AVwebBiz - Volume 6, Number 44

October 29, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News: More Signs of the Times back to top 
Sponsor Announcement

A700 Certification Shelved

Six months after buying the assets of Adam Aircraft for just $10 million, AAI Acquisitions is all but pulling the pin on a bid to revive the A700 very light jet program. The company announced Tuesday it's suspending the certification program on the A700 and canceling plans to hire hundreds of workers at Centennial Airport in Englewood, Colo. "The company has had a strategic readjustment," spokesman Jan D'Angelo told The Denver Business Journal. Centennial Airport spokesman Robert Olislagers was a little more pointed. "That's out the door right now," Olislagers said. "We already went through this drill with Adam Aircraft. It's obviously very unfortunate. It appears that AAI is getting caught up in the credit crunch out there. It's a worldwide problem."

Adam went bankrupt in January after pouring hundreds of millions of development money into the in-line twin A500 and the A700. AAI is a Russian equity company that includes an air taxi company called Dexter among its $3 billion in holdings. In May, at EBACE in Geneva, Dexter announced the purchase of 20 Cessna Mustangs, which was then a direct competitor of the A700.

Eclipse Shutdown Predicted

Forecast International, an aerospace market think tank says Eclipse Aviation will likely cease production early in 2009 because it's unlikely to find the $200 million it needs to keep going. In a news release on Tuesday, analyst Douglas Royce says Eclipse's back is against the wall after a series of setbacks. "We believe that the company will be able to push production out into early 2009 but will be forced to cease production within the first quarter of 2009," Royce said. Forecast International predicts only 12 aircraft will be finished in 2009 and "even this forecast may prove too optimistic," said Royce. Eclipse did not immediately respond to email and telephone messages left early Tuesday evening.

Forecast International says price increases, cancelled orders, an inability to achieve production efficiency all capped by the current economic situation will combine to bring the company to a halt. "Under the circumstances, Forecast International believes that securing new funding, while still possible, is unlikely," said Royce. Forecast International doesn't consider Eclipse's future in Russia as part of the current analysis, however. In September, the company announced the Russian government had approved construction of an assembly plant there and accompanied the news release with photos of former Russian President Vladimir Putin inspecting an Eclipse 500.

For a fresh perspective on the aviation economy, don't miss today's exclusive AVwebBiz podcast, a little further down in this very issue.

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P&W Takes R&D to Mirabel back to top 
Sponsor Announcement

P&WC Builds Engine Plant At Mirabel

Pratt and Whitney Canada has announced it will build a 300,000-square-foot engine assembly plant and flight test center at Montreal's Mirabel Airport as part of more than $575 million in investment in facilities in Quebec over the next five years. The Mirabel Aerospace Center will house the production facilities for P&WC's new PW800 series geared turbine engines, which have been picked by Cessna for the Columbus 850 intercontinental business jet. A key factor in P&WC's decision was Bombardier's choice of Mirabel for assembly of its new CSeries airliners, which will have a PW1524G engine on each wing. That's part of the reason P&WC's parent company, Pratt and Whitney, is moving its worldwide flight testing operation to Mirabel.

Pratt and Whitney has two Boeing 747SP aircraft that it uses for in-flight testing of new engines, including turboprops. The building will have hangar space for both aircraft. The company said another factor in the decision was the Quebec government's pledge to spend $141.9 million on improvements at Mirabel, which was built as a new international airport for Montreal in the 1970s. It never caught on with airlines and passengers and is now used almost exclusively for cargo. It's also Bombardier's main Canadian manufacturing base.

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Federal Govt. Calls the Shots on Runway Renovations back to top 

Court Upholds FAA Authority

A Connecticut court has rejected yet another bid by a civic government to chip away at the virtually absolute authority of the FAA in aviation matters. According to Stratford, Conn., lawyer Paul Lange, the town of East Haven was trying to block the Tweed New Haven Airport Authority from proceeding with an FAA-funded runway safety area project. The airport doesn't meet FAA standards for overruns and the FAA is paying 95 percent of the cost of bringing it into compliance. All of the work will take place on land already owned by the airport. In her decision, Judge Janet C. Hall said "the regulation of taxiways and runways is preempted by federal law," meaning East Haven can't pass any ordinance that would prevent the FAA from going about its business, which, in this case, is aviation safety.

Lange said East Haven may appeal the decision but the "decision is important for other constrained airports seeking to simply bring their [runway safety areas] up to current FAA standards. He noted that the judge was also of the opinion that the FAA's pre-eminence would also apply if the safety areas were to be built on land outside airport boundaries.

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 $16 billion. The global fleet of more than 5,200 Citations is the largest fleet of business jets in the world. More information about Cessna Aircraft Company is available at Cessna.com.
Teterboro Sleeps a Little Easier These Days ... back to top 

TEB Good-Neighbor Policy Working

Stage II business jet operations have dropped by 43 percent and night operations at Teterboro Airport have been cut by 16 percent since operators instituted a voluntary ban on those types of activities two years ago. At a news conference on Tuesday, representatives of the Teterboro Airport Industry Working Group's "Pledge to the Community Program" updated the media on efforts to ease the friction between the airport and its neighbors. "I am quite pleased with the continued progress of the working group's Pledge to the Community Program," National Air Transportation Association President Jim Coyne said. "The significant reduction in Stage II and overnight operations is a testament to the aviation industry's commitment to this critical initiative." Coyne is also co-chair of the program. There are now 300 signatories on the voluntary ban and the group is urging more to join.

In a letter to operators that use TEB, the group says it's "critical we continue the momentum achieved over the last two years," since the establishment of the effort. In addition to the 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew and the Stage II ban, the group has resolved to ban aircraft weighing more than 100,000 pounds and to enhance safety and security at the airport.

Aircraft Financing to Fit Your Needs
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It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's — Wait, Is It Really? back to top 

Zeppelin Starts Passenger Flights Over Bay Area

Airship Ventures is now up and running with its German-built Zeppelin, offering sightseeing flights to the general public in an airship, the first time such flights have been available in the U.S. in about seven decades. The company started media flights this week from Moffett Field, just south of San Francisco, and will start passenger operations on Friday. The ship will also fly from Oakland International Airport and from Charles Schulz Airport in the Sonoma Valley. The Zeppelin is almost 250 feet long. Large windows offer a 360-degree view, and the cabin seats up to 12 passengers, who are free to move around during the flight. The airship flies low and slow, topping out at about 1,200 feet AGL and 35 to 40 mph. Hour-long tours run about $500 per seat. The ship can also be chartered by the hour.

The company may fly the ship to EAA AirVenture or the Albuquerque balloon festival next year, if a sponsor steps up with funding. Airship Ventures' future business plans include the addition of a second Zeppelin airship, to be based on the U.S. east coast, followed by a third Zeppelin devoted to air shows, special events and scientific research missions. The company will also expand its facilities at Moffett Field, offering facilities for catered corporate and special events.

Go Green with Diamond: $1.99 Fuel
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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Economic Crisis a Media Invention?

File Size 7.4 MB / Running Time 8:02

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Cirrus CEO Alan Klapmeier had to stand up in front of his staff last week and announce production adjustments to match the slumping demand for the company's airplanes. He told AVweb's Russ Niles that one of the hardest things to swallow about the current economic situation is the mainstream media's unquestioning perpetuation of the doom and gloom.

Click here to listen. (7.4 MB, 8:02)

AVweb's NBAA Convention 2008 Video Round-Up

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

In case you missed any of our videos from the 2008 NBAA Convention & Trade Show in Orlando, Florida, you can watch all eight of them (plus two shorts you may find interesting) right here. Just use the arrows at the right and left sides of the player to choose your video.

Video coverage of the 2008 NBAA Convention & Trade Show has been brought to you by Bose Corporation and WxWorx XM WX Satellite Weather.

More AVweb exclusive videos can be found at http://www.avweb.com/video.

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If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

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Want more AVweb media from the show?
Click here for podcasts from NBAA 2008.

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Who's Where back to top 

Williams Chief Pilot At Nashville Jet Charter

Benjamin Williams

Nashville Jet Charter announced that Benjamin Williams is its new chief pilot. Williams is a retired Army colonel who flew various military helicopters and fixed wing aircraft in a 27-year career.

Nelson Retires From Hawker Beechcraft

Randy Nelson, Hawker Beechcraft's senior vice president of product development and engineering will retire Dec. 1. He will be replaced by Edward Petkus, the current vice president of new product development.

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.

You Pay More for the Unbiased Truth — To Ultimately Save More
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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

Scott Simmons

Jeff van West

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