AVwebBiz - Volume 9, Number 28

July 20, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! User Fees Debate Back for More back to top 
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User Fees Back On Table

As the cash-strapped U.S. government searches under the sofa cushions for extra cash, general aviation user fees are back on the radar. All the major aviation groups have signed a letter (PDF) to House Speaker John Boehner opposing the user fee idea as inefficient and potentially damaging to GA. The idea was floated at meetings concerning the debt ceiling debate and the alphabets say the concept has been thoroughly debated in the past and rejected and it hasn't gotten any better with age. "User fees have absolutely devastated general aviation in other parts of the world, and in the United States, they would only serve to create a new federal collection bureaucracy of billing agents, auditors and collection officials to harass small businesses and others," the letter reads.

Details of the proposed fees were sketchy but Helicopter Association International (HAI) says a $25 charge of some sort is involved. The groups all support the funding of aviation-related government services through the current system of fuel taxes, which they say provides a reliable and appropriate stream of funds to the government that is efficiently collected at the pumps.

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EU Chimes in on Broadband-GPS Battle back to top 

Europe Fights LightSquared

The European Commission has added its name to the long list of those opposed to LightSquared's plan to use satellite band frequencies for a ground network of broadband transmitters. The proposal, which is now before the Federal Communications Commission for comment, has been widely condemned by pro-GPS companies and organizations in the U.S. because it could disrupt GPS service. The European Commission is now officially worried the broadband signals will obliterate signals from its Galileo satellite-based navigation system, which will deploy in three years, and Heinz Zourek, the director general for enterprise and industry, says the signals may have an even greater impact on Galileo equipment than the interference being reported on GPS receivers. "Interference effects have been determined to occur in the range [of] 100 [meters] to almost 1,000 [kilometers]," Zourek said in a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

The main concern is that Galileo receivers operating in the U.S. will be affected by the signals but Zourek notes GPS users will also be affected by the interference caused to Galileo signals. He said Galileo is designed to work hand-in-glove with GPS to improve accuracy and reliability. Zourek acknowledged that individual countries can allocate radio spectrum as they see fit but international conventions don't allow interference with the systems of other countries.

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Hopes, Dreams and Numbers back to top 

BizAv Recovery Slow But Sure?

The arrows continue to point in the right direction but the excruciatingly slow recovery of business aviation remains stubbornly sluggish according to the latest report (PDF) from AMSTAT, a market analysis company. The company says turnover of the used fleet hit 2.6 percent in the second quarter of the year, which is better than it's been in years but still below 3 percent, which is considered normal. It's not all bad news, says AMSTAT.

The creep in sales activity increases means there's more room on the market for new aircraft but, as always with business aviation, it's the economy as a whole that will determine the rate and extent of recovery. If the economy remains sluggish, there won't be a recovery to normal numbers until it turns around, AMSTAT says. If the economy improves, the numbers will return but it will take time.

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What's a Gulfstream 280? (Hint: You Already Know.) back to top 

Gulfstream Re-Brands G250 To G280

Gulfstream will re-brand its new G250 super-midsize jet as the G280, the company announced on Monday. The change was prompted by the company's "sensitivity to the varied cultures of its international customer base," according to the news release. "Since introducing the Gulfstream G250 in 2008 and presenting it to customers around the world, we determined that G280 is a more amenable number sequence in certain cultures," said spokesman Larry Flynn. "This change reflects our commitment to understanding the diverse cultures of our global business environment." Asked for more details, company spokesman Jeff Miller told AVweb that "in certain Asian cultures, numbers can be interpreted in various ways … The previous name was a distraction from what is important about this new aircraft, so we elected to make a change."

According to Wikipedia, 250 may be considered an "inauspicious" number in China because the Mandarin characters that form it can be read in a certain way to convey an insult implying that someone is foolish or idiotic. An expert in Mandarin who was contacted by AVweb said he couldn't confirm that interpretation, because the ancient language is steeped in "so many theories and stories and legends." Aviation reporter Molly McMillin at the Wichita Eagle noted that the numbers 2 and 8 are traditionally considered lucky by the Chinese. "The word for '8' sounds similar to the Chinese word meaning 'prosper' or 'wealth'," she wrote. The G280 can fly up to Mach 0.85, with a range of up to 3,400 nm. Three aircraft are now flying in the test program and a fourth aircraft has been completed. First delivery is expected later this year. AVweb's editorial director Paul Bertorelli spoke with Gulfstream's Pres Henne about the G250 when it was introduced at NBAA in 2008; click here for that podcast.

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Controllers in the Spotlight back to top 

Controller Fails On-Duty Alcohol Test

A Denver air traffic controller has been relieved from duty after failing a routine, random FAA drug-and-alcohol test while six hours into his shift, which was scheduled for 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. on July 5, the FAA said this week. The legal limit for controllers on duty is .02 (for drivers over age 21, the legal limit is .08); the FAA did not say how far above the limit the controller tested. The controller has been relieved from duty and is now in an alcohol rehabilitation facility. The FAA said it is investigating the incident. Paul Rinaldi, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, said in a statement that the incident was "deeply troubling."

"We do not condone the alleged conduct at Denver Center currently under investigation," Rinaldi said. "We are proud of our safety record both there and at every facility and will continue to work to keep our airspace system the world's safest." The controller was working at the Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center in Longmont, Colo. A family member told KMGH, a local news outlet, that the controller was given a choice, to either go to rehab or resign. KMGH also reported that the controller has been with the FAA for at least 25 years, and will be eligible for reinstatement after completing rehab.

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

Survey: Have You Had Your Airplane Painted Recently?

If so, Aviation Consumer would like to hear about the results. Did the shop do a good job? Did it deliver on time? And what about the price?

To take our survey, just click here, and it will take you right to our survey page.

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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Who's Where back to top 

Simmons Promoted at Cirrus

Todd Simmons

Todd Simmons is Cirrus Aircraft's new executive vice president for sales and marketing. He was formerly vice president of marketing.

Hildreth to Aircell

Dennis Hildreth

Dennis Hildreth is Aircell's new manager for OEM sales. He was formerly at Rockwell Collins and Hawker Beechcraft.

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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Mid-Air Collision — And a Near-Perfect Ejection back to top 

Video: P-51 And Skyraider Midair With Pilot Account

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

Sunday, July 10, the P-51 Mustang dubbed Big Beautiful Doll crashed after a midair collision with a Douglas Skyraider while performing a flyby at the Duxford Flying Legends event in Duxford, England. No one was seriously injured. The Mustang's pilot, Rob Davies escaped under parachute, but was struck by the aircraft on his way out. The Skyraider completed a full roll to the right after hitting the P-51 and landed safely, missing a portion of its right wing. Davies gave a local news station his account and AVweb has obtained video of the event.

According to Davies, he was at about 500 feet "at the time of decision-making. And by the time I got out and got the 'chute open I was down to 200 feet. And unfortunately as I came out I hit the tail plane, so I suffered a few injuries through hitting that." His injuries, first reported as a broken arm, ultimately amounted to nothing more than bruises. But the Mustang nosed in and was lost. It did not burn and Davies landed close by. The Skyraider landed safely with a section of its right wingtip missing.

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AVweb Insider Blog: A Textbook Bail-Out?

That's what Rob Davies's exit from a damaged P-51 Mustang last week in the UK looked like, at least on video. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli examines some of the risk factors in low-altitude bail-outs.

Read more and join the conversation.

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

Video: AVweb's Russ Niles Goes Wingwalking

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

Wingwalking is like having the world at your feet with your cheeks wrapped around your neck. Thanks to Breitling Chonometers, editor Russ Niles got to try it.

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Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
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Video: Trying to Learn the G1000? Aviation Consumer Reviews Training Programs

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

There are at least a half-dozen training programs that offer help. In this video, Aviation Consumer's Paul Bertorelli takes a brief look at some of the offerings. Each has plusses and minuses, but any of them can get you ready to fly the G1000, if not confident and proficient.

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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

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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