July's top stories: Qatar Airways' $18bn Boeing deal, largest amphibious aircraft

Boeing secured an $18bn order from Qatar Airways for 50 777-9Xs, while a Chinese aircraft manufacturer started trial production of the world's largest TA600 amphibious aircraft. Aerospace-technology.com wraps-up the key headlines from July 2014.


World's largest amphibious

Qatar Airways finalises $18.9bn order for 50 777-9X

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways placed an $18.9bn order with Boeing for 50 777-9Xs with options for 50 additional 777-9X aircrafts.

IThe firm order along with options could take Qatar Airways' 777X order to 100 aircrafts, valued around $40bn at list prices.

The carrier announced the 777X order as a commitment at the 2013 Dubai Airshow.

 

World's largest amphibious aircraft goes into production

World's largest amphibious

The Chinese aircraft manufacturer China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (CAIGA) started a trial production of the TA600 amphibious aircraft.

With an expected maiden flight late next year, the Chinese plane would replace Japan's ShinMaywa US-2 short takeoff and landing (STOL) aircraft as the largest of its kind globally.

Larger than Boeing's 737 jet, the TA600 aircraft has a maximum takeoff weight of 53.5t and a maximum range of over 5,000km.

UN aviation agency to set up aviation safety task force

The United Nations' (UN) International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) unveiled plans to create a senior-level task force to tackle the civil aviation and national security aspects.

The task force will be comprised of state and industry experts and deal with security aspects, especially concerning how information can be effectively collected and disseminated.

The move follows the Malaysia Airlines plane crash over Ukraine that killed 298 passengers earlier this month.

UK plans to establish first spaceport by 2018

The UK government unveiled plans to establish a spaceport within the next four years.

The spaceport will be the first of its kind outside the US. It will be used to launch manned missions and commercial satellites.

The government shortlisted eight aerodromes for the spaceport that will be revealed at Farnborough Air Show.

Safety assessments not effective for flights over conflict areas, says BALPA

The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) warned that the airline safety assessments for flights over conflict areas are not sufficient.

The pilots group has called on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for global leadership in flight operations in or over hostile areas.

The move comes in response to last week's Malaysia Airlines plane crash over Ukraine that killed 298 passengers.

Garmin International unveils enhancements to GTN touchscreen avionics

Garmin

Garmin International announced new enhancements and features for its GTN touchscreen avionics.

Designed to support wireless flight plan transfer between the GTN 750/650 series navigators and Garmin Pilot, the new Connext cockpit connectivity feature has been designed to offer GPS position data from the GTN, along with an option to display weather, traffic and altitude information.

Other new features include database syncing capabilities, FastFind, airspace altitude overlay, wire-strike avoidance technology (WireAware) and others.

 

SpaceX's Falcon 9 blasts off with six ORBCOMM OG2 satellites

SpaceX's Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket successfully blasted off with ORBCOMM's constellation of six OG2 commercial communications satellites from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) in Florida, US.

The 224ft rocket lifted off with 1.3 million pounds of thrust from a launchpad over the Atlantic Ocean, marking the beginning of a mission that previously suffered several delays due to ground support equipment issues.

ORBCOMM chief executive officer Marc Eisenberg said: "The successful launch of the first OG2 mission is a testament to the entire OG2 team at ORBCOMM, SpaceX, Sierra Nevada Corporation, Boeing, and Moog, and I'd like to thank them for their hard work and dedication."

BAE Systems experts unveil four futuristic technologies

Scientists and engineers at BAE Systems provided an insight into four futuristic technologies that could be incorporated in military and civil aircraft by 2040 or even earlier.

The new technologies include advanced 3D printers that could print unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) during a mission, aircraft parts that can heal themselves in minutes, a long-range aircraft divides into a number of smaller aircrafts when it reaches its destination, and a directed energy weapon that could engage missiles at the speed of light, destroying them and protecting the people below.