All posts tagged 'aviation news' - Page 4

NY Times writes about NBAA 2010, ultra long-range jet market

The New York Times has weighed in on this year’s NBAA session. A story posted to its web site yesterday discusses ultra long-range jets and commercial-sized private jets, mentioning the Global 7000 and Global 8000 and Embraer’s Lineage 1000, as well as the Gulfstream G650.  

The article notes that, while the private aviation industry struggled during the past two years of economic downturn, the interest in the largest and most-expensive aircraft actually increased, and then it provides sales data to support this.

At the very highest niche, where customers can easily pay well over $40 million for a jet and more than $8 million to outfit the cabin, the business appears to be surviving the economic downturn.”

Read the full article here.

Piper Cherokee lands on Louisville expressway

 

A Piper Cherokee owned by a Fisherville, Ky., man crash-landed on a busy freeway Thursday night, just south of Bowman Field Airport (LOU) in Louisville, Ky.

Local TV station WHAS-11 reported that the aircraft attempted to land at Louisville International Airport (SDF) while low on fuel and was diverted to Bowman.

It landed on the westbound lanes of the Watterson Expressway before coming to rest off the right shoulder of the road.

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The aircraft, reportedly carrying four passengers, landed without any of those on board suffering injury. Traffic snarled near the scene during rush hour Friday morning before the plane was moved to a hangar at Bowman.

Federal authorities are investigating.

Read more at the link above and here from the local newspaper, The Courier-Journal.

FAA greenlights ADS-B conversion; security questions raised about its use in iPhone app


Planefinder.net

The FAA announced this week it is ready to go full scale with its implementation of the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) system to track aircraft. The agency expects the transition, which will give air-traffic controllers another tool to track aircraft, to be complete by 2013 and mandated by 2020.

As this development plays out, though, a smart phone application that allows the technology to track aircraft with a phone camera has come under fire from a British security official.

Patrick Mercer, former chair of the UK’s Parliamentary Counter Terrorism subcommittee, according to a Press Trust of India report, said terrorist could use an iPhone application to locate and target an in-flight aircraft for an missile attack.

“Anything that makes it easier for our enemies to find targets is madness,” he reportedly said.

The article also mentions, without specifics, that the Department of Homeland Security also “is investigating how to protect aircraft from attacks.”

This line of thought has its critics as well, however. Marcus Yam, writing for the technology web site TomsGuide.com, commented smarmily: “Next thing he’ll go after are telescopes and binoculars.”

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Louisville pilot Robert Patterson said as much this week to us. He hosts an ADS-B receiver on the system used by PlaneFinder.net, which sells the smart phone application.

Louisville International Airport (SDF) was chosen by the FAA as a test site for the system largely due to the UPS fleet that flies cargo into and out of the city daily. Patterson, an aviation enthusiast who does similar hosting for LiveATC.net, said he has enjoyed using the new technology and thinks it should be there for others.

“(It's) Innocent,” he tweeted to us on about the tracking system, after we posted a link to the initial criticism on our Twitter feed.

In a follow-up phone interview, Patterson noted that the tracking data broadcast by the receivers is easy to come across. Anyone can buy and connect one to a laptop via USB for about $700.

“If they can afford an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade), the price of the (ADS-B) antenna probably isn’t going to stop them,” he said.

The only difference between having it on a highly mobile laptop versus a smart phone app, he said, is the price.

Patterson said it would be a disservice to the aviation community to block access to the applications, which cost around $5, as many who would enjoy following flights in their neighborhoods might not opt for the pricier antennas. At least one aviation authority agrees, it seems.

Yam also notes in his report that “the UK Department of Transport doesn’t seem that worried, though, as it said, ‘This application might be new but the ability to track aircraft isn’t.”

How else are we going to have fun with aircraft when we are stuck on the ground?

A terrible trio of bad news: Layoffs at Cessna, Beechcraft and Piper

A superstition commonly shared says that bad news comes in groups of three. Today, in the realms of business and general aviation, one has to wonder if that folklore also applies to layoffs.

Piper Aircraft announced yesterday that it would furlough 60 workers at its Florida facility. That consists of 6 percent of the company’s workforce, according to a local news report. Piper officials cited a lapse in aircraft orders as key in shrinking its labor pool.

The move comes right after similar announcements of 700 layoffs at Cessna and 350 layoffs at Hawker Beechcraft.

Hawker Beechcraft officials said, although orders are flat, they do not foresee large-scale reductions among hourly employees.

Cessna said its cuts manifested because orders for business jets have yet to meet projections. The company has cut the number of jobs on its payroll in Wichita nearly in half during the past two years of economic downturn, according to local news reports there.

Surely not all news is bad news. Read past the jump to find possible silver linings to this cloud. [more]

Despite the trimming, the current round of cuts will leave Piper with 830 employees, up more than one third from 580 employees a year ago.

In addition, the announcement came on the same day that the NBAA and other aviation groups applauded the passage of a small business law that, in part, allows credits on aircraft purchases and upgrades.

If bad news can come in threes, then perhaps good fortunes could bring a trifecta of positivity around the next bend.

What has business been like for your company this year compared to 2009? Are things better? Worse? Or slow but the same? Share your perspective in the comments below.

Eurocopter X3 begins testing; company calls it a turboprop-helicopter hybrid

Eurocopter raised the curtain today and gave the aviation world a look at its X3, a high-speed hybrid helicopter that the company calls “a new milestone in (its) innovation roadmap.”

The X3 will combine VTOL capabilities with a cruise speed of more than 220 knots, according to the company’s engineers.

The design includes a trio of rotors, with a five-blade main system on top and twin-prop short-span fixed wings on either side of the cockpit.

“This creates an advanced transportation system offering the speed of a turboprop-powered aircraft and the full hover flight capabilities of a helicopter,” says a statement on the company’s web site.

Read more about testing plans for the Eurocopter X3 after the jump. [more]

The company expects buyers to use the helicopter in long-range search and rescue missions, as well as coastal and border patrols, in addition to medical and military roles. The first X3 flight took place two weeks ago in France.

Initial testing will continue through the end of the year before speed testing starts in March 2011, the company said.

Read more about the today's development on the Eurocopter X3 from Aviation Week, Plane News, FlightGlobal and Business Jet Traveler.

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