TAG Aviation’s all-new business aviation facilities at the UK’s Farnborough Airport were due to go into operation at the end of last month. At press time, the company was about to receive the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) airport license that will allow it formally to take control of the airfield from the Ministry of Defence under a 99-year lease.
With more exhibitor space reserved at this stage than ever before, the 11th biennial Helitech, due to take place at England’s historic Imperial War Museum in Duxford next September 27 to 29, could soon be a sellout.
The crash of a UK Royal Air Force (RAF) Nimrod MR.2 surveillance aircraft in Afghanistan last year that killed all 14 onboard was likely caused by escaped fuel from a pressure-relief valve igniting against an improperly insulated hot bleed-air pipe in the starboard wing root. So says the British Ministry of Defence (MoD), which took the unusual step of releasing the entire report of the accident inquiry.
Foreign object damage could one day disappear, thanks to technology developed in the UK. A high-precision millimeter wave radar built by researchers at QinetiQ (pronounced ki•ne•tic) has demonstrated its ability to detect objects as small as a two-inch-long steel machine bolt as it lay on a runway surface 1.24 miles from the radar.
MacCarthy Interiors in Surrey, England, has delivered its first Sikorsky S-92 with an executive interior. The job for a private owner was part of a contract with Harrods Aviation (MacCarthy is a preferred interiors supplier for Harrods), and involved first stripping out the old interior. Among the upgrade items is a forward lavatory and new leather seats.
German interiors specialist Lufthansa Technik will be providing its network integrated cabin equipment (Nice) system to Bombardier as standard equipment on the Canadian manufacturer’s Challenger 300. Nice is a digital-based cabin-management and entertainment package that includes an iPod docking station to stream the audio output.
Negotiations continue between the UK and Saudi Arabian governments over the details of Project Salam, the agreement to supply 72 Eurofighter Typhoons to Saudi Arabia. Major decisions still have to be taken on the avionics and weapons configurations, and on the arrangements to produce and support the aircraft in Saudi Arabia. Final assembly of the first 24 aircraft, and training of the first Royal Saudi Air Force crews, will be done in the UK.
BAE Systems Regional Aircraft suggests there might be a large increase in the Persian Gulf-based fleet of British Aerospace 146/Avro RJ regional jets in the next six months. The current four airplanes operating in the area could have grown to as many as 15 by the second quarter of 2008, according to BAE Systems salesman Andy Whelan at an aviation-finance conference here last week.
Next year’s 60th anniversary Farnborough Airshow should be a record-breaker, according to organizers Farnborough International (Stand W106). Sales are at the highest level ever seen at this stage in the biennial cycle, the company said, and exhibitors’ plans are correspondingly ambitious.
BAE Systems (Stand W412) has started building the airframe for the Taranis, a $254 million unmanned combat aerial vehicle demonstrator aimed at helping the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) determine its armed forces’ future equipment needs.