According to Airbus Military officials, the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) has won all the recent competitions for a large aerial tanker because of its superior airframe, coupled to a unique, high-technology refueling system. “We’re very proud of our in-house boom,” said Peter Scoffham, vice president for defense capability marketing.
Airbus’s new A330-200F freighter flew for the first time today, officially marking the start of a 180-hour flight-test and certification campaign with a four-hour test mission over Toulouse, France. This milestone flight conforms to a schedule that calls for first delivery of the first production example to launch operator, Etihad Crystal Cargo, next summer.
The first A330-200 Freighter last Friday emerged from the paint shop at Airbus’s Toulouse manufacturing complex as engineers ready the airplane for ground testing and transfer to the flight line. Airbus plans to hand over the airplane late this month to its flight-test department, which expects to fly it for the first time in November, on schedule.
The FAA today issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD) on Airbus A330s and A340s that requires replacing certain Thales Avionics pitot probes with certain Goodrich or newer-design Thales probes. The AD requires compliance within 120 days. It intends to prevent airspeed discrepancies, which could lead to disconnect of the autopilot and/or auto-thrust functions and consequent increased pilot workload.
The condition of the wreckage recovered from that Air France A330-200 that plunged into the Atlantic Ocean on June 1 indicates that the airplane broke apart upon hitting the water, not while in flight as previously hypothesized, according to an interim report issued by the French civil aviation accident investigation bureau (BEA) today.
The National Transportation Safety Board has launched investigations into two recent incidents in which airspeed and altitude indications in Airbus A330s might have malfunctioned, adding to the suspicion that an instrument failure could have led to the June 1 loss of an Air France A330-200 (Flight 447) in the Atlantic Ocean, killing 228 people.
Search teams have found the bodies of the captain and a flight attendant among the victims of the crash of Air France Flight 447, the company confirmed today. So far crews have recovered at least 50 bodies from the Atlantic Ocean out of the 228 aboard the Airbus A330-200 when it crashed in the early morning hours of June 1.
Virgin Atlantic Airways announced today that it signed a $2.1 billion firm contract to buy six Airbus A330-300s and lease another four from Netherlands-based lessor AerCap. The airline said it has financed all 10 deliveries via AerCap.
Orders for more than 1,400 A330s and A340s has been the Airbus reward for 15 years of continuous innovation, including the introduction of A340-600-technology flight deck, cabin, systems and structures upgrades across the range in 2002-04.
Gulf Air has selected the Rolls-Royce Trent 700EP turbofan to power 20 previously ordered Airbus A330 aircraft, along with a TotalCare long-term service agreement. With the spares, the order totals 44 engines for $1.5 billion. Deliveries are scheduled to start in 2012.