AVwebBiz - Volume 9, Number 6

February 9, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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AVflash! Funding ADS-B on Fuel? Maybe ... back to top 
 
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Senate Committee Proposes 65 Percent Fuel-Tax Hike

The Senate finance committee approved a plan to hike the taxes on general aviation jet fuel by 65 percent, from 21.8 cents per gallon to 35.9 cents, The Hill reported on Tuesday. The change would raise $400 million per year, which the committee says will help fund NextGen, the FAA's plan to modernize the air traffic control system. The committee also approved a surcharge of 14.1 cents per gallon on jet fuel used by fractional aircraft. Fuel taxes have been supported as a better option than user fees by most aviation advocacy groups. "In the last two Congresses, AOPA and its members agreed to 25 percent and 65 percent increases on aviation gasoline and non-commercial jet fuel, respectively," AOPA noted on Tuesday. "Our position really has not changed," AOPA spokesman Chris Dancy told AVweb. "In 2007 and again in 2009, we and our members agreed to higher fuel excise taxes as a way to fund the FAA and NextGen in lieu of user fees."

NBAA agreed that the committee's plan is acceptable. "The business aviation community has long said that the best way for companies that rely on general aviation to help fund aviation system modernization is by building upon the proven and efficient general aviation fuel tax," NBAA said in an e-mail to AVweb. "The bill approved by the Finance Committee today mirrors previous Congressional FAA reauthorization proposals supported by NBAA and the rest of the general aviation community, in that it makes adjustments to the fuel tax in lieu of new user fees for general aviation. The revenues raised through the fuel-tax increase will go to funding aviation system modernization; we welcome this legislation, and look forward to working with its supporters in Congress to ensure its final passage." The full Senate is expected to continue its work on the FAA bill over the next week or so. The House Aviation Subcommittee also is holding hearings this week to hear from government officials and advocacy groups about FAA funding. After both the House and Senate have completed their bills, a final bill will be worked out. The current funding bill has been extended 17 times, and may have to be extended at least once more before a final bill is worked out, with a term of two to four years.

 
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The Burdens of the Bizjet, Part I back to top 
 

Rule Would Open Up Bizjet Flight Tracking

NBAA has sent a letter to members warning that their ability to keep the movements of their aircraft from being tracked and reported by any of a myriad of Internet-based aircraft trackers could be gone by Feb. 15. According to NBAA, the Department of Transportation is considering a rule change that would make it much harder for GA aircraft owners to take part in the Blocked Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program. BARR was introduced in 2000 as a way for private aircraft owners to stay that way and keep business competitors or others from knowing where the company aircraft (which most likely is carrying senior executives) is flying. "NBAA has long understood that in the instant-information age of the Internet, with the flight-tracking software that web-based technology has made available, there are legitimate reasons why companies' flights should not be displayed on a real-time basis," NBAA President Ed Bolen said in the letter.

Until the notorious hearing when car industry executives were questioned about their use of business jets to fly to Washington in 2008, not much attention was paid to the program. But in 2009, a Web site called ProPublica won a court ruling allowing it access to the blocked N-numbers. Its investigation uncovered a lot of routine business travel and a television evangelist who used the flock's jet to go to Hawaii. NBAA says it's fighting the rule change but doesn't appear to give its battle much hope. "We will keep you informed of our progress; however, as of now, it appears new limitations could go into effect as early as February 15," Bolen wrote.

 
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The Legal Aviation Workshop (LAW) "Regulatory Law in the Aviation Industry" will be held in Washington, DC on March 11, 2011, hosted by Cozen O'Connor. It will cover the following themes: Historical Background, Domestic and International Regulatory Agencies and Trade Association, Current Regulatory Issues. And it will conclude with an Open Discussion. The speakers will be Mark Atwood of Cozen O'Connor and Jamie Baldwin, writer and consultant on air transportation. Click here to learn more and register.
 
The Burdens of the Bizjet, Part II back to top 
 

Airlines' Loss, BizAv's Gain

An emerging trend in storm response by most airlines is creating opportunities in the business jet industry. Most of the majors now announce "preemptive cancellations" when particularly bad weather is forecast. When the storm that lashed the midsection of the country last week was forecast to dump up to 30 inches of snow on Chicago, all airlines cancelled flights to O'Hare and Midway, more than 2,000 in total, on Wednesday. In the past, flights would launch but airports would close as they got overwhelmed by the combination of traffic and snow. The Chicago storm almost lived up to its billing, but O'Hare and Midway never closed because the absence of traffic allowed crews to stay ahead of the snow clearing. Although there's no word on the level of business jet traffic during last week's storm, charter companies have added up the figures from the late December storms that had a similar impact on the Northeast.

Nick Tarascio, CEO of Ventura Air Services on Long Island, told Time Magazine the late December storms were money in the bank. "The blizzard was the best for our business," he said. According to Time, air charter requests peaked at 1,486 on Dec. 26, more than double that of the same day in 2009. European charter companies also got in on the bonanza when uncharacteristically cold and snowy weather hit the U.K. and southern Europe in December.

 
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More Good News for Bizjet Makers, Buyers back to top 
 

Big Bizjet Market Recovered

The large-cabin business jet market has recovered to pre-recession levels, according to Gulfstream. At a news conference just before the opening of Aero India in Bangalore on Tuesday, Roger Sperry, Gulfstream's VP of international sales, said the company will sell more than 100 airplanes this year, including 90 large-cabin and 15 to 20 small-to-medium aircraft. "The demand for long-range jets remains robust because of the rapid expansion of global business ties," Sperry is quoted as saying by Reuters.

India is considered an emerging market and the Bangalore show is expected to be busy, largely because of India's massive military modernization effort. According to Bombardier, the number of business jets in the country is expected to triple over the next 10 years to about 500.

 
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FAA Says Brush Up on Visual Approaches back to top 
 

FAA Advises Pilots To Review Visual Approach Procedures

In an "information for operators" advisory (PDF) released recently, the FAA reminded pilots that the conduct of visual approaches during marginal visual meteorological conditions requires "careful decision making." The controller must not clear a pilot for the visual approach unless the ceiling is reported at or better than 1,000 feet with three miles visibility, the FAA said; and in accepting a visual approach, it is the pilot's responsibility to have either the airport or the preceding aircraft in sight and to remain "clear of clouds" at all times. Since even a thin "scattered" or "isolated" layer could prevent a pilot from remaining "clear of clouds," the pilot must advise ATC immediately if he or she is unable to continue following the preceding aircraft, cannot remain clear of clouds, needs to climb, or loses sight of the airport.

In any of these cases, a go-around would be necessary, the FAA said. The requirement to remain "clear of clouds" extends to this go-around, since visual approaches lack missed-approach segments. The FAA recommended that directors of operations, directors of safety, and pilots should review the guidance provided in the AIM regarding visual approaches. Pilots should be aware of the responsibilities of accepting and flying visual approaches, particularly during marginal VMC. The FAA said it was issuing the advisory due to several recent instances when pilots accepted and flew visual approaches in marginal VMC, "raising questions as to their compliance with regulations."

 
Lightspeed Aviation Foundation
Don't Let This Opportunity Pass You By!
The Lightspeed Aviation Foundation Has Extended the Deadline
For Aviation-Related Charities to Apply for 2011 Grants

Twenty charities were awarded over $100,000 in grants for 2010. Your favorite charity could be on that list this year. To fill out the application, simply go to LightspeedAviationFoundation.org.

Make sure you submit it by midnight, February 11. Once the 20 finalists are chosen, the pilot community will decide how the funds will be distributed.
 
Opinion & Commentary back to top 
 

AVweb Insider Blog: Kelly Should Skip This Mission

NASA and Mark Kelly say the safest thing for everyone is for Kelly to command the last flight of Space Shuttle Endeavor — but with Kelly's wife Gabrielle Giffords recovering from a high-profile brain injury, AVweb Insider blogger Russ Niles isn't convinced the agency is making the right call.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: LSAs Just Cost Too Much

That's the prevailing wisdom, anyway. In his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli explains how years of research for Aviation Consumer have convinced him the little airplanes are priced just about right. He's clearing out space on his hard drive for your disagreements.

Read more and join the conversation.

 
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Who's Where back to top 
 

Lederer Joins TWC

Michael Lederer

Michael Lederer is the new Director of Aircraft Sales and Acquisition for TWC Aviation. He was formerly in sales at Bombardier.


Burnum at Business Jet Access

John Burnum

John Burnum has been named Director of Business Development at Business Jet Access. He was formerly a regional sales manager for King Aerospace.


Tritschler Moves to Icon

Klaus Tritschler

Klaus Tritschler is joining ICON Aircraft as the VP of Design. He was formerly creative director for BMW Group DesignworksUSA.


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: Navy X-47B Unmanned Combat Aircraft Flies

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

Friday, Feb. 4, 2011, the tailless, strike-fighter-sized unmanned system, the X-47B, under development by Northrop Grumman, completed its first flight at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB), California. The flying wing took off at 2:09 p.m. PST and flew for 29 minutes. The UAV climbed to an altitude of 5,000 feet, flew several racetrack-type patterns, and landed safely at 2:38 p.m. Northrop says the flight provided test data to verify and validate system software for guidance and navigation and the aerodynamic control of the tailless design. The aircraft will remain at Edwards AFB for flight envelope expansion before moving its test program to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., later in 2011. There, the system will undergo tests to validate its readiness to begin testing in the maritime and carrier environment. The X-47 is being prepared for carrier trials in 2013.

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Related Content:

Video: Flight Recorders Reviewed by 'Aviation Consumer'

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

Ever wish you could replay a flight and analyze what really happened? Aviation Consumer's Jeff Van West reviewed three different cockpit recording systems that target three significantly different needs. Here's the video recap.

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.

 
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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:

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.)

Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.

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