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February 13, 2004

GAMA High Points: Piston Aircraft

Only Segment To See Gains In Shipments

As promised, ANN is giving you the breakdown of GAMA'S 2003 shipment statistics released Wednesday. Piston-engine airplanes rose 6.3 percent in 2003 and were the only category of aircraft to see gains in shipments by U.S. manufacturers last year. These increased shipment numbers in the face of declining billings was the strength of the piston-engine market. Through the first three quarters of 2003, GAMA reported that piston shipments were only slightly ahead of 2002 totals. But with a very strong fourth quarter, piston shipments finished the year up a whopping 9.5 percent to a total of 1,896 airplanes. Shipments of U.S. manufactured piston airplanes increased 6.3 percent to 1,590 units.

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GAMA High Points: Turboprops

Still Hanging In There, Despite Small Drop

Turboprop shipments were down 2.9 percent in 2003, to 272 units. U.S. manufactured turboprops dropped 12.8 percent from 187 units in 2002 to 163 units in 2003. While GAMA didn't expand on turboprop-related issues too much, one can only imagine the rise in jet aircraft is hurting the turboprop fleet. Several of the new light-jet models are priced near the cost of a high-end turboprop, if not lower in some cases. It's hard to compete with that pricing, given the fact that jets tend to fly higher, faster and offer a much quieter cabin environment. However, that did not stop Raytheon from unveiling its 1900 executive transport model last year.  

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GAMA High Points: Jets

Sharp Jet Decline Brings Down Total GA Numbers

Shipments of U.S. manufactured business jets, which is the primary business of Wichita's Bombardier Aerospace Learjet, Cessna Aircraft Co. and Raytheon Aircraft Co., fell from 524 in 2002 to 384 in 2003. The sharp decline (a 27 percent drop) led to the lowest annual billings for U.S. general aviation manufacturers since 1998. Topping the list of shipments were 70 for Bombardier Aerospace, including 32 business jets manufactured and assembled in Wichita, for a total of $1.6 billion, down from 108 airplanes shipped in 2002 and valued at $2.08 billion.

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FAA To Investigate Meigs Closure

Agency Grants AOPA Demand For Investigation

Fortunately, the debate over the unprecedented closure of Chiacgo's Meigs field is coming to light once again. On its website, AOPA says the FAA merits the organization's claim that the city of Chicago violated federal law and aviation regulations when it shut down Meigs Field last March. The agency says it will investigate the closure. AOPA filed a formal complaint following the destruction of Meigs's runway on Mayor Richard M. Daley's order, claiming the city failed to provide adequate notice, as required by the FARs. While the organization admits the complaint will not result in the airport's reopening it may lead to the mayor and the city being punished for their actions. The manager of the FAA's Enforcement Div

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Layoff Notices Go Out To 160 At Bombardier In Wichita

Cuts Part Of Larger Workforce Reduction Plan

Bombardier Aerospace has issued 60-day layoff notices to 160 Wichita employees. The job losses are part of a plan announced in October to cut 350 positions at Bombardier's Wichita plant this year as the company realigns business jet production. The remainder of the reductions will occur over the next eight to 11 months, Bombardier spokesman Dave Franson said. Bombardier is shifting assembly of the Challenger 300 business jet from Wichita to a plant in Dorval, Quebec, near Montreal. The layoffs are related to that move, Franson said. Another aspect of the Bombardier realignment is the shifting of completion work on Bombardier's Learjet models from Tucson to Wichita. Wichita's plant will continue to build Learjet 40, 45 and 60 models.

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NATA: U.S. Senator Urges FAA To Work On Air Tour Standards

Requests FAA Hold Public Hearings

In a letter sent to FAA Administrator Marion Blakey on behalf of the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) this week, Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT), a key member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, requested that the FAA hold public hearings on the National Air Tour Safety Standards Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). The FAA notice proposes several additional requirements for existing commercial air tour operators and mandates Part 135 commercial air carrier certification for most sightseeing operations now permitted under private Part 91 regulations. 

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Cessna To Show Off At Asian Aerospace Preview

Several Products Make First AAP Appearance

Because the Asian GA market has grown over the last year or so, it only makes sense that Cessna Aircraft Company will feature its expanding product line at Asian Aerospace Preview 2004, one of the largest events in the region.  On display at the show, Cessna will showcase the popular Cessna Skylane, versatile Grand Caravan with an executive interior, and Citation X, the fastest business jet in the world. The indoor exhibit will provide details on the entire Cessna product line.

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Mike Busch's Weekend Seminar Is Coming to Town

Helps Owners Become Maintenance-Savvy

Respected aviation author, editor and speaker Mike Busch is conducting an innovative series of weekend seminars for general aviation aircraft owners, designed to help owners become more maintenance-savvy, to empower them to take control of the maintenance of their aircraft, and to get better maintenance for less money. Busch is best known as founder and editor-in-chief of AVweb (1995-2002) and longtime technical representative for the Cessna Pilots Association. Seminars are scheduled for April 24-25 in Memphis, Tenn; May 15-16 in Van Nuys, Calif.; June 12-13 in Harrisburg, Pa.; July 24-25 in Oshkosh, Wis. (in conjunction with EAA AirVenture 2004); August 21-22 in Seattle, Wash.; September 18-19 in Denver, Colo.; and October 23-25 i

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United Requests More Time For Reorganization

Airline Asks Judge To Extend Deadline For Bankruptcy Plan

United Airlines, saddled with a number of unresolved issues in its bankruptcy proceedings, asked a federal judge to give it more time to file a formal plan of reorganization. The giant carrier asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Eugene Wedoff to extend from March 8 to June 30 the period of exclusivity in which United alone can file a reorganization plan. No outside investors or United creditors can submit competing plans during that period. If approved by Wedoff, the new timetable would mean United would have until Aug. 30 to solicit votes on its plan from creditors and other interested parties. Wedoff is expected to approve the motion in United's next monthly bankruptcy hearing on Feb. 20. Despite the new timetable, Chicago-ba

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Bell Goes For A Bit More Elbow Room

Commercial Business Unit Moves to Alliance Airport

Bell Helicopter is looking for some elbow room. Chief Executive Officer Mike Redenbaugh announced Wednesday the relocation of the Bell Commercial Business Unit worldwide Sales and Marketing offices and the Bell Training Academy to the facility formerly occupied by Gulfstream at Fort Worth (TX) Alliance Airport, located 15 miles northwest of the DFW Airport. The relocation, which includes the sales and marketing functions and the Bell Training Academy, is scheduled to begin within the next few weeks. The company will transfer 300 + people into the 160,897 square foot facility. Bell's plan is to be completely in place by second quarter 2004.

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Vietnam-era Huey Takes Off for Smithsonian's National Museum of American History

Helicopter Featured In "The Price of Freedom" Exhibition

A Vietnam- era Huey helicopter took off from the main plant of Bell Helicopter on Feb. 10 on a journey to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. The helicopter, slated to be the central artifact of the Vietnam War section of the museum's new exhibition, "The Price of Freedom," will travel to more than 20 sites across the U.S. before arriving at the museum for a March 19 donation ceremony. The Huey 65-10091 was manufactured by Bell Helicopter in 1965 for the U.S. Army and deployed to Vietnam in 1966. It served with the 173rd Assault Helicopter Company, known as "The Robin Hoods," and was shot down on January 7, 1967. After being repaired in the United States, it returned to service until

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Louisiana EAA Fly-in Series Sets 2004 Events

Come And Join The Fun Down South

Ever wanted to fly to the Louisiana Bayou? Well, we have a great excuse o do just that throughout the year. After the success of last year's Centennial of Flight Fly-in Series throughout their state, several Louisiana EAA Chapters have decided to hold another fly-in series in 2004. The series of 11 events will begin on March 20th at the Shreveport Downtown Airport. The organizers' goals are to raise aviation awareness of the general public and increase aviation activity, which of course are both beneficial to all of us involved in aviation. Last year's fly-in series was very successful and exceeded everyone's expectations and this year event promises to be better than ever.

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Arizona Biz Executive Indicted for Airline Sexual Assault

Man Allegedly Assaulted Sleeping Passenger

According to the Indictment and an affidavit filed earlier in the case, it is alleged that Deepak Jahagirdar was seated next to a 22 year old woman on a mid-day flight from Dallas/Fort Worth to Boston on March 31, 2002. The young woman had fallen asleep during the flight and awoke to find that Jahagirdar had unbuttoned her pants and doing unappropriate things. In order to conceal the assault from other passengers, Jahagirdar had placed a blanket over himself and the woman, and had put his tray table in the down position. Jahagirdar was arrested by Massachusetts State Police upon his arrival at Logan Airport.

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NASA Top Brass to Engineers: There's Life Beyond Hubble

Officials Dispute Engineers on Telescope's Fate  

Sometimes, it's hard to cope with a friend's future demise, even if you are talking about a orbiting telescope. Top NASA officials on Monday likened the expected demise of the Hubble Space Telescope to a death in the family and disagreed with agency engineers who wanted to keep the popular program alive. NASA's head of space science along with Bill Readdy, head of space flight at NASA, and John Grunsfeld, the agency's chief scientist -- took issue with reports by NASA engineers that argued it was no riskier for astronauts to pay a service call on the orbiting telescope than it was for them to build the International Space Station.

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Aero-News Quote Of The Day (02.13.04)

Aero-News: Quote of the Day

"Mayor Daley and any other state or local official who may want to follow Daley's lead must be made to understand they cannot unilaterally change the National Airspace System." Source: AOPA President Phil Boyer commenting on the FAA's decision to officially investigate last year's closing of Meigs field in Chicago. The organization filed a formal complaint following the destruction of Meigs's runway on Mayor Daley's order. The complaint claims the city of Chicago failed to provide adequate notice, as required by the FARs.

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AD: Boeing 747

AD NUMBER: AD 2004-03-09

MANUFACTURER: Boeing SUBJECT: Wing Rear spar Inspection SUMMARY: This amendment adopts a new airworthiness directive (AD), applicable to all Boeing Model 747-100, 747-100B, 747-100B SUD, 747-200B, 747-200F, 747-200C, 747-300, 747SR, and 747SP series airplanes. This AD requires repetitive inspections for discrepancies of the structure near and common to the upper chord and splice fittings of the rear spar of the wing, and repair if necessary. This AD also provides for an optional modification that, if accomplished, terminates the repetitive inspection requirement, but would necessitate eventual post-modification inspections. This action is necessary to find and fix fatigue cracking of struct

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Ted's First Flight PickeTED By Flight Attendants

Union: Labor Peace Strained Over Retiree Benefits

United Airlines flight attendants and retirees, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO, picketed, leafleted passengers and held a rally at Denver Airport on Thursday -- the same day United Airlines launches its new Ted service -- to protest United's plan to renege on an agreement to provide lower cost retiree health benefits to those who retired before July 1, 2003. Flight attendants were also picketing and leafleting at Ft. Lauderdale Airport (FL) when Ted's first flight landed Thursday afternoon. More passenger outreach events took place in Las Vegas and Seattle where retirees were on hand to tell their stories about how United's proposed changes will impact their lives, and current United employees

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AD: ASH 25M Sailplanes

DOCKET NUMBER: 2003-CE-64-AD MANUFACTURER: Alexander Schleicher GmbH & Co. Segelflugzeugbau SUBJECT: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) SUMMARY: The FAA proposes to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all Alexander Schleicher GmbH & Co. Segelflugzeugbau (Alexander Schleicher) Model ASH 25M sailplanes equipped with fuel injected engine IAE50R-AA. This proposed AD would require you to inspect the fuel line for correct fittings, and, if any incorrect fitting is found, replace the fuel line. This proposed AD is the result of mandatory continuing airworthiness information (MCAI) issued by the airworthiness authority for Germany. We are issuing this proposed AD to detect and correct any fu

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AD: Airbus A330

AD: Airbus A330

AD NUMBER: AD 2004-03-24 MANUFACTURER: Airbus SUBJECT: Elevator Checks SUMMARY: This amendment adopts a new airworthiness directive (AD) that is applicable to all Airbus Model A330-200, A330-300, A340-200, and A340-300 series airplanes. This action requires a revision of the airplane flight manual to include procedures for a pre-flight elevator check before each flight, repetitive inspections for cracks of the attachment lugs of the mode selector valve position transducers on the elevator servocontrols, and corrective actions if necessary. This action is intended to advise the flightcrew of the potential for an undetected inoperative elevator, and of the action they must take

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