AVwebBiz Complete Issue: Volume 10, Number 26

July 4, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Restructuring HBC back to top 

More Layoffs At Hawker; Bids Considered

Hawker Beechcraft laid off another 125 workers in Wichita last week, and six bids are under consideration from potential buyers of the company's assets, the Wichita Eagle reported on Monday. The company said no final decision has been made regarding a sale, but the bids were solicited as the company continues to restructure under bankruptcy protection. "The Debtors are continuing to evaluate potential sale alternatives and may elect to incorporate one or more sale or plan sponsorship transactions into the plan," according to the bankruptcy filing, the Eagle reported.

The new job cuts are the latest in a series, totaling 906 jobs lost so far this year, according to the Eagle. Hawker filed for Chapter 11 in May, citing a loss of over $600 million last year and a heavy debt load. CEO Robert Miller said he expects Hawker to reorganize and emerge as a more competitive company. AVweb Editorial Director Paul Bertorelli offered his analysis of the company's situation and options in a recent AVweb Insider blog; click here to join the conversation.

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Coming to America? back to top 

Airbus Plans First U.S. Factory

Airbus will build its first U.S. factory in Mobile, Ala., the company announced on Monday, in a move that aims to help Airbus compete with Boeing on its home turf. Aircraft in the A320 family will be assembled and delivered from the facility. "The time is right for Airbus to expand in America," said CEO Fabrice Bregier. The U.S. is expected to need 4,600 airplanes similar to the A320 in the next 20 years, he said. The $600 million plant is scheduled to open in 2016 and will create about 1,000 jobs. Boeing spokesman Thomas Brabant said those jobs "pale in comparison to the thousands of U.S. jobs destroyed by illegal subsidies." Airbus and Boeing both have complained to the World Trade Organization that their rival receives illegal government support.

The new plant is expected to produce about one airplane per week once it is up and running. The project is a consolation prize of sorts for Mobile, which would have been the epicenter of Airbus's ultimately failed bid for a $35 billion contract to replace the U.S. Air Force's fleet of in-flight refueling aircraft. Airbus already operates an engineering center in Mobile, as well as other facilities in Kansas, Virginia, Florida, and Washington, D.C., providing a total of about 1,000 U.S. jobs.

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Isaac Asimov Would Be Proud back to top 

The Drone Code -- Three Laws Of UAS Proposed

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International published a set of guidelines on Monday to help ensure that drone aircraft are operated in a "safe, non-intrusive" manner. "By proactively adhering to these guidelines, we want to demonstrate how the rights of individuals and the safety of all users of civil airspace are our top priority, as we work to unlock the incredible potential this technology holds," said Michael Toscano, president of AUVSI. The FAA recently proposed that drones should start to be integrated into the national airspace by 2015, a move that has raised many questions about safety and surveillance. These concerns are addressed by the AUVSI code, which proposes that all UAS operations should promote "safety, professionalism, and respect."

The guidelines (PDF) stipulate that all UAS users should be properly trained and thoroughly assess the risks prior to launch. They also should comply with all laws and cooperate with all levels of government authority. Also, UAS users should respect other users of the airspace and the privacy of individuals. By adhering to the code, users can ensure that drones are "integrated responsibly into civil airspace," said Toscano. He added that the emergence of the technology represents "one of the most significant advancements to aviation, the scientific community, and public service since the beginning of flight."

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As Above, So Below — Where Noise Is Concerned back to top 

Grand Canyon Restrictions Stopped

Some last-minute political maneuvering by Nevada and Arizona congressmen from both sides of the aisle has stopped the National Parks Service from imposing more restrictive anti-noise regulations on air tour operators in Grand Canyon National Park. The Parks Service wanted to introduce rules that would have resulted in the "substantial restoration of natural quiet" to the park by limiting flights in such a way that two-thirds of the park would have been free of audible aircraft 75 to 100 percent of the time. It also would have encouraged operators to buy quieter aircraft by allowing them more flights in those aircraft. Aviation groups were concerned about the proposed regulations on philosophical grounds in that they would have effectively given the Parks Service control over airspace. But the politicians who banded together to shoot down the initiative had more practical concerns.

About 1,250 people work in the air tour business in Arizona and Nevada and the Parks plan was seen as a threat to the continued employment of at least some of them. Rep. Paul Gosar, who led the legislative effort, said the bill, which essentially maintains current flight frequencies and routes, prevents and "unwarranted assault" on the air tour industry, noting that operators are voluntarily investing in quieter aircraft and taking other steps to minimize the impact of noise in the park. "I am pleased to end the war on those rural Arizona jobs," he said in a statement. But environmentalists and conservation groups say it's the park that's under attack and they're appalled at the political sleight of hand that occurred. "This bill means that the Grand Canyon is going to stay noisy from air tours, and it's a good example of the effects of money on politics when you look at the stealth way that this was done," said Rob Smith, senior organizing manger for the Sierra Club in Phoenix. "The Grand Canyon is one of the 10 natural wonders of the world. It shouldn't sound like an airport."

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News Briefs back to top 

Boeing Boosts Airliner Forecast

Ahead of the Farnborough Air Show order fest, Boeing has revised its market forecast upward, saying the world will need 34,000 new airliners over the next 20 years and the business will be worth $4.5 trillion. That's up from a mere $4 trillion predicted in its previous forecast and, as expected, Asia is fueling most of the growth. Boeing says the Asia Pacific region will take more than 30 percent of those aircraft as air travel continues to grow rapidly in emerging nations. "It's incredible to see just how much air travel has changed since I took my first flight back in 1977," said Boeing's VP of marketing, Randy Tinseth. "It has become critical to business and something we do for pleasure, to connect with family and friends. As the market continues to grow, especially in emerging economies, air travel will become affordable to even more people."

Budget carriers will drive much of the growth so Boeing is predicting that more than two-thirds of the market is for single-aisle airliners, chiefly its 737 and the Airbus A320. Twin-aisle models like the 787 and the soon-to-fly A350 will account for about 8,000 units. About 2,020 regional airliners will be needed and 790 large (747/A380) airliners will be sold. Only about 940 new freighters will be ordered but about 1,120 older airliners will be converted to freight.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: The FAA's LSA Paper Chase

When the FAA agreed to let the light sport industry self-regulate, it reserved the right to step in if it found the industry was falling short. Now it's doing exactly that. But it's more paper chasing than anything to do with real safety. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli says whether the agency's efforts prove benign or damaging depends on how much it tangles itself up in the LSA manufacturing biz.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: The FAA Knowledge Test Under Review

Changes to the FAA knowledge test are in the wind, but on the AVweb Insider blog, contributing editor Mary Grady explains why we need a discussion that goes beyond the simple issue of whether or not to make the questions public.

Read more and join the conversation.

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New on AVweb.com back to top 

Brainteasers Quiz #173: Call Me a Taxi


Inside a big sky, little mistakes are easily masked before ATC calls a foul. But on the ground, the margin for error shrinks, and one slip across a hold-short line could ruin your day. Save that day by acing this quiz.

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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.

Who's Where? You Tell Us

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

Video: 'Aviation Consumer' Takes the Show on the Road with Five Folding Bicycle Reviews

The July issue of our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, features a blow-by-blow comparison of some of the best folding bikes for pilots we could find. See them in action in these five video reviews by Consumer's Jeff Van West.

Video: ANA 767 Hard Landing Creases Fuselage

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

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 767-300 carrying 193 passengers was damaged during a hard landing at Tokyo Narita airport, Wednesday, June 20, 2012. The ANA jet touched down on Runway 16R. Airport weather reports show winds at 230 and 16 knots gusting to 29 at that time, suggesting a potential crosswind component of more than 27 knots. However that may have affected the pilots and aircraft, security camera footage shows the airliner came down first on the right main, then on the nosewheel alone, before porpoising into a second impact that appears to impart visible flex on the airliner's forward fuselage. No injuries were reported, but an early post-flight inspection clearly showed buckling and creases in the fuselage skin forward of the wing root. Japan's transportation safety board is investigating.

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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

Scott Simmons

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Kevin Lane-Cummings
Jeff Van West

Ad Coordinator
Karen Lund

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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