Lockheed Martin has described progress in the F-35 development program, and solutions to some of the problems that have recently been identified. Having exceeded the planned flight-test sorties and test points in 2011 by 15 percent, the company is hoping for similar gains this year. Of the 59,585 test points scheduled for the development phase through 2016, just over one-fifth had been flown by the end of December.
The U.S. military has awarded contracts for UAVs to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) services potentially worth nearly $1.5 billion. The main beneficiary appears to be AAI Unmanned Aircraft Systems, which proposed the Australian-built Aerosonde small unmanned aircraft system.
Italy is the latest country to offer to pool or share military pilot training with other air forces. “We have many years of experience, and were the first to introduce the practice of ‘downloading’ training from more expensive platforms,” said Col Luca Capasso, deputy chief of the T-346 program office. Alenia Aermacchi has provided the new Italian training system as a package that includes the new T-346 advanced jet trainer and all the ground-based training. The contract was signed in late 2009.
The EASA has issued an emergency Airworthiness Directive (AD) calling for inspections of all Eurocopter EC135s after a crack was discovered on the lower hub-shaft flange of a main rotor hub shaft on one of the light twin-engine helicopters. In issuing the emergency order, the agency wants to avoid crack propagation, which could cause hub failure.
A former Cessna employee has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for selling stolen aircraft parts on eBay and was also ordered to pay $130,000 restitution. Diego Alejandro Paz-Teran (35) of Wichita pleaded guilty to one count of interstate transportation of stolen property. In his plea, Paz-Teran admitted he stole aircraft parts from Cessna and sold them on eBay.
ExecuJet Australasia’s Australian operation at Sydney Airport recently received approval from the Bermuda DCA as a continuing airworthiness management organization. The MRO already held the Bermuda DCA approved maintenance organization designation. ExecuJet Australia also has the capability to draft BDCA compliant aircraft maintenance programs and minimum equipment lists for customer aircraft. Additionally, the MRO is currently undergoing an auditing process and anticipates IS-BAO approval next month.
Airbus has finished structural assembly of the aft fuselage destined for the first flying A350 XWB (MSN1) at its manufacturing site in Hamburg, Germany.
Aviation Partners announced yesterday that it received EASA STC approval for its high-Mach blended winglets on the Dassault Falcon 900 series. In the six months since the company obtained equivalent FAA approval, more than a dozen 900-series Falcons have been fitted with the winglets, which reduce drag and thus increase range by up to 7 percent, the company said.
Hawker Beechcraft announced yesterday that it “is implementing a furlough of its supply chain and final-assembly Premier IA and Hawker 4000 line in Wichita to synchronize its production line with availability of composite material from a key supplier.” While Hawker Beechcraft would not confirm the identity of this supplier, industry sources told AIN that the problem stems from epoxy resin supplier Cytec Engineering. At press time, Cytec had not responded to AIN’s inquiries seeking comment.
Tim White, Cessna’s vice president of sales for the Americas and his wife, Dianne, the company’s vice president of communications, have left the company, the Wichita-based airframer confirmed today. Tim White joined Cessna in 1998 as a Citation regional sales manager for Canada. Dianne White was hired just before last October’s NBAA annual meeting and convention to succeed Bob Stangarone, who joined Embraer.