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A spokeswoman for the Washington headquarters of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) says the drawing of weapons in the ramp
inspection of an aircraft in Long Beach, Calif., last month was justified but not "normal." Kelly Ivahnenko also told AVweb that general aviation pilots can expect more ramp checks by CBP
agents thanks to the newly-instituted Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS). She stressed it's unlikely many of the checks will have the level of intensity employed May 22 with Long
Beach, Calif., pilot David Perry and his three passengers. Ivahnenko said in an interview on Tuesday that there was a "heightened alert" involved in the Long Beach operation but she also said she
could not discuss the circumstances that led to a more aggressive posture than normal by the CBP and local police. She also said that while eAPIS had nothing to do with the Long Beach inspection,
information provided through eAPIS could result in more frequent GA inspections. The system, which involves the online filing of flight and passenger information for transborder flights, became
mandatory on May 18. In an interview and podcast with AVweb, Perry said
he and his passengers were put in unnecessary peril by gun-wielding enforcement officials. Ivahnenko stressed Perry's experience is not what most pilots should expect if they're checked by the CBP.
"This I would not classify as common or routine," she said. She said the Long Beach action was justified, even though the search turned up nothing illegal. "While the involvement of more than one law
enforcement agency and the heightened alert of the situation were slightly unusual, it is within (CBP's) authority to inspect inbound and outbound travelers, vehicles, planes, cargo, etc.," she told
AVweb. She also said that only the Long Beach police officers assisting the operation actually drew weapons and CBP agents kept theirs holstered, something Perry vehemently disputes. "Every one
of them had their weapons out," Perry said.
Perry also said that while most of those who surrounded his airplane carried pistols, he saw at least one assault rifle carried by a CBP agent. Ivahnenko said the CBP agents involved are not
equipped with assault rifles and the tactical team that does carry them was not in Long Beach that day. Perry adamantly disagrees with Ivahnenko regarding the presence of assault rifles. While
Ivahnenko maintains CBP agents did not draw weapons, she said it was their idea that the Long Beach police officers have their guns out. "We are taking responsibility as the lead agency who requested
assistance from Long Beach," she said. "That was simply part of the security protocol for that part of the inspection." Perry said he and his passengers were ordered at gunpoint to first put their
hands on their heads and then get out of the airplane one by one. They were individually questioned and they and the contents of the plane were searched. Perry said he's considering filing a civil
rights action against the CBP and has been told by an attorney that the search may have violated the 4th Amendment of the Constitution that limits search and seizure powers of the government.
Ivahnenko said the controversy stirred by the Long Beach inspection may prompt an outreach campaign by the CBP to address concerns being expressed by the general aviation community about the new
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The Financial Post is reporting
Onex Corp., one of the parent companies of Hawker Beechcraft, is reportedly making a play for International Lease Finance Corp., the world's largest aircraft leasing company. ILFC is now owned by
American International Group (AIG), which is busy shedding assets to pay off the loan portion of its $182 billion government bailout. ILFC leases airliners to most of the world's airlines and has been
a reliable cash cow for AIG since it purchased the company from founder Steven Udvar-Hazy in 1990. Onex, which bought Raytheon's general aviation division in partnership with Goldman Sachs and renamed
it Hawker Beechcraft in 2008, is a Toronto-based investment company that frequently delves into aerospace enterprises. Onex President Gerry Schwartz is characteristically tight-lipped about the ILFC
Onex also owns Spirit Aerosystems, which was formerly known as Boeing's Wichita division, and is a key contractor on the Boeing 787. Schwartz also participated in a failed bid to buy Qantas
Airlines in 2006 and Air Canada in 1999. According to the Post, ILFC is doing well financially (revenues up 16 percent this year) but it's principal asset, the credit rating that it assumed as part of
AIG, has, of course, become more of a liability. Onex is reportedly looking for partners in the acquisition in a bid that will be less than the $7.8 billion book value of IFLC but will include
assumption of the company's $32 billion debt. Some of that debt comes due in October.
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.
The FAA and American Airlines have wrapped themselves in the eco banner in selling the benefits of the NextGen airspace system. The
agency and airline are promoting the environmental benefits of the system with the announcement that the latest technology and techniques will be used for a "green" flight from Paris to Miami on
Thursday. But what it really comes down to is that the 767 will go GPS direct rather than following the airways and use gradual rather than stepped climbs and descents. In other words, it will operate
like general aviation has for more than a decade. The flight has earned a remarkable amount of attention from the mainstream media.
The Miami Herald trumpeted the flight as a "Step Forward For Aviation" and newspapers all over the
world picked up on the potential fuel savings. However, there were those who pointed out that there's nothing really new about this except that it's a regularly scheduled airliner doing it. "The event
scheduled for this week with the American Airlines aircraft is simply a publicity stunt," the National Air Traffic Controllers Association said in a statement. "The flight will be using Global
Positioning System (GPS) technology that we have been using for years." Miami was chosen as the destination because it's the first air traffic control facility in the U.S. to be outfitted with the
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Air France has accelerated its effort to replace pitot tubes on its Airbus aircraft after members of one pilots union threatened to refuse to fly the unmodified airplanes, the New York Times reported on Tuesday. The airline had said over the weekend it would replace the
sensors on all Airbus A330 and A340 airplanes over the next few weeks. But on Monday, Alter, a union representing about 12 percent of Air France pilots, posted a notice on its Web site urging its
members to "refuse any flight on an A330/A340 which has not had at least two pitot sensors modified," according to the Times. SNPL-ALPA, which represents the largest share of Air France pilots, made
no such suggestion, but union spokesman Eric Derivry told the Associated Press: "What we know
is that other planes that have experienced incorrect airspeed indications have had the same pitots. And planes with the new pitot tubes have never had such problems."
A U.S. Navy ship and the French nuclear attack submarine Emeraude are both en route to the crash site of Air France Flight 447 to aid the search for the cockpit voice and flight data recorders. The
Navy also flew two devices called Towed Pinger Locators to Brazil on Monday. The five-foot-long devices can detect the signals from emergency beacons from as deep as 20,000 feet. They will be towed
behind French tugboats. Crews so far have recovered 28 bodies from the crash site. They have been flown via Blackhawk helicopter to Fernando de Noronha, an island 400 miles off the coast of Brazil,
and later will be taken to the mainland in a C-130. Identification by fingerprints and dental records is expected to take some time. A total of 228 people died in the crash. On Monday, the airplane's
vertical stabilizer was recovered, the largest piece of the aircraft that has been found so far. The piece showed no evident signs of fire or explosion.
Share Your Thoughts on Aviation Headsets
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The NTSB this week is holding a three-day hearing on the January ditching of US Airways Flight 1549 in New York's Hudson River. On Tuesday, the board heard Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger recall
his decision-making process on that day. After considering all the possible choices, "The only option remaining in the metropolitan area that was long enough, wide enough and smooth enough to land was
the Hudson River," he said. "I couldn't afford to be wrong." Passenger Billy Campbell, who was the last passenger off the airplane, told the NTSB that the jolt when the airplane hit the water was
violent, and water immediately began to rush into the cabin through a broken window. After everyone got out of the airplane, the life raft that some were in began to sink, because it was still
tethered to the airplane, but somebody on a nearby boat tossed them a knife to cut the rope. Campbell said there was not just one lucky break that day but many that allowed everyone to survive. "There
were 14 or 15 miracles that had to occur," he said.
Also, on Monday, scientists from the Smithsonian said the Canada geese that destroyed the Airbus A320's engines were migrants from Canada, not local geese. At least two females and one male goose
were ingested. The hearing will continue through Thursday, and will cover issues including pilot training regarding ditching, bird detection and mitigation efforts, certification standards regarding
ditching for transport-category airplanes, cabin safety emergency procedures, and certification standards for bird ingestion into transport-category airplane engines. The board also released the transcript of the cockpit voice recorder, but most of that conversation was heard previously on ATC tapes released
in February. The NTSB's comprehensive docket of documents and information about the ditching is available online.
You and Your Dollars Go Further in a Diamond
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Diamond's outstanding performance, luxurious interior and cutting-edge technology, and there's no question
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The airplane's automation is a popular and understandable whipping boy. But, asks resident blogger Paul Bertorelli on the AVweb Insider, what if the crew just drove the thing into a level 6
thunderstorm? Sometimes the simplest theories are the hardest ones to accept.
Don Campion, president of Banyan Air Services, was inducted into the Florida Aviation Trades Association (FATA) Entrepreneurial Excellence Hall of Fame. Banyan opened 30 years ago at Fort Lauderdale
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,
International Civil Aviation Organization ICAO
ICAO documents are now at the AVweb Bookstore in convenient and economical eBook format. ICAO, a division of the United Nations, sets the global standards for international
aviation, including communications, airport design, overseas routes, ATC, hazmat transport, and much more. If you are involved with international air transportation, these documents are critical
information for your operations and planning departments.
Click here for the
growing product listing.
Thanks to seismic shifts in the news business, many local television outlets can no longer afford their own turbine-powered eye-in-the-sky. As a result, Robinson is doing a brisk
business selling its R44-based ENG camera ship. AVweb visited Robinson in Torrance, California for a closer look.
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.
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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
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