Daher Wins Pair of Major Deals at Paris’09
French aerostructures supplier and integrator Daher won a pair of major deals here this week as it positions itself among the industry’s more prolific suppliers since it bought Socata last year. Yesterday the company cemented its position as one of Eurocopter’s leading partners with a contract to develop and produce a new generation of airframes for its range of light helicopters. Daher expects to start production in early 2012 at its plant in Tarbes, France.
The new Eurocopter deal followed close on the heels of a separate contract Daher signed on Monday with Franco-Italian airframer ATR to supply wing tip panels for the ATR 72. Specifically, the contract calls for Daher to build composite wing panels and longitudinal members using automatic drape-forming processes. The contract calls for Daher to take over the work from Airbus at the end of 2010 and covers the full duration of the ATR 72 production program.
Biofuels Perform Favorably, Boeing Says
Boeing yesterday released what it called “extremely encouraging” results of an exhaustive study that shows that sustainable biofuels analyzed in a series of pioneering test flights performed favorably in comparison to petroleum-based fuel.
According to the study, Evaluation of Bio-Derived Synthetic Paraffinic Kerosene (Bio-SKP), a series of laboratory, ground and flight tests conducted between 2006 and this year showed that test fuels performed as well as or better than typical petroleum-based jet-A. The testing included several commercial airplane engine types using blends of up to 50-percent petroleum-based jet A-1 fuel and 50 percent sustainable biofuels.
Boeing managing director of environmental strategy Billy Glover said the test results show a potential for almost immediate commercial applications for blends of traditional jet fuel with Camelina, a particularly attractive source because it grows in temperate climates and does not compete for land
with food sources.
Euro Firms To Complete Electric Nosewheel
Thirteen European firms and research organizations are about to complete a $5.5 million, three-year research program on an electrically steered nosewheel. The European Commission-funded project, led by Airbus, is to end in December. It is known as DRESS, which stands for distributed and redundant electromechanical nosewheel steering system. Early conclusions hint at improved reliability, making the system compatible with automated ground guidance. The system is designed to be more reliable–at one failure every one billion hours, than current hydraulic ones. Therefore, such a nose gear could be part of an automated ground maneuver control. Currently, pilots have visibility minimums to meet to regain manual control in case of a failure–hydraulic systems are not reliable enough for automation.
In the research project, studied was an electric nose gear for an A230-sized aircraft. Maximum power was 1 kW. Maximum angular speed was 20 degrees per second. Shimmy avoidance was thoroughly investigated. The complete system is being tested on a purpose-built test bench.
Panama City Airport Runway Takes Form
Workers have just finished pouring the concrete for a 10,000-foot main runway at a massive new international airport scheduled to open next May near Panama City, Florida. Officials for the company in charge of the airport’s construction are here at the Paris Air Show (Hall 3 Stand A66) hoping to entice international aerospace companies to build facilities nearby. The St. Joe Company, one of Florida’s largest real estate developers, donated the land for the airport and owns 75,000 more acres surrounding the site that it will seek to develop for industrial use over the next several years.
Carved from more than 4,000 acres of Florida wetlands, the $410 million project has been derided by environmentalists who say that the new airport is destroying an environmentally sensitive area. Despite the criticisms, officials for The St. Joe company are touting the airport as the “greenest” ever built.