Airbus Helicopters will lead the design of a compound rotorcraft demonstrator dubbed “LifeRCraft” (Low Impact Fast & Efficient RotorCraft) as part of Europe’s Clean Sky 2 Joint Technology Initiative, which was formally launched last week in Brussels. Preliminary studies, architecture and specification activity will start this year, with development and testing of components and subsystems envisioned in the 2016-2018 timeframe. Flight evaluations could start in early 2019.
Airbus Helicopters has added personalization options for its EC135 l’Helicoptere par Hermes, which made its debut in 2007. At EBACE Airbus displayed an EC135T2e with an interior by the high-fashion and leather-goods manufacturer, and announced that the enhanced personalization will be available on the upgraded EC135T3/P3 variant.
More orders for the just-launched Airbus A330neo helped deliver another $50 billion day at the Farnborough International Airshow. AirAsiaX topped the sales ledger with a $13.8 billion memorandum of understanding for 50 of the Rolls-Royce Trent 7000-powered A330-900neos and it will take delivery of its first aircraft in 2018.
Leasing groups Avolon and CIT Group signed $7.7 billion worth of MoUs that will see each of them take 15 A330neos. CIT also ordered five A321neos.
Messier-Bugatti-Dowty–part of Safran Group (Hall 4 Innovation Zone Stand A7), which is providing the landing gear for the Airbus A350–has signed a contract with Japan’s Kobe Steel to supply the French company with titanium forgings for the main landing gear of the Airbus A350 XWB.
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.
UTC Aerospace Systems (UTAS, Hall 3AS6-7) comes to Farnborough with a series of commercial success stories, led by news of a new long-term maintenance agreement with Airbus. Under the deal, UTAS becomes a primary maintenance service provider for Airbus’ Flight Hour Services (FHS) and component repair support. The contract covers UTC Aerospace Systems components on all Airbus platforms.
The Airbus-led effort to develop viable electrically powered aircraft was boosted by the first public flight of the first E-Fan aircraft on April 25. The first of the two- and four-seat E-Fan light training aircraft are due to enter service by the end of 2017, but the wider success of the program–which eventually hopes to prove the case for electrically powered regional airliners–is contingent on its developers achieving further technology breakthroughs in harnessing the new power source.
In view of its success in nurturing a thriving automobile industry–the ninth largest in the world–and as Asia edges toward becoming the world’s largest growth market for aviation, Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI) is considering building an aerospace industry starting with Tier 2 and Tier 3 suppliers servicing global OEM supply chains.
Rolls-Royce (Hall 4 Stand H3) is maintaining a continuous effort to improve in-service Trent performance, both for production engines and as retrofits. The newest version of the Trent 1000–the TEN for the Boeing 787-8,-9 and -10–is to be certified next year.
Day one of the 2014 Farnborough International Airshow proved to be a lucrative one for just about all manufacturers of airliners and the engines that power them. An approximate estimate of business announced here yesterday quickly topped $50 billion.