AVwebBiz Complete Issue: Volume 8, Number 7

February 17, 2010

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News: GAMA Report Confirms the Zeitgeist back to top 
Sponsor Announcement
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GAMA Numbers Show 'One Of The Toughest Years Ever'

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) announced on Tuesday that 2009 worldwide shipments and billings of general aviation airplanes were down in all categories. GAMA Chairman Rob Wilson, president of Honeywell Business and General Aviation, said it was one of the toughest years ever for GA manufacturers. "The worldwide economic crisis, which included major constraints on credit, cutbacks in flying hours, and downsizing and divestiture of business jet fleets, forced manufacturers to take difficult steps in 2009," Wilson said, at the annual industry review and market outlook briefing, held in Washington, D.C . "General aviation manufacturers had no choice but to cut production and announce painful layoffs and furloughs," he said. Industry billings dipped to $19.5 billion, a 21.4 percent decrease from the 2008 record high of $24.8 billion, but still the third highest year ever. Worldwide shipments of GA airplanes declined for a second year in a row with a total of 2,276 units delivered, a 42.6-percent decrease over the 2008 total of 3,967 airplanes. The piston airplane segment experienced the greatest decline at 54.5 percent. Shipments totaled 965 piston airplanes in 2009, compared to 2,119 the year before. Wilson added, however, that there are some hopeful signs the worst of the economic crisis may be over.

"The inventory of used aircraft has peaked and is now declining, flying hours are on the rise, and inquiries for new orders are beginning to grow again," he said. Markets outside North America are still expanding. "While these positive factors give us reason for optimism, we know that a full recovery will take time," Wilson said. In other GA sectors, turboprops proved most successful in weathering the economic storm, showing a decline of 17.6 percent. In 2009, 441 turboprops were shipped, down from 535 units in 2008. After five years of growth, the business jet sector declined 33.7 percent with 870 airplanes shipped, compared to the previous year's figure of 1,313 airplanes. More details from the report can be found at GAMA's Web site.

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... And More Year-End Analysis Bears It Out back to top 

Beechcraft, Cessna Report On 2009 Downturn

It's no secret that 2009 was a tough year for the U.S. economy, and year-end reports released last week by two industry stalwarts show how hard it's been for general aviation. Sales of business and GA aircraft at Hawker Beechcraft were down by about 30 percent in 2009 compared to the year before, the company reported. Deliveries in 2009 totaled 309, including 98 jets, 155 turboprops, and 56 piston aircraft. In 2008, sales in those categories totaled 441. Overall the company posted a net loss of $451 million for the year. Cessna also summed up the results of a bleak year last week, noting in a strategic review of 2009 that its workforce has been cut in half and the current business-jet down cycle is "unprecedented in severity." Textron, Cessna's parent company, projects that business-jet shipments will bottom out and start to rise again by the end of this year. Cessna's newest business jet, the CJ4, should start deliveries this summer, according to the report.

"Cessna will continue to invest in new aircraft," the company said in its report. "Cessna's best days are still ahead." The company will emerge from the down cycle more competitive, the report concludes.

AERO Friedrichshafen || Europe's Foremost Trade Show for General 
AERO Friedrichshafen Is Europe's Foremost Trade Show for General Aviation
Besides major decision-makers and multipliers of the industry, AERO attracts thousands of aviation enthusiasts each year in the scenic city of Friedrichshafen, Germany — home base of the famous Zeppelins. As a trend-setter and driving force in the industry, AERO not only showcases the entire range of GA products and services, it also offers significant added value in the form of future-oriented supporting events. Go online for complete information.
A Silver Lining for Bizjets? back to top 

Analyst Sees 8900 New Bizjets By 2020

Business aviation analyst Brian Foley has taken a cue from the judging protocols of some sports competitions in determining that, overall, business jet sales will grow at 2.7 percent over the next 10 years. Foley tossed out the results of bizav's best year in recent memory (2008) and one of it's worst (2009) to come up with figures he thinks will stand up and actually mean something for those making plans for the next decade. "2009 was too unsettled and 2008 was a clear anomaly, an unsustainable peak," Foley said. "Our same numbers would yield a minus growth -2.6 percent if measured against 2008, but that's not really useful information." Foley predicts 8900 business jets worth $170 billion will be built between now and 2020. Foley has also tried to forecast bizjet fuel consumption and, if he's correct, there will be a significant increase in the use of private aviation.

Foley said he thinks he's breaking new ground with the fuel consumption forecast because he's taking into consideration aircraft numbers, utilization rates and factors like fleet modernization that dampen demand through increased efficiency. He thinks business aircraft will burn a total of 21 billion gallons of jet fuel in the coming decade and the annual consumption will reach 2.5 billion gallons in 2020, 57 percent more than was burned in 2009. Foley says both sides of the business will continue to follow the roller coaster trends that define the aviation business cycle and there will be lean periods within the decade of overall growth.

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News Briefs back to top 

Heli-Expo Starts Saturday

The trade show season revs up next weekend in Houston with Heli-Expo 2010 put on by Helicopter Association International (HAI). Thousands of delegates and hundreds of exhibitors will fill the George R. Brown Convention Center for the event, which runs from Feb. 20 to Feb. 23. Exhibits and business meetings will go from Sunday to Tuesday. Most major helicopter companies and makers of related gear will be in attendance and the exhibit floor looks mostly booked. There are dozens of seminars and educational forums scheduled and the event wraps up with HAI's annual Salute To Excellence Awards dinner.

This year's Pilot of the Year honor goes to Earl S. Palmer, chief pilot of Hillcrest Aircraft Company in Lewiston, Idaho. The company provides firefighting, construction, power line and other services in the challenging mountainous terrain of the area. Palmer has 13,000 hours in helicopters, including time in Vietnam where he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for participation in a night re-supply mission at Bien Phoa under heavy enemy fire. A total of ten awards will be handed out.

Flexjet, VistaJet Form Alliance

Texas-based Flexjet and Switzerland-based VistaJet have formed an alliance to expand service to their customers. Flexjet, which is owned by Bombardier and VistaJet, which bought Bombardier's European and Middle East-based Skyjet International in 2008, have reached an agreement that will allow customers of each company access to the other's aircraft. The deal also includes customers of the Flexjet 25 Jet Card program, who buy blocks of aircraft time through Part 135 operator Jet Solutions. Under the deal, Flexjet fractional customers and Flexjet 25 customers will get guaranteed access to VistaJet's European operations and be able to book flights in the Middle East and Asia as availability permits. The preferred rates that customers get through their existing affiliations apply on the expanded network.

All of the organizations fly Bombardier-built aircraft exclusively. Flexjet is a traditional fractional operation in which clients purchase a fraction of an aircraft, starting at 1/16th, based on the number of hours they expect to fly. Under the Flexjet 25 plan, customers buy block time on aircraft operated by Jet Solutions. VistaJet operates similarly to Jet Solutions and also offers on-demand charters.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Is Lead in Fuel Morally Bad?

Lead in auto fuel has already become a memory, and it seeems that day may be coming for avgas, too. In the latest installment of the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli asks whether the scientific data supports a crusade to remove lead from aviation fuels.

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

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Click here to visit SEAerospace.com.
Who's Where back to top 

Piaggio Promotes Bingham

John Bingham

John Bingham is the new Piaggio Aero America President and CEO. He was formerly an executive vice president with Cirrus Design.

Anderson New Spirit CFO

Philip Anderson has been named senior vice president and chief financial officer for Spirit AeroSystems. He was formerly treasurer and VP of investor relations.

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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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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Help Us Celebrate AVweb's 15th Anniversary back to top 

15 Years and Now 15 Grand Giveaways ... Now's Your Chance to Win 100,000 Air BP Bravo Reward Points

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 Drawings

Now's your chance to win 100,000 Air BP Bravo Rewards Points as we celebrate our 15th Anniversary! All you have to do is click here to enter your name and e-mail address. (You only have to enter once, and you'll be entered in our prize drawings for the entire year. If you've already entered for the previous Bose Headset drawing, you're all set — no need to register again.)

And no, we're not going to rent or sell your name, ever. Tell your friends, and invite them to sign up for AVweb so they can qualify for our 15 Grand Giveaways prize drawings, too. (We won't spam them, either — but we hope they will sign up for our newsletters.)

Deadline for entries is 11:59pm Zulu time February 19, 2010.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.

Congratulations to Ron Goin of Idaho Falls, ID, who won the Bose Aviation Headset X! (click here to get your own from Bose Corporation)

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

Exclusive Video: Airborne Laser Shoots Down Missile in First Successful Test

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

Boeing may have a legitimate proof-of-concept for its airborne laser targeting weapon, which this week successfully intercepted a liquid-propelled ballistic missile in flight. AVweb's Glenn Pew has the video.

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

Exclusive Video: AVweb's PiperSport Flight Trial

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

At the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida, Piper launched its entry in the light sport market, the Czech-built PiperSport. Aviation Consumer editor Paul Bertorelli got a flight demo on the airplane, and here's his video report.

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

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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