European aerospace behemoth EADS has aligned its brand with its aircraft manufacturing division to become simply Airbus Group, and is also applying the Airbus brand to its two other main divisions. Thus, Eurocopter will become Airbus Helicopters, and the defense and space divisions, Cassidian and Astrium, will be merged into one unit–Airbus Defence and Space–representing the third division.
Bombardier Aerospace’s revenues in the second quarter were flat year-over-year at about $2.3 billion, with more than half of these revenues–$1.259 billion–coming from its business aircraft division. Pre-tax earnings at the company rose by $8 million, to $107 million, while its backlog as of June 30 climbed to $33.4 billion, up from $32.9 billion at the end of last year.
Fifty years after delivering its very first engine to Beechcraft, Pratt & Whitney Canada celebrated another milestone yesterday by delivering to Beechcraft at EAA AirVenture the 80,000th PT6 turboprop, in this case a -60A variant that powers the King Air 350i. “As we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of this iconic engine,” said P&WC president John Saabas, “we are proud to share this important moment with Beechcraft, which was the first customer to select the PT6.” The PT6 has since become the most popular engine in all aviation market segments.
Denver traffic reporter Amelia Rose Earhart plans to recreate the ill-fated 1937 around-the-world flight of her famous namesake next June in a Pilatus PC-12NG. Rose Earhart has been a pilot since 2004 and plans to use the flight to motivate teenage girls to consider aviation careers through her Fly With Amelia foundation. Rose Earhart’s flight is expected to last 100 flight hours and make 14 stops. She will be assisted by copilot Patrick Carter. The flight was announced Wednesday at AirVenture. The original Amelia Earhart perished on her famous 1937 flight.
The FAA has issued a final rule that raises to 1,500 the minimum flight hours required by first officers for U.S. air carriers flying under Part 121 regulations, up from the current 250 hours. The new rules stem from a Congressional mandate following the 2009 crash of Colgan Air 3407, a Bombardier Q400, in Buffalo, NY. The rule also requires that first officers hold an ATP certificate and a type rating in the aircraft being flown.
The EASA approved the interim solution–a combination of vibration monitoring, inspections and part modification–that Eurocopter devised for the EC225 to address main gearbox (MGB) lubrication issues after the type experienced two controlled ditchings last year. The manufacturer’s fix is intended to reduce the likelihood of an undetected crack, leading to in-flight rupture and ditching, to one per billion flight hours. At issue is the bevel gear vertical shaft, a part that is critical to main gearbox lubrication.
The FAA’s NextGen ATC modernization program faces long-term technical risks and still uncertain acceptance by airspace users. But after a decade in development, NextGen could be stalled by a nearer-term threat: substantially reduced funding from Congress. In June, the House appropriations committee released transportation funding legislation for Fiscal Year 2014 that would reduce the FAA’s capital funding account, which supports NextGen programs, to its lowest level since 2000.
The FAA claims the NextGen Air Transportation System initiative is progressing, according to its recently issued NextGen Implementation Plan report, which projects a reduction in delays of 41 percent by the end of the mid-term implementation period in 2020.
Several decades ago there was an advertisement with three elderly ladies in a fast-food joint. They look at a burger and ask, “Where’s the beef?” One panelist at a NextGen symposium hosted by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) International and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (Natca) in late June suggested that selling NextGen to the end users may present a similar perception problem. “Where is the hype?” he asked. “I just don’t see the hype.”
Gulfstream, Mitsubishi top survey results again
Gulfstream, the longtime leader in the AIN Product Support Survey, scored higher this year with an overall average 8.3 rating for its large-cabin jets (newer and older aircraft), although after a large jump last year, Embraer is creeping even closer to the top spot, up 0.1 to 8.2 from last year’s 8.1.