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_DAVID ESLER

_DAVID ESLER
Articles
Flight Planning and Handling Services 

Forty years ago, when corporate pilots like 2005 NBAA Doswell Award recipient Ron Guerra and his business aviation colleagues began flying their employers' new Lockheed JetStars and Grumman Gulfstream IIs overseas, they had little support outside their flight departments beyond the local FAA flight service station.

FADEC's Benefits Today and Tomorrow 

While fly-by-wire technology has taken a long time to permeate from military jets to commercial airliners and, now -- with the flight of the Dassault Falcon 7X -- to dedicated business jets, we've had power-by-wire on our civil engines for almost 20 years.

And Now We Are One 

It's not an experience you'd choose to have, because you don't know what's happening until it's over.''

So mused the aviation manager of an S&P 100 company that was the object of a takeover by an aggressive competitor. ``If you're getting bought, that gives you the short straw, and often that puts you even more in the dark. The one thing you can count on, though, is change -- something's going to change, but you can't count on whether it will be good or bad.''

Europs: Some Good News, Some Bad News 

It's perhaps a cruel irony that this is one of the best times in recent years to fly a private aircraft to Europe -- but one of the worst in terms of cost.

Lighting the Dark Side of Charter 

It is a sad truism in aviation that certain accidents serve as watershed events, not only jarring the industry to sit up and take notice but often changing the way we do things.

The Details of Fractional Ownership 

Fasten your seatbelts, shareholders. It's no secret that aircraft fractional ownership is encountering some turbulence thanks to the general economic downturn since 2001, soaring fuel prices, lower aircraft valuations and the rise of card membership programs among charter brokers (read: more competition). Adding a further degree of uncertainty to this milieu is an acrimonious contract negotiation between the management of NetJets, the largest fractional program manager, and Teamsters Local 1108 representing the company's pilot group.

Oceanic Operations Report: Welcome to the Revolution (Maybe) 

It's as true today as it was for Charles Lindbergh and his not-so-lucky contemporaries in the 1920s. Outside of aerial combat, crop dusting, and airborne firefighting, perhaps oceanic crossings represent the most challenging -- and potentially dangerous -- operations involved in air transportation.

Mapping the World in 3-D 

Finally, in addition to GPS and Tang, the faux orange juice consumed by Apollo astronauts, we finally got something out of the space program nearly everyone can use.

In Pursuit of the Intuitive Display 

One afternoon in 1969, I sat in a movie theater in Nashville and saw the future.

How to Save Your Airport 

As AOPA President Phil Boyer is fond of saying, a mile of asphalt on a roadway gets you a mile down the road, while a mile of asphalt on an airport gets you to the world.

Commonsense Security 

How secure is business aviation in the post-9/11 era? For that matter, how secure is your operation? The questions and your answers to them are fairly fundamental.

After all, one of the justifications for owning a private jet is security -- anonymity and protection when traveling and greater control over one's affairs. So even before the terrorist hijackings of 2001, a strong case could be made that business aviation was more secure than the airlines, perhaps the most secure component in aviation.

Mighty Mite Trio 

The first flicker in the dawning of the very light jet (VLJ) came in the 1980s when Dr. Sam Williams, then CEO and now chairman of small turbine-engine pioneer Williams International, introduced the 1,900-pound-thrust FJ44 turbofan. (See ``2004 Vision Awards,'' B&CA, December 2004, page 79.) That engine now powers Cessna's Citation CJ line, Raytheon's Premier I, and the still-gestating Sino Swearingen SJ30, aircraft that lowered the price threshold for entry-level business and personal jets.

Outsourcing the Flight Department Placing Your Aircraft in Managed Operation 

Business aviation offers an appealing alternative to those who must travel quickly but are weary of the discomforts, security indignities, intrusiveness and schedule constraints so characteristic of the airline experience. Aircraft charter, so-called card membership (a form of block-purchase charter), fractional aircraft ownership, and placing one's own aircraft with a charter/management firm, all offer an escape from the airlines, with gradually escalating freedom and expense as one proceeds from basic charter to whole aircraft ownership.

Holding Your Operation to a Higher Standard: Safety and Security Analysis 

Without the built-in checks and balances of an airline or independent commercial operation, business aviation flight departments often have little way of knowing if they're edging too close to reasonable safety and security limits. So, to help keep things in line, they develop self-checking mechanisms, from training with well-equipped and objective vendors, to periodically bringing another set of expert eyes onto the premises to check things out.

Business Aviation in a Wary, Post-9/11 World 

Three years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, system access still dominates the national aviation security conversation.

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