AVwebBiz Complete Issue: Volume 7, Number 49

December 16, 2009

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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Top News: Boeing Dreamliner Gets Off the Ground back to top 
 

Boeing 787 Completes First Flight

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At 10:28 a.m. local time on Tuesday, the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner took off from Snohomish County Airport in Everett, Wash., into cloudy skies, before a crowd of about 16,000. The flight was scheduled to last about four hours, but after three hours spent circling above Puget Sound, with weather deteriorating, the crew touched down with a smooth landing at Boeing Field, in Seattle. The test pilots performed a long list of basic tests and systems checks, and they reported that the airplane flew beautifully, with "no surprises." Five more copies of the 787 will be used in the flight test program, which is expected to take about nine months, with first deliveries late in 2010. The company said it has about 840 orders for the airplane, from 55 different customers.

The program has suffered a number of delays and setbacks. First flight was originally scheduled for 2007, then was rescheduled about five times. Some of the composite structures had to be reinforced with titanium, adding weight. But on Tuesday, company representatives seemed buoyant, and hopeful that the program's problems are now over. Click here for the FlightAware track of the flight. A live webcast of the takeoff and landing drew tens of thousands of viewers from around the world. Video of the first flight should be posted online soon; click here for that archive.

 
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More First Flights back to top 
 

First Flights For Gulfstream, Airbus

Gulfstream G250
Airbus A400
(click the thumbnail for a video)

A few days after the first extended test flight of its G650 large executive jet, Gulfstream flew the super-midsize G250 for the first time. Whereas the first flight of the G650 on Nov. 25 was cut short by a vibrating gear door, the G250 flight went as planned, taking off from Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv for a flight lasting three hours and 21 minutes. The aircraft is being developed in partnership with Israel Aircraft Industries. "The G250 performed extremely well, just as we expected," Pres Henne, Gulfstream's senior vice president, programs, engineering and test, said in a news release.

Meanwhile, Airbus is celebrating the long-awaited first flight of its A400M heavy lift military transport. The big four-engine turboprop took off from Seville, Spain, for a four-hour flight in which it performed "as expected," according to Airbus. Whether the program itself will take flight is another question. An 18-month development delay and rising costs have prompted Airbus to ask the European Union for more money to keep the project alive.

 
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Some May Find Phenom 300 Under the Tree back to top 
 

Phenom 300 Certified

Embraer says U.S. deliveries of its Phenom 300 "light executive jet" should begin by the end of the year, following FAA type certification on Monday. The FAA nod came 10 days after Brazilian authorities signed off on the six-passenger aircraft. The 300 is Embraer's second entry into the low end of the bizjet market and it's been delivering the small Phenom 100 since early 2009. The 300 is powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PW535-E engines and meets Stage IV noise limits, while burning about 6 percent less fuel than design specs' prediction. In fact, the actual performance of the aircraft during testing prompted substantial rewrites of the specs.

Embraer says the MTOW takeoff distance has dropped from 3,700 feet to 3,138 feet and maximum landing weight landing distance is now 2,621 feet, from 2,950 feet. The improvements translate to improved high and hot performance, including the ability to do an all-up takeoff from Aspen.

 
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Another Major Cut in BizAv Market back to top 
 

NetJets Cancels $2.6 Billion Hawker Beech Order

The fallout from cost-cutting at NetJets was felt at Hawker Beechcraft as the planemaker announced the giant fractional operator is canceling $2.6 billion worth of orders. The company didn't specify the types and numbers of aircraft but said it represented 90 percent of NetJets business over the next few years. The cancellation dropped Hawker Beechcraft's backlog by more than a third to $3.5 billion, according to the Wichita Eagle.

The Hawker Beechcraft announcement came about a month after NetJets announced the layoff of 495 pilots as demand shrank for its services. NetJets was founded about 25 years ago and became the model for shared ownership programs. It was bought by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway in the late 1990s and had grown constantly until recent economic woes put the brakes on that expansion.

 
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News Briefs back to top 
 

Efforts Move Forward To Produce Alternative Aviation Fuels

Swift Enterprises announced this week that its biomass fuel, designed as a replacement for 100LL, has been OK'd by ASTM International for use as a test fuel. "With this approval, we can begin full-scale testing with industry stakeholders," said Mary Rusek, president and co-owner of Swift. Extensive testing of aircraft fuel systems, engines and materials compatibility must take place before 100SF can be fully certified as airworthy. Rusek said once testing is complete, the fuel will be comparably priced to other GA fuels and more efficient. Also this week, 13 major airlines signed on to work with two producers of alternative jet fuel, AltAir Fuels and Rentech. "Our intention as an airline industry is to continue to do our part by supporting the use of alternative fuels," said Glenn Tilton, CEO of United Airlines and chairman of the Air Transport Association. "We urge the U.S. government and the investment community also to do their part to further support this critical energy opportunity," he said. The new agreements are nonbinding, but ATA said they lay "critical groundwork for negotiations over specific alternative-fuels purchase agreements."

The AltAir Fuels project is working to create jet fuel from camelina oils or comparable feedstock, refined at a new plant in Washington State. The Rentech project in Mississippi is working to produce fuel principally from coal or petroleum coke. AVweb's editorial director Paul Bertorelli took a look at the Swift Fuel project back in March; click here for that discussion. Also, the FAA said last week the federal government has awarded more than $600 million to help fund the development of biofuels. "Renewable jet fuels are critical to building the cleaner, more sustainable Next Generation commercial aviation system in the United States," said Nancy LoBue, FAA Acting Assistant Administrator for Aviation Policy, Planning and Environment. "This Administration is committed to establishing domestic renewable jet fuel production [to] address energy security, improve the environment and also create jobs in rural America."

 
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Opinion & Commentary back to top 
 

AVweb Insider Blog: In Their Own Voices — B-17s in IFR

Curious what AVweb Editorial Director Paul Bertorelli is up to at this very moment? Assuming he's not testing a product for Aviation Consumer, eating, sleeping, or putting together some sort of list of things for the AVweb team to do, he's probably reading.

Find out what's keeping him riveted this week in the latest installment of the AVweb Insider blog.

AVweb Insider Blog: The Last Huey

The United States military officially retired one its most venerable and recognizable aircraft this year, Bell Helicopter's UH-1. For many a U.S. veteran, the Huey is nearly synonymous with his tour of duty.

AVweb Editorial Director Paul Bertorelli reflects on the rotored workhorse in his latest post to our blog, the AVweb Insider.

 
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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.

 
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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.

 
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AVweb Audio —? Are You Listening? back to top 
 

Old-School IFR with the Editors of IFR Magazine

File Size 11.1 MB / Running Time 16:11

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

IFR magazine's Jeff Van West talks with pilots from WWII (and just after) about the early days of instrument training and flying. These guys really lived on the edge — and went looking for thunderstorms to fly.

To read the full article — and others like it — subscribe to IFR magazine.

Click here to listen. (11.1 MB, 16:11)

 
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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:

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

Webmaster
Scott Simmons

Contributors
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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