AVwebBiz Complete Issue: Volume 7, Number 10

March 11, 2009

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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TSA Security Program Raising Eyebrows on the Hill back to top 
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Key Congressman Raises Questions About LASP

Those in the GA community opposed to the intrusive Large Aircraft Security Proposal (LASP) proposed by the Transportation Security Administration gained some important support, AOPA said on Monday, when U.S. Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., asked the TSA to delay implementation of the program. Congressman Thompson chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security, which has jurisdiction over the TSA. In written comments on the proposed rule, submitted last week, Thompson told the TSA that several critical elements of its plan "appear to be problematic, infeasible, or overly burdensome to industry." He urged the TSA to delay implementation of the proposed regulations until the new TSA leadership has a chance to review the NPRM and discuss it with Congress and industry stakeholders. "Chairman Thompson understands the negative impact the LASP would have on general aviation," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "We hope the TSA will stop its plans for the program and address the grave concerns being expressed by the Committee on Homeland Security and so many others who have spoken out against LASP."

The LASP proposal calls for enhanced security procedures to be applied to aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds, regardless of how they are used. It has drawn widespread opposition from the GA community, and over 5,000 comments were filed. In Alaska, where aviation is often a critical component of daily of life, State Sen. Gene Therriaut and Rep. Mike Kelly separately introduced identical resolutions in the Senate and House expressing the legislature's opposition to LASP. EAA has said that it would likely mean the end of operation for large historic aircraft that now offer rides to the public. Click here to listen to AVweb's recent interview with EAA's man in Washington, Doug McNair, on this topic.

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Caught in the Crossfire: Eclipse Owners back to top 

Eclipse Owners Want Assets

The spokesman for a group of Eclipse 500 owners says plans by New Eclipse — listen to the New Eclipse podcast here — and one other unnamed group trying to resurrect the failed company are "predatory" on existing owners because of the costs proposed to finish the aircraft already flying. Randall Sanada, of Jet Alliance, told The Associated Press the Eclipse Owners Group hopes to buy the company assets that would allow owners to arrange for their own upgrades and maintenance and the other bids, one of which has not been made public, want to take advantage of the owners. "The idea in both of these plans is to exploit the captive market that the Eclipse customers represent," he said.

New Eclipse's leader Phil Friedman would probably disagree with Sanada's terminology but he told AVweb that finishing the existing fleet (avionics, ice protection, etc.) is a necessary revenue stream to get the company on its feet and resume production in a couple of years. Friedman said he's worked with former Eclipse executives to come up with the plan. It's not known who's behind the other bid for the assets but there's been speculation for months that founder and former CEO Vern Raburn is in the picture somehow. A Delaware bankruptcy judge approved the Chapter 7 liquidation of Eclipse last week. Stay tuned ... .

Related Content:
Podcast analysis of the Eclipse situation with the Teal Group's Richard Aboulafia

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Countdown to AERO Friedrichshafen back to top 

Europe's GA AERO Show Offers Expanded Space, Fresh Ideas

AERO Friedrichshafen, Europe's biggest general aviation trade show, is coming up April 2 to 5. This is the first year of the show's switch to an annual event -- in the past it was held every other year -- and also the first year since AERO and EAA announced they would engage in a "strategic relationship" to promote the show. About 570 exhibitors will be on hand, and the crowds are expected to exceed the 2007 total of over 45,000. Exhibit space has expanded from seven halls to 11, featuring a wide variety of GA aircraft and interests, from gliders and ultralights to model airplanes, skydiving and corporate jets. A new Helicopter Hangar will display rotary aircraft and gyrocopters. An E-Flight Expo, billed as a trade show within the show, will showcase aircraft with electrical propulsion, new solar technologies and other innovative propulsion concepts. A hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered trike, a solar-powered motorglider, and other unique aircraft are expected to be on display.

The AERO show is also the place where Europe's GA community can discuss issues of common interest, such as fuel supplies, environmental concerns, and the health of the industry. On Thursday and Friday, exhibitors will offer demo flights, and on the weekend, an air show will feature fly-bys and aerobatic performers. Flight Design GmbH, which makes the popular CT line of light sport aircraft, will debut a new hybrid engine concept at the show. The concept engine is based on "a well-established certified aircraft engine" mated with an electric booster only used to boost performance for takeoff and climb, according to the company. Click here for more from Monday's AVwebFlash.

Sun 'n Fun — It's Like Spring Break for Pilots
Scheduled for April 21-26 in Lakeland, Florida. Featuring the U.S. Army Parachute Team "Golden Knights." This annual event includes more than 4,500 airplanes, 500 commercial exhibitors, over 400 educational forums, seminars, and hands-on workshops for virtually every aviation interest. Plus a spectacular daily air show. All included in your ticket price. Special online-only discounts. Get your tickets online now at Sun-N-Fun.org.
Making the Best of a Tough Climate back to top 

Aviation Companies Forge Ahead, Despite Economy

Every crisis is an opportunity for somebody, and as the economic news continues to sour, plenty of aviation entrepreneurs are finding ways to adapt to the new markets. This week, Revolution Air, a charter broker based in New York, said it has seen an increase in corporate charter flights from companies receiving government assistance. "It's no secret that corporate flight departments are currently being regarded as luxury items for businesses, which is rather unfortunate given their necessity in today's worldwide competitive corporate environment," said company President Ron Goldstein. When commercial flights are not an option for time or security reasons, Goldstein's charters offer a cost-effective solution. He added that he is seeing a trend to use charters for business travel only and executives are switching to commercial travel for skiing and golf trips. In Europe, new air-taxi startup Blink, which launched in June 2008 with a fleet of Citation Mustangs, has also seen growth in demand as corporations downsize from larger jets. The company promises the benefits of personal air travel at prices competitive with commercial business class and up to 50 percent cheaper than other corporate jet services.

In Boston, Mass., Eclipse 500 operator Linear Air said revenue in February grew 131 percent over the year before, and it is now adding flights between several East Coast airports and the Bahamas. "While the fractionals, major airlines, and even low-cost airlines reported serious declines in February, demand for our unique low-cost personal air service more than doubled in New England," said CEO Bill Herp. The company also operates a fleet of Cessna Grand Caravans. And Hopscotch Air, an air-taxi service based in New York, is moving forward with plans to launch a fleet of Cirrus SR-22s next month. The company promises airline-competitive prices for personal service to convenient airports.

Other GA companies may not be seeing growth right now, but remain bullish about the near term. Executive AirShare, based in Kansas City, Mo., is moving ahead with its plan to add nine more Embraer Phenom charter jets to its fleet this year, though business lately has been down. "We haven't lowered our goals for 2009," company President Keith Plumb told the Kansas City Star. "We think we can target the customer base from the national fractional programs and grow." ImagineAir, an Atlanta-based operator flying Cirrus SR22s, doubled its business in 2008; click here for that story from Monday's AVwebFlash.

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Pilot Training back to top 

EASA Rules Threaten U.S. Schools

AOPA says the bread and butter of many U.S. flight schools--foreign students--is being threatened by a European initiative that will make the U.S. ticket far less attractive. The European Aviation Safety Agency is proposing changes to its certification requirements that would essentially require U.S.-trained pilots to recertify in Europe. "While the training philosophies differ in Europe and the U.S., both groups of pilots have a similar goal, that of developing safe pilots," said Andy Cebula, AOPA's executive vice president of regulatory affairs. "It is critical that EASA and the U.S. formalize a bilateral agreement to reconcile the differences between this rule and the current U.S. rules governing flight training."

AOPA protested the move in EASA's comment period, which ended Feb. 28. The group also asked the FAA to press for a bilateral agreement with EASA that will address the differences in flight training between the two jurisdictions that sparked this move.

Diamond Trainers Get Spidertracks

Diamond Aircraft continues to be successful in the training market and recently announced a 14-plane deal to Massey University in New Zealand. Two DA42 twins and 12 DA40s are included in the package. And while the university says it picked the Diamond products for their technological features, it will be adding some portable gear to further enhance safety. The planes will all have Spidertracks, a GPS-based tracking system that gives real-time position reports, a major safety advantage in flight training, according to James McCarthy, a Massey grad who helped develop the device. "The safety of students is enhanced because the trainers can follow the students in real-time and know where they are, wherever they are," he said.

Massey is the only university with a degree flying program in New Zealand and Ashok Poduval, manager of Milson Flight Systems, which runs the program, says advanced technology is the wave of the future for professional pilots. "By the time our students are ready to join the airlines, most aircraft, including general aviation aircraft, will have glass cockpits with sophisticated automated navigation and flight management systems. We are modifying our training syllabus so that we can introduce the required competencies at an early stage," he says. "Flying an aircraft today is not merely about 'stick and rudder' skills – it is about managing a technologically advanced machine. We are investing resources to keep our students ahead of the rest."

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New on AVweb back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Swift Fuel — Can It Replace 100LL?

The concept and the numbers more or less add up, although industry experts we've talked to think the claims may err on the side of optimism. In the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli sorts through the clutter.

Read more.

AVweb Insider Blog: F/A-18 at Miramar — How Could This Happen?

If we've got this straight, a highly trained Marine pilot flying a Hornet with one engine caged and the other wheezing passes up a sure-bet runway for one 20 miles away surrounded by suburban sprawl? That seems to be it. In the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli opines that judgment like this is all too human.

Read more.

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.
AVweb Audio — Are You Listening? back to top 

Game Over for Eclipse? Maybe — Or Maybe Not

File Size 6.3 MB / Running Time 6:50

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Teal Group consultant Richard Aboulafia has never pulled any punches about Eclipse Aviation, and he says the latest attempt to resurrect the company is the most reasonable yet. But is that enough? He spoke with AVweb's Russ Niles.

Click here to listen. (6.3 MB, 6:50)

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 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.

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

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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.)

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.

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Who's Where back to top 

NationAir Appoints Sales Execs

NationAir Aviation Insurance has appointed three sales executives: Alison Hunter will cover the Great Lakes region, Brian Lauer is taking over the Southeast, and Jamie Zigler will look after Missouri and surrounding states.

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:

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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