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Volume 5, Number 18
May 16, 2007
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An amendment striking user fees from the Senate's FAA reauthorization bill (S. 1300, introduced May 3) has yesterday been introduced by Senators Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and John Sununu, R-N.H. Currently, the funding bill seeks to establish a $25 per-flight user fee for turbine operations, according to NBAA. Language in the proposed amendment would remove the call for a per-flight user fee as part of the funding bill, and received praise from NBAA President Ed Bolen. "The amendment introduced today by Senators Nelson and Sununu is great news for businesses and towns across the country," Bolen said, "The general aviation community is deeply grateful." Bolen's organization in particular finds the proposal of equally applied fees regressive, citing that an international flight with 300 people aboard would be charged equally when compared to a single turboprop flight with four aboard serving a small rural community. More...

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SATSair and Linear Air believe that they have proven the air-taxi model using the Cirrus SR22 and Cessna Caravan, respectively. "Air taxis are a big opportunity," Bill Herp, Linear Air's president and CEO, said at the Business Models for VLJs and Light Jets Conference in West Palm Beach, Fla. SATSair President and CEO Steve Hanvey, among other panelists, also shared Herp's gushing enthusiasm during a forum on how to make money with very light jets. Because of "air cab" services like SATSair, "more people can now use aviation" to get to their destination, noted Hanvey. While air taxis do provide an option to connection-laden airline flights or long car drives, the thought of flying in small airplanes simply scares some people. This fear presents a roadblock to the air-taxi industry, though Herp and Hanvey believe this barrier can be overcome by educating customers. "We need to engage a change in thinking," Hanvey pointed out. More...

Before DayJet begins the first very light jet air-taxi service this summer in Florida using Eclipse 500s, company President and CEO Ed Iacobucci wants to clear up some myths about the air-taxi industry. "The biggest misconception is that the air-taxi model is about the airplane," he said Tuesday at a VLJ conference in West Palm Beach, Fla. "The VLJ is evolutionary, not revolutionary. It's the VLJ price point and air-taxi business models that are revolutionary." Iacobucci believes the Eclipse 500 is the best airplane available for the air-taxi mission, which he said requires an airplane with the lowest operating costs and not the lowest per-seat costs. Further, he maintains that DayJet has a solid model for on-demand, per-seat air service. According to Iacobucci, "air taxis are a new market game" since they give travelers a heretofore unavailable option where point-to-point airline service is limited or nonexistent, prompting them to drive long hours to get to their destination. 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.

Midcoast Aviation, a private jet completion and refurbishing company, is responding to a growing business jet market (and an accompanying recent-year revenue surge of roughly 20 percent per year) through a $17.5 million expansion and the hiring of additional workers. The company's St. Louis Downtown Airport headquarters will see the addition of a new 125,000-square-foot hangar this year capable of providing enough space to handle up to two aircraft the size of a Boeing 757 at any given time. Some 200 new technicians salaried at close to $50,000 per year will be added to a current 1,100-member workforce to manage additional workflow. Midcoast's expansion comes with thanks in part to competitive offers that resulted in $4 million in incentives made available by the state of Illinois, including a mix of sales tax exemptions, a $2.6 million tax credit for job creation spread over 10 years, job training and facility improvement funds. Midcoast was bought by Jet Aviation last year and topped $200 million in revenue for 2006. "Business has been very good, and the skyline for business looks even better," Vice Chairman Gary Driggers last week told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. More...

Gulfstream Aerospace has signed on for two nine-year leases for building space that will accommodate the new Gulfstream Research and Development Center II near the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, adjacent to the company's current R&D center. The new facilities can provide working space for up to 550 employees (in an office building) and 150 employees (in a flexible-use building that may also house test equipment). The buildings offer 108,750 square feet and 80,500 square feet, respectively. Terms of the lease agreement reportedly include options for up to three three-year terms beyond the initial nine-year period. More...

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A leading provider of simulation technology and integrated training services, CAE will on June 7 open a new six-simulator training center in Whippany, N.J. (near Morristown Airport). The CAE SimuFlite North East Training Center will now offer training for the new Dassault Falcon 7X aircraft, Falcon 900EX EASy, Gulfstream IV and Sikorsky S-76. The FAA-approved, full-motion simulators replicate the interior of the aircraft cockpits they represent exactly and "provide the highest-fidelity flight environment," according to CAE. The facility enters the ranks of 24 CAE facilities around the world as the company's fourth aviation training center dedicated to training business aviation professionals. More...

The National Business Aviation Association and the Flight Safety Foundation reacted last week to a decision by Brazilian criminal authorities to assign criminal responsibilities to the pilots of the Legacy business jet prior to the conclusion of the accident investigation. The jet survived airborne contact, in September of 2006, with a Gol Airlines 737 that crashed, killing all aboard. Both the NBAA and FSF expressed concern that a trend toward criminalization in aviation accidents may lead involved parties to withhold key information that could otherwise improve safety. Specifically in this case, the two groups, through their presidents, expressed concern that any criminal proceedings undertaken without the benefit of information gleaned from a proper safety review would not reflect a fair or balanced view of the incident's contributing factors. More...

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.

New Orleans Lakefront Airport, from which NBAA decided to move its 2008 convention, has been lacking an operating control tower (with one 10-day exception surrounding the Sugar Bowl) since Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005. That, despite the FAA's announced commitment to Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., that a mobile control tower would be put in place, according to a release from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), and a May 10 letter from the entire Louisiana Congressional Delegation to restore air traffic control services. Lakefront's instrument landing system remains inoperative as well. As operations increase, they've not yet reached pre-Katrina numbers, but unsafe incidents have also been on the rise, and "will only increase as the airport gets busier," said Darrell Meachum, vice president of the Southwest Region for NATCA. Meachum is just one of several voices leaning in to support the airport. Both AOPA Executive Vice President of Government Affairs Andy Cebula and NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen have added support to the airport. More...

Embraer's first quarter 2007 results include net income of $26.2 million following net sales of $843.4 million, citing difficulties in the supply chain of the company's 170/190 family for a year-over-year drop in deliveries from 27 to 25. Costs for the company increased due in part to longer production lead time and labor costs related to overtime work scheduled to match delivery timetables. Firm orders for Phenom 100 and 300 jets are nearing 400 and the company's overall order backlog reached a record high $15 million at the end of the quarter. Embraer announced that effective July 1, Phenom 100 aircraft will be priced at $2.98 million "based on January 2005 economic conditions," up from $2.85 million. To prepare for an expected production increase throughout the year, the company has hired 2,000 new workers since January. Most are expected to be employed to work a third shift and will be fully deployed in the third quarter. 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.

Dermot Desmond, a billionaire financier, has taken an interest in aviation with his purchase of over 50 percent of Zurich-based ExecuJet Aviation. Desmond will also become chairman of the company. Industry indications that the bizjet sector is on the boom are reflected in two-year waiting lists managed by some organizations for those interested in purchase or lease of popular aircraft types, and perhaps serve a part in Desmond's motivation. Desmond's move brings an infusion of fresh capital and positions ExecuJet to be at the leading edge of consolidation in the bizjet segment for the next three to five years. He received his own cash infusion from the recent sale of London City airport, for which he received EUR 950 million More...

The news blackout from Pogo Jet doesn't portend its demise; instead it was merely intentional. According to Pogo Executive Vice President of Operations Mike Stuart, the company has been laying low while working hard behind the scenes to make its flat-rate (per hour) charter service a reality. "We're waiting to get in when the [very light jet] aircraft matures," he said Tuesday at the Business Models for VLJs and Light Jets Conference in West Palm Beach, Fla. "We need a high-utilization aircraft model and we don't want to have to worry about teething pains." According to Stuart, Pogo is "leaning toward" the Eclipse 500, dashing Adam Aircraft's hopes that the company would buy 75 A700 very light jets. The VLJ charter firm plans on starting its $2,000-per-block-hour service in mid-2008. More...

Avidyne TAS600 — Because Two Antennas Are Better than One!
Whether you're flying in a busy terminal area, navigating a long cross-country, or hovering over a city, seeing and avoiding traffic requires having the right information in real time. Avidyne's TAS600 Traffic Advisory Systems, with dual-antenna technology, provide significantly improved signal coverage and target tracking, enabling faster updates and enhanced performance over single-antenna systems, for maximum safety. Avidyne's TAS600 Series makes active-surveillance traffic alerting affordable. Visit Avidyne online.

Cessna has announced a new three-tiered ProTech program for its Citation Mustang that would allow customers to pay a monthly fee to cover labor for all regular maintenance. The cost of the program will be based on an annual average amount with any additional labor costs absorbed by the program, not the customer. The three "operational tiers" of the ProTech program are designed around projected use of the aircraft and work in conjunction with the company's ProParts program under the Citation ProAdvantage program. According to Cessna, "maintenance can be conducted at any of the 10 Cessna-owned Citation Service Centers or participating authorized facilities around the world." More...

Attention, Operators, Avionics Shops, and FBOs
Stay within budgets with Bennett Avionics. Bennett Avionics provides quality avionics to meet the needs of business and commercial aircraft operators and those who service their equipment. Before you buy anywhere else, check out Bennett Avionics at (860) 653-7295 or online. You'll be glad you did!

Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something that 130,000 pilots might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via email to newstips@avweb.com. What have you heard? More...

Not Keeping Up with FAA Rules & Regulations Can Cost You
In today's flight environment, busting a rule and/or regulation can cost you not only a fine but your ticket. Protect it by being informed. Read Aviation Safety every month for interesting and information-packed articles to sharpen your air readiness. Order your Aviation Safety subscription online for savings from the regular rate.


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).

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