AVwebBiz Complete Issue: Volume 5, Number 46

November 28, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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Quotes reprinted with permission. Aviation Consumer, August 2007.
 
Columbia Cessna 350 & 400 Will Continue back to top 
 

Cessna Gets Columbia

As expected, Cessna was the top bidder for Columbia Aircraft, paying $26.4 million for "select assets" of the bankrupt Bend, Ore. planemaker. The bankruptcy auction was held Tuesday afternoon. CEO Jack Pelton said the company will invest money in the Bend plant, make sure existing owners are looked after and will keep making the two aircraft models under the name Cessna 350 and Cessna 400. "The Columbia models are a good fit with our existing product line," Pelton said in a news release. "We look forward to providing existing Columbia owners with improved levels of service and support and introducing new customers to these outstanding aircraft."

The transaction is expected to be completed Dec. 4 and the Cessna logo will go up on the Bend plant. Pelton said it's good news for the existing employees and those who own Columbia aircraft. "We plan to make significant investments in Bend, in people and operations, to bolster customer satisfaction and business profitability. We will continue to improve quality, reliability and performance as we strive to deliver customer value and fulfill our commitments," Pelton said. Among the big changes for existing Columbia owners is access to Cessna's full parts and service network.

 
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China Says "Ni Hao" to Skycatcher Plant back to top 
 

Skycatcher to Be Made in China

Cessna has chosen the Chinese-government owned Shenyang Aircraft Corp. to build the Model 162 Skycatcher. Earlier this week, Cessna announced it would be building the Light Sport Aircraft offshore. In a news release, Cessna CEO Jack Pelton said the company needed top quality at a competitive price and SAC put it all together. "Our solution is to partner with SAC, a company with excellent facilities, state-of-the-art technologies and a workforce highly experienced in aircraft manufacturing. SkyCatcher customers will get an advanced design, high-quality workmanship and world-class product support, all at an affordable price from Cessna, a brand known and trusted worldwide." The move, coupled with Cessna's acquisition of Columbia Aircraft has dominated Cessna's profile in recent months as it continues to pile up record sales for its business jets.

SAC is better known for its activities in jet aircraft and whether this is a foot in the door for future projects seems likely from the comments made by the head of SAC. "SAC greatly values the cooperation with Cessna, and sees Cessna as a significant partner in the general aviation segment. Since the start of the cooperation between the two companies that began in 2003, a good foundation has been established," said Chairman and President, Mr. Luo Yang of SAC. "The communications and exchange of visits between the management of our two companies have strengthened the trust and understanding, which leads to today's signing of the Model 162 contract, making SAC the sole source supplier of this great airplane." SAC has been building aircraft—mostly for the Chinese military—since 1951 and has entered into joint projects with a number of Western companies, including Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier.

 
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S-Tec Autopilots Under New Ownership back to top 
 

Cobham Buys S-Tec

British-owned Cobham PLC, which owns Chelton, Comant, Artex Aircraft Supplies and Wulfsberg Electronics, among other things, has purchased autopilot maker S-Tec from Meggitt PLC, also from Britain, for $38 million. The deal was concluded last week and the capacity that S-Tec adds to Cobham's aviation portfolio were front and center in the announcement. "The close association with these established leaders, combined with the support of Cobham, will enable S-TEC to explore new opportunities to further expand our markets for new-generation digital autopilot and flight control systems," said S-Tec President Mel Hilderbrand.

Meggitt acquired S-Tec in 2000 and the company has added prominent industry customers like Cirrus, Eclipse and Mooney to its portfolio. However Meggitt CEO Terry Twigger said the autopilot maker is "no longer considered core to Meggitt's current operations." S-Tec will remain in Mineral Wells, Texas where it employs 180 people.

 
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Very Lights Jets Take Hold in the Middle East back to top 
 

VLJs: Iran's Next Big Thing?

As the air taxi business based on very light jets (VLJs) gets plenty of hype all over the aviation world, even places that don't normally figure prominently in the business are taking notice. Iran, for example, seems to think there's a place for VLJ air taxis to fill in the transportation gaps over its vast expanses. "Considering the fact that the length of landing line for these ultra light aircrafts is less than 1500 meters, most of the Iran's present airports are technically suitable to accept these taxis," the Cultural Heritage News Agency (CHNA) wrote recently.

Apparently Iran is interested in all the same purported benefits of air taxis as more traditional markets for such services seem to be. "Some privileges of air taxis are as follows: flexible flight schedules based on the demands of passengers, utilizing low weight, small sized and high speed aircrafts, it can also serve requirements of hub-and-spoke system and fly between second small airports," the agency's brave translation observed. However, it also noted that to achieve these benefits, the government would have to write new regulations to address the specific needs of the air taxi business.

 
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PMI Media's Latest Online Offering back to top 
 

Aviation Business Supply Chain Database Created

Those interested in who is selling what to whom in the aerospace industry can subscribe to a new database created by PMI Media. The Aerospace Supply Chain Database is described as a "new market intelligence service for the global aerospace industry." The database appears to quite literally get to the nuts and bolts of the industry, tracing the source of all materials going into aircraft and engine products, sometimes down to the raw materials. "Information has been compiled on key contracts, suppliers, value (where publicly available), location of work, contract dates and technology/industry analysis which can be easily interrogated by customers," the company said in a news release. Free examples of the depth and breadth of the database are now available.

The sample given on the myriad of contracts required to build the Boeing 787 Dreamliner runs 42 pages and itemizes the contractors, subcontractors and their subcontractors. For instance, the document lists Magellan as the overall contractor for the landing gear but notes that Quest Machining and Manufacturing of Bangalore, India, is doing the work. The database is grouped in seven libraries and broken down by individual airplane and engine.

 
XM WX Satellite Weather Uses a Continuous Satellite Broadcast to Deliver Graphical Weather Data to the Cockpit
Pilots view and interact with the data — including radar, winds, METARs, lightning, and more — on compatible MFDs, EFBs, and PDAs from a wide range of industry partners, as well as on laptop PCs. The situational awareness afforded by XM WX Satellite Weather allows pilots to enjoy their journeys with more confidence and comfort than ever before. For more information, please visit XMWXweather.com.
 
Jet Aviation's Russian Home Away from Home back to top 
 

Jet Aviation Opens Vnukovo Facility

Swiss-based Jet Aviation will open a branch at Moscow's Vnukovo International Airport to provide maintenance, repair and AOG support for the rapidly increasing number of business aircraft using the modern airport. Jet Aviation is the first international company to set up at the airport and CEO Peter Edwards said its customers demanded it. "Given the extraordinary growth of business aviation in Russia, we felt the need to enter the region as soon as possible. Our clients and the OEMs have communicated clearly that they expect us to be here," he said in a news release.

Vnukovo handles about 70 percent of Russia's business aircraft traffic and Jet Aviation is wasting little time capitalizing on that. Its new facility is expected to start receiving clients in a few weeks and will be staffed by hand-picked personnel. Airport board of directors chairman Vitaly Vantsev said the addition of Jet Aviation is a milestone for the airport. "With a global player such as Jet Aviation at Vnukovo we demonstrate our long-term commitment in supporting the business aviation community at our airport," he said.

 
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Bombardier Looks to New Opportunities back to top 
 

Bombardier Targets "Emerging Markets"

Bombardier says a major portion of its business in coming years will come from Russia, China and India as well as South Africa and Brazil. In a ceremony to launch the Challenger 605 business jet in Mumbai, company spokesman Murray Sutherland said that market opportunities move with the changing fortunes of various parts of the world and global enterprises like Bombardier move with them. "The business is so international it makes us fairly immune to problems that are specific to some countries," he told Reuters. "But it would be foolish of us to disregard high oil prices or a possible downturn in the U.S. economy." At the same time, the Indian media was revelling in the attention from the world's third largest aircraft maker.

The Hindustan Times noted that Indian business is expanding "at jet's speed" and that's what has attracted Bombardier. It quoted Bombardier's South Asia managing director Nilesh Pattanayak as saying the market is ripe for the company's products. "India is an important market for us and we expect many orders from the billion dollar club. We equate the Indian market with other emerging markets of Russia, China and Brazil where business jets are in demand."

 
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San Francisco's Most Admired CEO back to top 
 

Aviation Leader Earns Silicon Valley Recognition

When the San Francisco Business Times was looking for the most admired CEO in the emerging growth category for its annual business awards, it skipped the plethora of technology and information companies within its circulation reach and tapped the aviation business. Paul Touw, CEO of XOJET was given the pivotal award at the publication's annual awards ceremony in San Francisco last week. XOJET describes itself as the "world's fastest growing aviation company" and it has the jet orders to prove it. By 2012, the company will have a fleet of 127 business jets and it's not quite two years old.

Touw is credited with blending aviation expertise with "Silicon Valley ingenuity" to drive the meteoric growth of the company but he said it has more to do with the people who work there. "This award is not so much a reflection of my work as a CEO, but of the work of a group of fiercely-dedicated employees with a passion to change the private aviation industry," said Touw. XOJET says it has 500 top executives, corporations and influential people, for whom private aircraft use is essential, as customers.

 
Collier Trophy Collectible Medallion Series 3 Now Available
NAA's Collier Trophy Centennial Medallion Series 3 is now available for gift-giving or for your own collection, along with Series 1 and 2. A commemorative card encases a heavy metal medallion showing the Collier Trophy on one side and an image of the F-22 Raptor on the reverse. Series 1 reverse shows SpaceShipOne, and Series 2 reverse shows the Eclipse 500. Visit NAA's merchandise section to view and order.
 
Aviation Consumer Wants Your Input back to top 
 

Did Your Battery Die? Tell Us About It

Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, will soon publish an in-depth report on aircraft batteries. As part of that report, the magazine would like to hear about your experiences with aircraft batteries -- good, bad or otherwise.

To take part in our online survey, click here.

 
New Gift Ideas Have Been Added to AVweb's Holiday Marketplace
When purchasing gifts for family, friends, and flying buddies, go to AVweb's Holiday Marketplace. AVweb is the perfect place to find perfect gifts for pilots and aviation enthusiasts. And for yourself — forward the link to your family and friends as a hint as to what you want! It's easy online, with AVweb!
 
Heard Anything Interesting? Tell Us! back to top 
 

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

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. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.

 
Names Behind the News back to top 
 

Meet the AVwebBiz Team

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

The AVwebBiz 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

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