PanAm747
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Microjets To Clog Skies Over U.S.?

Thu Jan 19, 2006 4:57 am

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060118/ap_on_bi_ge/little_jets_1

Interesting article on "microjets" (a brand new term to me!!) that supposedly will clog the skies of the U.S.

I'm not sure I agree with the doom and gloom that the article predicts, but considering how RJ's can clog airports, I wonder what the end result might be.

Predictions? Conjectures? Thoughts? Opinions?
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KELPkid
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RE: Microjets To Clog Skies Over U.S.?

Thu Jan 19, 2006 5:43 am

Well, I don't know how they could "clog" the skies...the whole idea behind NASA's GATS experiment (which begat, directly, the Eclipse EA-500), is to utilize the nation's several thousand general aviation fields. At one point in 2001, the CASM Eclipse was projecting for their jet was about on par with buying a first-class ticket on a 1000 mile route...(that's about the range of their jet, by the way, with IFR reserves). Of course, fuel prices are way up since then, so that may no longer be the case.

You will have little jets operating in the flight levels (maybe lots more given the lower acquisition costs of the microjets), which will, of course, require IFR separation. If they are trying to land where the big irons lands, however, they will be negating two of the primary advantages to using GA airports: lower fuel costs and quicker access. The separation requirement from other landing traffic (i.e. aircraft behind them) will not be as strict as that required from an airliner (assuming airliner-like approach speeds), however, these nearjets will be far more vulnerable to wake turbulence, being much closer in weight to, say, a mid-sized piston twin. Of course, that's nothing that we haven't been dealing with for years in GA, with a pretty good record (except when discovering the 757 leaves a heavy-sized wake  Wink ).

In summary, I think that, if used as intended, these little nearjets shouldn't cause too much trouble at major terminals, because, by their nature, they are designed with smaller airports in mind. Just my  twocents 
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DL787932ER
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RE: Microjets To Clog Skies Over U.S.?

Thu Jan 19, 2006 5:46 am

I definitely disagree with the ALPA spokesman who said most of the VLJs will go to existing commercial airports; those are where 95% of passengers travel because those are the places airlines take passengers. Most destinations are closer to one of the thousands of general aviation airports in the U.S. than to one of the couple hundred airports that get commercial service, and even when the commercial airport is closer, avoiding security, ground and sky congestion, and ground transportation difficulties is probably worth driving an extra ten minutes.

With the advent of RVSM, GPS-direct routing, and the potential of WAAS/GLS precision approaches at even the smallest municipal airport, there's more usable room in the sky than ever. I think the concern with VLJs is keeping owner-pilots proficient with jet speeds and avionics, but if that can be done there will be plenty of room in the sky for them.
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kyair
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RE: Microjets To Clog Skies Over U.S.?

Thu Jan 19, 2006 5:56 am

"He envisions a national network of air taxis, for-hire limousines with wings that will be able to land at thousands of runways where jetliners and executive jets can't. VLJs can land on runways as short as 3,000 feet, compared with the 4,000 or 5,000 feet required by the smallest jets now being flown."

Interesting idea! I think many corporations (large and small) would take advantage of this concept. It would enable offices to be located away from major existing hub airport cities, taking advantage of cheaper leases and labor. 8 years ago, my area lost a Fortune 200 company to Covington KY because of it's DL hub (of course, I'm now saying serves you right with the DL cutbacks  Wink ) even though we have an excellent GA airport within 2 miles of their former HQ.

I don't think the skies will be darkened by these jets. They will be a niche player, providing a valuable service not currently available.
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MD-90
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RE: Microjets To Clog Skies Over U.S.?

Thu Jan 19, 2006 6:46 am

NASA needs to change it's 20,000 VLJs by 2010 projection. That's just nuts.

I will say this though.

My mother and I went to an AIAA meeting in Huntsville when I was in high school. According to Burt Rutan, who was the speaker, we were the first group to hear that he was bored with airplanes, and was moving on to spacecraft. At the time, he was in HSV looking for a 10,000 lbs rocket motor. He also touched a little on aviation, though. He was very much behind the point-to-point flying with small jets proposal. He was the first one I ever heard talk about it, although there had been a few blurbs in Flying and AOPA Pilot about the NASA program. If Rutan thinks these jets can make an impact, then I believe him.

Quoting DL787932ER (Reply 2):
I definitely disagree with the ALPA spokesman who said most of the VLJs will go to existing commercial airports; those are where 95% of passengers travel because those are the places airlines take passengers. Most destinations are closer to one of the thousands of general aviation airports in the U.S. than to one of the couple hundred airports that get commercial service, and even when the commercial airport is closer, avoiding security, ground and sky congestion, and ground transportation difficulties is probably worth driving an extra ten minutes.

Same thing that Burt said. There are over 9000 airports in the country (used to be over 10,000), and only about 450 are served by commercial airlines of any size. Avoding security and travelling on your own schedule is worth more money than flying on an airline, even first class.

However, that doesn't mean that they will "clog the airways" or other such hyperbole. To offer quick, efficient, and cheap service, they'll probably mostly operate from smaller airports closer the passengers' ultimate destinations. At 350 knots, it's not that inconvenient to detour around congested airspace. New England might notice some increased congestion, but I doubt the rest of the country will be affected.
 
VEEREF
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RE: Microjets To Clog Skies Over U.S.?

Thu Jan 19, 2006 6:54 am

Unless the training issue and qualifications for these aircraft are addressed right off the bat, I think it will be more a matter of smoking holes in the ground than airspace congestion.
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2H4
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RE: Microjets To Clog Skies Over U.S.?

Thu Jan 19, 2006 7:08 am



Although I'm optimistic about this upcoming category of aviation, VEEREF makes a good point. The training is going to have to be even more revolutionary than the aircraft.

They're talking about introducing Bonanza and twin Cessna pilots to the demanding and brutally unforgiving environment of high-altitude flight. While I'm sure many can make the transition and be great pilots, there's a lot more to learn than many realize. Aside from the obvious regulatory and airspace issues, one could spend months focusing solely on high-altitude aerodynamics and flight handling characteristics.

Hopefully it will go smoothly.




2H4


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VEEREF
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RE: Microjets To Clog Skies Over U.S.?

Thu Jan 19, 2006 8:06 am

Exactly. Who remembers the rash of Bonanza and Saratoga owners bending up all those Malibus in the early days before insurance companies started to require structured training courses before they would insure the airframe? I know of one in particular accident where a guy flew one into weather at Va plus about 30kt and fell out the botom in a hundred pieces.

Not knocking GA pilots, I am one of them too as well as airline, but we all know that one guy at our local airport with more money than aptitude we expect to see on the news one day.........

[Edited 2006-01-19 00:08:27]
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OPNLguy
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RE: Microjets To Clog Skies Over U.S.?

Thu Jan 19, 2006 8:32 am

Quoting VEEREF (Reply 5):
Unless the training issue and qualifications for these aircraft are addressed right off the bat, I think it will be more a matter of smoking holes in the ground than airspace congestion.

Assuming they don't take out an airliner in the process...

While I fully support GA, there is such a thing as the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Go-carts and mini-bikes are not "supposed to" be operated on city streets, yet we all know that they are. It's naive to believe that all of these VLJs will be operated in/out of non-commercial airports. Willie Sutton (the famous bank robber) was once asked why he robbed banks, and his reply was stunningly simple and accurate--"because that's where the money is.." Similarly, some VLJ ops will be in/out of the major commercial airports, because "that's where the people are." Exactly how many, I don't think anyone can predict with any accuracy.

I can say this. The big challenge is going to be with ATC. Today, we see big delays when there's a big influx of traffic due to something that's event-specific, i.e. the Super Bowl or other sporting event, the CES at LAS, Colorado ski season, or snowbirds heading to south Florida over the Christmas and New Years holidays. How is ATC to handle the demand when traffic is up almost everywhere?

[Edited 2006-01-19 00:34:09]
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
N766UA
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RE: Microjets To Clog Skies Over U.S.?

Thu Jan 19, 2006 8:39 am

I dunno about clog, but the VLJs sure are making center controllers antsy...
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2H4
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RE: Microjets To Clog Skies Over U.S.?

Thu Jan 19, 2006 8:44 am




Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 8):
How is ATC to handle the demand when traffic is up almost everywhere?

My humble opinion? Get rid of the antiquated, squelch-filled, stepped-on, frequency-congesting, 1940s-era voice communication, and transition to some kind of efficient data-link communication.




2H4


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Boeing7E7
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RE: Microjets To Clog Skies Over U.S.?

Thu Jan 19, 2006 9:34 am

Quoting VEEREF (Reply 7):
Not knocking GA pilots, I am one of them too as well as airline, but we all know that one guy at our local airport with more money than aptitude we expect to see on the news one day.........

Fewer lawyers? Hmmmmm............  Smile
 
ltbewr
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RE: Microjets To Clog Skies Over U.S.?

Thu Jan 19, 2006 10:15 am

To me the potentially biggest use of these microjets would be to/from small market/cites airports that one has to change a/c to get to/from. Good examples could include to NW Arkansas Regional Airport (for the headquarters of Wal-Mart), or to regional small cities not well served by scheduled air service like Atlantic City. Even non-stop service from Eastern USA cities to Carribbean Islands by biz leaders doing business or just going to their island home would be possible and a place of great potential use of these jets.
I could also see increases by these Microjets at those airports that already serve major biz jets like Teterboro and Morristown Airports in New Jersey.
While it also gets you a bye from the difficulties of getting to, from and through airports, especially TSA security clog points, there are other advantages too. You gain flexibility if your schedule changes. The costs including time vs commercial, the costs of premium or last minute flights, the time if one loses if have to change flights, and it's hassles may make it a competitive deal to use these microjets. Of course weather will as with any other problems will occur, as with commercial, but even then, it still may be cost efficent.
 
echster
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RE: Microjets To Clog Skies Over U.S.?

Thu Jan 19, 2006 10:37 am

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 10):
My humble opinion? Get rid of the antiquated, squelch-filled, stepped-on, frequency-congesting, 1940s-era voice communication, and transition to some kind of efficient data-link communication.

There were plans - text message-type and digital radios - but the FAA cut the money. It is rather unfortunate that we're still using old radios.
 
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chrisnh
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RE: Microjets To Clog Skies Over U.S.?

Thu Jan 19, 2006 10:48 am

Some Einstein will come along and say something like this: "Hey...we've got all these planes going to all these places. I know! We'll build these bigger jets that have TWO aisles. We'll call them 'widebodies.' They'll be able to carry about the same number of people as three or four of these microjets, and all will be SWELL!"

Said in my best Guinness accent: "BRILLIANT!"

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pilotpip
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RE: Microjets To Clog Skies Over U.S.?

Thu Jan 19, 2006 4:40 pm

VLJs will not cloud the skies as predicted. This isn't because of pricing, or certification, but insurance. There are a ton of planes that already fill this mission profile but are very difficult to attain. Many companies that have jets like citations which are certified by the FAA for single pilot operations fly with two because it's cheaper than paying for insurance on a one pilot operation. Slower, less advanced piston twin aircraft require a hundred hours of dual with an instructor or more in some cases before an insurance company will insure it.

Our industry isn't driven by regulation. It's driven by insurance.
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planemaker
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RE: Microjets To Clog Skies Over U.S.?

Thu Jan 19, 2006 7:41 pm

Quoting Pilotpip (Reply 15):
There are a ton of planes that already fill this mission profile but are very difficult to attain.

Not so. There has never been any jets like the D-Jet, Eclipse, Mustang, etc.
and they are only just getting certified later this year.

Quoting Pilotpip (Reply 15):
Our industry isn't driven by regulation. It's driven by insurance.

The Eclipse 500 already has insurance lined up for pilot/owners.
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AeroTycoon
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RE: Microjets To Clog Skies Over U.S.?

Thu Jan 19, 2006 8:02 pm

Quoting VEEREF (Reply 7):
Exactly. Who remembers the rash of Bonanza and Saratoga owners bending up all those Malibus in the early days before hundred pieces.

They used to call the Bonanza the "V-Tailed doctor killer".





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