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|Private Jets Not So Popular in Current Climate||back to
ADMINISTRATION OPPOSES NEW JET FOR BAILED-OUT BANK, NBAA
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday
at a press briefing that President Barack Obama "doesn't believe" using
private jets "is the best use of money"-- at least not if that money is
from a federally financed bailout package. In response to a question
about Citigroup spending $50 million for a Dassault Falcon 7X business jet, which was reported
Monday in the New York Post, Gibbs said, "The president believes
that great care should be used anytime the taxpayers' money is being
used ... that money should be used to lend to consumers to get the
economy moving again, to free up capital and credit, and help small
businesses create jobs." Citigroup has received $45 billion from the
TARP, or Troubled Asset Relief Program. According to Bloomberg News, an official from the Treasury
Department called Citigroup this week to "express concern" about the
company's planned purchase of the jet. A bank spokesperson told
Bloomberg that their intent was to sell off older aircraft and buy new,
more efficient ones and no TARP funds would be used for the purchase.
The plan, however, drew an outcry. Sen. Carl Levin, of Michigan, where
the auto industry has taken harsh criticism for use of corporate jets,
said that Citigroup shouldn't be flying either. "To permit Citigroup to
purchase a plush plane -- foreign-built no less -- while domestic auto
companies are being required to sell off their jets is a ridiculous
double standard," he said in a statement on his Web site. "The notion of Citigroup spending $50
million on a new corporate jet, even as it is depending on billions of
taxpayer dollars to survive, does not fly." Citigroup later released a
statement saying that the company has "no intent to take delivery of any
new aircraft." More...
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CANCELS LIGHT BUSINESS AIRPLANE SHOW
If you were looking
forward to the new NBAA Light Business Aircraft show (LBA2009) scheduled
for this March in San Diego, you can still catch all of those seminars
and exhibits -- but they'll be moving to the site of the regular NBAA
annual convention, in Orlando, Fla., in October. NBAA, faced with
today's grim economic realities, has canceled the San Diego show. "NBAA
is totally committed to serving those who rely on light business
airplanes, as well as those who are considering how to fit these
aircraft into their business models," Ed Bolen, president of the
National Business Aviation Association, said on Wednesday. "But in this economic climate, it
is difficult to launch an event that our members and exhibitors expect
from NBAA. We all know that our industry is finding it necessary to
limit travel and marketing expenses, so we are going to combine all of
the excellent elements we'd planned for LBA into the Convention."
Merging the two shows will cut expenses for both attendees and
exhibitors, says NBAA. The entrepreneurs and pilots for whom LBA was
designed will still be able to participate in two full days of education
sessions designed for them, including the Cessna Single-Pilot Safety
Standdown, Bolen said, at the Orlando show. More...
CUTS 10,000 JOBS
Boeing this week bumped up its previously
announced plan to cut 4,500 jobs, and will lay off a total of 10,000
workers, the company told reporters during a conference call on Wednesday. That's about 6 percent
of the company's total workforce. Boeing blamed last year's strike and
the global recession for its losses. "The progress we made in many areas
of Boeing during 2008 was outweighed by the impact of the strike and our
performance on some key development programs," said Chairman, President,
and CEO Jim McNerney in a news release. "Our imperative going forward is
improving execution where it needs to be improved, maintaining strong
performance across all our production programs, and preserving our
financial strength to grow in these challenging economic times." The
company delivered only 50 aircraft in the last quarter of 2008, but
plans had called for 120. Interest in the 787 Dreamliner remains strong,
the company said, with 895 orders on the books, although one customer
has cancelled an order for 15 aircraft. First deliveries of the 787 are
now expected in early 2010, with first flight in the second quarter of
this year. More...
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REVISES SKYCATCHER DESIGN
Cessna has revised its SkyCatcher design with a new tail, and brought the
airplane to last week's Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Fla., to show to
potential customers and the press. The new tail surface is bigger and
more vertical, and project engineer Neal Wilford told AVweb the
new design is now in flight testing and has been performing well. The
airplane's aerodynamics got a second look after a spin
accident last year, in which the test pilot was unable to regain
control and bailed out, and the airplane spun in and crashed. Wind
tunnel tests on the new design have shown the airplane has no
unrecoverable spin characteristics, says AOPA. Other minor changes include the removal
of the dorsal fin, and a switch to aluminum seats to save weight.
Wilford told Kitplanes editor Marc Cook at Sebring that the production
line at Cessna's factory in China is ready to go and the first copy of
the SkyCatcher is already in the works. Once complete, it will be
shipped to the U.S. and reassembled here, for first delivery in the
second half of this year. Cessna has said it has about 1,000 orders for
the airplane, which sells for about $112,000. Click
here to see AVweb's exclusive video interview with Wilford
and Cook at Sebring. More...
TURBO-DIESEL ENGINE CERTIFIED BY EASA
Industries has received EASA Type Certification for its Austro E4
turbo-diesel airplane engine, the company announced on Wednesday. The
certification has been in the works for almost four years, but recently
interest in the engine has intensified as Thielert, another European
manufacturer of diesels for GA aircraft, encountered financial
difficulties and declared bankruptcy. Although Thielert has continued to
produce engines, Diamond has clearly been anxious to bring the Austro
alternative to market. Generally, FAA certification follows relatively
quickly once the EASA standard has been met. Diamond CEO Christian Dries
said the EASA certification program cost about US $64 million. "The
complete program developed into one that was significantly more complex
than originally anticipated," Dries said. "Only the full dedication of
all participants, specifically the Austrian and European Airworthiness
Authorities, MB Tech, Bosch General Aviation Technologies and our
employees, enabled the successful conclusion of the certification
process." There are already 27 Diamond DA42 NG airplanes with AE 300
engines on the production line, the company said, and type certification
for those aircraft is also expected imminently. Following will be AE 300
powered versions of the DA40 and the DA50. For the existing
diesel-engine-powered Diamond fleet, a retrofit solution to convert to
AE 300 power will be developed and offered, the company said.
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HEATS UP FOR NEXT HEAD OF FAA
Although Duane Woerth, a former
president of the Air Line Pilots Association, has long been considered a
strong contender to take over as next FAA administrator, Senate aide
Robert Herbert seems to be making headway, the Washington Post reported on Monday. Herbert is an
advisor to Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the Senate majority leader, and
specializes in transportation, defense and security issues. Woerth is
backed by the AFL-CIO. Senator Reid has sent a letter to the Obama
transition team expressing support for Herbert, according to the Post.
Also, Herbert met last Thursday with Ray LaHood, on the same day he was
appointed Transportation Secretary. Relations between unions and the FAA
have long been contentious, and LaHood has said that settling those
issues will be a top priority for him. More...
GIVES TSA AN EARFUL OVER LASP
The Transportation Security
Administration wrapped up the public hearings into its highly
controversial Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) with a fifth and
final session in Houston today (following a similar session in Chicago
last week) and TSA reps heard more of the same from the GA community. In
fact, if anything, rather than calm the waters, the hearings appear to
have whipped up even more opposition to the plan, which would mandate
airline-style security procedures for aircraft weighing more than 12,500
pounds. "In this brutal economy, everyone in every corner of general
aviation will be impacted if this plan is enacted without significant
changes," NBAA President Ed Bolen told the meeting. But while much of
the focus has been on the impact on flight operations, hundreds of
airports, some of which only occasionally see aircraft that big, will
have to be set up to handle the security. More...
SHOWS SIGNIFICANT DROP IN BUSINESS AIRCRAFT
Statistics on business aircraft identified by
arrival and departure information on all IFR flights for December 2007
and compared to December 2008 show a 22.8 percent drop, according to the
Aviation Research Group/U.S. Inc., but there may be some surprises. The
data includes both Alaska and Hawaii and segregated data between Part
91, Part 135 and fractional operations. The steepest decline in activity
was seen by Part 135 operators, which in 2008 dropped by one third
versus the same month in the prior year. The steepest decline came to
Part 135 large-cabin jet aircraft (identified as those with a maximum
takeoff weight of over 41,000 pounds), which saw a 44 percent decline in
activity. On the opposite end of the scale, Part 91 business aircraft
operators as a group curtailed their activity by only 15.3 percent and
showed the largest diversity in change by aircraft size, according to
ARG/US. Small cabin jets (MTOW under 20,000) flown under Part 91 and
midsize-cabin jets suffered the least, falling just 6.3 percent, while
turboprop business aircraft (both single- and multi-engine) took the
largest hit for the Part 91 category, chiming in with a 23.2 percent
drop in activity. Fractionals told a slightly different story.
AVWEB'S BUSINESS AVIATION NEWSLETTER
Have you signed up yet for AVweb's no-cost weekly
business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz?
Wednesday morning, AVwebBiz focuses on the companies, the
products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the business
aviation industry, making it a must-read.
Add AVwebBiz to
your AVweb subscriptions today by clicking here and choosing
"Update E-mail Subscriptions." More...
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PREPARES FOR SUPER BOWL SUNDAY
No, they're not ordering in
pizza, though that might be part of the FAA's plan for the day. They're
preparing to handle the large increase in GA traffic in the Tampa Bay
area for the upcoming Super Bowl, on Sunday, Feb. 1. The FAA expects
that as many as 1,000 additional GA aircraft will use the area's
airports over the weekend. If you plan to be in one of those aircraft,
you can find out about the FAA's air traffic plans at the FAA Web
site. Pilots should also refer to Notams before flying into the
area. Three separate TFRs will be in place around Raymond James Stadium
on Super Bowl Sunday, and private pilots will not be allowed to fly near
the stadium for several hours before, during and after the game. Click here
for details of those TFR restrictions. The east-west runway (9/27) at
Tampa International Airport will be closed for aircraft parking. FAA air
traffic controllers from the Tampa Tower will be deployed to FBOs at the
airport to issue departure clearances. Extra FAA staff will be on duty
through the weekend. Special procedures are in place for helicopter
operations. The FAA also has special procedures in place for parking and
traffic management at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport,
Lakeland Linder Regional Airport and Vandenberg Airport.
VICTIM A BRITISH PHOTOGRAPHER
A well-known British aviation
photographer has been identified as the person killed in the crash of a
Remos light sport aircraft at U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Fla.
on Sunday. Steven Fletcher was on assignment for Today's Pilot
to do air-to-air photography of another Remos aircraft, which was taking
off behind the crash airplane. The pilot of the downed aircraft, Mike
Kostelac, is a sales representative for the company and remains in
hospital in stable condition. Witnesses said the aircraft banked sharply
before crashing on a ramp at the south end of the Sebring Airport.
THE FLY ...
An ATR-42 owned by FedEx crashed while on an ILS
approach into Lubbock, Texas, early Tuesday morning...
GA pilots are
invited to take part in a research project about Notams this
Europe's trade show for secondhand aircraft will take
place as part of the AERO international aviation show...
EAA has set
the dates for its 2009 B-17 Flying Fortress spring tour.
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|The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!||back to
OF THE WEEK: BUSINESS TRAVEL IN THE AGE OF BAILOUTS
Big Three automakers flew to Washington in their jets to request federal
aid, private air travel in the name of business has become a touchy
subject. With pressure to change their ways, corporations are beginning
to ask themselves how to move executives from one place to another if
they're partaking of government aid. We'd like to hear what you think:
How should companies receiving federal bailouts deal with their travel
Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb readers
where they'd most like to fly to get away from it all; click through to
find out which fantasy destination was the most popular.
VIDEO FROM U.S. SPORT AVIATION EXPO 2009: LSA ENGINE
New to the world of LSA? One of the
things you'll discover is that your engine choice makes a big
difference, in terms of both weight and performance. For an overview of
the three top choices in the light sport segment, Marc Cook,
Editor-in-Chief of Kitplanes
magazine, visits Rotax, Jabiru, and Continental on the grounds of the
U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida. (Click through to watch.)
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OF THE WEEK: WEST PLAINS MUNICIPAL AIRPORT (KUNO, WEST PLAINS,
"FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to the center at West Plains
Municipal Airport (KUNO) in West Plains,
AVweb reader Jim Vick recommended the FBO
after several top-notch visits to the facility:
experience is the same, with terrific hospitality and service. A phone
call in advance will get a courtesy car waiting (even after hours), and,
if needed, after-hours assistance with fueling. A great place to stop
for fuel or a few days of stay.
Keep those nominations
coming. For complete contest rules, click
AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in
the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here
next Monday! More...
Economic Challenges Call for
Proven Advertising Results AVweb Delivers
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OF THE WEEK: AVWEB'S FLYING PHOTOGRAPHY SHOWCASE
Great pics continue to trickle in from
all across the globe, and (as always) "Picture of the Week" gives us an
opportunity to show you what your fellow AVweb readers have been
up to. Hayden Bryant of Fort Smith,
Arkansas recently spent some time chatting with the "unexpected visitor"
in this week's top photo, who dropped in to re-fuel. The Chinook crew
was "very friendly," writes Hayden, showing off their ride and making
small talk before departing on their next mission. Hayden tells us,
"This made our day!" More...
THE AVWEBFLASH TEAM
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.
AVwebFlash team is:
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
Have a product or service to advertise
on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's
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
Navigate. Communicate. More...