September's top stories: Lufthansa's €14bn order, first UAV facility launched

Lufthansa announced a €14bn order for 59 Boeing and Airbus wide-body aircraft, while the EU considers changes to emission curbs on airlines, while the world's first unmanned aircraft facility was launched in the UK. Aerospace-technology.com wraps the headlines from September 2013.


Aerospace

Lufthansa places €14bn order for Boeing and Airbus wide-body jets

Deutsche Lufthansa

Deutsche Lufthansa has announced a €14bn order for 59 Boeing and Airbus wide-body aircraft, which is the largest single private-sector investment in German industry.

The order comprises of 34 Boeing 777-9Xs and 25 Airbus A350-900 jets, which will be added to the Lufthansa Group's fleet, and safeguards 13,000 jobs directly and more than 20,000 overall.

The first of the new jets will be delivered by 2016, replacing the airline's existing aircraft that include the ageing Boeing 747-400s and Airbus A340-300s that are expected to be phased out by 2025.

EU considers changes to emission curbs on airlines

The EU is planning to announce changes in greenhouse gas emission curbs on airlines at the beginning of October, based on a United Nations (UN) decision, which is expected later this month.

EU's regulatory arm, European Commission, is mulling over curbing CO2 discharges by flights across the 28-nation bloc in European air space, Bloomberg reported, citing two undisclosed sources.

The final plan on the changes will be based on the decision of the UN aviation agency on whether to take up global measures to reduce pollution by the airline industry.

Bombardier to sell Flexjet unit and secures $1.8bn aircraft order

Bombardier has agreed to sell Flexjet's activities

Bombardier has agreed to sell Flexjet's activities to a newly-created firm, funded by a group led by Directional Aviation Capital, for $185m and secured a $1.8bn firm order for 85 business aircraft from the buyer.

The deal is subject to government and regulatory approvals, and is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

Bombardier president and chief executive officer Pierre Beaudoin said: "I am confident that under it's new ownership Flexjet will pursue its growth and diversification, continue to offer an outstanding experience to owners and customers, and will expand its brand globally."

World's first unmanned aircraft facility launched in UK

A new private initiative to enable operations of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in civilian airspace has progressed with the official launch of the National Aeronautical Centre (NAC).

The NAC has been created through a partnership between West Wales Airport and Newquay Cornwall Airport.

Launched in London, the NAC will provide the country with an ability to take advantage of UAS marketplace, one of the world's major economic opportunities.

US university's student-built satellite scheduled for launch by Nasa

A beach ball-sized satellite developed by a team of students

A beach ball-sized satellite developed by a team of students at University of Colorado Boulder (CU-Boulder), to better understand the impact of atmospheric drag on satellite orbits, was scheduled for launch by Nasa on 15 September.

Slated for launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the Drag and Atmospheric Neutral Density Explorer satellite, or DANDE, has been developed to assess the density variations of thermosphere, a layer of Earth's atmosphere, at altitudes from about 200-300 miles above Earth.

DANDE, which has Colorado Space Grant Consortium (COSGC) director Chris Koehler as the primary investigator, measures nearly 20in in diameter and weighs more than 100lb.

Rolls-Royce and United Technologies cancel aircraft engine JV plan

Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies, have scrapped plans to set up an aircraft engine joint venture, citing unfavourable regulatory issues.

The two companies initially proposed partnering in October 2011, when the UTC unit announced plans to purchase Rolls-Royce's share in International Aero Engines.

The proposed joint venture was aimed at developing engines for mid-sized aircraft that are expected to enter service in the mid-2020s, with capacity to accommodate 120-230 passengers.

German researchers to investigate noise in aircraft engines

Researchers at Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt (DLR)

Researchers at Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt (DLR) are set to begin a project to investigate the sources of noise inside jet engines and on the main fan, by using contactless laser metrology and microphones for the first time.

A measurement campaign is being held until 28 September where the DLR noise researchers will use the DLR research aircraft A320-ATRA (advanced technology research aircraft) to perform a series of engine tests in the Lufthansa Technik soundproof hangar at Hamburg Airport.

During the tests, the research aircraft will be reversed into the facility before two doors, each 56m wide and weighing 300t, close the hangar for the noise measurements.

Airbus announces reduced weight variant of A330

Airbus has unveiled a new reduced weight version of its A330-300 wide-body aircraft, designed for use on domestic and regional routes in high-growth markets with large populations and concentrated traffic flows, at the Aviation Expo China 2013.

In comparison with the existing A330-300 variants that cater for longer-range flights of up to 6,100nm, the new A330-300 regional version will be optimised to accommodate nearly 400 passengers in 18in wide economy seats on journeys of up to 3,000nm.

Airbus president and CEO Fabrice Bregier said the new reduced weight A330-300 variant was specially designed for regional and domestic use, and is Airbus's solution for markets with large populations and fast growing, concentrated air traffic flows.