This Week in Aviation

senne Senne Vandenputte   /   Jun 23, 2017   /   0   /   7 min read   /

This Week in Aviation

At the end of every week, we publish a summary of what happened in aviation the past week.

At least 16 aircraft debut at Paris

The Paris Air Show starts Monday and aviation pundits have counted 16 aircraft making their debut at the big show, including the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet. The single-engine personal jet was certified last November and made its first European appearance in May at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE). The only other aircraft connected to GA are the military conversion of the Air Tractor 802 into L-3’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) Longsword and Diamond’s Dart 450 turboprop military trainer. As always, Boeing and Airbus will duke it out for orders and attention by bringing their latest hardware.

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DA62 MPP makes Paris debut

The special-mission variant of Diamond Aircraft’s DA62 made its debut at the Paris Air Show this week. The key structural change for the DA62 MPP is a strengthened nose assembly. While the nose section of the civilian variant of the DA62 is designed only to carry some modest passenger baggage, the DA62 MPP has been modified to support electro-optical and infrared camera turrets up to 220 pounds. A satellite antenna pod on the back supports the full spectrum of communication options for operators needing to send data back home in real time. Engine exhaust for the piston twin has also been routed to the top side of the engine and mixed with fresh air to reduce the aircraft’s noise and IR signature.

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Airbus unveils hybrid helicopter design

Airbus is developing a high-speed helicopter that will cruise at 215 knots while maximizing efficiency and minimizing cost, the company said at the Paris Air Show on Tuesday. The Racer demonstrator, now in development, will be ready to fly in 2020. “This new project, pulling together the skills and know-how of dozens of European partners through the Clean Sky 2 initiative, aims to bring increased speed and range at the right cost, thanks to a simple, safe and proven aerodynamic formula,” said Guillaume Faury, Airbus Helicopters CEO. “It will pave the way for new time-sensitive services for 2030 and beyond, setting new benchmarks for high-speed helicopter transportation.” The Clean Sky initiative will reportedly contribute more than $200 million to the program.

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Airbus Helicopters

F-35 first flight at Paris

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which has been in the works since 1996 and first flew more than 10 years ago, made its first public flight demo on Monday afternoon, at the Paris Air Show. Lockheed Martin pilot Billie Flynn told Aviation Week, “We are going to crush years of misinformation about what this aircraft is capable of doing.” The fully acrobatic flight demo aimed to wow the critics, with a full-power takeoff, steep climbs and a squared-off loop. (You can watch the full six minutes in Lockheed’s video, posted below.)

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US Senate committee rejects Trump’s plan to spin off ATC

The Hill is reporting that a Senate committee did not include President Trump’s controversial proposal to separate air traffic control from the federal government in a must-pass aviation bill.

The post reports that Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), who leads the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said the Senate’s long-term reauthorization of the FAA will not include the spinoff plan, citing the lack of support for the idea on his panel. “We don’t have the votes to pass that in our committee at the moment,” the story quotes Thune.

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Earhart mystery could be solved by dogs

July 2, 2017, marks the 80th anniversary of the disappearance of Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan . Since their disappearance, no one has been able to find them , despite numerous attempts .

This week, National Geographic Society’s Archaeologist-in-Residence , Fred Hiebert, along with the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) , will embark on a mission to solve the mystery of what happened to Amelia Earhart. The team sets sail from Fiji June 24.

They’ll be using a team of human remains detection dogs from the Institute for Canine Forensics (ICF) to test what they call the Nikumaroro hypothesis — that Earhart and Noonan landed on the uninhabited Nikumaroro Island when they were aiming for tiny Howland Island just north of the equator .

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TBM 930 sim certified

The first TBM 930 simulator has just been certified by the FAA. The sim will be used starting this summer in courses at Florida-based SIMCOM Aviation Training, which is Daher’s U.S. training partner.

The Flight Training Device (FTD) reproduces the exact cockpit environment of the TBM 930, according to company officials.

It was built by Frasca International using a cabin provided by Daher for installation at SIMCOM’s Lee Vista Training Center in Orlando, Florida.

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Sonaca 200 makes first flight

The two-seat Sonaca 200 LSA has successfully taken to the skies at the Brussels South Charleroi Airport in Belgium. The second assembled airplane, Flight Test Aircraft 2, was used for the flight, which lasted about 10 minutes, said Sonaca Aircraft’s chief commercial officer and pilot Pierre Van Wetter. Since then, several additional flights have taken place, testing various configurations, and Van Wetter said the test pilots have described the airplane as being harmonious in pitch and roll with stable flight characteristics. “There is no need to change the aerodynamics,” Van Wetter said excitedly.

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Sonaca Aircraft

CAE outlook says half of future pilots haven’t yet begun training

If ever there were a time in history to look closely at an airline flying career, it’s now. CAE yesterday announced in Paris the industry will need more than a quarter of a million cockpit crewmembers over the next 10 years. The Canadian training company said 255,000 airline pilots will be needed to support the growth of commercial aviation, as well as industry retirements. Put another way, "The airline industry will need 70 new type-rated pilots per day for the next 10 years to meet global demand," said Nick Leontidis, CAE Group President, Civil Aviation Training Solutions.

Beating out previous decades, captain upgrades will be fueled by the 180,000 first officers needed over the next decade. Remarkably, for those men and women still sitting on the sidelines wondering if a flying career is more than a pipe dream, CAE said, “Fifty percent of the new pilots flying by 2027 have not yet begun their flight training.”

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Boom announces orders for 76 of its supersonic transports

The Boom supersonic transport moved another step closer to reality this week when CEO Blake Scholl announced 76 firm orders at the Paris Air Show for the as yet unproven aircraft. While customer identities have not been revealed, except for the Virgin Group, the remaining four are believed to be airlines. Billionaire Richard Branson holds a significant stake in Boom.

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Boom Supersonic
Boom Aerospace

Fourth test Gulfstream G600 takes flight

Gulfstream Aerospace’s fourth flight-test G600 completed its maiden flight yesterday, just six weeks after the third aircraft joined the flight-test fleet. The G600, registered as N740GD, departed Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport at 6:50 p.m. on a 1 hour 18 minute flight, during which it climbed to 51,000 feet/15,545 meters and reached Mach 0.925.

“To have four first flights and fly more than 570 hours in less than six months is a remarkable achievement,” said Dan Nale, Gulfstream’s senior vice president of programs, engineering and test. “The rapid maturity of this program is due to the work we did before the flying even started—the strategic planning, the research, the lab development—combined with the success we’ve had in the similar G500 program.”

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Gulfstream Aircraft

Any important aviation news we forgot? Let us know in the comments!

Cover photo: Boeing

About the author


Senne Vandenputte

As a 21-year-old Belgian Business Management student, web designer, glider pilot, aviation blogger and founder of Hangar.Flights, Senne is passionate about aviation. He started gliding at age 14 and flew his first solo at 15. Now, he spends his time writing about aviation, creating and designing things, traveling, studying and of course, flying.

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