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Icon has started to deliver airplanes to customers and let them “take them home and fly them wherever they want,” the company said in its annual newsletter, issued on Tuesday. The first deliveries, completed in June and July, went to owners in Seattle, Montana and California. To support these A5s out in the field, Icon said it has trained authorized maintainers at the home airports of the delivered aircraft. “We are continuing to grow the third-party partner network to service upcoming deliveries that aren't near factory service centers, currently in Vacaville and Tampa,” Icon said. The company also said it has trained more than 125 pilots at its first two Icon Flight Centers, located in Tampa and Northern California.

The company also reported that it has completed 21 aircraft at its production facility in Mexico, refining their quality standards in the process. They trained more than 125 pilots and logged about 5,600 flying hours on the flight training fleet, resulting in design and manufacturing changes that have been incorporated into a revised Model Year 2018 A5. The changes include improved nosegear that makes it easier to steer the aircraft during taxi, better lighting and legibility for the instruments, stiffer rudder pedals, no airspeed limit for windows-out operation and improved access panels in the wings and fuselage. The company plans to ramp up production of the new model in the first half of next year.

AVweb’s features editor Rick Durden flew the airplane last year and reported on it for our sister publication, Aviation Consumer. You can read his report here.

Garmin - Get ADS-B

ForeFlight is now offering an ADS-B In device that’s compatible with its flight-planning app for $199, the company said this week. The unit, developed in collaboration with uAvionix, is small (about 3 inches by 1 inch and weighing less than an ounce), easy to set up and use and provides weather and air-to-air traffic data. However, “Customers should keep in mind that if their aircraft is not equipped with ADS-B Out, then they will have a limited view of traffic on ForeFlight,” the company says. The product goes on sale next week at EAA AirVenture at the ForeFlight exhibit, or via Amazon starting Saturday.

“We are excited to bring Scout to market in collaboration with uAvionix,” said Tyson Weihs, ForeFlight co-founder and CEO. "We want every pilot flying with the benefits of ADS-B In. The combination of an ADS-B In solution with ForeFlight makes flying safer and we believe has led to a meaningful reduction in weather-related incidents and accidents. We are delighted to now offer – for those pilots and operators on a limited budget – a low-cost option that will increase the number of pilots who can fly with this essential safety-enhancing capability. Inflight weather and traffic delivers better situational awareness and leads to better decision-making."

The device won’t help those pilots hoping to comply with the FAA’s ADS-B rules, which mandate that airplanes using certain airspace must be equipped with ADS-B Out by 2020.

Continental 'Factory new CM Magnetos at near-rebuilt pricing'

As AirVenture 2017 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, opens on Monday, Garmin will have no shortage of new products to show. In addition to the two new retrofit autopilots (here's a video report), there are two portable weather receivers, a new low-cost ADS-B Out solution for the market's lower end, a third-party autopilot interface for the G5 electronic flight display, plus an updated pilot navigator watch. First the portable weather receivers.

The GDL51 and GDL52 are a new series of receivers for ADS-B traffic and weather, plus SiriusXM Aviation broadcast weather and entertainment. The products complete the long-awaited interface with Garmin's aera660 portable GPS, plus they work with tablets and smartphones running Garmin's Pilot app. With integral GPS, the devices output backup attitude information on the Pilot app and on the portable GPS navigators. The GDL51/52 have a footprint similar to a small digital alarm clock and have an internal battery with roughly five to seven hours of endurance.

The $649 GDL51 (and remote-mounted GDL51R) specifically receives SiriusXM data, while the $1149 GDL52 (and remote-mount GDL52R) is an all-in-one device that receives both ADS-B and SiriusXM data. The portable systems can wirelessly connect with two devices simultaneously, including the aera660 and aera 795/796 portables and Apple and Android tablets and smartphones. The permanent-mount "R" versions can be wired to the panel displays in Garmin's G3X Touch experimental avionics suite. 

Garmin is offering a free trial version of its Pilot app with GDL51/52 purchases and both receivers are eligible for a $200 SiriusXM Aviation subscription rebate. Garmin dealers will be selling the GDL51/51R and remote GDL52R immediately, but the all-in-one GDL52 portable version won't be ready until Q4 of 2017, although Garmin dealers will be preselling it. 

For mandate-compliant ADS-B Out, Garmin announced the GDL82 UAT device. Budget priced at $1795, the GDL82 is a small two-piece (remote box and GPS antenna) Universal Access Transceiver (UAT) with built-in GPS. It's intended for a streamlined installation because it integrates with the aircraft’s existing transponder and transponder antenna system.

"This is a minimally intrusive ADS-B Out solution that avoids the cost and effort of modifying the instrument panel and is a turnkey, budget-friendly solution that's important to many aircraft owners," Garmin said in its product release.

The GDL 82 also contains Garmin's AutoSquawk interrogation technology, which interfaces with most Mode C general aviation transponders to synchronize the squawk code between the transponder and the GDL 82, eliminating the need to install a separate dedicated UAT control panel. This self-interrogation eliminates the need for the pilot to manually keep two squawk codes in sync while in flight.

Don't plan to put the system in high-flying aircraft. The system will only be an option for aircraft that fly below 18,000 feet because it broadcasts on the 978 MHz frequency. Above 18,000 feet, you'll need a 1090ES ADS-B Out solution. Still, many believe it's the lower-end market that has been on the fence waiting for lower-cost solutions, especially for aircraft that don't have a mandate-compliant WAAS GPS source. To date, ADS-B compliance for the upcoming 2020 mandate has been slow. Whether this latest lower-cost solution can change the market is anyone's guess, but we'll be watching closely and reporting on it.

For the gadget-minded watch collectors, the latest-generation D2 Charlie aviator smartwatch has an improved LED backlighted high-resolution display, compared to the previous D2 Bravo watch, and displays weather radar data over its color moving map and flight plan data. The D2 Charlie pairs with Garmin's Connect tablet app and displays airports, navaids, bodies of water, roads and cities. 

The watch can also be used as a standalone navigator with airport information pages that include runway data and frequencies, plus a flight log that starts recording when airborne and is synced across the flyGarmin website and in the Garmin Pilot app.

The watch's hardware has been improved and includes a sapphire scratch-resistant crystal lens and a coated titanium bezel. It also has new quick-release titanium, leather and silicon sport bands that Garmin calls QuickFit. The watch's battery endurance is good for up to 20 hours when in GPS mode and up to 12 days in smartwatch mode. 

When paired with a compatible smartphone, the watch displays incoming phone calls, texts and email smart notifications. It also has two built-in aviation-tailored customizable watch faces to display the aircraft's tail number. The watch is compatible with Garmin's Connect IQ for further customizing widgets, data fields and watch faces. If all of that isn't enough, the face can be personalized with a custom JPEG image using the Garmin Face It app.

The D2 Charlie—which has Garmin's integrated Elevate heart rate technology (built-in heart rate sensor on the watch's chassis)—comes preloaded with a full sporting feature set that can be used for cycling, golfing, running, snowboarding and swimming. It can also be used as a fitness tracker and counts steps, calories and distance. It has a retail price of $799 with the leather band, and $999 for the titanium edition. It comes with a lifetime of free aviation database updates and will be available for purchase at AirVenture.




Starr Companies - The Over and Above Underwriter - Click to read about aerial application

TruTrak Flight Systems announced that it—together with EAA— has earned STC approval for the Vizion autopilot system in Cessna 172 and 177 models. This is the first autopilot manufactured by experimental autopilot maker TruTrak to be approved for a certified aircraft. The company was targeting AirVenture 2017 for a completed STC and it achieved it. 

The system has TruTrak's new AEP, which is a bank angle protection mode that's armed and disarmed by the pilot when hand flying the aircraft. AEP monitors the aircraft bank angle and engages the roll servo with a modulated signal that allows the servo to put a lighter than normal control force on the controls. The idea is to assist the pilot in reducing the bank angle, but it can be overridden by light hand force. The system also has TruTrak's Emergency Level feature, which is engaged with a single button press to level the wings and reduce the aircraft's vertical speed to zero. 

The two-axis Vizion system is $4000 and the installation kit is an additional $1000. Buyers will also need to purchase the STC from EAA for $100. TruTrak said the system is not yet approved with third-party EFIS displays, but it's working on these additional capabilities, in addition to more aircraft approvals. It can work with popular GPS navigators, TruTrak said.

"We have already begun working on the next installations and look forward to offering them in the coming months," said TruTrak CEO Andrew Barker.

TruTrak will be selling the system at its exhibit at AirVenture and will have its Vizion-equipped Cessna 172 on display for buyers to look at.


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The Civil Air Patrol says it can take days for pilots to be found after an off-airport landing, but Jim O’Donnell had the first emergency vehicle on scene before he came to a stop after landing his Cessna P206 on the Sunrise Highway in Suffolk County, New York. Shortly after takeoff from Brookhaven Airport, en route to Eagles Nest New Jersey, O’Donnell’s P206 experienced unspecified mechanical problems. The extent of power loss has not been reported, but the pilot elected to land on the highway.

Video shot from a car travelling on the Sunrise Highway shows an orderly landing on the centerline—normally used to divide the first and second lanes of traffic. (The video does contain some moderate profanity.) Rollout is slightly squirrely, but the landing appears to be downwind, which may have contributed to difficult directional control. After passing under an overpass, a police car pulls onto the freeway and turns on its lights before the Cessna even comes to a stop. The plane was reportedly towed down the highway back to Brookhaven Airport for repairs.


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will travel to Anchorage, Alaska, for a hearing on the crash of Ravn Connect Flight 3153 in October 2016. Flight 3153 was a Cessna Caravan traveling from Quinhagak to Togiak carrying one passenger and two pilots that impacted rocky terrain near Togiak killing all aboard. This is the first NTSB hearing held outside Washington, D.C., in over 20 years. “The NTSB is conducting this investigative hearing in Alaska because the majority of witnesses we want to hear from are in Alaska,” said NTSB board member Earl F. Weener. “We also believe that holding the hearing in Alaska will help increase awareness within the Alaskan aviation community of the issues surrounding controlled flight into terrain accidents and flight into instrument meteorological conditions,” says Weener.

The NTSB plans to gather evidence about the pilot training and operational control at Hageland Aviation—the operator of Ravn Connect service—and its owner HoTH Inc. Hageland Aviation Services aircraft have been involved in six accidents since 2013, four involving controlled flight into terrain and one involving VFR flight into IMC. A former Hageland-owned airline, Era Alaska, was the subject of the reality television show Flying Wild Alaska, which aired on the Discovery Channel in 2011 and 2012.

The hearing is open to the public and is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. on Aug. 17 in the Mid-Deck Ballroom of the Captain Cook Hotel, 939 W. 5th Ave., Anchorage, Alaska.

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The 2017 Red Bull Air Race World Championship heads to the Russian city of Kazan this weekend. Yoshihide Muroya of Japan leads the series after back-to-back wins at San Diego and Chiba, with 39 points. Second place, Martin Sonka, follows closely, two points behind. The first American, Kirby Chambliss, won the most recent event, held in Budapest, and currently sits in fourth place overall.

This is the first Red Bull Air Race event held in Russia. Kazan, the capital of the Russian Republic of Tatarstan, is located at the confluence of the Kazanka and Volga Rivers, whose waters will serve as the Red Bull Air Race course. The picturesque old city is a popular tourist destination and frequent host to international sporting events. American Michael Goulian, who sits in eighth place overall, told members of the media he's excited to go: “Being an avid hockey player and fan my entire life, I’ve always been a fan of the Russian athletes. Visiting this country is a first for me, and I can’t wait to see what the week has in store for us.”

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When I got my first job flying freight in the mid-1970s, every single pilot I met was a white male. I didn’t really think anything about it—it was the way of the world. There were no women flying for the airlines or the military and the WASPs of World War II were not even a memory—no one spoke of them. Chief pilots made it clear over beers after work that they didn’t hire women or minorities (sadly, I still hear that from chief pilots, although from far fewer).

At the same time, I was flight instructing and about a third of my students were women. Most wanted to become professional pilots. Flying with them, I became aware of the fact that not only did they have to work as hard as any male to master what was necessary to learn to get a rating—they had to put up with overt and covert discrimination, personal attacks, constant come-ons and propositions from male pilots; examiners that set the bar higher on checkrides because they didn’t like women pilots or “didn’t want to go to an accident scene and see the mangled body of a woman” and, once they got their ratings, doors slammed in their faces when they sought employment.

When flying with a woman instrument student it wasn’t uncommon after she’d made a call to ATC for a male voice to come on the frequency with remarks ranging from “nice voice, sweetheart” to far more moronic. A couple of times on instrument cross countries with women students we ran into controllers who simply would not respond to a them, but would instantly respond if I called.

An Introduction

It was with that background that I was introduced to the Whirly-Girls organization by a colleague about 25 years ago. My initial reaction was that calling a full-grown adult a “girl” or a “boy” is a major league insult—fighting words in some places—so this has got to be some sort of group of bimbos that maybe get to stand next to helicopters for cheesecake photos.

Was I ever wrong.

The real name for the organization is Whirly-Girls International (WGI). It was formed in 1955 by Jean Howard Ross Phelan—one of the 13 known female helicopter pilots in the world at the time (nothing was known of female helicopter pilots behind the Iron Curtain)—for the purpose of supporting women in the world of rotary-wing aviation. It is a non-profit, charitable organization that provides scholarships for women to further their careers as professional helicopter pilots and to mutually encourage each other in the process.

The dry language of the formation and purpose of WGI doesn’t come close to describing the power and long-term effects on the professional lives of hundreds of aviators who have been members during its 62 years of existence. From the 13 original members, in three countries, it has grown to embrace 47 countries and, about the time this comes out, should welcome its 2000th member.

The practice of selflessness among the membership began when member numbers were first assigned—even though Jean Phelan organized Whirly-Girls International and became its first president, she gave all of the other original members lower numbers than herself. Its absolutely nonpolitical nature was established from the very beginning because its original members were a cross section of the political spectrum from the left to the very far right—and some had actively worked against the countries of others during World War II. The world’s first female helicopter pilot and militant Nazi, Hannah Reitsch, was one of the test pilots of the first true vertical flight machine, the Focke-Achgelis Fa 61, when it flew in 1938. She became Whirly-Girl number one. Two of the other original members had been members of the French Resistance fighting the Nazis.

The First Meeting

Six of the 13 known female helo pilots (no one had any information on the number of female helicopter pilots—if any—behind the Iron Curtain) came together in Washington, D.C. for the first meeting of WGI in 1955. They included such chronic underachievers as Dr. Valerie Andre of France—veteran of the French Resistance in World War II, a neurosurgeon, the first female helicopter pilot to fly helos in combat zones (over 100 times she picked up wounded soldiers in combat, flew them to the field hospital and then operated on them herself) and first female General Officer in the French armed services.

Another was Ann Shaw Carter of the U.S.—World War II WASP and first female helicopter pilot to fly commercially. Included in the first meeting was Nancy Miller Livingston Stratford, who, after flight instructing in California, had gone to England and joined the Air Transport Auxiliary where she spent the war ferrying some 50 types of combat aircraft. She later told an interviewer that the Spitfire, in its various marks, was her favorite. Following the war she did anything she could do in aviation to keep food on the table, including crop dusting in helicopters (while men got all the good flying jobs). She went on to co-found a commercial helicopter operation in Juneau, Alaska, which she operated until retiring and selling the company to Era Helicopters. Stratford went on to create the coveted Livingston Award for the Whirly-Girls. It is awarded annually to the living woman helicopter pilot who personifies the high standards and ideals of women helicopter pilots and who contributed in a significant way to the advancement, recognition and credit of women in helicopter aviation.

Also present at the first meeting of the Whirly-Girls was Madam Jacqueline Auriol, a French resistance fighter in WWII, airshow pilot, test pilot—one of the first women to fly faster than Mach 1 and holder of five world speed records—and four-time winner of the Harmon Trophy, awarded by the President of the United States for aviation exploits.

While the business of WGI in raising funds for scholarships for women to advance their helicopter flying skills and ratings is dead serious, the Whirly-Girl name is a recognition that it’s okay to poke a little fun at oneself. It’s perhaps a reminder that while professional rotary-wing aviation requires cool, objective thinking, flying helicopters is about as much fun as it’s possible to have in aviation and it’s all right to smile and enjoy the heck out of what you’ve worked so hard to learn to do.

Texan Joni Schultz is the current president of WGI. An Enstrom owner and pilot and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, she told us that the organization has grown and changed as more women have been able to move into professional aviation as well as fly in the military. Most recently, law enforcement has increasingly opened its doors to women helicopter pilots. Schultz said that WGI members have worked to maintain its historical perspective—there are mother and daughter members—while assertively focusing on mentoring younger pilots and helping new pilots network to find job opportunities.

The annual gathering of WGI is called the Hovering—one of the coolest aviation names for a get-together I’ve run across. It is held in conjunction with the annual, international Heli-Expo organized by the Helicopter Association International of which Whirly-Girls is an affiliate.

At the Hovering, the recipients of the many, impressive scholarships are named, as is the recipient of the Livingston Award. During the year members of Whirly-Girls raise money through sale of WGI-themed items and actively seek donations and grants. The money goes toward the flight-training scholarships that are awarded at the Hovering. There are no paid positions within WGI—everyone working on its behalf is a volunteer. The scholarships awarded each year vary slightly, but usually include money toward flight training toward a rating; specialized flight training such as mountain flying and night-vision goggle endorsement; specialized or type-specific helicopter courses; ground school toward an advanced rating and crash survival courses.

The scholarships may or may not pay the full cost of a course or rating. If they don’t, they often put enough of a dent in the total cost that it makes the difference as to whether the recipient can afford to take the course and increase her chances of professional employment in the rotary-wing world. I heard numerous stories from women now flying helos professionally who said that the scholarship she received from WGI made it possible for her to do what she is doing now. I also learned that many of the donors to WGI’s scholarship fund are professional helicopter pilots who had themselves received a scholarship in years past. Many now have jobs that have allowed them to donate much more to Whirly-Girls than they originally received in scholarship money.

The second portion of a Hovering is social and networking—it generally starts with the group sitting in a circle and each member telling what has been going on in her aviation life. That often leads to another member passing along contact information that may lead to finding a job opening or additional training. It is networking—and mentoring—at its finest. In his Spring 2017 President’s Message, HAI president, Matthew S. Zuccaro wrote about the importance of mentoring young helicopter pilots and the effort HAI is now putting into it. He used Whirly-Girls as the shining example of effective networking and mentoring after describing some of the many obstacles historically placed in the path of women seeking employment in helicopter aviation. He wrote: “I have been impressed with how the Whirly Girl family embraces, nurtures, mentors and provides a lifetime support network to these young women. The passion and commitment from one generation to the next is evident.”

Zuccaro went on to state: “When I have attended various Whirly-Girls events, I have witnessed the discussions and developing relationships between the young ladies who attended seeking guidance and advice about the helicopter community and those women pioneers who have proudly served in the industry for decades. You could see the comfort level developing in the eyes of the young attendees as they realized that someone will walk this path with them and have their backs.”

That’s how mentoring and networking should be—and how it is at Whirly-Girls. As one WGI member told me, “You’re inspired to give back, to walk up to a woman who said she wants to know how to get from just getting her CFI to having a job and say, ‘What can I do to help?’” Those who have been around the industry often know where the job openings are and can point those members who are looking in the right direction and give them guidance as to how to land the job.

One member told me of going to her first Hovering and sitting next to a woman who “looked like my kindergarten teacher” and turned out to be an experimental test pilot flying jets for a manufacturer. “Her accomplishments were awe-inspiring, and overwhelming, but it turned out that she was incredibly easy to talk with, without any pretension.” She said that conversation set the tone for how supportive WGI members were toward her as she moved up in professional aviation.

Terri Watson, the current Livingston Award recipient, told me that talking with another member made the difference in getting her helicopter CFI rating. She had been awarded a scholarship. With the scholarship and her savings, she would have enough money to get the rating. But she didn’t have enough money to rent a motel room in the Bay Area, where the training would take place. She was planning to spend six weeks living in her truck. At the Hovering, she asked a WGI member who lived in the Bay Area if she knew of any places where she might rent an inexpensive apartment. The woman told her that she had a guest house that wasn’t in use and offered it to Terri as a place to stay during her training—at no cost. Terri followed telling me about that experience with, “See why I give back everything I can to this organization?”

Going Forward

Joni Schultz told me that she wants to continue WGI’s traditions of assertive support for women who want to fly helicopters—while expanding the organization’s outreach. She said that she wants to make members of more of the women who are flying helos in the military and law enforcement. In talking with Terri Watson, she made the same comment. I asked her if the Whirly-Girls name adversely affected recruiting members. She said that it might, but that any time a prospective member makes an adverse comment about the name, her response is, “The name may be silly, but check out the scholarships, they’re amazing.” That sentence often makes all the difference. I asked Watson how she came to be a member. She said that shortly after getting her Army helicopter wings a captain she didn’t know came up to her, handed her a slip of paper with some information on Whirly-Girls on it and said, “You should join this organization.” The captain then walked away. Terri said she read what was on the paper and joined.

Livingston Award

To wrap this up, I think it’s appropriate to look at the background of the most recent recipient of the Livingston Award from WGI, Terri Watson. I think she’s a good example of the type of people one meets in Whirly-Girls. Full disclosure, I’ve known Terri for about 20 years, beginning when I was a volunteer pilot for LightHawk, a public benefit flying organization dedicated to using aircraft for conservation work and research, and she joined the staff. She gave me some excellent training in backcountry and mountain flying.   

Terri Watson has over 11,000 hours of flying time, equally split between fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. She entered the Army when the aviation branch was newly formed. Although women had been allowed to fly helicopters for a handful of years, many in the Army werent particularly pleased about being required to have women aviators and seemed to do their best to flunk them out. Watson passed and was issued her helicopter wings—so the Army suddenly required that she get her commercial, instrument and multi-engine ratings in a Beech Baron in 60 days. She did it—making her one of the few fixed- and rotary-wing Army Aviators. During her active duty career she flew the Grumman OV-1D Mohawk, Bell UH-1H Huey and Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk. Following active duty in the Army, she served in the Reserves and National Guard until 1997 while starting a career in civilian aviation. In the general aviation world, she did everything from establish and run a Part 135 charter operation through two summers as operations coordinator for helicopter operations for the National Science Foundation in Antarctica to civilian contractor flying Bell 412s and 407s and the Russian Mi17 in Iraq and Afghanistan and Emergency Medical Service and Search and Rescue pilot and Night Vision Goggle instructor in an Augusta 109 and then a Cessna 421 and King Air 90.

While she was in the Army, Watson mentored and sponsored three enlisted women to apply for the Army Warrant Officer Rotary Wing Qualification Course. She has been active with local school programs and parents to show how their school curriculum tied directly to success in aviation. While an EMS pilot, she regularly volunteered to take the flight shifts to fly the helicopter to community outreach functions and fly-ins and other public displays to matter-of-factly let communities see that women were professional pilots. She served as a member of the Board of Directors of Whirly-Girls in the 1990s and is now the Executive Director of LightHawk.

After getting to know a number of Whirly-Girls members, I am convinced that the organization is made up of Type-A overachievers who should not be able to get along with anyone, but who are the most mutually supportive people I’ve ever met in aviation. As a result, my opinion is that if you’re a woman who likes flying helicopters, one of the smartest things you could possibly do is join Whirly-Girls International immediately.

Rick Durden is an aviation attorney who holds an ATP with type ratings in the Douglas DC-3 and Cessna Citation and is the author of The Thinking Pilot’s Flight Manual or, How to Survive Flying Little Airplanes and Have a Ball Doing It, Vols. 1 & 2.

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Sales in the bizjet sector declined substantially after the 2008 economic downturn and there are good reasons to believe they’ll stay that way for quite some time to come. Quite simply, the supply of business jets—or at least their capacity to fly people places—has exceeded demand.

The issue becomes clear when the growth curves of the number of hours flown by these business jets is matched against the number of business jets in the fleet multiplied times the number of hours these jets can reasonably fly in a year. After much research, I have concluded that 400 hours per year is about all a business jet can reasonably fly.

This is because the airplane must be maintained, the pilots must attend recurrent training and the passengers must still conduct business at home. The net result is that 400 flying hours per year represents a happy medium between the cost of ownership and running an ongoing business at home.

Note that the two curves—available hours versus hours of demand—stayed very close together until the last recession in 2008. Then flying hours dropped off significantly and have only recovered to pre-recession levels recently. In the meantime, the fleet size has continued to grow as manufacturers aggressively pitch new airframes and models. This produced a large gap between the hours these airplanes can fly and what they are actually flying. What this means is that the average business jet is underutilized by about 20 percent. That is likely the reason for the recent softness in business jet sales. We have more than enough airplanes available to satisfy the need for travel.


If those lines are extended out into the future to see where supply meets demand again, as it always has in the past, then the forecast models indicate soft sales into the 2030s.  But I don’t think that will happen.  What’s difficult to forecast is the effect of things like ADS-B and FANS 1A/CPDLC. Bringing an old airplane into compliance with these mandates is a very expensive proposition and has the potential to force older airplanes into retirement a few years earlier than normal. If that were to happen, then supply and demand reach equilibrium in the early to mid-2020s.

In the meantime, manufacturers are faced with the dilemma of deciding how many airplanes to produce.  New airplanes like those being introduced by Gulfstream, Bombardier, Dassault and Textron will be coming online in the interim and this has the potential to make the supply situation worse. What that means is that new airplane sales of everything else will likely remain very soft, and the prices of previously owned planes will continue to decline. So if you’re in the market for a good, low-time business jet, there will likely be plenty available in the next few years.

A general aviation veteran, Patrick de la Garza is the principal at BizAv Research Consulting where he provides market research, forecasts and sales analytical services to general aviation companies worldwide. He is a commercial pilot with multi-engine and instrument ratings. 


Nothing says Cub like the iconic yellow-with-lightning-bolt paint scheme of the J-3 but some buyers of Cub derivatives are looking for something a little more distinctive. CubCrafters' John Whitish showed an especially dynamic design at Sun 'n Fun earlier this year.


Bob Withrow, VP of Engineering at Scaled Composites, in Mojave, California, says the company will offer 40 forums during EAA AirVenture on all aspects of homebuilding, plus insights into the company's unique aircraft designs. 

Electronics International 'Aviation Alert! Short video on how EI saved this pilot's life

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Heard over rural Massachusetts.

Cherokee XYZ (tremulous voice): "Albany Approach, Cherokee XYZ five miles northeast of Pittsfield at 3500 feet, requesting fight following to Kilo Oscar Romeo Delta."

Silence: all on frequency were contemplating the Cherokee, a student pilot at the controls,  attempting  the impossibly long flight to Chicago and then penetrating the O'Hare airspace.

Cherokee XYZ (even more tremulous voice): "Albany Approach, Cherokee XYZ six miles northeast of Pittsfield at 3500, requesting flight following to Kilo Oscar Romeo Delta".

Longer silence:  All on frequency, including the controllers, were now attempting to contain various forms of laughter. Eventually a different voice, one steeped in confidence and experience came on.

Cherokee XYZ: "Approach, XYZ 8 northeast Pittsfield requests advisories at 3500 to Orange Mass, Kilo Oscar Romeo Echo". (KORE is an uncontrolled rural field slightly different from its near namesake.)

Albany Approach: "Cherokee XYZ squawk 4350,  I show Orange 38 miles to your east.

And we were all left wondering what sage words of wisdom might just have been imparted by the instructor to his diligent student.  Oh, to have been a back seat passenger in that Cherokee.

Daniel Spitzer


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