AVwebBiz Complete Issue: Volume 5, Number 15

April 25, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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User-Fee Battle Heats Up; Congress Keeps Options Open

Despite increasing rhetoric on both sides of the issue, there's still no clear winner in the ongoing battle engaging the FAA and the airline industry against general and business aviation to impose user fees. Meanwhile in Congress, indecision reigns, with the House unlikely to develop legislation to fully implement the FAA's legislative proposal but an even murkier picture forming in the Senate. The FAA/airlines recently fired a salvo via an Associated Press story whining that airline ticket taxes are being used to develop airports used by business and general aviation. The non-scheduled industry shot back last week, announcing a new, national coalition of communities, small businesses and other organizations depending on general and business aviation and "dedicated to protecting small and rural communities" and their access to the national air transportation system. The new organization -- the Alliance for Aviation Across America (AAAA) -- last week boasted more than 2,200 members and stressed its support of "properly modernizing America’s air traffic control system to enhance safety, promote efficiency and expand capacity in order to ensure ALL Americans have access to air transportation."

Complementing that effort, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) this week unveiled its new Online Advocacy Center, which the organization bills as "a new Internet resource that provides information about, and resources for opposing, the big airlines' user fee funding proposal." "When people in the general aviation community hear about the user fees and a tripling of taxes included in the airlines' FAA scheme, their first question is 'What can be done to oppose it?'" NBAA President Ed Bolen said. "NBAA's new Online Advocacy Center will literally put information and ways to take action against the FAA bill at people's fingertips." Resources available at NBAA's Online Advocacy Center include:

  • A link to Contact Congress, NBAA's user-friendly, Web-based advocacy tool for sending e-mail messages to members of Congress to oppose the FAA funding plan.
  • A sample e-mail message to invite others to use Contact Congress to oppose the FAA's plan.
  • A tool providing Washington, D.C., office contact information for Members of Congress.
  • Sample articles for company or organization newsletters, to help raise awareness of the FAA's user fee proposal, and urge opposition to it.

"I urge everyone in general aviation to visit NBAA's Online Advocacy Center to learn more and take action against user fees, in support of keeping our air transportation system the world's largest, safest and most efficient," Bolen concluded.

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Cessna Celebrates Two Fleet Milestones

Cessna last week announced that two of its airplane fleets had reached significant time-in-service milestones: The Cessna Citation business jet fleet has surpassed the 20-million flight hour milestone and the Cessna Caravan has accumulated more than 10 million flight hours. The announcement was made at the annual Sun 'n Fun Fly-In, at which the company had a major presence. According to Cessna, more Citations have been sold than any other business jet. Through system upgrades and new model introductions, Citations have consistently set the standard of utility, comfort and performance. Today, Cessna produces eight Citation models -- from the world’s first fully certified very light jet, the Citation Mustang, to the world’s fastest business jet, the .92 Mach Citation X. Since entering service 35 years ago, nearly 5,000 Citations have been delivered to customers around the world. Meanwhile, 1,650 Caravans have been delivered in its more than 20-plus year production history. As a testament to the airplane’s durability and reliability, the biggest Caravan customer -- FedEx -- has demonstrated a sustainable dispatch rate of over 99 percent. Cessna designed the Caravan for use as an outback utility aircraft in the early 1980s. Equipped with a 600-hp Pratt & Whitney PT6A-114, it was the first turbine-engine-powered, single-engine aircraft put into production by a major aircraft manufacturer. The first Caravan was delivered in 1985.

Cessna said it will deliver its 5,000th Citation later this year. Recently, the company celebrated a number of delivery milestones including delivery of the 1,000th CitationJet series aircraft in January, delivery of the 500th Citation XLS in June 2006, and delivery of the 100th Citation Sovereign and 100th CJ3 in November 2006. The first Citation flew in 1969, gained type certification in late 1971, and entered service in 1972. The single-engine turboprop Caravan is used in operations such as passenger and freight transport, aerial mapping and medical evacuation. Its cabin can be configured for up to 12 passengers and an aftermarket kit is available to configure it for amphibious operations. The Caravan is available in two basic versions and can be configured at the factory for passenger or cargo operations.

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.

NTSB Investigating Aircraft Performance In CRJ Overrun Accident

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) yesterday said it will be forming an Aircraft Performance Group as part of its ongoing investigation into the April 12 accident involving a Bombardier CRJ-200 regional jet at Traverse City, Mich. According to the NTSB, the aircraft rolled off the end of Runway 28 at about 12:43 a.m. EDT, while landing at the Cherry Capital Airport (TVC) in Traverse City. The CRJ -- similar to Bombardier Challenger business jets -- was operated by Pinnacle Airlines as Flight 4712, overran the departure end of 6,501-foot-long Runway 28 and an additional 200 feet of pavement before coming to rest, substantially damaged. There were no injuries among the 49 passengers -- including three lap-held infants -- and three crewmembers. During the accident sequence, the airplane exited the paved surface onto a grassy snow-covered field, the nose gear separated from the fuselage, and the airplane came to rest about 100 feet beyond the pavement. The passengers and crew exited the airplane via the main cabin door.

Earlier, the flight had been cleared for the ILS Runway 28 approach. Snow removal operations were in progress and the flight crew communicated directly with airport operations regarding runway conditions. The control tower at TVC was closed. Reported weather included visibility at one-half mile in snow, an indefinite ceiling and vertical visibility of 200 feet. The NTSB also reports that information from the CRJ's flight data and cockpit voice recorders appears of good quality. The flight's captain -- who was the flying pilot -- was a company check airman with total time of about 5,600 hours and 4,390 flight hours in the CRJ-200. The first officer was hired by Pinnacle in January 2007 and had 2,500 total flight hours, with 15 hours in the CRJ-200. The NTSB did not say when additional details or a finding of the accident's probable cause would be made public.

Fly in Ultra-Comfort with LightSPEED Headsets:
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Cessna Delivers First Retail Citation Mustang VLJ

Cessna on Monday delivered its first "retail" and third production Citation Mustang business jet to Dave and Dawn Goode of GOODE Ski Technologies. Earlier, the company delivered two other copies of the Mustang, which are being used by Cessna as marketing demonstration aircraft. A former U.S. Ski Team member, Dave Goode founded GOODE Ski Technologies in 1975. After 15 years of manufacturing and marketing ski accessories, Goode developed and produced the snow ski industry's first carbon fiber ski. Goode also patented the first carbon fiber water ski. Today, GOODE is the world leader in carbon composite ski poles, snow skis and water skis. “We are proud to be the owners of the first retail Mustang and excited about putting it into service,” Goode said.

Goode currently operates a Cessna 310 piston twin. He completed his single-pilot Citation Mustang type rating on March 1, becoming the first customer to be rated in the aircraft. Full FAA type certification for the Citation Mustang was awarded Sept. 8, 2006. Cessna said it plans to deliver 40 Citation Mustangs in 2007, with production ramping up to about 150 aircraft per year by the end of 2009. The six-place Citation Mustang has a top speed of 340 KTAS (nearly 400 miles per hour), a range of 1,150 nautical miles (1,323 statute miles/2,130 km – NBAA IFR reserves) and a service ceiling of 41,000 feet (12,500 m) – well suited for getting above most weather and commercial traffic for more efficient operations.

XM WX Satellite Weather Uses a Continuous Satellite Broadcast to Deliver Graphical Weather Data to the Cockpit
Pilots view and interact with the data — including radar, winds, METARs, lightning, and more — on compatible MFDs, EFBs, and PDAs from a wide range of industry partners, as well as on laptop PCs. The situational awareness afforded by XM WX Satellite Weather allows pilots to enjoy their journeys with more confidence and comfort than ever before. For more information, please visit XMWXweather.com.

Pilatus Celebrates 700th PC-12 Delivery

Pilatus Aircraft last week celebrated delivery of its 700th PC-12 single-engine turboprop in a celebration marked at the V. Kelner Pilatus Center in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The 700th example went to David Fountain, a private investor, who accepted the keys to his aircraft from Robert Arnone, president and CEO, and Steve Davey, vice president of V. Kelner Pilatus Center. It's the second PC-12 for Fountain, who plans to fly his new PC-12 himself out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. According to Pilatus, the PC-12 has been the top-selling turbine-powered business aircraft for the past four years in a row; the company celebrated delivering the 600th PC-12 just over one year ago. To build on its success, the company is hard at work on the Next Generation PC-12, which it plans to introduce later this year. Based in Broomfield, Colo., Pilatus Business Aircraft Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Pilatus Aircraft Ltd, was founded in 1996 to provide completions, marketing, sales, and service for Pilatus aircraft in North and South America.

Thomas Hunziker, president and CEO of Pilatus Business Aircraft Ltd., said “The greatest advocates of the PC-12 are often those who know the aircraft best -- its current owners and pilots. Each year, many existing PC-12 owners become repeat customers because of the PC-12’s proven performance. And also, no doubt, because it is a lot of fun to fly!” New owner Fountain agreed, saying, “The Pilatus PC-12 is an exceptional personal aircraft. I have had a great deal of pleasure flying my first one throughout North America and I look forward to many exciting trips in my second PC-12.” Having just accepted delivery of his second PC-12, he has already committed to purchasing a third PC-12 for delivery in 2010.

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.

Gulfstream Recognizes Small-Business Suppliers

Gulfstream Aerospace yesterday recognized four small businesses for their outstanding performance as suppliers to the company during the 2006 calendar year. The ceremony was held at Gulfstream's Ninth Annual Corporation Supplier Conference, held recently in Savannah, and which helps the company manage the $252 million in goods and services it purchased from U.S. small businesses. “In 2006, our small businesses improved delivery performance and maintained competitive pricing with their innovativeness and quick response to our challenging production demands,” said Jim McQueeney, vice president, material, Gulfstream. Gulfstream purchases a variety of products from small businesses, including machined parts, maintenance repair overhaul items, adhesives/sealants, electronic components and raw materials. In addition, Gulfstream receives numerous services from small businesses, including cabinetry assembly, plastic fabrication, construction, engineering, nondestructive testing, employment, plating, coating, equipment leasing and printing.

In selecting new suppliers, Gulfstream provides opportunities to small, women-owned, disadvantaged, veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran, and historically underutilized business zone businesses. For these and other suppliers, Gulfstream provides assistance through technical support, quality assurance, engineering, networking contacts/referrals, and by purchasing equipment and raw materials. Recognized at its recent supplier conference were:

  • 2006 Minority Small Business of the Year: Goodwill Industries of the Coastal Empire, of Savannah, is a non-profit agency that provides people with disabilities the opportunity to lead productive and independent lives. Goodwill creates and assembles more than 200 different insulation blankets for Gulfstream.
  • 2006 Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year: Sey Tec, of Hurst, Texas, is a fastener and hardware distributor for the aviation and military industries. Sey Tec provides Gulfstream with a variety of fixtures and hardware.
  • 2006 Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year: Click Bond Inc., of Carson City, Nev., provides innovative structural assembly solutions for aerospace, transportation, naval and industrial markets. Click Bond provides Gulfstream with a variety of adhesive-bonded fasteners used in the initial and final phases of aircraft production.
  • 2006 Small Business of the Year: Custom Metal Works, of Rincon, Ga., provides Gulfstream with non-structural interior sheet metal detail parts and sub-assemblies used in the final phase of production.

Attention, Operators, Avionics Shops, and FBOs
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Universal Avionics Announces EASA Certification For Synthetic Vision

Universal Avionics yesterday said it obtained European certification for its Vision-1 Synthetic Vision System (SVS) last month under EASA standard ETSOA IM.21O.671. The Vision-1™ image is a real-time computer-generated rendering of the terrain ahead of the aircraft oriented to the aircraft’s vertical and lateral position when displayed on the company's EFI-890R, MFD-640 or EFI-550 flat-panel LCD displays. Universal’s Vision-1 terrain imagery utilizes topographical coloring similar to that used on aviation sectional charts. Hills and mountains appear in shades of green and brown while oceans and other large bodies of water are colored blue. Special shading on the digitized terrain and the grid overlay that conform to the landscape on the synthetic world provide a sense of movement in flight. The Vision-1 is also capable of displaying a wingman’s view, allowing a crew to view the flight profile based on the FMS flight plan.

“The European ETSO certification for our Vision-1 Synthetic Vision System is great news for Universal and our European customers who can now benefit from the tremendous advantages Synthetic Vision brings in increased situational awareness and safety,” says Marketing V.P. Paul DeHerrera. The Vision-1 Synthetic Vision System joins Universal Avionics' other products, including the UNS-1 WAAS Flight Management Systems; the EFI-890R Flat Panel Display; a line of Flat Panel Integrated Cockpit Displays; TAWS Terrain Awareness and Warning System; the ASU chart, E-Docs, checklist display system; Cockpit Voice Recorder; Radio Control Unit; and a host of other avionics equipment.

Eclipse 500 Makes First Landing in Europe

Eclipse Aviation last week said one of its Eclipse 500 very light jets (VLJs) successfully ventured outside of North America for the first time. The aircraft left the company's headquarters in Albuquerque, N. M., on April 14, 2007; flew the North Atlantic route through Canada, Greenland, Iceland, and the United Kingdom; and landed in Friedrichshafen, Germany, for the AERO 2007 show. Additionally, the aircraft will tour Europe over the next few weeks, with scheduled stops in Cannes, France, for EUR-AVIA on April 27, and then to Geneva, Switzerland, on May 22, for the European Business Aviation Conference and Exposition (EBACE). “Europe is such a great market for the Eclipse 500 because of its superior performance and efficiency to anything else offered today,” said Andrew Broom, director of public relations at Eclipse Aviation. “The Eclipse 500 offers a quicker and more convenient way to travel. We already have more than 100 orders throughout this market, and we believe that once people in Europe and the UK see it and fly it, we can change the way they travel.”

According to Eclipse, the European market may be an even better one for the popular-but-untested VLJ, since its range -- 1,125 nm -- and low noise footprint -- it exceeds ICAO’s most stringent Stage 4 noise standard by more than 40 decibels (dB) -- make it uniquely suited to the region. The company adds that additional testing by Pratt & Whitney Canada shows that the Eclipse 500’s PW610F engines are setting a "green engine" benchmark by registering a smoke number (SN) of less than five, while the regulatory limit for engine smoke emissions is a SN of 50. Eclipse expects to achieve full EASA type certification of the Eclipse 500 by the end of 2007.

AVweb's Sun 'n Fun Podcast #6: Embraer's Ernest Edwards

File Size 11.8 MB / Running Time 12:58

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

AVweb Editor-in-Chief Chad Trautvetter sat down with Embraer North America Vice President of Sales and Marketing Ernest Edwards at the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Florida to get more background on the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer and its growing line of business jets.

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.

EADS Socata Upgrades TBM 850 With Garmin MFD

Fresh from a 20,000-nm trip to Australia, including a week at the Australian International Airshow, the newest model of EADS Socata's TBM 850 single-engine turboprop was on display last week at Aero 2007, in Friedrichshafen, Germany. The latest iteration of the company's flagship business turboprop is dubbed the TBM 850 VFT (Very Fast Turboprop) and includes a latest-generation Garmin GMX 200 multi-function display (MFD) as standard equipment. The GMX 200 integrates a moving map, radar, traffic and terrain into a single display. At long-range cruise settings, the 850 VFT will deliver 252 KTAS; pump up the power, though, and you're in VLJ territory, cruising at 320 KTAS, according to company specifications.

"The TBM 850 interest from our prospective buyers indicates clearly that our strategy is right and not only in the USA, our main market. Last year we had delivered five aircraft to European customers out of a total of 42 aircraft. This year we have already nine orders from European customers. This will be another record year for the TBM program,” said Stéphane Mayer, chairman and CEO of EADS Socata. "The range, useful load and speed of the TBM 850 plus its environmental-friendliness and lower cost of operation will continue to make it a preferred option for many buyers.”

Flightplan, Express Jets Form Partnership

Flightplan, the Farnborough-based aircraft sales and charter company, last week said it had entered a partnership with Express Jets of San Antonio, Texas. According to the company, the move will provide Flightplan with access to the resources and used-aircraft inventory of the North American market while Express Jets' recent move into Europe will now give them representation across four continents. Flightplan is an aircraft sales and charter company based at the Farnborough Airport near London. Express Jets is an aircraft sales, acquisition and management company with corporate offices in Texas and subsidiary offices in China, Mexico and England.

"With the U.S. dollar at a record $2.05 against the British pound, interest from purchasers in the U.K. is reaching new levels," according to David Lacy, Managing Director of Flightplan. "Our partnership with Express Jets provides us with a reliable and credible source of high quality stock." Lacy, who has been in the industry for 26 years, said the time has never been better to buy an aircraft from the U.S. The exchange rate, coupled with record growth in private air travel in the U.K., has sparked an unprecedented upsurge in sales inquiries. According to the company, a "savvy" British-based purchaser can effectively buy the same aircraft as a U.S.-based resident but at a 50% discount, when considering currencies.

You Pay More for the Unbiased Truth — To Ultimately Save More
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Avantair Promotes, Gears Up For Growth

Avantair Inc., which says it is the only publicly traded standalone fractional operator in the U.S., yesterday said its has promoted Darren Blackett to the position of vice president of sales and marketing while appointing Mark Whitman as sales director of a newly formed territory in the North and Midwest. Blackett, who joined the company in 2004 and previously held the position of senior director of sales, will now be responsible for leading and managing the sales organization and the company's marketing efforts. He previously held the position of Business development manager for the western region at the Barnes Group Inc. He holds a BA in Marketing and an MBA. Whitman, a former Naval Aviator in the U.S. Marine Corps, brings 25 years of business aviation sales and marketing experience to Avantair. With a strong background in business aviation sales, Mr. Whitman has served in various roles with major industry leaders.

Steven Santo, chief executive officer, stated, "Both Mr. Blackett and Mr. Whitman bring much value to Avantair. We are confident that as we expand our sales force, we will deliver the Avantair brand and service to additional satisfied owners." "I am excited about this new opportunity and look forward to working with our very talented sales organization to continue to meet our sales and marketing goals. Avantair offers a great fractional aircraft program and leads the industry with the lowest fuel surcharge. Both the Avantair program and its aircraft, the P.180, have many competitive advantages in the marketplace," Mr. Blackett said. Headquartered in Clearwater, Fla., Avantair Inc. holds an exclusive in North American fractional aircraft shares in the Piaggio Avanti P.180 aircraft. The company currently manages a 32-plane fleet. Avantair says it has another 52 Piaggio Avanti IIs on order and recently announced an order for 20 Embraer Phenom 100s.


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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