AAV News in Brief 26 May 2024

Lufthansa Technik, Eurowings, Emirates, Iridium, Textron eAviation, Amazilia Aerospace, TP Aerospace, FACC, Embraer, ALSIM, All in Aviation, GE Aerospace, flydocs, Air Austral, Sabre, Bluebox, FFLYA, Nomad Technics, CASA, Airbus

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Lufthansa Technik wins Eurowings deal: Lufthansa Technik is to provide comprehensive base maintenance support for Eurowings’ Airbus A320 family fleet. The agreement was recently signed with Eurowings Technik, the airline’s technical operations department. Two exclusive lines at Lufthansa Technik Budapest and two additional lines at Lufthansa Technik Sofia will be dedicated to fulfil different letter checks on about 40 Eurowings aircraft during the winter seasons in the coming years. Eurowings currently operates an all-Airbus A320 family fleet of more than 100 aircraft. These are comprised of the A319, A320, A320neo, A321 and A321neo models. Lufthansa Technik’s base maintenance network consists of five major facilities on three continents, serving a broad range of customers from all over the world with base maintenance services. This includes customized maintenance plans and optimized processes for C-, IL- or D-checks, and for short-, medium-, and long-haul aircraft. With Lufthansa Technik Budapest, Lufthansa Technik Malta and Lufthansa Technik Sofia, three facilities are located in Europe, Lufthansa Technik Puerto Rico in the Americas and Lufthansa Technik Philippines in Asia.

Emirates begins ops with SAF at Heathrow: Emirates has taken delivery of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from Shell Aviation at London Heathrow Airport.  Over 3,000 metric tonnes of neat SAF, blended with conventional jet fuel, will be supplied into the fuelling infrastructure network of the airport until the end of summer 2024. This is the first time the airline will be using SAF to power some of its flights at London Heathrow and represents the largest volume of SAF it has purchased to date. Emirates is participating in London Heathrow’s SAF Incentive Programme, which ensures its affordability and accessibility for airlines operating at the airport. The airline will be accounting for, tracking and tracing the delivery of SAF at London Heathrow as well as its sustainability attributes through robust reporting methodologies. The SAF that Emirates has purchased from Shell Aviation will be safely dropped into existing airport fuelling infrastructure and aircraft jet engines. In its neat form, SAF can reduce lifecycle carbon emissions by up to 80% compared to using conventional jet fuel. Launched in 2022, London Heathrow’s SAF Incentive is the first of its kind scheme that provides a support mechanism to reduce the premium price gap between conventional jet fuel and SAF by approximately 50%. Schemes such as the one at London Heathrow aim to accelerate supportive government policies, increasing the UK’s competitiveness by unlocking investment in clean energy investments like SAF production.

Iridium-connected drones granted FAA waiver: Iridium Communications announced its partner American Aerospace Technologies, Inc. (AATI) was granted a first-of-its-kind waiver from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct UAS surveillance of critical infrastructure in the San Joaquin Valley on behalf of a multinational oil and gas company. This waiver may serve as a tipping point for wider adoption of safe and scalable UAS operations in the National Airspace System (NAS). Enabled by Iridium’s L-Band satellite connectivity, AATI’s AiRanger is supporting remote aerial surveillance for the energy corporation’s pipeline and production facilities. Iridium’s low-latency network is providing reliable and cost-effective BVLOS connectivity, including remote Command and Control (C2) and Detect and Avoid (DAA) capabilities. Flying over a pipeline network, the large drones (over 200 lbs.) will send information via Iridium satellites to quickly perform routine oil and gas pipeline inspections. Iridium partner Blue Sky Network customised the development and integration of its global, dual-mode SkyLink 7100 voice, data, and BVLOS terminal installed on the aircraft. The Iridium Connected Skylink 7100 enables continuous tracking and C2 capabilities for aviation and UAV operations.

Textron unit acquires Amazilia Aerospace: Textron eAviation announced that its has acquired substantially all the assets of Amazilia Aerospace GmbH, a developer of digital flight control, flight guidance and vehicle management systems for civil manned and unmanned aircraft. “We’re excited to welcome Amazilia Aerospace’s talented employees and innovative technologies to the Textron eAviation team,” said Kriya Shortt, President and CEO, Textron eAviation. “This integration represents our continued dedication to pushing the boundaries of technology to deliver exceptional solutions for our customers.” With this integration, Amazilia Aerospace’s skilled workforce of approximately 30 employees and facilities based in Munich, Germany joins Textron eAviation GmbH, part of the Textron eAviation business segment of Textron Inc.

TP Aerospace opens new Czech site: TP Aerospace recently opened its new MRO and warehouse facility in the Czech Republic. “Sixteen years ago, TP Aerospace started in a 20 sqm facility in Copenhagen, and now we operate in 12 locations globally and service more than 1,000 aircraft on long term contracts. It shows a demand and need for what we do,” said CEO, Nikolaj Jacobsen. The establishment of the new facility was ongoing for the main part of 2023, until an EASA approval was received in December of last year. The 10,000 sqm building in Brno is the new flag-ship facility in TP Aerospace’s network and expected to deliver an annual capacity of 15,000 repairs and overhauls. “It’s a great feeling to finally open the doors to our flag-ship facility and show off the immense work that has been put into this establishment. We now have the capacity to welcome even more customers and ensure that we continue to be the best wheel and brake partner for our customers”, says COO, Felix Ammann. The facility in Brno is the ninth of 10 MRO facilities in TP Aerospace’s global network, shortly to be followed by the establishment of the 10th MRO facility in Brisbane, Australia.

FACC extends partnership with Embraer: Embraer has honoured FACC with the Best Supplier Award in the category “Structures” and announced the strategic partnership with FACC will be further strengthened, as FACC has been accepted as a member of the Supplier Advisory Council of the world’s third-largest aircraft manufacturer. The contract for the development and production of components for Eve Air Mobility’s eVTOL as well reflects the extension of the cooperation between FACC and Embraer. “The award underlines FACC’s outstanding performance over the past years. The fact that we were honoured as the best supplier in the structure category makes us very proud and thankful. As the leading supplier of Embraer in Austria, we are very much looking forward to further strengthening this partnership in the future“, said CEO Robert Machtlinger.

All In Aviation expands ALSIM capabilities: All In Aviation announced an update to the software of its FAA-certified ALSIM ALSR20 flight simulator. In addition to the previously available Cirrus SR20, the simulator now also provides simulated flight training experience in the Cirrus SR22 and SR22 Turbo aircraft models. One of the most innovative flight training simulators on the market, the ALSR20 provides student pilots with a unique and immersive training option while earning a private pilot license (PPL) and instrument rating (IR). Since acquiring the ALSR20 in 2022, the simulator has significantly enhanced All In Aviation’s training programs and operations, proving instrumental to the flight school’s continued success. As of April 2024, the simulator has logged over 800 hours of student instruction and more than 300 hours of employee time, supporting a diverse range of flight training including student certifications and proficiency, instructor development, and ground school. Additionally, the simulator has enhanced training efficiency by allowing students and staff to practice procedures in a controlled environment while complementing in-aircraft instruction, including when weather was unfavourable for flying or when aircraft were unavailable.

GE Aerospace to hire 900-plus engineers: GE Aerospace plans to hire more than 900 engineers in 2024, reflecting its continued focus on innovation to support current aircraft engine programs and develop new technologies for the future of flight. Hiring has already started and will take place throughout the year. Openings include experienced engineer roles for programs like CFM International’s Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engines (RISE) technology demonstrator and advanced military engine programs. Top disciplines in high demand include mechanical and thermal design, analysis, systems, controls, and aerodynamics. In 2023, GE Aerospace spent approximately $2.3 billion on aviation research and development, including external customer and partner funding. To continue advancing technology building blocks to redefine the future of flight, plans for research and development spending in 2024 are in the range of 6-8% of revenues including external funding. Engineering hiring efforts for technology innovation follows the announcement made earlier this year that GE Aerospace plans to invest $650 million in its manufacturing facilities and supply chain. These investments look to increase production and strengthen quality to better support commercial and defence customers.

Nomad Technics performs C-check on Airbus ACJ320: Nomad Technics has recently completed a C-check on a Head of State Airbus ACJ320 aircraft. During this large maintenance event which was undertaken on the Airbus ACJ320 by Nomad Technics at its Basel/Switzerland facility, the scheduled inspection saw a thorough examination of the aircraft’s primary and secondary structures. In addition the work included the implementation of Service Bulletins and Airworthiness Directives as well as inspection and modifications to the aircraft’s systems. Cosmetic and functional cabin repairs were performed to improve the passenger’s experience during flight. This included also the thoroughly testing and rectification of the in-flight entertainment system. Functional and operational tests of all aircraft systems concluded the maintenance job. Despite multiple findings the aircraft was returned to the very satisfied customer on time.

flydocs-India-New-Collaboaration-Space-093Air Austral adopts flydocs platform: Flydocs announced the signing of a five-year deal with Air Austral, a French airline operating from Réunion, to digitise the records management process across its fleet of eight aircraft. The agreement brings together solutions from flydocs to create value out of aircraft maintenance data for Air Austral in the form of digital records management ensuring smooth integration with their maintenance and engineering systems. André Fischer, Chief Executive Officer at flydocs said; “We are pleased to partner with Air Austral as this collaboration broadens our global footprint in the Réunion Island and further enhances our presence in the global market. With our core records management platform, we will enable Air Austral’s digital transformation journey to provide them with a unified experience. Our unique digital-led solution will provide Air Austral with a seamless experience on our records management platform. It is a privilege to be chosen as their customer partner of choice in the aviation industry, as it exhibits the value digitally driven aircraft transitions can create in aircraft maintenance.”

Sabre introduces SabreMosaic: Sabre has introduced SabreMosaic, a new intelligent, modular and open technology platform built to transform the way airlines retail. By moving away from the limitations of today’s PNR-driven world to a modern Offer and Order approach, SabreMosaic empowers airlines to deliver a more personalized and dynamic retailing experience, while creating new revenue opportunities. Powered by Google’s industry-leading AI capabilities, SabreMosaic enables airlines to dynamically create, sell and deliver an array of personalized content to travellers. The modular, open and cloud-native architecture allows airlines to select the API-based Offer and Order solutions that best meet their needs and create a unique technical blueprint to transform their operations in a way that makes sense for their business. “Airlines are becoming sophisticated retailers and need the same data-driven insights and AI tools to optimize their businesses and better serve their customers as other consumer services,” said Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud. “Through our work with Sabre, we are helping airlines harness their data to make faster, more informed decisions that improve operations, personalize marketing, and ultimately increase customer satisfaction.”

Bluebox and FFLYA offer payments from Blueview:  Bluebox Aviation Systems and FFLYA have conducted successful ground tests of credit card payments over the Iridium Certus satellite network. The tests involved live payment transactions completed on an iPad for the purchase of in-flight entertainment bundles from Bluebox’s Blueview digital services platform. The purchases were sent wirelessly from the iPad to a Bluebox Wow portable wireless unit which was connected to the FFLYA router, and that router was connected through a patch antenna to the Iridium Certus satellite network. The payment was then validated by a payment provider and the purchase confirmed on the iPad. The significance of the successful tests is the validation of a low-cost, low-weight connectivity solution enabling the award-winning Blueview digital services platform to provide live credit card payment transactions over a LEO satellite network. The FFLYA patch antenna is an Iridium aviation certified Certus antenna. At 3 inches, and a footprint identical to a GPS antenna, it has zero drag. An STC is available for Airbus A320 family aircraft, and FFLYA has plans underway for the Boeing 737 series.

CASA celebrates aircraft maintenance engineers: Australian aviation has received a safety boost after four aspiring licensed aircraft maintenance engineers became the latest recipients of scholarships from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). Kurt Kinlyside from Queensland, Mitchell Johnson from Victoria, along with Clark Tidman and Adrian White, both from Western Australia will each receive up to $5,000 to help them obtain their Civil Aviation Safety Regulation (CASR) Part 66 aircraft engineer licence. CASA’s aircraft maintenance engineer (AME) scholarship program focuses on applicants who have already started their structured training towards a licence outcome, or aircraft maintenance engineers who have not gone through a structured training program but are currently working in the industry gaining experience.

New pilot-assistance technologies from Airbus: Airbus UpNext, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Airbus, has started testing new technologies to support automatic taxiing and enhance pilot assistance onboard an innovative electric truck. The three-year research project, called Optimate, will combine a wide range of cutting-edge technologies including advanced automation, computer vision, data fusion and machine learning to improve aircraft navigation systems, the human-machine interface and overall flight safety. A key objective for Optimate is to develop and test automatic taxiing based on more accurate and reliable position calculation, and to assess the potential of quantum sensing to improve position availability and navigation system robustness. Another objective is to investigate the capabilities of a collaborative map and virtual flight assistant to support pilots’ strategic decisions and interactions with air traffic control and airline operations centres. To help reduce CO2 emissions from test operations, the new architecture and algorithms will be validated on a test bed electric truck that replicates the key functions of a real aircraft cockpit and can roll down airport runways like an airliner. It will recreate an A350 cockpit on wheels featuring advanced automation technologies such as the latest generation of LIDAR and external cameras, combined with inertia and GPS technologies, satcom and 5G. The final phase of the project will be to use the virtual assistant during a fully automated gate-to-gate mission on an A350 flight test aircraft.

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