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A Texas aircraft broker says used aircraft prices are stabilizing and newer used aircraft are in demand but there are still plenty of old business jets on the market. Rene Banglesdorf, CEO of Charlie Bravo Aviation, told AVweb in a podcast interview at NBAA in Orlando that while the market hasn't recovered, it's at least showing signs of recovery, even at the low end. "We're seeing a lot of small and medium-sized aircraft selling and we're hearing our competitors say the same thing," she said. "There are a lot of people buying aircraft who have previously not bought aircraft because of the price barrier."

Banglesdorf said aircraft less than 10 years old, especially those that are still in production, are in demand and only about 3 to 8 percent of those are on the market at any given time. That's normal. What's skewing things is that there are a lot of old airplanes for sale that are dragging prices down. CJ2s and 3s, along with late model King Airs, are hot tickets because of their modern avionics and low operating costs. Banglesdorf's personal favorite? A nice-decade-old Cessna Excel.

Aircraft broker René Banglesdorf says the market is better but still not great.  AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with her at NBAA 2014.

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A new partnership between Cirrus and OpenAirplane is designed to make it easier for more pilots to get access to airplanes throughout the country. Pilots who go through Cirrus factory training will have the option of obtaining rental credentials for the same model of Cirrus without an additional checkout at flight schools and FBOs that are a part of the OpenAirplane network across the U.S.—avoiding the usual hassle and expense involved when renting an airplane at a new location. Cirrus Training Centers (CTCs) are being encouraged to join the OpenAirplane network, further expanding the number of rental locations available to OpenAirplane clients.

According to Cirrus, CTCs and Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilots (CSIPs) follow the same training programs that Cirrus uses during factory flight instruction—and can now work with OpenAirplane to offer training that includes access to the OpenAirplane network in the same model aircraft. OpenAirplane currently has 70 locations in its network and over 8000 pilots signed up to fly. The OpenAirplane network allows flight schools, FBOs, flying clubs and individual owners who are members to verify a pilot's qualifications and training in each model aircraft—which allows pilots to have access to aircraft throughout the OpenAirplane network without having to go through a checkout at each new location at which the pilot desires to rent.

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At NBAA, Nextant showed off a mock-up of its new G90XT King Air C90 remanufacture.  The airplane will include GE engines and a Garmin G1000 suite.

At NBAA, Cessna showed off its new Latitude super-mid-size aircraft.  AVweb got a brief tour while covering the show.

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AT NBAA in Orlando, there are some large airplanes on the show floor.  How did they get them there?  A midnight parade of planes from Orlando International, that's how.

A dozen years ago, Embraer was just an upstart in the business aviation world.  But at NBAA, it showed off another new model, its fifth.  The Legacy 450 is just entering flight testing.  AVweb's Russ Niles interviewed Embraer's Marco Tulio Pellegrini to learn more about the new jet.

Since this spring, Garmin has been delivering the new G5000 to the OEM market, but now it's starting to offer retrofits in the from of a Beechjet 400/400A mod.  Garmin's Scott Frye gave AVweb a briefing on the new program.

One surprise at NBAA in Orlando is that Progressive Aerodyne showed up with its cool LSA amphibian.  A business aircraft?  Nope, a fun flyer, which Searey's Adam Yang figures a stressed-out Gulfstream owner might want after a long week of flying suits around.

New airplanes sales may be a little soft, but we're seeing plenty of refurb work -- everything from new panels to fresh paint to full-up interiors. We would like to feature some of these airplanes in the pages of AVweb and spotlight the owners and shops doing the work. If you have photos of your restored aircraft -- single, twin or turbine -- send them to us at refurb-otm@avweb.com. If we select your airplane as refurb of the month, we'll contact you for more information.

Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something the flying world might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via e-mail here. (Or send them direct to Newstips at AVweb.com.)

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AVweb Insider

There is a movement in Washington to reform the FAA and Rep. Bill Shuster, the chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure made it pretty clear that the government is looking north for ideas during his speech at the National Business Aviation Association convention in Orlando on Tuesday.

Canada has had privatized air traffic control for almost 20 years and the system works.

NavCanada, the private, not-for-profit corporation that runs the system does so with the careful scrutiny of the government but it has some freedom to innovate and even profit from investments in new technologies. NavCanada innovations  have been purchased by ATOs in other countries and it's now a lead partner in a satellite-based aircraft tracking system could ensure there will never be a repeat of MH370. Any money it makes is put back into the system and the result is that NavCanada has some of the most up-to-date systems and equipment in the world. The Canadian system is safe and chances are if you've ever flown from the U.S. to Europe or Asia your airplane has been under NavCanada control.

What interests Shuster and the growing number of legislators who are focusing their attention on the FAA, is the financial efficiency Canada has attained. He threw some numbers out that suggest Canadians are getting a bargain. Clearly, air traffic control in the U.S. is different than in Canada but Shuster seems to think Canada has some lessons to teach. Most Canadian pilots would agree, I think. For most GA aircraft owners, the annual charge is about $70 for full access to the system.

What's interesting is the lack of vehement opposition to statements that would have been viewed as heretical just a few years ago. In fact, NBAA, an organization with a big stake in the future of air traffic services in the U.S. publicly endorsed Shuster's comments with the hearty handshake he got at the end of his presentation.

Canada has a user-pay system that splits aircraft operations by aircraft size and use, the very tenets of the "No User Fee" movement that dominated the alphabet group press commentary a few years ago. I still have the t-shirt. A few years ago you couldn't go to any U.S. aviation show without someone mentioning the "user fee" issue. It's been noticeably absent in recent years. My t-shirt is looking like a collector's item.

As we reported, AOPA has visited NavCanada on a fact-finding mission, In a followup podcast AOPA President Mark Baker, who led the trip to Canada's capital city Ottawa (thoughts and prayers to the community and the country following Wednesday's tragic events) categorically maintained the line on AOPA's stance on rejecting user fees.

But political momentum builds and I think we have a train firmly on the tracks here.

Whatever results probably won't be the same as NavCanada, nor should it be.  But the overwhelming consensus is the FAA is broken. Maybe those charges with changing it could use a few ideas.

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Ed Bolen, the CEO of the National Business Aviation Association, says the organization's 2014 show in Orlando is a little bigger than last year's show in Las Vegas.  AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Bolen at the static display at Orlando Executive Airport.

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China's largest bizjet charter company, Deer Jet, sees plenty of room for expansion in the exploding Chinese marketplace — maybe not in fractionals (yet), but in some surprising segments, like providing flights in and out of the country.  Deer Jet's Zhang Peng demystifies the world's fastest-growing bizav economy in a short conversation with us at the 2014 NBAA Convention.

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NBAA Photo Gallery

AVweb is on site in Orlando, Florida for NBAA's national convention. We managed to snap a few picks of the exhibits going up and attendees preparing for the big show.

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We get a steady trickle of press releases from the mash-up of companies that now comprise Textron Aviation—Cessna, Beechcraft and Hawker. The other day, we noticed something: the press releases are coming through not with the Textron Aviation moniker but the badges of the individual companies.

At the static display on Monday, I noticed the big fancy gate leading into the echelon of airplanes also has no Textron Aviation signage, just the individual company logos. If Textron has given up on trying to brand Textron for aviation they're doing so quietly. And wisely. Those unique brands are sturdier and more recognizable than Textron will ever be, no matter much clever print and web ad money is thrown around trying to change customer perceptions. Branding under Textron just muddies the understanding of what the company is. I noticed in news stories, when we were writing Textron Aviation, it felt like pounding a square peg into a round hole. It was never gonna fit. I'm glad they made the change…if indeed, that's the intent.

Honda and its Engine

For most of the last decade, Honda has had major presence not just at NBAA, but other GA shows as well. This year, it looks like they've gone all out. They have an enormous glitzy booth in the main hall and another major position at the static display, despite not having delivered an airplane yet.

In a show that doesn't promise much news, there was one nugget on Monday. GE Honda, the consortium that developed and is building the HondaJet's engine, announced it's working on an STC to put these new, state-of-the-art engines into older Citations, replacing the old Pratt JT15D. Sierra Industries of Uvalde, Texas, is developing the STC. We don't have specific numbers on the install yet. the HF120 engine is in the same general thrust class as the JT15D, but it's considerably more fuel efficient, according to GE Honda.

Older Citations are all over the used market for bargain prices, but by modern standards, they're thirsty for fuel and many of them have avionics museums for panels.  GE Honda and Sierra are betting that an engine upgrade will give those airplanes new market vitality, reducing operating costs and possibly extending range.  We'll have to see how the numbers crunch, but the concept makes sense on paper. Someone might make a nice business out of refurbing the disco-era jets. They're still prized for being single-pilot approved and capable of carrying respectable load.

Garmin G5000

And part of that refurb industry will be driven by Garmin, which, at NBAA was showing the new retrofit of the G5000 for the Beechjet 500 series. See a video on the site of this project this morning. The G5000 is top-of-the-line glass for Part 25 aircraft and at maybe $450,000 installed, it's both a piece of change and major surgery to the 400. On the other hand, 400 and 400As are a good buy on the used market. In the video, I guesstimated they're selling for just under $2 million, but asking prices can be a lot less than that. Even if the 5000 install approaches half the value of the airplane, an owner would have a modern, capable jet for as little as $1.5 million. That's compelling against small jets starting at $2 million or more. Beechjet 400 owners appear to be like Bonanza owners; they could afford newer but love these airplanes, thus the appeal of the upgrade. There's competition in this marketspace, too. Not for nothing did Nextant pick the 400A for its hot selling 400 XTi re-engineeer/remanufacture program. This may be fertile ground for GE Honda's aforementioned HF120, too. There are quite a few 400 airframes out there and boosting their range by 50 percent makes them competitive with anything out there on the new market.

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