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THIS WEEK P10
A380 TO MANSTON
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initial Airbus superjumbo
at small London airport
for pilot training 15
NO-GO FOR GOGO
Delays as Delta’s wi-f
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7-13 MAY 2013


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FLIGHT
INTERNATIONAL
VOLUME 183 NUMBER 5389 7-13 MAY 2013
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FORFIRST TIME
THISWEEKP10
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British Airways to station
initial Airbus superjumbo
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Delays as Delta’s wi-f
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NEWS
THIS WEEK
8 Paris targets next defence priorities
9 Boeing eyes ‘perfect’ return for 787s.
Investigators probe Bagram 747
Freighter crash
10 Virgin Galactic powers up for frst
passengers
11 Eurocopter takes wraps off ‘mature’
unmanned EC145
AIR TRANSPORT
14 Missile threat prompts overfight ban.
Embraer buoyant as depleted backlog
rebounds
15 Manston to host frst BA superjumbo.
Comac’s tardy ARJ21 inches closer to
certifcation
16 Pilot defcit prompts Russian quotas.
Double barrier plan to enhance cockpit
security
18 Japan seeks stability gains on MD-11
DEFENCE
19 First strike for UK-based Reaper crew.
US Navy sets out broad requirements in
initial ideas for Seahawk successor
20 US Army’s enhanced OH-58F helicopter
makes test debut.
USAF MC-12 crash kills four
21 Missile assurance keeps Norwegian F-35
buy on target.
Belgrade lines up fghter purchase with
Russia
BUSINESS AVIATION
22 Eclipse distributor unveils shared-
ownership scheme.
G650 completions backlog slackens
23 Embraer stands by Phenom plan in face
of low demand.
First production-ready Sovereign takes
to sky
SPACEFLIGHT
24 Orbital sets sights on Antares orders
25 Taking a shot at clearing space debris
BUSINESS
26 M&A feels US budget axe
REGULARS
7 Comment
40 Straight & Level
41 Letters
44 Classified
47 Jobs
51 Working Week
49 JOB OF THE WEEK BALPA, fight safety
specialist, London Heathrow
COVER STORY
28 Typhoons tried and tested Royal Air
Force’s Red Flag appearance proves
Eurofghter’s interoperability with USAF
F-22s
FEATURES
33 ENVIRONMENT SPECIAL REPORT
35 Blending the rules Oilseed fuel may
change the future for renewables
36 Strength in numbers Biofuels effort
takes shape in Europe
38 The next giant leap NASA shifts its key
green project into higher gear
PIC OF THE WEEK
YOUR PHOTOGRAPH HERE
AirSpace user vipmig has entitled this shot
of a Polish air force Mikoyan MiG-29
Fulcrum “Shadow of Light”. Most of the
country’s fleet of the Russian combat type
dates from the Cold War era. Open a gallery
in flightglobal.com’s AirSpace community
for a chance to feature here
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COVER IMAGE
Aviacom’s Jamie Hunter
got up close to this Royal
Air Force Eurofighter during
carriage trials with the
Paveway IV precision-
guided bomb. Our report
looks at 11 Sqn’s debut
Red Flag appearance with
the multirole Typhoon P28
NEXT WEEK BUSINESS AVIATION
Our pre-EBACE special looks at the state
of business aviation in Europe and
updates the status of key programmes.
Plus: Dassault Falcon 2000LXS cutaway
High-fidelity helicopter simulators and training systems.
Download the Military Simulator
Census online now.
www.flightglobal.com/milisim
fightglobal.com
CONTENTS
Flightglobal reaches up to 1.3 million visitors from 220
countries viewing 7.1 million pages each month
For a full list of reader services, editorial
and advertising contacts see P43
EDITORIAL
+44 20 8652 3842
fight.international@fightglobal.com
DISPLAY ADVERTISING
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REPRINTS
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FLIGHT DAILY NEWS
+44 20 8652 3096
fightdailynews@fightglobal.com
THE WEEK ON THE WEB
flightglobal.com
Vote at flightglobal.com/poll
Find all these items at flightglobal.com/wotw
QUESTION OF THE WEEK
41
%
51
%
8
%
Total votes: 2,861
This week, we ask for your thoughts on the 787 resuming
commercial service RWelcome back Dreamliner RToo soon
RPermanent fix to battery issue still needed
BEHIND THE
HEADLINES
IN THIS ISSUE
Companies listed
Aeris Aviation ...............................................22
AgustaWestland ...........................................23
Airbus ..............................................14, 15, 16
Airbus Military .......................................... 8, 20
All Nippon Airways ......................................... 9
American Airlines .........................................14
American Eagle ............................................14
AJW Capital Partners ....................................23
Antonov .......................................................21
Astrium ........................................................25
AT-One .........................................................19
Beechcraft .............................................20, 22
Bell Helicopter .............................................20
Boeing .........................................9, 15, 16, 18
Bombardier .................................................14
Bond Offshore Helicopters ...........................23
British Airways ..............................................15
Cassidian ....................................................21
Cessna ..................................................22, 23
CFM International .......................................... 8
Chengdu Airlines ..........................................15
CIRA ............................................................19
Comac .........................................................15
Dassault .................................................. 8, 21
Delta Air Lines ........................................14, 16
EADS ...........................................................21
Eclipse Aerospace ........................................22
Embraer .................................................14, 23
Ethiopian Airlines ........................................... 9
Eurocopter ...................................................11
Eurofghter ...................................................21
FedEx...........................................................18
Flying Colours ..............................................22
General Atomics...........................................19
General Dynamics........................................22
Gogo............................................................16
Gore Design .................................................23
Gulfstream ...................................................22
Indra ............................................................19
Israel Aerospace Industries ....................19, 27
Japan Airlines ................................................ 9
Jet Aviation ..................................................23
Kaman .........................................................27
Kongsberg ...................................................21
Landmark Aviation .......................................27
Lockheed Martin ........................19, 20, 21, 27
LOT Polish Airlines .......................................... 9
MBDA ............................................................ 8
MTU Aero Engines ........................................27
Nexcelle .......................................................27
Nordwind Airlines .........................................14
Norsk Helikopterservice ...............................23
Orbital Sciences...........................................24
Pilatus .........................................................22
Pratt & Whitney Canada ...............................23
Qatar Airways ................................................. 9
RAC MiG ......................................................21
Raytheon ...............................................19, 20
Republic Airways ..........................................14
Rolls-Royce ........................................8, 15, 26
SES Astra .....................................................19
Sierra Nevada ........................................10, 24
Signature Flight Support ..............................23
Sikorsky .................................................19, 27
SR Technics..................................................27
Sukhoi ..................................................... 8, 21
Swiftair ........................................................18
Thales ..........................................................21
Tiger Airways Australia ..................................27
Tognum ........................................................26
Tronrud Aviation ...........................................22
Tupolev ........................................................14
United Airlines .............................................14
Virgin Galactic .......................................10, 24
WestJet ........................................................27
Airline Business editor Max
Kingsley-Jones (left) met former
IATA head Giovanni Bisignani to
talk about his new book, which
lifts the lid on his 10 years as
the association’s director gen-
eral. The straight-talking Italian
also shared his thoughts about
the delays that afficted the
Boeing 787 and Airbus A380
(P9). Meanwhile, air transport
editor David Kaminski-Morrow
few British Airways’ A380 simu-
lator at its London Heathrow
training centre ahead of a brief-
ing about BA’s plans for the intro-
duction of its superjumbo later
this year (P15).
Craig Hoyle gives his take on the “anti-drone” protest at
RAF Waddington in late April on The Dew Line. “It’s good
that the protesters can have their voices heard,” notes
Hoyle. “And I’m sure that the
peace camp at Waddington
will remain for some time –
probably until combat
operations in Afghanistan
end late next year and all the
Reapers get stuffed into
boxes as they can’t yet be
fown in UK airspace. But claims that the UK’s ‘drones’ are
participating in ‘extrajudicial assassinations’ and the
slaughter of innocent civilians ‘without democratic oversight
or accountability to the public’ simply aren’t supported by
the facts.” All the latest developments from the world of
space can be found on our Hyperbola blog, where, in one of
a host of recent entries, David Todd notes how NASA is
renting extra seats on Russia’s Soyuz to fy Americans to the
International Space Station.
HIGH FLIERS
The top five stories for the week just gone:
1 Video: Flightglobal expert analyses Bagram 747 crash sequence
2 British Airways 787 emerges with blue nacelles
3 Thomson sets date for frst 787 services
4 United orders 30 E-175s
5 LOT 787s to be fxed in Ethiopia as fights resume
Too close to call CSeries A350
Last week, we asked: Which will fly first? You said:
6
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Flight International
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7-13 May 2013
Dcwnlcad The Engine Directcry.
fightglcbal.ccm[CcmEngDirectcry
COMMENT
7-13 May 2013
|
Flight International
|
7 fightglobal.com
You can follow all the news from
business aviation’s European
show EBACE on our landing
page, which will also include links
to our interactive show dailies
flightglobal.com/ebace
See Business Aviation P23
A tale of two industries
S
ize certainly matters when it comes to the fortunes
of business jet manufacturers during the past four
years. Demand for super-midsize types and larger has
remained robust since the start of the global financial
crisis; that for medium, light and very-light aircraft
sluggish or worse.
For those in the latter segments, it is difficult to de-
tect any light at the end of the tunnel, and there is a se-
rious question over whether these segments are victim
to a permanent structural shift in market demand.
Citations, Learjets and Hawkers – for decades the
workhorses of the North American corporate world –
and a new breed of very-light and personal jets which
promised to smash entry barriers to business aviation
have simply not taken off in the markets that matter:
Asia, the CIS, Middle East and Africa.
Meanwhile, demand for these types of aircraft in
their backyards is struggling to recover, partly due to a
glut of for-sale signs on unwanted, nearly-new jets be-
cause makers were slow to put the brakes on produc-
tion lines as the downturn deepened.
As a time machine for busy executives, the business
case for the compact business jet remains compelling.
Their manufacturers must be hoping that – as spending
power and corporate confidence return in the West and
newer markets broaden their tastes beyond large-cabin
status symbols – that message gets through. O
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See Spaceflight P25
The one in space is worse
Junk this complacency
In the near 60 years since Sputnik, our orbital environment has been exploited for vast beneft
to humankind – and turned into the world’s biggest junkyard; it’s time for a clean-up
S
ay the word “spaceflight” and most people think of
daring missions, dashing astronauts and achingly
beautiful images of our own world or the deep cosmos.
From Sputnik through Apollo and the Moon walks to
Mars rovers, orbiting telescopes and the incomparable
views from the International Space Station, the space
age has opened a new frontier and brought to human-
kind benefits that would dazzle even the visionaries
who first probed the edge of our atmosphere.
Unfortunately, as humankind has done with every
other new frontier, we’ve also turned space into a
giant junkyard.
Space is a big place, so that is quite an achievement
in less than 60 years. But the reality is that while we
can talk about new missions to exotic worlds (back to
the Moon, anyone, or how about a foot on Mars?) we
should be talking seriously about much less glamorous
missions – to clean up the mess we’ve left in orbit.
All the experts are alarmed. At orbital speeds, even
coin-sized flecks of metal can destroy a spacecraft, and
there are many tens of thousands of such flecks whiz-
zing around the useful orbits that host the satellites
which give us intercontinental telecoms, navigation,
make bank transfers work, and view the ground.
Big chunks of metal are also up there, from old rocket
bodies and dead satellites to pieces thereof. Even if
every mission from today onwards were to be as re-
sponsible as possible and leave no more pieces behind,
The problem has even been
likened to our realisation that
climate change is a real crisis
collisions are inevitable, and every collision makes
more pieces. The problem goes beyond the probable
loss of valuable space assets; we actually run the risk of
being grounded.
We must hope that policy makers – and budget hold-
ers – in the capitals of all spacefaring nations heed the
scientists’ call for the money and political will to start
cleaning up space. As delegates to the sixth European
conference on debris recently concluded, the need is
urgent, and it is time – past time – to recognise that “the
removal of space debris is an environmental problem
of global dimensions that must be assessed in an inter-
national context, including the UN”.
The problem has even been likened to our realisation
20 years ago that global warming is a brewing cata-
clysm that cannot be ignored. The rather poor record so
far of the international community in turning climate
change concerns into effective action does not bode
well for the space debris crisis. But crisis it is, and the
sooner it is widely recognised as such the better. O
THIS WEEK
fightglobal.com 8
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Flight International
|
7-13 May 2013
For a round-up of our latest online news,
feature and multimedia content visit
flightglobal.com/wotw
BUDGET CRAIG HOYLE LONDON
Paris targets next
defence priorities
French government outlines plan to allocate €364 billion to
armed forces in period to 2025 but full detail yet to emerge
R
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Dassault Rafales provide carrier-based strike capability
BRIEFING
FOURTH UK VOYAGER HANDED OVER TO RAF
DELIVERY The UK’s fourth Airbus Military A330 Voyager touched
down at the Royal Air Force’s Brize Norton air base in Oxfordshire on
26 April, with the tanker/transport the frst of only two to have under-
gone conversion in the UK. Placed on the military register as ZZ332,
the Rolls-Royce Trent 772B-60-powered aircraft is one of seven
Voyagers to be handed over suitable for use as a three-point tanker:
a confguration which includes under-wing hose-and-drogue refuelling
pods and a fuselage refuelling unit. It was adapted for the RAF by
Cobham Aviation Services in Bournemouth, Dorset.
PILOT KILLED IN RED BULL DISPLAY TEAM CRASH
ACCIDENT A Bede BD-5J single-seater microjet of The Flying Bulls
display team has crashed during an attempted forced landing, killing
the pilot, Guido Gehrmann. Red Bull says: “It is with great sadness
that we confrm the death of our close friend of many years, Guido
Gehrmann. Guido was on his way back from an event in [the] Tyrol,
fying a Bede-5 of the Flying Bulls. When problems occurred with the
engine, Guido attempted an emergency landing, but this ended in
tragedy.” The Flying Bulls are based in Salzburg, Austria.
RUSSIAN RETURN WILL BE PARIS HIGHLIGHT
AIR SHOW Flying displays by the Sukhoi Su-35 in its overseas debut
and the back-in-service Boeing 787 will be among the highlights at
this year’s Paris air show. Boeing and Qatar Airways are expected to
bring examples of the Dreamliner to the 50th edition of the biennial
industry spectacular, say organisers. The Sukhoi fghter will be joined
by the Irkut Yak-130 combat trainer in what show director Gilles
Fournier calls “the proper return of the Russians to Paris for the frst
time since 2001”.
ROLLS-ROYCE REMAINS ON GROWTH TRACK
FINANCIAL In a frst-quarter interim management statement, Rolls-
Royce described frst-quarter trading as consistent with expecta-
tions, leaving unchanged full-year expectations of modest growth in
revenue and strong growth in proft in its civil aerospace business.
On the defence side, Rolls-Royce expects a full-year modest growth
in revenue and modest reduction in proft. In 2012, civil sector rev-
enue was up 16% year-on-year to £6.44 billion ($10 billion), while
operating proft gained 46% to £727 million. Defence sector revenue
rose 8% to £2.42 billion, lifting proft by 7% to £404 million.
USAF CHIEF DONLEY TO QUIT IN JUNE
LEADERSHIP US Air Force secretary Michael Donley will step down
on 21 June, completing a near fve-year tenure at the helm of the
world’s most powerful air arm. Donley was confrmed as secretary of
the air force on 2 October 2008, after then-secretary of defence
Robert Gates fred his predecessor Michael Wynne and then USAF
chief of staff Gen Michael Moseley because of disagreements over
production of the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor. Donley’s replace-
ment has yet to be named.
737 MAX POWERPLANT REACHES DESIGN FREEZE
PROPULSION CFM International has frozen the design of the
Leap-1B engine for the Boeing 737 Max. The manufacturer said dur-
ing a briefng in London that the freeze was achieved “on time” on
29 April. It says this will allow the manufacturer to begin releasing
parts for the frst engine to test. CFM’s schedule shows it will pro-
duce the frst -1B test engine by mid-2014.
F
rance plans to allocate a total
of €364 billion ($475 billion)
to its defence budget between
2014 and 2025, with the sum and
a broad equipment breakdown
having been outlined in a new
White Paper published by Paris
on 29 April.
Initiated by President François
Hollande in July 2012, the Livre
Blanc process represents the first
strategic defence review to have
been conducted by the nation
since 2008.
Of the planned total spend,
some €179 billion will be allocat-
ed for the 2014-2019 period to be
covered by France’s next law on
military planning. Firm details of
this should emerge “during the
autumn”, according to the publi-
cation. By comparison, France’s
defence spending for 2013 is val-
ued at €31.4 billion.
The planned force structure
outlined in the publication calls
for the French air force and navy
to operate a combined fleet of 225
combat aircraft, including those
operating from the latter’s lone
aircraft carrier, the Charles de
Gaulle. Its present inventory of
fighter jets includes Dassault Ra-
fales and older Mirages and Super
Etendards, with 25 of the latter
type remaining in naval service,
as recorded by Flightglobal’s
World Air Forces directory.
The air force should also have
a fleet of 50 tactical transports by
the end of the budget period.
France has 50 Airbus Military
A400M transports on order.
Alongside these will be seven
surveillance aircraft and 12 Air-
bus Military A330 multirole tank-
er transports, to be acquired from
2014. Its unmanned air system
inventory should also total 12
theatre surveillance.
French army aviation assets
should comprise 140 reconnais-
sance and attack helicopters, 115
utility helicopters and about 30
tactical unmanned air vehicles,
the report states.
While firm details will not
emerge until the next law on mili-
tary planning has been finalised,
other projects to be pursued will
include upgrading the navy’s
Dassault ATL-2 Atlantique mari-
time patrol aircraft, acquiring a
replacement for MBDA’s Mica air-
to-air missile, and completing
the development of the MBDA
helicopter-launched anti-ship
FASGW/ANL missile in conjunc-
tion with the UK.
Paris also plans to continue
work leading to the introduction
of unmanned combat air vehicles
post-2020. O
To download a free copy of our
World Air Forces directory, go to
flightglobal.com/waf2013
THIS WEEK
7-13 May 2013
|
Flight International
|
9 fightglobal.com
Virgin powers up
for frst passengers
THIS WEEK P10
T
he fatal crash of a Boeing
747-400F in Afghanistan on
29 April, which killed all seven
crew on board, is being probed by
US safety investigators.
Operated by National Air
Cargo on behalf of the US Air Mo-
bility Command, which oversees
air cargo shipments by military
and chartered aircraft, the freight-
er (N949CA) crashed shortly after
take-off from Bagram air base.
Video thought to show the in-
cident surfaced on the internet in
the days following the crash. It
seems to show the jumbo in an
apparently steady climb shortly
after take-off, but with an ex-
tremely high nose-up attitude.
Crews taking off from military
bases such as Bagram in hostile
territory normally plan to climb
at the maximum angle, putting
them at the greatest height above
ground level achievable by the
time they cross the airfield
boundary.
This entails a high nose-up at-
titude that is maintained for long-
er than normal, rather than trad-
ing climb angle for greater
airspeed to make the aircraft easi-
er to handle and safer should en-
gine failure occur. However, this
can be a risky manoeuvre, partic-
ularly in the event of engine fail-
ure or cargo shift. O
Footage of the Bagram Boeing
747 crash can be viewed at
flightglobal.com/747crash
Investigators probe Bagram 747 Freighter crash
SAFETY DAVID LEARMOUNT LONDON
OPERATIONS DAVID KAMINSKI-MORROW LONDON
Boeing eyes ‘perfect’ return for 787s
Ethiopian Airlines becomes frst Dreamliner customer to resume operations with type as airframer rolls out global feet fx
A
irlines have wasted no time
in starting to return their
Boeing 787s to service following
the publication of an airworthi-
ness directive by the US Federal
Aviation Administration on 26
April which lifts the type’s three-
month grounding.
Other jurisdictions quickly fol-
lowed the FAA’s lead, and with
Boeing engineers and modifica-
tion kits designed to address ther-
mal problems with the type’s bat-
tery strategically located around
the world, it took barely 24h be-
fore a Dreamliner was again per-
forming a revenue service.
First out of the blocks was Ethi-
opian Airlines, which conducted
the first passenger flight since the
mid-January grounding when one
of its 787s operated from Addis
Ababa to Nairobi as flight ET801
on 27 April. Among those on
board was Boeing vice-president
of marketing Randy Tinseth, who
said that many passengers “had
no idea they’d be flying on the
787 until the bus dropped them
off at the air stairs”. Tinseth
added that the flight departed on
time, arrived early, and was
“truly perfect”.
Qatar Airways followed suit
four days later, operating a serv-
ice between Doha and Dubai.
However, the Gulf carrier, which
has so far taken delivery of five
787s, will only resume Doha-
Heathrow flights on 15 May.
Polish flag carrier LOT, mean-
while, is preparing to send two of
its 787s to Ethiopia for battery
modification. Both 787s – one
from Warsaw and one from Chi-
cago – will be sent to Ethiopian’s
base at Addis Ababa to undergo
the rectification work. LOT con-
firms the aircraft will be flown to
Ethiopia but declines to comment
on when they will depart. The
airline says, however, that it will
restore 787 services on 5 June.
Ethiopian has four 787s, which
will similarly undergo the modi-
fication work. Japanese carriers
All Nippon Airways and Japan
Airlines will both wait until next
month before resuming services,
despite apparently being first in
line for the changes.
JAL says three of its seven
Dreamliners have been modified
and proving flights are expected
to begin in early May, ending by
the middle of the same month.
ANA has carried out proving
flights on the two 787s in its fleet
that have received the changes. O
Additional reporting by
Flightglobal staff
FORECAST MAX KINGSLEY-JONES LONDON
Outsourcing delays here to stay, warns Bisignani
Airlines should get accustomed to
disruptions caused by programme
delays to new airliners as the indus-
try transitions from traditional manu-
facturing methods to a new
business model.
That is the warning from former
IATA head Giovanni Bisignani, who
says that the delays are a byproduct
of the complex supply chains forced
on airframers by the huge fnancial
burden of developing new products.
“It is so expensive to build a new
aircraft. If you have to do it in the
traditional way, by fnancing [the pro-
duction of] all the parts, then you
would never have a new aircraft,”
Bisignani told Flight International’s
sister magazine Airline Business, in
reference to the problems afficting
the Boeing 787, and previously the
Airbus A380.
The Italian – who was director
general of IATA between 2002 and
2011, and previously a chief execu-
tive of Alitalia – says that the “enor-
mous fnancial requirements” of
developing a new airliner have
forced manufacturers to outsource
both design and manufacturing to
levels never before seen.
Bisignani says that the disrup-
tions to deliveries and operations
are “the price we have to pay” for
this shift.
However, he does not expect any
long-term repercussions to custom-
ers from the 787 delays. “Like the
problems with the A380, fortunately
after a while they’re forgotten – al-
though it’s an expensive cost for the
manufacturers,” he says. O
See our timeline showing the
Dreamliner’s nightmare:
flightglobal.com/787woes
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Flight ET801 was the first 787 passenger service since January
787 FLIGHT RESUMPTION DATES
Carrier Date
Air India Undisclosed
All Nippon Airways 1 June
Ethiopian Airlines 27 April
Japan Airlines 1 June
LAN Airlines Undisclosed
LOT Polish Airlines 5 June
Qatar Airways 1 May
United Airlines May
SOURCE: Airlines
THIS WEEK
fightglobal.com 10
|
Flight International
|
7-13 May 2013
For a round-up of our latest online news,
feature and multimedia content visit
flightglobal.com/wotw
Watch test pilot Dave MacKay
describe fying SpaceShipTwo at
flightglobal.com/virgingalactic
ENGINE TEST ZACH ROSENBERG WASHINGTON DC
Virgin powers up for first passengers
Space tourism venture completes 16s in-fight engine burn, bringing commercial suborbital fights this year a step closer
V
irgin Galactic is continuing
to pore over data generated
by the first powered flight of its
SpaceShipTwo crewed subor-
bital vehicle, following achieve-
ment of the milestone on 29
April. Early analysis of the sortie
suggests the vehicle and its en-
gine satisfactorily achieved their
test points, says the space tour-
ism company.
The flight marks the first air-
borne ignition for a crewed com-
mercial suborbital vehicle, and
brings routine commercial space-
flight one giant leap closer to real-
ity. “From our perspective it went
terrific. We had a smooth initia-
tion of the burn, the burn itself
was high quality, it had a good
end with a good smooth shut-
off,” says George Whitesides,
president of Virgin Galactic.
“Equally important, maybe
even more important, the aerody-
namic qualities of the spacecraft
through transonic and supersonic
points were controlled and under-
stood, and matched predictions.
Overall it was a really good start to
the next phase of test flights.”
SOUND BARRIER
The spacecraft was lofted above
Mojave Air and Space Port in
California by WhiteKnightTwo,
its dedicated carrier aircraft. Re-
cent unpowered glide flights have
seen SpaceShipTwo stream oxi-
diser, but without fuel.
During the 16s engine burn,
SpaceShipTwo briefly exceeded
the speed of sound. A full duration
burn of little more than 55s should
cause the vehicle to reach Mach
3.0, allowing it to fly a slow parab-
ola before topping out at around
110km (68 miles), providing its
occupants with up to 5min of
weightlessness.
Although engineers had been
wary of the vehicle’s transonic
performance due to “issues with
flutter”, says Whitesides, the test
flight appears to have allayed
those fears. “The vehicle was very
good in that perspective,” he says.
The Sierra Nevada-built en-
gine, called RocketMotorTwo in
Virgin Galactic’s distinctive style,
is fuelled by a mixture of liquid
nitrous oxide and solid hydroxyl-
terminated polybutadiene – es-
sentially laughing gas and rubber.
Traditional rocket engines are
fuelled by either all-liquid or all-
solid fuels, and though combin-
ing the two means a significant
loss of efficiency, it allows the en-
gine to be safely throttled or
turned off without the need for
toxic chemicals.
TEST REGIME
Whitesides is positive about the
powerplant’s capability. “We’ve
been going through a qualifica-
tion programme for the last few
months, and have seen good per-
formance, most importantly
we’ve seen consistent perform-
ance,” he says. “It was what we
expected, but when you’re flying
in a fundamentally new regime in
the air, it’s important that it all
goes right.”
At least two more test flights,
and probably more besides, are
planned before the spacecraft is
declared ready for commercial
flights. The profile for the two
manifested flights is as-yet unde-
termined, pending full analysis of
the 29 April flight, but assuming
all went well, the next flight
could occur in as little as a month,
with an engine burn of 20-30s.
“It’ll depend on how long we
burn in [powered flight two] ver-
sus three, but certainly in one of
those two flights we will hit [the
point of maximum dynamic
pressure], which is the next major
milestone,” says Whitesides.
If everything goes to plan, the
first test flight into space should
follow two to three flights later,
with the first commercial flight in
late 2013. Commercial flights
were initially hoped to begin in
2007, with one following every
successive year. “We will be feel-
ing pretty good around the end of
the year if we meet our schedule.
Obviously we want to get into
commercial ops as soon as we
practically can,” says Whitesides.
Virgin has taken deposits from
575 passengers to date. If all are
flown successfully, it will more
than double the number of peo-
ple who have crossed the Karman
line into space.
A second SpaceShipTwo/
WhiteKnightTwo pair is being con-
structed at The Spaceship Compa-
ny, a venture specifically formed to
build them. “We’re making
progress, we’ve built the upper and
lower cabin halves, we’ve built and
bonded the wing spars to the lower
wing skins,” says Whitesides. “I
think we’re going to see a lot of
progress over the next months.”
Test flights using the second vehi-
cle could start in 2014, he adds. O
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SpaceShipTwo’s next flight could take place in June
7-13 May 2013
|
Flight International
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11 fightglobal.com
THIS WEEK
ROTORCRAFT DOMINIC PERRY LONDON
Eurocopter takes
wraps off ‘mature’
unmanned EC145
Optionally piloted vehicle uses helicopter’s existing avionics
system and plug-in device to enable autonomous capability
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Pilotless test flights have been conducted from Istres air base
E
urocopter says unmanned
flights in civilian airspace of
its new optionally piloted vehicle
(OPV), a technology demonstra-
tor based on its EC145 light twin,
are a “major maturity step”.
The Marseille-headquartered
airframer revealed on 25 April that
it had been working on the project
since September 2011, with
manned flights carried out from its
Donauwörth, Germany facility.
However, Jean-Brice Dumont, chief
technical officer at Eurocopter, says
it only recently obtained permis-
sion to perform unmanned flights
with the aircraft. These have been
conducted with the OPV since the
beginning of April from Istres air
base in the south of France. Gain-
ing clearance to fly the aircraft
without a pilot in “populated air-
space” is a “major maturity step”
for the concept, adds Dumont.
The optionally piloted capabili-
ty is achieved by plugging in a Eu-
rocopter-developed “black box” to
the aircraft’s existing avionics sys-
tem, via an installed avionics rack
in a cabin rear of the pilots’ seats.
It can be controlled from a
ground station or, more desirably,
fly autonomously. “Although there
is a ground station, what the air-
craft gets from that is mission as-
signments,” says Dumont. The
ability for the aircraft to fly with the
“maximum level of autonomy”
presents a “higher level of interest”
to potential customers, he says.
However, operators can take con-
trol of the aircraft to orientate it
over a drop point or release an ex-
ternal load, for example.
Onboard cameras provided the
ground station with visibility
during the EC145’s unmanned
flights, complemented by an ex-
ternal gimballed camera on the
helicopter for infrared and day-
light mission imaging.
Eurocopter envisages both civil
and military applications for the
technology, although Dumont
suggests a launch customer
would most likely come from the
latter camp. Discussions over
possible sales are ongoing, he
says, with some including the re-
quirement for optionally piloted
technology as part of wider deals
for regular helicopters.
He claims an OPV is a more ver-
satile and cost-effective solution
than having both manned and un-
manned helicopters in a nation’s
inventory. The OPV technology
can be used across the majority of
the Eurocopter range, with mini-
mum modifications required. O
more than
US$20m with the Trent 900.
Trusted to deliver excellence
SAVE
As part of a living family of engines, the Trent 900 benefits from a
continuous flow of low-risk, proven technology which will deliver
close to 2% better than specification performance. Along with the
greater performance retention of the Trent three-shaft architecture,
that equates to more than US$20 million fuel saving per aircraft
over its lifetime. It’s little wonder two thirds of A380 customers
have chosen the Trent 900.
Making the extraordinary, ordinary.
AIR TRANSPORT
fightglobal.com 14
|
Flight International
|
7-13 May 2013
Check out our collection of online dynamic
aircraft profles for the latest news, images
and information on civil and military
programmes at flightglobal.com/profiles
R
ussian authorities have or-
dered the country’s carriers to
avoid overflying Syrian territory
following an apparent attack on a
Nordwind Airlines Airbus A320.
The aircraft had been in Syrian
airspace, en route from Sharm el-
Sheikh to Kazan on 29 April,
when its crew came under armed
threat – possibly from an attempt-
ed missile strike.
Russian federal aviation regu-
lator Rosaviatsia had already rec-
ommended, on 28 February, that
airlines should try to bypass the
airspace given the conflict in the
Arab state.
“Some carriers did not listen to
the advice and continued to oper-
ate in the airspace in which hos-
tile actions are taking place in-
volving missiles,” it says.
While several airlines have
suspended transits over Syria,
Rosaviatsia is resorting to a for-
mal directive to preserve safety.
It says it has banned Syrian
overflights and instructed its re-
gional territorial authorities to
ensure carriers “strictly” adhere
to the order until further notice.
“[We] believe the commercial
interests, in this current situation,
cannot prevail over the security of
citizens using the services of Rus-
sian airlines,” says Rosaviatsia.
It cites the accidental shooting
down of a Sibir Tupolev Tu-154
over the Black Sea in October 2001,
which investigators attributed to a
surface-to-air missile fired by
Ukrainian armed forces during an
exercise. The aircraft, operating Tel
Aviv-Novosibirsk, was destroyed
with the loss of all 78 on board.
Rosaviatsia says the accident
demonstrates that actual combat is
“not necessary” for there to be im-
plications for civil aircraft safety.
Russia’s transport ministry, cit-
ing Rosaviatsia, says the crew of
the Nordwind A320 noted evi-
dence of “combat” which “threat-
ened the safety of the aircraft”.
The country’s foreign ministry
says there were 159 passengers
on board the twinjet when the
incident occurred, at 04:55 Mos-
cow time.
While the airframe identity is
unconfirmed, ground-based sur-
veillance data indicates that, at
this time, a Nordwind A320 reg-
istered VP-BJH and operating
flight 1980 was passing over cen-
tral Syria en route to Kazan.
It is unclear whether the threat
came from surface-to-air missiles
or a different source. The aircraft
landed safely in Kazan, the trans-
port ministry adds.
Russia says it has taken “urgent
measures” to clarify “all the cir-
cumstances” of the event, and is in
contact with Syrian authorities. O
A
recent glut of orders for its
regional jets, which has
filled up delivery slots in 2014,
could force Embraer to reverse
earlier production cuts if the
trend continues.
Only six months after facing a se-
verely depleted backlog, the 29
April order by United Airlines for
30 Embraer 175s means the Brazil-
ian airframer has sold out its pro-
duction slots for 2014. The United
deal follows an earlier commitment
from Republic Airways for 47
E-175s that was confirmed in late
March, and keeps Embraer’s pro-
duction line active until early 2015.
Embraer was forced to reduce
E-Jet output by 10-15% after ex-
pected deals with North Ameri-
can carriers were postponed until
this year. Now the manufacturer
is considering increasing produc-
tion by a similar amount to ac-
commodate any new orders
signed with a requirement to de-
liver the aircraft in 2014.
“Probably with that [United]
order we pretty much are sold out
at the current level of production
for next year as far as commercial
jets [are concerned],” chief execu-
tive Frederico Curado told ana-
lysts during a 30 April conference
call to discuss the company’s
first-quarter earnings.
However, Embraer is still pur-
suing several large orders in the
North American market for
E-175s and smaller deals else-
where for E-190/195s.
Embraer estimates that North
American airlines are in the proc-
ess of buying between 300 and
400 new jets in the 76-seat class
for delivery in the next three to
five years. So far, three airlines –
United, Republic and Delta Air
Lines, which selected the Bombar-
dier CRJ900 – have ordered a total
of 117 aircraft since December, or
roughly one-third of the anticipat-
ed re-fleeting requirement.
Embraer still expects American
Airlines to place a larger order for
76-seat jets for its regional subsidi-
ary American Eagle, which oper-
ates 118 ERJ-145s, 74 ERJ-140s and
47 CRJ700s. Other US regional air-
lines could also sign firm orders
this year for new jets, Curado says.
Embraer also expects United
and Republic to convert at least
some of their combined options
for 87 further E-175s that were in-
cluded with the firm orders, per-
haps extending the company’s
backlog into 2016. O
SOURCE: Embraer
Number of orders
EMBRAER E-JET BACKLOG
150
175
200
225
250
275
300
Q1
2013
Q4
2012
Q3
2012
Q2
2012
Q1
2012
Q4
2011
Q3
2011
Q2
2011
Q1
2011
Visit our dedicated landing page
for all the latest safety news:
flightglobal.com/safety
Embraer buoyant as depleted backlog rebounds
ORDERS STEPHEN TRIMBLE WASHINGTON DC
CONFLICT DAVID KAMINSKI-MORROW LONDON
Missile threat prompts overflight ban
Russian civil aviation regulator bans nation’s carriers from using Syrian airspace following incident involving Nordwind jet
Nordwind crew felt the safety of the aircraft was threatened
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7-13 May 2013
|
Flight International
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15 fightglobal.com
Delta wi-f plans
fall foul of test
regulations
AIR TRANSPORT P16
B
ritish Airways is likely to sta-
tion its first Airbus A380 at
London Manston for initial cir-
cuit training after the jet is deliv-
ered in July.
The Kent airport will host the
A380 once initial ground tests
have been conducted at London
Heathrow, as BA intensifies pilot
conversion to the type.
BA intends to have some 90 pi-
lots trained on the aircraft by the
end of 2013, by which time it ex-
pects to have three in service.
The initial A380 will take on
some domestic UK flights and in-
tra-European services performed
by A320s, says BA simulator engi-
neering manager James Glover.
Manston has little traffic but its
facilities include a 2,748m (9,000ft)
runway. Glover says it will proba-
bly spend a “few days” at Manston
for pilot training, and indicates a
UK tour is planned with the jet.
BA has already sited an A380
and Boeing 787 simulator at its
Heathrow engineering base, and is
to transfer other simulators to the
same centre – which is undergoing
Comac’s tardy ARJ21 inches closer to certifcation
DEVELOPMENT MAVIS TOH SINGAPORE
C
hinese airframer Comac has
completed crosswind valida-
tion tests for its serially delayed
ARJ21 regional jet.
Aircraft 102 took off from Jiayu-
guan airport in Gansu province on
28 April for Xian Yanliang airport,
marking the end of more than four
years of crosswind trials.
It has also begun test flights at
night on the regional jet to verify
that the cockpit and external
lighting systems meet airworthi-
ness standards, says Comac.
Separately, Comac has met
with launch customer Chengdu
Airlines to begin preparations for
the type’s entry into service.
The manufacturer, together
with the major system suppliers,
will ensure on-site support for the
customer in the initial period fol-
lowing its arrival, says Comac.
Certification is targeted for the
first half of 2013, with delivery to
Chengdu by 2014. O
FLEET DAVID KAMINSKI-MORROW LONDON
Manston to host first BA superjumbo
Carrier will locate initial A380 at Kent airport to conduct circuit training as it intensifes pilot conversion to the Airbus type
LIVERY
Tradition triumphs over laminar flow concerns
British Airways’ frst Boeing 787-8
has emerged from the airframer’s
paint facility with its engine nacelles
painted in the carrier’s traditional
blue colour scheme.
The livery marks a departure
from the white nacelles which have
featured on virtually all 787s deliv-
ered so far, because of a restriction
which had resulted from laminar
fow considerations.
BA’s 787s are being ftted with
Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines.
The carrier’s original publicity mate-
rial had shown the aircraft with
white nacelles.
However, Boeing says it is evalu-
ating customer requests to paint the
nacelles on a “case-by-case basis”.
“We need to evaluate each cus-
tom colour request because differ-
ent colours may require different
thicknesses to achieve the desired
appearance,” the airframer says.
“We need to ensure that the
thickness required does not exceed
the design tolerance.”
The paint is crucial to the air-
craft’s economics because laminar
fow reduces skin friction drag, and
cuts fuel burn, but it requires a
smooth surface with minimal bound-
ary disruption.
Even the thickness of paint layers
can interrupt laminar fow between
the engine inlet and the surface of
the nacelle. O BA’s 787s are powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines
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refurbishment – from its Cranebank
facility from April 2014.
Fourteen additional simulators,
covering various aircraft types,
will be moved to the centre by the
end of 2014, giving it 16 in total.
Some older types will be retained
for third-party training work.
BA is still awaiting confirmation
of 787 delivery dates, following Eu-
ropean approval of a modification
to fix a problem with its batteries.
It had originally intended to
space the introduction of the 787
and A380 further apart, but delays
to the 787 programme have result-
ed in the two types being brought
in almost simultaneously.
Glover says BA still wants to
keep a buffer of about a month be-
tween the two types.
While Boeing has promoted the
commonality between the 787 and
777, BA has yet to decide whether
it will operate a joint fleet. It will
initially run the 787s as a “dedicat-
ed” operation, says Glover, pend-
ing a review of the benefits during
the first 18 months of operations.
“They’ll be separate fleets to
start with,” he says. The 787-8
operation will enable BA to gath-
er enough experience and infor-
mation ahead of the arrival of its
787-9s, he adds. O
Access additional content with a
subscription to our tablet edition:
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AIR TRANSPORT
fightglobal.com 16
|
Flight International
|
7-13 May 2013
Check out our collection of online dynamic
aircraft profles for the latest news, images
and information on civil and military
programmes at flightglobal.com/profiles
C
ertification of Gogo’s Ku-
band wi-fi system on Delta
Air Lines’ Boeing 767 aircraft is
taking longer than expected be-
cause of confusion over regula-
tory standards.
The delay stems from an issue
with US Federal Aviation Admin-
istration-mandated birdstrike tests
on the radome-installed Gogo
equipment. Delta, the launch cus-
tomer for Gogo’s Ku-band prod-
uct, applied for approval of the
equipment on its 767s earlier this
year after undergoing flight test-
ing and the other certification
steps, says Amit Patel, fleet
projects manager at Delta.
However, having completed its
evaluation regime, the carrier
subsequently learned additional
tests would be required.
FAA standards require opera-
tors to evaluate birdstrikes at de-
sign cruise speed (VC) at sea
level, or .85VC at 8,000ft
(2,440m). But Delta says this dif-
fers from previous guidelines is-
sued by the FAA covering radome
certification. Delta and Gogo ex-
pect the first wi-fi-enabled 767s
could be certificated and flying as
soon as June if the FAA approves
the results of additional tests.
It is likely the airline will be
ready to launch the service to
customers before the end of the
year, says Patel, but that timeline
is still undetermined.
Delta will initially conduct in-
house testing of the system before
launching it for passenger use.
Once certification of the first
767 is complete, further aircraft
will be modified after the peak
summer period. The airline also
plans to offer Gogo’s wi-fi on its
Airbus A330 fleet, but these will
require a separate flight-test re-
gime, says Patel. It plans to equip
nearly 150 aircraft – including
777s, 747s and certain 757s –
with the system by 2015. O
A
US congressman has intro-
duced a bill that could re-
quire airlines to install secondary
barriers to cockpits on thousands
of aircraft.
The bill, HR 1775, proposes
mandating a wire-mesh door that
would be locked in place when-
ever the reinforced cockpit doors
are opened during flight.
The US Federal Aviation Ad-
ministration mandated airlines to
install reinforced cockpit doors
after the terrorist attacks on 11
September 2001, but the flight-
deck still remains vulnerable, says
Representative Mike Fitzpatrick.
“The problem is that at some
point the pilots need to open the
cockpit door to get a meal or rest,”
he says. “That is the exact mo-
ment when terrorists strike.”
The concept of a secondary bar-
rier has been proposed for more
than a decade. In the wake of the
September 2001 attacks, the Inter-
national Federation of Airline Pi-
lots’ Associations supported a
mandate for installing a wire-mesh
door as additional protection to the
reinforced cockpit door.
Airworthiness standards for
the barriers are already in place
following the creation of a com-
mittee by the FAA that published
its recommendations in Septem-
ber 2011. Airlines have been re-
luctant to embrace the concept
despite the enthusiasm shown by
pilots’ unions. United Airlines
originally ordered Boeing 787s
with secondary barriers, but de-
cided to remove them before the
aircraft were even delivered. O
IFE KRISTIN MAJCHER WASHINGTON DC
Delta wi-fi plans fall foul of
birdstrike test regulations
FAA requires additional certifcation steps before carrier can roll out new system on 767s
R
ussia’s government plans to
establish a provisional quota
for hiring foreign commercial pi-
lots by domestic carriers.
During a call-in session broad-
cast live on 25 April, president
Vladimir Putin pointed out an
acute shortage of cockpit crews in
the country’s airline industry.
“Overall, it needs 1,200 pilots
a year,” he said. “The comple-
ment was 800 men in 2012 and is
expected to be 940 this year.
“We should find a balanced de-
cision, taking account of safety
and service quality as well as of
[the] interests of the airlines’ cur-
rent staff.”
Putin says the government has
proposed to set a quota for hiring
200 foreign pilots for a period of
up to five years with the proviso
that they do not perform the du-
ties of captain.
Russia’s Air Code stipulates that
crews employed by commercial
carriers may include only Russian
nationals, except for those hired
temporarily to train domestic pi-
lots. It also prohibits hiring for-
eigners as first officers. O
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Delta plans to equip around 150 jets with Ku-band connectivity
More coverage of the IFE sector
is available by heading for:
flightglobal.com/aix
Pilot defcit prompts Russian quotas
EMPLOYMENT TOM ZAITSEV MOSCOW
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President Putin is behind the move to hire foreign staff
REGULATION
Double barrier
plan to enhance
cockpit security
“At some point pilots
need to open the
cockpit door to get a
meal or rest… the
exact moment when
terrorists strike”
MIKE FITZPATRICK
Pennsylvania congressman
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fightglobal.com 18
|
Flight International
|
7-13 May 2013
Check out our collection of online dynamic
aircraft profles for the latest news, images
and information on civil and military
programmes at flightglobal.com/profiles
J
apanese investigators are advis-
ing improvements to the longi-
tudinal stability system on the
Boeing MD-11 to reduce the risk
of hard landing, in the wake of the
fatal FedEx roll-over at Tokyo.
The inquiry is also recommend-
ing studies to determine whether
a visual display of landing-gear
touchdown status, and an aural
warning system, would aid recov-
ery from a bounced landing and
enable crew to judge whether a
go-around is necessary.
Both pilots were killed when
the freighter landed heavily on
Narita’s runway 34L and
bounced, the impact fracturing its
left wing and causing the aircraft
to roll inverted and veer off the
runway. It caught fire and the
blaze destroyed the aircraft.
In its final analysis of the March
2009 accident the Japan Transport
Safety Board found the aircraft’s
approach, in gusting winds, was
unstable and the MD-11F flared
late, at only 20ft. The late flare did
not arrest the descent rate, and the
jet bounced, while a large nose-
down pitch input initiated a por-
poising effect.
It bounced again and the heavy
third impact – more than 3g verti-
cally and some 6.8 times the ulti-
mate load for certification –
snapped the wing. The MD-11 is
susceptible to wing fracture dur-
ing hard landings that result in
vertical overload of the airframe
structure, and this has led Boeing
to develop flight-control systems
to lessen such loads.
These include a longitudinal
stability augmentation system,
which assists in protecting pitch
attitude. The investigators sug-
gest that the functions of this sys-
tem should be improved, possi-
bly to incorporate a limit on large
nose-down elevator inputs dur-
ing touchdown.
FedEx, which also operated
the MD-11F involved in a similar
accident at Newark in 1997, has
SAFETY DAVID KAMINSKI-MORROW LONDON
Japan seeks stability gains on MD-11
Investigators propose a number of safety enhancements in the wake of fatal 2009 roll-over of FedEx freighter at Tokyo Narita
Attempts to correct a Boeing
MD-83’s leftward drift during fare
preceded the aircraft’s striking its
right wing on the ground while land-
ing at the Afghan city of Kandahar.
The aircraft’s wing hit the ground
20m (65ft) before the threshold, and
before main-gear contact, after the
captain banked the jet to the right.
It destroyed fve threshold lights
and the impact bent the last 3.6m of
the wing “signifcantly” upwards, says
Spanish investigation body CIAIAC.
The outer leading-edge slat was
severely damaged, as were the outer
aileron and trim tab, while damage
was also inficted on the wing-tip, as
well as slats and faps further in-
board. None of the 91 occupants
was injured.
Operated by Spanish carrier
Swiftair, the MD-83 had been con-
ducting a GPS-based approach to
Kandahar’s runway 05 after a serv-
ice from Dubai on 24 January 2012.
It emerged from cloud at about
1,500ft before the minimum, set
394ft from ground level, and estab-
lished runway visual contact at
500ft above - at which point the
crew noticed they were slightly right
of the centreline.
The captain, who had over
3,300h on type, took over the last
phase of the approach and correct-
ed the course to the left.
But during the fare the crew no-
ticed the jet was “shifting to the left,
threatening to take them off the run-
way”, says CIAIAC. The captain ap-
plied right bank, and the aircraft’s
wing hit the ground.
While the inquiry has yet to fnal-
ise its conclusions, CIAIAC’s interim
update says that the investigators
are focusing on the approach made,
the clearance and the crew’s ability
to execute it. O
INVESTIGATION
Late bank preceded Swiftair MD-83 wing-strike at Kandahar
The aircraft caught fire after veering off the runway as a result of its wing snapping under high load
since taken measures to prevent
a recurrence.
It raised the height for initiat-
ing flare to 40-30ft, revising oper-
ating manuals to reflect the
change as well as removing refer-
ences that allow nose-down ele-
vator input on landing.
FedEx introduced additional
simulator training sessions to un-
derline the need to control de-
scent rates with thrust, particu-
larly below 50ft. Its manual
revisions also included directives
to execute a go-around in the
event of a bounced landing.
The JTSB says the carrier has
“aggressively reinforced” the go-
around as a safety strategy. “As a
result, [operational safety] data
indicate that go-arounds in re-
sponse to bounces have in-
creased,” it adds.
FedEx has also installed head-
up displays in cockpits to im-
prove pilot awareness during the
landing phase. O
To read all the latest aviation
safety news and analysis, visit
flightglobal.com/safety
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DEFENCE
7-13 May 2013
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Flight International
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19 fightglobal.com
Enhanced OH-58F
makes test debut
DEFENCE P20
S
pain has hosted a European
demonstration intended to
prove the feasibility of using satel-
lite communications to enable un-
manned air system operations in
non-segregated airspace.
Launched from San Javier air
base on 24 April, the activity in-
volved a 6h flight using a maritime
surveillance variant of the Israel
Aerospace Industries Heron.
Funded by the European Defence
Agency and European Space
Agency, the Desire programme test
was conducted by a consortium
led by Spain’s Indra.
After take-off, the Heron’s satel-
lite datalink was engaged while
still in segregated airspace, before
entering class-C airspace at 20,000ft
(6,100m). Spanish air navigation
service provider Aena maintained
communications with a ground
control station operator.
A manned aircraft flew simu-
lated frontal and 90˚ collision tra-
jectories during the trial. O
A
Royal Air Force crew has per-
formed the first weapons re-
lease over Afghanistan from a Gen-
eral Atomics Aeronautical Systems
Reaper being controlled from UK
soil, one week after conducting the
first such operation from its Wad-
dington base in Lincolnshire.
In a statement, the UK Ministry
of Defence says it “can confirm
that a Reaper remotely piloted air-
craft system, operated by pilots
from 13 Sqn located at RAF Wad-
dington, has fired a weapon dur-
ing a mission supporting UK forc-
es on the ground in Afghanistan.”
The action is believed to have
been taken during a sortie flown
on 30 April, but the MoD says it
“does not discuss details of spe-
cific missions for operational se-
curity reasons”.
Also operated by the RAF’s 39
Sqn from the US Air Force’s Creech
AFB in Nevada since late 2007, the
UK’s Reapers each carry two
Raytheon 226kg (500lb) GBU-12
Paveway laser-guided bombs and
four Lockheed Martin AGM-114
Hellfire air-to-surface missiles.
Five Reapers are currently in the
RAF inventory, flying from Kanda-
har airfield in Afghanistan. The
type is primarily used for persistent
intelligence, surveillance and re-
connaissance tasks, using its elec-
tro-optical/infrared sensor and
synthetic aperture radar payload.
A follow-on batch of aircraft
being acquired via an urgent
operational requirement (UOR)
deal will increase this fleet size to
10, with the additional examples
expected to enter use soon.
The MoD says its Reapers have
used more than 380 weapons
during a combined 45,000 flight
hours accumulated in Afghani-
stan since 2007. It has yet to con-
firm whether the equipment will
be retained for future use, follow-
ing the planned withdrawal of
British combat forces from the
country by the end of 2014. This
would require the MoD to find
the money needed to support the
type from its core budget, rather
than the Treasury-funded UOR
method currently used. O
T
he US Navy will hold an in-
dustry day on 7 May seeking
information on a potential re-
placement for its Sikorsky MH-60
Seahawk helicopters for the post-
2028 era. The capabilities-based
assessment is the initial step in
the US military’s acquisition
process, which does not always
lead to a funded programme.
At this stage, the MH-XX study
will examine what capabilities
would be lost as the anti-subma-
rine and combat search and res-
cue platform is retired as planned,
says a request for information
(RFI) posted by the US Naval Air
Systems Command (NAVAIR).
The RFI describes the replace-
ment aircraft as a “helicopter”, but
says it is possible that other types
of vertical-lift aircraft could be con-
sidered during the assessment. NA-
VAIR will also consider how “in-
creasingly sophisticated” threats
will change the environment in
which the MH-60 operates.
“Key technologies and potential
game-changing capabilities are of
specific interest, as well as time-
lines for any needed develop-
ment programmes,” it says. The
command envisions the MH-XX
aircraft flying during a “broad
range of scenarios in the 2028
timeframe”.
The USN has defined eight sit-
uations the prospective aircraft
would have to address, including
surface warfare, deep and shal-
low water anti-submarine war-
fare, mine warfare, navy special
warfare and combat search and
rescue, plus logistics support,
medical evacuation and humani-
tarian assistance/disaster relief.
Responses to the RFI are due
by 21 May. O
The type carries two Paveway bombs and four Hellfire missiles
The navy’s Sikorsky MH-60 fleet is due to retire around 2028
UNMANNED SYSTEMS CRAIG HOYLE LONDON
First strike for UK-based Reaper crew
RAF Waddington-based pilots release their frst weapon in support of ground forces in Afghanistan, with feet set to grow
CAPABILITIES DAVE MAJUMDAR WASHINGTON DC
US Navy sets out broad requirements
in initial ideas for Seahawk successor
TESTING ARIE EGOZI TEL AVIV
European UAS
integration
goes on trial
Join the discussion about RAF
Reaper use on The DEW Line:
flightglobal.com/dewline
U
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DEFENCE
fightglobal.com 20
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Flight International
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7-13 May 2013
For free access to Flightglobal’s Defence
e-newsletter visit flightglobal.com/
defencenewsletter
ROTORCRAFT DAVE MAJUMDAR WASHINGTON DC
Enhanced OH-58F makes test debut
Armed scout helicopter marks ceremonial frst fight at US Army’s Redstone Arsenal four days after low-profle outing
T
he US Army’s OH-58F version
of Bell’s Kiowa Warrior armed
scout helicopter made a ceremo-
nial first flight at the service’s
Redstone Arsenal in Alabama on
30 April, following a low-profile
debut performed at the site four
days earlier.
Lt Col Matt Hannah, the army’s
product manager for the Kiowa
Warrior, says the service-designed
variant reduces the weight of the
OH-58 by 73kg (160lb), improving
the aircraft’s performance. But the
modernised type still does not
meet the service’s requirement to
hover out of ground effect at a
6,000ft (1,830m) pressure altitude
at temperatures of 35˚C (95˚F).
While the cockpit and sensor
upgrade (CASUP) does not rectify
the Kiowa’s shortcomings in the
hot and high environment, it does
substantially improve the heli-
copter’s mission equipment.
The F-model adds a new nose-
mounted Raytheon AAS-53 elec-
tro-optical/infrared camera, and
improved cockpit control hard-
ware and software for enhanced
situational awareness, Hannah
says. It also gains three full-
colour multifunction displays,
digital inter-cockpit communica-
tions, aircraft survivability
equipment upgrades and a rede-
signed wiring harness.
In the future, the aircraft is ex-
pected to receive dual-redundant
digital engine controls and digital
capability for the Lockheed
Martin AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-
surface missile, Hannah says.
The army has so far completed
two production-representative
OH-58Fs and one structural test
vehicle at its prototype integration
facility. The latter has been flying
for several weeks, but does not
have the avionics found on the
F-model aircraft, says Col Robert
Grigsby, the army’s project man-
ager for armed scout helicopters.
Production will transition to the
army depot in Corpus Christi,
Texas, “in the fall”, Hannah says.
This will build three more produc-
tion-representative aircraft to qual-
ify the facility to deliver the up-
grade, with limited user trials due
to start in November 2014. Assum-
ing the army choses not to launch
its Armed Aerial Scout programme,
a “Milestone C” decision to start
low-rate initial production (LRIP)
of the upgrade is expected in
March 2015, Hannah says, with the
first operational army unit due to
be equipped by late 2016. A total of
368 aircraft should be produced,
with the first two LRIP batches to
include 27 and 32, respectively.
The army originally intended
for the OH-58F to leave service
around 2025, but Grigsby says the
Department of Defense’s budget
situation may require the Kiowa
to remain in the inventory into
the mid-2030s, requiring addi-
tional structural upgrades.
While 60% of the OH-58F is
new, 40% of the aircraft consists of
components dating back more than
40 years. “The CASUP programme
is not a service life extension pro-
gramme, and does not zero time
the aircraft,” says Hannah. O
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The service-designed variant cuts the Kiowa’s weight by 73kg
For more news and information
on the rotorcraft industry, go to
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F
our crew were killed when a
US Air Force Beechcraft MC-12
Liberty crashed in Afghanistan’s
Zabul province on 27 April, the
first loss involving the King Air
350-based surveillance aircraft.
The aircraft came down about
95nm (177km) northeast of its
Kandahar airfield base. The
USAF says “initial reporting indi-
cates there was no enemy activity
in the area at the time”.
The USAF acquired 50 MC-12s
via Project Liberty after it became
clear it had too few intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance
assets to support operations. Mis-
sion equipment includes an elec-
tro-optical/infrared camera and
signals intelligence equipment. O
INVESTIGATION
USAF MC-12
crash kills four
Oman nears Skyvan replacement
PRODUCTION PETER FOSTER SEVILLE
A
irbus Military’s first of eight
C295 medium transport and
maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) on
order for the Royal Air Force of
Oman is due to enter flight testing
at the company’s San Pablo site,
near Seville, on 14 May.
Oman ordered five transports
and three MPA in May 2012, as
replacements for its aged Shorts
Skyvans, with its deal also in-
cluding personnel training. The
first of its new aircraft entered
the final assembly line in Spain
on 27 February.
An original 16 Skyvans were
introduced by Oman from the
late 1960s, with this fleet having
been reduced to a current strength
of five by 2009, operating with
the air force’s 5 Sqn from Salalah.
Three of these were modified lo-
cally to perform maritime patrol
and reconnaissance duties, with
the “Seavan” aircraft flown from
Seeb by 2 Sqn.
Once delivered, the service’s
new maritime patrol platforms
will undertake reconnaissance
and anti-piracy missions around
the Gulf of Hormuz and other
coastal regions, and conduct anti-
pollution and exclusive econom-
ic zone patrols. O
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The maritime patrol and two transport aircraft remain in use
Keep track of news from the
defence aviation sector at
flightglobal.com/defence
DEFENCE
7-13 May 2013
|
Flight International
|
21 fightglobal.com
G650 completions
backlog slackens
BUSINESS AVIATION P22
T
he Norwegian government
has confirmed plans to ac-
quire up to 52 Lockheed Martin
F-35A combat aircraft, and sub-
mitted a formal request to the na-
tion’s parliament for its first six
operational examples.
The administration in Oslo has
already committed to buying four
conventional take-off and landing
aircraft, with two each to be de-
livered in 2014 and 2015 to sup-
port training activities to be con-
ducted in the USA. On 26 April,
defence minister Anne-Grete
Strøm-Erichsen outlined its fresh
request to buy 48 more, for deliv-
ery between 2017 and 2024.
Under the proposal, six aircraft
would be handed over to Norway
each year throughout the deliv-
ery period, subject to the receipt
of annual purchase approvals
from parliament.
“By making this commitment
we are able to proceed with our
plans to replace the [Lockheed]
F-16 fleet around 2020,” Strøm-
Erichsen says. “We have conclud-
ed convincingly that the F-35 is
the only aircraft that fulfils our
future operational requirements.
Our F-16s are among the world’s
most capable aircraft of their
kind, but they are also among the
world’s oldest.”
Flightglobal’s MiliCAS data-
base records the Royal Norwe-
gian Air Force’s 47 F-16AM fight-
ers and 10 BM-model trainers as
having entered use between 1980
and 1989.
The government has valued its
initial acquisition request at
NKr12.9 billion ($2.2 billion),
with this including the first six
aircraft, plus initial actions to
procure “additional equipment
and services, including integra-
tion work, training and simula-
tors”. Also included is an “uncer-
tainty allowance” contingency
worth a further NKr3 billion.
Strøm-Erichsen also says Oslo
received a recent assurance during
a joint executive steering board
meeting about the formal process
for adding Kongsberg’s Joint Strike
Missile (JSM) to Norway’s aircraft
as part of a Block 4 software pro-
gramme. “This means that the
road is now open for final and
complete integration of the JSM
on the F-35,” she notes.
The opportunity to add the
Kongsberg-developed anti-ship
and land-attack weapon to the
F-35A was a prerequisite to Nor-
way ordering the Joint Strike
Fighter, with another requirement
being the addition of a braking-
parachute for use during opera-
tions on icy runways. O
S
erbia is close to finalising a
deal with Russia for the pur-
chase of equipment including six
RAC MiG-29M/M2 multirole
fighters and two Mil Mi-17 heli-
copters, according to local media
reports quoting deputy prime
minister and defence minister
Aleksandar Vucic and chief of
staff Gen Ljubisa Dikovic.
“The armed forces, air force
and air defence in particular are
to receive new and modern
equipment very soon,” the offi-
cials say. Belgrade daily newspa-
per Blic says a deal is expected
to be finalised during a meeting
between Vucic and his Russian
counterpart Sergey Shoygu on
23 May.
The Serbian air force currently
has three early series MiG-29s
and one UB-model trainer, which
received an overhaul and modest
upgrade in 2007 to extend their
service lives by another 700 flight
hours, or 10 years. The small fleet
size, combined with pilot train-
ing and serviceability issues,
means the type has not been able
to assume the air policing role
that is still performed using a
handful of at least 30-year-old
MiG-21bis fighters.
Belgrade started an acquisition
process for new combat aircraft
several years ago, with a formal
request for proposals having
drawn responses from Boeing,
Chengdu, Dassault, Eurofighter,
Lockheed Martin, RAC MiG and
Sukhoi. Previous reports had sug-
gested that its requirement was
for 12 aircraft, and worth at least
$1 billion.
If advanced, the potential deal
with Russia would also double
the air force’s Mi-17 fleet, with
two examples having been intro-
duced during 2011, joining its
older Mi-8s.
Meanwhile, a selection of the
air force’s current aircraft took
part in a display above the town
of Krusevac as part of Serbia’s
armed forces day celebrations on
20 April. Five Soko G-4 Super
Galeb advanced jet trainer and
light attack aircraft, five Soko J-22
Orao fighter/bombers, one An-
tonov An-26 transport, nine Aer-
ospatiale/Soko SA341/342 Ga-
zelle helicopters and one Mi-8
took part in the display.
The service is in the process of
selecting a contractor for an MD
avionics upgrade to up to 15 of
its G-4s. EADS Cassidian and
Thales are among the contenders
for the work, which should see
the type remain in use until at
least 2030. O
Read our The DEW Line blog for
analysis of military programmes:
flightglobal.com/dewline
REQUEST CRAIG HOYLE LONDON
Missile assurance
keeps Norwegian
F-35 buy on target
Parliament asked to approve frst six of up to 48 operational
aircraft, with Joint Strike Fighters to replace aged F-16 feet
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ORDERS IGOR SALINGER BELGRADE
Belgrade lines up fghter
purchase with Russia
Norway is looking to receive six F-35As per year from 2017
Serbian air force assets took part in an armed forces day display
L
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BUSINESS AVIATION
fightglobal.com 22
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Flight International
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7-13 May 2013
Keep up to date with all the latest
business and general aviation news at
flightglobal.com/bizav
DEPRECIATION DISPUTE
The National Business Aviation
Association has criticised a US
government proposal to extend
tax depreciation schedules for
general aviation aircraft from
fve to seven years. NBAA presi-
dent Ed Bolen dismisses sug-
gestions there is a “loophole”
involved in tax policies on air-
craft purchases or other busi-
ness assets. “Such policies
were recommended by the IRS
[Internal Revenue Service] dec-
ades ago, made into law by
Congress in the 1980s and ap-
ply to everything from comput-
ers to cars to aircraft,” says
Bolen. “The idea is to encour-
age American businesses to
continually upgrade the prod-
ucts they use, so they can re-
main competitive.”
BEECHCRAFT BOOST
Canadian engineering and com-
pletions company Flying Colours
has become an authorised
service centre for the
Beechcraft King Air, Baron and
Bonanza. The appointment
paves the way for the
Peterborough, Ontario-based
company to offer maintenance,
modifcations, refurbishment
and paintwork services for
these turboprop and piston-
engined types.
CARAVAN PARK
Cessna is now offering ground
maintenance on 208 Caravan
single-engined turboprops at its
Citation service centre in
Zurich. Cessna says: “There are
more than 2,000 Caravans
worldwide, and extending our
service network capabilities
into the heart of Europe pro-
vides a realistic solution for
European Caravan operators’
maintenance needs, but also
the needs of Caravan operators
throughout the region.”
PILATUS APPOINTS
Pilatus has appointed Tronrud
Aviation as its PC-12 sales and
service centre in the Nordic re-
gion of Europe, to include Norway,
Sweden, Denmark and Finland.
IN BRIEF
G
eneral Dynamics’ aerospace
division recorded an in-
crease in its first-quarter reve-
nues to $1.78 billion. The figures
mark a $155 million hike on the
previous year, based on a strong
performance by Gulfstream.
In the first three months of the
year, the airframer – based in Sa-
vannah, Georgia – delivered 30
green jets (25 large-cabin G450s,
G550s and G650s and five mid-
size G150s/G280s), compared
with 26 large-cabin and two mid-
size business jets a year ago.
First-quarter deliveries of com-
pleted aircraft rose from 19 in
2012 (17 large-cabin, two mid-
size) to 25 large-cabin and four
midsize types.
Phebe Novakovic, General Dy-
namics chief executive, indicated
during the company’s earnings
call on 24 April that the comple-
tion backlog for Gulfstream’s top-
of-the-range G650 is easing.
“Retrofit rework” on the air-
craft produced before Gulfstream
received full certification last year
should be completed by late June,
she says. Order intake for the
G450 and G550 is “holding up
nicely”, Novakovic says, adding
that there is “considerable” cus-
tomer interest in the new super-
midsize G280. O
G650 completions backlog slackens
RESULTS KATE SARSFIELD LONDON
G
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The new G280 gained US FAA certification in September 2012
VLJ KATE SARSFIELD LONDON
Eclipse distributor unveils
shared-ownership scheme
Aeris hopes that splitting cost of acquisition will boost market in Europe for very light jet
A
eris Aviation, Eclipse Aero-
space’s sole European dis-
tributor, is planning to launch a
shared ownership scheme in the
third quarter to invigorate the
market for the EA500 series of
very light jets across the region.
The UK-headquartered compa-
ny received its first aircraft – a Total
Eclipse – in February and began a
three-month regional demonstra-
tion tour of the VLJ late last month.
Aeris founder and chief execu-
tive David Hayman says the pro-
gramme is designed to reduce the
cost and burden of aircraft owner-
ship. “We will be a management
company providing the pilots,
hangarage, maintenance, fuel and
so on,” says Hayman. “Our aim is
to provide trouble-free flying on
the Total Eclipse and the new
EA550, which is earmarked for
US certification in July with Eu-
ropean approval a year later.”
Each of the twin-engined, five-
seat jets will be split into shares of
no less than an eighth of the ask-
ing price, Hayman says. For exam-
ple, a quarter share of a $2.85 mil-
lion EA550 will be about
$712,000. Each owner will be al-
located 90 days use a year of the
aircraft – with a minimum of 50h
of flying time at about £1,200
($1,860) per hour paid in advance.
The fee does not include Eurocon-
trol charges and landing fees.
“The aircraft will be owned and
operated privately. We are not in-
terested in sub-chartering, we will
keep it simple,” Hayman says. He
is confident the programme will
appeal to corporations and high-
net-worth individuals who see the
advantages of private jet travel but
are reluctant to purchase an air-
craft outright. “Many people
would love to have access to a jet
but they cannot justify the $3 mil-
lion price tag [of an EA550]. When
the price is around $750,000, it is
a lot more appealing,” he says.
Hayman says the European
demonstration tour is already
drawing a number of potential
leads for the programme. “We
will aim to place our owners in
the same geographical region,
from Sweden to the Czech Re-
public. We hope to build a good
network,” he says.
Hayman admits the Eclipse
brand has been damaged by the
high-profile collapse of the previ-
ous owner, Eclipse Aviation, in
2008. “The reputation of the
Eclipse has suffered in Europe
[home to about 20 of the VLJs],”
he says. “There is nothing wrong
with the aircraft, it was just a
poorly run company. Things are
completely different with the
new owners – the company is
completely debt free and well
funded. We just have to keep
pushing this message. It’s early
days, but we are getting there.” O
To look back on our EA500 fight
test from 2010, visit
flightglobal.com/eclipse
BUSINESS AVIATION
7-13 May 2013
|
Flight International
|
23 fightglobal.com
Orbital sets sights
on Antares orders
SPACEFLIGHT P24
BOND CONTRACT
Bond Offshore Helicopters has
signed a 10-year contract with
UK oil and gas production com-
pany EnQuest to provide crew-
change fights from Aberdeen
airport in Scotland using a
Sikorsky S-92. Services are set
to begin during May. The S-92 is
the second of 16 ordered
by Bond’s parent company
Avincis in 2011 and will initially
operate under an arrangement
with Bond’s sister company
Norsk Helikopterservice.
BOEING MAINTENANCE
Jet Aviation’s Dubai facility has
been granted maintenance or-
ganisation approval for the
Boeing 737-700 and -800 from
the United Arab Emirates civil
aviation authority. The business
aviation services provider al-
ready provides base and line
maintenance for the Embraer
ERJ135 and 145, Dassault
Falcon 900EX/7X/2000,
Gulfstream IV/V/450 and
Hawker 800/900 series.
SIGNATURE SATELLITE
Signature Flight Support has
opened a satellite service
station in Berlin’s Tegel airport
to complement its fxed-base
operation at nearby Schönefeld.
The US-headquartered busi-
ness aviation services provider
has additional facilities located
in the German cities of Frankfurt
and Munich.
GORE DELIVERS ACJ340
US completions company Gore
Design has delivered an Airbus
ACJ340 to an undisclosed head-
of-state customer. The handover
of the widebody airliner marks
the second VIP aircraft delivery
in 2013 for the San Antonio,
Texas-based company. A Boeing
BBJ3 was signed over to its un-
named owner in January.
VVIP BUYER
AJW Capital Partners has
signed a purchase agreement
for a VVIP-confgured Airbus
A340-600 on behalf of an un-
disclosed head of state.
IN BRIEF
DELIVERIES STEPHEN TRIMBLE WASHINGTON DC
Embraer stands by Phenom
plan in face of low demand
Handovers of its light jets in frst quarter dipped to eight units as market remains subdued
E
mbraer is standing by its pre-
viously issued guidance for
2013 on light jet sales and deliv-
eries. Some Phenom 100 and 300
deliveries were held over to the
second quarter because of financ-
ing issues, reducing Embraer’s
total shipments in the first quarter
to eight light jets.
Although demand for the Phe-
nom 100 remains weak and fewer
than 75% of delivery slots this
year are sold, Embraer still plans
to deliver up to 120 executive jets
in 2013, including as many as 90
light jets, worth a combined $1.4-
1.6 billion.
“It’s not a walk in the park, but
we believe it’s doable, so we are
sticking to our delivery targets,”
says chief executive Frederico
Curado. He says the Phenom 300
remains popular in a depressed
market for light jets and “is out-
selling everybody”. However,
Curado is less bullish about pros-
pects for a major improvement in
the light jet segment: “We do not
dispute that this is a tough mar-
ket. It is the toughest… of the ex-
ecutive jet segment.”
Meanwhile, pricing levels are
showing a slight rise despite the
lack of a recovery, he says. In that
sense, he adds, Embraer “wel-
comes” competitor Cessna’s recent
decision to slow production of
entry level and light jets such as the
Mustang and Citation CJ series.
Lacking a firm order backlog for
several years, Cessna has been
building “white tails” in expecta-
tion of securing a buyer in the
same quarter. The result was in-
creasing pressure on prices, to the
point where Cessna executives de-
cided to slow production rather
than sign deals at depressed pric-
ing levels. “That discipline,” Cura-
do says, “will bring a better pro-
spective market to everybody.” O
ASSEMBLY
Second AW169
line to open in
Philadelphia
A
gustaWestland will set up a
final assembly line for its 4.5t
AW169 at its facilities in Phila-
delphia, while its plant in
Vergiate, Italy will continue as the
primary assembly site for the
light twin-engined helicopter.
William Hunt, chief executive of
AgustaWestland Philadelphia, says
the first locally built AW169 will
enter final assembly in May 2014,
with delivery following in early
2015. The Philadelphia plant is ex-
pected to ramp up to produce
about 20 aircraft per year by 2017,
Hunt says.
The 10-seat AW169 has already
secured more than 80 orders for
missions ranging from corporate
transportation to law enforce-
ment, he adds. Those aircraft will
be produced both in the USA and
Italy, with first deliveries from
Vergiate scheduled for the second
half of 2014.
There are four prototype
AW-169s flying, Hunt says. The
aircraft is scheduled to receive its
civil certification in 2014. O
FIRST FLIGHT KATE SARSFIELD LONDON
First production-ready
Sovereign takes to sky
C
essna flew the first produc-
tion-conforming version of
its new Citation Sovereign for the
first time in late April.
The 2.5h flight covered tests of
the aircraft’s Garmin G5000 avi-
onics with auto throttles, along
with the autopilot, engine system,
aircraft systems and instrument
approaches. The midsize busi-
ness jet is scheduled to enter serv-
ice in the third quarter, featuring
Pratt & Whitney Canada PW306D
engines – giving a 150nm
(280km) increase in range to more
than 3,000.
The nine-seat Sovereign, which
was launched last October, will
also have an integrated Cessna
Clarity cabin management system,
improved seats, enhanced short
runway performance and integrat-
ed automatic throttles.
Winglets have also been added
to the $17.8 million aircraft, giv-
ing it a top speed of 458kt
(848km/h). The first Sovereign
entered service in 2004. O
C
e
s
s
n
a
The midsize jet is scheduled to enter service in the third quarter
fightglobal.com 24
|
Flight International
|
7-13 May 2013
Check out our collection of online dynamic
aircraft profles for the latest news, infor-
mation and images on civil and military
programmes at flightglobal.com/profiles
SPACEFLIGHT
Commentary about the space-
fight sector is on our blog at
flightglobal.com/hyperbola
N
A
S
A
N
A
S
A
STRATEGY ZACH ROSENBERG WASHINGTON DC
Orbital sets sights on Antares orders
“Flawless” test paves way for Space Station rendezvous in June and push for new contracts with NASA and US military
PROGRAMMES
An end at last to frustrating series of flight delays
For Antares, originally named Taurus
II as a development of Orbital’s ear-
lier launcher, a maiden fight once
scheduled for 2012 came after a
series of delays that, arguably, pre-
dated the programme.
Antares was not NASA’s initial
choice for its commercial orbital
transportation services (COTS) pro-
gramme to replace the Space
Shuttle. Rocketplane, Kistler and
SpaceX were both selected for devel-
opment funding, but Kistler quickly
went bust and was liquidated. In its
wake, $171 million was diverted to
Orbital, which was contracted to
COTS in 2008.
The launch vehicle’s frst stage is
powered by two Aerojet AJ-26s, es-
sentially dusted-off Kuznetsov
NK-33s that were shelved with the
Soviet Union’s moon programme.
US company Aerojet bought 47
NK-33s and NK-43s for conversion.
An ATK Castor 30 solid rocket
powers the Antares upper stage, a
derivative of the Castor 120, which
itself is a derivative of motors that
powered Peacekeeper interconti-
nental ballistic missiles.
Two third stages are offered for
the launch vehicle if required for the
payload – a solid motor based on
the ATK Star 48, and an ATK liquid
engine adapted from in-space satel-
lite propulsion. NASA does not re-
quire either, and no other customers
have placed orders.
But during a 2011 test, one of the
AJ-26s caught fre. Investigation
found small cracks in some compo-
nents, traced to corrosion from sit-
ting in untended storage. Aerojet
had to go through its engine supply
and repair some fight-worthy exam-
ples. Extensive testing, and re-test-
ing, including a recent hot-fring on
the launch pad.
Other signifcant delays were
caused by launch pad construction
issues unrelated to the rocket. O
W
ith a much-delayed but
“flawless” first launch of its
Antares rocket now behind it, Or-
bital Sciences can turn its atten-
tion to winning flight orders for a
vehicle whose primary purpose
is to resupply the International
Space Station.
The 21 April flight from Wal-
lops Island, Virginia simulated an
ISS resupply launch up to the
point of releasing the Cygnus un-
crewed supply capsule Antares
was designed to deliver. Rather
than a Cygnus capsule, this test
flight lofted an instrumented
mass simulator, which made a
few dozen orbits before burning
up on re-entry.
However, a June flight to the
ISS will be the real thing, kicking
off an eight-flight ISS series for
which NASA will be paying Or-
bital $1.9 billion. Orbital’s con-
tract is part of NASA’s commer-
cial orbital transportation services
programme, which is bringing in
private sector operators – so far
most visibly SpaceX – to replace
NASA’s own crew and cargo
launch capability, which ended
when the Space Shuttle fleet was
retired in 2011.
Critically, though, Orbital’s
test-flight success, which follows
a protracted development cam-
paign (see box), formally qualifies
Antares for both US Department
of Defence Orbital/Suborbital
Programme-3 and NASA Launch
Services II contracts, the over-
arching deals through which
those organisations buy rockets
and launch services.
Speaking ahead of the launch,
Frank Culbertson, Orbital vice-
president of advanced systems,
told Flight International: “We’ve
talked to many customers in the
government and outside the gov-
ernment, but I believe people are
probably waiting for us to get a
couple of flights off before they’ll
commit to anything.”
Culbertson described the
Antares test flight as “essentially
identical” to the planned June re-
supply mission, including pad
operations, first- and second-stage
burns, trajectory, altitude and
flight team.
Cygnus is capable of carrying
about 2,000kg (4,400lb) in a pres-
surised cargo hold, but is unable
to survive re-entry into Earth’s at-
mosphere. An enhanced version
will carry an additional 700kg. O
Antares: a long gestation
S
ierra Nevada has achieved its
first two milestones under
NASA’s commercial crew inte-
grated capability (CCiCap) pro-
gramme to develop its Dream
Chaser, earning the company $45
million as the vehicle prepares
for glide testing.
Sierra Nevada announced it
has completed the programme
implementation review and inte-
grated system baseline review,
the first two of 10 CCiCap goals.
Following completion of the final
goal, Sierra Nevada’s total pay-
ment for the programme will top
$212 million.
The milestones come as the
first Dream Chaser, a winged lift-
ing body, is packed for shipping
to Edwards AFB from Louisville,
Colorado. At Edwards, the air-
craft will be lifted to altitude by a
helicopter and glide back to the
runway, testing its aerodynamic
performance. A second Dream
Chaser, the first capable of space-
flight, is being constructed. O
Milestone-passing Dream Chaser set for glide tests
DEVELOPMENT ZACH ROSENBERG WASHINGTON DC
The aircraft has completed the first two of its 10 CCiCap goals
7-13 May 2013
|
Flight International
|
25 fightglobal.com
US lawmakers pass
air travel bill
BUSINESS P26
SPACEFLIGHT
H
ow many satellite engineers
spend their day shooting at
things? Answer – two. And, it
must be said, Simon Barraclough
and Jaime Reed are having a good
time doing it.
The dynamic duo are housed in
a brick bunker that was a rifle
range back in the days of British
National Service, when employ-
ees of what is now Astrium UK
would have had to take time out
for training.
However, with their air-pow-
ered harpoon gun pointed at a
sheet of honeycomb aluminium
typical of that used in satellite
construction, they are taking aim
at a deadly serious problem.
Since Sputnik 1, our formerly
pristine orbital environment has
become, literally, a shooting gal-
lery. Some 4,600 launches have
orbited 6,000 satellites, fewer than
800 of which are active, according
to the European Space Agency.
Many of the rest have fallen to
Earth, often burning up in the at-
mosphere. But about 3,300 are
still in orbit, and with around
1,800 used rocket bodies, 1,000
other items discarded by space
missions, and large fragments left
from satellite break-ups and colli-
sions, there are some 7,000 large
pieces of debris orbiting Earth.
Those break-ups and collisions
have left thousands of smaller
pieces – 10cm (4in) across or larg-
er. Many are tracked by the radars
and telescopes of the US military’s
Joint Space Operations Center, but
estimates are that some 600,000
pieces of junk bigger than a centi-
metre across are in orbit.
At orbital speeds, any one of
these could damage or destroy a
satellite, and even moderately
sized pieces endanger the Inter-
national Space Station, which
makes one or two avoidance ma-
noeuvres a year.
JUNKYARD EARTH
ESA, NASA and the US State De-
partment have all warned that
unless the problem is tackled,
many orbits will become unusa-
ble and, at an extreme, manned
flight deemed too risky.
One obvious approach to this
dilemma is to avoid adding to the
debris. ESA’s new Vega rocket, for
example, is designed to de-orbit
its upper stage, by maintaining
enough fuel to slow it down after
its mission so it falls out of orbit
into the sea.
But collisions with and be-
tween debris already up there is
inevitable, and each collision cre-
ates new debris in an exponential
process known as the Kessler
syndrome. Meanwhile, a com-
mon source of debris is the self-
ignition of onboard fuel; that is,
satellites actually explode.
Hence Barraclough and Reed.
The Astrium systems engineers
are working on a concept called
Harpoon, designed to remove
large items from orbit – typically
dead satellites, but a target could
be as small as 30cm across.
The principle is seductively
simple. A Harpoon mission would
involve a robotic spacecraft
equipped with about 10 harpoons,
attached by 10m of cable to a small
propulsion unit. The spacecraft
would have to find a target, get
within 10m and fire a harpoon.
The harpoon, cable and propul-
sion unit would detach and, con-
nected to the target, tug backwards
enough to slow it down and let
gravity pull it to Earth.
Reed reckons that at a typical
low-Earth orbit altitude of 800km
it would be necessary to slow a
target by 200m/s.
The 10-shot design is impor-
tant. NASA and ESA modelling
suggests removing 10 large ob-
jects from orbit per year would
stabilise the debris population.
Reed says a mission would be
planned with specific targets in
mind. The fuel cost of changing al-
titude is small, as is making small
lateral adjustments in position, so
it should be possible to launch an
annual mission that achieves the
10 pieces of debris goal.
Meanwhile, Barraclough and
Reed are part of an Astrium study
into the feasibility of the whole
scheme, funded by French space
agency CNES as part of its Orbital
Transfer Vehicle programme that
aims to be removing large pieces
of debris by 2020.
The pair were at ESA’s Europe-
an Space Operations Centre in
Darmstadt, Germany, to present
their early findings at the agency’s
sixth annual conference on space
debris, which took place from
22-25 April. As ESA’s space de-
bris office head Heiner Klinkrad
puts it: “Our understanding of the
growing space debris problem
can be compared with our under-
standing of the need to address
Earth’s changing climate some 20
years ago.”
HITTING THE SPOT
For the moment, they say, they
are not too concerned with accu-
racy but from about 10m in their
bunker they are hitting more or
less the same spot in their alu-
minium sheet with the air-pow-
ered harpoon gun.
What is important now, says
Reed, is to determine how hard
they have to hit the “spacecraft”
and which types of harpoon tip
stick best. So far, a spring-loaded
point that looks much like a plas-
terboard screw anchor seems to
do the job.
That is a fair way from build-
ing it all into a spacecraft
equipped with stereo imaging
equipment capable of identifying
and locking on to targets, but of
all the space projects under way,
this one may prove to be in the
top tier of priorities.
ESA director general Jean-
Jacques Dordain summed it up
perfectly earlier this year when
he spoke of his dream of “clean
space” – that is, he wants to see
his first generation of spacefarers
“give back to our children space
as we found it”.
That dream is a tall order but,
as Dordain and other experts
routinely stress, the alternative
may be to leave our children
dreaming of the day when they
can exploit space the way their
parents did. O
INNOVATION DAN THISDELL STEVENAGE
Taking a shot at clearing space debris
Astrium engineers explore feasibility of Harpoon craft aimed at bringing dangerous orbital junk back down to earth
Orbital debris is a growing hazard to spacefarers
E
S
A
BUSINESS
fightglobal.com 26
|
Flight International
|
7-13 May 2013
Good week
Bad week
Aircraft fnance is among the sectors covered
by our premium news and data service
Flightglobal Pro: flightglobal.com/pro
Good week
Bad week
US AIR TRAVEL
Washington DC lawmak-
ers passed a bill to get
air traffc controllers
back to work after their
employer, the FAA, was
forced to put some on
unpaid leave – or fur-
lough – to keep within its
sequestered budget. But
the deal, reached in the
face of mounting fight
delays, may not resolve
the problem, as it allows
the FAA to shuffe money
around but may leave the
agency stretched to
breaking point. The
White House called it a
“band-aid solution”.
EARTH OBSERVATION
The European Space
Agency came away from
a meeting with develop-
ment banks confdent
that its expertise in
looking down on the
planet from 800km is
good business, as well
as good science. The
meeting, organised by
the UN, heard from ESA
about how its satellites
support some 30
projects, such as oil
spill monitoring and ur-
banisation control. One
World Bank offcial de-
scribed the satellite
data as “a revolution”.
RESTRUCTURING DAN THISDELL LONDON
M&A feels US budget axe
Mergers and acquistions are one early victim of Washington’s defence spending austerity
T
he US government’s legally
mandated budget-cutting axe
fell as recently as 1 March, but
anyone who feels like this so-
called sequestration has been a
feature of the aerospace land-
scape for a very long time now
would be right.
As first-quarter data compiled
by consultants PwC and summa-
rised in the tables (right) shows,
merger and acquisition activity
has all but halted. Apart from a
few relatively low-dollar transac-
tions, the deals are being done on
the civil side of the business.
Indeed, the last really big – that
is, $1 billion-plus – defence-orient-
ed acquisition was European, and
in July 2011, when Rolls-Royce
bought the Tognum diesel engines
business. The timing of that deal is
noteworthy, as the Budget Control
Act that set the sequestration clock
ticking was enacted a month later,
in August 2011.
AND THEN THE FALL
PwC’s US aerospace and defence
leader Scott Thompson believes
uncertainty over the US defence
budget has led companies to put
M&A plans on hold. And, now
that sequestration has kicked in,
that uncertainty remains. The de-
fence budget request recently put
to Congress by the White House
clearly assumes the sequestration
law may be changed. And, says
Thompson, the Department of
Defense has much flexibility; cuts
may not fall as heavily on pro-
curement as feared, as base clo-
sures and civilian contractors
could bear a large burden.
“We’re still pretty much in the
dark,” he says.
One effect has been to drive in-
vestment, by both US and Euro-
pean companies, to emerging
markets. Much of that shift may
have been inevitable, but uncer-
tainty about US prospects has
certainly contributed.
Sequestration may not be good
news, but the news is by no means
uniformly bad. GKN Aerospace
chief executive Marcus Bryson
E
S
A
R
e
x

F
e
a
t
u
r
e
s
says that although his defence
business will not show growth
over the next 4-5 years, it remains
profitable owing to significant po-
sitions on “mature” programmes
that will remain fairly stable.
And, as Thompson points out,
2012 was a “huge year” for US
defence exports. He estimates
that DoD procurement cuts might
be around $20 billion yearly, an
amount that looks like being more
than made up by export growth.
Those exports, he adds, are
heavily weighted toward air sys-
tems. Militaries in emerging re-
gions are modernising with an
emphasis on air power, so while
the USA and Europe may be cut-
ting back, their defence aerospace
companies could be in for a solid,
if not actually golden, era. O
SOURCE: PwC
$ billion
US FOREIGN MILITARY SALES AGREEMENTS AND DIRECT
COMMERCIAL SALES AUTHORISATIONS
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002
NOTE:
*
R&D and manufacturing SOURCE: PwC
Number of deals
INTERNATIONAL MARKETS INVESTMENT
*
BY GLOBAL
TOP 50 AEROSPACE AND DEFENCE FIRMS
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003
SOURCE: PwC
Deals $ billion
FIRST-QUARTER M&A DEALS, AIRCRAFT AND PARTS MAKERS
0
25
50
75
100
125
2013 2012 2011
0
5
10
15
20
25
Number of deals
Total value
BUSINESS
7-13 May 2013
|
Flight International
|
27 fightglobal.com
Typhoons tried
and tested
FEATURE P28
COMMERCIAL PROGRAMMES DRIVE MOOG
ELECTRONICS At control systems maker Moog, strong sales
growth in the second quarter took aircraft controls unit revenue up
9% to more than $511 million and operating proft up 32% to $62.6
million in the half year to 30 March. For the quarter, sales to com-
mercial aircraft programmes gained 22% to $114 million, while mili-
tary aircraft sales were slightly higher at $145 million, with improved
aftermarket sales offsetting lower sales on the Lockheed Martin
F-35 and Bell Boeing V-22 tiltrotor programmes. In the smaller space
and defence segment, frst-half sales were up 8% to more than $192
million, partly owing to two recent acquisitions on the space side.
Proft dropped 30% to $15.9 million, although chief executive John
Scannell expects earnings to pick up in the second half of the year.
BLACK HAWK DOWNTURN SHOWS UP AT KAMAN
COMPONENTS At bearings and components maker Kaman, frst-
quarter sales edged down by $200,000 to almost $131 million, as a
$3.7 million decrease in military sales wiped out a $3.5 million gain
on the commercial side. The military downturn featured fewer cockpit
deliveries to the Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk programme – 27 units
versus 35 in the frst three months of 2012. For the full year, Kaman
expects aerospace sales of $620-635 million, up 6.7% to 9.3%.
3D PRINT DEAL LINKS WITH AEROSPACE MAJOR
MANUFACTURING Sigma Labs has signed a joint technology devel-
opment agreement with a “Fortune 100 aerospace manufacturer” to
“accelerate the development and commercialisation” of products
made with its additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, technology.
Separately, Sigma announced it is in fnal discussions with
Interactive Machines to complete a previously announced agree-
ment to jointly develop and commercialise 3D metal printing devices
capable of operating up to 10 times as fast as existing machines.
MTU POWERS UP ON AIRBUS, BOEING GROWTH
PROPULSION First-quarter revenue at MTU Aero Engines surged
35% to almost €945 million ($1.25 billion), although operating proft
slipped 2.3% to €89.3 million as “changes in the revenue mix infu-
enced the earnings development”. First-quarter sales growth came
mainly from commercial engines, where original equipment parts and
spares revenue increased 65% to more than €488 million, largely ow-
ing to the International Aero Engines V2500 for the Airbus A320 fam-
ily, the Pratt & Whitney PW2000 for the Boeing 757 and the F117 on
the C-17, and the GE GP7000 for the Airbus A380.
IAI BRAZIL SATELLITE DEMAND
SPACEFLIGHT Israel Aerospace Industries is accelerating its pen-
etration into the Brazilian satellite market, with plans to invest in
Brazilian electronics company IACIT. Sources say the Brazilian mar-
ket will have a demand for 10-14 satellites in the next 15 years. And,
the Brazilian authorities have recently issued a request for proposals
for a high-capability communications satellite. For the IACIT deal, IAI
is working through its subsidiary Elta Systems.
CHINESE CASH MAY ACHIEVE ATHENS PRIVATISATION
AIRPORTS Greek government plans to privatise Athens International
airport may bring in Chinese investors, who are interested in the gov-
ernment’s 25% stake along with the 40% owned by German infra-
structure giant Hochtief. The Chinese investment team, including
heads of Shenzhen airport and Friedmann Pacifc Asset
Management, have met with Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras.
BUSINESS BRIEFS
PEOPLE MOVES
Crane, Landmark Aviation, Nexcelle, Tiger Australia, WestJet
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“We have made
adjustments so it
has not affected
our programmes
or people just
yet”
NASA boss CHARLES BOLDEN says the space
agency is surviving US cutbacks, but warns he
cannot save staff from unpaid leave in 2014
unless Congress lifts the budget sequester
Southard: Nexcelle support
Sharp: Tiger Australia CEO
graduate served the Protestant
church of the Rhineland before
turning his interest to economics,
beginning a human resources
career in 1987, eventually
serving as chief of HR at the
transport and logistics division
of Deutsche Bahn. Most recently,
Wurst was a director at executive
search consultancy Odgers
Berndtson in Hamburg. At
Canadian carrier WestJet,
Brigid Pelino is now executive
VP, people and culture.
Former Atlantic Aviation senior
regional manager Tyson Goetz
has joined Landmark Aviation
as VP for service, finance and
business development.
GE Aviation veteran Eliza
Southard has been appointed
product support director for
GE-Safran engine nacelle’s joint
venture Nexcelle, based at its
Cincinnati headquarters. Former
Qantas executive Rob Sharp has
joined Tiger Airways Australia
as chief executive. In
anticipation of Eric Fast’s
January 2014 retirement as chief
executive of engineered products
maker Crane, current chief
operating officer Max Mitchell
has been named as his successor.
SR Technics has hired Steffen
Wurst as senior VP human
resources, effective 1 June. The
1984 Münster and Bonn theology
N
e
x
c
e
lle
T
ig
e
r

A
ir
w
a
y
s
N
A
S
A
NASA
agen
can
un
fightglobal.com
COVER STORY
28
|
Flight International
|
7-13 May 2013
JAMIE HUNTER NELLIS AFB
A debut Red Flag appearance for the UK’s
Eurofighters enabled the Royal Air Force to
prove its interoperability with USAF F-22s,
and validate its tactical development
TYPHOONS
TRIED AND
TESTED
T
he UK Royal Air Force’s fast jet inven-
tory has undergone a dramatic trans-
formation during the decade since its
Operation “Telic” involvement in the
second Gulf War with Iraq in 2003, rationalis-
ing to only two types: the Eurofighter Typhoon
and the Panavia Tornado GR4.
Gone are the Sepecat Jaguar, BAE Systems
Harrier and Tornado F3 fleets, and with them
the mass of a sizeable frontline squadron
strength. From 2014, the RAF is likely to be
composed of only seven frontline fast jet
units. Consequently, the service is looking to
wring as much capability and usefulness as
possible out of its fighters. Versatility, lean en-
gineering procedures, minimal operating
costs and maximum output are all essentials.
The RAF and Royal Navy are already heav-
ily engaged with moulding a future transition
from the Tornado GR4 to the Lockheed Martin
F-35B Joint Strike Fighter at the end of this
decade. However, a bow in the overall force
structure is almost inevitable if the ageing
GR4s are to exit use in 2019 as planned, with
few expecting a meaningful F-35 capability
for the UK by that time.
Much of the slack will have to be taken in
by an already heavily-tasked Typhoon force.
The RAF is working towards a five-squadron
operational strength with the type, with two
units already at RAF Coningsby in Lincoln-
shire and three to be in place at RAF Lossie-
mouth in Scotland by 2015, following a move
from RAF Leuchars.
By this time, all Tranche 2 production air-
frames will have been delivered and the RAF
will be well into receiving its Tranche 3 aircraft.
The overall plan is likely to result in the earlier
Tranche 1 airframes, which are now seen as
“legacy” platforms, being retired from that time
on. But with two-seat training aircraft having
been frontloaded into the UK’s Tranche 1 allo-
cation, synthetic pilot training will have to
match the drawdown of these airframes.
FUTURE INVENTORY
At the end of the decade, the RAF is likely to be
operating 107 Typhoons in the Tranche 2/3
standards. Along with building the mass of the
Typhoon force, capability is crucial to maintain
effectiveness with far fewer force elements at
readiness. For the Typhoon, this requires a
meaningful multirole capability, as a narrowly
focused single-role asset will struggle for justi-
fication in the UK’s future air force.
Exercise “Red Flag 13-3”, held at the US Air
Force’s Nellis AFB in Nevada between 25 Feb-
ruary and 15 March, was designed as a huge
test for the RAF’s Typhoon force making its
debut at the air combat exercise. The transatlan-
tic deployment kick-started a busy year for the
UK’s fighters, with other detachments to Malay-
The three-week exercise
was held at Nellis AFB
near Las Vegas
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EUROFIGHTER TYPHOON
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sia for a “Bersama Shield” exercise, Oman for
“Magic Carpet” and the United Arab Emirates
for an advanced tactical leadership course.
The Red Flag event represented arguably
the biggest operational flying test to date for
the RAF’s Typhoons, probably even surpass-
ing the type’s combat debut during the UK’s
Operation Ellamy contribution to the NATO-
led campaign over Libya in 2011, because of
the complexity of the multinational exercise.
Tornados from the service’s Lossiemouth-
based 12 Sqn were also involved.
The Typhoons arrived at Nellis at the start
of February, having already spent two weeks
at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia work-
ing with the Lockheed F-22A Raptors of the
27th Fighter Squadron on Exercise “Western
Zephyr”. For the RAF personnel involved, the
focus was on working alongside the USAF
and US Navy to prove interoperability, devel-
op and validate tactics, and hone capabilities.
“Western Zephyr, followed by Red Flag, pro-
vides an excellent opportunity to integrate the
Typhoon with the F-22,” says 11 Sqn and RAF
Coningsby station commander Grp Capt John-
ny Stringer, who led the UK detachment. “We
need to pick up on those standards that have
already been developed by the USAF to see
and test that we can play [the] Typhoon into
those as well, and that it is a seamless mix.
“Red Flag is important because it allows us
to test the aircraft in a really challenging envi-
ronment in every way. It provides a very good
health check for the force, because we are de-
ploying a frontline squadron and four qualified
weapons instructor [QWI] students,” he says,
describing the process as “a valuable vector
check” for experienced and junior pilots.
“Red Flag is about making life incredibly
difficult for you. If you’re still able to function
here rather than in a benign set of conditions
where most things are going for you, then I
think that is probably more of an acid test of
where an aircraft is,” Stringer says. “How we
develop, educate and train our future QWIs is
fundamental to tactical success.”
AMERICAN LESSONS
Sqn Ldr Pieter Severein, 11 Sqn’s senior engi-
neering officer, notes: “We did two weeks op-
erating with the F-22 at Langley; that was a
great opportunity to bring the engineers out to
start working as a team. There were a lot of
lessons we were able to identify working
alongside the Americans that we have been
able to then bring here [to Nellis] to work
within the American structure.”
Along with the UK’s partner Eurofighter na-
tions Germany, Italy and Spain, the RAF is
steadily rolling out enhancements to its air-
craft. The nine Tranche 1 Block 5 Typhoons
that were deployed to Red Flag were upgrad-
ed to the latest standard with “Drop 2” soft-
ware, the latest R2Q-standard radar capability
and use of the Typhoon’s new helmet equip-
ment assembly. The Drop 2 upgrade process
changed some of the air-to-surface weaponeer-
ing, with increased hands-on-throttle-and-
stick functionality for the aircraft’s Rafael
Litening targeting pod.
“I’m really impressed by R2Q – it’s a killing
radar,” says pilot Flt Lt Mark Long on the pre-
deployment sensor refinements. “You can rely
that it’s going to host the [Raytheon AIM-120]
AMRAAM until terminal guidance and that
the information it’s feeding the [MBDA] AS-
RAAM is accurate, which is exactly what we
need.” The weapons represent the Typhoon’s
respective current medium- and short-range
air-to-air missile fit.
“Coming out here and working with fifth-
generation fighters [the F-22], we need to realise
what our place is in the fight. We have the ability
to shoot far, fly fast and [cause attrition to] the
leading edge. I would say Typhoon’s main ad-
vantage is its performance,” says Long.
The European fighter can stay on station for
a long time in the combat air patrol (CAP) mis-
sion, or accept a fuel penalty by going high
and fast to attain a long shot against an enemy
fighter. “But that fuel penalty is more than
outweighed by the effectiveness of those long-
range shots,” says Long. “We’ve had some
shots taken at Mach 1.6, at 45,000ft [13,700m],
“Red Flag is important
because it allows us to test
the [Typhoon] in a really
challenging environment”
GRP CAPT JOHNNY STRINGER
11 Sqn and RAF Coningsby station commander
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EUROFIGHTER TYPHOON
7-13 May 2013
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Flight International
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31
and the aggressors have been surprised
by the kinematics we can give the missile.
We’ve been ‘killing’ quite a few people. There
have definitely been raised eyebrows in the
[post-mission] shot evaluation, when you’re
calling a very long-range shot and then calling
a ‘kill’ on it.”
The first involvement in Red Flag not only
afforded the RAF’s Typhoon force the ability to
showcase its air-to-air prowess, but also tapped
into the renewed swing-role emphasis for the
service after the Libya campaign in 2011.
SWING-ROLE MISSIONS
“We have pushed on an AI [air interdiction]
footing,” says Long. “So we’ll have pre-
planned targets which are always right in the
middle of the MEZ [missile engagement zone].
We’ll push and quote a load of four [Raytheon]
Enhanced Paveway IIs, four AMRAAMs and
two ASRAAMs on the swing-role missions. A
lot of the sorties are swing-role: once we’ve
prosecuted the target we are up on fuel and
we’ve got four AMRAAMs on board so we’re
back into second phase of an air-to-air fight.”
Describing it like a sortie profile, he ex-
plains: “I’ve penetrated the MEZ, dropped
[weapons] using the Litening pod to designate
the target, then swung back to CAP and held
down a regeneration airfield for another
15min, then gone home.”
Participating in the USAF exercise, where
aircraft face threats to their defensive aids sub-
systems (DASS), including from simulated
advanced surface-to-air missiles, “is a level
that we don’t regularly train to”, Long notes.
The RAF’s huge emphasis on developing
the Typhoon’s mission data – populating the
aircraft’s DASS and radar with vital informa-
tion to enable peak performance in high-threat
scenarios, and the ability to refine it “in a cou-
ple of hours” – was a major contributor to the
type’s success on Red Flag.
“You can have real-world threats – some-
thing that will pop up that hasn’t been spotted
by intelligence – and you can rewrite your
mission data to help protect you against that
threat,” says Long. “That’s something the Rap-
tors were very impressed with: the turna-
round of our mission data.”
“Operational test and evaluation is vital,”
Stringer notes, referring to the high-end train-
ing scenarios offered by participating in Red
Flag. “You can come up with any number of
capabilities in the abstract, but if you don’t ac-
tually go out and test them in context, they are
potentially hollow.”
He adds that a long-running series of previ-
ous “Highrider” exercises conducted in the
USA, plus trials carried out in the UK, “give
us confidence and also highlight where we
might need to apply additional effort in cer-
tain ways with the aircraft”.
For Stringer, the capabilities demonstrated
by the RAF at Red Flag were clear evidence of
how, despite a shrinking frontline fighter
force, the service has been able to keep up
with the latest advances.
“I left the Typhoon force in about October
2009, and came back about three years later.
Just seeing the change in the aircraft in that
time has been deeply satisfying. Red Flag
gives us confidence that the capability devel-
opment that is in train, and that which we
know is coming down the tracks in the next
few years, is putting us in the right place.
“This [exercise] has shown that the jet has
the performance that we always knew it had.
It’s got pace, it can achieve some really quite
impressive altitudes out here. Put those two
together and it puts extra capability into the
air-to-air missiles that you are carrying.”
Noting that the UK’s Typhoons already
have an impressive payload and good target-
ing pod for air-to-ground tasks, Stringer adds:
“We also know that there are potential devel-
opment opportunities as well, such as that in
the air-to-surface role as well as the air-to-air.
All you can see is a continuing and enhanced
success story.”
EXPORT LANDSCAPE
Stringer and his fellow senior officers are also
keenly aware of the export landscape and the
future capabilities that are essential to keeping
the Typhoon relevant.
“The Captor [radar] is about as good as
you’re going to get with a mechanically-
scanned radar. The UK and other Eurofighter
partner nations are very keen on the capabili-
ties that we hope an AESA [active electroni-
cally scanned array] will give us as well, so
that aspect of capability development is
going to be very important to us,” Stringer
notes. “In terms of air-to-surface, [the Raythe-
on Systems] Paveway IV is coming in very
soon,” he adds.
“On the back of these two exercises, espe-
cially Red Flag because of the developed na-
ture of the scenario, [we can] plough that back
into our nascent thinking on how the [F-35]
Lightning II is going to be employed with the
Typhoon in the coming years, so that the UK
absolutely maximises its return on the size of
the fighter force it’s going to have.” O
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Near-term enhancements will include operating with Paveway IV precision-guided bombs
New helmet equipment was put to the test
“The Raptors were very
impressed with the turnaround
of our mission data”
FLT LT MARK LONG
RAF Typhoon pilot
J
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To follow developments in the international
fghter sector, visit flightglobal.com/defence
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ENVIRONMENT
SPECIAL REPORT
7-13 May 2013
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Flight International
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33
Biofuels that work, are safe and do not cost the
earth continue to be one of the holy grails of the
alternative energy sector. In this environment
update, we focus on two key projects led by
teams in Canada and Europe and get an update
on NASA’s studies into green technologies likely
to be adopted on aircraft of the 2020s and beyond
PLANTING
NEW IDEAS
A
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L
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CONTENTS
35 Blending the rules Biofuels trials
36 Strength in numbers European push
38 NASA’s next giant leap Green designs

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35 fightglobal.com
ENVIRONMENT
SPECIAL REPORT
7-13 May 2013
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35
N
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esearchers in Canada proved last October
that a civil aircraft could fly on a 100% drop-
in aviation fuel derived from a new oilseed crop
called brassica carinata. The company that
turned that crop into jet fuel is working towards
certification for its product and sees a big future
for unblended drop-in aviation fuels.
On 29 October 2012, the National Research
Council (NRC) of Canada carried out a test flight
using one of its experimental Dassault Falcon
20 aircraft. The jet’s General Electric CF700 en-
gines were running purely on ReadiJet, an avia-
tion fuel manufactured by Panama City, Flori-
da-based Applied Research Associates (ARA)
using Agrisoma Biosciences’ “Resonance” in-
dustrial feedstock, which comes from carinata.
The 100min flight took off from and landed
at Ottawa’s Macdonald-Cartier International
Airport and reached a cruising altitude of
30,000ft (9,144m). It was billed as a world first
because the renewable fuel used in the experi-
ment was not blended with kerosene. Analy-
BIOFUELS
Blending
the rules
A push to certificate a new
oilseed fuel that does not need to
be blended with kerosene may
change the future for renewables
KERRY REALS LONDON
sis of data collected by a Lockheed T-33 which
tailed the flight showed the fuel to be “cleaner
than and as efficient as conventional aviation
fuel”, according to the NRC.
“This fuel was, if not better than, equal to
conventional fuel in most cases,” says Wajid
Chishty, technology leader alternative fuels at
NRC. This included a 50% reduction in aero-
sol emissions, a 49% reduction in black car-
bon emissions and a 25% reduction in partic-
ulate matter. In addition, fuel consumption
was improved by 1.5% compared with tradi-
tional jet fuel. “We did static ground testing
and flight testing, and in both cases we saw
reduced fuel consumption,” says Chishty.
No special modifications had to be made to
the Falcon 20 or its engines to prepare it for
the biofuel flight because the properties of the
fuel used mirror those of kerosene.
ARA produced the fuel using a process
known as Biofuels Isoconversion, which it de-
veloped with partner Chevron Lummus Global.
The process, which is based on ARA’s patented
catalytic hydrothermolysis technique, uses
water pressure to convert virtually any plant oil
into 100% drop-in jet fuel, says the company.
“We use a range of feedstocks – we’ve done
it with 16, ranging from soybean to canola to
carinata to waste vegetable oil and everything
in between,” says ARA biofuels programme
manager Chuck Red. But he points to carinata
in particular as having “huge potential as the
next step” on the road to finding alternative
fuel sources for aviation. This is partly be-
cause carinata has a high erucic acid content,
which results in better jet fuel yields, and
partly because it can be cultivated on fallow
land as a rotational crop, which means it does
not compete for land with food crops.
“Carinata has the ability to scale and it han-
dles drought well,” says Red. “There are 6
million acres [2.4 million ha] in Canada that
sit fallow every year and are looking for a crop
like this – farmers are clamouring for it.”
Chishty agrees, noting: “It’s a 100% indus-
trial crop – you can’t eat it. In fact, it’s banned
[from being eaten] in North America because
of its erucic acid content. It was developed for
rotational crop purposes to give a breather to
the soil after two or three seasons of growing,
for example, wheat.”
Red believes the fact that ARA’s ReadiJet
fuel does not need to be blended with petro-
leum gives it an advantage over hydroproc-
essed esters and fatty acids (HEFA) fuels,
which were approved in July 2011 by certify-
ing body ASTM International for use in com-
mercial aviation as a 50:50 blend.
“There are concerns with HEFA fuels over
the long-term effect on engines of blending
with petroleum,” says Red, adding that blend-
ing can potentially lead to the shrinkage of
rubber fuel seals. “There’s a great desire to
have a fuel that doesn’t have to be blended.”
He also points to the “nice aromatic content”
gg
“The purpose of the
demonstration was to show
that biofuel is a reality”
WAJID CHISHTY
National Research Council
One step closer: the Falcon test may act
as a catalyst for biofuel acceptance
fightglobal.com 36
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Flight International
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7-13 May 2013
ENVIRONMENT
SPECIAL REPORT
BIOFUELS
Strength in
numbers
A collaborative biofuel effort is
taking shape in Europe, targeting
production of 2 million tonnes a
year for aviation use by 2020
More flights may follow initial experiment
KERRY REALS LONDON
N
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A
new EU-funded initiative, aimed at accel-
erating the more widespread use of alter-
native fuels in aviation, will see a group of
stakeholders from across the board join to-
gether for the first time to begin a series of
commercial flight tests later this year.
The three-year project, dubbed Initiative
Towards sustAinable Kerosene for Aviation
(ITAKA), is billed as being the first collabora-
tive effort of its kind in Europe and includes
stakeholders from all segments of the biofuel
supply chain. Participants include Airbus,
Embraer, Neste Oil, EADS, SkyNRG, Man-
chester Metropolitan University and feed-
stock producer Camelina Company España.
Aided by a €10 million ($13 million) grant
from the EU’s Seventh Framework research
programme, feedstock growers, biofuel pro-
of ReadiJet, which makes it “a very inex-
pensive” alternative, and the fact that “very
little” pre-treatment is required. “When you
look at HEFA fuels they require lots of pre-
treating, deodorising and bleaching.”
However, HEFA fuels have the advantage of
being certified for use by commercial airlines, a
vital milestone that ReadiJet has yet to pass. As
part of its effort to gain ASTM approval for its
fuel, ARA has teamed up with Blue Sun Ener-
gy to build a facility in Missouri, USA, that will
use the Biofuels Isoconversion process to pro-
duce 100 barrels, or 4,200gal, a day of ReadiJet.
“We’ve started construction and by early fall
we will start producing,” says Red, adding that
the demonstration will mainly use carinata,
alongside other feedstocks such as waste vege-
table oil. This project will be “a key enabler for
ASTM certification of our fuels”, which Red is
hopeful will happen in June 2014.
VIABLE ALTERNATIVE
Airbus product manager new energies Etienne
Cabaré believes that there may be a market in
the future for drop-in aviation fuels that do
not require blending, but he does not see this
becoming a widespread reality any time soon.
“For tomorrow we’re not going to see very
rapidly the emergence of 100% biofuel on air-
craft, even if it can be certified,” he says.
A task force for HEFA synthetic kerosene with
aromatics – the category under which ReadiJet
falls – was established last June and “we’ve just
identified the last couple of tests” to be carried
out, says Red. “We’re shooting for 2015 to have
commercial facilities up and running.”
The Falcon 20 experiment in Canada re-
mains the only test flight using ReadiJet, but
Red says that “we’re talking to several folks
about flights next year”. Ground tests are
being carried out presently: “Rolls-Royce has
been testing our fuel since 2011. They recent-
ly did a rig test on a larger engine and we’re
waiting for results,” says Red, adding that
Pratt & Whitney Canada “is going to test our
fuel in June in a commercial engine”.
ARA is hoping to sign some uptake agree-
ments for its fuel by early 2014. “We’re talking
to lots of airlines in the USA, Canada and Eu-
rope and they’re very excited,” says Red.
Following the success of its biofuel test flight
last October, NRC is “always open to new ven-
tures” in a similar vein, says Chishty. For in-
stance, the organisation is currently working
on a multi-year project to develop a lead-free
aviation gasoline for piston-engine aircraft.
“We’ve gathered some interested people
and there’s a big push in the USA and Canada
to get it done as soon as possible. We’re asking
for funds and we’re hoping to launch in a
month or so,” says Chishty.
The NRC will continue to support ARA in
its efforts to get ReadiJet certified, says Chishty,
who is hopeful that the Falcon 20 flight will act
as a catalyst to get things moving on the avia-
tion biofuels front. “The objective of the project
was not to do a one-time test flight, it was to get
all the stakeholders from the aviation value
chain on one project together,” he says.
“The purpose of the demonstration was to
show that biofuel is a reality and a viable al-
ternative for the aviation industry. Right now
the reason the cost is so high is that producers
are not encouraged by support from govern-
ments. The idea was to show this is a viable
thing and to get more attention.” O
gg
See our feature on the push for biofuel certif-
cation amid rising environmental pressure at
flightglobal.com/biopush
7-13 May 2013
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Flight International
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37 fightglobal.com
ENVIRONMENT
SPECIAL REPORT
gg
out well-publicised commercial flights pow-
ered partially by hydroprocessed esters and
fatty acids fuels since ASTM gave the green
light back in July 2011. But Cabaré describes
the goal of ITAKA as being “to go a step fur-
ther and to think about the incorporation of
certain amounts of biofuel in aviation”, and
to prove that “aviation biofuel can become a
real business”.
Adds Kröger: “The aim of the [ITAKA]
flights will be to complement trials carried out
earlier as part of other initiatives. They will be
used to increase our knowledge of how biofu-
els perform in aviation use.”
Neste Oil is hoping that the project will im-
prove the value chain for European renewable
aviation fuel and encourage stakeholders to
introduce alternative fuels on a wider scale.
“ITAKA is an important step on the way to
commercialising renewable aviation fuel as
the project’s demonstration activities will be
market-driven,” says Kröger.
She expects ITAKA’s work to “encourage
and speed up the development of renewable
aviation fuels by fostering greater collabora-
tion between all the stakeholders involved”.
Kröger describes ITAKA as “the first and larg-
est collaborative project of its type at Europe-
an level” and “a great opportunity to coordi-
nate national initiatives in Europe and other
initiatives around the world”.
Kröger believes the aviation industry will
move away from the “multiple new trials”
that have been carried out to date. Instead, she
expects to see a gradual move towards a “busi-
ness as usual model” for using renewable avi-
ation fuels. “This will call for more coopera-
tion throughout the value chain, all the way
from the authorities to end-users.”
Feedstock grower Camelina Company Es-
paña aims to prove, through ITAKA, that
Spain has the potential to become a significant
supplier of crops for use in the aviation fuel
market. Its role in the project is to provide
10,000ha (24,700 acres) of land to demonstrate
“the technical and economic viability of pro-
ducing camelina oil on a large scale in Spain”,
ing six months or so”. The Airbus portion of
the flight programme will use 1,500t of the
4,000t of fuel being produced under ITAKA.
In addition, KLM Cityhopper will conduct
Embraer 190 flights from Schiphol.
“Embraer is discussing with KLM Cityhop-
per the best combination for the number of
flights, amount of sustainable drop-in kero-
sene available at Schiphol, and flight routes,”
says the Brazilian manufacturer.
At the end of the flight campaign, a sustain-
ability study will be carried out using data
collected during the trial. “We will be driving
testing activities to understand more about the
engine performance,” says Cabaré. “We will
drive tests on fuel systems to understand the
long-term impact on the fuel system.”
The flights will demonstrate “how well the
entire value chain works”, says Virpi Kröger,
manager renewable aviation fuel at Neste Oil,
“from growing the feedstock used, pressing
the oil, refining it into fuel, managing the lo-
gistics involved and using the fuel on flights”.
A number of airlines have already carried
ITAKA will focus on camelina as feedstock
Europe’s ITAKA project is to start via a
flight campaign with KLM from Schiphol
ducers, logistics companies, aircraft manufac-
turers and researchers will work together to
try and prove the case for a sustainable, scala-
ble and viable alternative to kerosene. “The
aim is to demonstrate that today in Europe we
are able to produce sustainable biofuel for
aviation,” says Airbus product manager new
energies Etienne Cabaré.
The project will contribute to the European
Commission’s Biofuel Flight Path Initiative,
which is targeting annual production of 2 million
tonnes of biofuel for use in aviation by 2020.
ITAKA will focus on camelina crops grown
in Spain by Camelina Company España as the
primary feedstock, although used cooking oil
will also play a part. Finland’s Neste Oil will
turn the camelina oil into a total 4,000t of
NExBTL renewable aviation fuel, which will
be blended with kerosene using the 50:50
ratio permitted by certifying body ASTM In-
ternational. It will then be distributed for use
in a series of European commercial flights.
“The aim is to start a flight campaign with
KLM from [Amsterdam] Schiphol using Air-
bus and Embraer aircraft and the goal is to
start the campaign by the end of the year,”
says Cabaré. “There will be at least 30 [long-
haul] flights on Airbus aircraft but the routes
have not been validated yet.”
Cabaré adds that the flights will be carried
out over a short period of time because “we
can’t afford to store a large amount of fuel dur-
“The aim of the ITAKA flights
will be to complement trials
carried out earlier”
VIRPI KRÖGER
Manager, renewable aviation fuel, Neste Oil
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fightglobal.com 38
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Flight International
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7-13 May 2013
ENVIRONMENT
SPECIAL REPORT
To read our article on KLM’s outlook on how
sustainable fight may be possible, visit
flightglobal.com/klmfuels
TECHNOLOGY
The next
giant leap
NASA is shifting its key green
project into higher gear with eight
demonstrations on fuel, weight
and emissions reductions
KERRY REALS LONDON
N
ASA has moved into phase two of its Envi-
ronmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA)
project and will carry out eight demonstrations
of technologies it hopes to see incorporated into
future aircraft designs from 2020 onwards.
While seven of the eight technologies to be
tested “will and should have an impact on fu-
ture ‘tube-and-wing’” designs, we will have to
wait until 2030 and beyond before we see this
configuration changing to incorporate the hy-
brid wing body portion of the test programme,
says NASA’s ERA project manager Fay Collier.
The eight technology demonstrations will
span five focus areas: aircraft drag reduction;
weight reduction through use of advanced
composites; fuel and noise reduction through
advanced engines; emissions reductions
through improved engine combustors; and
fuel and noise reduction through aircraft con-
figuration changes. With all eight of its dem-
onstrations, NASA aims to mature the tech-
nologies to the point where there would be
less risk for aircraft manufacturers to incorpo-
rate them into future designs.
To reduce drag, NASA plans to test active
flow control technology aimed at improving
the performance of the vertical tail so that it
can eventually be shrunk to save weight. A
full-scale vertical tail has been obtained, on
which full-scale windtunnel tests will be car-
ried out, and NASA is in the process of gain-
ing access to a flight testbed with a view to
carrying out a full flight test in fiscal year
2015, says Collier.
“The flight testbed will be a large single-
aisle aircraft,” he adds. “We want to prove that
we can carry the active flow concept forward
and prove that it works on a real aircraft under
realistic conditions.” If the active flow con-
cept does work and the air that flows over the
tail can be successfully manipulated, a result-
ing lighter-weight tail could save 1-2% in fuel
burn, says Collier.
On the weight reduction front, NASA will
test a stitched composite material system that
is up to 25% lighter at the component level
than currently-used aircraft composite materi-
als. The concept, known as PRSEUS (pultrud-
ed rod stitched efficient unified structure),
uses blankets of composites which are
explains the company’s director, Yuri
Herreras. “We are devoted to producing a sus-
tainable feedstock for the aviation industry.”
The land used to grow the crops will be agri-
cultural land, but Herreras is quick to address
concerns over competing with food crops.
“We’re targeting arid regions where farmers are
producing cereal and we’re proposing to them
to start a rotational scheme where they intro-
duce camelina during the fallow periods,” he
says. “It is agricultural land but it is not used
during a certain period of time.”
Another benefit of camelina, says Herreras,
is that it is “a very hard crop” that can “toler-
ate frost and drought, and can be cultivated
using current agricultural machines”. Cameli-
na Company España will harvest its camelina
crops for the ITAKA project in June and ship
the resulting plant oil to Neste Oil for conver-
sion into jet fuel. The part of the crop that does
not make it into the oil can be used as high
protein animal feed, says Herreras.
While stakeholders in ITAKA are optimistic
that the project will be able to address some of
the challenges associated with the use of alter-
native fuels in commercial aviation, the march
towards replacing fossil-based fuels in the in-
dustry is expected to be slow and gradual.
“Today, for sure, the challenge is to get a large
amount of sustainable feedstock,” says Cabaré.
“This is what we’re aiming at in this project.”
Cost remains a key issue with alternative
fuels generally carrying a higher price tag than
traditional kerosene. Calls for government help
to bring these costs down continue to be made,
says Kröger: “Some financial support mecha-
nisms or incentives are likely to be needed to
encourage the widespread use of these fuels.”
She adds that it is “difficult to estimate”
when more widescale use will become a real-
ity. “Neste Oil’s aim is to lead the way in pro-
ducing and marketing sustainable, renewable
aviation fuel, and we will increase our pro-
duction capacity as demand increases.”
Cabaré points out that by 2030 “we might
have a better view of the market”, but he is re-
luctant to put any specific timescale on when
more widespread use of alternative fuels is
likely to materialise. But despite this continu-
ing uncertainty, “the production of sustaina-
ble biofuel is not something we can put
aside”, he adds. O
stitched together, infused using resin, cured
and assembled into a larger structure.
The fact that the material is stitched
means that it has the added benefit of built-
in damage resistance, says Collier: “If the
structure suffers a bird strike and starts to
crack, the stitching will arrest the crack de-
velopment.” NASA began “coupon testing”
the material six years ago, before working up
to larger panels.
“The production of
sustainable biofuel is not
something we can put aside”
ETIENNE CABARÉ
Project manager, new energies, Airbus
Collier: the hybrid wing body tests will
bear fruit only in the 2030s and beyond
gg
7-13 May 2013
|
Flight International
|
39 fightglobal.com
ENVIRONMENT
SPECIAL REPORT
To read more about the USA-Germany
biofuel accord signed in 2012, visit
flightglobal.com/bioaccord
“We’re now in the middle of building a very
large piece of structure that’s going to be pres-
surised,” says Collier, adding that this will then
be tested at NASA’s Langley facility in FY2015.
NASA is working with Boeing and the US Air
Force research laboratory on this project. Col-
lier believes the new composite material
“might be an enabler for alternative configura-
tions to tube-and-wing”, although it could also
be applied to the existing configuration.
NASA’s third demonstration will test a non-
rigid, trailing edge wing flap which could be
up to 3% lighter than traditional wing flaps.
“We’ve been debating the weight savings – it
could be as much as 2-3% lighter, but some
think higher,” says Collier.
The flexible wing flap, a single structure
without hinges that uses morphing technolo-
gy to adapt to different flight conditions on
demand, will be attached to a Gulfstream G3.
Flight testing is expected to take place from
2014 into 2015. NASA is working with Flex-
Sys on this project.
Moving on to the propulsion side of the test-
ing programme, NASA plans to work with GE
Aviation to design a highly loaded front block
compressor aimed at improving the overall
performance of the engine to provide a 2-3%
reduction in fuel burn. Collier says the design
will take place over the next few months, with
a view of carrying out a ground rig test between
2014 and 2015. The challenge will be to main-
tain safe operability over the entire engine en-
velope, while increasing blade loading and en-
gine performance to reduce fuel burn.
NASA’s fifth demonstration will see it
working with Pratt & Whitney to further
evolve the ultra-high bypass turbofan by im-
proving its efficiency, reducing noise and ex-
tending it to larger thrust classes.
“We’ll be working to improve the propul-
sive efficiency of the fan and we’ll carry out a
series of tests,” says Collier, adding that one of
the goals will be to “further reduce noise on a
product that’s already very quiet”. To achieve
this, NASA and P&W will look into using ad-
vanced integrated liners and soft vanes to
dampen the acoustics.
NASA will also work with P&W on its sixth
demonstration, which will test a full ring-
shaped engine combustor aimed at simultane-
ously reducing fuel burn and nitrogen oxide
(NOx) emissions. Tests will take place in the
2015 timeframe, with the objective being “to
reduce landing and take-off NOx emissions to
a goal of 75% below the current standard”,
says Collier.
Returning to noise reduction, NASA plans
to flight test quieter flap and landing gear
equipment using a Gulfstream aircraft. “It has
been shown that noise from the landing gear
and flaps is becoming more important as we
see reductions in engine noise,” says Collier,
adding that landing gear and flap noise could
be reduced by 3-5dB under the experiment.
Windtunnel tests are underway to trial prom-
ising concepts and two or three of those con-
cepts will be chosen in April to be integrated
on to the aircraft for flight tests. These flight
tests are scheduled to finish in early 2015,
says Collier.
Saving the most radical for last, NASA’s
eighth demonstration will focus on changing
the configuration of aircraft to a hybrid wing
body design with integrated ultra-high bypass
engines, a concept that the agency has been
working on since 1990. The demonstration
will use a large-scale windtunnel model and
turbine-powered simulators to study how air-
flow around the aircraft itself influences the
airflow into the engine. Testing is due to be
completed in 2015.
While such changes to the configuration of
aircraft are expected to significantly reduce
community noise and provide the most sig-
nificant reduction in fuel consumption –
about 15%, rising to 50% if all of the other fu-
el-saving technologies are incorporated – the
hybrid wing body concept is the least likely of
the eight demonstrations to come to fruition
any time soon.
“Between now and 2025 we will see im-
provements in current tube-and-wing designs
but there is nothing on the horizon to suggest
that this configuration will change near-term,”
says Collier, adding that it will be into the
2030s and beyond before we see “something
new in the passenger carrying realm”.
NASA chose the eight technologies to be
demonstrated from a total of 22 different
ideas, which it studied over a six-month
period. The idea was “to maintain a bal-
anced approach on noise, fuel burn and
NOx”, says Collier. The chosen eight repre-
sent “a balanced portfolio that allows very
significant progress on reducing oxides of
nitrogen, weight and drag, and improving
fuel efficiency”.
As for what happens next, Collier is leaving
that in the hands of the aviation industry:
“Our job is to finish the demonstrations in the
three-year window that we have, publish the
results and then let the industry decide how
to integrate them into future designs.” O
“Our job is to finish the
demonstrations in the three-
year window that we have”
FAY COLLIER
ERA project manager, NASA
A semi-span 18% jet model was
tested to evaluate flap and landing
gear noise reduction technologies
Stitched composites reduce weight Stitched composites reduce weight
N
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STRAIGHT&LEVEL
fightglobal.com 40
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Flight International
|
7-13 May 2013
From yuckspeak to tales of yore, send your offcuts to murdo.morrison@flightglobal.com
100-YEAR ARCHIVE
Every issue of Flight
from 1909 onwards
can be viewed online at
flightglobal.com/archive
Flying visit
There was an element of
novelty about the fne fight
made by Mr
Gustav Hamel.
After starting from
Dover, the 70hp
Blériot headed out to sea to
meet an incoming steamer
from Calais on which a friend
was travelling. Mr Hamel
circled the vessel and few off
in the direction of Folkestone.
No magic wand
It is remarkable how a childlike
belief has grown up in this
country that the
American aircraft
industry has found
the magic wand of
mass production. Last year,
American frms fell short of
what was a very modest out-
put compared with what we
are visualising in this country
for the RAF.
New world record
Lockheed Aircraft announced
that Jacqueline Cochran has
won back from
France (Jacqueline
Auriol) the
women’s world
speed record over a 100km
closed course. Flying
Lockheed’s own TF-104G from
Edwards AFB, Miss Cochran
recorded an FAT-observed
speed of 1,203.94mph.
Going underground
Massive Soviet investment in
a tunnel and bunker network
designed to
protect top
leaders in time of
nuclear war has
been revealed. US Defence
Secretary Frank Carlucci says
the system extends below
Moscow and several other
Soviet cities.
D
ie
t
m
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r

E
c
k
e
ll
This is one of a series of more than 50 stunning images by
German photographer Dietmar Eckell of abandoned aircraft
wrecks in remote locations around the world. It is not as
morbid as it sounds: all the accidents were non-fatal; the
project’s title is Happy End. Eckell is looking for at least
$4,000 to produce a book and has turned to crowdsourcing
site Indiegogo. In exchange for an investment, punters can
get anything from an acknowledgement to a “museum-
quality”, limited edition print.
Wall: remembered in song
A go-around to
remember
Our story about the world’s most
spectacular airport approaches
(Flight International, 5
February) illustrated the winner
using a familiar photograph of a
widebody airliner descending
low over sunbathers on St
Maarten’s beach.
Chris Barnes speculates as to
what would happen if the
landing pilot pressed the TOGA
(take off go around) while over
the shore. “The max power
and high alpha climb out
would do some considerable
sandblasting and remove any
remaining punters from the
beach,” he suggests.
Song for Eamon
Ryanair captain and singer-
songwriter Sean Kelly has
penned a tribute to fellow
Ryanair captain and musician
Eamon Wall, who died in
January.
Kelly, a base captain at
Prestwick, first performed the
song at a gathering in Scotland
for friends and colleagues who
could not make it to Wall’s
funeral. “I played Drive Her On,
a song I had written about
Eamon that seemed to capture
his spirit. It went down so well
that we decided to release it as a
charity single,” he says.
Proceeds will be donated to
the Carlow Kilkenny Home Care
Team, the organisation that
looked after Wall in his last
weeks.
Drive Her On (The Ballad Of
Eamon Wall) is available as a
download from iTunes,
Amazon, Spotify and other
online stores.
directors is seen reading your
favourite aviation magazine and
remarking: “I see we got a good
write-up in Flight…”
Saving Trident
Tony Jarrett updates us on the
effort to restore the last example
of a Hawker Siddeley Trident IC.
The project needs £3,000
($4,700) to carry out work
earmarked for this year.
The aircraft – G-ARPO – the
16th Trident built and the last
1C variant to fly, was
dismantled from its last resting
place at Teesside airport and
brought to the Sunderland
aircraft museum in 2011.
The volunteers behind the
project have already raised
£1,100 and say the trijet has
been “transformed quite a lot”.
This year, they want to finish
the flightdeck and fore galley as
well as paint the fuselage.
If you want to see how
G-ARPO was moved to its latest
home, check progress or
contribute to the project, go to
www.savethetrident.org
Jetihad/Jatihad
When, during its lengthy
courtship of India’s Jet Airways,
Etihad announced a codeshare
agreement with JAT, it led HSBC
analyst Andrew Lobbenberg to
mischievously wonder if a typo
on an email from James Hogan’s
office had caused confusion.
Had, he speculates, a minion
gone west to cut a deal with the
ailing flag carrier of lowly Serbia
(population 7 million) rather
than one of the emerging giants
of aviation in India (population
1.2 million).
Flight fiction
Back when what we said really
mattered. The storyline on a
recent episode of Endeavour, a
prequel to the long-running TV
series Inspector Morse, set in the
1960s, centred on murders at the
British Imperial Electric
Company, a (fictional) family-
owned defence contractor
building the Standfast surface-
to-air missile.
One of the company’s
LETTERS
7-13 May 2013
|
Flight International
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41 fightglobal.com
fight.international@fightglobal.com
We welcome your letters on
any aspect of the aerospace
industry.
Please write to: The Editor,
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The opinions on this page do not
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Flight International cannot publish letters
without name and address. Letters must
be no more than 250 words in length.
FLIGHT
INTERNATIONAL
We welcome your letters on
any aspect of the aerospace
industry.
Please write to: The Editor,
Flight International, Quadrant
House, The Quadrant, Sutton,
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The opinions on this page do not
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Letters without a full postal address sup-
plied may not be published. Letters may
also be published on fightglobal.com and
must be no longer than 250 words.
FLIGHT
INTERNATIONAL
In defence
of the A320
launch the 737NG with im-
proved engines and range.
Would this have happened if the
A320 had not been around?
The claim that Airbus has “kept
customers” is laughable. If Mr
Leersnyder is thinking of France or
Germany, perhaps he hasn’t no-
ticed their huge fleets of Boeing
aircraft? Boeing is free to increase
production as required to meet de-
mand, yet many low-cost start-
ups, of their own free will, ordered
A320 family aircraft instead of
737s and seem to be thriving. Con-
sidering the huge captive market
already in the 737 camp when the
A320 was launched, it is interest-
ing to note the A320 family has
outsold the 737 family since the
launch of the 737NG. Could it be
that the A320 family does have
some positive attributes after all?
Anthony J Lawler
Sonoma, California, USA
Regarding the letter headed “An
alternative A320 history” (Flight
International, 16-22 April), I have
seldom read such a rant in an oth-
erwise sober aviation magazine. It
appears that Mr Leersnyder likes
to distort history to fit his person-
al agenda, which is obviously to
blindly support Boeing.
For a start, his fixation on rear-
engine airliners ignores several
important facts.
Rear engines ensure that pas-
senger entry doors are not feasible
behind the wings, which causes
slower turnarounds, particularly
as single-aisle aircraft become larg-
er and airports offer dual bridges.
They also ensure a narrower
centre of gravity (CG) range, with
attendant restrictions. Due to the
engine weight and stress, the fu-
selage requires extra strength
and, hence, weight.
Underwing engines bring wing
bending moment relief and hence
lower structural weight. Access
for maintenance is much easier.
If heavier or lighter engines are
installed, the impact on CG is min-
imised. The heavier engines of the
MD-90 caused some problems.
Even before the A320 appeared,
the 737 was outselling the DC-9/
MD-80 etc. So much for the MD-88
being the superior product!
Now let’s address his ravings
on the inadequacy of the A320
versus the Boeing 737.
The A320 offers an apprecia-
bly wider seat and hence more
comfortable passenger experi-
ence. It also cruises a little faster.
The A320 pioneered the use of
fly by wire and full flight enve-
lope protection, plus side stick
controls, now adopted by other
aircraft manufacturers.
It was the first smaller single-
aisle – and I say smaller because
the Boeing 757 had a different
role – to have US transcontinen-
tal non-stop capability.
When United ordered the
A320, notwithstanding further
options for over 100 737s it was
holding, Boeing was forced to
Switch to manual
The Etihad A340 airspeed glitch
(Flight International, 9-15 April)
is another example of inappro-
priate logic consequent on a sen-
sor failure.
As with AF447, the loss of au-
topilot angle-of-attack control in
high-altitude cruise should not
have been a necessary conse-
quence of airspeed sensor failure.
In other flight modes , of descent,
landing, take-off or climb out, a
complete and instantaneous re-
version to manual flying may be
entirely appropriate. But in cruise
at 35,000 feet (10,700m), huge
and rapid changes of indicated
airspeed only indicate a sensor
fault – likely a temporary one due
to icing. In these circumstances,
the safest autopilot action would
be to maintain level flight based
on the best available data, includ-
ing the less instantaneous data de-
rived from inertial and GPS sys-
tems, and alert the crew that they
need to use their flying skills to
sort the situation out urgently.
Chris Price
Husbands Bosworth, UK
Model answer
The design of the Israeli ornithop-
ter (Flight International, 16-22
April) is not based on a dragonfly,
but on JS White’s rubber-powered,
four-winged ornithopter seen at
the 1954 British Nationals model
aeroplane contest at Waterbeach,
Cambridgeshire. It flew for about a
minute without climbing more
than maybe six feet, and its pairs
of wings are not one behind the
other as in a dragonfly, but super-
posed, an arrangement that be-
came a standard among modellers,
though commonly with a canard
rather than tail-aft stabiliser.
Charles McCutchen
Bethesda, Maryland, USA
Contribute to the debate on
Flightglobal’s AirSpace forum:
flightglobal.com/airspace
SAFETY
The importance of saying ‘no’
Regarding the unstable Air
France approach into Paris
Charles de Gaulle (Flight
International, 19-25 March), I
can see many contemporary
aviation problems here.
Air traffc controllers are
increasingly giving pilots more
diffcult approach scenarios in
order to keep the traffc fow-
ing, which promote high and
fast approaches.
Having given clearance to “lock on”, French ATC then does not
give further descent approval. But we cannot descend below last
cleared altitude or minimum safe altitude until established on the
localiser. This may be why ATC “forgot” to descend the aircra.
Because modern instruments give an exact speed for each fap
setting, some companies insist you fy at that exact speed. But
these auto-bugged speeds can be much too low, promoting fapless
approaches. In this case, the pilots needed more fap with a higher
speed, to burn off the height. Bugging a lower speed simply made
the aircraft go even higher above the glide, and so company proce-
dures made a bad situation even worse.
The simulator training concentrates on failures, to the detriment
of the unusual demands of normal fying. I previously mentioned the
lack of two-engine go-around practice in the sim. Ditto the methods
for dealing with these unusual ATC requests.
A frst offcer told me recently: “We must do what ATC says.” My
response was: “Tell ATC to Foxtrot Oscar”, which left him speech-
less. It had not occurred to him that the safe response was to ig-
nore ATC demands. Air France should have said: “Not possible,
chum”, and that would have been the end of this story.
Capt Rod Elliot
By email
Not enough feedback?
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Inspired by what?
Underwing engines bring relief
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+65 6780 4311 siva.govindasamy@fightglobal.com
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For a full list of events see
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EVENTS
21-23 May
European Business Aviation
Convention & Exhibition
Palexpo, Geneva, Switzerland
abaptista@ebaa.org
ebace.aero
27-29 May
African Business Aviation Conference
& Exhibition
Nairobi, Kenya
africanaviation.com
30-31 May
2Gether 4Safety seminar & expo
Lusaka, Zambia
aviassist.org
17-23 June
Paris Air Show
Le Bourget exhibition centre, France
paris-air-show.com
10-11 July
Aviation 2020 Finance Forum
London, UK
events.registration@rbi.co.uk
ascendconferences.com/
ascendffondon2013
20-21 July
Royal International Air Tattoo
RAF Fairford, UK
airtattoo.com
29 July to 4 August
EAA AirVenture
Oshkosh, Wisconsin
eaa.org
12-15 August
Unmanned Systems 2013
Washington DC
auvsi.org
14-16 August
LABACE
São Paulo, Brazil
abag.org.br
27 August to 1 September
MAKS International Aviation and
Space Salon
Zhukovsky, Russia
maks@aviasalon.com
16-18 September
SpeedNews 14th Annual Aviation
Industry Suppliers Conference
Toulouse, France
speednews.com
24-26 September
HeliTech International
London, UK
helitechevents.com
22-24 October
NBAA Business Aviation Convention &
Exhibition
Las Vegas, Nevada
nbaa.org
29 October to 3 November
Seoul Air Show
Seoul, South Korea
seoulairshow.com
6-8 November
SppedNews 18th Regional & Business
Aviation Industry Suppliers Conference
Scottsdale, Arizona
speednews.com
17-21 November
Dubai Airshow
Dubai World Central
dubaiairshow.aero
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44 | Flight International | 7-13 May 2013 flightglobal.com
CLASSIFIED
TEL +44 (0) 20 8652 4897 FAX +44 (0) 20 8652 3779 EMAIL classified.services@rbi.co.uk
Calls may be monitored for training purposes
Dauphin AS.365
Parts Specialists
www. al pi ne. aer o
Tel: +41 52 345 3605
Aircraft spares Equipment,
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LONDON BIGGIN HILL
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For long and short term competitively
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contact: Katy Woolcott
+44(0)1959 578500
estates@bigginhillairport.com
www.bigginhillairport.com
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flightglobal.com 7-13 May 2013 | Flight International | 45
Online Aviation Training
From an EASA Part 147 Approved Training Organisation
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€ EASA Part-66 Module 1
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46 | Flight International | 7-13 May 2013 flightglobal.com
CAE Oxford Aviation Academy is partnered with major European airline easyJet to
offer an innovative Mentored Airline Pilot Training Programme based on the Multi-Crew
Pilot’s Licence (MPL).
This is an exceptional opportunity to train and then fly with easyJet as a pilot on their
fleet of A320 aircraft.
Enrolment for courses will commence from July 2013.
Apply now via our website:
www.oaa.com/easyjet
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flightglobal.com/jobs
EMAIL recruitment.services@rbi.co.uk CALL +44 (20) 8652 4900 FAX +44 (20) 8652 4877
Getting careers off the ground
flightglobal.com 7-13 May 2013 | Flight International | 47
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48 | Flight International | 7-13 May 2013 flightglobal.com
NATS HOLDINGS LTD
Three Non Executive Directors
NATS is a world leader in the provision of air navigation services,
minimising air traffic delays while maintaining safety as our top
priority. Last year was one of the best on record for NATS, both
operationally and financially. The company provides air traffic
services for aircraft flying in UK airspace and over the eastern
part of the North Atlantic and at most of the UK’s major airports.
We also operate overseas in more than 30 countries.
NATS became a Public Private Partnership in 2001 when the
Airline Group - a group of seven leading airlines - acquired a
controlling interest. The Government retains a 49% stake, with
Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd and an employee trust holding
minority interests.
The Government appoints three non executive directors to
the Board, known as ‘Partnership Directors’. New terms of
appointment will commence from July 2013 and individuals are
needed with the ability to operate effectively at Board level, and
with skills and experience in at least one of the following areas:
• safety – sound experience of operating at a senior level in
a safety critical environment. The ability to scrutinise the
company’s technology plans is also desirable;
• employee relations - including human resources and/or trade
union experience; and
• commercial – strong financial acumen and a proven commercial
track record. Experience of a regulated industry would be beneficial.
Ideally, one of the Partnership Directors should have experience in
engaging with the European Commission and/ or an understanding of
the Single European Sky framework.
The contract will be for a renewable three year term. The expected
time commitment is about two days per month and the remuneration
is £36,000 per annum.
The Department for Transport is committed to providing equal
opportunities for all. Candidates cannot be appointed as Partnership
Directors if they are, or become, employees of the Crown, the CAA, or
of a material customer or competitor of NATS.
Further information and the application form are available at www.
nats.co.uk/careers/vacancies or from Tanya Norris, Assistant
Company Secretary, at tanya.norris@nats.co.uk
The closing date for completed applications is
5pm on Monday, 13th May 2013.
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flightglobal.com 7-13 May 2013 | Flight International | 49
Flight Operations Inspector –
Fixed Wing
Airworthiness Inspector
The Irish Aviation Authority is a commercial State body
established to provide air navigation services in Irish controlled
airspace and to regulate safety standards within the Irish civil
aviation industry. The Authority receives no funding from the
Exchequer and is wholly dependent on charges and fees raised
in respect of operational and regulatory activities from airline
customers and regulated entities. Over 80% of our income is
derived from international business.
The Authority will shortly have vacancies for:
(a) Flight Operations Inspectors – Fixed Wing
(b) Airworthiness Inspector
(A) Flight Operations Inspector – Fixed Wing
The successful candidates will be responsible for
the safety oversight of Commercial Air Transport, Corporate,
Aerial Work/Specialised Operations and General and Sport
Aviation in accordance with Irish and international regulations;
the application of Air Operations/Aircrew Regulations as
applicable to Irish Aviation, assessing the competence of
applicants for AOCs, Aerial Work/Specialised Operations,
Approved Training Organisations and instructor/examiner
personnel.
(B) Airworthiness Inspector
The successful candidates will be responsible for
the safety oversight of commercial aircraft, aircraft operators,
aircraft maintenance organisations,
general aviation and the airworthiness of Irish registered
aircraft in accordance with Irish regulatory requirements and
the requirements under the EASA regulation EC 216 of 2008
and its implementing rules.
Information on salary and job description can be obtained
from www.iaa.ie.
It is the intention to form a panel of suitable candidates from
the selection process.
If you feel you have the necessary skills and competencies for
these positions then we would like to hear from you.
For a confidential discussion, please contact Frank Devlin at
00 353 1 6031535. Short-listing may apply.
Applications, including details of career to date and a brief
outline of how your skill set meets the requirements for the
positions should be sent in strict confidence to:
Director Human Resources
Irish Aviation Authority
The Times Building
11-12 D’Olier Street
Dublin 2
Ireland
To arrive not later than 5.30 pm on Friday
17th May 2013.
The Irish Aviation Authority is committed to a policy
of equal opportunity.
Canvassing will disqualify.
50 | Flight International | 7 - 13 May 2013 flightglobal.com
www.aircraf-commerce.com
+44 (0)1403 240 183
Recruitment Support
to the Aviation Industry
T: +44(0)1483 332000
recruitment@zenon.aero
aviation recruitment
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CTC FlexiCrew
High flyers, on demand
Seeks Type Rated Pilots
Locations UK & Worldwide
Flexible & Permanent Positions
FIND THE RIGHT MATCH
AVIATION RECRUITMENT SERVICES
WWW.JET-PROFESSIONALS.COM
Tel: 0041 58 158 8877
AVIATION RECRUITMENT
WORLDWIDE
T: +44 (0)1483 748252
E: aviation@wynnwith.com
W: www.wynnwith.com
wynnwith
www.ryanaviation.net
Email: recruitment@sigmaaviationservices.com
www.sigmaaviationservices.com
Tel: +353 1 669 8224
Fax: +353 1 669 8201
Email: recruitment@sigmaaviationservices.com
www.sigmaaviationservices.com
www.rishworthaviation.com
Flight crew, maintenance staff and
aviation executive positions, we have
your airline’s recruitment and crew
leasing requirements covered
Contract and Permanent recruitment
for the Aviation industry
David Rowe, Alastair Millar,
Jodie Green, Ian Chapman
Tel: +44 (0)1737 821011
Email: aero@cbsbutler.com
www.cbsbutler.com
RECRUITMENT FOR AVIATION
EASA E-LEARNING COURSES
Tel: +44 (0) 1284 700676
Email: info@e-techs.co
www.e-techs.co
Looking for on contract basis consultants with
working experience gained from aircra
manufacturers’ customer services business,
incl. maintenance & engineering, supply
chain management, aircra parts service,
technical publicaons, training, operaon
support and supplier contract management.
Email: yongq@3oac.com Tel: +44 20 8643 3981
www.3oac.com
Three Oaks Aviaon Consultancy Ltd.
Global Aviation Recruitment Solutions
Rebecca Anderson, Kelly Biggart, Holly
Sawkins, Billy McDougall, Lee Walker
Tel: +44(0)141 270 5007
E-mail:
aviation@firstpeoplesolutions.co.uk
www.firstpeoplesolutions.co.uk
GCT Group
Worldwide specialist for
Aerospace Engineering,
Certification & Management
Services
e: yourcv@garner.de
t: +49 (0) 8153 93130
w: www.garner.de
Recruiting Stress, Design and Fatigue & DT
engineers for our offices in:
Amsterdam
Bangalore
Bristol
Glasgow

Hamburg
Seattle
aerospace.info@atkinsglobal.com
Global Aerospace contract
personnel and work packages
e: progers@strongfieldtech.com
t: +44(0)20 8799 8916
w: www.strongfield.com
The preferred company for Stress (Fatigue & DT), GFEM,
Composites), Aeronautical Research. Business units:
Contract staff, Workpackages, Innovation and New
Concepts, Aeronautical Research. www.bishop-gmbh.com
Contact bishop.peter@bishop-gmbh.com
Tel 0049-(0)40-866-258-10 Fax 0049-(0)40-866-258-20
To advertise in this
Employment Services Index
call +44 (0) 20 8652 4900
fax +44 (0) 20 8261 8434
email recruitment.services@rbi.co.uk
Please note that calls may
be monitored for training purposes
Flight International
WORKING WEEK
7-13 May 2013
|
Flight International
|
51 fightglobal.com
If you would like to feature in
Working Week, or you know
someone who does, email your
pitch to murdo.morrison@
flightglobal.com
For more employee work
experiences, pay a visit to
flightglobal.com/workingweek
Schall: helps airmen suffering a medical problem get back into the air
Surgeon who slips the surly bonds
WORK EXPERIENCE DR DAVID SCHALL
After more than a quarter-century in training, David Schall is one of only two aerospace neurotologists in the world
and is the US Federal Aviation Administration’s regional fight surgeon and a consultant to the Federal Air Surgeon
Did you always want a job in
aviation?
We always lived near air force
bases and my dad took us to air
shows. I was imprinted at age
six. Our house was on a three-
mile final to Grant Field, Moses
Lake, Washington, where Boeing
was carrying out operational test-
ing for the “new” KC-135. I was
fascinated by the airplanes flying
low over our house. Little did I
realise I would be flying on those
same aircraft more than four dec-
ades later in the first Gulf War. I
have always loved aviation, es-
pecially military aviation, but
didn’t think my eyes were good
enough to be a pilot. I started
down a different pathway which
actually allowed me to do a lot
more in aviation than if I had fol-
lowed my original goal.
Outline your experience
My first aviation job was as an
air force flight surgeon. I worked
in this area off and on for the
next 30 years, flying in more
than 42 different kinds of air-
craft on all types of missions
and in-flight emergencies (IFEs).
The IFEs were varied, such as
being nearly killed in mid-air,
an engine fire in the interior of
Alaska, and a generator explo-
sion in a helicopter causing us
to auto-rotate to the ground. De-
spite all that, I still love to “slip
the surly bonds of Earth”. I was
able to fly in high-performance
aircraft on some amazing flights,
from picking up a new F-16 at
the factory and flying it from
Texas to Spain (with 10 in-flight
refuellings) to taking an F-15 to
50,000ft and seeing stars in the
daytime. I held a lot of different
types of jobs in the military.
Where were you educated?
I spent nearly a quarter-century
in training. Undergrad and medi-
cal school was at the University
of Missouri-Kansas City with a
biology and chemistry degree.
Also a surgical internship at St
Luke’s Hospital, Kansas City;
master’s degree in public health
at Johns Hopkins University; a
residency at the USAF School of
Aerospace Medicine-Brooks
AFB, Texas; a residency at the
University of Nebraska; and a fel-
lowship at Vanderbilt University,
Nashville, which qualifies me to
be an aerospace neurotologist –
one of only two in the world.
What are your duties?
Our office covers an eight-state
region from the Dakotas to Ohio,
serving 85,000 pilots, 4,000 air
traffic controllers and about 500
aviation medical examiners
(AMEs). The US Federal Avia-
tion Administration is working
to streamline medical conditions
for which airmen may be
waivered for by their AMEs. We
also are working on educating
the flying public on a variety of
subjects, from the dangers of cer-
tain medications to spatial diso-
rientation in flight.
Are standards always changing?
Yes, because medicine continu-
ally advances and what might
have been disqualifying five
years ago is no longer a risk.
Once a new medicine or treat-
ment is proven safe and effective,
standards are updated. Manage-
ment of aircrew who fly military
aircraft in extreme environments
is handled much more conserva-
tively than in the civilian sector.
What is the best part of your job?
Helping an airman who has strug-
gled with a medical problem,
sometimes misdiagnosed, get back
into the air. I also love to teach.
Is it hard telling a pilot he or she
can’t fly any more?
Yes, I fully understand the passion
and livelihood at risk. Sometimes
it means grounding for a season,
other times it’s permanent. Fortu-
nately that doesn’t happen often.
If it is permanent, I always try to
call the pilot and explain why it’s
no longer safe for them to fly and
answer questions or concerns. O
Opportunities for Safety Engineers
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