Aircraft News - North America.
U.S. FAA to study "human factors" in NextGen upgrade. The FAA will work with the Georgia Institute of Technology to study how "human factors" will be affected by the NextGen air-traffic control system. The satellite-based system will lead to "increased sophistication on the flight deck," and researchers want to know how pilots and controllers interact with automation. Jul 9, 2010
U.S. FAA calls in aviation stakeholders for meeting on near collisions.
The FAA will convene a safety conference next month in Washington, D.C., intended to reverse the rising number of near-collision aviation incidents identified under a new reporting policy. "This spring, we had several close calls that got everybody's attention, and I think that's the thing that really keyed us into taking a look at some of the risks, [to] try to identify what we're missing," says an official with the FAA's Office of Safety. The FAA will meet with chief pilots at major airlines to stress the importance of routine ATC communications and will allow controllers to ride along in airline cockpits to better understand the process from the pilots' viewpoint. Jul 8, 2010
U.S. FAA sees flaw in reinforced cockpit doors. The FAA has ordered fixes to an unspecified "feature" on the reinforced cockpit doors of many Boeing aircraft. An agency spokeswoman refused to elaborate on the defect, citing security concerns. Fortified cockpit doors were installed in all commercial airliners after the 9/11 attacks, but a series of airworthiness directives has raised concerns about the doors' effectiveness in preventing a security breach. Jul 6, 2010
Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association The Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association has set a 2016 deadline for the recycling of 90% of materials from scrapped aircraft and hopes to reduce the amount of aircraft manufacturing waste destined for landfill by 25% by 2012. Jul 6, 2010
Alaska Airlines, Boeing, Aircell Alaska Airlines is now offering Aircell's Gogo Inflight Internet service on more than half its aircraft, including all 55 of its Boeing 737-800s and 10 of its 737-900s. The service will be available on the airline's remaining two 737-900s by the end of July. These aircraft fly throughout Alaska's network, including all transcontinental routes. The airline's remaining 737-400s and 737-700s will be equipped with the Gogo service by the end of 2010. To ensure the service is available to the airline's namesake state, Aircell will expand its network by early 2011 to provide Gogo Inflight Internet service on key routes to, from and within the state of Alaska. For more information, visit www.alaskaair.com. Jul 8, 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
Boeing Boeing is about to start the 787's fatigue trials as it sets out to accumulate the required testing buffer ahead of the carbonfibre twinjet's planned service entry at year-end. The Dreamliner test airframe (ZY998) was moved from the Everett factory to the outdoor test fixture on 31 January and has subsequently been undergoing preparations for the fatigue trials. Over three years ZY998 will be used to demonstrate 165,000 flight cycles to prove the durability of the structure, well beyond the certification target of 88,000 cycles, which is double the airframe's design life. These full-scale fatigue trials, which had been due to begin by mid-year, should get started "soon", says Boeing's vice-president of supplier management Bob Noble. He adds that the fatigue test specimen needs to lead the high-cycle in-service aircraft by a significant margin. Boeing has already completed static and fatigue trials on certain sections of the aircraft individually, for example the horizontal stabiliser (which ZY998 does not have). Launch customer All Nippon Airways should take its first 787-8 by year-end, following completion of the test and certification effort. Jul 8, 2010
Boeing Boeing has a long-term aim to adapt its Boeing 747 Dreamlifters as a "combi" to allow them to transport small groups of personnel in the nose section. This would enable the outsize freighter to carry up to 16 passengers on flights operating between the 787 production plants in support of the subassembly transport process. The airframer's fleet of four 747-400 Large Cargo Freighters does not have approval to fly with any supernumerary crew, meaning that it can only operate with aircrew (up to four) on board. A revision to the LCF's certification to allow non-aircrew to be carried is planned as the first stage of a process that could eventually lead to a small passenger cabin being installed at the front of the main deck, which is currently empty, says Boeing's vice-president supplier management Bob Noble. "With 16 seats in the nose, we'd have our own daily direct flight to Nagoya - on the airlines you have to go through Tokyo." Jul 7, 2010
Colgan Airways, Bombardier The US FAA is asking airline, air cargo, air taxi and fractional flight departments to incorporate upset recovery aids developed by government and industry into their training programs. LOC as it relates to training was highlighted as a problem area in the February 2009 crash of a Colgan Airways Bombardier Q400 near Buffalo, New York. In that crash, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that the pilot responded incorrectly to a stick shaker warning, putting the aircraft in an aerodynamic stall and upset condition from which the crew did not recover before hitting the ground. The FAA in January 2009 proposed a revamping of pilot training rules that would require formal upset recovery training programmes for airline pilots, giving them the chance to regularly experience the events in simulators. The agency has not yet finalised the proposed rules. Jul 7, 2010
Colgan Airways, Bombardier The US National Transportation Safety Board has appointed Dr Mark Rosekind, an internationally recognised specialist on fatigue and sleep disorders. One of the NTSB's published "most wanted transportation safety improvements" states the agency's wish to reduce accidents caused by human fatigue. Jul 6, 2010
NASA To get a better grip on how tropical storms form and develop into hurricanes, NASA plans to fly aircraft and unmanned air vehicles into them this summer. The hurricane research fleet for the Genesis and Rapid Intensification Process mission (Grip) is made up of one Global Hawk UAV, a McDonnell Douglas DC-8 and a Martin WB-57F Canberra. The six-week programme, which begins on 15 August, is the space agency's agency's first major US-based hurricane field campaign since 2001. Adding the extreme endurance of unmanned aircraft to the mix will be "game-changing" for hurricane study, said Ramesh Kakar, Grip programme scientist at NASA headquarters in Washington. Jul 10, 2010
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