Aviation News in Brief 4 January 2021

Recaro, Emirates, Leonardo, drone contest, BAA Training Vietnam, Vietravel Airlines, HeliAir, China Airlines, GE Aviation, SkyWest Airlines

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Travellers at Kuala Lumpur's international airport in March. (PHOTO: Shutterstock)

Use this oneRecaro Aircraft Seating supplies Emirates’ first Premium Economy cabin: Recaro Aircraft Seating has revealed a luxury seat for Emirates’ first Premium Economy cabin. The customised seat design was a result of a collaboration between Recaro and Emirates, which began in April 2019 at a seat show held in parallel to the Aircraft Interiors Expo. The ergonomic shape of the seat (PL3530) finds its roots in the premier automotive seat design that Recaro has been perfecting over the past 115 years and sets trim and finish-wise a new standard in premium economy representing the best of “Made in Germany.” The fusion of ingenious engineering and the luxury expected when flying Emirates has set new standards for the Premium Economy class experience. For Emirates, the PL3530 design team prioritised state-of-the-art features like the ones found in upscale German cars and combined it with the spirit of Dubai. The seat features a bronze trim, a distinct finish, and a cream coloured leather dress cover, complete with a one-of-a-kind stitching. First deliveries of the seats began in Q4 2020, and at least 250 shipsets will ultimately be installed on Emirates’ fleet.

Leonardo announces drone contest: The 2021 edition of the Leonardo Drone Contest will be a “drone game” in which new technologies and functions will be applied in a new arena. Much like the formula in the first edition, the new competition will include a scientific and technological presentation symposium at the end of spring 2021, and the development of the new tender which will be held in autumn at Leonardo’s Aircraft headquarters in Turin. The award ceremony for the first edition of the competition was held on 23 September with the victory of the Politecnico di Milano while the University of Bologna was awarded the “Special Jury Prize”. A few months after the conclusion of the first race, the other teams in the competition – the Politecnico di Milano, Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna, Politecnico di Torino, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, “Tor Vergata” University of Rome and University of Naples “Federico II” – have been thinking about and working on the next challenge. The new modalities of the next university competition of artificial intelligence, unique on the international scene, will be a real game between the drones which, in cooperation with ground sensors, will compose the reality around them in order to speed up the execution of their missions. New features and technologies such as Teaming / Swarming, Objective based Task Allocation, Drone interaction with external agents, Visual Inertial Odometry, Autonomous Trajectory planning, Identification and Tracking, Computer Vision and Autonomous Decision Making will be the focus of the Ph.D students’ work.

BAA Training signs deal with Vietravel Airlines: BAA Training Vietnam and Vietravel Airlines have recently signed a long-term partnership agreement. BAA Training has committed to the start-up airline Vietravel, controlled by Vietnam’s leading tour operator Vietravel, to provide wet and dry Airbus A320 full-flight simulator lease services. The first students occupied the Airbus A320 full-flight simulator (FFS) from November 2020. Additionally, Vietravel has expressed interest in the firefighting training which can also be arranged by BAA Training Vietnam. The new training device V9000 Commander will be used for these purposes upon request. Based at Phu Bai International Airport, Vietravel is getting ready to penetrate a fiercely competitive aviation market. Despite the country’s restrictions, the carrier will make its first commercial flight in mid-January 2021, well before the previously set date for 2021. The newcomer plans to order a fleet of three to four aircraft in the first year and add another one or two by the end of next year. BAA Training Vietnam has been responding to the need for wet and dry lease services of such airlines as Bamboo Airways, VietJet, and others. The academy has also prepared over 30 independent pilots for Airbus A320 aircraft type, coming from Japan, South Korea, Australia, and other countries. BAA Training Vietnam is the first training academy certified to provide the Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT), which will become mandatory for all Vietnamese pilots in February 2021.

HeliAir services turboshaft engines in Europe and abroad: Since 2010, HeliAir has been the official maintenance centre for aviation engine producer Safran, the leading manufacturer of helicopter engines. This partnership certifies ÖAMTC Air Rescue maintenance centres to offer Safran’s full range of products and services. This includes replacement parts – ranging from individual gaskets up to entire driveshafts and machines – as well as extensive technical support and service for helicopter engine maintenance. “Our technicians have years of experience in the maintenance, repair and overhaul of Safran engines” explained Marco Trefanitz, manager of HeliAir. “That’s why helicopter operators are increasingly coming to rely on Austrian know-how, both in Europe and beyond.” HeliAir’s technicians currently service around 130 Safran engines from 55 customers in Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, Kazakhstan, the Ukraine and other CIS countries. Furthermore, HeliAir now services 12 “Support By the Hour” (SBH)/5-Star contracts for turbines in Germany, Austria and Slovakia, having just recently secured an additional client here in Austria.

China Airlines wins 2020 Air Cargo Executive of the Year Award: Air Cargo World announced the results of its 2020 evaluations and Eddy Liu, vice president of the Cargo Division at China Airlines, was named “Air Cargo Executive of the Year.” The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 saw a jump in demand for air cargo. China Airlines operates the largest 747-400 freighter fleet in the world so a plan was developed by at the start of the pandemic to make the most use of the cargo capacity on 18 747-400 freighters. This included flexible flight schedules, optimal configuration of holds in each zone, promotion of custom charters, as well as an expansion of high-priority, e-commerce, postal and temperature-controlled cargo services. Greater use was also made of belly holds on passenger aircraft along with the pioneering of transporting cargo in cabins. The use of passenger aircraft for cargo services for example was introduced on long-haul routes such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Amsterdam and Frankfurt as well as regional routes in Asia. Since the second quarter of this year, more than one thousand cargo-only flights have been carried out by passenger aircraft each month on average to meet customer demand.

GE Aviation congratulates SkyWest Airlines on CF34 engines: SkyWest Airlines, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SkyWest, Inc., is the first operator of GE Aviation’s CF34 aircraft engine to reach 25 million engine flight hours. SkyWest reached the 25 million flight-hour milestone on 22 December. The first SkyWest CF34-3B engine entered service in 1994, installed on the Bombardier-manufactured CRJ200. Since then, SkyWest has grown to become the single largest operator of GE’s CF34 engines and the largest regional aviation operator worldwide. The SkyWest fleet of all GE Aviation engines currently includes more than 1,200 CF34-3B, -8C and -8E engines. GE Aviation also announced that SkyWest has extended a TrueChoice  CF34-8 Material Support Agreement for 17 years to 2037. Under this TrueChoice agreement, SkyWest’s more than 700 CF34-8C and -8E engines will receive material upgrades for the high-pressure compressor, high pressure-turbine and combustor at an engine’s next scheduled overhaul visit. The hardware improvements further improve CF34-8 durability and time on wing by reducing unscheduled engine removals for maintenance.

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