AirVenture, the annual EAA event at Oshkosh, is part campsite, part fly-in, part warbirds, part aerobatics, and an aviation playground. That part is fun. But the very nature of the organization’s name, Experimental Aircraft Association, implies innovation. Innovation is serious business, and a day at EAA brings that to the forefront when you look behind the casual atmosphere and focus on what’s new.
One of the biggest names in general aviation is Textron. Last year the company announced a new model, the Denali. This will be a “high-performance single-engine turboprop.” In fact the Denali is chasing the same market as the Pilatus PC12. Textron claims it will “outperform its competition in capability, cabin experience, ownership costs and pilot interface.” But what is more important is that the Denali provides the Beechcraft brand with a new fuselage that could be modified for other purposes than just the Denali. An updated and larger King Air is one idea. The Denali also deploys GE’s new ATP. This engine provides vigorous competition to Pratt & Whitney Canada. P&WC has not really faced meaningful competition in decades.