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Volume 5, Number 4
February 7, 2007
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The Middle East Business Aviation (MEBA) conference at Airport Expo Dubai held last week was ground zero for optimism regarding business aviation in that region. Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of Economy delivered the expo's second-day keynote address bolstered by reports that the business aviation sector in the United Arab Emirates presently supports more than 1,200 arrivals per month. Those numbers aside, the expo's "on-site declared order book" topped $830 million on its second (and final) day. As it is, nearly $600 million of that was claimed by Airbus through the sale of six aircraft (including two VIP A340 widebodies and two A318 corporate aircraft). One major stumbling block for more growth in the region might be the seemingly slow-paced development of international air service agreements and landing rights. More...

The White House released the Fiscal Year 2008 budget amid fanfare on Monday morning, but general aviation groups aren’t jumping for joy. In the DOT budget breakdown, the FAA allotment includes $175 million for a 21st Century satellite navigation system to replace older air traffic control equipment and $900 million in additional air traffic control system upgrades, but it also includes an expected user-fee proposal. "The [Bush] Administration will transmit a reauthorization proposal in 2007 that transforms the FAA’s excise tax financing system to a cost-based system that recovers most of costs of air traffic services through user fees," the document states. NBAA quickly rapped the Bush Administration for the move. More...

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EASA and FAA certification of Dassault's Falcon 7X eight-passenger, 5,950-nm trijet are expected "soon," with deliveries targeted for the second quarter, a Dassault spokesperson told AVwebBiz Tuesday. Dassault's order book for the $39.2 million aircraft already stands 125 strong and the next available delivery position is now mid-2011. "We believe it's the most successful large-cabin business jet ever...across the board," said the spokesman. Dassault's flight-test program for the aircraft has so far accumulated 1,500 flight test hours over more than 530 flights. As for performance, a December 20 trip was flown with a crew of three and the payload equivalent of eight passengers over 6,100 nm in just under 14 hours. The aircraft landed with 2,100 lbs of fuel remaining and averaged roughly 435 knots over the circuit. More...

On January 30, the FAA said both Embraer and Grob filed to seek Part 23 commuter category certification status for specific jet lines born of their stables. And so, the twist: under FAR 23.3(d), the commuter category is currently limited to, "propeller-driven, multiengine airplanes that have a seating configuration, excluding pilot seats, of 19 or less, and a maximum certificated takeoff weight of 19,000 pounds or less." But the manufacturers' move is not without precedent – Sino Swearingen received Part 23 commuter category approval for its SJ30 twinjet in late 2005. Embraer is seeking commuter certification for its Phenom 300 (due in 2009) twin turbofan, which would serve otherwise as an eight-seat business jet including a refreshment center and lavatory. Grob's Part 23 commuter category petition seeks certification for its six-passenger G180 SPn twinjet still in testing. More...

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Cockpit checklists and procedures, along with radar data collection, will now become key players as the NTSB takes on the investigation of the King Air B200 (N777AJ) headed from Rogers, Ark., for Stanton, Va., last Friday morning. The twin turboprop encountered complications after suffering a shattered (but not blown out) windshield at 27,000 feet and ultimately raining parts down on an aeromedical helicopter flying below. The helicopter was not struck by debris and the King Air landed at Cape Giraradeau, Mo., with serious structural damage, including buckled wing skins and empennage and much of the horizontal stabilizer and elevator missing. Otherwise, it landed safely. The King Air's pilot, Sheldon Stone, said in early reports that the aircraft suffered a shattered left windshield at altitude and he then depressurized the cabin to prevent a blowout. He and his copilot then donned their oxygen masks and turned on the valve, but no oxygen appeared to be forthcoming. The sole-occupant pilots then passed out. Stone, a 4,200 hour ATP-rated pilot, told a local paper that he awoke at 7,000 feet and recovered the aircraft. More...

A 787 VIP luxo-cruiser? If you happen to fall on the right side of the CEO-to-employee pay gap, Boeing has got a deal for you. On January 30, the company announced at the Middle East Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition in Dubai concepts of a VIP version of the in-development Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The luxury version (dubbed the 787-8) will offer 2,404 sq ft of cabin space riding a 9,590-nm range, according to the company. And for those who really want the best, Boeing offers the 787-9, which ups available square footage to 2,762 and boosts the range to 9,950 miles. While potential customers check their bank accounts, they can rest assured that any orders now placed will fall behind five yet undisclosed customers with orders already in line for the bizliner. More...

Fly in Ultra-Comfort with LightSPEED Headsets:
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Cardiff By The Sea, Calif.-based Spectrum Aeronautical continues to build a "company-conforming" model of its all-composite very light jet, the Spectrum Model 33 Independence. Company President Austin Blue told AVweb that it will indeed resume test flights in the fall when the airplane comes on line. The "proof of concept" Spectrum 33 crashed on takeoff last summer due to misrigged controls, killing the two test pilots. However, that aircraft logged some 40 hours before the accident, allowing Spectrum engineers to get "about 90 percent" of the data that they originally planned from the POC airplane, Blue said. "We learned a lot from that airplane, and we're using the data to incorporate changes into the next airplane." The biggest modification besides the aileron control rigging system is the change from a stabilator to a trimmable horizontal stabilizer, which is mechanically simpler, according to Blue. Other improvements focus on the Independence's interior and electrical system. Wind-tunnel testing has also led to minor aerodynamic improvements for the $3.65 million twinjet. Certification is planned for mid-2009. More...

Of the 1,239 aircraft delivered last year, Cessna delivered 307 Citations (that's up more than 50 aircraft year-over-year) and 67 turboprops. Business jet deliveries outside of the U.S. accounted for 48 percent of the company's total orders, helping to boost revenue from $3.5 billion in 2005 to $4.2 billion in 2006, and Cessna remains bullish on the business segment. Looking ahead, the company expects to deliver 375 jets this year, with 40 Mustangs in this herd. 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.

Avidyne and S-TEC announce Alliant system lands in King Air...
Cessna eyes India's economic boom as fertile ground...
HondaJet production work wooed in Greensboro, N.C...
Raytheon says fractional industry conditions are shifting. More...

AVweb's coverage of business aviation news is now even better. Starting with today's issue, AVwebBiz will be published weekly (every Wednesday) to keep you more up to date on the business aviation industry. In addition, the recently revamped AVweb.com will now contain frequent business aviation news updates -- subscribe to our business aviation RSS news feed to have these stories pushed to your RSS news reader. 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.


AVwebBiz is a weekly 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 Contributing Editor Glenn Pew (bio) and Editor In Chief Chad Trautvetter.

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