All posts tagged 'Business'

When was the last time you went "Downtown"?

How do you know what's going on downtown?

Save for a helicopter, business aviation happens exclusively at the airport, correct? Wrong. Aviation happens at the airport, business happens everywhere. To be effective, a business aviation manager needs to be wherever the company business is conducted. Having the ear of the CEO is great.  But, the average length of tenure of a Fortune 500 CEO is 4.6 years. What happens when there is a new CEO?

No Plane No Gain has great resources and user stories about the value of business aviation.  We need that support, but it is mostly advocacy for business aviation directed to people like the press or local community. But what about within your own company? How is the business aircraft viewed? As an essential business tool or as a royal barge?

A recent client was facing a second round of layoffs. Their sales were down. They operated a business aircraft to access many of their distant operating locations. None of those locations could be easily reached by commercial air. A review of their use of the aircraft revealed that this aircraft was effectively and efficiently being used to manage their operations. But they were acutely aware that if their employees were facing a layoff and saw the senior leadership climbing aboard the corporate jet, that could have a negative impression. The board was concerned and fortunately, I provided them with the report supporting continued use of the business aircraft as the most efficient means of transporting the senior leadership. But still remaining was the optics.

Business aviation needs to be marketed and sold within the companies it serves. One way this can be done is for the aviation manager to be directly involved downtown. That's where the business is. The more successful business aviation departments have that access to the senior leadership through regular contact at the corporate locations. 

In spending time at the corporate headquarters, the aviation manager can be seen as a team member, part of the company. They also have the opportunity to soft-sell the value of the business aircraft to senior leadership, and even their staffers and support employees. The aviation manager can be proactive in anticipating the future air travel needs, and also have more of an impact into the policies and use of the business aircraft. 

I cannot say how many times I have heard this from the department head or Senior VP who has the flight department as part of their responsibilities: "I don't use the aircraft myself, and I really don't understand it. But, the CEO is happy."  Does any aviation manager want their immediate boss not knowing what value they add to the corporation?  CEO's will come and go. Board of Directors get new members with new ideas and opinions. Rather than aviation being politically connected to one CEO, it is far better in the long run to be connected to the corporation's mission and goals.

If you are not there now, start with a review of your corporation's vision and mission statement. Then develop ones for aviation that directly tie into the corporate goals. Run them by your senior leadership and users for inputs. Get this in writing and, along with the rules for use of the aircraft, have it for the CEO or other senior leader signature. Spend time downtown. It may not seem like much at first, but it can pay off for the aviation department, and corporation, in the long run.


HyperMach Reconfigures SSBJ Design, Aiming for Mach 4.5

Article By: Chad Trautvetter
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HyperMach Aerospace announced a new configuration for its SonicStar supersonic business jet (SSBJ) that it claims will boost the aircraft’s top speed by about 12 percent to Mach 4.5, while increasing range by 500 nm, to 6,500 nm. At its planned high-Mach cruise speed of Mach 4.4 at FL620, the SonicStar would be able to fly from New York to Dubai in only two hours and eight minutes.

HyperMach has reconfigured the design of its proposed supersonic business jet, SonicStar, with a larger fuselage, new swooped delta wing and redesigned V tail. It has also boosted the output of the aircraft’s in-development H-Magjet 4400 engine to increase the top speed to Mach 4.5.

The updated version–which includes a new swooped delta wing, redesigned V tail and a pair of more powerful engines–is “slightly larger” than when the SonicStar was first announced at the Paris Airshow last year. Thus, it could now accommodate up to 32 passengers, instead of the original 20.

Work is now said to be under way on the SSBJ’s 65,000-pound-thrust H-Magjet 4400 “hybrid turbofan ramjet” engines, which are being developed by Portland, Maine-based sister company SonicBlue. The company says it plans to start engine rig testing next year, followed by core and then electrical compressor tests in subsequent years. A full engine run is scheduled for 2018.

The redesign has pushed estimated first flight one year to the right, to 2022, but HyperMach says it still expects certification and entry into service in 2025. The company will start taking orders for the $180 million SonicStar next month.

Dassault Falcon Jet Still Going Strong at 40

Article By: Chad Trautvetter
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Teterboro, N.J.-based Dassault Falcon Jet–the wholly owned subsidiary of Dassault Aviation that is responsible for Falcon sales and service in the Americas, Pacific Rim and China–celebrated its 40th anniversary on Friday. On Dec. 1, 1972, executives from Pan American Airways and Dassault Aviation signed an agreement to form what is now known as Dassault Falcon Jet to expand the U.S. market with Pan American, the launch customer for the Falcon 20.

Known today as Dassault Falcon Jet, the Teterboro, N.J.-based Dassault Aviation subsidiary was founded 40 years ago as Pan American Business Jets. It originally was a partnership between Dassault and Pan Am to sell Falcon 20s in the U.S. Today, Dassault Falcon Jet is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dassault Aviation that sells and services Falcons in the Americas, Pacific Rim and China.

“Some of the most recognized names in aviation have their history intertwined with ours,” said John Rosanvallon, president and CEO at Dassault Falcon Jet and executive vice president for civil aircraft at French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation. “Charles Lindbergh and Juan Trippe launched Pan American Business Jets with the Falcon 20. Fred Smith launched FedEx with a fleet of Falcons. The U.S. Coast Guard ushered in the age of jet powered search-and-rescue airplanes with the Falcon HU-25.”

Dassault Falcon Jet currently has about 3,000 employees scattered among its headquarters, completions and service centers and at subsidiaries in Florida, New Jersey and Beijing. To date, more than 2,200 Falcons have been delivered, about half of which are based in the U.S.

Business Aviation: A Survival Guide for the Next Four Years

This is not a Democrat-bashing article, so if you are one of the 50% who chose to re-elect President Obama, I promise you that it is safe for you to read this article.

If you, like me derive 100% of your income from the Business Aviation Industry, then it is likely that you are worried about the next four years living under a re-elected President that appears to detest our industry. To prevent insanity I suggest that we then must all adapt both our mindsets and also the way that we approach our lives. Here follows the adaptations that I am working into my daily routine to retain my sanity and to keep everything on an even keel; I am calling this my Survival Guide for the next four-years.

Be a much better Advocate for Biz-Av
There is no one who works within this industry that is not 100% sold on the distinct advantage that the use of a Business Aircraft provides. We all know that Corporate jets are business tools with varied uses. About 74 percent of corporate jets carry sales, technical and middle-management employees to more airports domestically, none of which have airline service. It is a fact that corporations that use Business Aircraft, and are members of the National Business Aviation Association, earn annual revenues equal to one half of the $14.7 trillion dollar economy of the United States while they employ more than 19 million people worldwide, thus making Business Aviation users the single largest economic driving force within this country. Consider the previous passage to be a suitable elevator speech that you might start using.

Unfortunately we continually preach this message to each other, as well as to the people that work on Capital Hill, but not to many others outside of this limited group. For the next four years, I challenge us all to promote and advocate this message to everyone that we come into contact with away from the airports where we work. There are over 1.25 million of us who work in this industry. Let’s say that we actually manage to give our ‘elevator speech’ similar to the passage that I underlined above, to 60 people a-year for the next 4-years (that’s about 10 people a-week), then by the fall of 2016 we would have promoted Biz-Av to every man, woman and child in this country (312,000,000 people), then the term “Fat-Cat” that both our President and the media loves to bandy around, will become totally passé as it simply is not true statement!

Get more involved in the NBAA and your local Biz-Av Association
Close to 50,000 of us attend at least one NBAA function a-year whether it is the Annual Meeting and Convention, a Regional Meeting and Forum, or one of the many Professional Development Programs held all-through-out the year. Fortunately for many of us, if it is technically or financially impossible for us to attend any of the NBAA events, it is still possible to participate by joining and attending the meetings and events offered by your local Biz-Av association. At the last count, there are 62 Regional Aviation Associations that are Biz-Av centric.

Here is the list:

Addison Business Aviation Association
Arizona Business Aviation Association
Aviation Council of Pennsylvania
Aviation Professionals Sharing Information (New-York, New-Jersey and Pennsylvania)
Business Aviation Professionals of New England
Centennial Airport Business Pilot's Alliance
Chicago Area Business Aviation Association
Colorado Aviation Business Association
Connecticut Business Aviation Group
Eastern Region Helicopter Council
FNL Pilot Association (Northern Colorado)
Friends of Meacham International Airport Association
Georgia Business Aviation Association
Greater St Louis Business Aviation Association
Greater Waco Aviation Alliance
Greater Washington Business Aviation Association
Houston Regional Aviation Professionals
Idaho Business Aviation Association
Kansas City Business Aviation Association
Las Vegas Schedulers & Dispatchers Association
Little Rock Business Aviation Association
Long Island Business Aviation Association
Love Field Pilots Association
Maine Business Aviation Association
Massachusetts Airport Management Association
Massachusetts Business Aviation Association
Michigan Business Aviation Association
Minnesota Business Aviation Association
Morristown Aviation Association
Nebraska Business Aviation Association
New England and Eastern New York Schedulers and Dispatchers Group
New England Helicopter Council
New Jersey Aviation Association
New York Aviation Managers Association
NorCal Business Aviation Association
North Dakota Business Aviation Association
North Florida Business Aviation Association
North Texas Business Aviation Association
North Texas Commission
Ohio Regional Business Aviation Association
Pacific Northwest Aviation Association
Pacific Rim Schedulers & Dispatchers Association
PAMA Houston Chapter
Rocky Mountain Metro Airport Business Aviation Group
San Antonio Area Business Aviation Alliance
South Florida Business Aviation Association
Southern California Aviation Association
Southern Colorado Business Aviation Group
Southern/Northern California Dispatchers Group
Tampa Bay Aviation Association
Teterboro User's Group
Texas Aviation Association
Texas Corporate Aviation Schedulers & Dispatchers Group
The Partnership for Corporate Aviation Training
The Wichita Aero Club
Tri-State Area Dispatchers Group
Utah Business Aviation Association
Westchester Aircraft Maintenance Association
Westchester Aviation Association
Western Michigan Business Aircraft Association
Wisconsin Business Aircraft Association
Women in Aviation, Intl. - Space City Chapter

If you want more information on any the Associations that are listed above, I suggest that you contact NBAA’s Director of Regional Programs: Mr. Steve Hadley, tel. +, or email. [email protected]

Reach out to everyone that are also Biz-Av Industry Members, especially locally
Maybe it time that you became a better ‘Ambassador’ towards your fellow industry folk. For too long (since before the First World War) there has been the Officer & Gentleman thing running through our industry; you know – like the adage: “You can take a Pilot and make him into a Mechanic, but you can’t take a Mechanic and make him into a Pilot”; which as we all know is complete crap! Then there is the believe by many that “Ground-Crew are neither to be seen or heard, unless they are standing in-front of the aircraft to clear the start of my engines, and to pull my chocks”, etc. What a total pile of steaming rubbish, but unfortunately our industry has suffered from these bizarre attitudes for way-to-many years in my opinion.

It takes a massive amount of people to make our national aviation system work. The pilots often take most, if not all of the spotlight and glory; but think of the number of aviation maintenance technicians, line service personnel, engineers, designers, detailers, sales people, air traffic controllers, handlers, administrators, painters, upholsterers, inspectors, regulators, and entrepreneurs that are right behind the pilot, thus making his role possible within this marvellous system. Please have Alexandre Dumas’ inspiring phrase used by his fictional characters: ‘The Three Musketeers”...”All For One, One For All” should be your newly adopted phrase.

Pay better attention to what our Elected Representatives in Washington are doing
Prior to election-2012 there were 57 members that sat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chaired by Congressman John Mica. These folks make up only about 11% of the 535 Senators and Representatives that collect a pay-check from the Federal Government. If you are not watching what they say and do about Biz-Av, I suggest that you start now and regularly take them to task and protest. You will find the following links helpful in getting your elevator speech and your beliefs across to these donuts:

The Alphabet Groups use a large slice of your membership dues to lobby and cajole these folks with our collective message, which is all to the good. I can tell you though, that a personal letter, email or telephone call received by a representative in Washington, from one of their constituents (You) has a lot more power than you could imagine. Lobbyists’ buy them dinners and cocktails; Votes (yours and mine) buys them two-to-six years of free dinners, and life-long healthcare. Trust me, we individuals have more pull than the Alphabets so do your-self a favour and start making your voice heard in Washington and your States Capitol.

Write more Letters and Get Noticed
Generally speaking, the Media can be either our friend, or our enemy. The natural reaction by most of us in Business Aviation to a call from a reporter to ask questions about our industry, is to shy away and duck the questioning because we don’t want to be caught ‘telling any tales out of court.’ By its nature, Business Aviation is also ‘Private Aviation’ and therefore we all feel the need to keep our activities and operations ‘private’ as well. Well this is my call to action for this shyness to be suppressed and a new openness to be adopted. No, I don’t want you to divulge anything that you and the folks that ride our jets would not be comfortable with. Instead, I suggest that you keep your elevator speech close to your telephone and computer so you can start educating the press on what Biz-Av is really all about. If you read a ‘Fat-Cat’ statement or assertion in your local newspaper, internet blog, or on T.V. or radio, please get out your pen and write a fact-based protest against the remarks. As soon as you do this regularly you will get noticed by the media (in a good way) and they will start to call or email you for your side of the story rather than printing or broadcasting the pap that they believe to be right.

Be a Mentor
The future of aviation lay’s in the hands of today’s youth, and unless you work at an aviation school, you have probably noticed that there are not too many young people hanging out at your airport, like they did when you were first bitten by the love of aviation bug. This is a gathering storm that will eventually turn into a cataclysm that will consume the industry that we all love, if none of us make the time to give a leg-up to youngsters that are our future. Now is the time for you to start sharing your love of aviation with the younger generation. How can you do this?

To start with, why don’t you talk to your neighbours where you live and ask if any of the children in the neighbourhood would like to come to the airport with you to look around and get up-close to some aircraft? I promise you that the first time that you make a move in this effort; your heart shall be gripped with an overwhelming sense of good. If your own passion for aviation might have been flagging of late, the joy of aviation that the young people find thanks to this, your first effort shall, I am certain, encourage you to do more of this aviation experience sharing. If you fly, take the youngsters up. Maybe later you will become so enamoured by the way that this benevolent new side of you makes you feel, you might start speaking at local schools in your area? You will also have the undivided attention of the parents. Now you can give your elevator speech to them too, and open their eyes to what our industry is really all-about.

Turn Off the T.V.
In my opinion and that of many others, much of radio and all of television has evolved into an advertising delivery system where the content is squeezed in merely to fill in the gaps between the paid messages that constantly invade our ears and eyes. You might consider this to be a depressing point of view, but it is not far-off the truth. Thanks to the human condition that we all share, hate, anguish, and anger grips attention better than other types of message, except for maybe sex. I would be willing to wager that the whole ‘fat-cat’ characterization sells more product than if ‘good news and successes’ were reported instead. Don’t get discouraged by Hyperbole, just turn off the box when the hate starts flowing.

Be Grateful for We Have Got and Believe That You Do Make a Difference
You can personally fill in the blank space here. Just remember this: It is fact number one that...

“....the liquid that flows through the economic veins of this country is Jet fuel, and the roots of the Global Aviation Industry is 100% All-American; and Aviation is absolutely Vital to the Economic Prosperity of all American Citizens.”

Let’s reconvene four years from now to see what we have all accomplished after following this Survival Guide. I am willing to say that we will have a better lot of it, if we do follow my suggestions. Thanks for reading.

Pre-owned Update

By: Bryan A. Comstock

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.

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