As the year comes to an end, we take a look back at the amazing, innovative technologies, key milestones and highlights of 2015. Has your favourite headline made the list?
Boeing debuts the first 737 MAX 8
On November 30, the first production-complete 737 MAX 8 rolled out of Boeing’s Renton factory and into the paint hangar. The freshly painted aircraft, labelled the Spirit of Renton, was revealed to employees in a teal version of the OEM’s livery. The next phase will see the aircraft undergo pre-flight preparation before departing to continue flight test readiness. The 737 MAX 8 is on track for first flight in early 2016 and first delivery to launch customer Southwest Airlines in Q3 of 2017.
The price of fuel dropped, dropped and dropped some more
It’s no secret that the world and indeed the aviation sector have experienced a significant reduction in the cost of fuel. And on the 27th November 2015, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported that prices had dropped by a massive 38.2 per cent year on year.
Airbus’ PW-powered A320neo received Type Certification
Airbus’ A320neo powered by Pratt & Whitney (PW) Pure Power PW1100G-JM engines received Type Certification on November 24 from both the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in November. The certification followed the successful completion of an impressive 14-month flight test programme, which was delivered on time.
CFM’s Leap-1A Gained Dual FAA-EASA Approval
In November, CFM’s advanced LEAP-1A engine received joint certification from the EASA and FAA on November 20, meaning it is one step closer to powering Airbus’ A320neo. In fact, according to the manufacturer it is “the only engine manufacturer to gain dual original certification from both agencies, rather one lead agency issuing a type certification and the second agency validating that certification”.
Boeing completed the detailed design of 787-10 Dreamliner
On 2nd December, Boeing announced that it had completed a detailed design for the upcoming 787-10 Dreamliner, nearly two weeks ahead of schedule. And now the countdown is well and truly on with the major assembly of the newest 787 Family member set to begin in 2016, followed by first flight in 2017 and first delivery in 2018.
Developments were made in Biofuel
Boeing, the University of British Columbia and SkyNRG, alongside Canada’s aviation industry’s key players and stakeholders, announced that they would join forces in a bid to transform leftover branches, sawdust and other forest-industry waste into sustainable aviation biofuel. The collaboration will see Canada’s forests assessed by Boeing and other key players to see whether its waste can be harnessed to produce sustainable aviation biofuel.
easyJet launched the first ever real-time flight tracking app
In November, low cost carrier, easyJet announced that it had added a live aircraft tracking functionality directly from Flightradar24 to its already award-winning mobile app.
Norwegian announced new live TV service for European flights
On November 23, Norwegian announced that it became the first airline to offer live TV onboard European flights, giving passengers the ability to watch Bloomberg Television and Norway’s TV 2 News live whilst inflight.
Final assembly of the 737 MAX began
On September 15, Boeing announced that it had started the final assembly of the first 737 MAX 8 in September, with its mechanics successfully attaching wings to the body of the first flight 737 MAX 8 test aircraft. And it’s these new wings that feature new Advanced Technology winglets that offer customers up to 1.8 per cent additional fuel-efficiency improvement compared to today’s inline winglet designs.
Drones were welcomed into the hangar
Yet again, easyJet made headlines when it announced that it would use drones during its maintenance checks. The airline’s decision followed a successful trial inspection using Blue Bear and Createc’s RISER automated drone technology. You can find out more about this in our post on how to minimise downtime.
The A350-1000’s curved wings went into production
Airbus announced that it would modify the wings of its already impressive A350-900 aircraft to a new ‘morphing’ design that would be elegant and curved. The wings will be installed on the A350-1000, which is schedule for entry into service in 2017. The first wing went into production in August.
Mood lighting became a thing…
Airbus took cabin interior and passenger comfort to a whole new level with its A350 XWB family by offering mood lighting on long-haul flights. It’s this lighting that the OEM says can combat jetlag while providing a relaxing ambiance.
New advances were made in inflight technology
2015 has certainly been a year focused on improving passenger comfort. Airlines can now offer free Wi-Fi, live TV streaming, IFE systems boasting thousands of must-see shows and gourmet meals, for example. HK Express is another airline that has been leading the way with its inflight services and in February announced its partnership with the contactless payment solution from Octopus Cards, which was the first partnership between the well-known brand and a Hong Kong-based airline.
3D printing has gone from strength to strength
GE Aviation has been somewhat of a pioneer in 3D printing technology within commercial aviation – its LEAP jet engine features 3D printed fuel nozzles – and now the rest of the industry seems to be following suit. More recently, Airbus has announced that it will be making parts using similar technology from 2016 and at the Dubai Airshow a deal was signed between Martin Aircraft and the Civil Defence Operations Department of Dubai for the world’s first 3D printed jet-powered UAV.
The A350 XWB entered into service
And how could we forget January 15, when Airbus’ all-new family of widebody, the A350 XWB Family, took to the skies for he very first time with launch customer, Qatar Airways.
What other headlines have caught your eye in 2015? Tell us below and add yours to the list!