EHang Accused of Stock Scam in New Report

February 20th, 2021   •   Comments Off on EHang Accused of Stock Scam in New Report   
EHang Accused of Stock Scam in New Report

A photo from EHang’s Feb. 18 press release showing a flight test vertiport of EHang Yunfu facility. (EHang)

A new report claims that EHang, a Chinese autonomous aerial vehicle (AAM) company, is an elaborate stock promotion and that the company has lied about products, manufacturing, revenues, partnerships, and regulatory approvals. EHang refutes the evidence presented in the report on the grounds that it contains errors and misrepresents information. 

The report, which was published by Wolfpack Research on Feb. 16, is a scathing indictment of EHang based on an investigation that included behind-the-scenes photographs, recorded phone calls, and on-site visits to EHang’s facilities. Two days after the report was published EHang announced updates on a production facility opening in 2021. 

Shanghai Kunxiang Intelligent Technology Co., Ltd. is a major customer of EHang, however, the report claims that the sales contracts signed between the companies were a sham. Records show that Kunxiang was established nine days before it signed an approximately $65 million sales contract with EHang. Wolfpack also claims that Kunxiang does not actually sell vehicles and only had $1.4 million of registered capital when it signed sales contracts with EHang. 

“Kunxiang appears to be a willing participant in EH’s stock promotion,” the report states. “According to the same finance manager at Kunxiang, Kunxiang made an undisclosed RMB100 million (~$14 million) pre-IPO investment in EH, which leads us to believe it’s true motive for signing these shambolic contracts was to benefit its investment, which is worth ~RMB473 million (~$68 million) today.” 

According to the report, EHang has only collected 20 percent of sales since its December 2019 IPO. 

“EH has reported RMB125.5 million (~$18 million) in total revenues since its December 2019 IPO,” the report states. “During the same period, its accounts receivable balance has increased by ~RMB100.3 million (~$14.4 million). This means that EH has only collected RMB25.2million (~$3.6 million) in cash since becoming a publicly-traded company.” 

Most of EHang’s sales contracts have not been made public. Of the two that are public Wolfpack uncovered discrepancies in the prices of EHang’s aircraft. The report states that in Feb. 2019 Kunxiang paid RMB 450 million for 3 EH216s. In June 2019, Kunxiang then purchased 20 EH216s for 1/100th of the price of the February contract. 

The unredacted Feb. 2019 sales contract, as shown in EH’s draft registration statement filed on Sept. 10, 2019, from Wolfpack’s report.

The unredacted June 2019 sales contract from the same Sept. 10, 2019 registration statement from Wolfpack’s report.

‘We believe EH is using these sham contracts with Kunxiang as the basis fabricated sales that make up most of its total revenue,” the report states. “Based on the reported numbers above, we believe EH has RMB232.7 million (~$33.4 million) left in potentially recordable revenue created by what appear to be sham contracts.” 

The report states that EHang filed a confidentiality request with the SEC between September and October of 2019 to redact the prices on these two contracts. 

Wolfpack claims that EHang has made varying claims concerning regulatory approvals between English and Chinese press releases. 

“EH consistently makes different claims regarding regulatory approvals in the English and Chinese versions of its press releases,” the report states. “In English, EH makes false claims of commercial approval of its vehicles the EH216 by Chinese regulators. In its Chinese press releases, EH makes false claims of commercial approvals by regulators in the US, Canada, and Europe.”

Wolfpack visited EHang’s corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility and claims that it was mostly empty in the middle of the workday, had minimal activity, and few employees. It also lacked advanced manufacturing equipment or basic assembly line typical for aircraft factories, according to the report. 

Wolfpack conducted research of EHang’s facilities and found no assembly line, no manufacturing equipment – not even tools. (Wolfpack)

Mark Moore, a 32-year NASA veteran engineer and previous director of aviation engineering at Uber Elevate, spoke to Wolfpack for the report. Moore evaluated EHang’s EH216 for a partnership with Uber and found that it used “hobby-grade motors” made by T-motor. 

Moore said these motors should not be used for a passenger-carrying aircraft and he “firmly feel[s] that the current configuration is inherently not safe” and has “significant reservations about whether [the EH216] could ever be certified for carrying passengers in the US market.”

A photo of EHang’s EH216 motor which Wolfpack claims is not capable of passenger-carrying. (Wolfpack)

Moore also commented on EHang’s autonomous systems. 

“So, if EHang can’t show that they’ve spent millions of dollars in research then their autonomy isn’t even — and I mean, hundreds of millions of dollars, then their autonomy couldn’t possibly be ready.”

EHang refutes the claims made in the report by Wolfpack, but does not provide details concerning which claims contain errors. 

“The Company strongly believes that the report contains numerous errors, unsubstantiated statements, and misinterpretation of information,” EHang said in a statement. “The Company will consider any necessary and appropriate course of action to protect the interest of the Company and all of its shareholders. EHang is committed to maintaining the highest standards of corporate governance, as well as transparent and timely disclosure in compliance with the applicable rules and regulations of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and the Nasdaq Stock Market.” 

Photo from EHang’s Feb. 18 press release showing Computer Numerical Control (CNC) processing center of EHang Yunfu facility. (EHang)

EHang then provided an update on its new production facility in Yunfu city, China in a Feb. 18 press release. The release contains photos that EHang says were taken in the facility and said it will be open for investor tours in June. 

The post EHang Accused of Stock Scam in New Report appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Airbus CEO Keeps Commitment to 2035 Zero Emissions Airliner Timeline

February 20th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Airbus CEO Keeps Commitment to 2035 Zero Emissions Airliner Timeline   
Airbus CEO Keeps Commitment to 2035 Zero Emissions Airliner Timeline

Airbus reported its full year 2020 financial results on Feb. 18, with a $1.3 billion loss on 566 aircraft deliveries. (Airbus)

Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury reinforced the commitment to a 2035 timeline for introducing a new climate neutral zero-emission commercial aircraft into service during the aircraft manufacturer’s annual results call from Toulouse, France.

In September, Airbus unveiled three commercial aircraft concepts that will use hydrogen as their primary fuel source, codenamed ZEROe, with a 15-year timeline for development, testing and entry into commercial service. Airbus posted its full-year 2020 results on Feb. 18, with the company experiencing a $1.3 billion loss, while still delivering 566 aircraft and maintaining an order backlog of more than 7,100 commercial aircraft orders.

When asked to respond to comments made by Boeing CEO David Calhoun during their fourth quarter earnings call last month, Faury acknowledged the challenges that would have to be overcome to make a hydrogen-powered commercial airline passenger carrying aircraft a reality by 2035. Calhoun, during the earnings call last month, said that 2050 was a more likely reality for a zero emissions airliner.

The turbofan design concept offers the ability to travel further and with more passengers.

Faury said that a key focus for Airbus on making zero emissions a reality by 2035 is to engage with a range of different alternative energy sources, including, but not limited to, hydrogen.

“There are a lot of challenges when it comes to hydrogen, we’re not only betting on hydrogen, but we really believe the technology has the potential to come to market. There are challenges on the plane on the energy supply and distribution there are challenges on the regulations I don’t think we want to overlook those challenges but I think we have to be very careful, as well with the will never work attitude, which has proven so wrong in so many industries,” Faury said.

Faury reflected on the introduction of fly-by-wire technology on the A320 by Airbus 30 years ago, which he said was also seen as controversial at the time.

“Well thirty years laster if you don’t have fly by wire on an aircraft you’re not really serious in the market, is hydrogen going to be the same in 30 years? I think nobody can predict, but if you can’t forecast the future, shape it.”

The three designs proposed by Airbus in September include a turbofan design using engine that runs on hydrogen through combustion. The liquid hydrogen is stored and distributed through tanks behind the rear pressure bulkhead. Their turboprop design will hold up to 100 passengers, with a range of about 1,000 nautical miles also powered by hydrogen combustion in modified gas-turbine engines.

Their “blended-wing body” concept changes the appearance of the aircraft merging the main body with the wings. The range and capacity of this design are similar to the turbofan.

“We think the laws of physics, don’t need to change to make hydrogen competitive on planes, it’s just a lot of work on technologies, on demonstrators on testing on regulations on certification to make it work, we believe its feasible within the time frame that we have developed,” Faury said.

The post Airbus CEO Keeps Commitment to 2035 Zero Emissions Airliner Timeline appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Embention Looks to Use Drone Experience for eVTOL Autopilot Development

February 19th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Embention Looks to Use Drone Experience for eVTOL Autopilot Development   
Embention Looks to Use Drone Experience for eVTOL Autopilot Development

During a webinar hosted by the Vertical Flight Society Javier Espush, business development manager at Embention, explained how Embention’s Veronte Autopilot would work for eVTOLs. (Embention)

Embention, a company with a background in manufacturing components and critical systems for drones, is now also developing technology for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL). During a webinar hosted by the Vertical Flight Society, Javier Espush, business development manager at Embention, explained how Embention’s Veronte Autopilot would work for eVTOLs. 

When considering how an unmanned aircraft autopilot would function differently than an eVTOL autopilot, Espush said you have to remember that eVTOLs will have people onboard and therefore they will need to fly differently than a UAV. 

“We come from an experience in the UAV market, and an important point when comparing an autopilot solution from UAV or a drone autopilot to an eVTOL is that when you control a UAV can do really harsh maneuvers, and you can have a really big acceleration since you don’t have anyone onboard and the flight doesn’t need to be as smooth or comfortable for the people inside the vehicle,” Espush said. “When it comes to eVTOL control, you need to take all these things into consideration because you have a real person on board and this person probably is not an experienced pilot so he needs to have something smooth and comfortable.” 

The autopilot of a manned aircraft also has to have higher reliability, Espush said. 

“One of the main aspects is the need for a higher rate of reliability in the systems,” Espush said.

To do this, Espush said the systems use software compliance certifications. Embention’s autopilot is certified under DO-178C. Espush said they are working on making their system DAL A compliant and expect to reach this goal within 2021. 

While the reliability of the autopilot is important, Embention is also focused on the reliability of the motor controller, Espush said. 

“I have found many companies that are paying a lot of attention to the reliability of the autopilot systems, but they are not caring about the robustness and reliability of the motor controller,” Espush said. “But the devices are almost as critical as the autopilot itself because you have hardware onboard and you have software that is running critical functions.” 

The motor controllers include embedded self-tests and sensors to provide information and feedback to the autopilot, Espush said. This allows the fail-safe to be activated if a failure in the motor controller is detected. Embention found this issue so important that they decided to make their own motor controllers. 

“These motor controllers have a dual input for the control,” Espush said. “…And with this, in case that one of the control signals coming from the autopilot fails because the cables are broken or whatever, the other signals will still remain active, so we can have the control of the motor controller.” 

Embention is also prioritizing redundancy within its systems, Espush said. 

“We want to have eVTOL aircraft flying over populated areas and flying with people on board that are not previous pilots so we need to ensure that the system will be fault-tolerant,” Espush said. “So in order to do that, we need to have a good redundancy management so in case any subsystem in the eVTOL fails to be operational and will also have the autonomy enough to get to safety.” 

Embention’s autopilots can work fully autonomously working with the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) or they can use a fly-by-wire system that allows for some manual control and a customizable pilot experience, Espush said.  

“Depending on the ability of the pilot, we can give more of the control to the autopilot or we can allow full manual control from the pilot onboard,” Espush said. 

The post Embention Looks to Use Drone Experience for eVTOL Autopilot Development appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Iris Automation Launches Canadian Pathfinder Project to Streamline Unmanned BVLOS Approvals

February 18th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Iris Automation Launches Canadian Pathfinder Project to Streamline Unmanned BVLOS Approvals   
Iris Automation Launches Canadian Pathfinder Project to Streamline Unmanned BVLOS Approvals

The Canada Pathfinder Program is for certified remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) pilots and will include flight training, assistance gaining BVLOS approvals, a BVLOS safety system, and test center access. (Iris Automation)

Iris Automation believes its newly launched Canada Pathfinder Program which will help streamline the regulatory approval process for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operations. 

The Canada Pathfinder Program is for certified remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) pilots and will include flight training, assistance gaining BVLOS approvals, a BVLOS safety system, and test center access, a representative from Iris told Avionics International. Iris is partnering with Foremost UAS Test Range and UAS Center of Excellence for this program. 

“We see incredible interest in utilizing commercial drone operations but concerns about how to launch a program safely, efficiently and in compliance with current regulations,” William De Keiser, director of the Cluster of Excellence at CED, said in a Feb. 16 press release. “Teaming with Iris Automation to provide this complete program will help many companies to finally embrace the potential of drone operations. As a Canadian pioneer in the civil and commercial RPAS industry, we are proud to continue to develop the technologies and skills that speed up the advent of safe and well-integrated BVLOS flight in Canadian airspace.”

Through the program Iris and the prospective drone company will develop a concept of operations and other documentation needed to apply for the BVLOS Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) from Transport Canada, the representative said. The company will then work with Iris and the test site to determine and conduct training. 

This program will require companies to use Iris’ detect and avoid (DAA) system, Casia. (Iris Automation)

This program will require companies to use Iris’ detect and avoid (DAA) system, Casia, according to the representative. 

“Iris works with the customer to integrate their UAS with our Casia onboard DAA System, secure a declaration letter from the OEM, and provide Casia training,” the representative for Iris Automation said. “Once all of this is complete, the customer submits their SFOC application package for expedited review and waits for BVLOS approval to conduct the flights at the test center location.” 

In October 2020 MVT Geo-solution was granted a SFOC for BVLOS using Iris’ Casia system. Iris also participates in the Federal Aviation Administration’s BEYOND program to advance UAS in the U.S. national airspace. 

“Our work in Canada, specifically with Transport Canada and the RPAS test sites, has demonstrated the incredible opportunities the country offers for advanced commercial drone solutions,” Gabrielle Wain, vice president of regulatory affairs at Iris Automation, said in a press statement. “We’re excited to partner with the CED Alma and Foremost as a way to bring the expertise required to local markets and help jumpstart the efforts for organizations keen to get started.”

The post Iris Automation Launches Canadian Pathfinder Project to Streamline Unmanned BVLOS Approvals appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Connected Aviation Intelligence Web Series Returns with Cyber Roundtable and Virgin Atlantic Case Study

February 18th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Connected Aviation Intelligence Web Series Returns with Cyber Roundtable and Virgin Atlantic Case Study   
Connected Aviation Intelligence Web Series Returns with Cyber Roundtable and Virgin Atlantic Case Study

The Global Connected Aircraft Summit is bringing back its “Connected Aviation Intelligence” web series for the first installment of 2021, next week, on Thursday, Feb. 25. Learn more about the Connected Aviation Intelligence web series and register for free here: https://www.gcasummit.com/aviation-intelligence/

The Connected Aviation Intelligence web series, hosted by the two brands behind the annual Global Connected Aircraft Summit, is back with its first installment of 2021 next week.

Here, Avionics provides a preview of what will be featured in the two sessions next week. Connected Aviation Intelligence, first launched in December 2020, is a series of online sessions hosted by Avionics International and Via Satellite as a way to bridge the gap left by the second consecutive postponement of our annual Global Connected Aircraft Summit live event.

On a bi-monthly schedule, the new web series features roundtables, case studies, networking opportunities and interactive question and answer sessions that seek to provide our global audience with the type of intelligence they need to continue to operate amid the uncertain conditions that the COVID-19 global pandemic continues to impose across all segments of the aviation industry.

Check out a preview of the agenda for the next installment of Connected Aviation Intelligence below.

 

Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021
9:30 – 10:30 am Eastern Time
Preventing Modern In-flight Connectivity Cyber Attacks

Join this virtual roundtable of cybersecurity experts with experience researching and testing the cyber resilience of connected aircraft systems. The cyber resiliency of connected aircraft systems remains an essential topic of discussion across multiple segments of the aviation industry.

In October 2020, a new report published by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) called for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) standardize its process for assessing the cyber resiliency of connected avionics systems and establish new methods for penetration testing of aircraft networks.

You will gain insight and intelligence from professional hackers on how to prevent cyber-attacks on in-flight connectivity.

Speakers:
James Pavur, Oxford PhD Candidate and Cybersecurity Researcher
Ken Munro, Partner, Pen Test Partners
Aharon David, AFuzion Infosec’s Head of Aviation Cyber-Security Activities

11:00 – 11:30 am Eastern Time
Connected Airlines: Virgin Atlantic

Updates on the airline’s current connected fleet status, use of mobile apps, IFEC and their ongoing participation in the Seamless Air Alliance’s goal of enabling a more open architecture for in-flight connectivity.

Speaker: Mark Cheyney, In-flight Connectivity Development Manager for Virgin Atlantic

 

 

 

 

 

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UPS Receives First Upgraded Airbus A300 That Swaps Floppy Disks for Wireless Gateways

February 17th, 2021   •   Comments Off on UPS Receives First Upgraded Airbus A300 That Swaps Floppy Disks for Wireless Gateways   
UPS Receives First Upgraded Airbus A300 That Swaps Floppy Disks for Wireless Gateways

UPS is upgrading a total of 52 Airbus A300-600s in its fleet with Honeywell Aerospace Primus Epic avionics, pictured here. (UPS Airlines)

UPS received the first of 52 Airbus A300-600s operated by the international air cargo carrier scheduled to receive advanced new communications, navigation, and surveillance systems with the Honeywell Primus Epic integrated avionics flight deck upgrade.

Airbus delivered the first upgraded A300 to UPS, MSN868, on Feb. 3 at its Mobile, Alabama facility. The avionics overhaul program was first publicly announced by Airbus, Honeywell, and UPS during a May 2017 press conference.

Replacing the previous analog A300 technology will give UPS pilots large new high definition displays, a new vertical situation display, the RDR 4000 weather radar system, and a satellite-based augmentation system-capable GPS that can fly LPV and RNP AR approaches, routes and landings.

“The prior A300-600 had Honeywell’s Flight Management Computer (FMC),” Allen Fenske, senior business director at Honeywell Aerospace, told Avionics International. “It was the limitations of this 30-year-old system that precipitated the original discussions between UPS and Honeywell regarding the upgrade.  The FMC navigation databases are loaded via floppy disks, which takes 45 minutes and due to limited storage space is limited to a regional set of routes.”

Fenske, who is responsible for managing avionics supplied to all Airbus aircraft models by Honeywell, said that the key to replacing the use of floppy disks as a storage medium for UPS is their Aircraft Data Gateway (AD300) technology. “Now these databases are installed wirelessly via the Honeywell Aircraft Data Gateway ADG300 system and completes in two minutes,” he said. “Furthermore, the navigation database now includes all the worldwide routes and does not require changing databases based upon the region of operation.”

Upgrading software on the A300s has also become easier with Primus Epic — the latest version of which now hosts cockpit functionality such as primary flight display applications or central maintenance computer functions — on multiple processor cards. Whereas each of these separate functions needed to be individually physically modified to upgrade the aircraft’s software in the past, each function is now updated through the ADG-300’s wireless interface.

The cockpit of the first upgraded A300 to be operated by UPS. (UPS Airlines)

A300 operating manuals are also now hosted on the new data gateway, where they can be wirelessly downloaded to the iPads used by UPS pilots. There are also plans to further upgrade the capabilities of the ADG-300 that can be used by UPS, which still needs to clear regulatory approvals, according to Fenske.

“The ADG-300, (along with the Honeywell GoDirect Router) enables the ability to “print-to-file” flight plans and other documents (in .pdf and .rpt formats).  The information flows from the CMC, thru the ADG-300 to the [electronic flight bag] EFB.  This functionality is not certified yet with UPS, it is planned for mid-2022,” Fenske said.

Primus Epic’s new central maintenance computer gives the A300 a fault history database capable of storing up to 16 flight legs per day and a maximum storage capacity of 6 megabytes. That can accommodate for data generated by more than six months of typical flying with an A300 before its data needs to be offloaded to a ground storage system, according to Fenske.

During a Feb. 8 Airbus-UPS Zoom press call, Ed Walton, director of engineering for UPS, told reporters that they’re currently in the process of finalizing agreements with two aircraft modification providers tasked with completing the upgrade for the remaining A300s that need it. UPS expects to have the entire A300 fleet upgraded by late next year and Walton believes the avionics refresh could extend the service life through the late 2030s.

“We have no concerns at all about the airframes being able to go to 2035 and beyond,” Walton said.

UPS received its first upgraded A300 during a delivery ceremony at the Mobile, Alabama Airbus manufacturing facility. (UPS Airlines)

UPS first started taking delivery of the A300s from Airbus between 2000 and 2006. Since then, Walton said, the growth in the number of unique new departure and arrival sequences at airports in the U.S. had become a challenge for the 200-kilobyte storage capacity size of the original flight management computer’s navigation database.

“That worked ok for the first decade,” Walton said. “Even though we only fly the airplane in North America, we were pretty much having to be very stingy with the navigation database that we put into the airplane and had to eliminate a lot of airports.”

Walton expects upgrades for the remaining A300s to begin in May.

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What’s Trending in Aerospace – February 14, 2021

February 15th, 2021   •   Comments Off on What’s Trending in Aerospace – February 14, 2021   
What’s Trending in Aerospace – February 14, 2021

Check out the Feb. 14 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.

Commercial

Air Canada Reports $3.8 Billion Loss in 2020 Results

Air Canada published its full-year 2020 annual results on Feb. 12, with the international carrier experiencing a $3.8 billion operating loss under the impact of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

In 2020 Air Canada’s total passenger flight operations declined by 73 percent for what CEO Calvin Rovinescu described as the “bleakest year in the history of commercial aviation.”

“Given these circumstances, we have made many painful decisions over the past year. These include reducing staff by more than 20,000, dismantling a global network ten years in the making, suspending service to many communities and aggressively cutting fixed costs. At the same time, we have bolstered our liquidity position through several debt and equity financings to allow for additional operational flexibility and to support the implementation of our COVID-19 Mitigation and Recovery Plan,” Rovinescu said. “We rationalized our fleet, accelerating the permanent removal of older, less efficient aircraft, and restructured new aircraft orders so that we will have a more fuel-efficient and greener fleet that is right-sized for the post-COVID-19 recovery period.”

According to the results, Air Canada is permanently retiring 79 older aircraft from its fleet – consisting of its Boeing 767, Airbus A319 and Embraer 190 aircraft.

New Software Solution Allows for More Complex Aviation Data Analysis 

A new software solution, Flight Data Link, provided by GE Digital and Teradata will provide blended enterprise and operations data in an aviation-specific data model, according to a Feb. 11 press release. 

The solution uses flight data from GE Digital’s Vent Measurement System (EMS) and Teradata’s analytic ecosystem, Vantage, according to the release. This allows flight data and operational data to be merged and complex analysis to be conducted. 

“The combination of GE’s aviation experience and GE Digital’s software expertise, integrated with the world’s most robust platform for scalable analytics, allows airlines to prioritize passenger experience as well as revenue growth,” Andrew Coleman, General Manager for GE Digital’s Aviation Software group, said in a press statement. “Our deep partnership with Teradata allows us to build exciting solutions that integrate multiple data types, both from the enterprise as well as operations to drive powerful outcomes.

 

 

 

 

Business & GA

Bombardier to End Learjet Production in Fourth Quarter

Bombardier is ending production of all Learjet aircraft models, including the Liberty 75 pictured here. (Bombardier)

Bombardier is ending the production of its iconic Learjet aircraft in the fourth quarter of 2021, according to updates provided in the Canadian business jet manufacturer’s 2020 full-year results as reported on Feb. 11.

“With more than 3,000 aircraft delivered since its entry-into-service in 1963, the iconic Learjet aircraft has had a remarkable and lasting impact on business aviation. Passengers all over the world love to fly this exceptional aircraft and count on its unmatched performance and reliability. However, given the increasingly challenging market dynamics, we have made this difficult decision to end Learjet production,” Éric Martel, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bombardier, said in a press statement.

In-service Learjet aircraft will continue to be supported into the future, under the “RACER” remanufacturing program launched by Bombardier to provide upgraded avionics, connectivity and engine enhancements for Learjet 40 and 45 aircraft that are still in operation.

Bombardier reported a total of 114 business aircraft deliveries in 2020, including 11 Learjet aircraft and 103 total combined Global and Challenger deliveries.

 

 

 

AEA Market Report Shows 26 Percent Avionics Sales Decrease in 2020

The Aircraft Electronics Association 2020 year-end Avionics Market Report shows over $2.2 billion in total worldwide business and general aviation avionics sales showing a 26 percent decrease from 2019 and marking the lowest amount of sales in the report’s history, according to a Feb. 9 press release. 

While sales decreased in 2020 following the COVID-19 pandemic, the last six months of 2020 showed growth, according to the report. 

“The last half of 2020 provided a softer landing as yearly sales totals slid back to roughly the same numbers in 2016-17,” AEA President and CEO Mike Adamson said in a press statement. “Despite the health crisis and its economic impact, I am encouraged that industry experienced steady growth during the last half of the year. Although 2020 year-end sales are significantly down from last year’s all-time high, we see positive signs in the retrofit market, which means our members are keeping busy with avionics upgrades. We are hopeful the combination of innovative new products, the resilience of consumers who continue to focus on upgrades, and an uptick in aircraft production can fuel more sales growth in 2021.”

The retrofit market and forward-fit sales made up large percentages of the $2.2 billion in sales totaling 55.9 percent and 44.1 percent respectively, according to the report. 

Gulfstream Updates Its Redesign Program 

(Gulfstream)

Gulfstream’s aircraft redesign program will now include more options to meet owner needs and timelines, the company announced in a Feb. 9 press release. Aircraft can now be redesigned in 30 business days. 

The new program provides three update packages ranging from a refresh to a custom update, according to the release. 

“From a refresh to a floorplan reconfiguration, our team can bring any vision to reality,” Derek Zimmerman, president of Gulfstream customer support, said in a press statement. “An updated aircraft not only improves the customer’s overall comfort, it can increase the aircraft’s marketability.”

Embraer E2 Aircraft Equipped with ADG-400

(Honeywell Aerospace)

A partnership between Honeywell and Embraer will equip Embraer’s E2 commercial jets with Honeywell’s Aircraft Data Gateway 400 (ADG-400) allowing the wireless transfer of critical flight and maintenance data, according to a Feb. 11 press release. 

“By equipping their aircraft with Honeywell’s Aircraft Data Gateway, we’re enabling operators of Embraer regional jets to take strides toward a truly connected fleet of aircraft, which will help them keep their aircraft flying while also saving money,” Bob Buddecke, president of Honeywell Connected Aerospace, said in a press statement. “Our continued software and connectivity advancements are unlocking new ways airlines can leverage their data to improve their operations.”

The ADG-400 uses a wireless Loadable Software Aircraft Part (LSAP) loader, quick access recorder and data communications capabilities, according to the release. 

“Embraer believes that fleet efficiency is significantly enhanced by the careful use of connected data,” Fernando Antonio Oliveira, vice president of Programs at Embraer Commercial Aviation, said in a press statement. “Collaboration with Honeywell on aircraft data gateways will optimize costs, which will translate into more profitable aircraft for customers.”

 

 

 

Military

KC-46A Pegasus Refueler for Japan Conducts Maiden Flight

A Boeing KC-46A tanker for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) had its maiden flight on Feb. 8, Boeing said.

The aircraft is to be delivered to JASDF later this year and is one of four tankers for JASDF announced under a $1.9 billion deal approved under the Foreign Military Sales program by the State Department and the Defense Security Cooperation Agency in a notice to Congress in September 2016.

The refuelers are to be equipped with the Raytheon ALR-69A Radar Warning Receiver and Raytheon’s Miniaturized Airborne GPS Receiver (MAGR) 2000 (2K) to provide GPS Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) capability, and Northrop Grumman‘s AN/AAQ-24(V) Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) system.

Will Shaffer, president of Boeing Japan, said in a Feb. 9 statement that the KC-46 “and its robust defensive systems will play an invaluable role in the security alliance between our two countries.”

Textron’s King Air-350 Key ISR Asset For Iraqi Security Forces

Textron‘s King Air-350 (KA-350) has been the most capable intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) asset of Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), though field reports have said that it is vulnerable to jamming, according to the latest DoD Inspector General (IG) quarterly report to Congress on Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR).

The Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) said that “the ISF is very capable of collecting and analyzing intelligence that supports targeting, especially at the operational command level,” according to the report. “However, CJTF-OIR explained that ISF intelligence collection through theater-level ISR platforms remains a shortcoming. CJTF-OIR stated that the Iraqi Air Force’s KA-350 aircraft in service is Iraq’s most capable theater-level ISR platform, but it is comparatively less capable than Coalition assets.”

Such coalition assets include the General Atomics‘ MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aircraft system. The ISF also employs 16 Boeing InSitu ScanEagle and 18 AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma ISR drones.

 

SAIC Receives $830 Million Deal to Continue Army Aviations Systems Engineering Work

SAIC has received a new $830 million deal from the Army to continue providing aviation systems engineering services.

The potential five-and-a-half year deal supports Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, Aviation & Missile Center (DEVCOM AvMC), Software, Simulation, Systems Engineering and Integration (S3I) Directorate and includes hardware in-the-loop (HWIL) simulation work for both manned and unmanned fixed and rotary-wing platforms.

“SAIC is privileged to support cutting-edge engineering efforts at S3I and DEVCOM AvMC along with our teammates,” Gabe Camarillo, senior vice president of SAIC’s Army business unit, said in a statement. “We look forward to extending our support to Army aviation modernization in the Huntsville, Alabama area in the years to come.”

Work on the HWIL aviation systems covers support for subsystems, testbeds, laboratories, network and support equipment, and will include concept research, design work, testing, operations and maintenance.

SAIC noted the work on this new contract will be performed under the GSA’s One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) professional services contract, managed by the Army Contracting Command – Redstone Arsenal.

Embedded

Honeywell Flight Tests Alternative Navigation System Supporting M-Code

Honeywell conducted a successful flight test of alternative navigation technologies for GPS-denied environments using its Embedded GPS Inertial Navigation System (EGI) supporting M-code, according to a Feb. 8 press release. 

“The issues of GPS-denied environments or GPS jamming are felt by every facet of the aerospace industry, but they’re particularly concerning for military operations,” Matt Picchetti, vice president and general manager of Navigation & Sensors at Honeywell Aerospace, said in a press statement. “We’re working very hard to build a robust alternative navigation ecosystem and very excited to add our third-generation M-code solution to our extensive product portfolio.”

This flight test was also the first time M-code, which is used by militaries, was used on an aircraft in an EGI, according to the release. 

Honeywell’s alternative navigation system is available to U.S. Department of Defense now and will be available to international partners later this year. 

 

Air Taxi 

New SESAR JU Project Focuses on Urban Air Mobility 

A consortium of 13 members will participate in SESAR Joint Undertaking’s (JU) Gulf of Finland (GOF) 2.0 Integrated Urban Airspace Validation focused on demonstrating unmanned aerial system (UAS), electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL), and manned aircraft all operating in the same airspace using existing air traffic management (ATM), according to a Feb. 8 press release. 

The GOF 2.0 will look to validate architecture for automated real-time separation assurance in dense airspace, according to the release. This project will enable beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations in a shared airspace by delivering technical components, software, competencies, and practices, to operate these aircraft like services. 

This project will build off of results from the SESAR JU GOF U-space project which occurred in 2019 which focused on integrating unmanned traffic management (UTM) into ATM. 

 

Unmanned

Drone DAA Company Joins World Economic Forum’s Global Innovators Community 

The Casia Long Range Detect-and-Avoid system will be used on the UAS BVLOS flight. (Iris Automation)

Iris Automation, a computer vision technology company making detect-and-avoid (DAA) capabilities for drones, is joining the World Economic Forum’s Global Innovators community, according to a Feb. 9 press release. 

“Amid major global disruptions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a critical moment for innovative companies to bring forward new ideas to help protect lives and livelihoods of communities and industries around the world,” Timothy Reuter, Head of Aerospace and Drones at the World Economic Forum, said in a press statement. “The integration of unmanned air systems can positively impact vaccine logistics supply chains and other public health needs, but only if performed safely. We look forward to having Iris Automation contribute to our pursuit of solutions leading to these kinds of positive societal outcomes.”

Iris Automation will partner with the Drone Innovators Network (DNI) by supporting projects it is working on and advancing progressive air safety policy frameworks, according to the release.

“Scaling the use of un-piloted aircraft promises tremendous economic and societal benefits,” Jon Damush, CEO of Iris Automation, said in a press statement. “We are thrilled to work with the World Economic Forum’s Global Innovators Community to share ideas and drive thoughtful solutions that address the pressing needs of our time.”  

Connectivity

Collins Orders $11 Million in Connectivity Equipment from Astronics 

(Astronics tail-mounted connectivity antenna. Business Wire)

Collins Aerospace placed an $11 million order for business jet connectivity equipment from Astronics Corporation, according to a Feb. 10 press release. This order is a continuation of previous orders placed by Collins. 

“We are excited to extend and expand the relationship with Collins Aerospace to provide best-in-class connectivity equipment for their customers,” Michael Kuehn, Astronics CSC President, said in a press statement. “We believe this order validates the success of Collins Aerospace connectivity services and the performance of Astronics connectivity hardware.  Improved connectivity for the business jet market has become an imperative and we are committed to providing the best connectivity capability available for aircraft with our technologies.”

 

 

 

AeroLogic Implements SITA eWAS Pilot

AeroLogic is upgrading its electronic flight bag and cockpit connectivity technology under a new agreement with SITA.

AeroLogic has begun implementing SITA’s weather monitoring solution, eWAS Pilot, according to a Feb. 11 press release. SITA’s eWAS Pilot uses 4D weather forecasts and provides real-time updates about hazards, according to the release. 

“Safe, efficient and sustainable operations are a key part of AeroLogic’s long-term strategy, and COVID-19 has accelerated our digital transformation plans to deliver cost and time savings,” Joe Moser, managing director of AeroLogic, said in a press statement. “We selected SITA to help us achieve this because of their industry knowledge and proven solutions. eWAS Pilot helps our crews stay a step ahead, avoiding the avoidable and delivering more efficient flight paths and better fuel usage.”

AeroLogic, a joint venture between DHL and Lufthansa Cargo, operates around 12,000 international flights per year. The eWAS technology was rolled out to the airline’s fleet of Boeing 777 aircraft. SITA is also providing a suite of integrated applications designed to centralize and manage their air to ground communications, Aircom Cockpit Services, to the AeroLogic fleet.

The post What’s Trending in Aerospace – February 14, 2021 appeared first on Aviation Today.

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PODCAST: Virgin Atlantic’s Zoe Cameron Talks Flying A350 and Inspiring Future Pilots

February 13th, 2021   •   Comments Off on PODCAST: Virgin Atlantic’s Zoe Cameron Talks Flying A350 and Inspiring Future Pilots   
PODCAST: Virgin Atlantic’s Zoe Cameron Talks Flying A350 and Inspiring Future Pilots

Virgin Atlantic Senior First Officer Zoe Cameron joins the podcast to discuss flying the A350 and her new children’s book, Ada and Emily take to the Skies.

On this episode of the Connected Aircraft Podcast, Zoe Cameron, senior first officer for Virgin Atlantic, joins to discuss her experience flying with new avionics, iPad and connectivity technologies on the Airbus A350-1000, as well as her new children’s book, Ada and Emily Take to the Skies!

Zoe took her first flight lesson at 12 years old and was inspired to fly at an early age while watching her father who was a military and commercial airline pilot. Over her 14 year career as a pilot, she has seen cockpit technologies evolve and discusses how far those advancements have come while flying the A350-1000.

Her book focuses on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). It’s about two young girls who build an airplane and even features an illustration of a Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350.

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.

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.

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First Remote ID Technology to Comply with US and EU Airspace Rules

February 13th, 2021   •   Comments Off on First Remote ID Technology to Comply with US and EU Airspace Rules   
First Remote ID Technology to Comply with US and EU Airspace Rules

A new security system made by Dedrone now complies with both systems including registering aircraft and incorporating data into the drone’s Remote ID system. (Dedrone)

The U.S. and E.U. have both recently announced final rules for Remote Identification (Remote ID) for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) when flying in the national airspace. A new security system made by Dedrone now complies with both systems including registering aircraft and incorporating data into the drone’s Remote ID system. 

Remote ID is similar to a digital license plate for drones. Remote ID requires all UAS to be identified while in the airspace and is the next step to fully integrating drones in the national airspace. Without Remote ID it is very difficult to distinguish unauthorized or malicious drone flights. 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced final rules for UAS in the U.S. airspace in Dec. 2020. Remote ID rules in the E.U. came into effect in Dec. 2020. 

Remote ID is similar to a digital license plate for drones. Remote ID requires all UAS to be identified while in the airspace and is the next step to fully integrating drones in the national airspace. (Dedrone)

“Dedrone technology detects, classifies, and locates drones using hardware sensors, that collect information about the drone flight,” Thomas Markert, UAS program manager at Dedrone, told Avionics International. “This data is analyzed in Dedrone software, which automatically fuses Remote ID with other sensor data, so that a user can see the full picture of the drone in their sky.” 

The library of data can then be sorted by drone types and models and cross-referenced from Remote ID systems, Markert said. 

“Dedrone provides an open platform for security providers to integrate best-in-class sensor technology, such as radio frequency, radar, camera, and acoustic, which fits their environment and threat profile,” Markert said. “We have worked with different drone detection hardware vendors across the globe to understand which ones work best, and on top of that, we can fuse the data in a single place using cutting edge technology to deliver a complete threat assessment for security operators.”

While the E.U. was still defining its Remote ID rules, Dedrone participated in the ASD-STAN working group. This allowed them to gain insight into the intricacies of the rule. 

What an operator using DeDrone’s technology sees while navigating their unmanned aircraft system. (Dedrone)

Remote ID is seen by regulators as essential to the integration of UAS into the airspace because it allows any drone to be identified at any time. 

“Complete airspace security starts with detection, identification and location of drones to create situational awareness of all drone activity – whether from cooperative, legal, and authorized drone pilots or from pilots who are either unaware of or maliciously circumvent drone flight laws,” Markert said. “Remote ID will help but it is not the final nor ultimate answer. All this information can be integrated into the Dedrone system so that known friendly drones can be flown without triggering an alert (whitelisting) while unknown drones can be flagged and assessed.” 

As far as security and privacy for drone pilots, Markert said Dedrone complies with privacy laws and only reveals information when it is proactively revealed through Remote ID. 

The post First Remote ID Technology to Comply with US and EU Airspace Rules appeared first on Aviation Today.

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New Waveform Technology Advances BLOS Connectivity for Helicopters

February 13th, 2021   •   Comments Off on New Waveform Technology Advances BLOS Connectivity for Helicopters   
New Waveform Technology Advances BLOS Connectivity for Helicopters

The BLOS Ka-band satellite communications (SATCOM) service allows Army Battle Command Systems to send and receive bandwidth-intensive, full-motion high-definition video, conduct high-quality, real-time video teleconferencing, and exchange information on the WinTak application for precision targeting. (Viasat)

Viasat completed successful demonstrations of a new Ka-band satellite technology that will allow through the blades beyond line of sight (BLOS) communications on a U.S. Army UH-60M rotary-wing helicopter, the company announced Feb. 8. 

“I think the fundamental aspect of this is today rotary-wing platforms, aren’t connected the way fixed-wing platforms are, and what we’ve seen over the last three to five to even 10 years where we’ve been able to connect these airborne platforms, they’ve been able to perform their missions better,” Joe Johnson, business area director for rotary broadband services for Viasat Government Services, told Avionics International. “A lot of times, CONOPS are based on what they have available to them today. So if you can get high definition video onto your platform, if you can get true real-time situational awareness onto your platform, how much better can the outcome of your missions be. And that’s what we’re trying to do.” 

Satellite communications on helicopters are challenging because of their rotary-wing design which interferes with communications every time the blades turn, Johnson said. Viasat developed a waveform that corrects this problem and operates with the same accuracy as without the blade interference. 

“Helicopter rotor blades go around and for satellite communications, you have to look above because satellites are up in space. So, therefore, your antenna is looking through the rotor blades as they’re turning so they break up the signal, every time a blade passes. You need to do something special so that your communications goes through without errors…So, essentially we developed a waveform that corrects for those periodic errors that would be created every time a blade passes through the signal that’s going to the satellite.” 

The BLOS Ka-band satellite communications (SATCOM) service allows Army Battle Command Systems to send and receive bandwidth-intensive, full-motion high-definition video, conduct high-quality, real-time video teleconferencing, and exchange information on the WinTak application for precision targeting. 

The ability to have enhanced communications on these platforms can change how they are used in the field, Johnson said. One example is telemedicine for MEDEVAC where medics on helicopters could be able to communicate in real-time with doctors no on the scene. 

“Now we have proven we can transform rotary-wing platform communications and enable game-changing connectivity needed to make timely decisions, shorten the kill chain, and reduce fratricide,” Ken Peterman, president of government systems at Viasat, said in a press statement. “U.S. Army commanders can now receive and disseminate their intent to subordinate units, on the move, as well as receive timely intelligence with HD video feeds.” 

The demonstrations for this new waveform were done on a UH-60M, however, the technology is not agnostic to a specific platform, Johnson said. 

The hardware platform used in this demonstration has previously been used on a Marine Corps MV-22 with a different waveform.

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