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China’s New Narrowbody The COMAC C919 On Track For 2021 Certification

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The new narrowbody jet of the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) is on track to be certified in 2021, its chief designer says. This means that the first C919 could be in service with launch customer China Eastern Airlines before the end of the year and that Boeing and Airbus could soon face real competition on the lucrative Chinese short-haul market.

During the National People’s Congress Friday, the aircraft’s chief designer said that he expects the plane to finish flight testing in 2021. Photo: Getty Images

Airworthiness certificate before the end of 2021

As reported by the South China Morning Post, the Chief Designer of COMAC’s narrowbody, Wu Guanghui, said today that he expects the aircraft to be certified within the current calendar year. The C919, meant to take up the competition with Boeing’s 737 MAX and Airbus A320neo, is set to finish its flight testing and gain airworthiness approval by the end of 2021.

The statement, given on the sidelines of an annual parliamentary hearing in Beijing, comes on the heels of a new firm order for the type. China Eastern Airlines is now set to take five of the C919 to begin with, for an undisclosed sum. The carrier intends to base the aircraft at Shanghai’s Pudong Airport. They will operate routes to Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Wuhan, among others.

The Chinese Civil Aviation Authority remains on the fence about recertifying the 737 MAX. Photo: Getty Images

However, MAX recertification drags on

As the certification of China’s fully homegrown commercial aircraft inches closer, the immediate future of one of its competitors is still in limbo on the Chinese market. Other major regulators have already lifted the flight ban on the 737 MAX. However, Chinese authorities remain reluctant to allow the model back into service.

Whether or not this is a strategic move in support of its own C919 project is impossible to say. At the same time, Chinese airlines are deferring deliveries from both Airbus and Boeing, but not from COMAC.

COMAC C919, Certification, China
Will COMAC become a strong competitor on the expanding Chinese market? Photo: Getty Images

Tremendous market potential

While there may have been a bump in the road with 2020, the Chinese commercial aviation market is expected to grow tremendously over the next few decades. If the last 30 years is anything to go by, the potential is enormous. According to Aerotime Hub, in 1978, only two million people flew in China. By 2019, that number had grown to 660 million.

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When Boeing presented its commercial market outlook for 2020 through 2039, it estimated that Chinese carriers would need $1.4 trillion worth of new aircraft during that period.

With aircraft such as the C919 and the C929, COMAC’s widebody which could potentially become a serious contender to the Boeing 787, waiting in the wings, what manufacturer stands to gain the most as more of China’s close to 1.4 billion population will be flying remains to be seen.

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Do you think the C919 will be certified in 2021? What will it mean for Boeing and Airbus in China? Leave a comment below and let us know. 

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Source: https://simpleflying.com/comac-c919-2021-certification/

Aviation

Airbus Conducts New A400M Helicopter Air-To-Air Refueling Test Campaign

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A400M HAAR
The Airbus A400M performs a simultaneous refueling of two H225M Caracal helicopters. (Photo: Anthony Pecchi/Airbus)

The tests with the A400M involved the day and night refueling of two French Air Force H225M Caracals.

Airbus recently announced the successful completion of a new Helicopter Air-to-Air Refueling (HAAR) test campaign with the A400M four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. The aircraft is now getting closer to the full helicopter air-to-air refueling certification later this year, having completed the majority of its development and certification objectives.

The flight tests were performed with the participation of two French Air Force H225M Caracal helicopters (formerly known also as EC725 Caracal/Super Cougar) as receivers. The refueling tests took place in day and night conditions over the west coast of France at between 1,000 ft and 10,000 ft and speeds as low as 105 knots, according to Airbus’ press release.

The first testing of this kind was performed by Airbus in 2019, when the first dry contacts (without fuel transfer) between the A400M and the H225M were achieved, followed by another round of testing in 2020. During this year’s flights, a total of 81 wet contacts were achieved with 6.5 tonnes of fuel transferred to the helicopters.

During the tests, the A400M performed also the simultaneous refueling of two helicopters for the first time from its underwing refueling pods, similar to the ones used by the MC-130Js of the U.S. Air Force and the KC-130Js of the Italian Air Force from which the H225M already refueled in the recent years. In addition to the two pods, the A400M can use also a fuselage refueling unit, but Airbus did not specify if the latter was used during the tests.

HAAR is a unique military capability used by helicopters supporting Special Forces operations, useful to extend their endurance and range. This operation is very complex as it involves aircraft with different flight profiles and sharing a very limited common flight envelope, requiring close formation flying patterns at low altitudes with the tanker flying near its minimum speed and the helicopters flying near their maximum speed. Wake turbulence and nighttime conditions (which are common during Special Forces operations) can further complicate the HAAR operations.

A400 HAAR
The Airbus A400M flies in formation with two H225M Caracal helicopters during the HAAR test campaign. (Photo: Anthony Pecchi/Airbus)

Although it was born as a tactical airlifter, the A400M is certified to be quickly configured as a tanker which can carry up to 50.8 tonnes of fuel in its wings and centre wing box. More fuel can be carried by installing two additional cargo hold tanks that can be filled with 5.7 tonnes of fuel each.

In the tanker role, the A400M has already demonstrated its ability to refuel fighter receivers such as Dassault Rafale from the French Air Force, Eurofighter Typhoon and Tornado from the German Air Force and F/A-18 from the Spanish Air Force, as well as another A400M for buddy refueling, and cargos like the C295 or C-130.

Germany is the first nation that started to use operationally the A400M as a tanker, even deploying one to Jordan in support of Operation “Counter Daesh” (as the German intervention against ISIL in Syria and Iraq is codenamed), where they provided the air-to-air refueling capability for the four German Tornado IDS deployed there in the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) role.

Stefano D’Urso is a contributor for TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. He’s a full-time engineering student and aspiring pilot. In his spare time he’s also an amateur aviation photographer and flight simulation enthusiast.

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Source: https://theaviationist.com/2021/04/21/a400m-haar/

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Aviation

Airbus Conducts New A400M Helicopter Air-To-Air Refueling Test Campaign

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Published

on

A400M HAAR
The Airbus A400M performs a simultaneous refueling of two H225M Caracal helicopters. (Photo: Anthony Pecchi/Airbus)

The tests with the A400M involved the day and night refueling of two French Air Force H225M Caracals.

Airbus recently announced the successful completion of a new Helicopter Air-to-Air Refueling (HAAR) test campaign with the A400M four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. The aircraft is now getting closer to the full helicopter air-to-air refueling certification later this year, having completed the majority of its development and certification objectives.

The flight tests were performed with the participation of two French Air Force H225M Caracal helicopters (formerly known also as EC725 Caracal/Super Cougar) as receivers. The refueling tests took place in day and night conditions over the west coast of France at between 1,000 ft and 10,000 ft and speeds as low as 105 knots, according to Airbus’ press release.

The first testing of this kind was performed by Airbus in 2019, when the first dry contacts (without fuel transfer) between the A400M and the H225M were achieved, followed by another round of testing in 2020. During this year’s flights, a total of 81 wet contacts were achieved with 6.5 tonnes of fuel transferred to the helicopters.

During the tests, the A400M performed also the simultaneous refueling of two helicopters for the first time from its underwing refueling pods, similar to the ones used by the MC-130Js of the U.S. Air Force and the KC-130Js of the Italian Air Force from which the H225M already refueled in the recent years. In addition to the two pods, the A400M can use also a fuselage refueling unit, but Airbus did not specify if the latter was used during the tests.

HAAR is a unique military capability used by helicopters supporting Special Forces operations, useful to extend their endurance and range. This operation is very complex as it involves aircraft with different flight profiles and sharing a very limited common flight envelope, requiring close formation flying patterns at low altitudes with the tanker flying near its minimum speed and the helicopters flying near their maximum speed. Wake turbulence and nighttime conditions (which are common during Special Forces operations) can further complicate the HAAR operations.

A400 HAAR
The Airbus A400M flies in formation with two H225M Caracal helicopters during the HAAR test campaign. (Photo: Anthony Pecchi/Airbus)

Although it was born as a tactical airlifter, the A400M is certified to be quickly configured as a tanker which can carry up to 50.8 tonnes of fuel in its wings and centre wing box. More fuel can be carried by installing two additional cargo hold tanks that can be filled with 5.7 tonnes of fuel each.

In the tanker role, the A400M has already demonstrated its ability to refuel fighter receivers such as Dassault Rafale from the French Air Force, Eurofighter Typhoon and Tornado from the German Air Force and F/A-18 from the Spanish Air Force, as well as another A400M for buddy refueling, and cargos like the C295 or C-130.

Germany is the first nation that started to use operationally the A400M as a tanker, even deploying one to Jordan in support of Operation “Counter Daesh” (as the German intervention against ISIL in Syria and Iraq is codenamed), where they provided the air-to-air refueling capability for the four German Tornado IDS deployed there in the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) role.

Stefano D’Urso is a contributor for TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. He’s a full-time engineering student and aspiring pilot. In his spare time he’s also an amateur aviation photographer and flight simulation enthusiast.

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Source: https://theaviationist.com/2021/04/21/a400m-haar/

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SriLankan A320neo Horizontal Stabilizer Damaged In Ground Vehicle Collision

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While on a flight to Malé in the Maldives on Wednesday, a SriLankan Airbus A320neo had the bad fortune to get hit by an airport ground service vehicle. The aircraft, one of only four narrowbodies currently active in the airline’s fleet, seems to have suffered damage to one of its horizontal stabilizers and remains on the ground.

SriLankan Airlines A320
A SriLankan Airlines A320neo received a slightly different welcome at Malé International Airport earlier today. Photo: Getty Images

No replacement yet

Earlier today, a SriLankan Airlines A320neo was damaged while at Malé International Airport, the main international gateway to the tourist destination of the Maldives. The four-year-old aircraft, registered as 4R-ANB, was unlucky enough to have an accidental altercation with a ground service vehicle while on its jaunt across the Indian Ocean.

The plane was operating flight UL1115, departing Colombo at 13:13 local time. It arrived in Malé after a flight time of one hour and nine minutes. The aircraft was scheduled to operate the return flight UL1116, departing at 15:05. However, the jet remains on the ground, and according to flight data, SriLankan has yet to dispatch a replacement aircraft and operate the flight.

While the exact nature of the incident is still unknown, photos following the run-in have emerged. From them, it would seem the airplane suffered damage to the left horizontal stabilizer and elevator.

Simple Flying has reached out to both SriLankan Airlines and Malé International Airport for further details on how the incident occurred but was yet to receive a response at the time of publication.

SriLankan A320neo
The aircraft in question is a four-year-old A320neo, one of only two in the airline’s fleet. Photo: Reman Abubakr via Wikmedia Commons

Skeleton fleet of narrowbodies

4R-ANB is one of two A320neos in SriLankan’s fleet. The other, 4R-ANA, is currently listed as parked. The airline’s five A320-200s are all also listed as inactive, as are its sole A321-200 and one out of four A321neos.

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With only three other narrowbodies currently in service, it is not strange that SriLankan is yet to deploy a replacement to operate the Malé to Colombo flight, despite the flight time between the two averaging somewhere close to one hour.

Male International Airport
SriLankan was the largest international operator at Malé in 2019, with three flights per day from Colombo. Photo: StromBer via Wikimedia Commons

Three flights per day during brighter times

Prior to the pandemic, SriLankan was the largest foreign carrier at Malé, operating 21 flights per week. Currently, it is operating the service six times a week as flights UL101 and UL102 with its fleet of Airbus A330 widebodies. The additional narrowbody flights of UL1115 and UL1116 are scheduled for once a week on Wednesdays.

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Sri Lanka has been hoping to initiate a travel bubble with India in order to revive the island’s ailing tourism industry. However, as India’s medical facilities are currently crippled by the country’s stampeding second wave of infections, it looks as if this could still be some way off.

On the other end, the Maldives is looking to attract more tourists with a ‘vaxcation'[ege_cards_related id=”0 scheme, offering the jab to travelers who may not yet be eligeble in their home countries.

What is the longest delay you have encountered as a result of a mechanical issue? Do you know what it was and how well was the airline communicating over the course of the delay? Tell us about your experience in the comment section. 

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Source: https://simpleflying.com/sri-lankan-a320neo-damaged-male/

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Aviation

SriLankan A320neo Horizontal Stabilizer Damaged In Ground Vehicle Collision

Avatar

Published

on

Advertisement:

While on a flight to Malé in the Maldives on Wednesday, a SriLankan Airbus A320neo had the bad fortune to get hit by an airport ground service vehicle. The aircraft, one of only four narrowbodies currently active in the airline’s fleet, seems to have suffered damage to one of its horizontal stabilizers and remains on the ground.

SriLankan Airlines A320
A SriLankan Airlines A320neo received a slightly different welcome at Malé International Airport earlier today. Photo: Getty Images

No replacement yet

Earlier today, a SriLankan Airlines A320neo was damaged while at Malé International Airport, the main international gateway to the tourist destination of the Maldives. The four-year-old aircraft, registered as 4R-ANB, was unlucky enough to have an accidental altercation with a ground service vehicle while on its jaunt across the Indian Ocean.

The plane was operating flight UL1115, departing Colombo at 13:13 local time. It arrived in Malé after a flight time of one hour and nine minutes. The aircraft was scheduled to operate the return flight UL1116, departing at 15:05. However, the jet remains on the ground, and according to flight data, SriLankan has yet to dispatch a replacement aircraft and operate the flight.

While the exact nature of the incident is still unknown, photos following the run-in have emerged. From them, it would seem the airplane suffered damage to the left horizontal stabilizer and elevator.

Simple Flying has reached out to both SriLankan Airlines and Malé International Airport for further details on how the incident occurred but was yet to receive a response at the time of publication.

SriLankan A320neo
The aircraft in question is a four-year-old A320neo, one of only two in the airline’s fleet. Photo: Reman Abubakr via Wikmedia Commons

Skeleton fleet of narrowbodies

4R-ANB is one of two A320neos in SriLankan’s fleet. The other, 4R-ANA, is currently listed as parked. The airline’s five A320-200s are all also listed as inactive, as are its sole A321-200 and one out of four A321neos.

Advertisement:

With only three other narrowbodies currently in service, it is not strange that SriLankan is yet to deploy a replacement to operate the Malé to Colombo flight, despite the flight time between the two averaging somewhere close to one hour.

Male International Airport
SriLankan was the largest international operator at Malé in 2019, with three flights per day from Colombo. Photo: StromBer via Wikimedia Commons

Three flights per day during brighter times

Prior to the pandemic, SriLankan was the largest foreign carrier at Malé, operating 21 flights per week. Currently, it is operating the service six times a week as flights UL101 and UL102 with its fleet of Airbus A330 widebodies. The additional narrowbody flights of UL1115 and UL1116 are scheduled for once a week on Wednesdays.

Advertisement:

Sri Lanka has been hoping to initiate a travel bubble with India in order to revive the island’s ailing tourism industry. However, as India’s medical facilities are currently crippled by the country’s stampeding second wave of infections, it looks as if this could still be some way off.

On the other end, the Maldives is looking to attract more tourists with a ‘vaxcation'[ege_cards_related id=”0 scheme, offering the jab to travelers who may not yet be eligeble in their home countries.

What is the longest delay you have encountered as a result of a mechanical issue? Do you know what it was and how well was the airline communicating over the course of the delay? Tell us about your experience in the comment section. 

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://simpleflying.com/sri-lankan-a320neo-damaged-male/

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