09.11.2007
FLUG REVUE

2007-10-21 - News in briefNEWS IN BRIEF

KURZMELDUNGEN<br /> +++<br /> Four year old private jet company Club328 announced it has a new owner - PlaneChartering Ltd, based at London Biggin Hill Airport and Cannes, South of France.

The deal cements a relationship that started last summer when PlaneChartering started selling Club328 flights in the South of France, Europe's strongest market for private jet travel, impressively doubling its sales figures. PlaneChartering, the trading name of Mitre Aviation Ltd, is an aircraft operator and flight broker, selling private jet charter all around the world. It operates a fleet of two Cessna Citation 2s and one Beechcraft King Air E90.  Club328's fleet of Dornier 328 jet, Beechcraft Premier 1s and Hawker 800 will join the family, bringing a new, luxury brand. The Avtech acquisition includes office space and two hangars.  Avtech will continue to maintain PlaneChartering's Citation and King Air fleet, while the Dornier, Hawker and Premier 1 aircraft will continue to be looked after by J.E.T.S (Jet Engineering Technical Support) at Southampton Airport. 
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EADS Defence & Security (DS) will equip the self-protection system under development in the Korean Helicopter Program KHP with its proven MILDS (Missile Launch Detection System) missile warning sensor. As reported by the company, Defence Electronics, an integrated Business Unit of EADS DS, will provide in a first step the sensors for the development phase. From 2008 onward the sensors will be integrated by the Korean company LIGNex1 into the KHP self-protection system which is currently under development. The Korean Armed Forces are planning to procure roughly 250 helicopters. MILDS AN/AAR-60 is an advanced, passive imaging sensor which detects and tracks the ultraviolet emissions of approaching missiles. This is particularly effective agaginst the most prevalent threat of infrared-guided shoulder launched missiles.
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Over the next three years Ethiopian Airlines, Lufthansa Technical Training, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH and two Ethiopian technical and vocational training colleges will cooperate on a training project for aircraft technicians in Ethiopia. The project is a Public Private Partnership (PPP), with GTZ commissioned by the Federal German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. The aviation industry in Ethiopia, Africa and the Middle East is growing at high speed. To meet this increasing demand Ethiopian Airlines is transforming its training services by establishing the Ethiopian Aviation Academy. "Over the next three years, the successful implementation of the PPP will enable the Ethiopian Aviation Academy to triple its maintenance training capacity each year and upgrade its training quality to world class levels," says Girma Wake, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines.
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Åke Svensson Saab CEO and President was formally installed as the President of ASD, at the association's annual convention. In accepting his new position Mr Svensson said; "ASD really is a fantastic organisation, as it represents a wide variety of members, national organisations from almost all European countries and companies ranging from the very large multi-national, to the small and medium sized enterprises". "Coming from one of the smaller nations, but representing one of the larger companies, it is a privilege to become President of ASD. My ambitions will be to focus on what brings us together, rather than what separates us".
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The first of four brand-new Sikorsky S92 helicopters, configured entirely for search and rescue (SAR), completed its maiden mission for Stornoway Coastguard. The helicopter airlifted a 77 year old woman from Kinlochbervie who had been suffering with chest pains and took her to Raigmore Hospital at Inverness. The Coastguard helicopter was used as the doctor advised that she should be taken to hospital as quickly as possible.
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NASA is extending, for a fifth time, the activities of the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity. The decision keeps the trailblazing mobile robotic pioneers active on opposite sides of Mars, possibly through 2009. This extended mission and the associated science are dependent upon the continued productivity and operability of the rovers. "We are extremely happy to be able to further the exploration of Mars. The rovers are amazing machines, and they continue to produce amazing scientific results operating far beyond their design life," said Alan Stern, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. To date, Spirit has driven 4.51 miles and has returned more than 102,000 images. Opportunity has driven 7.19 miles and has returned more than 94,000 images.
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The US Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves have selected BAE Systems to upgrade the A-10A Thunderbolt II for increased situational awareness and targeting control. During 2008, BAE Systems will modify more than 100 Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve A-10A aircraft stationed around the country. The upgrade will improve pilot awareness of the position of friendly ground forces. It also will reduce pilot workload by automatically transferring target coordinates within the aircraft's internal systems and to other aircraft on the network. "This system will allow the pilot to perform more hands-free tasks that would otherwise require diversion of attention from the primary flight controls of the aircraft," said Andrew Gecelosky, a senior analyst at the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Virginia. "That's a significant benefit for an aircraft with a close air support mission like the A-10A."
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Dassault Falcon has received approval from both FAA and EASA on its new Falcon 2000DX. The EASA approval was awarded September 19th and the FAA approval on October 3rd. Introduced during the NBAA Convention in 2005, the 3,250 nm Falcon 2000DX will replace Dassault's original Falcon 2000 introduced in 1989. The first Falcon 2000DX is already in the completion flow at Dassault's Little Rock Completion Center and will enter service in early 2008.
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At a joint ceremony held in Cairo, the Chief Executive Board of Star Alliance has voted to accept EgyptAir as a future member. "Egypt is one of the most important aviation markets in Africa, with a large potential for both business and leisure travel. We are proud that EgyptAir, a world class airline, has chosen to join Star Alliance, thereby recognizing the importance of alliances in aviation today", commented Jaan Albrecht, CEO Star Alliance. "EgyptAir provides an ideal network fit for Star Alliance and will permit many more passengers to experience the alliance's customer benefits especially in markets, in which Star Alliance was up to now under represented", Albrecht continued.
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Boeing successfully completed a 12-hour test flight of its A160T Hummingbird unmanned rotorcraft on Oct. 12, recording the aircraft's longest flight to date. The A160T took off at 6:27 a.m. Pacific near Victorville, Calif., and landed 12.1 hours later at 6:32 p.m. The aircraft carried a 500-pound payload at an altitude of 5,000 feet, simulating a multi-sensor operational mission. The flight used less than 60 percent of the aircraft's maximum fuel, demonstrating the advantages of the A160's design, including its unique optimum speed rotor. The 12-hour flight followed an eight-hour flight on Sept. 27 during which the Hummingbird carried a 1,000-pound payload module.
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The Royal Thai Air Force has become the latest head-of-state customer to fly a Sikorsky S-92 VIP helicopter, as Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. today announced the sale of three of the VIP aircraft to transport the Thai royal family. The contract was signed by Air Chief Marshal Paisal Sitabutr and Sikorsky representatives, marking the company's first sale to the Royal Thai Air Force. All three aircraft are scheduled to be delivered in 2010.
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The United States Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has authorized Lockheed Martin to proceed to Phase II of the Advanced Composite Cargo Aircraft (ACCA) Flight Demonstration contract. "This contract represents an important first step to advance composite usage on next-generation tactical air mobility transports," said Frank Cappuccio, executive vice president and general manager, Advanced Development Programs (the Skunk Works), Lockheed Martin. Under the contract, Lockheed Martin will build and flight-demonstrate an X-Plane type aircraft with emphasis on innovative structural configurations and concepts to include advanced prototyping and composite technologies. Its solution involves replacement of the mid/aft fuselage and empennage of a Dornier 328J aircraft with advanced composites within the required 12-month schedule.
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The 452nd Flight Test Squadron pushed the RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 20 to its fuel system limits during a weeklong starvation test here from Oct. 1 to 4. The testing involved tilting the aircraft to a 20-degree attitude while running the aircraft out of fuel inside the weight and balance hanger. "The testing is very important," said Lt. Col. Andy Thurling, 452nd Flight Test Squadron commander. "It allows us to know the aircraft's fuel requirements in case of a missed landing. This will allow for longer flights and more efficiency in the air." The Block 20 carries 1,000 pounds more payload and 6,000 pounds more fuel than the Block 10, said Capt. Stephen Leggiero, 773rd Test Squadron project engineer. Because of the increase in weight, additional fuel is required for the aircraft. This means an entirely new fuel cell configuration and fuel management system was necessary.
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Messier Services Américas (MS Américas) announced the official dedication of its new facility in Querétaro, Mexico in the presence of many customers coming from throughout the American cntinent, journalists, local and national politicians and senior managers from the SAFRAN Group. he Querétaro facility was completed in January 2007 and provides support for landing gear and hydraulic units manufactured by its parent companies, Messier-Dowty and Messier-Bugatti and other leading manufacturers. The purpose-built, self-contained 100,000 square-feet facility will perform overhauls and component repair services on DHC8, CRJ, Airbus A330/ A340, A300/A310 and the Airbus A320 family and Boeing 737NG aircraft. During the development phase, the Querétaro facility received support and training from the Messier Services global network.
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Boeing and Mumbai-based Jet Airways, India's largest private airline, announced they have finalized an order for 20 Next-Generation 737-800s. The order is valued at nearly $1.5 billion at current list prices. "Today's announcement reflects our continuing efforts to be the industry leader by combining superior service with reliable, comfortable and efficient operations," said Naresh Goyal, chairman of Jet Airways. "The 737 has proved to be a reliable and efficient aircraft on our network and has provided economic value for our airline and comfortable travel for our passengers."
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Boeing announced that Guggenheim Aviation Partner Fund II (GAIF II) has exercised options to purchase three 777 Freighters. The order, valued at approximately $750 million at list prices, was recently posted to the Boeing Orders and Deliveries Web site attributed to an unidentified customer. GAIF II has now ordered a total of six 777 Freighters and four 747-8 Freighters. Other Guggenheim Aviation Partners-managed funds have ordered six 747-400ER Freighters and have contracted to have seven 747-400s modified through the Boeing Converted Freighter Program.
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easyJet has signed a multiple-year contract with Gate Gourmet Group, the global airline catering, hospitality and logistics provider, to manage onboard retail across the carrier's entire network. Under the agreement, Gate Gourmet Group will manage the supply of all food and beverages for onboard purchase, duty free products, crew meals and other provisioning on easyJet's 17-base network flying to 88 destinations. Both parties also have the intention to expand the relationship going forward. "This is an exciting breakthrough for the Gate Gourmet Group," said Herman Anbeek, Chief Commercial Officer. "easyJet is one of the world's most successful low-fare airlines and we are proud it has recognized the group's expanded capabilities."
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After an eight-year run that gave astronomers a completely new perspective on the universe, NASA has concluded the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer mission. The satellite, known as FUSE, became inoperable in July when the satellite lost its ability to point accurately and steadily at areas of interest. NASA will terminate the mission Oct. 18. "FUSE accomplished all of its mission goals and more," said Alan Stern, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, Washington. "FUSE vastly increased our understanding of our galaxy's evolution and many exotic phenomena and left a strong legacy on which to build the next generation of investigations and missions." Launched in 1999, FUSE helped scientists answer important questions about the conditions in the universe immediately following the Big Bang, how chemicals disperse throughout galaxies, and the composition of interstellar gas clouds that form stars and solar systems.
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On October 17, a U.S. Air Forcemodernized Global Positioning System Block IIR (GPS IIR-M) satellite, designed and built by Lockheed Martin, was launched successfully today from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II launch vehicle. Designated GPS IIR-17M, the satellite is the fourth in a series of eight Block IIR-M spacecraft that Lockheed Martin Navigation Systems has modernized for its customer, the Global Positioning Systems Wing, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. The Block IIR-M series includes new features that enhance operations and navigation signal performance for military and civilian GPS users around the globe. Each IIR-M satellite includes a modernized antenna panel that provides increased signal power to receivers on the ground, two new military signals for improved accuracy, enhanced encryption and anti-jamming capabilities for the military, and a second civil signal that will provide users with an open access signal on a different frequency. The satellite launched today joins three IIR-M satellites and 12 other operational Block IIR satellites within the current 28-spacecraft constellation.
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Sikorsky has signed a contract to provide Washington Times Aviation with two S-92helicopters for airline use. The aircraft are expected to be delivered in 2008 and 2009, and will operate in Asia. This will be the fifth and sixth S-92 helicopter purchases within the last three years for Washington Times Aviation. Many of these aircraft will be used for "mass passenger transportation" in Korea, and will be housed in a hangar at the Kimpo Aerospace Industrial Complex.
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The Chilean Navy has purchased three units of the EADS CASA maritime surveillance aircraft C-295 with an option for another five. They will be used to survey maritime areas of national interest and to safeguard human lives at sea. EADS CASA has a very important presence in Latin America since late 70s. Twenty (20) operators in 16 countries from Chile to Mexico fly EADS CASA aircraft. Chile has a very special significance for EADS CASA because it was the first export customer of the former CASA. The C-212 aircraft were the first to be purchased by Chile in 1978, and were first operated by the Navy and the Army. In the 80s, the Chilean Air Force purchased C-101s jet trainers, and later incorporated several C-212s in its inventory. The medium transport aircraft CN-235 was also purchased by Chile and operated by the Army since 1989. The three Forces operate EADS CASA aircraft, and their number has increased to make Chile one of the most important operators of EADS CASA aircraft in the world.
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The capabilities of the U.S. Air Force's E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (Joint STARS) platform may be enhanced with the addition of a Wide Area Surveillance (WAS) Multi-platform Radar Technology Insertion Program (MP-RTIP) radar. Northrop Grumman is actively pursuing options with the Air Force; the U.S. Congress has expressed interest in fielding on Joint STARS a viable cruise missile defense capability such as that offered by the WAS MP-RTIP radar. The WAS MP-RTIP sensor is a modular active electronically scanned array radar system that can be scaled in size for integration into the Joint STARS platform. "This is a fiscally sound and cost-effective move," said Dave Nagy, Northrop Grumman vice president for Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) programs. "It meets the warfighter's need for a battle management command and control and a cruise missile defense capability and addresses the looming reduction in manufacturing sources for the current Joint STARS sensor."
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VistaJet, the Swiss-headquartered VVIP charter company with operations in Austria, Germany and soon in Asia, has ordered three Airbus Corporate Jetliners (ACJs), becoming a new customer. With the acquisition of these three Airbus ACJs, VistaJet will expand its fleet to a total of 31 aircraft, including those on order. The Airbus ACJs will become VistaJet's flagship aircraft, will all have the same highest standards of configuration and services, and will all be offered for charter through its innovative concept. "We see increasing demand for top-of-the-line corporate jets, such as the Airbus ACJ, as our "blue-chip" clients realise just how much more comfort and space they can get for their money," says VistaJet CEO and President Bing Chen. "As a leader in the European and Russian market, we differentiate ourselves by providing the utmost in service with a fleet that is just two years old on average, and which the Airbus ACJs will help us to expand in Russia and Asia. This investment is a further commitment of VistaJet to satisfy the most demanding customers," he adds.
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In an on-site ceremony in the presence of personnel from Eurocopter's training academy and EC135 program team, Dr. Wolfgang Schoder, CEO of Eurocopter Germany, officially inaugurated Eurocopter's newly installed training device for its EC135 light twin engine helicopter at the company's Donauwoerth site in Germany. A second facility is to follow very soon at American Eurocopter in Dallas, USA. This event marks an important milestone in Eurocopter's commitment to its customers for enhanced training and safety system globally. "Eurocopter's main objective for investment in this particular service area is to offer to our quickly growing EC135 customer base a realistic mission environment, an increase in safety, improvement in handling emergencies, operational proficiency and an optimal training solution - independent of weather conditions or aircraft availability, as safety in flight is a top priority for Eurocopter", Dr. Schoder stated at the occasion of the event. The simulators will be ready for training in the second quarter of 2008 according to JAR-STD2H Level 3 and FAA-Part 60 FTD Level 6. Reservations started at this year's EBACE exhibition in May. Customers are already booking for training on the new system.
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The Pratt & Whitney F119 engine has logged more than 50,000 operational flight hours, a major milestone for the engine program. Pratt & Whitney's F119 is the only fifth generation fighter engine in operational service and is the exclusive power source for the United States Air Force's F-22 Raptor.
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In celebration of its second anniversary, Eos Airlines, whose "Uncrowded" travel experience has captured the loyalty of premium trans-Atlantic travelers, announced it will begin flights between New York's JFK and Paris, and Newark and London Stansted Airports in 2008. With a recent infusion of $50 million in investment capital, Eos also announced it will secure its seventh and eighth Boeing 757 aircraft in order to introduce as many as four new routes in 2008. "Eos Class service is coming to Paris and Newark, and so is an end to making compromises in air travel," pronounced Jack Williams, Eos Airlines CEO. "Our Guests tell us that 'Uncrowded' is the only way they want to travel, so we have expanded our operations to other destinations to meet the demand. These new routes are great markets and also represent a path to profitability for our investors." Eos will add flights between Newark International Airport and Stansted Airport in Spring 2008. This new route acknowledges that New Jersey-based premium travelers and corporations have been eager for Eos to add flights that depart from Newark, and will expand on Eos' schedule to 58 flights per week between the New York metropolitan area and London. Flights between New York and Paris are expected to commence in Fall 2008. Details of initial ticket sale dates and schedules will be announced in the coming months.
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Pratt & Whitney and its joint venture partner, China Eastern Airlines, broke ground on a new CFM56 engine overhaul facility in Shanghai. Once fully operational, the facility is expected to overhaul 200-300 engines per year and employ 800 people. The facility, due to induct its first engine in 2008, will comprise approximately 23,000 sq. meters (250,000 sq. feet). Its in-depth repair capabilities, 10-meter test cell with capability of up to 75,000 pounds of thrust, and state-of-the-art information technology system will provide maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services to airline customers in China and the Asia Pacific region.
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FlightSafety International announced that its new Bombardier Q400 aircraft full flight simulator has received Level D qualification from the United States Federal Aviation Administration. "The FAA's Level D qualification of our new Bombardier Q400 simulator is a clear demonstration of our ability to deliver advanced technology training products and high quality professional training services," said Bruce Whitman, President & CEO, FlightSafety International. "We are pleased to increase our support for the growing number Bombardier Q400 operators around the world with the addition of this new simulator."
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BAE Systems announces that Mike Turner will be stepping down as Chief Executive Officer and leaving the Board at the end of August 2008. The Company is now commencing the process of appointing a successor as Chief Executive Officer to achieve an orderly handover. Mike Turner said: "I have decided to retire from the Company next year when I reach 60 after 42 years with the Company, the last five and a half years as CEO.  I am pleased to be leaving a great company in such excellent financial shape and with a strong forward strategy and robust business plan." Dick Olver, Chairman, said: "I would like to thank Mike for his committed and dedicated service over 42 years; particularly over recent years for his part in the Company's strong financial performance and strategic execution.  The Board wishes Mike the greatest success as he sets about the next phase of his career."
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BAE Systems has started manufacture of the F-35 Lightning II Carrier Variant (CV). The CV aircraft is the final F-35 variant to start production and means that all three variants of the world's most advanced fighter aircraft are now being produced concurrently by BAE Systems. The initial manufacturing on the CV variant is of the first titanium and aluminium frames that will form part of the aft fuselage for the first CV aircraft, which is planned to take to the skies in 2009. The aft fuselage and empennage (vertical and horizontal tails) for each F-35 Lightning II variant are being designed, engineered and built by BAE Systems, using the latest in advanced digital design and manufacturing technology.
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Finnish regional carrier, Blue 1, which is a member of the SAS Group, has signed long-term lease extensions with BAE Systems Regional Aircraft on four Avro RJ85s (msn E2388, E2389, E2393, E2394) that will see the aircraft operating well into the next decade with the airline. The transaction was announced at the European Regions Airlines Association Annual General Assembly in Athens by Steve Doughty, Vice President Sales & Marketing for BAE Systems Regional Aircraft who said today: " We are delighted to have secured this valuable long-term RJ85 lease extension with Blue 1. This means that ourproduct will be operating on mainstream routes linking Finland with the rest of Europe for many years to come."
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Representatives of the General Aviation community from across Europe met at the EASA headquarters in Cologne for the first meeting of the European General Aviation Safety Team (EGAST). EGAST responds to the need for a coordinated European effort. It gathers representatives of manufacturers, regulators, aero-clubs, accident investigators, international and research organisations. Building on the national General Aviation initiatives in Europe, EGAST creates a forum for sharing safety data and best practices. The Team's activities are in line with a new, streamlined regulatory framework for General Aviation currently developed by the Agency. "General Aviation has a high priority for the European Aviation Safety Agency", said Patrick Goudou, the Agency's Executive Director. "EGAST is a new venture in Europe and a challenge. We welcome the wide participation of the aviation community, as part of our overall efforts to revitalize General Aviation". EGAST is part of the European Strategic Safety Initiative (ESSI). Launched in 2006, ESSI aims at further enhancing safety for European citizens, through analysis of data, coordination with safety initiatives worldwide and the implementation of cost effective action plans. Its two other pillars include the European Commercial Aviation Safety Team (ECAST) and the European Helicopter Safety Team (EHEST).
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On October 16, 2007 the working meeting with representatives of AVIAKOR Samara Aviation Plant was finished. Considering the programme of AN-140 regional turboprop as strategically important, ANTONOV and AVIAKOR discussed problems of cooperation within the frames of this programe. According to the plan of AN-140 manufacture in Russia, approved by the boards of holdings AviaBusiness and Russian machines last week, 10 aircraft will be produced in 2008, 14 in 2009 and 20 in 2010. Ukrainian enterprises, including ANTONOV ASTC, will have a big share in production process. Nowadays dozens of Ukrainian companies and scientific research institutes are engaged in cooperation on AN-140 manufacture. Among them are Kharkiv State Aircraft Manufacturing Company, Ivchenko-Progress State Enterprise (Zaporizhya), Motor Sich JSC (Zaporizhya), Electronprylad Scientific Production Complex (Kyiv), BURAN research Institute (Kyiv), Kommunar Production Association (Kharkiv), Orizon-Navigatsia Production Association (Smela, Cherkassy region), YUMZ Production Association (Dnipropetrivsk), FED (Kharkiv), Ukrainian Radio Equipment NII (Kyiv), UkrANALIT (Kyiv), Research Institute of Electromechanical Instruments (Kyiv), AVIACONTROL (Kharkiv), Research Institute of Television Technology (Odessa). As a consequence of the conducted negotiations V.N.Korol, General Director of ANTONOV ASTC and I.A.Garivadskii, Chairman of board of AVIAKOR Samara Aviation Plant signed the "Minutes of the working meeting," including a list of the main reached understandings.
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Within the framework of the Royal Jordanian Air Force's (RJAF) F-16 modernization program, the first F-16 aircraft, modernized at TAI's facilities, was delivered on October 17, 2007 Within the framework of the contract, signed between the Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc. (TAI) and the Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) in July 2005, the Falcon-up, Falcon Star and Mid Life Upgrade (MLU) modifications of a total of 17 Block 15 F-16s have started to be performed by TAI. Under the program, which was initiated with the arrival of the first two RJAF F-16s at TAI's facilities on 27 April 2005, the first modified aircraft was delivered to RJAF at a ceremony held at TAI's facilities on October 17, 2007.
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The Airbus co-ordinated " Value Improvement through a Virtual Aeronautical Collaborative Enterprise" (VIVACE) Research and Technology project focuses on simulation and modelling techniques for aeronautical products during their design and development phases with the objective of reducing development time and costs. The final results of VIVACE are presented at a public Forum held in Toulouse from 17th to 19th October. VIVACE is a very large European Commission co-funded R&T project, grouping 63 companies and research institutions from the aeronautic sector such as Airbus, Rolls Royce, Snecma, Thales. It was launched in January 2004 and will be fully completed at the end of 2007. Major innovation and progress has been developed within the scope of the project in seven key areas of the product development process, providing solutions in "Design Simulation", "Virtual Testing", "Design Optimisation", "Business and Supply Chain Modelling", "Knowledge Management", "Decision Support" and "Collaboration in the Extended and Virtual Enterprise". Through industrial simulations of a part of the aircraft, of the engine or of a development process, reflecting both the Virtual Product and the Virtual Extended Enterprise, major improvements have been obtained in terms of processes, methods and tools.
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Ryanair celebrated carrying 25 million Spanish passengers since it began flights from the country in 2002.  Ryanair launched its first Spanish route from Barcelona to Frankfurt in December 2002, and next year will carry 11 million passengers on 174 routes from 18 Spanish airports. Speaking today in Barcelona, Ryanair's CEO Michael O'Leary said: "A big thank you to the 25 million passengers who have made our Spanish flights such a success.  In less than 5 years we have brought Europe's lowest fares to 18 airports, covering every region of Spain.
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L'Avion, the first all business class French airline, announced today further expansion plans that include the addition of a Saturday flight on the New York-Paris route, leaving from Newark Liberty Airport and Orly Sud, as of December 22, 2007. Plans also include the introduction of the airline's second aircraft in January 2008. The second aircraft will be comparable to L'Avion's first airplane, as an all business class Boeing 757-200, configured with 90 seats. Round trip fares to Paris originating in New York will remain unchanged, starting at $2166 and for a limited time from now until December 30th L'Avion is running a special promotion to do your holiday shopping in Paris for only $1412 . Beginning with the December 22 addition of Saturday flights, L'Avion will offer a daily rotation on the New York-Paris route, enabling L'Avion customers to fly seven days a week. With the introduction of the second aircraft in January, L'Avion will begin doubling flight frequency, beginning with Friday and Sunday flights, and further additional flights to come. Customers can currently begin purchasing tickets for these additional flights at www.lavion.com.
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Dr. Stefan Weingartner (46) will become MTU Aero Engines' new President and CEO, Commercial Maintenance, effective November 1, 2007. MTU's Supervisory Board nominated him to the position in a meeting held in the evening of October 18, 2007. Weingartner succeeds Bernd Kessler, who will join Switzerland-based aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul company SR Technics to become its CEO. Weingartner has been serving as MTU's Senior Vice President, Defence Programmes since 2002, being responsible for all of the company's government business, including its activities in the engine programs for the Eurofighter/Typhoon, the Airbus A400M military transport, the Tiger helicopter and other aircraft. In this role, he has also been in charge of MTU's military repair and overhaul business. Weingartner, who holds a doctorate degree in Engineering and an MBA, has been involved in the aerospace industry for 18 years.
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Cessna ended the 2007 National Business Aviation Association convention in Atlanta last month with 178 new aircraft orders valued at more than $1 billion. During the three-day event, Cessna took orders for 101 Citations, 59 Caravans, 13 single-engine pistons and five SkyCatchers. These orders were in addition to those announced at the opening-day press conference for 30 Citation Xs from XOJET and 30 Citation Mustangs from an unnamed European charter company. "The significant aspects of this show were that we had tremendous success across the range of products - from SkyCatcher to Citation X - and that the international market continues to expand," said Roger Whyte, senior vice president, Sales and Marketing for Cessna. "I think this is strong proof the recent bullish forecasts on global business jet sales are right on target."
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As Expedition 15 wraps up and prepares to return home, the Expedition 16 crew members are busy preparing for the arrival of space shuttle Discovery. At a change of command ceremony Friday afternoon, the Expedition 15 crew formally handed over command of the station to Expedition 16. Accepting command of the station from Expedition 15 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin, Expedition 16 Commander Peggy Whitson remarked, "It's been a very impressive mission, and you guys have performed exceptionally." The crews bid their final farewells Saturday night, as the Expedition 15 crew, Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov, board their Soyuz TMA-10 spacecraft for the return to Earth. They undocked from the station around 3:14 a.m. EDT Sunday and landed in the steppes of Kazakhstan around 6:37 a.m.
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Bridgeport, West Virginia has been selected as the site for a new aerial refueling center of excellence that will provide key components for the Northrop Grumman KC-30 Tanker. The new facility will produce and support EADS' advanced Aerial Refueling Boom System and Cobham's under-wing hose and drogue refueling system, developed with its U.S. subsidiary, Sargent Fletcher. The announcement was made by West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin at a press conference held in the State Capitol building. The production site, chosen after an evaluation that considered locations in several states, will be established if the Northrop Grumman KC-30 Tanker is selected as the U.S. Air Force's next generation aerial refueling aircraft. The facility will employ at least 100 skilled workers, and is to co-locate the production operations of EADS North America and Sargent Fletcher into two adjacent facilities at Harrison County's North Central West Virginia Regional Airport.

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