Spectrum builds S40 fuselage demonstrator

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By Kate Sarsfield

Spectrum Aeronautical has completed the first of a series of fuselage manufacturing demonstrators for its all-composite midsize S40 Freedom business jet.

The demonstrator will be used to validate the production process before the first S40 flying prototype is built.

It is a full-scale, one-piece part made of co-cured carbon/polymer material in a proprietary process that joins major structural components “at the molecular level”, says the Carlsbad, California-headquartered company.

“The process significantly reduces the need for the adhesive bonding required by many other composite fabrication processes and, being composite, eliminates nearly all secondary fasteners from the fuselage structure. That saves manufacturing time and airframe weight and helps put the company’s performance goals to cut fuel consumption by as much as half that of comparably sized metal aircraft,” it says.

First flight of the S40 is planned for the middle of next year, leading to US certification around 18 months later.

Spectrum Aeronautical
© Spectrum Aeronautical

IAI delivers Colombia’s first upgraded Kfir fighter

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By Arie Egozi

Israel Aerospace Industries has delivered the first upgraded Kfir fighters to the Colombian air force.

The company was contracted in late 2007 to modernise 12 Kfirs from Colombia’s air force inventory, and to provide several additional examples that had been stored at Israeli bases since the locally built type was phased out of service.

Upgrade activities include equipping the aircraft with new avionics, an EL/M-2032 fire control radar from IAI subsidiary Elta Systems, and a new electronic warfare suite. The modified aircraft will be designated as Kfir C-10s or C-12s, depending on their equipment fit.

The first aircraft, numbered 3054, is pictured at IAI’s facilities at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport.


First Embraer Lineage 1000 clocks up the hours

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By Alan Peaford

The first Embraer Lineage 1000 business jet to enter service has clocked up more than 180h in its first month, including 110h from the launch customer Al-Faheem of Abu Dhabi.

The aircraft – based on the Embraer 190 regional jet – is operated by Prestige Jet and has been used for frequent UAE to Europe missions. The Lineage 1000 was delivered during EBACE and the Brazilian manufacturer is believed to now have 20 orders for the type, with the majority destined for the Middle East.

“The entry into service has proved to be successful,” international sales director Colin Stevens. “We are seeing direct operating costs at 15% less than the BBJ and are ironing out one or two small problems. All in all we think this is going to be a very successful aircraft for the Middle East region.”

© Embraer

Cessna begins Corvalis deliveries

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By Kate Sarsfield

Cessna has begun deliveries of the Corvalis line of high-performance single-engined piston aircraft at the company’s service centre in Independence, Kansas.

The handover of the 400 Corvalis TT to a private owner is the first step in moving the production line – which also includes the 350 Corvalis – from Cessna‘s facility in Bend, Oregon. Bend was home to Columbia Aircraft before Cessna snapped it up in December 2007.

The Independence facility already houses the 172 Skyhawk, 182 Skylane and 206 Stationair piston singles and Citation Mustang very light jet production lines. The Corvalis aircraft are expected to join their stablemates “in the next few months”, says Cessna.

© Cessna

Virgin Atlantic orders 10 A330s

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By David Kaminski-Morrow

Virgin Atlantic has ordered 10 Airbus A330-300 aircraft, which are set to become the first long-haul twin-jets for the UK carrier.

Five aircraft will be delivered in 2011 and another five in 2012. No engine selection has yet been disclosed.

Virgin Atlantic says they will provide capacity ahead of the carrier’s introduction of Boeing 787-9 aircraft from 2013.

Airbus A330-300
© Airbus

It is to lease four of the A330s from lessor AerCap, and purchase the other six from Airbus. The carrier disclosed the agreement for the twin-jets today after months of deliberation about an interim type to fill a capacity gap ahead of taking 15 Boeing 787-9s.

The airline indicates that it will deploy the aircraft on routes such as Beijing, Vancouver and Cancun.

Virgin Atlantic says the order is worth around $2.1 billion, and that it has secured financing for all the aircraft via AerCap. It adds that the aircraft will be 10% more fuel-efficient than its current Airbus A340-300s, of which it has six.

Chief executive Steve Ridgway says: “Despite the worst economic conditions in decades, we are focusing on sustainable growth in the years ahead using the most fuel-efficient aircraft possible.”

The airline states that it will select an engine supplier during the summer.

It has not detailed the configuration of the A330s but says they can seat up to 270 passengers. The airline adds that passengers will have access to in-seat USB ports and be able to use personal messaging services on their phones.

“We will be the first UK long-haul airline to roll out this service across its fleet,” it claims.

Virgin Atlantic’s switch to A330s and 787s is something of a climbdown for the carrier, which publicly underlined its preference for using four-engined Airbus A340 and Boeing 747 aircraft, rather than twin-jets, on long-haul routes.

Boeing Completes Acquisition of eXMeritus Inc.

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ST. LOUIS, June 22, 2009 – The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has completed its acquisition of eXMeritus Inc., a Fairfax, Va.-based company that provides hardware and software to federal government and law enforcement organizations for sharing information securely across classified and unclassified networks and systems.

eXMeritus will operate within Boeing Integrated Defense Systems’ Network and Space Systems unit. The acquisition, announced on June 15, 2009, is part of Boeing’s strategy to expand its presence in the cyber and intelligence markets. Terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world’s largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide.