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Volume 5, Number 5
February 14, 2007
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Earlier this week, general aviation industry movers and shakers met in Washington, D.C., for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) Annual Industry Review and Market Outlook Briefing. And everyone was smiling: 2006, it turns out, saw the all-time high for general aviation aircraft billings: $18.8 billion, a 24.1 percent increase over 2005. All that money was spent on 4,042 units shipped -- err, flown to buyers -- worldwide. That figure, too, is up by 12.9 percent over 2005’s total of 3,580 units, but is nowhere close to the record number of airframes built by U.S. manufacturers in one year. That record -- 17,811, in 1978 -- likely will stand for a very, very long time. Of those totals, piston airplanes experienced an 11.6-percent rise over 2005; from 2,465 to 2,750 in 2006. Turboprop shipments increased by a similar percentage, 11.5 percent, up from 365 units in 2005 to 407 units in 2006. New business jets shipments also climbed in 2006 to a total of 885 airplanes, up 18 percent over last year’s figure of 750 units. GAMA Chairman Dr. John J. Grisik noted, “Worldwide economic growth, a strong export market, and increased use of general aviation for both business and personal use all played a part in this outstanding year for general aviation.” He added, “As our manufacturers continue to fill their order books, GAMA anticipates another robust year for general aviation in 2007 and beyond.” More...

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In a surprise move, General Dynamics late last week announced Joseph T. Lombardo will take over as the new president of its Gulfstream Aerospace division, replacing Bryan Moss. Lombardo, 58, was chief operating officer of the luxury bizjet maker. Moss, 66, will remain active with the company as president emeritus. "Joe Lombardo is a proven manager who has a strong work ethic, and who has earned the respect of his coworkers, customers and suppliers," General Dynamics CEO Nicholas D. Chabraja said in a statement last week. "Joe has been responsible for ensuring that Gulfstream's products meet or exceed expectations in their performance and quality." More...

Last November's crash of a Grob SPn Utility Jet prototype may have involved aerodynamic flutter in the aircraft's horizontal tail. Germany's Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Investigation (BFU) is looking at that scenario as a likely cause of the Nov. 29 crash of the company's second light-jet prototype. Grob chief test pilot Gerard Guillaumaud, 45, a former French air force pilot and a graduate of the National Test Pilot School in Mojave, Calif., died in the crash. He was the airplane's sole occupant. The crash occurred shortly after takeoff, as Guillaumaud reportedly brought the jet around for a high-speed pass as a demonstration to potential customers. Reports indicate the BFU's investigation located parts from the tail as much as 400 meters from the main wreckage. 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.

It had to happen sooner or later: J.D. Power and Associates, the customer satisfaction and consumer ratings firm has branched out into the business aviation market, last week publishing results from its first-ever survey of aircraft owners and operators. The company's inaugural study examined owners' and operators' overall satisfaction with fixed-wing, turbine-powered and pressurized-cabin aircraft produced within the past 20 years and focused on airframes, avionics and powerplants. Overall -- and unsurprisingly -- J.D. Power said its study found that airframe and avionics are "critical in providing business aircraft owners and operators with a positive ownership experience." When considering airframes, the study found overall satisfaction is based on maintenance; flight performance; warranty; flight deck; exterior; interior; and major systems. According to the research company, "Overall satisfaction with the aircraft ownership experience is primarily driven by the airframe, which represents 52 percent of the satisfaction index." More...

Adam Aircraft this week announced appointing Duncan "Dunc" B. Koerbel as its new president while naming industry veteran John Wolf to its board of directors. Koerbel replaces Joe Walker, who will remain at the company in a consulting role. In his new position, Koerbel will report to company Founder, Chairman and CEO Rick Adam through Wolf, who was also named lead director and board liaison. Koerbel comes to Adam Aircraft from Bombardier Aerospace, where he led the Global Express program, and from Lockheed Martin, among others. "This is great news for Adam Aircraft as we continue to make the transition from a development to a production company. Dunc adds extensive aircraft manufacturing experience to our team and will help accelerate our A700 certification and ramp up our manufacturing operation in moving the company forward," noted Rick Adam. More...

Fly in Ultra-Comfort with LightSPEED Headsets:
Discover the most comfortable headsets in the industry. The in-the-ear Mach 1 weighs less than 1 oz., and the full-size Thirty 3G just under 16 oz. 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). For more information and to view a video clip, click here.

Bombardier last week announced the first example of its next-generation Challenger 605 business jet has entered service. The newest version of Bombardier's trademark widebody bizjets was delivered to Russell Aviation Leasing Inc. in late January; the company is leasing back the new jet to Bombardier during 2007 for use as demonstrator. The 605 features several upgrades from its venerable 604 predecessor, including a Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite driving four 10-inch-by-12-inch LCD screens and an Integrated Flight Information System (IFIS) as standard equipment. Also aboard the 605 are a real-time weather data link, electronic charts and a "state-of-the-art" Ethernet-based cabin entertainment and communication system. “The Challenger 605 jet is our fifth aircraft purchase from Bombardier and we look forward to keep strengthening our relationship with the manufacturer,” said Jim Hausch, of Russell Aviation Inc. “The aircraft looks fantastic. The cabin is very spacious and comfortable, and it flies like a dream. We’re convinced this jet is a winner.” More...

Berwyn, Pa.-based aircraft management and aviation services firm JetDirect Aviation this week said it had acquired Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Presidential Aviation, a charter, maintenance and management company. The acquisition expands JetDirect's operating locations in New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle to include Fort Lauderdale. Nigel England, formerly director of operations for Presidential Aviation, will assume responsibility for JetDirect’s Southeast region. “The addition of Presidential increases JetDirect’s combined charter fleet to 81 aircraft, including light jets to long range heavy jets. This diversified fleet ensures our flexibility in meeting all of the travel needs of our clients,” said JetDirect Chairman and CEO Gregory Campbell. 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.

The RTCA will host a two-day symposium on the Next Generation Air Transportation System and how its evolution will be integrated into everyday flight operations next month in Washington, D.C. The symposium -- “Operational Evolution Partnership (OEP): The Bridge to NextGen,” -- is scheduled for March 13 and 14 in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in downtown D.C. The event is designed to bring together officials from the FAA, DOD, private industry, airlines, the European Air Traffic Alliance and other members of the aviation community to examine the restructured Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) and the OEP’s inter-relationship with the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). The symposium will focus on operational concepts, requirements, policies and procedures, not on labor and cost issues. The RTCA, formerly the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics, is a private, not-for-profit corporation functioning as a Federal Advisory Committee for the FAA. More...

Dubai's Middle East Business Aviation trade show, a two-day event convening for the first time late last month, will expand to three days next year, its sponsors said this week. The decision by the Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) comes as the event totaled some $907 million in on-site aircraft sales. Deal struck or sealed at the show included $75 million worth of Cessna Citations, $580 million worth of Airbus aircraft, a deal for 20 Raytheon Hawker 750 jets worth $250 million and $52 million of Learjet 60XRs from Bombardier. Buyers were from countries throughout the Middle East. More...

Join NAA and Help Shape the Next Century of Flight
It's a great time to join the National Aeronautic Association (NAA), the nation's oldest aviation organization. At $39 a year, NAA membership is a terrific value for any aviation enthusiast! Members receive the Smithsonian's Air & Space and NAA's Aero magazines, plus access to aviation records, product discounts, and much more. Call (703) 527-0226 to become an NAA member, or sign up online.

Two items from our January 30 edition of AVwebBiz deserve clarification. First, the news that engine manufacturer Williams International had released additional details of the engine it will use to power the forthcoming PiperJet misstated the powerplant's model designation.: Williams will mount its FJ44-3AP engine to the new Piper. Second, a news item discussing Transportation Security Administration Director Edmund S. "Kip" Hawley's appearance before the U.S. Senate in January may have left readers with the impression his comments about general aviation security came in the prepared text of his testimony. In fact, his comments were made in response to questions from Senators during the hearing. AVweb regrets the errors. More...

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