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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Paris air show 2005
Paris air show 2005
Keywords: Conferences, Aircraft industry
The presence of the Airbus A380, Boeing 777-200LR, and Dassault Falcon 7X highlighted Paris 2005, complemented by many other aircraft including those bearing an airline's logo for the first time, and news of ongoing and future programmes. On the military side discussion was of projects such as the Joint Strike Fighter, the still-delayed search for USAF tankers, enhancements for Euro fighter Typhoon and information about a range of innovative products from hitherto, not so well known, aerospace industries. These activities were against a background of increased exhibition space showing the products of all sizes of companies with a variety of interests, keen to emphasize their part in the global efforts. Details of many of the products will be found in the body of the paper.
The size of the Airbus A380 could be appreciated from the static line-up where it towered above other large aircraft. The A380-800 passenger version has an overall length of 73 m (239 ft 9in.), height of 24.1 m (79 ft 7in.), and a wing span of 79.8 m (261ft 8in.). Maximum design ramp weight is 562 tonnes (1,239,000 lb). It can carry a typical of 555 passengers over a range of 8,000 n miles (15,000 km). The A380-800F freighter has a maximum design ramp weight of 592 tonnes (1,305,100 lb) and can carry 150 tonnes for 5,600 n miles (10,400 km). Engines for the -800 can be either Rolls-Royce Trent 970 (the lead engine) or Engine Alliance GP7270, each of 70,000 lb sea-level static thrust, and for the -800 F either Rolls-Royce Trent 977 or Engine Alliance GP7277, delivering 76,500 lb sea-level static thrust.
The A380 introduces a large number of new composites and several new metallics, the former accounting for 22 per cent or the total structural weight, aluminium for 61 per cent, steel and titanium for about 10 per cent, and a new material GLARE for 3 per cent. GLARE is a hybrid material built from alternate layers of aluminium foil and unidirectional glassfibre impregnated with an epoxy adhesive. It has outstanding resistance to crack growth and is particularly appropriate for the upper fuselage.
Notable innovative manufacturing techniques for the A380 include that employed by the Fokker Stork factory which produces fuselage panels which have a total area of 470 m2 per aircraft and make use of one of the largest autoclaves in the world. Another process is laser beam welding which is used instead of welding to attach stringers to the lower fuselage skin, thereby reducing weight and allowing a speedier process. GKN in the UK has developed resin film infusing for composite fibre manufacture. This company is joint partner with Airbus UK on the main wing box design. The size of the A380 has meant that companies have had to enlarge existing facilities or develop new ones. The new factory at Broughton, UK, has the final assembly jigs for the wings which are then delivered by water and road transport to the final assembly line at Toulouse4. At the Filton factory manufacture of the upper wing skins (33 m long and 2.8 m wide) creep forming is used to produce components that are very close to the final required shape in a single procedure.
Appearance of the Boeing 777- 200LR at Le Bourget occurred about halfway into its flight test programme for certification. Later in 2005 this aircraft will attempt to set a new world record for distance travelled non stop by a commercial aircraft. The current record is 10,823 n miles set up by another Boeing 777 variant in 1997. Power is supplied by two General Electric GE90-115B engines which can develop 115,000 lb thrust. When in commercial service the 777-200LR will carry 301 passengers over a range up to 9,420 n miles (17, 445 km) with the launch customer Pakistan International Airlines receiving its first aircraft at the beginning of 2006 and intending to put it into service from Karachi to New York and Chicago, and eventually, to Houston and Los Angeles. There is much discussion about the possible effects on passengers of flights lasting around 20h and no doubt it will continue! The interior of the aircraft has designed to highlight the cabin roominess and the gull-wing shaped ceiling. One feature is the large volume available between the cabin ceiling and the top of the fuselage which allows the manufacturer to include extra features. A freighter version is also on offer, which will be the largest twin engine aircraft of this kind.
The Dassault Falson 7X is the first business jet to have sidestick operated fly-by-wire flight controls. It is powered by three Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307A engines which each deliver 6,100 thrust for take-off. It can carry eight passengers over a range of 5,700 n miles, although a maximum of 16 passengers can be carried. It will be certificated late in 2006 at Mach 0.97 although the quoted speed over a typical range is Mach 0.80. As is the custom for some new aircraft, the cabin altitude has been brought down to 6,000 ft.
Three Falcon 7X aircraft will be used in the flight test programme, scheduled to lead to certification in 2006. For the first time the 27 partners in the project employed processes such as the latest version of C ATI A for design and product life management as well as manufacture. The Falcon 7X continues to use the same flight deck instrumentation as on previous aircraft.
Two of the major manufacturers in this area, as well as business activities, were evident, Embraer making the most impact. The largest member of this manufacturers' range is the EMB 195 which appeared in the markings of Flybe which had just ordered 14 of the aircraft with options for a further 14. The airline will operate the 195 in a 118-seat layout although it is more usually quoted as seating 110. The EMB was also at the show, these two types forming part of the manufacturers 170, 175, 190 and 195 range, with typically, 70, 80, 100 and 110 passengers. Flybe becomes the launch customer for the EMB 195. The 175 follows the 170 into service when it begins service with Air Canada later this year.
The line between the smaller products of Boeing and Airbus and “regional” products gets less clearly defined each year, although the heavier aircraft would seem less suitable for truly regional routes. Another entry into this market dealing with 100 or so seats is a venture by Bombardier in which, after some time for deliberations, Pratt & Whitney Canada will be providing a new engine for this manufacturers' 110 and 130 seat C Series aircraft, which could be around 23,000 lb thrust. Each of the types will be available in either standard or extended range versions of 1,800 and 3,000 n miles range, respectively. Bombardier also had one of its best-selling 70-seat aircraft at the show. In the business area, this manufacturer is prominent in long range aircraft and the new Falcon 7X is now a competitor.
There has been a revival for regional turboprops with ATR reporting an improved record of orders for its-42 and-72 twins during the first half of this year. Also, the four-engine Bombardier Q Series continues to attract interest.
There is fierce competition for orders between the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350 with orders for the former at over 260 at the time of the show. The standard 787-8 seats 223 in a typical three-class configuration, with the stretched 787-9 seating about 259 and due to appear later. However, the design of the larger version is not yet finalized, although it has been credited with a range of about 8,300 n miles. The 787-9 can carry more people than the longer-range 787-3 which also seats 223. The Boeing 787-8 is due to make its entry into service in 2008 and the 787-3 two years afterwards with the 787-9 following in a short while. The manufacturer has emphasized the maintenance advantages of a wholly- composite fuselage.
One event concerning the competing Airbus A350 occurred when Qatar Airways made an announcement involving the intention to order 60 of these aircraft, which would include both the A350-800 and the -900. This effectively launches the aircraft which is due to enter service in 2010 although the formal go-ahead is not expected until later in 2006. The aircraft will be powered with the new GE nx engine. A Rolls-Royce powerplant is also being developed for this aircraft; a version of the Trent 1000 but retaining the engine bleed facility, which differentiates its from the Trent 1000 which will be produced for the Boeing 787.
Following a decrease of activities in the 1990s and the more recent demise of Concorde there was news of renewed interest in a supersonic business jet. A while ago the US Aerion company put forward that such an aircraft could be in service by 2011. It has been suggested that NASA could produce a programme for flight demonstration to confirm wind tunnel tests undertaken by Aerion. To be completed later this year, some tests suggest a range of 4,000n miles is practicable. The key point is the ability of such an aircraft to fly overland supersonically in a quiet low-boom configuration.
The Aerion company pursues the idea of an aircraft that can operate just below Mach 1 where supersonic flight is not permitted, as well as supersonically. A cabin seating 12 passengers is envisaged in aircraft weighing 90,000 lb. Further studies are being made.
Another organization in the USA, the Supersonic Cruise Industry Alliance (with joint UK/US interests) is a group of airframe and engine manufacturers which looks at the possibility of providing supersonic flight over land within ten years. Despite various difficulties, investigations are proceeding which will hopefully lead to inflight demonstration of the practicality of low-boom through aerodynamic shaping.
The Antonov 148 regional jet first flew at the end of 2004 and has been joined by others of the type which are participating in the flight test programme to obtain certification Russian and Ukraine airlines have stated their intention to order around 100 of these aircraft, the Russian Kras Air being the launch customer. The first ten aircraft will be delivered to the customer in the AN-148-100B basic version seating eight in business class and 60 in economy. Certification of the aircraft is being undertaken simultaneously on the aviation requirements of CIS countries and the European regulations.
The progress of the trials included earlier this year a series of flights under natural icing conditions in the Ark Angel region of northern Russia. Investigation of fuel consumption in these conditions was undertaken as well as single engine operation. This summer high altitude as well as high temperature operating conditions are being examined and the second prototype joined the test programme in April checking out the compliance of the environmental control system. The third aircraft is being used for static as well as other tests at the laboratories of ANTONOV ASTC.
The Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company of Moscow is developing the Russian Regional Jet (RRJ) which will have a considerable amount of EU and US components and equipment. Current discussions with airlines concern the 95-seat version which is scheduled to make its first flight in 2007 with deliveries commencing a year later. Russian and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification will be taking place simultaneously. Trials of the 75-seater will begin in 2008 with production and deliveries in 2009 (Plate 1).
Plate 1 Sukhoi RRJ 95-seat version
International suppliers including a Snecma-NPO Saturn joint venture for the engines, Thales Avionics, and a Messier-Dowty undercarriage as well as the products of firms including Liebherr Aerospace, Honeywell, B/E Aerospace, Hamilton Sundstrand and others. Integtrated Modular Avionics (IMA) leads to weight and volume savings and fast data loading. Cockpit electronic indication will be ensured by five 6×8in LCDs and one integrated electronic standby instrument. The 95- seater will be available in basic and long range versions, the latter with a range of 2,478 n miles (4,590 km). Seating is five abreast in economy with a 20 in aisle and four-abreast when business class is available. Maximum take off weight of the heaviest version is 45,880 kg (101,150 lb).
Then Japanese industry sought to emphasize its place in the global aerospace efforts with the participation of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Fuji Heavy Industries in Boeing 767, 777 and 787 programmes with up to 35 per cent scope as well as the production of cargo doors, vertical stabilizer structure material, titanium sheets, carbon fibre, and water tanks, etc. for the Airbus A380. Work is also undertaken for Enbraer, Raytheon, Gulfstream and other companies.
For civil aircraft engine development, Japan has roles in such programmes as the Trent, CF 34 and GE 90. The amount of participation has grown to include, for example, design of the fan for the V2500 and in the GE90, PW2000, CF34-10, extended to compressor, combustor, and turbine, and the design of the FADEC in the Trent series. In the future, development is expected to include that for the 787 engines. Projects of the Defense Agency include both turbo fan and turboshaft engines and the XF5-1 demonstrator engine as well as the new XF7-10 powerplant with a bypass ratio of 8-9, intended for maritime patrol aircraft. Equipment producers are also significant, including flight control, remote control actuation, fuel and cabin pressure and air conditioning systems. An example of a domestic product is the ShinMaywa US-1A Kai STOL Fire-Fighting Amphibian which can carry 15 tons or water and fly slower than any other STOL aircraft. It has a FBW control system and advanced glass cockpit.
Encouraged by its success with the Trent series of engines (500, 700, 800, 900 and latest 1000 series) Rolls-Royce longer term projects look forward to a 50 per cent reduction in C2 emissions, 80 per cent cut in Nox and a halving of the noise level. These goals are realizable relative to 2000 levels. Advanced engine cycles now being developed have the key to these advances. As well as in the longer term, the company is always seeking six improve existing products. The recently completed Rolls-Royce – led ANTLE series of tests reduced emissions, the demonstrator being based on the Trent 500. A successor to this is envisaged. The Power Optimised Aircraft project is another effort whereby various companies contribute to the More Electric Engine (MEE) effort. In this regard, the Rolls- Royce 1000 engine for the Boeing 787 is the first to have electrical generators providing environmental control on the aircraft rather Bleed air, and may be considered a step towards the MEE.
Snecma (now part of SAFRAN Group) showed many products and emphasized its participation in Research and Development (R&D) programmes. One of these concerns TECH56 for which technology demonstrations were completed in 2004. This was part of the joint effort of Snecma and General Electric of the USA which produced the CFM56 engine. In 2007 a Tech Insertion versions of the CFM56-5 and CFM56-7 will be introduced offering lower maintenance costs and emissions (Plate 2).
Plate 2 Snecma range of power plants
The company also participates in European R&D together with Rolls- Royce and other organizations. These joint environmental efforts include SILENCE with innovative design solutions, CLEAN and the Power Optimised Aircraft, the latter two being European Commission programmes. In-house research at Snecma includes the PHT High Temperature Platform for higher- thrust military engines and the DEM21 Commercial Core Demonstrator which refines the company's expertise in hot section parts. Other GE work includes the GP7200 for the Airbus A380 being developed by the Engine Alliance, and the SaM 146 which is being produced together with NPO Saturn of Russia for regional jets. Four European companies including Snecma will be producing the TP400- D6 turboprop for the Airbus A400M military transport. Testing is due to begin in 2005 with certification in 2007 and first flight of the A400M shortly afterwards.
The SAFRAN Group include Turbomeca, Microturbo, Techspace Aero, Messier-Dowty, Messier-Bugatti as well as Snecma and other companies. Turbomeca is a leading maker of helicopter engines and also of powerplants for vatrious fixed-wing aircraft. Notable co-operation with Rolls-Royce has produced the RTM 322 which was first chosen for the NH 90 and then put into service in the Apache and EH101 among others.
The large Thales company had many of its products which cover a wide range of the total aerospace scene. On board the Airbus A380 the Integrated Modular Avionics onboard computing modules are networked and able to support different applications. The cockpit control and display system is based on eight LCD display screens which are interchangeable for different functions. Fitted with two trackballs, these screens are for the first time interactive, enabling pilots to rapidly adjust the flight path. In addition to the IMA and the cockpit CDS, the company supplies 14 equipments throughout the aircraft. On board the A400 M military transport, the aircraft will also haven eight large LCD screens compared with six on the previous generation. Three control systems with mouse keyboard interface give pilots quick intuitive access to all functions.
Thales also supplies most of the electronic systems for the French Air Force Rafale, which include a comprehensive suite of passive and active sensors to allow the aircraft to accomplish all types of missions. Particular note is made of the RBE2 which is the first multi-function electronic scan radar in production for a combat aircraft. Electronic scanning means that RBE2 offers capabilities that conventional radars cannot match in air-to-air and air-to-surface functions. The architecture of this radar is designed to accommodate the AESA active antenna which gives enhanced performance and reduced maintenance costs. Also integrated into the Rafale is the SPECTRA electronic warfare suite giving the aircraft good survivability against both air and surface threats.
An example of Thales wide interests is that the company is the prime contractor for the UK's Watchkeeper programme which is the largest UAV effort in Europe and provides the best in intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance. A Watchkeeper operator tracks the information being fed into from a UAV in the field and this allow commanders to detect and track targets without the need to deploy troops.
The Canadian CMC Electronics will equip Japan Airlines' fleet of Boeing 747 Classic Aircraft with the capability for FANS-1A Controller Pilot Data Link Communications functionality on the CMA-900 flight management system (FMS) fitted. The CMC GPS- based CMA-900 is the only FMS currently offered for retrofit applications providing FMS-resident Future Air Navigation System-1 equivalent data link functions. CMA- 900 equipped aircraft, combined with appropriate communications equipment, will therefore, be able to take immediate advantage of the more efficient FANS routes.
CMC has also produced a new class electronic flight bag (EFB) called PilotView that fills the gap between low-end off-the-shelf PC tablets and the high-end Class 3 EFBs. For use in all phases of flight, the PilotView consists of a lightweight self-contained electronic display and processing unit, and a companion power and expansion module unit. In addition to software- definable “FMS-style” line-select keys that surround the display, this EFB offers a film-on-glass touch-sensitive screen which provides pilots with a choice when accessing or navigating through EFB software applications.
A new light weight satellite communications (satcom) antenna from CMC Electronics has been launched on the Airbus A380. The CMA-2102LW is the latest in the range and is suitable for long haul aircraft, incorporating several weight reduction features that will enhance this product which now equips some 75 per cent of twin-aisle air transport aircraft leaving the factory.
The US company TEAC Aerospace Technologies will supply MDR-80 Airborne Mission Data Recorders for the Eurofighter Typhoon under a General Dynamics contract. These data recorders will provide vital tactical and combat information when recording both combat and training missions. They come with removable, expandable memory modules to handle Gigabytes of digital video plus PCM, ACM, MFOQA, HUMS, Ethernet, and 1553 data recording along with mission data loading. The flexible MDR architecture also meets today's requirements with a built-in upgrade path for operational expansion and technology insertion in the future without redesign.
In the civil market TEAC will equip America West and Hawaiian Airlines with quantities of the VE-801Hdi hard disk digital video reproducer. For America West the units will be on the Airbus A319 in a refit programme managed by Rockwell International, starting in November 2005, and for Hawaiian, the units will replace existing video systems on the airline's Boeing 437 aircraft.
At Paris on board the Bombardier Global 5000 was the latest Inmarsat- based sitcoms system from Rockwell Collins. This SAT-6100 forms part of the Ethernet-based cabin network known as Airshow 21 fitted to the first example of this bizjet on entering service with a middle eastern corporate operator a short while ago. SAT-6100 incorporates the SRT-2100 satellite transceiver and one or two HST-2100 high-speed data units. The unit can provide three Inmarsat Aero 1/H/H+ channels operating at up to 10.5 kbit/ sec, and one or two channels of Swift64 64 kbit/sec service. A 500 W high power amplifier allows simultaneous usage of two voice channels, two high speed data channels, and a low speed data channel for safety (ATC) services.
Rockwell Collins supplies a amount of equipment for the A380 including the avionics communications routers and airline operational communications. One of the routers will support the ACARS airborne communications protocol as well as include provision for a future data-link communications protocol with ATC known as the aeronautical telecommunications network (ATN). The heart of the Collins network on the aircraft is the AFDX switch which is essentially a module within the aircraft's Ethernet network that provides the communications infrastructure to connect aircraft systems including displays, radio and navigation sensors.
Featured at Paris were the A380 landing gear and retraction systems and the Boeing K-767A tanker mission system, which were two of the many products shown by Smiths Aerospace. Actuation is a prime activity for the company, one example being that of the thrust reverser actuation system for the sam-146 engine on the RRJ. This system is also being supplied for other engines including the GE CF-34-10E.
Among other products Smiths will supply cockpit voice and data recorders for the US Coast MH-47 Chinook and MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters of the US Army as well as the US Coast Guard's HH-60 Jayhawk and HH-65 Dolphin. Smiths will also lead in supplying the first fully open architecture for the Boeing 787.
Among the leading manufacturers, Messier-Dowty will supply the complete landing gear for the RRJ. This encompasses the dressed nose and main gears, subsystems for landing gear control and indication, emergency extension, steering control, as well as electrical harnesses, door mechanisms, actuators, uplocks, the extension and retraction system, and the steering system. On the forthcoming A400 M military airlifter, Messier-Dowty will be leading a team which includes Messier- Bugatti, a fellow member of the SAFRAN group. Two new design features are contained in the Airbus Military A400 M. To meet the requirement of soft-field landing capability for unprepared runways, each of the main landing gears consists of three independent twin-wheel assemblies housed in the aircraft aerodynamic fuselage sponsons. This twelve-wheel configuration contains the “high flotation” characteristics necessary. Another feature includes the kneeling and raising capability to support needs for loading large military and civilian vehicles.
This company is also responsible for the main and nose landing gear structure of the Boeing 787 and is working with Boeing as part of a life cycle product team to ensure integration of the gear with the aircraft and system components. Production and assembly during the initial development phase will be spread between existing sites in the UK, France, Canada and China. The current plan is to produce the outer cylinder in Montreal, inner cylinder in France, and the truck beam in the UK, it is also intended to produce some parts in China.
Messier-Dowty supplies the full brake by wire system for the 20 wheels on the A380, featuring a backup circuit with decentralized hydraulic generation. This solution is called LEHGS (local electrical hydraulic generation system) and uses hydraulic mini-pumps driven by an electric motor to provide local pressure of 5,000psi for braking and steering. The LEHGS allows three centralized hydraulic circuits to be replaced by only two hydraulic circuits and using an electric system for the third backup circuit. The LEHGS comprises a motor-pump unit that generates high hydraulic pressure and the mini-pump transforms the mechanical energy from the electric motor into hydraulic energy that it sends to the accumulator. The pressure in the accumulator is maintained continuously and completely autonomously through the electrical control unit. At any time, the accumulator is ready to feed the servovalves in the braking system which delivers the pressure needed to actuate the brake pistons.
Among other products Messier- Dowty equips the Boeing 777LR with heavy-duty brakes which are lightweight and oxidation resistant to handle the high takeoff weight and speed of the aircraft. These brakes are capable of absorbing individually up to 144MJ of energy in case of a rejected takeoff with the aircraft fully loaded. For the 777LR Messier-Dowty also supplies the main landing gear wheels (six on each of the two bogie beams) plus the nose landing gear. The forthcoming Boeing 787 will also have an electric brake from this company which enhances the efficiency of braking in general and of each individual brake, through faster response, simpler installation, and easier diagnostics and maintenance.
The very large FINMECCANICA group which now includes Alenia, AgustaWestland, Galileo, Oto Malero. Aer Macchi, and Ansaldo and all their associated companies, had many products featured including the all 9 Koala and EHl0 helicopters, AerMacchi M-346 Trainer, and co- operation in the production of many civil and military types which include the Eurofighter and the C-27J Spartan developed with Lockheed Martin, as well as contributing to many airbus and boeing types.
The Alenia company has high investments in research and development (R&D) and has many international agreements. It has a 19.5 per cent work share in Eurofighter production and the company will assemble all the Italian aircraft and supply half of the carbon-fibre wing boxes as subcontractor, and participate in the production programme as second source for the complete wing. Weapon system logistic support will also be supplied to the Italian Air Force.
The US Curtiss-Wright company under a contract from Lockheed Martin, will supply actuation equipment for the lead edge flap and weapons bay door systems for F/A-22 Raptor aircraft. This is used to control the leading edge of the wing surface of the aircraft which assists in aerodynamics and controls the aircraft's weapon bay doors when releasing munitions. Development work has begun and product shipments will continue through 2007. Among other activities Curtiss-Wright in a Boeing contract will equip F/A-18 Super Hornet aircraft with canopy actuators, with deliveries beginning in 2005. For rotary-wing aircraft this company will supply single board computers to the US navy and radar warning receiver systems for the US Army.
Hexcel Composites of Cambridge, UK, is launching a new bismaleimide (BMI) prepreg system for aircraft structures. HexPly M65 is better than any product since it has enhanced tack and handleability which makes it well suited to fibre placement applications. It is already being qualified by the Nordam Group for an existing door panel for the Gulfstream 450 business jet. Also shown was a thrust reverser structure, also for the G450, and manufactured in this new material.
The international Alcan Company has long been supplying to aerospace and one of its Most recent innovations is a wide range of alloys for the A380 with other new alloys under development. The reduction of airframe weight by 20 per cent is the aim and airframe costs by 30 per cent. Precision sand castings are also on offer, these being used in the construction of the exhaust pipes for the boosters of the Vulcain 2 engine of Ariane 5.
The Doncaster Group, another organisation with long association with aerospace, will be supplying forged rolled rings made from nickel-based and titanium alloys for the TP400 – the most powerful western turboprop ever built. In addition, the company already makes centrispun cast titanium rings of vanes for the front bearing housing of this engine. The method of manufacture reduces machining and fabrication costs as each ring is created during one process.