AVwebBiz - Volume 9, Number 7

February 16, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! The Budet's In, Analysis Begins back to top 
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FAA Budget: NextGen Wins, Big Airports Lose

The White House on Monday released its budget proposal for the next fiscal year, and so far general aviation advocacy groups are finding not much to complain about -- no sign of user fees, and funding for GA airport improvements and NextGen remains intact. "This is a long and extraordinarily complex document, and a complete review of all the language and nuances takes time," AOPA President Craig Fuller said on Monday. "But our initial reading indicates that the president has recognized the need to modernize our aviation system while maintaining critical infrastructure -- all funded by a tried-and-true system of excise taxes and general fund contributions. All of us in the general aviation community find this encouraging." Not so happy, though, were advocates for larger airports, which take a serious hit in the administration's proposal.

Airports Council International - North America expressed concern on Monday about a line item that would reduce funding for improvements at large and medium hub airports. The proposal would cut airport improvement program (AIP) grants by $1.1 billion, down to $2.4 billion. Funding for smaller GA fields would remain intact. "Airports' top priority is to operate safe, secure and efficient facilities," said ACI-NA President Greg Principato. "By gutting the AIP, the Administration's budget proposal fails to provide the resources necessary to provide safe and secure facilities that reduce passenger delays and inconvenience." NBAA said it will send representatives to a stakeholder meeting to be held soon by the Transportation Department to review the budget document -- which is nearly 1,000 pages long -- and until then will continue reviewing the proposal. In his address to Congress, President Barack Obama said that "quality infrastructure," including airports, is essential to economic growth.

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4G, GPS Battle for Bandwidth back to top 
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Garmin Says 4G System A Threat To GPS

Garmin is standing by its position that a proposal to build a network of 40,000 broadband transmission towers around the U.S. could severely disrupt GPS service. As we reported last week, LightSquared has received conditional FCC approval to install the massive system to carry 4G signals, the conditions being that it restrict its signals to their assigned frequencies on the L Band 1 (1525 MHz—1559 MHz) and test existing GPS devices to see what kind of interference the transmitters might cause. GPS uses the a frequency range of 1159-1610 MHz, which is right next to the LightSquared signal. Garmin's Jessica Myers told AVweb in a podcast interview that Garmin has done testing on its own and determined there's no practical way for the two systems to coexist.

Myers said even if the LightSquared signals stay within their boundaries, they will be so strong compared to the very low-power GPS signals that reach Earth from the satellites that the GPS equipment will simply be overwhelmed. She said it may be technically possible to build filters that will block the LightSquared signals but they would be cost-prohibitive. Myers said that because the transmitters are ground-based, the biggest impact on GPS will occur in critical phases of flight like approach. She also noted that there are millions of marine and auto GPS units that could be affected. LightSquared says Garmin's tests are suspect because it didn't use the actual equipment that will be installed on the broadband towers. Real-world testing is expected to begin this month.

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Private Aircraft Privacy: DOT to Welcome Comments back to top 

DOT Promises Comment Period On BARR

DOT will invite comments from affected parties before it changes eligibility requirements for the Block Aircraft Registration Request program. As we reported last week, the National Business Aviation Association sent notice to members warning that the DOT was reviewing the program, which allows aircraft owners to conceal their registration to prevent tracking of aircraft movements. The program was introduced in 2000. In 2010, ProPublica, an investigative journalism website, won a court decision that resulted in the BARR program tail numbers being released.

NBAA has been in contact with DOT since it learned the department was looking at making it a lot harder to qualify for the program. NBAA was given until Tuesday to comment on the proposal and that might be the end of it. If, however, the DOT decides to consider the idea further, it will broaden its search for comments. NBAA says the DOT has assured that "prior to making any decision to limit eligibility for the BARR program, it will issue a notice inviting interested persons to submit comments on such limitations." If and when that happens, the notice will be immediately circulated to members.

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Slow and Steady, Says GA Forecast back to top 

FAA Predicts Slow Growth For GA

The general aviation fleet in the U.S. will continue to grow over the next 20 years, but at a rate of only 0.9 percent per year, the FAA said in its annual forecast, released on Tuesday. Fixed-wing turbine aircraft will sell best, growing at a projected rate of 3.1 percent each year. Rotorcraft are projected to sell 2.6 percent more each year, while fixed-wing pistons show the slowest growth, at only 0.2 percent per year. The FAA used the forecast release, which predicts U.S. air traffic overall will more than double by 2031, to push for NextGen funding. "We are already seeing the tangible safety and efficiency benefits of NextGen," said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. "Only a modernized air transportation system will be able to keep up with our forecasted demand."

The forecast also predicts that hours flown by general aviation turbine aircraft will grow by 4 percent per year, while rotorcraft hours grow at 3 percent and pistons only 0.7 percent. Total operations at control towers are expected to decrease by 0.6 percent this year, but then grow at an annual rate of 1.6 percent. General aviation IFR aircraft handled are projected to increase 2.1 percent this year. Thereafter, general aviation IFR flights grow at an average annual rate of 1.4 percent, reaching 8.9 million in 2031. The International Air Transport Association also released its annual forecast this week, predicting that by 2014 there will be 3.3 billion air travelers, 800 million more than the number who flew on the world's major airlines in 2009. Substantial growth is expected in China, the Middle East and Africa.

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Embraer Comes Ashore in U.S. back to top 

Embraer Opens Florida Plant

Embraer will open its first U.S. factory next week in Melbourne, Fla. The 90,000-square-foot assembly plant for Phenom business jets will be officially opened with a ribbon-cutting Feb. 21. The factory project was announced shortly after the Phenom 300 prototype started flying in May of 2008. Both the Phenom 100 and the Phenom 300 will be assembled at the $50 million plant and about 200 people will work there. The company will also conduct flight testing and do delivery preparation at the Melbourne facility. Last year the company delivered 100 Phenom 100s and at least 11 Phenom 300s. Embraer may not be finished building U.S. factories, it was learned last week.

Embraer announced in early February that it would partner with Sierra Nevada to assemble Super Tucano light attack aircraft in Jacksonville, Fla., if it wins a $950 million contract with the Air Force. It's competing with Hawker Beechcraft's AT-6 for the contract, which will initially supply about 35 single-engine turboprops capable of carrying a wide variety of weapons, including precision guided stores. Embraer would renovate an existing 41,000-square-foot hangar in Jacksonville at a cost of $3.8 million. Embraer met with city and state officials Feb. 6.

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The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

An AVweb Survey: Tell Us What You Think About Avgas Replacements

The FAA just announced that it will convene a special committee to investigate an unleaded replacement for 100LL avgas. This committee will hear from the alphabets, aircraft manufacturers and users of avgas. AVweb would like to know your opinions on the current state of affairs in the search for an unleaded replacement for 100LL.

Click here to take the survey.

If you have questions or comments on the subject, you can contact us through the survey or e-mail us directly.

Have You Used Oil Additives? 'Aviation Consumer' Could Use Your Insight

Have you added more than oil to your engine? If you've tried oil additives like CamGuard or AVblend, Aviation Consumer wants to know how it worked out. Whether your experience was good, bad or of no consequence whatsoever, they want to know. Please take a moment to fill out their survey to help the research effort for an upcoming, in-depth review.

Click here to take the survey.

The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click here.

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.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Pilot Fatigue — Bunk or Real?

That's the question for the latest installment of our blog, as ABC reports that pilots too poorly paid to afford hotels are bunking in the pilot lounge or concourse and showing up in the cockpit exhausted. But FAA Adminstrator Randy Babbitt says it's not happening. Who's right? You tell us, says Paul Bertorelli, on the AVweb Insider.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: If Your Airplane Flies Itself, Is It Still Fun to Fly?

A fully autonomous GA airplane could launch the next great era of flight. We've all heard that the last fighter pilot may already have been born, but in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, contributing editor Mary Grady wonders if GA pilots are as much of an endangered species.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Inhofe Incident — Did the FAA Cave?

Did the FAA let Sen. Jim Inhofe get away with a slap on the wrist following his landing on a closed runway? Not exactly, says Paul Bertorelli on the AVweb Insider blog — but it could have been more aggressive.

Read more and join the conversation.

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Who's Where back to top 

Myers Leaving Aviation

Jessica Myers

Jessica Myers, senior media relations specialist for Garmin, is leaving the company and taking a position outside the aviation industry in St. Louis. She was formerly with Cessna.

Holcombe Takes Beech Marketing Post

Jim Holcombe

Jim Holcombe is the new VP of marketing at Hawker Beechcraft. He was formerly executive vice president of Sales/Marketing and chief operating officer for Piaggio 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.

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

Video: Is Carbon Monoxide About to Kill You?

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

Probably not, but you may still want to consider a cockpit carbon monoxide detector. In this video, AVweb and Aviation Consumer take a look at these relatively inexpensive safety gadgets. They have steadily improved in recent years, and there are more choices than ever.

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

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

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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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