Monday, October 28th, 2019

Indonesia issues final report on 737 MAX crash – highlights multiple errors including Boeing design fault

Indonesian investigators have released their final report into the October 29, 2018 crash which killed all 189 passengers and crew on board Flight 610, a Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet. While the report highlighted the fact that Boeing had acted without adequate oversight from U.S regulators and as a consequence had failed to grasp risks in the cockpit software of its now grounded 737 MAX jet, the report also made it clear that errors by the crew and airline workers were also a contributing factor.

Indonesia has consequently made recommendations to Boeing, Lion Air, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and additional agencies. The report stated that:  “The design and certification of the MCAS did not adequately consider the likelihood of loss of control of the aircraft,” while also stating that “deficiencies” in the flight crew’s communication and manual control of the aircraft contributed to the crash, along with alerts and distractions in the cockpit. Commenting on the report, Indonesian air accident investigator Nurcahyo Utomo said: “From what we know, there are nine things that contributed to this accident. If one of the nine hadn’t occurred, maybe the accident wouldn’t have occurred.”

The report made it clear that a critical angle of attack (AOA) sensor providing data to the MCAS anti-stall system had been mis-calibrated by Florida-based Xtra Aerospace without the recommended equipment, and that there were strong indications it had not been tested during installation by Lion Air maintenance staff. According to Reuters news agency, the FAA, also faulted by the report for its oversight of Xtra, formally revoked the maintenance firm’s repair station certificate following the report’s publication. Xtra responded in a statement that it had been cooperating closely with the FAA “and though we have reached a settlement with the FAA, we respectfully disagree with the agency’s findings.”

The investigators also found that Lion Air should have grounded the jet following faults on earlier flights, adding that 31 pages were missing from the airline’s October maintenance logs. The report pointed out that Boeing’s safety assessment assumed pilots would respond within three seconds of a system malfunction but on the fatal flight, and one which had experienced the same problem the previous evening, it took both crews about eight seconds to respond. The report consequently made a recommendation for the systems to be designed not just for highly skilled test pilots, but for regular commercial airline pilots as well.

TP Aerospace

Aurigny launch customer for ClearVision with company’s first ATR 72-600

ATR has delivered the first of three ATR 72-600 aircraft to Aurigny. By replacing its fleet of three ATR 72-500 aircraft with the -600 Series, Aurigny will optimise its operations. The ATR 72-600 burns up to 40% less fuel and emits 40% less CO2 compared to a regional jet.

The Guernsey-based airline will also further benefit from -600 Series’ latest generation Standard 3 avionics suite and is the launch customer for the ClearVision™ Enhanced Vision System (EVS). The EVS will provide pilots with outstanding vision and situational awareness during conditions of reduced visibility.

In the cabin, Aurigny’s passengers will benefit from the -600 Series’ modern Armonia cabin which will introduce the latest standards of comfort, offering more space for luggage in Overhead Bins and providing passengers 18” wide seats.

Virgin Galactic completes merger with Social Capital Hedosophia

Virgin Galactic (VG), a vertically integrated aerospace company, and Social Capital Hedosophia (SCH), a public investment vehicle, have completed their previously announced business combination. The resulting company is named Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. (VGH) and its common stock, units and warrants are expected to commence trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the new ticker symbol SPCE, SPCE.U and SPCE WS, respectively, on October 28, 2019. The Company manufactures its space vehicles in Mojave, California, through its aerospace development subsidiary The Spaceship Company, with commercial operations centered at Spaceport America in New Mexico.

VG already has customer reservations from more than 600 people in 60 countries representing approximately US$80 million in total collected deposits, and over US$120 million of potential revenue. The completion of this merger and trading as a public company are the next milestones on the path towards building a thriving commercial service business and investing appropriately for the future.

GA Telesis

Airbus inaugurates test facility for propulsion systems of the future

Airbus Chief Technology Officer Grazia Vittadini and Airbus Defence and Space CEO Dirk Hoke have officially opened the E-Aircraft Systems House test facility at Airbus’s Taufkirchen/Ottobrunn site alongside Ilse Aigner, President of the Bavarian State Parliament.

The test centre will provide a space to research technologies for alternative propulsion systems and energy sources – such as electric motors for unmanned aerial vehicles, hybrid propulsion systems and hydrogen for combustion or synthetic fuel use. The building, which allows complete systems to be integrated and tested, is the first test centre of its kind worldwide.

Grazia Vittadini said: “The E-Aircraft Systems House represents a real competitive advantage for Airbus. With its 3,000 m2 test area, we now have the infrastructure to move the transition to emission-neutral flight forward at an even faster pace.”

S7 Technics’ Novosibirsk base gears up for component production for Superjet 100

S7 Technics’ production facility at Novosibirsk’s Tolmachevo airport has successfully completed its latest audit by Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company (SCAC), manufacturer of the Superjet 100 (SSJ100).

Based on the results of the inspection, S7 Technics’ Novosibirsk site was granted approval for the design and production of leather covers for passenger seats on the SSJ100.

SCAC conducts regular annual checks of S7 Technics’ Tolmachevo base. Previously, in 2017 and 2018, the manufacturer’s experts approved the site for the design and production of a variety of articles from plastic, textile and leather materials, as well as placards for the Superjet 100.

Under its own EASA (Part 21G, Part 21J, Part 145) and FAP-285 approvals, S7 Technics’ staff are authorised to design a required component, issue the relevant approved designer documentation, approve installation of that component on an aircraft, and produce the designed component supplying it with European-standard passport (EASA Form 1) – before finally installing it on an aircraft.

The positive results of SCAC’s series of audits have paved the way for S7 Technics to launch a competence centre for elaborating designer documentation and producing components for Russian-made SSJ100 regional jets.

SR Technics

MTU posts net income of €391.7 million for first nine months of 2019

In the first nine months of 2019, MTU Aero Engines generated revenues of € 3,403.7 million, up 3 % on the previous year (1-9/2018 €3,318.7 million). The group’s operating profit increased by 10 % from €508.9 million to € 557.7 million. The EBIT margin rose from 15.3 % to 16.4 %. Net income increased by 8 % to €391.7 million (1-9/2018: €362.8 million).

The area in which MTU recorded the highest revenue growth in the first nine months of 2019 was the commercial engine business, where revenues increased by 10% from €1,037.0 million to €1,137.8 million. The main source of these revenues was the V2500 engine for the classic A320 family as well as the PW1100G-JM for the A320neo and the GEnx engine that powers the Boeing 787 and 747-8.

Revenues in the military engine business increased by 7% to €323.6 million (1-9/2018: €303.1 million). The EJ200 Eurofighter engine was the main source of these revenues.

In the commercial maintenance business, revenues in the first nine months of 2019 remained at the previous year’s level at €1,995.9 million (1-9/2018: €2,019.7 million). “In terms of organic growth, revenue in the commercial MRO segment has increased by around 8%,” said CFO Peter Kameritsch. This growth was driven mainly by the V2500 engine, followed by the CF34 family of regional and business jet engines.

Boeing elects Adm. John M. Richardson (Ret.) to Board of Directors

Boeing's Board of Directors has elected retired Adm. John M. Richardson as its newest member. Richardson has served as the 31st chief of Naval Operations from September 2015 until August 2019, when he retired from the U.S. Navy after 37 years of service.

Richardson will join the Aerospace Safety Committee, which was formed in August following a rigorous five-month review of the company's policies and processes for airplane design and development by the board's temporary Committee on Airplane Policies and Processes. He also will serve on the board's Special Programs Committee.

Royal Aero

Egyptair and AeroMobile introduce Inflight Mobile Connectivity

Panasonic Avionics Corporation subsidiary, AeroMobile, a leading inflight mobile connectivity provider, has launched mobile connectivity onboard EGYPTAIR Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft.

This launch marks a significant time for EGYPTAIR; considered Africa’s pioneer and leading airline, and the flag carrier of Egypt, as it responds to the ever growing demand for connectivity from travelers.

With this launch, EGYPTAIR has achieved a major milestone by initiating the deployment of mobile and internet connectivity across its entire fleet of Dreamliner aircraft. In addition to the onboard Wi-Fi and live TV service, passengers will be able to access the AeroMobile network to connect their
roaming-enabled GSM mobile phones to use mobile data services, send and receive SMS messages and emails, and make and receive calls.

Following the successful introduction of its first two aircraft with inflight mobile connectivity in Spring 2019, EGYPTAIR are set to complete their roll out through Autumn 2019.

The B787-9 fleet with inflight mobile connectivity will serve destinations including Europe, America and Asia during 2019.

Satcom Direct and World Fuel Services to integrate software for customer accessibility and flight efficiency

Satcom Direct (SD) and World Fuel Services have signed an agreement to integrate their software. The new relationship provides common customers an enhanced experience for preplanning, trip execution, flight planning, datalink, and global and regional trip support.

Common customers will enjoy completely integrated technologies, allowing them to work through either Satcom Direct’s customer portal, SD Pro®, or World Fuel Services’ portal, myWorld. This greater convenience and accessibility will benefit pilots, operators and flight departments.

“We are always looking for ways to make it easier for customers to transact business no matter where they are, from the office to the cockpit,” says Malcolm Hawkins, senior vice president
North American sales at World Fuel Services. “Our relationship with Satcom Direct brings two complementary solutions together to create a seamless environment to make flight departments more efficient.”


Spairliners strengthens supplier and MRO network

Spairliners, an OEM independent leader for integrated component care for the Embraer E-Jet family in Europe, has agreed to expand its MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) network via collaborating with new partners.

The new partnerships with Inflite MRO Services, based in Southend/ UK and Ateliers Bigata, a specialist in the maintenance of pressurized safety components, headquartered in Bordeaux/ France, will extend Spairliners' repair capabilities and add more flexibility and agility to Spairliners existing supplier network over the next years.


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