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During the Farnborough Air Show, Airbus announced a production rate cut for the A380, reducing production to one aircraft per month.  This rate cut reflects the waning backlog for the aircraft, which has yet to emerge as a favorite among airlines, although it is a favorite among passengers.  This rate cut also buys time for Airbus, and leasing company Amedeo, to garner orders for the A380 should demand begin to increase for the type.

Has the A380 program peaked?  We don’t think so and offer this report laying out our thinking.

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In a previous story we wrote about the growing demand for pilots.  The demand is real and well documented.  But what about the other side of the equation?  Where will these pilots come from?

In its recently released study, Boeing notes a demand for 617,000 airline pilots by 2035.  They go on to say: “Meeting this demand will require innovative solutions — focused on educational outreach and career pipeline programs — to inspire the next generation of pilots, technicians, and cabin crew. New technologies, devices, and training methods will be needed to meet a wide range of learning styles. The growing diversity of aviation personnel will also require instructors to have cross-cultural and cross-generational skills to engage tomorrow’s workforce.”  Airbus forecasts a need for 560,000 pilots by 2035. The demand for pilots is not exclusively a commercial issue.  Even the USAF… Continue reading

Sukhoi Civil Aircraft announced that, at the request of CityJet, the SSJ can now operate from runways that are only 30m wide.  This new EASA allowance enables the airline to deploy the aircraft in a number of important airports, most crucially, London City.

SuperJet and Sukhoi are working on the steep approach to London City as an additional tweak on the SSJ according to SuperJet CEO Nazario Cauceglia.  As we heard at Farnborough, the SSJ is also going to get winglets produced by Sukhoi.

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The SSJ now has two influential western customers helping to advance the aircraft’s development.  InterJet in Mexico and Eire based CityJet will ensure the aircraft becomes more acceptable to other western airlines.   Airlines in southwestern Europe are watching the developments with growing interest.  The SSJ offers an ever more compelling combination of size, performance and pricing.

As the SSJ performance is… Continue reading

Irkut Corporation delivered the MC-21 fuselage designated for static to Central AeroHydrodynamic Institute tests to confirm the strength characteristics of the new aircraft and to provide certification of the type for static strength.  On August 12, the MC-21 fuselage was delivered to Zhukovsky from Irkutsk by An-124 freighter. In the near future other parts of the airframe will arrive to TsAGI. In particular, Irkutsk Aviation Plant, a branch of Irkut Corporation where MC-21 fuselage was assembled, will hand over auxiliary power unit compartment.

5 Unload MC-21 fuselage, airfield RamenskoyeIrkut’s specialists, together with the employees of TsAGI and partner companies, will perform the airframe assembly.
The first stage of the airframe test includes leaks inspections.  Then TsAGI specialists will initiate static tests which include simulation of structural loads in all flight modes with registration of stress-strain state of the aircraft structure.

The purpose of tests comprises experimental verification of static strength, checks of “correctness… Continue reading

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