Archive for November, 2009

Airbus A400M First Flight Early December

This week Airbus announced that the first flight of the Airbus A400M has been scheduled to the week December 7 - 13, if weather permits.

The A400M is the new European airlifter of the 21st century. It has more than twice the payload and volume of the C-130 Hercules and C-160 Transall, that it will replace. It will play an essential role in enhancing Europe’s airlift capabilities, whilst enabling the establishment of common support, training and operational procedures and greater interoperability in multi-national humanitarian and peace-keeping missions.

The Airbus A400M features a fly-by-wire Flight Control System with sidestick controllers, a flight envelope protection system that was already proven in Airbus commercial aircraft, an advanced structural design incorporating extensive use of composite material and high performance turboprop engines. Its Europrop International TP400-D6 enginge is the second most powerful turboprop engines after the Kuznetsov NK-12!

Airbus A400M
Photo: EADS

Seven European countries - Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey - have ordered 180 planes, in most cases to replace an ageing Transall and C130 Hercules fleet. A South African order of 8 aircraft was just cancelled on November 5.

Gulfstream G650 Completes First Flight

Gulfstream Aerospace announced that its newest business jet and the flagship of its fleet, the ultra-large-cabin, ultra-long-range Gulfstream G650, successfully completed its first flight.

The G650 took off from Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport on Wednesday. Because the test pilots were alerted to a slight vibration in a landing-gear door, they curtailed the testing regimen as a precautionary measure. The aircraft landed 12 minutes later.

The aircraft achieved an altitude of 6,600 feet and a speed of 170 knots. Flight controls and characteristics performed as expected. Under its own power, the G650 rolled out of the Savannah manufacturing facility on Sept. 29, 2009. It remains on schedule for type certification by 2011, followed by entry-into-service in 2012.

Gulfstream G650 First Flight

The G650 offers the longest range at the fastest speed in its class. Powered by Rolls-Royce BR725 engines, the business jet is capable of traveling 7,000 nautical miles at 0.85 Mach and has a maximum operating speed of 0.925 Mach. Its 7,000-nautical-mile range means the G650 can fly nonstop from Dubai to Chicago. With an initial cruise altitude of 41,000 feet at 0.85 Mach, the G650 can climb to a maximum altitude of 51,000 feet and avoid traffic and inclement weather.

With its all-new aerodynamically optimized wing, the G650 can meet the latest takeoff certification requirements. At maximum takeoff weight, the aircraft can depart from a 6,000-foot runway.

Gulfstream G650 Business Jet

Passenger comfort is one of the G650’s main attributes. The aircraft features the largest purpose-built business-jet cabin, which leaves room for larger galleys and lavatories, and increased storage. The jet, which seats 11-18 passengers, also has 16 Gulfstream-signature oval windows that measure 28 by 20.5 inches.

The G650 provides the most productive cabin environment. A cabin altitude of 4,850 feet at FL510 and 3,300 feet at FL410 reduces fatigue, increases mental alertness and enhances productivity. A quieter cabin allows for a better environment for conversation or relaxation.

The aircraft comes with the new Gulfstream Cabin Essential™ package, so a single-point failure will not result in the loss of functionality. That means a toilet always flushes; water is always available; and an entertainment source always works.

Additionally, the G650 features the PlaneView™ II cockpit, the most advanced flight deck in business aviation, and an Advanced Health and Trend Monitoring System (AHTMS) to support aircraft maintenance planning and enhance availability.

Source: Gulfstream
Photos: Gulfstream

Video - Airbus A400M Engine Start

Airbus recently published the following video showing APU and engine start-up of the first Airbus A400M. The Airbus A400M is a European four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft that can be configured for aerial refueling. It has been designed by Airbus Military corporation to replace a variety of aircraft, including the Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules and the Transall C-160.


Photo - First Boeing 747-8 Freighter Leaves Paint Hangar

On Tuesday night, Boeing moved the first 747-8 Freighter out of the paint hangar, sporting a special “light” livery.

Painted white with blue accents, the 747-8 Freighter unveiled a new twist on the Boeing Commercial Airplanes livery. It features an oversized “8” on the background of the tail as well as “747-8” on the belly.

Boeing 747-8 Freighter Special Boeing Commercial Airplanes Livery

The light livery, which saves time and expense compared to the full Boeing livery, will remain on the airplane until the flight-test program is completed. After flight test, it will be refurbished and delivered to a customer.

The first freighter will begin preparing for the necessary tests leading up to first flight in early 2010.

Source: Boeing
Photo: Boeing

Dubai Airshow 2009 Orders Update

Following orders have been announced by Airbus, Boeing and Embraer at Dubai Airshow 2009 so far:

Airbus

  • Ethiopian Airlines Airbus A350 XWB
    Ethiopian Airlines confirms order for 12 Airbus A350 XWBs
    Ethiopian Airlines has ordered 12 Airbus A350 XWB aircraft, bringing total orders for the A350 XWB family to 505.
    In selecting the A350-900 to operate from their hub in Addis Ababa on routes to Europe, the US and Asia, Ethiopian Airlines becomes a new member in Airbus’ family of over 300 customers.
  • Yemenia Airlines Airbus A320
    Yemenia Airlines to acquire 10 Airbus A320s
    Yemenia, the official carrier of the state of Yemen, based in Sanaa, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 10 Airbus A320 Family aircraft. Yemenia’s A320s will be configured in a comfortable two-class configuration with seating for 12 passengers in Business Class and 138 in Economy. The aircraft will be deployed to enhance and expand services on regional, African, Indian and European routes. It will enable Yemenia to demonstrate its role as a growing regional carrier and contributor to the growth of Yemen’s economy.
  • Comlux orders 10th Airbus corporate jet
    Comlux has ordered a third Airbus’ Corporate Jetliner (ACJ), taking its total orders for Airbus corporate jets to ten aircraft - 4 A318s, 3 Airbus ACJs, 2 A320 Prestiges and one A330-200 Prestige - and making it the largest Airbus ACJ Family customer.
    Some of the aircraft are managed for private customers and some are used to provide VVIP charters - as will the newly ordered aircraft.
  • Air Austral signs firm order for two single class A380s
    Air Austral, based in Saint Denis, La Réunion, has ordered two A380s, the most advanced, spacious and eco-efficient airliner in service today. Powered by Engine Alliance engines and seating around 840 passengers in a single-class configuration, the aircraft will be operated on the high-density route from La Réunion to Paris, France.
  • Nepal Airlines signs Memorandum of Understanding for A320 and A330
    Nepal’s national carrier, Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) is modernising its international fleet with one A330-200 wide-body and one Airbus A320 single aisle aircraft. The new Airbus aircraft will be deployed on international services to Japan and will for the very first time connect Nepal to Europe with direct flights.
    The two class, A330-200 will be deployed on routes to Europe and North Asia and will play an instrumental role in developing Nepal’s tourism industry especially around to country’s ‘Visit Nepal 2011’ tourism campaign to attract foreign tourists.

Boeing

  • Air Algerie Boeing Next-Generation 737-800
    Air Algerie orders 7 737-800s
    Boeing and Air Algérie announced an order for seven Next-Generation 737-800s.
    The airplanes will grow the Air Algérie Next-Generation 737 fleet to 22 airplanes. ir Algérie ordered its new 737s with Blended Winglets, which further reduce fuel burn by approximately four percent.
    A Boeing customer for nearly 40 years, Air Algérie operates a Boeing fleet that includes 10 737-800s, five 737-600s and three 767-300s.
  • Tassili Airlines Next-Generation 737-800
    Tassili Airlines orders 4 Next-Generation 737-800s
    Tassili Airlines of Algeria placed its first order for Boeing airplanes with a signed deal for four Next-Generation 737-800s.
    Tassili Airlines, a 100-percent-owned subsidiary of government-owned Sonatrach Petroleum Corporation, will use the 737-800s to transport employees and cargo between large Algerian cities and Sonatrach work sites. Tassili plans to put its 737s into commercial passenger service on domestic and regional routes in the near future. (Great livery btw!)

Embraer

  • Oman Air EMBRAER 175
    Oman Air orders 5 EMBRAER 175
    Four of the jets will be operated by the airline and one will serve with the Royal Omani Police. The newly ratified deal also includes purchase rights for another five aircraft. The first delivery is scheduled for the first quarter of 2011. Oman Air’s EMBRAER 175 will be configured with 72 seats in a full-service, dual-class layout, with 12 seats in business class and 60 in economy.
  • Air Astana EMBRAER 190
    Air Astana orders 2 EMBRAER 190
    The airline will operate two EMBRAER 190 jets out of Almaty, Kazakhstan, under a newly ratified agreement with the U.S. aircraft leasing company Jetscape, Inc., based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This deal is already included in Embraer’s firm order backlog for the third quarter of 2009. Both EMBRAER 190s – configured in a dual-class layout, featuring nine seats in first class and 88 in economy – are scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2011.

Sources: Airbus, Boeing, Embraer
Photos: Airbus, Boeing, Embraer

A320 “Sharklet” Wingtips Launched

On the first day of Dubai Airshow 2009, Airbus has launched its new “Sharklet” large wingtip devices, specially designed to enhance the eco-efficiency and payload-range performance of the A320 Family. Offered as a forward-fit option, Sharklets are expected to result in at least 3.5 percent reduced fuelburn over longer sectors, corresponding to an annual CO2 reduction of around 700 tonnes per aircraft. The A320 will be the first model fitted with Sharklets, which will be delivered around the end of 2012, to be followed by the other A320 Family models from 2013. Air New Zealand is the launch customer for the Sharklets which are specified for its future A320 fleet.

Airbus A320 Sharklet Wingtip

It should be noted that the 3.5 percent efficiency improvement with Sharklets will be additional to the already positive effect of the A320 classic wingtip fence. Payload-range benefits include either a revenue payload increase of around 500kg or an additional 100nm range at the original payload. The Sharklet installation also keeps the A320 Family within the ICAO ‘Class C’ (wingspan less than 36m) and will result in higher available takeoff weights, notably from obstacle-limited runways. Moreover, where runway performance is not ‘limiting’, operators should profit from a reduction in average takeoff thrust (with consequent savings in engine maintenance costs by around two percent), while communities will also appreciate even lower takeoff noise. Other benefits are the enhanced climb performance and higher initial cruise altitude.

Source: Airbus
Image: Airbus

A330 certified for ETOPS “beyond 180 minutes”

Airbus S.A.S. LogoThe European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has approved all Airbus A330 models for ETOPS (Extended-Range Operations for two-engined aircraft) “beyond 180 minutes.” This award makes the A330 the first aircraft type to receive such approval, either from EASA or the FAA. The new capability will be available as a customer-selectable option which extends the diversion distance potentially up to 1,700 nm. This distance corresponds to a maximum ETOPS diversion time for the A330 of approximately 240 minutes (at one-engine-inoperative speed under standard conditions).

Operators with two-engined aircraft who choose this option will now be able to serve new routes which are presently not flown within the existing ETOPS rules (i.e. up to 180 minutes diversion time). For the A330, examples include new routes over South Atlantic Ocean, Mid- and South Pacific Ocean, and Mid-Indian Ocean. Operators flying on existing routes will benefit from the new regulation, since it will allow them to fly more directly and eco-efficiently. Some estimates show a fuel saving potential of up to 10 percent for some long range routes (with consequent reductions in CO2 emissions).

The granting of this latest ETOPS extension, to around 1,700nm and 240 minutes, has been made possible in part due to the proven reliability and robust systems of the aircraft and its engines, as demonstrated over 14 million A330 flight hours and 3.5 million flights.

ETOPS, is an International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) rule permitting two-engined commercial aircraft operators to fly routes that are up to a specified flying time from the nearest airport. Since 1995 all Airbus A330 models have been approved by EASA and FAA for ETOPS up to 180 minutes, and with this they have since accumulated more than five million ETOPS flight hours in more than 800,000 ETOPS flights.

Source: Airbus

First Boeing 747-8 Freighter Rolls Out of Factory

On Thursday afternoon, November 12, the first Boeing 747-8 Freighter has left the factory in Everett. The airplane, destined for Cargolux, will be painted and begin preparations for flight test.

First Boeing 747-8 Freighter Roll Out of Factory
Photo: Boeing
Boeing 747-8 Freighter Roll Out of Factory
Photo: Bernardo Malfitano - More photos at fencecheck.com

The 747-8 Freighter is the new high-capacity 747 that will give cargo operators the lowest operating costs and best economics of any freighter airplane while providing enhanced environmental performance. It is 250 feet, 2 inches (76.3 m) long, which is 18 feet and 4 inches (5.6 m) longer than the 747-400 Freighter. The stretch provides customers with 16 percent more revenue cargo volume compared to its predecessor. That translates to four additional main-deck pallets and three additional lower-hold pallets.

Boeing has secured 105 orders for the 747-8 from Cargolux, Nippon Cargo Airlines, AirBridgeCargo Airlines, Atlas Air, Cathay Pacific, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, Emirates SkyCargo, Guggenheim and Korean Air.

Source: Boeing

Boeing 787 - Modifications Completed

Boeing today announced that they have completed installing reinforcements within the side-of-body section on the first 787 Dreamliner.

The modification entails installing new fittings at 34 stringer locations within the joint where the wing is attached to the fuselage. Installations were completed yesterday.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner modification on side-of-body section

Boeing 787 Dreamliner new fittings on side-of-body section

Boeing expects to complete the installations on the static test airframe and the second flight-test airplane in the coming days.

After airplane No. 1 is restored, the flight-test team will perform another set of gauntlet and taxi tests to ensure that all systems are ready for flight. Fancher noted that with the exception of a single high-speed taxi test, all remaining first flight activities have been successfully completed on the first flight-test airplane.

First flight of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is still scheduled for the end of this year.

Source: Boeing
Photo: Boeing

Video - Dangerous Landing at Toncontin

Loyal blog reader “prop-er” sent in this crazy video, showing a very risky landing of a Boeing 737 at Toncontin International Airport (TGU/MHTG), Honduras. I won’t spoil this breathtaking video, you just have to see for yourself! Just for your information: The runway is only 2163m (7096ft) short.




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