The Bauhaus Luftfahrt aerospace think-tank in May unveiled a concept for a “propulsive fuselage” aircraft, opening a new possibility for fuel burn reduction. It is part of a European Union-funded project in cooperation with a number of research centers, as well as MTU Aero Engines and Airbus Group Innovations (OE13). The latter company is also studying a hybrid-power regional airliner with Rolls-Royce (Hall 4 Stand H3). Meanwhile, it is flying a hybrid-lift quadcopter demonstrator for unmanned military and civil missions, the Quadcruiser.
On a flying visit to the Farnborough Airshow yesterday, UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced a major boost to the UK’s defense budget by pledging £1.1 billion to a package that both extends current capabilities and introduces new ones. Cameron specifically mentioned Raytheon/Bombardier Sentinel and the Beechcraft King Air-based Shadow airplanes, which were due to be withdrawn next year following the UK withdrawal from Afghanistan, but which have proved of such use that they are to be retained for at least three more years.
The NTSB says the probable cause of a Beechjet 400 overrun accident in September 2012 at Macon, Ga., was the pilot’s failure to maintain proper airspeed on final approach. Two of the three people on board received minor injuries. The aircraft touched down on a wet runway “at a speed 15 to 19 knots above the calculated Vref speed (based on radar data) of 108 knots with inadequate runway remaining to stop,” the final report said.
The Dutch government’s safety board wants to publicize the existence of false glideslope indications that could cause the aircraft, when coupled to the autopilot, to pitch up rather than down. The insights were gathered during an investigation into a pitch-up incident on a Boeing 737 in which the incident “digressed” until the aircraft’s stick shaker activated.
The board wants pilots to understand the dangerous information these false glideslope signals can send to an aircraft’s autopilot that might cause the system to operate in a manner opposite to what the cockpit crew expects.
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).
The integration of new weapons on some combat aircraft has become so expensive that European Defence Agency (EDA) held a workshop to discuss the problem. But Saab (Hall 4 Stand E5 and Chalet C35) has some helpful suggestions, based on its experience with the Gripen. The Swedish fighter served as the development platform for the Iris-T and Meteor air-to-air missiles, and other weapons were successfully added on time and budget.
As Bombardier readies to resume flying its CSeries CS100 test aircraft in “the coming weeks,” it remains confident in Pratt & Whitney’s ability to deliver on its commercial promises that the airplane’s PW1500G geared turbofans will perform at the level and with the reliability both companies expected.
Among the debutantes at this year’s Farnborough Airshow is the Piaggio Aero Avanti EVO, the third generation of this eye-catching twin-turboprop business aircraft. The program was first revealed in May at the EBACE convention in Geneva, but the Avanti EVO’s appearance here is its first public outing at a major airshow.
The U.S. Air Force announced that it released a request for proposals (RFP) to industry on July 9 for its new Long Range Strike Bomber (LRS-B) program to develop the next generation heavy bomber. The service said it expects to make a contract award next spring.
Just as in the U.S. there is considerable interest in Europe in developing a solution to the sense-and-avoid problem for unmanned aircraft. A number of different programs are running concurrently under different national, international and industrial consortia, and while several have clocked up significant hours of flight test in surrogate or testbed aircraft, none have as yet flown on board an unmanned platform.