Cargo leader’s son killed

According to this story, the son of Connie Kalitta was killed in a racing car accident.

Connie is the owner of cargo carrier Kalitta Air, a Boeing 747F operator. He also was a race car driver before retiring but continues to own a race car team.

Connie is well known in aviation circles. His Kalitta Air recently lost a 747-200F after the pilot aborted the take off following a bird strike or two that generated a compressor stall. There were no fatalities in that accident. Kalitta Air had 18 747s prior to the accident.

We’ve casually known Connie for years and express our thoughts to him and his family.

Tanker update, June 17

It’s Wednesday and we’re here in Washington, DC. Tomorrow is the deadline for the GAO to issue its decision in the Boeing protest over the USAF tanker contract to Northrop Grumman, but the buzz here is that the announcement could come between 430-500pm EDT today.

Meantime, there have been a number of stories on the tanker that may be found via Google News. This one in the Wall Street Journal is the most interesting, although it’s reporting something we exclusively wrote about months ago: that Boeing will be out of the tanker business for 20 years or more if it loses the USAF business, including its troubled international tanker program. This is the program begun with the orders by Japan and Italy for the KC-767. The two tankers delivered to Japan still aren’t in service, due to operational troubles, according to Northrop Grumman, which is tracking Boeing’s progress. Two other tankers for Japan haven’t been delivered and none of the Italian tankers have, either, which now three years late.

This story by George Talbot of the Mobile Press-Register gives a good wrap of the the issues, the GAO process and the “what’s next.” George also includes a comment from the USAF that it would like to boost production from the planned 12-18 tankers a year to 26. Perhaps this is floating the trial balloon along the lines of what we’ve been advocating: double production and split the buy. There simply are some missions for which the KC-767 will be better suited than the KC-30, and others for which the KC-30 is better than the KC-767.

Months ago we were told a story that the Air Force selected the KC-30 because it knew the ensuing controversy would erupt and this was the only way the Air Force figured it could get the appropriation in the amount needed to get a higher replacement rate. We were never able to confirm the story (one person we asked responded he didn’t believe the Air Force was that smart). So with this strong caveat, we throw this conspiracy theory out there.

NA KOA’s protest

We previously wrote about an obscure second protest over the tanker award by an obscure company called NA KOA (na-ko-a) (June 2 on our Corporate website). We don’t expect a decision on this protest today or tomorrow; the deadline listed on the GAO website for this one is in July.

New, 1125 AM EDT: The USAF redacted copy of its filing in the GAO protest is now available here. It’s 154 pages in a PDF file.

Airplane crossing

St. Maarten landing. Via Airliners.net

The landings at St. Maarten in the Caribbean are notorious for being close to the beach. This is the best photo we’ve ever seen of just how close.

Corporate Site update/wk May 21

Our Corporate website has been updated.

We have an interview with John Leahy, the COO of Airbus, from May 20 and a recap of Wednesday’s investors’ conference with Boeing. We also have some new stuff on the tanker that’s part of the Leahy PDF file.

Corporate website update wk/May 20

We’ll delay the update of our Corporate Website one day this week to May 21. Boeing’s investors’ day conference is Wednesday and we want to include reports from this in our bi-weekly update. Look for the Corporate Website update late Wednesday.

Embraer ponders new turbo-prop

In a sign of just how bad things are getting with fuel prices, Embraer is evaluating whether to launch a new 50-seat turbo-prop by 2015. This would challenge the derivatives offered by Bombardier on the Q400 and ATR’s new revamped series.

The AirInsight team of Addison Schonland and Scott Hamilton talk with Flight International’s Mary Kirby in this 13 minute podcast. (Subscription required.) We also discuss the P&W GTF and UDF potential.

The New Delta

Here’s an attractive suggestion for the New Delta, combining Northwest and Delta liveries. This comes from the Modified Airliners photos website, an enthusiast board for people who like to play with designing liveries.

Boeing Commercial plans for KC-767 protest rejection

Another in a series of cartoons from The Mobile Press-Register’s JD Crowe. The reference to flying tricycles is to a comment a Boeing official made about Northrop Grumman’s planned production model for the KC-30 was like building tricycles at Christmas.

Flight International reported today that Boeing may tap the 767-300ER to help fill the gap created by 787 delays. Writes Flight: “Boeing has yet to tell 787 customers exactly how their delivery schedules will be impacted by the latest delay, but it has floated the idea of producing brand new 767-300ERs to help fill the capacity gap.”

Boeing would gain the 767 capacity from the KC-767 program, which looks doubtful now that the Air Force has awarded the tanker contract to Northrop Grumman. Boeing protested the award, but has acknowledged the likelihood of prevailing is remote. Accordingly, supply-chain and production capacity that had essentially been reserved for the tanker could shift to the commercial 767-300ER.

Boeing should know by June 19 whether the protest will be upheld.

The company would not be able to boost the production all that much vis-a-vis 787 demand, and not immediately. The current production rate of the 767 is one a month; Boeing could double that, or go slightly more to perhaps an incremental 15 a year, or 24-27 a year, including current customers, but not before 2010. By then, Boeing originally planned to be delivering 120 787s a year.

Here’s a Boeing-oriented cartoon.

Boeing complains that a cost disadvantage is that it has to pay for health care costs while Airbus, which builds the A330 on which the KC-30 is based, is part of Europe’s social health care system and doesn’t have this burden. (One could argue the taxes paid by Airbus for the national health care system is their representative burden, but the point in the cartoon is on the mark nonetheless.)

A little humor in a humorless debate….

Northrop’s supplier distribution map.

Comment on the Delta-Northwest merger

The AirInsight team comments on the Delta-Northwest merger in this 11 minute podcast.

FedEx Service

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NahyfTAVNqk]