AVwebBiz - Volume 9, Number 4

January 26, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Tracking the Recovery back to top 

Used Bizjet Inventory Starting To Move

There's been a significant improvement in the used business jet and turboprop inventory but it might be too early to signal a real recovery for new sales. AMSTAT reports that more used business aircraft and turboprops were sold in the last quarter of 2010 than in any quarter in recent memory. Inventory remains higher (14.7 percent of the world's business aircraft are for sale) than the 12.5 percent that is considered normal but it dropped from 15.5 percent at the end of Q3. AMSTAT says the relative flurry of sales "represents the most transaction activity since 2008" and may signal "the start of a true recovery."

Among the factors that concern OEMs besides the raw numbers is that a lot of the used aircraft on the market are relatively new and selling at below-market prices. The AMSTAT review doesn't break out the heritage of the aircraft that are selling but it's probably safe to assume that high-value, relatively low-price airplanes will be among the first to go. Because of all the wild cards in the market, AMSTAT isn't predicting a return to a normal market just yet. It could be "entirely coincidence, or it could be the most promising sign that the market have given us in a while."

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The State of General Aviation back to top 

House Members Urge Obama: No Aviation User Fees

One hundred and sixteen members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed a letter (PDF) to President Barack Obama urging him not to support aviation user fees as a means to fund the FAA's budget for 2012. User fees would be "a step backward" in efforts to modernize the air traffic control system, and would have a "detrimental impact on general aviation and the flying public," the letter states. Ed Bolen, president of the National Business Aviation Association, welcomed the effort. "We thank the Congressional leaders who took this action early in the year to reinforce a clear message of opposition to user fees, and welcome their unwavering support on this issue of critical importance to the entire general aviation community," Bolen said this week. NBAA said the current system of fuel taxes is proven and efficient.

The bipartisan effort was led by Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., chairman of the House aviation subcommittee, and Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Ill., ranking member of the subcommittee. "Their stance demonstrates how well they understand the role and value of general aviation, and all of us in the GA community appreciate their willingness to step forward and address this issue head on," said AOPA President Craig Fuller. "They have stood firm and told the Obama Administration that user fees would be bad for general aviation, for our national transportation system, and for the broader economy." A similar letter circulated in 2009 gathered 118 signatures. AOPA said it was "impressive" that the current letter attracted nearly as many supporters, given the significant changes in House membership since the recent election.

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FAA vs. Airports: Smart Money's on the FAA back to top 

Naples Next To Test FAA Authority

A week after a California court ruled the FAA has pretty much absolute authority over the use of airports that have accepted money from it (in this case Santa Monica) the City Council of Naples, Fla., appears poised to test that concept. The council this week voted to continue zoning discussions on whether the local airport authority can build a runway extension at the bizjet-busy airport. The city's attorney has already told the council it's likely a waste of time but councilman Sam Saad said there's a principle involved.

"Until we are told otherwise by (a judge) or the FAA, we should assert our zoning authority and resolve the issue for our residents," Saad said. The construction of FAA-mandated overruns, as is commonly the case, is what triggered this debate. The Naples Airport Authority wants to put an extra 510 feet at the south end of the main Naples runway and 800 feet at the north end. The construction will make the available takeoff distance 5,800 feet but the maximum landing distance will remain at 5,000 feet.

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Icing Intelligence back to top 

FAA: Icing May Affect Stall Warning On Older Aircraft

Pilots who fly general aviation aircraft that were certified before the year 2000 should be aware that the stall-warning system may not work as expected in icing conditions, the FAA said on Monday. Pilots have reported that they felt a shudder or buffet, but attributed it to engine or propeller icing. "These reported events occurred in the cruise phase of flight, in some cases with the autopilot engaged; during landing approach; and on landing," the FAA said. Pilots in icing conditions should treat a buffet or shudder as if it is an imminent stall, the FAA said. The recommendation is part of a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (PDF), which provides safety information to pilots. "Do not believe the myth that 'thicker' general aviation airplane airfoils are more tolerant of ice accretion," the FAA said.

Since 2000, airplanes certified under Part 23 (normal, utility, acrobatic, and commuter categories, with maximum takeoff weights below 12,500 pounds) must comply with icing regulations that require the stall-warning system to be designed and tested with critical ice accretions along the entire span of the wing. In many new designs this results in the stall warning speed biased higher in icing conditions, the FAA said. Prior to 2000, a clear and unambiguous buffet was accepted for stall warning in icing conditions, even if the airplane was equipped with a stall-warning system and a heated stall-warning sensor. Prior to 1973, there were no requirements to test Part 23 airplanes in icing conditions. Part 23 airplanes were approved for flight in icing conditions if they were properly equipped. Many of these airplanes remain in the fleet today. The FAA bulletin (PDF) provides detailed suggestions for pilots to avoid stalls in icing conditions.

De-Icing in the Real World: Aviation Consumer Wants to Hear from TKS Users

Aviation Consumer is researching an article on TKS performance in the real world and could really use your help. If you fly an aircraft equipped with a TKS system, please take just a few moments to complete this online survey.

Information about how you use the system and how it performs will be kept anonymous, but the general findings will be reported in a future issue of Aviation Consumer.

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Something You Don't See Every Day back to top 

An Eclipse In St. Petersburg

Click for more photos

One of the interesting side stories of the Eclipse Aviation debacle was the courting of Russia, including then-President Vladimir Putin as a manufacturing base and major customer. Although the VLJ heyday has passed there are apparently Eclipse 500s still in Russia and you'll find them in the oddest places. Eclipse 500 serial number 09, registered to a Delaware trustee, is there and was last spotted on a truck in downtown St. Petersburg. According to Russian media, it was put on a flatbed for the first part of a trip to a convention center but the journey didn't go well.

The plane was supposed to be taken a short distance from the airport to a dock on a river where it was to be put on a barge for the trip to the convention center. But the aircraft's nose was dinged by another truck on the way to the river and the resulting kafuffle made the plane miss its barge. So the decision was made to continue the journey by road.

Click for photos.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Sport Aviation Expo 2011

Sport Aviation Expo 2011 had some bright spots, says resident AVweb Insider blogger Paul Bertorelli — although big sales remain elusive. And what about Piper? They say they're still committed to light sport, but they terminated their relationship with their Czech supplier and they aren't looking for a replacement.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Remembering the Andes Crash

We've just passed the 38th anniversary of one of the most remembered crashes in aviation history, Uruguayan Flight 571 in the Andes Mountains in 1972. It's an epic story of survival, and a new History Channel program puts a fascinating twist on the telling. It's not the grisly details that captivate Paul Bertorelli in the latest installment of the AVweb Insider blog, but the character of the men whose steely resolve led to the party's eventual rescue.

Read more and join the conversation.

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

Video: Own an Airplane, Make Money, Save Taxes

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

If it seems like David Sussman has achieved airplane ownership Nirvana, he would probably agree. AVweb spoke with him at U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring about enjoying financial benefits from a light sport aircraft.

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Video: A Convertible Glider

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

The Phoenix motorglider is two airplanes in one, and just about anyone can fly it, regardless of his medical status. AVweb took a tour at U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring over the weekend.

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Video: iCub — An Airplane Wrapped Around an iPad (Plus an iPhone)

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

If there aren't enough iWidgets in your life, here's one more: the iCub. It's basically a Cub clone LSA built around the network and display capabilities of an iPad and an iPhone. The iPad serves as the airplane's main navigation device, plus it also receives and tracks data from the Rotax 912 engine. At the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, AVweb talked with the company's Bill Canino, and this brief video offers a tour of the airplane.

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Viral Video back to top 

Click-and-Control Interactive Heli Video

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

A company called northStudio has created a video with Nimmo Bay Helicopter Resort that allows viewers to control the viewing angle of 360-degree panoramic pre-recorded video through a click-and-drag interface. The technology uses six cameras strapped to a custom-built rig attached to a pole that's attached to the helicopter. Proprietary video merging software then creates the "seamless flying experience." According to the company, the technology was made possible due to improvements in internet and processor speeds. In the video, the camera is slung below a helicopter as it flies down rivers, skims 10,000-year-old glaciers, hovers over waterfalls, and more, and the viewer controls the viewing direction at all times.

Click and see for yourself.

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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 255,000 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.

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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