With the exception of the heavy jet category, charter flight demand seems to be tailing off at the end of the Northern Hemisphere summer vacation season. The latest forward-looking demand index from online charter portal Avinode shows demand dipping for light and midsize jets over the next 30 days.
AgustaWestland is flight-testing several aerodynamic improvements that promise to boost the performance of its AW609 tiltrotor. In fact, these modifications reduce the tiltrotor’s drag by about 10 percent and deliver a “significant” weight reduction, resulting in the performance increases. The company is also upgrading the AW609’s turboprop engines, avionics and flight-control system.
In the UK AAIB’s second update on the investigation into the August 23 Eurocopter AS332L2 Super Puma fatal accident, it appears the helicopter was “intact,” with “both engines delivering power,” when it struck the sea. The attitude was near level pitch with a slight right bank.
GE Aviation has reached agreements with IHI of Japan and Techspace Aero (Safran) to become joint-venture partners on GE’s new Passport engine, which will power the Bombardier Global 7000 and 8000. Under the agreements, IHI and Techspace Aero will be responsible for more than 37 percent of the Passport engine–IHI for the low-pressure turbine module, aerodrive systems, fan hub frame and aft fan case; and Techspace Aero for the booster module, lubricant tank and pump and the heat exchangers. Engine certification is expected in 2015.
Online flight-planning service FltPlan.com has launched a completely redesigned website. The new site, which the company said is simplified and easier to navigate, features all the same previous tools, such as weather/notams, airports and FBOs, area fuel prices, nearby airports, quick trip information, digital charts, and aircraft tracking. This is the first major redesign of FltPlan.com since it started 14 years ago. Pilots create more than five million flight plans annually using FltPlan’s website and apps.
Airbus has started market research focused on the needs and preferences of the world’s growing population of billionaires. Announcing the project in Moscow on September 9, Airbus Corporate Jets marketing director David Velupillai said that the investigation should be completed by October, with the results to be made public in a report during the following month. The study is intended to look beyond purely aircraft and travel, and will try to collect a broad array of data on billionaire’s lifestyles, habits and hobbies.
Over the past six years, Gulfstream Aerospace has enjoyed seven-fold growth in the Russia and CIS market, with the number of its aircraft based in the region rising from 11 in 2007 to 76 as of the end of June this year. According to Trevor Esling, the U.S. manufacturer’s senior vice president for international sales, this year’s first half proved to be the slowest period for Russia and CIS sales since the financial crisis of 2009 briefly unsettled this growth market. But he has high hopes for an uptick in the remainder of this year.
The fleet of Dassault Falcon jets in Russia and the CIS countries has doubled over the past five years, with more than 60 Falcon jets now in operation, according to Gilles Gautier, vice president of sales for Dassault Aviation. Seven new aircraft were delivered in the region in the first half of 2013 alone, accounting for 15 percent of Dassault Falcon’s worldwide deliveries.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) released a training video highlighting some near catastrophes that occurred after experienced pilots incorrectly entered takeoff data in the flight management computer aboard large airline aircraft, including a Boeing 747 and 767 and an Airbus A340.
New work rules governing occupational safety and health conditions for cabin crew will become effective September 26. The new rules will apply to anyone working aboard any aircraft that legally requires a cabin crewmember, whether operating under Part 121, 135 or 91 rules.