The intake of titanium by the global aviation industry is predicted to rise dramatically over this decade with the production of next-generation commercial jets made of advanced construction materials gearing up. Today, this industry consumes 40 percent of the world’s titanium supply. According to an independent analysis, demand for titanium in commercial aviation will increase from 42,000 metric tons in 2011 to more than 49,000 tons this year and then rise to 72,000 tons in 2016.
Airbus has completed the first phase of the A350XWB flight test bed (FTB) campaign, including testing of the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine and Goodrich nacelle system. The campaign comprises more than 100 hours of running time and nearly 80 flight hours.
Late last month Airbus froze the design of its A320 New Engine Option (A320neo), the newly re-engined version of its established single-aisle family that will serve as an interim step toward an all-new narrowbody design that may not enter service until 2030 or later. The European manufacturer has just released its “master development schedule,” which foresees first flight by the end of 2014.
Airbus is still aiming at a first-half 2014 entry into service for the new A350XWB twin-aisle twinjet, with executive vice president and program head Didier Evrard conceding that the schedule is “tight, but feasible.” In late May, he said the immediate challenge was to complete the first airframe for ground testing and overseeing the supply chain.
Airline demands for range and payload characteristics better tailored to their specific needs have prompted a shift in how Boeing approaches optimization of the various airplanes within a given family.
Rockwell Collins (Hall 4 F9) continues to gain share in the air transport market, with a number of new regional jets featuring the company’s avionics, and Boeing’s 787 and the upcoming Airbus A350XWB also incorporating significant amounts of the company’s products.
Rolls-Royce will not be rushing to spend the proceeds from selling its 32.5-percent equity and program shares in International Aero Engines (IAE) to Pratt & Whitney (P&W), according to civil aerospace president Mark King. The $1.5 billion cash sum will be retained for general corporate purposes, said the company, which is making a “modest” financial investment in P&W’s PW1100G-JM geared turbofan (GTF) powerplant offered for the re-engined Airbus A320neo program.
The aerospace and transportation systems division of the Liebherr Group represented only 11 percent of the multinational group’s 2011 turnover of €8.3 billion ($11.5 billion). And its customer service facility in Saline, Michigan, a city of 9,000 people near Detroit, is a long way from Liebherr’s headquarters in the picturesque town of Bulle, Switzerland.
Rolls-Royce was close to reaching an agreement with Boeing on the requirements for a Trent 1000-powered 787-10X just ahead of the Farnborough International Airshow. The planned new version of the Dreamliner widebody could become a formal program later this year, possibly linked to the prospective launch of an upgraded 777.
While business aircraft will not be in abundance at Farnborough International Airshow 2012, a VVIP corporate version of the popular Airbus A320 single-aisle airliner will likely take some of the limelight from the military and defense aircraft on display. In fact, the ACJ319 (G-NOAH) would attract attention even if it were among a swarm business aircraft.