Aircraft News September 2005.


University researchers develop plan to cut cockpit errors. A cockpit error is made during more than 60% of commercial airline flights, according to University of Texas researchers. Most are small mistakes, such as skipping a checklist item, writes The Wall Street Journal's Scott McCartney. Robert L. Helmreich and his colleagues at the university have developed a strategy called "Threat and Error Management" to cut down on mistakes. Continental Airlines is one of the airlines using the methods and says it has reduced cockpit errors by 70%. Sep 16, 2005

Quieter aircraft could arrive in 20 years, engineers say. U.K. engineers said a new, nearly-silent, fuel-efficient aircraft could enter service within 20 years. The engineers at Cambridge University hope to reduce aircraft noise levels to below the background noise that most people experience at airports. The new plane would resemble the B-2 Stealth Bomber. Scientists say the new shape would make the plane cheaper to operate. Sep 9, 2005

Airlines hope hidden cameras help prevent hijacking. Two airlines have installed cameras that allow pilots to monitor the aircraft cabin and see a hijacking attempt from the cockpit. JetBlue has installed as many as four hidden cameras aboard its fleet of planes. Sun Country unveiled its camera system last month. Several other airlines have received federal grants to test similar systems. Air Transport Association spokesman John Meenan said the benefit of cameras versus the cost has not been determined, but like every security idea from the government and private sector, it needs careful evaluation before investing in it. Sep 2, 2005

Airbus waits for results of FAA inquiry on A320 nose wheels. European jetmaker Airbus acknowledged that some of its A320 planes have experienced problems with jammed nose wheels. Last week, a JetBlue A320 made an emergency landing with its nose wheels jammed at a right angles to the plane's fuselage. An Airbus spokeswoman said other incidents ended without a problem. Airbus is waiting for results of an inquiry by the Federal Aviation Administration. Sep 27, 2005

Airbus has taken an important step forward in making the A320 series available for restricted airports such as London City, with the planned certification of the A318 for steep approaches. An aircraft has completed an approach with representatives of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on board. Steep approaches are classified as those with a glide slope of greater than 4.5[degrees]. Airbus is seeking certification for 5.5[degrees]. The performance of the A318 should allow it to operate out of LCY, the out of production AVRO RJ the only over 100-seat aircraft currently approved for the airport. However it is not all plain sailing at London City. Should the A318 be allowed in, other problems would arise, including apron operations and the use of boarding lounges originally designed for the 50-passenger DHC Dash 7. Sep 12, 2005

Airbus[sup.1]s second A380 is due to join the flight test programme in October. Toulouse said that flight trials of the first aircraft, have been truly excellent, the A380 making its first automatic landing on its 17th flight (something that does not normally happen until much further into the programme), and minimum unstick speed trials, in which a bumper protected rear fuselage is dragged along the ground, also began early, in July. The preliminary results of the performance have been good and last week Airbus began fatigue tests on a specially designated airframe, two and a half months earlier than planned; testing to 2.5 times the 19,000 flights design service goal, a theoretical number an a A380 would be expected to make during a 25-year service life. We have added here an A380 in the colours of Emirates, the real aircraft due to be unveiled at the Dubai air show in November. Sep 2, 2005

China Southern Airlines, with no less than British prime minister Tony Blair looking on, has signed a contract with Airbus for the purchase of ten additional Airbus A330s, all to be delivered in time for the 2008 Olympics. The Guangzhou-based carrier already operates four A330-200s on domestic trunk and international routes and was the first Chinese A330 customer. It is a lead airline for the A380. The airline's only European destination is Amsterdam, from where it operates four times weekly to Beijing and on to Guangzhou. And Mr Blair's connection...

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