What’s Trending in Aerospace – March 21, 2021

March 22nd, 2021   •   Comments Off on What’s Trending in Aerospace – March 21, 2021   
What’s Trending in Aerospace – March 21, 2021

Check out the March 21 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

Singapore Airlines Launches First Live Trials of IATA Travel Pass App

Singapore Airlines launched the first live trial of IATA’s new Travel Pass app last week. (IATA)

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced the arrival at London’s Heathrow Airport of the first traveler using the IATA Travel Pass app to manage their travel health credentials.

“The successful implementation of IATA Travel Pass in this trial with Singapore Airlines passengers demonstrates that technology can securely, conveniently and efficiently help travelers and governments to manage travel health credentials. The significance of this to re-starting international aviation cannot be overstated,” Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, said in a press statement.

Passengers on Singapore Airlines flights to London during the trial could use IATA Travel Pass to:

  • Create a secure digital version of their passport on their mobile device
  • Input their flight details to learn of travel restrictions and requirements
  • Receive verified test results and a confirmation that they meet all travel requirements

“Digital health credentials will be essential as borders reopen and travel restrictions get progressively lifted worldwide. The successful implementation of the IATA Travel Pass reflects Singapore Airlines’ goal of using secure digital solutions to verify health credentials, and support a safe and seamless travel experience for our customers,” JoAnn Tan, Acting Senior Vice President, Marketing Planning, Singapore Airlines, said of the new app.

 

 

 

Air Canada Sets New Net Zero Emissions Goals

Air Canada is committing to reducing 20 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from flights and 30 percent of GHG emissions from ground operations by 2030 in order to get to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050, the air carrier announced in a March 15 press release.

To meet these goals Air Canada is targeting fleet and operations, innovation, sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and clean energy, and carbon reductions and removals, according to the release.

 

 

 

 

 

Norwegian Air Shuttle Founder Launches Norse Atlantic Airways

Bjørn Tore Larsen is the CEO of the newly launched low cost international airline Norse Atlantic Airways.

Bjorn Kjos, founder of Norwegian Air Shuttle, is joining a team of investors to lead the launch of a new low-cost airline, Norse Atlantic Airways, that will initially operate flights between the U.S. and Europe starting in December.

In addition to Kjos, other former Norwegian Air Shuttle executive Bjorn Kise is part of the new leadership team, while Bjørn Tore Larsen will serve as CEO. Norse Atlantic Airways plans on using a fleet of Boeing 787 aircraft on U.S.-Europe flights, serving destinations such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami, London, Paris, and Oslo.

The company plans to expand the route network to include destinations in Asia as more Dreamliners enter the fleet.

“As the world reopens, the public needs an innovative, low-cost intercontinental airline with modern, more environmentally friendly- and fuel-efficient aircraft. We have industry knowledge and have secured modern Dreamliners at very good terms. Norse Atlantic Airways will offer people the opportunity to travel between continents at affordable fares,” Larsen said in a press statement.

 

 

 

 

 

IAero Group Provides Carbon Neutral Flights 

IAero Group will make all of its commercial Part 121 air charter flights carbon neutral, according to a March 17 announcement. 

“With iAero Airway’s growing fleet of Boeing 737 and 767 aircraft flying thousands of flight hours each year, we know we can make a positive impact by joining the fight to protect our climate,” iAero Group Chief Executive Officer, Robert Caputo, said in a press statement. “iAero Group’s environmental sustainability actions represent only one part of our overall sustainability strategy which will also focus on social and economic areas into the future. All of which will directly support our overall purpose of elevating people and places.”

They will also be working with partners to join carbon offset programs, according to the release.

 

 

 

 

Connectivity

OneWeb and SatixFy Sign Agreement to Develop new In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) Terminal

OneWeb is developing a new in-flight connectivity terminal with Satixfy UK. Pictured here is a computer generated mockup of what their future prototype IFC terminal will look like. (Satixfy UK)

OneWeb has signed an agreement with multi beam antenna and terminal design provider SatixFy UK to develop a new In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) terminal that will work over the OneWeb network as well as Geostationary (GEO) satellite networks.

SatixFy UK has formed a Joint Venture with Singapore Technology Engineering Ltd (ST Engineering), called JetTalk, to exclusively commercialize the IFC terminal for Commercial Aviation markets.

“OneWeb is creating IFC solutions which offer a significant increase in the whole passenger travelling experience. This agreement with SatixFy represents a major milestone for OneWeb Aviation, as we plot our path to facilitating onboard connectivity, globally, on commercial airliners and corporate jets, large and small,” Ben Griffin, VP Mobility at OneWeb said.

 

 

Global Eagle Achieves New STCs to Launch In-flight Connectivity on Turkish Airlines 737s

Global Eagle received two Supplemental Type Certificates (STC) for the installation of their Airconnect Global Ku in-flight connectivity (IFC) system onboard Boeing 737 aircraft, according to a March 17 press release.

In addition to the authorization to install Global Eagle’s core components, the STC also allows Global Eagle to install server and wireless access point components developed by Turkish Technic, showcasing Global Eagle’s ability to adapt to customer-preferred equipment.

Working with Turkish Technic, the second new STC will see the installation of Global Eagle’s Airconnect Global Ku satellite IFC solution on Turkish Airlines’ narrow body fleet and will offer IFC service on their short-haul international and domestic routes.

 

 

 

 

ThinKom Releases Variant of Aero Antenna for Special-Purpose Aircraft

Low-profile ThinKom VICTS antenna with embedded control unit. (ThinKom)

ThinKom Solutions has developed a new variant of its VICTS aero satellite communication antenna that the company said will enable more flexible installation choices. ThinKom announced the product variant on Tuesday, which targets government and military Beyond-Line-of-Sight (BLOS) satellite communication markets.

VICTS is ThinKom’s patented phased array technology and stands for variable inclination continuous transverse stub. The new variant integrates the VICTS antenna, antenna control unit and power-supply electronics into a single low-profile small-footprint package. The company said this eliminates the need for a separate line-replaceable unit for the antenna control unit/power supply. The antenna measures less than 9 cm in total height.

 

 

 

 

Military

Slow Software Loading Process Delayed F-35 Updates

An F-35 from the 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron refuels over the Nevada Test and Training Range on November 17th last year for Large Force Test Event 20.03. LFTE 20.03 is a premier joint operational test event hosted by the 53rd Wing that validates tactics in a combat relevant environment. (U.S. Air Force)

A slow software loading process for the Lockheed Martin F-35 delayed aircraft updates, but the latest software drop to be fielded this summer for the Combat Air Forces (CAF) has resolved that problem, a U.S. Air Force official said on March 18.

Under Continuous Capability Development and Delivery (C2D2), F-35s are expected to receive software updates every six months. C2D2 is divided into four six week quarters during which the U.S. Air Force 53rd Wing tests F-35 software tape updates. The 53rd Wing is the service’s primary operational test wing, which has about 50 units at 20 sites.

“We moved to C2D2 in Tape 3 for the F-35 back in the middle of 2019,” Air Force Lt. Col. Mike “Pako” Benitez, director of staff for the 53rd Wing, told a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies’ Aerospace Nation forum on March 18 . “It proved the concept. Everyone decided this was what we needed to be doing. However, when we got into Tape 4, we ended up running into some process breakdowns. It really came down to a mentality.”

 

 

 

 

 

US Army Currently Negotiating Final Multi-Year Black Hawk, Apache Contracts

The Sikorsky UH-60M program gets a significant boost in the FY 2020 budget request. (Lockheed Martin)

The Army is in the process of negotiating its final multi-year contracts for the Black Hawk and Apache helicopters, as the service shifts its priority to the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) fleet, an official said Wednesday

Brig. Gen. Rob Barrie, the Program Executive Officer for Aviation, specifically said that maintaining readiness for the Army’s Apache, Black Hawk, Chinook and legacy unmanned and fixed-wing aircraft remains a priority for his office but at a tier below development of the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) and Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA). The Sikorsky UH-60M program gets a significant boost in the FY 2020 budget request.

“From a priority perspective, undoubtedly, that is below what we’re doing with the Future Vertical Lift fleet. However, there is targeted and very specific modernization of those enduring fleet aircraft we have to balance against our development of the Future Vertical Lift fleet,” Barrie said.

The Army plans to begin fielding FLRAA in 2030 and FARA in 2028 to set the course for its future fleet, while the Sikorsky-built Black Hawk has been in service since 1979 and Boeing’s Apache since 1986.

 

 

 

 

Northrop’s Integrated Missile Warning System Approved by Army

The CIRCM system will be used on rotary-wing, tilt-rotor, and small fixed-wing aircraft like the UH-60 Black Hawk, CH-47 Chinook, and the AH-64 Apache. (Northrop)

Northrop Grumman’s integrated missile warning system, Common Infrared Countermeasure (CIRCM), has been declared ready for full-rate production and operations by the Army, the company announced last week.

Northrop completed a six-month initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) activity before the classification was given from the Army.

“Through our partnership with the U.S. Army and our suppliers, we have already delivered over 100 production systems,” Bob Gough, vice president, navigation, targeting and survivability at Northrop Grumman, said in a press statement. “The successful completion of IOT&E confirms CIRCM’s readiness for full-rate production.”

The CIRCM system will be used on rotary-wing, tilt-rotor, and small fixed-wing aircraft like the UH-60 Black Hawk, CH-47 Chinook, and the AH-64 Apache, Gough said.

 

 

 

 

 

Embedded

New SOSA Aligned VPX Chassis Manager 

The WABGM0 is aligned with SOSA standards and offers commercial off-the-shelf availability, according to the release. It can be plugged directly into a backplane or 3U or 6U OpenVPX carrier. (Annapolis Micro Systems)

Annapolis Micro Systems announced a new VITA 46.11-aligned WILD VPX Chassis Manager (WABGM0) that enables critical chassis control, maintenance, and security functions, according to a March 15 press release. 

The WABGM0 is aligned with SOSA standards and offers commercial off-the-shelf availability, according to the release. It can be plugged directly into a backplane or 3U or 6U OpenVPX carrier. 

“This is a highly-integrated module supporting many functions,” Jay Grandin, Annapolis Micro Systems VP of product development, said in a statement. “It provides access to plug in card (PIC) JTAG and Maintenance ports, CLK1 usage via on-board Zynq FPGA, network functions, and some optional advanced security functions.”

 

Space

NASA’s Mars Rover Uses Cobham Pyrotechnic Valves

NASA’s latest Mars rover, Perseverance, landed on Mars on Thursday at 3:55 EST after a 203-day journey traveling over 293 million miles.

NASA’s Perseverance Rover used Cobham Mission Systems space pyrotechnic valves during its recent Mars landing, the company announced in March 16 press release. 

The valves were used during the landing to control the rover’s descent. The eight pyrovalves were used when the rover shifted from parachute to retrorockets, according to the release. 

“Cobham Mission Systems is so proud to support NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory with proven space propulsion solutions that power Mars exploration,” Craig Ryan, integrated product team director for Space Systems at Cobham Mission Systems, said in a statement. “We have a long heritage of providing space technologies, starting with the design of John Glenn’s breathing regulator used in the world-famous Project Mercury flight in 1962. Nearly sixty years later, we are delighted to play a role in the successful Perseverance rover Mars landing. Congratulations to the NASA JPL team and all involved!”

 

 

 

Inmarsat to Develop In-Orbit Telemetry Relay Service for the UK Space Agency

Inmarsat has won a new deal with the UK Space Agency, a National Space Innovation Program (NSIP) contract to develop an in-orbit telemetry relay service for rockets called InRange. The contract announced, announced Friday, is valued at 258,000 pounds ($359,785) with matched funding from industry, taking the project total to 422,096 pounds ($588,619).

Inmarsat’s InRange service aims to reduce the dependency of space launch providers on traditional, expensive ground-based monitoring systems infrastructure for their rockets and will provide a more cost-effective, flexible solution, available globally via Inmarsat’s geostationary L-band network. Inmarsat is working with Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) to ensure the InRange service develops to meet the challenging environmental conditions experienced by launch vehicles.

 

 

 

 

 

Unmanned

APS Receives BVLOS Waiver with Help from Iris Automation 

Aerial Production Services (APS) received an expedited beyond line of sight (BVLOS) waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) after enlisting help from Iris Automation, according to a March 17 release. The process was shortened by six months. 

“While we had the foundational knowledge of how to obtain the BVLOS waiver, we lacked the expertise to properly convey our operation to the FAA,” Dave Sotiros, CEO of APS, said in a statement. “With Iris Automation’s support and knowledge of BVLOS, they took the time to understand our goals and helped us identify areas of improvement and potential gaps in our processes. This guidance allowed us to aggressively pursue the BVLOS waiver and implement a BVLOS program that mirrors the focus of APS’s principles: Safer, Faster, Better.”

The waiver allows APS to conduct point-to-point pipeline inspections using visual observers and a DJI Matrice aircraft, according to the release. 

“Accelerating the timeline and reducing the complexity of the waiver process provides a critical business advantage for service providers like APS, allowing them to scale their operations while actually reducing costs and maintaining the highest level of safety,” Trever Linn, Director of Airspace Integration at Iris Automation, said in a statement. “As critical detect and avoid (DAA) technology, standards, and regulations evolve we’ll see true implementation of advanced un-piloted operations that will use waivers like this to inform equipment, training, and operational requirements within a new regulatory framework. The business opportunity to be an early adopter of this capability is immense, and the RRC provides a framework to do so.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SKYTRAC Breaks into Drone Market 

SKYTRAC is launching the Integrated Mission System 350 (IMS-350) terminal which features the Iridium Certus 9810 modem for the unmanned aviation segment, the company announced in a March 16 press release. 

SKYTRAC’s system will provide drones with pole-to-pole communications for beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations, command and control (C2) applications, payload health monitoring, live video streaming, data transmission, and AI-enabled sensor fusion, according to the release. 

“With the launch of the IMS-350, SKYTRAC now provides intelligent connectivity solutions to the manned and unmanned aviation markets,” Jan van der Heul, SKYTRAC Vice President of Sales, said in a press statement.“The IMS-350, which leverages Iridium Certus, is an innovative, powerful, and future-proof solution that fits directly into SKYTRAC’s Iridium Certus product portfolio, complementing our many other applications and capabilities.”

The system will provide 352 kbps uplink and 704 kbps downlink broadband speeds with latency under 500 milliseconds through a low earth orbit satellite connection, according to the release.

 

 

Air Taxi

EHang Partners with Giancarlo Zema to Build Vertiport in Italy

With their new “Baobab vertiport” concept, EHang and Italian architecture firm Giancarlo Zema Design Group (GZDG) aim to enter the emerging global eco-tourism sector, with multiple projects being planned in Europe and Southeast Asia. (EHang)

EHang has signed a new partnership with Italian architecture firm Giancarlo Zema Design Group (GZDG) to design and build an “eco-sustainable vertiport” in Italy, the Chinese autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) maker said in a March 16 press release.

The vertiport will use green design and construction materials, and can generate energy to re-charge EHang’s EH216 passenger-grade AAVs.

Inspired by the native African tree Baobab, GZDG developed a natural Baobab design: a 30-meter-high tower, with a steel and laminated wood structure, a waiting room, a café, a 200-square-meter panoramic restaurant and connecting lift.

The take off-and-landing platform will be set on the roof terrace. The vertiport is built with non-slip photovoltaic panels that can generate over 300 KW of electric power per day.

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GAO Finds Increased Delays and Costs for F-35’s Block 4 Modernization

March 21st, 2021   •   Comments Off on GAO Finds Increased Delays and Costs for F-35’s Block 4 Modernization   
GAO Finds Increased Delays and Costs for F-35’s Block 4 Modernization

A squadron of F-35As flying over Hill Air Force Base in Utah. (U.S. Air Force)

The Department of Defense (DoD) needs an updated modernization schedule and improved data on software development before the F-35 can transition from development to full production leaving the program with more timeline delays and costs, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released on March 18. 

The F-35 program is currently working on a modernization effort, known as Block 4, where the DoD is delivering capabilities to the warfighter by incrementally developing, testing, and delivering small groups of capabilities every six months, according to the report. This process referred to as C2D2 is based on the Agile software development process. However, the GAO says Block 4’s remaining development schedule is not attainable. 

An updated timeline for F-35 operational test schedules through 2021. (GAO)

The DoD has been working on the Block 4 modernization for three years and continues to expand its timeline and budget. 

“For example, in 2018, DOD reported that Block 4 development would cost $10.6 billion for fiscal years 2018 through 2024,” the report states. “As of September 2020, DOD reported to Congress that all Block 4 costs are expected to exceed $14 billion, spanning fiscal years 2013 through 2027.” 

GAO’s team found the timeline estimations that were given were based on estimates formulated at the start of the effort and not according to the contractor’s demonstrated performance. 

“This decision to change how costs are reported stems from DoD efforts to respond to our recommendation that it improve transparency into the total costs associated with Block 4 development,” the report states. “Specifically, in May 2020, we found that DoD’s Block 4 reports to Congress, required by Section 224 of the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2017, did not fully represent the total estimated costs of Block 4 development. DOD focused its reporting of Block 4 costs on the future year defense program and excluded previously incurred costs and any costs expected to be incurred after a 7- year period.” 

The report found delays in the development of the F-35 Joint Simulation Environment, which runs the mission systems software and other software models, resulted in the program’s inability to complete 64 planned tests in 2020. These problems were identified in August 2020 and there is no current timeframe for a fix to the problems found. 

The simulator delays, which have been further postponed full production from March of this year, are related to high overall open deficiencies, production delays and quality issues, efforts to address Turkey’s removal from the supply chain, and aircraft not meeting reliability and maintainability goals, according to the report.  

Despite these problems, the program was able to complete four open-air tests at Point Mugu Sea Range, two of three missile tests, and operational cybersecurity testing, according to the report. 

Technology Refresh 3 (TR-3), a suite of software and hardware technologies that provide updated processing capability, display units, and increased memory to the aircraft, is on track to be deployed into lot 15 aircraft in 2023, according to the report. 

The report also found that the program’s Block 4 software development is not following leading practices. The report said Lockheed Martin does not have access to automated tools to capture real-time performance data to make its collected software development metrics helpful. 

The program also needs performance targets for software metrics, the report found. 

“While we recognize the challenges with transitioning to Agile development, after three years of effort the F-35 program continues to have issues with effectively implementing the C2D2 approach to develop and deliver Block 4 capabilities,” the report states. “The airframe contractor continues to deliver capabilities late, and the remaining schedule contains significant risk and is not achievable based on the pace of past performance. While the program office is committed to delivering capabilities more quickly to the warfighter, the program has not delivered on its initial iterative plan. Without an achievable schedule informed by historical performance, the program is likely to continue falling short of its expectations, and the warfighter will have to wait longer for the promised capabilities.”

Doug Birkey, executive director of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, told Avionics International that many of the problems faced by the program such as the new issues addressed in this report are the cause of complexity and growing pains. 

“It’s really, in many ways, the pathfinder for incredibly sophisticated sensor shooter type aircraft and by that I mean, the aircraft has onboard the sensors to gather immense amounts of data wherever it flies, process it onboard, and link to other aircraft to execute its mission and all of the requirements were created in the 90s. The initial kind of baseline was laid out in the 2000s,” Birkey said. “And so that was very advanced back then, and there’s a learning curve that comes along with it.” 

Birkey said that while the progress of the program hasn’t always been ideal the aircraft is still ultimately important to U.S. defense. 

“The bottom line takeaway on all this is that the country needs the aircraft,” Birkey said. “I mean, the capabilities it brings to the equation, which is really stealth, electronic warfare, and high degree situational awareness and the sensors and processing capability, those attributes are what you need to stay alive in the current environment, and on the fighter side it is the only thing we have in production, that does that.” 

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SE Aeronautics Announces New Green Widebody Aircraft

March 21st, 2021   •   Comments Off on SE Aeronautics Announces New Green Widebody Aircraft   
SE Aeronautics Announces New Green Widebody Aircraft

SE Aeronautics’ new mid-market airliner concept, the SE200, will carry up to 264 passengers with a range of 10,560 miles and reduce CO2 production as measured by per seat kilometer by 80 percent. (SE Aeronautics)

SE Aeronautics announced a new widebody aircraft, the SE200, that promises 70 percent lower fuel consumption and the ability to lower CO2 by 80 percent with a light tri-wing design and short take-off and landing capabilities for long flights, the company said in a March 17 press release. 

“Our innovative technology and new aircraft design will lower fuel consumption by 70 percent and lower CO2 emissions by 80 percent as measured by per seat kilometer,” Lloyd Weaver, chief engineer of SE Aeronautics, said in a press statement. “The innovative design is a more efficient, light tri-wing configuration that greatly improves lift over drag, resulting in short take-off and landing (STOL) capabilities and extremely long flights. The construction is all-composite, molded in one tough, safer piece. We also incorporated super thin, long wings and complete streamlining from the nose to the tail. We did it all.”

The aircraft was also designed with COVID-19 and other airborne diseases in mind. The aircraft has a “once-through” air feed ventilation system to ensure that air never recirculates in the cabin, according to the release. 

The SE200 will carry up to 264 passengers and have a range of 10,560 miles, according to the release. The fuselage will feature one solid-molded piece, and the fuel will be stored in sealing bladders on top of the fuselage. 

“This aircraft will be the most practical, profitable and permanent solution to the grossly underperforming airliner technology of today,” Tyler Mathews, CEO of SE Aeronautics, said in a press statement. “Our manufacturing efficiency will allow us to produce our aircraft in significantly less time than the current traditional method. But the jewel in the crown is really our ability to get that fuel consumption rate down by 70 percent. We are going to revolutionize the industry.” 

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Northrop’s Integrated Missile Warning System Approved by Army

March 19th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Northrop’s Integrated Missile Warning System Approved by Army   
Northrop’s Integrated Missile Warning System Approved by Army

The CIRCM system will be used on rotary-wing, tilt-rotor, and small fixed-wing aircraft like the UH-60 Black Hawk, CH-47 Chinook, and the AH-64 Apache. (Northrop)

Northrop Grumman’s integrated missile warning system, Common Infrared Countermeasure (CIRCM), has been declared ready for full-rate production and operations by the Army, the company announced. 

Northrop completed a six-month initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) activity before the classification was given from the Army. 

“Through our partnership with the U.S. Army and our suppliers, we have already delivered over 100 production systems,” Bob Gough, vice president, navigation, targeting and survivability at  Northrop Grumman, said in a press statement. “The successful completion of IOT&E confirms CIRCM’s readiness for full-rate production.”

The CIRCM system will be used on rotary-wing, tilt-rotor, and small fixed-wing aircraft like the UH-60 Black Hawk, CH-47 Chinook, and the AH-64 Apache, Gough said. 

“CIRCM protects these platforms so they can conduct air assaults, air movements, armed escort, reconnaissance, and security operations,” Gough said. “In addition, CIRCM allows rotary-wing aircraft to land and take off from just about anywhere which is essential to the role of medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) teams.” 

 The CIRCM system works autonomously and can protect against man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), Gough said. 

“Prior to takeoff, the aircrew turns CIRCM on and sets it in a mode to allow laser fire,” Gough said. “After this point, CIRCM works autonomously with the missile warning system to quickly defeat missile threats. When CIRCM does acquire and jam a missile, it notifies the aircrew through a message on the glass cockpit and an audio signal, or through a dedicated control panel, depending upon the aircraft installation.” 

Gough said the CIRCM is cued by the missile warning system and then automatically searches and tracks the missile. 

“CIRCM tracks these fast moving, highly agile missiles with exact precision and then turns on a narrow beam, infrared laser to jam the threat,” Gough said. “The laser beam confuses the missile and causes it to quickly steer off course, protecting the aircraft. After missile defeat, CIRCM quickly frees up jamming resources to engage the next missile threat. The whole process from detection to defeat can happen in a few seconds.” 

The system uses an open systems architecture and can work with a variety of missile warning systems, Gough said. It also works with other survivability equipment like flare dispensers. 

“One of the primary components that enables CIRCM is the missile warning system,” Gough said. “The missile warning system detects incoming threat missiles and sends a directional cue to CIRCM. From the start, CIRCM was designed around modular, open systems architecture (MOSA) principles so that it could work with a wide variety of missile warning systems. CIRCM has already been integrated and flight-tested with three different missile warning systems.”   

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Air Canada Sets New Net Zero Emissions Goals

March 17th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Air Canada Sets New Net Zero Emissions Goals   
Air Canada Sets New Net Zero Emissions Goals

Air Canada says operations with the Airbus A220 and Boeing 737 MAX narrowbody fleets will reduce fuel consumption, CO2, and nitrogen oxides. (Air Canada)

Air Canada is committing to reducing 20 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from flights and 30 percent of GHG emissions from ground operations by 2030 in order to get to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050, the international airline announced in a March 15 press release. 

To meet these goals Air Canada is targeting fleet and operations, innovation, sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and clean energy, and carbon reductions and removals, according to the release. 

“Economic growth and sustainability are equally important, and we have a strong track record for both,” Michael Rousseau, president and chief executive officer at Air Canada, said in a statement. “Despite the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we remain deeply committed to long-term sustainability.” 

Air Canada says operations with the Airbus A220 and Boeing 737 MAX narrowbody fleets will reduce fuel consumption, CO2, and nitrogen oxides. These aircraft will help to cut fuel consumption per seat by 20 percent, CO2 by 20 percent, and nitrogen oxides by 50 percent, according to the release. 

New 2030 and 2050 emissions targets are the latest efforts Air Canada has made to improve its carbon emissions. Among existing initiatives designed the airline undertakes to improve emissions include its carbon footprint, targets and climate protection strategy through the CDP. Along with the new 30-year target, Air Canada will also be reporting through the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (“TCFD”) framework as of 2022.

Operational improvements were also realized by Air Canada through “more than 100 projects to optimize fuel consumption, including profile departure, RNP-AR (a type of performance-based navigation), single engine taxiing to, iPads for pilots replacing paper manuals and lighter weight composite onboard carts,” the airline said in the release.

The airline also committed to investing $50 million in SAF and other low carbon aviation fuel development, supporting innovation with electric, hydrogen, or hybrid operations, and exploring carbon-negative emission technologies. 

“Climate change is critical, and we believe we can and must do more to address this for the future of our environment,” Rousseau said. “This is why we are further embedding climate considerations into our strategic decision-making, and undertaking a very ambitious plan that is meaningful, will support Canada’s leadership position on climate change, advance de-carbonization in the airline industry while keeping fares affordable for customers.”

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New G5000 Upgrade Gives ACARS and FANS-1/A+ to Citation XLS Operators

March 17th, 2021   •   Comments Off on New G5000 Upgrade Gives ACARS and FANS-1/A+ to Citation XLS Operators   
New G5000 Upgrade Gives ACARS and FANS-1/A+ to Citation XLS Operators

Garmin’s G5000 integrated flight deck for Textron Aviation’s Citation Excel and XLS business jets are now certified to provide FANS-1/A+ and ACARS support. (Garmin International)

Business aviation operators and aircraft owners flying the Cessna Citation Excel and XLS models equipped with Garmin’s G5000 integrated flight deck now have access to Future Air Navigation System (FANS-1/A+) and Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) support, according to a March 16 Garmin press release.

Excel and XLS models featuring the upgrade G5000 features will now be equipped to fly the North Atlantic Track System (NATS), which recently had temporary relief from the North Atlantic Datalink Mandate rules—that require FANS-1/A+ avionics to operate between the flight levels FL290 and FL410—removed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

“In addition, the popular southerly Blue Spruce routes over Greenland between FL290 and FL410 will also require that aircraft meet the NAT DLM requirements to fly within the parameters of this airspace,” Garmin said in the release.

Textron’s Citation XLS is powered by twin Pratt & Whitney Canada PW500 engines and weighs 11,210 lbs with a 506 mph cruise speed and range of 2,138 nm. (Textron Aviation)

Textron first received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Supplemental Type Certification for G5000 retrofits on the Citation Excel and XLS jets in July 2019. Last year, the company delivered 13 total Citation XLS aircraft, with no new reported Excel model deliveries, according to the latest General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) annual shipments and billings report.

The G5000 integrated flight deck for the Citation Excel and Citation XLS features three landscape-oriented displays with touchscreen controllers and geo-referenced Garmin SafeTaxi airport diagrams. A G5000 emergency descent mode is also enabled by the autopilot in the event of a loss in aircraft pressurization, according to Garmin.

Other new capabilities enabled by the G5000 upgrade for the Citation Excel/XLS include synthetic vision, visual and aural cues designed to help pilots with airport taxiing and an optional FANS-over-Iridium capability through the flight deck’s embedded GSR 56 satellite connectivity system.

“With access to Controller Pilot Data Link Communication-Departure Clearance (CPDLC-DCL), operators can participate in automated DCL operations at over 60 of the busiest airports in the U.S. and receive automatic loading of the departure clearance into the G5000,” according to Garmin.

Other Cessna models that come equipped with the G5000 suite as a line-fit flight deck, including the Citation Sovereign, Latitude, and Longitude, were not announced as featuring the new capability in the Garmin release.

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HENSOLDT and CoreAVI Partner to Develop New Aircraft Video Conversion Module

March 17th, 2021   •   Comments Off on HENSOLDT and CoreAVI Partner to Develop New Aircraft Video Conversion Module   
HENSOLDT and CoreAVI Partner to Develop New Aircraft Video Conversion Module

The mission-critical applications for this type of video conversion include onboard camera and ISR systems for military and civilian sensor systems and drone surveillance systems. (CoreAVI)

Core Avionics & Industrial Inc. (CoreAVI) announced the new VIM3006 3U VPX Video Conversion Module which will enable low latency video processing and graphics merging for mission-critical applications, according to a March 16 press release. The new hardware was created with HENSOLDT, a sensor solutions provider. 

This video conversion module allows for integrated sensor video and graphics output solutions separate from a specific GPU, according to the release. It follows VITA 41/42/56 standards. 

“The VIM3006 Video Conversion Module is an essential building block to enable safety certifiable technology in mission-critical applications,” Dan Joncas, chief sales and marketing officer at CoreAVI, said in a statement. “Hensoldt and CoreAVI’s collaboration to formally certify and deploy this product into modern airborne platforms attests to both companies’ commitments to providing their customers with technology that meets the highest quality and performance standards.”

The mission-critical applications for this type of video conversion include onboard camera and ISR systems for military and civilian sensor systems and drone surveillance systems, a representative from the company told Avionics International

The companies that could for these applications include Collins, Honeywell, BAE Avionics UK, Thales, and Safra, the representative said. 

“We’re excited to collaborate with CoreAVI on this next generation video conversion solution,” Clemens Peter, head avionics equipment and airborne solutions at HENSOLDT, said in a statement. “Our mil/aero customers cannot compromise on performance, and our collaboration with CoreAVI on this hardware solution will offer both the flexibility and capabilities they desire in their modern, rugged systems. The joint development of this graphics capability provides a highly valuable addition to the HENSOLDT mission management portfolio.”

The VIM3006 3U VPX Video Conversion Module has a FPGA-based design and can support certification to RTCA DO-254/EUROCAE ED-80 under A(M)C 20-152A as well as a FPGA and video processing driver with data package to support RTCA DO-178C/EUROCAE ED-12C certification, according to the release. 

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Is it Possible to Protect Digitized Avionics Systems from Cyber Attacks?

March 16th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Is it Possible to Protect Digitized Avionics Systems from Cyber Attacks?   
Is it Possible to Protect Digitized Avionics Systems from Cyber Attacks?

(Photo by Tim Kabel)

Newly created cyber vulnerabilities that focus on digitally interconnected systems are becoming increasingly difficult to prevent, Michael Mehlberg, director of Sales for Star Lab at Wind River, said during a March 11 webinar hosted by Avionics International

“Everyone is starting to see how cyberattacks could affect the resiliency of their system,” Mehlberg said. “They’re also starting to see that it’s impossible to keep the bad guys out, and I do mean impossible, which is not really a word that I use, often in cybersecurity, but in the case of a system attack, it’s true.” 

Mehlberg said it is impossible to prevent attacks on the system because there are too many constantly evolving vulnerabilities to protect all of them. 

“Today, attackers are always coming up with new ways of attacking and new attack tools,” Mehlberg said. “In fact, I looked up this morning as of December 18, 2020. There were 17,447 new vulnerabilities discovered last year, and 4,177 of those were considered high severity attacks. These tools have only gotten better today, and many of them are actually free, which means anyone with an internet connection can download these tools and use them for nefarious purposes.” 

The key to protecting systems from attackers is to assume they are already in the system, Mehlberg said. 

“What do we do, we have to assume that they’re already in the system,” Mehlberg said. “Many of those attacks try to get root administrative access to the box. They try to exploit some line of code or some bug. They try and pivot through the system until they have administrative privileges, at which point they can do anything that they want. And because of the way we currently deploy software once the adversary is in once they have root access, they can do whatever they want.” 

Because cybersecurity experts can predict that attackers are already in the system, they can focus on protecting fundamental embedded elements of the system to protect those actors from accessing critical data or information. 

“What it does mean is that we adhere to some fundamental embedded system security principles that will protect the system from attack, even if the attacker gains access,” Mehlberg said. 

Mehlberg said these principles include data at rest, secure boot, attack surface reduction, hardware resource partition, secure comms, least privilege and mac, data input validation, secure build configurations, container and isolation, and integrity monitor and auditing. These principles can be broken up into categories according to states: data at rest, data through boot, data during operation, and data in motion. 

“We want to continue after the data at rest, after the secure boot, to guarantee that the applications we’re running and the data we’re using are authentic,” Mehlberg said. “To do that, we need to make sure that the attacker can’t only get in but if they do, they still don’t have the means or the privileges to modify the system or system to their liking. If we’ve properly hardened the system from these types of attacks, then we can look to securing our applications and data as they move around, which is the last stage of our system and its operational states.” 

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What’s Trending in Aerospace – March 14, 2021

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

Check out the March 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

US Aviation Industry Gets Billions in Relief Under New Covid Bill

Aftermarket avionics maintenance and repair providers such as Elliott Aviation’s Milan, Illinois facility pictured here, are eligible for payroll support funding under U.S. government’s new $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act. (Elliott Aviation)

U.S. lawmakers passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan on Wednesday March 10, including billions in government-backed payroll support funding to airlines, airports, aviation manufacturers and maintenance providers.

Provisions within the American Rescue Plan Act establish a $3 billion payroll support program within the U.S. Department of Transportation to provide grants to eligible manufacturers and their suppliers to maintain their workforce during the pandemic, according to a General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) press release praising the new bill. The temporary program would require cost-sharing of 50 percent by employers and 50 percent by the federal government, and funds would be directed to an eligible employee group comprising not more than 25 percent of the company’s U.S. workforce engaged in aviation manufacturing or maintenance, repair and overhaul activities.

“Over the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the general aviation industry. Some of the hardest hit segments include our manufacturers, maintenance providers, the supply chain and their respective workforces. We appreciate the work done by Congress to help companies and their workers address the challenges they continue to face,” Pete Bunce, GAMA’s President and CEO said in a press statement. “This program will help strengthen our fragile supply chain, keep highly skilled workers in the industry, as well as support some of the smaller companies that need assistance to maintain operations.”

Delta Goes Contactless for In-flight Payments

Delta Air Lines is introducing tap-to-pay technology for onboard passenger purchases.

On March 16, Delta Air Lines will start using tap-to-pay technology to enable contactless payment for onboard purchases. Customers will be able to purchase earbuds on board using their mobile devices or contactless-enabled credit cards, according to a March 10 press release.

Contactless payment will expand to all onboard sales as more food and beverage options are re-introduced. The new system also allows for emailed receipts.

The airline is also testing digital seatback menus on select international flights with plans to expand the feature across its fleet. A new electronic Delta One menu, is also currently accessible via personal seatback screens on Airbus A330 flights.

Qantas Trials New Digital Health Pass on Repatriation Flights

Qantas tested its first customer trial of the CommonPass digital health app on an international repatriation flight from Frankfurt to Darwin last week.

This follows a successful internal trial of the app with the Australian carrier’s flight crew last month. The CommonPass smartphone app offers a digital method for verifying COVID test results and vaccination information to border or health officials and airline staff.

The app connects customers to certified testing labs so that results can be uploaded to the platform and customers can show they have proof of a negative COVID test result before their flight, which is a requirement on all repatriation flights Qantas is operating on behalf of the Australian Government.

“During the trial, customers traveling on our international repatriation flights are being invited to download the CommonPass app on their device. Longer term we’d like to integrate the technology with our existing Qantas app so that our customers can manage all parts of their journey in the one place,” Qantas Group Chief Customer Officer Stephanie Tully said in a press statement.

FAA Extends Comment Period on Noise Research to April 

Sources of noise during helicopter flights. (GAO)

The comment period for the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) aircraft noise research will continue until April 14, 2021, the agency announced in a March 11 press release. 

The FAA is conducting research on how aircraft noise affects the public. One effort, known as the Neighborhood Environmental Survey, looked specifically at how communities responded to noise and included over 10,000 responses from people living near 20 airports, according to the release. 

Included in their notice to extend the public comment period, FAA included the results of a survey with responses from over 10,000 people living near 20 airports across the country.

The agency has identified three key areas to investigate further on the impact of aircraft noise on the general public:

  • Effects of Aircraft Noise on Individuals and Communities;
  • Noise Modeling, Noise Metrics, and Environmental Data Visualization; and
  • Reduction, Abatement, and Mitigation of Aviation Noise?

Widerøe Joins Rolls-Royce and Tecnam Partnership to Launch All-Electric Aircraft Service

Rolls-Royce and Tecnam have an existing partnership to develop the P-Volt, an 11-seat all-electric aircraft, which could be advantageous for short take-off and landing routes often traveled on the north and west coasts of Norway. (Rolls-Royce)

Rolls-Royce, Tecnam, and Widerøe are partnering to launch an all-electric passenger-carrying aircraft for the commuter aircraft market in Scandinavia, according to a March 11 release. The aircraft is projected by the three companies to start commercial service in 2026.

“We are highly excited to be offered the role as launch operator, but also humble about the challenges of putting the world’s first zero-emissions aircraft into service,” Andreas Aks, chief strategy officer at Widerøe, said in a statement. “Our mission is to have all new capabilities, processes and procedures required for a zero-emissions operator, designed and approved in parallel with the aircraft being developed and certified.”

Norway has committed to making all domestic flights zero emissions by 2040. Widerøe alone flies 400 flights per day, 75 percent of which are less than 275 km, according to the release.

“Norway’s extensive network of short take-off and landing airports is ideal for zero-emissions technologies,” Stein Nilsen, chief executive at Widerøe, said in a press statement. “This aircraft shows how quickly new technology can and will be developed, and that we are on track with our ambition of flying with zero emissions around 2025.”

 

 

Business and General Aviation 

King Air 260 Earns FAA Type Certification

Textron Aviation’s Beechcraft King Air 260 achieved FAA type certification last week. (Textron Aviation)

Textron Aviation’s Beechcraft King Air 260 has achieved Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) type certification, according to a March 10 press release.

The Wichita, Kansas-based general aviation manufacturer’s upgraded turboprop features a new cockpit with the Innovative Solutions & Support (IS&S) ThrustSense Autothrottle system and digital pressurization controller among other technologies.

“The continual conversations we have with our customers play an integral role in the decisions we make about the design of new aircraft, as well as enhancements to our existing fleet,”  Chris Hearne, senior vice president, Engineering and Programs for Textron Aviation said in a press statement. “With the King Air 260, we utilized that valuable feedback and truly elevated the flying experience for both pilots and passengers. And now, with certification complete, we are looking forward to getting the King Air 260 into the hands of so many eager customers.”

 

Military

 

Aerojet Rocketdyne Shareholders Approve Deal With Lockheed Martin

Aerojet Rocketdyne’s stockholders have approved the $4.4 billion sale of the company to Lockheed Martin, clearing a hurdle on the deal that is still expected to close in the second half of 2021. Lockheed Martin announced the deal in December, and said it will lead to better integrated end products and improved manufacturing,

The transaction still needs federal antitrust approval.

The pending deal is getting scrutinized by the federal government. In February, Lockheed Martin said the Federal Trade Commission had requested additional information about the acquisition as part of the regulatory review.

 

F-35 Flies in Denmark 

Denmark’s first F-35 Lightning II, L-001, took its inaugural flight this week, Lockheed Martin announced in a March 10 press release. Denmark is the fifth NATO nation to fly the aircraft. 

“Achieving the first flight of Denmark’s first F-35 is major milestone for the Denmark F-35 program and a testament to the outstanding abilities of our dedicated and highly trained joint industry and government team,”  Bill Brotherton, acting F-35 vice president and general manager at Lockheed Martin, said in a statement.  “This team’s focus on delivering the most effective, survivable and connected fighter in the world will ensure the sovereign protection of Denmark and strengthen allies and partners through the NATO F-35 coalition.”

The Royal Danish Air Force will receive L-001 in April and pilot and maintainer training will take place later in 2021 at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, according to the release.

 

 

 

 

Collins to Provide Avionics Logistics for Royal Netherlands CH-47F Fleet

Under a new multi-year performance-based logistics contracts, Collins Aerospace will provide avionics support for the Royal Netherlands Air Force’s (RNLAF) fleet of 15 CH-47F Chinook helicopters.

Collins Aerospace will provide field service engineering, program management, logistics service and repair and overhaul for the Common Avionics Architecture System (CAAS) components installed on the aircraft at the Gilze-Rijen Air Base, in the Netherlands.

 

Army Tests SC2 on UAV

The Army conducted the first acceptance test procedure (ATP) flights for General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.’s (GA ASI) scalable command and control (SC2) software, according to a March 10 release. The flight tests were conducted on GA ASI’s Gray Eagle Extended Range (GE-ER) unmanned aircraft system (UAS). 

“SC2 represents a massive reduction in emplacement, mission launch time and overall footprint size,” GA-ASI Vice President of Strategic Development J.R. Reid said in a statement. “The SC2 software could be part of the Army’s Ground Modernization plan replacing the Universal Ground Control Station (UGCS) with rugged laptops and tactical servers enabling more mobile operations in a defined Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) framework.”

SC2 was installed on an Army laptop and was able to successfully complete all test points during the 3.8 hour test flight, according to the release. The software operates autonomously while still allowing operates to take over when necessary which the Army refers to as supervised autonomy. It also meets MOSA standards. 

PrecISR Passes Factory Acceptance Test 

 

HENSOLDT’s airborne multi-mission surveillance radar, PrecISR, pass the Factory Acceptance Test, according to a March 10 release from the company. PrecISR will be used on the Pilatus PC-12. 

HENSOLDT’s radar can be used on helicopters, unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAVs), and fixed-wing aircraft and can complete different tasks at the same time, according to the release. It has a compact design with software-defined modes, and electronic beam steering. 

 

 

 

 

Unmanned

Remote ID for UAS Delayed Until April 

While waiting for implementation of remote ID, many UTM providers are working with airspace awareness partners to include and distinguish non-cooperative drone traffic in their common operating picture.

The final rule Remote Identification (Remote ID) for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) is delayed until April 21, 2021 because of a January memorandum from the assistant to the president and chief of staff calling for a regulatory freeze so the new administration can review new or pending rules. The delay was announced in a March 10 press release.

While a delay often reopens the comment period for a rule, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will not be accepting further comments. 

“A delay in the effective date of the final rule, Remote Identification of Unmanned Aircraft, is essential for the President’s appointees and designees to have adequate time to review the rule before it takes effect, and neither the notice and comment process nor the delayed effective date could be implemented in time to allow for this review, thereby making notice and comment impracticable,” the rule states. “In addition, notice and comment on this delay is unnecessary because the delay is short, the effective dates remain aligned with the Operation of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems over People final rule, and there is no change to the policy effectuated by the Remote Identification of Unmanned Aircraft final rule. This delay is insignificant in its nature and impact, and inconsequential to the regulated community and to the public.” 

 

 

 

 

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Gogo Delays 5G In-flight Connectivity Network Deployment to 2022

March 13th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Gogo Delays 5G In-flight Connectivity Network Deployment to 2022   
Gogo Delays 5G In-flight Connectivity Network Deployment to 2022

Gogo CEO Oakleigh Thorne says their software-centric AVANCE technology is the company’s “hidden gem” to unlocking 5G connectivity on business aircraft. (Gogo)

Gogo CEO Oakleigh Thorne told investors that the in-flight connectivity (IFC) service provider will deploy its 5G network a year later than planned during the company’s March 11 fourth quarter 2020 earnings call.

Thorne’s comments come in the third month of Gogo’s first year as an all-business aviation company, after the sale of its commercial aviation business to Intelsat was completed in December 2020. Gogo’s 5G network will become accessible to business aviation operators in North America as a single channel, combining their existing network’s 4 megahertz of licensed spectrum with 60 megahertz of 2.4 unlicensed spectrum.

The company’s new 5G network will leverage the existing 250 towers that enable its current 3G and 4G IFC network service on business jets today. The 5G network will use an unlicensed spectrum in the 2.4 GHz band, with a new modem and beamforming technology providing the airplane-to-ground station link.

“We’re extremely pleased with the progress our team and our partners Cisco, Airspan, and FIRST RF have made on this project. However, as is true of many projects in the telecom and satellite space our schedule has slipped, primarily because of a supply chain delay for one particular microchip. And we now expect to deploy the network in 2022 instead of 2021,” Thorne said.

Thorne also provided more details on how 5G will be enabled onboard business jets that are equipped with their AVANCE platform. AVANCE, enabled by a modem, and antennas, integrates a range of smart cabin features, and includes a built-in smart router that operators can manipulate for cockpit data as well as in-flight texting or calling.

“I don’t think we’ve done justice to how AVANCE is truly a software-centric platform,” Thorne said, referring to how Gogo has marked AVANCE in recent years. “So, what do we mean by software-centric? We mean that like Apple, where iOS is the operating system for all of their devices, AVANCE is our operating system and all of our devices whether L3 or L5 on the plane, our applications in the ground, on the ground – in the cloud on the ground, they all run on the same software.”

When 5G becomes available, business jet users could also use AVANCE to access multiple networks through one central in-flight portal.

Gogo’s 5G concept of operations.

“As I mentioned with 5G, it can aggregate multiple bearers or multiple networks into one channel, or SSID [Service Set IDentifier], if one wants to expand capacity for certain users on the airplane. It’s engineered to be extensible, easily supporting the addition of new products and features, which soon we’ll be able to load over the air,” Thorne said.

Selling their commercial aviation division to Intelsat has also already proven to have come at a great time for Gogo as well. Gogo entered 2020 with 5,669 subscribers to its North American IFC network and finished the year increasing that number to 5,778.

Among business jets equipped with Gogo in North American airspace, flight activity for both charter and fractional operators was up through the end of February. Corporate flight departments also completed 75 percent of their February 2020 flight counts, according to Thorne.

Overall average Gogo data consumption per flight through the first two months of the year was also 20 percent above the average consumption that occurred during the same period a year ago.

“Though the business aviation market is relatively small compared to other mobility verticals, it holds a lot of opportunity for a niche-focused company like Gogo. 66 percent of the world’s business aircraft are registered in North America,” Thorne said. “And more than 70 percent of those roughly 18,000 aircraft do not yet have broadband in-flight connectivity. For the last five years, Gogo has added an average net of 400 aircraft online per year and we feel we can sustain that pace or a little better over our five-year planning horizon.”

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