Boeing 787 prototype ZA005 on Monday took to the air for the second time since the FAA cleared the company to fly the airplane on test missions over unpopulated areas.
The Omega Air KDC-10 tanker is here to remind visitors that a contract air refueling service is readily available. It brought the two Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets across the Atlantic to Farnborough last week; the U.S. Navy is Omega’s prime customer, buying about 85 percent of the Irish company’s tanking output, which was nearly 1,600 hours last year with the KDC-10 and three KC-707s.
Northrop Grumman is hoping that funds to re-engine the first two operational E-8C JSTARS radar surveillance aircraft will be provided in the Fiscal 2013 budget next year. The test bed aircraft is now flying with JT8D-219 engines that Northrop Grumman has modified with a new pneumatic system that it claims “vastly improves reliability and the hardware’s life cycle.” Although the JT8D is hardly new technology, the 17 operational E-8Cs are powered by even older JT3Ds. A $1.7 billion program to replace them was started some years ago, and the test bed first flew with JT8Ds in December 2008.
Boeing moved quickly this month to erase any doubts about the progress of the 787 flight-test program after “an assessment of the availability of an engine needed for the final phases of flight test this fall” led it to conclude that it couldn’t deliver the first production airplane until the middle of next year’s first quarter. Last week, all five flight-test airplanes remained active, said Boeing.
The PW600 family of small turbofans, in the form of a 2,500-lb-thrust demonstrator engine, entered flight test last month mounted on P&WC’s Boeing 720 testbed. The engine was tested to an altitude of 43,000 ft and performance, handling and relight testing “exceeded our expectations,” said P&WC director of small turbofans Maurice Weinberg. The engine has not yet been selected for any specific airframe.
Pratt & Whitney Canada is starting its second month of ground runs of the PW610F, the smallest of the company’s new PW600-series engines and the powerplant selected by Eclipse Aviation for its very light jet. On May 4 the engine achieved its rated takeoff thrust of 900 pounds after five hours of ground testing.
Gen. Jack Dailey hefted the comically oversized scissors to approach the ribbon. Hundreds waited to pass metal detectors for the December 15 opening of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. After a mock slice for the cameras, Dailey reached for real scissors to snip a new era at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM).
You couldn’t be in a better place than Le Bourget during airshow week to appreciate–if that’s the right word–aircraft noise. Yet a comparison between the takeoff rumble of the newest airliners and the thunderous departures of the latest military models amply demonstrates the progress in noise suppression made by the civil aircraft industry. And this progress continues, aimed at the eventual development of truly silent aircraft.
Boeing is now offering a variant of the 737–its smallest model–designed to carry about as many passengers as the biggest example of its first jetliner, the four-engine 707 of the 1950s. The new Model 737-900ER will carry some 215 passengers in the latest single-aisle twinjet, compared with 219 in the first-generation 707 and 99 in the original 737.