AVwebBiz - Volume 6, Number 18

April 30, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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FAA Reauthorization Bill Still Not (Quite) Ready back to top 
Sponsor Announcement

Senators Line Up To Amend FAA Bill

After a breakthrough on the major logjam that was stalling passage of the FAA reauthorization bill in the Senate last week, it seems like members on both sides of the aisle are now anxious to chip in their changes. While it doesn’t seem likely that any type of user fee amendment is waiting in the wings, the long list of proposed changes—ranging from a suggestion to ban peanuts on commercial airliners (allergy concerns) to equipage of helicopters with terrain and traffic awareness systems—seems destined to delay a vote on the bill until at least Thursday. As AVweb reported Monday, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), chairman of the aviation subcommittee and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) chairman of the finance committee agreed last Friday to scrap a proposal to impose a $25 per leg user fee on turbine-powered noncommercial aircraft.

The two agreed, instead, to hike taxes on jet fuel for general aviation aircraft to 36 cents a gallon from 21.8 cents. The hike is expected to raise $290 million a year, which would be spent exclusively on modernization of the FAA’s air traffic control system. While the fundamentals of the deal are expected to survive, the Republican contingent in the Senate wants some changes made. Tighter inspections of airliners, a passenger bill of rights and maybe a return to negotiations between the agency and its air traffic controllers have all been mentioned as possible amendments.

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Aircraft Taxes on the Table in Massachusetts back to top 

Massachusetts May End Aircraft Tax Exemption

The Massachusetts House has voted to end a sales tax exemption for aircraft and parts but the State Senate is not similarly inclined. The House voted 87 to 67 against a budget amendment that would have preserved the exemption from the five percent tax that applies to almost everything else in Massachusetts. Cutting the exemption would add about $7 million a year to state coffers, assuming the same level of business activity was maintained, something opponents said won’t happen. Senate President Therese Murray, a Democrat from Plymouth, favors maintaining the exemption, saying eliminating it would push aircraft business to the neighboring states of New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York and Connecticut that all exempt aircraft and parts from tax.

The House measure didn’t pass without a fight, however. Rep. Sarah Peake (D-Provincetown) said reviving the tax, which was eliminated in 2002, would cost her local airports jobs. "Those airports aren't just about places for the wealthy to fly their small planes into," Peake said. "Those airports are about jobs. Those airports are about economic opportunity. Those airports are about filling the transportation needs of this commonwealth."

Cessna Aircraft Company, the World's Largest General Aviation Manufacturer
Based on unit sales, Cessna Aircraft Company is the world's largest manufacturer of general aviation airplanes. In 2007, Cessna delivered 1,272 aircraft, including 387 Citation business jets, and reported revenues of about $5 billion. Cessna has a current backlog of $12.6 billion. The global fleet of more than 5,100 Citations is the largest fleet of business jets in the world. More information about Cessna Aircraft Company is available at Cessna.com.
Embraer's Latest Benchmark back to top 

First Phenom 300 Flies

Embraer announced Tuesday that the prototype of its Phenom 300 light business jet flew for the first time from the company’s Gaviao Peixoto plant. Three more test articles are under construction and will be used in the 1,400-hour certification test regime. The first production models are scheduled to enter service in the second quarter of 2009. “This first flight of the Phenom 300 executive jet is a very special and historic moment for all of us at Embraer…,” said CEO Frederico Fleury Curado “We unveiled the Phenom jets nearly three years ago, making a clear statement to the business aviation community of our commitment to becoming a long-term player in the executive aviation market.

The company said the first flight occurred a couple of months ahead of schedule, largely because the development process was entirely digitized. As expected, the 82-minute first flight was uneventful with Capt. John Sevalho Corcao and Embraer Chief Pilot Eduardo Alves Menini and flight test engineer JensPeter Theodor Geiger Wentz checking maneuvering characteristics, systems and general qualities as data was streamed in real time to engineers on the ground. “The quality of the Phenom 300 design and onboard high technology provided a very smooth and pleasant flight, increasing the thrill of flying the aircraft for the first time,” said Corcao.

Avidyne Extends Interface Capability for Tactical WX Detection System
Avidyne's TWX670 Tactical Weather Detection System has a Compatibility Mode providing a second output format for display of monochromatic lightning strike and storm cell information on a number of existing lightning detection-compatible displays. The TWX670's normal RS-232 output protocol supports the TWX670's TWxCell™ and Color Strike modes on compatible displays, including Avidyne's EX500, EX5000 and MHD300. With Compatibility Mode, the TWX670 provides an alternate protocol compatible with other manufacturers' displays. Click here for more information.

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European Gulfstreams Ready for SVT back to top 

Gulfstream Synthetic Vision Retrofit Approved In Europe

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has approved the retrofit of any of Gulfstream’s in-production large-cabin aircraft with its new Synthetic Vision-Primary Flight Display (SV-PFD). The approval applies to G550, G500, G450 and G350 aircraft operated from European Union countries. The system is a available as a factory option on new aircraft and will come standard on Gulfstream’s new flagship, the 650.

The synthetic vision system is an enhancement to the PlaneView flight display and uses Honeywell’s certified terrain data combined with obstacle data to create a 3-D view of the outside world, including runway views at airports all over the world. EASA also approved PlaneView-equipped jets for Required Navigation Performance Special Aircraft and Aircrew Authorization (RNP SAAAR) approaches, which allows the aircraft to fly predetermined paths loaded in their flight management computers. The setup allows more precise and lower instrument approaches with less chance of going missed.

Attention, Flight Schools! Stop Student Drop-Outs Due to Motion Sickness!
The ReliefBand is the most effective and predictable relief available for nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness. Because this wristwatch-like device produces no side effects, the ReliefBand is fully FAA-legal for pilot use, making it ideal for both student and aerobatic pilots. Call Aeromedix at (888) 362-7123, or go online to purchase.
Bizjets Have Gone Global, Says Aero Toy Store back to top 

U.S. Corporate Influence On Bizjet Market Fading

The chairman of Aero Toy Store, one of the largest business aircraft dealers in the world, says the U.S. no longer calls the tune in the bizjet market. “Five years ago our business was 100 percent in the U.S,” Steve McMillan told the Financial Times Now it is 75 percent outside the U.S. We used to track our business directly against American corporate profitability. Now that is only one factor, our sales are much more closely related to the number of billionaires in the world. It is an almost exact match.” McMillan was interviewed about news his company is planning an expansion to Monaco to be closer to its customers.

Aero Toy store began in Florida as an offshoot of a Montreal businessman’s car business and now has a $750 million inventory of mostly larger business jets. It buys and sells aircraft that, if purchased from the manufacturer, wouldn’t be delivered for up to five years from the order date.

Diamond DA40 XL Demonstrator Sale
For a limited time only, while quantities last, Diamond DA40 XL Demonstrator models are available at a special price of $299,950. The aircraft also qualify for special 2008 tax incentives. You can enjoy owning a Diamond DA40 and write off up to 93% of the purchase price. Visit Diamond Aircraft now for more information.
From Dump to the Fuel Pump back to top 

Jet Fuel From Garbage

A Washington, D.C.-based company is in the preliminary stages of developing a $250 million plant in California to make jet fuel out of garbage, manure and tree bark. According to Biomass Magazine Solena Group hopes to build the plant in Gilroy, Calif., and will use raw material from municipal, agricultural and forestry waste supplied by Norcal Waste Systems, one of California’s largest municipal waste and biomass collectors. The announcement comes on the heels of the successful certification of jet fuel made by a South African company that uses a different raw material but the same basic process as that planned in California.

The South African company Sasol produces the fuel from coal using the Fischer-Tropsch method. The same method can coax petroleum out of just about any carbon-based compound but jet fuel has to withstand major temperature extremes and still keep the hot section hot. Colorado-based Rentech is working with Solena to create the jet fuel from the raw product. Financing is being worked on and the group hopes to be producing Jet-A by 2011.

StickyCharts — No Tape or Thumbtacks Required
Your favorite FAA charts beautifully printed on removable adhesive backing. Easily map your route with dry-erase markers. Up to 4 feet tall, StickyCharts are delivered in a sturdy tube. Go online to order at StickyCharts.com.
Who's Where back to top 

Midcoast's Kurt Sutterer Vice Chair Of NATA

Midcoast Aviation President Kurt Sutterer has been named vice chairman of the National Air Transportation Association. He's the fourth Midcoast executive to serve on the NATA board and will become Chairman of the organization in 2009.

David Herbst Back At Mercury Air Group

David Herbst has rejoined Mercury Air Group as Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategies. In the 1990s he was Director of Corporate Relations when the company was public and was most recently Senior Vice President and General Manager of MWW Group, a PR firm in Los Angeles.

Maine Aviation Marketing Firm Established

Jeff Russell

JeffAirLLC and BFT International have recently merged to form Maine's only dedicated aviation marketing company, BFT Aviation Marketing. It will be headed up by JeffAir owner Jeff Russell.

Who's Where? You Tell Us

Get a promotion or a new job? Your colleagues want to know about it, and AVwebBiz can get the word out. Drop us a line about the staff appointment, with a nice recent photo, and we'll do our best to include it in our new section, "Who's Where." The items will be permanently archived on AVweb for future reference, too.

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The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something 200,000 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:

Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Features Editor
Kevin Lane-Cummings

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