William Garvey william_garvey@aviationweek.com

William Garvey william_garvey@aviationweek.com
Pelton Punches Back After Obama Criticism 
President Barack Obama’s swipe at business jet owners during the presidential debate earlier this week angered many within the beleaguered industry, but none more so than Jack Pelton. (Jack Pelton photo: Cessna)
Forbes: BizAv Critical To Emerging Market Growth 
Forbes said that "particularly in developing countries" where ground infrastructure is minimal, "private aircraft are truly essential."
Lufthansa Technik Increases Widebody Completions Capacity 
A Boeing 767-400 now being completed at LT's Hamburg facility will be joined by a Boeing 747-8, the first of that model, in September and then another 747-8 in December or January.
VistaJet Plans Asia Expansion

VistaJet, a fast-growing charter operation best known for its young, high-style Bombardier fleet and their guarantee of availability to contract customers, plans to establish “a formal presence” in China through a partnership with Beijing Airlines. The two operators signed a memorandum of understanding during the recent Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition in Shanghai.

Hawker Gets New CEO

Hawker Beechcraft Inc., the embattled manufacturer of Hawker business jets, Beechcraft King Airs and military training aircraft, has a new boss. The Wichita company announced today that its board of directors has appointed Robert S. “Steve” Miller as CEO, effective Feb. 7. Bill Boisture, the former CEO, will remain as chairman of the company’s operating subsidiary, Hawker Beechcraft Corp.

New Hawker Chief Vows Turnaround, Not Sale

A corporate turnaround specialist appointed to the top job at Hawker Beechcraft says his top priority is to revive – not sell – the struggling manufacturer of business jets, general aviation turboprops and military trainers.

Robert S. “Steve” Miller was appointed CEO on Feb. 7, replacing longtime chief executive Bill Boisture, who will remain as chairman of the company’s operating subsidiary. Miller, the chairman of AIG, has more than three decades of experience as a senior executive at Chrysler, Ford, Delphi, Bethlehem Steel and Waste Management.

Mooney Aircraft Down To Skeleton Staff, Manufacturing Nothing, Hanging On

Mooney Aircraft struggles to maintain a skeletal staff and strives to maintain its basic approvals as the market for piston aircraft remains in a free fall. Manufacturers delivered 2,755 piston-powered aircraft in 2006, and that number dropped to 889 in 2010 – a 67% decline.

Hawthorne Buys ExcelAire

Hawthorne Global Aviation Services today bought ExcelAire, an aircraft management and charter firm with an FBO at MacArthur Airport on Long Island, near New York City. The purchase price was not disclosed.

Steven Levesque, Hawthorne CEO, said the ExcelAire management would remain in place and that the operation has “the capacity and the capability to do a lot more.” ExcelAire currently manages 20 aircraft.

Exit From Business Aviation By ExxonMobil Is Part Of Big Oil Trend 

It’s among the world’s largest oil companies, but ExxonMobil says it is done serving business aviation and is shuttering its Avitat system. In the doing, it’s merely following other Big Oil outfits.

Many within the fixed-base operations and fueling business say they’ve anticipated the withdrawal for some time. Foremost among them is Craig Sincock, president and CEO of Avfuel Corp. of Ann Arbor, Mich.

BBA Aviation Reports Growth 

BBA Aviation, plc, parent company of Signature Flight Support, Dallas Airmotive, Premier Turbines, ASIG and other subsidiaries, today reported revenues for July through October grew by 8%, of which 5% was organic, excluding the impact of acquisitions and disposals.

The British conglomerate said, “Both Signature and ASIG outperformed their key markets” and that “Aftermarket Services and Systems experienced further strong growth with revenues 19% on a reported basis and 15% on an organic basis.”

Fast Five: Time With Former Eclipse Chief Vern Raburn 

One of general aviation’s best known and most controversial figures, Vern Raburn in 1998 left a highly successful career in the personal computer industry – one of Microsoft’s early employees, he rose to become president of its Consumer Products Division — to develop what was to be a low-cost, high-production very light jet, the Eclipse. A decade, lots of hoopla and something approaching $1 billion later, the Eclipse was certified and in production.

WACO Receives Second TC 

WACO Classic Aircraft today announced it had officially received the Type Certificate for the Great Lakes 2T-1A, doubling the number of biplane models produced by the Battle Creek, Mich., manufacturer.

Company co-owner Peter Bowers says work on the first Great Lakes will begin immediately, and that deliveries should begin in 2013. The Great Lakes has been out of production for several years. A VFR aerobatic aircraft, the Great Lakes is expected to cost about $240,000, according to Bowers.

The company also builds the three-seat WACO YMF-5D.

Vets Get Jet 

The Veterans Airlift Command (VAC) today stated it plans to base a gift Eclipse jet near the center of the country, where it can “cover unfilled mission from Walter Reed or Brook Army Medical Center and points between.”

Sikorsky Putting Eclipse to Work

Sikorsky announced at the NBAA show this week that it will be putting the Eclipse jet back into production, and today confirmed that the aircraft on display at its booth – N62TE – will actually soon be carrying paying passengers for its Associated Aircraft Group (AAG) subsidiary.

OEM Hiring, Adding New Model 

The documents for ownership of Waco Classic Aircraft Co.’s Great Lakes 2T1A were signed earlier this week, giving the company the green light to put that biplane back into production, co-owner Peter Bowers tells Aviation Week. He expects to begin work on s/n 0 next week, with the first customer delivery coming next summer.

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