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Soft Landings provides a focus for what's happening in the seaplane world. 
  • (Monday, 19 October) - Biofarm Inc. announce that they are the new owners of Britten Norman Ltd., the UK aircraft manufacturer of the BN Islander range of aircraft which reknowned aircraft designer David Thurston has developed an amphibian conversion.
  • (Tuesday, 2 September) - Fromer Chief Executive Officer of Pilatus Britten Norman, Walter Stark, who was appointed joint managing director of Britten Norman by new owners Litchfield Continental, has resigned from the company from 4 September. 
  • (Monday, 1 September) - Rumours abound that the Renault diesel aero engine has run into trouble with crucial technical difficulties still to be overcome. Questions of horsepower and weight have been mentioned. Renault are now considering the future of the programme.
  • (Tuesday, 21 July) Swiss paper Neue Zurcher Zeitung reports that Oerlikon Buhrle Holding signed an agreement on 16 July 98 to sell the Pilatus Aircraft subsidiary, Pilatus Britten Norman to Litchfield Continental Limited. The report reveals that the PBN results have been in the red for a number of years. Pilatus Britten Norman had 141 employees in 1997 and contibuted just 7% to the 335 million franc turnover of Pilatus Aircraft.
  • (Thursday, 16 April) German company Equator Aircraft are now soliciting for aircraft orders and finance. The company is offering shares at $10 per share with a minimum of $50,000. 
  • The Equator 300 bears a striking resemblance to the Air Shark but has been designed as a modula platform that will allow further enhancement and new model spin offs. 
  • (Wednesday, 28 January) Michael Zoche reports that he has now cleared all the certification path hurdles and has agreed the testing programme for his innovative aerodiesel with the German and US authorities. Zoche is quoting year 2000 before engines will be available.
  • (Wednesday, 28 January) Reports from Paris suggest that the new Renault diesel is exceeding all expectations. The 150 hp engine continues to perform well in the test cell although no reason was given for the delay in the test flying programme.
  • The second prototype Beriev Be103 is flying after the fatal crash of number 1 back in August. The official investigation into the crash is still to publish its report.
  • (Monday, 13 October) - Indications suggest that the new Renault Aero Diesel is running behind the development schedule - everyone at the factory is remaining tight lipped as to when the first flight will take place. The latest information is that the diesel will fly near Paris at the end of October.
  • The engineers at Renault are now coming to realise that it is just not a matter of installing a very good automobile engine in an airframe to get a very good aircraft engine. Now that Renault are ending their successful involvement in Formula 1 motor racing, plans are afoot to switch the Grand Prix team onto the new challenge of aviation power. 
    If they are as successful as they were in the world of motor racing then Renault and Europe will be a big winner. 
kenn heeley 

23 Oct  98

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