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MIRCE Science Events

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Category: General

18 November 2019: Soyuz Launch Abort Traced to Damaged Sensor, According to NASA

The first Soyuz launch abort in 35 years, took place on Oct. 11, 2018, when the whole flight lasted 2 min. after liftoff from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Instead of sending two astronauts on their way to the ISS, the crew experienced a jarring ballistic trajectory, which subjected them up to 6.7 times normal gravity, as escape rockets fired to push their capsule away from what appeared to be a failing booster. They parachuted to safety and were relaunched to the ISS in March. The root cause was determined to be mechanical damage to a sensor that enabled pressurizing gas to activate and separate the launch vehicle stages. As a result, Roscosmos has implemented video monitoring during vehicle assembly to prevent such issues from arising in the future. A new generation of Soyuz 2.1A launchers will have an electronic backup system to ensure vehicle separation.

8 November 2019: £2.4 Billion  Redesign Cost of Failed TEN Rolls-Royce Engine

According to the latest trading update, Rolls-Royce predicts that Trent 1000 problems across all variants will cost it about £2.4 billion ($3.1 billion) from 2017-23, which is about £1 billion more than it forecast a little over a year ago. Having certified fixes for the durability problems affecting Package B and C variants of the Trent 1000, Rolls is now focusing on the newest iteration, the Trent 1000 TEN. Sadly, it was this engine, which shares just 25% parts commonality with earlier builds, that was supposed to put Trent 1000 problems to bed; instead, its issues appear to be among the most serious. The RR had hoped to start retrofitting a redesigned high-pressure turbine blade for the TEN from early 2020, only to announce this week that even the redesign “will not deliver a sufficient level of enhanced durability.” Thus, it has pencilled in the retrofits for early 2021 and taken a £1.4 billion charge to operational profit this year. To ease any servicing bottlenecks, Rolls is planning a significant expansion of its MRO capacity for the Trent 1000.

7 November 2019: Ryanair Grounds Three 737-800s Due to Pickle Fork Cracks

Three of its Boeing 737-800 aircraft has withdrawn from service after the discovery of cracks located between the aircraft’s fuselage and wing by Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair  These aircraft are a part of its all-737-800 fleet of around 450 aircraft, suffered “pickle fork cracks”--part of the airframe structure designed to strengthen the connection between the aircraft’s wing and body. Other 737NG operators, such as U.S. carrier Southwest and Australian airline Qantas, recently revealed the number of aircraft they had grounded. In late September, Boeing alerted operators of all 737NG variants that it had notified the FAA of cracking on the left and right-hand side outboard chords of the station 663 frame fitting and failsafe straps. Consequently, the FAA issued an airworthiness directive that came into effect in early October for high-time models above 30,000 flight cycles to be inspected within one week. Inspections on aircraft operating between 22,600 and 30,000 flight cycles were ordered to take place within a seven-month timeframe.

25 October 2019: Eight GE90s Targeted For Work Following Engine Failure

The Thai Airways 777-300ER was departing Bangkok for Zurich, on 20 October, when the crew rejected the takeoff at low speed, due to uncontained high-pressure turbine failure of GE80-115B engine. Debris impacted the aircraft fuselage and the other engine. No injuries were reported. GE Aviation has identified a pool of eight engines of this type that need immediate attention. The FAA has issued an emergency airworthiness directive (AD) mandating the work. GE in an Oct. 23 alert service bulletin says the interstage seal should be removed from affected engines within 25 cycles. The work requires removing the engine. The engines are operated by five different airlines. The impacted population has the same configuration and similar number of cycles and maintenance history as the event engine. GE Aviation has mobilized technical resources, tooling and spare engines as needed to minimize customer disruption due to the associated engine removals. The bulletin also recommends ensuring no aircraft has two engines that have the affected seals. This specific engine type powers the Boeing 777-300ER and -200LR.

24 October 2019: EasyJet Taps Inertia-Sensor Data to Monitor Turnaround Times

There’s up to 20,000 different parameters that can come off the Airbus A320. UK low-cost carrier EasyJet is just trying to tap that to find the parameters that they need to get better measurements regarding the turnarounds. They wish to further streamline its aircraft turnaround performance, by using aircraft inertia sensors to detect the exact timings of boarding and disembarkation. Speaking at MRO Europe in London, EasyJet head of maintenance operations Aidan Kearney said the sensor data reveals subtle changes in aircraft pitch as passengers move on and off the aircraft. “You can’t mess with this data; it doesn’t depend on gate-agent reports,” he said. “This is something we’re starting to investigate now.” Even more at London Gatwick Airport, cameras have also been fitted to some stands. When this visual footage is combined with the sensor data, it gives an even richer picture of the turnaround process. “We are trying to take the ambiguity out of the turnaround as there is no absolute record of when the first passenger enters the aircraft. We are trying to take that kind of guess work out of it”, concluded Mr. Kearny.

22 October 2019: Automating Collision Avoidance by ESA

Since 1957 roughly 5450 launches took place and contributed to the number of debris objects estimated to be in orbit, as of January 2019, was: 34,000 objects larger than 10cm in size, 900 000 objects between 1cm to 10cm and 128 million objects from 1mm to 10cm. Therefore, there is an urgent need for proper space traffic management, with clear communication protocols and more automation. This is how air traffic control has worked for many decades, and now space operators need to get together to define automated manoeuvre coordination. Thus, European Space Agency (ESA) is preparing to apply machine learning to protect satellites from the very real and growing danger of space debris. The Agency is developing a collision avoidance system that will automatically assess the risk and likelihood of in-space collisions, improve the decision making process on whether or not a manoeuvre is needed, and may even send the orders to at-risk satellites to get out of the way. Such automated decisions could even take place on board satellites, which would directly inform other operators on the ground and satellites in orbit of their intentions. This will be essential to ensuring that automated decisions do not interfere with the manoeuvre plans of others. As these intelligent systems gather more data and experience, they will get better and better at predicting how risky situations evolve, meaning errors in decision making would fall as well as the cost of operations.

20 October 2019: Qantas Completed World's Longest Commercial Flight from New York to Sydney

Australia’s flag carrier Qantas completed a nonstop test flight from New York to Sydney, researching how the world’s longest potential commercial airplane journey would impact pilots, crew and passengers. Qantas Flight 7879 on a new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner touched down after a 16,200 kilometre (10,066-mile) journey which lasted 19 hours 16 minutes, with a comfortable 70 minutes of fuel. No commercial aircraft as of yet has the range to fly such an ultra-long haul with a full passenger and cargo load. To give the plane the needed range, the Qantas flight took off with maximum fuel, only a few passengers, restricted baggage load and no cargo. That was a historic moments for eh world commercial aviation. The goal was to gather data, with a team of researchers to monitor, among other things, lighting, activity, sleep and consumption patterns of passengers, and crew melatonin levels. They also tracked the brain wave patterns of pilots, equipped for the flight with brain monitoring devices. The airline also plans to test a nonstop flight from London to Sydney and expects to make a decision by the end of the year whether to start the routes, which would commence in 2022 or 2023.

18 October 2019: FedEx Uses Drone in first-of-its-kind Trial Flight

For the first time in the United States, a drone successfully delivered a FedEx express package to a residence in Virginia. This trial flight was the first scheduled commercial residential drone delivery service, as well as the first scheduled e-commerce delivery via drone delivery trial in the United States. The drone delivery was conducted by Wing Aviation, in collaboration with FedEx Express. This is all part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program (IPP). “Innovation has been part of the FedEx DNA since day one, and we are always looking for new and better ways to deliver the world to our customers’ doorsteps,” said Don Colleran, President & CEO of FedEx Express.

16 October 2019: New Engine Inspections after Third Swiss A220 Incident

Swiss International Air Lines stated that flight LX359 from London-Heathrow to Geneva had to divert to Paris-Charles de Gaulle on Oct. 15 “following a technical irregularity.” Thus, the airlines decided to take return its entire fleet of 28 Airbus A220s to home base to make a “comprehensive inspection.” The aircraft will only be returned to service if no findings surface. Consequently, many flights will be cancelled. The youngest engines in the PW1500G and PW1900G fleets were hit with inspection mandates last month following two similar in-flight incident on Swiss A220s, one on July 25 and the second on Sept. 16. In both cases, number-one engine low-pressure compressor (LPC) stage 1 rotors fractured. Following the second incident, Pratt recommended inspections of LPC stage 1 rotors and inlet guide vanes, and regulators quickly mandated the instructions. The checks applied only to engines with fewer than 300 cycles since new and must be done every 50 cycles until the engine reaches that threshold. Both previous A220 failures occurred on Swiss’s Geneva-London Heathrow route as the flights were approaching cruise altitude, one at FL350 and one at FL320. In the July incident, the flight diverted to Paris. In last month’s incident, the crew returned to Geneva. The U.S. NTSB was designated as lead agency investigating both incidents, with the third one now added to investigation. Damage from the second incident included a hole in the LPC case and a separated R1, and in the incident, the LPC R1 was “missing,” the board said. Pratt & Whitney said that “the engines continue to meet all criteria for continued airworthiness. We are working closely with our customers to minimize disruption to their operations.”

10 October 2019: Southwest Grounds two 737NGs with Structural Cracks

Boeing alerted 737-600/-700/-800/-900/-900ER (737NG) operators on Sept. 27 that it had found, and informed the FAA about cracking on the “left- and right-hand side outboard chords of the Station 663 frame fitting and failsafe straps” on three -800s. Those aircraft were undergoing passenger-to-freighter conversions and had accumulated 35,587-37,329 flight cycles. FAA followed up Boeing’s notice and issued an airworthiness directive (AD) that took effect Oct. 3 for high-time models.Airlines must report their findings to the agency. The inspection order is separate from safety modifications for the later-generation Boeing 737 Max aircraft the FAA is testing to determine when those aircraft are safe to return to service. Southwest Airlines removed two Boeing 737NG aircraft from service because of structural cracks discovered during inspections mandated by FAA the of such aircraft that had completed 30,000 flight cycles. The aircraft will remain out of our schedule until the issues have been fully resolved. The 1,911 aircraft that meet the FAA inspection requirement represent most of the US in-service 737NG fleet of 1,930 aircraft, according to Cirium fleet data. Aircraft that have logged between 22,600 and 29,999 cycles must be inspected within 1,000 additional cycles. American Airlines, which operates some 300 737NGs, says none of its aircraft will need inspections within seven days. The carrier anticipates 80 aircraft will need inspections within eight months, but it expects no operational impact. Delta Air Lines, which operates some 220 737NGs, says it has not discovered structural cracks on its fleet. The Boeing aircraft that spurred FAA to issue the airworthiness directive were undergoing passenger-to-freighter conversions in China and had accumulated between 35,600 and 37,300 flight cycles, according to the agency's directive

4 October 2019: Russell retirement in Russian GP due to Wheel Nut Retainer

Having crashed out of the Singapore Grand Prix after contact with Romain Grosjean, Russell retired from his second race in succession in Russia, appearing to lock up under braking and spearing into the barriers at Sochi’s Turn 8 on Lap 27. And while Russell was initially in the dark about the cause of the incident, a statement from Williams F1 Team cleared the matter up. “We found an issue with the wheel nut retainer on George’s car, which led to the front-right wheel not sitting perfectly. This caused a lock-up under braking. The design is very mature and well-proven. The remaining inventory will be inspected thoroughly, and we do not anticipate a repeat of the issue.” Williams Team also moved to cover off questions regarding why Robert Kubica was retired from the Russian Grand Prix a lap after Russell’s crash, despite driving a seemingly healthy FW42. “Unfortunately, we were forced to retire Robert’s car due to the amount of accident damage we sustained in the Singapore-Russia back-to-back races in order to protect ourselves going into the next events,” said Robson. “The team has worked extremely hard to ensure race quantities have improved ahead of Japan and the final races.” The Russian Grand Prix marked Williams’ first double retirement in 2019.

18 September 2019: Impact of Emerging Technologies on the Aviation Aftermarket

Line and heavy maintenance are still almost as touch-labour reliant although new technologies have promoted efficiencies in many tasks. Early examples included non-destructive testing methods such as ultrasound and magnetic particle inspection. In the last decade, many Maintenance Repair Organisations (MRO) providers have invested in 3D-printing capabilities to help with prototyping, tooling and to manufacture certain cabin parts. Additive manufacturing in the form of laser cladding has also added certain repair capabilities—for turbine blades, for instance. More recently, several companies have tested even newer technologies such as robots for automated inspection and repair and drones for airframe-exterior checks. But these techniques apply only to a small number of tasks within the maintenance spectrum and cannot be considered truly disruptive to the wider MRO sector. At Emirates Engineering composites have helped quicker repairs in situ and off-wing. The MRO provider has been experimenting with near-infrared (NIR)-based inspection techniques for rapid inspection of composite and metallic structures without any surface treatment removal. Soon, NIR may also be used for noncontact 3D scanning, and coupled with machine vision techniques; it has the potential to rapidly shrink general and detailed visual inspection times for the MRO operation. Additive manufacturing (AM) is another transformative upstream technology, one that is also used internally by MROs for their own processes. Engine and aircraft OEMs are starting to print metal parts, the complexities of which are almost certain to increase as their familiarity with the technology grows. Since additive manufacturing allows the production of more complex geometries in single parts than do conventional subtractive techniques, this will lead to challenges for inspection and repair, especially where an AM part features internal channels. According to the Lufthansa Technik’s additive manufacturing centre maintainers may be confronted with altered failure appearances due to the slightly shifted material characteristics [of AM versus conventional parts] like reduced fatigue strengths or an anisotropic grain structure. Optical scanning and AM-based repair technologies will be vital for MRO providers wishing to service AM parts. However, MRO service providers will require quick-react manufacturing cells to produce custom repairs or parts, possibly under some alternative basis of certification or authority. Augmented Reality (AR) solutions like smart glasses are already actively enhancing aircraft maintenance and production by enabling a range of hands-free tasks and processes. VR goggles also hold great promise for the MRO sector, although their application will lean toward training rather than on-the-job assistance. Also, VR will help with to task-train more effectively, and it would come in very handy in planning modifications and first execution. Rolls-Royce has worked with Qatar Airways to train engineers on the Trent XWB engine using VR. They used a realistic virtual simulation to familiarise the line engineers on the engine removal and installations procedures. There is a growing trend to use virtual tools to complement or supplement physical training courses.

18 September 2019: Comair Suffers From South African Airways Technical Mismanagement

Deficiencies at South African Airways’ maintenance arm, SAA Technical, have caused third-party customer Comair to seek a variety of alternative solutions. Already hit by the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max, Comair’s need to draft in replacement aircraft on expensive short-term leases was exacerbated by maintenance scheduling problems and parts shortages at SAA Technical, the airline said in its 2018/19 annual report. Altogether, the South African carrier estimated that the above problems contributed to $10.5 million of extra costs in the year to 30 June 2019, which led to a 68% fall in operating profit. To resolve the situation, Comair is transferring line maintenance work to Lufthansa Technik and moving heavy maintenance overseas. In the longer term, it plans to perform heavy maintenance itself following its acquisition of Star Air Maintenance and Star Air Cargo. Its problems highlight how years of chronic mismanagement of South African Airways were not confined to the airline itself.

16 September 2019: Japan Airlines Completes Virtual Maintenance Training Trial

Japan Airlines (JAL) has completed a trial for using virtual reality (VR) to train its maintenance engineers on Embraer E170 and E190 aircraft. The3 month trial aimed to find out whether a realistic and immersive VR learning environment could improve the skills of mechanics. The decision to test VR for training came about because of reduced hands-on training opportunities with actual aircraft, since advancements in aircraft technology have improved their reliability. The airline wanted to find a solution for mechanics to gain experience even when aircraft were not available at the hangar. The trial was led by the JAL Innovation Lab, which was created in April 2018 to discover untapped business opportunities. JAL and Toshiba Systems Technologies developed the VR program and the carrier’s maintenance instructors designed the training environment based on their experience with the aircraft types. The VR program simulates an engine run-up scenario, including actual cockpit indicators and sounds. The VR environment enables maintenance engineers to learn the engine run-up procedure in a realistic environment and gives experienced mechanics the opportunity to test their knowledge and identify skills areas that could be improved. Currently JAL is receiving feedback from applicable staff that took part in the program and assessing results, but initial feedback has been positive in terms of improving proficiency with maintenance skills. Once trial results have been fully assessed, JAL says it may consider officially incorporating VR into its maintenance training. Depending on the results of the trial, the airline may also consider developing programs for other aircraft types or maintenance tasks.

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 int