29.10.2007
FLUG REVUE

2007-10-28 - News in briefNews in brief

KURZMELDUNGEN<br /> +++<br /> Boeing announced that the Singapore Ministry of Defence has exercised an option to purchase eight F-15SGs and has ordered four additional aircraft.

The option is part of the original contract for 12 F-15SG aircraft announced by Singapore in 2005. "We are proud that Singapore has chosen to acquire additional F-15SGs. The Strike Eagle is a combat-tested fighter with the most technologically advanced systems, and we are confident the F-15SG will meet the defense needs of Singapore," said Chris Chadwick, vice president and general manager, Global Strike Systems. Integration and flight testing of the F-15SG will be performed at Boeing facilities in St. Louis and Palmdale, Calif., beginning in November.
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Boeing and its P-8A Poseidon team last month completed the program's 200th live-fire shot at the U.S. Navy's Weapons Survivability Laboratory in China Lake, Calif. P-8A live-fire testing enhances aircraft survivability and reduces program risk by providing engineers with reliable data that can be incorporated into the Poseidon's dry bay fire-protection design. During testing, live ordnance is fired into simulated aircraft sections to replicate a potential threat environment. The systems being designed and developed will ensure dry bay fires are automatically detected and suppressed. Dry bays are locations adjacent to fuel that also may contain electrical and hydraulic lines as well as environmental control systems or engine bleed-air lines.
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The British Midlands Development Corporation announced that the East Midlands Airport has won the World's Leading Eco Friendly Airport designation, voted for by the prestigious World Travel Awards. In its fourteenth year, the World Travel Awards acknowledges and celebrates organizations that have made the greatest contribution to global tourism and those who are driving the industry to greater heights and innovation. The Airport was recognized for the following initiatives: efforts to become carbon neutral by 2012; their international environmental accreditation to ISO14001; a new environmentally friendly pier which contains ground heating pumps, wind catchers and water recycling facilities; its plans to install wind turbines on site to generate 10% of on site electricity. The award was announced just one day after the Airport won UK Best Regional Airport at the Travel Bulletin Awards in London.
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Mr. Praful Patel, India's Minister for Civil Aviation, visited the European Aviation Safety Agency in Cologne to discuss areas of cooperation in civil aviation safety. The visit, hosted by Patrick Goudou, Executive Director of the Agency, was organized as a follow-up to the successful first EU-India Aviation Summit held in New Delhi in November 2006. Technical cooperation between India and the EU includes in particular the exchange of experts in areas such as maintenance and the development of Safety Management Systems. "India is an important partner of the EU and I am happy that this cooperation is extending to the area of aviation safety", said Patrick Goudou, "this will be of mutual benefit to both the EU and India".
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ASD's European Aerospace Quality Group (EAQG) and Lufthansa Technical Training (LTT) signed a Memorandum of Understanding which will see LTT, the leading provider of training for those working in aerospace maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), joining ASD-EAQG's service provider network, Aerospace Performances Improvement (API). As a member of the API network LTT will be authorised by ASD-EAQG to provide services to a wide range of organisations involved in MRO and the Aerospace and Defence industries. The aim of the API platform is to improve the implementation and robustness of the quality standards of the aerospace industry at both national and international levels.
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Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov, the 15th crew of the International Space Station, landed safely in their Soyuz spacecraft at 6:36 a.m. EDT Sunday, 21 October, in the steppes of Kazakhstan. A ballistic descent for the returning Soyuz resulted in a landing about 210 miles west of the nominal landing site. With Expedition 15 was spaceflight participant Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, a Malaysian flying under an agreement with the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos). He arrived at the station with the Expedition 16 crew, Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko, and spent almost nine days on the orbiting laboratory. Yurchikhin, 48, wound up his second flight into space. He was a member of the STS-112 crew which launched to the station on Oct. 7, 2002, with the Starboard 1 Truss. He holds a Ph.D. in economics and was named a cosmonaut-candidate in 1997.
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The Gulfstream IV / IV-SP in-service business-jet fleet has surpassed three million flight hours. In service for 20 years, the GIV/GIV-SP remains the best-selling large-cabin, long-range business jet in its class with 535 aircraft of that family sold. At 99.92 percent dispatch reliability, the GIV continues to achieve one of the highest reliability ratings in the industry. For nearly two decades, the GIV, and later the GIV-SP, was the long-range aircraft of choice for business-jet aircraft customers, including heads of state, private individuals and air charter companies around the world. Gulfstream modeled two of its current in-production business-jet aircraft – the long-range G450 and the mid-range G350 – after the GIV/GIV-SP design. The GIV was certified by the Federal Aviation Administration on April 22, 1987, and entered service on June 8, 1987. Gulfstream introduced the "special performance" GIV-SP in September 1992. The enhanced aircraft featured an updated landing package and increased takeoff and landing weight that allowed for heavier payloads and more flexibility in outfitting. The GIV/GIV-SP aircraft was manufactured for 16 years, with the last GIV entering service on September 13, 2003.
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Vision Systems International announced several new contracts with a total value of more than $60 million. The Boeing Company awarded VSI a contract for the delivery of more than 300 additional Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS). VSI has supplied the JHMCS to Boeing since the program's inception in 1996; this award represents their eighth production contract. Under the Boeing agreement, VSI will provide JHMCS hardware, including spares, technical support and support equipment for the Full Rate Production - Lot 4 (FRP-4). Additional contracts will satisfy U.S. government domestic requirements for numerous aircraft such as the U.S. Air Force F-15 and F-16, Air National Guard F-15, U.S. Navy F/A-18E/F, as well as foreign military sales for Greece (F-16), Poland (F-16), Belgium (F-16), Turkey (F-16), Australia (F/A-18), Switzerland (F/A-18) and Canada (F/A-18). "With the addition of Belgium and other air forces, VSI now has a total of 19 customers for JHMCS," said Drew Brugal, president of VSI.  "Our products are providing unprecedented situational awareness to pilots throughout the world."
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In an Extraordinary General Meeting EADS shareholders formalised the changes in the Group's management and leadership structure by adopting the proposed resolutions. EADS will be led by a single Chairman and a single Chief Executive Officer. Elected for a five-year term (ending at the close of the Annual General Meeting which shall be held in 2012) the EADS Board of Directors includes four independent members and is composed as follows: Mr. Rüdiger Grube, Chairman of the EADS Board of Directors; Mr. Louis Gallois, Chief Executive Officer of EADS; Mr. Rolf Bartke, Chairman of Kuka AG; Mr. Dominique D'Hinnin, Chief Financial Officer of Lagardère SCA; Mr. Juan Manuel Eguiagaray Ucelay, Director of Studies at Fundación Alternativas; Mr. Arnaud Lagardère, General Partner and CEO of Lagardère SCA; Mr. Hermann-Josef Lamberti, Member of the Management Board of Deutsche Bank AG; Mr. Lakshmi N. Mittal, President and Chief Executive Officer of Arcelor Mittal; Sir John Parker, Chairman of National Grid; Mr. Michel Pébereau, Chairman of BNP Paribas; Mr. Bodo Uebber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG. During the Board's constituent meeting Rüdiger Grube was designated as Chairman of the EADS Board of Directors. Louis Gallois was designated Chief Executive Officer of EADS with power to represent the Group as specified in the EADS Articles of Association. The Board of Directors further created three committees: The Strategic Committee is chaired by Rüdiger Grube. Louis Gallois, Arnaud Lagardère, Michel Pébereau and Bodo Uebber are members of the Strategic Committee. The Audit Committee is chaired by Hermann-Josef Lamberti. Dominique D'Hinnin; Sir John Parker and Bodo Uebber are members of the Audit Committee. The Remuneration & Nomination Committee is chaired by Sir John Parker. Rolf Bartke, Dominique D'Hinnin and Hermann-Joseph Lamberti are members of the Remuneration & Nomination Committee. Guiding principles of the adopted modifications are efficiency, cohesiveness and simplification of EADS' management and leadership structure, towards corporate governance best practices.
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Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft built in the program's second production batch (Tranche 2) will be equipped with a unique system from Device Technologies, Inc. for protection against potentially dangerous wire and cable wear. The Tranche 2 Typhoons are to carry Device Technologies' Spring-Fast grommet edging, which will be installed around structural openings in the aircraft's fuselage and wings to cushion the contact between electrical wiring and the airframe.  This new-generation protection replaces various older grommets in nylon that crack and fall off, leaving wires exposed to sharp-edged metal surfaces, as well as those made in Polyolefin that require significant assembly time in manufacturing.  Spring-Fast grommet edging is designed to simply snap on and is easier to install, reducing production time per aircraft.  Performance tests to high levels of vibration, shock and other ambient conditions support its long term reliability in field conditions. Its simple pressure-fastening concept eliminates the need for adhesives - which minimizes the exposure of production line workers and depot maintenance personnel to hazardous materials and VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
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Embraer informs that Royal Jordanian Airlines has converted two EMBRAER 195 jets from its original order into two EMBRAER 175s. This change was already included in Embraer's 2007 third-quarter backlog. In March 2006, Embraer signed an original purchase agreement with Royal Jordanian for seven EMBRAER 195s. The airline has already received four aircraft, three of which through a leasing agreement with GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS). The fifth and last EMBRAER 195 will be delivered by the end of this year.
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Embraer announces a contract for the sale of 11 EMBRAER 190 jets, with options for another 15 aircraft of the same model, to El Salvador's TACA Group. The value of the deal, at list price, is US$379.5 million, based on the economic conditions of January 2007, and could reach US$897 million, if all options are confirmed. This order was already included in Embraer's third quarter backlog as "Undisclosed." "It is with great satisfaction that we see another important Latin American operator joining the family of E-Jets customers," stated Mauro Kern, Embraer's Executive Vice President, Airline Market. "TACA's strategy of linking North, Central and South America will be boosted by the EMBRAER 190 addition to its current narrow-body fleet. The natural blend of the EMBRAER 190s and the narrow bodies will create a winning vector supporting TACA's further growth and expansion, efficiently combining low operating costs and outstanding passenger comfort." The new aircraft of the TACA Group will be configured with two classes and will comfortably accommodate 96 passengers -- eight in executive class and 88 in economy. Deliveries are planned to begin in the second half of 2008.
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Boeing is teaming with Northrop Grumman Corporation to develop a new airborne electronic attack capability for U.S. Air Force B-52H aircraft. The proposed B-52H Core Component Jammer (CCJ) program will provide long-range radar jamming capabilities, making in-theater air support safer and more effective. The Air Force is currently examining its airborne electronic attack needs, and has not yet issued a request for proposals. The CCJ capability will be added to the multi-mission-capable B-52H, which has significant structural life remaining, making the platform one of the most versatile in the Air Force inventory. "We are going to build on the existing relationship our companies have on the U.S. Navy's EA-18G Growler and our four decades of developing and delivering electronic attack systems," said Pat McMahon, Northrop Grumman vice president of Electronic Support & Attack Solutions. "With Boeing, we will leverage our achievements and lessons learned from our many successful programs to deliver a low-risk, affordable and effective solution for the U.S. Air Force's electronic attack mission requirements. We also plan to leverage the investment the U.S. Air Force is making in phased array technology development at the Air Force Research Laboratory."
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Boeing, using a Ford Motor Company-developed hydrogen engine, has successfully tested the hydrogen propulsion system of its High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) unmanned aircraft. "This test demonstrates the technical readiness of the hydrogen engine system and confirms the capability breakthrough in flight endurance and altitude that could be realized by a variety of military and commercial customers," said Darryl Davis, vice president and general manager, Boeing Advanced Precision Engagement and Mobility Systems. During the test, the engine ran for nearly four days in a controlled chamber at Aurora Flight Sciences in Manassas, Va., including a total of three days that simulated conditions at 65,000 feet. The propulsion system included a multi-stage turbocharged internal combustion engine and its associated subsystems. The Ford engine earned better than expected fuel economy while demonstrating complete airflow and torque control across the engine's operating range. "This simulated flight allows us to showcase the capabilities of Ford's proprietary hydrogen engine technology and the durability of our four-cylinder engines," said Gerhard Schmidt, vice president, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. "We are very pleased with the results. The gasoline version of this same engine can be found in our Ford Fusion and Escape Hybrid vehicles." The Boeing HALE aircraft is designed to economically maintain persistent presence over a specific ground location from stratospheric altitudes, providing tremendous potential for surveillance and communications applications. The test marked a key step toward proving the essential technical elements are in place for full-scale development.
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Max-Viz announced award of FAA STC #ST02066LA for installation of Max-Viz Enhanced Vision EVS-1000 series systems on Cessna Citation 500 through 560XL aircraft. Max-Viz STC for Enhanced Vision on Citation 500 series aircraft is an exciting addition to the STC pool for Max-Viz product installations, currently flying on over 200 helicopters and corporate jets. "Cockpit EVS image display options are varied," said Jim Tuttle, president and CEO of Max-Viz, "and now include the IS&S glass panel displays available for legacy Cessna Citations through Cessna Service Centers." All Max-Viz -1000 series EVS systems are compatible.
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QinetiQ has developed and successfully flight trialled a Day Night All Environment (DNAE) visibility solution that provides helicopter pilots with alternative, complementary sources of imaging information, enabling them to fly safely in low light or adverse weather conditions. When added to a suite of navigational and tactical guidance aids also being developed by QinetiQ, the existing operational envelope of the aircraft can be considerably expanded. Helicopter operations are often constrained by a variety of environmental conditions. Atmospheric obscurants such as fog, cloud, rain and snow can lead to hazardous situations. Low light levels and the need to operate at low altitude or to fly over featureless terrain with low scene contrast present similar operational challenges. Visibility is often further reduced by wind and re-circulated dust when operating at low levels (brown out). These conditions can result in loss of spatial awareness and can adversely affect the precise control of the aircraft, particularly during final approach and landing. The recently completed HawkOwl Trial was conducted by QinetiQ using a Sea King Mk IV-X, and was sponsored by MOD Director of Equipment Capability (DEC) Air Littoral Manoeuvre (ALM) under the Day Night All Weather Helicopter Operations Applied Research Programme.
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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released passenger and freight traffic forecasts projecting that in 2011 the air transport industry will handle 2.75 billion passengers (620 million more passengers than in 2006) and 36 million tonnes of international freight (7.5 million tonnes more than in 2006). International passenger demand is expected to rise from 760 million passengers in 2006 to 980 million in 2011 at an annual average growth rate (AAGR) of 5.1%. This will be lower than the 7.4% AAGR recorded during 2002-2006, largely due to slightly slower global economic growth. Domestic passenger demand is expected grow from 1.37 billion passengers in 2006 to 1.77 billion in 2011, an AAGR of 5.3%, fuelled by expansion in the Indian and Chinese domestic markets. International freight volumes are expected to grow at an AAGR of 4.8% over the forecast period, supported by economic growth, globalisation and trade. Strong price competition from other modes of transport is expected to keep freight demand growth below the 6.2% AAGR recorded for 2002-2006. "The numbers clearly show that the world wants to fly. And it also needs to fly. Air transport is critical to the fabric of the global economy, playing a critical role in wealth generation and poverty reduction. The livelihoods of 32 million people are tied to aviation, accounting for US$3.5 trillion in economic activity," said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's Director General and CEO.  "A looming infrastructure crisis could put these benefits at risk. And failure to prepare adequately to meet demand will have an environmental cost with inefficient use of airspace and delays. There is no panacea, but the starting point for a sustainable solution is a common vision for efficiency that is acted on by governments and industry. With infrastructure planning timelines measured in decades, there is no time to lose." "Parts of the world are effectively managing infrastructure development to anticipate and meet demand—particularly the Middle East and China. But the enormous anticipated expansion in India that has fuelled record aircraft orders could be cut short by insufficient airport and air traffic management capacity. The unprecedented delays nightmare in the US is a clear example of the paralysis that results when we miss the mark on effective planning. This is mirrored in Europe where governments still have not cleaned up the mess in air traffic management with an effective Single European Sky. In total, infrastructure inefficiency—from bottlenecks to inefficient processes—adds 12% to our fuel bill and costs the environment 73 million tonnes of unnecessary CO2 emissions each year," said Bisignani. 
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International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) and Airbus have concluded a revision of ILFC's original 16 A350 order to 20 A350 XWBs. The revised agreement by the world's largest commercial leasing company by fleet value, and a subsidiary of American International Group, Inc, is for both the –800 and the -900 version. ILFC has the flexibility to also select the –1000 version upon request. This transaction brings total orders for the A350 XWB to 196 from nine customers. "Airbus is now offering an outstanding product which satisfies the market and our requirements," says ILFC Chairman and CEO Steven Udvar-Hazy.  
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The 1727th flight of a Soyuz family launch vehicle (Molniya) was performed Tuesday, October 23, 2007 from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia at 8:39 a.m. Moscow time (6:39 a.m., in Paris). Starsem, Arianespace and their Russian partners report that the governmental spacecraft was accurately placed on the target orbit. This was the 10th Soyuz family mission in 2007. It came right after the successful Starsem's flight launching on October 21, 2007 the Globalstar telecommunications satellites for Globalstar, Inc. Starsem is planning to carry out several missions in the coming months, including the launch of the Radarsat-2 observation satellite and the launch of the Giove-B satellite.  
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The Light Combat Aircraft 'Tejas' program achieved the most significant milestone yet when it successfully test fired the Close Combat Missile R-73 today at the air-to-air range off Goa coast. The historic event marks the beginning of weaponisation, which is the focus of the current initial operational clearance (IOC) phase of the program. Air-to-Air missile integration and testing especially on a fly-by-wire aircraft is a very complex task involving interfaces with aerodynamics, engine air intake, control laws, flight control system, avionics system, electrical and other general system of aircraft.  
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A CV-22 Osprey assigned to the 58th Special Operations Wing here participated in the aircraft's first search and recovery mission, responding to the fatal crash of a medical aircraft in the mountains of southern Colorado. Airport officials lost contact with the Arizona-based Beechcraft King airplane at 11:22 p.m. Oct. 4 as the air ambulance headed toward San Luis Regional Medical Center while responding to a medical call. At about 9:15 a.m. Oct. 5, the Air Force Rescue Center contacted Kirtland Air Force Base with a call to help at the request of civil authorities. Initially, the mission was considered search and rescue because the condition of those aboard the downed aircraft was unknown. The response team quickly prepared to take off. Aircraft included the CV-22, a pair of HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters, and a MC-130P Combat Shadow to provide aerial refueling and serve as air mission control for the operation. Capt. Scott Gwin, aircraft commander on the Osprey, credited the maintenance crew for preparing the aircraft for the speedy search and rescue effort.  
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Northrop Grumman announced that its Guardian Counter-Man Portable Air Defense System (C-MANPADS) currently installed on nine wide-body aircraft flying daily in commercial revenue service has achieved 12,000 on-aircraft operational hours. "The program and system are a continuing success,'' said Robert Del Boca, sector vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman's Defensive Systems Division. "The accumulation of operating hours in the intended environment is providing significant data regarding the veracity of the design. We will continue the flight test program for the next four months and anticipate ongoing positive achievements.'' Northrop Grumman began Phase III of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) C-MANPADS program in August 2006. The program is scheduled to conclude in March 2008 with a final report to DHS. The Northrop Grumman-led industry team has completed all contract production and hardware delivery requirements and is currently fully engaged in daily flight test operations across the nation. As of October 12, the Guardian system has accumulated more than 2,500 revenue service flights, logging more than 12,000 hours of on-aircraft operating time.  
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Starsem successfully launched four Globalstar satellites for Globalstar, Inc., a leading provider of mobile satellite voice and data services to businesses, government, and individuals. The Soyuz launch vehicle lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan right on schedule at 2:12 am local time on Sunday October 21 (8:12 pm UTC on Saturday October 20; 10:12 pm Paris time on Saturday October 20). It was the 1726th launch of a rocket from the Soyuz family, the 9th Soyuz mission in 2007 and the 19th successful Starsem launch. Starsem and its Russian partners confirm that the Fregat upper stage accurately injected the four Globalstar satellites into the targeted low Earth orbit at 920 km altitude. Fregat was ignited twice to place the four satellites into orbit 1 hour, 42 minutes after lift-off. Satellites acquisition and health status will be confirmed independently by Globalstar Inc. These satellites, together with four satellites successfully launched by Starsem last May will augment the current operating constellation through the launch of the Globalstar second generation satellites.  
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A senior Air Force official released results of the command-directed investigation stemming from a weapons transfer incident that occurred Aug. 30 when cruise missiles were loaded onto a B-52 Stratofortress at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., and transported to Barksdale AFB, La. The Barksdale-assigned B-52 was prepared to transport 12 cruise missiles to Louisiana as part of a tactical ferry mission; however, six of the 12 missiles were not properly prepared for transport, said Maj. Gen. Richard Newton III, assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements at the Pentagon. General Newton attributed the loading and transport of the weapons to "a series of procedural breakdowns and human errors," stating that the six cruise missiles on that particular pylon "were not supposed to be moved." "The extensive, six-week investigation found that this was an isolated event and the weapons never left the custody of Airmen and were never unsecured," General Newton said. "However, this incident is unacceptable to the people of the United States and to the United States Air Force."
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Qantas Airways announced in a news release that it is finalizing an agreement with Bombardier Aerospace that will see up to 36 Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft added to the QantasLink regional airline operation in Australia. The agreement is expected to include firm orders for 12 Q400 aircraft and options and purchase rights for an additional 24, subject to signature of the formal agreement. To date, Bombardier has received firm orders for 254 Q400 airliners with 164 having been delivered as of July 31, 2007.  
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A C-17 Globemaster III took off Oct. 22 on a flight using a blend of synthetic and JP-8 fuels in all four fuel tanks. This is the first time a C-17 has flown using a Fischer-Tropsch/JP-8 blend as the only fuel on board. Air Force members successfully flew a C-17 Oct. 19 with the Fischer-Tropsch/JP-8 blend in one tank to validate engine performance. C-17 certification is the next big step by the Air Force to certify synthetic fuel blends for its fleet. The C-17 is the workhorse of the mobility airlift fleet and the biggest user of jet fuel. The four-hour flight was designed to assess how well the aircraft performed using the synthetic blend of fuel. The mission consisted of ground operation of the auxiliary power unit and evaluation of in-flight performance of the engines and fuel quantity measurement system throughout the C-17 operational envelope. An Air Force Flight Test Center crew flew the mission and was pleased with the performance of the aircraft, they said.  
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Bombardier Aerospace announced that it has received a signed firm order for 10 Bombardier Q400 high-speed turboprop airliners. The transaction also includes options on 10 additional Q400 airliners. The European airline which placed the order will become a new operator of the Q400 airliner, and has requested to remain unidentified at this time. The value of the 10 firm orders, based on the list price for the Q400 aircraft, is approximately $267 million US. If all 10 options are exercised, the contract value would be approximately $540 million US.  
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SWISS continues to invest in developing its key Geneva network node: new non-stop services to Rome and Bucharest are to be added in the 2008 summer schedules. SWISS is also increasing its present frequencies on the Geneva-Moscow route. An Airbus A319 is to be based in Geneva to operate the additional services, which will substantially strengthen the company's position in Western Switzerland. SWISS also continues to pursue its quality drive on the product, fleet and network fronts. And the attractive innovations planned to both its ground and its inflight product will further enhance the air travel experience for all the company's customers.
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With the opening of a second wide-body hangar, Lufthansa Technik Philippines (LTP) is expanding its aircraft maintenance capacity in Asia still further. Already one of the most important MRO providers in Asia, LTP will now be well-equipped to provide full technical support for Philippine Airlines' growing fleet and at the same time to meet growing international demand for heavy checks in the Airbus A330/A340 market. Located to the east of the big existing hangar with its four production lines, the new hangar offers an additional line for wide-body aircraft on a floor space of 8,500 square meters. Extension of capacity had become necessary because international demand for base maintenance on A330/A340 aircraft in particular has risen sharply. Today not only Lufthansa and Philippine Airlines but a further ten international airlines have checks performed on their long-haul aircraft by LTP. Since its foundation in 2000, the company has carried out 65 heavy checks, and in September it received EASA certification for all maintenance work on the latest Airbus aircraft of the A340-familiy, the A340-600.
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Electrical power was applied to the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II for the first time Thursday night, initiating a series of ground tests that will lead to the inaugural flight of the short-takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) stealth fighter next spring. "The successful 'power-on' demonstrates that the integration of this unique aircraft is progressing to plan. It signals that production of our first F-35B Lightning II is on track for first flight next year, a key step toward realizing the aviation future of the U.S. Marines, the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy," said Dan Crowley, Lockheed Martin executive vice president and F-35 program general manager. The aircraft is scheduled to roll out of the factory in December. The F-35 will be the most electronically advanced aircraft ever built, with capabilities unavailable in current multi-role fighters. The F-35B's power-on is an incremental process of testing the aircraft's circuits, electronic components and wiring.
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In the first nine months of 2007, MTU Aero Engines Holding AG further improved its earnings, thus sustaining the positive trend. Adjusted EBITDA increased by 22% to euro 280.8 million (1-9/06: Euro230.4 million). The company's EBITDA margin increased to 14.9%, up two percentage points compared with 2006. Underlying net income made similarly positive progress, increasing by 17% to Euro102.5 million (1-9/06: Euro87.9 million). This figure includes a non-recurring charge for the early redemption premium in connection with the high-yield bond, which was paid in the first half of this year. Excluding this exceptional charge, the improvement would have amounted to 30%. "Since the beginning of the year, our OEM business has been progressing better than expected. Commercial MRO has remained slightly below the expected level in recent months," summed up Udo Stark, CEO of MTU Aero Engines Holding AG. "Overall, MTU is well positioned and reaffirms the improved forecast for the full year as published in July 2007. Furthermore, the gratifying developments in our cash-flow situation will enable MTU to buy back additional shares."
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easyJet announced that it has agreed to acquire the entire issued share capital of GB Airways Ltd, excluding its slots at Heathrow Airport, from the Bland Group Limited, for a cash consideration of £103.5 million. GB Airways is primarily a London Gatwick based point-to-point airline operating to destinations across Southern Europe and North Africa under a franchise agreement with British Airways PLC ("British Airways"). It serves 31 destinations and operates 15 Airbus aircraft (9 A320s and 6 A321s) with an average age of 4.1 years, which are complementary to the easyJet fleet of 107 A319s. In total it operates 39 routes – 28 from Gatwick, 6 from Manchester, 5 from Heathrow. Based upon its statutory accounts under UK GAAP for the year ended 31 March 2007, GB Airways reported profit before tax of £2.6 million and EBITDAR of £35 million on revenues of £250 million; it carried 2.8 million passengers; had gross assets of £182 million and net assets of £33 million. The acquisition of GB Airways is consistent with easyJet's expansion strategy and, importantly, strengthens its customer offering at Gatwick, the airline's biggest base which has a highly attractive catchment area in London and South East England. The purchase adds valuable take-off and landing slots at Gatwick and the opportunity to accelerate easyJet's route development. Following the acquisition, easyJet will operate 24% of Gatwick's slots and will fly approximately 8 million passengers across 62 routes from Gatwick. By Winter 2008/09, GB Airways will be fully consolidated into the easyJet business model, releasing cost savings. The acquisition will be positive to easyJet's earnings per share and return on equity in easyJet's current financial year, before one-off integration costs. easyJet anticipates GB Airways' seat profitability reaching a similar level to its own at Gatwick in the first full financial year of operation. Andy Harrison, Chief Executive of easyJet, said: "This is an acquisition which both strengthens our customer offering at London Gatwick, our biggest base with an attractive catchment area, and allows us to fully capitalise on the potential of the airport through a larger number of slots. The deal will bring major benefits to both easyJet and GB Airways customers, delivering a wider choice of destinations at easyJet's great prices, and creating clear value for our shareholders. We expect the acquisition to be earnings positive in our current financial year and in the longer-term we will transition the GB Airways operation to easyJet's cost base and operating margin levels. We expect to achieve both cost and revenue synergies as we expand our business at Gatwick."

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