The U.S. government spends more on its military each year than any other nation by far, but it will be a restrained Department of Defense (DOD) that presents itself at this year’s Paris Air Show. That’s because a previously obscure fiscal mechanism known as “sequestration” requires the DOD to cut $41 billion, or roughly 8 percent of its $527 billion base budget, by September 30, the end of the fiscal year on the government’s calendar.
Economy of the United States
Eclipse Aerospace announced late last week that it received FAA approval to double the life limit on existing Eclipse 500s and new-build Eclipse 550s to 20,000 hours/20,000 cycles. Cary Winter, senior vice president of engineering for the Albuquerque, N.M.-based company, said the extension “validated the strength and superiority of” the friction stir welding process used to assemble the aircraft’s fuselage and wings.
Automation in the aerospace industry remains fundamentally immature, and Boeing’s efforts in introducing robotics into 777 production might look like baby steps to the world’s automobile makers. But at Boeing’s widebody plant in Everett, Washington, those steps have translated into some considerable efficiency gains following the company’s transition some eight years ago to a moving, U-shaped assembly line and simultaneous implementation of so-called lean production processes.
Officials for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters charged Republic Airlines management last month with violating training rules and the recommendations of its FAA check airmen by firing the president of the carrier’s local Teamsters chapter, Craig Moffatt. In retaliation, the Teamsters pulled union volunteers involved in joint safety programs, crew scheduling, training and other functions for all three of Republic Airways’ regional subsidiaries–Republic Airlines, Chautauqua Airlines and Shuttle America.
Boeing sent yet another signal last week that its use of cheaper labor markets in the southeastern U.S. would only accelerate when it announced plans to open a new propulsion engineering center in Charleston, South Carolina, to support the 737 Max. The move comes as part of a wider plan encompassing the establishment of new centers for engineering design and out-of-production airplane support for Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Washington State and Southern California.
A 23-year-old male passenger aboard a May 27 Alaska Airlines flight from Anchorage to Portland attempted to open a mid-cabin emergency exit hatch on a Boeing 737 while the aircraft was beginning its initial descent to Portland. Passengers wrestled the man to the floor and subdued him until he could be handed over to police after landing. No one aboard the aircraft was injured. The Boeing’s hatch is designed so that cabin air pressure makes it unopenable in flight.
Aircraft completion company Greenpoint Technologies (Booth 1027) has unveiled at EBACE a one-twentieth-scale version of a 747-8 featuring a VVIP interior displaying the company’s signature design capabilities. The scale model’s interior appointments include Greenpoint’s Aeroloft, which provides additional passenger rest space above the main cabin, and the Aerolift, an elevator that allows secure access into the aircraft from the ground.
Boeing’s recent assertion that the appetite of capital markets to fund airliner orders has increased comes as especially welcome news to manufacturers and their customers at a time when other sources of funding seem under pressure. Export credit, in particular, now comes generally at higher interest rates and with tougher equity requirements. At the same time, such government-backed capital has become a hostage to global politics, according to Kostya Zolotusky, managing director for capital markets development and leasing at Boeing Capital.
Here at EBACE, Bordeaux, France-based Otonomy Aviation has announced a recent order for its Parabellum security system and CamHD high-definition camera system for an undisclosed Boeing 747-8 VVIP completion. This latest order brings to 25 the number of completions on which Otonomy (Booth 1826) has installed its security systems and high-definition cameras. “This is a great accomplishment for Otonomy Aviation,” said company CEO Guillaume Daudon.
Boeing on Tuesday morning officially delivered the first 787 since aviation authorities around the globe grounded the model nearly four months ago. Plans call for Dreamliner Line Number 83—an All Nippon Airways airplane—to take off from Boeing’s Everett, Washington, production site for Tokyo on Wednesday afternoon.