Nominated for Aerospace Journalist of the Year-2009 Awards

We were notified that we have been nominated for a Journalist of the Year Award for a 2008 piece we did for Aviation and the Environment magazine. The piece, Suddenly it’s very crowded out there, is about the proliferation of regional airliners.

The awards dinner will be Sunday before the Paris Air Show begins. There are 14 categories (our nomination was in Regional Aircraft). The full nomination list may be found here.

Among those nominated are journalists we know well: Jon Ostrower for his Flightblogger (three nominations); Geoff Thomas at Air Transport World; Aimee Turner, then of Flight International (now of Aviation Week); Jason Holland of Aviation and the Environment; Niall O’Keeffe of Airline Business/Flight International (two nominations); Mark Kirby of Airline Business; Guy Norris of Aviation Week (two nominations); and many others we don’t know.

A320 v 737

We’re back from two days at Airbus for its Innovation Days presentations, and the timing couldn’t have worked out better. Less than two weeks before we attended Boeing’s 737 enhancements day, followed by the 787 update day.

Both Airbus and Boeing events were highly informative. The 737 day announced things that we wrote about in December for Aviation and the Environment: an entirely new interior, based on 787 features; making standard Required Navigation Procedures (RNP) in the cockpit—80% of customers were already adding this as an option—and aerodynamic improvements that are intended to decrease drag and fuel consumption by 1%. Also announced was the next step in engine tweaks by CFM for the CFM 56-7B. This is project to provide for a 1% improvement in fuel burn.

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Enders on “internationalization”

Tom Enders, the CEO of Airbus, vowed to continue “internationalization” of its production while protecting intellectual property rights and avoiding Boeing’s mistakes with the 787 program.

Speaking to a small group of the 90 journalists attending the Airbus Innovation Days in Hamburg, Enders told us that the international plan is “strategic” and that Airbus “will do this in a responsible way.”

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Airbus sees recovery in 2010

Airbus officials see a recovery in the global economy and passenger traffic next year, they said this week at the Airbus Innovation Days in Hamburg.
We were among about 90 journalists to attend the event, formerly known as the Technical Briefing and held in Toulouse.

There was little new technically to talk about-after all, what else is there to say about the A380, A350 and A400M programs that isn’t well known? (Just a few things, which we’ll get to later.) So the news really came from non-technical items.

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Eco-Aviation Conference May 26

Air Transport World and Leeham Co. have organized the second USA Eco-Aviation Conference in Washington DC. More information may be found here.


Boeing production cut?

FlightGlobal reported yesterday (May 7) that supplier GKN’s CEO predicted Boeing will cut production next year of the 737 to 21 a month. This would be 32%, roughly in line with a forecast made in January by Steven Udvar-Hazy, CEO of mega-lessor ILFC. He also forecast Airbus will have to do likewise.

Most people scoffed at Hazy’s prediction, including many in Boeing and Airbus, who said Hazy was talking out of self-interest. Whether he was or wasn’t, Hazy has an uncanny knack of accurately predicting things. He also predicted that cancellations and deferrals will outpace orders and so far, he’s correct about that at Boeing and pretty close at Airbus.

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25 more 787s canceled

Boeing’s weekly orders update shows another 25 787s have been canceled, bringing the total net cancellations for this aircraft to 57 so far this year.

The latest customer is not identified.

Update, May 8: Our colleagues at FlightGlobal have the story of who the customer is (which is why we could not say, because of our affiliation with Flight’s Commercial Aviation Online, and we could not break the news ahead of them). We expect them to publish as early as today but more likely next week. Watch their website (or their premium affiliates or Flightblogger–we’re not sure just which entity will break the news).

As for us, we’ll be at Airbus in Europe next week getting briefings and talking with executives. Watch for periodic postings next week on no particular timetable.

Update, 9:25 AM: Flightblogger just posted.

Moving toward 787 first flight

A bit of a controversy arose this week when Bernstein Research published a report following the media briefing on the 787 program in which Bernstein predicted a delay for entry-into-service (EIS) from 1Q10 to 2Q10; a six month delay in going to production of 10 787s a month (from YE2012 to mid-year 2013); and a discussion that based on its interviews with customers and Tier 1 suppliers that early 787s will be 8% overweight (about 20,000 lbs) and 10%-15% short in range (about 6,900nm vs. 8,000nm).

Boeing disputed the overweight and range conclusions, saying that it was making progress in getting weight down and that range ought to be closer to 8,000nm than to the project 6,900nm.

We obtained a copy of the report and after a thorough reading conclude that the controversy is pretty much a tempest in a teapot. None of this is new news and furthermore, by the way Bernstein worded the report, there is plenty of room for interpretation.

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‘Office Pool’ on 787 first flight

Well, not really an office pool. Internet gambling is illegal in Washington State (another example of misplaced priorities, but we won’t start up again). So we’ll just do a poll.

More embarrassing non-action by WA

Update, May 5:

Seattle’s Technical Alliance said Washington State is dead last among 10 states it ranks for graduate programs in science and engineering. Check out this article in The Seattle Times. Even Utah ranks higher.

As we said in our EDC speech, that Washington ranks so poorly in an epicenter that include Boeing and Microsoft is simply pathetic.

Original Post:

We blasted Washington’s governor and Legislature in our speech to the Economic Development Council of Snohomish County for inaction over the past several decades to promote aerospace here and to get off the dime on education.

Well, guess what? The Legislature ended its session April 26 and–no action. See this story in The Everett Herald.

Now the governor says she will take action into her own hands. We were totally unimpressed with her first cut. We’ll see how she does with the second.