The FAA selected four unleaded aviation fuels yesterday for the first phase of testing at the agency’s William J. Hughes Technical Center. The goal is for government and industry to work together to have a new unleaded fuel ready for general aviation use by 2018. Shell and Total, with one fuel each, and Swift Fuels, with two fuels, will now work with the FAA on phase-one testing, which will begin this fall and conclude later next year.
Cessna Aircraft’s second production Citation Latitude (S/N 002) made its first flight on Friday. During the 2.7-hour flight, the crew evaluated the autopilot, autothrottle, landing gear, pressurization, engine operating characteristics, environmental systems and flight control systems. This flight also marked the first time all three Citation Latitude prototypes were in the air simultaneously. S/N 002 is the third Citation Latitude to join the certification flight-test program and is the first that will be equipped with a full cabin.
Airbus is working hard to complete A350 flight testing, which it hopes to close by the end of next month in preparation for formal European Aviation Safety Agency airworthiness approval in September. Principal remaining work involves long-range flights now under way following a maximum-energy rejected take-off (MERTO) demonstration at Istres Air Force Base in France on July 19. By July 22, the five A350 test aircraft had logged more than 2,250 hours during about 540 flights involving more than 1,380 takeoff/landing cycles.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) conducted the first flight of its Predator XP remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) on June 27 at the U.S. Army’s Yuma Proving Ground range complex in Arizona. The Predator XP is an unarmed export version of the iconic RPA.
As Bombardier readies to resume flying its CSeries CS100 test aircraft in “the coming weeks,” it remains confident in Pratt & Whitney’s ability to deliver on its commercial promises that the airplane’s PW1500G geared turbofans will perform at the level and with the reliability both companies expected.
Just as in the U.S. there is considerable interest in Europe in developing a solution to the sense-and-avoid problem for unmanned aircraft. A number of different programs are running concurrently under different national, international and industrial consortia, and while several have clocked up significant hours of flight test in surrogate or testbed aircraft, none have as yet flown on board an unmanned platform.
Airbus Defence and Space Military Aircraft is scheduled to deliver the first of 22 A400M airlifters to the Royal Air Force in September. The delivery of aircraft MSN15 not only will mark the start of operations by a third country, but also represents the introduction of new capabilities as an important step along the type’s development roadmap. To get those capabilities into service has necessitated an intensive flight-trial campaign in the first part of this year.
By the end of September, Airbus expects to have received European Aviation Safety Agency type certification for the A350 ahead of delivery of the first two aircraft– manufacturer’s serial numbers (MSNs) 006 and 007–to Qatar Airways by the end of the year. The final flight-test aircraft, MSN005, flew on June 20–a year and six days after the type’s maiden flight.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) each granted the Boeing 787-9 an amended type certificate, paving the way for Air New Zealand to take delivery of the first production example early this summer, Boeing announced on Monday morning. The FAA also has granted Boeing an amended production certificate, validating that the Boeing production system can produce 787-9s that conform to the design. EASA accepts FAA oversight of Boeing production certificates, just as the FAA accepts EASA oversight of European manufacturers’ production certificates.
The AgustaWestland AW609 civil tiltrotor passed another milestone on the road to certification by completing autorotation testing at AgustaWestland’s Arlington, Texas facility over the course of 10 flight hours in March and early April. Test aircraft Number 1 made more than 70 power-off conversions from airplane to helicopter mode.
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