The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued an airworthiness directive requiring inspections and possibly modifications to the Airbus A380, stating that cracks discovered during fatigue testing could “reduce the structural integrity of the wing.”
Next week’s Dubai Airshow, running from November 17 to 21, is set to provide yet more evidence of the soaring ambitions of the Gulf region’s air carriers, and Boeing’s new 777X twinjet seems set to be the main beneficiary of their relentless fleet expansion plans.
Airservices Australia commissioned two new ground stations to support its national automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) network as the country’s first ADS-B mandate approaches. Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) requires that aircraft flying above 29,000 feet be fitted with ADS-B avionics by December 12.
Five U.S. airlines have signed on to participate in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Data Comm equipment initiative, bringing the effort to 80 percent of its targeted number of airframes, according to contractor Harris. The company revealed the first airline to commit–United–at the Air Traffic Control Association conference last month. Non-disclosure agreements prevented it from immediately identifying the others.
The Lockheed Martin Skunk Works revealed a hypersonic aircraft design that can take off and land conventionally using turbine-based combined-cycle engine technology. The company said it has been working with rocket propulsion specialists Aerojet for several years on the project, using company funds. Although the design could lead to a Mach 6 unmanned strike aircraft, Lockheed Martin has dubbed it the SR-72, after the company’s SR-71 Blackbird manned strategic reconnaissance aircraft that reached Mach 3 but was retired in 1997.
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou ceremonially welcomed the first Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft at Pingtung airbase on October 31. Three days later, the island’s first six Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters arrived from the U.S. by sea. Neither event was publicized by the U.S. government or the contractors, no doubt because of concern that mainland China would react adversely.
South Korea’s air force would be best served in the near term by a mix of fighters that includes an advanced version of Boeing’s F-15, according to retired U.S. Air Force general and former chief of staff Ronald Fogleman. The F-15 would provide needed combat capability to counter the threat posed by North Korea right away, whereas Lockheed Martin’s F-35 will lack full combat capability until around 2020 when its Block 3F software is installed and tested, he said.
Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy conducted the first flight of the MQ-8C Fire Scout on October 31. The unmanned helicopter, which is based on the Bell 407, flew twice that day at the Point Mugu range at Naval Base Ventura County, Calif.
On the first flight in restricted airspace, the MQ-8C flew in a pattern around the airfield for seven minutes to validate autonomous control systems; on the second flight, it reached an altitude of 500 feet while flying in a pattern. The aircraft was operated by a combined Navy/Northrop Grumman flight-test team located at the naval base.
Sky Limo Air Charter of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., announced receiving FAA approval on Monday to place an ex-Avantair Piaggio Avanti (N306MS) on its Part 135 charter certificate, as well as the successful completion of the first charter flight with the aircraft yesterday. N306MS is one of five Avantis repossessed by Avantair creditor Midsouth Services before the Clearwater, Fla.-based fractional company entered bankruptcy.
Propeller Investments recently signed a long-term development agreement with Paulding (Ga.) Silver Comet Field, a public-use general aviation airport located 24 miles northwest of downtown Atlanta. Under the agreement, Propeller is focused on developing the airport’s 750 acres, much of which includes airside access.