Six years ago, the team from Airbus Military promoting the A400M came to the Paris Air Show full of confidence and good intentions. Germany had just confirmed its order for 60, finally launching the program after years of negotiations. Italy and Portugal dropped out, leaving a total requirement of 180 aircraft for six European countries (seven, if you count Luxembourg taking one aircraft).
Less than three months ago, on March 24, General Electric’s newest engine, the GEnx-2B, took to the air on the company’s Boeing 747 flying test bed, marking another milestone in the development of its latest and most advanced civil powerplant.
In both engineering and visual terms, the open rotor is a huge departure from the turbofans that power today’s aircraft. As such, Rolls-Royce believes its market acceptance will involve a comprehensive understanding of the operational environment in which it will function.
Rolls-Royce’s development of an open-rotor engine for the next generation of midsize airliners has taken a giant leap forward after wind-tunnel tests revealed its design would comfortably meet current Stage 4 noise regulations.
With the A380 very-large airliner firmly established in production and airline operation, Airbus is now hard at work on its next project: the three-model A350XWB twin-aisle twinjet family. It is about to begin production detailed design for
the mainly carbon-fiber aircraft, which is competing against the Boeing 787 and which Airbus claims also could replace the larger Boeing 777.
Boeing took a crucial step toward first flight of the 787 on May 21, when it executed the first all-electric start of a twin-aisle commercial jetliner and completed the Dreamliner’s first engine runs. During some 40 minutes of testing, the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 turbofans operated at various power settings to ensure all systems perform as expected.
Researchers across Europe have made substantial progress in their pursuit of the cleaner, more fuel efficient engines that will be needed if air traffic is to continue growing without its environmental impact becoming unacceptable.
The NTSB has issued an “urgent” safety recommendation calling for a redesign of the Rolls-Royce RB211 Trent 800 Series engines in Boeing 777s after two separate reported incidents of thrust rollbacks due to ice accumulation on the engines’ fuel/oil heat exchanger (FOHE).
The FAA published a revised Airworthiness Directive today for Boeing 777-200s and -300s equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent 800 engines. The new AD adds further procedures to prevent ice buildup that can clog fuel lines.
Boeing resumed production of 787 Dreamliners yesterday as it joined the major assemblies of the fifth airplane designated for flight test, the company announced today. Production had ground to a virtual halt for some two months as workers replaced thousands of improperly installed or nonconforming fasteners in the prototypes’ fuselages.