AVwebBiz Complete Issue: Volume 9, Number 47

December 7, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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AVflash! Ushering In a New Age of GA back to top 
 
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China Getting Ready For GA

Last week the Civil Aviation Administration of China unveiled more significant legislation to aid Chinese GA growth. The release of the General Aviation Airport Construction Standards (draft) for public commenting occurred on November 30, the first anniversary of the central government's official announcement for airspace reform. (Click here to download the .DOC file.) These standards are the country's first set of governing rules over the definition, planning and construction of general aviation airports.

The draft version has 30 clauses covering the areas of airport zoning, infrastructure and equipment, service, and environmental protection. Compared with existing Chinese airport regulations, these standards are less strict and offer greater flexibility, therefore allowing unprecedented room for GA infrastructure growth.

In this draft, GA airports are divided into three categories. CAT1 airports are those capable of accommodating aircraft with up to 29 seats, or over 3000 monthly takeoffs and landings. CAT2 airports serve aircraft up to 9 seats or up to 3000 takeoffs and landings per month. CAT3 limits to aircraft with 4 or fewer seats and total monthly movements of no more than 600 takeoffs and landings. Control towers and automatic weather reporting systems are optional for CAT2 and CAT3 airports.

While such flexibility is much welcomed, the categorization method is somewhat ambiguous and prompts certain questions like how will it interact with airport and airspace planning as well as traffic type and volume? What, for example, if a Cessna Caravan wants to land on a CAT3 airport, carrying six passengers or flying empty? The notes section of the draft (.DOC file) claims that these categories were formed based on "an airport's impact on public welfare". They are "irrelevant" to the airport's physical scale, adopted technologies, ownership or utilization. The standards named "safety, suitability, economy and sustainable growth" as their guiding principles but did not contain any actual administrative procedures such as planning application and approval process. The 10-day public commenting period will end on December 10.

NBAA's Bolen Visits AOPA China

A group headed by NBAA President Ed Bolen made its first stop in Beijing on Dec. 1 to visit AOPA China and discuss their interests in the Chinese business aviation market. In that meeting, Bolen's group met with Feng Zhang, Deputy Director General of AOPA China. The groups expressed strong interest in China's fast-growing market, especially within the economical and political landscape of Beijing, where AOPA China is based. Mr. Zhang expressed his view that public perception in China currently associates business aviation with luxury and wealth as opposed to productivity. Zhang noted that a clear shift of focus to business aviation's utilitarian values is needed to gain more government backing and broader market appeal. There were other concerns.

The meeting also discussed rules and regulations, knowledge-base sharing, pilot training and business aviation culture, among other things. AOPA China is committed to fulfilling a strategic advocacy role for the business aviation industry and focuses its efforts and resources in the nation's capital. Those at the meeting hoped it might mark the beginning of a productive relationship. The group met with executive members of the Civil Aviation Administration of China on the following day. Other members of the group included Mr. Edward Smith, Senior Vice President of GAMA, and AsBAA Chairman, Mr. Jean-Noel Robert.

 
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Sudden Change in Leadership for the FAA back to top 
 
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FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt Resigns

The following release was posted Dec. 6 to the FAA website under the title, "Statement from Randy Babbitt." That statement follows, here, in its entirety:

Today I submitted my resignation to Secretary Ray LaHood and it has been accepted. Serving as FAA Administrator has been an absolute honor and the highlight of my professional career. But I am unwilling to let anything cast a shadow on the outstanding work done 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by my colleagues at the FAA. They run the finest and safest aviation system in the world and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to work alongside them. I am confident in their ability to successfully carry out all of the critical safety initiatives underway and the improvements that the FAA has planned. I also want to thank Secretary LaHood for his leadership and dedication to the safety of the traveling public.

At about 10:30 p.m., Saturday, Babbitt was seen driving on the wrong side of the road and was pulled over. He was taken into custody by Fairfax County police and charged with driving while intoxicated. Babbitt was alone in the car at the time and no accident related to the incident has been reported. After being taken to a local jail, the former administrator was released on a personal recognizance bond. He now faces a Feb. 2 court date. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Tuesday expressed disappointment that he'd found out about the event through news reports. Deputy administrator Michael Huerta is now serving as acting administrator of the FAA.

Fairfax City police operate under a general order that forces them to release "any criminal charge or serious traffic charge." Those charges include driving under the influence and reckless driving. The police do not need to release the administrator's blood-alcohol level. Virginia state law defines driving while intoxicated (DWI) as operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. Babbitt flew 25 years for Eastern Airlines and was sworn in to lead the FAA on June 1, 2009. He was about halfway through his five-year term.

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Jeppesen Mobile Flite Deck
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HAI Seeks Clarification back to top 
 

HAI: "Public" Ops Need Clarity

The aviation industry needs to form a working group to help clarify the rules that apply to public-use aircraft operations, Helicopter Association International President Matt Zuccaro said on Friday. The distinction currently is often blurred, Zuccaro said, especially for contract operators. He added that most contract flights that are now flown as public-use actually could be accomplished under FAA rules. Zuccaro took part in the NTSB forum on public-use operations held on Wednesday and Thursday, last week.

The FAA says that under the public-use rules, the government agency operating or contracting for the mission -- not the FAA -- assumes the legal responsibility for the safe operation and maintenance of that aircraft. Yet at last week's hearing, according to HAI, agencies and contract operators repeatedly said they operate within the FARs with only a few exceptions, such as transporting hazardous materials or carrying Class D external loads. Zuccaro said he feels strongly about the need for a working group, and added that if asked by the NTSB, would be willing to sponsor the group.

 
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Coming to America back to top 
 

Embraer Opens In Florida

Embraer opened a new customer center at the Melbourne, Fla., airport on Monday, and delivered the first U.S.-assembled Phenom 100 to its owner. The 58,000-square foot facility cost $50 million and took three years to build. It will house customer service and sales for the U.S. market, and also serve as the delivery site for Phenom 100s built in the U.S. The center features a vast atrium, a mockup showroom, five design studios, dining and event areas, and a delivery hangar. "It is a historic day for Embraer," said CEO Frederico Fleury Curado.

Customers can select colors, fabrics, paint schemes and options for the full line of Embraer jets at the new facility. The company already employs more than 100 workers in Melbourne -- its assembly plant for Phenom jets is located next door -- and plans to add 90 positions over the next few months. Former employees of NASA's space shuttle program have provided some of the talent for that growth. Embraer also has an option on an additional 70 acres at the airport for future expansion.

 
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AVweb Audio — Are You Listening? back to top 
 

Podcast: Training for Unmanned Aircraft Systems

File Size 9.4 MB / Running Time 10:16

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Like it or not, the roles and proliferation of unmanned aircraft systems in our national airspace may be on the verge of exploding. AVweb speaks with Graeme Peppler, managing editor and part owner of Aviation Publishers Co., about the new ground school text book.

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Click here to listen. (9.4 MB, 10:16)

 
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Opinion & Commentary back to top 
 

AVweb Insider Blog: Why Isn't Technology Fixing CFIT?

By all accounts it was a properly equipped aircraft flown by an experienced crew that plowed into a mountain in Arizona on November 18. In his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog, IFR magazine editor Jeff Van West asks why, despite all the electronic help offered by the modern cockpit, we still hit mountains with alarming regularity.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Security Through a First-Time Traveler's Eyes

Anyone who's stood in the airline screening queue behind a clueless first-time passenger has experienced frustration and the seemingly arbitrary rules we have to put up with to board an aircraft. But imagine how irritating it must be for the airline virgin. Russ Niles had that experience recently and does his best on the AVweb Insider blog to channel the bemused derision of a first-time traveler to demonstrate just how silly our security procedures are.

Read more and join the conversation.

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

Video: Jeppesen's Mobile FliteDeck (Part 1)

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

Last summer, Jeppesen rolled out its iPad-based Mobile FliteDeck, a complete chart manager system for owners who already subscribe to Jeppesen's electronic charting products. In this video, AVweb launches the first of three Product Minutes to review the new app.

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

Video: Jeppesen's Mobile FliteDeck (Part 2)

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

Jeppesen's new Mobile FliteDeck is a route-based app that compiles approach plates and procedures from Jeppesen's charting materials. In this video, part two of three, Paul Bertorelli takes a look at how its route functions work.

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

Video: Jeppesen's Mobile FliteDeck (Part 3)

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

Jeppesen has switched strongly to delivery of charts via electronic means, and its new iPad app, Mobile FliteDeck, does the heavy lifting. In this video, the final of three, AVweb's Paul Bertorelli takes a video tour of the plate management part of the application.

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

 
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.

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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:

Publisher
Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Editor-in-Chief
Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Features Editor
Kevin Lane-Cummings

Webmaster
Scott Simmons

Contributors
Jeff van West

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