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AeroUnion Boeing 767 Engine Catches Fire in Los Angeles



From Aviation Voice

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AeroUnion Boeing 767-200 freighter, performing freight flight from Los Angeles to Guadalajara with 2 crew, was in the initial climb out of Los Angeles when a crew about to taxi into position called out “engine on fire”.

Tower immediately followed advising AeroUnion of smoke coming from their right hand engine (CF6). The crew advised they would continue on runway heading, tower offered a right turn onto runways 06 or 07 on pilots discretion, the crew decided to stop climb at 1500 feet and return to runway 25L.

The aircraft joined a right downwind for 25L, tower instructed one aircraft on final for 25L to go around and another one to immediately change to approach frequency again. The 767-200 landed safely on runway 25L about 8 minutes after departure, emergency equipment checked the aircraft and reported pretty heavy smoke from the engine, the crew advised they had already discharged one bottle of fire agent.

The occurrence aircraft is still on the ground in Los Angeles about 24 hours after landing back.

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Japan Airlines Commits to Boom Supersonic Aircraft

From Airline Ratings

boomsst_12517By Geoffrey Thomas

Japan Airlines and US-based Boom Supersonic have announced a strategic partnership to bring commercial supersonic travel to passengers with a commitment to 20, 55-passenger supersonic jets.

Through this agreement, JAL will provide its knowledge and experience as an airline to support Boom in developing the Mach 2.2 aircraft.

As part of the agreement, JAL has made a strategic investment of $10 million in Boom and is collaborating with the company to refine the aircraft design and help define the passenger experience for supersonic travel.

“We’ve been working with Japan Airlines behind the scenes for over a year now,” said Blake Scholl, founder, and CEO of Boom Supersonic.

“JAL’s passionate, visionary team offers decades of practical knowledge and wisdom on everything from the passenger experience to technical operations. We’re thrilled to be working with JAL to develop a reliable, easily-maintained aircraft that will provide revolutionary speed to passengers. Our goal is to develop an airliner that will be a great addition to any international airline’s fleet.”

“We are very proud to be working with Boom on the advancement in the commercial aviation industry. Through this partnership, we hope to contribute to the future of supersonic travel with the intent of providing more time to our valued passengers while emphasizing flight safety,” said Yoshiharu Ueki, President of Japan Airlines.

The JAL Group will continue to embrace new technology to deliver greater customer convenience and comfort, enhance its networks, and improve the quality of its products and services.

Including the JAL commitment Boom as 76 options for its supersonic airliner.

Virgin Atlantic announced 10 options in mid-2017 and there are three other operators for the other 46 aircraft.

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First A330-300P2F Enters Service With DHL

From Aviation Tribune

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DHL Express has become the first operator to take delivery of the A330-300 Passenger-to-Freighter (P2F) converted aircraft from Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW), the joint venture between ST Aerospace and Airbus.

This delivery, which took place at EFW’s freighter conversion facilities in Dresden, follows the successful completion of test flights in October and awarding of the Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in November. DHL Express has firm orders for eight A330-300P2F units in total, with additional options to receive another 10.

“DHL Express is very excited to be bringing the first A330-300 P2F into commercial operation within our international air network,” said Geoff Kehr, SVP, Global Air Fleet Management, DHL Express.

“The first aircraft is scheduled to strengthen our Asia Pacific air network, bringing added capacity and increased efficiency to a market where we are seeing dynamic express volume growth.”

“We congratulate DHL on the delivery of its first A330-300P2F. We are confident that this new-generation and efficient mid-sized freighter will bring significant benefits to DHL’s international express operations,” said Christopher Buckley, Airbus EVP Sales.

“With its large internal volume and unbeatable economics, the A330-300P2F allows operators to step up capacity in markets where existing mid-sized freighters are becoming too small.”

The A330P2F conversion programme, launched in 2012, is a collaboration between ST Aerospace, Airbus and their joint venture EFW. ST Aerospace, as the programme and technical lead for the engineering development phase, is responsible for applying for the STCs from EASA and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Airbus contributes to the programme with OEM data and certification support, while EFW leads the industrialisation phase and marketing for the freighter conversion programme.

The A330P2F programme has two variants – the A330-200P2F and the larger A330-300P2F. The latter is ideal for serving the international express B2B and e-commerce cargo markets, which typically have a higher volume and lower density. The aircraft can carry up to 62 metric tonnes over 3,650 nautical miles, while offering 20 percent more cargo volume and lower cost-per-tonne than other available freighter aircraft types with a similar range.

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ATR-72 Veered Off Runway After Captain’s Seat Moved Fully Backwards

From Aviation Safety Network

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Starbow flight S9 104, an ATR 72-500, suffered a runway excursion during takeoff from Accra-Kotoka Airport in Ghana.

During take off roll from runway 21 and before reaching a speed of 70 kts, the captain's seat suddenly moved full backwards violently and shifted to the left. Whilst controlling the aircraft with the nose wheel steering, the violent seat movement led to the captain turning the tiller to the left causing the aircraft to veer off the left side of the runway. The captain could not gain control of the aircraft until it came to a stop close to the perimeter fence after efforts by the copilot to retard the power levers.

All propeller blades of the no.1 engine were damaged with some prop tips severed after impacting barbed wire at the airport perimeter fence.
Five occupants sustained minor injuries.

The aircraft, 9G-SBF, had only been delivered to Starbow on 22 November 2017.

 

 

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Airbus To Lead BAe 146 Electric Propulsion Demonstration

From AIN Online

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Using a BAe 146 airframe, the E-Fan X demonstrator would fly with one of four engines replaced with an electric motor some time in 2020. (Image: Airbus)

By Gregory Polek

Airbus, Rolls-Royce, and Siemens will collaborate on a hybrid-electric technology demonstrator expected to fly in 2020 called the E-Fan X, the companies announced Tuesday at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London. The partners plan to replace one of the four gas turbine engines in a BAe 146 test bed with a two-megawatt electric motor. Plans call for the replacement of a second gas turbine with an electric motor once the program achieves sufficient system maturity, said Airbus.

“The E-Fan X is an important next step in our goal of making electric flight a reality in the foreseeable future,” said Airbus chief technology officer Paul Eremenko. “The lessons we learned from a long history of electric flight demonstrators, starting with the Cri-Cri, including the e-Genius, E-Star, and culminating most recently with the E-Fan 1.2, as well as the fruits of the E-Aircraft Systems House collaboration with Siemens, will pave the way to a hybrid single-aisle commercial aircraft that is safe, efficient, and cost-effective.”

The E-Fan X demonstrator will explore the challenges of high-power propulsion systems, such as thermal effects, electric thrust management, altitude and dynamic effects on electric systems and electromagnetic compatibility matters. The program aims “to push and mature” the technology, performance, safety and reliability for quick progress on the hybrid electric technology. It would also establish the requirements for future certification of electrically powered aircraft while training a new generation of designers and engineers on the technology.

Under the development plan, Airbus will assume responsibility for overall integration and the control architecture of the hybrid-electric propulsion system and batteries, along with its integration with flight controls. Rolls-Royce, meanwhile, will contribute the turboshaft engine, two megawatt generator and power electronics. Along with Airbus, Rolls-Royce will also work on the fan adaptation to the existing nacelle and the Siemens electric motor. Finally, Siemens will deliver the two megawatt electric motors and their power electronic control unit, as well as the inverter, AC/DC converter, and power distribution system. The Siemens contribution adds to the E-Aircraft Systems House collaboration between Airbus and Siemens, which aims at development and maturation of various electric propulsion system components and their terrestrial demonstration across various power classes.

“In April 2016 we opened a new chapter in electric-mobility with the collaboration with Airbus,” said Siemens chief technology officer Roland Busch. “Building up electric propulsion for aircraft, we are creating new perspectives for our company and also for our customers and society. With the E-Fan X partnership, we now take the next step to demonstrate the technology in the air.”

The companies see the studies as a step toward meeting the EU technical environmental goals of the European Commission’s Flightpath 2050 Vision for Aviation, which calls for a reduction of CO2 by 60 percent, a reduction of NOx by 90 percent and noise by 75 percent. “These cannot be achieved with the technologies existing today,” said Airbus. “Electric and hybrid-electric propulsion are seen today as among the most promising technologies for addressing these challenges.”

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Autonomous Commercial Aircraft - Who Asked For It Technology

From Blue Hawk Aviation

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In the seemingly unstoppable rollout of who-asked-for-it and what’s-next technology, automated commercial airliners seems to be a hot topic these days. To this end, a just released UBS study argues that a vast savings realized from putting pilots out of work will overcome our demonstrated reluctance to not having a Sully Sullenburger, or anyone for that matter, in the cockpit when the poop hits the fan.

Fortunately, writing for Forbes Dan Reed penned a much more cogent and ordered response to this “Wall Street knows best” report than I am able to for this blog. Read it here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielreed/2017/08/11/heres-why-technology-artificial-intelligence-arent-good-answers-for-the-growing-pilot-shortage/#5006b9ef3527

Mr. Reed argues that any lower consumer costs can only get us so far up this particular mountain because there are very significant barriers to autonomous airliners, especially when one considers that in commercial air travel, the safety “bar” is set at a zero failure rate (i.e. no fatalities). These barriers include: nowhere near ready for primetime technology, as of yet undreamed of regulatory requirements and schemes, conveniently and vastly underestimated financial barriers, and a widespread and persistent lack of consumer acceptance that will likely span generations.

The technology piece is probably the lowest of these hurdles to leap, which isn’t to say it will be anything approaching easy. In high reliability industries like commercial aviation and nuclear power generation, outright adoption of disruptive technology doesn’t just happen because a tech billionaire has a wet dream. Technological change is stepwise, and even glacial, and with very good reason. These are industries where even the smallest of human errors can result in catastrophic and outsized loss of life and property. Proponents speak as if many pieces necessary for autonomous control of aircraft are on the shelf and ready to go. Tell me how Equifax just lost the most personal information of fully half the American population to hackers, yet we are somehow ready now with AI and to harden and protect the IT, control systems, spectrum and data links needed to control and back-up an autonomous commercial airliner? There is a nice looking, slightly used CIA RQ-170 drone now owned by Iran that might tell a very different story.

Predictably, UBS envisions that the incentives to autonomous airliners will revolve around money. The UBS report concludes that lower expenses for the airlines will inevitably mean lower ticket prices for consumers, which in turn will inexorably drive demand in our relentlessly cost conscious society. Reed however, wisely touches upon the cost of R/D, certification and investments in consumer acceptance as just some of the expense categories which don’t seem to be addressed in the UBS report.

Boeing and Airbus will have to spend untold billions developing and certifying fully autonomous airliners, but to what end? Simply lowering Delta’s costs out of the goodness of their corporate hearts? No chance. Anything to do with airplanes, especially their development and certification is very, very expensive and these staggering costs will be passed along in the sticker price of the airplanes eventually delivered. Further, we aren’t just talking about the certification of a new airplane, which is already an expensive and risky undertaking (787 anyone), but equally importantly will be the necessary development of an entirely new operational and regulatory paradigm for commercial aviation, something that will need to be paid for and proven to be as safe as the current one, a mark that is currently well in excess of 99.9% safe for the major US air carriers. Untold years of development, testing and certification await. None of this comes cheap and consumers will be expected to pay, if they can even be found to fill the seats.

Speaking of reluctant consumers, one can envision the airlines flying empty autonomous planes around until the concept is proven to be as safe as our current commercial aviation model. Also, Boeing and Airbus will likely have trouble finding companies willing to be on the pointy end of this particular spear because the United, American and Delta’s of the world understand the existential risk of crashing even one airplane. If history is any guide though, it’s a safe bet that airplane manufacturers will do what any industry with an army of lobbyists and an expensive and untested new product facing a questionable market would do: lobby the government to provide financial, regulatory and liability assistance with the development and certification of the aircraft and to deliver tax and liability incentives to early adopters of the new technology.

Put another way, we’ll all get to pay for technology the vast majority of us don’t want, won’t be fundamentally better than what it is replacing and won’t meaningfully lower consumer prices for a long, long time, if ever.

We are living in a golden age of aviation safety. In fact, from 2010 to the present there have been zero fatalities on US passenger airlines. That is not to say however, there haven’t been accidents, errors and mistakes made by humans, pilots included, during the past seven years. Yet high reliability industries like commercial aviation have developed an incredible safety system which recognizes and accounts for the centrality of humans to the process of keeping airplanes out of the dirt. This safety system employs a many layered approach built around humans’ inherent strengths and innate weaknesses.

Put another way, it’s because of well trained and proficient pilots that commercial airplanes don’t crash more often, not despite them. As the saying goes, the pilot is always the first person at the crash scene. Self-preservation has been a prime and generational motivator when it comes to the marvel that is aviation safety. The same cannot be said about the drone operator, computer programmer or Boeing and Airbus’ CEOs – they will all go home to their families at the end of a bad day, regardless of how many mistakes they make at work. And if a computer was controlling US Airways flight 1549 in January 2009, it wouldn’t have even registered the loss of 155 lives stemming from its inability to conceive of reacting the way Captain Sullenberger and First Officer Skiles did to save those people and themselves on that cold day.

It’s instructive to note that the US Department of Defense reports that it lost at least 140 unmanned aerial vehicles, and probably many more that we don’t know of, during the last seven years. This is an astounding accident rate. To be sure, a few of these were lost to enemy fire, which is a risk airliners generally don’t face. However, the overwhelming majority were not. Every one of those drone operators packed up his or her gear and went home to their families after the aircraft they were flying turned into a smoking hole somewhere. Self-preservation is a powerful motivator.

It’s possible that some disruptive technology is just a waste of money. The problem, to my mind is when the money wasted is mine (in the form of tax dollars), the return on investment doesn’t justify the expense and most importantly in aviation, safety is compromised. Perhaps the time, money (private and public) and brain cells that will have to be spent on developing, testing and certifying autonomous airliners that few consumers will want to fly in could be directed towards a more noble pursuit. Let’s get back to developing airplanes that fly higher, faster, farther, cleaner, quieter and ever more safely. We should also develop systems that enable pilots to more intuitively interface with the important and necessary automation that will help them fly these future airplanes more safely and with less fatigue.

I cannot fully envision the cockpit of 100, or even 50 years from now, but I hope it will be a marvel, blending augmented reality and seamless man-machine interfaces all focused on perfect safety – and I definitely see pilots in it. Simply put, if I’m sitting in the back, then someone’s ass needs to be on the line up front.

Copyright©Blue Hawk Aviation

And..... for a little more:  Pilotless Commercial Airplanes? No Thank you.

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A Good Laugh Is Needed Sometimes

From AVWeb

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DHS Hacked Airliner Systems

By Russ Niles

The Department of Homeland Security has reportedly told a cyber security conference it was able to hack the internal systems of a Boeing 757 sitting on the ramp at Atlantic City Airport with no help from anyone on board or anywhere near the aircraft. “We got the airplane on Sept. 19, 2016. Two days later, I was successful in accomplishing a remote, non-cooperative penetration,” DHS cyber security expert Robert Hickey is quoted as saying by Avionics Today. “[Which] means I didn’t have anybody touching the airplane, I didn’t have an insider threat. I stood off using typical stuff that could get through security and we were able to establish a presence on the systems of the aircraft.” Hickey was speaking at the CyberSat Summit in Virginia Nov. 8.

How the hack was done is classified but Hickey suggested it gave the hackers comprehensive access to the aircraft’s systems. Hickey noted that newer aircraft like the Boeing 737 MAX and 787 and Airbus’s new A350 have more robust security but 90 percent of the fleet has the same vulnerabilities as that 757. Two years ago a security researcher claimed to have gained access to an airliner's flight systems through its entertainment system but those claims were never verified.

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Engine Failure Takes Out Two Engines of SA Airlink RJ85

From Aviation Voice

Airlink_1117SA Airlink Avro RJ-85, performing flight from Harare to Johannesburg with 34 passengers and 4 crew, was enroute nearing the top of descent towards Johannesburg when the #2 engine suffered an uncontained failure ejecting parts of the hot section and turbine towards the #1 engine causing the engine to fail, too.

The aircraft continued to Johannesburg, was vectored for an approach to runway 21R (runways 03 were active) while other aircraft were pulled off the approaches to runways 03 and landed without further incident, vacated onto taxiway L and taxied to the apron followed by the emergency services awaiting the aircraft.

The airline reported all passengers remained uninjured and wrote: “While en route one of the four engines suffered an uncontained failure which then caused damage to its adjacent engine. Upon assessing the damage and status of the aircraft, the crew elected to continue to Johannesburg where it landed safely under the power of its remaining two engines.

At no point was the safety of the passengers or crew in jeopardy. Airlink has notified the South African Civil Aviation Authority, which will launch an investigation into the event in order to determine its likely cause. Airlink will provide whatever technical assistance is requested by the SACAA.”

 

 

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When Automation Fails, Qantas Pilot Employs Military Training

From AIN Online

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By Pete Combs

When the autopilot suddenly switched itself off aboard Qantas Flight 72 on Oct. 7, 2008, pilot Kevin Sullivan was puzzled. The Airbus A330, on a flight from Singapore to Perth, was approaching the coast of northwest Australia near the town of Exmouth. The weather was clear and the aircraft seemed to be operating normally.

The mystery was compounded by the jarring sound of the stall warning. Odd, Sullivan thought. He was in cruise configuration at 37,000 feet on a clear day. Whatever the A330 was doing, it wasn’t stalling. A moment later, Sullivan found himself staring straight ahead at the Indian Ocean and his world changed forever. The aircraft’s complex automation had malfunctioned and the only thing that stood between Qantas Flight 72 and the deep blue sea was Sullivan’s extensive experience.

“It was an aggressive pitch-down—violent, without warning,” Sullivan told AIN. “I had to brace myself on the glareshield. There are no warnings that say the airplane can maneuver violently on its own. But it did.”

Sullivan hauled back on the sidestick, pulling it almost to the stop. Nothing happened. So he reverted to his training as a high-time U.S. Navy fighter pilot. He neutralized the controls.

“I was looking at the Indian Ocean filling my windscreen. My control input was not effective. I was basically a passenger at that point, not a good place to be if you’re pilot-in-command. So I let go of the stick,” he said.

At the moment of the pitch-down, the Airbus had been holding a nose-high attitude of +2 degrees. Two seconds later, the nose had dropped -8.4 degrees. The wings sliced through the air with an audible rushing sound as the aircraft went from +1g to -.8g.

VIOLENT PITCHING

In the back of the airplane, dozens of passengers who were standing or seated without wearing their seatbelts were thrown up to and in some cases, through the carry-on bins and ceiling panels.

“What the hell just happened?” asked Sullivan’s second officer, who was flying right seat.

“That’s when the startle hit,” said Sullivan, a veteran pilot who had logged more than 17,000 flight hours. He didn’t know what happened, but he figured the A330’s computers were reacting to something. He noted a fault in one of the flight control primary computers (FCPC). Sullivan reset the FCPC, known as PRIM3.

Again, without warning, the aircraft violently pitched down. Again, Sullivan was unable to stop it by pulling back on the stick. Again, he let the stick go to neutralize the controls.

“I’m in trouble,” Sullivan remembered thinking. “I don’t know what’s happening and the airplane isn’t communicating with me. I’m getting master caution chimes. But every time they sounded, a message would flash on the computer monitor and quickly disappear. We couldn’t discern what was wrong.”

Unwilling to trust the A330’s automation anymore, Sullivan left the autopilot off. He disconnected the auto-trim and autothrottles. He declared a Pan (indicating an urgent situation that was not immediately life-threatening_ and, moments later, a Mayday.

The closest airport was a sleepy joint military/civilian field called RAAF Base Learmonth, approximately 37 kilometers south of Exmouth. Given the number and extent of injuries on board, Sullivan opted to land there rather than continue another hour-and-a-half to Perth. Exmouth had a small hospital with just two ambulances. ATC told Flight 72 the hospital would need a half-hour to prepare. That was fine with Sullivan. He needed the time to figure out how he would land his crippled A330.

The stall warning continued to sound—as did the master caution and overspeed warnings. The cacophony was terribly distracting, Sullivan remembered. Ignoring them required a special effort, he added, since company policy called for a mandatory response to some of the warnings. Unable to ascertain the extent to which his aircraft was malfunctioning, Sullivan again reverted to his military training.

“In the Navy, we used a ‘high-energy’ approach in single-engine jets when we suspected airframe or engine damage due to combat,” Sullivan said. From 37,000 feet, he would pull the throttles back to idle, then approach the field in a high-angle, high-energy configuration.

Even then, the aircraft refused to cooperate, Sullivan recalled. His first officer had returned to the flight deck by this time, his nose broken in the pitch downs. The first officer tried to enter a non-precision approach to Learmonth. The computer refused to accept it.

Manual Approach and Landing

Flight 72 circled Learmonth, descending until it was abeam the field at 11,000 feet. That’s when Sullivan began his visual approach. He recalls his thoughts during the experience.

Thrust to idle.

Nose down.

We need to lose 8,000 feet to arrive at 3,000 feet for a ten-mile final.

Sullivan turned to base at 5,000 feet, constantly worried that the aircraft would again pitch down. Using the radio, the Second Officer activated the PAPI as Flight 72 turned to final.

“Speed,” warned the first officer.

“Acknowledged,” replied Sullivan. He wanted to be fast as he aimed just shy of the runway threshold.

Gear down. That worked. Good.

Flaps at configuration 2.

Trim manually.

Throttles still idle.

1,500 feet, still descending at 3 degrees, verified by the PAPI.

Threshold.

Touchdown.

From the back of the air plane, the passengers gave Sullivan and his flight crew a rousing cheer. The stall, master caution and overspeed warnings continued to sound even as Flight 72 taxied to the small terminal at RAAF Learmonth.

As medical crews rushed aboard to help the injured passengers and crew, Sullivan walked aft through the passenger cabin. He was “heartbroken” at the devastation. Images of the bruised and bloodied passengers and crew seared themselves into his brain.

Sullivan remained in command of both passengers and airplane until all of the injured had been cared for. He then shepherded the remaining passengers into the terminal. Hours later, two Qantas aircraft landed at Learmonth to fly the passengers and crew back to Perth. Only after they arrived at their original destination, said Sullivan, did he allow himself to relax.

Post-flight analysis by the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau (ATSB) showed one of the A330's three air data inertial reference units (ADIRUs) was sending faulty information to the FCPCs in spikes every 1.2 seconds. The flight control computers misinterpreted that data, causing them to react as though the aircraft was in a nose-high stall. That led to the pitch downs.

Sullivan and his crew were commended by the ATSB for their professionalism

In all, 110 passengers and eight crewmembers were injured in the pitch-down incidents—some severely.

And you can add one more casualty to the list.

Plagued by post-traumatic stress syndrome and the memory of those who were so badly hurt, Sullivan attempted several times to resume his career as a pilot. But after seven torturous years, he gave up in 2015, convinced that his future lies somewhere other than in the cockpit.

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747 Flies Final U.S. Passenger Flight

From AvWeb

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Boeing’s 747, the iconic humped two-decker jet, flew its last flight for United Airlines on Tuesday. The four-engine widebody has lost ground to more-efficient modern aircraft. A United Airlines crew flew the final trip, from San Francisco to Honolulu, tracing the same route as the first United 747 flight in 1970. “From a 1970s-inspired menu to retro uniforms for flight attendants to inflight entertainment befitting of that first flight, passengers will help send the Queen of the Skies off in true style,” United said in a news release. The 747 will remain in Honolulu, United said, and passengers on the final flight were booked to go home on a different airplane. United was the airplane’s last U.S. operator in the passenger capacity. Delta retired its last 747 on Sept. 7.

British Airways, Korean Air and a few other international airlines still fly the jets on passenger trips. Boeing will continue to produce the 747-8F, exclusively for freight operators. The freighter can carry up to 224,900 pounds, with a range of 4,120 NM, and the ability to open up the whole nose of the airplane is a key feature when loading large items.

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Canada Dropping Checks On Check Pilots?

From AvWeb

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By Russ Niles

Transport Canada might leave all pilot proficiency checks on airline pilots up to the airlines themselves, according to documents obtained by the union representing government inspection pilots. The Canadian Federal Pilots Association, which represents mostly federal government pilots, says its reading of the documents suggests airline check pilots will no longer be evaluated on their competence to assess the skills of line pilots as of next spring. The change is scheduled for April 1, 2018, for aircraft carrying 50 or more passengers.

"I think it's very, very important that people understand we are getting closer to self-regulation all the time," said union president Greg McConnell. "It's just more cutting, more dismantling of the safety net.” It’s also a shift away from international standards but the documents, obtained under a freedom of information request, appear to suggest that Canada will get away with it.

The International Civil Aviation Organization, which is based in Montreal, mandates regular pilot evaluations by the 190 member states’ regulatory agencies. But in their risk assessment document accompanying the proposal, Transport Canada staff say check pilots almost never fail their evaluations and inspection staff time would be better spent on higher risk areas of aviation. "It could be argued that Canada's experience and relative maturity with systems-based surveillance will adequately complement this shift of responsibilities ... and therefore mitigate any concerns other states or trade associations may have with response to such a departure from globally accepted practices," the risk-assessment document says. The documents also say that Transport Canada is having trouble hiring qualified inspector pilots.

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Mexican airline interested in buying Russian MC-21 passenger jet

From RT

MC21The Mexican carrier Interjet is interested in acquiring Russian MS-21 aircraft, company president Miguel Aleman Velasco told RIA Novosti.

"We are very interested in the MC-21, because its components are lighter, it consumes less fuel… Its engines are from North America, but we hope that Russia will make its own engines, which will make the jet even lighter," he said after a meeting with the Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov.

Russia has been working on the Irkut MC-21, a twin-engine short- to medium-haul jet airliner that can carry 151 to 212 passengers depending on the model and seating configuration. The jet is designed for the mass-market travel industry to compete with Boeing's 737 and Airbus' A320.

The producer hopes the plane will replace the aging fleet of Soviet-made passenger aircraft and compete for a share of the global market, thanks to its relatively low price and higher cruising speed.

The first examples of the airliner are to be powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1400G engines, while those for the domestic market will use the new PD-14 engine.

The plane maker promises significantly more space for passengers given the MC-21 has the widest fuselage in its class. It also has extra-large windows. According to the maker, there are orders for 175 MC-21 jets, mostly from Russia’s largest carrier Aeroflot.

The MC-21 maiden flight took place in Russia's Irkutsk in May.

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FAA: Ban Laptops From Baggage Holds, Not Cabins

From AvWeb

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By Paul Bertorelli

Just months ago, government security agencies were contemplating a ban of electronic devices larger than a cellphone from airliner cabins, but this week, the FAA is calling for the opposite. In a paper filed with the International Civil Aviation Organization, the FAA said its tests show that large electronic devices such as laptops can cause fires that could overwhelm the fire suppression system airline baggage holds are equipped with. The paper said such a fire could be serious enough to result in a hull loss.

Last summer, the Department of Homeland Security was considering banning laptops from airliner cabins of inbound international flights because of what it described as potential terrorist threats. The agency encountered plenty of pushback and decided not to pursue the ban, which would have displaced laptops from the cabin to baggage holds. The FAA's proposed baggage hold ban will be on the agenda at an ICAO conference on dangerous goods to be held in Montreal next week.

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Complex Three-Engine Ferry For A380

From AvWeb

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By Russ Niles

Air France plans to ferry a damaged A380 back to France from Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador on three engines but before it can do that it has to install a new engine that won't be running. The aircraft lost the front section of its No. 4 engine, including the 10-foot fan, over Greenland on Sept. 30 and made an emergency landing at the Cold War-era air force base at Goose Bay, stranding 521 passengers and crew for 12 hours until two aircraft could be dispatched to pick them up. Besides the engine, the aircraft suffered pylon and wing damage and the combination has greatly complicated the effort to repatriate the Super Jumbo.

The wrecked engine will be removed and sent to Wales for inspection by the manufacturer Engine Alliance. For balance and aerodynamic stability a new engine will be installed but because of the other damage it can’t be hooked up and made operable. While there is plenty of power from the remaining engines for takeoff (Goose Bay has 11,000 feet available) the flight planning and crew training requirements for the ferry flight are extensive. We can’t verify the information supplied by Capt. Dave Wallsworth, a British Airways A380 captain, who maintains a regular Twitter feed about his job, but by his account, the rescue mission is a monumental effort.

From Captain Dave on Twitter

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ATC Proposal Dominates NBAA

From AvWeb

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By Russ Niles

Aviation leaders presented a united front Tuesday in their resolve to kill a bill that would turn air traffic control services over to a nonprofit corporation. At the annual media breakfast at the NBAA-BACE convention being held in Las Vegas, the leaders of most general aviation groups urged delegates to flood the inboxes of their elected representatives with messages of opposition to the proposal. They were also told the bill currently in play, H.R. 2997, doesn’t have the votes to go through but that shouldn’t stop them from letting their representatives know about their opposition. A video featuring well-known aviation leaders appears below.

The main issue is the makeup of the 13-member board of directors they say is weighted toward airline representation. The fear is that access to and availability of airspace will be prioritized for airlines at the expense of general aviation. EAA Chairman Jack Pelton acknowledged that “fatigue” over the frequent call by he and his colleagues for grass-roots political support is a real factor in this current battle but he also noted the process is simple. NBAA President Ed Bolen said the process he and the others have been through in fighting the bill is an example of why the current system should be preserved. The leaders have had numerous meetings with elected officials to make their case and they’ve been received without reservation. He said if the 13-member board of directors takes over, they will be under no obligation to hear from those affected by their decisions.

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Damaged A380 Diverts To Goose Bay

From AvWeb

a380_1017By Russ Niles

Air France is facing a daunting technical challenge to repair an extensively damaged A380 at one of Canada’s most remote airports. Flight 66 from Paris to Los Angeles was almost across the Atlantic when the No. 4 engine had an uncontained failure that blew off the cowl and the crew diverted to Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador. Twitter photos show extensive damage to the engine and it appears the pylon and perhaps the wing are also affected. Passengers reported hearing a loud noise followed by vibration and an hourlong flight to Goose Bay. It's the second uncontained engine failure on an A380 but the first one, on a Qantas super jumbo in 2010, involved a Rolls-Royce engine. The engine that blew on Saturday was made by Engine Alliance, a joint venture by GE and Pratt & Whitney. The aircraft had about 520 passengers and crew on board and the airport is not equipped to handle that kind of influx so passengers were kept on the airplane waiting for other aircraft to be sent to pick them up. The A380 likely isn’t going anywhere soon.

Goose Bay is a former U.S. Air Force Base used in the Cold War as a nuclear weapons staging base and it has 11,000-foot and 9,000-foot runways. These days only a small Royal Canadian Air Force helicopter squadron is based there. Only regional airlines offer scheduled service so it doesn’t have facilities to do major repairs on an A380. The airline will have to ship in the parts and create temporary facilities to fix the plane. Last February a Swiss Global Airlines Boeing 777 had to land in Iqaluit, Nunavut, due to engine problems and the airline swapped the engine in a large tent. But there was no secondary damage to the aircraft in that incident and the A380 repairs are likely to be more involved.

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US airlines say goodbye to the iconic Boeing 747

From Airline Ratings

United 747By Steve Creedy

The last US airlines operating the passenger version of the Boeing 747 are in the process of saying goodbye to the “Queen of the Skies” with United Airlines’ last flight scheduled for November 7.

Delta Air Lines and United are moving to retire the iconic US-made jumbo jet after almost four decades in service.

United’s farewell 747 flight will be from San Francisco to Honolulu and its last international 747 flight will head to Seoul, Korea, from San Francisco on October 29.

Delta will retire its fleet by the end of 2017 to replace them with Airbus A350s made by Boeing rival Airbus. Delta will take delivery of five A350s in 2017 with more coming in 2018.

Delta customers and employees have started their farewells to the big plane after the aircraft operated its final Tokyo-Narita to Honolulu flight and made a rare appearance on two domestic legs earlier this month.

United’s final flight will recreate the airline’s first 747 flight in 1970 with a seventies-inspire menu, retro uniforms and inflight entertainment “befitting of that first flight”. It will be named “Friend Ship” after the first United aircraft.

Seats on the flight went on sale through united.com September 18 but will not include those on the upper deck, giving all passengers the opportunity to enjoy a space once used for spacious bars and lounges. However, customers in first and business class will go into a draw to occupy a select number of upper-deck seats.

United will begin the final journey at 9am San Francisco time with a gate celebration featuring speeches, a Boeing 747 gallery and remarks from United employees and executives.

The flight is due to depart at 11am and arrive in Honolulu 2.45pm local time to more farewell celebrations.

The 747 OPENED UP AIR TRAVEL FOR MILLIONS

The 747 was the first widebody to sell 1500 units and was instrumental in making air travel more affordable for millions of travellers by allowing airlines to fly more people for less cost.

But giving life to the plane that changed the world was a challenge that brought Boeing, the world’s biggest aerospace company, the then-biggest engine maker Pratt and Whitney and the legendary Pan American World Airways to their knees.

Boeing was immersed in an attempt to build an ill-fated supersonic transport, dubbed the Boeing 2707, and the 747 was considered an interim solution that might carry passengers for five to 10 years until supersonic transports took over.

It was the combined dream of Pan Am founder Bill Trippe and Boeing chief Bill Allen that brought the plane to fruition.

Boeing announced plans to build a 490-seat plane in April, 1966, at a new plant in Everett, Washington.

The first Boeing 747-100, City of Everett, rolled out of the plant on September 30, 1968, and made its first flight the following February.

Pan Am operated the first commercial flight from New York to London on January 21, 1970, and Continental Airlines put it on domestic routes in June that year.

United received its first 747-100 on June 26 and made the first San Francisco-Honolulu commercial flight on July 23.

In 1985, United announced plans to acquire Pan Am’s Pacific routes as well as 11 Boeing 747SP planes. The 747SPs, regarded as sports cars of the range, were shorter and could fly higher, faster, and farther than standard 747 models.

In January, 1988 Friendship One, a Boeing 747SP owned by United Airlines, set the around-the-world air speed record of 36 hours, 54 minutes, and 15 seconds in a children’s charity flight. Passengers on the flight included astronaut Neil Armstrong, famed test pilots Bob Hoover and Lieutenant General Laurence C. Craigie, and Moya Lear, the widow of Lear Jet founder Bill Lear, as guests.

United received its first longer-range B747-400 in June, 1989.

The big jet has also been used by NASA as a carrier vehicle for the space shuttle and as a platform for an infrared telescope.

The first of two specially modified B747-200Bs was delivered in August, 1990, to take over the role of Air Force One from the Boeing 707.

Boeing has continued to produce a new, more fuel-efficient iteration of the 747, the 747-8, in both passenger and freighter versions.

But it last year hinted it may end production if it failed to receive more orders for the program.

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Horizon Cancels Route In Pilot Shortage

From AvWeb

horizon_917

By Russ Niles

Horizon Air says it can no longer fly to Colorado Springs from Seattle because it doesn’t have enough pilots. The airline, cancelled six percent of its flights in June because of its pilot shortage but this might be the first time a route has been abandoned because of it. Horizon says it faces a pilot shortage for at least another year according to a news release from the Colorado Springs Airport. The release quoted airline officials as saying shortages “are expected to continue for some time.”

 

Meanwhile, while Horizon is a subsidiary of Alaska, the parent company is shifting some of its regional capacity to Skywest Airlines and essentially allowing the independent regional carrier to compete with its own company. Skywest flies 20 new Embraer E175 jets for Alaska and while Horizon has ordered 30 similar aircraft, it only has two in the air and recently deferred delivery of six of the Brazilian airliners. Horizon flies mainly well-used Bombardier Q400 turboprops. Skywest has ordered five more E175s to use on Alaska routes and Horizon’s pilot union filed a lawsuit disputing Horizon’s deferral of its E175 delivery.

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Airport Worker Hurt After Being Hit by Airliner

From Travel Pulse

American_Eagle_Flight_ 5233

By Donald Wood

An American Airlines regional flight that landed at Charlotte Douglas International Airport struck a pushback tractor as it was being taxied to the gate, leaving the driver of the vehicle injured.

According to Fox Charlotte, American Eagle Flight 5233 arrived Wednesday in North Carolina from Yeager Airport in Charleston, West Virginia, when it started to taxi to the gate. At around 4 p.m. local time, the plane struck the tug near the north side of the E terminal.

None of the thirty-one passengers and three crew members on board the plane at the time of the incident reported injuries. As for the driver of the pushback tractor, he was taken to a local hospital where he was listed in stable condition.

The airport fire department and medical personnel were called to the scene and acted quickly to get the driver out of the damaged vehicle and to the hospital.

As a result of the collision, planes near Terminal E were not permitted to move until the investigation was completed. Passengers on departing and arriving flights were told to expect delays.

Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration lifted a ground stoppage at 5:26 p.m. local time and flights resumed. A short time later, the airport said it was “open and operational” on social media.

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TIRE FAILURE DAMAGES JETSTAR DREAMLINER WING

From Airline Ratings

tire_failure_917

By Steve Creedy

A Jetstar Boeing 787 was forced to return to Singapore’s Changi Airport after debris from a shredded tyre damaged a wing and caused flaps to malfunction.

The plane was headed to Melbourne with 231 passengers and 11 crew on board when the pilots received an alert that the wing flaps were not retracting evenly.

Flaps are moveable flight surfaces on the wing designed to increase lift at lower speeds during landing and take-off. The forces affecting an aircraft become unbalanced if the flaps on both wings do not deploy and retract together.

An Australian Transport Safety Bureau report into the May 13, 2017 incident found the left wing flaps were unable to move due to damage to a “torque tube” broken when debris from the tyre smashed through a panel on the underside of the wing.

The damage caused a misalignment with the right wing flaps, prompting the aircraft to shut down the flap drive system and generate a fault message.

The pilots notified air traffic control, put the jet into a holding pattern at 6000ft and decided to return to Singapore, opting not to dump fuel because of the proximity of other aircraft.

This was in accordance with procedures the Jetstar crew were following to land the aircraft safely.

“While the crew did not know about the tyre damage, the aircraft protective systems and crew actions allowed for a safe return and landing, despite the aircraft being overweight and at a higher than normal landing speed,’’ the report said.

TIRE DELAMINATION

The ATSB found the flap problem was a result of the delamination of the number 6 wheel tyre, likely at the southern end of runway 20C when the wheel was at high speed.

This gave the debris sufficient energy to penetrate the underwing panel, break the torque tube and interrupt the flap drive system.

The incident occurred before the tyre reached its expected service limit and the manufacturer concluded it had operated on an “aggressive” surface such as a grooved runway. It found the tyre experienced wear on the shoulder which led to cracking and undercutting of the tread.

The tyres had been certified as inspected according to the manufacturer’s requirements ahead of departure but no faults were recorded.

Nonetheless, Investigators said it was possible the tread was already damaged before departure.

“The arrival inspection likely occurred during daylight hours, but the aircraft may have been parked with the tyre tread positioned such that the initiation site was not visible to the inspector,’’ the report said “However, this was not confirmed by the ATSB.”

Jetstar has told its pilots and engineers to pay particular attention to the shoulder area of B787 tyres during inspections. 

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