AVwebBiz - Volume 5, Number 37b

September 26, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Quotes reprinted with permission. Aviation Consumer, August 2007.

» Visit Bose Corporation in booth 8443 at NBAA!
Epic Announcement Coming Wednesday back to top 

Epic the Next Big Thing?

Epic Aircraft has called an unscheduled news conference for Wednesday at the National Business Aviation Association convention in which it is expected to announce a major funding infusion from an Indian businessman -- but Airbus is also sharing the podium, and that might lend some credence to rumors that its parent company EADS was considering a shot at the very light jet market. (We heard the factory will be on the Isle of Wight, but we've also been told we're wrong.) Whatever is being announced on Wednesday, it's being described as a "strategic alliance" between Epic, India-based Kingfisher Airlines and Airbus.

In early September, an Indian newspaper reported that Vijay Mallya, the billionaire owner of Kingfisher Airlines, was poised to put $200 million of his own money into Epic. Airbus's involvement isn't clear, and an EADS spokesman recently told AVweb that the company was not developing a VLJ. Maybe he missed the memo.

We'll know soon enough.

Trade-A-Plane, Aviation's Original Search Engine, Is Celebrating 70 Years
Back in 1937, Trade-A-Plane was the original (and only) place to look for parts to repair an airplane. It's still the best, with everything that keeps you flying — thousands of planes, products, and services. Call (800) 337-5263 or subscribe online.

In print or online, start your search with the world's largest aviation resource.

» Visit Trade-A-Plane in booth 2925 at NBAA!
Rejuvenating the Jet Builders back to top 

Embraer Eyes Expansion

Brazilian airframer Embraer once again made the trek to NBAA from Sao Paulo this year, bringing with it updates on its forthcoming Phenom 100 and 300 bizjets at the low end along with plans to plug the gap between them and the company's top-of-the-line Lineage 1000 and Legacy 600. During a pre-show press conference Monday and an unveiling Tuesday at its booth on the convention floor, Embraer reminded attendees its Phenom 100 very light jet is already flying, having amassed 55 flight hours in 39 flights as of this week, all of which the company says are geared toward achieving certification and first deliveries by mid-2008. Eventually, the Phenom 100 flight-test effort will include four jets and about 1,800 flight hours. A second, fully instrumented Phenom 100 will soon join its older sibling "to confirm flight qualities, stall procedures, high-speed characteristics, and general performance," according to the company. Meanwhile, the Phenom 300's assembly process has begun at Embraer's plant at Botucatu, Brazil, where its rear fuselage is being built. But the company reserved most of its focus -- along with most of its booth space -- to present concepts of two possible future products: its MSJ, or mid-size jet, along with its MLJ, or "midlight" jet.

"As the years go by, we will have more and more real aircraft at this show," Embraer President and CEO Frederico Fleury Curado told attendees Tuesday just prior to literally lifting the wraps from two fuselage mockups in his company's exhibit booth. Unveiled were mockups presenting the new cockpit for the Embraer Lineage 1000, a luxury bizjet based on the company's EMB-190 airliner, and a full-size cabin of the concept MSJ. The new cockpit, including a Honeywell Primus Epic avionics suite is comprised of five LCD multifunction screens, a cursor control device, autothrottle and weather radar with turbulence detection. The cockpit will link to other airplane components -- such as optional Wi-Fi and electronic flight bag and two standard-equipment GE CF34-10E7 engines of 18,500 pounds of thrust each -- through fly-by-wire and other high-tech. Meanwhile, the MSJ full-scale mockup is designed by Embraer as a conversation starter: Curado on Tuesday told attendees Embraer was very interested in potential customers' concerns about the proposed jets, including their strengths and weaknesses. On the strength side, Embraer said its MSJ will be designed to carry eight passengers 2,800 nm at Mach 0.80 and do it all with NBAA IFR reserves. The smaller MLJ will be able to carry four passengers 2,300 nm at long-range cruise settings with NBAA IFR reserves. Both jets will incorporate state-of-the-art avionics, a paperless flight deck and displays with advanced graphics capabilities. If Embraer sticks to its early plans for a full line of business jets, the real aircraft it brings to future NBAA shows could be hot commodities.

Adam's New Management Vows to Make Its Targets

In a press conference Monday at Atlanta's Georgia World Congress Center in preparation for this year's National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Annual Meeting and Convention, Adam Aircraft's new management team vowed "we'll make our numbers" as its members touted to-be-certified Adam A700 very light jet as the price/performance leader in the VLJ market. Company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John D. Wolf echoed a theme heard in Adam's tent this summer at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh: His task his to transition Adam from a "world-class" development company to a same-level production concern. The company even has a new slogan recognizing the new situation in which it finds itself: "Make Production Fly." Meanwhile, Adam President Duncan (Dunc) B. Koerbel stressed he and his team were "on track for certification and delivery of the A700 by the end of 2008," even as he declined to be pinned down on exactly when next year all that would occur. Their optimism and confidence in the company's future was buttressed by the signing of a 10-year training agreement with Ross Perot-backed SAFERjett, a Colorado-headquartered aviation training and education company planning to base its Adam training facilities at the Fort Worth (Texas) Alliance Airport beginning in late 2008.

Adam officials also updated attendees at this year's NBAA extravaganza on its progress toward full certification of the company's A500 push-me-pull-you pressurized piston twin as well as the jet-powered A700. Stressing the A500's price and performance when compared to other piston twins -- it is the only pressurized piston twin in production -- Adam noted the A500 now is FAA certificated to FL250 and its enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS) is also approved. The airplane can legally be flown into inadvertent icing, with known icing approval expected in 2008. But Adam's real deal is the A700, and it's evident the company is putting a larger share of its resources -- it's raised some $300 million thus far in its history, not counting what now-sidelined company founder Rick Adam pumped in -- toward making its VLJ a strong competitor in that market. So far, the A700's numbers -- including price, performance, number of seats, cabin volume and aft-mounted potty -- are good ones, placing it solidly and attractively in the VLJ pack. The company's challenge, though, is the same one faced by all startups -- especially those startups trying to gain more than a toehold in the VLJ market: Deliver a fully certificated jet meeting investor and customer expectations. The jury's still out on whether it can be done and by whom, but Adam's startup efforts are definitely in contention.

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.

» Visit Pilot Insurance Center (PIC) in booth 1018 at NBAA!
Information & Entertainment in the Cockpit back to top 

New Cabin Systems from Rockwell Collins: Venue

Click for a Larger Image
As business aircraft interiors grow ever more plush and connected -- broadband internet, telephone, fax and high-def video -- customers are demanding the same kind of operating ease they expect from home and office information systems. That's the driver behind Rockwell Collins' latest cabin information and entertainment product called Venue. The company's Airshow product, a first-gen system, is widely in use in hundreds of aircraft and Rockwell Collins' Tommy Dodson told journalists at NBAA in Atlanta this week that the company has made a major commitment to offer more sophisticated cabin systems. It also announced a range of software-based improvements for Airshow, including a new world clock feature, a detailed road atlas map for ground planning and a nifty flight instrument page reminiscent of Garmin's GPSmap 396/496, but based on the aircraft GPS and airdata system, not GPS alone. One upgrade includes a seat-side control panel with rocker switches, soft keys and a color GUI-based display for entertainment selection.

Airshow will remain in the product line while Venue will be a follow-on product offering high definition video from Blu-ray, X-box capability and other features all based on operating logic similar to home entertainment systems. Venue, says Dodson, will be scalable for aircraft of all sizes and has been promised for Cessna's CitationJet 4 in 2009.

Fly Single-Pilot IFR with Confidence!
2004 CFI of the Year Doug Stewart shares over two hours of tips, tactics and strategies for IFR pilots in a new Pilot Workshops CD-ROM-based program. Doug's hands-on approach and entertaining style make this an enjoyable, memorable way to learn and refresh these vital IFR skills. Click here for more details.
Old Standbys Available in New Flavors back to top 

Avidyne Retrofit for Cessna 210

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Although sales of piston singles have been brisk for the last three years, older aircraft still dominate the fleet, leaving many owners lusting for state-of-the-art EFIS systems that just haven’t been available for retrofit. But this week, Avidyne is addressing that in announcing that the Envison system—basically a second-generation Entegra EFIS suite—will be available for retrofit in the Cessna 210 series. Avidyne is developing the STC for the Centurion line jointly with Crownair Aviation, a San Diego-based mod and maintenance shop at Montgomery Field.

The Envision system was announced last year, initially for retrofit in the King Air 200 and 90-Series turboprops, with subsequent approvals for the Cessna 300 and 400 Series piston twins and early Cirrus SR20 and SR22 singles that don’t have Entegra glass. An Envision retrofit won’t be cheap, with retail prices staring at $29,995 for the EXP5000 PFD and $13,995 for the EX5000 MFD. However, even with installation, these numbers are competitive with Garmin’s emerging G600 aftermarket retrofit and with the typical big ticket avionics upgrade that many owners seem willing to buy. Availability is expected for early 2008.

PiperJet Program One Year Old, to Use Garmin Avionics

It was only a year ago, at NBAA 2006, that Piper announced its entrant into the personal jet market, a growth version of its venerable Malibu/Meridian platform powered by a single Williams FJ44-3AP turbofan. This year, Piper updated attendees on the PiperJet's certification flight testing program and -- to no one's great surprise -- announced it had selected Garmin as the new jet's avionics supplier. James K. Bass, Piper Aircraft president and CEO, told showgoers his company intends to fly the first PiperJet -- a proof-of-concept platform -- during the second quarter of calendar 2008, followed by three more airframes to play specific roles in a program leading to certification and delivery in 2010, per Piper's schedule. Of those three additional airframes, the first will be used for aerodynamics flight testing, the second for systems engineering tests and the third will be a conforming article expected to receive FAA certification.

Meanwhile, and basking in the glow of having almost three years to play with until final FAA certification, Garmin Tuesday verified the configuration it intends for the PiperJet: A three-LCD-panel integrated avionics suite including a WAAS GPS, three-axis autopilot system based on the GFC 700 and Jeppesen ChartView. The company would not say how it intends to designate the new product, however, noting that a lot can change between now and when the PiperJet is FAA certificated. Too, the full list of PiperJet avionics features wasn't complete, according to Carl Wolf, Garmin's senior director, aviation marketing and sales, who hinted but would not confirm the same basic avionics package new for the PiperJet might find its way into other airframes along the way. "We want to be confident [PiperJet] customers will be happy with their avionics," Wolf told NBAA attendees. The PiperJet is slated to have a maximum cruise speed of 360 knots and a maximum operating altitude of FL350. It'll carry six, feature a 1,300-nm range and a full-fuel payload of 800 lbs.

AFSS Is Up to Speed. And Gaining Altitude.
The new automated flight services system is here. Revolutionizing flight service operations. Reducing legacy sites. Bringing 15 upgraded sites and three hubs online. Retaining 1,200 specialists. Marrying local needs with national information sources. The result: ever-improving levels of performance. And a future of efficient, effective service that give general aviation pilots more flexibility than they've ever thought possible. To see for yourself, visit AFSS.com.
AVweb Audio News — Are You Listening? back to top 

AVweb's NBAA 2007 Podcast #1: Special Extended Interview with DayJet's Ed Iacobucci on the Future of Air Taxis

File Size 19 MB / Running Time 20:46

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Ed Iacobucci, president and CEO of DayJet, told AVweb in this extended podcast that the initial maintenance availability and reliability of the company's first 12 Eclipse 500 twin jets has been better than he expected and that operating economics have thus far panned out to within 5% of expectations as DayJet flies its first revenue passengers. So far, so good — but Iacobucci says DayJet's marriage to Eclipse isn't necessarily monogamous; he's talking to other jet makers, too. Bottom line: It's too soon to tell what the long-term potential of either the VLJ market or the air taxi segment will be.

Click here to listen. (19 MB, 20:46)
Note the size of this special extended podcast. Downloads may take longer than usual.

AVweb's NBAA 2007 Podcast #2: Just What Could Cessna Do with Columbia, If They Manage to Acquire the Company? Cessna's Roger Whyte Has Some Ideas

File Size 7.7 MB / Running Time 8:25

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

NBAA may be all about jets and turboprops, but the big buzz so far has been Cessna's pending purchase of Columbia Aircraft, a development that caught everyone by surprise. But is this acquisition really a good fit? Cessna's VP for Sales, Roger Whyte, says it is.

Click here to listen. (7.7 MB, 8:25)

The Columbias Are Coming
Can't find time to visit the Columbia Aircraft factory in Bend, Oregon? Then Columbia Aircraft will bring it to you with the 2007 Fly Columbia Tour. The mobile, interactive Columbia experience is making 28 stops at airports around the country through the summer and fall. Come see for yourself what makes the Columbia 350 and 400 the best of the best. Click here for the 2007 Fly Columbia Tour schedule.
Original Video Coverage from NBAA back to top 

NBAA 2007 Exclusive Video: Cessna's $11 Billion Backlog

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

During a press conference at the NBAA Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, Cessna Aircraft revealed just how full the company's plate has become. In addition to making an offer on the financially-challenged Columbia Aircraft and rolling out the highly-anticipated SkyCatcher, the manufacturer has an $11 billion backlog of aircraft to build and deliver.

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Be Part of the AVweb Team back to top 


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Names Behind the News back to top 

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.

The AVwebBiz team is:

Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Features Editor
Kevin Lane-Cummings

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