Saturday, 16 October 2010

Cessna to (finally) announce new aircraft?

I first heard the rumours three or four years ago, perhaps more. Cessna was working on a single-engine turboprop to compete somewhere in the Meridian, TBM or Pilatus market space. To be honest, I expected it to be announced at NBAA last year or Oshkosh this year, but all I got when I asked Cessna's media team about it were blank faces.

With NBAA coming up next week, and with a Cessna press release about an announcement on Monday, I'm once again betting that their single will be revealed. The time seems ripe. The Kestrel is moving forwards and attracting a lot of interest in the single-engine turboprop arena and Daher-Socata is looking at reviving the Grob SPn as its entry into the jet market - something Cessna would rather not see, I'm sure.

If it is anounced it'll be interesting to see where Cessna's aeroplane is positioned. I very much doubt they'll go for the Meridian market (too small), so imagine that they'll aim for the TBM850 market space instead. The obvious choice would be to do something based on the Mustang's fuselage.

More on Monday (unless of course I've got it all wrong and the fuss is all about a new colour scheme for the Corvalis or something).

The screen shot above is from FlightAware

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Free call Farnborough Comedy

Shortly after take-off yesterday, I called Lyneham for a basic service. Somewhere east of Marlborough, they called to say, "Squawk 7000 freecall Farnborough on 125.25".

I tuned in and listened out. I don't know what was happening yesterday but the frequency should have been renamed Farnborough Comedy. Seriously, at times it was funnier than Chris Moyles on Radio 1.

Half the fleet in Southern England was airborne, there were people being stepped on, people needing to be called four or five times, people reading life stories, people being forgotten and people (allegedly) clipping the Heathrow zone.

The Farnborough controllers were working hard but I'm not sure there was a great deal of capacity left for much more than a basic service for most callers.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Half time score: Flying 1 - Cars 2

It's not been a good week for aviation. Saturday involved a trip to Goodwood for a meeting, but thanks to some early fog that never actually cleared all day, I ended up driving. Sunday, I went to the end-of-season display at Duxford and very good it was too. The trouble is, I drove to that too. Flying to Duxford would have been good, but that option is no longer open (at least not for the autumn event). Fowlmere is an option, but given the amount of traffic snarling up the roads after the show, using a taxi to get back to the aeroplane would be challenging.

Today, I needed to be in Farnborough. It would have been nice to land there, but alas that's not possible without more than one engine and a very fat wallet. As neither description applies to me, I flew into Blackbushe instead and got a lift.

The score should probably be Flying 1/2 - Cars 2 1/2