Did Vern Provoke the General Aviation User Fee Discussion?
Many in aviation believe he did. Today's release of the FAA Aerospace Forecast Fiscal Years 2007-2020 provides some support for that belief. Here are some excerpts from that report;
"At the October 2006 TRB/FAA workshop, industry experts suggested the market for the new microjets could add 500 aircraft a year to the active fleet by 2010. The relative inexpensive twin-engine microjets (priced between $1.5 and $2 million) are believed by many to have the potential to redefine the business jet segment by expanding business jet flying and offering performance that could support a true on-demand air-taxi business service. This year's forecast assumes that microjets will begin to enter the active fleet in 2007 (350 aircraft) and grow by 400 to 500 aircraft a year after that, reaching 6,300 aircraft by 2020.
Utilization rates for VLJ's will vary by mission. VLJ air-taxis are expected to average approximately 1,500 hours per year, fractionals 1,200 and private use 350. This results in an expected utilization rate for all VLJs in 2020 of 1,067 hours per year. Traditional (non-VLJ's) turbojets are expected to average approximately 407 hours per year by 2020, since VLJ's are expected to have a greater share of their use in on-demand air-taxi than the traditional turbojets."
So now the FAA has been drinking the Kool-Aid. Not only are we going to have swarms of these critters darkening our skies, but they are going to have a utilization rate three times that of our conventional dinosaur fleet, plus they are going to be a Major League pain-in-the-ass for ATC since they fly so slow. But as Vern once testified to a congressional sub-committee, the Eclipse is more than capable of getting out of the way of faster airplanes.
Little wonder the FAA is wondering how they are going to handle the increase in General Aviation traffic that Vern assures them is coming because he has the orders and he is going to deliver!