Dealing with explosive mixtures in the fuel tanks of transport aircraft used to be high on the NTSB’s most-critical list. The subject evolved after the 1996 explosion of the center fuel tank of a TWA Boeing 747 just after departure from JFK Airport.
Efforts to reduce the thousands of gallons of jet fuel now being burned each year just to move aircraft to and from runways are very much in evidence at the 2012 Farnborough International airshow. No fewer than four new products vying for the attention of airline and airport managements, including efforts by Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), L-3, Safran/Honeywell and WheelTug, and they each have taken a different approach.
Operators of Boeing 787s powered by the latest-standard GEnx-1Bs are promised real fuel savings over similar aircraft with competing engines, according to engine maker General Electric. The powerplants also will be more durable and remain “on wing” longer if equipped with two performance improvement packages: PIPs I and II.
The Boeing 747-8 will achieve its pre-delivery guarantees on fuel burn “in a year or two,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Jim Albaugh told attendees at the company’s May 15 Investors’ Conference in St. Louis.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said the the failure of a Rolls-Royce RB211 engine on a Qantas Boeing 747-400, which occurred during climbout from San Francisco International Airport on Aug. 30, 2010, was caused by a fatigue fracture of a single-stage, low-pressure turbine blade.
CTT Systems of Nyköping, Sweden, recently scored two large-scale orders for its CTT Cair cabin air system, one for a Boeing 747-8 being outfitted by Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg, Germany, and the other for an Airbus ACJ319 to be completed by Amac Aerospace of Basel, Switzerland.
It is the sixth Cair package to be installed by Lufthansa in executive versions of single- and twin-aisle airliners. The A319 represents the fourth Cair system to be installed by Amac.
Lufthansa Technik (LHT) will establish a completions center in Asia, “sooner rather than later,” the company told an ABACE show press conference yesterday. “In the medium term the Chinese market is very interesting,” said Walter Heerdt, the company’s senior marketing and sales vice president. “We have to be here, otherwise we will not get the best share we can out of this market.”
With Chinese customers having expressed a clear preference for larger private aircraft, it is little wonder that Boeing Business Jets has proved popular in greater China. Of the 10 BBJs sold so far, four are already in service–two with DeerJet in mainland China, one with MetroJet in Hong Kong and another with a private owner in Taiwan.
The first Boeing 747-8I VIP variant rolled off the assembly line on Tuesday and is expected to enter service with an unidentified Middle East head-of-state operator in 2014, following installation of an executive interior by Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg, Germany.
GE Aviation is to expand its manufacturing and R&D capacity in the U.S. with three new facilities to open by 2013, the company announced Tuesday. It expects its production rates to grow from 3,000 commercial and military engine deliveries in 2011 to 3,400 deliveries in 2012 and 3,800 deliveries in 2013, requiring $580 million in plant, equipment and tooling during the 2011-2012 time frame across its network of 55 U.S. operations.