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Progress on reducing runway incursions is impeded by a lack of leadership in the FAA as well as technology challenges, a
Congressional committee was told by Gerald Dillingham, of the Government Accountability Office, on Wednesday. Dillingham's report also cited NTSB concerns about air traffic controller fatigue, which
may result from regularly working overtime. The House Subcommittee on Aviation convened the hearing
to discuss how runway safety can be improved. AOPA President Phil Boyer said his group will commit to expanding programs to educate pilots in 2008, but the FAA also needs to do more to make runway
safety "a national priority." The FAA said it is expediting its certification process to get better equipment into cockpits faster. "We are actively working on an application from Jeppesen [for a GPS
moving-map system], and we expect they will complete certification soon," the FAA said in a fact sheet
released on Tuesday.
The Congressional panel also heard testimony from spokesmen for the NTSB, NATCA, the Air Line Pilots Association, Honeywell, and airport advocacy groups. The FAA's Hank Krakowski, chief operating
officer of the Air Traffic Organization, said the agency will create a new Runway Council Working Group to identify and address the issues.
Piston single sales continue to buck the trend in a generally robust general aviation industry. The General Aviation
Manufacturers Association released its annual statistics (PDF) on aircraft deliveries, and piston
aircraft sales were down slightly at 2,675, compared to 2,755 in 2006. Business jets simply blew away other sectors in all aspects. "Aside from the record set for year-end billings, the industry also
experienced an all-time high in business jet shipments, delivering over 1,000 units for the first time in history," GAMA reported. In fact, business jets accounted for more than 25 percent of the
impressive total of 4,272 aircraft sold in 2007, with 1,186 delivered. The business jet tally was up 28.4 percent over 2006's total of 886. Turboprop numbers were also up at 459 compared to 412 last
Cessna sold a total of 807 piston aircraft (including one each of the Columbia derived 350 and 400 models). The 172 accounted for almost half of the piston sales at 373 but the 182 wasn't far
behind at 301. Cirrus sold 710 aircraft and its SR22 was by far the most popular aircraft model with 588 deliveries. On the business jet front Cessna delivered a total of 388. The most popular was the
XLS (82), followed by the CJ3 (78). Cessna shipped 45 entry-level Mustangs in 2007, a number that will go up considerably this year as production ramps up in Independence. Cessna sold by far the most
airplanes, a total of 1,274 piston, turboprop and jet aircraft. But the $3.9 billion derived from those sales was far behind the money leader. Bombardier's 226 deliveries were worth $5.2 billion.
Gulfstream, with 136 deliveries, collected $4.8 billion. Hawker Beechcraft sold 351 aircraft, most of them jets and King Airs, and took in revenue of almost $1.9 billion.
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There appears to be little optimism among aviation industry leaders that Adam Aircraft will be resurrected. Sources
speaking on condition of anonymity have told AVweb that the prevailing opinion is that the company will fold. Adam officials are expected to reach a decision on the future by the end of this week
after suspending operations on Monday. Hours after being sent home, employees gathered JD's Bait Shop Sports Grill were relatively upbeat. According to the Denver Post, rather than crying in their beers, the 20 or so Adam employees there expressed hope that someone with money will
see the company they way they do. "We're all here tonight because we love this company," quality control worker Ray Romero told the Post. "We want to be there, but there's no money. We're a privately
funded company. We have a beautiful product." About 500 remaining workers got the word after lunch on Monday that Adam had failed to raise the $100 million it needs to get the A700 jet certified and
in production and to ramp up production of the already-certified A500 piston twin. Adam spokeswoman Shelly Simi also held out hope that funding could be found. "It's a very dynamic situation. We are
looking at alternatives," she told AVwebBiz in a phone interview. A final decision on the fate of the company is expected within a week.
In a news release, Adam said it was forced to close the doors "due to the inability of the company to come to terms with their lender for funding necessary to maintain business operations." The
news release doesn't identify the lender but previous rounds of financing, totaling almost $300 million, have included such major investment houses as Goldman, Sachs and Co. and Hunt Growth Capital as
participants. In January, Adam announced that it needed $30.5 million in interim financing to allow its current financial partner, Citibank, the time to find the $75 million to $150 million it needed
to get into production and start selling against a backlog of orders the company estimated to be worth $1 billion, according to some reports. In a letter to shareholders leaked to the media in late
January, CEO John Wolf said that if the company didn't have the $30.5 million by the end of January, the company was likely doomed.
As little as a week ago, company officials were claiming that the search for funding was continuing and that production of the fifth A700 jet was under way. The jet has not achieved FAA
certification but the A500 push/pull piston twin has. Adam has reportedly sold 17 of the piston aircraft and delivered seven. Meanwhile, the city of Pueblo, Colo., didn't wait for Monday's
announcement to demand $2 million in incentives it says should be returned. The city says Adam promised to create 448 jobs and actually created about 90, most of which disappeared in a round of
layoffs and plant consolidations in January. The city of Pueblo has placed liens against Adam's equipment in the city-owned buildings that were part of the incentive package.
As many as 2,700 students paid about $70,000 each for the proposed 18-month training program, which many never completed. Peter C. Lown, an aviation attorney from Jonesboro, Ga., told AVweb
that last weekend he met with about 150 potential plaintiffs in Arizona and plans to meet with a similar group in Georgia this weekend. He plans to file suits against Silver States founder Jerry
Airola and, possibly, the banks that lent students money. "One of the problems is that many of these people dont know what kind of loan they have," Lown said. As of Wednesday afternoon, Student
Loan XPress, the primary originator of student loans to Silver State students, had not filed a claim with the bankruptcy court and did not respond to repeated requests by AVweb for information
about the number and type of outstanding loans made to Silver State students. It is not known how many of the loans were private loans and how many, if any, were federally guaranteed, but Lown told
AVweb that some of the people hes spoken with were paying 17 percent interest or more.
While the bankruptcy trustee spends the coming months poring through thousands of claims (it has a special hotline established just for this case), former students and employees are posting to
message boards and telling AVweb that signs of the companys impending demise began to surface in October 2007.
Jimmie "Tri" Evans was the first student enrolled at the Houston location when it opened in 2006. He told AVweb that around the time that he earned his instructors certificate last
fall, rumors began to spread internally that the company was in trouble. "Some people had started to get the indication that it might be occurring, then we were sent e-mails that it was just a rumor,
and not to worry," he said. Evans said that at one point the Houston school had 60 students and just one helicopter that had to be ferried 130 miles away to Silver States New Braunfels, Texas,
location for maintenance. "We couldnt fit everybody into the helicopters we had. I remember flying until midnight or at four in the morning because thats when they had a helicopter," Evans
Aircraft Spruce Is a Proud Sponsor of the WAA Northwest Aviation Conference & Trade Show
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The FAA is presenting its 2007 Excellence in
Aviation Research Awards to Professor Ian Waitz at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and to a U.S. Air Force fuel research team. "Aviation needs to continue to get greener," said FAA
spokesman Dan Elwell. "Dr. Waitz and the Air Force team are taking the steps to put a big dent in aviations environmental footprint. Their work is going to make a difference across the face of
our entire planet." Waitz and his research team are working on ways to reduce air and noise pollution from aviation. The U.S. Air Force team has developed a synthetic fuel blend for the B-52 fleet.
The blended fuel has less exhaust smoke and fewer particulate emissions than standard fuel.
The synthetic fuel is not only cleaner, but could potentially save millions of dollars and reduce dependence on foreign sources of oil, the FAA said. This is the 10th year that the Excellence in
Aviation Research Award has been presented. The awards are given to individuals and/or institutions outside the FAA whose research contributions have resulted in a significantly safer, more efficient
national airspace system.
Hawker Beechcraft Corporation announced on
Tuesday that the FAA has awarded type certification to its newest aircraft, the light-midsize Hawker 750.
The Hawker 750 has the same fuselage and wings as the midsize Hawker 800 series, providing the largest cabin in the light-midsize aircraft segment, the company says. The new model aims to reach new
customers for the company, and is already sold out through 2010. "This aircraft has the perfect combination of reliability and operating efficiency, while incorporating a large luxurious cabin with
internal and external baggage areas," said Brad Hatt, president, Commercial Aircraft. The 750, which can carry up to eight passengers, has a 2,116-nm NBAA IFR range.
It will be driven by two Honeywell TFE731-5BR engines. Prices start at $12.2 million.
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How will operators use the advanced weather information and tools promised by the Next Generation Air Transportation
System (NextGen)? The Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) hosted a conference in Washington, D.C., this week to collect ideas
on the matter from various government and industry subject matter experts. More than 200 people attended.
Were living in a system where we operate at capacity or where weather forces demand to exceed capacity, said Ken Leonard, director of the FAAs Aviation Weather Office.
Weather accounts for 70 percent of all flight delays now, he said, but with improved coordination and dissemination of weather data among pilots and air traffic controllers that number could be
The NextGen concept envisions a system where aircraft are electronically networked, sharing data with each other and with air traffic control in a carefully orchestrated dance. But today,
everybodys out there in bad weather doing their own thing, and honestly that doesnt work, said Kirk Shaffer, FAA associate administrator for airports. Jim May, president of the
Air Transport Association, said that airlines are spending more than $1 billion a year dealing with weather delays. Phil Boyer, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, said that while
many general aviation aircraft are far better equipped to receive and display weather information than some airliners, affordability is key when it comes to delivering on the promises of
Two power-boosting changes for Mooney aircraft by Midwest Modifications have
been granted STC (Supplemental Type Certificate) approval from the FAA, the company announced on Tuesday. One STC allows the company to modify the 280-hp turbocharged engine of the Mooney Acclaim to
increase the maximum power to 310 hp. With this change, Midwest says, the Mooney Acclaim and Acclaim Type S versions will take off with a shorter roll, climb at a higher rate and reach top speed
faster. Midwest Modifications also won FAA approval to install the Hartzell composite propeller for three Mooney models -- M20R, S, and TN. The composite propeller is about 16 pounds lighter than the
metal prop and offers a boost in climb performance, the company said.
Midwest Modifications is located in Flora, Ill.
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The National Aviation Hall of Fame will host the First Annual Reel Stuff Film Festival of Aviation on April 24-26 in Dayton,
Ohio. The series of eight classic and contemporary Hollywood productions and documentary films will celebrate aviation history and the passion for flight. Each movie will be introduced by an actor,
producer, aerial coordinator or cinematographer associated with its production, and an audience question-and-answer session will follow. Actor Cliff Robertson will introduce the 1964 drama "633
Squadron," and aviator Clay Lacy will introduce the 1986 hit "Top Gun" and the 2005 IMAX film "Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag." Lacy was a pioneer in developing the air-to-air cinematic techniques
used in both films.
The other films will be the classics "Battle Hymn" and "Battle of Britain," and the documentaries "One Six Right," "Pancho Barnes!" and "Speed and Angels." A schedule of Reel Stuff showtimes and
locations, ticket prices (about $10 per film), packages, presenters' bios, hotels, and other details can be found online.
Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something that 130,000 pilots might want to know about, tell us. Submit news
tips via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
Current and Former Aircraft Owners! What Could You Do With $200?
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National Business Aviation Association President Ed Bolen opened the third Asian Business Association Conference and
Exhibition today in Hong Kong by telling delegates the economic growth in the region makes aviation a natural partner for success. "There is no doubt that the future is bright for business aviation in
Asia. China, in particular, as one of the fastest growing economies in the world and fueled by the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games brings exciting opportunities for business aviation growth," he told the
Attendees and exhibitors are shivering in an unseasonably cold Hong Kong for the show. ABACE is smaller than last year, but is demonstrating that it still has value for manufacturers and regional
operators. About 50 exhibitors and 800 registered attendees have flown in from all over the world and there is obviously brisk business afoot, with customer demonstrations and tours going on all
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Recounting one of the most impressive feats in recent aviation history, AVweb video editor Glenn Pew recalls the circumstances of the DHL A300 shot by a surface-to-air missile over Baghdad. The crew successfully landed the aircraft without the ability to manipulate any
control surfaces. (Note: The aircraft shown in simulation is a Boeing 777, not an Airbus A300.)
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AVweb's own Mike Busch has nominated these folks before, pointing out that "the same customer service people have been working there for as long as I can remember (zero turnover), so they
really know what they're doing." In addition, Mike tells us, "The facility is very nice, and the avgas prices are always extremely competitive (particularly at the self-serve island close to the GA
terminal). There's a regular shuttle service that runs between the GA terminal and the hotels on the Strip."
So why is Mike so eager to have us make VGT's FBO our "FBO of the Week"? Well, there's this:
About my only complaint is that there's a restaurant up on the second floor of the terminal building with a lovely view of the airport, but they seem to have a hard time keeping it open. It has
changed hands a number of times and keeps going out of business, which is a bummer. Maybe if VGT [is] the "FBO of the Week," it'll get so much new business that they can keep the restaurant open!
One can only hope! Congrats to the folks at VGT for running such a tight operation. (Mike, bring us back a hamburger.)
Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, is preparing a report on interior shops. If you recently had an interior redone, the editors would like to hear from you, whether the experience was
good or bad.
The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click here.
Understanding Your Airplane's Mechanics Could Save Your Bank Account Light Plane Maintenance is the monthly magazine for aircraft owners who aren't satisfied with just flying. Aircraft repair can be simple when explained in concise, step-by-step details.
If you want to truly learn about the workings of your airplane (and save a few dollars, too), Light Plane Maintenance is for you.
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Each week, we go through dozens (and sometimes hundreds) of reader-submitted photos and pick the very best to share with you on Thursday mornings. The top photos are featured
on AVweb's home page, and one photo that stands above the others is awarded an AVweb baseball cap as our "Picture of the Week." Want to see your
photo on AVweb.com? Click here to submit it to our weekly contest.
*** THIS WEEK'S WINNERS ***
The number of submissions to our weekly photo contest may have crept up again this week but the quality skyrocketed! With so many gorgeous photos in our submission box, we're
jumping straight to the goods. (Watch for an extra-large batch of bonus pics in this week's slideshow on our home page.)
With a scene so evocative we can hardly believe it was taken "in the backyard of a client's house," Justin Heitman of Airlie Beach, Queensland
(Australia) claims the top spot today. Justin and crew were "on the way to a helicopter safari with 11 helicopters traveling through Tasmania" when he snapped this on his Nikon.
Simply gorgeous. Thanks for the image, Justin! Naturally, we'll be sending out a sharp new baseball cap emblazoned with the AVweb logo. Maybe it'll bring you a little slice
of serenity in return. (We can only hope!)
Chris Zavatson of Woodland, California hung around a bit after the air show at Nellis Air Force Base and was rewarded with the peaceful majesty that can only be
found when things quiet down after a show.
You don't need to remind us of that fact, Leonard Duncil of Titusville, Florida! We've already made our
hotel reservations, started registering for press passes, and trying to remember where we packed away our short pants! We'll see you (and these Iron Eagles you were so kind to snap) in just a
few weeks, friend!
A quick note for submitters: If you've got several
photos that you feel are "POTW" material, your best bet is to submit
them one-a-week! That gives your photos a greater chance of seeing
print on AVweb, and it makes the selection process a little easier on
us, too. ;)
A Reminder About Copyrights: Please take a moment to consider the
source of your image before submitting to our "Picture of the Week" contest.
If you did not take the photo yourself, ask yourself if you are indeed
authorized to release publication rights to AVweb. If you're uncertain,
send us an e-mail.
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb's NO-COST weekly business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz? Reporting on breaking news,
Business AVflash focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the business aviation industry. Business AVflash is a must read. Sign up today at http://www.avweb.com/profile/.
AVwebFlash is a weekly summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the internet's aviation magazine and news service.
The AVwebFlash team is:
Publisher Timothy Cole
Editorial Director, Aviation Publications Paul Bertorelli
Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles
Managing Editor Meredith Saini
Contributing Editors Mary Grady Glenn Pew
Features Editor Kevin Lane-Cummings
Click here to send a letter to the
editor. (Please let us know if your letter is not intended for publication.)
Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.
Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's sales team.
If you're having trouble reading this newsletter in its HTML-rich format (or if you'd prefer a lighter, simpler format for your PDA or handheld device), there's also a text-only
version of AVwebFlash. For complete instructions on making the switch, click here.