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Eclipse Aviation sent home 800 of its remaining workforce of 850 in Albuquerque on Wednesday, but a company official said he hopes to recall them soon. "It's a furlough, not a layoff," Eclipse
President and General Manager Mike McConnell told reporters in a conference call on Wednesday
afternoon. He said the global financial crisis has slowed down efforts to put together the financing package necessary to complete the sale of the company, which was approved in bankruptcy court last
month. "That it's taking longer speaks to the complexity of putting together global deals in today's economy," he said. "The good news is, we believe they're very close to closing the transaction."
The affected workers will receive their next paycheck as scheduled, he said, and will continue to receive benefits. McConnell couldn't guarantee that all the furloughed employees will be recalled. He
said the company still has about 1,000 orders for jets, with 30 right now in the production line. So far, 259 E500 jets have been delivered.
The assets of the company were sold last month in a bankruptcy court proceeding to EclipseJet Aviation International, a subsidiary of
ETIRC Aviation, for $28 million in cash plus $160 million in shares and 15-percent equity in the company for secured shareholders. When the company filed for Chapter 11 protection last November, it
was estimated that Eclipse owed more than $1 billion to a long list of creditors. Last October, Forecast International, an aerospace
market think tank, said it expected the company would likely cease production early in 2009. In September,
the company announced the Russian government had approved construction of an assembly plant there.
No surprise here: the 2008 year-end numbers, released on Tuesday by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, show that worldwide shipments of general aviation airplanes decreased for the first
time in five years. The decline was wholly driven by the 20.8 percent drop in piston deliveries, down to 2,119 from 2,675 the year before. Turboprop deliveries grew 16.6 percent compared to 2007, and
business jets were up by 15.6 percent. Overall, industry billings grew by 13.4 percent, to $24.8 billion. The positive numbers reflect the fulfillment of orders placed for turboprops and business jets
during the strong economic years of 2006 and 2007, according to GAMA. All of the main piston manufacturers saw declines except for Piper, where deliveries increased from 221 in 2007 to 268 in 2008,
driven by the popularity of the Matrix six-seat piston single. GAMA Chairman Mark Van Tine, president and CEO of Jeppesen, said despite current challenges, the industry is focused on the future. "The
world's economy depends upon a robust air transportation system and general aviation is absolutely a vital component of that global system. Our industry's continued investment in research and
development of new products is unprecedented," he said. "We have learned from history that investing smartly in our future and that of our customers is the best way to build our way out of tough
For more details, and a PDF of the complete report, go to the GAMA Web site.
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Cessna has created a Web site to maintain
momentum on the ad campaign aimed at convincing corporate aircraft owners to keep using their planes. The campaign, now dubbed Cessna Rise, continues the theme that real CEOs aren't afraid to use jets
to make their businesses more competitive." In the face of empty rhetoric, business aviation speaks for itself. So pull your aircraft out of its hangar and put it to work," says the latest ad, which
appeared in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. "The companies that do, will be the very ones who lead the world back to prosperity."
The campaign to restore the public acceptance of business aviation is evolving and Cessna's approach is to urge companies to address the issue head on. It's principal slogan urges companies to rise
"above the skeptics, above the naysayers, to the challenge.
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association and the National Business Aviation Association have reconfigured a familiar advocacy
program to deal with the negative perception of business aviation in the minds of some "policy makers and opinion leaders." In a news release, GAMA President Pete Bunce said the reprise of the No Plane No Gain campaign is an effort to set the record straight on business aviation. "The contributions of business aviation to our
nation's employment, commerce, competitiveness and health are profound but not always well understood," said Bunce. "We are launching this new multi-media educational campaign to get the word out that
business aviation is working for America." In a podcast interview, NBAA President Ed Bolen told AVweb that although the new campaign shares
the name of a 1990s promotion, the focus is different and aimed at having business aviation considered "for what it is."
Bolen said the principal benefits of business aviation, including the often-overlooked humanitarian side, will be portrayed for the target audience through media advertising, studies and surveys,
and online webinars. YouTube videos and podcasts will also be presented. GAMA and NBAA have set aside funds to pay for the program, which was launched at GAMA's annual review and outlook meeting in
Washington on Tuesday.
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Investigators studying last week's fatal crash of a Continental Connection Dash 8 Q400 in Buffalo, N.Y., now have found evidence that pilot inputs to the controls may have contributed to the
airplane's stall, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing sources close to the
investigation. The flight data recorders show that the flight was routine until roughly a minute before impact, when the crew lowered the landing gear and extended the flaps, according to the WSJ
sources. Almost immediately, the airspeed bled off and the stick-shaker activated, followed by a stick-pusher that automatically lowered the nose. It appears the captain pulled back on the stick with
enough force to overpower the pusher and added power, causing a 31-degree pitch-up. The wings immediately stalled, and the airplane whipped to the left, then entered a steep right turn. The pilots
continued to fight with the controls, and they were starting to recover when they "ran out of altitude," according to the WSJ source. NTSB member Steven Chealander, speaking to The New York Times earlier this week, urged "caution about jumping to conclusions that it might be an icing
Fifty people were killed in the fiery crash, including one person on the ground. The NTSB investigation is continuing and no probable cause has been determined.
"Please stand down for now," EAA says, regarding its call to action on a Nevada proposal that would have allowed local
authorities to control who uses the airspace at their local airports. Amid "vocal protest" from the state's aviation community, EAA says, the two Nevada state legislators who submitted the resolution
aimed at banning homebuilt experimental aircraft from North Las Vegas Airport have agreed to suspend their legislative effort and instead work with local general aviation groups to improve airport
safety. "We're hopeful that the local collaborative effort will yield a better understanding of the safety issues at North Las Vegas Airport," said Earl Lawrence, EAA vice president of regulatory
affairs. "We're looking for real solutions that neither jeopardize our federal airspace-management standards nor scapegoat any particular category or class of general-aviation operations." Last week, EAA had asked its members and other aviators to participate in a letter-writing campaign to oppose the
resolution, sponsored by state representatives Steven Horsford and Marilyn Kirkpatrick.
The ban was proposed after a homebuilt Velocity crashed near North Las Vegas Airport last August. The airplane struck a house, killing the pilot and two people on the ground.
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Anyone in the southeastern U.S. who is interested in buying a GA airplane will have a chance to check out a variety of models in a series of Airport Expos that launches in Florida next week. Among the aircraft manufacturers scheduled to participate are Cessna, Daher-Socata, Diamond, Hawker Beechcraft, Husky, Liberty,
Mooney, Piper, and Remos. "These Expo events give serious aircraft shoppers a chance to compare all the latest models at an airport close to where they live," said Fred Ahles, president of Premier
Aircraft Sales, an organizer of the event. "The Southeast and Texas Aircraft Expo events were extremely well attended last year and we anticipate the same level of interest this year in Florida."
The shows will make eight stops in Florida, starting Feb. 26, from Daytona to Miami; in March the shows visit Atlanta and Savannah in Georgia, and Knoxville, Tenn. In Texas, six stops are
scheduled, starting in March. Along with checking out the airplanes, visitors will find experts in aircraft taxes, insurance and training ready to offer their services, and at some of the sites,
seminars will be offered.
The biggest annual gathering for the rotary crowd, Heli-Expo, opens this Sunday in Anaheim, Calif., with a full slate of product announcements,
safety and management seminars, forums and workshops, an awards banquet, a job fair, and lots more. The state of the economy is sure to be a major topic of discussion, though the helicopter segment
has so far felt less pain than many other aviation businesses. Production appears to be relatively stable and mass layoffs have not occurred, according to FlightGlobal. The main attraction at Anaheim is the chance
to check out all the newest and best products and services in one place, with technical briefings from the exhibitors. This year's show has attracted a record 583 exhibitors, including 88 showing for
the first time, and 73 helicopters are scheduled to be on the show floor.
At last check, registrations were running close to the numbers for last year's show, which set a record with over 17,000 attendees and exhibitors. Online registration is still open. The Expo, held at the Anaheim Convention Center, runs Sunday through
Tuesday. The show is organized by Helicopter Association International, the professional trade association for the international helicopter industry.
Have you signed up yet for AVweb's no-cost weekly business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz?
Delivered every 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."
Sun 'n Fun It's Like Spring Break for Pilots Scheduled for April 21-26 in Lakeland, Florida. Featuring the U.S. Army Parachute Team "Golden Knights." This annual event includes more than 4,500 airplanes, 500 commercial
exhibitors, over 400 educational forums, seminars, and hands-on workshops for virtually every aviation interest. Plus a spectacular daily air show. All included in your ticket price. Special
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Although the actions of the crew grabbed most of the attention in the aftermath of the ditching of Flight 1549 in New York last month, the aircraft itself proved itself to be a real traffic
stopper. After being hoisted from the water and stripped of its flight surfaces, the fuselage of the Airbus A320 had to be moved using special trucks and trailers. The streets of East Rutherford,
N.J., proved especially challenging.
According to the Department of Defense's Pentagon Channel military information service, it took more than two days to remove a damaged C-17 from the runway at Bagram Air Field outside of Kabul,
Afghanistan. The DOD has video of the recovery, and we have photos of the crippled aircraft.
A consortium of 20 of general aviation's major alphabet groups, from EAA to AOPA to NBAA and GAMA to groups representing agricultural flyers, helicopter interests, state aviation officials, regional
airlines and more, this week released a statement (PDF) summarizing their
thoughts about aviation and climate change. "[This paper] offers a constructive set of principles to frame the discussion of policy tools to address aviation and climate change," the authors state.
"It is clear that to further reduce aviation's impact on climate change requires a partnership between the industry, labor and government ... Solutions lay in four main areas: technology,
infrastructure, operations, and economic measures." The report notes that since fuel efficiency has always been a powerful economic driver for aviation, the industry already has made impressive
progress, having improved aircraft fuel efficiency by more than 70 percent during the last four decades. The best strategies, the report says, are to improve air traffic management, invest in research
into new technologies, and develop alternative fuels. The groups, not surprisingly, are opposed to measures that impose fees, charges or taxes, calling them "unnecessary and counterproductive." They
also say that any proposed measures to address aviation's impact on the environment should include a rigorous analysis of the expected benefits weighed against the cost to the economy, industry, jobs,
communities, and the transportation infrastructure, and should take account of the costs and benefits of alternate forms of transport.
Likewise, they should address possible tradeoffs between environmental effects, such as between emissions and noise. Aviation accounts for just 3 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and about
3.5 percent globally, but those percentages are expected to grow, perhaps to 15 percent globally by 2050. Some scientists say that although the percentage of aircraft emissions seems small, the impact
is magnified because the gasses are emitted high in the atmosphere. Greenhouse-gas emissions from aviation are currently excluded from any restrictions under the Kyoto Protocol, the international
agreement that regulates such emissions. Click here for a PDF of the joint
The FAA has issued an airworthiness directive for Cessna 400-series aircraft mandating an inspection of
the auxiliary wing spar, and if any cracks are found, they must be reported ...
General Motors has shut down its flight department, cutting 49 jobs, and parked its seven leased aircraft. So far the company can't sell the jets and can't get out of the leases without major
penalties, says AOPA.
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For years, the NTSB has complained that the FAA hasn't done enough to improve flight-in-icing requirements in the airline industry. If the Buffalo crash is icing-related, AVweb Editorial
Director Paul Bertorelli thinks there will be hell to pay.
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Last week, we asked you to put yourselves in the position of the major airplane makers and tell us how you'd react to the oppressive antipathy toward private jets that's been
dominating the headlines.
In a turn that surprised us only a little, the clear majority of you favored being aggressive, like Cessna which may bode well for their "Rise" campaign. A full 58% of those who took time to answer sided with Pelton's proactive promotion of business flying,
while only 10% of you said it's time to be afraid.
For a complete (real-time) breakdown of reader responses, click here. (You may be asked to register and answer if you haven't already participated in this poll.)
THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
Enough pretending that you're someone else. Even GA pilots are beginning to feel pressure for their "rich man's hobby" in this turbulent economy. This week, we'd like to
know how your friends, family, and peers view your involvement with aviation.
Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer magazine, wants to hear about your experiences with engine warranties. We'd like to
know about warranties of new or remanufactured engines from the factory, field overhauls and "boutique" engine shops. In your opinion, was the warranty sufficient? Did you encounter problems after
installation, and were they resolved to your satisfaction? Did any factory, overhauler or installer go beyond their warranty to address any problems?
Please send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know your experiences, including the factory or shop
doing the work, the aircraft type and the nature of any problems.
(The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click
Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something 200,000 pilots might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips
via email to email@example.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
A "no excuses" book that belongs in every repair station and line shop, Working Healthy is a manual on health and safety techniques written specifically for the aviation
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Fly on water thrust this new jet pack idea may not be the best way to get to work, but it sure does look like a good time. The German company MS Watersports GmbH is marketing
the JetLev-Flyer and selling it (lessons included) for about $128,000 or just about what a brand-new two-seat 120-mph light sport aircraft costs. Video Editor Glenn
Pew has the skinny.
Are LED lights bright enough? Judge for yourself by viewing AVweb's latest product report video. Editorial director Paul Bertorelli demonstrates traditional incandescent
bulbs, HIDs, and new-age LEDs. The results are revealing.
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AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Bay Minette Aviation at 1R8 in Bay Minette, Alabama (near Mobile).
AVweb reader Al Airey tells us he "actually had to go back and research the 'FBO
of the Week' archives because I could not believe they had not previously been recognized":
[I] had to stop in both directions between Texas and Florida because of the pleasant service and fair price. The all-girl line crew make this a must-see FBO, and the facilities are first class, as
well. You can do a quick turn, but you will probably want to stay and chat with the staff and maybe purchase one of their newly available photo calendars. This has to be the most unique FBO in all
of aviation. The spacious facilities are spotless, prices are the best in the Mobile area, and did I mention the gorgeous crew that makes this a most memorable fuel stop? You should consider a wide
deviation in your routing if needed to make a fuel stop at this amazing FBO.
We have to admit: This is the first nomination we've seen where the line crew drew 'em in and the prices brought 'em back ... .
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 ***
Another week has come and gone, and AVweb readers have again come through with some great airplane pics to kick off our Thursday morning.
Tim O'Connor of Batavia, Ohio has been out flying his Autogyro again, and this time his camera caught one of those early-warning moments or,
as Tim put it, "If the reservoir freezes all the way to the pump house, should we expect ice cubes from the faucet?"
Hungry for more reader photos? Header over to AVweb's home page and check out the bonus pics in our slideshow (about 1/3 of the way down the
page, on the right).
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, consult the POTW Rules or or send us an e-mail.
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
Contributing Editors Mary Grady Glenn Pew
Features Editor Kevin Lane-Cummings
Webmaster Scott Simmons
Contributors Jeff van West
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.