Friday, October 31, 2014

First SpaceShipTwo prototype crashed

The first prototype of the SpaceShipTwo sub orbital spacecraft exploded and crashed during a powered test flight over Mojave desert, California on 31 October, killing one pilot and seriously injuring the other.

US DoD awards modified LRIP-8 contract for F135 engines

The U.S. Department of Defense awarded Pratt & Whitney a modification to a previously awarded contract for the eighth lot of F135 propulsion systems to power F-35 Lightning II aircraft. The contract worth $793 million raises the total contract value to $1.052 billion. Previous awards, valued at $259 million, were given for long lead items and sustainment.

NASA Orion Spacecraft structurally completed

Orion Spacecraft Image Credit: NASA
NASA and Lockheed Martin have completed the final assembly and testing of the Orion spacecraft, in preparation for the first test launch in December, which is designed to send humans into deep space beyond the moon, including a journey to Mars.The spacecraft will remain inside NASA's Launch Abort System Facility at Kennedy Space Center until it rolls to launch pad 37 in November. The fully assembled Orion stands 72 feet tall.

Image: First A350 for Vietnam Airlines completes structural assembly

Thursday, October 23, 2014

SpaceX completes 100th Merlin-1D engine

SpaceX has produced the milestone 100th Merlin 1D rocket engine to powers its Falcon 9 launch vehicle. The significant milestone was achieved within two years of production.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

GKN develop Natural Laminar Flow wings

GKN Aerospace has delivered an innovative wing leading edge demonstrator to the European Clean Sky programme, helping bring an ultra-high performance, natural laminar flow (NLF) wing closer to reality.

Common Type Rating for A350-A330 jetliners

Airbus A350 XWB and A330 jetliners has received Comman Type Rating pilot training approval from EASA and FAA, enabling operational commonality between Airbus fly-by-wire aircraft families.

Lockheed-Roketsan team to develop SOM-J missile for F-35

Turkish missile maker Roketsan and Lockheed Martin signed a teaming agreement today for collaboration on the SOM-J, a new generation air-to-surface Standoff Cruise Missile for the F-35 Lightning II.

NBAA: Thales FBW for G650ER business jet

G650ER Image Credit:Gulfstream
During the National Business Aviation show 2014, Thales announced, it has been selected by Gulfstream to supply fly-by-wire enabled flight control system for the newly launched Gulfstream G650ER business jet.

Aerojet thrusters for NASA's 2020 Mars Mission

Aerojet Rocketdyne received a contract from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to supply the thrusters for NASA's next Mars rover mission to be launched in 2020.

Airbus launch A330 VIP cabin

Airbus has launched a new VIP cabin concept, initially for the A330-200 airliner, offering a more affordable executive travelling for both private and government customers.

Sagem unveil active side stick prototype

At 2014 NBAA business aviation trade show and exhibition in Orlando, Florida (USA), Sagem unveiled a prototype of its new active side stick unit (SSU) for civil airplanes and helicopters.

India grounds Su-30MKI fighter fleet

India has grounded its entire fleet of mainstay Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter fleet temporarily after a recent non fatal crash while landing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Embraer rolls out KC-390 prototype

Embraer rolled out the first prototype of the KC-390 military transport aircraft from the production hangar at the industrial plant of Gaviao Peixoto, Brazil on Tuesday.

NASA capture re-entry of Falcon-9 first stage

Image Credit: NASA

NASA and SpaceX successfully captured thermal images of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on its descent after it launched the Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station, on September 21, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

RAF fielding P1E enhanced Typhoons

Eurofighter Typhoon
British Royal Air Force (RAF) is fielding the most advanced Eurofighter Typhoon fighter variant, through the Phase 1 Enhancements (P1E) upgrade package that imparts true multi-role capability.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fourth Mi-38 prototype flies

The fourth prototype of the Russian Helicopters' new multirole Mi-38 helicopter has carried out a series of ground runs and completed its first flight at Russian Helicopters' Kazan Helicopter test flight centre.

Despite sanction, Russian titanium crucial for U.S. aerospace industry

Despite sanctions against Russia by Western countries, deliveries of Russian titanium to leading U.S. and European aerospace companies continue unhindered.

J-10B to enter PLAAF service soon

Chinese PLA Air Force (PLAAF) will soon induct the upgraded Chengdu J-10B multi role fighters, according to Chinese media reports siting new images showing new batch of series production fighters undergoing flight and taxi trials.

Embraer cut first metal for E190-E2 jet

Embraer E-jet
Embraer has cut the first metal part of the second generation E-jets E2 family of regional jets, at its √Čvora plant in Portugal, on Oct 17.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

First MRJ prototype rolled out

Mitsubishi Aircraft rolled out the first MRJ (Mitsubishi Regional Jet) next-generation regional jet, during a ceremony at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Komaki South final assembly plant in Nagoya on 18 October.

USAF's classified X-37B spaceplane de-orbits

 Image Credit: Boeing
US Air Force's Boeing built X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle 3 (OTV-3) successfully de-orbited and landed back at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Oct 17, after nearly two years in orbit.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Airbus continues EC225/EC725 shaft retrofits

Airbus Helicopters is working alongside operators of its EC225 and EC725 helicopters to retrofit their fleet with the redesigned bevel gear vertical shaft.

Airbus to lower A330 production

Airbus has decided to lower production rate of its A330 family aircraft from the current rate of 10 to 9 aircraft per month.

The production adjustment will be effected in the fourth quarter of 2015, as it transitions towards the new re-engined A330neo variant, Airbus says.

“Our role as an aircraft manufacturer is to anticipate and adapt our output to ensure we continue to maintain a smooth production flow for Airbus and for our supply chain,” said Tom Williams, Airbus’ Executive Vice President Programmes.

Since 2013, Airbus has been building 10 A330 Family aircraft each month, the industry’s highest ever production rate for this aircraft size category.

“With the recent commercial success we’ve seen following the launch of the A330neo, in addition to the new 242 tonne weight variant and the A330 optimised for regional routes, we are confident we will sustain a steady production towards the A330neo ramp up period,” he added.

The decision stems from the A330 enhancements that will enter service in the coming years, such as the more capable 242 tonne take-off-weight A330 variant for regional and domestic routes and the A330neo.

The A330 family, which spans 250 to 300 seats, and includes Freighter, VIP, and Military Transport/Tanker variants, has received more than 1,300 orders, with over 1,100 aircraft flying with more than 100 operators worldwide.

The A330neo will boast a 14% better fuel efficiency per seat and will be powered by new generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 turbofan engines. From 2019 onwards, neo will replace the current A330 deliveries.

Qatar Airways A350 completes maiden flight

The first series production A350-900 airliner destined to launch customer Qatar Airways has successfully completed its maiden flight from Toulose, France.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Nirbhay cruise missile successfully test fired

India successfully carried out the second test firing of indigenously developed Nirbhay cruise missile, after the maiden partialy successful test firing in March 2013.

The test was conducted from the Integrated Missile Test Range in Chandipur, Odisha.

The nuclear capable subsonic cruise missile can carry out precision strike against enemy target over 1000 km away. Nirbhay flies a terrain hugging path to evade radar detection and impart a element of surprise.

The two stage Nirbhay took off from a mobile launcher using its solid rocket motor booster. As it achieved designated altitude and velocity, the booster motor was jettisoned and the Russian Saturn built 36MT turbofan engine took over the propulsion, begining the cruise stage along with deployment of wings upon by commands generated by the onboard computer (OBC) to stabilise the flight.

Guided by a highly advanced inertial navigation system indigenously developed by Research Centre Imarat (RCI) the Nirbhay continued it's flight that lasted a little over 1hour and 10 minutes.

The missile achieved an Circular Error Probability (CEP) accuracy of less than 10 meters and covered a distance of more than 1000 km.

Nirbhay was developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratory based in Bangalore.

The missile also has loitering capability, that allows it to go round a target and perform several manoeuvres before re-engaging.

Throughout the flight, the missile was tracked with the help of ground based radars and watched by an Indian Air Force aircraft.

The maiden flight of Nirbhay in 2013 was aborted in its final cruise stage after the ring laser gyro (RLG) in the inertial navigation system malfunctioned.

Indian arsenal currently has only the 290 km range supersonic BrahMos cruise missile jointly developed with Russia.

UK to deploy MQ-9 Reapers to Iraq

RAF Reaper in Afghan photo: UK MoD Copyright
UK has decided to deploy its Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) to combat ISIL in Iraq.

Vistara Airlines unveil A320 livery

India's newly launched Vistara airline, a joint venture between Tata and Singapore Airlines, unveiled its first Airbus A320 painted in airline's livery, at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi.

Quest plans China made Kodiak by 2019

Quest Aircraft has appointed the SkyView Aircraft (Jiangsu) as the exclusive dealer for its 10-seat Kodiak utility turboprop aircraft in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

Third Indian navigation satellite orbited

Indian Space Research Organistaion's workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C26, successfully launched IRNSS-1C, the third satellite in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), in the early morning hours of today (October 16, 2014) at 0132 hours IST from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A350 achieve 370 minute ETOPS

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has approved the new Airbus A350-900 airliner for ETOPS (Extended-range Twin engine aircraft Operations) beyond 180 minutes diversion time, including an option for up to 370 minute maximum diversion time.

Fifth Indian Su-30 MKI fighter crashed

Indian Air Force's mainstay Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter crashed shortly after taking off from the Lohegaon Air Force Station in Pune on Tuesday evening, local time.

Rolls Royce flight tests CTi fan blades for next generation engines

Image Credit: Rolls Royce
Rolls-Royce completed maiden flight test of the composite carbon/titanium (CTi) fan blade for its under development next generation Advance and UltraFan™ engine designs.

A set of the CTi fan blades was incorporated into a Trent 1000 "donor" engine onboard a Rolls-Royce 747 flying test bed at Tucson, Arizona, USA.

The CTi technology delivers lighter fan blades while retaining aerodynamic performance. Combined with a composite engine casing, it forms a system that reduces weight by up to 1,500lb per aircraft, the equivalent of carrying seven more passengers at no cost.

The fan blades completed crosswind testing in September at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, USA.

The Advance engine design will offer at least 20 per cent less fuel burn and CO2 emissions than the first generation Rolls-Royce Trent engine and could be ready for entry into service from 2020.

UltraFan™, a geared design with a variable pitch fan system, is based on technology that could be ready for service from 2025 and will offer at least 25 per cent less fuel and CO2 emissions against the same baseline.

First German A400M complete maiden flight

The first Airbus A400M airlifter for German Air Force has made its maiden flight on Tuesday.

IndiGo signs for 250 A320neo aircraft

India’s largest low-cost domestic airline IndiGo, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 250 firm Airbus A320neo airliners.

The $25.5 billion worth deal is also Airbus's single largest order by number of aircraft.
IndiGo Co-Founders, Rakesh Gangwal and Rahul Bhatia, Group Managing Director of InterGlobe, signed the MoU at Airbus headquarters in Toulouse, France.

Aditya Ghosh, President of IndiGo said, “This new order reaffirms IndiGo’s commitment to the long-term development of affordable air transportation in India and overseas. The additional aircraft will enable us to continue to bring our low fares and courteous, hassle free service to more customers and markets and will create more job opportunities and growth. The IndiGo team is energised and excited to herald this new phase of our growth.”

IndiGo already has orders for 280 Airbus aircraft, including 100 A320ceo placed in 2005 and 180 A320neo placed in 2011.

Founded in 2006, IndiGo now has the largest domestic market share of 32.6 per cent as of May 2014, overtaking the Jet Airways and the state owned Air India. IndiGo operates an all Airbus fleet of 83 A320s configured in only economy class seating.

The airline had managed to make profits even during sluggish economic conditions when other carriers accumulated losses and saw another domestic carrier Kingfisher going defunct.

The A320neo which completed its maiden flght on Sept 25, is an re-engined and upgraded A320 airliner.

The neo (new engine option) variant incorporates many innovations, including latest generation engines and large Sharklet wing-tip devices, which together deliver 15 percent in fuel savings from day one and 20 per cent by 2020 which is equivalent to a reduction of 5,000 tonnes of CO2 per aircraft per year.

The two latest-generation engine choices are CFM International’s LEAP-1A and the Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1100G-JM Geared Turbofan Engine.

The A320 Family is the world’s best-selling single aisle product line with almost 11,000 orders to date and over 6,200 aircraft delivered to 400 customers and operators worldwide.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Gulfstream announce G500 and G600 business jets

Image Credit: Gulfstream
 Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., unveiled two all-new business jets: the Gulfstream G500 and G600 to replace the current G450 and G550 jets.

FAA certify Gulfstream G650ER business jet

G650ER Image Credit:Gulfstream

Gulfstream announced that its flagship ultra-long-range Gulfstream G650ER executive jet has been certified by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Boeing begin 737-MAX parts production

Boeing 737 MAX photo: Boeing
Boeing has started production of the first 737 MAX airliner fuselage stringers at Boeing Fabrication Integrated AeroStructures in Auburn, Washington.

Additional Boeing-737s receive Split Scimitar winglets certification

Boeing 737 (PRNewsFoto/Aviation Partners Boeing)
Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) has received Federal Aviation Adminstration (FAA) Supplemental Type Certification (STC) to install Split Scimitar Winglets on three additional configurations of the Boeing 737-800 airliners.

Mitsubishi to roll out first MRJ prototype on Oct 18

Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. will officially roll out the first Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) prototype airliner on October 18.

Monday, October 13, 2014

MH370: New refinement indicate search should be prioritised further south

Australian Transport Safety Board (ATSB) released an updated flight path analysis of the missing Flight MH370 in the Southern Indian Ocean. The search area refinement was achieved through a combination of a better understanding of the ground initiated telephone call messages and a refined satellite communication (SATCOM) data that indicate the next, underwater search phase, should be prioritized further south on the 7th arc, within the wide search area.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Airbus seeks civilian certification for Atlante UAV

Airbus Defence and Space is seeking civil type certification for its Atlante unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

Million dollar Afghan C-27A airlifters scrapped for pennies

AAF C-27A at Kabul Intl Airport
The sixteen C-27A airlifters bought by US government for Afghan Air Force has been scrapped for pennies recently, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).

Friday, October 10, 2014

Williams FJ44-4M engine selected to power M-345 HET trainer

Italian Alenia Aermacchi has selected Williams International FJ44-4M jet engine to power its new M-345 HET (High Efficiency Trainer) trainer jet.

First Rafale-M upgraded to F3 standard delivered

© Dassault Aviation - P. Dhaud
Dassault Aviation delivered the first Rafale Marine fighter jet retrofitted to F3 standard to French defence procurement agency DGA on Oct 3.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Upgraded IL-76MD completes maiden flight

IL-76MD Image Credit:Rostec
Russia's new generation Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A strategic airlifter completed its maiden flight from Aviastar SP production line in Ulyanovsk on 3 October.

USAF F-15D crashed at RAF Lakenheath

F-15C Image Credit:USAF
An US Air Force F-15D Eagle fighter from Royal Air Force Lakenheath crashed on Wednesday while conducting a combat training mission.

CFM LEAP engine completes maiden flight test

LEAP engine onboard Boeing 747 FTA Image Credit:CFM
CFM International’s next generation LEAP high bypass turbofan engine completed its maiden flight on 6 October onboard a Boeing 747 flying testbed at GE Aviation Flight Test Operations in Victorville, California.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Thailand select Piaggio Avanti II for reconnaissance mission

The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) has selected Piaggio Aero P.180 Avanti II business aircraft for its aerial reconnaissance requirement.

DoD IG criticize USAF's MQ-9 Reaper procurement plans

U.S. Department of Defense Inspector General released a report that critiqued U.S. Air Force MQ-9 procurement plans to buy 401 MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft at an estimated cost of $76.8 billion.