AVwebBiz - Volume 8, Number 18

May 12, 2010

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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AVflash! back to top 
 
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Lear 85 On Schedule

Bombardier says development of the Lear 85 mostly composite business jet is moving ahead on schedule and the program hit some major milestones recently. Major components for the midsize aircraft will be made a plant in Queretaro, Mexico, and on March 30 the plant was granted FAA permission for parts conformity, making it the first U.S. company to get approval to build Category 1 and Category 2 aircraft parts in Mexico. The shell of the parts plant is up, tooling is under way and the Mexico plant is expected to begin making parts in July. Meanwhile, Bombardier is expanding facilities in Wichita to make way for the new model.

The Wichita facility will assemble the new jets and finish them for delivery. Even though the factories aren't finished yet, Bombardier says everything is on schedule and first deliveries will be on schedule in 2013. The company says it will be "the first all-composite structure business jet designed for type certification under U.S. Federal Aviation Administration FAR Part 25."

Big Announcement at TCM's Press Day?

Check AVweb at 11am EDT for significant developments on a diesel engine project from Continental, including a video peek at the new engine. Prepare to be ... surprised.

 
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Longer Life for Centurion Diesels back to top 
 

Centurion Simplifies Maintenance

Centurion Aircraft Engines says it has extended the life of its 2.0 liter diesel aircraft engines to 1,500 hours and eliminated a requirement to ship the engines to its German headquarters for a 1,200-hour inspection. The engines previously had a TBR (time before replacement) of 1,200 hours and there are still a few things that need replacement at that interval, including a belt, hoses and coolant. Under the life extension plan, the company had previously mandated that the 1,200-hour inspection be done at the factory but it's now allowing service centers to do the work, which takes about an hour. Removal and replacement of the engine takes about 13 hours, not to mention the time, expense and aggravation of shipping the engine to Germany under the old rules. "A particularly important aspect for fleet operators in this regard is the reduction of the aircraft on ground (AOG) period," the company said in a news release.

Centurion is now working on getting the TBR to 1,800 hours. Centurion picked up the pieces from the failure of Thielert Aircraft Engines, which became insolvent two years ago. The insolvency caused serious service disruptions for Thielert engine owners, most of them Diamond Aircraft customers. Diamond has since certified its own diesel engine, the Austro, to replace the Thielerts.

 
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Hold the Champagne, Says GAMA Report back to top 
 

GAMA Finds GA Sales "Far From Recovery"

Sales of general aviation aircraft didn't drop as dramatically in the first quarter of this year as they did the year before, but nonetheless, sales are down by 15 percent overall compared to the first quarter of 2009, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) reported on Monday. Worldwide, a total of 390 GA airplanes were delivered. "These numbers are being released on the heels of Europe's premier business aviation show, the European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition [EBACE], where many of our manufacturers noted that the market seems to be stabilizing," said GAMA President Pete Bunce. "Reported flight activity from the FAA and Eurocontrol is on an upward trend and the used aircraft inventory is slowly decreasing. However, these first-quarter figures reveal that our industry is far from a recovery." Some GA manufacturers did report slight upticks in deliveries.

Cirrus Design, for example, rose from 39 to 53 deliveries, and Piper reported an increase from 22 in 1Q09 to 30 in the same period this year. Diamond saw a decline from 49 to 35. Cessna delivered 135 aircraft in 1Q09 and 80 in the latest quarter. The piston airplane segment overall was down 7.3 percent in the first quarter, with 166 units delivered, compared to 179 airplanes in the first three months of 2009. The turboprop segment delivered 60 units, down from 89 units during 1Q09, for a 32.6 percent decrease. Business jet shipments fell 14.1 percent in the first quarter with 164 airplanes delivered, compared to 191 in 1Q09. GAMA said the continuation of bonus depreciation will be crucial to help the industry increase production and bring back lost jobs. Bunce said, "We join with the rest of the manufacturing sector in calling upon the U.S. Congress to approve bonus depreciation for products ordered in 2010." The Obama administration has shown strong support for the initiative, he added. The complete 1Q10 report (PDF) and the 2009 report (PDF) are both posted online.

 
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Rebuilding from the Recession back to top 
 

Udvar-Hazy Gathering Investors

While a lot of people are having trouble getting financing for their businesses these days, Steven Udvar-Hazy probably isn't one of them and he's looking for up to $2 billion to start his next venture. As AVweb told you in January, Udvar-Hazy left the chairmanship of International Lease Finance Corp., the company he founded in 1973, after its parent company, AIG, lost the stellar credit rating needed to obtain the low-cost financing needed to keep that kind of business profitable. ILFC owned more than 1,000 aircraft and leased them to airlines but when AIG ran into trouble, the razor-thin margins evaporated. Udvar-Hazy wanted to buy his old company back, but AIG decided to hang on.

There are no details available on who might be jumping on board with Udvar-Hazy but at least one aviation pundit thinks he's a good bet to make them money. "He is not going to re-create ILFC overnight," Richard Aboulafia told Reuters. "But he will be doing what he likes to do -- creating a leasing business which if done right can be a fantastic enterprise." Aboulafia said all the factors that made ILFC successful (large fleet, affiliation with a blue-chip financial group) are now disadvantages. Old, inefficient aircraft are dropping in value so what were once assets become liabilities, so it's expected a new leasing company will have to offer only the latest and greatest to be successful. And since it's a buyer's market, the new venture will have some advantages. "It's a great time to buy planes," Aboulafia said.

 
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Excitement Builds for HondaJet back to top 
 

HondaJet Deliveries Delayed Till Late 2012

The HondaJet's delivery date has already been bumped back at least once, and this week the company moved the date again, to late in 2012. Originally the company had hoped to start deliveries by the end of this year, then last year announced a delay until late 2011 due to slow deliveries from suppliers. On Monday, Honda spokesman Stephen Keeney again blamed supplier delays. He told The Associated Press "major components" were the holdup, but didn't specify any further. The company has said it has about 100 orders for the $4 million jet. The first conforming prototype was expected to fly this summer, but now first flight is expected in November.

Honda Aircraft Co. is based in Greensboro, N.C. The company is building a 250,000-square-foot building at Piedmont Triad International Airport, which should be finished early next year. The company already has about 450 people working in its research and development center at the site.

 
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Tomorrow on AVweb 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 
 

Judd Named Chief Test Pilot

Allan P. Judd has been appointed Chief Test Pilot for E-Green Technologies-21st Century Airships. The company is planning to produce airships, and Judd has been flying airships for more than 20 years.


Wittingen Joins Standard Aero

Marc Wittingen is Standard Aero's new director of international sales. He's been with Standard Aero for two years and was director of customer programs for the PW100 division in Tilburg, Netherlands.


Accolades: Skytech Earns Diamond Award

SkyTech Receives FAA Diamond Award

Skytech Inc. received the FAA's Diamond Award, the highest level award in the Federal Aviation Administration's Aviation Maintenance Technician Awards program. The Rock Hill, SC company has earned the distinction four years in a row.


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 
 

Kitplanes Reports from CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposium

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

With electric airplanes continuing to gain favor, the fifth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium was held recently, and here's a video report from Kitplanes magazine editor Marc Cook. In case you haven't been paying attention, there has been broad progress in battery technology and endurance, motor weight, and power and charging systems. This video summarizes the high points.

If you enjoy this video, be sure to check out our sister publication, Kitplanes magazine.

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.

Aviation Consumer Looks at the FX8 Jeppesen Chart Reader

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

It's light enough to fit in a chart holder on the yoke, yet big enough to view a Jepp plate at full width. This new digital chart reader from SOLIDFX is a winner.

If you enjoy this video, be sure to look for the print review of the FX8 in the June issue of our sister publication, Aviation Consumer.

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.

AVweb Insider Blog: Trumped-Up JFK Emergency?

Under what authority did the Captain of an American 767 reject a runway assignment and take the runway he wanted? Command authority, says Paul Bertorelli in the latest installment the AVweb Insider blog — and, like it or not, it was the PIC's call to make.

Click here to see what others think.

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

15 Years and Now 15 Grand Giveaways ... It's Your Chance to Win a King Schools Get-It-All Training Kit

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 Drawings

Win a Get-It-All Training Kit from King Schools 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 May 21, 2010.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.


Congratulations to David Schieman of Lawrenceville, Georgia, who won Scheyden Dual RX frames and a Scheyden flight gear package in our last drawing! (click here to get your own from Scheyden)

 
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

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