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A Commercial Aviation Consultancy

The Boeing-Iran Deal

Boeing and Iran have finalized the terms of a transaction for 80 aircraft with a list price of $16.6 billion.  The transaction includes 50 737s and 30 777s to be delivered from 2018 to 2028.  But just when you thought it was safe to sell airplanes to Iran again, politics is once again coming into play.

The political intrigue surrounding the deal is interesting, with the change of US administrations and Donald Trump becoming President.  The President-Elect has been critical of the recently negotiated agreement on nuclear power with Iran, and will likely seek to re-negotiate or cancel that treaty, and potentially re-introduce economic sanctions.  That would certainly drive Iran into the arms of Airbus.

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In April we wrote about the small island’s new airport.  At the time, South Africa’s Comair used one its new 737-800s to do a test flight from Johannesburg.  The landing at the island proven challenging because of severe wind shear.  To get an idea of how tough this airport be to work with, take a look at the image. Continue reading

John Glenn passed away today at age 95 today. Those of us old enough to remember him as a member of the Mercury astronaut team and the first American to orbit the Earth regard him as an intrepid explorer and heroic figure. Glenn later went on to represent Ohio in the US Senate for 24 years, and became the oldest man in space on a space shuttle mission when he was 77 years old.

Details of his exceptional life can be found here in his hometown newspaper.   May he rest in peace.

A controversial tweet from Donald Trump has caused concerns about the future of Air Force One.  The President Elect tweeted —

The President Elect appears to be coming down hard on one of the key companies he supports for job creation and international trade, likely as a show of force to reduce the budget for the airplane.

The reality of the situation is that Air Force One isn’t just any 747.  It needs to operate as an airborne command post, communication center, be protected from electromagnetic pulses from nuclear blasts,  incorporate missile defense systems, be capable of airborne refueling, and operate in extremes, whether polar cold or desert hot, using internal systems.  None of those are standard on a commercial 747, and are very high cost items.  The current 747-200s, long out of production, are 30 years old and becoming more difficult to maintain. … Continue reading

Airbus Helicopters was delivered another blow to its Super Puma EC-225 aircraft as Statoil has formally dropped the aircraft and now prohibits employees to be transported in any model of the helicopter, instead moving primarily to the Sikorsky S-92 for North Sea operations. The company made the decision after union workers requested a permanent ban on the helicopters in the wake of a fatal accident claimed the lives of 11 Statoil workers and the CHC crew operating the helicopter on April 29, 2016. This is despite the fact that EASA has now cleared the Super Puma to return to service.

The 2016 grounding follows an earlier 2012 grounding that resulted from a problem with the main gearbox vertical shaft that resulted in a fatal accident. That grounding, which lasted well into 2013, resulted in all North Sea operators progressively returning their aircraft into service after extensive modifications. However, with a… Continue reading

What does one do being the market leader in the agricultural aviation market – how do you stay in front?  How do you stay ahead.  We spoke with Rob Winchcomb, Business Development Manager Diagnostics/Prognostics, at Pratt & Whitney Canada.

Norman Baker is President & Managing Executive of GE’s Business & General Aviation Turboprop business. He explains why GE is interested in the market and what their plans are for continuing to roll out new technologies.

Eric Rojek is Thrush Aircraft’s VP Sales.  He explained to us that the “ag aircraft” is an unusual asset.  Since, in the US, the market is predominately owner/operator, the demands of delivering an asset that performs is a primary focus for his company.  For example, how does an an aircraft operator survive on $7-$10 in revenue per acre treated?

The aircraft costs between $350-500 per hour to run.  Revenues are typically between $1,000 to $1,250 per hour.  A season for aerial companies is about 500 hours per year.  The aircraft generates between $2,000 to 4,000 per day.  The margins very tight.

To make things even more challenging, we are rapidly approaching what people here refer to as “precision ag”.  Aircraft will need real-time data feeds on the state of the crop, allowing each drop to be tailored to each part of each field.