The FAA has issued an airworthiness directive (AD) for the Eurocopter AS 350B/BA/B1/B2/B3/D and AS 355E Squirrel light helicopters, requiring replacement of the hydraulic fluid at a specified interval when operating in cold weather. The amendment is prompted by reports of ice forming due to condensation in some parts of the hydraulic system.
Aircraft flight control systems
Make no mistake, Dassault is having another record year. But a lengthy production backlog for the Falcon 7X is starting to put strains on capacity, particularly at the French manufacturer’s Little Rock, Ark. completion center. The site of a $20 million expansion project now under way, the center is adding much-needed paint hangars, engineering shops and storage space.
From new Cessna Citations to new versions of Hawker Beechcrafts to clean-sheet designs like Dassault Falcon’s fly-by-wire 7X, the world of business jets continues to grow.
Aircraft systems provider Parker Aerospace (Booth No. 6841) announced it has won contracts with Embraer and Cessna for flight control subsystems.
Sikorsky Aircraft has successfully ground tested fly-by-wire (FBW) technology that will debut on 28 H-92s slated for delivery in 2009 to Canadian military forces. The H-92 is the military variant of the S-92. Sikorsky partnered with BAE Systems to develop the FBW system.
This year’s Paris Air Show at Le Bourget provided an opportunity for me to see Dassault’s new Falcon 7X up close before I got my chance at the left seat, alongside Dassault 26-year veteran senior test pilot Yves (Bill) Kerherve, who has since retired from the company. A former French Navy fighter pilot, Kerherve flew the ultra-quiet 7X through a series of maneuvers for the crowd on the opening day of the show.
Dassault Aviation’s Falcon 7X business jet, with a fly-by-wire, side-stick control system, promises to redefine the word “new.” At the Dassault Falcon Jet 25th Worldwide Maintenance & Operators Seminar, held in June in in Boca Raton, Fla., the company also described the virtual-reality program that promises to dramatically reduce maintenance time and costs for operators of the big, $37 million trijet.
Fly-by-wire (FBW) flight controls have been commonplace in fighters and Airbus airliners for years, but the technology has remained out of reach for all but a handful of business jet pilots. The notable exception in business aviation is the Airbus Corporate Jetliner, a descendent of the A320, which in 1988 became the first airliner with fly-by-wire controls and sidesticks to enter production.
Brazilian airframer Embraer’s new Phenom 100 very light jet is currently undergoing ground testing in preparation for its first flight. The VLJ has already concluded its engine run, which saw the Phenom’s two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW617F engines installed and tested on the airframe.
Eurocopter is investigating all-electric helicopter system architectures, including flight controls, with the goal of having them in service within 10 years. The Marignane, France-based manufacturer clearly intends to substitute electricity for current sources of energy for systems, such as hydraulics. The change is likely to result in lower maintenance costs and improved handling qualities.