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Onboard the A350 during ‘Airline 1′

Over the last two weeks A350 MSN5 F-WWYV has been undertaking Airline 1. The 110,000 kilometre route proving campaign mirrors airline service, testing and hopefully accelerating the maturity of the aircraft by measuring its performance against KPIs such as dispatch reliability. With major testing already complete, Airline 1 is the last major milestone before the Airbus applies for certification. Following certification the first […]

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A350 arrives in Australia, Airbus confirms 420-minute ETOPS

Airbus A350 world tour landed in Sydney this morning at 06:36. The fifth test aircraft MSN5 which is undertaking the three week long route proving campaign touched down after flying direct from Johannesburg in a little over 12 hours. MSN5 was unrestricted by ETOPS operations as they were test flights carrying only crew and Airbus technical staff. After […]

A350 takeoff at La Paz. Image: estebaneid on flickr.

The weekly rollerboard 19 January: A350 special

The A350XWB flight test campaign continues in earnest, and with more than 850 flight hours now logged it’s time I wrote an update. I was following the campaign and the CSeries more closely in the initial stages, but the number of great resources available online meant I took a bit of back seat.

Flexible limits

The static test frame MSN5000 has now successfully completed ultimate wing load testing reaching a five metre deflection the wing, subjecting the wing to loads to 1.5 times greater than expected in service life. Strains were measured by 10,000 measurement channels which correlate load information against structural design models.

The ultimate load is the beyond which the wing is expected to fail, and is calculated at 2.5 times the maximum expected G load. As the Airbus Fly By Wire system limits G loads to +2.5G or +3.5G in a reversion to Direct Law, the ultimate load could be higher than 7.5G. Continue reading “The weekly rollerboard 19 January: A350 special” »

Looking to the sky in 2014.

Our 2013 retrospective, and Airbus breaking with tradition on A350 MSN2 , inspired me to take a look at what this dynamic industry might have in-store for 2014:

A350 MSN2 the first test aircraft to be fitted with a full cabin interior in its new carbon fibre scheme. Image: Airbus SAS.

CASA Regulation
Some big regulatory changes will take place in 2014. In particular, CASA will need to guide the Australia’s airlines on the use of Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs) following changes to regulatory legislation by the FAA in the US and EASA in Europe. Currently Australian carriers are self regulating in this respect, but moving independently as a way to gain competitive advantage will only create headaches for crew in enforcing use on-board.

 

Image: Graham Cook

Domestic capacity
The war will continue until the end of the first half, bringing further revenue pressure to the Qantas and Virgin groups. Qantas has invested too much the public rhetoric behind in its strategy, to back away now would look like it was giving in. Not the best market image to present given its current financial position. Expect the Federal Government to make small changes to the level of single foreign ownership to the Qantas Sale Act.

 

 

 

Sydney Airport
The political future of Tony Abbott’s Government depends on their ability to deliver a courageous bipartisan policy decision. With a promise of a decision, a ‘government of no surprises’ will now need to deliver with a real commitment on Badgery’s Creek. This will come as a stage 1 single runway development, with no rail connection, because Abbott’s made it clear he doesn’t like trains. Also expect a change to the slot caps at Sydney Airport, starting with the 05:00-06:00am landing window.

Continue reading “Looking to the sky in 2014.” »

The weekly rollerboard 10 November

The first of our weekly rollerboard wraps, neatly packing up a broader and atypical perspective on the industry.

Going to ground

Air India’s Boeing 787 fleet has been in a bit of a pickle over the last few weeks leading to the airline’s decision to preemptively ground one aircraft at a time from the end of November.

Ostensibly for software upgrades, each grounding will last for an undetermined length of time giving AI time to conduct more general repairs across its fleet of ten 787-8s. What is wrong outside the airline’s own 787 minimum equipment list (MEL) Air India hasn’t confirmed, but there has been multiple incidents including the loss of a mid-underwing-to-body fairing located on the belly of the aeroplane on the right side at Bangalore Airport, a cracked windshield grounding an aircraft in Melbourne, another grounding in Sydney due to undisclosed issues, and a braking issue on a flight from London to Delhi.

An unofficial Air India source says “Boeing has put out certain service bulletins which the airline will implement. This is not mandatory. The airline is doing it on its own to increase reliability of the aircraft.”

Continue reading “The weekly rollerboard 10 November” »

A350XWB takes to the skies on its maiden five hour long sortie.

Second A350 takes to the skies.

Sometimes I manage to come across the most random stories, while the Xtra large ones fly under the radar. A350-900 MSN3 has officially joined MSN1 in the sky on the A350 test programme after completing its maiden five hour long sortie earlier this week.

Both aircraft are fitted with a heavy flight test instrumentation package and will continue to be used for aircraft aeroelasticity, handling and performance testing. Since it’s first flight in June MSN1 has accumulated 330 flight test hours devoted to the identification and freeze of all flap and slat configurations, loads and aeroelastic testing and evaluation of the aircraft’s handling characteristics and systems’ operation throughout the operational envelope. Continue reading “Second A350 takes to the skies.” »

Airbus' A350 MSN001 undertaking VMU speed testing. Image: Airbus S.A.S.

Unsticking the Airbus A350.

The A350-900 test flight programme continues apace. MSN003 started its engines for the first time yesterday; MSN001 having pushed past 250 flight hours – with its tail bumper installed (see right) – this week took to Châlons Vatry Airport to begin one of its most spectacular of tests: Velocity Minimum Unstick (VMU) testing.

VMU is an intense series of tests used to determine the minimum speed at which the A350 will become airborne. During testing the pilots over-rotate the aircraft as early as possible to the maximum angle of attack allowed on the ground, until the tail bumper settles and drags along the runway. This angle of attack is held until the aircraft becomes airborne, or ‘unsticks’.

Continue reading “Unsticking the Airbus A350.” »

Rendering of Lufthansa's 777-9X. Image: Deutsche Lufthansa AG

Boeing’s 777-9X is almost go as Lufthansa commits to order for 34.

Lufthansa has become a launch customer for the yet to be launched next generation Boeing 777X project ordering 34 777-9Xs in addition to 25 Airbus A350-900s, with options and purchase rights for an additional 60 aircraft – 30 each of the 777-9X and A350-900.

The 777-9X will be powered by the General Electric GE9X and feature a new advanced composite wing, which at 71 metres will be the longest aircraft wing Boeing has produced. The result? An estimated 20 per cent better fuel efficiency and a 15% reduction in operating costs over the 777-300ER resulting in the lowest seat kilometre costs in the industry.

Continue reading “Boeing’s 777-9X is almost go as Lufthansa commits to order for 34.” »

Bombardier CS100 FTV-1

You say goodbye, I say hello

Commercial aviation is pushing into a new frontier. Some are calling this an industry super-cycle; the civil aerospace industry is developing (A320NEO, 737MAX and G2 Embraer E-Jet family), assembling (787-9), ramping-up (787-8), rolling out (A350 and CSeries), and rolling over (727s and 747s) an unprecedented number of aircraft types. Preparing to Fly: Airbus A350, Friday 14 […]

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