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Size Does Matter

Cessna Chooses Pratt and Whitney For Its Thoroughbred ...

On January 9, Pratt and Whitney Canada announced it will build a new type of small, efficient turbofan to power Cessna's new entry-level Mustang, which is seen as a direct competitor to the Eclipse 500. Trying to beat Eclipse at its own game, Cessna has being heavily promoting its smallest jet ever. Cessna chose the PW615F to power the Mustang, which was introduced at last year's NBAA Convention. The engine is flat rated at 1,350 pounds of takeoff thrust and has a dual channel Full Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC) system. The PW600 series is a new family of engines developed by Pratt and Whitney Canada specifically for the mini-jet market and can be built to thrust ratings anywhere between 1,000 and 3,000 pounds. There's also a turboprop version that can put out 500 to 2,000 shaft horsepower. "The key drivers for this new engine series have been defined as low cost of ownership and operating economics without compromising reliability, performance or durability and with minimum program risk," reads part of the description on the Pratt and Whitney Canada Web site. The company says the new engines have as many as 40 percent fewer parts than other engines it makes. In the news release touting the Cessna deal, Pratt and Whitney Canada clearly hopes other mini-jet makers will hop on board. "This represents an important strategic win for us and sets the stage for additional orders for variants of the new PW600 engine family," said John Wright, VP of Business Aviation and Military Engines. Weight and fuel consumption figures are not available on the Web site; however, the TBO is set at 3,500 hours and there's a three-year, 1,000-hour warranty.

Note: AVweb provides you the full text of the press release.

... But Will Eclipse Follow? ...

Because they share the same basic philosophy and their performance and capabilities are almost identical, a logical question is: Will Cessna's Mustang and the Eclipse 500 share the same basic engine? Like Cesnna, Eclipse has also been negotiating with Pratt and Whitney Canada since parting company with Williams International, the original supplier of engines for the Eclipse. Eclipse claims to also be in negotiations with another unnamed engine maker. On the same day the Cessna deal was announced, Eclipse CEO Vern Raburn was sending a letter to 1,357 Eclipse position holders telling them they'd be the first to know when the company had found an engine to replace the Williams EJ-22. "The bottom line is you are going to get a superior airplane as a result of this change, there is no doubt about it," Raburn's letter is quoted as saying in the Albuquerque Business Journal. Eclipse has acknowledged that the new mill will be larger and heavier but put out more thrust than the EJ-22, which was supposed to develop 770 pounds of thrust from an 80-pound engine. Pratt and Whitney Canada's new PW600 series, of which the Mustang engine is a variant, would seem to match that description.

... And Handle Its Production Changes?

If Eclipse picks the new Pratt engine, it will set its development program back at least two years. Eclipse had hoped for FAA certification by the end of this year and deliveries in 2004. But Pratt and Whitney Canada only test flew a 600-series engine for the first time last October and certification is planned for the end of 2005, a year before Cessna had said it can start delivering Mustangs. The other variable for Eclipse is cost. No financial terms of the Cessna-Pratt and Whitney Canada deal were released but Cessna has pegged the cost of a Mustang at $2.3 million. Before the deal with Williams collapsed in November, Eclipse had promised to deliver the 500 for $837,500. To our knowledge, Eclipse has not speculated on how much that might rise with a different engine. AVweb's BizAv will continue to follow and report on these developments.

Diamond Throws Its Hat Into The Bizjet Ring

For Under $1 Million ...

Diamond Aircraft has entered what has become a crowded field. On January 15, the company announced it will have its own single-engine mini-jet in the air in 2004 and start delivering it in 2006. "This is a natural progression for us," said Peter Maurer, Diamond's North American CEO. The D-Jet, as it is currently known, will carry five people at 315 knots on 34 gph. Cabin altitude will be 8,000 feet at 25,000 feet. Diamond is projecting a price of "well under" $1 million U.S. Diamond is the fourth proposed mini-jet (or personal jet or entry-level jet -- take your pick) to be launched. Eclipse started it all with the 500 and Cessna announced its Mustang last fall, followed quickly by Adam Aircraft. Maurer said that while the D-Jet shares some attributes with all of its competitors, it's going to create its own market. "Our target is not going head-to-head with Cessna," he said. "We have always been successful at finding a niche within a certain market." Maurer said one possible area is as a primary jet trainer for airline pilots, something he said flight schools have been asking for. Maybe that's why the D-Jet bears a startling resemblance to the CT-114 Tutor that performed primary jet training for the Canadian armed forces for more than 30 years.

... Mum's The Word On Engine Choice ...

Despite its lofty performance predictions, Diamond isn't revealing the one piece of information that can make or break that data. Like Eclipse, Diamond hasn't settled on an engine for its jet, although it would appear an off-the-shelf design will be used. "The powerplant will be selected on the basis of proven technology and demonstrated reliability," a Diamond press release stated. Cessna has picked Pratt and Whitney for its Mustang powerplants and Adam will go with Williams engines. Eclipse is said to be talking with Pratt and Whitney and one other manufacturer. At less than $1 million, Diamond's entry is bound to raise the same sort of skepticism that has dogged Eclipse in its development plans. However, Diamond's track record at pushing the envelope is now widely recognized. Most recently, it flew the prototype of a twin-engine diesel that sips 10 gph at 180 knots and will purportedly sell for less than $400,000 U.S.

... While Getting Eclipse's Attention

Over at Eclipse, the vice president of marketing was intrigued by the latest in the flurry of competitors. Dottie Hall apparently hadn't heard about the D-Jet until contacted by AVweb but said it just confirms what Eclipse has been saying all along: that a jet for less than $1 million is not only possible but popular. "It's good for the customer and good for the market," she said. "Of course, the single engine [on the D-jet] makes it easier." Hall said that despite initial skepticism about the viability and need for such aircraft, Eclipse always figured others would jump on the bandwagon. "We always assumed we wouldn't have that space to ourselves forever." Meanwhile, despite some well-publicized I-told-you-so's about its engine problems, Hall said she's still selling airplanes. In fact, she said more than 10 deposits have been taken since Eclipse parted company with Williams International. Hall said it's hoped an engine selection will be made this month and the second prototype, suitably outfitted for the new engines, can be finished. She acknowledged that the engine switch will push back the first delivery date of early 2004 but couldn't say by how long.

Air Traffic Control Issues Affect Biz Aviation

FAA Moves Ahead On Technology ...

On January 6, the FAA announced its next step in modernizing the nation's air traffic control system through a contract awarded to General Dynamics Decision Systems (GDDS) for the purchase of up to 20,000 CM-300 series air traffic control radios over the next 10 years. The FAA will use the new radios to communicate from en route air traffic control centers (ARTCC) to aircraft flying at cruising altitude as part of a modernized communications system for the National Airspace System. John Cole, a vice president and general manager with GDDS, said the FAA can "... install the CM-300 and leave it running continuously for well beyond 10 years before failure ..." In comparison to existing radios, the new CM-300 radios use the radio spectrum more efficiently and provide improved protection from interference from other radios nearby. The minimum quantity under the contract is 1000 radios, valued at $5.8 million; however, the deal has a potential value of up to $119 million.

... And Settles With Controller's Union ...

Having updated equipment is great, but without happy controllers, things could still get behind the power curve. Toward that end, the FAA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) have reached a tentative deal on a two-year extension of NATCA's collective bargaining agreement. The new deal would extend NATCA's current agreement with the agency -- signed in 1998 and set to expire in September -- through September of 2005. "With the enormous amount of work we are doing with the FAA on a wide array of subjects, from modernizing the National Airspace System, to redesigning the airspace to enhancing the safety of air travel in the skies and on the runways and taxiways, it was vitally important to us to resolve the issue of our collective bargaining agreement as efficiently as possible," NATCA President John Carr said. "Staffing is one of our most pressing concerns," he added. "Not only do we need more controllers, we need to hire replacements for the 5,000 controllers the GAO [General Accounting Office] says will be eligible to retire within the next five years."

...With NBAA Offering Its Support

Offering their own support for the hard work our nation's ATC employees perform for general aviation, the NBAA applauded the government's air traffic controllers as true professionals. "The National Business Aviation Association joins with NATCA and many others in the aviation community who agree that air traffic control is, uniquely, a governmental function in that it must be operated for all users as a monopoly," said NBAA Senior Vice President, Government & Public Affairs Pete West. Speaking at a gathering of interested parties at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, West continued, "Recent proposals for 'privatizing' the ATC system would shift significant power to certain user groups, to the detriment of those with less representation on relevant governing bodies." He added, "There also is the potential for raising safety concerns by creating separate entities with conflicting missions." West also focused on concerns related to the funding of a "privatized" system, asserting that "user fee funding (a revenue generating mechanism usually associated with the 'privatization' concept) is less efficient and more unpredictable than the current excise taxes."

Tampa Residents Complain About Biz Jets

Singling Out Corporate Operators ...

It never fails. Those who chose to live near busy airports are often the first ones to complain about aircraft noise. Such is the case at Tampa International Airport, where local residents are not complaining about the airliners themselves, rather the small amount of corporate jets that fly in there. "The airport handles only one-tenth as much corporate jet traffic as commercial airline traffic," said Ken Reed, the airport's noise officer. The airport received 80 complaints about noise from 24 people from August through October, compared with 79 complaints from 19 people the previous three months. Yet corporate jets account for half of the noise complaints. That's because corporate pilots are more likely to use an eastern runway that brings their aircraft in over the airport's southern neighbors -- and their passengers more quickly to their terminal.

... But Are They Justified?

"The number-one reason is the [corporate terminal] is on the east side of the airport and pilots don't want corporate executives to wait in the back of the airplane while they taxi," Reed said. "Some corporate jet pilots also think they can land on the eastern runway because their aircraft are quieter than commercial jets, but that's contrary to airport policy," Reed added. The airport's noise-reduction procedures urge all jet aircraft approaching from the south to land on a runway west of the terminal unless safety conditions dictate using a parallel runway east of the terminal. Tampa International has tracked landings since July 2001 to determine whether pilots request a runway assignment change to the eastern runway -- Runway 36R -- on final approach to save time and fuel taxiing to gates on that side of the airport. According to the Associated Press, Outback Steakhouse's corporate jet approached from the south 37 times during the airport's 14-month study period, landing 73 percent of the time on the eastern runway instead of the western one. After talking with airport officials, the company has agreed to fully participate in the noise-abatement program, Outback Senior Vice President Joe Kadow said. Rooms To Go, Sykes Enterprises and Just Jets Air Charters were frequent users of the airport that used Runway 36R less than 25 percent of the time on their jets' landings from the south.

Kronos Signs Agreement With Gulfstream Aerospace

On January 13, Kronos Air Technologies Inc., signed a development and acquisition agreement with Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation. The company's core business focuses on the development and commercialization of a new, proprietary air movement and purification technology. Following on the prototype development work performed by the Kronos Research Team and the customer testing work that was conducted aboard a "live" aircraft in 2002, Kronos will develop, design and produce Kronos-based air movement and purification devices for installation onboard Gulfstream corporate business jet aircraft. The Kronos(TM) devices will be designed and manufactured to meet all FAA safety standards, including environmental, flammability and electromagnetic interference (EMI). The embedded Kronos(TM) devices will provide silent air circulation and purification throughout the cabin. The contract provides Kronos with advanced funding and progress payments, based on a set customer delivery schedule.

TSA Revises Definition Of Aircraft Subject To Charter Rule

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued on Dec. 26 a final rule that revises the original Private Charter Security Rule, which requires that charter passengers and their bags must be screened prior to boarding. The original rule would have targeted all aircraft that weigh 95,000 pounds or more. The revised rule applies only to aircraft that weigh over 45,500 kg (100,309.3 pounds) or carry 61 or more pax. The TSA issued the final security program to be effective February 1. The TSA said the change was made after further analysis in response to comments received. Also, in response to comments, the TSA is permitting the use of non-TSA screeners in certain circumstances. Ed Bolen, president of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, said he was pleased with the change in the rule. "By combining weight and passenger seating capacity as the threshold in this rule, the TSA has eliminated confusion in the marketplace, promoted the concept of international aviation standards, and demonstrated that it intends to exercise its broad rulemaking authority prudently," Bolen said.

Jetcruzer Project Goes For $125,000

It's often said that it takes a fortune to make one in aviation. Well, after pouring almost $100 million into engineering, development and certification for the rear-engine turboprop Jetcruzer, the top bid during last month's online bid for the entire project was just $125,000. That's a bit more than a tenth of a cent on the dollar. Mooney Aerospace Group (MASG) spokesman Dan Apel said the bid was received just before the noon deadline on December 31. MASG, which used to go by the name Advanced Aerodynamics and Structures Inc. (AASI), had a reserve bid of $500,000 on the Jetcruzer assets and Apel said the lower bid must be approved by the board of directors. He said the prospective purchaser, whom he declined to identify, has not indicated what will be done with the prototypes, molds, drawings and type certificate (for an unpressurized version). Apel said the sale, assuming it's approved, is the final step in the withdrawal of the company from Long Beach, Calif. Except for a small accounting office in Long Beach, MASG will be based at the Mooney plant in Kerrville, Texas. You win some, you lose some.

Goodrich Promotes No. 2 Executive to CEO

Goodrich Corp. chief executive officer David L. Burner will step aside in April and allow his top lieutenant to run the aerospace company's day-to-day operations. Marshall O. Larsen, 54, will become CEO in April. Burner will retain the title of chairman until retiring in 2004, when he reaches the company's mandatory retirement age of 65. Larsen has been president and chief operating officer since February. The board of directors plans to make Larsen the board chairman in October, Goodrich said. Larsen, who joined the company as an operations analyst and financial manager in 1977, will lead one of the world's largest aerospace companies as it struggles along with the rest of the industry after a downturn in air travel. In October, Goodrich said it expected profit this year to lag 5 percent to 10 percent below 2002 levels, as demand dropped for business and commercial aircraft parts. The company's stock price fell 29 percent last year as it slashed 3,200 jobs worldwide.

LABACE Opening Drawing Near

The first annual LABACE (Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition) will debut on March 13 - 15, 2003, in São Paulo, Brazil. The Associação Brasileira de Aviação Geral (ABAG), the only business aviation association in Latin America, and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) will jointly sponsor the event, the first of its kind in Latin America. LABACE2003 will be held in the Transamérica Expo Center, and various business aircraft will be on Static Display at Congonhas Airport, operated by Infraero. The event also will feature Maintenance & Operations (M&O) Sessions hosted by manufacturers as well as Informational Sessions on a variety of business aviation issues. Brazil -- the host country of the event -- has the world's second-largest fleet of business airplanes, the largest helicopter market in Latin America and the sixth-largest civil helicopter fleet in the world. Brazil has always been the leader in the growing Latin American business aviation market.

For general information about this event, visit the Web site.

Students To Receive 2002 NBAA Fanning Scholarship

The NBAA has selected two students to receive the 2002 NBAA William M. Fanning Maintenance Scholarship. Daniel J. Berdan and Steven J.LaMourea each will receive $2,500 to further their education as they pursue careers as aviation maintenance technicians. Daniel J. Berdan is a student enrolled in the aviation airframe and powerplant program at Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls, Minn. Steven J. LaMourea was accepted for enrollment in the aviation maintenance program at Northland Community and Technical College in 2002. He has experience as a line service and maintenance assistant working at Taconite Aviation in Hibbing, Minn.

This scholarship was named in honor of retired NBAA Staff member William M.Fanning, who was active in maintenance issues during his nearly 20-year tenure at the association. Through the Fanning Maintenance Scholarship, NBAA annually awards two $2,500 scholarships to applicants who are pursuing careers as maintenance technicians.

BizAV's AD Watch

FAA Rescinds Proposed MU-2 AD

AOPA is claiming that, heeding its recommendation, the FAA has officially rescinded an onerous proposed airworthiness directive (AD) on Mitsubishi MU-2 airplanes. The proposed AD, based upon one report of improper maintenance, would have mandated replacement of a part to prevent flap system failure.

"This would have cost more than $20,000 per airplane," said AOPA Associate Director Andy Werking. "AOPA and the MU-2 Owners and Pilots Association (MOPA) successfully opposed the AD, pointing out that a 1988 AD already requires repetitive inspections of the part. In 15 years there has been only one report of a failure, which was determined to be the result of improper maintenance."

Special Conditions For Raytheon

The FAA has issued special conditions for Raytheon Aircraft Company's Model HS.125 Series 700A and BE300 airplanes. The FAA claims these modified airplanes have a novel and unusual design feature when compared to the state of technology envisioned in the airworthiness standards for transport category airplanes. Specifically, the Series 700A aircraft modification incorporates the installation of an Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) for display of critical flight parameters (altitude, airspeed, and attitude) to the crew. The FAA says that applicable airworthiness regulations do not contain adequate or appropriate safety standards for the protection of these systems from the effects of high-intensity-radiated fields (HIRF).

In the case of the B300, features include the installation of a ProLine 21 avionics system, which includes an electronic flight instrument system (EFIS) display for which the applicable regulations also do not contain adequate or appropriate airworthiness standards for the protection of these systems from the effects of high intensity radiated fields (HIRF).

The FAA claims that these special conditions contain the additional safety standards that the Administrator considers necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to that provided by the existing airworthiness standards.

For more information, read the full text of the Series 700A and B300/C notices here.

Upcoming Biz Av Events

NBAA is holding the following events within the next few weeks:

- Flight Operations Manual Workshop, January 29-30, Anaheim, Calif.

- Schedulers Professional Development Program (SPDP) Courses, February 1-2, Anaheim, Calif.

- 14th Annual Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference, February 2-5, Anaheim, Calif.

- Tax Forum, February 6, Anaheim, Calif.