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Title: AIN:Charter and Fractional

Nexus Buys Wyvern Safety Audit Group from Avinode

Flight operations support group Nexus has acquired aviation risk management and safety audit provider Wyvern Consulting. Online charter portal Avinode (Booth 2279), which sold the company for an undisclosed sum, will continue to provide technological support for its former subsidiary and is also retaining control of Wyvern's pilot and aircraft data division. Wyvern operator ratings, Wyvern Wingman and Wyvern Registered audits will continue to be available through the Avinode Marketplace.

In a deal agreed in June, but not announced until October 21, Yardley, Pa.-based Wyvern Consulting is now part of the Saudi-based group's Nexus Services America.

The company has announced the appointment of three new members of Wyvern's board: former NetJets executive Vincent Santulli, former Beechcraft executive Shawn Vick and former FAA associate administrator Nick Sabatini.

October 21, 2014, 7:50 PM

Lufthansa Technik and Airbus Renew Elite Collaboration

Lufthansa Technik and Airbus Corporate Jets have renewed an agreement under which they cooperate on cabin designs for the Airbus A318 Elite, extending it to 2020. The agreement started in 2005 when the ACJ318 was launched, with Lufthansa Technik contracted to design the cabin in partnership with Airbus and then to install the cabins in customer aircraft.

The Elite cabin "introduced the wider and taller cabin of the ACJ320 to a broader market," according to Lufthansa Technik. Deliveries began in 2007, with 19 produced to date. Early Elite cabins were installed at Lufthansa Technik's completions center in Hamburg but later this work was switched to Tulsa, Okla., where the company's subsidiary Bizjet International has done the work. Recently it completed the first of an updated version–the Airbus ACJ318 Enhanced–which introduced several features as standard that had previously been options, for example, domed ceilings. –I.S.

To help customers outfit their Airbuses and Boeings, Lufthansa Technik's creative design department is offering electronic cabin configurator tools for portable devices, which it says allows rapid design for ACJ and BBJ completions. The configurator tools can also show interactive 3-D views of the interiors.

The tools can be used for the ACJ318Elite and its own Leadership Select modular concept for the Airbus ACJ319 and Boeing BBJ2.

Leadership Select allows the customer to "combine a multitude of different cabin elements to create an almost completely individualized cabin layout," according to the company. Operators of the ACJ319, for example, can choose from among 96 variations, and there are 720 combinations available for the BBJ2 and other comparable aircraft.

The e-configurators can be viewed at Lufthansa Technik's NBAA exhibit (No. 2289).

October 21, 2014, 7:20 PM

Sovereign gets boost from Winglet Technology

Winglet Technology (Booth 4359) has completed testing its new elliptical winglets on the Cessna Citation Sovereign. The Wichita firm is collaborating with the Citation service center network on the project and released test results for the $395,000 kit (excluding labor) here at NBAA.

Speed increases by 12 to 14 knots at FL450, time-to-climb direct to FL450 drops to 26 minutes and range increases 205 nm with payloads under 1,200 pounds and by 265 nm with payloads over 1,450 pounds.

The kit increases the wingspan from 63 feet 4 inches to 69 feet 4 inches and also is expected to enable a one-percent gross weight increase. Certification of the new winglets is pending and Winglet Technology expects entry into service in late 2015. The company certified its elliptical winglets for the Citation X in 2009 and Cessna has made them standard equipment on the new Citation X+.

October 21, 2014, 7:10 PM

NBAA's Opening Session Highlights Bizav's Role

NBAA traditionally fills the opening general sessions to the largest trade event in business aviation with distinguished speakers from the industry, legislative and regulatory areas. The opening session at NBAA 2014 in Orlando, Fla., yesterday was no exception, as NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen welcomed Pennsylvania Congressman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.); Christopher Hart, acting secretary of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB); and Enterprise Holdings chairman Andrew Taylor.

All three men share connections with the industry, with Shuster kicking things off by highlighting the importance of general and business aviation to rural communities in his district. "With business aviation and general aviation, you can get people to where they need to be and where the commercial airlines don't go," he said, also noting that in total, aviation "contributes over a trillion dollars to a $17 trillion economy" each year in the U.S.

Shuster's presentation then turned to the upcoming discussion on FAA reauthorization that he will be heavily involved with as chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

"It goes without saying that the U.S. has the best aviation safety system out there. We need to keep it," he stated. "The next FAA reauthorization will lay the groundwork for the future of the U.S. aviation industry, [and] this bill is one of my highest priorities in the next Congress."

Next, the NTSB's Hart, who is also President Obama's choice to lead the Board, discussed his concerns about increasing cockpit automation by calling attention to several recent accidents in which reliance on automation was a contributing factor. That includes Air France 447 in June 2009 and the Asiana 214 accident at San Francisco International Airport in July 2013. "You are pioneers of automation...and the proving ground for so many aspects of it," he told the audience. "I'm not anti-automation, [but] we need to get our hands around how to make this machine/person system work better without having a deleterious effect on professionalism."

Finally, Taylor described the importance of business aviation to Enterprise, which over the last 35 years has grown to operate the largest automotive rental fleet in the world. "We've owned and operated around 11 aircraft, across a variety of manufacturers," he noted. "Today our revenue is $17.8 billion, versus $70 million [in 1979].

"Business aviation was one of the reasons why we were able to become successful and so large," Taylor concluded. "We couldn't have done it without that."

Bolen also recognized at the general session notable members of the National Aviation Hall of Fame who were in attendance, including Bob Hoover, Bud Anderson and Sean Tucker. The session concluded with the presentation of the association's Al Ueltschi Humanitarian Award to International Jet Aviation and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, for those organizations' partnership on providing "Dream Chaser" flights to children with life-threatening conditions.

October 21, 2014, 7:05 PM