AVwebBiz Complete Issue: Volume 7, Number 9

March 4, 2009

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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FAA Encourages Eclipse 500s to Keep Flying back to top 
 
Sponsor Announcement

FAA Issues Guidance For Eclipse Owners

With Eclipse Aviation facing Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation -- a court hearing is set for today, March 4 -- and all operations closed, owners of the little jets are left with plenty of questions, and the FAA attempted this week to answer some of those most frequently asked. Question number one, naturally, was this: Can I still fly my Eclipse EA500 airplane? The answer, says the FAA, is yes, as long as the aircraft is in an airworthy condition in accordance with 14 CFR Part 91. "Contrary to media reports, the FAA has no plan to ground the EA500 airplanes," the FAA said. However, if the airplane becomes un-airworthy -- for example, if owners can't get replacement parts or approved repairs -- then pilots can't legally fly. The FAA noted that the EA500s with IS&S cockpit displays require a navigation database that must be updated by Eclipse every 29 days, and since this update is not available, the types of approaches that the pilots can make with these airplanes may be limited. The airplanes with Avidyne displays may be updated through other sources, the FAA said.

Spare parts are not available from Eclipse, but owners can get some parts directly from suppliers, and the FAA said several suppliers have asked about getting approved to sell parts directly to owners. "Be aware," warned the FAA, "that there may be interface issues that only Eclipse can address." The FAA also issued a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin to ask the owners and operators of Eclipse jets to inform the FAA of any unsafe condition involving the airplane.

Meanwhile, New Eclipse Acquisition is moving forward with a plan to acquire the company's assets, provide support for current owners, and restart production. Click here for AVweb's exclusive interview with Phil Friedman, who is leading that effort. Also, Bill Herp, CEO of Linear Air, based in Bedford, Mass., has formed a co-operative owners group with the aim of obtaining the EA500 type certificate to help keep the current fleet flying economically.

 
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Quotes reprinted with permission: Professional Pilot, 2007 Headset Preference Survey, 12/07; Aviation Consumer, 8/07.
 
More Encouragement from the FAA back to top 
 

FAA Reinterprets Maintenance Rule, Turbine Owners Benefit

A review by the FAA about what the word "current" really means in a regulation regarding maintenance of multiengine turboprops and turbine-powered aircraft is good news for owners and operators, AOPA said this week. The legal interpretation arose from a question regarding whether an aircraft operator is obliged to comply with the maintenance standards that were in place when the aircraft was manufactured or with updated maintenance instructions. Although the industry has historically interpreted the rule to mean that the latest standards must be applied, the new interpretation says the operator is not obliged to do so. The FAA notice says an operator needs only to adopt a manufacturer's inspection program that is "current" as of the time he adopts it, and that program remains "current" unless the FAA mandates revisions to it. Such a mandate would be adopted in the form of either an AD or an amendment to the operating rules.

This interpretation is particularly good news for owners of Cessna 425 and 441 Conquests, which were built 20 to 30 years ago, says AOPA. Recently, these owners were facing the possibility of having to comply with extremely invasive inspections, including the removal of the aircraft's wings, because of multiple updates to Cessna's maintenance program, AOPA said. They now can comply with the maintenance program in place at the time their airplanes were built.

"Owners need to spend time talking to the mechanics who've worked on their aircraft to decide what type of inspections to have performed," said Rob Hackman, AOPA senior director of regulatory affairs. "Owners should consider many factors, including the aircraft's history, total time, how long they've owned it, how familiar they are with its maintenance, and the information they gather from those who have completed the inspections in making their decisions."

For more info about this topic, click here for a PDF of the FAA's notice, and click here for AOPA's explanation.

 
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While the West Struggles, the East Booms back to top 
 

China Aviation Expands

As the North American and European aviation industries retrench and regroup, the worldwide economic crisis seems to have missed China, at least as far as investment in aviation projects is concerned. Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) announced today that it is investing $3 billion in three projects in the Beijing area that would seem designed to vault the country into being a player in the international aviation market. According to China Daily, AVIC intends to build facilities to build engines, airborne systems and composite structures as it continues its aggressive campaign to build a homegrown aerospace industry.

The move is part of a consolidation of the state-owned company in the past year and AVIC now has six divisions that cross the spectrum of the aviation industry, from large commercial jets to GA. To further those goals, AVIC is perhaps taking advantage of the tough times in much of the aviation world by doing some headhunting. "Our goal is to become globally competitive," Gao Jianshe, the group's executive vice president, told Reuters. "And to do that, we need executives with international experience."

 
Business Aviation Will Help Companies Not Only Survive
But Prosper During the Current Financial Crisis

To be your most productive, and your most efficient, you must keep flying. Because in so doing, you will emerge from these times even stronger than before. And you will replace the uncertainty that surrounds many, with the confidence and courage to light the way for all. Visit CessnaRise.com.
 
Looking to the Future of Fuel back to top 
 

FAA Evaluates 100LL Alternative

Recall last summer that we reported on a new proposed replacement for 100LL that would be both cheaper than avgas and have higher octane. While we don't yet know about the cheaper part, the FAA's initial testing has revealed that Swift Fuel has a slightly higher octane than 100LL and has excellent resistance to detonation, something other fuels haven't been able to achieve without lead as an octane booster. The new fuel contains about 13 percent more heat value than avgas, but it's also about a pound heavier per gallon. It meets most of the requirements of the ASTM D 910 standard for avgas.

The FAA's Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, N.J., completed technical testing on Swift Fuel in mid-January, reporting an octane value of 104.4. Worth noting is that the tech center's testing doesn't constitute industry or FAA approval of the fuel, but is rather a first run at examining the concept.

Swift proposes to make its fuel from cellulosic biomass—switch grass and agricultural waste, for example—for a manufactured price of under $2 a gallon, according to a proposal it presented to an industry research council last year. Although Swift Fuel produces alcohol in its process, the fuel is not ethanol-based but rather combines acetone compounds derived from fermentation of biomass. Swift is continuing its testing through 2009 and seeking investors to fund further research and industrial rollout of the product.

 
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News Briefs back to top 
 

Bombardier Reorganizes U.S. Sales Force

Bombardier has reorganized its U.S. business jet sales force to reflect its business model in the rest of the world. Instead of representing one of the company's three business jet models -- Learjet, Challenger and Global -- salespeople will now look after all three lines. "The change in the U.S. sales force mirrors the current structure in our international sales team, whereby sales directors promote aircraft from all three product families," said Bob Horner, senior vice president, sales, Bombardier Business Aircraft. "By creating one point of customer contact, I am confident that the new structure will serve to streamline and enhance the buying experience for our U.S. customer base."

Brant Dahlfors, the U.S. vice president of sales, will lead the new organization, which is divided into regional sales territories. Scott Westfall will look after the West, Ed Thomas is in the Central area and Peter Vasconcelos has the East. Mike Fahey will look after Learjet sales worldwide and also be in charge of pre-owned sales.

 
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News Briefs back to top 
 

Gulfstream G650 Completes First Flight -- Simulated, That Is

We're used to reporting the first flight of new aircraft designs, but this week, Gulfstream announced the first simulated flight of its G650 bizjet -- a less satisfying milestone, perhaps, but nonetheless significant. "This achievement demonstrates the successful integration of numerous cockpit systems, including those designed by Gulfstream and those provided by our suppliers," said Gulfstream spokesman Pres Henne. The first flight was conducted on Dec. 15 in Savannah, Ga., by the project's lead test pilots, although a team of engineers and other pilots also got a chance to try out the controls during the simulation -- a chance they are unlikely to get when the non-simulated first flight occurs. The G650 simulator, which was developed in-house by a team of Gulfstream engineers and technicians, comprises a full-scale cockpit with avionics, hardware and sensors, as well as a full-scale cabin mock-up with a galley. The simulator enables all aircraft systems to be thoroughly evaluated and tested by engineers and pilots in a controlled lab environment well before the aircraft makes its maiden flight, says Gulfstream.

The G650 will be Gulfstream's biggest-ever jet, carrying up to 18 passengers as far as 7,000 nm. With a max operating speed of 0.925 mach, it aims to displace Cessna's Citation X as the fastest civil aircraft flying. The first flight in our real world is expected by the end of this year. Certification by FAA and EASA is expected in 2011, with customer deliveries to start in 2012, at about $60 million per copy. Click here for a guided video tour of the cabin mockup from EBACE 2008.

 
Eur-Avia Cannes 2009 Announces the Conference Program, to Include:
Buying new or second-hand aircraft; security round-up for 2008; technology to help the pilot; how to renovate and modernize your aircraft and interiors; external paintwork; avionics; engine improvements; and interior comfort. This Third International Exhibition will open its doors from April 30 to May 2, 2009 on the International Airport of Cannes Mandelieu (LFMD). Visit Eur-Avia.com for details.
 
New on AVweb back to top 
 

Business Aviation on the Offensive

File Size 6.4 MB / Running Time 7:00

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Three weeks ago, Cessna launched a controversial ad campaign that almost dared CEOs to fly in the face of public opinion and keep using their business aircraft. Other companies and groups joined in, and the result has been a noticeable shift in attitudes. Cessna's Tom Aniello spoke with AVweb's Russ Niles about the campaign and the results so far.

Click here to listen. (6.4 MB, 7:00)

AVweb Insider Blog: Oh, The Humanity! Or — Why Mainstream Aviation Reporting Is So Bad

Actually, it's not. And to prove the point, Paul Bertorelli carefully dissects a few select passages from the New York Times in the latest installment of the AVweb Insider blog. (He gives the working press a B+ for its coverage of the Colgan crash in Buffalo.)

Read more.

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

Exclusive Video: B-24 Cockpit Tour

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

AVweb's Paul Bertorelli takes you on a detailed cockpit tour of the Collings Foundation B-24J Liberator, the only one of its type still flying.


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.

Exclusive Video: Can't Get to the Airplane Dealer? The Dealer Will Come to You

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

With perfect weather — almost — over the weekend, Florida Aircraft Expo kicked off something new in aircraft sales. Would-be buyers could kick tires and twist knobs on new aircraft at two Florida airports — St. Petersburg/Clearwater and Sarasota. The Expo shows off most models of new aircraft across a range of manufacturers, offering serious buyers a chance to spend as much time with the airplanes as they like and even get a demo flight, all on one day and in the same place. Fort Lauderdale-based Premier Aircraft Sales developed the Expo idea by expanding on its own regional sales efforts. Premier's Jeff Owen told AVweb Saturday that although turnout at the Expos is designed to be small, the leads it generates tend to yield real sales. (And yes, there are buyers out there, although many are hesitant to pull the trigger, awaiting yet a better deal.) Owen told us the new and used aircraft market has never had better inventory or more high value offerings. Check out the event's web page at FloridaAircraftExpo.com.


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.

 
Economic Challenges Call for Proven Advertising Results — AVweb Delivers Results
Since 1995, AVweb has been the most comprehensive no-cost aviation site online. Advertisers reach over 255,000 pilots, aircraft owners, and aviation professionals via a unique and effective combination of newsletter text messages and web site banner ads. Links send readers directly to advertisers' web sites for instant information. Click now for details on AVweb's cost-effective programs.
 
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 
 

Own a Glass Cockpit Aircraft? Aviation Consumer Wants to Hear from You

If you own a glass cockpit aircraft, Aviation Consumer wants to hear from you. We want to know about the real costs of maintaining and upgrading these aircraft for an upcoming article. Please take a moment to fill out a short survey so others can benefit from your experiences. Click here to participate.

(The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click here.)

Attention, Aircraft Owners/Operators: 'Aviation Consumer' Wants to Hear About Your Experiences with Engine Warranties

Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer magazine, wants to hear about your experiences with engine warranties. We'd like to know about warranties of new or remanufactured engines from the factory, field overhauls and "boutique" engine shops. In your opinion, was the warranty sufficient? Did you encounter problems after installation, and were they resolved to your satisfaction? Did any factory, overhauler or installer go beyond their warranty to address any problems?

Please send a note to aviation_safety@hotmail.com and let us know your experiences, including the factory or shop doing the work, the aircraft type and the nature of any problems.

(The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click here.)

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.

 
Aviation Consumer, the Only Magazine with the Guts to Tell the Truth
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Accolades back to top 
 

PremiAir Joins AAG

PremiAir, a British executive helicopter charter and management company, has become a member-operator of AAG Global, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.'s new network of executive helicopter operators. PremiAir is the largest S76 operator in the U.K.


Air Graphics LLC Expands

Air Graphics LLC broke ground on a new 18,000 sq. ft. facility at Middleton (Morey) Airport in Middleton, Wisc. in December. The company makes vinyl appliques and paint masks for aircraft finishing.


New FBO at Olympia

Jorgensen Air Service has opened a full-service FBO at Olympia Regional Airport in Washington. In addition to fuel service, the company operates a fixed wing and helicopter flight training center.


 
Who's Where back to top 
 

Heisterkamp Forms Communications Firm

Jill Heisterkamp

Jill Heisterkamp, the former communications and media director for Multi Service Aviation-U.S. Bank is owner and director of Heiste Communications. The company counts business and GA firms among its clients.


Kelley Joins Standard Aero

Steve Kelley

Steve Kelley is StandardAero's new corporate communications manager, responsible for internal and external communications. He's held similar positions at Raytheon Missile Systems and other corporations.


Broom to AOPA

Andrew Broom

Andrew Broom is AOPA's new vice president of communications. He was most recently the director of communications and public affairs for Hawker Beechcraft.


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.

 
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

Webmaster
Scott Simmons

Contributors
Jeff van West

Click 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 here.

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's sales team.

If you're having trouble reading this newsletter in its HTML-rich format (or if you'd prefer a lighter, simpler format for your PDA or handheld device), there's also a text-only version of AVwebBiz. For complete instructions on making the switch, click here.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.