2007-08-26 - News in briefNews in Brief

Kurzmeldungen<br /> +++<br /> The Airbus Freighter Conversion GmbH, located in Dresden, Germany started its operational business aiming the set up of freighter conversion centres for the Airbus A320 family in Lukhovitsy near Moscow and the German site.

By now the partners are preparing the start of the conversion program at both locations. "After the establishment of the company, the sales and marketing team is about to finalize negotiations with the first customer who will be announced soon", said Lars Becker, CEO of Airbus Freighter Conversion. The first converted freighter aircraft is expected to roll out in 2010 at EADS EFW´s conversion centre, the first converted aircraft from the Russian line is scheduled for 2011. "With a prospering airfreight market worldwide we experience a high demand for the conversion of passenger aircraft into cargo versions. We anticipate about 400 Airbus Single Aisle aircraft to be converted from 2010 to 2025", said Dr. Andreas Sperl President and CEO of EADS EFW.  
Swiss AviationTraining (SAT), SWISS's flight and aviation training operation, has been run as a 50/50 joint venture with GCAT Flight Academy UK Limited (GCAT), formerly GE Commercial Aviation Training Limited, since SWISS was established in 2002. SWISS is to acquire GCAT's 50% holding in SAT, making the operation a wholly-owned SWISS subsidiary. The acquisition was triggered by the change of control which occurred when GCAT was acquired by STAR Capital Partners Limited in February 2007. The parties agreed not to divulge the further terms of the transaction. "The initial and further training of flying personnel, for ourselves and for third-party customers, are of key strategic importance to our company," says SWISS CEO Christoph Franz. "Our Swiss AviationTraining operation also has attractive future prospects in the form of collaborations with Lufthansa Flight Training," he continued.
Lufthansa Technik Vostok is poised for take-off in the fourth quarter of 2007: Lufthansa Technik, the leading provider of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) for aircraft, components and engines, is setting up a customer service base for Component Services and a component pool at Domodedovo airport, Moscow. Establishment of the new subsidiary will proceed in two phases. The customer service base and a stores facility for expendable materials should be in place by the end of 2007. A comprehensive component pool for popular western aircraft types should then be available for Lufthansa Technik's Russian customers by end of 2008. Lufthansa Technik Vostok will create up to 50 new jobs in Russia and is to be based at Domodedovo airport. Initially a staff of four will provide customer service over a wide range of component maintenance and material sourcing issues. This move is aimed at bringing Lufthansa Technik yet closer to its customers: in future customers will have competent contact persons who speak Russian and work in the same time zone. In addition, customers will be able to access the newly built warehouse of frequently needed expendables right from phase one of the new company. Over 1,500 part numbers for the Airbus A310, the A320 family and the Boeing 737, 757 and 767 will be held there, duty paid. Phase two, the establishment of a complete component pool, should be completed by end-2008. Customers will then have rotable parts available to them, from flight computers to coffee machines.
Northrop Grumman KC-30 Tanker's fly-by-wire boom has completed more than 130 hours of evaluations during 50 flights, demonstrating the maturity of the world's most advanced military aerial refueling system. Integrated on an A310 test-bed aircraft, the Aerial Refueling Boom System (ARBS) being developed by Northrop Grumman's teammate EADS has been tested throughout the full operating envelope. "Our team and our tanker offers the U.S. Air Force the lowest amount of risk with the greatest amount of capability," said Paul Meyer, Northrop Grumman's vice president and general manager of the KC-30 Tanker program. "By leveraging the best technology available in a global marketplace -- like this boom system -- we're ready to provide proven capabilities now." In addition, ground-based tests with the ARBS have validated its fuel offload capability, as well as the system's resistance to the buildup of electrostatic charge. The A310 demonstrator aircraft is now ready for its next phase of ARBS flight tests, which will involve in-flight contacts and airborne fuel transfers with a variety of receiver aircraft.
Captain Jürgen Raps is taking over as Executive Vice President Operations at Lufthansa Passenger Airlines, effective 1 September. Lufthansa's 56 year-old chief pilot is succeeding Captain Carl Sigel (59), who is to concentrate at his own request on his duties as long-haul pilot pending his retirement next year. As accountable manager, Jürgen Raps will be responsible for the validity of the Air Operator Certificate vis-à-vis the Federal Aviation Agency (LBA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Captain Werner Knorr (50) has been appointed Head of Flight Operations at Deutsche Lufthansa AG, effective 1 September. As Postholder Flight Operations, he will in future be responsible for flight operations and thus for ensuring the validity of the Air Operator Certificate vis-à-vis the Federal Aviation Agency (LBA) and the Federal Ministry for Transport. Knorr will take over as Head of Flight Operations from Captain Jürgen Raps.
The Board of Directors of Delta Air Lines announced it has elected Richard H. Anderson to serve as the company's chief executive officer, succeeding retiring CEO Gerald Grinstein. Anderson brings a unique depth of experience to the position, having served in top jobs for several major U.S. corporations, including executive vice president of UnitedHealth Group; chief executive officer of Northwest Airlines; staff vice president and deputy general counsel at Continental Airlines; and most recently as a member of Delta's Board of Directors.  Anderson will become CEO effective Sept. 1. "After a thorough search, the Board concluded that Richard Anderson possesses the right blend of seasoned leadership, strategic skills, international experience and airline knowledge the company needs to navigate the industry's challenges and capitalize on its opportunities," said Daniel A. Carp, chairman of Delta's Board of Directors. "Well-qualified with a proven track record in this highly competitive industry, Richard has a demonstrated ability to master the competitive pressures of today's marketplace with innovation and an unwavering focus on the customer. He brings complementary strengths to Delta's highly talented leadership team and high admiration for the people of Delta and their recent success in restructuring to become a fiercely competitive airline." Anderson, age 52, has nearly 20 years of airline industry experience and will become the eighth CEO in Delta's 78-year history.
NASA's two venerable Voyager spacecraft are celebrating three decades of flight as they head toward interstellar space. Their ongoing odysseys mark an unprecedented and historic accomplishment. Voyager 2 launched on Aug. 20, 1977, and Voyager 1 launched on Sept. 5, 1977. They continue to return information from distances more than three times farther away than Pluto. During their first dozen years of flight, the spacecraft made detailed explorations of Jupiter, Saturn, and their moons, and conducted the first explorations of Uranus and Neptune. These planets were previously unknown worlds. The Voyagers returned never-before-seen images and scientific data, making fundamental discoveries about the outer planets and their moons. The spacecraft revealed Jupiter's turbulent atmosphere, which includes dozens of interacting hurricane-like storm systems, and erupting volcanoes on Jupiter's moon Io. They also showed waves and fine structure in Saturn's icy rings from the tugs of nearby moons.
Vought Aircraft recently delivered its first completed UH-60M BLACK HAWK helicopter cabin structure to Sikorsky. Vought has built BLACK HAWK cabins since 2005.  To date, Vought has delivered 39 UH-60L and 16 MH-60S cabins to Sikorsky.  More than 300 people here work on the Sikorsky BLACK HAWK programs. Sikorsky's UH-60M BLACK HAWK helicopter is designed to replace the UH-60L as the standard configuration for all new U.S. Army BLACK HAWK production. The U.S. Army's aviation modernization plan calls for improvements that will position the BLACK HAWK as the service's primary utility helicopter for decades to come. It features a new digital avionics suite, more powerful engines and other enhancements. The UH-60M is currently in low-rate production for the U.S. Army, with a procurement requirement of more than 1,200 aircraft.
Embraer signed a contract, in Sao Jose dos Campos with Brazilian airline BRA Transportes Aereos for the sale of 20 EMBRAER 195 jets, with another 20 options for the same model, ratifying the preliminary commercial agreement signed in June, during the Paris Air Show. Furthermore, BRA has 20 rolling options, which, if confirmed, provide purchase rights for another 15 aircraft, and the overall order could total 75 jets. The value of the firm order, at list price, is US$ 730 million, under the economic conditions of January 2007 (not including optional equipment ordered by BRA), and could come to US$ 2.7 billion, if all of the other 55 jets are confirmed. The EMBRAER 195 is the largest member of a new family of four commercial jets serving the 70 to 120- seat market -- the E-Jets. The ceremony was attended by the President of Brazil, Mr. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Ministers of State, Federal, State and Municipal dignitaries, members of the press, and Embraer employees. BRA Transportes Aereos stands out as the first Brazilian airline to operate Embraer's modern E-Jets in Brazil, joining 38 other renowned airlines, in 26 countries, which have also chosen these Brazilian aircraft. BRA had already signed a leasing contract with GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS) to operate another two new EMBRAER 195 jets, with the delivery schedule expected to begin during the first semester of 2008.
Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) will require 1,060 new airplanes worth about $70 billion over the next 20 years, according to Boeing's updated annual forecast for the commercial airplane market. This year marks the first year that Boeing has published its forecast for the Russia/CIS region as part of the Current Market Outlook. Airplanes in the Boeing 737 size range will account for 44 percent of all commercial jetliners delivered to Russian and CIS airlines during the next 20 years, amounting to 470 units valued at $30 billion. Eleven percent -- or 110 units at a value of $20 billion -- will be twin-aisle airplanes like the Boeing 777 and 787. Forty-three percent will be smaller regional jets while airplanes of the Boeing 747 size or larger will comprise 2 percent of the market. "We will witness significant growth in the demand for air travel as the economies of Russia and the CIS continue to expand," said Craig Jones, vice president of Sales for Russia/CIS, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "Both domestic and international air traffic has increased in Russia and the CIS by 36 percent over the last 10 years. Most indicators point toward continued economic growth for the region."
Marion C. Blakey has been named President and Chief Executive Officer of the Aerospace Industries Association, the trade association representing the nation's manufacturers of aerospace equipment, effective November 12, 2007. The announcement was made today by William H. Swanson, 2007 Chairman of the AIA Board of Governors and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Raytheon Company. Blakey is the 15th Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, a position she has held since September of 2002. Her term as FAA Administrator ends September 13, 2007.
Boeing and industry partner L-3 Communications MAS, Inc., delivered the first modernized Phase II CF-18 fighter to the Canadian Department of Defense. Phase II of the CF-18 modernization program adds a data link system, a helmet-mounted sight system, new color cockpit displays and a new chaff- and flare-dispensing electronic warfare system to 79 CF-18 Hornets. The program is expected to be completed in March 2010. Phase I, completed in August 2006, upgraded the Canadian Hornet fleet's avionics, radio and weapons capabilities. The new data link will increase interoperability between Canadian and allied forces. The Canadian fighters also will have improved survivability with the upgraded chaff- and flare-dispensing system, increased weapons effectiveness with the helmet-mounted sight system and enhanced situational awareness with the upgraded displays. Phase II of the modernization project is valued at USD $150 million. Boeing previously completed two prototype aircraft, while L-3 provided installation services for the program's remaining 77 aircraft. The Phase II work is done at the L-3 facility in Mirabel (Montreal), Quebec.
NASA's Stennis Space Center broke ground for a new rocket engine test stand that will provide altitude testing for the J-2X engine. The engine will power the upper stages of NASA's Ares I and Ares V rockets. NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale was joined by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, U.S. Sen. Trent Lott and U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor for the landmark occasion. Also participating were NASA Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems Scott Horowitz and Stennis Center Director Richard Gilbrech, recently named to succeed Horowitz, who plans to leave NASA in October. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne President Jim Maser took part as well. The A-3 stand is the first large test stand to be built at Stennis since it opened in the 1960s. The new test stand will be a 300-foot-tall, open steel frame structure located south of the existing A-1 test stand. Its 19-acre site in Stennis' A Complex will include a test control center, propellant barge docks and access roadways. The test stand will allow engineers to simulate conditions at different altitudes by generating steam to reduce pressure in the test cell. Testing on the A-3 stand is scheduled to begin in late 2010.
Boeing and Atlant-Soyuz announced at the 2007 Moscow Air Show that the Moscow-based carrier is the customer for four Next Generation 737-700s. The order, worth $249 million at 2007 list prices, was listed as unidentified on Boeing's Orders & Deliveries Web site in 2006 and is accounted for in 2006 order totals. Atlant-Soyuz is one of the largest charter carriers in Russia. Currently the airline offers scheduled domestic and international charter flights from its base airport, Moscow's Vnukovo International Airport. Atlant-Soyuz is an official carrier for the Government of Moscow.
Together, Liebherr-Aerospace and Vladimir Luzyanin have set up Liebherr-Aerospace Nizhny Novgorod OOO, a company intended to develop and manufacture civil aviation equipment. The relevant documents were signed by Dr Willi Liebherr, President of the Administrative Committee of Liebherr-International AG and shareholder in the Liebherr Group, and Dr Vladimir Luzyanin, President of and majority shareholder in Hydromash JSC, on Friday, 24 August, during the International Aviation and Space Salon (MAKS) 2007 in Zhukovsky, Russia. Among other things, the new company, headquartered in Nizhny Novgorod, will be responsible for the development and production of hydraulic components for civil aviation, for example hydraulic cylinder assemblies. There are plans to build a suitable production hall in 2008, ready to go into operation in 2009. Initially, 50 or so people will be employed at Liebherr-Aerospace Nizhny Novgorod OOO. Investments in this project should total around Euro15 million. The Nizhny Novgorod site is already home to Liebherr-Nizhny Novgorod OOO, established by the Liebherr Group in 2006. This company will start by manufacturing various construction-machinery components in a production plant that is yet to be built. The production facilities for the aviation segment will be situated on the same site.
Two delivery milestones for the A400M underscore the continuing production progress for Airbus' new-generation military transport aircraft. The Airbus Bremen, Germany site this month delivered the 32-metre long fuselage for the first A400M that is to fly. Its four sections arrived in Bremen as fuselage shells or as complete components from partner companies in Turkey and South Africa, as well as from Lemwerder, Nordenham and Augsburg. They were joined together in a riveting facility and then equipped with all flight-essential systems, including electrical wiring and cables; oxygen, air and water pipes; and the entire hydraulics system. Some 120 kilometres of cabling and 500 metres of hydraulic lines were installed in the fuselage. This A400M fuselage was the second delivered by Bremen. The previous one was sent last May from Germany to Spain for ground-based static tests. In another milestone, outer wing sections for the first flight A400M were flown from Filton in the U.K. to Seville, Spain aboard an Airbus A300-600ST Beluga during August. The outer wings will be joined with the centre wing box, and the complete wing structure - with a span of over 42 metres - will then be mated to the fuselage. Separately, the delivery of a full-scale-test vertical tail plane from Stade to Hamburg represents another important step in the A400M programme. It marks the start of the test operation phase. After preparation, the vertical tail plane will be installed on a test rig in late September.
Korean Air said that it has successfully developed and tested an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) using local technology. The UAV, developed with research funding from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy, can stay in the air for two-and-a-half hours with an operational radius of about 40 kilometers. The remote-controlled plane can be managed by less than five people, and 97 percent of its equipment was made locally, the company said. Korean Air, Korea's largest airline, has assembled UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and runs maintenance services for both civilian and military customers. The company said the UAV, which took almost three years to produce, has a 26-magnification zoom camera for daytime observation and is highly portable since three UAVs and support equipment, including wireless control panels, can be transported on two 3.5-ton trucks.  
On 22 August at the 8th MAKS-2007 International Aerospace Salon, the Volga-Dniepr, OAO Motor Sich and State Manufacturer ANTK O.K. Antonov group of companies announced the conclusion of the first stage of the "Ruslan's" upgrade and the certification of its An-124-100M-150 version, and also signed an agreement on for a program of resumption of series production and upgrade of the fleet of this unique aircraft being used. Having signed this agreement, Volga-Dniepr and ANTK O.K. Antonov expressed the intention to expand the fleet of upgraded An-124-100M-150 aircraft and place an order for manufacture of the first 17 airplanes within the framework of the joint realization of the project for resumption of series production, and OAO Motor Sich is to continue work on improvement of the D-18T 4th series engine for equipping the upgraded aircraft. ANTK Antonov has confirmed its agreement to join the stockholders of OAO Cargo Flight Vehicles, a joint enterprise which was created on 15 December 2006 by the Volga-Dniepr airline and OAO Motor Sich for the purpose of controlling the realization of the project for resumption of An-124-100 production. Also, the signed document defines the first stages of upgrade for the fleet An-124-100 being used at the present time of both sides.
Vladimir Putin participated in the opening of the 8th International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS-2007 at the Zhukovsky Air Base near Moscow. The President pointed out that MAKS-2007 is adopting a new philosophy with respect to organising such events, and the most important aspect is the Air Salon's various scheduled events: academic conferences, expert meetings and seminars. Vladimir Putin emphasised that one of the most important novelties in the Russian exhibition is that academics, designers and engineers are actively participating in the discussion of the future development of aviation and space exploration. The President noted that virtually all leading developers and producers of aviation and space technology have representatives at the Air Salon. He also noted transformational character of the exhibition hosted by the Russian Associated Aviation Construction Corporation.
Frasca International has been awarded a contract to supply nine Flight Training Devices (FTDs) to the US Army for use in training the Iraqi Air Force. The devices will be used for training pilots for both helicopter and fixed wing aircraft and will include three Cessna 172 TruFlite FTDs, two Bell 206 helicopter FTDs, two Cessna Caravan FTDs and two Huey Helicopter FTDs. All nine devices will include Frasca's TruVision 220 visual display system for greater realism and fidelity. The contract is a result of a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) case originated from PEO-STRI to procure multiple flight training devices for the Iraqi Air Force Flight Training Program. "The devices will be used for a large portion of the flight instruction and will preceed arrival of the aircraft in Iraq. The Iraqi's have not had a flight training school since the first Gulf War. The FTDs will play an important part in training the Iraqi Air Force and will ultimately assist in getting our troops home sooner," said Mike Younce, Project Director.

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