Volume 1, Issue 1November 12, 2003

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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded Business News Coverage At AVweb's Business NewsWire.

WELCOME TO AVWEB’S NEW BUSINESS AVFLASH
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AT WHAT PRICE SAFETY?
As the aviation industry is pummeled by a weak economy and staggered by the 9/11 hangover, it might seem like curious timing for the FAA to write regulations that it believes will cost $238 million over ten years and drive 700 enterprises out of at least a portion of their business. That's the agency's own assessment of the effect of National Air Tour standards it is proposing and which are at the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) stage. Comments will be taken until Jan. 20, 2004. The rule package, if adopted, would force Part 91 operators to upgrade to at least Part 135 status to continue sightseeing flights. "The FAA estimates that about 700 Part 91 operators currently providing sightseeing flights would elect to stop providing the service," the agency concludes in what it calls its "Business Closure Analysis." The document goes on to say, however, that sightseeing is a small part of their overall business, less than 10 hours per year, and that these operators would remain in business and obtain revenues elsewhere. More...

...HIGHER COSTS, MORE HASSLES...
Although it can be argued that Part 91 operators will be the hardest hit, larger companies are also counting up the costs. Jim Cruson, president of Air Vegas, one of the biggest air tour companies in the country, says some of the proposed regulations will hit his firm squarely in the bottom line. For instance, his company's fleet of 10 Beech 99s routinely flies over Lake Mead and the new rules would require all passengers to be wearing an inflatable flight vest for the duration of each flight. "It's ridiculous," said Cruson. More...

...ALTITUDE MINIMUMS RAISE SAFETY CONCERNS
Cruson said new minimum altitudes for tour operators could actually create safety problems. Currently, sightseeing aircraft operate between 500 and 1,000 feet AGL depending on aircraft type and the areas over which they are flying. The new rule would set the limit at 1,000 feet for all sightseeing aircraft. And since the essence of sightseeing is to get as close to the sights as possible, that means all aircraft will operate right on that limit. "It will decrease the level of safety because it focuses more aircraft in less airspace," he said. Cruson said his company is still studying the 62-page document before sending its comments to the FAA. At least one industry group has tried broaching the topic with the FAA, but with little success. More...

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EMBRAER STAYS ON COURSE
Embraer finished certification of its 170 model in late October. Luis Carlos Affonso, Embraer's vice president of engineering and development, told reporters that completing the documentation was the most important part of the certification process. Affonso said more meetings with regulators will follow as the world's fourth largest aircraft manufacturer seeks certification for Brazil, the United States and Europe. The 170 model is part of Embraer's new family of regional jets and will seat between 70 and 118 passengers. Will it follow the same corporate shuttle modification route the Canadair Regional Jet, Beech 1900D and Saab 340 have taken? What we do know is that Embraer had hoped to finish certification more than a year ago. "It was a very aggressive timetable," Affonso said. Certification came about 53 months after the project began, 13 months behind schedule. Affonso said the company expected to deliver three to six of the new 170 models this year with deliveries up to 60 of the new aircraft next year. More...

...SIGNS LEGACY DEAL WITH FLIGHT OPTIONS
On Oct. 27, Embraer signed a memorandum of understanding with Flight Options for the purchase of up to four Legacy Executive business jets. Deliveries of the aircraft are expected by the end of this year. Embraer said the average price of the Legacy Executive in the company's backlog was $20.8 million U.S., but declined to put a value on the Flight Options deal. More...

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BUSINESS JET DELIVERIES FALL 32 PERCENT
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) says deliveries of business jets were off 32 percent from the same period a year ago. According to the organization's shipment report for the third quarter of 2003, the fall in business jet deliveries contributed to an overall 9 percent decrease in shipments of general aviation aircraft for the quarter. The industry delivered 338 business jets compared to 498 in the same quarter a year ago. Other sectors fared better. More...

FAA ISSUES RVSM RULE
In late October, the FAA issued its long-anticipated Final Rule on Domestic Reduced Vertical Separation Minimums (DRVSM) decreeing that on Jan. 20, 2005, the required vertical separation between aircraft from 29,000 to 41,000 feet over the U.S. will be reduced from 2,000 feet to 1,000 feet. That means more available routes, which the FAA says will actually result in greater separation between aircraft. It also means that aircraft that fly at those altitudes must have more accurate altimeters and enhanced autopilot systems, costly items that might cause some financial hardships. More...

LITTLE ROCK BUSINESS AVIATION ASSOCIATION TAKES FLIGHT
The Little Rock Business Aviation Association has taken flight as a new trade group. The nonprofit organization says it represents the interests of business aviation at Adams Field in Little Rock. The group is composed of representatives from several prominent companies that operate aircraft at Adams Field. More...

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LIGHT JETS MANUFACTURERS ADDRESS FLYING BARRIERS
As of this moment, some seven manufacturers promising a new generation of light jets sit on a collective order roster tallying well more than 2,000 aircraft. But who is going to fly them? The light jets promise certification for single-pilot operations from nearly all GA airports. Some offer acquisition costs below that of a brand-new light twin, operating costs similar to light twins and performance well beyond that, but speakers at AOPA Expo 2003 made it clear you won't find any light-twin pilots flying them, not without a lot of work, anyway. The problems include placating insurance brokers, finding time for recurrent training, and magically convincing airline pilot groups that squalls of "non-professionals" sharing airspace traditionally occupied by their own well-defined (and well-regulated) group is a good thing. More...

WALTER EXTRA SURVIVES MIDAIR ON WAY TO NBAA
The folks at Extra Aircraft claim NBAA was a success but they also found themselves with a scary scenario on the way to the annual event. The prototype of the company's entry to the high-performance touring/business market very nearly became a tragic NTSB statistic, taking the celebrated founder of the company, Walter Extra, with it. Extra, whose German company is synonymous with high-performance aerobatic aircraft, was at the controls of the EA-500 when a wingtip passed through the propeller arc of a Cessna 182 accompanying his and another Extra aircraft to the convention, held Oct. 7-9 in Orlando. More...

NBAA SEEKS ROLE NAPLES' STAGE 2 BAN APPEAL
On Oct. 21, NBAA filed papers in a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., asking the court to allow it to participate in the appeal involving the Stage 2 ban at Naples Municipal Airport. The organization claims, as a recipient of federal funding, the Naples Airport Authority "is required under federal law and a contractual grant assurance to make the airport available for public use on reasonable terms and without unjust discrimination." The FAA investigated Naples' Stage 2 ban, which began March 1, 2002, and on Aug. 25, 2003, issued a decision finding the ban unreasonable and thus a violation of federal law and the grant assurance. More...

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BIZ AV'S AD WATCH: BEECH 400A AND 400T NPRM
The FAA is proposing the adoption of a new Airworthiness Directive (AD) that is applicable to certain Raytheon Model Beech 400A and 400T series airplanes. This rule would require an inspection to determine the part number of the A194 roll trim printed circuit board (PCB), and replacement of certain PCBs with improved parts. The FAA claims action is necessary to prevent intermittent sticking of the relays on the PCB in either the open or closed position, which could result in an out-of-trim condition that could require using considerable control wheel force to keep the wings level, and consequent reduced controllability of the airplane. Comments must be received by Dec. 19, 2003. More...

BIZ AV'S AD WATCH: EUROCOPTER FRANCE MODEL EC120B HELICOPTERS
This amendment adopts a new Airworthiness Directive (AD) for the specified Eurocopter France model helicopters that requires operators to either temporarily or permanently secure the electrical bonding braid that is installed on the left cyclic pitch control stick base within 10 hours time-in-service (TIS) and, if temporarily secured, installing a permanent attachment system for the bonding braid within 500 hours TIS or 12 months, whichever occurs first. The FAA claims this amendment is prompted by a report of a bonding braid twisting around the attachment nut installed on the bolt that connects the roll channel torque link to the left-hand cyclic pitch control stick. The agency says the actions specified by this AD, which becomes effective Dec. 10, 2003, are intended to prevent an unsecured bonding braid from restricting travel to the cyclic pitch control stick, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter. More...

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Business AVflash is a twice-monthly summary of the latest business aviation news, articles, products, features and events featured on AVweb, the Internet's Aviation Magazine and News Service. http://www.avweb.com

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Today's issue written by News Writer Arturo Weiss:
http://www.avweb.com/contact/authors.html#aweiss
AVweb's editorial team: http://avweb.com/contact/authors.html.

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Let's all be careful out there, okay?


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