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Murphy To Build LSAs

The popular Murphy Rebel will soon be available factory-built.
The popular Murphy Rebel will soon be available factory-built.

Kit aircraft maker Murphy Aircraft, of Chilliwack, B.C., has announced that it will enter the factory-built industry with an S-LSA version of its popular Rebel.

The company also announced it’s planning to introduce a more powerful STOL version called the Radical Rebel at AirVenture Oshkosh in late July.

Murphy founder Darryl Murphy said the demand from the U.S. for aircraft that meet its LSA standards for both factory-built (S-LSA) and kit built (E-LSA) aircraft is “too large to ignore” and the company is targeting the end of 2016 to have E-LSA kits ready for delivery.

“Ready-to-fly S-LSA Rebel deliveries will depend on demand,” he said.

As for the new model, he said customers have been asking for a souped up version of the Rebel and the new aircraft will be able to take up 22o horsepower and weigh up to 1,900 lbs.

“Feedback from our many existing Rebel owners tells us there is a market for an aircraft with even greater performance, power and STOL capabilities and we have been listening,” Murphy said.  “Although the Rebel is a good foundation to start from, the new aircraft is essentially a brand new design.”

In addition to the higher gross weight, the airplane will have more wing area, a 36-foot span take a wide range of engines, from 130-horsepower Rotax 915 to Lycomings up to the 390 and even a Franklin 350.

London Air Show Back

Snowbirds are confirmed for the London Air Show. Ken Lin photo
Snowbirds are confirmed for the London Air Show.
Ken Lin photo

After a 12-year absence, the London Air Show will return next Sept. 17-18.

So far, the only confirmed acts are the Snowbirds and CF-18 demo teams but organizers promise plenty of variety on the ground and in the air.

Chairman Jim Graham said there will be at least 50 aircraft on static display and the air demonstrations will last more than three hours.

“There’s a huge pent up demand for this,” he told a news conference on Monday.

The show isn’t intended to be purely for entertainment, however. It’s also aimed at attracting new aerospace investment to the London airport. London is currently home to Diamond Aircraft and Grumman, which has a military development project at the airport in conjunction with Diamond.

Students from the school of aviation technology at Fanshawe College will help organize the show and half the proceeds will go toward student bursaries. The other half of the profits will be split between the Children’s Health Foundation and veterans’ groups. Graham said he expects the show to net more than $1 million.

Part of that optimism comes from the fact that the show will be funded and organized through volunteers, sponsorships and in-kind donations.

WestJet Cuts Flights

Westjet has cut 88 flights in B.C. and Alberta.
Westjet has cut 88 flights in B.C. and Alberta.

The oil slump has caused WestJet to cut 88 flights a week between B.C. and Alberta cities.

Fort MacMurray is among the hardest hit, losing flights to Kelowna, Edmonton and Calgary.

There will also be one fewer daily flight between Calgary and Edmonton and smaller airports in B.C. will be affected.

Flights from Abbotsford, Nanaimo and Kamloops to Edmonton will be cut as will service between Penticton, Prince George and Terrace to WestJet’s Calgary hub.

The cuts can be directly tied to the slump in oil prices. Many workers in the oil patch live in B.C. and commute to their jobs in northern Alberta where they live in camps. There have been major layoffs since the price of oil dropped to around $30 from its high of more than $100 last year.

“We appreciate and recognize that this is unfortunate news for the citizens of all of these communities,” said WestJet spokeswoman Lauren Stewart.

Spokesman in several affected communities told the CBC they were disappointed but not surprised by the cuts.

“When the economy slows down, things you do in good times, you can’t keep doing,” said Charles Scott, a consultant and university lecturer in Prince George.

The aircraft will be redeployed to expanding routes in eastern Canada.

CSeries Misses Alaska Deal

Horizon Airlines is likely to buy E175s.
Horizon Airlines is likely to buy E175s.

Horizon Airlines, the regional arm of Alaska Airlines, appears ready to order more than 30 Embraer E175 aircraft.

The company, which is in a pitched battle with Delta Airlines for dominance at Seattle’s Sea-Tac Airport, said it needs more jets in its regional fleet to offer better comfort and convenience to passengers.

In a conference call, airline officials said they would be ordering a 76-seat jet although they didn’t name the type. The most likely candidate is the E175, which is a competitor for Bombardier’s CSeries, although 25 percent smaller than the CS100.

The Horizon announcement comes after United Airlines said it would buy more than 70 Boeing 737s in a deal that Bombardier was vying for.

The company is still awaiting word from Delta Airlines, which is about to buy a fleet of smaller jets to replace ancient DC-9s and Boeing 717 aircraft.