AVwebBiz Complete Issue: Volume 8, Number 40b

October 20, 2010

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! PiperJet Rechristened the Altair back to top 
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PiperJet Now Bigger And Better-Looking

Piper went back to the drawing board with its single-engine PiperJet and the result is the Altair. The new aircraft differs substantially from the proof-of-concept PiperJet and includes a redesigned fuselage that is substantially larger than the stretched Meridian body that served the original. The tail-mounted engine stays but the longer nacelle and reworked tail give the aircraft a sleeker appearance. Company Executive Vice President Randy Groom said the new aircraft is aimed at both the business and owner-pilot market and suggested larger versions of the aircraft are possible in the future. He declined to say whether future designs will have more engines.

Groom said the company learned a lot from the proof-of-concept aircraft and there will be some direct transfers, such as the Garmin G3000 flight deck. However, a traditional dual yoke replaces the sidestick controllers that were in the prototype. Groom also expects the 160 position holders on the old design to transfer their commitment to the new design. The new plane will be ready for customers in 2014 and, in the meantime, the $75,000 deposit can be used to reduce the price of a Meridian the future jet pilots can use to get comfortable in the turbine environment. The Altair will be priced at $2.5 million.

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More New Aircraft Unveiled at NBAA back to top 

Hawker Beechcraft Unveils Hawker 200

An updated version of the Beech Premier that Hawker Beechcraft says is "worthy of being called a Hawker" was one of several surprise small aircraft announcements at this year's National Business Aviation Association convention in Atlanta. The Hawker 200 will be a little faster, have a little more range and fly a little higher than its predecessor, Hawker Beechcraft VP of sales Shawn Vick told a Monday news conference. The aircraft will also have an updated interior. He said 95 percent of bizjet flights are shorter than 1,000 miles and carry three or fewer passengers and he said the 200 fits that niche while offering greater performance and comfort than competitors. The aircraft will sell for $7.55 million. Certification is scheduled for late 2012 and deliveries will start in 2013. Vick also announced a new short-field King Air model he said will open up 1,100 more airports to the venerable turboprop twin.

With engine induction enhancements, composite winglets and props, Vick said the sea-level takeoff distance of the King Air 250 is just 2111 feet (over a 50-foot object) and it's about 1,000 feet longer at 5,000 feet. Meanwhile, company CEO Bill Boisture said the company is making up, in part, for the downturn in the GA market with more emphasis on its military and government business. He said the attack version of the Texan-II trainer has performed almost flawlessly in recent tests and the recon and surveillance version of the King Air 350 continues to find new markets.

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Never Mind Dylan — Cessna Goes Electric back to top 

Electric 172 May Fly Early Next Year

An electric-powered Cessna 172 proof-of-concept aircraft will be ready to fly by April of next year, Bye Energy and Cessna said this week at NBAA's Annual Convention. The two companies are collaborating on the project, which was announced earlier this year at EAA AirVenture. George Bye, CEO of Bye Energy, said the project is making steady progress. "This is an ambitious effort, but we are continuing to uncover additional efficiencies with electric-powered flight," he said. "We are grateful to Cessna for its continued collaboration and support." Cessna CEO Jack Pelton said progress toward first flight of the electric 172 demonstrator is "encouraging news for the future of mainstream general aviation."

When the project was introduced in July, Pelton said "the electric power plant offers significant benefits, but there are significant challenges to get there." He added that he believed Bye Energy has "gotten off to a good start in understanding those challenges and how to overcome them." Bye spoke with AVweb at Oshkosh about his plans for the project; click here to listen to the podcast.

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Kestrel Readies to Move into New HQ back to top 

Kestrel Making Progress

Kestrel Aircraft hopes to move into its government-spec factory before the end of the year to begin work on certifying the big turboprop single. Company spokesman Adrian Norris told AVweb in a podcast interview at the National Business Aviation Association convention the private sector funding needed to begin creation of the production version of the aircraft is "falling into place" and will supplement the government incentives being provided by the State of Maine in exchange for job creation. The new factory will be in a state-of-the-art Navy maintenance facility at the decommissioned Brunswick Naval Air Station. Although the company has a proof of concept aircraft, it's safe to say the final article will be substantially different, although no decisions have been made about the final engine or avionics choices.

Something else that has changed substantially is the perception of the project. Just before AirVenture Oshkosh, former Cirrus CEO Alan Klapmeier became CEO of Kestrel Aircraft and the difference has been palpable said Norris. "People really seem to believe we have an aircraft that fills a gap in the marketplace," he said.

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Meanwhile, Outside of NBAA ... back to top 

FAA Re-Registration Rules, Clarified

If you own an aircraft, you will have to re-register it sometime over the next three years, and last week the FAA issued a clarification (PDF) to help some of those owners who are starting the process now. The FAA says it has sent out re-registration notices to owners of aircraft that were registered in March of any year. Those owners can go ahead and re-register now, but the new registration will expire three years from the last day of the month it's issued. So if you register in October, the registration will expire October 31, 2013. If you want the new registration to last until March 31, 2014, you should wait until March 2011 to complete your paperwork. Also, this week, EAA posted a "simple guide" to the new registration form online.

"Feedback we've received thus far has reinforced our experience that the re-registration process can be accomplished in as little as five to ten minutes," EAA said. The process can be completed online or through the mail. Also, those who want more help can call EAA for a walk-through, at no charge. For more details about the new procedures, click here for the FAA's explanation and its schedule for re-registration deadlines, and click here for AOPA's analysis.

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AVweb Audio — Are You Listening? back to top 

Eclipse: 50 to 100 Airframes a Year Is the Sweet Spot

File Size 7.1 MB / Running Time 6:52

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Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

As Eclipse Aircraft continues to rebuild itself — and its airplanes — it announced a new integrated flight management system for the EA500 at NBAA in Atlanta this week. In this podcast, CEO Mason Holland tells AVweb that some 100 existing Eclipses have been fully updated with state-of-the-art avionics and more upgrades are on the way. Holland says the company's Albuquerque production facility is ready to resume building new airplanes, but it's unknown when that will happen. He says the sweet spot for Eclipse economics is between 50 and 150 airplanes a year, although it could ramp up to higher numbers.

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Click here to listen. (7.1 MB, 6:52)

Kestrel Project Moving Along

File Size 4.9 MB / Running Time 4:45

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The money is almost in place, and there's a big new factory building waiting for Kestrel Aircraft in Brunswick, Maine where the company hopes to move in later this year. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Kestrel's Adrian Norris about what's next.

This podcast is brought to you by Lightspeed Aviation and Phillips 66 Aviation.

Click here to listen. (4.9 MB, 4:45)

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

Video: VisionSafe EVAS Demo

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

Smoke in the cockpit is a serious danger for pilots. With oxygen available, breathing isn't the problem; seeing is. The VisionSafe Emergency Vision Assurance System (EVAS) addresses the threat of zero-zero vis in the cockpit. AVweb filmed a demo at NBAA 2010 in Atlanta.

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

This video is brought to you by WxWorx XM WX Satellite Weather and Bose Corporation.

Video: PiperJet Altair

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

At NBAA 2010 in Atlanta, Piper surprised the world with a complete redo of its single-engine jet, included an upgraded interior and larger, circular section cabin. Piper's Geoff Berger gave AVweb a tour of the revised jet, dubbed the Altair.

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.

This video is brought to you by Phillips 66® Aviation and Lightspeed Aviation.

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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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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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