Monday, October 31, 2011
Posted by John Keller
Hearing the Obama Administration's rhetoric on business aviation, and you'd think anyone who rides on a private jet is a criminal. Look up Obama corporate jets, and you get a litany from proposed increased taxes on business aviation, to accusations of fat-cat corporate executives who not only don't pay their fair share of taxes and fees, but who also, when using business aviation, somehow are robbing from the less fortunate.
It sounds like outright warfare waged by the Obama Administration on anyone who uses a business jet -- whether he or she needs it or not. There are some corporate leaders for whom private jets make sense, as using this general aviation asset helps keep their companies running and ahead of the competition, but that's beside my point.
I read a story in The Telegraph of Nashua, N.H., on Sunday, which clearly lays out some of the benefits of business aviation to the community at large, not just the so-called "fat cats" who use corporate jets.
The story, headlined "Ceremony will celebrate construction of new runway at Boire Field in Nashua," discusses construction of a new runway at the general-aviation airport in Nashua, N.H., called Boire Field. This $16 million project, to be paid for primarily by grants from the FAA and New Hampshire Department of Transportation, breaks ground this week on a 6,000-foot level runway, which ultimately will replace an ageing 5,500-foot runway that has one end 10 feet lower than the other.
What caught my eye is the economic influence this project is expected to have. To begin with, the project will create more than 40 full-time jobs, and will be "a boon to most of the 30 businesses that revolve around the airport," reads the story, authored by The Telegraph's Joseph G. Cote.
A 6,000-foot runway isn't long enough to accommodate commercial aircraft, so don't expect to take an airline flight into our out of Boire Field anytime soon. Still, that extra 500 feet of runway should make all the difference for the business jets that use the airport.
The existing 5,500-foot runway isn't long enough for large corporate jets like the Gulfstream V to take off from Nashua with full fuel tanks -- especially on hot, humid days when all aircraft display relatively sluggish aerodynamic performance. That extra 500 feet of runway, however, will enable the biggest private jets operating from Boire Field to take off fully fueled, which increases range and efficiency.
The story points out other community benefits of the general aviation airport improvement project. The new runway also could mean more money for the airport from fuel taxes and for pilots who could take on more passengers per flight, the story reads.
So a project that on the surface might look to benefit only corporate "fat cats" actually will create jobs, enhance the local tax base, and improve efficiency for the local corporations that operate jets at Nashua.
Maybe we ought to think about this next time we hear President Obama or others in his administration attacking business aviation as only benefitting the rich.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
By C.E. Howard
Color me impressed. (What color is that, anyway?) I am a space nerd, who loves all things space-oriented. I, like many others, recoiled in fear and mild horror last year when it was revealed that some NASA programs would be cancelled and government-funded human space exploration would be put on “the back burner,” to put it mildly. Yet, today, NASA-related news dominates my desktop.
The Obama Administration came under considerable fire for the decision, but I am tremendously pleased with what has transpired since then. The private human spaceflight/commercial spacecraft industry has taken off (pun intended), with help from some of the world’s best and brightest. Forward-thinking entrepreneurs—including Elon Musk, Sir Richard Branson, Robert Bigelow, and others—have invested time, thought, and considerable funds in advancing human space travel in the commercial realm.
NASA officials aren’t resting on their laurels, however. In fact, over the past few months, NASA has been making headlines each week—far more often than it had in the past several years. The organization is increasingly partnering with technology companies in the aerospace industry, as well, announcing contract opportunities and hosting industry events.
Just this month, in fact, NASA personnel have revealed an undersea mission, a next-gen space observatory, student competitions, tweetups (I shudder at the thought of this “word” making it into the dictionary), and the need for expendable launch vehicles, propulsion systems, and much more.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Posted by Courtney E. Howard
The 64th annual National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) meeting and convention opened today, 10 Oct. 2011, with an inspiring, thought-provoking General Session. NBAA’s president and CEO, Ed Bolen, revealed that 25,000 professionals are in attendance at this year’s event—an increase over last year’s numbers, before cutting the ribbon on the expansive exhibit floor.
Business aviation has experienced what many on the show floor have characterized as a “roller coaster ride”—with extreme highs and lows. In just a few months, however, the market seems to have stabilized; the mood is high and both attendees and exhibitors are optimistic about the short and long term. Yet, as speakers at the NBAA General Session indicated, it’s not all smooth sailing.
“We are in a fight for our industry,” Bolen described, referring to business aviation coming under fire. “The industry is being bullied.”
Politicians are scrutinizing, and looking to impose a tax on, general aviation. Reportedly, politicians began subjecting the general aviation industry to scrutiny, accompanied by accusations of corporate greed and excess, as a kneejerk reaction to disgust over CEOs of “the big three” automakers flying on private jets to Washington to plea for bailout money back in 2008.
“General aviation is a good industry, and business aviation is a proud part of that,” Bolen continued. He called for the industry to push back against negative characterizations, as well as to come together, unite, and make its voice heard.
Avionics Intelligence wants to hear your voice. How do you feel about the proposed tax on, and the recent personification, general aviation?