Tag Archives: Nick Dean

Boeing receives FAA approval of certification plan for a 787 battery solution

Boeing (Chicago) has received approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) (Washington) of the company’s plan to test and certify improvements to the 787’s battery system. Successful completion of each step within the plan will result in the FAA’s approval to resume commercial 787 flights.

“Our top priority is the integrity of our products and the safety of the passengers and crews who fly on them,” said Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney. “Our team has been working around the clock to understand the issues and develop a solution based on extensive analysis and testing following the events that occurred in January. Today’s approval from the FAA is a critical and welcome milestone toward getting the fleet flying again and continuing to deliver on the promise of the 787,” he said.

Ray Conner, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said that the company’s focus has been on developing a permanent resolution.

“Working with internal and external experts in battery technology, we have proposed a comprehensive set of solutions designed to significantly minimize the potential for battery failure while ensuring that no battery event affects the continued safe operation of the airplane,” said Conner.

“Our proposal includes three layers of improvements. First, we’ve improved design features of the battery to prevent faults from occurring and to isolate any that do. Second, we’ve enhanced production, operating and testing processes to ensure the highest levels of quality and performance of the battery and its components. Third, in the unlikely event of a battery failure, we’ve introduced a new enclosure system that will keep any level of battery overheating from affecting the airplane or being noticed by passengers,” Conner said.

Design feature improvements for the battery include the addition of new thermal and electrical insulation materials and other changes. The enhanced production and testing processes include more stringent screening of battery cells prior to battery assembly. Operational improvements focus on tightening of the system’s voltage range. A key feature of the new enclosure is that it ensures that no fire can develop in the enclosure or in the battery. Additional details of the new design will be provided by Boeing in the days ahead.

Boeing made its certification plan proposal to the FAA in late February. Today the agency agreed that the proposed changes and the detailed test plans address the conditions that resulted in the suspension of 787 operations.

The FAA also granted Boeing permission to begin flight test activities on two airplanes: line number 86, which will conduct tests to demonstrate that the comprehensive set of solutions work as intended in flight and on the ground; and ZA005, which is scheduled to conduct engine improvement tests unrelated to the battery issue. Additional testing may be scheduled as needed.

The certification plan calls for a series of tests that show how the improved battery system will perform in normal and abnormal conditions. The test plans were written based on the FAA’s standards as well as applicable guidelines published by the Radio Technical Commission on Aeronautics (RTCA), an advisory committee that provides recommendations on ways to meet regulatory requirements. The RTCA guidelines were not available when the original 787 battery certification plan was developed.

“We have a great deal of confidence in our solution set and the process for certifying it,” said Conner. “Before 787s return to commercial service, our customers and their passengers want assurance that the improvements being introduced will make this great airplane even better. That’s what this test program will do.”

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean. ANA’s (All Nippon Airways) Boeing 787-8 JA801A (msn 34488) in the special Dreamliner special colors lands at Everett (Paine Field) with Boeing’s facilities in the background.

ANA-All Nippon Airways: AG Slide Show

Air France calls on its unions to overhaul its European network, takes delivery of its 60th 777 passenger aircraft

Air France Boeing 777-328 ER F-GZND (msn 35543) PAE (Nick Dean). Image: 902719.

Air France (Paris) today called on its unions to help it overhaul its loss-making short-haul European network. The survival of its short and medium haul routes depends on “drastic” cuts (20 percent) that the company has developed at its regional bases according to this report by Reuters.

Air France has also stated it will develop and expand the lower-cost Transavia Airlines (Amsterdam).

Air France is facing stiff competition in Europe by easyJet (UK) (London-Luton) and Ryanair (Dublin) which have lower labor costs.

Read the full report from Reuters: CLICK HERE

In other news, on April 3 AF celebrated the delivery of its 60th Boeing 777 passenger jetliner. 777-328 ER F-GZNL (msn 40063) arrived in Paris on April 4.

Air France’s newest 777-300 ER seats 468 passengers in a three-class configuration. The brand-new cabin includes 14 business class lie-flat seat beds measuring over 78.74 inches (2 m) in length, plus an in-seat entertainment system with 15-inch (38 cm) wide screens in 16:9 format. It also features 32 “Alize” new premium economy fixed-shell seats offering 40 percent additional space compared with seats in economy class.

Air France, a member of Sky Team, will operate this 777-300 ER between Paris and the French Overseas Departments in the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean regions, including Fort de France, Pointe a Pitre and St-Denis de la Reunion.

By summer 2012, Air France will operate a total of 62 777 passenger jetliners and two 777 Freighters.

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean.

Air France Slide Show: CLICK HERE

Boeing announces its second 777 production increase this year

Boeing (Chicago, Seattle, Wichita and Charleston) announced today it is increasing the production rate again for the Triple Seven. The increase will to go to 8.3 airframes per month by the first quarter of 2013.

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean. Please click on the photo for additional information.

Alaska Air Group has its best quarter ever

Alaska Air Group, Inc. (Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air) (Seattle/Tacoma) reported record third quarter 2010 net income of $122.4 million, or $3.32 per diluted share, compared to net income of $87.6 million, or $2.46 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2009. Excluding mark-to-market fuel hedge gains of $16.7 million ($10.4 million after tax or $0.28 per diluted share) and Horizon restructuring and CRJ-700 transition charges of $9.8 million ($6.1 million after tax or $0.17 per diluted share), the company reported record adjusted net income of $118.1 million, or $3.21 per diluted share, compared to net income of $83.0 million, or $2.33 per share, excluding special items in the third quarter of 2009.

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean. Please click on photo for additional details.

Southwest Airlines is coming to South Carolina on March 13

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) is coming to the Palmetto State! Today, Southwest announced it will begin service to/from Charleston International Airport (CHS) and Greenville-Spartanburg Airport (GSP) on March 13, 2011.

In Charleston, the carrier will operate seven daily nonstop flights to four destinations: three to Baltimore/Washington, two to Chicago Midway, one to Nashville, and one to Houston Hobby. Southwest Airlines will operate from gate B5 in Charleston’s main terminal.

In Greenville-Spartanburg (near Charlotte), the airline will begin service with seven daily nonstop flights to five destinations: two to Baltimore/Washington, two to Chicago Midway, one to Nashville, one to Houston Hobby, and one to Orlando. Southwest Airlines will operate from gates A3 and A4 in Greenville-Spartanburg’s main terminal.

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean. Please click on the photo for additional details.

US Airways reports a $240 million third quarter profit

US Airways Group, Inc. (Phoenix) today reported its third quarter financial results. On a GAAP basis, the Company reported a net profit of $240 million for its third quarter 2010, or $1.22 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of ($80) million, or ($0.60) per share, for the same period in 2009. The $240 million net profit is the highest third quarter net profit in the Company’s history.

Excluding special items of $3 million, net profit for the third quarter 2010 was $243 million, or $1.23 per diluted share. Net loss excluding special items for the third quarter 2009 was ($110) million, or ($0.83) per share.

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean. Please click on photo for additional details.

Turkish Airlines takes delivery of its first 777-300 ER direct from Boeing

Turkish Airlines (Istanbul) has taken delivery of its first Boeing 777-300 ER direct from Boeing.

Click on the photo for the full story.

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean.

FedEx orders two more Boeing 777F freighters

FedEx Express (Memphis) has ordered two more Boeing 777F freighters.

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean. Departing in the early morning misty light at Everett (Paine Field) is new Boeing 777-FS2 N851FD (msn 37722).

Boeing delays the delivery of the first Boeing 747-8F

Boeing (Chicago, Seattle, Wichita and Charleston) today announced a schedule change for the 747-8 Freighter with the first delivery now expected to be in mid-year 2011. The company also announced steps it is taking to support the new schedule, including adding a fifth airplane to the flight-test fleet.

Boeing previously indicated that, following recent flight-test discoveries, there was a high probability the first 747-8 Freighter delivery would move into 2011. According to Boeing the new delivery schedule follows a thorough assessment of the expected cumulative impact of these discoveries, which include a low-frequency vibration in certain flight conditions and an underperforming aileron actuator. While neither issue requires structural changes to the airplane, they have led to disruptions to certification testing, which the program was unable to offset within the prior schedule.

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean. Boeing 747-8R7F N5573S will become LX-VCC (msn 35807) for launch customer Cargolux Airlines International.

Horizon Air and IBT reach tentative agreement on pilot contract

Horizon Air (Seattle/Tacoma) and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) jointly announced that, with the assistance of federal mediation, they have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract for the airline’s 673 pilots.

The IBT expects to be ready to present the details of the agreement to Horizon’s pilots by late October. The ratification vote would take place immediately following.

Horizon’s pilot contract became amendable in September 2006. After years of negotiations, in January 2010 both Horizon and the IBT requested federal mediation to work through the remaining open items. In June, an agreement in principle was reached, and the negotiation teams spent the subsequent months finalizing the details.

Per federal law, airline contracts don’t expire. An existing contract remains in effect after the amendable date until a new contract is agreed to by the negotiating teams and ratified by represented members.

Copyright Photo: Nick Dean. Certainly one of the most colorful liveries is the “Celebrating 25 Years” introduced on June 20, 2006. Bombardier DHC-8-402 (Q400) N425QX (msn 4039) is pictured on final approach at the SeaTac hub.