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Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020

Qantas farewells "Queen of the Skies"

Qantas has marked the end of an era with the departure of the national carrier’s last Boeing 747 jumbo jet on July 22.

The final 747-400 in the fleet (registration VH-OEJ) departed Sydney at 2pm (AEST) as flight number QF7474, bringing to an end five decades of history-making moments for the national carrier and aviation in Australia.

Qantas took delivery of its first 747 (a -200 series) in August 1971, the same year that William McMahon became Prime Minister, the first McDonalds opened in Australia and Eagle Rock by Daddy Cool topped the music charts. Its arrival – and its economics – made international travel possible for millions of people for the first time.

The fleet of 747 aircraft not only carried generations of Australians on their first overseas adventures, they also offered a safe voyage for hundreds of thousands of migrant families who flew to their new life in Australia on board a ‘roo tailed jumbo jet.

Qantas 747s were at the forefront of a number of important milestones for the airline, including the first Business Class cabin of any airline in the world. Their size, range and incredible reliability meant they were used for numerous rescue missions: flying a record 674 passengers out of Darwin in the aftermath of Cyclone Tracy; evacuating Australians out of Cairo during political unrest in 2011 and flying medical supplies in and tourists home from the Maldives and Sri Lanka following the Boxing Day Tsunami in December 2004.

Qantas brought forward the scheduled retirement of the fleet by six months after the COVID-19 pandemic decimated international travel globally.

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GA Telesis Engine Services to upgrade test cell operation

GA Telesis Engine Services OY (GATES), the engine heavy maintenance
unit of global aviation integrator GA Telesis, has announced a significant capital expenditure to upgrade its test cell operation to the highest standards and technology available. The new upgrade will provide the
company with one of the most robust and modern test cells in mainland Europe and can easily transition towards testing the latest technology engines.
The company has partnered with MDS Gas Turbine Engine Solutions to engineer and install the test cell for completion by the end of 2020. MDS is widely known as a leader in the market and has provided test cells to
Pratt & Whitney, Siemens, and Rolls-Royce. The new facility will include major infrastructure upgrades as well.

This investment into the state-of-the-art test cell is the latest action in GATES’ strategy in becoming the first-choice engine MRO in Europe. The company's personnel growth has been double-digit for the past several
years and will continue for the next four to five years. GATES is adding new engine induction slots every month to meet the increasing market demand.

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Optimism for 737 MAX – FAA likely to grant certification in October

With the FAA having completed three days of certification flight tests on July 1 relating to the Boeing 737 MAX automated flight control system, its Flight Standardization Board (FSB) and Joint Operations Evaluation Board (JOEB) are making final plans to review proposed training for flight crews that now incorporate design changes and crew procedures.

The 737 MAX has remained grounded since March Last year after two fatal crashes involving the plane which killed 346 passengers and crew, costing the planemaker US$18 billion to date. It is anticipated that clearance will be given to Boeing to resume deliveries of the troubled jet at the end of September, while the long-awaited certificate of airworthiness should be issued at some point in October.

Company spokesperson Gordon Johndroe commented that:  “Boeing is working closely with the FAA and other international regulators to meet their expectations as we work to safely return the 737 MAX to service”. The FAA has confirmed that the public will have 45 days to comment on “proposed design changes and crew procedures to mitigate the safety issues identified during the investigations that followed the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines accidents,” noting that there are still some key steps to be taken before the plane can resume commercial service.

According to Reuters news agency, the JOEB will include regulators from Canada, Europe and Brazil and will evaluate minimum pilot training requirements. The FSB will issue a draft report for public comment addressing JOEB findings. Boeing has to add significant safeguards to a key safety system tied to both crashes, make other software updates and move wiring bundles.

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FAA approves Lycoming’s Electronic Ignition System on Robinson Helicopters

R22 and R44 helicopters purchased after January 15th will be outfitted with Lycoming's recently certified Electronic Ignition System (EIS). The EIS offers increased reliability, improved starting characteristics, and reduced maintenance.

The EIS installation replaces the left starting magneto. The remaining right magneto provides redundant ignition and eliminates the need for a backup power supply. EIS has very high spark-energy for easy engine starts and eliminates internal moving parts for increased reliability. EIS is designed to last the life of the engine with no scheduled maintenance between overhauls, eliminating the required 500-hour inspection.

Nyimpini Mabunda appointed CEO for General Electric in Southern Africa

General Electric (GE) has announced the appointment of Nyimpini Mabunda as the Chief Executive Officer for Southern Africa. In this role, Mabunda will lead GE’s growth in the region and drive alignment across its Power, Healthcare, Aviation and Renewable Energy businesses. He will also drive GE’s BBBEE roadmap and processes in South Africa.

Prior to joining GE, Mabunda was a Senior Advisor for the Boston Consulting Group and before that, he led Vodacom’s largest division, the Consumer Business Unit as Chief Executive for about 3 years responsible for commercial strategy and execution.

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C&L Aerospace now offers PPG windows for business and regional aircraft

C&L Aerospace now offers PPG cockpit windshields for business and regional aircraft. C&L specializes in many different aircraft types including Saab 340, ATR 42/72, ERJ 135/145, Embraer Legacy, Challenger 601/604, Global Express, Hawker 800/800XP, and more. C&L’s global warehouses, which are located in the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States, will stock the cockpit windshields.

“PPG is the premier manufacturer of aviation windshields and by offering their products it provides us with a meaningful growth opportunity for our multiple business units serving as a value-added extension of our OEM representations,” said Martin Cooper, SVP of Sales at C&L Aerospace.

Boeing and Etihad test innovations on ecoDemonstrator 787

Boeing and Etihad Airways will use a 787-10 Dreamliner to test ways to reduce emissions and noise as part of the aerospace company's ecoDemonstrator program before the airline accepts delivery of the airplane this fall. The collaboration, which includes extensive sound measurement testing with industry partners, builds on a strategic sustainability alliance Boeing and Etihad formed in November 2019.

The ecoDemonstrator program utilizes commercial aircraft to test technologies that can make aviation safer and more sustainable now and into the future. The 2020 program, which will begin testing in August, is the first to use a Boeing 787-10.

Boeing and Etihad will work with industry-leading partners, including NASA and Safran Landing Systems, to conduct aircraft noise measurements from sensors on the airplane and the ground. The data will be used to validate aircraft noise prediction processes and the sound reduction potential of aircraft designs, including landing gear, that are modified for quieter operations.

In addition, a flight will be conducted during which pilots, air traffic controllers and an airline's operations center will simultaneously share digital information to optimize routing efficiency and enhance safety by reducing workload and radio frequency congestion.

Test flights will be flown on a blend of sustainable fuel, which significantly lowers aviation's environmental footprint. The testing program is expected to last about four weeks before Etihad enters its Boeing 787-10 into service.
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