AVwebBiz - Volume 9, Number 18

May 11, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Turning Up the Heat on Gas back to top 
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California Suit Targets 100LL

A California environmental group has served notice it will sue more than 40 suppliers of avgas in the state to force them to stop selling it. The Center for Environmental Health has given a legally required 60 days of notice to all the major oil companies that sell 100LL and the FBOs that pump it at 25 airports to stop. "The oil and aviation industries need to know Californians will not tolerate lead pollution that threatens our health and healthy environments," Michael Green, executive director of CEH, said in a statement. "We expect the industries to take immediate action to eliminate pollution that endangers children and families who live, work and play near airports across the state." CEH cites a 2008 EPA report that shows avgas is polluting the air and in some cases groundwater around airports with piston traffic.

CEH notes that Van Nuys Airport, one of the busiest GA airports in the U.S., shows the highest level of lead pollution of more than 3,000 airports covered in the report. As we've reported and commented on extensively, the EPA is now considering its options in dealing with 100LL in response to a petition from Friends of the Earth. The CEH route is a little more direct. It alleges violations of the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act. Protesters recently staged a small rally outside Santa Monica Airport complaining about lead pollution.

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Want to Work with the TSA? Dust Off Those Resumes back to top 

TSA's GA Chief Resigns

AOPA is reporting that Brian Delauter, the GA General Manager of the Transportation Security Administration, is leaving after less than two years in the post to return to the private sector. AOPA CEO Craig Fuller said Delauter's GA experience was an asset in his assumption of the role in 2009 and his leadership will be missed. "We are hopeful that Administrator [John] Pistole will build on the relationships Brian developed with general aviation industry and pilots by finding a successor with a similarly strong GA background."

The appointment of Delauter was generally regarded as a positive thing for GA, because of Delauter's varied experience in aviation. Prior to his hiring, the TSA was criticized for seemingly arbitrary and sometimes puzzling initiatives for bringing more security to GA operations. It seemed to acknowledge the gap in its hiring of Delauter, counting on him "use his extensive general aviation experience in government and private industry to lead TSA's strategy to enhance security within the general aviation sector while reducing the risk of the misuse of GA assets by developing identification capabilities including positive pilot and aircraft identification." It's not clear who will be doing Delauter's job while the search is on for his replacement.

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Economic Rainbows back to top 

GAMA Report: Piston Shipments Up

In the first quarter of this year, 188 piston aircraft were delivered by U.S. manufacturers, compared to 166 in the first quarter of last year, a 13-percent increase, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association reported on Tuesday. "This good news may be indicative of the start of a recovery in the traditional markets that we hope will accelerate," said GAMA President Pete Bunce. However, business jet deliveries failed to show growth. Shipments were down 22 percent, with 166 deliveries in the first quarter of this year, compared to 188 last year. Just 56 turboprops were delivered, a 6.7-percent decline. "This has been a very difficult year to date as a result of the slow economic recovery in North America and Europe," said Bunce. A U.S. tax provision that allows 100-percent expensing might help turn things around, he added.

The piston deliveries included 61 each from Cirrus and Cessna, 37 from Diamond, 19 from Piper, 13 from American Champion, 10 from Beechcraft, and a handful each from several smaller companies. (The total exceeds GAMA's because Cessna's Skycatcher LSA and Diamond's motor-glider sales are reported by each manufacturer, but not included in GAMA's piston-delivery numbers.) Emerging markets continue to help sustain the industry, Bunce said. Overall, GA deliveries were down 4.6 percent from last year's first quarter. The full report is available online in PDF format.

Signs Of Change? Piper, CitationAir Upbeat

A "substantial" bump in sales of the Meridian turboprop helped drive an upward performance trend for Piper Aircraft in the first quarter of this year to $26 million in billings, the company said this week. The Meridian sells for more than $2 million, and Piper delivered seven in the first quarter 2011, compared to only two in the first quarter 2010. Although delivery numbers declined from 30 to 26, aircraft billings overall were up more than 40 percent over last year's first quarter, due to a higher proportion of more expensive aircraft sold. "Strenuous efforts" by the company contributed to the improvement, said Piper CEO Geoffrey Berger. CitationAir also said this week it is recalling all of its furloughed pilots. The company, based in Greenwich, Conn., had placed 85 pilots on furlough in 2009. All of those pilots have now been offered their jobs back, the company said, and 53 have already returned.

"CitationAir has made strides in the past couple of years not only to survive the recession, but to grow the business afterward," said CEO Steve O'Neill. "In doing so, CitationAir is the only company in the private jet marketplace to have offered a recall to 100 percent of its pilots after a furlough." The company now employs 334 pilots. At Piper, the company also said it is continuing to invest in development of the single-engine Altaire jet. The jet program "represents the future of the company," Berger said.

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First the English Channel, Now the Grand Canyon back to top 

Video: "Jetman" Rossy Conquers Canyon

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

Yves Rossy, the Swiss pilot known as "Jetman" for flying a unique jet-propelled wing attached to his back, has successfully flown above the Grand Canyon, after canceling a scheduled attempt last Friday. The flight occurred in Nevada over the weekend, sponsor Breitling announced on Tuesday. "My first flight in the U.S. is sure to be one of the most memorable experiences in my life, not only for the sheer beauty of the Grand Canyon but the honor to fly in sacred Native American lands," Rossy said in a news release. "Thank you Mother Nature and the Hualapai Tribe for making my lifelong dreams come true." Rossy launched from a helicopter at 8,000 feet above the canyon, and steering only by movement of his body, flew at speeds up to 190 mph for more than eight minutes at altitudes as low as 200 feet above the canyon rim. He then deployed a parachute and landed safely on the canyon floor.

The original May 6 flight was cancelled when FAA approval to allow the flight didn't arrive until an hour before launch time. "I was so focused on getting the [FAA] authorization ... I ended up forgetting that I should put my energy into the flight... I never had the opportunity to train seriously," he told AFP. "Flying here is very challenging. The [safety] margins are very tiny." The FAA's Las Vegas FSDO "went the extra mile," according to EAA, to issue Rossy a certification within two days of getting the request, a process that usually takes weeks. The FAA classified the wing plus pilot as an aircraft, and issued registration number N15YR. The wing is built from carbon composites and is about six feet wide. It's powered by four micro-turbines. Rossy, 51, previously flew his unique system across Lake Geneva and the English Channel, and last November he looped and rolled with the wing after jumping from a balloon. (Click here for video.) The media had been invited to the original May 6 launch, but the weekend flight apparently took place with little fanfare.

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Gearing Up for European Business Conference back to top 

Stage Set For EBACE

The second-biggest business aviation show in the world is less than a week away and judging by the email traffic, the European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition is looking to tap into that elusive recovery that has been hoped for and predicted for so long. The show gets under way at PALEXPO at Geneva International Airport next Tuesday and all the players in the business aviation industry will participate. About 500 exhibitors are registered.

While the National Business Aviation Association meeting (this year it's in Las Vegas from Oct. 10-12) is the largest and most important bizav show, EBACE is almost as important because of its proximity to emerging markets in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. This year will feature an enhanced package of forums and educational events in addition to the usual display of shiny planes and the stuff that makes them work.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Why We Don't Care Much About Fatal Accidents

One reason is for lack of frame of reference. A total of 275 fatal wrecks a year doesn't seem like that much, but if driving had the same fatal rate, we would kill more than a million a year on the roads. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli argues than any cultural change aimed at reducing fatal accidents will first involve GA participants admitting that the current rate really is unacceptable.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: SAFE's Symposium — A Good Start

But also a significant challenge. Whether you believe GA's mediocre accident rate impacts student starts or not, the fact remains: It's worth the effort to try to reduce fatal accidents. It can probably be done, but in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli argues that it will take recommendations with teeth and/or some financial incentives.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Pelton's Long-Term View Cut Short

When Jack Pelton "retired" on May 2, the aviation industry lost a powerful advocate and visionary. In his post to the AVweb Insider blog, AVweb editor-in-chief Russ Niles explains why Pelton may not stay gone long — and speculates on the difference of vision that may have led to his sudden departure.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Flying for Fun

Could ultralights be the gateway drug for the next generation of pilots? AVweb editor Mary Grady thinks so, and she explains how a pilot video on YouTube reinforced that notion in her latest post to the AVweb Insider blog.

Read more and join the conversation.

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Who's Where back to top 

Rutherford to Innotech

Peter Rutherford

Peter Rutherford is now regional manager for tech sales for Europe, Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Africa for Innotech. He was formerly with Bombardier as aerospace manager of its international customer response team.

Ross Takes New Business Jet Center Role

Jamie Ross

Jamie Ross is the chief brand manager for Business Jet Center. She was appointed to the newly created job after working as executive flight solutions manager for Business Jet Access, a sister company to BJC.

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

Survey: 'IFR' Magazine Wants to Hear Your Thoughts on Lockheed Martin FSS

Do you use Lockheed Flight Service? Did you used to but you don't any more? We're planning to sit down for a chat with Lockheed and want to hear your thoughts before we do. Please take a moment to complete this short survey so your voice can be heard. Hey, you're paying for the service whether you use it or not ... .

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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

Click here to send a letter to the editor. (Please let us know if your letter is not intended for publication.)

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