Thursday, October 3rd, 2019

UPS Flight Forward obtains FAA certification - now fully-fledged drone airline

UPS Flight Forward (UPSFF), the UPS drone delivery subsidiary, has taken a major step forward in the drone delivery space having obtained certification from the Federal Aviation Administration to operate the first fully-fledged drone airline in the U.S.

The Part 135 Standard certification permits UPSFF to fly an unlimited number of drones with an unlimited number of operators piloting them. Certification also allows it to carry loads in excess of the current limit of 55 pounds and to fly at night. No sooner has certification been awarded than UPSFF launched a Matternet M2 quadcopter from WakeMed’s hospital campus in Raleigh, N.C. The company will continue to focus on drone deliveries of medical products and specimens, based on hospital campuses, focus particularly on North Carolina.

In a statement, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said UPS’ certification is “a big step forward in safely integrating unmanned aircraft systems into our airspace, expanding access to healthcare in North Carolina and building on the success of the national UAS Integration Pilot Program to maintain American leadership in unmanned aviation.”

Commenting on the milestone achieved by UPS, company CEO David Abney said: “Our technology is opening doors for UPS and solving problems in unique ways for our customers,” adding: “We will soon announce other steps to build out our infrastructure, expand services for healthcare customers and put drones to new uses in the future.”


U.S. Air Force awards Boeing US$2.6 billion contract for fifth KC-46A tanker lot

The U.S. Air Force has awarded Boeing a US$2.6 billion contract for 15 KC-46A tanker aircraft, spares, support equipment, spare engines and wing air refueling pod kits. With this fifth production lot, Boeing now is on contract for 67 KC-46 tankers.

Boeing received its first two production lots, for 7 and 12 aircraft, in August 2016. The third lot, for 15 aircraft, was awarded in January 2017; the fourth lot for 18 aircraft in September 2018.

Boeing plans to build 179 of the 767-based refueling aircraft for the Air Force to replace its legacy tanker fleet. The company delivered the first tankers to the Air Force in January 2019.

Boeing received its initial contract in 2011 to design and develop the Air Force’s newest tanker aircraft. The KC-46A is a multi-role tanker that can refuel allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients.

Boeing is assembling KC-46 aircraft at its Everett, Wash., facility and recently started production of the first KC-46 for Japan.

Beach Aviation Group

Jetaire receives AS9100 Certification

Jetaire has fulfilled the requirements and met the standards for certification to AS9100, the well-recognized International Quality Management System for the Aviation, Space and Defense industry. Certification to AS9100 includes certification to ISO 9001, plus additional aerospace quality and processes requirements.

“We have always followed stringent procedures for our manufacturing and related activities to ensure the highest levels of quality, safety and reliability,” said Mike Williams, President of Jetaire. “Completing the review process and receiving registration to AS9100 certification demonstrates to the marketplace, as well as industry regulatory agencies, that Jetaire maintains a comprehensive system of monitoring its processes and procedures to ensure consistent adherence to industry-best practices and quality management systems.”

AS9100 is a widely adopted and standardized quality management system (QMS) for the aerospace industry. This standard is accepted worldwide and the standards are identical across the globe. Sourcing from an AS9100 certified organization offers many benefits. It demonstrates that the company has a world class QMS and that its products and services will meet your requirements.

FACC secures production order from Bombardier Belfast

FACC has received an order from Bombardier Belfast and is thus successfully expanding its customer portfolio: The company has placed an order with FACC for the production of thrust reverser trans cowl components for the A320neo aircraft family. With this order, FACC has now extended its long-standing cooperation with Bombardier in the areas of Cabin Interiors and Aerostructures including engine nacelle components.

FACC was able to demonstrate to Bombardier that it has outstanding expertise in component design for manufacture as well as ultra-modern production facilities. The project marks FACC's first collaboration with Bombardier Belfast.

“This new order is of great strategic importance for FACC and for the Engines & Nacelles division in particular, as the cooperation with Bombardier Belfast is an expansion of our customer and product
portfolio. Through its cooperation with Bombardier Belfast, FACC is further expanding its market share on the A320 aircraft family and benefits from the global success of the aircraft," explained Günter Nelböck, Vice President Engines & Nacelle of FACC. "Stable growth of the FACC Engines & Nacelles division and the creation of secure long-term jobs in the region are thus guaranteed.”


British Airways and Malaysia Airlines sign new codeshare agreement

British Airways has signed a new codeshare agreement with oneworld partner Malaysia Airlines.

The new code will be added to 14 destinations the airline serves in Malaysia, including Langkawi, Penang and Kota Kinabalu, and nine cities in Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Vietnam.

As part of the new agreement, customers will have an even greater choice of routes, destinations and fares and more flexibility between the UK and Asia Pacific. Travellers will also be able to through check to their final destination and collect their boarding passes in advance. British Airways Executive Club members will gain enhanced frequent flyer benefits and Avios can be used on reward flights, upgrades, hotels, experiences and for part payment, allowing customers to cut the cost of future British Airways flights.

Bombardier names Christophe Degoumois VP of International Business Aircraft Sales

Bombardier has named Christophe Degoumois as Vice President of Sales, International, for Bombardier Business Aircraft, overseeing business jet sales in all regions outside the Americas.

Degoumois joined Bombardier in 2004 as a Sales Director, occupying roles of increasing responsibility over the last 15 years, including Vice President of Sales in China and the Asia-Pacific. In his most recent mandate, he was Vice President of Sales for Europe, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). His expanded role will include the above regions as well as China, the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.


Virgin Galactic and Italian Air Force sign first government contract for human tended research flight

Virgin Galactic has signed a new contract with the Italian Air Force for a research flight on the company’s SpaceShipTwo system during which Italian researchers will actively conduct experiments while they are in space.

The contract marks the first time a government department has funded a human-tended research flight on a commercial space vehicle. The mission, set to take place as early as 2020, will fly three Italian payload specialists and a rack of research payloads. The Italian Air Force payload specialists and Virgin Galactic’s payload team are working with the Italian National Research Center (CNR) on the design of the experimental payloads.

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo system is designed to fly both humans and payloads to space for tourism and research purposes. The company offers an end-to-end solution for payload flights that includes the use of SpaceShipTwo and its carrier aircraft VMS Eve, along with the hardware, processes, and facilities needed for a successful campaign. Virgin Galactic’s platform offers routine, reliable, responsive, and affordable access to the upper atmosphere and space that can accommodate a large volume and mass for research payloads. The company has already flown payloads to space through the NASA Flight Opportunities Program.

Human-tended research onboard SpaceShipTwo allows a dynamic approach to space-based science with researchers able to engage actively with their experiments, responding to developments in real time, optimizing the effectiveness of the research. Experimentation with humans-in-the-loop may also improve reliability by removing the unneeded complexity of building automation in. Virgin Galactic will be able to provide these benefits to the research community at levels of repeatability, affordability and quality of micro-gravity which have been historically unavailable in human spaceflight.

During the spaceflight, following shutdown of the rocket motor, researchers will unclip from their seats and undertake the actions necessary to complete each experiment during several minutes of zero gravity. The company will provide training and preparation for the researchers so that they are fully equipped to carry out their job as mission specialists on this flight and provide onsite pre-flight support for each of the payload experiments.

The payload will include medical instrumentation that will measure the biological effects of the transitional phase from gravity to micro gravity on the human body. Other testing equipment may be used to help develop a new understanding of the chemistry of green fuels.

VAS Aero

Airbus inaugurates new A320 structure assembly line in Hamburg

Airbus has inaugurated its highly automated fuselage structure assembly line for A320 Family aircraft in Hamburg, showcasing an evolution in Airbus’ industrial production system.

With a special focus on manufacturing longer sections for the A321LR, the new facility features 20 robots, a new logistics concept, automated positioning by laser measurement as well as a digital data acquisition system. These will further support Airbus’ drive to improve both quality and efficiency while bringing an enhanced level of digitalization to its industrial production system. For the initial section assembly, Airbus is using a modular, lightweight automated system, called “Flextrack”, with eight robots drilling and countersinking 1,100 to 2,400 holes per longitudinal joint.

In the next production step, 12 robots, each operating on seven axes, combine the center and aft-fuselage-sections with the tail to form one major component, drilling, countersinking, sealing and inserting 3,000 rivets per orbital joint. Besides the use of robots, Airbus is also implementing new methods and technologies in material and parts logistics to optimize production, improve ergonomics and shorten lead times. This includes the separation of logistics and production levels, demand-oriented material replenishment as well as the use of autonomous guided vehicles.

The Hamburg structure assembly facility is responsible for joining single fuselage shells into sections, as well as final assembly of single sections to aircraft fuselages. Aircraft parts are equipped with electrical and mechanical systems before eventually being delivered to the final assembly lines in France, Germany, China and the U.S.

ACC expands Ethiopian Airlines partnership

Aviation service provider ACC Aviation Group, has announced the expansion of its partnership with national flag carrier and Star Alliance member, Ethiopian Airlines, to include the operator’s charter and leasing capacity across North America and Asia, in addition to aircraft availability across Europe.

To date, the collaboration has yielded significant results for the aviation service provider and Ethiopian, including ACMI operations for Smartwings and aircraft charter flights for the 2018 FIFA
World Cup, 2017/18 and 2018/19 UEFA Champions League tournaments and major cruise operators.

The agreement encompasses aircraft based across a number of international aviation hubs, including London Heathrow, Manchester, Madrid, Frankfurt, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Moscow
Domodedovo, Houston, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Chengdu.

ACC Aviation Group CEO, Phil Mathews, comments: “The working relationship between ACC Aviation Group and Ethiopian has continued to develop and strengthen and their decision to extend
this agreement symbolises their trust in our ability to represent their interests globally.

“Ethiopian Airlines’ modern fleet includes Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Airbus A350s, aircraft which are not generally available, and this partnership gives ACC’s clients access to some of the most contemporary widebody capacity in the ad-hoc charter and wet leasing market.


Airbus Helicopters and EASA sign MOC to bring next generation of VTOL platforms to life

Airbus Helicopters and EASA have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation aiming to harness their respective experience and know-how to bring the next generation of VTOL platforms to life, along with the necessary regulatory framework to support them.

“I am very pleased to be joining efforts with EASA to build a common framework for the next generation of vertical lift solutions over the next decades,” said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus
Helicopters. “Innovation that benefits customers is at the heart of Airbus Helicopters’ strategy. We are committed to working hand in hand with the authorities on our innovation projects with the same professional approach that drives the design and certification of our current product range.”

The areas of cooperation covered by this agreement include high-speed flight with the Racer demonstrator, the certification of new piloting assistance systems such as Airbus Helicopters’ EAGLE technology, the thermal/electrical hybridization of rotorcraft, including electric vertical take-off and landing systems (eVTOLs), and condition-based maintenance.


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MRO Europe
October 15 - 17, 2019 – ExCel London, London, UK

Advanced Engineering 2019
October 30 - 31, 2019 – NEC, Birmingham, UK

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November 26 - 27, 2019 – Hotel Novotel Amsterdam City, Amsterdam, NL

Manufacturing World
February 26 - 18, 2020 – Makuhari Messe, Chiba-city, Japan