AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot--Vol. 4, Issue 17

April 26, 2002

Volume 4, Issue 17 • April 26, 2002
In this issue:
Kit jet sells for cool million
AOPA scolds Fox News for nuke plant security story
Defense proposal excludes warbirds provision
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Copyright � 2002 AOPA.

GA News
NEW MANAGERS WORK TO REVAMP TROUBLED RAYTHEON AIRCRAFT
A team of new senior managers is attempting to turn around ailing Raytheon Aircraft Company. The Wichita-based company that builds Beechcraft and Hawker airplanes has seen its profits erode over the last decade and its cash flow run out of control, according to James Schuster, the CEO who took over RAC last summer. He brought in Robert Horowitz, a management expert from General Electric, to be his COO. Since then, the two have eliminated some 2,500 jobs and stemmed the flow of red ink. They are now focused on rebuilding the company, engaging the long-ignored union employees, and rebuilding the service image that once was a hallmark of both Hawker and Beech. It's a big challenge. The company has had negative cash flow for three years and has seen sales fall 20 percent.

...AND REGAINING TRUST MAY HELP PAVE THE WAY
Schuster sees regaining the trust of customers as one way to return to profitability. Each week, Schuster and Horowitz along with other top managers review the delivery squawks on every airplane that leaves the factory. The person responsible for the problem takes the issue back to the production floor to fix it at the root. Another initiative of the team is a re-emphasis of the Beechcraft and Hawker names. Raytheon has been attempting to stamp out the old names since it acquired Beech in the early 1980s and Hawker in the early 1990s. The new managers see the value in the old names and plan to capitalize on their brand awareness. Any of the team's successes may lead to a sale of the aircraft company. Parent-company Raytheon Company had the aircraft company on the market for several years, but found no takers. A return to profitability may bring out new suitors. Regardless, the company has no plans to discontinue production of the Bonanza and Baron lines, although Schuster would not rule out the sale of the piston line if the right deal came along.

KIT JET SELLS FOR COOL MILLION
What is a four-place composite aircraft powered by two thirsty jet engines worth? Try $1.2 million. That's what Billy Alford of Key West, Florida, paid for the first used Maverick Jet. The jet was sold via a silent auction at the Sun 'n Fun EAA Fly-In by Maverick Jets Inc. earlier this month. The aircraft was the company's flying prototype and was used for research for a line of "custom-built" jets where buyers use a professional shop to help them complete factory kits under the FAA's 51-percent rule. The aircraft is powered by two 750-pound-thrust jet engines that were converted from military turboshaft helicopter engines. The airplane has a 300-kt cruise at 31,000 feet. Maverick is currently working on a certified production model. See the Web site.

MEGGITT ANNOUNCES NEW AUTOPILOT
Last Friday Meggitt/S-Tec gave the editors of AOPA Pilot a glimpse of what is to come this week at the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) convention with the announcement of a new autopilot. For the first time, the company will now provide a system for the twin turboprop market that was previously seen only in jets. The MAGIC 2100 digital flight control system offers improved situational awareness and safety with cockpit voice annunciation and both an integrated altitude preselector and an indicated airspeed hold function. Meggitt/S-Tec also told the editors about the SA 200, a new altitude preselect system that is designed to interface with the current production S-Tec System FiftyFiveX autopilot. See the Web site.

GE COMPLETES UNISON ACQUISITION
GE Engine Services, a subsidiary of General Electric Company, has completed its acquisition of Unison Industries Inc. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. "Given GE's commitment to the aviation industry, this acquisition provides the opportunity for Unison to better serve customers in this dynamic marketplace," said Unison founder Rick Sontag. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, Unison produces and services turbine ignitions, wiring harnesses, alternators, piston ignitions, sensors, bellows, and switches for the aerospace industry.

'ePILOT' TO ADD EXCLUSIVE WEEKEND WEATHER FORECAST
Beginning next Friday, AOPA ePilot will include an exclusive weekend weather forecast prepared by Meteorlogix, the official weather provider for AOPA Online. Meteorologists there will prepare a weekend outlook for six regions of the continental United States, as well as outlooks for Alaska and Hawaii. ePilot subscribers will receive the forecast for their area. The forecasts will include a summary of the anticipated weather's effect on general aviation flight activity.

For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
Inside AOPA
AOPA SCOLDS FOX NEWS FOR NUKE PLANT SECURITY STORY
AOPA President Phil Boyer sent a strongly worded letter to Fox Broadcasting Company CEO Roger Ailes on Monday, denouncing a story that ran on Ailes's Fox News Channel last week. In the televised story, reporter Douglas Kennedy claimed he and his crew rented a pilot and plane from a flight school, and were able to loiter over the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant in New York for 20 minutes without anyone raising an alarm. But the flight school says they were approached by Fox News to do a story on ground escape routes from the plant. The pilot contacted New York Center prior to the flight, received permission from the manager on duty, was assigned a discrete transponder code, and during the flight, remained above 2,000 feet agl and in contact with air traffic control at all times. "Your staff misrepresented themselves and the facts to obtain a sensationalistic story that unfairly alarmed a trusting public," Boyer said. Fox responded almost immediately and stood by their story. See AOPA�Online.

FAA OFFERS GA EXCEPTION TO PRODUCTS RULE
The FAA recently released a draft version of an advisory circular (AC) that outlines how the industry can comply with the agency's Changed Products Rule. This rule affects the cost of obtaining aircraft, engine, propeller, and avionics upgrades that require a supplemental type certificate (STC). Although the FAA wanted STCs to meet the certification rules in effect when an application is made rather than the standard in place when the aircraft was built, AOPA successfully argued that there was no measurable safety benefit of requiring this for smaller GA aircraft weighing 6,000 pounds or less. "This exception is significant because most GA aircraft were certified under rules dating back more than 30 years," said Andy Cebula, AOPA senior vice president of Government and Technical Affairs. "Without these changes, future enhancements to small GA aircraft, such as avionics and other safety upgrades, would be in jeopardy because of the cost and complexity of meeting new certification rules." The special treatment of smaller aircraft would apply except in those instances where the FAA finds that the change is significant. Even then, the burden of proof is on the FAA, not the aircraft owner.

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On Capitol Hill
DEFENSE DEPARTMENT PROPOSAL EXCLUDES WARBIRDS PROVISION
In Congress, nothing is ever final until the president signs the bill. But it appears that efforts by AOPA and others to protect warbird owners have paid off. AOPA Legislative Affairs staff has learned that the Department of Defense funding request for the fiscal year 2003 will not contain any language harmful to vintage military aircraft. AOPA has worked closely with Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) to make sure language requiring demilitarization of significant military equipment, including aircraft formerly owned by the Pentagon, is not included in this year's proposal. The language, known as the "warbirds provision," could have resulted in the destruction of vintage military aircraft, now flying in civilian hands. Although Congress could still introduce the provision, Miller's persistent lobbying of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld means the Bush administration will not put forth the proposal this year.
Airport Support Network
AIRPORT SUPPORT VOLUNTEERS STILL NEEDED
More than 1,200 Airport Support Network volunteers throughout the nation are working with AOPA headquarters to help save their airports. They act as the eyes and ears of AOPA to provide an early warning for threats to airfields. Below are just a few airports in your area where ASN volunteers are still needed.

To nominate a volunteer, which can be yourself, see AOPA�Online.
Quiz Me!
Here's a question asked by an AOPA member last week of our AOPA technical specialists. Test your knowledge.

Question: While flying recently, I noticed two other pilots conversing air-to-air on the CTAF/unicom frequency of a nearby airport. The FBO at that airport broke in and told the two pilots that there was an air-to-air frequency they should use. Is there such a frequency? If so, what is it and where do I find it?

Answer: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has designated two frequencies for air-to-air communications. They are 122.750 and 122.850. These frequencies are also to be used at private airports. These frequencies are listed in Section 4-1-11 of the Aeronautical Information Manual which is available on AOPA Online. For excellent information on communications, download a copy of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Operations at Nontowered Airports Safety Advisor.

Got a technical question for AOPA specialists? Call 800/872-2672 or e-mail to inforequest@aopa.org. Send comments on our Quiz Me! questions to epilot@aopa.org.
Picture Perfect
The AOPA Online Gallery has been updated with photos from the May issue of AOPA�Pilot, including the Spirit of St. Louis. See AOPA Online.
What's New At AOPA�Online
Looking for a summer camp to keep alive your child's spark for aviation? See our list of programs on AOPA Online.
ePilot Calendar
Check your weekend weather on AOPA Online.

WEEKEND FLYING DESTINATIONS
West End, Grand Bahama. The West-End Fly-in takes place May 3 through 5. See and explore where Christopher Columbus discovered the new world. Contact 242/346-6500 or visit the Web site.

Woodridge, New Jersey. The Twenty-Ninth Annual New Jersey Aviation Hall of Fame Induction Dinner takes place May 3 at the Fiesta Ballroom. This year's honorees are Fred Feldman, Harry Hamlen, Oliver LeBoutillier, and AOPA Pilot columnist Barry Schiff. Contact Pat Reilly at 201/288-6344 or visit the Web site.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The McDonald's Air and Sea Show takes place May 4 and 5 at Fort Lauderdale Beach. This salute to the U.S. military will feature the Blue Angles, Golden Knights, and more. Visit the Web site for more information.

Chicago, Illinois. The Third Annual Touch the Sky Benefit hosted by the Friends of Meigs Field takes place May 4 at the Adler Planetarium. Contact Ann Marie Arzt or visit the Web site for more information.

For more airport details, see AOPA's Airport Directory Online . For more events, see Aviation Calendar of Events

ASF FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR REFRESHER CLINICS
(All clinics start at 7:30 a.m.)
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Irvine, California, and Pensacola, Florida, May 4 and 5. Clinics are scheduled in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Kansas City, Missouri, and Albany, New York, May 11 and 12. For the Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic schedule, see AOPA Online.

ASF PINCH-HITTER GROUND-SCHOOL COURSES
(Pinch-Hitter courses start at 9:30 a.m.)
The next Pinch-Hitter� Ground School will take place in Fort Lauderdala, Florida, on May 12. For more Pinch-Hitter courses, see AOPA Online.

ASF SAFETY SEMINARS
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, May 4 and 5. The topic is mountain flying. For more information, visit the Web site.

For comments on calendar items or to make submissions, contact calendar@aopa.org.

Got news or questions? Send your comments to epilot@aopa.org.

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