In his State of the Union message to Congress, President Bush laid out the broad and ambitious objectives and goals the administration hopes to achieve during his second term. Topping the list was social security reform, for which the President sketched out options but acknowledged that it would be up to Congress to thrash out the details of any proposed legislation.
• After the November elections, House Democrats vowed to pass the “Six for ’06” bills (minimum wages, stem cell research, energy and so on) in the first 100 legislative hours of the 110th Congress and, to their credit, they did so in 87 hours. However, when those bills were sent to the Senate, three met resistance, one appeared to be destined for a veto by the President and two were subjected to heavy criticism from outside groups.
Turbomeca and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will soon be flight testing their codeveloped 1,200-shp Ardiden 1H (or Shakti, under its Indian designation) turboshaft engine, the French partner announced last month. Certification is pegged for this fall, with deliveries to begin shortly thereafter. Initial applications will be upgraded military versions of the twin-turbine HAL Dhruv. The engine made its first ground run in October 2005.
General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) president and CEO Pete Bunce used the association’s annual industry review and market outlook briefing to dispel the “myths” that the Bush Administration has put forth regarding the need for an overhaul of the FAA’s current funding mechanism.
Whoever is named to succeed Russ Chew as COO of the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization (ATO) faces particular challenges as Congress debates controversial FAA funding proposals that would take place over the next decade and are scheduled to start in October. Chew, a former airline pilot who led the ATO since its inception in 2003, resigned last month.
Colorado-based Adam Aircraft tapped Bombardier executive Duncan Koerbel to take over as president, replacing Joe Walker, who resigned due to a family illness. Koerbel’s experience includes serving as general manager of the Bombardier Global line, director of the Raytheon Premier I program and stints at Fairchild Dornier and Lockheed Martin.
Crashworthy crew and passenger seats for military aircraft, including ejection seats, are UK-based Martin-Baker’s bread and butter. Now the company has used its military experience to develop two different crashworthy seats for the cabins of civil helicopters. Martin-Baker America plans to build the seats at its facility in Johnstown, Pa.
Lebanese military officials took delivery of two Robinson R44 Raven II helicopters at the company’s manufacturing facility in Torrance, Calif., last month. The army plans to use the four-seat piston helicopters as part of its flight-training program for new pilots, as well as for other roles, including border patrol, fire surveys, medical assistance and VIP transport.
Fractional ownership provider NetJets Europe has launched a dedicated operation for the Scottish market. The new NetJets Scotland service will offer flights from 17 Scottish airports, including the Royal Air Force bases at Lossiemouth, Leuchars (close to the exclusive St. Andrews golf course) and Kinloss. It will also provide access to the country’s mountainous Highlands region, as well as to the Orkney, Shetland and Hebrides Islands.