Archive for the ‘aviation’ Category

China plane-makers take first steps to rival global giants

November 4, 2008

China‘s fledging aerospace industry took a major leap forward Tuesday at the nation’s only international air show as it announced its first sale of commercial aircraft to a US company.

The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (CACC) confirmed the sale of five homemade jets to the aircraft leasing arm of General Electric with an option for the firm to buy 20 more, the two companies said in a statement.

by Guy Newey, AFP

A photographer takes pictures of trade stands in front of a ... 
A photographer takes pictures of trade stands in front of a fighter jet poster on display at the China Airshow 2008 in Zhuhai. China’s only international airshow opened on Tuesday as the host nation looked to take another step on its ambitious journey to rival the global players of the aerospace industry.(AFP/Mike Clarke)

The contract, signed on the sidelines of Airshow China in the southern city of Zhuhai, makes GE Commercial Aviation Services the first overseas leasing firm to buy a Chinese-made commercial plane, they said.

Delivery of the ARJ21s — which stands for Advanced Regional Jet for the 21st Century — will start in 2013, according to the statement, which was unable to confirm reports that the contract would be worth 735 million dollars.

“The ARJ21 will help fulfill the growing need within China for fast, efficient regional air travel,” said Norman Liu, executive vice president of GE Commercial Aviation Services , in the statement.

The ARJ21, which carries between 70 and 90 passengers, and other jets to be produced by CACC, are widely seen as part of a Chinese plan to eventually rival the dominance of aviation giants Airbus and Boeing.

“To fly Chinese large aircraft in the blue sky is not just the will of the government, but the whole nation,” CACC’s chief Jin Zhuanglong told an aviation conference in Zhuhai on Monday.

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China’s Big Airshow This Week is About Aviation’s Future

November 3, 2008

The giants of the aerospace industry will jet in to China‘s only international airshow starting Tuesday hoping the country’s aviation sector can provide shelter from the global financial crisis.

by Guy Newey, AFP

US manufacturer Boeing and Europe’s Airbus will head the line-up of 600 civil and military manufacturers and parts suppliers from 35 countries at the 2008 China Airshow, an annual event in the southern city of Zhuhai.

And as airlines across the world report a drop-off in first and business class travel due to the economic turbulence, the firms will be looking to China to provide crucial growth in the next few years.

“China is going to be the fastest-growing market in the world,” Wang Yukui, the spokesman for Boeing in China, told AFP.

An Air China plane lands at Beijing's international airport. ... 
An Air China plane lands at Beijing’s international airport. The giants of the aerospace industry are set to jet in to China’s only international airshow hoping the country’s aviation sector can provide shelter from the global financial crisis.(AFP/File/Peter Parks)

Research released last week by the US giant found China will need 3,710 new commercial planes worth 390 billion dollars over the next 20 years.

The demand will represent 41 percent of the entire Asia-Pacific market, and only the United States will be a bigger buyer, Boeing said.

In addition, Chinese carriers will add about 370 freight-carrying planes by 2027, quadrupling their total freighter fleet, the Boeing research found.

Airbus chief executive officer Tom Enders also said recently it was expecting a “large order” from Chinese airlines by early 2009, on top of existing memorandums of understanding with Chinese carriers for 280 aircraft.

The company’s giant superjumbo, the A380, will be on display at the China Airshow, as the company tries to take a bigger slice of the thriving market.

In 2007, China’s air traffic soared 16.8 percent to 387.6 million passenger trips, on the back of 16.7 percent growth in 2006, state media reported.

The demand has sparked a similar boom in airport construction, with around 100 new airports planned by 2020, previous reports said.

Nevertheless, China’s aviation sector starting to feel the impact of the global economic turmoil, according to Tom Ballantyne, chief correspondent of industry magazine Orient Aviation.

“Although we are not talking about a cessation of growth, we are talking about a slowdown in growth,” he told AFP.

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Celebrating Flight and Aircraft In the Temple of the Wild Blue Yonder

November 1, 2008

THE first thing visitors encounter in the main display area of the Udvar-Hazy Center, the National Air and Space Museum annex near Dulles airport in the Virginia countryside, is a huge black spy plane.

By Henry Fountain
The New York Times
It’s an SR-71A Blackbird, the ultimate hot-rod aircraft, one of about 30 built at the Lockheed Skunk Works in California in the 1960s. This one last flew in 1990, traveling the 2,300 miles between Los Angeles and Washington in 1 hour 4 minutes 20 seconds — a transcontinental blur.

But now it’s at a standstill, giving visitors the chance to appreciate its outrageousness. There are the two massive engines on short, stubby wings; the tiny cockpit where the two-man crew was shoehorned in wearing bulky pressure suits; and the sweeping titanium fuselage that was built so loosely, to allow for expansion in the heat of supersonic flight, that the fuel tanks that made up the bulk of the plane routinely leaked, losing as much as 600 pounds of fuel taxiing to the runway.

Planes, including a Boeing 307, above, are ready for inspection.  Photo by Andrew Councill for The New York Times

The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., is about air and space, yes, but as the Blackbird shows, it’s also about frozen time. More than 150 aircraft and spacecraft that in their day were among the swiftest or slowest, most graceful or ungainly, most useful or useless, sit on the floor and hang among the catwalks of this giant hangar of a museum as if plucked from the sky.

For Washington visitors whose encounters with the Air and Space Museum have been limited to the original 1976 building some 30 miles away on the National Mall, the Udvar-Hazy Center, which opened in 2003 and is named for a major donor, an aviation industry executive, can be quite a different experience. There are fewer “name” aircraft like the Spirit of St. Louis to gawk at, no moon rocks to touch, and while as in the Mall building there can be hordes of schoolchildren, their noise tends to dissipate in the cavernous arched structure. Over all, with more than twice the exhibition space and about one-fifth the visitors, the Virginia museum has a quieter, more worshipful feel.

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Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird.jpg

Putin Calls For A Renewal Of Russian Leadership In Military Aviation

August 21, 2007

by Dario Thuburn

ZHUKOVSKY, Russia (AFP) – President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday pushed Russia’s military aviation industry as a global leader, just days after announcing the resumption of Cold War-era strategic bomber flights.

Russia has the task of retaining its leadership in fighting, military technology,” Putin said at the opening of the Maks 2007 airshow in the town of Zhukovsky, a major test flight centre just southeast of the Russian capital.

“Russia has new economic potential and will in the future continue to pay particular attention to developing these technologies….

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