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Rolls-Royce reveals the philosophy behind its two new-generation engines for the 2020s 9


AgustaWestland unveils skid-equipped variant of AW109 light twin in bid to widen its appeal 17





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Why the Pentagon is abandoning so many of its military veterans

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AgustaWestland unveils skid-equipped variant of AW109 light twin in bid to widen its appeal 17





Lockheed Martin posted this image of two F-35B Joint Strike Fighter test aircraft flying in short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) mode for the first time on 11 February at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. Open a gallery in’s AirSpace community for a chance to feature here




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Lockheed Martin

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COVER IMAGE Lockheed Martin provided this striking picture of the US Air Force’s at-risk U-2, which could lose its high-altitude surveillance role to the unmanned Global Hawk under a new budget proposal. See Cover Story P10

NEWS 8 9

THIS WEEK Enders promises year of execution Roll-Royce reveals Trent successor details

AIR TRANSPORT 12 Mixed-mode operation ‘trap’ caught A321 pilots 13 A350 programme’s costs rise with €434m charge. Soaring demand drives A320 output to record high 14 Excessive tailwind and late reduction of thrust led to Il-76 overrun. PowerJet set to throttle up SaM146 production rates. BEA seeks lithium battery fire risk assessment HELI-EXPO SHOW REPORT 16 Bell seeks new V-22 buyers to help maintain production 17 AgustaWestland reveals star Trekker. Ground tests under way as X4 gains momentum. Market shift threatens Bell 505 18 Airbus Helicopters to enhance EC225 MD Helicopters tilts at high-tech scout design. Enstrom to launch light trainer

Airbus Helicopters enhances engines, fuel tanks and automation of EC225 P18. Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier battle to provide successor to Royal Jet’s BBJ fleet P25

19 AgustaWestland ‘at a par’ with Airbus Helicopters. Locking nut issue stalls European R66 approval

DEFENCE 20 Sikorsky spins-up CH-53K development with ground test vehicle. T-X deal could transform USAF training programme 21 P-8A buy launches renewal of Royal Australian Air Force 22 How Lockheed Martin/Piasecki’s ARES will overtake the flying car ABU DHABI SHOW REPORT 24 Falcon Aviation Services to challenge for completions. Tecnam targets pilot training schools in the Middle East 25 Royal Jet set to crown BBJ successor. Gama upbeat on Sharjah hub hopes. Seaplane firm to shuttle VIPs

7 35 37 40 43 47


10 Hagel budget plan ushers in new era for US military The US Air Force’s U-2 could lose its surveillance role to the unmanned Global Hawk


26 INDIA Sleeping Tiger India’s growing economy augurs well for aircraft sales 28 Home advantage What are the obstacles to India’s plans for an indigenous airliner? 30 ATM Praise SESAR When Europe’s big ATM project is brought into force, the skies will never be the same

REGULARS Comment Straight & Level Letters Classified Jobs Working Week

NEXT WEEK COMBAT AIRCRAFT Twenty years after the first development aircraft took off, we take a UK-based look at the Eurofighter Typhoon. Plus, a status report on the Netherlands’ F-35 plans.

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Rolls-Royce reveals the philosophy behind its two new-generation engines for the 2020s 9

Lockheed Martin


4-10 MARCH 2014


IN THIS ISSUE Companies listed

AAI ..............................................................22 AgustaWestland .....................................17, 19 Airbus ......................................8, 9, 13, 24, 25 Airbus Helicopters......................17, 19, 19, 24 Air Costa ......................................................26 Air France ..............................................12, 14 Air India .......................................................29 Air India Regional.........................................29 AirTanker ........................................................8 ATR ........................................................13, 29 Aviation Home .............................................24 Avicopter .....................................................19 BAE Systems .........................................20, 25 Beechcraft ...................................................20 Bell Helicopter ...........................10, 16, 17, 19 Bharat Electronics........................................29 Boeing .........................8, 9, 10, 14, 21, 24, 25 Bombardier .......................................8, 25, 29 Carter Aviation .............................................22 Cessna ........................................................25 Comac .........................................................28 DARPA .........................................................22 Deccan 360 ................................................29 Dubai Aviation City.......................................24 EADS ...........................................................25 Embraer...........................................24, 26, 29 Engine Alliance ..............................................9 Etihad ..........................................................27 Fairchild Republic ........................................10 Falcon Aviation Services ..........................8, 24 Gama Aviation .............................................25 General Atomics Aeronautical Systems ........10 General Electric ...........................................11 Gore Design .................................................24 Greenpoint Technologies ..............................24 Gulfstream ...................................................25 Hindustan Aeronautics .............................8, 28 Honeywell ....................................................17 Israel Aerospace Industries ..........................21 Jet Airways ...................................................29 Jet Airways Konnect......................................29 Jet Aviation ..................................................24 JetEx ............................................................25 Jetstar............................................................8 Joy Air ............................................................8 Kaman.........................................................22 Korea Aerospace Industries..........................20 Lease Corp International ..............................18 Lockheed Martin ........................10, 11, 21. 22 Lufthansa Technik ........................................24 McDonnell Douglas......................................11 Mitsubishi ....................................................29 Northrop Grumman....................10, 16, 20, 21 NPO Saturn..................................................14 Piasecki .......................................................22 Pilatus .........................................................21 Pratt & Whitney ......................................16, 17 PowerJet ......................................................14 Qantas...........................................................8 Raytheon .....................................................20 Robinson .....................................................19 Rolls-Royce....................................................9 Royal Jet ......................................................24 Russian Helicopters .....................................16 Seawings .....................................................25 Sikorsky .............................. 10, 16, 17, 18, 20 Singapore Airlines ........................................27 Snecma .......................................................14 Spicejet .......................................................29 Sukhoi ...................................................14, 29 Tata Sons.....................................................27 Tecnam ........................................................24 Turbomeca ...................................................18 Volga-Dnepr .................................................14 Xian Aircraft ...................................................8

BEHIND THE HEADLINES Business and General Aviation editor Kate Sarsfield (top) was at Al Bateen airport to compile our show report from the Abu Dhabi Air Expo (P24), while Americas editor Stephen Trimble was in California at Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works unit in Palmdale (P22) and the Heli-Expo convention in Anaheim (P16).


While the Royal Air Force’s Red Arrows display team showed off new tail livery to celebrate its 50th display season, safety and operations editor David Learmount recalled their predecessor – the Black Arrows team of 16 Hawker Hunters (pictured). As he notes on his blog, Learmount: “They were good, too.” Also good are Israeli Defence Forces paratroopers, vital in special operations. As our man in Tel Aviv, Arie Egozi, notes on Ariel View, a special parachuting zone has been inaugurated at Nevatim airbase to reduce flight times, cut training costs and strengthen ties between ground forces and the IAF at the home of Israel’s Lockheed Martin C-130s. The new zone will be called “Machbesh” (Hebrew for steamroller), named after the parachuting operation executed at the Mitla Pass during the Sinai campaign in 1956. Find all these items at


Last week, we asked: Can Boeing save its Super Hornet production line?: You said: The US DoD will give it a lifeline

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The game’s up for the ‘Super Bug’



Total votes: 2,191 This week, we ask: A350’s service entry in 2014?: ❑ Slam dunk ❑ Looking good, but challenges still ahead ❑ Not a chance Vote at


The top five stories for the week just gone: 1 PICTURE: Skymark’s first A380 rolls out 2 Pentagon seeks to ground U-2s, A-10s and Kiowa Warriors 3 Australia confirms A$4 billion P-8A buy 4 PICTURES: Two more A350s commence airborne tests 5 Long landing in tailwind caused Il-76 overrun Flightglobal reaches up to 1.3 million visitors from 220 countries viewing 7.1 million pages each month

“Cathay Pacific’s 13 Boeing 747-8 Freighters provide the premier Transpacific service; high reliability, the best payload and great fuel efficiency.” —James Woodrow, Cathay Pacific Airways, Director Cargo



Wild blue spending

As a Pentagon looking to align its over-stretched budget with its operational needs prepares to do battle with Congress and lobbyists, political expedience may decide which fleets get axed

he target in 2010 was stopping production of the Lockheed Martin F-22. A year later, the goal was to halt years of unsolicited funding for the Boeing C-17 and the General Electric F120 alternate engine for the Lockheed F-35 fighter. An election year in 2012 offered a reprieve from high-profile and unpopular budget cutting, but the axe came back out in 2013, with proposals to mothball 11 fighter squadrons and retire hundreds of airlifters, tankers and reconnaissance aircraft. It must be that time of year again. The Department of Defense has previewed cuts to be proposed to a usually sceptical Congress in March, and so begins a 10-month ritual in Washington DC. It involves parochial lawmakers seeking to salvage jobs and pet causes, lobbyists scrounging billion-dollar favours for large corporate clients and military leaders just hoping the result in November or December loosely resembles the budget proposal submitted in February.

Second-guessing budget woes makes easy sport, but often there are no good options The targets of the Pentagon’s budget-cutting this year may seem diverse, but they share a number of common themes. Three platforms – the Lockheed Martin U-2S, the Fairchild Republic A-10 and the Bell Helicopter OH-58D Kiowa Warrior – are proposed for early retirement. In operations, they perform high-altitude reconnaissance, close air support and armed aerial scouting. While not similar operationally, they have a common industrial trait; preserving them neither creates nor retains highly coveted aircraft assembly jobs in

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Plenty of room here

local congressional districts, but retiring them does provide that opportunity for the aircraft that assume their functions (albeit with less efficiency). While highly capable at one or two critical functions, the three types can hardly be called “multi-role”. In a bureaucratic environment fraught with hard budget decisions, that makes them vulnerable to culling. Finally, all three types are vulnerable in all but the most permissive operational environments. Second-guessing budget decisions makes easy sport, especially in lean times when spending is shrinking. Sometimes, there are no good options, and the best approach is to choose among the least offensive alternatives. For the US military, this is one of those times. Congress and the lobbyists will still have their say. It took the DoD several years of trying to halt domestic orders for the F-22, C-17 and F120 engine, but it eventually succeeded. All of those programmes involved active production lines. Axing three types well past their industrial prime will be easier. ■ See Defence P10

Chief executive or titan? A

Read all Flight International’s Comments on editor Murdo Morrison’s blog at

nyone who saw a dinner-suited Tom Enders address the Royal Aeronautical Society in December or saw him deliver Airbus’s annual results in Toulouse last week, saw a man at ease in his role as head of one of Europe’s largest companies. For sure, things have been going well and he has probably relaxed, with key programmes on track, profits up, political dramas behind him and a major restructuring well underway. But the past few months may have marked a more subtle change. Gone is a slight prickliness he occasionally betrayed. Ascendant is a new manifestation of what military people call command presence, an invaluable trait that cannot be taught. Enders has it in spades, but now he is radiating rather than imposing it.

In short, for the first time since he took over in mid2012, Tom Enders is both in charge and in control. For Airbus, that is crucial. Transformed into a “normal” company determined to shape its future without regard to the preferences of Paris and Berlin, Airbus today needs a new dimension of strategic vision. To formulate and follow that vision, it needs less of the collegial, European style of management that has served it well so far, and more of what might be called a French style of management, well-known to Napoleon. The next 18 months or so will say much about the new Airbus – including whether it is led by a chief executive or by a true titan of European industry. ■ See This Week P8, Air Transport P13 4-10 March 2014 | Flight International | 7


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OPERATIONS The UK Royal Air Force on 21 February lifted a 12-day restriction on operations involving its Airbus A330 Voyager tanker/ transports, which had been imposed after several passengers were injured when one of its six examples experienced “an unscheduled change of flight level”. The AirTanker consortium which provides the modified airliner says: “While an investigation remains ongoing, we are unable to comment as to the cause of the incident.”


REQUEST India’s defence ministry has issued a detailed request for information for a new intermediate jet trainer (IJT), amid continued delays to Hindustan Aeronautics’ HJT-36 Sitara. Potential vendors should provide cost details for the “direct purchase of IJT for batch sizes of 10, 20, 30 and 50 aircraft” by 4 April. The air force wants a single-engined, two-seat type with a secondary light-attack capability.


CUTS Qantas will accelerate Boeing 747 retirements and defer Airbus A380, A320 and 787 orders under a A$2 billion ($1.8 billion) three-year cost-cutting plan. In a programme which includes slashing 5,000 positions and affects more than 50 aircraft, the carrier will defer eight A380s that were due in 2016-21, as well as three 787s for Jetstar. It will also restructure Jetstar’s A320 orders. Qantas is accelerating retirement of some 747-400s to 2015, when it will also retire all remaining 767-300ERs. It will transfer some A330-200s from Jetstar to the international operation, simplifying its domestic mainline fleet to A330s and 737-800s.


SAFETY Chinese airframer Xian Aircraft has asked the Civil Aviation Administration of China to temporarily ground its MA60 turboprop after a malfunction on an Okay Airways aircraft. The incident occurred when the MA60 was operating Tianjin-Shenyang on 25 February. Okay says the crew had problems with a landing gear indicator, and Xian says preliminary investigations pointed towards a malfunction in the system. The airframer has requested temporary grounding of the type in China. A Joy Air MA60 suffered damage in February after its nose-gear collapsed during taxiing at Zhengzhou.


LEASING AWAS is looking to convert its two Airbus A350-800s, inherited during its takeover of Pegasus Aviation, to -900s. Sources say the lessor’s chief executive Ray Sisson told analysts in a fourthquarter earnings call that Airbus no longer intends to produce the -800, and it is seeking to avoid an orphaned fleet. Sisson told Flight International that recent similar changes by customers “call into question whether that model makes it into production”.

8 | Flight International | 4-10 March 2014

Airbus Group

ORDER Middle Eastern operator Falcon Aviation Services has tentatively signed to take a Bombardier CSeries twinjet. The deal, still in the form of a letter of intent, is for a single CS300 with an option on another. Falcon Aviation Services is based at the executive Al Bateen airport in Abu Dhabi and specialises in corporate and VIP charters. The aircraft will feature a “unique” configuration for business travellers, says the company. Bombardier values the agreement at up to $156 million if the order is firmed and the option exercised. The deal is its first for the type in the UAE.

CEO Tom Enders promises “no new adventures” for 2014 FINANCE DAN THISDELL TOULOUSE

Enders promises year of execution Airbus Group chief executive targets 7-8% increase in profit this year as impact of 2013 restructuring begins to be felt


or the company formerly known as EADS, 2013 was a landmark year of restructuring – but 2014 will be just as challenging to managers determined to prove they can now deliver an equally dramatic surge in financial performance. Speaking at group headquarters in Toulouse on 26 February – detailing full-year results for a year which brought a rebranding as Airbus Group and initiation of a process to cut space and defence business costs by creating a single division – chief executive Tom Enders emphasised a sustained improvement in profitability. A drive launched by predecessor Louis Gallois to lift low-single-figure percentage profits has pushed underlying return on sales – earnings before interest, taxes and one-off charges – up by 3.5% in 2011, 5% in 2012 and 6% in 2013 – Enders’ first full year at the helm. Now, says Enders, Airbus can reach 7-8% in 2015 – a goal in line with long-standing promises of 10% bar “margin dilution” from the A350 programme, which is proving more expensive than originally anticipated. To Enders, the €913 million ($1.3 billion) in 2013 one-off charges was “too high”. These included €434 million against the

A350 and €292 million against restructuring. However, he says, restructuring is a “complex” process of negotiation with workers that has months to run – but the result will be dramatic. The 10% return on sales goal is “entirely realistic”, he adds, “even for Airbus Defence & Space”. Meanwhile, Enders promises to focus on running the business: “We’re not planning any new adventures for 2014. “The focus will be on execution, execution, execution.” From the first quarter of 2014, Airbus will report from its new three-division structure: Airbus Commercial, Airbus Helicopters and Airbus Defence & Space (which includes Airbus Military and Cassidian). For 2013, group pre-tax profit grew 21% to €1.98 billion on sales up 5% to €59.3 billion. Airbus commercial sales were up by 6% to €39.9 billion and EBIT grew 39% to €1.6 billion. Airbus Military’s sales were up 36% to €2.89 billion (EBIT +78% to €166 million). Airbus Helicopters’ sales were up 1% to €6.3 billion (EBIT +28% to €397 million); Astrium’s down 1% to €5.78 billion (EBIT +12% to €347 million) and Cassidian’s up 4% to €5.98 billion (EBIT +238% to €432 million). ■ See Air Transport P13


Hagel plan ushers in a new era for US military COVER STORY P10 DEVELOPMENT MURDO MORRISON DERBY

R-R reveals Trent successor details olls-Royce has revealed details of the technology and fuel-saving measures it will incorporate in two successors to the Trent engine family it aims to have in service next decade. The company is working on two projects, called Advance and UltraFan, that are evolutions of its most recent Trent powerplants – the XWB for the Airbus A350 and the Boeing 787’s Trent 1000 – but the new engines will not necessarily be branded Trents, says the UK engine manufacturer. Service entry is earmarked for 2020 for the Advance and 2025 for the UltraFan, with ground testing of the Advance prototype’s new core to begin next year using an adapted Trent XWB. Unveiling the projects at a briefing in Derby on 26 February, R-R’s executive vice-president of strategy and future technology Simon Carlisle said it has “begun sharing the story” with airframers and airlines. However, the company does not have any commitments yet for applications. Advance will use the Trent family’s three-shaft design, but, compared with its predecessors, a redesigned core will include a two-stage high-pressure turbine with larger compressor and a one-stage intermediate pressure turbine with a smaller compressor. For the first time on a R-R product, the engine will also have carbon-titanium composite fan blades, replacing the company’s current hollow, super plastically-formed and diffusion-bonded titanium versions. In addition, composite materials will be used in the casing (See Flight International 25 February-3 March for a feature on R-R’s composite blades). R-R says weight savings and performance improvements will mean Advance will be around 7% more efficient than the Trent XWB. Bypass ratio will be 11:1. UltraFan takes the Advance concept further by adding a geared multi-stage intermediate pressure

turbine and a “variable pitch” carbon-titanium fan system to increase bypass ratio to 15:1 and deliver about another 3% of efficiency compared with the Trent XWB. Adding open-rotor technology is “an option for the future”, says Carlisle. R-R plans to fly an UltraFan demonstrator by the end of the decade. According to Carlisle, high fuel prices are continuing to drive demand for more economical engines from airlines and airframers. “Fuel is only going to keep going in one direction. These engines are our response,” he says. R-R says no decision has been made as to whether the new engines will be branded as Trents or called something else entirely. ■

The manufacturer has already trialed carbon-titanium fan blades


‘Light discussions’ under way with Airbus over new engines Rolls-Royce is in “light discussions” with Airbus about developing more fuel-efficient engines for the A330 and A380, and is confident it can deliver new products if asked. “Any solution they want to go for, we will have a solution for them,” says Eric Schulz, president civil large engines at the UK manufacturer. Speaking via a transatlantic video link to journalists in Derby on 26 February, Schulz also said Rolls-Royce is keen to return to the single-aisle market and would “contemplate the opportunity” of working with Boeing on a successor

to the 757. Rolls-Royce was the launch engine supplier on the original version of the narrowbody with its RB211. Schulz says Rolls-Royce’s “two big strategies” in commercial aviation for the next decade are protecting its 50% share in the widebody market by continuing to innovate in products and services, and “preparing to re-enter the mid-[narrowbody] market with conviction”. Although he says Rolls-Royce “stands by” its decision to leave the International Aero Engines consortium behind the V2500 powerplant




UK firm divulges technology and fuel-saving measures to be incorporated in future Advance and UltraFan powerplants

Rolls-Royce has a dominant position on the current A330

for the Airbus A320 family, “going forward it is a segment in which we intend to continue to play”. He says technology being developed for large turbofans might be deployed into smaller engines. “When Airbus or Boeing launch a new product, we will be ready,” he says. With no mainline airliner programmes in the offing beyond the Boeing 777X and fuel prices likely to stay high over the next decade, attention is focused on whether the big two airframers will opt to give an impetus to existing products by pushing the engine manufacturers to design more economical variants of their engines. Airbus has said it will clarify its position this year on a possible re-engining of its A330 – which continues to sell strongly despite the imminent arrival on the market of the A350. Meanwhile, there is speculation that Emirates – the biggest operator of the A380 and a customer of Rolls-Royce’s rival on the programme, Engine Alliance – could demand performance improvements from the winner of an engine competition it is running for the 50 superjumbos ordered at Dubai last year. ■

4-10 March 2014 | Flight International | 9


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Hagel spending plan ushers in a new era for US military

The Pentagon can save an estimated $3.5 billion over five years by retiring the entire A-10 fleet

Defense secretary’s proposal axes ageing types in favour of drive for modernisation he future of US military air power is coming into focus. After months of speculation, on 24 February the Department of Defense outlined a plan to ground some of its oldest aircraft in the coming years. On the chopping block are the US Air Force’s Fairchild Republic A-10 ground attack and Lockheed U-2 surveillance aircraft, and the army’s Bell Helicopter OH-58D Kiowa Warrior armed scouts. The DoD also intends to bolster the army’s fleet of Boeing AH-64D/E Apache attack helicopters with aircraft from reserve units, and may slow the procurement of 24 Lockheed Martin F-35s through fiscal year 2019. Outlined by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the proposal is part of a broad contraction of the US military driven partly by budget cuts, which he describes as “irresponsible”. It also stems from an effort to modernise the nation’s armed forces and prepare for emerging threats in areas like the Asia-Pacific, he adds. “This plan balances the need to protect our national security with the need to be realistic about future budget levels,” Hagel says. Despite the sweeping nature of the cuts, which still must be approved by Congress, defence analysts are unsurprised. “They are prioritising the new over the old, which is the story of

Rex Features


“This plan balances the need to protect our national security with the need to be realistic about future budget levels” CHUCK HAGEL US Secretary of Defense

the Pentagon for the past 100 years,” says Richard Aboulafia, vice-president of consulting firm Teal Group. The Pentagon has been forced to make the cuts by ongoing funding pressures set in motion by the Budget Control Act of 2011, signed by President Barack Obama. That law shaved $487 billion from the DoD’s budget over 10 years. It also triggered additional spending cuts known as the sequester, which will run through 2021. Sequestration reduced military spending by $37 billion for the




A-10 F-35A Global Hawk Block 40 KC-10 U-2 US Army AH-64D/E OH-58D TH-67 UH-60 US Navy F-35C


Retirement Deferral of 24 aircraft Potential retirement Potential retirement Retirement Transfer of Guard/Reserve aircraft Retirement Retirement Transfer of some aircraft to Guard Possible two-year procurement delay

Fleet data from Flightglobal’s Ascend Online Fleets and MiliCAS databases

10 | Flight International | 4-10 March 2014

Fleet size

315 N/A N/A 59 32 722 659 179 1,937 N/A

last fiscal year and by $31 billion in this year’s allocation. A $45 billion cut is expected in FY2015, and will continue increasing without Congressional action. The Pentagon’s budget is $496 billion in FY2014 and FY2015. This is roughly 21% less than in FY2010, according to Mackenzie Eaglen of the American Enterprise Institute. More details are expected when President Obama releases his FY2015 budget proposal on 4 March. Then the bill will head to Congress. “That’s where things get complicated,” says Aboulafia. “You’ll have the age-old battle between Congress and the US Air Force.”

EMPHASISING CAPABILITIES Most contentious may be the Congressionally-popular A-10, which the USAF has been seeking to retire for years. While past such attempts may have been premature, Aboulafia says: “this time [the USAF] might be right. There aren’t a lot of large tankbased armies emerging as a threat in the next five or 10 years.” Hagel says the plan will “emphasise capability over capacity” and protect “key critical modernisation programmes”. These include Lockheed’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the $100 billion-plus long-range strike bomber programme and the KC-46A refuelling tanker, which Boeing expects to begin delivering to the USAF in 2016. The DoD also recommends investing $1 billion in next-generation jet engine technology. Older programmes will suffer, however. Hagel says the Pentagon can save $3.5 billion over five years by retiring the entire A-10 fleet and using the “more capable” F-35 for close air support in the early 2020s. “Precision-guided munitions are carried by about every combat aircraft. It makes sense to divest a platform that can only do one

mission,” Mark Gunzinger, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, says of the A-10. Hagel also settled speculation about the USAF’s plans for highaltitude reconnaissance, announcing that the DoD intends to retire its in-service U-2s. This contrasts with the air force’s earlier intention, stated last year, to instead divest its Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Block 30 Global Hawks, which it said were more costly than the manned type to operate. “Over the last several years, [the] DoD has been able to reduce the Global Hawk’s operating costs,” Hagel says. “It’s a sign [the] DoD is serious about development of an unmanned force in the future,” Gunzinger says. “This is the first time an unmanned aircraft has completely replaced a manned aircraft.” Meanwhile, the Pentagon intends to slow the growth of its armed unmanned air system fleet to 55 “orbits” of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems MQ-1 Predators and MQ-9 Reapers – down from a planned 65. The USAF will continue buying the “more capable” latter type until it has an all-Reaper fleet, Hagel says. The DoD also plans to retire the army’s Kiowa Warriors and Bell TH-67 Creek trainers, cutting the service’s fleet by 25%, Hagel says.


Air France A321 pilot caught by autothrust ‘trap’

US Air Force


Bell is disappointed with the announcement, but has not received any contract changes so far to its OH-58 programme, chief executive John Garrison said at the Heli-Expo convention in Anaheim, California on 24 February. The company’s army aircraft have low operating costs and high operational rates, he notes. Under the transformation plan, the Army National Guard and Reserve units would also transfer

Apaches to the active-duty army. Sikorsky president Mick Maurer says that plan bodes well for the company’s in-development S-97 Raider helicopter – a possible Apache replacement. “We think we have the long-term solution,” he says. In return for Apaches, Hagel’s plan calls for the army to give some of its Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawks to the Guard. The swap counters the socalled “Abrams doctrine” –

which stresses the importance of combat-ready reserve forces – but makes sense, says Eaglen, as state governments have more need for utility aircraft like Black Hawks than Apaches. “These are exactly the kinds of corners the Pentagon has been painted into,” she adds. If Congress does not repeal future years of sequestration the USAF must make “far more significant cuts”, including possibly retiring its McDonnell Douglas

KC-10 tankers and Block 40 Global Hawks. The service could also defer the purchase of 24 F-35As through FY2019, while the US Navy could delay procurement of the carrier-variant F-35C by two years, Hagel says. However, the wider F-35 programme is untouched by the plan, reflecting its renewed political commitment in Washington, says Eaglen. The F-35 is “coming out a big winner”, she says. ■


Lockheed leaps to the defence of ‘legendary’ U-2 as DoD plans early retirement

Austin acknowledges that the company’s campaign to save the U-2S may be hampered slightly by the programme’s legendary status. Although the fleet is often confused, the 32 active U-2S “Senior Year” aircraft and TU-2S trainers operated by the USAF today

bear little resemblance to the original reconnaissance fleet delivered to the US Central Intelligence Agency in the late 1950s. Some 40% larger, all current U-2s were delivered between 1982 and 1989, and subsequently upgraded with the General Electric F118-101

US Air Force

With the US Air Force’s U-2S fleet facing a threatened early retirement in the Department of Defense’s fiscal year 2015 budget request, Lockheed Martin has gone on the defensive to save one of its landmark programmes from replacement by the Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Block 30 Global Hawk. Melani Austin, Lockheed’s U-2 programme director, says the U-2S is the only high-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft that can perform the mission based on the USAF’s requirements. That sweeping statement appears to set the U-2S apart not only from the Global Hawk, but also from a classified ISR system disclosed in testimony last year by air force officials before Congress. Speaking at the company’s Skunk Works unit in Palmdale, California,

Global Hawks could usurp the current manned fleet

engine. In all, the USAF has spent more than $1.7 billion on fleet modifications since 1993, including a recent programme that reduced the cabin pressure altitude from 27,000ft (8,230m) to 14,900ft. Austin also reveals that up to 10 aircraft were upgraded last year with a new communications gateway payload developed by L-3 Communications, which allows the U-2S to operate as a flying network administrator, connecting otherwise incompatible radio waveforms. Whether Lockheed’s now public support will make a difference for the U-2S fleet is difficult to tell. The Global Hawk is an active production line, with the US Navy’s MQ-4C Triton following behind. Saving the manned type from retirement will not create more assembly line jobs, Austin acknowledges. ■

4-10 March 2014 | Flight International | 11


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Mixed-mode ‘trap’ caught A321 pilots Air France crew were unaware of deactivated autothrottle and declining airspeed as stall protection system was triggered nquiries into the triggering of stall-protection on an Air France Airbus A321 have found that the crew failed to monitor the aircraft’s airspeed, after unnecessarily deactivating the autothrust. French investigation authority BEA is recommending that the European Aviation Safety Agency mandates systems to warn crews of low-speed situations. The aircraft had been descending towards Paris Charles de Gaulle with its autopilot and autothrust engaged, but the pilot attempted to increase the descent rate by retarding the thrust levers to idle. BEA points out that this action was “pointless” because the descent had been undertaken in ‘open descent’ mode, which already maintains idle thrust. But the consequences were significant because retarding the levers disengaged the autothrust while leaving the autopilot active. Air France had warned crews, five months earlier, of the potential “trap” created by this mixed-mode operation. It creates the risk, notably as the aircraft levels off during a descent, that pilots could forget that airspeed is no longer being managed automatically. Airbus considers this mixedmode operation to be “inadvisable”, says BEA. As the Air France A321 levelled at 4,000ft (1,220m) it switched into a mode which prioritised maintaining altitude. But the idle thrust was not sufficient to keep the aircraft at this level, and the autopilot commanded an increase in angle-of-attack. While the captain, who was flying, had selected an airspeed of 220kt (408km/h), this was not taken into account because the autothrust was not engaged. The A321’s airspeed bled away as the aircraft pitched up in a struggle to maintain its height. As the A321’s angle-of-attack continued to increase, its air-



BEA says low-speed warning systems should be mandatory speed fell to 177kt – some 26kt lower than the minimum speed the autothrust would have permitted – and the aircraft’s automatic stall-protection system activated. Although the captain then advanced the thrust levers, he

only moved them to the ‘climb’ position rather than the higher ‘take-off’ setting. The aircraft, descending at 1,000ft/min with an airspeed of only 172kt, eventually reached 3,840ft before its thrust stabilised and its airspeed started to increase.

It gained height and the crew subsequently landed without further incident. BEA’s inquiry into the 20 July 2012 event says the captain had been “aware” of the autothrottle disengagement when he initially retarded the thrust levers to idle. However, he did not remember calling out the action, and the first officer said he had not been aware of the autothrottle deactivation. BEA says the pilots then failed to monitor the airspeed, both having become preoccupied with scanning outside for traffic even though there had been no collision-avoidance alert. Not until the stall-protection system began to activate, and the autopilot disengaged, did the crew realise that the airspeed had fallen away. The inquiry says there was no aural warning to alert the pilots earlier, and is recommending to EASA that such low-speed warning systems be mandated. ■


Investigators query logic and response of flight directors French investigators looking into an Airbus A321 stall-protection incident near Paris have again questioned the logic and response of flight directors to unusual circumstances. The Air France aircraft’s autopilot had been attempting to maintain an altitude of 4,000ft (1,220m) with only idle thrust, after the autothrust had been disengaged by the captain. With airspeed declining – unnoticed by the crew – the aircraft pitched up and began to lose height. The flight director responded by indicating a pitch-up order was necessary to regain the selected altitude. The aircraft’s attitude triggered the stall-protection system. But while the autopilot disengaged automatically, the flight director remained active. French investigation authority BEA notes that the captain made a pitchup input to his sidestick, lasting

12 | Flight International | 4-10 March 2014

more than 10s, in order not to lose altitude. This input meant that the stall-protection system remained active, whereas the normal response is to exit the situation as quickly as possible by pushing the sidestick forward to reduce the angle-of-attack. BEA says it “did not determine” whether the captain had been following the flight director when he made the pitch-up command. Although the flight director’s orders were consistent with the captain’s intention not to lose altitude, and with the selected mode and functional logic of the aircraft, they were not suited for the low-airspeed situation. “When the [autopilot] disengages inadvertently – as in this case, on the basis of high angle-of-attack – the relevance of keeping the [flight directors] on should be studied,” says BEA.

Flight-director logic emerged as a concern in the wake of the fatal stall of an Air France A330 over the South Atlantic in June 2009. The pilot of the aircraft had maintained pitch-up inputs to the sidestick instead of countering the high angle-of-attack with a pitchdown input. BEA, which investigated the crash, suggested at the time that the pilot might have trusted the flight director to the exclusion of other instruments, and recommended a re-evaluation of flight director logic and display during a stall. As a result of the A321 incident, which occurred on 20 July 2012, the inquiry is again proposing a reconsideration of the instrument’s logic, so that it “disappears or displays appropriate orders” should the autopilot inadvertently disengage. ■



Soaring demand drives A320 output to record high roduction of Airbus’s singleaisle family is to increase to 46 aircraft per month in early 2016, from the current level of 42. The airframer will take the rate of production to 44 in the first quarter of 2016, before hiking it again in the second quarter. The move comes in the wake of strong orders for the baseline A320 and re-engined A320neo, which have pushed the backlog for the types to more than 4,200. “We have a solid case to increase our monthly output to satisfy our customers’ requirement for more aircraft,” says Airbus executive vice-president for programmes Tom Williams. The air-



Hamburg alone will turn out 24 of the narrowbodies each month framer had previously indicated its backlog could support a strong rate rise, but it held off while it examined the impact on the supply chain. However, Williams says a “comprehensive assess-

ment” of the chain has shown a “readiness” to back a ramp-up. Airbus has three A320-family assembly facilities at Toulouse, Hamburg and Tianjin. It is constructing a fourth at

Mobile in Alabama, which will start producing aircraft in 2016. Overall output is expected to rise to 40-50 annually in 2018. Currently, Hamburg is the primary source with 22, while Toulouse produces 16 and the Chinese plant at Tianjin builds four. The Toulouse and Tianjin sites will maintain their current output rates. The increase in production, says Airbus, will come from raising Hamburg’s rate to 24, while the Alabama plant will contribute two aircraft. The Mobile site is due to open next year, and the first A320 is scheduled to roll out in 2016. ■


A350’s costs rise with €434m charge A

irbus remains on track to put the A350 into service by year-end, but rising costs have led the airframer to take a €434 million ($593 million) one-off charge against the programme in the fourth quarter of 2013. Chief financial officer Harald Wilhelm, presenting Airbus Group’s 2013 financial results in Toulouse, underscored Airbus’s confidence that it will deliver the first of the new twinjets before the end of 2014. However, Wilhelm says a “bottom-up programme review” concluded that A350 recurring costs would be higher than previously thought. The €434 million charge reflects extra work on late design changes, as well as costs associated with improvements to capabilities in the supply chain, both outside and inside Airbus. Tom Enders, Airbus Group chief executive, adds that he could give no guarantees that this would be the last charge against a programme that “remains challenging”. The charge on the A350 reflects a “reassessment of actual

and estimated unit cost”, the company says. “Improvement actions have been launched to converge on cost targets,” it adds. “Industrial ramp-up preparation is under way, and associated risks will continue to be closely monitored in line with the schedule, aircraft performance and overall cost envelope, as per customers’ commitments.” Two flight-test aircraft have logged close to 1,100h between them, and two further prototypes – MSN2 and MSN4 – made their maiden sorties on 26 February.


However, new long-haul twinjet still on schedule for service entry by year-end as two more prototypes join flight-test fleet

MSN2 and MSN4 made their maiden sorties on 26 February MSN2 will later feature a full passenger cabin for validation of the interior and passenger-related

systems. It will carry the type’s first passengers during a spring test campaign of longer flights. ■


Airbus Group keen on 90-seat ATR, but in no rush to launch Airbus Group has dismissed speculation that it is less enthusiastic than partner Finmeccanica about the future of their ATR regional turboprops joint venture, but concedes that the pair disagree about the timing for launch of a programme to develop a larger, 90-seat aircraft. Speaking in Toulouse as the group detailed its 2013 financial performance, chief strategy and

marketing officer Marwan Lahoud said that with ATR’s existing product range – particularly the 70-seat ATR 72 – enjoying dominant market share after years of poor to middling financial performance, “it is a great time of success for ATR… at last”. Now, he says, it is time to profit from ATR’s momentum without introducing a new programme challenge that would “dilute” the financial

benefits flowing from rising sales and deliveries. There is not, he stresses, “any divergence” between Airbus and Finmeccanica except for timing over the programme’s launch. However, as it would be a clean-sheet design and not simply a stretch of the ATR 72, Lahoud suggests that Airbus is in no hurry, given the scale of investment required. ■

4-10 March 2014 | Flight International | 13


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Excessive tailwind led to Il-76 overrun L

ate reduction of thrust and an out-of-limits tailwind caused a Volga-Dnepr Ilyushin Il-76 to overrun as it touched down long at St John’s in Canada. Investigators found that the pilot increased thrust 3s after crossing the threshold of runway 11, and did not retard the throttles to idle for another 5s. The aircraft touched down 3,570ft (1,080m) beyond the threshold, bounced, then made contact again at 4,220ft – about halfway along the 8,500ft runway. Although reverse thrust was engaged on the two outboard engines and the spoilers were deployed, the aircraft did not decelerate quickly enough. The crew belatedly applied reverse thrust on the inboard engines, about 1,000ft from the runway end, but the heavy trans-

port overran by 640ft. The Canadian Transportation Safety Board’s inquiry into the 13 August 2012 event discovered that the aircraft had been subject to a 13kt (24km/h) tailwind – above the certified limit of about 10kt for the type. Information from the control tower indicated a 3kt tailwind, although additional data about the conditions was available to the crew through a multifunction cockpit display. The true 13kt figure, derived from flight-data recorder information, would have required a landing distance of nearly 5,200ft. Examination of the freighter’s undercarriage showed “excessive” wear, the inquiry adds, with all 16 main-gear tyres worn by 80% or more – leading to increased risk of hydroplaning on


Volga-Dnepr heavy transport touched down long at St John’s after late reduction of thrust in out-of-limits 13kt breeze

The four-engined jet travelled 640ft beyond the end of the runway the wet runway surface. The investigation also revealed that the hydraulic lines to the brakes had been installed incorrectly, and that, during anti-skid operations, the set-up would have

released pressure to wheels with effective braking. None of the 10 crew members on board the Il-76 was injured, and the aircraft (RA-76511) received only superficial damage. ■



PowerJet set to throttle up SaM146 rates

BEA to gauge lithium battery fire risk F



rench investigators are seeking an assessment of risks associated with lithium batteries in portable devices, as well as better guidelines on dealing with an inflight lithium fire. The recommendation follows an incident on board an Air France Boeing 777-200 over the Atlantic on 8 December 2010. French investigation agency BEA states that the crew of the Paris-bound aircraft (F-GSPK), alerted by an electrical burning smell, cut the power to the inflight entertainment system and traced the origin to seat 4F in the business-class cabin. Upon removing the seat cushion, the cabin crew discovered flames and instinctively attempted to quench them with water – although this can exacerbate a lithium fire. BEA says an examination of the seat revealed a 5V lithium battery from a passenger’s device had been crushed in the seat mechanism, possibly

An incident on an Air France 777 in 2010 spurred the assessment after slipping beneath the cushion. The resulting short-circuit had initiated the fire. None of the occupants of the 777 was injured in the incident. While studies have repeatedly highlighted the hazards posed by lithium batteries in cargo, BEA says the risk within the cabin is

14 | Flight International | 4-10 March 2014

being “ignored” and there is “no consensus” on the best method to tackle a fire. It has recommended that EASA addresses the matter by looking into the risk of fire from batteries in personal devices and providing procedures for dealing with such incidents. ■

owerJet has delivered 40 SaM146 engines to Russian airframer Sukhoi for the Superjet 100 programme over the past 10 months, and intends to raise the production rate towards a goal of building 100 next year. Earlier this month, PowerJet – a Franco-Russian joint venture between Snecma and NPO Saturn – shipped the 100th SaM146 to Sukhoi’s Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant. To date, 64 SaM146s have been installed on 32 Superjets. Of these, 23 are in commercial service with three Russian and three other airlines. Nine Superjets are undergoing customer acceptance procedures. NPO Saturn says lessors are in advanced talks with potential recipients of a further six aircraft. The Russian engine maker puts the target for PowerJet production in 2015 at 100. ■

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Stephen Trimble/Flightglobal

Held in the Anaheim, California, convention centre across the street from Disneyland, the crowd at Heli-Expo 2014 seemed appropriately optimistic about the future. Helicopter demand has never been higher after a three-year sales surge, and a new Honeywell forecast expects deliveries to continue roughly at the current level for the next five years. Among the 20,000 visitors and nearly 800 exhibitors, the helicopter industry displayed several new models, including the newly-branded Bell 505 Jet Ranger X and AgustaWestland’s skid-equipped AW109 Trekker. Upgrades of existing platforms, such as the Airbus Helicopters EC225, were also announced. Stephen Trimble reports

Mikheev not yet decided on the need for speed


ussian Helicopters will decide later this year whether to base its next commercial product on a high-speed or conventional rotorcraft, says chief executive Alexander Mikheev. Mikheev told reporters at HeliExpo on 25 February that the decision will be based on feedback from operators of Russian-made helicopters. “We are considering whether the speed is necessary,” Mikheev said through a translator. “Also we are considering the feasibility and economy [of the aircraft] – the price of the flight hour. So we are considering which is the most important – the cost of the flight hour or the speed.” If launched, the minimum speed for Russia’s high-speed rotorcraft would be 215kt (400km/h). “The high-speed helicopter is more than 400km/h,” he says. “These are considered high-speed ones.” Russian Helicopters has been carefully observing developments by Airbus Helicopters and Sikorsky in the area of highspeed rotorcraft for several years, notes Mikheev. “It’s clear that our design bureaus have capabilities to produce this high-speed helicopter,” he says. “We are considering whether high-speed is going to be in demand among the operators.” ■


Bell seeks new V-22 buyers to help maintain production Manufacturer validates additional transport capabilities in order to bolster tiltrotor’s appeal


srael could double the size of its potential V-22 Osprey order to 12 aircraft, forming part of a plan to preserve production of the tiltrotor for several more years. The US Department of Defense notified Congress on 14 January that Israel had requested a potential sale of six MV-22Bs. But the Israeli government has requested information from the manufacturer for “for six to 12 aircraft”, says Bell Helicopter chief executive John Garrison, speaking on the eve of Heli-Expo 2014. The possibility of extending the Israeli deal could prove critical for Bell’s ongoing efforts to preserve V-22 sales well beyond 2015. The initial six aircraft expected

to be ordered by Israel are not additional orders. They will instead be taken from six aircraft currently assigned to the US Marine Corps. But there is hope that the service will be able to order six additional examples to cover the loss. A second multi-year contract signed last year includes orders for 99 more V-22s and 23 options. One option has already been exercised to replace an aircraft that crashed, Garrison says. “The Marines’ intent is to replace those [six Israeli orders] with the option purchase,” Garrison says, adding, “but budget dynamics will ultimately determine that”. That means Israel and the

US Marine Corps


Bell has sought to improve the type’s appeal to the US Navy

16 | Flight International | 4-10 March 2014

USMC could order 12 additional V-22s combined, in addition to the six already being negotiated with Israel. Moreover, Japan has budgeted to buy 17 V-22s in a long-term spending plan released last month, Garrison says. Bell also remains hopeful that the USMC will exercise all of the 23 options within the current multi-year deal. Longer-term, the US Navy also is still looking for a replacement for its Grumman C-2 Greyhounds. The service originally committed to buy 48 HV-22s, but never followed through with an order. Bell hopes the navy will eventually commit, forming part of a third multi-year contract. Bell has recently demonstrated at its Forth Worth site a key capability that could improve the V-22’s appeal to naval and amphibious customers. One of the deficiencies of the Osprey has been an inability to carry the container that transports the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine for Lockheed Martin’s short take-off and vertical landing F-35B. Bell and P&W developed a new “frame” that replaces the container, allowing the V-22 to carry the power section of the F135 to an amphibious carrier, Garrison says. ■


Extended range, power for EC225



AgustaWestland reveals star Trekker Updated landing-gear-equipped variant of popular AW109 GrandNew light-twin intended to broaden helicopter’s appeal gustaWestland on 25 February unveiled a new version of the AW109 GrandNew light twin-engined helicopter with its familiar-looking, retractable landing gear replaced with fixed landing skids. The newly-branded AW109 Trekker will be aimed at a customer set that is uncomfortable buying a helicopter with only wheels for landing gear. “My understanding is that certain pilots and certain companies just like the ability to go straight down,” says Geoff Hoon, managing director of international business at AgustaWestland. Hoon says the company had been “keen to get in this area for a while”. The landing skids certainly appeal to launch customer Seven Bar, a Dallas-based aeromedical services provider.

Stephen Trimble/Flightglobal


Certification of the variant is due to be achieved later this year The company has operated only fixed-wing aircraft since 1947, but is expanding into the rotary-wing sector, says Seven Bar’s senior vice-president of marketing and business development Steve Johnson.


Seven Bar preferred the performance of the AW109 GrandNew to rivals such as the Airbus Helicopters EC135 and Bell Helicopter 429, Johnson says. But the height of the cabin floor with wheeled landing gear posed

a concern. “The higher the aircraft the easier it is to load the patients,” Johnson says. The landing skids increase the height of the cabin floor, which offers another potential safety benefit, Johnson says. The extra height means the rotor disc is spinning higher off the ground, he says. The AW109 Trekker is scheduled to be certificated later this year and delivered from the company’s factory in Philadelphia in early 2015, Hoon says. Though production is beginning in Philadelphia, the company will consider other assembly sites depending on how it sells, he adds. The new version of the aircraft will continue to be powered by the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW207C turboshaft engines. ■


Ground tests under way Market shift threatens Bell 505 as X4 gains momentum B round testing has started on Airbus Helicopters’ 4-6t twin-engined X4 helicopter, providing a rare glimpse inside the manufacturer’s most highly anticipated development programme. The replacement of its Dauphin family – to be offered with both Turbomeca and Pratt & Whitney Canada engines – is on track for first flight in 2015, says Guillaume Faury, the airframer’s chief executive. “We have a lot of rig tests ongoing,” Faury says. The “helicopter zero” simulation rig has entered a test campaign, Faury says – a key step in maturing the flight controls and avionics integration. Meanwhile, the company also has been working to prepare the unique, all-composite structure of the X4.

An initial prototype of the fuselage will be delivered later this year, Faury says, and another effort is under way to develop the five-blade rotor system and a new main gearbox. An EC155 flying testbed has accumulated 150h using the new rotor blade design, he adds. Meanwhile, the main gearbox has also started a period of endurance testing. “All of these technologies are made available to increase safety and cost of operation,” Faury says. Separately, Turbomeca has confirmed completion of the first test run of the 1,100shp (820kW) Arrano 1A turboshaft engine for the X4. Pratt & Whitney Canada has already developed the PW210 engine – a version of it powers the Sikorsky S-76D – which is the option for the X4. ■

Bell Helicopter


ell Helicopter on 25 February introduced a huge Heli-Expo audience to the newly-branded 505 JetRanger X, the short light single – or SLS – launched at last June’s Paris air show that faces a suddenly tightening market. The 505 is intended to return Bell to the entry-level, turbine-engine powered segment the company pioneered in the late-1960s with the original 206 JetRanger, which has grown heavier and been moved out of the entry-level class. Bell chief executive John Garrison calls the 505 the “revitalisation of the legendary JetRanger”. It is also a key piece of the com-

Flight testing begins this year

pany’s plan to survive planned military spending cuts. The US Army has announced plans to retire the Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior without a newbuild replacement, and other purchases by the US Marine Corps are nearly exhausted. Bell has countered aggressively by producing new commercial products. Both the 505 and super-medium 525 Relentless are scheduled to enter flight testing later this year. But demand in the segment of the market occupied by the 505 appears to be softening. A five-year forecast released by Honeywell at Heli-Expo reveals a slight shift in demand away from light aircraft. Nonetheless, Garrison remains optimistic about the 505’s prospects. “We’re focused on ensuring our customers are successful,” he says, “because we know if you’re successful that we have a chance to be successful.” ■

4-10 March 2014 | Flight International | 17


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MD Helicopters tilts at high-tech scout design

Longer-range offshore missions are driving performance demands UPGRADE

Airbus Helicopters to enhance EC225 Latest version of Super Puma will gain updated Turbomeca Makila 2B engines, increased range and more automation


oving beyond the year-long struggle to solve a 2012 main gearbox issue that led to a pair of North Sea ditchings and a near 12-month grounding, Airbus Helicopters is rolling out a new version of the EC225 with more power, range and automation. After a scheduled certification in late 2015, the EC225e will compete with the higher-grossweight version of the Sikorsky S-92, says Airbus Helicopters chief executive Guillaume Faury. “The EC225e responds to operators’ requirements for extended range mission capability for deep water operations and oil and gas missions that are going always to longer distances from the coast,” Faury says. The additional range has been achieved by replacing a baggage compartment with a 470 litre (370gal) internal fuel tank, says Marie-Agnès Vève, head of the Super Puma programme at Airbus Helicopters. That extra fuel extends the range of the EC225e on a normal day with a load of 10 passengers to 300nm (556km), or a 25nm improvement, Vève says. Airbus Helicopters is also upgrading the engines to a new 2B variant of the Turbomeca Makila. It will retain the architecture of

the current-generation Makila 2A1 , but feature a new combustion chamber and high-power turbine blades, Turbomeca says. The design changes will allow a “significant increase” in maximum take-off weight in Category A conditions, Vève says. At the same time, Airbus Helicopters will look to reduce the workload on pilots performing rig approaches in bad weather, she says. Vève contrasts the EC225e’s automation with what she describes as a “copy-and-paste” method employed by Sikorsky on the S-92. Rather than automate traditional approaches, Airbus Helicopters is developing new approach patterns to oil rigs that are enabled by new automated functions, she says. This functionality will only be available on the EC225e and cannot be retrofitted to earlier versions of the helicopter, she says. Avionics bench testing has already started, Vève adds, along with initial test flights with the new fuel tank. Hot weather certification trials will follow in the third quarter of this year. The airframer secured at HeliExpo a launch customer for the variant through a commitment for 15 aircraft from lessor Lease Corp International. ■

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D Helicopters is developing a new scout helicopter that could feature a hybrid-electric power system, lightweight composites built using additive layer manufacturing techniques and possibly its proprietary NOTAR rotor-less tail system. A mock-up of the new design could be unveiled at next year’s Heli-Expo convention, says MD Helicopters owner Lynn Tilton. But the aircraft will not likely enter service for several years, she adds. Tilton wants to design an aerial scout that could compete with next-generation rivals, but fit within the light, single-engined architecture of its current aircraft. “I’d like to do it with a single engine,” Tilton says. “I don’t know if I can do it yet.”

That means MD Helicopters must invest heavily in new technologies, she says. To conserve engine power for thrust, Tilton will seek to offload systems power to an electric power source. To reduce airframe weight, she also wants to shift to airframe structures developed using 3D design and printing techniques. Bell Helicopter already uses 3D printing for non-load-bearing structures, but Tilton now hopes to take the technology to the next level. The new design overshadowed MD Helicopters’ release of new details about the MD 530G – the latest variant of its armed aerial scout – which is scheduled to receive certification later this year. ■


Enstrom to launch light trainer


ichigan-based Enstrom Helicopter will enter the market for light piston-powered training helicopters with a new, scaled-down version of its 280FX called the TH-180. The Chinese-owned company sees the segment as an opportunity to create a loyal customer base that can move up to buy its larger models, says president and

chief executive Tracy Biegler. The company has launched a $2-4 million certification effort funded by the company’s profits on deliveries of 280FXs and turbine-powered 480Bs, he says. Enstrom is targeting the second quarter of 2015 to achieve certification, with first flight planned for the second quarter of this year. ■


Airbus Helicopters


The TH-180’s first flight is planned for the second quarter of 2014

Sikorsky spins-up CH-53K test work DEFENCE P20



AgustaWestland ‘at a par’ with rival Manufacturer confident that it caught or surpassed Airbus Helicopters in 2013 in terms of value of civil rotorcraft deliveries gustaWestland expects to equal or surpass Airbus Helicopters in terms of the overall value of commercial aircraft delivered for the first time when official results for 2013 are released later in March, says chief executive Daniele Romiti. “We think that we are now almost at a par or even slightly ahead of our longtime rival [Airbus Helicopters] in terms of value of deliveries in the commercial market,” Romiti said in a press conference on the eve of HeliExpo 2014. “This could be a first.” That AgustaWestland is even near parity with the recently rebranded manufacturer clearly illustrates the Anglo-Italian company’s rapid growth over the past decade. AgustaWestland started 10 years ago with a 12% share of a commercial aircraft market worth $2.4 billion at list prices. The final results for last year are not yet in the public domain, but AgustaWestland expects to finish 2013 with a 28% share of a mar-

The airframer announed the sale of an AW139 at Heli-Expo to Japan’s Tottori Prefecture for use in a firefighting role



ket worth $5.53 billion, Romiti says. “We had to grow an average of 20% in terms of compound annual growth rate,” he says. “This is twice the Chinese [economic] growth rate.” AgustaWestland’s performance since 2004 has been buoyed by the launch of its three core multi-engine helicopters spanning a range between 4t-8t: the

developmental AW169 mediumtwin, AW139 intermediate and the recently certificated AW189 super-medium. The company’s rapid growth has been sustained despite significant challenges, including a partial falling-out with initial AW139 and AW609 development partner Bell Helicopter. And AgustaWestland remains under scrutiny for allegations of

bribery on a deal with the Indian government, which led to the arrest of former chief executive Giuseppi Orsi in 2013. Romiti reminded a press conference at Heli-Expo that “all allegations remain unproven”, and that the chief of the Indian air force reiterates that the AW101s involved in the troubled deal are still desired. ■ Stephen Trimble/Flightglobal


Locking nut issue stalls European R66 approval


uropean regulators have raised a new roadblock to delay Robinson’s four-year quest to obtain certification for the R66 light-single helicopter, says chief executive Kurt Robinson. Cracked locking nuts found on several R66s have been traced to a manufacturing flaw that causes hydrogen embrittlement, Robinson says. However, the issue is wider than just the Robinson fleet and has attracted scrutiny from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Although certificated by the FAA in 2010, the R66 remains barred from European sales while EASA continues to

gate the problem. Robinson is unwilling to guess a timeframe for EASA’s final decision. EASA, however, has overcome its objections to the R66 that delayed its European type certification. The FAA granted the R66 a waiver from a requirement to have a back-up to the primary hydraulics system in case a chip or small particle jams a control valve. EASA initially did not accept the FAA’s determination that the R66 would be controllable even without hydraulic power assistance for the flight controls. But EASA is now no longer concerned about the hydraulics issue for the type, Robinson says. ■


Avicopter tight-lipped on light twin Chinese manufacturer Avicopter displayed a new light twin-engined helicopter called the AC3X2 at Heli-Expo. Besides a one-sentence placard posted next to the scaled-model, however, Avicopter officials declined to provide details about the programme. The aircraft’s nose and cabin bear a faint resemblance to the Bell Helicopter 429. The AC3X2, however, features a unique horizontal stabiliser mounted to the underside of the rear tailboom.

4-10 March 2014 | Flight International | 19

DEFENCE Find more rotorcraft sector coverage at


T-X deal could transform USAF training programme new fleet of aircraft could enable the US Air Force to transform its flight training programme, the head of the service’s Air Education and Training Command (AETC) says, while reiterating the need to replace its roughly 430 Northrop T-38 Talons. “We need a replacement for the T-38 for a lot of reasons, [and] it will drive discussions about pilot training,” AETC commander Gen Robert Rand told the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida on 21 February. “It’s a good time to have those discussions.” Rand declines to speculate about future funding for T-X, but

US Air Force


The air force needs a versatile replacement for around 430 T-38s says clarity will come as details emerge about President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget proposal, due out on 4 March. “There is a requirement for an airplane that can do something the T-38 can’t do,” says Rand.

“There are more efficiencies out there with a new airplane.” Candidates include the Alenia Aermacchi/General Dynamics T-100 – a development of the former’s M-346, the BAE Systems/ Northrop Grumman-promoted

Hawk and the Korea Aerospace Industries/Lockheed Martin T-50. Boeing has proposed developing an all-new design with Saab. Rand says 120 Raytheon T-1s used to train tanker and transport pilots since 1991 also need updates, but asks: “Can [we] afford to get a T-X at the same time?” Instead, Rand says the service could return to a “generalised” training model, where all pilots would receive instruction in the Beechcraft T-6 and T-38 or replacement T-X. Alternatively, it could adopt a “blended” option, where tanker and transport pilots would complete only about 75% of the course on the latter type. ■


Sikorsky spins-up CH-53K test work T

he US Marine Corps’ future Sikorsky CH-53K heavy lift helicopter will make its first flight by the end of this year, with a ground test vehicle (GTV) recently having been operated for the first time at the company’s West Palm Beach site in Florida. Mounted on a concrete pedestal bolted to the aircraft’s transmission, the giant grey prototype last December had its auxiliary power unit activated, starting socalled “bare-head light-off” tests. Its three main General Electric GE38-1B engines were started in January, and turned the bladeless rotor head for the first time. Sikorsky plans to begin testing the engines with the aircraft’s seven 10.7m (35ft)-long main rotor blades attached by around midMarch, starting a process known as the “shakedown light-off”. The company has already tested the 39.9t gross weight helicopter’s new all-composite blades – which feature upwardsweeping anhedral tips to reduce drag – and four-bladed tail rotor at its headquarters in Stratford, Connecticut.

Despite having encountered some minor problems, Sikorsky says the CH-53K remains on track to reach initial operational capability with the USMC by 2019. “There are no significant technical issues,” says Michael Torok, the company’s programme vice-president. Sikorsky has had to make electrical boxes and other equipment such as resistors “more robust” to better withstand vibration, and addressed unexpected compression of a bearing spacer located on the tail rotor shaft, Torok says. But “there is nothing on the list that we don’t have a fix [for] in the works,” he adds. About 200h of testing must be completed using the GTV before the first flight event, including 150h of shakedown work and a 50h pre-flight acceptance test activity, including “multiple cycles of full aircraft operational demonstration”. Four test aircraft being produced in West Palm Beach will be used. Despite visual similarities with the USMC’s current CH-53E transport, the all-new K-model’s GE38 turbines can each produce

20 | Flight International | 4-10 March 2014


First flight of heavy-lift helicopter expected by year end, once ground test vehicle clears 2000h of shakedown trials

The development asset should gain its rotor blades by mid-March 7,500shp (5,600kW), versus 4,380shp for the in-service type’s GE T64s. Its main rotors have 12% more surface area than the Super Stallion’s, with a 15% increase for its 3m-long tail rotors. With a new gearbox, these enhancements will allow the CH-53K to carry an external load of more than 12,200kg (26,900lb) over a mission radius of 110nm (204km): triple the capacity of the E-model, according to Sikorsky. The aircraft also has a larger cargo hold and a fly-by-wire system.

Sikorsky won a $3.5 billion system development and demonstration phase contract in 2006, with the Department of Defense’s programme of record calling for it to deliver 200 aircraft to the USMC, including four system demonstration test articles. Production is scheduled to ramp up from fiscal year 2018, with full-rate production to be achieved by FY2023. The airframer has not yet determined whether the CH-53K will be built in Connecticut or Florida. ■



P-8A buy launches Australian renewal Canberra approves $3.6bn deal for eight 737-based martitime surveillance aircraft, with Global Hawk purchase pending ustralia has approved the first part of a two-stage plan to replace its Lockheed AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, announcing on 21 February it has approved the purchase of eight Boeing P-8A Poseidons, and taken options on a further four. The expected A$4 billion ($3.6 billion) acquisition comes under the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) Project Air 7000 phase 2B, which represents the manned element of the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) AP-3C replacement. A separate, phase 1B element calls for a high-altitude, long-endurance multimission unmanned air system. “The P-8A is a potent and highly versatile aircraft,” says Prime Minister Tony Abbott. “As well as patrolling Australia’s maritime approaches it can conduct maritime strike missions using torpedoes and [Boeing AGM-84] Harpoon missiles.” The 737based type also will “work closely with other existing and future ADF assets, and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service aviation fleet,” he adds. The RAAF’s 10 and 11 squadrons currently operate 18 AP-3Cs from Edinburgh air base in South Australia, and until recently two aircraft had been continuously deployed for over a decade to support Australian and coalition operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Indian Ocean. Its Orions

Commonwealth of Australia


The Poseidon fleet will take over from current AP-3C Orions (right) were acquired in two batches of 10 aircraft each in 1978 and 1986, and substantially upgraded in the late 1990s. One example was lost in a crash in 1992, and another retired in 2012.

“The P-8A is a potent and highly versatile aircraft [and will] work closely with other ADF assets” TONY ABBOTT Australian prime minister

Canberra had long favoured the P-8A to replace its current aircraft, having joined the US Navy’s then Multimission Maritime Aircraft development programme in 2007 as a minor partner. It had wavered in making a full commitment, however, due to budget con-

straints felt in recent years. Australia’s first P-8As are likely to be delivered in an increment 2 configuration, which adds acoustic equipment and a maritime automatic identification system capability to the USN’s baseline increment 1 aircraft now entering use. The future standard will have sufficient capability to allow the RAAF to replace one squadron of AP-3Cs, and should achieve initial operational capability in 2019. While a subsequent increment 3 standard has yet to be fully defined by the USN, it will include additional systems integration and network-centric enhancements, new weapons and a satellite communications capability. The RAAF will seek to declare full operational capability with this configuration in 2021. Australia’s new coalition government – which won power last September – has also long touted

the virtues of Northrop Grumman’s Global Hawk as a maritime surveillance platform. Then opposition leader Abbott said in 2010 that if he won government, “one major acquisition, as soon as possible, would be three unmanned Global Hawk surveillance aircraft”. Now Abbott and defence minister David Johnston have raised the prospect of Australia acquiring the type, in the form of the USN’s Broad Area Maritime Surveillance solution; the MQ-4C Triton. RAAF sources indicate that six or seven of the air vehicles are likely to be acquired, with a formal announcement expected later this year. A ground control centre for the Triton system is expected to be established at Edinburgh air base, with the unmanned aircraft likely to be staged throughout Australia’s northern bases, keeping them away from controlled airspace and closer to its northern and western approaches. Initial reservations that the air force might not have sufficient capacity to induct two new maritime surveillance platforms concurrently without experiencing a dip in capability have been partially allayed, due to Australian experience with operating the AAI Shadow 200, Boeing/Insitu ScanEagle and Israel Aerospace Industries Heron systems in Afghanistan. ■ To comment on the P-8A buy, visit our The DEW Line blog:


PC-21 powers up for Qatar contract

Stephan Widmer

Pilatus conducted the first engine ground runs with a PC-21 turboprop trainer for export buyer Qatar at its Stans production facility on 20 February. Aircraft QA 350 is the lead example from a 24-unit deal signed with the Swiss manufacturer in July 2012, which also includes ground-based training systems and associated equipment to be used at a new Qatar Emiri Air Force training academy, plus maintenance services. Aircraft deliveries are expected to begin from mid2014, with training activities to commence during 2015. Qatar will become the fifth nation to introduce the PC-21, following Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.

4-10 March 2014 | Flight International | 21


For more in-depth coverage of the rapidly growing unmanned systems sector, visit:


How ARES will overtake the flying car Lockheed Martin/Piasecki team refocus DARPA programme to create ducted-fan air module fit for multiple applications


The partners plan to select an engine supplier for the type by the end of the third quarter

Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin/Piasecki team will build and fly a new kind of unmanned, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft in mid2015 that will seek to replace helicopters on a wide range of military missions. The newly unveiled affordable reconfigurable embedded system (ARES) is the result of a dramatic shift in focus of the previously named Transformer TX programme. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) launched Transformer in 2009 with the ambition of finally creating a feasible flying car, with a diameter in “roadable” configuration no wider than a single-lane road. Lockheed teamed up with Piasecki – the company that experimented with the VZ-8 Airgeep in the early 1960s – and automotive engineering consultancy Ricardo. DARPA selected the Lockheed team’s design and a compound auto-gyro proposed by an AAI/ Carter Aviation partnership to begin preliminary studies in 2010. Both teams competed through a preliminary design review, but DARPA selected only the Lockheed proposal to enter a detailed design phase in 2012. By early 2013, however, DARPA agreed with a proposal from the Lockheed team to abandon the goal of developing a true flying car, says Kevin Renshaw, programme manager at the company’s Skunk Works unit in Palmdale, California. The agency instead agreed to pursue a flying vehicle that can carry a mix of modular payloads, including small vehicles, cargo containers, sensors or weapons weighing up to 1,360kg (3,000lb). The newly renamed ARES programme appears substantially based on an existing design concept for a “modular and morphable air vehicle”. Mike Hirschberg, executive director at the American Helicopter Society, recalls reviewing Piasecki proposals with the design

as a consultant to the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and DARPA several years ago. Indeed, Piasecki received a patent for an ARES-like air vehicle in 2011. It features an “air module” with a wing, tilting ducted fans, engines, drive system and a load-carrying structure to support the payload. DARPA reopened the design of the air module by dropping the requirement for it to be driven on a single-lane road, Renshaw says. That requirement had limited the diameter of each ducted fan to about 2.44m (8ft), but now the Lockheed team is considering widening the diameter to 3.05m, he says. The team also is evaluating proposals for the vehicle’s two turboshaft engines, which fall within the thrust class of a light twin helicopter. Lockheed plans to select an engine supplier by the end of the third quarter of this year.

CRITICAL NEEDS Instead of seeking to produce a realistic flying car, ARES is hoping to develop a vehicle that can meet several critical needs. By offloading the lifting force on to the wing in forward flight, the ARES vehicle should be capa-

22 | Flight International | 4-10 March 2014

ble of reaching a speed of around 200kt (370km/h) with a full payload, Renshaw says. Most wingless helicopters fly 30-100kt slower with payloads stored internally, and up to 130kt slower with an underslung load, he notes.

The ARES vehicle should be capable of reaching a speed of around 200kt with a full payload In addition to higher speeds, the ARES vehicle is also designed to be more versatile. Helicopters use a spinning rotor to produce lift and thrust, but the diameter of the rotor disc limits the number of safe landing zones – especially in urban and cluttered areas. A helicopter in the ARES class requires a 30.5m-wide landing zone, but the ARES’ narrower ducted fans need only half the space to manoeuvre, Renshaw says. A study of landing zones in Afghanistan showed the ARES vehicle would have access to 10 times the number of landing zones than a conventional heli-

copter, he adds. The trade-off for that added flexibility is a reduction in fuel efficiency in hover mode, however. While the ARES wing makes the vehicle more efficient in forward flight, “a helicopter is more efficient at hover,” Renshaw concedes. By design, DARPA’s aggressive approach to technology development produces mixed results. However, Lockheed believes ARES could follow in the footsteps of two of the agency’s past successful projects: the Have Blue programme that yielded the Lockheed F-117 stealth fighter, and the advanced short take-off and vertical landing programme that led to the Lockheed F-35B. Meanwhile, the ONR is developing software that would enable unmanned vehicles to find landing zones autonomously. The goal is to replace the system used to manually direct the Kaman/Lockheed K-Max unmanned helicopter, which has been resupplying remote bases for the US Marine Corps in Afghanistan autonomously for nearly two years. The ONR’s autonomous aerial cargo/utility system could be combined with a future design evolved from the ARES programme. ■


The P-8 is the world’s most capable maritime patrol aircraft. It brings together a networked state-of-the-art mission system with next-generation sensors, and a reliable airframe with high-efďŹ ciency turbofan engines. The result is an affordable multi-mission aircraft with superior speed and unmatched capability. The P-8 is

now ready to secure sea and shore around the globe.


Check out detailed cutaway diagrams of the Gulfstream G650 and many other aircraft:



Abu Dhabi Air Expo is the UAE capital’s annual business and general aviation exhibition held at its downtown Al Bateen executive airport – the Gulf state’s only dedicated business aviation hub. The show – which ran from 25 to 27 February – is now in its third year and attracted around 13,000 visitors and 170 exhibitors including the likes of Royal Jet and Gama Aviation. The exhibition, organised by Abu Dhabi Airports, also featured more than 100 aircraft on static display. They were drawn from across the spectrum of business and general aviation types – from the Tecnam P92 Echo Classic light sport aircraft to the Boeing Business Jet VIP airliner. Kate Sarsfield reports

Recent regional sales have included the P2002 piston single SALES

Tecnam targets training schools in Middle East



eneral aviation manufacturer Tecnam is planning to expand its service centre offering in the Middle East to support the region’s installed base of the Italian-built aircraft. Tecnam’s regional distributor, Aviation Home, is stepping up its sales efforts for the 14-strong aircraft line for which it has already seen “considerable interest”. “We have sold 11 aircraft – from the entry-level P92 Echo Classic light sport aircraft to the certificated P2002 – to owner fly-

ers and training schools in Qatar and Saudi Arabia,” says Aviation Home manager Rajesh Velu. Eight of the aircraft have been delivered and the remaining three are being manufactured at Tecnam’s Capua headquarters. The company hopes to sell the aircraft to six training schools across the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait. “The Tecnam line is particularly appealing for Middle Eastern customers as they run on avgas and mogas, which is very cheap here,” Velu says. ■


Falcon to challenge for completions Abu Dhabi-based MRO provider plans to take on US and European fit-out specialists by importing skilled workforce


he Middle East looks set to get its first completion centre next year, following a new deal signed between Abu Dhabi-based business aviation services provider Falcon Aviation Services and Dubai Aviation City. Under terms of the agreement Falcon will build a new hangar – big enough to take at least a Boeing 747-8I aircraft – and develop a VVIP completions centre at Dubai World Central. The deal is a major breakthrough for the Middle East. Although the region is home to a large and expanding population of business aircraft and wealthy

owners, it has been dismissed by industry specialists as a viable base for a completion centre due to its relatively unskilled workforce. However, this view is not shared by Falcon chief operating officer Capt Mahmoud Ismael. “There is a perception that there is little talent in the Middle East to support a highly skilled aircraft completions business,” he says. “This isn’t an obstacle for us. We will simply import the specialist talent. “The customers are not being experimented on as we are importing the talent, and there are pretty well-known names among

24 | Flight International | 4-10 March 2014

them. We have got the right people to get it established,” he adds. The completions industry is dominated by a handful of major players in Europe and the USA including Jet Aviation, Lufthansa Technik, Gore Design and Greenpoint Technologies. “Currently, Middle Eastern owners have to travel a long way to get their aircraft refurbished or completed,” Ismael says. FAS already provides maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) services and has approvals from a number of airframers, including Embraer and Airbus Helicopters. “This is a natural expansion for

our thriving MRO business,” says Ismael. “This is a tremendous opportunity for us and we are determined to succeed,” he adds. FAS will “cut its teeth” on refurbishment and heavy maintenance and then gradually move towards completions of green aircraft. Ismael says there are around three widebodies and eight narrowbodies across the region coming up for heavy checks and refurbishment. Work is expected to begin on the new hangar in the third quarter of this year and it should be fully operational by 2015. ■



Royal Jet set to crown BBJ successor Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier battle for business as charter firm announces April deadline for fleet replacement decision bu Dhabi-based VVIP charter company Royal Jet will decide in April which aircraft type it has selected to replace its entire fleet of Boeing Business Jets – of which Royal Jet is the world’s largest operator. The contenders for the seven aircraft order are Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier with the BBJ, ACJ319 and CSeries, respectively. “We will present our recommendations to [our] shareholders at the end of April, and the final announcement will be made during the second quarter,” says Royal Jet chief executive Shane O’Hare. The first of the new aircraft will join the fleet in early 2016, with the remainder scheduled to arrive by 2020, he adds. Royal Jet is also replacing its two Gulfstream G300s with larger, longer range G450s. Also, three nearly new Bombardier Learjet 60XRs are to replace two older midsize types currently in service. “The Gulfstreams and Learjets will continue to provide regional VIP transportation and medical evacuation services,” says O’Hare. Royal Jet began opera-



Royal Jet operates the largest fleet of the Boeing 737-derived VVIP airliners in the world tions over a decade ago, and O’Hare says during that time the BBJs have undergone “soft” refurbishments every two years and major refits every five. “All the aircraft are in very good condition and they have only flown around 1,200h a year on average,” he says. Royal Jet has yet to decide whether to trade in the aircraft as part of the acquisition

process, or sell them on the open market. O’Hare says Royal Jet’s order would be a major deal for all three airframers. “It’s rare in the private jet business for OEMs to receive a large-scale order for an aircraft of this size. Understandably, this contract is being keenly contested,” he says. O’Hare admits the BBJ is well liked by Royal Jet’s customers



Gama upbeat on Sharjah hub hopes G

ama Aviation saw a 70% increase in the number of business aviation movements at its Sharjah base in 2013 compared with the previous year, and expects further improvement as the UAE site cements its position as the leading business aviation hub in the Middle East. Gama has been instrumental in expanding the airport’s business aviation activities, and is on schedule to unveil its new dedicated business aviation terminal this year. “We now handle around 200 movements a month, up from 160 last year,” says Richard

and has served the company well, but he stresses the company has yet to finalise its decision. “They are all strong contenders,” he says. Winning the business from Boeing would be a major coup for Airbus or Bombardier. Indeed, the latter is yet to officially launch a business jet variant of its new CSeries narrowbody. ■

Lineveldt, Gama’s general manager for the Middle East, Europe and Africa. Gama Aviation and Sharjah International airport will handle a considerable amount of additional traffic when Dubai International’s extensive runway works begin from 1 May. “A number of business jets have already committed to move over to Sharjah during that period, and we are working with industry partners and airport stakeholders to prepare for the increased demand,” Lineveldt says. He notes that Sharjah is closer to Dubai International than

Dubai World Central, which is being promoted as the official alternative during the period. Gama Aviation took over the responsibility for all business aviation handling at Sharjah International in early 2012, in a partnership with Sharjah Airport Authority. However, the company has been present in Sharjah as a charter operator since 2006. Its Sharjah facility is large enough to accommodate a Boeing BBJ or Airbus ACJ, both of which are already present in the company’s managed fleet. The firm is also working to secure more hangar space at the airport. ■

Seaplane firm to shuttle VIPs


ubai-based seaplane tour operator Seawings has joined forces with fixed-base operator JetEx to provide a VIP shuttle service from Al Maktoum International airport (DWC), using Cessna 208 Caravan seaplanes. “JetEx will be offering the downtown air taxi flight as a complimentary service to its own private jet clients travelling through their FBO,” says Seawings. Launched in 2007, Seawings provides sightseeing tours from 25 destinations across the United Arab Emirates with three Caravan turboprops. ■

4-10 March 2014 | Flight International | 25



The size of India’s active fleet and order book pale in comparison to China’s, but the subcontinent’s economic growth and reform agenda augurs well for sales growth GREG WALDRON SINGAPORE

period, India could have the world’s fourthlargest economy if current trends toward economic policy liberalisation, market reform, and investment continue.” Ascend Online shows that there are 375 Western-built airliners operated by Indian carriers, and firm orders for 399 aircraft. Chinese operators, by comparison, have 2,038 airliners in service, and firm orders for an additional 728 aircraft. Of India’s in-service aircraft, 285 are narrowbodies. Widebodies account for just 49 aircraft, followed by turboprops with 37. Regional jets account for just four aircraft – hence the stir caused by Air Costa’s Singapore surprise order. In regard to firm orders held by Indian carriers, narrowbodies again dominate with 316, followed by regional jets with 51 (all for Air Costa). Indian carriers have firm orders for just 32 widebodies.


ndia Aviation, the country’s main event for the commercial sector, takes place in Hyderabad from 12-16 March. But it was an order at another Asian air show this year – not normally one at which Indian airlines make the news – that put one emerging Indian carrier on the map. At Singapore, Air Costa signed for 50 Embraer E-Jet E2s, with purchase rights for 50 more. Not only was it the show’s biggest order, but it was doubly surprising in that regional jets have made little impact so far on the Indian aviation scene. Although India is often touted as one of the world’s most promising future markets for aircraft, when compared with regional rival China it is a laggard in aircraft orders – and especially aircraft deliveries. In any given month, data from Flightglobal’s Ascend Online database shows India receiving just three to four aircraft, mostly narrowbodies. That’s not to say that India doesn’t have potential. “South Asia’s demographics are highly favourable to the growth of air transportation,” says Boeing in its Current Market Outlook. “The region has a large population (totalling 1.7 billion people in 2012), and the share of this population entering the workforce is growing. The region’s real GDP is forecast to grow an average 6.6% per year between 2012 and 2032, by the end of which

“South Asia’s demographics are highly favourable to the growth of air transportation” BOEING CURRENT MARKET OUTLOOK


Air Costa signed for 50 Embraer E-Jet E2s, surprising many at the Singapore air show

26 | Flight International | 4-10 March 2014

“There are around 40 ATR 42s or 72s or Bombardier Q400s currently operated in India, and these are flown in regional networks with demand profiles that cannot sustain multiple daily 150- to 180-seat services,” says Rob Morris of Flightglobal’s Ascend advisory service. “To some extent these regional networks evolved as part of a regulatory process which required airlines operating on trunk routes to have some element of their fleet capacity serving smaller ‘social’ routes,” he says. “The turboprop networks have survived because their lower operating costs can render some of these routes economic. The challenge for Air Costa will clearly be to manage its unit costs in the current and future competitive environment to deliver the profitability that appears to date to have eluded pre-

vious operators of regional jets in India.” He notes that other operators have tried to operate regional jets in India over the years, but none of these have succeeded. “In pure demand terms there are a large number of potential routes where passenger potential is well suited to regional aircraft,” Morris says. “But the current yields in India, which has become a highly competitive market with pricing set on trunk routes by lowcost airlines, doesn’t appear to presently be suited to regional jet economics.” One step up the ladder from regional jets are narrowbodies, which dominate India’s airliner fleet. Ascend shows that there are 150 A320 family aircraft flying for Indian carriers, slightly ahead of the 135 Boeing 737 aircraft in the country. The orderbook, however, indicates that the A320 is set for domination of the Indian market in the coming years, with 265 examples on firm order, compared with just 51 737s.

MODEST FLEET As for widebodies, Indian operators have a modest 32 aircraft on order. Of these, only a fraction (three 777-300ERs for flag carrier Air India) are large, long-range aircraft. The majority are 24 787s, also planned for Air India, and five A330-200s planned for Jet Airways. There are no A380s or 747-8Is in the backlog of Indian operators, although the



Air India is expected to take 24 787s

narrobodies 316

widebodies 32

regional jets 51 SOURCE: Flightglobal's Ascend Online database


A320 family 265

E-Jet 51

777-300ER 3

A330 5

SOURCE: Flightglobal's Ascend Online database



former Kingfisher Airlines had orders for five A380s. A key issue that has held back orders of widebodies in the subcontinent is the failure of major Indian airports such as New Delhi and Mumbai to emerge as hubs on routes from the Asia-Pacific to Europe. Although geographically they enjoy similar advantages to the Persian Gulf hubs such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and (to a lesser extent) Doha, and have a massive travelling population at their doorstep, India’s big airports have vastly underperformed in the key area of international hub traffic. In 2012 India’s ministry of civil aviation decried the “leakage” of international passengers to major overseas hubs. “Indian airports have the potential of extracting significant hub traffic from its regional competitors, given its natural growth of traffic and the geographical positioning of India,” the ministry said in a discussion paper. The ministry stated that international traffic originating or terminating in India for the year ended March 2011 was 37 million. Of this total, 22 million passengers flew directly to their destination, while 15 million connected through a hub outside India. Of this 15 million, it said 11.4 million comprised “leakage” of passengers that could potentially flow through a hub within India such as New Delhi or Mumbai, as opposed to an overseas hub

such as Dubai or Singapore. Developments in 2013, following New Delhi’s 2012 decision to allow foreign carriers to hold 49% of domestic airlines, could see the “leakage” situation exacerbated. Etihad’s acquisition of a 24% stake in Jet Airways, for example, effectively allows Jet to feed the Middle Eastern carrier’s Abu Dhabi hub.

narrobodies 285

widebodies 49

regional jets 4 turboprops 37 SOURCE: Flightglobal's Ascend Online database

GROWTH STRATEGY Aside from adding 20 A320s to India’s domestic market, the planned joint venture between Singapore Airlines and Tata Sons will feed SIA flights operating from key Indian cities to SIA’s Changi hub. Concrete details about the joint venture’s route network have yet to be made clear, but the wider SIA group sees India as crucial to its growth strategy. Boeing’s Current Market Outlook paints a bleak outlook for widebodies in South Asia. It estimates the market will take zero large widebodies, either 747-8Is or A380s, in the next two decades. As for medium widebodies, such as 777-300ERs, it foresees a market for 170 aircraft, and a requirement for only 140 small widebodies, such as 787-8s. Boeing foresees an immense market for single aisle jets, however, predicting demand for 1,450 such aircraft. It predicts a requirement for just 30 regional aircraft, a class of aircraft it does not make. Embraer chief commercial officer John Slattery,

however, recently told Flight International that it can “comfortably” sell 100 E-Jets to Indian carriers in the next five years. He believes there are parallels with the development of China, where “Tier 3” regional cities are ideal markets for regional jets. He says a number of domestic Indian routes now served by turboprops on “a monopolistic basis” are ripe for competition from regional jets. Predictions about the future of a country as large and complex as India must always be handled cautiously, but it is all but certain the country’s airline market will continue to be characterised by intense competition. There is a very real danger that new entrants will recreate the situation of overcapacity that prevailed until the spectacular implosion of Kingfisher in 2012. Nonetheless, for the longer term the world’s big airframers have a superb opportunity to sell metal in a massive country that will not produce a viable indigenous aircraft for decades to come. ■ 4-10 March 2014 | Flight International | 27

Sean D.Silva/Wikimedia


Hindustan Aeronautics would need to make a serious leap from its work on the Do-228


Despite its potential as a market for regional aircraft, India’s plans for an indigenous airliner could be stymied by high costs, economic woes and foreign competition ATUL CHANDRA BENGALURU


ndia’s ambitious plans to develop an indigenous civilian airliner as part of its National Civil Aircraft Development programme continue to move ahead, in spite of an economic downturn and general elections to be held this year, which have slowed decision making. A feasibility study that examined various options for regional connectivity arrived at a typical regional transport aircraft configuration powered by a turbofan, says Shyam Chetty, director at National Aerospace Laboratories, but this is not the final chosen configuration. Nevertheless, the NCAD programme has some momentum. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gave the go-ahead in July 2013 for Hindustan Aeronautics to lead development of a twin-engined 70-100-seat civilian aircraft. And in December 2013, Hindustan Aeronautics put out a request for information for a turbofan or turboprop integrated propulsive system. Once the programme begins in earnest, NAL estimates that it would take seven years to reach first flight, which could come around 2022-2024, assuming a slip of a couple years. However, India has no track record of developing civil aircraft, and precedents do not bode well for that timetable. China, for example, launched its 90-seat Comac ARJ21 project 12 years ago. The type made its maiden flight in 2008 and, after repeated delays, is now

28 | Flight International | 4-10 March 2014

scheduled to enter service only next year. The maiden flight of the 158-seat Comac C919 has also been delayed by a year. Air Marshal (Retd) Phillip Rajkumar was deeply involved in the indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft project, as programme director, and is dubious about the prospects of an Indian airliner: “Considering the lack of expertise in India to build a civilian aircraft, it would have been prudent to begin by designing a 50-70-seat turboprop aircraft to learn the nuances of civilian aircraft manufacture.” Also questionable are plans for a peak production rate of 40 aircraft per month. As Raj-

kumar points out, the highest production rate ever achieved by Hindustan Aeronautics was for the MiG-21 fighter – at 25 aircraft per year. The slowdown in India’s economy has led to funding constraints and efforts are now under way to get Hindustan Aeronautics to meet initial funding requirements, along with government-owned public sector banks. Funding is likely to prove to be the programme’s biggest bugbear and the entire programme will cost in excess of $1 billion. Teal Group vice president analysis Richard Aboulafia says: “Since there is no market rationale for developing a new aircraft in this class, all

The nation has no track record of developing civil aircraft – and there’s a long way to go

ATR, Superjet International


Jet Airways Konnect (left) has already bought ATRs, while a nascent regional jet demand plays to rivals like Sukhoi Superjet 100 development costs will need to be borne by the government.” Sales, too, will be a challenge. Against established rivals with track records of aircraft performance, aftersales support and robust residual values, a start-up from India “would face an uphill battle, unless there’s some key enabling technology that compels airlines to buy this jet over an Embraer E2”, he adds.

CROWDED SECTOR India does have significant potential as a market for regional aircraft, but India’s National Civil Aircraft is being pitched into an increasingly crowded sector. Established 70-100-seat regional jet players Bombardier and Embraer have been joined by the Sukhoi Superjet 100 and, before the NCA will ever get off the ground, the Mitsubishi Regional Jet and Comac ARJ21. A turboprop alternative would be up against ATR and Bombardier, both of which are considering 90-seat programmes. ATR and Bombardier have already broken the Indian market. Jet Airways, Jet Airways Konnect, Air India Regional and Deccan 360 are flying 26 ATRs, and Spicejet operates 15 Bombardier Q400 NextGens. Estimates of 400 orders for the NCA – 250 for the civilian market and 150 for the military, paramilitary and others over a 20-year horizon – may well be overly optimistic. Government-owned Air India is likely to be the main customer. At present Air India has four Bombardier CRJ700s and seven ATR 42s on dry lease. One analyst says the carrier needs around 40-50 turboprops or regional jets as part of its fleet modernisation over the next decade. Hindustan Aeronautics’ Kanpur division is the only proven facility in the country for the manufacture and support of transport aircraft and will manufacture prototypes and subsequently undertake series production of the NCA. This means that Hindustan Aeronautics

will have to spread scarce design resources between the NCA and the Multirole Transport Aircraft being developed with Russia’s United Aircraft. According to Shyam Chetty, a design team will handle the project definition phase, to be increased to about 100 engineers for the preliminary design phase and then to around 400 for detailed design and integration. Bharat Electronics is likely to supply flight control systems including the flight control computer, mission computer, communication systems, and display systems for the NCA. Sufficient background work has already been initiated on the avionics requirements. Hindustan Aeronautics would also need to execute a technology leapfrog to successfully manufacture and support the NCAD programme, as it has only worked on two civilian types over the past 50 years: licence production of 89 HS-748 Avros between 1964 and 1984 and, from 1984, licence production of the 19 seat Dornier Do-228 passenger/utility aircraft. Approximately 120 Do-228s have been delivered in 30 years. Only 22 Avros and 14 Do-228s were delivered to civilian customers, mainly government-run airlines; the rest went to the military.

The highest production rate ever achieved by Hindustan was for the MiG-21 fighter – at 25 aircraft per year Ramaseshan Satagopan, vice-president, aerospace at Tech Mahindra is clear on Indian industry’s expectations from the programme: “There should be a nodal office for this programme which is led by an industrially acclaimed leader with independent authority. The working model should be public-private partnership with the inclusion of private play-

ers early in the cycle. There should be an integrated product development team that works closely with a proven aircraft OEM to help on the certification and testing, programme management and marketing of the product.” Tech Mahindra has already deployed its engineers in the feasibility study for the NCA. It is important, he adds, to bring on board a credible aircraft and engine OEM partner. And the programme needs to be designed around maintenance, including line replaceable units, and certification; the India-USA bilateral aviation safety agreement could play a role. India’s strengths include significant private industry experience in airframe detailed design, including fuselages, doors and empennage. Other strong points are verification and validation of software-intensive avionics systems and engine component modifications, repair engineering and technical manuals. There have already been successful instances of proven technologies being transferred from government research and development establishments to private industry, for example NAL’s carbonfibre composite wing technology for the Tejas. And India already has an established ecosystem of tier two suppliers making airframe components and sub-assemblies, cabin subassemblies and flap tracks. However, Hindustan Aeronautics is the only tier one supplier. India’s decision to go ahead with the NCAD programme is aimed at kick-starting its currently non-existent civil aircraft capability and develop an “efficient and technologically advanced regional aircraft”. The benefits of success would certainly flow to public and private aerospace industry operations, but many countries have been burnt by similar programmes, so the scale of the NCAD challenge can hardly be understated. ■ For latest news from the airline sector or to view the latest Airline Business go to

4-10 March 2014 | Flight International | 29



Europe’s big ATM project is bold, if ponderous – but when the radical reforms are brought into force, the skies will never be the same


Rex Features


rguably the most complex multinational high technology programme ever undertaken by mankind, Europe’s single European sky air traffic management research (SESAR) project could be forgiven for failing to achieve its objectives. It is certainly true that, given the the level of cross-border co-operation required, the project needs a political will to match its technical ambition. However, if SESAR succeeds it will be an amazing achievement. And, fortunately, the European Commission, Eurocontrol and the SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU) have overcome politics by persuading 40 sovereign nations to surrender their right to control all civil air traffic in their skies in favour of a centralised system. They will also have inspired nations to agree to adopt and invest in multiple harmonised air traffic management (ATM) technologies and methodologies for the future – and at the same time to accept lower user charges from the airlines

30 | Flight International | 4-10 March 2014

in return for their investment. That is no mean achievement, especially as the entire programme has been harmonised with parallel developments in the USA’s NextGen ATM modernisation programme. Is it doomed to fail, then? The broad answer is no – the partner nations have gone too far to turn back, or even to bring to a halt the massive machine watched over by the SJU team in Brussels. Partner nations could slow it down, however, just by dragging their heels on investment, re-equipment or retraining. The SESAR master plan carefully avoids providing an exact deadline for the completion of the many parallel work packages that make up the total task. But there are some public milestones – 2014 marks the beginning of the deployment stage for all the carefully developed concepts, both technical and operational. By 2020 the system should be delivering the product – an ATM system that works very differently than that in operation today. There is definitely scepticism among users, however – and some of them are very

vocal. IATA director general Tony Tyler, speaking in February at the Singapore air show, said: “With some exceptions, Europe is not providing a good example in the provision of sufficient capacity for either air traffic management or airports. The single European sky is decades delayed, and recent studies point to a potential 12% shortfall in airport capacity by 2030.”

NOMINAL TARGETS On Tyler’s theme, a common industry observation is that although SESAR looks as if it is delivering on promises because ATM-related delays in European airspace have declined, that is purely because of the fall in traffic since the economic crisis began in 2008.Without the crisis, the argument runs, the results of delays in programme implementation would be clear to everyone. According to Florian Guillermet, SJU deputy director operations and programmes, the system should be judged by results for the users, not by hitting the nominal target completion date of any one of 300 parallel work


“Anyone who thinks SESAR is just another research and development programme is wrong” FLORIAN GUILLERMET Deputy director operations and programmes, SJU

packages. Compared with the performance results in 2012, he says, by 2020 each flight should save an average of 8-14min journey time, 300-500kg (660-1,100lb) fuel and produce 950-1,580kg less carbon dioxide. Nobody questions this as a worthy objective, even if some doubt it will be met by that date. SESAR has gone beyond an acronym – it is now the project name. The SES (single European sky) part is still relevant, but the AR (ATM research) is out of date, because it is much more than that. As Guillermet explains: “Anyone who thinks SESAR is just another research and development programme is wrong. SESAR is results-oriented, unites all aviation players [and] includes declared experts and researchers. “We at the SJU are responsible for the coordination of almost 300 projects. The SESAR programme – executed in co-operation with the SJU members and associate partners, and comprising 16 work packages – will provide tangible results from the ATM network research and development programme.” He adds, with national politicians in mind:

“Ultimately, [SESAR] will boost European industry. The work packages will develop and deliver the necessary operational and technical materials [specifications, procedures, prototypes, validation reports] for the progressive industrialisation, deployment and operation of the new ATM system.” To put the present SESAR phase in context: the project began in 2004 with the “definition phase”, which was completed in 2008 and delivered the ATM master plan and performance objectives. The “development phase” (2008-2013) produced and validated the required new generation of technological systems, components and planned operational procedures.

DEPLOYMENT PHASE Now, step one of the “deployment phase” (2014-2020) has started, as detailed in the diagram on the next page. Steps two and three (not shown) will complete the process, transitioning from the current time-based control system, through trajectory-based control to the final objective of performance-based ❯❯ 4-10 March 2014 | Flight International | 31

Rex Features /Eurocontrol.Int


Eurocontrol is optimistic about SESAR, and sees it delivering incremental improvements yearly

❯❯ control. The latter state depends on having a communications network so comprehensive that it acts like Europe’s ATM nervous system, enabling the entire SES system to behave more like an organism than a machine. SESAR’s system-wide information management (SWIM) system will know where every aeroplane is in real time, where it is going and which precise four-dimensional trajectory – the fourth dimension being time – it will use. It will also be able to cope with change as well – for example rerouting to avoid bad weather. Eurocontrol’s network manager is working on a system tool known as the GRRT – group rerouting tool – which can cope with change and even take advantage of it. Only a few years ago the common conception was that ATM only happened between take-off and landing. Now it is recognised that the integration of the ground phase is fundamental – it is all about the traffic flow. This increased airport awareness followed the change in the perception of the airborne task from being air traffic control (separation only) to air traffic management (efficient traffic flow with separation) – and both concepts seem basic to the new type of ATM that SESAR is already beginning to deliver. 32 | Flight International | 4-10 March 2014

If a modern ATM system is about enabling efficient traffic flow with safety, then the efficient management of aeroplanes and their payloads during the ground phase of the flight is also vital.

GROUND THROUGHPUT Flow rate and throughput on the ground – plus complete integration with the airborne phase – is fundamental, hence the now-familiar term “gate-to-gate ATM”. But with airport ramp capacity severely limited at a growing number of European airports, the turnaround matters, too. Aircraft hogging a stand become an obstruction – and as the low-cost carriers have demonstrated, aircraft in the air are earning revenue, on the ground they are a cost. Airports are natural monopolies and, as such, have historically tended to play a rather passive role in the ATM system. This was fine when there was plenty of spare capacity – but not now. Airside director Tim Hardy of London Heathrow – the ultimate in capacity-strapped European airports – speaking at the annual Network Manager User Forum at Eurocontrol’s headquarters in January, noted that it was the first time airports had been “formally invited” to the event – a tes-

timony to the change in attitudes. Hardy says that if the ATM Master Plan is to be carried out, success depends on co-operation between the Eurocontrol Network Manager and the airports. The Network Manager organisation carries out the tasks that used to be carried out by the central flow management unit – boosted by improved network communications and interactive co-operation between all the operational parties. Essentially it is the co-ordinating point of contact at Eurocontrol for all the stakeholders: civil and military users, air navigation service providers and airports. Real-time network communication is the essential enabling component. Hardy says there is no point in the airport unknowingly dispatching an aircraft into the air if the ATM system is not ready to accommodate it – and conversely there is no point in the system delivering an aircraft to its destination until it knows the airport can receive it without putting it in a holding pattern. Airport capacity is a growing problem, but if the Network Manager function can integrate the airport operating plan with the network operating plan, it can ensure that the best possible use is made of the airport as part of the total system. The process of traffic management will be made easier through the adoption of performancebased navigation systems and enhanced arrival and departure management techniques. Meanwhile, improvements in routing will continue to produce efficiencies – although at a progressively smaller rate as the system approaches optimum performance. Airspace design has yielded about 3% route efficiency improvement annually since 2007, and better flight planning nearly 5% a year. Free route airspace, aimed at all flights above flight level 310 (31,000ft/9,450m), is already available in low-traffic regions like Lisbon, Shannon, Copenhagen and Stockholm. In the busier areas this will still take a while to deliver, but direct clearances are provided wherever possible. Overall, however, the director of Eurocontrol’s Network Manager, Joe Sultana, is optimistic about SESAR’s progress, and sees it delivering incremental improvements each year as the tools and techniques come online. ■

















DEPLOYMENT OF VALIDATED OPERATIONAL CHANGES, STEP 1 OF 3 Picturing how the multitude of new SESAR projects fit together, interlink, overlap and complement each other is complex. On the left, this diagram shows a column of project names or descriptions, with the essential operational changes in bold print. Across the top in diagrammatic form is a colour-coded depiction of the successive flight phases – from the time the aircraft is pushed back on the ramp to the point it noses up to the stand at its destination. Below the flight phase diagram are colour-coded horizontal bars showing which projects affect each phase of the aircraft’s journey.

4-10 March 2014 | Flight International | 33

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Don’t invade us: we’re still asleep

Possible enemies



All mapped out

Just don’t expect it to fly

Fictional fighter

Fallen Spartan

Dominic Perry/Flightglobal

Is it a dead bird? No it’s a plane: an MC-27J fallen from its perch during the set-up day for the Singapore air show (below). A metaphor perhaps for the transport’s recent performance against its Airbus C295 rival? That would be unkind. The man from Alenia Aermacchi assured us the AoG team were quickly on the scene to restore the model to pride of place on the Italian company’s stand.

That barrel roll was a mistake

Tremendous strides have been made during the year in the direction of setting our aerial service on a basis comparable to that of our possible enemies. But it must not be lost to sight that, as Mr Churchill pointed out, the creation of a new branch of armaments is not a thing done in a day.

What time do you start?

The hours of darkness would be the ideal time for anyone contemplating an invasion of Switzerland, judging by an admission by a spokesman for the country’s air force. Asked why the nation’s fighters had not scrambled to intercept the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767 hijacked by its copilot and flown to Geneva, Laurent Savary told AFP: “Switzerland cannot intervene because its air bases are closed at night and on the weekend. It’s a question of budget and staffing.” To be fair, the fact that Geneva sits on the frontier with France might explain why that country’s L’Armee de l’Air took the lead in accompanying the rogue airliner. But we wonder if Swiss taxpayers – who shortly will vote in a referendum on the country’s proposed purchase of 22 Saab Gripens – will sleep any easier in their beds. Mind you, as nobody uninvited has darkened their door in over 500 years, the Swiss are probably doing something right.

Thanks to the dozens of readers who replied to Timothy Oates’ plea to identify the “mystery fighter” whose photo we published in Straight & Level two weeks ago. According to the vast majority of you, the aircraft is not a Fairey Delta 2, as we speculated, or – as one or two of you suggested – a Dassault Balzac, but a Scott Furlong Predator. A what? Denis Calvert (one of many) writes to say that the Predator was constructed for the 1960s ITV drama series The Plane Makers. “Carrying the (unused) serial XS341, it appeared at the RAF Biggin Hill ‘At Home’ day on 19 September 1964,” he writes. “Although bearing a superficial resemblance to the Fairey Delta 2, the Predator was an all-new VTOL design with four lift engines. In fact, it was constructed mainly of wood,

and a motorcycle engine provided its only source of power, allowing it to taxi. As such, it is somewhat unlikely that it ever flew even if it was seen hovering amidst a cloud of dust in the series.” Richard Waller, meanwhile, is incredulous that we could have misidentified the aircraft as a Fairey Delta unless “in the spirit of humour”. He says: “It would be too painful to imagine that in the office of Britain’s premier aviation magazine there was nobody who could feel pain at suggesting, even in fun, that this monstrosity was the brilliant and beautiful Fairey.”

Fools Russian in

Not quite a Yuckspeak, but United Aircraft boss Mikhail Pogosyan wins this week’s letbygones-be-bygones neighbourly diplomacy award. “We have a good opportunity to work with China [on the Su-35], despite the success Chinese industry demonstrated [in the past],” he said at the Singapore air show about a possible collaboration on a new fighter. Interesting spin on history. For “success” read Beijing developing supposedly indigenous aircraft by ripping off Russian designs – the J-11 (Su-27) and J-15 (Su-33).

The navigator is about to emerge as a beautiful and important butterfly from the drab chrysalis which has hardly been considered seriously by anybody. And the fact which is suddenly going to drive home the importance of his work is transatlantic flying.

Trusty Trident “While others wax lyrical about supersonic airliners,” said Lord Douglas at London Heathrow on February 28, “I pin my faith on the Trident.” Lord Douglas was speaking at the BEA Trident naming ceremony. His wife poured champagne over the nose of Trident G-ARPG, latest off the de Havilland assembly line.

Structural failure Investigators are concentrating on the forward cargo door as the source of the cabin structural failure suffered by a United Airlines Boeing 747-100. Nine people died in the decompression at 23,000ft, caused when a 10ft by 20ft hole appeared in the starboard side.


Every issue of Flight from 1909 onwards can be viewed online at

4-10 March 2014 | Flight International | 35










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We welcome your letters on any aspect of the aerospace industry. Please write to: The Editor, Flight International, Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5AS, UK. Or email

I read with interest the articles on pilot training and the much discussed impending pilot shortage (Flight International, 11-17 February). I applaud EasyJet and CTC for trying to make pilot training more affordable, but I would dispute the severity of the pilot shortage – at least at the moment. I belong to the seemingly overlooked group of qualified pilots that are extremely keen to begin working in an airline – namely, flight instructors. The airlines are now requesting experience on multipilot aeroplanes, or in other cases taking young 200h graduates, but are seemingly ignoring us and our experience. As an ME/IR flight instructor I spend time as pilot monitoring during IFR approaches, I provide technical knowledge to the students and brief them on procedures and techniques. I am responsible for decision making, situational awareness and ensuring the student operates correctly and in a safe manner. I have over 2,000h experience, and have flown in numerous types of airspace and training environments. As an instructor I have equipped numerous students to begin work within an airline, and have seen my students being selected for airlines – notably low cost carriers. Yet no airlines seemingly give this experience consideration, and would prefer to take pay-as-you-fly or newly qualified inexperienced cadets. On a similar note, I also read with interest an article where the Australian CAA fined an airline for requiring pilots to pay for their training – what is EASA doing to support European pilots? Name and address withheld


The opinions on this page do not necessarily represent those of the editor. Flight International cannot letters Letters without a full postalpublish address supwithout name andpublished. address. Letters must plied may not be may be nobemore than 250 words in length.and also published on must be no longer than 250 words.

Pilot shortage... what shortage? Your Guide to Training and Development (Flight International, 11-17 February), reminds us all yet again of the looming pilot shortage, like so many articles and advertisements that have gone before it. I am in the last five years of my career, and despite years of pilot shortage predictions, I can assure you the last time one actually existed was around 1987. I think the training industry has been misleading young aspiring pilots for many years now. I fly often with first officers who tell me how many of their classmates from flying training are in employment. It would seem well over half of them never get a flying position, just an enormous debt to pay back. There is no pilot shortage. There hasn’t been one for decades, and there certainly won’t be one any time soon. The salesmen from the training organisations are good at selling, but economical with the facts. The ‘pilot shortage’ is great for the training organisation – all those eager aspiring pilots with

Don’t ignore flight instructors

borrowed money to spend. The airlines love it – a massive oversupply of pilots, perfect for downsizing terms and conditions, and paying ‘lucky’ new trainees less and less. I enjoy my job, but I believe prospective new recruits are being misled more than ever before. I wish anyone still fighting for a ‘career’ as a pilot the best of luck, but it will be more difficult and more poorly paid than ever. And should the ‘pilot shortage’ be so acute the airlines can’t find any pilots, I can point them at a good number of very competent, experienced unemployed pilots. Cpt Harper Via email

Catapults on rigs It is apparent from your special report on civil helicopters (Flight International, 18-24 February) that manufacturers and the offshore oil and gas industry continue to struggle with payload, power and range problems. It seems odd to me that no one has taken a serious look at providing offshore platforms with a specialist catapult system which can provide a modest amount of power to accelerate a 6t helicopter forward to achieve 20kt [37km/h] with a slight upward vector. The acceleration could be safely achieved along a rail a few metres in length, and would

ensure the helicopter entered translational lift as it left the rail. A catapult could be powered by hydraulics, electrically or even by a dead weight, using gravity and the height off the platform above the sea as an energy source. A catapult would eliminate the need for a helicopter to vertically lift off the deck and achieve forward momentum under its own power. An engine failure at this stage on a hot windless day is hard for a pilot to manage, and results in payload penalties. Modifying a helicopter to accept a low power catapult would incur some cost and weight, but such a device would make flying from offshore platforms safer and considerably more efficient. Matt Wood Range Unlimited, Elgin, UK

Lift confusion

Your 4-10 February edition describes the new Greenpoint ground-to-main deck elevator system for the Boeing Business Jet 747-8. The Douglas DC-10 also boasted an elevator system that carried meals from the belowfloor galley up to the main deck. Unfortunately, when introduced into service in 1971, the galley elevator system encountered some problems that were duly reported. As I recall, this created some alarm in the FAA as it began receiving reports of DC-10 elevator malfunctions. However, much to the chagrin of the American-speaking fraternity, the FAA’s concerns were eliminated by changing the name of the “galley elevator” to “galley lift”! I wonder if, over 40 years later, we are likely to see aviation history repeated? Stuart Matthews Arlington, Virginia, USA


Training courses to take you there ZZZÀLJKWJOREDOFRPWUDLQLQJ

4-10 March 2014 | Flight International | 37

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CLASSIFIED TEL +44 (0) 20 8652 4897 FAX +44 (0) 20 8652 3779 EMAIL Calls may be monitored for training purposes

TEL +44 (0) 20 8652 4897 FAX +44 (0) 20 8652 3779 EMAIL

New and used aircraft

Independent Authorised Sales Representative for the United Kingdom

+44 (0) 1258 818181

Courses and tuition

The leading specialist in international transport finance

Expert guidance on contracts and purchasing under EASA Approvals Improve your contract and purchasing negotiations as well as your knowledge of essential EASA requirements with expert training, developed by active UK CAA experts. • Contract & Purchasing Requirements under EASA Part M, 21 & 145 Approvals, 1-day course, London Gatwick Suitable for sales, marketing and procurement staff from Approved Organisations 17 April 2014 To book now or for more information, please visit or contact us quoting ref. FI04/03 T +44 (0) 1293 768700 or E

A wholly owned subsidiary of the UK CAA

40 | Flight International | 4-10 March 2014

DVB’s Aviation Asset Management offers for immediate sale 2 x ATR 72-500 (2008/2011 build) For more information please send us an email

HEAD OFFICE, BALAKA, KURMITOLA, DHAKA-1229, BANGLADESH, PHONE: 8901600-14, 8901680-94, FAX: 88-02-8901558, Ref: DACPM/147/2014/1174


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Request for Proposal (RFP)



Date: 24 February 2014

1. Biman Bangladesh Airlines Limited is looking for CMI (Crew, Maintenance, Insurance) partner for operation 02 (two) of its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to USA. Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) is currently at category-2 and as such cannot operate its 777-300ER aircraft to USA under own AOC. 2. The intended CMI partner meeting the following mandatory and desirable conditions may submit their proposals/offers: a. Must be able to meet ● the requirements of US FAA and other US and Bangladesh regulatory authorities ● the requirement of US EXIM Bank financing for these aircraft b. Must hold a Category-1 AOC as determined by the US FAA and other US regulatory bodies. c. Must clearly indicate costing separately for all 03 areas (Crew, Maintenance, Insurance), although insurance will be assumed to be at or lower than Biman’s premium. d. Must clearly indicate the full costing for one year, two years and five years CMI arrangement separately. e. Must clearly indicate whether they are current operator of Boeing 777-300/200 (Variant) aircraft. However, it is preferable but not mandatory that the RFP respondent is a current operator of Boeing 777 aircraft. f. If RFP respondent is not a current Boeing 777 operator, then they must clearly indicate the process and time for obtaining maintenance and crew. g. Proposal should include best efforts to ● get Biman pilots and crew licensed by the CAA of the Category-1 country concerned ● subcontract certain elements of line and minor maintenance to Biman, where allowed by the US FAA. h. Ownership of aircraft (and debt liability) must remain with Biman. 2. Biman is in the process of getting concurrence from US EXIM Bank for implementation of CMI arrangement for operation of Biman’s flights to USA with its own 777-300ER aircraft which has been financed by US EXIM Bank. Detailed information is available in the RFP Schedule. RFP Notice and Schedule may be viewed at Biman’s website: . 3. Proposals/Offers are to be submitted to General Manager (Corporate Planning), Biman Bangladesh Airlines Limited, Head Office, Balaka, Kurmitola, Dhaka-1229, Bangladesh latest by 1000 hours BST (0400 hours UTC) on 19th March 2014 through Courier Service or e-mail to . The Proposal(s)/Offer(s) will be opened on the same day immediately after the closing time in presence of the Bidder(s), if any. No Proposal/Offer will be accepted after the closing time and date. 4. For further information or query, General Manager (Corporate Planning) may be contacted at Telephone: +880-2-8901600/Ext. 2284 & 2286, +880-2-8901588 (Direct), Fax: +880-2-8901396, e-mail: during the office hours. 5. Biman Bangladesh Airlines Ltd. reserves the right to accept or reject any or all the Proposals/Offers at any time and/or stage without assigning any reason, whatsoever, and no claim will be entertained in this regard. Md. Belayet Hossain General Manager (Corporate Planning) Biman Bangladesh Airlines Ltd.


4-10 March 2014 | Flight International | 41

TEL +44 (0) 20 8652 4897 FAX +44 (0) 20 8652 3779 EMAIL

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Getting careers off the ground

LET YOUR CAREER TAKE OFF Bristow is a Global industry leader in providing helicopter transport, search and rescue and support services. Operating in demanding and challenging environments, Bristow strives to adhere to the highest levels of safety and customer service, based on the outstanding competency and experience of its personnel.

Director, Global Maintenance Operations

Director, Global SAR Operations

As the Company Authority and Business Process Owner you will hold or have recently held an NAA Post Holder position and should be an EASA Type Rated B1 or B2 Engineer or national equivalent. Proven relationships with the OEMs as well as a thorough knowledge of suppliers in our value chain, is essential.

As the Company Authority and Business Process Owner you will hold a current ATPL(H) and hold or have recently held a SAR commander role, a SAR training post, and an NAA post holder position. An understanding of SAR procedures, processes and systems development and monitoring is essential.

Key initiatives include reviewing and assessing maintenance training, procedures, processes and systems, establishing a network of Maintenance Directors/Managers to be subject matter experts across the Group, and undertaking a Gap analysis of regulatory and OGP/GDP requirements.

Key initiatives include leading from a SAR perspective, on evaluating and determining standardisation of aircraft fit, role equipment, SAR crew equipment, facilities, training and the development and maintenance of the Global SAR procedures, processes and systems across the Group.

Director, Global Flights Operations As the Company Authority and Business Process Owner you will hold a current ATPL(H) and hold or have recently held a commander role, a training post, and an NAA post holder position. An understanding of Flight Operations (FO) procedures, processes and systems development and monitoring is essential. Key initiatives include re-establishing the network of FO Directors/Managers and Chief Type Training Captains as subject matter experts across the Group and leading from an FO perspective, on evaluating and determining standardisation of aircraft fit, role equipment, pilot equipment, facilities and training.

Additional Information This is an exciting period of change for the Company with specific focus on Operational Excellence. The successful candidates in each of these roles will report directly to the Vice President, Operations Transformation and Chief Technical Officer. They will be advocates of Operations Transformation and Operational Excellence, and will drive our strategy by building strong relationships with external and internal stakeholders to achieve transition to “best practice” promoting Target Zero (Bristow’s culture of safety), service and efficiency.

Please visit our Careers Website at: Closing Date for Applications: 28 March 2014

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Bristow is seeking highly motivated, experienced and driven individuals with proven leadership skills to join our dynamic workforce to coordinate Global teams of exceptionally skilled personnel. The successful candidates in these Houston based roles will develop and devise global initiatives that will enhance the business and ensure excellence across the organisation by standardising and improving global practices.


Presidential Flight, United Arab Emirates Line Captains B747-400 (Ref. 003/2014/B747) Line Captains B777 (Ref. 004/2014/B777) Line Captains B737(Ref. 005/2014/B737) Our requirements: • Licence: ATPL issued by ICAO member state, which is acceptable to the UAE GCAA for the issue of a UAE ATPL • USA Crew visa C1/D desirable • Accident & violation free record • Previous VIP experience is an advantage • TRI/TRE qualification desirable For B747/B777 • 7000 hours total experience • 4000 hours total jet time above 60,000 kgs • 2500 hours jet PIC time above 60,000 kgs • 1500 hours PIC on B777/B747-400 and current on type For B737NG • 5500 hours total experience • 2000 hours total jet time above 40,000 kgs • 1000 hours PIC on B737NG and current on type

In return for your services we will give you: • An excellent salary package (untaxed in UAE) which reflects your skill and our demands for excellence • Housing, utility and furniture allowances • Medical cover for you and your family • 60 days annual leave • Assistance with children’s education • Twice yearly tickets for trips home for you and your family To apply, send copies of: • CV, including a breakdown of your flying hours into PIC and non PIC time and by A/C type • Copies of Licence and Class One medical • Copies of Education and Qualification Certificates • Passport – photo page To: Email:

 Short listed applicants will be required to attend a full day assessment centre and simulator evaluation in the UAE


EASA Instructors Required for Sikorsky S-92 FlightSafety International UK at Farnborough Seeks Simulator/Ground Instructors Requirements Hold or have held JAA/EASA ATPL(H) with IR(H) or CPL(H) with IR(H) Have at least 1,000 hours flying experience as a helicopter pilot Have at least 350 hours flying experience as a pilot of multipilot helicopters Preferences TRI/TRE qualifications S-92 or similar ratings Search and Rescue experience North Sea/Offshore Operations

Attractive Salary and Benefits A generous starting package is available for the right candidates with appropriate qualifications. Full training will be given.


REQUIRED DOCUMENTS Resume / CV Copy of relevant pages of Passport, (Minimum of 12 months validity is required) Copy of all pages of Pilot License Copy of Class 1 medical Certificate Copy of English proficiency certificate (Level 4 and higher) Copy of Last 3 pages of certified log book Copy of LOA as TRI/TRE, where applicable

Resume / CV should be e-mailed to

For information or to apply, visit Careers at, or call +44 (0) 1252 554 500. Equal opportunity employer/M/F/D/V

A Berkshire Hathaway company

44 | Flight International | 4-10 March 2014


VACANCIES We are inviting applications from suitably qualified candidates to serve in our organisation as:

Captains – DHC 6 • ICAO ATPL • Total Flying Time 3,500 hours • Float Time 1,000 hours • DHC 6 Floats 500 hours Salary is competitive, and commensurate with present market trends. You should be hale and healthy for the position and possess an excellent command of the English language If interested, please apply with full resumÊ and 2 non related references to: Manager - Human Resource Trans Maldivian Airways (Pvt) Ltd Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, MalÊ Republic of Maldives Email:

On behalf of our client, we are looking for a highly experienced BBJ Captain with a well-developed training background to join a private operation.


CTC FlexiCrew High flyers, on demand

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T: +44(0)1483 332000 46 | Flight International | 4-10 March 2014



Aloft with the urban angels Flying for London’s Air Ambulance must require specific skills. What is your background? In 1997 I took a trial lesson in a helicopter. After that I did my PPL, which I completed in four weeks. At that time it was possible to be an instructor with a PPL plus instructor rating, so I did my instructor rating and was offered a job with Heli Air. Later, I become the CFI. I was based in Denham, and at that time London’s Air Ambulance was also based in Denham [it is now based at RAF Northolt]. I freelanced for them for several years before becoming full-time staff. I now have around 7,000 helicopter flight hours. What was it about London’s Air Ambulance that attracted you? I like the mixture of emergency service and medical work, in addition to getting to land in some very interesting places. Given that most of your flights are very short, how do you keep your skills current? Although our flights are usually short, all our landings are urban landings, so we get lots of practice at the type of flying we need to do. What was the best advice you received during your career? When I was starting my training, the instructor asked: “Do you intend to become a commercial pilot?” I said that I did. He

London’s Air Ambulance

Neil Jeffers is chief pilot with London’s Air Ambulance service. The charity operates an MD Helicopters MD Explorer to deliver an advanced trauma team to critically injured people across the UK’s vast capital city

Jeffers: Gets to land in some “very interesting” places replied: “You will spend large amounts of money and have little potential of getting a job.” It is good that aspiring pilots are given accurate information, because they should have realistic advice about their chances of success. What’s your favourite part of flying for London’s Air Ambulance? As the chief pilot, my role is multifaceted. There is pilot training and rostering, and I also still get to go flying. I think we are at a unique point in history when it comes to flying. About 100 years ago helicopters didn’t exist, and 50 years from now there may not

be helicopter pilots in the same way as there are today, because most flights may be unmanned. Now is a unique few years in human history when we can fly helicopters. I am still excited to be part of that. The airspace over London is complex and there are many restrictions on flights. How is priority given to London’s Air Ambulance? We have a map of London overlaid with a grid. Each square in the grid is numbered. When we receive a call to dispatch the helicopter, we find the square corresponding to the incident location and advise the grid number to air

traffic control. Usually they clear the airspace directly to and from the incident. When is London’s Air Ambulance dispatched? Each day there are up to 5,000 999 calls made to London Ambulance Service. A London Air Ambulance paramedic monitors the calls, and if specific criteria are met the team is dispatched. The majority of incidents we attend relate to road traffic collisions, commonly between vehicles and pedestrians, with most of the remainder being falls from height, shootings or stabbings. What types of procedures can be performed by the London’s Air Ambulance medical team? The medical team has two members: an advanced trauma doctor and paramedic. The team can perform advanced medical procedures in the street which would usually only be possible in a hospital emergency department, including open chest surgery [thoracotomy] and blood transfusions. Q For more employee work experiences, pay a visit to

If you would like to feature in Working Week, or you know someone who does, email your pitch to kate.sarsfield@


Sales Director, ATR (Singapore)

4-10 March 2014 | Flight International | 47



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