As Airbus A350XWB (Xtra widebody) customers freeze aircraft interior configuration plans, the European manufacturer hopes to limit cabin furnishing options for the new twin-aisle twinjet in order to keep final-assembly lines flowing as it accelerates production rates during a steep industrial ramp-up.
By the end of the year, CFM (OE 22) plans to have put together and tested around 20 Leap-1A/B/C turbofans, in preparation for their first flights next year and in 2016 on their respective application airframes. The Franco-American engine manufacturer is also gearing up for a swift production ramp-up, planned to reach an annual 1,700 engines by the end of the decade. The Leap will power the Airbus A320neo (Leap-1A), the Boeing 737 Max (Leap-1B) and Comac C919 (Leap-1C) narrowbodies.
The first Bell 525 Relentless super-medium twin helicopter is moving closer to final assembly at Bell Helicopter’s plant in Amarillo, Texas. Matt Hasik, Bell’s senior vice president of commercial programs, told AIN that the three main cabin sections will be joined within the next few weeks. He also said that the first carbon-fiber, all-composite main rotor blade for the 525 has been completed and is undergoing testing.
Textron’s TRU Simulation + Training subsidiary acquired ProFlight, a Carlsbad, Calif.-based FAR Part 142 training center specializing in the Cessna CitationJet and Conquest, as well as Pro Line 21 avionics. Since it was founded in 1988, ProFlight has trained thousands of pilots and continues to grow “as its training model appeals to a broad range of pilots, from owner operators to corporate aviation departments.” ProFlight will continue to operate from its Carlsbad facility.
Marenco Swisshelicopter is still preparing to fly its SH09 SKYe single-turbine helicopter. The company is finalizing testing of the major systems, a spokesman told AIN. “We have done a number of trials on the aircraft,” he said. In addition, the “whirl tower” test bench is running at full speed with the main rotor head and gearbox. Certification of the 5,840-pound-mtow rotorcraft is expected in the second half of next year.
Time is running out for the Lockheed Martin F-35 to make its international debut. The fleet remains grounded after the engine fire on June 23. “We’re working day and night to provide evidence to the airworthiness authorities, but we haven’t learned enough yet,” said Lt Gen Chris Bogdan, head of the F-35 Joint Program Office.
The Brazilian Navy gave AgustaWestland a $160 million-plus contract for the upgrade of eight Super Lynx Mk 21A helicopters. The Navy has operated the Lynx since 1978, receiving nine Mk 21s followed by nine Mk 21As. Five of the Mk 21s were later upgraded to Mk 21A.
Donald Lowe, 82, a former vice chairman and director of Bombardier Aerospace, died on June 26 in Toronto, following a series of illnesses. His aerospace career began in 1975 when he was brought in to run United Aircraft (later Pratt & Whitney Canada) following a long labor strike. During his tenure, P&WC launched the long-running PW100 series of turboprop engines. In 1986 he joined a financially troubled Canadair as president and CEO, as it was sold by the Canadian government to Bombardier, and oversaw the launch of the CRJ series of regional airliners.
Saab has completed integration of the MBDA Meteor BVRAAM on the Gripen. Next year the Swedish air force fighter will be the first to go operational with the new missile, according to Saab. The Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon will also carry the Meteor. The Gripen previously conducted the first eight developmental test firings of the ramjet-boosted missile.
A preliminary report into a February 20 elevator disconnect incident on a Virgin Australia ATR 72 showed that maintenance technicians at Sydney Airport initially misdiagnosed the extent of the damage that occurred during that February arrival. The twin turboprop was later cleared to re-enter service and flew 13 more trips before severe damage to the tail was discovered in the area where the horizontal and vertical stabilizers were joined.