Friday, October 4th, 2019

Further problems for Boeing 737 Family as FAA orders inspection for wing support cracks

Boeing has been ordered to begin carrying out inspections on all 737 NG models, namely the 737-600, -700, -800 and -900. The currently troubled 737 MAX is excluded from the FAA order. The problem concerning the cracking came to light when a number of 737-800s were being converted from passenger aircraft to cargo aircraft. The FAA has demanded the immediate inspection (within the next seven days) of 165 registered 737-800s, all of which have clocked a great many flight hours.

According to the FAA, if the problem is not effectively addressed, the cracking could: "adversely affect the structural integrity of the airplane and result in loss of control of the airplane." The FAA statement relating to this order indicated that Boeing "discovered the cracks while conducting modifications on a heavily used aircraft. Subsequent inspections uncovered similar cracks in a small number of additional planes." The part is called a pickle fork. While the order will ultimately affect over 2,000 aircraft, the urgency of inspections will depend on the number of flight hours performed by each individual aircraft and further inspections will be required based on thresholds hit.

Southwest Airlines has a fleet of approximately 700 737 NGs, none of which will require immediate inspection, while United Airlines confirmed it has no 737 NGs requiring immediate inspection but 80 will require inspecting in the near future. American Airlines has 304 737 NGs but has confirmed that none will require immediate inspection, while Delta Air Lines has a fleet of 200 737 NGs, of which 50 are affected by the FAA’s inspection order, but none require immediate inspection. Inspections of the wing supports is estimated to take approximately one hour.


Tecnam delivers first two P2012 Travellers to Cape Air

Tecnam has delivered the first two P2012 Travellers to U.S. customer Cape Air.

With the ferry flight from Capua in Italy to Massachusetts, U.S., the P2012 Traveller is officially born and in service. These first two aircraft represent the first batch of the 100 Travellers ordered by Cape Air as a result of a thorough and intensive development process in conjunction with Tecnam.

Powered by two 375 HP turbo-charged Lycoming engines, the 11-seat Tecnam P2012 Traveller has a fuel capacity of 750 litres in the wings, but on the ferry flight to the U.S. — the longest ever for Tecnam — the planes carried an extra 450 litres in a collapsible ferry tank in the rear of the aircraft, significantly extending its range.

There were fuel stops in five different countries. The first airport was Groningen Airport in the Netherlands, followed by Inverness in Scotland and Reykjavic in Iceland. Next came Narsarsuaq in Greenland and the final refuelling was at Goose Bay Airport in Canada, before heading south to Barnstable Airport in Hyannis, Massachusetts, U.S.

Ryanair German pilots vote for four-year Collective Labour Agreement

Ryanair has confirmed that its pilots based in Germany have voted by a majority of 99% in favour of a four-year Collective Labour Agreement (VTV), to cover all Ryanair’s directly employed pilots in Germany until March 2023.

The agreement, negotiated between Ryanair and the pilot union VC, will deliver a new pay structure along with a fixed 5/4 roster.  Ryanair and VC have also agreed a Social Plan to govern German base closures or reductions.


Pratt & Whitney awarded F135 production contract

Pratt & Whitney has been awarded a production contract for the 12th and 13th lots of F135 propulsion systems, powering all three variants of the F-35 Lightning II aircraft.

This award represents the largest-ever F135 production contract, funding more than 332 engines for the U.S. armed services and international customers, and includes program management, engineering support, production support, and tooling. The total contract value for Lot 12-14 is approximately US$5.7 billion and it covers all Lot 12 and Lot 13 engines, with priced options for Lot 14.

Air Greenland orders two Airbus H225 helicopter for search and rescue

Air Greenland has ordered two Airbus H225 heavy helicopters to support its bid to win its home country’s search and rescue (SAR) contract.

Under the terms of a firm contract assisted by Airbus Helicopters, two H225s repurposed from the oil and gas industry will be delivered over the coming months to replace the ageing S-61 helicopter currently used for the service.

Airbus will provide a comprehensive maintenance and support package as well as pilot and crew training.

The 11-tonne category, twin-engine H225 is the latest member of Airbus Helicopters’ Super Puma family with more powerful engines providing a smoother ride and enhanced performance compared to earlier models.


Boeing-Embraer partnership postponed to 2020

Boeing and Embraer are continuing to work closely together to establish their strategic partnership, positioning both companies to deliver greater value to airline customers and the flying public, and to accelerate growth in global aerospace markets.

Since receiving approval for the partnership from Embraer shareholders in February this year, the companies have undertaken diligent planning for the creation of a joint venture made up of the commercial aircraft and services operations of Embraer. Boeing will own 80% of the new company, to be named Boeing Brasil – Commercial. Embraer will hold the remaining 20%.

The transaction remains subject to regulatory approval; the two companies are actively engaged with authorities in relevant jurisdictions and have obtained a number of regulatory approvals. Following a detailed assessment by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the parties' strategic partnership has received clearance to close in the United States. The European Commission recently indicated it will open a Phase II assessment in its review of the transaction, and Boeing and Embraer look forward to assisting with that review. Based on this development, however,
the companies now expect the transaction to close in early 2020.

Boeing and Embraer are also preparing to launch a joint venture to promote and develop markets for the multi-mission medium airlift KC-390. Under the terms of the proposed partnership, Embraer will own a 51% stake in the joint venture and Boeing will own the remaining 49%. Two KC-390 milestones were recently achieved by Embraer: the first KC-390 was delivered to the Brazilian Air Force, and the first international purchase was announced by Portugal.

Gulfstream receives order from Philippine Air Force

The Philippine Air Force has established a contract through the United States government to purchase a Gulfstream G280™ as well as parts, tooling and contractor logistics support. The aircraft will be configured for command and control missions and is slated for delivery in 2020.

The G280 has a maximum range of 3,600 nautical miles/6,667 kilometers at its long-range cruise speed of Mach 0.80 and a high-speed cruise of Mach 0.84. The aircraft can fly eight hours nonstop and can connect Dubai to Hong Kong; Singapore to Melbourne, Australia; or Singapore to Dubai.

Gulfstream has produced special mission aircraft for more than 50 years. Aircraft can be configured for head-of-state and VIP transport; command and control; airborne early warning; medical evacuation; high-altitude atmospheric research; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. More than 205 Gulfstream aircraft support governments and special missions in more than 40 countries around the world.

TP Aerospace

Alcoa’s Baie-Comeau Smelter receives certification from Aluminium Stewardship Initiative

Alcoa Corporation, a global leader in bauxite, alumina and aluminum, has reported that the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) has certified the Company’s Baie-Comeau aluminum smelter in Québec, Canada.

The three-year certification from ASI represents additional recognition for Alcoa’s leadership in sustainability. Earlier this year, Alcoa announced ASI certifications for three locations that represent the full upstream aluminum value chain. The Company now has locations certified against ASI’s Performance Standard in three countries – Brazil, Canada and Spain.

ASI is a global sustainability certification program for the aluminum industry, representing both upstream producers and downstream manufacturers who use the metal in their products. The certification process includes independent, third-party auditors to verify responsible production, sourcing and stewardship as part of ASI’s standards.

Gail Baker to lead Collins Aerospace Aftermarket function

Collins Aerospace Systems has released that Gail Baker has been appointed vice president, Aftermarket Services, reporting directly to CEO Kelly Ortberg.

In her new role, Baker is responsible for leading the worldwide commercial and military aftermarket business and customer service organizations, including customer offerings, long-term aftermarket programs, spares, part repairs, asset management and technical and strategic support.

Baker has been with UTC for more than 30 years and is known companywide as a forward-thinking and customer-driven leader. She most recently led the Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance & Space Solutions segment for Mission Systems where she's been focused on driving long-term growth and profitability through customer support and program execution.

Baker succeeds Ajay Agrawal who accepted a new position as vice president of Strategy & Services at Carrier.


UPS Flight Forward obtains FAA certification - now fully-fledged drone airline

UPS Flight Forward (UPSFF), the UPS drone delivery subsidiary, has taken a major step forward in the drone delivery space having obtained certification from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate the first fully-fledged drone airline in the U.S.

The Part 135 Standard certification permits UPSFF to fly an unlimited number of drones with an unlimited number of operators piloting them. Certification also allows it to carry loads in excess of the current limit of 55 pounds and to fly at night. No sooner has certification been awarded than UPSFF launched a Matternet M2 quadcopter from WakeMed’s hospital campus in Raleigh, N.C. The company will continue to focus on drone deliveries of medical products and specimens, based on hospital campuses, focus particularly on North Carolina.

In a statement, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said UPS’ certification is “a big step forward in safely integrating unmanned aircraft systems into our airspace, expanding access to healthcare in North Carolina and building on the success of the national UAS Integration Pilot Program to maintain American leadership in unmanned aviation.”

Commenting on the milestone achieved by UPS, company CEO David Abney said: “Our technology is opening doors for UPS and solving problems in unique ways for our customers,” adding: “We will soon announce other steps to build out our infrastructure, expand services for healthcare customers and put drones to new uses in the future.”


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