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Volume 4, Number 25
December 19, 2006
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Jet fuel prices are going nowhere but up, according to conventional wisdom, but there may be an unconventional alternative in the near future. The U.S. Air Force (USAF) last week flew an eight-engined Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bomber on a five-plus-hour flight, powered only by a synthetic jet fuel. The flight was dubbed a success both by the Air Force and the fuel's manufacturer, Tulsa, Okla.-based Syntroleum Corporation, and follows a similar test flight earlier in the year. Both flights took off from and recovered to Edwards Air Force Base in California. As wider unrest threatens traditional petroleum resources in the Middle East and as industry observers disagree on whether "peak oil" has been reached, the U.S. military is moving forward with plans for half of its turbine fuel to be synthetically derived by the next decade. The next research phase for the new fuel will be cold-weather testing and use in USAF tanker aircraft, newer models of which use engines derived from civilian powerplants. In fact, according to the Los Angeles Times, the fuel may already have been used in Air Force One. "Air Force officials said the only other time that a U.S. aircraft may have used the fuel was when Air Force One flew to South Africa, where the country used the alternative fuel during an oil embargo," the newspaper reported. More...

Weather the Holidays with 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 at (800) 323-5966, or order online.
If you are looking to sell your current GPS, JA Air Center Purchases Used GPS and Avionics — call for current values.

Visit the new GPSMap 496 Blog for more information on this exciting new product from Garmin.

Pay scales for corporate and charter pilots are all over the map -- literally -- these days, and last week's announcement by NetJets Europe of its 2007 salary package may see a few U.S. pilots jumping ship -- and the pond. The company last week today announced its new employment package for pilots and flight attendants, highlights of which include salary increases of between 5 and 35 percent for all crew members, plus nine fewer duty days and permanent contracts. According to NetJets Europe, its new "Work/Life Crew Package" is designed to recognize its employees' contributions and to help it "continue to attract and retain the best pilots and flight attendants in the industry." Part of the reason for the increased pay scales is what NetJets Europe calls its rapid expansion. "Over the past five years we have grown from a small private jet company into one of the largest and fastest growing aviation companies in the world. It is thanks to the hard work of every person in this company that we have climbed this mountain," said Chairman and CEO Mark Booth. "These new changes will make NetJets Europe a great place to build a career and positions the company for an exciting future." More...

Despite what was billed as a weekend-long series of negotiations designed to reach a final agreement, there was no official word late Tuesday on whether an investor group comprising Onex Corp. and Goldman Sachs would buy Raytheon Aircraft. Reports late last week indicated the two sides were near an agreement as part of their exclusive negotiations, which came after suitors Carlyle Group and Cerberus Capital Management were put on hold by the aircraft manufacturer. The deal to buy Raytheon -- which reportedly would not include Raytheon's fractional operation, Flight Options, or its charter provider, Raytheon Airline Aviation Services -- has been valued as high as $3 billion and is generally thought to involve both Onex and Goldman Sachs acquiring identical shares equal to slightly less than 50 percent, with current Raytheon executives retaining the rest. Both Onex and Goldman Sachs have had very good years: The former last week announced it had bought a 12.5-percent stake in Qantas, Australia's flagship carrier, while the latter's employees are going to divvy up some $16 billion in end-of-year bonuses. More...

Fifty Dollars Off the Reconditioned 25XL from LightSPEED
For a limited time, you can purchase the reconditioned 25XL for $300. This headset normally sells for $350, but order between now and December 31, 2006 and get yours for just $300. All reconditioned headsets are tested to original factory specifications and are covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee and a One-Year full warranty. To order yours, call (800) 332-2421, or e-mail sales@lightspeedaviation.com.

One of the airline industry's most colorful and successful players this week said what many expect will be a coming onslaught of very light jets (VLJs) won't have an impact on scheduled carriers. Former American Airlines Chairman and CEO Robert Crandall yesterday said during a conference call with investors that the "per-seat, on-demand" transportation made economically possible with VLJs will be "irrelevant" to the major airlines. Although many observers have been saying the same thing for months, and Crandall's credentials make him one to whom it's worth listening, his position as chairman and chief executive of Pogo, one of the start-up companies hoping to make it big with VLJs, may blunt the impact. Stratford, Conn.-based Pogo -- like DayJet -- hopes to soon begin service using VLJs to "offer the convenience and personalized service of traditional private jet travel at affordable rates and with a consistent customer experience." The company hopes to begin service in 2008, using Adam Aircraft A700 AdamJets, to locations throughout the northeast U.S. More...

Dassault Falcon’s Little Rock Completion Center last week welcomed its first Falcon 7X (s/n 05) for completion, the company said this week, accompanied by a Falcon 2000EX EASy. Dassault's latest tri-jet offering -- the company expects to obtain FAA and EASA certification in early 2007 -- is billed as "the world’s first purpose built fly by wire business jet." Earlier in 2006, Dassault said it expected this event in late November, so the company's program would seem to be running a few weeks behind. Still, some 1,800 of the facility's employees were on hand to greet the two jets, which were flown from Dassault's Bordeaux-Merignac, France, assembly plant. NetJets Europe has signed up for 24 Falcon 7X aircraft -- worth U.S. $1.1 billion -- with deliveries scheduled to begin in 2008 and running through 2014. At least 100 other copies of the 7X airframe are on order with Dassault. 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.

Landmark Aviation last week announced its FAA Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) approval for installing Rockwell Collins' Pro Line 21 Integrated Display System (IDS) aboard Dassault Falcon 50 aircraft. The Pro Line 21 IDS upgrade for the Falcon 50 can be configured with three or four 8-inch-by-10-inch active matrix liquid crystal displays and includes Rockwell Collins' Integrated Flight Information System (IFIS). The IFIS installation enables electronic charts, graphical weather and map overlays. The upgrade engineered by Landmark allows operators to retain existing avionics -- including the autopilot, flight director computers, flight management system (FMS), communication, navigation and distance measuring equipment, transponders, and attitude/heading gyros -- while benefiting from glass-panel displays. Options such as Attitude Heading Reference System (AHRS) and Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) can be easily added. More...

Adam Aircraft earlier this month said it was adding two new managers to its engineering roster, naming Tom Bisges as Senior vice president, engineering and program management, and Malcolm Thomson as vice president, flight test engineering. Tom Bisges comes to Adam Aircraft following a successful and distinguished career with Bombardier Aerospace and Sino Swearingen Aircraft Corporation. As Sino vice president of engineering, he achieved FAA certification for the SJ30-2 twin-engine jet. At Bombardier Aerospace, he managed engineering efforts on the Global Express, Challenger 604, RJ 200, Lear 60 and Lear 40 aircraft. "We are extremely pleased to have Tom lead our engineering effort," stated Rick Adam, founder of Adam Aircraft and chief executive officer. "His previous accomplishments with FAA certification and new aircraft development will streamline our processes on A700 AdamJet certification and accelerate product enhancements for the A500 piston twin." 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.

Jim Shirey and Jake Hart have joined Boise, Idaho-based Chelton Flight Systems, the company said last week. Shirey, formerly vice president of marketing for North America with SAGEM Avionics, Inc., comes aboard as vice president for business development while Hart joins up as vice president, autopilot systems. Hart, a former Air Force pilot who worked as an experimental test pilot for Bell Helicopter and as test pilot/director with American Eurocopter, will help introduce the Chelton HeliSAS as the first in the company's product line of helicopter autopilots and stability augmentation systems. Meanwhile, Shirey brings over 30 years aviation industry experience in aircraft manufacturing, flight test operations, marketing and executive management to Chelton. Both will work in the Chelton Flight Systems' Dallas/Ft Worth office. More...

Rolls-Royce last week formally recognized its long-standing relationship with Gulfstream Aerospace in a ceremony marking delivery of 3,000 engines to the business jet maker. According to the engine manufacturer, no other civil aerospace customer has received more engines from Rolls-Royce than Gulfstream. Rolls-Royce has powered eight Gulfstream variants with Spey, Tay and BR710 engines for a total of nearly 1500 business jets. Additionally, the very first Gulfstream, a turboprop, used Rolls-Royce Dart engines. 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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Happy holidays and best wishes in the new year. See you in 2007!