Airbus delivers 1000th A330/A340 Family Aircraft

Airbus on Thursday delivered the 1000th aircraft from the A330/A340 Family. The aircraft, an A330-300, was handed over to Thai Airways International (THAI) at a special ceremony in Toulouse.

Speaking at the ceremony, Tom Williams, Airbus Executive Vice President Programmes, said: “When the A330/A340 Family first entered service in 1993 it set a new standard in the mid-size widebody market. Today, the product line remains the benchmark for in-service aircraft in this category, offering airlines a proven range of models optimised for medium, long and very long haul operations.”

Thai Airways International Airbus A330-300

“We are extremely proud that the 1000th aircraft from this product is being delivered in the colours of THAI, which is one of Airbus’ longest standing customers and currently operates a fleet including both the A330 and the A340.”

Air Chief Marshal Narongsak Sangapong, said: “We are pleased to be taking delivery of the 1000th aircraft from this modern and efficient Airbus product line, which forms a major element of our fleet today. With these aircraft we are able to offer our passengers the highest levels of comfort, while also benefiting from the operational flexibility to operate the aircraft both on long range and regional services.”

With today’s delivery, THAI increases its in-service A330/A340 fleet to a total of 25 aircraft, comprising 15 A330-300s, four A340-500s and six A340-600s. The airline also operates a fleet of 17 A300-600Rs on its regional network.

Since the first aircraft from the A330/A340 Family was delivered in 1993, the product line has become the most successful mid-size widebody programme ever, with 1,406 firm orders from 103 customers worldwide. Today, aircraft from the family are flying with 100 operators worldwide and the world fleet has accumulated more than 27 million flight hours in over 5 million revenue flights.

The A330/A340 Family comprises the twin engine A330 for medium and long range operations and the four engine A340 for very long haul routes. A new freighter version of the A330 is currently under development and will enter service in 2010.

Source: Airbus
Photo: Airbus

Video – A380 Arrives at Oshkosh

With a kind of hard crosswind landing, Airbus A380 F-WWDD MSN004 arrived at Oshkosh Air Venture 2009 yesterday. This is the first time that an A380 attends to an North American Air Show.
In addition to flight demonstrations and presentations by Airbus officials and flight crew, self-guided tours of the A380’s interior will be allowed for the first time. Attendees will have the opportunity to walk through the aircraft’s main deck and full-length upper deck.

Video: A380 Hard Landing at Oshkosh (Wittman Regional Airport KOSH) Runway 36

Video Part 1: A380 arriving at Oshkosh Air Venture 2009

Video Part 2: A380 arriving at Oshkosh Air Venture 2009

Ethiopian Airlines Orders several Airbus A350 XWBs

Airbus today announced that Ethiopian Airlines has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 12 Airbus A350 XWB aircraft, becoming a new Airbus customer. The airline has selected the A350-900, and will operate the aircraft from their hub in Addis Ababa, linking Africa with Europe, the US and Asia.

“The A350-900, with its high levels of passenger comfort combined with unbeatable economics perfectly fits our future fleet requirements,” said Mr Girma Wake, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines. “The A350-900 will bring increased capacity and range to our rapidly expanding network.”

“We are delighted to welcome Ethiopian Airlines as a new Airbus customer,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “The A350 XWB will shape new levels of efficiency for medium and long haul operations, allowing Ethiopian Airlines to continue its impressive growth.”

The A350 XWB Family is Airbus’ response to widespread market demand for a series of highly efficient medium-capacity long-range wide-body aircraft. With a range of up to 8,300 nm / 15,400 km, it is available in three basic passenger versions.

Firm orders for the A350 XWB now stand at 493 from 31 customers worldwide.

Source: Airbus

Ethiopian Airlines Orders 5 777-200LRs

Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines today announced an order for five Boeing 777-200LRs. Ethiopian Airlines becomes the first African carrier to order and operate the ultra-long-range 777-200LR model.

General Electric GE90-110 engines power the 777-200LR.

Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 777-200LR

Based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the carrier is investing in the additional airplanes to expand its fleet and broaden its network. Ethiopian Airlines will use the 777-200LR to fly to new long-haul nonstop markets such as Washington, D.C. and Beijing.

Ethiopian currently operates a fleet of six 737s, nine 757s, 10 767s and one MD-11BCF, with a second MD-11BCF due to arrive in August. It has 10 787s on order.

Image: Boeing
Source: Boeing

Saudi Arabia Orders Additional A330 MRTT

Saudi Arabia has ordered three additional A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft (on which the Northrop Grumman KC-45 Tanker is based).

This second acquisition by the Saudi Ministry of Defense and Aviation brings to six the total A330 MRTTs ordered for the Royal Saudi Air Force, with delivery of the service’s first aircraft scheduled in 2011. The contract also includes an in-service support package.

Saudi Arabia Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT)

The Saudi Arabian A330 MRTTs will incorporate EADS’ next-generation fly-by-wire Advanced Refueling Boom System on the fuselage centerline, plus two all-digital Cobham 905E hose-and-drogue refueling pods under the wings.

Aerial refueling operations are controlled from a state-of-the-art Remote Aerial Refueling Operator station in the cockpit behind the pilots, incorporating an enhanced vision system with laser infrared lighting and high-definition digital stereoscopic viewing.

Airbus Military, an EADS company, is responsible for the design and production of the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport.

In addition to Saudi Arabia, the air forces of Australia, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates have chosen the A330 MRTT.

Source/Image: EADS

First F-35C Lightning II Carrier Variant Unveiled

Lockheed Martin today celebrated the rollout of the U.S. Navy’s first-ever stealth fighter, the F-35C Lightning II. The aircraft will enable the Navy to possess 5th generation fighter capabilities at sea, extending America’s reach and reducing the timeline from threat to response.

US Navy F-35C Lightning II Carrier Variant

Tom Burbage, a former Navy test pilot and the vice president and general manager of F-35 Program Integration for Lockheed Martin, thanked Navy leadership for being fully engaged in the F-35’s development and “actively working to define joint and coalition tactics that will exploit this platform in ways we’ve never envisioned. We at Lockheed Martin are both proud and humbled by the trust the U.S. Navy has placed with us to lead the development and introduction of the Navy’s newest stealthy, supersonic strike fighter.”

The first F-35C, known as CF-1, will undergo a wide-ranging series of ground tests before its first flight, scheduled for late 2009. CF-1 is the ninth F-35 test aircraft to be rolled out, and joins a fleet of F-35A (conventional takeoff and landing) and F-35B (short takeoff/vertical landing) variants that have logged more than 100 flights.

The F-35C is on schedule to meet the Navy’s Initial Operational Capability in 2015, and represents a leap in technology and capability over existing fighters, combining stealth with supersonic speed and high agility. The Lightning II employs the most powerful and comprehensive sensor package ever incorporated into a fighter.

The F-35C possesses uncompromised carrier suitability and low-maintenance stealth materials designed for long-term durability in the carrier environment. The Lightning II’s operational and support costs are forecast to be lower than those of the fighters it will replace.

The F-35 and F-22 are the world’s only 5th generation fighters, uniquely characterized by a combination of advanced stealth with supersonic speed and high agility, sensor fusion, network-enabled capabilities and advanced sustainment. The F-35 is a supersonic, multi-role, 5th generation strike fighter. Three F-35 variants derived from a common design, developed together and using the same sustainment infrastructure worldwide, will replace at least 13 types of aircraft for 11 nations initially, making the Lightning II the most cost-effective fighter program in history.

Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. Two separate, interchangeable F-35 engines are under development: the Pratt & Whitney F135 and the GE Rolls-Royce Fighter Engine Team F136.

Photo: Lockheed Martin
Source: Lockheed Martin

SkyHook Heavy Lift Vehicle (HLV) – Design Completed

Boeing and SkyHook International Inc. today announced that the design of the SkyHook Heavy Lift Vehicle (HLV) has reached the configuration freeze milestone, meaning the aircraft’s overall performance and layout have been established.

Boeing and SkyHook have worked on the SkyHook HLV’s structural and systems design and its concept of operations since July 2008.

The next major program milestone will be Detailed Design in 2011, which centers on the design, analysis and specification of all hardware, software and related aircraft and ground support systems interfaces.

SkyHook is designed to carry 80,000-pound (40-ton) sling loads up to 200 nautical miles without refueling – a capability that is not currently available, but is desired by several industries, including oil exploration and mining operations in the Canadian Arctic and Alaska, as well as companies operating in remote locations in South America, Europe and Africa.

SkyHook Heavy Lift Vehicle (HLV)

Boeing is designing and will fabricate a production SkyHook HLV prototype at its Rotorcraft Systems facility in Ridley Park, Pa. The new aircraft will enter commercial service after it is certified by Transport Canada and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. The first SkyHook HLV aircraft is scheduled to fly in 2014.

Photo: Boeing
Source: Boeing

Related: Boeing to Build Heavy-Lift Rotorcraft

Expanded Colgan CVR Transcript Released

On Monday the NTSB released an expanded transcript of the cockpit voice recordings from Continental Connection Flight 3407 (Colgan Air) which crashed February 12, near Buffalo, killing 50 people.

The Bombardier Dash 8-Q400, N200WQ, crashed during an instrument approach to runway 23 at the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport (BUF), Buffalo, New York after it stalled in icing conditions. The crash site was approximately 5 nautical miles northeast of the airport in Clarence Center, New York, and mostly confined to one residential house.

The information released by NTSB is factual in nature and does not provide analysis or the probable cause of the accident.

Download Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) Transcript (PDF, 111 pages):

Turkish Airlines Orders Seven Additional 777-300ERs

Boeing and Turkish Airlines have finalized an order for seven Boeing 777-300ER (Extended Range) airplanes. This order is in addition to the five 777-300ERs that Turkish Airlines ordered in April 2009, bringing their total 777-300ER orders to 12. The airline currently operates a fleet of 65 Boeing airplanes including Next-Generation 737s and leased 777-300ERs.

The airplane can seat up to 365 passengers in a three-class configuration and has a maximum range of 7,930 nautical miles (14,685 km). Turkish Airlines is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world. It carries approximately 20 million passengers a year, with direct flights to 108 international and 33 domestic destinations. The airline was founded in 1933 with a fleet of five airplanes that carried a total of 28 passengers. The airline made its first domestic flight in 1933 and the first international flight in 1947.

Source: Boeing

Aria Air IL-62 Crash-Landed in Iran

Today an Aria Air Ilyushin 62M (UP-I6208) crash-landed at Mashhad-Shahid Hashemi Nejad Airport (MHD), Iran. Aria Air Flight 1525 was bound from Tehran-Mehrabad Airport (THR) to Mashhad. At least 16 people on board have been killed.

Apparently the IL-62 skidded off the runway, ripping off the nose section completely and came to rest next to a field.
The weather at time of the accident was quite good, wind from 060 with 14 knots, clear sky, unlimited ceiling. Probably the plane made a cross-wind landing.

Raw video by AP