Pilot Reports

Join AIN pilots/writers as they test fly business jets, turboprops, rotorcraft, and airliners featuring the latest technology from the world’s airframe, engine, and avionics manufacturers. From fly-by-wire flight controls to touchscreen flight decks and sophisticated satcoms, these are the aircraft that make the aerospace industry fly.

Phenom 300E
Apr 7, 2020 - 2:48 PM
The new Phenom 300E adds safety, performance, and comfort features to a best-selling light jet.

Embraer’s new Phenom 300E received triple certification from Brazil’s ANAC, the FAA, and EASA in late March, about a month after I flew the high-performance jet at Embraer Executive Jets’ U.S. facility in Melbourne, Florida. It was an excellent opportunity to experience the 300E’s faster top speed, upgraded avionics, and improved cabin.

Cessna Citation CJ4
Jan 10, 2020 - 8:39 AM
Large-jet features make the small jet a crowd pleaser.

The Citation CJ4 has done quite well in the light-jet market, carving out a profitable niche for Textron Aviation with a well-performing capable jet serving both owner-pilots and professional fliers, alike.

Leonardo TH-119
Sep 27, 2019 - 12:29 AM
AIN flies the Leonardo TH-119 IFR training helicopter.

Thirty-two years ago I started my helicopter training at Redhill Aerodrome, Surrey, England, sponsored by the global oil industry giant Bristow Helicopters. I completed my commercial pilot's license course on the even-then venerable 1960s-vintage Westland-Bell 47 G4A.

Global 7500 in flight
Apr 17, 2019 - 1:10 PM
The airplane more than delivers on speed and range promises, while offering a comfortable environment for pilots and crew.

When Bombardier announced two new jets in the Global series—the Global 7000 and 8000—in 2010, the clear intention was that the Canadian manufacturer planned to take away the mantle of building the largest purpose-built business jet from Gulfstream Aerospace’s 7,500-nm G650ER. Originally the two new airplanes were meant to complement each other, with the larger 7000 projected to fly 7,400 nm, while the shorter 8000 would fly the farthest at 7,900 nm.

Learjet 75 in flight
Jan 17, 2019 - 1:57 PM
Bombardier builds on its Learjet 40/45 Legacy.

To say the Learjet 70 and 75 are versions of the 40/45 updated with new Garmin G5000 avionics is accurate, but there is more to the newer models than just the flight deck. Every upgrade is an opportunity to improve the marque, and Bombardier engineers certainly did that.

Piper Archer DX
Nov 21, 2018 - 2:03 AM
The diesel-powered single-engine Archer might have new life in large training academies.

Piper Aircraft has strengthened its commitment to the diesel-powered light aircraft fleet by bringing the diesel Archer DX program in-house, starting with 2019 models. Since the Continental CD-155 diesel engine was approved for installation in the Archer under an FAA supplemental type certificate (STC), Piper has been building diesel Archers as standard TX models that were then modified with the diesel-engine STC.

Embraer Praetor outside facility
Nov 20, 2018 - 2:10 PM
A flight in Embraer's new Praetor 600 super midsize jet reveals a host of new features.

Embraer’s new Praetor business jets were unveiled at the NBAA convention in October, and both will enter service next year. Embraer Executive Jets redesigned the Legacy 450 and 500 fly-by-wire business jets, adding two new models—the Praetor 500 and 600—with new performance capabilities. The Praetor 500 and 600 will sit at the top of Embraer’s midsize and super-midsize offerings, but the company said it will still manufacture the Legacy 450 and 500 as long as there are buyers.

Citation Longitude
Oct 23, 2018 - 6:27 AM
AIN flies the longest Citation as it nears certification.

Textron Aviation’s super-midsize Longitude, the largest Citation yet, is about to enter service. Just before certification, I flew twice in the new Longitude, the first time in the cabin and the second up front on the flight deck.

This was the fifth flight-test vehicle Longitude, which had completed all flight test activities and is now a demonstrator equipped with a production interior. It was a typically warm summer day in Wichita with puffy scattered clouds above 10,000 feet, but otherwise clear with excellent visibility.

G500 in flight
Aug 24, 2018 - 7:00 AM
Gulfstream engineers have designed an airplane that pilots will love and that maximizes comfort for passengers

The recently certified G500 represents a leap forward in flight deck and flight control interface design, a bold move for a manufacturer as conservative as Gulfstream yet also a logical progression in business jet design. The G500 is a delight to fly, a significant step up in handling compared to the non-fly-by-wire (FBW) designs (G550 and below). And the many touchscreens that run the avionics and systems feel as natural as wings on airplanes.

Bell 4017GXi in flight
Aug 16, 2018 - 6:44 AM
Garmin elevates the Bell 407GXi experience

Standing on the right-hand side of a Bell 407GXi, I leaned in to see what—upon first glance—looked strikingly similar to Garmin's G1000H flight deck. The screens, powered off, had barely a streak on their glass, and this was my first reminder that I was indeed looking at something new. As soon as the screens came to life, it became apparent that these were more powerful Garmin displays.