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#6 - Quick news - Paris Air Show June 2015

Paris Air Show 2015 special edition

A350-900 programme – Delivering on commitments

Introduction of the A350 XWB is progressing apace, with the in-service fleet of three aircraft soon being joined by a fourth A350 for Qatar Airways (MSN10), with more on the way. The route network is also expanding: In addition to the twice daily service from Doha to Frankfurt, the A350 XWB is now also operating from Doha to Singapore, another key strategic route for Qatar Airways.

Behind the scenes at the Airbus factories, recent examples of the programme delivering on its commitments include: Qatar Airways’ first A350-1000 achieved ‘contractual definition freeze’ on May 4th; MSN14 for Vietnam Airlines, performed its first flight on June 1st; MSN18 for Finnair entered the paint shop on May 28th; MSN24 for LATAM had its winglets installed on May 22nd; MSN26 for Singapore Airline started final assembly on May 19th; and MSN29 for Cathay Pacific entered Station 50 on June 1st. Also, three out of the 10 ‘heads of version’ entering final assembly in 2015 will be delivered by the end of the year.

Download photo: Vietnam Airlines A350 XWB

Download photo: Qatar Airways A350 XWB

A350-1000 ‘Fixed Trailing Edge’ assembly underway

The A350-1000 Fixed Trailing Edge (FTE) start of assembly has recently been achieved by Airbus and its risk sharing partners – including GE and GKN. This marks a significant milestone in the journey for the A350-1000 programme, being a significant 'waypoint' on the journey to start of wing assembly in the next few months. The FTE is an integral part of the aircraft structure and a complex zone of the wing with many interfaces and highly loaded components – such as the main landing gear attachments and inboard flap. The composite spar, trailing edge components and the main assembly jig were all delivered on-time to support Airbus’ ‘load date’ of 12th May 2015. Manufacture of the FTE depends on a precise assembly process, as well as in the design and stress calculation. The FTE will be sent to Broughton for the start of the final wing assembly after the summer break. Overall the A350-1000 programme is on track for the next major milestone: the commencement of the first aircraft final assembly in the 1st quarter of 2016.

Download photos of Fixed Trailing Edge:       Photo 1            Photo 2

A330neo programme achieves “concept freeze” review

Just as this issue of Quick News went to press, the A330neo project had passed its latest maturity gate milestone – marking the end of the ‘concept phase’ or design freeze ‘at aircraft level’ which is an important step in this fast-paced 42-month development programme, running from launch to delivery. By passing this internal review, the A330neo development is cleared to proceed with specific design work at component level until ‘end of detailed design’, scheduled for around the turn of the year. Members of the panel, chaired by Airbus’ Head of Programmes, Didier Evrard, noted the significant progress since the previous review, the good level of technical maturity as well as the robustness of the project governance and risk management. Industrial feasibility has been demonstrated and target for entry-into-service by end 2017 has been confirmed. Odile Jubécourt, Head of A330neo Programme, commented that while there are still significant challenges to come, the high level of professionalism, dedication and teamwork between all functions provides a secure foundation for achieving the remaining milestones.

The A330neo, which was launched at Farnborough Airshow in July 2014, will incorporate the latest generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, aerodynamic enhancements and new cabin features - and will reduce fuel consumption by 14% per seat, making it the most cost efficient, medium range Widebody aircraft on the market.

Download image: A330neo

Airbus’ “BLADE” laminar-flow CleanSky project passes ‘Industrial Preparation Review’ milestone

Airbus’ ‘BLADE’ laminar flow wing Research & Technology (R&T) demonstrator for the EU’s CleanSky has entered the manufacturing phase after having passed its Critical Industrial Preparation Review in April 2015. The specially designed laminar flow outer-wing sections will be mated onto a widebody Airbus test aircraft, A340-300 MSN1. This aircraft is now stationed in Tarbes, France, where a dedicated hangar has been constructed to house the reconfiguring working party. ‘Power-on’ is planned to occur around end of 2016, followed by the start of flight-test activities in 2017. The BLADE project aims to run a series of flights grouped into two flight test campaigns – the first one in the fourth quarter of 2017 for six months and the second one in 2018 for four months to extensively test and characterize ‘laminarity’ in representative operational conditions.

The extent of the equipment being installed in A340 MSN1 is the highest ever used in any R&T flight-test with an Airbus aircraft. The aim is to prove that the ‘smart’ wing can be produced at ‘industrial scales’ and confer significant performance, with low maintenance and operational costs during its lifetime. Expected benefits include a five percent fuel burn saving on short and mid-range aircraft compared with an equivalent aircraft with a conventional wing.

Download photo: BLADE model in wind-tunnel test

New ground support courses for A350 operators

To support operators for the A350 XWB entry-into-service, Airbus continues to introduce new courses. The latest four include: the A350 Ramp & Transit course; the A350 Ground Handling course; the A350 Cabin Interior & Emergency Equipment course; and the A350 CAT II CAT III Maintenance course.

The A350 Ramp & Transit course is divided into theoretical and practical parts: The ‘theoretical’ part describes the system and sub-system operation, controls and indicating, transit servicing, checks and minor scheduled line maintenance and defect rectification, while the ‘practical’ part on synthetic maintenance training devices covers the specific tasks involved in ramp servicing. The course is aimed for technical personnel associated with through-flight maintenance activities, including in transit and ramp servicing.

The A350 Ground Handling course provides theoretical knowledge training up to the General Familiarization level. Similar to the other ground handling courses, Airbus’ customers can also expect to review: aircraft safety and ground handling procedures; practical training in aircraft ground handling and operation of commercial related systems; and location of major components. The course is aimed at ideal for non-technical personnel associated with flight servicing activities including aircraft ground handling and servicing.

The A350 Cabin Interior & Emergency Equipment course allows trainees to operate, test, remove and install all items belonging to the cabin systems, including a combination of theoretical and practical exercises. The course is carried out on the customer’s premises and is aimed at technical personnel associated with cabin maintenance of the aircraft.

The A350 CAT II CAT III Maintenance course is half theoretical and half practical (simulator session) covering the rules and regulations related to CAT II/CAT III operation, with the simulator session covering the specific tests and tasks involved as well as the effects of failure during the approach. It is aimed at technical personnel associated with CAT II/CAT III operation.

Airbus and easyJet to undertake ‘co-innovation’ project for inflight fault prognostics for A320 Family

Airbus and easyJet have agreed to jointly explore a new proof-of-concept co-innovation initiative to study fault prognosis capabilities to enhance Airbus’ prognostics maintenance eSolutions and services for the A320 single-aisle Family of aircraft. Airbus’ state-of-the-art early fault prognostics systems are already available today on its latest widebody aircraft – the A350 and A380 – to provide inflight updates from planes and predict technical issues before they occur. Now for the first time for the single-aisle family Airbus and easyJet will demonstrate potential services and eSolutions which could receive real-time information from aircraft systems via the ACARS messaging system. This information would then be analysed, with fault predictions sent to airlines’ operations teams so they can use it to troubleshoot technical faults as soon as the aircraft lands or schedule the work into its regular maintenance. 

As part of the initiative, easyJet and Airbus will study enhanced prognostics capabilities using an extended repository in which data is collated from easyJet’s fleet, from the worldwide in-service A320 fleet, and also from Airbus’ own operational benchmark analyses. The resultant ‘data lake’ will be processed using innovative algorithms. Overall, the enhanced prognostic capabilities would benefit airlines by further enabling airline engineering departments to plan for component replacements before issues arise, and identify possible actions to improve fleet operational performance and decrease maintenance cost.

SESAR awards Airbus-led Future of ATM ‘i4D’ project

The Airbus-led project, i4D* (or 'initial 4D trajectory management function') was recently recognised by the EU’s SESAR (Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research) initiative with its 'Best Release Exercise Award for 2014.' The award was for the outstanding performance of an i4D-equipped Airbus A320 test aircraft in March 2014 during a wide-scale i4D demonstration flight. The goal of the test flight was to show that i4D technology works in real-world conditions.

The i4D flight trial represents a major achievement to prepare for the future of the ATM transformation in Europe. To this end, Airbus and its partners - Honeywell and Thales Avionics - will soon take industrialisation decisions towards certification of the i4D capabilities for supporting the SESAR 2020 ‘Very Large Demonstration’ planned in 2018 and prepare the further deployment as planned in the SESAR ‘Pilot Common Project’.

In parallel, the validation exercises continue and Airbus and project partners will launch a flight test campaign to further refine i4D in over 100 flights. Moreover, Airbus wants to ensure that air-to-ground interfaces and the 4D trajectory information transmitted from the aircraft to the ATC all work as predicted. Then, by the end of the year, Airbus ATM Engineering and its industry partners will begin working with EASA to define the certification schedule.

*i4D technology is about sharing and synchronising aircraft trajectories using 'flying to time constraints.' An i4D-equipped aircraft communicates with Air Traffic Control (ATC) in order to build optimised arrival sequences, which improves arrivals at congested airports, saves time and fuel, and produces fewer emissions.

Airbus and FlightSafety international partnership to provide ab-initio pilot training for Airbus aircraft

The Airbus Training Centre (ATC) in Miami, Florida has signed a three-year agreement with FlightSafety International to provide an integrated, “ab-initio” training solution to airline customers and aspiring pilots at the FlightSafety Academy in Vero Beach, Florida. This agreement will help address the worldwide demand for new pilots. Courses and programmes offered through the Airbus/FlightSafety cooperation will encompass First Officer, Multi-Crew Pilot (MPL) and specifically in North America Airline Transport Pilot-Certified Training Programme (ATP-CTP).

Airbus’ main role will be to complement FlightSafety’s initial pilot-training programme and teach the specific requirements of the Airbus platform. FlightSafety and Airbus will offer candidates the opportunity to be trained in Florida, from no prior flight time all the way to a qualified A320 first officer. FlightSafety will train candidates to be qualified pilots, while Airbus will train them to be qualified as pilots on Airbus aircraft.

Airbus to build first Latin America Training Centre near Mexico City International Airport

Airbus has agreed with ASA (Aeropuertos y Servicios Auxiliares), a federal agency overseeing the management, operations and development of Mexican airports, to build its first Latin America Training Centre on the campus of ASA’s International Training Facility near Mexico City’s International Airport. Construction of the Airbus Mexico City Training Centre will start soon and will ultimately include a full suite of A320 pilot training equipment. Last year, Mexican low-cost-carrier Volaris selected Airbus to provide A320 Family flight simulator training and courses in Miami and Mexico City, as part of an agreement that included more than 25,000 flight training hours for 500 Volaris pilots. While the new training centre is being built, Volaris pilots will continue training at the Airbus Training Centre in Miami.

With more than 850 aircraft sold and a backlog of nearly 400, over 550 Airbus aircraft are in operation throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. In the last 10 years, Airbus has tripled its in-service fleet, while delivering more than 60 percent of all aircraft operating in the region. Mexico remains Latin America’s second largest traffic market and since 1990 Airbus has secured over 60 percent of total orders in the region.

Dual Head-Up Display certified by EASA for Airbus’ Single-Aisle aircraft

EASA has recently certified for factory installation or retrofit of a dual head-up-display (HUD) configuration for the A320 A318, A319 and A320 aircraft, and by the beginning of 2016, the dual HUD offer will be extended to the A321 model. Today, HUD systems, which enhance the pilot's situational awareness, are also available on the A350 and A380 (and since 2008 the A320 Family cockpits could be fitted with a single HUD). The A330 is set to follow with a HUD option in 2017. One of the significant drivers for the decision to offer a dual HUD is the Chinese Airworthiness Authorities’ recently issued mandate requiring all aircraft registered in China should have HUD systems.

The evolving Airbus HUD offer for the A320 Family also now incorporates provision for the latest functionalities, including: Runway Overrun Prevention System (ROPS); Required Navigation Performance Authorisation Required (RNP AR) accurate to 0.1nm; Auto-Pilot/Flight Director Traffic alert and Collision Avoidance System (AP/FD TCAS); Advisory runway ahead; ‘Soft go-around’; Reversible Back-Up Speed Scale (BUSS); and overall symbology improvements.

The main operational benefits of Head-Up Display include: Improved situational awareness; better Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC)/Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) transition; enhanced stability of manually flown approaches; reduced take-off minima; and reduced landing minima.

Download image: A320 Dual HUD installation

Airbus’ RFID and value-chain-visibility successes expand across Airbus Group; on track to deliver over €100M savings by 2020

Radio Frequency ID (RFID) technology is progressively being deployed in almost every Airbus plant and final assembly line – where Airbus can already visualize its factories digitally in 3D by using RFID to connect automatically and in real-time to the parts in production. And for its aircraft, the technology is being applied on traceable parts across the entire Airbus fleet. The positive recent successes of the Airbus’ value chain visibility (VCV) programme have resulted in its official expansion across the Airbus Group and overall the VCV is on track to deliver over €100M of savings by 2020 and boost competitiveness and enhance manufacturing efficiency. Furthermore, the rapidly growing in-house Airbus know-how is spawning the creation of new revenue generating services for airlines and MROs.

Recognizing these achievements, the leading industry watchtower of Radio Frequency ID (RFID) technology – the RFID Journal – recently awarded Carlo Nizam, as Airbus’ Head of the Value Chain Visibility (VCV) & RFID, and now promoted to Head of Digitalisation for Airbus Group ICT, the 2015 special Lifetime Achievement prize by the editors of the US based RFID and the IoT (“Internet of Things”) Journals. The judges acknowledged the progress achieved to digitalize the Airbus value chain by using RFID and IoT technologies, and to transform the aerospace value-chain for the better. Overall Airbus is becoming recognized as the benchmark for corporate IoT transformation projects to prepare for the future, within and beyond aerospace.

Download photos:

~ 3D factory visualisation using RFID

~ Carlo Nizam Lifetime RFID Award

~ A350 component RFID tag reader

Airbus’ Maintenance Training Organisation Exposition (MTOE) to include three new members in Asia

Airbus training continues to extend its footprint in South East Asia through the recent signature of agreements with three major MROs: GMF AeroAsia (Indonesia); HAECO (Hong Kong); and SIAEC (Singapore) to provide maintenance and engineering training for A320, A330, A340, A350 and A380 in the region. Each of these MROs will benefit from Airbus standard certifying (type-rating) and specialised courseware programmes, instruction media: the Airbus Competence Training “ACT” digital and dynamic classroom, virtual tools and real aircraft practice in their facilities.

Through such collaborations, these MROs facilities and instructors first undergo a standardization phase under Airbus supervision in order to become compliant with Airbus’ teaching and quality standards. Upon successful completion of this phase, the MROs integrate Airbus Part 147 “Maintenance Training Organisation” (MTOE) standards which qualify them to deliver ‘Training by Airbus’ with Airbus certificates – including Airbus contractual training – to their personnel and to third-party customers.

The respective status is as follows:

·  GMF AeroAsia / Airbus agreement signed: July 2013; Capabilities: A320 / A330; Integration in Airbus MTOE completed Q1 2015; Training by Airbus courses started in April 2015.

· HAECO / Airbus agreement signed: February 2015; Capabilities: A320 / A330 / A340 / A350; Integration in Airbus MTOE in progress; Training by Airbus courses delivery planned end 2015.

· SIAEC / Airbus agreement signed: March 2015; Capabilities: A320 / A330 / A340 / A380 / A350; Integration in Airbus MTOE in progress; Training by Airbus courses delivery planned end 2015.

Airbus Flight Training operations start in New Delhi

In India, following EASA approval at the end of 2014 of the New Delhi Airbus Flight Crew Training Centre as an “Approved Training Organisation” (ATO), local operations are now underway to provide “Training by Airbus” services delivered by Airbus instructors on EASA approved training devices for the A320 Family. Under this arrangement, the A320 Family courses now available include: Type Rating courses; Reduced Type Rating courses (Cross-Crew-Qualification); Low Visibility Operations (LVO), and Head-Up Display (HUD) courses. Vistara is the launch customer and currently six pilots are following a 737-to-A320 ‘Transition’ course. The development of Training by Airbus services will help respond to the great demand within India for flight training and flight & maintenance personnel training in general.

Brisk business for Airbus eSolutions:

Airbus Customer Services’ has recently won business across its range of eSolutions offerings, including: “FlySmart with Airbus”; “CrossLogBook”; and “AirPl@an OPTIMA”.

1. Regarding the FlySmart with Airbus electronic flight-bag (EFB) product, Airbus gained its first customer in North America when AirTransat signed for FlySmart with the Airbus ‘Gateway’ iPad solution for its A330 fleet.

Download photo: FlySmart with Airbus

In Japan, Peach Aviation recently selected FlySmart with Airbus on iPad. Peach Aviation pilots will consult all their Airbus flight operational manuals on iPads. They will also be able to compute their aircraft performance calculations which will provide them with optimised and accurate results on any runway in their operational route network.

2. Regarding the new CrossLogBook product, Airbus gained its first two customers – Ethiopian Airlines and SriLankan Airlnes – for this digital version of the paper logbook which records aircraft findings and associated maintenance activities. In both cases it is part of a larger package of applications enabling eOperations for the A350. CrossLogbook software is currently available for ‘Class-1’ EFBs ie. standalone portable devices (Windows and iPad). Through 2016, CrossLogBook will be extended to dock-able ‘Class-2’ devices for the A350 and A380.

Download screenshot: CrossLogBook

3. And for Airbus’ AirPl@n OPTIMA, Qantas has chosen this eSolution for its initiative to maximize its A330 fleet reliability and availability while reducing maintenance costs. The OPTIMA process consists in a task-by-task engineering assessment based on the airline’s operational and maintenance data, complemented with Airbus world-wide fleet experience. The aim is to optimize the scheduled maintenance task intervals and involves the analysis of many pre-selected tasks from the airline’s A330 maintenance programme, focusing on A & C-checks.

New composites NDT ‘Line Tool’ reduces inspection time of composites from one hour to two minutes

Airbus has developed an innovative Non Destructive Testing (NDT) “Line Tool” for inspecting composite structures – such as the external composite skin of the A350 XWB fuselage. If such a structure is subject to potential ramp damage impact, the composite materials require special attention. The solution is the Line Tool which is simple, portable and usable by technicians who do not necessarily have an NDT qualification. The device can perform tests on all composite fuselages, using an ultrasound system to detect delamination. This provides the key benefit of reducing the task inspection time from one hour down to only two minutes. Calling in a NDT expert means either taking the aircraft out of service, or having NDT inspectors present at every stopover. Line Tool is the first NDT Tool which offers a way of simplifying the art of ultrasonic NDT – which traditionally has been a complex procedure only undertaken by specialists.

Download photo: Airbus’ new ‘Line Tool’ for composites NDT

Airbus’ innovation to reduce livery painting time

For designing and applying aircraft liveries, Airbus has devised a solution to the challenge of rapidly and accurately mapping a two-dimensional (2D) shape for a three-dimensional (3D) surface of an aircraft – and thus accelerating the overall paint cycle-time for applying liveries. The solution includes the development of software which projects a 2D image onto a virtual 3D Airbus aircraft using a principle known as “conic projection”. The software re-flattens the image keeping the distortions created by the projection onto the 3D shape, and then uses these remapped images to create optically perfect imagery once applied to the real 3D aircraft.

The image of a 2D shape normally becomes distorted when projected onto a simple 3D form, such as a cylinder. Moreover, aircraft have some areas such as the nose, tail-plane and tail-cone, which are more complex forms with multiple axis curves (known as ‘progressive surfaces’).

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) chooses Airbus Consulting Services

Pakistan Airlines International (PIA) signed a contract with Airbus Consulting Services for assistance on maintenance and engineering in order to obtain EASA Part 145 Maintenance Organization Approval. PIA required a third-party assistance to conduct an independent verification. The Airbus team will analyse the organization, processes and procedures in terms of required ‘means of compliance’ and the effectiveness of their implementation. Airbus will subsequently provide PIA with recommendations linked to the observed findings and also recommend ‘best industry practices’ to address any issues identified.

A330 wins first FAA “RNP AR” approval for South African Airways

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted its first “Required Navigation Procedures – Authorization Required” (RNP AR) approval for the Airbus A330. This milestone occurred with the FAA authorisation to South African Airways (SAA). The approval boosts the A330’s competitiveness by granting authorization to all public RNP AR procedures in the US with its long-haul Airbus A330 fleet, as well as the challenging approaches into New York JFK. The curved approaches into JFK are designed to avoid the highly populated communities - reducing noise impact while increasing access to the busy landing runways. Currently there are more than 10 operators equipped and operating with RNP AR on their A330 fleet. RNP AR was first certified on the A330 by EASA in 2007.

Airbus delivers 500th aircraft to Latin America

An A321 has been handed over on 26th May to Chile-based LAN Airlines, marking Airbus’ 500th aircraft delivered to the Latin America and Caribbean region. Airbus is the aviation market leader in Latin America, securing 97 percent of gross orders in the region in 2014.

Download photo: 500th Airbus aircraft delivered to Latin America

Airbus Customer Services appoints new business unit executives

Laurent MARTINEZ, formerly Airbus’ Head of Airbus Group Controlling & Accounting, has been appointed as SVP and Head of Services. This new business unit “Services by Airbus” will offer turnkey solutions for Airbus customers to foster growth with new competitive offerings. It will also steer all Airbus subsidiaries – such as Satair and Airbus ProSky. Laurent will report directly to Didier Lux, Head of Airbus Customer Services.

In addition, Dr Valerie MANNING, formerly Airbus’ Vice President of Upgrade Services, has been promoted to the position of SVP and Head of Customer Support, reporting to the head of Airbus Customer Services, Didier Lux. Valerie heads the business unit responsible for the relationship between Airbus and its customers, including owners, operators and MROs globally. Valerie replaces Tom Anderson who has joined ATR to lead Sales & Customer Support and becomes a member of the ATR Executive Committee.

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