Lockheed Likely Sees Big Military Applications Potential In Aerion's Supersonic Bizjet - The Drive

lunes, 18 de diciembre de 2017


"Stratolaunch Taxi Test - Dec. 17, 2017" [video]


Boeing Statement on ITC Hearing RE: Bombardier’s Harm to U.S. Industry

Boeing Statement on ITC Hearing RE: Bombardier's Harm to U.S. Industry // MediaRoom


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Delta, Bombardier renegotiating delivery clause in CS100 deal

Delta, Bombardier renegotiating delivery clause in CS100 deal // Aircraft news

Delta Air Lines has asked Bombardier to guarantee all 75 CS100s ordered in April 2016 will be assembled in Mobile, Alabama, instead of Canada, a top airline executive says.

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Reaction Begins Building U.S. Hypersonic Engine Test Site

Reaction Begins Building U.S. Hypersonic Engine Test Site // AviationWeek.com Commercial Aviation Channel

A high-temperature airflow test site designed to evaluate a key technology in the Reaction Engines' hypersonic air-breathing combined cycle Sabre rocket engine is under assembly.

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Ryanair Pilots Suspend Planned Strike

Ryanair Pilots Suspend Planned Strike // AviationWeek.com Commercial Aviation Channel

Dublin-based Ryanair pilots have suspended a planned 24-hr. strike after the LCC's management took the unexpected step of agreeing to recognize their union as a representative of Ireland-based pilots.

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ArianeGroup Starts Building Ariane 6 Launcher

ArianeGroup Starts Building Ariane 6 Launcher // AviationWeek.com Commercial Aviation Channel

ArianeGroup has started building the first Ariane 6 launcher, scheduled to lift off in July 2020.

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Rocket rumbles give volcanic insights

What do volcanoes and rockets have in common? "Volcanoes have a nozzle aimed at the sky, and rockets have a nozzle aimed at the ground," explains Steve McNutt, a geosciences professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa. It explains why he and colleague Dr Glenn Thompson have installed th...



Dassault Aviation terminates Falcon 5x but announces the launch of a new Falcon program


Dassault Aviation initiates the termination process of the Silvercrest contract leading to the end of the Falcon 5X program and announces the launch of a new Falcon program with an entry into service in 2022.

Dassault Aviation initiates the termination process of the Silvercrest contract leading to the end of the Falcon 5X program and announces the launch of a new Falcon program with an entry into service in 2022.

The delivery of compliant Silvercrest engines was originally planned for the end of 2013 in accordance with the Falcon 5X flight test schedule.

Safran met recurrent technical issues during the program development.

In 2015 and 2016, major technical issues have led Safran to announce a new schedule leading to engines delivery for the Falcon 5X flight tests by the end of 2017. Consequently, Dassault Aviation had to postpone the entry into service of the Falcon 5X from 2017 to 2020, i.e. a 3-year delay. This slippage has caused customers’ concerns and order cancellations (12 in 2016).

Equipped with a preliminary version of the engine, not compliant with the specifications, the Falcon 5X performed its maiden flight, on July 5, 2017, and started a preliminary flight test campaign, limited by engines capacity. The Falcon 5X flight behaviour met all the expectations.

In the fall of 2017, Safran experienced issues with the high pressure compressor and informed Dassault Aviation of an additional delay and new performance shortfall, making the 2020 entry into service of the aircraft impossible.

Considering the magnitude of the risks involved both on the technical and schedule aspects of the Silvercrest program, Dassault Aviation initiates the termination process of the Silvercrest contract leading to the end of the Falcon 5X program and plans to start negotiations with Safran.

“There is still a strong market need for a brand new long range aircraft with a very large cabin – Eric Trappier explained – so I have decided to launch a new Falcon project powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada engines, featuring the same cross section as the Falcon 5X, a range of 5,500 Nm, and scheduled to enter into service in 2022.”


90 años del primer vuelo de Iberia

El 14 de diciembre de 1927 un Rohrbach Roland con capacidad para 10 pasajeros despegaba de Barcelona con destino al aeródromo de Cuatro Vientos, en Madrid, donde tuvo el acto inaugural de la compañía en presencia de Alfonso XIII y Horacio Echevarrieta, fundador y primer presidente de Iberia.

Como homenaje a este empresario de Getxo, la aerolínea ha bautizado uno de sus Airbus A319 con su nombre. En la foto puede verse a varios de sus nietos y dos de sus biznietas junto al presidente de Iberia, Luis Gallego.

Primeros vuelos de Iberia

Iberia inicia sus operaciones con aviones Rohrbach Roland, trimotores con asientos de mimbre que tardaban tres horas y media en cubrir el trayecto entre Madrid y Barcelona. Eran vuelos diarios, excepto domingos, que despegaban de Madrid a las 08:00 de la mañana y desde Barcelona a las 12:00. La tarifa era de 163 pesetas para el viaje de ida y 300 pesetas, si se compraba ida y vuelta.

En su primer mes de actividad, Iberia realizó 57 vuelos y transportó 287 pasajeros.


TsAGI specialists continue research on a lightweight convertible airplane


Specialists of the Zhukovsky Central AeroHydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI, a member of the National Research Center “Zhukovsky Institute”) tested a model of a lightweight convertible airplane with running propellers. The experiments were conducted in TsAGI’s low-speed wind tunnel as part of the implementation of the State contract with the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation.

At this stage, the scientists of the Institute studied the powered aerodynamics and determined the flap performance and control effectors, including engine failure tests. In addition, the program of experiments included a model test of simulated ice on the wing and fins, which could be developed during the holding mode.

The test results will update the aerodynamic data bank of the aircraft. The results will be used for the computation of performance data of the aircraft, design of aerodynamic configuration, development of the control systems and computer modeling, and the icing effects on aviation safety.

Earlier, TsAGI held tests to obtain landing and cruising characteristics of the aircraft. Then the scientists tested the body alone and airplane propeller in climb and during crosswinds. The results showed a promising level of aerodynamic characteristics of the prospective aircraft. Further, TsAGI specialists will do experimental investigations of an aircraft model with a running propeller, as well as near the Flight Strip Screen.

The lightweight convertible aircraft will be utilized both for passenger and for transport of goods without changing the design. The aircraft is designed to transport 50 passengers over a distance of 1500 km or 6 tons of cargo at a distance of 1000 km. Its cruising speed will reach 480 km/h.


ICBC Leasing signs framework purchase agreement of 55 C919 aircraft with COMAC


Total orders of C919 amount to 785, and ICBC Leasing becomes largest customer of COMAC

Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. (COMAC) signed a Framework Purchase Agreement of 55 C919 aircraft with ICBC Financial Leasing Co., Ltd. (ICBC Leasing) in Beijing on December 5th, 2017. With the 55 C919 aircraft signed in this agreement, the total number of C919 aircraft ordered by ICBC Leasing has reached 100, ICBC Leasing has become the largest C919 customer, and the total orders of C919 has amounted to 785. In addition to the 30 ARJ21-700 aircraft ordered previously, ICBC Leasing has become the largest customer of the two domestic aircraft developed by COMAC with total orders of 130 aircraft. Mr. Yi Huiman, Chairman of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Mr. Zhang Hongli, Vice President of ICBC, and Mr. He Dongfeng, Chairman of COMAC, attended the signing ceremony. Mr. Zhao Guicai, President of ICBC Leasing, and Mr. Zhao Yuerang, Vice President of COMAC, placed their signatures on the agreement.

ICBC has always regarded supporting the development of domestic large aircraft as its own important mission, and actively provided all-round and diversified financial services for COMAC. A Financial Strategic Cooperation Framework Agreement was signed between both sides in 2009. ICBC Leasing of ICBC purchased 45 C919 aircraft and 30 ARJ21-700 aircraft respectively in 2011 and 2015. The additional 55 C919 aircraft purchased this time makes the strategic cooperative relation between ICBC and COMAC closer, and the cooperation between both sides in cooperation mechanism building, market promotion and policy research is deepened increasingly.

C919 aircraft is a large civil jet aircraft independently developed by China in accordance with international civil aviation regulations, and owns independent intellectual property right. C919 aircraft completed its maiden flight in Shanghai on May 5th, 2017. The first C919 aircraft flew from Pudong, Shanghai to Yanliang, Xi'an for flight test on November 10th, 2017.

ICBC Leasing, as a wholly owned subsidiary of ICBC, is operating and managing more than 500 aircraft at present, 300 out of which have been delivered. Its customers include about 70 airlines at home and abroad in 30 countries and regions all over the world, and the total assets of the aircraft are more than 110 billion yuan. By the end of 2016, the fleet size of ICBC Leasing had ranked first in China and fifth in the world.


BLOODHOUND car Targets 500mph in South Africa in 2018


BLOODHOUND SSC to run at Hakskeen Pan track, Autumn 2018
High speed tests of aerodynamics, handling, desert wheels and parachutes
Data shared with schools around the world, via Oracle Cloud
Exclusive Access All Area tickets available to pre-book

The BLOODHOUND Project today announced plans to run BLOODHOUND SSC for the first time on its dry lake bed race track at Hakskeen Pan, Northern Cape, South Africa, in October 2018.

Following successful 200mph (320kmh) UK runway trials at Cornwall Airport Newquay in October 2017, the team will be targeting 500mph – a key milestone on the journey to setting a new World Land Speed Record.

The ‘BLOODHOUND 500’ trials will test the Car’s performance and handling during one of its most vulnerable phases: the point between 400 and 500mph (640-800kmh) where the stability of the Car transitions from being governed by the interaction of the wheels with the desert surface, to being controlled by the vehicle’s aerodynamics. The grip from the wheels will fall off faster than the aerodynamic forces build up, so this is likely to be the point where the Car is at its least stable.

Data on the interaction between the solid aluminium wheels, which will be used for the first time, coupled with ‘base drag’ measurements, will provide ‘real world’ insight into the power required to set records. Base drag relates to the aerodynamic force produced by low pressure at the rear of the Car, sucking it back. As the Car approaches transonic speeds, this force far exceeds the friction of the air passing over BLOODHOUND’s bodywork.

Hundreds of gigabits of information will be gathered by over 500 sensors built into the Car. This won’t just be used by the BLOODHOUND team, it will be shared with schools around the world, thanks to Cloud Computing partner Oracle. Students will be invited to analyse the data and ‘mark’ the engineers’ homework in real time, as part of the world’s biggest STEM education programme.

The BLOODHOUND Project is inviting supporters to join them for this historic first foray into transonic speeds. A limited number of ‘All Access’ places are available now for pre-booking, via http://www.bloodhoundssc.com/bloodhound500. Guests will visit the Desert Technical Centre, attend team briefings and meet driver Andy Green.

The BLOODHOUND 500 tests will be conducted using the Car’s Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine, normally found in a Eurofighter Typhoon, which produces a peak thrust of 20,000 lbs (90 kilonewtons), equivalent to 54,000 thrust hp, or the combined output of 360 family cars.

The Car will run for the first time with its solid aluminium wheels, specially designed for the desert surface. Measuring 900mm in diameter and weighing 95kgs each, they are designed to spin at up to 10,200rpm (revolutions per minute) – more than four times faster than wheels on an F1 car at top speed. The result of 30 years of research and design, they were created by an international consortium and forged from one of the highest aircraft grade aluminium alloys in the world: 7037.

The wheels have a V shaped keel which digs into the alkali playa (baked mud) surface by 25mm when the Car is stationary. As speeds increase, the wheels will rise up out of the mud surface and plane in much the same way as a speedboat rides up on the surface of the water. At 500mph (804kmh) and above, just a few millimetres of metal will be in contact with the desert surface, and the giant alumimium discs will act more like rudders than the wheels on a conventional car.

The 12 mile (19km) desert racetrack has been prepared by 317 members of the local Mier community. They have moved 16,000 tonnes of rock from 22 million square metres of dry lakebed, the largest area of land ever cleared by hand for a motorsport event, testimony to the partnership forged between the BLOODHOUND Team, the local community and the Northern Cape Government.

Engineering Director Mark Chapman said: “The track is 19km by 500m, with large safety areas on both sides. This allows us to lay out up to 50 individual tracks side by side. This is important as we can’t run over the same piece of ground twice because the Car will break up the baked mud surface as it passes. We need multiple tracks so we can build speed slowly and safely – going up in 50mph (80km/h) steps, comparing real-world results with theoretical data – and Hakskeen is the perfect place to do this.

“The surface is hard, too, which means we’ve been able to design slightly narrower wheels that reduce aerodynamic drag. The desert surface also has a slight degree of ‘give’, which will work with the suspension to give a smoother ride, reducing vibration inside the Car.”

During low speed trials earlier this year driver, Wing Commander Andy Green, the current World Land Speed Record holder, drove BLOODHOUND SSC from a standing start to 200mph in 8 seconds.

Andy Green said, “BLOODHOUND 500 is a key milestone on the route to setting a 1,000mph record. Building on everything we learned in Newquay this October, we’ll learn a tremendous amount by going fast on the desert the Car was designed to run on. We hope you can join us in the Kalahari desert to share this experience first-hand.”


SpaceX resupplies the ISS with recycled rocket and spacecraft for the first time


On Friday, Dec. 15th, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft successfully lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Station, beginning SpaceX's 13th Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

This mission marks the first time SpaceX has flown both a flight-proven Falcon 9 and a flight-proven Dragon spacecraft in the same mission. Falcon 9’s first stage previously supported the CRS-11 mission in June 2017 and the Dragon spacecraft previously supported the CRS-6 mission in April 2015. Dragon will deliver about 4,800 pounds of cargo and material to support science investigations aboard the space station. After about one month attached to the space station, Dragon will return with results of earlier experiments, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California. You can watch a replay of the launch below and find more information about the mission in our

More info: http://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/files/crs13presskit_12142017.pdf


GRACE-FO satellites are on the way to the launch site in California


German-built gravity research satellites are on the way to the launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California

The twin GRACE-FO satellites have now set off on their journey to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Together with test equipment totalling around 45 tonnes, the gravity research satellites built and developed by Airbus in Friedrichshafen (Germany) were loaded overnight onto an air freighter at Munich airport and flown to the USA this morning. GRACE-FO is a joint project between NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) based in Pasadena, California, and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) in Potsdam.

Both GRACE-FO research satellites are scheduled for launch in spring 2018, and will be placed in a polar orbit of around 500 kilometres and with a distance of 220 kilometres between them. The mission is planned to last at least five years. The satellites will constantly measure the distance between each other to within a few microns using a microwave system built at JPL. At the same time, a sensitive accelerometer, built at Onera in France, will account for non-gravitational effects, such as atmospheric drag and solar radiation. The data will be used to track the movement of liquid water, ice and land masses by creating monthly maps of the changes in Earth’s gravitational field. GRACE-FO continues this essential climate record established by the predecessor GRACE mission, a joint project between the United States and Germany. GRACE ended its science operations in October after more than 15 years of operations.

The GRACE-FO satellites will also feature a new inter-satellite laser ranging instrument, developed in a German/American joint venture, which will be tested for use in future generations of satellites. In addition, each satellite will record up to 200 profiles per day of temperature distribution and water-vapour content in the atmosphere and the ionosphere to aid weather forecasting.
A team of 15 Airbus space engineers and technicians are currently awaiting the arrival of the satellites in California. The plan is to assemble all test systems on site and check the GRACE-FO spacecraft before the Christmas break in readiness for the launch campaign in 2018.


Airbus selected by ESA for Copernicus Data and Information Access Service (DIAS)


irbus has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to be one of four suppliers for DIAS, the Copernicus Data and Information Access Service. DIAS will make data and information easily available to users through a cloud computing architecture enabling enhanced coordination and cross-fertilization at European Union (EU) level and amongst initiatives at Member State or regional level.

The four-year contract was signed in Brussels by Mr Josef Aschbacher, ESA Director for Earth Observation and Mathilde Royer-Germain, Head of Earth Observation, Navigation and Science at Airbus, in presence of Mr Philippe Brunet, Director General for Enterprise and Industry for the European Commission (EC).

Copernicus is the most ambitious Earth observation programme to date providing accurate, timely and easily accessible information to improve the management of the environment, understand and mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security. The volume of data produced by this programme is enormous: in one year, the Sentinel satellites have provided the equivalent of 50 years of ENVISAT mission data, ESA's previous environmental satellite. To foster data dissemination and to answer a strong need for simplification, the EC and ESA have decided to offer users the capability to exploit Copernicus data and information without having to manage transfer and storage on their own computer systems.

Airbus is leading a consortium which includes Orange, Capgemini, CLS and Vito combining their competencies to create and manage the system which will allow access to Copernicus data. Airbus is in charge of management, coordination of all technical contributors, system engineering and integration of the system. After entry into service, Airbus will continue to lead, operate and further develop DIAS in close coordination with numerous worldwide actors.

“As a major contributor to the Copernicus programme, Airbus is proud to be part of this new phase that combines Earth Observation data acquisition with new and efficient technologies like cloud computing. DIAS will simplify the data access for European citizens and will boost the creation of new business models based on Earth Observation,” said Mathilde Royer- Germain.

Early operations are set to start in six months with the demonstration of the infrastructure capabilities, preliminary access to data sets and initial service delivery.

DIAS will unify all the existing access to Sentinels products on the same “one-stop shop on the cloud” together with in-situ and third party mission data. These services will allow easy access to Copernicus data for EU citizens including the scientific community, general public and entrepreneurs who wish to process these data in order to provide their own Copernicus based services (front-offices).

DIAS will provide an efficient data management solution, taking into account data policy and users’ rights to seamlessly harvest the diverse existing data catalogues and store them in a way that optimises access.


Airbus and Williams Advanced Engineering team to explore technology collaboration


Companies see shared benefits from Zephyr and Formula 1-inspired innovation

Farnborough, 18 December 2017 – Airbus and Williams Advanced Engineering, the innovative engineering and technology business of Williams Grand Prix Engineering, are to explore potential areas of technological collaboration.

Under the terms of a newly signed MoU, the two companies will examine in particular applications that may combine Williams’ innovation culture, lightweight composites and battery expertise with Airbus‘ Zephyr High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) programme.

Zephyr is a record-breaking, solar-powered, unmanned aerial system (UAS), or drone, with unique communications and surveillance capabilities. It will fly at more than 65,000ft, above commercial air traffic, for months at a time. The first production examples are being manufactured at Farnborough for the UK Ministry of Defence.

As sole battery supplier to the FIA Formula E championship since its inception, Williams Advanced Engineering’s battery technology has been tried and tested, and its world-leading expertise in electrification has become core to the business. And with four decades of experience at the pinnacle of motor racing, where lightweight materials and structures are crucial, Williams is now developing these technologies and finding innovative solutions to weight saving.

Airbus Head of Unmanned Aerial Systems, Jana Rosenmann, said: “At Airbus we have enormous respect for Williams Advanced Engineering’s technical expertise and achievements, as well as for their impressive record in rapidly bringing new technologies and products to market. Our engineering teams are thrilled to have the opportunity to learn from the Formula 1 world and just as enthusiastic about sharing much of what we have learned in developing solutions to high-altitude, solar-powered flight.

“Both Airbus and Williams are always looking to recruit talented engineers and we hope that this joint activity illustrates the terrific opportunities we offer to work in the kind of technologies that will be critical to future transportation.”
Craig Wilson, Managing Director of Williams Advanced Engineering said: “Airbus is a name synonymous with innovation and technology in the industry. As such, we are delighted to be working with them on this project, and hope to share some of our expertise in electrification, battery systems and advanced lightweight materials, as well as learn from their vast experience in aerospace. We are very much looking forward to working together on this project and hope the learnings from one another may continue in the future.”


Airbus CyberSecurity Predictions for 2018


Researchers at Airbus’ external Cyber Security business have compiled their top technology predictions for 2018, based on trends identified at its Security Operations Centres in France, UK and Germany during 2017.

Prediction 1: A lack of social media security policies will create serious risks for enterprises

As observed during 2017, social media platforms are regularly being used for the spread of fake news or the manipulation of public opinion. But social media can also be used for sophisticated social engineering and reconnaissance activities which form the basis of many attacks on the enterprise. Criminals and hackers are known to use these platforms to distribute malware, push rogue antivirus scams and phishing campaigns to lure their victims.

Markus Braendle, Head of the Airbus CyberSecurity business: “Social media provide the medium for connecting people globally, in the rapid exchange of ideas, discussions and debates in our digital world. However, from an attacker’s perspective, social media have become an easy target because of the number of non-cyber security savvy users, and the fact that these platforms are easy and cost effective to use. To protect themselves against social media attacks, organisations need to implement enterprise-wide social media security policies. This includes designing training programs for employees about social media usage, and creating incident response plans that coordinate the activities of the legal, HR, marketing and IT departments in the event of a security breach.”

Prediction 2: Attacks on Wireless networks will escalate

Attacks on Wireless networks will increase as attackers seek to exploit the Key Reinstallation Attack (KRACK) vulnerability, first made public in October 2017.

The vulnerability can allow an attacker to intercept and read Wi-Fi traffic between devices and a WiFi router, and in some cases even modify the traffic to inject malicious data into websites. It could also allow attackers to obtain sensitive information from those devices, such as credit card details, passwords, chat messages and emails.

Braendle continues: “We can expect to see an escalation of attacks over public or open WiFi connections, and in turn, an increased security provision by organisations that offer such services to their customers. Such attacks may be particularly damaging for people using old devices that are no longer supported by vendors, making them an attractive target for cyber criminals. These threats may also trigger an increased use of Virtual Private Networks (VPN) by the most security conscious users.”

Prediction 3: Encryption will continue to represent challenges for law enforcement

Concerns about data privacy, the increasing use of cloud computing, an increase in data breaches and the introduction of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will all contribute to the emergence of End to End Encryption (E2EE) as the most effective way for enterprises wishing to secure their data. But E2EE will also represent some challenges to law enforcement as criminals continue to use this technique for espionage and subversion.
Braendle continues: “When weighing up the cost of any security solution, it’s important to consider the financial impact of suffering a security incident. After General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect, organisations could be fined up to 4% of their global turnover in the event of a data breach – so the cost of any solution must always be viewed in relation to the risks involved.”


Airbus Recognises Top-performing Defence and Space Suppliers


Airbus Defence and Space has recognised its best in class suppliers in an awards ceremony at its 4th annual Supplier Conference.

Awards were presented in each of the company’s commodity clusters – Equipment & Systems, Structure & Materials, and Services & IT – as well as an overall innovation award selected from among the entire chain of more than 10,000 suppliers.

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies took the Best Performance in Equipment & Systems award for its outstanding delivery performance – 99% – and flexibility in commercial discussions regarding its supply of cables and connectors.

The Best Performance in Structure & Materials award went to RUAG Space for its open and pragmatic approach to the design, manufacture and qualification of sub-systems on the Metop A&B and Sentinel 1 C&D satellites.

Accenture took the Services & IT Best Performance award for its work towards the development of an Electronic Information Exchange system, specifically to support the Airbus C295 search and rescue aircraft programme for Canada.

Finally the Best Innovator Overall award was presented to Liebherr Aerospace for its strong and reliable technology-driven performance in sharing innovative solutions and aligning technology roadmaps notably in its next generation air management and cooling systems and advanced flight control and actuation systems.

Martin Weichhardt, Head of Procurement, Supply Chain and Logistics at Airbus Defence and Space, said: “At Airbus we are acutely aware of the contribution of our suppliers to our global success and it is an absolute pleasure to recognise our top performers publicly.”


[Photo] H160’s third prototype gets its carbon design livery


Marignane, France, The third H160 prototype has received a fresh coat of paint and now features a striking “carbon” livery designed as a nod to the Airbus A350 XWB MSN2 flight-test aircraft. Both aircraft are produced using advanced composite materials supplied by Airbus’ long term partner, Hexcel. The H160 is the first civil helicopter equipped with a full composite fuselage, the advantages of which include a lighter fuel-saving airframe, performance optimization and simplified maintenance.


Airbus Helicopters continues industrial transformation with Paris-Le Bourget blades site


On 1 December 2017, Airbus Helicopters celebrated the inauguration of its Paris-Le Bourget site, where helicopter blades are now being produced for the Airbus range. The blade-specific specialisation is part of the manufacturer’s industrial strategy.

Covering an area of 18 hectares and with a total investment of more than 100 M€, the new Paris-Le Bourget site was conceived as a model for modern and digitalised production. The use of automation and cobotisation – the coexisting work performed by people and robots – will play a major role in how the site functions. Because production is organised by type of work rather than by product produced, variations in work load are able to be accommodated in a more flexible way than before. 640 employees, 100 students, interns and temporary workers work in a 35,000 m² hangar to produce and repair around 4,000 blades a year. The transfer of Airbus’ La Courneuve activities to Paris-Le Bourget was more than just a relocation; it represents a transformation project that affects the site’s organisation of work, industrial processes, and ultimately, the company’s competitiveness. Further, it encompasses an extremely ambitious objective: to reduce production costs and manufacturing cycles for helicopters. The relocation also foreshadows Airbus Helicopters’ new industrial structure and the high level of specialisation at individual sites. Over time, Paris-Le Bourget will design and manufacture all Airbus helicopter blades.


Airbus Helicopter:In-flight validation of the innovative on-board image processing system takes flight


Marignane, Airbus Helicopters has gone a step further in the experimentation of its Project Eagle, with the in-flight validation of the innovative on-board image processing system.

Performed on an H225 flying testbed, the trials have demonstrated the system’s ability to select a small ground “target” from ranges of up to 2 miles and to automatically track it during the approach performed by the pilot. The flight tests have also validated Eagle’s architecture and main components, such as the gyrostabilized optronics package and the processing unit. The next steps of the testing campaign will focus on coupling Eagle with the automatic flight control system to fully automatise the approach to a selected landing area.

Codenamed Eagle (Eye for Autonomous Guidance and Landing Extension), this research project aims to federate the entire helicopter’s image processing functions and feed them into the avionics system, thus improving the crew’s situation awareness and reducing the pilot’s workload by automating and securing approaches, take-off and landing in the most demanding environments. The system is designed to be integrated on a variety of existing and future Airbus vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicles.


Delta Air Lines places order for 100 A321neo ACF aircraft


Underscores airline’s confidence in Airbus single-aisle family

Delta Air Lines today placed an order with Airbus for 100 of the manufacturer’s modern A321neo ACF (Airbus Cabin Flex configuration) aircraft. The U.S.-based carrier selected the largest member of Airbus’ single-aisle Family to meet Delta’s future requirements for aircraft with greater efficiency and additional capacity. The airline’s A321neo ACF planes will be powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1133G-JM geared turbofan engines.

“This is the right transaction at the right time for our customers, our employees and our shareholders,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian. “Delta, Airbus and Pratt & Whitney share the same commitment to safety, efficiency, innovation and continuously improving the customer experience. This order for the state-of-the-art A321neo with Pratt’s Pure Power next-generation jet engines reflects our long-term commitment to these values for Delta people and all our constituents.”

“We at Airbus are very happy we won this hotly-contested campaign, together with our partner Pratt, and we are proud to serve Delta with the A321neo. This important order will further strengthen our partnership with Delta - one of the world’s best airlines - which we have developed over many years.” said Tom Enders, Airbus Chief Executive Officer. “It is also good news for our employees in Mobile, Alabama, where most of the Delta planes will be manufactured. We look forward to seeing the A321neo ACF flying in Delta colours soon.”

Delta’s announcement on the A321neo ACF follows several orders in recent years for the current engine option (ceo) version of the A321. Delta has ordered a total of 117 A321ceos, each powered by CFM56 engines from CFM International.

The A321neo ACF introduces new door and fuselage enhancements that allow airlines to make best use of the cabin space with a range of up to 4,000 nautical miles. The A321 is the largest member of the A320 Family, seating up to 240 passengers. Incorporating the latest engines, aerodynamic advances, and cabin innovations, the A321neo will offer a significant reduction in fuel consumption of 20 percent by 2020. With more than 5,300 orders received from 96 customers since its launch in 2010, the A320neo Family has captured some 60 percent share of the market.

Most of Delta’s A321neos will be delivered from the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Mobile, Alabama. The airline has taken delivery of 13 U.S.-manufactured Airbus aircraft since last year. In addition, the 50th aircraft to be produced by the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility will be delivered to Delta later this week. The Mobile factory produces four aircraft per month for delivery to Airbus’ U.S. customers. Plans for further production ramp up are currently being discussed.

In addition to Airbus’ U.S. manufacturing, the company has a long and strong partnership with American aerospace supplier companies. Today, there is more U.S. content in Airbus aircraft than from any other country, with more than 40% of the company’s aircraft-related procurement coming from the United States.

As of the end of November, Delta was flying a fleet of 196 Airbus aircraft, including 150 A320 Family members, 42 A330 widebodies, and four A350 XWB aircraft.


Airbus delivers 50th A320 Family aircraft assembled in the U.S.

press release

Alabama workforce also celebrating meeting goal to produce four A320 Family aircraft a month

Less than two years after Airbus delivered the first A320 Family aircraft from its Airbus A320 Family U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Mobile, Alabama, the company today delivered its 50th aircraft. The A321, designated MSN 7943, was delivered to Delta Air Lines.

The milestone was celebrated by the facility’s employees, as well as Airbus Americas Chairman Allan McArtor and members of the Delta Air Lines delivery team.

“The 50th delivery is a real point of pride not only for our team here in Mobile, but also for tens of thousands of employees from the hundreds of U.S. suppliers that contribute to these aircraft,” said McArtor. “We said in 2012 that we were going to build Airbus aircraft in the U.S. for our U.S.-based customers. We delivered the first aircraft in 2016, and today we stand here celebrating the 50th. We’ve met our originally announced schedule, and we’ve fulfilled the commitment we made to our customers, our suppliers across the country, and this Gulf Coast community.”

Daryl Taylor, Vice President & General Manager of the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility praised the team that builds the aircraft. “Team Mobile’s hard work and dedication have brought us to this milestone. We’ve built a great team who together are building great aircraft, meeting challenges head-on and continually seeking ways to improve.” With the delivery this week, the facility also meets its goal to produce four A320 family aircraft a month – known in the aircraft industry as “rate four.” Airbus has three other A320 Family production facilities around the world: Toulouse, France; Hamburg, Germany; and Tianjin, China.