AVwebBiz Complete Issue: Volume 7, Number 12

March 25, 2009

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News: The Next Administrator? back to top 
Sponsor Announcement

Babbitt May Be Next FAA Administrator

Randy Babbitt, who served as president of the Air Line Pilots Association during the 1990s, is expected to be nominated by the Obama administration to be the next FAA administrator, the Wall Street Journal has reported. Babbitt's name has been in the rumor mill for a while, and he's considered to be a compromise candidate who is likely to be acceptable to both airline types and labor leaders, according to the WSJ. The administration is apparently feeling pressured to fill the long-vacant post quickly, due to the recent run of aircraft accidents in the news. Neither the White House, nor the FAA have confirmed the appointment.

The new administrator will face not only questions about safety but a wide range of challenges, including negotiating a new contract with air traffic controllers, getting the NextGen overhaul on track, and resolving conflicts over how the agency should be funded. Babbitt is currently a partner in the aviation practice at Oliver Wyman Group, a management-consulting firm owned by New York-based Marsh & McLennan Cos., according to the WSJ, and questions may be raised about whether his work there included lobbying on behalf of clients he may now be in charge of regulating. AVweb will have updates on this story as it develops.

Garmin Day at JA Air Center — Friday, March 27th at KARR
Garmin Regional Sales Reps will be on hand for product demonstrations and to answer questions! Have installation questions, or would you like an installation quote? JA installation technicians and sales personnel will be available to answer all of your questions. Fly in and park under our 20,000 sq. ft. canopy, or drive in! If you need directions or if you have any questions, please call Kellie Priessman-Paskewic at (630) 549-2103 or click here to e-mail her.

Visit JA Air Center online.
New Leadership, New Strategies at HBC back to top 

Boisture New Hawker Beechcraft CEO

An aviation industry veteran who led NetJets and Gulfstream during his career has taken over from Jim Schuster as CEO of Hawker Beechcraft. Schuster announced his plan to retire in November. Boisture told The Wichita Eagle the current economic issues will fundamentally change the way business is done after the recovery and his job is to make sure the planemaker is ready. "There's going to be a lot of change required to adapt to the levels of demand required in the marketplace and the way our products can be deployed in the marketplace in the future," Boisture said.

Boisture told the Eagle he's weathered many business cycles in aviation but this one isn't like the others. "We're navigating through pretty uncharted waters," he said. "The credit markets are in very difficult shape; the propensity to loan and back risk-taking endeavors is virtually nil at this point. Frankly (it) may redefine what a good economy looks like on the other side." Boisture was an Air Force fighter pilot before joining the private sector. He said he enjoys all facets of the industry. "I have a real passion for airplanes and for people that design them and fly them and service them and buy them," Boisture said.

Fly with Bose Aviation Headset X®
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Quotes reprinted with permission: Professional Pilot, 2007 Headset Preference Survey, 12/07; Aviation Consumer, 8/07.
The Best Thing on TV Are the Commercials, Right? back to top 

JetBlue Ad "Maligns" Business Aviation

The National Business Aviation Association and the Alliance for Aviation Across America have both asked JetBlue to stop an ad campaign that appears to be a satirical attempt to cash in on the ongoing public relations problems suffered by business aviation. The campaign invites "bigwigs" to use the airline instead of flying privately. In response, the Alliance has run an ad noting the large areas of the U.S. not served by JetBlue. In a podcast interview with AVweb, Alliance spokeswoman Selena Shilad said JetBlue's ad is an example of the distorted view of general aviation being presented by some and her organization decided it was time to hit back. NBAA President Ed Bolen wrote JetBlue CEO David Berger asking him to pull the ads, noting that businesspeople are among the biggest customers of the airlines when their service makes sense.

However, he said, airline travel often isn't feasible for business travelers whose multiple destinations, special requirements or off-the-grid stops make it nearly impossible. "It's unfortunate to see that your ad campaign overlooks these realities, and promotes a caricature that does not represent the people and
 companies that need business aviation to compete and survive, especially in this challenging economic climate," Bolen wrote.

Aircraft Financing Available
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Aviation Safety back to top 

Staffing Issues At Denver Tracon Raise Concerns, Restrict Traffic

Traffic in the airspace over Denver has been restricted because managers at the Terminal Radar Control center (TRACON) say they don't have enough experienced controllers to handle the volumes that once were possible, according to an internal FAA memo that was written last month. Kevin Stark, acting air traffic manager for the FAA at the Denver Center, wrote: "The Tracon has indicated that the loss of a large number of their experienced employees, the relative inexperience of many of their current controllers, and the increase in volume has created a situation they can no longer accept. They have indicated that the volume issues created by eight different routes flowing into their airspace routinely creates situations that put their controllers at risk, and they are unable to provide the level of service our customers deserve." Kathryn Vernon, the FAA's director of Western Terminal Operations, told CBS4 of Denver, "As the letter is written, I would agree with you it sounds alarming. ... [However,] there is not a safety issue in the Denver airspace and Colorado airspace."

Doug Church, spokesman for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, told AVweb the problem proves what NATCA has long been saying: "That forced labor rules and pay cuts would drive out a significantly higher number of experienced controllers into early retirement and attrition, leaving the agency ill-equipped to handle today's traffic demands, let alone be able to train the next generation of controllers being hired." Stark's memo notes that an airspace redesign is already underway for the region, but "this is a long-term project and we do not anticipate any immediate results from this effort." He said FAA will "continue to be mindful of the Tracon's identified issues while looking for ways to improve the service to our customers and increase our flexibility." Church said that in Denver, there are plenty of routes into the airport, lots of space and lots of runways, "and the FAA is having to restrict flow due to a controller staffing problem." Click here to read the full text of the FAA memo from Kevin Stark.

Sikorsky S-92 Helicopters Grounded

On Monday, the FAA issued an emergency airworthiness directive grounding all Sikorsky S-92 helicopters, the type that crashed off the Newfoundland coast on March 12, killing 17 people. The FAA said investigators found two main gearbox studs had broken. "Failure of a stud ... could result in rapid loss of oil, failure of the main gearbox, and subsequent loss of control of the helicopter," the FAA said. A similar failure had occurred in a July 2008 accident. "The failures have been tied to fretting and galling of the original titanium studs," the FAA said, "therefore, we are requiring the removal of all titanium studs and replacement with steel studs." The helicopters cannot fly until the replacement is complete, the FAA said. The aviation authorities in Canada and the UK have issued similar mandates. Sikorsky, based in Stratford, Conn., said in a news release on Monday that the majority of the worldwide fleet of S-92 helicopters has already complied with the requirements of the AD.

The company said it has delivered 91 of the S-92 helicopters, and contacted all operators on March 20 after broken titanium studs were found during the crash investigation in Canada. "The investigation is continuing, and no determination has been made that the broken studs contributed to the accident or if they resulted from it," Sikorsky said in the news release. Operators were notified "as a safety precaution." As of Monday, at least 50 of the fleet had already completed the retrofit, Sikorsky said. "While the investigation remains ongoing, our priority has been to maintain safety and eliminate any potential risks," said Marc Poland, vice president of Sikorsky Global Helicopters. "The operators are reacting quickly, and we are doing all we can to encourage full and rapid compliance." Canada's Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation into the March 12 helicopter accident. The pilots in that accident reportedly declared a mayday minutes before the crash, citing a problem with the main gearbox oil pressure. The aircraft appeared to fly a controlled descent from 9,000 feet but lost control near 800 feet, according to early reports. Only one person survived.

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News Briefs back to top 

PC-12 Crash Probed, 14 Dead

photo by Jerry Search

AOPA is urging observers to refrain "jumping to conclusions" about the cause of the crash of a Pilatus PC-12 in Butte, Mont. on Sunday. The PC-12, loaded with seven adults and seven children, has been described by several witnesses as "nosediving" into a cemetery while on short final for Bert Mooney Airport in Butte, Montana on Sunday. Although there was reportedly the potential for icing in a cloud deck at 1,500, the PC-12 is certified for known icing and Weather Underground says it was about 45 degrees F with a dewpoint of about 26 on the ground when the accident occurred. Without knowing the baggage load on the aircraft (it was a ski trip) there is nevertheless less emphasis on the possibility of overloading since half the occupants were under 10 years old and some were babies and toddlers, the children of six adults on board who were university classmates and some of whom were part owners of the aircraft.

The three young families were on their way to a ski vacation at Big Sky Resort and their original destination was Bozeman, Montana, which is closer to the resort. Why the pilot, Ellison Summerfield, a 65-year-old ex-Air Force pilot with more than 2,000 hours on the PC-12 diverted to Butte is not known. He did not give a reason in his request to air traffic control and weather conditions didn't seem to exclude an aircraft and pilot of their capabilities. There was no cockpit voice recorder or flight data recorder on the aircraft. In addition to Summerfield, the victims, as reported by the New York Times, are: Erin and Amy Jacobson of St. Helena, Calif., and their children, Taylor, 4; Ava, 3, and Jude, 1; Michael and Vanessa Pullen of Lodi, Calif., and their children, Sydney, 9, and Christopher, 7; and Brent and Kristen Ching of Durham, Calif., and their children, Hailey, 5, and Caleb, 3.

Unrecoverable Spin Led To Skycatcher Loss

As was the case with the first Skycatcher prototype crash, an unrecoverable spin led to the loss of the second and last flying Cessna 162 last week. The second airplane had been fitted with a larger tail as a result of the first crash. And, as in the first crash, there were complications with the parachute recovery system that led to the aircraft being wrecked, according to preliminary report issued Tuesday by the NTSB. The report says the test pilot set up an unspecified "planned test condition" and the aircraft entered a "rapid and disorienting spin" from which the pilot couldn't recover. Unlike the previous accident, in which the ballistic parachute recovery system failed to deploy, the chute opened this time but caused further problems in the rest of the accident sequence. The report was first publicly release on the Archer Bravo Aviation blog site late Tuesday and Cessna's offices were closed.

According to the report, the parachute had been modified to be jettisoned by the pilot in flight. After the aircraft stabilized, the pilot tried several times to release the chute but couldn't. Possibly concerned that his actions would unpredictably cause the chute to release, he considered taking his chances with his personal parachute but had run out of altitude and elected to ride the airplane down instead of bailing out. Initially, damage to the airplane was limited mostly to the landing gear but because the pilot was unable to release the parachute on the ground, the wind caught it and the airplane was dragged more than half a mile until it caught in a fence. It ended up inverted and heavily damaged.

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.
AVweb Is Preparing for AEA ... back to top 

Got Something New at AEA? Tell Us

AVweb will be attending the Aircraft Electronics Association's annual show in Dallas, and word is that there will be more product announcements than ever. To give our newsteam a chance to cover all the announcements, we'd appreciate companies with news to share to get it to us in advance (embargoed as necessary) so we can give each one the attention it deserves. Send your announcements to editor@avweb.com.

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 

AVweb Insider Blog: What's In a Name? To the Air Force, Not Much

Our resident crank, Paul Bertorelli, has just learned that the F-35 will be called the Lightning II. Can't the Air Force do any better than this? he asks in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog.

Why not log onto the blog and contribute your own two cents? Help us get this guy under control — this man has to be stopped.

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 

Jet Blue's Ads Not So Cute

File Size 4.5 MB / Running Time 4:55

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

General aviation is used to taking potshots from groups not familiar with its value, but when Jet Blue tried to capitalize on the portrayal of business travelers as "bigwigs," it was too much for the Alliance for Aviation Across America. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with the Alliance's Selena Shilad.

Click here to listen. (4.5 MB, 4:55)

Professional Pursuit A&P's Flash Cards
400 popular-style flash cards with 1,600 questions and answers from the FAA exams for the general, airframe, powerplant, and avionics technician. See how much you remember. Better yet, see how much they remember! Spread them around the break room (or the board room). It's great fun, and they keep your crew and students busy during their free time. Click here for more information.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Exclusive Video: Tornado Alley Turbonormalized Cardinal

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

Tornado Alley's new turbonormalized Cardinal can run with the big dogs. AVweb's Paul Bertorelli takes you under the cowl with TAT's George Braly.

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.

Video Marketplace Spotlight

New for 2009 from Flight Design
Flight Design CEO Tom Peghiny joins Aviation Consumer editor Paul Bertorelli to outline the company's new-for-2009 offerings at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida.

Click here to watch the video (and discover other great products) at AVweb's Video Marketplace.

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Who's Where back to top 

Bentley Gets New Post at Cirrus

Ian Bentley

Ian Bentley, who's been at Cirrus Aircraft since 1997, has been named Vice President and Managing Director of International Sales. Bentley has held various senior roles at Cirrus and been involved in many of its key development initiatives, including the Perspective avionics suite and flight into known icing capability.

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.

Safety Equipment — Add Aviation Safety to Your MEL
A Minimum Equipment List is not complete without a subscription to Aviation Safety. Discover this informative, instructive monthly publication that sharpens your air readiness. Order your subscription online for savings from the regular rate.
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

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.

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