Volume 3 Issue 7 July 2016


Boeing Selects iPad-Like Touch Screens For 777X Flight Deck

Future Boeing 777X airline pilots will be able to interact with their flight information displays in the same way that they use their smart phones and tablets.

Boeing has decided to integrate a multi-touch interface on the flight deck of the re-engineer wide body due to enter service in 2020, replacing a touch-pad based cursor control device (CCDs) mounted on the aisle-stand of the original 777, says Bob Feldmann, vice president and general manager of the 777X program.

The decision was made so recently that Boeing is not yet able to announce the supplier, as the contract had not been signed as of mid June, Feldmann says.

The new technology will be integrated as Boeing transitions from a standard layout of six displays in the 777 cockpit to the 787’s five display format in the 777X.  ”We think we are the first Commercial airplane to really make something that is like all our customers are used to doing in their daily lives,” Feldmann says.

In discussions with our 777X customers, Boeing received a clear preference for making the transition to multi-touch screens, Feldmann says.

The next milestone for the 777-9 development program is a critical design review scheduled earlier next year.  Production of the first test aircraft is expected to begin next June, with first flight following in 2018.

Cockpit touch screens are one of several key technologies Boeing is developing for the 777X.  The most visible innovation on the 777X is perhaps Boeing’s plan to integrate folding wingtips, a feature normally found on fighters based on space constrained aircraft carriers.

Source : Flightglobal/Boeing



Airbus Starting A330neo Final Assembly in October

Airbus is working through some high profile issues with the introduction of the A350 and the A320neo to market, but surely wishes those programs were low-profile as the A330neo.  The reengineer A330 program, is progressing more quietly and without major problems that have kept Airbus in the news.

The A330-900, the first reengineer version of the family, is due to enter service by the end of 2017, followed by the smaller -800 a year later.  Airbus hopes the program’s lower costs – combined with the fuel burn reduction the new engines are expected to provide and the new cabin designed to align it with the larger A350’s interior – will be sufficient to counter the Boeing 787.

Airbus is well on the way to producing the A330neo subassemblies. The first wing is essentially completed in the Broughton, England facility with only the sharklets missing, and the second is close behind.  Along with engines and the new cabin, the wing has seen the most modifications of the major components. At 64 m(210 ft), the A330neo wingspan has grown by 4 m (13.1 ft) over the the A330ceo’s and has been structurally reinforced to accommodate the Neo’s heavier engines. The wing-to-body-juncture also has been redesigned.

In parallel, the first A330neo nose section is completed at the Saint-Nazaire plant in France.  Airbus has a total of 186 orders for the two versions of the A330neo,10 for the A330-800 and the rest for the larger -900.  Hawaiian Airlines has ordered 6 -800s and 4 for TransAsia Airways

Source : China Aviation Daily/Airbus Photo



 Mitsubishi Starts Final Assembly of First Delivery Jet

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is set to begin final assembly of the first customer aircraft for the MRJ regional jet program, with various sections of the fuselage having been delivered to the MRJ final assembly hanger.In a newsletter, Mitsubishi Aircraft says it will work through the final assembly process, with an eye on delivery to launch customer All Nippon Airways in mid 2018. The Japanese airframe also gave an update of the MRJ flight tests, which are ongoing using two test aircraft.  It says valid results have been obtained from FTA-2, which started flying on May 31st, including the confirmation of emergency response measures – such as flying with one  engine, activation of emergency power units and stall tests.

Various tests are also being carried out as the program prepares for ferry flight to Moses  Lake, Washington State, this summer.

These include the expansion of its flight envelop to it’s design specifications of a maximum speed of Mach 0.78 and a maximum altitude of 39,000 ft, conducting instrument flights,plus checking on terrain awareness, warning system and collision avoidance system.

Its Moses Lake Flight Test Center meanwhile has been conducting flights using a small aircraft, rehearsing for the test missions ahead.

Mitsubishi adds that preparations are underway for FTA-3 and FTA-4 to take their first flights this summer.

Source : Flightglobal/Photo/Mitsubishi Aircraft



 First CSeries Aircraft is Delivered to SWISS

Bombardier delivered the first CSeries aircraft to Lufthansa subsidiary Swiss International Air Lines(SWISS), at ceremonies in Montreal on June 29th.

The delivery marks an important milestone in an aircraft program beset with technical problems, delays and difficulty securing customers.  Swiss originally ordered 20 CS100 and 10 CS300s, plus 30 options, but then converted five 100s to the 300 variant.

The handover should begin a process in which SWISS will receive nine aircraft by year end, taking one aircraft per month this month, August and September.  After that, deliveries will increase to two aircraft per month.  The first aircraft will enter service this month.

On June 23, Bombardier signed a definitive agreement with the Quebec government for $1billion investment in the CSeries program.  The assets, liabilities and obligations of the program have been transferred to the CSeries Aircraft Limited Partnership(CSALP) of which 50.5% is owned by Bombardier and 49.5% by the provincial government through Investment  Quebec.

The money will be used for cash-flow purposes, representing half of the $2 billion Bombardier says is required to take the CSeries program to cash-flow positive production in 2020.

The $2 billion includes funds to cover losses on discounted sales to marquee customers, including Air Canada and Delta Air Lines deals which Bombardier will record a $500 billion this quarter to cover “onerous contract provisions.”

The Canadian federal government, meanwhile, confirmed it is continuing negotiations with Bombardier about investing in the CSeries partnership.

Source : ATW/Bombardier Photo

 Pratt & Whitney to Invest $65m in Georgia GTF Maintenance Site              

Pratt & Whitney will invest $65 million in maintenance site near Columbus, Georgia, where the company maintains and overhauls PW 1000G geared turbofans (GTFs).  The investment, which comes as the company embarks on massive GTF production ramp up, will help P&W ensure it has infrastructure in place to meet increasing maintenance demand, P&W said in a media release.

Also, later this year the company expects construction will begin on an additional engine test facility at the site in Columbus, which is about 90 miles(145km) south of Atlanta, P&W says.

The company has orders for more than 7,100 GTFs, executives have said.  P&W will manufacture about 200 of the engines this year, but the company forecasts production will hit 400 in 2017, 600 in 2018 and 1,200 annually by 2020, executives have said.

The Columbus maintenance site is also where P&w is modifying a number of in-service PW 1100Gs to address a slow-engine-start issue, P&W aftermarket president Matthew Bromberg has told Flightglobal.

Source : Flightglobal/P&W

Air Lease Corp. Names New CEO;  Udvar-Hazy to Be Executive Chairman

Air Lease Corp.(ALC) has appointed John Plueger as president and CEO, effective July 1, as current CEO Steven Udvar-Hazy assumes the role of Executive chairman of the board, a full-time officer role.

Steve Udvar-Hazy started ALC in February 2010, the company owns and manages 268 young and in-demand jet aircraft on lease to 88 airline customers around the world.  It has an order book of 386 new jet aircraft to be delivered from Airbus and Boeing through 2023.

Plueger joined ALC as president, COO and board member in March 2010, shortly after the company was formed.  Plueger has more than 30 years of aviation experience, 24 of which were with International Lease Finance Corp.

Udar-Hazy said, ”John and I have worked together for over 30 years and I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished in six short years at ALC.  I look forward to continuing to partner with John in my new role”.

Source : ATW



  • Emirates  took delivery of its 80th A380 to join the Emirates the A380 fleet and the airline has another 62 on order including 21 to be delivered this year.
  • Gulfstream  G500 business jet program has reached another milestone with the completion of the ultimate load testing on June 16.
  • Irkut Corporation Russian aircraft manufacturer rolled out its MC-21-300 on June 8 at its factory in Irkutsk.
  • Chengdu Airline made its first commercial flight with China’s home grown ARJ21 on June 28 with 70 passengers on board.  Chengdu is the launch customer for the ARJ21.
  • Alaska Airlines took delivery of a 737-900 painted in a special livery to celebrated Boeing’s 100th Birthday.

  • Bombardier Commercial Aircraft has announced that an unidentified customer has signed a firm purchase order for 10 CRJ900 aircraft.  The agreement is valued at $472 million at list prices.
  • HNA Group (Hainan Airline mother company) will become the biggest customer of both Airbus and Boeing aircraft within the next 10 years.  Hainan Airlines welcomed its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on June 10.
  • Ethiopian Airlines took delivery of the first of 14 Airbus A350 XWBs on June 28, making it Africa’s first operator of the type.

  • Embraer E190-E2 has achieved first flight in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil, earlier than expected.
  • Xiamen Airlines will be the sixth airlines to fly from Seattle to China using the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.  The three-times weekly service will connect to Xiamen, a city 360 miles to the northeast of Shenzhen.
  • Nile Air, Egyptian based carrier, began operations from Cairo to  Al Ain international airport in Abu Dhabi located on the Omani border.


 FedEx’s 270 Boeing Planes

Package delivery company, FedEx Corp, owned 582 airplanes at the end of May 2015 and leased another 65 for a total fleet of 647 planes.  Of the planes owned,241 were manufactured by the Boeing Company or by McDonnell Douglas prior to its merger with Boeing in1997.  Another 29 Boeing planes were leased, bringing FedEx’s total Boeing fleet to 270 planes.

The most popular Boeing aircraft in the FedEx fleet is now the 757-200, a dual-engine narrow body that Boeing configured as a cargo plane.  The plane can carry 63,000 pounds of cargo with maximum range of 3,625 miles.  The average age of these planes in FedEx fleet is nearly 25 years.  Boeing sold more than 1,000 of the planes and delivered the last new 757 in 2004.(it went to Shanghai Airlines in China)

Boeing had also supplied FedEx with 21 767-300 cargo freighters at the end of May 2015 (the end of the most recent fiscal year for which the company has produced an annual report).  FedEx ordered 50 more of the wide body planes last July with an option on 50 more.  At list price of $199.3 million per plane, the order was valued at nearly $20 billion.

Why buy an old design? it is simple to replace even older ones and reduce the variety of planes in FedEx’s fleet.  FedEx’s 767s average less than three years old.  The 767 is also more fuel efficient and shares many parts with the 757s in the fleet; plus it is a great aircraft.

Because Boeing is building the Air Force tanker, The KC-46A, on the 767 airframe, FedEx is assured of spare parts for at lease another 40 years, the expected life of the tanker.

Finally, FedEx reported 27 Boeing 777 freighters in its fleet at the end of November 2015, and in January the company said it had committed to another 16 at a list price of $318.7 per plane,for an order totaling more than $5 billion.

Source : 24/7 Wall St/ Boeing Photo/Ed’s Research.



China’s New Y-20 Is the Largest Military Aircraft Currently in Production 

The Y-20 is China’s version of the C-17 Globemaster.  The first Xian Y-20 military transport aircraft was delivered to the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) on June 15. Developed by Xian Aircraft Corporation, the Y-20 has an empty weight of 110 short tons, making it the largest military aircraft currently in production – larger than Russia’s Ilyushin Il-76.  Boeing’s C-17 Globemaster III is bigger than the Y-20, the C-17’s empty weight is about 60,000 pounds more than the Y-20.  Its payload capacity is 25,000 pounds more, but production stopped in 2015, making the Y-20 the biggest that currently rolling out of factories.

The Y-20 has the official codename “Kunpeng” after a mythical Chinese bird, though it is nicknamed “Chubby Girl” for its appearance.  The Y-20 is remarkably similar to the C-17.  Currently the Y-20 uses four Russian made Soloviev D-30 turbofan engines; however, plans are to replace the engines with Chinese-made Shenyang WS-20 turbofans by 2020 to give the plane short takeoff capabilities and a greater range.

Source : Popular Mechanics/AIN Online



Researched and Compiled by : Ed Kaplanian

Commercial Aviation Advisor

Contact – ed@kaplanianreport.com

Volume 3 Issue 5 May 2016


The Latest on the Development of the 777X

The development of the 777X is quietly moving forward. German manufacturer Liebherr has delivered the first prototype of the actuation system for the 777X folding wing-tip.

The step will enable initial testing on a rig to begin in mid-year, the company’s Liebherr-Aerospace Lindenberg division states, revealing that proof-of-concept prototype was handed over at the end of February.

Liebherr says the delivery shows “substantial progress” has been achieved in developing a “compact and reliable” wing-tip actuator.

The 777X is to use a folding wing-tip in order to reduce its 235Ft (71.8) span by 7m when parking. Boeing selected Liebherr to develop the folding assembly, which uses motors and rotating actuator at the end of 2014.

Source : Flightglobal/Boeing Photo



  First Airbus A350-1000 Takes Shape

The first Airbus A350-1000, the stretched version of the A350XWB family aircraft, has emerged from the Roger Beteille Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Toulouse, France, moving on its wheels for the first time. (note the three wheel trucks on the main landing gears)

The Aircraft, MSN59, has spent one and a half months in Station 40 in FAL.  On April 14th, the A350-1000 left its station 40 position and entered in the station number 30, where the initial ground testing of the aircraft systems takes place.

After that, the aircraft will be moved out of the FAL to undergo complementary tests, painting, engine installation, cabin fittings and it will be finally handed over to the Flight Test Center.

This aircraft, one of three flight test aircraft to be built, will take to the skies for its maiden flight before the end of 2016, with delivery expected to occur in mid 2017.

So far, Airbus has won 181 A350-1000 orders from 10 customers.  Launch customer is set to be Qatar Airways, who also was the launch customer for the -900 variant.

Source : China Aviation Daily/Airbus Photo



MRJ FTA-2 Prepares for Flight This Month

Mitsubishi Aircraft says the second prototype for its MRJ regional jet program is undergoing engine tests, as it readies for its first flight.

In a newsletter, the Japanese manufacturer says FTA-2 will move forward with taxi tests this month, followed by flight tests.

This follows the completion of the first phase of flight tests for the FTA-1. On April 13th, FTA-1 started receiving “planned modifications” that will be completed in the middle of this month. It will also be fitted with instruments necessary for upcoming tests.

Mitsubishi says it has been conducting flight tests on FTA-1 on consecutive days since mid-March, whenever weather conditions permit. These tests include flying with only one engine and auxiliary power systems, as well as a functional check on the emergency power generation system.

The MRJ is scheduled for first delivery in mid-2018.  Mitsubishi is using five test aircraft for the flight campaign.

Source: Flightglobal/Mitsubishi Aircraft/Photo



 Comair 737 Arrives at New St Helena Airport

South African carrier Comair has carried out the first large passenger jet landing at the new St Helena airport.  The Carrier operated a Boeing 737-800 which touched down just after 12:00 noon on April 19th.

British Airways franchise partner Comair recently took delivery of the aircraft – painted in BA livery – which has been configured specifically to serve the Johannesburg-St Helena route.

The initial operation to the island airport was an implementation flight to test the route, ground operations and handling, ahead of commencement of scheduled services.

“We did a few practice approaches just to  make sure we understand the approach,” says the carrier’s operations director, Martin Louw.

“ Safety is always paramount”.

Source : Comair Limited /Flightglobal


  CFM LEAP-1B Engine Receives Joint FAA/EASA Certification

The FAA and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have awarded type certificates to CFM International’s LEAP-1B engine, paving the way for entry into commercial service in 2017. The LEAP-1B engine is the exclusive power plant for the Boeing 737 MAX.

“The LEAP-1B engine flew for the first time on the Boeing 737 MAX on January 29,” CFM  International said in a statement. “Since then, two more aircraft have been added to the test program in March. To date, these three airplanes have logged a combined total of more than 100 test flights, including completing high altitude flight testing in La Paz, Bolivia, recently.”

CFM International EVP Francois Bastin said, ”Boeing is racking up an impressive number of flight hours with the test aircraft; initial indications are that engine performance is meeting expectations.”

“MAX looks like a very well-run program on the airframe and engine side; reinforced the possibility that maybe they will even be early,” said Teal Group analyst, Richard Aboulafia,

”They have been doing great. Their story is they learned a lot from the 787, that might well be true.”

Source: ATW/Ed’s Research/Boeing Picture


 Airbus to Cut Output of Slow-Selling A380 

European plane maker Airbus plans to cut production of its A380 from 2017 as it struggles to revive sales of the world’s largest passenger jet.

It has told its suppliers to slow production to support an assembly rate of 1.7 aircraft per month from next year, compared with production of just over two a month now.  The exact month in which the slowdown would be felt in Toulouse assembly plant was not immediately clear.  Airbus declined to comment on talks with suppliers.

The company does not publish production figures for its biggest model, but only targets deliveries.  Sales of large four-engine airliners like the 544-seat A380 have been hit by improvements in range and efficiency of smaller two-engined models, which can be easier to fill.

Last year it delivered 27 A380s and has said it expects to continue to break even based on similar deliveries in 2016. It meanwhile continues to cut costs in an effort  to lower the break-even point to as low as 20 aircraft a year.

In February Airbus Group Chief Executive Tom Enders said it had between 20 and 30 A380s on its delivery list in 2017.

At the end of March, Airbus had 135 aircraft on its books that have been sold and are waiting to be produced, mainly for leading customer Emirates which recently topped its order. But after deducting aircraft that are unlikely to be delivered, analysts say the order situation is weaker.

Air France Has canceled two and replaced them with A350s.  Another 10 listed anonymously are believed to have been canceled by Hong Kong Airlines and 20 are allocated to leasing firm Amedeo, which are seen as unlikely to enter production until the lessor places them with airlines.

Analysts also say Qantas and Virgin Atlantic are unlikely to take a combined total of 12 of the jets.  The Project received a boost earlier this year when Iran announced a preliminary order for 12 A380s as it emerges from sanctions, but doubts remain over how quickly the order can be finalized as Iran faces continued financial restrictions.

Source : Business Insider/ Photo Air France



  • CFM International has delivered the first ship set of LEAP-1A production engines to Airbus to power the A320neo.
  • Avianca Holdings, one of Latin America’s largest airline operators, said it has negotiated a ‘significant reduction” in aircraft deliveries from 2016-2019 with Airbus.
  • Avolon delivered one Boeing 787-800 to Thai Lion Air.  This is the First Avolon aircraft on lease to Thai Lion Air.
  • GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) delivered a leased Boeing 737-800 aircraft to its new Thai customer, NewGen Airways, to expand the carrier’s fleet.
  • Trident Jet (jersey) Ltd., a sister company of UK-based lessor Falko Regional Aircraft, has ordered four more Bombardier CRJ 900s for lease to Irish regional CityJet.

  • Avolon Ireland-based delivered one Boeing 787-9 aircraft to UK long-haul specialist Virgin Atlantic.
  • Airbus has rolled out the first US-built American Airlines A321 of the paint shop at Mobile, Alabama facility.

  • Horizon Air has ordered 30 Embraer 175 aircraft, with half earmarked for growth under the widely anticipated order. The deal is worth $2.8 billion at list prices including 33 options.
  • Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) has completed the construction of a facility to manufacture center wing boxes for the 777X at its Handa plant.
  • Honda Aircraft delivered the first Honda Jet in Europe with a ceremonial delivery at AERO 2016 at Friedrichshafen,Germany.  Honda Aircraft’s exclusive HondaJet dealer for Central Europe, Rheinland Air Service, will become the first operator of the aircraft in Europe.
  • China United Airline has taken delivery of its 32nd Boeing 737 aircraft, which is also the 9000th 737 aircraft to be delivered by Boeing.

  • LATAM Airlines Group has unveiled new aircraft livery featuring its new branding. The Carrier’s updated livery features its new logo against an all-white fuselage, with its new corporate colors of indigo and coral on the tail.


     Swiss WorldCargo Inks VA-Q-tec Container Agreement

Swiss WorldCargo recently signed a partnership agreement with container manufacturer Va-Q-tec to provide passive temperature-controlled ULDs for the transport of pharmaceuticals and other sensitive goods. The signing ceremony was held at the Zurich offices of Swiss WorldCargo’s parent company, Swiss International Airlines Ltd.

“Va-Q-tec has been requested by pharma customers to establish a partnership with Swiss WorldCargo to enable direct container rentals,” said Dominic Hyde, managing director of Va-Q-tec,LTD.”  Many pharma shippers and forwarders see the cargo division of SWISS as a strategic partner for reliably transporting pharmaceuticals, they want the simplicity of ordering the Va-Q-tec containers through the airline directly.”

Va-Q-tec offers an advanced passive solution portfolio of hard-shell containers that can accommodate up to two pallets at once and maintain temperatures ranging from -70C to 25C. The containers can be delivered to their customers fully temperature pre-conditioned for one-way retail shipments for more than five days on global lanes.

Under the agreement, the global product launch will take place in June, with Swiss WorldCargo and Va-Q-tec continuing to serve existing customers.

Source : Air Cargo World/ Swiss WorldCargo



How the Very First Air Force One Was Saved-Columbine II, President  Eisenhower’s Ride is Back in Action- Part II 

Columbine’s number four engine was not airworthy anymore, so Brian Miklos borrowed a 3350 from another Lockheed Constellation which had recently flown and installed it on the airplane.  The effort took a full year from March 2015 with a team alternating between three weeks in Arizona and two weeks at home in Virginia.

It was an intense effort,” says Brian Miklos.  Finally, the Dynamic crew took off in Columbine II on March 21, 2016, for the first leg of the cross country trip to Mount Pleasant,Texas, then resumed the trip to Bridgewater, Virginia, the following morning.

The vintage Constellation logged about nine hours flight time and performed admirably.”  At one point, we had 234 mph across the ground.  The old girl was up and getting it done!” Miklos says.

Karl Stozfus plans to restore Columbine II back to its Air Force One configuration and return it to the air show scene.  Fortunately, a significant part of its interior is still intact.  Miklos says Dynamic as obtained a similar galley from another Constellation and has detailed information on how the aircraft looked in presidential service.

“The plan is to restore it to just as it was when President Eisenhower was using it.  We have incredible drawings and documentation to support that, right down to color codes and manufacturer’s original materials.”

Source : Popular Mechanics/Photos Ed’s Research


Finally the UK Decided To Go For the P-8A Poseidon 

Boeing seems to be racking orders for military aircraft and it is not done yet.  In late March, the US Defense Security Coorperation Agency (DSCA) — the Pentagon arm for coordinating sales of military equipment to our allies — notified Congress of an impending sale of military aircraft to the United Kingdom.


According to DSCA’s March 24 notification to congress, the British government has requested permission to buy nine of Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, plus related “major defense equipment, associated training and support,” for a grand total of $3.2 billion.

The UK was looking at different platforms to replace its last retired Nimrod and in the end it appears the UK bit the bullet and decided to buy the Cadillac of maritime sub-hunting aircraft, Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon.

Source : Boeing/Boeing Picture




Researched and Compiled by : Ed Kaplanian

Commercial Aviation Advisor

Contact – ed@kaplanianreport.com