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Thursday, July 21st, 2022

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Helity and Lilium to bring eVTOL jet mobility to Southern Spain

Spain-based Helity Copter Airlines (Helity) has signed an agreement with Lilium N.V. (Lilium) for the development of an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) network in Andalusia, southern Spain. The agreement will see Helity initially acquire five Lilium Jets which it will use to provide its customers with premium- and business-level charter flights between Ceuta, a Spanish-controlled enclave on the very northern tip of Morocco, Africa, and Algeciras, and Málaga located on the southern Spanish coast, along with charter flights in southern Spain.

In the history of Helity the company has flown over 300,000 customers and with its range of 250 km and premium cabin, the Lilium Jet is perfectly suited to its customers. Antonio Barranco, CEO and owner of Helity said: “With its zero operating emission and low noise profile, the Lilium Jet is a great addition to our existing helicopter fleet. Thanks to the large and spacious cabin, the aircraft is very well-suited to address the premium and business traffic in the region. I have no doubt that in the medium-term it will revolutionise the concept of short-range commercial and business aviation”.

Daniel Wiegand, CEO of Lilium said: “Southern Spain attracts a high demand of premium tourism. Combined with Helity’s great local expertise and experience in the operation of helicopters, as well as the hiring of highly skilled pilots, we have ideal conditions for the development of a sustainable air mobility network in the region”.

Currently, Lilium is conducting flight tests with its fifth-generation technology demonstrator at the ATLAS Flight Test Center in Villacarrillo (Jaen), Spain, while the intended arrangement between Helity and Lilium is subject to the parties finalising commercial terms and entering into definitive agreements with respect thereto, and the satisfaction of certain conditions.

Afrijet selects comprehensive engine maintenance programme from P&WC for six PW127 engines

Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC), a business unit of Pratt & Whitney, has released that Afrijet of Gabon has signed a 12-year Guaranteed Maintenance Cost Plan (GMCP) to cover the engines on three ATR 72-600 aircraft that are on order. One of the aircraft will be powered by PW127M engines, while the other two will fly with new PW127XT-M engines.

The PW127XT engine, launched at the 2021 Dubai Airshow, is the new standard in regional turboprop aviation. The PW127XT offers 40% more time on wing, a 20% reduction in maintenance costs and 3% less fuel consumption. Overall, regional turboprops consume 40% less fuel and emit 40% less CO2 emissions than regional jets on flights up to 400 nautical miles.

Korean Air, GE sign five-year GE90 materials service agreement

Korean Air has signed a five-year TrueChoice™ material service agreement with GE for spare parts, component repair and used serviceable part upgrades for GE90-115B engines.

Korean Air, a major global airline serving 120 cities in 43 countries, operates a fleet of 154 of the latest Boeing and Airbus aircraft, including the GE90-powered Boeing 777.

The TrueChoice suite of engine maintenance offerings incorporate an array of GE capabilities and customisation across an engine's lifecycle. TrueChoice Material offers high-quality new and used OEM parts, advanced repairs and technology upgrades to enhance engine performance and support higher engine residual value.

All TrueChoice offerings are underpinned by GE’ s data and analytic capabilities and experience to help reduce maintenance burden and service disruptions for customers.


Airbus UpNext to perform hydrogen-powered flight with new flying testbed

Airbus UpNext, a wholly owned subsidiary of Airbus, has revealed a flight test programme to study the contrails produced by a hydrogen combustion engine as part of the company’s ZEROe roadmap. The project, named “Blue Condor”, will launch two modified Arcus gliders, one equipped with a hydrogen combustion engine and one equipped with a conventional kerosene-powered combustion engine, in order to compare contrails emitted at high altitudes.

"Contrail characterisation is of significant interest to Airbus. We know that hydrogen emits no carbon dioxide when burned, but we also know that with water vapour and heat being the most significant by-products, hydrogen combustion does produce contrails. Although these contrails differ significantly to those produced by conventional JetA/A1 combustion engines, understanding their composition will be key to support our decarbonisation journey,” said Sandra Bour Schaeffer, CEO of Airbus UpNext. “In taking up this challenge we are making significant headway in our decarbonisation strategy and our ambition to bring the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft into service by 2035.”

The Blue Condor demonstrator will be supported by the Perlan Project team, which will be responsible for the modification of the Arcus gliders. They will also provide the high-altitude glider pilots, the same pilots who in 2018 set the world subsonic altitude record – 76,124 feet – in a pressurised glider for Airbus Perlan Mission II.

The German Research Centre DLR will collect and analyse data captured using their measurement instrumentation sensors on a chase aircraft, while Airbus will ensure the provision of the hydrogen system and equipment, including the combustion engine as well as the details of the flight test mission.

To ensure 100% comparable data between the hydrogen and conventional engine, the test flights will be carried out back-to-back under the same meteorological conditions. Test flights are scheduled for late 2022 in North Dakota, U.S.A., in collaboration with the University of North Dakota.

Azerbaijan Airlines signs MoU to purchase four more Boeing 787s

Boeing and Azerbaijan Airlines have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for four additional fuel-efficient 787-8s at the Farnborough International Airshow. The Azerbaijan flag-carrier currently operates two 787-8s, with this latest announcement the airline intends to grow its Dreamliner fleet to ten by 2030, enabling it to open new routes across Central Asia.

One of the largest carriers in the Caspian region and Central Asia, Baku-based Azerbaijan Airlines currently operates two 787-8 Dreamliners as well as a fleet of 757, 767 and 777 airplanes.

Satair acquires VAS Aero Services

Satair, an Airbus Services company and VAS Aero Services, a leader in aviation logistics and aftermarket services including end-of-life support, have signed an agreement under which Satair acquires VAS Aero Services, through its U.S. subsidiary, Satair U.S.A., Inc. VAS will continue as a separate enterprise, with operational sites and offices in Boca Raton (FL), Kent (WA) and London (UK), expanding Satair’s global footprint and aviation aftermarket service capabilities.

The acquisition complements Satair’s existing offerings through VAS’ expertise in managing engine and multi-fleet used serviceable material (USM) products, which will play a key role in Satair’s strategic growth initiative in this segment. 


LATAM Airlines reinforces fleet with additional order for 17 A321neos

LATAM Airlines has ordered 17 A321neo aircraft to further expand its route offering, bringing the airline’s total A320neo order book aircraft to 100. Additionally, the airline has also confirmed to bring in the A321XLR to complement its long-haul operations.

The A321neo is the largest member of Airbus’ A320neo family, which incorporates new generation engines and Sharklets, delivering more than 20% fuel and CO2 savings, as well as a 50% noise reduction. The A321XLR version provides a further range extension to 4,700nm, giving the aircraft a flight time of up to 11 hours. Last month, the A321XLR took to the skies for the first time, accomplishing its first test flight successfully.

GA Telesis Engine Services names Bradley Carucci as Managing Director of U.S. SPAH facility

GA Telesis Engine Services (GATES) has released that industry veteran, Bradley Carucci, has joined GATES as Managing Director of the U.S.-based Specialized Procedures Aeroengine Hospital (SPAH) in Wilmington, Ohio. This new 72,000 ft² facility is a joint venture with GA Telesis and Air Transport Services Group (ATSG).

Carucci brings a broad range of aviation experience with increasing levels of responsibility in the commercial aircraft maintenance industry. He began his career as a jet engine specialist with the United States Air Force. Carucci received his bachelor’s degree in Applied Arts and Aviation Sciences from Eastern New Mexico University.

Ampaire secured firm order for five of its low-emission, nine-seat Eco Caravan aircraft

Electric aviation pioneer Ampaire has secured a firm order backed by deposits for five of its low-emission, nine-seat Eco Caravan aircraft, plus an option for an additional 20. The buyer is WingTips, an innovative air mobility company operating today in California, Arizona, and Nevada. Both companies anticipate another 175 orders for the Eco Caravan as WingTips expands nationwide, plus 50 of Ampaire’s follow-on 19-seat Eco Otter aircraft.

WingTips plans to use these new aircraft on regional routes of 100 to 400 statute miles, flying mainly from convenient general aviation airports. The company uses artificial intelligence to offer individual seats to on-demand charter passengers, and advanced floating fleet algorithms to optimize fleet usage. The company also plans to offer scheduled service on higher volume routes.

The Eco Caravan is Ampaire’s first commercial product. It is a Cessna Grand Caravan upgraded with a hybrid-electric propulsion system that retains the range and payload characteristics of the current Grand Caravan. The Eco Caravan can carry up to eleven passengers or 2,500 pounds of cargo.

The aircraft uses 70% less fuel on short trips and 50% less on longer trips with corresponding emissions reductions. When using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), emissions reduction is nearly 100%. Total operating cost reduction ranges from 25 to 40%, depending on route structure. The aircraft can operate independently of ground charging infrastructure by recharging the batteries in-flight when desired, as with hybrid-electric cars today.

Ampaire conducted the first Eco Caravan engine runs with a preliminary drivetrain configuration in April 2022, with plans to fly the aircraft in the second half of the year. The company is working with the FAA to achieve supplemental type certificate approval in 2024.


Nordic Aviation Capital signs inaugural deal with Akkodis for ATR 72-600 passenger-to-freighter conversion kits

Regional aircraft leasing company Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) and Akkodis have signed an agreement for five freighter conversion kits for the ATR 72-600, with the first deliveries starting from as early as Q1 2023. The aircraft for conversion will come from NAC’s existing ATR fleet. The ATR 72-600 conversion kits have the flexibility to be converted back to ATR 72-500 conversion kits and thus are suitable for application across NAC’s entire fleet of ATR 72s.

Akkodis holds an STC (Supplemental Type Certificate) for cargo conversion on ATR legacy aircraft, with more than 70 converted aircraft flying around the world, each offering 75.5 m³ of cargo volume and carrying over eight tonnes of freight. The integration of the freighter modification onto the ATR-600’s new avionic suite (NAS) presented a challenge. Nevertheless, Akkodis engineering experts identified a solution to enable them to extend the certification to the next generation of ATR aircraft.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) signs contract to provide special mission aircraft to a European country

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has signed a contract valued at over US$200 million to provide special mission aircraft to a country in Europe, which is a NATO member country. The Special Mission Aircraft will be developed by IAI’s Group and subsidiary ELTA Systems Ltd., home to Israel’s radar and intelligence technology and considered a global leader in the field. IAI’s special mission aircraft are active in Israel and in many countries around the world and provide an important strategic edge.

IAI is one of the few countries in the world that has the ability to develop such unique technologies. The company’s breakthrough in the field of special mission aircraft is made possible due to miniaturised sensor technologies alongside developing algorithms and software applications based on Artificial Intelligence (AI & ML), on the basis of which the highly advanced intelligence systems are integrated on business jets. Prior to this, most special mission aircraft utilised large cargo or commercial aircraft.

VoltAero selects Safran’s ENGINeUS™ 100 electric motor to equip the Cassio 330 electric-hybrid aircraft prototype

VoltAero’s prototype Cassio 330 will utilise Safran Electrical & Power’s ENGINeUSTM 100 smart electric motor in the aircraft’s parallel electric-hybrid propulsion system, with the agreement for its supply signed at the UK’s Farnborough International Airshow.

The ENGINeUSTM 100 will have a maximum rating of well above 150-kW at take-off and is to be integrated along with a 150-kW thermal engine in VoltAero’s proprietary hybrid propulsion unit on the Cassio 330. Features of the ENGINeUSTM 100 include an integrated motor controller and an optimized air-cooling system for thermal management.

Under terms of the agreement, Safran Electrical & Power will deliver an ENGINeUSTM 100 motor before year-end for ground-based endurance testing of the electric-hybrid propulsion system. The supply of a flight qualified ENGINeUSTM 100 will follow in 2023, enabling the startup of flight testing with the Cassio 330 prototype. Certification of the electric motor is scheduled for mid-2023.

VoltAero will produce Cassio airplanes in three versions, each sharing a high degree of modularity and commonality. First to be certified is the Cassio 330, with a capacity of four/five seats and powered by the 330-kW electric-hybrid propulsion system. The follow-on six-seat Cassio 480 will have a combined electric-hybrid propulsion power of 480-kW while the Cassio 600 is sized at a 10/12-seat capacity with electric-hybrid propulsion power of 600-kWs.


Rex and Dovetail forge partnership to pioneer aircraft electric propulsion conversion

Rex and Australian-headquartered Dovetail Electric Aviation (Dovetail) have announced the formation of a strategic partnership to pioneer the conversion of turbine powered aircraft to electric, nil emission propulsion.

The partnership, which will operate under the Dovetail brand, will develop and certify the retrofitting of electric engines onto legacy aircraft, initially for regional and general aviation aircraft.

Dovetail was formed in 2021 by Sydney Aviation Holdings, owners of Sydney Seaplanes and Dante Aeronautical, a start-up pioneering disruptive electric aviation concepts with a presence both in Spain and Australia.

John Sharp, Deputy Chairman of Rex Airlines, said: “Rex is both proud and excited to be at the forefront of developments in sustainable regional aviation and helping our national efforts in achieving the target of net-zero emissions by 2050.

“We are delighted to partner with Sydney Seaplanes and Dante Aeronautical in Dovetail Electric Aviation and to lend our aviation and engineering expertise to advance its progress, while also accelerating Rex’s journey to a zero emissions future.

The conversion of turbine aircraft to electric propulsion promises to bring zero emissions aviation into the mainstream much faster and more cost effectively than via newly commissioned electrical planes. Dovetail expects to achieve certification for converted aircraft within four years, compared with more than eight to ten years for clean sheet electric aircraft, and at a fraction of the certification costs.

Aircraft will be converted using MagniX engines for which Dovetail is the exclusive distributor in Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Mediterranean Europe. Converted aircraft will be 30-40% quieter than its donor planes and will enjoy reduced operating costs of around 40%.

Dovetail will certify the entire propulsion system of an aircraft by integrating the electric motor, battery packs and hydrogen fuel cells into one ‘drive-train’ on an existing airframe. In doing so, it will generate unique IP in conversion engineering, testing technology and power plant machine learning to optimise powerplant performance.

easyJet confirms order for 56 more A320neo-family aircraft

easyJet has confirmed a firm order for 56 A320neo-family aircraft following shareholder approval. The order is part of easyJet’s fleet renewal and up-gauging, cost and sustainability enhancements to the business. The agreement includes an upsizing of 18 A320neo to the larger A321neo model.

Kenton Jarvis, CFO for easyJet, said: “We believe this order will support positive returns for the business and the delivery of our strategic objectives. The new aircraft are aligned with easyJet's sustainability strategy, with the adoption of the more efficient new technology aircraft being a core component of easyJet's path to net zero emissions. Alongside this, the new aircraft are significantly quieter, with half the noise footprint of the older aircraft they are replacing.”

easyJet currently operates a fleet of over 300 A320-family aircraft including the A319, A320ceo, A320neo and A321neo, making it the world’s largest airline operator of Airbus’ single aisle aircraft. easyJet serves over 130 European airports in some 31 countries operating over 1,000 routes.

Collins Aerospace produces first prototype 500KW electric motor for Hybrid Air Vehicles’ Airlander 10 aircraft

Collins Aerospace has produced the first working prototype of its 500-kilowatt electric motor suitable for the Airlander 10 aircraft under a partnership with Hybrid Air Vehicles and the University of Nottingham. Collins has begun basic characterisation testing of the motor at the University of Nottingham.

For the 2,000 RPM permanent magnet electric motor, Collins is targeting specific power density levels of nine-kilowatts per kilogram and 98% efficiency through the use of a novel motor topology and composite construction. Collins is designing the motor at its Electronic Controls and Motor Systems Centre of Excellence in Solihull, UK, where it’s also developing its one-megawatt electric motor and motor controller for the Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) regional hybrid-electric flight demonstrator. The two motors are part of Collins’ technology roadmap for the development of a family of electric motors that can be scaled up or down to meet the needs of various hybrid-electric and all-electric applications across multiple aircraft segments.

Airlander 10 is scheduled to begin hybrid-electric operation in 2026, followed by all-electric, zero-emission operation in 2030. To achieve this, the aircraft’s four fuel-burning engines will be replaced by Collins’ 500-kilowatt electric motors—beginning with the two forward engines in 2026 and the two rear engines in 2030.

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Tamar Jorssen
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Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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