Resistant to grounding their Boeing 787-8s for a even a short time, several operators have indefinitely deferred addressing fixes to some of the airplanes’ last remaining glitches, presenting the manufacturer with an “issue” as it marches toward its target dispatch reliability rate of 99.6 percent.
Australian officials have once again amended the search area for the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 missing since March 8. “Specialists have analyzed satellite communications information–information that was never initially intended to have the capability to track an aircraft–and performed extremely complex calculations,” said Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss. “The new priority area is still focused on the seventh arc, where the aircraft last communicated with a satellite. We are now shifting our attention to an area farther south along the arc based on these calculations.”
Boeing is targeting the third quarter for the maiden flight of a 767-2C “provisioned freighter” that will become one of the first U.S. Air Force KC-46A aerial refueling tankers. The company acknowledged encountering what it described as typical issues in the tanker’s development, and that it slipped an internal goal to fly the aircraft for the first time in June.
Boeing has added to its portfolio of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft a “multi-int” platform based on the Beechcraft King Air 350ER. The company’s Reconfigurable Airborne Multi-Intelligence System (Ramis) was originally developed as a demonstrator for the U.S. Army and is now being offered to customers.
The production system that promises to support a reduction in final assembly times for the Boeing 737 from 10 to nine days this year should become still more efficient with the introduction of a new automated panel assembly line (PAL) by early 2015. Built by Mukilteo, Washington-based Electroimpact, the PAL fastens stringers to wing skin panels at twice the rate Boeing now can manage using the current process at the 737 plant in Renton, Washington. Electroimpact designed the machine to “normalize” to the panel with an array of lasers that “see” the surface without touching it, allowing it to follow the panel curvature or contour. The process improves accuracy, consistency and “repeatability,” according to Boeing.
Jeppesen has released its FliteDeck Pro electronic flight bag (EFB) software for Microsoft Window 8 tablets, and Delta Air Lines is implementing FliteDeck Pro for 11,000 pilots on Microsoft Surface 2 tablets. FliteDeck Pro for Windows 8 offers worldwide navigation charts, including data-driven en route information and terminal charts, all of which are updated with “changes-only” content to facilitate faster updates. Unlike the current version of the iPad, the Surface tablet allows users to run two applications in split screens.
The aviation industry will see as many as 1,000 airplanes exit commercial fleets each year within the next decade as a combination of demographics conspire to create a retirement “tsunami,” IFC International principal Richard Brown told delegates attending the June 15 to 17 Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association (AFRA) annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
Ameco Beijing has obtained an AS/EN9100 certificate of registration issued by SAI Global validating that it operates a quality management system that complies with the requirements of ISO 9001:2008+AS9100C, EN9100:2009, in the scope of design and manufacturing of installation kits for aircraft modification and cabin parts. The AS/EN9100 is a widely adopted and standardized quality management system suited for design, development and manufacturing in the aerospace industry.
Industrial bioscience company Amyris and energy giant Total have begun to market a so-called drop in jet fuel containing a 10-percent mix of renewable farnesane under a newly revised ASTM standard, the companies announced Monday. Amyris and Total have worked closely on approval of the new fuel with Boeing, which, according to the airframer’s managing director of environmental strategy and integration, Julie Felgar, wants to see biofuel account for a 1-percent share of the total jet fuel supply within 10 years.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) each granted the Boeing 787-9 an amended type certificate, paving the way for Air New Zealand to take delivery of the first production example early this summer, Boeing announced on Monday morning. The FAA also has granted Boeing an amended production certificate, validating that the Boeing production system can produce 787-9s that conform to the design. EASA accepts FAA oversight of Boeing production certificates, just as the FAA accepts EASA oversight of European manufacturers’ production certificates.