Flight International, June 2022

With the aerospace industry only starting to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, but still faced with high fuel costs and economic instability driven by the war in Ukraine, Airbus has taken the bold step of announcing a plan to increase output of A320neo-family jets to 75 per month. We assess whether the airframer’s global supply chain will be able to keep pace with its ambition.

Boeing, meanwhile, is trying to overcome an additional set of challenges being felt by its Commercial Airplanes unit. Expanded certification requirements now mean the first 777-9 will not be delivered until 2025, shipments of the 787 remain halted due to manufacturing defects, and a December deadline to secure approval for the 737 Max 10 is looming large.

Also this issue, we talk future programmes with Northrop Grumman, detail Sikorsky’s Future Vertical Lift preparations, analyse landing restrictions affecting the Gulfstream G500 and G600, report on Ampaire’s ‘Eco Caravan’ advance, and look ahead to Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet trials in India.

Plus: we preview the Aircraft Interiors Expo, and have an Environment & sustainability special report, covering hydrogen-powered research and eFuel production.

Use the links below to access our latest issue’s content in web-optimised format, or scroll down further to view our “page-turner” digital replica of the magazine and download a pdf version. You can also access our archived issues by clicking on the filing cabinet drawer symbol next to the search icon.

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Cover story

First Mobile A320-neo, A321neo for Hawaiian. Airbus

Can wavering supply chain support airframers’ ever-higher narrowbody goals?

By

Airbus’s plan to significantly hike A320neo-family production in the coming years has raised the question of whether the already strained aerospace supply chain is up to the task.

777-9

How commercial programme troubles weigh on Boeing

By

The problems are piling up for Boeing as certification issues afflict two of the airframer’s development programmes, and deliveries of the 787 remain on hold.

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Interview

401 UAV_2021_0821a

In depth

Why the customer is king for Northrop Grumman

Head of future programmes at US defence giant outlines technologies that could be brought to a potential Global Hawk successor, loyal wingman UAV, or next-generation maritime rotorcraft – but only once the requirements are there. 

Analysis

Black Hawk Production 1

Supercomputers, simulations and smart tools: inside Sikorsky’s bid for Future Vertical Lift

By Ryan Finnerty

The 99-year-old company, whose founder and namesake pioneered rotary aviation, is making a multi-billion-dollar bet that next-generation manufacturing can secure its bid to produce the US Army’s newest helicopters.

G500

Gulfstream restricts G500 landing conditions pending flight-control software fix

By

Gulfstream has further restricted the wind conditions in which G500s and G600s are permitted to land, a move following a recent hard landing involving an unexpected flight-control mode change.

Ampaire Eco Caravan

Ampaire on a charge: how electric propulsion developer plans to go it alone

By

Collapse of acquistion by Surf Air Mobility has not deterred US powertrain start-up from goal of revolutionising regional air transport, as it gears up for flight testing of a converted Cessna Grand Caravan and eyes future product roadmap.

US Navy Super Hornet

Super Hornet gears up for India ski-jump, landing tests

By

Boeing is preparing a series of flight tests in Goa to demonstrate the take-off and landing capabilities of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet from Indian aircraft carriers.

Aircraft interiors preview

Generic aircraft seating c Wang An Qi Shutterstock

Seat manufacturers on survival, innovation and readying for ramp up

By Murdo Morrison

For aircraft seating manufacturers the past two years have been anything but a comfortable ride. The grounding of commercial aviation in 2020 saw heavyweights such as Collins, Recaro and Safran drastically ramp back production. Meanwhile, for some start-ups that had ventured into the market in the booming second half of ...

Wheelchair user at airport

All aboard: making in-cabin wheelchair access a reality

By Kerry Reals

After years of determined work by campaigners and following recent design innovations from industry, in-cabin access for wheelchair users finally looks set to become a reality.

Passengers with tablet

Why onboard Wi-Fi demand has gone sky-high

By Kerry Reals

The demand for personal and business connectivity has become greater than ever during the pandemic period, including on board aircraft. We assess the key developments seen since the last AIX event.

Environment & sustainability

Synhelion solar farm Madrid

Does eFuel production have a bright future for aerospace?

As demand for sustainable aviation fuels ramps up, the large scale production of eFuels from nothing more than air, water and electricity is gaining increasing attention, especially in Europe.

DLR hydrogen airport concept

Is hydrogen power the right path for aviation?

The aviation industry is focused on hydrogen as the zero emissions fuel of the future, with a 100-seater or larger airliner touted for 2035. But the challenges to make it a reality are formidable.

Women in aviation

Rexy Rolle portrait

Interview

How Western Air’s Sherrexcia Rolle helps the family business fly

For Sherrexcia Rolle, the path to the airline C-suite began as a child on Andros Island, helping out at the airport where her parents established the Bahamas’ now thriving Western Air.