Business aviation in brief

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WESTWIND DITCHING

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has released a preliminary report on an Israel Aerospace Industries Westwind 1124A business jet that successfully made a night-time poor weather ditching in November 2009, 5.5km (3nm) off the coast of Norfolk Island, 1,145km east of Brisbane. The Pel-Air aircraft was on a medical evacuation mission carrying one patient and five crew/medical staff, all of whom survived. The aircraft was flying from Apia in Samoa, to Melbourne, via Norfolk Island. However, about 20min from Norfolk the weather conditions deteriorated "well below the landing minima", says the ATSB. The crew attempted four instrument approaches with diminishing fuel, before making a controlled landing on the water.


P&WC MILESTONE

Blackhawk Modifications has taken delivery of its 500th Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A turboprop engine. Waco, Texas-based Blackhawk specialises in upgrading the twin-engined Beechcraft King Air 90, Cessna 425 Conquest and Piper Cheyenne with the PT6A and this is its 250th conversion.


HAWKER REBRAND

Hawker Beechcraft has merged its Rapid and Customer Support services into one organisation under the Hawker Beechcraft Global Customer Support brand. Additionally, the airframer's Rapid parts and distribution division will be rebranded Hawker Beechcraft Parts and Distribution.


IMMIGRATION TRIAL

The UK Border Agency and Signature Flight Support's London Luton airport fixed-base operation have begun a six-month trial of their VIP Cyber Port initiative designed to simplify and speed up the immigration process for business aircraft users. Passengers present themselves via a secure video link at Signature's facility to a remote UK Border Agency officer, who then processes the passenger using the same facilities as at Luton's main terminal building. This includes scanning passports, verifying identity and producing any relevant immigration approvals.