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Tuesday, August 4th, 2020

FAA proposes four key Boeing 737 MAX design changes through airworthiness directive

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced that it intends to issue an airworthiness directive for the troubled Boeing 737 MAX, which involves the updating of flight-control software, revised display-processing software to generate alerts, revising a number of flight-crew operating procedures, and changing the routing of certain wiring bundles.

While significant, the announcement does not include the finalizing of flight-training procedures which are critical to the 737 MAX once again taking to the air. Boeing has confirmed that it is: "continuing to make steady progress towards the safe return to service, working closely with the FAA and other global regulators. While we still have a lot of work in front of us, this is an important milestone."

The FAA said in a separate 96-page report released at the beginning of this week, the FAA stated that it: "has preliminarily determined that Boeing’s proposed changes to the 737 MAX design, flight crew procedures and maintenance procedures effectively mitigate the airplane-related safety issues" in the two fatal crashes.

The grounding of the 737 MAX has so far cost Boeing approximately US$19 billion, while the FAA’s comprehensive review has lasted over 18 months, involving in excess of 40 full-time engineers, inspectors, pilots, and technical support staff who have been involved in 60,000-plus hours of review, certification testing, and document evaluation. Much of the focus has been on the MCAS system and the FAA has recommended that Boeing carry out an Angle of Attack (AOA) sensor system test to check that the amendments to the system will ensure that if two AOA sensors receive conflicting data, the flight crew will be able to recognise this and act accordingly, with particular respect to stabilizer movements.

The FAA said the changes minimize "dependence on pilot action and the effect of any potential single failure."


Airinmar to perform warranty and value engineering services for Air Methods

AAR subsidiary Airinmar, the global independent provider of component repair cycle management and aircraft warranty solutions, has signed a new services agreement with civilian helicopter operator Air Methods.

Airinmar’s services will include the identification, claim, recovery and reporting of rotorcraft/aircraft component warranty. Airinmar will compliment Air Methods’ existing processes and apply its proven procedures, support systems and skilled technical staff.

With this partnership, Air Methods will also benefit from Airinmar’s value engineering of costs associated with the repair process, including price quotes from suppliers and service vendors. Based on the data analyses and findings, Airinmar identifies cost reductions, as well as process improvements.

Magnetic MRO Training receives Part-147 Online Training Approval

Magnetic MRO Training, an international EASA Part-147 approved type training organization, has received Part-147 Online Training Approval from ECAA and is already performing its first synchronous distance learning in Airbus A320 Type Training. Synchronous distance learning means that the theoretical part is done virtually; meanwhile, examination and practical training will be done on location at Part-147 approved facility.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has brought in many changes in the aviation industry, in response to the demand for synchronous distance learning has increased drastically. Such course types allow trainees to virtually participate in the theoretical training program and complete courses online even when travel restrictions are in place.


Gulfstream opens customer support parts hub in Atlanta

Gulfstream Aerospace has opened a hub dedicated to worldwide aircraft parts distribution in Atlanta. Positioned within two miles of the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the warehouse’s location will allow parts to be delivered around the world more quickly and efficiently.

The new warehouse maintains approximately US$23 million in parts inventory. Gulfstream’s partner in this operation is Crane Worldwide Logistics, which provides the warehouse space and handles logistics services.

The Gulfstream parts network includes the main Customer Support Distribution Center in Savannah with additional distribution centers in Van Nuys, California; Teterboro, New Jersey; Amsterdam; Basel, Switzerland; Hong Kong; and Singapore. Gulfstream’s global parts inventory totals more than US$1.3 billion.

TAP Air Portugal starts again from Munich to the Portuguese capital

Just in time for summer vacation in Bavaria, TAP Air Portugal is resuming its flights from Munich: the Portuguese airline will bring vacationers and business travelers twice a day from Munich Airport to Lisbon. The Portuguese capital belongs to the top 20 travel destinations in Europe for Germans and is the ideal starting point to get to know the country.

TAP passengers will also benefit from the fact that the Humberto Delgado Airport functions as a hub and offers many attractive connections to North and South America, the Azores, and Africa. With its A330-900neo aircraft, the airline has one of the most modern and environmentally friendly long-haul fleets in Europe.


Virgin Galactic unveils Mach 3 aircraft design for high speed travel

Virgin Galactic has unveiled the first stage design scope for the build of its high speed aircraft design, and the signing of a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Rolls-Royce to collaborate in designing and developing engine propulsion technology for high speed commercial aircraft. This follows the successful completion of its Mission Concept Review (MCR) program milestone and authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Center for Emerging Concepts and Innovation to work with Virgin Galactic to outline a certification framework.  This marks an exciting step forward in Virgin Galactic’s development of a new generation of high speed aircraft, in partnership with industry and government leaders, with a focus on customer experience and environmental sustainability.

Rolls-Royce is a leader in the cutting-edge technologies that deliver clean, safe and competitive solutions to the planet’s vital power needs. Rolls-Royce has a proven record of delivering high Mach propulsion, powering the only civil-certified commercial aircraft (Concorde) capable of supersonic flight.

The Mission Concept Review, which included representatives from NASA, is an important program milestone at which the Virgin Galactic high speed team confirmed that, based on the research and analysis work completed, its design concept can meet the high-level requirements and objectives of the mission. Previously, NASA signed a Space Act Agreement with Virgin Galactic to collaborate on high speed technologies.

The basic parameters of the initial high speed aircraft design include a targeted Mach 3 certified delta-wing aircraft that would have capacity for 9 to 19 people at an altitude above 60,000 feet and would also be able to incorporate custom cabin layouts to address customer needs, including Business or First Class seating arrangements. The aircraft design also aims to help lead the way toward use of state-of-the-art sustainable aviation fuel. Baselining sustainable technologies and techniques into the aircraft design early on is expected to also act as a catalyst to adoption in the rest of the aviation community.


More than 200 young people starting vocational training at Lufthansa Technik

Despite the current biggest crisis in the company's history, Lufthansa Technik continues to consistently focus on the vocational training of highly qualified employees as a measure to secure the future. This month, some 240 young people will therefore begin their apprenticeships in the company in nine different training courses and six dual study programmes.

"Even though we have no employment for many of our staff at the moment, we continue to train," said Antonio Schulthess, Chief Executive Human Resources, Engines & Aircraft Systems at Lufthansa Technik AG. "Because one thing is clear: we will emerge from this crisis again and must be prepared in the best possible way for the demographic change in our workforce."

Out of the total of 240 new apprenticeships and places to study, 192 are directly attributable to Lufthansa Technik, the remainder to companies in the Lufthansa Technik Group or joint ventures. In total, more than 750 young people are currently undergoing training or studying in the Lufthansa Technik Group on their way to a career in aircraft engineering, industry or logistics.

The proportion of women in 2020 is a good 14%. Compared with the previous year, this figure represents a slight increase, but it is still too low. Lufthansa Technik will therefore continue its efforts to attract women in particular to technical professions. The inclusion of people with physical disabilities also remains a declared goal of the company: this year in Hamburg, two hearing impaired people will start their training as tool mechanics.

Originally Lufthansa Technik had planned a higher number of new apprentices for this year. However, the outbreak of the pandemic as well as the resulting massive decline in global air traffic and the workload in many parts of the company made it necessary to adjust the number of trainees accordingly.


International Consolidated Airlines Group proposes capital increase of up to €2.75 billion

International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) has announced its proposal to undertake a capital increase with pre-emptive subscription rights to raise gross proceeds of up to €2.75 billion. Qatar Airways Group, IAG’s largest shareholder (25.1% holding), has confirmed its support for the proposed capital increase and irrevocably undertaken to subscribe for its pro rata entitlement. The remainder of the proposed capital increase is fully underwritten on a standby basis.

The Proposed Capital Increase will strengthen IAG’s balance sheet by reducing financial leverage and increasing IAG’s overall liquidity position. IAG has also accessed additional pools of liquidity including the £750 million extension of its worldwide commercial partnership with American Express and secured further aircraft financing.

IAG believes the proposed capital increase, together with its quick response to the COVID-19 crisis, should enable the Group to emerge from the current pandemic in a strong position, with more resilience, greater flexibility and the ability to make the right operational and strategic decisions for the long term benefit of all its stakeholders.

Israel Aerospace Industries completes replacement of Pickle Fork frame fittings for B737-800 aircraft

As part of a routine C-Check for a Boeing 737-800 aircraft, conducted at BEDEK MRO facility (part of IAI Aviation Group), an AD mandated inspection was performed to detect cracks in the Pickle Fork frame fittings, which extend from the main deck to the aircraft landing gear bay. During the inspection, a crack was discovered on the lower section of the left Pickle Fork at station 663.75.

Due to this finding, the IAI team was required to remove and replace the Pickle Fork fittings on both sides of the aircraft for the first time, at IAI, on a Boeing 737 NG. The replacement procedure is complex and requires extensive engineering work (no formal instructions have been published by Boeing) and involves the joint effort of a very highly skilled sheet metal team, and B1 & B2 engineers. The work was successfully accomplished in full coordination with the Boeing Company.

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