Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Airbus delivers Vietnam Airlines' first Airbus A350

Vietnam Airlines has become the second airline in the world to operate the all-new A350 XWB, following a special ceremony in Toulouse today.

The A350-900 aircraft was delivered to global lessor AerCap on lease to the airline for operation on long haul routes and is scheduled to arrive in Hanoi tomorrow. Altogether, Vietnam Airlines is set to acquire 14 A350 XWBs, including 10 ordered from Airbus and four from lessors.

Adding a special touch is the Vietnam Airlines logo on the vertical tail, featuring one of the most enduring and meaningful symbols of Vietnamese culture: the Lotus flower; while the livery’s distinct gold colouring underscores this jetliner’s high quality and evokes a sense of luxury.

Vietnam Airlines will inaugurate commercial service with the A350 XWB later this week, initially on the Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh domestic sector and then on non-stop flights from Hanoi to Paris.

The aircraft is configured with a premium three class layout, with 29 seats that convert to full flat beds in Business Class, 45 seats in Premium Economy and 231 in Economy. In addition to more personal space in all classes, the aircraft features the latest in-flight entertainment and connectivity systems throughout.

Vietnam Airlines’ new A350 XWB will join an existing Airbus fleet of 59 aircraft flying with the carrier, comprising 49 A321s and 10 A330s.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Indian Light Combat Helicopter complete hot weather trials

© Aviation Analysis Wing
Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd's (HAL) indigenously designed and developed Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) attained a milestone by successfully completing the hot weather flight trials for a nearly one week at Jodhpur recently.

“Test flights were carried out in the temperature range of 39 to 42 degree Celsius. These were done with the involvement of customer pilots from Indian Air Force and Army in presence of representatives from RCMA and DGAQA”, says Mr. T. Suvarana Raju, CMD, HAL.

LCH prototype, TD-3 was ferried from Bengaluru to Jodhpur to achieve the successful trials. The flight testing covered 'temperature survey of engine bay and hydraulic system', 'assessment of performance', 'handling qualities and loads' at different 'all up weights', 'low speed handling' and 'height-velocity diagram establishment'.

LCH had completed cold weather flight testing at Leh in February 2015. Two LCH – one on static and another on flying display- enthralled people at Aero India 2015 held in Bengaluru earlier this year. The LCH is expected to receive Initial Operational Clearance and enter into series production by the end of this year.

The Light Combat Helicopter is a twin- engine, dedicated combat helicopter of 5.8-ton class designed and developed by HAL to meet the requirements of Indian defence forces, derived from the HAL Dhruv multi role helicopter. The helicopter is designed to carry out dedicated combat roles such as air defence, anti-tank, scout and support combat search /rescue missions.

The indigenous design of the helicopter incorporates advanced technology features for facilitating combat operations and includes a narrow fuselage with tandem seating configuration for Pilot and Co-pilot / Weapon system operator (WSO).

It incorporates a number of stealth features such as reduced visual, aural, radar and infra-red signatures and crashworthy landing gear, armour protection for better survivability. The helicopter is powered by two license built Turbomeca/HAL Shakti engines rated at 895 kW each.

Maximum speed of LCH is 265 kmph with a range of 500 km and can reach a altitude of 6.5 km.

Indian Army and Indian Air Force has ordered 115 and 65 LCHs respectively. LCH can be armed with 20mm gun, missiles and rockets.

Video:Falcon 9 crash post crash analysis

The SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on its sixth resupply mission to International Space Station, exploded over florida seconds into lift off from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on sunday.

Following a nominal liftoff, SpaceX says the Falcon 9 experienced a problem shortly before first stage shutdown. Preliminary analysis suggested the vehicle experienced an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank approximately 139 seconds into flight.

Telemetry indicates first stage flight was nominal and that Dragon remained healthy for some period of time following separation.

The Dragon spacecraft onboard was carrying food, water, and equipments weighing around 2 ton to ISS.

The loss is a big blow to SpaceX, as the Falcon 9 was recently certified by U.S Air Force to carry national security payloads currently exclusively orbited by ULA launch vehicles. Rockets used for lofting national security payloads require higher reliability as it may endanger U.S. national interests.

The mission failure will not affect the operation of ISS, as a Russian Progress vehicle is ready for launch on July 3, followed in August by a Japanese HTV flight. In April, a Progress spacecraft on a resupply mission to ISS failed to dock and was destroyed on re-entry to atmosphere.

The incident marks the third major space accident to private U.S. space company's, including the crash of the first prototype of Space Ship Two and loss of Orbital ATK Antares rocket last year.

Orbital ATK, is moving ahead with plans for its next launch later this year using its Cygnus spacecraft onboard a ULA Atlas V rocket, rather than the Antares rocket.

Solar Impulse takes off to Hawai

André Borschberg, CEO, Co-Founder and Pilot of Solar Impulse in the cockpit of Solar Impulse ready to take-off from Nagoya, Japan

This morning at 3:03 am local time Japan (6:03pm GMT on June 28th) Swiss Pilot André Borschberg took off in the Solar Impulse 2 single seater aircraft from Nagoya endeavoring to reach Hawaii, in what will be the longest exploration leg of the Solar Impulse’s Round-The-World mission.

The first 10 hours of flight were difficult for the team who had to solve technical problems before giving the final go to head for Hawaii when Solar Impulse was already off the coast of Japan.

This is a second attempt after diverting the first time around to Nagoya, Japan following a take off from Nanjing, China. This flight will be demanding and challenging particularly given its duration and the fact that no immediate landing is possible and will be a feat never accomplished before in the world of aviation.

The attempt to reach Hawaii from Japan will represent a real life test of endurance for the pilot while at the same time pushing the limits of the airplane to even new levels. Successfully arriving in Hawaii will proving that the impossible is achievable.

André will venture into the unknown and demonstrate his courage by adapting to extreme circumstances, ranging from living in a small, 3.8 metre cube cockpit; maintaining his confidence that the energy collected from the sun throughout the day will last through the night; and, remaining physically and mentally alert throughout the entire journey. For this, André will sleep only for 20 minutes at a time and will use yoga and meditation to keep his body energy and mindset functioning well.

“The real moment of truth still lies ahead. We are now at the point in the Round-the-World Solar Flight where everything comes together, the engineers who worked on the airplane for the last 12 years, the Mission Control Center who will have to predict weather and guide the airplane through good conditions, and Bertrand who had this vision 16 years ago of an airplane flying for days without fuel to change our mindset regarding the potential of clean technologies and renewable energies" said André Borschberg, Co-Founder, CEO and Pilot.

“An airplane flying day and night without fuel is more than a spectacular milestone in aviation, it's the living proof that clean technologies and renewable energies can achieve incredible feats; and that all these energy efficient technologies should now be used globally in order to have a cleaner world. Solar Impulse is the result of years of innovation from our partners and the hard work of our engineering team led by André”, said Bertrand Piccard, Solar Impulse Initiator, Chairman and Pilot.

Bertrand Piccard, who will pilot the airplane from Hawaii to Phoenix, will complete the crossing of the Pacific.

Information on Flight 8: Nagoya (Japan) to Kalaeloa (Hawaii)

Pilot: André Borschberg, Solar Impulse Co-Founder and CEO

When: Take-off at 3:03 am local time Japan on June ( 6:03 pm GMT on June 28th)

Expected flight time: 120 hours

Expected flight distance: 7200 km

Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard (Chairman) and André Borschberg (CEO) are the founders, pilots and driving force behind Solar Impulse, the first aircraft able to fly day and night without a drop of fuel – propelled solely by the sun’s energy. With the Si2 aircraft, they will attempt the first Round-

The-World Solar Flight in 2015. Supported by Main Partners Solvay, Omega, Schindler, ABB, and Official Partners Google, Altran, Bayer MaterialScience, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, Swisscom and Moët Hennessy, this historic first aims at demonstrating that clean technologies can achieve the impossible.

After the original Solar Impulse Si1 prototype which holds 8 world records, Si2 engineers have designed and constructed a new single-seater aircraft made of carbon fiber. It has a 72 meter wingspan (larger than that of the Boeing 747) for a weight of just 2,300 kg, equivalent to that of a car.

The 17,248 solar cells built into the wing supply electric motors (17.5 CV each) with renewable energy. The solar cells recharge four lithium polymer batteries totaling 633 kg each, which allow the aircraft to fly at night and therefore have virtually unlimited autonomy.

Track the flight LIVE on www.solarimpulse.com

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Airbus Helicopters H160 begin flight test

© Copyright Thierry Rostang - 2015

The flight test campaign of the Airbus Helicopters new generation H160 medium lift helicopter has been launched, following maiden flight on June 13, from Marignane, France.

The flight envelope is being progressively opened, with the aircraft already achieving 130 kts speed, during the second flight on Wednesday, June 17.

In order to complete this final development phase and to ensure the H160's entry into service in 2018, Airbus Helicopters is relying on three dedicated prototypes and two helicopter zero integration test means.

The first prototype will pursue its flight test campaign, including its first hot weather flight tests planned for this summer. The second prototype performed its first power-on 12 June.

With a cruise speed of 160 kts., the H160 can carry 12 passengers at distances of up to 120 NM. for oil and gas missions, and a 450-NM range with 20-minute reserve in public service or search and rescue tasks.

The H160 is the first-ever, fully-composite civil helicopter, resulting in an airframe that is lighter in weight, more robust, resistant to corrosion and fatigue, while requiring less maintenance.

Airbus Helicopters’ proven Spheriflex bearingless main rotor hub is further enhanced with the application of innovative composite thermoplastic technology – which reduces weight and increases damage tolerance.

The distinctive design of the H160 includes two Airbus Helicopter firsts, both offering improved performance and flight stability: the largest-ever Fenestron® shrouded tail rotor, which is also double-canted at 12-deg. angles, further enhancing anti-torque control efficiency; and the all-new Biplane Stabilizer™, whose unique design involves a staggered placement of the dual-level, interconnected stabilizers. This feature facilitates pilot maneuvers and significantly reduces aerodynamic penalties in low-speed flight and hover.

An additional H160 technology breakthrough is Airbus Helicopters’ initial production use of its Blue Edge® main rotor blades, which reduce exterior noise levels by 50 percent (3 dB) and also allow a payload increase of up to 100 kg. when compared to traditional rotor blades, depending on flight conditions.

The 5.5-6-ton-class rotorcraft will be exclusively powered by Turbomeca 1,100-shp. Arrano turboshaft engine, enabling to achieve 15-20 percent more fuel efficiency.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Elixir launch all composite twin seat airplane

French start-up, Elixir aircraft unveiled a new two seat light aircraft at the Paris Air Show, designed for improved safety, comfort, performance and affordability in mind.

The pilot friendly aircraft has large touch screen Garmin glass cockpit, automatic pilot, engine and propeller single lever control, electric flaps and electric trim.

The all composite aircraft has low wing design, with wing and fuselage build as a single structure, eliminating structural bonding process, thereby increasing structural safety and integrity.The internal geometry of the wing features long wing spar boxes, permitting an optimal distribution of stress flows in the prepreg carbon fibers.

The unique anti exploding fuel tank run wing tip to wing tip and will be able to carry the whole 110 L of fuel with no need for a tank selector.

The oleo pneumatic landing gear (undercarriage) combined with standard Béringer® brakes will provide improved comfort and safety. This and the double-slotted flaps will give easy access to the most demanding landing strips without any specific training.

The aircraft also sports a BRS emergency parachute system that can bring down the plane safely to the ground in an emergency situation.

The composite airframe allows to carry payload weighing more than its own weight. The aircraft weighs 265 kg and can carry 280 kg.

The aircraft has a cruising speed between 144-171 kts, depending upon the altittude.

The 4 cylinder 100 hp Rotax 912 iS engine, has a fuel consumption of 14L/hour or 5 L per 100 km, providing 7 hour endurance and more than 1000 nmi range.

Currently in detailed design phase, the aircraft is priced at $180,000 and is scheduled for first flight in 2016. EASA certification and service entry is planned for 2017.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Etihad Flight College orders Embraer Phenom 100 jets

Etihad Flight College, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has signed a purchase agreement for four Phenom 100E jets, and options for three additional aircraft of the same model.

Based on current list prices the deal is valued at about USD 30 million, if all options are exercised, and deliveries of the aircraft to Etihad Flight College will start in the first quarter of 2016.

The delivery of the four new Embraer Phenom 100E jets will bring to 20 the number of aircraft in the trainer fleet, which is currently composed of 16 single-engine propeller airplanes.

Based in Al Ain, the Etihad Flight College is the first organization in the world to use multi-engine aircraft in the core phase of its MPL training program, and provides training for up to 120 Emirati and international cadets annually.

The Phenom 100E has a four-occupant range of 1,178 nautical miles (2,182 km), with NBAA IFR reserves. With a high speed cruise of 390 knots, the Phenom 100E is one of the fastest jets in its class, with operating costs comparable to that of leading turbo-prop aircraft.

The Phenom 100E also features multi-function spoilers, and the aircraft is capable of flying at 41,000 feet (12,500 m), powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW617F-E engines with 1,695 pounds of thrust each.

Airbus to resume A400M deliveries

Airbus Defence and Space is about to recommence deliveries of Airbus A400M aircraft following the lifting of all remaining flight restrictions on new production aircraft by Spanish regulator DGAM yesterday.

As a result, all A400Ms are now cleared for flight provided they have undergone the checks specified by the manufacturer in the Alert Operator Transmission (AOT) of 19 May 2015. Airbus Defence and Space´s own three development aircraft, and the 12 aircraft delivered to customers prior to the accident were not affected by the restrictions.

The production plan for the year is under review following the accident but currently is still targeting at least 13 aircraft in 2015, plus up to four more subject to flight-test results due this summer.

Two aircraft which were due for delivery at the time of the accident are expected to be delivered in a matter of days with a number of others to follow in the coming weeks.

UK has resumed A400M flights last week.

Turkish Regional Jet program move ahead

Turkey Regional aircraft TRJ328

U.S. based Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), has formed a wholly-owned subsidiary, TRJet Havacilik Teknolojileri Anonim Şirketi (TRJet) in Turkey, as part of developing the first Turkish regional jet.

The announcement at the Paris Air Show follows SNC’s May 27, 2015 signing of a Memorandum of Understanding involving the Savunma Teknolojileri Mühendislik ve Ticaret A.S. (STM) in support of the Turkish Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs & Communication’s Regional Aircraft Project.

The RAP will be initially based on a Dornier 328 (D328) aircraft upgraded to form theTRJ328™, Turkey’s first domestically-built passenger aircraft. The design of a larger 628 aircraft series, will start simultaneously with production of the 328 series. The intellectual property rights of D328 were recently acquired by SNC, following acquisition of subsidiary company 328 in Germany.

SNC will collaborate with STM on the program who will be responsible for upgrading the existing D328 and also manufacturing the aircraft. It will be marketed under the name TRJ328 for the jet engine powered version and T328 for the turboprop version.

With STM as the prime contractor, the program will also leverage the capabilities of Turkish companies, including Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) as subcontractor, along with several companies such as Aselsan, TEI, Havelsan, Alp Aviation, Kale Aviation and Turkish Cabin Interior Inc. (TCI).

SNC subsidiaries, 328 Support Services GmbH, 3S Certification LLC and 3S Engineering LLC will support SNC in building and producing these aircraft, including assisting in establishing an European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) -approved 21G aircraft production facility in Turkey.

Parallel with the manufacturing of the TRJ328 and T328 aircraft, with a seating capacity of 32, the program includes the future design and certification of new higher capacity TRJ628 jet and TR628 turboprop aircraft, with a proposed passenger seating capacity up to double that of the TRJ328.

The TRJ Series will be built and certified at a new commercial production facility in Turkey using significant investments by SNC.

SNC also plans to license production of  aircraft for sale in the United States, including sales to the U.S. government. The D328 is currently certified in 85 countries around the world, and is in use in many countries, including the U.S., Switzerland, Germany, U.K. and Denmark.

The Dornier 328 is a turboprop-powered commuter airliner. It was initially produced by Dornier Luftfahrt GmbH, which in 1996 was acquired by Fairchild Aircraft and renamed Fairchild-Dornier. The Dornier 328 was produced at the company’s plant in Germany and sold worldwide from its Texas, United States, offices. Fairchild-Dornier also undertook the Fairchild-Dornier 428JET program to develop a 44-seat regional jet.

SNC is privately held by Turkish born U.S. business man Fatih Ozmen and wife Eren. The company is developing a spaceplane named Dreamchaser.

F-35B complete maiden ski-jump takeoff

The F35B Lightning II has successfully completed another major milestone as the fifth generation stealth fighter was launched into the skies from a ski-jump on Friday 19 June.

The land-based test — conducted by the F35 Lightning II Pax River Integrated Test Force — took place at Naval Air Station in Patuxent River, Maryland, US.

The joint U.S.-U.K. test team will continue phase I of ski jump testing this summer in anticipation of eventual U.K. aircraft carrier operations.

Peter Wilson is the BAE Systems test pilot and ski jump project lead for a highly diverse cadre of technicians, engineers, administrative support staff and test pilots based at the Pax River ITF and in the UK.

For more than 30 years, the U.K. has used the ski jump approach to carrier operations as an alternative to the catapults and arresting gear used aboard U.S. aircraft carriers.

The shorter UK carriers feature an upward-sloped ramp at the bow of the ship. Curved at its leading edge, a ski-jump ramp simultaneously launches aircraft upward and forward, allowing aircraft to take off with more weight and less end-speed than required for an unassisted horizontal launch aboard U.S. aircraft carriers.

F-35B will be the first variant to enter service, with U.S. Marine Corps in July. The aircraft has completed operational testing onboard aircraft carrier recently.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Airbus unveil E-Fan 2.0 scale model at Paris Air Show

© Frédéric Lert / Safran
A scale model of the future E-Fan 2.0 two-seater all electric aircraft was displayed at the now concluded Paris Air Show on the stand of Airbus Group Innovations, and a model of its propulsion system, developed by Safran.

The E-Fan 2.0,  currently in pre-project study phase, is now being developed by eleven French partners forming a consortium, including Safran, Zodiac Aerospace, the CEA (Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission), Serma Technologies, Evtronic, the engineering school of Arts & Métiers ParisTech, as well as ISAE (Higher Institute of Aeronautics and Space) and ENAC (National Civil Aviation School).

The first prototype, the E-Fan 1.0, was made by Airbus Group and Aéro Composite Saintonge (ACS), a French SME specialized in composite materials.

The E-Fan 2.0, developed by the consortium in partnership with the aircraft manufacturer Daher, will be serial produced at Pau, France in a dedicated facility.

Three Safran group companies, Snecma, Labinal Power Systems and Aircelle, have teamed up to develop the propulsion system for the aircraft, based on an electric integrated propulsion system (eIPS) comprising the electric motor, control electronics, the fan and the nacelle. The E-Fan's two electric motors have a combined power of 60 kW provided by lithium-ion polymer 270 V batteries located in the wings. They actuate ducted propellers, which reduces noise and increases safety.

The E-Fan is designed for flying clubs and flight schools, where it can be used to train professional pilots. It has a flight time of one hour, and its batteries can be recharged in less than 45 minutes, which will enable it to fit in about five flights a day.

A version 4.0 is also being considered: a four-seater that will be equipped with an electric range extender (auxiliary power) enabling it to reach more than three hours of flight time.

Since its first flight on 11 March 2014, the E-Fan has now performed 100 test flights with more than 49 flight hours in total. The longest flight lasted around 50 minutes.

Ceramic matrix composite exhaust cone debuts on Airbus A320

© Yann Richard / Herakles / Safran

The ceramic matrix composite (CMC) exhaust cone designed by Safran company Herakles made its first commercial flight on June 16, 2015, on a CFM56-5B engine powering an Air France Airbus A320 jetliner. This is the first time in the world that a CMC part has flown on a jetliner in commercial service.

Safran designed, built and ground-tested the exhaust cone demonstrator, via two of its companies, Herakles (design and manufacture) and Snecma (integration).

After carrying out its initial tests on an A320 in 2012, the ceramic matrix composite exhaust cone demonstrator was certified on April 22, 2015 by the European Aviation Safety Agency (AESA) for use on commercial flights. This certification clearly confirms Safran's ability to develop advanced CMC parts that meet aviation requirements going forward.

For more than 30 years now, Safran company Herakles has developed, produced and marketed high-temperature-resistant composite materials at its Bordeaux plant, for a wide range of aerospace, defense and industrial applications

These materials are based on carbon fibers and matrices, making them both strong and light. They stand up to very high temperatures and extreme environments. They are most notably used on the nozzle of the Rafale fighter and several rocket engines. For a given capability, they provide approximately 50% weight savings over even a metallic superalloy such as Inconel.

Because of their exceptional properties, ceramic matrix composites will help meet the ambitious performance goals of tomorrow's aircraft.

The CMC exhaust cone project was supported by the French government (single interministerial fund, and investment in the future program) and the Aquitaine Regional Council.

source: Safran

Green diesel powers 757 ecoDemonstrator

Boeing ecoDemonstrator 757 has achieved first flight with U.S.-made "green diesel" as fuel, advancing the ecoDemonstrator program's mission to accelerate the testing and use of technologies to improve aviation's environmental performance.

In cooperation with NASA, the 757 flew on June 17 from Seattle to NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., using a blend of 95 percent petroleum jet fuel and 5 percent sustainable green diesel, a biofuel used in ground transportation.

Boeing is working with the aviation industry to approve green diesel for commercial aviation by amending the HEFA biojet specification approved in 2011. This would make aviation biofuel more widely available and price competitive with Jet A including U.S. government incentives.

Diamond Green Diesel in Norco, La., produced the 757's green diesel from waste animal fats, inedible corn oil and used cooking oil to reduce lifecycle CO2 emissions by up to 80 percent less than petroleum jet fuel.

Among more than 15 technologies on the 757, Boeing has begun testing solar and thermal "energy harvesting" to power electronic windows, as a way to reduce wiring, weight, fuel use and carbon emissions. Also, on the 757's flight deck, Boeing has installed a 3D-printed aisle stand made from excess carbon fiber from 787 production to re-purpose this high-value material and reduce airplane weight and factory waste.

This spring, under contract with NASA's Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) Project, the ecoDemonstrator 757 tested active flow control on the vertical tail and bug-phobic coatings on the right wing. With the exception of Boeing proprietary technology, NASA's knowledge gained by collaborating with Boeing on ecoDemonstrator research will be publicly available to benefit the industry.

Since it was launched in 2011, the ecoDemonstrator Program has tested more than 50 technologies with a Next-Generation 737 (2012), 787 (2014) and 757 (2015).

Sunday, June 21, 2015

CSeries records longest flight

The Bombardier C Series aircraft program recorded its longest flight on Friday, when the fifth flight test vehicle (FTV5) returned to its Mirabel, Québec base following its demo in Zurich with launch operator, SWISS Airlines.

The non-stop, transatlantic trip, which covered 3,350 nautical miles (6,204 km) was completed with an air time of approximately 8.4 hours.

Travelling westbound from Zurich Airport to Montréal–Mirabel International Airport, the CS100 aircraft reached an altitude of 40,000 feet (12,192 metres) during the flight. Capt. Mark Elliot was pilot-in-command, and was ably assisted by First Officer, Esteban Arias and flight test engineer, Nicolas Tamestit.

“We’re thrilled with the C Series aircraft’s performance today, which is exceptional for a single-aisle aircraft‎,” said Rob Dewar, Vice President, C Series Aircraft Program, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “This flight once again demonstrates the CS100 aircraft’s excellent range and fuel burn performance.”

During the Paris Air Show, Bombardier has announced increased performance of CSeries achieved during flight testing, including in payload, range and fuel burn.

AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II complete operational testing

The U.S. Navy and Raytheon completed operational testing and evaluation live fires of the AIM-9X® Sidewinder Block II infrared air-to-air missile.

Testing and evaluation consisted of 16 planned shots against a mix of full-scale and sub-scale targets. The U.S. government is now finalizing approval, acceptance and delivery of Block II missiles to the U.S. services and foreign allies for later this year.

The new AIM-9X missile retains all of Block I's dogfighting capabilities and continues to deliver the "First Look, First Shot, First Kill" capability. It has new processors in the guidance section and a new fuze that includes a weapon datalink, which can enable the missile to lock-on-after-launch. Future missile software updates will be able to further expand missile capabilities as the speed and increased memory capacity of the new processors are leveraged.

Sidewinder have rapid, high off-boresight acquisition to enable the first firing opportunity in a hard-turning visual dogfight. Second, the pilot can now extend their reach through the use of aircraft sensors and weapon datalink to engage with Sidewinder missiles well before the initial merge to help ensure the survival and triumph of our warfighters.

The AIM-9X entered operational service in 2003; international deliveries began in 2005.

RUAG to restart Dornier Do-228 serial production

Dornier Do-228 NG at Aero India 2015
Dornier Do-228 NG at Aero India 2015
Swiss RUAG Aviation announced its decsion to restart serial production of the Dornier 228 twin turboprop commuter, during the Paris Air Show.

RUAG will produce four aircraft per year from mid-2016, with this number set to increase in line with demand. Assembly of the fuselage has already begun, and the wing panels are currently in the forming process. The final assembly line has also been set up in Munich-Oberpfaffenhofen as part of the ongoing preparations to get the facility ready for the start of serial production.

Last year, RUAG Aviation signed a partnership agreement with Tata Advanced Systems, a world leader in air frame manufacturing, as part of a far-reaching realignment of its supply chain. Tata will manufacture fuselages and wings for the Dornier 228 aircraft from its Indian production site.

Nonetheless, everything is controlled by RUAG personnel on site in Germany where assembly, final checks, and test flights are carried out.

The Indian Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, is already building the Dornier Do-228 under license, and will considerably contribute to the program.

The 19-seater is powered by two Garrett TPE 331 turboprop engines and can carry a payload of 2 tonnes. The Dornier 228 is specifically designed for take-off and landing on short runways and for operation in high temperatures and at high altitudes.

RUAG says the Dornier 228 is experiencing significant growth in demand for special missions, including maritime policing and border control, due to its advantages like, on-station time of up to eight hours, high performance, and easy installation of equipment.

The aircraft can also be re-configured from passenger to cargo-transportation layout with minimum effort.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Airbus bags $57 billion worth orders at PAS 2015

During the 2015 Paris Air Show, Airbus won $57 billion worth of business for a total of 421 aircraft. The deals comprise firm orders for 124 aircraft worth $16.3 billion and commitments for 297 aircraft worth $40.7 billion.

In the widebody market, Airbus kicked-off the show with the announcement of the first operator for the new A330 Regional, with Saudi Arabian Airlines taking 20 on lease from IAFC, a leading lessor in the Middle East. The A330 Regional will enable airlines to serve fast-growing domestic and regional routes at least cost and maximum efficiency.

The A350 XWB continues to attract new business with commitments for 31 A350-900s, reinforcing its leading position as the world’s most modern, advanced widebody aircraft.

Airbus’ most modern, comfortable, efficient and reliable range of wide body aircraft won 55 orders & commitments worth USD 15.6 billion, comprising 31 A350-900s, 20 A330 Regional and four A330-300s.

In the single-aisle sector, the market leading A320 Family garnered an impressive 366 endorsements (comprising 103 firm orders and 263 commitments) worth USD 41.4 billion. Of these, 323 are NEO’s, taking total orders and commitments for the A320neo Family beyond 4,000 since launch in December 2010.

Boosting the longevity of the best-selling A320 Family, Airbus announced a new freighter conversion program in partnership with EFW and ST Aerospace.

Iomax debuts Thrush S2R-T660 based Archangel Block III

IOMAX, based in Mooresville, North Carolina USA introduced Block III version of its Archangel Border Patrol Airplane, based on the Thrush S2R-T660 turboprop at the 2015 Paris Air Show.

The Block III is a new armed reconnaissance variant with improved capabilities, than the Block I and Block II, which are based on Air Tractor AT-802.

During the process of fielding the first generation BPA, IOMAX encountered several limiting factors, as would be expected with any first generation product. During the integration of the Block 1 and 2 AT-802 based BPAs, the aircraft mission capability was hindered due to the many modifications required to transform the aircraft from a crop duster to a medium altitude, weaponized, ISR platform. 

During this developmental process, it became obvious that in order to maximize the many benefits associated with this type of airplane – such as simplicity of design and the ability to carry large amounts of fuel and weapons – the design and integration process should run parallel to the manufacturing process. This would allow the airplane to be purpose-built around the mission versus the mission being built around the capabilities and limitations of the airplane.

To this end, IOMAX selected Thrush Aircraft’s S2R-T660 aircraft as the basis for the next generation BPA. IOMAX also established an exclusive relationship with Thrush Aircraft and jointly invested in the design and development of the Archangel, the next generation, purpose-built BPA.

The Archangel improvements include an elevated rear cockpit ergonomically designed as a functional crew position by repositioning the cockpit forward on the airframe. This yielded pilot visibility and ergonomics more suited for long endurance flight operations.

 Additionally, IOMAX improved the man machine interface, added self-sealing fuel tanks, ballistic protection, an enhanced composite propeller to reduce audible signature and provide better high altitude performance, an oxygen supply system and increased the cruise speed.

The result is a mission aircraft that allows operations in medium threat environments, with a service ceiling of 25,000 feet, speeds in excess of 210 KTAS (clean, 10,000 ft), over 9 hours loiter at altitudes that make it inaudible to ground threats, and highly integrated military mission avionics.

The Archangel’s design supports air component requirements for counterinsurgency (COIN), armed reconnaissance (AR), close air support (CAS), forward air control (airborne) (FAC(A)) and combat search and rescue (CSAR).

It is a very affordable platform with low acquisition cost and a typical flying hour cost well below $1,000. The

Communications options include at least three secure radios, HF radio and streaming video datalink compatible with the Remote Operated Video Enhanced Receiver (ROVER).

The Archangel is uniquely equipped with a high performance EO/IR reconnaissance and targeting capability combining a suite of precision strike weapons that can execute precision strike missions with low collateral damage against both moving and fixed targets. The EO/IR system allows for wide area search and also magnification for identification.

The Archangel carries munitions similar to existing fixed wing attack aircraft and helicopters, including 2.75” (70 mm) Laser Guided Missiles, Hellfire AGM-114 Missiles, and GBU-58 and GBU-12 Paveway II Laser Guided Bombs.

Load out examples include 48 precision laser guided 2.75” missiles or 12 Hellfire missiles or 6 Paveway II guided MK81 or MK82 bombs.

With over 750 hours operating armed / ISR versions of the Block 1 and Block 2 BPAs – including delivery of over 150 laser guided bombs, missiles, and rockets.

The Archangel offers a fully integrated Flight Management System (FMS), Heads Up Display (HUD), Wescam MX-15 EO/IR sensor, Tactical System Computer (TSC) and video downlink. All of these systems along with internal and external lighting are fully Night Vision Goggle (NVG) compatible.

The Block I and Block II is operated by UAE and Jordan.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Boeing 787-9 Paris Air Show demonstration video

Boeing has released a follow-up to its popular 787-9 Dreamliner demonstration video, bringing the public into the flight deck as Boeing's expert crew rehearsed for the 2015 Paris Air Show.

The new video offers the full flight routine and a new experience: Viewers can choose between camera angles to seamlessly see the full airplane and the pilots inside the flight deck. Boeing is among the first to use YouTube's experimental technology, known as Choose Your View, which provides a more immersive and interactive video experience.

Performed by Boeing test pilots to prepare for the air show, the routine showcases the many capabilities of the 787-9 in Vietnam Airlines' livery and demonstrates maneuvers never seen in typical flight.

The first video from the practice sessions, which received well more than 10 million views worldwide in less than a week, included a condensed version of air-to-air footage.

The release includes the full 7.5-minute routine and answers the questions so many viewers have noted in their comments about what it is like in the flight deck during a demonstration flight.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

RAAF KC-30A Tanker complete maiden refueling of E-7A Wedgetail

Photo: RAAF
Royal Australian Air Force has completed maiden air-to-air refuelling trials between its KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport and E-7A Wedgetail aircraft, off the coast of northern New South Wales from 1-13 June 2015.

The trials were conducted by Air Force’s Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU) with a 2 SQN Wedgetail and Number 33 Squadron (33SQN) KC-30A.

The air-to-air refuelling required both aircraft to fly in close formation at more than 500 kilometres per hour.

The KC-30A deployed its 17-metre-long Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS) from the aft fuselage, which is guided by an Air Refuelling Operator on the KC-30A into the refuelling receptacle on the Wedgetail.

Each KC-30A has a fuel capacity of more than 100 tonnes, and can offload fuel via the ARBS at up to 4500 litres per minute.

The air-to-air refuelling considerably increases the Wedgetail’s range and endurance, allowing to provide Command and Control, and Air Battlespace Management over longer periods.

This has been demonstrated in the Middle East Region during the Operation OKRA- the RAAF mission against ISIL, where THE Wedgetails were refueled from foreign air force tankers to fly extended sorties.

After evaluating the trial results, an initial clearance is expected to be granted to allow Wedgetail crews to begin refueling training flights with the KC-30A.”

The KC-30A has already been cleared to refuel Air Force’s fleet of Hornets and Super Hornets using its hose-and-drogue refuelling pods. Since September 2014, KC-30As deployed to Operation OKRA in the Middle East Region have used these pods to deliver more than 10,800 tonnes of fuel to RAAF and Coalition aircraft.

Based at RAAF Base Amberley, the five KC-30As feature advanced mission systems, including military communications and navigation, an electronic warfare self-protection system for protection against threats from surface-to-air missiles. It is based on a Airbus A330 jetliner extensively modified for the tanker role.

The KC-30A MRTT can remain 1800 km from its home base with 50 tonnes of fuel available to offload for up to four hours. In its transport role, the KC-30A is capable of carrying 270 passengers, comes with under-floor cargo compartments and will be able to accommodate 34,000 kgs of military and civilian cargo pallets and containers.

The E-7A Wedgetail is Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft based on a Boeing 737-700, with the addition of an advanced Multi-Role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) radar and 10 mission crew consoles.

Antonov An-132 roll out in 2017

Antonov An-132

The first prototype of the Antonov An-132 twin turboprop airlifter, which will be developed by Ukraine and Saudi Arabia, will be rolled out in 2017, according to a meeting held by the two sides, during the Paris Air Show.

Representatives of Antonov, KACST (King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology) and Taqnia Aeronuatics, Pratt & Whitney Canada, GE Aviation and United Kingdom participated in the meeting.

During the Air Show, Antonov signed an agreement to design and construct a modern manufacturing plant to built  the An-132 in Saudi Arabia.

The pentalateral agreement involved Taqnia (Saudi Arabia), Ukrainian Scientific Research Institute of Aviation Technologies, Altis Holding (Ukraine) and Broetje−Automation (Germany).

Antonov An-132

The An-132 aircraft will be on based on the Soviet era An-32 light transport aircraft, featuring upgraded systems and advanced western avionics. According to the agreement, King Abdulaziz City for science and technology (KACST), Taqnia Aeronautics and Antonov will develop the An-32 to add additional capabilities to the aircraft's payload, range and takeoff. The cockpit will be upgraded with sophisticated U.S. made navigation devices.

The An-132 airlifter will be capable to carry a payload over 9 ton on short and medium haul routes and will be offered as a replacement to the An−32 and An−26 turboprop transport planes.

Antonov predicts a market for about 300 airplanes.

The program is aimed to be a springboard to develop the Saudi' aerospace capability and industrial base. The Ukraine will train Saudi nationals for the program.

RAF A400M resume flights

The Royal Air Force Airbus A400M airlifter fleet has resumed flights, after completing a series of thorough checks on Tuesday.

The fleet were grounded following the crash of a production A400M during predelivery test flight in Spain on May 9.

The flight procedure were also evaluated to ensure safety during emergency situations.

The preliminary investigation indicated, the A400M lost three of its four Europrop engines, during the intial climb phase. The aircraft struck power lines and caught fire, killing four and seriously injuring 2, onboard.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Airbus to launch A320/A321P2F freighter conversion program

Airbus has signed an agreement with Singapore-based ST Aerospace to offer passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversion solutions for its A320 / A321 aircraft.

The agreement was signed today at the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget by Harald Wilhelm, Chief Financial Officer of Airbus Group and Airbus, Serh Ghee Lim, President of ST Aerospace, Andreas Sperl, CEO of EFW and Tom Williams, Airbus Chief Operating Officer.

Airbus foresees a significant market demand of more than 600 aircraft over the next 20 years for P2F aircraft conversions in the small freighter segment.

The A320P2F, with eleven main-deck container positions, will be capable of carrying 21 metric tonnes of payload over 2,100 nautical miles, while the A321P2F with 14 main-deck positions will be able to carry up to 27 tonnes over 1,900vnm.

 The first converted A321P2F will be delivered in 2018.

The A320/A321 P2F converted aircraft will be marketed and managed by Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW). Airbus currently holds a majority stake at the Dresden-based freighter conversion specialist together with its partner and co-owner, ST Aerospace.

In order to implement the new business line for A320 / A321 P2F aircraft, ST Aerospace will provide its specially developed conversion technology and will obtain another 20 percent of EFW’s shares, thus increasing its stake in EFW to 55 percent. Subsequently, Airbus Group will become a minority partner in EFW, reducing its shareholding to 45 percent.

The management team in Dresden will continue to be headed by President and CEO Andreas Sperl and will ensure sustainable growth of the Airbus P2F freighter family while strengthening EFW´s position as a global Airbus conversions supplier. In addition, the operation will secure value-adding jobs in the Dresden region.

Together with the larger A330F and A330P2F, the A320P2F and A321P2F will further complement the Airbus Freighter Family concept.

Airlines will thus benefit from the flight-crew and operational commonality through Cross-Crew-Qualification and Mixed-Fleet-Flying across their Airbus freighter and passenger operations, leveraging on same cockpit and systems philosophies.

Bombardier Global business jet offered for USAF JSTARS Recap program

Raytheon  and Bombardier have teamed with Lockheed Martin to deliver a low-risk, affordable solution for the United States Air Force’s JSTARS Recapitalization program.

The team offers the ultra-long range Bombardier Global business jet based platform with lower operating cost and superior capabilities to replace the present USAF fleet of E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System.

The current E-8C aircraft, based on a Boeing 707 airplane which ushered the jet transportation age in 1954, was developed by Northrop Grumman and is proving to be high on operations and maintenance costs.

The team will also deliver a true open system architecture to allow the government to own the technical baseline for future upgrades and reduce life cycle cost.

Lockheed Martin will serve as the lead systems integrator for the program and Raytheon will bring to the team their experience with ground surveillance, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems, mission systems integration, and JSTARS communications.

The Bombardier has already supplied its Global business jet for the USAF' Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) program.

The Joint STARS uses a multi-mode side looking radar to detect, track, and classify moving ground vehicles in all conditions deep behind enemy lines. The aircraft is the only airborne platform in operation that can maintain realtime surveillance over a corps-sized area of the battlefield.

USAF operates 16 E-8C in airborne battle management role, instrumental in all combat operation carried out since achieving Initial operating capability in December 1997.

Volga Denpr signs MoU for additional 747-8 Freighters

Boeing and Volga-Dnepr Group, a world leader in transportation of unique, oversize and heavy cargo, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to further the Group’s fleet expansion with 20 additional 747-8 Freighters, valued at $7.4 billion at list prices.

The agreement also adds the Antonov-124-100 aircraft to the long-term logistics support for Boeing and its partners.

For Volga Dnepr Group, adding more 747-8 Freighters will allow development of the Group's scheduled business, AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC), and keep the airline's high growth rates.

Volga-Dnepr Group was the first to order the Boeing 747-8 Freighter in Russia and took delivery of its first 747-8 Freighter in 2012. These additional 20 airplanes will be acquired through a mix of direct purchases and leasing over the next seven years.

Volga-Dnepr Group has represented the Russian airfreight industry in the international market since 1990. The Group, which includes three leading Russian all-cargo carriers – Volga-Dnepr Airlines, AirBridgeCargo Airlines and Atran Airlines – has a multinational team of 3,500 employees in fifteen countries.

Volga Dnepr currently operates 10 An-124-100 and 5 IL-76TD-90VD, all modified under the Group special upgrade program and capable of flying to any point of the world.

The fleet also includes 14 747s – comprised of five Boeing 747-400ERFs (Extended Range Freighters), three Boeing 747-400 Freighters, six Boeing 747-8 Freighters – and three Boeing 737-400Fs.

Airbus announce aerostructure suppliers for Beluga XL transporter

Airbus has selected its major aerostructure suppliers for the Beluga XL, the new oversize air transporter set to expand Airbus’ industrial air transport capability.

The selected suppliers will provide their know-how to Airbus for developing major parts of the unique Beluga XL:
  • Stelia Aerospace,has been selected to design and build the Nose Fuselage & Main Cargo Door which gives the Beluga XL its signature shape.
  • Aernnova has been selected to design and build the Rear Fuselage & Dorsal Fin.
  • Deharde in partnership with P3 Voith Aerospace has been selected to design and build the Typical Fuselage of the cargo bay.
  • Aciturri has been selected to design and build the Horizontal Tail Plane (HTP) box extension & Auxiliary Fins.
Further suppliers are being selected and will be announced in due course.

The new Beluga was launched in November 2014 and named Beluga XL for its increased dimensions on the current Belugas in operation. The additional one metre in width and six metres in length will allow the Beluga XL to carry two A350 XWB wings at a time, twice that of the current Beluga.

The Beluga XL was launched to address the transport capacity requirement for the A350 XWB ramp-up and other aircraft production rate increases. Compared to the current Beluga, the Beluga XL will provide Airbus with an additional 30% air transport capacity.

The new oversize air transporters are based on the A330, with a large re-use of existing components and equipment. The design concept is similar to the current Beluga, with the distinctive lowered cockpit, cargo bay structure, rear-end and tail being amongst the items which are newly developed.

The first of five Beluga XLs will enter into service in 2019.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Pratt & Whitney begin PW1900G engine testing

Pratt & Whitney has completed assembly and is initiating testing of the first PurePower PW1900G test engine at its facility in East Hartford, Connecticut.

The PW1900G engine, a derivative of the PW1500G engine, has been specifically designed for installation on the new Embraer E190-E2 and E195-E2 aircraft. Pratt &

This is the fourth of our PurePower Geared Turbofan™ engines to enter into the test program, after the PW1500G for CSeries, PW1100G for Airbus A320neo and PW1200G for Mitsubishi MRJ.

The first PW1900G engine will initially conduct ground performance and operability testing before being installed onto the Pratt & Whitney 747-SP flying test bed located inMirabel, Quebec, Canadafor further testing.

The PurePower engine family has completed more than 19,000 hours and 34,000 cycles of full engine testing, including 5,000 hours of flight time.

Embraer has began assembly of the first E190-E2 jet, which was announced at Paris Air Show

LHTEC’s CTS800 to power Turkish Light Utility Helicopter

The Light Helicopter Turbine Engine Company (LHTEC), a 50-50 partnership between Honeywell and Rolls-Royce, has been selected by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) to provide propulsion engines for the Turkish Light Utility Helicopter (TLUH) program.

TAI and LHTEC officials today signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the Paris Air Show and will now progress toward further discussions around a contract for CTS800 engines for the aircraft.

 Under the TLUH Programme, TAI will develop an indigenous 5-ton, twin-engine utility helicopter, which will initially be certified by EASA, and then converted with mission equipment for Turkish military use.

The engine for TLUH will be the same model as those on the current T129 ATAK helicopters, with a commercialized version of the Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC).
Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency.

The engine currently powers the British Army Lynx Mk9A, the Super Lynx 300 and the AW159 helicopters and was recently selected by the Brazilian Navy for the mid-life upgrade programme of its Mk21A Lynx maritime helicopters.

The CTS800 also serves as the boundary layer compressor drive for the ShinMaywa US-2 amphibious search and rescue aircraft in Japan, and powered the Sikorsky X2 technology demonstrator aircraft.

The CTS800 family of engines range from 1,360 to 1,700 shp with the CTS800-4N equipped with a full-authority digital engine control (FADEC) that reduces pilot workload and facilitates the engine’s on-condition maintenance program.

MBDA unveil modular missile concept: FLEXIS

Europe’s leading missile and missile systems company- MBDA, unveiled its CVW102 FLEXIS, an innovative, fully modular missile architecture concept for 2035 and beyond, at the Paris Air Show.

This is a family of weapons which could be produced using a series of modular components, according to the specific mission requirement, when the weapon is loaded onto the aircraft.

Innovative technologies being developed by MBDA for FLEXIS are:

• A common missile power and communication bus with universal contactless interfaces applicable to all subsystems to simplify system architecture and allow configuration flexibility.

• A common composite chassis allows for the embedding of the common bus architecture using wire-in composite processes, installation of mission specific aerodynamic surfaces and provides a common core to all the missile configurations, removing duplication.

• A portfolio of common subsystems in standardised diameters delivers breadth of capability and allows system evolution through technology insertion.

• Automated assembly equipment helps the operator to build and certify his missile prior to flight.

• A central Weapon Configuration and Control Unit identifies the installed modules and configures their performance to work as an optimised system.

• A Missile Collaboration & Coordination module provides automated inter-missile tactics and resource sharing to the missiles once in flight in order to maximize success in complex or high threat environments.

• Health and Usage Monitoring integrated at the module level allows enhanced missile life management, and module design to life.

The Flexis would come in three sizes: a 180mm dia., 1.8-meter-long weapon for air-to-air or lightweight air-to-ground warfare; a 350mm dia., 3.5-meter-long weapon that would deliver a larger payload for bigger targets or carry a penetrator warhead; and a 450mm dia., 5.5-meter-long weapon that would form the basis of an anti-ship missile or a long-range cruise missile.

Boeing 737 MAX roll out by year end

Boeing 737 MAX 8
During a briefing at the Paris Air Show, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner also provided a progress report on the three programs still in development -- the 737 MAX, 777X and 787-10.

 For the first time, Boeing announced that the 737 MAX will roll out of the factory by the end of this year and fly for the first time early next year.

"Performance of the 737 MAX is meeting all of our expectations, with the airplane being 20 percent more fuel efficient than the first Next-Generation 737," said Conner.

"We've increased airplane production by more than 60 percent over the past five years by building our products on a lean and responsive production system," said Conner. "Our focus is on executing our production rates and getting airplanes into the hands of our customers. We remain on track to deliver between 750 and 755 airplanes, a new industry record" he added.

The 737 MAX incorporates the latest technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets and other improvements to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market. Boeing in early June, announced the beginning of assembly of first 737 MAX.

The 737 MAX will be 14 percent more fuel-efficient than today's most efficient Next-Generation 737s – and 20 percent better than the original Next-Generation 737s when they first entered service.

Conner said the 777X is on schedule to reach firm configuration this year, begin final assembly in 2018 and be delivered in 2020.

The 787 Dreamliner will transition to a production rate of 12 airplanes per month in 2016 and 14 per month by the end of the decade. First delivery of the 787-10 is scheduled for 2018.

The 737 MAX has secured more than 200 commitments at the Paris Air Show.

Mahindra Aerospace awarded airbus component production contract

Mahindra Aerospace Airvan 10 utility aircraft
Indian Mahindra Group subsidiary, Mahindra Aerospace has been awarded a large aero-components production contract by Airbus Group company, Premium AEROTEC of Germany.

The multi-year contract envisages the manufacture and supply by Mahindra of a variety of metallic components that will be fitted into several Airbus aircraft programs as part of assemblies produced by Premium AEROTEC.

Mahindra Aerospace’s deliverables under this contract will be in excess of a million parts per annum. The parts will be produced at the new Mahindra Aerostructures facility located at Narsapura, near Bengaluru, India.

Deliveries to Premium AEROTEC’s facilities in Germany are scheduled to commence this year. Announcing the contract award during

Mahindra Aerospace has led the Mahindra Group’s foray into utility aircraft and aerostructure manufacturing since 2008. Its utility aircraft business, based in Australia, currently produces the Airvan 8, the most capable, rugged and versatile utility aircraft in its class.

Certified in 38 countries, over 200 are in service. Mahindra Aerospace is also developing a 10-seat turboprop, the Airvan 10, which is scheduled for certification in 2015.

Sikorsky complete S-92 delivery to Bristow

Sikorsky has fulfilled its contract to deliver seven S-92®helicopters to Bristow Helicopters Ltd. for UK Search and Rescue.

There are now 11 S-92 helicopters available for use by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency for the UK SAR mission; four began operations as part of the UK Gap SAR contract in June 2013.

S-92®helicopters are certified to meet the stringent safety requirements of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). These 11 S-92 helicopters will operate from bases strategically located near areas of high SAR incident rates in the U.K.

The S-92 aircraft are outfitted with state-of-the-art technology including:
  • High Definition Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) and thermal image camera technology.
  • Night vision goggle (NVG) technology including glass cockpit.
  • Equipped with icing protection system.
  • Air Speed of 145 knots/166 mph.
  • Endurance to perform for over four hours without refueling.
  • Twin hoist.
  • Comprehensive medical suite
Since April 1, 2015, more than 100 people have been rescued or assisted in the UK by S-92s in the Bristow Helicopters SAR fleet, operated on behalf of HM Coastguard.

To date, Sikorsky has delivered more than 250 S-92 helicopters to customers throughout the world. In 2014, Sikorsky celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the S-92 helicopter, which was first delivered in 2004.

The fleet has reached more than 800,000 flight hours, with over 90 percent of those hours providing offshore oil and gas worker transportation.

F-16 airframe simulate 25,000 flight hours

Lockheed Martin  recently completed 25,000 hours of simulated flight time on an F-16C Block 50 aircraft, demonstrating the safety and durability of the F-16 well beyond the aircraft’s original design service life of 8,000 Equivalent Flight Hours (EFH). Further testing is being conducted to identify a definitive, safe flight hour limit for the aircraft.

The F-16 Full Scale Durability Test (FSDT) applies stress to the aircraft’s structure to represent actual aircraft usage and identify potential fatigue issues. FSDT results will be used to help design and verify Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) structural modifications for the U.S. Air Force and to support F-16 service life certification to 12,000 EFH. The SLEP aims to extend the service life of up to 300 F-16C/D Block 40-50 aircraft.

The SLEP and related avionics upgrades to the Air Force’s F-16C/D fleet can safely and effectively augment the current fighter force structure as U.S. and allied combat air fleets recapitalize with F-35 Lightning IIs.

For more than 40 years, the F-16 has proven itself as the world’s most capable 4th Generation multi-role fighter, serving as the workhorse of the fighter fleet for 28 customers around the world. The F-16V, the latest F-16 configuration, includes numerous enhancements designed to keep the F-16 at the forefront of international security.

Video: H160 achieve maiden flight

The most advanced medium lift helicopter, the Airbus Helicopters H160 completed its maiden flight on June 14, from Bordeaux's Merignac airport in France.

The all composite 5.5 to 6 ton class helicopter can cruise at 160 knots and is designed for private and business aviation.

Image: Airbus Helicopters H160 complete maiden flight

Three months after its introduction to the public at the Heli-Expo air show in Orlando, Florida, and following its first ground run on May 28, the H160 has now successfully performed its first flight. The news of the flight, which took place on June 13, was announced during a press conference held on June 16 at the 51st Paris Air Show.

The 5.5-6 ton class helicopter is the first-ever, fully-composite civil helicopter and is suited for oil and gas operations; public services, air medical and coast guard duties; along with commercial transport, private and business aviation.

The H160 will have a radius of action of upto 120 nautical miles and a load capacity of 12 passengers for oil & gas operations, and is equipped with Helionix avionics and 4-axis autopilot, the first ever developed by a helicopter manufacturer.

The H160 is scheduled to enter into service in 2018.

Airbus Helicopters launch new X6 heavy lift helicopter program

Airbus Helicopters announced a new heavy-lift rotorcraft program designated the X6, at the Paris Air Show.

The concept phase start-up for the new European helicopter, initiated a two-year definition period on this next-generation heavy-lift rotorcraft that will be tailored for the civil market.

The X6 will initially target oil and gas missions and will also be perfectly suited for Search and Rescue, VIP and other applications.

The X6 will share commonality features with the company’s latest rotorcraft – including the new H175 and H160. As one of the key-programs for the coming decades, the X6 also will maintain Airbus Helicopters' leadership in the oil and gas sector.

Once adequate program maturity has been achieved in the concept phase, a subsequent development phase will follow, leading to an X6 entry into service anticipated in the 2020s.

In defining and developing the X6, Airbus Helicopters will build on its reputation as a recognized leader in the industry, resulting in a next-generation, twin-engine rotorcraft that is mature and all-weather ready – including full de-icing - from the first delivery. One of the major innovations to be integrated on X6 is the Fly-by-Wire flight control system.

French turboshaft engine maker, Turbomeca is developing a 3000 shp range engine for the 10 ton plus class heavy lift helicopter market through the TECH3000 demonstrator program.

Airbus A350 update from Paris Air Show

The world’s most modern commercial jetliner – the A350 XWB – kicked off the 2015 International Paris Air Show in style – “wowing” crowds at Le Bourget Airport just as it is impressing a growing number of passengers around the globe in commercial service.

Highlighting the A350 XWB’s major presence at the world’s oldest and biggest aerospace gathering, Airbus announced a new order and commitments covering 31 of these aircraft from two customers today. This includes a Letter of Intent with Garuda Indonesia for the purchase of 30 A350 XWB to expand its medium- and long-haul network aircraft, and an additional firm order for one A350-900 from U.S.-based Air Lease Corporation, which now has ordered 26 total A350 XWBs .

Meanwhile, all eyes were on Airbus’ cabin-equipped MSN002 developmental A350 XWB jetliner as it kicked off the Paris Air Show in style today by delivering France’s President François Hollande to Le Bourget Airport, before he formally opened the aerospace event. MSN002 – which is also performing flying displays at the show – is one of two A350 XWBs on the grounds of Le Bourget Airport this week, joined by a Qatar Airways A350-900 that is being displayed in the Airbus static exhibition area.

On the Paris Air Show’s opening day, the A350 XWB cockpit played host to Airbus President and CEO Fabrice Brégier and French President François Hollande (from left to right)

For Qatar Airways, the jetliner is already exceeding expectations – having flown 100,000 passengers and counting, with an average daily utilisation of more than 11 hours.

The next step for Airbus will be to continue this smooth service entry as three new airlines are scheduled to join Qatar Airways in welcoming the A350 XWB to their fleets this year, bringing this highly-efficient jetliner to four total operators in four different regions.

Vietnam Airlines is set to receive the A350 XWB this summer, becoming the type’s first Asian operator. Finnair is slated to be the no. 1 operator in Europe, when it takes delivery of the A350 XWB in autumn, and TAM is to be the initial airline to receive the A350 XWB in the Americas with handover planned by year-end.

Overall, Airbus is on track to deliver approximately 15 of the highly-efficient aircraft during 2015 – keeping the company on pace to reach its ramp-up target of 10 aircraft produced per month by 2015.

The longer-fuselage A350-1000 version is also progressing well with production activities commencing in all Airbus plants – including the start of sub-assemblies –which keeps the A350-1000 on track per programme planning.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Sagem unveil SkyNaute inertial navigation system

At the 2015 Paris Air Show, Sagem (Safran) is unveiling SkyNaute, a new-generation family of inertial navigation systems for all types of aircraft: mainline and regional jets, business aircraft, helicopters and drones.

Designed to meet growing demand for contained costs, SkyNaute is based on a disruptive technology, the hemispherical resonator gyro (HRG), allowing Sagem to offer a compact navigation unit with ultra-high reliability and lower cost of ownership.

Designed primarily to meet the needs of the civil aviation market, SkyNaute offers an advantageous solution in relation to previous-generation inertial navigation systems. It draws on the success of the resonant sensor-based navigation systems developed by Sagem, and already deployed for the last dozen years on space, naval and land platforms.

Several test flight on commercial airplanes and helicopters have confirmed Sagem's decision to base its new family of aircraft navigation systems on hemispherical resonator gyros.

The SkyNaute family will be produced in the Coriolis facility at Sagem's Montluçon plant in France, which already handles the integration of all Sagem navigation product lines for both civil and military customers.

CFM LEAP continue developmental milestones

The pace of the LEAP engine development is accelerating as CFM International continues to successfully check off major development milestones as the program moves toward entry into service in 2016.

The engine program is proceeding on schedule; with more than 30 engines currently on test or in final assembly. Through 12 June 2015, these engines had accumulated more than 5,000 test hours and 6,100 cycles, including ground and flight tests.

On April 29, CFM initiated flight testing of the LEAP-1B engine on a modified 747 flying testbed at GE Aviation Flight Test Operations in Victorville, California. The engine behaved well and completed multiple aeromechnical test points at various altitudes during the five-hour, 30-minute first flight. The LEAP-1B was the third flight test program CFM had launched in seven months. Overall, the company has completed more than 50 flights and 425+ hours on the two 747s testbeds.

That milestone was followed a few weeks later, on May 19 in Toulouse, by the first flight of the LEAP-1A engine powering the Airbus A320neo. Again, the engine performed extremely well, completing a four-hour, 25-minute mission during which the engine was tested throughout the entire flight envelope.

Both tests were conducted on schedule, reinforcing the success of the LEAP development program and the confidence shown in the performance and durability of the new product. The engines are successfully continuing the flight test missions, which represent the next major milestones in a program that will culminate in engine certification and entry into service on the A320neo in 2016 and the 737 MAX in 2017.

In the last several months, CFM has been completing major ground test points. The company initiated three different flight-test campaigns on GE's flying testbeds over the course of seven months.

Most recently, the LEAP engine successfully executed the fan blade-out test; bird ingestion tests, including medium, large, and flocking bird; ice slab ingestion; hail stone and hail storm ingestion; cross wind; icing; acoustics; and emissions testing.

These engines are part of the most extensive ground and flight test certification program in CFM's history. Overall, the test plan will eventually encompass 60 engine builds over a three-year span and will accumulate approximately 40,000 cycles prior entry into service.