Rolls-Royce is “competing hard” with its Trent 900 offering to power the latest batch of 50 Airbus A380s selected by Gulf operator Emirates Airline, according to Trent fleet programs customer marketing head Peter Johnston. To date, the carrier has chosen only GP7200 engines from the General Electric/Pratt & Whitney Engine Alliance joint venture for its previously ordered 90 aircraft.
The stellar reputation of Martin-Baker (M-B) for saving lives has been tarnished by the inquest into the death of a UK Royal Air Force Red Arrows pilot. Flt Lt Sean Cunningham was killed on Nov. 8, 2011 when the MB Mk 10B ejection seat in his BAe Hawk T.1 jet trainer accidentally fired on the ground, and his parachute failed to open. The coroner who officiated at the three-week inquest returned a ‘narrative’ verdict that cleared the pilot of blame but was critical of M-B and the RAF.
The first three aircraft in Beechcraft’s Hawker 400XPR upgrade program are undergoing final airframe modifications, the Wichita aircraft manufacturer announced yesterday. The first customer aircraft had a Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics system installed last year as part of the upgrade, and it recently returned to Beechcraft for additional modifications, including the installation of winglets and Williams FJ44-4A-32 engines. The second and third aircraft are also receiving new engines and winglets. They are expected to be finished in the first half of this year.
Benoit Defforge has been promoted to managing director of Airbus Corporate Jets, the company announced yesterday. In his new role, he leads Airbus’s corporate jet business globally. He retains his previous role as head of Airbus Corporate Jet Centre (ACJC). Defforge joined Airbus in 2003 to improve the efficiency of the A330/A340 final assembly line and then led the development of the A380’s electrical systems before being tapped to head ACJC in May 2007.
Billed as the most advanced aircraft yet built by the UK aerospace industry, the BAE Systems Taranis UCAS demonstrator has also been one of the most elusive. Security surrounding the stealthy, unmanned combat air vehicle technology demonstrator has been extremely tight, with access strictly controlled. However, the UK government finally cleared BAE to release some details of the project this week, following the announcement on January 31 by the UK and France that cooperation on the next stage of a Future Combat Air System (FCAS) has been agreed.
The U.S. Air Force’s RQ-4B Global Hawk is among 16 acquisition programs that experienced problems during early testing last year that need to be corrected, according to the Pentagon’s Office of the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E).
For Brazil’s Embraer, a lot has changed in the 13 years since it first laid brick and mortar in Asia. The world’s major airframe makers now consider China, for example, the second biggest market for airliners in the world, and Embraer’s establishment, first, of an office in Beijing, and later, of a joint venture to build ERJ 145 regional jets in Harbin has proved prescient.
While the worldwide deepwater offshore energy boom fuels an increase in civil helicopter sales, that will translate into only modest sales gains within the U.S. market, research consulting firm Frost & Sullivan (F&S) predicts. In a recently released study, F&S predicts U.S. civil helicopter purchases will rise to $1.07 billion by 2020 from $890 million in 2012, accounting for approximately one-third of worldwide demand.
The worldwide supply of used aircraft is revisiting a level not seen in more than five years, despite a growing business jet population that saw nearly 4,000 enter service during that period. The U.S. claimed nearly half of those new aircraft deliveries, followed by Europe and Asia, South America and Africa and Australia. One might speculate that if a buyer is purchasing a business jet in a down economy there must be an excellent reason for the investment, and perhaps this is why only 200 of those delivered during this period have made their way onto the used market.
With its new name in place, Airbus Helicopters (née Eurocopter) is embarking on a transformation, according to CEO Guillaume Faury. He wants production processes to improve, has reshuffled priorities in research and development (R&D) and envisions a new market for the company’s product line.