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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded
Business News Coverage At AVweb's
FUNDING I: IS CHANGE IN THE AIR?
To hear many in the FAA's leadership tell it, AVweb's Favorite
Aviation Agency is facing a funding crisis: Costs are increasing while
revenues are dropping. And, while that's nothing to surprise anyone
who has looked at fuel prices lately, the FAA can and says it just may
do something about it. Tomorrow's quasi-public meeting of aviation
industry "stakeholders, business and government leaders" -- titled
"Transforming Aviation: The Critical Need for Solutions" and sponsored
by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. -- is designed to
foster an "open dialogue on the economic importance of America's
aviation system and the crisis it currently faces." Crisis? What
crisis? Well, if you believe some of the noises coming out of the FAA
and, especially, the airlines and the Chamber, "excess capacity,
growing taxes and user fees, and high fuel prices [are at the root of
the U.S. aviation system's] reaching a breaking point in its ability
to create future economic growth." More...
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FUNDING II: WHAT'S THE DEAL?
So ... what's going on? Is this a "manufactured" crisis in FAA
funding? Who's really behind it? And what do they want? Those answers
are a bit more complicated, but the signs point to this being the
early stages of an effort by airlines and some in government to undo
decades of policy decisions designating a portion of the FAA's
operating budget to come from general revenues with the remainder --
dedicated to infrastructure acquisition and improvement -- coming from
user taxes. At the end of the day, the airlines would surely like to
see the ATC system divested from the FAA and placed in the hands of a
private entity created solely to operate it using a dedicated source
of revenue designed to pay for all of its expenses. In other words, a
U.S. ATC system based on and funded like Eurocontrol or NavCanada.
Lockheed Martin's recently announced contract with the FAA to run a
sharply consolidated network of Automated Flight Service Stations
could be a dry run leading up to the "real thing." And, of course, the
airlines would be primarily in control of establishing fees and
determining how and when services would be offered. None of which
would be a good thing for general or business aviation "as we know
THE BEST OF TIMES, THE WORST OF TIMES?
Things are good in Wichita for some companies, but not so good for
others. According to The Wichita Eagle, some 2000 people have applied
for as many as 500 sheet-metal fabrication jobs at Cessna, while
Raytheon finds itself in the opening stages of laying off up to 350
workers. Of course, where they could go to get another job in aviation
should be a no-brainer for laid-off Raytheon employees with the right
skills. Still, the grass is not necessarily greener, however, since
Cessna isn't exactly expanding and Raytheon isn't exactly shrinking.
In Cessna's case, the new jobs are being added slowly, a few at a
time, to meet demand for the company's popular series of Citation
jets. But that demand is not being accompanied by increases in the
number of employees in Wichita. More...
LANCAIR COLUMBIA 400 NOW CERTIFIED TO
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.
FLIGHT-TEST PROGRAM ACCELERATES
Eclipse Aviation earlier this month announced reaching new milestones
in its efforts to certify is Eclipse 500 very light jet by March 2006.
According to the company, Eclipse conducted successful engine inlet
icing tests for the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F destined to power
the twinjet, fulfilling these FAA requirements for the aircraft and
its power plants. The tests were completed in Canadas National
Research Councils approved icing tunnel located in Ottawa.
Meanwhile, one of several Eclipse flight-test aircraft, N503EA,
recently expanded the aircraft's flight envelope to 25,000 feet. In
early April, the aircraft amassed 15.0 hours in 10 flights, almost
half of its 33 total flight hours to date. More...
SJ30-2 COLD SOAK SUCCESSFUL
Swearingen Aircraft Corp. yesterday announced successful completion of
cold soak testing as required for FAA certification of the company's
new SJ30-2 twinjet. The testing was conducted at Eglin Air Force Base,
Fla., in a facility that lowers temperatures to -40 degrees C. Testing
conducted at that temperature includes avionics performance,
pre-start, engine start and operation, landing-gear retraction and
extension, hydraulic system operations, plus other systems and
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CITATION CJ2+ MAKES FIRST FLIGHT...
Also making a first flight of a new jet this month was Cessna, whose
new Citation CJ2+ prototype took to the air on April 2. Piloted by
test pilots Don Alexander and Jon Cooper, the conforming CJ2+
prototype flew from Mid-Continent Airport for a 02:06 test flight,
which, according to Cessna, included an "aggressive flight profile to
test basic stability, flap and landing-gear extension and retraction,
controllability" and other operations. "Compared to the CJ2, the CJ2+
offers customers enhanced performance and the most advanced avionics
suite for this class of airplane," said Cessnas Chairman,
President and CEO Jack J. Pelton. "Orders for the CJ2+ have been
strong, and were confident theyll continue to increase as
we near certification." More...
CITATION SOVEREIGN GETS EUROPEAN PAPERS
Meanwhile, Cessna received the certification paperwork from both the
European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Joint Aviation Authorities
(JAA) for its new midsize, long-range Citation Sovereign business jet.
The certification enables the Citation Sovereign to be registered
within all 25 European countries adhering to EASA regulations and 10
European countries following JAA regulations. The type certificate is
Cessnas first EASA certification. In addition, the Citation
Sovereign received the first-ever EASA type certification data sheet
for noise. More...
GULFSTREAM GETS BROADBAND STC ON G550 / G500
Gulfstream Aerospace this month announced it had received a third FAA
Supplemental Type Certificate (STC), enabling the installation of its
new Broad Band Multi-Link (BBML) data system in its large-cabin G550
and G500 bizjets. The company's BBML system uses ARINC's SKYLink
broadband satellite service, enabling in-flight Internet surfing,
sending and receiving e-mail or any other Web-based task. Last
October, Gulfstream received its first BBML-related STC for a GiIV; a
month later, it received an STC for the GV and, later this year,
Gulfstream expects to receive another STC for the G350/G450 models.
CELEBRATES CARAVANS 20TH
April marks 20 years since Cessna delivered its first Model 208
Caravan, a workhorse turboprop single popular in bush, utility and
cargo operations throughout the world. Some 1500 examples of the
"Skylane on steroids" have been delivered since and the company is
celebrating with a worldwide demonstration tour featuring
well-equipped versions of the airplane. Numerous planned stops
throughout the U.S. and Canada during 2005 will be complemented by
visits to the Caribbean and Central America in March and April, South
America in April and July, Africa in August and September, and Europe
beginning in February and lasting through October. More...
...the next issue of AVweb's BizAVflash will be e-mailed to you
on May 11. More...
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