AVwebBiz - Volume 11, Number 22

June 5, 2013

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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AVflash! Investigating the Bagram Crash back to top 
 
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Bagram Investigation Suggests Cargo Shift

Investigators in Afghanistan have discovered evidence that may support the widely held theory that shifting cargo caused the crash of a National Air Cargo Boeing 747-400 in late April near the airfield at Bagram. The New York Times reported Monday that the heavy military vehicles hit the back of the aircraft so hard on takeoff that parts broke off the plane and were left on the runway. Cockpit voice recorder copied the pilot's last words as "Wait, wait," but there is also speculation that it was actually "Weight, weight," the pilot was saying. Investigators also found the charred remains of some cargo straps that were cut but there is no way to tell if they were the cause or an effect of the tragedy.

The crash killed seven Americans, six from Michigan and the other from Louisville. The aircraft had three armored trucks and two minesweeping vehicles weighing a total of 80 tons onboard. It was flying to the seaport at Dubai where they were to be offloaded onto ships. On May 17 the FAA issued a notice to civilian operators in the region reminding to make sure their cargoes were secure before takeoff.

 
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Santa Monica Airport's Latest Drama back to top 
 

Santa Monica Airport To Impose More Fees

Residents in the urban neighborhoods that surround busy Santa Monica Airport in southern California have complained about operations there for years, citing noise, air pollution, and the danger from plane crashes, and now the city has approved new landing fees that not only more than double the fees for transient flyers, but also now apply to airport tenants, including flight schools. "Our students will go from not paying for a landing to paying about $12 for each landing in a Cessna 172," said Jay Elder, executive vice president of the American Flyers flight school. The fee increase would add "hundreds of dollars" to each pilot's training, he said. Transient pilots will avoid the airport because of the fee, he added, reducing traffic at the school's pilot shop. If pilots don't visit the shop, they won't learn about instrument-training courses, "and it hurts the whole airport," Elder said.

About a half dozen flight schools operate from the airport. Activists and politicians from the nearby neighborhoods, in Santa Monica and Los Angeles, have said for years they'd like to see the airport closed down. The new landing fee of $5.48 per 1,000 pounds was approved by the Santa Monica City Council on April 30, and is due to take effect Aug. 1. AOPA said it is "strongly opposed" to the changes. AOPA is disputing the plan, and has asked the airport operators to produce more financial data to support their expressed need for more revenue.

 
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In May, BlueStage is all about the sonic experience on wings. Download, swipe, and enjoy! Learn more.
 
A New Model for Air Travel? back to top 
 

Surf Air Gets FAA OK To Launch

Surf Air, which aims to offer private air travel in PC-12s among four California cities for a flat monthly fee, has received FAA approval to start flying. Flights will start June 12, with service between San Francisco, Monterey, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles. The company also said it has closed on a round of funding that will allow for future growth. According to The Wall Street Journal, the new funding amounts to $7 million. The monthly memberships will cost about $1,650, according to NPR. Surf Air says its members can book or cancel flights in under 30 seconds using mobile apps, can park for free at the airports, and there are no fees for luggage or for flight changes.

Last year, the company had said it expected to launch in summer 2012 and offer memberships starting at $790 per month. Analyst Wayne Plucker of the firm Frost and Sullivan told NPR this week he has been following the airline's progress. "If they can get enough subscribers and keep them happy for long enough, it's a reasonable business model," he said, but he added that the economics of any airline are tricky. The company says at its website it plans to expand service "as quickly as possible" to Las Vegas, Palm Springs Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, and the Sonoma/Napa area, with other markets nationwide to be added in the future.

 
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The award-winning hit TV series The Aviators is back for an all-new third season showcasing everything from the F-22 and DC-3 to LSA and balloons. We take you dogfighting in the Nevada desert, flying with the USAF Thunderbirds, and look on as Mötley Crue frontman Vince Neil learns to fly. Join our 10 million weekly US viewers and countless more worldwide.

Watch The Aviators on PBS, iTunes, Amazon, and Hulu.
 
Wrangling Rotorcraft back to top 
 

FAA Cool On More Helicopter Regs In L.A.

The FAA says cooperation, not regulation, is the answer to quelling complaints about helicopter operations throughout the Los Angeles basin. The agency released a report that rejected proposals to channel helicopter traffic into defined routes to address noise and the perception of dangerous operations. There are dozens of helicopter tour operators and news outlets whose aircraft have been the object of complaints for decades but the FAA report says trying to regulate those activities beyond what the FARs already dictate would be next to impossible given the huge numbers of aircraft operations in general in the region. It says, instead, that helicopter operators should adopt voluntary good neighbor policies, something politicians who've been fighting for increased regulation dismiss.

"Voluntary measures in the past have provided little relief for residents, and I am skeptical that without a determined effort to oversee them by the FAA that they will do so now," Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, who has led the call for regulation, told the L.A. Times . The report says voluntary measures targeting notorious trouble spots, including attractions like the Hollywood sign and Hollywood bowl, should be considered and local helicopter operators say they're not opposed to looking at that. "No one in the helicopter community has said there's no noise problem," Larry Welk, president of the Professional Helicopter Pilots Association, told the Times. "Contrary to the public's perception, we are not a bunch of cowboys with utter disregard for those on the ground." The report also recommends setting up a streamlined system to handle citizen complaints and ensure they are heard by the parties involved, a move supported by various neighborhood associations who have been calling for action on the issue. "We have complex airspace and no one know this better than the FAA," Bob Anderson, chairman of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association, told the Times. "There's definitely someplace for voluntary measures, but I also think there is a need for FAA regulation."

 
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SyberJet May Stage SJ30 Comeback back to top 
 

SyberJet Lines Up Incentives

The new owners of the rights to the former Sino Swearingen SJ30 business jet have been offered an "aggressive" incentive package to build the aircraft in Cedar City, Utah. The company is now called SyberJet. The package would be worth about $10 million in property tax relief for an enterprise touted to create 1,200 aerospace jobs in the town, which is about 250 miles south of Salt Lake City. "This is the best incentive we've offered to anyone in recent years," said Brennan Wood, director of the Office of Economic Development. The state is also reportedly reaching for its checkbook to sweeten the deal. SyberJet is also considering San Antonio, Texas, as its home but it's not clear what incentives have been offered there. Although the light jet market that the SJ30 would re-enter is the weakest segment of business aviation, SyberJet CEO Chuck Taylor says the aircraft's performance sets it apart.

"The aircraft is the highest-performing light business jet in the market today," Taylor told KUTV. "It flies faster, it flies farther and it flies higher than any of its competitors." The SJ30 was bought out of bankruptcy from Dubai-based Emivest in 2011 by Cedar City-based Metalcraft, which made many of the components for the aircraft under the previous owner. Metalcraft is the latest of a string of owners and partners, including Lockheed and Gulfstream, that have touched the project since its inception almost 30 years ago.

 
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Who's Where back to top 
 

Quinn Promoted at Atlas

Mike Quinn

Mike Quinn is the new general manager of Atlas Aviation at Peter O. Knight Airport in Tampa. Quinn was Atlas's first employee and was most recently the manager of the company's Merritt Island location.


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 
 

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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.

 
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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:

Publisher
Tom Bliss

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Editor-in-Chief
Russ Niles

Webmaster
Scott Simmons

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Contributors
Kevin Lane-Cummings

Ad Coordinator
Karen Lund

Avionics Editor
Larry Anglisano

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