Free Ads

We are open for free advertisement , if you want contact me on .Thanks .



Sunday, June 5, 2011

P51 Mustang," Glamourous Gal", departs the flightline.

P51 Mustang,
This beautifully restored P51 Mustang takes off for the 2011 TICO Air Show.Photograph by: Gary W. Jones of gwjones.photographic imaging.

Leaping Back?

The General Electric Snecma CFM International joint venture has clinched its first Leap engine orders for the Airbus A320neo from Virgin America and ILFC according to a Bloomberg report. The deal, which is widely expected to be officially confirmed at the Paris air show, includes engines for up to 70 aircraft, 40 of them for ILFC and 30 for Virgin America. The orders are the first on the A320neo for CFM in what promises to be a decade-long battle with Pratt & Whitney’s competing PW1100G geared turbofan. The Pratt engine is already launched on the A320neo following firm commitments from Lufthansa, ILFC (with an MoU for 60 A320neos) and India’s IndiGo, while the Leap is already launched as the engine for the Chinese Comac C919. Both engines are also officially in the frame for possible use on a re-engined Boeing 737.

blog post photo
Leap breakthrough on A320neo (CFM)

To-date Pratt & Whitney has won agreements to power 240 of the 332 A320neo aircraft confirmed so far. Airbus has publicly targeted orders and commitments for 500 or more neo by the Paris air show, meaning that announcements could be due on orders for at least 160-170 additional aircraft later this month if it is to make its number. Some 22 of these will likely come from Brazilian carrier TAM which is yet to firm up either its earlier selection of the neo or an engine choice.

No Design Fault Found In Indian GSLV

NEW DELHI — A failure analysis committee has found no design problems with India’s Geo-Synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), despite two successive failures in 2010. “We had the opportunity to look at all aspects of [the] GSLV, at not only the missions that failed but also the successful missions,” says G. Madhavan Nair, the chairman of the failure analysis committee and a former chief of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). “We could not find any design deficiency with respect to the GSLV.”
India’s GSLV program suffered a major setback when the GSLV (D3) and the GSLV-F06 suffered back-to-back failures in April and December 2010, with the rockets plunging into the Bay of Bengal minutes after liftoff.
The group traced the loss of GSLV-F06 to a failure of the composite shroud on the vehicle’s Russian cryogenic engine. “The problem with GSLV is of a minor nature and it does not call for major changes,” Nair says. Discussions have begun with Russia regarding the shroud issue.
The space agency plans to launch the Chandrayaan-2, India’s second unmanned mission to the Moon, and its planned human spaceflight missions onboard GSLV rockets.
ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan says the space agency has now decided to focus on developing indigenous cryogenic engines to power the Mk. 2 GSLVs.
Radhakrishnan says the GSAT-7 and Insat-3D spacecraft, which were scheduled to be launched by the GSLV, will now go up on international launchers. “The idea is that in the next launch of GSLV, we do not want to put [up] a costly, complex satellite,” Radhakrishnan says.
ISRO recently said a rocket subsystems integration facility will be established near Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh to handle Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and GSLV launches.
Since rocket subsystems are currently manufactured in different parts of the country, the project, which is expected to be completed in about two-three years, will help reduce the need to transport sensitive hardware from far-flung locations.

EU Has Six Months To Withdraw Airbus Subsidies

The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body Wednesday officially accepted an appellate report confirming that certain EU subsidies to Airbus are illegal under WTO trade rules.
The EU and its member states now have six months to withdraw the subsidies or remove the adverse effects of those subsidies. The Dispute Settlement Body’s acceptance of the Appellate Body’s ruling in the six-year-old complaint—the largest case in WTO history—was virtually automatic under WTO rules and officially opens the six-month compliance window.
The May 18 Appellate Body ruling that was accepted upheld much, but not all, of a 2010 WTO panel report that found that certain subsidies provided by the EU and member states, Germany, France, Spain and the U.K. are incompatible with trade rules because they “caused serious prejudice” to the interests of the U.S.
Boeing on Thursday said it was pleased to see the ruling finalized and that it hoped the European Union would comply with its obligations.
For its part, Airbus said: “Airbus and Europe take compliance as seriously as Boeing and the United States government. We expect the EU to thoroughly review the WTO’s findings and in consultation with the stakeholders implement in line with WTO rules and practice. We are sure [the U.S. Trade Representative] and Boeing will do the same next year.”
A separate case brought by the EU against the U.S. over alleged subsidies to Boeing still is under consideration by the Appellate Body. A report in that case is expected to be published later this year.

Falcon 7X Fleet Grounded By EASA

The European Aviation Safety Agency today grounded the EASA-registered Falcon 7x fleet after a report from Dassault Aviation regarding “an uncontrolled pitch trim runway during descent” in one its fly-by-wire trijets yesterday.
Dassault Falcon Jet has advised all other Falcon 7X operators to ground their aircraft under Emergency Airworthiness Directive 2011-0102-E pending an analysis of the cause of the incident.
The company in a statement says that the crew successfully overcame the malfunction, stabilized the aircraft and landed it safely. Dassault Aviation performed a preliminary analysis of data downloaded from the aircraft’s Quick Access Recorder and Fault History Database.
Dassault has dispatched a team of technical experts to the landing facility where the aircraft is located to investigate the incident and to develop a solution.
The Falcon 7X fleet is comprised of 112 aircraft which have accumulated over 75,000 flight hours. This is the first event of this nature that’s been reported since the aircraft entered service in 2007.

Asia's Emerging Aerospace Parks

SINGAPORE—Southeast Asian countries are developing aerospace parks to attract foreign investment, but poor planning means most lag behind market leader Singapore.
Thailand has enormous potential to be a center for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) because Bangkok is an air transportation hub for Asia-Pacific and it has a secondary airport that would be an ideal base. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said in 2009 that Thailand would develop Don Mueang Airport into an MRO hub. The director general of Thailand’s civil aviation department, Wuthichai Singhamanee, was leading the initiative, but things have stalled since he retired last year. Sumpun Pongthai, the director of the flight standards bureau of the department of civil aviation, says national airports operator Airports of Thailand (AoT) leads the push; however, an AoT spokesman says Thailand’s ministry of transport is in charge. But government decision-making has taken a back seat as Thailand prepares for elections this year.
The uncertainty over policy is having an adverse impact on investment. France’s Vallierre Aviation wanted to start a MRO firm there to do narrowbody heavy checks, but Vallierre CEO GrĂ©goire Lebigot says: “Our project in Don Mueang was postponed as the strategy of the airport authority was somewhat unclear.” EADS was looking to establish a landing gear overhaul center at Don Mueang, but this too appears to have come to nothing.
Brunei is more organized in its efforts. Sheikh Rashid Salam, the Brunei Economic Development Board’s (BEDB) head of local business development, says it is targeting MRO firms and training organizations. “We are talking to people about establishing a flight simulator center” and are trying to get a training organization for maintenance engineers.
He says Royal Brunei Airlines would be a good partner for overseas MRO firms because the carrier has EASA Part 145 certification and there is a 1,930-sq.-meter hangar available at Brunei International Airport. This empty hangar used to store the Sultan of Brunei’s Boeing 747.
“We’ve got a skilled workforce,” says Rashid, adding that local MRO workforce rates are $30-35 per hour. “You can bring foreign workers into the country, and there is no income tax, sales tax, capital gains tax, export or manufacturing tax.” The corporate tax rate is 22%, and companies that invest in Brunei can apply for an eight-year tax holiday, he says. “If they spend a certain amount, they get three more years of tax holiday.”
While the BEDB has a comprehensive package, one of the challenges it faces is that Brunei is small. The population is only around 400,000.
Indonesia, by comparison, is Southeast Asia’s largest airline market. It too wants an aerospace park, but questions persist over whether Indonesian regulators can work together to streamline the process. Richard Budihadianto, CEO of Indonesia's largest MRO firm, GMF AeroAsia, says Indonesia needs more MRO firms because the incumbents cannot absorb all the work. The majority of Indonesia’s heavy maintenance work goes overseas, mostly to Malaysia and Singapore. Budihadianto is trying to generate support for an aerospace park, but the government has yet to decide on a site or provide incentives.
Malaysia is more advanced in its efforts. It has established the Malaysian International Aerospace Park at Subang Airport, Kuala Lumpur’s old international airport. Subang Airport is home to Malaysia Airlines Engineering & Maintenance (MAS E&M) and Airod, a military MRO. GE Aviation has two Subang businesses: GE Engine Services and GE On-Wing Support.
The aerospace park’s highest-profile tenant is Spirit Aerosystems. During the 2009 opening ceremony of its manufacturing and design facility, Spirit CEO Jeff Turner remarked that “although Spirit is an aerospace company, it’s also a people company, and it is the people in Malaysia that convinced me that this is a great place for Spirit to grow globally.”
Malaysia has tried to ensure that it has a skilled and qualified workforce. MAS E&M has a training center at Subang. Other training organizations include Politeknik Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah, which has a diploma course in aircraft maintenance; and Kedah Industrial Skills and Management Development Centre, which has courses on aircraft composites manufacturing.
Malaysia has had some success, but no one appears able to beat Singapore. Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB) estimates the city-state accounts for 25% of Asia-Pacific’s commercial MRO work. The investments keep pouring in. Rolls-Royce says it is investing at least S$700 million ($560 million) in Singapore’s Seletar Aerospace Park to develop a wide-chord titanium fan-blade factory as well as an assembly and test facility for commercial aircraft engines. It announced that the plant will assemble Trent 1000s, used on Boeing 787s, and also be equipped to handle other types of Trent engines. The fan-blade factory building was completed in December, and the assembly plant building will be completed in May. Assembly of the first engine is due in mid-2012.
The plant will have the capacity to produce 250 engines per year, but it will take several years to ramp up to that rate, says Jonathan Asherson, Rolls-Royce regional director for Southeast Asia. He predicts some of Rolls-Royce’s suppliers will establish factories in Southeast Asia to manufacture parts that can then be sent to the Singapore assembly plant. “Logistics is a big factor in overall cost,” says Asherson. One of the advantages Singapore has is its world-class infrastructure, he says.
Rolls-Royce was confident about the decision to set up the Singapore site—its first outside the U.K.—because its other investments in the city-state have been successful, says Asherson. Singapore Aero Engine Services, a joint venture with SIA Engineering Co., supports Trent engines. “That positive experience de-risked our decision,” says Asherson, adding that it proved Singapore can provide skilled labor at the right price. SIA Engineering is training workers for the assembly plant, while Singapore’s Institute of Technical Education is training workers for the fan-blade factory.
Another favorable factor is Singapore’s monetary policy. It limits wild fluctuations in the value of its currency by pegging it to the U.S. dollar and a bundle of other currencies. Asherson says mitigating fluctuations in the U.S. dollar is important to exporters like Rolls-Royce.
Finally, government support is another important factor in Singapore's success, says Asherson. Authorities offer inducements such as tax incentives and training and innovation grants. The main player in this area is Singapore’s EDB. It is also the main party companies turn to when looking to invest, and its role is to take the lead and coordinate the other government ministries and agencies to ensure the investment and approval process is efficient.
Other Southeast Asia nations often fail to do this and end up bouncing potential investors from one ministry or government agency to the next. Asherson says the Singapore EDB is good at asking questions and finding out what is important to investors. “They really do try find out from us what we value” and, as a consequence, can demonstrate that they have “an understanding of our industry,” he says.
Lim Kok Kiang, the EDB director of transport engineering, says that about 75% of the plots at Seletar Aerospace Park’s phase one and phase two developments already are taken or reserved. But new plots will be available under phase three, which is scheduled to start in the second half of 2012. He says Singapore’s Jurong Town Corp. (JTC), which manages the park, is targeting smaller suppliers in the aerospace sector by building factories that will be available for lease. JTC is also building aircraft hangars that can be shared facilities, he adds.
“The key here is integration,” he says, adding that there is a competitive advantage in being in such as park. “These smaller businesses can reap the synergies of co-location” and over time give work to each other.
Singapore’s biggest advantage is the head-start it has on the other Southeast Asian nations. It already has a huge cluster of aircraft MRO and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) businesses. As a result, MRO firms elsewhere in Southeast Asia still may have to send some work to Singapore because that is where the OEMs are.
In the MRO industry, time is money. If an MRO firm has to send a component to Singapore, it may be more productive to do all the airframe or engine work in Singapore.
This is the challenge the other Southeast Asian nationals face in developing aerospace parks to woo MRO investment. In some respects, countries such as Indonesia and Thailand should have developed MRO hubs decades ago. Now they have to play catch up.

Libya: Apaches Attack (with video)

The U.K. has conducted the first raid on Libya using WAH-64 Apache attack helicopters, deployed unusually at sea on HMS Ocean. Two of four Apaches were involved in the raid.

The U.K. defense ministry has released this video of the strike:

The move is significant in several ways. It is aimed at adding pressure on the Gaddafi forces, but also increases the risk to air crew flying much lower than the fixed-wing aircraft conducting raids there. The BBC reports the Apaches were fired on.

But it also is a remarkably quick revival of the ship-borne Apache employment concept that had been dormant for a while because of operational taskings for Apaches in Iraq and Afghanistan. The HMS Oceandeployment, in fact, began as an exercise before being turned into an actual operation.
The attack was launched against targets near Brega. French helicopters also engaged Libyan targets today for the first time -- Tiger and Gazelle helos are deployed on the Tonnerre. Reports inidcate the Gazelles were used in the attacks early on June 4.
NATO, in announcing the attack, says the helos struck "military vehicles, military equipment and fielded forces." Canadian Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard, who commands the operation, says in a statement that "this successful engagement demonstrates the unique capabilities brought to bear by attack helicopters."
Tiger Gripen, Czech  Air Force
Gripen, Czech Air Force with a nice tiger tail.

NTM 2011 Morning Take off

NTM 2011 Morning Take off
German Air Force Tornado taking off for the morning vision.

Slovak Air Force Mig-29

Slovak Air Force Mig-29
Slovak Air Force Mig-29, landing at Nato Tiger Meet 2011 Cambrai France

Senators Call For Heavy-Lift Competition

California Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer are asking NASA to compete the propulsion systems for a congressionally mandated heavy-lift rocket that is expected to leverage billions that the agency has invested in existing space shuttle and Ares rocket assets.
In a May 27 letter to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, the lawmakers assert a competitive bidding process would allow the agency to obtain better technology for NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS) at lower initial and lifecycle costs.
“In this time of constrained budgets, it would be inexcusable to funnel billions of taxpayer dollars into a noncompetitive sole-source contract for the new Space Launch System,” the letter states, adding that NASA could save hundreds of millions over the life of the program. “Furthermore, a competitive process will build capacity and enhance the critical skills and capabilities at a wide range of aerospace technology companies.”
In January, NASA provided an interim report to Congress outlining a preliminary design for the new rocket that incorporates the space shuttle’s main engines and Ares rocket’s J-2X upper-stage engine, both built by Pratt Whitney Rocketdyne of Canoga Park, Calif. The design also utilized the five-segment solid-rocket boosters that Utah-based Alliant TechSystems was developing for the now-defunct Ares 1 launcher, which the Obama administration scuttled in the 2011 budget blueprint President Obama sent to Congress last year.
However, NASA’s cost and schedule estimates for the SLS design failed to square with funding levels recommended in the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 that Obama signed into law last year.
Since completing the interim study, the agency has been evaluating alternatives to the shuttle- and Ares-based architecture directed in the law, including designs that would utilize liquid oxygen/kerosene propulsion systems. NASA also is weighing potential acquisition strategies for procuring the SLS, including alternatives to extending Ares and shuttle contracts.
Opening the heavy-lift rocket development to competition, however, would likely draw protests from lawmakers who represent states that stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars when the space shuttle retires with no immediate follow-on program in place. However, competition for the launcher would allow emerging and established aerospace firms – including Los Angeles-based startup Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Sacramento-based propulsion manufacturer Aerojet – to bid on the SLS program, for which Congress authorized nearly $7 billion through 2013 alone.
In the letter, Feinstein and Boxer assert that a competitive bidding process for the rocket’s propulsion systems would be consistent with the NASA authorization act, which directed the agency to build the massive launcher over the next five years as part of a long-term human exploration strategy for reaching destinations beyond low Earth orbit.
“As you know, this legislation directed the agency to construct a new human-rated spacecraft by 2016 while utilizing existing contracts where ‘practicable,’” the letter states. “However, NASA itself has already concluded that such a plan is not practicable.”
Specifically, the letter cites NASA’s own language in the agency’s January interim report that states, “NASA does not believe this goal is achievable based on a combination of the current funding profile estimate, traditional approaches to acquisition, and currently considered vehicle architectures.”

Northrop Grumman Cyber-Alliance Bearing Fruit

The first cybersecurity advances to emerge from Northrop Grumman’s research partnership with three leading U.S. universities could be fielded within the next year or so, depending on government acquisition cycles, the company says.
Advances in cloud-computing security, application software for mobile devices and forensic capabilities are among the first products to emerge from the 18-month-old Cybersecurity Research Consortium involving Carnegie Mellon University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Purdue University.
“All have the potential to be fielded in the next year or two,” says Robert Brammer, vice president and chief technology officer for Northrop Grumman Information Systems. “We have submitted initial proposals to customers.”
The five-year collaborative-research partnership was launched in 2009 to tackle some of the toughest problems in cybersecurity, “and we are beginning to get encouraging results,” he says. Research is focused on protecting large-scale networks and critical infrastructure such as the control systems for power grids.
Cloud security for government computing is a high priority, Brammer says, and MIT is researching the use of low-cost “trusted” processors performing specialized encryption to protect data in the cloud and reduce the security risk in sharing information-technology infrastructure.
Several research projects have reached the stage of testing on Northrop cyber-ranges to evaluate their effectiveness. Digital watermarking to authenticate and track data in the cloud “has shown an ability in the lab to resist cybersecurity attack, so we are testing it on a large scale in cyber-ranges,” he says.
One of the research areas is in developing ways to automate cybersecurity certification testing of systems to reduce time and cost. “Initial testing shows excellent potential,” Brammer says.
“We are now doing research on selected operational systems to see how it scales up.”
An approach being developed by Purdue to automate the testing of large Internet-scale networks involves breaking them into smaller pieces, testing them on the cyber-range and then recombining them with confidence that the results will remain accurate.
Another area of research is into ways to automate recovery from network intrusions. An approach being developed by MIT is to “re-execute” – to store all computing data and, after an attack, remove any malware and roll back any file to a point just before the attack, then re-execute all legitimate computations. This is moving into lab testing.

Airbus Scraps A320 Freighter Conversions

Airbus is abandoning its A320 and A321 passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversion program, saying demand for the airliner version means there is not adequate supply for a conversion program.
“Recent market developments, including the success of the upcoming A320NEO, have resulted in more demand for A320 passenger aircraft and less for freighter versions in this aircraft category. In addition, strongly growing passenger traffic results in high demand for used A320 family aircraft, thus reducing the amount of aircraft available for conversion,” Airbus says, adding that “against the backdrop of these market changes and the increasing pressure on the P2F business case, the partners have concluded to stop and freeze the P2F programme.”
Airbus was working with its sister-unit EADS EFW and Russia’s United Aircraft Corp. (UAC) and Irkut on the conversion program. As a result, the joint venture for the business, Airbus Freighter Conversion, has been terminated. Ownership of the joint ventuer was 32% EADS EFW, 18% Airbus, and 25% each for UAC and Irkut.
Work on one A320 prototype aircraft, provided by AerCap, was already underway, although series production had not, yet, been initiated. First flight of the aircraft was due this year.
AerCap had already had an agreement with Anglo-Swedish cargo airline West Atlantic to be the launch operator of the A320 P2F aircraft. The airline was to lease three aircraft starting next year, with options for four more.
Airbus would not disclose financial terms linked to the cancellation of the program, including any penalties owed to customers such as AerCap.
The move also is a setback for Airbus to expand its freighter activities. The aircraft maker has long-bemoaned that its cargo portfolio is far smaller than rival Boeing’s. However, the cancellation of the P2F initiative, along with the decision several years ago not to proceed with the A380 freighter, leaves Airbus with the A330-200F as its only active freighter product. The aircraft maker still signals the A380 freighter may be revived, and an A350 freighter is also in the long-term plan.