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Sunseeker Duo First Passenger Flight

By | AVIATION NEWS, INTERNATIONAL NEWS | No Comments

On May The Solar Powered Sun Seeker took flight for the first time with two people onboard.

Eric and Irena Raymond where the Pilots of the Solar Plane.

The Sunseeker’s accomplishment may not seem as impressive as, say, the Solar Impulse crew’s plan to circumnavigate the globe using nothing but wind currents and solar power – or, even its test flight from San Fran to Phoenix – but it’s a huge step forward in the Raymonds’ plans to bring solar-powered electric aircraft to the recreational airplane market.

You’ll be able to see more solar plane goodness at Osh Kosh in July. Until then, you can see more of the Sunseeker Duo at Gizmag’s photo gallery, via the link, below. Enjoy!

Sun Seeker Duo Photos

sunseeker_duo-Solar-flight-propeller sunseeker-Duo-solar-plane-cockpit sunseeker-solar-plane-flight

Automated assembly of aircraft wings

By | INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Even today, aircraft wings are still assembled manually; but this process could soon be automated thanks to a novel snake-like robot capable of tightening bolts in even the most difficult-to-access cavities of the wing structure.

The volume of air traffic has soared in the past few decades, and aircraft manufacturer Airbus expects to see this figure triple by 2030. On a single day, more than 1,300 take-offs and landings are handled by the flight tower at Frankfurt’s international airport. This represents no less than 155,000 passengers who pass through this airport each day. To provide sufficient planes to cover this need for air transportation capacity, aircraft manufacturers will have to modernize their production processes.

Until now, aircraft assembly has involved a high proportion of manual processes, which limits production output. These processes must be automated to increase the rate of production. In certain cases this can be achieved easily, but wing assembly remains a major challenge. Why is this so? The main reason lies in the complicated internal structure of the wings, which consist of a series of hollow chambers. The only access to this space is through narrow hatches with a length of 45 centimeters and a width of 25 centimeters; this makes it extremely difficult for assembly workers to climb through these openings in order to fit the bolts that hold the parts together and seal the joints. This drilling and sealing operation has to be repeated around 3,000 times for each wingbox. This is time-consuming work that demands intensive physical effort that quickly leads to fatigue, not to mention the health risks resulting from the volatile organic compounds released by the sealing materials.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-04-automated-aircraft-wings.html#jCp

Social Flight: Pencil Me In

By | INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Pilots are social creatures. If somebody’s listening, we aviators are happy to talk about our aerial adventures, and we love to spend time with other pilots, obsessing over modifications, the latest cockpit goodies or comparing notes on techniques and procedures.

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Air India to sell three Boeing 777 aircraft

By | LOCAL NEWS

Air India plans to sell three of its Boeing 777s for mopping up resources to stem its liabilities, according to sources, barely four months after selling five of these planes to Gulf carrier Etihad Airways.

The airline offered three Boeing 777-200 Long Range airplanes, powered with GE 90-110 engines, for outright sale through competitive global bidding, Air India sources said a day after a meeting of its board in New Delhi.

The long-haul global routes flown by these aircraft would now be gradually replaced by Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which Air India is inducting at a steady pace. 13 of the 27 Dreamliners the airline has ordered have already joined the fleet.

The sale of five B-777s to Etihad in December last year was estimated to fetch over $335 million (Rs. 2,070 crore at 1 dollar = 61.8 rupees), which Air India plans to use to pay off its outstanding debt.

The three B-777s being sold now have a seat capacity of 238, including eight First Class and 35 Business Class seats.

While the commercial bids for these three five-year-old planes would be opened on May 13, the technical bids would be opened at a later date, the sources said.

As part of its turnaround plan, Air India is inducting the Dreamliners and going for a sale and leaseback arrangement to affect major savings. Under such an arrangement, the seller of an asset leases it back from the purchaser for a long-term and continues to use it.

The airline estimates it could raise about $840 million by selling seven Dreamliners and leasing them back. The money earned through the leaseback arrangement would be used to pay off the bridge loans taken against these aircraft.