Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker officially endorsed the Boeing 777-9X yesterday here in Farnborough by converting the 50-airplane memorandum of understanding announced at the Dubai Air Show last year to a firm order. A separate agreement to take purchase rights for another fifty 777-9Xs could increase the value Qatar’s investment from $18.9 billion to $37.7 billion at list prices. Finally, Al Baker also announced his intention to order four 777 Freighters and place options on another four.
Air Transport and Cargo » Air Transport and Cargo Aircraft
News and issues relating to air transport and cargo aircraft.
Airbus is working hard to complete the A350 flight-test campaign, which it hopes to close by the end of August in preparation for formal European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) airworthiness approval in September. By early last week, the five A350 test aircraft had logged 2,189 hours during 516 flights that involved more than 1,360 take-off/landing cycles.
The UK’s North West Aerospace Alliance (NWAA), with more than 220 members and a combined turnover in excess of £7 billion, represents and supports about 25 percent of the UK aerospace industry. Many of its members have booths at the Farnborough Airshow in the NWAA area in Hall 1.
Canada’s Bombardier unveiled a cargo-passenger variant of its Q400 in Farnborough on Tuesday, adding one more choice to a growing list of configurations for the versatile turboprop.
Available in various arrangements, the combi version offers up to 8,200 pounds of cargo capacity and as much as 1,150 cubic feet of volume. Using Class C cargo compartments, the so-called high-cargo version can hold 50 passengers at a 32-inch seat pitch. Bombardier claims it has entered “advanced” discussions with a number of potential Q400 combi customers.
Messier-Bugatti-Dowty–part of Safran Group (Hall 4 Innovation Zone Stand A7), which is providing the landing gear for the Airbus A350–has signed a contract with Japan’s Kobe Steel to supply the French company with titanium forgings for the main landing gear of the Airbus A350 XWB.
The Bauhaus Luftfahrt aerospace think-tank in May unveiled a concept for a “propulsive fuselage” aircraft, opening a new possibility for fuel burn reduction. It is part of a European Union-funded project in cooperation with a number of research centers, as well as MTU Aero Engines and Airbus Group Innovations (OE13). The latter company is also studying a hybrid-power regional airliner with Rolls-Royce (Hall 4 Stand H3). Meanwhile, it is flying a hybrid-lift quadcopter demonstrator for unmanned military and civil missions, the Quadcruiser.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes has finally reached a period of stability after several years of struggle with the 787 Dreamliner and a three-year period in which it executed 15 production-rate increases across its product line, according to senior v-p and general manager of airplane programs Pat Shanahan.
In recent years, major aerospace companies such as BAE Systems, Boeing and EADS have all expressed interest in lighter-than-air and hybrid air vehicles, for ISR and remote heavy airlift applications. But apart from HAV, only Lockheed Martin (LM) has progressed beyond the drawing board.
In the 1990s, prompted by Fred Smith of Federal Express, the renowned Skunk Works in Palmdale, California, studied concepts for a huge cargo-carrying hybrid named the Aerocraft.
Not to be confused with the Aerocraft that was designed by the Skunk Works in the 1990s (see box, “The Road Not Needed”), the Aeroscraft is promoted by Aeroscraft Corp., which is led by entrepreneur and inventor Igor Pasternak. It is a very large rigid airship for cargo transport that Pasternak proposes to build in two sizes. The ML866 would be 555 feet long and carry 66 tons; while the ML868 would be 770 feet long and carry 250 tons.
The two huge hangars at Cardington airfield, 50 miles north of London, stand as witness to the golden age of the airships in the 1930s. Inside one of them, a successor to those giants of the sky is being prepared for flight. British company Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) is pursuing the goal held by so many proponents of lighter-than-air (LTA) and related technology for so many years. The goal of revolutionizing the air cargo market–and maybe also the persistent surveillance market–with buoyant lift.