I grew up in Dover, New Hampshire. Most locals tended to drop the letter R when it was at the end of a word. So I was from “Dovah, New Hampshah.” We were not as bad as our neighbors from Boston (“Pahhhhk the cahhhh”), but you could see the influence. As I aged, traveled, and lived in different areas, the letter R returned. Other than a raised eyebrow or two, the dropped R never really caused a problem with communicating.
Within the cockpit, we need to speak clearly and concisely so that any pilot or controller can understand what is said. "Taxi to Runway 18" is not clearance to taxi onto runway 18. In the business world, we also need to communicate clearly. Major decisions can go awry because of misunderstandings.
Aviation, like other professions, comes with its own tech-speak. Abbreviations and jargon can shorten sentences but can also cause confusion. Mention MSG-3 to the director of maintenance and you get conversation about maintenance philosophies. Mention that to an executive and they may think it is an ingredient in Chinese take-out. NPV gets a blank stare from the pilot and a smile from the CFO. As long as we stay within our discipline, communication can be tough enough, but when the pilot, the executive, the lawyer and the CFO sit down, things can easily be misunderstood or worse. Guess who we need for a successful aircraft acquisition?
The whole point with communication is to understand and be understood. Here are three tips to get everyone on the same page.
As you may recall, back on July 8, 2010 the FAA published a Proposed Interpretation seeking public comment regarding a proposal to modify the FAA's broad prohibition on pro-rata reimbursement for the cost of owning, operating and maintaining a company aircraft when used for routine personal travel by senior company officials and employees. After receiving comments, and in response to the National Business Aviation Association's ("NBAA") request that the FAA modify its longstanding prohibition, on December 10, 2010 the FAA issued a Modified Interpretation in which it agreed that, under certain circumstances, it would allow "a company to be reimbursed for the personal travel by an individual whose position merits such a high level of interference into his or her travel plans."
What does that mean? Well, for those limited number of employees who are so important to a company that they can be called back to work at any time upon a moment's notice, even during personal travel, then the FAA will consider their travel on the company aircraft as "within the scope of and incidental to the business" of the company operating the aircraft. However, the Modified Interpretation warns that not all personal travel will meet the conditions for reimbursement, such as "when the high-level employee or official may have personal travel plans that are unlikely to be altered or cancelled, even for compelling business reasons." By way of example, and for purposes of guidance, the FAA cites travel for a significant event, such as a wedding or funeral of a close family member, or for necessary or urgent medical treatment, as instances of personal travel that would not likely qualify for reimbursement.
The X4 could replace the Eurocopter Dauphin (above).
The replacement for the Eurocopter Dauphin helicopter series could be a “game changer,” says the CEO of Eurocopter. However, the amount of technological advancement for the rotorcraft could depend on partial French funding of the project, according to reports.
AIN Online reports that company CEO Lutz Bertling has set the bar high for the Eurocopter X4 project, offering a higher payload and increased performance in a safer, greener model. AIN reports that fly-by-wire controls might be a feature in the new model, which is expected to launch this year.
Despite announcing earlier this month that it would discontinue sales of its PiperSport LSA, ending a relationship with manufacturer Czech Sport Aircraft, Piper Aircraft decided it would still field an exhibit at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo held this past weekend in Sebring, Fla., to show its support for the sport aircraft industry.
Piper executives cited “cultural differences” in severing ties on the PiperSport project. Read more on the development from AOPA Online here.
AVWeb recaps the highlights of the expo in this article. Among the biggest stories during the event included the selling of Gobosh Aviation to a group of Denver-area investors that also own Skyraider Aviation, a sport pilot club based in Colorado. More from AOPA here.
Get local coverage of the Sport Aviation Expo, as well as a few photos of the event, from this Florida newspaper article. Find new and used light sport aircraft for sale listings at GlobalAir.com, or list your own aircraft for sale, by clicking here.
Where does the general aviation industry go from here? Well, this looks to be a year of transition, from the old economy that we knew prior to 2008 to the new economy that should start to really see growth in 2012. Growth will come with a different look than it has in the past, driven by technology innovation in the market and increased globalization. The United States will no longer be alone in the drivers seat. Traditional market general aviation growth will happen in China, India and other developing economies.
Growth here in the U.S. has to come from market innovation. We need to do more than get used to it. We need to adapt and embrace it, and determine where the opportunities are for those of us in general aviation in the U.S. and in Europe.
Our company finished 2010 with a strong run to the end of December, and the first few months of 2011 look strong in aircraft charter and FBO fuel sales. Is this a sustainable trend? I hope so. My major concern is the volatility of fuel prices. We don’t know if the economy, let alone the aviation industry, can stand oil prices 30% to 50% higher than they are today.
Setting concerns aside, when I look out to 2011 and beyond, I see opportunities for general aviation to capture the traveler in a new way. The number one reason more people don’t fly general aviation aircraft is price. I have written a lot about this over the past 18 months. I’ve thought about this problem (opportunity) for many years prior, as I talk with people who use or want to use our service almost every day for the past 28 years. There are some ideas worth considering in a good book I’m reading right now called “What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption” by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers.
Wikipedia says the following about this term I had not heard of until recently:
The term collaborative consumption is used to describe the cultural and economic force away from ‘hyper-consumption’ to re-invented economic models of sharing, swapping, bartering, trading or renting that have been enabled by advances in social media and peer-to-peer online platforms
The authors propose that in order for “Collaborative Consumption” to work, four underlying principles must be present:
* Critical Mass
* Idling Capacity
* Belief in the Commons
* Trust Between Strangers
Conditions one and two definitely exist in General Aviation and the subset of Business Aviation. We sit on a fleet of underutilized aircraft (idling capacity) , many parked and not flying at all, and even the active aircraft are not used anywhere near optimum levels. Critical mass is present but not properly managed and accounted for. In the U.S. there are 17,000 aircraft available for hire in charter service. Many more aircraft could be available if demand was sufficient to put them to work. Where are they and how do they work together as a synergistic fleet to serve the market? Today the fleet doesn’t work in a synergistic way.