AVwebBiz - Volume 7, Number 31

August 12, 2009

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News: Closing the Deal on Eclipse? back to top 

Eclipse Sale Expected Next Week

Any buyers interested in the assets of Eclipse Aviation must put in a bid with the federal bankruptcy court by the end of this week, or the sale will go to the current high bidder, Eclipse Aerospace, which has made an offer of $40 million, the Associated Press reported this week. If other qualified bidders appear, an auction will be held as early as next week. If no one else bids, Eclipse Aerospace would close the deal by the end of this month. The owners of Eclipse Aerospace, Mike Press and Mason Holland, have said they would keep the company in Albuquerque, provide service and upgrades for the current fleet, and eventually restart production. Both are owners of Eclipse jets. The Eclipse Owners Group, which at one time was also seeking control of the company assets, has abandoned its effort and now supports Eclipse Aerospace.

No other likely U.S. bidders have emerged, and according to AOPA, any bidder with a foreign component must pass a federal security review. Buyers in China, Russia, and Europe have shown interest in the company, AOPA says, but time is running out for them to field a successful bid.

View Trade-A-Plane's New Edition at No Cost on Your Mobile Device!
Just enter Trade-A-Plane.com/mobile. Search for aircraft (hourly updates). Find companies, products, and services. Locate dealers/brokers. Call or e-mail sellers, and click directly to their web sites. With our web and mobile editions, you can view all of our ads at no cost, all the time! Call (800) 337-5263, or visit us online.
Reports of Epic Closing Trickling In back to top 

Epic Air Closed, Say Local News Reports

The doors are closed at Epic Air, in Bend, Ore., and a notice on the door states that the building's landlord has "taken possession of the premises" because Epic is 20 days overdue on a lease payment, the Bend Bulletin has reported. About a month ago, Epic had scaled back to about 15 employees, but a company spokesman told AVweb at the time that the doors were still open and work on airplanes was continuing. The company sells several kit aircraft, including the Epic LT turboprop, which are assembled by customers with expert help at the company's build center in Bend. One customer, Rich Lucibella, of Florida, told the Bulletin that he and a group of other LT owners may try to take over control of the company. "Our first efforts are going to be to conserve the assets of this company because we believe the [Epic LT] is still a wonderful design, anyone in the general aviation community knows that, and after that, a way we can simultaneously keep this company going in Central Oregon and finish the planes," Lucibella said.

According to the Bulletin, Lucibella is the owner of Blue Sky Avgroup, which in June filed suit against Epic, alleging that Blue Sky had paid Epic for a PT6 engine that had not been delivered. Calls to the Epic company phone on Tuesday went unanswered, and messages could not be left because the mailbox was full. Messages left for Epic CEO Rick Schrameck were not returned by our deadline. At Sun 'n Fun in April, the company held two news conferences to unveil new designs, but at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in July, the company did not make a showing.

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Novel Approaches in the New Economy back to top 

Canada Lends SAS Money To Buy Bombardier Planes

The Canadian government has come up with a creative way of ensuring the orders keep flowing into Montreal-based Bombardier. It's helping to finance the purchases for Bombardier's customers. Last week, International Trade Minister Stockwell Day announced the government was writing a check to Scandinavian Airlines SAS for $173 million CAD toward the cost (up to $350 million total) of eight aircraft from Bombardier. If SAS defaults on the loan, Canadian taxpayers will be on the hook. "[Export Development Canada] is providing repayable loans to ensure the aircraft production sector remains strong during this economic downturn," he said in a news release.

The aircraft in question, a mix of Q400 turboprops and CRJ 900 regionals, were part of a deal struck between Bombardier and SAS last year after a series of landing-gear collapses prompted SAS to temporarily ground its fleet of Q400s. Although the gear collapses were determined not to be related to design or manufacturing faults, Bombardier offered SAS $164 million CAD in cash and credits in exchange for an order of a total of 27 aircraft and options for 24 more. Bombardier says the government loan to SAS is a help. "It's the customer's responsibility to finance the aircraft, but it does help Bombardier to deliver the aircraft, that's for sure," spokesman Marc Duchesne said in an interview with the The Canadian Press. Duchesne said the financing deal meets international standards for government assistance to aerospace companies.

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Technology and Innovation back to top 

Falcon 7X Approved For Steep Approaches

Dassault says its Falcon 7X is the first intercontinental bizjet to be certified for steep approaches into some of the trickiest -- but most convenient -- executive airports. Dropping into London City Airport and Lugano, Switzerland, for instance, requires up to a 6-degree approach angle and a similarly aggressive takeoff. London City is particularly challenging in that there's only 4327 feet of runway available for landing and 3,944 feet for takeoff. It must accomplish both within strict noise limits. The certification means that a business person taking off from New York or Los Angeles can be in downtown London a few minutes after landing rather than having to drive an hour or more from one of the other London-area airports. "Business aviation is all about the need for efficiency and access to hard to reach places and an airport like London City combines the two," said Dassault Falcon CEO John Rosanvallon. "Direct access to this important financial center is sure to benefit our U.S. based Falcon 7X customers, allowing them to be in meetings moments after landing."

As might be expected, conducting approaches at twice the standard angle takes some training and pilots executing the approaches have to spend a day at the company's training facility in Burgess Hill, England. Training will also soon be offered in Morristown, N.J. Dassault Falcon is also amending the aircraft's manuals to reflect the new capability.

DA42-Based UAV Tested

Israeli Aeronautics Defense Systems has tested a new unmanned aerial vehicle based on the Diamond DA42 light twin. The aircraft is named the Dominator II and flew for the first time in late July. According to Defence Professionals, the pilotless platform builds on the notoriously long legs of the diesel-powered DA42. The publication says the twin can stay airborne for up to 28 hours with a 900-pound payload. It will operate at speeds ranging from 75 to 190 knots and has a maximum operating altitude of 30,000 feet.

It's worth noting that the Dominator uses the Centurion (Thielert) diesels and Centurion CEO Jasper Wolffson told AVweb at AirVenture Oshkosh that the lighter weight of the Centurion compared to the iron-block Austro engine that Diamond has developed is an important factor in the endurance calculations for the UAV. Meanwhile, Israeli Aeronautics Defense Systems spokesman Avi Leumi says interest is running high in the UAV. "Interest and demand for the Dominator II have far exceeded our expectations, and we believe that in the coming years Aeronautics will sell dozens of systems around the world. There is tremendous potential for civilian use of UAVs," he told Defence Professionals.

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News Briefs back to top 

Hudson Midair Brings Scrutiny To NY VFR Corridors (Again)

The midair collision Saturday of N71MC, a Piper PA32R aircraft, and N401LH, a Eurocopter AS350 rotorcraft operated by Liberty Helicopters American Eurocopter, over the Hudson River killed all nine people aboard both aircraft and again brought attention to the flight rules that govern the narrow, high-traffic VFR corridors that border Manhattan. On Monday, elected officials staged a media event to draw attention to the dangers they perceive from the general aviation traffic that flows through the area. The National Air Transport Association (NATA) has also called the media attention on the corridor operations "misplaced," saying the mix of traffic in that area is "subject to numerous regulatory requirements."

The rules allow aircraft to fly at less than 1,100 feet in some areas over the Hudson River, meaning that traffic is funneled between skyscrapers that are now on both the New York and New Jersey sides of the river, over bridges, barges and boats, and under the imaginary ceiling that forms the bottom of very busy Class B airspace between Newark, and both LaGuardia and JFK International airports. In practice, VFR traffic flying the route will often be passing opposite-direction traffic flying at the same altitude at points where the river is less than one mile wide. Along with the visual picture outside, VFR pilots flying the corridor must also keep up (via radio) with the mental moving picture of where other aircraft are and where those aircraft are going to be relative to their own changing position. The NTSB said Monday that within three miles of the accident site the average traffic has recently been 225 aircraft per day. New York Senator Charles Schumer noted Sunday that the investigation is incomplete but said through a statement, "I have long believed that virtually unregulated general aviation flight traffic over the Hudson River poses a serious safety and security risk to new Yorkers."

Aside from monitoring and self-announcing on the common frequency, those pilots entering and exiting the corridor may also be tasked with monitoring or communicating on other frequencies too. Such would often be the case for aircraft as they transition to Teterboro, from which the Saratoga had departed, or in and out of heliports as the Eurocopter did.

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New on AVweb back to top 

This Could Happen to You

File Size 3.9 MB / Running Time 8:43

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Many pilots take for granted the idea that their FBO will always be there for them — or at least that their place on the airport is relatively secure — but that's not always the case. At Hemet field in Southern California, the closing of an FBO may mean not only the demise of a soaring club that's operated on the field for about 40 years, but also the closing of the runway the gliders use — basically altogether banishing glider operations from the field.

President of the Orange County Soaring Association Larry Tuohino says that while the county essentially controls the fate of the highly active and community-friendly soaring club, he's not aware of any public hearings or even user surveys the county has organized to determine the impact of shutting down the runway and FBO. The struggle is ongoing, but an ominous deadline looms. We caught up with Tuohino for his comments.

For more information, or you'd like to join the cause, click here.

Click here to listen. (3.9 MB, 8:43)

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Who's Where back to top 

Waddick New Cirrus COO

Patrick Waddick

Patrick Waddick has been named the Executive Vice President Chief Operating Officer of Cirrus Aircraft. He was previously Exedutive Vice President of Operations.

Robinson VP of Quality at Cessna

Tracy Robinson

Tracy Robinson has been promoted to vice president, Quality, at Cessna. She's been with the company for 18 years and served most recently as the director of paint and interior operations.

Grant Honorary Member of SAFE

Joe Grant

Legendary pilot Joe Grant has become the Society of Aviation Flight Educators' first honorary member. Grant was born in 1908 and flew everything from Curtiss JN4s to Boeing 707s in his long career.

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.

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

EAA AirVenture 2009 Video Series: Product Minutes—Garmin G500 in Diamond Trainer, Diamond DA42 NG, and Vampire LSA

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

There are lots of new products at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2009. Here's AVweb's look at some of the more interesting ones: Garmin G500 in Diamond's popular Eclipse trainer, the Austro diesel-powered DA42 NG, and the Vampire LSA.

This video is brought to you by WxWorx XM WX Satellite Weather and Lightspeed Aviation.

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

EAA AirVenture 2009 Video Series: Product Minutes—VAL Avionics' COM 2000, ComLinkPro Angel Bluetooth Receiver, and BrightLine Bags' Pilot Bag

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

Once again, we visit the LSA Mall and vendor booths at EAA AirVenture to see what don't-miss products we can find among the displays. This time, we uncovered: VAL Avionics' super-slim COM 2000 radio; a keen Bluetooth receiver/remote control from ComLinkPro; and one of the handiest flight bags we've seen, at the Brightline Bags booth.

This video is brought to you by Bose Corporation.

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Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
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Video Marketplace Spotlight

Classic Cockpits DVDs
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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.
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.

Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
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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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