09.03.2009
FLUG REVUE

News Update 9 March 2009 - News in Brief

Short stories from around the aerospace industry.

Kurzmeldungen
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Bangkok - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on the cargo supply chain to battle the current air cargo crisis by improving security, delivering a better product and boosting efficiency. “The industry is in crisis and nobody knows that better than our cargo colleagues. Cargo demand has fallen off a cliff. After a shocking 22.6% decrease in December it dropped a further 23.2% in January,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's Director General and CEO in a recorded message to the 700 industry experts attending IATA's World Cargo Symposium. Air cargo represents about 10% of industry revenues. As 35% of the value of goods traded internationally is transported by air, air cargo is a barometer of global economic health. “The continued decline in cargo markets is a clear sign that we have not yet seen the bottom of this economic crisis,” said Bisignani. In December 2008 IATA forecast 2009 freight volumes to fall 5%. Combined with a decrease in yields, this would result in a 9% drop in freight revenues to US$54 billion. “Unfortunately, the shocking fall in demand that followed is making these projections look optimistic,” said Bisignani. “As we battle this crisis, we must look for opportunities that will build our future with a more efficient industry focused on meeting customer needs. Customers want a good price and a great product, delivered via the supply chain with speed and reliability. And in crisis, customers will only get more demanding. To meet their expectations and build a solid future for the industry, change is required,” said Bisignani.
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Moog announced that it has completed the acquisition of Fernau Avionics Ltd., a U.K. based company, for approximately 32 million pounds Sterling in cash. Fernau is a leading supplier of ground-based air navigation systems for military, naval and civil aviation. Fernau had 2008 revenues of 15.7 million pounds. Ground based air navigation systems transmit signals that are used to calculate bearing and range information to aid pilot navigation. These systems are part of a larger classification often referred to as "navigation aids." "This acquisition complements our present navigation aids business in the U.S.," said Warren Johnson, President of Moog's Aircraft Group. "Fernau, with a robust portfolio of products and services, significantly expands our capabilities in this market and extends our customer base throughout Europe and Asia."
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PremiAir, the UK's leading provider of executive helicopter charter and management services, is to become the first European Member Operator of Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation-owned AAG Global, the helicopter industry's newly established worldwide network of international executive helicopter operators.  A Memorandum of Understanding was signed last week at the HeliExpo show in Anaheim, California by David McRobert, Group Managing Director of PremiAir and Tom McQuade, AAG Global Executive Vice President. This will see PremiAir providing services to AAG Global network customers from May 1st 2009.
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Aeros announced that the company was awarded a Production Certificate by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  In recent years Aeros achieved the full FAA type certification for the Aeros 40B Sky Dragon airship and Aeros 40D Sky Dragon airship.  The Production Certificate will allow the company to issue Standard Airworthiness Certificates for the newly built airships.  “Having a production certificate on hand ensures an ability to make faster deliveries of our airships to our customers”, said Fred Edworthy, Aeros Vice President. 
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NASA and industry engineers successfully completed the second drop test of a drogue parachute for the Ares I rocket. The test took place Feb. 28 at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground near Yuma, Ariz. The Ares I, the first launch vehicle in NASA's Constellation Program, will send explorers to the International Space Station, the moon and beyond in coming decades. The drogue parachute is a vital element of the rocket's deceleration system; it is designed to slow the rapid descent of the spent first-stage motor that will be jettisoned by the Ares I during its climb to space. The parachute will permit recovery of the reusable first-stage motor for use on future Ares I flights. The first-stage solid rocket motor will power the Ares I rocket for the first two minutes of launch.
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Max-Viz announced the award by Eurocopter Deutschland GmbH of a contract for 23 EVS-1500 Infrared Night Vision Devices. These Max-Viz equipped Eurocopter EC-135 aircraft will enter EMS service for the National Ministry of Health in Poland. This order represents the first installation of Max-Viz Enhanced Visions Systems on European operated EC-135 helicopters and demonstrates a high commitment to increased flight operations safety and operational innovation for both Eurocopter and the Polish Ministry of Health. The Max-Viz EVS-1500 is the only EVS product featuring pilot selectable optical wide angle and telephoto views and is the most popular EVS on the market.
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Gulfstream Aerospace recently celebrated the fuselage joining for the first Gulfstream G250, the company's newest mid-cabin jet. The G250 (click here for data) forward, center and aft fuselage sections were joined utilizing the most advanced assembly process, which has proven to reduce the time needed to complete the fuselage.  The improvement is the result of the G250's cutting-edge design, which uses the most advanced engineering and design tools. “The fuselage joining is a tremendous step forward for the G250,” said Pres Henne, senior vice president, Programs, Engineering and Test, Gulfstream.  “The mechanics have been very pleased with the precision of the assembly process.  Everything went smoothly with the fuselage joining, and now we look forward to the next major milestone — the aircraft's first flight.”
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Spanish low fare carriers clickair and Vueling have begun cross-selling seats online on all their domestic and international flights in what is the first step toward a joint marketing initiative of the two merging companies The cross-selling agreement gives customers of both airlines access to more than 10 million seats on a combined 89 routes and 45 destinations. Clickair's bases in Barcelona, Bilbao, Malaga, Seville and Valencia will be complemented by Vueling's.  The new arrangement will also allow clickair passengers to access the latter's routes originating from Madrid. Vueling's Chief Financial Officer, Antonio Grau, also announced on 25 February that after the merger, flights operated by the new Vueling, in which Iberia – currently clickair's strategic shareholder—will have a majority interest, will have a codeshare agreement with Iberia, as clickair has since its creation in 2006. Since the airline's inception all clickair flights have been available via the web or through traditional global distribution systems, via the Iberia codeshare (IB5000).   Currently GDS sales at clickair account for nearly 40% of all seats sold, one of the highest proportions among low fare airlines worldwide.
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Boeing announced an agreement with Esterline CMC Electronics to provide Class 2 Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) hardware on selected airplane models for production and retrofit, starting with the Next-Generation 737. A second provider will be announced later. Boeing is developing a common application suite and ground infrastructure for use across Class 1, 2, and 3 EFBs to maximize the value of the EFB infrastructure by including Boeing and Jeppesen applications and data. "This selection of our PilotView(r) EFB makes the most of our strengths in Class 2 hardware delivery and combines it with Boeing's strengths in data delivery and integration," said Jean-Pierre Morteux, CMC Electronics president and chief executive officer. "We believe this combination will offer the flexibility that customers are seeking."
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In fiscal year 2008 the Fraport (pictures) airport company again achieved growth in revenue, which increased by 3.8 percent after adjusting for special effects. In absolute terms, revenue declined by 9.8 percent to EUR2.1 billion. This loss in revenue versus 2007 was due to the sale of Fraport's ICTS Europe security subsidiary on April 1, 2008, and to revenue received in 2007 from finance leasing of the Airrail Center Frankfurt project. The Group operating result - EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) - reached the new record figure of EUR600.7 million, up 3.5 percent compared to the record year of 2007. As announced, the 2008 net profit of EUR180.2 million was below the previous year's figure of EUR213.7 million. Fraport's executive board is recommending an unchanged dividend payment of EUR1.15 per share. Fraport executive board chairman Dr. Wilhelm Bender said that the strong downturn in the global economy led to declines in passenger and airfreight traffic at the Group's Frankfurt Airport (FRA) home-base in 2008. With nearly 53.5 million passengers, Frankfurt Airport registered 1.3 percent fewer passengers than in the record year of 2007 - although the particularly attractive intercontinental passenger segment still reported light growth. Cargo throughput (airfreight and airmail) dropped by 2.7 percent to 2.1 million metric tons. At the Group level, traffic development for 2008 was more positive than in Frankfurt. Peru's Lima Airport saw passenger traffic jump by 10.4 percent to 8.3 million and airfreight volume climb by 6.1 percent to almost 240,000 metric tons. Antalya Airport on the Turkish Riviera recorded 9.1 million passengers, up 8.5 percent year-on-year. In total, Fraport's majority-owned airports welcomed about 78.2 million passengers and handled nearly 2.5 million metric tons of cargo (airfreight and airmail).
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Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), a major supplier to Northrop Grumman Corporation on the F-35 Lightning II aircraft program, has produced and delivered its first composite parts for the jet. The new parts - structural composite panels used to form the outer surface of the new international, multi-role fighter - represent a critical first step in TAI's plans to eventually produce 400 center fuselages for the program. Northrop Grumman will integrate the parts into the center fuselages of the first two production F-35s. TAI's recent shipment included six composite panels - three for each of the two jets being produced under the first phase of low rate initial production. As part of its F-35 work share, the company will produce similar composite panels for every jet made during the production phase of the program.
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Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) in Kanpur (India), most important partner of RUAG Aerospace under the Dornier 228 NG (pictures) (New Generation) relaunch programme, has supplied the first set of structural parts (ship-set) to RUAG Aerospace Services GmbH in Oberpfaffenhofen (Germany). This ship-set was handed over mid-February, less than one year after contract signing. The ship-set consists of fuselage, wings and tail unit and will arrive mid-April 2009 in Oberpfaffenhofen where the final assembly of the first Dornier 228 NG aircraft starts. First delivery of a Dornier 228 NG to a customer is scheduled to take place early in 2010. The main changes against the previous Dornier 228-212 model are a new 5-blade propeller made of composite material with enhanced performance, as well as an advanced glass cockpit and new digital avionics. A handover ceremony together with approx. 1500 invited guests from politics and economy took place mid-February 2009 to celebrate supply of the first ship-set in India. Ashok Baweja, Chairman of HAL and Wolfgang Neumann, managing director of RUAG Aerospace Services in Oberpfaffenhofen, underlined the strategic importance of this project for both companies and praised the reliable cooperation.
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The French air force and navy can call on an exceptional cutting-edge facility to train their pilots: the Rafale Simulation Center. A purpose-designed facility was built at the air force base in Saint-Dizier, eastern France, for the first Rafale Simulation Center. Opened on January 24, 2008, it houses four Rafale flight simulators and mission management systems for the instructors. The innovative display system, designed by Sogitec, gives the pilot a complete field-of-view, bright and with excellent contrast, allowing the use of night vision goggles. The cockpit and pilot controls guarantee a totally realistic feel, because they use actual Rafale equipments. In other words, pilots are plunged into a strikingly real environment. Four Rafale fighters are set to “take off” for all types of missions, whether solo or on group patrol, in a dense tactical environment: aerial combat, ground attack, in-flight refueling, aircraft carrier launches and deck landings. The simulators can be coupled to carry out multi-aircraft exercises, using both single and twin-seat versions. Weather conditions are full adjustable, and change realistically over time.
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The MiG-23 BN of Indian Air Force retired on 06 Mar 09, after 28 years of glorious service to the Nation. A befitting farewell in the form of a 'phasing out ceremony' was held at its last home, No. 221 Squadron at Air Force Station Halwara. The ceremony was presided over by the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major. Wg Cdr YJ Joshi and Sqn Ldr TR Sahu of 221 Sqn flew the aircraft on its last flight. The Air Force Station Halwara had become a home to No.221 Squadron ever since they converted to MiG-23 BN in February 1982. 27 years on, No.221 Squadron is lone Squadron with MiG-23 BN on its inventory. The squadron known as the 'Valiants' was formed on 1963 at Barrackpore under the command of Sqn Ldr N Chatrath with 22 officers. It was then part of the 55 Bengal Auxillary Air Force Squadron. Initially equipped with Vampire, Spitfire and Hurricane aircraft, it assumed the mantle of an operational unit when selected to support Indian Army's blitzkrieg advance in East Bengal during Dec 1971.
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The EDA Steering Board has agreed to approve a project for the next generation European military earth observation satellites. This Multinational Space-based Imaging System (MUSIS) project has been launched by six European Union Member States: Belgium, Germany, Greece, France, Italy and Spain. The project has now become an EDA Category B project and will be open to participation of other EDA participating Member States, if their proposed contribution is acceptable to the existing contributing Members. The Agency's Capability Development Plan (CDP) considers space-based imaging capacities essential for ESDP missions. The MUSIS project aims at establishing a multinational space-based imaging system for surveillance, reconnaissance and observation to ensure continuity of services from the current French Helios II, German SAR LUPE and Italian Cosmo-Skymed and Pléiades systems, from 2015-2017 onwards.
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Guernsey-based carrier Aurigny Air Services took delivery of its first new ATR 72-500, in accordance with a deal for two ATR 72-500s inked in summer 2007 and valued at some US $ 37 million. With its new ATR 72-500s, configured with 72-seats and equipped with the “Elegance Cabin”, Aurigny Air Services will replace two out of its current three ATR 72-200s. Commenting on this first ATR 72-500, Malcolm Hart, Managing Director of Aurigny Air Services, quoted: “We are pleased to take delivery of our first ATR 72-500, and launch the modernization of our turboprop fleet with aircraft featuring the lowest operating costs and the most reduced environmental footprint of the regional aviation. With its very low CO2 and noise emissions, the ATRs have proven themselves as a very 'good neighbour'. We are really satisfied with the high degree of performance of our ATR aircraft since we started operating them in 2003. Now it is time to go one step forward, providing to our passengers new aircraft which have the highest standards of comfort available today.”
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NASA managers completed a review Friday of space shuttle Discovery's readiness for flight and selected the official launch date for the STS-119 mission. Commander Lee Archambault and his six crewmates are now scheduled to lift off to the International Space Station at 9:20 p.m. EDT on March 11. Discovery's launch date was announced following Friday's Flight Readiness Review. During the meeting, top NASA and contractor managers assessed the risks associated with the mission and determined the shuttle's equipment, support systems and procedures are ready for flight. The review included a formal presentation of the shuttle's flow control valve work, initiated after NASA identified damage to a valve on shuttle Endeavour during its November 2008 flight. Using a detailed inspections, there are three valves that have been cleared of crack indications now installed in Discovery to support the STS-119 mission.
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The Dutch Accident investigation board's preliminary report into the Turkish 737 crash at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport has reinforced previous safety warnings issued by AEI (Aircraft Engineeers International). AEI has been warning for some time that completely avoidable accidents such as this will increase unless regulators start to properly enforce the regulations. "We have warned the authorities and in fact supplied evidence of pilots not reporting faults with their aircraft as they occur but rather when commercially convenient, yet the issue continues to be ignored," said AEI's Secretary General Fred Bruggeman. Dutch Investigators have now released data revealing that the instrument primarily responsible for this accident, the Radio Altimeter, was defective on at least 2 occasions just prior to the fatal flight without any defect being reported by the responsible flight crews. "Let's be clear on one point," continued Mr Bruggeman, "AEI gains no pleasure from saying 'told you so', yet the fact remains that had the fault been reported earlier, as required by the regulations, this accident would not have occurred." In 2007 & 2008 AEI repeatedly warned all European Aviation Authorities (including Turkish) about pilots not reporting aircraft system defects but unfortunately the warnings were ignored. AEI would like to see National Aviation Authorities increase their surveillance of airlines in order to guarantee that standards are being met. In addition, AEI will increase pressure on the European Union, as the evidence relating to the reduction in standards is quite clear. There are hundreds of open audit findings on which the European Union fails to act in a timely manner, if at all. The EU consistently fails to appreciate the importance of enforcing the regulations and the result of weak regulatory oversight is more accidents. (Pictures of Turkish Airlines Fleet and product)
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