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Volume 4, Number 21
October 25, 2006
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If one used an old-style phonograph record as a metaphor by which to measure how successful an annual National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) annual meeting and convention might be, there are pieces of smashed vinyl all over the Orange County (Fla.) Convention Center. And none of it should come as a surprise: AVweb noted before the show started that it was shaping up to be the biggest in history, with all of the exhibit floor and static display space sold out in advance for the first time ever. Now, the official numbers are in and confirm for the many who attended what was pretty obvious. Late on the show's last day, NBAA confirmed last week's extravaganza "was the biggest and best in the association's history, breaking attendance records and selling out exhibit space earlier than ever before. At the close of the three-day event, the attendance total was 33,088, which was a 14-percent increase over the final total for 2005, also in Orlando, and higher than the previous record of 31,665 set in Las Vegas in 1998." More...

Adam Aircraft Designs & Manufactures the A700 AdamJet & A500 Centerline Piston Twin
Adam Aircraft's A700 features twin Williams FJ-33 engines, state-of-the-art avionics, and comfortable seating for eight (or seven with an aft lavatory). The A700 is currently undergoing flight test and development. Adam Aircraft's A500 centerline piston twin has been Type Certified by the FAA and offers superior safety, range, and performance, along with the pressurized comfort of a roomy six-seat interior. For complete details on both aircraft, go online.

Another way to measure success at last week's NBAA event is to count the numbers of airframes sold or ordered. While it's always difficult to track orders and compare them to delivered airframes throughout a model's manufacturing life, most makers left with something to smile about. Among them was Cessna, which says it received 115 jet orders worth more than $1 billion and expects that these agreements will be finalized and enter backlog. Combined with pre-show agreements, the company has already booked over 160 orders for the fourth quarter. Additionally, the airframer reports it sold four new single-turboprop Caravans last week at NBAA. And Bell Helicopter -- like Cessna, a Textron subsidiary -- booked 10 new orders across its commercial helicopter line, including the 429 and 430 models. More...

Find JA Air Center — Find the New Garmin GPSMap 496
JA Air Center, Your Garmin Source, has the new Garmin GPSMap 496 with XM Weather, Terrain, AOPA Airport Guide, Taxiway Database, and built-in StreetPilot Automotive GPS in stock for immediate delivery. Call JA Air Center toll-free at (800) 323-5966, or order online.
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Visit the new GPSMap 496 Blog for more information on this exciting new product from Garmin.

Last week, AVweb updated you on Boeing's business jet program (BBJ), noting the debut of the BBJ3, based on the 737-900ER. What we didn't report is that Boeing also has new orders for VIP-configured versions of its commercial jets. According to the company, Boeing will build one 787-8 Dreamliner, three 787-9 Dreamliners and three 747-8 airplanes specifically for non-airline owners. With the previously announced orders of 12 BBJs and the new widebody orders, the Boeing Business Jets sales team has won a total of 19 new airplane orders within the last 11 months -- business valued at $2.25 billion at list prices. More...

The FAA is holding a meeting today at its headquarters involving all U.S. operators of the Mitsubishi MU-2 aircraft, apparently to provide updated information designed to enhance the type's safety. In a lengthy Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) published Sept. 28, the FAA announced it is seeking to create a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) applicable to the Mitsubishi MU–2B series. According to the NPRM, the proposed SFAR would establish new pilot training, experience and operating requirements. The FAA says the proposed SFAR follows "an increased accident and incident rate in the MU–2B series airplane"; the proposed SFAR would implement a series of training requirements similar to those developed several years ago for the Robinson R-22 helicopter series. According to sources, attendance by MU-2 operators at this meeting was "strongly advised." Meanwhile, attendance by FAA inspectors with responsibility for one or more MU-2 operators is reportedly "mandatory." 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.

Is the industry a step or two closer to a viable supersonic business jet? Could be, after what Gulfstream is calling last week's successful test of its so-called Quiet Spike "sonic boom mitigator." According to the company, the device successfully completed its first supersonic flight on Friday, Oct. 20, attached to the nose of a NASA F-15B research aircraft. Gulfstream says it has been collaborating with the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center to conduct flight-testing of the device's structural integrity since mid-July. Gulfstream says the Quiet Spike, an image of which they did not have prior to our deadline, was flown at Mach 1.2 and operated as designed. Last week's supersonic flight followed others beginning Sept. 25 and worked to establish a flight envelope that included an altitude range of 15,000 and 35,000 feet and a maximum speed of Mach .80. More...

Fly in Ultra-Comfort with LightSPEED Headsets:
"Custom ear molds made my Mach 1 as quiet as any headset I've tried." — Bing Lantis, President of Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing. Discover what thousands of pilots already have: the most comfortable headsets in the industry. The in-the-ear Mach 1 weighs less than 1 oz.; the full-size Thirty 3G, just under 16 ounces and uses soft conform-foam ear cushions. Try a LightSPEED headset with a 30-day money back guarantee. To order, contact a LightSPEED dealer or call (800) 332-2421 (PST, business hours). View the 60-second video clip!

Anyone paying attention the last few months knows there is a looming battle over how to finance the FAA. In one corner are the airlines, which are the chief agitators in favor of an airspace system run by a public corporation charging for its services. In another corner is general and business aviation, which have the numbers to prove the FAA's finances are just fine, thank you, and that user fee schemes developed so far have major safety and bureaucratic implications. Plus, there's really nothing wrong with the current system of ticket and fuel taxes. Seemingly serving as a referee in all of this is the FAA, whose administrator, Marion Blakey, has made clear her preferences for user fees. Now, with a senior-level departure and the naming of a replacement, it appears the FAA could be stacking the deck in favor of its user-fee plans. All of which comes just in time for next year's battle on reauthorizing the FAA and its underlying funding scheme. 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

Keystone Helicopter Corporation said Monday it had reached an agreement with Seacor Holdings LLC to sell its Flight Services Division, which operates some 35 emergency medical services (EMS) helicopters throughout the eastern U.S. and Puerto Rico. According to Keystone, the division employs more than 200 pilots and technicians and operates 24/7. Terms of the sale were not disclosed. Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation acquired Keystone in 2005. "Seacor is a multibillion-dollar company with diversified businesses, including helicopter operations," stated David Ford, president of Keystone Helicopter, in a letter to the employees and customers of the company. More...

Finally, we'd like to acknowledge and congratulate two award recipients who were recognized by their peers last week at NBAA's annual meeting and convention. Mary F. Silitch received the 2006 NBAA Platinum Wing Award, which recognizes excellence and lifetime achievement in journalism. Additionally, the association awarded Katherine Perfetti its Silk Scarf Award, traditionally given to individuals in recognition of special contributions to the business aviation community. More...

Truth! Aviation Consumer Is the Only Unbiased Publication Available to Pilots
Because Aviation Consumer isn't supported by advertising like other aviation publications, Aviation Consumer's editors can tell you the unbiased truth about products and services. Be a subscriber to the fearless aviation publication, Aviation Consumer. Order online and receive unlimited no-cost use of Aviation Consumer's ratings-packed web archives!

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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