There is a buzz about the PW1100G Geared Turbofan Engine from Pratt and Whitney, that will power the first A320NEO. The PW1100G is a family of ultra-high bypass engines, part of the PW1000 series. The Flying Engineer welcomes you to enjoy the most technical take on the engine, that will leave you either educated, or snoring on your chair. Grab that coffee, and appreciate the next big thing in jet transport as we know today: Geared Turbofan Engines.
In this article, we explore, at a high level, the design of the PW1100G family, how it compares with existing A320 engines, the differences, on a high level, of this family with the competitor’s offering: the LEAP 1A, why the Boeing 737MAX family doesn’t need such a large turbofan engine, and finally, before concluding, the pros and cons of such an engine.
Read the article, here: http://theflyingengineer.com/flightdeck/pw1100g-gtf/
Airbus has planned the first flight of the A350 on the 14th of June, 2013: 2 days from now. The scheduled time of A350 MSN001’s first flight is 0800hrs UTC (1000hrs Toulouse 1330hrs IST). Airbus claims, with this announcement, that the A350 program is on schedule, with entry-into-service expected in the second half of 2014. This is an interesting statement, considering that in the September of 2010, Airbus had expected the delivery of the first A350 in 2013.
The Airbus A350 is a result of the pressure exerted by airlines on Airbus, in the face of the Boeing 787’s “threat” to the Airbus A330. The A350 program was formally announced towards the end of the end of 2004, but it was only in mid 2006 that Airbus, after facing criticism for a derivative of the A330 rather than a whole new clean sheet design, announced the A350XWB: an all new airplane. In essence, the A350XWB project is a forced response from Airbus to Boeing’s 787 program.
MSN001 is an A350-941, bearing registration F-WXWB. The A350-900’s Rolls Royce Trent XWB Engines are the largest that will be fitted on an Airbus airliner, producing 374kN (almost 37,500kg force) of thrust, each. The A350-900 has the typical seating capacity of the Boeing 777-200 (314 pax in a 3 class layout), and the range of the 787-9 (~8100NM), serving as, what seems now to be the plug between the two. Observed Lufthansa’s CEO Christoph Franz, “Because of pressure mainly by the fast growing Gulf carriers, both Airbus and Boeing are being pushed to design aircraft with more range capabilities and engine power than needed by most other operators. European airlines therefore have to deal with over designed aircraft that carry additional unneeded weight”.
Here is the timeline of major developments in the life of MSN001:
January 2009: A350 XWB Design is “frozen”.
August 2011: The first A350 XWB centre wing box is delivered from Airbus’ site in Nantes, France to Airbus’ St Nazaire, France facility where it eventually is assembled into the first A350 XWB fuselage.
September 2011: Wing upper cover manufactured at Airbus’ Stade, Germany is transported to Airbus’ wing assembly site in Broughton, UK. The lower wing cover made in Illescas, Spain arrives in Broughton. The first A350 XWB nose section is transported to Airbus in St Nazaire from partner company Aerolia’s site in Méaulte. Airbus aerostructures partner Premium Aerotec puts together the first forward fuselage for the A350 XWB at Nordenham, Germany.
October 2011: Airbus completes installation of the first Rolls-Royce Trent XWB flight test engine on the A380 “flying-testbed” aircraft. Airbus starts the assembly of the first A350 XWB’s horizontal tailplane (HTP) in Getafe, Spain.
November 2011: Assembly of the first A350 XWB’s 32-metre-long carbon fibre wings begins at Airbus’ recently-opened North Factory in Broughton, UK. Pre-assembly of ribs, upper and lower covers and fixed leading and trailing edges already has taken place.
August 2012: A350 XWB “MSN1” flight-deck comes to life. Flight-deck power-on is an important step on the route to complete aircraft power-on and first flight, because it enables most systems functional checking to be undertaken.
November 2012: The wing join-up started in the Roger Béteille Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Toulouse. The wings are attached to the fuselage and other finishing activities such as the spoilers are installed.
It is every pilot’s 2 faced moment: the first flight of an unproven airplane. Although coming from a company that has made some of the finest airliners over the years, every new airplane is a new airplane, and there lies areas of uncertainty, doubt, fear, excitement, and pride.
Airbus has announced the flight crew for the first flight of the A350XWB. The list, as published by Airbus:
- Peter Chandler, an Experimental Flight Test Pilot with Airbus since 2000 and Chief Test Pilot since 2011;
- Guy Magrin, an Experimental Flight Test Pilot with Airbus since 2003 and Project Pilot for the A350 XWB;
- Pascal Verneau, who has held various positions in Airbus’ flight test division since 1999 and is the A350 XWB Project Test Flight Engineer.
- Fernando Alonso, Flight Test Engineer with Airbus since 1982 and Head of Airbus Flight & Integration Test Centre since 2007;
- Patrick du Ché, Flight Test Engineer with Airbus since 2001 and currently Head of Development Flight Tests since 2012;
- Emanuele Constanzo, Flight Test Engineer with Airbus since 2004 and lead Flight Test Engineer for the Trent XWB engine.
The first three members will be in the cockpit, while the other three will be seated behind, in the “cabin”, working at dedicated flight test stations and managing the progress of the flight profile.
The A350 XWB Project pilots have been heavily involved in cockpit and systems design and integrations from the operational perspective.
Of the 6 crew members, Fernando Alonso was also present on board the Airbus A380’s first flight. Alonso has been with Airbus since 1982, and has more than 3000hours of flight test time to his credit. He graduated in Aeronautical Engineering in Spain, and began his career with McDonnell Douglas in Long Beach (California). During the two years he stayed in the United States, he earned his pilot’s license.
A defining moment in his career was when Airbus sent him to train as a test pilot. He had fun and flew over 50 aircraft, including military helicopters and fighter planes. Alonso has been on many test flights at Airbus, and on the maiden test flights of the A340-200, A319, A318, A380, and now on the A350 when it takes to the air.
When the A350 takes to the air, Alonso will have with him two other engineers, in the cabin: one specializing in engines, and the other, in systems. His qualification as an engineer and a test pilot allows him to communicate effectively, and quickly with the flight test crew, speaking to pilots in their language, and engineers in theirs. Not all test pilots are engineers. But Alonso is both, acting as the “flight director”: telling the pilot what to do, monitoring the systems and responses, and recording observations.
Alonso and the others will fly in fire-proof suits, helmets, and with parachutes. In due course of the flight test campaign, as the aircraft is gradually pushed to its limits, there won’t be enough time to react and bail out of the airplane. But the attire is necessary, for the sake of insurance.
Does he feel nervous? He believes that he’ll be so focused on his work that he’ll actually be a lot less nervous than those on the ground watching the airplane take to the skies.
Says the 57 year old Alonso, who probably is the luckiest man on earth holding the best job combination of a pilot and an engineer, “Passion is essential for this work”.
Ah! Raw flying, and raw failures, call for raw repairs! Read how we brought a Lynx Headset to lie, overnight, in the midst of hectic flying for the Election Commission! Click HERE, or click on the image above to direct you to the “project”!
Airbus has announced that its Airbus A330 production rate has touched 10 aircraft a month, which is significant for a wide body airliner, and the highest production rate of any Airbus widebody aircraft.
Airbus claims that the Airbus A330 is “the most popular in its category”. A330 Programme head Patrick Piedrafita said more than 800 sales have been logged since Airbus’ competitor launched its 787, validating the A330’s sustained competitiveness. That statement is vague.
The 767-300ER, and the 767-400ER, together have 621 orders, of which only 9 are unfulfilled. These two models compete with the A330-200 in capacity, but fall short in range by more than 1,500NM. There are totally 575 orders for the Airbus A330-200. Yes, the Airbus wins considering it is a younger airplane and offers more range and capacity. Then, the 787 was introduced to replace the 767 and compete against the popular A330-200.
But the Boeing 787-8 has orders for 535 airplanes, of which 50 have been delivered. If the 787’s issues are resolved, and it re-enters service and production, it quickly eclipses the popularity of the Airbus A330-200: It offers a lot more, for the same price as the shorter Airbus A330, while offering the same range and passenger capacity. Which explains the orders for the 787-8. The 787, was introduced in service in 2011, while the A330 entered service in 1992. Considering this gap, the 787’s sales performance is way better, underlining its competitiveness. If A330 Programme head Patrick Piedrafita says the A330 is still competitive, he must realize that if the 787 program ran smooth, the A330-200 line would have closed. It isn’t the 787, but the 787 program that still makes the A330-200 a safe bet.
And yes, he must be reminded that the A330-300 is a different aircraft.
The Airbus A330-300 competes against the Boeing 777-200 and 777-200ER aircraft. It has the same passenger capacity (440 max pax), but has a range that falls in between the -200 and the -200ER variant. The 777-200 and the -200ER together have orders for 510 airplanes, while the A330-300 has a order book total of 622 airplanes. The A330 family does not compete with the other 777 models (-200LR, -300, -300ER). The Boeing 777-200LR, 777-300 and 777-300ER compete with the Airbus A340-500 and -600, which are now out of production.
Although the A330-300 boasts a range similar to the 777-300, it falls short in maximum passenger capacity by 110 passengers. The A330-300 costs lesser than the 777-200 and 200ER aircraft, and is cheaper to operate. Yes, the Airbus 330 is a lot more competitive than competing 777 models, and stands as the best aircraft in its category, but that doesn’t mean it is more competitive than the 787.
Infact, the A330-300 is a lot more popular than the A330-200. But Airbus can’t compare the A330-300 with the 787. Apples and Oranges don’t look, smell, and taste alike, even if they have 2 wings and two engines.
With respect to type rating designation for the ATR 42/72 series, DGCA finally recognizes the same type rating (single license endorsement) for the existing ATR 42/72 variants and ATR-600 variants as “ATR42/72”. This means that the flight crew on Jet Airways’ ATR 72-500 can now fly either the -600 variant or the -500 variant on a single day, but not both the types on the same day.
This allows Jet Airways to better utilise its turboprop flight crew, which until recently was affected by DGCA’s then non recognition of the common type rating for the two types.
With only 2 ATR 72-600 in its fleet, and more expected to be inducted, this recognition is welcomed as Jet Airways slowly phases out the -500 in favour of the -600. Further, Jet Airways will realise training cost savings from the newly opened ATR Training Centre at Singapore, which houses one ATR 72-600 FFS (Full Flight Simulator).
The common rating is allowed with a differences training. EASA recommends a differences training of 5 days, which includes and covers 28 hours of classroom instruction, web based training, and practice on the Virtual Hardware Platform Trainer (VHPT), and 4 hours per crew on a Full Flight Training device (FFT), such as a FFS.
The differences training between the two aircraft focus on:
- Engine malfunctions during take-off;
- Use of avionics in normal and abnormal / emergency operations, including FMA annunciations, caution and warning messages on the Engine & Warning Display (EWD), and associated human factors issues;
- Use of Flight Management System (FMS);
- Use of Electronic Checklist (ECL);
- Ice detection and management systems and displays (including APM); and
- Crew Resource Management (CRM) with regard to the new functionalities.
Airbus has released a very crisp video of the sharklet’s developmental timeline. For a detailed insight into the program, please click on the following link: http://theflyingengineer.com/flightdeck/winglets-and-sharklets/
The Flying Engineer is pleased to announce the launch of Project Airbus Tech (PAT): a Project, for Airbus A320 flight crew, that serves to provide quick access to technical questions and answers on the Airbus A320.
Project Airbus Tech is a social cause in the aviation community, to make aviation safer, and information accessible, accurate, and easy to assimilate. It may be accessed anywhere, anytime: even when you, the pilot, are in the crew transport and wish to revise some technical details about your aircraft.
Significant efforts are taken to ensure that the information in PAT is sourced only from FCOMs, and the content verified and cross checked by experienced line A320 pilots. Of course, a project such as this is very demanding; Contributions, suggestions, and any help are always welcome.
To link to Project Airbus Tech, simply type the following link in your browser:
Or, directly link to:
We appreciate your patience and help as the website slowly, but surely, covers every possible technical topic/system on the Airbus A320.
Capt Saleem Zaheer, Chief Pilot – Flight Operations at Indigo Airlines, sent out a mail to all Indigo flight crew describing his flight experience of the first flight of the A320 equipped sharklet, VT-IFH. Capt Saleem, and his senior first officer, flew the aircraft on the DEL-MAA-CJB-DEL pattern (Delhi – Chennai – Coimbatore-Delhi).
In course of their flight, the flight crew noticed no difference between the handling qualities of the sharklet-equipped A320, and their fleet of non-sharklet equipped A320s. The crew however noted the movement of ailerons and outboard spoilers when flying through turbulence, which is in accordance with a design by Airbus known as the Load Alleviation Function (LAF). The higher bending loads experienced by an A320 wing equipped with Sharklets, especially under conditions of rapidly fluctuating lift (when flying through turbulence), need to be alleviated. To accomplish this, the outboard spoilers (Numbers 4 & 5 on both wings) and the wing ailerons are deflected in accordance with the fall or rise in life.
VT-IFI landed in Delhi yesterday, and is the second Sharklet equipped A320 to join Indigo’s fleet.
Below is a video of VT-IFI’s first flight ever, which was on the 25th of January, 2013, at Hamburg, Germany.
Indigo just became India’s first airline to operate a sharklet-equipped A320, with its VT-IFH registered Airbus A320 that it took delivery of, on 28th January, 2013. VT-IFH bears manufacturer serial number (MSN) 5437, and first took to the skies on the 15th of January, 2013, and herald a new chapter for Indigo with an operationally more economical airplane, that has the potential of saving the airline in excess of US$400,000 per year, per aircraft.
All future A320 aircraft to be delivered to IndiGo shall be fitted with the Sharklet wing tip devices.
You may read up more on “sharklets” by clicking here.
This aircraft will be the 75th A320 that the airline has taken delivery of. Of the 75, 14 no longer fly for Indigo. Indigo sells every aircraft that it takes deliver of, leasing the airplane back from the lessor. The lease period is typically for six years: sufficient time for Indigo to make the most of a new airplane’s reliability and performance, while avoiding an expensive “D” check. Those that flew for Indigo, for the first six years of their life, now fly for Ethiad, SAS, BH Air, Myanmar Airways International, Kibris Turk Hava Yollari Charters, and Turkish Airlines.
MSN 5460 is the next sharklet equipped A320 slated to join the Indigo fleet as VT-IFI, while VT-INK will be the next A320 to leave the Indigo fleet.
Go Air will be the next Indian airline to receive Airbus A320 aircraft fitted with sharklets.
Air Asia recently received the world’s first “Sharklet”-equipped A320 for commercial operations. Indigo and Go air will very soon have VT-IFH and VT-GOL flying in the Indian skies; both equipped with “sharklets”. Ever wanted to know more about these “Sharklets” that are grabbing headlines today?
Here is a comprehensive article on Winglets, or what Airbus prefers to call them: “Sharklets”, which are “Hunting down fuel burn“.
Read more by CLICKING HERE.
VT-JCX (click for photo) and VT-JCY are now visible on the DGCA’s aircraft register; These are the two, and presently only ATR 72-600s in India, flying for Jet Airways, and deployed on the Mumbai-Diu-Porbandar and Mumbai-Udaipur sectors.
Interestingly, both airplanes reflect on the register as “ATR 72-212A”, which is no different from the type designation of the ATR 72-500. While it is confusing for someone looking up the registry to know if it refers to the ATR 72-500 or the ATR 72-600, a simple look at the All Up Weight, year of manufacture and evidently the manufacturer serial number will sort out your confusion; The ATR 72-600s have an AUW of 23,000kgs, while the ATR 72-500s had a maximum of 22,800 (in the Jet Airways Fleet). But why the same name?
According to the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA):
ATR 72-212A “600 version” is the designation to identify ATR 72-212A aircraft models having received the New Avionic Suite (NAS) modification, also named as “Glass Cockpit”, which represents the incorporation of ATR Significant Major Change no 5948 and a batch of associated ATR (major & minor) modifications. ATR 72-212A “600 version” aircraft are not considered as new aircraft model or variant. “ATR 72-600” is the commercial designation of the ATR 72-212A aircraft model fitted with NAS modification. This designation must not be used on ATR certified / approved documentation, and only mention of ‘Mod 5948’, ‘ATR 72- 212A with Mod 5948’, “ATR 72-212A fitted with NAS‟ or “ATR 72-212A -600 version” must be indicated.
F-WWEY, manufacturer serial number (MSN) 098, is a 24 year old ATR 72, made in the same year as the first flight of the ATR 72. That very ATR was, in the May of 2009, converted to a ATR 72-600, highlighting the minimal visible differences and changes that the 72 has undergone since its first flight.
The biggest change in the ATR 72 is the new avionic suite, which transforms the Honeywell and Collins cluttered deck to a clean, well laid out modern glass cockpit with avionics from Thales. Borrowing philosophy and deriving certain functionality from the Airbus A380, the cockpit is new. Very new.
So new that a very senior commander with the airline, says that “An ATR 72-500 can directly hand fly the -600 easily, for nothing changes with respect to the handling. But he will not be using the avionics to the best of its automation capabilities and functions that significantly ease crew workload, and boost situation awareness”.
Honestly, when I sat with the cockpit layout diagram of the ATR, I was lost, despite being very familiar with the -500. Where you once knew knobs, switches and controls to be: may not be there at all!
With CRTs and electro-mechanical gauges replaced by 5 LCD screens of 6” x 8”, the number of parts has been cut down by 30%, offering a 30kg weight saving and maintenance cost savings of around 15%. For an aircraft that has jumped 200 kgs in its AUW in comparison to the -500 fleet at Jet Airways, 30 kgs is a significant amount.
Let’s try to understand the gains. The older ATR cockpit has, for primary flight instruments, an electro mechanical airspeed indicator with bugs that need to be manually set, a CRT based EADI (Electronic Attitude and Direction Indicator), that would only show you, in addition, if you were flying faster or slower than the manually set speed on the airspeed indicator. The altimeter is electromechanical, with a knob to set the pressure. Newer vertical speed indicators are small, LCD screen based, that also doubles up as a traffic alert collision and avoidance system (TCAS) display, with a small map showing proximate traffic, and the range of these proximate traffic set by a range button. All this, and significantly more functions, are now packed into the primary flight display, which is just one 10” display. There are no moving parts. There is no bulky equipment associated with a Cathode Ray Tube. There is reduced electromagnetic interference, and reduced cooling requirements. If you need a simple comparison, think of the difference between a 34” LCD screen and an old TV. The LCD screen is clearer, crisper, bigger, with richer colours, thinner, significantly much lighter, and when you place your hand near the back, you hardly feel any heat. And if you are to bring your portable radio near the LCD screen, you’ll hardly hear any interference, if not nothing at all.
The ATR 72’s NAS cockpit is way beyond this. Besides eliminating old technology, and boosting reliability, the NAS introduces much greater functionality that serves one significant purpose: reduced crew workload and increased situation awareness. The ATR crew today is better equipped to answer the questions of “When”, “Where”, “Why”, “What” and “Who” much quicker, with possibly greater accuracy than ever before, without moving the head and hands too much in the cockpit.
Organized, simplified, reliable and enhanced: this is the new ATR that will make your flight in the skies safer. Join me as we discover how, as we embark on a journey that describes, in significant and sufficient detail what this new airplane offers, in contrast to the other 42 ATR aircraft registered in India.