Flight International - 26 June 2018

(Jacob Rumans) #1

COMMENT


fiightglobal.com 26 June-2 July 2018 | Flight International | 5


cancellation by hovering above the Thames to “push in
a couple of stained glass windows” in the Houses of
Parliament highlighted his unshakeable belief in the
unique technology as well as his great flying prowess.
The latter was clear from his “rocket climb” technique:
ruled too dangerous for service pilots to attempt.
History shows that the Harrier became a huge opera-
tional asset to the UK – particularly in its Sea Harrier
guise during the Falklands War of 1982.
As the nation moves on from the closed Jump Jet era
to operating Lockheed Martin’s F-35B, its pilots will
benefit greatly from the lessons passed on by pioneers
like Farley: a true Harrier hero. ■

M


entioning the name John Farley evokes memories
of a time when the UK’s aerospace industry was
able to produce a succession of jet fighters – albeit
sometimes of variable quality.
As our obituary piece details, Farley was inspired to
join the Royal Air Force and subsequently become a
test pilot when, as a child, he saw a Graf Zeppelin pass
gracefully – and probably menacingly – over Hastings.
Through a career that would put almost 100 types in
his log book, including the Fairey Delta 2, Avro Vulcan
and even Concorde, it was at the controls of the Hawk-
er Siddeley Harrier that he was most at home.
Farley’s famous plot – although never enacted – to
save the in-development Jump Jet from the threat of See Obituary P

Hover and out


Waiting game


Certification is nearing for the A330neo, but a cool market reception is not being helped by
concerns over its engines. Airbus and Rolls-Royce will be hoping that no issue materialises

1000 for the Boeing 787 will not be replicated on
other Trent-series engines.
But almost 50 Dreamliners have been grounded as
the UK engine manufacturer scrambles to implement a
fix to the intermediate-pressure compressor: a problem
that came on top of earlier glitches experienced with
the powerplant.
In the meantime, the sight of all those 787s sitting on
the tarmac while the engine issue remains unresolved
is unlikely to persuade wavering would-be customers
to commit to the A330neo, however unlikely that the
fault is replicated on the Trent 7000.
At the end of May, Airbus held total orders for 332
A330s, including those for the re-engined variant – or
around six and a half years of production.
That is a not insignificant total, of course, but
Airbus will be crossing multiple digits and hoping
that it has not misread the replacement cycle – and
that the decision not to offer an alternative engine
choice does not backfire. ■

A


s Airbus enters the home straight on the A330neo,
everything appears to be running smoothly, with
the type nearing certification.
Performance is on spec, the airframer insists, and it
has now embarked on an 18-day route-proving effort
with the re-engined twinjet.
However, simply referring to the 16-city trip as
route-proving hardly does it justice: the airframer has
clearly chosen the destinations with care in order to
maximise marketing potential for the type.
And well it might – as the re-engining programme
approaches the fourth anniversary of its launch at the
Farnborough air show in 2014, just 214 orders have
been booked for the -900, while the backlog on the
smaller -800 has slowly evaporated to nothing.
Of course, all aircraft reach a certain point in their
gestation where operators are happier to wait for the
surety of certification and real-world operating metrics
before putting their money down.

Aside from any doubts over the market’s so far cool
reception to the programme, Airbus has a separate con-
cern with the most crucial part of the A330neo – its
Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines.
Delays to those powerplants are responsible for the
type’s belated service entry – deliveries were origi-
nally intended to begin in late 2017 – and now poten-
tial reliability issues are an additional headache that
Airbus could do without. Both the airframer and R-R
insist that the durability shortfall seen on the Trent See This Week P7, P9 & News Focus P

Not a patch on its predecessor?

Airbus

The sight of all those 787s sat on


the tarmac is unlikely to persuade


wavering would-be customers


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