“The honeymoon has lasted longer than on previous aircraft: people go out of their way to fly on [the A380 very-large airliner],” according to Airbus programs executive vice-president Tom Williams. By the beginning of this month, the European manufacturer had delivered 103 aircraft from the 262 for which it holds firm orders, leaving a backlog of 159, equivalent to about six years’ production.
Airbus Military believes that teething problems with its multi-role tanker/transport (MRTT) business are now behind it, and that it’s set to grow over the coming year. With the A330 MRTT the company has the only new-generation tanker/transport flying, and hopes to secure new customers while continuing to deliver aircraft to its existing four operators, who will have received 17 aircraft by the end of 2013.
Curing the sealant that holds aircraft windshields in their frames can take up to 48 hours, according Lyon, France-based Sunaero (Hall 2B, Stand C140-158). This can result in maintenance specialists and their airline customers releasing aircraft back to service before sealant is fully cured. While maintenance standards allow such an early release of the aircraft and safety is not at stake, sometimes the windshield has to be sealed again after the next landing, said Fabrice Parodi, Sunaero’s sales and marketing director.
Last month US Airways became the first airline to receive FAA certification approval of the SafeRoute suite of NextGen avionics applications in the Airbus A330. The airline claims SafeRoute will “enhance operational safety and efficiency during various phases of flight.”
An Aeromexico Boeing 767 bound for Mexico City was substantially damaged when it suffered a tailstrike during takeoff from Runway 36L at Spain’s Madrid Barajas Airport on April 16. An Air Europa A330 using the same runway for takeoff about 20 minutes after the Boeing experienced a nosewheel tire blowout after running over a piece of debris from the 767. Both aircraft circled for some time to dump fuel and then returned for uneventful landings at Madrid.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has made progress in delivering some of the operational improvements that are envisioned by the NextGen ATC modernization effort. But to demonstrate those improvements sooner, the agency has also made “trade-offs” that could limit their overall benefit to airlines in the coming years, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The FAA has certified four new SafeRoute flight-deck applications on a US Airways A330 designed to provide “enhanced operational safety,” as it integrates with the agency’s NextGen system. The airline partnered with ACSS, an L-3 Communications/Thales joint venture, and Eurocontrol to complete the installation.
As experts struggle to identify why the crew of Air France 447 lost control of their A330 over the South Atlantic Ocean nearly four years ago, the industry is also still struggling to develop the precision data needed to accurately reproduce a stall in a Level D simulator. The lack of accurate stall data limits entry and recovery practice because the computers running the simulators have no idea how the aircraft will actually perform.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has selected the A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) for its tanker procurement in preference to the Ilyushin Il-78MK, after a second round of bidding. Commercial negotiations for six aircraft with an option for three more will start soon, and a contract that includes a 30-percent offset commitment is expected to be signed by June.
What if technology could help pilots recover an airplane when it is clear (to the software) that the pilot’s actions are trending toward an accident?