Operators grounded their aircraft and production test flights were halted after an Airbus A400M airlifter crashed north of Seville’s San Pablo airport in Spain on May 9, killing four of the six crew on board. Aircraft MSN23, for Turkey, was on its first flight. French accident investigators are assisting Spain in recovering data for the flight recorders.
Russia and China have agreed to co-develop the Advanced Heavy Lifter (AHL), a helicopter similar in size to the Sikorsky CH-53K. China will be an investor in the program, likely paying most of the development cost as Russia does not have a requirement for the aircraft, and will produce the airframe. A contract is expected to be signed this year.
India’s Defense Acquisition Council has approved the sole bid from Tata and Airbus to supply 16 C295 light transports to replace Indian air force Avro 748s, with another 40 to be built in India. The panel also approved a Russian Helicopters’ proposal to set up an Indian facility to build 200 Ka-226T light helicopters for the armed forces.
The Royal Netherlands Air Force is to train pilots for its Lockheed Martin F-35A Joint Strike Fighters on Alenia Aermacchi M-346 jet trainers at the Italian air force’s flight school in Lecce. The M-346 will fill a perceived gap between the Northrop T-38 used for training in the U.S. and the F-35, the first of which the Netherlands is to receive in 2019.
After a surprise victory in the May 7 UK general election, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron reconfirmed Michael Fallon as defense secretary, Patrick McLoughlin as transport secretary and promoted Philip Dunne to minister of state for defense procurement. Sajid Javid was appointed the new secretary of state for business, innovation and skills.
Pictured: British Prime Minister, David Cameron with Philip Dunne, the new minister of state for defense procurement.
The UK’s Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) exceeded its £2 million ($3 million) crowdfunding target on May 11, securing the cash needed to return its Airlander 10 hybrid airship to flight. HAV as £3.5 million in UK government funding, €2.5 million ($2.9 million) from the European Union and £5 million in private equity to refurbish and fly the airship by the first quarter of 2016.
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A team of 19 U.S., Canadian and UK universities led by Mississippi State University has been selected by the FAA to operate a center of excellence for civil unmanned aircraft, the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (Assure), to help develop regulations. Assure already has 115 government and industry partners, including Amazon and FedEx.
Pilatus Aircraft flew its PC-24 light business jet for the first time on May 11, from Stans in Switzerland. The landing gear remained down during this first flight. Three prototypes will take part in a 2,300-hr. flight test program. Powered by twin Williams International FJ44 turbofans, the PC-24 is scheduled for certification and first deliveries in 2017.
Bombardier is cutting 1,750 jobs on Montreal, Toronto and Belfast by the first quarter of 2016 as it slows production of the Global 5000 and 6000 large business jets, citing soft markets in Russia, China and Latin America. Global production had been ramped up to 80 a year in 2014 and 2015, from around 50 a year up to 2012, to fulfil large orders.
Embraer is moving all production of the Phenom 100 and 300 light business jets to its U.S. assembly line in Melbourne, Florida. The move will make room for assembly of the E-Jet E2 regional-jet family at the main plant in Sao Jose do Campos, Brazil. Phenom wings and fuselages will continue to be manufactured in Botucatu, Brazil.
The AeroMobil 3.0 prototype roadable aircraft crashed in on May 8 after the pilot encountered problems on a test flight and activated the ballistic recovery parachute at 900 ft. The pilot, the vehicle’s designer Stefan Klein, was unharmed, but the aircraft was damaged. Slovakia’s AeroMobil still plans to certify the flying car as a light sport aircraft.