Categories: General
      Date: Jun 12, 2014
     Title: MIRCE Science Events

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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 speed, although that data may be unreliable. The aircraft, ET-AVJ, arrived in Addis Ababa from Johannesburg at about 05:30am March 10 after completing a routine scheduled flight, its third five-hour segment between the two cities within 24 hours. According to the airline the aircraft's records show no "technical remarks" following the last Johannesburg-Addis Ababa leg, and nothing was noted during its roughly three hours on the ground before its final departure. The brand new acquired aircraft had its first “rigorous” maintenance check on Feb. 4.  Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebre Mariam said "From the records that we have, it was a clean airplane "The routine maintenance checks didn't reveal any problems. I confirmed that it was a clean airplane." Flight ET302's captain,  had “more than” 8,000 flight hours, and became a 737 captain in November 2017.  He joined Ethiopian in July 2010.  First officer 200 fight hours, the airline said. The aircraft involved was the airline's fourth 737-8 and was handed over on Nov. 15, 2018. The aircraft has been in service since Nov. 17, when it made its first revenue flight to Dubai. Flight ET302 was its first planned March 10 departure. The accident is the second of a 737-8 in just over four months. The first 737-8 accident took place on Oct. 29, 2018 near Jakarta, Indonesia. The aircraft, registered PK-LQP, had been delivered to Lion Air two months before the crash. All 189 people on board were killed when the aircraft impacted with the sea around 13 minutes after take-off. The Lion Air aircraft had a history of unreliable speed data input over the previous days but was retained in scheduled service after it had been cleared for operations by the airline’s maintenance division. The investigation is ongoing. One of the aspects being looked at is the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) Boeing introduced on the MAX.

8 March 2019: SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Departs ISS and returns to Earth

The spacecraft launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida March 2, docking with the station 27 hours later after a problem-free approach. The station’s crew spent several days monitoring the spacecraft while docked to the station before closing hatches between the station and spacecraft March 7. Fifty years after humans landed on the moon for the first time, America has driven a golden spike on the trail to new space exploration feats, NASA astronaut Anne McClain said from the ISS “It won’t be long before our astronaut colleagues are aboard Crew Dragon and Boeing’s Starliner vehicles, and we can’t wait.” SpaceX’s Crew Dragon departed from the International Space Station early March 8, splashing down to mark the end of a successful test flight for the commercial crew program. The Crew Dragon spacecraft, flying a mission designated Demo-1, undocked from the station’s Harmony module at 2:32 a.m. Eastern. It quickly moved away from the station as in preparation for its return to Earth. The spacecraft fired its thrusters at 7:53 a.m. Eastern for a 15-minute re-entry burn, which went as planned, with the spacecraft first deploying two drogue parachutes followed by its four main ones. The spacecraft splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean at 8:45 a.m. Eastern within sight of SpaceX recovery ships.

6 March 2019: Grounded Aircraft Costing Southwest Airlines Millions Weekly

Southwest Airlines is loosing millions of dollars each week caused by schedule interruptions due to unavailable aircraft.  CEO Gary Kelly said at a J.P. Morgan investors conference, “ The damage to the company runs in the millions of dollars weekly in lost revenue due to cancelled flights and millions of dollars weekly in terms of additional costs caused by delays and cancellations." The schedule interruptions started at te beginning of February when Southwest's daily out-of-service aircraft count jumped from its normal range of 15-20 to more than 60. The airline management blames on deliberate efforts by its mechanics to disrupt the carrier. The Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association-represented mechanics say un-airworthy aircraft are the problem. The two sides are locked in contentious contract talks. The unavailable aircraft are forcing Southwest to cancel hundreds and delay thousands of flights each week. It operates about 4,000 departures on its peak days. It has said its schedule can absorb about 35 downed aircraft in a day before cancellations and delays kick in.

5 March 2019: Donecle Drones For Aircraft Inspections

Toulouse-based company’s interest in drones for aircraft inspections and tests began several years ago, but getting the technology and all the surrounding procedures exactly right has taken time. Donecle drones are designed to primarily be used for general visual inspections of aircraft exteriors, typically conducted inside maintenance hangars during routine A to C checks or overnight inspections. They wish to expand this scope to unscheduled maintenance tasks such as post-lightning and hail damage inspections done outside hangars on the ramp. Donecle sees three main advantages to his approach, namely 1. The speed, a drone inspection of a typical narrow-body takes under an hour, compared with five to six hours for a manual inspection. Also, a drone can cover multiple applications, like paint inspections and regulatory marking checks, with a single set of images instead of multiple job cards and inspectors as with manual methods. 2. Drones can access aircraft upper surfaces for visual checks easily, without docks, cherry-pickers and other equipment to inspect fuselage crowns or tail planes. Drones reduce inspector workload by automating image analysis, and inspectors can automatically detect, annotate and reposition damages and missing on inspection reports. 3. Drone inspections yield a complete snapshot of the aircraft at a specific moment in time, upload snapshot and data to the cloud and thus enable operators, lessor and MROs to archive results from one inspection to another.
As drones must be stable enough to yield precise images, Donecle developed laser positioning with onboard sensors ‘seeing’ the environment and positioning the drone relative to the aircraft with accuracy down to centimetres. This in turn yields several benefits: full drone automation with no separate pilot; highly repeatable inspections; and precisely positioned images. Regarding safety, Donecle builds in hardware redundancy, software fail-safes and obstacle detection. In summary Donecle offers an integrated package combining drone, automated navigation, image analysis and aggregated data on a secure cloud platform.

3 March 2019: SpaceX Capsule with Dummy Aboard Reaches ISS For Test Run

SpaceX, designed, built, owned and operated new vehicle, Dragon 2, with financial backing, technical expertise and oversight provided by NASA. It was launched without crew for a six-day orbital flight test at 2:49 a.m. EST on March 2 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9. It approach the orbiting International Space Station (ISS)  nearly 260 miles above the Pacific Ocean and, flying autonomously, linked up on its own, without the help of the robotic arm normally used to guide spacecraft into position. The first in a series of next-generation spacecraft docked to the ISS is a key milestone in NASA’s eight-year quest to restore U.S. human transportation services to low Earth orbit

2 March 2019: 50th Anniversary of the first flight of Concorde

Today is the 50th anniversary of the first flight of the Anglo-French Concorde, the world’s first and, so far only, supersonic civil airliner to see prolonged service.
Sunday, March 2, 1969 was an emotional day for thousands of people who had contributed to the most ambitious technological project in Europe's aviation history. The flight had had to be postponed the previous day because of heavy mist. As soon as the Sun came out loudspeakers informed the waiting crowd that Concorde's crew were aboard and pre-flight checks in progress. One by one, the four Olympus engines came to life. Fire tenders and rescue vehicles moved into position. Special trucks, fitted with raucous klaxons, raced up and down the runway, scaring away great flocks of birds. The engines rumbled on and then came a crescendo of sound, and, brakes released. The white aircraft on its tall undercarriage started to move along the runway, slowly at first but gathering speed and the nose lifted followed by the rest of the slender fuselage. She climbed into the blue sky, followed by her attendant Mirage.. She dwindled to a white spot and then was gone. After a while, she came into view and for the first time, the world has seen her characteristic "sea-bird" swoop in to land. A puff of smoke confirmed that the main bogies were in contact with the runway, the nose-wheel came down, reverse thrust was engaged and the tail parachute broke from its housing to balloon out behind the aircraft. Concorde 001 taxied to a halt in front of the airport building and passenger stairs were run into position. It was a short flight, only 40 minutes, but it gave Andre Turcat and his crew a foretaste of what flying a Concorde would be like. The rest is very rich and globally memorable history that finished with very last flight to Filton, Bristol, England in November 2006.

1 March 2019: Rolls-Royce Resolving Trent 1000 Issues

Currently 31 Boeing 787 aircraft are on the ground at airports around the world, as rolls-Royce is undertaking an extensive retrofit program for both the Trent 1000 Package C and B engines for the 787-8 and -9 and the Trent 1000TEN powering the 787-10. The issues have forced airlines to readjust their timetables or bring in additional capacity to maintain their flight schedules. The Trent 1000 situation was very unusual in having multiple issues in one engine. The episode looks set to cost the company at least £1.5 billion between 2017 and 2022, with £431 million spent in 2018 and £450 million envisaged during 2019. RR is hopeful that the number of Trent 1000-powered Boeing 787s could drop to single figures by the end of 2019.

27 February 2019: Lost Missions of F-35 due to Bad Data in Logistics System

The Lockheed Martin-made Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) was “designed to bring efficiency to maintenance and flight operations, but it does not yet perform as intended,” according to the director of operational test and evaluation. In effect, these problems cause the military to ground aircraft that are erroneously described as not mission capable, slow down a squadron’s ability to start flying after being deployed, and create a bigger workload for maintainers. The main deficiencies fall under three categories: 1. A a high number of workarounds needed to use the ALIS system to do mission planning, repairs and supply chain management for the F-35. Functions that should be automatic often require manual input by the maintainer, 2. the data provided by ALIS is often incomplete or flat-out incorrect. The reasons for this are varied —contractors do not rely on the system for their own use, and thus do not always input information correctly or in a standardized way. Even the system’s own manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, did not start using ALIS on the F-35′s production floor to track new aircraft until March 2018 and 3. A poor user experience regarding fixings of a more complicated datasets, such as the technical information that follows a complex piece of machinery like the F-35’s ejection seat, eats up a lot of time. But more importantly, these problems result in missed sorties, with the Air Force naming this problem one of its top five drivers of non-mission capable rates.

22 February 2019: Deviations from Standard Operation Procedure Caused Damage to Embraer Business Jet

A chartered, Belgium-registered, Embraer EMB-500 departed from Kortrijk-Wevelgem Airport (EBKT), Belgium, at 0738 hr. on an IFR flight plan to Berlin-Schonefeld Airport (EDDB) with three people on board: the pilot in command (PIC), the co-pilot and one passenger. The aircraft was severely damaged when it stalled during the flare phase of a final approach to Runway 07L at EDDB, impacted the ground and came to a stop at the right edge of the runway. The two pilots and the passenger were uninjured, but the accident brought attention EMB-500’s deice system and pilot training. The causes of the accident, according to German air safety investigators, were , “The crew conducted the approach under known icing conditions and did not activate the wing and horizontal stabilizer deice system, which was contrary to the Standard Operating Procedures . The aircraft entered an abnormal flight attitude during the flare phase and crashed die to ice accretion on wings and horizontal stabilizer and infringement of the required approach speed.” A major contributing factor was the crew’s “insufficient knowledge of the connection between the ice protection system and the stall warning protection system (SWPS).” The pilots stated later that the left wing had suddenly dropped and touched the runway during the flare as the aircraft crossed the threshold. Subsequently, the airplane rolled right, the right main landing gear hit hard and collapsed, and the aircraft slid along the runway toward the right runway edge where it came to a stop 447 meters from the threshold beyond the right runway edge marking but still on the asphalt area. There was no fire. The occupants evacuated safely without injury, but the aircraft was substantially damaged.

20 February 2019: Robot to Test Cockpit Controls by Lufthansa Technik

Lufthansa Technik (LHT) has developed a robotic procedure for more consistent, reliable testing of cockpit controls. According to LHT, the fully-automated procedure named RoCCET (Robot Controlled Cockpit Electronics Testing). It is expected that it could greatly reduce the time it takes employees to manually check cockpit switches and LEDs. The robot features integrated sensors to measure the forces that occur when switches are activated, and it is equipped with several industrial cameras to look for damage and measure brightness from various angles. RoCCET can be used to test for a variety of conditions, such as worn out instrument switches or LED lights that may be too dark for flight operations. According to LHT, human perception of these factors can differ, so robotic testing can make the procedure more consistent and reliable. When completed, the fully automated procedure will allow LHT to ease the burden on maintainers in the workshops and reduce the testing effort by one to two hours per component. At the same time, the new procedure provides concrete measurement data in accordance with uniform standards. Currently, LTH has physical threshold values for the brightness of LEDs, but in the future a robot will determine exactly when an LED has to be replaced. RoCCET is currently in the integration phase and will initially be used for cockpit controls on Boeing 787 and Airbus A320 and A350 aircraft..

18 February 2019: New Ear Cup For US Air Force Pilot Helmets To Help Counter Hypoxia

As part of an expanding effort to prevent hypoxia and other related dangers in military aircraft cockpits a device invented in 2016 to help protect fire-fighters from asphyxia is about to be planted in the ear cups of helmets worn by some U.S. Air Force pilots . A real-time picture of a pilot’s physiological status is the last piece of missing data needed to develop a comprehensive solution to the rash of hypoxia-like symptoms that has plagued multiple combat and trainer aircraft fleets for nearly a decade. The Air Force and Navy have instrumented all of the other aircraft components that pressurize the cockpit and supply breathing gas to pilots, including the engine, onboard oxygen gas-generating system and environmental control system. The data gleaned from those instruments already have led to critical improvements, such as straightening a 90-deg. pipe in Navy T-6 cockpits that choked the oxygen supply during certain manoeuvres with the engine at idle speed. However, Air Force and Navy officials hope to move beyond simple mechanical fixes. They envision a future life-support system that processes data extracted from sensors monitoring both the aircraft’s systems and the human’s physiology to make subtle adjustments, ensuring the pilot always remains alert even if a particular mechanical component is not working properly. The ultimate goal is to have an almost autonomous life-support system.  Such an autonomous system would use software decision-making algorithms informed by scores of sensors monitoring the machines and humans, including some woven into the pilot’s garments. These kinds of sensors would be talking to the jet and either warning the pilot in real time or increasing their oxygen supply. 

31 January 2019: Original F-35Bs May Only Be Able To Fly Around A Quarter Of Their Expected Service Life

The Office of the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E) reported the new details about the life expectancy of early block F-35Bs, which may be as low as 2,100 flight hours, after acquiring the most recent annual review of the program. This office publicly releases reports every year on how various significant military programs are proceeding in testing, often compiling data together with information from previous years.  A new Pentagon report is warning that the U.S. Marine Corps' oldest F-35B Joint Strike Fighters may remain airworthy for just over a quarter of the aircraft's expected lifespan due to serious structural problems. This could force the service to begin grounding jets, or retiring them permanently, as early as 2026. It also remains unclear whether subsequent improvements to the aircraft's design on later models have significantly increased the durability of later production aircraft. The appalling low durability of early F-35Bs is also something that DOT&E reports have highlighted in the past, but this is the first time there has been any concrete information on how bad the problem actually is. All three F-35 models are supposed to have a life expectancy of 8,000 flight hours. This can only reignite concerns about the F-35B's basic design going back more than a decade now. In 2004, Lockheed Martin tasked a group of engineers, known as STOVL (Short Take Off/Vertical Landing) Weight Attack Team, or SWAT, with shaving pounds off the B model. This variant is still heavier than the F-35A due to the added weight of the lift fan, articulating exhaust, and other features necessary for its short- and vertical takeoff and landing capabilities. Those same features also reduce the size of its internal weapons bays compared to its cousins and give it a lower G rating compared to the A model. Lockheed Martin's SWAT cut 2,700 pounds off the F-35B. The changes they made also resulted in 1,300 pounds of weight savings on both the F-35A and C models as part of the herculean effort that effectively saved the Joint Strike Fighter program. Since then, critics had questioned exactly what had to get sacrificed to meet those goals as reports of cracking and other component failures have emerged with the B variant in particular.

31 January 2018: Parts Providers Step Up 777 Teardowns

The Boeing 777 maintenance market will be worth north of $110 billion over the next 10 years, with about a quarter of that spend earmarked for components, according to Aviation Week data. Accordingly, several parts suppliers are stepping up efforts to source 777 material, buying aircraft from carriers that are upgrading their fleets. For example GA Telesis has bought four 777s from Cathay Pacific for disassembly in the US and UK. The first disassembly has already begun and the aftermarket company has committed to take a further five 777s in 2020. It is forecasted that a quarter of 777 of the components salvaged over the next 10 years will be bound for Asia.  At the same time, the Middle East carriers will operate the largest number of 777s by 2027, when it will be home to roughly 800 of the nearly 2,000 777s in service by that year, according to Aviation Week data. However, across all regions engine maintenance will be the most important part of the 777 aftermarket, generating more than a third of overall demand. GE, Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney all have engines flying on the 777.

30 January 2019: Shutdown of USA Government Offices Could Mean Lost Accident Evidence Says NTSB 

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says that the month-long government shutdown prevented from investigating 97 accidents, including 15 aviation accidents that resulted in 21 deaths. Following a temporary opening of the government employees returned to work and are developing plans to address the work halted by the shutdown. During the partial shutdown, 397 agency staff, including 367 employees, were furloughed. Six investigators were recalled and worked without pay to support investigations of three international aviation accidents. Weeks after accidents took place; investigators may not be able to physically visit the crash sites. Consequently, it is possible that perishable evidence may have been lost, which potentially could prevent determination of probable causes.  The furlough also stopped work on 1,815 ongoing general aviation and limited aviation safety investigations, 33 ongoing rail, pipeline and hazardous materials investigations, 44 ongoing marine investigations and 21 ongoing highway investigations.

29 January 2019: Avianca Moves Toward Drone Inspections

Colombia’s Avianca is planning to use Donecle drone and cameras to do some aircraft maintenance inspections. At present, the drone approach has not been approved for by any airframe OEM or regulatory authority for inspections. However, airlines are reviewing the state of art and waiting for the approval of different authorities and aircraft manufacturers. Avianca chose the drone approach in order to save time in inspections and improve inspection quality by being more precise about the location and evaluation of damages. It is expected that inspection by drones should also reduce maintenance costs and facilitate the execution of inspection task cards. Avianca is, like other airlines, undergoing a digital transformation and adopting new technologies. At this moment, he is working with Airbus and Donecle and testing their equipment. Donecle drones are 100% autonomous and require only a single operator, with no pilot. The company estimates that Donecle drones can reduce inspection time from eight hours to 30 minutes. Currently, these are the safest drones on the market with strong protections to prevent damage to aircraft. Laser technology positions the drone precisely, both inside maintenance hangars and outdoors, without any GPS. The Donecle drones are untethered and connected via wireless. Avianca’s next steps, along with getting those OEM and regulatory approvals, are completing the integration of the entire system as a line map, including the structural repair manual for mechanics, the 3D scanner and the drone.

28 January 2019: The Science Behind Calm Emergency Evacuation, Saf-Tglo Blu

A lot of research and science lie behind those luminescent strips passengers now see in many aircraft, aisles, but would only use in an emergency. British company STG Aerospace launched the first blue-glowing photo-luminescent floor-path marking system, saf-Tglo blu. The design was based on human-perception analysis, as in low-level light conditions, our eyes use the more sensitive rod cones in order to see. Rod cones have peak sensitivity in the blue-green region of the visible spectrum. While traditional green-glowing photo-luminescent products fall comfortably within the low-light vision]range, saf-Tglo blu has greater intensity within this responsive region. Thus, it provides a more calming, professional and aesthetically pleasing safety solution. Calming passengres is exactly the quality airlines want in the only circumstance floor markings are used, that is in emergency evacuations. The blue version of saf-Tglo has now been approved by FAA and EASA for the majority of Boeing, Airbus and Embraer aircraft, and has been retrofitted by several major airlines.  Source;

3 January 2019: China lifts mysterious veil by landing probe on far side of the moon

A Chinese space probe successfully touched down on the far side of the moon.  The Chang’e-4 lunar probe, launched in December, made the “soft landing” at 0226 GMT and transmitted the first-ever “close range” image of that side of the moon.  As the  moon is tidally locked to Earth, rotating at the same rate as it orbits our planet, the far side  (“dark side”) is never visible  from the earth.  Russian spacecraft have seen the far side, but none has landed on it. This landing opened a new chapter in human lunar exploration, the agency said in a statement on its website, which included a wide-angle colour picture of a crater from the moon’s surface. The probe, which has a lander and a rover, touched down at a targeted area close to the moon’s south pole in the Von Karman Crater, after entering the moon’s orbit in mid-December.  The tasks of the Chang’e-4 include astronomical observation, surveying the moon’s terrain, landform and mineral makeup, and measuring the neutron radiation and neutral atoms to study the environment of its far side. The control center in Beijing will decide when to let the rover separate from the lander.

>>>To become a member of the MIRCE Akademy and gain access to the full information regarding the functionability events recorded below  please {cms_selflink page='Membership' text='click here '}

>>>To become a member of the MIRCE Akademy and gain access to the full information regarding the functionability events recorded below  please {cms_selflink page='Membership' text='click here '}

>>>> To become a member of the MIRCE Akademy and gain access to the full information regarding the functionability events recorded below  please {cms_selflink page='Membership' text='click here '}

 >>>> To become a member of the MIRCE Akademy and gain access to the full information regarding the functionability events recorded below  please {cms_selflink page='Membership' text='click here '}

 >>>> To become a member of the MIRCE Akademy and gain access to the full information regarding the functionability events recorded below  please {cms_selflink page='Membership' text='click here '}

 >>>> To become a member of the MIRCE Akademy and gain access to the full information regarding the functionability events recorded below  please {cms_selflink page='Membership' text='click here '}