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Club Airways Launches Service

Offers Scheduled Inter-European Flights ...

A new European business aviation service has begun connecting Europe's main business centers, via a high level of in-flight luxury. Geneva-based Club Airways is a members-only airline offering scheduled flights to major European destinations. Currently, the company offers two morning and two afternoon weekday departures for each of the following city pairs: London-Geneva, and Geneva-Paris. Within a couple of weeks, Paris-London and the French Riviera will be added to the growing list of destinations. The next route structure -- scheduled to begin at the end of April -- will include Munich and Milan. By the end of 2004, Club Airways plans to add on Dusseldorf and Stuttgart, Germany; Brussels; Rome; Madrid; Luxembourg; Amsterdam; Stockholm; Athens; and Moscow to its list of destinations. All flights originate out of FBOs, saving travelers the usual headaches associated with commercial passenger terminals. "Because we have eliminated the tiring process of conventional airline travel, our clients arrive at their destination feeling fresh and ready for work," says Hans Schwab, co-founder and CEO of Club Airways. "It really is uneventful traveling," he explains.

... With Flexjet Playing An Important Role ...

Club Airways is offering this service via a fleet of Learjet 45s operated through Bombardier's Flexjet Europe program, which includes eight operators: Aero-Dienst, Nuremberg, Germany; Avcon Air Charter, Zurich; Corporate Jets, Prestwick, Scotland; DaimleChrysler Aviation, Stuttgart; ExecuJet Scandinavia, Copenhagen; Gold Air International, London; Jet Connection BusinessFlight, Frankfurt; and TAG Aviation, Geneva. While not considered airlines, Flexjet's European operators do fly using a commercial air operator certificate under European JAR OPS 1. Challenger 604s will be used when the Learjet 45s are not available.

... And Membership Has Its Privileges

Because it is not considered a commercial airline, Club Airways only offers seats to its registered members. Three price structures are in place, where individuals pay €1,500 ($1,575) in annual membership dues, companies join for €15,000 ($15,750) -- which includes four round-trip fares and the right to enroll as many individuals as they wish -- and Founding memberships are being offered at €25,000 ($26,250) per year, including exclusive use of a bizjet for up to four hours. The company's main target market is the upper management of firms that still permit their executives to fly business class. Companies that have stopped operating their own corporate aircraft or using executive charters are also being sought after. "We have a select group of clients, who have expressed a very high level of acceptance," says Schwab. "I've never seen such enthusiasm in the travel industry'" he adds.

For more information on this new service, please visit Club Airways' Web site.

Bombardier's Struggles To Remain Competitive

Cuts 3,000 Jobs In The Face Of Weak Sales ...

Citing ongoing challenges facing the aviation industry, Bombardier Aerospace recently announced it will lay off 3,000 employees over the next 12 months. The cuts will be concentrated at the company's facilities in Montreal, Toronto and Belfast, Northern Ireland. "In view of challenging market conditions, we have a responsibility to take aggressive actions to continuously improve our competitive edge and align our production rate with market demand," explained Pierre Beaudoin, Bombardier Aerospace's president and chief operating officer, in a statement released on March 4. The company said it will continue to invest in customer service and to support in-service aircraft.

... While Its 2003 Outlook Is Lowered ...

With the job cuts and overall sales slump, Bombardier doesn't expect to meet its financial targets for fiscal 2003, which ended Jan. 31. In a news release distributed on March 5, the company said its revised outlook is based on preliminary results. The company now sees earnings of 40-45 Canadian cents a share for the year, and free cash flow of just more than C$800 million. It said its previous guidance was for earnings of 81 Canadian cents a share before special items, or 70 Canadian cents after such items. Its free cash flow target was C$1.3 billion. The company noted that it can't provide a revised estimate for earnings per share after special items, as it is finalizing its consolidated financial statements. In response to this amended outlook, Bombardier indicated it was considering adopting more conservative accounting methods for its aerospace business; however, it did not elaborate on what accounting changes may be in the works.

... And Ponders Selling Land In Wichita ...

While Bombardier cuts costs and revamps its accounting process, the company is also pondering the partial sale of its Wichita property. Officials from various levels of government are trying to entice the manufacturer to stay or expand in Wichita. According to The Wichita Eagle, one option calls for local governments to buy a portion of Bombardier's Wichita property and lease it back to the company over a period of 10 to 15 years. The company would benefit from reduced taxes and an improved cash position. The money would be repaid through rent payments over the life of the agreement and could require an up-front investment of as much as $10 million to $12 million, the newspaper reported. The Bombardier plant is located next to Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport on the city's west side, with some of the facility sitting on land owned by the airport. The plant, its land and its equipment are valued at $52.1 million, according to the Sedgwick County appraiser's office. But only $24.8 million of that is taxed. The rest is tax-exempt because it was either financed with industrial revenue bonds or sits on airport property, the appraiser's office said. Under the sale and lease-back idea, ownership of the land would revert to Bombardier at the end of the lease period.

... As Ogden Courts the Company

While Wichita tries to court Bombardier for property, Ogden, Utah, is also trying to entice the manufacturer to its home turf. The Utah Legislature passed House Bill 316, which provides tax incentives for aerospace companies moving to Utah, including partial rebates on new taxes generated. This in turn has opened the door for Bombardier Aerospace to consider opening a facility at the new Ogden Gateway Center Business Park at the Ogden-Hinckley Airport. The Standard-Examiner newspaper reports Ogden Mayor Matthew Godfrey, other city officials and Bombardier are still in negotiations. At the same time, however, the city is courting multiple aerospace companies. Time will tell who will be first to set up shop in Ogden.

TSA Struggles To Promote 12-5 Program

Users Get Busy Signals ...

While the final Twelve Five Standard Security Program (TFSSP) has promised several benefits, the TSA is concerned that its access may be at issue. The program -- which is accessible at the TSA Web site -- has been available to Part 135 operators for several weeks. Charter operators who requested the TFSSP should have been issued a unique Web ID and password that enables them to download the final program from the TSA Web board. However, the Agency is tracking activity on the Web site and has seen "only a few hundred" downloads of the posted information. The TSA would like to hear if operators' passwords are not working or if operators are having problems downloading the TFSSP. Because it represents the business aviation community, the NBAA has volunteered to act as a liaison between operators and the TSA.

If you are having problems accessing the final TFSSP, contact NBAA at or (202) 783-9250. The organization asks that you be prepared to give your company name, address, Part 135 certificate number, contact information and the name of your POI, along with the specific nature of the problem.

... While The April 1 CHRC Deadline Draws Near

In a meeting on Friday, March 7, the TSA advised NBAA that very few operators have begun the fingerprint-based Criminal History Record Check (CHRC). Charter operators who fly aircraft 12,500 pounds or more must comply with the TFSSP, which includes the CHRC, by April 1 or face government intervention. Operators have two methods for collecting and submitting fingerprints for CHRC: either through the NATA Web site or the American Association of Airport Executives Web site. For more information, contact the NBAA Operations Service Group at or review fingerprinting guidance on the NBAA Web site.

Growing Pains Of The Tiltrotor Program

Bell's Commercial Tiltrotor Flies For First Time ...

On March 10, the Bell/Agusta Aerospace 609 (BA609) achieved its maiden flight at Bell's Flight Research Center in Arlington, Texas. The BA609 hovered at an altitude of 50 feet, performed left and right peddle turns, both forward and aft flight maneuvers, four take-offs and landings, nacelle position changes and stability testing for 36 minutes before setting down. The first flight follows seven weeks of ground runs and taxi testing for the BA609 conducted at the Center. "The first flight of the BA609 is truly an historic occasion," said Bell Helicopter Chairman and CEO John Murphey.

With its rotors in the vertical position, the tiltrotor is able to takeoff, land and hover like a traditional helicopter. When the rotors are tilted forward to the horizontal position, the aircraft is able to fly similarly to a turboprop fixed-wing airplane. The transition from helicopter mode to airplane mode takes 20 seconds, as does the transition from airplane mode to helicopter mode.

Bell/Agusta claim the near-300-knot BA609 will be used in a wide variety of commercial and civil operations ranging from offshore oil exploration to corporate transport, emergency medical service and small air-carrier operations. It seats six to nine passengers and is expected to be certified by the FAA in 2007, with first deliveries to begin immediately following the certification. Bell/Agusta will produce a total of four prototype tiltrotor aircraft for flight-testing. Final assembly for production aircraft will take place at Bell's Amarillo, Texas, facility, with another assembly line to be established at the Agusta plant in Italy. The company claims it has secured nearly 70 advance orders from customers around the world.

... While Its Military Brother is Temporarily Grounded

While the 609 has finally sprouted wings, its military counterpart was grounded for a few days. U.S. defense officials halted testing of the V-22 "Osprey" tilt-rotor aircraft in early March to replace faulty hydraulic lines. The Osprey, built by Boeing and Bell, resumed flight tests in May 2002 after the $40 billion program was grounded in December 2000 after two crashes that killed 23 Marines. The Bell-Boeing joint venture team first noticed a problem with the titanium tubes in December 2002, and has since certified alternate suppliers. Replacement tubes have started arriving and are being installed on the Ospreys used for testing. Engineers discovered the original titanium tubes failed at around 1,000 flight hours during testing, although they were designed to last for about 10,000 flight hours.

Cessna Deals With Ups And Downs

Charlie Johnson Takes The Reins At Cessna-Wichita ...

Cessna recently had a changing of the guard in Wichita. As of March 10, Charlie Johnson took charge of Cessna's Wichita operation. He reports directly to Textron Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Steve Loranger.

"For more than 20 years, Charlie has been a major contributor to the success of our company. Under his leadership, I am confident we will emerge from the current economic uncertainty with new and improved products ready to serve a growing aviation market," said Cessna Chairman and CEO Russ Meyer.

Johnson originally joined Cessna in 1979 as manager of production flight test. He served in a variety of positions in quality control and product support before being named vice president, aircraft completion and product support in 1988. He was promoted to senior vice president, operations in 1993, executive vice president of operations in 1995, and was named president and chief operating officer in 1997.

... As The CJ3 Comes To Life ...

One of Johnson's first duties was to revel in the birth of Cessna's baby jet. The Citation CJ3’s first engine run and taxi was successfully completed on March 13 at Cessna Field located in east Wichita. The CJ3 uses the new Williams International FJ44-3A engines. With 2,780 pounds of thrust, the FJ44-3A has 14% more takeoff thrust and 12% more cruise thrust than the FJ44-2C, the engine used on the CJ2. The Citation CJ3 was introduced at the 2002 NBAA Convention. First flight is anticipated in the second quarter of 2003, with type certification in the second quarter of 2004. First customer deliveries are expected in the third quarter of 2004.

... While The Caravan Line Loses Momentum

Like most aircraft manufacturers, Cessna is experiencing a tough time for sales, and that translates to not enough work to go around. All production workers on the company's turboprop Caravan line will be furloughed for three weeks in May, and 125 jobs will be cut, The Wichita Eagle recently reported. The cutbacks follow a round of 1,200 jobs lost in February and about 800 last October. Cessna built 80 Caravans last year, and expects to sell fewer in 2003, though no numbers were available. Turboprops suffered the biggest drop in sales last year of all aircraft types monitored by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. Only 280 turboprops were sold in 2002, compared to 421 in 2001, a decline of 34 percent. Sales of single-engine pistons, bizjets, and piston twins all declined by about 12 percent.

Sino Swearingen Launches Second Flight Test Aircraft

On March 6, Sino Swearingen Aircraft Corporation announced that its SJ30 certification program continues on track. The second new SJ30-2 conforming twinjet lifted off at 9:10 a.m. that day to join serial number (S/N) 0002 in the FAA flight test program. The SJ30-2 is a new high-performance, seven-seat twinjet being readied for worldwide distribution.

At the controls was Chuck Walls, a former USAF test pilot who was chief test pilot for the McDonnell Douglas C-17 flight test program from 1990-1997. Carroll Beeler, Sino Swearingen's chief test pilot, flew the right seat. During the flight, several tests were conducted including handling, stability, control, powering each engine back to idle, turns, banks and general maneuvering of the aircraft for feel as well as takeoff and landing characteristics. After the flight, Walls stated, "The SJ30-2 handled very well and felt very comfortable throughout all testing conditions."

The test flight was a big boost for Sino Swearigen, as the manufacturer is experiencing the same sales slump, as it competitors. In a press release, Dr. Carl L. Chen, President & CEO of Sino Swearingen Aircraft Corporations, said, "Today's flight is another huge boost to the company and the FAA certification program. In a short time we will have a third aircraft flying, as S/N 0004 is soon due to be added to our fleet of certification aircraft." Dr. Chen added, "We are also installing ground- to-air telemetry to help complete the FAA flight testing in a substantially shorter time."

The SJ30-2 flight test program utilizes three aircraft. S/N 0002 (already flying) is being used primarily for aerodynamics and handling qualities. The second test aircraft, S/N 0003, will be used principally for hot- and cold-weather testing, flight into known icing, pressurization and all systems tests, as well as avionics, autopilot and instrumentation testing. The third flying aircraft, S/N 0004, is almost ready to be turned over to flight test. It will be used for testing systems and avionics similar to S/N 0003. S/N 0005, a customer's aircraft, is under construction in the company's Martinsburg, W. Va., facility.

The new SJ30-2 business jet is being marketed as a high-performance, long-range, intercontinental, seven-place twinjet with an incredible 2,500-nm NBAA IFR range. The single-pilot-certified SJ30-2 will reportedly cruise at speeds in excess of Mach .80, and will have an Mmo of Mach .83. It will operate at altitudes up to 49,000 feet and will maintain a "sea-level cabin" to 41,000 feet, with the highest pressurization differential in the business jet world: 12.0 psi.

The Falcon 2000EX Nears Certification

Flight Testing Going Well ...

Dassault Falcon reports that it is in the final stages of certification for the new Falcon 2000EX. The total flight time accumulated on the Falcon 2000EXs has surpassed 435 hours. While the flight test program took longer than originally anticipated, Dassault says it was able to react quickly enough to maintain delivery schedules. All development work and certification flights were completed at the end of January. JAA and FAA certification should take place this month, and first customer deliveries shortly thereafter. Dasault Falcon officials expect deliveries of the Falcon 2000 and 2000EX to surpass the 275-aircraft mark by the end of 2004.

The flight test team has taken the aircraft through its entire flight envelope, up to 47,000 feet and to its Mmo of .86-.85 Mach. A cold-soak test in Northern Canada has confirmed the aircraft's systems down to -39 ºC (-38.2 ºF). In addition, the new high-efficiency Nordam ASP (Advanced Single Pivot) thrust reversers have been validated up to their maximum reversed thrust at 75% N1 at sea level.

... As Falcon Expands On A Proven Design

Those who look at the EX will probably mistake it for the Falcon 2000, as the Falcon 2000EX is really just a longer-legged version of the 2000. Based on the standard-equipped aircraft with six passengers, NBAA IFR reserves and at a normal cruising speed of .80 Mach, Dassault Falcon claims the nonstop capability increases from 3040 nm in the Falcon 2000, to 3800 nm in the Falcon 2000EX. The Falcon 2000EX airframe is basically identical to the original Falcon 2000 in terms of design, overall dimensions, cockpit, and cabin volume. However, there are some differences in terms of aircraft systems. Because of its higher operating weights, the Falcon 2000EX uses a heavier duty landing gear and brake system than the original Falcon 2000. "We are essentially building on the success of the Falcon 2000 program," explains Charles Edelstenne, chairman of Dassault Aviation.

LABACE 2004 In Review

The first LABACE Has Come And Gone ...

The first annual Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (LABACE) was held last week amid much fanfare. The only Latin American event of its kind to focus exclusively on business aviation, LABACE was held from March 13 to 15 in São Paulo, Brazil. The exhibition featured nearly 80 Exhibitors in 185 booth spaces at the Transamérica Expo Center, and 16 aircraft on Static Display at the Congonhas Airport. Some of the exhibiting companies on-hand included: Gulfstream Aerospace, Bombardier Aerospace, Dassault Falcon Jet and Embraer. Various interior and supply companies -- including Lufthansa Tecnik -- were on display. Before this year's event had even concluded, the 2004 show's date had been already announced. LABACE 2004 will be held on March 4 to 6, 2004, in São Paulo, Brazil.

... With Bombardier Showing A Strong Presence

Because of its large presence in Brazil, Bombardier Aerospace decided to exhibit at LABACE in full force. Three Bombardier aircraft appeared on static display at Congonhas Airport during LABACE, including an ultra-long-range Bombardier Global Express, a Learjet 45 super-light business jet, and a pre-owned Learjet 60 transcontinental business jet. In addition to its static display, Bombardier had an exhibit at the main exhibition hall in the Transamérica Expo Center, and also hosted maintenance and operation sessions for its Learjet, Challenger and Global aircraft families. At LABACE, Bombardier celebrated two key program milestones in the week before the event. The Bombardier Global 5000 completed a successful first flight on March 7, and will now begin a relatively short flight test and certification program. The fifth Bombardier Challenger 300 joined its flight test program with a successful first flight on March 8.

Eclipse Shifts Into Fundraising Mode

Now that it has dealt with its engine-replacement predicament, Eclipse Aviation has moved on to deal with another part of a jet program that always requires attention: fundraising. The Albuquerque-based manufacturer needs a total of about $300 million to move its Eclipse 500 jet through the FAA certification process. Eclipse has already raised $238 million of that. "We are just starting another round of funding," Eclipse CEO Vern Raburn recently told the New Mexico Business Weekly. "I'm pretty optimistic right now. A lot of people want to invest, but until we could nail down a new engine it would have been stupid for us to try to raise more money." The newly selected Pratt & Whitney PW610F jet engine is still under development. The engine will reportedly provide 900 pounds of thrust, and will enable the jet to fly at 375 knots, 20 knots faster than its originally advertised speed. Raburn expects Pratt & Whitney to spend millions of dollars developing the PW610F. The switcheroo has also added two years to Eclipse's overall development program. Eclipse 500 deliveries are now scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2006.

ELTs Will Be Required On Turbojets

NBAA is reporting that, effective January 1, 2004, all turbojet-powered aircraft will be required to have Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs). All installations of the ELTs (including turbine-powered airplanes) must comply with either TSO C126 or C91a. Because search-and-rescue satellites will not support VHF after 2009, NBAA suggests the C126 units be used for all new installations. NBAA maintains an online implementation timeline, where Members can view all the current and future requirements for communication and navigation equipment. For more information, contact the NBAA Operations Service Group at (202) 783-9250 or Exceptions to this requirement can be found in 14 CFR Part 91.207.

New Preferred Routings To SJC And SFO

New routings in California could be a boost for RNAV equipped aircraft but are really meant to aid area controllers. Effective March 31, the Los Angeles ARTCC will begin using new preferred routings from California's Ontario International (ONT), Van Nuys (VNY), and Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena (BUR) airports for RNAV-equipped aircraft destined to San Jose International (SJC) and San Francisco International (SFO) airports. Officials claim these routes were developed in an attempt to relieve coordination between controllers in the very busy sectors around the Avenal (AVE) VORTAC. NBAA reports that controllers will clear aircraft direct MAKRS intersection prior to COREZ when inbound LAX traffic over AVE permits. For more information and to download the new route information, visit NBAA's airspace Web page.

New Customs APIS Web Site Now Available

Working to streamline its processing of business aviation and charter passengers, the U.S. Customs Service has developed a Web page dedicated to the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS). While it is currently only informational in nature, this page has documentation for UN Electronic Data Interchange for Administration Commercial Trade (EDIFACT) implementation, US EDIFACT issues, as well as links to laws, regulations, fact sheets and search functions. A Customs-developed Web-based APIS submission service, -- eAPIS -- is currently under development. However, business aviation operators can use NBAA's APIS submission service, which has been available for Part 135 operators since May 2002. Developed as an interim solution, NBAA's free Web-based APIS service has transmitted over 46,000 trips to date.

Biz AV's AD Watch

Learjet Model 24/25

The FAA has issued a final notice of special conditions for some Learjet models. These conditions are issued for the Learjet Model 24/25 Series airplanes, modified by Avcon Industries Inc. The FAA claims these modified airplanes will have novel and unusual design features when compared to the state of technology envisioned in the airworthiness standards for transport category airplanes. The modification incorporates the installation of dual Innovative Solutions and Support Inc., Air Data Display Units, and a single Innovative Solutions and Support Inc., Analog Interface Unit that performs critical functions. The FAA says the 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).

NOTE: Read the full text of the FAA's final rule here in Adobe's Portable Document Format.

Falcon 900EX

The FAA has published a Notice Of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for the Falcon 900EX. This document proposes the adoption of a new airworthiness directive (AD) that is applicable to certain Dassault Model Mystere- Falcon 900 and Falcon 900EX series airplanes. This proposal would require replacement of certain self-adhering soundproofing mats under the passenger consoles in the cabin, which are not sufficiently fire-retardant, with mats that are not self-adhering and are sufficiently fire-retardant. The FAA claims this action is necessary to prevent an uncontrolled fire in the cabin due to self-adhering soundproofing mats under the passenger consoles in the cabin, which are not sufficiently fire-retardant. The agency says is action is intended to address the identified unsafe condition. Public comments must be received by April 2, 2003.

NOTE: Read the full text of the FAA's NPRM here in Adobe's Portable Document Format.

Upcoming Biz Av Events

The following business aviation events will occur within the next few weeks:



EBACE2003 May 7-9, Geneva, Switzerland




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