April 2, 2009
By Alton K. Marsh
You’ve heard several reports of an improving economy and stock market in past weeks, but aviation generally lags behind the economy as a whole, Cessna Aircraft Co. Chairman and President Jack Pelton recently told his employees. Because of that, another round of unspecified layoffs is coming, and as an additional cost-cutting measure the company will shut down from July 6 to 17.
Although customers who buy business jets are seeing greater sales activity, they must increase profitability and find financing before their orders can continue. As they do that, Cessna continues to see a slowdown in sales and delays in deliveries. The company is not releasing details of the slowdown until after parent company Textron releases new financial details April 29.
Sources in Wichita told local news media it could mean another 2,000 layoffs on top of the 4,600 layoffs already made or in progress, but there has been no confirmation of that by Cessna officials. An e-mail sent by Pelton to employees provides what little information there has been thus far.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
The Flying Physicians Association (FPA) has become the latest group to lend support to third-class medical reform and urge government officials to speed up their review of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). The NPRM would expand the number of pilots who could fly without needing to obtain a third-class medical certificate, a standard that has been successfully used by sport pilots for a decade.
California pilot Christopher Braun has created a revamped version of the cleco plier that is said to be lighter and more ergonomic.
There is no shortage of pilots in eastern Washington, but there does seem to be a scarcity of clubs in that part of the country.
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