Fixed Wing Aircraft at India Aviation 2012

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Making your presence felt goes a long way in winning customer confidence in the product. They can see it, feel it, and fly it, and decide on the spot. The pampering really can make a huge difference.

Here is the listing of 18 fixed wing aircraft on static/flying demo at India Aviation 2012, arranged by the manufacturer, in alphabetical order:

Airbus

Airbus ACJ (Regn: A6-AJC)

Boeing

Boeing 787-8 (Regn: N1015B)

Bombardier

Challenger 300 (Regn: N305CL)

Global 5000 (Regn: A7-CEE)

Learjet 60XR (Regn: N383LJ)

Q400 (Regn: VT-SUG) Note: On display for 2 hours only

Dassault 

Falcon 7X (Regn: VT-RGX)

Falcon 2000LX (F-HBIP)

Embraer

Legacy 650 (Regn: PT-TIE)

Phenom 100 (Regn; VT-AJI)

Phenom 300 (Regn: PT-TRT)

Gulfstream

Gulfstream G150 (Regn: N150GV)

Gulfstream G450 (Regn: N450GD)

Hawker-Beechcraft

Beechcraft King Air C90GTX (Regn: N8020J)

Hawker 900XP (Regn: N964XP)

Hawker 4000 (Regn: N860AP)

Piaggio Aero

P-180 AVANTI II (Regn: VT-RNB)

Sukhoi

Sukhoi Superjet 100 (Regn: RA97005)

The Phenomenon: Phenom 100: India Aviation 2012

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There was a hurry, but then, there was room to fit in more. The Phenom 100 from Embraer is small to look at from the outside, and is a pain to get inside, but once seated, you’re in a nice, cozy business et of your own.

Interiors

I still have more technical details of the aircraft to bring out, but the Phenom 100 is pure bliss, and an aircraft perfect for anyone getting introduced to aviation by way of a private jet. The “Jet” is a phenomenon, and boosts your image in the eyes of an onlooker, simply because having an airplane with propellers outside (read: turboprop) is simply “too old and not good enough“.

SO go in for a jet! With the ability to seat 4 passengers very comfortably in the cabin, and take two extra persons by exercising a very innovative use of space, the Embraer Phenom 100 does an elegant job of accomodaing 8 souls on board, including 2 flight crew.

The 8th seat: the seat is the loo!

The figures are not firm, but to give you an idea: 500kgs of fuel burn in the first 1 hour of the flight, ~350kgs/h fuel burn in cruise, and a range of about 1200NM (NBAA Assumptions): Very neat for anyone wanting to travel medium sectors, like the Phenomm100 operator: Joyalukkas (a renowned jeweller), whose aircraft (VT-AJI) is on display at India Aviation 2012.

The flight deck is very nice, deviating from Embraer’s control column, but retaining the signature “motobike” yoke. The cockpit is very simple, and designed for single pilot operation, making every panel easily accessible. The ergonomics is extremely appealing. (scroll down to read more)

The Garmin Prodigy 100 Flightdeck.

Funny how the seats still have a control column cutout, despite there being no column!

The flightdeck employs the Prodigy Flight Deck 100, which is Garmin tailor made solution for the Embraer 100. The screens are bigger than the G1000, pack moe information without cluttering, and present information that is more on the lines of Embraer’s “format”. The enhanced situation awareness impacts flight safety. Positively, that is.

With a 30kg cargo hold in the nose, and a 160kg hold in the rear, the Phenom 100 is a perfect machine even for the heavy traveller. Its small, its economical, and more importantly, it’s a PHEMONenon to reckon with.

Sukhoi Superjet: India Aviation 2012

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What do you do if you want your aircraft to gain Western Acceptance?

Use their systems. (SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE TEXT)

The symbology is 100% Airbus, thanks to Thales!

The inside of the EASA approved Sukhoi Superjet 100 confuses you at first. It has the size of the A320 cockpit, but the display aspect ratio of the Airbus A380′s. The navigation display eerily has the same symbology as the Airbus aircraft, has the side sticks, the same flap lever, similar cockpit layout, and yet something feels different. The Russian engineer seated beside me.

The all-Thales supplied cockpit of the SSJ100 is simply brilliant, in the least to say, especially considering that the airplane is Russian. There is no cockpit clutter, there are no analog instruments, there is no poorly finished panel: there are simply 2 things: a brilliant airplane, and a Russian Engineer who can’t speak English. Had it not been for him, you would have thought it to be an A360, if there was something like that.

I managed to speak to Panyukov Pavel, who was a very friendly gentleman on board the aircraft. He believes that the SSJ100 makes a difference right from the start, and is all about savings: Acquisition to Maintenance. The figures never came though.

That is probably why the Russian airplanes don’t sell well: the sellers aren’t aggressive enough. No figures, and then when asked for a comparison with the competition, pat comes the reply, “We don’t compare. we have to evaluate on an airline route basis”. Noone was inside the SSJ100, except for me, Pavel, and the Russian engineer.

5 Abreast Seating

The seating on the airplane is old compact school: 5 abreast, with 3 on the right and 2 on the left. Seats were very comfortable. And the feats performed by their stellar air force pilots were equally good. Question is: what does all this mean for an airline, a customer?

Firstly, there exists a market gap today, between the 70 seat ATR72/Q400 aircraft and the 180seat A320. The gap is very huge, a gap that isn’t closed much even by the 156 seat A319. The SSJ100 will do a good job of plugging that gap, in part, but the sales aggressiveness that others show simply lacks in the Sukhoi team. Their attitude is more on the lines of “the aircraft sells for itself”. Not quite; it doesn’t speak well.

An Airbus pilot will be at home with similar colour cockpit, similar sidesticks, similar tiller, similar thrust levers, similar everything. How much the exclusively made SaM146 engines and aerodynamic combination contribute in its fuel burn is for them to reveal tomorrow. Till then, enjoy the pics of the marvellous airliner.

Flying the Dassault Falcon 7X: India Aviation 2012

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Balancing aesthetics and performance is an art; an art that very few can master. When it comes to airplanes, whom better to turn to, than the only manufacturer of business and fighter jets?

Dassault’s latest offering, the fly-by-wire Falcon 7X trijet, couldn’t have performed any better. The cabin is plush, but the flight deck is a lot more attractive. With the EASy flightdeck, the all-Honeywell cockpit is reduced to four large LCD screens, which integrates many functions, just two of which eliminate the need for a paper checklist and paper charts. The cursor control unit allows for navigation between screens, and extensive drop down menus and check boxes make life simpler: provided you master the use of a cursor in the cockpit, which hardly takes any time.

We were pushed back and allowed to start engines only at taxiway “A”. Engine start is unnoticeable: no callouts, no checks: the FADEC does it all in a seamless manner. The engines cannot even be heard: the cabin and the engines are that quiet, and the flight deck too far in front to be heard. Advancing power for taxi gave the first taste of the airplane’s power: the bump ahead was noticeable. We back-tracked runway 09, lined up runway 09, and that was when the story really began.

The light aircraft was heavily accelerated by three Pratt & Whitney PW307A turbofans, each capable of producing 2,846kgs of thrust. We were below the maximum landing weight of 28304kg, and by the 2000ft marker, we had reached V1. Seconds later, Capt. Rahul Singh Rawal rotated VT-RGX smoothly into the air, and the homesick angel came to life.

With a crazy climb rate that touched 5000 feet per minute, FL250 came all too early. We were above the clouds, and headed to waypoint HITAS, which was around 140 nautical miles away. We broke the cloud layer on our flight down south-east, and pure bliss ensued. The evening sun, ready to go down, and the game of shadows played by the clouds, and more: all enjoyed in a noiseless cabin that was comfortably pressurized at around 1400ft: Absolute comfort.

I had never flown so fast in my life: Mach 0.88 if I recollect correctly. The increase in the noise of the wind hitting the windshield at this incredible speed, was very noticeable, and yet so soft.

The very experience of the Dassault 7X’s flight performance is indescribable. Adding to that is a brilliant golden orange sun setting at FL250; the combination rendering you absolutely speechless.

At waypoint HITAS, we turned back to Hyderabad-Shamshabad, and gracefully accepted vectors for the VOR approach for runway 09. On approach, Capt. Rahul who knew me very well, made it very clear that he’ll have 4 red on the PAPI as he was targeting the runway numbers to stop by taxiway Alpha (A). His touchdown was firm and nice, and the deceleration very powerful. The bird exited onto “A”, where our engines were shutdown, and we were towed into our parking slot.

My editor was impressed; the publisher awestruck, and I: on cloud 9.

Live from the Q400!

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Live from the Q! (More text below)

VT-SUG is on display at India Aviation 2012! This is the very first public display of the Q400 in India, and the aircraft is all prim and proper. It smells good, it feels good, and the flight deck: as good as it ever will be. Very ergonomic, and not too crammed except for the act of making your way to the flying seat. (more text below)

Good overhead cabin bin space!

The Cabin!

ANVS control panel

Capt Surinder Singh (Chief Pilot) and my friend Deepankar Singh

With 78 seats, and loads of interest from curious onlookers, the jet engine core- driver turboprop aircraft is making heads turn. The cabin overhead is spacious, the lavatory is more accessible, but just the seats make you uncomfortable.

Says Eric Sharma of Bombardier, “There are a line of seats available that can be chosen by the operator. This is typically the low recline one for high density seating”.

Enjoy the photos of this prim and proper bird! (And oh, don’t miss the ANVS control panel!)

On ground, 4000.

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Its really hard to believe that a tube of metal, sitting on a transport dolly, can ever fly. The rivets are clearly seen, the skin in protective paint, and covers for where the windshields should be. This time however, the common sight of a 737 fuelage rolling into Boeing’s Renton plant, is not just another body.

The only thing separating it from the rest is its number. It is 737 NG # 4000, a milestone for the 737NG program. With 2,674 737NG orders still unfulfilled, looks like the #4000 bird is going to eventually lose the limelight to # 5000, #6000, and maybe, #7000.

Four celebrations to look forward to. Well done, Boeing, for a cumulative 6613 civil Boeing 737NG variant orders as of Feb end, 2012, of which 59.5% have been delivered.

With the October 2011 announcement by Boeing of the 737NG production rate having been ramped up to 35 airplanes a month (“Rate 35″), 737NG #4000 should be completely assembled by the 3rd week of April, 2012. #5000 should be ready in the September of 2014; #6000 in the   January of 2017, and #7000 in the June of 2019.

That’s a terrible wait!

Which is why Boeing CA CEO Jim Albaugh, in July 2011, asked his product development team to evaluate the feasibility of further ramping up production to 60 airplanes a month. As of today, the 737NG production will hit “Rate 42″ by mid 2014, witnessing “Rate 38″ from “Rate 35″ somewhere between then and today.

Assuming Rate 38 hits in January 2013, And Rate 42 in mid 2014, #5000 should be out in July 2014; #6000 in July 2016; and #7000 in July 2018, advancing the earlier projected 7000th airframe’s delivery by one solid year.

Boeing badly needs Rate 60, keeping in mind that the Boeing 737 MAX is expected to enter service in 2017.

Disclaimer: Author estimated/assumed production rates. An estimate is an estimate, and an assumption always an assumption. Just for you to get a feel of when you’ll expect the 737NG that you order, today.

Photo from here.

Indi Aviation 2012: Exhibitor List

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Always having been slightly disappointed by the lack of planning and exhibitor info available during the airshow, making me go searching for companies, I made this list of serious civil aviation players who can potentially make a difference. After making this list for 24+ hours, I realised to my horror that the organisers are still updating the list! But this one is good wnough to start of with: Just refer, identify companies by their logo, and you’ll know if they’re there; if yes: where. Have a good time at India Aviation 2012, and see you there!

List: http://theflyingengineer.com/india-aviation-2012/exhibitors/

Parallel “Runway” at Hyderabad Shamshabad (VOHS)

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It is weird when a flight crew member calls you up and asks, “Did you know that Hyderabad has a parallel runway?” Well, being off the line for some time can have its effects.

The GMR-Group’s Ragiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA, ICAO: VOHS) at Hyderabad proudly boasts off as ” the first greenfield airport in the region with two runways”. While that is true, a closer look reveals what it really is.

The AIP Supplement AAI/ATM/AIS/09-09/201 (click to view) from the Airport Authority of India, effective 09th February 2012 (a month back) details that the parallel taxiway-”A”- has been converted  to runway 09L-27R for day VFR operations and the current main runway is re-designated as 09R-27L.

The new runway is 3707 meters long (in comparison to the 4260 meter long 09R-27L), and is 145 feet wide (in comparison to 195 feet of the main runway) and is certified for operations by Code-E aircraft. Code E includes aircraft such as the A340 and B747, and is defined by wingspan between 52m & less than 65m, and the outer main gear wheel span between 9m & less than 14m.

The new secondary RWY shall be a dependant RWY (operating with restrictions), and available only for day operations in visual flight rules. No precision approaches (ILS) are available. At a time, either RWY 09L-27R (new runway) or RWY 09R-27L (old runway) shall be used for the purpose of landing and take- off, but both may not be operational at any point of time.

The distance between the centrelines of both parallel runways is just 224 meters (736ft), and cannot support parallel runway operations.

The main purpose of opening the new runway was to prevent disruptions in flight operations during scheduled maintenance. Every Tuesday between 1330-1530 hrs local the main runway (09R/27L) is closed for maintenance work. RGIA can continue flight operations uninterrupted during this period. Also, in the event of a mishap closing one runway, the other runway may remain operational to prevent a disruption in flight schedules.

The Jeppesen “Grey Area” for flight crew members.

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The DGCA, India, issued a new Civil Aviation Requirement, SECTION 8 – AIRCRAFT OPERATIONS SERIES ‘C’ PART I (click for PDF) on the 13th of June, 2011, on All Weather Operations (AWO). Due to the extended operational impact of this CAR, a great amount of Jeppesen charts were affected. (See Chart Alert), the most noticable of which is a grey shaded box in the profile.

The CAR lays out that all non-precision approaches (NPA) shall be flown using the Continuous Descent Final Approaches (CDFA) technique unless otherwise approved by the DGCA for a particular approach to a particular runway.

Compared to the traditional descent  approach technique, where the aircraft descends step-by-step prior to the next minimum altitude, the CDFA technique has safety and operational advantages, such  as standardization of procedures, simplification of the decision process  (one technique, one decision at one point), increased height above obstacles, use of a  stable flight path,  reduced noise and reduced fuel burn. The CDFA technique can be flown on most published approach when VNAV or ILS is not available. When electronic  or a pre-stored computed vertical guidance is not used, vertical speed or flight path angle may be used to achieve a CDFA profile.

This has few implications. Air crews can no longer level out at the MDA and fly to the MAP to execute a go around. Instead, the go-around must be executed at the MDA, or the MAP, whichever occurs first. Also, the go around must be flown through the MAP, unless otherwise specified. Hence, the pull up arrow is at the point where the CDFA and the MDA intersect.

In case of ILS approaches, the CDFA and the Glide path are identical. The CDFA is enforced when the Glide Slope is out of service, in which case, go-around must be initiated at the point where the glide path and the MDA intersect.

Because the concept of levelling off at MDA no longer exists, there are chances of flying below the MDA, in case of executing a missed approach at MDA when flying a CDFA. Further, the MDA may be reached either before or after the intended vertical path, due to vertical path errors involved with a non-precision approach. For this reason, the MDA is emphasised in the segment between the MAP and the ALTITUDE-DME check preceding the MAP.

The Jeppesen chart profile depiction will be modified to show the continuous descent on final approach. DGCA published minimum altitudes will be shown as segment minimum altitudes in the profile (grey shaded box). These minimum altitudes are typically provided for obstacle clearance and must not be violated to remain clear of obstacles or terrain.