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August 19, 1997

August 20, 1997

August 21, 1997

August 22, 1997



August 19, 1997

Boeing And FAS Agree On Flight Safety

Boeing and Russia's Federal Aviation Service have signed a letter of intent on flight safety and air traffic control issues, aimed at joining forces in making flights less dangerous. The document was signed by FAS deputy director Galkin (on behalf of FAS director Gennady Zaitsev) and Boeing vice president of flight safety, Charles Higgins. As part of the agreement, Boeing will train FAS inspectors on peculiarities of proper maintainance of Boeing airlines in service with Russian operators. And, also as part of the deal, the parties involved will conduct feasibility studies on the project of opening trans-polar routes, including those from the USA to South-East Asia via Russian territory. The new trans-polar routes will be organized so that pilots are not concerned with the peculiarities of each country's regulations. This will also ease the pilot's job regarding flight safety.

Last week, a hearing devoted to flight safety took place in Moscow. It was chaired by Ilyushin general designer Genrikh Novozhilov, chairman of Russian Air Register Valentin Sukhko and Higgins. The venue attracted representatives from 120 various design bureaus, authorities and governmental aviation structures, scientific and research establishments and other organizations. Higgens says that other meetings are planned as well.

Boeing Signs Contract With Ilyushin

Boeing signed an agreement with Ilyushin for joint design elements in the central baggage rack of 777s. Making use of Russian company's state-of-the-art technologies, Ilyushin engineers will re-design structural elements in the 777 rack in order to reduce the cost and simplify the current design. In the begining, Ilyushin and Boeing engineers will work together in the US, and then the Russians will do their part of work at home.

Boeing Purchases 2,400 Tons Of Russian Titanium

Boeing claims it has already purchased 2,400 tons of titanium from the factory in Verkhnaya Salda. Half of that total will be delivered toward the end of this year.

The Russian metal is currently being used to manufacture the 777 and 737 models. The two companies are working on new super-light alloys for future aircraft. Another US company, General Electric, is also using Russian titanium in manufacturing parts for CT-7, CF-6 and GE/Snecma CFMI CFM-56 engines.

At the moment, roughly 15 percent of 777 models' titanium parts are made of Russian metal. And the newly-built 737 airliners, which were also ordered by two Russian operators - Aeroflot and Transaero, will also include parts made of Russian titanium. The first of 20 Boeing-737-400s ordered by Aeroflot will be delivered in April of next year, according to Tom Bassachi, Boeing vice-president of sales in Europe and Russia.

Robert Spitzer, Boeing vice-president for design matters at Civil Airplanes division, says the use of titanium on new designs will grow, provided its suppliers manage to increase the output and reduce a relatively high price charged for this metal. He added that titanium remains one of the most promising materials for the aviation industry.

Boeing Is Happy With Tu-144LL Tests

After the press-briefing in Moscow on August 18, Spitzer found time to comment on the situation with supersonic projects carried out with Tupolev.

[The Tu-144LL has made 8 flights, including three supersonic. The plane logged 16 hours and 9 minutes, including 3 hours and 53 minutes in one mission. Time spent at supersonic regimes is about 1 hour and 57 minutes; the highest Mach number achieved so far is 2.02, altitude 16,900 m.].

Spitzer said, "We are working with Tupolev company on the Tu-144LL flying laboratory and getting good results. This April we had discussions with Tupolev about some further aircraft studies in the area of supersonic and we started working on some [additional] projects. And we will produce studies on those projects.

However, in terms of the major future, we can not say yet that the supersonic will have an economic viability, [because] we are at the early stages of work. We do our homework on environmental issues and operational economic issues. So, we are still working on those avenues, and will continue discussions with professor Pukhov [Tu-144 chief designer] and his team on supersonic designs."

Be-103 Test Flight Turns Disastrous

The Beriev Be-103 first prototype crashed at 11:40 a.m. Monday during a training flight over the Zhukovsky aerodrome. It was the 19th flight of the only aircraft of its kind built so far at Komsomolsk-on-Amur factory. While making a turn at an altitude of about 100 meters, the plane stalled and hit the ground near the runway, killing company test-pilot Vladimir Ulyanov.

The Be-103 took to the air for the first time on July 15, with Ulyanov at the controls. With a take-off weight of 2,050 kg, the seven-seat amphibian aircraft is powered by two American piston engines. It is aimed at foreign markets, and Canada in particular.



August 20, 1997

MAKS' 97 Officially Opens

Tuesday morning, Boris Yeltsin opened the MAKS'97 Airshow in style.
Arriving at the aerodrome aboard his blue Mi-8 helicopter, Yeltsin spoke in
support of the MiG-AT trainer, MiG-29M fighter and An-70 military airlifter projects. He sat inside the cockpits of the two newly-built Mikoyan aircraft: the MiG-29 and the MiG-AT. The MiG-29 has a new indication system built on multi-functional color displays. The second prototype --
MiG-AT -- has a Russian avionics suite rather than a French one featured in the first prototype.
 
The president then inspected the An-70 second prototype which recently flew to Zhukovsky from Kiev in the Ukraine, where the Antonov design bureau resides. After being briefed on the aircraft performance by Antonov general designer Piotr Balabuev, Yeltsin asked Air Force commander Piotr Deinekin and his deputy on armament Yuri Klishin to comment on Balabuev's statements that the new Antonov design is 8 to 10 years ahead of similar projects in the world. Both generals came to an agreement and the discussion moved on to other, more important matters such as the launching of the An-70 series production. Yeltsin promised his own support to the project.
 
As part of the plan, the plane will be co-produced by aircraft mass production factories in Kharkov (Ukraine), Samara (Russia), Kiev (Ukraine), Tashkent (Uzbekistan) and Ulianovsk (Russia). The first two enterprises will undertake final assembly of the aircraft and the others will supply parts. Tashkent will be responsible for roughly 24 percent of elements in the An-70 airframe, including large single-piece wing panels. In total, more than 200 companies are participating in the project, and 70 percent of them are based in Russia. The avionics suite is provided by Aviapribor company (Russia), engines from Motor CISh (Ukraine) and propellers from Stupino (Russia).
 

 

So far, the An-70 second prototype has completed 40 flights with colonel Anatoly Andronov (from Russian Air Force) and Aleksandr Galushenko (honored test pilot of Antonov design bureau) at the controls. Everything has run smoothly, even during a 1,000-mile trip from Kiev to Moscow.
 
Yuri Klishin said, "The inclusion of Anatoly into the An-70 crew shows that we really have an interest in the aircraft."
 
Balabuev is urging Western Europe to cancel its FLA (Future Large Aircraft) project and instead order the An-70. According to Balabuev $7-10 billion will be required for research and development work on the FLA, whereas the An-70 is almost ready for series production. Antonov is suggesting that FLA members come to an agreement on joint production of the An-70 and spend the money saved on humanitarian needs.
 
Balabuev said that although the threat of a global war has been eliminated,
local conflicts will continue. He is offering the plane as the best means for
deploying and evacuating peace-keeping and quick-reaction forces.
 
"Nowadays it is possible to win a local war without fighters, but not without airlifters," Balabuev said.
 
He added that said almost every recent peace-keeping operation has required the transportation of numerous equipment by air and that the current C-130 Hercules, C-160 Transal and An-12 tactical transports could not lift new armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles. Bigger aircraft like the Il-76, C-141 Starlifter, C-5 Galaxy and An-124 Ruslan are too heavy, requiring long, well-prepared aerodromes, which are not readily available in the hot points.
 
According to Balabuev, the An-70 fits the needs of modern mobile
forces of many nations. In fact, the plane's parameters meet or exceed
requirements drawn up by European armies. The An-70 may enter
service in 1999, whereas the FLA no earlier than 2003.
 
The plane may meet find civil applications.
 
"It makes no difference to a military airlifter what it carries, tanks or apples," Balabuev said. Two civil versions are planned. The An-70T with four engines will be able to carry 35 tons over 3,800 km or 20 tons over 7,400 km, whereas the respective figures for the An-70T-100 with two engines will be 30 tons over 1,000 km and 10 tons over 7,700 km respectively.
 
Technical requirements to An-70 and FLA
 
   An-70  FLA
  
Short take-off
strip, m  600/900  915
cargo, t  20/35  20
range  3000/1450  1850

Ordinary take-off
strip, m  1,800  2,000
cargo, t  35/47  30
range, km  3800/1350  5000
 
 
What's On Display This Year
 
This year's show in Zhukovsky is much bigger than the one in 1995.
Unfortunately, the Russian defense ministry chose not to display the MiG 1.42 at this year's venue. But so far, this aircraft is virtually the only latest design not exhibited. Among new products on display are the Kamov Ka-52 Alligator combat management helicopter, Ka-50N and Mi-28N night-capable anti-tank helicopters, the second example of the Su-39 attack aircraft and a new version of the Mi-35M fire-support helicopter with night-vision systems.
 
New airliners on dislay are the Boeing 737-700 and its rival Airbus A-319, the second Tu-204-120 with Rolls-Royce engines for Egypt's Sirocco, Perm Airlines Tu-204 and Tu-214, both with Perm Motors PS-90s, and Il-96T cargo plane.
 
Also on display are planes that can only be seen in Russia. They include flying radars of Gromov's flight test and research institute, Buran orbiter and the MiG-31M interceptor.
 
Among smaller airplanes created recently are the Il-114T regional freighter, Aksai helicopter with rotaty-piston engines, SM-92P armed utility airplane for Border Guards, ANSAT helicopter and the Ka-31 early-warning helicopter.
 


 

August 21, 1997

Airbus And Russia Join Forces

The third day of MAKS'97 came with a big surprise -- Airbus executive officer Volker Von Tain and head of Russian ministry of economics Yakov Urinson signed a letter of intent for strategic cooperation in the sphere of civil aviation. Although details remain scarce, it is known that the parties agreed to join forces on scientific studies, certification, research and development and manufacturing of airliners.
 
As part of the agreement, Airbus will help Russia certify the Tu-204 airliner to European standards (JAR). Furthermore, the European consortium will assist in the process of bringing the current Russian quality system closer to western standards. In the long run, Thursday's agreements may lead to a global certification of the Russian aerospace industry, integrating it into the world's economic structure.
 
At the Paris Air Show in June, Yakov Urinson claimed that Russia might join the European team working on the super-large A3XX airliner project during MAKS. The agreement could not be at this level right now, but it may be leading to this. Sources close to Airbus say the European consortium would like to have one Russian structure to work with, because dealing with numerous design bureaus, scientific establishments, state structures and mass production factories would bring a lot of hassle with virtually no success.
 
Talks of the need to integrate the Russian aerospace industry have gone on for more than two years now, and the first stage has been has proved to be very positive. Beyond any doubt, MiG fighters and people working on them now are benefitting from being united into one structure, the VPK MAPO. Although tensions within the AVPK Sukhoi are forming, a big union of makers of Su aircraft is already proving to be beneficial.
 
Aside from the strategic plans, the agreement calls for establishing a united center of Airbus/Russian aviation in Moscow.
 
 
Airbus Solution For FLA
 
The FLA (Future Large Aircraft) team working on a new military airlifter for Western Europe isn't seriously considering involving Ukraine's Antonov in the project. Instead, the team is trying to find an Airbus solution to replace the aging fleet of the C-130 Hercules and C-160 Transal military transports. Despite the fact that negotiations with Antonov have taken place, the FLA team says it is now trying to "fix Airbus' solution as the primary one."
 
One of the GIFAS officials at MAKS'97 said, "The negotiations with Antonov have not changed our priorities." However, building the FLA together with Antonov and other CIS aviation enterprises is still being considered as one of many possible solutions.
 
No Funds For French Engines
 
Although the hopes of CFMI getting orders to retrofit aging fleet Ilyushin Il-86 wide-body airliners and Il-76 freighters with CFM-56 engines have not fully vanished yet, the likelihood of materialization has shrunk. It has become clear that neither CIS operators nor air forces of the CIS countries possess enough money to fund such a project. Unfortunately, there are no foreign customers seriously willing to have their Il-86s or Il-76s re-engined yet. French engine-makers hope China might finally decide to retrofit its Ilyushins with more economical powerplants.
 
Prospects for the Larzac engine is somewhat better, but not radically. The MiG-AT jet trainer aircraft is gradually becoming a more Russian product because of the Russian Air Force's strong desire to remain independent of western manufacturers in the sphere of weapons systems. Should the RusAF prefer the MiG-AT to Yakovlev Yak-130, it might demand Mikoyan to replace the Larzac with a perspective engine from Klimov of St. Petersburg. The fact that the second MiG-AT prototype has a pure Russian avionics suite means the manufacturer is seriously looking toward obtaining a Russian next-generation trainer solution for the Russian Air Force.
 
Mikoyan is known to have negotiated with India and South Africa on deliveries of its new trainer in the initial version featuring French avionics and engines. If a foreign order for the MiG AT is received, then the Russian Air Force may choose the type as well in order to achieve a bigger production run and thereby reduce the cost per one airframe. Currently, the MiG AT is valued at $12 million (USD).
 
Kharkov Confirms Iranian Order
 
The state aircraft production factory of Kharkov, the Ukraine, confirmed that Iran has placed an order for 12 Antonov An-72 and An-74 transports and that at least two aircraft have already been delivered. Kharkov said that as soon as a new airframe gets completed, it will fly over to the customer. Although the factory has not confirmed how many of the 12 aircraft will come in a military version, the first two aircraft have been painted in Iranian Air Force colors. Kharkov said that the order is a mixture of An-74T-100 and An-74TK-100 versions powered with D-36 series 3A engines. The "T"-lettered versions feature cargo-carrying capabilities in comparison with earlier models. With fuel reserves for 45 minutes, the original An-74 can transport 5 tons 3,000 km, whereas the An-74-TK-100 with the same payload covers 3,500 km. The latter aircraft can carry 10 tons of cargo instead of 7.5 tons allotted for the An-74. The maximum take-off weight for the An-74TK-100 is bigger, at 36.5 tons instead of 34.8 tons for the An-74. The An-74TK-100 is a universal version, with the ability to carry either 10 tons of cargo or 52 passengers. The An-74T-100 is a pure freighter.


August 22, 1997

Tupolev Gets Rejuvenated

The Tupolev press conference on the fourth day of MAKS '97 was a first for Sergei Shevchuk as the general designer of the company. (Shevchuk replaced Valentin Klimov only a month ago.) Despite finding the current situation at Tupolev 'very difficult,' Shevchuk is holding onto a more positive philosophy. He is certain the company will survival.
 
Shevchuk believes that a big part of Tupolev's new designs will transform into sales soon.
 
"I am sure the Tu-204 will become the primary type in Russia and CIS," he said.
 
At the moment, the two production factories - in Ulianovsk and Kazan - have firm orders for this family of aircraft. Ulianovsk is fulfilling the firm order for 20 Tu-204-120s from Sirocco Aerospace International, while Kazan holds 10 firm orders and 10 not-so-firm ones.
 
On August 10, Sirocco Aerospace International company, founded by Egyptian industrialist Dr. Ibrahim Kamel in 1995, signed the first contract for the leasing of 10 Sirocco Tu-204-120 airliners to KrasAir. The deliveries should start by this October. Powered by Rolls-Royce RB.211 engines and fitted with Honeywell/Allied-Signal avionics, the Sirocco Tu-204-120 is available under operational lease agreements compiled by City Bank and Sirocco. In addition to KrasAir's order, three passenger and two cargo planes have recently been ordered by Air Cairo charter operator
in Egypt.
 
Shevchuk says talks of deliveries of Tu-204s and Tu-214s to Aeroflot and Transaero are on. The next round of negotiations with the operator is scheduled for August 24. The carrier is expected to order t least 10 Tu-214s from Kazan. Aside from the domestic market, Tupolev plans to get foreign orders. Consequently, Sirocco and Tupolev are going to certify the plane to JAR-25 airworthiness requirements.
 
"Civil aviation is a high politics and big business", Shevchuk said.
 
In his mind, Russia should compete more actively with Airbus and Boeing for ts 'traditional markets' like China, Egypt and Iran.
 
One of the most advancing Tupolev projects is the Tu-324 regional jet. The maiden flight of the first aircraft is planned for 1999, certification for 2001. Shevchuk says such a quick pace is needed in order to have the aircraft ready no later than 2002, to fulfill the demand in replacing the aging Tu-134s, An-24s and Yak-40s.
 
Otherwise, Shevchuk said, the market, estimated at 300-400 airframes, would be lost to foreign manufacturers. The Tu-324 is enjoying upport from the Tatarstan republic, and therefore -- is willing to load Kazan factory to the ultimate capacity.
 
Twice as large, the 100-seat Tu-334 will be manufactured in two versions differentiated by wing geometry. Three big plants will cooperate on this program - those in Kharkov, Samara and Taganrog. Kiev and Samara already signed an agreement on the matter this summer. The first Tu-334
prototype has not been airborne for two years. Shevchuk has promised to launch it -- by the end of this year.
 
Tupolev will continue its military programs, including unmanned reconnaissance vehicles, the Tu-330 and upgrading the Tu-160 and Tu-22M3 bombers. Touching on the theme of competition between the An-70 and Tu-330, Shevchuk said both aircraft can and will find customers. Although different in the design conceptions, the two aircraft are close in size and, therefore, competitors. The new Tupolev general designer said that he is ready for tough competition with Antonov in the cargo
transport market.
 
"The advantage of the An-70 is that the plane is flying. Our advantage is that our plane is based on already-proven Tu-204 elements," Shevchuk said. He claims the he Defense Ministry funds research and development work on the Tu-330 project. However, funding from the military budget does not cover all the expenses Tupolev bears.
 
New Tupolev head issupporting efforts aimed at a more close cooperation with Boeing on the technologies of the future supersonic transport aircraft. Scaled-down models of the Tu-244 projected supersonic have been wind-tested in TsAGI, the Central Aerohydrodynamics Institute. Tupolev is now advising Boeing on how to improve the company's preliminary design of the second-generation supersonic airliner. After o laboratory will resume flights in mid-September.
 
Shevchuk said that the agreement between the Russian Ministry for Economics and Airbus in cooperating the A3XX super-large airliner project doesn't mean those aircraft will enter service with Russian operators. Shevchuk agrees that low passenger traffic in Russia makes it difficult to make use of the A3XX capacities. Russia will be responsible for the center fuselage section of the plane.
 
 
Eurocopter Thinks Big
 
Dr. Siegfried Sobotta, co-president and chief executive officer of Eurocopter, claims that the company's strategy in the Russian market is not
merely to sell its helicopters, but to cooperate with the Russian aerospace industry in joint ventures.
 
One of the promising Russia/Western Europe aerospace programs is the Mil Mi-38 helicopter -- developed by the Euromil joint venture. The aircraft is slightly larger than the ordinary Mi-8 and Mi-17, the long-serving workhorses. The Mi-38 has a take-off weight of 15.4 tons, and 34 seats in the passenger cabin. Sobotta announced the recent decision of Euromil to begin construction of the first airframe at the Kazan Helicopters factory. Its maiden flight is planned to take place a year and a half from now. Two engine types are being considered -- from both Klimov and Pratt & Whitney.
 
Sobotta says that Eurocopter tries to escape competition head-on with the Russian industry on the CIS market. According to Sobotta, in Russia, the company only sells those models which do not have Russian competitors. (The Russian industry does not produce good light-weight helicopters.) Among those are the BO-105, BK-117 and Equreuil.
 
The BO-105s were delivered to Sentrospas rescue agency and ministry for emergencies two years ago. The helicopters have participated in air rescue and disaster-relief operations. They have saved the lives of several dozen people. In emergency cases, the BO-105 is delivered aboard the Il-76 freighter. Within a short time after being dis-embarked from the Ilyushin,
the BO-105 gets air worthy.
 
This month, Eurocopter obtained a local certificate for the Ecureuil helicopter. Although the first sales were to operators in big cities, Eurocopter has put its machines through assessment trials in Siberia. The Russian industry does not have orders to load its production lines up to capacity.
 
Foreseeing the market in Russia, Eurocopter is not going to erect its own manufacturing facilities in the country. Sobotta says this move would be counter-productive because the Russian industry has over-loaded its capacity. Instead, Eurocopter will use existing manufacturing capacities of Russian enterprises.
 
Because of the cash shortage in the CIS, Eurocopter is offering its helicopters through leases. And Russian customers can now obtain second-hand machines from Eurocopter.
 


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