General Aviation Manufacturers Association president Pete Bunce decried President Obama’s “negative rhetoric” about the GA industry and sent a blunt message yesterday: “If you go after our customers, you go after every one of us.” His remarks came at a campaign-style rally for industry workers at the Rockwell Collins hangar in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. For months, Obama has assailed the special accelerated depreciation afforded business aircraft–among other capital investments–as a prime example of the type of upper-class tax breaks it wants to eliminate. The industry views saving the provision as critical to driving new aircraft sales in a down market. The Treasury Department estimates that repealing it would raise $3 billion over 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office puts this year’s federal budget deficit at more than $1.5 trillion. General aviation manufacturers employ more than 2,000 Iowans and contribute $1.4 billion to the state’s economy. Overall, the industry employs more than 1.2 million Americans. At the rally, Rockwell Collins CEO Clay Jones noted that overall GA annually contributes $150 billion to the national economy and is one of the nation’s few remaining manufacturing sectors that yields a trade surplus.
Business aviation industry analyst Brian Foley believes the recent market volatility might “result in a short period of slower sales for some manufacturers, but net orders (sales less cancellations) will remain positive.” While temporarily lower aircraft utilization caused by macroeconomic instability could negatively affect service providers, including FBOs and maintenance providers, “These aviation companies have already adapted to the slower environment and are in a better position than they were before to deal with the occasional pullback,” he said.
Wilson Air Center opened its new 9,000-sq-ft executive terminal and FBO complex at Chattanooga (Tenn.) Metropolitan Airport last week. Its new campus features offices, hangar facilities, ramp and a self-serve fuel farm. The terminal building includes an open floor-plan lobby, coffee bar, executive conference room and a business center. Additionally, the facility features a pilot’s lounge with two private snooze rooms, private shower for flight crews and bicycles for pilot use.
NASA is using a Gulfstream II, provided by Threshold Technologies, for the agency’s High Ice Water Content (HIWC) flight campaign, from which data will be used to define new parameters for developing and certifying aircraft engines, air data systems and weather radar systems. The instrument-laden aircraft will conduct more than 200 hours of flight research, which will also support development of weather forecasting tools to help pilots avoid potentially hazardous icing conditions.
Éric Martel has been appointed president of Bombardier Customer Services & Specialized and Amphibious Aircraft, replacing James Hoblyn, who died last month. Previously Martel was Bombardier Aerospace’s senior vice president of commercial aircraft. Before joining Bombardier in 2002, he held different senior positions in manufacturing, engineering, procurement and maintenance and overhaul within the aviation industry.
First joining Bombardier in 2002 as vice president of operations-North America for Bombardier Transportation, he led a successful reorganization and transformation.
MyGoFlight launched the iPad Sport series cased for both kneeboard and cockpit-mounted uses. This series joins a product line that includes an iPad kneeboard, mounts, flight bags, external GPS devices and other related accessories. The new Sport case can quick-connect to the company’s iPad RAM cockpit mounts. MyGoFlight said its products can help pilots meet the FAA’s recently released guidance regarding cockpit use of the iPad and other EFBs, outlined in Information for Operators (InFO) 11011.