Air France 447 – Voo 447: Aeronáutica e Marinha mostram destroços do Airbus A-330 da Air France

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Destroços do voo 447 da Air France - AFP

RIO – A Marinha e a Aeronáutica apresentaram nesta sexta-feira os primeiros destroços do Airbus A-330 da Air France que caiu na noite do dia 31 de maio no Oceano Atlântico com 228 pessoas a bordo. O material recolhido no mar está armazenado no hangar de uma base da Força Aérea Brasileira no Recife ( Imagens dos destroços ).

As peças, que foram levadas para a capital pernambucana por uma aeronave Hercules C-130, serão analisadas por um técnico francês que chega ao Brasil no próximo domingo, dia 14. Responsável por investigar as causas do acidente, ele fará uma perícia inicial das peças e avaliará se os destroços serão levados para a França ou se a perícia completa será realizada em território brasileiro.

Perícia preliminar mostra que corpos não apresentavam queimaduras

Todos os destroços tem uma relevância muito grande, porque a análise deles permite aos investigadores identificar a causa do acidente


Uma parte da cauda do avião encontrada no mar que é vista por especialistas como importante para a investigação também chegará ao Recife no dia 14.

– Todos os destroços tem uma relevância muito grande, porque a análise deles permite aos investigadores identificar, ou pelo menos ter um auxilio para identificar, qual foi a causa do acidente – afirmou o tenente-brigadeiro da Aeronáutica, Ramon Borges Cardoso.

Diretor do Departamento de Controle do Espaço Aéreo da Aeronáutica, Ramon disse que novos destroços do AF447 foram avistados por aeronaves deslocadas para oeste dos pontos iniciais de busca. As peças serão recolhidas ainda hoje.

Destroços do voo 447 da Air France - AFP

– Direcionamos as buscas para os locais mais prováveis e já tivemos informação de avistamento de destroços, e os navios estão sendo direcionados para esse local – disse ele.

Os destroços visualizados nesta sexta-feira estão numa área de jurisdição do Brasil, e serão levados pelos navios ao Recife, onde já estão as primeiras partes da aeronave recolhidas do mar.

Autoridades determinam ‘ponto provável’ da queda do Airbus da Air France

As equipes de busca da FAB e da Marinha, com ajuda de embarcações e aeronaves da França, já resgataram 44 corpos de vítimas do voo AF 447, que caiu quando fazia a rota Rio de Janeiro-Paris com 228 pessoas a bordo. De acordo com o brigadeiro, até o dia 20 ainda seria possível encontrar corpos.

– Hoje não foi feito nenhum avistamento, apenas de destroços. Mas isso não significa que não seja possível encontrar mais corpos.

Direcionamos as buscas para os locais mais prováveis e já tivemos informação de avistamento de destroços, e os navios estão sendo direcionados para esse local


A meteorologia indica uma acentuada piora das condições de tempo e visibilidade na área de buscas, o que poderá comprometer os trabalhos. Mas mesmo com as limitações meteorológicas, as buscas continuarão a ser realizadas, sempre nas áreas que ofereçam condições de vôo visual à baixa altura, afirmou o brigadeiro. As condições do mar são favoráveis, com ondas de até um metro de altura.

O brigadeiro afirmou que o planejamento das forças está pronto para continuar com as operações até o dia 25, mas ressaltou que a partir do dia 17 haverá uma reunião a cada dois dias entre Marinha e FAB para avaliar os achados que estão acontecendo e decidir a continuidade das buscas.

No Recife também acontece a identificação dos primeiros 16 corpos resgatados. Segundo a Polícia Federal, não há previsão para o encerramento das identificações. Outros 25 corpos estão em Fernando de Noronha, onde passam por uma verificação preliminar, e mais três estão a bordo de um navio da Marinha.


Bell Canada: composites not a grey area

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By John Croft

Colour is a giveaway as to the technology difference between Bell Helicopter’s new Bell 429 medium-light twin helicopter and its more traditional brother, the Bell 412, on the final assembly line at the company’s Mirabel plant near Montreal.

Michel Legault, director of business development for Bell Helicopter Canada, explains the difference – grey parts are made of composite, yellow parts are metal. “The 412 has a lot of yellow; the 429 has a lot of gray,” he says of the helicopters’ pre-paint livery.

The trend is set to continue as grey further becomes the new green for the Canadian arm of Bell Helicopter, the location responsible for the fuselage, integration and assembly of all of Bell’s civil helicopters, including the 429.

Originally intended as an instrument flight rules version of the Bell 427 twin, the 429 started instead as a larger clean-sheet design in 2004, taking advantage of a C$230 million ($209 million) Technology Partnerships Canada loan that covered about one-third of the cost of its development. The resulting Modular Affordable Product Line (MAPL) initiative was responsible for key new technology items on the 429 from the Canadian side.

Studio Yves Beaulieu
© Studio Yves Beaulieu
The Bell 429 is the helicopter manufacturer’s first clean sheet design since the V-22 Osprey

Legault says the 429 frame, which is being built by Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation in Taiwan, is “mostly” composite on the outside, although inside it is roughly half metal and half composite. The two-piece drive shaft connecting the two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW207D engines to the X-shaped tail rotor is also composite, allowing for fewer bearings along its length compared with the four-piece metal shaft on legacy models, reducing friction and increasing life.

Along with an all-graphite tail boom, built with a flat bottom for easy placement of antennas, the 429’s horizontal stabiliser is also composite.Composites are not always lighter and cheaper than traditional metals parts for items like the tail boom, at least not initially. The big gain for Bell has been in the reduction of rivets and the associated fatigue that occurs at the joints due to a helicopter’s rotating elements.

With the technology proven on the 429, cost savings because of simplified construction of the structures should start to accrue. Operators will see longer life of composite elements, not only through having fewer rivets, but because composite parts like the tail boom can be repaired after a ding whereas monocoque aluminium versions have to be replaced if dented, says Neil Marshall, Bell programme director for the 429 and MAPL programme.

Once the 429 certification is complete this month, Legault says Bell may investigate a single-engine version certificated under Part 27 – below 3,180kg (7,000lb), which the current 429 model is being certificated under – and an enhanced twin-engined model certificated under Part 29. All-new helicopters that employ and expand the MAPL technologies are also in discussion, says Legault.

Novel research, described as “pre-competitive”, will push the composite state of the art for helicopters coming later in the next decade and beyond. Legault says Bell is “working with another Canadian company” on how to develop an all-composite fuselage for future helicopters using technologies that not only reduce the cost of fabrication, but also allow the composites to be used for more complex types of parts. Such technologies, says Legault, will make current composite construction techniques seem antiquated.


Mechtronix: Technology born in the dorm brings power to the people

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By Mike Gerzanics

Canadian simulator manufacturer Mechtronix provesthere is a pay-off from heavy emphasis on research and development.

Mechtronix was created in the early 1980s when the country’s National Research Council (NRC) launched a research programme at Concordia University in Montreal to develop a simulator using microprocessors, says Mechtronix president Xavier Herve. “Then we moved from the R&D world into creating a service company using the technology, which was then state of the art.”

The technological edge continues to pay off. “We compete against the likes of CAE and Thales, with their thousands of employees, and we have less than 300,” says Herve. Along with developing five new aircraft simulators in the past five years, the same employee base builds the simulators it has created in a facility that can produce as many as 25 full-motion and fixed-base simulators a year.

Hot projects at the moment include a fixed-base jet transition training tool that is being qualified in Europe. Priced at less than $1 million, the simulator is designed for transition pilots who have flown only a few hours in fixed-wing aircraft as part of the multi-crew pilot licence (MPL) programme. “This is a leap in productivity when it comes to training pilots,” says Herve.

The low-cost transition trainer follows in the footsteps of other Mechtronix initiatives that tend to create more affordable simulation solutions for the aviation industry. One of those is the company’s FFS X series full-motion and FFT X fixed-base simulators, which include models for the Airbus A320 family.

The FFS X is a full flight simulator whose cab is common to both it and its fixed-base FFT X counterpart. Only two computer racks are needed to house the several Windows-based PCs that drive the simulator. The host PC has a QNX operating system, often called Unix Light. A third cabinet houses the power supply for the entire system.

On the flightdeck, Mechtronix saves costs by fabricating as much as possible in-house. Original equipment manufacturer parts are only used when the expense of certification or manufacture are prohibitive. The motion base for the FFS X is pneumatically driven by a small compressor and accumulator system.

The six Moog-supplied electro-pneumatic actuators operate at 10-11bar (145-159lb/in2)and have 1.52m (60in) of travel. Herve says that not only is his pneumatic system cheaper to produce than a hydraulic one, but it has only one-tenth the maintenance costs.

For my demonstration flight, a level D FFS X with an A320 cab was provided. The simulator was being prepared for delivery to the Civil Aviation Flight University China. The simulator was fully operable, but the motion base was disabled as part of the pre-shipping process. The visual system offered a 180° field of view (FOV), while newer systems will feature a 200° FOV.

CANADA_Mechtronix_Simulator
© Mechtronix
Mechtronix initiatives tend to create more affordable simulation solutions for the aviation industry

The aircraft was placed at a gate at Hong Kong’s Chep Lap Kok airport, in daylight conditions. After a push back from the gate I was able to taxi to Runway 25R. Take-off was in visual meteorological conditions, and I able to fly two visual circuits, the last to a full stop landing.

IMPRESSIVE CAB

During my brief 30min flight, in what was now a fixed-base training device, I was impressed by the level of fit and finish of the cab. Whilenot type rated in the A320, I have flown a number of different Airbus products and the flightdeck looked and felt like the real thing. The visual display was outstanding.

As I moved my head around while seated, there was little if any distortion in the displayed scene. Visual peripheral cues were sufficient for me to accurately judge my height over the runway, aiding in judging the flare manoeuvre. No attempt was made to quantitatively compare the simulator to the aircraft, but on a qualitative level it felt pretty close to the real thing.

Mechtronix initiatives tend to create more affordable simulation solutions for the aviation industry.


CHC: Canada’s helicopter heavyweight

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By Jeffrey Decker

Acquisitions over 20 years have built CHC Helicopter into a global giant. But even as foreign operations overshadow domestic revenue, Canada is the unquestionable home for this exporter of efficiency and safety.

While search and rescue and emergency medical flights are in CHC’s portfolio, its offshore oil and gas support dominates its clientele list. From a base near Vancouver, British Columbia, CHC is searching for new contracts in deeper waters that call for only the largest aircraft and bring the largest profits.

Claiming to lead the helicopter industry with “the largest commercial fleet in the world by value”, CHC has not released fleet statistics or much other data since the public company was bought last year. The tally at the end of 2007 was 3,817 employees and 255 aircraft at 95 bases in 35 countries.

At least 70% of that is offshore oil and gas support, which pushed CHC annual revenues above $1 billion in 2006.

Worldwide flight hours jumped from 59,859 in 2006 to 84,207 in 2007. Growing profits attracted investment from First Reserve, which finalised its $3.7 billion buyout last September for what it called the “largest ever oil field services buyout”. Operating from Connecticut, Texas and the UK, First Reserve claims to be the world’s leading private equity firm within the energy industry, with 36 companies in its portfolio.

“Canadian Holding Company” was the handle created in 1987 when Sealand Helicopters owner Craig Dobbin led the purchase of Okanagan Helicopter and Toronto Helicopters. CHC leapt into an industry-first in 2000, bringing its worldwide operations under one company name and eventually one livery scheme. Major strides came with CHC’s acquisition of British International Helicopters in 1994 and Helikopter Services Group of Norway in 1999. Nowit operates on every continent.

The strategy acquires resources. The $129 million buyout of the Schreiner Group of the Netherlands in 2004 led to a company-wide reorganisation, seeking common safety standards worldwide. “Transport Canada was the only regulatory agency that required a safety management system, so we used that as the starting point,” says Gregory Wyght, vice-president of safety and quality.

LOCAL REGULATION

Wyghtneeds to make certain each local law and regulation is followed, even when local is a world away. “I went with the principle that I had to take a piece from every single region in order to get them all to buy into it, so it took a lot of diplomacy.”

Being compliant is easier in some regions than in others, and sometimes it is too easy. “In some countries the regulatory oversight is just not there, so we come in with international standards that raise the bar,” he says.

European facilities are mostly staffed by Europeans, he adds. “You’re more likely to see Canadians in undeveloped countries, usually in management. They’ll be in an oversight, mentoring role, helping to educate.”

The same is true for maintenance, says Jim Swoboda, vice-president of Technical Services. When CHC does not simply launch its own local operator, it coaches established companies after acquiring them. “They’re getting that global best practices model,” he says. “We’ve created a system designed to flex to new regulatory systems.”

Frequently the partnership is at the ownership level, with joint operations to satisfy domestic ownership requirements of law. “More than 120 companies make up the CHC banner,” Swoboda says.

When that Canadian expertise surpasses even the local civil aviation authorities, Swoboda says it is common for foreign lease authorisations to bring Transport Canada authority over oceans. In the case of Baku, Azerbaijan, he says those authorisations were extended for 20 years, leaving the Canadian registries and Transport Canada’s authority on each aircraft.

Essentially, he says, “we work with as many nationals as possible and still maintain the standards oil companies need. The flexibility we provide is really our trademark.” An important element is the experienced aircraft maintenance engineers keeping those aircraft flying. “Of the 900-1,000 licensed engineers we have, we move them all over the world to their base of operations four times a year,” Swoboda says. That is working 8h days six weeks in a row, followed by six weeks off.

As for the maintenance standards of European operations, Swoboda says they are based on European Aviation Safety Agency rules, “but we’re trying to move them toward the hybrid EASA and Transport Canada standards”.

CHC European Operations is one of three major CHC divisions, with CHC Global Operations and Heli-One, which provides parts worldwide and handles major overhauls.

The Heli-One facility at Stavanger in Norway is among the world’s largest. It was formerly Helicopter Services Group before being acquired 10 years ago, says Rune Veenstra, vice-president of business units for Heli-One.

The international strength applies there, as well, he says, starting with bilateral agreements between EASA and Transport Canada. “When you have bigger volumes the whole process will be more flexible,” he says.

The heavy helicopters flown by CHC are Eurocopter Super Pumas and Super Puma MKIIs, plus the S-61N and S-92 from Sikorsky. Sikorsky S-76s and Eurocopter AS365s lead the mediums, with most light and many medium CHC helicopters sold off.

Eurcopter-super-puma
© CHC Helicopter
CHC is increasingly focusing on heavy helicopters such as the Eurocopter Super Puma

Heavies are the future, says Barry Clouter, regional director for the Americas. As oil and gas reserves go dry, oil companies are looking to deeper waters that only the heavy helicopters can reach, although some contracts are not renewedand others are not bid for.

“In Venezuela we’re out completely. In Ecuador we’re winding down,” he says. “The [Bell] 212 is not a market that we want to continue, so we’re looking to divest ourselves of those airframes.” Those flights over land may be over, but the 20 aircraft flying offshore from Brazil continue.

It has been six years since this strategy led CHC to sell off the contracts and flights that got it started. The forestry, mining and oil and gas contracts in Canada requiring medium and light helicopters are now under the separate company Canadian Helicopters.

That leaves only one base in Nova Scotia keeping Canadian flights aloft for CHC.

“We want to grow the Canadian side of this company,” says Clouter. “There are opportunities off Newfoundland. There are opportunities off Greenland in the Labrador Sea.” Those resources are mostly untouched and promising, he says.

Demand is backing down from the recent frenzy fuelled by record oil prices. Soon, Clouter is certain, oil prices will swing back up and offshore flight services will be at capacity.

“You’re judged not only on price,” he says, “Oil companies, the ones that we deal with, are willing to pay extra for companies with established safety expertise in the field.”

DEMANDING CONDITIONS

One of those experts is in the office next to Clouter’s in Halifax. Base manager Sean Tucker is ready for the fog to roll in off the Atlantic Ocean. Add corrosive saltwater and deadly cold waters and “this is probably the most demanding instrument rules flying in the helicopter industry, so our level of experience really is unprecedented”, Tucker says.

Heis proud of holding up Canadian operations for a company now almost completely international. His base is now busier with the addition of a second S-92. Those two heavy helicopters can each carry 19 passengers and Exxon needs four times as many flights until autumn in a maintenance drive on their five offshore platforms. It has brought in 95 more workers in the hunt for that black gold.


Air France 447 – Voo 447: Autoridades determinam ‘ponto provável’ da queda do Airbus da Air France

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RIO – Os comandos da Marinha e da Aeronáutica informaram, em coletiva concedida nesta sexta-feira, que, apesar de ainda não ser possível determinar o ponto exato da queda do voo 447 da Air France, os navios equipados com sonares estão vasculhando uma área de aproximadamente 65 quilômetros de raio a partir da posição onde houve último contato da aeronave, que vem sendo considerada pelas autoridades como o “ponto provável da queda”. Isso fica a cerca de 850 quilômetros de Fernando de Noronha.

– Esse ponto provável [da queda] é o que nós temos colocado como última posição de reporte da aeronave. É uma área de aproximadamente 65 quilômetros de raio, a partir da posição onde houve último reporte. Essa é a área que está sendo computada como área mais provável [de queda] e é o local onde os navios franceses estão iniciando o trabalho com o sonar – disse .


Air France 447 – Voo 447: FAB visualiza mais destroços do Airbus da Air France em nova área do Atlântico

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RIO – Os comandos da Marinha e da Aeronáutica informam nesta sexta-feira que aeronaves deslocadas para oeste dos pontos iniciais de busca conseguiram avistar diversos destroços do Airbus A-330 da Air France, o que confirma as previsões do planejamento de buscas em relação ao movimento das correntes marítimas. Em entrevista coletiva concedida em Recife, o o brigadeiro Ramon Borges Cardoso, diretor do Departamento de Controle do Espaço Aéreo da Aeronáutica, afirmou que navios já foram direcionados para o resgate nessas áreas.

Direcionamos as buscas para os locais mais prováveis e já tivemos informação de avistamento de destroços, e os navios estão sendo direcionados para esse local


– Direcionamos as buscas para os locais mais prováveis e já tivemos informação de avistamento de destroços, e os navios estão sendo direcionados para esse local – disse a jornalistas, no Recife.

Os destroços visualizados nesta sexta-feira estão numa área de jurisdição do Brasil, e serão levados pelos navios ao Recife, onde já estão as primeiras partes da aeronave recolhidas do mar. Todos os destroços ficarão à disposição da França, que é responsável pela investigação do acidente.

No próxima dia 14, um técnico francês chegará ao Brasil para fazer uma perícia inicial das peças e avaliar se os destroços serão levados para a França ou se a perícia completa será realizada em território brasileiro. Uma parte da cauda do avião encontrada no mar que é vista por especialistas como importante para a investigação também chegará ao Recife no dia 14, de acordo com a Marinha.

– Todos os destroços tem uma relevância muito grande, porque a análise deles permite aos investigadores identificar, ou pelo menos ter um auxilio para identificar, qual foi a causa do acidente – afirmou Ramon.

Todos os destroços tem uma relevância muito grande, porque a análise deles permite aos investigadores identificar a causa do acidente


As equipes de busca da FAB e da Marinha, com ajuda de embarcações e aeronaves da França, já resgataram 44 corpos de vítimas do voo AF 447, que caiu quando fazia a rota Rio de Janeiro-Paris com 228 pessoas a bordo.

De acordo com o brigadeiro, até o dia 20 ainda seria possível encontrar corpos.

– Hoje não foi feito nenhum avistamento, apenas de destroços. Mas isso não significa que não seja possível encontrar mais corpos.

A meteorologia indica uma acentuada piora das condições de tempo e visibilidade na área de buscas, o que poderá comprometer os trabalhos. Mas mesmo com as limitações meteorológicas, as buscas continuarão a ser realizadas, sempre nas áreas que ofereçam condições de vôo visual à baixa altura, afirmou o brigadeiro. As condições do mar são favoráveis, com ondas de até um metro de altura.

O brigadeiro afirmou que o planejamento das forças está pronto para continuar com as operações até o dia 25, mas ressaltou que a partir do dia 17 haverá uma reunião a cada dois dias entre Marinha e FAB para avaliar os achados que estão acontecendo e decidir a continuidade das buscas.

No Recife também acontece a identificação dos primeiros 16 corpos resgatados. Segundo a Polícia Federal, não há previsão para o encerramento das identificações. Outros 25 corpos estão em Fernando de Noronha, onde passam por uma verificação preliminar, e mais três estão a bordo de um navio da Marinha.