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.

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

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

Boeing Brings the 787-9 to Kiwi Soil.

Boeing picked the ideal location for the 787-9 Dreamliner to make its international debut in the flight-test program. The newest member of the Dreamliner family flew nonstop from Seattle to Auckland – the longest 787-9 flight to date — to pay a visit to launch customer Air New Zealand.

“Boeing is proud to bring the 787-9 to Auckland to show Air New Zealand what the team has achieved,” said Mark Jenks, vice president, 787 Development, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “With more than 150 flights and since testing began in September, the test fleet continues to perform very well, and we look forward to delivering the first 787-9 in mid-2014 as promised.”

With the 787 set to become a staple of Air New Zealand’s long-haul fleet, this visit was an opportunity for the airline’s technical and flight crews to get hands-on time with the 787-9. Air New Zealand employees explored the airplane side by side with their Boeing partners — a unique opportunity not just to see their airplane, but to view a 787-9 configured for testing, unlike anything they would see in service.

“Having one of Air New Zealand’s 787-9s touch down on Kiwi soil for the first time is hugely exciting,” said Christopher Luxon, chief executive officer, Air New Zealand. “It’s a real reminder that we will soon welcome the first of these more modern, fuel-efficient aircraft into our fleet.”

The airplane, ZB002, is the second of three 787-9s dedicated to the test program, which began last September. As the only 787-9 test airplane to be fitted with elements of the passenger interior, in addition to test racks and instrumentation, Boeing uses ZB002 to test the environmental control system and other aspects of airplane performance. After the test program is complete, the airplane will be reconfigured for delivery to Air New Zealand.

The 787-9 will complement and extend the 787 family. With the fuselage stretched by 6 meters (20 feet) over the 787-8, the 787-9 will fly up to 40 more passengers an additional 555 kilometers (300 nmi) with the same exceptional environmental performance — 20 percent less fuel use and 20 percent fewer emissions than similarly sized airplanes. The 787-9 leverages the visionary design of the 787-8, offering passengers features such as large windows, large stow bins, modern LED lighting, higher humidity, a lower cabin altitude, cleaner air and a smoother ride.

Boeing is on track to deliver the first 787-9 to Air New Zealand in mid-2014. Twenty-six customers from around the world have ordered 402 787-9s, representing 39 percent of all 787 orders.

By Adam Tischler, Tim Bader, and Julie O’Donnell

Boeing Media Room

We screw it again…

And we screw it again, last night a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 with 124 passengers and five crew on board landed at the wrong airport.

Southwest Airlines flight 4013 was a scheduled flight from Chicago Midway (KMDW) to Branson, Missouri (KBBG) airport, but instead of landing at its destination, the aircraft landed 7 miles north at the tiny but busy M. Graham Clark (KPLK) airport.

Runway 12/30 is only 3.738 ft. long and 100 ft. wide at M. Graham Clark airport, we can say that the guys did a pretty good job bringing the aircraft to a safe stop within the runway limits, but at the wrong airport.

Less than two months ago, the Boeing guys landed the Dreamlifter at Col. James Jabara airport, instead of McConell Air Force Base, 9 miles north.

At this point we start wondering, what’s happening to our pilots today? Is that apart from losing our basic flying skills we are also losing our common sense? We are not talking of airports that are beside each other, these are airports several miles apart.

Branson airport runway 14/32 its 7.140 ft. long and 150 ft. wide, almost twice the size of M.Graham Clark, it has ILS, LOC and RNAV (GPS) approach for rwy 32 and RNAV (GPS) approach for rwy 14.

I remember several years ago when a Captain flying in brighter skies now told me – “When you have an airport with an ILS or VOR approach, always set the freq and the final course and crosscheck it on final”. We can say here that just a simple look at the ILS or LOC course could have saved the day, or night.

As you can see in the title and content of this article I always used the term “we” instead of “they”, because I consider is not a matter of finding a person/s to blame and go against him or them. Is a matter of start seriously finding solutions and go back to our sources, if necessary.

Capt. Ivan

Saudi Airlines leased Boeing 767 Crash Lands at Medina

A Saudi Airlines leased Boeing 767-300 was damaged in a landing accident at Medina (Madinah-Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz Airport) today. The aircraft belongs to Orient Thai Airlines, a charter company based in Thailand.

The aircraft was on the third attempt to land when the number two engine of the Boeing 767-3W0/ER –  HS-BKE – (msn 28264) contacted the runway on landing after the right main gear failed to deploy, 29 people were injured according the the BBC. 11 were taken to local hospitals and 18 had minor injuries.

The Hajj charter flight was carrying 299 passengers and 16 crew members. During the Hajj annual pilgrimage, Saudi Airlines leases in additional aircraft.

Capt. Ivan

Photo:  Twitter

A350 MSN2 rolls out of paint hangar with special ‘Carbon’ livery

A350_MSN2_2

On Thursday 2nd January 2014 Airbus rolled-out its third A350 XWB flight-test aircraft, MSN2, from the paint shop in Toulouse, marking yet another successful milestone on the path to entry-into-service in Q4 2014. As well as featuring a distinctive “Carbon” signature livery to reflect its primary construction from advanced materials, this aircraft is also the first of two A350 flight test aircraft to be equipped with a full passenger cabin interior.

MSN2 will join the A350 XWB flight test fleet in the coming weeks and will be the first A350 to transport passengers when it undertakes the Early Long Flights (ELF) later in the year.

Composite materials in Airbus aircraft have seen a step-by-step introduction that started with the A310 which was first rolled-out in February 1982. Benefiting from over 30 years of composite material experience, 53% of the A350 XWB’s airframe is made-up of carbon-fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) including Airbus’ first carbon-fibre fuselage.

Source:  Airbus Press Release

British Airways hits a building at OR Tambo, South Africa

imageA British Airways Boeing 747-400 bound for London crashed last night into a building at OR Tambo Intl. in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Images obtained from Twitter show the aircraft was taxiing when its right wing sliced a brick building next to the taxiway.

An airport ‘s spokesman confirmed the airplane has been damaged an that there were no injuries among the passengers and crew.

The flight was cancelled.

Capt. Ivan

Preliminary Investigations Reveal that the Pilot Crashed “deliberately” the Mozambican EMB190

A preliminary investigation has revealed that a Mozambican Airlines captain, whose plane went down in Namibia in November, had a clear intention of crashing the aircraft.

Captain Herminio dos Santos Fernandes manipulated the autopilot in a way which “denotes a clear intention” to bring the plane down, said Mozambican Civil Aviation Institute (IACM) head Joao Abreu on Saturday.

LAM Mozambique Airlines Flight 470 was an Embraer 190 on a scheduled passenger flight from to Quatro de Fevereiro Airport, Angola. All 33 people, including 6 crew members, who were on board the aircraft were killed.

Dos Santos Fernandes locked himself in the cockpit, ignored alarm signals and refused to allow his co-pilot back into the flight deck until moments before the crash.

“During these actions you can hear low and high-intensity alarm signals and repeated beating against the door with demands to come into the cockpit,” Abreu was quoted as saying by state news agency AIM.

Dos Santos Fernandes also manually changed the aircraft’s altitude three times from 11,582 metres to 180 metres.

Airbrake parameters showed the spoilers, and aerodynamic resistance plates on the wings, were deployed and held in that position until the end of the recordings, which proved the throttle was manually controlled, according to Abreu.

“The plane fell with the pilot alert and the reasons which may have given rise to this behaviour are unknown,” said Abreu.

Dos Santos Fernandes had logged 9,053 flight hours, his licence was renewed in 2012 and he underwent a medical exam last September.

The passengers were from Mozambique, Angola, Portugal, Brazil, France and China.

This accident is the deadliest for Mozambique since a plane carrying then-president Samora Machel went down in 1986 in South Africa following an African leaders’ summit and killed an estimated 34 people.

The European Union banned Mozambican Airlines (LAM) and all air carriers certified in Mozambique from flying in its airspace in 2011 due to major concerns over safety.

Capt. Ivan

Photo: AP

AirAsia X orders 25 more A330-300s

20131220-214357.jpgAirAsia X, the long haul affiliate of the AirAsia Group, has placed a firm order with Airbus for 25 more A330-300s. The contract is the largest A330 order received by Airbus in a single purchase agreement and increases the carrier’s total firm orders for the type to 51. These will be supplemented by another six A330-300s leased from International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC).

AirAsia X will start taking delivery of its newly-ordered A330-300s in 2015 as it begins a major expansion of its network across the Asia-Pacific region. The new order includes the latest extended range versions of the A330-300, providing the carrier with the ability to offer non-stop service to destinations in Europe or one-stop service to the US.
Tan Sri’ Tony Fernandes, Co-Founder and Director of AirAsia X said, “This order stamps our firm intent to dominate the long-haul, low cost carrier space and marks the next phase in our development to be the undisputed global market leader. Our commitment would allow us to remain as the youngest wide body fleet age in the region at under five years throughout 2019, with corresponding competitive fuel efficiency, reliability and cabin comfort benefits.”

“The aircraft orders would further cater to our expansion plans in Malaysia, and the proposed new Thai AirAsia X hub as well as other long-haul ventures planned across Asia. The developments will complement the AirAsia Group’s long-term vision of developing its presence in key markets in Asia and strengthen the connectivity between long-haul and short-haul low-cost network.”
“AirAsia X has proven that it is possible to build a highly successful low cost long haul business,” said Fabrice Brégier President and CEO, Airbus. “And the A330 is the perfect platform for such operations, with the lowest operating costs, true long range flying capability and a proven track record of exceptional technical reliability. We look forward to working with AirAsia X as it continues to innovate in the low cost long haul market.”

AirAsia X currently operates 16 A330-300s on services linking its Kuala Lumpur base to destinations in Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific. In addition to A330s, the carrier also has 10 A350-XWB aircraft on order for future delivery.

Source: Airbus Media Room

  •   GDL 39