Frontier Airlines Makes AFIRS Investment for Airbus A320neo Fleet

December 8th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Frontier Airlines Makes AFIRS Investment for Airbus A320neo Fleet   
Frontier Airlines Makes AFIRS Investment for Airbus A320neo Fleet

Frontier Airlines is adding the AFIRS system from FLYHT to its growing fleet of A320neo aircraft. (Frontier Airlines)

Frontier Airlines is adding FLYHT’s Automated Flight Information Reporting System (AFIRS) to the Airbus A320 and A321 that it currently has on order, a move that will allow the Denver, Colorado-based low-cost carrier to use both of those aircraft types on routes that fly over water.

The addition of AFIRS to its A320neo aircraft comes for Frontier following the carrier’s recent adoption of the Skywise health monitoring technology for the same fleet. Frontier currently has 112 aircraft that are operational. Of their 234 new aircraft on order, 76 are A320neo aircraft and 158 are A321neo aircraft. Eighteen of the A320neo aircraft include conversion rights to A321XLR aircraft.

FLYHT has confirmed that the initial order received from Frontier is valued at $680,000.

Ben Dwyer, director of flight operations standards and quality assurance at Frontier, said the airline selected FLYHT “after an extensive search of all available solutions in the marketplace.”

“Frontier’s partnership with FLYHT is another key step in our effort to reduce our carbon footprint by decreasing fuel consumption and further our position as America’s Greenest Airline. The real-time aircraft data that comes from FLYHT’s AFIRS family of products will also enhance communications with our flight crews as well as the customer experience by reducing flying time,” Dwyer said.

The AFIRS 228 system is an Iridium-based satellite communications device that features a built-in quick access recorder, allowing it to both enable Iridium voice and data services while also providing aircraft health monitoring and ACARS over Iridium among other capabilities. FLYHT provides two different versions of the AFIRS 228, including a basic 228B version and a more advanced 228S version capable of supporting ACARS over Iridium.

Frontier’s selection of AFIRS comes following the announcement by FLYHT that it was also selected as factory-installed equipment for the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd.’s (COMAC) C919 to provide communications during the cold weather certification campaign the aircraft is currently undergoing in Canada.

“The addition of Frontier, a well-regarded airline, to our family of customers expands our client roster to more than 85 airlines globally. The operations at Frontier are an area in which we have a lot of experience, and the entrepreneurial nature of Frontier fits well with FLYHT’s agile problem-solving culture for both airborne hardware and day of operations intelligence systems,” Derek Taylor, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at FLYHT, said in a statement. “We look forward to expanding our service offerings with Frontier and are thrilled to have a customer in the hometown of our U.S. office in Littleton, Colorado.”

The post Frontier Airlines Makes AFIRS Investment for Airbus A320neo Fleet appeared first on Aviation Today.

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OneWeb and GDC to Develop LEO In-Flight Connectivity Terminal for Commercial Aircraft

December 7th, 2021   •   Comments Off on OneWeb and GDC to Develop LEO In-Flight Connectivity Terminal for Commercial Aircraft   
OneWeb and GDC to Develop LEO In-Flight Connectivity Terminal for Commercial Aircraft

Tracy Trent, President GDC Advanced Technology, and Ben Griffin, VP Mobility, OneWeb, were at the 2021 Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) conference in California for the announcement of the development of their new LEO in-flight connectivity terminal.

London-based Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation operator OneWeb has partnered with GDC Technics’ California-based aviation engineering and technical services provider GDC Advanced Technology to create a new In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) terminal that will enable airlines to connect their aircraft to OneWeb’s LEO network, according to a joint development agreement announced by the two companies last week.

Based on electronically steered antenna (ESA) technology developed by Ball Aerospace, the terminal has already undergone early lab and ground testing at GDC’s facilities in Fort Worth Texas. Under the agreement, the two companies will develop a terminal that will initially be available in two sizes: a traditional ARINC 791 for larger commercial airliners and a smaller installation for regional and business jets.

GDC describes the design of the terminal as consisting of an antenna with no moving parts and a total of four line replaceable units (LRUs).

“The LRUs consist of the transmit antenna array, the receive antenna array, the MODMAN and a power source. GDC designs and manufactures the arrays. Included are Ball’s Ku sub arrays. The Ball technology was developed for military applications and has been in service for several years,” Stephen Rice, Vice President of GDC Technics, told Avionics International in an emailed statement.

The design of the terminal is configured so that each array is fully sealed and requires no active cooling or radome. Rice said GDC does not anticipate any changes to the design, but will evaluate it once the flight testing phase of the development program begins.

Airlines will be able to use the terminals for both LEO and Geostationary Orbit (GEO) satellite connectivity on their aircraft.

“The antenna will be sized and powered to be capable of closing links with GEO networks. It is an actual full definition ESA. The MODMAN will manage the switch between networks using multiple modems as required,” Rice said.

The joint development agreement between the two companies comes following 18 months of research completed in partnership with “one of the industry’s leading airlines,” according to OneWeb. Several other unnamed satellite operators were also involved in the research, which will culminate in the eventual rollout of a terminal capable of connecting to OneWeb’s full LEO constellation.

In an emailed statement to Avionics, OneWeb confirmed the current status of the rollout of its LEO satellite network includes the launch of 358 satellites—more than 50% of the full constellation—orbiting at 1,200 kilometers above the Earth.

“The full constellation will comprise of 648 satellites – with the full network scheduled for completion mid-2022 – with global coverage from the end of 2022. Aviation services will be online from mid-2023, in line with the expected certification of the aviation terminals,” Nick Maynard, director of marketing for OneWeb, said.

Maynard said OneWeb has held introductory meetings with several airlines in different regions of the world and will become the “first LEO operator to offer global service to aviation customers.”

The OneWeb-GDC agreement includes development of supplemental type certificates (STCs) for several aircraft types with “major airframe manufacturers (OEMs),” according to OneWeb. Initial flight testing of the new terminal is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of next year on a Boeing 777.

 

The post OneWeb and GDC to Develop LEO In-Flight Connectivity Terminal for Commercial Aircraft appeared first on Aviation Today.

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China Issues Airworthiness Directive for Boeing 737 MAX System and Manual Changes

December 4th, 2021   •   Comments Off on China Issues Airworthiness Directive for Boeing 737 MAX System and Manual Changes   
China Issues Airworthiness Directive for Boeing 737 MAX System and Manual Changes

China’s civil aviation regulator has issued an airworthiness directive outlining changes required to the Boeing 737 MAX that will eventually allow airlines operating the aircraft to resume its service in Chinese airspace, including the Xiamen Airlines 737 MAX pictured here. (Boeing/PR Newswire)

China’s civil aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), on Thursday issued its final airworthiness directive (AD) outlining the flight manual and hardware and software changes required for lifting its ban on the Boeing 737 MAX.

CAAC’s AD comes 33 months after the agency became the first international aviation regulator to ground the 737 MAX in March 2019 following two fatal crashes of the aircraft type involving Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines. While the directive includes display software updates and wiring changes required as corrective actions to the MAX’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System’s (MCAS) function that was ultimately found to have lead to the two crashes, it does not provide the final lifting of the ban on the aircraft necessary for it to resume flying passenger-carrying flights in Chinese airspace again.

“CAAC completed review of the actions proposed by Boeing, including Flight Control Software design change, MAX Display Software design change, Aircraft Flight Manual revision, Horizontal Stabilizer Trim Wire Bundle Routing Change, etc. After conducting sufficient assessment, CAAC considers the corrective actions are adequate to address this unsafe condition,” the agency notes in the AD.

Changes outlined by CAAC are identical to what the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) outlined in the AD it issued clearing the MAX for a return to service in U.S. airspace last year. The agency is requiring 737 MAX operators to install and verify the flight control computer software updates to both MAX flight control computers and provides details on operational changes and fault messages operators should be aware of as they integrate the required changes into their aircraft.

The AD issued by CAAC is 14 pages long; check out the full version at this link.

In a statement published by the South China Morning Post on Friday, Yang Zhenmei, director general of the Department of Airworthiness at the CAAC, said that the 737 MAX “is expected to resume domestic commercial operations by the end of this year or the beginning of next year for existing fleet and also resume the introduction of new aircraft.”

During a quarterly earnings call held in October, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun told analysts that flight testing for the 737 MAX return to service in China was completed in the third quarter, and he continues to anticipate final CAAC approval by the end of the year. Boeing Chief Financial Officer Brian West estimates that a third of the approximately 370 MAX aircraft still in inventory that have not yet been delivered are for operators based in China.

“The CAAC’s decision is an important milestone toward safely returning the 737 MAX to service in China,” Boeing said in a statement following CAAC’s publishing of the AD. “Boeing continues to work with regulators and our customers to return the airplane to service worldwide.”

The post China Issues Airworthiness Directive for Boeing 737 MAX System and Manual Changes appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Former Bombardier President Sees Promising Future in Autonomous Aircraft in New Role with Xwing

December 3rd, 2021   •   Comments Off on Former Bombardier President Sees Promising Future in Autonomous Aircraft in New Role with Xwing   
Former Bombardier President Sees Promising Future in Autonomous Aircraft in New Role with Xwing

Fred Cromer, former president of Bombardier’s commercial aircraft division, has taken on a new role as chief financial officer of Xwing. (Xwing)

Fred Cromer, former president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, has worked in several challenging roles across different segments of aviation and will be taking on another exciting challenge in his new role as chief financial officer (CFO) of Xwing, the California-based startup developing a new software capable of enabling autonomous gate-to-gate flight on commercial cargo aircraft.

During a recent interview with Avionics International, Cromer said that the company’s focus on cargo-carrying aircraft could make its entry point into actual commercial flight operations a reality faster than if they were focusing on passenger-carrying jets. Xwing’s Nov. 18 announcement of the addition to Cromer to their executive team cites a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development report that estimates global e-commerce sales jumped to $26.7 trillion, driving the need for increased air cargo operations.

Cromer and the rest of the Xwing team believe that the autonomous software stack they’re developing could be ready for retrofitting to cargo carrying aircraft in the near future—although they have not committed to a timeline for achieving supplemental type certification (STC) from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) yet.

“The more that I learned about what Xwing was doing, particularly in autonomous flight and developing software to make that a reality for existing aircraft, I thought that was a really interesting strategic path that is different than what others might be doing out there. And then particularly in the regional cargo business where that could provide potentially a faster path to certification. I thought it was a great, a very pragmatic approach to introducing this kind of advanced technology, and jumped at the opportunity to join their team,” Cromer said.

Xwing’s software stack and mission control center completed what the company claims is the world’s first fully autonomous gate-to-gate flight of a commercial cargo aircraft, a Cessna Grand Caravan 208B, during a February 2021 flight remotely controlled from their mission control center in Concord, California. In order to enable autonomous flight on existing aircraft, Xwing is developing an automated flight control system to control all flight control surfaces including the aileron, elevator, rudder, flaps, nose wheel, differential brakes, and flaps. The company’s complete system also includes a perception software stack to provide obstacle detection and avoidance that can be coupled with the flight control system.

Along with his most recent role at Bombardier, Cromer’s experience in the aviation industry includes other experience serving as the president of International Lease Finance Corporation and as CFRO of regional carriers ExpressJet Holdings and Continental Express.

His appointment as Xwing’s new CFO arrives on the heels of the company’s addition of Jesse Kallman as Vice President of Commercialization and Strategy and addition of key advisors, comprising of Greg Hall, former CEO of Global Air Operations at FedEx; Jeff Martin, former COO at WestAir; and Allan McArtor, Chairman and CEO of Airbus Americas.

Xwing has been testing its modified Cessna Grand Caravan pictured here at its facility in California, in preparation for eventually seeking an FAA STC to retrofit their autonomous software stack to commercial cargo aircraft. (Xwing)

This year, the company has also announced a $40 million funding round and a $400 million valuation. In October, Xwing also established a key supplier partnership with Inmarsat, the U.K.-based satellite operator that will be providing its Velaris unmanned aircraft terminal to enable connectivity as part of the overall Xwing autonomous flight retrofit package.

The company that manufactures the Cessna Grand Caravan that Xwing has been testing its autonomous software on, Textron, also has become a development partner under a non-disclosure agreement announced Oct. 12. The agreement does not specify how Textron and Xwing might jointly market converted and new-build autonomous aircraft; however, Xwing has acknowledged that the partners are discussing next steps.

“We’re seeing the cargo industry going through a phase of explosive growth. How will the existing players in this sector keep up with demand going forward? One of the constraints is being able to find and hire qualified pilots. So this autonomous path actually is a way to do some amazing things in terms of being able to get better efficiency and better productivity out of the aircraft and removing a potential constraint of growth in the future,” Cromer said. “So it is sort of an evolution that’s been coming. Many people in the aviation industry have been thinking about this for quite some time. If you think about it, the more modern commercial aircraft that are produced today, they’re almost 95% automated in the existing technology that they feature. Taking that one step further to make it completely autonomous really just opens up new opportunities.”

Xwing’s current research and development focus centers around operating a converted Caravan under an experimental certificate with a supervising pilot on board. In addition, it has commercial operations with Caravans through its Part 135 subsidiary San Antonio Air Charter. It has applied to the FAA for clearance to fly its experimental aircraft commercially with a ground-based pilot and safety pilot on board, and this approval is still in process.

Cromer said his initial focus will be on helping Xwing acquire additional capital and investment to support the continued development of their autonomous software stack.

“The financial needs of the company will continue to evolve as we continue to develop and refine our technology. We will need additional capital for our efforts and expansion. Staying ahead of that with a little bit more development of our financial models as we go forward will be a good tool with us to make sure that that we’re funding our needs in a timely basis,” Cromer said. “The investor interest is there; now it’s about taking some of that investor enthusiasm for were we’re going as a company and bringing that financial function along so that we enable growth. That’s key for a company like Xwing and the stage that we’re in at the moment.”

The post Former Bombardier President Sees Promising Future in Autonomous Aircraft in New Role with Xwing appeared first on Aviation Today.

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New Joint Venture Company to Create World’s First Custom Public Vertical Mobility System

December 3rd, 2021   •   Comments Off on New Joint Venture Company to Create World’s First Custom Public Vertical Mobility System   
New Joint Venture Company to Create World’s First Custom Public Vertical Mobility System

Volocopter is teaming up with NEOM to provide air taxi services for a zero-emissions customized public vertical mobility system in a “smart city” in Saudi Arabia.

Volocopter announced a new joint venture company this week with NEOM, an enterprise that is developing a “smart city” on the coast of Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea. The joint venture company was formed to design and operate what could be the world’s first customized public vertical mobility system. NEOM’s public transit system will incorporate air taxi services and may commence zero-emission operations in 2025. Use of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft will also minimize disruption to the area’s natural environment during development.

One advantage is that this joint venture is starting with a blank canvas and will be able to integrate an eVTOL network starting with the initial city planning phase. Additionally, Volocopter and NEOM will be involved in designing and creating infrastructure and flight regulations from the ground up. NEOM’s Head of Technology and Digital, Joseph Bradley, says that the organization “is not about building a smart city, it is about building the first cognitive city, where world-class technology is fueled with data and intelligence to interact seamlessly with its population.”

Vertical mobility services will connect NEOM’s core urban development THE LINE, reimagined industrial city OXAGON and other regional destinations, avoiding intrusive road construction and thus protecting its unique natural environment.

NEOM has confirmed an order of 15 VTOL aircraft from Volocopter, including 10 of the VoloCity model (for passengers) and 5 VoloDrones (for cargo). Technical and operational planning will start up in 2022 when the joint venture will be scaled up.

Nadhmi Al-Nasr, CEO at NEOM and Christian Bauer, CCO at Volocopter signed their joint venture agreement to design, implement, and operate a bespoke public vertical mobility system in NEOM. (Volocopter)

Volocopter was the first aerospace company creating eVTOLs to receive Design Organizational Approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in 2019, the same year that the VoloCity aircraft—the company’s first commercial design—was unveiled. In July 2021, EASA awarded Volocopter a Production Organization Approval.

The collaboration with NEOM isn’t Volocopter’s first joint venture. Aerofugia, a subsidiary of China’s Geely Technology Group, joined Volocopter in September 2021 to bring 150 urban air mobility aircraft into China within the next three to five years. Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter, commented on that joint venture deal, saying that it marked “another important milestone on our journey to bring affordable electric air mobility to China, the biggest single market opportunity for the UAM industry. […] We are in pole position to introduce air taxi services globally in a safe, sustainable, and practical manner.”

Volocopter also announced in October a new partnership with Italy’s largest airport operator, Aeroporti di Roma. Rome is one of the first European cities to commit to setting up electric air taxi operations; Paris made a similar guarantee to bring electric air taxis to the 2024 Olympic Games.

This new joint venture with NEOM is likely to benefit the Saudi Arabian company as they move to implement the first sustainable and connected mobility system which will be powered by 100% renewable energy. NEOM’s CEO, Nadhmi Al-Nasr, stated the importance of mobility in modern urban infrastructure design. “Through this joint venture with Volocopter,” he said in a press release, “we are demonstrating to the world that NEOM is the ideal region to implement urban air mobility rapidly and create a fully integrated vertical mobility ecosystem.”

The post New Joint Venture Company to Create World’s First Custom Public Vertical Mobility System appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Expansion, Integration, and Acceptance of Urban Air Mobility Vehicles in the EU

December 2nd, 2021   •   Comments Off on Expansion, Integration, and Acceptance of Urban Air Mobility Vehicles in the EU   
Expansion, Integration, and Acceptance of Urban Air Mobility Vehicles in the EU

The European Network of U-Space Stakeholders held a virtual event this week where European officials discussed the technological and public acceptance challenges associated with integrating drones and eVTOLs into European airspace, such as what is envisioned by this conceptual rendering from Airbus. (Airbus)

At the virtual relaunch of the European Network of U-Space Stakeholders this week, Jacek Woznikowski, Director of the Department of Socio-Economic Development and Cooperation in Metropolis GZM, Poland, spoke on the topics of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) and Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning. He asked attendees to consider: What kind of city would we like to live in? What can urban mobility add to the ecosystem?

In 2017, the European Commission established UIC2, a community of 46 cities/regions in Europe, as part of the EU’s Smart Cities Marketplace. Woznikowski represents Metropolis GZM, one of the member regions of UIC2, to explain their approach to introducing drones in an urban area. In order to drive a sustainable and responsible transition, UIC2 focuses on task forces in three key areas: first, establishment of public and private support; second, collaboration with citizens; and third, pursuit of synergy between ground and air transportation.

Urban air mobility is defined by UIC2 as “very low altitude airborne traffic, above populated areas, at scale, that is sustainably integrated with surface mobility systems.” Woznikowski emphasizes the importance of this sustainable integration, saying that the focus should be city-centric and driven by citizens’ needs. The ideal approach, he explains, is one that utilizes multiple stakeholders and multi-level governance. Additionally, aviation experts should work together with mobility/planning experts towards a common goal rather than working separately towards unrelated goals. According to Woznikowski, partners of UIC2 believe that “technology needs to serve cities, not the other way around.”

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) released a report in May concerning EU citizens’ perspectives on UAM vehicles. Most of the survey’s 4,000 respondents had a positive view of UAM: “It is seen as a new and attractive means of mobility, and a majority is ready to try it out.” Concerns included potential safety risks, noise, security, and environmental impact. One emerging viewpoint was that UAM vehicles and infrastructure may “improve the local environmental footprint through reduced urban traffic congestion and better local air quality,” although many citizens held concerns about the impact on wildlife. Respondents anticipated more security problems when asked about drones. “The use of drones for delivery purposes garnered less support. ‘The security concern is around 10 percent higher for drones,’” commented EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky.

Henrik Hololei, Director General for Mobility and Transport at the European Commission, was the keynote speaker at the European Network of U-Space Stakeholders’ virtual event. He enjoys being a part of discussions regarding urban air mobility because “you are creating something new, and you don’t have the inflexible legacy systems which are difficult to change.” The safety framework created by the European Commission, he says, is very reliable, but there is still more innovation and expansion to come.

Hololei sees the future of aviation as a significantly expanded airspace—not only with low-altitude U-space but also the high-altitude, commercial airspace. Although he expects widespread growth in the next decade, it will be important to maintain the highest level of safety. Hololei also anticipates a heavy focus on reducing emissions to support the EU in delivering on the European Green Deal and achieving a carbon-neutral Europe by the year 2050. “Interoperability is key throughout the 27-member states. We need competition—we need to keep that market open, invite new entrants, and bring in new ways of working along with more digital solutions. We must drive modernization, and this is essential: we should not leave anybody out; we should not put up barriers.”

The post Expansion, Integration, and Acceptance of Urban Air Mobility Vehicles in the EU appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Skyports Developing Test eVTOL Vertiport in Paris for 2024 Olympics

December 1st, 2021   •   Comments Off on Skyports Developing Test eVTOL Vertiport in Paris for 2024 Olympics   
Skyports Developing Test eVTOL Vertiport in Paris for 2024 Olympics

A computer-generated rendering of the future vertiport being developed by Skyports to be deployed in Paris ahead of the 2024 Olympics. (Skyports)

The first commercial vertiport in Europe, designed specifically for Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) aircraft, is scheduled to debut in 2024 following the Paris Olympics.

The company behind this development is the London-based Skyports, which designs, builds, and operates both take-off and landing infrastructure for​ air taxis. They also collaborate with electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) passenger and cargo vehicle manufacturers worldwide.

Ankit Dass, CTO at Skyports, emphasized the importance of both safety and efficiency in vertiports, noting, “The integration of technology is at the core of our vertiport design, development and operation.” Skyports collaborates closely with vehicle manufacturers, operators, and leading aviation tech companies to develop their systems’ focus on operational efficiency and safety.

Matching the industry’s ambition to practicality remains a priority. The most significant challenge hindering urban air mobility (UAM) is infrastructure, according to a 2021 report from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Felipe Varon, founder and CEO of Varon Vehicles, said, “The biggest challenge in creating vertiports is matching the idea of a vertiport with a real, down-to-earth, business operation.” Lilium, an eVTOL company that is planning a network of 14 vertiports across the state of Florida, hopes to implement its lean, modular approach to ensure vertiport accessibility to developers of all sizes.

Vertiports and eVTOLs are more than welcome in Miami, according to Mayor Francis Suarez. The New York Times wrote that the City of Miami “is embracing eVTOLs as a cost-effective, environmentally friendly alternative to legacy modes of transportation like buses and light rail, which are costly to build and rely on older technology.” Mayor Suarez said existing parking garages and rooftops are being considered by the City as potential locations for takeoff and landing.

The “Re.Invent Air Mobility” initiative, led by Groupe ADP, a French airport operator; RATP Group, a global mobility company; and Choose Paris region, a French business and innovation agency, recognized Skyports as an innovator for urban infrastructure along with several other organizations. Development of this vertiport is part of “Re.Invent Air Mobility” that includes an opportunity to showcase innovations at the Paris Olympics as well as assistance in scaling up operations from 2024–2030.

Backed by DGAC, the French Civil Aviation Authority, and EASA, the building and initial testing of this vertiport will take place at Groupe ADP’s Cergy-Pontoise Airfield in Paris. Prominent eVTOL vehicle developers Volocopter, Vertical Aerospace, Airbus, Pipistrel, and eHang also have the opportunity to conduct test flights and demonstrations in the years leading up to the 2024 Olympics.

In October, an infrastructure-as-a-service company­—Urban-Air Port Ltd (UAP)—announced a partnership with Munich Airport International for developing ground infrastructure at the airport to support eVTOL operations. UAP aims to pursue additional strategic partnerships and opportunities with leading eVTOL developers in order to develop “the full ecosystem to enable air mobility to take flight,” said UAP Founder & Executive Chairman Ricky Sandhu.

Chairman and CEO of Groupe ADP, Augustin de Romanet, remarked that the “Re.Invent Air Mobility” experiments at the Pontoise airfield serve to “explore the field of possibilities of a decarbonised and innovative aviation, and to develop the low altitude aviation market (below 300 metres). […] Groupe ADP will fully play its role as an aggregator of activities to facilitate

the surge of new uses that reconcile a smaller environmental footprint, innovation and common utility.”

Some of the technologies included in Skyports’ vertiport will be biometric identity management, re-charging equipment, situational awareness capabilities, and weather stations. The modular technology used in construction of the vertiport will facilitate its transport to a new location in France where it will operate as a commercial vertiport.

The post Skyports Developing Test eVTOL Vertiport in Paris for 2024 Olympics appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Viasat, China Satcom Set to Provide IFC Service in Chinese Airspace

November 25th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Viasat, China Satcom Set to Provide IFC Service in Chinese Airspace   
Viasat, China Satcom Set to Provide IFC Service in Chinese Airspace

Airlines flying in Chinese airspace will be able to access in-flight connectivity service from Viasat’s Ka-band ChinaSat-16 satellite system under a new cooperation between the satellite operator and China Satcom. (China Eastern Airlines)

Viasat‘s in-flight connectivity (IFC) Ka-band service is now ready to commence operation in Chinese airspace, the satellite operator announced Tuesday. Working in cooperation with China Satellite Communications (China Satcom), Viasat said it will soon begin delivering IFC service to domestic and international airlines via the Ka-band ChinaSat-16 satellite system.

The IFC service development was the result of a partnership agreement between Viasat and China Satcom that specifically covers commercial aviation IFC. Under the terms of the agreement, each company maintains its own intellectual property and will operate its equipment using a multi-layered approach to network services.

“Working with China Satcom, we have achieved a great milestone— delivering strong customer performance gains in terms of network speed and reliability at any phase of a flight, which provides an on-the-ground internet experience even when in-flight,” Don Buchman, Viasat’s vice president and general manager of commercial aviation, said in a statement. “The effort committed to by both teams has been tremendous and showcases the capabilities of Viasat’s industry-leading technology with China Satcom’s satellite capacity.”

Viasat did not give a specific date for the Chinese IFC service launch.

It’s been a busy November for Viasat, which just acquired U.K. global operator Inmarsatin a massive $7.3 billion deal that  included a payment of $850 million in cash and 46.36 million Viasat shares valued at $3.1 billion. The combined company will have a spectrum license portfolio across the Ka-, L-, and S-bands and a fleet of 19 satellites in service, with an additional 10 satellites to come in the next three years.

IFC falls under Viasat’s Commercial Networks business. While the division is Viasat’s smallest, it saw the largest growth in it’s latest financial quarterly report. Viasat reported $135 million in revenue in its latest quarter ending in September, up 71 percent from the same time last year. Viasat said mobile In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) terminal deliveries and the continued strong performance of its ground antenna systems business drove this increase.

 

This article was first published by Via Satellite, a sister publication to Avionics International, it has been edited, view the original version here

The post Viasat, China Satcom Set to Provide IFC Service in Chinese Airspace appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Aerospace Companies Suggest Possible 5G Interference with Military Radars

November 25th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Aerospace Companies Suggest Possible 5G Interference with Military Radars   
Aerospace Companies Suggest Possible 5G Interference with Military Radars

The U.S. Air National Guard received its first HC-130J Combat King II today. Photographer Amanda Mills, Lockheed Martin. (PRNewsfoto/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics...)

The U.S. Air National Guard received its first HC-130J Combat King II today. Photographer Amanda Mills, Lockheed Martin. (PRNewsfoto/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics...)

U.S. military aircraft, such as the U.S. Air National Guard’s HC-130J Combat King II pictured here, use radar altimeters that could be impacted by 5G signals from planned network deployments that have been delayed to address Federal Aviation Administration concerns.  (PRNewsfoto/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics…)

U.S. aerospace firms are suggesting that an upcoming 5G rollout by AT&T and Verizon could lead to harmful interference with military radar altimeters. Earlier this month, the wireless companies said that they plan to move the debut back a month from Dec. 5 to Jan. 5, 2022 to address Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) concerns about potential 5G interference with commercial cockpit safety systems.

Since October 2017, aviation companies, starting with Boeing, have warned federal officials of the danger 5G transmissions in the 3.7 – 3.98 GHz frequency range–the “C band”–may pose in interfering with and giving false readings to commercial and military radar altimeters operating nearby in the 4.2-4.4 GHz band, per a Nov. 18 letter by aviation companies and interest groups to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Radar altimeters help pilots flying at 2,500 feet and below to determine altitude precisely.

The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), the Aircraft Electronics Association, Boeing, Airbus, Collins Aerospace, Garmin International, FreeFlight Systems and Helicopter Association International are among the signatories of the Nov. 18 letter.

The missive criticized what the organizations said was a downplaying of the 5G interference threat by CTIA, the wireless industry’s trade association.

For example, the letter said that CTIA should not point to the U.S. Navy’s AN/SPN-43 radar by ITT-Gilfillan, now part of L3Harris Technologies, as an example. Navy aircraft carriers use the SPN-43 for air traffic control.

“CTIA has once again brought up this system that does not disrupt normal aviation operations due to the combination of power, duty cycle, waveform and the fact this system is deployed well away from aircraft landing and takeoff areas,” the letter said.

The Saab SPN-50 is to replace the 1960s-era SPN-43.

“The commission should not consider CTIA’s anecdotal examples as reasons to ignore the aviation industry’s desire to protect public safety without debilitating impacts on travel and other critical aviation operations,” per the Nov. 18 letter to the FCC. “Aviation’s findings of potential interference impacts require a very conservative analysis, focusing on worst case scenarios, because it could only take one instance of harmful interference to cause an accident. The fact no aircraft have crashed to date due to 5G interference in another country is not a reason to ignore the potential of it happening when 5G is deployed in the 3700-3980 MHz band in the U.S. Power levels and deployment scenarios are different than in the U.S, and even with these differences 5G deployment restrictions are in place in some countries, such as Canada and France and being considered in others.”

In October last year, the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) released a study on the possible impacts of 5G interference with commercial aviation, and the organization said that it would perform additional work to determine any interference with military radar altimeters, if asked.

The modern standard for commercial and civil aircraft is the frequency-modulated continuous wave (FMCW) radar altimeter, while many military aircraft still have unmodulated pulse radar altimeters, per the study.

The standard U.S. Air Force radar altimeter, used on C-130, C-17, C-5, F-16, F-15, and MH-53 aircraft, is the AN/APN-232 FMCW Combined Altitude Radar Altimeter (CARA) by NavCom Defense Electronics, Inc. and now supported by Melbourne, Fla.-based Extant Aerospace.

The Nov. 18 letter by the aerospace firms said that 5G interference would impose significant costs on the aviation industry.

“Each radio [sic] altimeter and the entire system could undergo an examination as a result of just one reported radio [sic] altimeter error,” the letter said. “As part of that examination, one or more of the radio [sic] altimeters might need to be removed and tested. Additionally, the wiring involved in sending altimeter information through the aircraft might need to be checked. Each of these tasks are time consuming and not carried out lightly. The process to determine whether the fault is with the aircraft could take many months. Only then, if it is determined that everything was working properly, would an operator know to start looking at external interference sources.”

The Pentagon and defense companies are looking to 5G to accelerate military communications and expand available bandwidth. This month, Lockheed Martin said that it teamed with Verizon on “5G.MIL” through the use of a Verizon 5G commercial network at Lockheed Martin’s 5G  test range in Colorado to help run military applications at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works Integration Facility and Test Center in Texas.

 

This article was first published by Defense Daily, a sister publication to Avionics International, it has been edited, to view the original version, click here

The post Aerospace Companies Suggest Possible 5G Interference with Military Radars appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Textron Completes First Flight of Beechcraft Denali

November 25th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Textron Completes First Flight of Beechcraft Denali   
Textron Completes First Flight of Beechcraft Denali

Textron Aviation’s Beechcraft Denali completed its first test flight on Nov. 23, the latest milestone on the company’s track to make it the first “modern FADEC-controlled turboprop” powered by GE Aviation’s Catalyst engine. (Textron Aviation)

The Beechcraft Denali, powered by GE Aviation’s new Catalyst engine, completed its first test flight Tuesday, according to a Nov. 23 announcement from Textron Aviation.

According to details shared by Textron, the single-engine turboprop reached an altitude of 15,600 feet and a top speed of 180 knots during a flight from the company’s west campus at Eisenhower International Airport. The 2-hour and 50-minute flight tested the aircraft’s “performance, stability and control, as well as its propulsion, environmental, flight controls and avionics systems,” the company said.



Developed with an 1,100-pound payload and a range of 1,600 nautical miles, Textron added the Denali to its existing turboprop family—including the twin-engine Beechcraft King Air 260 and King Air 360/360ER—earlier this year after the aircraft previously made its debut as the Cessna Denali.

“Today’s landmark flight is not only a significant occasion for the Denali, it’s a truly great moment for our employees, our suppliers and the customers who will be flying this aircraft,” Ron Draper, president and CEO of Textron Aviation said in a statement. “With its more environmentally friendly engine and largest cabin in its class, this is an aircraft that will change the landscape for high-performance single-engine turboprop aircraft.”

Textron is featuring Garmin’s G3000 avionics suite in the cockpit of the Denali, with a standard auto throttle feature that interfaces with the automatic flight control system and flight management system for speed control throughout all phases of flight, according to the company. Two touchscreen flight control panels, three 14-inch wide screen LCD displays, synthetic vision and a weather avoidance radar are among the other standard features of the Denali cockpit.

The Catalyst featured on the Denali makes it the first Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC)-controlled turboprop engine, according to Textron. GE Aviation completed its own first flight of the Catalyst on a Beechcraft King Air modified test bed in September, and has been ground-testing prototype Catalyst engines where it is being developed, in Germany.

Peter Gracey, a senior test pilot for Textron, described the first flight was “simply flawless.”

“It’s just a great aircraft to fly. The Catalyst engine was outstanding, and the aircraft performed to the levels we were anticipating. First flights really can’t go more smoothly than this. We are really off to an excellent start for the Denali flight test program,” Gracey said in a statement.

Textron is targeting Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification for the Denali in 2023.

The post Textron Completes First Flight of Beechcraft Denali appeared first on Aviation Today.

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