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Edited By Paul RichfieldBy Paul Richfield

Edited By Paul RichfieldBy Paul Richfield
Bombardier to Launch New Aircraft 

Bombardier President and CEO Robert Brown says the company will launch a new aircraft in 2001, though he declined to say if the new design will be a business jet or regional airliner, or a ``core model'' developed for both roles.

Toward this goal, the Montreal-based transportation giant is expected to devote new resources to research and development, though Brown declined to specify how much money would be spent.

Pilots Decry Dutch Alcohol Policy 

Pilots are fuming over the Dutch government's recent decision to perform random alcohol testing on all flight crews operating into or out of the Netherlands.

Some U.S. crews report being met at the gate by uniformed police who escorted them off their aircraft for Breathalyzer testing with no prior warning, the Air Line Pilots Association says. Other crews report being tested prior to departure.

First Metal Cut on 728JET 

This month, Fairchild Dornier is to begin using the full-scale test rig for the 728JET's fly-by-wire control system, just weeks after Belgian subcontractor SABCA first cut metal for the new regional jet.

SABCA will build the cockpit structure and a section of rear fuselage for the 70- to 85-seat regional jet; CASA/EADS in Spain will build the aircraft's wings and tail sections.

BAE Systems Backs New Lease Venture 

BAE Systems has leased 10 Jetstream 32EP's to Corporate Aircraft Partners (CAP), an Atlanta-based company that aims to fill a gap in the aircraft management/leasing market.

The concept? Provide companies with on-demand air travel within an 800-mile radius of their home city, in the form of turboprop aircraft with luxury, 10-12 seat interiors and hookups for laptop computers.

Premier I Edges Toward Certification 

Raytheon Aircraft says the FAA certification program for its Premier I business jet is ``92 percent complete,'' and should conclude during this quarter.

Tasks remaining in the certification program include 150 hours of function and reliability testing, and airborne tests designed to gain single-pilot approval for the $4.8 million jet.

Hansel Tookes, Raytheon Aircraft's chairman and CEO, said he remains pleased with the Premier I program, although ``the certification process has taken longer than we would have liked.''

New York Caps La Guardia Traffic 

Fear of gridlock has led the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to block the increase in slot exemptions authorized for La Guardia Airport under the AIR-21 legislation passed earlier this year.

Airlines have agreed to comply with the moratorium for now, but they contest the Port Authority's power to regulate traffic: ``This is something our lawyers are taking a close look at, and the airlines are crafting a detailed response,'' said Dave Fuscus, spokesman for the Air Transport Association.

Flight Options, Chauffair Link 

Flight Options will team with Chauffair -- a U.K.-based charter operator -- in a bid to sell shares of new Cessna Citation Excel aircraft and open Europe to U.S. fractional customers.

The deal represents a departure for the Cleveland-based fractional ownership business, which hitherto has stuck to selling shares of used business jets in the U.S. domestic market.

Australia Changes Registration Rules 

New rules require Australian aircraft registrations to be held by the individual responsible for the aircraft's maintenance.

Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) says it made the change after determining that airworthiness directives and other critical information were being lost in transit.

``With almost 11,600 aircraft on the Australian register, it is very important that the right safety information gets to the right people who maintain these aircraft,'' said Richard Yates, a CASA safety official.

Aircraft Fight Fever Outbreak 

Canadian niche operator Skylink Aviation has sent 11 helicopters and seven fixed-wing aircraft to Saudi Arabia to spray the mosquitoes that triggered an outbreak of Rift Valley fever (RVF), a virus related to Ebola hemorrhagic fever.

By early October, nearly 200 people had died as a result of RVF, which is transmitted by mosquitoes or contact with the blood or bodily fluids of people and animals infected with the virus.

FanJet Future Hinges on IPO 

Alberta Aerospace Corp. (AAC) says it has launched a $7 million initial public stock offering to fund ongoing development of the Phoenix FanJet -- a Stelio Frati design once known as the Promavia Jet Squalus.

Production of an unpressurized, two-seat trainer variant called the Sigmajet is the company's first priority, with a pressurized, four-seat business jet variant (the Magnajet) following a year after the trainer goes into production.

Honeywell Launches Lifelike Graphics 

Honeywell is developing a new avionics system designed to make IMC operations as easy as clear-weather flying thanks to the use of ``lifelike graphics.''

Branded the Bendix/King APEX, the new system is earmarked for the business and general aviation market, with versions for single- and multiengine piston aircraft, helicopters, turboprops and light jets.

John Murphy, Honeywell's general aviation avionics chief, described the system as a ``breakthrough development'' that uses hardware developed for the space shuttle and the Boeing 777.

Meridian Production Takes Priority 

Photograph: Piper Malibu Meridian With FAA certification received, New Piper's Malibu Meridian turboprop has taken precedence over the piston Malibu Mirage on the company's Vero Beach, Fla., production line. New Piper built 66 Mirages this year, but suspended production in August to put manufacturing muscle behind the Meridian program. The company claims 135 wholesale orders, and plans to deliver more than 100 Meridians in 2001. ``We met our performance and design goals and achieved basic certification within weeks of our original goal,'' says Charles M.

American Eagle Launches ERJ-140 

Labor considerations have led American Eagle Airlines to become the first U.S. carrier to buy the new, 44-seat variant of the Embraer ERJ-145 family of regional jets -- the ERJ-140.

The decision to buy 44-seaters follows American Airlines pilots' refusal of their latest tentative contract -- a deal that would have removed the current 67-aircraft cap on the number of RJs (with 45 seats or more) that Eagle may operate.

`Choke Point' Plan to Tackle Delays 

Over the next two years, the FAA will seek to alleviate air traffic delays across the nation by breaking open some of the ``operational bottlenecks'' that affect flights in and around the New York metropolitan area.

Crafted with input from the NBAA and other industry and labor groups, the plan pushes aircraft away from the most crowded fixes, routes and altitudes, in a bid to break the ``conga lines'' of air traffic generated by the five major airports within 20 miles of midtown Manhattan.

European Slot Squabble Heats Up 

A European Commission (EC) proposal that could change the way takeoff and landing slots are allocated at Europe's largest airports has evoked the ire of regional airlines fearful of losing access to their most important markets.

The EC submitted its draft proposal on July 18, invited airlines and trade groups to discuss the changes a week later (July 26), and required them to furnish detailed responses to the proposal by the end of August.

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