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March 29, 2005

Business NewsWire Complete Issue

By The AVweb Editorial Staff

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


Whether you're looking for that "envy of many pilots" single (such as a Bonanza) or a workhorse turboprop or multi-mission jet, Piedmont Hawthorne Aircraft Sales does it all — and has done so for over 65 years — boasting a professional sales/marketing team engaged in new and pre-owned aircraft with more than 100 years of sales, support, and consulting expertise — Turnkey assistance from acquisition, financing, or sales consulting to award-winning service and avionics centers, and a VIP program for every customer at their extensive network of 36 FBOs — Always looking to purchase quality turboprop, mid-size, and large turbine aircraft.  One call to (800) 259-1940, or one click to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/phas/biz.

Cessna Mustang Readies for the Rodeo

Cessna hit another milestone last week in the development of its newest entry-level business jet, the Citation Mustang. The Wichita, Kan.-based company completed a successful first run of the Mustang's Pratt & Whitney Canada PW615F engines, which is another step leading toward a hoped-for first flight this summer. Cessna is more than ready for things to happen. It has 230 firm, non-refundable orders for the $2.4 million, 340-knot, 41,000-foot jet. Cessna installed the engines and the Full Authority Digital Engine Controls (FADECs) to the prototype airframe in February. And the engine, which is the first P&WC 600 series delivered to any manufacturer, hasn’t been sitting idle. It has accumulated more than 210 hours of flight time on the test bed since April of 2004. The engines, each controlled by a dual-channel FADEC, are rated at 1,350 pounds of takeoff thrust at sea level. Engine certification is expected by the fourth quarter of ' 05.

One More Service Center Makes One-Half (Dozen)

West Star Aviation in Grand Junction, Colo., has been named the latest -- and only the sixth non-factory-owned -- Authorized Citation Service Center. West Star has the factory's blessing to perform warranty work and scheduled and unscheduled maintenance on all Citation model 500 aircraft. West Star Aviation was purchased by Premier Air Center in December 2004. Premier is also an authorized service center at the St. Louis Regional Airport in East Alton, Ill.

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.

Sino Swearingen Takes Flight ... Again

Sino Swearingen Aircraft Corp.'s (SSAC's) new SJ30-2 twinjet has overcome yet another of the FAA's testing hurdles. The aircraft is one step closer to FAA certification after the first flight of the third and final conformed flight-test aircraft. Afterward, SJ30-2 serial number 0005 joined S/N 0004 and 0003 in the company history. SSAC sources say the aircraft are flying aggressively as often as seven days per week. One of the planes is being used for systems testing, one for aerodynamics and performance, the third for function and reliability. Some days all three airplanes are in the sky together. SSAC has completed all the critical high-speed FAA flight testing and is predicting FAA certification in the second half of this year. S/N 0005 was the first SJ30-2 built using major production tooling and the same personnel who worked on her will be producing future aircraft. The jet is touted as having one of the fastest cruise speeds in the industry, 560 mph, and can operate at altitudes up to FL490.

Adam Aircraft Goes North by Northwest

An expansion being discussed for months is now final. Adam Aircraft, headquartered at Centennial Airport outside Denver, Colo., is putting their A500 and A700 manufacturing facility at the Kemp Ogden (Utah) Gateway Center. "We believe Utah will be an excellent location for adding to our existing capacity in Colorado. The quality of the workforce in Utah, the capabilities of the airport facility, and the superior design of the Kemp development were key motivators in our decision process," said Adam CEO Rick Adam. That Utah offered up to 30-percent rebates on income, employee and sales taxes -- possibly worth $10 million -- was no small motivator, either. In fact, one of the stated reasons why the facility was not built at Adam's existing facility at Centennial was that Colorado had no economic development money to invest. Adam has already begun manufacturing customer aircraft in anticipation of FAA certification. Customer deliveries of the A700 are scheduled to begin in 2006.

The Columbia 400's twin turbochargers can now be put to full effect with the aircraft's recent certification to 25,000 feet. With the added altitude to play with, the Columbia 400 gives pilots even more flexibility than before. Set the throttle to 80% power and cruise at 235 knots — that's faster than any other piston-powered aircraft in production today. Or ease the power back and increase range to standard-setting levels. A company official recently flew an unmodified Columbia 400 non-stop from Bend, Oregon to Fort Worth, Texas (a distance of more than 1,300 nm) while averaging 200 kts. Find out what a Columbia 400 can do for you at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/lancair/biz.

Gulfstream Aerospace Offers Sci-Fi Technology Today

101 Gulfstream bizjets have been retrofitted with technology once in the realm of fiction writers. Several of Gulfstream's models can now be purchased with an Enhanced Vision System (EVS) that allows the pilot to "see" down to an altitude of just 100 feet above a runway's touchdown zone. The FAA-certified equipment includes a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera that projects an infrared real-world image onto the pilot's Honeywell Head-Up Display. A cryogenically cooled detector (James T. Kirk, eat your heart out) helps identify runway lights during an approach. In addition to allowing flight crews to see what could not be seen before, it will help crews prevent the FAA bugaboo, runway incursions. The EVS system can be retrofitted or ordered as an option on several of the Gulfstream jets but will come standard on the G550 and Gulfstream G450, the company's latest entry in the bizjet derby. The G450 is due out the second quarter of this year. Installed price of the EVS is $500,000.

CitationShares: Your Ticket to Ride

CitationShares says it is taking a leap in going where no fractional aircraft business has gone before. The company, co-owned by Cessna Aircraft and TAG Aviation, is offering private jet accessibility in the form of a 20-hour jet card instead of the industry-standard 25. What that means is that customers can purchase just 20 hours of flight time at a beginning price of $75,995 (roughly $3,800 per hour) with no other costs. No fuel surcharges, positioning, international or landing fees will apply. CitationShares will accept payment by credit card. The company will also take a check or wire transfer. S&H Green Stamps are not encouraged. "Since its inception, our Vector JetCard program has been the most competitively priced on the market," said Steve O'Neill, chief executive officer of CitationShares. "But with the introduction of our exclusive 20-hour version, we are pleased to be making the luxury of private travel even more affordable. Quite simply, this new product reduces the barriers to entry and enables consumers to fly private with less commitment -- in terms of both flight time and expense." Under the program, members can have a private jet waiting for them in the continental U.S. with as little as eight hours' notice.

of comfortable fit, noise reduction, and clearer audio to your aircraft. Professional Pilot says, "Bose is Pro Pilot's [2004] Headset Preference Survey winner for the 4th straight year." Hear for yourself with our 30-day risk-free test flight. New: Low monthly payments. http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/bose/biz

China Looks to the Future, and the Future Is Biz

The next frontier ... the brave, new land for bizjet makers could soon be opening up in a big way. Business jet manufacturers are readying for China's first international business aviation conference in August, wanting to get in on the ground floor of a predicted aviation boom. There are fewer than 500 commercial aircraft licensed in China, but industry experts believe the as-yet vastly untapped market could be worth many billions of dollars. Gulfstream, Raytheon and Bombardier are just three of the U.S. companies boning up on their Chinese for a trip over the pond. According to The Standard, the Civil Aviation Authority of China says air traffic controllers must be ready to cope with at least 10,000 helicopters and hundreds of private jets as China opens up to general aviation. As good as it sounds, quite a number of things will have to change before bizjet ownership makes sense in China. Currently, private flights into China, even from Hong Kong, officially require 14 days' advance notice to the Chinese aviation authority, vast sections of the country are off-limits to aircraft, and fees charged to fly into the country are steep.

Aviation Accidents Decline in '04

If flying in 2004 "felt" safer to you, there was a reason, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Just-released NTSB figures show that fewer accidents in air taxi, general aviation and scheduled airliner categories helped lower the number of fatalities, which fell from 695 in 2003 to 635 in 2004. Overall good news, yes, but the majority of the fatalities still occurred in general aviation and air taxi operations. In fact, though air taxi operators reported a decrease in accidents from 75 to 68, they saw an increase in fatalities from 42 in 2003 to 65 in 2004. On the GA side, the accident rate dropped, as did the number of fatalities. One accident in Kirksville, Mo., was responsible for all the fatalities involving Part 121 airline service. An American Connection Jetstream 32 crashed on an instrument approach into the Kirksville Regional Airport, killing 13 on board.

Chicago Palwaukee Municipal Airport, the region's premier business-aviation facility, is seeking industry proposals that require hangars (36,000 sq. ft. approx.) and adjacent offices and shops (14,000 sq. ft. approx.). The airport will consider a variety of business possibilities to complement the airport's predicted growth, including aircraft charter, maintenance, flight training, aircraft sales, or aviation manufacturing. Contact Airport Manager Dennis G. Rouleau, C.M., at (847) 537-2580 ext. 114 for complete proposal materials. An Executive Summary is available at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/rfp/biz.

Feds Dig Deeper into Challenger Crash ...

On Feb. 2 of this year, a Bombardier Challenger CL-600 ran off Runway 6 while attempting to take off from the Teterboro, N.J., airport. The ensuing crash involved a fence, two cars, a warehouse and a fire ... but though four people were seriously hurt, no one, amazingly, was killed. Speculation immediately afterward focused on what role icing might have played in the plane's inability to become airborne. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, it appears the answer is none. According to the NTSB, when the plane attempted to depart at approximately 7:17 a.m., VFR conditions prevailed and those conditions known to cause icing were practically nonexistent. Videos obtained from the New Jersey Port Authority corresponded with witness reports that said the plane, though traveling at a high speed, did not pitch up during takeoff. Upper wing icing typically does not impede pitch up, but prevents the plane from flying after it DOES pitch up.

... Teterboro Wreckage Tells a CG Story

After weighing aircraft wreckage and contents, the NTSB has determined the Challenger's center of gravity was well forward of the allowable limit. The NTSB took into account the interior cabin configuration combined with full or nearly full fuel tanks, a full or nearly full passenger load and minimal passenger baggage. The horizontal stabilizer was set to a normal position. However, after plugging all of the data into a simulator, the aircraft would not rotate at the defined rotation speeds. No problems were found with the pitch control system or autopilot, but both will be examined further. Assistance from the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) will likely be minimal. The FDR operated for only 10 seconds during the airplane's deceleration. The Cockpit Voice Recorder survived intact.

Plus, get free access to the AviationConsumer.com subscribers-only web site, packed with ratings and evaluations of aircraft, avionics, aviation products, and accessories.  If you want to enjoy greater confidence when you buy and when you fly, start your Aviation Consumer subscription now!  http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avcons/biz

BRS: Time to Fly and Buy

Ballistic Recovery Systems Inc. President Larry E. Williams sees a bright future ahead for his company, and he is encouraging investors to share the vision. Williams told stockholders at a meeting Monday that BRS is profitable now, but not nearly as profitable as it is going to be. Williams predicts that the airplane parachute company will double in value every five years. "Overall the outlook is very bright," he told stockholders. That's certainly so if his prediction stands. During its 25 years in business, BRS has sold nearly 20,000 systems, including 1,900 to Cirrus Design. Williams says the company has been credited with saving 177 people who deployed the chute system.

Raytheon, NetJets Cement the Relationship

In a deal worth multiple millions (neither side is saying just how many yet), Wichita, Kan.-based Raytheon Aircraft Company and NetJets have reached a tentative agreement on the sale of a number of Hawker Horizon bizjets. NetJets plans to purchase 50 of the $18.45 million jets for its ever-expanding fractional fleet. $18.45 million is the list price for the jets, but it is safe to bet that NetJets will get a rather sizeable bulk-rate discount for its purchase. The agreement also includes a 10-year maintenance program and should be finalized in 30 days. This follows on the heels of a NetJets purchase of 40 additional Raytheon Hawker jets in a deal worth more than $300 million.

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Boeing and Air France Romance, Another Suitor Lurks

A distinctly American product appears to be making additional inroads in Europe. Boeing's new 777 freighter is being mentioned as the heir apparent to the Boeing 747-200s currently in use by Air France. The 777 freighter is the load-hauling version -- 222,000 pounds up to 6,500 miles -- of the long-range 777-200LR (long range) passenger jet, which is scheduled to enter service in early 2006. The freighter would be ready to fly about two years later. But it is said that timing is everything, and the timing in this multinational couple's relationship may be off. Unless Boeing can land customers for the cargo hauler, there is no sense in building it (if they do, will they come?) and the French are being coy on their status as the American company's launch customer. Air France was not willing to confirm it to The Associated Press, but the French newspaper La Tribune says Air France will indeed be the launch customer, and plans to order seven of the new cargo planes. Boeing competitor Airbus SAS is waiting for the relationship to go sour. Its new bigger-than-jumbo A380 freighter will ALSO be flying in 2008 and will be able to carry 50 percent more cargo than the 777 over the same distance. However, with four engines versus two, it will be a costlier plane to operate. UPS and FedEx have already placed orders for the A380.

Flying the Friendly Skies of Dubai

Boeing, meanwhile, has found a presence in the skies over the Gulf state of Dubai. Emirates Airline has begun taking delivery of 30 new Boeing 777-3000ERs (extended range) aircraft, part of a $30 billion fleet expansion. Emirates has also ordered 45 Airbus A380 super jumbos, so from now through 2012 the airline will be receiving, on average, one new aircraft per month. The keys to the newest Boeing product were handed over at a ceremony in Seattle, Wash., last week, and 14 hours after takeoff, the jet was in its new home in the Middle East. Emirates plans to use the 777s for services to Manila, Bangkok, Sydney and Auckland. Those passengers traveling up front will have fully reclining sleeper seats and personal mini-bars. Those in the cheap(er) seats will not, but will be able to access 500 channels of video, audio and games on demand.

Watch Your Inbox ...

... the next issue of AVweb's Business AVflash will be e-mailed to you on April 6. See you then!

Sponsor News and Special Offers

Access to AVweb and AVflash is provided by the support of our fine sponsors. We appreciate your patronage.

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We Welcome Your Feedback!

Business AVflash is a twice-monthly summary of the latest business aviation
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Have a comment or question? Send it to mailto:newsteam@avweb.com.

Today's issue written by Liz Swaine:
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