AVwebBiz - Volume 11, Number 12

March 20, 2013

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Eclipse Gets Real with New 550s back to top 

New Eclipse Powers Up

The first truly new Eclipse aircraft to come out of the factory in Albuquerque in almost five years has been powered up and will be delivered to the customer in the fall. The Eclipse 550 is an updated version of the Eclipse 500, of which 260 were built before the company collapsed in 2008. The 550 uses the same airframe and PW610F engines but includes modernized flight systems and optional features like enhanced or synthetic vision, autothrottles, satellite phones and anti-skid brakes. Eclipse Aerospace CEO Mason Holland said the milestone achievement sets the stage for a measured return to aircraft production by the company. "This event is another key signal to the world that we continue on our methodical and well-executed plan to reintroduce production and delivery of the Eclipse 550 Jet this year."

Holland said the market seems to be turning around and the Eclipse, with its base price of less than $3 million, is positioned to take advantage of it. In the past three years, Eclipse has concentrated on essentially finishing the legacy aircraft, which were orphaned to some degree by the collapse of the original company. The refurbished aircraft were called the Total Eclipse. The new aircraft offers several enhancements not available on the older models.

Bose® A20™ Aviation Headset
Bose® A20® Aviation Headset
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Aviation Safety: Beech Crash Update back to top 

NTSB: Jet Crashed On Go-Around

A Hawker Beechcraft Premier I jet that crashed into a house on Sunday had made two attempts to land, the NTSB said Monday afternoon. The airplane hit two houses before crashing into a third near South Bend [Ind.] Regional Airport. The owner of the aircraft, Wesley Caves, 58, of Tulsa, Okla., and his friend Steve Davis, 60, were in the cockpit when it crashed, and both were killed. Both men were certified pilots, and it was not clear which one was flying the airplane, the safety board said. Two passengers and a resident of one of the houses were injured but are expected to survive. NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson told AVweb the jet was on an IFR flight plan and departed Tulsa for South Bend in VFR conditions.

The jet attempted to land at South Bend about 4:15 p.m. on Sunday. "During the second aborted landing attempt the aircraft was observed to climb away from the runway, enter a bank, and then shortly thereafter impact the residence," said NTSB investigator Todd Foxx. "In general, I am unaware at this time of any fleet safety issues. Of course we look at the fleet safety record during our prolonged investigation," he said. Hundreds of people in the neighborhood were evacuated due to leaking fuel from the jet, but they have been allowed to return. The wreckage of the jet was removed on Tuesday and taken to a hangar at the South Bend Airport.

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Money & Safety: Dealing with the Sequester back to top 

Tower Decisions Delayed Till Friday

The FAA was expected to announce today which control towers will close due to federal budget cuts, but now that announcement has been delayed until Friday, March 22. The FAA plans to eliminate funding for 189 contract towers at small airports, but operators of those airports were invited to make a case to the FAA why those measures would "adversely affect the national interest." Last Friday, FAA chief operating officer J. David Grizzle said the FAA has "received a very large number of responses" and needs more time to "review comprehensively the submission on behalf of each airport."

No change was announced for the actual shutdown schedule. On April 7, 173 towers are expected to close, with 16 more to shut down on Sept. 30. The FAA has closed its request for comments on the closures.

AEA Pilots Guide || Aircraft Electronics Association
Pilot's Guide to Avionics Now Available
The 2012-13 edition of the Aircraft Electronics Association's Pilot's Guide to Avionics is now available. To request a complimentary copy, visit AEAPilotsGuide.net.

This special 10th anniversary edition is a consumer's directory containing buyer's guides, educational articles and timely information about the avionics industry, its products and its people. The publication helps pilots make better buying decisions and locate more than 1,300 AEA member companies, including government-certified repair stations around the world.
Final Word on Beech-Embraer Contract Battle? back to top 

Feds Override Beechcraft Appeal Of LAS Contract

The Pentagon invoked a rarely used power in overriding a congressional review of Beechcraft's second appeal of the loss of a contract to the U.S. Air Force. Citing "unusual and compelling circumstances," the Pentagon told Embraer to get going on supplying 20 Super Tucano light air support aircraft to the Afghanistan Air Force and ignore Beechcraft's appeal. The Air Force picked the Super Tucano for a second time over the Beechcraft AT6B in January after the former Hawker Beechcraft successfully appealed the first contract award. Beechcraft protested the latest contract award to the Government Accountability Office but the Pentagon action stopped that process cold. Beechcraft says it's considering its options and has issued a statement critical of the Pentagon's action, calling it "misguided."

Meanwhile, Embraer has signed a 10-year lease on a 40,000-square-foot building in Jacksonville to finish the aircraft as part of its deal with the primary contractor, Sierra Nevada Corp. Embraer said the facility will create up to 1,400 new jobs. The Jacksonville facility will assemble the aircraft and install the military hardware. While Kansas politicians are decrying the decision, Florida officials are naturally pleased with the way things worked out. "A great team came together to make a solid case for building this plane in Northeast Florida, resulting in a 'win - win' for the First Coast economy and our national defense," said Congressman Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., who represents Florida's 4th congressional district.

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Aviation Creates Opportunities in China back to top 

Chinese Carmaker Eyes GA

A Chinese automaker says it will jump into the general aviation business as the country gets ready to liberalize its airspace to allow personal flight. According to China Daily, Beijing Automotive Group (BAIC) Chairman Xu Heyi told the ongoing session of the 12th National People's Congress that his company will soon begin research and development to "build reliable general aviation aircraft." The report also says China will open airspace below 1,000 meters to private aircraft this May.

Despite intense interest in the Chinese market from the rest of the aviation world, the country still has barely 1,000 general aviation aircraft. Airspace is tightly restricted by the military and getting approval for a flight is a time-consuming and therefore expensive exercise. Since most of the Chinese-owned private aircraft are business jets, access to airspace below 3,300 feet is not of much use to the current fleet. It's not clear what provisions might be in store for business aircraft.

Professional Piloting Books by Les Kumpula || Available at 
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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Atrophy -- The Natural State

On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli wonders if the joy and romance of flight have a lot less to do with why we all fly than the ever-futile attempt to beat back the inevitable downward slide of skills. Like everyone else, he likes to be thought of as a good stick. And like everyone else, proving that consistently is another matter.

Read more and join the conversation.

Light Plane Maintenance || Practical Maintenance Advice for Mechanics and Pilots
40 Top Maintenance Tips at No Cost to You!
Subscribe to Light Plane Maintenance now and receive these time- & money-saving tips! Find out how much money you can save on annuals and overhauls!

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Who's Where back to top 

Hublein Promoted at Nextant

Jay Hublein

Jay Hublein is the new Executive Vice President for Global Sales and Marketing at Nextant Aerospace.

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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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.

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

Video: Total Eclipse Flight Demo

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

Eclipse is touring the country with its Total Eclipse, a factory re-do of the original EA500. But the airplane is a good stand-in for new production airplanes, which will be called Eclipse 550s. AVweb recently took a flight demo in a Total Eclipse and prepared this video report.

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Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to watch on YouTube

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

Ad Coordinator
Karen Lund

Avionics Editor
Larry Anglisano

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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