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Warsaw loser

Offset dispute grounds Polish Caracal deal, as further talks on H225M buy hit the skids 7

Name game

Enders secures approval for Airbus Group to power ahead with unified branding 13

11-17 October 2016 

Powering up

From Avio Aero to Tecnam, we assess the rise of Italy’s most ambitious of industries 23


Northern exposure Pyongyang lifts the veil of secrecy at Wonsan festival

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Volume 190 Number 5558 11-17 OCTOBER 2016

NEWS Offset dispute grounds Polish Caracal deal, as further talks on H225M buy hit the skids 7

Name game

Enders secures approval for Airbus Group to power ahead with unified branding 13

11-17 October 2016

THIS WEEK 6 Bell on lookout for Vigilant customer 7 Warsaw walks away from H225M deal. SuperJet International ‘confident’ over financial restructure 8 Delivery of first MRJ90 may be delayed. Germany turns to Hercules as Atlas falls short 9 Dassault delivers the goods as Falcon 8X arrives on time. 450’s first flight fulfils Embraer’s Florida Legacy

Powering up

From Avio Aero to Tecnam, we assess the rise of Italy’s most ambitious of industries 23


Northern exposure

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Rich Cooper

Pyongyang lifts the veil of secrecy at Wonsan festival

06/10/2016 09:35

COVER IMAGE Rich Cooper captured this stunning shot of a North Korean air force MiG-21, while attending the nation’s spectacular Wonsan Air Festival in late September P18

AIR TRANSPORT 10 Botched landing led to Kalstar overrun. Second ARJ21 arrives, 10 months after the first 11 Teamwork and an early start key to building 787 support. Alitalia gear-up incident pinned on actuator 12 Avianca embarks on $100m MRO push. Lufthansa Technik splits XWB engine for loading NEWS FOCUS 13 Enders continues his Airbus revolution DEFENCE 14 F-model Apache is off US Army hitlist as successor nears. Future engine concepts lifted by funding 15 Gulf fighter sales could take off following review by Congress. Triton numbers put under the spotlight as production starts. RAF still keen to buy British for Protector fleet 17 Enhanced Panther speeds for Mexico

BEHIND THE HEADLINES For our Italy special report, Murdo Morrison (above) ventured to Naples, Turin and Tecnam’s home in Capua (P23). Elsewhere, Stephen Trimble was at Avianca’s new MRO hub, in Rionegro, Colombia (P12)

Airbus streamlines its brand and management P13


18 Korea high North Korea’s Wonsan Air Festival, staged from 24-25 September, promoted “peace and friendship through aviation”


23 ITALY SPECIAL Going places Italian industry is looking to the global stage as it plans for the future. For our special report, we visit Tecnam, as it advances with testing of its P2012 Traveller – a bold attempt to break into the passenger transport market. Avio Aero’s chief executive details the changes being made at the company since its acquisition by General Electric. Component supplier ALA outlines its grand plan to take a place at the top table in its sector, while SuperJet International is confident of building on its recent success with supplying Irish carrier CityJet with regional airliners


5 Comment 33 Straight & Level 34 Letters 36 Classified 38 Jobs 43 Working Week

NEXT WEEK CHINA Our Zhuhai preview looks at China’s sky-rocketing aerospace ambitions, with a C919 programme update

US Army, Pacific Aerospace


BUSINESS AVIATION 20 Bell holds to 2016 target for certification of Jet Ranger X. Global fleet catches high-speed internet Wave 21 Chinese line will help Pacific P-750 rise. GainJet plans base of operations in Rwanda to extend African business. Viking finalises acquisition of water bombers

Airbus Group

Warsaw loser

FATE powerplants offer Chinook future potential P14. Pacific Aerospace opens P-750 line in China P21

Download the Military Simulator Census online now. CAE offers training centres, training services, and simulation products for trainer and fighter aircraft.

11-17 October 2016 | Flight International | 3


Image of the week Bearing an unusual livery for a search and rescue helicopter, this Sikorsky S-92 will shortly be pressed into service in the far north of Alaska, operating for North Slope Borough. Dating from a 2015 order for a single unit, the new rotorcraft will be based inside the Arctic Circle

Skip Robinson/Sikorsky

View more great aviation shots online and in our weekly tablet edition: flight-international

The week in numbers

Question of the week


Last week, we asked: Will the MRJ achieve 2018 service entry? You said: IATA

Total votes:

Increase in worldwide air freight demand recorded during August – but cargo load factors remained “historically low”



Lack of experience could cause delay 482 votes Air France-KLM



Number of Air France-KLM’s long-haul aircraft that will be fitted with Gogo’s 2Ku satellite-based connectivity product



FlightGlobal Dashboard

Compensation due to AerCap from government in Colombo, after it cancelled SriLankan Airlines’ lease of four A350-900s

No – will find further issues 321 votes Yes – problems are behind it 181 votes

This week, we ask: Airbus restructuring ❑ Will let company thrive ❑ National interests still prevail ❑ Bad news beyond commercial unit Vote at

FlightGlobal’s premium news and data service delivers breaking air transport stories with profiles, schedules, and fleet, financial and traffic information

Download thethe new Commercial Engines Directory Download latest Commercial Engines Report

Download The Engine Directory.

now with enhanced data and market now with further enhanced datain-depth and in-depth marketanalysis analysis CFM 2015 strip ad.indd 1 4 | Flight International | 11-17 October 2016

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10/06/2015 13:06

19/07/2012 17:51


Enders’ game The latest restructure at Airbus appears to be the final step on the European aerospace giant’s journey towards becoming a regular company without onerous levels of political interference

irbus’s latest corporate iteration appears to mark something of an endgame in its battle against a ­perennial pandering to compromise during its evolution from consortium to company. Former German chancellor Ludwig Erhard once ­described compromise as the art of dividing a cake in a way that leads everyone to believe they have the ­largest piece – a practice Airbus has had to carry out repeatedly as German and French interests, in ­ ­particular, clashed. The former parent, EADS, was created with joint chiefs and joint chairmen – one French, one German – a cumbersome arrangement justified by references to “necessary balance”. Even as EADS sought to establish itself as a ­multi-sector rival on a par with Boeing, with a prominent commercial aircraft presence and a backing group of defence and space interests, it remained hampered by political considerations.

Enders is less concerned about slices than whether Airbus’s cake is larger than that of rival Boeing This ponderous and unwieldy structure drew sharp criticism from several former chiefs, who believed that Airbus could not progress with a make-up that ­ultimately had political rivalry at its core. Tom Enders, hardly the pussyfooting kind, has been at the centre of efforts to free Airbus from government constraints and top-heavy management. The creation of Airbus Group unshackled the company from a decade of political interference under the EADS banner, allowing it to conduct its business on a



More paint for the rebrand?

footing more in line with normal corporate governance. Airbus Group’s branding amounted to an acknowledgement that while EADS had the larger role, Airbus had the larger name. But if this bit of harmonisation has left anyone uncertain as to which of the two is more prominent, the recent re-organisation and management alignment is a clear signal that the commercial aircraft operation, while still the most significant part of the business, is a division within a larger group. Airbus is starting to exercise the genuine leadership muscle its senior management team desires, at a crucial point in its development. The company is embarking on an extensive digitisation strategy, which demands simplification of corporate structures, and is navigating the ramp-up of A320neo and A350 production while dealing with issues on the A380 and A400M. Enders is less concerned about slices than whether Airbus’s cake is larger than that of rival Boeing. Compromise, it seems, is yesterday’s policy. ■ See News Focus P13

In praise of Europe’s independents S

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ixteen years after its creation as EADS, and as it goes through yet another revamp to make it stronger and more integrated, Airbus dominates European aerospace – alongside BAE Systems, Dassault and Leonardo, the other three giants this side of the ­Atlantic still making aircraft in the 21st century. But never overlook Europe’s independent airframers, quietly getting on with innovating, delighting their customers and (occasionally even) making money. Some – like Piaggio and Daher – are owned by larger groups. Others, such as Austria’s Diamond, Grob in Germany, Czech-based Evektor, Switzerland’s Pilatus and Italy’s Tecnam (profiled in our Italy special this week), are privately run. Often with a maverick owner-

designer at the helm, these companies produce original recreational, business aviation, special mission or flight-training platforms with fans the world over. Few are likely to trouble our Top 100 ranking any time soon. None will cause Boeing or Lockheed Martin to lose sleep. But they are vital to the fabric of Europe’s aerospace sector, and – unlike the engineer responsible for a fuel pump deep within the wing of an Airbus jet – each of the small number of professionals who work for these companies has the job satisfaction of wide involvement with the finished product. Europe’s surviving independent aircraft manufacturers in an age of consolidation: we salute you. ■ See Feature P23 11-17 October 2016 | Flight International | 5


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AIRLINE Aeroflot Group chief Vitaly Saveliev has secured Russian President Vladimir Putin’s backing for a crackdown on disruptive passengers. Saveliev is proposing changes that would allow fines of up to Rb500,000 ($7,900) and permit carriers to have onboard deterrents such as plastic restraints. During a recent meeting, Putin told Saveliev that he would “support” the proposal, the Kremlin says.

OPERATIONS European and Israeli authorities have extended supplemental type certification approvals for the TaxiBot pilotcontrolled taxiing system to NG variants of the Boeing 737 family. Developed by Israel Aerospace Industries, in co-operation with Lufthansa Group, it uses a tractor controlled from the cockpit to carry out engineless taxiing from the gate to the runway.

KENYA TO ACQUIRE MODIFIED HUEYS ROTORCRAFT Kenya is to acquire five remanufactured Bell Helicopter UH-1 Huey IIs, under a deal worth $52.2 million. The company will reuse existing fuselages, adding new main and tail rotors and tail booms, along with “modified” gearboxes and engines. Deliveries will conclude by December 2017, with the deal also covering spare parts and training.

BELUGA BULKHEAD ARRIVES AT STELIA AEROSTRUCTURES Stelia Aerospace has taken delivery of the first pressure bulkhead, made by Latécoère Group, for the Airbus Beluga XL outsize transport. Latécoère says it spent 17 months designing and constructing the structure. Based on the A330, the Beluga XL is being developed as a successor to the A300-600ST, which provides logistical support for the airframer’s operations. Its maiden flight is scheduled for 2019.

FIRST FLIGHT FOR YAK-152 TRAINER DEBUT Russian airframer Irkut has performed the first flight of its Yakolev Yak-152 basic trainer. Flown by experimental test pilot Vasily Sevastyanov, the maiden sortie took place on 29 September from the manufacturer’s Irkutsk facility in the far east of the country. Serial production of the trainer is already under way, the airframer says, with the Russian air force having placed a provisional order for 150 aircraft to replace its fleet of Yak-52s.

HERON PROPOSAL POISED FOR BRAZIL CONTEST Israel Aerospace Industries and its local partner Avionics Services will produce Heron 1 unmanned air vehicles in Brazil if the type is selected for the nation’s air force. The pair have completed definition work for the so-called Category 4 UAV, including structural upgrades and payload options, and expect the air force to issue a tender early next year.

RAFAEL TARGETS INDIAN RAFALES SYSTEMS Rafael and Mumbai-based Reliance Defence are negotiating a contract to supply the Indian air force with Israelideveloped systems for its Dassault Rafale fighters. The process is focused on the Israeli company’s Litening 5 targeting pod, Spice family of guided weapons, and either the advanced Python-5 or Derby air-to-air missiles. The discussions follow a 23 September €7.75 billion ($8.69 billion) order for 36 Rafales.

6 | Flight International | 11-17 October 2016

Bell Helicopter


V-247 will be able to operate from ships in armed, expeditionary role UNMANNED SYSTEMS LEIGH GIANGRECO WASHINGTON DC

Bell on lookout for Vigilant customer

Airframer withholds further funding for unmanned tiltrotor until buyer is found, with US Marines Corps likely candidate


fter unveiling its new V-247 Vigilant unmanned tiltrotor last month, Bell Helicopter stresses that it will not plough additional funds into the development until it has a customer on board. Bell has not formally pitched the Vigilant to any prospective operator, but has targeted the US Marine Corps as a possible buyer, based on the service’s indicated future requirement for a large, armed platform capable of operating from ships. The airframer’s current plan is to continue funding V-247 through the preliminary design phase, Vince Tobin, vice-president of advanced tiltrotor systems at Bell, said at the AUSA annual meeting in Washington DC. However, it is searching for a customer to fund the follow-on design effort, Tobin says. “In comparison to investment for the V-280 [tiltrotor], it’s relatively small at this point. “I think it is time for the customer to tell us what the specific requirements are, allow us to design to those and get on with design and building.” Vigilant is a single-engined,

13,100kg (29,000lb) system that leverages autonomous control capabilities from Bell’s previous Eagle Eye unmanned tiltrotor. Bell’s larger investment in the V-280 Valor is part of its aggressive pursuit of the US Army’s Future Vertical Lift contract. The V-280 is being prepared as one option against a compound, coaxial rotor-equipped design from a joint Sikorsky-Boeing team called the SB-1 Defiant; both aircraft are scheduled to fly next year. A full-scale mock-up of the Valor at AUSA included its new flightdeck concept, which would assemble a quilt of glass tiles to minimise damage from ballistic impact to small areas of the display. The system has not yet been developed and still needs an antiglare coating, Jeremy Chavez, V-280 mock-up project lead, told FlightGlobal. Bell and Lockheed have also evolved their concept for the Valor’s chin-turret-mounted gun. Although the weapon is not a requirement for the utility configuration, it gives the tiltrotor a defensive armament, Chavez points out. ■


Lufthansa’s A350 reveals its colours This Week P8 ACQUISITION BARTOSZ GLOWACKI WARSAW

Warsaw walks away from H225M deal P

oland has pulled the plug on negotiations with Airbus Helicopters related to the acquisition of 50 H225M helicopters, claiming that industrial offset proposals are not sufficiently generous. The nation’s ministry of ­economic development says that the manufacturer’s offer needed to match the Zl13 billion ($3.4 billion) contract value. “The contracting party did not submit an offset offer protecting in a proper manner the economic interests and security of the Polish state,” says the ministry. “During the negotiations, the Polish side showed full openness and willingness to find solutions acceptable to both sides.” The ministry adds that “discrepancies in the negotiating positions of both sides” made reaching a compromise “impossible”, rendering the continuation of discussions “pointless”. The parties began negotiations in September 2015 following the selection of the Caracal for the triservice order in April that year and the helicopter subsequently passing qualification tests.

However, the talks were c­omplicated by the change of government in Warsaw in late 2015, when the Law and Justice party – which opposed the deal – came to power. Airbus Helicopters, along with supplier Safran Helicopter Engines, had proposed creating a final assembly line for the H225M in Lodz, as well as the engagement of Polish industry in its supply chain. But despite repeated overtures, Warsaw appears to have turned its back on the offer. That decision leaves the way open for Leonardo and Sikorsky, and their respective local subsidiaries PZL Swidnik and PZL Mielec, to fight it out for any ­ ­future order, if Poland decides to proceed with the refleeting. Leonardo had proposed the AgustaWestland AW149 for the requirement, while Sikorsky proposed a split buy of the S-70i Black Hawk and S-70B Seahawk – although the latter was to be manufactured in the USA. Airbus Helicopters says: “We are aware of the statement but we have no comment at this stage.” ■

Anthony Pecchi/Airbus Helicopters

Polish ministry of economic development axes 50-unit buy citing low level of industrial offset proposed by manufacturer

Thailand has placed a two-unit follow-on order for twin-engined type FLEET DOMINIC PERRY LONDON

Bangkok comes back for more Caracals Despite the blow of losing out in Poland, the Airbus Helicopters H225M is in positive territory this year, with Thailand the latest country to sign for the Caracal. Bangkok has ordered an additional pair of H225Ms, adding to an existing fleet of four of the twin-engined type operated by the Royal Thai Air Force. To perform a variety of ­missions, including combat search and rescue, troop trans-

port and other tasks, the latest acquisitions are the third phase of a fleet renewal programme begun in 2012. Delivery of the two Caracals is due in 2019, and will be preceded by another pair due to be handed over this year, dating from a 2014 deal. The agreement with Thailand adds to the 30 Caracals ordered in August by Kuwait for operation by its air force and national guard. ■


SuperJet International ‘confident’ over restructure uperJet International (SJI), the marketing joint venture for the Sukhoi Superjet 100, is ­confident that any changes to the financial relationship between its parent and the Russian ­manufacturer will be beneficial to the partnership. Late last month, Russia’s competition regulator disclosed its approval of Sukhoi’s plan to ­acquire the 25% stake in Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAC) held by ­Italian manufacturer Leonardo. This will result in SCAC becoming wholly owned by ­Sukhoi. Leonardo confirms that the shareholders “are working

on the definition of a new agreement” to improve the partnership structure. SJI, in which Leonardo holds a 51% share and Sukhoi the remainder, is responsible for marketing, sales, deliveries and ­

support in Western markets for the fly-by-wire 100-seater. The company’s chief executive Nazario Cauceglia tells Flight­ Global that he expects that any changes to the corporate structure will be beneficial to the business.

Katsuhiko Tokunaga/SuperJet International


CityJet has received two of the regional jets, with 13 more on order

“The new agreement between the shareholders is not yet consolidated, so I’m not able to make any formal statement,” says Cauceglia. “But from my point of view, I’ve got full confidence that whatever the conclusion of these talks, SJI will remain an important component of this programme.” SJI has secured two Western customers for the Superjet so far: Interjet of Mexico and Irish regional carrier CityJet. Interjet has 22 of the aircraft in service and eight more on backlog, while CityJet has received two of the 15 it ordered. ■ See Feature P23

11-17 October 2016 | Flight International | 7


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Lufthansa’s A350 reveals its colours


German flag-carrier Lufthansa has shown off its first Airbus A350, after livery painting of the aircraft was completed in Toulouse. The aircraft (MSN74), which is yet to have its Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines fitted, spent 11 days in the paint-shop. Lufthansa is to station the aircraft in Munich, where the first 10 of its 25 ­ordered A350s will be positioned. The carrier says the 293-seat aircraft will initially serve Boston and Delhi.




Launch customer ANA informed that regional jet could be affected by “technical” issues

ermany has signalled its ­intention to acquire as many as six Lockheed Martin C-130J tactical transports as its frustrations deepen with the under-­ performing Airbus Defence & Space A400M. As part of a memorandum of understanding with France, signed by the defence ministers from both countries, the Hercules would be part of a “common air transport squadron” to be created by 2021. “According to current demand forecasts, four to six German ­aircraft in the common transport squadron are planned,” says the country’s defence ministry, which would station the C-130J fleet in France. A bilateral working group will now be set up to flesh out the ­proposal by year-end. The move is likely to be seen as a fresh rebuke for Airbus over the A400M by another of the programme’s launch partners. Berlin has 53 examples of the Atlas on order to replace its fleet of ageing C160 Transalls, but ­performance shortfalls – notably the lack of in-flight helicopter ­refuelling capability – appear to have pushed it towards an acquisition of the US-built type. If it eventually signs for the ­C-130J it would be following its partner’s lead; France confirmed a deal earlier this year for four Hercules, comprising two KC­ 130J tankers and two transports. ■

Delivery of first MRJ90 may be delayed, Mitsubishi says M

itsubishi Aircraft has warned launch customer All Nippon Airways (ANA) that the first delivery of its MRJ may be delayed, although it stresses that no decision has been made to adapt the schedule. The Japanese manufacturer says it has spoken to its partners and customers over the risk of delay to the MRJ90 due to “technical reasons”, but refrains from “commenting on the detailed technical aspects”. “When issues arise in the development process, we take ­ appropriate steps, informing and consulting with the authorities and customers,” it says. “If any decisions are made in the future on important items to be made public including ­development schedule, we will

announce them promptly. At present, no decision has been made to change the delivery schedule,” the company adds. Mitsubishi issued its statement following reports in the Japanese media that first delivery will be

“As we expect various issues may arise in the future, we will accelerate flight tests in the US” Mitsubishi Aircraft

pushed back from the current target of mid-2018 due to design changes on the aircraft. The report suggested that the regional jet would need to be

r­ebalanced after the position of certain components was altered. On 28 September, the first MRJ flight-test prototype landed in the USA after a 4,500nm (8,300km) ferry flight. Mitsubishi intends to move three more flight-test aircraft to its Moses Lake flight test centre by the end of 2016. Three test articles are now flying, following the maiden sortie of aircraft FTA-3 on 25 September. “As we expect various issues may arise in the future, we will accelerate flight tests in the US towards the successful development of a world-class regional jetliner,” it says. Last December, Mitsubishi pushed back initial delivery of the MRJ90 by a year to mid-2018, relinquishing its one-year advantage over the rival Embraer 190-E2. ■

Mitsubishi Aircraft

Germany turns to Hercules as Atlas falls short

Company now has three flight-test articles operational, with FTA-2 soon to depart for Moses Lake facility

8 | Flight International | 11-17 October 2016


Botched landing led to Kalstar overrun Air Transport P10 PROGRAMME KATE SARSFIELD LONDON


Dassault delivers the goods as Falcon 8X arrives on time

450’s first flight fulfils Embraer’s Florida Legacy


First example of ultra-long-range trijet handed over, with more to follow in coming weeks assault has delivered the first Falcon 8X ultra-long-range jet to Greek business aviation services provider and long-time brand stalwart Amjet Executive. The 5 October handover at Dassault’s Bordeaux-Mérignac final assembly facility came four months after the manufacturer’s flagship aircraft secured US and European certification. Commenting on the delivery of the 6,450nm (11,900km)-range trijet, Dassault chief executive Eric Trappier said: “To see our new flagship Falcon handed over right on time, in perfect operating order, gives us immense pride.”

Flagship model was launched in 2014 as a stretch of the 7X



Dassault is now preparing s­ everal more 8Xs for delivery “in the coming weeks”. Sixteen units are now being outfitted at its US completion centre in Little Rock, Arkansas, and a further 11 ­aircraft are in final assembly in Bordeaux, it says.

The 8X was launched in May 2014 as a stretched and longerrange version of the 7X. Key differences include an extra fuel tank within the centre fuselage, a redesigned ultra-efficient wing, and more powerful Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307D engines. ■

razil’s Embraer has now flown the third business jet type to be assembled in its five-year-old factory in Melbourne, Florida. The flight of the Legacy 450 follows two other types – the Phenom 100 and 300 – built in the recently-expanded factory. Embraer plans to deliver the Legacy 450 to a customer in December, says Marco Tulio Pellegrini, president and chief executive of the airframer’s executive jets division. Embraer assembles the Legacy 450 and the larger Legacy 500 in Melbourne and São José dos Campos, Brazil; the former is part of its strategic effort to establish a global manufacturing presence. ■

MRO SUPPLIER OF CHOICE World class global supplier to all of the leading aero engine manufacturers T: +44 (0)1708 336 780 @_Farsound


For the analysis of airline safety and losses in the first half of 2016, go to:


Botched landing led to Kalstar overrun Crew opted to continue unstable approach into Kupang, with Captain suggesting lowering landing gear to increase drag


“Despite being aware of the requirements, both crewmembers continued unstabilised approaches” Indonesian NTSC


nvestigators have determined that flightcrew’s failure to follow correct procedures and a steep authority gradient were responsible for a Kalstar Aviation Embraer 195 overruning at Kupang’s El Tari airport on 21 December 2015. Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) says in its final report into the accident that the approach to ­ ­Kupang “exceeded the requirements of the company’s stabilised approach criteria that required the initiation of a go-around.” During the approach, which was being flown by the first officer, the crew failed to conduct a briefing or read out the landing check-list. As the aircraft (PKKDC) flew over the final approach point, it was 2,000ft above the required altitude for the instrument landing profile. In an attempt to remedy the situation, the crew, at the suggestion of the captain, lowered the aircraft’s landing gear to increase drag: described by the report as a “non-standard configuration setting”. The flaps were also moved to position 2, but the regional jet’s speed prevented any further change; operational procedures

December 2015 incident involved a recently-delivered Embraer 195 called for the eventual selection of position 5. During the remainder of the approach the enhanced ground ­ proximity warning system (EGPWS) issued “high speed”, “terrain” and “sink rate” aural warnings for 1min until the aircraft touched down. Data re­ trieved from the aircraft’s flightdata recorder indicated a descent rate of over 2,000ft/min. However, as it crossed the threshold at 50ft, it was still travelling at 200kt (370km/h) – around 62kt higher than the target speed. As a result, the pilot

opted to delay touchdown, with the E195 eventually landing around halfway along Kupang’s 2,500m (8,200ft)-long runway 07, which was wet from recent rain.


Although the thrust-reversers were immediately applied, braking pressure was low due to an autobrake setting, and the aircraft eventually overran, coming to rest some 200m beyond the end of the runway. None of the five crew or 125 passengers on board were injured, but the aircraft – which

had only be delivered to the c­ arrier in May 2015 – was written off, having sustained severe damage to its starboard wing, landing gear and engine. The NTSC found that although both crew were qualified for the flight, there was a “steep authority gradient” between the captain, who had a total of 9,800h, with 598h on type, and the less experienced first officer, who had 2,997h, with 557h on type. This resulted in the former’s suggestions not being challenged. “Despite both crewmembers being aware of the company requirements, they both contin­ ued the unstabilised approach, which eventually resulted in the overrun of the runway,” it says. It also noted that Kalstar did not provide effective oversight of its pilots, and, as such, some ­procedures had been repeatedly neglected by flightcrew. ■


Second ARJ21 arrives – 10 months after the first C

Unlike the first aircraft, which was fitted with all economyclass seats, the latest jet is configured with 78 seats in a ­ two-class layout.


omac has delivered the ­second ARJ21-700 regional jet to Chengdu Airlines, more than 10 months after the first delivery of the type.

Chengdu Airlines now has eight pilots type-rated for the regional jet 10 | Flight International | 11-17 October 2016

Comac says the aircraft, registered B-3322, will initially operate between Chengdu and Shanghai, before being redeployed on other routes. Since entering into service on 28 June, the first ARJ21 has operated 70 flights with an average load factor of above 90%; the airline now has eight pilots who are type-rated for the regional jet. The Chinese manufacturer adds, however, that the first ARJ21-700 is already undergoing a C-check.

Comac says it is working to gain a production certificate for the type and increase the automation of its assembly line; both are designed to enable it to commence serial production next year. The airframer is already working through a number of teething issues based on feedback from the airline and the country’s regulator, the Civil Aviation Administration of China; the latter requires the modifications in order to grant the production certificate. ■ See China special next week


Avianca embarks on $100m MRO push Air Transport P12 SAFETY DAVID KAMINSKI-MORROW LONDON

Vibration risk spurs Q400 undercarriage warning ombardier Q400 operators are being instructed to conduct undercarriage checks to prevent the risk of the main landinggear retracting if jarred. Transport Canada says that cases of retraction have occurred as a result of vibrations from striking an obstacle or severe wheel imbalance after encountering tyre failure. Vibrations cause the loss of downlock signal in the main landing-gear, it states, triggering the de-energising of a valve and removal of hydraulic pressure in the downlock actuator.

This loss of pressure, combined with the vibrations, can unlock the stabiliser brace and, as a result, cause the landing-gear leg to retract. Investigators probing the Jazz Q400 gear-collapse accident at Edmonton in November 2014 concluded that the failure of a tyre during the take-off roll had initiated such a sequence. The inquiry also noted that a SpiceJet Q400 had sustained a main-gear collapse in March 2015 after hitting a runway light, generating vibration conditions that were virtually identical to those

Canadian Press/REX/Shutterstock


Tyre failure during take-off roll led to Jazz mishap in November 2014 experienced by the Jazz aircraft. Transport Canada is ordering operators to change the downlock sensor rigging and install new software to ensure retention of


Teamwork and an early start key to building 787 support AFI KLM E&M credits co-operation with partners worldwide for successful MRO strategy


increased volume of technical data automatically transmitted from the aircraft. But he says it was also crucial to work closely together with other departments at KLM – such as flight operations and IT – as well as external stakeholders. AFI KLM E&M secured 787 maintenance contracts from several airlines that introduced the type before it entered service with KLM in 2015; Air France is set to use the 787 from January 2017. “You need time… because it is not easy. You need to train your


enerous project timing and close co-operation with partners were central to Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M) being able to set up Boeing 787 support capabilities. “We really started early because we knew this new technology would really ask for change,” says Rob Pruim, the MRO provider’s head of strategy. Efforts included staff training, development of new maintenance processes, and establishment of IT systems to handle the

Engine overhaul for the Dreamliner was established in Amsterdam

people, to change processes. Not just in Amsterdam and Paris, but [at line maintenance stations] worldwide,” says Pruim. He adds that AFI KLM E&M benefited from Air France’s introduction of the Airbus A380 – which also has a highly integrated IT architecture – and that the experience with the 787 will help, in turn, preparations for the A350: “We will copy and paste as much as possible the procedures and processes we have implemented for the 787.” Overhaul capability for the 787’s GE Aviation GEnx engines has been established in Amsterdam, while A350-powering Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines are to be supported at AFI’s engine shop at Paris Orly airport. Pruim says the MRO group will avoid duplication of repair capabilities for engines and components across its network, but that the 787 and A350 will each be serviced in Amsterdam and Paris because both Air France and KLM will operate them. ■

hydraulic pressure in the actuator, to mitigate the risk. The measures, detailed in an airworthiness directive, need to be carried out within nine months. ■ INQUIRY DAVID KAMINSKI-MORROW LONDON

Alitalia gear-up incident pinned on actuator flaw


talian investigators have concluded that an Alitalia Airbus A320’s right-hand main landinggear failed to extend after suffering a jammed actuator. The aircraft (EI-EIB) carried out a landing at Rome Fiumicino on 29 September 2013 using nosegear and left-hand main gear. Italian investigation authority ANSV detailed the circumstances of the accident, concluding that debris in the gear-door actuator caused the jam. Analysis identified two components in the actuator as sources of the debris: the spirolox ring and damping ring. It says the failure appears to have been the result of a design flaw in the spirolox ring which suffered premature deterioration, leading to metal contamination. Actuator failure was linked to a Wizz Air A320 landing accident at Fiumicino in similar circumstances less than four months earlier. Airbus introduced a new actuator design in response, while Europe’s safety regulator ordered checks on the component in other A320s. ■

11-17 October 2016 | Flight International | 11


For the latest news and analysis from the maintenance and overhaul sector visit:


Lufthansa Technik splits XWB engine for loading

Lufthansa Technik


R-R powerplant is too big to fit inside a 777 freighter fully assembled

ufthansa Technik (LHT) has carried out an exercise to load a Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine into a Boeing 777 freighter, to test logistics ahead of Lufthansa’s introduction of the Airbus A350. Engines such as the GE Aviation GE90 are too large even for standard freighters, and their transport has typically required charter of outsize aircraft like the Antonov An-124. The Trent XWB is the first member of the Trent family not to fit in a 747 freighter while fully assembled.

R-R developed a method to split the XWB powerplant into two sections – the core and fan – to enable separate loading. LHT tested the method using a 777F from Lufthansa Cargo in Frankfurt. “The company had to demonstrate that the transport conditions required by Boeing could actually be met,” the maintenance firm says. LHT says the exercise – conducted with R-R – was “successful”, adding that the fan can be split from the engine core within a day. ■


Avianca embarks on $100m MRO push A

vianca formally opened a $50 million hangar in Rionegro, Colombia on 28 September, launching the Star Alliance carrier’s three-year campaign to ­develop a dominant position in aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul in Latin America. The five-bay, 8,400m² (90,400ft²) hangar at the Jose Maria Cordova International airport began operations on 24 May, but was officially inaugurated in a public ceremony by Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos and Avianca Holdings chief executive Hernan Rincon. The Rionegro facility will provide a range of MRO services for mostly in-house clients of Avianca operators in Colombia, El Salvador, Guatamala, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Peru, with a combined fleet of 187 aircraft. So far, the only external customer is the Colombian air force, which has selected the facility for overhaul of its small fleet of Boeing 767-derived aerial refuelling tankers, but Avianca plans to offer MRO services to other carriers in Latin America after 2018. Avianca has budgeted to spend $100 million through 2018 to

build an extended MRO campus in Rionegro. In addition to the hangar opened last May, Avianca plans, over the next two years, to open two more three-bay hangars. That will give it the capability of repairing up to 11 narrowbody aircraft simultaneously. The creation of the Avianca Aeronautic Complex in Rionegro will lead to the end of the airline’s relationship with El Salvadorbased Aeroman, says Avianca vice-president of engineering and maintenance Miguel Estrada. ­Aeroman has maintained Airbus A320s for TACA, the El Salvadorbased airline acquired by Avianca in 2009. However, when Avianca activates all three hangars in Rionegro, maintenance for TACA’s fleet will shift to Colombia, he says. Avianca expects a big pay-off from its $100 million investment in MRO capability – the carrier is predicting annual savings of $30 million on maintenance services, Estrada says. The airline expects to save money by re-manufacturing metal and composite parts inhouse, rather than ordering spares from the original equipment manufacturers, he says. ■

12 | Flight International | 11-17 October 2016

Stephen Trimble/FlightGlobal

Operator inaugurates hangar complex in Colombia, as it looks to establish itself as major repair provider in Latin America

Rionegro site will extend services to carriers throughout the region TECHNOLOGY

Damage detection has unmanned future Latin American airline Avianca is internally developing an autonomous unmanned air vehicle to inspect aircraft for damage caused by lightning and bird strikes. Unlike other airlines such as EasyJet, which has partnered with a UAV maker, Avianca plans to develop the drone and navigation system itself, with a provisional schedule of launching operations next year, says Jose Ramirez, a maintenance engineer for the Star Alliance carrier. Ramirez demonstrated a flying prototype of the UAV on 28

September during a press tour of a newly-opened maintenance hangar in Rionegro, Colombia. The quadrotor has unshrouded blades and is equipped with a GoPro camera. A follow-on design will encase the rotors in a protective shroud, Ramirez says. The prototype is manually ­controlled, but later versions will navigate autonomously using ultrasonic beacons to develop a three-dimensional view of the environment. The UAV’s software will use this to determine the location of the aircraft relative to itself. ■


Future engine concepts lifted by funding awards Defence P14 STRATEGY MURDO MORRISON LONDON

Enders continues his Airbus revolution Simplified brand and management reshuffle puts emphasis on streamlined decision making to create a more agile entity

Dominant commercial aircraft division will take leading role in group MBDA, Brégier has plenty of experience across the group’s activities. His main group responsibility will be for “reshaping digital operations” and the global supply chain. His respective counterparts at defence and space and helicopters, Dirk Hoke and Guillaume Faury, remain in their jobs.


Since taking charge at the thenEADS in 2012, Enders has made a series of changes that would have been unthinkable to the cautious fathers of the FrancoGerman-Spanish conglomerate at the turn of the century. For its first few years, EADS was run by joint chairmen and joint chief executives, sourced

Airbus Group

he Tom Enders-driven shakeup at Airbus Group is moving to its next stage, with the European powerhouse soon to be simply Airbus under a plan to merge the corporate entity with its commercial aircraft division and nearnamesake. The proposal, the latest bold stroke by its German chief executive – approved by the board on 29 September and due to take effect in January – will see all three Airbus Group divisions: Airbus; Airbus Defence & Space; and Airbus Helicopters, become simply commercial aircraft, defence and space, and rotorcraft businesses, all known as Airbus. Airbus Group last went through a major rebranding exercise just three years ago, when the cumbersome 13-year-old EADS – or European Aeronautics Defence and Space – moniker was scrapped in favour of Airbus Group. Also gone were the established Eurocopter name in rotorcraft, Astrium in space launchers and satellites, and Cassidian in defence and security, itself a brand introduced just a few years earlier. But along with the name change, there is a key management move. Fabrice Brégier, the head of the commercial aircraft business, will additionally take on the head office role of chief operating officer. Having previously run Eurocopter and missiles unit

Airbus Group


“Team Airbus” is being brought closer together by chief executive

from the French and German main shareholders. The senior management structure was a delicate balance of national appointees, and politicians and executives in each country jealously guarded their “national assets”. There were clear reasons for such a complex structure. Since the war, Germany, France and Spain had nurtured their aerospace industries, bolstered by strong defence spending, the development of space satellites, and the advent of the helicopter and commercial jet age. Although the end of the Cold War and the hegemony of Boeing following the merger with McDonnell Douglas in the 1990s had forced Paris, Berlin and Madrid to consolidate – Airbus itself had launched as a commercial aircraft consortium some two decades earlier – national divisions were still prevalent. By the mid-2000s the fragile edifice could not continue. The UK’s BAE Systems – which had remained a 20% shareholder in Airbus despite shunning an offer to join the European mega-merger at the end of the 1990s – disclosed its intention to move out of civil aerospace, and sold its stake to EADS in 2006. Around the same time, serious problems emerged within the in-development A380 programme, mainly the result of incompatibili-

ty between the Hamburg- and Toulouse-based arms of Airbus. The result was a move to a single EADS chief executive in 2008, with Louis Gallois taking charge. However, Gallois was largely preoccupied with a strategic plan to rebalance EADS away from its dependence on its commercial aviation arm. When Enders succeeded him, he did not hold back, shutting EADS head offices in Paris and Munich and moving the HQ to Toulouse. He also introduced an independent board of directors, integrated divisional and group functions such as human resources, and increased the free float of shares to 70%. His one failure was an attempt to merge with BAE to create an all-powerful European defence player alongside Airbus in commercial, thwarted chiefly by the German government.


A series of recent calamities – from delays on deliveries of cabin products for the A350 to continued engine problems on the A400M – appear to have convinced Enders that a tighter grip on the reins from head office is required. He also realises that to compete effectively with Boeing and other smaller, nimbler rivals in its other businesses, Airbus’s decision-making process has to be as streamlined as possible. And, even for a company the size of Airbus Group, it makes no sense to have overlapping and parallel functions at group and divisional level. “We are bringing Team Airbus closer together,” says Enders. That is undoubtedly good news for the commercial aircraft operation. The question some might have is where it leaves the defence and space and rotorcraft operations – businesses that until a few years ago enjoyed equal status, in corporate structure terms if not in revenues, with their dominant commercial aircraft sibling. ■

11-17 October 2016 | Flight International | 13


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Future engine concepts lifted by funding awards he Honeywell/Pratt & Whitney joint venture Advanced Turbine Engine Company (ATEC) has been awarded a contract to demonstrate a variable-speed ­Alternate Concept Engine (ACE) for the US Army. “ACE gives us the opportunity to build on a very successful demonstration of our HPW3000 engine, and to add the variable speed turbine and other advanced features that are di­ rectly applicable to [the army’s] Future Vertical Lift [programme],” says ATEC president Craig Madden. By varying the rotations per minute of the engine shaft ­between vertical lift and wingborne cruise modes, variablespeed technology could offer a breakthrough in fuel efficiency for ­future rotorcraft.

US Army


FATE powerplants could potentially be used to upgrade the Chinook The army has also selected ATEC and GE Aviation to compete for the Improved Turbine Engine Programme (ITEP). Their respective HPW3000 and GE3000 ­designs are competing to replace GE’s T700 as the powerplant for the Boeing AH-64 Apache and Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk. The selected engine

also could be used by smaller variants in the Future Vertical Lift family of rotorcraft. Meanwhile, GE has begun testing the first full version of a large turboshaft in development for the army under the Future Affordable Turbine Engine (FATE) programme. The full-scale rig tests started more than five years after

the company was selected to develop the 5,000-10,000shp (3,7307,460kW) design, which spans the same power class as the Honeywell T55, Rolls-Royce AE1107C and GE’s own T408/GE38; three of the latter are used by the US Marine Corps’ in-development Sikorsky CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter. The FATE requirement calls for an 80% improvement in power-to-weight performance, plus a 45% reduction in production and maintenance costs, 35% drop in specific fuel consumption and 20% extension in design life. In addition to potentially powering Apache and Black Hawk successors capable of speeds greater than 200kt (370km/h) to enter use after 2030, the FATE engine could also be used to upgrade the T55-powered Boeing CH-47 Chinook. ■

F-model Apache is off US Army hitlist as successor nears

Current AH-64E orders will run through 2026

Leaders distance service from Boeing proposal to further update attack helicopter to bridge Future Vertical Lift gap


s Boeing prepares for a ­possible F-model Apache to bridge a production gap between current AH-64 and the US the ­ ­Army’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) programme, the service has distanced itself from pursuing further development of the legacy type. Boeing plans to secure a second multi-year procurement deal for the current AH-64E, to be followed by a second iteration of the platform or an F model, Kim Smith, the company’s vice-president for attack helicopter programmes, said at the AUSA annual meeting in Washington DC. “With the current assumptions and projections, it’s felt very

strongly that there will be another turn on the Apache prior to FVL, as a bridge,” Smith says. The army says it is not pursuing the development of an ­AH-64F, with senior leaders having said that the service will not be able to afford funding the Apache and FVL concurrently. It will continue buying newbuild Apaches into the 2020s, with Boeing’s production line expected to halt operations in 2026: four years before the FVL capability is due to come online. “We’re investing in FVL through aggressive science and technology [funding],” the army says. “We do have to manage

14 | Flight International | 11-17 October 2016

­aircraft over time, and we’ll continue to buy the AH-64E while we phase in the FVL variant. So you’re going to have an overlap at some point.” Boeing is examining its plan past 2026 and watching the FVL timeline to see whether the fielding date might change. An upgraded E- or new F-model Apache would also take into account the army’s Improved Turbine Engine Programme ­ (ITEP), which would replace the GE Aviation T700 engines powering both the attack helicopter and Sikorsky’s UH-60 Black Hawk. “If you put ITEP in, how do you take advantage of that?,” asks

Mark Ballew, Boeing’s director of helicopters, global sales and marketing. “What do you need to do to different components of the aircraft to reduce drag, to be able to produce additional lift? These are things that the team is looking at.” Although the company is jointly pitching, with Sikorsky, the SB-1 Defiant for the FVL effort, Smith believes it can reconcile that with also pushing for a new Apache, as the p ­ rogrammes are mutually beneficial: Boeing would leverage investment on the AH-64 to reduce risk on the new class of rotorcraft. “It’s really complementary, rather than competing,” she adds. ■

Crown Copyright



Enhanced Panther speeds for Mexico Defence P17



Gulf fighter sales could take off after review by Congress

RAF still keen to buy British for Protector fleet


Requests from Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar gain traction, following funding deal with Israel long-awaited sale of new fighters to Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar is to be examined by the US Congress, with the process having gained traction after Washington’s recent approval of a $38 billion, 10-year military assistance package for Israel. Bahrain has expressed interest in Lockheed Martin’s new-generation F-16V, with the company earlier this year outlining a potential requirement for up to 18 examples. Kuwait wants 28 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, with an option to increase this to 40, while sources suggest that Qatar is seeking 36 F-15Es, with an option to double this total. An informal notification process for the deals has already begun, sources familiar with the matter tell FlightGlobal. “We are encouraged by continued progress, and are hopeful to see further movement on the Qatar and Kuwait fighter sales,”

Commonwealth of Australia


Exports to the Middle East would extend Super Hornet production Boeing says. “These sales are an important part of the future of the F/A-18 and F-15 fighter lines.” Combined with a US Navy topup order for 16 more Super Hornets through fiscal year 2018, the potential Kuwaiti buy would help sustain the F/A-18 production line in St Louis, Missouri, where the type is now being built

at a reduced rate of two per month. “[It’s] quite a different situation from two years ago,” Dan Gillian, vice-president of F/A-18 and EA18G programmes, said last month. “We would have ended production in 2016. Now we’re confident about building airplanes into the 2020s.” ■

he UK Royal Air Force remains confident that it will use British-made weapons with its future Protector unmanned air vehicle fleet, a senior officer says. Plans call for the MBDA Brimstone air-to-surface missile and Raytheon Systems Paveway IV precision-guided bomb to be integrated with the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Certifiable Predator B (CPB): weapons not used by the RAF’s current MQ-9 Reapers. Air Cdre Ian Gale, assistant chief of staff for command, control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance at the service’s air command, notes that as the UK is launch customer for the CPB, it is free to set the configuration. “Why wouldn’t we do this if it is possible? We believe they are outstanding weapons,” Gale told the Royal Aeronautical Society’s UAV conference in London on 3 October. However, “the final work on the weapon [selection] is yet to be done,” he adds. ■



rocurement quantities for the US Navy’s Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton will be reviewed following initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) and operational deployment, according to its programme manager for maritime unmanned aircraft systems. The navy currently plans to purchase 70 MQ-4Cs: sufficient to maintain an operational fleet of 20 to mount continuous patrols over five surveillance orbits, and have another 48 to replace attrition losses. The service has based the number on estimated losses of four aircraft for every 100,000 flying hours. Sean Burke, programme

ager for the US Naval Air Systems Command, says the Triton’s attrition rate will be reviewed, “as appropriate”. The Department of Defense’s inspector general earlier this year pushed the service to reassess its fleet assumptions after completing IOT&E and an operational assessment, planned during fiscal year 2017. Meanwhile, Northrop has received a $255 million modification to a previously awarded lowrate initial production (LRIP) lot 1 contract for three MQ-4Cs, one ground control station and a forward operation control station, after the navy approved a socalled Milestone C decision on 22 September.

Alan Radecki/Northrop Grumman

Triton numbers in spotlight as production starts

The US Navy expects to lose one MQ-4C every 25,000 flying hours Separately, Northrop has been contracted to build 10 more MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned rotorcraft for the USN, taking its total orders for the intelligence,

surveillance and reconnaissance type to 29 units. The company is awaiting a Milestone C decision before launching the programme’s LRIP phase. ■

11-17 October 2016 | Flight International | 15

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Enhanced Panther speeds for Mexico A

irbus Helicopters has handed over its first AS565 Panther MBe to the Mexican navy, with the aircraft due for delivery to a base near the Gulf of Mexico in early October. Revealed at the company’s Marignane site in the south of France on 28 September, the aircraft is the first of 10 on order for Mexico, which is adding to its fleet of four MB-model examples. The navy has, meanwhile, asked its supplier to complete the programme nine months earlier than originally planned, so that deliveries conclude ahead of a presidential change in Mexico in December 2018. Two aircraft should be transferred this month, with another pair to follow in November and the remainder during 2017.

Under the original contract terms, four aircraft were to be transferred each in 2016 and 2017, followed by two in 2018. Vice Adm José Garcia Macedo, general coordinator of Mexican naval aeronautics, says he is confident that the entire order will be completed by the end of 2017. The service’s pilots are currently undergoing conversion training at Airbus Helicopters’ Singapore facility, and as the rotorcraft arrive in Mexico, they will support an additional 10h of instruction to complete crew qualification. “We are on track, and the second helicopter is already painted,” says Janick Blanc, vice-president of the Dauphin and H155 programmes at Airbus Helicopters. The MBe model benefits from Safran Helicopter Engines Arriel

Eric Raz/Airbus Helicopters

First of nation’s new AS565 naval rotorcraft set for transfer, as manufacturer powers up ahead of Indian utility contest

New MBe model has upgraded avionics and an increased payload 2N powerplants, new avionics and an increased payload, with maximum take-off weight rising to 4,500kg (9,910lb), from 4,300kg on the earlier model. Indonesia also has 11 examples on order, for delivery by 2018. Three will be delivered in November to Indonesian company PTDI, which will integrate an indigenously-developed sonar onto two of the airframes. Blanc says the Mexican deal’s acceleration has also helped to move the programme ahead of schedule for Jakarta, with the

Marignane facility now completing one of the aircraft per month. The next potential market for the Panther MBe is India, where it is being proposed with local partner Mahindra for a 110-unit naval utility helicopter programme. A request for proposals is expected to be released in about six months. The type could also be offered for a German navy anti-submarine warfare requirement, and Blanc says there is interest from one customer each in Central America, the Middle East and South America. ■


A330 tanker updates get airborne

Download the 2016 Wo r l d A i r F o r c e s R e p o r t

Airbus Defence & Space

The first Airbus A330-200-based multirole tanker transport (MRTT) in an enhanced production configuration has been flown for the first time, ahead of its delivery next year. Flown from Airbus Defence & Space’s Getafe site near Madrid on 30 September, the MRTT is the first to have been produced with a package of updates introduced with the commercial A330, such as upgraded avionics equipment and aerodynamic improvements, plus new military systems. The boom- and under-wing hose and drogue refuelling pod-fitted aircraft is the lead unit from a six-strong order for the Republic of Singapore Air Force. The new-standard tanker also will be delivered to France, South Korea and a consortium of NATO members.


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16/12/2015 14:55

11-17 October 2016 | Flight International | 17


North Korean air force displayed combat types including Su-25s

Visiting Air Koryo assets included this Il-76 heavy transport, built in 1990


All pictures: Rich Cooper, Richard Vandervord

North Korea’s Wonsan Air Festival, staged from 24-25 September, promoted “peace and friendship through aviation”. Pictures by Rich Cooper and Richard Vandervord

Kalma International airport hosted Air Koryo’s mix of Soviet-era types 18 | Flight International | 11-17 October 2016

Ecstatic spectators waved and applauded through displays


In pictures

Attendees were given the chance to ride aboard a Mi-17 transport

Female MiG-21 pilots were interview subjects for international media

Vintage An-2 biplanes were involved in the festival proceedings

Attractions included nation’s most capable fighter: the MiG-29

Big impression: MiG-21 display culminates with a heavy landing

Flag carrier hosted sightseeing flights using aircraft including Tu-134

Event also included the DPRK’s first ever national beer showcase 11-17 October 2016 | Flight International | 19


Keep up with the latest news and read in-depth analysis from the business ­aviation sector:


Production of the 505 will begin shortly in Canada

Tecnam keeps moving toward larger Traveller ecnam is looking to develop a turboprop-powered, pressurised, 19-seat stretch version of its P2012 Traveller piston-twin, a move that would take it into territory occupied by the Viking Twin Otter Series 400 and, to an extent, the Beechcraft King Air and indevelopment Evektor EV-55. The Italian company has completed around 50h of a flight-test programme on its Lycoming TEO540-powered P2012 since it took to the air in July, and expects to have the type certificated by the end of 2018. A second flight-test article is likely to join the programme around June of next year. So far, Tecnam, based in Capua near Naples, has no firm orders for the P2012 – but it does have a “letter of intent” from Massachusetts-based ultra-short-haul commuter airline Cape Air, which helped specify the aircraft’s design and needs to replace a legacy fleet of around 90 light aircraft – mostly Cessna 402s. Tecnam managing director Paolo Pascale believes the carrier is “ready to commit”. The company has expanded its factory in anticipation of a firm order. ■ See Feature P24

Bell Helicopter



Bell holds to 2016 target for certification of Jet Ranger X Airframer insists it will secure approval and make first deliveries of light single by year-end


S airframer Bell Helicopter is maintaining a year-end target for certification and first delivery of its 505 Jet Ranger X light single. Although November had been suggested as a likely date for Transport Canada approval of the helicopter, Bell declines to provide a precise timeline, ­simply saying the milestone will be achieved “before the end of the year”. Although the bulk of flighttesting has now ended, a number of outstanding items remain, particularly in relation to the ­ ­optional mission equipment on early-build examples.

The airframer is converting more than 380 letters of intent for the Jet Ranger X, although it will not reveal how many have been firmed: “We are very encouraged by the conversion rate,” it says. Production of the Safran Helicopter Engines Arrius ­2R-powered 505 is soon to begin at its new Mirabel, Canada final assembly line, it says, having been moved from a site in Lafayette, Louisiana earlier in 2016. In addition, Italian firm Mecaer Aviation Group is thought to be working on a new VVIP cabin for the 505. “We think that helicopter could use an enhanced interior as

opposed to the very spartan one that’s there now,” says a source. Bell declines to confirm that the 505 is next in line for the VVIP cabin development, however. “If we do it we will certainly look to partners like Mecaer to do it,” said director of sales and marketing ­ support Chuck Evans, speaking at an event in Monaco. Armando Sassoli, general manager of business development at Mecaer, says he is hopeful that it can announce a version of its MAGnificent interior, which has so far been unveiled on the 429 and 525, on “a smaller helicopter still produced by Bell”. ■


Global fleet catches high-speed internet Wave



Bombardier has already completed the first retrofit on a Global 5000 20 | Flight International | 11-17 October 2016

ombardier has gained US supplemental type certification to install its Wave Ka-band ultrahigh-speed internet in pre-owned examples of the Global 5000 and 6000-series business jets. The first retrofit has already been completed on a Global 5000 at the airframer’s service centre in Singapore. Wave – an acronym for wireless access virtually everywhere – uses Honeywell’s JetWave satellite communication hardware and Inmarsat’s JetConneX Kaband broadband network – de-

signed, Bombardier says, to boost bandwidth in high-traffic areas. “Wave allows passengers to browse the Internet, stream media and stage a video conference high above land and water as seamlessly as they would at home or in the office,” says the airframer. Flight Fleets Analyzer records an active fleet of more than 200 super-large Global 5000s and over 500 of the long-range Global 6000 family, which includes the XRS and the first-generation Global Express. ■


Chinese line will help Pacific P-750 rise New Zealand-based manufacturer to open facility in Changzhou dedicated to completion of single-engined turboprop ew Zealand aircraft manufacturer Pacific Aerospace is poised to open a new manufacturing facility for its P-750 XSTOL single-engined turboprop in Changzhou, eastern China, which will be dedicated to producing the extremely short ­ take-off and landing aircraft for the Chinese market. “China is proving a really popular market for the P-750, and we are struggling to keep up with demand,” says Pacific’s general manager, global sales, Mark Crouch. “That is why we decided to set up a 50-50 joint venture with local company Beijing Automotive to

Pacific Aerospace


Aircraft will be assembled using kits supplied from Hamilton site create a purpose-built final assembly base in the country.” The venture will be operated under the company name Beijing Pan-Pacific Aerospace Technology. The Chinese P-750s will be as-

sembled from kits supplied by ­ acific’s Hamilton headquarters. P The first units are scheduled to roll off the Changzhou assembly line “in a couple of months”, says Crouch.


GainJet plans base of operations in Rwanda to extend African business G

operations. Then we will grow the business with a local partner.” GainJet – owned by the Kuwaitbased Alghanim Group – says Africa currently accounts for 15% of its charter and management business, with Europe, the Middle East and the USA taking 45%, 35% and 5% shares, respectively. The company operates an expanding fleet of owned and ­ managed high-end business aircraft: two Boeing 757-200s and a 737-400, two Gulfstream G650s, two G450s and a G550, an Embraer Legacy 600 and two ­


reek VIP charter and management provider GainJet Aviation is planning to expand into the African market, and has singled out Rwanda as a possible base for its operation. “We have looked at a number of countries in east Africa and Rwanda really stands out as a safe, ­stable and organised country in which to do business,” says GainJet chief executive Ramsey Shaban. “We will initially base aircraft there, starting with a [Bombardier] Challenger 604 which will be used for medevac

Operator plans to expand its fleet of VIP airliners like the 737-400

Challenger 604s. It also has one G600 on order, with the largecabin, long-range business jet scheduled for delivery in 2019. “We are entirely focused on the top end of the business jet market, and with the full financial backing of our owner are now looking to grow our medevac and VIP airliner fleet,” says Shaban. The company is eyeing up to three medevac types, including a Gulfstream GV. “There are no ultra-long-range aircraft in this ­ sector, so there will certainly be a market for a model with this mission capability,” Shaban says. GainJet is also planning to add another VIP airliner to the fleet before the end of the year to plug a capacity gap in its large group transportation offering. “We are currently narrowing our choice of aircraft,” says ­Shaban, with a 767, 757 and 737 all under evaluation. Once selected, the aircraft will be fully refurbished, and put into service early in 2017. ■

The announcement comes as the Hamilton-based airframer prepares to deliver the first Garmin G600-equipped P-750 to Papua New Guinea, where it will be used for medical evacuation services. “The glass cockpit replaces the P-750’s analogue dials and is being offered as standard on all models ordered from October,” says Crouch. “The older system is still available on request, but it will be treated as a special order.” Pacific has delivered 108 ­P-750s since the first iteration of the eight-seat, multimission type, then called the PAC 750XL, entered service in 2002. A further 12 units are order. ■


Viking finalises acquisition of water bombers


iking Air has completed its acquisition of Bombardier’s amphibious aircraft programme, including transfer of type certificates for the CL-215, CL-215T and CL-415 water bombers. The finalisation of the purchase on 3 October comes a little over 10 years since Victoria, British Columbia-based Viking acquired the rights from Bombardier to many of the legacy de Havilland Canada types – notably the DHC-6 Twin Otter utility aircraft, which has since been relaunched and rebranded as the Series 400. Viking has not ruled out restarting production of the CL-415, the final iteration of the Pratt & ­Whitney Canada PW123AF-powered turboprop that Bombardier stopped making last year. “Our first priority is managing the transition of the business,” says Viking president and chief executive Dave Curtis. “A decision on whether to restart production is likely in early 2017.” ■

11-17 October 2016 | Flight International | 21


Special report



24 Tecnam P2012 a twin winner 26 Avio Aero Stepping up a gear 28 ALA Logistical approach 31 SuperJet International focus

Italian industry is looking to the global stage as it plans for the future, with national activities ranging from producing airframes and engines to feeding the wider supply chain and promoting jointly-developed products. For our country special report, we visit Tecnam, as it advances with testing of its P2012 Traveller – a bold attempt to break into the lucrative passenger transport market, starting with the USA. Avio Aero’s chief executive details the changes being made at the company since its acquisition by General Electric, including a major investment in additive layer manufacturing. Component supplier ALA outlines its grand plan to take a place at the top table in its sector and also enter new markets, while SuperJet International is confident of building on its recent success with supplying Irish carrier CityJet with regional airliners

Tecnam, Max Kingsley-Jones/Flightglobal, Avio Aero

Tecnam’s P2012 Traveller (below); Avio Aero advances manufacturing (above); SuperJet gets more international (top)

11-17 October 2016 | Flight International | 23



Special report

US carrier Cape Air is expected to be the launch operator of the nine-passenger P2012, with service entry planned by early 2019 AIRFRAMER

Tecnam’s twin peak More than four decades after its founder conceived the P.68, Italian firm is pitching new flagship P2012 to the passenger transport market MURDO MORRISON CAPUA


rofessor Luigi Pascale is a living link to the post-war heyday of Italian aviation. The sprightly 93-year-old still spends most of his days at the Capua premises and even flying the products of Tecnam, the light piston-aircraft manufacturer he co-founded in the mid-1980s and which has since produced 4,500 aircraft. Tecnam came some three decades after Pascale established his original Naples-based company, Partenavia; the developer of, among other types, the twin-engined P.68, the rights to which are now owned by Vulcanair. He remains a legendary figure in the country’s general aviation industry. Today, Tecnam – headed by his nephew Paolo Pascale – is a company with its sights on the future. In July it flew for the first time its P2012, a nine-passenger, Lycoming TEO540-powered piston twin very much in the spirit of the P.68, but bigger and – more than four decades on from its early 1970s precursor – considerably more modern. With about 50h flying under its belt so far, Tecnam hopes to have the aircraft – its biggest yet and which the company has designed in co-operation with Massachusetts-based airline Cape Air – certificated and in service by early 2019. Tecnam is expanding its factory at Capua – 24 | Flight International | 11-17 October 2016

which it opened in 2008 – in readiness for volume production of the P2012. Although Cape Air has not placed an order beyond a letter of intent, Paolo Pascale says the carrier needs to replace its 90-strong fleet, mostly comprising ageing Cessna 402s, along with a handful of Britten-Norman Islanders and Cessna Caravans. Cape Air’s executives, he says, are “ready to commit”, and Pascale is hopeful of follow-up orders. “We have several other airlines interested,” he says. A second P2012 will enter flight testing around June of next year, and Pascale expects both aircraft to complete about 300h of testing. A fatigue test rig model has been built, along with a fuselage mock-up, which has been displayed at air shows. Pascale says the type fits an unserved niche. Unpressurised,

which will be its Rotax 912-powered, singleengined two-seaters. These comprise its original and entry-level high-wing P92; the P2008, a largely composite and modernised version of the all-metal P92; and the low-wing P2002, aimed more at the training sector. In September, the Argentinian air force ordered eight of the JF variant of the P2002 for basic training. Tecnam’s training market credentials are also reinforced by the high-wing P2006, also Rotax 912-powered but twin-enDescribed as a “grand tourer”, the P2010 is pitched at recreational market in USA

“We will look at a VIP version [of the P2012], an amphibian, cargo and surveillance” Paolo Pascale Managing director, Tecnam

piston-powered and with fixed landing gear, the P2012 is designed for shorter hops at lower altitude than a Viking Twin Otter or Textron Beechcraft King Air. Its only rivals, he says, are the Quest Kodiak and the Caravan, but “customers perceive very differently” these single-engined types.


The air transport-focused P2012 (all Tecnam’s programmes, as were those of Partenavia, are named after the year they were conceived) will transform a business that has focused largely on the recreational and training markets. Pascale expects Tecnam to produce about 170 aircraft this year, about half of


Special report gined and seating four. It will make up about a third of the company’s output this year. The aircraft is largely used by flying schools and militaries for multi-engine crew training, but its low speed and “open platform” design also makes it suitable for surveillance and other special missions, says Tecnam. Rounding out the portfolio and representing around a fifth of production is the P2010, another high-wing, single-engined aircraft but seating four, powered by a Lycoming IO 360 and, with its roomy rear, luggage compartment and third door, very much pitched at the recreational market in North America rather than the aviation purist – Tecnam describes it as a “grand tourer”. Deliveries began last year, with Tecnam’s new sales office in Sebring, Florida, key to pushing the model stateside. A major change for Tecnam in recent years has been the decline of the self-build, kit plane market and a shift towards selling certificated types. The plus side of this is that – with their increased sophistication – factorybuilt aircraft do yield higher revenues. Now the bulk of the factory is devoted to production of certificated aircraft, although Tecnam still has a large machining area where it makes its own parts. Composite components – increasingly used on its line-up – are manufactured at a



Accounting for about one-third of production, the P2006 is mainly used by flying schools specialist facility in Naples, next to its former factory. While the traditional regions of Europe and North America remain vital for Tecnam, it has a worldwide reach – its 30 dealers represent it in 60 countries – and China, says Pascale, has “the potential to be the biggest market”. Last year, Tecnam signed a deal with Liaoning United Aviation Shenyan (LUSY) to produce three models in China exclusively for the local market – the 2006T twin, two-seat

2008JC and the four-seat P2010 – in anticipation of demand from Chinese flying schools training the next generation of airline pilots. Staff from LUSY are in Capua, getting to know the aircraft ahead of the start of production. “Co-operation is going very well,” says Pascale. Staff have finished training on the P2006 and will have completed instruction on the P2008 and P2010 by the end of the year. The first programme to be extended to China will be the P2006 – an aircraft very much aimed at training schools and already certificated in the country – followed by the other two. Initially, the Chinese facility will focus only on assembly, but by the end of next year, the plan is for it to move on to machining metal parts, says Pascale.



The P2012 remains the main focus for Tecnam, however. “Getting it to certification and launching production will keep us busy for the next two or three years,” says Pascale. After that, the company needs to focus on the “organisation of the company”, he says, developing a stronger aftersales network oriented towards air transport customers, “growing up on the maintenance side” and “treating customers in a different way”. This may involve further moves to opening directly run company offices in certain regions, as Tecnam has already in the USA. While another mooted project – a two-seat, single-engined concept called the P-Jet, disclosed at the AirVenture show in Oshkosh last year – is “not progressing”, Pascale says Tecnam has plenty on its plate with new variants of the P2012. “We will look at a VIP version, an amphibian, cargo and surveillance. We will probably introduce a stretch up to 14, 15 or even 19 seats. Maybe there will be a turboprop, a pressurised version,” he says. “What exactly we do will depend on the market, but what is clear is that the P2012 was needed by the market.” ■ 11-17 October 2016 | Flight International | 25


Special report

Avio Aero

Avio Aero is building its gearbox capabilities with second test facility


Stepping up a gear Avio Aero is a company in transition, with a fresh culture as part of GE and a growing focus on new production processes to support civil projects

a construction site. This will really start to take form over the next six to 12 months.” For an impression of Avio Aero’s chequered heritage, just drive into its main facility just outside Turin. You pass under a bridge emblazoned with the name of one of its former owners, Fiat. The site sits amid the carmaker’s sprawling complex in the suburb of Rivalta. After decades of at first building aircraft and then engines after the war, Fiat Aero – as it was in the early 2000s – was sold from


vio Aero is a company in transition. Three years after its acquisition by General Electric was completed, the Italian engine specialist – founded over a century ago – is embarking on the final stage of what chief executive Riccardo Procacci describes as a big change in the way the company does business, both in terms of corporate culture and investment in new production methods, such as additive layer manufacturing (ALM). “We are in the end phase of becoming a GE company,” he says. “Culturally we are almost at the other side of the river. We now have a vision for the next 50 years.” This vision includes spending heavily on the development and support of many key engine programmes, from GE and others. “Go and look at any of our shops – in Brindisi, Naples or Poland – and you will see 26 | Flight International | 11-17 October 2016

Avio Aero


“We are almost at the other side of the river. We now have a vision for the next 50 years” Riccardo Procacci Chief executive, Avio Aero

one investment firm to another before being purchased by GE at the end of 2012. Up to and through the 1990s, Avio’s activities were mostly military. It was a member of the Rolls-Royce-led Turbo-Union consortium that built the RB199 for the Panavia Tornado. That was followed by Eurojet, set up to design and support the EJ200 engine for the four-nation Eurofighter Typhoon. Avio Aero’s share in the EJ200 is 21% and the technologies it developed for the programme – including gearboxes, power turbines and combusters – “made us what we are today”, says Procacci. Its links with GE – and the start of its switch to a mostly civil aerospace business – took off in the late 1990s, after Avio Aero won a 10% stake on the GE90, the exclusive powerplant on the top-selling Boeing 777-300ER that entered service in the mid-2000s and also available as an option on older 777s. Clinching that workshare – mostly on the low-pressure turbine – was the result of applying expertise it gained on the military programmes to civil applications. “The GE90 was a turning point,” says Procacci. GE programmes now represent about half of Avio Aero’s revenues, with the biggest being the GE90, GEnx (for the 787) and the CFM International CFM56 and Leap for the 737 and its new Max variants. On the GE programmes, Avio Aero is focused on low-pressure turbine parts and gearboxes. On the upcoming GE9X for the 777X programme, it is developing titanium aluminide low-pressure ❯❯

Find out more at SSJ100RIGHTNOW.COM


Avio Aero

Special report

GE9X blades are made using ALM process

❯❯ turbine blades using ALM techniques, at a purpose-built plant in Cameri, near Milan’s Malpensa airport. Procacci says Avio Aero is the first company to design and build such blades for production using an electron beam welding process, which involves welding 0.1mm-thick layers on top of each other using a high-energy electron beam to create a 25cm-long blade. He says the investment in so-called 3D printing is part of Avio Aero’s commitment to becoming a “digitally driven” business, although he confesses: “It is one of the most difficult things we have ever done.”


Avio Aero is not alone in moving into ALM – many companies, including sister GE facilities in Cincinnati, have invested extensively in the technology. However, the method it has chosen to pioneer, electron beam welding, uses higher temperatures, and is suited to making parts out of hard metals such as titanium. And with its Cameri plant, Avio Aero, even more importantly, has gone perhaps further than anyone in the industry in terms of industrialising the process. For its non-GE activities, Avio Aero concentrates on gearboxes, including for programmes such as the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G family and its International Aero Engines V2500 predecessor, as well as the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW308 and PW150. Military activities now represent about 30% of its turnover, with the EJ200 – Avio Aero as-

sembles and maintains all the engines for the Italian air force – and the Europrop International TP400-D6 for the Airbus A400M among its programmes. Cracks found in the TP400’s power gearbox – made by Avio Aero – were a recent concern. In late July, Airbus Group chief executive Tom Enders said its customers on the tactical transport were in line for compensation due to delivery delays caused by the gearbox issue, but referred to “a good co-operation spirit between us and the engine partners, including GE/Avio, to provide the necessary fixes to make the propeller gearbox really the robust key element of the [TP400-D6] engine that it should be”. In terms of technology development, Avio Aero is playing a key role in the new GE engine for Textron Aviation’s advanced turboprop; the Cessna Denali. The 1,600shp (1,194kW) GE93, which was confirmed as the aircraft’s powerplant last November, will take on the ubiquitous Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A, with the development spearheaded by GE’s former Walter subsidiary in Prague. However, engineers from Avio Aero are working closely with their Czech colleagues. Another flagship programme is Airbus Helicopters’ LifeRCraft follow-on project from the high-speed X3 technology demonstrator, funded under the EU’s Clean Sky 2 research and development programme. Avio Aero is designing the propeller and main gearbox – what Procacci calls the “power gearbox of the future” – for the rotorcraft. The company is augmenting its skills in gearboxes by building a second power gear test facility in Turin. The investment is not just in developing product itself. Avio Aero is also focusing strongly on how it develops and builds these products. Procacci is a believer in the concept of the “brilliant factory”, which he describes as a manufacturing site capable of continuously self-improving its output and processes by gathering, transmitting and analysing data in real time. This, he says, allows for a quicker product development cycle and instant improvements in manufacturing efficiency. For Avio Aero, the transition appears to be far from over. ■


Logistical approach After an acquisition gave it access to new overseas markets, supply chain management specialist ALA believes it can now compete on a global scale MURDO MORRISON NAPLES


Kerry Davies/INS News Agency/REX/Shutterstock

Power gearbox cracks have tested relations with Airbus on A400M

28 | Flight International | 11-17 October 2016

ompared with designing and assembling aircraft or engines, supply chain management will never be the sexiest area of aerospace. But the work of its specialist firms – consolidating consignments of fasteners and other tiny parts from dozens of suppliers, and delivering them just in time to the final assembly lines of major manufacturers – is essential to the smooth running of aircraft programmes. Although it is a sector with many local providers, three players dominate. Now a Naples-based company believes it has achieved sufficient scale and a reputation for service to compete with them globally. ALA was founded in the 1980s, and became the major supply chain management provider in Italy when it merged with a competitor in 2009, allowing it to serve both the military and commercial markets. Other small acquisitions followed, but by 2015, four-fifths of its business was still with Finmeccanica, says chief executive Roberto Scaramella. He was running regional airline Meridiana at the time and was brought into ALA to spearhead an expansion drive. “The question we had was as a big


er serving Italy, could we grow into a global player?” he says. That year, ALA approached Stag, a business with operations in the UK and France. While not actively looking to divest, it was not ready to risk investment for major expansion, says Scaramella. After a “long courtship”, Stag’s directors agreed to sell and in May this year the two sites – plus a third in Seattle – became part of ALA. While the acquisition will add €50 million ($56 million) to ALA’s €100 million revenues, it also gave the Italian-focused company, with one procurement office in New York, a global footprint.


ALA had also just won a contract from GE Aviation, its first significant non-Italian client. “That was our chance to prove we could supply a global company,” says Scaramella. Now, with Stag, he believes ALA can take the group “to the next level”. It is still some way off

Scaramella says his team’s knowledge of programmes keeps it from holding stock for long


punching at the same weight as its big competitors. “The two leaders in this industry generate $1 billion plus, and the third is half a billion, but we are the biggest now of the second tier,” he says. “We can now take our offering to new manufacturers.” Like other supply chain management specialists, ALA contracts with multiple small suppliers to buy in advance thousands of fasteners and other components qualified on each aircraft programme. Technicians inspect the parts, identify and box them, and, on a schedule agreed with the customer, ALA delivers them to the production line. “We don’t do manufacturing; we do logistics,” says Scaramella. “We say to the customer: ‘You want to have your best people in engineering. I will put my best people in your supply chain.’” Although ALA’s risk in the process lies in it buying the shipments in advance and holding them at its warehouse, Scaramella says his team’s knowledge of programmes means it does not hold stock for long. “These are industrial programmes with a long cycle, so it’s not really speculating,” he says. ALA’s leverage can come from when there are several qualified suppliers for a certain part. “Because I know that such a part is also used on another programme, I can buy in volume, and that creates competition to our advantage,” he says. Customers also have to have absolute faith in ALA’s ability to deliver, not just on time but with each part having gone through inspection. At ALA, one consignment in five is quality-checked by an outside laboratory, making it hard for even well-resourced outside companies to break into the sector. “The entry barrier is very high and a newcomer will not be accepted,” says Scaramella. “However, the beauty is that these are long term-programmes and you can create a stable company. It means we can be competitive without being huge.” Scaramella’s priority now is integrating what has become a global business, employing around 250 people across eight locations. When FlightGlobal visited the company in


Leap engine producer GE Aviation is among new clients


Special report

“We don’t do manufacturing; we do logistics. I’ll put my best people in your supply chain” Roberto Scaramella Chief executive, ALA

late September, managers from all the sites were in the Naples headquarters for their first team meeting. There was almost zero overlap in the Stag and ALA businesses, he says, with the French business bringing in several Safran companies, and the UK operation – based in Walton-on-Thames, just outside London – BAE Systems and Leonardo’s helicopters division at Yeovil. ALA did not previously have AgustaWestland as a customer.


Following that, ALA will look at geographical expansion and broadening the global client base, says Scaramella. The company is already establishing a commercial operation in the USA; previously, its stateside arm was focused on procurement. Other areas include Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. While the military industry remains largely US- and European-based, the growth of commercial manufacturers in countries such as Brazil and China mean ALA will be setting its sights on winning new business there, he says. From a current 60/40 revenue split in favour of Italy versus rest of world, ALA expects to reverse that by the end of the decade. Other medium-term objectives include widening the range it offers. “For many years, we were fasteners only. Now fasteners represent just 50%. We will continue to look at new areas,” says Scaramella. A potential growth area is energy, oil and gas – it derives about 5% of its turnover from this market. “Given that turbines often have many of the same parts as a jet engine, this is something we believe we can grow,” he says. ALA’s new scale also means it is outgrowing the offices next to its warehouse on an industrial estate on the outskirts of Naples, and it is looking to establish a headquarters in the city itself. ■ 11-17 October 2016 | Flight International | 29


Max Kingsley-Jones/FlightGlobal

Special report

First European operator of the 100-seat twinjet will eventually have a 15-strong fleet

SuperJet’s lucky charm Italian-Russian joint venture looks forward to winning more customers after regional type’s seamless entry into service with Irish carrier CityJet MAX KINGSLEY-JONES LONDON


s negotiations take place between Sukhoi and Alenia Aermacchi about restructuring their financial relationship in the Superjet 100 regional airliner programme, it is business as usual at their global marketing joint venture. SuperJet International (SJI), in which Alenia’s parent Leonardo holds a 51% stake and Sukhoi the remainder, is responsible for marketing, sales, deliveries and support in Western markets for the fly-by-wire 100-seater. After recently adding its first European operator, CityJet, SJI is confident of securing new customers and that any changes to the corporate structure will be beneficial. It is also looking forward to offering an enhanced and expanded product line, as Sukhoi works on a winglet upgrade and a stretched derivative.

WORKING TOGETHER At the end of September, Russia’s competition regulator approved a plan by Sukhoi to acquire Alenia Aermacchi’s 25% stake in its Sukhoi Civil Aircraft (SCAC) division. This will result in SCAC becoming wholly-owned by Sukhoi. Leonardo confirms that the shareholders “are working on the definition of a new agreement” to improve the partnership structure. “The new agreement between the shareholders is not yet consolidated, so I’m not able to make any formal statement,” says SJI chief executive Nazario Cauceglia. “But I’ve got full confidence that whatever the conclusion of

these talks, SJI will remain an important component. We needed to redesign the co-operation between SCAC and SJI and I’m sure we will see SCAC and SJI working much closer together and in a much more integrated way, and the programme will benefit as a result.” Venice-based SJI oversees interior furnishing for Superjets destined for Western customers, which involves the installation of a stylish cabin created by Pininfarina, the Italian design house with Ferrari connections. Dublin-based CityJet was the second airline to join SJI’s Superjet group in May alongside Mexico’s Interjet, which has 22 aircraft in service. The Irish carrier is due to receive its third of 15 aircraft on order in October and the fourth by year-end.

“I’m quite confident that we will get new customers before completing those deliveries” Nazario Cauceglia Chief executive, SuperJet International

The company has committed to secure steep-approach approval for London City airport operations for CityJet’s Superjets by the end of 2018, but Cauceglia is confident this will be in place by the end of next year. However, the performance-enhancing winglets will not be cleared until late 2018. Cauceglia says the Superjet’s European operations are being supported through its main warehouse in Frankfurt, while a spares pool

Max Kingsley-Jones/FlightGlobal


SJI describes product as “state-of-the-art”

has been set up at CityJet’s Dublin base. The airline has signed up for SJI’s SuperCare flighthour support agreement. Some 90 Superjets have been delivered worldwide and the fleet’s technical dispatch reliability (TDR) is running at “around 99%”. Describing the CityJet introduction as “smooth and seamless, and satisfactory for our client”, Cauceglia says that the Irish carrier’s TDR is comparable with Interjet and the global fleet. CityJet’s aircraft is configured in a one-class, 98-seat layout at 32in pitch. The Superjets are flown “quite intensively” on charters and ACMI wet-lease operations for Finnair, he says, adding that the airline is using the twinjet to become a major provider of ACMI leases in Europe. “They are convinced there is a lot of space in the European market for ACMI and consider the Superjet 100 the ideal platform,” he says. “This is the best regional jet in the market for this as it is a new-technology, state-of-the-art product with a low operating cost and a unique level of comfort through its five-abreast cabin.

MAJOR BRANDS “CityJet expects to get at least two more contracts with major airlines this year for the Superjet 100, which is a good opportunity to see ‘our baby’ flying with the brands of major airlines,” he adds. Interjet and CityJet, the Superjet’s only “Western” customers currently, have ordered a total of 45 aircraft. Cauceglia says SJI expects to complete deliveries by July next year of all 30 Interjet aircraft and the first batch of eight for CityJet. Deliveries of the latter’s second batch of seven aircraft will start in January 2019. SJI is working hard to secure more customers before the current delivery batches conclude next year, Cauceglia says. “The regions where we are most active are Europe and Africa. This is where we see more opportunity in the very short term,” he says. “There are a couple of opportunities on the table and I’m quite confident that we will get new customers on board before completing those deliveries [next year].” The next major development in the Superjet family – a larger version – is on course for certification in three years, says Cauceglia, with its design effectively complete. It will be a straightforward derivative with a longer fuselage to up capacity by 20 seats, with a revised wing of greater area. The Superjet 100’s existing PowerJet SaM146 engines, made by the Safran/Saturn joint venture, will have a 5% thrust increase. After evaluating more major developments of the airframe, the decision was taken to keep the stretched derivative simple, “to reduce the cost and retain the attractive economics”, he says. The modest stretch also prevents the Russian jet from straying into the narrowbody sector and allows it to be positioned as a 90- to 120-seat regional aircraft family, he adds. ■ 11-17 October 2016 | Flight International | 31

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STRAIGHT&LEVEL From yuckspeak to tales of yore, send your offcuts to

There is a lot to be said for the philosophy of “Build it and they will come” – it seems to have worked for Dubai. But the new $2.3 billion terminal in Turkmenistan’s capital Ashgabat – with a striking roof designed to resemble a falcon in flight and capacity for 14 million passengers – may be taking ambition just a bit too far. Although Turkmenistan is a crossroads of the Silk Road, visa restrictions mean the nation is the North Korea of central Asia in that it is near impossible to visit – just over 105,000 tourists enjoyed its splendours in 2015, most of them from a handful of countries. So far, no new airlines have said they will use the magnificent new gateway.

Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock

White elephant of Ashgabat

Vi-king heir: In a coup for its local manufacturer, Wills and Kate flew on a Twin Otter into Vancouver during their recent tour of Canada. Viking will have welcomed the many plugs in the press about the seaplane’s versatility, but not perhaps the world learning about the ear plugs given to the royal couple to drown out the noise.


Full marks to Norwegian for this opportunistic ad (right), which appeared just days after the Split of the Century.

Creative licence

A PowerPoint presentation in a recent BAE Systems press day had our all-knowing defence scribbler scratching his head. Alongside a collage of photos of well-known aircraft with which the military contractor is associated was this strange beast on the bottom right (below). Was this a top-secret project inadvertently revealed by hapless marketing people?

Just a little Pitt of fun Nothing so exciting sadly. After several back and forth enquiries came the reply from the press office: “It seems it was created for one of our internal employee rally days by one of the folks in our creative services department.”

Space travel BC

Can you spot the odd one out?

From Aberdeen comes the suggestion that a Royal Flying Corps of Women should be forthwith inaugurated, with the main object of supplying the necessary air patrols for the coasts of Britain, and thus release our pilots for other objectives.

Chevy engines


As David Cameron knows, asking the people can be a dangerous thing. When the US Air Force allowed service members to suggest names for the new B-21 bomber, they received 4,600 submissions. By selecting a winner – the eminently safe and sensible Raider – the four stars avoided a Boaty McBoatface scenario: the moniker chosen by the Great British Public in a national vote to name a polar research vessel. Nominations – revealed after a Freedom of Information request by the web site War is Boring – included Bacon Double Cheeseburger, Badasswhoopass, Fundsucker and others much too fruity for this column.

Women pilots

During a press conference, the audience heard a speaker claim the first airport in the world was built in ancient Iraq 7,000 years ago and used to launch space exploration vehicles. The speaker was the Iraqi transport minister. Luckily we’ve just got Donald Trump.

The Chevrolet division of General Motors will build Pratt and Whitney aero engines. Funds totalling over £9,000,000 have been made available, over £8,000,000 of this being for machinery and equipment.

BOAC demand

Because of the expected shortage of capacity to deal with the traffic in 1968, BOAC is to use its third convertible passenger/cargo Boeing 707-336C on passenger services for about a year following its delivery in November 1967. In the changed circumstances, import duty will presumably now need to be paid on the third -336C.

Sky telephone

Singapore Airlines has become the first carrier to offer a global sky telephone service on a commercial international air service, launching the Celestel system aboard a Boeing 747-400 Megatop over the Straits of Malacca.

100-YEAR ARCHIVE Every issue of Flight from 1909 onwards can be viewed online at

11-17 October 2016 | Flight International | 33


3 August Emirates Boeing 777300 landing accident in Dubai? The check-ride could be incorporated into such occasions. Anthony Atkinson Northallerton, UK


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: The opinions on this page do not necessarily represent those of the editor. Letters without a full postal address supplied may not be published. Letters may also be published on and must be no longer than 250 words.

“Pilot error” is not a catch-all In response to Dr Sander’s letter “Probing deeper” (Flight International, 20-26 September): as a commercial pilot I, too, would raise my concerns with the tone of the EasyJet investigations. It would seem inevitable that the new European Aviation ­Safety Agency flight-time limitations will lead to a trail of occurrences that eventually result in incidents and accidents. Of greater concern is that this trail may already be occurring, and the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch and others are not willing or able to see it. This could be due to any ­number of factors, but every incident or accident could easily have a simple score attached, measuring the likely influence that fatigue or tiredness had on the actual outcome. This will not be difficult to ­ascertain, and whilst it will not prove anything on a case-by-case investigation, in the long term, and using a statistical method, it will clearly show the actual influence of fatigue/tiredness on the total safety of flight.

Once again, the industry faces a pilot shortage and training organisations are ramping up their efforts to supply the market (Flight International, 27 September-3 October). While that progresses, piMust all airline pilots retire at 65? lots reach the arbitrary age limit of 65 and are released. When the commercial licence expiry was raised to 65, no major problems were encountered and that experienced tranche of pilots were able to continue to serve the ­industry for the benefit of airlines and passengers alike. There must be many pilots who would like to continue past the current, illogical date barrier. A useful number of very experienced pilots would voluntarily keep on flying if the opportunity arose. Authorities could easily extend the retirement date by a year or two based on health and safety data, which must be readily available. If concerns were raised about the working patterns of airlines and the ensuing fatigue problems, then a possible move could be to offer a 50% contract, or whatever arrangement floats the communal boat. Many retirees are still in excellent health and can contribute much more to the industry. Let’s not waste a valuable resource when the pilot pool needs filling. Mick Patrick via email

It’s shocking that with the science of accident investigation so well developed, investigators faced with exhausted crews ­have no way to analyse the impact on the incident of fatigue/tiredness. They have effectively taken to using that popular, yet meaningless descriptor “pilot error” as a catch-all. It’s inevitable that tired pilots will make unexpected and unforced errors – so some means to measure the likely impact of fatigue/tiredness is necessary to ensure such trends are not simply attributed to “error” and brushed under the carpet. Alternatively, is it possible that fatigue/tiredness is now so close to the financial heart of the


Retirees could top up pilot pool

industry, that it’s been declared “non PC”, and so is off-limits to the investigators? Name and address supplied

Go-around drills

The mind is usually much sharper when on the runway, or in real air rather than in the simulator. Are ferry flights and positioning flights frequent enough to consider airlines mandating a practiced go-around on each such occasion? The normalisation of this procedure would require extra fuel costs and so on, but would this not outweigh the hull loss and death toll in incidents such as the

Back to basics

It would seem that the Emirates Boeing 777-300 performed an overshoot prior to coming to grief in Dubai in August. We do not know what triggered this overshoot. Was it manually initiated or automatic? From what I have read so far, I fancy the latter. If we cast our minds back to the Asiana Airlines 777 incident at San Francisco in July 2013, the enquiry revealed that the pilots, three of them (one a checker), were all expecting an “auto goaround” to be triggered. The fact that it did not happen came as a result of one of the crew having made a “manual adjustment” to the power setting post system engagement. This manual intervention inhibited the auto throttle system from advancing the power settings and thus the “auto go-around” did not happen. The question needs to be asked: did the three pilots ­understand the system as fitted to their 777? Or were they just sitting there, mesmerised, ­waiting for something that wasn’t going to happen? I would question the necessity for these “auto systems” at all. Earlier generations of jet transport aircraft, with which I am familiar, did not have such sophistication. It is only good if it works and the crews understand its nuances. Engineers and designers should only fit systems to aircraft that are needed – not simply ­just because they can. David Sidgwick Yarwell, Peterborough, UK

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Building rungs on the career ladder Tell us about your career to date. My first job in an aviation environment was as a retail sales assistant at Dublin airport. I then joined Emirates as cabin crew and a year later decided to come back to Ireland and pursue an aviation-related degree. While in college my knowledge of the industry has broadened and I have developed an interest in the aircraft leasing sector. This summer I commenced my job as marketing assistant in the aircraft sourcing and trading department with FPG Amentum, an independent and dedicated third-party service provider to aircraft equity investors, banks and debt investors. What sparked your interest in aviation? My interest was triggered by an air force air show back in my home country, Romania. I was impressed by the performance of the fighter jets and the idea of being a fighter pilot sounded really appealing. However, I learned when I was 15 I would never be able to become a fighter pilot due to being near-sighted. Nevertheless, my passion for aviation grew and my curiosity to learn more has offered new opportunities which led me to where I am today. Why did you set up the Irish Aviation Students’ Association? While in college I attended several industry networking events and conferences and had a few days’ work experience in various aviation companies. I discovered the industry was quite concerned about the issue of not knowing



While at college Alexandra Slabutu spotted a gap in the market – a disconnect between aviation students and the industry. Her solution was to form the Irish Aviation Students’ Association (IASA)

Slabutu’s goal is to help individuals in gaining new insights and skills how to attract new talent and being equally unaware of the level of talent available. Ireland has seen a number of new aviation courses in third-level institutions, a testament to this fastevolving industry, though it seemed to me they were misrepresented to the industry, meaning fewer opportunities to hire potential candidates. How does IASA make a difference to aviation students? IASA’s mission is to forge stronger links between students, industry and educational institutions and to promote the diversity of aviation. I think of IASA as being the vehicle of one’s career, allowing the student to gain new insights and skills. More importantly, it offers students a shared platform with industry profes-

sionals who are keen to support and advise on career strategy. We also promote internships and entry-level positions and hope to develop this area further, working closely with aviation companies in Ireland and hopefully abroad too. What challenges do you face? When IASA was established none of the student committee, including myself, knew how to run a national association and organise events, like our annual symposium, on a big scale. We all have a common passion, which is aviation, and that was the main driver in conquering our obstacles and challenges. Being a team of 10 sometimes proves challenging due to our personal schedules and the distance between us. However, we

always learn to adapt to new ways of solving problems and progressing with our objectives. What do you enjoy most about your role? In addition to developing my interpersonal skills, the most enjoyable part of my role is meeting with high-level executives, something not many students get the opportunity to do. I often attend meetings presenting our initiative to HR personnel, directors and even ‘C-suite’ executives, which is not always the easiest thing to do but is really rewarding. I am also privileged to be invited along with my colleagues to numerous industry events, which have allowed me to learn more about the industry and helped my professional network to grow. Currently IASA has a board of advisers of highly talented professionals who support our initiative and to whom I am grateful for their commitment. What is your vision for IASA? To help Ireland continue to provide the best expertise in the field of aviation by empowering the next generation of aviation professionals to be heard by the industry and to enable greater collaboration. n Looking for a job in aerospace? Check out our listings online at

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Flight to the future: our forecast for long-haul air travel in the 2030s

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Flight international october 17, 2016