March's top stories: UK invests £2bn in aerospace, Boeing redesigns 787 batteries

As the UK Government and aerospace industry announced a long-term collaboration, involving a £2bn investment to support growth in the sector, the US FAA approved Boeing's certification plan for the redesigned 787 Dreamliner battery system.


Engine

Boeing and University of British Columbia collaborate on composite materials research

Boeing

This month, Boeing announced that it has become the founding industrial member of the University of British Columbia's composites research network (CRN), a development which will help Canadian scientists transform ideas in composite manufacturing into practical applications.

Boeing Research and Technology global technology director William Lyons said this collaboration has the potential to generate new applications of composite processing technology, not only within Canada's aerospace industry, but in other fields such as the automotive and resources sectors.

University of British Columbia's Department of Materials Engineering CRN director Anoush Poursartip said that Boeing would provide guidance and support to a research centre that is based on an equal partnership between the creation of knowledge and its practice.

FAA approves Boeing's plan to fix 787 Dreamliner battery issues

787

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved Boeing's certification plan for the redesigned 787 Dreamliner battery system, a move which could end a two-month long grounding of the aircraft.

The new battery system includes improved insulation of cells, redesigned internal battery components to lower initiation of a short circuit within the battery and a new containment and venting system.

The FAA stated that approval was given after thoroughly reviewing Boeing's proposed changes and the plan to demonstrate that the system would meet the agency's requirements.

There are calls in the plan for a series of tests that must be passed prior to the 787 return into service and requires Boeing to conduct testing and analysis to demonstrate compliance with the applicable safety regulations and conditions.

German researchers implement first project to measure helicopter engine noise

Helicopter engines

Researchers at the German Aerospace Center, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt (DLR), have conducted the first acoustic measurement campaign to obtain noise measurements inside a helicopter engine.

As part of the study, researchers from the division of engine acoustics at the DLR Institute of Propulsion Technology used new hot gas microphone probes particularly designed for studying the processes that contributes to noise generation.

As relevant measurement technology did not exist previously, studying the sources of noise inside the engine has not been possible until now.

Research was completed in January this year as part of the EU-funded turboshaft engine exhaust noise identification (TEENI) project, which was held at the premises of engine manufacturer Turbomeca in Bordes, France.

It involved installing a series of microphone probes inside the engine and across the exhaust area and simultaneously recording their signals.

UK announces £2bn investment in aerospace industry

Investment

Also this month, the UK Government and aerospace industry announced a long-term collaboration, involving a £2bn investment to support the growth of the aerospace industry.

Funding will be provided by the UK Government and the aerospace industry over a seven-year period and is expected to help secure about 115,000 jobs.

The funds will also be used to establish a new research centre called the UK Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), which will allow industry and academic researchers to develop the next-generation of quieter, more energy-efficient aircraft.

American Airlines selects Airbus's cockpit technology for A320 jets

American Airlines

American Airlines has selected Airbus's Runway Overrun Prevention System (ROPS) technology for its A320 airliners.

The onboard cockpit technology increases pilots' situational awareness during landing and reduces exposure to runway excursion risk.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) first approved the ROPS in October 2009 and the system is currently in-service on, or ordered for, around 70% of the A380 fleet.

ROPS is part of the basic configuration of A350 XWB jets and is also being used on other Airbus variants, starting with the A320, with a certification on this type expected later this year.

FedEx to buy 14 Boeing 757 aircraft from United Airlines

FedEx

FedEx will purchase Boeing narrow-body 757 jetliners from United Airlines and plans to convert them into freighters, as part of its efforts to reduce fuel costs.

FedEx is expected to take delivery of initial batch of 14 airliners later this year and will continue taking deliveries into 2015.

The courier firm also has 70 mid-size wide-body 767s and long-range 777s on order.

Defence

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