Airbus and Dassault Aviation have decided to join forces for the development and production of Europe’s Future Combat Air System (FCAS), which is slated to complement and eventually replace current generation of Eurofighter and Rafale fighter aircraft between 2035 and 2040.
The partnership, sealed in Berlin by Dirk Hoke, Airbus Defence and Space Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, represents a landmark industrial agreement to secure European sovereignty and technological leadership in the military aviation sector for the coming decades.
“Never before has Europe been more determined to safeguard and foster its political and industrial autonomy and sovereignty in the defence sector. Airbus and Dassault Aviation have absolutely the right expertise to lead the FCAS project. Both companies are already cooperating successfully on Europe’s medium altitude long endurance new generation drone programme,” said Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. “FCAS takes this successful cooperation to the next level and we are absolutely committed to tackling this challenging mission together with Dassault Aviation. The schedule is tight, so we need to start working together immediately by defining a joint roadmap on how best to meet the requirements and timelines to be set by the two nations. It is therefore of key importance that France and Germany launch an initial joint study this year to address this task.”
Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, said: “We are convinced that by deploying our joint expertise, Dassault Aviation and Airbus can best meet the operational requirements of the Forces in the development of this critically important European programme. Both companies fully intend to work together in the most pragmatic and efficient manner. Our joint roadmap will include proposals to develop demonstrators for the FCAS programme as of 2025. I am convinced that European sovereignty and strategic autonomy can and will only be ensured through independent European solutions. The vision that France and Germany have set forth with FCAS is a bold one and it’s an important signal in, and for, Europe. The FCAS programme will strengthen the political and military ties between Europe’s core nations and it will reinvigorate its aerospace industry.”
Airbus Defence and Space and Dassault Aviation agree on the importance of efficient industrial governance in military programmes. This also includes the involvement of other key European defence industrial players and nations based on government funding and on the principle of best contribution.
Overall, FCAS defines a system of systems combining a wide range of elements connected and operating together, including a next generation fighter aircraft together with Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), the existing fleet of aircraft (which will still operate beyond 2040), future cruise missiles and drones flying in swarms. The overall system will be interoperable and connected in a larger perimeter with mission aircraft, satellites, NATO systems and land and naval combat systems.
The Ultra Long Range version of the A350 XWB, MSN 216, has successfully completed its first flight. The latest variant of the best-selling A350 XWB Family will be able to fly further than any other commercial airliner and will enter service with launch operator Singapore Airlines in second half 2018.
The aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines has embarked on a short flight test programme to certify the changes over the standard A350-900 that will extend its range capability to 9,700 nautical miles. These changes include a modified fuel system that increases fuel carrying capacity by 24,000 litres, without the need for additional fuel tanks. The test phase will also measure enhanced performance from aerodynamic improvements, including extended winglets.
With a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 280 tonnes, the Ultra Long Range A350 XWB is capable of flying over 20 hours non-stop, combining the highest levels of passenger and crew comfort with unbeatable economics for such distances.
Altogether, Singapore Airlines has ordered seven A350-900 Ultra Long Range aircraft, which it will use on non-stop flights between Singapore and the US, including the world’s longest commercial service between Singapore and New York.
The A350 XWB is an all new family of widebody long-haul airliners shaping the future of air travel. The A350 XWB features the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fibre fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. Together, these latest technologies translate into unrivalled levels of operational efficiency, with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs. The A350 XWB features an Airspace by Airbus cabin offering absolute well-being on board with the quietest twin-aisle cabin and new air systems.
At the end of March 2018, Airbus has recorded a total of 854 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 45 customers worldwide, already making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever.
Singapore Airlines is one of the largest customers for the A350 XWB Family, having ordered a total of 67 A350-900s, including the seven Ultra Long Range models. The carrier has already taken delivery of 21 A350-900s.
The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) announced on April 4 that the Cirrus Aircraft Vision Jet has been awarded the 2017 Robert J. Collier Trophy, for developing the world’s first single engine Personal Jet and implementing the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) on the aircraft.
The Collier Trophy is selected by a committee that includes 25 industry leaders and is awarded annually to recognize “the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety in air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year.” The nine nominees this year included the Edwards Air Force Base F-35 Integrated Test Force, Boeing 737 MAX, NASA/JPL Cassini Project Team and more.
“For more than a century, the Collier Trophy has recognized the greatest achievements in aviation in America,” said Greg Principato, NAA President and Chief Executive Officer. “By revolutionizing general and personal aviation, Cirrus Aircraft, with their Vision Jet, has added to a great and historic Collier legacy. We at the National Aeronautic Association congratulate them on their achievement and look forward to the presentation of the Collier Trophy on June 14.”
As the world’s first single-engine Personal Jet, the Vision Jet created a new category in aviation and further defined its significance with the inclusion of the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS). Unique to Cirrus Aircraft since the launch of the first SR Series aircraft in 1999, CAPS is the first FAA-certified whole airframe parachute system included as standard equipment on an aircraft and has continuously redefined safety in aviation. The inclusion of CAPS on the Vision Jet marks a major engineering milestone in the design and development of jet aircraft and signifies the ability to further transform aircraft safety at heights and speeds never before imagined.
“At Cirrus Aircraft we are honored and humbled to be awarded the 2017 Collier Trophy and to even be mentioned among the giants in aviation and space research that have won before us”, said Dale Klapmeier, Cirrus Aircraft Co-founder and CEO. “The arrival of the Vision Jet has forever changed general aviation and personal transportation and the 2017 Collier Trophy is dedicated to all of our employees and partners who have been a part of the development, production and now delivery of this game-changing airplane. We will celebrate this great honor by continuing to focus on our core mission of creating safer aircraft, safer pilots and safer skies.”
Throughout the history of powered flight, the NAA has been the steward for the nation’s most prestigious aviation awards. As the most notable of these awards, the Robert J. Collier Trophy was first awarded in 1911 and represents a historical timeline of the most celebrated advancements in flight and air safety around the world. Past recipients include Orville Wright, Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 team, Chuck Yeager and the Bell X-1, Lockheed’s Skunk Works and the F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter, Boeing 747, Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, B-2 Spirit, F-22 Raptor, Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Gulfstream 650, Blue Origin and many more aviators, scientists and engineers responsible for progressing aviation for generations to come.
The Vision Jet received FAA certification in 2016 and immediately ushered in a new era in personal aviation as the world’s first single-engine Personal Jet. The turbine aircraft features a spacious, pilot and passenger-friendly cabin with panoramic windows, reclining seats and comfortable legroom to accommodate five adults and two children. The cabin is complemented by the Cirrus Perspective Touch by Garmin Flight Deck, which delivers a wide array of sophisticated and intuitive global navigation capabilities and safety features at the touch of a finger.
The Collier Trophy will be formally presented at the Annual Robert J. Collier Trophy Dinner on June 14, 2018 at a location to be announced. It is on permanent display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. For more information, including a full list of past recipients, visit www.naa.aero.
London-based innovation company Exclin Ltd. has announced the Vertex Recreational Vehicle, a next-generation, fuel-efficient vehicle concept that will offer pilots an exhilarating, low-altitude flight over sea. Based on patented, award-winning Vertex Lift System technology, the vehicle will also allow vertical take-off and the ability to explore far-flung island locations beyond the range of a speedboat. Because it flies close to the water using “wing in ground-effect” (WIG) technology, the Vertex Recreational Vehicle will be more efficient than a plane and faster than most boats. And thanks to the Vertex Lift System, it will offer a level of stability and controllability that conventional WIG vehicles cannot – meaning it could start a sea change in fuel-efficient maritime transport.
The Vertex Lift System takes conventional WIG technology and adds “lift thrust”, providing control and stability independent of vehicle speed. The technology solves a key challenge faced by conventional WIG vehicles, potentially opening up a new product class. The “lift thrust” technology also means the vehicle can take off vertically from a ground surface – offering a thrill to the pilot and a spectacle to observers – while still offering the flexibility of conventional take-off and landing on ground or water. Vertex Lift System technology was a Golden Bridge Awards Gold Winner at Energy Industry Innovations in the US in 2017 – and the vehicle was shortlisted in the British Engineering Excellence Awards in the same year. Exclin has been recognised as a Top 500 deep-tech startup in the Hello Tomorrow Challenge 2017, and selected as a semi-finalist in the 2018 European Startup prize for mobility.
The Vertex vehicle will offer pilots the sheer pleasure of flying a high-speed craft within metres of the water’s surface – offering high levels of comfort relative to a speedboat. The high speed of the craft – up to 150kph – means it can reach locations further afield than most boats, such as islands and distant coves. The Vertex vehicle will be easy to fly and require limited training compared to an aircraft – giving it a low “barrier to entry” for pilots. This lower bar could also make the craft suitable for luxury seaside hotels or resort villas in regions such as the Bahamas, Fiji, Greece and the Maldives. To meet the specific needs of recreational pilots, it will be possible to separate the main wing from the body, in order to tow the Vertex Recreational Vehicle with a car. Classified as a “WIG type B” maritime vehicle, the Vertex Recreational Vehicle will be competitive to fly, operate and own.
Because of the Vertex Lift System, the Vertex Recreational Vehicle will represent a step forward for WIG vehicle safety – overcoming barriers to developing this product class. When the vehicle is in ground-effect mode – flying a few metres from the water surface – the lift system is designed to respond dynamically to changes in conditions such as gusts of wind, to give the vehicle extra stability and control. In addition, the vehicle will have the ability to operate in free flight, up to the maximum altitude of 150 metres allowed for a WIG type B vehicle. Although this will not be as fuel-efficient, it means the vehicle can be operated safely in harsh conditions, such as rough seas.
In future, Vertex Lift System technology could revolutionise freight transport in maritime locations – enabling a combination of speed and efficiency that fills a gap in the value chain. Because of their range and speed, Vertex vehicles will be well placed to take advantage of the trend toward faster, point-to-point high-speed connections as an alternative to congested, hub-specific travel routes. They could also operate in destinations that are out of reach of boats, such as beaches and hangars – and can fly over frozen waters or via Arctic routes. Compared to boats, Vertex vehicles would also be able to operate for a longer period of the year – making them more reliable for the needs of high-speed freight.
For more information about Exclin or the Vertex Recreational Vehicle, see www.exclin.com
Supersonic commercial travel is on the horizon. On April 3, NASA awarded Lockheed Martin Skunk Works a contract to design, build and flight test the Low-Boom Flight Demonstrator, an X-plane designed to make supersonic passenger air travel a reality.
"It is super exciting to be back designing and flying X-planes at this scale," said Jaiwon Shin, NASA's associate administrator for aeronautics. "Our long tradition of solving the technical barriers of supersonic flight to benefit everyone continues."
Lockheed Martin Skunk Works will build a full-scale experimental aircraft, known as an X-plane, of its preliminary design developed under NASA's Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) effort. The X-plane will help NASA establish an acceptable commercial supersonic noise standard to overturn current regulations banning commercial supersonic travel over land.
"We're honored to continue our partnership with NASA to enable a new generation of supersonic travel," said Peter Iosifidis, Low-Boom Flight Demonstrator program manager, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. "We look forward to applying the extensive work completed under QueSST to the design, build and flight test of the X-plane, providing NASA with a demonstrator to make supersonic commercial travel possible for passengers around the globe."
Lockheed Martin Skunk Works and NASA have partnered for more than a decade to enable the next generation of commercial supersonic aircraft. NASA awarded Lockheed Martin Skunk Works a contract in February 2016 for the preliminary design of the supersonic X-plane flight demonstrator.
The aircraft will be built at the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works facility in Palmdale, California, and will conduct its first flight in 2021.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecasts global industry net profit to rise to $38.4 billion in 2018, an improvement from the $34.5 billion expected net profit in 2017 (revised from a $31.4 billion forecast in June).
“These are good times for the global air transport industry. Safety performance is solid. We have a clear strategy that is delivering results on environmental performance. More people than ever are traveling. The demand for air cargo is at its strongest level in over a decade. Employment is growing. More routes are being opened. Airlines are achieving sustainable levels of profitability. It’s still, however, a tough business, and we are being challenged on the cost front by rising fuel, labor and infrastructure expenses,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
“The industry also faces longer-term challenges. Many of them are in the hands of governments. Aviation is the business of freedom and a catalyst for growth and development. To continue to deliver on our full potential, governments need to raise their game—implementing global standards on security, finding a reasonable level of taxation, delivering smarter regulation and building the cost-efficient infrastructure to accommodate growing demand. The benefits of aviation are compelling—2.7 million direct jobs and critical support for 3.5% of global economic activity. And the industry is ready to partner with governments to reinforce the foundations for global connectivity that are vital to modern life,” said de Juniac.
Passenger numbers are expected to increase to 4.3 billion in 2018, while the cargo business continues to benefit from a strong cyclical upturn in volumes, with some recovery in yields.
The biggest challenge to profitability in 2018 is rising costs, particularly in terms of oil prices, labour costs and overall unit costs.
All regions are expected to report improved profitability in 2018 and all regions are expected to see demand growth outpace capacity expansion. Carriers in North America continue to lead on financial performance, accounting for nearly half of the industry’s total profits. Airlines in this region are forecast to generate the strongest financial performance with net profits of $16.4 billion in 2018 (up from $15.6 billion in 2017). Market conditions are expected to continue to be strong, with announced capacity growth (3.4%) likely to be slightly less than our traffic forecast of 3.5%.
North American airlines have generated more than half of the industry’s profits produced in the past three years, but rising cost pressures have slowed further improvements. Low hedging ratios mean rising fuel prices have hit this region first and labor cost pressures have been an issue, though the expectation is that this pressure will diminish in 2018.
Since last fall, EPS Diesel has made significant progress in certifying their 'clean sheet' Graflight Flat 8 engine. The company expects to complete the process later this year. Certification activity has kept the company busy in the past year, as it continues to expand its staff and facilities.
Last fall, EPS Diesel subjected its engine to more than 70 hours of climb, cruise and restart scenarios in a revived air force chamber, which simulated altitudes up to 30,000 feet. The tests were conducted to affirm the mechanical design configuration of the Graflight Flat 8 engine, along with the advanced capabilities through the use of EPS’ proprietary Electronic Engine Control Unit (EECU) and its state of the art fuel system. “The engine responded in normal parameters at all altitudes up to 30,000 feet,” said EPS CEO Michael Fuchs.
Last summer, EPS began working on a new facility intended for engine testing, inspection, assembly and STC work. The inside space of the building is for EPS’ quality management team and for installing dyno technology, welding, fabrication space, and an engine tear down and inspection room. Once the new dyno testing facility is completed in April 2018, EPS will have the capacity to work on three engines at a time. Outside the building is an area being developed to accommodate specialized test stands that will allow for propeller tests, engine durability tests and any other climate/environmental testing as a part of certification and manufacturing.
“There are a considerable number of innovations in the Graflight Flat 8 engine,” said Fuchs, “and some of the new installations have stretched the known rules and methods for certification, especially in software, but progress has been steady and we are satisfied with our current timeline. We should be able to ship certified engines by the end of the year.”
For further information, please visit EPS.aero
On March 25, Boeing and Singapore Airlines celebrated the delivery of the first 787-10 airplane, the newest and largest member of the Dreamliner family. About 3,000 people marked the milestone at Boeing's facility in North Charleston, South Carolina, where the latest 787 model is manufactured.
Like the other 787 Dreamliners, the 787-10 is designed with strong, lightweight composites, the most advanced systems, and comfortable cabin features. The 787-10, though, features a longer fuselage which allows it to carry about 40 more passengers or a total of 330 seats in a standard two-class configuration.
With the additional capacity, the 787-10 provides airlines the lowest operating cost per seat of any widebody airplane in service today.
"It is an honour for us to be the world's first airline to take delivery of this amazing aircraft," said Mr. Goh Choon Phong, chief executive officer of Singapore Airlines, the 787-10 launch customer. "The 787-10 is a magnificent piece of engineering and truly a work of art. It will be an important element in our overall growth strategy, enabling us to expand our network and strengthen our operations."
Goh added that "the 787-10 underscores Singapore Airlines' longstanding commitment to operate a modern fleet, and marks the start of a new chapter in our shared story with Boeing."
Singapore Airlines – through its subsidiary Scoot – already flies the 787-8 and 787-9 Dreamliners. With today's delivery the group will be the first to operate all three Dreamliner models. Singapore Airlines has 68 additional Boeing widebody jets on order, including 48 additional 787-10s, and 20 of the new 777-9s.
"This is a big day for all of us at Boeing and for our global supplier partners. We are thrilled to deliver the first 787-10 Dreamliner to Singapore Airlines, one of the world's leading carriers. And we are honored by Singapore's partnership and trust, as reflected by their repeated orders for the Dreamliner," said Kevin McAllister, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and chief executive officer. "The 787-10 will extend the Dreamliner effect that we are seeing across commercial aviation as the 787's superior passenger experience and unmatched fuel efficiency helps airlines open new routes and achieve significant fuel savings and emission reduction."
The 787-10's superior performance and high commonality with its Dreamliner siblings have attracted strong interest from around the world, including in Asia where the jet can connect all points within the region. The 787-10 also offers Asian operators the flexibility to fly to Europe, Africa and Oceania.
Singapore Airlines plans to puts its 787-10s into scheduled service in May, with flights from Singapore to Osaka, Japan and Perth, Australia. Prior to the introduction of these services, the aircraft will be operated on selected flights to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur for crew training purposes.
On March 12, Textron Aviation announced the Cessna Citation Longitude has successfully circumnavigated the globe, demonstrating its commanding performance and impressive reliability to customers along the way. Throughout its world tour, the Longitude traveled more than 31,000 nautical miles, flew 27 legs and visited 12 countries.
“This far-reaching tour enabled us to fulfill the mounting demand from customers around the world to experience this stunningly capable and impressive aircraft,” said Rob Scholl, senior vice president of Sales and Marketing. “After successfully circling the globe and showcasing its outstanding performance and reliability throughout diverse regions and a wide array of environmental conditions, the Longitude reinforced its ability to suit the needs of operators worldwide.”
The Longitude commenced its world tour on January 27 when the aircraft departed Textron Aviation headquarters in Wichita, Kansas, for its Asia-Pacific debut at the Singapore Airshow. The aircraft then toured throughout the region and demonstrated its outstanding long-range performance with the 3,504-nautical mile flight from Seletar, Singapore to Sydney, Australia. Before returning to the United States, the Longitude flew throughout Europe, making stops for customers in Sweden, France, Italy, Switzerland and the U.K.
On its return flight to the United States, the Citation Longitude flew a crew of two pilots and two passengers on the 3,094-nautical-mile trip from Farnborough, U.K. (EGLF) to White Plains, New York (HPN), for a flight time of 6 hours 50 minutes and a crossing speed of Mach 0.82.
“We are extremely happy with the affirming feedback we have consistently received throughout the Longitude’s worldwide tour,” Scholl said. “With production in full swing and type certification and entry into service approaching, we look forward to introducing this superior aircraft to the market.”
Thousands of Boeing employees gathered at the company's Renton, Wash. factory today to celebrate the 10,000th 737 to come off the production line. With this airplane, a 737 MAX 8 for Southwest Airlines, the 737 has broken the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for the most produced commercial jet aircraft model.
"This incredible milestone is a testament to the work we do every day to build the most reliable and efficient single-aisle airplane in the world," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Kevin McAllister. "It represents more than 50 years of success and achievement on the part of thousands of Boeing employees past and present, our supplier partners, and our airline customers around the globe who put their confidence in the 737."
The 737 previously held this GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title in 2006 for the 5,000th airplane to come out of the Renton factory, a mark that took almost four decades to reach. Due to growing market demand and higher production rates, the 737 program reached the 10,000th airplane milestone only 12 years later.
"The speed at which Boeing achieved this new milestone is very impressive," said Michael Empric, official adjudicator for GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS. "We are excited to once again recognize the 737 and the important role it plays in commercial aviation."
Boeing will increase 737 production from the current rate of 47 airplanes per month to 52 airplanes per month later this year. The 737 program has more than 4,600 airplanes still on order fueled by sales of the newest version of the 737, the 737 MAX.
• A 737 takes off or lands every 1.5 seconds
• On average, more than 2,800 737s are in the air at any given time
• More than 22 billion people have flown on a 737
• The 737 has flown more than 122 billion miles, the equivalent of 5 million times around Earth