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Boeing Lowers 787 Production Rate to Address New Manufacturing Flaw

Boeing is temporarily halting deliveries of its 787 Dreamliners, pictured here is the first Singapore Airlines 787-10. (Boeing)

Boeing is temporarily lowering the production rate for its 787 Dreamliner and halting deliveries of its flagship wide-body jet to address a newly discovered manufacturing issue.

The new issues involve small gaps identified in the forward pressure bulkhead, a representative for Boeing told Avionics International. This will be the second delivery stoppage of the twin-aisle airliner in less than a year, after Boeing stopped delivering the 787 between November 2020 and late March to address previously discovered issues with composite skin flatness and small gaps discovered between sections of the fuselage.

Boeing temporarily paused deliveries of the 787 again in May after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sought more information and data about its verification process for the aircraft’s fuselage. Since then, Boeing delivered one 787—that had been cleared for delivery several months before the FAA’s inquiry— to Turkish Airlines.

“As Boeing has previously shared, the company has been engaged in detailed discussions with the FAA on verification methodology for 787 fuselages, and conducting associated inspections and rework,” Boeing said in a July 13 press release. “In connection with these efforts, the company has identified additional rework that will be required on undelivered 787s. Based on our assessment of the time required to complete this work, Boeing is reprioritizing production resources for a few weeks to support the inspection and rework.”

The airframe manufacturer is also temporarily reducing the production rate for the 787 to less than five per month while the inspection and rework process is completed for the undelivered aircraft. Boeing also now expects to deliver less than half of the 787s currently in its inventory this year.

In an emailed statement, a representative for the FAA told Avionics that the 787s will be fixed before deliveries resume.

“The FAA is aware of a manufacturing quality issue near the nose on certain 787 Dreamliners in the company’s inventory of undelivered airplanes. This issue was discovered as part of the ongoing system-wide inspection of Boeing’s 787 shimming processes required by the FAA,” the representative said. “Although the issue poses no immediate threat to flight safety, Boeing has committed to fix these airplanes before resuming deliveries. Based on data, the FAA will determine whether similar modifications should be made on 787s already in commercial service.”

Boeing also reported its second-quarter delivery numbers on Tuesday, completing a total of 79 commercial aircraft deliveries between April and May, 50 of which were 737 MAX jets. The company has delivered 14 total 787 Dreamliners this year.

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New Partnership Between Joby, JetBlue and Signature Aims to Create Credits for Clean Flight Technology

Joby Aviation, JetBlue Airways, and Signature Flight Support are teaming up to create a new pathway to clean aviation by developing a system of aviation credits for using electric and hydrogen propulsion technologies, the companies announced in a July 13 press release.

The partnership is aiming to aid in the commercialization of electric and hydrogen technologies, according to the release. It will also connect airlines and operators in the development of sustainable solutions.

“This partnership allows JetBlue to not only continue to fulfill our domestic carbon neutrality commitment, but also evolve the type of offsets we purchase and help support the development of electric and hydrogen aviation — critical levers for meeting the U.S. aviation industry’s net-zero goals,” Sara Bogdan, head of sustainability and environmental social governance at JetBlue, said in a statement.

Airlines could gain these credits by reducing emissions using electric or hydrogen-powered commercial flights that use an energy equivalent to conventional jet fuel, according to the release. The partnership will work on the creation, validation, and use of these credits. Joby is working on an analysis of its new air taxi’s energy consumption to support this effort.

“With JetBlue and Signature, we’re opening up an entirely new path for the aviation industry to more quickly move to sustainable energy sources,” JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO of Joby Aviation, said in a statement. “We invite additional partners to join us and hope these agreements will be the first of many that link today’s air travel to the clean future of flight.”

Joby is developing an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for this sector which it plans to launch in 2024. The company has received G1 certification requirements from the Federal Aviation Administration and could meet those requirements as soon as 2023.

According to the release, this credit is meant to be a supplement to other emissions-reducing solutions like sustainable aviation fuels.

“Signature has long been the leader in moving the business aviation community towards a sustainable future,” Tony Lefebvre, CEO at Signature Flight Support, said in a statement. “Today, we offer our customers the option to offset emissions at airports where SAF isn’t readily available with a book-and-claim model. We’re excited to expand that model through this partnership to include the purchase of electric aviation credits from clean operators like Joby — all while supporting the innovative spirit that brings us closer every day to making flight sustainable for everyone.”

The companies plan to release more information on the partnership later in the year, according to the release.

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New Eurocontrol Data Shows Airlines Increasingly Becoming Targets for Cyber Attacks

A new report published by Eurocontrol documents a significant increase in cyber attacks against various segments of the aviation industry over the last year.

Commercial airlines accounted for 61 percent of all detected aviation-related cyber-attacks in 2020, according to new data collected by Eurocontrol analyzing rising levels of risk for the industry from criminals, hackers and state-sponsored cyber-attackers.

The latest in a series of Think Papers, Eurocontrol used data collected from its European Air Traffic Management Computer Emergency Response Team (EATM-CERT), which reported a 530 percent increase in the number of cyber-attacks that were reported to or identified by the team between 2019 and 2020. None of the cyber attack methods or attempts reported by EATM-CERT were directly against safety-critical aircraft systems or passenger mobile devices connected to in-flight internet.

EATM-CERT’s report notes its system identified or received reports on a total of 775 cyber-attacks on airlines over the course of 2020, a significantly higher number than the next two aviation sectors combined, just over 200 for aviation OEMs and 150 for airports.

“The vast majority of these attacks – 95 percent – were financially motivated: 739 out of 775 incidents. This led to financial loss in 55 percent of cases, and the leaking or theft of personal data in an additional 34 percent of cases,” EATM-CERT notes in the report.

Eurocontrol also categorized the type of attacks against airlines and others and found that based on the 2020 data, attackers overwhelmingly targeted airlines with fraudulent websites and data theft. Researchers attributed the fraudulent website trend to the uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic related to airline ticket changes and refunds.

Aviation manufacturers are highlighted in the report as being the most targeted for data theft, with 122 of the 206 total reported cyber-attacks against them coming in the form of cybercriminals seeking to monetize their intellectual property. The shift of many OEMs to cloud-based infrastructure to store and access their data is also problematic, according to EATM-CERT, because it widens the threat surface giving attackers multiple devices connected to the same cloud to go after.

The new report also highlights some of the attacks that were successful against high-profile companies, including a successful one against EasyJet that the U.K.-based low-cost carrier reported in May 2020. That attack led to 9 million EasyJet passengers having their personal information, email addresses and travel details exposed.

A chart featured in the new Eurocontrol report shows how the number of cyber attacks reported to or identified by EATM-CERT. (Eurocontrol)

More recently, in March, well-known aviation IT supplier SITA reported that it was the victim of a cyber-attack leading involving certain passenger data that was stored on SITA’s airline passenger service system servers. SITA’s IT systems manage around 90 percent of passenger bookings for airlines, and although the breach has not yet been quantified, EATM-CERT’s report notes that it could “dwarf the Cathay Pacific incident in terms of millions of exposed records,” referring to a 2018 attack on Cathay Pacific where 9.4 million passenger records were stolen.

An increase in the number of ransomware attacks—the use of malware to infect a computer or IT system and restrict user access until a ransom is paid—is also highlighted in the report. Examples include a June 2020 ransomware attack on VT San Antonio Aerospace, resulting in 1.5 terabytes of sensitive data stolen. A March 2021 ransomware attack against Spirit Airlines that the U.S.-based carrier still has not acknowledged is also highlighted by EATM-CERT.

“Every week, an aviation actor suffers a ransomware attack somewhere in the world, with big impacts on productivity and business continuity, let alone data loss and/or costly extortion demands paid in order to restart operations,” the EATM-CERT team writes in the report. “To be better prepared to manage a ransomware attack, EATM-CERT has teamed up with A-ISAC, the Aviation Information Sharing and Analysis Centre, on a joint awareness campaign about ransomware to help aviation stakeholders better understand the threat, and recommend best practices to reduce risks.”

EATM-CERT researchers are also recommending the development of a new European Aviation Common Public Key Infrastructure designed to use digital identification and provide a new secure medium for electronic communications and transactions between European aviation actors.

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What’s Trending in Aerospace – July 11, 2021

Check out the July 11 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 

 

Proposed Rule Would Require US Airlines to Refund Fees When Wi-Fi Does Not Work

A newly proposed rule would require U.S. airlines to issue refunds for fees charged on ancillary services such as in-flight internet or baggage delivery. (American Airlines)

A new rule being proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation would require airlines to refund fees charged for “checked bags that are significantly delayed and for ancillary services, such as advance seat selection and wi-fi, when consumers pay for them but they are not provided,” according to a July 9 press release.

“The Department is acting on President Biden’s Executive Order Promoting Competition in the American Economy,” the agency said in the release.

The new rule will expand on an existing DOT rule that entitles passengers to a fee refund if their checked bags are lost. Under the proposed rule, airlines would also be required to refund checked baggage fees when the baggage is delayed beyond 12 hours for domestic flights and beyond 25 hours for international flights.

Check out the full notice of proposed rule making published by DOT here.

 

 

Airbus Starts Assembly of its First A321XLR Front Fuselage

Airbus has begun assembly of the front fuselage on its first A321XLR aircraft. (Airbus)

Airbus has started assembling the nose and front fuselage for its first A321XLR in France, according to a July 9 press release.

The latest milestone in the A321XLR program comes less than two months after the start of structural assembly of the rear and centre fuselages in Germany. Now, Airbus teams are taking another significant production step with the structural assembly and system equipment of the nose and front fuselages at its Saint-Nazaire facility.

“This is a key milestone for the A321XLR. We are on track to support the aircraft’s entry into service by 2023,” Martin Schnoor, head of the A321XLR at Airbus said in a statement.

 

 

H2FLY and Deutsche Aircraft Partner to Research Hydrogen Fuel Cells

The companies plan to convert a Dornier 328 aircraft for a hydrogen power system with the goal of flying the aircraft in 2025.

The German aircraft manufacturer, Deutsche Aircraft, and hydrogen fuel cell system company, H2FLY, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a research and development program centered on hydrogen fuel cell technology for commercial regional aircraft, according to a July 6 press release.

“Hydrogen fuel cell technology provides an opportunity for us to completely eliminate carbon and NOx emissions from regional flights and the technology to make that happen is closer than most people think, Prof. Dr. Josef Kallo, co-founder and CEO of H2FLY, said in a statement. “Over the last 16 years we have worked hard to demonstrate our technology on smaller aircraft, completing record breaking flights based six powertrain generations. Today we’re pleased to be taking that to the next level with Deutsche Aircraft as we scale our efforts up to regional aircraft.”

The companies plan to convert a Dornier 328 aircraft for a hydrogen power system with the goal of flying the aircraft in 2025, according to the release. The program is focusing on aircraft with up to 40 seats.

“Deutsche Aircraft is convinced that the higher propulsive efficiency of propeller powered aircraft will drive the change in propulsion technology and will result in reducing fuel consumption and emissions even further in the future,” Martin Nüßeler, CTO at Deutsche Aircraft, said in a statement. “Combining modern propeller aircraft design with zero carbon energy sources is central to achieving climate-neutral air transportation.”

 

 

Qatar Airways Joins IATA’s Turbulence Aware Platform

Qatar Airways and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that Qatar Airways will become the first airline in the Middle East to join the IATA Turbulence Aware platform, according to a July 8 press release.

IATA describes Turbulence Aware as a platform that helps airlines “mitigate the impact of turbulence, by pooling and sharing anonymized turbulence data from multiple participating airlines and thousands of daily flights.”

Qatar Airways was the first Middle Eastern carrier to participate in the Turbulence Aware initiative when it was launched as a pilot project in December 2018. The airline has equipped 120 aircraft with the Turbulence Aware platform, with plans to expand it to the rest of its fleet.

 

 

Safran Tests SAF on Helicopter Engine

Safran Helicopter Engines completed the first step of its strategy to deploy sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in engine test cells at its helicopter engine plants with a test on its Arrano engine during which it ran on 38 percent SAF, according to a July 5 press release.

The test was completed at its Bordes plant in France and the SAF was produced from used cooking oils, according to the release.

“Reducing CO2 emissions is a collective responsibility that has been embraced by the women and men of Safran,” Franck Saudo, Safran Helicopter Engines CEO, said in a statement. “By introducing SAF, and specifically biofuel, to helicopter operators and at our plants, we are reducing CO2 emissions at both. I am proud that once again, Safran has taken the lead in aviation decarbonization.”

 

 

Air Taxi

CAE and Volocopter Form Partnership for Pilot Training

Experts in the industry are warning that air taxi manufacturers need to start creating pilot training programs now in order to meet planned commercial launches in the next three or four years. (CAE)

Volocopter and CAE announced a new partnership to develop a training program for Volocopter’s electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) pilots, according to a July 8 press release.

The partnership will include a $40 million investment from CAE to meet Volocopter’s global pilot demands, according to the release.

“As we scale our UAM services in cities around the world, specific pilot training and qualification for our Volocopters will be an important element. We are proud to be partnering with CAE, who have a track record in developing best-in-class, innovative pilot training solutions for new aircraft programs. It will greatly benefit Volocopter’s entry-into-service timeline and scale,” Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter, said in a statement. “We are excited about CAE’s endorsement and look forward to collaborate as partners focused on combining future-oriented technologies to ensure aviation safety.”

CAE says that air taxi companies need to start developing pilot training programs now to meet 2024 launch date timelines, representatives for the company said during a July 7 call with reporters.

“As a high-technology company and the industry leader in pilot training, we continuously look at providing solutions that make the world a safer place,” Nick Leontidis, CAE group president of civil aviation training solutions, said in a statement. “We are committed to supporting Volocopter’s inspiring vision and we look forward to leading in the design of UAM pilot training that prioritizes safety of operations through our data-driven solutions, world-class pilot training experience, and longstanding relationships with civil aviation authorities across the globe.”

 

Volocopter Receives Prerequisite Approval from EASA to Begin eVTOL Aircraft Production

Volocopter, the German air taxi and drone manufacturer, received a Production Organization Approval (POA) from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the prerequisite to beginning production of its electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, the company announced in a July 6 press release. Volocopter will also be acquiring longtime partner, DG Flugzeugbau, a composite aircraft producer.

“Our ten-year partnership with DG Flugzeugbau has been an extraordinary learning experience,” Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter, said in a statement. “Having this legendary industry leader on our side to kick-start scalable and affordable UAM for people and cargo has been a game changer. Today marks an exciting milestone as we unify DG Flugzeugbau’s leadership in aviation production with Volocopter’s pioneering UAM goals to establish yet another crucial stepping-stone for our collective global endeavors.”

 

 

 

Unmanned

Volansi Names Roper CEO

Volansi’s VOLY C10 UAV. (Volansi)

Volansi, a cargo drone delivery company, has named Dr. Will Roper, former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, as its new CEO, according to a July 8 press release.

Roper was previously named to Volansi’s board of directors in March 21. During his time working with the Air Force, Roper spearheaded multiple efforts to advance innovation including initiatives like AFWERX and small business innovative research (SBIR) reform. He was also a strong advocate for Agility Prime, which is advancing commercial air taxi companies.

“As a Volansi board member, I’ve been impressed by the company’s capacity for innovation,” Roper said in a statement. “The company’s VTOL designs are well-suited for a range of commercial and military applications. It felt like a natural fit for me to bring my industry knowledge as well as operations and logistics experience to help create disruptive solutions for the transportation of medium to heavy weight payloads. It’s an exciting opportunity.”

 

 

 

 

 

Military 

Netherlands Gets First MQ-9A Block 5

This is the first of four aircraft and ground stations the RNLAF will receive, according to the release. The MQ-9A will be delivered to the Netherlands by the end of 2021.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) has completed the Royal Netherlands Air Force’s (RNLAF) first MQ-9A Block 5 remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) and ground control station (GCS), according to a July 8 press release.

“We are proud to begin this new relationship with the Royal Netherlands Air Force,” Linden Blue, GA-ASI CEO, said in a statement. “With millions of hours of proven performance under its wings, the MQ-9 is ideally suited to support their nation’s ISR needs. The Netherlands now joins the United Kingdom, Italy, France and Spain as NATO countries operating our advanced RPAs, with Belgium coming online in the next few years.”

This is the first of four aircraft and ground stations the RNLAF will receive, according to the release. The MQ-9A will be delivered to the Netherlands by the end of 2021.

Testing for the aircraft will begin later this year at GA-ASI’s Gray Butte Flight Operations Facility in California, according to the release.

 

 

Boeing Rolls Out Norway’s First P-8A Poseidon 

The first Norwegian P8A Poseidon rolled out of the paint shop in Renton. (Boeing)

The first P-8A Poseidon aircraft for Norway rolled out of the paint shop in Renton, in Royal Norwegian Air Force livery, according to a July 9 press release. Norway is one of eight nations to have acquired the P-8A as their new multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft.

Norway’s first P-8A aircraft – Vingtor – will now return to the factory floor to be prepared for flight testing. First flight is scheduled for later this month, and mission systems will be installed on the aircraft after that.

 

 

More Than 80 Companies Competing in U.S. Air Force JADC2 Effort

The U.S. Air Force has instituted a broad competition on maturing Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2), as the service has brought in 81 companies to compete for JADC2 contracts since May last year.

On July 8, the Air Force announced its third JADC2 tranche of 29 companies competing for up to $950 million in indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts for JADC2, an effort to use artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced computing to build a cross-service digital architecture for multi-domain operations that are to rely on the fast provision of information from sensors to shooters.

The companies announced July 8 are Black Sage Technologies Inc., Clarity Innovations LLC, Deloitte Consulting LLP, Frontier Technology Inc., Global Infotek Inc., Greystones Consulting Group LLC, Government Research Specialists, Hughes Network Systems LLC, Hypergiant Galactic Systems Inc., Kymeta Corp., Mission Solutions LLC, Net Vision Consultants Inc., NXM Labs Inc., Oracle America, Inc. [ORCL], PARASANTI Inc., PLEXSYS Interface Products Inc., Polysentry Inc., Rackner Inc., Research Innovations Inc., Rolls-Royce North American Technologies Inc., SAAB Sensis Corp.; Scientific Systems Co. Inc., SLICEUP Inc., Software AG Government Solutions Inc., Spectral Sensor Solutions LLC, Systems & Technology Research LLC, UMBRA LAB Inc., XL Scientific LLC, and Yakabod Federal Solutions Inc.

 

 

Space 

Virgin Galactic Completes First Fully-Crewed Spaceflight

This image of Virgin Group founder Richard Branson was posted to his Twitter account as Virgin Galactic completed its first fully-crewed spaceflight on Sunday. (Virgin Galactic)

On Sunday July 11, Virgin Galactic completed their first fully-crewed spaceflight, with Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, onboard.

According to a message posted to Twitter by Virgin Galactic following the flight, their spacecraft, the VSS Unity, reached top speed of Mach 3 and a “space altitude of 53.5 miles.”

Check out the full replay of the flight here.

 

 

 

FAA Can Now Track Space Launch and Reentry in ATC System Command Center

SpaceX completed a successful takeoff and landing of its Starship Rocket on May 5. (SpaceX)

The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) National Airspace System has a new capability, the Space Data Integrator (SDI), allowing it to track space launch and reentry vehicles in near real time, according to a July 8 press release from the agency.

The SDI will allow the FAA to track space launches and reentries by automatically sending data to the FAA’s Air Traffic Control System Command Center, according to the release.

“This is a critical tool as the number of users of our already busy airspace increases,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement. “With this capability, we will be able to safely reopen the airspace more quickly and reduce the number of aircraft and other airspace users affected by a launch or reentry.”

The data provided from SDI includes vehicle position, altitude, speed, and deviations from its expected flight path, according to the release.

 

 

NASA Finalizes Contract with Northrop Grumman for Moon Outpost Living Quarters 

A rendering of the Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO), one of the elements of Gateway. (NASA)

NASA has finalized its contract with Northrop Grumman to develop the living quarters for astronauts working on the Gateway, the planned in-orbit moon outpost. NASA announced July 9 the firm, fixed-price contract is valued at $935 million.

This is a step forward for NASA’s Artemis program, which is developing the Gateway to support science investigations and surface landings at the moon. Northrop Grumman will develop what is called HALO — the Habitation and Logistics Outpost. The combined spacecraft is targeted for launch in November 2024 on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.

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14 New Partners Added to NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility Project

NASA’s AAM NC project is a collaboration between the agency, industry, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). It is funded through 2030 and every two years the campaign gets more complex in operations. (NASA)

NASA has added 13 new companies and one university as partners on its Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) project that is researching the integration of air taxis and drones into the national airspace, according to a July 8 release from the agency.

These companies will participate in NASA’s National Campaign (NC-1) in 2022 which will include flight demonstrations and simulations around the country over a period of several months.

“The National Campaign team is excited to conduct operational flight demonstrations with the first Advanced Air Mobility integrated experimental ecosystem for the urban environment that connects airspace providers, infrastructure services, and a UAM vehicle in real-time,” Starr Ginn, AAM National Campaign lead, said in a statement.

NASA has added a flight partner, Reliable Robotics Corporation who is working on creating autonomous Part 23 cargo and Part 25 passenger aircraft, recently forming a partnership with Daedalean toward those efforts.

Two previous flight demonstrations partners, Wisk Aero and Joby Aviation, will also continue work with the agency, according to the release. Wisk, an electric air taxi company, has been working with NASA since November on solutions for integrating autonomous aircraft into the national airspace. Joby is set to begin flight testing with NASA later this year.

NASA will have five infrastructure partners during these demonstrations including AURA Network Systems, Raytheon Company, Robust Analytics Inc., SkyGrid, and the University of North Texas, according to the release. AURA Network Systems, which is creating a drone communications system on an aviation-approved spectrum, will also be performing communications, navigation, and surveillance activities during the demonstrations.

SkyGrid, who is creating a next-generation airspace management system for drones, will also be an airspace partner for simulations during NC-1, according to the release. NASA has also partnered with ANRA Technologies Inc., ARINC Incorporated, Avision Inc., Metron Aviation Inc., OneSky Systems Inc., and Unmanned Experts Inc for simulations.

In preparation for flight tests with Joby this year and NC-1 in 2022, NASA completed test flights with a Bell OH-58C Kiowa helicopter to simulate the hurdles AAM vehicles will face.

“We need a vehicle that has a vertical lift capability to test our flight test plan and that flight test plan is basically the blueprint of moving forward with our vehicle partners,” Ginn told Avionics International in March. “It’s to tease out what are going to be even some certification hurdles for the vehicles because the whole airspace architecture and infrastructure is built around the performance of the vehicle and so you got to come up with some minimum safety standard.”

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Air Taxi Manufacturers Need to Start Thinking About Pilot Training Now

Experts in the industry are warning that air taxi manufacturers need to start creating pilot training programs now in order to meet planned commercial launches in the next three or four years. (CAE)

There is a consensus in the electric air taxi industry that the first aircraft to emerge in the commercial world will not be autonomous. This begs the question, who will fly them, and what kind of training will these pilots need to fly these new aircraft?

Experts in the industry are warning that air taxi manufacturers need to start creating pilot training programs now in order to meet planned commercial launches in the next three to four years.

“It’s really, really important, if the OEMs, want to get their aircraft into service on time, that they’re thinking about this training piece, two to three years out is what we’re suggesting right now,” Christopher Courtney, director of advanced air mobility at CAE, said during a call with reporters on July 7. “We have been doing this for a very long time, so we know what it takes to get there and the last thing you want is a cool we’re getting closer and closer and now we’ve got to figure out how to develop a simulator training program…and it’s going to cause delays.”

CAE and Volocopter announced a new partnership to develop a pilot training program for Volocopter’s electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft on July 8. Volocopter is planning to launch its VoloCity eVTOL at the Olympics in Paris in 2024, according to the release. As part of the agreement, CAE will invest $40 million to meet Volocopter’s projected global pilot demand.

“As we scale our UAM services in cities around the world, specific pilot training and qualification for our Volocopters will be an important element. We are proud to be partnering with CAE, who have a track record in developing best-in-class, innovative pilot training solutions for new aircraft programs. It will greatly benefit Volocopter’s entry-into-service timeline and scale,” Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter, said in a statement. “We are excited about CAE’s endorsement and look forward to collaborate as partners focused on combining future-oriented technologies to ensure aviation safety.”

Air taxi missions will present unique operating environments for pilots, Timothy Schoenauer, director of global training solutions BAT/HAT at CAE said during the July 7 call. The missions will generally be shorter and in more congested air space within urban environments. These factors will contribute to training challenges such as the currently undefined regulatory requirements for eVTOL pilots and single-pilot operations.

Schoenauer said CAE is focusing on training pilots around pilot competencies rather than prescriptive models with a Competency Based Training Assessment (CBTA) approach.

Air taxi missions will present unique operating environments for pilots, Timothy Schoenauer, director of global training solutions BAT/HAT at CAE said during the July 7 call. (CAE)

“CBTA is the process that we plan to follow for eVTOL training program development and the main reason why is that it’s an internationally recognized process that allows us to write a training program once instead of several times for different entities around the world,” Schoenauer said.

This approach is international and will provide companies with the benefit of not having to create training programs for each civil aviation authorities’ rules, Schoenauer said.

CBTA is based on nine pilot competencies including problem-solving, decision making, situational awareness, workload management, and teamwork, Schoenauer said. This program also places a large focus on gathering pilot data and analyzing it to determine the effectiveness of the training and revise the program if necessary.

CAE is building a pathway to regulatory compliance with a seven-step model to determine which devices need to be used during training and the structure of the program. The steps include: data and science, leveraging a standard and determining what applies, documenting the difference, determining the best way to train tasks, a risk assessment, developing industry consensus standards, and then continuous improvement. According to CAE, they have already completed step one of this pathway with vehicle partners.

“I think what we recognize is foundational training needs analysis needs to be done first and that’s the foundational piece that will build the entire training program,” Courtney said.

To add to these challenges, eVTOL companies will need an influx of approximately 60,000 pilots by 2028, according to research from CAE, in an industry that is already headed towards a pilot shortage, Schoenauer said.

Courtney said he estimates that every aircraft will need about three pilots to operate.

“To support that level of operation, and just knowing how many hours and how many days a pilot can work, the math would lead you to believe that you need about three pilots for every aircraft, for the most part, to fly at the rates that a lot of the OEMs are publicly talking about,” Courtney said. “So, between two and three pilots, you plan for that, and just based on an aircraft number that’s coming out, you can start to do the math and you could start to see where the numbers start to become exponential. As the production rates increase, as we all know with these novel aircraft…is that they’re partnering up with automobile manufacturers and folks that can really accelerate the production aircraft and so you can see as I produce a lot of aircraft, you’re going to need more pilots.”

CAE is also currently working with Jaunt Air Mobility to develop a simulation lab for Jaunt’s eVTOL aircraft.

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Volocopter Receives Prerequisite Approval from EASA to Begin eVTOL Aircraft Production

Volocopter expects to launch eVTOL operations in Singapore within the next three years. (Volocopter)

Volocopter, the German air taxi and drone manufacturer, received a Production Organization Approval (POA) from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the prerequisite to beginning production of its electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, the company announced in a July 6 press release. Volocopter will also be acquiring longtime partner, DG Flugzeugbau, a composite aircraft producer.

“Our ten-year partnership with DG Flugzeugbau has been an extraordinary learning experience,” Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter, said in a statement. “Having this legendary industry leader on our side to kick-start scalable and affordable UAM for people and cargo has been a game changer. Today marks an exciting milestone as we unify DG Flugzeugbau’s leadership in aviation production with Volocopter’s pioneering UAM goals to establish yet another crucial stepping-stone for our collective global endeavors.”

Volocopter also received design organization approval (DOA) for its aircraft in 2019 and is the only eVTOL company to hold DOA and POA from EASA. (Volocopter)

Volocopter also received design organization approval (DOA) for its aircraft in 2019 and is the only eVTOL company to hold DOA and POA from EASA, according to the release.

The acquisition of DG Flugzeugbau will be completed during the summer and then Volocopter will adapt and expand its production facilities in order to produce enough aircraft for its anticipated commercial launch, a representative from the company told Avionics International via email. Volocopter had already started producing aircraft in DG Flugzeugbau’s facilities through its previous partnership.

The acquisition will allow Volocopter to integrate DG Flugzeugbau’s aircraft production segment and its new EASA POA, according to the release. DG Aviation will be created with the remaining segment of DG Flugzeugbau and will be focused on DG and LS gliders.

The acquisition of DG Flugzeugbau will be completed during the summer and then Volocopter will adapt and expand its production facilities in order to produce enough aircraft for its anticipated commercial launch. (Volocopter)

“At DG Flugzeugbau, we have always continued to strive for perfection through unique innovation with gliders, vast aerodynamic improvements, and, for the past ten years, with Volocopter’s eVTOLs,” Holger Back, CEO of DG Aviation, said in a statement. “We see the future in these aircraft and are excited to combine a section of our company with Volocopter to invest in the future of sustainable aviation while continuing our tradition of building gliders and maintaining aircraft.”

Volocopter is working on creating an urban air mobility ecosystem that includes VoloCity, an eVTOL aircraft for intra-city missions, VoloConnect, an eVTOL for inter-city missions, VoloDrone, a drone for cargo transport, VoloPorts, vertiport sites, and VoloIQ, a digital platform.

The post Volocopter Receives Prerequisite Approval from EASA to Begin eVTOL Aircraft Production appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Will Electric Air Taxis Fly Themselves?

Wisk, a joint venture of Kitty Hawk and Boeing, signed an MoU with the government of New Zealand to begin passenger transport trials using its autonomous ‘Cora’ air taxi, once it is certified. (Wisk)

As electric air taxi vehicle developers progress towards certification and deployment the industry is starting to ask itself who will pilot these aircraft. Many companies are choosing to design piloted aircraft while others like Wisk and EHang are developing autonomous aircraft.

During a July 1 panel discussion during Revolution.Aero’s Global 2021 Virtual Event, industry experts discussed the path to autonomous flight and the obstacles it must still surpass to become a reality.

While some people in the industry have seen this decision as a more radical path, these companies have rationalized their decision by looking at the current levels of autonomy already being utilized by commercial and military aircraft.

“From a technology perspective, autonomy is actually quite far along,” Gary Gysin, CEO of Wisk, said. “So, if you look at commercial aviation, over 90 percent of all flight hours are automated from takeoff to landing to autopilot, etc. There’s the comfort, obviously, of having a pilot sitting in front but the actual workload has decreased over the years. And then if you think about from a defense industry perspective, millions of flights have been flown with very large drones, you know, BVLOS [beyond visual line of sight] drones, that are obviously on missions and things like that, but that the technology exists to make this happen.”

EHang is already operating it electric autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) aircraft in China on about 100 routes under a special permit, Andreas Perotti, chief marketing officer for Europe at EHang, said.

“We have around 100 routes or 100 vehicles in operation in predefined segregated areas based on the special permit…we’re a couple of months away from receiving the type certification for our product and our plan is to roll out 100 new routes of operation in the next one and a half years,” Perotti said.

Xwing is also exploring autonomy but on retrofitted cargo aircraft, Marc Piette, founder and CEO of Xwing, said. Piette said he sees this as a more “practical approach” and a quicker way to achieve certification. While Xwing’s aircraft is flying without a pilot, there is still a human operator on the ground.

Guangzhou-based EHang is using AI for intelligent navigation. (EHang)

“We do still have a human on the ground, mainly because you can automate the aircraft all you want but that aircraft still needs to take direction from the air traffic controller,” Piette said. “So, if an air traffic controller asks you to change heading, change airspeed, climb and descend, currently it’s done over voice over VHF channels, and we don’t look to automate that piece. So, we have humans on the ground that take those calls to translate those into high-level commands that then get sent to the aircraft for the aircraft to execute the aircraft on its own. There’s no remote control of the aircraft. The aircraft will take those high-level commands and automatically execute.”

However, Luuk van Dijk, founder and CEO of Daedalean AI, said that many operations in use today, such as those described by Gysin and Piette, shouldn’t really be defined as autonomous and instead as automated.

“I think it’s unfair to call it autonomy unless the aircraft takes off, taxis, flies, and lands without human intervention,” Dijk said.

Dijk said that as long as there is a human in the loop, operations are being automated not made autonomous which would require the technology to take control of the decision-making process.

One of the big obstacles to this becoming a reality is the common perception the artificial intelligence (AI) used to do this is a blackbox that cannot be certified.

“When I hear things like blackbox AI, that’s this troupe, this misconception that there’s this technology that nobody understands, which incidentally is also why it’s not certifiable, and this scary thing that what if it decides to kill us all. That’s a very Hollywood primitive type of thinking about what it is,” Dijk said.

The first step to overcoming this obstacle is to stop calling it AI, Dijk said.

“We can start by not calling it AI,” Dijk said. “We can start by calling it machine learning…and taking away some of these preconceptions and then you know it’s a lot less scary. It’s just a system that does what the human used to do only better.”

Perception is not the only obstacle autonomous flight faces. Dijk said the industry needs to address the safety of these systems next and then how to regulate and certify them.

Aircraft manufacturers are currently relying on redundancy as a safety mechanism.

“We only have 12 moving parts on the aircraft, and they’re designed such that we can have redundancy if one does fail so you’re not single threading on a single propulsion system, you’ve got redundancy actually built into the system, so I think that part is key,” Gysin said of Wisk’s aircraft.

Perotti said the same of EHang’s AAV. He said part of that redundancy still relies on a human operator being in the loop.

“Our vehicle design is basically from the hardware and from the software side, of course, designed with a lot of redundancy and backup measurements but the last layer of redundancy is, and will also stay, the human being in the kind of command-and-control center which is overviewing this traffic ecosystem.”

For urban air mobility to operate with hundreds to thousands of vehicles operating in one airspace, autonomy will be necessary, Dijk said.

“People are generally excited about urban mobility, you know, to get the urban mobility, to this higher density, you need the autonomy,” Dijk said. “So, autonomy is definitely a means to an end.”

Dijk said that the need for safety within these high-density airspace operations will be the real driver for the adoption of autonomy.

Anne-Claire Le Bihan, an aerospace engineer with expertise in autonomous flying at Acubed, the Silicon Valley-based division of Airbus, said that the safety and scalability benefits will work together as autonomy is adopted.

“Safety and scalability are definitely great points that autonomy can leverage and improve,” Bihan said. “If we look at the current number of pilots that are available now, not that many pilots, so in order to really scale the operations, we need to increase the autonomy in order to enable more vehicles in the air.”

The scalability of these operations will also be key to their success to make them more affordable. Perotti said the affordability of air taxi operations will be a big part of the success of the industry.

“At the end of the day, if we do not manage to achieve a business case and especially a reasonable price for the end consumer, there is no need for our industry and we’re not going to succeed because we shouldn’t forget that what we’re doing here is not innovative in the way how we bring people or cargo or goods from A to B,” Perotti said.

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Avionica CEO Talks Exiting GE Aviation Joint Venture

Avionica has exited its joint venture with GE Aviation and is operating as an independent company again. (Avionica)

In May 2018, Avionica established a joint venture with one of the most successful companies in the history of the aviation industry, GE Aviation, in an effort to take aircraft parts and engines data analysis to new levels of efficiency. Three years later, the Miami, Florida-based avionics maker is an independent company again, supplying miniaturized aircraft data collection and wireless data transmission technology to commercial airlines.

Avionics International recently caught up with Avionica CEO Raul Segredo on a Zoom call from his South Miami office to discuss how they were able to exit the joint venture with GE, and how he sees their relationship as avionics supplier of aircraft data acquisition and interfacing systems to airlines becoming more of a service-based model in the next few years.

“Before we struck this deal, I saw, as the engineer that I am, General Electric as a paragon of technical brilliance. Now, having been part of GE for several years, I can attest to you that that’s the absolute truth,” Segredo said. “GE simply knows how to do things that no other company in the world can do and countries aspire to replace and to duplicate. We didn’t duplicate what they did, but we took their best ideas and distilled it into very small, lightweight avionics.”

The 2018 joint venture was an expansion of the partnership Avionica first established with GE in 2016 when the engine manufacturer announced it would be using Avionica’s avSYNC aircraft data transfer service for health management of CF34-3 engines on Bombardier 600 jets. In an interview with GE at the time, the company said it specifically chose Avionica because of the adaptability of its quick access recorder technology.

“At the time, [former GE Aviation CEO] David Joyce’s lure to Avionica was that he wanted to be able to collect data about his engines so that operators could be alerted to problems that could impact their ability to keep their engines on wing. You have to remember, their business is all razors and blades, with the engines being the razors and the maintenance or support services the blades. They don’t make money when the engine isn’t working, especially under power-by-the-hour contracts. We have the means and [supplemental type certifications] STCs and equipment to capture data on practically every Part 25 aircraft produced, but the key was making it affordable to customers,” Segredo said.

A little more than one year into the new joint venture, a major new deal was revealed involving hardware supplied by Avionica and data analytics and services from GE. At the 2019 National Business Aviation Association annual conference and exhibition, a new program called Smart Link Plus was announced by Bombardier featuring Avionica’s onboard network system (ONS), aviONS, installed in the electric equipment bay of older Challenger and Global jets.

The aviONS box is an all-in-one remote data concentrator, airborne data loader, quick access recorder (QAR) and server with up to one terabyte of storage for aircraft and flight operational data. GE licensed the product’s intellectual property and provided it to legacy Challenger and Global operators as a free upgrade and the enabler of their associated digital aircraft health management and data services.

The deal served as a prime example of what their JV could offer the industry. Small easily upgradable data processing systems capable of serving as onboard network servers, quick access recorders, and aircraft interface devices from Avionica and GE’s analytics software to optimize the way fleet operators acquire, analyze and store operational data.

However, just six months after the Smart Link Plus announcement, the COVID-19 global pandemic would park nearly half the world’s fleet of passenger-carrying airplanes. Airlines and aviation OEMs shed thousands of jobs and lost millions in revenue amid historic lows in passenger air travel.

“Everybody in the industry was laying people off. General Electric was laying people off, Honeywell was laying people off, everybody was laying people off, and that was just contrary to everything that I wanted to accomplish. So, we didn’t do that at Avionica. It was at some peril that we did that. But as I told the people that were leading me at that point in time, I said, I can’t get my mission accomplished, and lay people off. Aside from the fact that you know, it would destroy everything that I’ve been working on, for the last 29 years,” Segredo said.

Segredo said that one of his earliest goals in starting Avionica was to grow the company to 1,000 or more employees, and although that will prove difficult even if the commercial airline industry is able to return to pre-pandemic 2019 levels of international passenger air travel, it drove him to approach GE and re-purchase the company.

A new graphic provided by Avionica showing their revamped “3.0” team, with CEO Raul Segredo a the top, as the company approaches 30 years in operation. (Avionica)

“When this pandemic started, my objective of getting to a thousand livelihoods was really dimming in a big way. We were very blessed that they gave me the opportunity to buy the business back,” Segredo said. “I’m very pleased to say that we’re coming out of this pandemic at full strength. Avionica has its full team in-tact ready to serve our customers.”

The Avionica founder said that they’re focusing on business jets, regional carriers, and the air cargo market at the moment since those are among the most active sectors on the commercial side of air transportation.

The first half of 2021 proved to be an active one for the company.

Air France Hop, a regional subsidiary of Air France, is currently in the process of upgrading its ATR, Bombardier, and Embraer fleet with their onboard network server, and they’re also in talks with several other undisclosed regional carriers.

In March, a new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Supplemental Type Certification (STC) approval for their satLINK MAX was achieved for the Airbus A320 family. Avionica also established a new partnership with SmartSky Networks on June 1, which will exploit their onboard data collection technology by coupling it with SmartSky’s in-flight connectivity (IFC) network and Skytelligence platform.

Within the next few years, Segredo believes that the use of cloud computing, data analytics, and digital services will become increasingly important in how operators ultimately invest in their aircraft electronics systems for flight operational quality assurance (FOQA) and other aircraft health-related programs or applications.

“We’re not aspiring to just sell quick access recorders to operators in the future. We’re aspiring to sell their access to the data on a timely basis for them to accomplish their mission. We’re envisioning equipment on the aircraft that has multifunction, and there will be no need for a federated quick access recorder, flight data recorder, and aircraft interface device,” Segredo said. “One of the things that our engineers are innovating around is how to mix those separated functions into that same small box. How do we mix the QAR, AID and even the [Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System] ACARS data together in a tiny little box so that we make it easier for airlines from a spares and equipment perspective?”

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What’s Trending in Aerospace – July 4, 2021

Check out the July 4 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 

United Airlines Places Order for 270 New Airbus and Boeing Jets 

United Airlines has placed its largest order ever for a total of 270 Airbus and Boeing jets. (Boeing)

United Airlines placed the largest combined order in the Chicago-based air carrier’s history for 270 new Airbus and Boeing aircraft.

The order includes 50 Boeing 737 MAX 8s, 150 737 MAX 10s, and 70 Airbus A321neos, with a “new signature interior that includes seat-back entertainment in every seat,” according to a June 29 press release.

“Our United Next vision will revolutionize the experience of flying United as we accelerate our business to meet a resurgence in air travel,” said United CEO Scott Kirby. “By adding and upgrading this many aircraft so quickly with our new signature interiors, we’ll combine friendly, helpful service with the best experience in the sky, all across our premier global network. At the same time, this move underscores the critical role United plays in fueling the broader U.S. economy – we expect the addition of these new aircraft will have a significant economic impact on the communities we serve in terms of job creation, traveler spending and commerce.”

 

 

 

Transair Boeing 737 Cargo Plane Makes Emergency Water Landing Near Hawaii

A Boeing 737-200 air cargo aircraft operated by Transair made an emergency landing in the Pacific Ocean near Kalaeloa, Hawaii, on Friday, according to a July 2 press release published by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard described it as an all-cargo inter island “transport plane” operated by Hawaiian air cargo carrier Transair, that made an emergency landing “2 miles south of Kalaeloa.”

“Both people aboard were rescued by an Air Station Barbers Point MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and Honolulu Fire Department rescue boat and brought to The Queen’s Medical Center. They are reported to be in stable condition at this time,” according to the release.

“NTSB sending team of 7 investigators for investigation of Friday’s crash of a Transair Boeing 737-200 cargo airplane in the waters off the island of Oahu near Honolulu,” the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) tweeted on Friday.

 

 

 

Boeing Appoints New Chief Financial Officer 

Brian West is the new chief financial officer of Boeing. (Boeing)

 

The Boeing Company on June 30 named Brian West as their new executive vice president and chief financial officer effective August 27, 2021.

In the new role, West will lead all aspects of Boeing’s financial strategy, performance, reporting and long-range business planning. He will also oversee the company’s business transformation efforts and will have executive responsibility for the company’s global financing arm, Boeing Capital Corporation.

West joins Boeing following a diverse career in senior financial and operational roles spanning several industries, including aerospace, manufacturing, infrastructure, healthcare and information services, among others, according to the release. He has served as the chief financial officer of Refinitiv since 2018, and was previously CFO and executive vice president of Operations for Oscar Health Insurance, as well as CFO and COO of Nielsen. Prior to Nielsen, West spent 16 years at General Electric, where he served as CFO of GE Aviation and CFO of GE Engine Services, according to Boeing.

“Brian is the ideal executive to serve as Boeing’s next CFO given his significant financial management and long-term strategic planning experience in complex global organizations across the aerospace, manufacturing and services industries,” Boeing President and CEO Calhoun said in the release. “I have had the pleasure of working with Brian previously, and he is an exceptional leader whose broad operational expertise and commitment to transparency with stakeholders will advance our efforts as we continue our focus on safety and quality, improving our performance and transforming our company for the future.”

 

Grazia Vittadini Officially Steps Down From Role as Airbus CTO

Grazia Vittadini is moving on from her role as CTO of Airbus to pursue other opportunities. (Airbus)

Grazia Vittadini served her last day Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Airbus this week, releasing a video message discussing her departure on LinkedIn.

Vittadini’s departure comes after more than 19 years with the company, and is part of several leadership changes first announced by the company in April.

 

 

 

 

ZeoAvia Expands Hydrogen-Electric Aviation Research

ZeroAvia is beginning the next phase of its hydrogen-electric aircraft research and development project by dedicating two twin-engine 19-seat Dornier 228 aircraft for HyFlyer II program, according to a June 29 release.

The two aircraft will come from the UK and the U.S. and were previously used for regional flights, according to the release.

“We are eager and ready to begin testing our hydrogen-electric powertrain technology on a larger commercial-size aircraft and grateful to our investors and grant funders for their continued support of our vision for sustainable aviation,” Val Miftakhov, Founder and CEO at ZeroAvia, said in a statement “Various projections indicate that aviation may account for over 25 percent of human-induced climate effects by 2050. We are on the path to helping reverse that trend, first with our successful 6-seater testing and now with the R&D for our 19-seater, and the kick-off of our 50+ seat program. Hydrogen is the only practical solution for true climate-neutral flight, and it will become a commercial reality much sooner than many predict.”

ZeroAvia also received $13 million in funding for its 50+ seat engine development program from AP Ventures, Alumni Ventures Group, SGH Capital, Amazon Climate Pledge Fund, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Summa Equity, Shell Ventures, SYSTEMIQ, and Horizons Ventures, according to the release.

“We are delighted to welcome ZeroAvia to our existing portfolio of hydrogen-related technologies,” Kevin Eggers, Partner at AP Ventures, said in a statement. “We have been impressed with the progress that ZeroAvia has made over the last 24 months—technically, operationally, and commercially. Furthermore, we have become increasingly confident about the significant role of hydrogen in decarbonizing aviation. We believe that ZeroAvia will pioneer the development of hydrogen-electric powertrains for the aviation space.”

 

Business & General Aviation 

Gulfstream Makes Final Delivery of G550 

Gulfstream completed its final G550 delivery, according to a July 1 press release. (Gulfstream Aerospace)

Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. on July 1 announced it has delivered the final commercial G550 aircraft type to an international customer, further increasing the worldwide fleet of more than 600 total G550s already in service. The delivery took place June 30.

The G550 first entered service in 2003 as the launch platform for Gulfstream’s PlaneView flight deck. It was also certified with Enhanced Vision System — now known as Enhanced Flight Vision System (EFVS) — as a standard feature, leading the way for subsequent aircraft to incorporate the pilot safety tool in their array of offerings.

“For nearly two decades, the G550 has been exceeding customer expectations,” Mark Burns, president, Gulfstream, said in a July 1 press release. “The G550 set a new standard for performance and reliability and continues to outperform and impress with its wide-ranging capabilities. Given our vast G550 fleet in service, we look forward to continuing to support all G550 customers around the world with Gulfstream Customer Support’s extensive network.”

 

 

Bombardier Announces Its Largest Business Jet Order of the Year

Bombardier has received a firm order for 10 aircraft from an existing customer. The Canadian business jet OEM is keeping the order mix undisclosed at this time, according to a June 30 press release.

This agreement represents a total value of $451.8 million U.S., according to current list prices.

“We are filled with pride as we announce the year’s largest business jet order,” Éric Martel, President and Chief Executive Officer, Bombardier said in the release. “Our portfolio ideally responds to the growing interest in private aviation, with spacious, high-performing aircraft that are designed to offer the best passenger experience in terms of convenience, comfort, air quality and a smooth ride.”

 

 

Embraer Delivers First Limited Edition Phenom 300E as Part of Porsche Duet Collaboration

Embraer delivered the first limited-edition Phenom 300E aircraft—part of the Duet collaboration with Porsche—to an undisclosed customer based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, according to a June 30 press release.The aircraft was delivered at Embraer’s global customer center in Melbourne, Florida.

The collaboration pairs the limited edition Phenom 300E with the Porsche 911 Turbo S.

“We designed Duet in collaboration with Porsche to introduce a seamless travel experience for those wanting to arrive in something totally original, while holding true to our vision of delivering the ultimate experience in business aviation,” Michael Amalfitano, President & CEO, Embraer Executive Jets said in the release. “The Phenom 300E is already the best-selling light jet in the world, and we continue to push the boundaries to provide even more value and bring new experiences to our customers.”

 

 

Military 

Switzerland Chooses F-35 for New Fighter Aircraft Competition

The F-35 Lightning II from Lockheed Martin was chosen by the Swiss Federal Council for its new fighter aircraft competition, according to a June 30 release.

“We are honored to be selected by Switzerland and look forward to partnering with the Swiss government, public, air force and industry to deliver and sustain the F-35 aircraft,” Bridget Lauderdale, Lockheed Martin’s vice president and general manager of the F-35 Program, said in a statement. “With the selection, Switzerland will become the 15th nation to join the F-35 program of record, joining several European nations in further strengthening global airpower and security.”

 

 

 

Germany Signs Deal To Buy Five P-8A Poseidon Aircraft

The German Ministry of Defense is buying five new Poseidon aircraft from Boeing. (Boeing)

Germany’s Ministry of Defense signed a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) on June 30 to procure five Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft under the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.

According to the German Ministry of Defense, the Bundreswehr, the deal is worth about 1.1 billion Euros or $1.3 billion. This agreement came after the German parliament formally approved the procurement of the five aircraft on June 24.

Boeing said this order will make Germany the eighth customer for the P-8A after the U.S., Australia, India., New Zealand, Norway, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

“Boeing is honored to provide Germany with the world’s most capable maritime surveillance aircraft. We will continue to work with the U.S. government, the German government and industry to establish a robust sustainment package that will ensure the German Navy’s P-8A fleet is mission ready,” Michael Hostetter, Boeing Defense, Space and Security vice president in Germany, said in a statement.

 

 

Lockheed Martin Nabs $1.8 Billion Award For More F-35 Logistics Support

Naval Air Systems Command awarded Lockheed Martin a not-to-exceed $1.8 billion un-definitized contract action (UCA) on June 30 to procure recurring logistics services for delivered F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.

The Defense of Department announcement said these services cover delivered F-35s in support of the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy as well as non-U.S. DoD participants and Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers.

The department said services will include “ground maintenance activities, action request resolution, depot activation activities, automatic logistics information system operations and maintenance, reliability, maintainability and health management implementation and support, supply chain management and activities to provide and support pilot and maintainer initial training.”

Work will largely occur in Fort Worth, Texas (61 percent); Orlando, Florida (24 percent); and Greenville, S.C. (8 percent) and is expected to be finished in December 2021.

 

 

 

Space 

Virgin Orbit Successfully Launches First Commercial Mission

The view from onboard LauncherOne. (Virgin Orbit)

Virgin Orbit has kicked off commercial service with a successful LauncherOne mission on Wednesday, June 30.

As part of Virgin Orbit’s air-launch system, carrier aircraft Cosmic Girl took off from a flight runway at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California at 6:50 a.m. PDT. Cosmic Girl, a modified Boeing 747, dropped the rocket at 7:47 a.m. PDT, when it had reached about 45,000 feet in altitude.

LauncherOne separated cleanly and ignited its first stage engine, then completed stage separation. Satellites for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), SatRevolution and the Royal Netherlands Air Force, were successfully deployed to 500 km Low-Earth Orbit (LEO).

The mission deployed three cubesats for the DoD as part of the Space Test Program’s (STP) Rapid Agile Launch (RALI) Initiative. This launch was awarded to Virgin Orbit subsidiary VOX Space by the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU).

The mission also carried the Netherland’s first military satellite, a cubesat for Royal Netherlands Air Force called BRIK II, built and integrated by Innovative Solutions in Space. Polish space company SatRevolution launched its first two optical satellites STORK-4 and STORK-5 of the company’s planned 14-satellite constellation on the mission as well.

 

 

 

Unmanned

VoloDrone Gets Operations Blueprint

Volocopter unveiled its VoloDrone utility system, which can be remotely piloted or automated. (Volocopter)

Volocopter has created a proof of concept for its electric cargo drone, VoloDrone, with the help of its logistics partner DB Schenker, according to a July 1 press release.

During a joint static proof of concept (PoC) at Messe Stuttgart, the two companies tested logistic operations including personnel, payloads, automated ground vehicles, and VoloDrones, according to the release.

“By developing a blueprint for VoloDrone operations, Volocopter is leading the way into the next dimension of transport logistics with tangible and operational data backing our service claims,” Christian Bauer, Volocopter CCO, said in a statement. “Our work with DB Schenker shows that they are a great investor, a valuable partner, and an enabler for our commercial VoloDrone operations.”

The VoloDrones were simulated within a logistics network by studying ground processes, testing the automated supply of the drone through autonomous vehicles, and conducted pre-flight cargo checks, according to the release.

“The VoloDrone unlocks new possibilities for the logistics industry, and it represents a key element for DB Schenker’s innovation and sustainability roadmap for logistics,” Erik Wirsing, global head of innovation at DB Schenker, said in a statement. “Volocopter’s leadership in this emerging urban air mobility industry is most evident in their practical solutions, their customer-centric approach, and their commitment to bring UAM to life.”

 

 

 

 

Zipline Gets $250M in Funding

An image of Zipline’s flight operations featured on its website.

Zipline, the drone logistics company, announced $250 million in new funding in a June 30 release. The company is now valued at $2.75 billion.

According to the release, Zipline will use the new funding to advance its autonomy platform, aircraft, fulfillment system, and operations. They will also use the funds to expand into new industries and geographies.

“At Zipline, our mission is to create the first logistics company that serves all humans equally. Around the world, our partners are reimagining how patients access care with fast, reliable on-demand delivery,” Keller Rinaudo, founder and CEO at Zipline, said in a statement. “Together, we have completed hundreds of thousands of deliveries of blood, medicines and vaccines, and today Zipline makes a commercial delivery every four minutes. In the past year, we have seen major growth in every market, including the U.S., and we’re continuing to build on our proven track record and technology to bring instant logistics to more partners, communities and people.”

 

 

 

 

American Robotics Joins FAA BVLOS Committee

American Robotics will be joining the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), the company announced in a June 29 press release.

The FAA BVLOS ARC will study how drones are used in BVLOS cases and send recommendations to the FAA on what rules should be created.

“American Robotics is excited to participate in pushing forward BVLOS regulations alongside the FAA to develop safe integration of UAS into our National Airspace System,” Reese Mozer, co-founder and CEO of American Robotics, said in a statement. “Our groundbreaking FAA approval in January 2021 was an important and significant step forward for the commercial drone community as a whole. We look forward to sharing our insights with the broader commercial drone community, and the FAA, and providing commercial users better access to the data and insights that are only accessible through an automated drone solution.”

 

 

 

 

 

Regulation

FAA and DG MOVE Commit to More Sustainable Aviation System

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) said they were committed to making aviation safer and more sustainable during a virtual meeting, last week according to a June 30 press release.

“We’ve proven we can accomplish more, with better results, when we work together,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement. “President Biden made this clear on his trip to Europe earlier this month. He reaffirmed the primacy of the U.S.-European alliance. The bonds we have forged through NATO and countless other areas continue to serve the interests of both sides. And nowhere is that more true than our relationship in aviation safety and sustainability.”

FAA and DG MOVE officials discussed areas for more safety cooperation, sustainable aviation fuels, more efficient operations, air traffic management, more efficient engine designs, and airframe and propulsion technologies, according to the release.

“The EU-U.S. aviation partnership is a cornerstone of international aviation and has proven to be very beneficial for both sides over the years,” Henrik Hololei, Director General of DG MOVE, in a statement. “However, it is important to look ahead and continue to build on this strong, mutually beneficial, and future-oriented partnership. Today, we jointly confirmed our very close cooperation on aviation safety. Importantly, we also agreed that the reduction of emissions is the license to grow for the aviation sector and shared our commitment for the decarbonization of air transport. Together, we will help the sector build back better.”

 

 

The post What’s Trending in Aerospace – July 4, 2021 appeared first on Aviation Today.

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