First ever ‘solid state’ plane represents breakthrough in ‘ionic wind’ technology

 The first ever ‘solid state’ plane, with no moving parts in its propulsion system, has successfully flown for a distance of 60 meters, proving that heavier-than-air flight is possible without jets or propellers.

The flight represents a breakthrough in ‘ionic wind’ technology, which uses a powerful electric field to generate charged nitrogen ions, which are then expelled from the back of the aircraft, generating thrust.

Steven Barrett, an aeronautics professor at MIT and the lead author of the study published in the journal Nature, said the inspiration for the project came straight from the science fiction of his childhood. “I was a big fan of Star Trek, and at that point I thought that the future looked like it should be planes that fly silently, with no moving parts – and maybe have a blue glow. But certainly no propellers or turbines or anything like that. So I started looking into what physics might make flight with no moving parts possible, and came across a concept known as the ionic wind, which was first investigated in the 1920s.


Inmarsat to become first customer for next generation H3 rocket

 British satellite operator Inmarsat recently announced that it would be the first commercial customer of the next-generation H3 rocket from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan.

Inmarsat has not identified a satellite for the H3 launch, which is targeted for 2022 — about two years after the rocket is slated to make its debut.

The H3 announcement marks the second launch contract Inmarsat has awarded to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI). In September 2017, Inmarsat chose the H2-A for a 2020 launch of Inmarsat-6 F1, the company’s first sixth-generation communication satellite.


InSight Mars lander celebrates success with robotic arm raise

 The InSight Mars lander apparently celebrates success with a simple, sustained arm raise. 

NASA's newest Red Planet explorer snapped a photo of its own robotic arm standing upright against a ruddy-brown sky on Nov. 30, just four days after nailing its touchdown on the equatorial Martian plain called Elysium Planitia.

That five-fingered, wax-actuated grapple is vital to the success of InSight's $850 million mission, which seeks to map the interior of Mars in unprecedented detail. The lander will use the claw to place its two main science instruments — a burrowing heat probe and a suite of seismometers — directly on the red dirt of Elysium Planitia. InSight will also put a thermal and weather shield over the seismometers, which are so sensitive that they can detect seismic waves with the amplitude of a single atom.


CAS focuses on women employees with in house training

Certified Aviation Services LLC (CAS) is proud to take part in the advancement of women in the aviation industry. According to Women in Aviation International, “During the last two decades, the number of women involved in the aviation industry has steadily increased and women can be found in nearly every aviation occupation today.” Currently, CAS has five female A&P mechanics employed at its LAX line maintenance station. In addition, CAS has two female A&P students who are working towards their A&P license.

John Blair, CAS’ LAX station manager, stated, “It is such a pleasure to watch these young women do their walk-around pre-flight inspections on some of the largest aircrafts flying today. They are driven, professional, knowledgeable and have gained on-the-job training here at CAS. I receive compliments daily from our customers on how pleased they are with their performance. I look forward to watching them grow into experienced technicians. I am proud to say these hard-working women work for CAS.”


L3 unveils scholarship program to attract women in the aviation industry

In an effort to increase the number of women airline pilots, L3 has launched a scholarship program to help pay for the cost of training. The L3 Pilot Pathways Female Scholarship program will offer 10 scholarships to women candidates applying for the company’s Integrated Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) training program.

The program is open to women in the UK and Europe and will award £25,000 or €29,000 depending on where the applicant is based. The application for the scholarship can be found here. The first three scholarships will be handed out in the first quarter of next year and the other seven throughout the remainder of 2019. L3 said it would announce additional pilot training scholarships soon.

“We are passionate about encouraging more diversity onto the flight deck,” said L3 Commercial Aviation’s president of commercial training solutions, Robin Glover-Faure. “It’s a significant issue for the industry and addressing it is crucial not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it will attract a broader range of talent, help to address the pilot shortage and deliver a future generation of well-rounded pilots.”


BAA Training and HNCA to open pilot training center in PRC

BAA Training has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Henan Civil Aviation Development and Investment Company (HNCA) announcing the start of cooperation for Henan-based Joint Venture aviation training company in People's Republic of China (PRC).

As the experts forecast the tremendous need of commercial airline pilots, BAA Training and HNCA enter a mutual agreement to contribute to the aviation community preparing the highest quality aviation professionals. According to the CAAC the country’s civil aviation industry experiences an extreme growth: the annual flying time has soared to 10.5 million hours up from 6.19 million hours over the past five years. As the Boeing and Airbus predict up to 325,000 pilots will be needed between today and 2037 in the Middle East and the Asia Pacific regions. While China’s fleet alone will more than double reaching 18% share of the world’s fleet.


EAT, Gulf Air sign contract for simulator training

Etihad Aviation Training (EAT) has signed a contract with Gulf Air to offer full flight simulator training to Gulf Air’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner pilots.

The contract strengthens the ties between Etihad Aviation Group and Gulf Air following the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two companies at the Bahrain International Airshow in November.

As part of the agreement, Gulf Air will dry lease EAT’s Full Flight Simulators at the training facility located in Abu Dhabi. Gulf Air instructors at the Etihad Training facility will conduct the training.

Paolo La Cava, Accountable Director, EAT, said, “Etihad Aviation Training is pleased to welcome Gulf Air instructors and pilots to the comprehensive training facility in Abu Dhabi. 2018 has been a strong year for the organization since its prelaunch in January as a commercially focused operation offering aviation training to a global client base.”


Bell, EDIC Horizon celebrate Bell 429s deliveries at MEBAA 2018

Bell and EDIC Horizon International Flight Academy have celebrated today the delivery of two Bell 429s during a ceremony held at the MEBAA 2018 show. Based at Al Ain International Airport Zone, EDIC Horizon International Flight Academy provides state-of-the-art flight training to future pilots with its exclusive Bell fleet comprising of Bell 206s, Bell 407s and will utilize its new Bell 429s for ATP, instrument, multi-engine and specialized mission training.

“We are excited to add Bell 429s to our flight training fleet,” said Hareb Thani Al Dhaheri, CEO, EDIC Horizon International Flight Academy. “Bell helicopters have been an essential part of our training operations since our inception and the new aircraft will enable us to further expand our training offering.”


ST Engineering to arm divests shares in pilot training business

Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd (ST Engineering) recently announced the divestment of its pilot training business in the USA through the sale of all of its shares in Aviation Academy of America, Inc. (AAA) and VT Aviation Services, Inc. (VTAS) to Vaayu Aerospace, Inc.  The share sale is completed today at a cash consideration of $1.5m on a cash-free and debt-free basis, which was arrived at after taking into account the current market conditions and financial positions of AAA and VTAS.

With this divestment, which does not impact the Group’s pilot training business in Singapore and Australia, AAA and VTAS cease to be subsidiaries of ST Engineering.

This divestment is not expected to have any material impact on the consolidated net tangible assets per share and earnings per share of ST Engineering for the current financial year. 


AerSale acquires Avborne for MRO facilities

AerSale®, a global supplier of mid-life aircraft, engines, used serviceable material, and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services, announced that it has acquired aircraft component repair specialist Avborne. Avborne is a certified Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) 145 repair station in Miami, Florida, and a recognized leader in providing highly technical and specialized repair services covering a broad range of commercial and military aircraft systems, including hydraulic, pneumatic, electronic and landing gear components. Avborne’s formidable in-house engineering development team is continuously introducing innovative cost-saving repair and overhaul regimes as one of the few component MROs operating today under the authority of an FAA Open Class Rating. This licensing allows Avborne to initiate its own FAA repair validation packages for expedited introduction of new repair and overhaul capabilities well in advance of traditional MRO participants. In conjunction with AerSale’s existing MRO facilities, the acquisition of Avborne will enable AerSale to provide complete MRO services across numerous aircraft platforms, from the component level through aircraft heavy maintenance.


Enter Air entrusts Magnetic MRO with 19 Boeing 737NG PBH support

Magnetic MRO, a provider of Total Technical Care, and Enter Air, Poland’s largest and Eastern Europe’s second largest charter carrier, have signed a three-year contract for PBH support for the airline's 19 Boeing 737-800s.

The recently signed agreement includes scheduled and 24/7 ad-hoc supply of components, component repair management, loan, exchange and warranty support services for the carrier’s Boeing 737 NG fleet at Warsaw Chopin, Katowice-Pyrzowice and at its other main airports.

“As a charter airline, Enter Air is nothing but a demanding customer to any PBH provider. What has brought Magnetic MRO into the arena is the fusion of our growing asset management expertise combined with extensive component maintenance capabilities by our new shareholder Guangzhou Hangxin Aviation Technology (Hangxin),” shares Inga Duglas, Commercial Director at Magnetic MRO.

“Being one of the largest charter airlines in the region, we need efficient component supply in order to ensure the fleet’s smooth performance. However, launching and maintaining an extended stock of non-critical components requires substantial investments and an additional team to run it. Luckily, together with Magnetic MRO and their PBH program, we will be able to keep our component supply, repair and overhaul costs optimized while maintaining high fleet performance and timely AOG support,” says Mariusz Olechno, Chief Technical Officer at Enter Air.


Airbus unveils its new A330MRTT full flight simulator at Seville

Airbus has unveiled the new full flight and mission simulator (FFS) of the Airbus A330 MRTT Multirole Tanker Transport aircraft at its International Training Centre (ITC) in Seville. The simulator, developed by Airbus together with the Spanish company Indra, joins the A400M, C295 and CN235 programs, reaffirming the capabilities of the Airbus ITC in Seville as a reference center for training crews for all military transport programs of the Airbus portfolio.

With 60 firm orders by 12 nations and 33 aircraft delivered, the Airbus A330 MRTT is today’s only new generation tanker/transport flying, certified and battle-proven.



KC-46 tanker program completes Phase II receiver certification testing

Boeing’s KC-46 tanker program has completed its planned Phase II receiver certification flight-testing following three weeks of flights with F-15E aircraft out of Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

Boeing and US Air Force KC-46 crews kicked off receiver certification testing with F-16 aircraft in April 2018. Since then the joint team also completed testing with KC-135, C-17, A-10, KC-46, B-52 and F/A-18 aircraft.

“This accomplishment is a tribute to the Boeing/US Air Force team and helps set the stage for the start of Initial Operational Test & Evaluation testing next year,” said Mike Gibbons, Boeing KC-46A tanker vice president and program manager. “We are seeing great progress in both test and production and expect the positive momentum to continue as we begin delivering aircraft.”

During the certification flight tests, KC-46 and receiver aircraft flew at different airspeeds, altitudes and configurations to ensure compatibility and performance throughout the refueling envelope of each receiver. Now, the Air Force and the Aerial Refueling Certification Agency will review all test data and paperwork before ultimately “certifying” each aircraft.

"The Air Force crews were with us every step of the way during this critical testing,” said Jake Kwasnik, KC-46 test program manager. “It was awesome to see everyone working together as we conducted flights out of Boeing Field and also at Edwards and Minot Air Force bases.”

Six test aircraft have now completed more than 3,700 flight hours and supplied more than four million pounds of fuel in flight to receiver aircraft.

Phase III receiver certification testing will be conducted by the Air Force at Edwards Air Force Base in 2019. That testing will include additional receiver aircraft.

The KC-46, derived from Boeing’s commercial 767 airframe, is built in the company’s Everett, Wash., facility. Boeing is currently on contract for the first 52 of an expected 179 tankers for the US Air Force.

The KC-46A is a multirole tanker that can refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients.


Japan to raise military spending in response to security challenges

Japan's military looks to raise spending over the next five years in response to security challenges and to narrow Japan's trade surplus with the United States by buying US equipment, the Nikkei business daily reported. 

The Ministry of Defense looks to spend at least 27 trillion yen ($240 billion) between April 2019 and March 2024, with the spending rising an average 1.1 percent per year, exceeding the 0.8 percent average during the five years ending next March, the report said without identifying sources.

Currently, payments on equipment and personnel expenses account for 80 percent of defense spending, Nikkei said. Under the plan, funds for new equipment purchases will be separated from these expenses, making it easier to buy equipment from the United States, it added. 

Japan aims to have cabinet approval for the spending in mid-December, it said. The Ministry of Defense could not be reached immediately for comment. 

Purchases of American-made equipment could help Tokyo ease trade friction with Washington as US President Donald Trump pushes Japan to buy more American goods, including military gear, while threatening to impose tariffs on Japanese auto imports to cut a trade deficit with Tokyo. 

Japan's Ministry of Defense in August sought record spending of 5.3 trillion yen next year to help pay for major upgrades to defenses designed to shoot down any North Korean ballistic missile, which that Tokyo sees as a continued threat despite Pyongyang's promise to abandon nuclear weapons. 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been reinforcing Japan's military to respond to any North Korea missile strike and counter China's growing air and sea power in the waters around Japan. 

Japan remains wary of North Korean promises to abandon its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. The Ministry of Defense said in a white paper published in August Pyongyang remained Japan's ‘most serious and pressing threat’. 


Lockheed Martin, Airbus sign agreement for aerial refueling

Lockheed Martin and Airbus have signed an agreement to jointly explore opportunities to meet the growing demand for aerial refueling for US defense customers.

The companies will seek to provide aerial-refueling services to address any identified capacity shortfall and to meet requirements for the next generation of tankers capable of operating in the challenging environments of future battlespace.

"Reliable and modernized aerial refueling is an essential capability for our customers to maintain their global reach and strategic advantage," said Lockheed Martin Chairman, President and CEO Marillyn Hewson. "By combining the innovation and expertise of Airbus and Lockheed Martin, we will be well-positioned to provide the United States Air Force with the advanced refueling solutions needed to meet 21st century security challenges."


Avolon firms up single largest order for A320 and A321neos

Aircraft lessor Avolon has firmed up an order for 75 A320neos and 25 A321neos. The agreement is the single largest order for Airbus aircraft ever placed by Avolon.

The agreement takes Avolon’s cumulative orders with Airbus to 284 aircraft (240 single-aisles and 44 widebody aircraft) including the A321neo, the A330neo and the A350 XWB.

Dómhnal Slattery, Avolon CEO, commented, “Our order for 100 A320neo family aircraft builds on our leading industry position and reflects our ambition to become the global leader in the sector. We continue to see robust demand from our customers for the A320neo family globally. This is consistent with our own market research and global fleet forecast. This order affirms our belief in the medium-term market outlook and the strong growth prospects for our business.”


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