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MIRCE Science Events

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Category: General

12 September 2019: USAF Identifies Critical New Boeing KC-46 Design Flow

The U.S. Air Force has identified a potential new design flaw with the KC-46A tanker and banned the fleet from carrying cargo or passengers until a solution is found and delivered. Multiple cargo locks embedded in the floor of the aircraft released inadvertently during a recent operational test and evaluation flight, according to a statement by Air Mobility Command (AMC). An uncommanded release of the cargo locks could allow pallets of cargo or passenger seats to shift position during flight, potentially changing the center of gravity of the aircraft.  In response, the Air Force generated the third unresolved Category 1 deficiency report charged to the KC-46 program, AMC says. A Category 1 deficiency reflects an identified risk that jeopardizes lives or critical assets. The Air Force agreed to accept the first KC-46 last January despite two Category 1 deficiencies still pending.  Boeing is implementing an Air Force-funded design change to the actuator on the refuelling boom to make it more sensitive to smaller receiver aircraft, such as A-10s and F-16s. Meanwhile, Boeing has submitted a proposed redesign of the remote vision system (RVS) to correct what the Air Force calls a “rubber sheeting” affect that distorts the image on the visual display used by the boom operator during refuelling operations. Boeing has agreed to pay for an RVS design that received approval by the Air Force.

11 September 2019: Lufthansa Blocks Last Row Of A320neo Seats because of CG Issues

Lufthansa no longer sells the last row of seats on its Airbus A320neos to address concerns about the aircraft’s centre-of-gravity (CG) limitations. There are told pilots in an internal memo that it made the decision as an ad-hoc measure to comply with regulatory demands, referring to a recent EASA airworthiness directive (AD) limiting the aft CG to 37% mean aerodynamic chord (MAC), up to 4% less than the previous CG limit at which the airline operated the Neos. The AD is based on Airbus testing and is to ensure angle of attack protection works even during aggressive go-around manoeuvres. Thus, Lufthansa is marking four of the six seats with “do not occupy” signs, two more will be marked “crew only” as they are to be used when jump seats do not work. Safety belts will be taken out. The pre-flight check will include validating that the signs are visible and the belts are out. Cabin crew also must check that the seats are in fact not occupied ahead of take-off. The measure only affects the A320neo, which the airline operated at 180 seats but will now fly at only 174 seats. According to industry sources, A320neo operators using certain cabin lay-outs already face CG constraints that impede normal loading more than usual. For instance, at Lufthansa baggage from the front hold can only be unloaded once most passengers have disembarked. The airline has in the past also decided to leave baggage behind to minimize the risk of the aircraft tipping on its tail. It has raised concerns that ground handlers at out-stations may not be familiar with the stricter procedures. The A321neo has similar issues, according to Lufthansa’s memos although the airline continues to market all seats on the aircraft. Airbus previously said that “cabin layout is one of the contributors for the aircraft centre of gravity envelope, some cases where the cabin layout provides a naturally more aft center of gravity requires imposing more limitations in the aircraft loading versus cases where the cabin layout means that the center of gravity is more forward.”

10 September 2019: A Burst of Asteroid Activity in Europe

According to European Space Agency (ESA) the next few days will see a rare convergence of asteroid-related activity in Europe. According to recent ESA estimates, there are 878 asteroids in the ‘risk list’. This ESA catalogue brings together all asteroids we know of that have a ‘non-zero’ chance of impacting Earth in the next 100 years, meaning that an impact, however unlikely, cannot be ruled out. An impact by even a small asteroid could cause serious destruction to inhabited areas. This is why ESA, together with international partners, is taking action to search for asteroids, develop technology that could deflect them in future and collaborate at the international level to support mitigation measures. Thus, planetary defence and other experts are meeting in three locations to coordinate humanity's efforts to defend ourselves from hazardous space rocks. Such intense levels of international scientific collaboration are driven in part by the fact that an asteroid impact could cause devastating effects on Earth. But this is also a testament to the fact that we are at a point in human history where we can do something about risky asteroids. The flurry of upcoming meetings will cover vital topics in planetary defence, including the planned, first-ever test of asteroid deflection, coordination and communication of asteroid warnings and how to ensure the most effective emergency response on the ground. With all the work being done, the planet has never been so prepared for the unlikely but very real threat of an asteroid impact.

9 September 2019: Roll-Royce Accelerates Trent Blade Swaps, after Modifying its Blade-life Prediction Methods

Rolls-Royce (RR) is fast-tracking the removal of certain older Trent 1000 intermediate pressure turbine (IPT) blades and modifying its blade-life calculation methods in response to a Norwegian Air 787 engine failure near Rome when blades cracked before established life limits (10.08.2019). Italy’s accident investigation body issued Sept. 4 said that two adjacent IPT blades failed inside the Trent 1000-G/01A—a “Package B” version. The forward blade suffered a “progressive failure,” while the trailing blade suffered an “overload failure.” The progressive failure is similar to 10 previous Trent 1000 incidents linked to sulphidation-related fatigue caused by pollutants interacting with high engine temperatures. The issue affects both Package B and Package C variants. RR introduced a modified blade last year, and worked with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to establish life limits for pre-modification blades as the new parts are rolled out. RR used fleet sampling and other data to project each blade serial number's exposure to a variety of conditions, including time operated within certain temperature bands and exposure to specific pollutants in different environments, and set life limits. The limits were put in place after the eighth progressive-failure incident, which took place in July 2018. Investigators determined the progressive failure occurred at 1,210 cycles, or 200 cycles before the blade's projected life limit. The overload failure happened after 1,337 cycles, 103 cycles before the blade's life limit. The premature failures suggest that RR’s hard-life limits are “not sufficient to avoid detrimental effects on safety.” Italians agency recommends that EASA “define more stringent time limits” for the affected blades, and “re-evaluate the whole validity of the service management” Rolls used to minimize risk of blade failures. They also urged EASA to consider a de-pairing mandate that would not permit two engines with pre-modified-standard blades to operate on the same airframe. Such a provision existed early on, but when Rolls developed the new blade, it set life limits on older blades that were below the de-pairing threshold, and EASA dropped the mandate. RR indicated that its blade life-limit calculation methods have “further evolved” and will be used to adjust Trent 1000 service strategies. It is not clear whether the changes will only affect the limited number of Trent 1000 pre-modification blades still flying, or will have wider implications. The IPT problems are one of a series of issues that have plagued Trent 1000 operators, leaving 787s grounded while engines undergo shop visits and wait on new or airworthy parts. RR has said it expects to spend a combined total of about $1 billion in mitigation measures in 2019 and 2020.

7 September 2019: Boeing Suspends 777X Loads Tests After Pressure Failure

Final loads testing on Boeing’s delayed 777-9 has been suspended after the failure of a cargo door during pressurization evaluations on the static test airframe at Everett factory. It took place during the final phases of the 777X major structural test campaign, which is being conducted in a specially built 1.6 million lb. steel rig at the company’s production site.  At the time of the incident the testing conditions were well beyond any load expected in commercial service. The ongoing delay to the 777-9 flight test program due to issues with the aircraft’s General Electric GE9X engines means that Boeing will likely have plenty of time to modify the failed part and re-run the test. The 777-9 had been scheduled to begin flight tests in late June, but these have been moved to early 2020 while GE validates redesigned stator vanes to improve durability. Although the 777X fuselage is constructed of standard aluminium rather than the stiffer composite material used in the 787, the aircraft has been designed to operate at a higher internal pressure than the current model. The change will allow the 777X to cruise with at the lower 6,000 ft. equivalent cabin altitude of the 787 rather than the 8,000 ft. industry standard altitude of the present version. Boeing also increased the size of the 777X windows by 22 sq. in. as part of the redesign, locally stiffened ribs and made other slight redesigns to counter potential fatigue life concerns and increase static strength to accommodate the 0.6/0.7 lbs. per sq. in. (psi) increase in cabin pressure. The current 777 operates with a normal cabin pressure in the range of 8.4 to 8.7 psi. The cabin pressure in the 787 is usually set between 9 and 9.4 psi, to reflect the lower equivalent altitude of 6,000 ft.

27 August 2019: Cathay Launches Investigation Into Oxygen Bottle Discharge

Cathay Pacific confirmed that “Five oxygen bottles on one aircraft and eight on the other were affected, out of 22 on each aircraft while on the ground in Toronto.” These occurrences were identified prior to departure during its routine inspections that it carries out before every flight. The emptied bottles were immediately recharged and checked for serviceability by engineers prior to their flights. The portable bottles are for the use of cabin crewmembers so they can move around an aircraft during emergencies. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) recently issued a new set of requirements to Cathay in response to the Hong Kong protests. According to the airline, one of the requirements was to submit a report “providing details of actions taken to step up internal safety controls and improve flight safety and security.” The CAAC also stipulated that no Cathay employees involved in “illegal protests, violent actions or overly radical behavior” would be allowed on flights entering Chinese airspace, and the airline must submit crew lists on such flights for approval. Cathay has said it will comply fully with the CAAC directives and have zero tolerance for workers involved in illegal activities, including illegal protests.

26 August 2019: B737 MAX Problem  Changes FAA’s Pilot Feedback

The Federal Aviation Administration is USA (FAA)  is looking how pilots will evaluate changes to the Boeing 737 MAX and new training materials. It indicates a shift from focusing primarily on the carriers it regulates to one that accounts for variations in pilot experience around the world. The idea is to bring in as many as 30 pilots from a variety of carriers to conduct MAX simulator sessions the coming weeks. The sessions are one of the final steps in the process to validate changes to the MAX flight-control computer (FCC) software needed to convince the agency that the aircraft that has been grounded since mid-March is safe to fly. Such evaluation groups are common, usually serving on or feeding into work done by Flight Standardization Boards during an aircraft’s certification. Usually, they are dominated by U.S. pilots. The new group will include pilots from around the world with varied experiences. Boeing’s changes are addressing the MAX-specific design and training issues highlighted by the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air accidents and related evaluations. However, in the reports point to longer-term questions, such as how well the crews were trained to handle an emergency that required a high degree of hand-flying using some procedures that are rarely, if ever, practiced by airline pilots. Thus, it is not about whether pilots are qualified, but it is about gaining a better understanding of different environments.

23 August 2019: Paperless Maintenance at Porter Airlines

Porter Airlines operates a fleet of 29 Q400 aircraft and has three line maintenance bases, as well as base engineers in five locations. Engineers at the new Greater Sudbury Airport (YSB) maintenance base perform daily overnight maintenance on two aircraft that return to service the following day. The carrier operates up to seven daily roundtrip flights from the location. Porter Airlines has taken its maintenance operations paperless by implementing Remote Access Aviation System (RAAS) maintenance and engineering software from Aviation InterTec Services (AIS). The carrier is the first to receive approval from Transport Canada (TC) to use the software for paperless maintenance records management. Porter began trials of the software in January 2019 and is now operating completely paperless, which it says will save nearly 200,000 sheets of paper annually. There were detailed training programs for each team involved in the process and practical training sessions conducted by the Maintenance Quality Assurance and Training team. Once everyone was satisfied, it was rolled out in a controlled environment. Constant feedback was given to AIS by Porter, allowing AIS to make relevant refinements. The airline expects RAAS software to increase technical records and quality assurance efficiency, eliminate transcription errors and enable better reliability analysis. The software’s paperless workflow allows for real-time electronic receipt of maintenance compliance details from all of Porter’s locations and real-time aircraft status reporting for flight operations.

20 August 2019: Lightning strikes Caused Power Cut on National Grid in UK

National Grid' in UK suffered the power failure on 9 August. The outage left 1.1 million customers without power for between 15 and 50 minutes. Problems on the railways were mainly blamed on one particular type of train, of which there were around 60 in use, reacting unexpectedly to the outage, and half of them failing to restart, requiring an engineer to attend to do so. Other "critical facilities" hit by the power cut included Ipswich hospital and Newcastle airport. National Grid is facing an investigation by Ofgem over this event. The regulator has the power to fine firms up to 10% of UK turnover.  The failures knocked out Hornsea off-shore windfarm, off the Yorkshire coast, owned by Danish company Orsted,  as well as Little Barford gas power station in Bedfordshire,  owned by the Germany's RWE, resulting in the loss of 1,378MW. That was more than the 1,000MW being kept by National Grid at that time, a level designed to cover the loss of the single biggest power generator to the grid. The preliminary report blamed an "extremely rare and unexpected" outage at two power stations caused by one lightning strike at 4.52pm that day. That resulted in a combined power loss to the network which was greater than the backup capacity held in case of emergency. The report said the system automatically turned off 5% of Britain's electricity demand to protect the other 95%, a situation which it said had not happened in over a decade. National Grid also admitted that the government, the regulator and the media were not made aware of what had happened as quickly as they should have been "impacted by the availability of key personnel given it was 5pm on a Friday evening". The business department was not updated until 5.40pm and Ofgem at 5.50pm, nearly an hour after the initial event.

10 August 2019: British Airways' New A350 Misses Flight After Incident

British Airways’ first Airbus A350-1000 was withdrawn briefly from service Aug. 10 after an incident led to the aircraft being checked by engineering staff. The aircraft, which entered service less than a fortnight ago, is undergoing crew familiarization flights between London Heathrow and Madrid before it is placed on mid- and long-haul routes to Dubai in September, Toronto in October and Tel Aviv in December. BA described the event as “a minor technical issue” that led to one rotation being cancelled on Saturday night. The aircraft was checked by engineering teams and was back in service on Aug. 11, when it operated Madrid flight. The incident was an overspeed event in which the flaps were deployed for too long as the aircraft made a go-around in blustery weather on approach to Heathrow, which could have happened to any aircraft.

10 August 2019: Norwegian 787 Inflight RR Engine Failure

Flight DY7115 from Rome Fiumicino (FCO) to Los Angeles (LAX) experienced a technical engine issue a few minutes after take-off. The Norwegian Boeing 787 aircraft returned to the airport where it landed safely. The aircraft was climbing when experienced inflight failure of a Rolls-Royce Trent engine, scattering debris across a suburb close to the airport. The Aviation Herald website identified the aircraft as Boeing 787-8 LN-LND and said that 25 cars and 12 houses were damaged by falling parts. The aircraft, carrying 281 passengers and 11 crew. Norwegian is one of several operators of 787s that have been affected by a series of problems on the Trent 1000, including "hot corrosion" apparently caused by airborne pollution.  The engines have also suffered from IP compressor-rotor cracking.

5 August 2019: C-46 Boom Actuator Redesign Cost Set At $55.5 Million

Lat January the Air Force agreed to accept deliveries of KC-46 aircraft after a two-year impasse on the condition that Boeing corrects two technical deficiencies. The Air Force agreed to pay for redesigning and installing a new telescope actuator for the KC-46 refuelling boom, and Boeing agreed to finance the redesign and installation of a complaint remote vision system. Boeing received the $55.5 million contract on Aug. 2 to complete the critical design review of system-level hardware and software for the telescope actuator redesign. The original design of the component met the Air Force’s requirements, but those specifications produced too much force for relatively lightweight receiver aircraft, such as the A-10. As of June, the Air Force expected Boeing to deliver within a few months proposals for redesigning the remote vision system for the KC-46. The assistant Air Force secretary for acquisition, has described the design of the existing system as fundamentally flawed, as in his opinion,  Boeing’s three-camera layout, which features two outboard-canted cameras, creates a distorted picture that cannot be resolved by software-enabled image processing. Boeing has disagreed that the outward-canted cameras present an unsolvable design problem. Discussions between the Air Force and Boeing on the redesign remain ongoing. The Air Force awarded Boeing a $4.9 billion fixed-price development contract for the KC-46 in February 2011, but delays caused by a series of technical glitches has caused Boeing to spend another $3.5 billion. Boeing plans to deliver 179 KC-46As through fiscal 2027 to replace the retiring KC-10 fleet and the first tranche of aging KC-135s.

31 July 2019: American Airlines Sets MD-80 Final Flights

Final days of flying are approaching for American Airlines’ fleet of 28 MD-80s. The airline plans to retire two of those in the second half of August and the remaining 26 will make their last revenue flight on either Sept. 3 or 4. The last flight, AA80, will depart Dallas Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW) at 9 a.m. and is scheduled to land at Chicago O’Hare (ORD) at 11:35. Of the 26 aircraft, 24 will finish their leases and fly to Roswell, New Mexico, while remaining two will be donated. In 2001 they s operated 362 MD-80s in 2001, after its merger with TWA. Today, the oldest flying American Airlines MD-80 was manufactured in 1989, while the first was produced in 1980 and flown with Swissair on 10 October.

25 July 2019: Chinese iSpace Achieves Orbit with Historic Private Sector Launch

Beijing Interstellar Glory Space Technology Ltd. (iSpace) became the first Chinese private firm to achieve orbit with successful launch from a national space centre in the Gobi Desert. The test flight carried CAS-7B, an amateur radio satellite, and a technology verification payload for China Central Television, into a 300-kilometer-altitude orbit, with three more small payloads attached to the upper stage. The buildup to the launch was relatively quiet. The rocket was delivered to Jiuquan in the Gobi Desert July 6, according to a social media video post from Chang’an Automobile Co., Ltd. a Chinese automobile manufacturer, which sponsored the launch through naming the launch vehicle. iSpace, with a team of over 120 members, is one the leading NewSpace actors in China. It had already received over $100 million in Series A funding from Matrix Partners China, CDH Investments, tech giant Baidu and others, before announcing July 2 that it had secured additional A++ series round funding. It  have emerged up following a central government policy shift in late 2014 which opened the launch and small satellite sectors to private capital. Support for the sector has continued, with state and military bodies last month releasing a first set of set of rules and regulations to guide the development of commercial launch vehicles in China. The speed of the development of launch vehicles by private companies in China has been influenced by a civil-military integration national strategy, facilitating the transfer of restricted technologies to approved firms in order to promote innovation in dual-use technology.

25 July 2019: SpaceXSsuccessfully Launched a Dragon Cargo Spacecraft to the International Space Station

The SpaceX Falcon  9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at 6:01 p.m. placing the Dragon cargo spacecraft into orbit nine minutes later. The Dragon spacecraft is scheduled to arrive at the ISS July 27, bringing to the station 2,312 kg of cargo. That cargo includes nearly 1,200 kilograms of science investigations as well as the International Docking Adapter 3, which will be removed from the Dragon’s trunk and installed on the station to support dockings by future commercial crew and cargo spacecraft. The rocket’s first stage, which first flew on the previous Dragon cargo launch May 4, landed at the company’s Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The launch was previously scheduled for July 24, but scrubbed 30 seconds before liftoff because of poor weather. Weather was also unsettled during the second launch attempt, but cleared in time for the launch. However, SpaceX and NASA originally scheduled the launch for July 21, but delayed the launch by three days because the company pushed back a standard pre-launch static-fire test from July 16 to July 19, because it was necessary to correct a small liquid oxygen leak detected in the first stage.The Dragon making this flight, designated CRS-18, flew two previous missions to the station: CRS-6 in April 2015 and CRS-13 in December 2017. This mission is the first time a Dragon has been flown on three flights. The Dragon spacecraft is rated for three flights to and from orbit, with refurbishment and testing between missions.

23 July 2019: Airbus A321neo Implement Temporary centre-of-gravity limitation

To eliminate an already-remote risk of an excessive pitch-up condition, while it finalizes a software update that addresses the issue, Airbus has urged A321neo operators to implement a temporary centre-of-gravity (CG) limitation. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) mandated the CG restriction for European operators, requiring a flight manual amendment detailing the restrictions by the end of August. The “anomaly” was discovered during development tests, affects any A321neo with elevator aileron computer (ELAC) unit software version L102 installed. The excessive nose-up attitude can occur when four conditions are met: an aircraft's CG is greater than 37% aft, it is in “flare mode” at an altitude of 100 ft. or below, flaps are fully extended, and the crew initiates a go-around with a sustained nose-up pitch input of 65% or greater.  In June this year Airbus instructed operators to limit A321neo dispatch conditions to 37% aft CG. This removes one of the four factors, eliminating the risk. Airbus emphasized that is has no reports of the issue happening in service. The manufacturer also said the “anomaly" would not prevent the pilots from controlling the aircraft. The manufacturer is working on a software update, ELAC L103, and plans to have it ready by mid-2020. It has been working with customers since the issue was discovered, and the limitation is expected to be adopted by operators globally, even if regulators do not mandate it. There is no need for modification to existing operational and training procedures.Airbus has delivered about 190 A321neos. It is not clear how many have the affected software version.

22 July 2019: India Successfully Launches Second Moon Mission

Chandrayaan-2 (Moon Chariot in Hindi and Sanskrit) lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center at Sriharikota, an island off the coast of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, at 2.43 p.m. local time. It was lofted atop the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mk.3, India’s most powerful rocket. This is India’s second lunar exploration mission, becoming the fourth country after Russia, the U.S. and China to attempt to land on Earth’s natural satellite. About 16 min. into the launch, the spacecraft separated from the rocket at 181.6 km above the Earth, entering its planned orbit with a perigee of 169.7 km and apogee of 45,475 km (28,257 mi.). The 44-m-long GSLV Mk.3 rocket passed through the ignition and separation stages seamlessly. The first launch attempt on July 15 was cancelled, about an hour before its planned liftoff, due to “a serious technical snag”. Chandrayaan-2 includes an orbiter, a lander named Vikram (meaning strong) and a rover called Pragyan (knowledge). The project was approved by the Indian government in September 2008. A series of maneuvers will be carried out using Chandrayaan-2’s onboard propulsion system to raise its orbit and place it into a lunar transfer trajectory. The spacecraft will take 48 days to make it to the surface of the Moon. On 7 September  the lander will touch down in a high plain between two craters (Manzinus C and Simpelius N) at a latitude of about 70 deg. south. After deployment from the lander, the six-wheeled rover will explore the landing area in a semi-autonomous mode for one lunar day (or two Earth weeks). Chandrayaan-2 features 14 scientific payloads, including one contributed by NASA. It will search for water and minerals on the Moon’s surface and collect scientific information on lunar topography, elemental abundance, the lunar exosphere and the signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice. Scientists say the southern polar region to be explored by Chandrayaan-2 is interesting because the surface area is much larger than the northern pole.

11 July 2019: No Disruptions Expected From New Airbus A380 Checks

The checks, which EASA will soon mandate, on the 25 oldest operating A380s Airbus, are for hairline cracks in outer rear wing spars  are recommended to be done  within 15 years of the aircraft’s “initial wing box assembly. This spreads deadlines for the affected aircraft out over the next several years. The time frame should allow most inspections to be done during routine heavy maintenance visits. Six airlines and one lessor are affected. Emirates Airline, operator of nine of the 25 identified airframes targeted for the checks, has scheduled and begun conducting the additional inspections on those aircraft identified. Qantas, which operates six affected aircraft, said its deadlines are between June 2020 and May 2021, but it is accelerating the inspections and working them in as the airframes are removed from service for routine work. Inspections are not required on these aircraft for another year or two and are being done well in advance of the required time frames. Air France, with two affected aircraft, is consulting with Airbus and awaiting a finalized service bulletin that Airbus is developing.  According to Airbus the analysis of these hairline cracks is not of an urgent nature and they do not in any way affect the safety of flights operated by Airbus A380. Other affected operators include Singapore Airlines, with four aircraft, as well as Lufthansa and Hi Fly, with one each. Lessor Afa Press has two in storage. Operators will share inspection results with Airbus and, depending on the findings, the checks may be expanded to a larger subset of the 240 A380s in service.

10 July 2019: Pilot Input Caused Air France’s Abnormal A340 Takeoffs

The French Bureau d’Enquetes et d’Analyses (BEA) has determined that some abnormally long Airbus A340-300 takeoffs from Bogota El Dorado airport in Colombia were due to improper pilot practices. The events observed have been described as serious incidents and had been puzzling analysts since the first observation in March 2017. They involved Air France-operated aircraft but the carrier’s cooperation with Lufthansa demonstrated that the problem was not specific to the former company. A340-300 pilots tend not to pull the stick backward enough at takeoff, according to the BEA. The incident pilot was himself pulling even less than the average. In the BEA’s report, it also appears the issue was partly due to misleading Airbus documentation. Bogota’s airport is located at 8,360 ft. of altitude in a mountainous environment. The takeoff run available on the day of the investigated incident (Mar. 11, 2017) was 3,800 m (12,460 ft.) and a 300 m clearway was coming in addition. Both the pilot flying and the pilot monitoring told the BEA they were aware Bogota El Dorado is a challenging airport, one of them portraying it as “the most difficult” in Air France’s network. But despite thorough preparation work, the flight began with a dramatically long takeoff run and shallow climb. Liftoff took place 140 m before the opposite threshold and the end of the clearway was overflown at a mere 6 ft. Over the first obstacle, the instrument landing system’s antennas, the aircraft had a 12 ft. clearance. According to the BEA, the actual takeoff distance on that day was 424 m over the accepted standard, which includes safety margins. Airbus used Air France data to study A340-300 pilot practices, the BEA said. The airframer recommends, in the flight crew training manual, that the pilot should apply a two-third deflection to the sidestick (i.e. two-thirds [2/3] of the full back position) at rotation speed (Vr). This is supposed to be the right procedure to quickly reach the expected 3 deg./sec. rotation rate. However, the average Air France pilot makes a smaller deflection, resulting in less than 2 deg./sec. Airbus calculated this translates into an additional 200 m to liftoff. Lufthansa experienced the same problem during the Mar. 11, 2017 event in Bogota, when the pilot made an even softer input at Vr. The pitch angle was therefore dangerously low at takeoff and for the initial climb. Even more disturbing is the fact that Airbus’ simulation shows that, with the operating conditions on the incident day, the recommended 2/3 deflection was inadequate. “The pilot should have applied, at Vr, an initial input of more than 80% of the maximum deflection for 0.5 sec.,” the BEA said. With the 3 deg./sec. rotation rate, the simulation yielded a takeoff distance that used 67% of the mandatory safety margin.The A340 needs a greater sidestick input at takeoff than the A320 and A330, and Airbus has consistently highlighted the risk of tailstrike. BEA investigators believe these two factors may have influenced A340 pilots in their rotation technique. Moreover, perceiving a rotation rate is difficult and no instrument helps the crew, except the pitch limit indicator. The investigators had a hard time computing trends from the data available as the flight parameters that are recorded for the operators are unsuitable for systematic analysis, when it comes to takeoff performance. At the time of the incident, no takeoff performance monitoring scheme was in place and European A340 crews had not reported any issue. Since then, Air France has added safety margins into the takeoff procedure at Bogota airport. Crews have been retrained in rotation techniques. As a result, takeoff distances have been reduced but they remain above the Airbus’s theoretical model, the BEA noted. Lufthansa added safety margins into the takeoff procedure at Bogota. Even so, the German carrier chose not to teach its pilots to increase the rotation rate at takeoff, citing a risk of tailstrike. In Airbus’ documentation, a typical value for the backward stick input can no longer be found. The manufacturer rather focuses on the rotation rate. It warns against the impact of a 2 deg./sec. rate versus the nominal 3 deg./sec. The BEA recommends EASA and Airbus re-establish consistency between the certified takeoff performance and actual operations. It also wants EASA to require A340-300 operators to take action against variability in pilot rotation techniques. The EASA should ensure European operators implement takeoff performance monitoring in their flight analysis programs, the BEA added.

9 July 2019: In-service Cracks Trigger Airbus A380 Wing-Spar Inspections

After reports of cracks on in-service Airbus A380 wing outer rear spars (ORS) Airbus and EASA are developing an inspection program for. The program, revealed in a proposed EASA airworthiness directive (AD) published July 5, targets “the 25 oldest wing sets” in the A380 in-service fleet. Affected operators are to conduct initial “special detailed inspections” on a schedule based on the aircraft’s age. Follow-up checks will be done every 36 months. The initial inspection results will be evaluated by Airbus and EASA and, “based on inspection findings,” may expand the program to other A380s, the proposed AD explained. Out of the 25 aircraft listed for initial inspections Emirates Airline has 9, followed by Qantas 6, including  the aircraft that suffered substantial damage during a November 2010 engine failure and was out of service for nearly 18 months. Singapore Airlines has 4, while 2 aircraft once operated by Singapore are in storage with Afa Press UK Ltd. as the listed owner. The remaining airframes are with Air France (2), Lufthansa, and Portuguese charter carrier Hi Fly. The initial program is in response to “occurrences” of ORS cracks on in-service aircraft, EASA explained, but the AD does not say how many aircraft have turned up with cracks.

4 July 2019: Dust Storm Swirl at the North Pole of Mars

European Space Agency’s (ESA) Mars Express has been observing dust storms brewing at the north pole of the Red Planet over the last month, watching as they disperse towards the equator. According to ESA local and regional storms lasting for a few days or weeks and confined to a small area are common place on Mars, but at their most severe can engulf the entire planet, as experienced last year in a global storm that circled the planet for many months. It is currently spring in the northern hemisphere of Mars, and water-ice clouds and small dust-lifting events are frequently observed along the edge of the seasonally retreating ice cap. Many of the spacecraft at Mars return daily weather reports from orbit or from the surface, providing global and local impressions of the changing atmospheric conditions. ESA’s Mars Express observed at least eight different storms at the edge of the ice cap between 22 May and 10 June, which formed and dissipated very quickly, between one and three days. These regional dust storms only last a few days; the elevated dust is transported and spread out by global circulation into a thin haze in the lower atmosphere, around 20–40 km altitude. Some traces of dust and clouds remained in the volcanic province into mid-June.

25 June 2019: Beginning of Commercial On-Orbit Servicing

The first commercial, in-space satellite-servicing mission will start later this summer when it is expected that Northrop Grumman’s Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV), will be launched to start a on-orbit servicing. It is scheduled to fly beneath a Eutelsat satellite on a Proton rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan later this summer. It was built to provide four types of service, geostationary station-keeping, reductions in the inclination of orbits, relocation of a satellite within the geo-belt, or into the graveyard, and satellite circumnavigation and inspection. The MEV will rendezvous with an Intelsat satellite that will conduct 30 orbital manoeuvres on its way to a point over the Pacific Ocean, chosen to be conservative and safe for docking. The MEV will extend the life of Intelsat 901, a Space Systems/Loral-made (SS/L) satellite launched in 2001 that is running out of fuel. The mission will allow Intelsat, which prides itself on early adoption of technology, to keep using that asset in its valuable orbital position for at least 5 years. The mission represents a step toward the larger goal of spacecraft that can service satellites in orbit, using robotic arms to repair their solar arrays. This would be one step closer to the dream of in-space manufacturing. During last three years, Northrop has been refining its MEV.

18 June 2019: Boeing to Supply Airbus A320 Parts to British Airways

Boeing is to supply parts for aircraft made by rival Airbus to British Airways (BA), the first agreement of its kind for the U.S. aircraft maker. The deal with BA owner International Airlines Group (IAG) will see Boeing own, manage, and maintain a global exchange inventory of parts for the airline's A320 and A320neo single-aisle aircraft through its Component Services Program (CSP). BA has 67 A320-200s and 10 A320-200neos in its fleet. Boeing Global Services chief executive said that the manufacturer was “happy to put our hat in the ring” to offer BA “more choice”. In addition, the carrier has signed an agreement for three landing gear exchanges for its 777-300ERs. Through the program, operators receive an overhauled and certified landing gear from an exchange pool maintained by Boeing.

29 May 2019: The radiation challenge for Mars exploration

Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere protect us from the constant bombardment of galactic cosmic rays – energetic particles that travel at close to the speed of light and penetrate the human body. An astronaut on a mission to Mars could receive radiation doses up to 700 times higher than on our planet – a major showstopper for the safe exploration of our Solar System. A team of European experts is working with ESA to protect the health of future crews on their way to the Moon and beyond. Cosmic radiation could increase cancer risks during long duration missions. Damage to the human body extends to the brain, heart and the central nervous system and sets the stage for degenerative diseases. A higher percentage of early-onset cataracts have been reported in astronauts. Data show that one day in space is equivalent to the radiation received on Earth for a whole year. Also it has been noticed that t most of the changes in the astronauts’ gene expression are believed to be a result of radiation exposure. This research showed DNA damage in astronaut compared to his identical twin and fellow astronaut, who remained on Earth. A second source of space radiation comes from unpredictable solar particle events that deliver high doses of radiation in a short period of time, leading to ‘radiation sickness’ unless protective measures are taken.

28 May 2019: RR Trent 1000-Suffering Air New Zealand Orders GEnx

Air New Zealand operation has been disrupted by performance of the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000, and has ordered the competing GEnx1-B to power its latest order for eight Boeing 787-10s. The aircraft will replace eight 777-200s powered by Trent 800 engines, and will supplement the flag carrier’s existing fleet of 13 787-9s, which use the Trent 1000. Air New Zealand was one of many international carriers forced to ground aircraft over Trent 1000 problems, which are estimated to have cost it about $25 million so far. The airline might have hoped that engine issues were behind it as it began to take delivery of the new Trent 1000 TEN, a model that shares only 25% parts commonality with earlier builds, and was supposed to mark a clean break with mistakes of the past. However, in April this year Rolls-Royce announced an accelerated inspection program for high-pressure turbine (HPT) blades on the TEN, following an earlier communication to airlines that the engine’s HPT blades would not last as long as advertised. Air New Zealand’s order for eight GEnx-powered 787-10s comes with 12 options and the right to swap orders for the maller 787-9. First deliveries from the new order are scheduled for 2022.

27 May 2019: Special Conditions for 777-9 Fuel Tank by FAA

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), leveraging similar requirements issued more than a decade ago for the Boeing 787, has issued special conditions that Boeing must follow to demonstrate the 777-9’s composite fuel tanks durability. Thus, Boeing must follow to demonstrate the composite fuel tanks withstand tire debris impact. The requirements dictate that "tire-debris impact to any fuel tank or fuel-system component, located within 30 deg. to either side of wheel rotational planes, may not result in penetration or otherwise induce fuel-tank deformation, rupture (e.g., through propagation of pressure waves), or cracking sufficient to allow a hazardous fuel leak.”
According to FAA thetesting must be done using a tire debris fragment size that is 1% of the tire mass, and the fragment load must be "distributed over an area on the fuel tank surface equal to 1.5% of the total tire tread area.” The results must also demonstrate that fuel leaks within the defined debris-impact area triggered by larger debris pieces will not lead to “hazardous quantities of fuel” entering the engine inlet, auxiliary power unit inlet or cabin-air inlet.

23 May 2019: SpaceX launches 60 Starlink satellites to begin a constellation buildout

SpaceX launched the first 60 satellites for an internet constellation that could ultimately number 12,000 on a Falcon 9 rocket.  It took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 10:30 p.m. Eastern, and deployed the satellites into a low Earth orbit a little over an hour later. The 60 satellites mark the beginning of SpaceX’s deployment of a global internet mega constellation intended to generate more revenue to fuel the company’s interplanetary ambitions. Each Starlink satellite launched weighs roughly 227 kilograms. Collectively they are expected to deliver 1 terabit per second of usable capacity, and 2.5 to 3 terabits per second of total capacity. SpaceX landed the booster that launched the satellites 9 minutes after liftoff on the droneship “Of Course I Still Love You,” in the Atlantic Ocean. The same Falcon 9 first stage previously launched the Telstar 18 Vantage satellite to geostationary orbit in September 2018, and 10 Iridium Next satellites to low Earth orbit this January. The satellites are deployed collectively from the upper stage, allowing the satellites to drift off using their own inertia instead of springs or another conventional deployment mechanism. The satellites collectively weighed 13.6 metric tons, making this launch the heaviest mission for SpaceX to date. The launch deployed the Starlink satellites into a 440-kilometer orbit. From there, the spacecraft will use Krypton-fuelled electric propulsion thrusters to reach their target operational altitude of 550 kilometres.

22 May 2019: American Airlines Sues Mechanic Unions Over Alleged Mechanic Slowdown

American Airlines is suing the unions representing most of its mechanics, alleging that union officers and members have engaged in a deliberate work slowdown to gain leverage during ongoing contract negotiations. The lawsuit filed May 21 against the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) alleges the slowdown has caused 644 flight cancellations and more than 270 maintenance delays of two hours or more between February 4 and May 13. Lawyers for American wrote in their complaint that mechanics have escalated their campaign in recent weeks, resulting in a “dramatic increase” in outstanding maintenance write-ups and contributing to a sharp rise in the number of out-of-service aircraft for the Dallas/Fort Worth-based carrier. They said the odds of this slowdown being random – as opposed to the result of a concerted campaign – are “less than one-in-one billion,” adding that mechanics are “refusing en masse” to work overtime or take maintenance field trips to repair aircraft. The company said it has never had an issue staffing overtime or field trips before, given the high pay rates associated with those activities. However, since the unions began their alleged campaign, American reports there have been periods with no overtime shifts worked at its hub in Phoenix, and there have “regularly been weeks with a 100% field trip refusal rate” at its hubs in Charlotte, Phoenix and Philadelphia.The carrier also alleged that union leadership has directly orchestrated the slowdown in a top-down fashion, going as far as threatening and intimidating employees who have accepted overtime and field trips, stating they expect “100% participation” and warning that workers who fail to comply are “going on the list.”

5 May 2019: Aeroflot Superjet 100 (RA-89098) flight SU1492 Crashed in Moscow

A Superjet 100 airplane, operated by Aeroflot, flight SU1492 took off from Moscow Sheremetyevo airport (SVO/UUEE) runway 24C at 18:04L (15:04Z) . The crew stopped the climb at about FL100 and declared initially loss of radio communication. Later the crew declared emergency via transponder codes and returned to Sheremetyevo for an emergency landing. According to radar tracks, the first approach was discontinued, the airplane made a 360° and approached Sheremetyevo runway for landing on Runway 24C Weather at time of landing was not a factor for the landing, although not confirmed info says that a lightning strike might be involved in the accident : According to CCTV cameras, the airplane bounced on the runway during landing and when it hit the runway again, caught fire. During the deceleration, Superjet 100 burst into flames, it made a 180° and stopped his landing roll out of the runway, on an intersection.  The airplane veered to the left off the runway and came to a stop on the grass adjacent to the runway, after making a 180°. While the aircraft burned down, an evacuation started from the L1 and R1 doors via emergency slides. Although the post accident rescue is still ongoing , 41 people are confirmed dead, including 2 children : it is not known at the moment how many passengers vs crew died in the accident.

1 May 2019: B737 MAX MCAS Met Boeing's Certification Criteria

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg insists that the grounded aircraft was designed and certified to the company's standards, safety analysis criteria and certification criteria. The aircraft's manoeuvring characteristics augmentation system (MCAS) operation during the October 29, 2018 Lion Air Flight 610 accident and March 10, 2019 Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accidents is a focus of both investigations. In each case, a single source of faulty angle-of-attack (AOA) data activated the flight-control law, which provides nose-down inputs in certain flight profiles. In both accidents, the pilots needed the aircraft to climb, but MCAS, triggered by AOA data that said the aircraft's nose was too high, pushed the nose down by moving the horizontal stabilizer. Neither crew was able to override MCAS and maintain altitude, and both aircraft eventually dove to impact, killing all 346 people onboard of both flights. Boeing's safety analysis determined an MCAS failure would be recognised as runaway stabilizer, and the applicable checklist, which includes a step for de-powering the automatic stabilizer trim motor, would be followed. But neither the Lion Air nor Ethiopian crews followed the checklist step-by-step. The Ethiopian crew followed some of the steps, including de-powering automatic trim, but then re-activated it. MCAS's inclusion in the MAX flight control logic was not communicated to pilots until after the Lion Air accident. Boeing assumed the system would stay in the background, and its failure would be quickly recognized as a runaway stabilizer, leading pilots to de-activate the system. However, the two accident sequences suggest this assumption was wrong.

30 April 2019: International Space Station Electrical Issue Delays SpaceX Launch

The planned May 1 launch of a SpaceX cargo ship to the International Space Station (ISS) has been delayed due to troubleshoot a problem with the station’s electrical system. The problem poses no immediate concerns to the station or its six-member crew, involves a main bus switching unit (MBSU), which distributes electrical power to two of the station’s eight channels. Electrical power generated by the station’s solar arrays is fed to all station systems through these power channels. One of these units has failed in a manner that cannot be recovered, so it effectively loses one-quarter of the power to space station. It is possible to move loads around and keep payloads operating, but to lose redundancy. Among the systems now lacking backup power are the station’s robot arm and mobile base, which is needed to capture SpaceX’s Dragon cargo ship and berth it to docking port. Launch has been tentatively rescheduled for May 3, pending a successful robotic change-out of the failed MBSU, on the May 2. In the past the ISS had two failures of this particular box, one of which was repaired on orbit. This one looks like it’s probably not repairable on orbit as it is lifetime issue.

29 April 2019: Boeing Cost of 737 Max Groundings 1 billion in the First Quarter

The grounding of the 737 Max and Boeing’s subsequent reduction in 737 production from 52 to 42 aircraft per month cost them about $1 billion in the first quarter. Much of that additional cost was due to Boeing’s decision to maintain headcount on the production line and not reduce its orders from certain suppliers. This means that it has the costs of 52 aircraft per month but not the income; Boeing delivered 50 fewer 737s in the first quarter than in the same period in 2018. Storing momentum on the 737 line is seen as crucial to a later recovery. Boeing is unwilling to adjust its 2019 guidance until there is more certainty about when the Max returns to service, but a key part of that recovery will be how quickly it can get aircraft out the door and how quickly customers can accept them. The length of the grounding itself is also crucial and Boeing is trying to synchronise its recertification efforts with different regulatory authorities to ensure as smooth a return to service as possible.

25 April 2019: U.S. Marine Corps Deploying F-35 with 44% Incompatible Spare Parts

The U.S. government watchdog agency report reveals that roughly 44% of spare parts for the Marine Corps deployed F-35s aboard the Wasp (LHD-1) and Essex (LHD-2) were incompatible relative to total parts in the packages. Examples of incompatible parts include pilot harnesses, masks, breathing hoses, batteries, electrical equipment, antennas, multiple types of valves and panel assemblies. The operator had to alter their plans and deploy older aircraft with less advanced capabilities that matched the parts package instead of the jets that best met their operational requirement. Also, Air Force and Marine Corps officials also said ”the quantity of parts within their parts packages were not fully reflective of the actual demands for certain parts, based on updated information about the reliability of certain parts and how frequently they needed to be replaced.” For example, Marine Corps officials said they were able to identify more than one dozen different parts in one of the afloat spare packages before deployment. The service was provided insufficient quantities because the F-35 joint program office did not account for actual fleet demand in its modelling for the afloat spare package. The F-35 program does not have a process in place for changing out the parts within the afloat and deployment spares packages that are put on contract years before a deployment. Such a process is needed to ensure that the packages reflect the actual configuration of the deploying aircraft or updated demand projections for parts.

23 April 2019: The development of robots for service and repair of U.S. spacecraft more than 22,000 miles above the Earth.

More than 400 U.S. military, government and commercial satellites are circling the globe in geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO), a celestial path about 22,000 miles above the ground. These high-altitude satellites are ideal for telecommunications, meteorology and certain military applications, but when they break down, it’s nearly impossible to fix something far out in the cosmos. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) believes space-based robots offer the best step forward for inspecting and repairing high-altitude satellites, especially with the number of satellites set to skyrocket due to a budding Space Force and federal agencies and industry ramping up operations in outer space. Thus, DARPA is planning to partner with teams to build both robots that can maintain and upgrade satellites, as well as the spacecraft to move the bots through space. Once deployed, the tech would periodically check in on different satellites and service them as needed. Because today’s high-altitude satellites are so difficult to repair, they’re often built with numerous backup systems to take over when something malfunctions, which adds weight, cost and complexity. Thus, if robots could perform repairs, satellites would likely become both cheaper and more reliable in the near future.

15 April 2019: Rolls-Royce Reveals Blade Problems in Newest Engine

Durability problems have been affecting a series of Trent 1000 engines for many years. Its newest iteration, the Trent 1000 TEN, was supposed to mark a clean break with mistakes of the past. However, that is no the case, as Rolls-Royce has just announced an accelerated inspection program for high-pressure turbine (HPT) blades on the TEN. It follows an earlier communication to airlines that their HPT blades would not last as long as advertised. This blade deterioration is a known issue to RR but it is occurring faster than they expected in some engines. Rolls-Royce is now testing an enhanced blade that should resolve the issues, although that will not be available to airlines until early 2020. The Trent 1000 TEN engine has been in service since November 2017, and there are currently more than 180 of the engine type in service. According to RR the tests of TEN engines operating at high flight frequencies revealed that “a small number of these engines have needed to have their HPT blades replaced earlier than scheduled”. As part of the accelerated inspection program, an airworthiness directive will be issued by EASA in addition to a Rolls-Royce service bulletin. RR stated that he new inspection regime will not affect its ongoing maintenance programs for the Trent 1000 Package B or Package C engines.

12 April 2019: Rocket breakup provides rare chance to test debris behaviour

The discarded ‘upper stage’ of Atlas V Centaur, nearly cylindrical object, 12.5 metres in length and three metres in diameter, with a mass of more than two tonnes, launched in September 2009 has recently crumbled to pieces, leaving a trail of debris in its wake. Fragmentation events like this one, either break ups or collisions, are the primary source of debris objects in space in the range of a few millimetres to tens of centimetres in size. Travelling at high speeds, these bits of technological trash pose a threat to crucial space infrastructure, such as satellites providing weather and navigation services, and even astronauts on the ISS. The Deimos Sky Survey in Spain captured the stream of newly-made debris objects as they rush across the sky. The remnant piece is clearly visible as the largest and brightest point at the centre of about 40-60 smaller pieces, many larger than 30 cm in size. Given the international code 2009-047B, this rocket remnant had been flying in an eccentric orbit around the Earth  flung as far as 34 700 km from Earth at the most distant point in its orbit and just 6675 km at the closest. For an as-yet-unknown reason, the rocket body fragmented some time between 23 to 25 March.

9 April 2019: Boeing Experiencing Foreign Object Debris Problems with KC-46A

The U.S. Air Force acquisition service put a hold on KC-46 acceptance in late February after a Foreign Object Debris (FOD) were found in unsealed areas of the tanker. This hold has been lifted on 11 March when they approved Boeing’s corrective action plan. However, the service halted delivery of the KC-46A Pegasus a second time on March 23 after additional FOD was discovered on the brand-new tankers at Boeing’s Everett, Washington, facility.  Consequently, both Boeing and the Defence Contract Management Agency opened up every sealed area on every aircraft and approved that corrective action plan before the acceptances are resumed. The Boeing company has implemented additional training, more rigorous cleaning practices and FOD awareness days to stress the urgency of the problem.

26 March 2019 Contained Failure of Southwest B737 MAX 8 Leap Engine

About 10 min. after takeoff, the Southwest Flight 8701, that has being ferried B737 MAX 8, to storage from Orlando International Airport to Victorville, Calif., the no. 2 engine experienced a contained failure. The two-person crew returned to Orlando and landed safely. Within hours of the failure, the company analysed the engine's operating history, not just hours and cycles, but detailed performance data, and compared it against data from each of the other 1,560 Leaps engines in service. The engine-maker has targeted a specific subset of Leap-1A engines that power Airbus A320neos and -1B engines found on 737 MAXs based on operational data and recommended that operators inspect the affected powerplants. The issue: carbon build up, or deposits of evaporated fuel and other material, on fuel nozzles that lead to uneven temperature flow regions within the combustion chamber exit plane and hot spots within the high-pressure turbine (HPT). These hot spots can cause premature wear. In the case of the Southwest engine, the wear led to a turbine blade failure. Metallic fragments were found in the tailpipe. CFM is working to understand not only why the Southwest engine failed, but also what is behind the carbon build-up on the fuel nozzles, of which each Leap-1B has 18. Manufacturer continually monitors the fleet and has a method to detect carbon build-up, enabling CFM and their customers to proactively manage the issue. In the case of the engine on Flight 8701, the evidence shown that CFM monitoring analytics and maintenance process needed to be adjusted for our Leap engines. This adjustment has been made and the fleet was assessed within hours, with follow-on actions completed within days. Southwest inspected 12 engines, which has been identified within their fleet and handed that information over to CFM for review.

21 March 2019: Grounded B737 MAX Stretches U.S. Airlines To Cover Routes

Regulators around the world banned 737 MAX operations in the days following the Mar. 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 near Addis Ababa. Southwest Airlines is the carrier facing the largest challenge, as it has the most MAXs, 34, of any U.S., operator, and also the highest percentage of fleet exposure, at 4.5% of its 750-aircraft fleet. The Dallas-based carrier is back-filling around 200 daily departures that its MAX flew prior to FAA’s Mar. 13 order banning the model’s operation indefinitely. The airline, which is adding MAXs for growth and to replace older 737-700s, has been cancelling about 150 flights per day and shuffling the remainder of its fleet to operate the rest. It is modifying its schedule daily, and attempting to give customers at least five days’ notice when flights are cancelled. American Airlines operated 85 departures per day with its 24 MAX 8s. “Our operations centre is working to reroute aircraft throughout the system to cover as much of our schedule as we can. United Airlines operated about 40 daily departures with its 12 MAX 9s. “Through a combination of spare aircraft and rebooking customers, we do not anticipate a significant operational impact.” Public concern over the MAX groundings is affecting carriers that don’t operate the type. “We’ve received many inquiries about the 737-MAX 8 and 737-MAX 9 aircraft,” a note on the Alaska Airlines Fleet web page says. “Alaska Airlines does not currently have these aircraft in our fleet.”

13 March 2019: Citing New Data And Physical Evidence USA Grounds B737MAXs

Three days of groundings by regulators across the world, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), relying on refined satellite tracking data and new physical evidence that more closely links two crashes of Boeing 737 MAX 8s, grounded Boeing's newest narrowbody, with immediate effect. The move ends three days of cascading groundings after the March 10 Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 (ET302) accident, and leaves the world's MAX fleet grounded. The FAA is the safety authority for emergency airworthiness directives and orders found some similarities between the ET302 and [October 2018 Lion Air Flight TJ610] accidents that warrant further investigation of the possibility of a shared cause for the two incidents that needs to be better understood and addressed. In a statement, Boeing said it has full confidence in the MAX, but concurred with the FAA decision.

10 March 2019: Ethiopian B737 Max Crashed After Takeoff

The Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-8 Max that crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa operating as flight ET302 to Nairobi, departed Bole International Airport at 08.38 a.m. local time with 149 passengers and eight crew members onboard. Radar contact was lost at 08.44 a.m. In mean time the crew issued a distress call and requested a return to Addis Ababa shortly before contact was lost. Flightradar24 data indicates the aircraft operated what appears to be a routine climb and acceleration for the first minute of its flight. The aircraft then levelled off at around 8,150 ft. before descending slightly reaching a speed of close to 400 knots. Flightradar24 reports significant variation in vertical s