After Sir Richard Branson launches the first passenger flight of his Virgin Galactic space venture, possibly later this year, he’s indicated that he will turn his attention to developing a supersonic commercial aircraft that can transit from New York to Tokyo (10,800 km; 5,800 nm) in “less than an hour.” He envisions an orbital aircraft, which could reach speeds up to 30,000 kph (16,200 knots).
While ATR and Bombardier continue to vacillate over plans to introduce a new 90-seat turboprop, Pratt & Whitney Canada keeps moving forward with a powerplant it believes will deliver a 20-percent fuel burn improvement over existing engines in the 5,000- to 7,000-shp range by the turn of the decade. Dubbed the Next Generation Regional Turboprop (NGRT), the engine would feature an all-new compressor, a miniaturized version of Pratt & Whitney’s patented Talon combustor and (probably) an eight-blade propeller.
Hawker Pacific Aerospace has opened its new 12,000-sq-ft airframe-related component (ARC) shop in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The move broadens the landing gear specialist’s expertise to include services for thrust reversers. The facility, which has already received its first five thrust reverser units, serves as the hub of thrust reverser services for Lufthansa Technik’s customers within the Americas.
In a move that could help pave the way for low-boom supersonic flight over land, NASA aeronautics researchers are presenting their work on how people on the ground perceive low sonic booms this week in Atlanta at an annual event held by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. “Lessening sonic booms is the most significant hurdle to [civil] supersonic flight,” said Peter Coen, head of the high-speed project in NASA’s aeronautics research mission directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Lewis “Bernie” Gratzer, the retired vice president of technology at Aviation Partners, passed away on Friday night. Gratzer, already a well respected aerodynamicist, joined Aviation Partners when the company was formed in 1991 to work on a blended winglet for the Gulfstream II. In 1994 he received patent #5,348,253 for his blended winglet design, the lynchpin technology of Aviation Partners’ winglet products. According to Aviation Partners, his winglet design is now flying on more than 6,000 airplanes “and counting.”
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s final report on the 2012 crash of a Cessna 208B Caravan concluded the stall-induced accident was the result of the pilot’s decision to depart Snow Lake, Manitoba, with the aircraft weighing 600 pounds more than its maximum allowable gross weight and with ice clinging to the wing and tail surfaces. The Cessna Caravan, operated by Gogal Air Services, left Snow Lake on Nov.
More than 4,000 sq ft of Duncan Aviation’s new 175,000-sq-ft hangar in Lincoln, Neb., is dedicated to engines. “We’ve been in the new shop for only a few months but have already experienced a significant increase in work efficiency and improvement to the safety of our customers’ property,” said James Prater, manager of turbine engine services. “Before the move, all engines and their components would remain subject to being moved in the hangar.
The Flaris LAR 1, the five-seat single-engine very light jet unveiled by Podgórzyn, Poland-based Flaris last June at the Paris Air Show, has recently started low-speed taxi tests, but its maiden flight has slipped again.
While ATR and Bombardier continue to vacillate over plans to introduce a new 90-seat turboprop, Pratt & Whitney Canada keeps moving forward with an engine it believes will deliver a 20-percent fuel burn improvement over existing engines in the 5,000- to 7,000-shp range by the turn of the decade. Dubbed the Next Generation Regional Turboprop (NGRT), the engine would feature an all-new compressor, a miniaturized version of Pratt & Whitney’s patented Talon combustor and likely an eight-blade propeller
The Viking 400 Series Twin Otter will soon come equipped with a Safe Flight angle-of-attack (AoA) indicator as standard equipment. The TSO’d system consists of a lift transducer, computer and a speed indexer. The speed indexer provides the pilot heads-up guidance to approach AoA. The computer provides Arinc outputs to drive low airspeed awareness and AoA displays on the primary flight display. Safe Flight’s lift transducer is a heated leading edge sensor and is cleared for flights into known icing conditions.