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October 1, 2014, 3:05 AM

On the heels of statements of dissatisfaction by senior U.S. Air Force officials about the current delay of more than two years in producing the critical Mission Data Unit (MDU) of the DOD’s future GPS III satellite program, the USAF issued a Sources Sought ultimatum to GPS III contractor Lockheed Martin and its subcontractor Excelis. Such a declaration–essentially advising the contractor to improve performance and indicating that the agency is investigating other sources for the work–was a bombshell event for the aerospace community.

October 1, 2014, 2:45 AM

The rewrite of the EASA’s CS-23 and the FAA’ s Part 23 rules (known as the “CS/Part 23 Reorganization” initiative) is taking shape, and at a workshop last month in Brussels European authorities expressed unconditional support for the effort. Manufacturers of light aircraft (up to 12,500 pounds) are propelling this effort to establish more practical rules.

October 1, 2014, 2:15 AM

There had to be a way of delivering the latest in business jet technology without doing a clean-sheet design,” said Jay Heublein, executive v-p of global sales and marketing for Nextant Aerospace, explaining the reasoning behind the Nextant 400XTi remanufacturing of the Beechjet 400/Hawker 400XP.

October 1, 2014, 2:10 AM

At last year’s NBAA show, whatever good news could be unearthed about business aviation was dampened by the dismal impact of the government sequestration, effects of which are still evident. While the political machinations emanating from Washington, D.C., this year seem to have abated somewhat, there is still a threat of a government shutdown, but so far, at least, there have been no big eruptions of user fee proposals to mar this year’s show. Attacks on business aviation seem to have abated, too, perhaps because the government has more important items on its agenda.

October 1, 2014, 1:55 AM

Greg Maitlen pivoted the Bell 407GX carefully as we approached a ridge slightly lower than nearby 10,064-foot Mount San Antonio (also known as Mount Baldy), the highest peak in southern California’s tinder-dry San Gabriel mountain range. Maitlen, Bell Helicopter’s regional sales manager for the mountain U.S., was piloting a demo of the 407GX’s new flight manual supplement allowing carriage of a heavier payload in hot-and-high conditions. The new AFM supplement was certified in July and involves no changes to the 407GX other than placing the new FMS-12 supplement in the helicopter.

October 1, 2014, 1:35 AM

Aerion’s long-awaited AS2 supersonic business jet (SSBJ) program received a major boost last month when Airbus signed up for a partnership involving an exchange of knowledge and capabilities in design, manufacturing and certification. According to Aerion, the collaboration will support the Mach 1.6, $100+ million AS2 through to certification. Although the industrialization plan for the new jet has still to be confirmed, the Reno, Nev.-based group said that this will happen “over the course of the next year” and confirmed that it is no longer searching for a manufacturing partner.

September 30, 2014, 3:40 PM

The FAA is conducting a 30-day review of contingency plans and security protocols for its major facilities, after a “criminal action by a contractor knocked out communications equipment” at the FAA air route traffic control center (ARTCC) in Aurora, Ill. on Friday, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced yesterday at an Air Traffic Control Association conference in Maryland.

September 30, 2014, 3:34 PM

While the economy has grown stronger, there is still a lot of work to do to support business aviation’s recovery in the policy arena, NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen told the attendees at a chief pilots roundtable late last week in Washington, D.C.“The expectation is, as we work our way through the remainder of 2014, that the U.S. economy will continue to strengthen,” he said, noting gains in aviation fuel sales and flight activity, as well as declining inventory and stabilizing sales prices for pre-owned aircraft.

September 30, 2014, 3:33 PM

The City Council of Houston, Texas, heard final arguments today regarding the awarding of another FBO lease at Houston Hobby Airport, which is already home to five major service providers that pump a combined 1.2 million gallons of fuel a month.

September 30, 2014, 3:26 PM

When Brazilian gubernatorial candidate Janete Riva arrived at Pontes e Lacerda Municipal Airport on September 20 to head to her next campaign stop, her King Air C90GT (S/N LJ-1759, tail number PR-ATY) and two pilots she’d just spoken with were nowhere to be found. Ten days later they’re still missing, despite six days of intensive searching by Brazilian and Bolivian police in cities along the nearby border.

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