July 2011 » AirInsight
A Commercial Aviation Consultancy

Monthly Archives: July 2011

The reaction to American’s recent fleet order was not positive from the financial analyst community. They have valid concerns regarding the firm’s financials.  But in typical fashion, MIT Researcher Bill Swelbar decided to take contrarian view and look at the order from a positive viewpoint. He provides his take on his blog.  Take a look at the comments section below for more insight on the order. Bill understands where the financial analysts are coming from but thinks one should take a longer view and see the positive side of the order and its potential for helping the airline improve its operating costs rather quickly as the new planes arrive.


Resin transfer injection (RTI) is about to join resin transfer molding and composite layup as a construction technique used for high volume production of aerospace components.  Bombardier’s Belfast operations in Northern Ireland (formerly Shorts) have patented this new technique that is being used to build the wings for the Learjet 85 and Bombardier CSeries.  AirInsight had an opportunity to tour the facility and learn more about the processes that are changing the way high technology aircraft are built.

What’s different about this technique?  In brief, quality, cost, and economic benefits through a more sophisticated and computer precise manufacturing process.  Of course, manufacturing wings requires a massive facility – and this facility is state of the art, as illustrated by the massive clean room.

Existing processes such as resin transfer molding, require two halves of a mold to make a composite part, with carbon fiber placed in… Continue reading

Now that Boeing has elected to follow Airbus and proceed with the re-engining route for its single aisle jet, the 737, Bombardier and Embraer have clarity from which to make decisions.

For Embraer, which has been waiting for Boeing to move, its decision revolves around whether to enhance the current E-Jet line or proceed with an entirely new airplane. For Bombardier, it – and the market – finally know what they are competing against. While analyst response has been split whether this is a good or bad thing for Bombardier, we see this as a net positive.

Embraer made it clear they were waiting for Boeing to make its decision to re-engine or do an NSA. Boeing’s decision has been made. Now Embraer has the clarity it needs to decide whether to enhance the E-190/195, stretch it, re-engine it or proceed with a clean-sheet aircraft.

In a research note… Continue reading

As the chart illustrates, the survey has pretty much run its course. As of this writing, we have 233 responses. Recognizing this is not a scientific survey we also need to accept the responses come from a primarily qualified audience given this site’s traffic sources. So we would tend to consider these results as worthy for consideration. Let’s look at each question.

Over 60% of respondents believe the 737RE will be an economic success for Boeing. This is good news for the firm and with such a strong response one wonders why Boeing did not make the decision to do the re-engine sooner? Respondents clearly feel confident in the airplane and Boeing’s ability to make it work. Given the iterations of the 737 since 1967 this is understandable.

2017 is when most respondents see the 737RE entering service.  American, as first customer, expects its first 737RE’s in 2018. Given… Continue reading

Two senators wrote to Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Air Lines and chairman of the Air Transport Association. The letter addresses the ticket taxes which airlines are still collecting even though the partial shutdown means the government is not collecting that money.

“Although this policy may increase your bottom line in the short term, we are afraid it will have long-term repercussions for the industry,” wrote Senator Jay Rockefeller, chair of the Transportation Committee, and Senator Maria Cantwell, chair of the Aviation Subcommittee. “We urge the nation’s airlines to put all of the profits that they are making from the lapse of the aviation taxes into an escrow account so they can be transferred back into the AATF (Airport and Airway Trust Fund) when Congress reinstates the taxes. We have heard from airlines for many years, these fees, all of which are passed onto the consumer, depress the demand for… Continue reading

Kestrel Aircraft has chosen the Honeywell TPE 331-14 engine for its new turboprop aircraft currently under development.  Kestrel is headed by Alan Klapmeier, former CEO and founder of Cirrus Design.

For this application, Kestrel will utilize a version of the engine de-rated from the normal 1,760 shp to only 1,000.  This should provide wide margins for takeoff and climb performance, as well as improve maintenance costs, since the engine will be working at only slightly more than half its full capacity.  The TPE-331 was selected over the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT-6.

Kestrel recently located its headquarters and manufacturing facilities at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station in Brunswick, Maine, and anticipates a strong market for the aircraft, which will be priced between $2.5-$3 million per copy.

1 2 3 5