Paris Air Show news begins from Sunday; some details on EMB revamp emerge

The Paris Air Show doesn’t start until tomorrow, but news is already being made. A sampling:


Airbus battles for supremacy in twin-aisle sector

Hundreds of orders seen this week

Airbus seen pulling ahead in easyJet race


787 issues just a spot of turbulence

China set to become world’s third aircraft maker

GE pushes envelope with GE9X for 777X

Unrelated to the show: SC ponies up even more money. Washington State needs to do something to remain competitive. Washington has this presence at the Air Show.


Size matters, in reverse

First flight prep and FTV 2 progress

Expectations at the air show


Revamped E-Jet launch at the air show

Following the Paris Air Show by @jetcitystar

Isaac Alexander (@jetcitystar on Twitter) provided us with the following so you can follow the latest at next week’s Paris Air Show. He has his own blog with an addiutional list of companies.

From Isaac: Here is a list of micro-news sites for the 2013 Paris Air Show. This will be the 50th edition of the event. If you know of a company or press website that is not listed below, please contact me by Twitter at @JetCityStar, or by email at  This page will be continually updated during the event. 



Aero Society

AIN Online

Air Recognition

Air Recognition Video

Air Transport World

Aviation Week

Avionics Intelligence


Breaking Defense



Defense News

Economic Times

EIN Newsdesk

First Post

Flight Global

Fly Corporate




NY Times

Paris Air Show News

Shephard News

Take-Off Magazine

Wall Street Journal





ATR Aircraft

BAE Systems





Crane Aerospace & Electronics


GE Aviation



Lockheed Martin

Pratt & Whitney

Rockwell Collins




Odds and Ends: FAA 787 approval could come next week; Ode to an engineer

FAA 787 approval could come next week: Reuters reports that the Federal Aviation Administration could provide a key approval next week that will open the way to the final documentation required to lift the grounding of the Boeing 787. Meantime, and unrelated to the woes of the 787, the FAA has certified the latest performance improvement package for the 787′s GEnx engines.

Ode to a Boeing engineer: Brier Dudley of The Seattle Times has this tribute to a talented Boeing engineer. Then a day later this story of Ken Holtby, another key Boeing engineer, appeared.

Tired of kerosene smell ingested into the cabin on start-up? Hope for this

In the November election, Washington State and Colorado voters approved recreational use of marijuana. As anyone who ever tried MJ knows (except a certain former President, who says he didn’t inhale), MJ has a sweet odor that is very distinctive.

Who has flown an airplane and hasn’t smelled that pungent odor of jet fuel being sucked into the cabin now and then during push-back and start-up (except maybe that former President, if he didn’t inhale then, either)?

Ballard Biofuel in Seattle may have the answer. Let’s all inhale.

Embraer selects PW GTF for E-Jet RE; concept clarity comes at last

It’s official: Embraer selected the PW GTF to re-engine the E-175, E-190 and E-195.

In doing so, it looks like the E-170 will be allowed to wither on the vine.

This is a huge win for PW and setbacks for Rolls-Royce, which sorely wanted to win the E-Jet RE for its Advance 2 RR development; and for GE, the incumbent supplier of the CF34 and which was developing the Next Generation variant for the E-Jet.


It’s yet another validation for the GTF. Versions of this engine will power the Mitsubishi MRJ, the Bombardier CSeries, the Irkut MS-21, the Airbus A320neo family and now the E-Jet RE.

It’s a huge comeback for PW, which made a major strategic error in not competing to power the Boeing 737 300/400/500. Boeing continues to use the GE/CFM LEAP engine as its sole-source supply for the 737 MAX, though Boeing seriously evaluated the GTF as well.

Below is EMB’s press release:

Embraer Selects Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower Engines for Second Generation of E-Jets

São José dos Campos, January 8, 2013 – Embraer SA (NYSE: ERJ; BM&FBOVESPA: EMBR3) announced today that Pratt & Whitney´s PurePower® Geared TurbofanTM engines have been selected for its future, second generation of E-Jets, with entry into service planned for 2018. The decision is an important milestone in the program, which is expected to be officially launched later this year.

The new engines – the PW1700G and PW1900G – range in thrust from 15,000 to 22,000 pounds. In combination with new aerodynamically advanced wings, state-of-the-art full fly-by-wire flight controls and other systems evolutions, they will result in double digit improvements in fuel burn, maintenance costs, emissions and external noise.

“We are very happy to expand our partnership with Pratt & Whitney, keeping the E-Jets family as the best solution for our customers, today and in the future”, said Frederico Fleury Curado, President & CEO of Embraer. “The PurePower GTF engines are a great fit to the next generation of our E-Jets and we look forward to another long lasting and successful program with Pratt & Whitney”.

“We are proud that Embraer has recognized the unmatched value of the PurePower engine, and we are committed to supporting a successful launch of the new E-Jet aircraft family,” said Pratt & Whitney President David Hess. “To date, Pratt & Whitney has completed more than 4,200 hours and 12,400 cycles of full engine testing for the PurePower engine family, demonstrating the benefits and reliability of the engine architecture.” Pratt & Whitney is a division of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).

The second generation of E-Jets will be a significant step in Embraer´s commitment to continuously invest in this line of commercial jets, complementing a series of ongoing improvements currently being implemented in the existing family, with great benefits to its customers. Embraer´s objective is to offer the best product and maintain its leadership in the 70 to 120 seat market.

Air France A350 contract stalled; here’s the way forward

Bloomberg News has this report that the Air France-KLM talks for 25 Airbus A350s remain stalled over the long-running dispute between the company and Rolls-Royce over AF’s desire to overhaul the Trent XWB engines.

The Air France-KLM group offers its own maintenance, repair and overhaul services and wants the ability to provide MRO to others as well as perform the work itself.

Engine suppliers are loath to grant MRO rights to others. Engines are often sold at deep discounts, and in extreme cases, even given to airlines in exchange for the exclusive parts and MRO contracts. This is where the engine makers truly make their profits.

Rolls-Royce is known to be particularly hard-nosed in this regard.

So how will the log-jam be broken?

Rolls wants Air France to order the Trent 1000 for the 25 Boeing 787 orders announced last year. Given the long relationship between Air France and GE, the supplier on AF’s current fleet of a variety of aircraft, this will be a tough pill to swallow. But don’t count it out.

Cash cows at Airbus and Boeing

Eyes are on Boeing over the prospect of a 777X.

Chatter doesn’t cease about the prospect of an Airbus A330neo.

Boeing is in no hurry to proceed with the “7X” and an A330neo is unlikely any time soon, if at all.

Here’s why.

Continue reading

Farnborough Air Show preview


This is really expected to be a boring show from the perspective of orders. Airbus has been downplaying expectations following last year’s Paris Air Show blow-out of more than 1,200 A320neo orders. How can you match that? The answer is, Airbus can’t.

Boeing will certainly firm up hundreds of 737 MAX commitments, so this will be Boeing’s show. And there is the buzz that Boeing is partnering with Lockheed Martin and NASA (oh, another government subsidy?) to produce a 2,500 mph SST, with details supposed to come at the Air Show. Then there is the leak that the 787 will fly there, the first time in 28 years Boeing has an aerial flying display.

We’ve talked with several journalists and industry personnel who are skipping the Air Show this year. So are we, and we’ve been at the Farnborough and Paris air shows since 2008. We just don’t expect enough news this year that we can’t get from the press releases.

So here are our expectations for the show:

Continue reading

787 fuel burn, GEnx and how it relates to LEAP-1B

787 fuel burn: Aviation Week has this story about the early fuel burn results for the Boeing 787 beating expectations (which admittedly were tamped down because of the program difficulties). Some of this has been reported before. What caught our eye was the detail about the GEnx engine. Why? Because the CFM LEAP-1B derives much of its technology from the GEnx, including the higher temperatures fleetingly referenced in the AvWeek piece.

CFM is relying on high temperatures to achieve the fuel burn required by Boeing’s 737 MAX. This is hotly debated (pun intended) between CFM and Pratt & Whitney in the competition between the LEAP and the PW GTF.

CFM advocates that its hotter-running engine, equipped with advanced technology ceramics and other advanced materials, gives it the advantage over PW’s Geared Turbo Fan technology. PW argues that the hotter CFM engine will require more maintenance. Engineers that we ask generally agree that the hotter temperature approach will be a challenge for long-term maintenance but fall back on CFM’s sterling reputation of reliability as a measure of comfort. At the same time, these same engineers–who have no connection to either CFM or PW–like the GTF technology but want to see it proved in service.

Steven Udvar-Hazy said it best. It will be five to seven years after the engines are in service before the industry knows the reliability and performance of either engine’s advanced technology.

Southwest press conference on 737 MAX order

Southwest Airlines held a web press conference (with written question submissions the staff can screen in advance–bad idea) on its new 737 MAX order. Here are highlights:

Gary Kelly, CEO

  • Only four 737 MAX delivered in 2017. Just 15 the following year. (From press release.)
  • Christmas came early to Southwest. [Last time Kelly said that was when he proposed moving from Sea-Tac to Boeing Field in Seattle. Got his head handed to him in the local opposition. Editor.]
  • We have seen tremendous advances with technology.
  • COO Mike Van der Ven led effort.
  • This is coming at just the right time. One of the main challenges we face are high fuel costs. We are very much in need of new technology to reduce the fuel burn and reduce environmental impact.
  • This supports our financial strategy.
  • Commonality major point.

Jim Albaugh, CEO of BCA.

  • [Albaugh looks a lot happier at this press conference than he did at the American Airlines one.]
  • Southwest is a special customer and we have a special relationship.
  • This is the first definitive agreement we signed. Southwest will get airplane #1 when it rolls off the line in Renton.
  • [With Southwest getting only 4 airplanes in 2017, this suggests a late 2017 EIS.--Editor]
  • 948 commitments now, projects 1,400-1,500 by the end of next year.
  • I don’t have the real thing but I have a model for you and a video.
  • [Video shows MAX will winglets, not the oft-speculated raked wingtips.]
  • This is largest order in Boeing’s history.

Kevin McAllister, VP Sales and Marketing for GE, representing CFM.

  • Southwest formally launches the LEAP-1B.

Mike Van der Ven, COO.

  • This allows us to accelerate the retirement of older airplanes.
  • Have 150 options to expand as well.
  • Our choice guarantees WN a single fleet type well into the next decade.
  • 16-18% fuel burn improvement over 737 Classics.
  • We’ve been in conversations with Boeing for several years.
  • Efficiency improvements allow up to improve without complexity.
  • Compared with A320neo and both did the job but 737 MAX was our choice.
  • Cost is $1.2bn for all outstanding orders (including those existing before today). Per year.
  • Airplanes still being defined.
  • 717s in leases 2017-2020+ and will work to see what the alternatives are but will operate through lease terms if we have to.
  • Primary factors of fleet commonality and gauge of 737-8 (more seats), lighter airplane vs A320.
  • We like the GTF technology but this comes as a package and CFM has millions of flight hours behind it. GE and CFM have been very good in past in delivering products on time and meeting specifications.

Brian Hirshman, SVP Technology, WN

  • We did extensive analysis vs A320neo and felt 737 MAX better suited.
  • Plane works better at Chicago Midway Airport, among other issues.
  • MAX would have to fly the same mission as NG and are satisfied it would do that.
  • We wanted as much commonality as we can.

John Hamilton, Boeing 737 chief engineer.

  • The airplane is fairly well defined. Will reach final configuration in 2013. It’s well enough known that WN and Boeing had confidence to go forward at this time.
  • MAX will have capability to have increased payload-range vs NG.
  • Airport performance was important, especially at key airports.
  • We will make sure we get Southwest what it wants.
  • We both would have liked a new airplane, but when you look at lessons learned [from 787] it was more challenging to bring to market in the timeframe customers wanted.

Chaker Chahrour, EVP CFM

  • Core is optimized for MAX for best overall fuel burn.
  • We believe we have much more credible technology than GTF. We have tremendous amount of confidence in our technology and at the end of the day it will be the most economical.