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BEECHCRAFT TAKES OFF On Monday, Raytheon Company finalized
the sale of wholly owned subsidiary Raytheon Aircraft Company to Hawker
Beechcraft Inc., a new venture formed by Goldman Sachs affiliate GS
Capital Partners and Onex Partners, for approximately $3.3 billion in
cash. Announced on Dec. 21, the transaction includes Raytheon Aircraft
facilities and other assets in Wichita and Salina, Kan. Little Rock,
Ark. and Dallas, Texas, in addition to the Raytheon Aircraft Services
(now Hawker Beechcraft Services) FBO network across the U.S., U.K. and
Mexico. The sale does not include Raytheon's ownership in either
fractional provider Flight Options or Raytheon Airline Aviation
Services. In a letter to customers, Hawker Beechcraft Chairman and CEO
James Schuster said the new name celebrates the company's "rich"
heritage, achievement and innovation. "For the first time in more than a
quarter of a century we are an independent, private company," he noted.
"I am pleased to say that today our company is stronger than ever
as is our commitment to our many valued customers worldwide."
COMMITTEE PROBES AVIATION MEDICAL "FRAUD" On Tuesday, House
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James L. Oberstar,
D-Minn., on Tuesday released a committee oversight report that identifies
"widespread fraud" among pilots who hide serious medical conditions from
examining physicians to retain medical certification for their FAA pilot
certificates. The report notes that "in July 2005, the DOT Inspector
General found 'egregious cases' of airmen lying about debilitating
medical conditions on their applications" for FAA medicals. The DOT
watchdog sampled 40,000 airman's records and found more than 3,200 held
current medical certificates while simultaneously receiving Social
Security benefits, some for medically disabling conditions that voided
their FAA medicals. Forty people were prosecuted, but the committee's
oversight and investigations staff believe hundreds more could have been
pursued if not for limited resources. Further, the research team found
"toxicology evidence" of serious medical conditions in nearly 10 percent
of all pilots involved in fatal accidents during a 10-year period,
though less than 10 percent of these medical conditions were disclosed
to the FAA. More...
500 UPGRADES ON TRACK A letter to customers and investors sent on Monday by
Eclipse Aviation President and CEO Vern Raburn says that the Eclipse 500
performance modification certification program has moved into the final
stage and is "on schedule" for completion by mid-April. "In addition,
the Avio NG development program is making great progress and moving
toward the scheduled completion this summer," he adds. Raburn also
addresses the very light jet's weight since Avio NG is marginally
heavier than the original system, and the performance improvements have
added some bulk as well. "While these enhancements have increased weight
in the aircraft full fuel payload and useful load, remain
unchanged," he says. Besides the product improvements, "we have made
significant progress on weight reductions throughout the aircraft. From
the moment we received our Provisional Type Certification at AirVenture
last summer, we have had a corporate commitment to constantly improve
the Eclipse 500, and one significant area of improvement has been weight
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SEEKS SOLUTIONS TO RUNWAY INCURSIONS The NTSB hosted a Runway
Safety Forum on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., on the 30th anniversary
of the worst aviation accident ever -- the runway collision in 1977
between two 747s at Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, that killed 583
people. "We must do something to begin the process of preventing these
incursions," NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker said. "The NTSB has
investigated several near collisions in the past few years that could
have been catastrophic if it hadn't been for sharp-eyed flight crews and
luck." Several panelists were critical of the FAA for being too slow to
incorporate safety technologies at airports. Last week, the FAA said it would fast-track its approval
process to get GPS ground-navigation devices into cockpits by the end of
this year. The units show pilots exactly where their airplane is on a
moving map of the airport surface. More...
AIRPORT FUNDING PROPOSALS AIRED The U.S. House Transportation
Committee held a hearing on Wednesday on the status of the Airport
Improvement Program. The long-standing program delivers a minimum of
$150,000 per year to every general aviation airport. The FAA wants to
eliminate that guarantee. Busier airports would get $400,000 every year,
airports with 10 to 49aircraft based there would get $100,000, and
airports smaller than that would get no guaranteed allotment. Gerald
Dillingham, of the Government Accountability Office, told the hearing
that the FAA's proposed changes would have an "uncertain" impact on
smaller airports, which are more reliant on AIP funds. Charles
Barclay,president of the American Association of Airport Executives,
told the committee his group was "dismayed" by the proposal to cut AIP
funding, and asked for an increase instead. More...
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FUEL-CELL EXPERIMENT NEARS FLIGHT-TEST PHASE Boeing
researchers in Europe plan to conduct manned flight tests this year of a
single-engine airplane powered only by a fuel cell and lightweight
batteries, the company said on Tuesday. Flight testing will take
place in Spain. The demonstrator aircraft is a highly modified Dimona
motorglider built by Diamond Aircraft. With a wingspan of 53.5 feet, the
airplane will cruise at about 54 knots on fuel-cell power. The
fuel-cell/lithium-ion battery hybrid system will power an electric motor
coupled to a conventional propeller. The fuel cell provides all power
for the cruise phase of flight. During takeoff and climb, the system
draws on lightweight lithium-ion batteries. More...
DIESELS ACHIEVE EASA CERTIFICATIONS Thielert's
diesel engines recently were FAA certified for installation on Cessna
172s, and now the Germany-based company has received the OK from EASA,
the European Aviation Safety Agency, for several more models. The
Centurion 2.0 is now certified by EASA for the Piper PA28. "A validation
in the USA is expected soon, because the Centurion 1.7 and its
installation in the PA28 already certified," according to Thielert's Web
site. The Centurion4.0 was recently certified by the EASA for the Cirrus
SR22, and approval for the Cessna 206 is expected soon, Thielert says.
"These two certifications will open the market for deliveries of the
4.0engine," according to the company. More...
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BLAKEY: "CHANGE IS NEVER EASY" FAA Administrator Marion
Blakey has been spending a lot of time on Capitol Hill the last few
weeks, trying to build support for her new aviation user-fee funding
plan. And she's getting a little tired of all the criticism it's been
getting. "In recent weeks, the rhetoric about our finance reform bill
has become very, shall I say, animated and aggressive?" she told a meeting of airport executives on Tuesday.
"It's mighty frustrating ... If the FAA really wanted to kill GA, as our
critics claim, we'd just sit back and do nothing. We'd leave the air
traffic system just the way it is, and let congestion slowly squeeze
them out." More...
TO DEVELOP TWO NEW BIZJETS Embraer, which is currently
developing two new light jets, the Phenom100 and 300, is also reportedly
working on two more new models,which would each seat 8 to 11 passengers.
If the two projects get the green light, expect to hear details this
September at the annual convention of the National Business Aviation
Association, set for Atlanta, Ga., in September. On Wednesday, Pratt &
Whitney Canada said it has delivered the first two PW617F engines for
flight testing on the Phenom 100. Certification of the engine is
expected by the end of this year. More...
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DISRUPT JACKSONVILLE TRACON A roofing project at the FAA
tower and Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) in Jacksonville,
Fla., has driven seven controllers to complain of illness from fumes,
including dizziness, nausea and chest pains, according to the National
Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA). "The majority of
controllers currently are being forced to work six-day weeks and/or
10-hour days due to the tight staffing," according to NATCA. "The response from management
regarding the exposure to this chemical is abhorrent," said NATCA
spokesman Victor Santore. "The employees feel that the FAA does not care
about their safety, health and welfare." FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen
told AVweb on Tuesday that the FAA "takes very seriously the
health and safety of all its employees." More...
TO DEVELOP CERTIFIED TWO-PLACE HELICOPTER RotorWay
International, based in Chandler, Ariz., has sold more than 900 kits
for small homebuilt helicopters, and now is starting development of a
certified version. "We see a large opening in the market for a larger,
two-seat, 21st-century helicopter with a sensible price," said CEO Grant
Norwitz. The project is underway at RotorWay's facility in South Africa.
The company will seek European certification first, then move on to the
FAA. "We know there are many steps toward certification, and we know we
are taking only the first step," Norwitz said. "We also know how
important it is to take that first step. We have committed, here and
now, to pursuing that goal." More...
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THE FLY Comp Air's 10-place turboprop prototype will fly into
the Sun 'n Fun next month... Report: Runway incursions at LAX due to
infrastructure, not traffic... Light Sport Airplanes West opens in
Salinas, Calif., with a fly-in on April 28... An MD-87 was forced to
land at MKE by military jets... AOPA Air Safety Foundation's
PinchHitter course now online... Thefts in North Carolina have
targeted King and Garmin avionics... Mooney named Floyd Washburn as
vice president of programs and new business... King Air Foundation
gets more industry support Experiments will test UAVs for
protecting commercial airports from missile attacks. More...
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TO THE NEW FACE OF AVWEB AVweb.com, the worlds best Web site for
general aviation news and information, is now even better thanks to a
redesigned home page. The revamped home page has more content, easier
navigation, a more user-friendly podcast interface and better graphics
to complement AVweb's real-time general aviation news, incisive
commentary and unparalleled feature reporting. More...
If You Live in One of These States, Mike Busch
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California, Ohio, Maryland, Massachusetts, Georgia, New Mexico, and
Oklahoma are states where Mike Busch will be offering his acclaimed
Savvy Owner Seminar. In one information-packed weekend, you will
learn how to have a safer, more reliable aircraft while saving thousands
on maintenance costs, year after year. For complete details, and to
reserve your space,
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 Craig Sincock of Avfuel. And
AVweb's podcast index includes
interviews with Comp Air's Ron Lueck; Expedition Aircraft's Andrew
Hamblin; Eclipse Aviation's Vern Raburn; NBAA's Ed Bolen; Open Air's
Michael Klein; Air Excursions' Cable Wells; Stephen Brown; NATCA's Paul
Rinaldi; AOPA's Kathleen Vascouselos; Maule Air's Mikel Boorom;
Professsional Aviation Maintenance Association president Brian Finnegan;
aviation forecaster Richard Aboulafia; and Bill Lear, Jr. In Monday's news
summary, hear about what panelists said at the FAA forecast about
Columbia Aircraft's restructuring, the FAA's continued attempt to link
user fees with ATCmodernization, how much NextGen avionics will cost
operators, the latest on DayJet and more. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts,
you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.
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OF THE WEEK: IS MEDICAL FRAUD REALLY AS WIDESPREAD AS THE U.S. HOUSE
BELIEVES? Last week, AVweb wanted to know whether you
agreed with the FAA's estimate of 5,000 VLJs being delivered over the
next decade. (Click through for the answer.) This week, we want to hear
what you think about the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee's assertion of "widespread fraud" among pilots who hide
serious medical conditions from examining physicians in order to protect
their FAA certification. More...
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AVweb's "FBO of
the Week" ribbon goes to Jet Aviation at KBED in Bedford,
AVweb reader Paul Tollini says the FBO provides the
same level of service, regardless of airplane size.
other FBOs, at Jet Aviation BED all customers are valued regardless of
the size of the aircraft that they arrived in or how much fuel they
purchase. When I had passengers that insisted on using the other FBO on
the field, I felt like a traitor and received much worse service at a
much higher price."
OF THE WEEK: AVWEB'S FLYING PHOTOGRAPHY SHOWCASE 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." We love spring! And
(quite frankly) it doesn't have much to do with warm weather, air shows,
or sunny Saturday afternoons. Nope. For Team POTW, the best part of
spring is the flood of new airplane photographs that make their way to
our submission box. This week, we had 112 new images to rifle through.
(That's usually good for about 30 wows, 15 giggles, and 10 or so
yikeses.) Bengt Olson of
Hindås, Sweden brought a smile to our faces with this shot of "King
Carl XII trying to direct a Finnair A321." Despite some rather amazing
photos that trickled in this week, we couldn't stop snickering over
Bengt's creative image, and (at the end of the day) that made this our
"Picture of the Week." Bengt, we were tempted to send you an extra cap
for King Carl there but with your sense of humor, we couldn't
trust you not to put it on him. More...
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 Editor Mary
and Editor In Chief Chad
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
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on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's
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