Boeing will delay first flight of the 787, this time by as much as six more months, as it continues to grapple with slower-than-expected completion of work originally meant for suppliers, the company said today. It now expects to fly the first airplane some time during this year’s fourth quarter–at least 14 months later than originally planned.
News and issues concerning aerospace companies, including formations, acquisitions, mergers and financials; and announcements of significant aircraft sales, delivery statistics and personnel appointments.
Boeing announced today it has agreed to acquire Vought Aircraft Industries’ interest in Global Aeronautica, the South Carolina fuselage subassembly facility for the 787 Dreamliner. Upon completion of the transaction, Global Aeronautica will become a 50-50 joint venture between Boeing and Alenia North America, a subsidiary of Italy’s Alenia Aeronautica–a Finmeccanica company.
While the term space weather may at first invoke visions of Capt. Kirk and his starship Enterprise encountering ion storms, it is in reality something which affects radio communications, satellite transmissions and signals intelligence. And because HF radio is particularly susceptible, it often forces airlines and any other aircraft operating on polar routes to switch to different tracks, and sometimes make unscheduled fuel stops.
While the FAA is calling for “significant” continued growth “over time” for commercial aviation, it sees “strong growth in business aviation demand continuing, driven by a growing U.S. and world economy as well as a growing fleet of very light jets (VLJs).”
Mike Redenbaugh took over the CEO’s office at Bell Helicopter’s Fort Worth, Texas headquarters in May and now faces some formidable challenges–including getting the military V-22 tiltrotor program on track and completing certification of the BA609 civil tiltrotor in cooperation with partner Agusta Aerospace of Italy.
The Moscow Aerospace Salon, MAKS 2003, held in mid-August at the Gromov Flight Test Institute in Zhukovsky, attracted a dozen business jets and saw for the first time ever in Russia participation by U.S. Air Force aircraft (a B-52, F-15C/Es, F-16s, C-130 and KC-135) and daily flying by Italian and French display teams.
The business jet market still faces a delivery trough this year and next, but engine-builder Rolls-Royce foresees a slow upturn in 2005 that should continue at least until 2012.
Don’t expect an economic miracle from the business aviation marketplace over the next decade. Honeywell forecasters once again are predicting nothing better than “slow but sustained expansion” through 2013.
In its aerospace forecast released on Tuesday, the FAA predicts that the active general aviation fleet will increase by an average 1.3 percent annually, growing from an estimated 225,007 aircraft last year to 286,500 by 2025.
General aviation manufacturers enjoyed another record-breaking year last year, with billings totaling $21.9 billion, up 16.5 percent from the previous year, and worldwide shipments reaching 4,272 airplanes, up 5.4 percent. For the first time ever, shipments of jets exceeded the 1,000-per-year milestone, climbing to 1,138 last year.