All posts tagged 'Beechcraft'

GARA: the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994

The General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994, or simply GARA, is a federal act that was implemented to amend the Federal Aviation Act (FAA) of 1958.

With a few exceptions to the law, it gave general aviation aircraft manufacturers much stronger protection from prosecution for accidents which were previously said to have been caused by manufacturer fault. Manufacturers embraced this amendment as it put an 18 year time-frame on how long they could be held responsible for a design defect. However, prior to the enactment of GARA, it was a different story altogether for many manufacturers of single and twin engine piston aircraft.

The Rise, Fall, and Rise Again of General Aviation Aircraft Manufacturing

The late 1960's and early 1970's were said to have been the golden years for the aircraft manufacturing industry involved in building single and twin engine piston airplanes. However, towards the end of the 70s, during the period from 1978 to 1988, industry-wide employment fell by a devastating 65 percent. Aircraft manufacturing overall saw a massive decrease in new aircraft shipments, falling 95 percent, and over 100,000 people lost jobs in fields directly related to aircraft manufacturing in the United States.

Cessna Aircraft Company, Piper Aircraft and Beech Aircraft (now Beechcraft), the three leading general aviation aircraft manufacturers who accounted for over half the production of general aviation aircraft in the US, were among the hardest hit.

Cessna, who had been producing general aviation aircraft since its founding in 1927, posted the company's first annual loss in 1983. Virtually handicapped by previous liability exposure, Cessna was forced to halt production on all its single engine aircraft by 1986.

Piper Aircraft Company went in an out of bankruptcy, and was forced to suspend production on some of its most popular models, such as the Super Cub and PA-32 Cherokee Six / Saratoga.

Beech Aircraft shifted its emphasis away from piston / propeller aircraft, keeping the Beech Bonanza and Beech Baron in production and discontinuing all other piston / propeller aircraft models.

The cause for such a drastic drop in both jobs and the manufacturing of single and twin engine piston aircraft were the frequent lawsuits against the manufacturers. Manufacturers were able to be sued for manufacturing defects regardless of the number of years since the actual aircraft design had been developed, or used by customers. This was especially hard on aircraft manufacturers, as general aviation aircraft remained in use several decades after being manufactured, much longer than cars, or even most commercial airliners. These lawsuits became so prevalent in the 1980s that many attorneys began successfully specializing in targeting general aviation aircraft manufacturers and insurers with often frivolous lawsuits.

In fact, between 1983 - 86, Beech Aircraft defended itself against 203 lawsuits, each case costing them an average $530,000 to defend. Interestingly, while researching these cases, the NTSB found that none of the accidents could be attributed to manufacturing and design defects. Most were simply pilot error or another indirect fault.

The effect was widespread. In 1978, 18,000 general aviation aircraft were built, compared to only 928 aircraft in 1994, the year GARA was finally passed. The general aviation industry was suffering from a lack of new aircraft, particularly in the area of training, rental and charter use. The three most popular trainer aircraft, the Cessna 152, Piper Tomahawk and Beech Skipper had all been removed from the market by the mid 1980s, never to return. Russell Meyer, the CEO of Cessna at the time, cited product liability concerns as the sole reason for the halting production of single and twin engine general aviation aircraft.

The Birth of GARA

During the 80s and 90s, guided by Cessna CEO Russell Meyer and Ed Stimpson, the President of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), the general aviation industry began applying pressure to congress. Their main request was for Congress to enact limits on product liability for aircraft manufacturers, and Meyer promised that if such legislation was enacted, he would bring single engine general aviation aircraft back into production at Cessna. Adding their voices to this cause were the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the largest US organization of private pilots and general aviation aircraft owners; the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Union (IAM/IAMAW), representing workers at several general aviation aircraft factories; and a group of Kansas politicians, led by Senator Nancy Kassebaum. This proposed legislation became known as the "General Aviation Revitalization Act," or GARA.

GAMA, as one of the biggest advocates for the enactment of GARA, pointed out the fact that the money being put towards defending aircraft manufacturers against lawsuits could be better spent on improvements in overall aircraft safety and helping to develop new technologies for the good of the industry overall.

GARA is Signed into Law, and Aviation History

Finally, in 1994, GARA was passed by the Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton on August 17th, 1994. In its final form, GARA was a mere three pages long. Those three pages, however, provided manufacturers of general aviation aircraft (defined as aircraft containing less than 20 passenger seats, and not being operated in scheduled commercial service) with an exemption from liability for any of their products that were 18 years old or older from the date of an accident. There were some exceptions detailed, and this was a "rolling" statute, meaning that the 18 year time period was reset whenever modified or replacement parts were installed on an aircraft. In effect, a 25 year old aircraft could still be the object of a successful suit against a manufacturer if it contained manufacturer modifications or parts installed within the last 18 years.

GARA was immediately hailed by Cessna CEO Russell Meyers as a landmark step towards saving the general aviation industry.

"By placing a practical limit on product liability exposure, Congress has literally brought the light aircraft industry back to life."

Resuscitating a Dying Industry

Within five years of GARA coming into effect, the industry produced over 25,000 new aerospace manufacturing jobs. In addition, he U.S. Department of Labor estimated that there were also three extra support jobs created for every new manufacturing job. And the aircraft manufacturers begin to show signs of life, including the big three.

True to his word, Cessna CEO Russell Meyer brought back single engine aircraft manufacturing to Cessna, though in a much more limited manner. They resumed manufacturing their three most popular, and statistically safest single engine models. They began with the Cessna 172 and 182 in 1996, and added the 206 (developed from the popular retractable gear Cessna 210 model) back into the mix in 1998.

Piper Aircraft continued to experience financial troubles, but did continue producing the models that survived the 1980s, and even managed to restore some models to production that had been previously cut. This included the PA-32 Cherokee Six / Saratoga, and the twin engine Seminole and Seneca models. Eventually, Piper did emerge from bankruptcy, and some credit GARA for helping them survive that process.

Beech Aircraft continued producing the two piston-egine aircraft models that had survived the pre- GARA depression, the single engine Bonanza, and the twin-engine Baron, but never resumed production on any of the models it had cut during the 80s.

In addition to the increase in jobs, in the first five years following the passage of GARA, overall production of general aviation aircraft doubled. However, this was still far below the high point of the 1970s. And though production has continued to increase over time, it still hasn't returned to those levels.

In Conclusion

There is still ongoing debate about the overall effect, and effectiveness, of GARA. Opponents say that it had little effect, and mostly served to encourage attorneys to shift liability and lawsuits for accidents to new and different targets. Proponents, however, say that though the production rate has continued to climb, the general aviation accident rate has declined, pointing to safer manufacturing and advanced technology in the area of engines, avionics and navigation equipment. Glass cockpits now come standard in most new general aviation aircraft. National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen had this to say:

"GARA is a tiny, three-page bill that has generated research, investment and jobs. It is an unqualified success."

Others share this optimistic view of GARA, such as former Piper Aircraft President and CEO Chuck Suma, former AOPA president Phil Boyer, and Cirrus Designs co-founder Alan Klapmeier. And though this debate on the overall effect of GARA is likely to continue well into the future, this simple, three page document played a key role in helping shape the future of the general aviation industry.

Sources:

GARA: The General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994..." 2003. 30 Sep. 2015: https://www.avweb.com/news/news/184254-1.html

Kovarik, KV. "A Good Idea Stretched Too Far - Seattle University School of Law..." 2008: https://digitalcommons.law.seattleu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1843&context=sulr

"General Aviation Revitalization Act | GAMA - General ..." 2009. 30 Sep. 2015

https://www.gama.aero/advocacy/issues/product-liability/general-aviation-revitalization-act

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Aviation_Revitalization_Act

Textron To Develop New Single-Engine Turboprop

By Mary Grady
AvWeb
Textron Aviation

Textron Aviation has "been listening to the market" and sees an opportunity to introduce a new single-engine turboprop, the company confirmed in an email to AVweb on Monday. "This is an entirely new, clean-sheet design aircraft -- not a derivative or variant of any existing product," the company said. The company is not yet releasing details about the project, but said their intent is to "outperform the competition" in parameters including cabin size, acquisition cost, and performance capability. "By leveraging the newest technologies, we expect this aircraft to have a range of more than 1,500 nautical miles and speeds in excess of 280 knots, while offering best-in-class operating costs," according to the company's statement. The design will be on display next year at EAA AirVenture.

In its recent second-quarter shipments report, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association said 191 single-engine turboprops had been delivered in the first six months of 2015, compared to 217 delivered in the same period last year. Textron already produces several turboprop aircraft, including the single-engine Cessna Caravan line and the Beechcraft King Air twins.

King Air Parts Obsolescence Solutions

Mark Wilken
Director of Avionics Sales

www.elliottaviation.com

A CRT with phosphor burn-in – common with older CRTs due to the screens only displaying non-moving images at high-intensity.

In the first article we published related to this topic, we discussed the overall concern of parts obsolescence in aviation. Due to ongoing changes in consumer electronics, avionics are highly susceptible to obsolescence. This makes many airframes vulnerable to expensive upgrades or potential grounding. However, manufactures and service centers are creating solutions and developing products to keep your airplane flying indefinitely.

The first article mentions unlike consumer electronics, airplanes are built to fly for many years. This especially holds true for the Beechcraft King Air. The King Air was first introduced in the 1960’s and continues to be assembled to this day using the same airfoil. Many of these later models King Airs are still in circulation around the world. However, many owners and operators are beginning to feel the effects of parts obsolescence.

When King Air operators face this challenge, they have two options: source out pre-owned aftermarket parts that have been removed from the same airframe, or invest in a new avionics package. Each option has pros and cons. If you decide to replace your avionics with pre-owned aftermarket parts, sourcing can be very difficult. You also run the risk of investing in a part that has an unknown part life before it too needs to be replaced.

The next option is to install a new avionics package in your King Air. The most popular retrofit for the King Air is the Garmin G1000. The G1000’s popularity stems from the high cost of maintaining current avionics, the reasonable cost of the G1000 installation and the value added back into the aircraft.

For instance, take the cost of traditional King Air avionics upgrades vs. the G1000. A traditional upgrade would include WAAS LPV at $95,000, ADS-B at $45,000, RVSM at $83,000 and five year maintenance and upkeep at $100,000 for a grand total of $323,000. With the traditional upgrade, you add no resale to your aircraft. With the G1000, your average base install is $325,000 and you add an average value increase to the aircraft of $275,000. In addition, the system is safer, lighter, more reliable, requires significantly less maintenance and the aircraft is down for only 15 working days.

Deciding which route to take can be a daunting task. At some point you will be faced with this predicament that will have you searching for additional information. Regardless of what you decide, our avionics retrofit teams and aftermarket avionics department can help your aircraft flying.

Mark Wilken joined Elliott Aviation in 1989 as an Avionics Bench Technician. He was promoted to Avionics Manager in 1996 and joined the sales team in 2003. Mark has led many highly successful avionics programs such as the King Air Garmin G1000 avionics retrofit program. He recently led efforts for Wi-Fi solutions in Hawkers, King Airs and Phenom 300’s. Mark holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation Management from Southern Illinois University and is a licensed Pilot.

Elliott Aviation is a second-generation, family-owned business aviation company offering a complete menu of high quality products and services including aircraft sales, avionics service & installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair & overhaul, paint and interior, charter and aircraft management. Serving the business aviation industry nationally and internationally, they have facilities in Moline, IL, Des Moines, IA, and Minneapolis, MN. The company is a member of the Pinnacle Air Network, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA).

Beechjet Landing Gear-Falling Into Place

Specific Repairs for Proper Beechjet Landing Gear Operation

Brian McKenzie-Elliott Aviation Accessory Shop Manager
www.elliottaviation.com

Image of Repaired Bushing

A Beechjet is a unique airframe as it does not have a pneumatic blow down for landing gear. It primarily relies on airspeed and gravity. When the landing gear and trunnion have been maintained and repaired properly, this is never an issue. However, if the trunnion bearings are not aligned properly a slow wear eventually causes it to bind requiring repair to the trunnion bearing journals of the main landing gear.

Last year we had an AOG situation with a customer located in Caracas, Venezuela, that required this repair. The customer ran an approach to Miami and did not have all three landing gear down and locked. They cycled the landing gear a couple of times with no luck. They declared an emergency and proceeded to land anyway. As they taxied to the FBO, the line service technician noticed the left side main landing gear was not locked. They brought the aircraft in for swing tests and discovered that the left side landing gear was not swinging freely, in fact, it would fall only 7/8ths of the way down and not lock.

The aircraft was ferried back to its home base to trouble shoot the landing gear. They found that the landing gear would not pass the free fall test and removed the affected landing gear from the aircraft. During inspection of the trunnion, they found the forward trunnion bearing was seized and needed to be replaced. In this particular instance, there was an initial repair of the trunnion bearing journals where the bore was not reamed correctly and an oversized bearing was installed. This caused a misalignment, which ultimately caused the bearing to seize and the landing gear to not fall freely.

In this instance, the customer was very lucky. In these situations, the landing gear can collapse on landing or turns. In order to provide on our core values of Unmatched Quality, Uncompromising Integrity and Unbeatable Customer Service, I traveled to Venezuela amid political turmoil just days after Hugo Chavez’s death to make the repair. The aircraft was returned to service in less than five days and I returned two days before the Venezuelan Presidential election.

Another instance where this repair applies is when the factory bearing bore is enlarged due to repeated landings. If the bearings do not have an interference fit, this repair must be done in order to prevent further damage to the airframe.

At Elliott Aviation, we have seen this issue occur at least a half a dozen times in Beechjets. Properly repairing this requires pinpoint accuracy of lining up the bearing bore to the opposite side and our specialized tooling is centered between both pieces. In fact, we have developed a special tooling system that includes a series of reamers, specialized bushings and NDT capabilities to ensure the repair is handled correctly.

Brian McKenzie started with Elliott Aviation in 2007 as a Quality Control Inspector and led the development of Elliott Aviation’s Accessory Shop in 2011. He received his A&P in 2004, IA in 2009 and ASNT NDT Level III in 2010. Brian started his career in the US Navy where he was part of the fixed wing and rotor wing maintenance and aircrew. He has maintained airframes and components on a diverse number of aircraft including Beechcraft products, Gulfstreams, Citations, Falcons and helicopters. Brian has also worked for Aero Air, Evergreen International, Flightcraft and Jet Services Inc.

Elliott Aviation is a second-generation, family-owned business aviation company offering a complete menu of high quality products and services including aircraft sales, avionics service & installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair & overhaul, paint and interior, charter and aircraft management. Serving the business aviation industry nationally and internationally, they have facilities in Moline, IL, Des Moines, IA, and Minneapolis, MN. The company is a member of the Pinnacle Air Network, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA).

Citation X Captain Pilots For World-Renowned Fractional Operator

   On warm and sunny days here in Louisville, Kentucky, I have made a habit of going out to the field that lies due south of my father’s house. There in the field I feel at home; I lie down in the cool, soft grass, look up at the endless sky as I ponder my life. High above this planet where the vapor turns to gas, there is no such thing as hurt, there is no such thing as pain; there is no war and there is no evil. Up there, life is peaceful, beautiful and every shade of blue. It fascinates me to imagine how simple life could be; all we have to do is take the time to stop and see the world around us. Life has a funny way of twisting and turning in every direction except the one we are expecting; and once we lose our way, we are apt to miss out on something really great. There are always going to be reasons why we never did those things we wanted most, but that is so silly. Live your life, do everything you ever dreamed of doing and don’t look back.

   This time, my story is about a boy who knew from a very young age that he wanted to be a pilot. So much so that he would lie awake at night, letting his imagination carry him away as he slipped into fantasies of flight. The year was 1970, young Jeffrey Newcomb was twelve years of age and constantly on the lookout for anything aviation. Jeff would spend days with his nose in a flying magazine, any that he could find. Specifically, Jeff he recalls reading Air Progress, Private Pilot, Plane and Pilot and Flying. Jeff wasn’t quite sure why this dream had found him, be it spiritual or for the simplicity of freedom; but he supposed it didn’t matter anyway. What mattered was that he knew he was going to be a pilot someday. Unfortunately, bad news was lurking in the shadows for your young Jeff. One night over a family dinner, Jeffrey attempted to first express his passion for aviation to his parents. Needless to say, times were different then and aviation was less than safe according to Jeff’s mother and father. Jeff’s father had served time in the NAVY and although he had not piloted himself, he had a horrible fear of flight and refused to see his son put himself in such “danger.” On top of that, it has been said that the 70s and early 80s were NOT the best time to become a career pilot simply due to the large number of military pilots coming out of the Vietnam war. Ultimately, Jeff’s father had different ideas for his son and promptly began pushing him towards a career in business, sales and marketing.

   When the time came for Jeff to go away for college, he headed off to the University of New Hampshire in order to complete his undergrad degree. In 1979 Jeff graduated from UNH with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration as his father had suggested. Jeff continued forward with in his education and almost immediately ventured off to Antioch New England Graduate School located in Keene, New Hampshire, where he received his master’s degree in counseling Psychology. Still unsure as to what profession he may finally end up pursuing, Jeff went off to George Mason University located in Fairfax, Virginia where he completed a second master’s degree in Clinical Psychology.

   In 1987, Jeff went to work part time with an old country medical doctor out of a private office. For the next five years the medical doctor and Jeff worked together helping each other, help others. Once a week, Jeff would take over this medical office in order to meet with his clients for their routine therapy sessions. Jeffery enjoyed helping people in any way that he could, yet, he began to notice a pattern in his work. Although Jeff met with many different types of patients over the years, he found that he primarily spoke with married couples in couple’s type therapy. Some rekindled their love while others ended harshly in divorce and misfortune. Although these relationships and occurrences all took vital importance in Jeff’s life, none affected him quite as much as the divorce of his own parents. In 1992 Jeff’s parents filed for a divorce and just like that Jeff’s life had changed. He no longer desired a career in psychology; Jeff was ready to do just exactly what his parents had always advised him not to do. Needless to say, in January of 1993, when Jeff was thirty-five years old he began taking flight lessons. Again, people in Jeff’s life discouraged him from aviation. They told him that he was too old, the lessons would cost too much money, he would never be able to make a career out of flying without military background, etc.

Jeff wasn’t listening.

   Luckily, Jeffrey had friends in the business. His old pal Lee and colleague Greg owned and ran a small FBO named Sky Bright out of Laconia, New Hampshire. There in Laconia, Jeffrey Newcomb learned to fly despite every negative thing anyone had ever told him. It took Jeff roughly one year to complete all necessary pilot training and in 1993, he became certified to instruct and began teaching student pilots at Sky Bright. At this point in Jeffrey’s career he needed to begin building his time in multi-engine aircraft so that he could begin a new job as a charter pilot and work his way up in business. Some twenty thousand dollars later, Jeff was successfully checked out to fly the Beechcraft Baron as well as the Cessna 310 and in no time at all he was began his new career as a charter pilot flying the Baron for Sky Bright.

   In the spring of 1995, Jeff jumped on board a new flying opportunity and was off to Orlando, Florida in order to pursue an offer to fly for Comair Airlines. At Comair, Jeffrey flew as first officer for several years before he was transitioned north to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he became the captain on the Brasilia for one year. During these five years Jeff also flew the Canadair Regional Jet as well as the Metroliner. Newcomb absolutely loved this job and intended to stay…until a massive strike broke out in 2001. Just in the nick of time one of the largest international, fractional operator/time shares opened their door in search of a captain to fly their Cessna Citation X aircraft. Jeffrey Newcomb calls it “a spiritual thing” that he was lucky enough to be granted with such an incredible opportunity. In no time at all the cards played out and he was dealt a fantastic hand. Suddenly Jeffrey was on board and working his dream career with only 4500 hours of flight time.

   Today, twelve years later, Jeffrey has 4600+ hours in the Citation X aircraft, he has maintained his career with the same time share company and he says he could not be more thrilled! Jeffery will tell anyone he meets that he absolutely loves serving people; he enjoys making things happen and in turn, seeing people smile. “Airline flying was easy compared to private! However, flying corporate and fractional are so much more rewarding because you (as their pilot)get the opportunity to actually work one on one with your guests” Jeffrey states. “The greatest satisfaction is providing service directly to the people that you fly.” Also, Jeff thoroughly enjoys the variety of his trips. During an average week, Jeff typically flies to several different places. On any given day he may be flying a family to fabulous Bermuda for vacation, then turn around and spend the night in Aspen, Colorado that very same evening. With his current company, Jeff has also become very accustom to transcontinental flights where he may begin a trip in Teterboro, New Jersey, have dinner off the coast of southern California and be prepared for takeoff to Lakeland, Florida first thing the very next morning!

   The moral of this story is to not ever give up trying, on the things you want most out of life. Thirteen year old Jeffrey Newcomb sat at his family’s dinner table and thought very sincerely that all was lost. He thought his dreams of one day becoming a pilot were no more and he certainly would be sentenced to live a life on the ground. I’m here today folks, to tell you the good news of Jeff’s very real success story. On this very day, Jeff is a pilot working for a very successful company and living a very successful life. Against all odds, Jeffrey Newcomb did it. Currently, Jeff is living back home in small town New Hampshire with his adoring wife, Adriana and any spare time that he finds, he designates to students pilots. Jeff is excited to be back and instructing at Sky Bight, where he taught twenty years ago. Flying still excites Jeff to the nth degree. He feels excited to push the starter button on the engine of his Citation X and he still gets butterflies as he prepares for takeoff. Jeff enjoys watching the sun rise above the clouds and he states that he has the best office in the whole world; seeing the stars at night and ground below thrills him now more than ever and he wouldn’t trade for a thing.

Jim and Matt

Note from the Author: Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and read my article! I cannot even begin to describe how much I’ve learned in just a few short months since I started with this series. You are all such inspiring aviators and pilots, so thanks for reaching out to me with your comments and emails. I hope you enjoyed this article, and keep up the awesome thoughts, comments and on-blog conversations! -As always, please feel free to message me directly with your thoughts at - keely@globalair.com. I’d love to hear from you!

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