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Volume 4, Number 5
March 15, 2006

Sino Swearingen's 
SJ30-2 Business Jet The SJ30-2 Is the World's Fastest Light Business Jet
Not only is it fast; it has intercontinental range -- 560 mph and over 2800 sm range. The SJ30-2 is the most advanced light business jet in the sky today -- the perfect package of speed, range, and good looks. For details, visit Sino Swearingen online.
The Finer Points - Aviation 
The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated Business News Coverage At AVweb's Business NewsWire.

Are the various proposals calling for new user fees to be imposed on some types of general aviation operations -- turbine aircraft, for instance, but not piston-powered ones -- designed to weaken opposition to them from among the non-scheduled portion of the aviation industry? Is all of this designed to drive a wedge between certain classes of GA operators and make it easier for user-fee proponents to achieve their objectives? Putting aside for the moment the arguments for and against user fees, is this all part of some Machiavellian scheme to further dilute whatever political and policy influence GA has at the federal level? That's what some observers claim as they review recent statements and proposals from the airline industry's major trade association, the Air Transport Association (ATA), and from the federal government. For those of you just joining us, the growing debate about GA user fees got its 2006 start earlier this month when the ATA rolled out a new FAA funding proposal dubbed "Smart Skies" and called on Congress to implement it. The ATA maintains that the user-fee scheme it is proposing will help the FAA slay its modernization dragon -- you know, the upgrade of computers and radars the FAA has been working on since, oh, the early 1980s. More...

Zuluworks Zuluworks Is New and Improved!
Zuluworks has not only treated themselves to a little digital makeover, but have re-tooled their product line as well. The new Gazelle is the ultimate flight bag with 3,200 cubic inches of versatility and style. Zuluworks has also added the super-popular Mini-Z kneeboard at 50% smaller than the original Zuluboard, but still packing the same punch. And the original Zuluboard has never looked so good, with new styling and sixteen new color choices. Click on the web site and take a look.
AS3 - The Aviation 
Industry Expo

It's relatively easy for even casual observers to conclude that the reason for the ATA's keen interest in user fees is to somehow reduce competition from the general and business aviation industry. Of course, it's no great secret that non-scheduled aircraft operations have consistently increased in the past few years as airline delays have increased and service has declined. The Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks did an economic number on the airlines -- leading to rising fuel prices and bankruptcies -- and they are looking for any and all advantages they can get. So, if the airlines can't compete on service, convenience, schedule and security, that pretty much leaves price and access to the ATC system as ways to try to gain some leverage over non-scheduled operators. Since all users already pay fees in the form of "ticket," cargo and fuel excise taxes, among others, one of the few frontiers remaining for the airlines is to try to ratchet up those existing taxes to the non-commercial industry's pain-threshold level while using the dollars they "pay" into the system as that leverage over system access. Of course, any user-fee increases imposed under the current system are merely passed on to passengers, while the airlines get the short-term float before sending it all in to Uncle Sugar. There's nothing to suggest that would change under the scheme proposed by the ATA. With that in mind, the industry segment most at risk -- the coming very light jets (VLJs), combined with NASA's small aircraft transportation system (SATS) technologies -- really hasn't reached its stride. Before that happens, the ATA would really like to make it more expensive. More...

JA Air 
Center — Your Garmin Source JA Air Center, Your Garmin GPSMap 396 Source, Is Looking to Purchase Used GPS Units, Avionics, and Aircraft
JA offers top dollar for used GPS, avionics, and aircraft. Call (800) 323-5966 for your current value, with no purchase required. One of Garmin's largest aviation dealers, JA stocks the new GPSMap 396 with terrain, XM Weather, and music with same-day shipping (before 3pm CT). JA Air Center [Dupage Airport (KDPA) in West Chicago, IL] provides the finest avionics installations, turbine/piston maintenance, avionics/instrument service, mail order, and aircraft sales. Also, JA provides FBO services and fuel at Dekalb Taylor Municipal Airport (KDKB) in Dekalb, IL. Please call (800) 323-5966, or order online.

Raytheon Aircraft Company last week said it had received FAA certification of the newest member in its Hawker business jet family, the Hawker 850XP, a growth version of the venerable marque. The 850XP's major innovation is the addition of winglets to the basic and highly successful Hawker 800 series, which Raytheon says is part of a strategic series of upgrades for the Hawker fleet. That effort began with the Hawker 400XP in May 2003. “The Hawker 800-series, capturing the perfect balance of speed, range, and comfort, has a long history of continual evolution. These upgrades were selected to meet the demanding requirements of today’s aircraft operators ensuring that it remains the world’s best selling midsize jet,” said Brad Hatt, president and general manager of Hawker Business at Raytheon Aircraft Company. The 850's winglets are of composite construction and designed to enhance aerodynamic performance: The new jet boasts a 100-nm increase in range, up to 8-percent improvement in time-to-climb as well as faster airspeeds and block speeds. The winglets also incorporate state-of-the-art LED position lights that have a mean time between failure of 5000 hours. The enhanced "ramp presence" doesn't hurt anything, either. More...

LightSPEED's LightFlight Mach 1 Headset New Mach 1 Headset by LightSPEED: Smaller Can Be Better
The "born to be worn" Mach 1 packs a lot for its size. After years of pilot input, LightSPEED has introduced the Mach 1, a high-performance in-the-ear (ITE) headset. Connect to cell phone and music interfaces. Get supreme comfort with unbelievable noise attenuation. To order, contact a LightSPEED dealer or call (800) 332-2421 (PST business hours). View the 60-second Mach 1 video here.

Sino Swearingen Aircraft Corporation (SSAC) last week announced completion of another major milestone before starting deliveries of its SJ30-2 business jet: completion of airframe icing tests. According to the company, the final flight test was completed on March 1 and included simulating a 45-minute hold in maximum continuous icing conditions. The flight was crewed by Mark Fairchild, John Siemens and Schuyler Horn. After the flight, test pilot Siemens said, “The airplane performed remarkably well in the extreme icing conditions we encountered. It ... performed better in the ice than any other airplane I have previously certified for flight in known icing conditions.” In February, the flight test crew completed artificial ice shapes testing, required to demonstrate aircraft handling characteristics, including stability, control and stall characteristics, with simulated ice attached to the airframe. More...

Eclipse Aviation on March 1 said it has begun building the first Eclipse 500 jet for delivery to a customer. In a ceremony witnesses by a crowd of employees, the first customer, David Crowe, stepped up to engage the friction stir welding of one of his future jet’s cockpit side panels and to drill window attachment holes in the cockpit frame. According to the company, Crowe will receive his Eclipse 500 this summer. Vern Raburn, Eclipse Aviation president and CEO, joined Eclipse employees to observe the production start. “This is another very exciting day at Eclipse because this is all part of the process of becoming a successful and enduring company,” said Raburn. More...

Pilots Know They Need to Protect & Improve Their Eyes
As a pilot, Brian Grote knows that visual acuity is an asset he can't afford to lose. After years of declining vision, he's finally found an all-natural supplement that may help protect and improve the health of his eyes for years to come. Click here to find out more about Claroxan, an all-natural supplement for your eyes.

Adam Aircraft last week announced that Craig Johnson has joined the firm as Chief Operating Officer. Johnson, who comes to the company from Northrop Grumman, AlliedSignal, McDonnell Douglas and General Dynamics, was brought in to meet what Adam Aircraft called "the demand of the company's strong growth" as it accelerates A500 production and starts delivering aircraft to customers in volume. He will also be overseeing the A700 production schedule. Joe Walker, Adam Aircraft's president, who was responsible for the initial A500 production deliveries and who will now be able to focus on his area of expertise by expanding the sales, marketing and customer support activities, formerly performed his duties. The FAA has certified Adam Aircraft's A500 twin-piston aircraft, while the A700 AdamJet is currently undergoing flight test and development. More...

Higher, Faster, Farther, and (Frankly) Just Plain Better
Columbia accumulated some pretty impressive hardware this year. The Columbia 400 garnered top honors as: "Editors Choice" — FLYING magazine; "Best GA Aircraft of 2005" — Aero-News Network; and "Best of the Best Personal Aircraft 2005" — Robb Report. Call it validation for 235-knot cruise, 1,300-nautical-mile range, Utility Category durability, and state-of-the-art innovation. How does your aircraft measure up? Check this!

Gulfstream Aerospace this week said it appointed Gerard Schkolnik as director of its supersonic technology programs. In his new position, Schkolnik will direct the company’s research of structural concepts and advanced materials, propulsion integration and supersonic aerodynamics as they apply to supersonic flight. He will also continue the company's research into sonic boom suppression and comes to Gulfstream with nearly 20 years of experience in flight research, development, test and evaluation. For the past 15 years, he has worked for NASA at the agency’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Schkolnik's appointment apparently reinvigorates Gulfstream's efforts to bring to market a supersonic business jet (SSBJ). Long-time bizav observers will recall that, in the early 1990s, Gulfstream entered into a joint effort with Russia's Sukhoi Design Bureau to develop a small SSBJ, known as the S-21. Amid questionable market demand, an uncertain regulatory environment and presumed technology hurdles, Gulfstream eventually pulled out of the project, although Sukhoi continued work on the S-21. More...

Isn't It About Time You Choose Something Extra?
Pilot-inspired, German-engineered, and internationally renowned — that's the difference in Extra Aircraft's EA-500. Extra's certified, Rolls Royce-powered, 6-seat turboprop EA-500 is in a class all by itself. The only new-technology cabin-class airplane, the EA-500 averages 220 kts, gets 11 mpg, and costs less than $200/hr to operate. To find out more about Extra's EA-500, sclick here.

Citing 2005 as the best year yet for sales of its PC-12 single-engine turboprop, Pilatus Aircraft announced late last month that the company delivered 80 PC-12 business turboprop aircraft to retail customers around the world. The 80 deliveries were comprised of 61 aircraft in North America, 10 in Europe, 4 in South Africa, 2 in Australia, 2 in South America, and 1 in Russia. According to data recently released by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the Pilatus PC-12 was the top-selling model of all turbine-powered business aircraft produced by any manufacturer in the world for the third year in a row. More...



In a Group Plan & Think You're Getting the Best Deal on Life Insurance?
The Pilot Insurance Center (PIC) finds many people believe this is the case. Unfortunately, in some group plans you're only as good as your weakest link. Meaning, while you may be in excellent health, you may be paying a higher premium due to those in the group that aren't as healthy. From airline pilots to weekend warriors, PIC has saved pilots 30-60% on coverage through A+ rated carriers or better. Find out if you are getting the best deal. Call PIC today at (800) 380-8376, or visit online.

The Best Aviation Weather Service for Cell Phones
Version 6 of WxServer is chock-full of new features. A simpler, more powerful menu structure makes WxServer easier to use.  NexRad radar maps and satellite pictures are zoomable. And WxServer takes maximum advantage of whatever phone screen size available.  Put NexRad maps centered on every U.S. airport, satellite pictures centered on more than 95% of airports worldwide, METARs, TAFs, and even Winds Aloft maps in your pocket. Aviation weather is ready when you need it. AVweb readers receive $10 off the regular annual subscription rate when they click here.

Your Aircraft-Buying Helper -- Aviation Consumer's Used Aircraft Guide
Dreaming about your next plane? Ready for a closer look at that plane in the ad? Need to know what your plane is worth? Don't consider buying or selling without the Aviation Consumer's 10th edition Used Aircraft Guide. Now available for the first time on CD, for just $29.95 with NO-COST shipping and handling -- over 38% off the retail price. Click here to order.

Subscribe to Aviation Safety Now and Save!
You spent thousands to earn your license. Now you can safeguard it for just pennies a day. Aviation Safety helps pilots stay ready for the realities of today's demanding flight environment with instructive articles to keep your decision-making skills sharp. Subscribe now and save big.

Hassle-Free Auto Buying from CrewCar & Consumer Guides
Don't go blindly into a dealership when purchasing a vehicle; look to CrewCar.  CrewCar is a car-buying service formed by aviation professionals providing shoppers with a complimentary integrated phone and electronic concierge-level buying service offering value nationwide.  The service is provided gratis and meets the Consumer Guide dealership network standards.  For information, click here to request a quote.


The latest addition to Signature Flight Support's growing network of fixed-base operations (FBOs) is the former Million Air facility at the Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport (TRM) in Thermal, Calif. The newly acquired facility is the chain’s second location in the popular Palm Springs resort area, joining Signature’s operation at Palm Springs International Airport (PSP). The purchase also represents the company’s third acquisition in California in the last four months. As of late February, Signature Flight Support operates facilities at forty-six (46) airports in the United States, nineteen (19) in Europe, one (1) in Africa, and has joint ventures in South America (13) and Asia (1). More...

Actually, NetJets is trying to grab customers away from its competition and its latest efforts involve publishing two new guides, "Private Aviation 101" and "How to Pay for Your NetJets Share." The new publications "supplement and enhance" -- according to NetJets -- the company's newly revised "Buyer’s Guide to Fractional Aircraft Ownership" and "The Aircraft Selection Guide," which the company says have helped thousands of its customers make the plunge into fractional aircraft ownership. NetJets says it will highlight the guides in a new advertising and direct-mail campaign that will be appearing in publications and hitting mailboxes in the coming days. The guides are also available on the NetJets Web site or by calling 1-877-356-0028. More...

...the next issue of AVweb's BizAVflash will be e-mailed to you on Mar. 29. More...


AVwebBiz 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.

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

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Shiny side up, okay?