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Aircraft News - North America.

Sep 17, 2007

Senator calls for greater regulation of overseas maintenance. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says aircraft maintenance facilities in foreign countries should adhere to the same regulations and inspections as those in the U.S. "We don't know who's under the hood of the airplanes we're flying," she said. McCaskill wants the FAA budget bill to include a requirement that foreign repair facilities undergo FAA inspection and certification. Sep 14, 2007

FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, whose five-year term ends Sept. 13, said this week that system congestion must be overcome for airlines to prosper in the future and called on carriers to make changes in flight scheduling practices and move as quickly as possible to equip aircraft for next-generation satellite-based ATC. "To be clear, the airlines need to take a step back on the scheduling practices that are at times out of line with reality," she said during a farewell speech in Washington. "Passengers are growing weary. . .Airline schedules have got to stop being the fodder for late night monologues. And if the airlines don't address this voluntarily, don't be surprised when the government steps in." Sep 13, 2007

VLJs could lead to big changes in aviation. Very light jets are moving into American airspace as the preferred vehicle of air taxi services. If they become as popular as traditional corporate jets, it's likely they'll add to the air congestion that's behind the delays travelers want to avoid. "The business aviation community is fond of telling people that they use only 4% of the capacity at the 25 major airports in the United States," says John Meenan of the Air Transport Association, but he adds that corporate jets use a much larger proportion of air traffic control resources. "For instance, in Southern California, they use 37% [of air traffic control operations,] while the commercial sector uses 40%," he says. The introduction of thousands of VLJs could eventually create aviation gridlock. Sep 12, 2007

Blakey criticized for taking AIA leadership role. Marion Blakey, outgoing head of the FAA, is being criticized for accepting the position of president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association. Ethics watchdogs point out that the AIA lobbies the FAA on spending and policy issues. Blakey said she has been "scrupulously careful" to follow ethics rules, adding that member firms of AIA compete directly against each other, providing an incentive for her not to support any single company. Sep 11, 2007

Planes safer with pilots behind hardened cockpit doors. Pilots say that hardened cockpit doors mandated after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, are making commercial planes safer. Some would like to see secondary barriers mandated as well, an idea that the Air Transport Association says requires more study. Sep 11, 2007

U.S. environmentalists turning eyes to aviation. The American airline industry has been largely ignored by environmental activists, unlike its European counterparts who were caught by surprise when a tide of anti-aviation sentiment swept through the Continent. There are signs that that may be about to change: "This shift in the European view toward aviation happened virtually overnight," said FAA Administrator Marion Blakey. "We should not be so foolish as to presume that it can't happen here." Sep 11, 2007

American Airlines

VGS Aircraft Holding (Ireland), through its wholly owned subsidiary VGS Investments One, acquired two MD-82s from GECAS. Aircraft are leased to American Airlines until February 2013 and February 2014 respectively and are financed by Nord LB in Germany. Sep 11, 2007

American Airlines, United Airlines

Sept. 11 Hijacked Airliners Cockpit Tapes will Heard. Tapes of the final moments before one of the hijacked airliners in the September 11 attacks crashed into the ground in Pennsylvania may be played at the first case over damages from the attacks to go to trial, a judge has ruled. The last four minutes of the recording of United Airlines Flight 93 with sounds of passengers trying to force entry into the cockpit and to retake the plane in 2001, was ruled admissible by US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein. The first of 41 cases left filed by September 11 victims who sued airlines and their security contractors for wrongful death is set to begin September 24. That case was filed by the wife of Patrick Driscoll, 70, who died aboard United Flight 93. The recordings have not been released publicly but were played in court at the trial of convicted September 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui in 2006. Sep 13, 2007

American Airlines, United Airlines

US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein, in a bid to encourage further settlements for the September 11 victims, the judge ruled in July that the first trials would only address damages and a second separate trial would address liability. The plaintiff's lawyer, Donald Migliori, said the recordings that will be played, which will also include the voice of one or two of the hijackers saying they have a bomb on board, was the most important evidence at the trial. He said most of the plaintiffs were "glad the process is starting" but frustrated the issue of damages will be decided before liability, which decides who is responsible. Sep 13, 2007

Boeing

Boeing booked orders for 75 commercial planes in August, compared to 25 for Airbus, propelling the US planemaker ahead of its main rival in the annual race for orders. Boeing, which is dominating the market for widebody planes with its carbon composite 787 Dreamliner, had 841 orders as at September 5, adjusted for cancellations. Airbus, which does not adjust for cancellations until the end of the year, had 713 orders at the end of August. The figures are from the companies' web sites. Airbus, which in the past week announced new orders from Czech Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines and US lessor Aviation Capital Group, rival Boeing seems set to clinch the title of biggest-selling plane maker for the second year running. Strong orders for the two companies combined, which may yet break 2005's record of more than 2,000, indicate that demand remains strong, and so far unaffected by problems in the credit markets, according to analysts. Sep 14, 2007

Boeing

Boeing awarded $1.1 billion Air Force tanker maintenance deal. The Air Force tapped Boeing for a $1.1 billion, 10-year deal to maintain its Eisenhower-era aerial refueling tankers. Boeing will provide depot-level maintenance, repairs and repainting for more than 200 of the aerial refueling aircraft at facilities in Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri. Sep 12, 2007

Boeing

Boeing will have to pull off the most aggressive flight-testing program in its history--and pray that no new problems arise, if the first 787 Dreamliners are to be delivered to customers on-time next year. Boeing is in a bind because of production foul-ups, discovered in August, that caused it to announce last week that it's delaying the maiden flight of the new jet from late summer to late fall. Those are "growing pains" that are to be expected for an aircraft that involves new materials " composites make up more than 50 percent of the 787 " and new production processes, W. James McNerney Jr., the company's chairman and CEO, said at a conference sponsored by investment bank Morgan Stanley. Sep 12, 2007

Boeing

Australia's Boeing C-17 fleet passes operational milestone The Royal Australian Air Force is ready to put its first two Boeing C-17 strategic transports into operational service, Sep 11, 2007

Boeing

Aviation Partners Boeing announced an order for 15 blended winglet shipsets for Delta Air Lines 767-300ERs. DL now plans to install winglets on 30 -300s by early 2010 and holds options on the remainder, Sep 11, 2007

Boeing

Boeing 787 launch customer Jetstar is concerned that operating costs for its new fleet will be significantly higher than expected after receiving the first batch of bids for aftermarket support. Speaking at the maintenance master class during last week's Asian Aerospace Congress in Hong Kong, Seb Mackinnon, acting general manager of procurement at the Qantas low-cost subsidiary, said that the figures Jetstar has calculated so far for 787 per hour operating cost is "quantum higher than what the Qantas Group was expecting and that's obviously pretty alarming". Jetstar also expects the prices to come down as second and third bids are received. "It's early days," Mackinnon says. According to Flightglobal. Sep 11, 2007

Boeing

Boeing 787 first flight suffers two-month delay Shortages of airworthy fasteners and flight control software have forced Boeing to further compress the 787's. Sep 10, 2007

Boeing

Boeing data shows little room for manoeuvre if 787 Dreamliner delays occur Data furnished by Boeing since last week reveals just how thin is the margin for error for completing the compressed 787 flight test. Sep 10, 2007

Bombardier

Transport Canada issued an Air Directive Sept. 13 calling for Q400 operators to conduct visual safety inspections of left and right main landing gear systems and main gear retract actuators that have accumulated 8,000 or more landings or have been in service for more than four years. Bombardier sent two separate air safety teams to investigate the SAS incidents that occurred in Aalborg and Vilnius. Sep 14, 2007

Bombardier

Bombardier does not expect a large impact on earnings from problems with its DHC-8-Q400 turboprop that have affected airlines globally, a company official said on Friday. "The impact on our results -- we believe this won't have a large impact," Bert Cruickshank, a director of industry and airline communications at Bombardier, told reporters in Tokyo. "We are responding very quickly to the situation." Bombardier, which is also the world's top train maker, reported a quarterly loss last month as it booked a big write-off on the value of its investment in troubled Metronet. Sep 14, 2007

Bombardier

Bombardier said 85 of 160 DHC-8-Q400 aircraft around the world have been grounded after landing gear on Q400s flown by Scandinavian Airlines Systems collapsed on touchdown in two separate incidents over the past week. Japan's All Nippon Airways - ANA, one of the airlines affected, suspended all flights using DHC-8- Q400 aircraft on Sept. 13 but said it resumed most of them on Friday. Sep 14, 2007

Bombardier

Bombardier said a piston that deploys or retracts landing gear on its DHC-8-Q400 turboprop is the focus of inspections ordered after two crash landings that resulted in grounding planes around the world. The company said it wants to meet Japanese transport ministry officials during his visit, which is his fifth to Japan so far this year, but no plans have been confirmed. In March, Young visited Japan to apologize for an incident, involving an ANA flight to Kochi airport in western Japan. Sep 14, 2007

Bombardier

Bombardier said a preliminary investigation revealed some corrosion on a part of the landing gear that failed on an SAS Scandinavian Airlines DHC-8-Q400 earlier this week. A spokesperson said that the corrosion was evident on the landing gear actuator, which extends and retracts the gear during landing and takeoff. The Canadian manufacturer recommended that all DHC-8-Q400s be grounded after landing gears collapsed on two separate SAS flights on Sept. 9 and Sept. 12 Sep 14, 2007

Bombardier

Bombardier's aerospace business strengthened. The unit, which manufactures Learjets, CRJ regional jets that seat up to 145 passengers and turboprop aircraft, shrugged off the subprime debt problems that have roiled US markets. Since the start of the fiscal year, Bombardier's aerospace division boosted its order backlog 77 percent, to a record USD$18.2 billion, and orders more than doubled from the first half of last year to 187 aircraft from 77, with much of the growth coming in the business jet market, where orders rose by half from the year-earlier quarter to 103. Sep 14, 2007

Bombardier, Goodrich

As a precautionary measure, Bombardier and Goodrich, the landing gear manufacturer, recommend in an All Operator Message (AOM) that operators of DHC-8-Q400 aircraft having accumulated more than 10,000 landing gear cycles (a cycle is one take-off and landing), be grounded until an inspection of the landing gear is carried out. Bombardier has delivered more than 160 DHC-8-Q400 aircraft to airlines around the world, of these there are currently about 60 Q400 aircraft with more than 10,000 landing gear cycles. Transport Canada (TC) has been briefed on these recent events and Bombardier is working with TC to establish the requirement for further corrective actions, if required. Sep 12, 2007

Bombardier, Goodrich

Bombardier Makes Recommendations Following Recent DHC-8-Q400 Aircraft Right Main Landing Gear Incidents. Inspection of Q400 aircraft main landing gear having accumulated more than 10,000 cycles highly recommended on Sept. 12 following a second incident has occurred involving the collapse of a right main landing gear shortly after touchdown on a Bombardier DHC-8-Q400 aircraft operated by SAS. The first incident occurred at Aalborg, Denmark on September 9, 2007. The second incident occurred on September 12, 2007 at Vilnius, Lithuania. There were no reported injuries amongst the crew of four and 48 passengers on board the second aircraft. A Bombardier Air Safety representative has been dispatched to the second incident site to provide assistance to the investigating authorities. Sep 12, 2007

Compass Airlines

Compass Airlines, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Northwest Airlines , announced that the regional carrier will construct an aircraft maintenance facility at Louisville International Airport. Sep 14, 2007

Horizon Air, Bombardier

Horizon Air grounded a quarter of its fleet on Sept. 12 amid safety concerns surrounding the landing gear of its Bombardier DHC-8-Q400 turboprops. The planes will remain out of service while they are inspected. The airline reported 247 cancellations over Wednesday and Thursday and hopes to get back to its regular schedule on Friday. Sister carrier Alaska Airlines is adding flights to help accommodate passengers. Sep 13, 2007

Jetstar, Boeing

Jetstar airs concerns about Boeing 787 maitenance costs Boeing 787 launch customer Jetstar is concerned that operating costs for its new fleet will be significantly higher than expected. Sep 10, 2007

Lockheed Martin

Lockheed gets green light to modify GPS for L5 test Lockheed Martin Space Systems has been given the go-ahead by the US Air Force. Sep 10, 2007

Lockheed Martin

Lockheed passes key milestone for 2008 GPS demo SATNAV Lockheed Martin Space. Sep 10, 2007

Mesa Air Group, Bombardier

Mesa Air Group announced an agreement with United Airlines to replace eight 50-seat Bombardier CRJ-200 aircraft with two 66 -seat Bombardier CRJ-700s. The aircraft will enter service with the Phoenix-based airline in spring 2008 and have a 10-year term. With the new planes, Mesa will operate 22 CRJ-700 aircraft for United Express. Mesa currently operates 185 aircraft with more than 1,100 daily system departures to 184 cities, 45 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, the Bahamas and Mexico. Mesa also operates as Delta Connection, US Airways Express, and independently as Mesa Airlines and go! in Hawaii. Sep 12, 2007

Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman gets Head Start on US Navy BAMS contest. Northrop Grumman is finishing up flights of a Gulfstream II testbed under the company-funded Head Start risk-reduction programme intended to boost. Sep 10, 2007

Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman tests oblique flying wing X-plane in windtunnel. Northrop Grumman is beginning high-speed windtunnel testing of the oblique flying wing X-plane Sep 10, 2007

Northwest Airlines, Boeing

Northwest Airlines on Sept 12 retired its final passenger Boeing 747-200 from scheduled service. Last flight was Tokyo Narita-Seattle-Minneapolis/St. Paul. The aircraft joined the fleet in 1979. Northwest will continue to operate 747-200s as charter aircraft; it replaced them with Airbus A330s. By year end it will operate 21 A330-300s and 11 A330-200s. Sep 13, 2007

Northwest Airlines, Boeing

Northwest Airlines retires its last Boeing 747-200 from regular service. Northwest Airlines said on Sept. 12 it has retired its last 747-200 plane from regular service. The airline still operates Boeing 747-400 aircraft. The plane's last flight was from Tokyo to Seattle. It will be replaced by a smaller type Airbus A330, which is more fuel efficient and quieter. The airline's two remaining 747-200 planes will be used on charter flights for the next 18 months. Sep 13, 2007

Southwest Airlines, Boeing

Southwest flight forced to land after landing gear failed to retract. A Southwest Airlines flight returned to Oakland International Airport after its nose landing gear of the Boeing 737 failed to retract. FAA officials say Southwest flight 614 was en route to San Diego Wednesday morning, but the pilot couldn't get the landing gear to come up after taking off. The plane turned around and landed safely at Oakland several minutes later. Sep 13, 2007

Spirit AeroSystems, Boeing

Market for planes expected to stay strong. Spirit AeroSystems' chairman and chief executive Jeff Turner said Tuesday that demand for airliners continues to climb, and any downturn would likely be minor. Boeing chief executive Jim McNerney agrees that the case for a continued positive cycle is strong. The two executives pointed out that airplanes are flying at capacity, and orders for planes are coming in faster than deliveries can go out. Sep 12, 2007

United Airlines

New system allows pilots to avoid turbulence. An air turbulence detection system designed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research is being tested by United Airlines pilots on commercial flights. Captain Rocky Stone, chief technical pilot for United Airlines, has this to say: "The messages I've received in the cockpit gave a very accurate picture of turbulence location and intensity. The depiction of turbulence intensity provides an unprecedented and extremely valuable new tool for pilot situational awareness." Sep 12, 2007

US Airways

US Airways looking to hire 350 new pilots. US Airways will hire more than 350 pilots over the next 12 to 16 months, primarily to replace pilots who are retiring. The carrier will also move 140 pilots from US Airways Express carriers back to main operations. The pilots were furloughed several years ago. "It was only two short years ago that both the former US Airways' and America West's futures were (up) in the air," President Scott Kirby says in a written statement. "To stand strong two years later and announce that not only will we no longer have any pilots on furlough, but also will begin to hire new pilots, is simply great news for our employees and our airline." Sep 13, 2007

ZZ

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Date:Sep 17, 2007
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