Despite recently acquiring the GA-ASI Reaper UAS from the U.S., the French air force has extended the service of its predecessor UAS, the Harfang, until at least the end of 2017. The Harfang UAS consists of IAI Heron 1 UAVs that are equipped with a communications and control system designed by Airbus Defence & Space (previously EADS Cassidian) in France. The French defense procurement agency, DGA, has recently signed contracts with main contractor Airbus D&S, and with IAI, for the upgrade and continued maintenance of the Harfang system.
Cessna has regained the title of fastest civil aircraft with yesterday’s receipt of the FAA type certificate for the upgraded Citation X+ and today’s delivery of the first customer aircraft. The midsize Citation X+ has a verified maximum speed of Mach 0.935 (617 mph/536 ktas), besting the Gulfstream G650’s Mach 0.925.
Mid Atlantic Sim Center, a newly formed helicopter training organization in Iceland, has signed an agreement with simulator manufacturer Indra for Europe’s first level-D full-flight simulator for the Airbus Helicopters AS350. Plans call for the FAA-/EASA-certified device, convertible between the B2 and B3 models, to be operational at the company’s new facility in Reykjavik in the first quarter of 2016.
Airbus Defence and Space has teamed with Textron to offer the Shadow M2 tactical UAV for a French army requirement that is expected to be launched in the coming weeks. France has been deliberating over a UAV for the army for some time, and has tested the Thales Watchkeeper extensively. Meanwhile, Sagem has offered the Patroller UAV. However, the ministry of defense has indicated it will shortly issue an open tender. Under the teaming agreement, Airbus D&S will install French mission equipment in the Shadow.
In a move that could help pave the way for low-boom supersonic flight over land, NASA aeronautics researchers are presenting their work on how people on the ground perceive low sonic booms this week in Atlanta at an annual event held by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. “Lessening sonic booms is the most significant hurdle to [civil] supersonic flight,” said Peter Coen, head of the high-speed project in NASA’s aeronautics research mission directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Vector Financial Services, an independent provider of aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul service, has extended its leasing and support agreements for two Vector-owned AS332L Super Pumas with Bond Helicopters Australia.
“The Vector team understands the level of support our operations need and is committed to delivering the quality of service we demand,” said John Boag, managing director of Bond Helicopters Australia. “We have been working with Vector on MRO activities for years and are pleased to extend this to the leasing program.”
Pacific Aerospace Resources & Technologies (Part) recently completed a major maintenance project in support of a South American presidential 737-500. The aircraft left Part’s facility earlier this week after a C-check and full interior restoration, new paint and satcom and IFE upgrade. Part, an ARC Aerospace Industries company and Boeing Gold Care Provider, is located in Victorville, Calif., and provides MRO services for Airbus, Boeing, Embraer and others from its 300,000-sq-ft facility.
EASA has certified a redesigned vertical bevel gear shaft for the Airbus Helicopters EC225, which was grounded for nine months in 2012 and 2013 after a series of in-flight failures. Manufacture of the redesigned gear shaft is under way for production aircraft and retrofits, with first installations (for both applications) planned for this year’s second half.
The new design provides corrosion resistance, compensates for residual stress and eliminates stress hot spots, eliminating all three factors that, combined, caused two unexpected vertical shaft failures.
Next month’s 2014 Farnborough International Airshow (July 14-20) will not be short on novelty, with 26 percent of exhibitors new to the biennial event. With economic conditions generally stronger even in Western markets that have been soft in recent years, and with continued and new military tensions around the world, the business context for this year’s show is arguably on more solid ground than it was for the 2012 event.
The organizers of this week’s ILA Berlin airshow claimed 1,200 exhibitors from 40 countries, and were expecting 200, 000 visitors, including public spectators on the last three days. The show had plenty to offer in the fields of civil aerospace, space and environmental solutions. However, defense exhibitors and attendees at ILA Berlin are mostly focused on German requirements. The problem is, the Germans are not buying anything.