Just days after commending President Obama for his June 28 visit to an Alcoa plant in Davenport, Iowa, Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) president and CEO Marion Blakey found his next day broadside against business aviation “baffling and disturbing.”
Some days I feel like Richard Clarke the fateful summer before the tragedy of 9/11, when his hair was all on fire as his warnings about the mounting threats by Al Qaeda against the U.S. fell on deaf ears. We all know how that turned out.
Here at Business Jet Traveler magazine, we know that it’s officially summer because our 2011 Buyers’ Guide has shipped.
At 11:29 this morning, the final space shuttle flight got under way as Atlantis rose from the launch pad on a column of fire from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The threat of thunderstorms had remained at bay, and, some 2.5 minutes later than planned, STS-135 headed skyward to punch through an overcast on its way to spending 12 days in the void above.
Now that Caiga has finalized its purchase of Cirrus Aircraft, it is more than abundantly clear that Chinese companies (most owned by the government) are making huge investments in general aviation (GA) infrastructure. But the Chinese government is making a gigantic mistake that will make it difficult for these investments ever to pay off.
President Obama had barely concluded his June 29 press conference when my e-mail box began filling up with responses from the general-aviation industry. The NBAA expressed “dismay” and announced that it was sending a “strongly worded” letter to the President about his remarks, which it said “reflect a total lack of understanding” of the field.
As part of an industry still struggling to recover from a recession and continuing attacks by the media and politicians alike, I was appalled by President Obama’s press conference Wednesday in which he used his bully pulpit to vilify corporate-jet owners. Not surprised. But appalled.
Prominent U.S. defense programs are feeling pressure from more than just Congress and Pentagon cost police. Before and during the Paris Air Show, Boeing’s KC-46A tanker and Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II faced flak from the aviation press and, in the latter case, an ally’s speech.
As I flew home amid the screaming babies in the back of a packed 767 from Charles de Gaulle Airport to New York’s JFK, something struck me as different about this Paris Air Show, apart from the exceptional number of orders and so-called commitments the world’s civil aircraft manufacturers had managed to collect for broadcast at Le Bourget.
The McDonnell Douglas A-12 Avenger II’s radical, wedge-shaped design still looks exotic, even in the 20 years since the program was cancelled after an outlay of billions of dollars that failed to produce even one real airplane. The proposed Navy attack bomber has fascinated me ever since the first time I saw an artist’s rendering of it.