The Northrop Grumman long endurance, multi-intelligence vehicle (LEMV) has made a 90-minute first flight, about one year behind schedule. The 304-foot-long optionally manned hybrid airship was released from tether at Lakehurst, N.J. on August 7, according to the sponsoring agency, the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command (USASMDC).
A group of Beechcraft King Air aficionados launched a new social website–KingAirNation.com–to consolidate King Air information and connect people interested in the popular twin-engine turboprop. “We’ve had such a great response,” said Danny Carpenter, director of marketing and a key player behind the new website. Features include a Facebook page, YouTube channel and Twitter page plus links to for performance, maintenance, travel, King Air stories, videos and more.
The NTSB has turned its attention to a fan mid-shaft in its investigation into the July 28 contained failure of a General Electric GEnx engine during a ground test run of an Air India Boeing 787 in Charleston, N.C.
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport-based Constant Aviation has completed its fifth winglet modification on the Citation X. According to the company, adding the winglet option allows the aircraft to climb directly to 34,000 feet in 29 minutes, compared with a 93-minute step climb without the winglets, increasing range by 160 nm. It also allows the Citation X to depart from high/hot airports with 1,200 pounds more payload or depart with the pre-winglets payload and fly 400 nm farther, according to Stephen Maiden, the MRO facility’s president.
Aviall Services has entered into an exclusive distribution agreement with Rolls-Royce for parts, modules and tooling for the RR300 turboshaft used on the Robinson R66. Deliveries of the R66 have already passed the 150 mark; the helicopter manufacturer expects deliveries to peak at several hundred per year, with annual flight hours reaching nearly 900,000 by 2020.
Astronics acquired Portland, Ore.-based Max-Viz, a developer and designer of enhanced vision systems for fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, for $10 million in cash last week. The ultimate price could rise to $18 million, if certain revenue targets are met over the next three years. Max-Viz enhanced vision systems are certified for installation on more than 20 business aircraft types, as well as more than a dozen turbine helicopters. The company also holds similar certifications for multiple piston aircraft.
The FAA has awarded a supplemental type certificate (STC) to JetBlue for installation of the ACSS XS-950 mode-S transponder on the airline’s Airbus A320 fleet. The XS-950 is certified to TSO-C166b to meet the FAA’s 2020 ADS-B out mandate. According to ACSS, “The XS-950 also supports ADS-B in capabilities, such as ACSS’s SafeRoute suite of applications. SafeRoute software products include Surface Area Movement Management (SAMM), CDTI Assisted Visual Separation (CAVS) and Merging and Spacing. Several SafeRoute applications are planned for installation as part of this program.”
Russian Helicopters is developing a “comprehensive avionics system” for situational awareness, autopilot landing and collision avoidance. It will be installed on all new Russian-made helicopters starting in 2015. The new “intelligent” system will inform pilots about hazards in the landing area. It will even enable the aircraft to hover above a given point and land automatically.
Russian Helicopters, which is redeveloping the Ansat with conventional (as opposed to the original fly-by-wire) flight controls, expects to achieve Russian certification in the fourth quarter, with serial production to start in January. The next step will be EASA certification, expected next year or in 2014. Russian Helicopters is developing a new fuel system to comply with European requirements.
AgustaWestland and Russian Helicopters have signed a “preliminary agreement” to jointly develop a new 2.5-metric-ton class (5,500 pound) single-engine helicopter. The aircraft will be smaller and less expensive than the existing AW119Ke Koala. It will compete with the Eurocopter EC130T2.