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GE Honda says it's aiming for 2009 certification of its redesigned HF120 turbofan engine. The powerplant, a variation of the HF118 prototype now flying in the HondaJet prototype, delivers more thrust
(2,095 pounds) and incorporates technology to improve efficiency, durability and noise. According to GE Honda, the engine is currently undergoing hot-section core tests and a full test will be run
later this year. Certification testing is expected in 2008. The company, a cooperative arrangement between the two industry giants, is predicting the engine will burn substantially less fuel than
engines of comparable size, but that's only part of the economic picture. GE Honda says the use of advanced materials and manufacturing techniques will push the TBO of the engines to 5,000 hours
without the normal half-time hot-section inspection.
GE Honda says it has about 200 orders for engines. In addition to the HondaJet, the engine has also been chosen to power Spectrum's Freedom business twinjet. The company is banking heavily on the
success of the air-taxi sector, saying it is projecting annual sales of at least 400 aircraft in the thrust class of the HF120.
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On Monday morning at EAA AirVenture, Eclipse Aviation President and CEO Vern Raburn stunned the press corps when he taxied up to the company's exhibit in the V-tail, single-engine Eclipse Concept Jet
(ECJ) prototype just minutes after the airplane project itself was announced by COO Peg Bilson. The four-set very light jet single, which shares about 60-percent commonality with its larger Eclipse
500 sibling, was built in complete secrecy at the NASA Wallops Island facility in Virginia by contractors Swift Engineering and Basis. It features a V-tail and pod-mounted Pratt & Whitney Canada
PW610F, along with the Avio NG integrated avionics suite. According to the company, the all-aluminum ECJ prototype has logged about 30 hours since its first flight on July 2, and the airplane has
reached speeds of 250 knots and altitudes up to 25,000 feet. Ultimately, the small jet is expected to attain 345 knots and FL410 during testing; NBAA IFR range is predicted to be 1,250 nm. Preliminary
weights include a 4,800-pound mtow, 2,480-pound empty weight, 2,000-pound useful load and 1,261-pound fuel capacity. Eclipse stresses, however, that the airplane is only a concept model and is not a
"The Eclipse Jet will allow us to obtain real, quantifiable data that looks at this developing category," notes Raburn. "While today we have no production plans for the ECJ, we are constantly
evaluating markets for future Eclipse products we are anxious to reveal the potential of this emerging category, and out opportunity to add real value to it." Raburn says that his company will
make a go/no-go decision for the ECJ's official launch in the next 12 months, and he notes that the VLJ does not yet have a model number. While Eclipse did not issue any pricing for the ECJ (nor is it
taking any deposits at this time), Raburn estimates that it would probably cost about $1 million.
Eclipse CEO Vern Raburn talks with AVweb's Mary Grady about the new Eclipse single-engine "concept jet," which made its surprise debut on Monday at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. He talks about
his opinions regarding composite versus aluminum; the advantages of a "go-home button" versus a parachute; his take on the safety of flying at 41,000 or 25,000 feet; and more.
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According to NBAA member and Manitoba Recycling CEO Richard Shine, the user fee plans advocated by airlines and the FAA would be devastating to small and medium-sized companies nationwide. In
testimony last Thursday before the Senate aviation subcommittee on energy, natural resources and infrastructure, he said, "I represent a small business that operates a turboprop airplane to help my
company survive, and my story is not unique. The general aviation community supports modernization of our aviation system, and is willing to help pay for it. But we want to pay at the pump -
not through user fees or new taxes. The fuel tax is a simple, proven and efficient way to measure and pay for system use for operators like me." Shine said an airplane, in his case a turbine-powered
Mitsubishi MU-2, "has been the secret to our success. You don't often hear about companies like mine in discussions of business aviation."
He then relayed to the subcommittee his personal experience with NavCanada's user-fee system: "Several weeks after a flight, NavCanada's bureaucracy sends me an invoice. If I've made multiple
flights I get multiple invoices. I need to fill out a purchase order, cut a check, and put the check and the invoice back in the mail to NavCanada. Obviously, this imposes a significant, and hidden,
administrative cost to my business." Manitoba then asked the subcommittee members, "Why anyone would want to put this kind of burden on businesses like mine, when we already have a better and more
efficient system in place?"
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Aviation Research Group/U.S. (ARG/US) now offers aviation safety training in addition to its existing aviation safety services. The initial offering includes safety manager training, on-scene accident
investigation and aviation auditing courses conducted at the company's offices in Denver. "ARG/US has extensive experience with Safety Management Systems (SMS), with corporate and business aviation as
well as with air carriers," said ARG/US President Joe Moeggenberg. "We often receive requests from clients for aviation safety training [and] these new safety training courses was a perfect
solution to satisfy customer needs."
The three-day ARG/US safety manager training is a formal short course on how to effectively run and manage a high-quality SMS. ARG/US said its on-scene investigation course is a three-day program
focuses on the basics of accident investigation and what an operators representative must know to be allowed to participate with NTSB personnel. It also includes blood borne pathogen training
certification. The aviation auditing course teaches techniques and skills that allow students to conduct an internal evaluation program for their own flight department or other operations.
The safety manager training course is scheduled for August 14 to 16 and the on-scene investigation course will be held September 11 to 13, but space is limited to 20 of students for each course.
ARG/US plans to provide the trio of training courses quarterly and is offering introductory pricing for the first round of classes.
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» Visit LightSPEED Aviation in booths 2010, 2019, & 2023 at AirVenture
Embraer on Monday broke ground for its second executive jet service center in the U.S. at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Conn. The event comes just three weeks after a groundbreaking
ceremony at Williams Gateway Airport in Mesa, Ariz., for a similar facility. The 45,000-square-foot Windsor Locks center is scheduled for completion in mid-2008 and will be dedicated to after-sales
service for Embraers Phenom 100, Phenom 300 and Legacy 600 executive jets. "Today's ground breaking marks another chapter in Embraer's commitment to provide first-class service and product
support to our increasing customer base," said Embraer President and CEO Frederico Fleury Curado. Ground-breaking on a third purpose-built, factory owned-and-operated service center in Fort
Lauderdale, Fla., will take place next month.
Embraer said each service center facility will be capable of providing full-service aircraft care, including routine inspection, scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, and airframe, powerplant,
avionics, and other systems repairs, 24/7 assistance, Aircraft On Ground (AOG) rescue team and an inventory of expendable and repairable parts.
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Cleveland, Ohio-based fractional aircraft provider Flight Options late last week announced that it is now offering whole aircraft management services in addition to Fractional First share-aircraft
ownership and JetPASS jet-card membership. "Flight Options is proud to introduce yet another product to the aviation marketplace by offering increased access to services we have been providing for 10
years as a fractional operator, said company CEO S. Michael Scheeringa. "Our unparalleled experience in managing and maintaining one of the worlds largest private jet fleets makes Flight
Options the perfect match for owners looking for an aircraft management partner." Flight Options said it is offering a variety of unique aircraft management program options that can be specialized to
fit the aircraft owners needs, while offering guaranteed revenue based upon owner flexibility, location and aircraft type. Aircraft entered in the management program will be operated and
maintained by Flight Options.
"Due to our large customer base and unique ability to accurately forecast flight demand, we are able to guarantee a significant amount of charter revenue for our aircraft management partners,"
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Honeywell's Bendix/King division on Sunday unveiled two new glass-panel avionics -- the KSN 770 MFD/GPS
WAAS/navcom unit and KFD 840 primary flight display -- in an attempt to leapfrog competitors. The KSN 770 borrows its easy-to-use graphical interface, which is called INAV GA, from Honeywell's
higher-end integrated avionics systems for business aircraft. Not lacking any features, the 5.7-inch-diagonal LCD unit will be localizer performance with vertical guidance (LPV) and WAAS capable and
will display a range of safety systems, including onboard weather radar, terrain awareness and warning system, datalink weather, traffic, charts and maps. It features multiple control inputs, such as
traditional hard keys, line-select keys, display-based dedicated keys and a cursor control device. Bendix/King plans to certify the KSN 770 in late 2008; pricing has not been set, but "will be
competitively priced" with similar WAAS receivers. "We believe the KSN 770 is revolutionary in that it pushes the boundary of performance for retrofit avionics," said Dan Barks, business director of
GA operators and dealers. "This unit is a significant step forward in performance and ease of use over existing multifunctional WAAS displays. Pilots will see that this unit has some of the same look
and feel as other Honeywell avionics on larger aircraft."
To keep the price of the KFD 840 under $20,000, Bendix/King is working with Crossbow Technology to develop a
PFD for piston aircraft that interfaces with existing navigation systems and autopilots and offers pilots checklists and weight and balance calculations. According to Bendix/King, the KFD 840 will
have a built in solid-state air data Computer and attitude heading reference system, altitude and airspeed bugs and a slaved horizontal situation indicator. The 8.4-inch LCD box will interface with
common general aviation navigation systems, in addition to existing KAP-140 and KFC-150/200/225 autopilots. "We see significant interest in the retrofit market for 'glass cockpit' technology that
makes flying easier and safer such as solid state sensors and a wide horizon. For many aircraft this will allow a pilot to add a second attitude, airspeed and altitude source, improving safety," Barks
said. The KFD 840 will be available for delivery in the second half of 2008.
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» Visit FLITELite & AvComm in booth 223 at AirVenture
Davis Flight Support at Yolo County (Calif.) Airport has become the most recent Avfuel-branded dealer. The FBO is a new full-service aviation provider serving the regions of Sacramento, Davis,
Woodland, and Vacaville in Northern California. As an Avfuel-branded dealer, Davis honors the Avfuel Contract Fuel program for transient aircraft to save money on jet-A, in addition to the AVTRIP
incentive program for pilots. Amenities at Davis include multiple snooze rooms, showers and luxury crew cars such as Jaguars and Range Rovers.
"Avfuel is at the top of our list as a key supplier. The quality, consistency and ease of doing business with Avfuel make it an easy choice and a company we highly recommend," Davis Flight Vice
President Gary Pelfrey noted.
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Jeppesen spokesman Todd Krawczyk told media at EAA AirVenture that the FAA has formally recognized electronic charts for use in Part 91 operations and cleared up all the ambiguity that has been his
industry's biggest marketing impediment. The FAA issued Advisory Circular 91-78 on
Monday that gives specific guidance to Part 91 operators on the use of electronic charts. "This just completely clears things up," Krawczyk told AVweb. In a nutshell, electronic charts in Class
1 and Class 2 electronic flightbags can be legally used in all phases of flight in lieu of paper documentation. The AC suggests (but doesn't require) back up, but it says that back up can be another
source of electronic charts and doesn't have to be paper, although it's pretty easy to print out the electronic charts.
Krawczyk said previous FAA language on electronic charts dealt with commercial operators, and his company and pilots were left to extrapolate those rules for use in Part 91 operations. "It resulted
in a lot of confusion and uncertainty," he said."It's one of those things that's been holding the industry back."
Attention, Operators, Avionics Shops, and FBOs
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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 and Contributing Editor Russ Niles.
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