While 2003 general aviation shipping and billing numbers are hardly cause for celebration, the CEOs of GA manufacturers are generally upbeat and optimistic that a turnaround has been reached. And even though 2003 was a “challenging year,” it still ranks as the fifth best year for billings in GA’s history.
News and issues concerning general aviation, specifically airplanes and helicopters powered by piston and alternative engines (i.e., non-turbine powered aircraft). Subjects include aircraft, engines, personnel, acquisitions, accidents, safety, security and training.
Where else but Oshkosh can you see an airshow performance by a vintage biplane with a jet engine strapped to its belly, take a ride in a 1929 Ford Trimotor, fill up on grilled bratwurst heaping with sauerkraut and mustard and top it all off by spending the night camped under the wing of your own airplane?
Lockheed Martin is scheduled to take over operation of Flight Service Stations today in what the company promises to be a seamless transition. In February the FAA awarded Lockheed Martin a contract to provide FSS services now offered by the agency’s 58 automated flight service stations in the continental U.S. Over the next 18 months the company plans to upgrade the FSS system and consolidate the number of stations from 58 to 20.
The chairman of the Aviation Safety Foundation Australia, a private-sector organization, expressed “grave concern” over the sustainability of general aviation in the country. Addressing a recent aviation conference in Australia, John Sharp said the federal government is not doing enough to foster the growth of GA. “Wherever you look, general aviation is in decline,” he asserted.
When the national threat level was raised to code orange (high) on December 21, most people in general aviation took it in stride. With New Year’s celebrations just days off, new TFRs were issued for New York City and Las Vegas, followed by one for downtown Chicago, and waivers were suspended for sports stadium overflights and the Washington, D.C. air defense identification zone.
The general aviation industry continued a strong recovery through third-quarter deliveries and billings, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. New aircraft billings were up 19.7 percent, to $8.1 billion, in the first nine months of this year, while total deliveries of new GA airplanes increased 7.7 percent, to 1,928.
The new weekly 30-minute program Wings to Adventure, premiering on The Outdoor Channel in July, will touch briefly on very light jets and other business jets.
Europe’s controlled airspace is to be expanded to absorb air transport growth, leaving the general aviation community with the prospect of paying air traffic management fees and having to adjust to a more complex operating environment.
Embraer is preparing to mark the centennial next year of the first flight of Alberto Santos-Dumont’s 14 Bis biplane with a display at its Le Bourget static exhibition of the first of three 14 Bis replicas built in Brazil. The first replica is next to Embraer’s Legacy business jet and will remain throughout the Paris Air Show.
Here at the Paris air show on the static display, visitors can see a rebuilt Dassault Flamant (Flamingo) MD-312 light military transport. Its recent history is that of enthusiasts investing time and money. But the near future is even more exciting, as the Flamant is to fly across the Atlantic to the Air Venture show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, next month. Tail number F-AZVG is exhibited next to the Embraer 195.