The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has made progress in delivering some of the operational improvements that are envisioned by the NextGen ATC modernization effort. But to demonstrate those improvements sooner, the agency has also made “trade-offs” that could limit their overall benefit to airlines in the coming years, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The global rivalry between Airbus and Boeing is now firmly rooted on American soil. On April 9, Airbus broke ground on a new A320-series assembly plant in Mobile, Ala., its first U.S.-based production facility. Boeing announced a second-phase expansion of its 787 production facility two states away in South Carolina the next day.
The imminent merger of the freight operations of TWO Aviation and Flex Aero will create the largest express freight carrier in Brazil, Two-Flex. The new operation expects to command 60 percent of the country’s air cargo market, with 18 aircraft and 11 bases throughout the country. Flex Aero’s operations are stronger in the north of Brazil, and TWO’s in the center and south. “Now, I can go from the north of Brazil to Porto Alegre in the far south. Before, I couldn’t offer that,” said Flex Aero president Rui Aquino.
One of the highlights of last week’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany, was French start-up company Expliseat’s unveiling of a new economy-class seat that significantly cuts weight and engineering complexity. The new seat, called Titanium, tips the scales at 8.8 pounds per passenger, which the Paris-based firm claims is around half the weight of traditional airliner seats. This may translate into an estimated 3- to 5-percent fuel saving, or $300,000 to $500,000 per aircraft per year.
While most aviation safety sources have identified loss of control (LOC) as the leading cause of accidents in the past few years, controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) “is making a strong comeback,” according to Flight Safety Foundation fellow Jim Burin.
A remotely controlled ATC tower constructed by Saab for Norway’s Avinor air navigation service has passed the site acceptance tests that will eventually allow for a smoother fit into the Sesar air traffic management system, Europe’s version of NextGen, once final testing of the facility’s operations is completed.
Two German police-operated helicopters returning from a training mission collided near the ground in Berlin while landing on March 21. Both were Eurocopter models, one an AS332L1 Super Puma and the other an EC155B1. The pilot of the Super Puma lost ground reference in blowing snow and struck the smaller helicopter, killing the pilot of the EC155. Seven people on the ground were also injured–four seriously–mostly by flying debris. The two helicopters were participating in a police exercise being held near Berlin’s downtown Olympic Stadium.
Regarding the effects of sequestration on Flight Service Stations, contractor Lockheed Martin had this to say: “As we anticipated, it is taking time for our customers [the FAA] to determine how they will implement sequestration’s required cuts. We’re working closely with them as they explore a host of potential scenarios, although we still do not know exactly how our employees or many of our programs, including general aviation, will be affected.”
This video of the November 2011 gear-up landing of a LOT Airlines Boeing 767 demonstrates the teamwork of everyone on the ground and inside the aircraft, and makes a review of the incident worth five minutes of every pilot’s time.
Cessna is making rapid progress with its efforts to operate in China through joint ventures formed with China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. (CAIGA), the Wichita-based company said today at ABACE in Shanghai. The joint venture with CAIGA involves building Cessna 208 Grand Caravan EXs in Shijiazhuang and Cessna Citation XLS+s in Zhuhai for the Chinese market.