“A new informal agreement” by European transport ministers has “watered down” a proposal by the European Commission for better prevention of aviation incidents and accidents, according to a June 10 statement issued by the European Cockpit Association (ECA). The pilot professional association said key issues altered include provisions for non-punitive mandatory and voluntary reporting, as well as the obligations of EU member states to ensure adequate safety oversight.
The UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) released a report in early June detailing how a crew approaching Scotland’s Glasgow Airport (EGPF) flew through an assigned altitude by inadvertently activating the “go-around” button on a Beechcraft King Air 200 just as the autopilot was about to capture a preset altitude. The ensuing confusion during the nighttime IMC incident was compounded by the specific cockpit setup of the King Air they were flying, which was different from the version they normally operated.
John Garrison, president and CEO of Bell Helicopter, announced yesterday morning at the Paris Air Show that it is developing a new “short, light single” (SLS) helicopter that will be powered by a Turbomeca Arrius 2R turboshaft engine. The new, “clean sheet” aircraft, which Garrison said is expected to fly next year, will be the first Bell helicopter to be powered by a Turbomeca engine. Certification of the new helicopter will take place “as quickly as possible” after the first flight.
Embraer launched the new E2 version of its E-Jets yesterday with firm orders, purchase rights, options and letters of intent totaling 350 airplanes from seven customers.
Russian aviation will make a splash at this year’s Paris Air Show with the fourth-generation-plus Su-35 multirole fighter flying unrivaled by anything comparable from the U.S. military. In fact, there will be no U.S. government-owned military airplanes either flying or on static display because of the automatic “sequestration” budget cuts roiling the Pentagon. This is the first time since 2001 that a Russian fighter will take part in the Paris flying display and the first time that a U.S. fighter is absent from the event since 1991.
A student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is working on a Capstone project to complete his master’s degree. Specifically, Mitchell Serber’s research looks at precursors to loss of control in flight (LOC-I). To take part in his 10- to 15-minute survey, pilots must currently be qualified on a U.S. Part 121/125 carrier’s multi-engine turbine-powered aircraft. The aircraft must also be autopilot equipped.
Airbus began the 2,500-hour flight-test program for the A350 XWB when the new long-range widebody took off for the first time at almost exactly 10 a.m. local time in Toulouse, France, on Friday. The eagerly awaited first flight over southwestern France lasted slightly more than four hours and the twinjet, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, touched down safely back in Toulouse at 2:05 p.m.
Regardless of whether this week’s 50th Paris Air Show (June 17 to 23) sees a surprise fly-past by the newly airborne Airbus A350XWB widebody, the biennial event will open with expectations of yet more airliner orders further bolstering backlogs. Both Airbus and Boeing, which will display two 787 Dreamliners, are expected to announce further orders.
Airbus has taken steps to resolve what remains the bane of air travelers’ lives: lost baggage, which it estimates is a $2.6 billion problem annually. Better still, its new Bag2Go program raises the possibility of passengers being able to let their bags travel independently and arrive in a timely way at their final destination. Through a partnership with German baggage maker Rimowa and communications group T-Mobile, the airframer has tapped radio frequency identification technology to create a so-called intelligent suitcase that can be dispatched and tracked from the passenger’s smartphone.
Will the aviation world ever be truly seamless? This was the question being asked at last week’s annual EASA/FAA conference, held here in Paris. The goal seems as far away as ever with the U.S. and Europe struggling to fund ambitious new ATM systems. However, it was not missed on panelists that it is the developing world that might lead the way, as they have no legacy systems or personnel issues to deal with.