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Volume 4, Number 18
September 13, 2006
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In the annals of business aviation, it will be recorded that Cessna won the race to be the first to obtain full FAA type certification of a very light jet (VLJ). Last week's achievement doesn't come without an asterisk, however. The footnote will be necessary since it's highly likely that Eclipse will deliver examples of its Eclipse 500 to new owners well before Cessna, which doesn't intend to place Mustangs into owners' hands until early 2007. Eclipse, which received provisional FAA type certification in July, expects to obtain full certification "any day now." And neither airplane has obtained FAA approval for flight in known icing conditions, a hurdle that could severely restrict the airplanes' usefulness until it is cleared. As such, there are probably enough asterisks to go around in the VLJ market right now, with Adam Aircraft, Embraer and other manufacturers waiting in the wings to see how these new airplanes, umm, fly with customers. Nevertheless, Cessna's new-airplane certification apparatus last week was basking in the glow of another accomplished mission. “This is an immense achievement, marking another point in history where Cessna has led the aviation industry into new territory,” said Cessna Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Jack Pelton. More...

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With all that's going on in the VLJ market, Brazilian airframer Embraer wasn't sitting around. While Cessna was crowing about its Mustang, Embraer executives were helping ring the Sept. 5 opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange -- talk about catering to your audience. Also, the company last week announced that Houston-based Magnum Jet will buy 50 of its Phenom 100 jets and has placed an option for 50 more aircraft. The $137.5 million contract -- potentially worth $275 million if all the options are converted -- also allows Magnum Jet to acquire either the Phenom 100 or the Phenom 300. The order for up to 100 Embraer Phenoms came shortly after Magnum Jet -- which is another on-demand startup operation planning to fly over defined routes -- contracted with Adam Aircraft to buy as many as 101 A700 AdamJets. More...

Unless you've been hiding under a rock this week -- and some would say that's a good place to be, for a variety of reasons -- you've probably been inundated with retrospectives on the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Missing from much of that news coverage has been any discussion of how the business aviation industry has fared over the five years. AVweb looked back into our archives to review what restrictions were imposed on the industry, which were not, and which still remain. Additionally, we examined what the industry looked like in 2001 and compared it to today's outlook. Overall, it appears the industry has done quite well, thank you, although some lingering problems remain.

  • Perhaps most troublesome are remaining restrictions in the Washington, D.C., area, including what can only be described as a cumbersome pre-clearance requirement for operations to and from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). However, given that DCA was closed to non-scheduled operations for years following the attacks, progress has been made. Meanwhile, the existing Washington Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) is mostly transparent to business aviation flights operating under IFR except when certain special events require increased restrictions.

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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) last month formally made four safety recommendations to the FAA concerning recent dual flameouts of engines powering Raytheon Beechjet 400-series airplanes, in part requesting the agency to help educate pilots on the realities of high-altitude engine icing. The recommendation letter [PDF] highlights four separate events -- three in U.S. airspace and a fourth over Brazil -- in which both Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) JT15D-5 turbofan engines powering the incident aircraft failed at high altitude and their crews were unable to perform restarts in a timely manner. In one incident, the airplane was successfully deadsticked onto a runway at Jacksonville, Fla., while only one engine could be restarted in two of the other events. According to the NTSB, "the ice is believed to be building up on the compressor stator airfoils deep within the engine." More...

Fresh on the heels of securing FAA type certification for its Citation Mustang very light jet, Cessna said it will introduce the CJ4, the newest member of the CJ family of Citation business jets, at the annual National Business Aviation Association convention, Oct. 17 through 19. If you're interested, though, Cessna said it would take orders for the newest member of its Citation family before the convention begins. The proposed CJ4 will seat seven to eight passengers, depending on layout, and incorporate a large forward door, private lavatory, and large baggage compartment, the company said. It will be powered by two Williams FJ44-4A engines equipped with FADECs and be certified for flight as high as FL450. More...

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An FAA Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) describing security-related requirements for non-scheduled aircraft arrivals into the U.S. and overflights in U.S. airspace was recently revised, significantly simplifying previous requirements. The new requirements are outlined in NOTAM FDC 6/7435 - U.S. Entry and Overflight Requirements, which was issued Aug. 23, 2006. The new NOTAM and replaces NOTAM FDC 2/5319, which dates from June 11, 2002. Under the new requirements, the three requirements for operations to or from the U.S. are:

  • Operators must file and operate with an active flight plan.
  • Aircraft must be equipped with an operational Mode C transponder and continuously squawk an ATC-issued transponder code.
  • Operators must maintain two-way communications with ATC.
Additionally, TSA waivers will no longer be required for flights operated by aircraft with a certificated takeoff gross weight 100,309 pounds or less. More...

Cessna last week announced changes in its manufacturing leadership it says will allow it to better focus responsibilities to meet expected growth in the company’s product line. Craig Estep, formerly vice president, operations, was appointed vice president, Citation/Caravan Operations. In this new role, Estep will have responsibility for all assembly and completion operations for Citation jets and Caravan turboprops. Meanwhile, Rod Holter is rejoining Cessna as vice president and general manager for Cessna – Independence, Kan. In this new role, Holter will have responsibility for the leadership and coordination of single-engine piston aircraft and Citation Mustang jet operations and related support activities in Independence. Also, Brad Thress, formerly vice president of quality, was appointed vice president, component operations. In this newly created role, Thress will have operational responsibility for electrical assembly, metal bond operations, and Cessna component production facilities in Wichita, Columbus, Ga., and Chihuahua, Mexico. Finally, Cub Marion, formerly vice president of Textron Six Sigma at Cessna, was appointed vice president, quality. More...

Columbia Simplifies Buying & Selling All Aircraft Brands
Selling an aircraft can be a challenging odyssey. Aircraft owners need to: locate a broker with national resources to sell for top dollar; select and utilize the most effective advertising; access no-cost, no-obligation finance pre-qualification; consult aviation tax experts; and obtain insurance quotes with higher liability limits. Columbia Aircraft has created a tool to assist pilots and aircraft owners of all brands. Check out their web site.

Eclipse Aviation last week said Paul Schumacher is being elevated to its executive team as vice president of manufacturing, replacing Rod Holter (see preceding story). Schumacher joined the company two months earlier from Raytheon Aircraft Company, where he served as vice president of operations and was responsible for all manufacturing and facility operations. In that role, Schumacher led manufacturing for aircraft product lines including the Baron, Bonanza, Hawker 400, Hawker 800, King Air and Premier. More...

Flight Options, Raytheon's fractional operations arm, last week said it is launching a new purchase and use program it hopes will deliver to its customers greater value through access to more hours or savings on long-haul trips. The program, dubbed Fractional First, seeks to streamline the company's relationship with its customers by increasing flexibility and simplifying the confusing and restrictive calculations it says have become the industry standard. “Customers have been telling us that in addition to greater value they want the decision process to be easier,” said S. Michael Scheeringa, chief executive officer, Flight Options, LLC. More...

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Fractional operator NetJets said it has awarded Cessna Aircraft Company two awards designed to recognize the airframer's "cooperative efforts contributing to the overall success" of NetJets who, not coincidentally, is Cessna's largest customer. Cessna received the first-ever NetJets Annual Performance Award, given for process improvements Cessna implemented in 2005 to decrease maintenance downtime on aircraft operated by NetJets. Cessna's Wichita, Kan., business jet service center also received the operator's second quarter 2006 Base Maintenance Award. This award also is given for helping reduce NetJets' downtime. NetJets, through its various operating companies, operates more than 600 aircraft, making it the world's largest operator of private business jets; more than 240 aircraft in its fleet are Cessna Citations. More...



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AVwebBiz is an every-other-week 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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