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December 14, 2004

Business NewsWire Complete Issue

By The AVweb Editorial Staff

This issue of AVweb's Business AVflash is brought to you by …
JA Air Center

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Left-Seat Change At Bombardier

Canadian business and regional jet manufacturer Bombardier Inc., jettisoned its chief executive on Monday amid poor financial results, lowered growth projections and apparent internal disagreements coupled with public uncertainty over the company's direction. Paul Tellier, who was president and chief executive officer as well as director, became a casualty after telling Bombardier's board of directors that he planned to leave when his contract expired in a year -- the board apparently felt there was no time like the present. As a result, Bombardier's top management is being reshuffled, with a new Office of the President being created. That office will be headed by Executive Chairman Laurent Beaudoin; André Navarri, president of Bombardier Transportation, and Pierre Beaudoin, president and chief operating officer of Bombardier Aerospace, each of whom has been appointed executive vice president of Bombardier Inc., will also occupy that office. "I understand the board's concern that I would not be there for the long term to develop and execute strategies, and the need to reshape the management structure at this time," said a statement prepared by Tellier. "I leave with the satisfaction of having done what needed to be done as a first step before the corporation could focus on developing new avenues of value creation," he added. Incoming Executive Chairman Pierre Beaudoin was appointed president and chief operating officer, Bombardier Aerospace, on Oct. 16, 2001. He previously held the position of president, Bombardier Aerospace, Business Aircraft. For eight years, he was president and chief operating officer, Bombardier Recreational Products. Neither Tellier's long-term plans nor the immediate impact on Bombardier's aerospace operations were known in the aftermath of the executive changes.

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TSA Watch: GA Threat, Vulnerability Assessments Not Conducted...

In publicly releasing its long-awaited report on general aviation security (PDF), the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) last week said that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) "and other federal agencies have not conducted an overall systematic assessment of threats to, or vulnerabilities of, general aviation to determine how to better prepare against terrorist threats." This, of course, is to no one's great surprise. While the GAO found that TSA had conducted vulnerability assessments at specific airports and intends to "implement a risk management approach to better assess threats and vulnerabilities of general aviation aircraft and airports," the agency had no specific milestone-oriented plan to do so and lacked the funding to inspect each of the 19,000 GA airports in the U.S. The FAA also came in for a dollop of criticism, with the GAO noting that AVweb's Favorite Aviation Agency had not "established written policies or procedures for reviewing and revalidating the continuing need for extended flight restrictions that limit access to airspace for indefinite periods of time and could negatively affect the general aviation industry."

In other words, no one in the federal government has a clue whether the proliferation of "temporary" flight restrictions (TFRs) -- many of which have become "permanent" -- are either useful and effective, or damaging to the GA industry. Of course, no one from the GAO asked us. The report is filled with small tidbits like these critical of the ways in which the TSA and the FAA have handled GA security, but it cuts both ways. For example, the GAO states that it found "limitations" in the TSA's oversight of charter aircraft operators subject to security regulations (the "Twelve-Five" and "Private Charter" programs) as well as with granting of waivers to operators for flights within security-restricted airspace. The GAO made four recommendations to Congress in its report; details on two of them were not made available to the public for security reasons but involve compliance with regulations on student pilots and certain general aviation aircraft plus the process for granting pilots waivers to enter restricted airspace. Two additional recommendations that were released to the public include the need for executing a risk-management approach to identify threats and vulnerabilities plus applying risk communication principles -- instead of vague, meaningless warnings -- to the GA industry in developing and transmitting security advisories and threat notifications.

...While Pilots Continue To Violate TFRs

Some other tidbits in the GAO study have to do with temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) and how often they are violated. According to the GAO, numerous operators and airports have suffered a "negative economic impact" -- that's government-speak for "losing money" -- as a result of TFRs and other steps. The GAO cited, but did not assess, an NBAA study estimating that GA operators and businesses have lost more than $1 billion from the impact of TFRs since September 11, 2001. Perhaps most significantly, the GAO cited both the TSA and the FAA, as well as industry organizations, to decry the "increase in the number, size, and duration of TFRs and, at times, limited notice given prior to their establishment." For example, the GAO said "the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone has been violated over 1,000 times, constituting over 40 percent of all TFR violations since September 11, 2001." Yet, according to the GAO, "no TFR violations have been shown to be terrorist related."

We knew that, of course, but it's comforting that a government agency has finally brought to light this fact. However, that admission is of little comfort to the poor schmuck who gets violated. For its part, the FAA told GAO that the "number and severity of disciplinary actions imposed on pilots violating TFRs have increased since September 11. However, FAA officials were unable to provide statistical information on the number and severity of disciplinary actions for pilots violating TFRs before or since September 11." In other words, the FAA is being told by higher-ups to crack down on TFR violations but, unbelievably, does not have -- or has not released to the GAO -- any data on its enforcement actions. At the end of the day, what, if anything, will happen as a result of the GAO report is anyone's guess. Our guess is that the overall GA security situation will remain pretty much the same as it is, with TFRs continuing to be imposed by the federal government as the least-expensive way for it to maintain the public's perception that it is doing something about aviation security. While that's probably not acceptable for many operators, few of the alternatives are better.

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Cessna Opens World's Largest GA Maintenance Facility

Cessna last week celebrated the grand opening of its Wichita Citation Service Center, which it touts as the world's largest general aviation maintenance facility, with the cutting of 25-foot-long red ribbon. The complex includes five hangars, three of which are 60,000 square feet in size, plus numerous customer lounges and offices, flight-planning areas, a restaurant, and a gift shop. The facility's exterior features a dedicated run-up area, two compass roses, and four fuel farms. Some of the functions to be located at the new facility include Cessna propeller and Citation product support, CESCOM, and propeller and Citation technical publications. Cessna anticipates the facility will be 100 percent operational by Jan. 3, 2005, when it will house approximately 600 Cessna employees. The company expects to hire approximately 500 additional workers to staff the center over the next five years; many of these employees will be Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanics. "Since Cessna's establishment in 1927, we have made product support a priority," said Cessna's President and CEO Jack J. Pelton. "We believe it is our responsibility to provide superior support to every Cessna operator through spare parts, maintenance, and the technical information necessary to maximize their aircraft's uptime." Cessna officially broke ground on the Wichita Citation Service Center on Nov. 7, 2001. The new facility is on a 124-acre site at Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport. With over 443,000 square feet, the facility can service over 100 Citations simultaneously. The 1,600-foot-long building is equivalent to two city blocks, or five and a half football fields long. The Dec. 9 ceremony was the second of its type for the company this year; the June 2004 opening of Cessna's Orlando Citation Service Center being the first.

Gulfstream Gets EASA PART 145 Okay For Luton Facility

Gulfstream Aerospace this week announced that its London-Luton Airport-based service center received Part 145 approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on Nov. 29. The new approval replaces the previous Joint Aviation Authorities repair station authorization and allows the U.K. facility to perform base and line maintenance activities. The Luton service was acquired by Gulfstream in April 2003 and became the company's first non-U.S. service center. "This approval enables us to continue to provide business-jet owners and operators the best aviation maintenance services available in this region," said Larry Flynn, president, product support, Gulfstream. Gulfstream's Luton service center is designed to meet the maintenance needs of the company's European and Middle Eastern business-jet owners. It provides comprehensive service for current Gulfstream models -- the G550, G500, G400 and G300 -- plus "legacy" Gulfstreams, including the GV, GIV / IV-SP, GIII and the GII -- as well as maintenance for Citation, Falcon, and Hawker aircraft owners. In 2005, the Luton facility will begin servicing G200 aircraft.

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Eclipse Flight Testing Moves Forward

As AVweb reported Monday, Eclipse Aviation Corporation on Saturday rolled out its first certification flight test aircraft equipped with two Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) PW610F turbofan engines. Eclipse 500, N503EA, is scheduled for its first flight by Dec. 31, 2004. Vern Raburn, Eclipse president and CEO, said, "Over the coming months, we will have five test aircraft flying as well as airframes for static and fatigue testing. The Eclipse 500 remains on track for FAA certification in March 2006." The new airframe joins four others: N502EA, to be used for FAA certification flight test, with a focus on aerodynamics and structures; N504EA, also to be used for certification testing, with a focus on avionics and electronics; and N505EA and N506EA, both of which are beta test aircraft, for accelerated usage testing. The company first flew an Eclipse 500, N500EA, in August 2002. Since then, Eclipse has been manufacturing pre-production aircraft.

HAI Announces 2004 Lawrence D. Bell Memorial Award Recipient

The Helicopter Association International (HAI) last week announced that Elling Halvorson, chairman of Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters, Inc., is the recipient of the association's 2004 Lawrence D. Bell Award. The award will be presented Feb. 7, 2005, at HELI-EXPO in Anaheim, Calif., during HAI's 44th annual "Salute to Excellence" awards ceremony. During his 37-year association with HAI, Halvorson has twice served as its chairman as well as in the assistant treasurer, treasurer and vice chairman slots. Halvorson began his business career in 1957 as a general contractor, the first major project of which was a tram on a mountain peak in the Sierra Nevada mountains. It was at this time that he purchased his first helicopter. Later he pioneered helicopter use in constructing a water pipeline across the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Visitor requests for helicopter rides led to rotorcraft sightseeing, which launched Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters, and an industry.

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Cessna Delivers First Citation CJ3

While they were gearing up to open their new maintenance facility, the men and women at Cessna took a break on Dec. 1 to deliver the company's first Citation CJ3. In presenting the keys to the first CJ3, Cessna marked the third new Citation model to enter service in 2004; earlier this year Cessna certified and delivered the first Citation XLS and Citation Sovereign. "The CJ3 is an excellent addition to the family of CitationJets," stated Cessna's president and CEO Jack Pelton. The CJ3's delivery comes just two years after the program was announced at the 2002 NBAA Convention. Cessna has received over 130 non-refundable CJ3 orders worth over $800 million. The Citation CJ3, model 525B, received its FAA Type Certificate on Oct. 15, 2004. The aircraft features new Williams International FJ44-3A engines, an advanced fully integrated Collins avionics system, and is certified for single-pilot operation. It has a maximum cruise speed of 417 knots at 33,000 feet. The jet's service ceiling is 45,000 feet and its maximum gross takeoff weight is 13,870 lbs.

Bill Stine Reaches 25-Year Milestone At NBAA

Long-time NBAA staffer Bill Stine last week marked his 25th year with the association. Presently serving the association as director of international operations, Stine has been the association's spokesman on matters involving international business aviation, communications, navigation and surveillance since 1979. He served as staff liaison for the NBAA International Operators Committee for six years, was the first executive officer of the International Business Aviation Council, Ltd. (IBAC), and later served as that organization's director general pro tem. An electronics specialist in the U.S. Air Force, Stine has held a teaching certificate in aeronautical technology. He holds an FAA Airline Transport Pilot certificate in both rotor and fixed-wing aircraft and is commercially rated in gliders. With 7,000 flight hours, he is an FAA Gold Seal flight instructor in all three categories. For five years he was an FAA accident prevention counselor.

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China Flies New Single

It was five years in development, but collective efforts by three Chinese organizations to design, assemble, and fly a new single-engine airplane came to fruition Dec. 7. The five-seat plane, dubbed "AC500" or "Air Car 500," made its first flight in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province. The Nanjing Light Aircraft Company Ltd. and the Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics developed the plane while the Hongdu Aviation Industry Group based in Nanchang produced it. Projected pricing is 3.6 million yuan (US $433,734), according to Nanjing Light Aircraft Company. Two prototypes were constructed, including a business version and a training model equipped with a dual control system. The five-seat plane was designed for a variety of missions, including business travel, airborne research and mineral exploration. The AC500 has a 33.5-foot (10.2 meter) wingspan, is 27.6 feet (8.4 meters) long and 17.1 feet (5.2 meters) high. Announced performance numbers include a range of 540 nm (1,000 km), a maximum speed of 155 knots (289 kph) and a service ceiling of 18,000 feet.

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Give The Gift Of Fractional Flight

In a quandary about what to get this holiday season for that "special someone"? Is money no object, but you don't have 3.6 million yuan? If you can answer "yes" to both of these questions, then Bombardier Skyjet, a fractional ownership operation of Bombardier Aerospace operating Learjet 31, Learjet 60 or Challenger 604 aircraft, has a deal for you: The Bombardier Learjet Gift Card. The card provides five hours of flight time in a Bombardier Learjet from any of 5,000 airports in the CONUS. According to the company, gift-card recipients will receive a bottle of champagne as well as complimentary limousine service to and from the departure airport. The gift card is priced at $22,000 for five hours of travel on a light Bombardier Learjet or $32,000 for five hours of travel on a mid-size Bombardier. Presumably, this means a Lear 31 or a Lear 60. The card may be used for one-way trips or round-trip travel, and it may be used for a single flight or multiple trips.

Watch Your Inbox...

...the next issue of AVweb's BizAVflash will be e-mailed to you on Dec. 29. Until then, enjoy the holidays!

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We Welcome Your Feedback!

Business AVflash is a twice-monthly summary of the latest business aviation
news, articles, products, features and events featured on AVweb, the
Internet's Aviation Magazine and News Service. http://www.avweb.com

Have a comment or question? Send it to mailto:newsteam@avweb.com.

Today's issue written by Joseph E. (Jeb) Burnside:
AVweb's editorial team: http://avweb.com/contact/authors.html.

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Send it to AVweb's sales team: mailto:sales@avweb.com.

Happy Holidays!

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