This U.S. Army Helicopter Drone used for Casavac's
By Kyle Mizokami
The DP-14 Hawk can carry an injured soldier hundreds of miles.
Military drones aren't just for attack or surveillance. If the U.S. Army has its way, its medics could soon call on unmanned helicopters to evacuate the wounded to nearby aid stations.
The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command is looking at the Dragonfly Pictures, Inc. DP-14 Hawk as a possible alternative to traditional helicopters for casualty evacuation. The DP-14 Hawk is a twin-rotor helicopter that looks like a miniature CH-47 Chinook. Small enough to fit in a utility van, it can be assembled and ready to fly in just thirty minutes.
Once operational, the Hawk has a cruise speed of about 82 miles an hour and can carry payloads of up to 430 pounds for up to 2.4 hours. Hawk can complete a mission autonomously, relying on internal navigation systems to get from one point to another—even without GPS.
The Hawk has an internal payload bay of 23 cubic feet, which translates to an area just over six feet by 20 inches. This man-sized area could be ideal for ferrying an injured soldier from the front line to a nearby aid station. DPI also says the drone could be used for "precision agriculture, farming, wildfire life & safety, search and rescue, survey and expedition resupply, (and) marine operations." Hawk can also carry slung loads under the drone, or even team up with a second drone to share carrying an even larger slung load.
Read more at Defensetech
The Wait for ATC Privatization is Over as White House Budget Emerges
President Trump's proposed 2018 budget will privatize air traffic control operations, something airline executives have been lobbying for.
This time around, general aviation’s fight to block the measure is expected to be more intense than ever before.
By Rob Mark
The Trump administration’s admission today that efforts to privatize the nation’s air traffic control system have earned a line in the president’s upcoming budget is expected to quickly ignite opposing efforts from the general aviation community.
Pushback on ATC privatization in the past has focused on two key issues: who will control the new corporate entity and how it will be funded? For years, the privatization concept has focused around a proposed board of directors heavily influenced by the airlines, with user fees to fund the system being hoisted on the airlines, and perhaps general aviation as well. The airlines, of course, will be able to pass along any increase in costs to passengers, an option that doesn’t exist for noncommercial general aviation.
The new White House budget proposal says separating ATC from the FAA to create an "independent, non-governmental organization" would make the system "more efficient and innovative while maintaining safety." Specific details about how these new efficiencies would actually come to play have never been disclosed. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta does not support privatization, last month making the rounds explaining the “tremendous progress” NextGen has provided the industry in the past decade.
The major airlines, except for Delta, have for years claimed that the NextGen plan to update the nation’s ATC system is taking far too long and has cost billions more than it should. Adding to what the airlines say ails the current ATC system is the chaos of a rocky federal budgeting system that never seems to be able to guarantee a steady flow of cash to support system renewal. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association representing the agency’s 14,000 controllers backs the privatization plan, complaining the FAA is unable to resolve either controller staffing or system modernization issues.
This new privatization move is expected to mirror an earlier effort last year, nudged along by Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., chairman of the House Transportation Committee, an important airline industry ally. Many other members of Congress have opposed previous privatization efforts and are expected to join the fight this time around.
Political money tracking site Opensecrets.org claims Rep. Shuster received $148,499 in airline industry campaign contributions in the 2016 election. Reports have also circulated for years about a conflicting personal relationship of Shuster’s with a top staffer at the airline’s powerful lobbying group, Airlines for America.
Carbon nanotube 'stitches' make stronger, lighter composites
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The newest Airbus and Boeing passenger jets flying today are made primarily from advanced composite materials such as carbon fiber reinforced plastic -- extremely light, durable materials that reduce the overall weight of the plane by as much as 20 percent compared to aluminum-bodied planes. Such lightweight airframes translate directly to fuel savings, which is a major point in advanced composites' favor.
But composite materials are also surprisingly vulnerable: While aluminum can withstand relatively large impacts before cracking, the many layers in composites can break apart due to relatively small impacts -- a drawback that is considered the material's Achilles' heel.
Now MIT aerospace engineers have found a way to bond composite layers in such a way that the resulting material is substantially stronger and more resistant to damage than other advanced composites. Their results are published this week in the journal Composites Science and Technology.
The researchers fastened the layers of composite materials together using carbon nanotubes -- atom-thin rolls of carbon that, despite their microscopic stature, are incredibly strong. They embedded tiny "forests" of carbon nanotubes within a glue-like polymer matrix, then pressed the matrix between layers of carbon fiber composites. The nanotubes, resembling tiny, vertically-aligned stitches, worked themselves within the crevices of each composite layer, serving as a scaffold to hold the layers together.
In experiments to test the material's strength, the team found that, compared with existing composite materials, the stitched composites were 30 percent stronger, withstanding greater forces before breaking apart.
Qantas Unveils New Logo
Qantas has divided the nation with a new "flying kangaroo" logo to coincide with the launch of its 787 Dreamliner.
The new Boeing aircraft, which will arrive next year, is promising more space, better entertainment, technology and comfort.
"The Dreamliner is an aircraft built for comfort. The windows are bigger, it helps reduce jet lag, it's extremely quiet and there's a system that smooths out turbulence. Customers are going to love it," Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said.
Qantas is looking towards the future and using new technology to update everything they do, and that included the logo.
"This is the symbol that has been on every Qantas aircraft since the Second World War. The flying kangaroo represents the spirit of Australia, for overseas visitors it represents the first taste of Australia, for Australians living overseas it is a reminder of home."
The updated logo was overseen by industrial designer Marc Newson in partnership with Australian design agency Houston Group.
"This new brand is more streamlined and the shading behind the kangaroo gives a better sense of movement and depth. A silver band now extends from the tail to the rear of the fuselage, to give a more premium feel," Mr Newson said in a statement.
But many people were quick to point out something was missing. "They say it's streamlining, but it looks like Qantas's flying Kangaroo has lost it's paws!"
The Jet Engines with "digital twins"
BBC - 14 February 2017
Jet engines are some of the most complex technologies on the planet. They’re so difficult to make, in fact, the companies that build aircraft don’t make their own engines. They outsource the job to just a few businesses worldwide — mostly US-based General Electric and Pratt & Whitney, and UK-based Rolls-Royce Holdings. Inside their R&D labs, jet engine engineers are working to take the age-old science that makes a jet engine work and build designs that are more lightweight, more fuel efficient, and longer lasting.
Anthony Dean, head of combustion systems General Electric’s Global Research Center, in Niskayuna, New York, gave the BBC a rundown of how the company is re-imagining a technology that hasn’t had an upgrade in the basic science it’s based on for the last 50 years. And that includes keeping records of a "digital twin" of each jet engine GE makes, so that they can keep tabs on its performance on the ground — while it's in the air.
How a jet engine works
Jet engines — the oblong objects that hang off of a plane’s wing and provide it with power and propulsion — only need three basic elements to work: air, fuel, and a spark. Of course, it’s a lot more complicated than that. Especially when modern developments (like environmental regulations and sound ordinances) require each engine to be as small as possible, as quiet as possible, and as fuel efficient as possible. It’s easy to build a huge loud engine. But building it to the specifics of modern requirements is where the challenge comes in.
The basic design for every jet engine goes like this: There are four modules in a row. In the first module a fan generates a stream of air, which is split in two. One stream moves into a second module. A second stream bypasses the interior of the engine and shoots out the back where it helps push the engine forward. In the second module an air compressor air in and puts it under high pressure, which shrinks the volume of the air and allows the engine to be smaller (because compressed air takes up less space). The third module is where combustion takes place. A jet of fuel combines with compressed air and ignites with a spark to create heat (essentially lighting a match in a tornado), which greatly expands the compressed air. The heated air, which has now expanded by a factor of 3, is then forced out into the fourth module, which contains a turbine. The fast moving air spins the turbine, which is connected by a shaft to the fan in the first module, thus completing a circuit that makes the engine power itself. The fast moving, expanded air that has spun the turbine shoots out of the back of the engine also helping to propel it forward.
Preserving parts at 3,000F- 1,650C
One of the most difficult pieces of jet engine design is figuring out how to keep all the parts functioning, despite the fact that they’re being exposed to extreme high temperatures. Many of the rotating blades throughout the engine, for example, that spin to keep the air moving, can be exposed to burning gas at temperatures as high as 3,000 degrees F. It’s especially challenging because most metals melt at around 2,000 to 2,500F (1,100 - 1,375C)
“I have a gas stream that’s something much hotter than the melting point of the metal,” says Dean. One solution that his team employs is to coat each of the parts with a specially-designed ceramic that can withstand much higher temperatures than metal. But, says Dean, ceramics are brittle. So if you have a coffee cup that can withstand high temperatures, “The coffee cup won’t melt but if I drop it, it breaks,” he says. And the parts inside a jet engine aren’t just exposed to high temperatures — they’re also under extreme strain and stress as they move at high speeds. So GE materials scientists developed Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMC), with a structure similar to fibreglass, that are just as strong as metal but lighter and better able to stand up to high temperatures.
To give the turbine blades even more ability to withstand high temperatures and last as long as possible, the engineers also re-imagined their design. They’re not simply flat, smooth blades. Instead, they are covered in a series of tiny holes. When the engine starts up, air is forced through each of the holes and creates a blanket that covers blade. The air pocket around the turbine blades is cooler than the air inside the engine, which protects them from extreme hot temperatures and gives them a much longer lifespan. “It’s something that everybody in the business does now,” Dean says. “That’s one of the things that makes each company different in terms of their secret sauce. How do you get a good engine? You do a good job on the cooling and materials.”
Sensors, sensors, and more sensors
But even though each of these moving parts is carefully protected from the heat and motion they must endure, that doesn’t mean they will last forever. So GE recently introduced a new method to monitor their engines once they are in use and attempt to predict how and when they will need repair. The first part of the new system is to create what they call a “digital twin” of every engine they build. During the design and manufacturing phase of the engine, engineers compile thousands of data points specific to each engine, which they use to build a digital model. This allows them to know exactly how hot that engine should be in specific each of its modules, what the pressure should be, and how fast the airflow should be moving. In other words, each of the company's jet engines has a digital twin that lets the team back at the research center monitor its condition over time.
As the engine is built, it is equipped with about 100 sensors that measure its essential parts. For example, “The pressure and temperature at the exit of the compressor is a key indicator of the health of the compressor,” says Dean. They also keep an eye on the exhaust temperature, the speed at which the turbines are spinning, and how far the fuel valve opens. Because his team also acts at the mechanics for each of the engines they build, they can then compare the data gathered by the sensors to the engine’s digital twin (which can be put through the same paces that the engine experiences as it takes off, flies through different types of weather, and undergoes regular wear and tear). If the two data sets don’t match up, then the engine needs servicing because something undesirable is going on.
One of the most useful parts of the digital twin is that it measures a huge number of factors that the engine faces throughout its lifetime -- some flights have more people on them then others (that will put more strain on the engine), some cities (like Abu Dhabi) have a lot of sand in their air, and some pilots push their engines harder than others. “With the twin...I can learn that the pilot is a cowboy and pushes the engine. The fuel burn we see will be different with different pilot. The digital twin remembers every one of those events. You can start to separate the fleet. Each engine has a different life experience,” he says. And that overall understanding of how each different engine lives out its life helps them tweak and change future engine designs. “It’s like personalized medicine. You can start to classify and see what works best for an engine that has a similar life. We’re beginning to use this to inform how we build new engines.”
Looking to the future
Jet engine design will face changes in the future. Right now, the company is beginning to 3D print some of the parts that go into its engine (they’ve recently acquired two 3D printing companies to assist with this). They’re also moving into research and development of hybrid electric engines, which will make jet engines smaller and more efficient. But there’s a limit to how efficient an engine can get when its basic design remains unchanged. So one way that the company is looking at improving the engine is by investing in research that completely rethinks how a jet engine works.
One new potential science, which several companies and research institutions are currently studying, is called the Rotating Detonation Engine. Essentially, this works by creating a series of small detonations and using the supersonic wave that a detonation generates to keep combustion going continuously. Theoretically, if the system works, it would require significantly less fuel to get the engine moving and keep it moving. And even with less fuel the engine would also theoretically produce significantly more energy. “The trick of the engine is containing [the detonation], making it stable, and having it operate at conditions you want,” says Dean. “Will it operate well, will it be durable, can it have low emissions, and what fuel can I burn with such an engine? We’re in the middle of the science phase.”
According to Dean it will be another two to three years before they can answer all of those questions and decide if this complete re-imagining of engine design can become an actual, working product. Until then, jet engine engineers will continue pushing their designs to be more and more efficient. “People talk about rocket science and how hard rockets are,” he says. “We’re running at similar conditions in temperature and pressure that the first Saturn V rocket burned for 3 minutes. We now have to have engines that [do that] for thousands of hours. We have to do rocket science plus.” In other words, it’s not as hard as rocket science. He says it’s “as hard as jet engine design.”
Keeping Drones Separated from Manned Aircraft
New technology, the size of a contact lens, could help keep drones separated from manned aircraft.
By Rob Mark
Palo Alto-based uAvionix has announced the creation of an ADS-B transceiver not much larger than a contact lens — and weighing in at just 1 gram — aimed at the drone market’s yet unresolved problem of identifying themselves to other aircraft and drones while operating in the national airspace system.
uAvionix CEO Paul Beard said the genesis of the tiny UAT was to demonstrate what could be developed in light of a recent Mitre study that imagines a world of high-density drone operations all trying to keep themselves separated from each other. The Mitre study concluded that an ADS-B transceiver with a transmitter power of less that 0.1 watt might be just the solution the industry will need.
The tiny UAT’s transmitter power can vary between 0.01-0.25 watt. That translates into a drone capable of identifying itself to other aircraft equipped with ADS-B In technology as far away as 10 miles. The unit’s size also makes it small enough to integrate directly into professional- and consumer-level drones.
Beard said, “While it’s not yet legal to transmit at these low power outputs, we aim to lead the discussion and development of those standards.” uAvionix is working with the FAA and other partners under a collaborative research and development agreement to test the tiny UAT and other uAvionix products.
New president and CEO for Boeing
Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg today named Kevin G. McAllister president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, succeeding company Vice Chairman Ray Conner in that role. Muilenburg also appointed Stanley A. Deal president and CEO of Boeing Global Services, a new business unit to be formed from the customer services groups within the company’s existing commercial airplanes and defense, space and security business units. McAllister joins Boeing from GE Aviation. Deal is a veteran Boeing executive.
Conner, 61, will continue to serve as Boeing vice chairman through 2017. He will work closely with McAllister in the months ahead on a purposeful hand-off of customer, supplier, and community and government relationships, and to ensure continuity of operations and customer support. Conner also will provide strategic oversight and guidance for the company’s transition to a single integrated services business and remain involved in ongoing product development strategy at Commercial Airplanes.
“With Ray Conner’s retirement timeline in sight and an expanding global services market to pursue, these moves will further strengthen and grow Boeing and better serve our customers, employees, shareholders and other partners in the years ahead,” said Muilenburg. “We are immensely grateful to Ray for his leadership and contributions to Boeing over nearly four decades, and we will continue to rely on his vast experience and keen insights in supporting the leadership and business transitions underway.”
McAllister, 53, joins Boeing after 27 years with GE Aviation, where he served since 2014 as president and CEO of GE Aviation Services. Before that, as vice president and general manager of global sales and marketing since 2008, he was credited with delivering record backlog growth for the nearly $25 billion GE business.
Garmin introduces VIRB aviation bundle
Garmin has introduced an aviation-specific addition to the VIRB Ultra 30 action camera family, offering several new accessories tailored to capturing high definition footage in-flight.
VIRB Ultra 30 is a waterproof action camera with the power to shoot Ultra HD footage at 4K/30fps.
The VIRB Ultra 30 contains a suite of new features, including voice control, an intuitive LCD color touchscreen and one-touch live streaming.It also features built-in 3-axis stabilization and enhanced connectivity with a variety of Garmin products.
The VIRB Ultra 30 aviation in-cockpit bundle includes a stereo headset audio cable, so pilot-to-pilot communications and air traffic control transmissions can be embedded in the video.
A prop filter is also provided to eliminate propeller distortion created while filming video in-flight or capturing high quality still photos.The bundle also includes a cage mount, which is the smallest and lightest way to mount VIRB Ultra inside the cockpit.
With G-Metrix, VIRB Ultra utilizes internal sensors such as the high-sensitivity GPS, accelerometer and gyroscope to capture even more performance data. For example, pilots can review in-flight footage to see how many G’s were recorded during a flight maneuver and overlay the data overtop the video.
In addition to G-Metrix data, VIRB Ultra is Connext-capable so aviation-specific data such as aircraft pitch, roll, lateral acceleration, turn rate and more can also be received from the G3X Touch flight display or Flight Stream 110/210/510 and overlaid within the video.
The camera is compatible with D2 Bravo, D2 Bravo Titanium, Garmin Pilot and the aera 660 aviation portable. It also features the ability to connect to the GMA 350c and GMA 245 series audio panels via Bluetooth, which can embed audio overtop rich, high definition video, without the need for a headset cable.
The VIRB Ultra 30 also features Sensory TrulyHandsfree voice control so customers can speak several straightforward commands to the camera – even when utilizing the headset audio cable in the cockpit. Commands such as “OK Garmin, start recording,” or “Ok Garmin, remember that,” tag specific moments within the video.
Once video is recorded, customers can take advantage of the free VIRB Mobile app, which can live-stream video footage and allow pilots to view, edit and share videos that highlight the best moments in-flight.
When connected, one-touch live streaming allows customers to easily share high-definition videos in real-time by streaming live to YouTube.
VIRB Edit desktop software is an easy-to-use editing program that allows customers to auto-create videos, add music, trim video clips and incorporate transitions to perfect in-flight video.
The VIRB Ultra 30 aviation in-cockpit bundle is priced at $499.99
World's Best Business Jets Fly Into The MEBAA Show
With the MEBAA Show fast approaching, aircraft confirmations for the event are coming thick and fast with up to 50 business jets expected to be on display at the static park from 6-8 December at DWC, Airshow Site. Among those flying in from around the world will be several game-changing aircraft and a representation of industry favourites.
Exhibitors and visitors to the event can expect to see several Dassault Falcon 7X, from companies including Saudi Private Aviation and Jetcraft Corporation, while Qatar Executive will be displaying its flagship Gulfstream 650ER.
The display will also feature several Boeing Business Jets, including Boeing’s own 737-700IGW, 757-200s from AvJet and Honeywell and a 757-200ER from Comlux. Airbus Corporate Jets will be showing an ACJ319 and Embraer Executive Jets plan to exhibit two Legacy aircraft – a Legacy 500 and a Legacy 650. Also on display from Diamond Aircraft will be a DA42-VI, a DA62 and a DA40 NG.
“The MEBAA Show has a well deserved reputation for being the place where the decision makers come together,” says Ali Ahmed Alnaqbi, Founding Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Business Aviation Association (MEBAA). “With so many of the right people in one place, exhibitors know it is an opportunity to display their most impressive business jets. The aircraft that will be on the static display at the event demonstrate that this is the place to be.”
In addition to those aircraft already announced, many more will be on display when the MEBAA Show takes place at DWC, Airshow Site from 6-8 December 2016. More aircraft are regularly being added to the display list, for this and further information, please visit www.mebaa.aero.
First woman to fly China's J-10 fighter killed in crash
The first woman to fly China's J-10 fighter plane has been killed in a crash during an aerobatics training exercise, state-run media have reported.
Yu Xu, 30, a member of the Chinese air force's "August 1st" aerobatic display team, ejected from her aircraft during a training exercise in the northern province of Hebei at the weekend, the China Daily newspaper said.
She hit the wing of another jet and was killed, it said, although her male co-pilot ejected safely and survived.
"As one of only four female pilots in the country capable of flying domestically made fighter jets, her death comes as a tremendous loss to the Chinese air force," the Global Times newspaper said.
Yu, from Chongzhou in the southwestern province of Sichuan, joined the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force in 2005, reports said.
She graduated from training four years later, and become one of the first 16 Chinese women pilots qualified to fly fighter jets, the China Daily said.
In July 2012, she became the first woman to fly the J-10. Fans dubbed her the "golden peafowl", it added.
Yu was seen as a pioneering trailblazer in a country that enshrines women's rights, but where traditional values are still widespread.
Users on the Twitter-like Weibo social media service posted pictures of candles in her memory, with thousands mourning her death.
"We praise her not as an individual, but for the spirit she transmitted to us, becoming the ideal vehicle for everyone's hopes," one user wrote.
Others raised questions about the crash.
"Rather than stirring up emotion, the most important thing is to investigate why this accident occurred, was it a problem with the design problem in the fighter, or in the rules of operation, or in inadequate training," one user wrote.
"Only by ascertaining the causes can we ensure it doesn't happen again."
Yu rose to become a flight squadron leader, and according to the Global Times, dreamed of becoming an astronaut.
She was one of two female members of the August 1 team - named for the date of the founding of the PLA - pictured at China's premier air show in Zhuhai two years ago.
The pair strode to their fighter planes in lock-step with male pilots, all wearing identical green jumpsuits and sunglasses.
At the time, the China Daily quoted Wang Yan'an, deputy editor of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, as saying: "Female pilots have learned to fly cutting-edge fighter jets in the Chinese air force".
"It means the air force has diversified its pilot pool and can recruit more female pilots."
Yu appeared again at this year's show earlier this month, according to reports.
The official news agency Xinhua quoted Air Force spokesman Shen Jinke saying all its personnel were "deeply regretful and mournful" at her "unfortunate death".
The J-10 is a workhorse of the Chinese air force. Two of the fighters conducted what the Pentagon called an "unsafe" intercept of a US spy plane over the East China Sea in June.
An estimated 400 of the jets have been built, most for Chinese use, according to defence analysts IHS Janes. It said in December reports had emerged of three crashes in the previous three months.
New supersonic jet could fly Sydney to LA in under seven hours
Flight times between Sydney and Los Angeles could be halved if plans for a new supersonic jet get off the ground.
The XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator, a prototype of a larger airliner and nicknamed the Baby Boom, was unveiled at a hangar in Colorado today by US-based Boom Technology and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic.
The jet will be 10 per cent faster than the now defunct Concorde and two-and-a-half times faster than current jets, meaning it will be able to cut flight times dramatically.
Travellers will be able to fly between Sydney and Los Angeles in less than seven hours and for much less than the price of a ticket on Concorde, which had its first commercial flight in 1976 and became famous not only for its sky-high airfares but its famous passengers including Mick Jagger and Elizabeth Taylor.
Concorde was seen as a luxury offering between the 1970s and 1990s with tickets costing around STG 4,350 ($A7,171) one way from London to New York.
Falling passenger numbers and a fatal crash in 2000 ultimately led to its demise in 2003.
Boom chief executive and founder Blake Scholl said the Concorde was limited by technology at the time, something his company has overcome.
"Concorde's designers didn't have the technology for affordable supersonic travel, but now we do.Today, we're proud to unveil our first aircraft," Mr Scholl said.
Boom's airliner will offer a similarly premium experience to Concorde, with only one seat on each side of the aisle and flights at a higher altitude to cut out turbulence.
Boom estimates it would take just under seven hours to fly from Sydney to LA, including a refuelling stop, cutting the near 14-hour flight and costing around $3,500 each way.
A flight from New York to London would cost $2,500 and take just over three hours, down from around an eight hour flight.
The first test flight of the prototype is scheduled for late 2017.
It will be built into an airliner three times its size, with Virgin Galactic having the option to buy the first 10 plane bodies produced by the company.
"I have long been passionate about aerospace innovation and the development of high-speed commercial flights," Virgin Group founder Richard Branson said.
"As an innovator in the space, Virgin Galactic's decision to work with Boom was an easy one."
Futuristic X-planes are coming soon to an airport near you
Do you think commercial airplane technology hits its apogee with the Dreamliner?
The Boeing BA, -0.15% jet, which can top $300 million apiece, is certainly amazing. But NASA’s aeronautical innovators are once again preparing to push the envelope of aircraft design with an array of new, experimental models dubbed X-planes.
Many of the planes will burn half the fuel and generate 75% less pollution than current counterparts. They’ll also be less loud.
All of this is part of the “New Aviation Horizons” initiative, announced this February as part of President Obama’s budget request for the new fiscal year starting Oct. 1. The initiative outlines a 10-year plan during which NASA Aeronautics will design, build and finally launch a number of experimental planes.
By doing so, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration hopes to reduce the time needed for private industry to adopt the new technology and apply it to commercial models.
The upgrades are substantial, from the materials used to create aircraft structures and advanced fan design that can reduce noise and improve propulsion, to special coatings that prevent bug buildup on the wings.
Heineken Beer on Tap at FL300
by David Flynn
High flyers can finally enjoy real espresso coffee mid-flight, and now there's authentic draught beer too.
KLM's beer trolley trundles down the business class aisles of selected European flights serving Heineken on tap, after years of experimenting with keg designs to produce a perfect pub-style schooner at high altitude.
It's quite a challenge, you see.
Aircraft are pressurised at 6,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level, an altitude at which a beer tap will "only dispense a huge amount of foam" explains Heineken's Edwin Griffioen.
"We do have dispensers that work on air pressure, but these were too big to fit in a plane," while CO2 cartridges used in home tap systems are banned from aircraft.
Another challenge: getting all the necessary kit into a cabin-friendly size, specifically a standard-sized airline trolley.
"It was one big jigsaw puzzle," Griffioen recalls. "The keg of beer, the cooling system and the air pressure compressor all had to fit in an airline catering trolley."
"In the end we had to leave out one of those pieces to make it all fit, so with pain in our hearts we had to leave the cooling behind."
Hang on – does this mean that the Dutch airline is serving warm Brit-style beer?
Not quite: four ice-cold kegs of beer are loaded onto each flight at Amsterdam Airport, with the trolley – created using a 3D printer – resembling "a giant Thermos flask" in which an insulated container keeps the suds under 5° C for a cold, crisp pour.
KLM's draught beer trolley is pressurised to compensate for the 'negative pressure' on board, so as to generate sufficient tap pressure for serving a refreshing beer rather than a glass of foamy head.
“We managed to set the diameter of the tap and the air pressure to exactly the right combination, which delivers at 36,000 feet (11,000m) exactly the same beer as you would get on the ground," Heineken's Griffioen beams. The cost of creating this high-tech trolley means that, for now, there's only one in the entire KLM fleet, with the airline intending to roll it out "as much as possible for special flights and events."
Airbus - Family Day Out
Experience the Trifan 600
Using three ducted fans, the TriFan 600 lifts off vertically and in seconds the two wing fans rotate forward for a seamless transition to high-speed flight. Within just 90 seconds, the airplane reaches cruise speed – where the lift is provided by the wings just like every other fixed-wing airplane. The fuselage-mounted fan, no longer needed, closes up. The airplane flies directly to its destination and reverses the process. Landing vertically right where it needs to be – wherever there’s a clear helipad-sized paved surface.
Stepping aboard, discover unparalleled cabin comfort, satisfying the most discerning needs. Find perfectly shaped modern luxury with its exceptionally spacious interior adorned with elegant surfaces and intelligent high-tech features. The latest in business class opulence with pressurized cabin comfort for truly accommodating capability.
- Latest in business class comfort
- Seats 1 pilot and 5 passengers
- Travel comfortably with adequate space and payload for overnight bags
Garmin G5000 Approved for Hawker/Beechjet 400
Integrated glass avionics provide advanced capabilities and ADS-B compliance.
By Pia Bergqvist
Photo: A Beechjet 400A cockpit outfitted with Garmin's G5000 integrated flight deck.
Garmin’s G5000 integrated flight deck has achieved STC approval for retrofit in the Beechjet 400A and Hawker 400XP. The avionics suite features two touch-screen controllers and three 12-screen displays capable of displaying as many as six independent pages simultaneously in the landscape orientation. The touch-screen controllers are mounted in portrait orientation below the displays.
Instrument charts with own ship position capabilities can be displayed on any of the three screens. The system also includes SurfaceWatch, which provides aural and visual alerts to warn pilots who are about to take off or land on a taxiway or on a runway that doesn’t support the performance capabilities of the airplane. The new installation also includes an integrated autopilot and ADS-B out capability, complying with the mandate for ADS-B by 2020.
Other advanced capabilities, which are now becoming more and more commonplace in new avionics systems, include synthetic vision, TAWS-B terrain alerts (TAWS-A is optional), TCAS traffic, electronic checklists, weather and more.
“This flight deck modernization program offers owners and operators a state-of-the-art flight deck that yields a substantially lower cost of operation and delivers an exceptional in-flight experience, which is all backed by a three-year warranty and 12 consecutive years of award-winning avionics product support,” said Garmin’s vice president of aviation sales and marketing, Carl Wolf.
An added benefit to the new Hawker/Beechjet installation is a useful-load increase of approximately 150 pounds.
Instead of rewiring planes to fly themselves, why not give them android pilots?
THE idea of a drone—an aircraft designed from scratch to be pilotless—is now familiar. But what if you want to make pilotless a plane you already possess? Air forces, particularly America’s, sometimes do this with obsolete craft that they wish to fly for target practice. By using servomotors to work the joystick and the control surfaces, and adding new instruments and communications so the whole thing can be flown remotely, a good enough lash-up can be achieved to keep the target airborne until it meets its fiery fate. The desire for pilotlessness, though, now goes way beyond the ability to take pot shots at redundant F-16s. America’s air force wants, as far as possible, to robotise cargo, refuelling and reconnaissance missions, leaving the manned stuff mostly to its top-gun fighter pilots. This could be done eventually with new, purpose-built aircraft. But things would happen much faster if existing machines could instantly and efficiently be retrofitted to make their pilots redundant.
Shim Hyunchul and his colleagues at KAIST (formerly the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) think they can manage just that. They plan to do so by, quite literally, putting a robot in the pilot’s seat. As the photograph shows, this robot—called PIBOT (short for pilot robot)—has a human body plan, with a head, torso, arms and legs. The head is packed with cameras, which are thus in the same place as a human being’s eyes, and the arms and legs can operate an aircraft’s controls, just as a human being would. More ...
92-Year-old Female WWII Pilot Flies Her Plane Again After 70 Years!
92-Year-Old Air Transport Auxiliary veteran, Joy Lofthouse, recently took flight again in the iconic Spitfire aircraft that she last flew during World War II 70 years ago. The video capturing the moment is incredibly special and a must-see!
The special occasion marked the 70th anniversary of the war's end and Joy was more than thrilled to take part. Throughout her time of service in England, she flew 18 different aircraft, but the Spitfire plane was her all-time favorite.
Joy described flying the Spitfire as "the nearest thing to having wings of your own and flying that I've known." It was clear that she was so moved by the experience of flying again and even said that it made her feel young again. We're so inspired by Joy and her fearlessness even after all of these years!
Watch Joy take to the skies again in the touching video below!
Birthday bash: Boeing rolls out jets from 707 to 787 to celebrate
Boeing officially celebrated its 100th anniversary Friday, marking the occasion with a celebration for employees and spectators Friday at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.
The U.S. jetmaker showed off all of its modern "7 series" passenger aircraft at the event. The lineup included everything from Boeing's 707 that revolutionized the jet age when it debuted in the 1950s to the state-of-the art 787 Dreamliner that entered commercial service in 2012.
The event marked the occasion of the company's official founding on July 15, 1916.
"The innovative spirit of our founder Bill Boeing — who 100 years ago today dedicated this company to building something better — is alive in the generations of our people who continue to deliver products and services that matter and positively change lives around the world," Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement marking the occasion. "As we embark on our second century, our commitment to excellence is stronger than ever, our potential for achievement is as great as it was for our founders, and our goals must be even more bold, visionary and inspiring."
Check out photos from the company's Seattle celebration and photo archives here. Take a look at a special Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 painted specifically to commemorate Boeing's 100th birthday.
Revealed: the world's best airline
By Soo Kim
Emirates has been named the best airline in the world at the annual World Airline Awards held today by Skytrax at the Farnborough International Air Show in Hampshire.
The Dubai-based airline took home the prestigious title, trumping last year's winner Qatar Airways, which came second.
Singapore Airlines took third spot, followed by Cathay Pacific, both in last year's top five, while ANA All Nippon Airways rose two places to come fifth.
The top 10 world's best airlines*
2 -Qatar Airways
3 -Singapore Airlines
4 -Cathay Pacific
5 -ANA All Nippon Airways
6 -Etihad Airways
7 -Turkish Airlines
8 -EVA Air
9 -Qantas Airways
*according to the 2016 Skytrax World Airline Awards
"Emirates has always put our customers at the heart of what we do, and we work hard to deliver the very best experience possible to our customers at every touchpoint, every day, all around the world," said Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates.
In other awards, Qatar Airways took gongs for the world's best business class, best business class lounge and best airline staff in the Middle East, while Singapore was awarded the best airline in Asia and ANA All Nippon Airways was recognised for offering the world's best airport services and having the best airline staff in Asia for the second year in a row.
Other accolades included the world's best low-cost airline handed to Norwegian and the world's most improved airline won by Thai Airways.
Black box flight recorders may be about to become obsolete
By Mark Dorman
Image: Graffiti of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. Getty Images
Aviation giant Airbus is to install "black box in the cloud" flight data technology made by a British company on to its aircraft.
Inmarsat's technology promises to beam real-time information from the cockpit via satellite to an airline's control centre, providing up-to-the-second data on what is going on on board the aircraft.
Incidents such as the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines MH370 over the Indian Ocean have demonstrated how difficult it is to trace and recover the black box flight recorders of aircraft that come down in remote locations.
This new technology, to be installed on the A320 and A330 planes, could make such flight recorders obsolete, Inmarsat believes.
Inmarsat said the new technology – called SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) – could prevent a crash by speeding up communication between the cockpit and the ground in the event of a mechanical problem or terrorist incident.
Image: Chinese President Xi Jinping views satellite coverage screens in London. Getty Images
"In the past, these services were almost exclusively utilised by airlines travelling in areas not served by traditional radar, such as routes over the ocean or remote locations," said Captain Mary McMillan, Inmarsat Aviation's vice president, safety and operational services.
However, with growing aircraft congestion and the need for increased data security, Inmarsat is engineering a new generation of satellite communication services to provide a wider range of benefits.
"SwiftBroadband-Safety will introduce unprecedented new capabilities, allowing airlines to significantly improve flight safety operations and provide a more efficient service to passengers. Airlines also benefit from continuous monitoring of aircraft performance and fuel usage."
Inmarsat's partner Cobham SATCOM has been selected by Airbus to provide the equipment that delivers SB-S service onboard the A320 and A330 aircraft families from 2018.
Inmarsat was instrumental in identifying the flight path of MH370, which crashed in March 2014 with 239 on board while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Brexit Vote Raises Issues for UK Aviation
By Michael B. Barker, Business Travel News - The United Kingdom's vote to leave the European Union leaves its aviation industry facing "prolonged uncertainty" regarding regulatory and economic impacts, according to analysis from the International Air Transport Association.
Over the long term, IATA projects that a downturn in economic activity and weaker British pound could cut the number of U.K. air passengers by 3 to 5 percent by 2020. Its air market largely comes from U.K. passengers traveling abroad, which in 2015 more than doubled the number of non-U.K. residents flying to the nation.
On the regulatory side, "there will be little or no immediate change," although uncertainty around regulations could amplify the economic impacts, according to IATA.
The United Kingdom's departure from the EU will remove it from the EU's Open Skies agreement with the United States. While it's likely the United Kingdom will form interim agreements, its ultimate new agreements might not mirror the existing ones, Wolfe Research analyst Hunter Keay said in a research note prior to the vote. "We believe U.K. regulators have been tough negotiators in the past, so it would be premature to say there'd be no incremental risks to the status quo, particularly if U.K. politics migrate to a more nationalistic, protectionist bend. Issues like foreign-ownership restrictions could arise again, too."
The Gulf carriers, whose growth already has drawn the ire of some U.S. and European airlines, could face particular growth restrictions should the United Kingdom reopen all its Open Skies agreements, Keay added.
Those agreements also maintained antitrust immunity, enabling joint-venture agreements between British Airways and American Airlines and between Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines, according to Keay. Delta said in a statement that while it's too early to know long-term effects, "it's business as usual for the foreseeable future for Delta's flights between the U.S. and Britain; Delta remains committed to the U.K. market."
Russia challenges Airbus, Boeing with new jet
Agence France-Presse / Wired World
Russia unveiled its first MC-21 medium-haul passenger plane on Wednesday as it aims to revive its beleaguered civil aviation industry and challenge giants Airbus and Boeing.
The prototype of the MC-21 plane, that can carry up to 211 passengers, was presented in the hangar of the Irkut aircraft manufacturer in the Siberian city of Irkutsk in a glitzy ceremony broadcast on Russian state television.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the unveiling of MC-21 was a "long-awaited event for our civil aviation, for aeronautic construction and for our whole country".
"This confirms that we are able to create such aircraft that not only make our civil aviation progress but that will compete with other countries," Medvedev said, adding that the plane will become the "pride of Russian civil aviation".
The MC-21 passenger jets are expected to replace the ageing, Soviet-era Tupolev Tu-204 and make their first test flights by the end of the year or in early 2017.
The aircraft is scheduled to come into service in late 2018.
Russia has its hopes set on competing with the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737, which dominate the international civil aviation market.
The unveiling of the MC-21 comes five years after Russia's short-haul Sukhoi Superjet aircraft came into service and has since had serious technical issues.
Russia's aviation agency in 2013 grounded the Superjets -- which have had technical issues with landing gear and leak detection systems since they came into service in 2011 -- over a series of technical issues before being allowed to resume flights.
A Superjet performing at an Indonesian air show in 2012 slammed into a volcano, killing all 45 on board, in a crash Indonesia blamed on pilot error.
Speed, Payload & Runway Performance Come Together in Pilatus PC-24
Unboxing the new KLM Boeing 787 Dreamliner
Analysis - Boeing's 787 Dreamliner faces new challenge
By Alwyn Scott
Photo: Workers at South Carolina Boeing work on a 787 Dreamliner for Air India at the plant's final assembly building in North Charleston, South Carolina December 19, 2013. REUTERS/Randall Hill/File Photo
SEATTLE (Reuters) - Boeing Co's high-tech 787 Dreamliner has had its share of trouble, from early production delays to batteries that smoked and burned, grounding the worldwide fleet for months in 2013.
Now the company's flagship plane is facing a new challenge: slowing sales. Boeing needs to sell dozens of 787s to help recover nearly $30 billion it has spent on production and not yet accounted for in its earnings. But the industry is in a sales slump. Sales of Boeing and Airbus wide body jets have fallen 51 percent since 2013, and some analysts and investors predict that without more 787 sales in the near term, Boeing will have to take a sizable charge to write off some of the 787's deferred costs. (Graphic: http://tmsnrt.rs/24RUBiz)
The 787 remains popular. Its lightweight composite airframe and new engines cut airline fuel costs as much as 20 percent compared to a conventional, aluminium plane. It can fly longer routes than previous jets its size, and offers passengers large windows, less noise and a more comfortable cabin environment.
Boeing has sold 1,154 so far, making it the fastest-selling wide body plane when it came to market. However, the tally falls short of the 1,300 planes Boeing is using as the basis of deferring the charges in its accounting.
Many airlines stocked up on 787s before the 2008-2009 financial crisis and do not need to order more now. Airbus's cheaper A330 has also chipped away at 787 sales and low fuel prices have allowed airlines to keep flying older, less efficient planes.
"Airlines are coming back to us and saying they would like to extend their leases for two or three years" on older planes, said Aengus Kelly, chief executive of AerCap Holdings , which has the world's largest leased wide body fleet. "That's a direct result of low oil," he told Reuters.
Boeing has not commented on a report earlier this year that the Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into its accounting for 787 costs, but says it stands behind its numbers.
"Our accounting is compliant with GAAP," Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith said last month, referring to generally accepted accounting principles.
The 787 conundrum has made some investors wary of Boeing stock, which has fallen more than 8 percent this year while the aerospace and defence index climbed more than 5 percent. Short sales of Boeing are at a record high. The stock closed down 1.7 percent at $132.09 on Friday.
Boeing needs to book orders for about 120 this year to hit its target of selling roughly as many as it builds. So far it has sold a net total of 12, including a recent order from China Eastern Airlines <600115.SS>.
"Would we ever order the 787 again? Sure," said an executive with a leasing company that has 787s in its portfolio. "Will we order it this year? Not a chance." There are simply too many wide body jets for the demand right now, he said.
AerCap had more than 80 Dreamliners to lease and has placed all but a handful. It would buy more "if the price is right," Kelly said. "But if it isn't right, I wouldn't bother."
Boeing spokesman Paul Bergman said that the company had "a healthy sales pipeline this year." It also expects to "recover 787 deferred costs in the current accounting quantity of 1,300 planes," Bergman said.
Another big order still could arrive from China or elsewhere. Kelly met with China's four largest airlines recently and said low oil prices had not dented their long-term interest in the 787. Chinese airlines have so far ordered 56 of the jets.
While its sales force tries to defend the 787's prices in the market, Boeing is working to make the aircraft less expensive to build. It has worked on taking out expensive materials such as titanium and is cutting its overall airplane division workforce by about 10 percent this year.
Those moves would help improve the return on each 787, which reached break even late last year, Boeing said. It also gives scope to discount the jet to win sales.
Boeing says it is not cutting prices significantly to sell more aircraft, since that would undercut the company's goal of lifting profit margins to "mid-teens" by the end of the decade from about 10 percent this year.
"We are not going to chase market share for market share's sake," Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg told Boeing's annual analyst conference on Wednesday.
But industry experts said the company is being more aggressive in sales. Ken Raff, executive director at the Seabury Group consulting firm said that if an airline wanted to buy 787s, "this would not be a bad time to try and do a deal."
(Additional reporting by Tim Hepher and Siva Govindasamy; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)