Embraer E190-E2 completes first flight

Embraer E190-E2 has completed its first flight. (Embraer)

 

Embraer’s new E2 family of jets has successfully completed its maiden flight ahead of schedule at the company’s Sao Jose dos Campos facility.

The first E190-E2, powered by two Pratt & Whitney PurePower geared turbofan engines, took off at 1306 local time on Monday and flew for three hours and 20 minutes with Captain Mozart Louzada, First Officer Gerson de Oliveira Mendes and Flight Test Engineers Alexandre Figueiredo and Carlos Silveira on board.

“Today’s flight evaluated aircraft handling and performance characteristics with the crew analyzing a significant number of flight parameters, including speed, altitude and landing gear retraction,” Embraer said in a statement.

“This was made possible by the high level of maturity that the E2 reached during program development through the extensive use of digital modeling simulations and ground and static tests that employed rigs and an iron bird.”

Previously, Embraer had guided the market to the first flight taking place in the second half of 2016.

Captain Louzada the flight was “very smooth”.

“We were able to significantly open the flight envelope by flying at mach 0.82, climbing to 41,000 feet and retracting the landing gear and flaps, and engaging the fly-by-wire in normal mode. All of these demonstrate that the E190-E2 project is very mature and robust, and exceed all performance targets,” he said.

The E190-E2 is one of three models in the E2 family of jets and can seat between 97 and 114 passengers, depending on configuration. The first E190-E2 rolled out at the company’s Sao Jose dos Campos facility in February, with four prototypes to be used in the certification program. Entry-into-service was planned for 2018.

The E2 improves on the current generation E-jets with new aerodynamically advanced, high-aspect ratio, distinctively shaped wings, improved systems and avionics, including fourth generation full fly-by-wire flight controls.

This was expected to result in double-digit reductions in fuel and maintenance costs compared with the current E-jet family. From an environmental perspective, the new aircraft also produced less emissions and less noise. The aircraft will also have a new interior with larger overhead bins and a new first class concept, among other interior improvements.

The other two E2 models were the E175-E2, which seats 80-90 passengers, and the E195-E2 (120-144 seats).

Embraer president and chief executive Frederico Fleury Curado said the first flight took place a “few months ahead of schedule”.

The company said the E2 family of aircraft had logged 267 firm orders and 373 options and purchase rights since the program was launched in June 2013.

The current E-jets are flown by about 70 customers in 50 countries, including Airnorth, Cobham, Jetgo and Virgin Australia in this part of the world.

A full scale mockup of the E2 cabin interior was recently on display at the 2016 Singapore Airshow, and also visited Australia in April 2015.

The economy class cabin in the E2 cabin mockup. (Jordan Chong)

The mockup's business class seats are configured in a staggered format.

The Embraer E2 jet rolls out of the company's São José dos Campos, Brazil on February 25 2016. (Embraer)

Australian Aviation

Airlines turn to personalised offers to combat revenue declines

May 24 2016 – 11:48AM

Jamie Freed

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Falling airfares, which are positive for consumers but negative for airlines and travel agents like Flight Centre Travel Group, are leading carriers to increase their focus on making personalised offers to passengers to combat revenue declines.

“What we are noticing in the airline world right now is flat or slightly declining revenue for airlines even as profits go up due to lower fuel,” said Wunderman-Bienalto global head of travel John McDonald, who has advised Virgin Australia’s Velocity frequent flyer program, United Airlines and Air Canada on marketing strategies. “When the pressure is on the fares they are looking at how they become more effective retailers.”

Airline chief executives say the industry is moving toward individualised pricing.
Airline chief executives say the industry is moving toward individualised pricing. 

Mr McDonald said in this environment, airlines were focused on using their data to provide tailored offers of extra services like better seats, meals, in-flight internet, lounge access, hotel and hire car bookings and flight upgrades that were relevant to individual customers. This can be done through digital promotions via email or social media at a far lower cost than broad-based marketing to help boost airline revenue.

“The heart of this is providing products and services that consumers want,” Mr McDonald said. “That is what de-bundling [services from the fare] is heading toward.”

Airlines hope to increase passenger revenue through targeted offers.
Airlines hope to increase passenger revenue through targeted offers. Photo: Brendon Thorne

Preliminary financial performance figures released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines on Monday showed  Asia-Pacific airlines recorded $US6.9 billion ($9.55 billion) in combined net earnings in 2015, an upswing from net losses of $US1.2 billion reported in 2014. But passenger revenue fell by 5.4 per cent to $US128.4 billion, due to a decline in average airfares despite the growth in traffic demand and the financial benefits from lower fuel prices.

Qantas and Virgin have both warned of tough market conditions that have led to declining airfares, while Flight Centre on Monday issued a shock profit warning due in part to lower than expected commissions as a result of airfare declines.

Morgan Stanley on Tuesday cut its profit forecasts for Qantas for the next two financial years as a result of weakness in international airfares.

Within the airline industry, there has also been increased discussion about the prospect of personalised pricing of airfares using data from loyalty programs and other sources.

Big data travel expert Mark Ross-Smith said the airline industry was moving rapidly toward data driven pricing as the engines running revenue management systems became more sophisticated.

“This is way beyond digital marketing or advertising as we know it – but rather operates on a highly intelligent system which crunches numbers 24/7, changing dynamic values of how likely each individual potential customer is to buy or click on a specific product,” he said.

Mr Ross-Smith said Virgin Atlantic had price differentiation in its loyalty program where high-status members received better rates and seat availability than less loyal members.

“Cathay Pacific prices can change depending what time of day and how long before a flight departure you search for a flight, and through what channel,” he said.

Mr McDonald said most airlines were not yet looking to personalise pricing on an individual customer basis, which was illegal in some markets like the United States.

“I think the more interesting place for personalisation is personalising offers from a service and product basis in what people want,” he said. “I might be really keen to use the lounge but I might not be an elite member. [An offer to pay for access] is good for me and it is good for the airline.”

 

Source : The Canberra Times

State public servants demand a better deal as debate continues over MPs’ salaries

May 23, 2016 8:46pm

Source : The Mercury

Can police be trusted to investigate their own?

May 23, 2016 – 6:49PM

Cameron Houston

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The video evidence is graphic and harrowing.

A distressed woman is swarmed by police officers, doused with pepper spray and kicked as she crouches on the floor of a police cell. She is handcuffed and defenceless.

The community expects all police to be held to the highest standards.

The community expects all police to be held to the highest standards. Photo: Marina Neil

The drunk woman is partially naked after being forcibly strip searched as a male officer watches on. Other footage shows the 51-year-old drinking water from a toilet after complaining a tap was broken.

It could be a grim scene from a US detention camp in Guantanamo Bay or Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison, but the footage was aired at a public examination on Monday into serious claims of police brutality at Ballarat Police Station.

The five-day hearing by Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission will test explosive allegations against several senior police officers in Ballarat, but the tremors will be felt by Force Command back in Melbourne.

The examination, including the confronting CCTV footage, will raise uncomfortable questions for Professional Standards Command, which is tasked with investigating misconduct within the force.

An internal probe by Professional Standards Command in December last year cleared the two officers involved in the alleged assault at Ballarat station of any criminal offences. Despite being the subject of an ongoing IBAC investigation their suspensions were overturned and they were allowed back to work.

But in a stunning example of understatement, Victoria Police conceded “that a number of poor decisions were made in the management of a prisoner.”

In his opening address to the hearing in Ballarat on Monday, Counsel Assisting Jack Rush QC said the woman had been “kicked, stomped on and stood upon”.

The chasm between Mr Rush’s observations and the findings by Professional Standards Command cannot be reconciled and should be of deep concern to Assistant Commissioner Brett Guerin, who oversees the force’s internal watchdog.

Police investigating their own has always been problematic. Professional Standards Command often appears to turn a blind eye to the indiscretions of colleagues, or refer complaints back to the stations where they were first made.

Mr Guerin recently decided to ignore the recommendations of an internal police investigation, when he opted not to lay perjury charges against two officers, who allegedly assaulted two teenagers in 2014. The matter is now the subject of a review by the Office of Public Prosecutions.

IBAC recently expressed “significant concerns” about Victoria Police’s handling of misconduct complaints, which range from illicit drug use to excessive force and predatory behaviour.

Based on an assessment of almost 3000 allegations over the past year – as well a review of 114 complaints, the IBAC report found predatory behaviour towards vulnerable people continued to be a problem. It also revealed a number of repeat offenders may still be working in the force.

“Victoria Police has indicated it is monitoring and investigating these officers and developing detailed risk-mitigation strategies where appropriate,” the report said.

The Ballarat region has the worst record in the state for complaints, with 52 police officers receiving four or more complaints – almost twice the state average. It would appear that several officers based in Ballarat warrant closer scrutiny from their supervisors and Police Standards Command.

The community expects all police to be held to the highest standards, not cut slack to avoid damage to the reputation of the police force.

Source : The Age

New mini-series Secret City puts Canberra on the world stage

May 23 2016 – 4:28PM

Karen Hardy

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One of the best things about Canberra, according to Chris Uhlmann, the ABC’s political editor and co-author of The Marmalade Files andThe Mandarin Code, is that most people have no idea what goes on here.

Even those who live and work here, and whose work is connected in some way to the greater machine of the Federal Parliament, are ignorant about the process.

The Mandarin Code authors Steve Lewis and Chris Uhlmann.
The Mandarin Code authors Steve Lewis and Chris Uhlmann. 

“And you know what? That’s the great thing about Canberra,” says Uhlmann with a laugh.

He’s speaking from his office at Parliament House and, from where he’s sitting, he can see Malcolm Turnbull saying something on a screen.

“I’d better chase that up later,” he says. For the moment, his attention is focused on another, very different project – Secret City, the Foxtel mini-series inspired by the books he and Steve Lewis first imagined back in 2011.

It was over a conversation at a cafe in Deakin that the pair first tossed around a few ideas. Uhlmann had a scene for a mini-series in his head, Lewis was talking about a book; the project was probably always destined to end up on the screen, but Uhlmann’s happy to admit the finished project has exceeded all expectations.

With a world-class cast, including two-time Academy Award nominee Jackie Weaver and Anna Torv, best known for her work on the FBI drama Fringe, Secret City is a smart, intelligent political thriller that will encourage a second look at the city most blame for the nation’s ills.

“I think what the show does is open up another side of Canberra people don’t think about,” says Uhlmann. “Per square metre of space in Canberra, there are more spies than anywhere in the country.

What makes Secret City so smart is that its storyline is still so current.
What makes Secret City so smart is that its storyline is still so current. 

“Are they up to the nefarious deeds suggested in the mini-series? Well that’s up for the viewer to judge … I’m sure the embassies would say, ‘That would never happen’.”

Nefarious deeds? In the opening scene alone, a young woman sets herself on fire in a Beijing park. Flick to the next scene, and a young man is sprinting down Commonwealth Avenue in the dark, chased by two men in suits. He swallows a SIM card from his phone, and the next morning is found washed up on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, gutted. There are rumblings up on the hill about the escalation of Chinese activity in the South China Sea, and defence contracts upsetting triangular alliances between Australia, the United States and China.

Secret City is a smart, intelligent political thriller.
Secret City is a smart, intelligent political thriller. 

Minus the body, it could be almost any morning in Australia’s capital city. And that’s what makes Secret City so smart – that its storyline is still so current.

“When we started writing this stuff back in 2011, the core idea in it was that Australia would get caught between its strategic relationship with the US and its economic relationship with China and would find it very difficult to make decisions,” Uhlmann says.

Defence Minister Mal Paxton (Dan Wyllie, third from left) in a scene from Secret City.
Defence Minister Mal Paxton (Dan Wyllie, third from left) in a scene from Secret City. 

“That issue hasn’t changed at all. We were looking at things as they were emerging, but they remain very contemporary issues.”

So much so, he says, that after a pre-screening of the first episode at Parliament House, the night after budget night, many people noted how relevant the issues were.

The movie has ''captured all the moods of the city".
The movie has ”captured all the moods of the city”.  Photo: Simon Cardwell

“That’s once they stopped yelling out things like, ‘If she was going to the Treasurer’s office she would have turned left, not right’,” Uhlmann says.

And that’s another joy of Secret City – we know our city. Every shot, every scene will have you picking out local landmarks – the National Library, for example, or a particular section of the lake’s shore. There goes an action bus in one shot, and in the next, you could be seeing your neighbour as an extra.

Damon Herriman as Kim Gordon, and Anna Torv as Harriet Dunkley, in Secret City, the new Foxtel mini-series set in Canberra.
Damon Herriman as Kim Gordon, and Anna Torv as Harriet Dunkley, in Secret City, the new Foxtel mini-series set in Canberra. 

“One of the best things about it is that it’s captured all the moods of the city,” says Uhlmann.

“Canberra is definitely a character in the screenplay.”

Producer Joanna Werner agrees.

“I promised when we went there we’d make Canberra look sexy, and we absolutely did,” she says.

“But not only that, it looks sinister and chilling, intelligent and interesting. I think it’s remarkable.

“We know from the response we’ve had from our international partners, NBC Universal, that people are finding it incredibly unique that there’s this amazingly high-tech, high-powered city in the middle of this bush wilderness. It doesn’t look like anywhere else in the world.”

Werner is full of praise for Canberra as a location, as well as for the support the production had from the ACT government and ScreenACT.

“They were fundamentally important for us, a big support through filming as well. We wouldn’t have got it done without them.”

The production had unprecedented access to Parliament House, shooting there for three months from August.

“Obviously, Parliament House isn’t a film set, [so] for us to be able to fit in and not interrupt the regular proceedings of the building we had to work around a lot of things,” Werner says.

“We held our breath for a long time about the level of access we would get but it came through at the last minute and we are eternally grateful.”

But if Canberra’s a big town ready for the world stage, it’s still, in many ways, a small town.

“The night we closed Commonwealth Avenue for shooting that first scene, I think the whole town was there,” says Werner, laughing.

And when they needed some locations to shoot internals, Chris Uhlmann simply called Canberra Airport managing director Stephen Byron – “Is there anyone in Canberra Chris doesn’t know?” asks Werner – who came to the party with locations to set up the Prime Minister’s office and the supposed offices of the Australian Signals Directorate, complete with mobile phone lockers and eye scanners.

Locals will love, too, the many references to the cold.

When Defence Minister Mal Paxton (Dan Wyllie, Puberty Blues,Tangle) asks the newly appointed US ambassador Moreton (Mekhi Phifer, ER, Divergent) how he’s finding the cold in his new posting, Moreton comes back with a classic line.

“Minister, this is going to feel tropical compared to the f—ing freezer the White House is going to put you in,” is the answer.

Things might be getting cold in Canberra but one thing can be assured: Secret City is about to heat things up.

Secret City premieres on Foxtel’s Showcase channel on Sunday, June 5, at 8.30pm.