GPS Location Downlink Completes Testing
AeroMechanical Services has completed testing of an upgrade to its automated flight information reporting system (AFIRS), which allows continuous streaming of GPS position and aircraft parameter data to ground crews in addition to the currently deployed “event-driven” reporting of position and selected aircraft data. The prototype design started several years ago with Hawaii’s Aloha Airlines, but development suffered an interruption due to the airline’s bankruptcy last year. Because of AFIRS’s use of the Iridium satellite constellation and its own GPS receiver, the system can report from any point on the earth to any point through its Internet delivery system.
As investigators analyze data from the Air France Flight 447 tragedy, calls have come for a “live black box,” a method of streaming flight information in real time to provide insight into incidents in the event that search crews cannot find an aircraft’s flight data and voice recorders.
Viking Picks Pilatus Subsidiary for Twin Otter
Viking Air, the Victoria, B.C. company that is resurrecting the Twin Otter originally produced from 1965 through the mid-1980s, finalized an agreement here at the Paris Air Show for Altenrhein Aviation to become the airplane’s first authorized service center. Based at St. Gallen-Alternrhein Airport, the company performs EASA Part 145 maintenance services for business aircraft. Altenrhein Aviation was chosen in part because of its proximity to Switzerland’s Zimex Aviation, the Viking Twin Otter Series 400 turboprop’s launch customer. Certification of the airplane is expected next month.
Pratt & Whitney Chalks Up $590M Engine Deal
China Southern Airlines has picked the Pratt & Whitney PW4170 Advantage70 turbofan to power 10 Airbus A330 twin-engine widebodies. The deal is valued at $590 million, including a 10-year maintenance agreement. China Southern’s aircraft will be the first P&W-powered A330s to enter service in China.
Signing the contract were Todd Kallman, P&W president for commercial engines and global services, and Dong Suguang, vice president of China Southern. Kallman emphasized that the Advantage70 version brings 2 percent more thrust, a 1-percent cut in fuel burn and increased durability. Moreover, maintenance costs are said to be reduced.
GE Chooses StandardAero for CF6 Overhauls
GE Aviation and StandardAero yesterday signed an $850 million material and licensing agreement that launches StandardAero into the CFM56 engine overhaul market. The agreement stretches through 2022 and covers CFM56-7Bs installed in WestJet Boeing 737s as well as authorization to seek other -7B engine MRO business from other operators.
The engine work will be done at StandardAero’s Winnipeg, Canada facility in a recently completed new building that also houses the company’s GE CF34 business. StandardAero plans to break ground shortly on an expansion to this building and a new test cell dedicated to the CFM56. The company plans to hire an additional 250 employees through 2012 for the CFM56-7B program.
The agreement covers full overhauls, repairs and maintenance, and the CFM program should be fully operating in 15 months, according to a StandardAero spokesman. Some engines will cycle through before then, he said. The agreement with GE Aviation is for StandardAero to become a new type of authorized facility called a designated fulfillment center for CFM56-7B engines.
UAG Seals Alliance With Siemens-PLM
Russia’s United Aircraft Corp. (UAC) announced a long-term strategic relationship with Siemens PLM Software under which UAC plans to standardize on Siemens’s Teamcenter software for its product data management (PDM) platform. It also plans to add Siemens’ NX software as one of its basic CAD/CAM/CAE applications. UAC projects such as the Superjet 100 airliner already use Siemens PLM software, but the new agreement builds on a long-standing relationship and outlines the principles and primary areas of cooperation between the companies.