The Kaplanian Report – June 2016

ON THE BOEING FRONT

Boeing and GE work Together to Ready the                                           777X Engine for Flight Tests 

Designing, building and ground testing the world’s largest turbofan is challenging enough, but the challenge is how to safely put this large engine through the rigors of flight testing on the wing of an aircraft for which it was not designed is another again.

That is a key question General Electric and Boeing engineers face as they wrestle with the mechanics of flying the GE9X engine for the 777X on GE’s 747-400 flying testbed in 2017.

Although rated at 105,000 lb. thrust, less than the GE-90-115B, so far the world’s largest engine, the drive for efficiency and higher bypass ratios means the GE9X is physically much larger.

With a bypass ratio of 10:1 and fan diameter set at an unprecedented 134 in., the overall size of the GE9X nacelle has grown to 178 in. The GE90-115B, which has a fan diameter of 128 in., was the previous record-holder.

To fly the engine on the testbed, the internal wing structure was strengthened; with the GE9X in mind when the 747-400 was modified for the test role starting in 2014.

Further modifications are also planned to reduce the chances of aeroelastic interaction between the extended wing of the 747-400 and the GE9X mounted on the inboard left strut.  GE has already removed the standard winglets because these add unnecessary weight and maintenance burden to the aircraft’s flight test role.

More about the testing in my upcoming reports.

Source : Avweek/GE/GEPhotos

 

ON THE AIRBUS FRONT 

The Airbus Beluga XL: New Transport                                                 Based on the A330 Takes Shape

The first of Airbus’ five new BelugaXL air lifters will begin to take shape early next year, initiating the creation of a new jetliner fleet to transport complete sections of the company’s aircraft from production sites around Europe to final assembly in France, Germany and Spain.

Beluga XL’s lower fuselage will be the same as the freighter version of the Airbus A330-200 jetliner and is to be built on the A330 final assembly line adjacent to Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in southwestern France.

The Beluga XL’s other aerostructure-specific components are provided by external suppliers, including the significantly enlarged upper fuselage, the modified forward section with a lowered nose and cockpit, a large forward cargo door allowing “roll-on-roll-off” loading directly onto the main deck and a pair auxiliary vertical tailplane end-fins.

Once a lower fuselage for Beluga XLs is completed on the final assembly line, it will be moved to Building L34 at Airbus’ Lagardere industrial zone adjacent to Toulouse-Blagnac Airport, where the build-up process into the outsized airlifted will take approximately 12 months per aircraft.

The five Beluga XL aircraft will join the existing fleet of five A300-600ST Super Transporters-which are based on the A300 jetliner.

Source : Airbus/Airbus Picture

 

BUSINESS/REGIONAL NEWS

Gulfstream’s G650ER Blazes Trail from Sydney to Los Angeles

Gulfstream’s G650ER recently set another city-pair record on a trip from Sydney, Australia, to Los Angeles, the Savannah, Ga.-based aircraft manufacturer announced on May19th. The G650ER travelled 6,620nm in 12 hours and 40 minutes, departing Sydney Airport at 7:11 a.m. local time on March 11 and landing at Los Angeles International Airport at 1:51 a.m. local time on March 11.  It averaged a speed of Mach.86 during the trip

The U.S. National Aeronautic Association has approved the record, the trip is pending approval by Federation Aeronautique Internationale in Switzerland for recognition as a world record. This city pair will join the more than 55 world records established by the G650 and its longer-legged G650ER sibling. The 650ER is designed to fly as fast as 7,500 nm at Mach 0.85 and 6,400 nm at Mach 0.90. The aircraft has a maximum speed of Mach 0.925.

Source : Business Aviation/ Photo Gulfstream Aerospace

 

 Lufthansa Technik Bags VIP 787 Modification Deal

Lufthansa Technik has won a modification and support contract for a Boeing 787 that will be completed as a VIP aircraft.

The new agreement covers not the VIP completion itself, but rather modifications based on a service bulletin issued by the airframe, says Lufthansa Technik.

This includes the aircraft’s galleys and crew rest compartments plus adjustments to the IFE and Communication systems.

Lufthansa Technik adds that the 787-8 will arrive as a “green aircraft” at the MRO provider’s Hamburg headquarters in early autumn; the project is scheduled to be completed over the course of two months.

In addition to modifications, the MRO specialist will provide technical services for the undisclosed operator.

Source : Flightglobal/Lufthansa Technik

 

OTHER AVIATION NEWS

Eight Asia-Pacific Low-Cost Carriers Form Alliance

Eight Asia-Pacific low-cost carriers (LCCs) have formed a new standards-based collaborative marketing group, using IATA New Distribution Capability (NDC) digital interoperability standard.

The group, called Value Alliance, comprises Philippines – based Cebu Pacific, Korea-based Jeju Air, Thailand’s Nok Air and Japan’s Vanilla Air.  It said it is already talking to several other LCCs about expanding membership.

The Value Alliance covers more than 160 destinations in the region with combined fleet of 176 aircraft. It offers a web side allowing passengers to book tickets and extra services, such as additional baggage and meals across the group’s airlines, according to a statement.

Scoot CEO Campbell Wilson said the grouping will offer “a wider choice of destinations and flights – at the most competitive airfares – all in one go.”

Membership in the Value Alliance is by invitation only.  In 2015, its member airlines collectively served more than 47 million travelers from 17 hubs.

Source : ATW

 

Qantas Talking to Boeing On 777X

Qantas said it will keep its Airbus A380s in service beyond 2020 as it conducts talks with Boeing on its next generation 777X jets.

“The A380s do a great job on the markets that they operate,” said Garth Evans, head of the company’s international business.  Qantas currently operates a fleet of 12 A380s.” They are big units on big thick routes like Los Angeles and London, flying into slot-constrained airports.” said Evans. ”You want to have a fleet

that is simple, but you need to have vehicles that do the right job for you.”

While an order is not imminent, Evans said conversations with Boeing revolve around the “scope and Capability” of the 777X.  It will have two variants, a 777-8 that will have a longer range, and the 777-9 that will be able to carry more passengers but have a slightly shorter range.

“It does look interesting though because of its range capability, said Evans. ”When you are an airline that is based in our part of the world, those are things that are important to you, an aircraft that can reach major cities around the world out of Australia is attractive.”

Source : Airwise

 

 China’s Ruili Airlines Orders Six Boeing 787-9s

Kunming-based Ruili Airlines has ordered six Boeing 787-9 aircraft in a deal valued at $1.54 billion at list prices.  The aircraft will be used for international expansion. A delivery schedule was not released.

16051810081416

Launched in May 2014, Ruili operates a fleet of nine aircraft on 16 domestic routes with 46 daily departures.

The carrier plans to expand its fleet to 11 aircraft by the end of this year and to 80 aircraft by the end of 2025.

In 2015, Ruili committed to buy 30 737-MAXs with a financial support of AVIC International Leasing at the Paris Air Show.

Other Chinese carriers have also ordered Boeing 787-9 aircraft: Air China ordered 15 787-9 aircraft and received its first one on May 18, China Eastern has ordered 15 787-9s and Hainan Airlines has 30 787-9s on order.

Source : China Aviation Daily/Picture Ruili Airlines/Boeing

 

LATEST NEWS IN BRIEF  

  • The Airbus A350-900 has gained extended-range twin-engine operations (ETOPS) approval from FAA for routes that require beyond 180 minutes diversion time.
  • VietJet, Vietnam’s low-cost carrier, signed an order for 100 Boeing 737 Max 200, making it the second customer to commit to the high-density variant after Ryanair.

  • GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) revealed the delivery of a new leased Boeing 787-9 aircraft powered by GEnx engines to Air Canada as part of a purchase and leaseback transition with the airline.
  • Lithium Ion Batteries will be installed on A350-900 aircraft delivered to customers by the end of the year.
  • Leap 1A powering the A320neo has been granted type certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the U.S. Federal Aviation  Administration (FAA)
  • Air China took delivery of its first Trent !000 powered 787-9.
  • Xiamen Airlines took delivery of its 15th 737-800; with the delivery of this aircraft Xiamen expanded its all Boeing fleet to 154 aircraft.
  • Pratt & Whitney obtained certification from the FAA for its PW1400G-JM engine to power Russian aircraft manufacturers Irkut’s MC-21 Aircraft.
  • J-Air Corp Japan Airlines Subsidiary has introduced its Embraer E190 jet in Japan.

jal-j-air-mrj70-11fltjallr

  • Mitsubishi Aircraft second prototype of the MRJ regional jet conducted its first flight on May 31st.
  • United Airlines launched its nonstop service between San Francisco International Airport and Singapore’s Changi Airport.  Measured by distance, the new route will be the longest scheduled 787 Dreamliner flight operated by any airline, covering a distance of 8,446 miles.

 

AIR CARGO

Two of the World’s Top Three International                                  Cargo Carriers Have Joined Forces

Lufthansa and Cathay Pacific rank second and third, respectively, among all airlines in international cargo traffic, training only Emirates.  So their formation of a joint network to connect Hong Kong to Europe is an interesting move.

Regarding the agreement itself, the carriers said it would take the form of “a highly integrated bilateral corporation.” Lufthansa and Cathay say they “will work closely together on network planning, as well as sales, IT and ground handling.” Further, customers will be able to access the entire joint network through either of the partners’ booking systems or the two carriers will offer joint handling at their hubs in Hong Kong and Frankfurt.

The agreement covers 140 direct flights per week between Hong Kong and thirteen cities in Europe.  Cathay’s Director of Cargo, said: ”Cathay Pacific’s large number of direct connections to multiple European destinations fits perfectly with Lufthansa’s strength in Frankfurt, the most important air freight hub in Europe through its dense feeder-network.” Peter Gerber, CEO of Lufthansa Cargo pointed out that the deal would give customers more flights to choose from with a combination of feeder and direct flights.”

LHcargo

Implementation of the partnership is still some way off.  The first shipments covered by the agreement will not fly until 2017, then only westbound from Hong Kong to Europe.  Eastbound shipments will become available in the course of the year.

Source : Air Cargo World/Photos Lufthansa & Cathay Pacific

       

                                    MILITARY NEWS

                                          The C-130 Just Never Dies

Lockheed Martin started building its latest civilian version of the iconic C-130 Hercules in Marietta, Georgia in late April.The company’s new LM-100J will bring its advancements of the C-130J Super Hercules to civilian operators such as the United Nations.

The C-130 just never dies.  Because almost no other aircraft can do what the Hercules does best: reliably haul outsized loads into and out of short, rough airstrips in the middle of nowhere.

“They obviously did its design right,” says Tom Wetherall, director of LM-100J Business Development for Lockheed Martin.  ”It’s been in production for 60 years.

It’s got a high-wing.  It’s a turboprop. The engines and propellers are out of harm’s way. The straight wing yields the efficiency to get in and out of dirt runways, to get the weight off the wheels as soon as possible.  The fuselage is low to the ground at truck-bed height, which combines with rear loading capability.  It’s a configuration that is second to none”

The first C-130 rolled out in 1954.  Since then, Lockheed has built more than 2,500 at it’s Georgia assembly plant.  More than ten variants of the airplane, including AC-130 gunships and WC-130 weather reconnaissance aircraft, serve U.S.and global militaries.

In 1965 Lockheed started making a dedicated civilian version of the Hercules, the L-100, cranked them until 1992.  About 115 L-100s have flown with commercial operators, delivering spare parts and bringing in disaster relief. But these old planes are nearing the end of their useful lives, and companies that fly them are looking for a new airplane – a new Hercules, according to Lockheed.

The LM-100J is based on the C-130J-30, an extended version of the “J” that shares the same length as the L-100.  Like the military Super Hercules, the LM-100J gets new Rolls-Royce AE 2100 D# turboprop engines and six-blade Dowty R391 Propellers.  The airframe features a new center wing-box.  The cockpit comes with Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) which eliminates the need for a flight engineer, a significant cost savings.

Lockheed Martin planes to roll out the first LM-100J this September. Flight testing begins early next year and the first delivery is slated for the first quarter of 2018.

Source : Popular Mechanics/Photo Lockheed Martin

 

    Boeing has Received a Seven Year, $319 Million Contract to Continue Maintenance and Support Work for the U.S. Air Force’s C-32A and C-40 BC

On May 17th Boeing announced that it was awarded a $319 million to continue maintaining and supporting the U.S. Air Force’s C-32A and C-40BC executive aircraft.

The Air Force uses the C-32A and C-40BC, which are based on the Boeing 757 and 737 passenger planes, to transport the vice president, cabinet members and military commanders among others.  Boeing has supported the aircraft since first delivery in 1998 and 2001.

The C-32 and C-40 are among the many military derivatives of commercial airplanes that Boeing has built for the U.S. and international customers, offering affordable adaptations of proven airframes and existing worldwide support for military missions.

Source : Boeing/Photo Boeing

 

Researched and Compiled by : Ed Kaplanian

Commercial Aviation Advisor

Contact – ed@kaplanianreport.com

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