A preliminary factual report released today by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau recounts a laudable effort on the part of the five-member flight crew to land the Qantas A380 stricken by the uncontained failure of one of its Rolls-Royce Trent 900 turbofans over the Indonesian island of Batam on November 4.
Sales transactions of pre-owned business jets and turboprops, as well as turbine helicopters, posted healthy increases from a year ago, according to data released yesterday by business aviation information firm JetNet. From January through October 31, business jet sales transactions climbed by 16 percent, followed by turbine helicopters (up 15.2 percent) and turboprops (up 4.5 percent).
Taking advantage of the big stage at the NBAA Convention last month, Piper Aircraft introduced its evolved and renamed PiperJet Altaire, showing a mockup of the redesigned fuselage and cabin interior and describing the aircraft as “the next step” in the evolution of its single-engine very light jet program.
Compared with August 2009, there were fewer used business jets for sale in August this year, according to statistics compiled by JetNet (Booth No. 8401). There were also slightly more turboprop aircraft on the preowned market and almost exactly the same number of turbine helicopters for sale at the end of August 2009 and 2010, but slightly more piston helicopters on the market this year.
Business jet engine programs this year seem to be moving slowly, with little progress to report. Some–like the Snecma Silvercrest–have not been officially launched yet and are still looking for an application. Most news comes from derivative engine programs at Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney Canada and Williams International.
A new General Electric turboprop engine, derived from the 7,500-shp GE38-1B turboshaft engine, could become available by the middle of the decade. GE has designated the new engine study CPX38, and is basing it on the turboshaft that will power the U.S. Marine Corps’ new heavy-lift helicopter, the Sikorsky CH-53K. This could mean that the CPX38 would be in the 5,000- to 6,000-shp range.
Among turbofan manufacturers, Williams International remains tops with AIN readers for the support it provides to operators. Rolls-Royce, combined into one listing this year for the first time instead of being separated into R-R and R-R Deutschland, takes second place and, by barely a gnat’s whisker, bumps Pratt & Whitney Canada to third place.
U.S. energy group Solena is accelerating its efforts to establish a plant in the London area that from 2014 could be turning 500,000 metric tons of domestic waste into jet fuel each year. Its GreenSky program has already attracted its first customer in British Airways, which has committed to buying the new factory’s complete annual output as part of its goal to halve its total carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.
Turbofan manufacturers are developing cleaner, quieter and more environmentally friendly engines that will meet current and future regulatory requirements. That fact should come as no surprise, since they have been doing this all along as the natural byproduct of efforts to build more fuel-efficient and quieter turbofans for a market that demands nothing less.
The FAA awarded contracts valued at $125 million to several manufacturers to develop and demonstrate technologies that will reduce jet aircraft fuel consumption, emissions and noise.