Can a glider fly to more than 90,000 feet? That’s the question the Perlan Project, a nonprofit aeronautical and atmospheric research organization, hopes to answer in a partnership with Airbus Group that was announced this week at EAA AirVenture 2014 in Oshkosh, Wis.
Airbus is working hard to complete A350 flight testing, which it hopes to close by the end of next month in preparation for formal European Aviation Safety Agency airworthiness approval in September. Principal remaining work involves long-range flights now under way following a maximum-energy rejected take-off (MERTO) demonstration at Istres Air Force Base in France on July 19. By July 22, the five A350 test aircraft had logged more than 2,250 hours during about 540 flights involving more than 1,380 takeoff/landing cycles.
Airbus Helicopters will lead the design of a compound rotorcraft demonstrator dubbed “LifeRCraft” (low-impact, fast and efficient rotorcraft) as part of Europe’s recently launched Clean Sky 2 Joint Technology Initiative. The LifeRCraft architecture combines a main rotor for vertical takeoff and landing, fixed wings for energy-efficient lift and open propellers for speed. The company will use experience gained on its X3 compound demonstrator between 2010 and 2013.
The sun shone on the 2014 Farnborough International Airshow and exhibiting airliner manufacturers and engine suppliers certainly took every opportunity to make hay while the sun was shining, logging orders totaling almost $168 billion (according to AIN estimates).
Royal Jet, Abu Dhabi’s luxury air charter operator, postponed its major fleet-replacement orders until the second half of the year after a board meeting last month. However, the company hopes an eventual delivery schedule will not be affected by this delay.
A commitment today for 12 A330neos and eight A330s from Russia’s Transaero gave Airbus its sixth customer for the re-engined widebody, launched with a memorandum of understanding from Air Lease Corporation for 25 units on the first day of the show. It also concluded a sales rally by Airbus that resulted in the company winning business worth $75 billion, making this the most commercially successful Farnborough show in its history.
The Irkut MC-21 program, which is developing a family of single-aisle airliners, is on track to meet its current development schedule, according to officials of Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC, Chalet B10 and Hall 1 Stand E8), at the Farnborough Airshow.
Among milestones reached and planned are assembly of the first MC-21 starting late this year or early 2015; first flight at the end of 2015 or early 2016; and entry into service in late 2017.
Liebherr-Aerospace (Hall 4 Stand E6) is here exhibiting its flight control and actuation systems, landing gear, air management systems and gearboxes as well as Liebherr-Elektronik electronic components. Highlights include the nose and the main landing gear of Bombardier’s CSeries aircraft, a wingtip brake for the Airbus A350 XWB, a cooling pack for the Comac C919 and a newly developed gearbox for an unnamed, next-generation helicopter program.
Eaton has been selected by Rolls-Royce to continue providing its engine build-up for another Trent engine program, the Trent XWB-97. The 97,000 pound-thrust turbofan will power the new Airbus A350-1000 platform.
The Munich factory of Europrop International (EPI) is ramping up production of its 11,000-shp TP400 turboprop engine to an annual 96 units to support Airbus A400M military transport deliveries in the coming years.
At the same, EPI is carefully following the recent entry-into-service of the first three aircraft, without having any major issues to report. For the joint-venture company’s four partners–Rolls-Royce, Snecma, ITP and MTU–this phase is thus looking much quieter than during the A400M’s troubled development.
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