EAA AirVenture 2009

 - August 27, 2009, 6:46 AM

That the annual EAA AirVenture show offers a mouth-watering and impossible-to-swallow cornucopia of everything aviation was never more evident than at this year’s event, where a colossal Airbus A380 shared the ramp at AeroShell Square with Burt Rutan’s most outlandish creation yet, the spaceship-launching Virgin Galactic WhiteKnightTwo built by the talented crew at Scaled Composites. The two giants were joined by all the usual visitors and some other new arrivals, including the first-ever remotely flown UAV to land at Oshkosh, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Predator B, whose operator flew in air-conditioned comfort in a trailer on the flight line while piloting the UAV to Wittman Regional Airport on July 14.

What EAA AirVenture truly has become is a perfect snapshot of an industry that is the heart of global aerospace, chronicling the up- and downcycles as entrepreneurs launch new enterprises or flame out spectacularly, providing a platform for new aircraft designs or resurrections of technologies that ran out of money and the will to see them through.

AirVenture is the place where many questions get asked and answered, such as whatever happened to that Canadian company Orenda, which certified an automotive-style liquid-cooled V8 engine? Check out the Trace Engines booth; that company took over the Orenda program. Or why are there two Adam A500 piston twins on display southwest of the main admission gate? It turns out that the few owners of flyable A500s have formed the A500 Owners Association.

Purely by coincidence, Thomas Hseuh, who bought the A500 type certificate and all the assets of the former Adam Aircraft from its Russian owners (who gave up on resurrecting the brand), came to Oshkosh and was surprised to stumble across the A500s. Now Hseuh is trying to decide whether to develop the A500 further and possibly restart the A700 certification program or just enjoy the great deal he got on all the Adam machine tools, computers and parts. Even famed designer Jim Bede, who lost a ton of kit-buyers’ money on the BD-5 program in the 1970s, was back promoting yet another new airplane, this time the updated homebuilt BD-4C.

But that’s AirVenture or, as most people still call it, Oshkosh. For a long week, Oshkosh was the home of impossibly large aircraft such as the A380 and the improbable coincidence, of which just one more telling example: Airbus test pilot Claude Lelaie captained the A380 into Oshkosh, landing as Airbuses do angled into the crosswind and not aligned with the runway. Inside the A380 was another airplane, Claude’s own twin-engine Cri Cri, in which he dazzled the Oshkosh crowds 18 years ago flying an aerobatic routine. During the show, the Cri Cri nuzzled beneath the A380, smaller and much lighter than one of the A380’s VW Beetle-sized air-conditioning packs, providing yet another tasty morsel for the crowds to ogle while waiting in the hour-long line to get on board the A380.

Sadly, the usually boisterous Eclipse Aviation display was missing and there was no early Monday-morning Vern Raburn press conference. At last year’s opening-day event, Raburn stunned the aviation world when he announced he was leaving the company; Eclipse’s bankruptcy followed a few months later, and new company Eclipse Aerospace plans to purchase Eclipse’s assets around the time this issue is published. While there might have been some Eclipse 500s somewhere on the airport, the only evidence of the former high-flying very light jet manufacturer at AirVenture was the V-Jet II VLJ prototype that former Eclipse president and CEO Raburn donated to the EAA Museum, sitting somewhat forlornly next to the Light Sport Aircraft Mall, and a handwritten advertisement posted on the public bulletin board outside the EAA store, offering a slightly used Eclipse 500 for just $995,000.

The former Eclipse president and CEO, it should be noted, was on hand at Oshkosh. He was spotted at one raucous evening event at the famous Oshkosh watering hole, the Acee Deucee Lounge, holding forth among a crowd that included former employees, suppliers that lost money on the Eclipse program and even some people that Eclipse had sued.

Despite the absence of any Raburnesque theatrics, this year’s AirVenture was not without controversy, especially the tense on and off negotiations between Cirrus Aircraft cofounder Alan Klapmeier and the leaders of the company he helped found, to try to buy the Cirrus Vision single-engine jet program and bring it to fruition with or without Cirrus’s help.

Personal Jet Contenders

The VLJ mania spurred by the Eclipse program has abated, and now the big race is for single-engine so-called personal jets. Cirrus’s Vision remains a promising design, and Cirrus leaders continue to promote the program while acknowledging that money is tight. Both the Vision and Piper’s PiperJet prototypes took to the Oshkosh skies to strut their stuff, while Diamond Aircraft displayed two D-Jets on the company’s expanded AirVenture site, highlighting the D-Jet’s status as the front-runner in the single-engine jet certification stakes. Joining the fray is the Stratos 714, a four-place high-performance single-engine jet whose designers are seeking fresh money to see the program through its first phase, building a prototype.

Only one company introduced a new jet at AirVenture, kit manufacturer Sonex, which brought its new single-place SubSonex jet single to Oshkosh. The SubSonex is part of Sonex’s Hornet’s Nest research and development program and may never be offered to the marketplace, according to company spokesman Mark Schaible, but the company was using the Oshkosh debut to evaluate demand.

The SubSonex prototype is powered by an approximately 200-pound-thrust Heward Microjets turbine engine, mounted on the top of the fuselage forward of the V tail. While Sonex plans to fly the SubSonex prototype with this engine, that flight is pending development of an electronic fuel control unit, which Sonex engineers are designing. Production models would likely have a different engine because the Heward engine is out of production, Schaible said.

The SubSonex is designed to be fully aerobatic and will provide one-hour endurance, stall speed of 40 mph, 300-mph Vne, 240-mph cruise and 2,000-fpm climb (after burning off about half the fuel load). Kit price, if it gets to that stage, should be $40,000 to $50,000. “We’re not too concerned with endurance,” he said. “It’s made for getting up and putting a smile on your face.” Schaible expects that no type rating would be required for SubSonex pilots.

Cirrus Questions

Cirrus Aircraft officials assured AirVenture attendees at a Monday-morning press conference that despite the ongoing negotiations and tension surrounding cofounder Alan Klapmeier’s attempt to purchase the Vision jet program, the project continues. “The Vision program is moving forward,” said Cirrus president and CEO Brent Wouters. “We’re making good progress; the prototype testing is largely complete.
We’re making some modifications to the prototype to improve our understanding as we make slight changes in the design. We’re heading into the detail design phase, and we’re making good progress there.”

Alan’s brother and Cirrus cofounder Dale Klapmeier chose the company press conference to address the issue of relations with his brother. “We don’t look at pulling the jet apart from Cirrus,” he said. “But with Alan, that’s different. Alan’s my brother, he’s the cofounder of the company, he’s the only person that we would consider talking with about peeling the jet away, because if Alan can buy it, it still will be in our minds part of the family.”

Cirrus has returned some Vision depositors’ money but orders for the jet remain at nearly 400 aircraft, according to Wouters. Securing funding for continued development is a challenge, he admitted. “This whole program is capital-dependent. The schedule that we are on today brings the product to market in 2012. Without external capital, that’s going to be extremely difficult to hit. But we’re still on the same schedule to try and hit a 2012 delivery date to the customer. That’s what our team is executing to today.”

According to Wouters, Cirrus will continue to fund the Vision program from cash flow, but that allows the program to proceed at a certain rate, which could accelerate with external capital. “We’ve looked at how that program would roll out if we had to fund it with our own capital,” he said. “We don’t want to put all of our eggs in that basket; we want to see if we can get other capital to do it in the most efficient time. If we can get other capital, we can optimize the plan and get it to market quickest, which is in the end the smartest thing. I do genuinely believe that Alan is uniquely qualified to raise the capital, [and there are] ways in which that can be a win-win situation. I have a lot of respect for Alan in that regard. Who knows whether that will work out?”

Later during AirVenture, Alan Klapmeier halted his efforts to acquire the Vision program and revealed that his contract as chairman of Cirrus, which expired at the end of last month, was not slated to be renewed. “It is us that ended negotiations when I thought we could go no higher and they could go no lower,” he told AIN. “I will not be chairman of the board, and what our future relationship is, [that] is undecided. It was clearly their choice.”

Whither PiperJet?

The sale of Piper Aircraft in May to Imprimis raised questions about the future of the company and the PiperJet single-engine jet program, but the company’s new leadership team came to Oshkosh with a reassuring message about strategic direction and even the announcement of a rebranding of the Piper Archer. Piper is hiring 50 new engineers for the PiperJet program. At the same time, slow sales of existing products forced the company to lay off about 60 production workers. “We have a future and a long-term strategic vision,” said vice president of sales Bob Kromer.

The new Archer will sell for $300,000 and includes standard leather seats, Garmin’s new G600 avionics suite and an S-Tec 55X autopilot. According to Kromer, Piper booked a significant number of orders for the new Archer at a pre-AirVenture dealer meeting.

The PiperJet had logged 130 flights and 120 hours since its first flight during last year’s AirVenture show. Airspeed and flutter tests have been done up to the 250-knot/Mach 0.55 Vmo/Mmo. The drag polar for the prototype, he said, “is extremely encouraging” and the results indicate that the company will be able to deliver the promised 360-knot cruise speed as well as the 1,300-nm IFR range. The PiperJet’s Williams International FJ44-3AP engine will be derated to 2,450 pounds of thrust from 3,000 pounds. Time to climb to the 35,000-foot maximum altitude will be 18 minutes or 22 minutes at a higher cruise-climb speed. PiperJet orders currently stand at 100 aircraft for retail customers and 100 more for Piper dealers.

There was some concern that the placement of the engine on the vertical stabilizer would cause pitch changes with power application, but that problem has been solved, Kromer said. A passive variable thrust-vectored nozzle designed by Williams engineers automatically deflects thrust to counteract pitching moments. “It deflects the thrust enough to have minimal to no pitch change,” he said.

The nozzle employs the Coanda effect, using no moving parts and adjusting the vector of the thrust depending on the strength of the air flowing through the nozzle. Test pilots report that the PiperJet “handles like a normal airplane with power application and power reduction.” Solving this problem eliminates the need for a stability augmentation system, saving weight, complexity and cost.

Imprimis is committed to long-term strategic investment in Piper, according to Kromer. “We have a future,” he said.

Imprimis managing partner Stephen Berger underscored Kromer’s sentiment, confirming that the company is well aware of the enormous cost of fielding a new jet. In the past Kromer suggested that the project would require another $150 million. “We wouldn’t have bought the company if we weren’t committed to seeing that airplane come to market,” Berger told AIN. “I’m not going to comment on what the budget is to do that, but it’s a lot of money, and we have underwritten that project and the simple answer is the budget for that aircraft exists. We’re comfortable with this management team to do it on budget or under budget and on time. We have the appetite for that process.”

Stratos Is Serious

While other single-engine jet programs are delayed and Eclipse’s model 400 single jet is all but completely dead, another company–Stratos Aircraft–has stepped into the void with a new program that promises a jet with surprisingly ambitious performance. Stratos is based in Bend, Ore., home of the former Columbia program that was purchased by Cessna and also now-closed Epic Aircraft. Those companies trained a lot of people on composite design and manufacturing, including Stratos chief technology officer and vice president of engineering Carsten Sundin, who worked for kit manufacturers Lancair and Epic Aircraft.

Gordon Robinson, Stratos’s chief aerodynamicist, is confident that the company’s goal to build a four-seat jet that can fly 1,500 nm (NBAA IFR range, 100 nm reserve) at 400 knots for a $2 million price (today’s dollars) is achievable. The engine is a 3,030-pound-thrust Williams International FJ44-3AP.

At this year’s AirVenture, Stratos brought the company’s first fuselage mockup to show visitors and potential buyers how roomy a small cabin can be if it needs to seat only four people. Stratos began accepting $50,000 deposits in July, and these are escrowed, refundable and interest-earning. The first 25 buyers will enjoy a cap on inflation, so their price will not top $2.5 million, regardless of the rate of inflation.

The Stratos 714 single-engine jet is the brainchild of Michael Lemaire, chairman and CEO and owner of a Lancair IVP. Lemaire wanted an airplane that was faster and roomier than a Lancair IVP but didn’t want to pay the huge premium for a twin-engine business jet. The goal of 400 knots and 1,500 nm range is easily achievable in a twinjet, but all jets that offer that level of performance also have more seating capacity in addition to the greater initial and ongoing costs. Why pay for eight seats, Lemaire wondered, when all he wanted was a roomy four?

What Lemaire and the Stratos team discovered was a sweet spot in the market niche lineup for something like the 714, with high performance, low cost and plenty of room to enjoy the flight. The 714 performance goals assume four 190-pound occupants, each with a 30-pound bag and one 20-pound flight bag for the pilot.

A challenge for single-engine jet designers is the location of the engine. On twin-engine jets, most designers opt for traditional rear fuselage attachment, although there is the unique and performance- enhancing exception in Michimasa Fujino’s patented over-the-wing HondaJet configuration. The engine of most single-engine jets is mounted on top of the rear fuselage or, in the PiperJet’s case, DC-10-style in the vertical stabilizer. But these configurations run the risk of pitch changes when power is changed and require additional design work to minimize or eliminate this effect. One optimal solution, chosen by both Stratos and Diamond on its D-Jet, is to embed the engine in the fuselage and channel airflow through inlets grafted to the fuselage. Turbine engines are finicky and demand a clean and uniform flow of air, so the design of the ducts that deliver the air to the engine is critical.

The mid-fuselage engine installation has an added benefit for the Stratos 714. “This is the only place where the thrust is through the center of gravity,” said aerodynamicist Robinson. And that location also helps provide a wide cg range so that 714 owners will find that no matter what they carry, the CG will remain within that range (unless they opt to transport lead bricks).

The complex S duct is slightly inset into the lower fuselage, but without intruding into cabin space. This affects the design of the cabin door, requiring a complex shape needing additional and heavier reinforcement. “We think that’s a good trade,” Robinson explained.

The 714 airframe is made of composite materials (the fuselage is a composite sandwich). There are two external baggage compartments, one in the nose and one behind the cabin. Most of the fuel is carried in the wing, with a small amount held in a tank between the S ducts in the lower fuselage, space that would otherwise be wasted.

Stratos needs to raise $12 million to build the first two prototypes and hopes to achieve first flight in 2011, followed by FAA certification in 2013, which should cost another $100 million, according to CEO Lemaire. “It’s a big challenge,” he admitted. “But it’s a niche that will be fulfilled one way or another.”

The Commercial Side

While AirVenture remains the quintessential meeting place for all kinds of aeronautical fun, the show seems to be growing as an attraction for the more commercial side of the aviation business. Manufacturers such as Cessna and Hawker Beechcraft, which don’t plan to exhibit inside the NBAA Convention hall in Orlando this year, were well represented at AirVenture with their usual huge outdoor displays. Hawker Beechcraft introduced the new King Air C90GTx. This year Gulfstream was a no-show, having brought one or two jets to the last few AirVentures. And Embraer scaled back its AirVenture exhibit, although it did bring a Phenom 100. Daher-Socata reported that its TBM 850 backlog stands at 40 airplanes and deliveries this year will be around 40, down from 60 last year. But that is closer to Daher-Socata’s normal average delivery numbers of 30 per year, according to Daher-Socata North America president Nicholas Chabbert.

There may be news later this year or early next year about Daher-Socata’s plans to field a twin-engine aircraft, he said, but any such announcement would be made by Daher Group chairman and CEO Patrick Daher. “We’re now reviewing technical aspects,” said Chabbert, “and conducting marketing and technical assessments.”

Cessna came to AirVenture with its first Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) certification under its belt, which means that the company has met all the ASTM International requirements for the new 162 SkyCatcher two-seat trainer. Although there have been some order cancellations, according to Cessna chairman, CEO and president Jack Pelton, the company has orders for than 1,000 SkyCatchers. The first production model is scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter.

Cessna engineers did have to make some changes, adding rudder and ventral surface area and redesigning some elements of the controls, as a result of two prototype crashes during spin testing (no one was injured). “Getting it right is more important than [keeping to] the schedule,” Pelton said.

More important for Cessna is making sure that the SkyCatcher training program encourages new pilots to go beyond the Light Sport training program to earn further certificates. Cessna and King Schools jointly developed the SkyCatcher’s Web-based training program, which will be offered in the approximately 300 Cessna Pilot Centers. The training focuses extensively on scenario-based training, according to John King, who founded King Schools with his wife, Martha, helping students learn how to evaluate and deal with risks of flying and spending less time on redundant elements that aren’t related to what causes accidents. For example, a large number of accidents involve maneuvering flight, and few instructors teach students how
to fly over a friend’s house safely. This is an ideal scenario to simulate, according to King, with a built-in purpose, identification of risks and hazards associated with the flight and the opportunity to devise a plan to manage those risks.

Contrast the benefits of that training, he said, with the way students are often trained to spend valuable time checking, say, aileron hinges during preflight. “The things they are looking at aren’t causing accidents,” he said. “We still preflight the way they did in barnstorming days, and we’re not preflighting the things that cause accidents.” The SkyCatcher training incorporates risk management and situation awareness practices throughout, he emphasized.

For Cessna, AirVenture is a great way to meet a large number of customers, according to Pelton. “Oshkosh is probably one of the more [unusual] shows in the world. It’s really important to be here.” Despite the recent cancellation of the Columbus large-cabin jet program, Cessna continues to spend the same percentage of revenue on research and development and currently has a portfolio of new products ready to offer to the market as the economy improves, Pelton said. One promising possibility is creating an airplane to fill the gap between Cessna’s 400 Corvalis TT high-performance composite piston single and the Citation Mustang very light jet. And further upgrades to the existing Citation family are likely, he added.

New Programs?

This year’s AirVenture was not a big venue for new program announcements, although there were, as usual, avionics developments. After signing a memorandum of understanding last year with Rolls-Royce, this year helicopter kit manufacturer RotorWay International announced that it is launching a new two-seat turbine helicopter for the certified marketplace. The Eagle 300T will be powered by the Rolls-Royce 300 engine and compete directly with Robinson’s soon-to-be-certified R66. Price will be lower than the R66’s, according to RotorWay chairman and CEO Grant Norwitz, and certification is planned by the end of 2011.

A lot of excitement this year revolved around electrically pow-ered airplanes. Companies displaying electric airplanes included China’s Yuneec, with a two-place e430 LSA, expected to sell for $89,000. Flightstar’s e-Spyder is an ultralight offering 40 minutes of flight time, and the aircraft will be sold as a kit for about $24,000. Last year’s pioneering Electric Airplane Electraflyer-X was back. The kit airplane flies at about 80 mph and is designed to offer two hours endurance on a single charge.

In other LSA news, Icon Aircraft’s amphibian made its first public water flight demo at the Oshkosh seaplane base on Lake Winnebago on July 31. And Terrafugia’s now-flying roadable airplane prototype LSA folded and unfolded its wings for public viewing at AirVenture.

Also stopping at Oshkosh was the twin-turbine Dornier SeaStar, which made its first visit to AirVenture this year. After Oshkosh, the SeaStar flew to the West Coast for demo flights in Seattle and Vancouver and a stop in Monterey, Calif.

More than 10,000 aircraft descended on Oshkosh from July 27 to August 2 and attendance was up by 12 percent, according to the EAA, at about 578,000 people. The exhibitor count grew by 30 to 750. EAA spent more than $4 million on site improvements last year, and the new layout made getting around the show much easier and faster while opening new space for exhibitors to spread out a bit more.

D-Jet Leads the Pack of Jet Singles

Diamond Aircraft came to AirVenture with a larger display area than last year and significant accomplishments during what has been an extraordinarily difficult year for the company. The D-Jet was supposed to enter service later this year, but that has shifted to next year, in part because of other problems Diamond has encountered.

Diamond notified D-Jet deposit-holders in March that certification and first deliveries would be delayed a year, due to the recession and last year’s insolvency of Diamond’s chief diesel engine supplier, Thielert. These engines powered more than 60 percent of Diamond’s planned aircraft production for 2008 and the problem sucked away resources that had been slated for the D-Jet. Diamond recently received FAA certification for its new Austro diesel engine, developed in collaboration with MB Technology (Mercedes-Benz) and Bosch General Aviation Technology. The Austro-powered twin-engine DA42NG is already EASA certified and should receive FAA certification in the third quarter.

Even with the delayed schedule, the D-Jet will still likely be the first single-engine jet to be certified and enter service. Diamond brought D-Jets S/N 2 and S/N 3 to AirVenture, and both are equipped with CAV Aerospace TKS anti-icing panels, although the panels are not hooked up and operational. According to Mark Lee, Diamond’s director of marketing and sales, the D-Jet will be certified and equipped with de-icing boots. The TKS system with fluid would have weighed more than 200 pounds, given current and anticipated certification requirements, he said, “which is too much useful load to use on the icing system.” Diamond hasn’t revealed the boot supplier yet.

D-Jet S/N 3 flew with the original Williams International FJ33-15, rated at 1,500 pounds of thrust, in April 2008. Last year, Diamond announced that it will certify the D-Jet with the more powerful FJ33-15A but derated to 1,500 pounds. An optional upgrade is planned later, and future D-Jet buyers will be able to choose between either a 1,500- or 1,900-pound-thrust version.

To reward patient position-holders who continued to hold their D-Jet orders, Diamond is offering a free Garmin synthetic vision technology upgrade, which normally will cost about $30,000. Diamond currently has orders for more than 300 copies of the D-Jet, and options for more. There have been 15 to 20 cancellations, according to Lee. Deposits are not escrowed, and Diamond has 30 days after a refund request to repay the deposit money or it has to pay the deposit holder 4 percent interest. Lee said that Diamond has paid some deposits back in full and for others has elected to pay the 4-percent interest. “We’re being prudent with cash flow,” he said, “and meeting our obligations.”

Diamond plans to receive Transport Canada certification for the D-Jet next year, followed shortly by FAA certification then EASA. Diamond has also increased the D-Jet’s price, and those purchased after August 1 will sell for $1.89 million (March 2009 $). The previous price was about $1.5 million in current dollars.

Bizav at OSH

Business aviation has always been part of AirVenture, but this year the show embraced events that highlighted the segment’s contributions and emphasized the solidarity enjoyed by all segments of aviation. On July 31, AirVenture hosted business aviation day, a press conference and static display of business aircraft on AeroShell Square, featuring new FAA administrator Randy Babbitt, Gulfstream president Joe Lombardo and Pete Bunce, president and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. On the static display were a Learjet 40XR, Falcon 50, Cessna CJ1, Gulfstream G200, Pilatus PC-12, Piaggio Avanti II and Hawker Premier IA. Executives of the companies that operate those aircraft highlighted the critical role of the aircraft in their businesses.

On July 28, leaders of five aviation associations held a forum to discuss the key challenges facing the general aviation industry and the importance of all segments of aviation collaborating on finding solutions.

“We represent the entire spectrum of general aviation,” said EAA president and CEO Tom Poberezny. The theme of the meeting was that everyone needs to stand up for general aviation, he said. “Your voices need to be heard.”

“General aviation has been under attack,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. “We’ve got to make sure the public understands that we’re essential.” General aviation not only creates a significant number of jobs, but it also provides links to communities that aren’t served by airlines, offers a variety of humanitarian services and helps improve efficiency for business aircraft operators. Through efforts such as the NBAA/GAMA No Plane No Gain program and AOPA’s General Aviation Serves America, he said, “Together we can make a difference. Our entire future is at stake.”

GAMA president and CEO Bunce highlighted another critical issue for general aviation, the upcoming transition away from lead-based avgas, which he noted will be forced on the aviation industry by the Environmental Protection Agency if GA proponents don’t develop a suitable alternative soon. “Our job is to try to keep prices down and find a solution that fits the fleet,” he said. The most likely solution appears to be 94-octane unleaded fuel, but many higher-powered aircraft would need engine modifications to run that fuel, and it’s not clear if a distribution network is available.

“There is going to be pain,” Bunce said, but the pain will be minimized if the aviation industry cooperates on a solution. “The alternative is to have the EPA dictate to us.” And that might mean a lot of airplanes being parked.

Matthew Zuccaro, president of the Helicopter Association International, is worried about legislators’ attempts to draft laws that would take helicopter regulation away from the FAA and grant it to states. Another problem affecting all aviation is that legislators are trying to craft new rules outside normal FAA processes. “That takes away from our constitutional rights,” he said.

GA Serves America is already bearing fruit, according to Craig Fuller, AOPA’s new president. Actor and pilot Harrison Ford has agreed to help promote the GA Serves America campaign and has already filmed advertisements and plans to participate in other events this year, according to Fuller.

“We’ve got a lot on our plate,” said EAA’s Poberezny. “We’ve got to grow, and we need enthusiasts.” He asked the association leaders what is the number-one problem the group of associations could address to help general aviation grow.

“Motivating people,” said AOPA’s Fuller. “We need to share our story with as many people as possible.”

“Education is the key,” said Zuccaro of HAI. “Today we’re faced with a potential shortage of pilots and technicians.” GAMA’s Bunce warned that “if we let this [user fees, security regulations] happen, think of what their next target is going to be. The government is starved for dollars. These issues matter to every one of us.”

“United we stand, divided we fall,” said NBAA’s Bolen. “Last year, there was a conscious effort to divide general aviation into jets and pistons [during the user-fee battle]. We have got to stick together.”