VLJs A Benefit, Not A Curse Says Raburn

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Raburn, who's used to defending the VLJ concept, dismisses the concerns as being from schoolyard bullies who don't want to share the sandbox. The critics, he said, have the attitude that "if it hasn't been done before, it can't be done or it won't be done or it shouldn't be done." As we've heard many times before, Raburn is sure that little jets will open up 5,000 underused regional and municipal airports around the country to point-to-point air taxi and charter business. "We're going to offer service where the airlines don't," Raburn said. Just how many of these "SUVs with wings" as the AP claims to have heard them described will take to the skies is anyone's guess -- the FAA is estimating 4,500 will be flying in 10 years. But FAA head Marion Blakey told the AP that's probably low. NASA is more enthusiastic, with a prediction of 20,000 within five years and the National Research Council's committee of retired aviation executives and academics said it will never fly. "The committee does not share NASA's vision," the group said, claiming that even at the relatively low prices being touted by the manufacturers, they're still out of reach for the vast majority.