Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of airliner development. Part 26. Maintenance planning

By Bjorn Fehrm, Henry Tam, and Andrew Telesca.

October 22, 2021, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we looked into Continued Operational Safety and there specifically Safety Monitoring and Reporting. Now we look at the role Instructions for Continued Airworthiness (ICAs) play in preventing the air safety issues we talked about last week.

An important part of the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness, ICA, is how to maintain the aircraft in a continued airworthy state during its operational life. The aircraft is airworthy when it rolls out of the factory but it needs to keep this condition for its 25 years or longer productive life. How this is done is contained in the maintenance documents, but there is more to it than just producing a maintenance manual. 

Figure 1. The Aircraft Maintenance Manual (AMM) for the Boeing 747, part of ICA for the 747. Source: Boeing.

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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of airliner development. Part 25. Safety monitoring and reporting

By Bjorn Fehrm, Henry Tam, and Andrew Telesca

October 15, 2021, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we introduced the activities around Continued Airworthiness that we have to do during development and flight testing of our aircraft.

As described, the majority of accidents for aircraft are attributed to failings in Continued Airworthiness and Operations rather than design. We listed Continued Operational Safety, Operational Preparedness, and Service Readiness as the three important areas for Continued Airworthiness. 

We dive into Continued Operational Safety first, specifically Safety Monitoring and Reporting.

Figure 1. A graph showing how an OEM and FAA surveys the operation of an aircraft and takes action. Source: Boeing.

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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of airliner development. Part 24. Parallel Activities

By Bjorn Fehrm, Henry Tam, and Andrew Telesca

October 8, 2021, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we described how we conduct the Certification Flight Test together with the Regulator.

Before we describe our path to completion of our flight test program, we need to pause for a minute and discuss some of the other parallel activities that need to come together prior to issues of Type Certificate and roll out of production aircraft. 

In article 3 you’ll recall we reviewed the breadth of regulatory involvement in aircraft development. While the work on the design and initial airworthiness (on the left in the chart below) is critical, it’s not the only set of rules we need to be working with if we want to achieve a successful Entry Into Service (EIS) of the aircraft.

In Part 21 of our series we already discussed the preparation of the production system. In the next few articles, we’ll be discussing three additional areas of work that we’re engaged in that must all come together at the program’s completion:

Figure 1. The Wymann Shell FAR Chart explains how 14 CFR Parts relate to each other. Source: FAA. Click to read easier.

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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of airliner development. Part 23. Certification Flight tests

By Bjorn Fehrm, Henry Tam, and Andrew Telesca.

October 1, 2021, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we described how we produced our Flight Test Articles, FTAs, and how the company flight tests are made.

Now we have finished the Company flight tests and made any modifications required to the FTAs so we can apply for Certification Flight tests with the regulator.

Figure 1. VMU flight test with the Airbus A350. Source: Airbus video.

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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of airliner development. Part 22. Flight tests

By Bjorn Fehrm, Henry Tam, and Andrew Telesca.

September 24, 2021, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we looked at the necessary Production Certificate for the production of our airplanes.

Now our program plan has approached the mid-phase of the Post-Launch phase. We start assembling our test aircraft to get to flight tests.

Figure 1. The program plan for our project. Source: Leeham Co. Click to see better.

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Airbus presents their CityAirbus UAM

By Bjorn Fehrm

September 21, 2021, ©. Leeham News: Airbus helicopter division presented their entry for the UAM market today at the Airbus 2021 Summit in Toulouse.

It was a presentation of a vehicle and ecosystem that has been cooking for years. After two demonstrators that tested different aspects of eVTOL flight and thousand of hours on supercomputers and in wind tunnels, the final CityAirbus is here, Figure 1.

Its configuration is as unique as Airbus’ approach when presenting it.

Figure 1. Airbus UAM entry, the CityAirbus. Source: Airbus.

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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of airliner development. Part 21. Production Certificate

By Bjorn Fehrm, Henry Tam, and Andrew Telesca.

September 17, 2021, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we looked at the Production facilities and tooling. In order to bring in revenue, we need to deliver aircraft. 

But to have the right to deliver aircraft we need a Production Certificate in addition to our Type Certificate for the design.  We need to start the work to get a Production Certificate well before we flight test the aircraft and complete the type certification work, Figure 1.

Figure 1. The program plan for our project. Source: Leeham Co.

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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of airliner development. Part 19. Test rigs for ground and air use

By Bjorn Fehrm, Henry Tam, and Andrew Telesca

September 3, 2021, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we looked at the Certification Compliance Planning we do concurrently with Detailed Design, Figure 1.

It’s now time for us to work on our Test rigs and systems for ground and flight testing. We need to get these defined before we freeze the aircraft’s configuration and start making our flight test aircraft.

Figure 1. The program plan for our project. Source: Leeham Co.

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Sustainable Aero Lab disqualifies “Greenwash” investments

By Bjorn Fehrm

August 25, 2021, ©. Leeham News: Times change and the use of words with it. Today, the hundreds of UAM Air Taxi projects talk about how “environmentally friendly” this mode of transportation is, and Boom’s Overture is “the most Sustainable supersonic airliner.” The aerospace media recently focused on how we now have “Space Travel for everyone (in possession of the necessary pocket change).”

The head of Sustainable Aero Lab, Stephan Uhrenbacher, disqualifies these investments in a study on where to invest in fixing air transport’s pressing problems: “The startups receiving the most attention in aerospace recently have been doing space travel and urban air taxis. While these products make for exiting flying objects and satisfy human desire, neither air taxis nor putting more people in space address the problem facing commercial aviation: Flying needs to become carbon-free. And this needs to happen much faster than most people in the industry believe. It opens room for startups to provide components for future aircraft or even entire planes, but also new modes of operation.”

Figure 1. The promising Sustainable Aviation startups. Source: Sustainable Aero Lab.

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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of airliner development. Part 16. Post Launch.

By Bjorn Fehrm, Henry Tam, and Andrew Telesca.

August 13, 2021, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we went through the Certification Application, one of the most important milestones in the Pre-Launch phase.

Now we assume we got a Product Launch approval from our board/Investors. We start looking at the work packages that meet us in the Post Launch phase.

Figure 1. The Program Plan for our Green 19 seater. Source: Leeham Co. Click to see in full scale.

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