As Airbus A350XWB (Xtra widebody) customers freeze aircraft interior configuration plans, the European manufacturer hopes to limit cabin furnishing options for the new twin-aisle twinjet in order to keep final-assembly lines flowing as it accelerates production rates during a steep industrial ramp-up.
Airbus has begun airline crew training for its A350XWB customers about six months ahead of the new twin-aisle twinjet’s entry into service, scheduled for late this year, according to chief test pilot Peter Chandler, who flew the aircraft on its maiden flight in June 2013. He reports that the training syllabus has been developed and that the first A350 pilot course was under way last month, with access to a full flight simulator. Launch customer Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines have received demonstration flights.
U.S. government and industry testers plan to begin data-gathering flights later this year using a system that will address perhaps the biggest technological hurdle to widespread use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)–the ability of a remotely piloted vehicle to “detect and avoid” (DAA) other aircraft. At the same time, a special committee convened by standards organization RTCA is working toward delivering DAA equipment standards by July 2016.
By the end of the year, CFM (OE 22) plans to have put together and tested around 20 Leap-1A/B/C turbofans, in preparation for their first flights next year and in 2016 on their respective application airframes. The Franco-American engine manufacturer is also gearing up for a swift production ramp-up, planned to reach an annual 1,700 engines by the end of the decade. The Leap will power the Airbus A320neo (Leap-1A), the Boeing 737 Max (Leap-1B) and Comac C919 (Leap-1C) narrowbodies.
Rockwell Collins’s flight management system (FMS) and global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receiver successfully enabled the first demonstrations of advanced arrival and departure flight operations for the European Union’s airspace-enhancing project called FilGapp (“filling the gap” in GNSS advanced procedures and operations), the company announced today. FilGapp is intended to create new, more efficient methods of navigating airspace using satellite-based navigation and advanced FMS functions.
The first level-D flight simulator for Airbus Helicopters’ EC175 medium twin received EASA certification this week, thus allowing the manufacturer to use it to train customer pilots. Designed by Spain-based Indra and located at the Helisim training center adjacent to Airbus Helicopters’ factory in Marignane, France, it features a 210-degree by 80-degree continuous field of view. Another EC175 full-motion simulator will be installed in the U.S.
Time is running out for the Lockheed Martin F-35 to make its international debut. The fleet remains grounded after the engine fire on June 23. “We’re working day and night to provide evidence to the airworthiness authorities, but we haven’t learned enough yet,” said Lt Gen Chris Bogdan, head of the F-35 Joint Program Office.
This has got to stop. We all know that FAA inspectors at the Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) level are overworked and that FAA regulations, policies, procedures and programs impose impossible requirements on agency personnel. But when a drop-dead simple piece of paperwork that needs an approval signature hits the desk and gets delayed for some obscure confounded reason, causing the grounding of a multimillion-dollar jet, well, this simply has got to stop.
U.S.-registered turbine business airplanes were involved in fewer total accidents in the first half of this year, but corporate jets recorded more fatalities over the first half of this year than in the same period last year. According to preliminary data tabulated by AIN, there were 21 total accidents involving business turboprops and jets in the first six months, compared with 27 in the same period last year.
There were 67,311 business aviation flights in Europe last month, and while this was a “seasonal leap” of 9 percent over May, it was still down 0.9 percent from a year ago, according to data released today by business aviation research and consulting firm WingX Advance. “June’s decline completed a negative second quarter and means year-to-date flight activity [in Europe] is 0.4 percent lower than in 2013,” it noted.