Antonov has removed the first An-148 fuselage from its assembly jig at the company’s experimental factory in Kiev after completing the project on schedule. Assembly started last October and proceeded without the delays typical of recent CIS aircraft projects. Antonov plans first flight by the end of this year and certification to Russia’s AP-25 airworthiness requirements–harmonized with FAR Part 25– next year.
Antonov plans to fly the first An-148 regional jet this month, marking the culmination of three years of preparation and the dawn of a new era in Ukrainian civil aviation.
The 21 An-124 heavy airlifters owned by the Russian Air Force are now available for sale to commercial operators, according to unconfirmed media reports in Russia. The Russian Air Force grounded the aircraft in December 2005, and their technical condition is uncertain. If they are for sale, they are certain to attract interest from the four current commercial operators of the An-124.
Airbus Military is offering to supply some A400M tactical airlifters to NATO on a “fractional ownership” basis. The proposal is designed to help smaller European countries that cannot afford to own such aircraft but that have been negotiating a similar pooling scheme (through NATO) with Boeing for the C-17.
They’re big. They’re in demand. But they’re getting old, and availability is becoming a problem. That’s why Volga-Dnepr Airlines (VDA) has been pushing so hard for more An-124 Ruslan heavylift freighters to be built. But despite the aircraft’s commercial success since the end of the Cold War, it’s not clear whether renewed production is a priority for Russia’s newly formed, state-owned United Aircraft Co. (OAK).
Everything is going very well with the Rolls-Royce Trent 900, which has logged more than 400 engine hours aboard the Airbus A380 since the very large airliner’s April 27 first flight, according to managing director (airline) Charles Cuddington. With almost 20 flights completed by the beginning of June, initial engine performance is said to be “better than spec,” reflecting earlier experience on the A340 flying testbed.
Airbus has issued a new “conservative and interim” recommendation for A380 separation minimums backed by 100 hours of flight testing performed in Toulouse, Istres and Frankfurt.
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