Rolls-Royce is making progress in the development of its next generation of Trent engines with the completion of testing of the composite carbon/titanium (CTi) fan systems for its Advance and Ultrafan turbofan designs. The CTi was tested at the engine maker's John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, where the fan was evaluated in crosswinds on a Trent 1000 Advanced Low Press System engine. The next step will flight testing on Rolls-Royce 747 flying test bed aircraft based in Tucson, Arizona.
The Advance concept encompasses a set of technologies intended to boost the thermodynamic efficiency. Rolls-Royce intends these to enter service in a new Trent turbofan in 2020, promising 20 percent lower fuel burn and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions than the first generation of Trents. The Ultrafan, which is due to enter service from 2025, will feature a new geared design with a variable pitch fan system, is expected to deliver at least a 25 percent cut in fuel burn and CO2 emissions.
The CTi fan system include carbon/titanium fan blades and a composite casing that, according to Rolls-Royce, will reduce weight by up to 1,500 pounds per aircraft-equating to seven more passengers being carried at no additional cost.
Garmin once again placed at the top of AIN's latest Avionics Product Support Survey, scoring an 8.3 rating (out of a possible 10) this year from AIN readers–the same as last year. L-3 Avionics and Universal Avionics tied for second place, both with 7.8 ratings. L-3 moved up two spots in the 2014 survey ranking, with a half-point jump from last year's fourth-place rating of 7.3. Universal Avionics also placed second last year.
Nipping at their heels was Rockwell Collins, which moved up a tenth of a point to 7.7 this year for third place–the same spot it held in last year's survey. Honeywell's fourth-place ranking this year is one place higher on the list and a climb in its rating to 7.4, from 7.1. In fifth place this year is Avidyne, which saw its rating drop to 7.2, followed by Honeywell's BendixKing subsidiary with a one-tenth-point increase to 7.1.
High scores in the rankings categories went across the board to Garmin for parts availability (8.5), cost of parts (7.6), AOG response (8.2), warranty fulfillment (8.5), technical manuals (8.1), technical reps (8.3) and overall product reliability (8.8).
On the cabin electronics side, AIN readers ranked Aircell (now Gogo Business Aviation, see Also Noted at left) as the top provider of product support with an 8.2 rating, followed by Satcom Direct at 8.1. Rounding out the top four for cabin systems support were Honeywell and Rockwell Collins, with ratings of 7.3 and 6.7, respectively.
The ninth annual JetExpo business aviation show is set to open on Thursday at Moscow Vnukovo Airport. According to organizers, the three-day event (September 4 to 6) will draw around 75 exhibiting companies and up to 8,000 visitors. No details of the planned static display were available as of press time, but 30 aircraft are expected to be on show–a reduction from the 40 that participated in the 2013 event.
So far, limited European Union and U.S. sanctions against Russia for its alleged military intervention in eastern Ukraine appear to have had a limited effect on the business aviation sector and this year's JetExpo. However, the industry will likely be concerned about the prospect of wider sanctions that are now being threatened. In addition, continued weakening of the Russian ruble's value against the U.S. dollar could potentially weaken demand from Russian customers, although, according to aircraft brokers, many wealthy Russians are comfortable dealing in foreign currencies from their offshore accounts.
Most major business aircraft manufacturers, or their local representatives, are booked to participate in JetExpo 2014. For complete news coverage of the event, click on the JetExpo banner at AINonline.
Operators for the first time successfully launched and recovered a small unmanned aircraft system (UAS) from a U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker, the service said. They achieved the feat on August 18, launching an AeroVironment Puma AE from the flight deck of the Coast Guard cutter Healy, underway in the Arctic Ocean.
An AeroVironment crew, working with researchers from the Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) made several unsuccessful attempts to land the 13.5-pound aircraft and were delayed by high winds, heavy fog and icing conditions before succeeding, the service said. A video shows the hand-launched Puma flying a circular pattern before dropping to the deck, where its wing detached as designed.
The Healy, a 420-foot icebreaker based in Seattle, departed from Seward, Alaska, on August 8 to test the sensor-equipped Puma AE and other technologies for use in oil-spill tracking. The Coast Guard and NOAA both have an interest in using unmanned aircraft to perform monitoring and search operations in remote waters. "The Coast Guard and its partners realize the value of exploring technologies like UAS to improve our ability to respond in the Arctic," said Rich Hansen, chief scientist with the service's research and development center. "Unmanned systems have great potential for tracking spills, so responders can avoid unnecessary risk while safeguarding our seas."
The Coast Guard has also evaluated Insitu's ScanEagle UAS for its requirement to equip eight planned Legend-class National Security Cutters with a persistent surveillance capability beginning in Fiscal Year 2017. In May 2013 the service used the ScanEagle, which is deployed by a pneumatic wedge catapult launcher, to help stop a cocaine smuggling operation in the eastern Pacific Ocean-another first.