Former U.S. Air Force pilot Sean Gillette announced yesterday the launch of a new “personal jet” program, the Saker S-1, a twin-engine two-seater capable of flying 1,600 nm and cruising at Mach 0.95. With twin vertical fins, tandem seating and short fighter-like wings and stabilizer, the S-1 brings to mind the Aviation Technology Group Javelin.
New details on the still-to-be-certified Eurocopter EC175 medium-twin helicopter program have emerged, including unexpected Chinese influence. Although the EC175/AC352 is a 50-50 joint program with China’s Avicopter, the Marignane, France-based manufacturer had long made it clear the two certification processes were distinct.
Bell delivered eight new helicopters in Russia last month, including five 429 light twins and a 407GX single. Two of the 429s will be configured for medevac for use in the St. Petersburg area.
Eurocopter has inaugurated its Systemhaus, a €100 million ($130 million) helicopter development center built at its existing site in Donauwörth, Germany. With a total floor area of 300,000 sq ft, it is the new workplace for about 900 employees previously located in Ottobrunn. The facility features research and test facilities that will be used notably for the still-under-wraps X9 program.
FedEx Express feeder carrier Empire Airlines expects to start flying passengers to Kauai and Lanai in Hawaii as a Hawaiian Airlines code-share partner by “mid-summer,” Empire CEO Tim Komberec told a gathering of reporters at last month’s RAA Convention in Montreal.
Sweden’s Braathens Regional has received a trial approval from the Swedish Airworthiness Authority for an electronic flight bag (EFB) Class 2 system based on the iPad, the airline announced in late April.
Braathens has equipped each of its 140 pilots with an iPad as part of the EFB system and has begun modifying its fleet of 17 Saab 340s, Saab 2000s and ATR 72s with power supplies to allow both pilots to use their iPad during all phases of flight.
Boeing says it has finished installing a battery system modification on the first 50 delivered 787 Dreamliners that were grounded pending the retrofit. Randy Tinseth, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of marketing, made the announcement in a blog post on May 29, reporting that all eight current 787 operators expect to return their Dreamliners to service within days and “we can’t thank all of them enough for their patience, partnership and support” during the grounding of more than three months.
UPS MD-11 pilots and controllers at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey started communicating by text messages in May under the Federal Aviation Administration’s data communications (data comm) departure clearance (DCL) trials program. The FAA expects United Airlines, British Airways and other carriers will begin participating this summer.
With airliner order backlogs at Airbus and Boeing running to five or six years, the problem of keeping the complex global supply chain on track and in sequence is, some might say, a nice problem to have. But a problem it is, nonetheless, because while it suits the world’s dominant airframers to keep cash-yielding deliveries flowing quickly, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it suits suppliers equally well to ramp up output rates with the investment spikes this requires.
A switch from composite to titanium for the inner walls of the thrust reversers on the Boeing 737 Max has allowed designers to increase the fan diameter in the airplane’s CFM International Leap-1B turbofans without a proportional increase in the size of the nacelle. The relatively minimal growth of the nacelle means Boeing could keep its original plans for coping with the small amount of ground clearance margin available while optimizing thrust levels, explained 737 Max program vice president and general manager Keith Leverkuhn.