NATO Looks to the Future of Medium Rotorcraft Development

October 7th, 2020   •   Comments Off on NATO Looks to the Future of Medium Rotorcraft Development   
NATO Looks to the Future of Medium Rotorcraft Development

The AW101 is one of the aircraft set to retire before 2045. (Leonardo)

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is looking to medium vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) technology to replace its fleet of aging helicopters in the future, according to a presentation given by Col. Paul Morris assistant head of air maneuvers for the British Army, during an Oct. 6 presentation as part of the Vertical Flight Society’s 76th Annual Forum & Technology Display. 

By 2045, the majority of NATO rotorcraft will be out of service creating a need for the new rotorcraft developments to begin now so that they can be deployed when the current rotorcraft retire. NATO’s Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability (NGRC) project is establishing a path toward the adoption of new VTOL technology to replace their older helicopters. 

The majority of medium-sized helicopters in NATO service have been flying between 40-60 years. Between the 1960s and 1980s the Puma, UH-60, AW101, and V-22 were put into service. The newest of the NATO medium-sized helicopters, NH90, took its first flight in 1995. There have been few design changes since these rotorcraft were put into service and because of their age, most of these aircraft will retire in the next two decades, Morris said. 

“The analysis suggests that’s about 1,000 airframes, and that’s not including those from the United States, that will be retired in and around that period,” Morris said. “Operational analysis, not only says that clearly there is a requirement to replace, but there is an enduring requirement for that capability in the medium space carriage, and high proficiency profiles.”

The helicopters in Morris’s analysis include 100 Mil 8/17s, 191 Pumas, 167 S-70/UH-60s, 143 AW 101s, and 331 NH90s. 

Morris said NATO is looking at medium range aircraft because of the cost savings that will be accomplished by an optimized balance of medium and heavy compared to a single heavy-lift fleet. Medium rotorcraft are also task efficient, have a global reach, and can complete complex insertions in urban environments. 

“In terms of our sister services in the UK, Royal Navy, the medium rotorcraft offers significant flexibility as a multi-role platform capable of enduring operations,” Morris said. “Our own CH-47 fleet was not designed to go to sea. Although it can be taken on to the new Queen Elizabeth Class carriers down the lift spread and can go into the hangar spread it cannot fold, and we look enviously at the U.S. Marine Corps and the CH-53K Super Stallion and its capabilities in that respect. A whole series of future trend analysis and operational experience and trends point to the utility of a medium platform on the future battlefield.” 

NATO’s NGRC is in the early stages of development but they are looking at key technology drivers when developing new rotorcraft like flight control and performance, avionics and mission equipment, materials and manufacturing, cost of ownership reduction, teaming, and lethality. 

“We’re looking at advancing sectors, fly by wire technology, active control avionics and mission equipment, and the modular consistent architectures,” Morris said. “The trailblazing work that [Future Vertical Lift] FVL is doing, we watch with keen interest. We see this as the way forward.”

NGRC is also looking at human factors like sensory cueing, augmented reality, and assisting flight crews with artificial intelligence and machine learning. 

“This aircraft will certainly not be armed all the time but there is a case for lethality,” Morris said. “We’re particularly interested in directed energy weapons.”

This process was started in 2015 with a workshop on future rotorcraft requirements and in 2016 advanced to the formation of the NGRC Team of Experts (TOE). The NGCR TOE then released a 2018 report on the need to update rotorcraft between 2035-2045. The report stated the need for modular designs and investment in enabling technology. 

“I was charged with writing the project, and in 2018, their final report was published,” Morris said. “It looked at the existing rotorcraft needing to be replaced, and the timelines…that the next generation rotorcraft should be designed as a modular airframe, modularity reducing through-life cost enhancing interoperability and sustainability.”

Project NGRC had its inaugural meeting in 2019 where the UK agreed to lead the initiative through the pre-concept phase. By the fourth quarter of 2020, a letter of intent is set to be signed by defense ministries of interested nations, and Project NGRC industry day is expected in 2021. 

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What’s Trending in Aerospace – October 4, 2020

October 5th, 2020   •   Comments Off on What’s Trending in Aerospace – October 4, 2020   
What’s Trending in Aerospace – October 4, 2020

Check out the Oct. 4 edition of What’s Trending in Aerospace, where editors and contributors for Avionics International bring you some of the latest headlines happening across the global aerospace industry.

Commercial Aviation 

Boeing”s South Carolina 787 Factory. (Boeing)

Boeing to Consolidate South Carolina 787 Production in 2021

Boeing will consolidate production of 787 jets at its facility in North Charleston, South Carolina, starting in mid-2021, according to “the company’s best estimate,” the aerospace OEM said in a Oct. 1 press release.

“The decision comes as the company is strategically taking action to preserve liquidity and reposition certain lines of business in the current global environment to enhance efficiency and improve performance for the long-term,” Boeing said.

COVID-19’s impact on air travel was the primary driving factor behind the decision.

“The Boeing 787 is the tremendous success it is today thanks to our great teammates in Everett. They helped give birth to an airplane that changed how airlines and passengers want to fly. As our customers manage through the unprecedented global pandemic, to ensure the long-term success of the 787 program, we are consolidating 787 production in South Carolina,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

“Our team in Puget Sound will continue to focus on efficiently building our 737, 747, 767 and 777 airplane families,” he added.

Production of the smaller 787 models will continue in Everett until the program transitions to the previously-announced production rate of six airplanes a month in 2021, according to Boeing.

 

AirAsia Digital, Google to Launch Redbeat Academy

AirAsia Digital, in partnership with Google, launched the premier Redbeat Academy. (Air Asia)

AirAsia Digital, in partnership with Google, launched the new Redbeat Academy as part of their continued digital transformation journey, according to a Oct. 1 press release.

Initially set up to “upskill and cross-train AirAsia Allstars (employees) through a series of tech workshops in areas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and software engineering,” among other technologies, Redbeat Academy has now opened its doors to the public, Air Asia said in the release.

The academy was launched by Yang Berhormat Khairy Jamaluddin, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation and Datuk Ir. Dr. Siti Hamisah binti Tapsir, Secretary General of Ministry Science, Technology and Innovation in the presence of Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, Executive Chairman of AirAsia Group, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, CEO of AirAsia Group; Aireen Omar, President (AirAsia Digital) of AirAsia Group and Marc Woo, Country Head, Google Malaysia.

“AirAsia has always embraced digitalisation and today is another milestone for us as we launch our premier tech academy,” said Air Asia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes. “We are also proud to open the academy to the public now to provide opportunities for everyone, with the focus on mentoring the best in breed industry-ready professionals and producing problem-solvers using technology. Everyone needs to keep learning, growing and embracing the ever-changing tech landscape to ensure that we can stay relevant in this digital economy.”

 

American Airlines Takes First Steps to Open International Markets with Preflight COVID-19 Testing

American Airlines is collaborating with several foreign governments to begin offering preflight COVID-19 testing for customers traveling to international destinations, starting with Jamaica and the Bahamas. The Texas-based carrier plans to expand the program to additional markets in the weeks and months ahead.

“The pandemic has changed our business in ways we never could have expected, but all the while, the entire American Airlines team has eagerly tackled the challenge of reimagining the way we deliver a safe, healthy and enjoyable travel experience for our customers,” Robert Isom, president of American Airlines, said in a Sept. 29 press release. “Our plan for this initial phase of preflight testing reflects the ingenuity and care our team is putting into rebuilding confidence in air travel, and we view this as an important step in our work to accelerate an eventual recovery of demand.”

Passengers traveling to Jamaica from Miami will be part of the initial phase, as American has reached agreement with Jamaica to launch an initial testing program at its Miami International Airport (MIA) hub next month. The initial phase of testing will be for Jamaican residents traveling to their home country. If a passenger tests negative for COVID-19 ahead of flying with American, the 14-day quarantine currently in place for returning Jamaican residents would be waived.

As its initial preflight testing programs begin to launch, American is also actively engaged with CARICOM, an integrated grouping of 20 Caribbean countries, about expanding the program to additional Caribbean markets.

“We are pleased that American Airlines has taken the lead to initiate this exciting COVID-19 predeparture testing program,” said Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Chairman of CARICOM. “The Caribbean Community welcomes this important progress to re-open markets with the health and safety of our citizens being of paramount importance, and we’ll be monitoring this program very closely as it ramps up in our region.”

Military

Boeing Awarded $298M Contract for Space Force Satellite Program 

A Boeing 702X satellite. (Photo from Boeing website).

The Space Force has awarded Boeing a $298 million contract to build a satellite payload prototype and develop a new satellite communications architecture for the Space Force’s Evolved Strategic SATCOM (ESS) program, according to an Oct. 1 press release

The development contract received by Boeing is one of three for the ESS program, which will be military satellite communications (MILSATCOM) system. Full ESS system contracts are expected in 2025, according to the release. 

“We have worked closely with the Space Force to define a program responsive to our nation’s needs,” Troy Dawson, vice president of Boeing Government Satellite Systems, said. “By leveraging our expertise in digital engineering and technologies with synergies across both our government and commercial systems, we’re uniquely positioned to deliver solutions needed to address the ever-evolving threats.”

Low-Cost Attritable Drones May Have Range of Air Force Roles

Kratos’ XQ-58A Valkyrie completed its inaugural flight March 5, 2019 at Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona. (Air Force)

The U.S. Air Force may develop and field low-cost attritable/reusable (A/R) drones with a range of roles over the next decade, but the service has yet to say how or whether such drones would count toward its 2018 goal of increasing the number of Air Force squadrons by 24 percent, from 312 to 386.

One possibility is a number of composite squadrons having manned and low-cost unmanned aircraft for different missions, such as air dominance and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR). In such a scenario, A/R drones would not add to the number of squadrons since they would be part of squadrons having both manned aircraft and UAVs.

“Certainly, we talk about the possibility of forward posturing some of these [unmanned] capabilities in theater so that you would have in the Pacific and Europe to our combatant commanders kind of a ready, postured force to augment some of the other capabilities we already have in theater,” Air Force Col. Don “Stryker” Haley, deputy division chief of Air Force Warfighting Integration Capability’s (AFWIC) futures and concepts division, said on Oct. 1 during a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies’ Aerospace Nation virtual forum.

Check out the full story on Defense Daily, a sister publication to Avionics. 

FCC Frees Up More Mid-Band Spectrum for 5G

Federal Communications Commission. (FCC)

The FCC on Sept. 30 made 100 megahertz of mid-band spectrum in the 3.45-3.55 GHz band available for 5G deployment. The mid-band spectrum is primarily military use, and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) operates high-powered defense radar systems on fixed, mobile, shipborne, and airborne platforms in this band.

The adopted rules remove the secondary, non-federal allocations from the 3.3-3.55 GHz band. The Report and Order adopted by the agency relocates non-federal radio location licensees to the 2.9-3.0 GHz band, allowing them to continue operating there on a secondary basis to federal operations.

The adopted rules remove the secondary, non-federal allocations from the 3.3-3.55 GHz band.

Check out the full story in Via Satellite, a sister publication to Avionics.

 

Urban Air Mobility

Paris Moves Towards Urban Air Mobility with Volocopter

Volocopter will begin testing eVOLTs for Urban Air Mobility use in Paris. Seen here is Volocopter’s VoloCity design. (Volocopter)

Volocopter, a German electric air taxi company, announced it will be testing Urban Air Mobility (UAM) vehicles near Paris with Groupe ADP and RATP Group, according to a Sept. 30 press release. The focus would be on developing a UAM industry branch with a focus on electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL). 

“The structuring and development of an Air Mobility branch on the airfield of Pontoise – Cormeilles-en-Vexin is both consistent with the Recovery Plan initiated by Paris Region, and in line with the key takeaways of Paris Region recent COP 2020 conference,” said Valérie Pécresse, President of Paris Region. “It also falls within the scope and priorities of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic games. As a result, this event represents an invaluable opportunity to involve the entire Aviation Industry and demonstrate the unique qualities of the Paris Region as an area of reference within the global Urban Air Mobility (UAM) market.” 

Testing will take place at Pontoise airfield, which is a suburban location 35 km northwest of Paris. Volocopter and the partners will be following DGAC (Civil Aviation Authority) regulations when they test flight and maintenance operations in a real aeronautical environment in June 2021, according to the release. 

“We are incredibly excited to be the eVTOL manufacturer of choice in the Paris region’s Urban Air Mobility project,” said Florian Reuter, CEO at Volocopter. “We will open our first commercial air taxi routes in the next 2-3 years and are excited to have a potential launching partner here in Europe.”

Cyber

Václav Havel Airport Builds New Advanced Cyber Operational Security Center

Prague Airport has a new advanced cybersecurity center to protect airport information systems. (Prague Airport)

The Cyber Security Operational Centre (CSOC) has launched at Václav Havel Airport Prague, according to an Oct. 1 press release. The CSOC is claiming to be the most modern and technically advanced cybersecurity workplaces in the Czech Republic. 

Running 24 hours per day, the CSOC will protect strategic infrastructure against cyberattacks and prevent misuse of airport information systems, according to the release. Prague Airport claims to spend CZK 40 million (about $1.7 billion) to protect operational information each year. 

“The complete safety of passengers and air traffic is our absolute priority,” Vaclav Rehor, Chairman of the Prague Airport Board of Directors, said. “Threats to important airport information systems can lead to serious disruption to traffic, affecting both staff and passengers. This is the reason we pay special attention to cybersecurity. Launching the new operational centre, we have therefore decided not to use the services of external entities, but to build our own highly specialized workplace with a dozen internal information analysts and experts in cybersecurity.” 

The CSOC will use layers of security like monitoring, detection, evaluation, and blocking to protect IT systems. It will also be available for use when technological innovations like autonomous vehicles, biometrics, and artificial intelligence are integrated into the airport, according to the release.

 

Unmanned

AI-Enabled Drone App Comes to App Store

SkyGrid Flight Control acts as an end-to-end solution for drone operators using AI-enabled technology to automate everything from mission planning to flight execution. (SkyGrid)

A new artificial intelligence (AI) powered drone application created by SkyGrid offers drone operators to automate every phase of flight with one solution, according to a Sept. 29 press release. SkyGrid, a Boeing SparkCognition company, launched the free application, SkyGrid Flight Control, in Apple’s iPad App Store. 

SkyGrid Flight Control is designed to automate everything from mission planning and flight execution to object detection, according to the release. Operators can use the application to see airspace and ground intelligence, weather data, and airspace authorization. 

“Traditionally, drone operators have used several different tools to check airspace, get LAANC, plan and execute flights, and gather insights, but it’s a manual, cumbersome process,” Amir Husain, CEO and founder of SkyGrid, said. “Recognizing this challenge, SkyGrid has minimized the burden on drone operators by creating one solution that automates airspace, flights, and insights. As the only drone solution built on AI and blockchain technologies, we give operators and enterprises the assurances they need to execute safe, compliant missions.”

There are more advanced features on the application that allow operators to use AI for mission planning and object detection. The advanced features would enable users to manage multi-drone missions. 

“SkyGrid Flight Control is an important stepping-stone to enable more complex commercial drone operations and advanced air mobility in urban, regional, and global markets,” said Steve Nordlund, vice president and general manager of Boeing Next and executive board advisor of SkyGrid. “SkyGrid is solving complex problems in unmanned aviation with a system that will safely integrate the future volume of drones, passenger air vehicles, and other autonomous aircraft in the global airspace.” 

The post What’s Trending in Aerospace – October 4, 2020 appeared first on Aviation Today.

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PODCAST: Gulfstream Director of Flight Innovation Talks G700, New Avionics and Connectivity

October 3rd, 2020   •   Comments Off on PODCAST: Gulfstream Director of Flight Innovation Talks G700, New Avionics and Connectivity   
PODCAST: Gulfstream Director of Flight Innovation Talks G700, New Avionics and Connectivity

Bethany Davis is the director of flight innovation and advanced flight deck for Gulfstream Aerospace.

On this episode of the Connected Aircraft Podcast, Bethany Davis, director of flight innovation and advanced flight deck for Gulfstream Aerospace discusses some of the technologies featured on their newest G700 long-range business jet, in-flight connectivity and future avionics technologies.

Gulfstream first unveiled the G700 in 2019 and expects to make its first customer deliveries in 2022.

Davis has previously spoken at the live version of the Global Connected Aircraft Summit in 2017, and is one of the industry’s leading experts on advancements for cockpit avionics, connectivity and improvements for flight operational technology. She provides some insight on how Gulfstream is expanding the scope for business jet connectivity and innovation.

Have suggestions or topics we should focus on in the next episode? Email the host, Woodrow Bellamy at wbellamy@accessintel.com, or drop him a line on Twitter @WbellamyIIIAC.

Listen to this episode below, or check it out on iTunes or Google Play If you like the show, subscribe on your favorite podcast app to get new episodes as soon as they’re released.

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New Sensors Improve Global Hawk Imaging and Threat Deterrence

October 3rd, 2020   •   Comments Off on New Sensors Improve Global Hawk Imaging and Threat Deterrence   
New Sensors Improve Global Hawk Imaging and Threat Deterrence

The Global Hawk received two new sensor updates advancing its imaging and electronic threat deterrence capabilities. (Northrop Grumman)

Northrop Grumman delivered two new sensors that will improve the Global Hawk’s intelligence collection, imaging, and threat deterrence capabilities. The new MS-177 multispectral camera system will provide long-range high-resolution imaging and the updated AN/ASQ-230 has added capabilities to mitigate electronic threats. 

The MS-177, made by Collins Aerospace, is a new Senior Year Electro-optical Reconnaissance System (SYERS) sensor and is similar to what is currently used on the U-2S aircraft, according to Collins’ website. The MS-177 sensor will have the capability to pivot side to side and forward and backward where the SYERS-2, used on the U-2S, is only able to move from side to side. The added capability of the MS-177 enables new imaging capabilities. 

Collins is working on an update to the MS-177, the MS-177A, which will use design elements of the SYERS-2A and DB-100 sensors, according to Collins’ website. The MS-177A will provide geolocation accuracy and persistent imaging enabling it to give analysts extensive target detection and tracking capabilities. 

The AN/ASQ-230 sensor, made by Northrop, was updated to better support against electronic threats like radar, according to a Sept. 24 press release. Northrop describes the Global Hawk as a family of high altitude long endurance (HALE) drones that build on the common RQ-4 Global Hawk airframe. 

The MS-177 sensor update for the Global Hawk will enable expanded imaging capabilities. (Northrop Grumman)

“The Airborne Signals Intelligence Payload (ASIP) sensor detects, identifies and locates radar and other types of electronic and modern communication signals,” Leslie Smith, vice president of Global Hawk at Northrop Grumman told Avionics International. “Fielding of the ASIP increment 1 enhances Global Hawk’s support against electronic threats and delivers additional signals intelligence capabilities to the warfighter.”

The Global Hawk, born out of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) capable of gathering information with its Enhanced Integrated Sensor Suite (EISS) that includes synthetic aperture radar (SAR) antenna, a ground moving target indicator (GMTI), a high-resolution electro-optical (EO) digital camera, and an infrared (IR) sensor. 

A 2020 report published by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments states the need for non-stealthy long-endurance unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to detect acts of aggression in the Western Pacific and Eastern Europe. In the report, the DoD classifies the Global Hawk most suitable for deterrence by detection missions because it is a high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) UAS. 

“Ongoing improvements to Global Hawk underscore Northrop Grumman’s commitment to the United States Air Force’s ISR mission and reducing costs through agile development and leveraged solutions,” Smith said. “New and improved payloads flying on our young, yet proven fleet of aircraft will allow our partners to deploy high value, networked assets to monitor adversaries while not risking the lives of military personnel well into the 2040s.” 

 

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737 MAX Changes Still Under Review Following FAA Admin Test Flight

October 3rd, 2020   •   Comments Off on 737 MAX Changes Still Under Review Following FAA Admin Test Flight   
737 MAX Changes Still Under Review Following FAA Admin Test Flight

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson completed a test flight of the software and design changes integrated into the 737 MAX on Sept. 30. (FAA)

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson performed two landings and evaluated the Boeing 737 MAX flight control system software and design changes as an international board of aviation experts continue to review training and other aspects of the aircraft before it can be ungrounded.

Dickson said he liked what he saw from the response of the aircraft while flying and that he would share some feedback with Boeing and the FAA team reviewing the changes. The grounding of the MAX is now approaching 18 months after Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 killed a combined 346 passengers and crew onboard.

“I liked what I saw. It’s been a constructive week. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have some debrief items for the Boeing team and the FAA team,” Dickson said following the test flight.

“I have some, a few items I want to point out, more items of how various things are emphasized, not so much in the procedures, but some of the narrative that describes the procedures and some of the human factor issues on the aircraft and that’s bringing in my number of years of experience in airline operational training and additional things I think could use a little more emphasis perhaps, and that’s where I want to have that dialogue,” he added.

The FAA published B-roll video of their 737 MAX test flight in Seattle this week on YouTube. (FAA)

The FAA Administrator’s test flight comes following his agency’s participation in the Joint Operations Evaluation Board’s (JOEB) review of the pilot training needs for the MAX at London Gatwick Airport. There, he also participated in new simulator training, which included among other tests, evaluation of the use of the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).

In remarks following the flight, Dickson also made it clear that his test flight was separate from the ongoing work of the JOEB, and the separate independent technical advisory committee review of the MAX’s upgrades. He wanted to be able to experience the changes himself inside the actual cockpit as a pilot, he said.

“It responded well. I did two landings, and some air work maneuvers over about a two hour period. I felt prepared that the training prepared me to be very comfortable to fly it, and I actually haven’t flown the 737 in more than 10 years, it’s been 15 years now,” Dickson said. “But we’re not to the point where we’ve completed the process, we’ve got a number of comments on the NPRM, we have to let the JOEB report be completed, we’re going to put that out as well.”

Upon completing the test flight, the FAA published an outline of the remaining tasks that need to be included prior to the MAX returning to service. Before posting a final airworthiness directive enabling changes to every grounded MAX aircraft that needs it, the agency will review and respond to comments made on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that they published in September. Next, the JOEB will publish a draft FAA Flight Standardization Board (FSB) report, which will be posted for public comment as well.

A Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community (CANIC) and Airworthiness Directive will be published that addresses all of the known issues for grounding prior to the FAA officially residing the grounding order. Finally, the agency will review and approve training programs for U.S.-registered airlines that operate the MAX.

“These actions are applicable only to U.S. air carriers and U.S.-registered aircraft. While our processes will inform other civil aviation authorities, they must take their own actions to return the Boeing 737 MAX to service for their air carriers. The FAA will ensure that our international counterparts have all necessary information to make a timely, safety-focused decision,” the FAA said in a Sept. 30 news update published to its website.

Dickson’s test flight comes following the European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) test flight in Canada. The FAA chief said all of the civil aviation authorities working on the review are striving for consensus, while there is still no clear timeline on when the 737 MAX will be ready to return to passenger-carrying service.

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Skytrac Becomes Value Added Manufacturer for Iridium Certus 9810 Modem

September 30th, 2020   •   Comments Off on Skytrac Becomes Value Added Manufacturer for Iridium Certus 9810 Modem   
Skytrac Becomes Value Added Manufacturer for Iridium Certus 9810 Modem

Skytrac has become a value-added manufacturer for the Iridium Certus 9810 modem, which will be embedded into their SDL-350 satellite communications terminal, pictured here. (Skytrac)

Skytrac has become the latest value-added manufacturer (VAM) for the Iridium Certus 9810 modem, under an expanded partnership with the satellite network provider that will see the development of a new modem and satellite communications terminal.

Certus is Iridium’s next-generation multiservice satellite communications platform designed to provide connectivity to multiple industries, especially maritime and aviation operators. The service will provide support for commercial airliners, and also lower cost hardware for general aviation fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft.

Other VAMs for Certus aviation terminals include Avitek, Collins Aerospace (ARINC), GoGo, Honeywell Aerospace, Navicom Aviation, and Satcom Direct.

Under their expanded partnership, Skytrac will redesign the Iridium Certus 9810 modem so that it can be integrated into their SDL-350 2-MCU satellite terminal.

“The 9810 modem is being redesigned by Skytrac for [size, weight, and power] SWaP optimizations. This redesigned modem will be built into the satellite transceiver,” a representative for Skytrac told Avionics International. “When purchasing the SDL-350, it would have the Skytrac-optimized 9810 modem embedded into it. Because the SDL-350 also comes with embedded Wi-Fi connectivity and cellular card modules, operators would gain a full-scale connectivity system with the purchase of the SDL-350.”

Skytrac expects to introduce the new SDL-350 to the aviation market next year, with the terminal expected to be capable of enabling “EO/IR imaging, telemedicine, Timely Recovery of Flight Data (TRFD), large file transfers, credit card processing, GADSS, and more,” the company said in a Sept. 23 press release. The SDL-350 will be capable of achieving globally available broadband transfer rates of 352 kbps both to and from the aircraft.

The Canadian manufacturer expects to see demand for the new technology across multiple segments of aviation, primarily from fixed-wing operators. SDL-350 is being developed to support cockpit connectivity, and “is not intended for widescale In-Flight Entertainment applications although small scale VIP Connectivity will be enabled for business aviation purposes,” the representative said.

Outside of the SDL-350, operators looking to adopt Iridium Certus through Skytrac would also need to equip their aircraft with the company’s active low gain antenna to handle the increased bandwidth provided by the Iridium Next constellation and Certus.

“Since the SDL-350 was designed with a 2MCU form factor, we expect heavy adoption from the fixed-wing market. The upgraded bandwidth will allow Skytrac to develop new and custom applications depending on operator use-cases. Military and government applications such as remote surveillance and reconnaissance with UAVs, telemedicine applications for EMS, [Global Aeronautical Distress Safety System] GADSS, black box streaming, and credit card processing for airlines, and VIP connectivity for business aviation are all applications that the SDL-350 will enable,” the representative said.

Skytrac is also a VAM for the mid-band Iridium Certus 9770 modem, capable of enabling 22 kbps from and 88 kbps to the aircraft. The modem is being developed as part of the Iridium Certus ISAT-200A-08, capable of supporting SATCOM voice and messaging, flight data acquisition and monitoring as well as real-time aircraft health and usage monitoring.

ISAT-200A-08, an updated version of the ISAT-200A, will also add new capabilities over its predecessor to include VoIP communications, image transfer, graphical weather, and medical data transfer.

Skytrac is also an Iridium Certus Service Provider.

“Iridium Certus ushers in a new era of globally available connectivity for operators looking for higher bandwidth satellite communication solutions,” said Jan van der Heul, Skytrac’s Vice President of Sales. “We’re excited to introduce the two new terminals to the market and look forward to working with operators around the world to enhance their operations through the capabilities we provide.”

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GE Aviation Achieves FAA Certification on GE9X Engine

September 30th, 2020   •   Comments Off on GE Aviation Achieves FAA Certification on GE9X Engine   
GE Aviation Achieves FAA Certification on GE9X Engine

The GE9X engine is designed for the Boeing 777X . (photo from GE’s website)

The GE9X engine, which will power the Boeing 777X, has been certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

GE Aviation has delivered eight GE9X engines and two spares to Seattle for testing in Boeing’s 777x test planes, according to a Sept. 28 press release. The engine manufacturer is also continuing its ground testing on the GE9X engine to achieve Extended Operations (ETOPS) approval and maturation tests to help engineers prepare to support the engine when it enters into service.

Certification of the GE9X comes eight months after Boeing completed the first flight of the 777X on Jan. 25. Lufthansa is the launch airline for the 777X, which Boeing expects to enter into service by 2022.

To be certified, the GE9X test engines completed just under 5,000 hours and 8,000 cycles. A total of nine test engines were included in the Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 33 certification.

“This milestone has been accomplished thanks to the tremendous efforts of the GE9X team and our partners,” Karl Sheldon, GE9X program general manager, said in a statement.  “The GE9X engine has been through a rigorous and thorough certification and testing process. We are pleased with the performance of the engine, which has been validated through extensive ground and flight testing. We are excited to deliver a mature, state-of-the-art product to operators around the world.”

The GE9X touts lower specific fuel consumption (SFC) and less smog-causing emissions than others in its class, according to GE. To date, over 600 GE9X engines have already been ordered.

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ZeroAvia Completes First Hydrogen-Electric Turboprop Flight

September 30th, 2020   •   Comments Off on ZeroAvia Completes First Hydrogen-Electric Turboprop Flight   
ZeroAvia Completes First Hydrogen-Electric Turboprop Flight

ZeroAvia has completed a “world first,” with a hydrogen fuel cell powered flight of a commercial-grade aircraft. (ZeroAvia)

ZeroAvia has completed the first hydrogen-fueled commercial-grade aircraft flight using their Piper M-class six-seater turboprop . 

The UK government has funded ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-fueled program through their Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Program. This flight was also part of the HyFlyer project, which aims to decarbonize medium range small passenger aircraft. 

The flight took place on Sept. 24 at the company’s research and development facility in Cranfield, England, with the Piper M-class completing taxi, takeoff, a full pattern circuit, and landing.

“Developing aircraft that create less pollution will help the UK make significant headway in achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,” Nadhim Zahawi, UK business and industry minister, said in a statement. “Backed by Government funding, this flight is another exciting milestone in ZeroAvia’s project. It shows that technologies to clean up air travel are now at our fingertips – with enormous potential to build back better and drive clean economic growth in the UK.”

In July ZeroAvia completed its first phase of test flights for a hydrogen-fueled commercial-grade aircraft. The more than 10 test flights completed used a Piper Malibu Mirage turboprop modified with a 300-kilowatt (kW) battery electric power system along with a customized cockpit display and computer. 

ZeroAvia and the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) have also created at Hydrogen Airport Refueling Ecosystem (HARE) at Cranfield Airport. The hydrogen production and refueling facility is also a first and offers a microcosm of what a hydrogen airport ecosystem will look like. 

“It’s hard to put into words what this means to our team, but also for everybody interested in zero-emission flight. While some experimental aircraft have flown using hydrogen fuel cells as a power source, the size of this commercially available aircraft shows that paying passengers could be boarding a truly zero-emission flight very soon,” ZeroAvia CEO Val Miftakhov said.

The industry is increasingly looking towards hydrogen power to achieve a zero-emission aircraft on their way to net-zero emissions goals. Last week, Airbus released three designs for its hydrogen-fueled aircraft. 

According to the press release, ZeroAvia’s successful flight could also assist in the post-pandemic recovery since the hydrogen-electric powertrain will have lower fuel and maintenance costs than traditional jet-fuel powered aircraft. 

During an interview with Avionics International in July, Miftakhov said the company’s goal is to develop a certifiable zero emissions hydrogen-electric turboprop by 2023.

The post ZeroAvia Completes First Hydrogen-Electric Turboprop Flight appeared first on Aviation Today.

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What’s Trending in Aerospace – September 27, 2020

September 28th, 2020   •   Comments Off on What’s Trending in Aerospace – September 27, 2020   
What’s Trending in Aerospace – September 27, 2020

Check out the Sept. 27 edition of What’s Trending in Aerospace, where editors and contributors for Avionics International bring you some of the latest headlines happening across the global aerospace industry.

Commercial Aviation

Boeing Licenses Ultraviolet Wand to Healthe, Inc. to Counter COVID-19

Boeing and Florida-based Healthe Inc. are manufacturing a new UV wand for disinfecting aircraft interiors. (Boeing)

Boeing entered into a patent and technology license with Florida-based Healthe Inc. under which Healthe will manufacture an ultraviolet (UV) wand designed to sanitize airplane interiors, according to a Sept. 22 press release.

Boeing designed and developed the UV wand as part of the company’s Confident Travel Initiative (CTI) that has been providing a new web-based portal to educate and answer passenger questions and concerns about air travel health risks related to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

“The UV wand is designed to be more effective than similar devices. It quickly disinfects surfaces on an airplane and further strengthens other layers of protection for passengers and crew,” Mike Delaney, who leads Boeing’s CTI efforts, said of the new wand.

“Boeing spent six months transforming an idea for the wand into a working model, and Healthe will now take that prototype and make it available to the world at large,” he added.

The UV wand uses 222 nanometer UVC light, which Boeing says it has found to be capable of  inactivating  pathogens effectively.

Using the self-contained apparatus that resembles a carry-on suitcase, crews can pass UV light over high-touch surfaces, sanitizing everywhere the light reaches. The UV wand is particularly effective in compact spaces and sanitizes a flight deck in less than 15 minutes.

EASA Signs New Cybersecurity Agreement With BSI

EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky and President of the BSI Arne Schönbohm signed a new cybersecurity Memorandum of Cooperation at the BSI offices in Germany. (EASA)

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) have established a new partnership to enhance cybersecurity in international aviation. According to a Sept. 24 press release, the partnership is focused on “tackling the threats to flight safety posed by the increased digitalization of aircraft and interconnectivity of aviation systems.”

BSI President Arne Schönbohm signed a memorandum of cooperation with EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky last week to solidify the new partnership.

“Flying is generally considered the safest form of transport. Considering the increasing digitalization and connectivity in aviation, cyber security is a key factor to ensure that this remains the case. We can only have a successful digital takeoff in aviation if information security is on board from the very beginning,” Schönbohm said.

In the agreement, the BSI and EASA agree to exchange relevant information on information security incidents and threats and to cooperate on managing cyber attacks and information security incidents within their respective areas of responsibility.

“Cyber security is an essential component to ensure flight safety. We are confident that this cooperation will help to increase our joint awareness of cybersecurity threats and the best practices for managing them,” Ky said.

On Sept. 22, officials representing EASA and FAA participated in a webcast focusing on each of their latest cybersecurity advancements and upcoming policy updates.

CAE Launches New Digital Training Platform Airside

CAE launched a digital platform to assist pilots during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CAE launched a new digital community platform, Airside, for pilots with resources geared towards career and training tools that they hope will provide assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“CAE is building a strong pilot community on Airside and providing the information and tools required to get through these challenging times,” Nick Leontidis, CAE’s Group President, Civil Aviation Training Solutions, said in a statement. 

In August, Delta announced furloughs for over 2,000 pilots starting October 1, according to reporting from Business Insider. Delta also gave early retirement and bailouts to 1,800 pilots during the pandemic. American Airlines had to lay off 17,500 workers, including some pilots, according to reporting from USA Today

Airside was created after surveying 3,000 pilots in April. The platform provides users with a resume builder, career section, articles, and podcasts. 

Business Aviation

NBAA Goes Virtual Next Week

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) will host a weeklong slate of events throughout the week of Oct. 5-9, 2020.

“This year, it’s more important than ever for our industry to come together, recognize innovative leadership, and seize this moment to strive for new heights,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “We’re going to gather virtually, learn together and plan for the future.”

The program includes two, first-time virtual events: a dedicated Virtual Safety Week, honoring and further advancing leadership in safety, a core industry value, and also a designated day to honor young business aviation leaders from across the industry who are making a difference.

Check out the full agenda here.

Embedded Avionics

NVIDIA Takes GPU Technology Conference Online Next Week

NVIDIA is hosting the latest edition of its NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference (GTC) Oct. 5-9, 2020. The embedded processing supplier uses these events to give developers, researchers, engineers, and innovators a “deeper understanding of how artificial intelligence will transform their work.” according to the company.

Check out the full agenda here.

Airbus Will Use OnTime Networks’ Ethernet Switch for Flight Testing

A multi-year agreement between OnTime Networks, a producer of modular gigabit ethernet switches, and Airbus for the use of OnTimeNetworks’ airborne-grade ethernet switch to be used in-flight testing.

The CM-4012F0-AER 12 Port Gigabit Ethernet switch will be used when testing high-speed data acquisition system applications. The CM-4012F0-AER is designed for high altitude, extreme shock, vibrations, harsh climate, and dust and water exposure.

“This contract is a strong example of our long-standing relationships and continued support of the critical flight test industry,” Øyvind Holmeide, CEO of OnTime Networks, said in a statement. “It reinforces our commitment to providing the most advanced and reliable networks and time synchronization solutions for high-speed flight test instrumentation system applications.”

Testing of High-Speed Hypersonics Just Got More Affordable

The nozzle of UTA’s state-of-the-art arc jet hypersonic wind tunnel (Ansys).

The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) and Ansys, a simulation software company, have teamed up to streamline workflow for validating system models for hypersonic vehicles used by the United States government, according to a Sept. 22 press release. The partnership will cut down on taxpayer costs and development time.

The development of hypersonic aircraft, spacecraft, and missiles can be extremely costly, running as much as “$100 million dollars for a single prototype flight test,” according to the press release. These costs have slowed down initiatives by the Defense Department and NASA in the production of high-speed hypersonic aircraft, spaceships, and missiles.

The crux of this partnership relies on using Ansys’ hypersonic systems models in UTA’s state-of-the-art arc jet hypersonic wind tunnel.  Ansys’ simulation solution is aimed at developing hypersonic technologies for projects ranging from thermal protection systems in spacecraft to combustion technology for hypersonic travel.

“Testing and validating physics-based component models within a wind tunnel that operates at hypersonic speeds and temperatures delivers a major technological advantage for our mutual customers, driving faster development of cost-effective solutions,” Luca Maddalena, professor of Aerospace Engineering and director of the UTA’s Aerodynamics Research Center, said in a statement. “The university’s arc jet will help validate Ansys’ software codes for hypersonic applications and power leading-edge research in aerothermodynamics, scramjet propulsion, ablation, and much more.”

Military

AirMap Received $1M Contract for Agility Prime Program

The Air Force’s Agility Prime program focuses on supporting commercial investment for eVOLs. (U.S. Air Force)

AirMap, a digital airspace and automation company serving the drone economy, received a $1 million contract to provide unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) traffic management (UTM) to the Air Force’s Agility Prime program, according to a September 22 press release

Agility Prime, which launched in April, is an Air Force program focused on supporting commercial investment of electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOLs). 

The contract, given by AFWERX, is a $1 million Direct to Phase 2 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award. It will allow Agility Prime to use AirMap’s unmanned traffic management (UTM) platform. AirMap platforms allow airspace authorities to safely fly drones in low altitude airspace. 

“AirMap is proud to partner with the USAF to provide industry-leading UTM services for advanced air mobility operations. We are excited to support all of the Agility Prime participants as they build, test, and bring their eVTOLs to market,” said Larry Berkin, GM of the AirMap Defense Group, an AirMap business unit focused on providing mission-critical technologies to the US Department of Defense.

Unmanned

More Eligible Airspace Open for Low-Flying Commercial Drones

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that drone pilots are now able to access 133 more air traffic facilities in controlled airspace, according to a Sept. 24 press release. The Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) system, an approval system for drone pilots requesting to fly below 400 feet in controlled airspace, now covers 81 percent of eligible airspace.

Controlled airspaces, like airports, require access to fly below 400 feet. Using the LAANC system, drone pilots now have access to 726 airports and 537 facilities, according to the press release. All pilots must still operate under the FAA’s small drone rule.

The addition of 133 additional traffic facilities to the LAANC database was spurred by feedback within the drone community.

The post What’s Trending in Aerospace – September 27, 2020 appeared first on Aviation Today.

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PODCAST: Aeromexico’s Daniel Iriarte Talks Staying Connected Amid COVID-19

September 26th, 2020   •   Comments Off on PODCAST: Aeromexico’s Daniel Iriarte Talks Staying Connected Amid COVID-19   
PODCAST: Aeromexico’s Daniel Iriarte Talks Staying Connected Amid COVID-19

Daniel Iriarte, manager of Onboard Product-WiFi/IFE team at Aeromexico joined the second part of the Cabin Chats 2020 web series to discuss staying connected through the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and the airline’s future in-flight connectivity (IFC).

On this episode of the Connected Aircraft Podcast, we feature an interactive roundtable session from the second installment of the Global Connected Aircraft Summit’s 2020 “Cabin Chats” series that occurred Sept. 22-24.

Daniel Iriarte, a member of the Onboard Product-WiFi/IFE team at Aeromexico, joined a panel discussion moderated by Mark Holmes, editorial director for Via Satellite, and other guests including Intelsat Principal Product Marketing Manager for Aero, Khali Heath, and Director of Aero Products, Mark Richman. Iriarte took questions from all three panelists and the audience, while also engaging in a unique discussion with one of the three companies that provides in-flight Internet service across their aircraft.

The discussion provides some unique insight into how Intelsat will move forward with its plans to close an acquisition of Gogo’s commercial aviation IFC business, while Iriarte also provides some perspective on why his airline is keeping the Wi-Fi service active across its entire fleet despite the economic impact of COVID-19 forcing a major internal restructuring.

Have suggestions or topics we should focus on in the next episode? Email the host, Woodrow Bellamy at wbellamy@accessintel.com, or drop him a line on Twitter @WbellamyIIIAC.

Listen to this episode below, or check it out on iTunes or Google Play If you like the show, subscribe on your favorite podcast app to get new episodes as soon as they’re released.

The post PODCAST: Aeromexico’s Daniel Iriarte Talks Staying Connected Amid COVID-19 appeared first on Aviation Today.

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