Best of the Web

Facts and Photos From the Sukhoi Superjet 100 Crash in Indonesia. Last Wednesday, a Sukhoi Superjet 100 crashed in Indonesia. The Sukhoi Superjet 100 is the first new model to be produced in Russia since the end of the Soviet Union and Sylvia, the blogger behind the Fear of Landing blog, has put together an excellent post summarizing what facts we already know about the incident along with some photos and videos of the crash site.  

Hawker Beechcraft Files for Bankruptcy. In other aircraft manufacturing news, financially troubled Hawker Beechcraft has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection with the goal of reorganizing in order to eliminate about $2.5 billion in debt and $125 million of annual cash interest expense. Hawker Beechcraft will remain open and continue paying both its workers and suppliers.

Piper Reports European Sales Better Than Expected. On the other hand, Piper has reported better than expected sales in Europe of new and more fuel-efficient business aircraft. Specifically and for 2012, Piper delivered three new Piper Meridian turboprops in France, a Piper Mirage pressurized single in Switzerland and has five more M-Class single-engine aircraft set for delivery later this year. This performance is higher than what was expected for the whole year.

So-So Performance for General Aviation in First Quarter. Otherwise, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has released shipment and billings figures for the first quarter. Specifically, total worldwide general aviation aircraft shipments fell 2.1% from 377 in 2011 to 369 this year, billings for general aviation airplanes fell 8% to $3.39 billion, piston-powered aircraft shipments fell 2.1% from 188 to 184, turboprop shipments rose 3.3% to 63 from 61 and business jet shipments fell 4.7% from 128 to 122.

International Learn to Fly Day Next Saturday, May 19. Meanwhile, next Saturday will be International Learn to Fly Day over in the US – a day that is intended to help people of all ages take that first step to discover flight. The first International Learn to Fly Day was in 2010 when the US House of Representatives passed a resolution declaring the third Saturday in May as International Learn to Fly Day. To find a local International Learn to Fly Day event near you, visit LearnToFly.org.

Aviation Memorabilia Auction. Aviation memorabilia collectors should take note of RR Auction’s Space and Aviation Autograph and Artifact Auction, scheduled to take place from May 17 to May 23. On offer will be a whole range of early and rare aviation items including a handwritten letter by Wilbur Wright from 1910 to a student pilot discussing their “new machines” which “are much steadier in strong winds and easier to control than the older ones.” For more information, visit RRAuction.com.

Garmin Hits the 100 Million Mark. Garmin has just announced that it has sold more than 100 million of its products to pilots, motorists, boaters, runners, cyclists, golfers, hikers, hunters and geocachers since the company was founded in 1987. For more information, visit Garmin.com.

White House Still Supports User Fees. Finally and over in the US, the White House remains committed to a $100 per flight user fee that would “generate an estimated $10 billion over 10 years, reducing the deficit and more equitably sharing the cost of aircraft traffic services.” On the other hand, the fees will require the creation of a new collection bureaucracy – meaning it probably won’t raise any where near the estimates plus according to John Barrow (D-12-Ga), who co-chairs of the House General Aviation Caucus: “General aviation contributes $150 billion in economic activity each year, adds to the nation’s balance of trade and generates and over 1 million jobs.” So stay tuned…

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