Layoffs And Innovation Both Prominent In GA In 2010
Nearly every legacy GA manufacturer suffered layoffs in 2010,
but there was also a sense of optimism and innovation at some of
the major trade shows and in the industry in general. New
avionics were introduced in the GA market, and the replacement for
100LL fuel and electric airplanes grabbed headlines as well.
Following is a sampling of the stories we brought you from General
Aviation in 2010.
Dassault Systèmes' CATIA has been
chosen by Terrafugia, creators of the Transition Roadable
Aircraft, for 3D composite and finite-element modeling.
Terrafugia Roadable LSA
FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt announced that Houston air
traffic controllers had begun to use an
improved satellite-based system - Automatic Dependent
Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) - to more efficiently and safely
separate and manage aircraft flying over the Gulf of
Two pilots who landed their airplanes on frozen Lake Calhoun in
Minneapolis faced fines of up to $1,000 ... because aircraft are not allowed on Minneapolis park
Eroll Southers, President Obama's nominee to lead TSA, withdrew his name from consideration, saying
the nomination has been "obstructed by political ideology."
Southers had been at the center of a controversy which had
Republicans accusing him of misleading congress.
The NTSB released a
factual report on a January, 2009 accident in West Virginia
that killed a pilot and five passengers on a cross-country flight
from Lake in the Hills, Illinois to Huntington,
Purdue University's Department of Aviation Technology announced
intention to purchase a fleet of 16 2010 Cirrus SR20
The new, Singapore-based owners of Piper Aircraft said strategic investments enabled the company to
move forward on many fronts, from the formation of a new company
focused on Asia/Pacific initiatives, to accelerated development of
its product line and other product programs.
A new two-place tandem
utility kit aircraft was announced by AviPro Aircraft, Ltd. The
"Bearhawk Patrol" is a high wing aircraft AviPro says is designed
for comfort, endurance and fun.
Hangars at IAD and Manassas Regional Airport (HEF) collapsed under the weight of several feet of
snow. No fatalities have been reported for either incident,
although several aircraft were damaged.
DC Snowfall Photo Courtesy Washington Airports
Bye Energy, an integrator of alternative energy and renewable
fuel technologies for business and general aviation aircraft,
The Green Flight Project” to enhance the development of
an electric and electric-hybrid propulsion system (EHPS) for
A small plane
crashed into a 7 story office building in Austin, Texas,
killing the pilot and one office worker as well as injuring
several people in and around the building. The building houses
an IRS office. The pilot, identified as Joseph Andrew Stack,
reportedly set his house on fire before taking off in the plane and
intentionally flying it into the building. Stack left a 6 page
suicide note on his website. He was reportedly having issues with
The NTSB released a
preliminary report in the accident of a Cessna 337 Skymaster
that went down at Monmouth County Executive Airport in New Jersey
With more than double the international attendees than at past
Conferences, the annual
Women in Aviation Conference drew nearly 3,000 attendees from
all areas, disciplines and interests that make up the aviation
extend the runway at Madison County Executive Airport (MDQ)
near Huntsville, AL, stalled after the FAA received a single,
detailed complaint letter from a local resident.
The FAA made some adjustments to it's
proposed changes for Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International
Airport, which will likely be good news for pilots operating in and
out of Covington Municipal Airport (9A1) south of the city.
A North American T-6 Texan
impacted in the Gulf of Mexico about a half mile from shore.
The warbird was seen flying as a part of a five-plane formation
doing aerobatic maneuvers over the water.
Cessna delivered the
9,000th single-engine piston aircraft to be produced in
Independence, KS. Cessna customer Rob Logozio took delivery of the
182T Skylane, during a small ceremony at Cessna's Independence
The NTSB adopted a study concluding that single engine
airplanes equipped with glass cockpits had
no better overall safety record than airplanes with
conventional instrumentation, so-called "steam
testified in support of the Administration's fiscal year 2011
budget request for the FAA before the House Appropriations
Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and
FAA administrator Randy Babbitt
faced some tough questions about funding for NextGen when he
testified before the U.S. House Transportation, Housing, and Urban
Development subcommittee of the House Appropriations
The U.S. Senate finally passed the $34.5 billion FAA Reauthorization bill with a unanimous 93-0
vote. The legislation stalled in the House.
The FAA said analysis of fatal accidents for airplanes
operating under an experimental airworthiness certificates, such as
the Lancair, revealed a
large and disproportionate number of fatal accidents for their
The sale of the FAA Type Certificate for the Luscombe 11E at a
bankruptcy auction in Altus, Oklahoma
fell far short of expectations, bringing only about a half
million dollars against the company's estimated $16 million in
The FAA has issued a
Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) for the type
of wingtip modification that separated from a Cessna 337 in
Monmouth, New Jersey. The airplane went down, killing all five
Randy Groom, an experienced senior executive and prominent
aviation professional with more than 36 years of leadership roles
in general aviation, was named the
new Executive Vice President of Piper Aircraft.
The Solar Impulse, an aircraft being developed by a Swiss group
for an attempted flight around the world only on solar power,
first test flight at a military air base in Western
A Common Pleas Court in Philadelphia has
awarded $89 million to the survivor of a 1999 plane crash in
Youngstown, Ohio, as well as the families of those who lost their
lives in the accident.
Officials at Cessna said they are still optimistic, but cautious, about the predicted rebound in
general aviation’s piston market.
Cessna Chairman, President and CEO Jack Pelton issued a call to action urging the general aviation
community to take a leadership role in defining solutions to
environmental issues so that responsible stewardship works in
conjunction with economic considerations required for industry
volcanic eruption in Iceland caused widespread disruption of
air travel over much of Europe, as a plume of volcanic ash drifts
across much of the northern and western portions of the
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formally began the regulatory process required by the
Clean Air Act that may ultimately result in standards mandating the
industry's transition to unleaded aviation gasoline (avgas).
An audio recording
released by the FAA confirmed that air traffic controllers at
Palo Alto Airport told pilot Doug Bourn he was taking off "at your
own risk," as the controller could not see the runway due to thick
fog at the airport.
The Florida Senate passed House Bill 173, which exempts visiting aircraft from the state's use
tax. Passage of the bill came Friday, and with Governor Charlie
Crist's expected signature, it will take effect in July.
NATA President James K. Coyne addressed California Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger in a letter asking that the state reconsider its inclusion of flight training
providers in regulations issued by the Bureau of Private Post
The St. Augustine-St. Johns County Airport Authority sought to
develop the airport as
the economic gateway to Northeast Florida. The first
public step was is renaming the St. Augustine Airport (KSGJ) the
Northeast Florida Regional Airport at St. Augustine.
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) reported
that in the first quarter of 2010, worldwide general aviation
airplane deliveries totaled 390 units,
a 15 percent drop from the same period last
While many industries may have some trouble pinpointing a
single date that marks the moment they began, that is not the case
the air show business.
A pilot from Arkansas found himself in hot water after landing
LSA beside the ocean. Authorities say 36-year-old Mark Jensen
was arrested for operating a "motorized craft" on Georgia's Tybee
Island beach near Savannah in violation of local laws.
In response to the FAA’s release of its final rule,
“Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast (ADS-B) Out
Performance Requirements to Support Air Traffic Control (ATC)
Service,” both the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) and
the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) said
welcomed its arrival.
At the opening session of the Future of Aviation Advisory
Committee meeting, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood charged
the committee's members with helping to ensure that the U.S.
aviation industry remains
vital, competitive, sustainable and safe.
The California Legislature reauthorized a state Post-Secondary
Bureau last year that monitors the quality of post-secondary
institutions and protects students from losing pre-paid tuition to
a school that closes down. Flight training facilities had been exempted, but as part of the
re-authorization of the Bureau (Assembly Bill 48; AB48), the
exemption was tentatively removed.
Four people in a Cirrus SR20 SRV G3 single-engine aircraft were uninjured after deploying their
BRS-equipped ballistic emergency parachute over unlandable rocky
terrain in southern Norway on May 28th during an enroute
Four members of a Florida family reportedly en route to a
family vacation at the Grand Canyon were killed when an airplane
registered to Jeffery Ulrich
went down, at a very steep pitch angle, into an empty school in
Beginning at the end of June, Air Traffic Controllers were
directed to no longer use the phase
"Taxi To" when clearing aircraft to an assigned takeoff
Cirrus president and CEO Brent Wouters gave
an upbeat assessment of the company to the Cirrus Owners and
Pilots Association (COPA) Annual Migration.
EAA said the Third "Final Report And Order" from the FCC
concerning 121.5 MHz ELTs represents
conflicting rules written by two different federal agencies
which will soon place pilots in a precarious position - being in
compliance with one but not the other.
A Beaumont, TX pilot who was
caught on video buzzing Crystal Beach in Texas in his Diamond
DA40 won't be flying for a year after the FAA revoked his pilot
Although Alaska was one of the first places where ADS-B
technology was tested, it's finally
The U.S. House of Representatives prepared a
one-month extension of the FAA Continuing Resolution because
there had been little progress in reconciling the House and Senate
versions of the pending reauthorization bill.
An increasing number of CFI's are
apparently not renewing their instructor certificates, and that
is causing more than a little concern in the industry.
The Solar Impulse aircraft landed back at Payerne, Switzerland
precisely at 0800 local time, after
flying more than 24 hours powered only by electricity from
The Last Time was planned to bring together pilots of Douglas
C-47s that flew in World War II--and several haven’t flown
the airplane since they brought them back safely to the United
States following the war.
Colton Harris-Moore, who gained notoriety as the "Barefoot
was arrested in the Bahamas.
Avidyne announced they had received
FAA amended STC approval for their recently-certified DFC90
Digital Flight Control System which enables speed-based Flight
Mr. Anthony Galley announced the creation of
a new airplane company, Kestrel Aircraft, to complete the
certification and produce a new, single engine turboprop
Cessna announced that it is collaborating with Bye Energy, an
integrator of clean, alternative energy technologies for business
and general aviation aircraft, to design and develop an electric propulsion system for a Cessna 172
proof-of-concept (POC) aircraft.
Two new Able Flight pilots
received their wings in a ceremony at EAA AirVenture,
surrounded by family, friends and the flight line at AeroShell
FreeFlight Systems took the wraps off its line of RANGR 978 MHz
ADS-B products including ADS-B transmitters, transmitters with WAAS
GPS, transceivers, and transceivers with WAAS GPS for the experimental and LSA markets at
The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate cleared a bill extending the authorization of
the FAA for two months. The extension includes language
strengthening aviation safety.
Cessna sold new aircraft to
nine global training fleets in the first half of 2010, marked
by the recent delivery of the 12th 172 Skyhawk to a Russian
training program. Cessna says the delivery keeps it as a leader in
flight training solutions.
GAMA released the industry's second quarter shipment and
billings figures. The numbers show that, in the first half of 2010,
total GA airplane shipments
fell 9.8 percent, from 1039 units in 2009 to 937 units this
Blue Grass Airport officials were joined by Governor Steve
Beshear, Mayor Jim Newberry, Kentucky Department of Aviation
Commissioner R. Winn Turney and FAA Administrator Doug Martin for a
ribbon cutting ceremony of the airport's
new crosswind runway.
Weather and terrain played against rescuers trying to reach the
site where a DeHavilland DHC-3T Otter went down, an accident which
fatally injured former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens and four
The former Indiana money manager who bailed out of a plane
which later crashed in Florida agreed to
plead guilty to fraud charges in his home state.
A DeHavilland Beaver with a pilot and three park rangers on
reported missing in southwest Alaska.
Beaver Float Plane File Photo
Pilots who fly in or near Jacksonville, FL can receive free traffic and weather broadcast information
in the cockpit. To receive these services, aircraft must be
equipped with an Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast
(ADS-B) transmitter/receiver or transceiver and compatible cockpit
A letter from Cessna's Roger Whyte has begun circulating in
which the Cessna Sr. VP of Sales and Marketing admits to additional delays in the much-delayed and
long-awaited Cessna Skycatcher LSA program.
On August 28 at the Santa Barbara Airport, John and Martha King
held at gunpoint, ordered from their Cessna 172, handcuffed and
detained in the back of two separate police cars.
John and Marth King
offered some solutions to the many concerns about possible
iterations of incidents such as the one in which they were detained
at gunpoint by Santa Barbara police.
John And Martha King
NATA announced a new partnership that will help aviation
businesses and individuals comply with new FAA requirements to re-register all aircraft.
The all electric Cri-Cri, jointly developed by EADS Innovation
Works, Aero Composites Saintonge and the Green Cri-Cri Association,
official maiden flight at Le Bourget airport near
It's not often that GA pilots and residents living near
airports or in flight corridors find themselves on the same side of
an argument, but that's
just what seems to have happened with the FAA's plan to nearly
triple the size of the Class C airspace around Long Beach
The NTSB took about five hours Tuesday to come to a
probable cause in the accident last year over the Hudson River
that fatally injured nine people, and sparked major changes in air
space rules in the popular VFR corridor.
Cessna neared completion on its fourth expansion in the Mexican city of Chihuahua, which will increase
the size of it's factory there 10 fold over it's original floor
A seven-year contract proposal offered by Cessna Aircraft to
the International Association of Machinists in Wichita was ratified by default when a strike vote
House of Representatives passed the final version of the Small
Business Jobs Act of 2010 which allows businesses to take advantage
bonus depreciation tax incentive for general aviation aircraft
purchases and components, including engines and avionics.
Piper told employees that it would be
laying off about 6 percent of its workforce, or about 60
employees, according to media reports. Most of those being let go
are in the manufacturing sector, though some outside that division
will be downsized as well.
A former attorney for the FAA says he was fired for refusing to "break the law," and for keeping
track of his attempts to alert safety officials about what he says
are serious violations on his blog "FAA Whistle Blower."
It's going to potentially be a little more difficult to be on
an airport ramp under
rules proposed by the FAA to require airports certificated
under Part 139 to put in place safety management systems (SMS) for
all airfield and ramp areas.
Parachute maker Ballistic Recovery Systems is opening a new plant in Pompano Beach, FL, and
plans to hire 500 workers.
The FAA has
granted STC approval to Avidyne Corporation for the
installation of their Entegra Release 9 Integrated Flight Deck (R9)
in the Piper PA-46 Matrix aircraft.
The FAA has told Hilton Head Island airport (KHXD) officials
that any proposal to extend the runway on the resort island to less
than 5,000 feet would
receive a cool reception from the agency, and would be
difficult to justify in terms of funding.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed (CA) Senate Bill 856 (SB 856) into law. SB 856
is a budget trailer bill to the California budget which contains
language providing a delay in compliance for flight training
facilities with the regulations issued by the Bureau of Private
Postsecondary Education (BPPE).
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced a series of
measures during a speech to the National Press Club in Washington
intended to lead to the creation of a
national biofuels industry.
Buttonville airport, which occupies about 180 acres near the
will be closed in about five years. In its place will be a real
estate development which is being described as "a town within a
An aircraft specifically modified to accommodate those who have
lost the use of their lower extremities has been developed by
TL-Ultralight. With a few changes, the company, based in the Czech
Republic, says its TL 3000 Sirius can
accommodate pilots confined to a wheelchair or have other
Representative John Mica (R-FL), who is likely to take over the
gavel of the House Transportation Committee in January, said in an
interview that his top priority will be an FAA reauthorization bill
does not include changes in union organization rules for FedEx
GAMA released the industry's shipment and billings figures for
the third quarter on Tuesday, and the news is
not particularly good. In the first nine months of 2010, total
GA airplane shipments fell 14.5 percent, from 1,588 units in 2009
to 1,357 units this year.
A flight that was supposed to have been a routine check of some
avionics issues ended with the airplane
running out of fuel, even though the pilot had visually checked
the fuel levels prior to the flight.
Mooney employees are facing yet another series of layoffs...
few of them on the job. According to company statements, 'More
difficult decisions were necessary that will eliminate many of
the current positions at the company by year end.'
Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman
John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV and Byron Dorgan, Chairman of the
Subcommittee on Aviation, Operations, Safety and Security, are
pushing their colleagues to pass the FAA Reauthorization in the lame duck Congress.
The National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI),
representatives of other aviation organizations, and flight
instructor renewal clinic (FIRC) providers met with representatives
FAA's AFS-800 division in Washington, D.C. to discuss "Updating
the Flight instructor Renewal Process to Enhance Safety of
In a blog post on the DOT website, FAA administrator Randy
Babbitt says that an uptick in the number of incidents in which a
laser pointer has been directed at an airplane is a "serious problem" which pilots should