09.11.2009
FLUG REVUE

News Update 9 November 2009 - News in Brief

Our weekly news roundup from around the aerospace industry.

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The Dutch aviation company Denim Air festively added a Fokker 100 to its fleet at Rotterdam Airport on Thursday, 29 October 2009. This aircraft will in particular be deployed for the so-called wet lease and will considerably increase the market share of the company. Denim Air was founded in 1996 and is the European market leader in Wet Lease (ACMI), a service provision whereby airline companies can lease aircraft, as desired, complete with cockpit and cabin crew, maintenance and insurance. Denim Air also leases aircraft for charter flights.
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The fleet of E-Jets of the EMBRAER 170/190 family continues to attain significant numbers, the most recent being its 3 million flight-hour mark, with outstanding schedule reliability. More than 600 aircraft have transported over 130 million passengers, supporting airlines with business models that vary from regional and network carriers to low-cost companies."The air transport industry suffers from ups and downs in passenger demand resulting from changes in the economic scenario. Having flexible and reliable airplanes like the E-Jets in their fleets removes a couple of risks from the airline's equation, offering more secure alternatives for going through hard times," said Mauro Kern, Embraer Executive Vice President, Airline Market.
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AAI Corporation
announced that its Victoria, Australia-based strategic business, Aerosonde Pty Ltd, has participated in a series of demonstrations by Australia’s Defense Science and Technology Organization (DSTO) aimed at investigating the capabilities of unmanned aircraft when integrated with electronic warfare (EW) systems. The 15-day DSTO “Demonstration of Distributed EW Concepts” trial, which took place at the Woomera Test Facility in southern Australia, incorporated the Aerosonde small unmanned aircraft system. The Aerosonde aircraft completed more than 40 flights equipped with an EW payload, accumulating more than 200 flight hours in this configuration. Aerosonde’s experienced staff also served as the flight crew during the test series.
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Rockwell Collins
reported net income for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2009 of $594 million, a decrease of $84 million, or 12 percent from fiscal year 2008 net income of $678 million. Earnings per share decreased 10 percent to $3.73 compared to earnings per share of $4.16 a year ago. Fiscal year 2009 revenues decreased approximately $300 million, or 6 percent, to $4.47 billion compared to revenues of $4.77 billion last year. Fiscal year 2009 total segment operating margin was 21.4 percent compared to 21.9 percent last year. For the fiscal year 2009 fourth quarter, net income decreased $48 million, or 26 percent, to $134 million from $182 million last year. Earnings per share declined 29 cents, or 26 percent, to $0.84 compared to earnings per share of $1.13 for the same period a year ago. Results for the fourth quarter of 2009 include a charge of $21 million ($14 million after-tax, or 9 cents per share) primarily related to the closing of the company’s San Jose, California facility, asset impairments and other restructuring activities. Results for the fourth quarter of 2008 include a benefit related to a retroactive catch up for the renewal of the Federal R&D Tax Credit, which, net of related incentive compensation cost, increased earnings per share by about 8 cents. Excluding the impact of these items, earnings per share would have declined 11%, from $1.05 in the fourth quarter of 2008 to $0.93 in the fourth quarter of 2009. Revenues in the quarter decreased $87 million, or 7%, to $1.19 billion from revenues of $1.28 billion last year.
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Following an intensive and robust evaluation process, Air New Zealand has ordered 14 Airbus A320 aircraft to replace its existing domestic fleet of 15 Boeing 737-300s. The aircraft will be powered by IAE engines. The A320, which is larger than the aircraft type it will replace, will enable Air New Zealand to increase capacity on routes that are starting to face capacity constraints at some airports during peak times. Air New Zealand has also placed purchase options for a further 11 A320 aircraft, including the possibility of selecting the larger A321. “Our 12 Airbus A320s already deployed on short haul international routes are performing well, and moving to one single-aisle aircraft type for both domestic and short haul international routes will immediately deliver added efficiencies in maintenance, crew training, and overall fleet simplification,” said Bruce Parton, Air New Zealand General Manager Short Haul Airline.

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AAI Corporation announced that its Shadow Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems (TUAS) have completed 100,000 missions. With 113 systems ordered and 87 delivered, Shadow systems are deployed with the U.S. Army, Army National Guard, Army Special Forces and Marine Corps. These systems have amassed more than 445,000 flight hours, the majority of which have been in support of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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Mr. Guy Joannes has been appointed to the position of President and CEO of Eurocopter Canada Limited. Guy graduated with an Aerospace Engineering Degree from ESTACA, Paris in 1978 and with a Management Degree from ICG, Paris in 1990. Guy has an impressive track record in the rotorcraft industry where he has held key senior positions in major companies including Turbomeca. He has been with Eurocopter for many years and has gained a considerable experience serving as the CEO of two Eurocopter subsidiaries, in Australia over six years and in South Africa over three years. Most recently Guy was in charge of business development of Eurocopter's activities in India.
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AeroVironment
announced that the Military Aviation Authority of the Netherlands (MLA-NLD) has issued a Military Type Certificate (MTC) for the Raven B NLD MUAS, the first such certificate issued in the Netherlands in the Micro-Unmanned Aerial Vehicle category. This certificate permits Dutch military personnel to operate Raven systems in designated Dutch airspace. The AeroVironment Raven B system was selected by the Netherlands Ministry of Defence, acting through its Defence Materiel Organization (DMO), after performing an open competition in 2007. Key elements resulting in its selection were hand-launchability, reliability, ease of use, robustness, and demonstrated in-theater operational performance and logistics support. The DMO subsequently purchased Raven B systems and support services, including training of military users.
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After more than 30 years of flying for the Air Force, the last C-130E Hercules aircraft here set forth Nov. 2 destined for a new life. Tail number 1299, which has been at Ramstein since 2007, departed for Poland, under a Foreign Military Sales lease agreement between Air Force Materiel Command and Poland in support of our partnership and teamwork with United States allies. "We are saying goodbye as it moves forward into a new era of air power," said Master Sgt. Patrick Perry, 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron section chief, during a ceremony held on the flightline to commemorate the momentous event.
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The new M-346 Master advanced trainer designed by Alenia Aermacchi has reached the symbolic 1,000-flight milestone. The flight was made by the third prototype, representative of the pre-series M-346 standard. The thousand flights performed by the three M-346 prototypes now available at Alenia Aermacchi, cover a broad range of missions, from aircraft testing and development to the displaying to the many interested Air Forces and ferry flights for international demo tours for important aviation events. In addition to Alenia Aermacchi test pilots, the three M-346 have already been flown by over 40 Italian military pilots and by over 70 from other countries worldwide, including those of the United Arab Emirates, whose Air Forces selected 48 M-346s in February 2009.
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Airbus Military has successfully performed its first night refuelling transferring fuel from an A330 MRTT tanker aircraft to a Portuguese Air Force F-16. After the successful contacts performed in July between the A310 Boom and the F16, Airbus Military advanced aerial refuelling boom system (ARBS), once again, has demonstrated its superior night time operational capabilities during a multi-contact mission with two F-16 fighter aircraft performed the night of 4th November. During the flight test a total of 4 contacts were performed during night conditions and successfully offloaded fuel before returning safely. This validation confirmed the performance of the boom's state-of-the-art enhanced vision system -- which features laser infrared lighting and high-definition digital stereoscopic viewing -- and was carried out as part of the final flight test phase for the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft.
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Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (HBC) announced the availability of Forward Vision’s EVS-100 and EVS-600 enhanced vision systems for its Bonanza and Baron aircraft. In addition to making EVS technology an option on factory-new airplanes, HBC service centers will be providing Forward Vision STC-approved systems to the sizeable Bonanza and Baron fleets around the world. EVS systems, commonly known as infrared or thermal imaging cameras, help to penetrate haze, fog, smoke and precipitation 8 to 10 times farther than the human eye in both night and daytime settings. It requires no programming or interpretation and permits pilots to see unlit obstacles during taxi and takeoff. In flight, pilots can use EVS to avoid clouds, fly between layers, and note detailed ground features out of the night landscape.
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Cessna said it will deliver the first Model 162 Skycatcher Light Sport Aircraft to the first customer of the model later this year. The customer, Rose Pelton of Wichita, Kan., will use the aircraft to pursue her private pilot’s license. “When I first saw the Skycatcher mockup at Oshkosh in 2007, I knew that was the aircraft I wanted to learn to fly in,” Pelton said. “I couldn’t be more excited to own the first Skycatcher.” Rose is the wife of Cessna Chairman, President and CEO Jack J. Pelton.
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Boeing delivered F-111 A08-135 to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) at a ceremony at RAAF Base Amberley. The jet is the 28th and final F-111 serviced by Boeing under the Deeper Maintenance program. The Deeper Maintenance program began in 1974 with the RAAF and transitioned to Boeing in 2001 for a total 500,000-plus work hours. The RAAF will retire the F-111 at the end of 2010 to make way for 24 replacement Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornets. "The maintenance systems introduced with the F-111 aircraft have been a mainstay of defense and industry's high-tech support capabilities for well over 35 years," said Air Commodore Roy McPhail, Director General of Aerospace Combat Systems, RAAF. "Today's completion of the F-111 Deeper Maintenance program will ensure the F-111 fleet remains fully capable until the replacement F/A-18F Super Hornets come on line."
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After completing a flight development contract for the Indian Air Force (IAF), BAE Systems has delivered the 24th and final UK built Indian Hawk. Following a 3,000 mile journey across Europe, Africa and the Middle East, the aircraft, flown by BAE Systems test pilots, arrived safely at Air Force Station Bidar to join the rest of the Hawk fleet in delivering fast jet training to the IAF. The aircraft, HT001, which was actually the first IAF Hawk to be built, has, for nearly three years served as a flight test platform and proving ground for the integration of new systems and capabilities onto the IAF Hawk fleet . “The first Hawk was delivered to the IAF in November 2007 and other than this final development aircraft, deliveries were completed in 2008.  Whilst this marks the completion of aircraft deliveries by BAE Systems to the Indian Air Force, we continue to provide support services to the IAF, and work closely with our industrial partners, HAL, in meeting the fast jet training needs of the Indian Air Force.”
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Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) has received Transport Canada type certification for its new PW535E engine selected to power the Embraer Phenom 300 light business jet. "This is a remarkable milestone and comes 26 months after our first run of the PW535E engine," said John Wyzykowski, Vice President, Mississauga & Turbofan Programs, P&WC. The engine blends advanced technologies with the proven reliability and durability of the PW535 turbofan engine family that entered service in late 2000. Rated with a maximum takeoff thrust of 3,360 lbs., the PW535E features full-authority digital engine control (FADEC) and injects new advanced proven technologies in the turbine and compressor areas to produce increased thrust with improved fuel consumption.
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Sikorsky Global Helicopters has delivered a new VIP S-76C++ helicopter to the Royal Travel Office for use by the Royal Household of the United Kingdom. Sikorsky has provided helicopters to support the Royal Family since the early 1950's, including the R4, S-51, S-55, S-58, S-58T, S-76B and the S-76C+ helicopters. The new S76C++ helicopter entered service in September.
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SAS's
negotiations with the trade unions concerned have resulted in cost savings corresponding to MSEK 130. The changes to the collective agreements comprise changes such as  employment terms for cabin crew in Sweden and Norway and Danish ground staff.  "The outcome of the negotiations is currently MSEK 130. Despite a common understanding regarding the need for cost reductions, we have not succeeded in reaching an agreement with the three pilots' unions and Danish cabin crew, since a number of counter demands have been made in the final stages of negotiations, which the SAS management and Board of Directors cannot accept, since these counter demands imply too high nonrecurring costs. "SAS still has a cost disadvantage relating to the collective agreements compared with, in particular, the newly established competitors. The target still remains to eliminate the cost gap. The management will now evaluate various solutions to close the remaining cost gap" says Mats Jansson, President and CEO, SAS AB. In total, the result of the negotiations and the new and earlier cost-saving measures are expected to generate savings corresponding to SEK 5.3 billion, of which SEK 4 billion remains to impact earnings and SEK 1.3 billion already has impacted earnings. The management and Board of the SAS Group are working continuously to identify further cost-saving measures.
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The Gripen NG Demonstrator has been modified with a number of tactical systems: AESA radar, a new satellite communication system, an electro-optical missile warning system as well as activation of the increased internal fuel. "A lot of new features have been implemented since we flew for the first time last year, but it takes an expert to see any external changes to the aircraft. Most clearly visible are the sensors for the missile warning system and antenna for the satellite communication system," says Mattias Bergström, project manager for the Gripen NG Demonstrator. AESA radar, Active Electronically Scanned Array, is among the enhanced Gripen's capabilities. In simple terms, it refers to a radar that is built up of many small antenna elements into a large antenna. Each individual element can be controlled, facilitating many functions. Previously, the Gripen radar was a mechanically controlled antenna that illuminates one area at a time. An AESA radar can quickly scan larger areas, monitor more targets simultaneously and allow the pilot to operate with more flexibility.
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In the first three quarters of fiscal year 2009, the Fraport Group achieved EUR1,478.2 million in revenue. This represents a 7.6 percent or EUR121.6 million decline year-on-year. After adjusting for the consolidation effects from the sale of Fraport's ICTS Europe security subsidiary and Flughafen Frankfurt-Hahn GmbH as well as for the positive effect from the higher proportionate consolidation of the Antalya investment starting January 2009, Fraport Group revenue reached EUR1,467.6 million - only 2.5 percent or EUR37.4 million down from the adjusted previous year's level. "Of course, the still declining passenger figures at Frankfurt Airport are affecting the Group's revenue development", explained Fraport's CEO. In addition, Group revenue development was curbed by price concessions under the five-year ground-handling agreement with Lufthansa German Airlines. Personnel expenses shrank from EUR706.4 million in the previous year to EUR644.6 million in the reporting period - also primarily due to consolidation effects. Adjusted for the effects from the acquisition and sale of investment shares, personnel expenses rose by EUR8 million or 1.3 percent in the reporting period because of higher pay rates. Here Fraport was able to generate cost-reducing effects inter alia by adjusting personnel to the declining traffic volume. A similar counteractive development was recorded in non-staff costs, which shrank unadjusted by EUR21 million to EUR451.8 million. Adjusted for extraordinary effects, non-staff costs in the reporting period fell EUR2.1 million below the adjusted previous year's value to EUR450.2 million, despite increased expenditures, for example, at Lima Airport and higher energy costs at Frankfurt Airport. This represents a 0.5 percent decline. Total operating expenses, also adjusted for special effects, reached EUR1,093.9 million, only EUR6.2 million more than in the first nine months of 2008.
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Alliant Techsystems and BAE Systems
announced they have been awarded a $32.2 million contract to develop the Joint Allied Threat Awareness System (JATAS). JATAS is the next-generation missile warning system that will provide protection for U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps helicopter and tilt-wing aircraft. The ATK and BAE Systems team was one of two industry teams selected to execute the JATAS Technology Demonstration (TD) phase, scheduled for 16 months. This phase will culminate in flight demonstrations of prototype systems and a final down-select award by the Navy. Work on the contract will be performed in ATK's Woodland Hills, California and Clearwater, Florida facilities and at BAE Systems' facility in Nashua, New Hampshire.
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