Resistant to grounding their Boeing 787-8s for a even a short time, several operators have indefinitely deferred addressing fixes to some of the airplanes’ last remaining glitches, presenting the manufacturer with an “issue” as it marches toward its target dispatch reliability rate of 99.6 percent.
Economy of the United States
The production system that promises to support a reduction in final assembly times for the Boeing 737 from 10 to nine days this year should become still more efficient with the introduction of a new automated panel assembly line (PAL) by early 2015. Built by Mukilteo, Washington-based Electroimpact, the PAL fastens stringers to wing skin panels at twice the rate Boeing now can manage using the current process at the 737 plant in Renton, Washington. Electroimpact designed the machine to “normalize” to the panel with an array of lasers that “see” the surface without touching it, allowing it to follow the panel curvature or contour. The process improves accuracy, consistency and “repeatability,” according to Boeing.
The aviation industry will see as many as 1,000 airplanes exit commercial fleets each year within the next decade as a combination of demographics conspire to create a retirement “tsunami,” IFC International principal Richard Brown told delegates attending the June 15 to 17 Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association (AFRA) annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
Steve Taylor, president of Boeing Business Jets (BBJ), announced here at EBACE 2014 the company has sold its first VIP 787-9 Dreamliner, and the undisclosed customer has chosen London’s Andrew Winch Designs (AWD) and EH Aviation Advisors to handle the completion. Taylor noted that AWD has handled interior design for several BBJs. “This is going to be spectacular,” he said as he showed renderings of an interior scheme from AWD at the BBJ press conference. (Renderings of the client’s selected interior were not displayed as per AWD’s confidentiality policies.)
Albuquerque, N.M.-based Eclipse Aerospace announced the availability of web-based chart and navigation subscription updates from Jeppesen. The downloadable data stream replaces physical update disks shipped to the company’s E-Chart subscribers. It also allows pilots of Eclipse 550s and 500 Total Eclipses to import flight data directly into the Avio IFMS, thus eliminating a potential error point with manual data entry. The web-based charts are available to current E-Chart subscribers through Jeppesen’s website.
Scott Ernest, who joined Textron and took over as CEO of the company’s Cessna subsidiary in May 2011, recently presided over one of the largest manufacturer mergers in aviation history this year, the integration of Cessna and Beechcraft. In March Textron bought Beechcraft for $1.4 billion and placed the Cessna and Beechcraft brands under the newly formed Textron Aviation, headed by Ernest as president and CEO.
As it pushes to expand in Europe and at its new Arkansas facility, JCB Aero is here at EBACE exhibiting custom-finished furniture with metal accents and, to demonstrate its growing capabilities, a mockup of the front section of a business jet, comprising a galley and a lounge.
Monarch Aircraft Engineering has sent a specialist team of structural aircraft engineers to Basel to complete a strut improvement program (SIP) for Jet Aviation. The company, which gained its Bermuda Department of Civil Aviation approval last October, sent a team of licensed engineers from its headquarters at London Luton Airport to Jet Aviation’s facility in Basel to carry out the SIP modification on a private Boeing 767. The SIP modification consists of an extensive rebuild of the engine pylons to restore damage tolerance.
The FAA notified the industry last month that a number of unapproved parts may have found their way into the maintenance and repair system when they were advertised on the Internet under the caption “65,000 military and commercial aircraft parts for sale.” An FAA investigation said Western Metal Products originally manufactured the parts under a licensing agreement with Boeing. The agreement between the two companies, however, ended in 2007.
First-quarter revenues at NetJets and FlightSafety International soared by 12 percent and 14 percent, respectively, according to parent company Berkshire Hathaway. Higher revenues at NetJets reflected increased sales of fractional aircraft and flight services revenues due to increased flight hours, while FlightSafety’s increase was the result of increased simulator training activity. Quarterly revenues at its services businesses, which include NetJets and FSI, increased by $284 million, to $2.4 billion, while profits climbed by $34 million, to $243 million.