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| GA News |
| CALIFORNIA COMPANY AIMS TO RIGHT MOONEY, ACQUIRE OTHERS |
A California company has set forth an ambitious business plan to not only turn around the bankrupt Mooney Aircraft Corporation, but carry its own design through certification and acquire other GA manufacturers. First thing's first. As the new senior creditor of Mooney, Advanced Aerodynamics and Structures Inc. (AASI) of Long Beach, California, will manage the company as it prepares a reorganization plan. AASI's new president and CEO, Roy Norris, told reporters last week that he plans to rehire laid-off employees at the Mooney plant in Kerrville, Texas, by next month, while laying off half of the 120-person workforce in Long Beach that has been developing AASI's singe-engine turboprop Jetcruzer 500. Norris said his company will be "Mooney-izing" the Jetcruzer by paring its empty weight, cutting its manufacturing costs, and fitting the airplane with Avidyne or Garmin avionics suites. The Jetcruzer's name will change, too. It will be called the Mooney XP.
...AND AASI WILL ASSUME NEW IDENTITY
Norris said that, pending successful bidding in court, AASI will acquire Mooney's assets and the two companies will be consolidated under a new company name: Mooney Performance Aircraft Company (MPAC). All manufacturing and test flying will take place in Kerrville, while AASI's facility in Long Beach will be converted to serve administrative, marketing, sales, and delivery center functions. In spite of the challenges facing MPAC–repaying creditors, building up Mooney parts inventories, and restarting Mooney production–Norris said he saw no reason why the company couldn't shave $70,000 off the average price of Mooneys by changing manufacturing techniques and retooling. He also wants to reach annual production rates of 300 aircraft for the three current Mooney models and roll out 1,000 Mooney XPs. Norris said he is looking to acquire other airplane companies to fill out MPAC's offerings. Mentioned were the Williams-powered twin turbofan Century Jet and Raytheon's line of piston-powered airplanes.
INDUSTRY BILLINGS UP, BUT SHIPMENTS DROP
AASI's move comes when general aviation manufacturing is feeling some effects from the recession and the September 11 terrorist attacks. Billings for GA airplanes produced in the United States last year were up nearly 1 percent, to $8.65 million, over the previous year–but the number of aircraft delivered fell 6.6 percent to 2,634 airplanes. The higher billings reflect a strong business jet market, with 600 shipped during 2001. "2001 was not the unqualified success that we've come to expect, but we shouldn't overlook the many bright spots," General Aviation Manufacturers Association President Ed Bolen said Wednesday at GAMA's annual Industry Review and Market Outlook briefing. GAMA Chairman Ray Siegfried noted that the decline in shipments has not approached the 20-percent drop seen in the past six U.S. recessions. Deliveries of U.S. single-engine piston aircraft fell 12.8 percent to 1,581 airplanes, but shipments of multiengine piston aircraft were up 42.7 percent to 147 planes.
FAA ISSUES EMERGENCY LYCOMING AD
The FAA has issued an emergency airworthiness directive calling for crankshaft replacement in Textron Lycoming TIO-540 and LTIO-540 turbocharged engines rated at 300 horsepower or more. This AD affects some 399 engines installed in Cessna T206; El Gavilian; and Piper Navajo, Mojave, Saratoga, Aerostar, and Malibu Mirage aircraft. Owners must comply with the AD within 10 operating hours. The AD, which includes the serial numbers of the affected engines, covers engines with crankshafts manufactured from March 1, 1999, through December 31, 1999. At this point, the AD only applies to turbocharged engines. However, the FAA tells AOPA that it is trying to determine if the AD should be applied to normally aspirated engines as well. See AOPA Online.
ECLIPSE CREATES FRICTION
Calling it a "significant milestone," Eclipse Aviation Corporation said that its technique called friction stir welding has been put to use in assembling the lower cabin of the first Eclipse 500 jet. This marks the first time it has been used in production on thin-gauge aircraft aluminum, according to the company. The technique is a machine process where a rotating tool heats aluminum. The plasticized materials are then joined. Friction stir welding will be used in place of rivets on most of the major assemblies of the Eclipse 500, including the cabin, aft fuselage, wings, and engine mounts. The technique has also been used in the space and marine industries.
HONEYWELL ANNOUNCES NEW TRAFFIC ADVISORY SYSTEM
Honeywell announced this week its new KTA 970 TCAS I traffic collision advisory system for rotorcraft and fixed-wing applications at the Helicopter Association International's annual Heli-Expo in Orlando, Florida. For complete Heli-Expo news, see AOPA Online.
For daily news updates, see AOPA Online.
| Inside AOPA |
| FAA REOPENS THREE MARYLAND AIRPORTS |
The FAA has issued two notams and a special federal aviation regulation (SFAR) that will open three closed Washington, D.C.-area airports–College Park (CGS), Potomac Airfield (VKX), and Washington Executive/Hyde Field (W32)–to operations by aircraft that were based at the airports on September 11. Pilots must complete a security background check and comply with special air traffic control procedures. After a test period, the FAA will consider allowing nonbased transient aircraft to use these airports. AOPA understands that this test period will likely run 60 days. In the SFAR, the FAA recognizes AOPA, the Maryland Department of Aviation, and the airport operators who participated in the development of the rule. The participation resulted in the FAA shelving more restrictive and cost-prohibitive alternatives. See the notams or the SFAR.
AOPA ONLINE OFFERS SPORT PILOT INFO
AOPA has created a dedicated Sport Pilot section on AOPA Online to help members understand the FAA's proposed Sport Pilot rule. In addition to a brief summary of the proposal, this new section provides various links including AOPA's regulatory brief, a chart comparing the Sport Pilot proposal with existing certificates, a copy of the proposed rule, a Sport Pilot message board; the FAA's Q&A Web site; and more. "Because there has been so much interest in exactly what the Sport Pilot rule means to pilots, we felt that a dedicated AOPA Online section was important," said Andy Cebula, AOPA senior vice president of Government and Technical Affairs. See AOPA Online.
AOPA'S BOYER WINS AVIATION AWARD
AOPA President Phil Boyer has been honored with an Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine Aerospace Laurel for his "relentless defense of general aviation after the September 11 attacks," the magazine said. The forty-fifth annual awards honor "individuals and teams who made significant contributions to the global field of aerospace during 2001" and appear in the February 4 edition of the magazine. "While I am humbled by this recognition, the honor rightfully should go to the extraordinary team backing me at AOPA," Boyer said. See AOPA Online.
FLIGHT EXPLORER OFFERS FREE FLIGHT TRACKING IN FLORIDA
A continuous display of air traffic traveling to and from this weekend's Daytona 500 Nascar races in Daytona Beach, Florida, is available on AOPA Online through Sunday. As many as 600 aircraft are expected to arrive between Thursday and Sunday for the world-famous races. The near real-time display of air traffic in the Daytona Beach area is being provided free for this weekend only by AOPA Certified partner Flight Explorer. AOPA Flight Explorer Personal Edition subscriptions are normally $8.95 per month for up to 10 hours of aircraft tracking. See AOPAï¿½Online.
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| On Capitol Hill |
| AOPA QUERIES SENATOR'S STAFF AFTER PROVOCATIVE REMARK |
Wisconsin Sen. Herbert Kohl believes that while the general aviation community may be addressing the potential weaknesses in GA security, the government is not, according to his staff. This comes after Kohl called general aviation a "ticking time bomb" in a Senate hearing last week. AOPA has been told by his staff that despite the senator's provocative comments, Kohl's subsequent questions on charter carriers more accurately illustrate his chief concerns. In a meeting with Kohl's Washington staff, AOPA emphasized the association's efforts on GA security in concert with other members of the aviation community. Kohl's staff agreed with AOPA that "one size does not fit all" in terms of general and commercial aviation. AOPA Legislative Affairs plans to work with the senator's office as the security debate progresses and will continue to advocate reasonable measures for GA.
CONTROLLERS REJECT BUSH'S BUDGET LANGUAGE
The president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) is concerned about the hint of privatization buried in President Bush's budget proposal. NATCA President John Carr is calling it "ludicrous" and "downright reckless and irresponsible to even consider playing games with the safety and security of the service we provide." Included in the budget for the Department of Transportation, as reported by ePilot last week, is a reference to the planned performance-based organization (PBO). If the PBO is not effective after a year of operation, the department would look to other options, including the partial privatization and franchise operation of air traffic system components. Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, FAA controllers at 325 facilities grounded 4,546 aircraft in slightly more than two hours. "We proved our worth as inherently governmental employees. If there was any question as to the seamless nature of the system, consider that it took just one phone call from Secretary Mineta to shut it down," Carr added. AOPA is also against privatizing air traffic control.
| Airport Support Network |
| VOLUNTEER OF THE WEEK–RAY BRINDLE |
Ray Brindle has been working hard to protect Midlothian/Waxahachie Municipal Airport (4T6) in Texas from excessive residential encroachment while at the same time fostering the development of the area around the airport as light industrial. Brindle, who has been an AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer since August 2001, has been working with city officials on master plan and other issues to ensure the future viability of the airport. "Ray Brindle has done a great job and is continuing to help us tremendously in protecting our facility," said Juan Martinez, airport manager. "Your program is great and Ray is doing a fantastic job for us."
To learn more about the Airport Support Network, visit AOPA Online.
| AOPA Air Safety Foundation News |
| PLACE A BID IN ASF'S SILENT AUCTION |
How would you like to feel the ground shake as the space shuttle lifts off? For the first time ever, the AOPA Air Safety Foundation's silent auction is offering four tickets to the next shuttle launch, scheduled for February 28. This is a sold-out event. There are various other goods up for bid including aviation items, artwork, autographs, etc. See AOPA Online for this month's items. The inventory changes each month.
| Quiz Me! |
|Here's a question asked by an AOPA member last week of our AOPA technical specialists. Test your knowledge. |
Question: Where can I find the location of a VOR receiver checkpoint?
Answer: An FAA VOR test facility (VOT) transmits a test signal which provides users a convenient means to determine the operational status and accuracy of a VOR receiver. Airborne and ground checkpoints consist of certified radials that should be received at specific points on the airport surface or over specific landmarks while airborne in the immediate vicinity of an airport. Information on how to conduct a VOR receiver check is provided in Aeronautical Information Manual section 1-1-4, which is available on AOPA Online. Locations of VOR test facilities are provided in the Airport/Facility Directories. Ground and airborne checkpoints are listed by state and airport. Other options for performing a VOR equipment check are listed in FAR 91.171.
Got a technical question for AOPA specialists? Call 800/872-2672 or e-mail to [email protected]. Send comments on our Quiz Me! questions to [email protected].
| Picture Perfect |
|Jump to the AOPA Online Gallery to see the featured airplane of the day. Click on the link for details on how to capture wallpaper for your work area. See AOPA Online. |
| What's New At AOPA Online |
|Worried about corrosion? Check out our updated report on the subject. See AOPA Online. |
| ePilot Calendar |
| Check your weekend weather on AOPA Online. |
WEEKEND FLYING DESTINATIONS
Casa Grande, Arizona. Casa Grande Airport (CGZ). Arizona Antique Aircraft Association forty-fourth annual Cactus Fly-In takes place March 1 through 3. Contact John Engle, 480/987-5516.
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 in Sacramento, California; Melbourne, Florida; and Reston, Virginia, February 23 and 24. Clinics are scheduled in Birmingham, Alabama; Phoenix; and Ontario, California, March 2 and 3. 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-Hitterï¿½ Ground School will take place in Phoenix on March 3. For more Pinch-Hitter courses, see AOPA Online.
ASF SAFETY SEMINARS
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Albuquerque, New Mexico, February 19; and Whitehall, Ohio, and Philadelphia, March 4. See AOPA Online.
For comments on calendar items or to make submissions, contact [email protected].