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Air India’s Maharaja’retires’ his ‘queens of the skies’ after 51 years.

Air India's Maharaja'retires' his 'queens of the skies' after 51 years.

The legendary Boeing 747 will be retired from the Air India fleet. It is one of Boeing’s first largest aeroplanes. From April 1971 to April 2022, Air India flew Boeing 747s for more than 51 years. Three of the four 747s were operating. The last time it was seen was during the covid for evacuating passengers from Wuhan, China.

It had 12 first-class seats, 26 business-class seats, and 385 economy-class seats were available on Air India. It has a maximum take-off weight of 377.8 tonnes and was powered by four Pratt & Whitney engines.

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Boeing 747s are currently operated by Lufthansa and Korean Air. The e-registration of these planes is a sad day in aviation. This aircraft was the largest, fastest, and heaviest ever flown by an Indian carrier. None of the pilots who have flown a Boeing 747 have indicated it is a bad plane. The title of “Queen of the Skies” has stuck with her.  Air India had a fleet of roughly 20 Boeing 747s, some of which were leased.

According to the latest reports, Air India’s legendary Boeing 747s may have finally reached the end of their service after more than half a century of flying the tricolour across foreign skies. It was also known for the Maharaja Brand. The airline’s website was recently updated by the Tata Group, and the jumbo planes are no longer listed as part of the fleet. Because the majority of airlines revamp fleets by the years. The Maharaja’s final four queens of the skies were deregistered by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in April.

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As the aircraft fleet ages, it becomes more difficult for airlines to keep them functioning. Only when 80 percent of the seats on a jumbo aircraft are filled can it be profitable, albeit given their age, scarcity of spares, cabin quality, and, most crucially, the investment necessary, it remains to be seen if that happens.

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In 1971, the airline received its first jumbo jet, the Emperor Ashoka. AI, under the leadership of JRD Tata, had set new standards for in-flight luxury with the 747s. For this aircraft, it has created a special “Palace in the Sky” livery. When JRD himself introduced the attractively adorned staircase to the top deck, jharokha flight panels, dewans, and bar onboard these gorgeous machines in the 1970s, they were much ahead of their time.

The president, vice president, and prime minister were all flown aboard B747s on medium to long-haul overseas travels. They couldn’t go directly to the Americas, so they had to stop in Europe, especially Frankfurt. Then India received two state-of-the-art Boeing 777s, which, unlike the jumbos that previously served both VVIP and normal flights, will be dedicated to dignitaries and can fly nonstop to and from practically any location on the earth. When the VVIP duty ended, the four-engine double deckers were no longer in demand, especially as fuel prices began to climb.

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These planes are listed as part of AI’s fleet on the newly updated website: single aisle Airbus A320 family (319, 320, and 321) and wide body B777 and B787s. AI could be the only commercial airline in India to fly four-engine aircraft.

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According to recent reports, Tata Group is considering merging with Vistara and plans to deploy Boeing Triple 7 and 7 8 7 aircraft for long-haul flights.

Emirates To Take Final Airbus A380 Delivery In November 2021

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However, given that this aircraft has carried India’s aviation history since 1971, saying goodbye is difficult for any aviation lover.

Have you ever flown these planes? Tell us about your favourite moment with Air India in the comments section.

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End of Queen of the Skies production, Boeing 747

Boeing 747 jet clocked up just 42 hours in the sky is scrapped

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He is an aviation journalist and the founder of Jetline Marvel. Dawal gained a comprehensive understanding of the commercial aviation industry.  He has worked in a range of roles for more than 9 years in the aviation and aerospace industry. He has written more than 1700 articles in the aerospace industry. When he was 19 years old, he received a national award for his general innovations and holds the patent. He completed two postgraduate degrees simultaneously, one in Aerospace and the other in Management. Additionally, he authored nearly six textbooks on aviation and aerospace tailored for students in various educational institutions. jetlinem4(at)gmail.com

Aerospace

Take First Glimpse of USAF B-21 Raider, Latest Nuclear Stealth Bomber

Take First Glimpse of USAF B-21 Raider, Latest Nuclear Stealth Bomber
Image:USAF

The United States Air Force (USAF) has unveiled the first photographs of the Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider bomber in flight.

These images were captured during test flights conducted by the B-21 Combined Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base, marking a significant milestone in the development of this sixth-generation aircraft.

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Currently undergoing flight tests in California, the B-21 Raider represents the next generation of stealth bombers. With an estimated cost of around $700 million per aircraft, the B-21 Raider is poised to become a crucial component of the USAF’s arsenal for conventional Long Range Strike missions.

According to Air Force briefings, the B-21 Raider will form part of a comprehensive family of systems, encompassing Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance capabilities, electronic warfare, communication systems, and more. Notably, the bomber will be nuclear-capable and adaptable for both manned and unmanned operations.

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It boasts the flexibility to deploy a wide array of stand-off and direct-attack munitions, ensuring versatility in various combat scenarios. One of the B-21’s distinguishing features is its extensive integration of digital technology, as highlighted in discussions held during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

Designed with an open systems architecture, the B-21 Raider is built to swiftly incorporate emerging technologies, ensuring its effectiveness against evolving threats over time. The B-21 Raider is slated to replace the aging B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit bombers, bolstering US national security objectives and providing reassurance to allies and partners worldwide.

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Aerospace

Aurora Flight Sciences Unveils Innovative X-Plane Design

Aurora Flight Sciences Unveils Innovative X-Plane Design

Aurora Flight Sciences, a Boeing company, has recently completed the conceptual design review for a groundbreaking high-speed, vertical lift X-plane.

This aircraft, part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program called Speed and Runway Independent Technologies (SPRINT), aims to demonstrate key technologies and integrated concepts that combine high speed with runway independence.

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Aurora’s design features a low-drag, fan-in-wing demonstrator integrated into a blended wing body platform. This innovative approach merges the agility of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) with exceptional speed capabilities.

The team is focused on ensuring the program’s success by setting the stage for successful flight demonstrations, showcasing a transformative capability for air mobility and Special Operations Forces (SOF) missions.

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New renderings of the fan-in-wing (FIW) demonstrator show three lift fans, a more refined composite exterior, and an uncrewed cockpit. The decision to use three lift fans simplifies the demonstrator, streamlining its path to flight testing. This FIW technology can be scaled to incorporate four or more lift fans to meet future aircraft requirements, potentially leading to a new family of systems.

Additionally, while the current demonstrator is uncrewed to facilitate testing and reduce risk, the FIW technology is fully adaptable to crewed aircraft. Aurora’s concept is designed to meet or exceed DARPA’s challenging program objectives. The blended wing body platform is capable of a 450-knot cruise speed, and the embedded lift fans with integrated covers enable a smooth transition from vertical to horizontal flight.

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The design also utilizes existing engine solutions, reducing development risks and timelines. Besides VTOL, the aircraft can perform short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL), super short take-off and landing (SSTOL), and conventional take-off and landing.

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Aerospace

China Developing Comac C939 Wide Body Aircraft to Compete with A350 and B777

Comac Eyes Saudi Arabian Market to Challenge Western Aircraft Giants


China’s Comac aircraft company is currently underway with the development of its own wide-body aircraft, the C939, positioned to compete with industry stalwarts like the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 in the future. This strategic move by Comac involves crafting the next iteration with enhanced capacity and extended range capabilities, marking a significant leap forward in technological advancement compared to the current C919 aircraft.

Air China has inked a substantial deal worth a staggering $10.8 billion, based on list prices, to acquire 100 Comac C919 jets, signaling a strong vote of confidence in the domestic challenger to aerospace giants Airbus and Boeing.

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China Comac C919 Total Order

With both China Southern and Air China combining orders for nearly 200 aircraft, the prospects for the new C919 aircraft appear increasingly promising for future fleet growth. To date, Comac has garnered orders for nearly 1,100 aircraft.

China is contemplating the development of another wide-body aircraft, the C939, poised to significantly bolster the aerospace industry in China.

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COMAC has initiated work on the C939, a new wide-body airliner. While design concepts have been formulated, it will still take several years before a prototype materializes, according to reports from the South China Morning Post, citing anonymous sources.

Initially intended to be a joint venture with Russia, plans were halted due to Russia’s decision to safeguard its copyrights and technological advancements within its borders. Consequently, collaboration between China and Russia on aircraft development was discontinued. Sources suggest that China is vigorously pursuing new avenues for the independent development of its own wide-body aircraft, crucial for accommodating larger passenger capacities and extended flight ranges.

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Comac C939 competes with Boeing 777 and A350

Information regarding the program remains limited. COMAC has refrained from commenting on the development of the new aircraft type, stating that official announcements will be made in due course. Nevertheless, the C939 could potentially accommodate up to 390 passengers, positioning it to compete with the largest Boeing 777 and Airbus A350 aircraft.

In addition to the prospective C939, COMAC is already advancing with the development of another widebody aircraft, known as the C929. This aircraft is poised to rival the Boeing 787 and Airbus A330, boasting 280 seats and a range approaching 6,500 nautical miles.

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Since obtaining certification in late 2022, the COMAC C919 has been operational, accumulating nearly 1,000 firm orders, predominantly from Chinese-owned airlines and leasing companies.

With multiple widebody aircraft in the pipeline, COMAC stands to achieve parity with the two leading international aircraft manufacturers. Boeing, with its 777 and 787 models, and Airbus, with the A330neo and A350, both have a comparable range of offerings. However, Boeing’s aircraft are encountering delays and production challenges despite substantial orders, while the A350 is performing commendably, though the A330neo’s order intake has not met initial projections.

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How much does C919 cost?

China is under pressure to fulfill the current orders for the C919 aircraft, prompting plans to expand production facilities across various regions within the country. The aim is to ramp up production capacity for C919 planes to 150 aircraft annually over the next five years. The latest reports indicate that the C919 is priced around $99 million, comparable to the price of Boeing 737 Max and Airbus A320 aircraft, with expectations for further price reductions in the future.

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While the C919 has yet to be certified in major aviation markets outside of China, only four have been delivered thus far. In the long term, COMAC’s widebody aircraft will vie for global competitiveness. One potential benefit of COMAC aircraft could be in reducing China’s reliance on Western aircraft manufacturers. However, this shift won’t happen immediately; the current delivery rate of four aircraft in nearly 18 months is not sustainable, and both Airbus and Boeing have established manufacturing facilities in China to cater to its sizable market.

Nevertheless, assuming COMAC addresses the issues impeding deliveries, there’s a plausible scenario where the manufacturer assumes a significant role, particularly as China’s aviation market continues to expand.

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As the C939 progresses through its development stages, more details are expected to emerge. Comparisons between official specifications of the C929 and C939 will be noteworthy, as will the initial orders for each aircraft type. However, it’s anticipated that neither will undergo test flights or enter into service for several years.

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