The Kaplanian Report – October 2020

ON THE BOEING FRONT

                         Tests of the 777X Continue to Ramp Up

After a slower-than planned start, tests of the first 777X family member the 777-9 continue to ramp up with the third development aircraft entering the flight-test program on August 3.  Designated WH003, the aircraft departed Boeing’s Everett, Washington, facility and flew a circuit encompassing parts of Northern Oregon and central Washington before returning to land at the company’s flight-test base at Boeing Field, Seattle.  The 2-hr. 47-min flight reached a maximum altitude of 28,000 ft  and included two missed approaches and circuits of Moses Lake, Washington.

This third aircraft, destined for launch operator Lufthansa after certification, will be used primarily to evaluate performance of General Electric GE9X engines as well as flight loads and operation of the auxiliary power unit and avionics.  It joins Boeing’s first two 777-9 development aircraft, which continue to amass test hours since the flight of the first aircraft on Jan 25, and the second on April 30.

Although WH001 testing is primarily aimed at stability and control as well as high-and low- speed aerodynamics, it has also been used for avionics, flight control systems and brake tests.The second aircraft, is engaged primarily on tests of the auto land system and ground effects testing.  WH002, which conducted outland approaches at Moses Lake on Aug 3., will also be used to augment the stability and control work of WH001.

A fourth aircraft, WH004, is also set to join the test program later this year.  Incorporating a production-representative internal cabin configuration, the last dedicated 777-9 test airframe will be used mainly to evaluate the environmental control system.  Later in the certification effort in 2021, WH004 will also conduct airport noise compliance work and ultimately, finish its test role with a phase of extended twin-engine operations and airline-like functionality and reliability operations testing.

Source: Boeing

                      

ON THE AIRBUS FRONT

Airbus Subsidiary Satair Acquires A220 Parts Service Work From Bombardier

Airbus subsidiary Satair is taking over A220 materials servicing from Bombardier, a move that comes several years after Bombardier divested the broader A220 program to Airbus.

The European airframer says the move brings parts servicing for its entire lineup of commercial aircraft in-house under Copenhagen-based Satair.

“There is only one go to company, that is Satair, for all parts customers will need,” says Satair chief executive, Bart Reijnen.

The companies began transferring parts and other equipment related to A220 parts servicing from Bombardier’s facilities to Satair sites in July.  Transfers were completed at the end of September, said Reijnen. Airbus acquired Satair in 2011.

“ Customers will now be dealing with just a single interface” under Satair, adds Rob Dewar, senior vice president of A220 customer service, customer satisfaction and product policy.  He calls the change a “key step in the integration of the A220 program into Airbus”.

Prior to taking on A220 parts servicing, Satair needed to acquire related information-technology infrastructure, achieve necessary regulatory approvals and secure new agreements with suppliers.  Satair completed those steps over the last year, said Reijnen.

Satair holds an inventory of more than 1 million different types of parts and has 10 facilities globally.  Outside Europe, the company has sites in Beijing, Singapore, Dubai and several in USA.

Source: Airbus/Satair

                     

REGIONAL/BUSINESS JETS

                GulfStream, Jet Aviation Open New Florida Facility

Jet Aviation and sister company Gulfstream, have opened their new co-located Fixed-Base Operator(FBO)/aircraft maintenance complex at Florida’s Palm Beach International Airport more than a year after the nearly $50 million project broke ground.  While Jet Aviation will continue to operate its primary FBO on the southeast side of the field, the complex on the northwest side features a new 11,270 sq-ft satellite, two story FBO terminal of which, Gulfstream occupies 9,000 sq-ft on the first floor, and a 42,000 sq ft Jet Aviation hanger with 30 foot-high-doors.

“ This investment is the fifth new hanger we have opened in recent years and underscores our commitment to exceeding customer expectations by further strengthening our global facility network,” said Jet aviation president, David Paddock.  ”I would like to take this opportunity to thank our parent company, General Dynamics for their ongoing support of our business, particularly during these uncertain times.

The adjoining service center for Gulfstream consists of more than 104,000 sq ft of climate-controlled hangers and workshops capable of simultaneously sheltering up to seven G650s.  The two companies will share 200,000 sq ft of ramp space.

Source: Aviation International News

                             Boutique Air Grows with PC-12s 

Pilatus originally envisioned the PC-12 turboprop single engine as an executive utility aircraft, but the model has gained widespread popularity as a commuter airliner since its introduction in 1994.  Of the 1,750 PC-12s delivered through mid-August, 94 are flying with 35 passenger airlines around the world, according to the Swiss OEM.  One of these operators is Boutique Air, based in San Francisco and started operations in 2011 by high-tech executive, who bought a company with a Part 135 certificate and one aircraft.  In 2014, the airline began flying regularly scheduled service on one route between Clovis, New Mexico, and Dallas.

Today Boutique serves 29 U.S. airports in 17 states nationwide, operating a fleet of 27 PC-12-45 and PC-12-47 aircraft configured for eight passengers.  “We’re the largest PC-12 commercial carrier in the United States,” said Boutique general manager, Brian Kondrad.  In 2019 the airline flew 180,000 passengers.

Boutique operates exclusively on routes subsidized through the U.S. Department  of Transportation’s $316 million annual Essential Air Service (EAS) program, linking rural airports with major airline hubs.

Source: Boutique Air/Picture Boutique 

                                                                   

OTHER AVIATION NEWS

   Germany Took Delivery of Its First New VIP Airbus A350-900 XWB

Germany’s new “Air Force One” was delivered to the armed forces on Thursday, August 27th after arriving at Lufthansa Technik for completion for in May.

The Airbus A350-900 XWB will be replacing the country’s A340-300 fleet acquired from flag carrier Lufthansa.

The purchase came in 2019 following mechanical issues with the existing VIP aircraft, one of which forced Chancellor Angela Merkel to fly commercial to the G20 in 2018.

As Germany is home to numerous Airbus production plants, parts of the plane were even manufactured in the country, although the final assembly took place in France.  German Defense Minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, received the first Airbus A350-900 XWB in Hamburg during a handover ceremony with Lufthansa Technik.

Airbus had delivered the aircraft in May, but the interior completion work was handled by the maintenance, completions, repair, and overhaul division of the German flag carrier.

Germany ordered three Airbus A350 aircraft in 2019 as a replacement to the aging Airbus A340-300 fleet that flies top government officials around the world.

Source: Business Insider

                                   GE Aviation CF34 Great Reliability

With more than 5,000 engines producing at least a 99% reliability rate, it is hard to argue that GE’s CF34 regional aircraft engine program has been anything but successful.

In 1992, GE’s CF34 engine family helped launch a new era in regional jet aviation,  it continues to set the standard for performance, durability and world-class reliability. More than 5,200 CF34 engines are in service, the engine family has accumulated more than 160 million flight hours.

The following are the details by engine family according to GE Aviation:

**The CF34-8 family includes 3,792 engines in operation with 92 operators.  The fleet has accumulated 73 million hours and 54 million cycles and it generated a 99.96% reliability rate.

**The CF34-10As are in operation with four operators.  The power plant accumulated 54,000 flight hours and 38,000 cycles and it has logged 100% reliability rate.

**The CF34-10E includes 1,643 engines in operation with 98 operators.  The power plant has accumulated 32 million flight hours and 23 million cycles, generating a 99.98% reliability rate.

The CF34-8 variants power Mitsubishi jets, 700, 900 and 1000 regional jets, Bombardier Challenger 870 and 890 business jets and Embaraer 170 and 175 regional jets. Meanwhile, the CF34-10 variants power the Comac ARJ21 family and Embraer 190, 195 and 1000 regional jets.

Source: GE Aviation/Picture GE Aviation

A New Plane for the Indian Prime Minister/President/Vice President

Air India One highly customized Boeing 777-300ERs, meant for the exclusive use Indian Prime Minister, President and Vice-President, landed in New Delhi in August.  A second will arrive by the end of this year.

The aircraft, which has its own missile defense system, called the Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures(LAIRCM) and Self Protection Suites(SPS) besides state- of-the-art communication system, will be operated by the Indian Air Force(IAF), although Air India would receive it.

When the handover to the IAF is complete, the call sign is likely to change from Air India One to Air Force One, just like the one used by American Presidents.

The two new aircraft have been heavily modified keeping in mind that the planes are exclusively meant for VVIPs.

The plane has the capability to function as a full-fledged flying command center

thanks to its advanced and secure communication system, which facilitates audio and video communication without being hacked or tapped, just like Air Force one, sources added.

The interior of the aircraft has been divided into big cabin for VVIP passengers’ mini medical center, conference room and also seats for the accompanying entourage.

In February last year, the US Defence Security Agency had, in a notification to the Congress, said the US had approved the purchase of LAIRCAM and SPS for an estimated cost of USD 190 million.

The defense systems, which would bring security of Air India One at par with that of Air Force one, would be installed in two Boeing 777 Head-of-State aircraft, the Pentagon said.

Source: Defense News/Picture Airliner World

Boeing and Etihad Complete Testing on ecoDemonstrator Program

Boeing and Etihad Airways concluded testing on the aerospace company’s 2020 ecoDemonstrator program the first week in September.  It took a cross country flight using a 50/50 blend of sustainable and traditional jet fuel.

Flying from Seattle to Boeing’s manufacturing site in South Carolina, Etihad’s newest 787-10 Dreamliner used the maximum sustainable fuel blend permitted for commercial aviation.  The transcontinental flight also demonstrated a new way for pilots, air traffic controllers and airline operations centers to communicate simultaneously and optimize routing.

Mohammad Al Bulooki, Etihad Aviation Group chief operating officer, said: “Together with Boeing and the national airline’s sustainable fuel partners World Energy and PIC, Etihad used 50,000 gallons of a 50/50 blend of sustainable aviation fuel on the final flight of our ecoDemonstrator 787-10 flight tests.

Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator program takes promising technologies out of the lab and tests them in the air to accelerate innovation.  This year’s program evaluated four projects to reduce emissions and noise, plus enhance the safety and health of passengers and crew.  All the 787-10 test flights used a blend of traditional jet fuel and sustainable fuel from inedible agricultural wastes to minimize emissions, with the final flight operating at the maximum 50/50 commercial blend.

Source: Etihad Airways/Boeing/Picture Etihad

   Lufthansa to Put its Entire A380 and A340-600 Fleet In Storage

Lufthansa Group will put all of its Airbus A380s and 10 of its A340-600s into long-term storage, only to be reactivated in the event of an “unexceptional rapid market recovery”, and will permanently remove the remainder of its A340-600 fleet from service.

The German airline group says that the outlook for international air transport has “significantly worsened” in recent weeks, forcing it to revise its capacity expectations downward.

While it had previously aimed to offer 50% of its prior-year capacity on its long-haul network and 55% on short-haul in the fourth quarter of this year, Lufthansa now says it expects capacity to be ”in a range between 20% and 30%, compared to the same period in 2019.  As a result, it foresees a group-wide reduction of 150 aircraft “by the middle of this decade”.

“ The continuing high level of uncertainty in global air traffic makes short-term adjustments to the current market situation unavoidable for the foreseeable future,” says Lufthansa, adding that the expansion of pre-flight Covid-19 testing is “essential prerequisite for the resumption of global mobility.”

Source: Lufthansa/PictureLufthansa

                

LATEST NEWS

  • AerSale Aircraft trader and support specialist has acquired 24 Boeing 757-200 passenger jets that were stored at its facilities in Arizona and New Mexico.  Some will be dismantled and other will be converted into freighters.
  • ATR flies the first new-build 72-600 freighter for FedEX.  The aircraft was launched three years ago with an order for up to 50 from US express freight specialist FedEx.

  • GE Aviation has delivered its first F110-129 engines for integration with Boeing’s F-15EX fighter, ahead of the new model’s flight debut next year.

 

  • Texel Air a private airline and MRO based in Bahrain, has announced the arrival of the latest addition to its fleet, the Boeing 737-700 Flex Combi.

  • EASA The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has completed test flights of the 737 Max, a key milestone in restoring airworthiness certification and returning the airliner to operational status.

  • French Bee Paris Orly-based long-haul, low-cost carrier French Bee remains in upbeat mood despite the coronavirus crisis.  Next year it will significantly expand its fleet with the addition of two leased Airbus A350-1000s.
  • Cayman Airways has sent one of its Boeing 737 MAXs to Victorville, California in anticipation of the aircraft returning to service.

  • Northwest International Cargo Airlines new Chinese cargo start-up has been approved by the country’s civil aviation authority to introduce three Boeing 737 freighters to its fleet.
  • El Al Israeli flag carrier has been granted a deferral to the end of November for delivery of its final Boeing 787.
  •   EVA Air has reached agreement with Boeing to exchange seven of the 787-10s yet to be delivered for four 787-9s and three 777Fs.

Sources: Flightglobal, Cayman Airways, Eva Air, Boeing, GE Aviation, Arabian Aerospace

 

AIR CARGO

                Boeing 777 Freighter Joins The Volga-Dnepr Group

On August 17th, the 777 Freighter joined Volga-Dnepr Group fleet of 24 Boeing Freighters.

AirBridge Cargo will operate the airplane via a sale-leaseback agreement with Dubai Aerospace Enterprise DAE.

“We are delighted to welcome Volga-Dnepr Group as our newest customer as they introduce the 777 Freighter to their fleet,” said Firoz Tarapore, DAE’s Chief Executive Officer.  ”DAE Capital is the world’s largest lessor of the profitable and efficient 777 freighter.  We look forward to a long and rewarding relationship with Volga-Dnepr as they continue to grow their successful operations.”

Volga-Dnepr Group is among the world’s largest Boeing freighter operators, flying 17 747 freighters and five 737 freighters, including 13 747-8F, four 747-400ERF, two 737-800BCF and three 737-400SF.

The 777Freighter, which can fly 4,970 nautical miles(9,200 kilometers),can carry a payload of 224,900 lbs.(102,010 kg) with more capacity than any other twin-engine freighter.

Source: Boeing/BoeingPicture

 

  OTHER NOTEWORTHY NEWS

                  Reactivating Parked Aircraft Requires Extra Care

Parking planes during the pandemic does not mean technicians ignore them until airlines are ready to fly again.  A great deal of mechanical support work, including electrical checks and engine starts, takes place to keep aircraft serviceable.

Even when approved maintenance schedules are followed, there are threats to the safe return of aircraft from extended downtime.

The U.K. Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) recently issued a safety notice addressing the potential hazards of bringing aircraft out of storage as airlines resume more flights.

The agency said it found examples of incomplete maintenance and other faults associated with lengthy storage of aircraft, including two cases involving loose engine ports and missing access panel to wing flap.

In another recent case, mechanics found insect larvae in instruments that help determine an aircraft’s airspeed even though the probe’s covers had been used and the system flushed according to the manufacturer’s guidance.

Hibernating Planes

Airlines placed most of their fleets in a state of hibernation when COVID-19 spread worldwide in March and travel demand evaporated.  Precautions include sealing up the engines and sensors to keep out dirt, birds and insects.  Engineering frequently check wings and landing gear areas for wildlife.  Rodents can damage wires and hydraulic lines.

The top three storage locations are in the U.S.: Roswell International Air Center in Nevada; Pinal County Airpark in Arizona; and Victorville Southern California Logistics Airport, with about 900 planes combined according to Cirium.

The percentage of passenger jets in storage continues to fall, but a third of the global fleet remains grounded.  As of August 10, Cirium classified a total of 8,750 widebody, narrowbody and regional jets in storage status, while nearly 17,500 were in service. During the spring, more than two-thirds of the global fleet was in storage.

Airlines are bringing back their newest aircraft first because of better operating efficiencies.  Cirium said that fewer than half of passenger jets built prior to 2013 were used in commercial flights recently.  The most active aircraft were built in 2017.

The longer aircraft are in storage, the more likely they are to require maintenance work before they can return to service, ranging from software and technical updates to following airworthiness directives and service bulletins.

Source: Benzinga.com/FreightWaves/Cirium

                         

 

 Researched and Compiled by : 

Ed Kaplanian    Commercial Aviation Advisor  

Contact – ekaplanian@msn.com

Editor:   Lee Kaplanian  

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