Beyond Commercial Jets: Exploring the World of Business Jet Travel with Textron Aviation and Bell Flight

  • 10 Feb 2024
  • Text by Francis Chu, NUS Aviation Club

On the 26th of October 2023, I was privileged to be invited on an exclusive tour of Textron Aviation and Bell Flight at Seletar Airport. Being an aviation geek myself, it was a great opportunity to learn more about the growing business jet sector. Textron manufactures a wide array of aircraft from general aviation Cessnas, to business jets such as Citation and Hawker Jets. The branch in Singapore also specializes in MRO operations and acts as a training centre as well.

We were quickly led to the heart of the company’s operations – the hangar. I was in awe. Nestled in this humongous, air-conditioned hangar are business jets from all over the world. From legacy Hawker jets to the latest Citation Longitude, our eyes were spoilt for choice! We were introduced to the various aircraft in the hangar and our guides from Textron explained the importance of regular maintenance. It was surreal to get the opportunity to see these different jets up close. One really gets a sense of the remarkable scale, not just of these aircraft but also of their capabilities. It is amazing that these jets are able to traverse long-haul routes, a testament to the advances in engineering and technology.

We then headed to Bell’s hangar to view helicopters that are undergoing maintenance. We were in luck as two helicopters had just arrived that morning. Subsequently, we were introduced to the different Bell helicopters and were shown the sheer amount of wiring within a helicopter. Realising that the length of wiring in a helicopter measure not in metres but in kilometres was a truly astounding fact.

We ended our tour at Bell’s training centre, where we were given a rundown of how aircraft engineers use decommissioned helicopters as part of their training. It is assuring to see the professionalism behind aircraft maintenance, especially with how Bell places great emphasis on hands-on experience as part of their training process.

As I left the hangar, I reflected on the importance of business jet travel in the aviation sector — Textron and Bell complement the operations of thousands of businesses by enabling flexible, efficient travel in an industry where time is money. To me, the aviation industry is like a giant puzzle with different sectors making up the unique pieces. I am glad to have unlocked the business jet ‘piece’ through this tour.

Thank you Textron Aviation, Bell Flight and Women in Aviation International Singapore Chapter for making this tour possible!


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