Airbus Signs Contract with Germany for 38 Eurofighters

Airbus has signed a contract to deliver 38 new Eurofighter aircraft to the German Air Force. This makes Germany the largest ordering nation in Europe’s biggest defense program. The order, also known by its project name Quadriga, covers the delivery of 30 single-seater and eight twin-seater Eurofighters. Three of the aircraft will be equipped with additional test installations as Instrumented Test Aircraft for the further development of the Eurofighter program. 
“The new Tranche 4 Eurofighter is currently the most modern European-built combat aircraft with a service life well beyond 2060,” Dirk Hoke, CEO Airbus Defence and Space, said. “Its technical capabilities will allow full integration into the European Future Combat Air System FCAS”.

The renewed order from Germany secures production until 2030 and comes at a strategically important time for the program. In addition to an expected Eurofighter order from Spain to replace its legacy F-18s, procurement decisions in Switzerland and Finland are imminent in 2021. 

The variant offered in Switzerland corresponds to the configuration of the German Quadriga order. The equipment includes the world’s latest electronic radar, future-proof hardware and software and unlimited multi-role capability for engaging air and ground target.

Eurofighter is Europe’s largest defense program, in which the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy are involved alongside Germany. In addition to technological capabilities, it secures more than 100,000 jobs in Europe

Aerospace Tech Week Joins Praise for Covid-19 Vaccine to Get Aviation Industry Moving Again

Organisers of Aerospace Tech Week, premier exhibition and conference for the aerospace technology community, have welcomed the news of the potential Covid-19 vaccine as an opportunity to get the devastated aviation industry moving again.

Since the initial lockdowns and grounding of aircraft across Europe in March, the air transport industry has struggled to get moving again due to continued travel restrictions and concerns of travellers, despite the industry demonstrating its excellent safety and clean cabin air through use of high quality HEPA filters.

Air transport continues to be around half of its pre-pandemic levels and has created turbulence and uncertainty, but with a possible vaccine on the horizon has been given a confidence boost that the industry can begin to look forward to better times.

With many airlines being provided financial support from Government’s, many of these are linked to reducing the environmental impact of aviation. Technology and developments in engineering solutions will be key factors in enhancing the sectors green comeback, with Aerospace Tech Week showcasing much of this latest tech.

Adrian Broadbent, CEO and owner of Aerospace Tech Week and Aerospace Tech Review magazine, said, “We are very encouraged by the announcement of a possible Covid-19 vaccine to build confidence in all industries, and especially the hard hit aviation industry.”

“We hope this enables future investment to thrive in new technologies, cleaner aircraft and improved solutions for the sector to demonstrate its commitment to cleaner skies. Aerospace Tech Week will enable many of these technologies to be showcased and we look forward to welcoming the industry to Toulouse on 26th-27th May 2021 for an exciting and safe back-to-business environment.” Continued Mr Broadbent.

Further details, including international expert speakers, will be announced soon at www.AerospaceTechWeek.com.

Aerobility Plans Innovative Way to Enjoy an Aviators Ball for 2020

Building on the success of previous Aerobility virtual events, such as the Armchair Airshow, Aerobility will use technology to link individual aviation-themed dinner parties across the UK to create this year’s Aviators Ball on the 28th November; an event that even COVID-19 can’t spoil.

The evening will feature the traditional Aerobility Grand Auction www.aerobility.com/auction which opens to bids at 13:00 on the 13th November, with a fleet of fantastic items, from the world of aviation and beyond, with six items of particular note.

One of the most exciting prizes is a much sought-after flight in a Supermarine Spitfire, a chance to join the small club of people that have flown in this piece of aviation history that fought in the Battle of Britain in 1940.

This year we also have a flight in the former RAF Fast Jet trainer, the Folland Gnat, combined with a ‘behind the scenes’ tour for two of the North Weald Battle of Britain airfields.

For aspiring Air Traffic Controllers, NATS has kindly donated a rare and privileged VIP tour for two people to tour the Heathrow Control Tower, towering above the world’s busiest airport (see image above).

The Red Arrows have supported all Aerobility’s virtual fundraising events this year and, Squadron Leader Martin Pert, Leader of the 2020 RAF Aerobatic Team, has kindly donated his Red Arrows flying suit that he wore for the high-profile Red Arrows North America tour.

The auction will also include a unique piece of aviation history, a signed and framed photo of G-CIVE departing LHR runway 27L as BA195 to Houston on 24th February 2017. The print is signed and certified by the flight crew and was flown to St Athen on British Airways last ever flight of the Queen of the Skies from Heathrow Airport.

Other notable aviation auction lots include flight simulator experiences, a trial flight with the army gliding association and a Cessna trial flight at Goodwood. The auction also contains a number of unique fabulous non-aviation opportunities such as a tour of St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

The Aerobility team will also broadcast live online content, a prize giving ceremony and a virtual photo booth, to bring all the diners across the country (and maybe even the world) together on the night, as well as the Grand Auction. To get involved with the Aviators Ball and have a dinner at home please visit www.aviatorsball.com

“The Aviators Ball and the Grand Auction are the highlights of our fundraising year, and this year’s event will be our 14th!” Aerobility CEO, Mike Miller-Smith, said. “Despite the challenges, we want to make this year’s Ball one to remember – albeit in the strangest of times. Please join us virtually on Saturday 28th November for an unforgettable, fun experience.”

The auction will open at 13:00 on Friday 13th November.

https://www.aerobility.com/auction
Onboard for the Electric Revolution

Onboard for the Electric Revolution

I don’t necessarily feel like a cutting edge, early adopter. But, I have been onboard with the electric automobile revolution for years.

First, I got a Toyota Prius Hybrid back in 2006 — clearly not the first person to embrace the dual internal combustion engine with an electric motor trend, but still among a few people that I knew who drove one.

This was not a plug in electric car, but a vehicle that used the normal combustion engine with assist from the electric motor in certain circumstances. I never had to worry about running out of charge, because the two motors worked together to provide power. But, I do remember people asking me back then if the car had to be plugged in or if I had ever run out of charge.

I regularly got 50/miles per gallon when driving it — doing better on long stretches where backing off on the accelerator back off after accelerating normally allowing it to run in EV mode at speeds of up to 40mph. But it also did well in gridlock traffic, shutting the combustion engine down completely when stopped, a feature now available on many vehicles.

We loved that car so much that six years later in 2012, when we were ready for a new car, we got another one. That Prius did just a little bit better, benefitting from six years of experience and development.

But I wasn’t done. I was game to try a fully-electric vehicle. At first I cautiously watched and read reviews as several electric cars hit the market. Several years after those first plug-ins became available, I was ready to make the leap. A couple of factors helped me decide to go forward. One was that I was working from home at that point and didn’t have a long commute to an office. For the most part, I was driving short hops around town to run errands and visit family and friends.

Then I was spurred on by a tax incentive given by both the state I lived in and the U. S. Federal government. Having those tax incentives was almost like getting the car for half the list price. So I got a Honda Leaf — a fully electric plug-in vehicle — in 2016.

It was a great little car but had some drawbacks. Charging took a while — overnight and then some to get a full charge if the battery was run far down — unless you went to a higher-powered charging station. We opted to trickle charge from a standard home electrical outlet. And, a full charge only garnered a 90-93 mile range, less (in the 80s) in colder weather.

In my case, for quick hops to the grocery store or a restaurant for dinner, that range was no problem. But, I do recall one instance where I drove about 40 miles away, then received a call that I was urgently needed about 45 miles away from there and not in the direction of my home. I could have made it to that location, but I would have been at the end of the range and stuck in the middle of nowhere, likely without a charging station. That was a unique scenario and usually I could manage the range well, so that it didn’t impact my usage.

As I became more and more comfortable with the Leaf, I began hearing about Tesla. At that time, it was a super high-end luxury electric vehicle, with a much longer range. It also had a hefty price point.

Intrigued, I researched and learned the company was planning on releasing an entry level version, still pricy but much more reasonable, with more than double the range of the Leaf I was driving. I sent the company a deposit and waited.

More than two years went by and then I received an email saying it was time to pick the options for my new Tesla Model 3. The process was easy to do online and just a couple of months later, the local Tesla dealership called to say my car was available to pick up. I’ve been driving it ever since. I opted for an extended range battery which gives me close to a 300 mile range — triple what a got in the Leaf! It is a phenomenal vehicle — not without its glitches like any car — and I enjoy driving it more than any other vehicle I have owned.

Sometimes technological leaps and bounds sneak up on us — from hybrid cars to a 300-mile range on a plug-in. I feel like this is happening now in the development of electric aircraft.

We are watching some of the most significant technological developments of our time. Not too long ago, I remember discussing electric aircraft with colleagues at an industry event. The general consensus was that it would never happen. Or, if it did, it would be a novelty-type aircraft never meant for the real world.

Developers are proving those sentiments wrong. In our cover story, former CNN writer and executive producer, Thom Patterson, takes us around the world to see what is happening in the world of electric aircraft development. From Canada to Slovenia to the UK and on to Brazil, companies are already meeting the challenge of extending battery life, making charging accessible and getting viable, practical, electric aircraft in the air. As Patterson puts it, “It’s here. It’s happening.” See his story on page 58.

Go ahead, call me an early adopter — I cannot wait to take my first flight on an electric aircraft.

Airbus Delivers A320 Family MSN10,000 to Middle East Airlines

Middle East Airlines (MEA) has taken delivery of Airbus’ A320 Family aircraft with manufacturer serial number 10,000. MSN10,000 is the third A321neo to join the all Airbus MEA fleet, taking the fleet size to 18 aircraft. MEA received its first A321neo aircraft earlier in 2020 and will be taking another six A321neos over the coming months.

The handover of the aircraft took place in Toulouse in the presence of Mohamad El-Hout, Chairman and Director General of MEA.

“We are honored to receive the state of the art A321neo with its distinctive serial number 10,000 coinciding with the 75th anniversary of Middle East Airlines and specially after receiving MSN5,000 back in 2012. Since we first acquired an A320 Family aircraft in 2003, we have not only benefited from the outstanding operational efficiency of the aircraft but were also the first airline to introduce the wide-body cabin product on a single-aisle aircraft which has become a trend in the airline industry afterwards,” said MEA Chairman and Director General, Mohamad El Hout. “Unfortunately, due to the current situation in Lebanon, this time we will not be able to celebrate the delivery of the MSN10,000 in Beirut, as we did with the MSN5,000, but I am sure that in these challenging circumstances, it is a ray of light, hope and motivation to surpass our nation’s difficulties.”

“Airbus is proud to continue building its long-standing partnership with Middle East Airlines which already operates one of the most modern Airbus fleets in the world. As an all Airbus operator, MEA benefits from the Airbus’ unique fleet commonality between aircraft families and is now adding the third highly fuel-efficient A321neo to step up the game. I admire the agility and the resilience of this company in this complex environment,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus CCO. “Delivering MSN10,000 is a milestone that demonstrates the success of the A320 Family and we thank our customers globally for their confidence in our products.”

MEA took on MSN5,000 in 2012, after 23 years of Airbus A320 Family production. The next 5,000 took just another eight years to mark this significant MSN10,000 milestone – again with MEA. This achievement is a testimony of the industrial advancement and capabilities by Airbus and the popularity of the latest, even more efficient NEO version of the aircraft.

The airline’s A321neo is powered by Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1100G-JM geared turbofan engines and is configured in a comfortable two-class layout with 28 seats in Business and 132 seats in Economy Class. It is also equipped with the latest generation in-flight entertainment system and high-speed connectivity. Incorporating the latest engines, aerodynamic advances, and cabin innovations, the A321neo offers a reduction in fuel consumption of 20% as well as a 50% noise reduction. 

Airbus delivers A400M to Luxembourg’s Armed Forces

The Luxembourg Armed Forces have taken delivery of its Airbus A400M military transport aircraft, which was accepted at the A400M Final Assembly Line in Seville (Spain) and has performed a ferry flight. It will make a first stop in Luxembourg before continuing its journey to the 15th Wing Air Transport in Melsbroek (Belgium), where the joint airlift unit between Belgium and Luxembourg will be based. With this delivery, Luxembourg becomes the seventh A400M operator.
 
The aircraft, known as MSN104, will be operated by the Luxembourg Armed Forces and Belgium within a binational unit, together with the seven A400M ordered by Belgium, which is due to receive its first aircraft in the coming weeks.
 
Alberto Gutierrez, Head of Military Aircraft at Airbus Defence and Space, said: “I welcome Luxembourg to the growing A400M user community. With 94 aircraft in service, the A400M is increasingly becoming the air mobility backbone of our customers, both in civil and military environments, as seen in recent COVID-19 crisis missions around the globe.” 
 
The A400M recently achieved additional capabilities such as simultaneous paratrooper dispatch for a maximum of 116 paratroopers using the side doors, automatic low level flight in visual meteorological conditions (the only military transport aircraft with this capability), and aerial delivery and combat off-load that allows a single 16-tonne load to be dropped automatically via parachute extraction. In addition, 25 tonnes can be gravity dropped and the manual combat offload of up to 19 tonnes on pallets (one pass) or 25 tonnes (two passes) on an unpaved runway is possible, which is unprecedented. With regards to helicopter air-to-air refueling operations, the A400M recently achieved the first successful wet contacts with a H225M helicopter. 

Airbus Corporate Jets Wins First Six ACJ TwoTwenty Orders

Airbus Corporate Jets has won its first orders for the ACJ TwoTwenty totaling six aircraft following its launch. While Comlux has revealed an order for two aircraft, four further jets were ordered by undisclosed customers. Entry into service of the first ACJ TwoTwenty by Comlux Aviation is targeted for early 2023.

The new ACJ TwoTwenty will feature a high end VIP cabin interior, supported by a flexible cabin catalogue, from which Comlux has selected the business and guest lounge as well as a private entertainment space and a private suite, including a bathroom. The cabin, set to “Reimagine your place in the sky… will be equipped with large full lie flat seats, a US-king size bed, a standing rainshower, a humidifying system for well-being on board and  leading edge connectivity.

“We are proud to be the launch customer of the Airbus’ newest family member, the ACJ TwoTwenty and the selected partner to outfit the cabin in our completion center in Indianapolis. We have worked jointly with ACJ and shared our long experience in operating and completing all types of aircraft, to allow the new Bizjet to offer more comfort and the latest cabin innovations available in the industry, “ said Richard Gaona, executive chairman & CEO Comlux. “Thanks to the unique combination of intercontinental range, comfort, extra space and second-to-none economics, we are convinced the aircraft will be a winner in the business aviation market.”

“We are honored to see our longstanding client Comlux becoming the launch customer of our new ACJ TwoTwenty as well as our cabin completion partner on the programme, “ said Benoit Defforge, president ACJ. “Our new extra Large Bizjet will seamlessly complement Comlux’s portfolio – and we are convinced the aircraft will become a flagship addition to their fleet.”

Airbus supports more than 500 airline and corporate jet customers with one of the largest support networks in the world, including services tailored to business jet needs.

More than 200 Airbus corporate jets are in service on every continent, including Antarctica.

Krimson Aviation Marks Five Years of Operations

Addis Ababa-based flight support, charter and aviation consultancy Krimson Aviation is marking its fifth year of operations following one of its busiest weeks since inception. The handling in one week of a dozen flights with some 24 legs for a mix of customers including medevac, government, investment, humanitarian, crew rotation and repatriation flights firmly demonstrates the rounded capabilities of this now established company.

Building on the first five years of success Dawit Lemma, founder and CEO, is now looking to further enhance the business aviation offering in Ethiopia. “My team is at the forefront of East African aviation and works continuously to meet and exceed customer expectations. I am extremely proud of the accomplishments we’ve achieved,” says Lemma. “For the next five years our aim is to support the improvement of infrastructure at Addis Ababa Bole airport, and we plan to advocate for, and get involved in, development of a first rate FBO and MRO facility at the airport. As home to the African Union and hosts to an increasing number of international investors and tourists we are perfectly positioned to maximize the opportunities presented by business aviation in the region. Despite the pandemic we can see great potential as we head towards our next five years.” 

Initially focused on Ethiopia the business now operates in ten African countries including South Sudan, Djibouti, and Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2018 it was granted one of only five Ethiopian CAA aviation licenses confirming the company’s ability to offer consistent services to international standards and Lemma continues to be a shaping force for African business aviation. Prior to the advent of COVID-19 Krimson had become such experts at handling medevacs that Lemma and his team collaborated with local regulators to modify protocols to streamline the delicate process, which during the height of the pandemic became invaluable as Addis Ababa became a hub for medevac and repatriation flights. 

Lemma is also president of the Ethiopian chapter and board member of the African Business Aviation Association (AfBAA) where he has been integral in the organisation’s development and its mission to raise the profile of business aviation in Africa. He is also a familiar voice advocating for African aviation at many international events.

FAA Leader Flies the B737 MAX

Administrator Steve Dickson fulfilled his promise to pilot the Boeing 737 MAX before the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approves the aircraft’s return to service.

Dickson’s flight took two hours and included a number of scenarios to demonstrate the proposed software and design changes to the aircraft’s automated flight control system. Dickson, along with FAA Deputy Administrator Dan Elwell, completed the new recommended pilot training for the aircraft on Tuesday.

While Dickson’s flight is an important milestone, a number of key steps remain in the FAA’s evaluation of Boeing’s proposed changes to the aircraft’s flight control system and training.

A copy of Dickson’s opening remarks at a news briefing in Seattle following the flight are included below.

The FAA will not speculate about how long it will be until the aircraft is returned to passenger service. As we have stated throughout our work on the 737 MAX, the agency is following a deliberate process and will take the time it needs to thoroughly review Boeing’s work. We will lift the grounding order only after FAA safety experts are satisfied that the aircraft meets certification standards.

The remaining tasks include: 

Flight Standardization Board (FSB) Report – A Joint Operations Evaluation Board (JOEB) recently met for nine days to review Boeing’s proposed training for 737 MAX flight crews. The JOEB was comprised of civil aviation authorities from the United States, Canada, Brazil, and the European Union. The results of this evaluation will be incorporated into the draft FAA Flight Standardization Board (FSB) report, which will be posted for public comment in the near future. The FAA will publish a final FSB report after reviewing and addressing public comments on the draft FSB Report.

Final Design Documentation and Technical Advisory Board (TAB) Report – The FAA will review Boeing’s final design documentation to evaluate compliance with all FAA regulations. The multi-agency TAB will also review the final Boeing submission and issue a final report prior to a final determination of compliance by the FAA.

Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community (CANIC) & AD – The FAA will issue a CANIC providing notice of pending significant safety actions and will publish a final AD that addresses the known issues for grounding. The AD will advise operators of required corrective actions before aircraft may re-enter commercial service.

FAA Rescinds Grounding Order – This marks the official ungrounding of the aircraft, pending completion by operators of the work specified in the AD, along with any required training.

Certificates of Airworthiness – The FAA will retain its authority to issue airworthiness certificates and export certificates for all new 737 MAX airplanes manufactured since the grounding. The FAA will perform in-person, individual reviews of these aircraft.

Operator Training Programs – The FAA will review and approve training programs for all Part 121 operators.

These actions are applicable only to U.S. air carriers and U.S.-registered aircraft. While our processes will inform other civil aviation authorities, they must take their own actions to return the Boeing 737 MAX to service for their air carriers.  The FAA will ensure that our international counterparts have all necessary information to make a timely, safety-focused decision.

Text of FAA Administrator Steve Dickson’s opening remarks at a news briefing following his flight aboard the 737 MAX on Wednesday, Oct. 30, in Seattle.

Good morning and thank you for joining us today.

Shortly after I took the helm at the FAA, I made a promise that I would fly the 737 MAX and that I wouldn’t sign off on its return to service until I was comfortable putting my family on it.

I took the same training that the Joint Operations Evaluation Board looked at during its work at London Gatwick Airport in recent days. This was followed by a session in the 737 MAX simulator, during which I had the opportunity to experience a variety of problems that presented the relevant emergencies that might occur.

Today, I flew a similar flight profile in the airplane.

I want to make it clear that my flight was separate from the official certification process that’s still underway by the FAA.

I’m fortunate to be surrounded by some of the top aviation safety experts in the world to advise me on the engineering aspects of this project.

But I’m a pilot, and my lens into the world of aviation has been my decades of experience in the front of the airplane. It was important to me to experience the training and the handling of the aircraft firsthand, so I can have the most complete understanding possible as we continue to move forward with the process.

As you know, we posted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for an Airworthiness Directive that would address various safety issues that we and our international partners identified during the last several months. The comment period on that NPRM closed on September 21, and we are now reviewing and responding to those comments before posting a final rule.

We expect to take the input from the JOEB and include that in a Draft Flight Standardization Board report, which should be posted for comment in the near future.

I know you’ve heard me say this before, but the FAA continues to take a thorough and deliberate approach in our review of Boeing’s proposed changes to the 737 MAX. We are in the home stretch, but that doesn’t mean we are going to take shortcuts to get it done by a certain date.

The FAA — I — will not approve the plane for return to passenger service until I’m satisfied that we’ve adequately addressed all of the known safety issues that played a role in the tragic loss of 346 lives aboard Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.

Not a day goes by that I and my colleagues don’t think about the victims and their families, and our solemn responsibility to get this right. And we will get it right.

Embraer E195s make Vietnam operational debut with Bamboo Airways

Two Embraer E195s have commenced operations in Vietnam with Bamboo Airways, offering the first jet service to Con Dao from Hanoi, Vinh and Hai Phong.Con Dao Island and the surrounding National Park is an area of outstanding natural beauty 1400km (760nm) from the capital Hanoi, off the southern coast of Vietnam. The popular tourist destination, featuring an archipelago of 16 islands, is currently only served by turboprop aircraft due to its short runway, light pavement, and lack of fuel provision. 

The Embraer E195s join Bamboo Airways’ fleet on a wet-lease agreement with Denmark based Great Dane Airlines, adding to the growing number of E-Jet operators in the Asia Pacific region.
“Bamboo Airways is proud to offer jet-operated flights to Con Dao with the E195s,” said Mr. Dang Tat Thang – Executive Vice Chairman of Bamboo Airways. “The aircraft’s short runway performance makes it an ideal aircraft for flights to and from Con Dao. The two by two seating will offer our passengers a high level of comfort in a modern, spacious aircraft, including the one-of-its-kind Business Class on the route to Con Dao.”

“Congratulations to Bamboo Airways on this strategic move. The E-Jets will give them great flexibility both in performance as well as in economics,” says Raul Villaron, Vice President, Asia Pacific for Embraer’s commercial aviation unit. “The E195’s fuel efficiency and economics enables Bamboo Airways to cost effectively manage fluctuating demand and operate lower density routes with the right sized aircraft. We welcome Bamboo Airways to the Embraer family and our global team are here to support them.”

Bamboo Airways is the first to operate direct flights to Con Dao from three cities; the capital Hanoi, Hai Phong city in the North and Vinh city in the central area. There will be two flights a day on the Hanoi – Con Dao route and daily flights from Hai Phong and Vinh to Con Dao in the initial phase. Bamboo Airways are operating the aircraft in a comfortable single class configuration with 118 seats. 
Embraer is the world’s leading manufacturer of commercial aircraft up to 150 seats with more than 100 customers from all over the world. For the E-Jets program alone, Embraer has logged more than 1,800 orders and 1,600 aircraft have been delivered. Today, E-Jets are flying in the fleet of more than 80 customers in some 50 countries. The versatile 70 to 150-seat family is flying with low-cost airlines as well as with regional and mainline carriers.

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