AVwebBiz - Volume 10, Number 4

February 1, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! FAA Funding to Usher in NextGen? back to top 
Sponsor Announcement
AeroExpo || 25-27 May in Sywell, UK || 22-24 June 
in Bitburg, DE

Four-Year FAA Funding Bill Accelerates NextGen

For about five years, the FAA has limped along with 23 short-term funding appropriations from Congress, but on Tuesday, congressional leaders said they have reached agreement on a four-year, $63 billion funding bill. The legislation has not yet been released, but according to USA Today, the funding will accelerate the creation of the NextGen air traffic control system. A new post will be created -- the Chief NextGen Officer -- to oversee the effort, and a schedule for progress will be set. The bill also assures funding subsidies for rural airports at $190 million a year. New labor rules will make it harder for airline employees to unionize, requiring half the workers in a bargaining unit to petition for a vote to certify a union, an increase from the current 35 percent.

"All of us at this table made compromises," Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., chair of the Senate's transportation committee, told USA Today. "The outcome is that we have a bill that will take steps to modernize our air traffic control system, make the air transportation system safer than ever, and make certain small communities have access to critical air service." The bill also calls for more slots to open at Reagan National Airport, in Washington, D.C. The Senate and House now need to vote on the bill before Feb. 17, when the current short-term bill expires.

U.S. Corporate Aviation Summit (USCAS) || 
February 23-24, 2012 || Miami, FL || Register Now
Second Annual USCAS Is Taking Off to
Explore the U.S. Corporate Aviation Market

The second annual USCAS will offer the opportunity to debate the future of business aviation, learn about the latest developments in light jets, explore the air taxi market, discuss different business models, enhance our knowledge about the U.S. market, learn about regional infrastructure development, and network with leading experts as well as business aircraft operators. USCAS will debate the growth of business aviation and future opportunities in the U.S. Click here to learn more and register.
Honda Aims High with Jet Offering back to top 

Honda Looking For A Quarter Of The Market

After working on its foray into aviation for 25 years, Honda can be expected to be looking for a return on its patient investment, but comments made by the head of the company's aviation division to Reuters turned some heads on Tuesday. Michimasa Fujino likened the almost-certified HondaJet to the introduction of the Honda Civic and said the company was going after 25 percent of the worldwide light jet market. "I'm very optimistic about our prospects," Fujino said. "We're doing with HondaJet what the Civic did to American cars from the 1960s. Our competitors are still producing with technology from the 1990s."

The Civic, with its fuel-efficient front-wheel-drive platform, set the tone for vehicle manufacturing for the next 40 years when it was introduced in 1973. Fujino said the HondaJet sets a similar bar for aviation and the HondaJet will have direct operating costs about 30 percent lower than comparable Embraer and Cessna products. He said the HondaJet will cost from $1,000 to $1,200 an hour to fly compared to what he said was $1,800 an hour, at best, from the competition. He also said that after the undisclosed backlog is filled, he'll be looking at Brazil and China to fuel future orders. Fujino said he expects the operation to be profitable by 2018.

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No Blue or Black Ink Necessary back to top 

FAA Medical System To Go Paperless

All applications for medical and student pilot certificates will be filed electronically instead of on paper by Oct. 1, the FAA said last week. In the January issue of the FAA Medical Bulletin (PDF), Federal Air Surgeon Dr. Fred Tilton said the paper system "allows for too many errors, leads to storage problems, and creates security risks." It also costs the FAA $150,000 every year to print, store, distribute, and mail Form 8500-8. The electronic MedXPress system will eliminate those problems and expenses, and will make it possible to offer new services -- for example, Tilton said, pilots and AMEs will be able to track the status of applications online. EAA and AOPA raised concerns about the change.

Pilots who use a public computer at a library or a public wi-fi connection "could potentially compromise the security of medical information," AOPA said. The change also raises questions about how the application might be modified in the future. "The paper document, Form 8500-8, has been subject to approval by the Office of Management and Budget before any changes can be made, and it is not yet clear whether elimination of the paper document will affect that procedure," AOPA said. Sean Elliott, EAA's vice president of industry and regulatory affairs, said EAA's main concern is that a lack of education by the FAA for both pilots and AMEs "will lead to confusion." EAA also wants the FAA to ensure that AMEs who don't do a lot of medical exams each year are familiar with the online process, and to clarify at what point in time the online application becomes "official" and the applicant can no longer withdraw it. Tilton said the FAA will discuss the changes with pilots at safety meetings, at Sun 'n Fun and AirVenture, and at AME seminars. He also said the FAA plans to transition air traffic controllers to the MedXPress system in the future.

Dr. Brent Blue, a senior AME in Wyoming, told AVweb he's been using MedXPress for all his pilot clients for about a year, and "generally, the system works well." Click here for a PDF with the full text of Dr. Blue's comments about the pros and cons of the system for pilots and AMEs.

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Drones in the Airspace: FAA Takes More Time back to top 

FAA Delays UAS Rulemaking

The FAA has further delayed publishing rulemaking on access by unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to the National Airspace System (NAS). The agency announced Monday that a proposed rule that was supposed to be ready by the end of January will instead be published "this spring." The FAA did not say why the rule was delayed. This rule will deal with drones that weigh less than 55 pounds and the delay will affect businesses that have already found numerous uses for the increasingly sophisticated and remarkably affordable devices.

As we reported Monday, the Los Angeles Police Department warned local realtors to stop hiring the services of companies that will take aerial photos and videos of properties. Just what the LAPD is doing involving itself in airspace-use enforcement is one of the intriguing side issues that is emerging as the FAA grapples with the burgeoning industry. Lawyers and lobbyists are starting to line up and we'll have more on this as it gets even more interesting.

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Who's Where back to top 

Bliss Named AVweb Publisher

Aviation industry marketing and communications veteran Tom Bliss has been named Publisher of AVweb, effective immediately. Bliss, who is a 2200-hour commercial and instrument-rated pilot and owner of a Cessna P210, has operated Bliss Marketing Multimedia since 1983. He will lead the future sales and market development of AVweb, which is the world's premiere online aviation news source. "Tom brings an extremely well-rounded resume to his role as publisher," said Tim Cole, executive vice president of Belvoir Media Group, AVweb's parent company. "He is an accomplished pilot and a highly regarded and experienced marketing communications professional who understands our customers and can offer them valuable insights and creative solutions to meet their promotional needs."

Bliss is a former television reporter who also worked in marketing at Cessna, Collins Avionics and Sperry Flight Systems before opening his own firm. He has represented prominent aerospace companies including Honeywell, Boeing and Goodrich. Bliss lives in Phoenix with his wife Michelle and they have two grown daughters.

Jooyan Joins Flexjet


Gino Jooyan is the new southwest coast fractional sales director for Flexjet. He's been in the business for 10 years and was most recently V.P. of business development for an aircraft management company.

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.

Aircraft Ownership Books || Available at AVwebBooks.com
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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Three Wishes -- Which Aviation Historical Events Would You Elect to See?

If the genie popped out the bottle and granted you three wishes to witness three events in aviation history, which three would you pick? On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli offers his choices. Plus, there's a link to a cool 3-D video.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Red Tails -- Not Awful, But Not Great, Either

George Lucas intended Red Tails to feel like a movie shot during the 1940s. He got the hokey dialog part right, but at the expense of really telling the story of the Tuskegee Airmen. Still, says Paul Bertorelli on the AVweb Insider blog, it's worth a trip to the theater to see.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVbuys || AVweb Stories About Great Deals in Aviation
Fly More for Less
Visit the AVbuys page for discounts, rebates, incentives, bargains, special offers, bonus depreciation, or tax benefits to help stretch your budget. We're helping you to locate and view current offers instantly, with a direct link to sponsors' web sites for details.

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

U.S. Sport Aviation Expo 2012: Video Round-Up

Did you miss any of our video coverage of the 2012 U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida? We were on hand to kick tires, ask questions, and fly some of this year's most exciting light sport airplanes. Be sure to check out our videos on the FK12 Comet biplane, the Vans RV-12, Flight Design's CTLE light sport police aircraft, the Renegade Falcon LS, Allegro Airplanes, and Corbi's air conditioning system for LSAs.

Light Plane Maintenance || Practical Maintenance Advice for Mechanics and Pilots
Is Your A&P Keeping Secrets?
Learn to recognize maintenance issues and take action before they turn into something big. Light Plane Maintenance shows you how.

Click here to learn more — and get a gift when you subscribe.
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 world's premier independent aviation news resource.

The AVwebBiz team is:

Tom Bliss

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Scott Simmons

Kevin Lane-Cummings
Jeff Van West

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? Your advertising can reach over 225,000 loyal AVwebFlash, AVwebBiz, and AVweb home page readers every week. Over 80% of our readers are active pilots and aircraft owners. That's why our advertisers grow with us, year after year. For ad rates and scheduling, click here or contact Tom Bliss, via e-mail or via telephone [(480) 525-7481].

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.

If you're having trouble reading this newsletter in its HTML-rich format (or if you'd prefer a lighter, simpler format for your phone or handheld device), there's also a text-only version of AVwebFlash. For complete instructions on making the switch, click here.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.