AVwebBiz Complete Issue: Volume 9, Number 29

August 3, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Saved from User Fees by the Bell? back to top 

Debt Deal Ignores Aviation — For Now

Aviation was spared user fees and changes to the bonus depreciation measures currently in effect but both issues could be back as early as this coming fall. In the lead-up to the dramatic debt ceiling debate there was considerable saber rattling from the Democrats suggesting general aviation was being targeted for increased revenue. Among the ideas floated was a $25 "departure fee" and there was also a push to reduce or eliminate bonus depreciation. Aviation organizations launched a furious lobbying and publicity campaign on both fronts but it's likely premature to claim victory.

Both the National Business Aviation Association and the Aircraft Electronics Association noted that a provision of the debt ceiling deal is a requirement for Congress to look for another $1.5 trillion in either increased revenue or spending cuts and aviation may remain a favorite target. "We definitely have not heard the last of a user fee scheme or the prospect of eliminating the popular tax depreciation plan for buyers of new aircraft and avionics," AEA President Paula Derks said. "This means the entire general aviation community needs to be on a constant vigil and ready to react to those proposed fees and/or new taxes. Again, our community will need to rally together and continue to educate our elected officials on the importance of this industry to our nation's economy."

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On to the Next Ticking Clock ... back to top 

FAA Demands Funding Bill Before Recess

FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joined together on Monday to "demand that Congress pass an FAA funding bill before getting on airplanes to fly away for vacation," according to an FAA news release. The two officials joined with local contractors and construction workers at LaGuardia Airport to make their announcement. "Congress needs to do its job for the good of these workers, for the good of our economy and for the good of America's aviation system," said LaHood. Without reauthorization from Congress, the FAA is unable to spend roughly $2.5 billion for airport projects in all 50 states. Those projects "could put thousands of people to work in good-paying jobs," the FAA said. Nearly 4,000 FAA employees have been furloughed and an estimated 70,000 workers in construction and related fields have been affected.

The FAA's previous extension expired at midnight on Friday, July 22. Since then, more than 200 "stop-work orders" have been issued for airport construction projects and contracts around the country. The FAA said "the flying public will be unaffected and safety will not be compromised," however, stopping work on these projects will increase the ultimate costs of construction and could delay important programs. "Every day this goes on, we fall further behind," Babbitt said. "We need our 4,000 FAA employees and tens of thousands of construction workers back on the job so we can get critical projects moving again while it's still construction season. Congress must act quickly before leaving for the August recess." Congress is scheduled to be in recess August 8 to September 5.

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Eye on Used Aircraft Sales back to top 

Used Market Continues Recovery

The latest business aircraft market report from JETNET suggests the long, slow recovery is continuing and could be in full swing by 2012. With prices hitting rock bottom almost across the board, it's perhaps not surprising that sales have increased by 15.3 percent in the first half of the year. Nevertheless, the speedy depletion of used inventory is key to opening the market for new inventory from manufacturers and JETNET says that seems to be happening. Used prices are also on the rise after two years of decline.

JETNET says the average asking price for used aircraft jumped $1.2 million in June compared to June of 2010. "While one month of improvement is not a trend, it is hoped this key metric will continue to improve," the report said. Although the signs are positive, there are still too many business jets for sale. Of all the world's business jets, 13.8 percent are for sale and about 12 percent is considered normal.

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Economies of Scale: AirVenture 2011 back to top 

Vendors Report Robust Sales At AirVenture

Reports are trickling in that visitors to EAA AirVenture last week were in a buying mood. Piper Aircraft spokesman Jackie Carlon told EAA the show was "fantastic." Leads were up 90 percent over the year before, according to Carlon, and the company sold two twin-engine Seminole trainers, two Meridian turboprops, and took two orders for the Altaire jet. FlightDesign took 40 orders for its new four-seat fully certified C4 airplane, which isn't even flying yet. "These orders reported are real product requests with money changing hands," said company spokesman John Gilmore. According to Dan Johnson, president of the Light Aircraft Manufacturing Association, other LSA manufacturers saw an uptick in sales, with a half dozen companies reporting two to six orders, and Icon taking about 50 deposits on delivery positions for its amphibious LSA.

"This was a vast improvement over 2010," Johnson wrote in his blog. "I had easily 30 conversations [at AirVenture] revealing either outright positive successful results or varyingly robust mood indicators such as, 'Looks like aviation has life in it again.' " In a show wrap-up, EAA President Rod Hightower said attendance for the week was 541,000, an increase of about 1.3 percent over 2010. "Opening day was a tremendously successful day, while Friday was very close to a record and Saturday -- with the superb lineup and night airshow -- was a big draw. Only some rainy weather in the middle of the week prevented the increase from being even greater," Hightower said. Next year's show, the 60th annual fly-in, will feature a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Piper Cub and tributes to the Tuskegee Airmen, Van's Aircraft founder Dick VanGrunsven, and Paul and Audrey Poberezny. Also, Hightower added, EAA will be working to "improve the visitor experience" by offering improved features and attractions, better ways to minimize dust and mud, and new ways to manage traffic for fewer backups.

Southeast Aerospace (SEA)
Southeast Aerospace —
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Aviation Groups Rally 'Round GPS Band back to top 

GA Groups File Protests Over LightSquared

AOPA, GAMA, and Garmin added their comments to a roster of more than 2,700 on Monday to protest FCC plans that would allow LightSquared to broadcast over frequencies that would interfere with GPS signals. Garmin said the "laws of physics prevent the results LightSquared desires," adding that "no workable filters currently exist" that would eliminate the problems with LightSquared interference. AOPA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association issued a joint commentary, strongly urging the FCC to rescind the conditional waiver it granted to LightSquared. "The evidence is clear: LightSquared's proposal puts the entire GPS system at risk," said AOPA President Craig Fuller in a news release. A recent FAA report also showed that the LightSquared plan would cost the aviation sector $70 billion over the next 10 years, and would "severely impact" NextGen.

The FAA assessment, according to The Wall Street Journal, also said LightSquared's plan could hurt U.S. leadership in international aviation by eroding confidence in commitments made to ICAO to maintain the GPS system's safety and availability. "Study after study has shown that LightSquared's plan is simply 'incompatible' with GPS," said AOPA's Fuller. "At the same time, the company's proposed solutions rely heavily on technology that doesn't exist. That's why we are joining with GAMA to ask the FCC to revoke LightSquared's waiver immediately, and to begin a rulemaking process that will protect the integrity of the GPS system into the future." The full text of all comments to the FCC regarding LightSquared can be found online at the FCC web site; insert Proceeding Number 11-109 to reach the list.

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Who's Where back to top 

Whyte Helps NBAA

Roger Whyte

Former Cessna executive Roger Whyte has been named special counsel to NBAA President Ed Bolen to prepare for the Asian Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (ABACE) next March. Whyte was responsible for developing the Asian market for Cessna.

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: Eclipse — The Inside Story

Our AirVenture coverage included a podcast interview with Dennis Maxwell, whose new book, The Great Eclipse, details the most costly business failure in general aviation history: The bankruptcy of Eclipse Aviation. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli reviews the book and offers his own views on Eclipse's demise.

Read more and join the conversation.

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AVweb Media back to top 

EAA AirVenture 2011: Complete Coverage Round-Up

Click here for all our news stories from AirVenture — both for 2011 and previous years. And our AVwebAudio newsletter has the complete run-down of this year's multimedia coverage:

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

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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

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