Airbus and CFM collaborate to launch a flight test demonstrator for "open-fan" engine architecture


20 Jul 2022

Airbus and CFM, a joint venture between GE and Safran, are teaming up to flight test CFM's cutting-edge open-fan engine architecture.

Aviation International News

The open fan architecture is a key component of the engine maker’s “Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engines” (RISE) technology development programme – which aims to demonstrate and mature a range of new technologies for future engines that could enter service by the mid-2030s.

As per a press release by Airbus, the open fan technology will also be the focus of a major Airbus flight demonstration campaign to be performed in collaboration with CFM in the second half of this decade.

CFM "Open-Fan" demonstrator | aviationweek

The joint demonstration programme will see CFM performing engine ground tests, along with flight test validation at GE Aviation’s Flight Test Operations centre in Victorville, California, USA, while the second phase of flight tests will be performed from the Airbus flight test facility in Toulouse, France, in the second half of the decade.

Apparently, the collaboration has extensive objectives which include:

evaluation of open fan propulsive efficiency and performance on an aircraftacceleration and maturity of technologies through ground testingassessment of aircraft/engine integration and aerodynamics (thrust, drag, loads) evaluation of internal and external noise levels, andfind the right design that meets both-the fuel efficiency and the acoustic targets (for the communities around airports and also for passengers inside the cabin)

However, the road to the final demonstration would involve an intensive phase of Engineering preparatory work.

We will first need to determine the flight physics constraints, design and assessments for the flight-test demonstration FTD engine installation. These will include: definition of the pylon ‘aero-lines’, assessment of loads, handling qualities and performance and preparation of modeling to support flight-test analysisPascal Arrouy, Airbus’ Open Fan Architect in the “Propulsion of Tomorrow” R&T programme explains

For these tests, the open fan engine will be mounted under the wing of a specially configured and instrumented A380 testbed aircraft. Various aircraft systems will also need to be modified and preparatory tests performed to ensure that the behaviour of the A380 flight test aircraft with an open fan engine installed can be well understood for flight clearance and data validity.


Between now and 2035, Airbus’ R&T is focused on testing various technologies to reduce aircraft emissions including alternative fuels with 100% SAF compatibility before 2030, hydrogen technologies and hybridization.

New propulsion technologies will play an important role in achieving aviation’s net-zero objectives, along with new aircraft designs and sustainable energy sources. By evaluating, maturing and validating open fan engine architecture using a dedicated flight test demonstrator, we are collaboratively making yet another significant contribution to the advancement of technology bricks that will enable us to reach our industry-wide decarbonisation targets said Sabine Klauke, Airbus Chief Technical Officer

Furthermore, Airbus is also committed to meeting the Paris Agreement targets and leading the decarbonisation of the aviation sector in full collaboration with all stakeholders – including engine manufacturers.


COVER: Flight Global

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Pratt & Whitney to launch India Engineering Center in Bengaluru

Radhika Bansal

19 Jul 2022

Aircraft engine maker Pratt & Whitney will set up a new facility in Bengaluru, which will focus on providing contract engineering services. The India Engineering Center (IEC) in Bengaluru is slated to commence operation in January next year, Pratt & Whitney (P&W) said in a statement.

The centre, which will be its first facility in the Asia Pacific and fifth globally, will enable the firm to offer engineering services on contract to its domestic and international customers.

“Pratt & Whitney’s India Engineering Center will be the first-of-its-kind investment for our company in India. The IEC will help Pratt & Whitney leverage the engineering skills our future Indian workforce will deliver, as Pratt & Whitney continues to advance the world’s only fielded geared turbofan and develop sustainable propulsion for the next generation of propulsion.”Geoff Hunt, Senior Vice President, Engineering, Pratt & Whitney

IEC will be co-located in Yelahanka, Bengaluru, with the existing Pratt & Whitney India Capability Centre (ICC) and will work closely with centres in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Poland.

The IEC, which is expected to employ 500 engineers and professionals when fully staffed, has begun recruiting its first tranche of engineers and professionals, P&W said.

The company further said that DJ Dalal and Rema Ravindran have been named as Pratt and Whitney's North American project director and general manager of the IEC, respectively.

Pratt & Whitney to launch India Engineering Center in Bengaluru

Established this year as part of United Technologies Corporation India Pvt Ltd (UTCIPL), the ICC at Yelahanka is a global supply chain support and operations center, employing around 200 workforces, as per the company.

Paul Weedon, executive director, Engineering, Pratt & Whitney Canada, has also welcomed the announcement and said that the IEC will allow them to synergize with existing Pratt & Whitney Operations' capabilities in India.

"Pratt & Whitney's growth in the country represents our strong ties and deep respect for the skills India offers, skills needed for the future of aviation," said Ashmita Sethi, managing director of UTCIPL.

Pratt & Whitney has had a long-standing presence in India for almost seven decades.

The company said it has made significant investments in India, which include investment in the company's India Customer Training Center in Hyderabad; the R&D collaboration with the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru; as well as the ICC.

Pratt & Whitney has had a long-standing presence in India for almost seven decades. Its association with the country goes back to 1960 when Air India received delivery of its first Boeing 707 powered by Pratt & Whitney's JT3D engines.

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Jet Airways nearing a deal to buy 50 A220 jets from Airbus

Radhika Bansal

19 Jul 2022

Jet Airways is near a deal to buy 50 A220 jets from Airbus, two people familiar with the matter said. The airline's board was expected to meet to finalise the deal.

"We are in an advanced stage of discussions with lessors and OEMs (manufacturers) for aircraft, and we will announce our aircraft choice and fleet plans as we make our decisions," a spokesperson for Jet Airways said.

"As we have said before, we are studying all possibilities to find the one that works best for us."Airbus declined to comment.

Jet Airways nearing a deal to buy 50 A220 jets from Airbus

ALSO READ – Jet Airways places Airbus in the lead for USD 5.5 billion aircraft order

The A320 and A220 jets seem to be winning the race to woo Jet at the moment, but reports suggest that a final decision has not been taken. For the longest time, it was assumed that Jet would continue with the 737 family of aircraft as it did in its first stint.

Jet Airways, formerly a significant player in the Indian aviation industry, has not operated since April 17, 2019, although it is being revived under the control of the Jalan-Kalrock consortium. The DGCA, the accrediting body for aviation safety, renewed its air operator licence earlier this year.

Currently, the airline has six jets in its inventory – two Airbus A330-200s, three Boeing 737-800, and one 737-900

ALSO READ - Jet Airways to lease 6-8 aircraft by December; in talks with aircraft manufacturers and lessors

Currently, the airline has six jets in its inventory – two Airbus A330-200, three Boeing 737-800, and one 737-900, with an average fleet age of 16 years; though an extensive expansion is required if it plans to rebuild its previous network.

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Is China teasing the US with its "undercover" Stealth Bomber?


19 Jul 2022

America’s Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit is the only operational stealth bomber in the world today after having entered operational service in 1997. Well, if reports are to be believed, China too, is working on a new stealth strategic bomber, details of which aren't known much due to its classified nature.

Reportedly, China’s first intercontinental deep strike bomber, the Xian H-20, is nearing its first flight and if true, would be the world’s first publicly disclosed non-American stealth bomber ever to fly.

The Xian H-20 is touted to be nuclear-capable and may be armed with conventional, nuclear-tipped or hypersonic stealth cruise missiles, thereby sending a strong message to the United States and its Pacific allies in an era of rising geostrategic tensions.

Business Insider

Stealth fighters like the F-35, F-22, J-20, or Su-57 are all limited by the physical requirements for aerobatic fighter performance, forcing the inclusion of design elements like vertical tail surfaces that can render them detectable against low-frequency radar arrays. What's special about a stealth bomber is that it may fly over you and you may not even realize it.

Will China's H-20 be the one to kill America's monopoly on heavy-payload, deep-penetration, stealth-bomber technology or is this just another rip-off from America’s low-observable past?

According to photos released by China North Industries Corporation- Norinco, in its Modern Weaponry monthly magazine show that the fighter has a flying wing design, a weapons bay, two adjustable tail wings and a frontal airborne radar. Additionally, it also features stealth air intakes on both sides and is covered in dark grey radar-absorbent material.

Representative | Science Techniz

Reportedly, it will have a maximum takeoff weight of 200 tons, a payload of 45 tons and fly at high subsonic speeds with a claimed range of 7,500 miles without the need for aerial refuelling.

According to Warrior Maven's Kris Osborn, it could be compared to a B-2 clone.

Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit | Wikipedia

It features a similar rounded upper fuselage, blended wing body, curved upper air inlets and essentially no vertical structures. There appears to be a fair amount of evidence, simply available to the naked eye, to demonstrate China’s overt ‘copycat’ maneuverOsborn wrote

According to Defence Website 1945, China aims to have the H-20 at operational capability by the end of the decade, which also happens to be pretty close to the US’ timeline for its B-21 Raider- the successor to the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber.

Interestingly, this concept of stealth bomber can also be compared to the Tupolev PAK DA of a similar role, configuration and era.

Tupolev PAK DA |

In 2018 China seemingly confirmed that its forthcoming H-20 stealth bomber would leverage a flying wing design reminiscent of America’s own B-2 Spirit.

Northrop’s B-21 teaser top, China’s H-20 teaser bottom |

Reportedly, The Pentagon believes the H-20’s range is “at least” 5,281 miles, as compared to the B-2’s nearly 7,000. The mainland United States is more than 7,200 miles from Chinese shores and the presence of refuelling tankers over the Pacific could potentially tip American defences off about an impending strike.

Although China has made rapid progress modernizing its military apparatus, it does not appear to have demonstrated the same capacity that the United States has for fielding extremely low observable platforms.


COVER: The Week

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Israeli Airlines plans to expand routes to India and other Asian destinations

Radhika Bansal

19 Jul 2022

Israeli airlines plan to expand and open new routes to India and other Asian destinations after Saudi Arabia announced it would allow unfettered access to its airspace, a move that would save fuel costs and reduce flight times.

In the absence of open relations between the countries, however, and given talks on including Oman in the expanded corridor, Israeli Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli said implementation could take several weeks at least.

Before Riyadh's announcement, Israeli airlines could overfly Saudi territory to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain only. Dropping restrictions on access to Saudi airspace means they will be able to use it to reach Asia too.

Israeli Airlines plans to expand routes to India and other Asian destinations

Both flag carrier El Al Israel Airlines and smaller rival Arkia have already applied for permission to fly over Saudi Arabia which would cut about 2-1/2 hours from flights to India and Thailand. Present routes to those popular destinations bypass Saudi airspace by flying south over the Red Sea around Yemen.

The United States has been meditating on the expanded overflights, which Michaeli said would eventually entail direct coordination between Israeli and Saudi civil aviation agencies - even though Riyadh has yet to formally recognise Israel.

"It's a better situation than full alienation and zero communication. So whatever we can achieve, we should go for it and work toward building more and more of a relationship and more and more trust.I'm sure it will be worked out again, just to sort of refresh this agreement. But again, this is one of the details that's being worked out and we need to be cautious about it and wait and see until it happens."Merav Michaeli, Israeli Transportation Minister

Asked when the expanded Saudi corridor will be implemented, she said: "Your guess is as good as mine. I hope it's not months, but weeks."

Asia-bound Israeli planes crossing Saudi would want to skirt Iran by continuing into the airspace of Oman - which, Michaeli said, gave initial approval for Israeli overflights in 2018. Faster, more direct routes would also mean lower fuel burn.

This in turn would help efficiency for El Al by allowing it to use smaller aircraft on its route to Mumbai while saving fuel on its nearly daily flights to Thailand, said Shlomi Am Shalom, an El Al official.

Both flag carrier El Al Israel Airlines and smaller rival Arkia have already applied for permission to fly over Saudi Arabia which would cut about 2-1/2 hours from flights to India and Thailand.

"We can take a big airplane and use it in other places like Australia and Japan," he said, adding flying to Melbourne and Tokyo was still in the planning stages.

Similarly, Arkia said it planned to start flights to Goa, India, in November and was considering new destinations such as Thailand and Sri Lanka using Airbus A321neoLR aircraft.

Israel's Tourism Ministry has said the expanded Saudi corridor would eventually make airline tickets some 20% cheaper. The airlines, however, have been less explicit about a price drop.

Air India is also set to increase capacity between India and Israel from August with the start of two new routes to Tel Aviv.

An Israeli official said he expected members of the country's Muslim minority to be able to fly directly to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage by next year.

ALSO READ - Air India plans to expand capacity between India and Israel

Air India is also set to increase capacity between India and Israel from August with the start of two new routes to Tel Aviv. The carrier has scheduled the launch of flights to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion (TLV) from both Bengaluru (BLR) and Mumbai (BOM). The airline already flies to the city from Delhi (DEL).

(With Inputs from Reuters)

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IndiGo not following upkeep procedures, staff tells Airbus

Jinen Gada

18 Jul 2022

A letter was written to the aircraft manufacturer Airbus by IndiGo technicians complaining that the airline is not following standard maintenance procedures leading to risking passengers' safety.

They said the technical staff has been on a strike for a couple of days and the airline is operating flights without proper maintenance.

The letter written by the All-India Aircraft Technicians on July 12 asked Airbus to intervene to avoid any untoward incidents with aircraft supplied by the manufacturer.

IndiGo not following proper maintenance procedures.

Calling the allegation baseless, IndiGo said, “IndiGo follows the highest standards of aircraft maintenance and adheres to all regulatory norms. Such allegations are completely baseless and are being spread with malicious intent.”

"I request you to kindly intervene in this matter and ask the operators to share maintenance data of the past seven days.We have a fleet of over 280 aircraft with high operational availability, making it one of the safest airlines in the world. We are committed to providing an on-time, affordable, safe and a courteous and hassle-free service to all our customers."Letter written to Airbus

The technicians said in the letter that “... the operators to whom you have leased your aircraft are not following the standard procedure of maintenance. For the past four days, technical staff are on strike and still they are flying the aircraft without proper maintenance and even they are deferring the scheduled maintenance”.

When contacted, an Airbus spokesperson said, “We do not comment on the operations of our customers.”

IndiGo’s technicians protest against low salaries and go on sick leave.

A day after this letter, IndiGo terminated the services of a few technicians who participated in the strike. However, it is unclear if they were terminated due to the letter. The strike was called in protest against lower pay. Several aircraft technicians reported being sick and skipping work to press for salary hikes.

ALSO READ - IndiGo initiates disciplinary action after several technicians call in sick

The technicians pointed out that improper maintenance can have a major impact and cause serious damage to Airbus’s image in the international market.

Naming a couple of airline officials who allegedly are responsible for the situation, the technicians said, “They have downgraded the maintenance standards of your aircraft. You can directly question them for improper handling of aircraft.”

A day after this letter, IndiGo terminated the services of a few technicians who participated in the strike.

An official of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) told that the situation had improved as they had conducted checks.

Confirming this, Arun Kumar, director general, DGCA, said, “We have carried out spot checks to ascertain and have found things in order. The issue stands resolved and the operations normal.”

Very few technicians reported for the night shift at the Delhi and Hyderabad airports. A week before that, the budget carrier’s flight operations were hit by en masse leave when employees opted to appear for walk-in recruitment interviews at rival Air India.