AVwebBiz - Volume 7, Number 1

January 7, 2009

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News: TSA Hearings a Hot Ticket back to top 
Sponsor Announcement

First LASP Hearing Draws A Crowd

The Transportation Security Administration was urged Tuesday not to apply a one-size-fits-all approach to aircraft security by essentially transferring measures used for airline security to business aviation. The first of a series of public hearings into the Large Aircraft Security Program being proposed by the TSA was held in White Plains, New York and National Business Aviation Association President Ed Bolen told AVweb in a podcast interview that hundreds of people packed the meeting room with a consistent message to properly tailor security measures to the special considerations of business aircraft. Bolen stressed business aviation isn't trying to duck security measures and said GA "takes a backseat to no one" in the implementation of effective programs, such as Airport Watch, which have been done at the initiative of the community and not at the bidding of the federal government.

At the hearing, Bolen said the rule, as proposed, would have "unintended and destructive consequences that threaten the well-being of businesses across the U.S. that rely ontheir airplanes for survival." The rule would also require any airport that handles aircraft heavier than 12,500 lbs. to have security screening facilities, something that would affect thousands of small airports. Bolen said the TSA seems prepared to listen to GA concerns about the proposed rule, noting it could have unilaterally imposed the measures without consultation had it wanted to.

Related Content:
Podcast interview with NBAA President Ed Bolen, following the hearing.

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Quotes reprinted with permission: Professional Pilot, 2007 Headset Preference Survey, 12/07; Aviation Consumer, 8/07.
Manufacturers Struggle with Tough Times ... back to top 

More Layoffs At Cessna

Cessna is warning its workers to brace for another round of layoffs as the deepening financial crises puts the brakes on aircraft orders. The Wichita Business Journal says Cessna spokesman Doug Oliver confirmed earlier reports that Cessna CEO Jack Pelton had sent an e-mail to employees saying the company's production schedule was being changed in response to economic conditions. He did not detail how each of the various production lines would be affected, nor did he say how many people will be laid off.

Oliver told the Business Journal that hard numbers would take a couple of weeks to determine. In November, 500 employees were told they would be laid off and those layoffs are just taking effect. Another 50 workers took a buyout. A month ago, Cessna halted a $13 million expansion of its Pawnee production plant. The company said at the time it is continuing construction of production facilities for its large-cabin Columbus business jet.

Cirrus Calls Mandatory Staff Meeting

Cirrus Design will hold a mandatory staff meeting on Thursday to discuss the company's state of affairs. WDIO TV is reporting that "major staffing changes" are in store for the company, which, like virtually all aircraft manufacturers, is seeing sales drop in the current economic crisis. The TV station quotes vice president of business administration Bill King as saying "huge internal staffing changes" are planned. "If the market conditions continue to soften — and they certainly could, you know, for the first quarter or two of the year here — then we're going to need to be thoughtful about how we respond to that as well," King told the TV station. "We certainly can't allow the business to get put into a situation where we can't sustain it."

The station says the memo calling the meeting indicates that not all employees scheduled to return to work from a month-long furlough will be recalled. King said there are new developments coming and the company is cautiously optimistic about sales in the coming year, but the economic situation is such that it's impossible to predict.

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... As Everyone Eyes the Economy back to top 

Bizjet Backlogs Evaporating: Analyst

Last week, analyst Richard Aboulafia predicted Boeing and Airbus's production backlogs would largely evaporate as airlines grapple with the various crises before them, and now another industry-watcher is predicting the same in the business jet market. Brian Foley, who runs his own consultancy firm in New Jersey, said in a news release that much of the backlog reported by most of the major manufacturers is made up of large orders from start-up companies that will undoubtedly have challenges getting going in the current economy. "Whereas previous backlogs were speckled with fleet orders from a handful of fractional providers, current order books sport a cadre of unproven, start-up fleet purchasers launching unproven businesses into a deep worldwide recession," Foley said. "These types of entities have literally placed hundreds of business jet orders."

Foley says Embraer appears particularly vulnerable to the phenomenon, with deliveries of its Phenom 100 just beginning. Bombardier, Cessna and Hawker Beechcraft are, to varying degrees, in the same boat. "We're talking about a couple of hundred firm orders and another couple of hundred options, representing billions of dollars in backlog bookings." But it's not just start-ups that will chip away the backlogs. Foley expects blue-chip fractionals and clubs to defer purchases, too.

Superior Chapter 11: Still Shipping Parts, For Now

Superior Air Parts says it's continuing to fill and ship orders following its bankruptcy filing of last week and the acquisition of most of its assets by Textron Lycoming. Superior's Kent Abercrombie told AVweb this week that although the company laid off staff following its Dec. 31 bankruptcy filing, it is maintaining sufficient staff to accept and fill orders. Superior's XP experimental engine program will continue, but its popular owner-build program for homebuilders has been at least temporarily suspended. Lycoming's purchase includes only Superior's assets, meaning its PMAs and STCs for aftermarket parts, production certificates and various approvals, plus all parts in inventory and related intellectual property and equipment. Curiously, it did not buy Superior's Millennium cylinder line for Teledyne-Continental engines that, presumably, represents yet another asset Superior can sell.

The company remains as an independent business entity, albeit an insolvent one. Superior got into financial straits following the bankruptcy of its mother company, Thielert Aero Engines, last spring. Immediately after Thielert filed for insolvency in Germany, Superior's shipments of its Millennium cylinder line were disrupted. The cylinders were being shipped to Germany as raw castings and finish machined in Thielert's facility. That work was suspended when Thielert went under, but resumed when its recovery plan was in place.

Abercrombie told AVweb that Superior has continued to deliver cylinders, but at a slower pace, and added that cylinder delivery lead times have been improved over the past couple of months. The bated-breath question is whether Lycoming will authorize Superior to continue producing Lycoming and Continental parts (other than cylinders) under the aegis of the treasure trove of PMAs it now owns. Both Superior and ECI have represented competitive pressure for Lycoming on parts prices, which many field overhaul shops say has allowed them to remain in business. Scott Miller, a spokesperson for Lycoming, told AVweb this week that the company can't comment on its business plans until the bankruptcy court approves the assets sale.

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 $15.6 billion. The global fleet of more than 5,400 Citations is the largest fleet of business jets in the world. More information about Cessna Aircraft Company is available at Cessna.com.
Technical Troubles for Garmin Weather-Watchers back to top 

XM Outage Darkens Garmin Weatherlink

Owners of Garmin weatherlink-capable portable navigators found themselves flying blind over the weekend because of an as-yet-to-be diagnosed technical fault that may be days away from a solution. Spokespersons for both Garmin and WxWorx, which massages the weather data for delivery through the XM Radio system, told AVweb on Monday morning that no one seems to know why the failure occurred or when it will be fixed. Evidently, the failure affects only some GPSmap396, 496 and 696 models, but not the panel-mounted G1000 system. Also, Garmin's marine portables, which receive marine-related weather datalink, are similarly unaffected. One possible fix, says Garmin, is to refresh the XM receiver, which you can do by typing www.xmradio/refresh into a Web browser and then entering your receiver code. (It's on the back of the puck-type Smart Antennas.) Make sure the antenna has a view of the sky for at least 30 minutes. Garmin says it doesn't expect a solution before the middle of this week.

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For more information, visit WingsOfDreams.org.
News Briefs back to top 

Privatization Plan For California Airport Faces Obstacles

Although a new commercial airport due to open soon in Branson, Mo., will be privately run, and hundreds of small GA airfields are operated by private owners, efforts to convert existing government-run airports in the U.S. to private management have met resistance. Since 1997, only six airport operators have applied to an FAA program to privatize airports, and five terminated or withdrew their requests, the Los Angeles Times reported this week. Only a plan to privatize Midway Airport, near Chicago, remains in play. Now, local officials in Long Beach, Calif., are discussing a plan to privatize their municipal airport, but the plan is controversial. "I don't see this as a very attractive target for a takeover by private companies," Councilwoman Tonia Reyes Uranga told the Times. "The airport is close to residential areas, and there's a grandfathered noise ordinance that would be of concern ... I don't know how the airport will be profitable unless there is expansion." And expansion is problematic, since the field is surrounded by densely settled, affluent neighborhoods.

Privatization is common in Canada, Europe and Asia, the Times reports. More than 50 airports worldwide have privatized their operations, management or ownership since 1987.

Branson Airport is scheduled to open in May, with a single 7,140-foot runway and a control tower staffed by FAA contract personnel. The project cost $155 million and the owners expect 500,000 passengers per year, growing to 1.5 million within five years. The airport is a 10-minute drive from downtown Branson, a popular tourist destination.

For Australia's Flying Doctors, Obesity Carries A Cost

The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia, a historic outfit known around the world for providing health care and transport to patients in remote regions since the 1930s, now faces a uniquely 21st-century problem -- the obesity epidemic. Stretchers on new aircraft for air ambulance service in Australia are now required to handle patients weighing up to 570 pounds, almost twice the previous limit. Alan Tippett, spokesman for the RFDS, told the Daily Telegraph that besides upgrading to stronger stretchers, the organization is considering buying two larger airplanes, which would cost about AU$10 million each. "It is alarming to consider that the number of people who are obese has increased so much that special equipment is needed to lift those in a medical emergency to safety," Australia's Acting Health Minister Ian Macdonald told the Telegraph. "This should be a wake-up call to the community to watch what they eat by cutting down on fats and sugars and increasing how often they exercise." The story followed recent reports that more than 7.5 million Australian adults are overweight or obese, representing more than one third of the country's total population.

Worldwide, there are more than 1 billion overweight adults, at least 300 million of them obese, according to the World Health Organization. "The obesity epidemic is not restricted to industrialized societies; this increase is often faster in developing countries than in the developed world," says WHO. Childhood obesity also is already epidemic in some areas and on the rise in others. An estimated 22 million children under five are estimated to be overweight worldwide. Obesity can lead to debilitating and life-threatening health problems, according to WHO.

AERO Friedrichshafen — The Best Place for Your Business
AERO Friedrichshafen is the premier European trade show for the General Aviation industry. Starting in 2009, AERO will take place annually. Situated in Central Europe, within the border—triangle of Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, AERO is the ideal platform for the European General Aviation market. In addition, Messe Friedrichshafen is one of the most modern fairgrounds in Europe. If you want to do business in Europe, you have to be there! Go online for complete information.
AVweb Audio — Are You Listening? back to top 

Bolen Addresses GA Security Hearing

File Size 4.8 MB / Running Time 5:13

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

The first in a series of public hearings on the Transportation Security Administration's proposed Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP), which targets general aviation aircraft larger than 12,500 lbs., was held in White Plains, NY on Tuesday. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with National Business Aviation Association President Ed Bolen just after the hearing concluded.

Click here to listen. (4.8 MB, 5:13)

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New on AVweb back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Avgas Prices — Why Aren't They Cheaper?

Your corner service station is offering 2001 prices; why isn't your FBO? Actually, a few are, and Paul Bertorelli explains why in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog.

Read more.

A Pilot's Look at Life
Clear Left, I'll Have the Chicken: An Airline Captain Looks at Life, by Kevin Garrison. What people are saying: "I have spent years and billions of dollars getting into space, only to find that Kevin already is" — NASA spokesperson. "I think he was trying to be funny" — Mark Twain.

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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Bonus Video! Aviation Safety Profiles the Garmin 696's Top Safety Features

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

By now, you've seen and heard a lot about Garmin's new GPSMap 696 GPS device. In this video, Jeb Burnside, Editor-in-Chief of Aviation Safety magazine, walks you through four key safety features of the 696.

Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

Bonus Video! IFR Magazine Goes Inside the Tower at JFK International Airport

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

IFR magazine Editor-in-Chief Jeff Van West spent time in the Tower at Kennedy airport to see what it takes to run the operation during the evening push and why it takes two years for a controller to reach full qualification at one of the busiest airports in the Northeast.

Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

Aviation Consumer, the Only Magazine with the Guts to Tell the Truth
Truth about the gear you buy and the planes you fly. Aviation Consumer is packed with in-depth and uncompromising ratings of equipment, avionics, accessories, mods, services, aircraft, and much more. Order online and receive unlimited access to Aviation Consumer's ratings-packed web information database!
Who's Where back to top 

Patterson Joins FreeFlight

John Patterson

John Patterson is FreeFlight Systems' new director of marketing and sales. Patterson is a former naval aviator who also flew for Delta before joining FreeFlight.

Goulet to CRS Jet Spares

Tim Goulet

Tim Goulet has joined CRS Jet Spares as sales manager for the West Coast of the U.S., as well as handling accounts in the Middle East and Asia. He was previously director of maintenance for Symphony Master Ltd., a Dubai-based Global Express operator.

Barnard at NationAir

Dale Barnard

Dale Barnard has been hired as a sales executive for NationAir Aviation Insurance covering Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. He was previously with a large national insurance broker.

Barron for Banyan

Alvie Barron

Alvie Barron has been named director of North American sales for Banyan Air. He worked previously at Jet Aviation, General Dynamics, Bombardier and Hawker Beechcraft.

Walker on Advisory Council

Joe Walker

Joe Walker, CEO of Dornier Seaplane Company, has been named to the business advisory council of Bye Energy. Bye Energy is developing alternative fuels for aviation.

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.

Accolades back to top 

EASA Approval for Aerospace Welding Minneapolis

Aerospace Welding Minneapolis, which overhauls aircraft exhaust systems and does engine mount and turbo mount repairs, has received Part 145 EASA approval to send overhauled and repaired parts to any European country that is a member of EASA. The certificate was issued under the Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement and the associated Maintenance Implementation Procedures.

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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Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.

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