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OurPLANE Expands Amidst A Slow Market

Adds Two Aircraft to Fleet ...

OurPLANE Inc., a four-year-old company targeting the owner-flown fractional aircraft ownership market, has added two new aircraft to its fleet in North America. A new Cirrus SR22 has been positioned at John Wayne Airport (KSNA) in Orange County, Calif., while a new Cessna 182T is scheduled for arrival at Toronto's Brampton Airport June 16. The Cirrus is the fifth aircraft at OurPLANE's California base, while the Cessna 182 is the fifth in the Toronto area. The company currently manages 14 aircraft for over 100 share-owners in nine cities. Each aircraft is divided into eight shares of ascending value and owner rights. Bronze shares earn a maximum of 25 flight hours per year; Silver, 50 hours; Gold, 100 hours; and Platinum, unlimited flight. OurPLANE assures close to 95 percent availability on demand for each aircraft. The company has plans to grow its fleet to more than 100 new aircraft over the next two years.

... Opens Base in Houston

At the same time, company President and CEO Graham Casson announced the expansion of the OurPLANE network with a September opening of an operating base at Hooks Airport in Houston, Texas. The new facility will initially offer shares in Cirrus aircraft. Unlike the fractional jet ownership companies, whose aircraft roam the country to meet their owners and take them to their destination, the company's aircraft are specific-city-based, and return there once a trip is completed. OurPLANE officials claim that once a critical mass of aircraft is reached in a location, the availability of aircraft to share-owners climbs to nearly 100 percent.

OurPLANE says it focuses on the largest pilot populations for initial growth in its business. Texas is home to more than 75,000 pilots, second only to California at 104,000. Thus the rationale to add Houston to its growing list of operations facilities and aircraft already located in Toronto, New York, Oxford (Conn.), Calgary, Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.


NBAA Offers Support Domestically and Abroad

Pats The U.S House On The Back ...

On the domestic front, the NBAA commended the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for approving an amendment that is now part of HR 2144, the Aviation Security Technical Corrections and Improvements Act of 2003, designed to reopen Washington, D.C.'s Reagan National Airport (DCA) to non-commercial business aircraft operations, among others. The airport has been closed to these operations since September 11, 2001. The amendment was proposed by the NBAA and introduced by Congressman Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).

The amendment mandates that within 30 days of enactment, the FAA Administrator, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Undersecretary for Border and Transportation Security and U.S. Secret Service Director will "develop procedures allowing non-commercial aircraft operations access to DCA when there is compliance with a DHS-approved security program." The amendment to HR 2144 also would also provide the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) the authority to facilitate necessary background checks, including fingerprinting.

... And Voices Strong Support For IS-BAO

During its June meeting, the NBAA board of directors voiced its ongoing support of the IS-BAO, the International Business Aviation Council's International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations. According to the organization, "This is a code of best practices designed to help flight departments worldwide achieve high levels of safety and professionalism." ICAO's president, Dr. Assad Kotaite, has also strongly regarded IS-BAO, which was introduced in 2002 and developed over a period of two years by International Business Aviation Council member organizations, including the NBAA. The IS-BAO audit program is the basis upon which flight departments qualify to receive an IS-BAO Certificate of Registration, which more than 130 NBAA Members currently are pursuing.


Sikorsky Plans For The Future

Ponders Sector Consolidation ...

Sikorsky sees overcapacity in the helicopter sector and is interested in consolidation with other players, President Dean Borgman recently told Reuters.

"We'd be interested in consolidating," Borgman said in an interview at the Paris Air Show. "I think there's overcapacity in the industry and I think eventually there will be some consolidation."

To date, the helicopter industry has not seen the move to consolidate, which remains a five-way race with Sikorsky, EADS's Eurocopter and Textron Inc.'s Bell Helicopter leading the top three spots.

... While Promoting The S-92

Borgman hopes to land a deal to supply the White House with a new presidential helicopter model, as it would help Sikorsky boost sales of its new S-92 model used as the framework for this project.

The new helicopter can also be configured to carry VIPs and transport workers to offshore oil rigs. Sikorsky expects to sell "several hundred" of the two models and reportedly has orders from two companies already while it is also pursuing talks with "about ten" governments as well as VIP customers, a company official told Reuters.


Dassault's New Facility And Overseas Deal

Opens New Flight Ops Center ...

Just a week after celebrating the groundbreaking of their new, 46,000-sqaure-foot paint hangar in Little Rock, Dassault Falcon is breaking ground again -- this time in Teterboro, N.J. A new 32,200-square-foot building complex will be constructed directly across from Dassault Falcon's headquarters providing much-needed space for the Flight Operations department and the Falcon demonstration fleet.

In addition to placing its Flight Ops team closer to the rest of its marketing team and making customer and prospect visits more convenient, the company says the new hangar is going to give it more effective space for showcasing its product line. The hangar itself (22,500 sqaure feet) will be 180' by 125', able to hold up to six Falcons, including the new Falcon 7X. There will be 9,700 sqaure feet dedicated to office space. Outside the building, almost 130 parking spaces will be created, alleviating some parking limitations. In total, 2.9 acres of land are being developed. The building is scheduled to be completed in early 2004.

... And Signs A Pact With Sukhoi

Dassault Aviation, the parent company building the Mirage and Rafale fighters, announced it is linking up with Russia's Sukhoi Corp. to study joint projects, including pilot-less aircraft, or drones. Dassault said the two companies will set up a common working group, and said the cooperation could extend to the civil aircraft market, including supersonic business jets.


Collins Pro Line 21 Avionics System Certified on Bombardier Challenger 300

In June, a Collins Pro Line 21 advanced avionics system received FAA and Transport Canada certification on-board the new Bombardier Challenger 300. The jet's flight deck features four 12- by 10-inch liquid crystal flight displays, consolidated control panels, TCAS II and terrain awareness warning systems. In addition, turbulence-detection weather radar and 3-D Flight Management System navigation maps are also part of the approved package. The avionics suite also includes the Collins Engine Indication and Crew Alerting System (EICAS) to monitor, analyze and display performance of aircraft engines and other on-board systems. Bombardier also points out that the linkage of EICAS monitoring capabilities to the aircraft's maintenance diagnostic computer permits aircraft systems performance and maintenance data to be sorted, logged and analyzed, enhancing operations and simplifying maintenance.

Bombardier says the Challenger 300 is the first new aircraft platform to be equipped with Collins Pro Line 21 CNS.


Cessna Planning For New Flight Simulators

Cessna is hoping to add onto its customer support services through an expansion of its partnership with FlightSafety International.

Cessna and FlightSafety currently offer Citation and Caravan customers training on 44 flight training devices. Of these, 20 are certified by the FAA to Level "D," the highest certification to date. Since January 2003, Cessna and FlightSafety have added four new such simulators. Now, the agreement will include the ability to train in flight simulators on aircraft not yet certified by the FAA. With new aircraft like the Citation Sovereign, this means Cessna is working on simulator certification simultaneously with aircraft certification. Historically, they have certified flight simulators several months after the delivery of a brand-new product.

"With the Citation Sovereign, we expect to have it in operation before the delivery of the first Sovereign," said Chad Martin, Cessna's Manager of Training.

Cessna's FlightSafety partnership began in 1980 and was renewed with a new 15-year agreement signed in April 2002 that continues Cessna's recognition of FlightSafety as the official factory-authorized training organization for all Citations and Caravans. With the increasing fleet of Citations, and the three newest Citations, the Mustang, CJ3 and Sovereign, Cessna projects the need to add eight simulators as the new products reach the customer delivery phase.


Flight Options Completes Recapitalization Agreement with Investors

Flight Options LLC announced that it has completed a financial recapitalization agreement with Raytheon Company's wholly owned subsidiary, Raytheon Travel Air, and other investors. The result of this agreement will result in Raytheon owning approximately 65-percent interest in the Cleveland-based fractional operator. Under the agreement's terms, Raytheon exchanged certain Flight Options LLC debt it holds for equity. Raytheon also has committed to invest certain additional capital on an as-needed basis over the next 18 months in Flight Options LLC and provide secured aircraft and retail financing over the next three years. The other investors involved in this agreement include Brantley Partners, Brantley Capital and Monitor Clipper Equity Partners.


TSA Expands Access Certificate Program

The NBAA announced the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has granted permission to Part 91 operators based at Westchester County Airport (HPN) in White Plains, N.Y. and Morristown Municipal Airport (MMU) in Morristown, N.J. to begin training for TSA Access Certificates (TSAACs). The TSAAC Program is based on the NBAA Security Protocol.

Currently restricted to a proof of concept that was launched earlier this year at Teterboro Airport (TEB) in Teterboro, N.J., participation by these operators in the TSAAC Program will provide the TSA with additional data for eventual expansion of the program nationwide. TSAAC holders are granted international access without the need for a waiver, and NBAA anticipates additional benefits in the future, such as access to temporary flight restriction (TFR) airspace.


All In The Bombardier Family

Bombardier Inc. chairman Laurent Beaudoin said his family has no plans to give up control of the world's third-largest aircraft manufacturer as he seeks to reduce debt and return the company to profitability.

"The Bombardier family is and intends to remain the corporation's majority shareholder," Beaudoin, who married into the family, told shareholders at Bombardier's annual meeting in Montreal. "We are convinced that the interests of all shareholders will thus be better served and protected."

The Bombardier family has 58 percent of the voting rights and a 17-percent stake in the Montreal-based company.

The family is related to Joseph Armand Bombardier, who founded the company in 1942 as a snowmobile manufacturer. Bombardier CEO Paul Tellier is selling that business, which also makes boats and all-terrain vehicles, as part of plans to raise more than 1.5 billion Canadian dollars for Bombardier.


Dean Borgman Appointed Chairman of Sikorsky Aircraft

Dean Borgman, president of Sikorsky Aircraft since 1998, was appointed chairman of the company on June 26. Named to succeed him as president is Stephen Finger, who currently serves as president of Pratt & Whitney's Military Engines business. Both appointments begin July 1.

Borgman, 62, will focus on developing new business opportunities and expanding and strengthening relationships with customers worldwide. Borgman helped Sikorsky introduce several major new products including the newly certified S-92 helicopter.

Finger, 54, has worked at Pratt & Whitney for more than 33 years. In addition to leading the Military Engines business, he currently serves as executive vice president for engineering and operations at Pratt & Whitney.


Delta AirElite Business Jets Adds East Coast-Based Gulfstream IV-SP

Delta AirElite Business Jets is adding a fourth Gulfstream IV-SP aircraft as it continues to expand its nationwide charter fleet capacity. The aircraft, which joins the Delta AirElite fleet through a charter management agreement, is based in Portsmouth, N.H. The aircraft is the 17th business jet added to Delta AirElite's charter certificate in the past year.

Delta AirElite says it is adding aircraft through charter management agreements to help meet growing demand for exclusive charter service. These additional aircraft will also used to support member travel for the Delta AirElite Fleet Membership program.

Company officials say charter management agreements allow Delta AirElite -- a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines -- to increase aircraft availability without large capital commitments and to offer on-demand charter service via more than 300 corporate jets.


Boeing Moves Corporate Jet Fleet to Gary

Boeing has decided to move its own corporate jet fleet at Chicago's Midway Airport and in St. Louis to a consolidated position in nearby Gary, Ind. By August, the Chicago-based company will have a fleet of five corporate jets housed in a newly renovated 30,000-square-foot hangar at Gary/Chicago Airport.

Kenneth Mercer, a Boeing spokesman, told Crain's Chicago Business the company chose Gary because of the availability of space at the airport. The new home, which took from mid-February to mid-May to renovate, offers about 20,000 square feet to house office space, an executive lounge and a full-service kitchen. Mercer says about 35 people, including pilots, flight operations personnel and mechanics, will work out of the hangar.

One Boeing Business Jet -- already based out of Gary -- was joined by two Challenger jets from Midway in late June. Boeing will move its two Lear jets from the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport in August.


Charters vs. San Jose Airport Curfew, Round 2

What do Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and the San Jose SaberCats have in common? They are combatants in the ongoing battle against San Jose's airport curfew. Ellison won his battle, but Horta LLC, which owns the Boeing 727 used to shuttle the arena football team, is just starting its fight. It has filed a lawsuit against the city of San Jose to allow the use of the jet during the restricted hours of 11:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. City Attorney Rick Doyle claims the plane is louder than any aircraft allowed to use the airport during the curfew but Horta's attorneys dispute that and want permission to use the jet during the season, which runs from February to June. James Chadwick, attorney for the company, said the 727 meets the criteria for an exemption under San Jose's law. According to him, the requirements include that an aircraft be used in general aviation operations and that it be designated as Stage 3 compliant. Chadwick said the aircraft meets these qualifications and cites previous exemptions offered to jets, namely the Gulfstream used by Larry Ellison. The city fired back by citing its requirements that aircraft weighing 75,000 pounds and above need an exemption to take off and land late at night. So, is it a question of weight or noise? The court should straighten that out in a case that is already underway. Stay tuned.


Biz AV's AD Watch

AVweb's coverage of Airworthiness Directives (ADs) includes the complete text of the documents, in Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF).

Learjet Model 60

The FAA has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to supersede an existing Airworthiness Directive (AD), applicable to certain Learjet Model 60 airplanes. The current AD requires inspection to detect bends in or damage to the fuel crossflow tube; inspection to determine clearance between the fuel crossflow tube and the flight control cables; and replacement or repair of the tube, if necessary. This new action would require a review of airplane maintenance records or an inspection to determine if a fuel crossflow tube having a certain part number is installed; and follow-on/corrective actions, as applicable. This action also would expand the applicability of the existing AD to include additional airplanes. The FAA says the actions specified by the proposed AD are intended to prevent chafing and consequent failure of the fuel crossflow tube due to inadequate clearance between the tube and the flight-control cables, which could result in loss of fuel from one fuel tank during normal operating conditions or loss of fuel from both main fuel tanks during fuel cross-feeding operations. The agency claims it is also intended to address the identified unsafe condition.

Comments on this NPRM must be received by August 4, 2003.

Agusta S.p.A. Model A109K2 Helicopters

The FAA has adopted a new Airworthiness Directive (AD) for Agusta S.p.A (Agusta) Model A109K2 helicopters. This action requires a visual check of each tail rotor blade for a crack; a visual inspection of each blade for a crack at specified intervals; and if necessary, a dye-penetrant inspection. Replacing any cracked blade with an airworthy blade before further flight is also required. This amendment is prompted by a report of a crack that occurred on an Agusta Model A109K2 blade. The FAA claims the actions specified in this AD -- which is effective July 11, 2003 -- are intended to detect fatigue cracks on the blades, which could result in loss of the blades and loss of control of the helicopter.


Upcoming Biz Av Events

The following business aviation events will be held within the next few months:

Reachbac Event
July 24, Englewood, Colo.

Professional Development Program (PDP) Course
"Developing a High-Performance Flight Department Team"
October 5, Orlando, Fla.

Emergency Response Workshop
October 5-6, Orlando, Fla.

Management Fundamentals For Flight Departments Workshop
October 5-6, Orlando, Fla.

Human Factors-Fatigue Management Workshop
October 5-6, Orlando, Fla.

Professional Development Program (PDP) Course
"Legal Issues in Aviation Management"
October 6, Orlando, Fla.

Inspection Authorization (IA) Renewal Course
October 6, Orlando, Fla.

NBAA 56th Annual Meeting & Convention
October 7-9, Orlando, Fla.


AVweb publishes the Business/Corporate Aviation Update on a monthly basis. To ensure that your business, corporate, and fractional aviation industry news is considered for publication, send it to us.