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The Boeing 787 Dreamliner began a two-
week series of extreme-weather tests at
Valparaiso, Florida on 22 April.
A special hangar at the McKinley Climatic
Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base was used
to make the airplane experience temperatures
as high as 46 degrees Celsius and as low as
minus 43 degrees Celsius.
Once temperatures stabilized, flight test
technicians followed Airplane Maintenance
Manual procedures to prepare the aircraft
for flight release and operations under those
conditions. Sensors and monitors allowed the
test team to determine if all systems hardware
and software operated as expected.
Cold-weather testing was conducted first,
with preliminary hot-weather following.
Additional extreme-weather testing is
scheduled for later in the flight-test program.
"We have Dreamliner customers who
will operate the 787 in a wide variety of
environments around the world," says Scott
Fancher, vice president and general manager
of the 787 programme for Boeing Commercial
Airplanes. "This testing is about ensuring that
the airplane meets the expectations of our
A crew of approximately 100 people
travelled from Seattle to support the test
operations on ZA003, the third 787 airframe
to be completed.
The McKinley Climatic Laboratory is the
second remote-testing location for the 787.
The second aircraft in the fleet, ZA002,
performed a variety of tests in Victorville,
California, in March. -- Andrzej Jeziorski
The Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (CAD)
says the Cathay Pacific Airways Airbus A330-300
that had a high-speed landing at Hong Kong
International Airport (HKIA) on 13 April reported
engine problems five times throughout the flight.
The reports of trouble with the Rolls-Royce
Trent 700 turbofans had come from the
aircraft's central monitoring system, the CAD
says in its preliminary report on the incident.
The aircraft also issued a Mayday signal as it
prepared to land.
No engine or fuel-system problems were
reported prior to the aircraft's departure from
The aircraft landed with a ground speed of
230 knots at a landing weight of 173,600kg,
with the pilot using maximum braking to bring
the aircraft to a standstill on the runway. On
landing, engine no. 1 made contact with the
runway triggering the deployment of spoilers.
Only that engine's thrust reverser deployed.
Five of the aircraft's tyres were deflated after
landing, with fire and smoke coming from the
main landing gear.
"The report's account of the incident is
consistent with our understanding of the
sequence of events leading to the landing,"
Cathay Pacific says. "We will continue to
cooperate fully with the CAD in its ongoing
investigations." -- Andrzej Jeziorski
HK CAD releases initial report on Cathay A330 incident
Boeing 787 undergoes extreme-weather testing
Initial investigations into 13 April crash of a
Merpati Nusantara Airlines Boeing 737-300
at Rendani airport in Manokwari, Indonesia,
indicate that heavy rain and fog may have
contributed to the accident.
The 23-year old aircraft bounced off the
runway in heavy rain after landing and overshot
the strip before hitting trees and coming to rest
with its tail section in a shallow stream. The
aircraft broke up on impact, separating the port
wing and cockpit from the fuselage.
Out of 109 passengers on board, 27 and one
flight attendant suffered injuries. There were no
fatalities. The aircraft originated from Sorong.
Indonesia's Director General of Civil Aviation
Herry Bhakti Singayuda says pilot error
has been ruled out by investigators. "The
aircraft landed in the rain and there was fog,
which could have been the cause," he said,
declining to comment further.
State-owned domestic carrier Merpati, which
is a subsidiary of Indonesian flag carrier Garuda
Indonesia, operates a fleet of 14 aging aircraft
to 25 domestic destinations.
The carrier has a history of 37 crashes since
1971, with the most recent being on 2 August
2009, when a de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter
disappeared during a flight from Jayapura to
Oksibil. The wreckage was found two days later.
All 13 passengers and three crew perished.
Merpati has remained in the lowest
safety category after two audits carried out
by Indonesia's Ministry of Transport and
Department of Civil Aviation in March and
June 2007. It is also one of 41 Indonesian
carriers banned by the European Union from
flying to the 27-nation bloc. -- William
Bad weather cited in Merpati 737 crash
NEWS IN BRIEF
BOEING and Blue Dart Aviation, India's
only dedicated domestic freighter airline,
announced on 4 May that Boeing
Commercial Aviation Services will provide
its Maintenance Performance Toolbox for
the airline's Boeing 757-200 Freighter fleet.
Toolbox, a key Boeing Lifecycle Solution
element, is a software-based productivity tool
designed to unify an airline's maintenance
data, enhancing accessibility and providing
greater efficiency in maintenance and
engineering operations. "Our Maintenance
Performance Toolbox selection is a significant
capital investment for Blue Dart, which will
help us remain competitive and add value
for our customers," says Tulsi Nowlakha
Mirchandaney, Blue Dart's managing director.
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