CAAC Restructures Its Certification Centers
To strengthen its certification capabilities, the CAAC has restructured its certification offices into areas of specialization.

From now onwards, the Engine Certification Center of CAAC will lead and manage the organization under its new name, the "Certification Center of CAAC."

According to the center’s Director General, Xu Chaoqun, the new organization is responsible for conducting certification for all civil aviation products, and offering relevant technical support.

The new Certification Center will set up a branch in Xi’an named Xi’an Aircraft Certification Center of CAAC, and it will also be responsible for managing the Shanghai Aircraft Certification and Shenyang Aircraft Certification Centers. Following the restructuring, the Shanghai Certification Center will engage in certification of turbofan aircraft, and Shenyang for small aircraft and rotorcraft.

The new Certification Center is an important step for CAAC to implement the State Council’s certification policy. It will manage professional, technology and human resources to conduct airworthiness certification of the C919 MA700, AG600 and other types as well as other aviation products.

Boeing’s China Completion Center

Boeing and COMAC have named the Chinese coastal city of Zhoushan as the intended site of a jointly-developed completion center for 737s for onward delivery to Chinese operators.

The offshore completion site is the first of its kind for any Boeing commercial airplane and, following acceptance of ‘green’ airframes from Seattle, will be responsible for fitting interior cabin furnishings, painting and final handover to airlines.

Development of the Chinese completion center, plans for which were first revealed by Aviation Week in September 2015, forms part of a broader strategic move by Boeing which has preferred to keep final assembly within the U.S. rather than adopt the Airbus model of opening production lines in key overseas markets. Boeing maintains a delivery and completion site will generate significantly greater local value to Chinese industry than the Airbus A320 final assembly line in Tianjin, which opened in 2009.

The Zhoushan site extends Boeing’s already extensive existing relationship with China’s aerospace industry which currently makes the horizontal stabilizers, vertical fins, aft tail section, doors, wing panels and other components of the present 737 model. Chinese manufacturers also supply parts for the 747-8, as well as the rudder, fairings, leading edge vertical fin panels and other composite parts for the 787. In addition the Chinese city of Xiamen is the first conversion location for the 747-400 Boeing Converted Freighter program.

No details have been released about the proposed timing of the Zhoushan facility which will be based within an aviation industrial park on the island city.

Thales Wins Avionics on 400+ Aircraft in China
Suppliers of airline avionics, connectivity and cabin interiors are reaping the benefits of the boom in commercial aircraft sales to China.

“We’ve had a fantastic year,” says Jinsong Xia, deputy CEO of Thales China. “We’ve seen success in all our core businesses, and especially avionics and inflight entertainment (IFE) systems.

“We’ve had multiple successes on flight critical systems including head-up displays(HUD), flight management systems (FMS) and surveillance and safety (T3CAS).

“On IFE we've had good success, including a major success with a key airline for multiple platforms.” In fact, says Xia, Thales has a 65% market share in IFE in China. Thales’ total so far, with two months of the year remaining, is to provide avionics on more than 400 mainly single-aisle Airbus and Boeing aircraft across multiple airlines including China Southern and China Eastern.

A total of 154 Airbus 320NEOs will be equipped with a full component package including Thales FMS, Thales/ACSS T3CAS terrain collision avoidance systems, ELT Integra, radio altimeters and HUDs. Thales will also be equipping over 150 737MAX aircraft with different sets of components, including over 100 TopFlight Imarsat SATCOM systems and 50 with both TCAS3000SP and low range radio altimeters.

Chinese airlines have been investing heavily in the 737NG platform and Thales has been the supplier of choice on these new versions of the popular Boeing single aisle, for components ranging from TopFlight Inmarsat SATCOM, TCAS3000SP and low range radio altimeter. The group signed contracts on over 80 aircraft.

Xia notes that more than 100 Airbus aircraft have been ordered with Thales HUD, mainly dual rather than single installations. On Boeings, Thales had about 30-40 aircraft equipped at the end of 2015 with more than another 130 on order. HUD equipment is being mandated by the CAAC with a steady ramp-up towards full compliance by 2025.

Asked how Thales had won so much business, Xia pointed to its long-term business partnerships in China. We are one of the largest operators in China. We are actually Chinese!” he said.

AG600 First Flight ‘Early Next Year’

Work is progessing toward the maiden flight in the first quarter of 2017 of AVIC's AG600 amphibious transport aircraft, one of three ‘large aircraft’ programs regarded as a national priority (the other two are the Y-20 jet transport and the C919 airliner).

The nearly-complete aircraft is housed here at Zhuhai in the hangars of China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co., Ltd. (CAIGA), which aims to build five aircraft a year when it goes into production.

CAIGA says letters of intent have been signed for 17 aircraft, and it sees demand for about 50 AG600s in the domestic market.

The aircraft was rolled out amidst much fanfare this July, some seven years after its launch in 2009. At that time the first flight was planned for 2013 and entry into service in 2015, but it appears Avic has taken the extra time to greatly improve the design from what was originally an updated Harbin SH-5 amphibian built in small numbers in the 1970s and 1980s.

The AG600 is intended to fill many roles including fighting forest fires, marine monitoring, maritime rights protection and anti-smuggling. Rescuing people at sea has also long been mentioned.

Other missions could include carrying supplies to islands and reefs, many of which might not have runways.

In its overland role of firefighting the AG600 water is designed to scoop up 12 tons (26,000 lb.) of water in 20 secs., according to Avic. Its speed will allow it to outperform rotorcraft in the role, and its water capacity will exceed even that of the giant Mil Mi-26 helicopter, which China uses for fighting forest fires.

AVIC notes the AG600 consists of more than 50,000 structural and system components, over 90% of which are made domestically.

The AG600 features tricycle retractable landing gear, and is powered by four domestic WJ6 engines of 3,126 kw. Externally it is about the size of a Boeing 737, with a takeoff weight of 53.5 tons, maximum cruising speed of 500 km/h, longest flight duration of 12 hours, and maximum range of 4,500 km.

COMAC and UAC to Unveil Widebody Model

Airshow China 2016 is expected to demonstrate clear progress in the development of the Russo-Chinese Long-Range Wide-Body Commercial Aircraft, known as the C929 or LWRBCA. This program was launched by COMAC and Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) in 2014 and backed by the intergovernmental agreement signed in July between Moscow and Beijing. A scaled-down model of the new airliner is to be unveiled at the COMAC exhibit at Zhuhai on Wednesday.

The program will be managed by an equal Russo-Chinese joint venture. It will be registered in China, in Shanghai free trade zone in Pudong district, a home region of COMAC, and take upon itself the design, sales, after-sales support of the new airliner as well as the investment and financing through the project. Creation of this joint venture may mark the beginning of fullscale development.

The final assembly of the future airliner will also be located in Shanghai.

Nevertheless, the roles of each partner are still being discussed, says UAC CEO Yury Slyusar. “Russia could manufacture the wing and empennage with the use of an advanced composite infusion technology, whereas our Chinese colleagues could be responsible for the fuselage and for final assembly,” he says.

UAC has important technology to offer COMAC notably in wing design. And COMAC brings the large Chinese domestic market to the program.

The new aircraft will be able to carry about 280 passengers for 12,000 km in basic configuration. Slyusar says the program also calls for the development of shortened and stretched v ersions.

A UAC representative says it is hoped that the LRWBCA will fly in 2021 and be certified by 2025.

AVIAGE Signs Up New Partner

AVIAGE Systems, a joint-venture between AVIC and GE, has signed an agreement with Avic’s Nanjing Engineering Institute of Aviation Systems (NEIAS) for product development.

NEIAS has been tasked with helping to jointly develop new functionality for AVIAGE’s systems, says AVIAGE in a statement released at Airshow China.

AVIAGE is responsible for developing the avionics system for the Comac C919.

The company says its integrated modular avionics system uses digital open architecture capable of hosting more functions.

NEIS is a subsidiary of Avic’s Electromechanical Systems, “which owns a variety of technologies including environmental control, fuel, hydraulic and air management systems,” says AVIAGE.

The cooperation between AVIAGE and NEIAS allows the latter to move beyond its core market, which is military aircraft, and tap into the civil aviation market for business opportunities, it says.

In terms of the C919 program, AVIAGE says in September it completed the installation and test of avionics systems on the first C919 aircraft.

But it also says it is looking ahead beyond C919 for other business opportunities and sees a bright future thanks to the increasing digitization of aircraft.

Honeywell Prepares to Ride China’s Growth

China Hands Rockwell Collins Biggest-Ever Airline Order

Rockwell Collins has won the biggest-ever airline order in its history to equip “several hundred” China Eastern aircraft with cockpit avionics and cabin entertainment systems.

The airline selected Rockwell Collins to outfit five different aircraft types from Airbus and Boeing with its PAVES on-demand inflight entertainment (IFE) system, MultiScan ThreatTrack weather radar, its GLU-925 Multi-Mode Receiver (MMR), and Head-up Guidance system (HGS).

It will install PAVES on 30 Next-Generation Boeing 737 and 60 737 MAX aircraft, and various avionics systems on 15 Airbus A330, 70 A320neo, 50 Next-Generation Boeing 737 and 60 737 MAX aircraft.

Last year China Eastern selected the PAVES Broadcast IFE and Airshow moving map for 15 new 737 aircraft.

The scalable and flexible PAVES system allows for hybrid IFE configurations supporting the airlines’ requirements for unique configurations, such as inseat IFE in first class and overhead IFE in economy. PAVES also offers airlines a high degree of flexibility in the management of their digital content.

MultiScan ThreatTrack alerts pilots to significant threats adjacent to or above a thunderstorm cell, beyond standard hail and lightning predictions. In addition, the new radar is the first in the industry to feature two levels of turbulence detection.

The GLU-925 MMR is the first certified GPS Landing System receiver and enables high-integrity navigation, including RNP AR, Category III ILS and Category I Global Positioning Landing System approaches. The MMR also enables GPS position and availability requirements for ADS-B Out mandates.

Rockwell Collins’ HGS displays critical flight information in a pilot's forward fieldof-view, eliminating the need for pilots to transition to the head-down instruments.

L-3 Has Bigger Plans for China

L-3 Aviation Products, a leading manufacturer and provider of surveillance and safety avionics for commercial airliners, opened an office in Beijing last December. Now it plans to use that presence as a springboard toward greater involvement with Chinese airlines and aerospace companies.

“We had been selling into China from a distance,” says Denise Millard, Vice President of International Business Development for the L-3 Aviation Products Sector. But the Chinese office enabled a fleet representative and increased customer support for a growing customer base.

L-3’s main avionics safety product is the ACSS T3CAS, a single line replaceable unit that can host all or any combination of Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), Terrain Awareness Warning System ( TAWS ) , Mode S Transponder, and Airborne Traffic Situation Awareness (ATSA) / SafeRoute ADS-B In applications. ACSS is 70% owned by L-3, and 30% by Thales.

Not surprisingly, T3CAS is an integral part of the Thales’ avionics suite offered by Airbus, and T3CAS itself is Airbus’ preferred solution on all new single aisle aircraft. Two years ago China Eastern Airlines selected Thales and L-3 for its new single aisle fleet, becoming L-3’s first major airline win in China and its biggest customer there.

L-3 is also finding success with airlines for its flight data recorders and, more recently, for its satcom/Iridium satellite-based products.

Millard notes that Chinas’ Civil Aviation Authority (CAAC) has mandated that airliners be equipped with a second cockpit communications system. L-3 already has a good position for that equipment with Airbus, and this will be a promising market.

Now L - 3 needs more involvement in China to win more business. “We have taken the first baby steps,” she says.

It has partnered with Chinese avionics company that manufactures parts for an L-3 avionics product that was recently certified in the U.S. She would not disclose the name of the partner, nor the product, saying that disclosure would be premature. However, the plan is to sell that product into China after winning CAAC certification, and then explore Chinese manufacture in order to simplify the supply chain.

MA700 First Flight Delayed a Year

The MA700 turboprop airliner is now due to fly in 2018, a year later than previously planned, says manufacturer AVIC, forecasting deliveries no earlier than 2020.

The state company is prepared to market the 78-seat aircraft on the basis of only a Chinese airworthiness certificate if, because of regulatory obstacles, it is unable to get FAA validation of the certification.

The MA700 is still in the detail design phase, says an AVIC representative.

The aircraft will be powered by the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150C engine, a new powerplant that AVIC expects to give it an advantage in the market. Low production costs are intended to be another advantage.

The big prospective disadvantage is lack of Western validation of the airworthiness certificate from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), by either the FAA or the European Aviation Safety Agency. Many countries, especially those with advanced economies, insist on certification or validation by the FAA, EASA or other highly regarded agencies.

AVIC can sell the aircraft despite that because the CAAC airworthiness requirements are even higher than those of the FAA, says the representative.

The FAA is working with the CAAC toward recognizing the Chinese agency's competence, but the regulatory program has been delayed.

AVIC’s current production turboprop is the Y-7, based on the Antonov An-24 and now marketed in two versions called MA60 and MA600. The most valuable experience AVIC has gained from those programs has been learning to work with customer airlines, says the representative.

FAA Approves Mandarin for Helicopter Voice Alerts

Honeywell is the first company to obtain non-English language approval for alerts in the helicopter cockpit.

Chinese helicopter pilots will receive ground proximity warnings in Mandarin following approval by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration o f Chinese language alerts for Honeywell’s Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS).

Use of the Mandarin languag e in Honeywell’s MK XXII EGPWS is the first time the FAA has approved voice alerts in anything but English.

Developed by Honeywell in 1996, EGPWS functions as an independent monitor of an aircraft's position relative to surrounding terrain. The system protects aircraft against controlled flight into terrain, such as mountains or buildings, along with wind shear, and optional runway incursions or overruns.

“EGPWS is widely considered one of the biggest success stories in the history of aviation, and our Mandarin language version will be of huge benefit to Chinese speaking pilots,” says Andy Gill, senior director, business & general aviation, Asia Pacific, Honeywell Aerospace.

“As helicopter use in China continues to rise, Honeywell is committed to providing pilots and operators with best-in-class solutions that enable safer and more efficient operations. Looking ahead, our success with this Mandarin addition puts us in a strong position to work on more language additions worldwide.”

Honeywell has invested heavily in engineering and technology in China, with over 500 engineers and five joint ventures established to support the projects and organizations in the country.

“Our Chinese engineers drive the local research and development, as well as to support aerospace product efforts worldwide. They played a vital role in developing the Mandarin callouts for the EGPWS. It is a demonstration of Honeywell’s strategy of strengthening the engineering capability in regions,” says Jun Xu, Aerospace engineering & technology leader of Honeywell Technology Solutions China.

In May 2016, the State Council announced new guidelines for the development of China’s general aviation industry, including targets for more than 500 general aviation airports and 5,000 general aviation aircraft by 2020. With the approval of Mandarin EGPWS, Honeywell believes it is wellpositioned to support the growth of China’s general aviation industry by offering Chinese helicopter pilots enhanced flight safety and efficiency.

Airbus to Start HUD Retrofit In China

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) requiring that all commercial aircraft have head-updisplays (HUD) by 2025 has led Airbus to launch a HUD retrofit program in China.

“Moreover, the timetable requires that at least half the Chinese fleet be fitted with HUDs by 2020,” says Airbus, adding that “to address this, the Airbus-managed retrofit program will enable operators to phase-in their HUD installations concurrently with other upgrades or scheduled maintenance checks.”

Airbus aircraft fitted with HUD “will benefit from lower minimum landing requirements, which in turn will allow increased traffic volumes to and from Chinese airports – as landings and takeoffs become more efficient.”

Non-HUD equipped aircraft may have to wait for landing slots.

HUD equipment was first introduced on fighter aircraft but is relatively new to commercial aviation. It comprises a transparent display screen in the pilot’s field of view that provides key information on trajectory, speed and altitude as well as an artificial horizon and other primary flight data.

Using the HUD increases pilots’ situational awareness, particularly during the approach and landing phases in bad weather and fog, says Airbus.

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