Europeans get their pick: TBM-850, PC-12, Avanti

The latest newsletter from EADS Socata mentions that a European fractional ownership company called Jetfly is purchasing 4 new TBM-850's to augment their fleet of TBM-700s, Pilatus PC-12s and Piaggio Avantis. This fleet offers a great variety of speed, range and payload at operating costs cheaper than most jets available today.

Cell Phone Use In-Flight

It seems like the next big in-flight feature might be the use of cell phones. The BBC has a nice article explaining the technology written a week or so ago, they point to industry contacts watching the developments closely as an opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition. Australian carrier Qantas has even begun testing on a system that allows passengers to send SMS text messages along with email.

SAS Abandons Q400

SAS, a joint airline of Sweden, Norway and Denmark has decided to remove the Bombardier Q400 from its fleet following the third incident involving a gear malfunction on landing. It is estimated that this decision will cost the company upward of $63M.

No Nookie in the SuperJumbo

Looking to join the "Mile High Club", not on the new SuperJumbo you're not. Turn's out Singapore Airlines has anticipated the possible misuses of their now airborne double beds. The new luxurious suites aboard the SuperJumbo Airbus A380 are not to be used for the carnal pleasures, at least according to airline policy. While this will probably end up as a Saturday Night Live bit, I'd pay to be around when the first flight attendant has to break that one up. I mean honestly... how do they plan on stopping you? Private rooms with champagne, kinda sounds like they're asking for it.

Barron's Editorial Gets it Wrong

An editorial written by Thomas Donlan at Barron's has done a pretty good job of summing up what's being misunderstood about the "on-time crisis" being cultivated by the airlines lately. While he manages to propose a not completely off base solution, he makes the mistake of including Air Taxi operations and GA aircraft into the larger problem. He proposes auctioning off time slots at the nations airports, thereby reducing the overall load. If you can ignore the economics involved here you could probably go along with this, however, we all know that's not going to happen.

USA Today Spotlight's VLJ's

Stephanie Reitz of the AP has an article in USA Today calling the Very Light Jet crowd the "SUV's of the sky". She goes on to mention some of the Air Taxi startup's including POGO and Day Jet, along with how the new business has helped Pratt and Whitney, one of the engine manufacturers for the VLJ's. While I tend to disagree with the SUV of the sky analogy, I tend to reserve that for the more rugged in the field such as the Husky's, Super Cub's and the Cessna Caravan, the press coverage is impressive and is certainly increasing the buzz around these machines. I can only suggest that they perhaps change the title to minivan's of the sky... although not as sexy, probably more descriptive.

Rocket Racing from a Catalog

So if you've got a spare 2 million lying around, take a look at Neiman Marcus's Christmas Book where you could purchase your very own Rocket Racing League Team. While 2 million may very well be a bargain, c'mon now... from a catalog? Really?

The League currently boasts 3 teams with the first races targeted for late fall 2007. So far it has been attracting everyone from former test pilot's and military aviators to former Congressman Robert Walker. All in all this promises to be a fun thing to watch!!

Air Taxi to Take Up Operation in Northeast

As DayJet begins its operations in Florida, another company is poised to begin offering air taxi service in the Northeast. This company, POGO, plans to start hiring in 2008 and begin operations in 2009 as their fleet of Eclipse 500 VLJs arrives.

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