Biz Av At AirVenture
Light Jets Make an Appearance …
While EAA AirVenture is often described as the premier aviation event in the world, the majority of aircraft on display are from the single and light-twin GA category and, therefore, onsite breaking news usually follows that trend. This year, however, the buzz came from several light jet manufacturers. While other aircraft fled from Mother Nature’s fury, Adam Aircraft’s brand-new (15 hours TT) A700 jet landed at EAA AirVenture on July 31, only four days after making its initial flight.The appearance so surprised Oshkosh crowds that Adam put a sign on the nose asserting that, yes, the airplane really did fly to the show from Denver. “People keep asking if it’s a real airplane,” said Adam spokesman John Hamilton. He said the trip from Denver (at 25,000 feet, 220 knots and wheels down) was uneventful and bolstered earlier data that the plane is stable and predictable in the jet configuration. The surprise appearance by the A700 — the only flying example of the vaunted mini-jet craze at Oshkosh — gave the aviation media some welcome news, which has been in something of a holding pattern in this sector in recent months.Eclipse’s major announcement was that it has secured $87 million in financing — including $10 million from the state of New Mexico — that topped up the company’s $325 million development fund. “We have all the cash we need to get the airplane certified,” CEO Vern Raburn told reporters at a news conference. “The finish line is now in sight.” For Eclipse position holders, however, the finish line is a couple of years away, when the first deliveries of the almost-$1 million jet are scheduled. Eclipse had planned to fly its aerodynamic testing prototype to Oshkosh but a test-flight gear failure on rollout cancelled the trip. Raburn said a faulty actuator casting on a part no longer used in the aircraft caused the failure.
… While Diamond’s Engine Choice Looms …
At Oshkosh, Diamond had nothing new to report on its D-Jet but that might change in the next month or so. A spokesman said an engine will be selected for its “well under $1 million” five-place jet “within 30 days.” Since it’s widely acknowledged that there are only two realistic choices, the announcement, when it comes, might be a little anticlimactic. The field has been narrowed to the Williams FJ-33 (chosen by Adam and Javelin) and the Pratt and Whitney Canada PW-600 series (Cessna Mustang and Eclipse). Diamond joins Cessna and Javelin in a group that hasn’t built any prototypes yet, although first flight for the D-Jet is expected in 2004.Cessna spokeswoman Marilyn Richwine told AVweb the Mustang program remains on schedule and a prototype should be ready in six months or so. “We’re still working on the design,” she said. Also, the Pratt and Whitney engines won’t be ready for testing until next year. First delivery of the $2.9 million Mustang jet is still slated for sometime in 2006. The Aviation Technology Group (ATG) could have a composite prototype (production models will be aluminum) of its Javelin next year. The two-place “executive” version of the fighter-like aircraft will cost $2.5 million, but it’s apparent from their marketing that AGT is pinning most of its hopes on military training, homeland security and light interceptor applications. But company officials insist that the fully aerobatic, Mach .95 aircraft will be as easy to fly as a Citation. More news on ATG and the Javelin can be found a few paragraphs down.
… And Pilatus, Socata Show Off Before The Crowd
Aside from the considerable number of bizjets on display, some of the turboprop manufacturers made it a point to show off as well. Pilatus assembled its customary large display area near AirVenture’s main gate. Of course, the PC-12 was the company’s main exhibit this year and onlookers crowded around the large single-engine turboprop to squeeze a peek inside its roomy cabin. Pilatus also participated in a rather unusual aerial display, where Jimmy Leeward, famed Reno racer and owner of Leeward Air Ranch in Florida, flew his P-51 in loose formation with his son, a PC-12 demo pilot. The younger Leeward flew the turboprop virtually every day of the show.Socata also performed some flying displays with its TBM 700. The smaller turboprop flew during the exhibitor flyby portion of the air show and took advantage of this opportunity to show the crowd the extent of its operating envelope. During AirVenture, Socata officials also celebrated the arrival of a cousin in its aeronautical family: Airbus’ Beluga Super Transporter. The eye-catching cargo jet served as a perfect backdrop and staging area for Socata’s TBM 700 and Trinidad.
USA Today Questions Business Aviation
The Cost Of Flying …
While some people may wonder if CEOs and chairmen of the board really need to fly in luxurious corporate jets, USA Today decided to research this subject in a different vein. In its August 5 edition, the newspaper published an article highlighting the highest use of corporate aircraft defined by company and operating costs incurred on an annual basis. Among companies that allow executives to use corporate aircraft, 140 CEOs were cited as using $50,000 or more worth of company-paid flight time in 2002, an increase of more than 50 percent from 2001. Working our way up the corporate pyramid, the paper reported 40 of these executives flew $100,000 or more, a 33 percent increase from 2001. While business aviation is an important resource for many companies during these trying and unreliable times via the airlines, USA Today seemed to concentrate its focus on the so-called “abuse” of this valuable mode of transportation. “Jet access is also a way to reward executives with a perk whose true cost flies below the radar of most shareholders and corporate watchdogs,” the newspaper said.
… Singling Out The Abusers? …
USA Today went on to list a half dozen companies and CEOs it described as the most excessive users of business aviation. While AVweb chose not to list these companies, those interested in reading more about them can access the article here. The paper also went on to list the other “perks” these executives gained in addition to their travel benefits. Unfortunately, the article did not expand on the many benefits business aviation brings to these companies and the economics often considered in its use.
… NBAA Responds
As expected, some in the business aviation community did not appreciate the overall tone of the article. In a letter to Carol Stevens, USA Today’s editorial page editor, NBAA President Shelley A. Longmuir described her disappointment with the editorial. “Gary Strauss’ August 5 article on corporate aviation ignores the economic drivers and benefits of this important transportation sector — a highly competitive, market-based system directly fueled by consumer choice. Business aviation is arguably more important as part of the nation’s transportation mix and consumer choice in the post 9/11 environment than ever before because of the increased need for security and the efficiency,” she wrote.Longmuir added, “The article also ignored the demonstrated and over-arching benefits of business aviation, all born of a marketplace need for increased corporate efficiency. In this heightened environment of corporate transparency and shareholder accountability, business aviation continues to grow.”
ATG’s Marketing Push
Selects Avidyne’s FlightMax Entegra For The Javelin …
As promised, here’s the full scoop on the Javelin jet’s developments. On July 28, Aviation Technology Group (ATG) announced that Avidyne will supply the FlightMax Entegra Integrated Flight Deck and the Flight Control System for their Javelin aircraft. The FlightMax Entegra consists of two 10.4-inch diagonal displays including a Primary Flight Display (PFD) and a datalink-enabled Multi-Function Display (MFD) in each of the fore and aft cockpits. The Entegra system also includes an integrated Flight Management System, VHF communication and navigation, Mode S transponder, and dual redundant approach-certified GPS receivers. Rounding out the avionics suite is an on-board color weather radar, Traffic Collision Awareness System (TCAS) I, and an Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) sensors.Completion of the first Javelin prototypes and civilian FAA certification is expected to take about three years, putting first customer deliveries of the Javelin sometime in 2007.
… Finalizes North America Distributors …
With letters of intent from three major potential distributors, ATG announced it is well on its way to converting from direct sales to a national distributor network.The letters represent 151 Javelin executive jets valued at over $377 million to be assembled over the next seven years. George Bye — Founder, President and CEO — expects two additional letters of intent within the next term, which will represent an additional 116 jets to be manufactured in the same seven-year period.Bye said ATG will make additional public announcements as the letters of intent become contracts for each distributorship region. As soon as the first distributorship contract is signed, the Javelin price will transition from the current $2.20 million to $2.50 million, marking the end of direct sales within that region, he said.ATG plans on having a total of six distributors in the United States, and one each in Canada and Mexico.
… And Plans A Flight Simulator This Fall …
ATG plans to show off its flight simulator to all customers at both the NBAA and AOPA conventions this fall. Until now, the simulator, created by Merlin Simulation, has been used exclusively by engineers as a tool for design and development of the Javelin. ATG officials feel opening the system to potential purchasers will be an excellent way to “reveal the unique flying experience the Javelin has to offer.” The simulator is being upgraded from its current flat-screen display to a dome visual system and is being fitted with full cockpit instrumentation, so as to represent the actual Javelin cockpit at both major industry events.
Ibis Aerospace Reaches Major Milestones In Ae270 Program
Distributors And Vendors Gather At Ae270 Factory …
While the lack of news from Ibis Aerospace has been intriguing, the company recently made a series of announcements to bring us up to speed on the latest Ae270 Propjet program developments. On June 23, Ibis gathered the largest assembly to date of vendors, distributors and key personnel. Meetings were held with Ae270 designers and engineers to review technical details of the aircraft and distributors were given demonstration flights in the conforming prototype, serial number five, and a production line tour. An air display, performed by Aero Vodochody’s flight test group, was highlighted by a variety of maneuvers above the viewing platform and along the runway.
… As Flight Testing Begins …
First flight of the conforming prototype Ae270 took place in February of this year. To date, more than 54 flights, logging 54 hours, have been completed on this aircraft. Collectively, three prototype aircraft have logged over 636 hours on more than 611 validation flights. On its second trip to Cordoba, Spain, Ae270 serial number three completed a total of 29 validation flights. A total of 34 flight hours were logged. The aircraft and crew returned March 27, 2003. These tests involved verification of normal and accelerated stalls at various engine settings, as well as spin characteristics.The Ae270’s first visit to Crdoba took place on November 6, 2002, returning on December 11, 2002. The Ae270 performed 65 flights, logging over 90 hours. Locations of the radar pod were tested, as were stall and center-of-gravity characteristics. All flight tests were performed by Aero Vodochody’s flight test personnel.Static testing has been validated on prototype serial number two. The fatigue test article has completed two life cycles, or 40,000 hours. Testing is well into its third life cycle (over 46,000 hours) and will proceed through four life cycles.
… With Production On The Move …
Parts fabrication is underway for production and spares. Ae270 serial numbers six and seven are having their aircraft systems installed. Serial numbers eight and nine are have moved from assembly and have their empennage installed. Serial numbers 10 and 11 are presently in assembly jigs. Final assembly takes place at the Aero Vodochody factory located in the Czech Republic.Hundreds of detailed parts for the wing assemblies are being precision machined in Taiwan. These include long wing spars machined from solid aluminum billets. AIDC of Taiwan, R.O.C., is responsible for producing complete wing assemblies for the Ae270. The company will also fabricate the cockpit windshield frame, made from two solid pieces and joined in the middle.
… While Product Support Readies For Certification, First Deliveries
Ibis Aerospace is planning for certification of the Ae270 by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Czech Republic by the end of 2003. FAA certification will follow in the first quarter of 2004. Meanwhile, Ibis Aerospace says it is currently fulfilling application requirements for aircraft certification in Canada, South Africa, Australia, and Europe. Initial aircraft deliveries will occur in the second quarter of 2004.
Hypocrisy At Work At TEB
Fights BBJs, While Singles Pay More To Land …
How big is too big? For the people who run Teterboro Airport in New Jersey — by some standards the busiest GA airport in the country — the limit is 100,000 pounds, regardless of what the FAA says. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says it will fight FAA pressure to allow larger aircraft into the airport, which now caters to bizjets, charters and well-to-do pistons. At the same time, landing fees for the smaller aircraft may be disproportionately going through the roof. The Port Authority has maintained the 100,000-pound ban for 30 years; the landing fees may not be a ban, but may also serve a similar function.Teterboro Airport Manager’s Bulletin #03-01, dated July 15, 2003, proposes — according to one FAA volunteer Aviation Safety Advisor who contacted AVweb — new landing fees that would increase by 146% the charge for an aircraft under 2500 pounds. At the same time, aircraft between 7501 and 12,500 pounds would September 1 see an increase of only 20 percent. The weight limit prevents some private aircraft, including the Boeing Business Jet (a 737 weighing 170,000 pounds) from using the airport. The landing fees make it much less palatable for transient light singles. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-Fair Lawn) told Newsday the FAA wants the BBJ to have access to Teterboro but the Port Authority board is having none of it. The board unanimously passed a resolution asking staff to keep the FAA from having its way. Piston single drivers are still in search of sympathy.
… As NBAA Joins The Debate …
On August 8th, the NBAA filed comments in support of a proposed FAA policy on weight-based airport access restrictions. “It is vital that the FAA require airports to use legitimate weight-based restrictions only as a legitimate means of protecting airfield pavement, not to mitigate noise concerns by side-stepping the Part 150/161 airport noise process,” said Shelley A. Longmuir, NBAA president. While the proposed policy recognizes that in rare instances some restrictions might be necessary as a last resort, it also recognizes that the problem must be based on present load-bearing capacity. In comments filed today supporting the FAA’s proposed policy, Longmuir pointed out that present load-bearing capacity must include recognition of the equivalent single-wheel load standard long used by the FAA. The NBAA also pointed out that if access to an airport must be limited because of demonstrated, weight-bearing considerations, any process for allocating access must be transparent and non-discriminatory.
… While Officials Welcome Second Customs Facility
While the debate over landing fees continues, there seems to be a recent consensus on the benefits of a new onsite customs facility. The Teterboro Users Group — with assistance from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and NBAA — was instrumental in obtaining a second U.S. Customs facility at Teterboro Airport (TEB) in New Jersey. The first facility is located at Atlantic Aviation and the second will be at Jet Aviation. The chief inspector approved the second facility based on the approximately 5,000 international flights per year at TEB. The opening of this facility is interesting to note, as many aircraft may not choose to land at Teterboro if fees continue to skyrocket.
Another Light Jet Joins The Race
Avocet Aircraft Announces ProJet …
Avocet Aircraft LLC and Israel Aircraft Industries LTD (IAI) have signed an agreement to jointly investigate the development and marketing of the Avocet Professional Jet, a next-generation jet designed specifically for the requirements of the air-taxi and fractional operator markets. The company claims the Avocet ProJet “will have an acquisition price and operating costs substantially lower than today’s private aircraft.”The Avocet ProJet is a six-seat, twin-engine jet that will sell for approximately $2 million, and will be the first jet to be purpose-built for the high-utilization needs of the emerging air-taxi and fractional ownership markets.Avocet Aircraft LLC — headquartered in Westport, Conn. — is led by former investment banker Carey Robinson Wolchok along with Chief Executive Officer David Tait OBE, formerly of Virgin Atlantic Airways.
… Keeping It Under Wraps
Avocet has been collaborating with IAI on this aircraft for over a year and is now entering the final definition phase.Bob Crandall, the former chairman and CEO of American Airlines, added: “The Avocet ProJet program, like other efforts to build an affordable small jet, will be a substantial challenge. If IAI and Avocet accomplish their goals, I think this new airplane will have a profound impact on U.S. aviation and will dramatically alter the way Americans travel.”Avocet expects to begin accepting firm orders later this year, and first flight is expected in 2005 for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2006.
FAA Administrator Blakey And Congressman Mica To Speak At NBAA 2003…
FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey and U.S. Congressman John Mica will be the featured Opening General Session keynote speakers for the NBAA 56th Annual Meeting & Convention, to be held Tuesday, October 7 to Thursday, October 9, 2003, in Orlando, Fla. The Opening General Session will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday in the Orlando/Orange County Convention Center.According to the NBAA, this year’s event will feature around 30,000 attendees, 1,000 exhibitors, 75 informational sessions and 135 aircraft on static display at the Orlando Executive Airport. To help commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first powered, manned flight, this year’s event will host the touring Countdown To Kitty Hawk pavilion recently on display at EAA’s AirVenture. The Franklin Institute will also provide vintage aircraft simulators and authentic artifacts to augment the exhibit.
… While Arnold Palmer Plans For Annual Chairman’s Charity Classic
Golf legend Arnold Palmer will be the featured guest at NBAA’s 7th Annual Chairman’s Charity Classic golf tournament on Sunday, October 5 at Champions Gate Golf Resort near Orlando, Fla. The event will be hosted by NBAA Chairman of the Board George A. Saling of Altria Corporate Services Inc.The 2003 Classic will raise funds for Orlando’s Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children & Women, which is dedicated exclusively to serving the special needs of children and women. Last year’s Classic raised $47,000 for Challenge Air for Kids & Friends, a Dallas-based organization that offers children with disabilities, throughout the United States, “the opportunity to experience the wonder and thrill of a flight in a small airplane.”
Zoning Proposal Would Affect Republic Airport Runway Protection
On August 1, the NBAA, the New York Department of Transportation, Long Island Business Aviation Association and Long Island’s Republic Airport petitioned the Babylon Zoning Board of Appeals to carefully review a variance to the zoning code that would enable a retailer to build within the runway protection zone (RPZ). The NBAA reports a petition has been made by a retail store chain for a variance to the town’s building code. A letter from the FAA opposing the construction of the building on the RPZ was read. Safety, security and quality of life were used as arguments against the proposal. On approach, there would be approximately 70 feet of clearance from an aircraft on glide slope to the roof of the building. The Board has yet to vote on the issue but AVweb’s Biz Av will stay on top of this developing story.
NBAA Launches EBACE.aero and LABACE.aero
NBAA has adopted .aero Web site addresses for its international events in Europe and Latin America.EBACE.aero provides information about EBACE, the only European exhibition of its kind to focus exclusively on business aviation, and LABACE.aero is devoted to LABACE, the only Latin American exhibition of its kind to focus exclusively on business aviation..aero is a new Internet domain name (like .com, .net, and .org) exclusively reserved for the aviation community. It enables organizations and individuals to reserve and purchase their own .aero Web and e-mail addresses identifying themselves as legitimate aviation-related organizations. Beyond simplifying access to information, .aero shortcuts could be used by business aviation industry staff, aircraft passengers and business partners alike to simplify intra-industry communications.
Upcoming Biz Av Events
The following business aviation events will be held within the next few months:Professional Development Program (PDP) Course
“Developing a High-Performance Flight Department Team”
October 5, Orlando, Fla.Emergency Response Workshop
October 5-6, Orlando, Fla.Management Fundamentals For Flight Departments Workshop
October 5-6, Orlando, Fla.Human Factors-Fatigue Management Workshop
October 5-6, Orlando, Fla.Professional Development Program (PDP) Course
“Legal Issues in Aviation Management”
October 6, Orlando, Fla.Inspection Authorization (IA) Renewal Course
October 6, Orlando, Fla.NBAA 56th Annual Meeting & Convention
October 7-9, Orlando, Fla.
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