The first Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) began taxi tests at Nagoya Airport on June 8. Initial tests are to confirm braking and steering at low speeds, says manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The MRJ is expected to fly in September or October. First delivery is scheduled for 2017.
Airbus’s A320neo could miss the Paris air show as the first two prototypes, powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1100G geared turbofans, remain grounded by an engine issue. The first CFM International Leap-1A-powered prototype is flying, but was not planned for a Paris appearance.
Airbus Defense & Space is developing a reusable booster concept, Adeline, for launches in 2025 or beyond. The first-stage rocket motor is in a winged module that separates from its tank, reenters, deploys propellers and flies back under turboprop power to a remotely piloted runway landing.
Cessna’s Citation Latitude mid-size business jet has received FAA certification. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in the third quarter. Among the first customers is fractional-ownership operator NetJets, which has ordered up to 150 Latitudes for delivery beginning next year.
Germany has selected the Lockheed Martin/MBDA Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) over Raytheon’s Patriot surface-to-air missile system, citing a through-life cost a third that of Patriot over 30 years. The U.S. cancelled procurement of MEADS, jointly developed with Germany and Italy, in 2011.
The second test flight of NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) failed on June 8 when the 100-ft.-diameter supersonic parachute deployed, but tore apart at Mach 2.5 about 180,000 ft. above the Pacific. Redesigned after a 2014 test failure, LDSD is intended to land heavier payloads on Mars.
European low-cost carrier EasyJet to begin using small unmanned aircraft to inspect its aircraft for damage at its 10 engineering bases within 12 months, after tests showed using pre-programmed UAVs can cut the time required to check an aircraft after events such as lightning strikes.
The first production Bombardier CSeries, a 110-seat CS100, has been painted in the colors of launch customer and operator Swiss International Air Lines. The CS100 is scheduled for certification by year-end and entry into service with Swiss in the first half of 2016.
A prototype utility aircraft developed by the Siberian Research Institute for Aviation based on the still-widely-used Antonov An-2 biplane, but with new composite wings and turboprop engine, was flown on June 10 at Sukhoi’s Novosibirsk plant. The lower wing ends in “winglets” that join to the upper wing, eliminating bracing and increasing cruise speed 50% over the An-2, says Sukhoi.
Boeing’s latest Current Market Outlook projects demand for just over 38,000 aircraft over the next 20 years, up by more than 1,300 over last year’s forecast, with 58% of deliveries for market growth. The commercial fleet will double to 43,560 by 2035, from 21,600 aircraft in 2014, Boeing projects.
Kaman is to restart production of the K-Max external-lift helicopter, including for unmanned applications, with an initial batch of 10 aircraft. Deliveries will resume in 2017. Existing operators Rotex Helicopter of Switzerland and Atlanta-based Helicopter Express are the launch customers.
Graham leads Aviation Week's coverage of technology, focusing on engineering and technology across the aerospace industry, with a special focus on identifying technologies of strategic importance to aviation, aerospace and defense.