Joby Aviation eVTOL Ready for FAA Aircraft Conformity Inspection

November 13th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Joby Aviation eVTOL Ready for FAA Aircraft Conformity Inspection   
Joby Aviation eVTOL Ready for FAA Aircraft Conformity Inspection

Joby Aviation is ready to begin aircraft conformity inspections for its first FAA-conforming part, a single composite airframe panel. (Joby Aviation)

Joby Aviation is on track to begin its first Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aircraft conformity inspection, the latest in a series of flight testing and program advancements shared by the company during its first quarterly earnings call on Thursday.

The California-based company is developing a four-passenger electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, and completed a series of program advancements toward achieving FAA type certification during the third quarter of 2021 published in a Nov. 11 letter to shareholders. According to the FAA, the agency uses aircraft conformity inspections to verify that a manufacturer’s airframe conforms to the type design established in their approved program and operational scope.

Lina Spross, a former aircraft and avionics certification engineer for United Airlines and L3 Technologies, is leading the development of Joby’s first FAA-conforming part, a single airframe composite panel.

“In breaking news, we’re on track to start our first conformity inspection this week with an FAA designee on site, the focus of the inspection is a simple composite panel but its properties are representative of the entire airframe structure and delivering it according to the required standards which is what the FAA is checking as part of this inspection,” Paul Sciarra, executive chairman of Joby Aviation said during the call.

Sciarra said that now with more than 1,000 test flights completed across a range of different prototype aircraft, Joby’s “focus as a company is now shifting beyond engineering and initial testing to certification and commercialization.”

In addition to the start of aircraft conformity inspection, the company’s human factors team also completed an initial pilot evaluation campaign of their production cockpit design. Their flight control computer has also completed high risk electronic environmental testing, also a key step toward earning type certification. Other testing currently occurring on the production aircraft includes tail spar load, battery drop, lightning strike and cabin bird strike, Sciarra said during the call.

Other accomplishments from the third quarter include completing a 154-mile flight, the beginning of an Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) national campaign with NASA and the merger of Joby with Reinvent Technology Partners (RTP) to become a public traded company on the New York Stock Exchange. Joby has also entered the second of five stages toward earning a Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate from the FAA that will authorize passenger-carrying revenue flights in U.S. airspace.

The cockpit of Joby Aviation’s eVTOL simulator. (Joby Aviation)

“We’re incredibly grateful to the amazing acoustics team at NASA for spending a few weeks with us at our flight test base,” JoeBen Bevirt, Joby’s founder and CEO, said during the call. “The testing work that we’ve done with them is a key step and a foundation for the skyport permitting that we’re doing with cities across the country.

Sciarra also addressed the company’s preference to keep a vertical integration strategy that will see Joby as both the manufacturer and the operator of its eVTOL aircraft, although that could occur in a variety of different ways based on who and where their eVTOL is being acquired an operated.

“We believe the right way to commercialize these aircraft isn’t to sell them but instead to operate them ourselves, delivering the service directly to our own customers. This approach allows us to better control the passenger experience and safety of our launch,” Sciarra said.

However, Sciarra said, there are already some customers Joby is working with such as the Department of Defense (DoD), where their eVTOL service will not be sold or operated the way that it is for commercial passenger carrying flights.

“I think as we think about commercializing the service outside of the U.S., there may be different flavors of that vertical integration where maybe we’re not delivering the service directly to end customers but we’re not delivering it indirectly and someone else is acting as the front end on the service,” Sciarra said.  “Here in the U.S. we feel great about our great partnership with Uber we think that’s going to be a great demand generation front end for the service, but outside of the US there may be other partners that look a little bit different.”

Joby is developing an electric air taxi with capacity for up to four passengers and one pilot, following an FAA Part 23 special conditions path to certification, while projecting a 2024 entry-into-service. Sciarra also explained why Joby prefers a vertical integration strategy with less focus on extensively working with established aerospace suppliers—with some exceptions. As an example, in February, Joby selected Garmin’s G3000 as the integrated flight deck for its eVTOL aircraft.

“One of the things we have been very focused on as a company is controlling more of the design and the development of the components that go into the aircraft,” Sciarra said. “One of the reasons why that’s important is not just that it allows us we think to develop a more conformant aircraft than might be possible with commercial off the shelf components, but also because we’re not reliant upon suppliers for parts to show up at the right time and to spec for the certification process. By controlling more of that both design and manufacturing in-house we think that gives us greater confidence that we’re going to be able to really program manage the certification process successfully.”

Joby reported a $78.9 million net loss for the third quarter, a reflection of their ongoing hiring and growth in their engineering, certification and early manufacturing activities. At the end of the third quarter, the company reported $1.4 billion in cash and short-term investments, according to their letter to shareholders.

Greg Bowles, head of government affairs for Joby, will share an update on their progress with certification on Nov. 16.

The post Joby Aviation eVTOL Ready for FAA Aircraft Conformity Inspection appeared first on Aviation Today.

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WATCH: Volocopter 2X eVTOL Completes Test Flight in Seoul

November 13th, 2021   •   Comments Off on WATCH: Volocopter 2X eVTOL Completes Test Flight in Seoul   
WATCH: Volocopter 2X eVTOL Completes Test Flight in Seoul

Volocopter Test Pilot Damian Hischier in front of the Volocopter 2X after the successful test flight at Gimpo airport in the Republic of Korea. (MOLIT)

German electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft maker Volocopter completed a crewed test flight of its 2X aircraft in Seoul, South Korea on Thursday.

According to a Nov. 11 press release, this was the “first ever crewed public test flight of a fully electric vertical takeoff and landing air taxi in South Korea.” The test flight lasted five minutes, covering a distance of approximately 3 kilometers and reaching a maximum altitude of “50 meters and maximum speeds of 45 km/h,” the company said in the release.

The test flight occurred at Gimpo International Airport, as part of the Republic of Korea’s Ministry for Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MoLIT) Urban Air Mobility (UAM) demonstration event, “Open the Urban Sky.”

Volocopter is also scheduled to conduct a public test flight at Incheon Airport on Nov. 16, during the upcoming K-UAM Confex 2021 event.

“With MOLIT’s comprehensive K-UAM roadmap, South Korea is well positioned to achieve the goal of commercializing UAM by 2025. We are extremely honored to conduct the nation’s first crewed public eVTOL test flight today and prove yet again that the future of air taxis is here and now with Volocopter’s aircraft,” Florian Reuter, CEO, Volocopter said in the release. “As the pioneers of the UAM industry, we look forward to working closely with friends and partners from both the government agencies and private sectors to make UAM a reality in South Korea.”

Check out the video of Volocopter’s 2X completing the test flight in Seoul below:

The post WATCH: Volocopter 2X eVTOL Completes Test Flight in Seoul appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Archer on Track for First Maker eVTOL Flight in December

November 12th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Archer on Track for First Maker eVTOL Flight in December   
Archer on Track for First Maker eVTOL Flight in December

Archer Aviation held its first quarterly earnings call on Thursday Nov. 11. (Archer Aviation Inc.)

Archer Aviation is preparing for the first hover flight of its Maker electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in December, according to comments made by the company’s co-founders during their first quarterly earnings call as a publicly traded company held on Thursday.

Adam Goldstein and Brett Adcock, Archer’s two co-CEOs, told analysts during the call that they plan on selecting and starting construction on a manufacturing site next year, are in the process of developing a Maker 2 eVTOL demonstrator and will unveil their first production aircraft in 2023. According to results published in a letter to shareholders, the company finished the third quarter with a net loss of $177 million, and added several key new program hires across multiple engineering disciplines including aerodynamics, systems and safety engineering, battery systems and flight control systems among others.

“We are pleased to announce that we have relocated maker from our design and development facility to the hangar facility, from which we will conduct our Maker test flights. The aircraft is currently undergoing preparations for its hover flight, which we anticipate will take place by the end of this year,” Goldstein said. “We intend to unveil the first-generation of our production aircraft in 2023. It will be a piloted aircraft that can carry up to four passengers. We recently completed our conceptual design review of this aircraft, and we’re currently in the preliminary design stage.”

If Archer does achieve its first hover flight before the end of the year, the period from the initial design of Maker to its first flight will have lasted just two years. Seven generations of sub scale eVTOL of various designs have been developed and flown over one thousand sub scale test flights, according to the company.

In addition to the G-1 certification basis milestone recently achieved by Archer, the FAA also recently issued their Certificate of Authorization and the aircraft limitations for Maker–two of the key components toward earning the special airworthiness certificate to serve as the basis that permits the aircraft to start test flights.

Adcock also provided an update on some of the commercialization plans Archer has envisioned for actually selling and operating eVTOLs. The co-founder said that they plan to sell roughly half of all the eVTOL aircraft they produce through their Archer Direct division to operators like launch customer United Airlines. The other half would be owned and operated by Archer on their own individual networks deployed in cities such as Los Angeles and Miami, where they have already stated they will pursue electric air taxi operations.

“We’re going to build our own applications as it relates to the booking and check-in process for users, to really make sure it’s a really seamless experience for users and think through all the different underlying things around checking in and luggage and multi-modality of different trips of getting to, and from where you’re going. We plan to release our mobile booking application app in 2023. And we plan to receive our Part 135 certificate as it relates to running these operations in 2024,” Adcock said.

Goldstein also noted during the call that Archer believes the bulk of demand for its eVTOL operations will be “urban air mobility missions,” with an average flight covering 25 miles. During a recent interview with Avionics International, Julien Montousse, Vice President of design and innovation at Archer, explained how their team is designing the production version of their eVTOL in an effort to be visually appealing and easily achieve integration into the vertiports they’re developing in partnership with mobility hub operator REEF Technology Inc.

Adcock also discussed Archer’s approach to developing the flight control system for the four-passenger production version of their eVTOL as well. According to Adcock they have already selected “numerous partners” for the development of their aircraft’s avionics systems, and those announcements will be made “over the next couple of years.”

“It’s one of the harder areas here to certify, a fly-by-wire system. We think we have a really good grasp on what to do here. We haven’t guided to exactly how we’re going to do that. Some of this from a competitive perspective is really important for us to keep in house. The person leading our flight control system work, is Sergio Ferreira, who recently ran Gulfstream’s fly-by-wire program, for the G650 most notably. We have a really strong team here that we’ve been building in house to help lead this area of our certification development, and it’s certainly going to be a really important focus item for us,” Adcock said.

The post Archer on Track for First Maker eVTOL Flight in December appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Embraer Outlines Electric Propulsion Vision with New Energia Aircraft Concepts

November 11th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Embraer Outlines Electric Propulsion Vision with New Energia Aircraft Concepts   
Embraer Outlines Electric Propulsion Vision with New Energia Aircraft Concepts

Embraer executives launched their new Energia family of four aircraft concepts in various configurations that will be use electric and hydrogen-powered propulsion systems during a live-streamed unveiling ceremony on Nov. 8 from its headquarters in São José dos Campos, Brazil.

Development of the Energia family aircraft is still in its earliest phases for Embraer, which has partnered with “an international consortium of engineering universities, aeronautical research institutes, and small and medium-sized enterprises” to understand the energy harvesting, storage and thermal management challenges they will need to overcome with the new concepts. Details regarding the new aircraft were released following another recent live webcast held by the Brazilian airframe manufacturer in August where an overview was provided of their vision for a next generation turboprop aircraft with rear-mounted engines.

On Monday, the company provided performance targets and a timeline for entry into service for each of the planned Energia variants.

“There’s no easy or single solution in getting to net zero. New technologies and their supporting infrastructure will come online over time. We’re working right now to refine the first airplane concepts, the ones that can start reducing emissions sooner rather than later. Small aircraft are ideal on which to test and prove new propulsion technologies so that they can be scaled up to larger aircraft. That’s why our Energia family is such an important platform,” Luis Carlos Affonso, Embraer’s Sr. VP of Engineering, Technology and Corporate Strategy said in a statement.

According to details provided by Affonso during the live-steamed unveiling, all four aircraft will use a rear-mounted engine design with a range of varying sizes that incorporate different propulsion technologies – electric, hydrogen fuel cell, dual fuel gas turbine, and hybrid-electric. Below, are the images and details of each aircraft that Embraer has planned to include in the new Energia family of aircraft.

E9-HE

The E9-HE is the hybrid electric Energia variant that will use parallel hybrid-electric propulsion and feature a range of 500 nautical miles (nm). Affonso said the E9-HE’s propulsion system will rely on a single piston engine and two electric motors. The electric motors operate during takeoff and climb when a boost in power is needed, and once the aircraft reaches cruising altitude, the motors are turned off and the small piston engine continues to operate.

“From our initial studies the electric motors could be air cooled decreasing the complexity of the thermal management systems,” Affonso said.

Embraer is projecting “technical readiness” for commercial service by 2030 for the E9-HE.

 

E9-FE

The E9-FE will also feature nine seats and is the first all-electric aircraft in the Energia family, with a planned range of 200 nm. Powered by batteries that are located in the nose of the aircraft and a single rear-mounted electric motor, the E9-FE will have zero carbon emissions, according to Affonso. Technical readiness for the E9-FE is expected to be ready for entry into service by 2035.

 

E-19 H2FC

The 19-seater hydrogen fuel cell-powered E-19 H2FC is among the most unique new configurations unveiled by Embraer, with a a range of 200 nm that Affonso said can be extended “as required by customers.”

“Liquid hydrogen powers the fuel cells, which in turn provide electric power to the motors. The high specific power fuel cell and the high specific energy liquid hydrogen tanks really help to reduce weight,” Affonso said.

Embraer expects the E-19 H2FC to be ready for entry-into-service by 2035.

 

E50-H2GT

The most ambitious among Embraer’s Energia family aircraft concepts is its largest planned variant, that uses a “dual-fuel” propulsion architecture that will be capable of powering a gas turbine with either hydrogen or sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Embraer notes that the E50-H2GT will have seating for 35-40 passengers and a range of 350-500 nm.

“Unlike the other concepts, this aircraft does not have an electric motor or a battery, instead it uses dual-fuel gas turbine propulsion. On short missions, on short ranges below 350 nm, 100 percent hydrogen energy can be used for longer routes, SAF or Jet-A will be used,” Affonso said.

Embraer is projecting a 2040 entry-into-service date for the largest aircraft in the Energia family.

The post Embraer Outlines Electric Propulsion Vision with New Energia Aircraft Concepts appeared first on Aviation Today.

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GE to Focus on Aviation Business with Spin-off Plans for Energy and Healthcare

November 11th, 2021   •   Comments Off on GE to Focus on Aviation Business with Spin-off Plans for Energy and Healthcare   
GE to Focus on Aviation Business with Spin-off Plans for Energy and Healthcare

General Electric plans on becoming an aviation-only company by 2024, under a newly planned structure that will spin-off its healthcare, energy, power and digital businesses over the next three years. (GE Aviation)

General Electric (GE) plans to spin-off of its healthcare division, while combining its energy, power and digital divisions into one business that will leave the industrial giant’s sole focus on aviation within the next few years, according to a Nov. 9 announcement from the company.

GE Aviation, GE Healthcare, and the combined GE Renewable Energy, GE Power, and GE Digital businesses will become three individual public companies based on their new aviation-focused strategy. GE Chairman and CEO H. Lawrence Culp will continue in his current role, including leading gate Healthcare business until it is spun-off in 2023, as well as the consolidated energy, power and digital company until it is spun-off a year later in 2024.

The new structure is subject to the “satisfaction of customary conditions, including final approvals by GE’s Board of Directors, private letter rulings from the Internal Revenue Service and/or tax opinions from counsel, the filing and effectiveness of Form 10 registration statements with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and satisfactory completion of financing,” according to GE.

“By creating three industry-leading, global public companies, each can benefit from greater focus, tailored capital allocation, and strategic flexibility to drive long-term growth and value for customers, investors, and employees,” Culp said in a statement. “Today is a defining moment for GE, and we are ready.”

John Slattery, who assumed the role of president and CEO of GE Aviation last year, will continue to lead the business until Culp assumes control in early 2024. Slattery released a note about the new GE structure via LinkedIn.

“Today, GE is announcing our plan to form three industry-leading, global public companies – focused on aviation, healthcare, and energy. When these actions are completed, GE will become an independent, aviation-focused operating company focused on shaping the future of flight,” Slattery said. “Innovation is core to who we are and who we will continue to be as we embark on this next chapter.”

Slattery has been leading the aviation division’s pursuit of the use of sustainable aviation fuels ISAF) and the development of a next generation CFM engine in partnership with Safran under their new revolutionary innovation for sustainable engines (RISE) research initiative that has a goal of lowering fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 20 percent.

The new structure was announced following the recent release of GE’s third quarter earnings results, where its commercial aviation engines and services business showed signs of recovery.

Through the first three quarters of 2021, GE Aviation has generated $15.2 billion in sales, down 6 percent from a year ago while operating profits have more than doubled to $1.7 billion. Orders are up more than 17 percent to $17.9 billion. Their current engine installed base includes more than 37,000 commercial aircraft engines and more than 26,000 military aircraft engines.

“We power 2/3 of commercial flights, illustrating how impactful this business is today and to the future of flight. Our Military business, which has been a big operational focus has more than 26,000 military engines and servicing our vast global installed base keeps us close to our customers and able to anticipate their needs,” Culp said during an Nov. 9 investor call.  “The pandemic has really drawn a spotlight on this business. While our results have improved significantly, along with the broader market, admittedly, it’s still early.”

The post GE to Focus on Aviation Business with Spin-off Plans for Energy and Healthcare appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Viasat Sees Acquisition of Inmarsat Helping Growth of Passenger Demand for In-flight Connectivity

November 10th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Viasat Sees Acquisition of Inmarsat Helping Growth of Passenger Demand for In-flight Connectivity   
Viasat Sees Acquisition of Inmarsat Helping Growth of Passenger Demand for In-flight Connectivity

Viasat has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Inmarsat for $7.3 billion, in a deal that the company expects to become finalized within the next 9-18 months.

Viasat has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Inmarsat for $7.3 billion, in a deal that the California-based satellite communications believes will help to serve the surging growth of passenger demand for in-flight connectivity (IFC), according to a Nov. 8 conference call featuring executives from the two companies.

If approved, the combined company would hold a spectrum licenses across the Ka-, L- and S-bands and a fleet of 19 satellites in service with an additional 10 spacecraft under construction and planned for launch within the next three years. Viasat Executive Chairman Mark Dankberg highlighted commercial aviation IFC as one of the key market sectors that will benefit from the expanded bandwidth and capacity that will become available to existing and future users of the two networks.

“Inmarsat brings international long haul in-flight connectivity plus essential cockpit and safety communications that are largely dependent on a highly resilient and weather proof L-band and that involves creating a lot more relationships with airlines. Inmarsat also serves business and general aviation with a combination of low cost narrowband and broadband which will also benefit from the depth and geographic focus of Viasat-3,” Dankberg said during the call.

Data released by Viasat during the call about Inmarsat’s aviation market position shows that the company currently enables IFC on 2,400 in-service aircraft and has another 2,900 in its order backlog awaiting. There is also a total of 9,000 aircraft that currently use Inmarsat’s legacy L-band network for safety services cockpit communications with air traffic controllers, while more than 15,000 business and general aviation aircraft are connected via Inmarsat as well.

Viasat shared an overview of what the combined Viasat-Inmarsat satellite network could look like. (Viasat)

Under the acquisition Inmarsat will be joining a company whose commercial aviation portfolio has continued to expand in recent years, especially in the North American market where prominent airlines like American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue and United now feature Viasat IFC. As an example, Delta announced it would start installing Viasat IFC on 300 of its Airbus A321ceo and Boeing 737-900ER/757-200s in January.

Dankberg also discussed how the combined company will be able to meet the growing in-flight passenger demand for more bandwidth intensive internet content, such as streaming and video-based applications. The combined company will also focus on serving the need for airlines to be able to give passengers on aircraft operating near busy airport hubs a reliable IFC experience that is not impacted the concentrated area of demand growth that can sometimes create.

Since Inmarsat and Viasat operate Ka-band networks, the IFC terminals developed by each can be made interoperable across the other’s network. Dankberg said Viasat already has experience enabling that type of interoperability for some of its existing government customers.

“There’s huge growth in broadband demand on all aircraft, not just those that transit oceans and it’s driven really by the passengers consuming more internet content and more video. As a result, the global air travel satellite bandwidth demand is becoming very concentrated over major hub cities,” Dankberg said. “You can pick an example like New York where you can have as many as 500 to 1,000 planes converging on the three major airports there from all over the world. That’s where Viasat’s current and future satellites provide enormous benefit to airlines and passengers. The airlines are really learning that the most difficult challenge to excellent in-flight connectivity is when their aircraft and everyone else’s converge at these hub airports.”

Dankberg also highlighted potential demand and need for connectivity that could eventually emerge from new airspace entrants such as unmanned aircraft systems and electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

Viasat’s acquisition agreement comes following more than a year of significant partnerships and network expansion plans announced by Inmarsat as well. In October 2020, Inmarsat partnered with Hughes Network Systems to establish GX+ North America, a Hughes Jupiter satellite fleet–the largest Ka-band satellite capacity over the U.S.–with Global Xpress (GX), the aviation satellite network launched by Inmarsat in 2016.

More recently, in August, the company unveiled its plans to establish Orchestra, a future communications configuration that will combine existing geosynchronous (GEO) satellites with low earth orbit satellites (LEO) and terrestrial 5G into an integrated network. The technology roadmap for Orchestra extends into the 2040s, operating as a dynamic mesh network that will eventually enable “direct-to-cloud” connectivity for airlines along with a significant expansion in the amount of capacity available for existing L-band and Swiftbroadband users.

“We have been moving fast at Inmarsat since I joined as CEO in March. Building stronger commercial capabilities, deepening our customer focus, targeting the largest, growth opportunities and accelerating our technology with the recent announcement of Orchestra, a dynamic mesh network of the future that still looks to integrate, GEO, LEO MEO and 5G and ELERA the global network for IoT safety and mission critical connectivity,” Rajeev Suri, CEO of Inmarsat, said during the analyst call.

Viasat’s executive team expects the acquisition to achieve global regulatory approval and become finalized within the next 18 months.

The post Viasat Sees Acquisition of Inmarsat Helping Growth of Passenger Demand for In-flight Connectivity appeared first on Aviation Today.

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A320 Production, Supply Chain in Focus for Airbus Amid Commercial Recovery

October 30th, 2021   •   Comments Off on A320 Production, Supply Chain in Focus for Airbus Amid Commercial Recovery   
A320 Production, Supply Chain in Focus for Airbus Amid Commercial Recovery

Airbus is hyper-focused on increasing its monthly production rate for A320s, such as this British Airways featuring a new sustainability-themed livery, and remains on track to delivery 600 commercial airplanes this year, according to the company’s Oct. 28 third quarter earnings call. (Airbus)

Higher commercial aircraft deliveries helped Airbus achieve a net income of €2.635 billion ($3.055 billion) for the first nine months of 2021 compared to the COVID-19 Pandemic-fueled €2.686 billion ($3.114 billion) loss the company reported during the same period a year ago, according to the third quarter earnings results. Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury addressed the French airplane maker’s plan to ramp up production of its A320 during a third quarter earnings call on Thursday where analysts peppered him with questions about their supply chain.

A total of 424 commercial aircraft deliveries were completed by Airbus through Sept. 30, compared to 341 in 2020, and they have a backlog that now consists of 6,894 commercial orders. The company also notes that it has received 137 total cancellations and 133 net orders for new aircraft this year.

Faury said Airbus is on track to achieve its target of 600 aircraft deliveries by the end of the year, and a steady increase of A320 production to 65 per month by the summer of 2023. Faury said that some of their suppliers are “suffering” more than expected during a phase where they’re increasing A320 production every six months, but that their suppliers were not facing big enough challenges to impede their trajectory for the ramp up over the next two years.

“And that’s a rather small number of suppliers which are at the origin of our current challenges. But we think this will be, over time, managed. And therefore, we are not changing our trajectory for the ramp-up,” Faury said. “How do we plan to help? Actually, we don’t plan to help. We have been helping all along the COVID-19 crisis, and I would say, big time. There’s been a lot of Airbus resources that have been involved.”

One of the primary reasons Airbus is hyper-focused on ramping up production and keeping on pace to achieve 600 deliveries this year is to reduce the number of years airlines placing new orders for aircraft will have to wait. The company’s delivery slots are currently filled through the end of 2023, according to Faury.

Airbus also plans to make minimal production rate increases on the A220, A330 and A350 programs between 2022-2023, further increasing pressure on its supply chain to keep up. The Airbus CEO also said there’s not one single area of their supply chain that they can point to as a problem area for ramping up production.

“Preparing for the call this morning, we were wondering whether we should single out some commodities or some of the suppliers or the countries where we operate and looking at the issues we’re having with suppliers. It’s more case by case,” Faury said. “I don’t want to just to single out, to finger point some of the commodities or the supplies because we don’t see it as of today at Airbus. We think the things we are having at the moment, the topics, the issues we’re having are things that we will manage in the course of the next month.”

In his opening remarks, Faury also addressed the difference in commercial air travel passenger demand, which stood at about 70 percent of its 2019 levels domestically while still significantly lower on the international side. Airbus continues to expect the commercial air travel market to fully recover by “2023 to 2025 with domestic and regional market clearly leading the recovery,” Faury said.

The post A320 Production, Supply Chain in Focus for Airbus Amid Commercial Recovery appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Volocopter Eyes Air Taxi Operations in Italy

October 29th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Volocopter Eyes Air Taxi Operations in Italy   
Volocopter Eyes Air Taxi Operations in Italy

Volocopter is exhibiting a scaled version of its VoloCity eVTOL at Fiumicino Airport this week as part of a new partnership with Atlantia and Aeroporti di Roma that seeks to bring electric air taxi operations to Italy in the next 2-3 years. (Volocopter)

German urban air mobility developer Volocopter has established a new partnership with the largest airport operator in Italy in an effort to start developing the infrastructure that will enable electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) operations in Rome and other areas of the country, according to an Oct. 27 announcement from the two companies.

Under the new partnership, Rome has become one of the first cities in Europe to commit to establishing electric air taxi operations in the near future—following a commitment made last year by Paris to bring electric air taxis there in time for the 2024 Olympic Games. Together with the Italian authorities and regulators and with Atlantia’s full support, Aeroporti di Roma (ADR), and Volocopter will raise public awareness about UAM and bring it to Italy within the next 2-3 years.

“We are confident that the collaboration between ADR and Volocopter can give rise, in the short term, to important innovations from the industrial point of view. These two companies are strongly focused on the development of sustainable businesses and have a strong technical expertise,” Carlo Bertazzo, CEO of Atlantia said in a statement. “As Atlantia, we will continue to support the diffusion of Urban Air Mobility in our international hub in Rome and in our airport system of Nizza, Cannes and Saint Tropez, proud to be developing a new transport technology that we can then export to our other European airports, as well as on a global scale.”

Left to Right: Christian Bauer, CCO of Volocopter, Carlo Bertazzo, CEO of Atlantia and Marco Troncone, CEO of Aeroporti di Roma. (Volocopter)

Volocopter describes ADR as being industrially and technologically committed to the development of new vertiports in support of the new partnership. In particular, the new service will connect the international hub “Leonardo da Vinci” with various places in Rome, through vertical airports. In addition to the new partnership, Atlantia also recently became an investor in Volocopter.

Volocopter is exhibiting its VoloCity air taxi at Fiumicino Airport this week, with plans to move it to Piazza San Silvestro in Rome, Italy next week.

The partnership to bring eVTOL flights to Italy is the latest development for the German eVTOL maker, following a recent joint venture agreement with Aerofugia to be operated as Volocopter Chengdu in China. Volocopter is developing two electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, VoloCity and VoloConnect, and a heavy-lift drone, VoloDrone.

The post Volocopter Eyes Air Taxi Operations in Italy appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Eve to Start Urban Air Mobility Ecosystem Evaluation Flights in Brazil Next Month

October 29th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Eve to Start Urban Air Mobility Ecosystem Evaluation Flights in Brazil Next Month   
Eve to Start Urban Air Mobility Ecosystem Evaluation Flights in Brazil Next Month

Eve Air Mobility is starting a UAM simulation in Rio de Janeiro next month. (Eve Air Mobility)

Embraer’s electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) subsidiary Eve Air Mobility will start operating an Urban Air Mobility (UAM) simulation with six passenger-carrying flights a day from Barra da Tijuca to the Tom Jobim International Airport – RIOgaleão, according to an Oct. 26 announcement from the company.

The UAM simulation will use a helicopter with flights charged at a “more affordable cost than a conventional helicopter service,” Eve said in an Oct. 26 press release. On-demand private aircraft flight provider Flapper has already started selling tickets for the UAM simulation, scheduled to begin on Nov. 8.

“Eve’s human-centered approach to development seeks practical validation of concepts and assumptions that will help us understand and address the key challenges associated with delivering the service. Rio de Janeiro is one of the cities with the worst traffic in the world, and the simulation will help us to survey the real needs of users, partners, and the community who will benefit from our mobility solutions,” André Stein, Eve’s CEO said in a statement.

Eve is leading the simulation as part of a concept of operations that began in August in Rio De Janeiro, and will collaborate with more than 50 specialists from 12 institutions. A key goal for the simulation is to identify the needs of users, the community and other stakeholders involved in the type of operation that Eve is pursuing with the eVTOL aircraft it is developing.

The decision by Eve to launch the helicopter-operated UAM simulation comes several weeks after Brazilian private jet operator Aviation Management Services – Serviços Aeronáuticos Ltda. (Avantto) signed a letter of intention (LOI) to order 100 of its eVTOL aircraft.

Vertiports provider Skyports will be involved in the simulation, along with National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) and the Department of Airspace Control (DECEA) that will each be monitoring the operation. Eve is developing an all-electric air taxi that it expects to be ready for entry-into-service by 2026.

Universal Aviation, a global airport services company, will run ground operations for the simulation.

The post Eve to Start Urban Air Mobility Ecosystem Evaluation Flights in Brazil Next Month appeared first on Aviation Today.

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Archer Aviation VP of Design Talks Developing a Human-centric eVTOL

October 29th, 2021   •   Comments Off on Archer Aviation VP of Design Talks Developing a Human-centric eVTOL   
Archer Aviation VP of Design Talks Developing a Human-centric eVTOL

Avionics International recently caught up with Archer Aviation Vice President of Design and Innovation Julien Montousse to discuss his vision for the exterior and interior design elements of the passenger-carrying eVTOL they want to launch by 2024. Pictured here, is the two-seater Maker eVTOL demonstrator unveiled by Archer in June. (Archer Aviation)

With just over two years remaining until Archer Aviation’s goal of having a four-passenger electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) ready for a commercial launch by 2024, the California-based startup will need to make some key decisions about the design of its aircraft over the next six months, Julien Montousse, Vice President of design and innovation at Archer told Avionics International during a recent interview.

Last month, Archer announced two key eVTOL development program milestones, including receiving its a G-1 issue paper from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) outlining a path to certification and a merger with Atlas Crest Investment Corp. that made it a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Montousse joined Archer in November 2020 after serving as the head of design for Mazda’s North American operations for several years, but notes that his experience as a consultant on the design of the SpaceX Dragon 2 cabin sparked his interest in aerospace and made him jump at the opportunity to work with Archer.

“We have a short timeframe to bring this aircraft to market, with our goal being 2024, and that means that a lot of the design decisions are going to have to happen over the next six months,” Montousse said. “There will still of course be some smaller tuning, but in terms of the core architecture itself, and the overall understanding of how it will be shaped inside and outside—a lot of that will be decided over the next six months. We’re going to try to come as close as possible over the next six months to have the A-side—the A-side is everything you see and touch, the B-side is everything you don’t see or touch—decided and finalized.”

The design that Archer ultimately decides upon will most likely have noticeable exterior and interior differences from the two-passenger Maker eVTOL demonstrator that they unveiled in June. While the passenger-carrying capacity of the aircraft could change, Montousse said that as of now they’re initially sticking to the configuration that was announced in February along with their United Airlines partnership and purchase order, a design for one pilot and four passengers.

Montousse said that another key focus for the Archer design team right now is ensuring that the overall design is simplistic and visually appealing to future passengers. He said the team has already come up with a number of design improvements on the Maker.

Montousse said he believes passengers should be able to enter and exit Archer’s eVTOL hands-free. (Archer Aviation)

“If you look at the Maker demonstrator, and even some of the designs of our competitors, as an aircraft it is still very complex in its assembly, its construction and where you have a typical fuselage to wing box integration and rotors that are split from the wings. Visually, it still appears as a very complex product,” Montousse said. “One of the key goals for us visually is to simplify the aircraft and that really requires a focus on integration. How do we integrate all of those key components in a way that is more digestible to the eye?”

Archer’s design team is currently working on those improvements with the use of computer-aided design (CAD) as well as virtual reality-based models that show how different eVTOL models would appear in operation or how a vertiport could support one design versus another. According to Montousse, three of the principles guiding their considerations for design changes are operational efficiency, payload and FAA certification requirements.

Lessons learned from the cabin interior design and materials featured on the majority of today’s smaller fixed and rotary wing aircraft will also be incorporated into Archer’s first production-ready eVTOl as well.

“If you think about some of the smaller business aircraft flying right now, the majority of people have to crouch down when they get inside or grab a handle and hoist themselves into the cabin. I think that your connection to the aircraft should be as simple as possible. You should be able to get in and get out completely hands-free. In a way, we’re going to be competing with cars, and people that are accustomed to getting into and out of their cars in a fluid manner. We should expect that same desire for such an experience on our aircraft. No one wants to crawl into a small space and be crammed in anymore,” Montousse said.

There will also be a focus on ensuring there is space between seats within the cabin to allow passengers to have more privacy in the event that they could be sharing the air taxi with strangers. Creating a more interactive passenger experience is also a desire for Montousse’s team, as they’re currently studying the use of retina capture and holographic displays as windows that could provide passengers with information about points of interest within their flight as they look outside.

“Even if its just a 10-minute flight, we want that to be an amazing 10 minutes of comfort. We know passengers will be fairly constrained, you won’t have the space to get up and go to another seat or stand up in the aisle in between. You’re going to be sitting in that space for 10 minutes and we want it to be as comfortable as possible. That is extremely important,” Montousse said.

In a recent blog post, Archer provided a comparison of its Maker demonstrator eVTOL’s 45 A-weighted decibels (dBA) noise output to other forms of transportation, with the company claiming it will be “1,000 times” quieter than a traditional helicopter. The 45 dbA noise level is based on Maker flying overhead at 2,000 feet.

As the company moves closer to finalizing the design of its production eVTOL, Montousse said that his team is evaluating the use of noise-cancelling technology to reduce the sound of rotors to the passengers in the cabin as well. And while Archer desires a simplistic eVTOL design, Montousse said the goal is still to produce a design that is “sexy, progressive and pushes the world into this new era of transportation.”

“We want it to perform aerodynamically and structurally of course, but we’re also focused on making a product that is extremely sexy and progressive. When I was at Mazda, we really tried to bring to life a product with an appealing design. This is something that I brought with me to aerospace and I my quest is to bring emotion into a world that is 100 percent mathematical. When people see it, it won’t look 100 percent mathematical,” Montousse said.

The post Archer Aviation VP of Design Talks Developing a Human-centric eVTOL appeared first on Aviation Today.

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