Volume 3, Number 7 April 20, 2005

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

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

FAA 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...

LOOK TO THE PIEDMONT HAWTHORNE AIRCRAFT SALES TEAM WHEN YOU'RE BUYING or SELLING YOUR NEXT AIRCRAFT
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.

FAA 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 it." More...

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WICHITA: 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 FL250
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.

ECLIPSE 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 Canada’s National Research Council’s 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...

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.

SWEARINGEN'S 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 controls. More...

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CESSNA’S 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 Cessna’s Chairman, President and CEO Jack J. Pelton. "Orders for the CJ2+ have been strong, and we’re confident they’ll continue to increase as we near certification." More...

...AND 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 Cessna’s first EASA certification. In addition, the Citation Sovereign received the first-ever EASA type certification data sheet for noise. More...

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WIRED: 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. More...

CESSNA CELEBRATES CARAVAN’S 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...

WATCH YOUR INBOX...
...the next issue of AVweb's BizAVflash will be e-mailed to you on May 11. More...

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Business AVflash is a twice-monthly summary of the latest business aviation
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Today's issue written by Joseph E. (Jeb) Burnside:
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