Aviation News in Brief 7 December 2020

Kelley Aerospace, APOC Aviation, Airbus, BOC Aviation, FL Technics, Wright International, Leonardo, ALSIM, Cranfield Airport, ThinKom Solutions, Inmarsat, AAR, FTAI

(PHOTO: Shutterstock)

Use thisKelley Aerospace to invest S$150 million in projects and training: Kelley Aerospace said it will invest around S$150 million over the next five years on initiatives, including job creation and manufacturing at the company’s facility in Seletar Aerospace Park. Kelley Aerospace said it will train and upskill at least 250 locals to retrofit private jets and manufacture carbon fibre for planes. It is also looking to open a flying academy to train pilots for its jets. The American firm is launching three programmes in Singapore. One involves buying 100 aircraft by 2024 that will fly private clients. The second programme is to design, manufacture and assemble unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), including the Arrow UAV, which has been worked on by engineers over the past few years. The third programme will strengthen its core business of designing and manufacturing carbon fibre, which is used in the building of aircraft. It plans to work with universities and polytechnics here on research and development to create materials that can be stronger, lighter and more durable.

APOC Aviation disassembles two CFM56-7B engines: APOC Aviation will be bringing two torn down CFM56-7B engines into stock mid-December. ESN874488 and ESN888169 have previously been operated and maintained by a leading North American carrier. Both engines are being disassembled in tandem at two of APOC’s chosen teardown facilities in the USA. APOC is considering selling part of the material in As Removed Guaranteed Repairable condition providing engine MROs with the opportunity to overhaul the parts themselves. Other components will be repaired by APOC for stock and these will be available in Q1 of 2021. According to Jim Nypels, Engine Materials Sales & Trading – APOC Aviation, the CFM56-7B is a sought -after engine candidate for teardown. “As a teardown and part-out specialist, APOC is focused on preserving the high calibre of our inventory for modern commercial aircraft and engines and this work is being carried out by two valued partners that we’re excited to start engine teardown partnerships with.  We are building capability for the future and evaluate our engines on strict criteria – in particular maintenance history and records, LLP status and QEC Inventory. We have been very active in the engines marketplace in recent months and these form part of the portfolio of five CFM56 engines that we purchased for leasing, trading and teardown.”

Airbus Zephyr, Solar High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) concludes new test: Airbus Defence and Space has successfully completed a new test flight campaign for its Zephyr High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) in Arizona. The 2020 flight campaign succeeded despite global slowdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It focused on aircraft agility, control and operations to build upon previous campaigns, which have already proven the day and night stratospheric persistence of the unmanned aerial system (UAS) essential in military and commercial markets. This year’s campaign held during the first three weeks of November aimed to demonstrate operational flexibility and aircraft agility, particularly testing lower altitude flying and early stage transition to the stratosphere. It also allowed the validation of a new flight planning tool suite and the development of operational concepts through multiple, varied flights in short succession. The campaign team used a Zephyr aircraft, fitted with new software control systems and specific flight test instruments, plus associated lighter test aircraft to conduct multiple successful test flights during November. The flights demonstrated take-off, climb, cruise, upgraded flight control and descent phases, followed by successful landings. The objectives of the test campaign were all achieved showcasing a more resilient and capable aircraft. Zephyr is the world’s leading, solar–electric, stratospheric Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). It harnesses the sun’s rays, running exclusively on solar power, above the weather and conventional air traffic, filling a capability gap complementary to satellites, UAVs and manned aircraft to provide persistent local satellite-like services.

BOC Aviation increases credit facility: BOC Aviation announced it has increased the amount of the committed, unsecured revolving credit facility (RCF) from its largest shareholder, Bank of China and extended the maturity to 2026. The new terms of the facility now provide the company with US$3.5 billion to support its future growth, an increase of US$1.5 billion. The final maturity of the RCF has also been extended from 28 April 2022 to 31 December 2026. Robert Martin, managing director and CEO, said “the upsizing and extension of the RCF is a demonstration of the strength of the relationship between BOC Aviation and our major shareholder, Bank of China.” Steven Townend, deputy managing director and chief financial officer, added “support from Bank of China has been a key strength of the Company. This facility was first provided to the Company in 2007 in the amount of US$1 billion and subsequently increased as the Company grew. This increase in the facility will allow us to continue to pursue our strategic investment goals at all points in the cycle and build our available liquidity in line with the growth of our balance sheet.”

FL Technics buys Wright International: FL Technics, a global provider of aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services, acquired Wright International, an independent provider of line maintenance services in Canada. For FL Technics as well as its parent company Avia Solutions Group, this marks an entry to the North American aviation services market. Wright International provides aircraft line maintenance services up to ‘A’ level checks, A.O.G. support and training for airlines at Canada’s major international airports, including Toronto Pearson, Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal-Mirabel and Ottawa. Founded in 1991 and headquartered at Toronto Pearson International Airport, Wright International is a Transport Canada and EASA Approved Maintenance Organisation (AMO) licensed to service most commercial aircraft types. The acquisition of Wright International grants FL Technics a foothold in the strategically important North American market and allows it to serve its airline clients across an even wider network of international locations. Together with its subsidiaries, FL Technics today offers line maintenance services at over 70 airports and base maintenance services at five locations around the globe.

Leonardo recognised as a ‘UK Business Hero’: The British Chambers of Commerce has recognised aerospace engineering company Leonardo as a UK Business Hero, in light of its outstanding contribution throughout the COVID-19 emergency. Working alongside all of the UK’s local Chambers of Commerce, the British Chambers of Commerce chose to recognise a number of UK businesses across the country who had gone beyond expectations in their response to the pandemic. Leonardo employs over 7,500 employees across the UK at its sites which include Edinburgh, Basildon, Luton, Southampton and Yeovil. The company was named as a UK Business Hero due to its continued work to deliver key capability to the Armed Forces’ current and future programmes, as well as supporting their transportation of personnel and supplies around the country by helicopter in response to the pandemic. Employees were also commended for their dedicated production of PPE for the NHS, which they completed in their own time in addition to their daily duties.

ALSIM launches new simulator: ALSIM, the global flight simulator manufacturer headquartered in France, expanded its range of products with the launch of their new ALSR20, an exact replica of the Cirrus SR20 aircraft. The device reproduces the latest Cirrus SR20 specific interior cockpit and flight deck including a real Garmin GDU 1050A and GFC 700 Autopilot. The ALSR20 is further equipped with a Garmin GMA 350C – All digital Audio Panel and a Garmin GCU 479 and can simulate the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System  (CAPS). As with all ALSIM simulators, the ALSR20 gathers the best of the company’s technology. The outstanding immersion is provided by the latest VFR-VS image generator and visual system with 210° screen. The instructor station is designed for instructor’s comfort and offers two large graphical touch screens to access the IOS. The IOS can also be accessed by any tablet that can access the internet. This new simulator joins the family of specific devices produced by AlSIM, already consisting of the AL172 (Cessna 172), AL40 and AL42 (Diamond DA40 and DA42). The ALSR20 is delivered with a two-year warranty and a full range of services including installation, training, maintenance and qualification support. A maintenance spare parts kit is also provided to ensure independence and maximum uptime. The ALSR20, a Flight Training Device (FTD) Level 5, is compliant with the latest aviation standards from EASA and the FAA to TC (Transport Canada) and the CAAC.

Cranfield Airport prepares for delivery of Saab 340B: The expansion of the Cranfield University flying fleet draws closer as its newly acquired Saab 340B plane has received its registration number and the two pilots have successfully completed their flight training. The Saab 340B was transferred to Cranfield University’s ownership 12 months ago. It is the latest edition to the National Flying Laboratory Centre (NFLC) fleet at the University. In order to operate and manage the aircraft under the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s requirements, the university needed to re-register the aircraft with a prefix of ‘G’ showing it as a UK registration. This is now complete with the plane carrying the registration of G-NFLB. The NFLC operates all Cranfield’s aircraft, including the flying engineering laboratory – or, flying classroom, a facility virtually unique in the European academic sector and used to support teaching, research and consultancy. The plane is replacing the existing Jetstream 31 and being larger, will allow for teaching and research with minimum reconfiguration.

Airbus to deliver radar instrument for new Copernicus ROSE-L mission: Airbus has been selected by Thales Alenia Space to build the advanced radar instrument for the ‘Radar Observatory System for Europe in L-band’ (ROSE-L) mission. Airbus Defence and Space in Friedrichshafen (Germany) will head an industrial consortium for the radar instrument involving companies from nine countries to deliver the project. The contract, awarded to Airbus by the mission’s Prime contractor Thales Alenia Space, is worth about €190 million. With launch planned in July 2027, the Copernicus ROSE-L mission will carry an active phased array synthetic aperture radar instrument. From its 690 km polar orbit ROSE-L will provide day-and-night monitoring of land, oceans and ice offering more frequent imaging at high spatial resolution and sensitivity. It will use advanced radar techniques including polarimetry and interferometry to create its data products. The radar antenna will be the largest planar antenna ever built measuring an impressive 11 metres by 3.6 metres; this is roughly the size of 10 ping-pong tables. During its 7.5 year lifetime, the ROSE-L mission will serve the needs of many users including the European Union’s Copernicus Land Monitoring and Emergency Management services. It will provide important data on soil moisture, precision farming, food security, forest biomass and changes to land use. In addition, the mission will monitor polar ice sheets and ice caps, sea ice extent, and snow cover

ThinKom Solutions supplies antennas for Inmarsat: ThinKom Solutions announced it is supplying its ThinAir Ka2517 aero satellite antennas to GDC Technics, in support of Inmarsat’s next-generation GX terminal and associated inflight broadband services. ThinKom’s low-profile Ka-band phased-array antenna was selected by Inmarsat based on its impressive record of reliability and performance. The selection was the culmination of more than 18 months of collaboration and field testing by ThinKom and GDC. The Ka2517 will serve as a critical enabling technology underpinning Inmarsat’s GX Aviation broadband satellite inflight connectivity (IFC) solutions, including the new GX+ North American IFC service announced by Inmarsat and Hughes Network Systems earlier this year. The Ka2517 antenna is based on ThinKom’s patented VICTS technology. VICTS antennas have accumulated over 18 million operational hours on more than 1,550 commercial aircraft, with a mean-time-between-failure (MTBF) of over 100,000 hours. ThinKom’s low-profile radome minimises drag and reduces fuel usage. The VICTS antenna provides industry-leading spectral efficiency and throughput, as well as uninterrupted pole-to-pole connectivity at extremely high and low elevation angles. In addition, the antenna’s very low power consumption translates into very low heat generation inside the radome, enabling uninterrupted gate-to-gate operation even during high ambient temperatures with full solar loading.

AAR in deal with FTAI for serviceable engine products: AAR and Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors announced an agreement to create Serviceable Engine Products, an exclusive seven-year CFM56 used serviceable material (USM) partnership. The partnership will build USM inventory for the global aviation aftermarket and FTAI’s own consumption at The Module Factory, a dedicated commercial maintenance centre focused on modular repair and refurbishment of CFM56-7B and CFM56-5B engines. Through its worldwide network, AAR will manage the teardown, repair, marketing and sales of spare parts from FTAI’s CFM56 engine pool totalling over 200 engines and growing. “AAR is very pleased to partner with FTAI, a leader in aircraft engine ownership, by leveraging our extensive USM capabilities to offer CFM56 serviceable engine material to the global commercial aviation aftermarket. This partnership positions us well to service the growing demand for USM on a leading engine platform as customers increasingly prioritise more cost-efficient solutions,” said John Holmes, AAR president and CEO.

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