AVwebBiz Complete Issue: Volume 7, Number 17

April 29, 2009

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News: A New Party Stakes Claim on Eclipse? back to top 
Sponsor Announcement

Eclipse Owner Makes Bid For Intellectual Property

As the Eclipse community waits for court date for the Chapter 7 liquidation of the company, a Louisiana company has filed a motion with the bankruptcy court that could turn the whole process upside down. Gray Oil and Gas Company and Gray and Company Inc, which owns two Eclipse 500s, has filed a motion with the court to compel the bankruptcy trustee to turn over access to the source codes and fundamental building blocks of the highly proprietary computerized aircraft systems. The technology was developed at great expense by Eclipse and is considered fundamental to the operation of the aircraft and that, said a Gray's spokesman who asked not to be identified, is the whole point. "The desire is to divorce the existing owners from a potentially hostile intellectual property owner" who might use the exclusive rights to the software to compel existing owners to pay high prices for needed repairs and upgrades.

The other benefit to existing operators is that they wouldn't have to pay to acquire the whole company just to be able to fly the airplanes. He said Gray's has spoken to various avionics companies, most of whom are more than willing to get the STCs and PMAs necessary to maintain and enhance the systems on the existing aircraft. The spokesman said the legal action is rooted in recent changes to bankruptcy laws that are designed to protect the owners of products of defunct companies from being hung out to dry by subsequent owners or simply left hanging if no new owners can be found. The motion will be heard in May.

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Bracing for the Numbers back to top 

First-Quarter Bloodbaths Expected

Analysts are lining up to paint a truly ugly picture of the first-quarter results that major business aviation firms will post this week. In its analysis, Bloomberg is predicting 2010 deliveries will sink to lows not seen since the post-9/11 slump. It says the analysts it has reviewed are predicting that Cessna's earnings may fall 90 percent and companies like Dassault, Bombardier and Gulfstream maker General Dynamics will report earnings levels not seen since 2003. But while the general economy is certainly the main driver of the downturn the lingering curse of the Big Three automakers' bailout flights continues to have an impact.

The U.S. government got the ball rolling with its disdain for business jet use, particularly by banks and other companies getting bailout money. Then corporations began idling their fleets out of fear of public perception and, most recently, according to Bloomberg, shareholders are staging revolts. The CEO of Dublin-based Elan Corp. is cooling his heels in security lineups these days for his regular trips to a research company in San Francisco after investors complained about the $6 million tab for the Gulfstream V that used to take him there. Bloomberg's scan of the analysts says it may be two years before bizjet sales recover.

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But Prosper During the Current Financial Crisis

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Cessna Citations Welcome AdViz Aboard back to top 

Glass Panels For Legacy Citations

Click for a tour of the AdViz display

That glass-paneled Citation that legacy Citation owners may be dreaming of could be their existing mounts. Innovative Solutions and Support Inc. announced this week that the first Citation V retrofitted with the AdViz Flat Panel Display System was test flown three weeks ago and exceeded expectations. ISS was picked by Cessna to develop the new panel which will be offered as a retrofit for steam guage Citation 500 through 650 models. "The crisp symbology and clarity of the displays, along with additional navigation aids, will enhance situational awareness in flight," Cessna test pilot Rick Trissell said after the 90-minute flight.

The AdViz system displays navigation, XM Weather, charts and remote radio tuning on two PFDs with a single MFD offset in favor of the left seat. There's no word on when the systems will be available for installation. ISS specializes in glass panel retrofits for legacy aircraft and has systems for dozens of airliners, military jets and also created the displays for the Eclipse Avio NG panel.

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Meanwhile, in Washington ... back to top 

FAA Backs Off Proposal To Keep Bird-Strike Data Secret

The FAA said last week that it has decided not to proceed with a proposal that would have designated bird-strike information in the FAA's National Wildlife Aircraft Hazard Database as "protected from public disclosure." The agency said it made the proposal in March "to encourage persons to provide the information to the FAA," citing concerns that information might not be submitted "because of fear that the disclosure of raw data could unfairly cast unfounded aspersion on the submitter." The FAA changed course after reviewing 47 comments from the public, the majority of which were not in favor of secrecy. The FAA said it has determined that releasing the data will not jeopardize aviation safety. The Wildlife Aircraft Strike Web site will be modified "to make the database available to all users consistent with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Agency policy," the FAA said. The news prompted a flurry of reports in the mainstream press, many citing statistics from the "newly available database" -- in fact, much of the wildlife-strike data has been publicly available since the information was first collected in 1990, but the FAA's decision now allows users to access all the details of each report. A small amount of data, such as personal phone numbers, will be blocked out.

City papers around the country checked the data on their local airports. Many of the stories cite a dramatic growth in the number of bird strikes, but since the reports are voluntary, it's not clear if the rising numbers reflect more bird strikes or if the strikes are being reported more frequently -- the FAA estimates that it hears of only about one in five strikes. The NTSB has asked the FAA since 1999 to make the reports mandatory, but so far the agency has declined to do so. The FAA said that over the next four months, it will make significant improvements to the database to improve the search function and make it more user-friendly. In its current format, users will only be able to perform limited searches online, but can download the entire database. The FAA also said it will work with the aviation community to find ways to improve and strengthen bird-strike reporting.

U.S. Reps Form General Aviation Caucus

When it comes to dealing with Washington, general aviation needs all the help it can get, and some support appeared recently when two congressmen formed a General Aviation Caucus. Representatives Vernon J. Ehlers, R-Mich., and Allen Boyd, D-Fla., joined together as co-chairs to help inform other members of Congress and the administration about the value of GA to the nation's economy and transportation system. Congressman Boyd, who is a pilot, says he knows firsthand how important GA is to rural communities like the farming region in northern Florida that he represents. "This campaign is an important tool for raising public awareness of general aviation, and I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to keep general aviation strong," he said. The two representatives have invited their colleagues to join the caucus, noting that the GA industry is one of the few U.S. industries that maintains a positive foreign-trade balance, and it contributes more than $150 billion to the U.S. economy each year and 1.3 million jobs. The two also expressed support for AOPA's GA Serves America campaign.

The National Business Aviation Association was quick to respond to the announcement with lots of encouragement. "NBAA and the business aviation community thank Representatives Ehlers and Boyd for spearheading the caucus, and promoting the value of all general aviation, including business aviation," said NBAA CEO Ed Bolen. "The formation of the caucus demonstrates a recognition in Congress that general aviation plays a critical role in serving citizens and communities in every state." NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association have created a program to advocate for the business aviation community, the No Plane No Gain initiative, which underscores the essential role of business aviation in the U.S. today.

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P.R. Gone Bad back to top 

Air Force One Plane Sets Off New York Panic

U.S. President Barack Obama is said to be furious over the Air Forces decision to fly one of the presidential Boeing 747s over Manhattan on a Monday morning with an F-16 in trail. That would appear to be the lone saving grace from a photo mission that sent New York into a state of panic and left New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg wondering how something like this could be done without his, and the rest of the city's, knowledge. Now, it's not that the Air Force didn't tell anyone about the flight, which happened on a sunny morning about 10 a.m. The Air Force told the New York Police Department but added that it couldn't release the time and nature of the flight to the public and media, no doubt out of security concerns. Mayor Bloomberg was quite naturally upset. "Why the Defense Department wanted to do a photo op right around the site of the World Trade Center catastrophe defies the imagination," Bloomberg said. "Poor judgment would be a nice ways to phrase it. ... Had I known about it, I would have called them right away and asked them not to." The FAA apparently told a Bloomberg staffer who didn't pass along the message.

The sound of five jet engines at 1,500 feet and the visual spectacle that they alerted people to caused widespread upset in Gotham. "They went down the Hudson, turned around and came back by the building," she said. "It was a scary scene, especially for those of us who were there on 9/11," Kathleen Seagriff, a staff assistant at the Wall Street Journal, told the Associated Press. New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, who regularly complains about aviation activity over Manhattan, said the panic was unnecessary. "This was a photo shoot. There was no need for surprise," Schumer said. "There was no need to scare thousands of New Yorkers who still have the vivid memory of 9/11."

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New on AVweb back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: New York to White House — Are You %$#&*^& Nuts?

In the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli asks the same questions you've been thinking: "Who's in charge at the White House? What idiot authorized the New York flyover of Air Force One?"

Read more.

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

Exclusive Video: Martin Jetpack Shows Improved Controllability

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

At last year's AirVenture, the Martin Jetpack was easily the most anticipated and hyped product. But the sort-of jetpack only sort of flew, with spotters keeping a close eye on it. Martin has shown the vehicle will fly without external assistance in this latest video, but as AVweb Video Editor Glenn Pew explains, the latest demonstration may not answer all those questions from Oshkosh.

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

Want to see more shots of the Transition in flight?
You can view the raw video footage here.

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Who's Where back to top 

Brown New Bye Energy President

John W. Brown

John W. Brown has been named president of Bye Energy Inc. Brown is founder of Sandia Capital Partners LLC.

Cowan Joins Universal Avionics

Matt Cowan

Matt Cowan has taken over the newly-created position of U.S. Southeast Region Marketing Manager for Universal Avionics. Cowan held sales positions at Cirrus Aircraft and Avidyne before coming to Universal.

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.

Economic Challenges Call for Proven Advertising Results — AVweb Delivers Results
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The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

Aviation Consumer's Aspen Avionics Survey

Have you installed an Aspen Avionics PFD/MFD? Our sister magazine, Aviation Consumer, wants to talk to you about the experience and your satisfaction with the system.

Please take a moment to fill out this survey and share your experience with other potential buyers.

(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.

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