24.08.2007
FLUG REVUE

2007-04-22 - News in briefNews in Brief

Kurzmeldungen<br /> +++<br /> Airbus delivered the first A400M VTP (Vertical Tail Plane) from Stade, Germany, to Getafe, Spain, where the static test aircraft final assembly is taking place.

As the VTP left Airbus's Stade site today by truck, Thilo Liebig, Head of the A400M Team for Fuselage and VTP said: "This is a major milestone for the A400M programme. The team has done an excellent job to produce this component to such a high standard and on time." The A400M VTP is again like all other Airbus VTPs a full composite (carbon fibre reinforced plastic, CFRP) structure. Though it is much more complex than any other VTP before, due to the HTP (Horizontal Tail Plane) on top of the VTP for the first time at Airbus and the resulting higher loads. The first VTP to be delivered is destined for the A400M static test aircraft. After the arrival in Getafe, at EADS CASA, the VTP will be joined with the HTP from EADS CASA, Tablada and afterwards being assembled on the central rear fuselage, delivered to Getafe on 20.3.2007.
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Frankfurt Airport (FRA) registered new record figures for passengers and airfreight in the first quarter of 2007. Aircraft movements and maximum takeoff weights (MTOWs) also reached a new all-time high in the January-to-March 2007 period. In March alone, 4,445,996 passengers passed through the FRA air transportation hub, an increase of more than 260,000 passengers compared to the previous record March in 2005. Versus last year, the March 2007 figures represent an increase of 8.9 percent. With 11,826,098 passengers using FRA in the last three months, passenger figures rose by 5.4 percent on the comparable period in 2006 and exceeded the previous record level of 2005 by some 480,000 passengers. Passenger growth was stimulated by a large number of new flight connections and accelerating growth dynamics in intercontinental traffic.
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An unmanned hydrogen fuel cell powered jet made history this week as it took to the skies over the hills of Bern, Switzerland. The successful maiden flight was the result of 1,5 years of cooperative development between the German Air & Space Center (DLR, or Deutsches Zentrum fuer Luft-und Raumfahrt) and a number of international partners, including Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies of Singapore, which provided the record performance fuel cell that powered the flight of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). UAVs are one of the most demanding applications for emerging hydrogen fuel cell power technologies due to the constraints of size, weight and aerodynamics. The scientists at Stuttgart's DLR Institute for Technical Thermodynamics integrated Horizon's ultra-light and compact fuel cell system into an aircraft with a total weight of just 6 kg, a 1m wingspan and a 1.2 m long fuselage. The Horizon fuel cell fulfilled all the required technical, physical and design conditions of this highly challenging system. The special fuel cell designed by Horizon's team produces an electrical power output of 1 kilowatt from an astounding total system weight of only 3 kilograms, which includes the pressurized hydrogen tank. Horizon's fuel cell stack was able to deliver a peak power of 1.3kW at only 800g of weight, achieving a record power density of well over 1W per gram. The "HyFish", as the German UAV is called, is an engineering showcase for fuel cell efficiency and next generation energy technologies in small, unmanned aerial vehicle applications. This flight test proved significant achievements in design challenges, both in terms of weight per horsepower as well as in terms of mechanical load.
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NASA has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Air Force to support abort flight test requirements for the Orion Project. The Air Force has contracted with Orbital Sciences Corp. of Chandler, Ariz., to provide launch services for the flight tests. The agreement with the Air Force's Space Development and Test Wing at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., provides for abort test boosters that will serve as launch vehicles for Orion ascent abort flight tests that are set to occur from 2009 through 2011 at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The first abort test is scheduled for 2008, but will not require a functional booster. The tests will support certification of the Orion crew exploration vehicle's launch abort system. The system includes a small escape rocket designed to ensure the safety of the crew in the event of a launch vehicle malfunction while on the launch pad or during ascent to orbit. A total of six tests are planned, pending environmental assessments. Two will simulate an abort from the launch pad and will not require a booster. The rest will use abort test boosters and simulate aborts at three stressing conditions long the Ares launch vehicle trajectory.
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'In an effort to make a lasting improvement to its competitiveness and consolidate its market position, particularly at the Vienna location, Austrian Technik is to be reoriented for the future. We are striving to develop an operative and strategic cooperation with Lufthansa Technik which will provide both sides with crucial cost-benefits and access to know-how, and a forward-looking strategy for Vienna as a business location in particular. A Memorandum of Understanding was recently signed with Lufthansa Technik', explained Austrian Chief Financial Officer Thomas Kleibl. For Austrian, the primary objectives of the planned cooperation are to successfully reduce overall technical costs, retain the Vienna location as an independent centre for technology and know-how, and redevelop joint locations. This will achieve increases in revenue and efficiency, particularly that of the maintenance and workshop division. Austrian and Lufthansa Technik have already been cooperating closely before now in their maintenance component divisions within the framework of a cooperation agreement. With the new agreement, Lufthansa Technik is intensifying the years of cooperation with Austrian Technik above and beyond existing relations between the two Star Alliance partners,' commented Dr. Thomas Stüger, Board of Management Member for Product and Service at Lufthansa Technik AG. The cooperation will be based on long-term contracts, and include no capital integration between Austrian and Lufthansa Technik. Austrian Technik is a respected and well known aircraft maintenance provider, and will retain its own independent identity. In the next few weeks the individual cooperation points will be defined and a contract will be established. This will set the direction for a successful cooperation and secure the future of Austrian Technik.
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Cessna Aircraft announced at the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In that the Citation business jet fleet has surpassed the 20 million-flight hour milestone. Since entering service 35 years ago, nearly 5,000 Citations have been delivered to customers around the world. More Citations have been sold than any other business jet. Through system upgrades and new model introductions, Citations have consistently set the standard of utility, comfort and performance. Cessna will deliver its 5,000th Citation later this year, maintaining its position as the most widely produced business jet family in history.
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ESG Elektroniksystem- und Logistik-GmbH has been approved as an aviation engineering company in line with EASA Part 21J. The certificate from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) applies for helicopters and small aircraft. ESG has already been certified as a design organisation in accordance with alternative procedures as per Part 21 since November 2005. The license only applied to small helicopters and was the first step towards the present engineering company certificate. ESG is also an approved aviation company for aviation devices for the German Bundeswehr.
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AgustaWestland has been awarded a further contract by the Japan National Police Agency to supply five AW109 Power law enforcement helicopters as part of an on-going program to modernise the Police helicopter fleet. This contract follows on from ones for three helicopters in both 2003 and 2005 for operation by local Police agencies, while four additional AW109 Powers were ordered in 2006 by the Japan National Police Agency. Four AW109 Powers have been delivered to Japanese Police agencies so far this year.
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AAT has delivered equipment for the first of 12 Zivilschutzhubschrauber EC 135 for Traunstein (Christoph 14) and Kempten (Christoph 17). The state of the art equipment is designed according requirements of "Bundesamt für Bevölkerungsschutz und Katastrophenhilfe (BBK)" and since 30. March 2007 in operation. The equipment can be completely installed / removed in less than 30 minutes and allows to use the EC 135 in different operations. The kit is interchangeable between the EC 135 helicopter of "BUNDESPOLIZEI" and "BBK". Each delivered EMS Kit is certified with an EASA Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) and complies with all relevant airworthiness requirements.
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Industria de Turbo Propulsores, S. A. (ITP), is looking into the possibility of setting up a helicopter engine assembly and maintenance centre in Albacete which, initially, would mean an investment of 13 million euros and the creation of 75 jobs.The planned work surface would cover 5,000 square metres with the potential to expand to 7,000 in response to future growth. Initially, the centre to be constructed would cover 2,600 square metres. The materialisation of this project would mean an initial investment of up to 13 million euros, including land acquisition, civil construction work and the establishment of special teams for the maintenance of the turbo-shafts. Initially, the project anticipates the creation of 75 jobs made up of qualified maintenance technicians, assembly workers and team leaders to manage the tasks that need to be carried out.
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Delta Air Lines announced that unofficial results of the vote on the company's Plan of Reorganization show overwhelming support of creditors for the company's plan.  More than 95 percent of ballots cast and claims value voting were in favor of the plan.  Creditors also voted in similar numbers in favor of the Plan of Reorganization for Delta's wholly owned regional airline subsidiary Comair. The final voting results for both plans will be filed later this week with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. "We appreciate our creditors strong vote of confidence in our plan, which we believe both maximizes their recovery and builds a foundation for Delta's long-term success," said Edward H. Bastian, Delta's executive vice president and chief financial officer.  "We are looking forward to a strong future as we emerge from bankruptcy later this month, continuing the momentum we have built through our restructuring and returning Delta to its rightful place as an industry leader." The next milestone in Delta's bankruptcy proceeding will be April 25 when the court will be asked to confirm Delta's Plan of Reorganization, allowing the airline to exit Chapter 11. On Feb. 7, Delta received court approval of its Disclosure Statement and the authorization to solicit votes from creditors on its plan of reorganization.  Voting on the plan ended April 9.
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Israel based carrier Israir Airlines signed a firm order for three Airbus A320 aircraft on 17th April, 2007, making the airline the first Airbus customer in the country. The deal marks Airbus' breakthrough in the Israeli market. The aircraft will be configured in all economy class with 174 seats. Israir Airlines will place the aircraft on routes from Israel to all its European destinations. The engines have yet to be chosen. Israir Airlines was established in 1996 and started off with domestic routes within Israel from Eilat, Tel Aviv and Haifa. The airline has grown quickly and now accounts for almost 40 per cent of domestic air travel. Israir Airlines is also the second largest operator of international flights in Israel.
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The Killer Bee fourth generation Unmanned Aircraft System (KBUAS) flew for the first time at Yuma Proving Grounds (YPG) in Yuma Arizona. Developed by Swift Engineering of San Clemente, CA , the all new KB4 unmanned aircraft (KB4 UA) flew for 70 minutes and became the latest success story in the company's family of blended wing UAS. "The air vehicle surpassed our expectations in performance and handling" said Mark Page, Chief Scientist at Swift Engineering.  "The data captured in the Swift Wind tunnel was right on target.  Our testing left nothing to chance and allowed us to optimize the flying characteristics and responsiveness of the UAS." The KB4 pushes the envelope in UAS design, incorporating lessons learned during the development of earlier models of the Killer Bee. With a 10 foot wingspan and a gross weight of 136 pounds, the KB4 can carry 30 pounds of payload for up to 15 hours or, with its easily reconfigurable fuel tanks, the UAS can simultaneously carry multiple payloads weighing as much as 66 pounds.
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Viking Air Limited, which last year announced that it was considering re-starting production of the 19-passenger DHC-6 Twin Otter, has confirmed the program will proceed. The company met its required goals: sufficient firm orders, further investment in the company by its majority shareholder Westerkirk Capital, approval by the company board of directors, and the existence of a federal government program that could provide repayable financial assistance for research and development to update the Twin Otter design for operation in the 21st century. Viking president and CEO, David Curtis said he was encouraged by the recent announcement by the federal government of the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative (SADI) program. Curtis fully expects the Viking Twin Otter program will meet the requirements set out by Industry Canada, which will administer the SADI program. Viking has also had positive discussions with Export Development Canada (EDC), a federal government crown corporation which can provide a number of financial services for purchasers of new Twin Otters. EDC has expressed a desire to work with Viking and its customers on this newly-launched program. The company is encouraged by the strong show of confidence from both existing and new Twin Otter operators, allowing it to proceed. Negotiations with several others are also underway adding to the program's success. Independent market studies by Conklin & deDecker reflect a ten-year demand for over 400 new aircraft. One of the lead orders, for five aircraft, was received from Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA). The airline currently operates 16 Twin Otters built by the original manufacturer, de Havilland Canada as seaplanes and intends to expand throughout the Maldives as tourism will cover the whole 850 kms long archipelago. Loch Ard Otters, LLC, of Palm Beach, Florida has also stepped up for six aircraft firm plus six options. These aircraft will be offered for lease to operators worldwide. Other launch customers include Air Seychelles for two airplanes, Air Moorea for two and Zimex Aviation of Switzerland for one. Between them, these three airlines currently operate more than 25 'heritage' Twin Otters. Deliveries of new aircraft will commence within 24 months and the anticipated production rate will ramp up to fulfill the demand as necessary, according to Curtis. Production airplanes will be built under a slightly-modified original type certificate.
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GB Airways will be the launch customer for Rockwell Collins dPAVES in-flight entertainment system. GB Airways selected dPAVES for seven A320/A321 aircraft, with the option for seven additional aircraft. Hardware deliveries will begin in October 2007. dPAVES, which was introduced in September 2006, is the digital version of Rockwell Collins' PAVES programmable audio video entertainment system. "dPAVES will provide passengers with the enhanced clarity of digital technology while watching movies and other IFE programming," explained Tommy Dodson, vice president and general manager, Cabin Systems for Rockwell Collins. "The associated size, weight and power reduction, as well as reliability improvements provide airlines with operational benefits and lower life-cycle costs than existing analog systems." The dPAVES system for GB Airways will feature 10-inch retractable LCD displays. In addition, Rockwell Collins' Airshow 4200 Moving Map product will be integrated into the dPAVES system server, saving space, weight and power associated with installing a separate unit. The dPAVES system provides up to an 85 percent reduction in volume, a 70 percent reduction in weight and a 75 percent reduction in power over the analog system. Additionally, dPAVES offers more storage capability than other digital players, with up to 60 hours of video, including encrypted content, and 128 hours of audio on a 160 gigabyte hard drive. The large storage capability allows GB Airways to store two play periods of entertainment content, and the server automatically selects the new content when the new play period starts. 
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Lufthansa Chairman and CEO Wolfgang Mayrhuber unveiled record figures to the shareholders at this year's Lufthansa Annual General Meeting in Berlin. "We close the 2006 financial year with one of the best results in the history of our company", said Mayrhuber and went on to add that, "all the business segments have been successful and achieved increases in terms of revenue and results. We want our shareholders to share in this success." A dividend of 70 cent per share will be proposed to the shareholders, which is equivalent to a 20 cent or 40 per cent increase in comparison with the previous year. Mayrhuber said that Lufthansa started well into 2007. He stated an improvement of the framework conditions in Germany and Europe would be necessary in order to maintain Lufthansa's successful course in the future. The Lufthansa CEO said that, "our infrastructure on the ground and in the air must be trimmed for more competitive efficiency and this must occur at a swift pace," stating that, "this is where politics has a role to play". Mayrhuber also called for more rapid progress in the area of environmental protection emphasizing that, "a harmonization of air traffic control in the EU in the form of the European Single Sky – similar to the Schengen Treaty in Europe - would be the largest environmental protection project in Europe. This would help to reduce the CO2 emissions by up to twelve per cent. The key to the solution is held by the politicians." The acceleration of infrastructure plans at major airports with capacity bottlenecks and the approval of optimized intercontinental flight routes would also be a major contribution to environmental protection. This would help to prevent traffic congestion that currently results in unnecessary fuel consumption on the ground and in the air and subsequently causes unnecessary CO2 emissions. Mayrhuber closed his speech by reminding the shareholders at the AGM that, "an efficient infrastructure comes hand in hand with consumerism and environmental protection".
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"General Aviation has a high priority for the European Aviation Safety Agency. Some 75% of Type-Certificates we have delivered are in the GA sector", said Patrick Goudou, the Agency's Executive Director at the opening session of the 16th International Trade Exhibition at Friedrichshafen on Wednesday. Goudou emphasised the Agency's aim to streamline the regulatory framework for General Aviation by progressively reducing bureaucratic impediments. Simplified certification procedures, adapted airworthiness rules and new pilot licenses would contribute to a revitalisation of GA, he said. Meanwhile, the Agency is also preparing new dedicated rules for Very Light Jets where it aims to set the safest standards worldwide.
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As part of its commitment to providing customers with an ever-increasing array of features and options, Piper Aircraft announced that Garmin's G1000 all-glass, fully integrated avionics suite is now available as optional equipment on the Saratoga II TC and Piper 6X. "We are fully focused on providing our customers with the best possible options technology has to offer our industry," said Piper President & CEO James K. Bass. "We have a long and valued relationship with Garmin and have been working behind the scenes to debut the G1000 in our aircraft. Now, with deployment of the G1000 in the Piper Saratoga II TC and Piper 6X, Piper is moving forward in providing our customers with more options."
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Piper announced the sale of 12 Piper Seminoles, fully equipped with the most advanced technology available in a twin-engine trainer, to CAPT, LLC – a division of Flight Training Services International – to expand its fleet of instructional airplanes. CAPT's new fleet will give its students hands-on experience with state-of-the-art systems, including full-glass panel cockpit displays similar to those found in commercial aviation, coupled with one of aviation's most reliable and performance-driven aircraft: the twin-engine Piper Seminole.
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Cessna announced that the Cessna Caravan has accumulated more than 10 million flight hours. The single engine turboprop Caravan is used in operations such as passenger and freight transport, aerial mapping and medical evacuation. It can be configured for up to 12 passengers in the cabin. An aftermarket kit is available to configure the Caravan for amphibious operations, making it a versatile tool in wilderness areas. Another option available for Caravan customers is a business-class Oasis interior featuring fully articulating and reclining leather seats, color coordinated leathers, fabrics, carpets and cabinetry, along with several entertainment and refreshment choices. 1,650 Caravans have been delivered in its more than 20-plus year production history. As a testament to the airplane's durability and reliability, the biggest Caravan customer – FedEx - has demonstrated a sustainable dispatch rate of over 99 percent.
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Cessna announced at the AERO Friedrichshafen trade show an order for 11 172 Skyhawks from the Gestair Group, one of the largest flight training schools on the Iberian Peninsula. The Skyhawks, all equipped with the Garmin G1000 avionics suite, will be delivered over the next eight months.
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Boeing and CIT Aerospace, a business unit of CIT Group Inc., a leading global provider of commercial and consumer finance solutions, announced an order for five Boeing 737-700s at approximately $295 million at list prices. To date, CIT has taken delivery of 31 Next-Generation 737s and has a backlog of five 787 Dreamliners and 10 Next-Generation 737s on order with Boeing.
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The second of five SAR-Lupe satellites left the premises of Bremen-based space technology company OHB-System AG. Its initial destination is the IABG satellite testing center in Ottobrunn, where it will be undergoing final comprehensive testing. For this purpose, the satellite will be exposed to conditions identical to those which it must be able to withstand at the launch and during operations in orbit. The launch of the second radar satellite in the SAR-Lupe system has been scheduled for the evening of July 1, 2007. Like its predecessor, it will be launched into its low-earth orbit from the Russian cosmodrome in Plesetsk on board a COSMOS 3M. The first SAR-Lupe satellite has been in orbit since December 2006. It is supplying high-resolution images and operating very successfully and reliably. Once the second satellite has been launched and put into operation, the German Federal Armed Forces will have at its disposal an operational reconnaissance system as of autumn 2007.
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In a spectacular multi- media display which left top-flight guests in awe, the island's latest visitor attraction -- the Barbados Concorde Experience was officially unveiled recently in a ceremony marked with glitz and glamour. Delivering the feature address, Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Noel Lynch, announced that the new facility would help to accelerate Barbados' tourism industry to even higher heights. Addressing over 350 guests at Spencer's Plantation, Christ Church, the Minister also stated that the Concorde Visitor Experience would help the island to soar above other destinations. He explained: "Today's event gives Barbados a stronger branding image which is closely associated with excellence and luxury. The Concorde in-flight attraction would help to place Barbados in a league of its own and ensure the sustainability of its tourism industry." The $3.5 million facility, managed by Goddards Shipping Tours Ltd. has an interactive flight school, a departure lounge, an observation deck, and an in- flight experience multi media presentation.
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USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) completed month-long operations with the French nuclear powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R 91) in the North Arabian Sea on April 16. Since Charles de Gaulle's arrival in the region March 16, the two nuclear-powered aircraft carriers have been operating together in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). Both ships are providing support to the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) on the ground in Afghanistan as well as conducting bilateral exercises at sea and personnel exchanges between the strike group ships. "Our interaction with the French task force has been spectacular," said Rear Adm. Kevin Quinn, Commander, Carrier Strike Group 3. Although this marks the end of coalition operations between the two carriers in the region, Stennis will continue to operate in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of OEF and conduct maritime security operations (MSO). "The opportunity to do that side by side with another nuclear powered aircraft carrier from a coalition nation shows that the mission is essential and that it is universally recognized as one of the very highest priorities for security and stability," Stennis Commanding Officer Capt. Bradley Johanson said. "Working with the French in support of OEF strengthens the coalition as a whole and helps further our relationship with the French military," said Lt. Joe Capalbo, a pilot with Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 146, embarked aboard Stennis.
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Worldwide defense and aerospace companies completed M&A deals worth more than $40 billion in 2006, reports "Defense Mergers & Acquisitions" in its year-end review. The year saw a total of 370 transactions completed. Stuart McCutchan, editor of the DM&A newsletter, commented: "Deal activity reached a level not seen since 1999's all-time high. Defense spending remains at historic highs, and the commercial aerospace marketplace is at full stride. Industry players are flush with cash, and private equity money is pouring into the marketplace." M&A activity in 2006 was exceptionally broad based. The top five deals accounted for only 32% of the total value for the year. For comparison, in the record year of 1999 the top five deals accounted for 77% of the year's $65 billion in deals. McCutchan concluded: "In 2007 we could see the 1999 record finally eclipsed. Deals worth $25 billion have already been announced or completed -- by far the fastest start we've seen this decade."  
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Virgin America, the new U.S. start-up airline and Lufthansa Technik AG, the world-wide leading provider of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for the air transport industry, today announced a new ten-year Total Material Operations TMO and Line Maintenance support contract, valued at more than 250 million US dollars. The new low-cost airline, based in San Francisco, expects to commence operations in summer this year. Lufthansa Technik will provide support services throughout their network. Virgin America will operate 31 new Airbus A320 family aircraft, for which the airline has options for a further 71 aircraft. Virgin America has become the first passenger airline to contract with Lufthansa Technik for its newest spares and consumables service package, known as Total Material Operations TMO. Under the contract - the widest-ranging of its type to date - Lufthansa Technik will establish central component and supplies depots at Virgin America main bases at San Francisco International Airport, John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, and subsequently at all the airline's stations throughout the country. Lufthansa Technik employees at San Francisco and New York will supply all maintenance stations throughout the network with line-replaceable units, consum-ables and expendables, including cabin interior furnishings and fittings. Virgin Amer-ica will be able to call upon more than 4,000 different types of components. The ser-vice portfolio embraces both the routine provision of components and unplanned replacements such as thrust reversers and other large items.
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Ten destinations, attractive fares starting from CHF 99.- (with taxes and fees included) and daily connections for business travellers:  This has been the SWISS product offer at EuroAirport since January 15.  During the first 100 days flights have had an average seat load factor of 62.5 per cent. The increase in the number of flights operated (+28%) and the expanded product has enabled SWISS to clearly strengthen its position in the "TriRhena" region. SWISS is expecting passenger figures for 2007 to double, in line with a 44 per cent increase in seat capacity offered. The new services SWISS introduced at EuroAirport in January have performed positively over the first three months, recording an average seat load factor of 69 per cent. In particular, the Barcelona, Prague and Budapest routes have generated higher-than-expected utilisation.
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China Eastern Airlines took delivery of the first of its three Airbus A300-600Fs at EADS EFW´s facility in Dresden, Germany. The airframe bearing the MSN 521 was formerly operated by the Chinese airline itself as a passenger aircraft. The conversion into freighter configuration started in late December 2006. China Eastern Airlines´ second A300-600 aircraft bearing the MSN 532 is currently under conversion, the third airframe MSN 525 is scheduled to be converted as of September 2007. As of today, EADS has delivered a total of 141 converted freighter aircraft to over 20 customers worldwide. EFW, headquartered in Dresden, Germany, with a workforce of over 1,200 is the centre of competence for Airbus passenger to freighter conversion within EADS.
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A pico-satellite developed by Boeing to evaluate miniature spacecraft technologies was successfully launched to orbit on April 17 by an ISC Kosmotras Dnepr rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Initial system checks indicate that the CubeSat TestBed 1 (CSTB1) spacecraft is operational and ready for a series of on-orbit demonstrations that will help Boeing further develop nano-satellites weighing less than 22 pounds. "Our pico- and nano-satellite activities are part of a broader Boeing effort to enable a more operationally responsive space," said Alex Lopez, vice president of Boeing Advanced Network and Space Systems. During the CSTB1 demonstrations, Boeing will test several new technologies, software designs and on-orbit operations for nano-satellite functions.
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The Boeing KC-767A Tanker reached another significant test milestone April 12 when its aircrew successfully extended and retracted the left and right Wing Aerial Refueling Pod (WARP) hoses for the first time. The flight marks the beginning of a series of in-flight tests --at various speeds and altitudes --that will demonstrate the hose's stability and result in using the WARP hoses to offload fuel to various aircraft. "Extending both WARP hoses is a significant step forward not just for our air force, but for other nations that use hose and drogue refueling," said Lt. Col. Roberto Poni, Italian Air Force on-site liaison. "The Italian KC-767 will provide an unmatched multi-point air refueling capability for many years to come."
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NASA has modified its contract with Lockheed Martin Corp. of Littleton, Colo., to design, test and build the Orion crew exploration vehicle. The updated contract contains three significant changes. Two years have been added to the design phase. Two test flights of Orion's launch abort system have been added. And production of a pressurized cargo carrier for the International Space Station has been deleted from the initial design phase. NASA continues work to ensure a smooth transition from the Space Shuttle Program to the Constellation Program. This is demonstrated in a fourth element of the contract modification that provides for use of surplus raw materials, such as aluminum-lithium ingots now used in the construction of space shuttle fuel tanks, for Orion. "NASA and Lockheed have been working together as a team during the past six months to iron out many critical design and schedule details," said Skip Hatfield, manager the Orion Project at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "This contract update will synchronize our spending plan with the rest of the Constellation Program."
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The 14th crew of the International Space Station, Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin, along with spaceflight participant Charles Simonyi landed their Soyuz spacecraft in the steppes of Kazakhstan at 7:31 a.m CDT Saturday. The Expedition 14 mission included many highlights during its seven-month duration, including the setting of several records. Lopez-Alegria completed five spacewalks, which gave him a total of 10 for his career. This set a U.S. record for not only number of spacewalks, but also cumulative spacewalk time, 57 hours, 40 minutes. He also set a U.S. record for a single spaceflight's duration with more than 215 days. This tops the 196-day mark, previously set by station crew members Dan Bursch and Carl Walz in 2001 and 2002. During the mission Flight Engineer Sunita Williams set the record for number of space walks and total time spent on spacewalks by a woman. She participated in four space walks for a total of 29 hours and 17 minutes. Williams will remain on the station for the first part of the new mission. Before closing the Soyuz-station hatches at 1:03 a.m. Saturday, Lopez-Alegria and Tyurin said farewell to the Expedition 15 crew, Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin, flight engineers Oleg Kotov and Williams. The new crew and Simonyi launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on April 7 and arrived at the station on April 9. Simonyi, a U.S. businessman, spent 12 days aboard the station under a contract with the Russian Federal Space Agency.

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