UPS MD-11 pilots and controllers at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey started communicating by text messages in May under the Federal Aviation Administration’s data communications (data comm) departure clearance (DCL) trials program. The FAA expects United Airlines, British Airways and other carriers will begin participating this summer.
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News and issues relating to air transport and cargo aircraft.
A switch from composite to titanium for the inner walls of the thrust reversers on the Boeing 737 Max has allowed designers to increase the fan diameter in the airplane’s CFM International Leap-1B turbofans without a proportional increase in the size of the nacelle. The relatively minimal growth of the nacelle means Boeing could keep its original plans for coping with the small amount of ground clearance margin available while optimizing thrust levels, explained 737 Max program vice president and general manager Keith Leverkuhn.
Japan’s first indigenous commercial passenger jet, the MRJ, is on track to make its first flight this year, according to Hideo Egawa, chairman and CEO of Mitsubishi Aircraft. While Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has long contributed components and assemblies in support of other manufacturer’s projects, the next-generation MRJ represents its first designed and produced passenger jet. Indeed, Egawa described the task of integrating all the efforts to produce the regional jet as one of the biggest challenges Mitsubishi Aircraft has faced since its launch in 2008.
With increasing numbers of Airbus A380s in their fleets, Asian and Middle East airlines are growing impatient to start deploying the super-large widebodies on services to and from India. But the Indian government’s policy of sheltering national carrier Air India from competition is preventing carriers such as Lufthansa, Emirates and Singapore Airlines (SIA) from using aircraft larger than the Boeing 747 under the terms of existing air services agreements.
GKN Aerospace’s acquisition of Volvo Aero is starting to bear fruit, giving the UK-based aerostructures group a significant boost in this growing market segment. This year, the addition of the Sweden-based engine systems manufacturer is expected to boost total revenues from GKN’s aerospace division by approximately $700 million, to $3.5 billion.
Southwest Airlines has triggered the program launch of Boeing’s 737 Max 7 narrowbody by converting 30 options that it holds for the existing 737 Next Generation family into orders for the new model. The U.S. low-cost carrier expects to take first 737 Max 7 deliveries in 2019. In a deal announced Wednesday, it also has exercised options for five more Next Generation 737-800s.
Boeing has started discussions with airline and leasing customers about technical, pricing and schedule aspects of the proposed 777X widebody, the company confirmed last week. It said it will decide whether or not to formally launch the program based on the market’s response.
Boeing and NASA said they completed the flight-test program of the X-48C blended wing body (BWB) research aircraft on April 9. The program consisted of 30 flights over eight months at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
As Ethiopian Airlines and other Boeing 787 customers prepared to return their Dreamliners to service with battery system modification kits, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conducted an exhaustive, two-day investigative hearing into the design and certification of the lithium-ion batteries implicated in the airplane’s grounding. Sixteen witnesses testified and answered questions during the hearing on April 23 and 24 at the Board’s Washington, D.C., headquarters.
U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) members and technical specialists questioned representatives of Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday about assumptions they made in determining the probability of lithium-ion batteries failing on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.