With aircraft shipments down 7.1% and 12% of the manufacturing workforce laid off, general aviation is "in a nosedive," Wired.com reports. "But there are legitimate arguments for big companies owning planes," the article notes, citing arguments about efficiency and accessibility. In the longer term, the U.S. could lose a technological edge if it fails to support the industry that pioneered navigation systems, composite materials and anti-lock brakes. "A healthy (general aviation) industry creates jobs and drives innovation," says Charles Mayer, vice president of marketing at Hawker Beechcraft. "It represents the future, not the past."

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