(ABBOTSFORD, B.C., Nov. 17, 2005) -- Alcoa-SIE Cargo Conversions (ASCC) achieved a significant milestone in their 757-200 Passenger to Freighter Conversion Program with the successful first flight of the prototype aircraft. Converted on behalf of launch customer Babcock and Brown Aircraft Management, this 757 is the first of many freighter conversions that Alcoa-SIE Cargo Conversions will provide to the market to meet the demands of the growing air cargo industry. The flight test program is the final phase of a development program that included multiple ground tests to verify analytical data, aircraft systems performance, and adherence to the US Federal Aviation Authority's rigorous certification requirements.
"This first flight is a real achievement for the entire team of more than 100 people, including more than 50 engineers, who have worked tirelessly to design, build, and certify the optimal solution for the freighter conversion of a B757-200," said Gary Batey, president of Alcoa-SIE Cargo Conversions. "By using industry proven design concepts, the latest in 3D computer modeling technology, advanced materials from Alcoa, and the demonstrated quality and capabilities of Cascade Aerospace as our modification center we have been able to find the right blend of low risk and high technical and economic performance that our customers demand."
"It is extremely gratifying for all of us at SIE and the ASCC team to see that the effort by a skilled, experienced, and dedicated group of professionals has led to a successful test flight with the modified aircraft performing as designed," said Dr. Matthew Creager, president of Structural Integrity Engineering.
"Today's successful flight was a major step forward for the ASCC program. The timing of the entry-into-service for the first aircraft will be in-line with the demand that we are seeing from our current customer base," said Steve Zissis, Managing Director of BBAM.
Upon completion of a number of flight tests the final test data will be submitted to the FAA for review and issuance of the Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) later this year. Certification programs for a number of world-wide airworthiness authorities are already under way in anticipation of the global demand for the efficient and capable ASCC converted 757 freighters.
Alcoa-SIE Cargo Conversions "ASCC" was formed by the Alcoa, Inc. (NYSE:AA) and Structural Integrity Engineering to provide innovative, value additive products to the air cargo industry. The ongoing economic globalization seen around the world continues to drive the need for more capacity and reliability in air freight services, while competitive pressures continue to require aircraft owners and operators to find more efficient means and methods of providing products and services at all steps in their sourcing and supply chains. Alcoa, ASCC's primary founding member, has been an active participant in the development of industry leading advancements in technology and providing value to customers for over a century, developing the first process for smelting aluminum in quantity and developing every structural aluminum alloy flying today while integrating new capabilities and approaches to enhance the value realized by its customers. SIE has been at the forefront of developments in fatigue and damage analysis yielding aerospace designs with increased durability and longevity. This industry leading knowledge and experience goes into every ASCC product and service.
ASCC's unique combination of corporate strength, aerospace expertise, and long term vision for support of the cargo airline industry is providing operators and owners with value-added modifications, products, and services to help them remain competitive and profitable.