AVwebBiz Complete Issue: Volume 5, Number 25

July 4, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Phenom 100 Prepping For First Flight

Embraer is currently performing the ground tests for the Phenom 100 very light jet at its Sao Paulo, Brazil, headquarters in preparation for the jet's first flight, which is expected in the "next month or so." According to the company, progress is "steady" as engineering teams test the functionalities and integration of the airplane's systems. "The Phenom 100 test campaign has begun and steadily advances," said Embraer Senior Manager of Phenom Programs Alexandre Figueiredo. "The ground tests prepare the aircraft for its first flight and provide results for the certification process, which is scheduled to be completed in mid-2008." The twinjet's Pratt & Whitney Canada PW617F turbofans have already been powered up, and the focus is now on ground vibration tests that will verify the Phenom's aero-elasticity. During these tests, the aircraft is suspended with elastic cables to simulate actual flight loads, and flight controls will be tested for flexibility. After completion of the vibration tests, engineers will power on the jet's electrical system to put the airplane's Garmin G1000 avionics and other electronics through their paces. From there the test crew will begin low- and high-speed taxi runs to check steering, braking and emergency systems before making the maiden flight. Embraer will be marketing the Phenom 100 and its larger sibling, the Phenom 300, at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., later this month.

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NBAA Gives Thumbs Up To House FAA Bill

The House of Representatives FAA reauthorization legislation (H.R.2881) has been received with open arms by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), thanks to the bill's support for ATC modernization without aviation user fees. NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen praised House leaders for understanding "that the aviation system must be modernized to meet capacity demands [and] that user fees shouldn't be mistaken for a modernization plan." In previous testimony before Congress, Bolen said user fees are costly for governments to administer, requiring a large, expensive bureaucracy. Additionally, NBAA said user fees come with an administrative burden for operators and cited International Air Transport Association reports that IATA members spend between $85 and $125 to process one invoice. The association said user fees can also be increased at any time to make up for declining revenue. "The fuel tax has none of these downfalls," Bolen said. "Users pay the tax at the pump, the government easily collects it, and it is a great reflection of the cost airplanes impose on the system. On top of all that, the fuel tax is environmentally friendly, because it encourages the development of cleaner, quieter engines."

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ATA Points Finger At Business Aviation

The Air Transport Association (ATA), the airline lobby group that is currently pushing for aviation user fees, has taken another shot across general aviation's bow. On Monday, it asked the FAA to "temporarily create additional airspace capacity by imposing proportional level ground delay programs" at Teterboro Airport (N.J.) and other "nearby airports" – in other words, fields that predominantly serve general aviation, a list that includes Westchester County (N.Y.) and Essex (Caldwell) County (N.J.) Airports -- when ground delay programs are implemented at airline-dominated Newark Liberty International, La Guardia and John F. Kennedy International Airports. National Business Aviation Association Senior Vice President of Operations Steve Brown told AVweb that the ATA's move "is an attempt to politicize its own perspective" that GA traffic is the main cause of airline delays. In reality, he said, GA accounts for only 4 percent of operations at the nation's 10-busiest airports, with most airline delays caused by the hub-and-spoke system itself, weather, and crew or ATC staffing. Brown added that the ATA is trying to change the game midstream, since all airspace users agreed to a summer air traffic management plan this spring. Under this agreement, "there is already equity in delays in New York City airspace," according to Brown. NBAA suggests that crews caught by ground-hold delays at New York City-area airports, as well as others throughout the U.S., contact the local tower to see if they can help relieve ground congestion by departing VFR and then picking up their IFR clearance in the air.


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Cirrus Unveils Seven-Place Personal Jet

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Cirrus Design unveiled the mockup of its single-engine V-tail jet, with seating for up to seven people, at a media reception at its Duluth, Minn. headquarters on Thursday. The aerodynamically sculptured design includes a variety of innovations that will definitely make it stand out on any ramp, but its striking looks are a side benefit of some practical design, according to Cirrus CEO Alan Klapmeier. "We didn't do it just to make it look cool," Klapmeier told AVweb. "We wanted people to know that there are sound reasons behind the design." Cirrus designers opted to mount the engine on top of the fuselage for easy access, fire and turbine blade containment and for easy load balancing. The V-tail makes way for the thrust from the Williams FJ33 turbofan, which is expected to push the aircraft to about 300 knots. The engine is also mounted flush with the 20-degree slope of the aircraft's back and the thrust is vectored to point it in the right direction. Big straight wings with large control surfaces will make the aircraft easy to fly, says Klapmeier. The placement of the engine caused a design dilemma. It occupies space normally taken by the whole-airplane parachute that is standard on all Cirrus piston airplanes. In the jet, the chute is in the nose and the straps tear up through the center division of the windshield, which will undoubtedly make pulling that handle even more memorable. The aircraft also sports substantial winglets, which will enhance aileron authority at slow speeds and boost fuel efficiency.

Comfort, Convenience Key To Cirrus Jet's Cabin Design

Although the-jet by Cirrus is comparable in size to many four- and five-place jets, the cabin will actually hold up to seven people in admittedly close, but still relatively comfortable, quarters. In normal configuration, the plane is configured for five passengers, with a unique rear seat that allows the middle passenger to slide back about 12 inches so that all three in the back have plenty of elbow room. If the whole family is headed out, there is room for two more (kids or small adults) behind the three-abreast rear seat. Another unusual feature is full-sized doors on each side that allow walk-aboard access. Klapmeier said he hates having to climb over and between seats to get on an aircraft and the two-door configuration eliminates that. Because of the design, six-footers in the back seat have plenty of room to stretch out with the seats reclined. Although the final design of the cockpit hasn't been determined, there's the typical automotive feel to the front-seat area that is a feature of Cirrus piston products. The mockup seems to emphasize that this is a single-pilot aircraft by clustering the instruments toward the left side and a full glass panel will be standard (vendor not yet named). Sidesticks move the control surfaces and the rudder pedals are big enough for a basketball player's feet.

What We Don't Know About The Cirrus Jet

Cirrus has kept its jet project mostly under wraps for almost five years and there are still a lot of questions. Klapmeier declined to discuss the timeline, the cost or detail the projected performance of the jet, mostly because he said he didn't know. He said they're still hoping to produce the jet for around $1 million, but the other variables will affect the final figure. Naturally, with seven people aboard, the plane won't go as far or as fast when only one person is on board, but that, he says, is the beauty of the design. "It's all about flexibility," he emphasized. If the typical use of Cirrus' piston products is any guide, much of the-jet's time will be spent carrying one or two people, just like most SUVs rarely qualify for the high occupancy lane on the freeway. Although not detailed at the news briefing, the kind of utility that the company is demanding from the aircraft will likely require known icing capability and the ability to land on short fields. Klapmeier told the crowd on Thursday that he wants to be able to land on grass strips, and he didn't appear to be kidding. So far, reaction to the design has been positive, according to position holders AVweb spoke with. Cirrus jet position holder Wyn Lewis said the innovation and thoughtful design made him more anxious than ever to get his airplane.

Cirrus Design's The-Jet Rollout: A First Look

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

Cirrus Design's personal jet was shown for the first time, Thursday June 28, 2007. AVweb's Russ Niles was there.

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Save With Direct Duluth On Tech Stops

Monaco Air Duluth (Minn.) is courting business jet operators by billing itself as a cost-effective international tech stop for Great Circle flights between the U.S. West Coast and Europe. The FBO has set up an online comparative analysis tool that allows users to choose between four European cities and four cites on the West Coast, with the resulting eastbound or westbound routing showing miles, time and cost savings of going "Direct Duluth" rather than making the traditional stop in Bangor, Maine. The Duluth Airport has a Cat. II ILS for easy access, and the FBO is promising 24-minute quick turns. Until Oct. 31 Monaco Air is offering an 80-cent-per-gallon discount for jet-A purchases over 2,000 gallons. In addition, the facility is giving out $100 American Express gift cards to the pilot and copilot during this promotion period. (A coupon, available through the link to the comparative tool above, is required for the fuel discounts and gift cards.) According to Monaco Air President Mike Magni, "A typical 3,000 gallon top-off will save $2,400 [during the promotion]. And, when the operator pays with a Shell Credit Card, they can save 90 cents per gallon, or $2,700 on a 3,000-gallon purchase."

XM WX Satellite Weather Uses a Continuous Satellite Broadcast to Deliver Graphical Weather Data to the Cockpit
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NATA Airs Concern Over SAFOs

The National Air Transportation Association has sent a letter to FAA Flight Standards Service Director James Ballough seeking clarification of the obligation that Safety Alerts for Operators (SAFOs) place on air carriers, a group that includes Part 135 operators. NATA said it supports the use of SAFOs to relay what FAA documents say are "recommended (nonregulatory) actions," but said the agency implies that "failure to adhere to the SAFO recommended actions could result in an FAA determination that operations are not in compliance with their obligations as certificated air carriers." In short, NATA believes the FAA should not imply that air carriers are unsafe because they do not follow SAFO-recommended actions. To ensure consistent and clear understanding by FAA employees, air carriers and the public, NATA requests that the FAA remove the following from any future SAFOs: "SAFO content should be especially valuable to air carriers in meeting their statutory duty to provide service with the highest possible degree of safety in the public interest." Additionally, Operations Specification A007 requires designation of a representative to receive all SAFOs, further reinforcing NATA's concern that these actions are perceived by some within the FAA as mandatory.

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Sandel Attitude Display Gets FAA OK

Sandel Avionics' SA4550 Primary Attitude Display recently received STC approval from the FAA for Part 23 and Part 25 aircraft. The company said the modular, LED-backlit unit (introductory retail price $20,500) is ideal for retrofit installation in corporate jets ranging from Cessna Citations to Gulfstreams, as well as turboprops or other aircraft with 4-ATI and 5-ATI panel displays. When paired with the already-certified Sandel SN4500 Primary Navigation Display, the company says the SA4550 provides operators with a complete, modern primary flight display solution. "This certification confirms that our … displays will let corporate aircraft operators affordably update their old, unreliable ADIs and HSIs," said Sandel CEO Gerry Block. "With our new SA4550 and SN4500 incorporating incredible color and brightness … and an innovative plug-compatible installation architecture, operators can get a superb technology upgrade without having to pay for a full-panel replacement," he noted. The SA4550 is now available for installation by authorized Sandel dealers and installation centers.

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Dallas Airmotive Millville Adds PW500 Capability

Dallas Airmotive has expanded the services of its Regional Turbine Center in Millville, N.J., with the addition of repair, hot section inspection and field service for Pratt & Whitney Canada PW500 engines. The turbofan engine powers the Cessna Citation Bravo, Encore, Encore+, Excel, XLS and XLS+. According to President and CEO Hugh McElroy, the New Jersey facility is the company's third regional center that's able to work on the PW500 series, adding, "We anticipate expanding this service to even more RTC sites." Dallas Airmotive's main facility in Dallas will continue to offer complete service for the engine. PW500 services at the Millville center includes hot section inspection (HSI) and repair, gearbox repairs and modifications, borescope inspection, and spares support.

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Lockheed Martin

A Chopper For A Chopper Crew

Silver State Helicopters of North Las Vegas recently formed a collaboration with Orange County Choppers, the custom bike shop featured in "American Chopper" on TLC. Under the deal, Silver State has customized a 1995 Bell 206-L4 JetRanger (N535SH) for use by the crew of Orange County Choppers, namely Paul Sr., Paulie Jr. and Mikey Teutul. According to Silver State, "They will use the helicopter to maximize production at their chopper shop and to transport the Teutuls and VIP and celebrity guests in an exotic and captivating style." When not being used by the shop owners or customers, the Rolls-Royce 250-powered helicopter will be available to the public for charter. In exchange, the Teutuls are building a custom-themed bike for Silver State Helicopters, which will be featured on an upcoming episode of "American Chopper." This motorcycle will be auctioned off, with all proceeds being donated to the Children's Health Center at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix.

FLITELite™ Reinvents Light ... Once Again
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New Eclipse 500 Avionics On Display At OSH

According to Flight International, Innovative Solutions & Support will unveil the AvioNG avionics and flight management system for the Eclipse 500 at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., later this month. The system was necessitated when Eclipse parted ways with its former avionics vendor Avidyne in February. Eclipse continues to build aircraft with the Avidyne system pending certification of the new setup, and those aircraft will be retrofitted once the new system is ready. Among the innovations expected is an electronic flight bag that automatically selects the right charts and shows the aircraft’s position on them. This is IS&S’s first attempt at OEM installation -- its core business to date has been retrofitting panels in commercial and military aircraft. The avionics maker reports order backlogs on retrofits for Boeing 767 and 757 panels.

DA40 Diamond Star a Fleet Favorite
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On The Fly

The National Air Transportation Association said its first Air Charter Summit exceeded expectations, drawing nearly 300 industry executives and leaders last week. It plans to hold the summit again next June…

Long Beach Air Center is offering a two-week introductory jet-A price of $3.80 per gallon to entice customers to visit its new FBO located off of 25L/J1 at the California airport…

Fractional provider Flight Options said enrollment in its JetPASS Ultimate Travel jet-card program has surged, with May enrollment figures more than doubling year over year...

Registration has begun for the 11th Annual Safety Standdown to be held in Wichita from Oct. 22 to 25, in partnership with Bombardier, NBAA, the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board. Registration is free, but space is limited.

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Meet the AVwebBiz Team

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 Editor in Chief Chad Trautvetter.

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