BAE Systems Regional Aircraft plans to extend its contract engineering work this year, raising the proportion of such revenues coming from third parties outside the BAE group to 92 percent. “The proportion has grown from 35 percent in 2010,” according to managing director Alan Fraser. “We have reshaped our engineering business and geared it for growth. [Our] skills, expertise and aircraft-design capability are [generating] a steady flow of new business.”
Dr. Forrest Bird received the 2012 Lindbergh Foundation annual award March 29. The award is presented to “an individual whose life’s work demonstrates a balance among technology, the environment and the quality of all life on earth.” Bird, who at age 91 remains an active pilot, invented the medical respirator in 1955 and went on to create more than 40 breathing-related medical devices. In 1970 he created the Babybird pediatric medical respirator, a device credited with reducing infant mortality for children with respiratory problems from 70 percent to 10 percent.
Hawker Beechcraft’s 400XPR made its first flight this morning, powered by freshly installed Williams International FJ44-4A-32 engines. The modification work was done by Sierra Industries of Uvalde, Texas.
In the first quarter, French aircraft manufacturer Dassault delivered 15 Falcons, versus nine a year ago. Dassault Falcon’s revenues thus increased by 66 percent year-over-year, to €644 million ($837 million). The company reported net orders for 10 Falcons, with no cancellations, in the quarter, down from 11 in the same period last year. By value, these orders represented €450 million ($585 million), a 29-percent increase.
Boeing unveiled a new “advanced technology winglet” design for the 737 Max on Wednesday, saying that it will provide up to an additional 1.5-percent fuel-burn advantage on top of the 10- to 12-percent improvement already advertised for the re-engined narrowbody.
Eurocopter’s three-year effort to revamp its EcoStar was unveiled earlier this year with a strong initial order book for more than 100 helicopters. The company expects certification of the $2.5 million single-engine EC130T2 later this year. “We listened to our customers,” said Janick Blanc, Eurocopter vice president for light helicopter programs.
Apparently, the company got an ear full.
Eurocopter is promoting a new performance class, “PC2 defined limited exposure” (PC2 DLE), for twin-engine helicopter takeoffs and landings at oil platforms and other elevated helipads, to minimize the risk in case of failure of one engine while overcoming the drawbacks of existing performance classes.
Encouraged by last year’s successful effort to secure three European lessors for 10 Air Nostrum CRJ1000s, Bombardier expects the trend toward more lease acquisitions of regional airliners to continue. For the Canadian airframer, attracting lessors will prove vital to the success of the new C Series as well, and perhaps most notably in China, where aircraft leasing remains a relatively new option.
BAE Systems is competing against Lockheed Martin to be the prime contractor for Korea’s forthcoming upgrade of some 130 F-16s. Attention has focused largely on the competition between Northrop Grumman and Raytheon to supply the AESA radar. But the Korean request for proposals also invited non-OEMs to bid as system integrator. Taiwan and the U.S. are also planning a similar upgrade to some 140 and 300 aircraft, respectively. Other F-16 operators may follow, making this a multibillion-dollar market.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) revealed two options to extend the endurance of the MQ-9 Reaper UAV, also known as the Predator B. Wing-mounted fuel tanks and a 22-foot wing extension could be installed in the field in the “near term,” according to the company. They would complement the modified main landing gear, announced previously, that increases the Reaper’s max takeoff weight to 11,700 pounds from 10,500 pounds.