Monthly Archives: January 2013

Embraer to enter helicopter business

Embraer and AgustaWestland plan to establish a joint venture, which could lead to the production of AgustaWestland helicopters in Brazil, Embraer announced.

The helicopters would be marketed for commercial and military use in Brazil and Latin America.

Brazil is an important market for AgustaWestland and having an industrial presence in the country will help grow its business, Bruno Spagnolini, AgustaWestland CEO, said in a statement.

Preliminary studies by the two companies show market potential for twin-engine, medium lift helicopters for the offshore oil and gas, executive transport and military markets.

Brazil-based Embraer builds commercial, business and military aircraft.

SPEEA presents Boeing with a contract proposal for technical and engineering workers

Boeing and its engineers and technical union are back at the negotiating table Thursday after the union presented the company with a proposal to incorporate areas of agreement from the ongoing contract negotiations and extend the contracts for another four years.

The Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace presented Boeing with the offer during negotiations on Wednesday with assistance from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

An agreement between the parties would stem off a strike by 23,000 engineers and technical workers in two SPEEA units in Washington, Oregon and Utah.

In October, engineers rejected Boeing’s offer of a contract by 95.5 percent; technical workers rejected it by 97 percent.

Since negotiations resumed this month, union members have increased preparations for a potential work stoppage.

A strike would impact Spirit AeroSystems, which builds parts of all Boeing commercial airliners.

“These negotiations have been going on for more than a year,” Tom McCarty, SPEEA president, said in a statement. “At this point, we should move forward with the items upon which we can agree, and leave the status quo in place for the remaining items.”

SPEEA also asked Boeing to continue to meet with a federal mediator “to tackle the difficult issues that have proven so divisive in these negotiations,” the union said in a statement.


FAA orders U.S. airlines to ground all 787 Dreamliners

The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered U.S. airlines to ground their fleet of 787 Dreamliners until the agency is assured that the batteries are safe.

The directive follows two incidents involving the aircraft’s lithium ion battery this week.

United Airlines is the only U.S. airline to operate 787s. It has six.

The agency said it will work with Boeing and U.S. carriers to develop a plan to restore operations as “quickly and safely as possible.”

After an emergency landing in Japan, two Japanese airlines voluntarily grounded their fleets of 787s.

Here’s the FAA statement:

“As a result of an in-flight, Boeing 787 battery incident earlier today in Japan, the FAA will issue an emergency airworthiness directive (AD) to address a potential battery fire risk in the 787 and require operators to temporarily cease operations.  Before further flight, operators of U.S.-registered, Boeing 787 aircraft must demonstrate to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that the batteries are safe.

“The FAA will work with the manufacturer and carriers to develop a corrective action plan to allow the U.S. 787 fleet to resume operations as quickly and safely as possible.The in-flight Japanese battery incident followed an earlier 787 battery incident that occurred on the ground in Boston on January 7, 2013. The AD is prompted by this second incident involving a lithium ion battery.

“The battery failures resulted in release of flammable electrolytes, heat damage, and smoke on two Model 787 airplanes. The root cause of these failures is currently under investigation. These conditions, if not corrected, could result in damage to critical systems and structures, and the potential for fire in the electrical compartment.Last Friday, the FAA announced a comprehensive review of the 787’s critical systems with the possibility of further action pending new data and information.

“In addition to the continuing review of the aircraft’s design, manufacture and assembly, the agency also will validate that 787 batteries and the battery system on the aircraft are in compliance with the special condition the agency issued as part of the aircraft’s certification.

“United Airlines is currently the only U.S. airline operating the 787, with six airplanes in service. When the FAA issues an airworthiness directive, it also alerts the international aviation community to the action so other civil aviation authorities can take parallel action to cover the fleets operating in their own countries.”

Hawker Beechcraft runs King Air promotion as it prepares to emerge from bankruptcy

Hawker Beechcraft wants to gain momentum for 2013 as it prepares to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy a smaller, restructured company, it said.

Customers who buy and take delivery of a King Air 250 or King Air 350i by Feb. 28 will receive credit for a Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics upgrade at no cost, the company said in a press release.

The primary and multi-function touch-screen flight displays come with synthetic vision and a graphical flight management system.

Hawker Beechcraft filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 3.

It plans to emerge from the restructuring a smaller company focused on King Air and Beechcraft products and its military and aftermarket business.

A hearing seeking confirmation from the bankruptcy judge of the company’s restructuring plan is scheduled for Jan. 31.

Hawker Beechcraft is planning to emerge from bankruptcy in the second half of February.


Hawker Beechcraft to start rolling furloughs for 240 employees

Hawker Beechcraft plans to put into place rolling furloughs for about 240 employees working on T-6 and AT-6 production, the company said.

Hawker Beechcraft Defense Company continues to build and deliver T-6 military trainers to the U.S. government as part of the Joint Primary Aircraft Training Systems contract, it said.

It’s currently in negotiations with the government for the next lot of airplanes.

“To allow this negotiation process to be completed and synchronize output to customer demand, the company is initiating a rolling furlough on its T-6/AT-6 production line in Wichita. They will be scheduled throughout the year and include approximately 240 hourly employees,” Hawker Beechcraft spokeswoman Nicole Alexander said in an e-mail.

The schedule is still being determined, Alexander said.



Boeing completes first 777 built at increased production rates

Boeing has rolled out the first 777 airliner built at the increased production rate of 8.3 planes per month, the company said Thursday.

The plane, a freighter, will be delivered to Korean Air in February.

Increased production began in October when the first parts entered Boeing’s Everett, Wash., plant, it said.

Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita produces parts of the 777 and has increased production to meet Boeing’s increased rates.

In the last 31 months, Boeing has increased 777 production twice — from five to seven plans per month in 2011, and now to a record high of 8.3 per month, the company said.


Cessna’s Grand Caravan EX earns type certification

Cessna Aircraft’s more powerful Grand Caravan EX has earned Federal Aviation Administration type certification and outperformed its initial targets, the company announced Thursday.

The plane will have a 38 percent improvement in the rate of climb over the Grand Caravan, it said. The company originally expected a 20 percent improvement.

Cessna also has said that the version will have a 350-foot reduction in takeoff roll and a 10-to-12 knot cruise speed improvement.

The plane will be powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-140 engines.

Cessna has delivered four Grand Caravan EX airplanes.


Boeing delivers 601 commercial airplanes in 2012, has record orders on the books


courtesy photo

Boeing delivered 601 commercial airplanes — the most since 1999 — and took net orders for 1,203 more during 2012, the company reported Thursday.

It’s the second-largest number of orders the company has taken in a single year in its history, the company said.

Boeing now has a record 4,373 unfilled commercial airplane orders on its books, it said.

During the year, Boeing increased deliveries by 26 percent, to “put more airplanes into the hands of our customers,” Ray Conner, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in a statement.

The 737 program set a record for the most orders of any Boeing model in a single year. The company took 1,124 net orders for the 737 single-aisle airplane, including 914 for the fuel-efficient 737 MAX, an upgrade of the 737, which will have new engines.

In 2012, Boeing delivered 415 commercial 737 Next Generation airliners; 31 747s; 26 767s; 83 777s; and 46 787s.

Wichita’s Spirit AeroSystems builds portions of all Boeing commercial airliners, including the 737′s fuselage.

CIT Group orders more Airbus A350-900s

CIT Group has placed an order for 10 Airbus A350-900s, bringing the number of A350s the bank holding company has on order to 15,  Airbus announced Thursday.

The A350 XWB (for Extra Wide Body) is a new mid-size, long-range airliner that will be available in three versions and seat from 270 to 350 passengers.

The first plane is scheduled for entry-into-service in 2014.

Including CIT’s order, Airbus has 572 firm orders for the A350 from 34 customers.

Spirit AeroSystems is a major supplier on the program.


Boeing 737 MAX orders top 1,000 with new order for 60

Aviation Capital Group has placed an order for 60 Boeing 737 MAX airliners, worth $6 billion at list prices, Boeing announced Wednesday.

The order includes 50 77 MAX8s and 10 737 MAX9s.

It was finalized in December, Boeing announced.

The company now has 1,029 orders from airlines and leasing companies for the single-aisle upgraded 737, which will have new engines.

Spirit AeroSystems will build the fuselage for the 737 MAX in Wichita.