Signature Flight Support celebrated the launch of its subsidiary, Signature TECHNICAir Dulles, on Apr 3 during a ribbon cutting ceremony at IAD (Dulles, Washington DC). During the ceremony, the company announced it had been awarded certification as an Embraer authorized service center and will perform MRO services for the full line of Embraer business jets. TECHNICAir Dulles provides a variety of maintenance services, including airframe, powerplant, avionics, RVSM pitot/static testing and AOG services throughout the region. (Photo L–R) Signature Dulles and Washington DC Area Dir Robert Grant, Signature Pres & COO Maria Sastre, BBA Aviation Flight Support Pres & CEO Michael Scheeringa, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Pres & CEO John Potter, Embraer Business Jets Senior VP Robert Knebel and Signature TECHNICAir VP Phil Lammiman.

Jet Aviation began maintenance and interior upgrade work on its 1st Boeing BBJ in February. A 2nd BBJ is scheduled for this spring. The work will take place at the company's CPS (Downtown, St Louis MO) maintenance, modifications and completions facility.



FAA has delayed the closure of 149 control towers until Jun 15. The tower closures were originally scheduled to begin on Apr 7 as part of the government's mandatory spending cuts otherwise known as "sequestration." US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood commented on the delay, noting that safety is the top priority, and expressed that more time was needed to communicate the changes and possible impacts to pilots and communities.

The announcement also cited "multiple legal challenges" the organization faces as a reason for the delay. In early April, the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) and its affiliate organization, the US Contract Tower Association (USCTA), announc­ed they had filed a suit against FAA in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, stating that changes to the ATC system and contract tower program should not occur without proper notice, comment and analyses.

Ramona (RNM) CAcontrol tower is one of those that will be closed.

Industry associations and Congress are opposing President Obama's inclusion of user fees in his budget plan. The administration's 2014 budget proposal includes a $100-per-flight user fee tax on operators and businesses that use GA aircraft, and ad­justs the depreciation schedule for business aircraft from 5 to 7 years.

This is the 3rd time the Obama administration has proposed aviation user fees through its budget proposals, although Congress has rejected them each time. In early April, 223 members of Congress issued a letter to President Obama opposing his repeated calls for aviation user fees. Industry groups such as NBAA, NATA and the Alliance for Aviation Across America followed suit, issuing statements that denounced user fees and the proposed changes to the depreciation schedule for business aircraft, saying the proposals would "negatively impact" tens of thousands of jobs in the US business aircraft manufacturing sector.


Cessna has slowed its production lines amid continued lagging sales and an $8-million 1st-quarter loss. The company issued a statement in mid-April, saying it was "experiencing a slower than expected recovery for the aviation industry, particularly in the light jet segment." Deliveries of new Citations in 1Q2013 totaled 31—down from 38 in 1Q2012. Cessna did not specify which product lines were being affected by the changes or to what extent it would affect jobs at the company's manufacturing facilities in Kansas. Most Citation jets are manufactured at the company's headquarters at ICT (Mid-Continent, Wichita KS), with the exception of the Mustang and M2, which are being built at the company's IDP (Independence KS) location. The company concluded the statement by saying, "As we continue to respond to our customers' needs, we remain committed to new product investments and are maintaining focus on bringing 6 new products to market—including [sic] the TTx, Turbo Skylane JT-A, Grand Caravan EX, Citation M2, new Citation Sovereign and new Citation X—and future introductions with the Citation Latitude [2015] and Citation Longitude [2017]."


Garmin has announced an updated version of the Garmin Pilot app for the iPad and iPhone. The updated app incorporates Garmin's dynamic navigation maps, which include "track-up" orientation, faster map rendering, higher resolution at tighter zoom levels and SafeTaxi integration on the moving map. Pilots now have the ability to choose between track-up and north-up moving map orientation. Track-up orientation is an option on static sectionals and enroute charts as well, ensuring that sectionals rotate with the direction of flight. Other enhancements to the app include "cloud syncing" and chart annotation. Cloud sync-ing allows pilots to share information between all their Garmin Pilot enabled mobile devices. Highlights and notes can be annotated on approach charts and the airport facilities directory.

Flight Display Systems has unveiled JetJukebox—a Wi-Fi media streaming system that allows passengers to watch videos, listen to music, view photos, share files and watch worldwide moving maps from their smartphones, tablets or laptop computers. The wireless box uses the aircraft's existing wireless network to stream media to up to 8 simultaneous users. Media can be stored on JetJukebox's 240-GB solid state internal hard drive or streamed using an external USB drive. The company has announced several other new products recently, including a wireless cabin router, a cabin or cockpit mounted dual USB device charger, a 10-in widescreen display that swings into a storage compartment in the aircraft's bulkhead, and a new iPad charging and sync-ing station that can hold up to 10 iPads.

Aircell has released a map showing the expected coverage area for its Gogo Biz inflight Internet service over Canada. Service is expected to begin in 1Q2014. Aircell says that customers will not be assessed roaming fees when using Gogo Biz in Canada and that those who are on the monthly service plan will have service anywhere it is available in the continental US, Alaska and Canada.


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