Sierra Nevada Corp. has selected Parker Aerospace Gas Turbine Fuel Systems division’s thermal-management equipment to cool and heat its autonomous landing system (HALS) on Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. Sierra Nevada has a contract to fulfill the degraded visual environments (DVE) operational-needs statement issued by the U.S. Army aviation-networks mission-planning program directorate.
By the beginning of June, the first 84,000-pound-thrust Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine had flown for more than 40 hours aboard the Airbus A380 flying testbed (FTB) as Airbus moves toward a first A350 flight “probably around mid-2013,” according to engine program director Chris Young. Trent XWB Serial Number 20990 had logged 43 hours and was scheduled to make two more flights before replacement by S/N21000, dubbed FTB2 (see box).
Ten Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines–serial numbers (S/Ns) 20990, 20001 through 20006, 20009 and 21000–are being used in the test program.
•By last month, some 43 hours’ testing had been accumulated during 14 of 16 scheduled flights with initial flight-test unit S/N 20990, which will subsequently be available to provide spare capacity. Rolls-Royce says the powerplant is its most highly instrumented flight-test engine ever.
The intake of titanium by the global aviation industry is predicted to rise dramatically over this decade with the production of next-generation commercial jets made of advanced construction materials gearing up. Today, this industry consumes 40 percent of the world’s titanium supply. According to an independent analysis, demand for titanium in commercial aviation will increase from 42,000 metric tons in 2011 to more than 49,000 tons this year and then rise to 72,000 tons in 2016.
Airbus has completed the first phase of the A350XWB flight test bed (FTB) campaign, including testing of the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine and Goodrich nacelle system. The campaign comprises more than 100 hours of running time and nearly 80 flight hours.
Late last month Airbus froze the design of its A320 New Engine Option (A320neo), the newly re-engined version of its established single-aisle family that will serve as an interim step toward an all-new narrowbody design that may not enter service until 2030 or later. The European manufacturer has just released its “master development schedule,” which foresees first flight by the end of 2014.
Airbus is still aiming at a first-half 2014 entry into service for the new A350XWB twin-aisle twinjet, with executive vice president and program head Didier Evrard conceding that the schedule is “tight, but feasible.” In late May, he said the immediate challenge was to complete the first airframe for ground testing and overseeing the supply chain.
Airline demands for range and payload characteristics better tailored to their specific needs have prompted a shift in how Boeing approaches optimization of the various airplanes within a given family.
Rockwell Collins (Hall 4 F9) continues to gain share in the air transport market, with a number of new regional jets featuring the company’s avionics, and Boeing’s 787 and the upcoming Airbus A350XWB also incorporating significant amounts of the company’s products.
Rolls-Royce will not be rushing to spend the proceeds from selling its 32.5-percent equity and program shares in International Aero Engines (IAE) to Pratt & Whitney (P&W), according to civil aerospace president Mark King. The $1.5 billion cash sum will be retained for general corporate purposes, said the company, which is making a “modest” financial investment in P&W’s PW1100G-JM geared turbofan (GTF) powerplant offered for the re-engined Airbus A320neo program.