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Friday, August 13th, 2021

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Ampaire successfully performs first test flight of hybrid electric aircraft on potential commercial route

Ampaire, the U.K. subsidiary of Los-Angeles-based Ampaire has successfully performed its first full test flight on a potential future commercial route between Kirkwall Airport on the Orkney Islands across the Pentland Firth to Wick John O’Groats Airport on mainland northern Scotland. This is also the first U.K. demonstration of the aircraft, a modified six-seat Cessna 337, now Ampaire’s Electric EEL technology demonstrator, which has been modified to run on both battery power and a conventional combustion engine.

Ampaire is an industry leader in the race for conversion to electric power for aircraft, but also recognizes that the fastest way to introduce new technology is to convert existing aircraft rather than starting from scratch with every new project. The company’s new powertrain will have the potential to initially reduce carbon emissions by 25% and will operate on lifeline routes in Scotland, as well as elsewhere in the world.

Ampaire test pilot Justin Gillen commented: “Today’s flight to Wick went without a hitch, flying at 3500 feet and 120 miles per hour. The Electric EEL is easy to fly, and we’ve achieved a total five hours here so far.” “This is an important first step to decarbonizing Scottish regional aviation, while lowering the cost of air service,” said Ampaire founder and CEO Kevin Noertker, adding: “It’s a model for what Ampaire will be able to offer regional carriers everywhere.”

The company sees its hybrid electric upgrades as a catalyst to zero-emission, all-electric aircraft, as battery technology advances and airport charging infrastructure matures. The trials, the first to operate on a viable regional airline route, are part of the Sustainable Aviation Test Environment (SATE) project, which is being led by Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL).  SATE is funded by U.K. Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, and is based at Kirkwall Airport in Orkney, which is also home to the U.K.’s first operationally based low-carbon aviation test center. SATE forms part of the UKRI’s Future Flight Challenge, created to test low-carbon aviation technologies, as well as to investigate the airport infrastructure required to support sustainable aviation.

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Collins enhanced vision sensor selected for Airbus-family of aircraft

Collins Aerospace’s next-generation enhanced vision sensor has been selected to be integrated into Airbus’ Enhanced Flight Vision System (EFVS). EFVS will become a selectable option on Airbus commercial aircraft, expanding approach capability and increasing flight situational awareness during reduced visibility conditions. The EFVS option, with the Collins EVS sensor, will be offered first on the A320 aircraft, with the intention to offer this solution on other platforms in the future.

The EFVS will use input from the Collins Aerospace sensor, mounted on the nose of the aircraft, to create an augmented reality view of the outside world. The sensor uses multiple infrared and visible light cameras to “see through” poor visibility conditions better than the human eye. When the pilots view this camera video on head-up displays, it allows them to better identify the runway environment in all weather conditions — helping pilots overcome many flight disruptions often created by fog or precipitation. In addition, because the technology enables pilots to reduce delays on the runway and in the air, it actively reduces the amount of carbon emissions created by the aircraft.

Honeywell and Lufthansa Technik sign MRO agreement for components in CFM LEAP series engines

Honeywell and Lufthansa Technik have signed an extensive collaboration agreement for the maintenance of Honeywell components installed on CFM International's LEAP series engines which are used in Airbus A320neo family, Boeing 737 MAX and COMAC C919 aircraft.

Under this agreement, Lufthansa Technik will develop Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) capabilities for the aforementioned Honeywell components. By this, the company will be able to offer improved and OEM-certified aftermarket services, with increased component reliability and reduced operator life-cycle costs.

Lufthansa Technik and Honeywell have enjoyed a long standing, collaborative relationship including Lufthansa Technik as the licensed component repair center and exclusive global asset provider for all Honeywell products on Airbus A350 aircraft. Moreover, Lufthansa Technik  brings a new level of predictive health management expertise to airlines, with the inclusion of Honeywell Forge analytics on Lufthansa Technik's AVIATAR platform.

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MTU Aero Engines sells Vericor Power Systems

MTU Aero Engines AG has sold Vericor Power Systems. This marine and industrial gas turbine (IGT) OEM based in Alpharetta, Georgia, U.S.A., is being acquired by U.S. private equity company CSL Capital Management of Houston, Texas, which focuses on the energy sector. The agreement was signed in early June 2021 and the transaction was closed in August. Reiner Winkler, CEO of MTU Aero Engines AG, on the background: “Vericor sees growth opportunities in the oil and gas sector. We are pleased that our transaction partner CSL can offer Vericor good opportunities for development. By divesting Vericor, we are concentrating our OEM activities on our core business, aircraft engines, and driving forward technologies for sustainable and ultimately emissions-free aviation.” The divestment will have no impact on MTU’s revenue and earnings forecast for the 2021 fiscal year.

CSL Capital is an investment firm focused on the energy services, energy equipment and energy technology sectors. Its global portfolio of companies includes venture, start-ups and later-stage investments. Since its inception in 2008, CSL Capital Management has raised in excess of US$1.9 billion in equity capital.

Beacon signs service agreement with Inflite The Jet Centre

Beacon, the maintenance coordination platform from EmbraerX, has signed an agreement with Inflite The Jet Centre, one of the largest privately-owned European MRO component support providers. The agreement is focused on supporting Inflite’s teams in gaining efficiencies to accelerate aircraft return-to-service. Inflite The Jet Centre answers over 800 AOG and Line cases per year thanks to its experienced and dedicated team of aircraft engineers on Embraer and other aircraft manufacturer’s products.

Beacon is an innovative platform designed to connect and synchronize industry resources, the aftermarket supply chain, and aviation services professionals in a more agile and efficient manner ensuring the rapid return of aircraft to service. Benefitting from a startup mindset and backed by Embraer’s more than 50-year history of aerospace expertise, Beacon is poised to become the leading platform for aviation maintenance collaboration, creating a new digital era in aviation maintenance services, being capable of serving any manufacturer, anytime, anyplace.

By signing this agreement, Beacon expands its European efforts and continues to pave a position in the digital aviation services industry. Recently Beacon has signed agreements with ABS Jets and the Mobile Repair Team. Last June, Beacon concluded over 35,000 unscheduled maintenance cases by more than a thousand users. These numbers are expected to grow as the aviation industry recovers from the COVID-19 crisis.

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Siemens and SITA team up to deliver next-generation airport experience at KCI airport terminal

Siemens and SITA are providing the Kansas City Aviation Department with future-proof, scalable technologies for the Kansas City International (MCI) Airport’s new terminal project, dubbed Build KCI.

The new 1 million ft², 39-gate terminal will include a variety of building automation, fire and life safety systems, and security systems from Siemens as well as IT networks and next-generation airport systems from SITA. These solutions will help create a smart airport terminal that can grow with the aviation department‘s long-term needs, decrease operation and maintenance costs and enhance the passenger experience through automation.

Kansas City's Director of Aviation, Pat Klein, said: “Together, Siemens and SITA are providing the virtual and physical infrastructure that will ensure Kansas City International Airport’s new terminal is equipped to deliver an exceptional journey for our passengers; one built on innovation, industry expertise and a true understanding of what travelers want today and into the future.”

Also important to the project is the need for a seamless transition from the construction to the operation phase, delivered through integrated life safety and emergency communications systems, a virtualized IT network and agile passenger touchpoints. In addition, the airport wanted to implement interactive technology that could be easily understood by airport staff, while also deploying next-generation passenger touchpoints such as touchless kiosks, flight information display systems and video walls that provide a more intuitive journey through the new terminal.

Valued at US$1.5 billion, Build KCI is the largest single infrastructure project in Kansas City's history. At just over 1 million ft², the project includes replacing Kansas City International Airport’s aging three-terminal complex with a single, modern terminal and a 6,000-space garage that will improve the traveling experience for all users.

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Chorus Aviation posts second quarter 2021 financial results

Chorus Aviation has reported net income of CA$21.5 million, a quarter-over-quarter decrease of CA$7.6 million primarily due to the continued impact of COVID–19 on results related to off-lease aircraft, negotiated amendments to certain lease agreements including extensions, the 2021 CPA amendments and lower unrealized foreign exchange gains of CA$10.7 million.

The company reported adjusted net income of CA$11.4 million a decrease of CAS$10.3 million quarter-over-quarter primarily due to the previously noted impact of COVID-19 on results and a reduction in earnings due to a lower US dollar foreign exchange rate.

Chorus Aviation reported adjusted EBITDA of CA$76.9 million, a decrease of CA$14.2 million over second quarter 2020. The company reported liquidity of CA$177.9 million and collected approximately 67.0% of the Regional Aircraft Leasing segment’s lease revenue in the second quarter.

C&L Aviation Group receives STC certification for Embraer 135 business-class solution

C&L Aviation Services has received STC by the FAA for its 16-passenger business class seating and floor leveling solution to be used in the Embraer ERJ 135. The STC certifies structural modifications for seat track relocation, allowing for a 1x1 business-class seating arrangement with a comfortable and luxurious 43-inch seat pitch and extended reclining capabilities. In this configuration, the cabin is transformed from 37 to 16 seats. Further, the STC allows for a new center aisle (prior to the modification the aisle is offset) and extended aisle width. The STC modification also includes gally improvements that increase the aircraft’s beverage capacity.

“Since we begin producing custom, semi-private aircraft interiors a few years ago we have received several inquiries for this type of configuration,” said Phil Miholovich, Director of Maintenance for C&L Aviation Services. “Having our own in-house engineering group allows us to dedicate resources to STC projects like this one that meets customer’s needs.”

C&L is also actively working on an STC amendment to include the ERJ 145 and expect FAA approval to come before the end of 2021. The ERJ 145 will be able to accommodate up to 24 seats with this modification.

In order for these modifications to be implemented, it requires another C&L STC to be done in conjunction, which removes the cabin overhead bins, installs new ceiling and valance panels, introduces continuous run LED lighting as well as an additional row of overhead lighting.
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