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News Reports

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*** Updated 15 Oct 2014 ***

*** Latest News Story ***

6 Feb 2013 - Boeing Shanghai Celebrates Door Cutting Completion for First Boeing 737-300 PTF Conversion

SHANGHAI, Feb. 6, 2013 – Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services Co., Ltd., (Boeing Shanghai) held the door cutting ceremony for the first Boeing 737-300 passenger-to-freighter (PTF) conversion at its hangars at Shanghai Pudong Airport. The aircraft was inducted in December from Kenya Airways, Boeing Shanghai’s launch customer for this program. The modification is conducted under a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) developed by Aeronautical Engineers, Inc. (AEI).

At the ceremony, Tom Ouma Kadoyo, technical director of Kenya Airways, Roy Sandri, AEI President, Dermot Swan, CEO of Boeing Shanghai, and Daniel Ni, operation director of Boeing Shanghai jointly completed the door cut, completing a significant milestone for the PTF modification. The new door surround structure and the main deck cargo door will be installed on the aircraft later in the process. The conversion is targeted for completion in March 2013.

“We are making outstanding progress for our first 737-300 PTF. This is a great example of the new skills that our team continues to develop as we enhance our MRO services,” said Dermot Swan, CEO of Boeing Shanghai. “This is an excellent showcase for our capabilities as a full service MRO and to demonstrate how we provide value to Kenya Airways, AEI and other global customers.”

Boeing Shanghai is a joint venture between Boeing, Shanghai Airport Authorities and China Eastern Airlines. Boeing Shanghai offers a broad range of services from engineering, aircraft maintenance and modification to material management, and component repair and overhaul. Boeing Shanghai supports customers located throughout the world.


07 Oct 2012 - YouTube video of 737 Ecodemonstrator

YouTube video from Boeing showing the American Airlines 737-800 Ecodemonstrator which is partially funded by a grant from the FAA Continuous Lower Energy Emissions Noise (CLEEN) programme. Technologies include:

  • Adaptive trailing edge flaps *
  • variable area fan nozzles
  • active engine vibration reduction
  • a regenerative fuel cell
  • flight trajectory optimization

* Configurations chosen for the adaptive trailing-edge flight test include a fixed mini split flap for the inboard sections out to around mid-span and a drooped aileron tab. The outboard fixed trailing edge will also be modified to test both a mini plain and mini split flap. “They are all looking at better ways to make the trailing edge move without causing more drag,” says Mike Carriker, Boeing’s new airplane product development chief pilot.

Not all of these new technologies will be adopted or even make it to the forthcoming 737 MAX as these are only trials. Next year Boeing will change the Ecodemonstrator aircraft to a widebody, probably the 777.


20 Mar 2012 - Steven Udvar-Hazy verdict on 737 MAX

Air Lease Corp chief executive Steven Udvar-Hazy, a vocal advocate for Boeing's now-shelved New Small Airplane concept, says the airframer's strategy to develop the CFM International Leap-1B-powered 737 Max is intended as a bridge to a clean sheet design arriving in the middle of the next decade and "not a long-term solution".

The 737 Max is aimed at keeping "the market share positioning against the [Airbus A320] create an equilibrium of some sorts," says Udvar-Hazy.

Udvar-Hazy, who dubs Boeing's 737-replacement concept his "Hazyliner", has in the past said new aircraft concepts are part of Boeing's "DNA", describing the airframer's proclivity for embracing all-new, clean-sheet designs.

Boeing has been open about its strategic goals for the 737 Max, including a 50-50 marketshare split with Airbus, while openly acknowledging the cost and production capability of an all new narrowbody programme meant it was not ready for launch. It declines to discuss a timeline for such an offering.

Boeing's senior vice-president of marketing, Mike Bair, says "our intention is that we will build the Max until the market doesn't want to buy any more and we don't know when that's going to be.

"I wouldn't predict 2025 or 2035, at some point, either something better will come along or the marketplace will decide they won't continue to take it. We'll make it until it runs out of gas and that could be a long, long time," says Bair.

Without going so far as to dismiss the airframer's strategy outright, Udvar-Hazy says: "I think [737 Max] is viable because Boeing is going to stop building the [737]NG by 2019-2020, they're going to phase it out, just like the 737-300, -400, -500s [were] phased out" requiring existing customers to transition to the revamped narrowbody.

Bair also says no decision on curtailing 737NG production has been made, of which 2,223 are in backlog as of 1 March, including 78 for ALC.

A significant leap in efficiency on the 737 is restricted both by "the current geometry of the aircraft" and its limited under-wing clearance for a fan diameter larger than the 174cm (68.4in) offered by the Leap-1B, says Udvar-Hazy. A focus on the widebody market has also meant an all-new 737 has been pushed down the list of priorities.

Hazy believes a second engine option on the Max would help bolster its overall business case, but adds: "I don't think Boeing's going to do it." He has pushed the airframer to offer a Pratt & Whitney PW1000G-series engine, but its larger fan would require a more costly redesign of the narrowbody.

"I've had long talks with [Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh] and guys over there, where I showed them the dual engine [option] has helped Airbus gain marketshare with the A320neo family...because they had two choices and airlines were able to leverage that to get better deals.

"I just don't think Boeing is able to do that...I think they're kind of stuck in this situation because of the airframe," he says.

The 737 has "been a great bus for the industry, but at some point Boeing's going to have to deal with it. Right now, I think the focus has been getting the [787-10X] launched" and firming the competitive response to the A350 with its 777X "which I think [Boeing's] board will approve when they see they can get some [787] deliveries out".

Hazy says Boeing's 737 Max still holds distinct advantages over the A320neo, despite a 4.5t (10,000lb) weight growth in the airframe, he says, including being slightly lighter with nine additional seats between the 189-seat 737-8 and re-engined 180-seat A320neo.

By comparison, Airbus says the A320neo's weight has grown by between 1.6t and 1.8t (3,500lb to 4,000lb) with the addition of Leap-1A and Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines, respectively.

Max launch customer Southwest Airlines will take delivery of its first 737 Max in the fourth quarter of 2017.

12 Nov 2011 - More 737 MAX details

More details finally emerged about Boeing’s plans for the 737 MAX during a review of the third quarter by Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh at the November 3 Goldman Sachs Industrials Conference in Boston. Perhaps most significantly, Boeing has finally decided on a 68-inch-diameter fan for the CFM Leap-1B engines chosen for the family of airplanes, prompting a lengthening of the front main landing gear by between six and eight inches, said Albaugh.

Other changes planned for the 737 MAX include a “revised” tail cone to reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency; an “optimized“ engine core; fly-by-wire spoilers; external nacelle chevrons similar to those on the 747-8 and 787 for more efficient airflow mix and less noise; some “localized“ strengthening of the wings and fuselage; a new landing gear strut; a slight repositioning of the engine forward on the wing to accommodate higher engine loads; new software for the engine computer; and pneumatic system adjustments to adapt to differences in engine pressures. Albaugh somewhat downplayed the difference in fan diameters of the engines planned for the A320neo and that of the CFM Leap-1B planned for the 737 MAX. In fact, the CFM-powered A320neo will use a 78-inch-diameter fan while the fan on the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-powered Airbus will span 81 inches. “A lot of people get over-enamored with fan size,” he said. “You know, right now we have a 61-inch fan on the NG and I think Airbus has a 68-inch fan on theirs, but, again, we still have the most efficient airplanes.” Albaugh added that the 737 MAX has now drawn “north of 600 commitments,“ meaning Boeing has added tentative orders for more than 100 additional 737 MAX airplanes since he last reported on the total in September. “We’re working very hard on what the guarantees on the airplane will be, and once we finalize those, we’ll get the definitive agreements in place for the customers that we have.” Eight customers have now committed to the 737 MAX. Given its inability to issue guarantees yet, Boeing has shown what some might consider overconfidence in the advantages it has publicly claimed the 737 MAX will offer over the A320neo. Even before it decided on a fan size, Boeing claimed the new 737 MAX 8 would produce an operating-cost advantage of 7 percent over the Airbus offering. In addition, Boeing has claimed that a fleet consisting of 100 dual-class 737 MAX 8s would use nearly 175 million pounds less fuel per year, based on a 500-nm mission, than a similarly sized fleet of 737-800s.

21 Jul 2011 - First 737 with 7BE engines delivered

Boeing delivered the first 737 with improved engines to China Southern Airlines last week, the plane maker announced Thursday. The new CFM56-7BE engine configuration is part of a package of airplane improvements that aim to cut fuel use by 2 percent. Boeing plans to incorporate other improvements into 2012. “We continue to review performance flight test data and collect delivery data,” John Hamilton, 737 chief project engineer, said in a news release. “The improved fuel savings is part of our commitment to deliver market-leading value to Next-Generation 737 customers.” This is not to be confused with the program Boeing announced Wednesday to outfit the 737 with new CFM LEAP-X engines.

19 Jul 2011 - Boeing Offer Re-engined 737 to American Airlines

Boeing has made a last-ditch offer to sell American Airlines updated 737 jets with next-generation engines as it scrambles to prevent a strategic Airbus victory in a massive order from the longtime Boeing customer. The offer is a striking turnabout from signals all year that Boeing executives preferred to design an all-new small airplane that could replace the Renton-built 737 toward the end of the decade. American is expected to announce Wednesday its order for more than 200 single-aisle planes, likely split between the Airbus A320neo and the rival 737. According to three industry insiders, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Airbus came close to winning the entire order. Before anyone at Boeing knew about it, last month the airline signed an initial memorandum of understanding to buy A320neos, which will come with new fuel-efficient engines. To head off that loss, within the last 10 days Boeing gave American a new proposal that offers the 737 jet equipped with similar engines, the sources said. Boeing sales teams worked furiously the past weekend to salvage the deal, according to a person with knowledge of the developments. "Boeing is putting up a real fight," he said, "But at best, they'd hope to get some kind of a split buy." Last-minute negotiations with American continued in advance of a decisive board meeting of the airline's parent company Tuesday evening. Bloomberg News reported the deal could be as big as 400 airplanes. Upside for Airbus A split order could mean Boeing replaces part of the carrier's aging fleet of almost 250 MD-80s with a mix of current and re-engined 737s, while Airbus replaces American's fleet of more than 120 larger 757s with A321neos. Winning even that much would be a tremendous win for Airbus. The A320 and 737 families of jets now divide the bread-and-butter single-aisle jet market evenly. But a big Boeing customer defection would suggest the A320neo could tilt that market share significantly. And Airbus may do better than an even split of the American deal. A second person, with knowledge of the sales talks, said Boeing's late offer could still prove "too little, too late," with the majority of the order going to Airbus. "Unless something dramatic changes today, this a done deal for Airbus," said that person. He said the Boeing offer lacked detailed data on the cost of the re-engined airplane, and the Boeing board has not given its go-ahead. "American's feeling has been, 'You guys (Boeing) haven't got your act together. You're giving us something on a piece of paper that isn't anywhere near as far along as Airbus,' " he said. Through most of this year, Boeing executives have said that re-engining the 737 was less likely than the favored alternative option: building an all-new small airplane that could enter service around 2020. To develop a re-engined 737, the wings have to be modified to hold the bigger, heavier engines, and the landing gear may have to be raised so the engine pods don't scrape the ground. Boeing believes it can do that for about $2 billion, according to a person familiar with the internal debate. A new airplane would cost upward of $10 billion. A re-engined 737 would continue to be built in Renton through at least 2025. When a new airplane is eventually launched, Washington will have to compete against other states to be the site of final assembly. Despite intense pressure from customers, Boeing said repeatedly it wouldn't even formally choose between these options until later this year. Airbus, by contrast, announced its plan last December, saying the first of its new A320neo family would enter service by late 2015. Air show fallout It now looks as if the American order, closely following a cascade of orders for A320neos at the Paris Air Show, has precipitated an early decision by Boeing. "Airbus forced their hand," said the first source. Airbus announced more than 700 orders and commitments in Paris for its plane, a success that respected aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group this week called a "shock and awe sales campaign." He concluded Boeing has been too slow to realize it's not the next new airframe, but the next generation of fuel-efficient engines, that will provide most of the technological progress that matters to the airlines. "If Boeing hasn't learned this lesson, it needs to," Aboulafia wrote in a report this week. "If (American) goes Airbus, much changes overnight," he added. "Boeing should offer a 737 Neo, fast." A study released this month by industry consulting firm AirInsight concluded that in particular the A321neo is a good candidate to replace the older 757s in many fleets, including American's. Industry analyst Scott Hamilton, a co-author of the AirInsight report, cited unnamed company insiders Tuesday on his blog saying that the re-engined 737 is now targeted to enter service in 2017, more than a year later than the A320neo. But Hamilton said Boeing still plans to go ahead with the new small airplane as well, no more than a year or so later than originally planned. One of the people with knowledge of Boeing's thinking said the target for an all-new plane is 2022, but described that as just a "placeholder" that could get pushed out further at a later date. Financing is key To hold off Airbus with American, Boeing has to match the European plane maker in more than engine technology. American has lost money every year since 2007, so the financial aspects of the deal are crucial. Ironically, the close historical relationship between Boeing and American could leave the aircraft maker in a bind as it reduces its price to win the deal. In 1996, Boeing signed landmark agreements with American, Delta and Continental for "most favored customer" status — guaranteeing them the lowest prices on any jet sales. Boeing knows that whatever discount it sets for American will trigger the same for Delta and possibly for United, which merged with Continental. A low bid could undermine Boeing's pricing for many hundreds of other jets. People working on the deal inside Boeing heard from American that the Airbus offer minimized the airline's upfront costs by arranging to lease a large portion of the jets. That would mean American pays monthly rent on the Airbus jets as it uses them, rather than buying them outright. To counter that, Boeing likely can enlist leasing companies such as GECAS, the airplane leasing arm of General Electric, to back its bid. Boeing would equip its revamped 737s with the new LEAP engine from GE/Snecma. The complex final details of such financing could determine the outcome of the American order. Whatever the outcome, said the first source Tuesday, "It's going to be a blockbuster of an order. ... We'll know in 24 hours." Another warned that such deals often are fluid until finally signed. "Last week, I was convinced Airbus was going to win this, and that Boeing would stick to its strategy of going for a new airplane. A week later, it's a split buy and Boeing has changed its strategy," he said. "This still could have some twists and turns."

04 Mar 2011 - 737 replacement possibly to be twin-aisle 797

By Geoffrey Thomas | ATW

Boeing is moving "far more aggressively" toward a 180-250 seat twin-aisle replacement for the 737, according to company insiders. It would continue production of the 737-800/900ER for airlines that still want the standard offering. VP-Advanced 737 Product Development Mike Bair confirmed this week that a twin-aisle has been canvassed, a scenario first revealed by ATW in 2006 (ATW, June 2006). Separately, ATW has learned that Boeing will announce an all-new 737 replacement, to be named the 797, at or before the Paris Air Show commencing June 20. Bair’s comments regarding the replacement being a twin-aisle, which have not been denied by the company, came in an interview with Flightglobal. The 180-seat twin-aisle concept has a fair amount of history. McDonnell Douglas developed a 180-seat twin-aisle concept in a 2-2-2 configuration in the early 1980s dubbed the DC-11. Delta Air Lines wanted to order 60 but MDC balked at the commitment, considering it too risky given the lack of interest from another US airline. The fuselage had a cross-section that was 22 in. wider than the 727/757, allowing for 17.7-in.-wide seats in doubles with two 18-in. aisles. In an all-economy layout at a 30-in. pitch, it could seat 214. Using the latest technology at the time, including composite floor beams, control surfaces, nacelles, vertical and horizontal stabilizers and other primary structures, MDC predicted fuel consumption 10% better than the 757 with the same engine application—the JT10D-32 engine rated at 32,000 lb. thrust. Boeing also floated the twin-aisle 180-seat concept in 1987 with its 7J7 and showed a full cabin mockup at that year's Paris Air Show. It took the widebody concept further with a 181-in. cabin width that would permit 2-3-2 seating, 17-in.-wide seats and 18-in. aisles in coach. It is this cross-section that insiders at Boeing tell ATW the company is focused on. The twin-aisle idea surfaced again in 2001 in two patents filed by Boeing under the heading "Twin-Aisle Small Airplane," with Mithra Sankrithi, a manager in Commercial Airplanes' product development, configuration and engineering analysis group, named as the inventor. The patents were submitted on Oct. 2, 2001, and approved in 2003 and 2004. One cabin sports a 2-3-2 configuration with Sankrithi claiming the new configuration could deliver "the comfort typically reserved for larger aircraft," while at the same time minimizing drag, weight penalties, fuel burn and "economic penalties." The fuselage cross-section for the 2-3-2 configuration is 200.7 in., fractionally wider than the 767's 198.03 in., and the design features a swept T-tail. Interestingly, Sankrithi filed another patent last year with co-engineer Kevin Retz with the same T-tail twin-aisle under wing engine layout, which is similar to the configuration and layout of another McDonnell Douglas aircraft: The 1981 vintage 150-seat MDF100, which was to be built with Fokker on a 50/50 basis but didn't get off the drawing board.

10 Feb 2010 - Boeing to replace rather than upgrade the 737

Boeing will replace its 737 rather than outfitting the single-aisle workhorse with new engines, company President Chairman and Chief Executive Jim McNerney said todday. "We're going to do a new airplane," McNerney said at the Cowen Aerospace/Defense Conference in New York. He then qualified this a bit, saying: "We're not done evaluating this whole situation yet, but our current bias is to not re-engine, is to move to a whole new airplane at the end of the decade, the beginning of the next decade." McNerney and other executives have said for months that they didn't see a compelling business case for re-engining even after Airbus decided to re-engine its competing A320. Boeing and Airbus are responding to competition from upstarts such as the Bombardier CSeries, Comac C919 and United Aircraft Corp. MS-21. He addressed the situation Thursday in responding to a question about whether the re-engined A320neo was a threat to the 737. "It's our judgment that our customers will wait for us, rather than move to an airplane that will obsolete itself when (Airbus) move(s) to a new airplane," McNerney said. He also repeated his company's contention that Airbus was playing catchup to Boeing, saying: "The neo on paper closes the value gap that we have enjoyed. ... "I feel pretty comfortable that we can defend our customer base both because they're not going ahead of us, they're catching up to us, and because we're going to be doing a new airplane that will go beyond the capability of what they neo could do."

10 Dec 2010 - Boeing sees no "compelling reason" for 737 upgrade

Boeing said it could not see a "compelling reason" to follow European rival Airbus in upgrading the 737, its commercial aircraft chief told the Financial Times. Airbus, the world's largest plane-maker, said earlier this month it would spend roughly $1.3 billion (1.09 billion pounds) to improve efficiency of its A320 aircraft by upgrading it with engines that offer 15 percent fuel savings. Boeing was mulling whether to upgrade its competing 737 plane, as airlines and the market welcomed the Airbus announcement on December 1. "We certainly can't see a compelling reason to do it," Jim Albaugh said in an interview published in the Friday's edition of the newspaper. Albaugh said it would only add "a few percent" in financial benefits for customer airlines. "I think most of them will wait for a new aeroplane."

31 Aug 2010 - Boeing Leaning Away from 737 Re-engining

By: Gregory Polek August 31, 2010 Aerospace Industry,

Air Transport and Cargo Aircraft Chances that Boeing will fit new engines on the existing 737 appear slimmer now than at any time since the company began talking publicly about the prospect, judging by the comments of Boeing CFO James Bell today at the Morgan Stanley Industrials Unplugged Conference in New York. According to Bell, potential customers haven't shown much interest in a re-engined 737, and Boeing remains unconvinced that the performance improvements promised by the various engine makers will prove sufficient to warrant such a step. "Right now it looks like the engines can get 10- to 15-percent more efficient, but it's not flow-through efficiency," said Bell. "When you add the weight associated with the change in the design of the airplane and you add the cost, it looks more like a single-digit improvement, which we don't believe is something that our customers are interested in." Still, Bell wouldn't completely discount the prospect of a re-engining, particularly if fuel prices rise well above today's relatively low cost by the time the company decides on plans for the future of the 737. Still planning to choose among the options of re-engining, introducing an all-new airplane or essentially maintaining the status quo by the end of this year, Boeing has yet to finish its studies, said Bell. "On the new airplane, we obviously are looking at what are the technological improvements that we need to have in order to [achieve] flow-through improvement of 10- to 15 percent," he added. "At this point we don't know exactly what that is. We do know part of it would be the engine. The other part would have to be improved aerodynamics of the aircraft itself, and it's easier to scale up [composite material] than scale it down, but we're still working at it…But I can tell you right now our customers have not shown a real interest in a re-engining."


4 May 2010 - Project Phoenix chooses 737-800

Project Phoenix, the Dubai-based business aircraft sales organisation which specialises in the renovation and conversion of airliners to VIP aircraft has chosen the Boeing 737-800 as the ideal candidate to enter the narrow-body airliner conversion market. Its new venture will be known as The Phoenix LBJ (Large Business Jet). The decision follows a six-month technical evaluation of suitable airliners and a dialogue with potential customers. Having selected the 737-800, Project Phoenix has issued an RFI (Request for Information) to several completion facilities in Europe, Australasia and the USA, to undertake the work. Several designs are being prepared including a 30-seat VIP version with private office and State Room as well as a higher density Corporate version. Customers will be able to choose the number of auxiliary tanks to be installed depending on their operational range and payload requirements. Project Phoenix President Mike Cappuccitti said the group decided on the 737-800 owing to the type’s popularity and strong likelihood that there will be an increasing number of aircraft coming into the market. “The aircraft has all the right attributes for our program. It is a New Generation 737. It requires little in the way of avionics upgrades. It has winglets and we can vary the range and payload capability depending on our customer’s specific needs.” he said. A key market driver, the company believes, will be the need for fiscal prudence in future VIP aircraft purchases. “The Phoenix LBJ will represent outstanding value and quality. It will be many millions of dollars less than comparable new aircraft with no compromise in quality,” said Project Phoenix Chairman John Lawson. The company expects a full data package to be available by late 2010 after a completion facility has been chosen following the comprehensive RFP process. Mike Creed, VP Business Development said, “We anticipate an official launch at the 2010 MEBA show in Dubai but we are ready to start preliminary discussions with interested customers now. In fact, we already are talking to several potential buyers.”


18 Mar 2010 - Boeing likely to boost 737, 777 production rates

Boeing is leaning toward increasing production rates for the 737 and 777 families with decisions expected by mid-year, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Jim Albaugh said yesterday. The current 737 build rate is 31.5 units per month and the company expects to make a decision in June on whether to raise it. Last week, Airbus announced it was taking the A320 rate to 36 per month from 34 as of December (ATWOnline, March 10). Speaking to media at Boeing's Arlington, Va., offices, Albaugh explained that "We made a conscious decision a couple years ago to sell more airplanes than we had production capability to manufacture" owing to the likelihood of deferrals and lapsed options. As a result, production is sold out for 2010-11 and "we're overbooked in 2012." Turning to the 777, he said, "Stay tuned. We're going to make a decision on that in April. We have three 777 campaigns and I think there is a very good chance we will raise the triple 7 rate as well." The manufacturer currently is trimming the monthly rate to five from seven, he noted, adding, "Depending on our decision in April it will take about 15 months to ramp up." He said it will take somewhat longer to increase the 737 rate. Albaugh also signaled a tougher negotiating stance in selling airplanes. In what observers took to be a reference to last year's failed Ryanair 737 campaign (ATWOnline, Dec. 21, 2009), he said, "We could've sold 200 more airplanes last year. . .and we didn't take those orders because people wanted them at the bottom of the cycle prices." Referencing the 787, he said, "I believe we sold those a little bit cheaper than we probably should have." Elaborating on the theme, he pointed to "a backlog of 3,400 airplanes. We don't have to do a deal to keep the production lines running. . .We are going to remain disciplined." Boeing continues to study the business case for re-engining the 737 but does not feel pressure to make a decision by Farnborough (ATWOnline, March 10). Should it go forward, Albaugh "will do everything I can to reduce the requirements creep so it doesn't become the equivalent of a major change to the aircraft." He agreed that the CSeries 300 appears to be targeted at the 737-700 market. Refuting speculation that Boeing will not fight hard to defend its position in the under-150-seat market, he stated: "I look at the 737 business that we have and it is one of the cornerstones of Boeing Commercial and it is a marketplace we are going to defend."


2 Feb 2010 - CFM56-7BE 150-Hour Block Test imminent; Certification Program on Schedule

Certification of CFM International’s advanced new CFM56-7BE engine is progressing on schedule. In the next few weeks, the engine is scheduled to begin a 150-hour block test, paving the way for the flight test program early this year. A block test, which is a certification requirement, is one of the most grueling to which an engine can be subjected. The engine is operated at what is referred to as triple redline: maximum fan speed, maximum core speed, and maximum exhaust gas temperature. This test simulates conditions far more extreme than would ever been experienced in commercial service to validate the reliability and durability of the hardware. The first full CFM56-7BE type design engine completed ground testing in January, and engine operation and performance was as expected. In the second quarter of this year, the –7BE configuration will begin a 50-hour flight test program on GE’s flying testbed in Victorville, California. Engine certification is on schedule for mid-2010, paving the way for flight tests on the Next-Generation 737 planned for early in 2011, followed by aircraft certification and entry into service in mid-2011. The CFM56-7BE-powered Next-Generation 737 enhanced airplane/engine combination will provide a 2 percent improvement in fuel consumption, which, in turn, equates to a 2 percent reduction in carbon emissions. Additionally, the enhanced -7B will provide up to 4 percent lower maintenance costs, depending on the thrust rating. The CFM56-7BE engine enhancement program, which CFM International (CFM) launched earlier this year, is scheduled to enter airline service in mid-2011 to coincide with Boeing Next-Generation 737 airframe improvements. CFM is using advanced computer codes and three-dimensional design techniques to improve airfoils in the high- and low-pressure turbines to improve engine performance. In addition, CFM is improving engine durability and reducing parts count to achieve lower maintenance costs.



28 Jan 2010 - Changes to Boeing 737 management team

SEATTLE, Jan. 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) Commercial Airplanes President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Albaugh today announced organizational changes intended to strengthen the company's focus on both performance and long-term strategy. "Our priorities for 2010 and beyond are clear," Albaugh said. "We must execute on our 787 and 747-8 development programs; we must continue to perform on our ongoing production programs; and in this increasingly competitive world, we must develop a clear vision and roadmap for both the single-aisle and twin-aisle marketplaces."

Albaugh announced moves intended to strengthen execution of ongoing Boeing programs, including: Beverly Wyse was named vice president and general manager, 737 Program, also reporting to Shanahan. She replaces Mark Jenkins, who recently announced his retirement after 35 years at Boeing. Wyse most recently was vice president and general manager, 767 Program. She will continue to support the U.S. tanker program.

Albaugh made further executive changes intended to stimulate future growth, saying in a message to employee message Thursday, "Defining Boeing's airplane product strategy is critical to our future growth. We need a clear vision and roadmap for both our single-aisle and twin-aisle offerings for the future. Also, in the global environment in which we operate, we need a sharpened situational awareness of macro-economic and geopolitical realities".

Mike Bair will lead a newly created Advanced 737 Product-Development team, which will be responsible for planning the future of Boeing's single-aisle offering. Bair most recently was vice president, Business Strategy and Marketing, Commercial Airplanes.


27 Jan 2010 - Boeing CEO: Actively Considering New Engine For 737

Boeing Co. (BA) on Wednesday said it plans to maintain production rates for its key 737 aircraft as it nears a decision on updating the model to fend off looming new competition. The company rebuffed speculation that the downturn in the airline industry and tight credit markets would force it to produce fewer 737s despite a bulging order book. Boeing will maintain existing 737 production and also look to provide new engines and other updates to refresh the product range. Chief Executive Jim McNerney said on a conference call that Boeing is "actively considering" putting a new engine in the 737, a move that would be cheaper and quicker than an all-new aircraft. Boeing and rival Airbus have slipped the timescale for a new narrowbody aircraft by five or more years to 2020 to 2024. Airbus has said it will decide this year whether to re-engine its A320 family. "In this era of high fuel prices and productivity requirements, I think airlines are focused more on ongoing productivity than obsolescence. Many of these operators are anxious for us to move," McNerney said. Boeing and Airbus face intensifying competition in the narrowbody segment, which accounts for the bulk of their commercial aerospace profits. Canada's Bombardier is developing a larger new jet with more efficient engines, and an all-new Chinese airliner could also have an advantage over existing Boeing and Airbus models. Russian and Brazilian manufacturers are also eyeing the market. The new Bombardier C-Series expected to arrive in 2013 features a new engine from Pratt & Whitney promising a 15% advantage in fuel efficiency over existing models. Boeing expects to deliver 460 to 465 commercial aircraft, down from 481 in 2009 after electing to trim output of its 777 widebody. Airbus reduced its production rate for A320 single-aisle family to 34 a month from 36 last October. It said there were no immediate plans to adjust it again, but will do so if necessary. Production of A330/A340 widebodies is steady at around eight a month. After a slow year for new aircraft orders, discussions with customers are picking up a bit, McNerney said. A year ago, Boeing had expected to step in with $1 billion of aircraft financing in 2009 to help get planes out the door. It forecast a similar need for manufacturer financing this year. James Bell, Boeing's chief financial officer, said Wednesday that Boeing Capital Corp. financed $800 million of aircraft in 2009, and now expects to provide less than $500 million of financing assistance in 2010. McNerney said commercial banks, lessors and other lenders all are in stronger-than-expected financial shape from last January. Boeing is sold out of new aircraft in 2010 and 2011, Bell said. While customers have canceled or deferred hundreds of new aircraft, he said the rate of deferrals slowed in the final quarter of 2009.

14 Nov 2009 - Boeing to install CMC EFBs in 737NGs, BBJs late next year

Operators are expected to begin installing Esterline CMC Electronics’ new 10.4-inch Class 2 PilotView electronic flight bag (EFB)–selected by Boeing for its Next-Generation 737s and BBJs–on 737NGs starting in the third quarter of 2010, according to Esterline. Plans call for the Class 2 EFB system to come installed on production airplanes and be available for retrofit. Boeing has begun developing a common application suite and ground infrastructure for use across Class 1, 2 and 3 EFBs. The EFB contains all documentation and forms that pilots carry–from aeronautical maps and charts, manuals, fault reporting and operations to minimum equipment lists and logbooks–in digital format. “The news that Boeing will start to install the latest addition to our EFB product portfolio on Next-Generation 737s and BBJs in production next year strengthens our growing OEM supplier position,” said Greg Yeldon, Esterline CMC Electronics president. CMC’s PilotView EFB stays powered during all flight phases, thereby improving productivity and reducing workload. It features an LED-backlit display delivering enhanced readability in all ambient lighting conditions. Authorities have issued more than 23 STCs for the PilotView 8.4-inch EFB on aircraft ranging from the Gulfstream V and IV and Bombardier Global Express/XRS to the Boeing 737. PilotView stands as the sole OEM Class 2 EFB option at Dassault, Pilatus and Emivest Swearingen. Rockwell Collins has selected PilotView for the Bombardier Global platform, as has Embraer for the E 170/190 program, and ATR for the ATR 42 and ATR 72 aircraft.


21 Jul 2009 - 737 production rate expected to remain steady

Since the turn of the year, speculation about when (or if) the 737 production rate would be cut has thus far proven to be unfounded. Its value proposition has forced operators to realise that “out with the old, in with the new” mantra is an endearing philosophy.

Let’s look at some of the figures this year. At the half-way mark, there have been around 500 Airbus and Boeing deliveries. Of that, 81% of those deliveries for Airbus comprised the A320 family and for Boeing, the 737 accounted for 77% of deliveries thus far. No question, narrowbody airplanes are leading the delivery charge as airlines phase out older jets and replace them with new-build ones that offer a raft of new technology, are more greener and efficient along with a much lower cost of operation. Boeing has the benefit of its single-aisle production being housed in one location, and not three. Despite a 737 production rate of just over 30-a-month, more deliveries are being brought forward than being pushed out, such as this deal with Copa Airlines demonstrates. Where Qantas once stepped in to take American Airlines 737-800 slots a few years ago, a role reversal today means that where the Australian airline has deferred a plethora of airplanes, American is speeding up retirement of its MD80 fleet by snaring freed up slots. Funding of course is a question, but in parallel to placing orders, much of the backstop financing and money for pre-delivery payments and progress payments continued to be readily available “on tap” for those pre-2008 orders.

The constant call for rate adjustments is not consistent with the marketplace. This cycle could be the first in history where jets less than 10 years old cut from the world fleet due to excessive capacity may never return to active service. There certainly isn’t chronic oversupply, nor has there been any significant downward pricing pressure on new or second-hand 737s. The key indicators will be deliveries from the second half of 2010 and beyond. Any slow down in replacement could be the trigger for delivery rate adjustments – and even that is by no means a certainty with many speculating that the “green shoots” of recovery are not that far away. Critically, any 737 rate revision will not exceed the 15-20% window. Boeing still derives plentiful economies of scale on its most productive and efficient assembly line. One of the fundamental reasons why the 737 will continue to both capture orders and maintain rates is because of consumer spending. With this downturn, businesses are just not prepared to pay vast sums of money to fly execs around anymore (witness the collapse in premium traffic just about anywhere).

In Europe, Ryanair has long been poised to churn its existing 737-800 with up to a couple hundred more of the same – low cost carriers are driving the growth and could in turn spur the revival of fractional ownership too. In the absence of orders, if Ryanair does, as expected, go for more 737s, just why would Boeing need to cut rates when one of their biggest customers simply wants more 737s as quickly as they can be built? With Copa Airlines taking delivery of its new 737s from 2012 through 2015 and exercising its options between 2015-17, it takes less customers than some think to keep the Renton line ticking over as nicely as it has done since the woes it had in the late 1990’s. If Boeing has learned lessons with its product portfolio, then the 737 is streets ahead of the sceptics and certainly doesn’t have to pay attention to rate cuts that are incompatible with what’s going on in the market.

03 Jun 2009 - Northern Air Cargo 737-200s First with WAAS

Northern Air Cargo said it has implemented the new Wide Area Augmentation System technology, which will let its Boeing 737-200 jets follow more direct flight paths and increase their ability to land safely in low-visibility conditions.

The Federal Aviation Administration developed the technology, Northern Air said.

Its 737-200s are the first Boeing aircraft in the United States equipped with the technology, the Anchorage cargo airline said. The technology will save Northern Air money, improve its service and lessen its environmental impact, the airline said.

12 May 2009 - 737 AEW&C Wedgetail gets STC

Boeing’s 737-based airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft has received its supplemental-type certification (STC) from FAA, marking the first time one of the company’s larger battle management platforms has received this commercial approval rating.

“It’s a big milestone for us,” Boeing AEW&C business development senior manager Egan Greenstein says. The STC, received May 11, is an amendment to the 737-700IGW (increased gross weight) certification and means the substantially modified aircraft meets all FAA standard airworthiness requirements.

Approval also means pursuing international sales and deliveries will be considerably easier, and comes as Boeing awaits the outcome of an independent study into the aircraft’s Northrop Grumman-developed multirole electronically-scanned array (MESA) radar. Commissioned by the Australian government, the MIT Lincoln Laboratory study is evaluating the baseline architecture of the MESA surveillance system and its abilities.

The report was prompted by a series of long-running delays to the program, which was launched with a development contract in 2000 by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) for its Wedgetail AEW requirement. The first pair of six Wedgetail 737s are now slated for delivery in November, roughly three years later than originally planned.

If the study returns a negative verdict, Australian reports suggest this could give the RAAF a legitimate reason to cancel the program. But Greenstein expresses confidence and notes significant re-engineering two years ago. “We feel confident about our foundation, and that we’re on the right path, and that there are no weaknesses in the system,” he says. “We have been implementing fixes to improve performance.”

Boeing is currently working through acceptance tests on the radar and continues to introduce periodic software drops as the program moves toward first deliveries. “Any changes we’re doing now are minor fixes,” Greenstein says, adding that the early development phase faced issues with radar tracking and integration. “In 2000, when we started, the maturity of the radar system was not as far along as we’d have hoped,” he concedes.

Boeing and the RAAF also are working through initial data collected from the aircraft’s first realistic operating exercise. Wedgetails took part in a military operational utility demonstration called Arnhem Thunder from late April to last week, based out of Darwin in the Northern Territories. Working with air, ground and sea forces, the aircraft’s crew controlled multiple engagements over six sorties.

Developmental test and evaluation work also is under way on the first of four Turkish Peace Eagle AEW&C aircraft at Boeing Field. Deliveries of the Turkish aircraft are expected to begin in 2010, while the first of four South Korean Peace Eyes are due to enter service in 2011. The remaining three Korean aircraft are scheduled for delivery by the end of 2012. Negotiations, meanwhile, continue with the United Arab Emirates over the potential sale of from two to four AEW&C aircraft, while Boeing has also responded to a request for information from India.

28 Apr 2009 - Boeing Unveils Performance & Comfort Changes to 737NGs

SEATTLE, April 28, 2009 -- Boeing unveiled Tuesday enhancements to its 737 single-aisle jet that should modestly boost fuel performance and significantly improve the passenger experience. The good news for travelers on this workhorse of domestic flights is the new passenger cabin will have lots more room overhead: No more hunching under the luggage stow bins as you exit your seat or wait for other passengers to disembark. The package of enhancements is designed to refresh the 737 brand now that Boeing has pushed out a replacement jet at least until late in the next decade. The changes include improvements to the engine made by CFM, a joint venture between General Electric and Snecma of France. But with this announcement, it appears Boeing has ruled out a major redesign of the airplane to enable it to fly with Pratt & Whitney's all-new "geared turbofan" engine. "We have a dynamite partnership with CFM," said John Hamilton, chief engineer on the 737. "We're going to stick with them." The new 737 cabin design, dubbed the "737 sky interior," is modeled on the innovative 787 Dreamliner passenger cabin. It includes blue mood lighting and brighter colors. And it replaces the shelflike stow bins with sharply curved pivoting bins of the type introduced on the 777 jet 15 years ago. When opened for loading, they pivot down to about the same height as bins used today. But when closed, they tuck high into the corner of the cabin and remove that low overhang that makes it impossible to stand fully upright even in the aisle seat. The new 737 interior will roll out late next year. It will be standard on jets going to new customers, but optional on airlines already having 737s. Some may choose to keep all their cabins looking alike, rather than switch.

Airlines already signed up to get the new cabin are Continental Airlines in the U.S., FlyDubai of the United Arab Emirates, GOL of Brazil, Lion Air of Indonesia, Malaysia Airlines, Norwegian Air Shuttle and TUI Travel of London. Fuel burn may matter more to airlines like European budget carrier Ryanair, a top 737 customer known for its commitment to low prices with minimal service and comfort. Boeing is targeting a 2 percent reduction in fuel consumption by 2011, through a combination of airframe and engine improvements. Structural improvements — refining the aerodynamic shape of the wheel well, the wing control surfaces, an exhaust outlet and even the red warning light on top of the fuselage — will reduce drag on the airplane. On the engine, Boeing has designed a shorter exhaust nozzle and an elongated plug at the back to reduce drag. The overall reduction in drag will reduce fuel consumption by about 1 percent. CFM claims its improvements to the engine innards — taking out some of the blades and reshaping others to improve air flow — will provide the remaining 1 percent fuel-burn improvement and also reduce maintenance costs about 4 percent compared with the current engine. The enhanced engine is expected to enter service in mid-2011.


16 Apr 2009 - RAAF's Wedgetail future on the line

Max Blenkin April 16, 2009 - 3:45PM The future of the RAAF's $3.45 billion Wedgetail airborne early warning and control (AEW and C) aircraft project is on the line. Defence is soon to receive a series of reports which could lead to cancellation of the troubled project, now running three years behind schedule. Should that occur, the loss to the Commonwealth would dwarf the disastrous Seasprite project, cancelled last year at a cost of $1 billion. It would also leave Australia without long-awaited AEW and C aircraft, a vital element of future air combat capability. Warren King, general manager of programs for the Defence Materiel Organisation, said the Wedgetail program remained very challenged and under intense pressure from Australia and prime contractor Boeing. Mr King said the two key problems related to performance of the aircraft's advanced MESA radar and the electronic surveillance systems. He said defence had commissioned the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory to assess radar performance and judge whether it could achieve the desired capability. As well, the RAAF will conduct tests of a Wedgetail aircraft under Australian conditions next month. The Lincoln report is imminent. Mr King said the intention was to assess this report, the RAAF trials and other tests conducted in the US to determine whether the radar technology could mature over time. "If it has no future there is no point going forward with it," he told a parliamentary committee. "Bluntly speaking, it would be - is there a future or not for this technology? The extreme of that is to recommend to cancel the program." Mr King said much of Wedgetail was at or near doing exactly what it should. But it was clear some elements of Wedgetail radar performance would not meet RAAF technical specifications, but it wasn't clear by how much. "We still have to get air force's view about what does that shortfall mean operationally," he said. Mr King said defence and Boeing were aiming for an end of June deadline, although there might not be enough information to make a decision until July, August or even September. He said Australia was only paying the contract fee and the real issue was not having the military capability. The Boeing 737 Wedgetail was chosen in 1999 at the conclusion of a protracted project definition and procurement process launched in the 1980s. Australia opted for six Boeing 737 aircraft, each equipped with the advanced Northrop Grumman MESA radar which appeared to offer very considerable advantages over elderly rotating antenna radar systems on US E-2 and E-3 aircraft. But that required substantial development to produce a mature capability. Wedgetail was initially promised for delivery in 2006, but under a revised schedule the first aircraft should arrive this November with a limited capability suitable for training, but not operations.


31 Mar 2009 - Boeing 737 Certification For Kid-Systeme's GSM On Board Technology

Hamburg/Buxtehude - KID-Systeme, the leader in aircraft cabin electronics, recently announced at the Aircraft Interiors Expo that its GSM on Board inflight passenger communications system, used by OnAir, has received European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) supplement type certification for Boeing 737 aircraft. The Boeing 737, is operated by more than 500 airlines including Ryanair, the first airline to commit to a full fleet deployment of Mobile OnAir. EASA supplement type certification for the B737, in service for Ryanair, follows certification for the OnAir mobile telephony system on the whole Airbus A320 family of single-aisle aircraft.

Ryanair currently has over twenty aircraft flying with the KID-Systeme‘s GSM on Board equipment and OnAir's inflight passenger GSM voice and data services. Ryanair is in the process of retrofitting the equipment to the rest of its B737 fleet.

The Boeing retrofit installation design and Supplemental Type Certification (STC) process was managed by KID-Systeme with its partner ECS. A key feature of the STC retrofit design is the use of an innovative distributed Line Replacement Unit installation concept, allowing the GSM on Board equipment to be installed during an aircraft's regular maintenance check. The design of this system enables activation during an over-night stop, meaning the aircraft does not have to be taken out of passenger service.

The GSM on Board equipment has been designed to minimise weight and space usage, particularly in areas designated for passenger use. The GSM server is located in the electronics bay under the cockpit; the leaky-line cable runs along the inside ceiling of the cabin; and the satellite communications equipment, picocell and onboard control equipment are located above the ceiling panels in the aft fuselage.

Patrick Schrot, Managing Director of KID-Systeme, said, "This EASA certification demonstrates the excellence of the programme run by KID-Systeme and ECS. It has also paved the way for Ryanair's inflight passenger connectivity services and we have no doubt it will prove to be the tipping-point for the technology's wide-spread adoption."

KID Systeme's GSM on Board airborne equipment has already been in commercial use on Air France, bmi, Royal Jordanian, TAP Portugal and Wataniya Airways, with further airlines signed up to start the service in 2009 and 2010. It is unique in that it uses Inmarsat's SwiftBroadband technology, providing passengers with the widest range of inflight communications services currently available.

24 Mar 2009 - IAI's Bedek Aviation Group Delivers First Boeing 737-400 Converted Freighter

BEN GURION INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, ISRAEL -- Israel Aerospace Industries' (IAI) Bedek Aviation Group delivered its first B737-400 Bedek Special Freighter Configuration (BDSF) on March 15, 2009, to General Electric Commercial Aviation Service (GECAS). The aircraft has been leased to Bluebird Cargo based in Iceland. Bluebird already operates three B737-300BDSF aircraft.

This is the 39th B737 conversion from Passenger to Freighter (P2F) aircraft performed by IAI to date. The conversion was performed at IAI's Ben Gurion Airport facility. IAI holds Supplemental Type Certificates (STC) from the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

Dany Kleiman, IAI Corporate Vice President and General Manager of the Bedek Aviation Group, emphasizes that the Passenger to Cargo Conversion Program (B747-400, B767-200, B737-300 and now B737-400) is a core business of the Aircraft Division, and that in spite of the "slowdown" in the industry, IAI looks forward to many additional B737-400 conversion projects, including some this year.

15 Jan 09 - Boeing marks aerial refuelling first for 737 family

Boeing has completed the first aerial refueling of the 737-700 Wedgetail airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft for Australia. The event marks the first aerial refueling of a member of the Boeing 737 family, a company spokesman says. The 737-700 Wedgetail received fuel from a Boeing KC-135 and Boeing KC-10.

Boeing is scheduled to deliver the first Wedgetail aircraft to Australia more than two years late in July, but is likely to be further delayed to November. Boeing confirms that the programme is "driving toward the second half of 2009" for first delivery, the spokesman says. The aircraft will be restricted to training missions until the electronic warfare system is delivered in 2010.

06 Jan 2009 - First biofuel from algae airliner flight tomorrow by a B737

US airline Continental says it will carry out "the first biofuel flight by a commercial carrier using algae as a fuel source" tomorrow. Previous airliner biofuel trials have used controversial "first-generation" feedstocks, seen as contributing to world hunger and deforestation, apart from a recent New Zealand test involving jatropha nuts.

Continental says the flight will occur at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas, at 1115 AM local time tomorrow (7 Jan 2009). The aircraft in question will be a Boeing 737-800 equipped with CFM International CFM56-7B engines, and the biofuel mix used will be sourced from feedstocks including jatropha and algae.

Continental say that this means the test will draw only on "sustainable, second-generation fuel sources that do not impact food crops or water resources, and do not contribute to deforestation". In addition to airline execs, the event will be attended by Billy Glover, Boeing's managing director in charge of environmental strategy.

First-generation biofuels made from feedstocks such as corn or palm oil have come in for sustained criticism lately. It has been suggested that these fuels displace food production from farmland, driving up food prices and so causing hardship among the poor. The resulting desire for more farmland is also seen as contributing to deforestation.

Convincing analysis has also suggested that developed nations - or those wishing to become developed one day - will simply never have enough arable land to fuel any significant proportion of their transport using crop fuels.

This has led to the push for "second-generation" biofuels, ones not requiring the use of good farmland for production. Thus far the main candidate here has been oil from the jatropha nut, which might perhaps be cultivated in unused arid deserts not suitable for food production. A recent test by Air New Zealand has shown that jumbo jets will run on a 50-50 jatropha and normal jetfuel mix, but as yet there are not well-established large scale sources of the oily nuts and many are sceptical regarding the viability of the idea.

The other headliner gen-2.0 biofuel feedstock is algae, which might be grown in large amounts on water surfaces - perhaps even on saltwater, avoiding the need to exploit possibly overstressed freshwater resources. To many in the avaiation industry of recent times, algae has been something of a holy grail - offering a way to avoid the high fuel prices seen last year and a possible get-out from tough carbon pricing regimes planned by such bodies as the European Union. Biofuel is one of the few technically feasible low-carbon avenues open to aviation: such options as hydrogen fuel and electric power would be hugely harder to use on aircraft than they are to implement in road vehicles.

All of which means that tomorrow's test by Continental should generate a good deal of interest - although the firm hasn't yet offered details of its algae feedstock, nor of how much of the fuel it provides. It is understood that the biofuel is provided by Honeywell subsidiary UOP, which is working on second-generation biojetfuel as part of the Airbus Initiative, and which has a US military contract aimed at renewable, securely sourced JP-8.


05 Jan 2009 - BBJ3 nearing completion

Boeing recently completed work on the first BBJ 3, a larger business jet based on the Boeing Next-Generation 737-900ER. The airplane is now at DeCrane Aircraft in Georgetown, DE where it will receive its long-range auxiliary fuel system and a Head-up Display.

The fuel system, new for the model, will undergo a two-month certification process at DeCrane. The airplane's final stop is at a completion center of the owner's choosing, where it will receive a custom interior. The un-named customer will receive the completed airplane in 2009.

The BBJ 3 has 1,120 square feet of floor space, and provides 35 percent more interior space and 89 percent more luggage space than the BBJ 2. The BBJ 3's range is between 5,435 nmi and 4,725 nmi, depending on the number of passengers flown.

All BBJs are equipped with Blended Winglets (wing tip extensions), which reduce community noise, lower emissions and increase the airplane's range.

The BBJ program focuses on features that help owners fly safely, efficiently, reliably and comfortably. Boeing currently is delivering BBJs with lower cabin altitude and Future Air Navigation System technology. Lower cabin altitude allows the cabin pressurization control system to regulate the cabin environment to equal a maximum cabin altitude of 6,500 feet so that passengers travel in greater comfort.

Future Air Navigation System (FANS) streamlines communication between flight crews and air traffic controllers. FANS adds another layer of safety and efficiency to the global air transportation system, and allows BBJ owners to take more direct routes, shortening flight times and saving fuel.


01 Jan 2009 - Boeing considers 737 enhancements

Boeing whose 737 is the world's most widely flown plane, said it's studying new "product enhancements" as replacement plans for the aircraft have been delayed toward the end of the next decade.

The Chicago-based company is considering rolling out more changes to the current version of the jet as it has done since 2000, with improvements to performance, comfort and navigation, Russell Young, a spokesman in Seattle, said Wednesday.

"We will share the details of future enhancements when we have decided to implement them," Young said.

Both Boeing and Airbus SAS have struggled to meet customers' demands for a 20 percent reduction in operating costs for the 737 and the Airbus A320, short-haul planes that are the backbone of fleets for many airlines' domestic routes. Enginemakers haven't come up with technology yet that would ensure enough of a decrease in fuel burn and emissions, forcing planemakers to push back replacement plans until late in the next decade.

With environmentalists and the slumping economy putting pressure on the industry, Boeing is considering a bridge model that would provide a 10 percent improvement until a replacement is ready, according to the current edition of Aviation and the Environment magazine.

Aviation analyst Scott Hamilton reports that Boeing is considering a major upgrade of its popular 737 before it develops a new single-aisle aircraft to replace the workhorse plane.

The upgraded 737, a fourth generation of an aircraft originally designed in the 1960s, would feature more fuel efficient engines, perhaps Pratt & Whitney's new geared turbo-fans or CFM's new generation engine.

If Boeing picks the geared engine, which is larger in diameter than the 737's present CFM engines, it could require substantial revisions to the design: new, taller landing gear to increase the clearance between the engine and the runway and perhaps a new wing and wing box.

Any such update, of course, would include an updated cockpit and passenger amenities.

Boeing and its rival, Airbus, have repeatedly delayed complete redesigns of their popular 737 and A320 aircraft saying the science of aircraft design hasn't advance enough yet to prompt the expenditure of billions of dollars to produce an aircraft only 10 percent or so more efficient than the planes being built now.

A fourth-generation 737 would mean postponing the new single-aisle design until at least 2020 and give Boeing's Renton plant at least that much more longevity.

The Renton plant produces that 737. Boeing has said it likely will consider the Renton plant and other sites around the country for assembly of a totally new single-aisle plane.

22 Dec 08 - Boeing to Lead Southwest Airlines 737 Flight Deck Modernization

Boeing [NYSE: BA] has been selected by Southwest Airlines as the lead integrator for the airline's 737-300/-700 flight deck upgrade to incorporate advanced performance-based navigation capabilities. Boeing's role will include design, installation and integration of new hardware and software from multiple suppliers, as well as flight testing and certification.

Under this large-scale integration program, the 737-300 airplanes will be modified with new and enhanced avionics supplied by GE Aviation, Honeywell and Rockwell Collins. The Classic 737s will be equipped with GE's large area displays which use the latest in LCD technology and more closely align the 737-300 and 737-700 flight decks, creating commonality, and allowing the 737-300 to operate in the same preferred airspace as the newer 737-700s.

The 737-300 enhancements will also position Southwest for additional features - currently under development - that will support future airspace requirements. Southwest Airlines, an industry leader in airline efficiency, also is making a fleet-wide commitment to Required Navigation Performance (RNP) operations, a navigation technology that enables an aircraft to operate within a tight corridor of airspace with Global Positioning System guidance. These RNP enhancements will help the airline reduce fuel consumption, enhance safety and situational awareness, and minimize aircraft emissions and noise resulting in improved efficiency and reduced costs.

"Southwest is a great airline and partner and we're proud to support in their initiatives toward more efficient operations," said Kevin Schemm, vice president, North America Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "Boeing is committed to working with our customers to introduce environmentally progressive lifecycle solutions."

"This upgrade program will enhance safety, situational awareness, and fuel efficiency, and it will allow greater training flexibility due to flight deck commonality," said Chuck Magill, vice president of Flight Operations at Southwest Airlines. "But the bottom line is that our customers will benefit from better performance and continued low fares."

As the original equipment manufacturer, Boeing is uniquely qualified to provide the lowest risk solution through its intellectual property, engineering and technical resources, world-class testing and certification capabilities and long term supplier relationships.

08 Dec 2008 - Algae to fuel Boeing 737 flight

Continental Airlines has scheduled the first biofuel demonstration flight to include algae-derived fuel in the mix of fuel sources, for a Jan. 7 flight from Houston.

The non-revenue flight by a Boeing 737-800 will be the first by a U.S. airline, and the first to involve a twin-engined airliner. Air New Zealand is expected to conduct its delayed biofuel flight, with a Boeing 747-400, by year-end.

For the Continental flight, one of the 737's CFM International CFM56-7B engines will burn a blend of 50% traditional jet fuel and 50% biofuel produced from algae and jatropha oil. Air NZ will use a 50:50 blend of Jet-A1 and jatropha-derived biofuel.

Both algae and jatropha, an inedible plant that grows on arid and non-arable land, are regarded as sustainable, second-generation biofuel sources that do not impact food crops or water resources and do not contribute to deforestation.

The fuel for both trials has been produced using processing technology developed by Honeywell company UOP. The jatropha oil for both flights was sourced by Terrasol from plantations in southeastern Africa and India.

The algal oil was provided by Sapphire Energy and was produced from microalgae grown on open ponds in Hawaii by Cyanotech, says UOP. The algal and jatropha oils were mixed then processed into biofuel, the company says.

Continental test pilots will crew the passenger-less 737 for the demonstration flight with the No. 2 (right) engine burning biofuel. Tests will include accelerations/decelerations, in-flight shutdown and restart and other procedures.

Data recorded during flight and post-flight inspection of the engine is expected to contribute toward the eventual approval of biofuels as drop-in replacements for jet fuel. Standards body ASTM International anticipates approval of 50% biofuel blends by 2010.

14 Nov 2008 - Uncoated nutplates in production cause further delays

Boeing which is ramping up airplane production after a costly strike, said Thursday that it was delaying delivery of 737 jetliners and planning to inspect some in service to replace parts that lacked a required anti-corrosion coating. The uncoated nut plates, small fastening devices used to attach bundles of wires and other items to the inside of fuselages, had been used since August 2007, said Vicki Ray, a company spokeswoman. Boeing delivered 394 of the planes between then and October, according to Chicago-based Boeing's Web site. The parts do not pose an immediate safety risk, she said. Boeing was notfied about the problem by Spirit AeroSystems Inc., a Wichita, Kan., firm that builds wing and fuselage components. "We're replacing them as we find them," Ray said. "Also to be addressed is the in-service fleet, and we're still working on a plan for that."

14 Aug 2008 - First BBJ3 completed

Boeing [NYSE: BA] recently completed work on the first BBJ 3. The BBJ 3 is a new, larger business jet based on the Boeing Next-Generation 737-900ER (Extended Range). The BBJ 3 has 1,120 square feet (104 square meters) of floor space, and provides 35 percent more interior space and 89 percent more luggage space than the BBJ 2. The BBJ 3's range is between 5,435 nmi (10,066 km) and 4,725 nmi (8,751 km) depending on the number of passengers flown.

The airplane is now at DeCrane Aircraft in Georgetown, Del., where it will receive its long-range auxiliary fuel system and a Head-up Display. The fuel system, new for the model, will undergo a two-month certification process at DeCrane. The airplane's final stop is at a completion center of the owner's choosing, where it will receive a custom interior. The un-named customer will receive the completed airplane in 2009.

All BBJs are equipped with Blended Winglets (wing tip extensions), which reduce community noise, lower emissions and increase the airplane's range.

The BBJ program focuses on features that help owners fly safely, efficiently, reliably and comfortably. Boeing currently is delivering BBJs with lower cabin altitude and Future Air Navigation System technology. Lower cabin altitude allows the cabin pressurization control system to regulate the cabin environment to equal a maximum cabin altitude of 6,500 feet so that passengers travel in greater comfort. Future Air Navigation System (FANS) streamlines communication between flight crews and air traffic controllers. FANS adds another layer of safety and efficiency to the global air transportation system, and allows BBJ owners to take more direct routes, shortening flight times and saving fuel.

Boeing has been selling its entire line of commercial airplanes to private aviation since the beginning of the jet age. In addition to the narrow-body BBJs, Boeing also sells VIP versions of its 787, 777, 767 and 747-8 models. All of Boeing's business jets include top-notch product-support and dedicated field service representatives located around the world

04 Aug 2008 - 737NG Carbon Brakes Earn FAA Certification

SEATTLE, Aug 04, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Boeing (BA:Boeing Co. News, chart, profile, more Last: 61.36-0.65-1.05% 4:01pm 08/04/2008 Delayed quote dataAdd to portfolio Analyst Create alertInsider Discuss Financials Sponsored by: BA 61.36, -0.65, -1.0%) announced that it earned certification last week from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for its new carbon brakes designed for the Next-Generation 737.

The brakes, supplied by Messier-Bugatti, also entered service last week when Boeing delivered a Next-Generation 737-700 to Delta Air Lines -- the first of 10 737-700s the airline will receive over the next several years.

Carbon brakes weigh 700 pounds (320 kg) less than high-capacity steel brakes for Next-Generation 737-700, -800 and -900ER (Extended Range) airplanes; and 550 pounds (250 kg) less than standard-capacity steel brakes for Next-Generation 737-600s and -700s. Reduced weight contributes to reductions in associated fuel burn and CO2 emissions depending on airline operations.

Delta Air Lines is coupling lighter-weight carbon brakes with drag- and emissions-reducing Blended Winglets (wing tip extensions) to improve operating and fuel efficiency simultaneously on its Next-Generation 737s. Delta's stated goal is to have greater flexibility to serve more markets with existing aircraft, further enhancing the largest international expansion in Delta's history.

Carbon brakes are the most recent enhancement that Boeing is offering on its Next-Generation 737. Since its entry into service, Boeing has introduced product enhancements that improve performance, navigation precision and passenger comfort on the Next-Generation 737.


29 Jul 2008 - Honeywell delivers NGS to Boeing

Jul 29, 2008 (AIRLINE INDUSTRY INFORMATION via COMTEX) -- HON | Quote | Chart | News | PowerRating -- Honeywell (NYSE:HON), a diversified technology and manufacturing company, has announced that it has delivered the Nitrogen Generation System (NGS) for the Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft.

The NGS is intended to reduce flammability and thus increase aircraft safety through delivering nitrogen enriched air to the aircraft centre fuel tank.

The US Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transport and National Transportation Safety Board recently announced that within two years all new aircraft must have technology to reduce the risk of centre fuel tank fires installed.


21 Jul 2008 - First flight of Turkish modified Peace Eagle

The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has successfully conducted the first flight test of the first 737 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft modified by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) in Ankara for Turkey's Peace Eagle program.

During the 2.5-hour flight from Ankara on July 16, pilot Ron Johnston and first officer Mark Mitchell performed a series of functional tests that verified the airworthiness of the aircraft's systems and structures.

The aircraft included newly installed aerial refueling capability, an advanced Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) antenna, ventral fins and mission system equipment.

"This flight is a tribute to the skill and hard work of TAI while successfully executing a very complex modification effort in transforming a 737-700 into an AEW&C platform," said Mark Ellis, Boeing Peace Eagle program manager.

Boeing will validate the aircraft's mission system over the next several weeks, before painting the plane with Turkish Air Force markings.

The Peace Eagle program includes four 737 AEW&C aircraft plus ground support segments for mission crew training, mission support and system maintenance. Boeing modified the first aircraft at its facilities in Seattle. TAI is modifying the remaining three aircraft in Ankara.

The 737-700 features 21st century avionics, navigation equipment and flight deck features. Because of its advanced technology, the aircraft requires minimal downtime for maintenance. The 737 series has a worldwide base of suppliers, parts and support equipment.

In addition to Northrop Grumman's MESA antenna with integrated identification friend-or-foe capabilities, the aircraft features a flexible, open architecture for cost-effective future upgrades, an extensive communications suite and aerial refueling capability.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32.1 billion business with 71,000 employees worldwide.

14 Jul 2008 - FMC U10.8 completed by GE

Jul 14, 2008 (M2 EQUITYBITES via COMTEX) -- GE | Quote | Chart | News | PowerRating -- The new flight management system (FMS) software Update 10.8 for the Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft has been completed by GE Aviation an operating unit of General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), the company announced on Sunday (13 July).

Production incorporation of the U10.8 FMC software is scheduled for Airplane Line Position 2753 and on. Airplane Line Position 2753 is scheduled to be delivered in October of this year. Boeing Service Bulletin 737-34-2104 is expected to be released within thirty days after delivery of Airplane Line Position 2753.


23 may 2008 - Boeing pushes back design development of 737 replacement jet

By Dominic Gates

Seattle Times aerospace reporter


Boeing's schedule for developing a replacement for its Renton-built 737 narrow-body jet has officially been pushed out some years into the future.

The company in 2006 created a team led by top executives to do preliminary studies on the replacement's design configuration. But Boeing has decided that effort is premature.

Spokeswoman Sandy Angers said Thursday the study team has been absorbed into the broader product-development unit and has shifted from specific airplane designs.

Instead, Boeing is focused on finding technologies that might provide performance improvements of 15 to 20 percent that are demanded by airlines to justify launching a new jet.

"We've reduced our airplane-design effort and are focusing more on the technology breakthroughs," said Angers. "We need technology breakthroughs in engines, aerodynamics, materials and other systems.

"You can't simply shrink the 787 and expect the same benefits for the narrow-body market," Angers said. "We've got difficult challenges."

The use of a 787-style composite plastic material, for example, won't offer as big a weight improvement on a much smaller jet.

Angers wouldn't pin down a new target date for the 737's replacement beyond "the latter half of the next decade," but delivery to airlines could now be closer to 2020 than the previously anticipated 2015.

In an interview Tuesday with aviation analyst Scott Hamilton, Airbus' chief operating officer and top salesman, John Leahy, cited 2020 as the likely delivery date for a replacement of the rival A320 jet family.

The A320 and the 737 divide the narrow-body market. A program to replace one of those with a new model is expected to trigger replacement of the other.

The 737 is Boeing's best-selling jet with just over 5,700 delivered to date. With almost 2,200 more on firm order, the production schedule is full well into 2014.

Hamilton, of, said pushing out the 737 replacement could mean Boeing would first upgrade its wide-body 777 to counter the threat from the Airbus A350 — either with significant enhancements to the 777 or with an all-new large airplane.

In late 2005, Alan Mulally, then-chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said the company would develop a post-737 single-aisle jet to enter service between 2012 and 2015.

The next spring, he named top executive Mike Cave to head a 737-replacement study team.

Carolyn Brandsema, director of 737 engineering, was put in charge of developing the airplane and production concepts.

Last fall, Cave was promoted to a corporate position in Chicago.

Angers said Brandsema is back working on the current 737.

The shift in the study team's role was first reported this week in the trade magazine Aviation Week.

Addressing an audience of Wall Street analysts in Seattle on Wednesday, Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Scott Carson insisted the effort to develop a 737 replacement has not been abandoned, only pushed out to ensure that what results has a long market life.

"We're continuing our research effort until we find the right solution," Carson said.

"It has to be a 25-year product."

18 May 2008 - Boeing Goes Back to Drawing Board for 737 Follow-on

By Guy Norris and Robert Wall - Aviation Week

Boeing is abandoning its long-running effort to devise a successor to the 737, driven back to the drawing board by the lack of existing technology that can deliver the huge leap in performance airlines want for a next-generation single-aisle aircraft.

The decision to disband the 737RS (replacement study) design project, because it fell short of critical performance targets, has implications beyond Boeing. It will likely influence how Airbus moves forward on its A320 replacement effort, the A30X. For airlines, it means an even longer wait until a 737 or A320 follow-on hits the market.

For Boeing, the focus now switches to more fundamental research into aerodynamics, composites and other advanced alloys and hybrid materials, systems and propulsion in the hope that concepts will emerge to meet the challenge.

The manufacturer openly admits the change of strategy, saying, "We know customers are demanding really high targets for this aircraft, and we know that with the state of technology, we're not going to get there anytime soon." As a result, Boeing adds, "We're focusing on technology efforts and reducing the aircraft design effort while the technology matures."

The transformation of the 737RS project into a more sweeping technology study effort is sparking industry speculation that this will inevitably push any prospective development of a 737 successor toward 2017-19. Boeing declines to be more specific on the impact of the decision or the potential for further slippage. It simply says, "We expect the rate of this technology development to be available in the latter part of next decade, and we've said this will be no earlier than 2015."

Boeing's 737RS study emerged from the product development group's P-1 project of the late 1990s, and was later absorbed as a subset of the Yellowstone project. Further details came out in early 2006, when Boeing named key executives to the project, including Mike Cave, vice president for airplane programs, and Carolyn Brandsema, head of aircraft and production system studies.

At the time, Boeing was still targeting a 2012-15 entry-into-service window, and was starting to explore splitting the project, renamed 737RS, into two portions covering a 90-120-seater and a larger family bridging the gap between 125 seats and the lower range of the 787.

Studies to date combining the best technology advances in materials, propulsion, aerodynamics, structures and systems have produced results that, according to industry sources, fail to get even halfway toward Boeing's original operating cost, fuel burn and emissions goals. The most realistic design scenarios have produced overall operating cost improvements of only around 10% versus current 737-700/800 performance.

Boeing has not publicly stated the 737RS targets, but they are believed to be cost reductions in the 20-25% range. A company official clarifies, however, that "you can't just do a shrink of the 787; it's not as easy as that because of the different missions, higher cycles and shorter range. You can't shrink the 787 because of the systems. You need volume to handle the systems on the 787. With this study, we really need breakthroughs."

3 May 2008 - Boeing Completes 737 Carbon Brakes Certification Testing

Next-Generation 737 Operators Benefit from Reduced Weight, Emissions

SEATTLE, May 02, 2008 -- Boeing [NYSE:BA] recently completed certification testing of new carbon brakes designed for the Next-Generation 737 airplane family by French supplier Messier-Bugatti.

A Next-Generation 737-900ER (Extended Range) airplane is shown performing a high-speed rejected takeoff test, designed to verify that an airplane at maximum weight with greatly worn brakes can stop safely after a refused takeoff decision. Boeing will submit the test results to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for certification the second quarter this year. Entry into production is expected by third quarter. Boeing will offer a retrofit program for airplanes already in service.

Through a month-long test program, Boeing reached its goal to show equivalent performance between steel and carbon brakes, and verified a weight savings of 700 pounds (320 kg) compared to high-capacity steel brakes for Next-Generation 737-700/800/900ERs, and 550 pounds (250 kg) on standard-capacity steel brakes for Next-Generation 737-600/700s. Reduced weight contributes to reductions in associated fuel burn and CO2 emissions depending on airline operations.

The Messier-Bugatti carbon brakes are available as a new feature.

27 Apr 2008 - Arlanda and Brisbane Airports Pursue RNP and 4D Trajectories

By David Hughes Aviation Week & Space Technology

The key building blocks of global air traffic system modernization should be deployed at airports on two continents by year-end. The pioneering projects show why there's no need to wait a decade or more to lower fuel burn, emissions and noise while boosting runway capacity.

The 4D trajectories (4DTs) and Required Navigation Performance (RNP) approaches are being implemented at Arlanda Airport here and Brisbane Airport in Australia. These medium-size facilities are good testbeds because of their mixed traffic and complex airspace.

Scandinavian Airlines' Boeing 737NGs are using 4D flight paths at Arlanda along with continuous-descent, or "green," approaches. ("4D" denotes the three spatial dimensions plus a required time of arrival over the threshold.) SAS has logged about 2,000 green approaches with area navigation (RNAV). Qantas, meanwhile, has exploited more precise satellite guidance during more than 8,000 RNP RNAV approaches at Brisbane, with the resulting savings in fuel and emissions (see p. 56).

The LFV Group, Sweden's air navigation service provider, is leading the Arlanda effort with SAS, while Airservices Australia is overseeing the Brisbane project with Qantas.

Now SAS and LFV plan to add RNP to the 4DT demonstrations in the second half of this year, and Qantas will include 4DT in its RNP demos, according to Capt. Alex Passerini, the technical pilot in charge of Qantas's 737 fleet. Airservices has not yet made a firm commitment to the 4DT effort but is talking to Qantas about assisting. Both Arlanda and Brisbane will then probably showcase the best of both techniques.

The two airports' fielding of RNP and 4DT later this year contrasts markedly with the timelines of Europe's Sesar (Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research) program and the U.S.'s NextGen modernization effort. Their program-completion targets are 2020 and 2025, respectively. But as many ATC experts assert, technology is not a hurdle for Sesar and NextGen: Much of it is already available, and at Arlanda and Brisbane, the idea is to use it now.

It's noteworthy that the air navigation expertise needed to make 4DT happen at both airports comes from a small, advanced technology consulting company - Avtech - in the suburbs of Stockholm (see p. 55). And the RNP know-how is from another small company - Naverus in Kent, Wash. Not surprisingly, Avtech and Naverus are strategic partners on a wide range of advanced air navigation projects around the world.

4DT involves the transmission of the aircraft's "reference business trajectory" (see drawing on p. 54) to controllers, who approve it whenever possible but often with adjustments to the time when the aircraft is required to touch down. RNP involves the use of GPS to position the aircraft on a precise flight track that can take the aircraft to 250 ft. AGL on a customized path that reduces track miles flown.

Avtech leaders Lars Lindberg and Christer Staaf are confident that 4DT is much closer to being implemented permanently in day-to-day operations than many people realize. And the RNP procedures Naverus has designed for Qantas, Air New Zealand, Air China, WestJet and others are already proving that the technique is mature and ready for applications that are not fully understood in much of the civil aviation community.

At Arlanda, the RNP/4DT combination is expected to be much more than some laboratory experiment writ large. "We have passed the laboratory stage," says Lindberg, even though his company's 737 simulator is being used to refine the algorithms and procedures. And now, two other European airnav service providers are involved in the combined RNP/4DT flights that will start soon. NATS of the U.K. and the Netherlands' LVNL will help to design the flight trials, so the results will show how the same operational concepts would work at London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol. Lindberg says RNP and 4DT could facilitate mixed-mode operations at Heathrow so that takeoffs and landings could be performed on the same runway - a move that British Airways and BAA Ltd., which operates Heathrow, have said could boost capacity there by 15%.

Arlanda's 4DT project started in 2006 with funding from the European Commission. Partners were LFV, SAS, Avtech, Boeing Research and Technology Center of Madrid, Rockwell Collins France and GE Aviation. During 2006-07, 2,000 green approaches were flown into Arlanda. These continuous-descent procedures keep aircraft at cruise altitude longer compared with conventional approaches, and then bring them down at or near idle power until they are configured for landing.

The flights used a sequencing tool called Collaborative Information Exchange System to allow controllers to interact with the aircraft over an Acars (aircraft communications addressing and reporting system) data link, starting about an hour before touchdown. Lindberg says Acars is suitable for the current demonstrations even though it's not designed for time-critical applications. The next generation of data link, coming with Sesar, will clearly improve this aspect of operations.

Once the trajectory is downlinked to the ground, the controller can see the path that the aircraft intends to follow. If the estimated time of arrival is in conflict with the needs of other arriving traffic, the controller can make adjustments and send a revision (known as a required time of arrival, or RTA) back to the cockpit. From 1 hr. before landing, controllers have what Staaf calls "six minutes of control authority." This means the controller can command the airplane to speed up or slow down to hit an RTA within a 6-min. window. "This enables the air transportation system to work like a real logistics system," says Lindberg. Controllers can direct aircraft (similar to packages in a supply chain) to arrive at a certain runway "just in time" much more efficiently than they can now. Currently, controllers sort out the lineup of aircraft when they're at low altitude (burning lots of fuel) by giving the pilots radar vectors, notes Staaf.

Now, as time-based operations are being added to the mix at Arlanda, the focus is shifting to Eurocontrol's CTA (controlled time of arrival) ATM System Integration Studies, or Cassis. This 15-month project involving flight trials at Arlanda will start next month using an RNP procedure to Runway 26 with 4DT techniques and wind uplinks.

The 4D trajectory that's sent to the ground comes from the flight management system (FMS) made by General Electric. GE modified the software in the FMS (formerly a Smiths product) and introduced the "intent bus" that makes it possible to send the trajectory calculation to the ground.

It includes not just a series of waypoints, but a much more complete set of data defining the aircraft's intended trajectory from cruise altitude to touchdown. This is called the "reference business trajectory" because it reflects what the airline is seeking in a flight path for the greatest efficiency in the way it wants to run its operation. For example, the flight management computer has a cost index set by the airlines to balance the time-variable cost versus the fuel cost. The data set includes everything from the Vref approach speed to when the aircraft will be configured for landing, and even the exact radius of each turn the airplane will make.

The computers on various flight decks form a distributed network linked to the ground where a computer can mesh all the data into an overall arrival sequence for review and approval by a controller. Avtech believes distributed computing produces a better arrival sequence than having a computer on the ground devise all the flight paths by itself with no input from the aircraft, and then transmitting instructions to the flight decks. The other method is the "tailored arrival" concept now being tested at San Francisco and Miami international airports. Lindberg points out that when ATC calculates all the flight paths on the ground and uplinks them to the cockpit, this creates a much "heavier" data-transfer load.

The Sesar modernization effort sees the "business trajectory" as the "coin of the realm" that will be the keystone of how flight operations will be run in the future. Controllers will allow the airplane to fly the requested path whenever possible.

The holy grail is to increase the number of aircraft an airport can handle. By relying on automation, "we can deliver that [required time of arrival at the runway] day in and day out, and increase airport capacity," says Lindberg. Using 4DT techniques and interleaving takeoffs and landings, many runways could achieve up to 30 landings and 30 takeoffs per hour, he asserts. By interleaving operations, the "highly efficient" Gatwick is already at 50 movements per hour on the airport's only runway, he says.

In the next phase of flight demonstrations, GE will add an avionics box to an SAS 737 to record all of the calculations going on inside the flight management computer. Until now, the partners relied on data from a quick-access recorder, but information from this new box "will give us all of the answers to what's going on in the FMS and help us understand wind effects on the approach," says Lindberg.

The green trials started in 2006 in low traffic with SAS 737s; but the next phase will target higher traffic periods at Arlanda and will include other legacy aircraft that aren't equipped with the GE FMS. SAS MD-80s, for example, will send the estimated time of arrival data from a Honeywell FMS via Acars. MD-80 pilots will make speed adjustments to arrive at an initial approach fix within 30 sec. of the required time. Avtech is now talking to other airlines about joining the 4DT project, and Lindberg expects some Airbus aircraft to join using Thales-GE FMS equipment.

Many of the upcoming tests with time-based operations and RNP will be devoted to refining techniques to make runway-arrival times even more consistent. One area of analysis will be to study how pilots might deploy flaps and slats to achieve a required arrival time. Another area of interest is to improve the wind data used by the flight management computer to calculate the aircraft's arrival time based on a particular trajectory.

For the wind calculations, a new Avtech-developed software tool, called Aventus NowCast, uplinks selected weather forecast data along the route of flight to the cockpit. The FMS uses the wind information to adjust the top-of-descent point. Avtech is building on NASA Ames's 1980s work with a 737 testbed and has improved this wind-reporting technique with computer modeling. The GE FMS can accept wind reports at three points along the flight path, and Avtech has learned that having the software select the right points is critical. If they are wrong, the wind data may actually make the approach timing worse than it would have been without the data. (Some of the information comes from other aircraft reporting what they encounter. During one day at Arlanda, 5,000 weather data reports may be received by Aventus from aircraft.)

The tool was demonstrated in the trials completed last year, and will be used and validated by both SAS and Qantas. With better wind data and other refinements, Avtech and GE believe they can improve on the arrival time over the threshold that's now off by just ýý7 sec. on average.

Capt. Peter Larsson, project leader for SAS's Green Flight Program, says that with today's conventional procedures - radar vectors to an ILS - it's normal that 95% of the aircraft cross the threshold at ýý12 min. of what's expected. The uncertainty factor has cost consequences in terms of gate allocation and scheduling everyone from caterers to luggage handlers. If the threshold-crossing time improves to ýý2 min., the airport would no longer have to reserve a gate for up to 50 min. to match a 30-min. aircraft turnaround. "The time-dimension part is even more valuable in terms of the money saved by the airline [than the fuel savings]," says Larsson.

However, for the Avtech 4DT technique to "grow legs and walk" to a large number of airports, it will have to be a very robust procedure. "We are taking some important steps, but we have to move into peak traffic periods," says Lindberg.


Each Continuous Descent Approach (CDA) saves ~150 kg. fuel.

Each Required Navigation Performance approach saves ~110 kg. fuel.

4-D trajectories make arrival time more predictable, allowing gate reservation times to be reduced. Each minute reduced saves ~1,000 kronor ($170).

SourceS: Avtech and SAS

13 March 2008 - Boeing, partners will test 737 powered by biofuel

The Boeing Co. announced 13 March 2008 that it has teamed with Continental Airlines and GE Aviation to test a 737 powered by a biofuel.

"Exploring sustainable biofuels is a logical and exciting new step in our environmental commitment," Continental executive Mark Moran in a statement.

The flight is scheduled for the first half of 2009.

7 Mar 08 - Luxell Technologies becomes risk-sharing partner to provide WheelTug electric wheel drive for 737NG and takes equity stake

Canadian manufacturer Luxell Technologies has become a risk-sharing partner for WheelTug's electric wheel drive for Boeing 737NG ground manoeuvring, after agreeing to supply the cockpit controls interface kit and take an equity stake in the company after "timely" certification of the system.

Ontario-headquartered Luxell manufactures and licences flat-panel display technologies and equipment for the defence and avionics industries.

WheelTug's contract with Luxell is expected to last the lifetime of the WheelTug 737NG system. "The deal represents a part of our business strategy to expand into commercial avionics and demonstrate our display expertise to major players in that sector," says Luxell chief executive Jean-Louis Larmor.

If the arrangement proves successful, says WheelTug chief executive Isaiah Cox, Luxell will be WheelTug's "likely partner" to develop electric wheel drive systems for other aircraft types.

The partnership comes as WheelTug reveals it is in talks with other risk-sharing partners, covering the wire harness and inverters for the WheelTug system.

Patented motors developed by WheelTug's parent, European manufacturer Chorus Motors, will comprise the core of the system, which will be built into the hubs of aircraft nose-wheels and take power from the auxiliary power unit (APU). This will give aircraft full ground mobility - forward and reverse with steering - without using engines or external tugs. The first motor designed specifically for 737NG aircraft will be ready for testing in May.

WheelTug aims to secure supplemental type certification covering Boeing 737-600, -700, -800 and -900 aircraft. An FAA-approved project-specific certification plan (PSCP) has been tagged to be completed after deals with partners are in place. Although this plan delays the original strategy to have a PSCP in place this spring, it will not push back the entire certification programme, says Cox.

WheelTug has been testing the equipment with US launch customer Delta Air Lines, which since early 2007 has assisted with time, resources and aircraft. This type of assistance is "invaluable", says Cox. Delta may yet make a financial investment, but the carrier has "no financial incentive to exercise warrants until they come due", he says. Delta's TechOps maintenance, repair and overhaul division has first refusal on all installation and maintenance services within the USA once the system is certificated and deployed.

Last year, WheelTug also formed an alliance with a French group, Association pour le Développement Durable dans l'Aviation Civile (ADDAC), to develop and certify the WheelTug system for the Airbus A320 family.

"We are in discussions over a number of different aircraft, including the A320, regional jets and military aircraft," says Cox. "By the beginning of 2009, we'll be able to launch the second aircraft type, but it is equally likely to be a regional jet as it would be to be an A320." He notes that the system would be ideal for 757 manoeuvring.

Because engine taxiing is reduced, environmental benefits could include savings, through fuel cuts, in emissions such as CO2 and NOx.

For the system to be certified on any other aircraft type, says Cox, "we will at least have to have that level of assistance from an airline" as it has enjoyed with Delta. He declines to say whether WheelTug is in talks with Delta to provide the system for its regional jet fleet.

Later this summer, WheelTug intends to begin offering delivery slots to other customers. At that point, specifications will be clear "so an airline will know exactly what they're getting", says Cox.

16 Feb 2008 - India's "Air Force One"

Here’s some news for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. In three months, he is getting a new office. What is more, he will be going places in it. And he will be better protected in it, have more elbow room, even play host to foreign visitors—all without even being on Indian soil.

The fact is, the Indian Air Force, in whose craft the top dignitaries of the country fly, is getting a spanking new home in the sky for the Indian Prime Minister. The first of three ultra luxury transport aircraft, the Boeing Business Jets (BBJ), ordered for a whopping Rs 734 crore, will arrive in May to join the VVIP squadron of the IAF that ferries the President, Prime Minister and top Cabinet ministers.

While the Indian version of Air Force One is being kept under wraps by IAF due to “security concerns”, the aircraft is known to be fitted with a secure satellite communication centre, an advanced missile warning system and deflecting shield, electronic counter measures and radar warning systems.

This means that when the PM travels on official work, he will be able to conduct meetings, hold press conferences, catch a wink of sleep and remain in constant audio and visual touch with New Delhi without leaving his aircraft.

“The Boeing Business Jet is a specially configured aircraft for VVIP comfort. Its interiors create a working environment befitting the VVIP’s official stature. More importantly , it is equipped with the latest self-protection suite, thus providing our VIPs the highest level of protection from any ground-based or airborne threat,” the Indian Air Force, tasked with maintaining and operating the VVIP fleet, says.

While the older 737s do not have any self protection systems, the Embraer executive jets are reported to have limited protection against land-launched weapons and heat seeking missiles. The BBJs, on the other hand, have an “extremely efficient” missile protection suite and powerful electronic systems designed to confuse the incoming missile.

The IAF refuses to share details, but the minimum systems on board will be an IR (Infra Red) sensor and jammer to track incoming missiles from a good distance to warn the pilot. This would also activate the counter measures unit that will dispense flares and decoys. Like the American Air Force One, the BBJ is also being fitted with electronic counter measures to jam enemy radars.

The three BBJs have been specifically ordered to replace the Boeing 737-200s that were acquired in the 1980s for the use of the top dignitaries. Unlike the earlier craft with their limited resources, the BBJs have a range of close to 11,000 km and a maximum speed of 890 kmph. So they will be able to fly to most parts of the world without a refuelling stopover.

This will be a massive change from the current lot of aircraft that fly VVIPs in the country. Both the Embraer executive jets and the Boeing 737s in the IAF’s inventory have a limited flying range and need to make numerous fuel stopovers during long flights. In fact, the Boeing 737s cannot even fly abroad due to outdated avionic systems and the lack of modern navigational aids.

The arrival of the jets will also be a welcome relief for Air India as currently a regular commercial airliner has to be pulled out of service and “retrofitted” for VVIP duty whenever the President and Prime Minister fly abroad on tours.

While the Embraers—five of them were purchased for over Rs 650 crore in 2003—can accommodate close to 20 passengers in a regular seating arrangement, the BBJ will carry more than twice that number in much more luxury.

Once inside, the PM and his entourage will find a full-fledged flying office-cum-residence that can host up to 48 guests besides having a private bedroom for the VVIP, an executive office with Internet availability and secure communication connections.

The 807 sq ft cabin has been customised with a stateroom and a separate meeting room, something that is inconceivable on the much smaller Embraer 135 Legacy jets that are used to transport VVIPs within the country and for short overseas hauls and the older generation Boeing 737-200s that fly dignitaries on the domestic circuit.

While the three jets have already been delivered by Boeing to IAF in an unfurnished condition, the interiors of the aircraft are being customised at the PATS Aircraft completion center in Delaware, USA. “PATS will install an interior that includes a stateroom, meeting room, communications centre and seating for 48 passengers,” a Boeing statement said.

The first of the BBJs, fitted with the highly classified missile avoidance systems and security suite, is currently being flight tested by the IAF in the US. After complete integration of the security package, the BBJ is expected to land at the Palam Airport—home to the IAF’s elite Communications Squadron responsible for air travel by VVIPs—by the the first week of May. The other two jets are expected to arrive later in the year.

It is not only a luxury craft for Indian VVIPs. The BBJ is being used by close to a dozen countries, including Australia, South Africa, Argentina and Malaysia to fly their heads of state. However, it pales in comparison to the home in the sky of the American President. The Air Force One, a highly modified Boeing 747, is not only much larger but also had a virtually unlimited range as it can carry out air to air refuelling. Besides conference rooms, resting areas and the President’s residential quarters, the jumbo jet even has a gymnasium specially designed for long flights.

The Indian Prime Minister’s needs perhaps do not warrant a gymnasium. But when he climbs aboard his new carrier, there will surely be a new kick in his steps.

2 Nov 2007 - C-40B Missile Countermeasures System Installation

The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has begun modifying the first of three U.S Air Force C-40B transport aircraft with a laser-based countermeasures system that defeats incoming infrared-seeking missiles.

The Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures system, supplied by Northrop Grumman [NYSE: NOC], protects large fixed-wing transports and small rotary-wing aircraft from infrared missile attacks by automatically detecting a missile launch, determining if it is a threat and activating a high-intensity countermeasures system to track and defeat the threat.

The first installation is scheduled for completion in late February 2008, with the second and third modified aircraft slated for delivery in August and December of next year.

The C-40B, a derivative of the Next-Generation 737-700 Boeing Business Jet, is designed to be an "office in the sky" for senior military leaders, providing broadband data/video transmit-and-receive capability as well as clear and secure voice and data communication. It enables combatant commanders to conduct business anywhere in the world using onboard Internet and local area network connections, improved telephones, satellites, television monitors and fax machines.

18 Oct 2007 - Flight Deck Windscreen Inspections

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. aviation authorities advised airlines on Wednesday to inspect cockpit windows on Boeing Co. 737s after two were damaged in flight, causing one plane to lose cabin pressure.

The proposed airworthiness directive follows similar action in July on all Boeing 747 jetliners after a cockpit window fell out, causing a rapid loss of cabin pressure and an emergency landing.

The FAA recommended repeated inspections of nearly 800 737-series models in the U.S. fleet to detect any cracks in vinyl supports or damage to glass panes. There are another 1,800 planes flown by airlines overseas that would qualify for inspections.

Boeing alerted airlines to the problem in May and recommended action.

The FAA said it received reports of partial window separations on two 737s. One experienced a loss of cabin pressure at 12,500 feet when edges of a window came loose. The other was flying at 29,000 feet when a similar failure occurred. There are several windows in a 737 cockpit.

In addition, the FAA is concerned that cracked vinyl supports would make the window more vulnerable to failing if struck by birds.

06 Oct 2007 - Video of 737-800 late rotation after maintenance

06 Sep 2007 - Boeing Successfully Completes First Test Flight of AEW&C Peace Eagle Aircraft

Boeing has conducted a successful first test flight of a 737 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft for Turkey's Peace Eagle program.

During the 2.5-hour flight from Boeing Field in Seattle, pilot Regis Hancock and first officer Randon Stewart performed a series of functional tests that verified the airworthiness of the aircraft's systems and structures. The flight follows major aircraft modifications, including the installation of an advanced antenna, ventral fins and mission system equipment.

"This is a major milestone for the program and a big step forward in our development and testing of this critical capability for our Turkish customer. We planned the flight almost a year ago and achieved it on schedule," said Mark Ellis, Boeing Peace Eagle program manager.

Additional functional test flights are planned in the coming weeks, leading to mission system flight testing in the fall.

The Peace Eagle program includes four 737 AEW&C aircraft plus ground support segments for mission crew training, mission support and system maintenance. Modification of the first aircraft is under way at Boeing facilities in Seattle. TUSAS Aerospace Industries in Ankara, Turkey, will modify the remaining three aircraft

The 737-700 features 21st century avionics, navigation equipment and flight deck features. Because of its advanced technology, the aircraft requires minimal downtime for maintenance. The 737 series has a worldwide base of suppliers, parts and support equipment.

The aircraft also is equipped with Northrop Grumman's Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array antenna with integrated identification friend-or-foe capabilities. The system also includes a flexible, open architecture for cost-effective future upgrades, an extensive communications suite and aerial refueling capability

6 Jul 2007 - GE Aviation's Flight Management System Enables 'Green' Operations

Landing Approach System Reduces CO2, NOx Emissions By 20 Percent Airlines operating Boeing 737s in Europe have been given the "green light" to use an optimized landing approach that is designed to significantly reduce the amount of fuel used during arrival and approach operations, thereby reducing CO2 and NOx emissions by roughly 20 percent compared to standard arrival procedures.

The "Advanced Continuous Descent Approach" (A-CDA), also known as the "Green Approach," is the result of GE Aviation's Systems division's (formerly Smiths Aerospace) participation in Europe's NUP2+ project, where select 737 aircraft in Sweden are allowed to employ GE's Flight Management System (FMS) to fly the aircraft at idle thrust from cruise through landing, according to the company.

"Our FMS on Boeing 737s is another example of how committed we are to developing technology solutions that not only benefit customers, but are also kind to the environment," said Dr. John Ferrie, GE Aviation systems president.

"Given the issues we face with growing air traffic congestion and increasing green house gases worldwide, the appropriate use of FMS to help remedy the situation is a clear and valuable option."

GE's FMS on the Boeing 737 features a 4-dimensional trajectory downlink for use by air traffic controllers to manage traffic flow using precision positioning and time guidance, known as Required Time of Arrival (RTA), to the runway threshold. Combined, these features enable the creation of flight profiles that are optimal for operators as well as the environment -- increasing efficiency, providing fuel savings, and dramatically reducing greenhouse gas and noise emissions.

Scandinavian Airlines already uses the FMS for operations into Stockholm. The carrier said its estimates annual benefits for flights arriving at Stockholm Arlanda airport, could reach $6 million in fuel savings with an additional $6 million in cost avoidance due to the increased efficiency and punctuality of aircraft using the FMS.

Flights over the North Atlantic will commence during the latter part of 2007, and will also involve aircraft manufacturer Airbus.

"Our concept and technology facilitate the efficient implementation of green flights and we believe that in the future additional airlines will adopt our ideas and work methods to include more airports primarily in Sweden and the Nordic region, and also have a greater impact in Europe," said the carrier.

The carrier said it expects the Green Approach to achieve annual emission reductions of more than 25,000 tons of CO2 and 87 tons of NOx; comparable to the yearly emissions of 5,100 automobiles.

13 June 2007 - Boeing Begins Mission System Flight Testing of First Australian Wedgetail Aircraft

The Boeing Company has begun flight testing the mission system aboard the first 737 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft for Australia’s Project Wedgetail.

During an initial four-hour flight from Boeing Field in Seattle on June 6, the crew conducted a series of functional tests as part of a program to measure the mission system’s impact on the aircraft’s power generation capability and environmental controls, such as the liquid and air cooling systems.

The mission system includes the radar, navigation, communications and computing subsystems.

Boeing will flight test the aircraft several days a week for the next month over land and water, while the mission system is used in a manner similar to an AEW&C operational mission.

The next phase of the flight test program aboard aircraft No. 1 is scheduled for later this year when it joins aircraft No. 2 as a test bed for system-level developmental testing.

Australia has purchased six 737 airborne early warning and control aircraft. Delivery of the first two aircraft is scheduled for March 2009. The remaining four aircraft will be delivered later that year.

The 737 AEW&C, designed to provide airborne battle management capability with 10 state-of-the-art mission system consoles, is based on the Boeing Next Generation 737-700 and features 21st century avionics, navigation equipment and flight deck enhancements.

Northrop Grumman’s Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array (MESA) radar is the critical sensor aboard the 737 AEW&C. The MESA array is designed to provide optimal performance in range, tracking and accuracy. The radar is able to track airborne and maritime targets simultaneously.


10 June 2007 - Boeing says 737 replacement not expected before 2015

Boeing expects airframe technology will play as crucial a role as new clean-burning engines in developing a replacement for its best-selling 737, providing a potential advantage over Airbus in the race to design the next generation of single-aisle aircraft.

The two rivals are developing replacements for their 737 and A320 families, which are the workhorses of global airline fleets and account for half of the $3,200bn in aircraft deliveries forecast between now and 2025.

Engine manufacturers are struggling to develop new power plants to meet ever more exacting efficiency standards, as well as tighter emission and environmental demands. Over the past two decades, in contrast, improvements in engine technology have led the way in developing quieter, more fuel-efficient aircraft.

Boeing now believes the new airframe technology, using composite carbon-fibre pioneered on its 787 widebody jet, will be just as important as the engines. The 787 is due to enter service next year but the 737 and A320 replacements are not expected before the middle of the next decade at the earliest.

"I think the introduction of composites has raised the ability of the airframe to make a difference . . . and really puts it on a par with the engine development," said Jim McNerney, chairman and chief executive of Boeing.

Boeing and its partners in the 787 programme already have an advantage over Airbus in building airframes using composites, which replace most of the traditional aluminium structures. The materials are lighter and more durable, and can be assembled faster.

Mr McNerney admitted in an interview with the Financial Times that the American company had yet to finalise the transfer of the 787 technology to developing a replacement for the 737, the world's best-selling commercial aircraft.

The FT revealed last year that Boeing was working with key 737 customers including Southwest, Ryanair and Gol on the replacement, dubbed the 797. "I think the market knows what it wants," said Mr McNerney, pointing to a 20-25 per cent improvement in the operating costs and environmental footprint compared with the existing 737 family.

"The technology component will be slightly different than for the 787. We haven't totally figured that out," he said.

26 Apr 2007 - Boeing Next-Generation 737-900ER Receives FAA Certification

The newest member of the Boeing Next-Generation 737 family, the 737-900ER (Extended Range), earned type certification from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on April 20.

The 737 derivative incorporates an extra pair of exit doors to increase the maximum passenger capacity, a flat aft-pressure bulkhead to increase interior volume, a two-position tailskid for improved takeoff and landing capability, wing strengthening changes to accommodate the 13,500 pound maximum takeoff weight increase, enhancements to the leading and trailing edge flap systems for improved takeoff and landing capability, and optional Blended Winglets and auxiliary fuel tanks that increase the range of the 737-900ER to 3,200 nautical miles (5,925 km).

The airplane is certified to carry up to 220 passengers in a single-class configuration.

On July 18, 2005, Indonesia's Lion Air launched the higher capacity, longer range Next-Generation 737-900ER with an order for 30 airplanes. Airlines have ordered more than 100 Next-Generation 737-900ERs to date.

20 Mar 2007 - Boeing Completes Subsystem Integration on Australian Wedgetail Aircraft

ST. LOUIS, March 20, 2007 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has completed the integration of major subsystems aboard a 737 airborne early warning and control ( AEW&C ) aircraft for Australia's Project Wedgetail.

The subsystems include communications, navigation, mission computing, radar and electronic warfare self protection. Boeing conducted tests aboard the aircraft and at its System Integration Lab in Kent, Wash., using a variety of simulations.

"The tests demonstrated that the systems worked separately and together, and that they were compatible with the aircraft," said Ross Dessert, Boeing Wedgetail program manager.

Integration is a major step toward functional checkout of the AEW&C system with the aircraft at the end of April. FAA certification and qualification testing are scheduled for this summer.

Ongoing integration of the Electronic Support Measures ( ESM ) subsystem will continue through functional checkout. ESM is a passive sensor that detects electronic signals.

Boeing will deliver the first two of six Wedgetail aircraft to Australia in March 2009, and the remaining four aircraft by mid-2009. Turkey and the Republic of Korea also have purchased four 737 AEW&C aircraft each.

The 737-700 features 21st century avionics, navigation equipment and flight deck features. Because of its advanced technology, the aircraft requires minimal downtime for maintenance. The 737 series is one of the most popular and reliable jet aircraft in the world, resulting in a worldwide base of suppliers, parts and support equipment.

The aircraft also is equipped with Northrop Grumman's Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array antenna with integrated identification friend or foe capabilities. The system also includes a flexible, open architecture for cost-effective future upgrades, an extensive communications suite and aerial refueling capability.

13 Mar 2007 - 737-800SFP Flight Spoiler Jams AD

Sticky Spoilers On SFP-Equipped Aircraft To Blame The FAA has issued Emergency airworthiness directive (AD) 2007-06-51 to all owners and operators of Boeing Model 737-800 series airplanes. The agency states it has received a report of seven flight spoiler actuator jams on Model 737-800 Short Field Performance (SFP) airplanes.

"Two reports involved in-service airplanes that were discovered during a routine maintenance walk-around and were believed to have occurred on the previous landing during auto speedbrake extension," the AD states. "Five other reports occurred during spoiler system testing at Boeing prior to delivery. An additional two reports of spoiler actuator input lever binding were identified during bench testing after Boeing began to investigate this issue."

The agency adds two in-service failures of flight spoilers resulted in the spoilers not retracting after the speedbrake handle was moved to the DOWN position after landing, on a Boeing Model 737-800 airplane equipped with an SFP package. In both of those cases, the spoiler was discovered in the full-extended position during a routine maintenance walk-around. The spoiler remained in the full-extended position after cycling of the speedbrake handle.

"Further investigation revealed that the spoiler actuator failure is most likely to occur when the speedbrakes are deployed on the ground (automatically or manually) for either a rejected takeoff or normal landing. The takeoff configuration warning will not sound if any flight spoiler remains extended with the speedbrake handle in the DOWN position."

The FAA states the cause of the failure has been identified as interference within the actuator main control valve. This condition, if not corrected, could result in a spoiler actuator hardover, which could cause the spoiler surface to jam in the fully extended position. Two or more hardover failures of the spoiler surfaces in the up direction on the same wing, if undetected prior to takeoff, can cause significant roll and consequent loss of control of the airplane


13 Feb 2007 - satLINK Iridium™ Communications Certified for Installation on Boeing 737 Fleet

Avionica is pleased to announce Boeing 737 STC availability for satLINK, the Iridium™ satellite-based voice and data communications alternative. FAA STC ST03386AT has been granted to Avionics Support Group (ASG), who now offer our mutual customers both kit fabrication and installation for this product. Launch customer Miami Air recently commenced installations, as will our newest satLINK customer, Continental Airlines.

Reliable, global, real-time voice and data communications are finally possible. Iridium is expected to gain its FAA safety certification in May, 2007, making it acceptable as an ATC communications alternative. "This is an excellent, affordable communications solution for airlines flying outside the range of HF stations, and even for Inmarsat-equipped aircraft flying polar routes", notes Avionica’s president, Raul Segredo. "It also fills the gap left by Verizon’s exit from the in-flight telephone business - satLINK is an excellent solution for emergency air-ground communications, like in-flight medical emergency management".

satLINK may be installed with either a dedicated audio handset, or integrated into the aircraft’s audio system using the audio panel , headset, and mic push-to-talk keys for control. The cabin handset option is a uniquely functional feature - it uses VoIP technology over the Cabin Wireless LAN (CWLU) option. And each aircraft can be addressed with a unique telephone number, ensuring it can not only place calls, but also be selectively called.

satLINK not only provides an Iridium connection, it also manages communications traffic, routing it based on network availability and criticality, ensuring the most economical transmission of data. Since over 60% of ACARS transmissions often occur on the ground, significant savings can be achieved by routing them over 802.11 wireless.

Unlike ACARS, Iridium data channels are dedicated. ACARS is shared, and as more and more customers are signed under flat-fee contracts, availability can only decline. "The Iridium constellation is the ATC messaging backbone of the future", notes Raul.

satLINK provides gateway connectivity between a variety of aircraft communications network types, including ARINC 429, ARINC 618, ARINC 619, Ethernet, and 802.11 wireless. satLINK bridges all these networks to Iridium and to each other. A shared or (optionally) dedicated audio channel is also included. satLINK can provide GPS position data to the Ethernet bus , as well as an 802.11 cabin wireless access point.

Avionica, Inc. specializes in complete flight data management solutions. Products include secureLINK, the airborne wireless Ethernet router, the miniQAR, the world’s first miniature quick access flight data recorder, the RSU II, a handheld flight-data recorder monitoring and download tool, AVSCAN.flight, a commercial and military flight data analysis tool, USB429win, a USB ARINC 429 databus analyzer, and LOAD615win, the USB-based ARINC 615 portable dataloader.


MOJAVE, California — The Joint Strike Fighter Cooperative Avionics Test Bed (CATB), a 737-300 aircraft extensively modified by BAE Systems, successfully completed its maiden flight Jan. 23 at Mojave, California. The flight capped a nearly three-year effort to transform a commercial airliner into a flying laboratory for Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter.

The 737 aircraft, also known as the “CAT-Bird,” is a flying test bed that replicates the F-35 avionics suite. The CATB will develop and verify the F-35’s capability to collect data from multiple sensors and fuse it into a coherent situational awareness display in a dynamic airborne environment.

“Today’s flight caps what has been a significant technical challenge,” said John Wall, BAE Systems CATB program director in Mojave, where the work was performed. “The CAT-Bird is helping the Lightning II take its place as the premier fighter aircraft serving the U.S. and multi-nation partners for decades to come.”

The CAT-Bird now begins a one-month test flight phase to prove the aerodynamics of the converted airliner — an important validation because of modifications to the craft made to accommodate the avionics test requirements. These include the addition of a nose extension to simulate that of the F-35, a 42-foot-long spine on the top, a 10-foot “canoe” on the bottom to accommodate electronic equipment, and twin 12-foot sensor wings that replicate the leading edge of the F-35’s wings.

The inside of the plane also was transformed. An F-35 cockpit will allow the sensor inputs to be displayed as they would be in the fighter itself. The rest of the interior houses equipment racks for the avionics equipment, and 20 workstations for technicians to assess the performance of the avionics.

“The CAT-Bird is a vitally important and powerful tool in Lockheed Martin’s arsenal for early risk mitigation and maturation of the F-35,” said Doug Pearson, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of the F-35 Integrated Test Force. “It allows us to concurrently develop and integrate mission systems hardware and software well before it is installed on F-35s. We congratulate BAE Systems on today’s successful first flight and look forward to many years of productive flight test operation.”

Today’s flight was the first of about 20 sorties that will comprise CAT-Bird’s initial test phase. After conclusion of some additional modification work, and the initial flight test phase, the B-737 CATB will transition to its home base and begin test operations at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth, Texas. The CAT-Bird will be used to develop and evaluate the F-35's extensive sensor architecture.

9 Jan 2007 - Rockwell Collins announce EVS offering for BBJ

SEATTLE (January 09, 2007) - Boeing [NYSE: BA] Business Jets and Rockwell Collins today introduced an Enhanced Vision System (EVS) offering for Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) operators. The offering will be available to BBJ customers through Boeing and Rockwell Collins service bulletins, and certification for the system is expected by early 2008.

Rockwell Collins EVSThe Rockwell Collins EVS presents an image (shown at right) of the external environment on the Head-up Guidance System (HGS®) and head-down displays to enhance pilot situational awareness of terrain and the airport environment in low-visibility situations. When displayed on the HGS, EVS allows the pilot to descend below minimums, if the visual references to the intended runway are visible using the EVS.

"The EVS upgrade will increase safety and operational capability of the aircraft by enhancing situational awareness at night or in poor weather conditions," said John Desmond, vice president, Rockwell Collins HGS. "We look forward to working closely with Boeing to deliver this offering to their BBJ customers."

"Boeing is pleased to collaborate with Rockwell Collins to provide EVS capability on BBJs," said Boeing Business Jets President Steven Hill. "Boeing constantly evaluates and adds cutting-edge technology that brings value to our customers and enhances the performance and efficiency of a great product like the BBJ."

Rockwell Collins has teamed with Max-Viz to complete the certification of EVS on the BBJ. Rockwell Collins will incorporate a Max-Viz multi-wavelength infrared sensor into the Rockwell Collins HGS. BBJ operators that upgrade to the new EVS system will require an upgrade to their HGS 4000, as well as the infrared camera.

Rockwell Collins (NYSE: COL) is a pioneer in the development and deployment of innovative communication and aviation electronics solutions for both commercial and government applications. Rockwell Collins’ expertise in flight deck avionics, cabin electronics, mission communications and information management and simulation and training is strengthened by 18,000 employees, and a global service and support network that crosses 27 countries. To find out more, visit

The BBJ is a product of a joint venture formed in July 1996 by The Boeing Company and General Electric Co. The BBJ is a high-performance derivative of the commercially successful Next-Generation 737-700. There are currently 88 BBJs in service around the world. The fleet has generated more than 215,000 cumulative flight hours and 84,000 flights while maintaining an industry-leading 99.9 percent dispatch reliability rate.

4 Jan 2007 - First Boeing Next-Generation 737-700ER Rolls Out of Factory

The first Boeing Next-Generation 737-700ER (Extended Range) completed final assembly and rolled out of the Renton, Wash., manufacturing facility Jan. 2. The airplane receives a painted livery and goes through preflight testing before delivery to launch customer ANA (All Nippon Airways) in early 2007.

The Next-Generation 737-700ER is inspired by the Boeing Business Jet and is designed for long-range commercial applications. Cabin configuration is flexible, and may range from a 48-person, all-business-class cabin, as an example, to a more traditional 126-seat count to suit the airline's needs. The high-performance derivative can fly up to 2,145 nautical miles farther than the current 737-700. With up to nine auxiliary fuel tanks and optional Blended Winglets, the Next-Generation 737-700ER is capable of flying 5,510 nautical miles.


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