Delta still in 787 talks with Boeing

By David Field

Delta Air Lines says it “remains in serious discussions” with Boeing over delivery schedules of the 787, and that its order for 18 aircraft remains on the books.

Carrier executive Ed Bastian today during the JP Morgan Aviation and Transportation Conference explained Delta’s listing of the aicraft as options rather than firm orders in a regulatory filing relased in early March was a formality. The carrier wouldbe operating some of the aircraft now “if Boeing had been able to deliver them,” he says. The planes had been set for delivery starting in the fourth quarter of 2009.

The order was orginally placed by Northwest Airlines, who merged with Delta in October 2008 and is now a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Delta.

Bastian also notes Delta is in the market for second-hand aircraft, saying, “We have our eye on a handful of used narrowbody aircraft,” but would not specify the model “so we don’t weaken our negotiating posture”.

The carrier intends to hold on to some 40-50 of Northwest’s DC-9s but will move ahead with retirements of others.

Bastian insists that the integration of Northwest and Delta is “going very smoothly” and vows that “exactly a year from now, we will be a single airline”. The carrier will begin its ‘cross-fleeting’ in April, “moving larger Northwest shells into Atlanta and New York and moving smaller Delta planes into Detroit”, he says. Some 24 of the planes in Northwest’s fleet have been painted in the Delta livery and 107 airport stations integrated and rebranded.

Outlining projections for the first quarter, Bastian says Delta’s total unit revenues will fall 10% as operating revenues are expected to drop by 14%. The carrier announced a plan to cut its Atlantic and Pacific capacity by 10% later this year, which he describes as “getting ahead of the slowdown”.


IAI looks for supersonic collaborators

By Arie Egozi

Israel Aerospace Industries is evaluating a possible collaboration with other aerospace companies for the development of a supersonic business jet.

“We have a unique experience in designing supersonic aircraft gained in our defence programmes and we can use it in such a programme,” says Gad Cohen, corporate vice-president and general manager of IAI’s engineering and development group. IAI designed the Lavi fighter and reached the prototype phase before the programme was cancelled in 1987.

“We agree that this is the future step in business jets and we are looking around to see where we can do something to use our advantages,” Cohen says, adding that the development of a supersonic business jet will involve a $2 billion investment and that the timeframe is “not less that 10 years from now”.

IAI is manufacturing business jets that are being marketed as part of the Gulfstream line of products.


IAI looks for supersonic collaborators

By Arie Egozi

Israel Aerospace Industries is evaluating a possible collaboration with other aerospace companies for the development of a supersonic business jet.

“We have a unique experience in designing supersonic aircraft gained in our defence programmes and we can use it in such a programme,” says Gad Cohen, corporate vice-president and general manager of IAI’s engineering and development group. IAI designed the Lavi fighter and reached the prototype phase before the programme was cancelled in 1987.

“We agree that this is the future step in business jets and we are looking around to see where we can do something to use our advantages,” Cohen says, adding that the development of a supersonic business jet will involve a $2 billion investment and that the timeframe is “not less that 10 years from now”.

IAI is manufacturing business jets that are being marketed as part of the Gulfstream line of products.


FAA issues directive to prevent Boeing 737 pilot-induced oscillations

By John Croft

Material defects in one batch of wire that Boeing purchased to make springs is at the root of a proposed airworthiness directive (AD) for dozens of next generation Boeing 737 models issued by the US FAA today.

The springs were used to build “rudder feel and centering” (RFCU) units on approximately 70 Boeing 737 NG models sold in the US. The devices are meant to artificially create rudder pedal forces that are representative of aerodynamic loading on the rudder.

The AD results from reports of low rudder pedal forces from operators, problems that were traced to a broken inner spring in the RFCU.

FAA says a broken inner spring combined with a broken outer spring “could result in increased potential for pilot-induced oscillations and reduce the ability of the flight crew to maintain safe flight and landing of the airplane.”

Along with repetitive inspections or force measurements on the RFCUswithin 30 days of aircraft identified by Boeing as possibly having the defective springs, FAA is also mandating replacement of the spring assembly in the RFCU within three years of the effective date of the AD. Replacing the springs will cost less than $4,000 per aircraft, says FAA, and will remove the need for further inspections.

The agency is also seeking to prevent the suspect springs from being retrofitted into other next generation 737 aircraft in the future.


Hawker Beechcraft Boosts Green Efforts

Benet Wilson benet_wilson@aviationweek.com

Hawker Beechcraft and Wichita State University have extended their partnership to boost its efforts in environmental sustainability to other aviation companies.

The company has been working with the university for a year to design and implement a program, said spokeswoman Nicole Alexander. “From this effort came the idea of a Wichita sustainability coalition to bring the local general aviation industry together to focus on recycling and other sustainability efforts,” she explained. Other partners include Spirit AeroSystems, Cessna Aircraft and Bombardier Learjet.

The coalition was created in January and the partners held its first meeting Feb. 18 to define its scope and goals, said Alexander. The next meeting is scheduled for March 24, she added.

“HBC’s goal is to improve sustainability for the entire life cycle of an aircraft – from engineering and manufacturing to customer operations and product retirement,” said Alexander. The program’s goal is to be the model for sustainability in general aviation and to enhance its reputation as a global organization dedicated to sustainability, she added.


Adiantada produção de caças Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet para a Austrália

A colocação do revestimento da parte dianteira da fuselagem do primeiro avião de combate de dois lugares Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet destinado à RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) já foi concluída na linha de montagem da empresa em St. Louis, estado do Missouri.

Segundo a Boeing, o exemplar estará pronto três meses antes do previsto, ficando marcada para julho do corrente ano a sua entrega.

Em 3 de maio de 2007, o governo autraliano fechou um contrato de US$ 2,22 bilhões para a compra de 24 aeronaves do modelo para substituir interinamente seus antigos caças-bombardeiros General Dynamics F-111.


3º/8º G.Av. Esquadrão Puma recebe helicópteros VH-55 Esquilo

O 3º/8º G.Av. Esquadrão Puma, sediado na Base Aérea dos Afonsos, RJ, incorporou no último dia 05 os helicópteros VH-55 Esquilo que até então estavam em operação no Grupo de Transporte Especial (GTE) . A solenidade de entrega ocorreu na Base Aérea de Brasília, sede do GTE, com a entrega das chaves das aeronaves ao Comandante do 3º/8ºG.Av., tenente-coronel Alexandre Anselmo Lima.

Durante o evento um VH-55 fez seu último vôo no GTE, pilotado pelo tenente-brigadeiro-do-ar Cleonilson Nicácio Silva, presidente da INFRAERO, e piloto mais antigo dos VH-55 da FAB. No dia seguinte os militares do Esquadrão Puma realizaram um vôo de translado para a Base Aérea dos Afonsos que teve duração de seis horas.

O Esquadrão Puma utilizará esses helicópteros em programas de treinamentos de suas tripulações. O 3º/8º G.Av. opera atualmente uma frota de helicópteros Eurocopter H-34 Super Puma em diversos tipos de missões, incluindo as de infiltração e retirada de tropas, Busca e Salvamento (SAR) e Busca e Salvamento em Combate (C-SAR).