From the editors of Aviation International News

June 4, 2009
This issue sponsored by Dassault Falcon and Universal Avionics.

Bombardier Takes Positive Look At Tough Times
Bombardier Aerospace released its first-quarter results yesterday, reporting a net profit of $158 million for the quarter ending April 20, down from $229 million for the same quarter last year. Overall revenue slipped to $4.5 billion from $4.8 billion. Bombardier CEO Pierre Beaudoin attributes the drop primarily to the economic slump, which has led to cancellations and delivery deferrals and a 25-percent reduction in business jet deliveries for the first quarter. While the company described the backlog as “relatively robust,” the company has 25 “white tails” for which contracts are not yet finalized. Beaudoin also noted an inventory of 35 used aircraft that the company is attempting to sell “as is.” While anxious to reduce that inventory, Bombardier is nevertheless mindful of pricing. “We’ve moved quite a few aircraft, but we’re not giving them away.” The production rate is likely to stabilize and remain flat next year, based on current order expectations. But Bombardier has not ruled out an additional production cut if the economy worsens. However, Beaudoin concluded, “Bombardier’s financial situation is far healthier than it was at the time of the last economic slowdown.”

PC-12, CRJ200 in Near Ground Collision at CLT
The NTSB is investigating a runway incursion that occurred last Friday morning at Charlotte (N.C.) Douglas International Airport involving a PC-12 turboprop single and CRJ200 regional jet. At about 10:17 a.m. that day, the PSA Airlines CRJ200–operated as US Airways Express Flight 2390–was cleared for takeoff on Runway 18L. After the regional jet was into its takeoff roll, controllers cleared Pilatus PC-12 N409DR, which is owned by Collett Transportation and was being operated under Part 135, to taxi into position and hold farther down the same runway in preparation for a departure roll from the Taxiway A intersection. When the airport’s ground-based collision warning system alerted them of the runway incursion, controllers cancelled the takeoff clearance for the regional jet. The pilot of the PC-12, seeing the regional jet coming his way, taxied the turboprop to the side of the runway. The FAA reported that the regional jet stopped approximately 10 feet from the PC-12. The weather was VMC with nine miles visibility. There were no reported injuries to any of the 42 passengers or three crew aboard the jet or to any of those on the PC-12.

More Cuts Coming at Hawker Beech, Cessna
Wichita is bracing for more job cuts at Cessna Aircraft and temporary furloughs at Hawker Beechcraft. In a letter sent on Tuesday, Hawker Beech vice president of human resources Rich Jiwanlal informed company employees about three mandatory furlough periods–June 29 to July 2, November 23 to 25 and December 21 to 24–that are “based on business needs, including product line and plant-specific requirements.” The furlough will be unpaid, unless employees use vacation time, Jiwanlal said. Hawker Beech also plans to relocate its engineering, finance and supply-chain teams at its main Wichita campus from two off-site buildings. Meanwhile, Cessna Aircraft parent Textron today in an SEC filing said, “Cessna…informed its employees that continued order cancellations and weakness in general aviation markets are forcing further revisions to its aircraft production outlook, which will result in additional reductions in Cessna’s workforce.” Textron didn’t specify how many Cessna employees will be affected or outline its latest production plans, instead saying it will update its outlook next month when it releases its second-quarter results. In late April, Cessna readjusted Citation production rates this year to 290 to 300 aircraft, down from a January adjusted 325 and far less than the 525 annual rate announced last year

Brazilian Startup Company To Enter VLJ Crowd
GP Aerospace, a startup company formed in São José dos Campos, Brazil, by former Embraer technical director Guido Pessotti, has unveiled to AIN plans for a so-called “personal light jet” that would be smaller than currently available very light jets. The GP-210 is built around two 740-pounds-thrust DGen390 turbofan engines, which are currently being developed by France-based Price Induction. The four-seater is to have a 4,300-pound mtow and a wingspan of 33 feet. It would cruise at up to 276 knots at 20,000 feet, with the operational ceiling being set at 25,000 feet. Price Induction is already ground testing a slightly less powerful version of the DGen engine. On its stand at the Paris Air Show later this month, the engine designer will have a 1/30th-scale mockup of the GP-210 on display. GP Aerospace engineer Stéphane Brand said his company is targeting piston aircraft pilots who want to upgrade for higher speed and better reliability at an affordable price. Pessotti formerly led Eviation, which has been trying to develop a very light twinjet based on the VisionAire Vantage design.

Birdstrike Warning Systems Not Quite Ready Yet
Despite claims by one company that its system is ready for prime time, industry experts tell AIN that accurate radar birdstrike warning for pilots is similar to early TCAS development: technically feasible but requiring extensive testing and refinement before it can be certified and free of false alarms. Currently, the FAA’s center of excellence in airport technology at the University of Illinois is evaluating systems at several major airports and developing the national equipment standard. Dr. Tim Nohara, president of Canadian bird radar manufacturer Accipiter Radar of Fonthill, Ontario, said currently available systems would have been unable to provide accurate avoidance guidance to US Airways Flight 1549, since at 2,800 feet and three miles from La Guardia the geese it struck were too far away. “New antennas and associated technology should do it in a couple of years, but not today,” he said. According to Seattle SeaTac Airport senior wildlife biologist Steve Osmek, “Successful bird control depends on local knowledge. Here, radar monitoring of bird movements has been extremely valuable, and will definitely contribute to aviation safety.”

More News from AINonline...

Bombardier Feeling Pressure over Q400 Deferrals


Bombardier’s plans to increase production of its commercial airplanes by 10 percent this year remain intact for the time being, notwithstanding Bombardier Aerospace president and COO Guy Hachey’s statement yesterday that some customers have approached the company about possible delivery deferrals.... More...

Ukraine’s AeroSvit Launches An-148 Service
Ukrainian airline AeroSvit launched passenger service Tuesday with the first Antonov An-148-100 regional jet on a flight between Boyrspil International Airport, outside Kiev, and Kharkov, in northeastern Ukraine....More...

Also Noted...

During an interview yesterday on CNBC, NetJets CEO Richard Santulli said business at the fractional provider has been off 26 percent this year in terms of hours flown, though he said that is better than the industry average of 30 percent. According to Santulli, it is the economy and stock market that is currently stymieing the business aviation industry, though he said he expects recent flight cutbacks at the airlines will result in more demand for use of business aircraft since company employees still need to travel.

Peachtree City, Ga.-based Century CRM recently developed its first human factors program for Training Port, a Canadian company providing online training for professional pilots. The first program in the series explores conflict resolution in the cockpit. The short online interactive series provides an introduction to the more advanced aspects of human-factors training offered by Century CRM. The first course was made available to Training Port clients last month, with future courses planned for release later this year.

General Motors, which filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday, is attempting to cancel seven aircraft leases and a hangar lease at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in bankruptcy court. In December, it said it would sell all seven of its jets–two Gulfstream Vs and five G350s. The judge overseeing the bankruptcy will hold a hearing on canceling these contracts, among others, in two weeks.

Teterboro Airport will be closed for two 36-hour weekend periods next month to allow for rehabilitation work, according to NBAA’s GA Desk. The closures–from July 10 to 12 and July 17 to 19–will facilitate the work required on Runway 6-24 at the intersection of Runway 1-19. NBAA is reminding pilots flying to Teterboro to check notams for more details.

AlphaVictor entered an exclusive sales relationship with Sporty’s Pilot Shop to market AvLogbook, an online pilot logbook. According to Sporty’s, AvLogbook is user friendly and can automatically calculate FAA night hours and cross-country distances, among others. It also provides reminders for currency, medical and Part 61/135 checks, as well as FAA-legal printouts. AvLogbook costs $125.

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