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Volume 5, Number 2
January 17, 2007
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Sources this week tell AVweb the FAA is preparing to overturn a much-ridiculed June 6, 2006, letter from the agency's eastern region that reinterpreted what constitutes "known icing conditions" by reverting back to guidance initially published in 2003. The letter, by FAA Eastern Region Counsel Loretta E. Alkalay, was written in response to an operator's request for a definition of what constitutes "known icing conditions" and stated, "known icing conditions exist when visible moisture or high relative humidity combines with temperatures near or below freezing." She added, "flying through clouds at an altitude that is near or below freezing would constitute flight into known icing conditions." Since the letter was written last summer and became widely disseminated later in the year, numerous aviation organizations expressed opposition to its conclusion. For example, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), in a letter written by Luis Gutierrez, the association's director of regulatory and certification policy, told the FAA its interpretation "would unnecessarily ground many safe general aviation flights and may negatively affect safety because many pilots would not be able to train nor maintain flying proficiency during the winter season." Now, according to AOPA spokesperson Chris Dancy, the association "understands the FAA is preparing to overturn" the June letter in a fashion "consistent with current guidance," although he could not highlight how the FAA's policy reversal might be accomplished. Instead, AVweb has learned the FAA likely will revert to a 2003 definition of "known icing." More...

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Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. last week said it agreed to acquire Polish airframer PZL Mielec, that nation's largest fixed-wing aircraft manufacturer, with approximately 1,500 employees. Sikorsky, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., will acquire the entire company directly from the Polish government and said it will form the foundation of its European operations. The company is wholly owned by the Industrial Development Agency (known by the Polish acronym ARP), which is a government holding company under the Ministry of Treasury. "Sikorsky has taken a major step toward becoming a leading member of the European aerospace community," said Jeffrey Pino, Sikorsky's president. "This acquisition brings together two pioneering aerospace companies. Together, we will build on each others' strengths to create a world class aircraft manufacturer and service provider drawing upon Poland's great aerospace heritage and expertise." More...

The Best Choice for the Small Business Owner
In addition to Pilot Insurance Center (PIC)'s exclusive life insurance rates for pilots, they also offer excellent insurance & pension solutions to small business owners. American National's 401(k) Retirement Plan Solution offers low administration fees and expense charges, a large variety of investment options, and total ongoing service for the life of the plan direct from American National, not a third-party administrator. Pilot Insurance Center (PIC) specializes in providing pilots and their families with insurance products. Call (800) 380-8376, or visit online.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Jan. 2 added the Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) as the newest gateway airport, allowing pre-cleared general aviation operations to fly directly into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), which otherwise remains closed to non-scheduled civilian flight operations. Adding IAD is the latest development in the DCA access program, first put into place in July 2005 with a handful of airports throughout the U.S. "This provides operators much greater flexibility when traveling to the nation's capital while underlining TSA's commitment to maintain the highest levels of security while allowing for the free flow of commerce," said John Sammon, TSA's assistant administrator of transportation sector network management. The addition means those wishing to fly from IAD to DCA -- a whopping 20.3 nm -- may do so. But there are a few details. More...

Fly in Ultra-Comfort with LightSPEED Headsets:
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Boeing Business Jets and Rockwell Collins last week introduced an Enhanced Vision System (EVS) for Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) operators. The Rockwell Collins EVS projects a synthetic image of the airplane's external environment on a heads-up display (HUD) and panel-mounted screens to enhance pilot situational awareness of terrain and the airport environment in low-visibility situations. When displayed on a HUD, the EVS will allow crews to descend below standard approach and landing minimums if the visual references to the intended runway are visible using the EVS. The new system will be available to BBJ customers through Boeing and Rockwell Collins service bulletins; certification for the system is expected by early 2008. "The EVS upgrade will increase safety and operational capability of the aircraft by enhancing situational awareness at night or in poor weather conditions," said John Desmond, vice president, Rockwell Collins HGS. "We look forward to working closely with Boeing to deliver this offering to their BBJ customers." More...

Raisbeck Engineering last week said it received a full FAA supplemental type certificate (STC) for its ZR LITE Performance Improvement System on the Learjet Model 31 series airplanes. The drag-reduction system essentially employs contoured flaps to improve the type's aerodynamics, allowing block fuel savings of from 7% to 12%, higher cruising altitudes and increased Mach cruise speeds. Main elements of the Raisbeck ZR LITE include new wing trailing edge flaps segments and additional flap chord. The company says its new modification is similar to its ZR LITE performance package for the Lear 35/36 series, which has been in service since October 2004. More...

Columbia Introduces 2007 Models
The 2007 Columbias have arrived. Fresh for this year are new, dynamic paint schemes for both the Columbia 350 and 400, as well as a host of thoughtful and unique features for the discerning aircraft owner. See how your new Columbia will look with the interactive online Paint Selector. Just go online and click on the "Paint Your Passion" icon.

Dassault Falcon this month said it recently delivered its 100th Falcon 2000EX from its Little Rock Completion Center. The new aircraft was delivered to United Technologies Corporation (UTC) as a replacement for an older aircraft and is the second Falcon 2000EX EASy in UTC's fleet. The basic 3,800-nm aircraft was certified in 2003, and was renamed the Falcon 2000EX EASy in June 2004 when the award-winning EASy flight deck was certified on the aircraft. The worldwide fleet recently passed 70,000 flight hours and 40,000 landings. More...

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Aviation research and management consulting firm Conklin & de Decker announced it released two new products designed to make the financial impact of owning and operating a business aircraft less dramatic. One of the products is the company's 2007 State Tax Guide for General Aviation, an annually updated publication covering state taxes and fees imposed on general aviation in the U.S. The other product -- Life Cycle Cost 6.21 -- is a Microsoft® Excel ® based software application the company says provides a comprehensive and user-friendly aircraft cost analysis tool. A one-year subscription to 2007 State Tax Guide for General Aviation costs $275, and includes downloadable updates throughout the year; a single-state version is also available at $75 for the first state, with a 20% discount for each additional state. The Life Cycle Cost software runs $695 for the jets database, $545 for the turboprop or helicopter database and $450 for the piston database. More...

DA40 Diamond Star a Fleet Favorite
Airline Transport Professionals, Beijing PanAm, Empire Aviation, Middle Tennessee State University, Utah Valley State College, and Utah State University have all selected the G1000-equipped DA40 Diamond Star. For value, efficiency, and safety, the Diamond Aircraft DA40 is the fleet favorite. For more information, click here.

Lufthansa Technik last week said its Lufthansa Technical Training (LTT) subsidiary and the Hainan Airlines Group (HNA) have entered into a joint venture to set up a training center for the qualification of maintenance mechanics and engineers. The new endeavor joint venture will be based at the Meilan Airport on the southern China island of Hainan and operate under the name Lufthansa Technical Training China (LTTC). The LTTC is slated to begin operations during the first calendar quarter of 2007. Hainan Airlines Group is China’s largest privately owned airline group and operates a growing fleet of over 120 aircraft; the new LTTC is clearly designed to ensure the carrier has a sufficient number of well-trained maintenance technicians, supporting that growth. More...

Landmark Aviation last week announced it received a supplemental type certificate (STC) from the FAA approving its installation of the Rockwell Collins dual ADC-87A air data computers on Dassault Falcon 50 aircraft. The new upgrade replaces existing air-data computer equipment aboard Falcon 50s, which are not compliant with RVSM (Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum) airspace standards unless modified per a factory service bulletin. “While operators benefit from reduced maintenance costs, the ADC-87A also provides an upgrade path for operators requiring enhanced surveillance to operate in European airspace. The ADC-87A is compatible with modern display systems like the Collins’ ProLine 21 Integrated Display System,” said Dennis Mick, Landmark Aviation engineering manager. More...

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NetJets Inc. Chairman and CEO Richard Santulli late last week announced the appointment of James (Jim) Christiansen as president of NetJets Aviation. NetJets Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway company, is widely acknowledged as the worldwide leader in fractional aircraft ownership, allowing individuals and companies to buy a share of a private business jet at a fraction of the cost of whole aircraft ownership. “A devoted member of the NetJets family, Jim was with our company in the early years and truly understands our commitment to customer service and safety," Santulli said in a prepared statement. "With Jim’s depth of experience, there is no one who knows our business better. I am confident that with Jim in this leadership role, NetJets will continue to grow as an industry leader.” More...

Gulfstream Aerospace said last week one of its G550 bizjets established three new city-pair records before 2006 ended, bringing to 10 the total number of records established by Gulfstream-operated G550s last year. The three new records were established by the same crew flying the same airplane more than 13,000 nm in eight days; Gulfstream senior international captain Ray Wellington and Gulfstream experimental test pilot Scott Martin were in the front office for all three flights. Additionally, flight attendant Linda Barr was aboard at least two of the flights, one of which included 12 passengers. Gulfstream said it has submitted applications to the National Aeronautic Association -- which is the U.S. organization providing observers for many record attempts and compiling the data necessary to certify records -- to confirm each of these new city-pair records. More...

Small Business Owners! AVweb's Marketplace Is the Place for You
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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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