Briefings

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HERMES 900 TESTING GATHERS PACE

Elbit Systems' second prototype Hermes 900 unmanned air vehicle will make its debut flight soon, as the company's first example has passed the 350h mark in testing. The Israeli manufacturer launched flight activities with the 1,100kg (2,420lb) UAV in December 2009 and last February received a launch order to provide several to the Israeli defence forces. A follow-on order is expected within the framework of the nation's next multi-year plan.


PHANTOMS RETURN TO LITHUANIA

The German air force has begun providing its fourth period of quick reaction alert cover for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, having deployed six McDonnell Douglas F-4F Phantoms to the latter's Siauliai air base. The air force's 71st Fighter Squadron assumed the air policing task from a US Air Force contingent of Boeing F-15Cs on 5 January, and will provide cover until late April. The USAF's aircraft flew 66 training sorties and performed two live scrambles from Siauliai in late 2010.


NEW DELAY FOR USAF TANKER?

The US Air Force has backed off committing to any schedule for awarding the controversial KC-X tanker contract despite entering what was expected to be the final weeks of a protracted evaluation process."Source selection is moving toward completion, and that's all we have [to say] with regard to timing," Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley says.


PHENOM 300 OFFERS SYNTHETIC VISION

Embraer's Phenom 300 has become the first aircraft in the light jet category to offer Garmin's Synthetic Vision Technology, which recreates a visual topographic landscape to simulate daylight flying. The Phenom 300 has received certifications from the USA, Europe and Brazil for use of the system.


THRUST REVERSER LAG IN 757-200 OVERRUN

NTSB investigators say pilots of an American Airlines Boeing 757-200 that overran the runway on landing at Jackson Hole airport, Wyoming on 29 December did not fully deploy the aircraft's thrust reversers until 18s after touchdown. The thrust reverser timeline, culled from the flight data recorder, is one of several findings released on 12 January by the agency as part of its investigation into the incident.


BOEING WAITS ON FAA APPROVAL FOR 787 SCHEDULE

Boeing is awaiting approval by the Federal Aviation Administration before releasing the company's revised schedule for the 787 prompted by an electric fire on board a flight-test aircraft two months ago. "We said in December that we hope to have a schedule in January," says Boeing Commercial Airplanes president James Albaugh.


CHINA TO LIFT LOW-ALTITUDE AIRSPACE

Authorities in the eastern Beijing district of Pinggu plan to open up its low-altitude airspace to private aircraft in the second half of 2011. The move follows an announcement by China's central government late last year that it plans to open up the airspace in parts of China to private aircraft to encourage the growth of general aviation.