AVwebBiz - Volume 9, Number 16

April 27, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! A Great Time to Buy a Bizjet ... back to top 
Sponsor Announcement
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Prices On Smaller Bizjets Continue Slide

Some aircraft brokers say the price of used light and midsized jets has hit an all-time low and despite whispers of a recovery are staying stubbornly in the basement. "Basically, there are no buyers," Anne-Bart Tieleman, managing director of GA Finance in Amsterdam, told the Financial Times. "You can buy an almost brand new aircraft for 25-35 percent less than what you had to pay two or three years ago."

Analyst Richard Aboulafia told the FT that buyers in the low end of the market usually need financing and that's been hard to get. Correspondingly, buyers of big business jets tend to be the ultra-rich or governments and are thus insulated from the tight credit market. While the bottom end of the market has been in the tank for two years, sales of high-priced products are actually up slightly.

Cannes AirShow || 9-11 June 2011 || The Only GA Expo in 
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The Cannes AirShow brings together the leading protagonists in general and business aviation to allow a demanding clientèle discovery of the latest developments and industry innovations in a geographically logical and appealing setting. This professional exhibition is designed for owners and pilots, whether passionate fans or professionals, in general and business aviation throughout Europe, Africa, and Russia — offering visitors a large and representative palette of the aeronautics industry. The Cannes AirShow is southern Europe's leading exhibition in general and business aviation. Click here for details and registration info.
The Cost of Being Cessna back to top 

Cessna Shows First-Quarter Loss

Despite an increase in revenues at Cessna, the company showed an operating loss for the first quarter of this year, parent company Textron said last week. Revenues were up about 26 percent compared to the first quarter of last year, but low production and delivery levels led to an overall loss of $38 million, compared to $24 million last year. Part of the loss, paradoxically, registered because fewer customers canceled orders, resulting in fewer forfeited deposits to boost the bottom line. Higher engineering and development costs also contributed to the losses, as well as inflation, the company said. Textron CEO Scott Donnelly called the performance "disappointing." He said improvement is expected "as volumes recover and the impacts of our continuing cost reduction and productivity programs take effect."

Cessna delivered 31 new Citation jets in the first three months of the year, equal to the deliveries for last year at the same time. The company did not release any numbers for piston aircraft sales. Bell Helicopter, another Textron company, reported a 23-percent increase in profits over last year. The company delivered nine V-22s and four H-1s in the quarter, along with 15 commercial aircraft.

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Moving and Shaking back to top 

Aviation Summit In Wichita

Kansas state officials, including Gov. Sam Brownback, heard from about 160 aviation industry officials that governments must play an active role in fostering aerospace. The forum, held in Wichita on Monday, brought together most of the power players in the Wichita-based businesses and the message was relatively consistent. "We are not looking for a handout, but tax policies are important to our business," David Coleal, the general manager of Bombardier Learjet in Wichita, is quoted by The Associated Press as saying. Cessna CEO Jack Pelton went a step further and suggested eliminating the corporate income tax on money aircraft companies spend buying supplies and services from other Kansas companies.

Others suggested the best thing government could do is be less involved in the day-to-day operations of aerospace companies. "Unnecessary regulation or overzealous enforcement increases our costs and makes us less competitive," the AP quotes Jeff Turner, CEO of Spirit AeroSystems, as saying. There was also a call to encourage and retain engineering graduates from local universities.

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Aviation Safety back to top 

NATCA Pushes For Controller Naps

The controllers' union and the FAA for the most part have presented a united front in responding to recent incidents of controllers caught sleeping, but on Friday, NATCA suggested that controllers on overnight shifts should be allowed nap breaks, which Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has opposed. "I don't expect to walk into a break room and see controllers napping, period," he said in an interview last week. NATCA President Paul Rinaldi said the FAA needs to implement all the recommendations of a NATCA-FAA fatigue work group that spent 18 months researching the problem. Those recommendations include allowing "recuperative breaks" on the overnight shift of up to two and a half hours. On Monday, NTSB member Mark Rosekind, an expert in fatigue issues, said research has shown short naps of 20 to 30 minutes are effective in keeping workers alert. "[Nap breaks] should be on the table for consideration," Rosekind told reporters at a briefing, the Associated Press reported.

"Extensive scientific modeling clearly proves that introducing a recuperative break on the mid shift can mitigate the identified risk of reduced cognitive performance due to fatigue," the FAA-NATCA work group stated in its recommendations. Further, since fatigue can occur at any time on any shift, recuperative breaks should be allowed during relief periods at any time, the group said. The work group also recommended scheduling a minimum of nine hours between shifts, which the FAA has recently moved to implement. "There is nothing groundbreaking about these recommendations," Rinaldi said on Friday. "They are common-sense solutions to a problem NATCA and fatigue experts have consistently raised for years while past Administrations turned a blind eye. The recommendations are based on advice from NASA and the military and in line with international air traffic control best practices. If we are serious about addressing controller fatigue, then every recommendation must be adopted and implemented." On Monday, the FAA fired another controller for sleeping on the job, at Boeing Field in Seattle. It was the third such firing in recent weeks.

NTSB Reports Flaws In 737 Rivets

NTSB inspectors examining parts of the Southwest 737 fuselage that ruptured in flight on April 1 reported Monday that they found some rivets didn't fit properly into their holes, and some of the holes were slightly offset or irregular in shape. While the NTSB update was purely factual, with no analysis, The New York Times said that according to experts, the findings may reveal manufacturing defects. "It means the assembly was wrong, it means the wrong tools were used, it means they were careless in drilling the holes, and maybe the drill was dull," John J. Goglia, a former NTSB member, told the Times. Rivet holes that are irregular in shape would not disperse the stress of pressurization/depressurization cycles as evenly as a perfectly round hole would, Goglia told the Times. Boeing had no comment on the report.

The flight was at 34,000 feet when the rupture occurred, opening a hole in the fuselage 9 inches wide and 59 inches long, causing depressurization of the cabin. The flight crew conducted an emergency descent and diverted to Yuma International Airport, Yuma, Ariz. The aircraft has been delivered to Southwest in June 1996, and at the time of the accident, it had accumulated 48,740 hours of service and 39,781 cycles (a cycle is a takeoff and landing), the NTSB said. Inspections that were mandated after the accident turned up four 737s with crack indications at a single rivet and one with crack indications at two rivets. All of those aircraft had flown between 40,000 and 45,000 cycles, the NTSB said. The NTSB investigation is continuing.

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SMO: Quiet Neighborhood Airport? back to top 

Santa Monica Siege Continues

The Santa Monica Airport Commission says the controversial facility was the quietest it has ever been in 2010. In response to escalating neighborhood protests and a political assault from the Los Angeles City Council, the commission released figures Monday showing that the number of aircraft breaking the 95-decibel limit in 2010 was 20 percent of the total 10 years ago and the total traffic also decreased significantly. According to the commission report, there were 116 instances where departing aircraft broke the limit in 2010 compared to 538 in 2001 and in that time total operations have dipped from 148,000 to 105,000, The commission released the report a day after an Earth Day protest drew a couple of dozen placard-waving people calling for an end to the lead emissions from piston aircraft and a few days after the L.A. City Council called on the FAA to ban flight schools from the field.

The uptick in complaints comes a couple of months after a federal court ruled the that FAA has sole jurisdiction to regulate activity at the facility. FAA spokesman Ian Gregor told the Lookout News so-called safety concerns about the training activity are unwarranted, noting a recent accident used by some to support the flight school ban involved an experienced commercial pilot and not a student. The Earth Day protest attracted some local media attention, with those being interviewed saying they were concerned about the lead emissions and their effect on the health of neighboring residents. AOPA called city council's resolution "political grandstanding."

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Who's Where back to top 

Burton from SNF to Museum

John Burton

John Burton, who has presided over Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Florida for more than 10 years, will become the new leader of the Florida Air Museum, which is also at Lakeland Linder Airport. The search is on for a successor to Burton at SNF.

Cox New Piper Asia Head

Dana Cox

Dana Cox is the new Director of Sales for the Asia/Pacific region for Piper Aircraft. He was previously general manager of International Sales and Operations Management at ITOCHU Aviation Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of ITOCHU Corp., the Tokyo-based trading company.

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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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: No Good Deed — Cirrus Dodges a Legal Bullet

A Minnesota appeals court recently sided with Cirrus in rejecting the claim of survivors of a pilot and passenger who said the company was negligent in not training the pilot to recover from inadvertent IMC encounters. But a dissenting judge disagreed, saying that the plaintiffs had made the case. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli analyzes the case, which clearly shows how manufacturers face liability exposure even when they try to do the right thing.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Sun 'n Fun Tiedown Tests

When the tornado blew through Sun 'n Fun on April 7, it left a trail of overturned airplanes. Product tester that he is, Aviation Consumer editor-in-chief Paul Bertorelli immediately set about interviewing aircraft owners to find out which tie-downs were used where. After a couple weeks' of analysis of the data, he's concluded there are no definitive conclusions about which tie-down is best — but there are a lot of lessons to be learned. Paul shares a bit of that hard-won wisdom from Sun 'n Fun attendees in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog.

Read more and join the conversation.

'Handbook of Aeronautical Inspection & 
Pre-Purchase' by Denny Pollard || Available at AVwebBooks.com
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The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

Survey: Have You Had a Recent Prop Overhaul or Bought a New Prop?

If so, our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, would like to hear from you. To take part in our propellor overhaul and purchase survey, just click the link:

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

Video: Practicing Slam-Dunk Approaches with 'IFR' Magazine

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

Eventually, every instrument pilot gets a slam-dunk approach. IFR magazine's Jeff Van West explains how to practice for the slam to remove the guesswork and even add the high-speed technique to your instrument flying toolbox.

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.

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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