Volume 2, Number 24 -- December 29, 2004

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This issue of AVweb's Business AVflash is brought to you by …
Piedmont Hawthorne Aircraft Sales

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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded Business News Coverage At AVweb's Business NewsWire.

CHECK YOUR SIX: 2004 IN REVIEW…
For business aviation, 2004 likely will be known as a year in which the industry withstood a number of challenges – internal and external – to emerge in at least as good a condition as when the year started. At the same time, other segments of the aviation industry did not fare as well; whether those failings will affect business aviation – and if so, how – probably will not be known in 2005. Yet, numerous signs indicate that the continuing decline in airline service is driving more companies and professionals to at least consider some form of business aviation, from setting up a formal flight department, to fractional ownership, and to charter. While it’s good for business aviation to have these kinds of problems, the industry has not weathered them without change and, in some cases, upheaval. More...

FROM PORTABLE TO PANEL MOUNT — JA AIR CENTER IS THE PLACE TO BUY GARMIN
If you're thinking of purchasing Garmin GPSMap 296, 96C, or 96 or installing a GNS-530 avionics package, now is the time to contact JA Air Center.  Established in 1965, JA Air Center prides themselves on being Garmin's largest aviation dealer.  With exceptional customer service and the finest Garmin Avionics installations, JA Air Center is the place to purchase your next Garmin product.  Extensive inventory of all Garmin units and accessories.  Contact JA Air Center at (800) 323-5966 and mention this AVflash, or order online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/ja/biz.

…AT NBAA…
Perhaps the most visible and significant change to occur in the industry during 2004 was the spring cleaning at the NBAA, in which new President and CEO Shelley Longmuir abruptly departed amid internal staff turmoil and dissatisfaction among board members, taking with her Bob Warren, the association’s executive vice president and COO, who was hired by Longmuir. That episode left the NBAA with several challenges – finding new leadership and reassuring its membership perhaps chief among them – but also opened the doors to what seems to have been both significant and beneficial changes. Once the association decided to bring in Ed Bolen, the former General Aviation Manufacturers Association president, to run things and get the NBAA back into level flight, additional and inevitable staff changes followed. In the fall, the organization had one of its largest and most well-attended annual meetings ever, which seemed to drive the final nails into the coffin of the NBAA’s year of living dangerously. More...

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…AMONG NEW PLAYERS…
With all that upheaval in one segment of business aviation, what would a year be without a set of new players promising new airframes and powerplants? In late 2003, Honda’s long-rumored development of a light-light jet finally became public. This year, the company announced an engine, possibly designed to power it. Still, the company has made no announced decision to produce the airframe and no manufacturers have chosen the engine to power their creations. But Honda’s long-standing interest in business aviation – if it results in new products being brought to market – could both fundamentally alter the landscape other companies are used to while bringing potential new customers to the table, especially from overseas. Given the Japanese company’s keen ability to compete in various markets with innovative design and cutting-edge technology, this will be a story to watch in 2005. More...

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…AND OLD ONES…
Meanwhile, long-standing participants in the bizav marketplace have kept up the pace of developing new aircraft and new technologies. On one level, Gulfstream Aerospace leads the pack with the widest selection of large-cabin, long-range bizjets, especially now that its top-end products – the G350, G450 and G550 – have been certificated and will enter service in 2005. Gulfstream’s Enhanced Vision System (EVS) was well-positioned to take advantage of the FAA’s rule allowing certified enhanced flight vision systems (EFVS) to be used to determine "enhanced flight visibility" for Part 91 operators. Cessna, too, added several new models to its lineup, including the Citation XLS, Citation Sovereign, the CJ3, and upgraded versions of the CJ1 and CJ2. And 2005 likely will see the Citation Mustang’s first flight, followed by certification in 2006. More...

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…WHILE ONGOING CHALLENGES INCLUDE REGULATIONS…
Regulatory changes were also in the business aviation news during 2004. Perhaps the biggest change was in how the FAA views fractional ownership operations. While the new “frax” rules were published in September 2003, they didn’t become effective until Dec. 17, 2004. By most accounts, they have been implemented without too many challenges, perhaps because industry had a lengthy time frame in which to read, understand and make them effective. Another widespread change is the coming Jan. 20, 2005, deadline for RVSM to be implemented in domestic airspace. More...

THE FINAL FRONTIER IN LIFE INSURANCE
None of us have 6-8 weeks to go through life insurance underwriting with an agent who doesn't know the difference between a Weedhopper and a 747. Don't trust something as important as your family's security to an agent's lack of aviation knowledge. After an agent promises the moon, that great promised rate suddenly disappears. Don't accept an aviation exclusion or accelerated rate when you can save 30-60% at PIC (Pilot Insurance Center) with their Preferred Rates for Pilots. There are NO aviation exclusions on policies, and PIC underwrites through A+ rated (or better) companies. Call PIC today at (800) 380-8376 and get an instant quote by phone, or visit PIC at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/piclife/biz.

…SAFETY…
Despite 2003's being one of the industry’s safest on record, 2004 ended on several sour notes. Although the NBAA noted in January there were no fatal accidents among corporate operators – its core constituency – in 2003, by the end of the year one notable corporate fatal accident had occurred, the Oct. 24 crash of a King Air 200 operated by Hendrick Motorsports into a Virginia mountaintop while attempting a missed approach. Though not “corporate” operations in the technical sense, the same-day crash of a Learjet 35A operated as an air ambulance near San Diego – along with other highly visible crashes and fatalities late in the year – will leave a black mark on 2004. More...

STOP!  DON'T TRUST JUST ANYONE WITH YOUR COMPANY'S AIRCRAFT INSURANCE
Go to the professionals at CS&A.  They insure all types of corporate aircraft (including rotor) and will work to find your company the right insurance at the right price.  Call (800) 761-2557 and mention this Business AVflash, or go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/csa/biz.

…AND SECURITY
Last, but not least, aviation security continued to play a huge role during 2004, not only in how business aviation operations were conducted and in how much visibility they received but also in considering the industry’s growth opportunities. On one hand, the industry should consider itself fortunate that it was not subject to more restrictions and security regulations imposed at the local, state or federal levels during the year. On another hand, 2004 came and went without any kind of major security “scare” or fear-mongering among the mainstream media. More...

WATCH YOUR INBOX...
...the next issue of AVweb's BizAVflash will be e-mailed to you on Jan. 12. More...

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Business AVflash is a twice-monthly summary of the latest business aviation
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Internet's Aviation Magazine and News Service. http://www.avweb.com

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