A House and Senate conference committee compromised late Tuesday on a four-year FAA reauthorization bill that could reach a floor vote in both chambers as early as next week, beating yet another extension deadline set for February 17. The agency has been operating under short-term extensions since the last long-term multi-year reauthorization expired in late 2007. General aviation associations said they are studying the 375-page bill, which would fund the FAA through Fiscal Year 2015 at a total cost of $63 billion.
AINalerts » February 2, 2012
European aerospace research organizations are close to completing a study of a personal air transportation concept that could be realized in 2030 to 2050, in which passengers would use small pilotless aircraft to fill the gaps in the scheduled air transport network. Under the PPlane concept, a passenger or small group of passengers would book a flight with an aircraft operator. Teams of “pilots” on the ground would take care of a group of automated aircraft.
Bell Helicopter and Eurocopter both claimed victory in a ruling by the Federal Court of Canada on Tuesday. The case centered around a Eurocopter-patented landing gear design that was apparently used on two Bell 429 prototypes. While the court dismissed 15 of the 16 claims filed against Bell, it did find that the Texas-based company violated Eurocopter’s patent on the two 429 prototypes.
While customers in Asia have generally preferred new instead of pre-owned business jets, aircraft sales broker Jetcraft believes this tide could soon change. “Few would dispute that Asia is one of the hottest markets for sales of new long-range/large business aircraft,” said Jetcraft president Chad Anderson. In 2011, about 20 percent of the business jets sold by Jetcraft were new, with most of these going to clients in China, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
A surge in pilots requesting RVSM flight levels or operating in RVSM airspace (FL290 to FL410) without the required authorization prompted the FAA to issue Information for Operators (InFO) 12001, which emphasizes flight-planning responsibilities when conducting these operations. “In the first 15 days of November, 35 IFR operations were filed incorrectly,” the FAA said in the document.
Yesterday the FAA issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive (2012-02-51) that mandates the immediate replacement of main rotor blades on 697 Bell 206L, L-1, L-3 and L-4 helicopters after 1,400 hours, as opposed to the current 3,600-hour time in service limit, due to concerns about fatigue cracking. Special flight permits are prohibited under this EAD, effectively grounding hundreds of helicopters.
NBAA has applauded a strongly worded letter from two high-ranking U.S. government officials to European Union president Manuel Barroso, warning that Washington will take “appropriate action” if the EU continues demanding that aircraft registered in the U.S.
With less than two months to go before the opening of this year’s Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (Abace) in Shanghai, organizers report that exhibition space for the event is sold out. NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen notes that a new pavilion area added to accommodate the overflow has also been filled. “To see that area sell out along with our original floor space underscores the significant interest in the show in China and across the Asian region,” he said.
The business aircraft finance world will converge at the second iteration of the International Corporate Jet and Helicopter Finance Conference, to be held in London next week. The February 7 and 8 event is expected to attract more than 200 delegates and speakers, including representatives from more than 30 international finance institutions from 17 countries. According to conference organizer Corporate Jet Investor, 70 percent of all worldwide business jet and helicopter purchasers receive financing.
In response to increased demand for its VIP interior products, Boeing Business Jet completions specialist Greenpoint Technologies has bolstered its staff, adding Tim Pahls, previously v-p of sales with B/E Aerospace, as v-p of programs; and Ken Kummerow as senior director of engineering. The Washington state-based company also promoted Jim Baltrukovicz from program manager to director of program management. He will head Greenpoint’s current 747-8 VIP completion project.
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