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The Boeing 747-8 Freighter landed at exactly 5:35 p.m. at the Paris Le Bourget Airport in Le Bourget, France after the first transatlantic flight of a large commercial airplane powered on all engines by a sustainable aviation jet fuel.
Boeing pilots Captain Keith Otsuka, Captain Rick Braun and Cargolux Captain Sten Rossby piloted the 747 Frieghter from Washington Everett to Le Bourget equipped with four of its General Electric GEnx-2B engines powered by a blend of 15 percent camelina-based biofuel mixed with 85 percent traditional kerosene Jet A fuel. However, there are no changes were made to the airplane, its engines or operating procedures prior to departure. Normal flight parameters were followed and approved in advance by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
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The Boeing Company celebrated the 20th anniversary of the first flight that was done by the C-17 airlifter in Long Beach, California. Test aircraft T-1 took off from the Boeing Long Beach site on a two hour flight that proved the engineering and design concepts of the aircraft and marked the beginning of the program on September 15, 1991.
T-1 once again flew this September 15, 2011 in a re-creation of its milestone flight, “The first flight of T-1 ushered in a new era in military and humanitarian airlift,” said Bob Ceisla, C-17 program manager for Boeing. “Twenty years ago, when I was working in flight test for this new airlift program, I could not anticipate just how critical the C-17 would become for the U.S. Air Force and its allies. The success of the C-17 Globemaster III program extends beyond Boeing’s employees and supplier partners, who have proudly engineered and built the world’s greatest airlifter for two decades, to exceed the expectations of customers around the globe who fly the jet every day.”
For more than 2 million hours in its 20-year history the C-17 has flown, it was already supporting worldwide airlift missions that transport troops and supplies to global hot zones and bring aid to those in need during humanitarian crises.
“There is no question that the C-17 has set the bar high,” said Ciesla. “The program has performed on cost and on schedule for more than a decade. Now we are entering a new stage with a production-rate reduction from 15 to 10 aircraft per year, extending the life of the C-17 line to 2014 and beyond.”
Setting its history in aviation, the C-17 has achieved a number of record-breaking milestones to more than any other airlifter and set 33 world records during initial flight testing at Edwards Air Force Base, California. The C-17′s records include payload to altitude and time-to-climb, as well as a record for short-takeoff-and-landing in which the C-17 took off in less than 1,400 feet, carried a payload of 44,000 pounds to altitude, and landed in less than 1,400 feet.
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The first re-winged A-10 Thunderbolt II of the US Air Force finally rolled-out at the Hill Air Force Base. It is the first aircraft out of the 233 units that Boeing are commissioned to fix up with new set of wings. All the re-winged aircraft is set to be delivered by 2018.
According to Mark Bass, Maintenance, Modification, & Upgrades vice-president and general manager for Boeing Defense, Space and Security, “This enhanced wing assembly will give the A-10 new strength and a new foundation for its continued service into 2040.” He adds that Boeing is committed to the US Air Force to ensure that the A-10 is always ready and capable to serve.
The A-10 Wing Replacement Program is one of the aviation company’s foray into non-Boeing platform work. The A-10 was originally developed by Fairchild Republic. The wings sets are manufactured in Boeing’s production facility in Georgia with the help of Korean Aerospace Industries. The wing sets are then delivered to Air Force’s Ogden Air Logistic Center.
Boeing delivered the first wing set in March 2011. After mating to the aircraft and after a series of testing, it took the first test flight in November last year. And now, the A-10 Thuderbolt II and its new set of wings are ready for service.
The A-10 Thunderbolt II was introduced to the Air Force service in March 1977. It provides close-air support and attacks tanks and other ground vehicles. It is expected to be in service until 2028.
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Air Force One, the blue-and-white icon of U.S. super power, has been all-Boeing during the jet age.
Starting with Dwight Eisenhower in 1959, a succession of special Boeing 707s served eight U.S. presidents. One of those airplanes today is parked at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.
In 1990, with President George H.W. Bush in office, two Boeing 747-200Bs replaced the 707s. They were built in Everett and outfitted in Wichita, Kan.
Friday, one of them flies home to Paine Field, carrying President Barack Obama for an Everett factory visit and speech. Boeing Field in Seattle is the usual destination of U.S. presidents, so this will be the first time in 19 years that one of the planes has returned to the factory of its birth while carrying a president.
Air Force One is a flying White House, with 4,000 square feet of floor space for up to 102 people, secure communication systems and medical facilities. In a pinch, surgery can be performed. These 747-200Bs have a range of 7,800 statute miles, but just in case, they can be refueled during flight.
The 747 isn’t the only Boeing plane flying U.S. VIPs. Modified 757s serve cabinet members, the first lady, the vice president and, occasionally, the president.
And Boeing hopes to provide the next generation of Air Force One. The Air Force says new planes will be needed in the latter half of this decade. The aviation trade press has reported that the company would like to offer the new Boeing 747-8 or even the 787, the assembly line of which Obama will tour Friday.
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Boeing announced that its 737 MAX engine program will enter the final phase of wind tunnel testing next week. This is a major milestone in airplane design development and it ensures that the 737 program is on track for its entry into service on 2017.
According to Michael Teal, chief project engineer and deputy program manager of 737 MAX program, ”Wind tunnel testing is on the critical design path of the program. Based on previous work in the wind tunnel, we are confident this final phase of testing will substantiate our predictions of the aerodynamic performance of the airplane.”
Testing will be conducted at Farnborough, England. Engineers at QinetiQ’s testing facility will prove the forecasted low-speed performance of the 737 MAX on takeoff and landing. QinetiQ is a FTSE250 company and it uses its domain knowledge to share technical know-how to customers in global aerospace, defense and security markets. Meanwhile, validating the forecast for high-speed airplane performance will be done at Boeing Transonic Wind Tunnel at Seattle.
Airplane models used for wind tunnel testing of Next Generation 737 will also be used for 737 MAX. However, modifications were made to the aft fuselage, struts and nacelles.
The 737 MAX is a new engine variant of Boeing airplane. It is an improvement of today’s Next Generation 737. The 737 MAX is equipped with the latest technology from CFM International LEAP-1B engines and is capable to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger appeal.
Airlines that will use the 737 MAX will see a 10 to 12 percent fuel burn improvement compared to today’s most fuel-saving single aisle aircraft. They can also have a seven percent operating cost-per-seat advantage over their competitors in the future.
As of now, 737 MAX has received more than 1,000 orders and commitments from 15 companies.
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Airbus SAS, the world’s biggest commercial-jet builder, is starting to market a new seating concept for its narrow-body planes that could provide more hip room in aisle seats for larger passengers, an executive said.
The A320 family, Airbus’s best-seller, has six seats abreast that are each 18 inches (46 centimeters) wide between the armrests. The Toulouse, France-based company is studying an idea to shrink the window and middle seats to 17 inches, the same as on a Boeing Co. 737, and widen the aisle seats to 20 inches, said Simon Pickup, director of business operations for Airbus Americas.
Carriers could charge extra for those premium seats, Pickup said yesterday at a conference near Seattle. Boeing and Airbus are seeking ways to differentiate and gain a larger share of the narrow-body market, which Boeing values at $1.95 trillion over the next 20 years.
“It offers airlines a unique way to increase ancillary revenue, it’s unique to the A320 cabin and it certainly would be the most comfortable economy-class seat offered on any current airplane,” Pickup said in an interview. The companies now split the narrow-body market about equally.
The aisles of the A320 would remain 19 inches wide in the new plan, Pickup said. That compares to 20 inches on a 737. An A320 fuselage is wider than a 737.
Airbus offered wider A320 middle seats years ago in a plan that didn’t take off because it was presented before airlines started thinking about ancillary revenue, Pickup said. In the meantime, many carriers have begun charging for services and benefits that used to be free, including the extra leg room offered in exit- row seats.
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PARIS (Reuters) – Airbus is considering beefing up its A330 passenger jet in a bid to expand a recent winning sales streak for the junior member of its wide-body jet family, the planemaker said on Monday.
While the twin-engined aircraft, in service since the 1990s, is enjoying a second honeymoon with airlines due, in part, to delays in Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, analysts say it faces a threat from a possible stretched version of the 787.
An Airbus spokeswoman said a decision on how to enhance the A330 would be taken in the second half of the year.
The EADS unit is considering increasing the maximum amount of weight the A330 can carry by up to 5 tonnes and adding drag-reducing wingtip devices called “sharklets” — upward-slanting wingtips designed to help the aircraft fly further on the same amount of fuel.
They are already planned for the smaller narrowbody A320 and similar devices appear on some Boeing 757s.
A330 sales have flourished in the past two years as Boeing encountered delays in bringing out its carbon-composite 787, which recently entered service.
It has shorter range than either the 787 or Airbus’s planned carbon-fibre alternative, the future A350, but has sold well to airlines operating intermediate long-haul routes.
With the changes under consideration, the A330 would be able to lift up to 240 tonnes at take-off, Airbus said — an increase of 5 tonnes for the most popular variant, the A330-300, and 2 tonnes for the A330-200.
Increasing the maximum take-off weight allows airlines to add more fuel to carry the same number of people and their baggage further, or else carry a larger payload.
France’s La Tribune newspaper said the moves to increase the maximum tolerated weight at take-off would add 7 percent to the range of the A330, potentially giving it a range over 7,000 nautical miles.
With a three-class layout, the A330-300 carries 295 people up to 5,650 nautical miles or 10,500 kilometres, while the A330-200 — a later spin-off with a shorter fuselage and more range — takes 253 people up to 12,500 km.
Boeing has said it was considering a stretched version of its 787 called the 787-10 that would carry about 300 people approximately 6,800 nautical miles.
The move has been described by an industry official familiar with Boeing pre-marketing as a potential “A330 killer”.
The skirmish addresses a lucrative niche of the industry alongside high-profile battles between the A350 and Boeing’s 787 and the older but larger 777, which had record sales last year.
Airbus has said the carbon A350 will eventually outshine the 777 because it will be lighter and cheaper to run, while Boeing was expected to make similar claims about the 787-10 against the A330, which stems from roughly the same era as the 777.
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An agreement by Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and New Zealand to become subscribers to the Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) broadband communications network has prompted the U.S. Air Force to exercise an option for Boeing to build a ninth spacecraft.
With their $377 million contract, the five nations join Australia, which funded WGS-6 in 2008, as members of the Air Force WGS team.
WGS-9 is the third spacecraft in a follow-on contract series that relies on Block II technology. Block II is distinguished by its switchable radio-frequency bypass system, which enables transmission of airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance imagery data at three times Block I rates. All of the spacecraft are derived from Boeing’s commercial 702 satellite bus.
Boeing was informed in December to proceed with WGS-8; the WGS-9 authorization means the company will have five Wideband Global Satcoms under construction at its El Segundo, Calif., factory.
The eighth and ninth spacecraft have a combined value of $673 million and are part of a $1.09 billion contract modification the Air Force announced last September.
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As Air France-KLM prepares to roll out the initial elements of a turnaround plan for Air France, the airline group confirms that it has closed its deal with Boeing for 25 787s, of which KLM will be the initial operator, starting in 2016. The airline group also has 25 787s on option.
Air France-KLM confirmed the airline group is the unidentified customer for 25 787-9s listed in Boeing’s order book when the airframer disclosed annual figures last week. Air France also will operate the 787, although at a yet-to-be-set date. An engine decision is pending.
Air France-KLM announced its intention to buy both the 787 and the Airbus A350 in September. An airline official says that talks are under way to finalize the firm order for 25 Airbus A350s. Those talks involve both Airbus and Rolls-Royce, the sole engine supplier.
The 787 order confirmation comes in what could be a pivotal week for Air France, with a board meeting likely on Thursday to set into motion the first elements of a turnaround plan under new CEO Alexandre de Juniac. The executive previously said the plan would involve a two-stage process, the first of which would focus on bolstering the existing cost-savings plan.
Decisions on a wider reorganization, aimed at reducing the airline’s debt level, boosting its short- and medium-haul performance and stepping up its overall competitiveness are not expected to emerge until June because of the need to coordinate with labor groups.
Boeing now holds 305 orders for the long-range 787-9 and 555 for the standard 787-8.
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The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has cut funding for the $2 billion contract to build to rewing the A-10 after Boeing incurred a 10-month delay.
The program is supposed to extend the life of the U.S. Air Force’s ground attack jet, the A-10 Warthog, according to the service. The Senate Appropriations Committee cited problems and unspent prior funding when it entirely cut the Air Force’s $145 million fiscal 2012 request for the program.
The A-10 program has experienced “significant delays and has not delivered a new wing” since the program began procurement in fiscal 2010, the committee wrote in a Sept. 16 report accompanying its fiscal 2012 budget.
Boeing spokesman Forrest Gossett said the company has put in place a “recovery plan”.
“We experienced issues during the initial manufacturing of the program,” Gossett said in an e-mail. The first A-10 wing was delivered “with no major deficiencies but there were items to work through as would be expected with any development program.”
“Boeing has worked with the Air Force to create a recovery plan and the program is on target to deliver the first of four new wings” before Oct. 31, Gossett said.
The new wings are needed to extend the life of the A-10 aircraft, some of which have been in use since 1975 after previous modifications. The new wings will keep the A-10s flying until about 2030 at a lower cost than buying new aircraft, according to the Air Force.
The Senate committee cut the Air Force’s entire $145 million request because the delays meant little of the $351 million in A-10 wing money appropriated since fiscal 2010 has been spent, according to service figures.