October 2012 - Page 4 Aviation Articles

American Eurocopter Delivers First EC130 T2

Maverick Aviation Receives The First Of The New Model
By: aero-news.net
American Eurocopter has delivered the company’s first EC130 T2 to Maverick Aviation Group. The EC130 T2 is Eurocopter’s newest model, introduced to the industry at this year’s Heli-Expo (pictured). Maverick, a Las Vegas and Grand Canyon tourism company, was one of the launch customers for the new product line with a signed agreement to purchase up to 50 helicopters.

“Once again, Maverick has renewed their commitment to our product,” said American Eurocopter President and CEO Marc Paganini. “Today’s delivery confirms that the EC130 T2 is the ideal platform to meet their very demanding market requirements both now and into the future. We look forward to supporting the Maverick team and continuing our long-standing relationship.”

Maverick Helicopters began in 1995 with one aircraft and was one of the first customers for the EC130, taking delivery of its first “ECO-Star” in 2003. Since then, the company has grown into the largest operator of EC130s in the world. The order is part of an upgrade and replacement program for Maverick’s all-Eurocopter fleet of EC130s, which are used to provide air tours of the neon lights of Las Vegas, the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon, as well as the Arizona’s Sonoran Desert and the colorful red rocks of Sedona. “We made the choice early on to become an all-Eurocopter fleet because of the unmatched performance and safety features of the EC130,” said Greg Rochna, Chairman and CEO of Maverick Helicopters. “We provide our clients the safest, most comfortable VIP service possible and continue to use the ECO-Star product line because it is made for the tourism industry. The enhanced performance and technology, along with other improvements made to the EC130 T2, allows us to continue providing our customers with a unique tour experience.”

The EC130 can comfortably accommodate up to seven passengers. The EC130 T2 brings a more powerful 950 shp class ARRIEL 2D engine that provides improved fuel efficiency, an engine data recorder, and a 6,000 hour mature TBO (Time Between Overhaul), which will help reduce operating and direct maintenance costs. The additional power also results in an increased max weight and CG range for improved useful load.

Eurocopter also included several upgrades to increase passenger comfort that include an active vibration control system for a more comfortable ride, an improved air conditioning system, an optional right-side cabin sliding door, and other cabin and interior improvements.

(Photo provided by Eurocopter)

FMI: www.eurocopter.com

Growing Fleet Of Aging Bizjets Sits Idle

By: Matt Thurber
Aviation International News - September 2012

         What one expert calls an “overhang of unsold aircraft” is afflicting the business jet ecosystem. “These old business jets are not going to sell,” says Rollie Vincent, president of Rolland Vincent Associates. “Take a Hawker 700 with mega hours… There appears to be no market for it and it’s time to say goodbye.” This overhang, he adds, “is like a freight train coming.”

         The glut of old jets is a problem for many reasons, according to Vincent. At some point these jets have zero trade-in value. As jets age, the supply chain that formed to manufacture all the parts, avionics and complex components is gone. Another factor is the jets’ engines: “If the engines are getting close to overhaul, you’re looking at very little value,” says Vincent. “I’ve seen Falcon 20s with no engines. Those aircraft will never fly again, and at some point they get scrapped.”

         It used to be that third-world countries welcomed old business jets, but that is no longer the case. Many countries now limit the age of imported used jets. And, says Vincent, “emerging markets bring in new aircraft; they’ve been able to afford it.” Financing is elusive for buyers of older jets. “Most bankers won’t touch them anymore,” says Vincent. It’s also getting harder to find maintainers who know how to troubleshoot and repair old jets and who have the necessary equipment and parts. Vincent expects to see about 2,200 business jets taken out of service in the next 10 years.

Never Selling

         JetNet pulled some statistics on older business jets from its database for AIN. (See pie chart below.) Some models, stubbornly remaining unsold, are headed for the scrap heap. Lear 24s, for example, have no pulse, languishing on the market for an average of 2,605 average days– more than seven years.

         According to JetNet, 1,818 business jets have been retired from service since 1957. (These numbers include some aircraft that were likely registered with the FAA as preproduction prototypes, such as three Adam A700s–an airplane was never certified.)

         Logically enough, the majority of retired jets hail from earlier eras (see bar chart at right). Many aircraft delivered in the 1960s have been retired, as well as 1970s-delivered jets. Retirements of jets delivered in the 1980s taper down, and aircraft delivered in the 1990s have seen few retirements, according to JetNet. The bottom line is that in the next 10 years, if Vincent’s prediction is correct, the aviation industry will see about 2,200 business jets retiring from the fleet, which is 400 more than the number that retired during the first five decades of business jet manufacturing. Two thousand two hundred is a lot of jets to dispose of, especially when compressed into a period of 10 years rather than 50.

Where Do They Go?

         The high number of soon-to-beretired and already-retired jets poses a challenge for manufacturers of new jets. A Gulfstream III, for example, could be gold-plated with new avionics, paint, interior and a digital-age entertainment system, for less than the cost of a used GIV and far less than the cost of a new Gulfstream. The GIII is a perfectly good airplane, other than the fact that it faces a Stage III noise ban beginning Dec. 31, 2015. Two Stage III noise-reduction kits– from Hubbard Aviation and Quiet Technology Aerospace–are available for the GII and GIII, so the types may yet have some life left. Conversely, GIVs selling for around $5 million could swiftly kill off the GII/III market.

         Would it make sense for manufacturers simply to buy old jets and recycle them? Vincent doesn’t expect this to happen: “They have other fish to fry, including active research and development plans and new product development. They’re going to wait for somebody else to do it.”

         As for what owners should do with jets that no longer have any value, Vincent advises, “People need to know what they’re looking at. They’re looking at nothing. Just write it off.”

Broker Action

         Jeff Carrithers used to be an aircraft broker, but in 1995 the brand new World Wide Web beckoned and he launched Globalair.com, an aircraft sales listing service that includes airport and fuel pricing information and a proprietary system for aircraft brokers called BrokerNet. From his perspective, many older jets linger on the market because the owner can’t afford to sell at today’s lower prices and because there simply isn’t any demand. He sees Citation IIs, Falcon 10s and Westwinds as examples of types that are dying in the marketplace. “A lot of the problem for these owners is that they bought aircraft in the 2007-2008 heyday, and we’ll never see that kind of activity ever again. With the economic conditions today, operators will just park the aircraft.”  

Parked Airplanes

         Most of the airports in the Southwest U.S. that store unneeded and obsolete airplanes are repositories for airliners. At Kingman Airport in Arizona, Kingman Airline Services has just one business jet, a GII that will soon be dismantled, according to a spokesman. The company is currently storing 50 EMB-135s, forty 727s, 20 MD-80s, eight DC-8s and 20 CRJ200s. Some of these airplanes are headed for recycling, while others will fly again, and Kingman Airline Services can handle either destiny. Airplanes that will fly again are kept on life support–the required storage maintenance processes outlined by manufacturers. For airplanes that will never again charge down a runway, some parts are still worth salvaging, especially the engines. The remaining airframe is then dismantled by another company, which hauls away the metal for recycling.

         Norm Hill Aviation at California City Airport in the Mojave Desert opened in 2008, and since then founder Norm Hill’s company has parted out 21 Gulfstreams. He thinks there is still plenty of life left in old Gulfstream airframes and thus a steady demand for parts that he can supply.

         With the upcoming Stage III deadline banning non-hushkitted GIIs and GIIIs from flying in the U.S., Hill expects to see as many as 85 older Gulfstreams parted out in the next few years. But there are also plenty of airframes with relatively low hours and cycles that can keep flying, if hushkitted. “What I’m doing is going to be good for quite a while,” says Hill, adding that his technicians dismantle the airplanes carefully, not with a chainsaw but rivet by rivet when necessary, to preserve as many good components as possible. “We’re stocking all those parts with traceability data all the way back to birth.”

         One factor that accelerates the decision for owners to give up on their older jets is the cost of upcoming heavy maintenance events. This includes older Gulfstreams that are due for a 72-month inspection and a 5,000-landing event. “That’s $500,000 to $600,000,” according to Hill. Add to that the cost of overhauling the Rolls-Royce Spey engines, and that’s another $400,000 for the midlife service and $800,000 for overhaul, for each engine. “This perfect storm is there and people are falling into it,” he said.

         Hill currently has eight GIIs and two GIIIs in California and one GIII being dismantled in Opa-Locka, Fla. Hill says his company is providing a service to the used airplane community, because, he says, an owner can get more from selling a decent jet to Hill than from dumping it on the used market. And if Hill can extract more value by selling good parts, he says he shares that with the seller.

         Companies like Dodson International Aircraft Parts have long specialized in what CEO JR Dodson calls “demanufacturing” of obsolete aircraft. “The last three years we’ve been buying a lot of older business jets,” he said. Most of these are jets coming up on major maintenance events or overhauls and some are bank repossessions that can’t be sold. “There’s more supply than demand right now.” Dodson International also carefully removes valuable parts, and the leftover carcass is either stored at the company’s 120 acres in Rantoul, Kan., or sent to the smelter for recycling. The company has parted out more than 3,000 aircraft since opening in 1980. There are currently about 1,000 gutted airframes at the facility, which parts out about 100 aircraft every year, ranging from turbine helicopters to business turboprops and jets to Boeing 747s.

Serial Number 10

         And then there are the hopeless cases, such as a GII and Hawker 700 parked on the Western Jet ramp at Van Nuys Airport in Southern California. The buyer of the GII thought he was getting a great deal when he purchased the airplane–S/N 10, one of the last GIIs built at the Grumman facilities in Long Island, N.Y. He bought the airplane in Panama, and the seller promised to send the logbooks, but they never arrived. Western Jet founder Jim Hansen finally told the owner that to bring the GII up to safe and legal standards would take about $5 million, because all components would need overhauling, given the lack of documentation. “I’ll have to chop it up,” Hansen said sadly. “It’s not worth the parts.”

         A Hawker 700 parked next to the GII is also in a sorry state. The owner, perhaps unknowingly, let the jet sit at another maintenance facility for more than two years without covers on the engines or application of any preservation processes. “There is no value,” Hansen said.

Business Aviation Networking British Style

 

Texan born Samuel Cody motored into the skies above Farnborough, England in 1908, thus officially entering Great Britain into the age of powered flight. 100 years later, the owner of this prestigious airport (Farnborough Airport – EGLF) Techniques d’Avant Garde, known simply as ‘TAG’ opened their world-class VIP hotel ‘The Aviator’ to complement their FBO and Business Aviation Services by TAG Aviation at this London Gateway Airport.

It seems very fitting to me that the historic site of the first powered flight in Great Britain is the location of choice for the bespoke business aviation networking event, that has come to be known in the industry as: ‘The Aviation Supper Club.’

 

160 movers-and-shakers from the business aviation industry gathered from all across the globe: UAE, UK, USA, France, Ireland, Slovakia, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Czech Republic, Spain, Italy, Poland and Russia to attend this 5th Aviation Supper Club event held at the Aviator Hotel on the evening of September 27th, 2012.

Universal Weather & Aviation, Jet Support Services, Barclays Wealth and Execujet Aviation Group were the main sponsors of the event, while others including Signature Flight Support, Synergy Aviation, TAG and SG Equipment Finance donated items for a charity auction that benefited the charity: ‘Flying Scholarships for Disabled People.’ Mr. Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer of Iron Maiden and who is also an accomplished pilot and business aviation entrepreneur was the auctioneer and after-dinner speaker.

There were no Billionaire Jet Owners or any alphabet Aviation Associations or groups in attendance. Instead, this grassroots networking event is only accessible by people that are actively working within the trenches so-to-speak, of business aviation. The whole intent is to rapidly connect the dots between the doers of this industry through a relaxing but high quality social event. ‘An event born by the industry - for the industry.’ There is no administrative organization that has to be fed and supported by members.industry.’ There is no administrative organization that has to be fed and supported by members. No exhibitors to accommodate and best of all - no buyers/users/clients to bow down to. Instead the atmosphere is 100% relaxed and focused on the people that make business aviation. Pure and simple.  

 
The Aviation Supper Club’s founder is Brendan Lodge, the Business Development Director of JetBrokers Europe and also the current serving Chairman of the Central European Private Aviation (CEPA) organization. Brendan is “Quite delighted by all of the people that apply to attend.” Unfortunately rooms and dinner places are quickly snatched up. “There is always more demand than there are places for people to attend” explains Brendan. “Unfortunately we also need to ensure that a decent balance of disciplines and sectors of business aviation are properly represented at the supper club. It would not be right if there was an imbalance of people from a specific area of our industry; for instance banking or insurance, is not dominant at the event. We want the networking to be a target rich environment for all.”

The 18th Century Champagne House: Veuve Clicquot wetted the lips of all 160 attendees, during the pre-dinner reception which spilled across the Aviator’s Sky Bar and first-floor Landing. New friendships and alliances were made over plates and dishes of salmon, beef, chicken, caviar, elderberries, risottos, pannacottas and coffees. While flights of red and white wines, and Napoleon brandy kept the conversations well juiced. >

Few saw their hotel suites until well past three A.M. It is clear that all who attended then retired to their beds with a firm conviction that their evening was truly spent well.

The Aviation Club meets twice a year. It soon will expand onto mainland Europe in Prague. My colleagues and I are now planning the first event of its kind here in the USA. Coming soon – Aviation Supper Club USA and I am very much looking forward to seeing you attend dear reader.

So until next month; however before then I will see you at the 65th Annual Meeting and Convention of the National Business Aviation Association down in Orlando, Florida, October 30th to November 1st. If you can’t make it there yourself, I will be covering it for you here at Globalair.com.  

Kentucky Institution For Aerospace Education - Reaches For The Sky


MISSION: to improve student learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and create career pathways in aerospace throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

         Albert Ueltschi, born in 1917 and was raised in Franklin County, Kentucky. Ueltschi attended high school in Franklin County and eventually developed the school’s first ever aeronautical course in 1946.

         Decades later, a man by the name of Tim Smith is teaching an algebra mathematics course in this very same high school. Since algebra is often as mentally straining as rocket science, one might presuppose that this subject does not typically come as natural to the average 15 year old. Mr. Smith recognized a potential problem as he watched his students struggle. With this, he began to generate a brilliant solution!

         Mr. Smith began studying; he was searching for a way to reach out to his adolescent peers. He longed to find a method of teaching that would allow room to engage in fun, yet educational activities; both inside as well as outside of the classroom. According to Mr. Smith, students always ask where they will use what they have learned in school throughout their real lives. Without a reason for learning, these students are likely to approach important topics with a lack of motivation and according to Mr. Smith; this lack of motivation creates poor learning habits in students. “Mathematics and science are tough enough for kids as it is. So why not give them what they are asking for?” says Mr. Smith. The STEM program was developed to reach out to these students, providing hands-on training in aircraft technology with hopes of making difficult school subjects more relevant and fun for students, while quietly boosting state test scores as well. He intends to show his students how subjects such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics are relevant in the world and he intends to teach these skills through aviation. “Why not restore and rebuild old aircraft?” He says. With that, The Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education was developed.

         As Mr. Smith continued with his research he discovered and learned of Albert Ueltschi and his achievements in aviation at Frankfort High School. “During Ueltschi’s time, the aviators were the rockstars!” Mr. Smith exclaims. “Everyone wanted to grow up to become a pilot, and when people looked up to the sky what they saw were heroes. Now, it seems our students don’t look up at all, growing up to become a pilot is not even considered an option.” He states. Educators hope to use the Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education hand in hand with the STEM program to change this theory. Aviation is in fact a very attainable goal; especially for high school students who have been offered the opportunity to jump start their careers through programs such as the Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education. An event such as “Aviation Day” out of Capital City Airport is just one of many events that this Institution is reaching out to; all with high hopes of inspiring young adults in our community. According to Mr. Smith, the Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education simply wants to show young adults how aviation can be a very real opportunity for them. “This is definitely an opportunity that has the potential to change their lives” says Mr. Tim Smith.

         During the first 3 years, the Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education maintained their program out of Frankfort High School. Only one other school in the area had caught on so they simply worked together. However as more of Kentucky educators began hearing about and sharing this fantastic opportunity, the program grew immensely. Today, a mere 7 years later the program has expanded to include 15 different high schools throughout the state of Kentucky. They have acquired and built a total of 8 aircraft, 2 of which are airworthy and now in use for student training. Recently the Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education was offered a generous donation of land from the Capital City airport of Frankfort (FFT) as well as the Kentucky Department of Aviation for the production of their program’s soon to be hangar. Through the Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education high school students are able to examine and experience firsthand what it may feel like to work in multiple fields, while receiving college credit to do it. If a student chooses piloting for example, they are given an opportunity to acquire a private pilot’s license completely free of charge to them. If that is of no interest, other programs are offered including Aeronautical Engineering, Space Systems as well as Operations and Maintenance.

         The Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education is currently in the process of building a hangar for its students to get more involved. Eventually, the program would like to have an entire facility specifically for the education of its students. This is a 501(c)(3) non-profit program, but with the help of generous donations and grants, Mr. Smith says he would eventually like to see this program offering not only a full staff of teachers, but also specially designed classrooms, aircraft and tools. This is a fantastic opportunity for high school students today. Overall there are a total of 60 programs similar to this one throughout the United States. Of that 60, 15 of those programs are based out of the state of Kentucky thanks to this very program. This is a part 61 training course and there are currently over 600 students involved.

For more information please contact: [email protected]
Or call: (502)320-9490

 

Above are photos of a Cessna 195 that the high school students of the Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education are currently in the process of rebuilding. All of these parts have been salvaged and will be refurbished entirely. Mr. Smith says the objective for this aircraft (as for many others) is air worthiness and eventually student training.

Pre-owned Update

By: Bryan A. Comstock
www.ainonline.com

Finding a pricing floor for many models has been as elusive as the search for Atlantis, but recent market action is giving hope to underwater sellers. The typical summer plumping of inventory never occurred this year, setting the stage for what could be an active wave of buying in the final quarter. 

Retail transactions in the pre-owned segment are up over the same year-ago period among light and medium jets and about even with where they were last year in the large category. While a one-year look back might not provide enough incentive to do cartwheels, consider that you would have to look back at the peak years of 2006 and 2007 to find numbers close to the current level of sales.

A possible explanation for the noticeable uptick is the extremely attractive pricing that has swept through the market year after excruciating year and which may only now be close to a tipping point. Though buyers surfacing now are certainly not late to the party, it may take longer to sift through markets already plucked of their low-hanging fruit.

Seriously, Challenger 604s and GIVs for less than $5 million? Yes! While you might be looking at 10,000 or more hours in the logs, there are non-project aircraft that can be bought for a song. Of course, such low pricing on large-cabin aircraft compresses pricing not only on predecessor models but also on smaller segment markets, such as the super-mids and mid-cabins. G200s, Hawkers, Citations, Learjets are just deals waiting for a buyer. Any upside pop in consumer confidence (be it from QE3 or the upcoming election) could see fourth-quarter numbers eclipse quarter-over-quarter figures for the peak years. The resetting of these asset prices, coupled with the larger number of choices today, is the only way this could be possible. Despite inventory trending down over about 500 aircraft since 2009 (even as the fleet has increased), collectively just over 13 percent of the worldwide fleet is for sale.

Pressure on Newer Inventory

Once a buyer begins to apply his own parameters, however, the field of wings may diminish. For example, for a buyer wanting a 2000 or newer model, the percentage figure drops below 9 percent. If that buyer doesn’t want to look beyond North America, choices drop another 2 percent. A European buyer wanting to buy on home soil has even fewer options in terms of the sheer number to choose from, but twice as many in percentage terms when compared with the U.S. In Europe, 298 aircraft fall into the 2000 or newer grouping compared with 437 in North America. A buyer in today’s market should not overlook any offerings in Europe, as the glutted market appears to offer fertile shopping grounds.

Take the Citation Excel, for example, a popular midsize that saw its fleet size grow to more than 370 before a new and improved version came along. Still a well sought after aircraft, it shows up with only 8 percent of its fleet for sale, but half of the 30 are in Europe and only 11 in North America. The successor model exemplifies the point further. Equally popular, the XLS offers 21 for sale. Only six of them are based in North America and more than half are in Europe. Perhaps not as surprising is the Falcon 2000, where European and North American supply is even at eight, with only two others located outside these two areas. The Challenger 605 is just one more example. Of the 17 for sale at present, nine are based in Europe, four in Asia, three in North America, plus one delivery position.

The take-away here is that with more than 2,500 aircraft for sale worldwide it shouldn’t matter where you shop as there are plenty of deals to go around, and in the past several years we haven’t seen anyone raise the price of an aircraft that has been on the market. In addition, with such fertile hunting grounds, buyers seem less emotionally engaged than at other times. If a seller isn’t market priced, the buyer will explore the many other options that are available. While indicators imply that some model types have reached the bottom of the market, that doesn’t mean prices are going to shoot up anytime soon and buyers still have the decided edge at the negotiation table. Even the most popular of aircraft have absorption rates extending beyond a year.

(Image Credit: www.ainonline.com)

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