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Volume 12, Number 52a
December 25, 2006
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Goldman Sachs, Onex Go Shoppingback to top 
Sponsor Announcement

Onex Corp. announced on Thursday morning that it is joining with GS Capital Partners, an affiliate of Goldman Sachs, to acquire Wichita-based Raytheon Aircraft Company for $3.3 billion. The deal will be completed by Hawker Beechcraft Corp., a newly formed joint venture between Onex and GS Capital Partners. The equity investment of approximately $1.06 billion will be split equally between Onex and GS Capital Partners, with Onex's share of the investment to be made by Onex Partners, a large-cap private equity fund. The deal -- expected to be completed by mid-2007, pending regulatory approvals -- includes Raytheon Aircraft's manufacturing plants in Wichita and Salina, Kan.; completion center in Little Rock, Ark., and all of the Raytheon Aircraft Services facilities. Not included in the sale is fractional provider Flight Options and Raytheon Airline Aviation Services. "We believe strongly in the future growth of the business aviation sector, as new demand in Europe and Asia adds to strength in North America," said Onex Managing Director Nigel Wright. More...

Raytheon Aircraft is not the first aerospace company that Onex has acquired, and it probably won't be the last. In June 2005, the Canadian buyout firm purchased Boeing's structural components business in Wichita for $1.2 billion, forming Spirit AeroSystems. Last month, it did an initial public offering for Spirit AeroSystems, raking in some $1.4 billion from stock sales. And this past April, Onex bought BAE Systems Aerostructures, which incidentally manufacturers Hawker 800XP subassemblies in the UK. According to Onex Managing Director Nigel Wright, "We have become increasingly optimistic about the aerospace industry as we have made it a significant focus for Onex in the past few years." More...

Raytheon Aircraft CEO Jim Schuster said he believes Onex and GS Capital are committed to ensuring that Raytheon Aircraft builds the best aircraft and expands its product line. On this note, Teal Group Vice President of Analysis Richard Aboulafia told AVweb, "Raytheon Aircraft really needs to diversify its product line, and the move to split the Hawker 850XP into two models – the Hawker 750 and 900XP – was a good start. They should be using other people's technology, such as new engines and avionics, to create a broadened product line with strategic price points – much like Cessna does." He said it is "very much time" that the Premier I be made into a family of aircraft: "The new owners need to launch the Premier II and then later on the Premier III. Derivatives are a great way to broaden a product line." But since the Premier I is no longer considered an entry-level airplane, Aboulafia noted that Raytheon should look at developing a very light jet in the $3.5 million to $4 million price range. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

Even though you likely turn it on only to see if it still lights up, it might be premature to throw out that old Loran taking up space on your panel. What’s old is new again as Britain is considering revamping the venerable ground-based radio navigation system as a backup for GPS. And, according to a report in FCW.com, the U.S. is looking at a similar system to ensure precision navigation is available if GPS signals suddenly become unavailable because of jamming or other causes. Whether your current gear will work on the so-called eLoran (the "e" is for extended range) is not clear in the reports. More...

The NTSB is looking into the role a reportedly unreliable obstruction light played in the crash of a Cessna 210 at Lee Airport in Edgewater, Md., on Dec. 9. According to the NTSB preliminary report, witnesses who arrived on the scene shortly after the crash reported that the light was not illuminated and a pilot who landed there three days earlier had also reported the light wasn’t on. However, tests conducted by the NTSB the day after the crash showed the light was in proper operating condition, and “when power was applied to the switch, the light illuminated.” The light is about 30 feet below the tops of 130-foot trees and 560 feet from the runway. The 210 hit those trees about 15 feet from the light before cartwheeling to the ground, killing the pilot and part owner of the aircraft, Timothy Kramer, and his passenger Deborah Giant. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

While a union spokesman described a “state of panic” in air traffic control facilities in Seattle Dec. 15 during a record storm that interrupted power, the FAA was patting itself on the back for a system that functioned “almost uninterrupted thanks to ingenious coast-to-coast ATO teamwork and a new organization-wide contingency plan.” These notably divergent points of view grew from the system’s experience with one of the worst storms ever to blow through the Pacific Northwest. When power went out to the Seattle terminal radar approach control center (TRACON), an emergency generator kicked in as planned. But the generator failed 16 hours later, leaving the TRACON on battery power. Before the batteries faded, the decision was made to move TRACON controllers to the Sea-Tac tower and an air route traffic control center (ARTCC) 25 miles away. According to local rep for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association Dan Olson, that’s where things fell apart. More...

Lighter, more fuel-efficient gas-turbine engines are $1.5 billion closer to reality, or at least closer to creating some 1,500 jobs at Pratt & Whitney Canada's facilities and its network of suppliers. The company is investing its own money (and the equivalent of $350 million from the Canadian government) in what company President Alain Bellemare told CBC News is "the most important commitment made by [Pratt & Whitney Canada] in its history." Company facilities at Longueuil and Mississauga, Ont., will bear the brunt of research and development while Pratt & Whitney Canada itself bears the brunt of rhetoric from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. More...

Weather the Holidays with the New Garmin GPSMap 496
JA Air Center, Your Garmin Source, has the new Garmin GPSMap 496 with XM Weather, Terrain, AOPA Airport Guide, Taxiway Database, and built-in StreetPilot Automotive GPS in stock for immediate delivery. Call JA Air Center at (800) 323-5966, or order online.
If you are looking to sell your current GPS, JA Air Center Purchases Used GPS and Avionics — call for current values.

Visit the new GPSMap 496 Blog for more information on this exciting new product from Garmin.
News Briefsback to top 

Lockheed Martin recently graduated 46 Flight Service Specialists from its Flight Service Academy in Prescott Valley, Ariz. The class includes U.S. Air Force veteran John Lockheed, great grandson of company founder Allan Loughead. Together with the group, Lockheed will have experienced 10 weeks of academic classes that present "pre-requisite core knowledge, including meteorology and basic navigation." The classes and graduation will be followed by deployment -- the students will be sent to actual Flight Service Stations to receive on-the-job training with an end goal of certification as Lockheed-employed Flight Service Specialists. Presumably the move brings Lockheed Martin closer to its own stated goal for FSS. More...

The maintenance supervisor for Turkish Airlines lost his job, but it was a camel that paid the ultimate price for a maintenance crew’s jubilation over the retirement of a particularly troublesome aircraft. As is customary during times of great joy in Turkey, the maintenance crew was so happy to be rid of the Avro RJ100 aircraft the airline had leased for the past 13 years that they decided to kill a camel -- on the tarmac at Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport. According to The Associated Press, newspapers carried photos of the joyous event, which is apparently in step with the tradition in Turkey of sacrificing an animal to God when wishes come true. Well quaint though it might be, Turkish officials thought the ritual slaughter was a little too old-fashioned for a country that’s trying to get in step with more modern practices as it tries to join the European Union. So Turkish Airline officials called for chief mechanic Sukru Can’s head (figuratively, of course). More...

Columbia Simplifies Buying & Selling All Aircraft Brands
Selling an aircraft can be a challenging odyssey. Aircraft owners need to: locate a broker with national resources to sell for top dollar; select and utilize the most effective advertising; access no-cost, no-obligation finance pre-qualification; consult aviation tax experts; and obtain insurance quotes with higher liability limits. Columbia Aircraft has created a tool to assist pilots and aircraft owners of all brands. Check out their web site.
News Briefsback to top 

Officials in Hickory, N.C., say one way to improve the Hickory Airport would be to close a 4,400-foot runway. The runway, which sees only 6 percent of the airport’s traffic, will need a $2.3 million paving job in a few years and that got the creative thinkers at city hall pondering its fate. Tearing up the asphalt and relying entirely on the 6,400-foot main runway would pave the way for more hangars and commercial development, they reason. “This is an opportunity to have more planes and more activity at the airport that will make it more self-sufficient in the long term,” Assistant City Manager Tom Carr told the Hickory Record. More...

While it may not be exactly what more traditional aircraft makers have in mind for the term, it would be hard to argue the definition with Yves Rossy. The 47-year-old adventurer, who made headlines two years ago by gliding across the English Channel with a pair of strap-on wings, has taken the natural evolution of that feat and added power -- and plenty of it -- to his birdman exploits. For the past couple of years he’s been tinkering with model jet engines and earlier this year felt ready to demonstrate their remarkable effectiveness with the fold-out, strap-on wings that he’d developed earlier and produced a pretty interesting video of his exploits. More...

Hint, Hint — Oregon Aero Holiday Gift Ideas!
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News In Briefback to top 

China hosted indoor model airplane competition…
Contract awarded to fly caskets…
Sino Swearingen gets inspection status…
AOPA launches TV campaign on user fees. More...

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 newstips@avweb.com. What have you heard? More...

Join NAA and Help Shape the Next Century of Flight
It's a great time to join the National Aeronautic Association (NAA), the nation's oldest aviation organization. At $39 a year, NAA membership is a terrific value for any aviation enthusiast! Members receive the Smithsonian's Air & Space and NAA's Aero magazines, plus access to aviation records, product discounts, and much more. Call (703) 527-0226 to become an NAA member, or sign up online.
New On AVwebback to top 


Motor Head #17: All I Want for Christmas...
AVweb's Marc Cook doesn't believe in fairy tales -- he knows he can't get turbine power and reliability at piston prices and fuel consumption, for instance -- but he does want Santa to give him a few nice improvements to his engine.

AVMAIL: DEC. 25, 2006

AVmail: Dec. 25, 2006
Reader mail this week about IFR charts, good and bad ATC and more. More...

You can now get the latest general aviation news from AVweb -- the world's premier independent aviation news source -- as it happens at AVweb.com. Or sign up for our news feed and have the most recent headlines pushed directly to your RSS-based news reader. Either way, you'll be able to read the same concise, but comprehensive, news stories that you've come to expect from AVweb. And for major breaking general aviation news, AVweb will send out news alerts via e-mail to keep subscribers informed. Don’t worry -- you'll also continue to receive AVwebFlash every Monday and Thursday. More...

WingX 2.0 Now Available — With NACO Approach Charts, SmartTaxi™, Online Weather, and Podcasts!
Hilton Software LLC has just released WingX 2.0 for the Pocket PC — now with approach charts, weather images, podcasts, N-number search, helicopter W&B, and SmartTaxi™ to help prevent runway incursions. Of course, this is in addition to WingX's great Weight and Balance, Route Planning, FARs, color-coded weather reports, and superb E6B capabilities. Excellent A/FD with auto-dial. WingX is now GPS-enabled! Learn more and download WingX at HiltonSoftware.com.
AVweb Audio Newsback to top 

AVweb posts audio news on Mondays, plus a new in-depth interview each Friday. In last Friday's podcast, you'll find an interview with NORAD's Stacia Reddish on its Santa tracking project. And AVweb's podcast index includes interviews with Bill Lear, Jr.; NATA President Jim Coyne; Eclipse Aviation's Vern Raburn; Honda Aircraft's Jeffrey Smith; Cirrus Design cofounder and CEO Alan Klapmeier; Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton; and Spectrum Aeronautical chairman Linden Blue. In today's news summary, hear about the Goldman Sachs/Onex deal to buy Raytheon Aircraft for $3.3 billion, Loran making a resurgence in the UK as a GPS backup, a truly personal jet called Jet-Man, Pratt & Whitney Canada's plans to build more fuel-efficient turbofans and more. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.

Brought to you by Bose Corporation. More...

HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb's NO-COST twice monthly business newsletter, AVwebBiz? Reporting on breaking news, Business AVflash also focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the Business of Aviation. Business AVflash is a must read. Sign up today at http://www.avweb.com/profile/. More...

ASO — A Better Way to Sell Your Aircraft Share
Finding aircraft share buyers can be almost impossible. FBO bulletin board flyers are too limited, and ads in national publications are too broad. There's a better way, with ASO's Partnership Ads. List your share on ASO, the most trusted place for aircraft sales, where buyers search geographically to easily find your partnership listing. For a limited time, select Partnership Ads are complimentary. To get your share in front of potential buyers, call (888) 992-9276, or visit online.
FBO Of The Weekback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Goshen Air Center at KGSH in Goshen, Illinois.

AVweb reader John Wesley said this FBO has been turned around by its current owners.

"Zane Gillin and Randy Sharkey took over this operation 14 years ago, it was broke and had been on the skids for years. They have developed it into a clean, modern facility that cheerfully serves everyone in aviation from the ultralight through the large corporate jet. They have a courtesy car, wireless Internet, pilot lounge, flight-planning room, meeting room, a large comfortable waiting area and free lunch Friday."

Keep those nominations coming. For complete contest rules, click here.

AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!


Tired of the High Cost of Fuel? GAMIjectors Are the Answer!
Don't be grounded by sky-high gas prices. Install GAMIjectors, and you could see up to a 20% cut in your aircraft's fuel bill. Balanced fuel/air ratios make your aircraft's engine run smoother, cooler, and more efficiently. Call 888-FLY-GAMI, or order a kit online for your Continental or Lycoming engine.
Video Of The Weekback to top 

Happy holidays from AVweb!
Aviation-themed videos will return next week, but since we're posting this edition of "VOTW" on Christmas morning, December 26, 2006, we thought we'd take a few moments to sip our hot cocoa and share one of the most fun viral videos that's hit the web in the last few years. This week's amazing video showcases the patience and ingenuity of Ohio electrical engineer Carson Williams, whose 2004 Christmas lights display, synchronized to the music of Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Wizard in Winter" (buy it here) sparked so much chatter that it has its own page on the myth-busting web site Snopes.com. (Click through to watch.) More...

No Cute Cartoons, No Fancy Covers. IFR Magazine Brings You the Hard Facts
IFR magazine has insightful facts to polish your proficiency, updates on changing regs, and articles that help keep your decision-making skills sharp in the demanding IFR environment. Order your subscription online for savings from the regular rate.
The Lighter Side Of Flightback to top 

Twas the night before Christmas, and out on the ramp,
Not an airplane was stirring, not even a Champ.
The aircraft were fastened to tiedowns with care,
In hopes that come morning, they all would be there.
The fuel trucks were nestled, all snug in their spots,
With gusts from two-forty at 39 knots.
I slumped at the fuel desk, now finally caught up,
And settled down comfortably, resting my butt.
When the radio lit up with noise and with chatter,
I turned up the scanner to see what was the matter.
A voice clearly heard over static and snow,
Called for clearance to land at the airport below.
He barked his transmission so lively and quick,
I'd have sworn that the call sign he used was "St. Nick".
I ran to the panel to turn up the lights,
The better to welcome this magical flight.
He called his position, no room for denial,
"St. Nicholas One, turnin' left onto final."
And what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a Rutan-built sleigh, with eight Rotax Reindeer!
With vectors to final, down the glideslope he came,
As he passed all fixes, he called them by name:
"Now Ringo! Now Tolga! Now Trini and Bacun!
On Comet! On Cupid!" What pills was he takin'?
While controllers were sittin', and scratchin' their head,
They phoned to my office, and I heard it with dread,
The message they left was both urgent and dour:
"When Santa pulls in, have him please call the tower."
He landed like silk, with the sled runners sparking,
Then I heard "Left at Charlie," and "Taxi to parking."
He slowed to a taxi, turned off of three-oh
And stopped on the ramp with a "Ho, ho-ho-ho..."
He stepped out of the sleigh, but before he could talk,
I ran out to meet him with my best set of chocks.
His red helmet and goggles were covered with frost
And his beard was all blackened from Reindeer exhaust.
His breath smelled like peppermint, gone slightly stale,
And he puffed on a pipe, but he didn't inhale.
His cheeks were all rosy and jiggled like jelly,
His boots were as black as a cropduster's belly.
He was chubby and plump, in his suit of bright red,
And he asked me to "fill it, with hundred low-lead."
He came dashing in from the snow-covered pump,
I knew he was anxious for drainin' the sump.
I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work,
And I filled up the sleigh, but I spilled like a jerk.
He came out of the restroom, and sighed in relief,
Then he picked up a phone for a Flight Service brief.
And I thought as he silently scribed in his log,
These reindeer could land in an eighth-mile fog.
He completed his pre-flight, from the front to the rear,
Then he put on his headset, and I heard him yell, "Clear!"
And laying a finger on his push-to-talk,
He called up the tower for clearance and squawk.
"Take taxiway Charlie, the southbound direction,
Turn right three-two-zero at pilot's discretion"
He sped down the runway, the best of the best,
"Your traffic's a Grumman, inbound from the west."
Then I heard him proclaim, as he climbed through the night,
"Merry Christmas to all! I have traffic in sight."

Author unknown More...



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Holiday Special from Comm1 Radio Simulators
Comm1 CD-ROMs are designed to teach pilots how to communicate safely and professionally with Air Traffic Control. Available in VFR, IFR, and Clearances on Request versions, Comm1 Radio Simulators let you experience real flight situations through high-quality audio and graphics from the safety and privacy of your desktop. Special Offer: A complimentary multimedia stereo headset with any purchase. Offer ends December 25th. Order online.

Names Behind the Newsback to top 

AVwebFlash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the internet's aviation magazine and news service.

Today's issue was written by Contributing Editors Russ Niles (bio) and Glenn Pew (bio) and Editor In Chief Chad Trautvetter.

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.

Happy holidays from the AVweb staff.