Falcon 6X completes maiden flight: Dassault Aviation announced that the company’s widebody Falcon 6X has successfully completed its first flight as planned in the first quarter of 2021, demonstrating the maturity of the program and opening the test campaign for certification. With test pilots Bruno Ferry and Fabrice Valette at its controls, aircraft 6X s/n 01 lifted off from Dassault Aviation’s Mérignac plant near Bordeaux at 14:45 PM. The approximately, two hour and thirty minute maiden flight was executed per the test plan, with the pilots testing aircraft handling qualities, engine response and the behaviour of key aircraft systems. The aircraft topped out at 40,000 ft and reached a speed of M0.8 before returning to its base. Serial number 01’s next flight will combine test activities with a hop to Istres, near Marseille, where the Dassault flight test centre is located and the bulk of the testing program will take place. Falcon 6X s/n 02 and 03 are scheduled to take to the air in the coming months.
Air New Zealand Airpoints can be used to buy Apple products: Air New Zealand Airpoints members are now able to purchase Apple products through the Airpoints Store using Airpoints Dollars. Air New Zealand General Manager Loyalty Kate O’Brien said “Apple has been the most searched for brand on our Airpoints Store for some time now, so we know this is something our members have been wanting. Since COVID-19 we’ve seen a dramatic shift in the way Airpoints members spend their Airpoints Dollars, with people choosing to spend more on products like technology, homewares, DIY and domestic tourism experiences while international travel has been limited – in fact, total redemptions across the Airpoints Store increased by 122 percent in 2020. It’s a great reminder that Airpoints Dollars don’t have to be spent on flights. We’re glad to be able to offer our members so much choice around how they spend their Airpoints Dollars. We’ve really appreciated the support our customers have shown us over the past year and hope they will enjoy having the option to purchase Apple products with their Airpoints Dollars alongside the more than 6,000 other local and global products available.”
AW109 Trekker enters the Indonesian helicopter market: Leonardo announced the delivery of an AW109 Trekker light twin to FlyKomala of Indonesia, marking the entrance of the type into the country’s helicopter market. The aircraft will be used by the operator to carry out a range of missions including passenger transport, utility transport, disaster relief, and emergency support duties. FlyKomala will benefit from best in class performance and payload, large cabin space, a rugged airframe and modern avionics to enhance mission effectiveness and safety in the demanding environmental and weather conditions of the country. This latest delivery grows the success of Leonardo’s light twin types in Indonesia adding to the AW109 Grand and GrandNew models. Leonardo’s civil helicopter fleet in Indonesia counts almost 20 aircraft of various types for corporate, SAR, and utility transport tasks. Asia has proven to be one of the most important regions for the AW109 Trekker, chosen in various countries for several applications including EMS, utility, and law enforcement tasks.
Beechcraft King Air 260 achieves FAA Type Certification: Textron Aviation announced it has achieved Type Certification by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its newly upgraded twin turboprop Beechcraft King Air 260, paving the way for customer deliveries to commence. Announced in December 2020, the King Air 260 features the latest technological advancements to the cockpit and improvements to the cabin, reflecting the company’s continued commitment to making substantial investments to its current industry-leading products. “The continual conversations we have with our customers play an integral role in the decisions we make about the design of new aircraft, as well as enhancements to our existing fleet,” said Chris Hearne, senior vice president, Engineering and Programmes. “With the King Air 260, we utilized that valuable feedback and truly elevated the flying experience for both pilots and passengers. And now, with certification complete, we are looking forward to getting the King Air 260 into the hands of so many eager customers.”
Lufthansa Technik to provide component support for MasAir: Lufthansa Technik and the Mexican carrier MasAir Cargo Airline have signed a comprehensive Total Component Support (TCS) contract covering repair and overhaul of components for MasAir’s Boeing 767F fleet. The new contract governs supply for up to 14 aircraft over a period of five years. This is the first contract signed directly between Lufthansa Technik and MasAir. With the Total Component Support agreement, MasAir benefits from an individual supply concept that enables short, rapid transport paths. Component support of MasAir fleet will be ensured through a home base stock to be established in Mexico City and in Los Angeles, California.
Vision Systems COVID-19 barrier available: Vision Systems announced that its roller separation solution for aircraft passenger seats, Quick-Split, is fully compliant with EASA requirements and thus is officially Aeronautics certified. Based on Vision Systems’ cockpit shading system technology, Quick-Split aims at avoiding contact and possible transmission of viruses between passengers. The solution widely participates in restoring passenger confidence while maximizing the seat load factor. Placed at each seat, this physical barrier reassures the travellers who would be scared of catching COVID-19 from the person sitting next to them in the aircraft, especially at mealtimes when people take off their mask. During rest times, the passenger protection and sense of security remain as the system follows the inclination of the seat back when reclined. However, this divider can easily be folded for family travel. Quick-Split comprises a thin and soft transparent film that keeps a feeling of space for a better wellbeing in the cabin. It also includes two handles, one on each side to avoid that two persons touch the same one.
ASR Tests eFlyer 2 parachute recovery system: Bye Aerospace, developer of the eFlyer family of FAA Part 23-certified all-electric aircraft, announced that Aviation Safety Resources (ASR), has successfully completed the first developmental test of its whole-aircraft parachute recovery system for eFlyer 2. Larry Williams, ASR President and CEO, said initial testing was completed at a drop range test facility outside Henderson, Nev., in late February 2021. “This test was the first in a series of tests to qualify the eFlyer 2 parachute system to ASTM standards and make sure the canopy will withstand the load put on it,” he said. In accordance with ASTM requirements for limit load testing, barrels were filled with water to represent the weight of eFlyer 2. This was the first development test in a series of tests that were dropped from a helicopter at 6,600 feet and accelerated to the maximum speed at which the system will be deployed. “Everything was perfect,” Williams said. “So far we are getting the results we expected. The next series will advance to ultimate load testing where we will drop 1.15 times the maximum weight and speed for eFlyer 2. This testing represents a real-world environment to make sure the system provides maximum safety and demonstrates the parachute canopy is robust. By exceeding the rated weights and speeds, this provides a critical 1.5X safety factor in accordance with the ASTM and FAA requirements.”
MAAS Aviation partners with FL Technics: Following a multi-million euro investment, MAAS Aviation has opened a new purpose-built paint shop at Kaunas Airport (KUN) in Lithuania, adjacent to FL Technics’ MRO facilities. Combining base maintenance, painting and parking/storage in one location is an attractive proposition for leasing companies. It minimises aircraft ground time which offers economic value and less complexity for lessors. MAAS Aviation’s ultra-modern Lithuanian facility is a twin-bay narrow body paint shop capable of accommodating up to two A321 sized aircraft simultaneously and is the first of its kind in Lithuania. It grows the Company’s global footprint to eleven best-in-class paint shops and increases their overall MRO capacity in Europe by 40 percent. The 40 percent increase in MAAS Aviation’s European MRO capacity enables the company to service more airlines and lessors particularly during peak seasons. The MRO repainting sector is normally cyclical with winter peaks and for many years MAAS has juggled capacity constraints during these periods due to demand from its long-term contracted customers.
Air Astana resumes flights to Georgia: Air Astana will resume direct flights between Almaty and Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia on 16 March 2021, with services operating three times a week on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Flight-time between Almaty and Tbilisi is 4 hours and 15 minutes, and 3 hours and 40 mins on return from Tbilisi to Almaty. Passengers arriving in Kazakhstan from the foreign countries must have a negative PCR test certificate issued no more than 3 days prior departure for Kazakhstan. Without a negative PCR test, passengers will not be allowed on board at the departure airport. International transit passengers travelling via Kazakhstan are not required to have a PCR test provided they do not leave the airport transit zone. Kazakhstan citizens travelling to Georgia must present a negative PCR test result certificate taken no more than 72 hours before arrival.
Vallair augments aircraft MRO: Vallair has signed a letter of intent with the Centre-Val de Loire Region and the Châteauroux Centre Airport Establishment. The deal will see Vallair awarded a 10-year lease for a state-of-the-art full-service aircraft maintenance, repair, overhaul and cargo conversion hangar adjacent to its existing aerostructures repair and logistics facility in Châteauroux, France. “This is an important step for Vallair as we establish our blueprint for growth,” said Gregoire Lebigot, CEO of Vallair. “This new facility will be a natural extension of Vallair’s existing operations in Montpellier and Châteauroux providing maintenance, lease transfers, modifications, reconfigurations, aircraft parking and storage as well as repairs of aerostructure and composite elements. In addition to this we will be establishing our own dedicated conversion unit which will showcase Vallair’s experience and knowledge of passenger-to-freighter conversions. Our aim is to support our customers through these challenging times and to be prepared for the surge in demand expected from the fourth quarter. Vallair currently has seven aircraft scheduled for such work in Châteauroux, with another five expected over the coming weeks. This will be our initial orderbook.”
AJW Group signs power-by-the-hour contract with Aer Lingus: AJW Group has been selected by Aer Lingus as its supply chain management provider. AJW Group will perform data analysis and assistance regarding component engineering services for the entire Aer Lingus fleet of A320 family and A330 aircraft, as well as providing repair and logistical support. The contract is a Repair Cycle Management (RCM) agreement. The contract means AJW will directly support Aer Lingus’s fleet of A320, A321LR/XLR and A330 aircraft covering the majority of airframe and engine LRUs and includes new A321NEO aircraft. AJW is offering a sophisticated system integration with Aer Lingus’ AMOS system to deliver a highly efficient supply chain solution to drive superior performance and operational excellence which aligns with AJWs digital expansion strategy. The service includes a very close working relationship between AJW and Aer Lingus engineering teams and AJW Technique, the Group’s Maintenance Repair and Overhaul facility, will play a significant role in the new contract with a high degree of capability of the contracted coverage of Aer Lingus components.
FL ARI completes CAAC audit: FL ARI Aircraft Maintenance & Engineering, an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) service provider based in Harbin, China, has successfully completed the audit and received the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) approval on company’s base maintenance capabilities, and has been granted Part 145 maintenance certification to carry out regular maintenance, repair, modification and other operations for Airbus A320 series aircraft. FL ARI is a joint venture between FL Technics, a leading aircraft maintenance (MRO) service provider in Europe and China Aviation Aftermarket Holdings (CAAM), a subsidiary of China Aircraft Leasing Group (CALC).
Gautam Buddha International Airport deploys TETRA: Gautam Buddha International Airport has become the second airport in Nepal to deploy a TETRA communication solution, following on from Tribhuvan International Airport. The solution will be led by Sepura SC20 hand-held radios, providing the airport’s security and operations team with the standard of secure, robust, reliable communications devices required to safely manage operations. The mission critical communications solution, built on Teltronic’s TETRA infrastructure, is part of the airport’s wider infrastructure upgrade. When complete this will ensure the airport is classed as Nepal’s second international airport, able to ease the burden on Tribhuvan.
Cirium acquires Migacore: Cirium, the aviation analytics company, which is part of RELX, announced the acquisition of Migacore, a travel technology start-up that has demonstrated how applying advanced machine learning (ML) techniques to online data sources can help airlines stay ahead of changes in passenger demand. Migacore has worked with some of the world’s most advanced carriers, such as Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines, to translate data from online news, search, social media, events and exhibitions, into signals that can help predict real-world travel demand. After a series of successful airline trials, the Migacore team and technology are joining Cirium, which will help to scale the capabilities. The Migacore team will not only gain access to Cirium’s data and resources, but also to the group’s commercial reach across global aviation.