LHT Embarks on Cabin Conversions

German maintenance, repair and overhaul provider Lufthansa Technik (LHT) has embarked on a programme to upgrade Airbus A320s for fellow Lufthansa offshoot Eurowings.  The initiative covers cabin conversions for 33 single-aisle jets, including A320s and A319s, being transferred from airberlin to the Düsseldorf-based low-cost carrier under a six-year wet-lease agreement.

“The modification of 33 aircraft in such a short amount of time requires intensive co-operation and great experience,” Ole Duenhaupt, Design Verification Engineer for cabin modifications at Lufthansa Technik explained.

The MRO was responsible for the design and approval of the cabin changes, which include an increase in seat pitch and the corresponding adjustment of the overhead service elements.  The company is also installing new safety belts, adapting the in-flight entertainment hardware and modifying the cabin monuments.

“The team responsible for the work, consisting of representatives from the airberlin as well as technicians from Eurowings and our engineering department, co-ordinated and completed all the required steps – from the preparation of the design documents and the planning and co-ordination of the layovers to the aircrafts’ approval and acceptance for flight operations – in the shortest time possible.  All the wheels interlocked with precision,” Duenhaupt noted.

Work on all 33 aircraft is due for completion by the end of April.

AFM at LIMA: New configuration for Guardian 400 MRSA

Viking Air, the Canadian company now producing Twin Otters, is keen to gain some of the maritime surveillance market in Asia. It is offering the Guardian 400 Multi-Role Sensor Aircraft (MRSA) and a mock-up of the aircraft’s nose could be found at the company’s LIMA stand.

Inside the nose on display was a Selex Osprey 30, a 28VDC version of Leonardo’s Seaspray 5000 maritime surveillance radar which requires AC electrical power, as well as an L-3 Wescam MX-15 electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) turret. The EO/IR system is retractable so that spray doesn’t get on the system as it departs/lands on water or in poor weather conditions.

Since restarting the Twin Otter production line in April 2007, Viking Air has sold 144 Twin Otter 400s, with production backed up to the end of next year. There are two military customers operating the Guardian 400. The United Arab Emirates Joint Aviation Command (JAC) operates six and the Vietnam People’s Navy operates three, although Viking would not confirm this or their configurations. The Vietnamese examples are known to have been modified by Ikhana Aircraft Services of Murrieta, California with an Elta EL/M-2022 maritime radar system and a 10-inch MiniPOP day/night EO turret.

However, Field Aviation, Viking’s preferred system integrator, has come up with a new approach, preferring to put the systems into the nose section. Joar Gronlund, Senior Advisor, Field Aviation told AFM: “It will turn the Twin Otter 400 into a versatile multi-role aircraft suited for surveillance, search and rescue, medevac and other forms of transport, without the operator having to make time-consuming changes to the aircraft. It can also be delivered with ITAR-free systems.” Alan Warnes


The Twin Otter MRSA nose on display at the Viking Air stand, with Oscar 30 maritime surveillance radar and a retractable Wescam MX-15 EO/IR system. Alan Warnes




Norwegian Honours Sir Freddie

Norwegian has revealed its maiden Boeing 737 MAX will pay tribute to aviation entrepreneur and pioneer Sir Freddie Laker.  The carrier has a long history of honouring iconic figures on the tails of its aircraft, noting the personalities displayed on its jets “symbolise the spirit of Norwegian through innovation, challenging the norm and inspiring others.”  Sir Freddie Laker will become Norwegian’s third British hero, following author Roald Dahl and pioneering aviatrix Amy Johnson.

Sir Freddie enjoyed a long and distinguished career in aviation, working for aircraft manufacturer Short Brothers, delivering military aircraft during World War Two, and setting up several airline ventures post-war.  He was arguably best known for founding Laker Airways and the ‘Skytrain’ service which first took to the air in September 1977, offering low-cost long-haul flights from London/Gatwick to New York/JFK.

Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos said: “We continue to see huge growth in our transatlantic flights but we are standing on the shoulders of giants like Sir Freddie Laker who first pioneered the idea that travel should be affordable for all.

“Millions of passengers around the world owe a huge debt to Laker, who first opened the door to the affordable fares we all now enjoy.  We are honoured to have Sir Freddie as one of our tail fin heroes and it is especially fitting that he will be the first face on our brand new MAX aircraft serving new transatlantic routes between the UK, Europe and the US this summer.”

Norwegian will take delivery of the first of 100 MAXs in May.

First flight for An-132D

Antonov has completed the maiden flight of its new An-132D multi-role turboprop transport. The aircraft took to the air last Friday, March 31, from the company’s airfield in Kiev, Ukraine.

The first prototype of the short- to medium-haul aircraft flew for 1 hour and 50 minutes in the hands of Antonov test pilot Victor Goncharov, accompanied by Saudi test pilot General Mohammed Ayash of  Taqnia Aeronautics. The co-pilot was Antonov’s Bohdan Zagoruyko, while Volodymyr Nesterenko was on board as flight engineer. The aircraft was ‘chased’ by one of the company’s An-178 jet transports.

Development of the An-132 is being conducted as a joint project with two Saudi Arabian companies, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and Taqnia Aeronautics.

According to Oleksandr Kotsiuba, president of Antonov, the programme will now work towards presenting the An-132D demonstrator in Saudi Arabia.

Antonov formally rolled out the first prototype An-132D in a ceremony at its Kiev production facility last December 20.

One of the first customers will be the Saudi Ministry of Defence, which signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Taqnia and Antonov at the Dubai Airshow on November 12, 2015, for an initial acquisition of six An-132s. Four of these will be transport versions, reportedly configured for search and rescue operations, while the remaining two will be specialised electronic warfare variants.

Series production will be carried out by Taqnia and KACST in Saudi Arabia. First deliveries are planned before the end of the year.


X-Plane 11 on Final

Laminar Research has announced X-Plane 11 is out of beta testing and is now a full official release.

The team said it is now working on more improvements and features for the first free update. And this month Laminar Research is on a mission to get top notch Gateway submissions for the world’s busiest airports, along with regular tips and add-ons.

The latest submissions include:

  • ZGSZ Shenzen Baoan International by artist anthony_d
  • YMML Melbourne by artist pikitanga
  • KJFK John F. Kennedy by artist Connor Russell

KJFK is already shipping with X-Plane 11, but the others will be coming in future updates.

X-Plane 11 features new aircraft, scenery, and 3-D airports.  This new version also incorporates the newest technology available in computing and graphics processing, resulting in breathtaking visual and dynamic effects.

Some of the major features include:

  • New intuitive user interface and control setup
  • Completely overhauled aircraft fleet with detailed documentation, plus multiple new aircraft
  • High-resolution exteriors and detailed 3-D cockpits for many aircraft
  • New global auto-gen scenery with both European and North American details
  • The latest road placement and global scenery from open street map are included
  • Now with over 3000 airports with 3-D buildings & airport scenery
  • Airports are now populated with dynamic, driving service vehicles and static and dynamic aircraft.
  • New rendering engine for enhanced lighting and water effects
  • Updated weather and atmospheric effects
  • Enhanced performance from the modern 64-bit engine

X-Plane 11 is available to purchase through Steam and DVDs will be coming shortly. You can also buy pro-use USB keys and digital downloads.


Maiden Flight for Boeing 787-10

Boeing flew the largest member of its Dreamliner Family, the 787-10, for the first time on March 31. The aircraft made it maiden flight from the manufacturer’s facility at Charleston, South Carolina, undertaking a four hour 58 minutes sortie.

“The 787-10’s first flight moves us one step closer to giving our customers the most efficient airplane in its class,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President & CEO Kevin McAllister. “The airplane will give carriers added flexibility in growing their network routes and build on the overwhelming success of the 787 Dreamliner family.”

Boeing Test and Evaluation Captains Tim Berg and Mike Bryan conducted the first flight, testing the jet’s flight controls, systems and handling qualities. Boeing hopes to begin customer deliveries of the 787-10 in the first half of 2018.

Berg, who is also the manufacturer’s Chief 787 Pilot, said: “From take off to landing, the airplane handled beautifully and just as expected. The 787-10 is a fantastic machine that I know our customers and their passengers will love.”

Boeing has secured 149 orders for the 787-10, which is 18ft (5.5m) longer than the -9, from nine customers. Singapore Airlines is the launch customer with airframes scheduled for delivery to Air Lease Corporation, All Nippon Airways (ANA), British Airways, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, GE Capital Aviation Services, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and United Airlines too.

New Cheyenne Touches Down

The PA31T Cheyenne II by Carenado is now available for FSX and Prepar3D.

Included in the package are five HD liveries and a blank livery for creating custom artwork, while the virtual cockpit features realistic night lighting, the Carenado GNS530, although it is also compatible with the Flight1 GTN 750 and Reality XP GNS530(only for FSX).

As with their other products, the Cheyenne features volumetric props, HD 4096 x 4096 textures and a panel for controlling windows transparency, instrument reflections, Cold & Dark startup and static effects such as wheel chocks.

New features include 32-bit PT6A engine audio effects, take-off run and landing rolling movement, custom brakes sounds on taxi and landing, over-torque failure simulation and new 3D Pilots that can be turned on or off.

Documentation includes normal / emergency checklists, performance and reference tables, PA31T performance tables along with Avidyne Multifunction Display and Carenado GNS530 manuals.

Click here for the Carenado website

Airbus A319neo Makes First Flight

Airbus has successfully completed the maiden flight of the A319neo, D-AVWA (c/n 6464). Powered by CFM International LEAP-1A engines, the smallest member of the A320neo Family, took off from Hamburg/Finkenwerder on March 31, landing at the manufacturer’s Toulouse facility after a five hour test flight.

Experimental test pilots Michel Gagneux and Eckard Hausser had the honour of conducting the first flight and were assisted by Test-Flight Engineer Jean Michel Pin and flight test engineers Sylvie Loisel-Labaste and David O’nions.

The A319neo, which can accommodate up to 160 passengers, will be based in Toulouse where the flight test programme will be completed. Airbus says the flight campaign will focus primarily on aircraft handling qualities, autopilot and performance and systems, building on the required engine tests that already have been performed with the A320neo and A321neo.

Experimental test pilots Michel Gagneux and Eckard Hausser conducted the first flight. Airbus

LOWI Unleashed

Innsbruck Airport (LOWI) is a destination that needs no introduction, famous for jaw-dropping backdrop and heart-stopping approaches.

The package, released by Orbx, was developed by Jarrad Marshall (previous releases include: KPSP/KEGE/KMRY/KJAC/KSEZ/YBCS).  This is his first European destination and is largest coverage area by Orbx to date.  You can explore the peaks and glaciers of the Austrian Alps, the picturesque Inn, Wipp and Stubai Valleys, the historic Brenner Pass and even Germany’s tallest mountain, Zugspitze.  More than a dozen towns and villages dot the Tyrolian landscape, and the city of Innsbruck has been created in immaculate detail.

You will see airlines competing for space alongside corporate hi-flyers, rescue and leisure helicopter crew, general aviation flyers, recreational glider pilots and even frequent Red Bull visitors? Try your hand at the infamously tricky Runway 08 approach, test your aircraft’s performance with a mid-summer departure, or explore the hidden valleys from one of the five bonus heliports.


Ultra-detailed rendition of LOWI

2500sq km coverage area at 1m/60cm/30cm with 10m DEM

Five additional heliports including LOJO, LOIU, LOJT, LOIN

Over 160+ Landmarks and POI in coverage area

30km of animated train routes

Custom HD GSE exclusive to Innsbruck

Crisp 2048 textures for priority buildings

Highly detailed and AI-ready APX by Graham Eccleston

Advanced AO, rendering and night lighting techniques

City centre and many other focus areas in high detail

Over 20 custom bridges and overpasses

All-new static aircraft types unique to Innsbruck Airport

Huge extended coverage area 275km diameter

Painstakingly optimised for best performance across all sims

Click here for the Orbx website

San Diego Out Now

ORBX has released a new destination for FTX Southern California, KSAN San Diego International Airport.

Designed to work with FTX SoCal, Global Base or openLC NA this airport is a must have and is an exciting debut for Matteo Veneziani featuring huge photoreal coverage of the entire San Diego Metropolitan area.

The package comes with improved airport textures and ground polygons, hundreds of POIs as well as helipads on skyscrapers and even a hospital.

San Diego Airport has been recreated with a highly rendered reconstruction of with animated jetways

This busy single-runway airport is situated in San Diego County adjacent to the Mexican border. It sits in San Diego harbour, next to the bay, close to central business district.

Note KSAN is compatible with FTX openLC NA and FTX Southern California.

Click here for the Orbx website