Tarmac Aerosave–an Airbus joint venture with waste treatment specialist Sita, engine maker Snecma, engineering firm Aeroconseil, maintenance company Equip’Aero and spare parts specialist TASC Aviation–has begun aircraft dismantling operations in Tarbes, southwest France. In February, Tarmac moved into its new 97,000-sq-ft facilities, which include a hangar able to house an A380 and storage areas for up to 20 aircraft.
Safran and General Electric are stepping up activities at their newly formed nacelle joint venture with the appointment of Steve Walters as president. The Cincinnati-based alliance between Safran subsidiary Aircelle and GE’s Middle River Aircraft Systems business was launched in December 2008.
New engine orders slumped badly for CFM International during the first five months of this year. The French-U.S. partnership sold just 303 engines through May 31–less than a quarter of the (admittedly exceptional) total of 1,342 sold in the same period in 2008.
CFM International (Hall 2 Stand B149) is studying a next generation of turbofans to power single-aisle commercial aircraft, hoping to secure a role in future replacements for the Airbus A320 family and the Boeing 737. Under the LEAP-X advanced turbofan program, joint venture partners Snecma and General Electric are pursuing innovations such as increased use of composite materials in engines.
Snecma launched the Silvercrest core-engine demonstrator program in 2006, built the engine in 2007 and successfully completed testing of it in March 2008. Now the company is continuing its talks with airframers to find a first application for the 9,500- to 12,000-pound-thrust engine. “The Silvercrest is being considered for many programs,” said Laurence Finet, general manager of the Silvercrest program.
Researchers across Europe have made substantial progress in their pursuit of the cleaner, more fuel efficient engines that will be needed if air traffic is to continue growing without its environmental impact becoming unacceptable.
Engine maker CFM has chosen sides in the debate between proponents and opponents to composite materials on turbofan moving parts by introducing fibers woven in three dimensions for fan and even low-pressure turbine (LPT) blades. The bet on this next-generation composite manifests itself on the Snecma-General Electric venture's Leap-X “advanced turbofan” program.
Turbofan engine makers active in business aviation– such as General Electric, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney Canada, Rolls-Royce and Snecma– all have their hands full with research-and-development (R&D) programs, many of which are driven by aircraft programs. However, almost all of the engine companies also run demonstration programs that will not necessarily morph into full engine development.
A Turkish Airlines Boeing 737-800 crashed into a muddy field while on approach into Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport at around 10:30 a.m. local time February 25, killing at least nine of the 134 occupants and injuring dozens more. News cameras showed rescue crews surrounding the scene, where the airplane lay in three pieces alongside a highway, roughly a half mile from the intended runway threshold.
French-based turboshaft manufacturer Turbomeca has completed a European Commission-funded research program that opens the door to a massive collection of usage and maintenance data on helicopter engines. The idea is to have engines sending an exhaustive set of data, after each flight, to a centralized server.