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Printer-Friendly Version

August 10, 2004

Business NewsWire Complete Issue

By The AVweb Editorial Staff

This issue of AVweb's Business AVflash is brought to you by … WxServer

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Bolen's Transition To NBAA Should Be Smooth...

As AVweb reported Monday, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) last week named current General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) President Ed Bolen as its new leader, effective Sept. 7. Bolen's appointment as NBAA's next president comes after the tumultuous departure of the association's previous leader, Shelley Longmuir, and a lengthy search, described by the organization in a press release as "thorough and deliberative." It also comes with barely enough time remaining for Bolen to get spooled up in advance of NBAA's 57th Annual Meeting & Convention, scheduled for Las Vegas, Nev., Oct. 12 through 14. However, Bolen -- an eight-year veteran at GAMA's helm -- will likely need little handholding to prepare for that event since his old employer is and has been closely aligned with his new one. All of which means that NBAA's announcement of Bolen as Longmuir's permanent successor didn't create much of a stir among Washington's aviation-related alphabet soup.

Indeed, GAMA and NBAA have been loosely but closely intertwined since the former was established in 1970 and have often worked closely together. All of which made Bolen's appointment both anticlimactic and welcomed by observers in other associations. By staying "within the grid," NBAA found someone who both knows a great deal about the industry the association represents and is a known quantity with a well-recognized set of skills and limitations, according to one observer. Another simply added that Bolen was "a good choice" for NBAA that avoided any hint of the complexities associated with Longmuir's tenure and who brings with him immediate name recognition and respect at the FAA and on Capitol Hill. Indeed, for an organization that has never promoted from within its staff to the top spot, and given the close relationship between the two associations, NBAA's choice is about as close as the organization can get to establishing a career path to its corner office.

...But Leaves Some Loose Ends

Some loose ends remain to be tied up, however. One of the first is what will happen at GAMA. Ron Swanda, a well-respected 20-plus-year veteran at the association currently serving as its senior vice president of operations, "will manage the association's day-to-day affairs until the Board of Directors names a new President and CEO," according to a GAMA press release. Unknown at this time is whether Swanda will be considered for GAMA's top spot or if the organization will engage in a full-blown search for Bolen's replacement. For his part, Swanda told AVweb, "I am honored that the GAMA board has asked me to take on these new responsibilities and excited about this opportunity to serve the board as interim president. I especially look forward to leading GAMA's staff, some of the most effective and knowledgeable professionals I have ever known. I cannot speculate on what the board may conclude it needs in the way of permanent leadership. My job is to be the best interim president possible."

Remaining unknown, however, is what process, if any, GAMA will go through to choose a new president. GAMA had not responded to an e-mailed inquiry by AVweb's deadline. Also unknown is what impact, if any, Bolen's new role will have on his participation in the ongoing FAA aviation rulemaking committee (ARC) effort to rewrite FAR Parts 125 and 135. Bolen has been serving as chair of the ARC, which meets again later this month, and usually received good marks from participants for his efforts despite a lack of detailed hands-on knowledge of related flight operations. Similarly, the FAA manager responsible for the ARC had not responded to an e-mailed inquiry by AVweb's deadline.

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RAAS For The Masses

Honeywell's runway awareness and advisory system (RAAS) will soon be popping up in more and more corporate and charter cockpits. The system is a software-based solution to runway incursions developed as an add-on for the company’s enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS), currently deployed on over 20,000 aircraft. According to Honeywell, the RAAS function can typically be added with no new hardware or wiring changes needed, just a software upgrade. While the FAA approved the system earlier this year, few aircraft have received the upgrade. Now, according to both Gulfstream and Cessna, that's about to change. Recently, both companies announced availability of upgrades to Honeywell's EGPWS installations enabling RAAS approvals. Using GPS data, RAAS provides advisories based on aircraft position as compared to runway locations stored in the EGPWS database. To accomplish this, the RAAS software upgrade will activate additional features in the existing Mk V and Mk VII EGPWS computer with 219-219 software or in those in-service units for which an upgrade to the 219-219 software is available.

In Cessna's case, the company says it has developed service bulletins for the software upgrade and that its Citation Service Center network will install the RAAS system and complete the certification on any in-service Citation Bravo (model 550), Citation Encore (model 560), Citation Excel (model 560XL) or Citation X (model 750). A service bulletin for the Citation Excel was released in July with the remaining bulletins scheduled for release in mid-September. More information about Cessna’s Citation RAAS Certified Installation Service is available by e-mailing RAAS@cessna.textron.com. Similarly, Gulfstream said it has received FAA approval and that all Gulfstream and General Dynamics Aviation Services’ service centers are "ready to begin installations," according to Larry Flynn, president, product support, Gulfstream, and president, General Dynamics Aviation Services. Gulfstream can install the RAAS upgrade on its own product line -- G100, G200, G300, G400, GIV/GIV-SP and GV (RAAS for the G500 and G550 will be available in the fourth quarter of 2005) -- plus more than 20 other bizjets, including those from Boeing, Bombardier, Cessna, Challenger, Falcon, Hawker, and Learjet. Gulfstream Service Centers are located in Long Beach, Calif.; Dallas; Appleton, Wis.; Savannah, Ga.; Brunswick, Ga.; and London-Luton in England. General Dynamics Aviation Services operates service centers in Las Vegas; Dallas; Minneapolis; Westfield, Mass.; and West Palm Beach, Fla.

TSA Watch: Copter Clampdown?

Hidden amid last week's Tom Ridge announcement that financial centers in New York, Washington and Newark might be attacked was "intelligence" that helicopter tour operators in Manhattan had been surveilled by al-Qaida as a possible alternative to fixed-wing aircraft for terrorist attacks. This news generated a flurry of security clampdowns at heliports throughout the New York City area and was in addition to an Aug. 5 TSA "Information Bulletin" alerting recipients to the possibility that rental vehicles, including (gasp!) Ryder trucks, might be converted into "vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) as a method of attack." While the TSA issued a security directive mandating federal employees to do pre-boarding screening at the heliports, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg downplayed any threat. Omitted from any public discussion was the suitability of a helicopter to commit a terrorist act of any consequence.

Indeed, helicopter industry representatives told AVweb that the alert probably was not based on "fresh data." According to Roy Resavage, Helicopter Association International (HAI) president, terrorists probably have used helicopters flown in tour operations over the city to surveill Manhattan and the surrounding area, much the same way they could have used aeronautical charts, road maps, satellite imagery from the Web and -- perish the thought -- a subway system map to get the lay of the land. Still, said Resavage, there is "no specific credible threat" about helicopters being used to commit a terrorist act coming from the TSA of which HAI is aware. Nevertheless, the HAI head noted that the evolving situation was one federal security authorities "need to look at, no matter how remote" the likelihood of a terrorist using a helicopter might be. Other observers noted that hijacking a helicopter from one of the three city-based tour operators would likely be the last way a terrorist would obtain one of these aircraft. "It's stupid," said one, referring to the hype and the extremely remote possibility someone could actually do anything harmful with a helicopter.

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Citation Update: CJ3 Integrates Electronic Charts...

Even though Cessna's Citation CJ3 is not yet FAA-certified, the manufacturer says it will be the first aircraft in its class to integrate electronic charts with its flight management system (FMS) performance database. According to Cessna, the CJ3's Collins Pro Line 21 system will display the airplane’s position on approach and airport diagrams while also showing departure and arrival procedures as well as enhanced map overlays with airspace boundaries and high and low federal airways. In other words, the CJ3's avionics system will display current aeronautical charts and airways, as an option, on an 8-inch by 10-inch multi-function display (MFD). First flight of the CJ3 prototype was on April 17, 2004; FAA certification and first deliveries are expected during the fourth quarter of 2004.

Standard avionics include Collins FMS-3000, dual Radio Tuning Units (RTUs), digital Comm and Nav radios, digital audio control panels, Goodrich Skywatch HP TCAS I, Goodrich Landmark Class B TAWS, Goodrich GH-3000 ESFD and a Smiths EHSI. The CJ3 is designed for single-pilot operation and has a maximum cruise speed of 417 knots at FL330. The CJ3 will be RVSM equipped, and initial RVSM certification tests have been completed. Cessna has at leas 100 orders for the CJ3 in hand.

...While Mustang Prototype Takes Shape

Meanwhile, Cessna has begun building the Citation Mustang prototype’s tooling and parts. According to the company, more than 3,600 parts have been produced for the prototype and ground test articles. Cessna anticipates the first Citation Mustang prototype to be completed next year, with the first flight in the second quarter of 2005. "The Citation Mustang program is on schedule," said Program Manager Russ Meyer III. "We have selected approximately 80 percent of the Citation Mustang’s suppliers through our supplier source selection process, and expect to name the remaining 20 percent by the end of 2004," he added. Importantly, the Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) PW615F engine has logged over 80 hours of flight time since its first flight on April 27, 2004, Cessna said.

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Eclipse Update: A Decorator's Delight...

Even though Eclipse Aviation hasn't completed building all of its certification and production prototypes, it has gone so far as to detail the interior designs and optional furnishings for the forthcoming Eclipse 500. According to a company press release, its recent decisions "reflect the company's unmatched ability to deliver personal aircraft to suit owners' needs from practical to luxury, all at a breakthrough price." Eclipse purchasers will be able to choose from four interior color schemes, designed by BMW Group DesignworksUSA exclusively for Eclipse for the company. Using names like "Diablo," "Sahara," "Slate" and "Cayenne," Eclipse described its interior designs in tones worthy of home decorating and lifestyle maven Martha Stewart -- if Stewart did airplanes and if she wasn't awaiting results of her appeal on a conviction of lying to investigators.

But if the four color schemes aren't enough for you or others with a deposit on an Eclipse, there's more: Like a Plymouth, they come in two trim levels, Standard and LX Editions. According to Eclipse, the LX Edition includes "all-leather seats with lumbar support, sheepskin inserts for cockpit seats, wool carpet, whisper-quiet soundproofing, AC power outlets, adjustable sun visors, cockpit/cabin privacy curtain, wood accent strips, additional lighting, and exclusive striping schemes." Also available, no matter the trim level, are an entertainment system, a lavatory package, a sixth seat, a refreshment center, soundproofing and ashtrays. Eclipse says it recently partnered with C&D Aerospace for production of the interiors and signed a long-term contract with Seamech International, which will design and manufacture the Eclipse 500 cabin and crew seats.

...And Optional Equipment Listed

Meanwhile, Eclipse Aviation also listed some of the optional equipment it plans to offer for the Eclipse 500, noting that its list of standard features like autothrottle, a two-zone vapor cycle air conditioning system and a third EFIS display are options on competitor's products. Options available on the Eclipse 500 will include a Part 135 package, an international operations package and a copilot package -- copilot not included. Avionics available optionally in addition to the MFD-based standard equipment will include L3’s Stormscope WX–500 and SkyWatch HP bundle, Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS–B) equipment, a Class B Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS) installation and taxi/recognition lights, with pulse-recognition capability.

According to the company, the standard Eclipse 500 is also fully IFR capable, approved for flight into known icing and group-certified for reduced vertical separation minimum (RVSM) requirements. The standard equipped Eclipse 500 cockpit features dual primary flight displays (PFD), a multi-function display (MFD), flight management system, three-axis autopilot, color weather radar, dual VHF nav/comm radios, dual localizer and glideslope, dual mode S transponders, dual WAAS-enabled GPS receivers, dual attitude heading reference systems (AHRS) with air data computers, dual pitot-static systems and the aforementioned autothrottle system.

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Dassault Falcon Jet Opens Paint Facility

Dassault Falcon Jet expanded again its Wilmington, Del., facility with the recent opening of a new 40,000-square-foot paint hangar able to coat some of the world's largest business jets. According to the company, the new hangar is an EPA-approved facility, including a virtually pollution-free environment for paint personnel to apply coatings. A lighting system is configured to provide a brighter surface for paint applications and side lighting can be adjusted for proper lighting of bottom surfaces and to control any shadowing effects. "Over the past several years, Dassault Falcon committed $30 million to transform our Wilmington facility into a one-stop, full-service facility Falcon owners were seeking on the East Coast," said John Rosanvallon, president and CEO of Dassault Falcon Jet Corp. "And with this opening, Wilmington is now home to one of the premier aircraft paint facilities in the world."

CAN Breaks Own Record, Sets New Milestone

Corporate Angel Network (CAN) last month broke its own record for the number of cancer patients flown to treatment, with a total of 217 patients transported in July, up from the previous record of 210, set in October 2003. The national public charity that provides free air transportation for cancer patients traveling to treatment by using the empty seats on corporate jets set another milestone within a few days -- flying its 19,000th cancer patient, a 39-year-old woman with thyroid cancer, to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for specialized treatment. "We have been able to help more patients so far this year than ever before," said Peter Fleiss of Corporate Angel Network, "thanks to the generosity of our participating corporations, the fortitude and enthusiasm of our hard-working volunteers, and the help of our friends in the aviation industry. We salute and thank them all for their outstanding support."

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See In The Dark: Honeywell's EHSI Night Vision-enabled

Honeywell announced it obtained FAA certification for its new, night vision-enabled KI 825 Electronic Horizontal Situation Indicator (EHSI). According to the company, the KI 825 combines traditional heading and navigation functionality with a moving map display in a 3 ATI format (3.26 inches by 3.26 inches) visible in darkness or bright daylight. Honeywell said the new instrument "is ideal for military and law enforcement organizations that utilize night vision goggles." The KI 825 is designed for use in helicopters, piston and turbine aircraft. "This new version of the Honeywell KI 825 adds a level of convenience for customers that require night vision capability," said Dan Barks, Honeywell Director of Marketing for Business, Regional & General Aviation Avionics.

Watch Your Inbox...

...the next issue of AVweb's BizAVflash will be e-mailed to you on Aug. 25. Until then!

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Today's issue written by Joseph E. (Jeb) Burnside:
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