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Airbus To Introduce Deployable Black Boxes

From RunwayGirl Network


By John Walton

In a bold move towards improving the survivability of aircraft flight recorders for commercial aircraft worldwide, Airbus is working in partnership with L3 Technologies and DRS Leonardo to combine and duplicate audio and data recorders, together with a automatically jettisoned recorder for use in longhaul and extensive overwater flight operations.

To start, the partnership is combining the flight data recorder with the cockpit voice recorder in one smaller device, the cockpit voice and data recorder (CFDR). The reduced size enables an Airbus A320 family aircraft to carry two of the fixed, crash-protected, combined recorders instead of one of each of the separate black boxes, increasing redundancy and the likelihood of readable information surviving a crash.

The data storage of the CFDRs will also increase, enabling a total of 25 hours of voice recording, and increasing the amount of data that is available to investigators, pursuant to aircraft tracking standard requirements from UN body ICAO and European safety regulator EASA. Current recorders are only required to contain two hours of voice recording.

For longhaul aircraft or those with significant overwater missions — including the A321LR, A330, A350 XWB and A380 — the partnership has designed the automatic deployable flight recorder (AFDR) as a separate jettisonable and float-capable unit automatically deployed in the event of water contact or what Airbus calls “significant structural deformation”. This would not, for example, include a hard landing, collision with catering truck, or similar mishap, the partnership confirmed in a press conference at the Paris Air Show.

The deployable AFDR will also contain 25 hours of cockpit voice recording alongside flight data recorder information, plus an emergency locator transmitter to aid the rescue and recovery effort. “The deployment mechanism for the recorder is a spring that’s preloaded,” Martin Munro, VP and general manager of DRS Leonardo’s Canadian facility confirmed.

“When a series of ball bearings are released, the shaft comes up and causes the recorder — the beacon airfoil unit, as we call it — to release from its  tray. There are two mechanisms for triggering the deployment of the recorder. One is a loop in the aircraft that detects the structural deformation of the aircraft, and that triggers the deployment. There’s also a hydrostatic switch built into this unit, and as the unit goes down below two meters in the water it will automatically trigger the release.”

Airbus expects to receive certification and launch the system in 2019, initially on the A350, Airbus’ commercial EVP of engineering Charles Champion confirmed.

However, and surprisingly, Champion told Runway Girl Network that this work is going on in parallel — rather than integrated with — work to transmit the information written to the recorders over inflight connectivity in the event of the detection of abnormal flight.

“Connectivity is managed in a different manner,” Champion said. “This is only storage, passive in a way. In parallel we are working with Rockwell Collins in order to be able to transmit data. This is a solution that is not on all aircraft — it depends a lot on what is the connectivity solution chosen by the airline. The challenge is to have full connectivity coverage in order to transmit the data. I think they are complimentary. We are discussing also and working currently in terms of transmitting data, but not associated with this. They are two separate avenues.”

While Kris Ganase, President of L3 Aviation Products Sector, noted that “right now we are just talking to Airbus” regarding the technology, Champion confirmed that Airbus does not intend to keep the technological advances in recorder type and audio quantity to itself: “We have no patent on that, and as it is an improvement of safety, this is free for L3 to discuss with other manufacturers if they wish to introduce it on their aircraft.”

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Tuesday, 27 June 2017 14:33
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Iran Airtour and Zagros Airlines Sign MoU for 73 Airbus Aircraft

From AviationIran.com


By Amin Chini

Two of Iran’s domestic mid-size air carriers have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) concerning a total of 73 new aircraft, Airbus today announced. Iran Airtour and Zagros Airlines’ commitments were disclosed at the Paris Airshow where the world’s major aircraft manufacturers have announced new orders and commitments during the past days.

Zagros Airlines, one of Iran’s prominent domestic airlines with a steadily growing fleet, signed a MoU with Airbus for the acquisition of 28 new aircraft, covering 20 A320neo and 8 A330neo. The commitment was signed today between the Iranian airlines’ CEO Seyed Abdolreza Mousavi and Airbus’ COO and President Commercial Aircraft Fabrice Brégier. Nearly half of the airline’s current 18-aircraft fleet consists of Airbus aircraft; 7 A320, 2 A321 and 1 A319. The rest of the fleet is composed of 5 MD82 and 3 MD83 aircraft. The A330neo would become the airline’s very first addition of a widebody aircraft, most likely indicating an international expansion. While Zagros Airlines currently operates a number of international flights a day to countries such as Turkey, Georgia and Georgia, the majority of the airline’s capacity is spread out on domestic routes.

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And...... still not "one" Boeing.
Monday, 26 June 2017 14:33
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Qatar Airways seeks up to 10% stake in American Airlines

From Air Transprt World


By Karen Walker

Qatar Airways has made an unsolicited bid to take up to a 10% stake—an investment of at least $808 million—in American Airlines, an SEC filing American submitted Thursday revealed.

According to the June 22 filing, Qatar Airways would buy the stake on the open market. If that happens, it would make the Doha-based carrier one of American’s largest investors. Dallas/Fort Worth-based American stresses that the proposal was not solicited and says it “would in no way change the company’s board composition, governance, management or strategic direction.”

For now, it is unclear if or how the deal will proceed. In its filing, American states that its certificate of incorporation prohibits anyone from acquiring 4.75% or more of the company’s outstanding stock without advance approval from the board following a written request. The company’s board did not receive any written request from Qatar Airways, American says. American also notes that foreign ownership laws limit the total percentage of foreign voting interest in a US company to 24.9%.

In a statement, Qatar Airways said it sees a strong investment opportunity in American, but seemed keen to stress that it was not looking to interfere with the company's management or operations.

"Qatar Airways believes in American Airlines’ fundamentals and intends to build a passive position in the company with no involvement in management, operations or governance," Qatar Airways said. "Qatar Airways has long considered American Airlines to be a good oneworld alliance partner and looks forward to continuing this relationship. Qatar Airways plans to make an initial investment of up to 4.75%. Qatar Airways will not exceed 4.75% without prior consent of the American Airlines board. Qatar Airways will make all necessary regulatory filings at the appropriate time."

Both airlines are oneworld global alliance members, but they are also rivals on either side of the fractious US Open Skies dispute. American is one of the three US major carriers campaigning against what they allege to be unfair, government subsidized practices by Doha-based Qatar Airways and UAE-based Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways. The US has Open Skies agreements with Qatar and the UAE, which has allowed the Gulf carriers to expand services to the US.

In its filing, American makes clear Qatar Airways’ bid does not change its viewpoint on this issue, stating, it “does not alter American Airlines’ conviction on the need to enforce the Open Skies agreements with the UAE and the nation of Qatar and ensure fair competition with Gulf carriers, including Qatar Airways. American Airlines continues to believe that the President and his administration will stand up to foreign governments to end massive carrier subsidies that threaten the US aviation industry and that threaten American jobs.

Qatar Airways has been on an airline investment spree. Late last year it acquired a 10% stake in LATAM Airlines Group, another oneworld member, and it has also increased its stake in IAG—parent of British Airways—to 20%.

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Boeing Plans Tests For Autonomous Airliner

From AvWeb


By Mary Grady

Boeing plans to start flight tests next year of an artificial-intelligence system that would be capable of flying a commercial jet, Mike Sinnett, vice president of product development at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said at a recent press briefing. Sinnett said his team will fly a simulator later this year with the AI system making some of the piloting decisions, and they will test-fly it next year on a real airplane. “There’s going to be a transition from the requirement to have a skilled aviator operate the airplane to having a system that operates the vehicle autonomously, if we can do that with the same level of safety,” Sinnett said, according to the Seattle Times. “That’s a really big if,” he added.

The standards that airplanes must meet are much higher than for cars, where fatality rates are high. Autonomous cars can easily improve on the accident rate compared to human drivers. Yet U.S. airlines have not had a fatal accident since 2009. That means the accident rate of autonomous airplanes will need “to be as good as zero,” Sinnett said. Sinnett said Boeing’s interest in autonomous flight is driven by a concern that the supply of qualified pilots may not be adequate to meet the needs of airlines. In the next two decades, Boeing forecasts sales of about 40,000 new commercial jets. “Where will the experienced pilots come from?” Sinnett asked. Sinnett plans to talk more about the autonomy project next week at the Paris Air Show, according to the Times.

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It's coming...... completely automated flight.They can phase out the fly-boys, but it will take infinitely more time to replace th... Read More
Thursday, 15 June 2017 16:08
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China Eastern A332 at Sydney on Jun 11th 2017, engine shut down in flight

From The Aviation Herald


By Simon Hradecky

A China Eastern Airbus A330-200, registration B-6099 performing flight MU-736 from Sydney,NS (Australia) to Shanghai Pudong (China), was in the initial climb out of Sydney's runway 34L when the crew reported an left hand engine (Trent 772) fault and requested to maintain runway heading. The aircraft levelled off at 5000 feet, the crew shut the engine down. The crew subsequently reported it appeared the left hand engine's cowling was damaged and requested a runway inspection, the engine suffered the damage about one second after takeoff rotation. ATC informed the crew that a runway inspection did not find any debris on the runway. The aircraft returned to Sydney for a safe landing on runway 34L about 40 minutes after departure. A large hole was visible at the inboard side of the left hand engine's intake.

A seemingly similiar incident also involving a Trent 772 engine happened about 4 weeks ago, see Incident: Egypt A332 at Cairo on May 15th 2017, rejected takeoff due to engine failure.

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It took some digging to find some information about this that was not sensationalized or written by a complete idiots.Thank you, A... Read More
Monday, 12 June 2017 03:50
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Passengers Demanding On-Ground Wi-Fi Experience In The Air

From Air Transport World


By Aaron Karp

Whether airlines can re-create the on-ground Wi-Fi connectivity experience for passengers is debatable, but whether passengers want and expect that level of connectivity is not, according to a panel of players in the infight connectivity field.

When passengers board a commercial aircraft that is Wi-Fi enabled, they expect to be able to stream videos and do everything they can do on laptops and personal electronic devices on the ground—and will complain when they cannot, sometimes to a global audience via social media, United Airlines IT director Jon Merritt said.


“When we say we’re never going to be what we are on the ground, I get that. I get it, but I still don’t agree with it. I want what I want and I think that’s the consumer perspective,” Merritt said during a panel discussion at the Global Connected Aircraft Summit in Arlington, Virginia. “Domestically here in the US, [reliable onboard Wi-Fi] is an expectation. It’s not a luxury anymore. People fly aircraft based on how reliable the connectivity is … No longer do everyday passengers expect to have a quiet, unplugged two-hour trip. They want to be connected. They want to be on email.”

Airbus VP-connected fleet Mark Rich added, “Today, you still don’t enjoy the same terrestrial experience in the air. Customers really want that. How do we replicate these services? I think that’s the big push in the next few years.”

Panasonic Avionics senior director-corporate sales and marketing Jon Norris cautioned that it is an “unrealistic goal” to duplicate the on-ground Wi-Fi experience inflight. “It’s always going to better on the ground,” he said.

But ViaSat senior director-business development for commercial mobile systems Meherwan Polad said airlines and inflight connectivity providers do not have a choice and must aim to replicate the on-ground connectivity experience. “We have a network that’s been built to compete with terrestrial service on the ground,” he explained. “That same network we can bring into the air … That’s what JetBlue [Airways] is doing [with its free, gate-to-gate high-speed internet service introduced on aircraft this year]. The profile of what people are doing online on the aircraft is exactly the same as people on the ground. You see 45% of them video-streaming on the ground and in the air. People aren’t just going to accept” inflight Wi-Fi service disruptions.

He added that passengers are also unlikely to be willing to pay much longer for inflight connectivity and instead will expect it to be available for no additional fees. Passengers are “not going to be willing to pay for it,” he said. “The days of on an airline charging $30 for connectivity when the passenger already paid hundreds for a ticket is just not sustainable. JetBlue’s service is free and full to everybody and lots of airlines are talking about doing that.”

The panelists agreed that inflight Wi-Fi will become nearly universal globally within the next 5-10 years, and the original Wi-Fi connectivity technology installed on aircraft will not cut it. “The first generation of inflight internet is being taken off of airplanes,” Gogo regional president-North America David Bijur said. “It’s far too slow.”

United’s Merritt added, “We’ve got to be able to move quickly to next-generation technology.”

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Saturday, 10 June 2017 12:36
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From Wolf Street

Boeing Sucks

After Laying off Thousands, Boeing CEO Says Offshoring Work to China Won’t “Directly Harm” US Jobs

“We know as we’re investing there, we’re also creating a competitor.”

Boeing, the largest US exporter by dollar value, faces a tough environment for commercial jetliners. In 2016, net orders dropped 13% from 2015 and 53% from 2014, to just 668 planes, the lowest level since 2010! Through June 6, 2017, Boeing has just 208 net orders.

The company is under pressure to cut costs. So there has been wave after wave of job cuts through voluntary buyouts and involuntary layoffs last year and this year. Its payroll has shriveled by about 30,000 workers over the past five years. At the end of May it was down to 145,000.

So Boeing is moving some work to China and other locations overseas, CEO Dennis Muilenburg explained to the Wall Street Journal in an interview. He has been calling the business climate in the US “uncompetitive,” according to the Journal. Boeing is building some plants overseas. One of them is near Shanghai that will complete aircraft made in the US. Workers will paint the planes and install the interiors, such as seats and other fittings. That’s the first step.

It has a Chinese partner, which is required in China to do business in China. There will be technology transfers, which is also required. The Chinese partner is state-owned Comac, which is leading China’s efforts to become an aerospace giant to compete with Boeing and Airbus. Comac already supplies Boeing with parts for its aircraft. Comac’s own jetliner, the C919, which is the size of Boeing’s 737, completed its maiden flight a month ago.

Muilenburg, who has no illusions about this, said: “We know as we’re investing there, we’re also creating a competitor.”

This is the same process that high-speed train makers from Japan, France, and Germany went through. China bought some train sets and other equipment from each. There were joint ventures, technology transfers and the like. And now China, having gained what it needed from these companies, is cranking out its own high-speed train sets and other equipment that it is not only using in China but also selling around the world, in direct competition with the Japanese, French, and German companies where much of this technology originated.

The CEOs were hailed at the time for opening the door to China. And why would they be willing to create competitors in China? That question arose a lot. The answer was that the high-speed train makers in Japan, France, and Germany would innovate and stay ahead of the Chinese, and that their technology would always be better, which would protect their market share.

Now these CEOs have moved on. And the new CEOs are struggling with competition from Chinese train makers every time a country is looking at building a high-speed rail system – and there are now a lot of them, including the US, where a number of states are deeply into it.

Automakers have gone through the same process, as have other sectors. Now it’s time for aerospace companies.

China has 1.3 billion people it needs to fly around. So China needs to have a lot of planes. It’s a huge market. Muilenburg said that over the next 20 years, 6,800 planes will be sold in China. So Boeing is going to invest in China, create jobs in China, and transfer technology to a state-owned company in China in order to play in China.

But he said that completing planes in China will not affect Boeing’s manufacturing workforce in the US and that these plants Boeing is building overseas aren’t, as the Journal paraphrased him, “directly harming US jobs.”

“My goal over time is to add manufacturing jobs, but these will be different kinds of jobs,” he said.

Boeing is “transforming” how it manufactures planes, Muilenburg said. He is pushing for more automation, innovation, and new technologies in manufacturing to lower costs. That’s where the biggest benefits may come from. The opportunity of how the company manufactures planes “is even greater than some of the product innovation that we’re going to bring to the table,” he said.

Innovative methods of getting costs down, offshoring some of the work to countries where labor is cheaper – which Boeing is already heavily relaying on via its global supply chain for components – and more waves of layoffs… It sounds like a plan shareholders will appreciate. Throw in a $14-billion share-buyback announcement, and it makes for a nice basket of goodies, though not necessarily for the workforce at Boeing.

Shares of US Defense Contractors not amused. Read…  “Largest Single Arms Deal in US History ”Turns into “Fake News”.

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Friday, 09 June 2017 12:48
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Stratolaunch: The Next Evolution of Consumer Space Travel

From NYC Aviation


By Stephanie Gehman

Founded by Paul G. Allen in 2011, Stratolaunch is the latest endeavor that aims to make space travel a possibility for consumers.  With an eye on Low Earth Orbit (LEO), Stratolaunch seeks to enable advancements in science, technology and research from space. Stratolaunch was designed by Burt Rutan and built by Scaled Composites.

The aircraft is the largest in the world, with a wider wingspan that that of Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose.  The 6-engined Stratolaunch’s size and statistics are staggering, the official press release notes it has a, “…wingspan, measuring 385 ft. – by comparison, a professional football field spans only 360 ft. The aircraft is 238 ft. from nose to tail and stands 50 ft. tall from the ground to the top of the vertical tail.” The massive wingspan is nearly 50% wider than the Airbus A380.

The carrier craft is notably powered by 6 engines.  According to Wikipedia, “the carrier plane will be powered by six Pratt & Whitney PW4000, 205–296 kN (46,000–66,500 lbf) thrust-range jet engines, sourced from two used 747-400s that were cannibalized for engines, avionics, flight deck, landing gear and other proven systems to reduce initial development costs. The carrier is designed to have a range of 2,200 km (1,200 nmi) when flying an air launch mission.”

Stratolaunch reached a new milestone on May 31, 2017. Rolling out of the hangar, it exited the aircraft construction phase to begin the first steps in testing the new aircraft. First up will be testing of the fueling system. Enthusiasts were able to watch feeds from several news sources as the craft was revealed to the public.  

The plan for the coming months is many rounds of ground and flight testing. These tests will be based at Mojave Air & Space Port, Stratolaunch’s home airport.  The ultimate goal of testing is to ensure the safety of crew and future passengers. Stratolaunch Systems Corporation’s goal is to send their first launch into LEO in 2019.

Image courtesy Stratolaunch Systems Corp



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Just looking at this beast for the first time, I'm puzzled by the lack of a secondary "brace" between the fuselage structures. As ... Read More
Thursday, 08 June 2017 13:07
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NTSB Issues Preliminary Report on Teterboro Crash

From NYC Aviation


By Stephanie Gehman

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its preliminary report on the analysis of the May 15th aircraft crash at Teterboro Airport (TEB) in northern New Jersey. The incident claimed the lives of the pilot and first officer and destroyed the airplane, a Gates Learjet 35A, N452DA, upon impact. No passengers were aboard the flight. The plane was inbound from Philadelphia International Airport and registered to A&C Big Sky Aviation LLC and operated on this by Trans-Pacific Air Charter LLC under Part 91 regulations for General Aviation (not-for-hire) operations. A preliminary report typically lays out the known facts, but does not attempt to determine a cause or specific fault.


Initial analysis points to gusting winds being a complicating factor in the aircraft’s approach into Teterboro. That day, strong winds were observed from the ground and N452DA was seen in a steep bank as it approached TEB. The NTSB official report notes that within the hour prior to the crash ground weather was observed as, “wind 350 degrees at 18 knots gusting to 29 knots; visibility 10; light rain, 5,500 ft scattered; temperature 18 degrees C; dew point 6 degrees C; altimeter 29.74 inches of mercury. ILS Runway 6 circle approach in use…Low level wind shear advisory in effect… “

Because of the heavy wind, an approach called a “circle-to-land” was used where aircraft would align with Runway 6, and then once clear of conflicts with Newark’s airspace, would make a right turn over the Meadowlands area to align with Runway 1, which faces more directly into the wind. The report notes that this right turn began very late compared to standard procedure and other airplanes that had flown the approach previously. Steep bank angles increase the risk of an aerodynamic stall, where airflow over the wing is not sufficient to generate lift.

The aircraft’s cockpit voice recorder, along with four other aircraft components were recovered from the scene of the crash. The NTSB report identifies the four devices as: “2 Honeywell N1 Digital Electronic Engine Controls (DEEC); 1 Flight Management System (FMS); and 1 Honeywell KGP-56 Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS).” Additionally, an iPhone was recovered from the wreckage as well. All non-volatile memory storage devices and the iPhone are reported to have sustained impact and fire damage.

TEB has a known reputation for being a difficult airport for aircraft landings, and many experienced pilots have shared cautionary tales about the airport’s “tricky” approach. While much conjecture can be offered by those that were not aboard the flight, it will be the NTSB’s final report that offers the definitive analysis of the loss of N452DA.

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Smoking Laptop Leads To Emergency Landing

From AvWeb


By Paul Bertorelli

A JetBlue Airways Airbus 320 made an emergency landing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Tuesday after a laptop commuter stored in an overhead began emitting smoke. The flight landed safely with no injuries.

Passengers told news outlets that the incident caused significant smoke in the cabin, although none reported signs of flames. The flight was enroute from New York's JFK to San Francisco when it diverted to Grand Rapids. After the aircraft was inspected, passengers continued on to San Francisco.

The incident adds to a list of battery smoke or fire incidents on aircraft, according to the FAA. As of this week, 160 incidents involving smoke or fire with lithium batteries have been reported since 1991. These have involved computers, e-cigarettes, power tools and chargers. The FAA says its list doesn't necessarily cover all the incidents that have been reported or have occurred.  

The JetBlue incident comes as the U.S. is discussing banning laptops entirely from the cabins of U.S.-bound flight originating in Europe. Computers are already banned from 50 named cities, most of them in Africa or the Middle East.

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Given the choice of having a "smoking" laptop (or phone, ipad, game) in the cabin where it is accessible vs. down in the cargo hol... Read More
Thursday, 01 June 2017 18:43
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Irkut MC-21-300 Performs First Flight

From AIN Online

Inkut MC-21-300

By Gregory Polek and Vladimir Karnozov

The Irkut MC-21-300 narrowbody flew for the first time on May 28, carrying not only “Heros of Russia” crew commander Oleg Kononenko and copilot Roman Taskayev, but also the aspirations of Russia’s aviation industry to regain a measure of prestige not felt since Soviet times. Lasting only 30 minutes, the flight from the Irkutsk Aviation Plant airfield in Siberia took the 163- to 211-seat airliner to an altitude of 3,280 feet and a speed of 162 knots. The flight plan included aerodynamic stability and controllability checks as well as engine control tests, and the crew performed a simulated landing approach, followed by a pass over the runway and climbing and turning maneuvers.  

“This is not just a first flight of a new aircraft, but rather an advance of the product that will determine the shape of the Russian civilian aviation industry for the next 50 years,” said Yury Slyusar, president of Irkut parent company United Aircraft Corporation.

First flight came only two weeks after United Aircraft subsidiary Irkut announced first taxi tests at its Irkutsk airfield and nearly a year after the airplane’s rollout in the Siberian city last June 8. At the time, officials eyed Russian certification in 2018, although earlier plans to fly the airplane by the end of last year were dashed. During the rollout ceremony Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev referenced plans for first flight “within a year,” and UAC officials acknowledged that the previously quoted target might prove too optimistic. A UAC spokesman told AIN February 2017 appeared more realistic, but since then virtually all went quiet at Irkut, until this month’s taxi tests.

Powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1400G geared turbofans, the MC-21 features the widest fuselage of any narrowbody on the market, promising cabin comfort for full-service airlines and cost advantages for low-fare carriers, according to UAC and Irkut. The MC-21’s list price of $91 million suggests a 15 percent lower acquisition cost than that of the current A320.

Irkut claims that either the PW1400G or a Russian engine alternative—namely, the Aviadvigatel PD-14 now undergoing a second round of testing aboard an Ilyushin Il-76 flying testbed—will produce a 12- to 15 percent operating cost advantage over the current Airbus A320. Apart from the engines, the MC-21’s most radical advance centers on its carbon fiber wings, which take the airplane’s composite content to 30 percent. AeroComposit in Ulyanovsk, Russia, builds the wings using an out-of-autoclave resin transfer infusion process never before tried on a commercial aircraft. Both Airbus and Boeing use a more expensive process that requires an autoclave to cure their composite wings on the A350 and 787, respectively. Both of the MC-21’s chief competitors—the Boeing 737 Max and Airbus A320—use metal wings.

While UAC’s definitive plans call for that innovation to extend to the smaller, 150-seat MC-21-200, Slyusar suggested it has seriously revisited prospects for a larger version airplane in the form of the MC-21-400. At the time of the rollout, Slyusar said discussions on the larger variant could start in 2017, but that any decision would depend on what competition ultimately exists in the segment of the market the MC-21 would occupy, or the so-called “Middle of the Market (MOM).”

“We should take into consideration the plans of our colleagues; that’s why we [plan to] make a decision rationally,” he said.

In terms of production capacity, Irkut claims it could build as many as 72 aircraft a year in its newly refurbished and modernized final assembly hall in Irkutsk. While the company’s need—or ability—to deliver six airplanes per month won’t likely materialize for several years, the production plan satisfies the company’s projected demand for 1,060 MC-21s over the next two decades. Slyusar, meanwhile, expressed satisfaction with the early level of commercial interest in the product: so far the MC-21 has drawn firm orders for 175 airplanes.

Although Irkut and UAC claim they have received payments on all supply contracts signed so far, some of the intended customers say they will firm their “preliminary orders” after the first flight, or when the airplane demonstrates advertised performance during fight trials.

Sergei Chemezov, general manager of state corportation Rostec, expressed optimism about the export potential of the new jetliner, most notably in the developing markets of Southeast Asia, Latin America, India and the Middle East. Rostec has long projected a presence in those regions selling weapons and now wants to expand its footprint through civilian projects. “We are ready to render complete support to United Aircraft promoting the MC-21 to these markets,” said Chemezov.

Aeroflot expects to receive its first MC-21 from Rostec-controlled lessor AviaCapitalService in 2019. Other lessors and financial institutions committed to the project include Ilyushin Finance, VEB and Savings Bank of Russia, while only two Russian airlines signed direct contracts with the manufacturer: Nordwind for five jets and IrAero’s for 10. Holding a commitment for six MC-21-300s, Egypt’s Cairo Aviation stands as the only confirmed non-Russian customer for the airplane. Malaysia’s Crecom Burj Resources placed a tentative order for 25 airplanes at Farnborough 2010 that has yet to become firm. Other carriers that have indicated interest include Russia’s Red Wings, Azerbaijan Airlines and Air Tanzania.

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AMT Magazine

From AMT



The magazine can be seen here.

I've always enjoyed reading AMT. Previously, it was mailed out. Today it's electronic, but always a good read.

Rotate.Aero is not being paid for this post...... it is being presented for everyone's enjoyment.

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Robot Copilot Lands 737

From AvWeb


By Mary Grady

Aurora Flight Sciences has successfully tested a robotic copilot in a Boeing 737 simulator, demonstrating that it can safely land the airplane on its own, the company said this week. The system is designed to function as a second pilot in a two-crew aircraft, enabling reduced crew operations while ensuring that aircraft performance and mission success are maintained or improved. Aurora is working with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop the technology. DARPA has said their goal is to test “a tailorable, drop-in, removable kit that would promote the addition of high levels of automation into existing aircraft.” Aurora has previously tested the system in a Diamond DA42, Cessna 208 Caravan, UH-1 Iroquois and DHC-2 Beaver.


“Having successfully demonstrated on a variety of aircraft, ALIAS (Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System) has proven its versatile automated flight capabilities,” said John Wissler, Aurora’s vice president of research and development. “As we move towards fully automated flight from takeoff to landing, we can reliably say that we have developed an automation system that enables significant reduction of crew workload.” Aurora’s technology includes the use of in-cockpit machine vision, robotic components to actuate the flight controls, an advanced tablet-based user interface, speech recognition and synthesis, and a knowledge-acquisition process that facilitates transition of the automation system to another aircraft within a 30-day period. Aurora is also working on a version of the system without robotic actuation that instead aims to support the pilot by tracking aircraft physical, procedural and mission states, increasing safety by actively updating pilot situational awareness.


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EgyptAir A330 Engine Damaged In Takeoff Incident

From Air Transport World


By Victoria Moores

An EgyptAir Airbus A330-200 has sustained damage to one of its Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines during a takeoff incident on May 15.

The aircraft, registered SU-GCI, was operating as MS955 from Cairo to Beijing with 211 passengers onboard at the time of the incident.

According to a report, confirmed by EgyptAir, the left engine failed and the takeoff was rejected.

Images of the aircraft posted on social media show visible damage to the left engine, including a large hole in the cowling.

An EgyptAir spokesman said nobody was injured during the incident.

Rolls-Royce head of communications Oliver Walker-Jones told ATW, “This incident is subject to an Annex 13 investigation and, as such, we’re not in a position to comment on the specifics of it. We will, of course, work closely with the relevant parties to facilitate the investigation, but you should expect further updates to come from the chief investigator.”



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This doesn't look like a fan blade failure. From the two images, it appears that the inlet cowl caved in.
Thursday, 18 May 2017 14:51
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Learjet crashes on approach to New Jersey airport, killing two pilots

From Reuters


By Daniel Trotta

A small plane crashed on its approach to Teterboro Airport in New Jersey on Monday, killing two pilots and sparking fires that could be seen from New York, the Federal Aviation Administration and police said.

The twin-engine Learjet 35 departed Philadelphia and went down at 3:30 p.m. EDT about a quarter-mile from the airport in northern New Jersey, the FAA said.

Carlstadt Police Sergeant John Cleary told reporters the plane hit one building in an industrial or manufacturing area, skidded across a parking lot and broke apart. The flaming debris then set a second building on fire, he said.

“The plane was seen listing to its left side, so obviously there was some sort of malfunction,” Cleary said.

Carlstadt Police Department Sergeant Scott Jordan said two pilots had been killed. No passengers were aboard and Jordan had no information on the status of anyone on the ground.

The area around the fire scene was crowded with police and rescue equipment as smoke poured from a building still on fire. Some vehicles were also damaged on the ground at the crash site.

The FAA said it was sending a team to the site, and the National Transportation Safety Board said it was investigating the crash.

Teterboro Airport closed because of the crash, it said in a statement.

Flight data compiled by FlightAware, a website that tracks plane movements, said the Learjet 35 had started the day at Teterboro. It flew to Massachusetts before flying to Philadelphia.

The plane’s registered owner is A&C Big Sky Aviation LLC in Billings, Montana. Attempts to reach the company for comment were unsuccessful.

The National Weather Service said strong winds had been reported in the area.

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Engine Glitches On New Airliners

From AvWeb

Engine Probles_517

By Russ Niles

The next generation of airliners use a lot less fuel and are whisper quiet but squeezing all that efficiency out is challenging and it’s causing some headaches for airframers and their engine suppliers. Bombardier and Airbus have been having issues with the Pratt & Whitney PurePower geared turbofan that they’ve hung their sales on and Boeing briefly suspended the flight test program for its 737 Max because of turbine disc issues with the Leap 1B turbines made by Safran, a joint venture between GE and CFM. Boeing hadn’t noticed anything wrong but grounded its test aircraft after Safran warned it of potential issues. The 20 test and pre-delivery aircraft were inspected and returned to service late last week, and first delivery is planned for May 22 to Indonesian carrier Lion Mentari Airlines.

Meanwhile, the issues with P&W’s engines do appear to be design-related but are being addressed and aren’t hurting sales of the CSeries airliner, according to Bombardier. CEO Alain Bellemare told analysts on a first-quarter earnings call there’s a bearing that needs upgrading and a combustor lining needs beefing up. But Bellemare said the engine has been reliable in service and dispatch rates are exceeding the expectations of the two carriers flying the new twinjet. Airbus uses the same basic engine on its A320Neo but some of the suppliers and contractors in the program are different.

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Boeing Halts 737 Max Flights on Cusp of Debut After Engine Fault

From MSN Money

737max_517By Julie Johnsson and Richard Clough

Boeing Co. is temporarily suspending flights of its new 737 Max jetliner because of a potential manufacturing flaw in the engines, marring the commercial debut for the fastest-selling plane in company history.

The jetmaker and its engine supplier, a venture of General Electric Co. and Safran SA, are rushing to understand the problem ahead of the aircraft’s first delivery, which remains scheduled for later this month. Boeing said a possible quality defect in the Leap engine’s low-pressure turbine discs was discovered during inspections and hadn’t affected flight testing of the upgraded 737.

The grounding added to concerns about the strain on suppliers as the U.S. manufacturer and European rival Airbus SE unveil new aircraft models while ramping up single-aisle production to record levels. Boeing is counting on a smooth start for the 737 Max, the newest version of a plane that is the company’s largest source of profit, as it seeks to boost cash flow.

“Investors are acutely focused on 737 Max ramp risk -- and the impact on cash,” Robert Stallard, an analyst at Vertical Research Partners, said in a note to clients.

Boeing fell 1.2 percent to $183.18 at the close in New York, the second-biggest decline on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, after adjusting for the beginning of trading without the right to a dividend. GE dropped 0.8 percent to $28.70.

First Delivery

The Max has accumulated 3,714 orders before its commercial debut but is still racing to catch up to Airbus’s A320neo. The latest 737 model is slated to be handed over this month to Indonesia’s Malindo Air and Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA. Other major customers with deliveries this year include Southwest Airlines Co. and American Airlines Group Inc.

The decision to halt flights was made “out of an abundance of caution,” said Boeing spokesman Doug Alder, adding that the plane completed flight testing months ahead of schedule.  “The step is consistent with our priority focus on safety.”

Rick Kennedy, a spokesman for GE Aviation, said about 30 CFM International engines will be inspected at sites in the U.S. and France. In the meantime, production will continue using discs from other CFM suppliers, he said. The issue doesn’t affect other versions of the Leap engine used on planes from Airbus and Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China Ltd., Kennedy said.

“This doesn’t look like a serious concern,” Cai von Rumohr, an analyst with Cowen & Co., said in a note to clients. The engine problem is “not a design shortfall but what appears to be an easily fixable sub-tier supplier component issue.”

Both CFM and rival Pratt & Whitney, which together make the bulk of engines for narrow-body commercial jets, have encountered faults as they’ve churned out turbines over the past year.

Pratt Delays

Airbus has fallen behind in deliveries of its A320neo family of aircraft as Pratt’s cutting-edge geared turbofan engine encounters durability issues and production snarls. Executives of Air Lease Corp., a Los Angeles-based aircraft lessor, warned during an earnings call last week that a CFM-powered model was also encountering delays.

CFM faces a steep production increase for the Leap, as Boeing and Airbus plot to increase narrow-body production by 33 percent through the decade’s end. After delivering 77 of the engines last year, 28 fewer than it had predicted, CFM has targeted producing about 500 Leap this year and about 2,000 in 2020.

“It’s important that this gets straightened out pronto,” Nicholas Heymann, an analyst at William Blair & Co., said of the engine issue. Bladed discs, located in the hot section of a turbofan engine, pull energy from the hot gases of the combustor to produce thrust. The components must be able to withstand extreme stresses and high temperatures inside the engine.

The Leap 1-B engines, created for Boeing’s Max, were repeatedly inspected during more than 2,000 hours in the air for the Max 8’s flight test program, which concluded during the first quarter, Alder said. The engine endured another 3,000 simulated flight cycles during testing that ended last month so the plane would be certified for long ocean flights.

Airline Impact

The impact on airline customers eager to show off the brand-new planes wasn’t immediately apparent. Boeing has several unaffected engines available that it could swap to avoid lengthy delays on initial deliveries, Alder said.

Malindo Air, an affiliate of Lion Mentari Airlines, had expected to take the 737 Max early next week, advertising that commercial service would begin May 19.

For Norwegian, also awaiting its first Max this month, the inspections “will result in a few days’ delay” but aren’t expected to disrupt the carrier’s new trans-Atlantic flights starting next month, spokesman Anders Lindstrom said in an email. The carrier had expected to take five more of the single-aisle planes in June.

Southwest and American said they hadn’t been notified of any changes to their Max delivery schedules. Southwest is the second-biggest customer for the Max after Lion Air, with 200 on order, while American has ordered 100 of the planes.

On-time delivery of Southwest’s Max planes is critical because the Dallas-based airline is counting on them to fill a gap when it retires its oldest aircraft on Oct. 1. Southwest is set to take delivery of its first Max in July, the airline’s chief financial officer said in January. American is scheduled to receive four Max aircraft this year, the first in the third quarter.

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Spirit Cancellations Lead to Florida Airport Brawl

From Travel Pulse

Spirit Airbus_517

By Donald Wood

A series of canceled flights Monday caused chaos at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, as hundreds of stranded passengers were confronted by Spirit Airlines employees and local police officers.

According to CBSNews.com, the madness took place at the front ticket counter of the Florida airport as nine Spirit Airlines flights were canceled.

The disgruntled passengers were frustrated with the airline’s employees, and the Broward County deputies were called to the scene to restore order.

When the police arrived, footage from the scene shows several passengers getting into verbal arguments with officers. Several people were pulled away from the crowd by authorities and others were wrestled to the ground and arrested. In total, three people were arrested and another was detained.

Following the incident, Spirit Airlines spokesman Paul Berry blamed the company’s pilots for the cancellations, saying the carrier was forced to file a lawsuit against the Airline Pilots Association because the pilots were refusing to fly in order to influence negotiations.

“We are shocked and saddened to see the videos of what took place at Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport this evening. This is a result of unlawful labor activity by some Spirit pilots designed to disrupt Spirit operations for our customers, by canceling multiple flights across our network,” Berry said in a statement.

“These pilots have put their quest for a new contract ahead of getting customers to their destinations and the safety of their fellow Spirit Team Members. It is for this reason, Spirit has filed suit in Federal Court to protect our customers' future travel.”

Over the last week, an estimated 300 Spirit Airlines flights have been canceled or delayed, causing travel headaches across the United States for around 20,000 customers.

“The Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l and the Spirit pilot group it represents are not engaged in a job action,” the pilots association said in a statement.

“Rather, ALPA and the Spirit pilots are continuing to do everything possible to help restore the company's operations, which have experienced significant problems over the past several days. While we will continue these efforts, we will actively defend the association, its officers and its member pilots against the unwarranted and counterproductive legal action brought this evening by Spirit Airlines.”

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The way things are going, football pads and helmets will be required equipment for all future flights.
Wednesday, 10 May 2017 12:43
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Singapore Airlines Tests Biofuel From Used Cooking Oil

From Airline Ratings


By Steve Creedy

A350 will also use air traffic control procedures to reduce emissions.

Singapore Airlines expects a significant reduction in carbon emissions on a series of San Francisco flights over the next three months that will combine biofuels made from cooking oil with optimised flight planning and its new A350-900 aircraft.

 The Singaporean carrier (SIA) is partnering with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore to operate 12 “green package’ flights on the lengthy,   non-stop Singapore-San Francisco route to raise awareness of aviation biofuels and provide insight on issues such as economics, logistical requirements and performance.

The first flight departed San Francisco on May 1 with 206 passengers on board powered by a conventional jet fuel combination of hydro-processed esters and fatty acids (HEFA) ) biofuel produced from used cooking oil by AltAir Fuels.

A full tank of the HEFA biofuel would cut lifecycle emissions, which include emissions from the production process, by about 71 per cent but SIA is using a blend. Nonetheless, it expects CO2 emissions savings of about 15 metric tonnes per flight.

 Biofuels have been used in a number of aircraft trials and have been certified for use in aviation since 2011. But SIA says this the first time an alternative fuel has been used in conjunction with a next-generation plane and cutting-edge air traffic control techniques.

CAAS will employ several optimised flight operations to reduce fuel burn These include user preferred routes, where regularly updated flight routes take into account factors such as weather and aircraft performance, and Dynamic Airborne Reroute Procedure, which allows an aircraft to change course during a flight to take advantage of updated weather forecasts.

They will also be able to use reduced separation standards while flying over oceans and traffic flow management procedures which reduce the holding time for arriving flights.

The Singaporeans have also been involved in the Asia and Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions (ASPIRE) program and SIA is a member of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG) established in 2008 to promote the use of sustainable aviation biofuels.

 “Singapore Airlines’ fleet is already among the most modern and fuel-efficient in the world,’’ chief executive Goh Choon Phong said in a statement. “We now want to push ourselves further and are embarking on this initiative to help promote the use of sustainable biofuel in an operationally and commercially-viable manner.

“This is in line with our long-term commitment to further reduce carbon emissions while improving the efficiency of our operations.”

Biofuels are expected to play a key role in helping the aviation industry achieving its target of carbon neutral growth after 2020.

They have been shown to reduce the full lifecycle carbon footprint of aviation fuel by up to 80 percent and the Air Transport Action Group estimates the carbon footprint of commercial aviation would fall 5 per cent if it were to get just 6 per cent of its fuel supply from biofuel.

A number of airlines are either using or looking at using biofuels on a regular basis.

United Airlines in 2016 agreed to purchase up to 15 million gallons of sustainable biofuel from AltAir Paramount over a three-year period for its daily operations at Los Angeles. The flights use a 30-70 mixture of biofuel to traditional fuel that is estimated to reduce lifecycle carbon emissions by more than 60 per cent when compared to fossil fuels.

Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific also plans to use a combination of conventional jet fuel and biofuels on flights from the US starting in 2019.

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I love the idea, but we're talking about a huge amount of cooking oil. If every drop of used cooking oil produced world-wide was r... Read More
Sunday, 07 May 2017 01:50
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All Safe In Fiery Forced Landing

From AvWeb

Cherokee Six Crash

By Geoff Rapoport

A Cherokee Six that had, according to the local Seattle Times, just departed Paine Field made a forced landing on a nearby street after striking a power line pole then a traffic light Tuesday afternoon. Both the pilot, believed to be the owner of the airplane, Justin Dunaway, and his passenger were uninjured. Two people on the ground were reported to have minor injuries. The pilot reported losing power shortly after takeoff.

The incident was caught on the dashcam of a car driving near the airport. In the video, N3457W seems to tear open a fuel tank when striking the power line pole. The escaping fuel then ignites in spectacular fashion as the plane skips off the traffic light. In addition to the Piper, which was destroyed in the crash, one car was destroyed in a fire ignited by the spilled fuel.

Aviation Safety Network



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