2007-09-19 - News in briefNews in Brief

Kurzmeldungen<br /> +++<br /> Following the delivery of ST008, EADS CASA has successfully completed all handovers of Tranche 1 Eurofighter Typhoons to the Spanish Air Force.

The aircraft, also the first Block 5 standard twin-seat to be delivered to one of the four Partner Air Forces, is the 18th Eurofighter Typhoon to be delivered to Ala 11 at Morón Air Base, and becomes the 127th weapons system (including five Instrumented Production Aircraft) to be delivered to the Partner Nations. IPA4, operated by EADS CASA, in Getafe was the first Spanish Tranche 1 aircraft.
Evergreen International Airlines (EIA) received its FAA New Aircraft Process Document (NAPD) Aug. 9. The modification of the Airlines' operational specifications allows EIA to acquire full operational control of the Dreamlifter (a modified Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighter) and operate other 747-400 aircraft. The documentation process included a review and revision of EIA's manuals, operation systems, maintenance programs and airline administration to meet the FAA's 747-400 standards.  It also included the completion of Route Proving flights, operating under the revised procedures with FAA oversight. Evergreen also announced the order and scheduled delivery of three B747-400BCFs, with first delivery in early summer 2009.  The aircraft will be an upgrade for EIA's current commercial operations.  The BCF is a 747-400 aircraft modified by Boeing into a full cargo aircraft.
Lufthansa and Kazakhstan flag carrier Air Astana are planning a bilateral cooperation. A corresponding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by representatives of both airlines. The objective of the partnership is to expand the flight offering for customers of both companies. Peter Foster, President of Air Astana, and Götz Ahmelmann, Vice-President Alliances, Strategy and Subsidiaries of Lufthansa Passenger Airlines, signed the Memorandum of Under-standing in the Kazakhstan capital Astana. As of 2008, customers of both airlines can benefit from codeshare flights and mutually coordinated flight schedule as well as an extended offer of flights between Germany and Kazakhstan. In addition, Lufthansa passengers will enjoy better onward connections within Kazakhstan and Central Asia. For the passengers of Air Astana the cooperation intends to offer better connections to the worldwide Lufthansa network, in particular, to destinations within Europe, the USA and Canada.
The Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv, the technology showpiece of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), soared to greater heights with the more powerful Shakti engine and in weaponised role. The inaugural flights of Dhruv powered by Shakti engine and loaded with weapons took place at HAL's Helicopter Division in Bangalore on Thursday. Addressing the media after impressive maiden flights, HAL Chairman Mr Ashok K. Baweja said that a simulator school will be set up by next September along with CAE, Canada with common modules of training, though primarily for ALH. The ALH has the utility and weaponised variants, and while conceptualizing the latter, there was a need for a more powerful engine for the additional payload of weapons, especially while operating at high altitude. "The Shakti engine, developed jointly by Turbomeca (French) and HAL, develops almost 30 per cent more power compared to the TM 333 2B2 engine, with 19 per cent content of Indian development," Mr Baweja said. The new engine is likely to get the certification by January next year, after carriage trials, butt firing and air firing besides various other trials. ``The weapons are being integrated on the variant. We are doing everything to make it (weaponised Dhruv) a lethal platform for the military services,'' he said, adding that the ALH would provide the right solution for the forces' strategy.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued the type certificate for the EMBRAER 195 jet. The largest aircraft ever produced by Embraer received the original certification by the Brazilian National Civil Aviation Agency (Agencia Nacional de Aviacao Civil -- ANAC) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification last year.
Never before in Frankfurt Airport's history have so many passengers used Germany's "Gateway to the World" in a single month. Frankfurt Airport (FRA) served 5,191,760 passengers in the reporting month of July 2007 - a new absolute peak figure and an increase of 2.1 percent versus the previous monthly record of July 2006. The top monthly figure of 2006 was 5,085,258 passengers. On July 29, 2007, Frankfurt Airport, welcomed 181,464 passengers in a single day. Thus, this summer-vacation Sunday ranked third among the busiest passenger days in FRA's history. To date, July 29 has been the busiest passenger day of the current year.
For the first time within a single month,the low-cost Frankfurt-Hahn airport welcomed more than 400,000 passengers. Specifically, a total of 411,400 passengers used HHN, which is located in the Hunsruck region of Germany.
In a new study, "Commercial Communications Satellites, 2007-2016," Forecast International is projecting deliveries of approximately 218 commercial communications satellites destined for geostationary or medium-Earth orbit worth $26 billion during the next 10 years. The low-Earth-orbiting (LEO) market, comprising satellites primarily for the provision of mobile communications, will see production of 69 spacecraft worth about $927 million. Most of the LEO spacecraft production forecast is attributable to the solidification of fleet replacement plans for ORBCOMM and Globalstar. "The global satellite communications industry strengthened last year, with fixed-satellite services showing continued growth in North America and Europe and signs of a rebound in Asia and South America," said John Edwards, Forecast International Space Systems Editor. To meet the demand, 27 geostationary commercial communications satellites were ordered in 2006, up from 19 in 2005. "This spike in contracting activity was a welcome turnaround in the satellite manufacturing sector; however, Forecast International believes most players in the U.S. sector of this market should withhold their optimism," said Edwards. The market share for the U.S. satellite manufacturing sector has eroded by about 30 percent over the last three years. In 2004, 75 percent of all the commercial communications satellites ordered globally went to three U.S. companies, while just three satellite orders went to non-U.S. manufacturers. In 2005, 63 percent went to U.S. manufacturers and the remaining went to companies outside the U.S., including one to China. In 2006 just 40 percent went to U.S. manufacturers. The remaining went to manufacturers outside the U.S., including one order to China. The increasing power of satellites and the number of transponders available to consumers have been matched up with longer service lives. This has, ironically, decreased the demand for the commercial communications satellites at a time when demand for satellite services is increasing. "Data compression technology is also serving to maximize the efficiency of transponders, which could also drive production down," said Edwards.
Northrop Grumman has delivered to F-35 Lightning II prime contractor Lockheed Martin the initial release of software required to perform manufacturing checkout of the first F-35B short take-off vertical landing (STOVL) variant. The company has delivered updates for software modules used to perform three critical functions: functional test of key sensor subsystems such as radar, electronic warfare, and communication/navigation/IFF; download of maintenance information from the aircraft; and in-flight detection and pilot notification of safety-critical faults.
CAE has been awarded a contract by prime contractor Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) to design and manufacture a generic Handling Qualities Simulator to be used as an integral part of the KAI-led Korean Helicopter Program development. The generic Handling Qualities Simulator developed by CAE and KAI will be used by KAI as an engineering development tool to test and validate the handling qualities of the new helicopter. As the helicopter is developed, the simulator will also be used as a familiarization training device for test pilots. CAE will use a modular, open design for the Handling Qualities Simulator to ensure maximum flexibility in adapting the simulator as the aircraft design evolves and changes.
In its new study titled "The Market for Large Commercial Jet Transports," Forecast International projects that 9,528 large commercial jet transports, valued at some $986 billion, will be produced from 2007 through 2016. The Connecticut-based market research firm projects that Boeing will account for nearly 56 percent of these aircraft, while Airbus will build 43 percent of the jetliners. A handful of Russian and Ukrainian companies are expected to account for the remainder. The study details how Boeing's launch of the new 787 mid-size airliner gave the U.S. manufacturer a decided advantage in the airliner market. Forecast International senior aerospace analyst Raymond Jaworowski notes, "It is difficult to overestimate just how much the 787 has turned Boeing's fortunes around. Boeing correctly saw that airlines wanted a new, efficient airliner in the mid-size capacity class." Besides introducing the all-new 787, Boeing has launched a larger variant of its flagship 747. This new model, dubbed the 747-8, will be available in both passenger and freighter versions, and is being positioned to exploit a perceived capacity gap in the Airbus product line between that company's A340-600 and A380. Airbus appeared to underestimate the potential of the 787 at first, and made a couple of false starts in determining how to respond to the Boeing challenge in the mid-size market. In the meantime, the European company was running into significant schedule delay with its 525-passenger A380. However, Airbus is well on its way to fixing the A380 program, and has responded to the Boeing 787 with the all-new A350 XWB. The XWB is designed to take on not only the 787, but Boeing's 777 as well. According to Jaworowski, "The A350 XWB is already providing Boeing with some serious competitive match-up difficulties." In response, Boeing may be forced to introduce a stretched 787 version and/or a new 777 model. The main difficulty, though, for Airbus with the XWB is schedule: it is currently targeted for service entry in 2013, some five years after service entry of the 787. Meanwhile, both manufacturers have begun turning their attention to designing new products for the narrowbody market. These new designs would replace the Airbus A320 family and the Boeing 737 series, respectively. Given the size of the narrowbody market, the launch of an all-new narrowbody by one manufacturer will force the other to launch as well.
ACROHELIPRO Global Services, a subsidiary of Vector Aerospace Corporation, announces ACROHELIPRO's teaming with Carson Helicopters (Carson) to outfit the first two of Carson's fleet of Sikorsky S-61's with SAGEM Avionic's (SAGEM) Integrated Cockpit Display System (ICDS) retrofit.  In addition, Carson has selected to work with ACROHELIPRO on an S-61 airframe rewire program for 10 helicopters, with the work taking place over the next two and a half years. The innovative system pioneered by and Carson, SAGEM and ACROHELIPRO that has previously been integrated by ACROHELIPRO into the Bell 205, 206 and 210 platforms, includes five ten-inch cockpit displays.  Each system also incorporates two Primary Flight Displays (PFD) and two Multi-Function Displays (MFD); one for both the pilot and co-pilot.  An additional centre instrument panel-mounted MFD houses a Caution Advisory Panel (CAS) to facilitate easy-viewing by both pilot and co-pilot. 
At the start of the winter timetable, Lufthansa will provide personal in-seat video screens for passengers in Economy Class on long-haul flights. In order to make the individual inflight entertainment system as easy as possible for customers to operate and to take their wishes into account, Lufthansa is launching a test phase involving passengers on two of its aircraft. From 15 August, the in-seat screens will be in use on routes from Frankfurt to Detroit, Houston and Toronto. During the test phase, two alternative types of controls will be available for the entertainment programme. One option is navigation via a touch screen; the other is a control panel integrated into the armrest of the seat. Both versions permit individual access to the entire entertainment programme on the in-seat screen. The menu functions can be operated in nine different languages. Lufthansa passengers can choose between German, English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean and Chinese. On the test flights, on-board surveys will also be conducted by specially trained staff. The findings of the survey will be evaluated and taken into account in the final selection of the control system for the in-seat screen.
Turbomeca's Brazilian site, located at Xérem (Duque de Caxias – RJ), has delivered the 500th engine overhauled by its repair center to the São Paulo police. The Arriel 1B delivered is to power the Eurocopter Ecureuil 350 BA, operated by the São Paulo military police. Turbomeca do Brasil has been present in Latin America for twenty five years and, with 260 employees, it now provides, with Turbomeca Sud Americana based at Montevideo, the support services for 850 engines operated in Brazil and South America. Created in 2002, the Turbomeca do Brasil repair center overhauls and repairs the Arrius, Arriel and Makila engines that equip the majority of the Eurocopter Ecureuil, EC 135, Super Puma and Dauphin helicopters, as well as the Sikorsky S76.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) completed its Autonomous Airborne Refueling Demonstration program this month, showing that unmanned aircraft can autonomously perform in-flight refueling under operational conditions. These recent flights built on the first-ever fully autonomous refueling, conducted under controlled test conditions last August. Since then, the Autonomous Airborne Refueling Demonstration (AARD) has completed 10 additional flights. The Autonomous Airborne Refueling Demonstration used precise inertial, GPS, and video measurements, combined with advanced guidance and control methods, to plug a refueling probe into the center of a 32-inch basket trailed behind a tanker. Flights were conducted at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., with a NASA Dryden Flight Research Center F/A-18, configured to operate as an unmanned test bed, refueling from a 707-300 tanker. A NASA pilot was on board the F/A-18 for safety purposes. Several control techniques were tested, and the best was 100 percent effective in 18 attempted probe-and-drogue connections. Each attempt was made in level flight across a range of turbulence conditions, the most challenging of which were characterized by up to five feet of peak-to-peak drogue motion, approaching the limits of routine manned refueling operations. The AARD system also demonstrated the ability to make contact during turns. Although pilots routinely follow a tanker through turns while connected, they typically do not attempt to make contact in a turn. In the AARD program, fuel was routinely transferred in turns as well as during straight and level flight. The system further demonstrated the ability to join the tanker from up to two nautical miles behind, 1,000 feet below, and 30 degrees off heading, thus providing a ready transition from the waypoint control approach used by most unmanned aircraft to a fully autonomous refueling mode. In recent flights, automatic sequencing reflected improved confidence in the system, compared to last year's flight where pilot consent was required at specified points in the refueling maneuver.  
Bremen-based space technology company OHB-System AG dispatched the third SAR-Lupe satellite. Its immediate destination is the IABG satellite testing center, where space conditions can be simulated to a very large extent. There it will undergo a final series of intensive testing over a period of some eight weeks, after which it will be deemed fit for lift-off from the Russian launch pad in Plesetzk. The launch of the third radar satellite in the SAR-Lupe system has been scheduled for November 1, 2007. Like its two predecessors, it will be placed in its low-earth orbit on board a Russian COSMOS 3M.
Midwest Air Group, parent company of Midwest Airlines, today announced that it has signed a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by an affiliate of TPG Capital, L.P. in a transaction valued at approximately $450 million. The merger agreement was unanimously approved by the Midwest Air Group Board of Directors. Under the terms of the agreement, each outstanding share of Midwest's common stock will be converted into the right to receive $17.00 per share in cash. On December 12, 2006, the last trading day before the public announcement of AirTran's indication of interest in acquiring Midwest, the per share price of Midwest's common stock was $9.08. Midwest has approximately 26.6 million shares outstanding, including shares subject to options, restricted share awards and outstanding warrants. "This is a significant milestone for Midwest," said Timothy E. Hoeksema, chairman and chief executive officer. "The agreement preserves the airline's status as Milwaukee's hometown airline and the popular Midwest Airlines brand for Midwest's loyal customers and employees. TPG shares our commitment to quality and truly understands the value of a differentiated product. We're looking forward to a long-term relationship with TPG, and benefiting from their strength and experience." Richard P. Schifter, partner, TPG Capital, added, "TPG is excited about the opportunity to invest in Midwest Airlines, which has managed to preserve a quality of service to its passengers rarely seen today. We look forward to working with management and its highly motivated workforce in driving growth and creating more value. We hope that our industry experience, together with an expanded alliance with Northwest Airlines, will lead to a bigger and better Midwest."
Bell Helicopter commented recently on the achievements of the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. The US Army fleet of Kiowa helicopters has accumulated in excess of 1.4 million flight hours and over 300,000 combat flight hours. Despite these high usage rates, the daily combat scenario and the harsh environmental conditions, the OH-58D continues to achieve readiness rates above 80 percent. Army CW-4 Darren Monroe sums up how commanders in the field feel about the Kiowa when he stated, "The Kiowa Warrior is the preferred aircraft when the ground commanders call for air support." LTC James Barker, Commander of 2-6 Cav added, "Ninety-nine percent of the convoys that roll out with Kiowa Warrior coverage are not attacked in any way, shape or form. The Kiowa is to OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) what the A-10 was to Desert Storm."
Lockheed Martin has received $951.7 million from the U.S. Navy to produce and integrate mission systems for the MH-60R helicopter over five years. This funding, in combination with two advanced procurement contracts totaling $113.6 million, increases the total value of this multi-year contract to $1.065 billion. The multi-year contract provides for Lockheed Martin Systems Integration of Owego, NY, to integrate advanced electronic systems into 139 multi-mission helicopters through 2013. The advanced procurement contracts associated with this multi-year were awarded in May 2006 and January 2006. "This multi-year contract allows the U.S. Navy to lock in a price and configuration for the helicopters that equates to an estimated 12 percent cost reduction compared to buying these integrated systems over the same period on an annual schedule," said Richard Holmberg, general manager for Naval Helicopter Programs at Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin is the prime air weapons systems integrator for the MH-60R, the U.S. Navy's most advanced submarine hunting and surface warfare helicopter.
Rolls-Royce has been selected to develop technology for the ADVENT program, the next-generation propulsion system for the US Air Force. The work will be carried out at the Group's LibertyWorks research unit at Indianapolis, IN. The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) announced the agreement, which is valued at up to $296 million over two phases of the program. ADVENT (Adaptive Versatile Engine Technology) is a technology demonstrator program funded by AFRL and focused on variable cycle features for future US Military aerospace platforms. The goal is to enable a high-thrust capability and a separate loiter operation with reduced fuel consumption. LibertyWorks, known officially as Rolls-Royce North American Technologies Inc., has a long history of innovative service to the US military. It has contributed technology to the F-35 Lightning II LiftFan and F136 engine; the IHPTET (Integrated High Performance Turbine Engine Technology) program; and the RATTLRS supersonic missile.  
ACT Airlines, headquartered in Istanbul, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus for two A330-200 freighter aircraft. "Expanding our fleet with the Airbus A330-200F will allow us to further meet Turkey's demand for air cargo transportation. The A330-200F is the ideal complement to our existing aircraft portfolio and builds on our success with the Airbus A300 B4 Freighters. Its payload range characteristics will open up new possibilities for our customers paired with very attractive operating costs." said Mr. Yavuz Cizmeci, ACT Airlines CEO.
TAM has received official authorization from the Brazilian Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC - Agencia Nacional de Aviacao Civil) to operate four additional weekly frequencies to Germany, totaling seven weekly flights. The company will start daily operations to Frankfurt by the end of the year. TAM is already making all necessary provisions for these flights. As a part of its international sector policy, TAM has been establishing strategic partnerships for the destinations in which it operates. For Germany, the company signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Lufthansa three months ago to implement codesharing on national and international routes.
CAE unveiled Presagis, its new modelling and simulation software company. CAE combined its acquisitions of Engenuity Technologies, MultiGen-Paradigm and TERREX and an existing CAE commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software team, to create an independent, industry-leading company specializing in COTS modelling and simulation software. As part of CAE's military simulation products business, Presagis solidifies CAE's position as a significant player in the COTS modelling and simulation market. "Presagis is in line with CAE's long-term strategy to create a single, unified, COTS simulation software business," said Marc Parent, CAE's Group President, Simulation Products and Military Training & Services. "The technology depth and international reach of this COTS business further extends CAE's position as a global leader in the modelling and simulation market." "CAE is a recognized global leader in simulation and training and we are thrilled to continue its legacy of excellence and innovation," said Patrice Commune, President, Presagis. "Presagis brings together a powerful product portfolio that will help our customers build applications faster, without compromising on value, training, creative vision and support. By drawing on the strengths of these combined companies, Presagis is positioned to break new ground in technology development and deliver the highest possible standards of innovation and customer service."
ISS Expedition 15 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineers Oleg Kotov and Clay Anderson concluded joint operations with the STS-118 crew Saturday afternoon. STS-118's stay at the station began Aug. 10 and featured four spacewalks to continue the on-orbit construction of the station. The STS-118 crew exited the station before hatches closed at 5:10 p.m. EDT Saturday in preparation for undocking on Sunday. In addition to the seven STS-118 astronauts, Space Shuttle Endeavour carried the Starboard 5 (S5) truss segment to the station and STS-118 spacewalkers installed it Aug. 11. The S5 truss segment is part of the station's Integrated Truss Structure that will eventually be the length of a football field and contain four sets of solar arrays. The station received a new control moment gyroscope (CMG) on Monday during the second spacewalk. The station has four CMGs that are used to control its attitude in orbit. The new CMG replaced a faulty gyroscope that will return to Earth on a future shuttle mission. On Tuesday, the International Space Station's first component to go into space, the Zarya control module, passed the 50,000th orbit mark at 11:17 a.m. EDT. Zarya, which is Russian for "Sunrise," was funded by the United States and built by Russia. It launched atop a Proton rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Nov. 20, 1998. The third spacewalk occurred Wednesday. It featured preparations for the relocation of the Port 6 truss from atop the station to the end of the Port 5 truss when STS-120 visits later this year. A fourth spacewalk took place Saturday in which an antenna was installed and two materials science experiments were retrieved for return to Earth.

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