The first Airbus A400M airlifter is set to be rolled out from the final assembly line at Seville, Spain, in June, but it won’t make its first flight until at least September. The program is now running more than six months late due to developmental delays with the large TP400 turboprop engines. The first flight of a TP400 on a C-130 testbed at Marshall Aerospace’s Cambridge, UK airfield has been delayed again until next month.
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicholas Sarkozy reached some significant–though little noticed–defense arrangements when they met in London late last month. The two countries agreed to seek a single joint contract for the in-service support of the Airbus A400M airlifters that both have ordered. If achieved, this will be the first such arrangement ever concluded.
The intense debate over the U.S. Air Force’s choice of a new tanker continues. Boeing claimed that the KC-767 was found to be “more survivable” than the Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) in the USAF evaluation. Northrop Grumman launched a new Web site to refute various allegations about its A330MRTT bid and ask why Boeing did not raise concerns about the selection process earlier.
Airbus in late February successfully tested an emissions-free fuel cell in flight. The hydrogen- and oxygen-based fuel cell system generated up to 20 kilowatts of electrical power on an A320 test aircraft, and the output was used to power the aircraft’s electric motor pump for the back-up hydraulic circuit that operates the aircraft’s ailerons.
Despite the continuing economic downturn and the aftereffects of September 11, the number of turbine business airplanes delivered last year surpassed the tally for 2000. According to figures compiled by AIN and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, airframers worldwide delivered 790 business jets and 332 business turboprops last year, compared with 758 jets and 267 turboprops in 2000.
Boeing is formally protesting the U.S. Air Force’s “surprise decision” in favor of the Northrop Grumman/EADS Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) for the KC-X tanker requirement. According to the Air Force, the keenly fought award is worth $35 billion for up to 179 KC-45As–the new, officially approved designation.
Aviation Communications and Surveillance Systems (ACSS) inked an agreement with Airbus to certify the Phoenix avionics maker’s T3CAS product in all Airbus single-aisle (A318/319/320/321) and long-range (A330/A340) airplanes. T3CAS is an integrated system that combines traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS) with terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS) capability and a mode-S transponder in a single line-replaceable unit.
Emirates Airline confirmed yesterday that it will start flying one of its first Airbus A380s nonstop between Dubai and New York JFK Airport on October 1. It claims to not yet know, however, whether or not that flight will actually represent the launch of the airline’s A380 service, as Emirates president Tim Clark continues to mull the possibilities for a still earlier entry elsewhere in a quickly expanding network.
British Airways last month announced plans to create a business-class service from London City Airport (LCY) to New York via Shannon, Ireland. The airline was forced to incorporate a tech stop due to payload restrictions associated with LCY’s 3,934-foot-long runway. British Airways said it will acquire Airbus A318s configured with 32 business-class seats to operate the service.
Airbus on February 1 successfully made what it billed as the world’s first flight of a commercial aircraft powered by synthetic fuel. The A380 flew from Filton, UK to Toulouse, France, powered by a liquid fuel processed from gas using the Fischer-Tropsch process. During the three-hour flight, the number-one engine was fed a blend of synthetic and jet fuels, while the remaining three operated on standard jet fuel.