IAD, BWI, DCA, HEF and regional airports see heavy traffic as business aircraft visit for Obama inauguration

Crowded ramp at Signature IAD begins to clear on Jan 21 as dozens of bizjets, turboprops and piston twins visiting for the inauguration prepare to leave town. (Insets L-R) Passengers make their way to a Signature courtesy van.

Departing pax and crews gather at Landmark IAD. Despite the economic downturn, FBOs at airports all across the DC area including FDK, GAI (Gaithersburg MD), HEF (Manassas VA), JYO (Leesburg VA), MRB (Martinsburg WV), MTN and RMN (Stafford VA) as well as BWI, DCA and IAD saw increased traffic in conjunction with the inauguration of President Obama. FBO ramps filled up quickly with private and charter aircraft as politicians, celebrities and other VIPs came to Washington DC for the Jan 20 event.

Landmark IAD Gen Mgr John Meehan reported 450 visiting aircraft between Jan 16 and 21, noting, "On the night before the inauguration there were 98 aircraft parked on our ramp." Signature IAD reported 108 aircraft from Jan 19-21, while Dulles Aviation at HEF handled 41 visiting business aircraft from Jan 17-21. Signature DCA saw only a handful of aircraft, reflecting the tight restrictions imposed by the ADIZ. All DCA GA traffic operated under special FAA waivers.

(L-R) President Barack Obama takes his oath of office on Jan 20 under direction of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts with Michelle Obama looking on. Following the swearing in, First Lady and Pres Obama accompany former President Bush and Laura to an HMX1 Sikorsky VH3 for their departure to ADW (Andrews AFB, Camp Springs MD). The Obamas review troops during inauguration proceedings.

Industry

Embraer has received type certification for the Lineage 1000 from FAA, EASA and Brazil's National Civil Aviation Agency. The Brazilian airframer also received an STC for the Lineage interior which was designed in conjunction with Priestman Goode of London, England and installed by PATS Aircraft Completions, a DeCrane Aerospace subsidiary. This STC also validates the inflight accessible cargo compartment and oxygen system. Aamer Abdul Jalil Al Fahim will be the 1st Lineage 1000 operator, taking delivery of the aircraft early this year. Al Fahim is a board member of the United Arab Emirates Federal National Council. Dubai-based Prestige Jets will operate Al Faim's Lineage. To date more than 20 Lineage jets have been sold worldwide. Approval has also been granted for the aircraft's newly designed auxiliary fuel system which is integrated with Honeywell's Primus Epic avionics suite.

According to ARG/US (Aerospace Research Group/US) business aviation operations saw a 22.8% decline in Dec 2008 compared with Dec 07. Despite the ailing economy, however, Part 91 operations were down 15.3%, which was only half the fall Part 135 and fractional operations saw in the same time period. Small to midsize-cabin aircraft Part 91 ops saw the lowest decline across the board with a drop of 6.3%. Large-cabin aircraft had the greatest decrease in flights-down 26% overall and 44% in 135 operations.

Daher Group has officially acquired a 70% share of Socata. With the purchase of the French turboprop airframer, Daher plans to bolster its involvement in the development and manufacturing of business aircraft. Daher had been making strides since Jul 2007 to gain a majority stake of Socata, which was previously owned by EADS. Daher-Socata also recently announced the delivery of 60 TBM850s throughout 2008. This brings the total number of aircraft delivered to 502 TBM700s and 148 850s. Hence, TBM's fleet worldwide is 650. Daher is already a key supplier for many Airbus products and is actively working toward similar positions with other manufacturers.

Furthering its presence in Asia, Embraer has signed a contract with the Royal Thai Army for a 2nd ERJ135. This is the 3rd Embraer for the Government of Thailand and will be used to carry civilian and military officials. Delivery of this aircraft is scheduled for 2009. Both the Royal Thai Army and Navy operate 135s in executive transport and medevac roles.

NBAA has been forced to cancel its planned Light Business Aircraft Conference (LBAC) and ABACE due to economic and market pressures. LBAC will now run as a 2-day event within the association's annual convention in Orlando FL from Oct 20-22. NBAA cites insufficient demand for a standalone conference. The suffering VLJ market has recently seen DayJet close its doors and Eclipse Aviation file for bankruptcy protection. ABACE, the Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition scheduled for Feb 11-12 in Hong Kong, has been canceled due to lack of industry support and demand. NBAA says it is unable to devote the necessary time or money to organizing the conference.

Telex has launched a noise-canceling headset-the Stratus Heli-XT-specifically for helicopter cabins. It is designed to combat low frequencies that are common in helicopter cabins but are not present in fixed-wing aircraft. Stratus Heli-XT costs $630 and is available through Telex distributor Aviall or via pilot and crew supply outlets, including Banyan and Sporty's.

Great Lakes Aviation and Clifford Development have received an STC to install Williams FJ44-3A engines and other complementary modifications on Citation I and Bravo aircraft. Great Lakes has completed 1 FJ44-3A conversion on a Citation I for a customer and has more aircraft planned for the upgrade.

JAARS-an international bible translation service has taken delivery of the 1st Quest Kodiak to be delivered to a humanitarian mission. This 10-seat turboprop will be put into service for JAARS's operations in Papua New Guinea. JAARS purchased the turboprop as it begins to transition from piston aircraft due to a decreasing availability of avgas.

NASA has announced the 1st Northrop Grumman Global Hawk UAV for environmental research use in a civilian role. This high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) UAV will be the first to operate regularly in the National Air Space. It will be used in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 6 sorties over the Pacific and Arctic oceans, collecting atmospheric data in the lower stratosphere.

Conklin & de Decker has released its 2009 Tax Guide for General Aviation. It explains what fees are imposed on aircraft in all 50 states so owner/operators, accountants, dealers, brokers and others can track what is owed on aircraft taxes and what counts for exemptions. In related news, the aerospace research company has also released its 2009 Life Cycle Cost report. New features in the report include information on CO2 cost calculations.

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