AVwebBiz - Volume 8, Number 15

April 21, 2010

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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Top News: Eye in the Sky Goes AWOL back to top 
 
Sponsor Announcement
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Safety Location System

One Of Two WAAS Satellites Failed

The Wide Area Augmentation System, which broadcasts GPS corrections used by aviators across North America, is powered by just two satellites, and one of them has failed. Intelsat, the company that provides the satellite service to the FAA, lost control of the satellite on April 3. The satellite will "drift out of orbit over the next two to four weeks," the FAA said on April 12. The most immediate impact will be felt in northwestern Alaska, where service will be unavailable at 16 airports. However, the FAA said that due to the lack of redundant coverage, WAAS users across North America may experience temporary service interruptions. Also, a "single-point failure situation exists until redundancy [is] restored," the FAA said. A replacement satellite should launch by the end of this year; meanwhile, the FAA is looking at other options to mitigate the impact.

The Government Accountability Office raised questions last year about the lack of redundancy in the GPS system. "It is uncertain whether the Air Force will be able to acquire new satellites in time to maintain current GPS service without interruption," the GAO report warned. "If not, some military operations and some civilian users could be adversely affected." Click here for more details about the outage, in an FAA PowerPoint presentation.

At Sun 'n Fun last week, AVweb raised the issue of satellite redundancy with AOPA President Craig Fuller; click here for that podcast.

 
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More Light Jet Testing Before Certification, Says FAA back to top 
 

FAA Proposes More Light Jet Testing

The FAA has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (PDF) that could significantly complicate the certification process for several small jets currently in development and future aircraft weighing less than 6,000 pounds with turbine engines. The FAA is proposing that all turbine-powered aircraft be put through function and reliability tests. Function and reliability testing is real-world testing of airframes and engines in the full spectrum of weather, missions and flight envelopes the planes are expected to encounter in service and is designed to catch snags that tend to show up soon after the aircraft are put into service. It can add as much as 300 hours to the certification flight testing. In 1950, the FAA exempted aircraft weighing less than 6,000 pounds from that type of testing since the small aircraft of the day were aimed at the private market and were exclusively powered by piston engines. New piston designs weighing less than 6,000 pounds and gliders will continue to be exempt. In the NPRM, the FAA cites problems with freshly certified Eclipse 500 aircraft as part of the foundation for the proposed rule. "This reconsideration was driven in part by difficulties encountered with the voluntary application of the requirement during the FAA type certification of the [Eclipse 500] and the subsequent problems experienced during that airplane's entry into service," the NPRM states.

The FAA says it likely would have spotted five problems that developed with the Eclipse if they'd done the function and reliability tests, including pitch and rudder trim issues, pitot system moisture trap, engine surges caused by carbon buildup on the static vanes, brake problems and tire problems. The comment period for the rule ends July 8. The rule, if made final, would affect Piper, Cirrus and Stratos jet programs. Diamond's D-Jet is being certified in Canada so the effect is less clear. Calls placed to Piper and Diamond were not immediately returned.

 
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Cessna Keeps 'Em Coming back to top 
 

First CJ4 Delivery

Cessna has delivered the first CJ4, which was certified in March. The new owner wasn't named. The aircraft is, of course, filled with the latest electronics, including a system called Green Trak. It was the first delivery of the flight planning software that figures out how to minimize trip cost by balancing the costs of direct operation, fuel burn and carbon emissions. It was the first aircraft delivered with Green Trak.

The CJ4 is a single-pilot aircraft and any pilot with a rating on any other CJ is rated on the all of them. It has a range of 2,000 nm and a top speed of 453 knots. It's powered by Williams FADEC FJ44-4A engines. There's a four-screen Collins Pro Line 21 panel and the Rockwell Collins Venue cabin management system in the back.

Cessna Announces CAP Order

With the downturn in the economy, the order count that used to be a fixture of major aviation events has all but disappeared, but Cessna broke the recent mold at Sun 'n Fun 2010, or more accurately, just after it. Cessna linked an order for 12 Cessna 182s to the Civil Air Patrol to the annual spring show in Lakeland, Fla., even though it's doubtful CAP brass made the decision while kicking the tires last week. Nevertheless, it put a brighter spin on the show, which is holding its own in the economy and trying to make up for apparent decreases in exhibitor and fly-in attendance with jet team shows on the weekend (Thunderbirds this year) to draw the local crowds.

There were no order announcements by other OEMs during the show but exhibitors AVweb spoke with were generally upbeat by the quality of the weekday attendees, if not the quantity. Cessna CEO Jack Pelton told AVweb that Sun 'n Fun is a bellwether event and the level of activity at this year's show confirmed his analysis of the current aviation market. "It's going to be a long and slow recovery," he said. "But at least people are here and they're staying involved.

 
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Upgrades and Enhancements back to top 
 

Kodiak OK'd For 475 Extra Pounds

Quest Aircraft has gotten the OK from the FAA to increase the maximum takeoff weight of its Kodiak aircraft from 6,750 pounds to 7,225 pounds, the company said this week. "The Kodiak was designed with and for mission and humanitarian aviation organizations to perform under extremely rigorous conditions in the most remote regions of the world," said Quest CEO Paul Schaller. "The gross weight increase will enable them to carry more cargo and/or passengers so they can execute their operations even more effectively." At the new max weight, the Kodiak can take off in under 1,000 feet and climb at over 1,300 fpm.  The Kodiak, a single-engine turboprop utility airplane, comes with a three-panel G1000 avionics suite as standard equipment. It can operate off of floats and land on unimproved surfaces.

The Kodiak was FAA-certified in 2007. Buyers have used the airplane for personal travel, Part 135 operations, and government applications, as well as humanitarian efforts, the company said. Two Kodiak aircraft provided disaster relief in Haiti in recent months. The airplane was on display at Sun 'n Fun last week next to a pallet piled impressively high with gear, representing a possible full load. Quest is headquartered in Sandpoint, Idaho.

Piper To Expand Production, Offer Enhanced Vision (corrected)

Piper CEO Kevin Gould said at Sun 'n Fun on Tuesday he's "encouraged" by the current economy, and his company will expand production by more than 75 percent this year, compared to 2009. Gould wouldn't hazard a guess, however, how long it might take to return to 2008 levels. Since production in 2009 declined by about two-thirds compared to 2008, even a 75-percent improvement shows there is a still a long way to go. Nonetheless, Gould and other Piper execs were upbeat, noting that the company's owner, Imprimis, is "in it for the long haul." Piper also announced that Forward Vision Systems' EVS-100 and DVS-600 Enhanced Vision Systems are now available for installation in the Malibu, Matrix and Mirage models.

The company also plans to offer a system for the Meridian as soon as it is available to work with the Meridian's higher performance envelope (up to 30,000 feet). Gould said Piper has hired 60 engineers to work on the PiperJet project, and they recently completed the Preliminary Design Review, which showed that the design is on track to meet its performance goals. Soon the crews will start to build the first conforming production prototype.

 
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All the News from Sun 'n Fun back to top 
 

Sun 'n Fun 2010 Coverage Round-Up

Time for a quick round-up of coverage from this year's Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Florida. Look for a full run-down of this year's videos, podcasts, and news in a special edition of AVwebAudio that can be found here.

AVweb Insider Blog: Aircraft Sales — Is There a Better Way?

Wayne Fischer of Mooney is wondering about that. At Sun 'n Fun, Paul Bertorelli spoke to Fischer, who mentioned that the current downturn might reset the thinking on business plans for general aviation manufacturers. Maybe lower volume based on sales driving production is the better way to go.

Read about Wayne Fischer's ideas and Paul's reactions on the AVweb Insider blog — then share your own comments.

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

Ride-Along with Dale Snodgrass

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

Famed air show and fighter pilot Dale Snodgrass took an AVweb camera along on his Paris Jet afternoon air show at Sun 'n Fun. In this unique video, he gives us the details about his routine.

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

 
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Who's Where back to top 
 

Groom Joins Piper

Randy Groom

Randy Groom, a former senior executive with Hawker Beechcraft, has been named Executive Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Customer Support for Piper. Groom had been running his own consulting business before joining Piper.


Gras Promoted At Eurocopter

Christian Gras

Christian Gras is Eurocopter's new Executive Vice President, Customers. He was Senior Vice President for Latin America.


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.

 
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.

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

15 Years and Now 15 Grand Giveaways ... It's Your Chance to Win Scheyden Frames and Flight Gear

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 Drawings

Win Scheyden Dual RX frames and Flight Crew Ensemble flight gear 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 — so if you've already entered, you're all set.)

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 April 30, 2010.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.


Congratulations to Jack Feiden of Wichita, Kansas, who won an XM WX Satellite Weather Receiver from WxWorx in our last drawing! (click here to get your own from WxWorx)

 
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.)

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