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The Top 10 Business Jets

by Lydia Wiff 15. January 2017 08:00
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It’s hard to believe that just over 100 years ago, flying was just a pipe dream.  We’ve come a long way and now aviation has a part to play in many industries and has become its own segment of the aerospace industry.  “Business aviation” refers to any aircraft that are used in furtherance of a business.  According to the National Business Aviation Association, business aviation contributes approximately $150 billion to economic output and employs at least 1.2 million people (NBAA.org).  While only about 3% of the 15,000 registered business aircraft are flown by Fortune 500 companies, the rest belong to varying sizes of for-profit and not-for-profit companies all over the United States – this includes universities, local and federal government, and other businesses. 

Arguably, the future of aviation is business aviation and Globalair.com has their top ten picks for business aircraft backed up by several years of experience in aircraft sales. 

#10: Gulfstream 550 (G550)

If there is one company that evokes luxury in their aircraft, Gulfstream Aerospace has to be it.  The sleek frame of the G550 cuts through the air at 0.80 Mach using two Rolls-Royce BR710 engines with a max cruising altitude at 51,000 feet.  This luxury jet can be configured up to 19 passengers and sleeps 8 comfortably.  If you’re looking to escape the cares of everyday life easily, or reach your international group in England, the G550 has a range of almost 7,000 nautical miles (nm).

While it boasts a comfortable ride for passengers (a cabin over 40 feet long), pilots aren’t soon forgotten with the state of the art PlaneView™ flight deck featuring some of the most advanced avionics known in existence.  The flight deck features four liquid crystal displays for your flight crew with easy software upgrades making it compatible to your flight department, no matter how big or small.  Additionally, a Head-Up Display (HUD) is included in the G550 that projects flight data in the pilot’s forward-looking field of vision.  In times of reduced or obscured vision, such as inclement weather, the Enhanced Vision System (EVS) uses infrared technology to capture what the pilot cannot see – runway markings, taxiways, and other terrain are now visible in poor weather conditions.

According to the NBAA, the G550 has the reliability of 99.9% -- this means out of five years of service, you will only miss one trip (Gulfstream.com).  In a world where time equals money, this is a statistic to get behind.

#9: Gulfstream 200 (G200)

The little brother to the G550, the G200 had its first flight on Christmas Day in 1997 and was later released in 1999.  While Gulfstream no longer produces the G200, it doesn’t keep it from being a popular used aircraft.  It was originally named the “Astra Galaxy”.

Like most Gulfstream aircraft, the G200 boasts a large cabin size that can hold to 18 passengers, but typically configured for 8-10 passengers.  Unlike the Rolls-Royce engines, the G200 runs on two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW306A turbofans producing a maximum cruise spend at 0.80 Mach, similar to the G550.  While it has approximately the same cruising speed, the G200 has almost half the range at 3,400 nm at 45,000 feet which makes it a perfect aircraft for domestic flights here in the U.S.

From this description, the G200 can be seen not only as a predecessor to the G550, but the smaller, less expensive version of the G550.  The G200 is an excellent aircraft for a business that does mostly domestic flights.

#8: Hawker 4000

Taking a break from the Gulfstream family, the Hawker 4000 hails from Beechcraft which is owned by Textron Aviation – the parent company to Cessna and others.  Produced from 2011 to 2013, the Hawker 4000 was quickly realized as the top jet product by Beechcraft.

A worthy competitor to the G200 as well as slightly newer, it can seat up to ten people (14 maximum) and has average of 6 feet of standing room in the interior cabin.  It cruises at 45,000 feet with a range of 3,445 nm and 870 km/hr.  A common identifier of the Hawker 4000 is the hawk profile painted in tan on the tail section.

If you’re currently in the G200 as an airframe, a newer and comparable version would be the Hawker 4000.

#7: Hawker 800XPi

A predecessor to the Hawker 400 is the Hawker 800 which was first produced in the early 1980s.  A later version of the Hawker 800 was the XP and XPi which was most notable by the addition of winglets.

Like the previously mentioned aircraft, the 800XPi is similar in size when it comes to passenger capacity and length.  The maximum speed in cruise is 745 km/hr while its range is the shortest out of the group at just under 2,000 nm and has a service ceiling at 41,000 feet.  However, it’s rate of climb is nothing to sneeze at – 1,948.8 feet/minute!

#6: Citation Sovereign

We now switch gears back to the Textron company to that of Cessna and the Citation Sovereign.  This particular aircraft is classified as a mid-size business jet and at the time of its introduction in 2004, the third largest in the Citation line (weight-wise).

A unique feature of the Sovereign is its ability to take off and land in short distances which is unusual in a business jet.  For corporations and private companies, this becomes a valuable feature for plants and factories situated in small towns with short runways.  Not only does the Sovereign get you there fast (848 km/hour), but it also is considered a transcontinental aircraft with a range of over 3,000 nm.

#5: Falcon 2000

In our plethora of business aircraft manufacturers, we come to Falcon (birds of prey do make good names).  Dassault Aviation is a French aircraft manufacturer that can be seen as a fairly healthy competitor to Textron’s companies as well as Gulfstream.  Probably the most notable of the Falcon line are the aircraft that have three engines, however, the 2000 is the one of the older models in the line with just two engines.

Like other aircraft in its class, the 2000 has comparable speed as well as range which is 3,000 nm.  The impressive thing about the 2000 is its ability to climb to 37,000 feet in just nineteen minutes – that’s just over 1,900 feet/minute!

#4: Challenger 605

We’ve finally come to our last brand name in jets (although not our last pick) which is that of Challenger.  It’s one of the few non-American manufactures and actually is produced by Canadair which you might recognize as the manufacturer of the Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ).  Coincidentally, Canadair is an independent company that is also a division of Bombardier Aerospace – famous for its Bombardier Business Jets, or BBJs, among others.

The Challenger 605 is the fourth aircraft in the 600 series which dates back to the late 1970s.  The 605 was introduced in 2006 as an upgrade to the 604.  Some new features included larger cabin windows, updated Rockwell Collins instrumentation and the capability of holding an “electronic flight bag”.   The most distinct visual feature is the rounded tailcone.

The 605 is comparable in size to the previously discussed aircraft, but is one of the fastest at 870 km/hour and a range close to 4,000 nm.

#3: Challenger 300

The Challenger 300, at first glance, can easily be confused with the Challenger 600 series which is not the case.  Unlike the 600 series, the 300 is recognized as a Bombardier (parent company of Canadair). 

It entered commercial service in early 2004 and is considered a super-mid-size jet.  This basically means it’s very comparable to all the other aircraft discussed, but has greater range capability.   The 300 has a range of approximately 5,700 km and caps out at 45,000 feet.  

#2: Gulfstream IV-SP (GIV-SP)

We’re back in the Gulfstream family (popular for a very good reason)! The GIV-SP is very comparable to other Gulfstream products, but represents the fine-tuning that the Savannah-based company did to improve their product line.

For instance, Honeywell advanced flight deck displays, electrical power generation, cabin temperature control and pressurization were added to this particular model.  Additionally, improved Automatic Power Unit (APU), flap system, redesigned landing gears, and other systems were improved in this particular model.

#1: Gulfstream 650 (G650)

Quite possibly my favorite Gulfstream is that of the G650.  Sleek, shiny, and the largest of the Gulfstream family, this aircraft has the ability to take you just about anywhere.  True to the company’s tagline for this aircraft, “Farther faster, first of its kind,” the G650 more than lives up to its standard.

It has done just that with a maximum range of 7,000 miles (you read that right), and an operating speed of 0.925 Mach.  It also has the heaviest takeoff weight at almost 100,000 pounds (that’s a lot of golf clubs, or fuel).

Besides the G650 being visually stunning, the wingspan is the most noticeable at approximately 100 feet which is nearly as long as the aircraft itself.  It also features the most advanced avionics developed by Gulfstream – the PlaneView™ II flight deck.  Like the G550, it has four displays with the EVS, HUD, Synthetic Vision as well as fly-by-wire technology which is computer-controlled and highly redundant – this is advanced as the technology gets.

A Clear Winner?

While Globair.com has their favorite picks which have proven to be popular among used aircraft owners, be sure to do your research when it comes picking the business jet that works for your company.  Remember to read our tips about purchasing an aircraft – while focused on single-engine aircraft, there are some excellent tips to consider.  However, you might want to consider going to a jet broker when it comes to your business needs.

Hopefully you now have a better idea of the common business aircraft on the market – just remember to save your pennies as these sleek, used aircraft run anywhere from $6.4 to $52.9 million!

 

Searching for your next private jet? Click here to visit Globalair.com’s listings. 

 

 

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Aircraft Sales | Aviation Technology | Flying | GlobalAir.com | Aircraft For Sale | Lydia Wiff | NBAA

FBOs – Putting Ramp Skills to Good Use

by Joe McDermott 25. July 2016 15:43
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High quality FBO staff training can lead to a secondary purpose, especially if your ground staff is truly dedicated, enthusiastic and proud of the skills and experience they have developed.

There are a few volunteer groups of aircraft marshallers who, in their spare time, take these skills and put them to work in a variety of ways.

In the USA there is the Commemorative Air Force – Marshallers Detachment which supports Commemorative Air Force air shows and other events across the country. The Marshallers Detachment members are mainly drawn from former military personnel or in many cases family members have served in the military. The Lone Star Flight Museum, based in Galveston, Texas, has a similar group of dedicated marshallers. Indeed, the CAF Marshallers Detachment and Lone Star teams work closely together at some air shows, most notably at Wings over Houston, a CAF annual show held at Ellington Field, Houston. Incidentally, the Lone Star Museum is in the process of moving to Ellington Field to avoid a repeat of the devastation suffered during Hurricane Ike.

In the United Kingdom the North Weald Marshallers group are based at the former Royal Air Force station of the same name. They support several very large general aviation events each year, including the Light Aviation Associations annual get together at Sywell where they can have 1000+ movements over the four day event.

In Ireland we have Follow Me - Aircraft Marshallers (FM-AM), a small group (just ten members) of professional aircraft marshallers drawn from FBOs, retired FBO or airline staff (Landmark Aviation, Signature Flight Support, Universal Aviation, Weston Aviation, Aer Lingus) , who provide Aircraft Marshalling and Oversight of Airside Operations Areas for special aviation events, Fly-Ins, Air Shows and Open Days. More used as Ground Handling Agents to marshalling or towing Hawkers, Falcons, Gulfstreams, Boeing Business Jets and helicopters of every size, into tight spaces in all weather conditions, they have developed procedures and training to cover not only warbirds, but Class A light aircraft, micro lights and helicopter operations and are proficient at overseeing multiple ramps, e.g. Display Ramp, Visitors Ramp, Rotary Ramp, Refuelling Ramp, Disabled Pilots Ramp or Special Requirements Ramp.

It's Safety First Every Time! Follow Me-Aircraft Marshallers have been trained to international standards at their base FBOs, under the NATA Safety 1st - Professional Line Service Training (PLST) program operated by the National Air Transport Association or other approved safety training systems which are compliant with Irish Aviation Authority Ramp Training Regulations. Apart from aircraft marshalling PLST training covers aircraft ground servicing, fuel servicing, towing procedures, fuel farm management, fire safety, emergency procedures and aviation security with bi-annual recurrent training in place. A small number of members with no ramp training have been inducted since 2015 and they have been put through a mentored based training program. The first two trainees are expected to be signed off when the 2016 Winter Training and Recurrent Training Program is completed.

International Co-Operation: In 2011 Follow Me-Aircraft Marshallers received an invitation to join the CAF Marshallers Detachment at three of their events, TRARON (Training Squadron One) at Odessa Schlemeyer Field, CAF Air Show at Midland and Wings over Houston Air Show, all in Texas. Two senior members from the Irish group attended, underwent some integration training and were “patched”, signed off, the first non-USA marshallers to receive this honour!

Each year since, FM-AM have attended Wings Over Houston and worked the warbirds ramp alongside both CAF and Lone Star marshallers in what surely must be a unique trans Atlantic volunteer exchange of professional co-operation.

FM-AM has also been honoured by North Weald Marshallers with a number of invitations to cross the narrower Irish Sea to attend events in the UK.

I have no doubt there are other such volunteer groups across the globe and would be delighted to hear from them.

What’s in it for an FBO Manager or owner? Well, such coming together of like minded people can only result in the promotion of safety and professionalism within the FBO community. Ramp Ops staff who feel part of an extended professional group will bring a heightened sense of pride to their colleagues at your facility. So, if your staff show an interest in lending their free time and skills to support an aviation event in your region it could have a positive spin off benefit for your company.


Lone Star, CAF & FM-AM at Wings over Houston morning briefing.


FM-AM guide in B-29 Fifi.


Two FM-AM on the Tora, Tora, Tora Ramp


FM-AM team


North Weald crew


FM-AM were entrusted with Heli-Ops oversight for the Dalai Lama visit to Ireland


FM-AM Heli-Ops support

FBO Mergers and Acquisitions What Next?

by Joe McDermott 8. June 2016 10:40
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Not unexpectedly, the subject of FBO mergers and acquisitions was one of the many talking points at this years’ EBACE, the annual European Business Aviation Conference and Expo, held at the end of May in Geneva, Switzerland.

The BBA acquisition of Landmark Aviation at the start of the year and subsequent rebranding as Signature Flight Support took many by surprise. Having divested itself of six Landmark locations, Signature still find themselves with 199 worldwide stations.

EBACE hosted the “Big is Beautiful” consolidation discussion with Mark Johnstone, Managing Director, EMEA region, BBA Signature Flight Support, Laura Pierallini of Studio Pierallini, Patrick Hansen, CEO of Luxaviation Group, Greg Thomas, President and Executive Chairman of PrivatAir and myself representing Global FBO Consult. Moderator was Taunya Renson-Martin. Looking at business aircraft management, the FBO sector and charter operations it became clear quite quickly that there was agreement among the panellists that mergers and acquisitions in the FBO sector will certainly continue for some time. Consolidation in the sector offers advantages of branding, purchasing power and economies of scale. For the smaller FBO chains or independents finding themselves sharing the ramp with a new or rebranded, well-funded competitor, it is not good news and can lead very quickly to a price “race to the bottom”.

 

And BBA are not the only movers in the FBO market place of late. Just a day ahead of EBACE, Dubai based JetEx announced that is has secured a tender from the Moroccan National Airports Authority to establish five new FBOs, the first such facilities in the North African country. It has already begun business aircraft ground support at Casablanca Mohammed V International Airport, Marrakech Menara and Rabat-Salé, where Swissport was also chosen to provide handling services. At the seasonal destinations of Agadir-Al Massira, and Dakhla, Jetex was named as the exclusive ground services provider. Jet Aviation, a General Dynamics company, seemed to be strongly hinting on their stand at two new locations to come very soon!

Luxaviation Group, new owners of well-established Execujet, Unijet (France), MasterJet (France), Abelag (Belgium), London Executive Aviation (UK), sound very bullish, so we can expect them to keep up the momentum for a while yet.

In the week following EBACE, French company Sky Valet announce it has completed the acquisition of JetBase, Portugal’s leading FBO network. JetBases’ ten FBOs, situated at the main Portuguese airports of Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Cascais and Beja, on the islands of Madeira, Azores and Cape Verde and in central Africa in Mozambique and Angola, will now operate under the commercial name of Sky Valet. This move follows on from the acquisition by Sky Valet in Q2 2015 of Gestair, Spain.

The addition of these new destinations consolidates Sky Valet’s international expansion strategy, which aims to create a network of FBOs located in the most iconic areas. The company already provides ground handling support services at Madrid, Barcelona, Gerona, Valencia, La Coruna, Santiago de Compostela, Palma de Majorca, Ibiza and Malaga airports. Dominique Thillaud, chairman of the management board of Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur (ACA) and Sky Valet, commented, “This acquisition allows us to expand our expertise across a new attractive area of the Iberian peninsula with a reach that even extends to Africa.”

Last April, Florida based Sheltair Aviation announced it had given its FBO network in the Sunshine State a major boost with the purchase the Tampa International Jet Center.

In the same month there were further notable indicators pointing to the continuing trend of aviation fuel suppliers actively expanding their services and branding across the industry, working closely with independent FBOs.

Skylink Services, the lone ground handling service provider for business aircraft at Cyprus’s Larnaca International, became the 52nd Diamond Service member of the World Fuel Services (WFS) Air Elite Network, the international group of FBOs established in 2011 from the remnants of the Avitat network.

WFS and Deer Jet Group expanded their eight-year relationship by signing a memorandum of understanding for the former to provide global aviation support solutions for Deer Jet’s eight FBOs in China and business aircraft handling subsidiary Honor Aviation.

Under the agreement, World Fuel Services will allow Deer Jet FBOs and Honor Aviation to accept its Avcard charge card for payment. More than 30,000 aircraft operators and pilots use Avcard worldwide for aircraft purchases such as fuel, ground handling and maintenance. Avcard is accepted at more than 7,600 locations in more than 190 countries.

If you consider the known facts, talk to key personnel, listen to the rumours, filter out the uninformed comments, you will get a broad sense of how the FBO sector will evolve over the next five to ten years. I believe mergers and acquisitions will be accompanied by co-branding, strategic partnerships and franchising. Realistically the worlds’ capitals and most major cities are fully populated by FBOs, restricting expansion for those not already present in these centres, with many airports restricting the amount of FBO licenses they will issue compounding the problem. Other factors to be considered are the forthcoming sale of a number of airports (France, Germany for instance) and the issuing of new FBO franchise agreements by governments (Morocco just completed, Oman in the process and many more in the pipeline). Right now Africa, Central and South America, India and some of the Pacific Rim countries are getting a lot of attention, maybe it will be from these regions that we will see the next exciting developments emanate!

Keeping your FBO customers happy

by Joe McDermott 4. May 2016 16:57
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Whether you run a small regional airport GA FBO or a major BizAv corporate facility there are many things you can do to keep your customers happy, be they crew, owners or trip support providers.

Here are just a few often over looked areas worth considering:

Billing: Must always be prompt, transparent and complete. Airport fees such as landing, parking and security fees should be clearly displayed as such, ideally shown as a sub item, right up the top. FBO fees should always be accompanied by a full description. Third party fees, such as catering, taxis, chauffeurs etc. again should be in one section & accompanied by a full description. If a flight department or trip support service provider supplies special billing instructions they should be followed. Nothing is worse for a crew (billing wise that is) or trip support provider than a late or incomplete invoice. For the FBO, it can result in late payment, part payment and even loss of the customer. Every FBO needs to have a front line staff member in the billing loop as accounts department staff very often do not have any understanding of what happens on the ramp and probably could not care less. Almost every FBO I have consulted for was found to be losing out on significant revenue due to a disconnect between the services provided by the ramp agents and the accounts department processing of the bill.

Aircraft: All aircraft owners or flight crew are concerned about their aircraft while left on the ramp or in the hangar. Security, hangar rash (minor incidents involving damage to aircraft that typically originate due to improper ground handling in and around a hangar, other aircraft or objects on the ground) and FOD are a constant consideration. A well kept hangar and tidy ramp will always be noticed by pilots and will instil confidence.

Ramp staff: Your front line defence! Well trained, courteous and knowledgeable staff will always stand out. Clean, tidy and with matching uniforms suitably selected for ramp operations will catch the eye but also ensure your team are provided proper PSE and always ware/carry it.

Customer service: “Going the extra mile” is often cited as the mark of a good customer orientated operation. Frankly, the simple things come first, reading, understanding, confirming and carrying out the handling request instructions. Have everything in place and be ahead of the curve at all times. Get all of this right and it’s a great start. When the customer throws a curve ball, that’s when your team need to be able to fall back on training, back office contacts lists, excellent communication and a will to source a solution. Sometimes the customer will be unreasonable, looking for something that is just unavailable or not possible at that time. This is when team members get the chance to either pull out all the stops to comply with such a request or to fully explain why the request cannot be fulfilled and to explore all the alternatives. Above all, staff should try to anticipate clients needs, learn what specific clients likes, dislikes and patterns are for future reference.

Pet hates: Owners or passengers can react badly to staff for what they may see as over familiarization, inattentiveness, sloppiness, unkempt dress, cheap aftershave/perfumes or abrupt manner. Handling their baggage with due consideration is paramount. If an owner takes a dislike to a member or members of staff it can cause all kind of problems and can lead to a change of FBO and loss of business.

Pilots: Are You Forgetting These Preflight Tasks?

by Sarina Houston 15. February 2015 23:29
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One of the benefits for pilots in the general aviation world is the ability to just “pick up and go” on a moment’s notice. General aviation, including business aviation, is less regulated than charter or airline operations. As such, the preflight preparation involved in a general aviation flight can often be quick and dirty, and familiar flights might only include a brief check of the weather and a quick walk-around of the aircraft.

Pilots are required by federal aviation regulation, specifically FAR 91.103, to become familiar with certain elements of preflight planning. There’s even an acronym – NWKRAFT – meant to help pilots remember the required items they must become familiar with before flying. The required preflight knowledge, and the meaning of the letters in NWKRAFT, include:

  • NOTAMs
  • Weather
  • Known ATC Delays
  • Runway lengths
  • Alternates
  • Fuel Requirements
  • Takeoff/Landing Distances

It’s easy for pilots to become so familiar with their routes and aircraft that they feel that they don't need to perform anything more than these required items to conduct a safe flight. But in addition to the basic requirements, there are a few other preflight items to consider. If you aren’t already incorporating these items as part of your preflight planning and preparation, consider adding them. After all, FAR 91.103 also states that pilots must become familiar with all available information prior to the flight. And isn't it just better to be prepared?

Winds aloft:
Although this one can be coupled with the generic requirement for checking the weather before a flight, the winds aloft are particularly important for those operators who hope to save fuel. Choosing a cruise altitude based on winds aloft can help save fuel, and alternatively, a quick check of the winds can also prevent you from running into a fuel shortage situation.

GPS NOTAMs and RAIM:
If you’re using GPS as a primary navigation aid, then you should be sure to get GPS NOTAMs from flight service before your flight. Approaches go well as long as they’re predictable. Losing GPS would be a bad day for any pilot that relies on it. It probably won’t happen, but a quick check of the NOTAMs and RAIM availability will ensure that it’s even less likely.

Fuel
The regulations require pilots to have enough fuel reserves for safe operation. But while you’re planning, you’ll want to scope out your fuel options, including where to find the cheapest fuel along your route (try MaxTrax) or which FBOs will take your fuel card (look them up in our Airport Resource Center). It’ll make it easier on everyone if you know ahead of time which FBO you want to use and if the FBO will honor your fuel card.

Pilot/crew currency
Don’t forget to check for your own currency requirements. Obviously, you’ll want to make sure you’re IFR current before flying in IMC or on an IFR flight plan, but don’t forget about the other currency requirements, like the flight review, and day and night requirements for carrying passengers, when applicable.

Avionics currency requirements
Along with your own currency, you’ll want to make sure your avionics are up to date. Your GPS database should be current for IFR flight, and your altimeter, pitot-static system, and transponder should be inspected every 24 calendar months. And don’t forget your VOR – the VOR needs to be checked every 30 days for IFR flight.

Local ops:
Bird conditions, noise abatement procedures and local airport and runway information should not be ignored during the flight planning process. (Did you know you can check the bird strike risk for major airports and routes on the Avian Hazard Advisory System website?)

TFRs:
Always check temporary flight restrictions before you fly. If you haven’t been surprised by one yet, you will be at some point. You can check them in a variety of ways, but online and through flight service stations are the most common.

Weight & Balance
Pilots who only fly one airplane become adept at doing weight and balance calculations for that aircraft in their minds, but when the load is heavier than usual or the flight is going to operate with different passenger or baggage loads than normal, nothing substitutes for an actual weight and balance calculations. Make sure you know the aircraft limits, as well as how the aircraft will perform when heavy.

Airport/FBO Operating Hours
Sometimes it’s the simple things that escape us, like whether or not the airport or FBO will be open when our flight arrives. It might not matter at times, but if you need fuel, restrooms or something to eat when you get there, you might want to double check the operating hours. In addition, it never hurts to call ahead and make sure there is ramp space available. This is especially important for larger aircraft at small airports.

Have preflight planning tips of your own? Share them with us in the comments!


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