Saturday, February 27, 2016

Week in review (2/21 to 2/27)

A major milestone has been reached by the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing facility in Mobile, Ala. The first A320 series jetliner built in the United States, this one an A321, recently went from the production line to the MAAS Aviation paint facility.

The twin-engine, single-aisle passenger jet, which eventually will be delivered to JetBlue, is the first produced at the $600 million Airbus plant at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley. A half-dozen additional A320 series jetliners are also at various stages of assembly in Hangar 9. (Post)

Right now, the Mobile plant is building A320s with the current engine option, or "ceo." But in the future the plant will also build jetliners with the new engine option, or "neo." The new engines, which are more fuel efficient, are offered by Pratt and Whitney and CFM International.

According to Reuters, a Pratt and Whitney neo engine had problem during testing of the A320neo two weeks ago. The problem occurred when an oil pump failed after an engine was deliberately shut down in flight and left to turn with the natural airflow. Known as "windmilling," it’s designed to ensure an aircraft can fly on only one engine.

But a bearing seized within the main oil pump, according to an industry executive quoted by Reuters. Pratt and Whitney is investing, and early signs point to a manufacturing fault in a broken part made by Crane Aerospace, according to Reuters.

The aircraft involved is one of two A320neo models being used by Airbus for testing, which is designed to find these kinds of problems before new technologies move forward. Pratt & Whitney is a unit of United Technologies. (Story)

Maj. Gen. Mark Anthony Brown, commander, 2nd Air Force, Air Education and Training Command, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., is being assigned to vice commander, Headquarters Air Education and Training Command, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, according to the Air Force chief of staff. (Post)

Leidos Inc., of Arlington, Va., was awarded a $13 million contract for high speed weapons research and development. The contractor will provide support of technology research and development, modeling and simulation, and testing to address issues related to high-speed weapons. Work will be done at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and is expected to be complete by Jan. 31, 2021. Air Force Research Laboratory, Eglin Air Force Base, is the contracting activity. … Pride Industries, of Roseville, Calif., was awarded a $14.8 million contract modification to exercise the option for follow-on year base operations for the Ft. Rucker, Ala., Department of Public Works, with an estimated completion date of Feb. 28, 2017. Army Contracting Command, Ft. Rucker, is the contracting activity.

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