Rolls-Royce and Airbus are just about to start flight-testing the 84,000-pound-thrust Trent XWB engine for the A350XWB. Airbus’s A380 flying testbed (MSN 001) has already been fitted with the test engine and requisite instrumentation and is only waiting “for the weather in Europe to warm up a bit,” according to Rolls-Royce chief operating officer Mike Terrett.
Singapore Air Show
With service entry for its new AW189 and AW169 models looming large over the next couple of years, AgustaWestland is scrambling to ensure that operators can get their flight crew type rated in good time. At its main training academy in Sesto Calende, a major extension is under construction to house no fewer than nine full-flight simulators and six training devices for the new aircraft.
A helicopter operating in the South China Sea suffers a lightning strike that forces it to take refuge on an oil platform, blocking its only landing pad from other movements. Within seconds of the engines shutting down, staff at AgustaWestland’s logistics center at Lonate Pozzolo near Milan are aware of the problem and a response plan is swinging into action that will see technicians assessing the extent of the damage and dispatching a replacement rotor within a few hours so that the aircraft can return to base to complete repairs without further disrupting operations.
AgustaWestland and Honeywell have introduced a new “Phase 7” version of the Primus Epic avionics suite for the AW139 rotorcraft. The upgrade, which will be available soon for new-build aircraft as well as for retrofit, marks a step-change in the manufacturer’s approach to developing the cockpits of its growing family of aircraft.
AgustaWestland has stepped up its product portfolio with the unveiling earlier this week of its New Generation Helicopter Family, consisting of the existing A109 Grand New and AW139 flagships and the in-development AW169 and AW189 models.
The strategy is clear. AgustaWestland wants to give operators options to build their fleet through the different weight classes it will soon cover.
Dallas Airmotive, a BBA Aviation company that officially opened its Singapore Regional Turbine Center (RTC) at Seletar Airport on Monday, expects business to come from some 650 jets in Asia including a mix of pre-owned jets and an ever-increasing new general aviation planes being purchased by China and emerging economies. There are many opportunities for growth in Asia, said BBA Aviation president Hugh McElroy, and Singapore’s business climate makes it the right place from which to achieve this growth.
Eyeing regional requirements, including here in Singapore, Airbus Military has brought an A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) to the show. It is one of 14 destined for the UK Royal Air Force’s future strategic tanker aircraft (FSTA) fleet. A total of 28 MRTTs have been ordered by four countries.
The all-composite wing box of Russia’s next-generation Irkut MC-21 narrowbody jetliner is back in testing, according to the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI) near Moscow. In January the first wing box cracked under excessive loading, the institute reported, but in February the testing continued on the second specimen.
Construction of GE’s latest engine test cell was recently completed at James A. Richardson International Airport in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The massive structure will specialize in testing the capability of turbine engines to keep running when flying through icy clouds, and will also be used for performance and endurance, bird ingestion-, ice crystal- and mixed-phase testing on a variety of engines.
Two U.S. companies exhibiting here at the show, California’s Kapco (Booth B13) and Florida’s Aaxico (Booth B01), have announced that they are to merge on February 29.
The companies have a combined age of 100 years: this year Aaxico celebrates its 60th anniversary, while Kapco celebrates its 40th. Aaxico has offices worldwide and distribution centers in the U.S., Europe and Asia, while Kapco has multiple stocking warehouses in the U.S., plus three locations in Europe, making a total of 13 facilities across three countries.