AVwebBiz - Volume 10, Number 16

April 25, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! An American LSA in Europe back to top 
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Skycatcher Sales On Hold In Europe

Cessna has run into delays certifying its Skycatcher light sport aircraft in Europe, according to the Wichita Business Journal, and has returned deposits to some of its European customers. A Cessna spokesman said no new orders will be taken in Europe until it has worked out a plan for securing certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency. As an LSA, the Skycatcher doesn't require an FAA type certificate or production certificate for U.S. sales, but the closest EASA equivalent would require the aircraft to have both, according to the Business Journal. Cessna said it is working with EASA to find an "economical solution."

Last November, Cessna hiked the base price of the Skycatcher from $114,000 to $149,000 and made many of the commonly chosen options standard equipment. In 2009, when Cessna delivered the first Skycatcher, the company said it had more than 1,000 orders. As of the end of last year, 169 have been delivered, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association database.

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Cargo Pilots Energized in Fight for Rest back to top 

Fight Brewing Over FAA Fatigue Rules

A bill filed in the House last week aims to extend the FAA's new airline fatigue rules to cover cargo pilots, but the effort is already drawing opposition from the cargo industry. The new FAA rules, scheduled to take effect in January 2014, stipulate that pilots must get at least 10 hours of off-duty time between flights, and can't fly more than five consecutive night shifts. The bill to change that, called the Safe Skies Act (PDF), was filed by U.S. Reps. Chip Cravaack, R-Minn., and Tim Bishop, D-N.Y. FedEx told The Hill that it would be a bad idea to impose the rules on cargo carriers.

FedEx said it has "worked with our pilots and recognized experts to mitigate fatigue for many years … [incorporating] the best scientific findings in the area of fatigue into our scheduling systems." Cravaack, a former cargo pilot, said, "I understand the importance of a single standard of safety for pilots who share the same airspace and runways with passenger aircraft. I introduced the Safe Skies Act in order to apply the new, common-sense standards for pilot rest to cargo pilots as well." The union representing UPS pilots, which challenged their exclusion from the new rules earlier this year, supports Cravaack's proposal. The Air Line Pilots Association also supports the change. "All airline pilots are human beings, and all airline operations should benefit from the same high safety standards," said Lee Moak, ALPA president.

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Incentivizing Safety? back to top 

Insurance Discounts For Safety Devices

Aggressive Aviation Insurance has announced it will offer up to a total of 15 percent off light aircraft insurance for aircraft equipped with certain kinds of modern safety equipment. The company says enhanced vision systems, seatbelt airbags and whole-airframe parachutes reduce risk factors in aviation and that should be recognized on the bottom line. "We believe that the aircraft owners who invest in certain proven safety equipment deserve credit, much like automobile insurers provide," said Aggressive's President, Richard Asprey.

The company says it will offer discounts on factory-installed or after-market systems. Few OEMs offer enhanced vision systems as factory options on small planes but companies like Max-Vis offer bolt-on systems that display infrared images of the outside world on the panel. The insurance company says such systems improve situational awareness and thus may prevent accidents. The other devices can reduce the insurance company's exposure by improving the chances of the occupants of aircraft involved in accidents.

E-Mail Kathy Franklin at the Lucas Group to Inquire
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Tomorrow's Airplanes back to top 

Aerion Prepares For More Supersonic Tests

Aerion Corp., which has been working to bring a supersonic business jet to market, is preparing to launch another series of supersonic flight tests this summer, the company said last week. Designers are fabricating a device representative of the Aerion wing, with a 40-inch vertical span and an 80-inch chord, which will fly in the centerline position beneath NASA's F-15B research aircraft. The flights will launch from Dryden Flight Research Center in California in June or July. The tests will measure the design's supersonic boundary layer transition properties, the company said.

"Our work with NASA will further refine future practical applications of aerodynamics for safe and efficient flight at higher speeds compared to today's conventional subsonic civil aircraft," said Richard Tracy, Aerion's chief technology officer. Aerion has been working on its design for about 20 years, and has been looking for partners who would manufacture and market the jet. The design would carry 8 to 12 passengers at speeds up to Mach 1.6, with a range of 4,000 nm and a ceiling of 51,000 feet. The company said last year it had 50 deposits for the $80 million airplane.

No Kickstart For Synergy

The team working to build a prototype of the Synergy aircraft design announced recently they would seek support via the crowd-funding source Kickstarter, but this week, designer John McGinnis said that effort has stalled. "For reasons that do not make any sense to us, Kickstarter has declined our project," his team posted on Facebook this week. Kickstarter allowed them to appeal the decision, but responded that the project "is not the best fit for Kickstarter, as it does not fit our creative arts focus." The attempt to raise funds via Kickstarter, "like the [Synergy] technology itself, may not fit comfortably into some peoples' pre-labeled boxes of status quo thinking," McGinnis told AVweb in an email on Tuesday. However, he added, "Above all, this is not going to go away."

"We know where we are, and we know what to do," McGinnis wrote. "Anyone could turn this into a business at this stage, but my job is to turn it into something astonishing." He will continue to seek backers who will help to fund the project, he said. The five-place all-composite Synergy design features an unusual double-box tail. The team, based in Montana, has experimented with a 25-percent flying model and is currently building a full-scale technology demonstrator, with the aim of creating a product for the homebuilt market. McGinnis recently spoke with AVweb's Glenn Pew about the Synergy design; click here for that podcast.

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HBC Tightens Belt Even Further back to top 

More Layoffs At Hawker Beechcraft

Hawker Beechcraft has issued layoff notices to 350 employees, the Wichita Eagle reported on Tuesday. The company, which has been struggling with more than $2 billion in debt, said in a letter to employees (PDF) that "market conditions are requiring us to adjust our overall production cadence to help ensure the company will compete effectively in the future." The notices provide a 60-day warning to workers before they are out of a job. "We are in the process of synchronizing our production line by making changes to previously planned schedules and resizing our work force," according to the letter.

Last week, the company reported a net loss of nearly $633 million for 2011. In Monday's letter, Hawker Chairman Bill Boisture and CEO Steve Miller told employees, "We continue to manage our way through a challenging and rapidly changing environment while implementing transformations across our company." In a filing earlier this month with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said it may not be able to stay in business in its current form.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: AeroNav Smackdown

On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli lauds the Senate for tapping the brakes on the FAA's plans to charge for navigation data and wonders why it doesn't focus the same oversight on the FAA's long-delayed unleaded fuel transition committee.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Aero 2012 -- Smaller, But Plenty of New Stuff

This year, for the first time, Aero Friedrichshafen became an annual show, and as a result, it was a bit smaller than usual, according to veteran exhibitors. But on the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli's summary reports on plenty of new stuff, including the Cirrus jet announcement, the stunning Pipistrel Panthera and more LSAs, ultralights and autogyros than we could even count. Attendance at Aero hovers around the 33,000 mark, but it's a potent audience of people who are seriously interested in aviation.

Read more and join the conversation.

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Who's Where back to top 

Staff Additions at Yingling

Keri JenkinsRon Williams

Yingling Aviation has added two senior staff. Keri Jenkins is the new aviation records and document administrator. She was formerly at CAMP Systems. Ron Williams is a new customer and administrative specialist. He was an aviation lawyer at Stinson Morrison Hecker, LLP and is the chairman of the board of the Kansas Aviation Museum.

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

Video: Flight Design News at Aero 2012

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

Flight Design announced EASA certification of two aircraft and unveiled the full-scale mockup of the interior of its C4 four-place at Aero 2012 last week.

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If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

Video: AVweb's Aero Engine Tour

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

At Aero 2012 in Friedrichshafen, the German Fliegermagazin has sponsored an engaging display of aircraft powerplants ranging from tiny electric engines to a new turbofan from a French company called Price Induction. AVweb video contributor and Fliegermagazin editor Thomas Borchert shows us three of the most interesting engines in the collecton.

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Video: Messerschmidt Bf 109 Simulator

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

If you could fly a Messerschmitt Bf 109, how cool would that be? A simulator is the next best thing. In this AVweb video from Aero 2012 in Friedrichshafen, Germany, we get a sim tour from Hans Schmid.

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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.

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].

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