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Thursday, June 23rd, 2022

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Twin turboprop Braathens ATR becomes first commercial aircraft to fly on 100% SAF

The results of a successful collaboration between regional aircraft manufacturer ATR, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) supplier Neste, and the Swedish carrier Braathens Regional Airlines have culminated in the world’s first successful all SAF-fuelled flight of a commercial aircraft, an ATR 72-600 prototype.

It is estimated that SAF reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80% during its life cycle. The ATR 72-600 twin turboprop is powered by Pratt & Whitney PWC 127F engines and according to ATR, the aircraft already emits 40% less CO2 per trip than equivalent regional jets operating on standard aviation fuel. The aircraft had performed successful ground and flight tests earlier in the year with one engine fuelled by SAF.

It is hoped that the collaboration between the firms will see the certification process for 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) completed by 2025. As a drop-in fuel, it can be used in existing aircraft engines and is compatible with current airport fuel infrastructure. Jonathan Wood, Neste’s Vice President Europe, Renewable Aviation commented: “Test flights like this show it is possible to safely fly on 100% SAF and help accelerate the adoption of SAF in aviation.”

Per G Braathen, Chairman of Braathens Regional Airlines stated “As a leading Swedish domestic airline our sustainability focus started long before any other airline, and this milestone is one of the main pillars and represents a real innovation for the industry. It proved that 100% SAF is the most immediate and effective option we have to reduce CO2 emissions and move faster to a decarbonised industry.”

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StandardAero inducts 1,000th HTF7000 series engine

StandardAero’s Business Aviation team inducted its 1,000th Honeywell HTF7000 series engine into their Augusta, GA facility, the first to achieve this significant milestone in support of the engine series.  StandardAero is the industry’s first OEM-authorised independent, heavy MRO provider for this engine model.

Over the past three years, the company has continued to invest in efforts to grow HTF7000 services, expanding its test cell capability and tooling as well as improving turn-around-times for customers. HTF7000 series engines are designed for on-condition maintenance which can help operators minimize risk and disruption to flight schedules due to unexpected engine repairs by conducting regularly scheduled borescope inspections. StandardAero also owns the industry’s largest HTF7000 series engine rental bank where engine removal and replacement can be performed by StandardAero’s geographically dispersed Mobile Services Teams on-site for customers or at the company’s Augusta facility, where HTF7000 series engines are routinely serviced.  

The HTF7000 is the engine of choice for a wide variety of business aviation aircraft in the mid-size and super mid-size categories such as the Bombardier Challenger 300 and 350, the Embraer Legacy 450 and 500 and Praetor 500 and 600, the Gulfstream G280 and the Cessna Citation Longitude.

Rolls-Royce advances hybrid-electric flight with new technology

Rolls-Royce is officially announcing the development of turbogenerator technology, which includes a new small engine designed for hybrid-electric applications. The system will be an on-board power source with scalable power offerings and will complement the Rolls-Royce Electrical propulsion portfolio, enabling extended range on sustainable aviation fuels and later as it comes available through hydrogen combustion.

Current battery technology means all-electric propulsion will enable eVTOL and fixed-wing commuter aircraft for short flights in and between cities and island-hopping in locations like Norway and the Scottish Isles. By developing turbogenerator technology, that will be scaled to serve a power range between 500 kW and 1200 kW, it can open up new longer routes that the electric battery powered aircraft can also support.

Rolls-Royce experts based in Germany, Norway and Hungary are developing the turbogenerator design and working on its system integration and are focused on ensuring smart power distribution during flight. The turbogenerator will recharge batteries after take-off or power propellers directly, enabling aircraft to switch between power sources in flight. The research and development of this technology is being part funded by the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action.

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Airbus selects KLK Motorsport and Modell- und Formenbau Blasius Gerg GmbH to develop rear structure of CityAirbus NextGen

Airbus is partnering with KLK Motorsport and Modell- und Formenbau Blasius Gerg GmbH to design, develop and manufacture the rear structure of CityAirbus NextGen. The companies will work together to develop an ultra-lightweight rear fuselage, which plays a key role in the airframe’s flight efficiency, and which meets the high standards of reliability and performance for Airbus' electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) prototype.

The two partners will design high-end composite solutions and components that will equip CityAirbus NextGen’s rear structure, through a collaborative framework that enables them to mutually benefit from each company’s competencies in design engineering and manufacturing processes.

In September 2021, Airbus unveiled its eVTOL prototype CityAirbus NextGen, to explore advanced air mobility technologies and bring urban air mobility services to life. Over the past few months, the company has selected partners for structural components of its prototype, such as Thales and Diehl, who will develop the aircraft’s flight control computers, or Spirit AeroSystems for its wings. Airbus is also working closely with industrial and institutional partners to lead the development of urban air mobility ecosystems, as recently announced with ITA Airways in Italy, or through the launch of the Air Mobility Initiative in Germany.

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Embraer inaugurates Sorocaba Services Center expansion

Embraer has inaugurated new hangars at the Sorocaba Service Center, in the São Paulo countryside, doubling its useful area from 20,000 m² to 40,000 m².  The unit, which completed eight years of operation in March 2022, now has four hangars, three of which are dedicated to maintenance, repair and component overhaul (MRO) services and one to support fixed-base operator (FBO) operations.

“There is consistent growth in the executive aviation segment in Brazil and we see great opportunities for the service sector in the coming years, aligned with our growth plans for both the services and Support business unit and Embraer itself,” said Johann Bordais, President, and CEO of Embraer Services & Support. “This investment reaffirms Embraer's commitment to serving its customers more comprehensively and with even better support.”

Embraer Sorocaba has a complete portfolio of services for maintenance, interior refurbishments, hangarage, airport services, stopover assistance and aircraft preservation, in addition to approved workshops for various aeronautical components. Sorocaba Service Center also has the capacity to perform aircraft modifications, such as the conversion of Legacy 450 jets into Praetor 500 jets.

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ASQS appoints new Deputy Director General

ASQS, a leading global provider of aviation safety and quality management solutions, has announced that Captain Pich Damrongmanee has been appointed as Deputy Director General of Bangkok-based ASQS Ltd., an ASQS Group company, effective July 1, 2022.

With over 24 years of experience in aviation having worked for companies such as United Offshore Aviation (UOA) and Thai Airways and 16 years in various management positions in national and international organisations, Capt. Pich brings a wealth of knowledge in various business areas to ASQS. He holds both a fixed-wing and rotary wing license (Thai and Canadian ATPL(H)), has longstanding experience in offshore helicopter and commercial flight operations, as well as in quality and safety management, which he has further expanded in the scope of his activities as aviation safety management system consultant. Capt. Pich serves as a member in several of the national and international helicopter operation committees including the Thai Pilot Association Technical Committee (Helicopter Operations), Helicopter Association International (HAI - globally the largest helicopter association), the IFALPA Helicopter Committee as well as the International Society of Air Safety Investigators.

In his new role as Deputy Director General at ASQS Ltd., Capt. Pich will be responsible for further business development in Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific regions driving sales activities and further growth of the company, following his predecessors Larisa Patrascu and Jonathan Frey.

Airbus supports German Air Force transformation to sustainable aviation fuel

Airbus is supporting the German Air Force in its long-term transformation to increase sustainability of its aircraft fleet. Airbus is working with the German Air Force towards providing the Luftwaffe with a technical allowance to commence national A400M flight trials with loads of up to 50% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) in the near-term. SAF is a proven alternative fuel that can reduce life cycle CO2 emissions by up to 85% compared to conventional fuel.

By that, Germany, which has a total of 53 units on order, is becoming the first customer nation to launch a gradual transformation to SAF for their operational A400M fleet.

As a first step, in 2022, Airbus plans a test flight of an A400M aircraft with a fuel load of up to 50% SAF. This initial test flight will be conducted with one engine to better assess the aircraft’s overall behaviour. Upon successful completion of this one-engine flight, Airbus is expecting to continue with four engine trials in 2023.

Once testing activities are completed on the basis of four engines, the A400M platform will formally be allowed for customers with access to 50% SAF.
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