Wheeling, Ill.-based Chicago Executive Airport (PWK) gave the green light to Brigadoon Aviation LLC to begin building its new five-acre facility this year. Ken Ross, president of Brigadoon, says the facility is more like a private club with first-rate aviation amenities. "Brigadoon will take up about 75,000 square feet of building space," says Ross, who is also president and CEO of air charter operator North American Jet Charter Group LLC. "The new building will have two 25,000-square-foot hangars and about 25,000 square feet of terminal and office space."
Ross said he´s raised in excess of $ 10.1 million for Brigadoon´s five-acre development, inclusive of parking facilities. The project, located at the east end of airport, is due to break ground in mid-2008 with occupancy by the end of 2009.
NAJCG, also located at PWK, currently operates nine aircraft under FAR Part 135 (cert. # CJ6A959H), including five Eclipse 500 very light jets. Ross said the company´s sixth VLJ is on the way. "We plan to operate that VLJ from Boca Raton, Fla.," he said. "By the end of 2008, we expect to operate in excess of 15 Eclipse jets.
Ross says the Brigadoon facility has a lot to do with VLJs.
"Amenities will include a VLJ learning center that includes interactive Eclipse 500 simulators," he said. "We´ll provide other types of interactive simulators as they become available in the market. The facility will also offer catering, total aircraft maintenance as a FAR Part 145 repair station, provide fueling services and will be a fixed base operation. But this is no ‘fuel-up-pump-and-go.´ What we´re doing is state of the art."
As for NAJCG´s on-demand charter service, Ross said the company is doing well. "I believe it´s the largest managed fleet of Eclipse VLJs in the nation," he said. "All of our Eclipse aircraft are certified for reduced vertical minimum separation (RVSM), which means aircraft can fly up to 41,000 feet. We intend to expand our managed fleet throughout the U.S."
However, he admits that the Eclipse VLJ is missing some elements.
"I´m optimistic that the aircraft´s Avio NG avionics will become fully functional," said Ross, who has a type rating in the Eclipse jet. "Avio NG is missing coupled auto pilot, weather reporting and navigational upgrades. The Eclipse is a good plane. I´ve flown it enough to know that."
The aircraft, though, still isn´t certified for flight into known icing, which has curtailed flying the jet at times. Ross believes that certification will be forthcoming.