AVwebBiz Complete Issue: Volume 9, Number 24

June 22, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Battle of the Band(width)s Continues back to top 
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LightSquared Changes Plans, GPS Group Unimpressed

Monday, LightSquared proposed a new plan that would use frequencies that are controlled by the satellite company Inmarsat Plc and not use those closest to GPS frequencies, hoping to avoid most interference issues. The company's original plan had been to launch its service (which supports wireless communications) using frequencies that neighbor those of GPS. But tests mandated by the FCC found that such use could lead to interference problems for GPS users. That possibility led players in the GPS industry to form a coalition that spoke out against the plan. The Coalition to Save Our GPS is not satisfied with LightSquared's latest proposal. "LightSquared's supposed solution is nothing but a 'Hail Mary' move," said coalition spokesman Jim Kirkland. "Confining its operation to the lower MSS band still interferes with many critical GPS receivers in addition to the precision receivers that even LightSquared concedes will be affected." LightSquared's new proposal involves using a band of frequencies belonging to Inmarsat that is farther from GPS. The new plan is actually just an acceleration of the old one and the company says "a limited number of high-precision GPS receivers" could still be affected by interference.

LightSquared's original plan would have migrated service from the original set of frequencies (closer to GPS) to Inmarsat's band (farther from GPS) after the first two or three years of service. The new plan would have service initiated on Inmarsat's band. The other band will be set aside for testing mitigation plans, according to LightSquared. The company expects to have the ability to serve its customers over the next few years as its service grows. It still expects to launch service later this year. According to LightSquared Chief Executive Sanjiv Ahuja, "What's absolutely clear is American consumers absolutely need this network." Ahuja believes the new solution "ensures that tens of millions of GPS users won't be affected by LightSquared's launch." But the Coalition to Save GPS says LightSquared's plans should be considered a non-starter by the FCC. "It is time for LightSquared to move to out of the MSS band," Kirkland said.

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Lemonade from Lemons, Practicality from Pomp back to top 

UK Broker Tackling Bizjet Perception

Perception is everything in the business jet industry these days and a European charter and leasing broker says changing those perceptions is her formula for success. Gabriella Somerville started UK-based ConnectJets in 2009 during the depths of the financial and identity crisis that gripped the industry. In a podcast interview with AVweb, she said the company was founded on the principles of value, efficiency and convenience to counter the bad press that had turned private aviation into a symbol of excess for the wealthy minority. "It's basically coming down to changing our verbiage," Somerville, who worked with Sir Richard Branson in the creation of Virgin Airlines, told AVweb. "[We're] getting away from things like luxury and talking about [private aviation] as a smart, efficient business tool."

Somerville said the message is finding a willing audience in Europe where, in the last six months or so, business aviation activity has increased markedly. Those who, for appearances sake, abandoned the red carpet for the jetway are returning to business aviation. The growing list of indignities associated with commercial air travel, not to mention the increasing amount of time it takes to travel on airlines, is helping to fuel the demand, but Somerville is convinced the no-nonsense approach to her company's portrayal of its product is helping turn the tide. While there are a lot of familiar faces back on the aircraft her company represents, she said she's also been gratified to see a lot of new customers giving private aviation a try. "The audience that we are now targeting are seeing it as a viable product," she said. She also noted that while the strong appeal to business efficiency is the company's brand, many of her customers are booking aircraft for personal use, notably to commute to vacation homes in Europe from the UK. "It's a big piece of our business."

Podcast: Bizjets Are a Good Thing, Right?

File Size 7.0 MB / Running Time 7:40

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Gabriella Somerville has built a charter and leasing brokerage during the recession based on the premise that private aviation makes sense, even if it is also a luxury. She spoke with AVweb's Russ Niles.

Click here to listen. (7.0 MB, 7:40)

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As BizJets Boom, Competition Gets Stiffer back to top 

Sukhoi To Make Bizjet

Russian planemaker Sukhoi will make a business-jet version of its SuperJet 100 regional airliner. The company announced the new aircraft Tuesday at the Paris Air Show and said market demand was behind the decision. It expects to be able to sell up to 100 of the $50 million business jets over the next 20 years. The list price for a passenger version of the plane is $31 million. The SuperJet bizjet will be in the same size category as Embraer's Lineage 1000 business jet but that's not the only arena in which the two companies will clash.

The SuperJet 100 is a 100-seat single-aisle airliner that takes dead aim at Embraer's E-Jet series and to a certain extent the Bombardier CSeries airliners. Sukhoi hopes to have the passenger version certified in Europe by the end of the year. Meanwhile, Bombardier announced a significant deal for the CSeries at Paris. Korean Airlines will buy up to 30 of the aircraft.

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Russian Crash on Approach back to top 

Tu-134 Down In Russia, 44 Killed

It was just before midnight and foggy on Monday night when a Tupolev 134 on approach to the Petrozavodsk Airport in northwestern Russia hit trees and power lines, crashed and burned, killing 44 people. There were eight survivors, according to The Associated Press, who were rescued from the wreck by local citizens. The air traffic controller on duty said the pilot continued the approach beyond the point where he should have initiated a "second run," according to the AP. The runway lights went out when the airplane hit power lines, at which point the controller said he instructed the crew to abort the landing, but it was already too late.

The Tu-134 was built in 1980 and operated by RusAir. Although Russia has long had a poor air safety record, there has been some progress in recent years. None of the country's 13 largest air carriers has had a fatal accident in the last three years, according to the AP.

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BA609: Bye-Bye, Bell Brand back to top 

Bell Sells BA609 Tiltrotor

Bell Helicopter announced at the Paris Air Show on Tuesday that it will sell off its BA609 civilian tiltrotor to AgustaWestland, which has been a partner in the program. Bell will continue to supply engineering services and key components for the aircraft. The decision will free up R&D resources for the V-22 Osprey and other projects, both military and commercial, said Bell CEO John Garrison, including the development of next-generation tiltrotor technologies. No terms were disclosed for the sale. "They [AgustaWestland] are going to take it over and do what they think is best for it," Bill Schroeder, a Bell spokesman, told the Star-Telegram, of Fort Worth, Texas. Two 609s now are flying, one in the U.S. and one in Italy, and have logged almost 600 hours.

Bell says the 609 "combines the speed, altitude, and comfort of a turboprop with the vertical takeoff and landing capabilities of a helicopter," with cruise speeds up to 275 knots and a 750-nm range. The aircraft can be used for executive transport, offshore operations, search and rescue, medevac, and law enforcement. AgustaWestland, an Anglo-Italian helicopter company, is owned by Finmeccanica, an Italian corporation. It will form a new U.S. company called the Bell Agusta Aerospace Company and open a base of operations in Arlington, Texas. The company will rebrand the tiltrotor as the AW609. AgustaWestland said in a statement it is "fully committed to rapidly proceed with the AW609 program development, capitalizing on the activities already performed so far." The deal needs to secure approval from regulators in Europe and the U.S.

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Paris Air Show 2011: Sights from Le Bourget back to top 

Photo Gallery: Paris Air Show 2011 (Day One)

click for photos

The Paris Air Show is in full swing this week, and AVweb is monitoring the show for news and announcements. Plus, we're taking in the sights at Le Bourget, as you'll see from this gallery of photos snapped during the opening hours of the show.

Click for photos.

Photo Gallery: Paris Air Show 2011 (Day Two)

click for photos

We're back with more photos from the 2011 Paris Air Show in Le Bourget. Grab your backpack and bottled water and join us for a quick tour of what caught our eye today.

Click for photos.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Risk at Sea — Would You Do This?

Dramatic footage put together by PBS shows what it's like to recover aircraft in challenging sea conditions — at night, no less. Operations like this ratchet up the risk, raising the basic judgement question: Is the gain worth the potential pain? If you're a Navy pilot, you don't get a vote. In his latest installment to the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli examines how risk judgements in military flying are far different than in the civil world.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: B-17 Down — Not Many Left

This week we learned that the Liberty Belle, a restored B-17 owned by the Liberty Foundation, burned after an off-field landing in Illinois, although everyone escaped alive. Is it just too risky to continue flying these things? Shouldn't we preserve them for posterity? Yes, we should preserve them, says Paul Bertorelli on the AVweb Insider blog — but if they can fly, they should. Leave the museum pieces right where they are. As sad as it is to lose one, it would be even sadder to stop flying these rare treasures while it's possible to do so.

Read more and join the conversation.

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Who's Where back to top 

Garcia to Paramount

Leonardo Garcia

Leonardo Garcia is the new recruiting specialist for Paramount Aviation Resources Group. He was formerly the lead flight dispatcher at NetJets.

Dow Oversees PiperJet Production

Michael Dow

Michael Dow is Piper's pick as chief of production for Piper's new Altaire light jet. He was formerly at Aurora Flight Sciences as group manager of manufacturing, engineering and tooling.

Potter at Universal Avionics

Greg Potter

Greg Potter has joined Universal Avionics as western region marketing manager. He was most recently at Rockwell Collins.

Gibson New Hawker Beechcraft VP

Jay Gibson

Jay Gibson is Hawker Beechcraft's new VP for special mission aircraft. He was formerly the company's VP of finance and contracts for its government business organization.

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: IFR Magazine Deals with Emergency Descents on Instruments

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

Emergencies don't have the decency to happen only on clear days. IFR magazine's Jeff Van West takes a brief look at how you might get an airplane down as fast as possible — or precisely lined up with a runway, even when you can't see much past the propeller.

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

Extreme Low Pass Video

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

Video of an extremely low, low pass is making the rounds on the internet and we thought we'd share. The aircraft appears to be an Argentinean FMA IA 63 Pampa or something similar. It also appears to be flying about three feet off the ground. The picture at right is a screen capture from in-cockpit footage that shows people running out of the way ahead of the jet.

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

Don't forget to send us links to any interesting videos you find out there. If you're impressed by it, there's a good chance other AVweb readers will be too. And if we use a video you recommend on AVweb, we'll send out an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you."

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

Survey: Aircraft Batteries

How's that aircraft battery holding up for you? Aviation Consumer wants to hear how well your battery has served you season after season. Please take a moment to rave -- or rant -- about it in Aviation Consumer's battery survey. The results will be part of an upcoming article in the magazine that might be just what you need to know before your next battery purchase.

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.

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.)

Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.

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