Jet Center Managing, Piloting And Maintaining First Delivered HondaJet

Gary Jet Center Honda Jet First

                          Gary Jet Center Employees                                                Honda Jet

GARY, Ind., Feb. 18, 2016  /PRNewswire/ — The Gary Jet Center today announced that it is managing and hangaring one of the first HondaJets to be delivered in the United States. Additionally, two Gary Jet Center pilots were among the first type rated in the aircraft and attended pilot training at the Honda Aircraft Training Center in Greensboro, N.C. A Gary Jet Center maintenance technician also attended and completed the first HondaJet Initial and Avionics Maintenance Training program.

“Gary Jet Center provides aviation services to a variety of customers and aircraft types, and we welcome the opportunity to add one of the first HondaJets delivered to our fleet,” said Gary Jet Center President and CEO, Wil Davis.

About HondaJet
The HondaJet is the fastest, highest-flying, quietest, and most fuel-efficient jet in its class. The HondaJet incorporates many technological innovations in aviation design, including the unique Over-The-Wing Engine Mount (OTWEM) configuration that dramatically improves performance and fuel efficiency by reducing aerodynamic drag. The OTWEM design also reduces cabin sound, minimizes ground-detected noise, and allows for the roomiest cabin in its class, the largest baggage capacity, and a fully serviceable private aft lavatory. The HondaJet is equipped with the most sophisticated glass flight deck available in any light business jet, a Honda-customized Garmin® G3000. The HondaJet is Honda’s first commercial aircraft and lives up to the company’s reputation for superior performance, efficiency, quality and value.

About Honda Aircraft Company
Honda Aircraft Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Founded in 2006, Honda Aircraft’s world headquarters is located in North Carolina, the birthplace of aviation. The challenging spirit upon which Mr. Soichiro Honda founded Honda Motor Co., Ltd. is alive today as Honda Aircraft fulfills one of Honda’s longstanding dreams to advance human mobility skyward.

Charlotte aviation services firm seeking growth at PTI

Katie Arcieri – Triad Business Journal

A Charlotte-based provider of private air charter flights and aircraft management services is planning to grow operations at the Piedmont Triad International Airport, where the firm has a growing clientele of customers.

Eric Legvold, CEO of Davinci Jets, said his company began managing an aircraft at PTI on behalf of an undisclosed company last year and is “looking to expand in the Greensboro area now that we have a little toehold.” Davinci’s aircraft management services includes plane maintenance, pilots and regulatory and registration work.


This Cessna CJ that seats 6 passengers is one of the jets used to make stops for pick-up of charter and private air passengers out of the Piedmont Triad International Airport.

“As our name gets out there in the Greensboro area, we’ll be able to continue to grow organically just like we did in Charlotte,” Legvold said. “We think we’ll (be managing) another aircraft there within the next six months.”

Davinci Jets, which was founded in 2006 and is based at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, currently has seven aircraft clients in Charlotte, two in Concord and one in Monroe.

Legvold said Davinci Jets is also hoping to grow the number of private charters it flies out of PTI. Currently, it provides three to five charter flights per month from the Greensboro airport. Charter flights allow businesses to avoid security lines, layovers and baggage delays associated with traditional commercial passenger service.

“If you have a mid-level company and you need (to get to) three cities in four days, charter is a great option,” he said. “You can charter the airplane for a one-time transaction and you’re done.”

Legvold said charter clients often turn into aircraft management clients because they end up buying their own airplanes.

There also is an opportunity for Davinci to fly jets on behalf of new owners of the $4.5 million HondaJet aircraft that Honda Aircraft Co. began delivering from PTI in December, he said.

Air Controller Guides ‘Blindfolded’ Harrier Pilot to Safe Landing

It could have been the start of a nightmare scenario.

Between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. on a rainy night last December, Cpl. Justin McDaniel, an air traffic controller at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, was about two hours into his 8-1/2-hour shift.

The rhythm of his typical work of monitoring aircraft on final approach to the airfield was fractured when a gunnery sergeant approached his work station with news about a crisis: AMarine AV-8B Harrier pilot with 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, who had been flying close to the base for practice, had suddenly lost his entire heads-up display.

While such a malfunction would ordinarily be cause for concern, the weather conditions turned the issue into a life-or-death emergency. With heavy rain falling and a dense cloud cover obscuring the ground at a low altitude of 440 feet, the pilot had been relying entirely on aircraft controls as he flew. All of a sudden, the controls were gone and he was lost in the clouds.

“You can barely see three miles ahead of you,” McDaniel said. “It’s like driving blindfolded; that’s the best way I can put it.”

The outage, the cause of which remains unclear, also affected the aircraft’s gyroscopic instruments, making the jet more difficult to control manually.

McDaniel, 22, had been an air traffic controller for about four years, but had never encountered a crisis like this one. He had little time for panic.

“You hear ‘an emergency’ and your blood starts to flow,” he said. “All you can do as an air traffic controller is take your adrenaline turn it back to your job. The pilot’s life is in your hands.”

When McDaniel was first informed about the display malfunction, the pilot was in a descent at 4,000 feet. McDaniel took over when he was fewer than 1,600 feet off the ground. On the first attempt at guided descent the pilot was still in shock at the loss of instruments and was hesitant to take instructions, McDaniel said. But on a second attempt, the controller and pilot worked together like a machine.

McDaniel had to give the pilot step-by-step directions, dictating left and right turns against a stiff wind that sometimes made it difficult to keep the aircraft on course.

The three or four minutes it took to guide the pilot down out of the cloud cover felt like a much longer stretch of time. As the Harrier finally broke through the clouds, the pilot was rewarded with a welcome sight.

“All he could see was the center line of the runway between his legs,” McDaniel said. “When he first landed, our tower controllers, they just told us the pilot made it safely on deck; there was no issues. I mean, all we knew was we made it safe on deck, we did our jobs.”

McDaniel was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal on Dec. 3, two days after the incident, though his accomplishment was not publicized by the Marine Corps until this month.

In a rare turn of events, the pilot of the Harrier also made an appearance at McDaniel’s medal ceremony, officials said, extending personal thanks to the Marine from himself and his wife for bringing him out of the clouds without incident.

“That was one of the biggest things I took away, knowing that I helped him,” McDaniel said.

In coming months, McDaniel said he plans to conclude his active Marine Corps service and look for work as a civilian contractor in Afghanistan, where he can continue to use his ATC experience to guide American pilots to the ground safely.

Familiar Names return to Aircraft Delivery Sheets

Two very familiar names in general aviation made huge impacts on the aircraft delivery figures for the last quarter of 2015, according to the figures released yesterday by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).

Piper’s PA-28 Warrior and Archer recorded their best sales for 2015, as did the resurrected Cessna C182T, which returned to the product range after Cessna put a hold on the diesel-powered Skylane JT-A.

Piper shipped 20 Warriors and 13 Archers for Q4 2015, and Cessna delivered 25 C182Ts, proving the wisdom of reinstating the model. The Warrior shipments in Q4 were the only ones recorded for the calendar year.

Cirrus’ SR22 range continued to be the best-selling aeroplane world-wide, with the 90 aircraft shipped nearly three times the score of the growing Cessna TTx, and 18 times that of the G36 Bonanza.

Similarly, Diamond’s DA42 twin continues to outsell both the Beech G58 Baron and the Piper Seneca combined.

There were two newcomers to the shipment list in 2015, Diamond’s DA62 twin and the much-awaited HA420 Hondajet. Both returned modest delivery figures for the quarter, but that is expected to grow quickly in the first quarter of 2016.

In all, 2015 shipments of GA aircraft were down 4.6% from 2014, something GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce attributed to factors in emerging world economies.

“The mixed 2015 year-end numbers among the various sectors reflect a market characterized by plummeting energy sector revenue, economic uncertainty, and currency fluctuations in key GA markets such as Brazil, Europe, Russia, and China,” he said.

“Given the relative strength of the North American GA market, it is particularly important that the US Congress proceed quickly to pass an FAA reauthorization bill that contains certification streamlining and other regulatory reforms that allow manufacturers and repair/overhaul organizations to deliver products more efficiently and make the FAA workforce more productive.

“In fact, with both the US and Europe looking to revise the rules governing their leading safety authorities, we are at a unique moment that brings with it opportunities and challenges in areas such as leveraging resources, certification efficiency, and better regulation for GA.”

In all, there were 946 single-engine pistons, 110 multi-engine pistons, 437 single-engine turbo-props and 120 multi-engine turbo-props delivered for the year. Business jet shipments were down 9% with 654 deliveries for the year compared to 722 for 2014.

Major Aircraft Shipments

Aircraft Q4 2015 Year 2015
Year 2014
Piper Warrior III 20 20 3  560%
Cessna C172SP 36 143 155  -7%
Piper Archer III 13 25 45  -44%
Diamond DA40 13 75 136  -44%
Cirrus SR20 7 31 31  0%
Tecnam P2010 3 20  –
Beech G36 Bonanza 5 23 32  -28%
Cirrus SR22/T 90 270 277  -2%
Cessna C182T 25 33  –
Cessna TTx 32 44 22  100%
Piper Mirage/Matrix 10 36 48  -25%
Mooney Ovation/Acclaim 4 11 1  1000%
Beech G58 Baron 7 18 40  -55%
Piper Seneca V 4 8 10  -20%
Diamond DA42 9 44 50  -12%
Tecnam P2006T 2 21 21  0%
Diamond DA62 2 2  –
Cessna Caravan Series 41 102 94  9%
Quest Kodiak 100 12 32 30  7%
Pilatus PC12 33 70 66  6%
Socata TBM 900/850 19 55 51  8%
PAC P750XL 0 5 4  25%
Piper Meridian 4 27 36  -25%
Cessna Mustang & M2 18 49 54  -9%
Eclipse 550 2 7 12  -41%
Embraer Phenom 100 & 300 25 82 92  -11%
HA 420 HondaJet 2 2  –
Cessna T206H 18 51 43  19%
GippsAero GA8 Airvan 1 14 17  -17%

Windecker Aircraft embarks on new aircraft design in Mooresville

General Aviation News

Windecker Aircraft’s American R&D facility will follow up the successful restoration of a 1969 Windecker Eagle with a clean sheet design for a new composite, high performance, single engine, low wing, four-seat aircraft.

Windecker Eagle

The design will utilize technologies and materials that have evolved or been developed since the Windecker Eagle was certified in the late 1960s, according to company officials..

Windecker John RonczJohn Roncz, an aerodynamicist, will serve as chief designer on the project.

The American team will be responsible for all of the design elements, analysis, initial tooling and prototypes. The certification process will be tailored for global access to markets around the world, utilizing the latest panel technologies, powerplant options and ergonomic refinements, according to company officials.

Windecker China, which is currently preparing to manufacture the original Eagle for distribution in China, will add the new design to its production line when it receives a Type Certificate.

Manufacturing facilities will also be developed in North America for production of the new design.

GA reacts to proposal to privatize ATC

General Aviation News

While the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act introduced in the House of Representatives yesterday is being touted as a plan for the future of U.S. aviation, it could create dire consequences for the future of personal recreational flying in our nation.

That’s a warning from officials at the Experimental Aircraft Association.

The legislation (H.R. 4441) is a six-year reauthorization of the FAA that includes spinning off air traffic control services into a private not-for-profit corporation that would be administered by an independent board of directors.

The bill’s co-sponsors — Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pennsylvania), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-New Jersey), chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee — claim that the legislation will improve efficiency, lower costs, and create better technology solutions for the growing aviation community.

Jack Pelton

Jack Pelton

“EAA supports a stable, predictable funding mechanism for the national airspace system, but we oppose this bill as it is now written,” said Jack J. Pelton, EAA CEO and chairman. “To be fair, there are some good things in the bill for general aviation, which the bill’s co-sponsors say address GA concerns. In particular, that includes the prohibition of user fees, the reintroduction of aeromedical reform as originally intended, certification reform, and additional FAA authority to help deploy a future high-octane unleaded fuel.

“What is also part of the bill, however, is an ATC governance structure that heavily favors airlines and commercial interests, and creates real threats to the services that keep America’s air traffic system the safest and most effective in the world. ATC privatization carries the real possibility of putting GA in the ‘big squeeze’ regarding fees, services, airport access, and the individual freedom to fly for grassroots and recreational flying.”

EAA’s concerns with the legislation include:

Minimal GA input on airspace and access issues: In a privatized system, decisions and priorities are economically driven by those with the deepest pockets. With two seats on an 11-member governing board for the privatized ATC corporation, it would be impossible to adequately represent the broad diversity within general aviation. GA’s voice would often be overwhelmed by a board majority aligned with airlines and commercial aviation interests.

Threats to small, local airports: Most GA flights originate and land at local airports. Safety and efficiency improvements at local airports without commercial service could easily be ignored. In addition, if the corporation’s revenue is lower than expected, services to small, rural airports and to general aviation would likely be the first to be reduced or eliminated.

No civilian input in case of national emergency: After 9/11, the FAA was the only government entity that reminded everyone that the airspace belongs to the people and made sure that GA was included in the re-opening of the airspace despite opposition from security minded entities. There is no such guarantee under a privatized ATC corporation that would be subject only to the nation’s security agencies.

An extra layer of bureaucracy: A privatized corporation still takes funding to operate. The FAA would still exist as a safety agency, but would have to coordinate with another entity at all air operations levels. That creates more bureaucracy, not streamlined efficiency.

Loss of Congressional oversight: There would be no checks-and-balances system in place to ensure that the ATC corporation operates fairly, safely, and that its funds are spent wisely for the benefit of all in our public airspace system. This has been a major point of contention from the leadership of the appropriations committees in both the House and Senate, who have already stated their opposition to ATC privatization.

Questions about aeromedical reform: While the bill includes aeromedical reform language as originally intended, there are concerns that the language would become a bargaining chip during debate on the bill.

“Those involved in recreational and grassroots flying should be worried about this legislation,” Pelton said. “We already have a funding mechanism in place that will work if the FAA is properly reauthorized and funded. Any major change has to be carefully considered as to the impact on all users because fees and costs are just a small part of the puzzle. This new proposal would make it very easy for moneyed interests to roll over the freedom of all individuals to fly.”
EAA’s concerns are echoed by officals at the National Air Transportation Association(NATA),

“NATA cannot support the legislation’s proposal to create a federally chartered, not-for-profit air traffic control corporation,” said NATA President and CEO Thomas Hendricks. “We have been quite clear throughout the development of this legislation that we will not support ‘leap of faith’ proposals that place the fate of any segment of general aviation — in this case the air charter community — in the hands of a yet to be determined board of directors — especially given the fact this segment of general aviation is denied a voice in the corporation’s governance. A user-fee funded ATC corporation, controlled in perpetuity by a board of industry insiders, will place general aviation in constant peril, starve rural America of access to cutting-edge technology, and saddle the travelling public with ever increasing fees.”

NATA officials acknowledge the proposed legislation “contains many provisions that reflect NATA’s suggestions for making the FAA a more efficient organization. While we agree with the chairman that maintaining the status quo risks our nation’s supremacy in aviation, this draft legislation poses even greater risks — to the safe and stable nature of the world’s best air traffic control system and America’s vibrant general aviation community.”

Meanwhile, officials and members of the Alliance for Aviation Across America also are voicing their concerns.

A main one is the “repercussions of ceding unprecedented levels of control to a private board with the authority dominate important decisions about everything from gates, access to airspace and airport funding, to infrastructure investments and new fees and taxes,” the association said in a prepared statement.

Local businesses and officials from rural communities in particular have raised concerns about any proposals to take away Congressional oversight over the air traffic control system, alliance officials said.

In response, Mayor John Manchester of Lewisburg, W.Va., Mayor Joe Gunter of Salinas, Calif., Mayor Stephen Gallihar of Sedalia, Mo., Mayor Rita Albrecht of Bemidji, Minn.,Mayor Steve Williams of Huntington, W.Va., and Mayor Jerry Toomey of Mitchell, S.D., issued this statement, joining in a growing chorus weighing in against the proposal:

“We are opposed to any proposal which would take away Congressional oversight over our air traffic control system. In a privatized system dominated by commercial interests, consumers and smaller communities would come last – these are citizens who have already faced record fees, cuts to air service by 20%, and are getting crammed into smaller and smaller seat spaces. In addition, sectors such as general aviation support jobs, business, agriculture, charitable activity, law enforcement and medical services will be negatively impacted by this proposal. Congressional oversight of the aviation system is necessary to ensure that our air transportation system remains a public benefit and serves communities of all sizes.”

FAA Overhaul Bill Stirs Uproar


The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Republican chairman on Wednesday plans to unveil legislation to dramatically reshape the nation’s air-traffic-control network. But growing Democratic and industry opposition threatens to make the bill another victim of partisan gridlock.

Part of a Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization measure, the proposal calls for creating a standalone, nonprofit corporation funded by user fees that would take over the agency’s responsibilities for managing air-traffic operations and oversee modernization of the system.

According to one industry official who has seen the language, it envisions an 11-member governing board—with seats assigned to labor, airline and private-aviation interests—and a  three-year phase-in period.

While most provisions are similar to previous versions of the bill circulated as early as last summer, this official said one new funding wrinkle is likely to raise questions in some airline circles. The measure, according to the official, effectively exempts two categories of aircraft from user fees: much of business aviation and all of general aviation, or small planes primarily flown by private pilots. Those groups have been most outspoken in objecting to the private corporation proposal.

As before, Pennsylvania Rep. Bill Shuster wants the FAA to retain safety oversight of the entire air-traffic control system and its more than 10,000 controllers. The latest bill also includes a host of changes covering agency functions dealing with cockpit training, approval of aircraft parts and other areas separate from traffic control.

Since late 2014, Rep. Shuster has used his position as head of the House panel to solicit backing from lawmakers and business groups for such fundamental changes to the traffic-control system’s funding and structure. Yet despite efforts to garner broad support, and briefings for interest groups, opposition seems to be building on and off Capitol Hill.

Mirroring proposals championed by the largest airline trade association—and recently backed by a handful of former senior government officials who had responsibility for air-traffic operations—the bill, proponents contend, represents the only way to end bureaucratic delays and roller-coaster budgets impeding the system’s modernization.

Instead of relying on annual congressional appropriations, user fees established by the proposed board would pay for operations and back bonds that could be sold to fund facility upgrades.

Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, the panel’s senior Democrat, has indicated he intends to oppose major portions of the bill and offer amendments for even-broader changes intended to also shift many other parts of the FAA to a federally chartered corporate entity.

Last week, veteran members of the Senate Appropriations Committee sought to head off momentum for Rep. Shuster’s bill. In a strongly worded letter, two Democrats and two Republicans said “it does not make sense to break apart the FAA, an essential part of our success in aviation.” Three days later, four senior members of the House Appropriations Committee weighed in with concerns about alleged lack of public accountability.

Also recently, a new group, Americans Against Air Traffic Privatization, launched a fight against the idea of hiving off air-traffic control from the government. The organization is a coalition of advocacy groups including Public Citizen and Progressive Congress. Susan Harley of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division said the fear that a monopolistic organization that might ignore the public interest and take its eye off key safety responsibilities “really resonated with our members.”

Meanwhile, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, who has refused to back the GOP House measure, indicated he and White House officials remain skeptical about how the proposed funding would work.

If lawmakers fail to agree on a package by the March 30 deadline when existing FAA legislation expires, congressional leaders and the White House are likely to revert to another short-term extension. The last extension was passed in the fall.

Rep. Shuster originally aimed to introduce the bill last July, but he was preempted by more pressing legislative priorities. Since then, trade associations representing business aviation, charter operators and private pilots have had time to fine-tune their opposition strategies, including banding together to complain, among other things, about what they contend could be unfairly high user fees.

Airlines for America, the trade group representing most major U.S. airlines, strongly favors Rep. Shuster’s plan, arguing the proposed structure could help address the FAA’s funding woes without ceding control of the new entity to “special interests,” undermining private aircraft owners or drastically raising costs for airspace users. The group also points out that many foreign nations already have taken this step, with good outcomes.

Earlier this week, three former U.S. Transportation Department secretaries, a former FAA administrator and three FAA chief operating officers added their support to such sentiments. In a letter to Rep. Shuster, the former officials called for “bold action now to address the fact that our air-traffic infrastructure and technology are falling behind.”

But Delta Air Lines Inc., the only major U.S. carrier to oppose Rep. Shuster’s initiative, has been lobbying hard ahead of the bill’s introduction. Capt. Steve Dickson, senior vice president of flight operations for the nation’s No. 2 airline by traffic, has written editorials and conducted media interviews asserting the status quo is preferable. Delta earlier this week also released a 10-page paper claiming that separating air-traffic control won’t improve the efficiency or performance of the system, could raise costs for consumers and ultimately hinder progress on the FAA’s “NextGen” modernization program.

Capt. Dickson, in an interview, allowed that the performance of the air-traffic-control system “needs to improve,” but maintained that separating it from the FAA would amount to overkill. He cited other means to ensure steady funding, adding that the transition to a new structure could be a distraction and hold back progress already being made.

Triad man pleads guilty to federal tax evasion, falsely operating as pilot

Tharp Aviation

A Triad man pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal tax evasion and four counts of operating as a pilot without an airman’s certificate, according to U.S. attorneys for the Middle District of North Carolina.

The plea by Paul Douglas Tharp, 53, is the latest in a series of federal investigations into his flying career that date to 2011. In 2012, he was forced to surrender his pilot’s license, but admitted to continuing to fly planes, including a multi-engine C-46, a large military transport plane.

Before the agreement, Tharp faced a potential maximum sentence of five years in prison for the tax evasion charge and three years for each count of serving as a pilot without an airman’s certificate.

Tharp faces a maximum fine of $250,000 for each count of conviction. He must pay restitution of $281,367 to the Internal Revenue Service.

A sentencing hearing is set for April 22.

Tharp is listed in different federal investigation filings as being from Greensboro, Lexington and Thomasville.

Court documents show that Tharp tried to evade federal income tax debt by filing false documents in 2011 to 2014. After Tharp failed to file tax returns for 2003 through 2006, the IRS assessed federal income taxes for those years that combined are more than $300,000.

Tharp failed to tell an IRS revenue officer that he owned Hiatt Airport in Thomasville and an investment firm, and concealed business bank accounts and rental income that he had received.

In 2012 and 2014, Tharp filed tax returns for 2011 through 2013 on which he omitted “significant income” that he received from his airport and rental properties.

“Taxpayers who are engaged in this criminal conduct will pay a heavy price, including incarceration and monetary penalties,” Caroline Ciraolo, acting assistant attorney general, said in a statement.

Tharp admitted he served as a pilot without the required certification on four occasions in 2012. Tharp surrendered his pilot certificate Aug. 2, 2012.

However, he acknowledging flying four flights in and out of Davidson County Airport without valid registration.

In March 2015, the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Transportation Department said Tharp was sentenced to 60 days in custody in a case in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. He received three years of probation and was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.

In that case, Tharp was found guilty of serving as an airman without an airman’s certificate and providing false statements to a Federal Aviation Administration investigator. Tharp was ordered to sell his airplane and not enter an airport, unless to fly commercially as a passenger, for three years.

The FAA investigation determined that while Tharp held a pilot certificate with a single-engine rating, he falsely represented himself as a pilot with a multi-engine rating and as a mechanic who held an FAA mechanic certificate with an airframe and/or powerplant rating.

In 2011, Tharp was hired by Warriors and Warbirds, a group based in Monroe, to work as a mechanic to repair and refurbish a multi-engine C-46 airplane, which he was not qualified to do.

Tharp served as the second-in-command pilot on a March 2011 C-46 airplane flight from Midland, Texas, to Monroe, also which he was not qualified to do. The C-46 aircraft requires two certified pilots. He also acted as second-in-command on a June 2011 flight.