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General Aviation News (36)

ICAO Aircraft-tracking Mandate Addressed By New Systems

Since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished on March 8, 2014, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has recommended sweeping changes to flight tracking that will affect new and existing aircraft. These changes, under its Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS) Autonomous Distress Tracking (ADT) concept, adopted in March 2016, incorporate new Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) to prevent a similar episode.

Two SARPs were established—Amendments 39 and 40 to Annex 6 of the Chicago Convention—both applicable Nov. 8, 2018. Amendment 39 establishes an aircraft-tracking time interval of 15 min. that is recommended for all operations of aircraft with a takeoff mass of 27,000 kg (59,524 lb.) and is required for aircraft with a takeoff mass of 45,500 kg flying oceanic routes. 

Amendment 40 requires location reporting once per minute for an aircraft in distress, defined by ICAO as one in which aircraft behavior, if uncorrected, could lead to an accident. At the same time, flight-data recordings are to be extended to 25 hr. Amendment 40 will apply to all new passenger and cargo aircraft delivered as of Jan. 1, 2021, with a takeoff mass greater than 27,000 kg; it also recommends including aircraft with a takeoff mass of over 5,700 kg as of the same date. Also recommended is a retrofit of older aircraft, to allow eliminating one of the airplane’s dual emergency locator transmitters (ELTs).

While not technology-specific, the SARP specifies that transmissions should come from an active autonomous system, at least for the flight’s expected duration, and in the event of onboard power loss. This, says ICAO, will enable accident site location within 6 nm.

Vendors see extensive retrofit opportunities, according to major suppliers. One, FLYHT Aerospace Solutions Ltd. of Calgary, Canada, just received a U.S. patent for FLYHTStream, a proprietary automatic exceedance-alerting software product integrated into the company’s Automated Flight Information Reporting System (AFIRS). Introduced in 2014, FLYHTStream was prompted by the loss of Air France Flight 447.

AFIRS is currently used by 70 carriers and provides real-time information as to the operational status of an aircraft, including remote diagnostics and exceedance reports, which are streamed to the airline’s operations center over the Iridium satellite network. As Tom Schmutz, the company’s CEO, reports, AFIRS is currently the only system with the capability to acquire flight data recorder information—in real time—and stream it directly to the ground. “That satisfies the Amendment 40 requirement for timely flight data recorder access,” he notes.

Since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished on March 8, 2014, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has recommended sweeping changes to flight tracking that will affect new and existing aircraft. These changes, under its Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS) Autonomous Distress Tracking (ADT) concept, adopted in March 2016, incorporate new Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) to prevent a similar episode.

Two SARPs were established—Amendments 39 and 40 to Annex 6 of the Chicago Convention—both applicable Nov. 8, 2018. Amendment 39 establishes an aircraft-tracking time interval of 15 min. that is recommended for all operations of aircraft with a takeoff mass of 27,000 kg (59,524 lb.) and is required for aircraft with a takeoff mass of 45,500 kg flying oceanic routes. 

 

Rockwell Collins Concept

At the Paris Air Show, Rockwell Collins and Airbus announced Onboard Aircraft Tracking, designed to work with Rockwell Collins’s ARINC MultiLink flight- tracking data-feed system. Onboard Aircraft Tracking triggers position reporting by ACARS at 1 min. intervals when an abnormal condition arises.

Amendment 40 requires location reporting once per minute for an aircraft in distress, defined by ICAO as one in which aircraft behavior, if uncorrected, could lead to an accident. At the same time, flight-data recordings are to be extended to 25 hr. Amendment 40 will apply to all new passenger and cargo aircraft delivered as of Jan. 1, 2021, with a takeoff mass greater than 27,000 kg; it also recommends including aircraft with a takeoff mass of over 5,700 kg as of the same date. Also recommended is a retrofit of older aircraft, to allow eliminating one of the airplane’s dual emergency locator transmitters (ELTs).

While not technology-specific, the SARP specifies that transmissions should come from an active autonomous system, at least for the flight’s expected duration, and in the event of onboard power loss. This, says ICAO, will enable accident site location within 6 nm.

Vendors see extensive retrofit opportunities, according to major suppliers. One, FLYHT Aerospace Solutions Ltd. of Calgary, Canada, just received a U.S. patent for FLYHTStream, a proprietary automatic exceedance-alerting software product integrated into the company’s Automated Flight Information Reporting System (AFIRS). Introduced in 2014, FLYHTStream was prompted by the loss of Air France Flight 447.

AFIRS is currently used by 70 carriers and provides real-time information as to the operational status of an aircraft, including remote diagnostics and exceedance reports, which are streamed to the airline’s operations center over the Iridium satellite network. As Tom Schmutz, the company’s CEO, reports, AFIRS is currently the only system with the capability to acquire flight data recorder information—in real time—and stream it directly to the ground. “That satisfies the Amendment 40 requirement for timely flight data recorder access,” he notes.

Orolia

The McMurdo Division of Orolia’s new Kannad electronic locator transmitter distress-tracking system, presented at the Paris Air Show.

With FLYHTStream, Schmutz explains, if there is an exceedance, the AFIRS is triggered and automatically streams an exceedance report and tracks the aircraft at 20-sec. intervals.  Alternatively, the pilot can manually stream the report using a control interface, or the airline operations center can initiate streaming from the ground.

The streamed information is displayed via UpTime, FLYHT Aerospace Solutions’ cloud-based server. “During streaming, the cockpit control display screen is actually simulated, putting you on the flight deck—virtually—to see what is going on,” Schmutz says.

At this year’s Paris Air Show, Rockwell Collins and Airbus announced Onboard Aircraft Tracking, designed to work with Rockwell Collins’s ARINC MultiLink flight-tracking data-feed system. ARINC MultiLink, which is deployable on the aircraft and within an airline’s operations center, determines the aircraft’s position and reports it every 15 min. Onboard Aircraft Tracking, which is aircraft-based, would trigger position reporting by the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) at 1 min. intervals when an abnormal condition arises.

According to David Nieuwsma, senior vice president of Rockwell Collins information management services, Onboard Aircraft Tracking was specifically developed at the request of Airbus, which defined what event, or combination of events, would trigger the1 min. position reporting sequence. The generated data is streamed over the ARINC global network and presented on the airline’s flight data display.

Nieuwsma adds that Onboard Aircraft Tracking will be standard equipment on the Airbus A350 WXB and A380, and an option for the A320, A330 and A340 families. Retrofit involves a software upgrade as part of the data load update, primarily in the flight management system (FMS). “Data loads are typical and are incorporated into the normal 28-day data update, or synchronized update cycle,” he says.

Rockwell Collins, reports Nieuwsma, anticipates a retrofit market of about 2,000 Airbus aircraft. “Since it does not involve any new equipage or certification activity, I expect this to be a very easy adoption by the airlines,” he adds.

Geneva-based Sitaonair’s approach to distress tracking is strictly ground-based, using its Aircom FlightTracker, in production since January 2015. More than 50 customers have installed the system since it went into service with Malaysia Airlines and Air Europa.

 

“With most modern aircraft, FlightTracker will track the aircraft through Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast “Out” (ADS-B “Out”); however, it will work with any data sources on the aircraft,” says Paul Gibson, portfolio director for Aircom.

“It’s an active tracking system. When it detects that the aircraft exits ADS-B “Out” coverage—about 200 nm—FlightTracker will stimulate another system, such as ACARS, causing the aircraft to begin to communicate its position,” he explains. “By doing this, we can make sure it does not fly beyond the 15-min. tracking window.”

FlightTracker can trigger alerts if the aircraft has stopped reporting its position, if it detects lateral or vertical deviations from flight plan or enters a geographical zone the airline has determined it shouldn’t be in. “The airline sets the parameters,” says Gibson.

Sitaonair is setting up FlightTracker in conjunction with Aireon, which is providing an ADS-B payload on each satellite being launched into low Earth orbit by Iridium, as part of its Next constellation. FlightTracker is also teaming with FlightAware, which provides aircraft-position data streaming.

In another new flight-tracking development, the McMurdo Division of Orolia announced its emergency locator transmitter distress-tracking (ELT-DT) system at the Paris Air Show. Marketed as the Kannad GADSS ELT-DT, entry into service is slated for 2019, according to Christian Belleux, aviation and military product line director for France-based Orolia. Working with the Cospas-Sarsat satellite-based search-and-rescue organization, it is designed to locate an aircraft globally and issue an alert, in flight, if a distress situation is detected by the aircraft’s avionics.

Belleux says that Kannad is the first ELT-DT on the market and is being offered as an upgrade to an aircraft’s existing ELT, although a software upgrade will be required for the FMS or other computer directly involved with analysis of the aircraft’s flight parameters. 

Totally autonomous, with its own power source, it is designed for 20 hr. of tracking in the event of a distress situation. “A system failure will activate the beacon. The aircraft essentially decides if it is in distress,” says Belleux. “Also, a key feature is that it can be activated from the ground via the Galileo Command Service.”

Orolia provides beacons and ground-based search-and-rescue stations, along with software allowing decisions on distress management at mission control center as well as at rescue coordination centers. “We are proposing a full end-to-end system in that sense,” Belleux says.

 

Source: MRO-NETWORK.COM

Beginning of the end for aviation’s VIP climate treatment?

Climate action is easier when everyone pitches in. The alternative, to grant opt outs or special privileges, just burdens the load for everyone else. But this is precisely the problem we face with aviation and climate change, though MEPs have a chance to start changing this in a vote in September.

Aviation has always enjoyed special treatment. Despite its considerable and growing climate impact, the sector remains exempt from fuel taxation, exempt from VAT, most of its emissions are exempt from EU ETS or any other form of climate regulation. Moreover, the European Commission continues to champion its unbridled expansion, with scant regard for the climate impact. In fact it was the EU’s role in liberalising the sector, without introducing measures to compensate for its climate impact that has caused its emissions to grow. Aviation emissions have doubled since 1990, and now account for 4.5% of total European emissions. And those emissions are expected to grow and grow unless decisive action is taken.

With such growth, and with Europe as a climate leader, you would expect that the EU would be pushing for the strongest possible action. However in February this year the Commission proposed to continue exempting flights to and from Europe (equal to 70% of all Europe’s aviation emissions) from its flagship emissions trading scheme (ETS), this time indefinitely. They did this in response to the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) deciding last October on the broad outlines of an offsetting mechanism for some of the emissions from the sector.

But an indefinite exemption was something of an overreaction by the Commission. ICAO’s measure won’t come into force until 2021, will be voluntary, and we have no reason to believe that the offsets will deliver credible emission reductions. In fact there is a good reason why most compliance markets, including the EU, are moving away from offsetting: it simply doesn’t work, and for reasons which could fill a dozen op-eds.

The Commission did, at least, propose that from 2020 onwards, the cap in aviation allowances would decrease, as it does for all other sectors of the economy. This is a hugely important step, stating that the aviation sector must decarbonise. But it would have a much bigger impact if it was applied to all of Europe’s emissions, not just 30% of them!

The Commission also left untouched the 85% free allowances which the sector receives, which is yet another windfall for the sector, and once more failed to address aviation’s substantial non-CO2 climate effects. Emissions at altitude have a much greater climate impact, so while globally aviation is responsible for 2.2% of emissions, it actually accounts for an estimated 4.9% of global warming. Non-CO2 effects are tricky to address, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore them as the Commission proposal does.

The Environment Committee of the European Parliament adopted its proposal in July and corrected some of these issues. It accepts the Commission’s idea of continuing to exempt flights to and from Europe, but sets a cutoff date of 2020, when we can see how far ICAO has progressed in making its offsetting programme work. It endorses the Commission’s proposal for a declining cap, but adds that the percentage of free allowances should fall from 85% to 50% to make sure the sector starts to pay its fair share. It also calls on the Commission to act on non-CO2 effects, starting with much more research into quantifying the problem and identifying potential mitigation measures.

Parliament is set to vote on this report on 12 September, with industry pledging to try and reverse many of the changes proposed by the Environment Committee. They want their special treatment to continue unchecked.

The Parliament proposal is a first step forward in addressing aviation’s climate impact, but much more is needed including ending its tax exemptions and investing and reforming low-carbon alternatives such as rail. And as it continues to exempt flights to and from Europe, its impact will be limited for now. However, it signals that aviation’s special treatment must come to an end. And in that it follows the example of Canada, who two months ago announced that domestic aviation (responsible for 85% of its emissions) would be subject to carbon pricing of CAD$50 (€32) by 2022 – a price well above what aviation will be subject to under ETS or the UN’s ICAO scheme.

It’s time for aviation to start contributing to Europe’s climate goals and reverse runaway emissions. The alternative is placing an unnecessary burden on the rest of the European economy. Let’s hope Parliament rejects the pleading for special treatment from industry and endorses an approach where every sector has to do its bit.

Source: EURACTIV.COM

Enhanced security in effect on international flights to USA

Airlines and security officials warned about tighter screening that went into effect Wednesday for hundreds of thousands of travelers who fly daily to the USA from hundreds of airports.

“Enhanced screening measures are in effect,” the Canadian Air Transport Security Association said in a warning to travelers. If selected for random additional screening, travelers will have to remove electronics from protective cases and turn them on. The association urged travelers to make sure devices are charged before traveling.

Aeromexico warned its passengers to get to the airport three hours before direct flights to the USA for extra screening. The airline said the extra scrutiny is intended to confirm that the object is an electronic device and not a prohibited object. Electronics must be out of their cases and will be reviewed in the presence of the traveler, the airline said.

 

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced the measures June 28 to better detect explosives hidden in electronics and to thwart airport workers from smuggling bombs onto planes. John Kelly, the secretary of Homeland Security, called the measures a new baseline for worldwide aviation security.

The measures apply to 180 airlines flying to the USA from 280 airports in 105 countries. About 325,000 people fly to the USA on 2,000 flights daily. If airlines don’t meet the standards, they could face a laptop ban for carry-on and checked bags on flights to the USA. No airlines in the world are under restrictions for electronics because they've all adopted additional security measures, the department said Thursday.

“The quick and decisive action taken by airlines, nations and stakeholders are a testament to our shared commitment to raising the bar on global aviation security," said David Lapan, a department spokesman. "As we continue to secure global aviation in the coming weeks and months, this communication and partnership between the private sector and the U.S. government will be imperative."

The department didn’t detail the extra steps, other than to say travelers might see more 3-D scanners, more swabbing for traces of explosives and more bomb-sniffing dogs at checkpoints.

The measures came after a ban in March on electronics larger than cellphones in carry-on bags aboard nine airlines flying to the USA from 10 airports in the Middle East and Africa.

 

Those airlines were each removed from the ban this month. Extra security was visible for Qatar Airways in Doha, where laptops and their electric cords were swabbed for traces of explosives and sealed in duty-free bags until passengers were aboard their flight.

The greater scrutiny for electronics in carry-on bags began two days after the Federal Aviation Administration issued information warning airlines about personal electronics in checked luggage.

The FAA alert Monday said security measures could encourage more passengers to pack electronics in checked luggage, but that remains a concern because of rare fires sparked by lithium-ion batteries in the electronics.

The FAA Tech Center tested electronics by placing heaters next to electronics in soft-sided bags and found that batteries could spark fires with hazardous materials in the luggage. Crew members and passengers would notice a fire in the cabin, but a fire in cargo might "create conditions beyond what the airplane was designed to manage."

 

The FAA said that generally, electronics such as laptops and cellphones "should be transported in carry-on baggage and not placed in checked baggage." If packed in checked bags, electronics should be turned off and packed to protect them from damage, the FAA said.

 

SOURCE: USATODAY

Boeing launches new jet as Macron opens Paris show

 

Boeing (BA.N) unveiled a new model of its best-selling 737 aircraft on Monday, injecting life into a faltering civil aviation market as French President Emmanuel Macron flew in to open the world's biggest airshow in Paris.

After years of booming orders driven by increased air travel and more fuel-efficient planes, passenger jetmakers are bracing for a slowdown in demand while they focus on meeting tight delivery schedules and ambitious production targets.

But Boeing generated a burst of activity at the Paris Airshow by launching the 737 MAX 10 to plug a gap in its portfolio at the top end of the market for single-aisle jets following runaway sales of the rival Airbus (AIR.PA) A321neo.

The U.S. planemaker said it had more than 240 orders and commitments from at least 10 customers for the new 737, which can carry up to 230 people in a single-class configuration.

"The MAX 10 is going to add more value for customers and more energy to the marketplace," Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg said at a presentation ceremony.

However, Airbus immediately hit back with an order for 100 of its popular A320neo planes from leasing firm GECAS, and suggested much of the interest in the MAX 10 was from existing Boeing customers switching orders from other models.

"We think the 737 MAX 10 is a competitor to the (MAX) 9 and that's why a lot of people are converting," said Airbus sales chief John Leahy.

Industry sources said Airbus would also soon announce a large order for its A321neo, as well as one for 10 of its A350-900 wide-body jets. Sources said on Sunday the European company was close too to clinching a deal worth about $5 billion with low-cost carrier Viva Air Peru.

 

 

MACRON JETS IN

While demand for passenger jets may be faltering, there are signs interest in military aircraft is picking up after years in the doldrums due to government budget cuts and weak growth.

Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) is in the final stages of negotiating a $37 billion-plus deal to sell 440 F-35 fighter jets to a group of 11 nations including the United States, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

That would be the biggest deal yet for the stealthy warplane, set to make its Paris Airshow debut this week.

In another boost for a defense project, President Macron flew into the show on an Airbus A400M military transporter in his first official engagement since winning a parliamentary majority in elections on Sunday.

His arrival was followed by a flypast by the world's largest passenger plane, the Airbus A380, and France's aerial display team.

The ceremony lent high-level support to two ambitious European aerospace projects tarnished by problems: the A400M because of chronic cost overruns and delays and the A380 because of weak sales that threaten its future.

Airbus said on Sunday it was working on an upgrade of the A380 - called A380plus - with fuel-saving wingtips, confirming plans reported by Reuters in March.

Airbus chief Fabrice Bregier said on Monday the company was in talks with several potential customers for the upgraded plane. But it would only be put into production if it received "a large order", he said, without elaborating.

Four-engined, double-decker superjumbos such as the A380 and Boeing's 747 were once viewed as the future of air travel between international hubs, but interest has waned as airlines have preferred cheaper, more nimble aircraft.

(Additional reporting by Victoria Bryan and Andrea Shalal; writing by Mark Potter; editing by David Clarke)

 

SOURCE : Reuters

Access codes for United cockpit doors accidentally posted online

United Continental Holdings alerted pilots that access codes to cockpit doors were accidentally posted on a public website by a flight attendant, reports the Wall Street Journal. The company, which owns United Airlines and United Express, asked pilots to follow security procedures already in use, including visually confirming someone’s identity before they are allowed onto the flight deck even if they enter the correct security code into the cockpit door’s keypad.

The Air Line Pilots Association, a union that represents 55,000 pilots in the U.S. and Canada, told the WSJ on Sunday that the problem had been fixed.

The notable thing about this security breach is that it was caused by human error, not a hack, and illustrates how vulnerable cockpits are to intruders despite existing safety procedures. The Air Line Pilots Association has advocated for secondary barriers made from mesh or steel cables to be installed on cockpits doors to make it harder to break into, but airlines have said that they aren’t necessary.

For example, United told the Chicago Tribune in 2013 that “security measures have evolved in the years since the secondary barriers were ordered, and many more layers of security now exist.”

The 2015 Germanwings crash, in which a plane was deliberately flown into a mountain by a pilot who had locked his co-pilot out of the flight deck, highlighted the potential drawbacks of impenetrable cockpit doors if additional safety procedures are not put in place. These include not allowing someone to be left alone in the cockpit, a Federal Aviation Administration policy that was also adopted by German airlines after the crash.

TechCrunch has contacted United Continental for more information.

 

CREDIT : Techcrunch

ICAO Summit Formalizes New Dubai Declaration to Ensure Global Aviation Remains United, Proactive on Cyber Security Preparedness

 ICAO Council President, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, receives a special gift from H.E. Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, Minister of Economy and Chairman of the Board - UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). The gold plaque includes an engraving of the commemorative Dubai Declaration emerging from ICAO's inaugural Cyber Summit and Exhibition, which ran from 4-6 April, 2017 in Dubai.

Montréal and Dubai, 6 April 2017 – Underscoring the inherent value in establishing a global cyber security framework for aviation, the President of the ICAO Council, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, welcomed a special commemorative Dubai Declaration yesterday which signifies the commitment and unity of the air transport sector towards achieving effective cyber resilience.

The new Dubai Declaration was presented to President Aliu during a special ceremony at the UN agency’s inaugural Cyber Summit and Exhibition in Dubai, which ran from 4-6 April and being conducted in close partnership with the General Civil Aviation Authority of the United Arab Emirates.

“New and more sophisticated digital technologies and processes are coming online daily it seems, impacting as they do our network and its relationships with shippers and the travelling public,” President Aliu stressed to the more than 500 experts from 90+ countries attending the ICAO Summit.

 “What this means for cyber security and cyber safety stakeholders is that threats are emerging at an ever-increasing rate.”

At ICAO’s 39th Assembly last October, world governments signaled their awareness and concern on cyber risks and threats through Resolution A39-19 on Addressing Cyber security in Civil Aviation. Concerning variations currently persist among States, air navigation service providers, aircraft and airport operators, and others in terms of the cyber mitigation measures being set out – highlighting the need for improved sector-wide collaboration.

“Some may suggest this points to a role for near-term ICAO provisions to be established,” President Aliu continued, “however we are still at too nascent a stage to determine appropriate and practical standards in the Annexes to the Convention on International Civil Aviation.”

He also noted that civil aviation should continue to appreciate and reinforce the inherent mitigation capabilities of pilots and air traffic controllers, aviation’s traditional ‘first responders’, and highlighted that the sector’s increasing connectivity to external networks, and the use of public communication infrastructure for transmitting data and exchanging information, represent further risks which must be carefully managed.

“The basic interconnectedness we have all grown accustomed to in our day-to-day digital lives is now also a basic characteristic of on-board and ground-based aviation systems,” he remarked.

“This makes them potentially vulnerable to outside cyber-attack, and explains why the logical or physical segregation of safety critical systems is a crucial first step for global aviation.”

The conclusions and commemorative Dubai Declaration emerging from the ICAO/UAE Summit will help to establish near-term prioritization of suitable back-up systems and procedures, cyber resilience steps, and security overlays, in addition to the more intensive collaboration needed and clarity on roles and responsibilities.

Much of this strategic planning and guidance will be enshrined in ICAO’s new Global Aviation Security Plan (GASeP), the development of which is being fast-tracked after calls for its accelerated development by world States. The GASeP is expected to be launched by the end of 2017, following a State consultation period.

Source: ICAO

 

Chinese passenger plane to rival Boeing and Airbus tipped to be in skies by July

China's first homegrown passenger plane is to take to the skies before July this year, according to state media.

A China state-owned manufacturer first unveiled the C919 in November 2015, leaving analysts wondering whether it can compete with major manufacturers such as Airbus and Boeing.

The single-aisle aircraft, which can seat 168 passengers, has now installed its on-board system and undertaken a series of load tests.

The People's Daily Online said Tuesday that test results confirm "that the framework of the jetliner is strong enough to support future navigation."

The plane, produced by the state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC), was originally scheduled to make its debut journey in 2015, but the date was pushed back to satisfy additional testing.

 

COMAC designed the C919 plane to compete with other single aisle jets such as the Airbus 320 and Boeing's 737.

In 2015 Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said that he would have "no hesitation at all in buying Chinese airplanes," as long as they were made to the standard that he wanted.

"There is nothing wrong with buying Chinese. You use an iPhone, which is made in China. Designed by somebody else, but made in China. I think it would be good for this (Boeing/Airbus) monopoly to be broken," Al Baker told CNBC at the Dubai Airshow.

 

ChinaFotoPress | Getty Images
The 'iron bird' test platform, a plane-like fuselage simulator, for the C919

 

The state manufacturer told media in November 2016 it has received 570 orders for the C919 from 23 customers, including government run firms Air China, China Southern and Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines.

Chinese demand for new airplanes is proving a key battleground for passenger plane makers. Airbus estimated in its 2016-2035 forecast that the Chinese airlines will need nearly 6,000 new planes worth US$945 billion over the next two decades.

COMAC has also developed a smaller regional jet, the ARJ21, which took to the skies in June 2016.

 

 

CREDIT: CNBC

 

World's longest non-stop commercial flight lands in New Zealand

Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Auckland arrives after 14,535-kilometre trip which took 16 hours 23 minutes

The world’s longest commercial flight landed in New Zealand on Monday with the arrival of Qatar Airways’s 14,535km (9,032-mile) Doha-Auckland service.

“We’ve officially landed in Auckland,” the airline tweeted as flight QR920 landed at 7.25am (6.25pm GMT on Sunday), five minutes ahead of schedule after a flight lasting 16 hours and 23 minutes.

The long-range Boeing 777-200LR crossed 10 time zones on its marathon flight.

Qatar Airways noted the flight was longer than the entire “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies which were filmed in New Zealand.

There were four pilots on board as well as 15 cabin crew who served 1,100 cups of tea and coffee, 2,000 cold drinks and 1,036 meals during the flight.

 

In keeping with international tradition to welcome inaugural flights, the Auckland airport rescue service showered the plane with water cannons on arrival.

New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay said the estimated economic impact of the new service “will be well in excess” of NZ$50m (US$36m) with the increased freight capacity provided.

In March last year, Emirates airline launched what was then thought to be the world’s longest non-stop scheduled commercial flight, with a service from Dubai to Auckland, spanning 14,200kms (8,824 miles).

Air India’s Delhi-San Francisco flight claims the world’s longest by flying distance but when measured on the surface of the earth Doha and Auckland are further apart.

 

CREDIT: The Guardian

MH370 Search Ends to Leave Aviation’s Biggest Mystery Unsolved

The hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was called off Tuesday after almost three years of fruitless toil.

The Boeing Co. 777 aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014, on its way to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur with 239 people on board. According to satellite data, the jet headed south over the Indian Ocean for about six hours before plummeting into the water at up to 25,000 feet a minute.

The last vessel left the 120,000 square-kilometer (46,000 square miles) area in the southern Indian Ocean without finding the jet, transport ministers from Malaysia, Australia and China said in a joint statement. Australian investigators put the cost of the operation at A$180 million ($135 million). The scouring for the jet is the longest search for a missing plane in modern aviation history.

Even repeated analysis of the data, aimed at zeroing in on the most likely crash zone, failed to turn up any clues.

“Whilst combined scientific studies have continued to refine areas of probability, to date no new information has been discovered to determine the specific location of the aircraft,” the ministers said. “We remain hopeful that new information will come to light and that at some point in the future, the aircraft will be located.”

 

The first debris from MH370 was found on Reunion Island in July 2015. Four other pieces that turned up on Africa’s eastern seaboard and in Mauritius almost certainly belong to the doomed jet, according to investigators.

Search teams had battled ferocious winter weather and waves more than five stories high as they dragged sonar devices across the seabed. The ocean floor itself, up to 6 kilometers (4 miles) below, was peppered with trenches and submerged peaks.

The search was “an unprecedented challenge,” the ministers said.

Air-traffic controllers lost contact with MH370 less than an hour after takeoff as it approached Vietnam. Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak has said the plane was deliberately steered off course.

Credit: Bloomberg.org

American Airlines plane engine flung debris in rare failure

By Alwyn Scott and Tim Hepher

An American Airlines (AAL.O) jet engine that failed seconds before takeoff in a fiery runway accident at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport flung broken turbine parts as far as half a mile from the scene, a federal investigator said on Saturday.

Disclosure of the "uncontained" failure," in which internal engine parts breach the protective housing designed to keep them safely enclosed, even in a breakdown, came a day after a mishap that authorities said neared the point of disaster but caused no serious injuries.

Shrapnel escaping from the engine's outer cover can tear through the cabin or rupture fuel tanks in the wings.

 

Such engine failures are extremely rare, and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators were looking for clues as to whether the fault lay with the engine itself, with its manufacture or a freak event such as debris on the runway entering the engine.

The General Electric (GE.N) engine that powered the plane was a workhorse model known as the CF6, introduced decades ago, GE spokesman Rick Kennedy told Reuters on Saturday. The American Airlines plane engine dates from the 1980s or 1990s, and had been serviced by the airline, he said.

American Airlines Flight 383, a twin-engine Boeing (BA.N) 767 bound for Miami with 161 passengers and a crew of nine, was headed down a runway for departure when the right-side engine failed, forcing the crew to abort takeoff, authorities said.

Leaking jet fuel caught fire under the wing, as the crew evacuated passengers via emergency exit chutes from the left side of the plane, and fire crews arrived to begin pouring foam on the flames within minutes.

One flight attendant and 19 passengers suffered minor injuries in their escape.

NTSB investigator Lorenda Ward told reporters at O'Hare on Saturday that while flames never breached the plane's cabin, some smoke did, though city fire officials have said no one suffered from smoke inhalation or burns.

City fire department officials said on Friday the plane was 15 to 20 seconds from becoming airborne, fully loaded with 43,000 pounds of jet fuel. Ward said the aircraft stopped about 3,000 feet from the end of the runway. "That's a lot of runway to have left," she said.

 

FAR-FLUNG ENGINE DEBRIS

In a sign of the intensity of the engine breakdown, at least two pieces of a stage-2 high-pressure turbine disk were flung from the scene.

One was found at a United Parcel Service warehouse nearly 3,000 feet (915 meters), or about half a mile, south of the accident site. Another was found three-tenths of a mile to the north on airport property, NTSB investigator Lorenda Ward told reporters at O'Hare on Saturday.

She said the escaped engine parts would be shipped to a lab for examination, and the crippled right engine would be sent to a GE facility to be dismantled and examined there for clues to what caused the failure.

American on Saturday declined to provide details about the aircraft, engine or maintenance, referring questions to the NTSB.

Officials from GE Aviation, Boeing and American Airlines were on the scene at O'Hare assisting in the investigation, GE's Kennedy said.

The CF6 was introduced in the 1970s, and more than 4,000 are currently in service on seven different wide-body jetliner models, including the Boeing 747 and 767, and Airbus A300 and A330, according to GE. The engine has racked up more than 400 million flight hours and has a record of "industry-leading levels of reliability," Kennedy said.

The O'Hare incident marks the third uncontained GE engine failure in little over a year, following a British Airways Boeing 777 in September 2015 and a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 in August. Both aircraft used different engines, the GE90 and CMF56, made by a joint venture of GE and Safran of France.

In a full-power ground test situation in 2006, an American Airlines 767 with GE CF6 engines suffered an uncontained failure, according to a summary produced by the Aviation Safety Network, a service of the Flight Safety Foundation, an international nonprofit based in Alexandria, Virginia.

The high pressure turbine of the CF6-80A engine used on the 767 has been cited in six regulatory actions by the Federal Aviation Authority since 1986, FAA records show. The most recent, in 2009, required airlines to remove an engine rotor within 30 days and reduced the allowed lifespan of an engine disk, conditions that could lead to cracks and uncontained engine failure, according to FAA records.

 

(Writing by Steve Gorman and Frank McGurty; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Mary Milliken)

Credit : www.reuters.com

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