Monthly Archives: March 2013

Boeing praises suppliers on its 737 as it delivers 7,500th jet

Boeing is praising the role its suppliers play in the production of its popular 737 single-aisle jetliner, as it celebrates delivery of its 7,500th plane.

The Next Generation 737 contains about 400,000 parts per airplane built by 325 suppliers in 30 countries.

U.S. suppliers come from 41 states and Puerto Rico.

That includes the 737′s largest supplier, Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita. Spirit builds the plane’s fuselage, pylons and thrust reversers.

It also builds wing components at its Tulsa facility.

Spirit ships the fuselages by rail to Renton, Wash., for completion.

“The success of the 737 shows what is possible when we partner with the world’s best aerospace companies,” Kent Fisher, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president and general manager, said in a statement. “Our long-term competitiveness in the marketplace depends on a continued focus on quality, reliability and affordability.”

Boeing has projected demand for single-aisle airplanes over the next 20 years to total 23,240 jets valued at $2 trillion.

The company is increasing 737 production rates from 38 planes a month to 42 a month in the first half of 2014.

The 7,500th 737 to come off of the production line was delivered to Malindo Air in Malaysia.

Since its introduction, the company has taken orders for more than 10,500 737s from 265 customers.

A 737 takes off or lands every two seconds, according to Boeing.

In 2017, Boeing will begin deliveries of the 737 MAX, with new engines and more fuel efficiency.


NTSB to hold forum and hearing on 787 battery investigation

The National Transportation Safety Board plans to hold a forum and hearing in April related to the investigation into a battery fire on a Japan Airlines’ Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Boston.

“With the grounding of the 787 fleet, concurrent international incident investigations, redesign and re-certification activities taking place simultaneously, it is essential to provide the aviation community, policy makers and the public with the factual information we are developing,” NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman said in a statement.

The forum, to be held in mid-April, will explore lithium-ion battery technology and transportation safety, the NTSB said. The hearing, to be held later in April, will focus on the design and certification of the 787 battery system.

The information will help the NTSB and the transportation community understand the risks and benefits of lithium batteries.

It also will help the understanding of how manufacturers and regulators evaluate the safety of the new technology, the agency said.

The NTSB released an interm report Thursday along with 499 pages of data related to the investigation.

Cessna: First Corvalis TTx production flight test a success

Cessna Aircraft announced that the company completed the first production flight of its TTx, formerly called the Corvalis TTx, on Saturday.

The company is in the midst of dropping the Corvalis name, a Cessna spokesman said.

The single-engine composite airplane took off from Cessna’s Independence facility.

The pilot took the airplane to 17,000 feet and to a speed of 245 mph.

“The TTx performed exceptionally well,” Brian Steele, Cessna’s business leader for the airplane, said in a statement.”The TTx is a nimble, top of the line airplane. It’s the world’s fastest fixed gear, single engine piston aircraft in production.”

Cessna announced last year that it had begun production of the TTx, an upgraded Corvalis TT.

During its development, test pilots made 275 flights and logged 339 hours in the air, Cessna said.

The plane can reach a top speed of 270 mph and has an operating ceiling of 25,000 feet. It can cross the country with one stop.

Cessna halted production of the carbon-fiber composite Corvalis, formerly called the Columbia, in late 2010 after problems were found at the company’s Chihuahua, Mexico, facility, which builds the fuselage components and wings.

The entire environmental system in Mexico, key to working with composite materials, had to be redone.

Now, the humidity, air pressure and temperature are controlled through use of a continuous monitoring system, company officials have said.

Assembly of the upgraded Corvalis – the $734,000 Corvalis TTx – restarted in October.




AOPA’s president and CEO Craig Fuller to retire

Craig Fuller, president and CEO of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, said he will retire from the pilot organization later this year.

Fuller, 62, plans to stay in the position while the Board of Trustees conducts a national search for a new president and a replacement is named, AOPA said.

Fuller took office in January 2009.

“Craig has been a highly effective champion for the general aviation community, in large part because he has been a cohesive figure with a big-picture perspective,” said Ed Bolen, National Business Aviation Association president and CEO, in a statement. “He has always understood that by working together and leveraging our strengths, a group as large and diverse as the (general aviation) community can accomplish great things.”


PKM Steel Service to add 20 jobs in Salina

PKM Steel Service is investing $250,000 in an expansion that will create 20 additional full-time jobs in Salina.

PKM Steel produces heavy and intermediate structural steel for industrial and commercial building.

The expansion is the result of PKM gaining a major new customer, according to the announcement made by the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce and the Kansas Department of Commerce.

It will allow the company to continue improvements in research development, testing, fabricating, design and painting, the company said in a statement.

“It’s a success story here in Salina,” PKM chief operating officer Mark Hamade said. “We have hiring going on. We have new jobs…. We are convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day we are not just betting on strategies, we are betting on people from the community and the city of Salina.”

The news is good for Salina, said Salina Area Chamber of Commerce president Dave Lauver in the statement. “These are quality jobs that communities throughout the region are competing for.”