Monthly Archives: May 2018

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Maintenance Demand Growing For 737

Numbers for the narrowbody will peak in 2021.

By the end of this year there will be more than 5,000 of the world’s most popular aircraft, the Boeing 737-800, in service.

Aviation Week Network’s Commercial Aviation Fleet & MRO Forecast also predicts that 737-800 numbers will only peak in 2021, despite Boeing skewing narrowbody production heavily towards the 737 Max from 2019 onwards.

This is obviously great news for maintenance providers, which receive a steady stream of work from an aircraft produced in consistently high numbers for almost two decades.

“The 737NG fleet is large and drives a lot of maintenance requirements,” Troy Jonas, vice-president, global sales and marketing for US MRO provider AAR, tells Inside MRO, adding: “It has and will continue to drive a significant share of MRO requirements for the foreseeable future.”

Aviation Week Network expects the maintenance market for all 737 types to reach $21.7 billion in 2018. Of that total, 41% is for component work, 27% for engine maintenance, 22% for line maintenance, 5% for airframe work and 5% for modifications.

Most of that MRO demand is for the 737-800, which will provide $14.7 billion of maintenance value in 2018, rising to almost $16.6 billion in 2022.

Lithuanian MRO provider FL Technics reports that 737NGs entering its hangars are on average 9.5 years old, the age when aircraft of that type approaching their first heavy check.

Common faults found during such checks are vapor barrier cracking and corrosion near wet areas such as galleys and lavatories.

Cracks are often found in the wing root structure and they require reinforcing repair involving repairs to the fuel tank structure,” says Kestutis Jasutis, head of production planning, base maintenance, FL Technics.

One of the most time-consuming aspects of 737 heavy checks is fuel tank inspections, which require “many hours to remove the sealant inside the fuel tanks so we can access the structure to do both visual and NDT inspections”, says Jonas.

“The irony is it takes all that effort but we very rarely find defects –it’s just part of the inspection requirements.

Source: MRO Network

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Huge Chinese Seaplane Could Begin Deliveries by 2022


There is one operational glitch yet on this seaplane that needs to be solved.

As the Chinese aviation industry continues expanding into a variety of piston and turbine aircraft markets, many by acquisition, that country’s state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) made it clear recently that it doesn’t plan to overlook seaplanes. AVIC recently updated progress on the AG600, believed to be the world’s largest seaplane that successfully completed a one-hour maiden flight last December. Powered by four turboprop engines, the AG600, nicknamed the Water Dragon, is about the same size as a Boeing 737, 121 feet long with a 127-foot wingspan.

China’s Xinhua news agency said the Water Dragon was created primarily for search and rescue and aerial firefighting missions. The latter is made easier by the airplane’s ability to scoop as much as 12 tons of water in a 20 second run along the water’s surface. A maximum water load for the AG600 is 370 tons. The huge aircraft can also land and depart from water that’s only eight feet deep. At maximum takeoff weight, the AG600 tips the scales at 118,000 pounds and offers a maximum range of 2,800 miles and a maximum speed of 270 knots.

There is just a tiny potential glitch in the seaplane project. A number of Chinese naval experts have reportedly been skeptical about the aircraft’s utility citing operational limitations that might render the Water Dragon too inefficient to deliver as promised to be of any practical value.

Source: Flying 

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FAA Certifies Boeing 777 Folding Wingtips


Reminiscent of the foldable wings of some carrier-based aircraft, there’s an ingenious reason for the design.

The FAA has certified the folding wingtips that Boeing has installed on its Boeing 777X, the latest iteration of its long-haul stalwart. The new aircraft has longer wings than current models, allowing higher, faster and more fuel-efficient operation, but that means they won’t fit well into a lot of airport gates. Chopping about 15 feet off the wingspan by borrowing a long-accepted design feature of carrier-borne aircraft was a simple solution, but because these aren’t military aircraft, the FAA needed some safety assurances.

The new design allows for longer wings on the 777-8 and 777-9 models allowing them to fly higher, faster and farther. When arriving at the gate, the wingtips fold up to allow the 777 to park at any airport where the airplane is now flown.

The folding tips decrease the 777’s wingspan to 212 feet from 235 feet, and are intended to be folded up only on the ground. Instead of using aluminum, Boeing will make the new 777 wing out of carbon-fiber composites, which are stronger and lighter than the metal they replace.

The unusual wing design is taking shape as Boeing builds the first of its 777X jetliners at its factory in Seattle, the first twin-engine jetliners to carry more than 400 passengers. Boeing holds orders for 300 of the new-generation jets from several airlines.

Source: Flying 

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Just Aircraft Introduces Single-seat Ultralight


Light Sport manufacturer expects to launch final Just 103 design at AirVenture.

Walhalla, South Carolina-based Just Aircraft, makers of the SuperSTOL extreme short field performer, is developing an Ultralight for the Part 103 market. Named Just 103, the single-seat Ultralight is expected to be available as a kit or a complete aircraft later this year.

The flying prototype of the open fuselage Just 103 is a high-wing design constructed of steel tubes and an aluminum tail boom. But Troy Woodland, who also designed the SuperSTOL, is reworking the tail to incorporate a steel truss. Other than a small windscreen, the cockpit is completely open leaving the pilot to fully enjoy the sights and scents of the flying environment.

The Just 103 is powered by an Italian engine, the 37-horsepower Polini Thor 250. There are also plans to power the 103 with a Rotax 582 engine, but with that configuration it would no longer qualify under the Ultralight rules, which limit the aircraft to 254 pounds and 55 knots. Instead, the Rotax-powered version would be introduced as a Light Sport Aircraft. Unlike the LSA standards, Part 103 requires no pilot certificate, age limits or medical requirements.

Just Aircraft will continue to test fly and make modifications to the Just 103 and plans to launch the final design at EAA’s AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, at the end of July. The price point has not yet been finalized. However, the company said the Just 103 is expected to be very affordable as the cost of the Polini engine is only $4,000.

In addition to the SuperSTOL and the stretched SuperSTOL XL, Just Aircraft produces two more two-seat taildragger LSA kits: the Highlander and Escapade.

Source: Flying

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Portugal Air Summit Blends Airshow with Air Racing


European aviation show mixes convention-style presentations with exhilarating flying performances.

The Portugal Air Summit takes off next week at the Ponte de Sor Municipal Airfield, located in central Portugal. From May 24 through 27, the show will feature a variety of aviation exhibits and air shows, including Unmanned Aircraft Systems. About 60 aerial displays will be performed, including airplanes, drones and other radio-controlled (RC) vehicles.

The Summit will feature a host of presentations and panel discussions focused on sustainability, the future of commercial aviation and the incorporation of unmanned aerial vehicles into controlled airspace. A 64,500-foot tent will house vendors and an exterior deck area to provide a comfortable space to watch the air show.

In addition to discussions, aviation exhibits and traditional air show performances, the Portugal Air Summit will incorporate the Air Race Championship (ARC), with two race classes battling it out around a pylon course, not unlike the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada, and a third demo class that is reminiscent of the Red Bull Air Race. Eight Soviet Yak-50/52 airplanes will race the pylon course in the Vintage Class while the Sport Class will include eight Vans RV airplanes. The Extreme Class will feature aerobatic airplanes flying a chicane course.

A live band, Sgt. Wilson’s Army Show, will provide entertainment during the four-day event, playing music from the 1940s and 50s. Admission to the event is free.

Source: Flying 

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Airbus CyberSecurity brings its expertise to EU funded Brain-IoT Project


A European consortium of twelve industry and academy partners from France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, including Airbus CyberSecurity, has won the approval of the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 to begin working on Brain-IoT. The focus will be on interoperability and cybersecurity in the context of the Internet of Things (IoT).

As IoT products and services are being deployed more regularly in real life scenarios, concerns have risen in terms of dependability, security, privacy and safety. The Brain-IoT project, funded by the EU with a budget of €5 million, aims to establish a framework and methodology that supports users of IoT platforms, offering model-based tools that will aid the development of innovative, tightly integrated solutions for interoperability and cybersecurity.

As a security work package leader, Airbus CyberSecurity will provide its expertise and latest technologies to the Brain-IoT framework. The company’s experts will work with a particular focus on the areas of secure IoT devices and service provision, with the objective of deploying a state-of-the-art security layer and innovative lightweight mechanisms to secure all kinds of IoT elements. These solutions will apply to unilateral devices, such as sensors, as well as to more complex equipment, such as smartphones. Airbus CyberSecurity will also provide expertise to the IoT working group in promoting and strengthening security solutions for entire IoT ecosystems.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for us to contribute to the most important security topic facing our generation. When it comes to IoT, it’s necessary to address tomorrow’s safety and security issues today”, said Steven Rymell, Head of Technology for Airbus CyberSecurity.

Source: MRO Global

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AEI receives EASA approval for CRJ200SF


Aeronautical Engineers, Inc. (AEI) has received European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approval for the AEI CRJ200 SF passenger-to-freighter conversion. The EASA approval (STC 10061615) allows for the operation of European registered CRJ200 SF freighters. AEI received the original FAA STC for the CRJ200 SF at the end of 2016 and has since amassed over 45 firm orders and commitments for the freighter. Currently, AEI has six CRJ200 aircraft undergoing freighter modification for various customers.

“The EASA approval process progressed smoothly, on schedule, and as planned,” said Eric Wildhagen, AEI Vice President of Engineering. “We are delighted to now offer the many benefits of the CRJ200 SF freighter to our European customers.”

The AEI CRJ200 SF provides a payload of up to 14,574 lbs. (6,611 kg), depending upon the specific aircraft model. The conversion comes with a large 94” x 70” Main Cargo Door and with an ANCRA Cargo Loading System.

Source: MRO Global

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LOTAMS Opens Budapest Line Maintenance Base

The new station is the MRO’s first outside of Poland offering a full range of line maintenance services.

LOT Aircraft Maintenance Services (LOTAMS) says it has opened its first permanent foreign maintenance base capable of offering a full range of line maintenance services in Budapest.

The location close to the Hungarian capital’s Ferenc Liszt International Airport commence operating on May 3 and has already carried out line maintenance work on a LOT Polish Airlines-operated Boeing 787.

LOTAMS said work went into planning the location for around seven months, and it has also formed a partnership with Hungarian MRO Aeroplex, which will support LOTAMS in the event of non-standard maintenance activities.

Rafał Momot, VP commercial at LOTAMS, says now the base is operational, plans are afoot to further grow its services in Budapest, including hiring more employees and service Embraer aircraft operated by third-party carriers.

LOTAMS has been an Embraer Authorized Service Center since 2012, and says it is the only one to hold the approval in the Central & Eastern Europe region.

The MRO, which employs around 800 people, operates five hangars in total including its mainbase in Warsaw, where it carries out base maintenance services for a number of widebody aircraft including the Boeing 787.

Source : MRO Network

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Pipistrel Unveils eVTOL Concept


Aircraft builder also partnering with Elan for composite structures to build the aircraft.

Imagine an electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle for urban travel that’s quieter, safer, more affordable and more environmentally friendly than a traditional helicopter. At this week’s Uber Elevate Summit, Pipistrel, an Uber Elevate partner, revealed an aircraft the company thinks might fit that bill. The Pipistrel eVTOL concept uses dedicated propulsion systems for cruising and vertical lift and is part of a proposed family of aircraft capable of carrying between two and six people.

The Pipistrel eVTOL will travel longer distances at higher speeds than previous models. Utilizing a new integrated vertical lift system, the vehicle is designed for scalability while offering lower operating costs and an upgraded rider experience.

Ivo Boscarol, Pipistrel’s founder and general manager said: “Pipistrel is not trying to reinvent the helicopter by giving the vehicle many rotors, but is rather embracing dedicated propulsion solutions for cruise and vertical lift with built-in scaling capability.” Pairing an integrated vertical lift system with highly aerodynamic wings results in a new class of eVTOL, according to Boscarol.

Pipistrel’s director of R&D Tine Tomazic said, “We’re also announcing a strategic partnership with Elan, a Slovenian company, that has mastered the production of composite materials and structures in the 50+ years of existence, at massive scales. Together we are developing the design of a eVTOL structure that is scalable while building-in automation, digital manufacturing and high-speed RTM composite construction.”

Mark Moore, Uber’s Director of Engineering, Elevate Vehicle Systems, said: “Pipistrel has been one of the pioneers in electric aircraft development, initiating the age of electric flight. As an Uber Elevate partner, their eVTOL concept is pushing [the industry] toward the next generation of distributed electric propulsion.”

Source: Flying 

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One of Europe’s top airlines is in crisis


One of Europe’s top airlines is fighting for its life.
Shares in Air France-KLM (AFLYY) crashed as much as 14.5% on Monday after the group’s CEO quit over a pay dispute and the French government said it would not intervene to help.

France’s finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, told CNN affiliate BFMTV on Sunday that the labor dispute “threatens the survival of Air France

He also said that the French government, which owns 14.3% of the Air France-KLM holding company, would not provide the carrier with a bailout, according to BFMTV.

In a statement on Friday, CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac said he would quit in mid-May after tens of thousands of French staff and pilots voted against a multi-year pay offer.

Air France is the world’s 17th largest airline in terms of passenger trips, according to the International Air Transport Association. The inclusion of KLM, which Air France bought in 2004, makes the airline group one of the biggest in Europe.

The carrier said on Friday that 13 days of strikes by its staff had already cost it about €300 million ($358 million).

Air France-KLM posted a first quarter operating loss of €118 million ($141 million) last week, attributing €75 million ($90 million) of that loss to the strike impact.

Labor unions have scheduled more strikes, leading the French airline to warn that it would cancel about 15% of its flights on Monday.

Analysts said the airline wasn’t in immediate danger of collapse.

“I don’t think there’s the immediate threat of Air France going out of business,” said Johannes Braun, an airline analyst at asset manager MainFirst Bank.

Braun said that while first quarter losses looked bad, the airline has a relatively healthy balance sheet and is expected to turn a profit in 2018.

The unions are seeking a better pay deal because the carrier is in better financial condition than in previous years, he said. Air France has offered workers a 7% pay rise over four years.

“It is pretty generous,” said Braun. “If management … do not have the leverage to put pressure on the unions, at the end I guess we will see an ambitious wage deal, which will increase costs.”

Daniel Roeska, an aviation analyst at Bernstein, said the CEO’s “untimely departure will serve as a wake up call for politicians and the management in France.”

Janaillac has led the company for less than two years.

Air France is no stranger to angry labor disputes.

In 2015, protesters ripped the shirts off Air France executives after the company revealed plans to cut thousands of jobs.

Apart from the French government, other big investors in Air France-KLM include Delta Air Lines (DAL) and China Eastern Airlines, which each own a stake worth 8.8%, according to FactSet data.

Source: Money CNN