Flying private is more than just getting from point A to point B.
Flying by private aircraft is more than just getting from point A to point B. According to Tom Perry, vice president of Sales for Europe at Textron Aviation, the U.S.-based aviation giant, said it is all about the mission.
“On one occasion I invited a very experienced pilot to come and fly as a passenger on our CESSNA CARAVAN, which he had not previously experienced,” said Perry. “It was equipped with floats, and we landed on a Scottish loch and then fished from it. It was beautiful, and a quite unique experience. While we were fishing, he told me about a flight he had flown as captain the previous day in his own BEECHCRAFT KING AIR. He had flown a team of heart surgeons on a number of emergency flights around the UK, bringing vital organs to Papworth Hospital. That surgical team did five heart transplants that day.”
These examples could be true of many private aircraft, but Textron Aviation, which has been producing aircraft for 90 years, is a cut above the rest. Having delivered a quarter of a million aircraft, and with 20 service facilities globally, some 50 percent of aircraft being flown today are produced by Textron Aviation.
Textron Aviation builds and services all Cessna and Beechcraft aircraft and provides parts and service for Hawker aircraft. Perry’s personal favourite aircraft are the CESSNA 172 SKYHAWK. because “it is the only one I could fly myself,” and the CESSNA CITATION LONGITUDE because “it is so quiet and comfortable.”
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic shuttering flight routes and limiting travel, the private aviation industry has bounced back quickly, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), which said all aircraft segments saw increases in shipments and preliminary aircraft deliveries were valued at US$25.2 billion last year.
“The strength and tenacity of the general aviation industry has provided a strong foundation for the industry to rebound from pandemic-related setbacks with a powerful showing in 2021. Total aircraft shipments are converging on figures that were seen before the outset of the pandemic. The industry has been able to weather the storm,” said Pete Bunce, GAMA President and CEO.
This year Textron Aviation certified the clean-sheet CESSNA SKYCOURIER. The SkyCourier is a twin-engine, large-utility turboprop, which offers a combination of performance and lower operating costs for air freight, passenger and special mission operators. Launch customer FedEx has ordered 50, with the option of 50 more.
The BEECHCRAFT DENALI, a new single-engine turboprop, completed its first flight in November 2021 and is anticipated to come to market in 2023. The Denali is designed to outpace its competition by featuring lower operating costs, providing the intuitive, touchscreen-controlled Garmin G3000 avionics suite, and by offering the largest cabin in its class complete with a digital pressurization system providing a 6,000 ft cabin altitude at 30,000 ft.
Textron Aviation continues to invest, both in new products and in its current product lineup. Since 2020, the company introduced the Cessna Citation CJ4 Gen2 jet, the Cessna Citation M2 Gen2 jet, the Cessna Citation XLS Gen2 jet, the Beechcraft King Air 360 turboprop, the Beechcraft King Air 260 turboprop and the Cessna Turbo Skylane piston aircraft.
It’s this breadth of offering, coupled with exceptional service, that sets the company apart, said Perry. “No other manufacturer has the capacity to provide both a training platform in which a pilot can take their very first flying lessons and also a private jet capable of crossing the North Atlantic at speed and in comfort.”