For many aviation companies, the rotorcraft segment has provided some welcome stability against an uncertain economic environment. Global parts supplier Aviall is no exception and is responding to market conditions by focusing on end-customer support, and in particular reducing turnaround times for urgently needed parts and maintenance services.
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While the business aviation industry greets each morsel of positive economic news with cautious optimism, continuing financial indecision made 2012 another depressed year for turbine aircraft deliveries, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), which released its year-end delivery totals last month. Last year general aviation reached a milestone of sorts, according to GAMA chairman Brad Mottier. For the first time, he noted, shipments to North American buyers in all three airplane segments–jets, turboprops and pistons–dipped to 50 percent.
The major deficit-reduction mechanism that the U.S. government adopted as law more than a year ago but never really intended to use, will nevertheless take effect on March 1 after political parties failed to reach agreement on cutting costs. “Sequestration” forces the Department of Defense to slash $46 billion from its budget through the end of the fiscal year in September, and some $500 billion over the next decade.
Boeing 787 prototype ZA005 on Monday took to the air for the second time since the FAA cleared the company to fly the airplane on test missions over unpopulated areas.
Two days after the FAA cleared Boeing to fly 787 test missions over unpopulated areas, the company took prototype ZA005 on an “uneventful” flight over Washington state on Saturday. During the two-hour, 19-minute flight, 13 Boeing pilots and flight-test personnel used special equipment to observe and record details of the performance of the main and APU batteries during normal flight conditions.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is evaluating a request from Boeing to fly a 787 to test potential fixes to allow the airplane to re-enter service, the agency confirmed on Tuesday. The FAA gave no word on when it might respond to Boeing, however, nor would it confirm reports that the airplane could fly as early as this week.
Boeing has begun assembling 737NGs at a rate of 38 airplanes per month, the company announced Tuesday. Over the past two years, monthly production of the 737 has risen more than 20 percent, from 31.5 to 38 airplanes. Plans call for the rate to increase again to 42 airplanes a month next year.
Data from the flight recorder retrieved from the Japan Air Lines Boeing 787 that caught fire on January 7 while parked at Boston Logan International Airport shows that the airplane’s APU battery did not charge beyond its design limit of 32 volts, according to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.
Boeing has rolled out the first 777 built at the program’s increased production rate of 8.3 per month, or 100 airplanes per year, the company announced Thursday. Plans call for delivery of the airplane—a 777 Freighter—to Korean Air in February.
With 12 jet deliveries to completion centers and another 12 outfitted bizliners handed over to clients in 2012, Boeing Business Jets is celebrating what it calls “a monumental year.” Company president Steve Taylor described last year as “terrific,” noting that the company met its goal of “12 [green] and 12 [completed deliveries] in 2012.” In addition, with the delivery of eight new 747-8s for completion, 2012 was a record year for Boeing Business Jets in terms of delivery value, totaling more than $3 billion last year.