Business NewsWire Complete Issue

October 26, 2004
By The AVweb Editorial Staff

This issue of AVweb's Business AVflash is brought to you by …
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NBAA 2004: Dat's A Wrap...

It's over, except for the shouting, the hangovers and the wallets emptied after a week or so in Las Vegas. In the wake of the 2004 edition of the National Business Aviation Association's 57th Annual Meeting and Convention, which was held Oct. 12 through 14, the association is patting itself on the back and most who attended profess themselves pleased with the results. Some of the raw numbers tell the tale: The event closed out with a total of 31,259 attendees, a 9.4 percent increase over last year's total of 28,574 in Orlando; a new record of 1,084 exhibitors was set; and 87 aircraft were on NBAA's formal static display at the Henderson (Nev.) Executive Airport, with some untold number of "gray market" airframes also being hawked. Exhibitors occupied a million square feet of exhibit space in the Las Vegas Convention Center. In a nutshell, optimism and growth were the watchwords on everyone's lips during the week. Several manufacturers professed pleasure with their results at the show, reflecting those sentiments. For example, Cessna said it picked up 47 new aircraft orders spread among 41 Citations and six Caravans. Additionally, the company said it pre-sold 22 orders for the newly announced Citation CJ2+. “The sales that were secured during NBAA included orders for the CJ1+, CJ2+, CJ3, Bravo, Encore, XLS, Sovereign and Caravan,” stated Cessna Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Roger Whyte, who added that the level of new orders exceeded Cessna's expectations. “The optimism we felt at the convention reflects the positive growth of the industry projected in forecasts by both Honeywell and Rolls Royce,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. A veteran of NBAA shows past, this was Bolen's first as the association's top dog, having recently made the transition from his former post at the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). Additionally, this year's event also saw incoming NBAA staffers Steve Brown, formerly of the FAA, and J.E. “Sandy” Murdock, who joined NBAA on Oct. 18 as senior vice president of administration and general counsel from his position as an attorney in the Washington, D.C., office of law firm Shaw Pittman LLP.

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...But Other Results Not In Yet

Other airframers, including Bombardier and Raytheon, professed pleasure with the results of their showing at NBAA this year, although no company except Cessna has attached numbers to their performance. Bombardier, which celebrated U.S. type certification of its Global 5000 on Oct. 12, also announced its claim to a speed record on landing the plane at Vegas. According to the company, the jet covered the 4,597 nautical miles from Dublin to Vegas in 0955, against 26-knot-average headwinds. Meanwhile, two other companies made the trek to NBAA to market even faster products: supersonic business jets. The best-known of the two competitors, Aerion, went public with its long-rumored plans for an SSBJ while Supersonic Aerospace International (SAI) announced it "has successfully confirmed the design for the Quiet Small Supersonic Transport (QSST) which will facilitate transcontinental and intercontinental supersonic travel. The QSST will be able to comply with or exceed all applicable environmental standards and FAA rules for takeoff and landing noise." According to an SAI press release, the QSST program is under the direction of J. Michael Paulson, son of former Gulfstream head Allen Paulson, "using funds Allen Paulson left in trust for this project." Like Aerion's effort, SAI maintains it has developed an engineering solution to the sonic-boom problem on which FAA regulations banning supersonic flight over U.S. territory are based. Those regulations -- and the poor economics resulting from forcing subsonic flight on supersonic aircraft -- helped doom Concorde and the U.S. supersonic transport. "The QSST is a giant leap in speed, productivity, and comfort. It will define the future of business, commercial and government travel in the 21st Century," said the younger Paulson. To date, SAI has not specified which engine will power its SSBJ but vows its offering will be the first to market. All of which makes us wonder why Burt Rutan of SpaceShipOne fame, among other achievements, hasn't tilted at this windmill.

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O'Hare Slot Rule Out For Comment

Chicago just got a little bit unfriendlier to general aviation, thanks to the FAA. AVweb's Favorite Aviation Agency, the one that only now is taking the City of Chicago to task for bulldozing lakefront Meigs Field into oblivion on March 31, 2003, last week published a new rule reimposing restrictions on GA access to the City of Brotherly Love [PDF]. The new regulation, SFAR 105, was published in the Federal Register on Oct. 20 and restricts non-scheduled (i.e., non-airline) operations at O'Hare International Airport to four per hour between 0700 and 2059 local time, starting in November and continuing at least through April 30, 2005. The agency is seeking comments on the new rule from the public through Nov. 1, 2004. To its credit, however, the FAA this week announced a series of $5.5 million upgrades to two runways designed to reduce delays during poor weather. The upgrades consist of "enhanced navigation equipment" and brighter lights. According to the FAA's notice announcing the new rule, it's necessary "to ensure the effectiveness of the Administrator’s Order issued Aug. 18, 2004, which limited scheduled arrivals over the same hours and effective dates." In other words, restrictions on GA are necessary because that's the deal the DOT/FAA cut with the airlines operating at O'Hare. Put another way in the notice, "when the air carriers published their January and February 2004 schedules in the Official Airline Guide, they revealed their intention to add still more operations to the encumbered O’Hare schedule." In other words, the FAA chose to restrict non-scheduled (GA) operations because the airlines were scheduling more flights than the airport can handle. Sounds like one of those "exaggerations" to us.

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Air Charter Brokers Targeted By DOT

If your company has a Part 135 certificate and you use a third-party marketing organization to sell trips to the public, listen up: The U.S. Department Of Transportation (DOT) has published a notice "on the role of air charter brokers in arranging air transportation" that puts many such companies on notice that they may need to change their business practices. The notice, published in the Oct. 18 Federal Register, is designed to "provide guidance regarding the lawful role of ... entities ... that link prospective charter customers with direct air carriers." According to the notice, the DOT's Enforcement Office has "become aware" that brokers without DOT economic authority are soliciting air charter customers and then contracting directly with an air carrier to provide the transportation. The notice reminds both brokers and operators that "to hold out or otherwise engage in air transportation ... a person is required to hold economic authority from the Department of Transportation." In other words, "air charter brokers without appropriate economic authority may not hold out air transportation in their own right or enter as principals into contracts with customers to provide air transportation." Essentially, the DOT notice clarifies the department's intent with respect to regulating the ability of companies lacking formal economic authority from holding themselves out to the public as air transportation providers. Any company engaging in transactions with customers through an air charter broker would be wise to review the DOT notice and compare its standards of behavior with their own. You've been warned.

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FAA Goes Global

Business is booming at the FAA. It's so good, in fact, that the agency last week signed a deal with Bombardier Aerospace awarding a fixed-price contract for a new Bombardier Global 5000 business jet. The decision marks the FAA as the first government operator to select the newly certificated bizjet. In fact, the announcement comes only a week after the type -- designed as a high-speed business jet with intercontinental legs -- received its type certificate from the U.S. agency. Transport Canada awarded full certification on March 12; the European Aviation Safety Association granted its approval on July 15, followed closely by the Joint Aviation Authority (JAA), which issued its letter of recommendation to member countries on Aug. 26. Bombardier plans to begin deliveries of the Global 5000 by January 2005. Bombardier will deliver the Global 5000 to the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, N.J., by Sept. 30, 2005, for use in the agency's special-missions fleet. Currently, the FAA operates 11 Bombardier Challenger 604, Bombardier Challenger 601 and Bombardier Learjet 60 business jets. "With FAA type approval and impending entry into service by year end, the Global 5000 program is solidly on track," said Peter Edwards, president of Bombardier Business Aircraft. The Global 5000 features a high-speed cruise of Mach 0.85 and can fly eight passengers and three crew 4,800 nautical miles. That's what we call a "special" mission.

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Fred McIntosh

Longtime NBAA staffer Frederick B. McIntosh, who retired from the association in 1983 after almost 20 years in its Operations Department, died Oct. 15 of congestive heart failure. He was 87. Funeral services were scheduled for Friday, Oct. 22, near his home in Leesburg, Va. McIntosh was the second recipient of NBAA's "Lifetime Achievement Award," which recognizes a minimum of 15 years of service combined with significant contributions to the business aviation community. In addition, "Mac" was instrumental in procuring the Small Aircraft Exemption found in FAR Part 91, Subpart D, for association members operating aircraft weighing less than 12,500 pounds. McIntosh joined the Army Air Forces during World War II and served as a fighter pilot with the 56th Fighter Group, 63rd Fighter Squadron, 8th Air Force in Europe. He was also a pioneer in business aircraft noise abatement and was the first recipient of the Flight Safety Foundation's Business Aviation Meritorious Award in 1975. According to a 2003 NBAA press release, McIntosh was well-respected at the FAA, too. "McIntosh's immense number of contacts within the FAA helped shape business aviation operations of all kinds. Once at a meeting with FAA officials, then-NBAA President John Winant offered any assistance NBAA could provide. The FAA's response was, 'Give us Fred McIntosh.' He was held in high esteem for his honesty, integrity and doggedness in working issues through to their conclusions," NBAA said at the time.

Aviation Is Kind Of A Religion, After All

Prayer has always been a part of aviation, whether practiced by the student pilot before his or her first solo or by the grizzled vet facing an airborne emergency. On the off chance you believe genuflection and worship directed at aircraft is only the province of Judeo-Christians or Muslims, comes a report from Katmandu, Nepal, noting that Hindus have been worshipping their helicopters. While we agree that it requires a bit more faith to fly helicopters than, perhaps, fixed-wing aircraft, Hindus who worship the goddess Durga are celebrating a festival in her name by praying to their copters. According to the Indo-Asian News Service, "Banwari Lal Mittal, [a] 68-year-old Nepalese entrepreneur who is trying to promote religious tourism in Nepal through his Shri Airlines," last week offered prayers to his four helicopters, "including one undergoing an overhaul." The occasion is a religious day when "entrepreneurs worship their professional implements," according to the news service. One more thing to add to our pre-flight checklist.

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TSA Watch: "Ready, Fire, Aim"

A confession: We really hate to give the TSA any ink in these pages, but it's such a target-rich environment that we just can't help ourselves sometimes. Most recently, the agency took some nine months to develop a new regulation then published it on Sept. 20 and gave small-aircraft operators only 30 days to understand and implement it. Last week, and as AVweb told you two weeks ago it would, the TSA released a new document, an "interpretation," which delays portions of the new rule for an additional 60 days -- to Dec. 19 -- and changes some of its provisions. "The recent changes are a start but just that and only that," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "While some of our recommended changes have now been implemented, let there be no question: Significant issues still exist, and additional amendments to the original rule must be made if it is ever going to be appropriately effective and realistically workable," Boyer added. Among the major changes, individuals seeking training need to prove their U.S. citizenship only when going for a new rating or certificate. Other training activity -- including recurrent training -- does not require proof of citizenship. The TSA also modified its record-keeping requirements and will now allow a one-time CFI logbook endorsement to establish citizenship. Thus, the TSA becomes only the second federal agency to establish regulations on entries in your logbook.

Watch Your Inbox...

...the next issue of AVweb's BizAVflash will be e-mailed to you on Nov. 10. Until then!

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