AVwebBiz Complete Issue: Volume 7, Number 48

December 9, 2009

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News: TSA Security Breach in the Spotlight back to top 

TSA Screening Manual Posted Online

The Transportation Security Administration has confirmed an ineffectively censored copy of its airport screening procedures manual was posted online. It was taken down after the mistake was discovered but not before the unsophisticated redactions of sensitive material were cleaned up and the uncensored version became widely available on the Internet. AVweb has chosen not to make it available on our site. The TSA told ABC News the manual was an outdated version (June 2008) "improperly posted by the agency to the Federal Business Opportunities Web site wherein redacted material was not properly protected."

The 93-page manual details who, what, when and how often hand searches are done, describes the limitations of its equipment and includes sections on how to deal with diplomats, government officials and law enforcement personnel. It also includes samples of identification used by CIA, Homeland Security, Federal Air Marshals and members of Congress. "This is an appalling and astounding breach of security that terrorists could easily exploit," Clark Kent Ervin, the former inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security, told ABC. "The TSA should immediately convene an internal investigation and discipline those responsible."

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Aftermarket, After the Storm back to top 

Used Bizjet Market Stabilizing

Those in the market for a used business aircraft should be looking hard now. Bizjet manufacturers watch the used market like hawks because it's a major factor in the new market and they all seem to be reaching the same conclusion. Prices for late-model used aircraft have fallen as much as 30 percent in the past couple of years but there are now clear indications that prices are stabilizing and used inventory, while still plentiful, is drying up. "It means buy now, because those prices won't be around for very long as our economies and our business improves," Hawker Beechcraft executive VP Shawn Vick told the Wichita Eagle.

The Eagle quotes recent reports that show a Cessna Sovereign that sold for $16.2 million two years ago is going for $14.2 million and a Learjet 45 that might have fetched $7.8 million a few years back is going for about $4.8 million today. As always, there are caveats attached to the predictions and no one is expecting a rapid turnaround for the industry, but every bit of good news is being embraced. "We're excited to see it, and we're experiencing it," Cessna Aircraft spokesman Doug Oliver told the Eagle.

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Airborne Broadband Summit on the Horizon back to top 

Wi-Fi Summit Jan. 13-14

As we reported from NBAA, in-flight broadband has become a necessity for business aircraft and there's no shortage of companies trying to meet the demand. It's relatively new territory for the industry and the rapidly evolving nature of the technology means there are pitfalls waiting for those who don't do their homework. To help guide manufacturers, installers and airframers in the complex decisions they face, the Aircraft Electronics Association is holding a two-day forum Jan. 13-14 on the issues facing the full range of stakeholders in the burgeoning field of onboard Wi-Fi.

The Wi-Fi Summit will be held at AEA's headquarters in Lee's Summit, Mo., south of Kansas City, "Wi-Fi is a growing technology in the business aircraft environment, but there seems to be confusion and conflict in the initial certification and the field installation certification of the products," said Paula Derks, president of the AEA. "By bringing authorities and industry together to cross-educate both sides, the purpose of the Wi-Fi Summit is to standardize approaches and ensure both the industry and agencies are using the best practices when moving forward." Representatives of regulators from the U.S., Canada and Europe will be there.

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SpaceShipTwo Meets the Public back to top 

Virgin Galactic Rolls Out SpaceShipTwo

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The public, or at least the press and politicians and a few aviation luminaries, got a first look at SpaceShipTwo in Mojave on Monday evening, at a grand rollout event hosted by Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic and designer Burt Rutan. "This is truly a momentous day," said Branson. "The team has created not only a world first but also a work of art. The unveil of SS2 takes the Virgin Galactic vision to the next level and continues to provide tangible evidence that this ambitious project is not only moving rapidly, but also making tremendous progress towards our goal of safe commercial operation." To honor a long line of ships in the U.S. Navy and Britain's Royal Navy, as well as spaceships flown by NASA and perhaps most famously in Star Trek,, SS2 was christened Virgin Space Ship (VSS) Enterprise. The name also "looks to the future of the role of private enterprise in the development of the exploration, industrialisation and human habitation of space," according to Virgin Galactic's news release. The spaceship, which holds six passengers and two pilots, will start flight tests early next year. SS2 was rolled out mated to its WhiteKnightTwo carrier vehicle, which has already been flying for about a year and has mostly finished its flight-test phase.

The SS2 design will be refined and completed during the test program, according to the news release. It will be powered by a unique hybrid rocket motor similar to the one used for SS1, which is currently under development. The test phase will last 18 to 24 months, "or longer, if safety dictates," the company said. "We are not in a race, we will launch only when we are content that it is safe to do so." The tests will begin with captive-carry flights, then flights allowing the spacecraft to disengage from WK2 for glide tests, followed by powered flights, according to EAA. First spaceflights with paying customers could come as early as 2011. The company said plans are to fly 500 people in the first year and 50,000 in the first 10 years, at about $200,000 per seat. The rollout event featured a christening of SS2 by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, as well as a cocktail party under the desert stars for about 900 guests.

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News Briefs back to top 

Gulfstream G650 Completes Initial Flight Tests

A quick first flight for the G650 the day before Thanksgiving was terminated after 12 minutes to check out a vibrating gear door, but now Gulfstream has relaunched its biggest ship for a thorough wringing-out by the test crew. The company said last week the jet now has flown for an hour and 45 minutes, at speeds up to 240 knots and altitudes up to 9,500 feet. The crew checked handling qualities, pitot-static systems, avionics, hydraulic systems, electrical power generation and distribution, flight controls, and cabin environmental and pressurization controls. "The pilots' reports indicate that the G650's flying qualities were outstanding," said Pres Henne, senior vice president of programs, engineering and test at Gulfstream. The jet is on target for certification in 2011, he said, by both FAA and EASA, with entry into service in 2012.

Throughout the flight, Gulfstream technicians on the ground monitored real-time data using a new telemetry system configured to downlink more than 2,000 different parameters, the company said. The complete G650 flight-test and certification plan will involve five aircraft and more than 1,800 hours of testing. The airplane will be capable of a 7,000-nm range at 0.85 Mach and has a maximum operating speed of 0.925 Mach. Click here for a video of the first flight.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: TSA Lockout — Yes, Common Sense Is DOA

So says Paul Bertorelli on the AVweb Insider blog. The TSA's lockout of a group of pilots from the Punta Gorda Airport in Florida illuminates a great longing in this country, and that would be for the government to stop using fear-mongering as a primary tool of governance.

Read Paul's commentary and add your own thoughts here.

AVweb Insider Blog: Harry Hurt — Another Great Lost

A few days ago, Drew Steketee remembered GA advocate Ed Stimpson on the AVweb Insider blog. Now Paul Bertorelli shares similarly sad news about another often-overlooked voice in aviation that many naval pilots will recognize — Harry Hurt.

Click here to read Paul's thoughts and add your own comments.

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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.

'Airport Planning & Management' by Alexander T. Wells & Seth Young
Airport Planning & Management
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Call (800) 780-4115 or click here for more information.
Who's Where back to top 

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.

Find the Perfect Gift (Or Sell Your Gift Item) Here!
Ho, Ho Holiday Gift Guide
It's time to shop for special gift items and stocking stuffers for every pilot or aircraft enthusiast on your list. Click now to visit AVweb's Holiday Marketplace.
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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