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July 11, 2014, 6:40 AM
The AV Sparrow from Torquing Group.

Consumer electronics manufacturers, former toy and hobby suppliers, research university spinoffs and major aerospace companies are among the entities vying for a share of the simmering commercial market for small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) generally weighing less than 20 pounds. They are advancing numerous fixed- and rotary-wing designs, some of which were displayed at the Unmanned Systems 2014 conference in May and others elsewhere. Following is a description of some, although by no means all, of the recent showings:

July 11, 2014, 6:30 AM

With India’s airlines still mired in losses, the country’s new budget announced on July 11, did little to address some of the aviation industry’s most pressing concerns.

July 11, 2014, 6:30 AM
To mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings this year, the RAF painted on a Eurofighter Typhoon the invasion stripes that were used to distinguish allied aircraft in 1944.

Multi-role functionality has been a long time coming for the Eurofighter Typhoon. But the four-nation industrial consortium building the combat jet says the Phase 1 Enhancements (P1E) package that is now entering service represents a “paradigm shift” in capability.

The commander of the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Typhoon force, Air Cmdr. Gary Waterfall, said the new package allows the RAF to drop 500-pound Paveway IV “smart” bombs “at the moment of our choosing, on targets of our choosing, with a multitude of fuse settings, impact angles and arrivals.”

July 11, 2014, 6:20 AM

Embraer is unveiling its cabin interior for the new -E2 version of its established regional-jet series, which are marketed generically as E-Jets, here at the Farnborough Airshow this week. Maintaining the same four-abreast fuselage cross section, the -E2 models are principally re-engined variants of the E175, 190 and 195 powered by Pratt & Whitney geared turbofans–the PW1700G on the E175 and the larger PW1900G on the heavier E190 and E195.

July 11, 2014, 6:15 AM
A mockup of an open-rotor engine has been tested in an Onera wind tunnel since 2010; a full demonstrator is due to run in 2016.

As preparations continue for running a full open-rotor engine demonstrator in 2016 under Europe’s Clean Sky research effort, French engine maker Snecma (Hall 4 Stand B12) sees the program’s participants reaching a consensus as whether or not to proceed in the 2017-to-2019 time frame. Clean Sky, which also involves Airbus, Rolls-Royce and French research center Onera, has provided a relatively unexpected discussion platform, thus facilitating a general agreement.

July 11, 2014, 6:14 AM

By the end of September, Airbus expects to have received European Aviation Safety Agency type certification for the A350 ahead of delivery of the first two aircraft– manufacturer’s serial numbers (MSNs) 006 and 007–to Qatar Airways by the end of the year. The final flight-test aircraft, MSN005, flew on June 20–a year and six days after the type’s maiden flight.

July 11, 2014, 6:12 AM

As Airbus A350XWB (Xtra widebody) customers freeze aircraft interior configuration plans, the European manufacturer hopes to limit cabin furnishing options for the new twin-aisle twinjet in order to keep final-assembly lines flowing as it accelerates production rates during a steep industrial ramp-up.

July 11, 2014, 6:10 AM
During pre-certification testing, the Airbus A350XWB  twin-aisle twinjet underwent water ingestion trials on a long military runway at Istres, France, that also is used for high- and maximum-energy rejected takeoff work.

Airbus has begun airline crew training for its A350XWB customers about six months ahead of the new twin-aisle twinjet’s entry into service, scheduled for late this year, according to chief test pilot Peter Chandler, who flew the aircraft on its maiden flight in June 2013. He reports that the training syllabus has been developed and that the first A350 pilot course was under way last month, with access to a full flight simulator. Launch customer Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines have received demonstration flights.

July 11, 2014, 6:05 AM
Industry and government testers plan to demonstrate a detect-and-avoid suite on NASA’s Ikhana air vehicle later this year.

U.S. government and industry testers plan to begin data-gathering flights later this year using a system that will address perhaps the biggest technological hurdle to widespread use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)–the ability of a remotely piloted vehicle to “detect and avoid” (DAA) other aircraft. At the same time, a special committee convened by standards organization RTCA is working toward delivering DAA equipment standards by July 2016.

July 11, 2014, 6:00 AM
The Leap-1B, set to power the Boeing 737 Max, ran for the first time in mid-June. Eleven miles of carbon fiber is needed to weave a single Leap fan blade.

By the end of the year, CFM (OE 22) plans to have put together and tested around 20 Leap-1A/B/C turbofans, in preparation for their first flights next year and in 2016 on their respective application airframes. The Franco-American engine manufacturer is also gearing up for a swift production ramp-up, planned to reach an annual 1,700 engines by the end of the decade. The Leap will power the Airbus A320neo (Leap-1A), the Boeing 737 Max (Leap-1B) and Comac C919 (Leap-1C) narrowbodies.

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