AVwebBiz - Volume 9, Number 27

July 13, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! AOPA's Fuller Rallies GA back to top 
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Fuller Blasts Feds' GA Attitude

AOPA President Craig Fuller says he thinks the anti-GA/Bizav posture in Washington will get worse in coming months but that's not necessarily all bad. "We have a rallying point," Fuller told the Wichita Aero Club in a reportedly spirited address that focused on recent remarks by President Obama that appeared to characterize business aviation as a perk. According to the Wichita Business Journal, Fuller pointed out the remarks contrasted sharply with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's comments to an aviation forum held in Wichita in which he appeared to affirm the administration's support for GA. "Where they stand on general aviation depends on where they're standing," he is quoted as saying.

Obama's comments evoked a strong reaction from general aviation groups reminiscent of the battle against user fees of a few years ago. Fuller told the Aero Club that as the 2012 election campaign gets in gear, GA might face more attacks from the administration. He said the headline-grabbing comments have hurt the industry's recovery from the recession, although there continue to be positive signs of that recovery.

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Honda Preps for Manufacturing Stage back to top 

HondaJet Nears Production

Honda's slow and deliberate progress toward production of the massive company's first airplane will hit a major milestone later this year or in early 2012 with the hiring of up to 300 assembly workers at the Greensboro plant. The company invited local media on a tour of its sprawling 220,000-square-foot facility on Tuesday and officials said they intend to hire local workers for the line, which is planned to turn out 70 to 100 HondaJets each year by 2014.

The first prototype flew more than five years ago and Honda has been a prominent exhibitor at major aviation shows but there's been less hype than usual for a new design. Honda is banking on the efficiency of the engines it has developed with partner GE and the unique wing-mounted pylon design to carve a niche in the light jet market.

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Speaking of Manufacturing ... back to top 

Work Starts On First U.S.-Built Phenom 100

Embraer opened its executive-jet assembly plant in Melbourne, Fla., in February, and last week the company said it has started work on its first Phenom 100, which will be ready for delivery by the end of the year. The arrival of the fuselage and wing parts from Brazil is a "milestone" that shows the company's commitment to the U..S. operation, said Ernest Edwards, president of Embraer Executive Jets. "[This] reiterates our commitment to our U.S. presence … as we all look forward to start deliveries of the first made-in-America units," Edwards said. The company has already hired 69 engineers and technicians in Melbourne, many of them former NASA employees, and plans to hire more than 100 additional workers by the end of 2012.

The company plans to build just one airplane in Melbourne this year, ramping up to 60 in 2012. Fuselages and wings will be shipped from Brazil, and the Melbourne staff will install and test all the systems. Eventually, the plant be able to complete up to 100 jets a year. AVweb's Russ Niles was in Melbourne for the ribbon-cutting in February; click here for his video report, including an interview with Embraer CEO Fred Curado.

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Aviation Safety I back to top 

Alaska Midair Ends Happily

An already-grim weekend for general aviation in the U.S. came within a whisker of being a lot worse when two aircraft brushed each other in a narrow pass in Alaska. Authorities say a Piper Navajo with nine people aboard and a float-equipped Cessna 206 were headed in opposite directions through Lake Clark Pass, near Anchorage, Sunday afternoon when a float on the 206 contacted the vertical stabilizer of the Navajo. Damage was minor to both aircraft and both landed safely in Anchorage. "If you have to have something like this, it couldn't have worked out better," Larry Lewis, a National Transportation Safety Board investigator told the Anchorage Daily News.

The mishap came a day after a Florida couple and five of their six children were killed in the crash of a Cessna 421 near Demopolis, Ala. The Teutenburg family was on its way home to Fort Walton-Destin Airport on the Florida Panhandle when pilot Fred Teutenburg reported engine trouble and was vectored to Demopolis Airport for an emergency landing. The couple's teenaged daughter was not on the trip. The aircraft crashed two miles short of the field. Last Thursday, two people were killed when a Mooney M20 crashed into a vacant medical center in Watsonville, Calif.

Southeast Aerospace (SEA)
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Aviation Safety II back to top 

NTSB Cites Lack Of Fuel De-Icer In Fatal PC-12 Crash

The pilot of a Pilatus PC-12 that crashed in Montana in March 2009 should have added an icing inhibitor to the fuel system before launching, the NTSB said in its final report on Tuesday. The board said the pilot failed to take appropriate remedial actions after icing caused low fuel pressure and a lateral fuel imbalance. The pilot then lost control while maneuvering the left-wing-heavy airplane near the approach end of the runway at Bert Mooney Airport in Butte. All 14 people on board, including 7 children, died. "The pilot's pattern of poor decision-making set in motion a series of events that culminated in the deadly crash," said NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman. "Humans will make mistakes, but that is why following procedures, using checklists and always ensuring that a safety margin exists are so essential -- aviation is not forgiving when it comes to errors."

Investigators determined that the pilot didn't add a fuel-system icing inhibitor, commonly referenced by the brand name "Prist," when the airplane was fueled on the day of the accident. The Pilatus flight manual states the inhibitor must be used for all flight operations in ambient temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius. The NTSB concluded that icing in the fuel system caused a left-wing-heavy fuel imbalance. The increasing fuel level in the left tank and the depletion of the fuel from the right tank should have been apparent to the pilot because that information was presented on the fuel quantity indicator. This should have prompted the pilot to divert the airplane to an airport earlier in the flight, as specified by the airplane manufacturer.

Early in its investigation, the board said it had "no working theories" about the crash, but that changed when an investigator found a small set of microchips from the PC-12's safety warning system that revealed the fuel-icing problem. The NTSB issued recommendations to the FAA and EASA, asking both agencies to make it mandatory for all aircraft that require fuel additives to place a placard near the fuel filler that notes the limitation. Earlier in its investigation, the board asked the FAA to require all children over age 2 to have their own seat and an appropriate child restraint system during takeoff, landing, and turbulence. The board's synopsis has been posted online, and a full report will be posted in a few weeks.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: What's Wrong with Landing on an X'd Runway?

Not a thing, unless you screw up the landing, hit something or otherwise turn what should be uneventful into easy pickings for an enforcement case. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli reviews two closed runway takeoff examples, and you can take your pick of what's wrong. Or add your own example in the comments.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Inhofe's Pilot Bill of Rights — Should I Be Thrilled?

I'm somehow not, says Paul Bertorelli on the AVweb Insider blog. On the other hand, perhaps we're supposed to be grateful that something positive came out of Inhofe's inept, embarrassing display of poor airmanship at Port Isabel, Texas that merited him a peck on the cheek from the FAA after he scattered workers on a closed runway.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVbuys || AVweb Stories About Great Deals in Aviation
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Who's Where back to top 

Gilbert New HR Director at Gulfstream

Franz Gilbert

Franz Gilbert has been named director of human resources technologies at Gulfstream. He was formerly at RiseSmart.com.

Bogan COO at LMI

LMI Aerospace

LMI Aerospace has promoted Ryan P. Bogan to chief operating officer. Bogan was previously CEO of D3 Technologies, which LMI acquired in 2007.

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: Aviation Consumer's Tiedown Shootout

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

If that tornado at Sun 'n Fun in April didn't get your attention, it should have. With EAA AirVenture looming and storms hammering the midwest, it's time to think about portable tiedown systems for the show. In this brief video, AVweb and Aviation Consumer wring out three systems, and the walkaway winner is a product you've never heard of.

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If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

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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.

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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