Airbus Takes the 350 to Canada for Cold Weather Testing

Airbus’ A350 XWB MSN3 development aircraft with a team of 48 Airbus specialists have arrived at Iqaluit, Canada for several days of cold weather trials. The various tests for the aircraft its engines and its systems include a ‘cold soak’ down to minus double-digit temperatures. The scope of the trials include: APU and engine starts after cold soak; verification of system behaviour; low-speed taxi and rejected take-offs; thrust-reverser tests with snow.


This latest phase of the development test programme comes only days after MSN3’s completion of the “hot-and-high” tests in Bolivia. Since the A350 XWB’s first flight with MSN1 on June 14th 2013, over 890 flight test hours have been performed in close to 200 test flights by both MSN1 and MSN3. In total the A350 XWB flight test campaign will accumulate around 2,500 flight hours with the fleet of five aircraft. The rigorous flight testing will lead to the certification of the A350-900 by the European EASA and US FAA airworthiness authorities, prior to entry into service in Q4 2014.

Source:  Airbus

Boeing Rolls Out First Dreamliner at Increased Production Rate

Boeing has rolled out the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner built at the rate of 10 airplanes per month. The airplane, a 787-8 and the 155th Dreamliner built, will be delivered to International Lease Finance Corp. for operation by Aeromexico.

The new 10 per month rate is the highest ever for a twin-aisle airplane. The 787 program has now increased its production rate three times in just over a year, including to five airplanes per month in November 2012 and seven per month in May 2013.

“This rate increase reflects the continued strong demand for the 787,” said Larry Loftis, vice president and general manager, 787 program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “A disciplined approach that combined employee teamwork with technology was key to achieving the higher rate.”

Boeing assembles and delivers 787s in two locations: Everett, Wash., and North Charleston, S.C.

To date, 115 787s have been delivered to 16 customers. The program has 1,030 total orders from 60 customers worldwide.

This airplane will be the fourth 787 operated by Aeromexico and will be used on the airline’s Mexico City – London Heathrow route.

Source:  Debbie Heathers – Boeing Media Room.


Beechcraft Celebrates 50 Years of the King Air

Last Jan 20th., Beechcraft Corporation celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first flight of the King Air Model 90 with several three-ship passes of the company’s current production King Air models over its home airfield, Beech Field, in Wichita, Kan., as employees and guests watched.

The King Air is the best-selling business aircraft family in the world with nearly 7,200 King Airs delivered and a worldwide fleet having surpassed 60 million flight hours.

“The significance of that first flight 50 years ago cannot be overstated, nor can the work of Beechcrafters over the past five decades to turn that one model into the legendary King Air brand,” said Bill Boisture, CEO of Beechcraft. “The King Air captures more than 50 percent of the worldwide business turboprop market each year because we’ve continued to innovate and build upon its foundation with the latest advancements in technology, durability, utility and comfort. Today’s celebration launches a year-long commemoration of the King Air legacy that began in earnest with the first flight of that first prototype.”

Company pilots flew the first official flight of the conforming prototype of the King Air Model 90 on Jan. 20, 1964. Thousands of spectators – including employees, Wichita residents and local and state dignitaries – watched as the aircraft took off from Beech Field to begin an FAA-approved accelerated flight test program. With five aircraft in the test program, the King Air received type certification from the FAA four months later on May 27. First customer deliveries began in July.

Today’s three ship 50th Anniversary flight included the King Air C90GTx, based on the original Model 90 design, as well as the King Air 250 and the flagship King Air 350i. Compared to the original Model 90, today’s King Air C90GTx cruises 60 knots faster, lifts 1,485 pounds more payload, and navigates with the latest satellite and datalink technology – all while preserving the legendary smooth flying characteristics that King Airs are known for.

King Airs, which operate in all branches of the U.S. military, serve a variety of missions ranging from traditional transport of personnel and high-value cargo, to electronic and imagery surveillance, air ambulance, airway calibration, photographic mapping, training and weather modification.

Source: Beech News.

And this time….The Dreamliner, almost landed at the wrong airport.

The incident occurred last Jan 14th, with an Air India Boeing 787-800 performing flight AI-301 from Sydney to Melbourne – Australia.  The Dreamliner was descending towards Melbourne when the crew requested a VOR approach to runway 34 but was cleared for a visual approach to runway 34. The aircraft aligned with Melbourne’s Essendon Airport’s runway 35 (1,500 meters/4930 feet length) and descended towards that runway when the air traffic controller interevened instructing the crew to turn left and subsequently telling the crew their runway was in their 2 o’clock position, they were still cleared for the visual approach runway 34. The aircraft turned towards the correct runway, climbed slightly from about 1300 to 1500 feet and landed safely on Melbourne’s runway 34 (length 3660 meters / 12.000 feet).

Following the Air India, air traffic control repeatedly asked approaches whether they were able to see the aerodrome beacon.

The ATSB did not open an investigation stating the system worked as it was supposed to do.


Source:  The Aviation Heraldymml_lizzi7_u_v_star

FAA to increase Take Off and Landing Separation at U.S. Busiest Airports

The FAA – Federal Aviation Administration is implementing changes in landing and takeoff procedures at more than a dozen big airports, including six of the 10 busiest U.S. fields to reduce the hazards of mid-air collisions.

The idea is to increase takeoffs and landings separations between aircraft simultaneously cleared for takeoff on one runway and those planes arriving on another.

Pilots and air-safety experts support the changes, recommended last summer by the National Transportation Safety Board, but said they could worsen delays at peak times or in bad weather.

The rule change comes after an investigation of five near-miss incidents over the past several years with US air safety investigators at the NTSB judging that the current rules created hazardous situations and unnecessary risk of collisions because pilots were not necessarily given clear guidance when conducting go-around maneuvers.

The NTSB issued a recommendation letter in July, following the investigation of five incidents in which commercial jetliners came within ‘hazardous proximity’ of other aircraft while arriving or departing at major US airports.

According to the new rule, tower controllers will have to delay issuing takeoff clearances regardless of weather conditions to make sure landing aircraft have touched down or taxied away from any potential conflict’.

The initial rule change affects 16 airports, many of which have already implemented the changes. Others have until February or April to comply, and an additional set of airports will be subject to the revised rules in July. Among the airports currently covered under the new rule are JFK in New York, McCarran in Las Vegas, O’Hare in Chicago, and Dallas-Fort Worth, as well as the airports in Charlotte, Denver, Houston, Boston, Miami, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and “a handful of other locations.”

Source’s:  The Wall Street JournalAir Traffic Management

AVIATE, AVIATE, AVIATE!! – Illinois Pilot Lands Safely After Goose Strike

Illinois pilot Keith Baird was climbing into blue skies, with no inkling of trouble until a flight of four Canada geese suddenly appeared dead ahead, heading in the opposite direction.

Both men reflexively ducked as the goose blasted into the cabin about 39 seconds into the flight, roughly 400 feet above the ground. The impact, captured by a GoPro camera that Baird had just received as a Christmas present, punched a large hole in the windscreen and doused Baird and Frees in feathers and blood. In the very next instant, even before the facts of the situation began to sort themselves out in his head, Baird’s training kicked in.

“Aviate, aviate, aviate. That’s all you need to do,” Baird said. “Just fly the airplane.”

First things first: He had a positive rate of climb, and the airplane was still flying. The wind, with no exit available, was not rushing through the cockpit. “It’s not a wind tunnel by any stretch,” Baird recalled. He noticed his hands were covered in blood. Baird did not know whether some of it was his own, or how badly injured he was. (He was uninjured, though the video footage, watched later in slow-motion, captured the impact of the flying compass against Baird’s head.)

“I don’t know how much useable consciousness I have left,” Baird said of the seconds following the impact. As it turned out, neither Baird nor Frees were hurt, and Baird set to work making sure the goose was the only casualty. He lowered the gear and reduced power to avoid speeding up and testing the strength of what was left of his 1968 Cessna 210’s windscreen. He prepared to return to Brookeridge Airpark in Chicago’s western suburbs, from where they had just departed.

Aviate… Navigate—there was no decision to be made there, Baird noted: He just needed to return to the runway and land. Communicate—the unicom call could wait, though he would announce his return in due course, lest another pilot take the runway unaware of the returning Cessna. Baird said a more pressing concern was making sure the prop had not been damaged and thrown out of balance, a condition that would require a power-off landing.

In about 2,700 hours of flying over nearly three decades, Baird, 56, had never hit a bird before.

“The plane actually flew no differently,” Baird recalled. “It was just loud.”

A clinical psychologist whose practice includes counseling patients with a fear of flying, Baird said pilot training (including many years of using Air Safety Institute training products) made his responses virtually automatic.
The mantra of “aviate, navigate, communicate” worked as intended.
“The amazing thing, though, is when you over-learn it, it shows up in your head when the [expletive] hits the fan,” Baird said. “It was right there… in an emergency it overpowers brain lock.”

The balance of the flight was as routine as a flight can be under the circumstances.

Baird’s YouTube video, posted Jan. 10, had surpassed 250,000 views by Jan. 16, and Baird has given interviews to a growing list of media outlets, taking pains to make sure reporters get the message that general aviation pilots train and prepare for such emergencies, and the outcome was a product of that training and preparation, a series of nearly automatic responses. Baird said Frees looks forward to another sightseeing flight.

Baird said his future flying will be informed by a couple of lessons learned on Dec. 28. For one, he is accustomed to scanning for traffic at typical pattern altitudes, not skeins of geese approaching the departure path at 400 feet. That scan, Baird said, will be adjusted, along with his longtime practice of flying below 3,000 feet on VFR sightseeing trips. Research since that day has informed him that about nine in 10 bird strikes happen below 3,000 feet, Baird said.

For all of that, Baird said he is not particularly anxious about future encounters, despite the fact that the outcome could have been much worse. The bird hit near the center of the windscreen, and that was a lucky break: A few inches to the left, and Baird would have suffered a direct hit that could have injured or killed him. He has watched the video many, many times, marveling at his good fortune.

“That really was a little closer than I thought to injury,” Baird said. “We just were fortunate where it struck the windscreen.”

Baird said he has no lingering anxiety over the bird strike, no concern about future flying (though he will be a bit more careful about scanning for unusually low traffic, and maintain higher altitudes). As for the video, Baird said it is likely to be more useful to pilots—reinforcing the need for caution and the value of training for emergencies—than to patients who fear flying.

“I’m not sure how this video is going to work in that scheme,” Baird said with a chuckle.


By Jim Moore – AOPA

Photo Credits:  Keith Baird


How to fly a real Boeing 737-800 after 1 month – Challenge.

Tom Waes, host of Tomtesterom program of the Belgian VRT television network is a guy who takes on different challenges and tries to complete them successfully while only having limited amount of time to prepare himself.

On this episode he takes the challenge to fly a Boeing 737-800 with only one month of previous training.

An entertaining and must see video for all B737 fans and aviation enthusiasts.

The video is in Belgian language with English subtitles.

German Tornado Fighter Pilot Rescued from a Tree

A German fighter pilot had to be rescued from tree branches after he was forced to parachute to safety just seconds before his Tornado jet crashed.

The German army fighter plane crashed in a wooded area near Koblenz, western Germany last night shortly after taking off from a nearby air base.

The pilot and co-pilot ejected from the jet before the crash during a training exercise.

But one of them landed in a tree and was left hanging there until police, army and firefighting personnel quickly rushed to the hilly region some 50 kilometres west of Koblenz.

Both pilots were slightly injured, but did not need hospital treatment.

‘We need light to see the full extent of it,’ he said.

A spokesman for the airforce said: ‘I’ve spoken with both pilots. They are doing fine.’

A spokesman for the German army said on Friday morning that experts were now investigating the cause of the crash. 

Source:  Daily Mail

Photo: Reuters

Fastjet Expands into Zambia

Low-cost airline Fastjet on Friday confirmed it was in discussions with the Zambian government about its intent to establish a domestic airline business in Lusaka.

The airline stated that the Zambian economy provided a considerable opportunity, with a population of more than 14-million and significant regional trade links with its neighbours.

“There are a number of small, local airlines providing unreliable and intermittent services on domestic Zambian routes and there is strong evidence of a need for a dependable airline that can offer good value, high quality and regular sevices,” Fastjet said.

Key domestic routes that could be serviced by Fastjet included between Lusaka, Ndola and Livingstone.

“Ndola, on the Democratic Republic of Congo border and in the centre of the copperbelt, is a key hub which is currently poorly served,” Fastjet said.

Currently, regional international routes were all provided by non-Zambian airlines with the key route from Lusaka to Johannesburg being served with seven flights a day by South African Airways and its associates, Fastjet said, adding that it was confident that fastjet’s market-stimulating pricing model would grow traffic on these routes substantially.

The business and political environment in Zambia is very progressive and Fastjet’s discussions to date with the Zambian government, Tourist Board and other stakeholders have been positive, the airline said.

“Highlighted during the talks have been the obvious benefits of a low-cost airline to the country and Zambian people, which include the expansion of trade and tourism links and the safety and reliability improvements which Fastjet will bring to the Zambian aviation industry.”

The new airline, while being distributed and marketed as a part of the pan-African Fastjet network, would be a Zambian-registered company in which Fastjet would have a substantial stake.

The airline would have country-specific branding and would provide employment opportunities to suitably qualified Zambians. Further, it would provide training facilities as appropriate to ensure that the airline grew and developed its Zambian roots and workforce, Fastjet said, adding that it was keen to engage with potential Zambian investment partners.

“Fastjet will progress its application for an air services licence and air operator certificate as rapidly as possible but this process is likely to take up to six months. In the meantime, it will be bringing its reliable, safe and great-value flights to the Zambian people on the Lusaka – Dar es Salaam route that was announced recently and has already recorded strong interest and sales,” Fastjet concluded.


Southwest pilots confused by lights of wrong U.S. airport

The pilots of a Southwest Airlines plane that landed at the wrong airport in Missouri this week told investigators they mistook the bright runway lights of a smaller airport for their intended destination at Branson Airport, the National Transportation Safety Board said on Friday.

The pilots told NTSB investigators they did not realize they were at the wrong airport until they had landed late Sunday, which required heavy braking to get the Boeing 737-700 with 124 passengers aboard stopped on the shorter-than-expected runway, the NTSB said in a statement.

Southwest has suspended the two pilots from flying. The jet landed at M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport instead of at Branson Airport, the main commercial air strip near Branson, which has a much longer runway. The airports are about 7 miles (11 km) apart.

The captain, who has worked for Southwest for 15 years and has about 16,000 flight hours, told investigators it was his first flight into Branson. The first officer, who has been with the airline since 2001, told the NTSB it was his second flight into Branson, but the previous one was during daylight hours.

The pilots said the approach had been programmed into the plane’s flight management system, but that they saw the bright runway lights of Clark Downtown Airport and flew a visual approach into what they mistakenly believed to be Branson Airport.

The plane left Chicago Midway Airport on Sunday on a flight to Dallas Love Field with a planned first stop in Branson, a popular musical entertainment and tourism spot in southwest Missouri.

After landing at the wrong airport, the passengers were taken by ground transportation to the correct airport and then flown to Dallas on another jet later on Sunday.

Southwest said it has apologized to the passengers, is refunding the cost of their tickets and giving them travel credits.

The NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the incident.

“Safety remains our top priority; once we receive the final NTSB report, we will conduct a thorough review,” the airline said in a statement.

Source:  Reuters

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