U.S. government procurement officials issued a “much improved” school report card on the management of the F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter program. Speaking to reporters after the annual conference of customer chief executives in Fort Worth, Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s under-secretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, said there was “a remarkable change of tone” at the meeting compared with the one he attended a year ago. Lt. Gen.
Boeing and the U.S. Army completed the first flight of an enhanced medium-altitude reconnaissance and surveillance system (Emarss) aircraft in late May. The modified Beechcraft King Air 350ER is the first of four Emarss engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) aircraft that Boeing is developing for the Army.
India’s small-but-strategic South Asian neighbors, including Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, will procure around 30 helicopters in different categories in the next five years, according to an internal study conducted by Sikorsky.
While Indian military helicopter procurement plans are for more than 1,000 helicopters by 2020, including light utility, attack, Mi-17 medium transport, heavy-lift and multi-role platforms, even as its GDP grew by over 6 percent last year, Bangladesh has the largest budget for procurement in the Indian periphery.
On May 21, surrounded by crowds of eager attendees at EBACE (European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition), Pilatus chairman Oscar Schwenk called for the unveiling of Pilatus Aircraft’s long-awaited new twinjet project, the PC-24. When the black curtain dropped amid clouds of dry-ice-induced smoke to the theme song from the Superman movie, the fuselage mockup of the PC-24 was revealed.
It takes 70,251 rivets and 5,000 man-hours to fabricate a Pilatus PC-12 single-engine turboprop, and when each PC-12 rolls into the final assembly process in Halle 9 at Pilatus’s Stans, Switzerland factory, the precise time and date when the airplane will be finished is noted on a label attached to the fuselage. This is no rough estimate, and Pilatus (Chalet A122) means exactly what the label says, according to Pilatus sales and marketing executive Fred Muggli.
Under a memorandum of agreement signed on June 4, Rockwell Collins and Avic subsidiary Beijing Bluesky Aviation Technology will form a joint venture to design, manufacture and market commercial flight simulators. The joint venture should begin operating by the end of the year, pending a final agreement and regulatory approvals. Products offered by the venture will serve training needs for regional, narrow- and widebody airliners in China and around the world, including training devices and full-flight simulators.
Airbus began the 2,500-hour flight-test program for its new A350XWB when the new long-range widebody took off for the first time at almost exactly 10:00 a.m. local time in Toulouse, France, on Friday. The eagerly awaited first flight over southwestern France lasted slightly more than four hours and the twinjet, powered by Rolls-Royce’s Trent XWB engines, safely touched down back in Toulouse at 2:05 p.m.
The 2013 Paris Air Show–the 50th since the biennial event started in 1909–opens on Monday with its exhibitor count at a 10-year high of 2,200 companies from 44 countries. Much of the pre-show excitement this week has been built on expectations that Airbus might take the opportunity to give its new A350XWB airliner a high-profile public debut.
The FAA has released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would allow many more operators to continue flying below decision altitude/decision height or minimum descent altitude (DA/DH or MDA) during IMC when equipped with enhanced flight vision systems (EFVS). Such systems generally use infrared sensors to deliver real-time images of the external view to cockpit displays, and the new rules would not apply to synthetic vision systems. Millimeter-wave radar could also be used for future EFVS operations.
British Helicopter Association CEO Peter Norton has urged UK authorities to abandon plans for new restrictions on rotorcraft operations over urban areas following the January 16 accident in which an AgustaWestland A109 Power crashed in central London. The crash prompted British Prime Minister David Cameron to order a review of helicopter operating rules, and an Air Accidents Investigation Branch inquiry is in progress.