The air transport industry was caught off guard in April when huge plumes of ash from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano effectively shut down flying in Europe for a week, stranding thousands of passengers and draining at least $1 billion from air carriers.
Pratt & Whitney’s F135 engine has achieved a first for the Lockheed Martin F-35 program by accelerating the F-35B STOVL version through the sound barrier last month. The test aircraf–BF-2–climbed to 30,000 feet and accelerated to Mach 1.07 at the off-shore test track near NAS Patuxent River in Maryland on June 14. The F-35 has supercruise capability and does not require the use of engine afterburner to achieve supersonic flight.
A U.S. district court ruling on June 17 rejected the claim by plaintiff Excel-Jet that the June 22, 2006, takeoff crash of the experimental single-engine Sport-Jet was caused by wake turbulence.
The June 16 first flight of the fifth Boeing 787 Dreamliner (ZA005) also marked the first time a pair of GE Aircraft Engines' GEnx-1B turbofans powered an airplane to altitude on their own. Captains Mike Bryan and Mike Carriker flew the airplane for three hours and 48 minutes, and reported no anomalies.
Start-up engine manufacturer Price Induction began endurance testing on its 575-pound-thrust Dgen 380 turbofan in late March.
Engine manufacturers are here at EBACE providing a glimpse at where powerplant technology is going for business aviation with several clean-sheet designs or derivatives under development. Honeywell and Rolls-Royce each are working on two programs for business jets, while Pratt & Whitney Canada is involved in one. New players in the field–GE Honda and Snecma–each have a brand-new turbofan to promote, but the latter has yet to find
Reno, Nev.-based Aerion is evaluating preliminary results of a new global market survey indicating strong demand for its proposed supersonic business jet. Preliminary data of the latest study confirms Aerion’s earlier research, which projected a 10-year market for about 300 supersonic jets. Meanwhile, Aerion plans to conduct a new series of flight tests on its natural laminar flow (NLF) wing design at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.
Reno, Nev.-based Aerion today said it is evaluating preliminary results of a new global market survey indicating strong demand for its supersonic business jet. “It was time to take a fresh look at the potential for the Aerion supersonic jet, taking into account the globalization of the business jet market,” said Aerion vice chairman Brian Barents.
Making its first-ever appearance in the Middle East, the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor is flying over each day from Al Dhafra airbase, Abu Dhabi, for its 14-minute display slot. Major Dave “Zeke” Skalicky is showing off America’s top-of-the-line stealth fighter with a serious of gravity-defying maneuvers.
Recessions come and go, but the quest to develop ever more efficient engines for the next generation of single-aisle aircraft continues. Given the time it takes to develop new powerplant technologies, which can be measured in decades, engine manufacturers have to be more confident than most of eventual recovery in the airline industry if the millions spent on research and development are not to be wasted.