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Friday, September 25th, 2020

Rolls-Royce successfully completes ground testing of world’s fastest all-electric plane

Rolls-Royce’s aerospace division has announced the completion of ground testing for the U.K.-government-backed ACCEL program – ACCEL being short for ‘Accelerating the Electrification of Flight – for its 500hp electric powertrain ‘ionBird’.

The engine will be used early next year in an attempt to break world speed records in its ‘Spirit of Innovation’ plane which will be equipped with a battery that has sufficient energy to power 250 homes. When operating at full speed the plane will be able to fly at speeds up to 300mph while the propellor rotates at 2,400 rpm.

Rob Watson, Director – Rolls-Royce Electrical, said: “Rolls-Royce is committed to playing a leading role in reaching net zero carbon by 2050. The completion of ground-testing for the ACCEL project is a great achievement for the team and is another important step towards a world record attempt. This project is also helping to develop Rolls-Royce’s capabilities and ensure that we remain a leader in delivering the electrification of flight, an important part of our sustainability strategy.”

The maiden flight is anticipated to take place later this year and world speed record attempts for all-electric flight challenged in the first half of 2021. Mark Scully, Head of Technology for Advanced Systems & Propulsion at the Aerospace Technology Institute, said: “The significance of reaching this milestone should not be underestimated. The ACCEL team is pioneering the integration of high-performance batteries, motors and drives to deliver an electric propulsion system in an ambitious flight test programme. These technologies and the systems integration needed to utilize them hold great potential for future sustainable aviation, which is why the ATI is proud to support the project.” 


Spirit AeroSystems reinvigorates its commitment to aftermarket presence in Asia

Spirit AeroSystems has expanded its aftermarket footprint in Asia through a multi-year partnership with Evergreen Aviation Technologies (EGAT) and a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) customer agreement with EVA Air for Boeing 777 GE90 nacelles.

EGAT, an aircraft MRO facility based in Taiwan, is highly-proficient in airframe component and composite repairs. The agreements position Spirit for growth and significantly reduce MRO costs for passenger and freight carriers in the region by keeping repairs local.

Through these relationships, Spirit will provide maintenance services on the products it manufactures – with core capabilities on the Boeing 777 GE90/Trent800 nacelle and Boeing 737 CFM56-7B thrust reverser, and on flight control surfaces – as well as grow capabilities and capacity to support increasing demand in the region. The EGAT partnership also expands Spirit's capabilities to facilitate service for a broader range of fleets, helping to maintain them across all platforms and regions.

With closer inventory on hand, including rotable assets, and Spirit's composite expertise and manufacturing experience, Spirit will provide comprehensive capability for complex and minor repairs to better support fleets locally. This will also help reduce lead time, MRO expenses and capital investments in parts inventory, while increasing aircraft uptime. Significant cost-savings are also possible as fewer repairs are outsourced to locations outside of the region. EGAT also enables Spirit access to deliver broader nacelle MRO services to include CF6-powered aircraft and A320s.


Israel Aerospace Industries expands tactical UAV activity, acquires 50% of BlueBird Aero Systems

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has signed an agreement to acquire 50% of the equity of BlueBird Aero Systems. Bluebird, a leading UAS developer and integrator in the small tactical arena, has been providing its solutions to Israeli forces and worldwide customers for close to two decades. As part of the transaction, IAI is acquiring the holdings of Piramal Technologies SA from India, as well as additional shares from Fiberless Access and Ronen Nadir. Ronen Nadir will continue to hold 50% of BlueBird shares and continue to serve as the company’s CEO.

In recent years, both IAI and BlueBird have focused on vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capabilities, a category that provides significant benefits to ground and naval forces. BlueBird has developed several advanced VTOL platforms, including the WanderB-VTOL and ThunderB-VTOL. The company has recently sold more than 70 of the mentioned systems to an undisclosed customer. Together with Bluebird, IAI plans to bring innovative and ground-breaking VTOL technologies to market.

This acquisition is part of the implementation of IAI’s strategy in the UAS sector and a significant potential IAI foresees in the small tactical UAS market for military, HLS, and commercial applications. The acquisition will enable IAI to grow its operations and revenues, accelerate technological developments while lowering costs, reduce time to market process, and improve competitiveness.


EASA enters strategic cooperation with Germany’s BSI on cyber security

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) agreed to work together to enhance cyber security in international aviation, tackling the threats to flight safety posed by the increased digitalisation of aircraft and interconnectivity of aviation systems.

EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky and President of the BSI Arne Schönbohm signed a Memorandum of Cooperation to this effect at the BSI offices in Bonn. 

In the agreement, the BSI and EASA agree to exchange relevant information on security incidents and threats and to cooperate on managing cyberattacks and information security incidents within their respective areas of responsibility. The cooperation also aims to identify possible conflicts between European and national regulations and to set up consistent solutions, so that organizations in all areas of aviation can effectively and sustainably increase their cyber security.

Embraer appoints Marcel Santiago to lead Contracts and Asset Management team

Marcelo Santiago has been appointed to lead the Contracts and Asset Management team of Embraer’s commercial aviation business unit per October 1. In this critical role, he will report directly to Arjan Meijer, President and CEO Embraer Commercial Aviation.

Having joined Embraer on the E-Jet program in 2001, Santiago has, for the last seven years, been Managing Director Customer Finance and Credit Risk Management, overseeing the needs of all Embraer business units. His expertise covers structured and aviation finance, sales, leasing, debt financing, capital markets, risk management, credit analysis, securitization, export and trade finance.


SITA helps Lufthansa Group deliver contactless, mobile way to report and track delayed baggage

Lufthansa Group has launched a completely contactless way for passengers to report delayed baggage from their mobile device, avoiding long queues at busy baggage service counters or offices. SITA’s initial trials of WorldTracer® Self Service showed that the service has already proved to be popular with travelers, with two-thirds opting to use this service instead of visiting a baggage counter.

In addition to meeting new COVID-19 hygiene requirements, WorldTracer Self Service saves airlines on average US$10 for every mishandled bag reported by eliminating the need for additional infrastructure to manage the reporting of delayed bags. The latest figures from the 2020 SITA Baggage Report shows that while the number of mishandled bags across the industry tumbled 45.8% from 46.9 million in 2007 to 25.4 million in 2019, the cost to the industry was still US$2.5 billion last year.

Following the successful launch at Munich airport, the Lufthansa service has now been deployed at Frankfurt a.M. Airport and will be rolled out worldwide over the next few months. The service will also soon be available to all SWISS and Austrian Airlines passengers.

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