survival equipment for the flight. The pre-delivery airplanes are also used for intercompany transport. [Credit: Glenn Watson]

There are other restrictions as well. For example, the lower sidewalls in the cabin in the PC-12 can be covered with leather; however, the PC-24’s can’t. “The cows aren’t big enough,” said Marschner. Attention to detail with the leather materials is extremely high. Every square inch of a hide is carefully examined before putting it into the Zund cutting machine—another Swiss piece of perfection that maximizes the use of each hide. Then the pieces are meticulously fitted around the seats.

Despite the diligence that goes into each stage of the process, several inspections are conducted before the customer is brought in for the official delivery, accounting for why most airplanes have zero squawks.

Continuing the European theme, there is a large focus on sustainability. Tom Aniello, vice president of marketing at Pilatus Business Aircraft, said there are plans to power the buildings completely with solar. The cabinetry is transported from a company in Austria in large wooden containers specifically designed to minimize damage. Those containers are shipped back and reused. Leftover aluminum from production in Stans is used as ballast and then sold to recycling companies. “It pays for our company holiday party,” said Aniello.

Lasers are used to outline the paint scheme on the airplane before the areas are taped off and painted. [Credit: Glenn Watson]

Paint Facility
The newest phase of PilBAL is the paint hangar, which opened last year, with the first painted airplane rolling out at the end of October. PilBAL previously outsourced the paint projects to two shops. While the company was happy with the finished product, the outsourcing required additional project managers and pilots to fly the airplanes back and forth. So, bringing the process in house made sense.

The base coat is painted on prior to the transatlantic ferry flight. It is generally white, but it doesn’t have to be. Stripping down and repainting the base can take five to six weeks, said Marschner, so it’s best if the preferred base color is applied in Switzerland.

The final design is completed using CAD software. The 3D design is applied to each side of the airplane with a laser system, ensuring perfect symmetry. Paint technicians tape each line before applying the paint. “Even with the laser, there is still a fair amount of artistry that comes into bending tape,” said Marschner. For example, lines might have to be modified where there are interruptions in the fuselage, such as air vents.

The paint that covers the walls in the three paint bays can be peeled off as dirt is introduced. Every six months, the paint on the walls is replaced to ensure total cleanliness. Filtration systems also keep dust out. A mixing room will soon be available for mixing colors on-site rather than buying each particular color.

Just as with the interior completion, attention to detail is high. Any blemishes are sanded down and fixed. “We’ve had a very high expectation, setting the bar for what Pilatus aircraft look like when they come out of the paint shop,” Marschner said. “It’s a completely different standard than some of our competitors. So, with the new paint shop, we’re trying to achieve close to perfection with a very new shop, a new team, and new procedures. They’re doing a really outstanding job.”

With the integrated Honeywell Primus Apex system in the PC-12 and Primus Epic in the PC-24 , there is not as much of a need for avionics modifications in the PilBAL facility as there used to be. In the early years in Broomfield, Pilatus made major avionics modifications in the PC-12 through field approvals. [Credit: Glenn Watson]

Each leather hide is scrutinized to make sure there are no imperfections in the visible areas of the seats. A computerized cutting machine made by Zund, another Swiss company, ensures perfect execution and maximizes the cutting areas of each hide.

With the current layout, the completion hangar can fit up to 14 airplanes, with a capacity of at least 50 percent more. “The way it’s set up, we’ve got plenty of room to set up support equipment around the airplanes, and people have elbow room to work,” said Perry Schulz, director of completions. “It’s a good system that works.” [Credit: Glenn Watson]

The factory in Stans transforms leftover aluminum into ballast blocks used in ferrying aircraft. Marked with its weight, each has removable handles used to pick it up. Once in Broomfield, many aluminum blocks are recycled.


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