Aircraft News - Europe.
Solar plane makes first overnight flight. A solar-powered aircraft with the wingspan of a commercial jetliner remained aloft for more than 24 hours this week, flying through Wednesday night on energy collected during the day by its 12,000 solar cells. The designers of the plane, dubbed Solar Impulse, say their goal is to fly around the world on the sun's power. Bertrand Piccard, one of the project's co-founders, congratulated pilot Andr Borschberg after his successful landing. "When you took off, it was another era," Piccard said. "You land in a new era where people understand that with renewable energy you can do impossible things." Jul 8, 2010
Airbus When it enters service in 2013 the Airbus A350's flight management system will contain safety tools that will reduce the risk of the most frequent accident types at take-off, en route and landing. These include automatic take-off performance figure checking, en route driftdown and diversion planning, and a runway overrun warning and protection system. Airbus has already tested some of these systems in aircraft at its Toulouse base. To protect against the incorrect entry of take-off speeds or weights, an A350 function called "take-off securing" checks the figures to see if they make sense relative to each other and against the FMS database. If there is an inconsistency, the pilots are alerted, and provided with the opportunity to check their figures and re-enter them. During flight, if there is a failure that forces the aircraft to descend, such as loss of an engine or pressurisation failure, the FMS will provide the crew with drift-down data and, if the aircraft is over mountains, safe escape routes. Jul 6, 2010
Boeing Airlines need new 777 more than new 737. Boeing has seen a sharp decline in order backlog for 777 wide-body jets, according to J.P. Morgan analyst Joseph Nadol, while the backlog for 737s has held up well. According to Nadol, Boeing is losing ground to the Airbus A350XWB among airlines seeking wide-body airliners. Most industry speculation has centered on a possible successor to the 737, but Nadol says the 777 is Boeing's more vulnerable model. Jul 9, 2010
DC Aviation German business aircraft charter provider DC Aviation says the African business aircraft market has grown significantly in the past 12 months. The Stuttgart-based company says it operated more than 50 flights and transported around 670 passengers over the past year, with demand driven by the continent's under-developed transport infrastructure, and the World Cup football tournament in South Africa. Jul 6, 2010
Iran Air, Airbus, Boeing European safety authorities have expanded the operating restrictions imposed on Iran Air to include a ban on allowing the carrier's Airbus A320s, Boeing 727s and 747s to operate within the European Union. In a revision of its airline 'blacklist' published in March, the European Commission placed restrictions on Iran Air after ramp checks uncovered evidence of "insufficient oversight". However, at the time it said the airline could continue to operate 18 Airbus A300/310s, nine Boeing 747s, six Airbus A320s and a single Boeing 737 into Europe. Jul 6, 2010
Sukhoi Aircraft Sukhoi's civil aircraft division is preparing for the first flight of the serial-production Superjet 100 this summer, as it starts winding down its flight-test program. The first of the four flying prototype twinjets has completed its work, after 280 flights, and the airframer aims to finish the test phase with three aircraft, plus the static and fatigue airframes. Jul 7, 2010
Virgin Atlantic, Airbus Incorrect weight calculations have again been cited by investigators examining a labored take-off run, this time involving a Virgin Atlantic Airbus A340-600 at London Heathrow last December. Instead of entering a weight of 322.5t in a request for take-off performance data, the crew used the much-lower expected landing weight of 236t. In a serious-incident inquiry report, the UK's Air Accidents Investigation Branch states that the crew, pushed for time, skipped the normal procedure which required them to estimate the take-off weight, and use this to crosscheck actual data. It also points out that the crew flew the smaller A340-300, and that the lower weight figure would have been acceptable as a take-off weight for this aircraft type. Jul 8, 2010
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