Industry News

Hawker files Chapter 11

Hawker Beechcraft has reached an agreement with a significant number of its senior secured lenders and senior bondholders on the terms of a financial restructuring plan that will strengthen the company for the future and eliminate approximately $2.5 billion in debt and approximately $125 million of annual cash interest expense. It and certain of its subsidiaries have filed voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The terms of the prearranged restructuring agreement will take effect when the company’s reorganization plan is confirmed by the Court and the Chapter 11 case is concluded. As part of the prearranged restructuring, Hawker Beechcraft obtained a commitment for $400 million in Debtor-in-Possession (DIP) financing, which will enable it to continue paying employees, suppliers, vendors, and others in the normal course of business. The company will comply with all Department of Defense acquisition and maintenance contracts, as well as agreements with international air forces including, but not limited to, the recently announced sale of T-6C+ trainer aircraft to Mexico. It is also committed to moving forward with its bid to provide the U.S. Air Force with the AT-6 in support of the Light Air Support contract. 

New training technology

The U.S. Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) a $156 million contract to provide new training devices to accommodate the growing pipeline of C-130J aircrews and maintainers. Lockheed Martin will develop 24 new training devices and provide program management and engineering services under the U.S. Air Force's C-130J Maintenance and Aircrew Training System II, referred to as JMATS II. The devices include weapons systems, enhanced integrated cockpit systems, loadmaster fuselage and loadmaster part-task trainers along with enhanced cargo handling system training aids. Lockheed Martin has managed the C-130J Maintenance and Aircrew Training System since 2000 to provide a comprehensive range of training devices and support services, including aircrew and maintenance personnel instruction, program operations and engineering services. The work will be managed at Lockheed Martin's Marietta, GA, and Orlando, FL, businesses.

Gama expands U.S. base

Gama has been intensively building the infrastructure for this effort since 2009 with the creation of three separate FAA and EASA approved Part 145 Certified Repair Stations located in Bridgeport, CT (BDR), Teterboro, NJ (TEB), and West Palm Beach, FL (PBI). Each of the repair stations has expansive authorizations to perform base and line maintenance on most models of Gulfstream, Falcon, Bombardier, Cessna and Hawker aircraft, as well as all of the associated powerplants. Gama is focusing its growth initially at the West Palm Beach site, with the creation of a number of new technicians (engineering) jobs to service the increasing demand from aircraft operators in search of a ‘concierge’ level service.

Cirrus jet is back

Almost five years after starting work on a prototype, the Duluth-based company said Tuesday it has landed financing to finish developing the new plane. Designed for the personal aircraft market, it's an integral part of a strategy to expand Cirrus' current product line of piston-engine aircraft. The funds from China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. (CAIGA) will be used for further testing and to build tooling needed to manufacture the new plane. Dale Klapmeier says the new jet could generate more than 100 jobs in Duluth, where production is expected to begin in 2015. He says the company already has added engineers and technicians to finish work on the plane, called the Vision SF 50.

Aerostar to double MRO capacity

Aerostar S.A., the leading Romanian aerospace company, is building a new hangar at its Bacau location that will double its commercial aviation MRO capacity. The hangar, which is now substantially complete, is having its utilities and equipment installed and will be ready for opening in May. The new 5,000-square-meter hangar can accommodate four bays for regional/narrow-body aircraft. Currently its MRO activities are carried out in an earlier four-bay hangar, so the addition brings total capacity to eight aircraft in more than 10,000 square meters of space. Aerostar can supply 360,000 man-hours a year for commercial aircraft MRO work. It has 32 Part 66 licensed engineers and more than 150 technicians in avionics, mechanics, and structures.

University research

Eaton Corp. has entered into a creative new relationship with Purdue University as a founding member of the Center for Technology Development. The membership reflects Eaton’s recognition that many of the world’s most advanced industrial research and development projects are taking place in university classrooms and laboratories. Eaton was one of three companies that signed a charter to officially launch the Center for Technology Development at Purdue University on Jan. 11, 2012. Each founding member will contribute $50,000 a year for the next three years to help start the center, which provides members with a diversified set of resources to carry out research and development, direct problem-solving and feasibility studies for future products. Headquartered in Purdue’s College of Technology, the Center for Technology Development is designed to produce measurable results to reward industry investments and build long-term relationships with members. Eaton and other members collaborate with Purdue faculty and staff and have access to Purdue labs and centers.

New book on avionics

The second edition of “Avionics: Systems and Troubleshooting” by T.K. Eismin has been published by Avotek Information Resources. Updated to focus on new technologies and the latest aircraft developments, this new volume provides a practical guide to advanced avionics for aviation maintenance schools and current avionics technicians. It has been redesigned and numerous color photos and illustrations have been added throughout. Added discussions cover transport category power distribution systems, electronic panel displays, synthetic vision, electronic flight bags, satellite weather systems and ground proximity systems. This volume takes the AMT past the basic avionics systems into the intricacies of today’s advanced systems. It is a valuable tool in preparing for NCATT certification testing. More information is available at www.avotek.com or by calling (800) 828-6835.

ATP adds Avidyne tech pubs

ATP adds the digital avionics technical publications from Avidyne Corporation to its extensive database of technical and maintenance libraries. All Avidyne avionics libraries from ATP now can be accessed via the new ATP Aviation Hub online service, as well as the NavigatorV desktop platform. Avidyne is a leading provider of integrated flight deck and safety systems for general aviation aircraft, based in Lincoln, MA. This is the first time Avidyne's technical documents have been made available via ATP's comprehensive content services and software applications. The publication is the result of an agreement announced between the two companies in January 2011.

Chinook training facility

The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] and its Dutch partner the Rotary Wing Training Center (RWTC) officially opened a state-of-the-art CH-47 Chinook helicopter maintenance training facility near Royal Netherlands Air Force base Gilze-Rijen on April 25. The RWTC is a subsidiary of the Netherlands’ World Class Aviation Academy (WCAA). The training includes current technical information and courseware tailored for CH-47 mechanics, technicians, pilots and crew members. The full training program covers theory, troubleshooting and fault isolation, as well as maintenance and servicing. Students receive practical training on a retired Chinook airframe, providing a more realistic learning experience.

AAR goes to Duluth

Illinois-based aircraft repair giant AAR Corp. has agreed to take over most of the vacant former Northwest Airlines maintenance facility and bring as many as 225 jobs to the city of Duluth. The signed letter of intent with the city, announced Tuesday, will let AAR’s maintenance, repair and overhaul group occupy 152,000 square feet of the former Northwest hangar. AAR said it plans to hire up to 225 people once the Duluth hangar is operating at full capacity. Duluth beat out several other cities for the selection.

Helicopter support in Spain

Eurocopter España has acquired an 80 percent stake in the new company Sabadell Helicopters Service Center (SHSC), which brings together the aircraft maintenance and repair activities of the Catalonian company TAF Helicopters SL. This platform positions Eurocopter as a leading provider of technical assistance and logistics support services for the Spanish helicopter sector. With an initial staff of 35 technicians based at Sabadell Airport, near Barcelona, SHSC will enable Eurocopter to provide direct, specialized support for all civil helicopter fleets. There are currently more than 700 civil helicopters registered in Spain and this number has steadily increased over the last 20 years at an annual rate of 5 percent, with Eurocopter products accounting for 60 percent of the Spanish fleet.

CTS Engines opens new facility

CTS Engines, a leading independent engine MRO, opens its new, state-of-the-art engine service center. The 60,000-square-foot building, located next to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, is a full service engine overhaul facility capable of performing the vast majority of all engine repairs in-house. The facility includes 10 full service engine bays with gantries, full cleaning and FPI capabilities, weld shop, plasma booth, coordinate measuring machine, high speed blade tip grinder, vertical machining center, horizontal and vertical balancing machines, bearing room, and gearbox room. The shop is capable of performing approximately 70 percent of all repair services in-house.

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