Pontifications: Final Farnborough forecast

Special Sunday edition of Pontifications.

By Scott Hamilton

July 15, 2018, © Leeham News: The Farnborough Air Show officially starts tomorrow, when airframers begin their public relations presentations and orders are announced.

As this is written on July 13, I’m doing a final update of what to expect from the show. It’s always risky making predictions. If they are overly optimistic or pessimistic, the predictor can look foolish.

But here goes.

LNC took its first forecast look June 25.

Read more

Pontifications: The Odyssey of VMF-422

By Scott Hamilton

July 9, 2018, © Leeham News: With the Farnborough Air Show just around the corner, and the inevitable tsunami of news that will be forthcoming, I’m taking a break this week to do one of my periodic book reviews.

The Marines’ Lost Squadron, The Odyssey of VMF-422 by aviation writer Mark Carlson (Sunbury Press, US$19.95) investigates the loss of 22 Vought Corsairs on a repositioning flight in the South Pacific in World War II.

Dubbed the Flintlock Disaster—the incident occurred in the runup to Operation Flintlock, the invasion of the Marshall Islands—six Marines perished when the squadron flew into a typhoon. Fifteen pilots ditched and were rescued after four days adrift in rafts. Only one pilot flew through the storm to his destination.

Read more

Pontifications: C Series to Airbus, 10 years since program launch, lower fuel burn

By Scott Hamilton

July 2, 2018, © Leeham News: Airbus officially became the majority partner yesterday of the C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership, or CSALP.

Airbus has a 50.01% stake in the LP, with Bombardier and the province of Quebec holding minority stakes.

Things will move quickly, now that Airbus has control.

Airbus is expected to announce a rebranding of the C Series at its July 10 pre-Farnborough Air Show media briefing. An aircraft is in the process of being repainted in Airbus colors for display at the event.

Bloomberg reported in April new names were to be assigned to the CS100 and CS300, probably the A210 and A230 respectively.

Construction of the new C Series Final Assembly Line in Mobile (AL) will begin sooner than expected. This was announced at the Inaugural Southeast Aerospace & Defence Conference in Mobile, organized by Leeham Co. and Airfinance Journal.

Read more

Pontifications: Growing aerospace in the US Southeast

By Scott Hamilton

June 24, 2018, © Leeham News: We’re a week away from the partnership between Airbus and the Bombardier C Series program becoming effective.

Beginning tomorrow, Leeham Co. and Airfinance Journal hold the Inaugural Southeast Aerospace & Defence Conference in Mobile (AL), where Bombardier will be a C Series Final Assembly Line.

The US Southeast will also be a competitor for the site selection of the FAL for the New Midmarket Aircraft (NMA) should Boeing decide, probably next year, to proceed with this new airplane.

Read more

Pontifications: Why Embraer downplayed range of EJet

By Scott Hamilton

June 18, 2018, © Leeham News: Bjorn Fehrm on Thursday wrote (behind the paywall) that Embraer seems to be selling the E190-E2 short when it comes to range.

Embraer’s published range is 2,850nm. But Bjorn discovered that the range is truly 3,250nm, fully 14% more than the advertised range.

I laughed out loud when Bjorn told me of this discrepancy.

Why would Embraer short-change the E190-E2’s range?

The answer was obvious to me.

Read more

Pontifications: Photo essay

By Scott Hamilton

June 11, 2018, (c) Leeham News: In a change of pace, here are a number of photos gathered from recent visits to museums in the US and Canada.

Lockheed L-1049 Constellation of the Airline History Museum of Kansas City Downtown Airport, Photo by Scott Hamilton.

The Lockheed L-1049 Constellation of the Airline History Museum in Kansas City is labeled the Super G, but it actually is an H model, delivered as a passenger/freighter. It was restored to G markings in TWA colors. The airplane was airworthy until 2007, when an engine fire prompted the museum to park the airplane. AHM hopes to restore the airplane to flying operation.

Read more

Pontifications: Lufthansa is sabotaging history

By Scott Hamilton

June 4, 2018, © Leeham News: I never thought I would find myself writing something like this.

Lufthansa Airlines is sabotaging history and its own airplane restoration project.

Lufthansa, the airline that honors its history with the airworthy Junkers JU-52, flying it around Europe garnering millions of Euros of publicity in the process.

Lufthansa was one of the few airlines to fly the Lockheed L-1649 Starliner Constellation. Only 44 were built.

Lufthansa, which agreed to restore one of just 44 Lockheed L-1649 Starliners to full LH colors and make it flyable.

The engines have been run up. The airplane was assembled. First flights were planned for next year.

And now, Lufthansa is pulling the plug.

Despite media inquiries and questions from leaders of the project, Lufthansa hasn’t said why it is shutting down the effort to create an airworthy airplane.

Read more

Pontifications: Honoring John McCain

By Scott Hamilton

May 28, 2018, © Leeham News: Today is Memorial Day in the USA, the holiday which honors US Armed Forces who died in active military service.

It seems fitting today to think about US Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who is dying of the same brain cancer that took the life of Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Read more

Pontifications: An in-depth assessment that people matter at Airbus

By Scott Hamilton

May 21, 2018, © Leeham News: In February, consultant Richard Aboulafia colorfully said Airbus was plagued by “decapitation” of its executive ranks as retirements and resignations came one after another after another.

In April, LNC raised the prospect of déjà vu all over again, discussing the Airbus departures and product turmoil beginning in 2016, recalling another one 2006 and comparing it with Boeing’s era of upheaval from 2007.

Last week, industry leader Steve Udvar-Hazy remarked at the 38th annual Airfinance Journal conference in Miami that “Airbus has its hands full with senior management leaving. Airbus has got to refocus to maintain market share.”

One day later, Carter Copeland of the Melius Research firm published a note devoted to the upheaval at Airbus.

I found the note to be of particular interest.

With Copeland’s permission, the entire note is reprinted below.

Read more

Pontifications: Engine problems are getting worse

By Scott Hamilton

May 14, 2018, © Leeham News: The engine problems are getting worse.

These have moved beyond the technical issues with the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000, GE Aviation GEnx, Pratt & Whitney GTF and CFM56.

The problems are trickling down to the maintenance, repair and overhaul shops.

LNC previously touched on the back-up in MRO shops due to the RR Trent 1000 problems, affecting even Trent 700 (Airbus A330) MRO scheduling. We’ve also reported the knock-on effect of the GTF MRO on other engine shop visits.

The mandated-inspections of CFM56 fan blades in the wake of the Southwest Airlines accident last month inundated MRO shops with unexpected visits.

Now, a European appraisal company forecasts that the “bow wave” of CFM56 shop visits will create a crisis for spare engines and parts.

Read more