Bombardier has already thrown its hat into the more-than-100-seats jetliner ring with its C Series design and Embraer is considering its response to perceived market requirements (see box). But industry leaders Airbus and Boeing have been markedly reticent to reveal more of their thinking on the characteristics needed in designs to replace their A320 and 737, respectively, in the 150-passenger class by the end of the next decade.
Paris Air Show » June 15, 2009
The firm order placed by Deutsche Lufthansa late this past winter for 30 Bombardier CS100 airliners not only gave the much-maligned C Series its first confirmed customer, it granted the executives at Bombardier Commercial Airplanes (Chalets A365, A366) some measure of vindication after eight months of persistent questions about whether the program would ever yield a prototype.
Thales is engineering a series of upgrades to the sensor systems aboard France’s Rafale that will be incorporated in the next batch of aircraft for the French armed forces and should enhance Dassault’s chances in current fighter procurements contests in Brazil, India and Switzerland.
Bombardier Aerospace is continuing to define a further stretch of its 78-passenger Dash 8 Q-400 regional turboprop to create a possible 90-seat variant that could enter service before the middle of the next decade.
This promises to be a milestone year for BAE Systems’ growing unmanned air systems business with the first flights of both the demonstrator for the Mantis persistent ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance) aircraft and of the production-standard Herti. On top of this, the UK group will complete manufacturing of its new Taranis demonstrator.
To celebrate the adoption of its latest livery, Air France is conducting an international photography contest with the theme of “Air France Livery: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.” Open to everyone, the contest seeks to identify the best photographs of Air France aircraft from 1946 to the airline’s newest color scheme unveiled in April.
Despite the recession, French aerospace research organization Onera is launching a recruitment drive here at the Paris Air Show. This year it hopes to fill nearly 100 vacancies–its highest number of new staff ever, according to Véronique Padoan, the Onera’s director of human resources, told AIN. “Some of our people are retiring and our business is growing,” Padoan explained.
In both engineering and visual terms, the open rotor is a huge departure from the turbofans that power today’s aircraft. As such, Rolls-Royce believes its market acceptance will involve a comprehensive understanding of the operational environment in which it will function.
Rolls-Royce’s development of an open-rotor engine for the next generation of midsize airliners has taken a giant leap forward after wind-tunnel tests revealed its design would comfortably meet current Stage 4 noise regulations.
If Boeing manages to get the 787 certified in eight to nine months as planned, it will doubtless enjoy proving the long line of skeptics wrong. After all, to certify the airplane by the first quarter of next year will require far better execution than the company managed during the early stages of the project, when Boeing’s metamorphosis from airframe manufacturer to product “integrator” faced its first real test.