Monday, April 3, 2017

Video: Preparing to launch Starliner to the International Space Station

United Launch Alliance (ULA) is working with Boeing to launch astronauts aboard Boeing's Starliner spacecraft atop ULA's Atlas V rocket. Here's what's in store for 2017 as they prepare to launch astronauts to the International Space Station beginning in 2018.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Jazz Aviation amends Dash 8 aircraft operating procedures following landing accident

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) determined that the continuation of an unstable approach following a loss of visual reference led to a Jazz Aviation LP aircraft contacting the surface short of the runway at the Sault Ste. Marie Airport, Ontario, in February 2015. There were no injuries, but there was significant damage to the aircraft. The TSB released their investigation report on Thursday.

The accident

On Feb. 24, 2015, a de Havilland DHC-8-102, operating as Jazz Aviation LP flight JZA7795 and carrying 15 passengers, departed Toronto/Lester B. Pearson International Airport, Ontario, for a scheduled flight to Sault Ste. Marie Airport, Ontario. While on approach to runway 30, in conditions of twilight and reduced visibility due to blowing snow, the aircraft touched down approximately 450 feet prior to the runway threshold. Following touchdown, the aircraft struck and damaged a runway approach light before coming to a stop approximately 1,500 feet past the threshold.


The investigation determined that a significant power reduction and subsequent decrease in airspeed, while flying below the minimum stabilization height of 500 feet, resulted in an unstable approach. This rapid deceleration steepened the aircraft's vertical path. The crew had reduced power in order to reach the target airspeed for the final approach and landing.

The crew had followed what they understood to be the correct speeds for the approach according to the company's guidance material. “Due to ambiguity in the guidance and uncertainty as to the required speed during the approach, the flight crew did not recognize that the approach was unstable and continued the approach to a landing,” TSB said in a press release Thursday.

The investigation also found that the rapidly changing weather decreased the flight crew's visibility of the runway, and that the steepened vertical profile created as a result of the power reduction went unnoticed, and uncorrected. Although the loss of visual reference required a go-around, the flight crew continued the approach.

An examination of over 500 similar flights on Jazz DHC-8-102s showed that company aircraft routinely fly decelerating approaches below the minimum stabilization height of 500 feet. If approaches that require excessive deceleration below established stabilization heights are routinely flown, then there is a continued risk of an approach or landing accident.


Following the occurrence, Jazz Aviation LP undertook a number of safety actions such as making amendments to the Jazz DASH 8 Aircraft Operating Manual, by introducing significant changes to the "Stabilized Approach Factors" subsection and adding simulator scenarios to the training syllabus.

FAA certifies Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet for commercial service

Boeing announced Thursday that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has certified the 737 MAX 8 airplane for commercial service. Boeing is now in the final stages of preparing for the first 737 MAX 8 delivery to customers in the coming months.

To earn certification for the 737 MAX 8, Boeing undertook a comprehensive test program that began just over one year ago with four airplanes, plus ground and laboratory testing. Following a rigorous certification process, the FAA granted Boeing an Amended Type Certificate for the 737 MAX 8, verifying the design complies with required aviation regulations and is safe and reliable.

The 737 MAX 8 reduces fuel use and CO2 emissions by an additional 14 percent over today's most fuel-efficient single-aisle airplanes.

The MAX 8 and 9 will be followed in 2019 by the smaller MAX 7 and higher capacity MAX 200, while studies and discussion continue with customers on growing the family.

The 737 MAX incorporates the latest technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets and other improvements. It is the fastest-selling airplane in Boeing history, accumulating more than 3,600 orders to date from 83 customers worldwide.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Contractor intelligence aircraft needed for Marine Corps training exercises

The Regional Contracting Office-MCI WEST, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., has a requirement to provide a manned, fixed-wing propeller driven aircraft with intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities to support semi-annual three-day training exercises for Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron-1 (MAWTS-1), Marine Corp Air Station, Yuma, Ariz.

The service requested is to provide real-time electro-optical and infrared sensor full-motion video while integrating with close air support aircraft to locate and simulate attacking opposing forces, simulated by live role-players. The aircraft must have capability of five hours on station time at an altitude of 24,000 feet.

“The intent of this effort is to provide familiarization of flight characteristics, capabilities and limitations of ISR aircraft for MAWTS-1 instructors and prospective instructors,” Marine Corps officials said in contract documents released Wednesday. “This is a pre-solicitation notice that a solicitation is scheduled to be released on or around March 24.”

NASA orders avionics and autopilot upgrade for research aircraft

NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center operates a Beechcraft B200 aircraft, tail number N801NA, serial number BB-1164. The current avionics and autopilot suite, a critical aircraft system that projects rely on for accuracy, on the aircraft has been problematic for reliable operation and have been known to cause issues during research flight campaigns. Additionally, the aircraft needs RVSM capability, ADS-B In/Out, and TCAS/TAWS capabilities. “These are requirements for future projects, and they need to be addressed,” NASA officials said in contract documents released Wednesday.

The avionics and autopilot upgrade to N801NA will include:
  • G1000 Platinum Package with Synthetic Vision, including RVSM capabilities. Includes standby ADI, airspeed indicators and altimeter. Headset compatible, tie-in to audio panel.
  • Weather Radar upgrade (GWX-70).
  • ADS-B In/Out upgrade.
  • TCAS/TAWS upgrade, replace Skywatch 497 with Garmin GTW 825.
  • ADF compatible (currently ADF-60, upgrade to ADF-60A for compatibility with G1000).
  • Tie in the existing UHF radio to the G1000 suite.
  • Update the current DME-40s and Radio Altimeter (not compatible with G1000) to a DME-42 and Garmin Radio Altimeter and tie-in to G1000 package.
  • Retain the existing equipment that was removed to keep as spares for other B200 aircraft.
The work necessary to complete the avionics and autopilot upgrades shall be completed at a contractor’s facility.

All work should be completed within 20 business days of the arrival of N801NA to the contractor.

Video: Airbus showcases H135 helicopter with Helionix avionics system

Airbus Helicopters showcases H135 Helionix at Heli-Expo 2017.

Helionix is an innovative avionics system that offers operators exceptional mission flexibility and safety. Its design is based on a family concept with standardized features, so it can be installed on nearly all new commercial helicopters. Helionix is fully modular and can be installed with one to four screens, meaning it can just as easily be adapted to light helicopters or to the EC175.