Saturday, 20 February 2010

KY Jelly sales in USA set to grow?

Three things happened last week.

The first was a tragic accident. A Cessna 310 crashed just after departure in Palo Alto, California. The three poeple on board, all senior employees of the electric car company Tesla, were killed. The accident took out the power supply to the town for a while and that resulted in a lot of media coverage, most of which was written by people who don't understand aviation, here's one small example.

The second incident involved Joe Stack, a software developer who had reportedly been battling with the IRS. Stack apparently objected to the tax status of the Catholic Church and had been fighting his corner for the last 30 years. Stack apparently set fire to his house (with his wife and daughter inside) before heading to the airport. He then flew his PA28-236 (Piper Dakota) into the IRS building, starting a huge fire, killing himself and one worker inside. This is a recording of Stack's r/tT on the day.

The third incident happened when 23-year-old Skye Turner, who has a lapsed student pilot certificate, stole a Cirrus SR22 from Montgomery Field San Diego. He flew to Palm Springs, took on some fuel, and took off again. His flight ended when he landed at Los Angeles International (yup, LAX) at 3am yesterday. He was arrested.

As you can imagine, these incidents have been widely covered in the US media. They are being widely debated by pilots, the public, politicians and various US Government agencies. As one US pilot put it: "Brace yourselves, I think we're all about to get screwed."

Let's hope not.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Only varieties of bad...

I've taken a slightly more in depth look at the GAMA figures. A quick comparison with 2008 (which in itself was significantly worse than 2007) reveals the manufacturers who have seen big declines and those that have seen enormous declines.

Cessna maintains its position at the head of the delivery table with 355 deliveries (down 52% on 2008) while the Cirrus SR22 remains the world's best-selling piston aircraft with 240 delivered (down 44% on 2008). Mooney, Maule and Piper saw the largest declines with 71% 75% and 72% respectively, while Diamond, Gippsland and Hawker Beechcraft saw the smallest drop with 'only' 47%, 42% and 48% respectively.

So there you go - it's been ugly out there and it is too early to tell if 2010 is going to be any better. Most conservative insiders are hoping that the decline has stopped and that we've reached the bottom.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Today is GAMA day

Later today we'll know the shipment figures for 2009, and there's unlikely to be an after-show party.

Last year was very tough for piston deliveries and plain ugly for jets, the figures for the first three quarters have been known for a while, so it is just Q4, traditionally a good one, that remains to be seen.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Happy Valentine

Spotted outside Western Michigan University's Battle Creek facility.