They’re big. They’re in demand. But they’re getting old, and availability is becoming a problem. That’s why Volga-Dnepr Airlines (VDA) has been pushing so hard for more An-124 Ruslan heavylift freighters to be built. But despite the aircraft’s commercial success since the end of the Cold War, it’s not clear whether renewed production is a priority for Russia’s newly formed, state-owned United Aircraft Co. (OAK).
An Airnet Systems Learjet 35A on a Part 135 cargo flight was seriously damaged March 19 during a failed attempted to abort the landing. The two pilots were not injured. According to the NTSB, N800AW was too high during the approach to the 6,000-foot runway at Oneida County Airport, Utica, N.Y. The copilot decreased engine power, but the sink rate became “too great” and the crew initiated a go-around.
At about 3:30 a.m. on January 10, the pilots flying a cargo-carrying Learjet 35 from Jacksonville, Fla., to Columbus, Ohio, for Airnet Systems attempted an aileron roll, according to the NTSB, but the maneuver wasn’t entirely successful. “The crew reported they did an intentional roll,” said NTSB investigator-in-charge Todd Fox. “There was substantial damage. The elevators were bent, and there was some stabilizer damage.
The NTSB concluded that the pilot’s “inadvertent flight” into severe icing and his “inadequate planning” for the forecast weather was the probable cause of the Jan. 11, 2005 accident involving a Mountain Flight Service air ambulance King Air E90. The two pilots and a medic were killed when the turboprop twin crashed into mountainous terrain while on approach to Rawlins Municipal Airport, Wyo.
China’s red-hot air cargo export market is expected to cool somewhat this year, but domestic demand for new freighters is projected to take off. That was the consensus from last week’s Airfreight Asia conference, held in Shanghai. During the event, EADS-EFW and China Eastern Airlines signed a deal to convert three A300-600s to freighter configuration, with more to come.
Federal Express has signed a 20-year contract with Pratt & Whitney for its off-wing fleet management program (FMP) covering 135 PW4000-94 engines powering FedEx’s fleet of Boeing MD-11s and Airbus A300s and A310s. According to P&W Global Service Partners senior vice-president Jim Keenan, the deal is one of the largest and widest ranging maintenance, repair and overhaul orders the company has received.
Boeing believes that its latest 747 iteration–the 747-8F–could become the freighter of choice among cargo airlines. This assertion by commercial airplanes division president Alan Mulally is not surprising, given that the launch orders for 10 and six aircraft respectively from Cargolux and Nippon Cargo have now been backed by a Heads of Agreement for 10 aircraft from Emirates.
Lufthansa Technik has won contracts worth more than $100 million to provide total component support (TCS) and total engine support (TES) for the six Boeing 747-400ER freighters due to be delivered to Chinese start-up Jade Cargo International through January 2008.
Cessna Caravan 208B Portland, Ore., Dec. 24, 2005–Making an intersection takeoff from Runway 21 at Portland International Airport, the FedEx Caravan failed to gain altitude, hit a glideslope antenna and crashed. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant, received minor injuries. The cargo flight was operated by Empire Airline of Hayden, Idaho, and was on an IFR flight plan to Roseburg, Ore.
A Tri-Coastal Airlines Metro crashed in a “nose-down, near-vertical attitude” near Paris, Tenn., while on a cargo flight from Dayton, Ohio, to Harlingen, Texas, on February 8. The sole-occupant pilot was killed.
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