24.08.2009
FLUG REVUE

News Update 24 August 2009 - News in Brief

Our weekly news roundup from around the aerospace industry.

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Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company announced employment reductions aimed at improving its competitive posture. Space Systems will implement a broad-based workforce reduction of approximately 800 employees by year-end. The reductions represent about 4.5 percent of the overall workforce and will impact all levels and disciplines, including technical, managerial, and administrative positions primarily at the Denver, Colo., and Sunnyvale, Calif. facilities. The company also will offer a voluntary layoff plan designed to minimize the number of layoffs necessary. The reductions announced are separate from the ongoing downsizing underway at the company's Michoud Operations as a result of the planned fly-out of the Space Shuttle program in 2010. Joanne Maguire, executive vice president, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, said, "The action we are taking, though difficult, is necessary to adapt to our current projected business base and to maintain an appropriate workforce to meet our customers' needs."
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Embraer's Phenom 100 entry level executive jet received the type certificate, last July, from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). This certification joins the Phenom 100's approval by Brazil's National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC) and the U.S.'s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), in December 2008, and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), in April 2009. "It is with great satisfaction that we announce the certification of this outstanding aircraft, reinforcing Embraer's commitment to the Australian market," said Jose Eduardo Costas, Embraer Vice President, Marketing and Sales, Asia Pacific - Executive Jets. "Our customers will have the convenience of being able to register their Phenom 100s in Australia."
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Vector Aerospace announced that it has, through Vector Helicopter Services – North America, been awarded a contract by the Brazilian Air Force in support of its fleet of Bell H-1H helicopters valued at approximately $15M USD over a five year period. The contract was signed by representatives of the Brazilian Air Force and Vector at the Brazilian Aeronautical Commission in Washington, DC. Under the terms of the contract, Vector will provide in-country support for airframe inspection and repair services and logistics at a military facility located in Brazil.  The contract also includes dynamic component repair and overhaul work for transmissions, gearboxes and hydraulics which will be carried out in Vector's Bell Helicopter-approved repair and overhaul facility in Andalusia, Alabama. Alan Fletcher, Vice-President Operations said; “We are proud to continue our support domestic and international military fleets and further develop our Bell helicopter platform centre of excellence in our new facilities in Alabama”.
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Turkish Airlines has signed a contract for the purchase of seven Airbus A330-300 aircraft, firming up a Memorandum of Understanding signed during Le Bourget Airshow in June 2009. The aircraft, due for delivery from September 2010, will be powered by Rolls Royce engines. Carrying 289 passengers in a two-class configuration, the A330s will be operated on high capacity medium haul routes. Turkish Airlines has operated Airbus aircraft since 1985, and currently has a fleet of 67 Airbus aircraft, including five A310s, 46 A320 family aircraft, seven A330s and nine A340s. This is the first time the airline has ordered the A330-300.
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NASA has completed a two-day review of space shuttle Discovery's readiness for flight and selected Aug. 25 as the official launch date for the STS-128 mission to the International Space Station. Liftoff is scheduled for 1:36 a.m. EDT from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Discovery's launch date was announced after a flight readiness review at Kennedy. During the meeting, senior NASA and contractor managers assessed the risks associated with the mission and determined the shuttle's equipment, support systems and procedures are ready for launch pending the resolution of one remaining issue. An orbiter power controller that failed to operate properly was replaced, and an analysis was completed. The issue is expected to be closed when final data from the analysis is presented at the mission management team meeting on Aug. 23.
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Pratt & Whitney successfully completed accelerated endurance testing equivalent to more than 20,000 hours of service operation on the PurePower PW1000G fan drive gear system. "Results from the latest round of on-going tests continue to demonstrate the design robustness for the PurePower fan drive gear system," said Bob Saia, vice president, Next Generation Product Family, Pratt & Whitney. The fan drive gear system and its patented Geared Turbofan technology target double-digit reductions in fuel burn, environmental emissions, engine noise and operating costs. More than 1,000 hours of laboratory testing on the fan drive gear system have produced significant accomplishments such as simulating more than 40,000 take offs "at the equivalent loads at 30,000 pounds of thrust" loads, with 15,000 of those being maximum torque takeoffs at extreme oil temperatures. Post-test inspections have revealed the gears, journal bearings and components to be in excellent condition after this rigorous testing. The recent endurance testing for the fan drive gear system further supports the findings from the PW1000G demonstrator engine, which confirmed the system's robust design and efficiency with lower than predicted heat rejection into the engine oil system. The PW1000G Demonstrator Engine garnered 406 hours of operation with 120 hours in flight.
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The first Lockheed Martin C-5 Galaxy strategic transport was inducted into the Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program (RERP) production line in ceremonies at the Lockheed Martin facility here August 18. The RERP modifications consist of more than 70 improvements and upgrades to the C-5 airframe and aircraft systems, and include the installation of new higher-thrust, more reliable turbofan engines. The C-5M is the product of a two-phase modernization effort. The first, the ongoing Avionics Modernization Program (AMP), provides the aircraft a state-of-the-art glass cockpit with modern avionics and flight instruments. Nearly half of the C-5 fleet has already undergone the AMP modifications. RERP is the second phase of the C-5 modernization effort.
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Russian Helicopters JSC helicopter manufacturing holding will deliver 20 Mi-171 helicopters to Airfreight Aviation Ltd. (Sharjah, UAE). A corresponding contract has been signed at MAKS 2009 between Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant JSC, the manufacturer of helicopters, and Airfreight Aviation Ltd. Mi-171 helicopters are in transport version will be delivered to the customer in 2010. "Russian Helicopters" JSC exploits helicopters manufactured in Russia to the Near and Middle East region. For the last two years the companies of "Russian Helicopters" holding have concluded contracts with Airfreight Aviation Ltd. for delivery of total 70 Mi-171 helicopters. Maintenance and aftersales service of the helicopters will be performed by a joint venture that will be established by "Russian Helicopters" JSC and Airfreight Aviation Ltd. "Signing the contract with Airfreight Aviation Ltd. profoundly expands our presence in the region, - said Andrey Shibitov, Director General of "Russian Helicopters" JSC. - The next stage is to establish a joint venture for maintenance and aftersales service of Russian made helicopters. "Russian Helicopters" JSC follows the conception of transition from selling the product to selling a life cycle of product".
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In line with the BrahMos cruise missile project, India and Russia are expected to ink a deal during Defence Minister A K Antony's Moscow visit next month on setting up of a joint venture for production of state-of-art multi-role transport aircraft (MTA) for their air forces. The "formal agreement" for floating the MTA JV is expected to be signed in September during Antony's Moscow visit for the session of Joint Commission on military- technical cooperation, V Balakrishnan, General Manager of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) aircraft manufacturing division, said. The Russian government has cleared the formalities for the creation of 50-50 JV and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has allocated funds for financing Russia's share, he told the news agency on the sidelines of the International Aero-space show 'MAKS-2009'.
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Following the embodiment of the military modification into the A330 platform, the second of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)'s MRTTs successfully achieved “power-on” on 18 August. While conversion of the first A330 MRTT for the RAAF took place at Airbus Military's facilities in Getafe, close to Madrid, Spain, this second aircraft and the subsequent three are being modified at Qantas' facilities in Brisbane, Australia. The third aircraft is already undergoing conversion there. The conversion work is undertaken with Airbus Military support. This clearly demonstrates the company's industrial capability to conduct complex modifications in house and abroad. Conversion of the A330 platform into the RAAF KC30A includes the installation of the state of the art advanced Aerial Refuelling Boom System (ARBS) and two under wing mounted 'hose-anddrogue' refuelling pods, as well as a full set of military avionic and communication systems and defensive countermeasure equipment. “Power-on” is the first step after embodiment of the modifications, to ensure that all systems work properly. Following completion of all tests, the aircraft will fly to Madrid to join the first MRTT in the certification and qualification flight programme.
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Greg Combet, Australian Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science, has opened a $1.7 million upgrade of the Australian Defence Force's (ADF) flight simulation research facility at the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), which will provide crucial support for future military aircraft. “The Air Operations Simulation Centre in Melbourne is a unique Australian research facility, capable of accurately simulating the full scope of flight operations and combat scenarios for a variety of military aircraft,” Mr Combet said.
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The Air Transport Association of America (ATA) that passenger revenue based on a sample group of carriers(1) fell 21 percent in July 2009 versus the same month in 2008 -- the ninth consecutive month in which passenger revenue has fallen from the prior year. Four percent fewer passengers traveled on U.S. airlines(1) in July while the average price to fly one mile fell 18 percent, a modest improvement over the 21 percent year-over-year yield decline observed in June. Revenue declines extended beyond the mainland United States to the trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific and Latin markets. "While the modest improvement in demand from June to July would normally be cause for cautious optimism, the fact is that the number of air travelers continues to fall despite double-digit declines in fares. Clearly, with the difficult economic environment, demand for air travel remains weak," said ATA President and CEO James C. May.
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Thales has successfully secured an order from prime contractor Australian Aerospace to upgrade the TopOwl Helmet-Mounted Sight Display (HMSD) Display Modules fitted to the Australian Army's fleet of Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters. A key component in the Army's ARH, the TopOwl HMSD links the pilot directly to the helicopter's armaments, night vision and navigation systems. The upgraded modules will significantly enhance the ARH's night vision capability. Chris Jenkins, Thales Australia's Managing Director, said: "Thales is proud to be contributing its leading TopOwl HMSD and avionics technology to the ARH program for Australian Army Aviation".
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IRKUT Corporation has selected the main Suppliers for a number of systems of MC-21 Program: Landing Gear system – Proposals of Gidromash Company (Russia) are selected; Auxiliary Power Unit - Proposal of Hamilton Sundstrand's (USA) is selected; Environmental Conditioning System - Proposal of “Nauka” Company (Russia), which has been prepared jointly with Hamilton Sundstrand (USA) and “Hamilton Sundstrand - Nauka” Joint Venture is selected; Electrical System including Power Generation System and Power Distribution Complex - Proposal of ECE Company (France), which is a part of Zodiac Aerospace Corporation (France), and Hamilton Sundstrand (USA) is selected; Interiors and passenger equipment - Proposal of C&D (USA), which is a part of “Zodiac Aerospace” Corporation (France) is selected; Fuel System - Proposal of Intertechnique (France), which is a part of “Zodiac Aerospace” Corporation (France), is selected; Oxygen System - Proposal of Intertechnique (France), which is a part of “Zodiac Aerospace” Corporation (France), is selected; Neutral gas System - joint Proposal of Intertechnique (France), which is a part of Zodiac Aerospace Corporation (France), and Hamilton Sundstrand (USA) is selected; Fire protection System - joint Proposal of L'Hotellier (France), which is a part of Kidde Technologies (USA), and Hamilton Sundstrand (USA) is selected; Hydraulic system - Proposal of Eaton Corporation (USA) is selected. Eaton Corporation will place orders for manufacturing of more than 50% of parts and units of the Hydraulic System with Russian enterprises – PMZ “Voshod”, PKO “Teploobmennik”, MIZ “Znamya”, “Tehpribor”; Wing anti-ice System - Proposal of Hamilton Sundstrand (USA) is selected. Power Plant System - Proposals of Pratt & Whitney (USA) and Rolls-Royce (Great Britain) are selected; Avionics System - The proposals of Rockwell Collins (USA) and “Avionica” Group (Russia) are selected; Integrated Flight Control system - Proposals of “Aviapribor-Holding” (Russia) jointly with Goodrich AS (France) and Moog (USA), and Liebherr Aerospace (Germany) are selected. The selection procedure with respect to the aforementioned Suppliers of the free main system is to be completed by November 1, 2009.
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As part of Moscow Airshow, the Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company, Yakutia AirlinesGovernment of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and Finance Leasing Company announced the signing of the Purchase Agreement for the delivery of 2 Sukhoi Superjet 100/95 aircraft. Under the Agreement signed, Yakutia Airlines is to upgrade the company's fleet with 2 SSJ100/95 aircraft. The delivery of the first jet is scheduled for February 2011.
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With a handshake and the passing of a log book and keys, representatives from the Utility Helicopter Project Office to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency marked the delivery of the first of four UH-60M aircraft that will enter CBP service by July 2010. With an improved airframe, avionics and propulsion system, the UH-60M helicopter is the latest in a series of Black Hawk helicopter variants, and is built by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. These state-of-the-art helicopters will allow the CBP to modernize its rotary-wing fleet from the UH-60A aircraft it now uses to protect the nation's borders, and thus better achieve its mission.
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Following recent successful development testing, a new Auto-Pilot/Flight-Director (AP/FD) TCAS mode for the Airbus A380 has been approved and certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The main benefit of the system is that it could further enhance safety during a traffic avoidance situation because the pilot can now fly the aircraft without switching out of one mode and into another. Thus, by simplifying the actions required by the pilot during a TCAS manoeuvre, this enhanced TCAS mode minimises potential overreactions or inverse reactions while preserving his or her concentration at a critical time. In addition to now being certified on the A380, the AP/FD TCAS mode will also become available for retrofit on other Airbus Fly-By-Wire aircraft in the coming years.
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We were able to welcome a total of 985,300 passengers on board of Austrian Airlines flights in July. This is 8.9 percent fewer than in July 2008. This reduction is first and foremost a result of the fact that we have reduced capacity on a targeted basis; this was 11.7 percent lower than the figure for July last year (measured in available seat kilometers or ASK). In this way, we succeeded in keeping the load factor stable at 79.8 percent. On short- and medium-haul routes, we even raised the load factor by 2.2 percentage points, with a particularly sharp increase, of 5.8 percentage points, in Western Europe (region includes domestic flights). From January to July around 5.4 million passengers flew with Austrian Airlines. This means the figure for passengers carried fell by 13.4 percent in this period compared to the previous year. This is also a result of the fact that we have successively reduced capacity due to the financial crisis, so that the figure (measured in ASK) was 12.2 percent lower than last year. We reduced capacity on long-haul routes particularly sharply, by 16.9 percent. Short- and medium-routes were also reduced, however, by 5.3 percent, with flights to Western Europe being cut especially sharply. The overall load factor was 72.3 percent, which means
a reduction of 2.7 percentage points.
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