AVwebBiz - Volume 9, Number 9

March 2, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Cirrus Under Chinese Ownership back to top 

Cirrus Acquired By Chinese Company

Cirrus Industries Inc., parent company of Cirrus Aircraft, has been sold to China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. (CAIGA) of Zhuhai, China, but it appears the company will continue to build parts in Grand Forks, N.D., and assemble airplanes in Duluth, Minn. It has long been rumored that a Chinese company would acquire Cirrus and the final announcement was made Monday morning. CAIGA is a subsidiary of Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC), the state-owned aviation company of China that makes everything from military jets to airliners. In a news release, Cirrus CEO Brent Wouters says the deal will be a shot in the arm for the company and for its employees in Grand Forks and Duluth. "CAIGA understands the strength and the talent of Cirrus's workforce and the prominence of the Cirrus brand in general aviation," Wouters said. "Through this transaction, CAIGA will invest in our employees in both Minnesota and North Dakota by committing to the continued use of our world-class production facilities."

Although it was not specifically mentioned in the news release, the transaction could result in an immediate acceleration of Cirrus's long-awaited Vision jet program. The single-engine jet project has stalled in recent years due to a lack of funding but Wouters has maintained throughout that an injection of investment capital would revive the jet. For its part, CAIGA says its focusing on the piston market with Cirrus. "We are very optimistic to begin our partnership with Cirrus and add Cirrus's strong brand as the cornerstone in our aviation product portfolio," said CAIGA President Meng Xiangkai. Cirrus was founded by Alan and Dale Klapmeier about 12 years ago and Dale Klapmeier is the current chairman. He said he was "thrilled" to make the announcement. "With this transaction, Cirrus will continue to develop and build the best, most exciting aircraft in the world," Klapmeier said. "The original dream remains alive and well at Cirrus. We are just embarking on our next chapter on a global stage."

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Speaking of China ... back to top 

China Focus Of Asia Conference

China is seen as the market with most potential for general aviation in the eyes of organizers of the Asian Aerospace International Congress and Expo, which runs next week in Hong Kong. Most of the major players in the bizjet industry are expected to be there and the focus will be on China, which is making all kinds of moves in the direction of becoming a major GA market. In fact, convention organizers have billed the event as "buyer's guide" to business aircraft and will feature speakers from most of the major manufacturers.

According to conference organizers, Asia/Pacific is now the largest market for general aviation and the potential is far from realized. "Asia is driving the future growth of the aviation industry and China is driving the growth in Asia," the convention website says. In the past year, the Chinese government has relaxed flight rules for GA and its state-owned aviation company has gone on a spending spree, buying up general aviation companies all over the world.

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Trade Show Season Is Gearing Up back to top 

Heli-Expo Next Week

The helicopter world converges on Orlando next weekend as the annual Helicopter Association International Heli-Expo fills the Orange County Convention Center. The meeting kicks off on March 5 with industry forums and panels and the trade show opens March 6. Almost 600 companies are exhibiting and there are always major product announcements at the show. There will be 65 helicopters on the show floor.

Educational forums run the gamut from air conditioning to safety to insurance, and on Monday there is a two-hour session in which participants can ask questions of the CEOs of airframe manufacturers. The annual Salute to Excellence awards dinner is Monday evening.

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NBAA: Aerospace Is the Place for Your Dollars back to top 

NBAA's Bolen Urges Aviation Investment

The U.S. must invest in aviation to ensure future economic growth, National Business Aviation Association CEO Ed Bolen told the Aero Club of Washington, D.C., this week. Aviation will be key to ensuring America's leadership in an increasingly global economy, he said. "Throughout history, great economies and great countries have been defined by their transportation systems," Bolen said. "In America, the 21st Century will also be defined by transportation, and the key mode will be aviation." Bolen outlined five priorities he felt the aviation community must support: FAA reauthorization, funding for NextGen, reduction in aircraft emissions, a continued emphasis on security, and a robust General Fund for aviation.

Bolen expressed concern that the potential of aviation to drive economic growth is being overlooked. "It's been a long time since we opened up a new airport in the United States," he said. In contrast, China has opened up more than 10 airports each year over the past decade. "Looking to the future, we in the aviation community need to work through our differences, find the things that bind us together, and focus on the things that galvanize us," he said. "That's the only way we are going to ensure that America retains its global leadership in aviation."

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News Briefs back to top 

Laser Pointing Might Be Federal Crime

It may soon be a federal crime to point a laser at an airplane. The House passed the Securing Aircraft Cockpits Against Lasers Act of 2011 on Monday (PDF) and it calls for prison sentences of up to five years and fines. The Senate included an identical provision in its FAA reauthorization bill. A combined bill has to be drafted for presidential approval. The House bill was championed by California Republican Dan Lungren who noted that up until 2005 there had been less than 400 laser incidents in the previous 15 years. Last year, the FAA received 2,836 reports of laser pointing. Not all people pointing lasers at the sky are targeting aircraft, however.

After AVweb carried a story on the topic in January, amateur astronomers wrote to let us know they use lasers to aim their telescopes. However it's probably safe to assume that most of the laser incidents are pranks or malicious and that's what the law is aimed at. The practice is particularly worrisome to law enforcement agencies because if their aircraft are illuminated by a laser the pilots have to assume they're being sighted in by a rifle on the ground and break off from whatever they're doing.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: The Persistence of Mystery

Why do we still wonder, 75 years later, about the fate of a lost pilot and her navigator? Mary Grady ponders the allure of Amelia Earhart in light of TIGHAR's DNA testing in the latest installment of the AVweb Insider blog.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Silliness in the Pattern

When the local homebuilt contingent goes rogue and does pretend fighter pilot jargon on the CTAF, is it time to pull them aside and have a little talk? Not really. Boys will be boys. But when that sort of thing confuses intent in the pattern, it's time to reconsider. Some poor student in an LSA isn't going to know what "initial for the break" means, and the next he knows, his windshield is full of RV-4 prop. That's the kind of nonsense Paul Bertorelli's coping with in the latest installment of the AVweb Insider blog.

Read more and join the conversation.

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Who's Where back to top 

Chamoin at ExecuJet


Guillaume Chamoin has joined ExecuJet's sales team. He spent the previous seven years at Bombardier and Flexjet.

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: Paradise P1 Flight Trial

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

AVweb's Paul Bertorelli took a spin in this Brazilian import as part of a major flight report for Aviation Consumer magazine. It has several cool features, including removable seats to turn it into a camper and prodigious load capability. It will also allow a paraplegic pilot to fly it, using special hand controls.

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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.

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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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