A decisive milestone was reached yesterday as the solar-charged, electric-powered Solar Impulse successfully completed the second-to-last leg of its Across America mission by landing at Washington Dulles International Airport–locally it was Sunday, June 16 at 12:15 a.m.–stimulating renewed enthusiasm for discovery and innovation.
CFM International claims it is behind a revolution in the use of advanced materials for its Leap series of engines for single-aisle aircraft, that gives it a durability and maintainability edge over the competing Pratt & Whitney PurePower geared turbofan.
The Tech 800 core engine demonstrator made its first run last month at Turbomeca’s Bordes, France headquarters, the company announced last week. A high-pressure spool for the 1,100-shp engine class, the Tech 800 is a precursor to the engine manufacturer’s TM800 Arrano. The Arrano turboshaft will power the Eurocopter X4 medium twin, a Dauphin successor planned for 2017.
The massive, gangly Solar Impulse landed at 12:30 a.m. in Phoenix on Saturday, having completed the first leg of the solar-powered airplane’s Across America mission. The flight departed Moffett Airfield in Mountain View, Calif. on Friday at 6:12 a.m. PDT and landed at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Saturday at 12:30 a.m. MST.
The flight took 18 hours and 18 minutes, all powered by 12,000 solar cells mounted in the wings, driving four 10-hp electric motors and propellers. To fly at night, energy is stored in 881 pounds of lithium-ion batteries.
GAMA and NBAA joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Transportation and coalition sponsors of the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) in signing a joint resolution on Tuesday launching “Farm to Fly 2.0,” an initiative to encourage the development of jet biofuel in the U.S.
Boeing took a significant step toward returning the 787 to service on Friday, when it flew Dreamliner Line Number 86 on a one-hour, 49-minute mission to demonstrate conformity of its battery system modification to U.S. certification authorities.
Boeing executives expressed what they consider a “reasonable expectation” that the 787 Dreamliner would return to service in a matter of a few weeks at a briefing last Friday in Tokyo during which they detailed the company’s plan for certifying a solution to the “issues” surrounding the airplane’s lithium-ion batteries. However, Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner and 787 chief program engineer Mike Sinnett acknowledged that the timing will depend completely on the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s certification schedule and a smooth execution of the testing.
Southeast Turbines has completed renovating its 10,000-sq-ft facility at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. The FAA-certified repair station specializes in the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A, PT6T and JT15D. Southeast Turbines’ capabilities include on-wing hot-section inspections, compressor-turbine disk reblade, true and balance, small exit duct rework to include “zero grind” hot-section installations, unscheduled power section repairs, fuel nozzle cleaning/recertification and bleed valve overhaul.
A day after revealing its intention to obtain approval to operate its R44 and R22 piston engine helicopters on unleaded fuel (see article on page 10), Robinson Helicopter (Booth No. C23) shared its strategy for doing so. CEO Kurt Robinson and engineering vice president Pete Riedl spelled out the steps required and the technical issues involved.
EaglePicher Technologies expects to certify a lithium-ion main-ship aircraft battery by year-end, according to Ron Nowlin, vice president and general manager of EaglePicher Aerospace Systems. The battery has been selected for a jet, but Nowlin was unable to reveal the OEM and said he “cannot confirm” news reports “that we are doing any work for Cessna.”