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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded
Business News Coverage At AVweb's
UP SEVENS: NBAA OPENS 2004 CONVENTION...
It is the best of times for most in the business aviation industry.
Despite slow economic indicators in many sectors, business travel is
trending up, most aircraft manufacturers and support organizations are
doing well and crowded ramps are the norm at most FBOs, not the
exception. And the near future looks good, especially if you believe
Rolls-Royce, which Monday released its latest market projection for
the business aviation industry, showing "virtually all of the key
market driver indicators have turned positive and are trending up." To
demonstrate their optimism, more than 30,000 industry participants,
wanna-bes and hangers-on are expected to attend the 57th NBAA Annual
Meeting and Convention, which kicked off yesterday in Las Vegas, Nev.
Once there, they'll network with almost 1,100 exhibitors -- a record
for an NBAA convention -- as they tire-kick new and used aircraft,
including some that haven't yet made it off the factory floor.
Yet, some rocky weather may loom on the industry's horizon. On the
convention's opening day, NBAA saw fit to release the results of a
study it funded that concluded the business aviation community pays
more than 100 percent of its share of the costs it imposes on the
federal air traffic system. The study, by consulting firm HLB Decision Economics
Inc. [PDF], shows that the business aviation community paid $188
million in federal excise taxes as its share of federal aviation costs
in fiscal year 2001. That amount is 102 percent, or $4 million, more
than the cost identified by the FAA in fiscal year 2001, the last for
which data is available. While the study's results are good news,
NBAA's own press release notes "the debate about cost responsibility
[in the U.S.] has dragged on for decades." More...
Meanwhile, many other challenges still confront the business aviation
industry. Perhaps foremost among them is that over-the-top security concerns designed to win the
last battle with terrorism will return and further restrict
non-scheduled flight operations at certain places or times. While the
appearance this week of the TSA's Stone at Las Vegas is, at least in
part, designed to help "educate" him and his agency on what the
industry is doing to ensure its security, neither the general media
nor elected officials seem willing to focus on other
potential security issues. Meanwhile, oil prices hit all-time highs
just hours before this year's NBAA convention got underway,
highlighting the rising costs of operating a personal or business
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Each year at NBAA, much of the buzz focuses on the new airframes being
announced and which company looks like it has the upper hand in the
market's various tiers. A perennial contender in each convention's
sweepstakes for the most sweeping new-aircraft announcement, Cessna
this year announced it will be plus-sizing two of its best-selling
jets. Instead of the Citation CJ1 and CJ2, look for the CJ1+ and CJ2+.
According to the company, the Citation CJ1+ will offer greater
performance, a new integrated avionics suite, enhanced cabin features
and expanded standard equipment when compared to its predecessor.
Meanwhile, Cessna says the Citation CJ2+ will provide "the most
advanced avionics suite ever seen on this class of aircraft" and be
powered by the Williams FJ44-3A-24 dual-channel FADEC engine, which is
similar to the Citation CJ3s FJ44-3A engine but derated to 2,400
pounds of thrust. Separately, Cessna announced it will be hiring some
600 new workers to help it meet the coming demand. More...
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SPEEDS THINGS UP...
As AVweb reported last month, a new group this
week announced its plans for a supersonic business jet, or SSBJ.
Aerion Corporation, a Reno, Nev.,-based company styling itself as an
"advanced engineering group formed to reintroduce commercial
supersonic flight," this week made good on its promise to bring it
high-speed plans to NBAA with a business jet design it says could
enter service as soon as 2011. The company was formed in 2002 to
acquire, advance and commercialize the supersonic technology of ASSET
Group. Aerion's Chief Technology Officer, Richard R. Tracy, headed
that company. In addition to Tracy, Aerions board includes Brian
E. Barents, former president of Galaxy Aerospace and Learjet. "The
Concorde may have been relegated to museums, but the world has not
slowed down. Indeed the reverse is true," said Barents. "The
worlds major businesses and governments have a clear need for
faster travel. Aerions engineers have been at work for many
years developing the fundamental technologies to make this possible."
HUMS RIGHT ALONG...
Ending years of speculation and increasing signs it will enter the
business aviation market, Honda Motor Co. Ltd. yesterday formally
announced a joint venture with the General Electric Co. to bring the
Japan-based manufacturer's turbofan engine to market. Dubbed GE Honda
Aero Engines LLC, the company was formed to pursue "the launch of
Honda's HF118 turbofan engine in the light business jet market,"
according to a press release. The agreement creating the company was
signed yesterday at the NBAA convention in Las Vegas after announcing
a "strategic alliance" last February. According to the press release,
GE Honda Aero Engines is "fully engaged" in discussions with airframe
manufacturers as potential launch customers, in engine certification,
and in establishing a manufacturing infrastructure. More...
AVIDYNE CERTIFIES XM DATALINK WEATHER
Avidyne has announced they have received a
Technical Standard Order (TSO) approval for the XM WX Satellite
Weather and Heads Up Technologies XM receiver interface for
their FlightMax® Entegra display systems. Avidyne is the
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BRINGS BBJ, EFB TOGETHER...
Also yesterday at NBAA, Boeing said it will make its Electronic Flight
Bag (EFB) available for retrofit to in-service Boeing Business Jets. A
neat tool, the EFB includes the documentation and forms necessary for
legal operation as well as current Jeppesen charts, manuals for fault
reporting and operations, minimum equipment lists and logbooks, all in
a digital format. Additionally, the EFB includes an on-board
performance tool that allows the pilot to instantly calculate the
ideal speed and engine setting for an aircraft, in any weather, on any
runway or any runway section with any payload. More...
Adam Aircraft reached a long-awaited milestone this week as it rolled
out its first production aircraft -- an A500 piston-powered tandem
twin -- from the its assembly facility at Centennial Airport in
Englewood, Colo. With its Type Inspection Authorization (TIA) received
from the FAA Sept. 30 firmly in hand, the company said it is beginning
full-scale production of the A500 aircraft and expects to deliver two
aircraft by the end of 2004 and ramp up production to 40 aircraft in
GULFSTREAM PHONES HOME
Gulfstream Aerospace announced that the FAA has issued a Supplemental
Type Certificate (STC) for installing the company's Broad Band
Multi-Link (BBML) telecommunications system on a GIV bizjet enabling
an "ultra-high-speed Internet connection" during flight. The system
uses an ARINC-developed "backbone" with data speeds of up to 3.5
megabytes per second. Gulfstream said the dedicated satellite-based
system can also tie directly into an existing Voice-Over Internet
Protocol telephone network. More...
WATCH: DELAY ALIEN FLIGHT TRAINING RULE?
This just in: Is the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
getting ready to delay implementing its controversial rule requiring
pilots to prove their U.S. citizenship? That's exactly what sources
tell AVweb, although we were unable to confirm any details by
our deadline Tuesday night. For those of you just joining us, the
TSA's new rule on flight training created a mini-storm of protest when it was released last
...the next issue of AVweb's BizAVflash will be e-mailed to you
on October 27. Until then! More...
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