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ASKA Targets 2026 Commercial Launch of “Drive and Fly” eVTOL

ASKA’s eVTOL aircraft has a four-seat configuration with a maximum range of 250 miles and a speed of 150 miles per hour. The company plans to begin flight testing of a full-scale demonstrator by early 2023. (Photo, courtesy of ASKA)

The California-based company ASKA is developing an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft with “drive and fly” capabilities. The team expects to have a full-scale demonstrator ready to begin flight testing by early 2023, and they are already performing flight tests with a smaller-scale prototype. ASKA is also participating in NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) National Campaign after signing a five-year Space Act Agreement with NASA in 2020.

The eVTOL vehicle has been in development since 2018. ASKA’s factory is located in Mountain View, CA, and they also have a showroom in nearby Los Altos. According to Guy Kaplinsky, ASKA’s co-founder and CEO, their mission is centered around improving everyday transportation while ensuring safety, efficiency, and sustainability.

Earlier this year, ASKA announced an agreement with IT services and consulting company Tech Mahindra, which will support ASKA in design, analysis, development of composites and advanced materials, crash dynamics, and battery and structural testing.

Kaplinsky told Avionics International in an interview that their aim is to improve quality of life because people spend so much of their lives in transit—either driving personal vehicles or taking public transportation. “New mobility solutions are not providing any solutions to the problem of [increasing] traffic,” he said.

Pictured above is a rendering of the interior of ASKA’s eVTOL aircraft. (Photo courtesy of ASKA)

ASKA’s team imagines a future in which cars will be used for short trips between 1 to 30 miles, and AAM vehicles will be used for longer trips up to 250 miles. This is how they came up with the concept of a “drive and fly” vehicle that can be driven on the road like a car and then can take off from an airport, either as a VTOL or a short take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft. “We have to use the existing infrastructure,” he added. 

Their aircraft will have a range of 250 miles and a maximum speed of 150 miles per hour. When the vehicle performs a conventional runway take-off and landing as an eSTOL, it uses between 30% and 60% less energy than the vertical take-off and landing. “Since we are targeting everyone [as potential customers], the cost of operation is very important. It’s not a toy for billionaires. [The STOL functionality] makes it more affordable for more people,” he stated.

According to the co-founders, ASKA’s eVTOL has the advantages of utilizing existing infrastructure and offering a high level of safety while keeping initial and operational costs as low as possible. (Photo courtesy of ASKA)

“One challenge for aviation with going electric is the batteries,” Kaplinsky remarked. “We don’t believe they’re ready yet, so we developed our own generator with a range extender that provides a second energy source.” Including two energy sources, a battery and a generator, is part of ensuring safety for the vehicle. Those operating the vehicles can rely on a backup energy source for landing because it meets the 30-minute requirement for reserve flight time, according to Kaplinsky.

The launch pad imagined for ASKA’s vehicle to perform a vertical take-off or landing has a minimal footprint with an area of 65 feet by 65 feet. This also offers the option for operators to drive in or out of the launch pad rather than use extra energy to perform the VTOL function. The average time needed for a departure or landing at the launch pad will be highly efficient—about 3 minutes. Therefore, one launch pad can facilitate 80 passengers in an hour.

“We are in the middle of fundraising right now,” said Maki Kaplinsky, ASKA co-founder and chair/COO. “We’re looking for good partners to support this project. We already have pre-orders for the ASKA and continue to receive more.”

The post ASKA Targets 2026 Commercial Launch of “Drive and Fly” eVTOL appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Raytheon Partners with Universities to Develop Skyler Radar

Raytheon Intelligence & Space is involved in partnerships with the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Virginia Tech, Stony Brook University, and Hampton University to encourage innovations that will facilitate drone integration into the national airspace. (Photo courtesy of Raytheon)

Raytheon Intelligence & Space is collaborating with multiple universities to conduct research related to drone traffic management and to further develop its weather-sensing Skyler radar technology. Mike Dubois, technical program manager for air traffic systems at Raytheon, shared details on the status and trajectory for these partnerships in an interview with Avionics International.

RI&S has shared its resources and equipment—including systems for air traffic management, weather prediction, cybersecurity, and mobile radar—with researchers at several colleges including Purdue University, Stony Brook University, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Virginia Tech, and Hampton University. These long-term partnerships provide hands-on experience for college faculty and students while also enhancing innovation and helping to create a more diverse workforce, according to RI&S.

Dubois is the technical program manager for the Skyler product, which is a multifunctional radar capable of detect-and-avoid operations and is used for traffic management of unmanned aircraft (UTM) and other advanced air mobility (AAM) needs. Skyler is also positioned to be a high-resolution weather sensor, says Dubois. According to the company website, Raytheon’s Skyler is an Active Electronically Scanned Array that provides high-resolution data. A single radar can be scaled up to a distributed network of radars that work in tandem to provide data across a large area.

“The Skyler product is really the out-product of an initiative where we partnered with the University of Massachusetts in a program called CASA (the Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere),” Dubois said. Beginning in 2002, Raytheon served as the lead industry partner in this multidisciplinary partnership established by the National Science Foundation Engineering Center. The University of Massachusetts and Raytheon shared the goal of developing a phased-array weather sensing radar with no moving parts, and this ultimately resulted in the creation of Skyler. 

“The most exciting and interesting part has been the engagement with the universities,” Dubois commented. “The technology can help shape someone’s academic career, or their thesis.”

“There are still fundamental questions that need to be answered by the community as a whole—understanding what a phased-array radar can do to enhance or upgrade weather systems.” – Mike Dubois (Photo courtesy of Raytheon)

RI&S is also currently working with Hampton University, where a team plans to perform a combination of uncrewed traffic management and weather research. “We hope to have radar installed at their campus later this year,” Dubois added. He explained that the university’s location at Chesapeake Bay is ideal for coastal weather research given the high-density, mixed-use airspace.

Raytheon began a formal collaboration with FAA-designated UAS test site Virginia Tech last year. In this partnership, Skyler offers “a multifunctional system, where it does both air traffic and weather surveillance, and we test that at an FAA test site,” stated Dubois. The focus is on integrating beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations into the national airspace. Kip Spurio, Air Traffic Systems technical director for RI&S, remarked in the company’s announcement, “Virginia Tech is well positioned to test the Skyler radar in a mixed environment—crewed and uncrewed aircraft systems. Their assessment is validating its capabilities to safely further this ecosystem.” 

Dubois commented that he looks forward to seeing the contract with Virginia Tech fulfilled, as well as “delivering results to ASTM and RTCA that describe the system that was implemented and the results that were generated in the findings.”

Dubois expects the relationship between RI&S and the University of Massachusetts to grow in its focus on the antenna itself and RF characteristics. The focus in their collaboration with Stony Brook University’s Atmospheric Sciences program, he said, has been weather sensing capabilities. The program has multiple ongoing research projects, including those funded by the Department of Energy.

There is still a lot of work that needs to be done with the weather radar technology before it is adopted. “There are still fundamental questions that need to be answered by the community as a whole—understanding what a phased-array radar can do to enhance or upgrade weather systems,” Dubois said. By partnering with universities to explore these types of questions, Raytheon’s team can benefit the community as well as their own understanding of the technology. 

He views the aviation community as the intersection of air traffic and weather. “The industry is still focused on the vehicles and avionics, but we’re very quickly going to run into the need to understand the weather at lower altitudes.” As a collective, he says, we need to understand how these subjects intersect and what technology is needed to support that.

The post Raytheon Partners with Universities to Develop Skyler Radar appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Stakeholders Urge Congress to Pass Sustainable Skies Act

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and numerous stakeholders wrote a letter to Congress in support of the Sustainable Skies Act, underscoring the importance of a tax credit for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). (Photo, courtesy of NBAA)

On April 22, the National Business Aviation Association, along with about 80 stakeholders in the aviation industry, put forth a letter asking Congress to pass the Sustainable Skies Act. This legislation includes a provision for establishing a tax credit for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), which would accelerate commercial-scale production of the fuel. SAF is vital to the aviation industry’s pursuit of net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2050 since it can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80%.

Scott O’Brien, NBAA’s Senior Director of Public Policy & Advocacy, offered his insights on the congressional letter and the need for an SAF tax credit in an interview with Avionics International. “[SAF] has never had a dedicated federal tax credit, whereas some of the other renewable fuels have had longstanding tax credits,” O’Brien explained. “This letter describes the importance of having this standalone credit for SAF at an amount that will make it more competitive for producers to make versus other renewable fuels.” The tax credit also needs to incentivize production of SAF in the long-term to encourage significant investments, he commented. 

Stakeholders involved in the coalition to encourage an SAF-specific blender’s tax credit included representatives from general aviation, clean-fuel producers, aircraft manufacturers, and trade associations, according to the NBAA. “There are all kinds of stakeholders that often don’t come together around issues like in aviation,” O’Brien remarked. Unfortunately, he said, there isn’t currently a legislative vehicle that could serve to advance support for the tax credit. “The purpose of the letter is to reinforce the importance of doing this in the near-term in this Congress and showing, most importantly, how broad the support is.”

The dedicated blender’s tax credit is the most important step towards achieving the goal of producing 35 billion gallons of SAF by 2050, O’Brien believes. “We’re hopeful that negotiations going on with Senator Manchin and the White House will lead to some sort of package that includes the SAF tax credit. We are trying to best position ourselves for those discussions.”

He predicts that there will likely be movement towards a detailed agreement related to an SAF tax credit in the next few weeks. “There should be parity between SAF and what’s been done for other renewable fuels,” he stated. ”There’s been a lot of federal investment through tax credits and other things in renewable diesel, ethanol, and different fuels over the years.”

The Biden administration has previously issued proposals supporting the SAF tax credit, as have groups such as the Business Aviation Coalition for Sustainable Aviation Fuel. The Sustainable Skies Act, containing the provision for a dedicated blender’s tax credit of $1.50–2.00 per gallon, was introduced last May. In the coalition’s letter to Congress, they emphasized that not only will this tax credit promote investment into SAF, but it will also uphold “rigorous environmental standards and ensure that fuels that achieve the greatest reduction in emissions are eligible for the greatest tax incentive.”

The lack of a credit is a significant obstacle for fuel producers, O’Brien remarked. As they consider how to invest, “they have to consider all of these elements—where to have their facility, and what tax incentives they can get. These fuel companies have to make a lot of calculations about what this credit structure is going to look like for them at the end of the day. There’s a lot of SAF produced today, but people don’t understand the scale-up that needs to happen. It’s pretty immense and it really needs to start happening now to meet these goals.”

The post Stakeholders Urge Congress to Pass Sustainable Skies Act appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Gulfstream Adjusting to New Software Validation Certification Process on G700

The Gulfstream G700 is nearing the final stages of its flight testing and certification campaign, which could be slightly delayed from Gulfstream’s original timeline due to a new software validation requirement included by the FAA. (Photo courtesy of Gulfstream)

General Dynamics Chairman and CEO Phebe Novakovic told investors and analysts during an earnings call last week that the company’s efforts to obtain type certification on the Gulfstream G700 in preparation could be delayed due to a new software validation process being used by the FAA in its evaluation of the long-range business jet.

The G700 was first launched by Gulfstream at the 2019 NBAA Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (BACE), capable of flying up to 7,500 nautical miles (nm) at Mach 0.85 or 6,400 nm at Mach 0.90, powered by Rolls-Royce’s Pearl 700 engines. During the General Dynamics earnings call, Novakovic said the G700’s flight test and certification program are ongoing, and that the completion of certification flights with the FAA is typically the “most predictable” part of a new aircraft certification program.

However, there is a new software validation requirement included in the final stages of the G700 certification program that did not exist when Gulfstream first launched the new model.

“This flight test process has a first-time requirement that was not part of our original flight test plan or any prior development effort,” Novakovic said. “It is a model-based developmental software validation, a line-by-line examination of the plane software. The level of effort is considerable, completing 100% of the software validation is the impediment to finishing performance testing by the FAA.”

Novakovic indicated that while the company is still targeting a fourth-quarter timeline on certification of the G700, the addition of the software validation process could cause a three- to six-month delay. There are currently five G700 flight test aircraft involved in the flight testing certification campaign that have completed 2,800 flight hours, with all structural testing now complete as well.

The process is “time and resource intensive” according to Novakovic, who also answered some analyst questions about the process.

“This was an added process that we had not contemplated when we originally laid out our certification plan. And it’s a result of events that are independent of us,” Novakovic said.

The G700’s avionics configuration features the same Symmetry flight deck setup that is used on the G500 and G600, with the same embedded data concentration network as well.

Comments made by Novakovic on the uncertainty around how long it could take the FAA to complete its software validation process for the G700 are similar to those made by Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun two years ago when the company was re-certifying the flight control system for the 737 MAX.

“There is a mountain of documentation that has to be completed,” Calhoun said at the time.

While Gulfstream’s certification requirements are for an all-new aircraft type, the uncertainty on the time required for the FAA is similar.

“It’s more a question of time resources, certainly on the new requirements,” Novakovic said in response to an analyst question about the certification process. “But you saw an increase in R&D this quarter. And it was because that we have this new set of software validation requirements that we need to walk through.”

According to Novakovic, completion of the software validation requirements is also a prerequisite to Gulfstream moving forward with the first flight of its G800—one of two new jets launched last year, the other being the G400—and the eventual certification and validation of that aircraft.

The post Gulfstream Adjusting to New Software Validation Certification Process on G700 appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Northrop Grumman Touts B-21 Benefit In First Quarter; Income, Sales Slip

Pictured is an artist rendering of the B-21 Raider (Photo, courtesy of Northrop Grumman).

Northrop Grumman on Thursday posted first quarter results that included a boost from its ongoing development work on the Air Force’s B-21 next-generation stealth bomber.

The $67 million benefit on the B-21 stems from a favorable estimate-at-completion (EAC) adjustment attributed to performance benefits on the engineering and manufacturing  development (EMD) contract. An EAC refers to the hours expected to complete a project or milestone.

The gain on the contract was partially offset by a benefit a year ago from lower overhead rates on fixed price contracts at the company that did not recur in the first quarter of 2022.

Northrop Grumman typically has little to say about its B-21 work due to its classified nature but the company provided incremental details about the growth trajectory of the franchise program in the coming years.

Sales from the B-21 are expected to grow as the EMD phase of the program continues and low-rate initial production (LRIP) begins in parallel, Kathy Warden, chairwoman, president and CEO of Northrop Grumman, said on an earnings call with analysts.

Dave Keffer, Northrop Grumman’s chief financial officer, said in 2022 the EMD phase is in “a critical integration and test portion,” adding that “we continue to focus on production efficiencies.”

The Air Force said in March that the first B-21 has begun the ground-test phase and there are five more aircraft in various stages of production.

LRIP will begin over the next year and sales from this portion of the program will be recognized separately from the EMD effort, Keffer said. The full-rate production contract, which will account for most of the aircraft, hasn’t been negotiated, he said.

Northrop Grumman’s bid for the B-21 included a specific quantity of LRIP aircraft at a fixed-price, Warden said, noting that while she can’t disclose the number of aircraft, “it’s a small portion of the overall program of record.”

Asked by one analyst about the potential impact of inflation on the B-21 given that the LRIP aircraft will be built at a fixed-price, Warden answered the company’s bid had margin for inflation growth, that the program is still on a path to profitability, and expects to provide the aircraft within the “government target price,” which is updated regularly to account for inflation.

“I’ll remind you we’re not really gong to be in the production phase for a couple of years in any significant way,” she said. “And so, we still have a good bit of time and we expect inflation is going to modulate and we’re not seeing, based on the assumptions we’ve made today, a material impact to the program.”

Keffer said the company’s current assumptions run through the decade.

The Air Force’s future years defense program (FYDP) budget shows nearly $1.8 billion for B-21 production in fiscal year 2023 but that funding won’t flush out immediately to Northrop Grumman, Warden said.

“But it does project robust funding for B-21 through the decade and that is what we are anticipating as well,” Warden said. In response to another question about whether the current five-year FYDP contains peak year funding for the program, she replied that while aircraft quantities are classified, “the budget does not show a peak revenue year through fiscal year 2027.”

 

This article was first published by Defense Daily, a sister publication to Avionics International>> 

The post Northrop Grumman Touts B-21 Benefit In First Quarter; Income, Sales Slip appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Qantas Commits to New Airbus Fleet Order for Project Sunrise, Boeing 737 Replacement

Qantas confirmed its new Airbus fleet order on May 2, noting that a combined 40 new A220 and A321XLR aircraft will replace some of the aging 737s and 717s currently being operated on domestic routes. (Photo, courtesy of Airbus)

Qantas has confirmed a new order with Airbus that will introduce 12 A350-1000 Project Sunrise aircraft into its fleet, along with 40 new A220-300s and A321XLRs that will replace aging 737 and 717 aircraft currently being operated by the Australian airline.

The A350s will be capable of flying nonstop routes from Australia to any other city, including New York and London, and are the result of a research initiative Qantas participated in for several years evaluating the Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A350-1000 to operate what will become the longest nonstop routes ever operated by Qantas. Some of the primary routes Qantas evaluated the A350-1000 on include Brisbane to Paris, Melbourne to New York, and Sydney to London.

On the domestic side of its operations, a combined 95 total Boeing 737 and 717 aircraft will be retired and replaced by the incoming orders for the new A321XLRs and A220-300s, which Airbus will start to deliver late next year.

Qantas has included purchase right options for another 94 aircraft that are scheduled for delivery through at least 2034. Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce compared the introduction of Project Sunrise to how the Boeing 707 “introduced the jet age, the 747 democratised travel,” in statements published by Qantas.

“The A350 and Project Sunrise will make any city just one flight away from Australia. It’s the last frontier and the final fix for the tyranny of distance. As you’d expect, the cabin is being specially designed for maximum comfort in all classes for long-haul flying,” Joyce said.

The A350-1000s on order for Qantas will be powered by the Rolls Royce Trent XWB engine, and will require an additional fuel tank along with a slightly increased maximum takeoff weight to fly the Sunrise routes.

Joyce’s vision for Project Sunrise was effectively put on hold by the pandemic, after the CEO said in December 2019 that the carrier would ultimately make a decision on an order for the A350-1000  in March 2020. Two years later, Qantas included the Project Sunrise aircraft in the new fleet order that restructures an existing order agreement with Airbus of 109 A320s (plus purchase rights) for Qantas Group regional subsidiary Jetstar. That order will now be combined into “a single Qantas Group narrow body order of 299 aircraft (half of which are firm orders and half are purchase right options), with the flexibility to draw down on that order by choosing any variant from the A320 and A220 families,” according to details on the order released by Qantas.

“We have come through the other side of the pandemic a structurally different company. Our domestic market share is higher and the demand for direct international flights is even stronger than it was before COVID. The business case for Project Sunrise has an internal rate of return in the mid-teens,” Joyce said.

A release of its third-quarter fiscal year 2022 results showed an increase in passenger demand for Qantas, including increased “bookings for markets including London, Los Angeles, South Africa and Bali all above pre-COVID pandemic levels.”

The post Qantas Commits to New Airbus Fleet Order for Project Sunrise, Boeing 737 Replacement appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Air Methods to Retrofit Medical Transport Fleet with FlightOS Control Interface

The Skyryse FlightOS flight control interface, shown here in a simulator at the startup’s technology lab, will be retrofitted to 400 fixed and rotary wing air medical transport aircraft under a new agreement between the Los Angeles-based startup and Air Methods, one of the largest air medical services providers in the U.S. (Photo, courtesy of Skyryse)

Air Methods, one of the largest air medical service providers and helicopters operators in the U.S., has signed a new agreement with California-based transportation technology provider Skyryse to retrofit more than 400 single-engine helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft with the FlightOS automation hardware and software.

Skyryse first started making headlines in 2019 after using its flight stack automation technology—a combination of helicopter flight and communications systems including “smart helipads”—to autonomously fly a modified Robinson R44 helicopter with no human intervention. In addition to retrofitting its air medical transport fleet with FlightOS, Air Methods will invest $5 million into a Series B funding round for Skyryse, bringing the startup’s total raised to $205 million.

The Air Methods’ total fleet of owned, leased, or maintained aircraft features more than 450 helicopters—the world’s largest fleet of civilian helicopters—and fixed-wing aircraft operating at more than 300 bases across the U.S., transporting more than 100,000 people last year. A partnership video released by the two companies shows Air Methods pilots evaluating the new technology in the Skyryse FlightOS technology in Big Bear, California, replacing the traditional cyclic-collective flight controls with a side stick and touchscreen tablet interface for the pilots.

Mark Groden, CEO of Skyryse, told Avionics International in emailed statements that the retrofit program will replace the cockpit systems featured on fixed and rotary-wing aircraft in the Air Methods fleet with a “full fly-by-wire system that’s built to commercial airliner standards.” That setup is paired with Skyryse’s “universal flight deck and four-axis side stick,” according to Groden, who also notes that the company provides all of the necessary communications and navigation systems along with sensors necessary to enable their system.

“We will be replacing traditional flight controls, avionics, radios, GPS, and ADS-B with our system,” Groden said. “We replace airframe specific and complicated flight controls with a touch screen interface and a four-axis side stick. That shift dramatically reduces pilot workload in the cockpit and we also handle emergency situations such as autorotation. We are currently doing autorotations with FlightOS, an industry first.”

As Groden previously explained in a March 2020 interview with Avionics, FlightOS is designed to be easy enough to control and learn that people with little to no flying experience could learn to use it. While the flight controls are manipulated through the touchscreen tablet and side-stick setup, on-board computers control all aspects of the flight envelope, manage the airframe’s structure and aerodynamic operating limits, and leverage exterior radar and sensors for real-time situational awareness.

Skyryse has continued to raise capital and develop its FlightOS technology as well as provide media demonstrations over the last year. Michael Huerta, the former FAA Administrator, and Chris Hart, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), were also added on as advisors in November.

Groden said the company was unable to share details about the cloud computing and IT infrastructure required to enable FlightOS or images of what the retrofitted Air Methods fleet will look like once the upgrades are completed at this time.

“As the leading Air Medical provider in the United States, we are always looking for ways to make rotor and fixed-wing flight safer,” Air Methods CEO JaeLynn Williams said in a statement. “Skyryse is a cutting-edge technology that will drive a step change in the safety of rotor and fixed-wing flight not only for Air Methods, but for our customers and the entire HEMS industry.”

The post Air Methods to Retrofit Medical Transport Fleet with FlightOS Control Interface appeared first on Aviation Today.

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United Airlines and Archer Create eVTOL Advisory Committee

Archer’s development of an eVTOL aircraft for urban air mobility is the main focus of a new joint advisory committee formed in collaboration with United Airlines. (Photo courtesy of Archer)

A joint advisory committee for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft was just formed between Archer Aviation and United Airlines. The committee will support Archer’s eVTOL development process with recommendations related to maintenance and operational concepts. Both companies intend to facilitate large-scale adoption of aircraft for the future advanced air mobility (AAM) market by researching systems and features that can improve eVTOL operations. In the long-term, the focus for Archer in this collaboration is creating operational efficiencies with UAM fleet support that incorporates existing networks and logistics concepts.

United Airlines first entered into an agreement with the eVTOL developer in February 2021 to purchase 200 of Archer’s vehicles, along with an additional, optional purchase of $500 million. The new joint eVTOL advisory committee that was just announced is chaired by Dave Dennison, Archer’s Vice President of Engineering, and Mauricio Angel, United’s Managing Director for United Express TechOps Strategy and Operations.

Other members from United Airlines will join the committee, including Jason Onorati, Director of Maintenance Programs; Robert Bernard, Senior Manager for Maintenance Programs; Brian Johnson, Director of Materials; Edward Espiritu, Senior Manager for United Airlines Ventures; and Monal Merchant, Senior Manager for UAX Engines and Engineering.

Archer’s CEO, Adam Goldstein; COO Tom Muniz; and Maintainability Lead Armando Chieffi will represent the company on the new committee as well. “The formation of this advisory committee further demonstrates Archer’s commitment to building advanced infrastructure to support UAM at scale,” said Goldstein in the announcement from Archer. He explained that United’s expertise regarding commercial aviation operating strategy will be leveraged as the committee develops recommendations for future eVTOL operations. “The adoption of UAM is about more than just the certification of our aircraft,” he continued. “United’s operational experience here will be invaluable as we work towards delivering aerial ride-sharing at scale.”

At the foundation of the new partnership is a shared goal of advancing sustainable urban air mobility (UAM), President of United Airlines Ventures, Michael Leskinen, remarked. “Assembling this group of industry-leading talent, and harnessing the valuable insights it yields, will be a vital step in enabling consumer adoption of eVTOL.”

Archer’s all-electric Maker aircraft completed its first successful hover flight test in December. Following that achievement, the team has moved forward with an ongoing flight test campaign that will continue throughout 2022 and beyond. The four-seater production aircraft may make its debut at the end of this year or in 2023. Goldstein expects the launch date for aerial ride-sharing services in the UAM market towards the end of 2024.

Another recent announcement came from Archer Aviation regarding a leadership change that simplifies Archer’s operating structure. According to the company, co-founder Brett Adcock is stepping down as co-CEO but will remain a member of the Board of Directors. As of April 18, Adam Goldstein is the company’s sole CEO. “Co-founding and leading Archer was one of the greatest experiences of my life, and I am so proud of the incredible Archer team and their many accomplishments. I am fully committed to the success of Archer,” said Adcock.

The post United Airlines and Archer Create eVTOL Advisory Committee appeared first on Aviation Today.

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PODCAST: Ethiopian Airlines USA Regional Director Talks Pandemic Recovery, Air Cargo and More

Samson Arega, the new USA Regional Director of Ethiopian Airlines, is the guest on this episode.

On this episode of the Connected Aviation Intelligence Podcast, we’re joined by the new regional director for U.S. operations of Ethiopian Airlines, Samson Arega.

After a three-year stint as the country manager of Ethiopian Airlines’ Canadian office, Arega transitioned to his new position as the leader of U.S. operations for Ethiopian earlier this year. Arega provides some perspective on how Ethiopian’s air cargo operations continue to grow, how the airline never fired any of its employees throughout the entirety of the pandemic, and some perspective on the airline’s in-flight Wi-Fi and other new technologies it is using.

Have suggestions or topics we should focus on in the next episode? Email the host, Woodrow Bellamy, at wbellamy@accessintel.com, or drop him a line on Twitter @WbellamyIIIAC. Also, check out the agenda for the 2022 Connected Aviation Intelligence Summit just posted to our event website!

REGISTRATION FOR THE 2022 CONNECTED AVIATION INTELLIGENCE SUMMIT IS NOW OPEN, AIRLINES ARE FREE TO ATTEND! CLICK HERE TO REGISTER TODAY!>>

Listen to this episode below, or check it out on iTunes or Google Play. If you like the show, subscribe on your favorite podcast app to get new episodes as soon as they’re released.

The post PODCAST: Ethiopian Airlines USA Regional Director Talks Pandemic Recovery, Air Cargo and More appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Starlink In-flight Connectivity Service Agreement Reached for Hawaiian Airlines Fleet

Hawaiian Airlines has a new agreement with SpaceX to add in-flight internet service enabled by Starlink connectivity to its fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft. (Photo, courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines)

Hawaiian Airlines has become the first major airline to reach an agreement with SpaceX that will add in-flight connectivity (IFC) service enabled by Starlink satellites to a fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft with installations scheduled to begin next year, according to an Apr. 25 announcement from the company.

The Hawaiian Airlines agreement follows last week’s announcement by California-based public charter operator JSX that it would become the launch air carrier for Starlink IFC, with the first passenger-carrying flights featuring the new service to begin later this year. Several days after the JSX announcement, Hawaiian Airlines unveiled its own new agreement with SpaceX to add Starlink connectivity to its fleet of Airbus A330 and A321neo aircraft, as well as the Boeing 787-9s it currently has on order.

In an emailed statement to Avionics International, Alex Da Silva, a representative for Hawaiian Airlines confirmed that the Starlink IFC service will be complimentary to passengers.

“We are working with Starlink to map our implementation timeline, and determine our schedule for testing and engineering work for the Wi-Fi infrastructure,” Da Silva said. “We are working with Starlink to map our implementation timeline, and determine our schedule for testing and engineering work for the Wi-Fi infrastructure.”

Hawaiian’s fleet of Boeing 717s that operate shorter inter-island flights will not be equipped with Starlink IFC terminals. According to the airline’s 2021 annual report filing, Hawaiian’s in-service fleet consists of 24 total A330-200s and 18 A321neos, with 10 total 787-9s on order under a 2018 purchase agreement with Boeing.

Starlink is the first in-flight internet service that will be offered by Hawaiian, as the airline currently offers access to wireless streaming in-flight entertainment (IFE) content on its A321neo flights, and other forms of IFE on other aircraft models—with no connectivity currently available onboard.

“We waited until technology caught up with our high standards for guest experience, but it will be worth the wait,” Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Peter Ingram said in a statement.

Starlink is SpaceX’s Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation, one of several whose operators have eyes on disrupting the IFC market by offering high-speed access to broadband in-flight at a lower cost. SpaceX Vice President of Starlink Commercial Sales Jonathan Hofeller has been discussing the company’s vision for IFC during several public appearances over the last year, including most recently at the Satellite 2022 conference in Washington D.C.

“Hawaiian Airlines is ensuring its passengers will experience high-speed internet the way we expect it in the 21st century, making hassles like downloading movies before takeoff a relic of the past,” Hofeller said in a statement. “With Starlink, the in-flight experience is greatly simplified so that once passengers step onboard the plane the internet works seamlessly throughout their flight. Soon, passengers will enjoy all the benefits of having the world’s best inflight internet connectivity from the comfort of their seats.”

The post Starlink In-flight Connectivity Service Agreement Reached for Hawaiian Airlines Fleet appeared first on Aviation Today.

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