The first Airbus jetliner produced in the United States had a successful maiden flight Monday. The A321, built for JetBlue at the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Mobile, Ala., lifted from the runway at 9:36 a.m. CDT to the cheers of more than 300 employees.
The blue and white jetliner returned to the Mobile Aeroplex runway at 1:02 p.m. after a three-hour, 26-minute test flight, part of the process before turning over the plane to the customer. The single-aisle, twin-engine aircraft will go through a few more weeks of final delivery preparations. JetBlue is expected to take delivery before the end of next month. (Post)
In another Airbus-related event, Miller Transfer will open an office at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley. Miller Transfer is responsible for the logistics of moving major sections of Airbus aircraft from the port to the Airbus Manufacturing Facility at the Aeroplex. Miller will occupy offices at the Mobile Airport Authority headquarters on the second floor in the shared services space. (Post)
If you want to read more about Airbus and its activities in Mobile, pick up a copy of the upcoming issue of the Gulf Coast Reporters’ League Business Quarterly. We had photographer Michelle Thomas at the Aeroplex to shoot some photos of the historic flight. We also had writer Martha Simmons at the event following the first flight, and she also was on hand to meet the crew a few days before the flight.
In addition to a story about the first flight in that April 5 edition of the magazine, we have a package of stories about the assembly process, the role of nearby Foley, the suppliers and the aerospace footprint in the Gulf Coast region.
To have the digital magazine delivered to you via email, visit the Gulf Coast Reporters' League website and click on the subscribe button on the left. The advertiser-supported magazine is free in its PDF version. And since this flight is so historic, you can also purchase at cost from our print-on-demand service a printed version of the magazine. It will be a keeper.
Capt. Christopher T. Martin took over command of Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., from Capt. Keith W. Hoskins during a ceremony Thursday at the National Naval Aviation Museum. Martin earned his wings at NAS Pensacola in 1995 and few E-2 Hawkeyes through most of his naval career. Hoskins, a former Blue Angels pilot, has been the commander since 2013. He retired from the Navy at the conclusion of the ceremony and said he’ll remain in the Pensacola area. (Post)
-- Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport during the week announced additional flights to Houston on United Airlines beginning in June. The new flights to George Bush Intercontinental Airport will begin June 9. United will use a larger EMB 175 plane during weekends. The airport is located in West Bay, northwest of Panama City. (Post)
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $179.9 million modification to a previously awarded advance acquisition contract for the advance procurement of long lead time materials, parts, components, and effort to maintain the planned production schedule for low-rate initial production Lot 11 F-35.
This contract combines purchase for the Air Force (65.6 percent); Navy (9.2 percent), and Marine Corps (25.2 percent). The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity. Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is home of the F-35 integrated training center. (Post)