Within days after it became public last month that Congress was seeking to purchase additional business jets for use by senior government officials, House leaders dropped the $550 million request from the Defense Department’s budget.
Aviation International News » September 2009
Moribund Adam Aircraft has a new owner. Thomas Hsueh says he plans to decide by year-end whether to place a modified version of the piston-powered A500 push-pull twin into production. He has hired very light jet designer Luc Van Bavel, a veteran of the Safire Jet and Diamond D-Jet programs, to evaluate changes required to make the 500 commercially viable.
Los Angeles-based private aircraft charter services company Air Royale International is offering a best-price guarantee on its air charter flights. Air Royale, a Wyvern-authorized charter broker, said it will pay $500 to customers if it can’t beat a lower-priced competing quote. While it vows to offer the lowest charter quote, the firm also promises “stringent air safety” by using only Wyvern-qualified crews and aircraft.
Greenjets shared business jet service between New York and Florida began last month, and service to Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Washington and Atlanta will be phased in before year-end. The service is sold per-seat but uses the existing fleet of ARG/US-rated charter aircraft. Over the next two years, Greenjets plans to open 27 more markets, including Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas and Phoenix.
The expansion of opening hours and its improved fire and rescue capability seem to have paid off at the UK’s Oxford Airport, which saw significant increases in business aviation traffic during July. On several days, the privately owned airport handled 20 business aircraft movements, compared with an average of 10 in July last year. The airport’s standard opening hours are now 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
GE Aviation will soon start certification testing of its new 800-shp H80 turboprop engine, derived from the Walter M601. Last summer, GE acquired certain assets of Prague, Czech Republic-based Walter Engines.
The Signature Flight Support FBO chain has outperformed a flagging market in the first six months of this year, according to parent company BBA Aviation. Revenues at Signature were down 14 percent compared with the first half of last year, but BBA says that this compares favorably with an average 26-percent revenue decline in the U.S. business aviation ground handling sector, as well as a 20-percent drop in Europe. BBA
While praising the FAA’s establishment of an Aviation Rulemaking Committee in response to the crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407, the European Cockpit Association (ECA) blasted its own rulemaking authorities for “shying away” from acting on conclusions from a study that purportedly exposes current EU fatigue rules as insufficient.
Acting on calls for more stringent regulatory oversight of regional airlines after the February 12 crash of a Colgan Air Bombardier Q400 outside Buffalo, N.Y., the House of Representatives in late July introduced a bill called the Airline Safety and Pilot Training Improvement Act of 2009, which, among other things, would require all first officers to carry an air transport pilot certificate to serve in the right seat of any Part 121 airliner.
The NTSB last month released a cockpit voice recorder transcript as part of its investigation into the Sept. 19, 2008, overrun crash of a Learjet 60 in Columbia, S.C., which killed two crewmembers and two passengers; two remaining passengers survived with severe burns. According to the NTSB, the Learjet’s pilots attempted to abort the takeoff after a high-speed tire burst.