Pilatus PC-12, South Bend, Ind., Dec. 14, 2004–The NTSB blamed the crash of PC-12 N922RG on the failure of the fuel control unit bellows, which resulted in a significant loss of engine power. The pilot made a forced landing on a roadway after, he said, the engine “abruptly and smoothly rolled back” shortly after takeoff from South Bend Regional Airport. The airplane’s wingtip hit two utility poles during rollout.
Business aviation lobbyists yesterday applauded recent action taken by Republican lawmakers to shelve new tax rules in the 2005 Highway Bill designed to discourage truckers from using jet fuel to avoid higher taxes on diesel fuel. At the request of NBAA, NATA and GAMA, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Ark.), Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) and Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.) sent letters to U.S.
One of the technologies that Honeywell says promises to revolutionize aircraft design is something known as “more electric architecture” (MEA). This “breakthrough” technology will replace much of today’s heavy and maintenance-intensive pneumatic and hydraulic fluid and power systems, enabling OEMs to design aircraft with lighter, simpler and more reliable “electric” systems instead of miles of tubing, pumps and valves.
Bell 407, Broadus, Texas, March 27, 2003–The NTSB said the probable cause of the 407 crash was “the partial loss of engine power due to erratic fuel flow metering to the engine resulting from the single-point failure of the PLA potentiometer in the hydro-mechanical fuel control unit.” A contributing factor was the lack of suitable terrain for a forced landing.
Aviation and the environment often appear to be in conflict, sometimes in unpredictable ways. One such has led BAE Systems into a collaboration with the UK government and the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) on a research project that aims to eliminate the interference that the rotating blades on wind turbine installations can cause to air traffic control radars.
Rolls-Royce is now exploring future engine technologies that, although challenging, are key to the ambitious Advisory Council for Aerospace Research in Europe (ACARE) goals for 2020 in terms of nitrous oxides (NOx) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emission cutting and noise reduction. These technologies range from heat exchangers to shape memory alloys and magnetic bearings.
The dream of solar-powered, long-distance flight is taking shape. Bertrand Piccard, one of the two pilots who became famous with the first round-the-world balloon flight, yesterday introduced a model of a sun-powered, single-pilot airplane that could fly in 2008. The latest design update of the Solar Impulse aircraft, shown here at the Paris Air Show, included noticeable design changes since program launch late in 2003.
Vulcanair’s display of its P68C Jet could confuse visitors until they realize that the installation of 227-hp SMA diesel engines enables the popular twin to use jet fuel. Shortages of avgas are directly affecting demand for aircraft fitted with standard piston engines. Indeed in the Middle East, where avgas is not refined, availability is so limited that sales of the standard P68 in the region are unknown.
Airliners now entering revenue service will be around for the next few decades, over which time forecasters expect the cost of kerosene to rise significantly. Higher oil extraction costs and likely carbon dioxide (CO2) emission limits will no doubt radically alter air transport economics. The industry will simultaneously have to drastically reduce CO2 emissions from aircraft engines and find alternative fuels for them.
Never before has commercial air transport come under such scrutiny for its environmental impact. While aircraft have made far more progress in terms of reducing fuel consumption and emissions per passenger carried in recent years, the relentless overall growth of air traffic has led to increasing pressure from the environmental lobby to reduce the noise and emissions produced by modern powerplants.