Frederick W. Smith FedEx Executive Leadership: Chairman and CEO

 Frederick W. Smith is chairman and CEO of FedEx Corp., a $65 billion global transportation, business services, and logistics company.

Smith is responsible for providing strategic direction for all FedEx Corp. and its operating companies, including FedEx Services, FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, and FedEx Freight. Since founding FedEx in 1971, he has been an active proponent of regulatory reform, free trade, and ‘open skies agreements’ for aviation around the world. Most recently, he has advocated for vehicle energy-efficiency standards and a national energy policy.

Smith is co-chairman of the Energy Security Leadership Council, a trustee for the United States Council for International Business, and a member of the Business Roundtable. He served as chairman of the US-China Business Council and is co-chairman of the French-American Business Council. He has also served on the boards of several large public companies and on the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Mayo Foundation boards. He was formerly chairman of the board of governors for the International Air Transport Association and the US Air Transport Association.

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OneWeb founder self-funds project to develop antenna for user terminals costing $15

 OneWeb founder Greg Wyler says a self-funded side project of his has developed an antenna module costing $15, paving the way for user terminals priced between $200 and $300.

Wyler, in an interview, said he invested just under $10 million into Wafer LLC, a Danvers, Massachusetts-based company that has created a prototype antenna. After three to four years of effort and more than 500 iterations, the antenna could be commercially available as soon as 2020, he said.

Wyler said Wafer has focused on industrialization of its antenna technology, with an eye towards manufacturability ‘at consumer electronics scale.’

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Pursuit Aviation takes aerial videography to a new level with JETCAM

 Pursuit Aviation, a leading aerial cinematography company has taken the possibilities of aerial videography to a new level with JETCAM. The company is the first to mount a SHOTOVER camera system on an aerobatic jet aircraft to capture stabilized images filmed at speeds of more than 400 MPH. This breakthrough technology can be seen in the first commercial use of JETCAM for the 2018 feature film ‘First Man’.

Previously, JETCAM was used during Pursuit Aviation’s filming of the World Speed Record of 531.27 MPH set by Steve Hinton in 2017. Great Big Story owned by CNN Worldwide, has released a documentary about the world speed record attempt featuring extensive footage filmed by Pursuit Aviation.

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SpaceX’s giant Falcon Heavy rocket to launch soon

 SpaceX's giant Falcon Heavy rocket could take to the skies five weeks from now, if everything goes according to plan.

The California-based company is targeting March for the Falcon Heavy's second-ever launch, Ars Technica reported, citing permit applications that SpaceX filed this week with the Federal Communications Commission. This schedule is far from firm, however; March is a ‘no earlier than’ date, which means the liftoff could easily get pushed to the right.

The launch will take place from the historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, which also served as the jumping-off point for Apollo moon missions and space shuttle flights. [See the Evolution of SpaceX's Rockets in Pictures]

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Telesat signs multi-launch agreement with Blue Origin for LEO missions

 Canadian fleet operator Telesat has agreed to launch satellites for its future low-Earth-orbit broadband constellation on multiple New Glenn missions, Blue Origin.

The agreement, for an unspecified number of launches and satellites, makes Telesat the fifth customer to sign up to use the reusable launcher, which is slated for a maiden flight in 2021.

“Blue Origin’s powerful New Glenn rocket is a disruptive force in the launch services market which, in turn, will help Telesat disrupt the economics and performance of global broadband connectivity,” Telesat CEO Dan Goldberg said in a news release.

Blue Origin already has eight other New Glenn missions in backlog: one each for Paris-based Eutelsat, Sky Perfect JSAT of Japan and Thai startup Mu Space, plus five launches for low-Earth-orbit megaconstellation company OneWeb.

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UK-based training provider launches its L3 Pilot Pathways Female Scholarship initiative

 L3 Commercial Aviation says it has been overwhelmed with applications for 10 female-only scholarships on its airline transport pilot license (ATPL) training program, just weeks after launch.

The Crawley, UK-based training provider announced its L3 Pilot Pathways Female Scholarship initiative on 3 December with a campaign mostly on social media and had received 850 expressions of interest by mid-January, says Robin Glover-Faure, president of commercial training solutions.

The company says the program is designed to ‘address the problem of diversity on the flightdeck’ with women thought to make up fewer than one in 10 trainee flightcrew, and only around 6% of pilots flying for airlines today.

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AAR points to prospects in hiring more women in aviation

 As the industry concerns grow over the labor shortage, MRO AAR has released a new report that explores opportunities to build the pool of aviation maintenance workers. The report, ‘EAGLE Pathways: Bridging the Middle-Skills Gap to Careers in Aviation,’ looks at means to bring in new workers and track progress through public-private partnerships, targeted recruitment, and career paths that provide for advancement.

It points to areas of potential recruitment, including the estimated 6.5 million discouraged or underemployed American workers, military veterans, and historically underrepresented workers such as women, African Americans, and Latinos. Prospects also include students who prefer a less expensive two-year degree or industry skills certifications to a more costly a four-year degree.

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IndiGo chooses Skyborne for cadet pilot training

 IndiGo has recently chosen UK pilot training company Skyborne Airline Academy to train up to 100 pilots a year over the next five years, as part of the IndiGo Cadet Pilot Program.

The 18-month program will enable selected cadets to train for a US FAA and Indian DGCA Commercial Pilots License and Airbus A320 Type Rating, before advancing into employment as a First Officer with IndiGo.

“Our partnership with Skyborne will provide us with a steady flow of highly-skilled, internationally trained airline pilots over the next five years,” said Captain Ashim Mittra of IndiGo.

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CAE launches support and scholarship program for technicians working on its flight simulators

 CAE announced recently the launch of the CAE Tech: Program your career!  support and scholarship program, thus showing its commitment to work-integrated learning.

This program aims to encourage future technicians of varying backgrounds to begin their careers with CAE. Students who are passionate about IT, software development, digital technologies, systems integration, and avionics are invited to register in order to kick their career into high gear.

To launch the program, CAE worked with the following Quebec-based CEGEPs: André-Laurendeau, Bois-de-Boulogne, Édouard-Montpetit and its affiliated École nationale d’aérotechnique (ÉNA), John-Abbott and Montmorency, in collaboration with their respective foundation.

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Thailand partners with foreign aviation companies to boost its MRO capabilities

 Thailand’s Ministry of Transport is pursuing collaboration with four foreign partners—Airbus, Triumph Aviation Services Asia, Triumph Structures (Thailand), and Senior Aerospace (Thailand) in a bid to boost its aviation maintenance workforce and expand its MRO capabilities to cater to Asia’s aircraft boom. The aerospace companies will launch four training courses in the areas of aircraft maintenance, aviation structural mechanics, ground equipment maintenance, and aviation communications, with a goal to produce 350 technicians annually by 2021. Thailand’s training capacity remains limited; it produces only some 180 aviation technicians yearly.

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Magnetic MRO enters Chinese market, unveiling MAC Sichuan

 MAC Aero Interiors, a commercial aircraft cabin interiors arm of a global provider of Total Technical Care for aircraft operators and lessors, Magnetic MRO, enters the Chinese aircraft cabin interiors market by establishing a Joint Venture with Benniao Aviation. The newly launched MAC Sichuan will be providing cabin total technical care support to Chinese aircraft owners and operators.

“China is the fastest growing MRO market in the world and, among other, one of main growth contributors in the global cabin interiors industry which is expected to reach almost $39bn in several years. However, most of local MRO companies, including the large ones, still focus on heavy maintenance. As a result, such segments as cabin refurbishment do not develop at their full potential, they are being left rather under-developed in terms of efficiency, personnel training and application of new technologies. Thus, the existing Chinese cabin interiors market lacks experienced engineers and one-stop-shop solutions, which, in turn, lead to, limited competition and high cabin maintenance costs for local airlines.1q We are here to change it,” comments Petras Akstinas, the Managing Director of MAC Aero Interiors.

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Lufthansa Technik starts engine services in Tulsa

 Lufthansa Technik opened its new engine maintenance hangar in Tulsa recently to service the two biggest commercial engine fleetsthe CFM56 and V2500. The company previously used the hangar for Bizjet’s business aviation and VIP completions but converted it to focus on mobile engine services, says Clemens Geercken, Lufthansa Technik head of product sales for engine services, Americas.

The facility is starting with six engine bays, which are initially dedicated to International Aero Engines V2500, but Geercken says it will start offering CFM56-5B services later this year and add three more bays by yearend. The facility has space to expand up to 28 bays, if customer demand warrants it.

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MRO aftermarket Set for 7% Growth in 2019

 After a year that approached double-digit growth, the commercial aftermarket will return to more ‘normal’ expansion in 2019 as retirements increase demand decreases slightly, Canaccord Genuity analyst Ken Herbert projects.

Feedback from Canaccord's latest quarterly survey of MRO providers suggests that 2019 will see the market rise 7%, Herbert shared in a research note.

"We believe the more unusual items (new aircraft delays, lack of [used serviceable material, or USM], better pricing and strong spare parts sales) in 2018 have added [about] 5% to the annual growth," Herbert said. "For 2019 we currently expect a more normal year, but do not yet see any factors that would drive this growth down below normal levels."

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General Electric wins $517m contract to build engines for ITEP helicopters

 General Electric Aviation beat the Advanced Turbine Engine Company — a Honeywell and Pratt & Whitney team — to win the $517 million award for the engineering, manufacturing and development phase of the Improved Turbine Engine Program, or ITEP.

“We are honored to be chosen by the Army to continue powering their Black Hawks and Apaches for decades to come,” said Tony Mathis, president and CEO of GE Aviation’s military business. “We’ve invested the resources and infrastructure to execute immediately, and our team is ready to get to work on delivering the improved capabilities of the T901 to the warfighter.”

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Boeing awarded $2.4b P-8A Poseidon contract by US Navy

 The US Navy has awarded Boeing a $2.4 billion production contract for the next 19 P-8A Poseidon aircraft. The contract includes 10 aircraft to add to the current inventory of P-8As in the U.S. Navy fleet, all five jets currently under contract for Norway and the four aircraft remaining for the existing United Kingdom contract, bringing the total United Kingdom acquisition to nine aircraft.

The United Kingdom and Norway are acquiring the Boeing aircraft through the Foreign Military Sales process and will receive a variant designed and produced for the U.S. Navy called the P-8A Poseidon. The United Kingdom will receive their first aircraft in 2019 and Norway will begin receiving aircraft in 2021.

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Ivory Coast signs firm order for C295 transport aircraft

 The Ministry of Defense of Ivory Coast has signed a firm order for one C295 medium transport aircraft.

The aircraft, in transport configuration, will enhance the capabilities of the Ivory Coast Air Force with its proven record of excellent performance in hot and harsh conditions, and affordable maintenance and operational costs.

Bernhard Brenner, Airbus Defense and Space Head of Marketing & Sales, said, “The C295 has proven its outstanding capabilities in the exceptionally harsh sub-Saharan Africa operating environment. The aircraft will be a game changer for Ivory Coast and we feel very proud to welcome a new operator into our C295 family.”

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