Pilatus had another exceptionally successful year with sales revenues topping the one billion Swiss francs ($1.25bn) mark for only the third time. The company delivered 121 aircraft to customers all over the world, half of these were civilian models including 70 PC-12NGs. Of these, 49 aircraft were delivered to North America, which is by far the company’s most important market. The PC-12 was also received further upgrades with a new five-blade composite propeller as well as various aerodynamic improvements.
Zhukovsky International Airport, built on the site of the aircraft testing facilities and the MAKS air show, has opened to commercial traffic.
First GE9X Starts Testing
GENERAL ELECTRIC has started ground testing the first full GE9X development engine – a derivative of the company’s GE90 which is the world’s largest commercial aircraft powerplant – at its Peebles Testing, Ohio facility.
The GE9X is destined to power Boeing’s new 777X aircraft. Maturation testing of the GE9X engine started around five years ago and has progressed from component-level all the way to the first full engine to test (FETT). FETT brings all the GE9X technologies together to demonstrate their operability as a complete propulsion system.
Bill Millhaem, general manager of the GE90/GE9X engine programmes at GE Aviation, said: “This ground testing will generate data on the full engine system, including aerodynamic performance, mechanical verification as well as aero-thermal system validation.”
Next year will be a busy one for the GE9X programme with the start of certification and flight testing on GE Aviation’s Boeing 747 flying test-bed. Full engine certification is anticipated in 2018. With almost 700 GE9X engines already on order, the powerplant will be in the 100,000lb thrust class and will feature the largest front fan at 134in (340cm) in diameter with a composite fan case and 16 fourth-generation carbon fibre composite fan blades
American low-cost carrier Allegiant Air is planning to phase out its fleet of 44 McDonnell Douglas MD-83s and six MD-88s by 2020.
The company’s CEO, Maurice J Gallagher Jnr said: “The plan depends on how fast we can find available Airbus A319-100 and A320 airframes to replace capacity.”
It is currently on track to take delivery of 23 A320s by 2018. The carrier is planning to transition to an all-Airbus fleet by the end of the decade. Aside from its MD-80s, Allegiant operates 15 A319s, 16 A320-200s and five 757-200s.
Air China has officially unveiled its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner to the public in Beijing. The national flag carrier is the first airline in the country to operate the 787-9 variant, which complements and extends the 787 family.
With its fuselage stretched more than 20ft over the earlier 787-8, Boeing claims it can fly 40-plus more passengers an additional 285nm while burning 20% less fuel and creating 20% less in emissions than similarly sized airliners.
Victory 1940-the Battle of Britain as Never Seen Before, John Dibbs and Tony Holmes, Key Publishing, hbk, illus, £19.99
The photographic work of John Dibbs is well known in the pages of Aviation News and elsewhere. In this superb book, he presents a compilation of his finest work featuring aircraft that hail from or are representative of the Battle of Britain.
Presented in hardback and lavishly illustrated with John’s evocative images, this publication offers a pictorial chronology of the conflict. It focuses on contemporary images of restored Battle of Britain warbirds, combined with previously unpublished archive material. The book features a foreword by Wg Cdr Tom Neil DFC* AFC, one of Churchill’s Few. To order your copy visit www.keypublishing.com/shop
Canadian low-cost carrier WestJet flew its first flights to London's Gatwick Airport on May 5. The Calgary-based airline has launched 28 weekly flights to Gatwick from six Canadian cities – Toronto, Edmonton, St John’s, Vancouver, Calgary, and Winnipeg. The first flight was operated by Boeing 767-338ER C-FWAD (c/n 25363) on the WJ3 service from Toronto.
A full scale Spitfire replica sold as part of a collection of aircraft memorabilia dating from or representing World War Two, fetched £34,000 when it went under the hammer recently.
The sale, which took place at Sutton, near Ely, was organised by Cambridgeshire auctioneers Cheffins. It raised a total of £160,000 – double the expected amount.
An unused Packard Merlin 28 V12 engine sold for £32,000. The collection also included a boxed set of props from a Shackleton.
The 250-piece collection originally belonged to aviation enthusiast Bill Richards, from Bolton, who passed away in March last year. Cheffins auctioneer Jerry Curzon said: "It was understandably a very emotional day. Mr Richards had a lifelong passion for aircraft – in particular Spitfires. Initially he started his collection with just engines and – with the help of his family – would take them along to various shows and fire them up. It was very much a labour of love.”
The B-52 Stratofortress is in the news again, with recent deployments to Europe. These long range deployments show the aging B-52 is still a key weapon in the USAF’s arsenal. The current issue of Aviation News takes a detailed look at Boeing’s incredible B-52 bomber, charting its Operation Desert Storm missions and we visit Barksdale Air Force Base, home of the ‘BUFF’, plus much more!