07.08.2007
FLUG REVUE

2007-08-05-News in BriefNews in Brief

Kurzmeldungen<br /> The US Department of Defense, Department of Commerce, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced today that they have restructured the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS).

This $ 4.2 billion modification of the Northrop Grumman Space Technology contract culminates a rigorous year long effort to re-plan virtually every aspect of the NPOESS program following its certification through the Nunn McCurdy process in 2006. The plan details the development and delivery of the system through initial production in the next decade. This extensive re-planning was a joint effort between the three agencies, which comprise the NPOESS Integrated Program Office and Northrop Grumman Space Technology. The schedule delivers sensors to the NPOESS Preparatory Project to support a 2009 launch, and calls for the launch of the first NPOESS satellite in 2013. The restructured contract puts in place a "back to basics" approach with management controls and reporting requirements which will ensure strict oversight of the contractor. The fee structure is now more objective through the inclusion of incentives for cost, schedule and technical performance. "This is the most extensive and rigorous planning process I have ever witnessed," said Gary Davis, the Program Executive Officer for Environmental Satellites. "This restructured program will provide the meteorological community with the exceptional performance that they require to maintain the quality forecasting capability that the American public has come to expect."
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A shareholder in the international airport in Peru's capital of Lima since 2001, Fraport AG has increased its stake in the airport operating company from 42.75 to 100 percent. However, a portion of the airport shares will subsequently be sold to other partners, whereby Fraport - as announced - will retain at least 60 percent. Serving as Peru's gateway to the world, Lima Airport welcomed about six million passengers in 2006. It recorded double-digit growth in the first half of 2007 (approximately 25 percent). When Fraport entered the Peruvian market in 2001 the airport only had about four million passengers. The Lima Airport Partners (LAP) company has already invested about EUR150 million in modernizing and expanding the passenger terminal as well as improving airside infrastructure. The airport concession runs for 30 years with an option to extend. From the beginning, Fraport assumed the contractual role of airport manager and is responsbile particularly for operations, security, planning and maintenance. Fraport and its two partners won the Lima international airport bid in the autumn of 2000. Along with Fraport's 42.75 percent share, U.S. construction company Bechtel initially held 42.75 percent and Peru's Cosapi the remaining 14.5 percent. The consortium took over the operation of Lima Airport on February 14, 2001.
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The U.S. government has awarded an initial $187 million for long-lead tasks as part of a $1.1 billion contract to Lockheed Martin for the production of 30 new Advanced Block 50 F-16 aircraft for Turkey. Earlier this year, the governments of Turkey and the United States signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) agreeing to the purchase of 30 Block 50 F-16s. The new aircraft will supplement the Turkish Air Force's (TUAF) existing fleet of F-16s and contribute to the upgrade and modernization of the TUAF. The new aircraft include the same advanced systems being installed on Turkey's existing F-16 fleet as part of an on-going upgrade program. At the conclusion of these two programs all Turkish F-16s will be in a common, state-of-the-art configuration. The final Turkish F-16 under this contract will be delivered in 2013.
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On Wednesday, 1 August, a Dornier 328 Jet made its first commercial flight into London City Airport, flying from Reykjavik, Iceland on a private charter with executive jet operator, IceJet. Dornier 328 Serial No 3220, which has been modified for Steep Approach, Flight Level 35 and Extended Range capability by 328 Support Services in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, touched down mid afternoon after a two hour 50 minute flight from Iceland. IceJet's Dornier 328 TF-NPA features a luxurious 'Envoy' interior – in a 14-seat layout (eight club seats and six regular seats).   Further customisation by 328 Support includes the addition of walnut veneered cabinets, wardrobe, stowages and galley.
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The Lockheed Martin/Northrop Grumman team submitted its proposal to design and build the Transformational Satellite Communications System (TSAT) Space Segment, the future global communications network for the U.S. Air Force that will provide seamless, protected communications for a wide range of defense and intelligence users. The proposal builds upon the team's combined experience developing advanced military and commercial communications systems, including the Milstar satellite communications network currently in operation, the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (EHF) system now in production, and the successful TSAT risk reduction and system definition activities conducted under contract to the Air Force.
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Air Methods announced that American Eurocopter has selected Air Methods' Products Division (AMPD) to provide their single-engine emergency medical services (EMS) customers with medical interiors, avionics and airframe modifications, and equipment under an exclusive, long term agreement. The American Eurocopter AS 350 and EC130 helicopters have become the popular choice with single-engine EMS customers. The A-Star helicopter has a long history of reliable service to the air ambulance industry and continues to exceed operator's expectations on performance and value. A number of the largest air ambulance operators in the U.S. have multi-year orders for these aircraft, including Air Methods Corporation. AMPD has developed a full line of medical interior systems, avionics, and airframe accessory installations and certification for the AS-350 and EC-130 helicopters. "With nearly 40 aircraft modified with these products in only the past four years, Air Methods has become a leading supplier of rugged, light weight, mission-effective equipment for the A-Star line of helicopters and we are pleased to have been selected by American Eurocopter to be an exclusive partner for their EMS customers," said Arthur Torwirt, Vice President, for Air Methods Products Division.
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Sikorsky reported the successful ground testing of new fly-by-wire technology designed to improve significantly the maneuverability, safety and effectiveness of aircraft. It will debut on 28 H-92 helicopters that the Canadian military forces will begin receiving in early 2009. The fly-by-wire system electronically links the controls inside the cockpit with the exterior actuators, the movement of which enable the aircraft to maneuver where and how the pilot intends. Eliminating the traditional mechanical linkage saves weight, reduces maintenance costs, adds capability and improves performance. The new system was developed in association with BAE Systems. "During two days of ground testing, the fly-by-wire system performed exactly as designed and met every expectation," said Dan Hunter, Sikorsky manager for the Canadian H-92 program. "We're on track toward system certification and then providing the Canadian Forces with these state-of-the-art helicopters."
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Blue Sky Network and Iridium announced that the British Ministry of Defense is deploying Blue Sky Network's Iridium satellite-based flight tracking equipment for the Search and Rescue division of the Royal Air Force.  Utilizing Blue Sky Network's D1000C and ACH1000, the Royal Air Force is capable of tracking aircraft and using satellite voice communications for search and rescue efforts all over the world. The Royal Air Force's purchase of 44 aircraft tracking and communication kits from Blue Sky Network indicates the first major purchase of such technology by a large airborne search and rescue fleet.  The Royal Air Force will use the equipment as a cost-effective solution for tracking its aircraft and to augment existing communication with radio operators.  Tracking data from Blue Sky Network's unique SkyRouter portal will be integrated with existing command and control systems at the RAF.
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The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) announced airplane shipments and billings for the first half of 2007. In the first half of 2007, shipments of general aviation airplanes totaled 1,883 units, a 1.7 percent increase over the same period last year, with industry billings rising 11.7 percent to $9.8 billion. Shipments of piston-engine powered airplanes through the second quarter of 2007 were down slightly from the same period last year to 1,226 units, a 4.2 percent decrease. Turboprop shipments rose 15.2 percent from 158 units in 2006 to 182 units in 2007. The business jet market segment grew by 14.7 percent with an increase in shipments from 414 units in the first half of 2006 to 475 units in the first half of 2007.
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Bombardier announced that its midsize Learjet 60 XR business jet entered service this week with Cloud Nine Aviation, of Los Angeles, CA. The program milestone was highlighted with an employee delivery ceremony at the Learjet manufacturing facility in Wichita, Kansas. "We are delighted to celebrate this first entry into service and look forward to giving our customers the opportunity to fully experience this fantastic new jet," said Mike Fahey, vice-president, Learjet sales, Bombardier Business Aircraft. "The Learjet 60 XR jet combines unparallelled performance and low operating costs with new technology and enhanced comfort. Our customers are sure to love this new aircraft as much as it popular predecessor."All the new features available aboard the Learjet 60 XR jet are present in this first aircraft, including a state-of-the-art Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite and a redesigned interior focused on maximizing comfort and functionality in the aircraft's stand-up cabin.
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The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued a type certificate for Gulfstream's newest business jet, the G150. With this certification, the wide-cabin, high-speed aircraft is now eligible for registration in the European Union member nations. "This EASA certification is an extremely important accomplishment," said Joseph T. Lombardo, president of Gulfstream. "We've always believed the G150 is the ideal corporate jet for European businesses. By the end of the second quarter of this year, Gulfstream delivered 21 outfitted G150s since August 2006.
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The A400M Systems Simulator, designated "Aircraft Zero", was presented to the customers by means of a fully functional demonstration at the end of July this year. "Aircraft Zero" is a complex facility enabling real-time integration and testing of the hydraulic, electrical generation and distribution systems as well as validation of the flight control systems. Comprising the "Iron Bird", a full-sized test bench totally representative of the complete aircraft coupled to an Integration Simulator with a real cockpit, "Aircraft Zero" plays a vital r ôle in validating installation processes, undertaking certification endurance tests, verifying systems integration and proving aircraft functions. Ultimately, evaluation of the results from the Systems Simulator will determine authorisation of first flight. The systems simulation facility will remain operational throughout the life of the aircraft and is an important element in the qualification process. It will also be used to establish pilot training procedures. Completed well ahead of schedule, the "Iron Bird" and Integration Simulator have been operational since April 2007 and "Aircraft Zero" went into service in mid June.
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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has authorized the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter to take off and land in high crosswind conditions and to carry additional payload based on available engine power. The FAA approvals allow the S-92 to take off and land in strong blowing crosswinds of up to 35 knots, versus the previous limitation of 20 knots, and to carry additional payload based on the aircraft's surplus power on a given day. The GE CT7-8A engine used on the S-92 routinely provides power reserves in excess of minimum requirements. These two approvals enhance the S-92's ability to handle demanding missions around the world.
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Lockheed Martin announced that it has successfully completed a critical end-to-end test between the space and ground elements of the Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS), a key milestone in preparation for launch and on-orbit operations of the program's first geosynchronous orbit (GEO) spacecraft. SBIRS will provide early warning of missile launches and support other missions simultaneously, including missile defense, technical intelligence and battlespace characterization.
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The 1723rd flight of a Soyuz launch vehicle was performed Thursday, August 2, 2007 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 11:34 p.m. Baikonur time (7:34 p.m., in Paris). Starsem, Arianespace and their Russian partners report that the Progress cargo spacecraft was accurately placed on the target orbit for another mission to the International Space Station. This was the 6th Soyuz family mission in 2007. This year, after the successful launch of the Globalstar telecommunications satellites for Globalstar LLC on May 30, 2007, Starsem is planning to carry out several missions, including another Globalstar launch, the launch of the Radarsat-2 Earth observation satellite and the launch of Giove-B for the European Space Agency.  
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The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the German company Bayern-Chemie Gesellschaft für flugchemische Antriebe mbH by the MBDA group. After examining the transaction, the Commission concluded that it would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it. Bayern-Chemie and its subsidiary, Protac S.A., are active in the supply of solid rocket motors and solid ramjets. These are propulsion systems used in tactical military devices. MBDA is active in the supply of guided weapons and guided weapons systems. It is a joint venture controlled by three leading European defence companies: BAE Systems plc, European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company EADS N.V (EADS) and Finmeccanica S.p.A.  
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Boeing and Jet Airways, India's largest private airline, announced that the airline has exercised options for three 777-300ER (Extended Range) airplanes. The order, valued at more than $790 million at list prices, follows a previous order for 10 777-300ERs in September 2005, for a combined total of 13 777-300ERs. The order was recently included on the Boeing Commercial Airplanes Orders and Deliveries Web site, attributed to an unidentified customer.
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CAE has signed contracts to design and manufacture three CAE 7000 Series full-flight simulators (FFSs) and a suite of Boeing 787 maintenance training devices valued at C$51 million at list prices. This brings the total FFS sales that CAE has announced in fiscal 2008 to 16, including two Phenom FFS committed to by the CAE-Embraer planned joint-venture and previously announced on May 28, 2007.
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Bombardier announced a significant milestone in its Challenger 300 program – the delivery into service of the 150th manufactured super midsize Challenger 300 business jet. The aircraft was delivered on July 31 to Flexjet, Bombardier's fractional business jet ownership program. Since its entry into service in 2004, the Challenger 300 jet has earned high praise from customers for its ability to deliver outstanding mission completion. The aircraft has consistently demonstrated its performance capabilities – highlighted by five world record flights sanctioned by the National Aeronautic Association – and dispatch reliability over 99 percent.
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Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), a global aerospace manufacturing and services corporation, today announced the formal completion of its acquisition of aviation service providers Standard Aero and Landmark Aviation from The Carlyle Group. DAE will merge the companies as a business enterprise within its DAE Engineering subsidiary. The transaction, valued at US$1.9 billion, brings together two of the world's leading maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) providers. "The closing of this acquisition is an important step forward in the business and investment relationships between Dubai, the United Arab Emirates and the United States," said HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of DAE. "DAE is making significant strides in the aerospace sector and we appreciate all that went into making this transaction a success." "This is a significant step forward in our strategy which reinforces the progress that DAE has achieved so far, and for sure it will not be the last one," said HE Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman, Managing Director of DAE.  
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The first Eurofighter Typhoon with on board the radar PIRATE IRST designed and produced by Galileo Avionica, a Finmeccanica company, was delivered to the Italian Aeronautica Militare. The aircraft is part of the Tranche 1 batch 5 of the international Eurofighter programme and is operational at the Grosseto base, in Tuscany. The PIRATE performs the same tasks of a radar, working in a passive mode, without electromagnetic radiations, detecting instead the heat of the different targets. A very important feature that increases the overall performances of a combat aircraft, offering the tactical superiority of a complete operability in Stealth (technologies allowing the aircraft to be undetectable). Galileo Avionica is prime contractor of the EuroFirst Consortium which features Thales in the UK and Tecnobit in Spain. In 2006, the consortium was awarded with a contract to supply 200 PIRATE systems for the Tranche 2 of the Eurofighter in the various nations involved.  
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Airbus' A380 has received approval from both the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to be operated on runways with a width of 45 metres (150 feet) or more. Most of the world airports have 45m runways as standard width. "This aircraft has been shown to be safely controllable and to be compliant with applicable airworthiness requirements when operating on runways with a width of 45 meters (150 feet) or more", stated James J. Ballough, FAA Director Flight Standards Service in an official correspondence to Airbus, dated July 19, 2007.
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Boeing confirmed that Canadian low-fare carrier WestJet ordered 20 Next-Generation 737s to add to the airline's all-737 fleet. The order is for 737-700s with conversion rights to 737-800s if desired. WestJet, based in Calgary, Alberta, was one of the most profitable airlines in North America in 2006. It has consistently recorded over 15 percent annual growth as it expanded its routes across North America and the Caribbean. Founded in 1996, the airline currently operates 67 Next-Generation 737s.  
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AeroSvit-Ukrainian Airlines is ordering up to 14 Boeing 737-800 airplanes. The Kiev-based carrier signed an order for seven 737s valued at $523 million at list prices, and secured purchase rights for another seven. The order was recently included on the Boeing Commercial Airplanes Orders and Deliveries Web site, attributed to an unidentified customer.  
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Air New Zealand announced that it will purchase four Boeing 777-300 Extended Range (ER) aircraft, as it continues to implement its wide-body fleet renewal programme. Chief Executive Officer Rob Fyfe says the aircraft will be delivered in parallel with the airline's Boeing 787-9 between late 2010 and 2011. The airline has also secured purchase options for a further three B777-300ER aircraft. The purchase of the four Boeing 777-300ERs, which was achieved based on prices agreed in 2004, represents a substantial discount to today's list price of USD$1.1 billion.  
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EADS specifies the status of its discussions with Libya following media reports concerning defence contracts signed between the two parties: The contract for anti-tank missiles Milan, which was negotiated by MBDA, a joint venture of EADS (37.5%), BAE Systems (37.5%) and Finmeccanica (25%), was finalized today following a discussion and negotiation phase of 18 months. This contract is awaiting the signature of the Libyan customer and EADS is pleased about this outcome of the negotiations. The contract for a Tetra system for secured communications has been in discussions since several months and is close to finalisation, but no signature has been made so far."
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Jetcraft Aviation, a specialist air charter company based in Brisbane, Australia, yesterday night started operations with the first of two ATR 42-300s aircraft. This ATR 42-300 becomes the first ATR aircraft dedicated to freight operations in the South Pacific region. The two aircraft will be operated as part of the new airfreight network on services linking Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. The Jetcraft ATRs can carry up to 54 cubic meters or over 5.5 tones of freight, which is securely stowed with a series of special cargo nets inside the plane. This first ATR 42-300 of Jetcraft takes to 30 the total number of ATR aircraft in operation in the Australia and Pacific Islands region.
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Embraer and Air France/KLM group signed a contract for 20 E-Jets, consisting of four EMBRAER 190 and six EMBRAER 170 jets for Regional, an Air France subsidiary, and ten EMBRAER 190s for KLM cityhopper. The deal also includes options for another three EMBRAER 190 and six EMBRAER 170 jets for Regional/Air France and nine more EMBRAER 190s for KLM cityhopper. The contract value of the E-Jets firm orders is US$ 657 million, at list price, based on January 2007 economic conditions, and could reach US$ 1.245 billion if all options are exercised. The first aircraft will be delivered in November 2008 to KLM cityhopper. Both Regional/Air France and KLM cityhopper EMBRAER 190 jets will be configured in a single class layout, seating up to 100 passengers comfortably. Regional/Air France's EMBRAER 170s will be seating up to 76 passengers in a single class layout.
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On August 2, 2007 AERO Vodochody a.s. (AERO) obtained the Supplementary Type Certificate (DTO-0003) for the L-159T1 Advanced Training Aircraft, ordered by the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic (Ministry) in a number of four units. The Certificate was handed to Milos Trnobransky, AERO Military Program Chief Designer, by an authorized department of the Ministry symbolically on the day of the 10th anniversary of the first flight of the first two-seat L-159T prototype s/n 5831 (August 2, 1997). At the same time, the Ministry extended the validity of the Certificate for training of Czech Air Force pilots-instructors for the L-159, T1 version. The Supplementary Type Certificate means that the L-159T1 is certified for the specified task (esp. training of military pilots) and after training of the ground and flight personnel and after the customer's checks, the aircraft can be delivered to the customer, the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic. "The customer's checks, which will test maintenance procedures, documentation and utility characteristics of the L-159T1 aircraft, should take place from August 27 – September 7, 2007," specified M. Trnobransky.
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On July 28 Alenia Aermacchi signed in Tripoli with the Libyan Ministry of Defence, a contract valued at three million Euros providing for the return into service 12 SF-260 primary trainers already in use with the Libyan Air Force. The contract covers the overhaul of the airframe and systems of the SF-260 aircraft, including their propellers and engines. Work will be carried out locally, with assistance provided by staff from the Libyan Italian Advanced Technology Company (LIATEC). Activities will commence by the end of the current year and will last for approximately one year thereafter. The agreement represents a first step towards a broader collaboration between Alenia Aermacchi and the Libyan government, particularly with respect to future procurement in the military trainers field.
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More than 14 million passengers from over 90 countries evaluated some 160 airlines worldwide for the British consulting company "Skytrax" between August 2006 and June 2007. The outcome is particularly pleasing: Austrian Airlines has taken first place in the worldwide comparison of business class catering. Chief Executive Officer, Alfred Ötsch, talks about this top placing: "Being able to take top place in a worldwide catering comparison is an outstanding performance which makes me particularly happy and shows that we are on the right path. The critical, international travelling public values the consistent quality and service offensive which we have implemented. Menus from leading chefs, the Vienna coffee house service or our on-board chefs, who refine the inflight gourmet menus on long-haul flights, make us unmistakable and unique compared to other international airlines."
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A Delta II rocket lit up the early morning sky over Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on August 4 as it carried the Phoenix spacecraft on the first leg of its journey to Mars. The powerful three-stage rocket with nine solid rocket motors lifted off at 5:26 a.m. Later, the Phoenix spacecract separated from the Delta II rocket and ground controllers at NASA's Deep Space Network acquired its signal and begun assessing its health. The solar panels that will power the mission's cruise phase will be deployed and Phoenix will be pointed to best receive solar power and communicate with Earth. The spacecraft has oriented itself to the sun as it was programmed to do. It will use solar panels to generate electricity during the nine-month coast to Mars. A separate set of solar arrays is attached to the lander itself.
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