Expectations of a late-2013 surge in new airliner deals were handsomely surpassed at last month’s Dubai Airshow (November 17-21), with aircraft orders (including the engines that will power them) exceeding a record-breaking $200 billion mark, as of press time. But business aviation also put on a strong showing, accounting for roughly a third of the 150 or so aircraft occupying a packed static display at the biennial event’s new Dubai World Central (DWC) site. The impressive purpose-built show venue closely replicates the appearance of the long-standing site at Dubai International Airport.
Airbus A320 family
After an exhaustive two-week search, local salvage divers recovered the flight-data and cockpit voice recorders from the Lao Airlines ATR 72-600 that crashed into the Mekong River in Laos on October 16. Divers initially lost the signal of the recorders on October 27 after the sonar and acoustical locating equipment provided by France’s Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses (BEA) ceased working due to excess usage in the turbid waters of the Mekong.
Last week Airbus delivered the first A320 family aircraft with the runway overrun prevention system (ROPS), an A319, to American Airlines. American is to equip all of its A320 family fleet with Airbus’s ROPS. The delivery coincided with FAA certification for A320 family ROPS technology. In August, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certified ROPS on the A320ceo (current engine option) family.
Skyone Maintenance Services has entered into an alliance with Lockheed Martin’s Kelly Aviation Center, a provider of engine maintenance, repair and overhaul services.
“Lockheed Martin’s Kelly Aviation Center’s expertise will help us provide our customers with a single center of MRO services for airframes and engines,” said Salim Sayani, Skyone CEO
The company is currently building a 225,000-sq-ft MRO facility in Fujairah, UAE.
Crane Aerospace & Electronics announced the approval of its SmartStem wireless tire pressure checking system on the Boeing 737NG. Crane said that its patented technology offers a way to check tire pressure quickly, accurately and without gas loss. The system consists of sensors and a handheld reader. The sensors replace the existing standard wheel fill stems and the reader electronically reads and stores tire pressure and temperature.
In May this year the French-U.S. joint venture CFM International delivered the 25,000th example of its CFM56 turbofan, which powers Boeing Next-Generation 737s and the Airbus single-aisle family. Last month the 10,000th CFM56-7B for the 737 family was delivered, while next month deliveries of CFM56-5s for Airbus will pass 8,500. As well as these two influential single-aisle aircraft lines, the CFM56 also powers the Airbus A340-200/300.
CFM International announced on the eve of the show that it had closed the sale of Leap-1A engines to Pegasus Airlines for its Airbus A320neo/A321neo orders. The Snecma-GE joint venture also gave an update on Leap-1A testing. Separately, the French state has announced a divestiture of at least 3.6 percent of shares in Safran (Snecma’s parent company).
Egypt’s Nesma Airlines, which operates two leased Airbus A320-200s, has announced a change of lubricant manufacturer as it seeks to combat the hot desert conditions involved in flying in the Middle East.
Three years ago, Nesma started using Air BP Lubricants’s High Performance Capable Turbine Oil 2197. According to Air BP Lubricants, “The recommendation to switch oils came from the aircraft’s former operator, who had previously experienced the added benefits of using BPTO 2197 in other aircraft.”
Airbus has “done really well with [A350-900] flight test [and] in the first phase has gathered a lot [of information],” according to executive vice-president and program head Didier Evrard. By the beginning of November, the first two A350-900 twin-aisle twinjets had logged more than 100 flights and over 500 hours of testing.
With initial running of the new Leap-1 engine on schedule in September, CFM International (CFMI) has embarked on an “unprecedented” level of testing that should involve 20 developmental units by the end of next year and seven of the remaining eight planned examples before 2016 (when a final powerplant will take part in a short exercise–possibly a Leap-1C blade-out check).