AVwebBiz Complete Issue: Volume 9, Number 30

August 10, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Soaring Above the Competition back to top 

Do Pilots Make Better CEOs?

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Well, you knew it in your heart all along but now researchers from Notre Dame University's Mendoza College of Business and from the University of Oregon have confirmed it: Pilots make better leaders, especially in the corporate setting. In a study that compared the relative success of 179 companies led by CEOs who are pilots and 2,900 led by those who are not, researchers found that pilot-led companies tend to do better, by some benchmarks, than those who don't fly. "These CEOs tend to complete acquisitions that are more successful than those completed by non-sensation seeking CEOs," Notre Dame Professor Matthew Cain said. "Their creativity and novelty seeking characteristics lead them into deals that improve the growth prospects of their firms." The researchers say its in those CEOs' genes to take calculated risks that can lead to better prospects for their companies and it works for the same reason many of them ride motorcycles, skydive and fly aircraft. The same genetic predisposition can also lead to a host of other less noble pastimes.

The so-called Sensation Seeking Scale developed in the 1970s measures behaviors exhibited by "sensation seekers" and flying fits a category of that type of personality. Sensation seekers are also prone to habitual drug use, sex, psychopathy, risk-taking and cognitive innovation. Taking on the challenge of running a big company tends to bring out the best, rather than the worst, facets of the personality type and the result can be greater personal and business success. "Firms led by CEOs who are pilots exhibit corporate policies that differ substantially from those led by non-pilots," Cain said. "For example, CEO pilot-led firms are more likely to engage in mergers and acquisitions, have more debt in their capital structure -– meaning higher leverage and greater overall stock return volatility. Thus, thrill-seeking CEOs bring a certain element of this personality trait into the executive suite, as reflected by more aggressive corporate policies."

Legal Aspects of Aircraft Lease 
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Ground Rules for Future Fuels back to top 

FAA Posts New Guidance For Fuel Approvals

The FAA has published a new Advisory Circular providing guidance for the approval of new aeronautical fuels. Issuance of the document aims to "facilitate the aviation fuel approval process," according to the FAA, by "clarifying and describing" acceptable methods of compliance to existing FAA regulations. But unknown to most in the industry who aren't involved in fuel work, AC 20-24 sparked controversy last summer when proponents of a quick replacement for 100LL complained to FAA's upper management that the agency's Engine and Propeller Directorate was dragging its feet on allowing STCs for fuel approvals.

Specifically, General Aviation Modifications, Inc. had applied for an STC for its G100UL development fuel. Months after the application, the FAA still hasn't issued the STC, but we're told by GAMI that progress is being made. Interestingly, earlier this summer, the Engine and Propeller Directorate quietly issued a memo from the office's Mark Rumizen pointedly saying only ASTM approvals would be accepted by the FAA, not STCs, this despite a policy statement from FAA upper management that all paths to approvals would be acceptable. Just as quietly, the memo was withdrawn in late July.

The new AC 20-24 is actually a revision of a previous document, updated to meet the demands of certifying new fuels. "The recent increase in new and alternative aviation fuel development efforts necessitates clarification of the FAA approval policy to support these many projects for both avgas and jet fuel," according to the FAA's response to comments on its draft of the new AC. The FAA also notes that the AC actually doesn't address how to approve a fuel, but provides guidance on "how to approve engines and airplanes when operating on a specified fuel."

The AC doesn't create new rules, but explains to the aviation community -- especially those interested in developing new fuels -- how the FAA interprets the rules already on the books. The aim of the AC, the FAA said, is to "ensure any fuel that is approved will have been evaluated to the extent necessary to perform in a safe and consistent manner when introduced in service." The FAA said it has funded an extensive amount of research on unleaded avgas and "the FAA Technical Center is recognized as the industry leader for evaluation of candidate aviation gasolines." Also, the FAA has established the Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee (UAT ARC) to work with industry to develop a plan to address this issue. A report on that committee's activities was expected at AirVenture, but furloughs caused by Congressional budget fights cancelled it.

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Skittish Market Dings Spirit Stock back to top 

Spirit Shares Drop On Strike Scare

Unionized engineering workers at Spirit AeroSystems voted almost unanimously last month against a nine-and-a-half year contract proposal by the company and the union warned investors on Friday that workers were "on the verge" of a strike. The Wichita Eagle says Ray Goforth, executive director of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), sent an email to Wall Street investment firms saying the company hasn't been talking about the labor climate at its operations and suggested it was "a material omission that [investors] would want to be aware of." Spirit's share prices fell from $18.24 to $16.90 on Friday and then the credit-rating-inspired sell-off on Monday took the stock to a yearly low of $15.23. Some investment analysts called the union warning "overblown" since no strike vote was attached to the contract rejection. Meanwhile, labor peace reigns at Hawker Beechcraft.

Members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) voted 69 percent in favor of a five-year deal that beefs up job security and includes small wage increases in the last three years but also boosts health care premiums. The deal follows three years of uncertainty and labor turmoil that included a 25-day strike in 2008 and the company's veiled threat to move to Louisiana in 2010. Job security was described as the main issue for the company's 2,600 Wichita employees.

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Helicopters Head East back to top 

Helicopter Promoters See China Potential

China, with its huge land mass and over 1.3 billion people, has only 130 helicopters. If it had the same proportion of helicopters to people as in the U.S., that number should be 48,000, according to the organizers of the Air Med and Rescue Congress, set for Shanghai, October 11-12. "The enormous growth potential is almost incalculable," they say. The Congress will offer a series of workshops addressing the challenges and opportunities relevant to growing the helicopter fleet in China, especially for air medical and emergency rescue functions.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for operators, investors, educators, trainers, manufacturers, aviation service providers and other industry experts, etc., to come forward and guide China over the coming decades as low-level airspace is progressively made available," say the conference organizers. The group will also examine the role of light aircraft, other than helicopters, in emergency rescue operations. Restrictions on operations in low-altitude airspace are easing up and are expected to be mostly reformed by 2015, the organizers say.

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Abu Dhabi Air Show back to top 

Abu Dhabi To Host General Aviation Show

The Abu Dhabi Air Expo, set for next March, will be the first general aviation exhibition in the Middle East, organizers said this week. "With more and more requests from aircraft operators to establish their businesses here, it is logical for us to respond to this demand by creating a major international general aviation event," said Stephen Jones, general manager at Al Bateen Executive Airport. Aircraft sales in the Middle East have grown by 35 percent in the last two years, including jets, turboprops, and piston aircraft, adding up to about 10 percent of the global market, according to the news release.

The show will be run by the Adone Events Organisation, the same folks who have put on the Cannes airshow for the last six years, and it is "designed for owners and pilots," according to the event web site. It is scheduled for March 6, 7, and 8, when weather in the region is generally good and temperatures are mild. Exhibits are expected to range from ultralights to transcontinental jets, plus an array of services such as flight schools, equipment, and financing. The site offers over 200,000 square feet of exhibition space and will host more than 150 aircraft on static display and nearly 300 exhibitors, for an expected audience of 15,000 visitors.

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Top Gear from Avidyne back to top 

Avidyne Announces TAS Winner And New Giveaway

Avidyne this week chose its first Extravaganza Prize winner -- who won after clicking on the contest link in AVwebFlash -- and announced the start of a new giveaway. Bob Edmondson, of Brookshire, Texas, won a TAS620A dual-antenna active-surveillance traffic advisory system, valued at almost $21,000. The new gear will be installed in Edmondson's 1960 Beech BE35-33 Debonair. The company announced the giveaway at Sun 'n Fun in April, and collected about 1,000 entries. Edmondson's name was selected at random. The new giveaway offers an IFD540 FMS/GPS/NAV/COM, valued at $17,000.

The winner will be chosen in a random drawing on Jan. 3. Entrants must be an aircraft owner to win the prize. The IFD540 unit is expected to be certified in the second half of next year. The winner can choose to wait for it, or may select another Avidyne product of equal or lesser value at an earlier date, the company said. An entry form is available online at the Avidyne web site.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Lycoming on Automotive Gas

A significant subtext in the quest to replace 100LL with an unleaded equivalent is the use of automobile fuel or mogas in engines that are approved to burn it. The two major engine makers, Lycoming and Continental, have traditionally avoided the approvals required to do this. But Lycoming sees a place for automotive-type fuels in the supply chain, and beginning this week, in a series of three guest posts to the AVweb Insider blog, Lycoming GM Michael Kraft explains the company's views on how automobile fuels can be integrated into aviation. The blogs will run on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Read the first here, then share your own comments.

AVweb Insider Blog: Lycoming Explains Why Pump Gas Isn't Mogas

In the second of three guest posts to the AVweb Insider blog on aviation fuels, Lycoming GM Michael Kraft expands on his explanation of why Lycoming approved some of its engines for automobile type gas. But not just any car gas. Lycoming favors and has specified an aviation-spec automotive gasoline whose parameters are more tightly controlled and guaranteed than are those at the corner filling station.

Read more and join the conversation.

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

Video: Aviation Consumer's Remos NXT Flight Trial

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

Remos has a successful line of light sport aircraft, and now they've introduced a new and improved model, the NXT. Aviation Consumer's Paul Bertorelli flew the airplane recently, and here's his video report.

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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 

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.

Who's Where? You Tell Us

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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

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