The National Transportation Safety Board on May 22 issued five safety recommendations to the FAA related to the evaluation and certification of lithium-ion batteries, as well as the certification of new technology. The recommendations evolved through the ongoing investigation of a Jan. 7, 2013, lithium-ion battery fire aboard a Boeing 787 parked at Boston Logan Airport.
Air BP announced several service initiatives to support business aviation operators heading to Brazil for the World Cup tournament that begins next month. At all 16 airports where it operates in the host country, Air BP will institute a “fast-track” fuel service, which will guarantee the arrival of a refueler within 20 minutes of an aircraft’s landing, given three hours’ advance notification, or alternatively, will allow operators to book predetermined fueling time according to their schedules.
As preparations proceed for running a full open-rotor engine demonstrator in 2016 under Europe’s Clean Sky research effort, French engine maker Snecma sees the program’s participants reaching a consensus over whether or not to proceed in the 2017-to-2019 period.
Social media site Facebook has acquired a UK-based company whose founders helped develop the Zephyr, a solar-powered unmanned aircraft, as part of its “Connectivity Lab” project to more widely distribute Internet access.
Two pilots have filed safety reports with NASA’s ASRS system about the recently opened Ivanpah solar energy plant in San Bernardino County, Calif. The pilots said they were nearly blinded by the glare off the energy plant’s expansive mirror system. The Ivanpah plant uses 173,500 large mirrors to reflect sunlight onto boilers atop three 459-foot towers. Ivanpah’s co-owner and operator, NRG Energy, was notified of the “blinding” complaints last week and said it would respond within 10 days.
The diesel engine research and development project that Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter) is conducting with racing car engine specialist Teos Powertrain Engineering and engine manufacturer Austro Engine, under Europe’s Clean Sky joint technology initiative, has cleared significant milestones. The demonstration engine is now being tested on an iron bird, before the first flight planned for this year on a modified EC120.
Another incident involving the main lithium-ion battery in a Japan Airlines Boeing 787 just prior to its scheduled departure from Tokyo on Tuesday has prompted an internal investigation at JAL, raising new questions about the integrity of a system redesign devised to mitigate the possibility of fire propagation.
GE Aviation, which consumes more than 10 million gallons of jet fuel annually at its engine testing centers, will broaden its fuel source beginning in 2016. A 10-year agreement calls for GE to purchase 500,000 gallons of cellulosic synthetic biofuel annually from the D’Arcinoff Group. The company will use the low-emissions jet fuel at its main jet engine testing facility in Peebles, Ohio. Options are in place to order up to 10 million gallons of the synthetic biofuel annually.
Air BP has launched the first direct cash-back reward card for the general aviation market. The Sterling Reward Prepaid Visa card will enable the fuel provider’s Sterling Card holders to earn money back on fuel purchases. The company is rolling out the program first for U.S. customers who can apply online. Customers who receive the card will receive one U.S. cent deposited back into the card for each gallon of fuel purchased from nearly any location that accepts the Sterling card worldwide.
French engine manufacturer Snecma has been selected as the sole powerplant supplier for the new Dassault Falcon 5X, which was unveiled earlier this week here in Las Vegas. The new Silvercrest turbofan, rated at 11,450 pounds of thrust at takeoff and with a thrust-to-weight ratio of five, is expected to be certified in 2015. It will be the culmination of a 10-year effort, as Snecma began considering designing its first business jet engine in 2005.