Video – First Air France A380 Arrives at Paris

Yesterday the first Airbus A380 was handed over to Air France. The French carrier is the first European airline to fly the “whale jet” on scheduled services. The aircraft – MSN0033 / F-HPJA – is the twentieth A380 delivered by Airbus. 10 A380s are already flying with Singapore, five with Emirates and four with Qantas.

Video of the arrival at Paris CDG

First A380 Delivery to Air France

Tomorrow Friday 30 October 2009, the first Airbus A380 will be delivered to Air France (MSN0033 / F-HPJA). Air France will be the first European airline receiving an A380. The ceremony will be held at Airbus’ delivery centre Hamburg (Germany).

First Air France Airbus A380

The delivery ceremony will be streamed live on
Live video streaming is scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. French time (10:00 a.m. GMT).

Photo: Air France

Photo – First A330-200 Freighter

The first Airbus A330-200 Freighter is seen here in preparation for ground tests in advance of its maiden flight scheduled for November 2009.
The most notable visual difference to the passenger version is a bulge on the bottom of the fuselage right above the nose gear. To overcome the cool looking standard A330’s nose-down body angle on the ground, unfortunately the A330F makes use of a revised nose landing gear layout. 🙁 The same leg will be used, however it will be attached lower in the fuselage, requiring a distinctive blister fairing on the nose to accommodate the retracted nose-gear.

Airbus A330-200F

Airbus A330F Nose Gear Blister Fairing

The A330-200F received its industrial go-ahead in January 2007. The first A330-200F has been rolled out in Toulouse on October 20, 2009.

The A330-200F is a mid-size, long-haul all-cargo aircraft capable of carrying 64 tonnes over 4,000 NM / 7,400 km, or 69 tonnes up to 3,200 NM / 5,930 km. It introduces a new versatile main-deck cargo loading system that will be able to accommodate both pallets and containers. Several different arrangements will be possible on the main deck, taking up to 23 Side-by-Side (SBS) pallets, aimed at the high volume, high value commodities or Single Row (SR) loading of 16 pallets (96 in X 96 in X 125 in SR pallets) and/or nine AMA containers aimed at the general cargo higher density markets.

Power is provided by two Pratt & Whitney PW4000 or Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines.

As of 1 January 2009, Airbus had 65 firm orders from nine customers: Aircastle (7), BOC Aviation (5), Etihad Airways (3), Flyington Freighters (12), Guggenheim Aviation Partners (2), Intrepid Aviation Group (20), MatlinPatterson (6), MNG Airlines (2), and OH, Avion LLC (8). Additionally ACT Airlines has signed an MOU for 2. The first delivery will be to Flyington Freighters in Spring 2010.

Photo: Airbus

Pilots Forget to Land – Northwest Plane Overshoots Destination

It sounds like a bad joke: Northwest Airlines flight 188 from San Diego (KSAN) to Minneapolis (KMSP) overshot its intended destination by 150 miles on Wednesday evening.

What happened in that cockpit? The pilots say they “lost situational awareness” while arguing about airline policy. The immediate suspicion is that they fell asleep.

Northwest Airlines Flight 188 Flight Path Map

Contact with the Airbus A320 was lost at about 6:45 p.m. local time, the aircraft overflew Minneapolis and crossed the state line into Wisconsin before the crew responded to ATC and turned back. A review of the cockpit voice recorder is underway and will probably reveal the real cause of this small detour.

Video – Short interview with pilot

Flight 188 at Flightaware:

Related Link:

A330 MRTT First Time Boom Refueling of F-16

The EADS A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) – currently in production for four allied nations – marked another major performance milestone with the first in-flight refueling performed from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) A330 MRTT utilizing its integrated Aerial Refueling Boom System (ARBS).

The contacts and subsequent fuel transfers were made with two F-16 receiver aircraft and validated the advanced ARBS handling qualities, precision, and stability on the A330 MRTT, as well as the capabilities of its 3-D vision system. The flight lasted four hours and 30 minutes, with more than 3,300 pounds of fuel transferred during 13 contacts.

EADS A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) Boom Refueling
A330 MRTT Tanker Boom Refueling of F-16

EADS’ fly-by-wire ARBS is one of the key technological discriminators for the A330 MRTT and Northrop Grumman’s KC-45 offering to the U.S. Air Force, providing the only digital, all-electric fly-by-wire refueling system available today.

The ARBS has already made more than 250 wet and dry contacts with a wide range of receiver aircraft, in a full range of operating conditions and throughout the flight envelope, while the boom was deployed on an EADS test-bed aircraft.

The RAAF’s A330 MRTT is similar in configuration to Northrop Grumman’s KC-45 Tanker offered for the U.S. Air Force to recapitalize its aging aerial refueling fleet. Both aircraft are equipped with the EADS ARBS, plus a pair of all-digital Cobham 905E refueling pods under the wings. This mix of boom and pod refueling technologies ensures the A330 MRTT and KC-45 can transfer fuel to all types of receiver aircraft during a single mission without reconfiguration. The KC-45 also offers a centerline hose-and-drogue fuselage refueling unit.

The boom’s maximum nominal fuel flow rate is 1,200 U.S. gallons per minute, while the pods can deliver up to 420 gallons of fuel per minute. Aerial refueling operations are controlled from a state-of-the-art Remote Aerial Refueling Operator console in the cockpit behind the pilots, incorporating the enhanced vision system with laser infrared lighting and high-definition digital stereoscopic viewing.

EADS North America is a principal teammate on Northrop Grumman’s KC-45 Tanker program, and is responsible for delivering the aircraft platform, which will be produced at a new aerospace center of excellence to be built in Mobile, Ala.

Airbus Military, an EADS company, is responsible for the design and production of the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport for international customers, which today includes Australia, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Orders from those countries total 28 aircraft. The A330 MRTT has won all of the international competitions for new-generation aerial tankers since 2004.

The RAAF will receive its first of five A330 MRTTs in 2010, two of which have completed conversion and currently are in flight test. Upon delivery to the RAAF, they will be designated the KC-30A.

Source: EADS
Photos: EADS

Norwegian Air Shuttle Orders Additional Next-Generation 737s

Boeing and low-cost carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle today confirmed an order for additional six Next-Generation 737-800s. With this order, Norwegian has a total of 48 Next-Generation 737 airplanes on order from Boeing as well as 22 airplanes from leasing companies.

The new 737s will feature advanced-technology Blended Winglets, an environmental innovation that reduces drag, resulting in less fuel consumption and a decrease in carbon emissions of 3.5 to 4 percent.

6000th Boeing 737 - Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA (LN-NOL)

The Oslo-based carrier is one of the first airlines in Europe that will incorporate the spacious new 737 Boeing Sky Interior starting at the end of 2010. Inspired by years of design research on the 787 Dreamliner, airlines with this new interior will feature the soft, blue-sky-like lighting overhead, contemporary sculpted sidewalls and window reveals designed to draw passengers’ eyes to the airplanes’ windows, enhancing the passengers’ overall flying experience.

Norwegian’s aircrafts are equipped with state-of-the-art Recaro seats which offer increased legroom without compromising capacity. Norwegian has opted for a 186-seat configuration in its aircraft contrary to a full capacity 189-seat configuration.

Source: Boeing
Photo: Boeing

Boeing 707 Crashed in Sharjah United Arab Emirates

Today a Sudan Airways Boeing 707-300 cargo plane crashed shortly after take-off from Sharjah Airport (SHJ/OMSJ), United Arab Emirates. The Boeing was leased from AZZA Transport and operated as flight SUD2241, bound for Khartoum (KRT/HSSS), Sudan.
The plane crashed near a road, broke up and burned. No one of the 6 crew on board survived.


News story & photos at…

Cathay Pacific 777-300ER in Oneworld Livery Delivered

Boeing recently delivered a 777-300ER (Extended Range) to Singapore-based leasing company BOC Aviation and its customer, Cathay Pacific Airways. The airplane is painted in a special oneworld livery to highlight the commitment of Cathay Pacific, as a member airline, to the alliance’s 10th anniversary.

Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER in Oneworld Livery

The airplane (B-KPL) is the 12th Boeing 777-300ER for Cathay Pacific and brings the airline’s 777 fleet to 29 airplanes, which includes 12 777-300s and five 777-200s. The airline also operates 22 Boeing 747-400 passenger airplanes.

The oneworld alliance has 10 member airlines and 17 affiliate airlines, serving 134 countries and 673 destinations, with 8,400 daily departures. Full oneworld alliance members are American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, Finnair, Iberia, LAN, Japan Airlines, Malév, Royal Jordanian.

Source: Boeing
Photo: Boeing

E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Completes First Catapult launch tests

In preparation for its Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E), Northrop Grumman’s first E-2D Advanced Hawkeye test aircraft, known as Delta One, has successfully completed its first land-based catapult launch tests. Both E-2D System Development and Demonstration (SDD) aircraft, Delta One and Delta Two, are currently undergoing shore-based carrier suitability testing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., conducted by the U.S. Navy’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 20 (VX-20).

Prior to joining the carrier fleet, all naval aviation aircraft undergo carrier suitability testing. The bulk of this testing involves catapult and arrested landing structural tests, as well as the interoperability between the aircraft and the carrier.

Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Delta One

Introduced in 2007, and built on the E-2’s strong legacy of providing world-class airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) capability for more than 45 years, the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is the sixth generation of the E-2. While its external appearance is similar to the E-2C, the internal systems of the Advanced Hawkeye have been completely redesigned and the capabilities vastly expanded. With its newly developed, more powerful AN/APY-9 Electronic Scan Array (ESA) radar, the E-2D will provide the warfighter with the expanded battlespace and situational awareness required for today’s and tomorrow’s missions.

Under a $408 million contract awarded in July 2007, Northrop Grumman is producing three E-2D pilot production aircraft which are on-track for delivery to the U.S. Navy in 2010. Following the successful completion of a Milestone C review, a $432 million contract, awarded in June, kicked off Low-Rate Initial Production. The Navy’s Program of Record is for 75 total E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft.

Source: Northrop Grumman
Photo: Northrop Grumman

FAA Proposes Fine Against US Airways and United Airlines

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today proposed fines against US Airways and United Airlines because of violating maintenance procedures and operating airplanes in unsafe conditions.

US Airways is fined a $5.4 million civil penalty for allegedly operating eight aircraft on a total of 1,647 flights from October 2008 to January 2009 while not in compliance with certain Airworthiness Directives (ADs) or the airline’s maintenance program. ADs are rules issued by the FAA when an unsafe condition exists on a type of aircraft, and additional maintenance is required to remedy the problem.

The FAA found the following issues:

  • The airline operated one Embraer 190 aircraft on 19 flights from October 22, 2008 to October 26, 2008 while the aircraft was not in compliance with an AD that required inspections to prevent a cargo door from opening during flight.
  • The airline failed to perform inspections required by an AD for cracking of a landing gear part on one Airbus A320. The airline operated the aircraft on 26 flights from November 2, 2008 to January 20, 2009 while not in compliance with the AD. The airline also operated another A320 for 17 flights from December 3, 2008 to January 21, 2009 while not in compliance with the same AD.

The FAA found the following problems with maintenance practices:

  • US Airways failed to meet the requirements of its Maintenance Policies and Procedures Manual, which required inspections related to engine work on a Boeing 757 aircraft. The airplane was flown on 505 flights from May 2, 2008 to December 3, 2008.
  • From October 20, 2008 to November 14, 2008, US Airways operated one Boeing 767 aircraft on 51 flights after failing to perform the inspections, tests, and samplings required by its maintenance program on that aircraft.
  • From October 1, 2008 to November 24, 2008, US Airways operated one Boeing 757 aircraft on 121 flights without proper maintenance.
  • The airline failed to follow its maintenance program and perform a weekly maintenance check for one Boeing 767 aircraft, which was then operated from November 2, 2008 to November 6, 2008 on 53 flights.
  • From May 22, 2008 to January 13, 2009, US Airways operated one Airbus A320 aircraft on 855 flights while the aircraft did not meet the airline’s maintenance program requirements for an engine repair. US Airways could have deferred maintenance of this item for ten days under its maintenance program but failed to do so. Fifty-one of the flights occurred after the FAA, on December 31, 2008, brought the problem to the airline’s attention.

United Airlines was fined a $3.8 million civil penalty for allegedly operating one of its Boeing 737 aircraft on more than 200 flights after the carrier had violated its own maintenance procedures on one of the plane’s engines.

On April 28, 2008, a United 737 returned to Denver after shutting down an engine due to low oil pressure indications. During teardown of the engine a week later, United mechanics found that two shop towels, instead of required protective caps, had been used to cover openings in the oil sump area when maintenance was done in December 2007. As a result of United’s failure to follow its maintenance procedures, between February 10 and April 28, 2008 it flew the aircraft on more than 200 revenue flights when it was not in an airworthy condition.
United’s maintenance procedures specifically require use of protective caps or covers on all components that could be adversely affected by entry of foreign materials.

Both airlines have 30 days to respond to the FAA.

Source: FAA