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.

The post UPS Receives First Upgraded Airbus A300 That Swaps Floppy Disks for Wireless Gateways appeared first on Aviation Today.

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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.

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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. 

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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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United Airlines Forms Partnership with Archer to Purchase 200 eVTOL Aircraft

February 12th, 2021   •   Comments Off on United Airlines Forms Partnership with Archer to Purchase 200 eVTOL Aircraft   
United Airlines Forms Partnership with Archer to Purchase 200 eVTOL Aircraft

United and Mesa Airlines will purchase 200 of Archer’s eVTOL aircraft which is expected to be unveiled later this year. (Archer Aviation)

United Airlines and Archer Aviation announced a partnership that will leverage the international carrier’s aviation experience for Archer’s electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, United announced on Feb. 10. According to United, the partnership is part of the airline’s effort to invest in emerging clean technologies. 

“Part of how United will combat global warming is by embracing emerging technologies that decarbonize air travel,” United CEO Scott Kirby said in a press statement. “By working with Archer, United is showing the aviation industry that now is the time to embrace cleaner, more efficient modes of transportation. With the right technology, we can curb the impact aircraft have on the planet, but we have to identify the next generation of companies who will make this a reality early and find ways to help them get off the ground. Archer’s eVTOL design, manufacturing model, and engineering expertise has the clear potential to change how people commute within major metropolitan cities all over the world.”

In May 2020, Avionics International covered the emergence from stealth of Archer Aviation’s California-based operations. The eVTOL aircraft Archer is developing has performance targets that include 60 miles of range with a 150 mph cruise speed.

United and Mesa Airlines will also purchase 200 of Archer’s eVTOL aircraft once operational, according to the release. This fleet of eVTOL aircraft will be operated by another partner and will connect customers to United’s hub airports. 

The agreement includes the use of United’s airspace management expertise in Archer’s eVTOL aircraft. 

“This deal represents so much more than just a commercial agreement for our aircraft, but rather the start of a relationship that we believe will accelerate our timeline to market as a result of United’s strategic guidance around FAA certification, operations, and maintenance,” Brett Adcock, co-CEO and co-Founder of Archer, said in a press statement. 

Archer’s eVTOL aircraft is expected to be unveiled in 2021, begin production in 2023, and be available to the public in 2024. The aircraft is expected to be able to have a range of 60 miles. 

 “The team at United share our vision of a more sustainable future,” Adam Goldstein, co-CEO and co-Founder of Archer, said in a press statement. “We’re working closely with their test pilots and environmental teams to make sustainable urban air mobility a reality far sooner than people could ever imagine.”

Archer also recently announced a partnership with Fiat Chrysler to utilize the companies low-cost supply chain to accelerate the production of Archer’s eVTOL aircraft. 

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Singapore Airlines Makes $4 Billion Deferral to Airbus and Boeing Fleet Delivery Schedule

February 11th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Singapore Airlines Makes $4 Billion Deferral to Airbus and Boeing Fleet Delivery Schedule   
Singapore Airlines Makes $4 Billion Deferral to Airbus and Boeing Fleet Delivery Schedule

The Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group has reached agreements with Airbus and Boeing to revise its aircraft delivery schedule. While overall passenger air travel operations were down 97 percent for SIA year-over-year in 2020, their air cargo operations remained relatively unchanged and saw a slight uptick over the same period.

Singapore Airlines Group (SIA) will defer more than $4 billion in capital expenditure on the delivery of Airbus and Boeing aircraft scheduled over the next two years under new agreements with the world’s two largest aerospace manufacturers, the Asia Pacific carrier said in a Feb. 9 press release.

In 2020, SIA experienced a 97 percent year-over-year drop in passenger flight operations compared to the previous year due to travel restrictions and waves of COVID-19 infections in the region throughout the year. New agreements established with Airbus and Boeing have revised SIA Group’s order book to be completed over a longer period than originally contracted, “with the delivery stream spread out beyond the immediate five years,” according to the release.

A revised snapshot of SIA Group’s order book as of Feb. 9 includes 20 Boeing 787s and 31 total 777-9s. The Airbus side of the book includes 335 A320 family aircraft and 15 A350-900s.

On Feb. 4, SIA published its full-year 2020 results noting that the drop in passenger demand has forced its airlines to collectively park 123 of its 185 in-service aircraft.

Their passenger network is currently operating about 64 aircraft, with 24 passenger jets converted to cargo-only carrying operations. Seven total freighter aircraft are also in operation for SIA Group.

Singapore Airlines will start operating new Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft on regional routes in March. (SIA Group)

Singapore Airlines is also one of 21 operators in the Asia Pacific region scheduled to receive in-flight connectivity upgrades to the new Panasonic Avionics XTS in-flight connectivity services, which saw its first satellite enter service last week.

However, SIA Group’s third-quarter 2020/2021 passenger operations did show a slight uptick, as they were serving 38 destinations, by the end of the year, up 31 from the end of September 2020.  There have also been some route adjustments within SIA Group, including the transferal of more SilkAir Routes directly to be operated by SIA using nine new 737-800NG aircraft that will start operating beginning on flights to Phuket next month.

Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong described the new Airbus and Boeing delivery schedule deferral agreements in a press statement as a “key plank of our strategy of navigating the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“They allow us to defer capital expenditure and recalibrate the rate at which we add capacity, aligning both with the projected recovery trajectory for international air travel,” Phong said. “At the same time, they retain our commitment to operating new-generation aircraft that will enable the SIA Group to continue offering greater comfort and innovative products to customers, further drive operating efficiency, and support ongoing efforts to materially lower our carbon emissions. These will help to cement our leadership position in the airline industry as it recovers from the pandemic.”

Beyond 2026, SIA has also converted 14 of its 787-10 aircraft orders into 777-9s.

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NTSB Says Pilot’s Poor Decisions Led to Helicopter Crash Killing Kobe Bryant

February 11th, 2021   •   Comments Off on NTSB Says Pilot’s Poor Decisions Led to Helicopter Crash Killing Kobe Bryant   
NTSB Says Pilot’s Poor Decisions Led to Helicopter Crash Killing Kobe Bryant

This photo illustration is from radar tracking the last minute of the flight path of the Sikorsky S-76B helicopter. Google Earth image, NTSB graphic overlay by Bill English. (NTSB)

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that the fatal Sikorsky S-76B helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Jan. 26, 2020, was caused by the pilot’s decision to continue flying in adverse weather conditions without proper flight instruments resulting in disorientation and loss of control of the aircraft, according to a Feb. 9 press release from the NTSB. The crash resulted in the death of the pilot and eight passengers on board including basketball player Kobe Bryant. 

The pilot was conducting the flight under visual flight rules in which the pilot flies by reference visuals, in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) where pilots are required to fly by instrument references, according to NTSB. The NTSB also cites the pilot’s likely self-induced pressure and plan continuation bias as a cause for the crash. 

“Unfortunately, we continue to see these same issues influence poor decision making among otherwise experienced pilots in aviation crashes,” NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt, said in a press statement. “Had this pilot not succumbed to the pressures he placed on himself to continue the flight into adverse weather, it is likely this accident would not have happened. A robust safety management system can help operators like Island Express provide the support their pilots need to help them resist such very real pressures.”

The crash happened when the pilot was attempting to fly the helicopter out of a poor visibility area. NTSB said the aircraft was at an altitude of 450 feet above ground level two minutes before the crash when the pilot told an air traffic control facility he was initiating a climb. The helicopter then began to climb 1,500 feet per minute while making a left turn and made it to an altitude of about 2,400 feet before descending rapidly and crashing. 

NTSB concluded that Island Express Helicopters Inc., who operated the aircraft, had an inadequate safety management process which also contributed to the crash. This conclusion was based on a lack of documented policy and safety assurance evaluations to ensure pilots were correctly completing flight risk analysis forms. 

The report makes four recommendations, two to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and two to Island Express Helicopters Inc., based on NTSB’s investigation. 

NTSB recommends the FAA require simulation devices during pilot training for Part 135 helicopter operations to address responses to changing weather conditions and convene a multidisciplinary panel of aircraft performance, human factors, and aircraft operations specialists to evaluate spatial disorientation simulation technologies. The recommendations for Island Express Helicopters Inc. include its participation in the FAA’s Safety Management System Voluntary Program and installing flight data recording devices on all helicopters.

The post NTSB Says Pilot’s Poor Decisions Led to Helicopter Crash Killing Kobe Bryant appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Joby Agrees to eVTOL Certification Requirements with FAA

February 10th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Joby Agrees to eVTOL Certification Requirements with FAA   
Joby Agrees to eVTOL Certification Requirements with FAA

Joby Aviation has begun revenue generating flights as part of the U.S. Air Force Agility Prime program, while also establishing a new baseline for the eVTOL certification requirements they will meet for the FAA. (Joby Aviation)

Joby Aviation has agreed to G1 certification conditions with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, the company announced on Feb. 9. The company also announced that it has achieved its next milestone in the Agility Prime program by beginning to generate revenue. 

The certification agreement between Joby and the FAA will lay out requirements for Joby’s eVTOL aircraft to be certified for commercial operations marking a major step in the company’s goal of operating aircraft in 2024. 

“While we still have several years of aircraft testing ahead of us, we now have a clearly defined, and achievable, path to certifying our aircraft and introducing customer flights,” JoeBen Bevirt, Founder and CEO of Joby Aviation, said in a press statement. “Reaching this milestone is a watershed moment for our new industry and I’m tremendously grateful for the many years of hard work the FAA and our in-house aviation safety experts have put into getting us to this point.”

The aircraft will be certified using the FAA’s Part 23 requirements with the special conditions listed in the G1 added to account for the unique nature of the aircraft. Details about the conditions within the G1 agreement have not been released and are expected to be published in the Federal Register in the next few months, according to the company. 

Joby’s eVTOL aircraft was awarded military airworthiness approval in Dec. 2020 through the AFWERX Agility Prime program. 

“The Agility Prime and Joby partnership is now on an accelerated path to identify the opportunities for early adoption of these aircraft for logistics that provide flexibility to operators and savings to taxpayers. We are also one step closer to the commercialization of a clean, quiet, modern, transportation system,” Nathan P. Diller, AFWERX Agility Prime Director, said in a press statement. 

While Agility Prime is run through the Air Force, it is intended to mature technology for commercial use and allow the military to gain data and insights into the technology industry could have available to them. 

“The Agility Prime program represents an invaluable opportunity to understand and accelerate the positive impact of clean, electric aircraft in the US and beyond,” Bevirt said. “With ten years of engineering and more than a 1,000 test flights behind us, we’re excited to now be playing a key role in demonstrating the potential of this new sector while giving the U.S. Government a front row seat.”

The post Joby Agrees to eVTOL Certification Requirements with FAA appeared first on Aviation Today.

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What’s Trending in Aerospace – February 7, 2021

February 8th, 2021   •   Comments Off on What’s Trending in Aerospace – February 7, 2021   
What’s Trending in Aerospace – February 7, 2021

Check out the Feb. 7 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

Airbus Sites Prepare for A321XLR Transition to Major Component Assembly Phase

Subassembly of the A321XLR centre wing box began at Airbus’ Nantes site in France. (Airbus)

Airbus provided several updates around the A321XLR’s upcoming entry-into-service, with sites in France and Germany gearing up for the new aircraft’s major component assembly phase.

According to a Feb. 2 press release, while all major sections of the A321XLR contain significant design changes versus the current A321neo/A321LR baseline aircraft, the major component assembly with extensive design and manufacturing differences is the center and aft fuselage

“The production of components for the first A321XLR flight-test aircraft is progressing through the sites all across the world, for large and small components as well as systems,” Gary O’Donnell, head of the A321XLR program, said in the release. “In parallel, many parts are already being tested and demonstrated – on both the aircraft structure and on the systems side – to validate the functionality of all those first aircraft components.”

Alaska Airlines Introduces New VeriFLY Mobile Health Passport

Alaska Airlines rolled out a new mobile application, VeriFLY, that can expedite check-in and verification processes for international travelers arriving in the United States.

International travelers arriving in the U.S. have been required since early January to provide proof of a negative COVID test, under a new order issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention. Tests must be performed within three days of entry into the U.S.

Alaska is using VeriFLY to provide passengers with a digital health passport storing their documentation and allowing for real-time verification of COVID-related credentials.

“Similar to Alaska Airlines’ Pre-Clear program, the app allows for real-time verification of COVID-related credentials, like health questionnaires and diagnostic lab results,” Alaska said in a Feb. 4 press release. “Although proof of a negative COVID test is mandatory for travelers to enter into the country, usage of VeriFLY is not. Alaska Airlines guests will have the option to use the app for faster verification but will still be obligated to present the essential health documents as required by the CDC’s order regardless.”

 

SITA Launches COVID Passport

SITA is launching a solution for airlines, airports, governments, and passengers to share information on tests of vaccines before traveling. (SITA)

SITA is launching a solution for airlines, airports, governments, and passengers to share information on tests of vaccines before traveling, according to a Feb. 4 press release.

The project, Health Protect, can integrate with other travel pass or health passport schemes. It also uses Advance passenger Processing (APP), which lets authorities make decisions about passenger travel at check-in, according to the release.

“We’re excited for the potential of SITA Health Protect to bridge the gap between airlines resuming normal operations and governments’ strong focus on keeping control of COVID-19,” David Lavorel, CEO of airports and borders at SITA, said in a press statement. “Recovery from COVID-19 will take time and is complex but we believe that SITA can play a key role in enabling a safer, simpler travel experience for passengers.”

Health Protect will launch at Milan Malpensa Airport.

Military

AERO Vodochody AEROSPACE Gets FreeFlight Radar Altimeters

FreeFlight Systems is providing radar altimeter upgrades to a fleet of Czech Republic-based AERO Vodochody Aerospace operated L-39NG trainer and light combat fleet. (FreeFlight Systems)

Czech Republic-based AERO Vodochody AEROSPACE’s military trainers and light combat L-39NG aircraft will now be equipped with FreeFlight Systems RA-4500 Radar Altimeters, according to a Feb. 1 press release.

“We have worked hard to create a Radar Altimeter system that provides the most accurate AG information and pilot control for operational safety,” Tim Taylor, CEO & President of FreeFlight Systems, said in a press statement. “The AERO Vodochody L-39NG is an outstanding military aircraft that is intended to provide enhanced flight training capabilities and we look forward to working with AERO to ensure optimal support of these units.”

Boeing Announces First Flight of F-15EX in Anticipation of Early Delivery of First Two Planes

The Boeing F-15EX fighter jet demonstrates a vertical “Viking” departure during its first flight on Feb. 2 (Boeing)

Boeing‘s F-15EX fighter had its first flight on Feb. 2 in anticipation of “early delivery” of the first two jets to the U.S. Air Force later this quarter, the company said.

Matt “Phat” Giese, Boeing’s chief test pilot, flew the plane for 90 minutes before returning to land at St. Louis Lambert International Airport, Boeing said.

Prat Kumar, Boeing vice president and F-15 program manager, said in a statement on Feb. 2 that the F-15EX “is capable of incorporating the latest advanced battle management systems, sensors and weapons due to the jet’s digital airframe design and open mission systems architecture.”

“The fighter’s digital backbone means it can serve as a testbed for future technology insertion, a key capability for the Air Force. Modern variants of the F-15 also include fly-by-wire flight controls, an all-new digital cockpit, modern AESA radar and the ADCP-II, the world’s fastest mission computer,” per Boeing. “The F-15EX, the most advanced version to date, features the Eagle Passive/Active Warning and Survivability System  [EPAWSS] electronic warfare system to improve mission effectiveness and survivability for operators.”

Business & GA

2021 EBACE Exhibition Cancelled

The European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) and National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) announced the cancellation of the 2021 European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE2021) due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the air travel industry, in a Feb. 4 press release.

Both organizations are planning new, virtual EBACE programming from May 18-20, the previously planned dates for EBACE2021.“Although vaccination programs are ramping up, we are still in unchartered waters,” EBAA Secretary-General Athar Husain Khan said in the release. “We felt that, in May 2021, the safety of our exhibitors and attendees could not be guaranteed in the traditional EBACE format.”

Event Cancellations Extend Through June 2021 for NBAA

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) will cancel all in person events through June 2021, according to a Feb. 5 press release.

Events scheduled for this time include the 2021 Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (ABACE), the 2021 NBAA Maintenance Conference, and the 2021 NBAA White Plains Regional Forum.

“We are disappointed that we will be unable to offer a robust slate of in-person events in the first half of 2021,” NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen said in a press statement. “That said, the safety and security of our event participants has always been a core value for the association, and that is central to our decision. As we did in 2020, we are exploring opportunities to gather the business aviation community through various online initiatives, and we will provide details as soon as they are available.”

Experimental Aircraft Association Forges Ahead with AirVenture 2021 Plans

An aerial view of the 2019 EAA AirVenture air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. EAA plans on bringing the annual air show back in 2021, after canceling in 2020 due to COVID.

The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) provided an update to its members last week regarding plans for their annual AirVenture air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

“We are in full preparation mode for this year’s fly-in, but circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 situation have caused some additional safeguards and procedures to be part of that planning,” the association said in a Feb. 4 press release.

The annual event will feature some venue changes with an emphasis on physical distancing and reduced seating capacities.

“We will be hosting AirVenture 2021, but there will be areas that will look different and areas where we’ll incorporate technology to limit touchpoints as we work with local and state health officials to establish and maintain the best possible standards for public events,” Jack J. Pelton, EAA’s CEO and Chairman said in a Feb. 4 press release. “Some areas may look different at Oshkosh this year, but the feeling will be the same as we gather to celebrate the world of flight.”

AirVenture is scheduled to occur July 26-Aug. 1.

Connectivity

Viasat Pushes ViaSat-3 Satellite Launch to 2022

The Viasat-3 constellation is to deliver three terabits per second of capacity. (Viasat)

Viasat has pushed back the launch of its first ViaSat-3 satellite, and does not expect to launch the satellite until early 2022. CEO Rick Baldridge said during the company’s third quarter (Q3) 2021 financial report call on Thursday that work on the program has been hindered by a wave of COVID-19 cases in Arizona.
Viasat is preparing to deliver the first satellite payload to Boeing, which will begin the final phase of the countdown to launch readiness.
“We continue to make really good progress on the program and we’re moving closer to delivery of the first payload. The record COVID spikes seen in the quarter, especially in Arizona where our payload facilities are located … haven’t worked in our favor. They’ve caused some intermittent work delays both internally and with our supply chain in the recent quarter,” Baldridge said.

SpaceX Launches Batch of Starlink Satellites, Targets Global Coverage in 2021

SpaceX launched an additional batch of 60 Starlink satellites early on Thursday morning to build up its satellite constellation to deliver low-latency broadband internet service from space.

A Falcon 9 rocket took off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 1:19 a.m. ET. After stage separation, the first stage booster landed on a drone ship about 8:30 into the mission, marking the booster’s fifth launch and recovery. The Starlink satellites were deployed one hour and six minutes after liftoff.

Beta testing is underway in parts of the United States, and recently expanded to parts of the United Kingdom and Canada. More than 10,000 users in the U.S. and abroad are using the service today, Starlink Services LLC, SpaceX’s subsidiary for Starlink, reported in an FCC filing posted on Thursday related to the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF).

Embedded

Positronic Acquired by Amphenol Corporation

Amphenol Corporation has acquired Positronic, the company announced in a Feb. 1 press release. Amphenol Corporation designs and manufactures electrical, electronic and fiber optic connectors and interconnect systems, antennas, sensors and sensor-based products and coaxial and high-speed specialty cable. Positronic manufactures electronic connector products.

“Positronic is a strong fit with Amphenol, aligning well with its technological expertise, manufacturing versatility, and customer support,” David Kean, General Manager for Positronic, said in a press statement. “As part of Amphenol, Positronic will continue to provide the connector products and services our customers demand.”

 

The post What’s Trending in Aerospace – February 7, 2021 appeared first on Aviation Today.

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