ECLIPSE OWNERS UNWRAP A RESCUE PLAN
US air taxi company Linear Air is rallying fellow Eclipse 500 owners in a bid to keep their very light jets in service following Eclipse Aviation's move to liquidation last week. Their new company, Eclipse Services and Support, hopes to acquire the intellectual property and assets covering maintenance and parts to help support the 260 Eclipse 500s in operation. Eclipse filed for expedited liquidation on 24 February, leaving 800 workers owed back pay.
AEROSPACE PROPS UP AILING GKN
Engineering group GKN Aerospace saw pre-tax profits fall 35% to £167 million ($239 million) despite a 12% rise in sales to £4.6 billion as collapsing world automotive markets took a toll on the company's main business unit. In 2008, however, aerospace sales were up 22% and trading profit grew 27%. GKN expects sales to continue strong growth this year. Group-wide, headcount was cut by 2,800 last year, and around 2,400 will go in 2009.
UK CALL TO CONSIDER ABANDONING A400M
A report by the UK's cross-party House of Commons Defence Committee has urged the Ministry of Defence to review its involvement in Airbus Military's troubled A400M transport programme. "The MoD needs to decide whether it considers the programme to be so delayed that abandonment would be preferable, and to take timely decisions either to procure or lease other airlift assets so that a capability gap in air transport does not develop," it says.
POWER8 LEADER TAKE CHARGE OF A400M
Domingo Ureña-Raso, who has led Airbus's Power8 cost-cutting programme, is to replace Carlos Suárez as head of Airbus Military. Suárez was in the role for only three months, having served as head of the EADS's Military Transport Aircraft Division until it was integrated into Airbus last December.
DRAGON HEAT SHIELD PASSES TESTS
Space Exploration Technologies' Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablative-X heat shield has passed 1,850°C (3,360°F) arc jet tests. The shield will protect the company's Dragon cargo and crew capsule, set for launch by SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, which will make its maiden flight this year.
VIRGIN GALACTIC MOTHERSHIP TO FLY AT OSHKOSH
The SpaceShip Two experimental prototype carrier aircraft WhiteKnight Two, called Virgin MotherShip Eve, is to fly publicly for the first time at this year's Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture air show in Oshkosh in July.
IRAQ SIGNS FOR ARMED HELICOPTERS
Bell Helicopter has received a US Army contract worth $7 million to prepare three Model 407 armed scout helicopters for the Iraqi air force. Baghdad plans to subsequently purchase 24 production aircraft, with deliveries scheduled from late 2010.
NEW SHUTTLE LAUNCH DATE SET
NASA will launch Space Shuttle mission STS-119 to put in place the International Space Station's fourth and final set of solar arrays, no earlier than 12 March. Technicians are replacing three gaseous hydrogen flow control valves in the orbiter Discovery, which were found to be cracked, delaying the 12 February launch.
Source: Flight International