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Ernest S. Arvai » AirInsight
A Commercial Aviation Consultancy

Ernest S. Arvai

COMAC representatives have conceded that the first flight of the C919, which was scheduled to be completed this year, will likely not fly until April 2017.  This schedule slippage will likely add another three to six months to the program development timeline, which was scheduled for the first half of 2019.  The program status is that the first test aircraft has been completed, but the challenge is to complete the ground testing of a long list of requirements before flying it.

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This latest delay moves the program schedule further to the right, now about three years later than originally scheduled.  If this schedule holds, it will be six years better than COMAC’s first aircraft, the ARJ-21, which ended up nine years behind schedule.

COMAC has set a goal to account for 5% of the domestic market by 2020.  It currently has 517 orders for the C919… Continue reading

Published reports indicate that Zodiac Aerospace is making headway in its production shortfalls for both lavatories and seats that have negatively impacted Airbus A350 deliveries and caused a build-up of unfinished aircraft at the Toulouse facility.  The company plans to be back at operational performance by the end of 2017.  Does this translate to continued delays for the A350 program over the coming year, and to what extent will Airbus miss its planned production rates?

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Lavatories

Zodiac lavatories are built at its Cypress, California factory.  This facility had “enormous difficulties in ramping up” according to a company spokesman.  As an interim solution, Zodiac has created an additional production line at its Montreal, Quebec facility that typically manufactures lavatories for the business aircraft market, which is currently suffering a downturn making additional capacity available.  While they are delivering products to Airbus, the company is reportedly still… Continue reading

Bombardier announced that its 2016 C Series deliver schedule will be delayed, while citing the statistics from the first two aircraft in service with Swiss.  The good news is that the two CS100 aircraft in service with SWISS have collectively flown nearly 400 revenue flights, and accumulated nearly 600 flight hours.   The bad news is that Bombardier stated engine delivery delays will cause delivery reductions from a planned 15 to only 7 aircraft in 2016.  Since the OEMs are paid their final installment on delivery of aircraft, it impacts revenues and cash flow. The company will deliver the third CS100 to SWISS next month and deliver the first CS300 to airBaltic in the fourth quarter.

The supply chain is under stress.  During the UTC media day event prior to the Farnborough airshow,  P&W pointed out their greatest concern was… Continue reading

Problems with fatigue cracking resulting from sulfidation corrosion is plaguing the Trent 1000 engines utilized by 169 Boeing 787 aircraft.   Since February, there have been three “engine incidents” at All Nippon Airways, the first and most experienced operator of the Boeing 787.  The first two, in February and March, were on international operations, but the most recent occurred in domestic operations between Tokyo Haneda and Miyazaki.

Rolls-Royce and ANA had a program in place to replace blades on international routes, and because of altitude and hotter running engines, felt it was unlikely to occur on domestic flights.  Proven wrong in that assumption, with the same irregularities developing, ANA was forced to adopt the early replacement program to its domestic operations as well.

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Over the next three years, Rolls-Royce will replace all Trent 1000 intermediate pressure turbine blades, and airlines will replace blades impacted by corrosion with new… Continue reading

Joe Sutter, the “father of the 747”, passed away at age 95 earlier this week.  Joe was the congenial leader of the Boeing engineering team, got his folks to actually do what was thought to be impossible at the time, all the while being a an unforgettable “character” in the industry.

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I’ve had the pleasure to meet Joe and hear him speak on several occasions, and can honestly say that time seemed to go by all too quickly on those occasions.  He was one of the “builders” of our industry.

If you don’t know the story of the 747 development and the role Joe played, I’d recommend watching episode 3 of The Age of Aerospace series that premiered on the Discovery channel in conjunction with Boeing’s 100th anniversary.  That episode can be found here.

Joe remained active well into his 90s, and maintained an office… Continue reading

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