Review of 2012 - Lowlights

We recall 2012’s highlights, lowlights, near misses and power plays, and bid some fond farewells.

 © RexFeatures

TRAGEDY IN INDONESIA

A full account of the Superjet 100 crash that killed all 45 on board on 9 May in Indonesia is as yet unavailable, although Russian and Indonesian authorities have ruled out mechanical failure. But the tragedy, which occurred during a demonstration flight involving five potential customers, did nothing to help the public reputation of the struggling Superjet programme.

 

 © AirTeamImages

WING CRACKS AND TURBO TROUBLE

Airbus slowed A380 production as it worked to develop and certificate a fix for the wing-rib cracking problem which forced operators to carry out precautionary checks. Wings with a modified design will emerge on production aircraft in 2014. Boeing’s new aircraft, the 747-8 and 787 (below), also suffered teething problems after General Electric GEnx engines on both types experienced contained failures traced to switching to a different coating material on an internal component.

For more coverage, go here.

 

 © UK MoD/Crown Copyright

EUROCOPTER DITCHINGS

To have one helicopter ditch in the North Sea may be misfortune, to lose two appears careless. Eurocopter is still trying to pinpoint the root cause for the failure of the gearbox component that forced down the EC225 Super Pumas in May and October, as it works to a February deadline to return the type to service, while desperately trying to rebuild customer trust.

 

 © RexFeatures

UNKIND CUTS

The effects of more than four years of political stalemate in Washington finally engulfed the global aerospace industry, as continued uncertainty over fiscal policy paralysed government and industry decision makers. A compromise agreement over more than $1 trillion in combined tax increases and spending cuts still seemed a distant hope as December dawned, raising the chances of an automatic spending cut amounting to nearly $100 billion during the first nine months of 2013, and hundreds of billions of additional cuts through the rest of the decade.

 

 © RexFeatures

HAWKER DEMISE

It was a tough year to work for Hawker Beechcraft. The company filed for bankruptcy in May, entered exclusive negotiations with a Chinese buyer in July, broke off the talks in October, and filed a restructuring plan in December that could lead to the termination of the company’s business jet line, including the legacy Hawker Siddeley series which has in continuous production since 1961.

For more coverage, go here.

Flight International 14 February 2012

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