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/
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/
Randy’s Journal, hosted under Boeing Blogs (the plural definitively misleading as his is the only blog), has been running since the January of 2005 with one key point that I was hoping, since 2011, would get noticed: the header image. (shown above with spoilers highlighted in boxes)
The header image shows a Boeing 787, which appears to be on a climbout, with the spoilers deployed. It may be an unnecessary fuss, but in the line that he walks on, which is Marketing: details matter, and nothing could be as discomforting as the image of a Boeing 787′s spoilers deployed on a climbout.
The Blog (CLICK HERE) is described as, “Randy’s Journal is a place to find the inside stuff about the commercial aviation world.” Surely, and coincidently, the header image is a reflection of the present state of the Boeing 787 program: Adding unnecessary, and dangerous drag on a program that is struggling to climb out into the green.
There are many who have an eye for detail, and when they spot the Vice President for Marketing lacking that, it doesn’t speak much (or does it?). Especially an oversight from a man who once was a flight test engineer.
Boeing is a good company run by some of the best professionals, producing some of the most innovative and trend-setting products, but I sincerely hope Boeing starts paying more attention to detail in whatever it does, big or small.
Indigo Airlines’s President & Executive Director, Aditya Ghosh, interviewed at NASSCOM India Leadership Forum 2013, had to say a lot on what he thought of the airline business. I believe that every pilot should read excerpts of what I believe are important, to understand that there may be a boom, but there may be a slump as well, if an airline is not well run.
What is it that Indigo saw?
“In most businesses, what tends to happen is that as businesses become bigger, and as the industry matures, the tendency is to move away from the basics. And we tend to kind of forget what the customer really needs, versus what are all the things the customer really wants.”
But the customer wants to be treated in a glamorous manner
“Customers want a lot of things, the only problem is that they don’t want to pay for it. This issue really is, how do you figure out what the customer needs, what the customer is willing to pay for, and can you do that over and over again really well?”
“Nothing uniquely different about Indigo except the consistency”
On Investment in Technology
“As a low cost airline and as a business that is so focussed on cost, it doesn’t come naturally to go make big investments, because the tendency is to go save cost, in a lot of little places. But the problem with penny pinching is you’re pound foolish, and for us, from day one, because we had the advantage of knowing we’ll get a 100-150 planes, we invested upfront for anything that was scalable, but had a good impact on productivity.”
India’s Southwest Airlines
“It’s a disservice to Southwest. Southwest is an amazing airline, an absolute legend. They’ve been around for 40 years and been successful.”
What is the matter with Indian Aviation?
“Ego comes in the way of wisdom, and people forget that cost is a big driver, and we lose focus of ourselves. We must look within”
Is the problem with the regulations?
“The problem without (external to the airline) is everywhere. A large part of the problem is within, because, many of the businesses don’t run them as businesses.”
Why are there so few airlines in India?
“It doesn’t matter how many airlines there are. There have to be more airplanes. If you have 50 airlines with 1 aircraft each, it’s still 50 aircraft. But if you have 6-7 good, sustainable airlines with a 100 aircraft each, this could be a really, really different industry. Absolutely, there should be more competition.”
Airline Market Outlook
“I think it (outlook on the aviation sector) is going to be better than the last couple of years, lot of demand, not enough supply, huge opportunity for the (airline) businesses to grow. But I think obviously…I’m quite certain that the big growth and the big success stories will happen on the low cost segment”
Consumer Point of View
“(Prices) should absolutely come down. For that, we will need airlines to do their thing, but we will also need the government to do its thing. The ultimate cost of travel for the traveller must come down. That is the only way this industry will grow.”
Sushank Gupta, the very driven and highly motivated commercial pilot who loves the Airbus A320, has been doing an excellent job by covering the A320′s systems. This is no small feat; with close to 1,000 questions to be answered, Project Airbus Tech (PAT) is comprehensive, and the biggest such project in India.
As of today (Feb 16th), PAT covers the Airbus A320′s Chapters 21, 23 and 24: Air-conditioning Pressurization & ventilation; Communication Systems; and Electrical Systems.
We are pleased to see the support of many well known pilots in the community extending a helping hand; we will appreciate if you too can contribute!
To know more, please CLICK HERE.
The aura surrounding Aero India 2013 is: lacklustre, as rightly predicted on this site. This year’s edition of the airshow lacks the punch and glamour that was associated with Aero India 2011.
The Boeing 787’s hopefully temporary grounding was reason for media personnel to throng the Boeing stall. And quiz Dinesh Keshkar. Boeing made its mistake of endeavouring on a project that pushed the application of technologies to a scale unseen before, AND offshoring the development work. Boeing employees back in the US are laughing at the management’s poor decision that now costs them a lot, lot more than what they thought would cost by keeping the development in the United States. As airplanes get complex, testing lacks the comprehensiveness in the light of existing and sometimes archaic regulations. This leads to what we’ve all witnessed with the Boeing 787.
The apron somehow seemed empty. The Airbus A330MRTT that was expected, didn’t show up on day one. There was no sign of the Russian Knights at the airbase. Bombardier’s press statement of having the Challenger 605 and the Global 6000 seems a promise unkept, atleast on day one of the show.
Embrarer was represented by its Lineage 1000, Phenom 100, and the EMB135BJ (Business jet variant of the Embracer 135). Cessna surprisingly was present at the show, with its VLJ Cessna Mustang. Parked right next to it was its class competitor, the Pilatus PC-12NG flying for Jindal. Hawker Beechcraft was represented by one Kingair somewhere far down the ramp, almost out of visual range. The IAF’s new Pilatus PC-7 MkII was seen on static display in gaudy colors.
Dassault parked a Rafale in the exhibition area, for everyone to come up close and get a glimpse of the aircraft in Armée de l’Air markings. Dassualt also brought a Falcon 900EX, a Falcon 2000LX, and a Falcon 7X to the show, making it the single largest exhibitor this time. The surety of the US$10B MMRCA deal being closed is reason enough.
The C-17 Globemaster was parked beside the KC-135 tanker.
An unexpected visitor: the Long EZ was present on static display.
On the flying side, Rafales, and F-16s were parked. The Flying Bulls performed wonderfully, and was good talking to the formation lead, Radka.
The rest were planes from the Indian Air Force, that appeared more like fillers than anything else. A DO-228 from the Coast Guard, A MiG29, MiG21, Jaguar (with a Honeywell F125 engine parked right beside, symbolising the confirmation of Honeywell winning the Jaguar re-engine deal). A IAF C130J, Sukhoi 30MKI, Mirage 2000…all fillers.
A WWII restored Tiger Moth took to the skies.
Enter the stalls, and the cut in individual spending is visible, everywhere. Welcome to Aero India 2013: the anti-climax of 2011.
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.
A common practice at India is the misunderstanding of technical specifications. This leads to field failures. Further effort is spent into a turtle-paced probe of the failure, and till the probe is completed, inconveniences are caused; the inconveniences leading to losses, and the losses finally blamed upon the manufacturer whose specifications were misunderstood.
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai (ICAO: VABB, IATA: BOM) has two physical runways, one running east-west (09-27), and the other one running north-west-south-east (32-14). The east end of 09-27 is very close to a road, and the Jhari Mari slum. The proximity to the road and slum poses a safety issue, when airplanes open power for takeoff.
The jet blast, from aircraft jet engines, have been demonstrated to cause significant damage to proximate objects, such as cars, and houses. (view the video towards the end of this article) The problem is amplified in larger, and heavier airplanes, that require a significantly greater amount of takeoff thrust.
For example, on an Airbus A320 (180 passengers, maximum takeoff weight up to 78 tonnes), with the CFM 56 Engines, exhaust velocities of upto 144km/h may be recorded at 500ft behind the aircraft. On an Airbus A330 (typically 335 passengers, maximum takeoff weight up to 235 tonnes), with the GE CF6-80E1 engines, exhaust velocities of upto 169km/h may be recorded at 500ft behind the aircraft. On an Airbus A380 (typically 525 passengers, maximum takeoff weight up to 560 tonnes), with the GP 7200 Engines, exhaust velocities of upto 169km/h may be recorded upto 720ft behind the aircraft. The A380, unlike the previous examples, has four engines, pushing a larger mass of air, and causing more potential damage.
According to the Beaufort Scale of wind speeds, wind speeds in excess of 119 km/h cause “Severe structural damage to buildings”.
At Mumbai airport, when aircraft line up on runway 27 (easterly end) for a departure (takeoff), the closest approximate distance between the aircraft and a sufficiently busy road named “Magan Nathuram” is 500ft. With all sorts of vehicles: cars and tall, loaded trucks plying on the road, the risk of a jet blast’s direct and indirect damage to vehicles, and the adjacent slums, is very high, every time an aircraft takes off.
This necessitates a Jet Blast shield: a well designed barrier between the aircraft and the road. In 2011, a new Jet blast barrier from Blastwall, a Canadian firm, was installed. A year later, in the July of 2012, the shield gave way when a cargo plane tookoff. Along with the shield, the ILS Localizer array, located right behind the shield and responsible for Runway 09 operations, was damaged.
The Times of India brought out an article on this damaged shield, which may be read HERE.
Since the July of 2012, the jet blast shield has been left damaged. Satellite images show the central section of the Jet Blast shield missing. The risk of a jet blast affecting civilians outside the airport perimeter has forced Mumbai airport to shut a part of taxiway “N1”, with the NOTAM A0900/12 stating: “PORTION OF TWY ‘N1′ EAST OF TWY ‘N3′ NOT AVBL FOR OPS”. While the ILS has been repaired, the Jet blast shield hasn’t and as such, aircraft can line up on Runway 27 only via taxiway N3, displacing the take off point almost 1000ft ahead: a requirement to prevent Jet Blasting the locals away.
Interestingly, Blastwall has installed their shields at Toronto Pearson International Airport, and at Queenstown Airport. At Both airports, the installed jet blast shield is located greater than 530ft behind the estimated closest aircraft line up position. At Mumbai, the shield is located only about 400ft behind, subjecting it to greater stresses.
A statement from Peter Roston, President of Blastwall Ltd:
“We have provided frangible fibreglass blast walls to airports all over the world since 1998 and have never had a failure including here in Mumbai. Our specifications are clearly outlined on our web site and in fact were quoted in the purchase order we received for this wall originally. Unfortunately someone misunderstood the limitations as expressed on our site. As a result, once placed in operation, the wall was overstressed almost 100% from the specifications. Being frangible, it did as required and collapsed. In fact the wall performed exactly as designed. Both the president of our engineering company and myself flew to Mumbai to discuss the collapse , review the misunderstanding, and determine a path to correct this problem for the future. We suggested a drastically reinforced model. Eventually, after review of our specifications by the purchaser’s own engineers, this was approved and purchased. It was shipped some time ago and is at the site awaiting installation.”
The very fact that a new, reinforced jet blast shield was purchased is proof that the company was not held liable for a defective product. Peter agreed with the Flying Engineer’s view, stating, “There are only really two solutions: 1- build a stronger wall to contain a higher velocity and/or 2- move the aircraft further from the wall.”
The most frequently used runway for operations, 09-27, is 11,312ft long. A fully laden Boeing 747-400ER Freighter, at 412 Tonnes, requires around 11,000ft of runway to take off at sea level, at 32°C. With almost 1,000ft knocked off, the smaller available take off distance when departing from runway 27 (westerly direction), lowers the permissible takeoff weight of the 747-400ER by 10 tonnes.
NOTAM A0900/12 is still in effect, and this introduces a payload penalty for long haul operations of large aircraft.
To better appreciate what a Jetblast can do to a vehicle, watch this 50 second video, involving an Airbus A319 (Upto 75.5 Tonnes Maximum Take Off Weight, 156 Pasengers maximum seating capacity, 2 CFM 56-5 Engines producing a max thrust of around 12,000 kg force each):
Airbus MSN 5463, an A320-214 with Sharklets, that first took to the skies on the 15th of January, 2013, was delivered to Go Air (India) on 30th January, 2013, making the airline the second Indian airline to operate a “Sharklet”-equipped Airbus A320. The induction of VT-GOL makes it the 14th aircraft in the fleet, in addition to two A320s that were leased for the winter, from Orbest Orizonia Airlines.
Go Air, like Indigo, leases back airplanes that it sells. VT-GOL, the sharklet equipped A320, is financed by ACG (Aviation Capital Group) under a sale and leaseback arrangement, and is the 14th of 20 airplanes ordered by Go Air in 2006. In addition, Go Air placed an order for 72 A320NEO airplanes in 2011.
According to Airbus, “Due to the very strong customer demand for Sharklets, all Airbus’ single-aisle final assembly lines (FALs) will be engaged in building A320 Family aircraft with Sharklets. These FALs are located in Toulouse (France), Hamburg (Germany) and Tianjin (China) and will soon be followed by an additional A320 FAL in Mobile (Alabama, USA).”
VT-WAE is the oldest airplane in the fleet, delivered in the October of 2007. If Go Air ‘s lease agreement is for 6 years, VT-WAE is slated to leave the fleet this year.
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.
September 2012 was when Radka told me of her wish to return to India for another performance. January 2013, The Indian Government suddenly invited the Flying Bulls to take part in Aero India 2013 at Yelahanka Air Force Base, Bangalore. A swift response followed, with the Flying Bulls aerobatic team disassembling their aircraft and shipping them to India. Radka, the formation lead of the Flying Bulls, in the meanwhile, talks more about herself, and her flying.
Click Here to Discover more about Radka and her flying in this exclusive interview, which will also be published in the Air Show’s special issue of SP’s Airbuz.
(I so badly wanted to title this: “India’s second ERJ 170 series operator: Air Costa”. But we’ve learnt our lessons of a volatile industry, the hard way.)
Air Costa, the Vijayawada based operator that had initially planned to launch operations using five Bombardier Q400s, is finally taking delivery of two Embrarer ERJ 170s. These E-Jets are leased from ECC Leasing. ECC Leasing was established in 2002 to manage and remarket Embraer´s pre-owned aircraft.
Both the ERJ 170s were formerly flying for Gulf Air, and were stored in Germany. One of the airplanes was spotted when it recently received its Air Costa paint scheme from Airbourne Colours at Bournemouth, UK. Airbourne Colours specialises in painting commercial, corporate and military aircraft. The second ERJ 170 is expected to roll out of the paint shop on the 29th of January, 2013.
The two ERJ 170-100LRs are presently registered G-CHJI (MSN 17000278) and G-CHJU (MSN 17000293), and will hopefully bear their Indian registrations soon. The last time Embraer 170s (-200LR, marketed as ERJ 175) were registered in India was when Paramount Airways was operating the type, until the airline ceased operations in 2010.
Air Costa’s Operations are expected to commence in the April of 2013. Reportedly, plans are to operate from Vijayawada to Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, and Vishakhapatnam. Air Costa’s promoter, LEPL (Lingamaneni Estates Private Limited), is a Vijayawada based company involved in infrastructure, power, hospitality, education and entertainment.
Surprisingly, the website has published a requirement only for captains, and not first officers or Aircraft Maintenance Engineers. [EDIT*: Experienced pilots with Jet and Turboprop experience have already been recruited and type rated . Most other staff including Engineers have been recruited and trained as well . Recruitment for Cabin Crew is still going on. Experienced crew have been taken to meet insurance requirements.] Further, as per existing civil aviation rules, the yet to take-off “airline” requires a fleet of a minimum of five airplanes, within one year of grant of operator’s permit, to continue its “scheduled passenger air transport services”. However, for a “scheduled regional air transport service”, operations can commence with just one airplane, with the condition that the fleet size grows to a minimum of three aircraft within two years, and a minimum of five aircraft by the end of five years from the date of securing the operator’s permit.
Since none of Air Costa’s planned routes are Category I (certain Metro-Metro pairs), Air Costa may very well start with a Regional Scheduled Operator’s permit.
As per existing Civil Aviation Rules, “Scheduled Regional Air Transport Service means a Scheduled Air Transport service which operates primarily in a designated region and which on grounds of operational and commercial exigencies may be allowed to operate from its designated region to airports in other regions, except the metro airports of other regions.”
Based on available information, the fleet will comprise of Embraer 170-100s, of a yet unknown fleet strength [EDIT*: 3 additional ERJ 170s are expected, in the period of 6-8 months following the commencement of operations] . This Embraer 170 variant can seat upto 80 passengers, with typically 78 being opted for. The maximum takeoff weight of the heaviest version is 38,600kg. Being lighter than 40,000kg MTOW qualifies Air Costa to pay only 4% service tax on fuel, as opposed to as much as 30% service tax for heavier aircraft. Further, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) does not charge domestic scheduled operators any landing fees for aircraft with a maximum certified capacity of less than 80 seats. These factors bode well for Air Costa.
Why the Embraer 170?
The ATR 72-500/600 burns roughly 760kg/hr, and claims a range of around 825 nautical miles (NM) with 70 passengers at 95kg each. The Embraer 170 burns roughly 1,400kg per hour, but claims a range of close to 2,000 NM with 70 passengers, or a little less than 1,500NM with 80 passengers, at 100kg each. While it may initially appear that Air Costa has gone in for an aircraft that consumes nearly twice the quantity of fuel of the most economical-to-operate western world turboprop, operating economics seem to have possibly been traded for operational flexibility, with the speed of a jet.
For example, the longest sector that the ATR 72 is operated on, in India, is 500NM. The air distance, under no winds, between Vijaywada and Ahmedabad is around 700NM.
Although the ERJ 170 is listed at around US$28M, US$5M costlier than the US$23M listed ATR72-600, slowing sales of the 70 seat jet leads to lowered market value, which translates to attractive purchase or lease rates for operators. In 2012, Embarer produced just 22 ERJ 170 series airplanes (170 and 175), of which only 2 were Embarer 170s; the rest being ERJ 175s. In contrast, ATR produced 64 airplanes in 2012, of which 60 were the ATR 72-500 and 600: airplanes with the same seating capacity as the ERJ 170. With a backlog of 221 airplanes: ATR has the largest backlog for regional aircraft up to 90 seats. In summary, significantly lower demand for the EMB 170 may make it available for cheaper than an equally aged ATR 72. [EDIT*: They were planing on leasing 3 Q400 from Botswana but Embraer offered them a better deal that they couldn't resist.]
The two airplanes that Air Costa is leasing were delivered to Gulf Air in the March of 2010, but were stored in the July of 2012, logging 2 years 4 months of service with the Middle East carrier. Only in the January of 2013, did the aircraft take off in the colours of their new operator.
Air Costa: A behavioural review
Air Costa’s initial announcement of the launch of its airlines with five Q-400 Turboprops, followed by its sudden change of the airplane type within less than a year reflects poor homework, preparation and research, on the part of the airline. Hopefully, the airline has well researched its routes. Further, it is hoped that the demonstrated fickle-mindedness does not reflected in its business plan, making it yet another airline that blossoms only to quickly wither away.
* With Inputs from Cyril Roy
[Images of the Air Costa airplane may be viewed here: LINK]
Aero India 2009 didn’t have much. Infact, the organisers felt the whole place to to look so empty that they brought in “fillers” from the IAF (Indian Air Force). MiG 21, 27, 29, Mirage 2000, the BAe designed and HAL produced Hawk, The advanced light helicopter, “Dhruv” ALH, the Russian made Mi-35, SEPECAT Jaguar, and airplanes of yester years: Pushpak, Havilland Mk IV…. had no real role to play in the serious game of an Airshow such as Aero India, where only “Business Visitors” can view airplanes meant for “General Interest”. Few Business airplanes that could have meant more to business visitors were parked far off, beyond visual range.
Aero India 2011 was the best, by far, and it may be quite a while before an airshow of that scale returns to Bangalore.
View the photos taken at Aero India 2009, by CLICKING HERE.
Be it a -72 or a -42, the journey of the aircraft and its parts, in its “gestation period” is very interesting. With demand for the ATR 72 rising sharply, due to its apparent great market value, availability of rated crew, and its operating economics, it is interesting how the assembly line is well coordinated, despite the inherent complexities involved with an assembly process spread over many countries. This is now being optimised by ATR to target 72 airplanes a year, to meet the rising demand for the world’s most popular turboprop. Click on the image below to enjoy the full size image, with readable text.
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.
A quick look at Aero India 2011 (in photos) will let you know how big it was….and how small we may expect this year’s to be.
The crowd puller: The Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team has been disbanded, and will not perform. The Flying bulls, however, will be present. As for aircraft at the show: most defence deals have been closed, making no sense for the then contenders to participate. Budgetary cuts are in effect, and the civil market in’t good enough to lure manufacturers to sell airplanes.
Only those that have won bids are expected to perform, out of compulsion.
Here are the pictures taken at the last Aero India (2011). CLICK 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.
Aero India 2013 will air-show the Dassault Rafale, with Cedric Ruet at the controls. Contrary to my previous post, the Rafale is being displayed, thanks to a confirmation from Cedric himself! Enjoy, and I hope you all get to meet him at the airshow! Here are photos of him and his beauty (beast?) in action at Aero India 2011 (2 years have passed!)
Aero India 2011 was the biggest ever; Aero India 2013 may be lacklustre.
Updates: Expect the Rafale, the P-8I, and the C-17 Globemaster at the show.
Defence Airplane Manufacturers and Airplanes on show.
Let’s turn the clock 2 years back. January 2011. The year was the most anticipated for many aircraft manufacturers in the defence segment. India’s single largest defence deal tender, the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) Competition, for 126 multi-role combat aircraft was out, and six airplane manufacturers were high on PR and advertisements, attracting crowds to the stall and the airshow itself with offers that included a flight on their real airplane, a flight for a celebrity, flight simulator rides for almost everyone entering their booth. Spirits were high, competition was stiff, and Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Dassault, MiG, Saab, and the EADS led consortium responsible for the Eurofighter were all out to thrill and please.
The Indian Air Force’s ailing transport fleet needed new, better performing airplanes. The IAF’s first Lockheed Martin C130J had just arrived, and had made it to the Airshow for both publicity, and to identify new vendors who could help with avionics and databases. The Boeing C 17 Globemaster had been selected by the Indian Air Force in 2009, to meet its Very Heavy Lift Transport Aircraft requirement, but the order was yet to be finalised.
2011-2012 was indeed a good time for those who were successful in the bidding process. The MMRCA deal for US$20 billion was awarded to Dassault for their Rafale. Pilatus’ trainer, the PC-7 MkII, won the US$ 523 Million contract. An order for 10 C-17s was finalised. Early 2013, Airbus won the contract for 6 MRTTs. In short, the perceived gaps in the fleet have been plugged, and tenders closed.
As for the Indian Navy, the first Boeing P-8I was delivered in the December of 2012; India approved the USD 1.5 billion Boeing 737NG modified aircraft deal for Navy in the February of 2012.
Come 2013, there is no reason for anyone to put up a grand show. No reason for companies to spend money on air displays, chalets and booths that won’t win them an order. No reason for companies that have won contracts to undertake customer demonstration flights. Unless they just want their presence to be felt. [Edit: Dassault Rafale will be flown at the show; Aircraft will be from the French Air Force, the Armée de l'Air]
There will be formation flights, and air shows, but all, except for the Flying Bulls, will be from the Indian Air Force. Unless the French are roped in to air display the Rafale, which somehow seems unlikely. [Edit: The French are flying their Rafale. Also, the C-17 Globemaster may fly at the show. The P-8I may mark its presence as well; So may the A330 MRTT]
Civil Airplane Manufacturers and Airplanes on show.
Last year, the Embraer Lineage 1000, Embraer ERJ 135BJ, Embraer Phenom 300, Embraer Phenom 100, Pilatus PC-12, The Gulfstream G 550, Gulfstream G450, Piaggio Avanti, Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, Cessna Citation X, Dassault Falcon 2000DX and LX, Falcon 7X, Beechcraft King Air 250, Hawker 4000, Hawker 900XP, Sukhoi Superjet 100, Saab 2000, and Saab 340 were the airplanes on show, representing Business and General Aviation. Some of the very same airplanes were at India Aviation 2012, which is exclusively for Civil Aviation. Given the poor health of the Indian civil aviation industry, and fulfilled regional airplane orders (Spicejet’s Q400s and Jet Airways’ continued loyalty to ATR), Saab has no reason to participate, though it is listed as a sponsor at Aero India 2013.
Based on the below figures of Business Jet Airplanes in India, Dassault, Embraer, Gulfstream, and Hawker Beechcraft may be encouraged to make their presence felt with some of their airplanes (including a turboprop from Beechcraft). Cessna is expected to keep out altogether, while Bombardier may show up with its rebranded Global XRS as the Global 6000, if not any other airplane. Considering that this show may attract lesser high profile visitors, due to closed tenders, the business airplane turnout may be even lesser than anticipated.[Edit: Gulfstream may not have an airplane on display]
Piaggio Aero, in which the Tata Group has a 33% stake, may display the P 180 Avanti II. With the crisis faced by Deccan Charters, and his fleet of Pilatus PC-12s and Grand Caravan’s up for sale, the present market value for the two airplane types may be low enough to discourage Pilatus or Cessna from selling new airplanes. The absence of Cessna’s airplanes at India Aviation 2012 strongly indicates its absence at this year’s defence show. Pilatus will, however, be represented at the show.
The Boeing’s 787 hype is long gone; Airbus has no visible future for its 380 in India; If the 787 arrives, which is unlikely, it may possibly be due to the pressure placed on the airline as a face-save for this year’s airshow.
Honda, with its new Hondajet, may not represent its airplane at the show, as assumed by Honda’s silence to my mail enquiry.
Welcome to Aero India 2013: The anticlimax of Aero India 2011!
Business Jet Statistics: India
Dassault: 18 Falcons (13 Falcon 2000, 4 Falcon 900, 1 Falcon 7X)
Embraer: 10 (6 Phenom 100s, 3 EMB 135BJs, 1 Lineage 1000)
Cessna: 31 Citations (4 CJ1/CJ1+, 10 CJ2/CJ2+, 8 Citation XLS, 1 Citation III, 7 Cessna Citation II, 1 Citation 5)
Gulfstream: 8 Gulfstreams (1 G100, 3 G 200, 1 G IV, 1 G V, 2 G 550)
Hawker Beechcraft: 26 Hawkers (2 Hawker 400, 1 Hawker 400XP, 2 Hawker 750, 13 hawker 850XP, 7 hawker 900XP, 2 Hawker 4000,) + 5 Premier 1A
Bombardier: 4 (1 BD-700, 1 CL-300, 1 CL 850, 1 CRJ 200) + 4 Learjets (1 Learjet 45XR, 3 Learjet 60XR)