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aerospace

A prototype of a single-seat passenger drone has arrived at Pendleton, Oregon's airport for flight testing. That according to the Silicon Valley-based Airbus subsidiary A^3—or “A-cubed”—behind the Vahana Project.

The battery-powered, self-flying aircraft has been reassembled after shipping and is now undergoing ground tests.

The Seattle area has given birth to aviation icons such as the Boeing 747 jumbo jet and carbon fiber 787 Dreamliner. Could a low-emissions electric jet someday join that hall of fame?

On Thursday, Kirkland, Washington-based startup Zunum Aero unveiled the specs for a hybrid electric jet.

The Commerce Department has announced that it is hitting Canadian aircraft-maker Bombardier with a hefty 220 percent tariff for its top-end passenger planes. The tariff follows the department's preliminary finding in favor of U.S. rival Boeing's complaint that the smaller company received unfair government subsidies.

The trade row is over the Montreal-based Bombardier's 100- to 150-seat C-Series passenger jets.

Alaska Airlines is still ironing out operational wrinkles following the acquisition of Virgin America last year. At the same time, its smaller, regional airline is still grappling with a pilot shortage.

Boeing’s Shared Services Group (SSG) is set to move to the southwest state by 2020.
Flickr Photo/Chuck Taylor (CC BY-NC-ND)/https://flic.kr/p/7C1E9w

Some Boeing employees might want to start thinking about a lifestyle in Arizona. The company announced earlier this week they’re moving one of their business support units to Mesa by 2020.

Boeing’s Shared Services Group (SSG) is set to move to the southwest state by 2020.
Flickr Photo/Chuck Taylor (CC BY-NC-ND)/https://flic.kr/p/7C1E9w

Company officials told employees Monday that hundreds of engineering jobs will be cut in June. People losing jobs will be notified by Friday, April 21.

Jeff Bezos speaks at the Apollo rocket engine unveiling at The Museum of Flight, showing the injector plate from an F-1 rocket used on Apollo 12.
Courtesy of The Museum of Flight/Ted Huetter

Jeannie Yandel talks to Alan Boyle of Geekwire about the possibility of taking a hybrid, electric plane for short regional trips and Jeff Bezos' dream of people in space. 

On Tuesday morning, the Department of Homeland Security announced new restrictions for personal electronics on direct flights to the U.S. from 10 airports in the Middle East and North Africa. Devices larger than a cellphone will not be allowed in the cabin, though they will be allowed in checked baggage.

Later Tuesday, the U.K. announced it would be enforcing a similar rule — using a slightly different list of countries.

The rule change in both countries was unexpected and the explanations for it cryptic.

Here's a quick look at what we know, and what we don't.

Flickr Photo/NASA Goddard Photo and Video

The command module that took humans to the moon for the first time is coming to Seattle.

The Apollo 11 module went to the moon in 1969. It's coming to Seattle's Museum of Flight in 2019 for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

More than two months after he publicly criticized Boeing over the costs of a new Air Force One, President Trump visited one of the aircraft company's newest facilities Friday: a plant in North Charleston, S.C., where the company will unveil a new version of its 787 Dreamliner.

Boeing’s Shared Services Group (SSG) is set to move to the southwest state by 2020.
Flickr Photo/Chuck Taylor (CC BY-NC-ND)/https://flic.kr/p/7C1E9w

Deborah Wang talks with Reuters reporter Alwyn Scott about a vote over unionization at a South Carolina Boeing plant. South Carolina is the least unionized state in the country, and a union would mark a huge win for organized labor. But the fight has been contentious, and Scott doesn't see an easy path to victory. 

The chief executives of Alaska Airlines, Southwest and Delta Air Lines had positive reactions after a White House meeting with President Donald Trump Thursday morning.

The Boeing Company's CEO Tuesday had a second face-to-face meeting with President-elect Donald Trump to talk jet prices. Boeing's Dennis Muilenburg said they discussed a multi-billion dollar contract to replace the aging Air Force One jumbo jets and about new fighter jets for the military.

Boeing 777x prototype
Boeing handout

Washington state's largest private employer will make another round of job cuts in 2017.

Boeing leaders notified employees in a letter Monday that the cuts are coming but didn't specify details. Company officials say one major reason is fewer sales opportunities for planes.

Alaska Airlines management and workers received a lively, upbeat welcome on their rival’s home turf Wednesday when they flew to San Francisco to celebrate a merger closing. Alaska Air paid $2.6 billion to buy upstart Virgin America.

Now comes the hard work of integration.

Air Force One, June 2016
Flickr Photo/John Sonderman (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/JcGCHd

Bill Radke speaks with CNN aviation editor Jon Ostrower about a tweet from President-elect Donald Trump in which he stated he wants to cancel a Boeing contract to build two new planes for Air Force One. Trump says the cost of the contract is too high. 

The proposed takeover by Alaska Airlines of its West Coast rival Virgin America has cleared its biggest hurdle. The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday approved the $2.6 billion merger with conditions.

The Plane That Won A War And Polluted A River

Dec 1, 2016

This is a condensed version of a story originally published Sept. 29, 2015. Read the complete story here.

There's an old photograph in my father’s office that I’ve always wondered about. In it my grandfather and nine other young airmen stand in front of their B-17 plane, shoulders squared, smiling for the camera. They were probably in England at the time, getting ready to fly bombing raids over Germany in 1943.

A view from inside a Boeing factory
Courtesy of Boeing

Bill Radke talks to Seattle Times' aerospace reporter Dominic Gates about the WTO's ruling on Boeing's tax breaks from Washington state. 

Boeing’s Shared Services Group (SSG) is set to move to the southwest state by 2020.
Flickr Photo/Chuck Taylor (CC BY-NC-ND)/https://flic.kr/p/7C1E9w

There’s been a big management change at Boeing: Boeing Commercial Airplanes is replacing Ray Conner as chief executive.

He’s been with the company since 1977.

Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden said he remains confident that a proposed takeover of rival Virgin America will happen. But he acknowledged to Wall Street analysts Thursday that he had been hoping the $2.6 billion deal would have closed “a couple of weeks ago.”

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle Times economics columnist Jon Talton about why the World Trade Organization is calling Airbus subsidies "unfair," and why it won't have much effect on Washington's Boeing employees.

AirAsia bought 100 Airbus A321neos at the Farnborough Airshow. Airbus has more than 1,200 orders for the new plane.
Airbus YouTube

Boeing has a problem with its airplane product lineup, and its name is the Airbus A321neo. The A321neo is bigger and longer-range than the Boeing 737 MAX 9. As a single-aisle jet, it’s a different plane from Boeing’s next size up, the wide-bodied 787.

Airlines around the world are rushing to order the A321neo, which has posted more than 1,200 orders so far. And that leaves Boeing with a question: Does it need a new plane?

Bill Radke speaks with KUOW economy reporter Carolyn Adolph about Joe Sutter, the Boeing engineer who led the development of the 747, the biggest airplane the world had ever seen.

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum called Sutter "the father of the 747," and gave him the 2013 Lifetime Achievement award.

Delta Air Lines announced it was grounding nearly 300 flights Tuesday, a day after a computer outage hobbled the carrier's communication and booking systems and forced it to cancel about 1,000 flights worldwide.

Tens of thousands of passengers were stranded on Monday.

In a statement, Delta said the additional cancellations were to allow the carrier "to reset the operation and get crews, aircraft and other operational elements in place to take care of customers."

Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET

Delta flights around the world were delayed this morning because of a "computer outage," the company says.

A power outage in Atlanta around 2:30 a.m. ET was responsible for the problem, the company said in a statement.

The end of an era: Boeing may stop production of the 747

Aug 1, 2016
The Boeing 747, with its characteristic hump, may go out of production.
Flickr Photo/Michael Brunk (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/gnUcYW

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle Times economics columnist Jon Talton about why the 747, Boeing's iconic jet, might be nearing the end of its run.

The trip had mechanical setbacks, and the plane's average speed would be legal on many American streets. But when the Solar Impulse aircraft touched down in Abu Dhabi in the early morning darkness Tuesday, it successfully completed a round-the-world voyage using only solar power.

Swiss pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg took turns flying the single-seat aircraft that began its trip on March 9 of 2015, flying more than 26,700 miles in a total of 17 stages (23 days) as they soared under the sun's power and then glided through the night.

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Cairo, completing the penultimate leg of its attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

The trip over the Mediterranean included a breathtaking flyover of the Pyramids. Check it out:

Updated May 20 at 7:00 p.m. ET

Automated transmissions from the missing EgyptAir plane reportedly indicate smoke was detected in a bathroom. The data are among the last bits of information collected from Flight 804, which disappeared from radar and crashed into the Mediterranean Sea as it headed for Cairo on Wednesday.

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