Although the air show does not officially open until Monday, The weekend saw press briefings and conferences highlight civil and military aerospace with news stories beginning to come in. TIM ROBINSON and BILL READ report from day 'zero' of the Paris Air Show. Lets take a look at some of the pre-show highlights. 

 

C-change as Bombardier aims to turn tide

Bombardier has brought both the CS100 and CS300 to Paris.

Just one year ago, 'troubled' was the politest epitaph that many industry observers used to describe the fortunes of Bombardier's CSeries 100-150seat airliner programme. Late to market, sluggish sales, the programme was hit in 2014 by a extensive grounding due to a glitch with the Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan.

Today, at the 2015 it is a different Bombardier and (arguably) a different CSeries. A wholesale management shake-up has replaced executives with a new, leaner and meaner team with a vision to sell this aircraft - bringing a "new mindset, new vision" according to new President of Bombardier Aircraft, Fred Cromer. With Airbus and Boeing working on derivatives and well into production mode, the CSeries has the floor to itself with the first all-new single-aisle airliner to appear at the Paris Air Show in nearly 30 years. (The last one was the A320).

But perhaps more importantly, the two test aircraft (the CS100 and CS300) that Bombardier has brought with it to Paris are now delivering better-than-brochure performance in fuel efficiency and payload/range - an extremely rare event in the aviation industry. Said Cromer "I can't remember the last aircraft that remotely made the baseline specification".

The CSeries now can deliver, confirms Bombardier, 350nm more distance giving it 3,300nm range. It is also now 20% more fuel efficient than current in-production aircraft, and has a 10% advantage of re-engined airliners says the company. It also can carry 15 more passengers than originally predicted, says Bombardier.

The CSeries has also met its noise goals - says Cromer. "It is now the quietest commercial jet in production" - no idle boast to make at an air show that also sees the A350 and 787 flying. Showgoers will be able to judge for themselves when the CS300 takes to the skies this week.

Cockpit of the CS100 features sidesticks.

The Sunday before the show also saw Bombardier unveil their 20-year market forecast - and the Canadian airframer believe that the CSeries can address a market of around 7,000 aircraft over the next 20years. Much of the demand, Bombardier believe will come from the regional replacement market in North America and Europe.

There is no doubt then, that Bombardier still faces large challenges ahead. However, with a revamped executive team focused on sales, a massive buzz surrounding the aircraft, and performance figures over and above what was promised - this is the best-ever news for the comeback CSeries kid.  

 

EXCLUSIVE: Modular DART trainer aims to hit bullseye

21st century British aviation innovation? (Concept: Tristan Crawford/Render Kaktus Digital)

Revealed exclusively to AEROSPACE on the eve on the show is this hitherto secret concept for a innovative modular advanced/basic military jet trainer from a small UK design team (Dart Jet) that has been working on the project since 2010. The DART would lower costs by using a common fuselage with a choice of engines and straight/swept wings for the basic/advanced trainer configurations - keeping costs low with common fuselage. Another innovative feature is a removable large-screen cockpit display to allow the pilot to plan, fly and debrief both in and out of the cockpit. Finally the team aim to reduce costs and development time by partnering with non-aerospace companies such as Formula One teams - experienced in rapid prototyping and composites.

The DART, which has been developed by a small team of aircraft designers, ex-RAF Fast Jet instructors and test pilots has also received support and expert input from the UKTI and Fielding Aerospace Consultants. Said Chief Designer Tristan Crawford of the project: "DART offers a new solution to the market as we’ve designed the aircraft from the outset to have modular wings, engine, landing gear and cockpit based around a common fuselage core, so we can flex DART’s performance easily according to what the market needs whilst saving development costs by keeping the fuselage common to all variants." The modular aspect is designed to be pre-configured during production, rather than inservice, allowing customers to 'mix and match' airframes with 90% commonality - bringing operational savings.

The twin-seat tandem jet would be powered by a single Williams FJ44 series or Honeywell F124 -class engine, and stressed to +9g/-3g. Top speed for the swept-wing advanced trainer variant would be Mach 0.9 or 350kts for the straight-wing basic trainer. In the advanced variant of the DART, it would also feature high AoA capability, synthetic radar and weapons, in-flight refueling probe and a NVG-compatible cockpit.

A straight and swept wing with common fuselage would deliver commonality. (DARTJet)

Aimed at the 2020 timeframe, the DART also has export markets in its sights as a modular, affordable training system able to the meet the needs of 21st century pilots. Dart Jet say that they are aiming to capture 10% of the worldwide market of 6,000 trainers - with the upcoming USAF T-X requirement and a RAF Red Arrows Hawk T1A replacement highlighting a need for a 'clean-sheet' 21st century jet trainer design - able to cover basic, advanced and LIFT courses. The project is now seeking development partners and investors.

Can this jet trainer David, take on the aviation industry Goliaths? Watch this space!

Boeing predicts 20 year market forecast

'We're gonna need a bigger factory' (Boeing) 

A few days before the show Boeing published its latest aviation Market Forecast looking forward over the next 20 years. Boeing predicts a need for 38,050 airplanes with a value of $5.6tr. The Asia Pacific aviation industry will continue to increase, accounting for 40% of all new orders, compared to 20% for Europe and North America and 20% for rest of the world. Most of these new orders will be for single-aisle aircraft (26,730), compared to 8,830 new widebodies. "We are in a time of unprecedented demand in the single-aisle market", said Boeing's Randy Tinseth,

However, the forecast depends on favourable economic conditions with low oil prices continuing and the global economy continuing to grow at above average rates.

Hidden within the statistics are some interesting figures, such as Boeing’s prediction that the number of large widebodies (equivalent to the A380 and 747-8) in service will fall from the 2014 total of 740 down to 670 in 2034. The predicted increase in the number of regional jets in service is also surprising low –from 2,580 in 2014 up to only 2,660.

However, the market outlook was bright for air cargo - with Boeing predicting 4.7% growth over the next 20 years, resulting in 920 new freighters being needed. With Airbus having conceded the VLA cargo segment by now going ahead with the A380F, Boeing hopes that this cargo recovery will lift 747-8 sales.

Coke is it!

Now THIS was the ultimate business aircraft in 1947...

In between the heavy metal, UAVs and latest combat aircraft at the air show was this stunning French-registered vintage Cessna 195 Businessliner gleaming with polished aluminum and Coca-Cola livery. 

UTC reveal airliner tracking, ground strike systems

 

UTC’s aircraft interface device can monitor the position and status of aircraft in flight.

UTC Aerospace Systems (www.utc.com) invited journalists to learn more about the company’s range of aircraft systems. These included an Aircraft Interface Device (AID) for airlines which can both track aircraft and monitor the status of different parameters in flight. Based on UTC’s currently certified advanced aircraft device, the AID can be connected to sensors and systems already installed in aircraft and transmit the data back to ground stations in real time. “Airlines can decide what data they want to monitor,” explained Joseph Kuruville, UTC’s Manager Sales Aftermarket Systems. “This can include black box data, such as cockpit voice and flight data recordings. The system can also monitor the positions of multiple aircraft while they are in flight.”

UTC has also developed a radar-based Taxi Strike Alert System (TSAS) designed to help flight crews avoid the risk of accidental collisions with other aircraft or stationary objects while taxiing aircraft at airports. Operating in a similar way to proximity sensors used to help drivers park cars, the TSAS uses sensors monitoring the area in front of the wings to detect obstructions and providing visual and audible warnings to the pilot. UTC Director, Business Development, Brian Sartan, explained that, at present, the system does not show the pilot which part of the aircraft might be at risk but this data is available if an airline wished to include it. While an aircraft installed with TSAS makes other airport users safer, the system cannot yet protect aircraft from the risk of collisions from other aircraft or from ground-handling equipment – except to provide advance warning that they were getting too close. “Of course, if everyone at an airport had our system installed, then it would not be a problem!” quipped Sartan. 

How illuminating!


Aircelle demos illuminated decals. (Aircelle)

Aircraft engine nacelle manufacturer Aircelle has developed a thin electro-luminescent display which can be used to display messages on the outside of aircraft. The system, which can be used to display logos, advertising or other messages on different parts of an aircraft, was demonstrated on 8 June on the outboard nacelle of the Airbus A380 testbed aircraft.

And finally...

Lost in translation?

Prior to the Paris Air Show, an aviation journalist's computer will often glow red from the amount of emails, invites, press releases all simultaneously pinging into the inbox. However, this year, perhaps none can beat this intriguing invitation to meet a company which ended: "I look forward to introducing you to X - a very promising company, soon to join the group of unicorns." Was this referring to the Westeros International Air Show. perchance? Sadly not as it appears 'unicorns' is all the rage in IT/tech venture capital buzzword lingo. 

 

Keep up with the news

The latest June issue of AEROSPACE. 

Updated: Sample a taste of RAeS Membership with a free PDF download of the June issue of AEROSPACE magazine here

The AEROSPACE magazine team will be reporting on the show with the latest news appearing in a series of daily blogs.

Meanwhile on Monday 15 June at 1500GMT, Editor-in-Chief Tim Robinson will taking part in a live CNN Twitter chat on the future on commercial flight - join in using the #CNNLeBourget hashtag. 

Stay ahead of all the news! To follow all the news at Paris don’t forget to bookmark www.aerosociety.com and follow the daily airshow news on the Insight blog. For those on Twitter the hashtag is #PAS15 and the Editor Tim Robinson will be tweeting live from the show on @RAeSTimR

 

 


15 June 2015