01.10.2007
FLUG REVUE

2007-09-09 - News in briefNews in brief

Kurzmeldungen<br /> +++<br /> Following its approval by the national and international regulatory bodies, the agreement concluded between MBDA, EADS and Thales regarding the purchase of Bayern-Chemie/Protac came into effect on 31st August 2007.

With the associated legal transfer of its shares, Bayern-Chemie/Protac is now a fully owned (100%) subsidiary of LFK GmbH / MBDA Deutschland. Bayern-Chemie/Protac has an annual turnover of approximately Euro 50 million and a workforce of about 180 employees at Bayern-Chemie in Germany (Aschau am Inn) and about 90 employees at Protac in France (La Ferté Saint-Aubin). The company's business activities cover the development and manufacture of a large number of missile propulsion systems. Of special note is the ramjet engine developed by Bayern-Chemie/Protac for the METEOR beyond visual range (BVR) air launched guided missile system. METEOR, capable of accelerating to above Mach 3 and assuring pilot air superiority in all scenarios, is being developed for the air forces of six European nations. Bayern-Chemie/Protac's main customers are MBDA and the German Federal Office of Defence Technology and Procurement (BWB).
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Khrunichev and International Launch Services regret to announce the failure of the Proton launch vehicle to put the JCSAT-11 satellite into proper orbit for JSAT Corporation. The Proton Breeze M rocket lifted off at 4:43 a.m. from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The Proton launcher failed to inject JCSAT-11 into orbit due to an anomaly in second-stage operation. A Russian State Commission is in the process of determining the reasons for the anomaly. ILS will release details when data become available. A copy of the official statement released by Khrunichev, which manufactures the Proton, will also be made available upon translation. In parallel with the State Commission, ILS will form its own Failure Review Oversight Board. The FROB will review the commission's final report and corrective action plan, in accord with U.S. and Russian government export control regulations.  
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Current proposals to include aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme will have very little impact on aviation's contribution to climate change, a new report by leading climate scientists warns today. Friends of the Earth, which commissioned the research, is urging the EU to substantially strengthen its ETS proposals, and calling for additional measures to curb the growth in flights. The environmental campaign group also wants the UK Government to include international aviation emissions in its proposals for a new climate change law. The authors of the report - experts from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Manchester - and Friends of the Earth campaigners, will brief MEPs on the findings at a special meeting in the European Parliament in Strasbourg later today (Tuesday). The event will be hosted by Chris Davies MEP, a member of the European Parliament's Environment Committee. The European Parliament and Council are due to discuss and vote on amendments to the EU proposal to bring aviation into the ETS over the coming weeks. A range of amendments that could either strengthen or weaken the ETS proposal have been tabled by MEPs. The Tyndall Centre's new report, Aviation in a Low-Carbon EU investigates to what extent EU proposals to include aviation in its Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) would help deliver a low-carbon EU future. The EU plans to include aviation in the EU ETS from 2011 for intra-EU flights, with ALL flights departing from or arriving in the EU included from 2012. The EU ETS was launched in 2005 and covers around 45 per cent of EU carbon dioxide emissions. Under the scheme, power stations, refineries and heavy industry across Europe are given a limit to how much carbon dioxide they can emit. Participants in the scheme must hold sufficient carbon dioxide permits to match their levels of pollution. Companies that exceed their permits must buy extra allowances from those companies who have managed to reduce their emissions - or pay stiff fines. The EU Emissions Trading Scheme is currently under review.
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SkyTeam has welcomed Air Europa, Copa Airlines and Kenya Airways as the first official SkyTeam Associate Airlines. As of September 1, passengers traveling with Air Europa, Copa Airlines and Kenya Airways receive the same benefits offered to passengers traveling with the 10 current SkyTeam member airlines, including frequent flyer programs and improved access to airport lounges. The SkyTeam Associate Program was launched to serve carriers in strategic regions who are interested in becoming affiliated with SkyTeam and its alliance benefits. "The Associate Program allows the alliance to build a broader network and provide customers with access to additional regions of the world, while further expanding SkyTeam's offerings," said Leo van Wijk, chairman of the SkyTeam Governing Board. "SkyTeam is excited to welcome Air Europa, Copa Airlines and Kenya Airways to our Associate Program and pleased to offer our passengers access to 47 additional destinations and nearly 500 additional daily flights," van Wijk added. Earlier this year, Air Europa, Copa Airlines and Kenya Airways each signed an agreement outlining their commitment to meet a set of predetermined safety, security and quality standards to be recognized as an Associate Airline. As part of the Associate Program, the carriers also adopted a current member's loyalty program. Air Europa and Kenya Airways recognized Air France-KLM's "Flying Blue" program, while Copa Airlines accepted Continental's "One Pass" program. Upon completion of all membership requirements, each Associate Airline candidate received a formal approval from the SkyTeam Governing Board to become an official Associate Airline.
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Boeing and China Southern Airlines, the largest airline in The People's Republic of China, today announced the carrier has ordered 55 additional Next-Generation 737-700s and 737-800s for its expanding fleet. At catalogue prices, the order is valued at $3.8 billion. The model mix was not disclosed. The 55 airplanes announced will supplement the 129 737s already in China Southern's fleet as well as 14 more 737s yet to be delivered from previous orders. Collectively, the airplanes will progressively lower the average age of the China Southern Airlines fleet -- already one of the youngest in China. During the next 20 years, Boeing projects that China will be the world's second largest market for commercial jetliners, trailing only the United States. Domestic passenger traffic growth in China is expected to increase an average of 9 percent annually during the 20-year period. Boeing has unfilled Next-Generation 737 orders for more than 1,700 airplanes worth more than $120 billion at current list prices.
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Entrepreneur Jane Howell has become the first European customer to take delivery of a Citation Mustang, the new-generation entry level business jet designed by Cessna Aircraft. "This is a significant day for Cessna," said Trevor Esling, vice president, international sales, for Cessna. "The Mustang is ideally suited to the European market place and one third of our current order book is from European customers." Cessna has booked more than 350 orders for the aircraft and has delivered 24 Mustangs from the Independence, Kan., facility since deliveries began earlier this year. The company is on track to deliver 44 aircraft in 2007 and plans to ramp up production to 150 Mustangs per year by 2009.
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Dragonair will join oneworld on 1 November 2007, the leading quality global airline alliance announced. Its addition to oneworld is expected to be completed before the other airline alliances bring their Chinese members elect on board. Hong Kong-based Dragonair serves more destinations in Mainland China - 19 in total - than any other airline not based there, with some 400 flights a week. Twelve of these destinations will be new to the oneworld network - Chongqing, Changsha, Chengdu, Fuzhou, Haikou, Kunming, Guilin, Ningbo, Nanjing, Shenyang, Sanya and Wuhan. With their addition, oneworld will serve a total of 22 destinations in Mainland China. Elsewhere, Dragonair will add Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia), Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and Phuket (Thailand) to the alliance map. By adding Phnom Penh, oneworld will connect with one new country – Cambodia.
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Turbomeca has inaugurated their newly expanded facilities at Turbomeca Australasia in Bankstwon Airport (NSW), close to Sydney. This expansion helps to meet the growing demand for Turbomeca engines. The additional 1,300 square meters encompasses office space, additional workshops, a new assemby hall and a state of the art RTM 322 test cell. Turbomeca Australasia is a unique turbo-shaft engine production and support capability in the region. Thanks to this expansion, Turbomeca Australasia will be able to assemble, test and then to support the 92 RTM 322 and 46 MTR390 engines, respectively powering the MRH90 and Tiger ARH helicopters, for the next 30 years.
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Sikorsky has selected Goodrich to supply the input and tail drive shaft system for the new CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopter program. Goodrich's Engine Components site, located in Rome, N.Y., will be involved in the development and delivery of the complete drive shaft system for the aircraft. The system consists of: diaphragm couplings; shaft assemblies; bearing hangars; disconnect mechanism; and associated hardware. The U.S. Marine Corps. is expected to take delivery of 156 CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopters between 2014 and 2022. Goodrich also supplies the input drive couplings for Sikorsky on the UH-60/SH-60, the input couplings, tail couplings and tail shaft on the S-92(R)/H-92(TM) helicopters, and has recently been selected to supply the input drive shafts for the S-76D(TM) helicopter.
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After the hand-over of the very first Swedish NH90 transport helicopter during Le Bourget 2007, FMV took delivery today of its second NH90, which is the first one assembled by Patria in Halli, Finland. Sweden signed a contract for 25 NH90 in September 2001, covering 18 firm orders of variants for the Tactical Transport Helicopter (TTH), which include 13 Tactical Troop Transport (TTT)/Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopters and five Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), plus seven options. These helicopters are equipped with a complete new Tactical Mission System (TMS) developed by SAAB in cooperation with NHIndustries. Of the 18 NH90, 14 are to be assembled in Finland. Sweden is the launch customer of the High Cabin Version (HCV) of the NH90 which features an increased usable cabin height by 24 centimetres, from 1.58 meters in the standard version to 1.82 meters. This variant allows operators and passengers to stand upright in the cabin. The helicopter will be the first NH90 to be operated in Sweden by the Swedish Defence Forces initia lly for training purpose, while the one delivered during Le Bourget 2007 will support the Swedish instructors' training programme in France until 2008.
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On 2 September, India's latest communication satellite, INSAT-4CR, has been successfully put into orbit with textbook precision by the GSLV-FO4, which majestically soared into the sky at 6.21 PM from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota. GSLV-FO4 put the satellite, carrying 12 Ku-band transponders, into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) of 170 km perigee and 35,975 km apogee with an orbital inclination of 21.7 degree with respect to equator, 17.55 minutes (ed correct) after lift-off. The 49 metre tall vehicle, fifth in the GSLV series, blasted off, carrying the 2130 kg (415 tonne) satellite, which was manoeuvred into the orbit using its own propulsion system. The aluminium alloy payload fairing, measuring 7.8 metres in length and 3.4 metres in diameter, was discarded after the vehicle reached an altitude of 115 km. For many scientists, the successful launch of the GSLV-FO4, was an occasion to rejoice as they were witness to the abortive launch of the previous GSLV-F02 in July last year. GSLV-FO2, carrying INSAT-4C, was discarded due to a snag resulting out of sudden loss of thrust in one of the four liquid propellant strap-on motors (S4), resulting in the vehicle veering away from its designated path. INSAT-4CR is the third in the INSAT-4 series and follows the previous two successful launches in December 2005 and March 2007.  
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General Atomics Aeronautical Systems announced that it has successfully completed wind tunnel testing on a model of its Mariner unmanned aircraft. GA-ASI conducted aerodynamic testing of the Mariner airframe to support the selection of Team Mariner UAS, an initiative with advanced electronics systems integrator Lockheed Martin, as the solution for the U.S. Navy's Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) program. "We are pleased that Mariner's wind tunnel results exceeded our expectations," said Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr., president, Aircraft Systems Group, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.  "The airframe model was subjected to extensive testing under calibrated conditions and rigorous analyses by a team of aerodynamic experts.  Preliminary evaluations validated key competitive capabilities of the aircraft and suggest that Mariner's design is even more efficient than originally assumed.  In short, wind tunnel testing has confirmed Mariner's capability to provide the U.S. Navy with superior BAMS mission performance far into the future." Testing was conducted over a two-week period at the San Diego Air & Space Technology Center in southern California with a one-tenth scale model of the Mariner aircraft. The Mariner design is a derivative of the company's operationally proven turboprop Predator B unmanned aircraft that has been optimized for the unique demands of the Navy, assuring a low-cost and low-risk solution to meet the service's needs.
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Boeing and Emirates completed the delivery of the airline's first 777-200LR Worldliner. Boeing's 777-200LR is the world's longest-range twin-engine commercial jet and Emirates is one of the largest operators of the 777 family. The airline's first of 10 777-200LRs on order is shown here departing Paine Field during flight testing. Emirates placed an order for 24 777-300ERs, 10 777-200LRs and 8 777 Freighters at the Dubai Air Show in 2005.
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Northrop Grumman, the prime contractor for the U.S. Army's RC-12 Guardrail aircraft fleet, has been awarded a Guardrail Modernization system integration contract to continue upgrading and enhancing the system, extending Guardrail's operational life beyond 2020. Guardrail Modernization ensures warfighters continue to receive critical battlefield intelligence about current and emerging threats, enhances and more rapidly delivers precision targeting data, and maximizes available combat power and the ability to engage the enemy at will. Guardrail is a precision targeting, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform with more than three decades of successful worldwide operations, including Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, and the Global War on Terrorism. The indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract is potentially valued at $462 million. The contract's period of performance is for five years with one five-year option. The Army Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors also awarded the first two task orders under the contract, which have a combined value of $25 million, to provide signals intelligence sensor upgrades.
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Boeing and Aviation Capital Group (ACG) announced that the leasing company has placed an order for 15 additional Next-Generation 737s. The order, worth approximately $934 million at list prices, was recently posted to the Boeing Orders and Deliveries Web site attributed to an unidentified customer. With the announcement, ACG has a total of 64 Boeing airplanes on order -- 59 Next-Generation 737s and five 787 Dreamliners. This includes 15 Next-Generation 737s for which ACG acquired delivery positions from Delta Air Lines last year. ACG's current fleet contains 141 Boeing aircraft, which includes Next-Generation 737s, 737 Classics, 757s and 767s.
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The Defense Logistics Agency's Diminishing Manufacturing Sources, Material Shortages (DMSMS) Program Office, and the military's Joint Council on Aging Aircraft have joined with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE) to help connect thousands of veteran-owned small manufacturing companies with the military's databases of needed parts. The Defense Sustainment Consortium (DSC) is spearheading the effort through its National Data and Integration Test Center, and ARINC Engineering Services, LLC will act as the Program Manager. On August 15, all the stakeholders launched their program—the VetBiz Initiative for National Sustainment (VINS)—by opening the first local VINS office at Pueblo, CO. The Pueblo Economic Development Corporation made in-kind contributions to open the first VINS office, and Congressman. John T. Salazar, a member of the Veterans' Affairs committee of Congress, has actively supported the program. Staff from Rep. Salazar's office were present at the VINS opening, along with staff from the offices of Colorado Senators Wayne Allard and Ken Salazar. Also present was businessman Walt Weber, a veteran whose Weber & Sons Manufacturing Company makes parts for military missiles. "We hope many Veterans with qualified manufacturing businesses will be an additional resource to alleviate the backorders for these much-needed parts," Mr. Weber said.
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AgustaWestland is ready to become the future strategic partner of PZL-Œwidnik, and to invest in the capital of the company, should the Polish Authorities confirm their intention to privatise the company. AgustaWestland investment in PZL-Œwidnik would enable the successful co-operation between the two companies over the last 11 years to be taken to the next level and provide PZL-Œwidnik with long term growth opportunities. AgustaWestland has been working with PZL-Œwidnik for over 11 years now and subject to the right conditions is ready to invest in PZL-Œwidnik, considering the company's capabilities and skills a good match with AgustaWestland strategic growth plans. As a result of the successful co-operation between AgustaWestland and PZL-Œwidnik more than 1000 skilled direct and indirect workers are now employed on AgustaWestland programmes. After celebrating the delivery of the fuselage number 500 to AgustaWestland in June 2006, PZL-Œwidnik has now delivered more than 650 fuselages with production running at a rate of 12 fuselages per month. The co-operation accounts for more than 30% of the company's annual revenues and is forecast to grow further.
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BAE Systems Regional Aircraft announced that good progress is now being made with the conversion of the first re-launched BAe 146QT (Quiet Trader) freighter. According to David van Veggel, BAE Systems Regional Aircraft's Programme Manager, the project is on schedule and the first converted aircraft – a Series 200 (msn E2099) - is expected to be completed in early-mid-2008. This follows the programme launch at the end of January and confirmation in March of Aerostar of Bacau, Romania as the conversion centre for the programme. Intensive marketing of the 10-12 tonne BAe 146QT is now underway. Regional Aircraft is talking to potential customers across five continents that are looking seriously at the aircraft to service the lower volume regional freighter routes that are too small for the 15-tonne Boeing 737 Classic conversions and too large for the 8-tonne turboprops. Mr van Veggel, who is based in Bacau, stated: "Initial planning at Aerostar was concentrated on training with both classroom and on the job training undertaken by BAE Systems instructors. In addition, aircraft ground support equipment and aircraft manuals had to be positioned at Bacau.  
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US Naval aviators recently targeted enemies for the first time using the Low Collateral Damage Bomb (LCDB), a specialized weapon developed at Naval Air Systems Command. Naval aviation aircraft dropped a GBU-51/B laser-guided bomb with the low-collateral damage explosive on an enemy target in Iraq July 27 after insurgents were identified setting up an improvised explosive device along a convoy route. Forward Air Control (FAC) observing the insurgents directed an F/A-18 assigned to VMFA-121 to the successful strike. A second drop was recorded August 12 in Iraq. FAC observed two vehicles in known terrorist-held territory making a weapons transfer. Two F/A-18s assigned to VMFA-121 vectored to the targets. The aircraft destroyed a van with an AGM-65E Maverick and a sedan parked in a vacant lot off the road using a GBU-51/B with low collateral damage explosive. Examination after the July and August attacks showed the bombs had successfully detonated while effectively limiting damage beyond the intended target. After early experiences in combat, the Fleet had requested just such a solution for unwanted collateral damage in direct attack bombing scenarios. The Navy's Precision Strike Weapons Program Office (PMA-201) at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., led the LCDB acquisition effort using technical expertise from the Naval Air Warfare Center- Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif. The PMA-201 team delivered a solution in only 16 months from warfighter need to fielded capability delivering LCDB to Naval units in April of this year.  
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Flyington Freighters Private Limited has selected Pratt & Whitney PW4000-100" engines to power their fleet of new A330-200F aircraft. The contract covers installed and spare engines for 12 firm aircraft and an exclusive long-term service agreement provided by Pratt & Whitney Global Service Partners. The agreement is valued at more than US$715 million. Flyington will be the launch operator of the Airbus A330 freighter (A330F) variant and the first to fly the PW4000-powered A330F with the Advantage technology upgrade. The Advantage technology upgrade delivers enhanced engine performance, lower fuel consumption, increased durability and reduced maintenance costs. The aircraft will be powered by Pratt & Whitney PW4170 model engines with deliveries beginning in 2009.
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DayJet Corporation announced that its subsidiary, DayJet Services, LLC, received authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to use Eclipse 500 very light jets (VLJs) in its operations. DayJet Services is the holder of an on-demand air carrier certificate from the FAA authorizing operations under Part 135 of the FAA's regulations. The company is preparing to use its fleet of VLJs to launch the world's first "Per-Seat, On-Demand" jet service. "This milestone is the culmination of more than five years of dedicated work to develop the world's first fully automated fleet operations system," said Ed Iacobucci, DayJet president and CEO. "We are incredibly grateful to the dedicated FAA teams that have worked alongside DayJet to reach this critical moment in our company's history." In the coming weeks, DayJet will begin activating member accounts via its online reservation system, allowing members to book reservations and fly. The company will gradually increase its active member base as it expands its operations and its VLJ fleet. This measured approach enables DayJet to monitor the daily progress of operations and to ensure the highest levels of customer service and fleet availability.
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Hawker Beechcraft (HBC) has received an order from Jet Asia Limited for eight of the company's newest jets, four Hawker 900XP mid-size jets and four Hawker 750 light-midsize jets for use in the Asia Pacific. These aircraft will be used in support of Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM), a casino company owned by Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau (STDM), and to further develop the explosive Asian jet charter market. Service using the new Hawker fleet will begin in December, 2007. "The Hawker 900XP and Hawker 750 provide our customers with the best combination of cabin size, payload, and range in their respective market segments," said Brad Hatt, president, Commercial Sales. "The Hawker has always been synonymous with quality, performance and value, and the new Hawker 900XP and 750 are very well positioned to serve the Asian charter market." These highly efficient aircraft will be based in Shanghai, Macau, Taipei and Kuala Lumpur, creating tremendous economies for Macau-based casino development. This multi-base strategy will provide charter clients with cost-effective solutions, since most Asian operators offer aircraft from a single location.
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Boeing has conducted a successful first test flight of a 737 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft for Turkey's Peace Eagle program. During the 2.5-hour flight from Boeing Field in Seattle, pilot Regis Hancock and first officer Randon Stewart performed a series of functional tests that verified the airworthiness of the aircraft's systems and structures. The flight follows major aircraft modifications, including the installation of an advanced antenna, ventral fins and mission system equipment. Additional functional test flights are planned in the coming weeks, leading to mission system flight testing in the fall.
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The fast growing Aegean Airlines has ordered six more A320s. This will eventually bring their fleet to 25 A320 Family aircraft. The first new aircraft was delivered earlier this year to the Greek airline. The airline's A320s are powered by IAE V2500 engines, and are equipped with a comfortable two-class layout. The A320s will replace older generation aircraft in Aegean's fleet and will be the cornerstone of the airline's expansion on high-traffic routes in Europe and in growing regional markets, flying from its bases in Athens and Thessaloniki. Aegean's scheduled European operations include code-share flights with Lufthansa.  
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China's first private airline, China East Star Airlines, which commenced flying operations in May 2006 with three Airbus A319's, and Lufthansa Technik AG, the leading provider of maintenance, repair and overhaul services for aircraft, have signed a new Total Component Support TCS contract. The contract will run for five years and is worth over 10 million US-Dollars. East Star Airlines will be taking delivery of an additional six A320-family aircraft before the end of the year and plans to put a further eleven short-range Airbus aircraft into operation by 2008. Based in Wuhan, the Chinese start-up operator is the Lufthansa Technik Group's first A320 TCS customer in China. East Star Airlines will be looked after by Lufthansa Technik Shenzhen (LTS), which receives extensive support from Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg. Lufthansa Technik Shenzhen will supply East Star Airlines with components from the A320-family component pool in Shenzhen.
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In August 2007 Air Berlin achieved the highest growth in passenger numbers this year: in comparison with the same month in the previous year the airline managed a 17.8 per cent increase from 1,961,432 to 2,310,271 passengers. Fleet utilisation improved by 3.2 per cent to 82.7 per cent (08/2006: 79.5 per cent). The fares revenue per available seat kilometre was 5.39 eurocents, which is only slightly lower than the figure achieved in the same month of the previous year (08/2006: 5.40 eurocents). Between January and August 2007 Air Berlin welcomed 14,770,637 passengers on board. The figure for the same period in the previous year was 13,050,009. This corresponds to an increase of 13.2 per cent. Cumulative utilisation in the first eight months increased by 1.3 per cent to 76.7 per cent (2006: 75.4 per cent).
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Two months after sky-darkening dust from severe storms nearly killed NASA's Mars exploration rovers, the solar-powered robots are awake and ready to continue their mission. Opportunity's planned descent into the giant Victoria Crater was delayed, but now the rover is preparing to drive into the half-mile diameter crater as early as Sept. 11. Spirit, Opportunity's rover twin, also survived the global dust storm. The rovers are 43 months into missions originally planned to last three months. On Sept. 5, Spirit climbed onto its long-term destination called Home Plate, a plateau of layered bedrock bearing clues to an explosive mixture of lava and water. "These rovers are tough. They faced dusty winds, power starvation and other challenges -- and survived. Now they are back to doing groundbreaking field work on Mars. These spacecraft are amazing," said Alan Stern, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Victoria Crater contains an exposed layer of bright rocks that may preserve evidence of interaction between the Martian atmosphere and surface from millions of years ago, when the atmosphere might have been different from today's. Victoria is the biggest crater Opportunity has visited. Martian dust storms in July blocked so much sunlight that researchers grew concerned the rovers' daily energy supplies could plunge too low for survival. Engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., put Opportunity onto a very low-energy regimen of no movement, few observations and reduced communication with Earth. Skies above both rovers remain dusty but have been clearing gradually since early August. Dust from the sky has been falling onto both rovers' solar panels, impeding their ability to collect energy from the sun. However, beneficial wind gusts removed some of the new buildup from Opportunity almost as soon as it accumulated.
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FLUG REVUE 12/2016

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