Farnborough International Airshow organizers are promising that both the static and flying displays for the 2012 air show will be as full as ever. Behind the scenes the display roster is fully booked, but airframers have yet to give clearance for all the aircraft to be publicly confirmed.
Boeing has flown the Phantom Eye high-altitude long-endurance (Hale) unmanned aircraft system powered by liquid hydrogen (LH2). The 150-foot-wingspan, all-composite aircraft flew for 28 minutes from the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards AFB in Southern California on June 1, reaching an altitude of slightly more than 4,000 feet. “This flight puts Boeing on a path to accomplish another aerospace first–four days of unrefueled, autonomous flight,” said Boeing Phantom Works president Darryl Davis.
A machinists strike at the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics plant in Fort Worth, Texas, which manufactures the F-16 and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, has stretched into a seventh week, with no sign of an end. Demonstrations were also reported at the Naval Air Station in Patuxent River, Md., where union members are also employed, and at Lockheed Martin’s corporate headquarters in Bethesda, Md.
Bell Helicopter signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) this week to open an authorized flight training school in China. The Fort Worth, Texas-based helicopter manufacturer will partner with Guanchen Aviation, which already manages an established Civil Aviation Administration of China-approved flight training school in Anyang, China.
Pratt & Whitney signed a definitive agreement with Russia’s Irkut on Tuesday to supply the PurePower PW1400G turbofan for Irkut’s planned MC-21 narrowbodies. The contract secures the PurePower engine—formerly known as the Geared Turbofan—as the only Western powerplant offered on the 150- to 210-seat series of jets.
Calgary-based WestJet announced on May 1 that it has signed a letter of intent to buy 20 Bombardier Q400s and take options on another 25. Expected to launch a new regional airline in the second half of 2013, WestJet continues to work on a six-year plan for regional service from various hubs in Canada. Its route network consisting of more than 70 destinations now includes hubs in Calgary and Toronto, as well as so-called focus cities of Edmonton, Winnipeg and Vancouver.
Airbus and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have reached the final stage of consultation over a final fix for both retrofit and so-called forward fit of replacement wing rib feet for the A380 following discoveries of cracks in a relatively small number of the parts by several operators.
Hawker Beechcraft filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 on May 3, and if activity at the recent European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition is any indication, the Wichita aircraft manufacturer may be down, but it is definitely not out.
On a warm morning in the Texas hill country about 70 miles west of San Antonio, Mark Huffstutler pushed the thrust levers forward and launched a re-engined Hawker Beechcraft 400XPR into the cloudy skies. The first flight on May 3 was the culmination of 14 months of engineering and mechanical work, much of it done by Huffstutler’s Sierra Industries, a modification shop located at Garner Field Airport in Uvalde, Texas.