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Thursday, November 28, 2013

ANALYSIS: How the Gulf carriers are reshaping airliner design

ANALYSIS: How the Gulf carriers are reshaping airliner design

11:00 25 Nov 2013

It should be no surprise that the Gulf’s mega-carriers – and ­Emirates in particular – played such a huge role in the launch of ­Boeing’s 777X family at November’s Dubai air show.

The region’s carriers have of course been at the forefront of the launches of the last couple of large all-new widebodies. Emirates was the launch customer for the A380 and Qatar Airways for the A350 and, lo, they’re all there at the birth of Boeing’s new big twin.

Lufthansa was the first to announce a commitment for the 777X back in September, but the reality is that it is Emirates – ably assisted by Qatar ­Airways and Etihad – in the driving seat on the 777X.

The clout that the Gulf carriers now yield in “spec-ing” their new toys must frustrate the hell out of some of the legacy players. Their exacting requirements for all-year round very long-range performance from their Arabian hubs creates an aircraft with more capability than most European and US airlines require. Capability, in terms of additional weight and engine power, that these other airlines then find themselves burdened with.

And to rub salt into the wound, the design influence the Gulf carriers now have ensures that these airliners come with the performance that allows them to serve almost anywhere from the Gulf, thereby providing the ultimate competitive advantage over their old-school rivals.

But recent history shows the Gulf carriers don’t always have it their own way. Take Airbus’s 2011 redesign of the A350-1000 – which all three Gulf carriers have ordered. The revamp, which centred around more thrust and weight, went down like a lead balloon in Dubai and Doha. Emirates Airline president Tim Clark was frustrated by the fact that Airbus had implemented the revisions without dialogue. Qatar ­Airways boss Akbar Al Baker was even more candid, threatening to ­cancel his launch order and saying “Airbus is not listening to us”.

Airbus tactfully avoided any public row with its customers, but quietly explained that the changes would ensure the -1000 appealed to the world market. Its decision seems to have been vindicated, given the ­subsequent sales success that the revamped variant has enjoyed.

Perhaps that reticence to “listen” to its Gulf customers on the -1000 can be explained by unhappy memories of the A340-600. Egged on by Clark, ­Airbus developed a high gross weight version of the big quad-jet, only to have Emirates later cancel its order in favour of the 777-300ER instead.

There’s no doubting that Boeing has been fully engaged with all its ­clients on the 777X. Clark has made no secret of his involvement with the 777X’s development – he first ­mentioned an improved 777 variant to Flightglobal at the 2007 Dubai show, when Emirates unveiled a huge order for A350s. “It does not address the retirement of our 777-300ERs post-2016 and we continue to press Boeing for a replacement for those aircraft, despite the A350 order,” he said.

Clark is like a modern day Juan Trippe, the Pan Am founder who steered the development of the original Jumbo Jet with the famous line that if Boeing built it, Pan Am would buy it. The intriguing dynamic in Dubai was the revelation that Clark was acting not just for Emirates, but also on behalf of Gulf rival Qatar Airways.

The Doha-based airline allowed Emirates to represent its interests in 777X technical talks, and their orders were announced at a joint press conference where the usuually outspoken chief Akbar Al Baker shared the stage with Emirates chairman Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

“[Al Baker] was satisfied that, if it was good for us, it would be good for him,” says Clark.

The ­relationship between manufacturer and customer that created the 747 ­arguably produced greater ­benefits for other carriers than it ever achieved for Pan Am.

Half a century on, that will not be repeated with the 777X.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

United States Sends B-52s Over China Air Defense Zone

Posted in: Asia Posted: November 26, 2013
United States Sends B-52s Over China Air Defense Zone

The United States sent two B-52 bombers over China’s Air Defense Zone, without notifying Beijing.

United States officials said on Tuesday, the two bombers went into a disputed area over the East China Sea challenging the country’s wish to expand its air zone.

Both countries have been at odds over China’s intentions and today’s actions are a clear indicator Washington will show Beijing that it will push back at Chinese attempts to claim the area.

The move by the United States also emphasizes the country’s strong relationship with Japan.

Americans are participating in military exercises this week and together with Japan they will challenge China to the vast portion of Ocean.

The United States and Japan have a long standing relationship dating back to after World War II and are giving China’s attempts at claiming that part of the sea a direct challenge.

On Tuesday, the United States flew the two Air Force bombers in direct defiance of Beijing’s express wishes that they be informed about such occurrence.

A United States defense official, who spoke to USA Today on condition of anonymity, says the B-52s took off from the island of Guam as part of a planned exercise.

China has claimed almost 1 million square miles off the East China Sea and says those waters belong the them, even though they reach as far as Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea.

The Chinese government says all the natural resources including energy and sea life are their property. The United States disputes the claim.

China said it had designated much of the sea as an air defense zone under its control, arguing it would help “guard against potential air threats.”

“Last night we conducted a training exercise that was long-planned. It involved two aircraft flying from Guam and returning to Guam,” Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steven Warren told reporters on Tuesday.

The two aircraft spent “less than an hour” in China’s unilaterally-declared Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) and did not encounter Chinese planes, he said.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the B-52s incursion into the unilaterally claimed Chinese zone.

The United States State Department said on Tuesday the step appeared to be an attempt to “unilaterally change the status quo in the East China Sea.”

Pentagon officials said the United States views the area as international air space and American military aircraft would operate in the zone as it used to, without submitting flight plans to China in advance.

Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/1044079/united-states-sends-b-52s-over-china-air-defense-zone/#1V6iB0A2jPmxkPZ8.99

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tour the Boeing 737 Flight Simulator Built in a Garage

Watch The Maiden Flight Of An 18-Propeller Copter

Watch The Maiden Flight Of An 18-Propeller Copter

Francie Diep Posted 11.25.2013 at 3:10 pm

This helicopter-with-antlers is a test vehicle, made by the German company e-volo. It's battery-powered and emissions-free, according to the company. This is the first time it has flown.

The e-volo folks call the craft a volocopter. It works on the same principles as the quadcopter drones we've seen, except it's much, much larger. That cockpit there has seats for two people.

In an indoor test November 17, the company says it flew the volocopter—by remote control, without any passengers—nine times for a total airtime of 20 minutes.

The company plans eventually to produce and sell volocopters. Engineers are aiming for a craft that has a cruising speed of at least 54 knots, is able to fly up to 6,500 feet, can carry up to 992 pounds (450 kilograms), and flies for at least an hour. Those in Germany with a private pilot license should be able to fly it.

Copyright © 2013 Popular Science. A Bonnier Corporation Company. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Catapult-launched, tactical bat drone wages electronic war

Wired.co.ukMain navigationFOLLOWSite searchSubscribe

Catapult-launched, tactical bat drone wages electronic war

Northrop Grumman

Small, tactical drones may have a new role in military strikes after Northrop Grumman's catapult-launched Bat demonstrated an electronic attack capability for the first time in new tests.

With its 12-foot wingspan, the low-flying Bat, which maxes out at 70 miles per hour, was able to jam radar during tests. That means the Pentagon will soon have the option of deploying a flexible, largely undetectable drone with radar-jamming capability to protect manned aircraft against radar and surface-to-air missile guidance systems.

Bat continues to demonstrate capabilities that can normally only be achieved by larger, more expensive unmanned aircraft," said George Vardoulakis, Northrop Grumman's vice president of Medium Range Tactical Systems, in a statement. "Our customers now have a more mobile and affordable option for electronic warfare missions."

The tests, involving other unmanned and fixed-wing aircraft, took place last month at the Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One Weapons and Tactics Instructor event at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California, according to Northrop Grumman.

While the Bat has been in operation for some time, it has remained a surveillance vehicle until now. Northrop integrated its Pandora electronic attack payload -- a lightweight, low-cost derivative of the company's family of APR-39 systems -- on the Bat in less than two months.

According to Northrop, the Bat was a good candidate because of its price point, larger payload volume given its size and its ability to accept different-size fuel tanks and sensor payloads.

Bat is a runway-independent and fully autonomous vehicle that launches from a hydraulic rail launcher at sea or land and recovers into a portable net system, as seen in this video of earlier tests:
Bat Unmanned Aircraft System (BAT UAS) 12 First FlightNorthrop Grumman

This story first appeared on Wired.com.