NASA finds ancient organic material on Mars

NASA’s Curiosity rover has found new evidence preserved in rocks on Mars that suggests the planet could have supported ancient life, as well as new evidence in the Martian atmosphere that relates to the search for current life on the Red Planet. While not necessarily evidence of life itself, these findings are a good sign for future missions exploring the planet are surface and subsurface.

The new findings – ‘tough’ organic molecules in three-billion-year-old sedimentary rocks near the surface, as well as seasonal variations in the levels of methane in the atmosphere – appear in the June 8 edition of the journal Science.


Richard Branson welcomes VSS Unity home from second supersonic flight

Richard Branson joined Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company teams recently, on the Mojave Air and Space Port flight line, to witness VSS Unity’s second successful, supersonic, rocket powered test flight.

“It was great to see our beautiful spaceship back in the air and to share the moment with the talented team who are taking us, step by step, to space” Branson said. “Seeing Unity soar upwards at supersonic speeds is inspiring and absolutely breathtaking. We are getting ever closer to realizing our goals. Congratulations to the whole team!”

The focus of today’s flight was to expand our understanding of the spaceship’s supersonic handling characteristics and control system’s performance with vehicle parameters that were closer to the ultimate commercial configuration.


SpaceX expands its footprints at Kennedy Space Center

SpaceX plans to significantly expand its footprint at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, a sign that its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets will play a key role for the company for years to come even as it develops a more powerful vehicle.

A draft environmental assessment by NASA, dated April 11 but only recently released, discusses a proposal by SpaceX to develop facilities that would include a booster processing hangar and launch control center on 67 acres of KSC property.

The facility, located just off State Road 3, the main north-south road at the center, southwest of Launch Complex (LC) 39, would support a much higher launch rate of Falcon rockets, including processing of landed booster stages and recovered payload fairings for reuse.


Africa working towards gender equality in aviation industry

Although 50% of the personnel intake in the airline industry is female, as positions become more senior, the number of women starts to fall away. Less than 5% of airlines CEOs are women and only 3-5% of pilots worldwide are women. On IATA’s 31-member board of governors this year there are only two female CEOs – María José Hidalgo Gutiérrez from Air Europa and Christine Ourmières-Widener from FlyBe – albeit double the amount from the previous year.

Some airlines are doing well in this area, with Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas noting that 40% of his direct reports are female, although he concedes there are some areas – such as engineering and pilots – where female representation is less.


Women in Aviation International, Lockheed Martin celebrate Girls in Aviation Day at Imphal Airport

Women in Aviation International, India Chapter and Lockheed Martin Corporation in association Airport Authority of India (AAI) recently celebrated Girls in Aviation Day at Imphal Airport. With the vision to encourage girls to take up STEM subjects and explore career opportunities in related industries, the initiative is aimed at showcasing opportunities in the aviation and aerospace sectors. Lockheed Martin is investing in developing the next generation of future scientists and engineers in India. This initiative also aligns with the Government of India’s Skills India initiative.

As part of the program, Women in Aviation International (India Chapter) invited 50 students from various schools for a tour of Imphal Airport.


Lufthansa Aviation Training auctions old training aircraft

Lufthansa Aviation Training auctions a former training aircraft. The Beechcraft F33 Bonanza aircraft with the registration number N1569P has been owned by the former Lufthansa Flight Training since 1988 and has flown almost 27,000 flight hours in training operations in Goodyear, USA, where it is still located today. Thanks to the excellent service provided by LAT's own maintenance department, the technical condition of the aircraft remains excellent and nothing stands in the way of further operation over many years.

The European Flight Academy (EFA), the flight school of the Lufthansa Group, is mod-ernizing its training fleet in 2018. After five new Diamond DA42 aircraft replaced the previous Piper PA-44 Seminole at the flight school location Rostock-Laage in mid-April, the fleet conversion at the EFA location Goodyear in the USA has now also been completed. 25 state-of-the-art single-engine Cirrus SR20 aircraft are now available to Lufthansa Group flight students for visual flight training.


CAE signs business aviation pilot training program with OJets

CAE recently announced at the 2018 European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) the signing of a new pilot training agreement with OJets, the new business aviation operator that recently acquired Elit’Avia. Under the 3-year agreement, pilots will be training on Bombardier Global Vision, Global Express and Challenger 605/650 across CAE’s training network in Europe, including CAE Amsterdam and CAE London Burgess Hill.

“As a new operator on the market, choosing to partner with the leader in aviation training was a natural choice,” said Nick Houseman, OJets’ CEO. “We are proud to count on CAE as we grow our operations. We are confident that our pilots will receive world-class training for the next 3 years.”

“CAE places great importance on supporting the growing training needs of aircraft operators,” said Nick Leontidis, CAE’s Group President, Civil Aviation Training Solutions.


EDIC Horizon orders Bell Helicopters for flight training

Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company announced a signature from EDIC Horizon International Flight Academy to purchase two Bell 429 aircraft. Based at Al Ain International Airport, EDIC Horizon International Flight Academy utilizes their fleet of entirely Bell aircraft to provide unparalleled flight training to a variety of international students.

“We are thrilled to add the Bell 429 to our flight training fleet,” said Hareb Thani Al Dhaheri, CEO, Horizon International Flight Academy. “Bell aircraft has been an essential part of our operations since our creation, and this purchase marks the expansion of our services. The Bell 429 will be utilized for ATP, Instrument, multi-engine and specialized mission training.”

Hareb Thani Al Dhaheri, CEO, Horizon International Flight Academy. 

“EDIC Horizon International Flight Academy sets the precedent for excellent training services in the Middle East,” said David Sale, managing sales director, MEA.


Turkish Technic, Boeing announces global fleet care supplier agreement

Boeing and Turkish Technic Inc., the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) arm of Turkish Airlines, announced signing of a Global Fleet Care supplier agreement.

Turkish Technic is now a strategic Boeing supplier for line maintenance, heavy maintenance of airplanes, component service and repair. Boeing and Turkish Technic will collaborate together in the training and certification of technicians from different parts of the world.

“We provide a broad portfolio of MRO services in 50+ International Line Maintenance locations as well as our existing base maintenance facilities in Istanbul and Ankara. In addition to the current services we provide, more will be available to our customers at our brand-new facilities, located Istanbul New Airport as of 29th October 2018. We are so glad to announce such a remarkable collaboration with Boeing today, which will significantly contribute and add value to our business in our new home base.


Vallair signs long-term financial lease with Cardig Air

Vallair, the aircraft trading, leasing and specialist MRO organization has signed a long-term Financial Lease with Indonesian Cargo Airline, Cardig Air, for a Boeing 737-400F.  After conversion in the USA, the final compliance checks for Indonesian aviation were undertaken at Vallair’s MRO facility in Montpellier, France and the aircraft then landed in Jakarta mid-May.

“The aircraft will be scheduled to connect Jakarta with flights to Saigon and Southern China (Shenzhen)” says Peter Koster, Head of Cargo Conversions Business Unit for Vallair. “There is strong potential in the South East Asian airfreight market with rapidly increasing connections to the Chinese mainland. We have supported Cardig Air in their move from operating a B737-300F to the B737-400F model with increased cargo capacity. We are confident that our on-going assistance will help to underpin their development and build a long term business partnership.”


Magnetic MRO receives Inspection Authorization rights

Magnetic MRO has strengthened its FAA repair station capabilities by becoming the one and only company in the entire Baltic States to have gained IA (Inspection Authorization) rights.

Following upon Magnetic MRO‘s strategic expansion into the aviation asset management area and global market expansion to US and Asia, the company has confidently marched towards tactical investments to solidify their planned growth. Risto Mäeots, CEO of Magnetic MRO, describes this development as “having a mobile FAA station” as their team will be able to insure possible off-site inspections from now on without outsourcing the service or manpower. 

 “Not only is this a valuable addition to our FAA service capabilities, but also a remarkable enabler for our exponentially growing asset management establishment MPTL (Magnetic Parts Trade Limited),” says Risto Mäeots, CEO of Magnetic MRO.


Raytheon Company to supply missile to US Navy

The US Navy has selected the Naval Strike Missile, offered by Raytheon Company and Kongsberg Gruppen, for over-the-horizon defense of littoral combat ships and future frigates.

Raytheon will manufacture and deliver the over-the-horizon weapon systems under a $14.8 million contract for offensive missiles loaded into launching mechanisms, and a single fire-control suite. The contract includes options, which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value to $847.6 million.

NSM is a long-range, precision missile that strikes heavily defended land and sea targets. The missile, which can reach enemy defenses up to 100 nautical miles away, uses advanced seeker and target-identification technology.


BAE Systems to develop software for DARPA to model conflicts

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is sponsoring BAE Systems to develop software that will aid military planners in understanding and addressing the complex dynamics that drive conflicts around the world. Under a $4.2 million Phase 1 contract awarded by the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the Causal Exploration of Complex Operational Environments program seeks to develop technology to model different political, territorial, and economic tensions that often lead to conflicts, helping planners to avoid unexpected outcomes.

With increasingly complicated operational environments and diverse adversaries, military planners are often hindered from rapidly and effectively achieving a holistic understanding of conflict situations due to a lack of time, expert resources, and automated tools.


Northrop Grumman, US Army deploy JTAGS capabilities in Japan

The US Army and Northrop Grumman Corporation have deployed enhanced Joint Tactical Ground Station (JTAGS) capabilities in Japan to advance battlespace awareness and missile defense.

The work is part of the pre-planned product improvement program previously awarded to Northrop Grumman to modernize JTAGS. The system was first fielded in 1997 to provide in-theater missile warning using data directly from satellite sensors.

“JTAGS is perpetually ‘on duty’ and ‘first to see, first to report’ on ballistic missile launches,” said Dan Verwiel, vice president and general manager, missile defense and protective systems, Northrop Grumman. “Our continuing collaboration with the Army has enabled even greater capabilities to protect our joint warfighters and allies.


Pentagon, Lockheed Martin deliver F-35 aircraft

The F-35 Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin delivered the 300th production F-35 aircraft, demonstrating the program's continued progress and momentum. The 300th aircraft is a US Air Force F-35A, to be delivered to Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

"The F-35 weapons system is a key enabler of our National Defense Strategy and is providing our warfighters the combat proven, advanced capabilities they need to meet mission requirements," said Vice Admiral Mat Winter, program executive officer for the F-35 Joint Program Office. "The 300th production aircraft delivery is a significant milestone that highlights the effective F-35 Enterprise collaboration across the JPO, U.S. services, partners and industry. Moving forward, our F-35 team remains committed to driving costs down, quality up and faster delivery timelines across our development, production and sustainment lines of effort."


Airbus to acquire majority stake in CSALP

Having received all required regulatory approvals, Airbus SE, Bombardier Inc., and Investissement Québec (IQ) have agreed to close the C Series transaction effective on July 1, 2018. The transaction by which Airbus will acquire a majority stake in the C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP) was initially announced in October 2017. The Mirabel-based partnership, which was originally established between Bombardier and IQ, will benefit from Airbus’ global reach, scale, procurement organization and expertise in selling, marketing and producing the C Series – a state-of-the-art jet aircraft family in the 100-150 seat market.

Airbus will work with its partners Bombardier and IQ to fully unlock the C Series’ potential and create significant new value for customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders and the communities in which the partnership operates. The partnership’s head office, primary assembly line and related functions will be based in Mirabel, Québec.