Bombardier has answered the call for a series of improvements to its line of 70- to 86-seat RJs, ranging from new engines on the CRJ700 to wing modifications on the CRJ900. Bombardier also plans to certify its CRJ700 and CRJ900 for higher mtows, giving each significantly more range.
General Electric CF34
A Mesa Airlines Bombardier CRJ200 shed a fan blade and lost the front section of its left engine cowling during a scheduled flight from Denver to Phoenix last Thursday. Operating for US Airways as America West Express, Mesa Flight 2985 had flown some 60 miles south from Denver International Airport when, at about 5:30 p.m. MST, the airplane’s No. 1 GE CF34-3B1 turbofan ejected the blade.
A former employee of GE Aircraft Engines claims the company knowingly shipped defective parts built during a 10-year period at its factory in Madisonville, Ky. The charges came to light in a $64.4 million “whisteblower” lawsuit filed by former quality-control engineer Terri Brown, unsealed in late November at the request of the Courier-Journal of Louisville.
China’s AVIC I Commercial Aircraft (ACAC) continues its march toward a 2008 introduction of the 85-seat ARJ21-700, finishing more or less on schedule some 90 percent of the aircraft’s structural design and 50 percent of its systems design by the end of last year.
Former DOT Inspector General Mary Schiavo’s law firm, Motley Rice LLC, has filed suit against Bombardier, General Electric, Honeywell, Northwest Airlines, KGS Electronics and Parker Hannifin on behalf of the families of the pilots who died in the crash of a Pinnacle Airlines Bombardier CRJ200 on Oct. 14, 2004, near Jefferson City, Mo.
Engine manufacturers are showing renewed interest in the 10,000-pound-thrust segment. They see the aging of the General Electric (GE) CF34-3B, the only engine in production in the class, and at least two companies–Snecma and Pratt & Whitney Canada–are eyeing future large business jets, the size of the Bombardier Challenger 600 series, as potential applications. Meanwhile, GE is modernizing the CF34-1 for the Challenger 601.
GE has signed Herzog as the launch customer for its new Challenger 601 CF34 engine modernization program. The program for the CF34-1A/-3A/-3A2 engines upgrades the hot section to enable operators to transition from a “hard time” maintenance schedule with scheduled hot-section inspections and overhauls to an “on-condition” maintenance schedule.
Manufacturers should be required to determine if engine restart capability exists after high-power, high-altitude flameouts, according to the NTSB. For airplanes susceptible to engine core lock, manufacturers should be required to provide design or operational means to ensure restart capability.
China’s Avic I Commercial Aircraft Co. (ACAC) may carry out final assembly of the General Electric CF34-10A turbofan powering the ARJ21 regional jet if talks between the two companies bear fruit.
It would be the first time a Chinese manufacturer has taken on final assembly of a commercial engine designed in the West and would reflect China’s long-term intention to develop an aero-engine design and manufacturing capability.
China’s long-planned ARJ21 regional jet, which was supposed to enter commercial service in 2008, is now certain to be delayed by at least one year.