Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Ryanair orders 25 737 MAX 8 planes

The Boeing Company and Ryanair announced Tuesday they finalized an order for 25 additional high-capacity 737 MAX 8 airplanes. The $3 billion order, at current list prices, was previously listed as unidentified on Boeing's Orders & Deliveries website.

This order will bringing Ryanair's firm order to 135 737 MAX 8s. “The aircraft has eight more seats than our current 189-seat Boeing 737-800NG and incorporates the latest technology engines and winglets which reduce fuel consumption and noise emissions,” said Neil Sorahan, chief financial officer, Ryanair. “We look forward to taking delivery of our first aircraft in spring 2019."

Ryanair launched the high-capacity 737 MAX 8 in late 2014 with an order for 100 airplanes, followed by an additional order for 10 airplanes at the 2017 Paris Air Show. The airplane will provide Ryanair with 197 seats, increasing revenue potential and delivering up to 14 percent lower fuel consumption than today's Next-Generation 737s.

The Dublin, Ireland-based carrier is the largest 737-800 customer in the world and the largest Boeing operator in Europe. Last month, Ryanair took delivery of its 500th Next-Generation 737-800 and has now ordered more than 650 Boeing airplanes.

The 737 MAX incorporates the latest CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets, Boeing Sky Interior, large flight deck displays and other features to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market.

The 737 MAX is the fastest-selling airplane in Boeing history, accumulating almost 4,500 orders from 96 customers worldwide.

Monday, April 23, 2018

First United Airlines 737 MAX 9 aircraft delivered

United Airlines announced Monday that it has taken delivery of its first 737 MAX 9 aircraft from the Boeing Delivery Center in Seattle, Wash. The new aircraft, which arrived right after Earth Day, reduces fuel use and CO2 emissions significantly compared with older generation aircraft. In honor of this more eco-friendly aircraft, United has given the MAX a new livery, similar to its fuel-efficient Boeing Dreamliner aircraft, so that employees and customers can easily recognize the plane and its superior fuel efficiency.

United expects to take delivery of two more 737 MAX 9 aircraft this month, and will have 10 by the end of the year. The aircraft will enter United's schedule June 7 with service between the airline's hub at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport and five cities – Anchorage, Alaska; Austin, Texas; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Orlando, Fla.. and San Diego, Calif. The aircraft will operate on additional routes from Houston and Los Angeles International Airport starting June 29.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

First fully capable KC-46 tanker aircraft delayed

Under the Air Force's KC-46 modernization program, commercial aircraft are being converted by The Boeing Company into aerial refueling tankers. The program is one of the Air Force's highest acquisition priorities, and will replace a third of the aging fleet.

We found that the program, now in its seventh year, is meeting its estimated acquisition cost. However, the program office projects that Boeing will not deliver the first 18 fully capable aircraft until May 2019—21 months later than initially planned,” the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a recent report. Boeing won the competition to develop the KC-46 aircraft in February 2011.

The total acquisition cost estimate for the KC-46 refueling tanker aircraft remained stable over the last year at $44.4 billion. This is about $7.3 billion, or about 14 percent, less than the original estimate of $51.7 billion, the GAO said.

Boeing faces the following risks and challenges and is trying to address them:
updating test aircraft to the correct configuration to complete remaining tests;
completing flight tests at a pace that is almost double its monthly average;
updating test plans to reflect a more realistic schedule for certifying aircraft, such as F-16 fighters and C-17 cargo planes, to be refueled by a KC-46;
retrofitting production aircraft to their final configuration for delivery; and
fixing a critical deficiency to keep the boom from contacting receiver aircraft outside the refueling receptacle.

The program plans to eventually field 179 KC-46 aircraft in total. These aircraft are intended to replace roughly one-third of the Air Force’s aging aerial refueling tanker fleet, comprised mostly of KC135 Stratotankers.

Aviation attorney calls for immediate grounding of all Boeing 737-700 aircraft

Aviation attorney Robert A. Clifford is calling for the grounding of all Boeing 737-700 aircraft in the wake of the second uncontained engine failure (UEF) of a 17-year-old Southwest Airlines 737-700 in less than 20 months.

Clifford, founder and senior partner of Clifford Law Offices of Chicago, represents a number of passengers injured in a fire after a similar UEF on an American Airlines 767 at O'Hare Airport in October 2016.

In August, 2016, Southwest Airlines Flight 3472 from New Orleans to Orlando experienced a UEF of the same engine (CFM56-7) involved in the UEF tragedy on Southwest Airlines Flight 1380. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has not completed its investigation into Flight 3472 but in August of 2017 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to require fan disk inspections on all CFM56-7 engines as a result of the NTSB's findings to date. Such inspections might have prevented the tragedy on Flight 1380 and Southwest Airlines and CFM  International (engine manufacturer) should not have waited negligently for the FAA to issue this notice before taking action to prevent death and injury, according to Clifford.

The NTSB already has revealed that a fan blade is missing from one of the engines on Flight 1380, leading to now two UEFs due to CFM56-7 fan disk failures in less than 20 months, and an innocent mother of two is dead because of it, the law firm said in a statement.

The flying public does not have another 20 months for the NTSB and FAA to take action - the 737-700 fleet must be grounded until each airplane's engines are inspected for such fan disk flaws and an acceptable longer-term inspection and replacement plan is finalized,” Clifford said. “This is drastic action but we now have positive proof of the deadly and negligent consequences of not doing so.”

Clifford served as co-lead counsel in yet another similar UEF accident involving United Airlines Flight 232 where an engine exploded in mid air in July, 1989, and the DC-10 wide body airliner crash landed at Sioux City, Iowa, killing a number of people and injuring my more as it chartwheeled in flames down the runway.

"The General Electric/Safran CFM56 engines and 737-700 airplanes they are mounted on are just too dangerous to remain in the air until immediate initial inspections of each and every engine is conducted and a longer-term safety plan is implemented." Clifford said.

Clifford explained that the FAA should also consider changing airliner design requirements to provide better fuselage and passenger protection from UEF parts via tougher skin and window designs adjacent to the rotating parts of engines.

On Tuesday, Southwest Airlines announced that it is accelerating its existing engine inspection program relating to the CFM56 engine family. “The accelerated inspections are being performed out of an abundance of caution and are expected to be completed over the next 30 days,” Southwest Airlines said in a statement on their website. “The accelerated checks are ultrasonic inspections of fan blades of the CFM56 engines.” The airline expects minimal disruption to the operation during the course of the inspections.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Camp Perry Landing Strip

A single-engine Pilatus PC-12 aircraft landed at Camp Peary Landing Strip, Va., on Monday after departing Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach. The turboprop plane (tail number N617EX) is registered to Cowen 1576 LLC in New York.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

US rare coin sales did well in 2017

U.S. rare coins selling for $50,000 or more and those selling for $500 or less generally did well during 2017, according to the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG), a nonprofit organization composed of many of the top rare coin and paper money dealers. Four historic, vintage U.S. coins sold for $1 million or more during the year; two at public auctions and two by private transactions.

The PNG estimates the overall U.S. rare coin market in 2017 was between $3.4 and $3.8 billion, not including sales by the United States Mint or bullion coins, such as gold and silver American Eagles.

The aggregate prices realized for U.S. coins sold at major public auctions in 2017 totaled $306,199,305.  Two auction houses accounted for nearly 80 percent of the overall total with Heritage Auctions reporting $169,100,000 sold at auction and Stack's Bowers Galleries at $74,099,305. 

Stack's Bowers sold at auction an 1804-dated U.S. Class I silver dollar for $3,290,000 and a 1794 silver dollar for $2,820,000.

"Some of the investment money that may have gone into numismatic purchases went into the booming stock market and the speculative cybercurrency market," explained PNG President Barry Stuppler. "Despite that, demand for extremely rare investor-collector coins rose in 2017."