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Well, as the old saying goes, everything is for sale and that
apparently includes the HondaJet. Days after the (relatively)
innovative aircraft went on display at EAA AirVenture, word from
Honda's head office is that it might offer a certificated version of
the aircraft. First sales "will be in at least two to three years,"
Honda President Takeo Fukui is quoted as saying by company spokesman
Shigeki Endo. Endo said someone at Oshkosh put a deposit on an
airplane ... despite Honda's assertions that it wasn't planning to go
into the airplane business. More...
THAN $1 MILLION?
As we reported from the show, Honda officials
repeated their long-held position that the airplane was merely a test
bed for the engine it has developed. The HF118 turbofan is said to be
more efficient than comparable (about 1,700 pounds thrust) engines and
Honda has partnered with General Electric in its development. But now
Honda is even talking price for the jet, including a low-end ballpark
of less than $1million up to a (perhaps more realistic) $2.7 million.
If the airframe was, indeed, simply a support system for the engine
development, there were some coincidental performance milestones
JET, NOW JET -- AND HONDA'S PISTON ENGINE?
Not long ago (a little over a week ago) the HondaJet was strictly a
technology demonstrator ... or so Honda would have us believe. As
recently as AirVenture 2005 Honda Aero representatives told
that the HondaJet was built to be carried by the GE/Honda engines,
supposedly the only part of the jet that would be commercially
marketed. Those same representatives said that Honda was in search of
a manufacturer capable of matching the innovation of the GE/Honda
engine with an equally innovative airframe. Apparently Honda has found
that in itself. AVweb readers may recall that Honda in years
past has made waves in the piston engine arena as well, but just as
quickly as the engine was introduced, it faded away ... or so it
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THE THREAT FROM THE SKY...
The Department of Homeland Security's enduring belief that terror
could come from the sky in the form of light GA aircraft is behind the
FAA's proposal to permanently establish restricted airspace around
Washington, D.C. In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the FAA says
the DHS has "no specific information that terrorist groups are
currently planning to use general aviation aircraft" in attacks, but
that doesn't mean it won't happen. According to the NPRM, al Qaeda has
hatched several plans to use GA aircraft in attacks and the Sept. 11
plan originally used light aircraft until Osama bin Laden upped the
ante. "Based on this and other information, the DHS believes that GA
aircraft may be vulnerable to targeting by terrorists for misuse," the
NPRM reads. More...
WHAT COST, SECURITY?...
The FAA claims the extra burden on the aviation community associated
with the permanent restrictions will be about $250 million over 10
years, almost all of it to cover the extra work of controllers and FAA
administrative staff. It's estimated the direct cost to those using
the 19 airports within the zone will be about $250,000 a year for the
time used filing the mandatory flight plans. It also acknowledges that
the three airports within the 15-mile inner circle of the zone face
special costs that could push their annual costs to between $1.6
million and $2 million each. However, the FAA's financial assumptions
are based on the current level of traffic and could be misleading,
according to airport officials interviewed by the Washington Times.
HAVE A SAY
Although flight restrictions around D.C. and dozens of sensitive areas
throughout the country have been a fact of life for four years, this
will be the first opportunity for public input on them. "If there's a
silver lining in all of this, it's that we will be inviting comment,"
said FAA spokesman Greg Martin. Until now, TFRs and other airspace
restrictions have been unilaterally imposed (usually at the request of
the DHS or the Secret Service), sometimes with only a few hours of
notice. The proposal for making the Washington airspace restrictions
permanent is going through the normal process of public scrutiny.
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GAO SEES POSITIVES
The Government Accountability Office says countries that have
privatized air navigation services have cut costs and their safety
records haven't suffered. The
GAO looked at the private systems in Australia, Canada, Germany,
New Zealand and the United Kingdom to see how they stacked up (no pun
intended) and what it found could fuel debate in the U.S. as the FAA
and its controllers go through a fractious round of contract
negotiations. The report says that in all cases, safety records have
stayed the same or improved since commercialization. In particular,
Canada and New Zealand both report a reduction in the number of
incidents of loss of separation. It also found that all five companies
cut costs while investing in new technology, something the FAA seems
to be having trouble with. It also notes that general aviation
operators have seen user fees increase. More...
ON THE GROUND FLOOR IN CHINA
Chinese officials are predicting general aviation will be worth $9
billion annually there in 10 years and western companies are now
establishing ground-floor opportunities there. Diamond Aircraft, in
partnership with Binzhou Degao General Aviation Co. in East China's
Shandong Province, is set to start building DA40 aircraft with the
first one rolling off the assembly line in October. The $200,000 USD
aircraft are aimed at the burgeoning class of high income earners in
China resulting from its economic revolution and it's not only piston
singles that these folks are interested in, according to the China
TRANSITION ON SCHEDULE
The transition from public to private operation of the flight service
station system continues with high hopes for better service. AOPA
President Phil Boyer said the program is on track to have Lockheed
Martin take over the system as scheduled on Oct. 4. Lockheed Martin
got the $1.9 billion contract in February and appeals by several other
contenders have been rejected. Despite the controversy and doom-saying
that has gone on, Boyer maintains the deal is a good one. "... We are
convinced that this is the right thing at the right time for the
benefit of GA pilots," he said. More...
HITS EMPTY SCHOOL AFTER COLLISION
Two men in a Cessna 152 died Thursday after the plane collided with a
float-equipped Beaver near Renton, Wash., and plunged through the roof
of a vacant elementary school. The Beaver, with five people aboard,
was able to land safely. Both planes were headed to the Renton
Airport. The pilot of the floatplane said the 152 struck the bottom of
the Beaver and he did not see it. The smaller plane spiraled
vertically into the ground, according to witnesses. The school was
being torn down to make way for a new building and workers had left
for the day. More...
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CLAMPS DOWN ON ILLEGAL CHARTERS
AOPA says the FAA is cracking down on "illegal" charter, and what the
agency considers against the rules might surprise you (or strike you
as bizarre). "We know of crackdowns in at least two districts and
that's prompted questions from members," said AOPA spokesman Woody
Cahall. "They want to know what the FAA considers an illegal charter."
Say, for instance, a couple of friends offer to pay the gas for a
pilot to fly them in his plane. Technically, they've chartered the
aircraft. Occupants of the plane are allowed to chip in for fuel and
oil but only if the pilot pays an equal share. The rules get even
stickier surrounding "training" flights. More...
AIRBUS ACCIDENT EARLY FOLLOW-UP
Combine landing 4,000 feet long on a wet runway with a tailwind and
the result is what happened in Toronto last Tuesday, according to
investigators. Canadian Transportation Safety Board investigators have
practically ruled out a lightning strike and hydroplaning as
contributing factors in the accident, which resulted in only minor
injuries to a few of the 309 on board the Air France jet. Flight 583
ran off a runway in heavy rain at Pearson International Airport and
caught fire in a ravine. Lead investigator Real Levasseur said the
5,000 feet of remaining runway would, under normal circumstances, been
enough to bring the A340 to a stop. "Under [Tuesday's] conditions, I
am pretty convinced that there was no way the aircraft was going to be
able to stop before the end," Levasseur told a news conference.
Meanwhile, the investigation is now focused on why two emergency
slides failed to deploy from aircraft exits. More...
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority plans to put all relevant info in
one accessible place...
Centennial Airport suffers second MU-2
fatal crash in less than a year...
Tunisian airliner ditched,
killing at least 13. More...
NEWSTIPS ADDRESS ...
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someone else, too. Submit news tips via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You're a part
of our team ... often, the best part. More...
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ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
The Pilot's Lounge #90: State
Aeronautics Commissions -- Fiddling While Airports
It'd be nice if the people in charge of airports at
the state level helped fight airport closures, given the importance of
airports to a state's economy. But AVweb's Rick Durden just hasn't
seen it happen and, in fact, has seen such commissions act in ways
that will cause even more closures.
FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES:
Reader mail this week about user fees, Homeland
Security restrictions ofall types, digitally modified photos and much
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During 1978 while working ground control, a C-152 from a neighboring
airport's flight school was getting ready to depart. Prior to engine
start the pilot called the tower and was informed, "Clearance on
request, contact ATIS prior to taxi." The instruction prompted the
Pilot: Cessna 1234 ready to taxi and we contacted
Patrick ATIS ... but ... uh ... we couldn't get a word in edgewise.
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