Alexandra West
23 March 2017 · 4 min read

Comac C919 aircraft to fly next month, three years late

Challenges remain though to establish a Chinese aerospace manufacturing industry

The first Chinese narrowbody aircraft, the Comac C919 looks set to make its first flight next month. This is a significant milestone which will attract the attention of the aerospace industry across the globe and the event will no doubt be lauded by the Chinese government. However, this maiden flight will be nearly three years late. When the programme was launched in 2008 the target for first flight was June 2014, with the first delivery due in 2016.

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Alexandra West
13 March 2017 · 4 min read

US budget battles

End of 2017 Continuing Resolution looks likely as focus turns to Trump’s first budget

We are firmly in budget season. On this side of the pond Mr Hammond had his moment in the spotlight, but I was watching the news from the US because a few hours later the US House of Representatives approved the $584bn 2017 Defense Spending bill. This sets in motion the process to end the current Continuing Resolution (CR) that is only established until 28 April. The previous day, President Trump outlined his intent to spend $54bn (+3%) more than the Obama administration had planned to on defence in 2018. So what do we know so far and what can we expect?

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Alexandra West
9 March 2017 · 2 min read

Is it a car or is it a plane?

Airbus looks to appoint car expert to its board

It seems my prophecy that 2017 could be the year of the flying car may not have been as implausible as it initially seemed. Last week Airbus proposed Lord Drayson, a self-confessed “car-nut” as an independent non-executive director.

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Alexandra West
1 March 2017 · 3 min read

Boeing comes to Sheffield

The US aerospace giant is spreading its wings into Europe

Last week, Boeing announced it would be opening its first ever manufacturing facility in Europe. Where will it be I hear you ask? Sheffield. I imagine that isn’t what you were expecting. I certainly wasn’t. The decision is significant for two reasons; what it says about Boeing’s relationship with Europe, and what it says about UK industrial capability.

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Alexandra West
23 February 2017 · 3 min read

All eyes on the Geared Turbofan

2017 is a make or break year for Pratt & Whitney’s beleaguered engine programme

The Geared Turbofan (GTF) engine is proof that innovating in aerospace is never an easy task. When Airbus and Boeing first introduced the concept of their new re-engined narrowbodies (A320neo and 737MAX) they were quick to reassure airlines and investors that this was a simple development proposition - a design modification rather than a clean sheet aircraft. I remember noting at the time that Airbus and Boeing were cleverly transferring the majority of engineering risk to the engine original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and it has proved to be ever thus.

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Alexandra West
21 February 2017 · 3 min read

Trump soldiers on

General H.R McMaster is appointed as US National Security Advisor

There is a certain irony that the US host of the Apprentice was left scrabbling around for someone to fill the post of US National Security Advisor (NSA). However, after what appears to have been a fraught week of negotiating, President Trump has appointed General H.R.McMaster, a current Army Officer, who gained notoriety for his criticism of military leadership during the Vietnam War.

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