Search for:

Airbus Targets 2025 for A350 Freighter

Airbus is launching a freighter version of the A350, pictured here in a passenger to freighter configuration preparing for a June 2 flight carrying COVID-19 supplies to New Delhi, India. (Airbus)

Airbus is developing a version of its wide-body A350 aircraft for the commercial air cargo market, according to the half-year results posted by the Toulouse-based manufacturer on July 29.

Revenue increased 30 percent in the first half of the year for Airbus, up to €24.6 billion from €18.9 billion during the same period in 2020. The company is also updating its outlook for 2021, projecting a total of 600 commercial aircraft deliveries, up from 566, and an operating income of 4 billion euros.

While the guidance was updated, Airbus included a cautionary statement that it assumes “no further disruptions to the world economy, air traffic, the Company’s internal operations.” Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury believes the freighter version of the A350 will be an attractive new option to air cargo operators.

“It is our ambition to continuously adapt and evolve our product in line with customer needs, as an example we did it with the A321XLR back in 2019. In that period and following positive customer feedback we obtained the board of directors approval for the freighter derivative of our well-established A350 platform,” Faury said. “Based on the efficiency of the A350, the freighter version is planned to deliver lower fuel burn compared to freighter versions of that size, for example around 20 percent less fuel burn compared to twins, 20 percent less compared to tri-jets, and 40 percent less compared to quads, four-engine planes.”

Faury said the A350 freighter will be compliant with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) CO2 design certification emissions standard when it becomes effective in 2028. No other major design or performance details were released by Airbus about the A350 freighter during the call.

According to Faury, Airbus is still assessing market demand for the new A350 variant and has not yet arrived at a set production rate but will build its development into existing A350 assembly lines.

“The beauty of that program is that it will be embedded into the A350 production system, so we don’t need to plan for individual rates with the freighter. It’s a commonality with the [A350] dash 900 and dash 1000. The production rates will depend upon the success of the program at a later stage,” Faury said.

The newest variant of the A350 will become a direct competitor to Boeing’s 767 and 777 aircraft, which have both dominated the air cargo segment of the commercial air transportation market over the last decade. Boeing has not committed to launching a freighter version of its 777X—the re-engined 777 variant is scheduled to enter service by 2023—although CEO David Calhoun said that aircraft type would be ideal.

“We need to develop a new ICAO compliant freighter version opportunity. I circle the 777Xs, the logical place for that and the smart place to do that,” Calhoun said during Boeing’s second-quarter earnings call. “Without suggesting that we’ve already launched and/or that we have one plan by the day, we’re confident and I’m confident that that might be the next of our programs. And it will be an incredible freighter with incredible long-term advantages for our major customers. So anyway, that’s where we stand.”

The decision by Airbus to launch the A350 freighter came a day after the International Air Transport Association (IATA) published data showing that air cargo airlines collectively experienced their strongest half-year performance since 2017.

Global demand for air cargo during the first six months of 2021 increased by 8 percent above the same period in 2019, according to IATA.

The post Airbus Targets 2025 for A350 Freighter appeared first on Aviation Today.

Check FastApn access for commercial satcoms at Fastapn

Flytlink – Avionics, Satcom’s and IFE Consultants

Will You Be on the First Air Taxi?

Wisk’s eVTOL aircraft, has been flying since 2017 and has a range of 25 miles with speeds up around 100 miles per hour. (photo courtesy of Wisk)


It’s 2024 and the first air taxi has just received certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) – or both. This new transformative technology is promising decreased travel times, zero emissions, and affordable travel to customers. The only question left to ask is who gets to go first?  


While air taxis will provide a bespoke travel option, they incorporate aspects of transport available to commuters today, so its first passengers will most likely be those who utilize those methods of transport now—think people who use helicopters, small private aircraft, and ride-hailing services. According to industry experts and air taxi companies, the first air taxi passengers will be tech-savvy business travelers, tourists or micro-explorers located in dense metro areas. 


“I think the very early adopters will be the ones where it’s going to be easy to put the product into place, and where it basically mirrors things we already have, right,” Robin Riedel, a partner at McKinsey & Company who published a recent study on consumers views of advanced air mobility, told AAR. “So that could be flying into airports, basically taking over from helicopter routes for eVTOL routes or where we don’t need brand new ground infrastructure on both ends of the journey, where we don’t need to get people to do things that they haven’t really done the same way that they did before.” 


The planned launch cities for many air taxi companies are reflecting these views. 

Archer’s demonstrator eVTOL aircraft, Maker, will begin test flights this year. (Archer)


Archer will be concentrating on deploying its electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in dense cities and already has partnerships with Los Angeles and Miami, a company representative told AAR. Archer’s eVTOL uses distributed electric propulsion with 12 electric motors and six independent battery packs, the company announced in the recent debut of its demonstrator aircraft, Maker. The aircraft will have a 60-mile range with speeds up to 150 mph. 


“We are redefining transportation for generations to come, leading the fourth transportation revolution,” the representative from Archer said. “We are concentrating on partnering with cities that are in need of a traffic density release effort. The reality is, modern transportation infrastructure cannot support surging urban populations – and cities don’t have adequate space to extend roadways to meet current and future demands. Simply put, cities are overdue for transformation on a global scale.” 


Archer describes its first passengers as people looking for fast, safe, and environmentally friendly travel. The company says these passengers will be micro-explorers who are looking to create experiences from their travel. 


“We believe in the age of the micro-explorer,” a representative from Archer told Advanced Aviation Report. “Micro-exploration is a new way of life, putting soul-satisfying adventure at your fingertips and creating transformative travel experiences each day —even if you’re just commuting to work. From a hike in the mountains after work to a weekend trip to a peaceful cabin or even a new city, micro-explorers will use Archer to discover and explore their cities at previously unobtainable levels.”

A rendering of the 7-Seater eVTOL jet which shows the 36 ducted fans. (Lilium)


Lilium, a German air taxi manufacturer, has announced launch plans that align with Riedel’s analysis with operational hubs at Munich and Nuremberg airports in Germany. The company also announced plans to launch operations in the U.S. in Florida. Lilium’s 7-Seater Jet is designed for efficient regional air mobility with ranges between 40 and 200 kilometers at speeds up to 300 kph. 


Wisk, who is developing an autonomous electric air taxi, is predicting its first passengers will vary across demographics like income and age but will likely lean towards people who already frequently travel. Cora, Wisk’s eVTOL aircraft, has been flying since 2017 and has a range of 25 miles with speeds up around 100 miles per hour. Wisk is currently working on demonstrations with NASA to find solutions to integrate autonomous aircraft into the national airspace.  


“Our research shows that there’s high interest across a wide range of consumer groups, with similar interest levels across a range of demographics, from income levels, ethnicities, commute duration, age, etc,” a representative from Wisk told AAR. “However, we’ve found that early adopters — those most interested in the concept of air taxis — skew toward those that are frequent travelers, tech-savvy, and living in metro areas.” 


These travelers will use eVTOL aircraft for work travel, commuting, and personal use, according to Wisk.  


“We see a variety of potential use cases for air taxi service and validated those assumptions with customer research,” Wisk’s representative said. “The data tells us that the majority of consumers would use an air taxi for work travel, whether out of town for work, around town for work, or commuting to/ from work. It also shows many would also use them for personal use and sheer fun, whether they are meeting friends, traveling to appointments or obligations, or running personal errands.” 


Time savings is one of the biggest benefits air taxi companies are advertising to potential customers and studies show that this will be a top motivator for consumers. In the study from Riedel, over 30 percent of consumers across multiple countries cited quicker travel times as a motivator for using advanced air mobility vehicles. 


“Imagine a world where you are not constrained by traffic — where you can travel from San Francisco to San Jose in 30 minutes rather than two hours, or from Manhattan to JFK in just ten minutes,” Archer’s representative said. “There are millions of daily commuters that will need this service to go to and from work in an affordable, timely manner.” 


Air taxi companies will distinguish their aircraft from already available means of transport like helicopters or private aviation by claiming that their product will be available to a broader audience. However, this will require companies to expand beyond the initial base of passengers who may already be eager to jump into an air taxi. 


“One of our fundamental beliefs is that air taxi services should be accessible to all and our goal is to ensure that anyone that wants to experience everyday flight has the ability to do so,” Wisk’s representative said. “In addition to safety, saving riders time and reliability are a few of the benefits that will drive and expand adoption.” 


Air taxi companies’ strategies for introducing their products to the wider public revolve around education through partnerships with public and private stakeholders such as local governments. 


“In the years leading up to our commercial launch, we will work with our partnered cities to help educate city dwellers on the benefits of an eVTOL system, how they work, and why they are a superior travel option both inconvenience and safety,” Archer’s representative said. 

Volocopter’s VoloConnect will be one of two eVTOLs the company plans to release. (Volocopter)


Some companies have already started exposing the public to their aircraft. Volocopter, the German company creating an urban air mobility ecosystem, is showcasing its aircraft at public events so people can see them for themselves. Volocopter is developing two air taxis: VoloCity for inner-city missions and VoloConnect for intra-city missions. 


“Public acceptance is key when introducing new technologies,” a representative from Volocopter told AAR. “This is why Volocopter has put a focus on educating the public about Urban Air Mobility by giving as many opportunities as possible to the public to witness air taxis and urban air mobility. Most prominent examples are our flights in Singapore, Stuttgart, Helsinki, and recently Paris.”


Air taxis will also have to be affordable to enable the wide public adoption that companies are predicting. Archer is estimating its service will cost around $3.30 per seat-mile at launch and decrease as more aircraft enter the market. 


“Archer’s business model is similar to Uber, Lyft, and other companies looking to make mass transportation more accessible,” Archer’s representative said. “We plan to launch with a pricing structure on par with that of an UberX.” 


Consumers’ most important concern about these vehicles is safety. According to Riedel’s study published by McKinsey & Company, 60 percent of respondents cited safety as a top concern about advanced air mobility vehicles. 


Companies are prepared to answer these concerns by citing their vehicle’s redundant systems and cooperation with respected regulators. 


“Regarding safety education is a key topic to help people understand the steps we take to ensure our aircraft is safe – from years of testing experience, to most importantly the very high entry barrier of being certified by the EASA,” Volocopter’s representative said. “There will be no air taxi player flying in cities that has not proven their safety level to the regulator. That being said, we are also certifying against the highest safety standards in aviation with EASAs SC-VTOL category enhanced aiming at 10^-9 safety levels: one fatal accident in one billion flight hours.” 


However, it will probably be hard to have complete clarity on the public perception of this technology before it is actually in use, Riedel said. 


“I think the challenge is, we just don’t know, right,” Riedel said. “I mean people on both sides of the argument are like it’s going to be really hard to convince people to go but people can also say well we used to have operators in elevators, right? People were scared of elevators…To be honest, I don’t know. I think it will come down to are there any big public-facing accidents early on that will get people worried.” 

The post Will You Be on the First Air Taxi? appeared first on Aviation Today.

Check FastApn access for commercial satcoms at Fastapn

Flytlink – Avionics, Satcom’s and IFE Consultants

Joby Completes Longest eVTOL Test Flight to Date

Joby’s eVTOL aircraft completed its longest test flight yet with an 150 mile flight. (Joby)

The electric air taxi company Joby Aero completed its longest test flight to date of its full-scale prototype aircraft flying over 150 miles on a single charge of the company’s lithium-ion batteries, the company announced on July 27. 

“We’ve achieved something that many thought impossible with today’s battery technology,”  JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby, said in a statement.  “By doing so we’ve taken the first step towards making convenient, emissions-free air travel between places like San Francisco and Lake Tahoe, Houston and Austin, or Los Angeles and San Diego an everyday reality.”

The flight lasted for one hour and 17 minutes and was completed on a circuit at the company’s flight base in Big Sur, California. Joby’s chief test pilot Justin Paines completed a vertical takeoff and then forward flight on the circuit completing 11 laps in total. 

“We’ve been building up to this for several months now, flying progressively longer sorties,” Paines said in a statement. “As we’ve extended the range, we’ve been able to identify modifications to the aircraft that improve efficiency and, for the final few tests, we were able to upgrade the landing gear on our prototype aircraft to one with a drag profile more representative of what we expect to see on our production aircraft.” 

The aircraft uses commercially available lithium-ion batteries, an 811 NMC cathode, and a graphite anode cell, according to the release. In an email to Aviation Today, a representative from the company said the aircraft still had reserves following the flight but could not reveal the amount. 

Joby wants to launch its eVTOL aircraft commercially in 2024. (Joby)

“Since the day I joined Joby four years ago, we’ve worked hard to maximize the energy efficiency of this aircraft and prove what we have always known to be possible with today’s battery technology,” Jon Wagner, head of powertrain and electronics at Joby, said in a statement. “With the right cell chemistry and a lot of hard work across the entire engineering team, we’ve been able to create a remarkably efficient aircraft that can make the most of today’s commercially available batteries.”

The company could not share details on the charging time for this flight but said their goal is to be able to charge the aircraft in the time it takes to unload and load passengers. 

Joby’s eVTOL uses fly-by-wire technology to simplify operations and reduce pilot workload. 

“The Joby aircraft is unlike the complex controls in a helicopter, which require a pilot’s hands and feet,” a representative from the company said via an emailed statement. “We’ve incorporated unified controls which means the pilot only has to manage one directional controller and one acceleration controller. There are no rudder pedals and if the pilot lets go entirely, the aircraft stabilizes on its own. If the pilot selects the ‘decelerate to hover shortcut button, the aircraft automatically brings itself into a hover over the landing zone. Finally, ‘automated envelope protection’ mitigates pilot error by inhibiting commands that exceed safe operating limits.” 

Joby has agreed to a G-1 certification basis with the Federal Aviation Administration for type certification of its aircraft which it hopes to receive by 2023 to prepare for a commercial launch in 2024. The company has also announced on July 29 that it will be seeking a Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate that will allow its aircraft to operate in cities and communities in the U.S. 

“We’re excited to reach this milestone on the path toward becoming the first eVTOL airline in the world,” Joby’s head of air operations Bonny Simi said in a statement. “We look forward to working closely with the FAA as we prepare to welcome passengers to a new kind of air travel — one that is environmentally friendly, quiet enough to operate close to cities and communities, and will save people valuable time.” 

The post Joby Completes Longest eVTOL Test Flight to Date appeared first on Aviation Today.

Check FastApn access for commercial satcoms at Fastapn

Flytlink – Avionics, Satcom’s and IFE Consultants

Boeing Awaits FAA Decision on Requirements for In-Service 787s

Boeing is awaiting a decision from the FAA that would potentially require modifications to in-service 787s, such as the Singapore Airlines 787-10 pictured here, related to a manufacturing flaw that has temporarily lowered the aircraft type’s production rate and delivery schedule. (Boeing)

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun told investors Wednesday during the company’s second-quarter earnings call that any decision related to a requirement for in-service 787s to be modified—after a manufacturing flaw was recently discovered on some undelivered Dreamliners—will be left up to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The second quarter was the first profitable one for Boeing since the beginning of 2020, with sales increasing to $17 billion, up from $11.8 billion during the same period a year ago driven by more commercial aircraft deliveries. Boeing’s commercial airplanes business posted $6 billion in sales, up 268 percent as aircraft deliveries nearly tripled to 79 planes, and a $472 million operating loss versus a $2.8 billion loss a year ago.

On July 13, Boeing temporarily lowered the production rate of the 787 and stopped delivering the aircraft due to small gaps identified in the forward pressure bulkhead. The company’s chief executive answered several analyst questions concerning their progress in resolving the manufacturing flaw.

“That’s a determination that has to be made with the FAA, and most of this in light of the fact that the safety margins on the structural elements of our airplanes is huge. So, it’s not the world’s easiest set of analyses to go through and our teams have taken their shot at it. They go through the FAA in great detail. And so, I don’t really know the answer to that,” Calhoun said, responding to an analyst question about whether a retrofit will be necessary for in-service 787s. “But the ideal for all of us is to just incorporate it into ongoing maintenance schedules of the airlines. So that is that’s our hope and desire and sort of anyway, but I’m going to leave it to the FAA and our ultimate conclusions between those two teams as to just what happens on that front.”

There are 100 total 787s currently in Boeing’s undelivered inventory, according to Calhoun. The company expects to deliver fewer than half of those this year.

“We’re progressing through these inspections and rework, including the additional work we shared earlier this month. We continue to engage in detailed discussions with the FAA on verification methodologies for the 787. And based on our assessment of the time required, we’re reprioritizing production resources for a few weeks to support the inspection and rework,” Calhoun said.

In an emailed statement to Avionics International, the FAA confirmed that it was made aware of a manufacturing quality issue near the nose of certain 787s in Boeing’s undelivered inventory. The agency also says that the issue poses no immediate threat to flight safety, however, it is still determining whether some modifications should be made on 787s that are already in service.

Calhoun also stressed that while Boeing is working with the FAA on verification methodologies for 787 fuselages, the identification of the manufacturing flaw and decision to stop deliveries was internally driven by safety protocols and some of the identified components not meeting the company’s design tolerances.

“This is not the FAA getting tough on Boeing. This is Boeing getting tough on Boeing,” Calhoun said. “How do you do it? Well, you have teams inside our suppliers working on process control development understanding of exactly why that spec is necessary and where it is. And on our side, we start putting disciplines in place that make it clear to those supply chains that we’re not going to keep our line running. If we get one that isn’t right. That’s a little bit of what’s going on here.”

Boeing expects the 787 production rate to gradually return to five per month, with the timing of the rate increase dependent on their progress with production stability and delivering the aircraft still in inventory.

The post Boeing Awaits FAA Decision on Requirements for In-Service 787s appeared first on Aviation Today.

Check FastApn access for commercial satcoms at Fastapn

Flytlink – Avionics, Satcom’s and IFE Consultants

Air Force Could Be Using Air Taxis in 2023

U.S. Air Force leadership watched a manned demonstration of LIFT Aircraft’s single-seat HEXA, one of fifteen companies contracted through Agility Prime’s Air Race to Certification. (Kenneth Swartz /

The U.S. Air Force’s Agility Prime program has been investing in the development of electric air taxis and could have one of these aircraft in use by 2023, Col. Nathan Diller, AFWERX director, said during AUVSI’s virtual Unmanned Systems Defense 2021 keynote on July 28. 

“We’re looking at a variety of different use cases so that by 2023, we are positioned to bring this capability to an operational capability in our Department of the Air Force,” Diller said. 

Since Agility Prime was launched in April of 2020, the program has awarded military airworthiness certificates and over 200 small business technology transfer contracts. 

A LIFT Aircraft electronic vertical takeoff and landing aircraft sits on a trailer at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Texas, March 24, 2021. The eVTOL was transported from Ohio to Texas by the 79th Rescue Squadron as part of an ongoing relationship between industry partners and Air Force units that are working together to develop emerging technologies in support of tomorrow’s fight. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jacob T. Stephens)

In December of 2020, Agility Prime awarded the first electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) military airworthiness to Joby Aviation, now Joby Aero. Now, four companies—Joby, Lift, Beta Technologies, and Kitty Hawk—all have military airworthiness certificates. Diller said these certificates help to reduce regulatory risk and allow the military to compensate companies for test flights. 

“We’re looking to help the regulatory risk reduction and we’ve been able to show that just over the last year, with four of our aircraft going through our Air Force airworthiness processes,” Diller said. “We had first Joby followed by Lift, Beta, and most recently Kitty Hawk…These early flight test opportunities, early airworthiness, also gives us an opportunity to pay companies for directed government flight test, so in the near term helping to reduce that financial risk by these early adoption opportunities, early contracts, for the companies that are out there.” 

Agility Prime awarded Beta’s ALIA eVTOL aircraft the first electric aircraft airworthiness certificate for manned flight in May of 2021. 

An Air Force pararescue jump (PJ) expert evaluates how to load a simulated injured survivor or “Rescue Randy” into Kitty Hawk’s Heaviside vehicle as part of a personnel rescue scenario. The event demonstrated dual-use capability for civil and government applications. (Kitty Hawk)

“Achieving the first manned airworthiness authorization in the Agility Prime program is a key milestone,” Diller said in a statement in May. “This not only unlocks the opportunity to begin Air Force directed manned flight tests, but it also shows the high level of maturity of this technology and the high level of maturity of Agility Prime partner companies like BETA.”

The program also conducted its first operational exercise in May with an experiment with Kitty Hawk looking at medical evacuation uses for these aircraft. 

“In just May of this year, working with Kitty Hawk, and looking with our operators to see what would it look like to do medical evacuation with vehicles like this, [to] provide first responders with these vehicles and seeing, they’re really are true dual-use capability,” Diller said. “Seeing that something that is compliant, that supports Americans with disabilities, also is very helpful for a downed pilot.” 

These aircraft will allow the Air Force to conduct operations without the necessity of a runway, Diller said. The Air Force is also interested in investing in these platforms to develop autonomy and electric technologies. 

“In the department Air Force, we are indeed interested in being able to conduct operations away from the runway, and in order to do that, we’ve looked at a variety of vertical takeoff and landing concepts and like the commercial sector,” Diller said. “We are very excited about the potential for reduced operations and sustainment costs, opportunities for large economies of scale in production to make a relatively low-cost vertical takeoff and landing platform, opportunities for simplified vehicle operations or autonomy that would allow near term of reduced risk to life through augmentation for pilots and potentially, eventually but potentially, not having to have those pilots necessarily in the aircraft at all. How can we help lead that autonomy industry? We’re very excited about electrification and everything that electrification has to offer.” 

The post Air Force Could Be Using Air Taxis in 2023 appeared first on Aviation Today.

Check FastApn access for commercial satcoms at Fastapn

Flytlink – Avionics, Satcom’s and IFE Consultants

Lilium Announces New Partnership to Manufacture Batteries for its eVTOL Aircraft

Lilium’s 7-Seater Jet is designed for regional air mobility and will have ranges between 40 kilometers and 200 kilometers. (Lilium)

The German electric air taxi company Lilium announced a new partnership with battery manufacturer CUSTOMCELLS to provide batteries for Lilium’s 7-Seater Jet, the company said in a July 28 press release. 

This partnership will allow for the industrialized production of lithium-ion batteries for Lilium’s air taxi operations. CUSTOMCELLS will use Lilium’s licensed technology to produce batteries for the 7-Seater Jet at its Tübingen location, according to the release. CUSTOMCELLS will work with an equipment manufacturer, Manz AG, on this effort. 

“With their extensive experience of designing and producing customized high-performance Li-Ion batteries for automotive and aviation applications, CUSTOMCELLS is an ideal partner to manufacture aerospace-quality battery cells for our jet,” Daniel Wiegand, co-founder and CEO of Lilium, said in a statement. “They have already set up manufacturing of silicon anode batteries for several of their customers. We are excited to be working alongside another next-generation company like CUSTOMCELLS.”

CUSTOMCELLS announced a recent partnership with Porsche to produce silicon-anode batteries, according to the release. 

“On the basis of flexible manufacturing concepts, CUSTOMCELLS guarantees high-tech solutions for special applications and tailor-made production of electrodes, electrolytes and battery cells with an outstanding quality and traceability approach, depending on the customer’s requirements profile,” Leopold König, co-founder and CEO of CUSTOMCELLS, said in a statement. “This partnership will bring two leading German innovators together and underlines the strength of the German manufacturing and tech ecosystem.”

Lilium’s 7-Seater Jet is designed for regional air mobility and will have ranges between 40 kilometers and 200 kilometers. The aircraft will use a distributed propulsion system with 36 embedded ducted fans. Lilium is partnering with Honeywell for avionics and flight control systems for the 7-Seater Jet. 

The 7-Seater Jet will operate in Europe and the U.S. Lilium has a partnership with Luxaviation Group to build out an eVTOL network in Europe and has announced plans to develop up to 14 vertiports in Florida. Lilium is expecting to certify its aircraft in 2024. 

The post Lilium Announces New Partnership to Manufacture Batteries for its eVTOL Aircraft appeared first on Aviation Today.

Check FastApn access for commercial satcoms at Fastapn

Flytlink – Avionics, Satcom’s and IFE Consultants

Avidyne Uses Daedalean AI Software in New PilotEye Vision System

Avidyne and Daedalean are bringing a new artificial intelligence-based cockpit vision system, PilotEye, to the general aviation aircraft market. (Daedalean)

A new cockpit vision system featuring artificial intelligence-based software from Daedalean, PilotEye, was introduced by Avidyne on July 26, the first day of the 2021 Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) 2021 AirVenture convention in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

PilotEye is the first avionics system Avidyne is bringing to the general aviation aircraft market in partnership with Daedalean, the Switzerland-based company that has been working on developing certifiable artificial intelligence software for safety-critical communications, navigation, and surveillance applications. The two companies first started experimenting with flight testing of their neural network software on a Cessna 180 in 2019, and are now ready to prepare PilotEye for certification.

“Through this symbiotic partnership, we are combining the industry-leading artificial intelligence neural network software and certification methodology pioneered by Daedalean, with the proven hardware design, manufacturing and certification expertise here at Avidyne,” Avidyne President, Dan Schwinn said in a July 26 press release.

Daedalean has been working with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency in recent years on a number of initiatives designed to explain key machine learning software design, development, and verification methods for the use of neural networks in avionics systems. Their most recent effort, Concepts of Design Assurance for Neural Networks (CoDANN) II outlines a new W-shaped model—in place of the traditional V-model— for the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning-enabled avionics hardware and software.

Neural networks are a sub-class of systems within the overall field of machine learning. Experts define neural networks as a computational model, consisting of learning algorithms that function similar to the way neurons within the human brain communicate through synapses to help enable normal bodily functions.

NVIDIA, known for supplying computers for autonomous cars and drones, defines the term as “a biologically inspired computational model that is patterned after the network of neurons present in the human brain” and “can also be thought of as learning algorithms that model the input-output relationship.”

A neural network can be trained to understand the data that it is continuously fed or input, and can then process and generate intelligent decisions or answers to complex problems that engineers have designed the neural network to solve or output.

Daedalean’s neural network functions by taking high-resolution video input extracted in real-time by high-resolution cameras and sends it through a Convolutional Neural Network, which determines whether the images captured by the cameras are part of cooperative or uncooperative traffic. The system can also be used to identify safe landing areas if the pilot encounters an emergency situation.

“Leveraging advanced AI technologies, these solutions will initially include visual-spectrum camera-based systems for visual positioning and traffic detection, hazard avoidance, and landing guidance, as well as providing the data that pilots need for quicker and more-accurate land-anywhere decision-making assistance in the event of emergency,” Avidyne’s Schwinn said.

An overview of the avionics systems architecture for PilotEye provided by Avidyne. (Avidyne)

A March 3 blog post from Daedalean further explains their approach to developing an artificial intelligence-based vision system capable of replicating pilot eyesight, by architecting the system to function in the same way a pilot learns how to fly under visual flight rules.

“Our camera can be mounted under the aircraft, and the neural network can deduce its own position from how the image changes over time. And, separately, it can also recognize static landmarks, such as some unique skyscrapers that constitute the skyline of a city, certain characteristic mountain tops by their shape, or specific lakes and coastlines,” Maria Pirson, a content writer for Daedalean writes in the post.

Avidyne expects to announce pricing and availability for PilotEye “later this year” and will provide more updates about the new technology over the next few months. The two companies have not announced an official timeline yet for regulatory certification and entry into service.

“Certification of safety-critical AI-based systems is a paradigm shift in aviation,” Luuk van Dijk, Daedalean’s founder and CEO said in a statement.  “We are excited to be partnered with Avidyne, who will certify, manufacture, and be the first provider in the aviation market of AI-based safety solutions powered by Daedalean AI software.”

The post Avidyne Uses Daedalean AI Software in New PilotEye Vision System appeared first on Aviation Today.

Check FastApn access for commercial satcoms at Fastapn

Flytlink – Avionics, Satcom’s and IFE Consultants

NASA Awards STTR Contract for eSTOL Aircraft

Shown here, Electra’s ultra-short takeoff and landing aircraft can deliver nearly triple the payload capacity, an order of magnitude longer ranges, and less than half the operating costs. Electra is the most sustainable choice for advancing urban and regional air mobility. (Electra) has received a $125,000 small business technology transfer (STTR) contract from NASA to mature its electric ultra-short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) aircraft, the company announced in a July 27 press release. 

The contract was secured with the partnership of and Dr. Alejandra Uranga, a Gabilan Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California’s Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. The two partners will work on computational models of distributed electric propulsion, Ben Marchionna, director of technology and innovation at, told Avionics International

“This contract will be focused on the development of low-order computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models of blown lift aerodynamics from wing-propulsor interactions – i.e., distributed electric propulsion,” Marchionna said. “The models will help improve the accuracy and precision of performance estimates and speed up design trades.”

Uranga said currently available models have not been validated against full-scale vehicles and the methods developed in these models will help when designing its vehicle. 

“Even the best CFD-based blown lift and distributed electric propulsion models today lack validation against full-scale vehicles for these unique configurations,” Uranga said in a statement. “Current computational methods can predict some limited blown lift flow fields in three dimensions, but the large eSTOL design space compared to conventional aircraft means that fast, trusted, low-order methods are needed to rapidly evaluate design choices. This contract will help us develop those methods.”’s aircraft will differ from other electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft because it uses electric propulsion and a technique called blown lift to takeoff over very short distances. The eSTOL aircraft is developing will be able to takeoff and land in less than 150 feet. 

“eVTOLs use electric propulsion to takeoff and land vertically – many of these concepts then transition from vertical flight to forward flight with a wing providing the lift once in cruise,” Marchionna said during an interview earlier this year. “Vertical flight requires significantly more power, resulting in an enormous payload, range, and cost penalty. eSTOLs use electric propulsion and an aerodynamic technique called blown lift to takeoff over distances as short as 100 feet. This provides eSTOL aircraft access to many of the same urban air mobility markets.”

The blown lift technology pushes air over the aircraft’s wings and then moves it downward. 

“Blown lift is an aerodynamic technique that tricks the wing into thinking it’s much larger than it really is,” Marchionna said. “Propellers are typically used for thrust and the wing is used to generate lift. Blown lift uses the propellers to also blow significant amounts of air over large wing flaps that deflect the air downwards. This can be done very efficiently across the entire span of the wing with distributed electric propulsion systems. The technique has been used for nearly 75 years, with extensive research, flight testing, and operations by NASA and the USAF in the 1960s and 70s, but the advent of distributed electric propulsion now makes blown lift practical again.” received a $1.5 million investment from the Air Force’s Agility Prime in June to develop this technology.  

The company is currently building its technology demonstrator that will complete ground testing later this year, Marchionna said. The aircraft is expected to begin flight testing in 2022 and receive certification from the Federal Aviation Administration under Part 23 regulations in 2026. 

The post NASA Awards STTR Contract for eSTOL Aircraft appeared first on Aviation Today.

Check FastApn access for commercial satcoms at Fastapn

Flytlink – Avionics, Satcom’s and IFE Consultants

Icelandair Ready to Activate Viasat In-flight Connectivity on 737 MAX-9s

EASA issued a supplemental type certificate last month allowing Icelandair to activate Viasat in-flight internet on its fleet of Boeing 737 MAX-9s, following the rollout of the service on their 737 MAX-8s in March. (Viasat)

Icelandair is ready to start rolling out Viasat in-flight connectivity (IFC) service across its fleet of 737 MAX-9 aircraft, following a supplemental type certificate (STC) issued by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for the aircraft type last month.

According to a July 19 blog post from Viasat, their satellite antennas, modems, wireless access points and other IFC enabling hardware and software were installed on Icelandair’s 737 MAX-9 aircraft earlier this year, however it was deactivated pending an STC from EASA. The same IFC service launched on the airline’s 737 MAX-8 aircraft in March 2021.

“Over Europe, this network includes the KA-SAT satellite and could include others like Avanti’s Hylas constellation in the future. When traveling over the US, Iceland and the Atlantic Ocean, the aircraft will connect with several other Viasat satellites, including ViaSat-2,” Icelandair said in a July 19 blog post on their website.

Viasat’s access to the Hylas constellation referenced by Icelandair is the result of a partnership announced June 3 with U.K.-based satellite operator Avanti Communications. The new agreement is designed to augment Viasat’s KA-SAT satellite coverage and capacity and will initially be leveraged to serve new mobility customers in the region. Viasat plans to leverage Avanti’s HYLAS 4 and HYLAS 2 satellites beginning in October 2021.

Icelandair became the first airline to start offering Viasat IFC on flights over the Atlantic Ocean from a 2017 agreement reached between the two companies. By activating the satellite system on the 737 MAX-9, the airline now features connectivity across every aircraft model within its fleet.

The Boeing 757s and 767s operated by Icelandair feature IFC from Global Eagle Entertainment, resulting from a 2016 investment by the airline. Passengers are charged €6 for Wi-Fi access on Icelandair’s European routes, and €12 for flights to North American destinations.

EASA’s approval of Viasat IFC on Icelandair’s 737 MAX-9 aircraft comes following the launch of the same service launching on KLM’s 737-800 aircraft in April.

Icelandair expects all Viasat-enabled aircraft to be installed by April 2022.

The post Icelandair Ready to Activate Viasat In-flight Connectivity on 737 MAX-9s appeared first on Aviation Today.

Check FastApn access for commercial satcoms at Fastapn

Flytlink – Avionics, Satcom’s and IFE Consultants

What’s Trending in Aerospace – July 25, 2021

Check out the July 25 edition of What’s Trending in Aerospace, where editors and contributors for Avionics International bring you some of the latest headlines and updates happening across the global aerospace industry.



American Airlines Sees Strong Recovery From Pandemic Lows in Second Quarter

American Airlines reported its second quarter financial results last week, posting a “second-quarter net loss of $1.1 billion” excluding special items, according to a July 22 press release.

We’ve flown more customers than any other airline in the second quarter. Our team safely transported more than 44 million passengers on nearly 470,000 flights. It’s more than five times the number of passengers we carried in the second quarter of 2020 and more than two-and-a-half times the number of flights,” American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said during the airline’s second quarter earnings call. “We’ve ramped up the operation dramatically in response to customer demand, and our operational performance continues to improve as we grow in scale.”



United Airlines Sees Demand Recover Faster Than Expected in Second Quarter

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said the Chicago-based international carrier saw both leisure and business air travel demand recover at faster rates than they expected during their second quarter earnings call last week.

United posted its second-quarter 2021 financial results on July 20, with an adjusted net loss of $1.3 billion. Despite the loss, the company expects continued gains as more businesses return by end of summer and into 2022, with a full recovery in demand anticipated by 2023, according to a July 20 press release.

“If I was going to briefly summarize where things stand right now, I’d say the demand is recovering even faster than we had hoped domestically, both leisure and business demand. And internationally we see the exact same pattern every time new borders are reopened,” Kirby said during the earnings call. “And while the US isn’t yet opened to Europeans the data and science, including the demonstrated safety of air travel, similar vaccination and case rate and similar level of variance in Europe and the US support an opening and we expect it to happen at some point. And when the borders do open, we expect to see the same robust hockey stick increase in demand that we’ve already seen domestically.”

Last month, United placed its largest ever order for a combined 270 commercial jets, including 50 Boeing 737 MAX 8s, 150 737 MAX 10s, and 70 Airbus A321neos.




Air Canada CEO Sees Positive Signs of Recovery for Remainder of 2021

Air Canada reported its second quarter 2021 financial results last week, posting an “operating loss of $1.13 billion compared to an operating loss of $1.55 billion in the second quarter of 2020,” according to a July 23 press release.

The airline also reported a net cash burn of $6.36 million per day during the second quarter, and reached a deal in April that will provide up to $4.7 billion in government-backed aid. Canada is re-opening cross-border travel to fully vaccinated U.S. tourists starting Aug. 9, following a 16-month ban forced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are seeing steadily increasing bookings for the domestic, trans-border and Atlantic markets and to sun destinations for the coming winter. In fact for the next winter sun travel, future bookings during some weeks in June, were ahead of the same period in 2019 that hard to remember time before COVID-19,” Air Canada CEO Mike Rousseau said during the airline’s earnings call. “We are certainly pleased to see vaccination rates increasing and in more recent announcements of the soon easing of travel restrictions in Canada. We can now optimistically say that we are turning a corner and we expect to soon see correlated financial improvements.”



Airbus Delivers First A350 From Completion Center in China 

Airbus delivered the first A350 from its widebody completion center in Tianjin, China to China Eastern Airlines. (Airbus)

Airbus has delivered the first A350 from its wide-body completion & delivery centre in Tianjin (C&DC), China, taking additional steps in the expansion of its global footprint and long-term strategic partnership with China, according to a July 21 press release.

The A350-900 aircraft was delivered to China Eastern Airlines, the largest Airbus operator in Asia and second largest in the world.

Located at the same site as the Airbus Tianjin A320 Family Final Assembly Line and the Airbus Tianjin Delivery Centre, the widebody C&DC covers the aircraft completion activities, including cabin installation, aircraft painting and production flight test, as well as customer flight acceptance and aircraft delivery.

“I’m proud that Airbus successfully extended the capability of the widebody C&DC in Tianjin to the A350, the latest new generation aircraft, at such a difficult time of global aviation,” George Xu, Airbus Executive Vice President and Airbus China CEO said in the release. “This is a new milestone in the long-term cooperation between China and Airbus, which further demonstrates Airbus’ commitment to the country.”




Universal Hydrogen and Deutsche Aircraft Join Forces to Develop Zero Emissions Aircraft 

A new partnership between Universal Hydrogen and Deutsche Aircraft is aiming to advance the decarbonization of aviation by integrating Universal Hydrogen’s modular capsule technology into the Dornier 328 program, according to a July 21 release. 

“We see hydrogen as the only realistic approach for aviation to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement,” Paul Eremenko, co-founder and CEO of Universal Hydrogen, said in a statement. “We are tackling the biggest obstacle to near-term hydrogen adoption: its delivery and distribution to airports and aircraft globally without costly infrastructure. This partnership with Deutsche Aircraft will accelerate our shared goal to put aviation on a trajectory toward true zero carbon emissions.”

The project will study the size and integration of the modular capsule technology for hydrogen, aircraft weight and balance, hydrogen cost, mission performance, and the hydrogen logistics network, according to the release. 

“Deutsche Aircraft is committed to enter the new era of climate-neutral aviation. Partnering with companies that share our passion for climate-friendly design like Universal Hydrogen allow us to accelerate our vision for decarbonization,” Martin Nüsseler, chief technology officer for Deutsche Aircraft, said in a statement. “We are excited to leverage Universal Hydrogen’s technical expertise to assess the safe and affordable use of hydrogen onboard our aircraft as part of our journey to zero emissions.” 







NATO Conducting Competition for Risk Reduction and Feasibility Studies on AWACS Replacement

The 14 NATO AWACS planes received glass cockpits between 2016 and 2019 (NATO)

NATO is conducting a competition for three risk reduction and feasibility studies under its Alliance Future Surveillance and Control (AFSC) program to replace 14 Boeing E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft when they leave service in 2035.

In March last year, six companies or industry teams delivered AFSC concept studies to the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA)–Airbus Defence and Space; Boeing and Indra Sistemas, Inmarsat, Leonardo, and Thales; General Atomics; L3Harris and Meta Mission Data, Deloitte Consulting, Hensoldt Sensors, IBM, Musketeer Solutions, Synergeticon and Videns; Lockheed Martin; and an MDA Systems and General Dynamics team.

NSPA said this month that it has identified “three high-level conceptual approaches…for further analysis through three separate Risk Reduction and Feasibility Studies (RRFS).” Through a competition for those three studies, “industry will further develop the proposed AFSC concepts and demonstrate their technical and operational feasibility for 2035 and beyond,” NSPA said.

NATO said it is not wedded solely to an airborne approach for AFSC. AWACS “could be replaced with different combinations of systems in the air, land, space, or even in the cyber domain,” NSPA said.



Bell Begins Building UH-1Y Again For Helicopters Headed To Czech Republic

UH-1Y assembly. (Bell)

Bell said Monday July 19 it has officially restarted production of the UH-1Y Venom as it looks to build the platform for planned deliveries to the Czech Republic, the first international customer for the attack helicopter.

The company noted Crestview Aerospace has finished manufacturing the first of eight UH-1Y cabins, which will then head to the Bell’s production facility in Amarillo, Texas, for final assembly.

“Crestview Aerospace is honored and grateful for the opportunity to team with Bell on the continued production of the UH-1Y cabin for the first international customer,” Paul Kohlmeier, Crestview Aerospace’s senior vice president for strategy and business development, said in a statement. “Crestview continues to build in the same high quality and reliability into the international Venom helicopters that underpin the aircraft currently operated by the United States Marine Corps around the world.”

Business & GA 

Gulfstream Surpasses 500 In-flight Connectivity Service Installations 

Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. on July 21 announced it has surpassed 500 installations of the Inmarsat Jet ConneX in-flight connectivity platform on large-cabin aircraft.

Jet ConneX is powered by Inmarsat’s global Ka-band satellite network, providing in-flight internet coverage that supports video streaming and file sharing among other connected applications. Certified by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, it transmits at speeds of approximately 20 megabits per second. Its coverage is worldwide and reliable over land and water through all phases of flight, with extended coverage over the polar regions coming soon, according to a July 21 press release.

“We are delighted to celebrate the 500th installation of our Jet ConneX in-flight broadband solution on Gulfstream aircraft and proud of their continued trust in Inmarsat,” Kai Tang, head of business and general aviation, Inmarsat said in the release. “This milestone is a testament to the Inmarsat ecosystem of partners and our joint commitment to delivering the highest standard of global connectivity to Gulfstream and their customers, for whom only the most reliable and consistent customer experience is acceptable. We look forward to building on this momentum and working side-by-side with Gulfstream on the next 500 installations and beyond.”




Single-Engine Beechcraft Denali Joins the Turboprop Product Line Up 

Textron Aviation’s single-engine Beechcraft Denali will now be part of the company’s turboprop product lineup along with the twin-engine Beechcraft King Air 260 and King Air 360/360ER, according to a July 21 press release. 

“The Beechcraft Denali represents our continued strategy to invest in clean-sheet and current products in both our Beechcraft and Cessna iconic brands. Beechcraft turboprops are renowned for their versatility and reliability, and the single-engine Denali is a perfect complement to this legendary family of products,” Ron Draper, Textron Aviation’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Pilots and passengers will appreciate the aircraft for its enhanced capabilities, innovative technology and all-around passenger comfort.”

The Beechcraft Denali, which was previously called the Cessna Denali, is predicted to take its first flight this year, according to the release. The aircraft will feature a payload of 1,100 pounds and have a range of 1,600 nautical miles. 

“We continue to receive interest around the world from turboprop and piston owners of competing aircraft, who are looking to move into an aircraft with greater performance and enhanced passenger experience,” Lannie O’Bannion, senior vice president of Global Sales and Flight Operations, said in a statement. “The Denali will offer an outstanding combination of lower operating costs and technological advancements, along with the widest and most comfortable cabin in its segment. And all of it is backed by the most extensive global network of factory-direct service centers in the industry.” 


EAA AirVenture Live Convention Returns to Oshkosh

The Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual air show, AirVenture, is returning to its live in-person format in Oshkosh, Wisconsin this week.

AirVenture 2021 is scheduled for July 26 to Aug. 1. EAA will not be live-streaming the event this year, although the organization published links to third-party streams of the event. Check out more information about EAA here.



Archer Wins Round 1 as Wisk Promises to Fight On

Archer’s demonstrator eVTOL aircraft, Maker, will begin test flights this year. (Archer)

Wisk’s request for a preliminary injunction against Archer Aviation was denied by a San Francisco judge on July 22, according to a statement from the company. This injunction was filed in an ongoing legal battle between the two companies in which Wisk is accusing Archer of stealing Wisk’s proprietary intellectual property.

“The record makes it clear that Wisk has provided no evidence—not a single document, not a single witness—that Archer ever received or used any Wisk trade secret,” Archer’s Deputy General Counsel, Eric Lentell said in a statement. “Wisk’s charges of massive theft are based entirely on conspiracy theories and outright misrepresentations of the actual record.”

In another July 22 statement from Wisk, the company claims that the preliminary relief has no bearing on the outcome of the case and does not exonerate Archer. Wisk also cited the judge in the case saying the company “has many reasons that make it suspect there is a problem here” and acknowledged “arguable indications of misappropriation” by Archer.

A date for the trial has not yet been set.  




Joby Announces New Additions to Board Ahead of Merger 

Joby Aero has announced its Board of Directors ahead of its planned merger with Reinvent Technology Partners, according to a July 23 release. 

“We are incredibly humbled to have been able to assemble such a remarkable and diverse group of world-class leaders to guide and support Joby as we plan to enter the public market,” JoeBen Bevirt, Founder and CEO of Joby, said in a statement. 

Since December 2020, Joby has appointed Aicha Evans and James Kuffner to its board, according to the statement. Evans is CEO of Zoox and Kuffner is CEO and representative director of Woven Planet Holdings and member of the board of directors and operating officer of Toyota Motor Corporation. 

Once the merger has closed, Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder and co-lead director of Reinvent Technology Partners; Halimah Delaine Prado, general counsel at Google; and Laura Wright, former CFO at Southwest Airlines, will be joining the board. 







Blue Origin Sends Jeff Bezos & Crew into Space on New Shepard’s First Crewed Mission

Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket carrying Jeff Bezos and crew, just moments after liftoff.

Blue Origin successfully launched its founder, Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark, aerospace pioneer Wally Funk and Dutch teenager Oliver Daemen into space at 9:13 a.m. EDT July 20 on its New Shepard rocket. Blue Origin also recovered the rocket’s reusable booster. The entire mission lasted 10 minutes and 20 seconds from launch to capsule touchdown.

The success of the New Shepard’s first crewed mission is a major milestone for both the company and for commercial space travel as a whole.

The New Shepard rocket took off from Blue Origin’s West Texas launch site carrying its four passengers on an approximately three-and-a-half-minute ride above the Karman Line (100 kilometers above Earth). Once in space, Bezos and crew could be heard cheering and admiring the view as they floated in microgravity.

The New Shepard’s booster returned safely to its recovery launch pad a little more than seven minutes after launch.







Air Force Awards $15.9 Million to AeroVironment for Puma 3 AE and Raven UAS 

AeroVironment received two firm-fixed-price orders for over $15.9 million from the U.S. Air Force for its Puma 3 AE unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and Raven UAS, according to a July 22 press release. 

“The combat-proven Puma 3 AE and Raven are versatile, rugged and reliable tactical unmanned aircraft systems designed to provide the United States Air Force Security Forces with the enhanced situational awareness and mission effectiveness they require when safeguarding bases,” Trace Stevenson, AeroVironment vice president and product line general manager for small UAS, said in a statement. 

The Puma 3 AE UAS can be used for land and maritime operations and provides extended flight times and high level imaging, according to the release. The Raven system can be used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions at low altitudes. It can also provide real-time video and infrared imagery. 

AeroVironment has already delivered the Puma 3AE UAS to the Air Force and the Raven UAS are expected to be delivered by November of this year, according to the release. 

The post What’s Trending in Aerospace – July 25, 2021 appeared first on Aviation Today.

Check FastApn access for commercial satcoms at Fastapn

Flytlink – Avionics, Satcom’s and IFE Consultants

Transcom ISP - Transcom VOIP - Free Secure Email - Dropcatch Software - FastApn Inflight - Aero Connect - Premium Domains