Second Beechcraft Denali Completes First Flight, Expanding Flight Test Program to Two Aircraft

Textron Aviation today announced the successful first flight of its second Beechcraft Denali flight test article as momentum builds for the clean-sheet aircraft’s certification program. The milestone flight follows the Denali prototype, which completed its first flight in November 2021. The Beechcraft Denali is designed and manufactured by Textron Aviation Inc.

The second test aircraft joins the first Denali prototype in the important flight test program that substantiates the segment-leading performance expected of the Denali. The aircraft’s flight lasted two hours and one minute, reaching a max altitude of 15,500 feet with a max speed of 240 ktas. To date, the program has accumulated more than 250 flight hours.

“This flight is another vitally important step for the Beechcraft Denali program as the aircraft will be used primarily for testing aircraft systems like avionics, cabin environmental control and ice protection,” said Chris Hearne, senior vice president, Engineering & Programs. “The team has made great progress, accomplishing key goals in the flight test program, and the Denali team heads into the second half of 2022 with a great deal of momentum.”

The Denali flight test certification program is expected to eventually include a third flight test article and three full airframe ground test articles as it expands operational goals focusing on testing aircraft systems, engine, avionics and overall performance.

Evolution Measurement Signs Exclusive USA Channel Partner Agreement with CCX Technologies

Instrumentation manufacturer and sales channel, Evolution Measurement has strengthened their partner relationship with Canadian manufacturer, CCX Technologies with an exclusive agreement for North America.

The new agreement appoints Evolution Measurement as US Channel Partner for CCX Technologies in the USA on an exclusive basis to cover the Business Aviation, General Aviation and Helicopter segments.

“It has only been six months since we signed as Channel Partner for Europe and now, we have the honor of representing this outstanding manufacturer in key sectors for the USA,” said Paul Crowhurst, founder and managing director, Evolution Measurement. “CCX Technologies have a firm commitment to develop technology which supports efficiency whilst protecting the safety of aircraft and its personnel. We’ve seen a very positive response from our existing customers to the T-RX Avionics Tester and it’s also attracting many new customers too.”

Crowhurst continued, “This combined with the capabilities of our vastly experienced Business Development Manager, Russ Smith means that we are well placed to drive and support the expansion of CCX’s growth in this key market.”

“Since its introduction in 2019, the T-RX has become a leading testing device for the industry. To continue supporting the demand in North America, CCX Technologies is pleased to partner with Evolution Measurement to ensure the T-RX market position is maintained. Our partnership will continue to deliver innovation of the T-RX to valued customers” said Chris Bartlett, president of CCX Technologies. “The team is supporting our goal to make the T-RX tester as widely available as possible; this agreement will allow more maintainers across North America to streamline their testing regime by incorporating our intuitive T-RX.”

Many aircraft maintainers and technicians already use the T-RX to evaluate most avionics radio systems with more than 100 different tests. Easy to use, rugged and portable, the T-RX replaces the functionality of legacy avionics testers with a single, compact unit that is simple to upgrade even as new test requirements and standards emerge. It streamlines testing and allows maintainers to print test reports and incorporate them into customer work orders, saving time, the company says.

Orbital Sidekick to Monitor Pipeline Assets for Energy Transfre Using Satellite Technology

Orbital Sidekick (OSK) has been selected by Dallas-based Energy Transfer to monitor its assets in the Permian Basin through satellite technology. Energy Transfer is one of the largest energy infrastructure companies in North America with more than 120,000 miles of pipeline and related assets crossing 41 states. OSK is the first company to commercially deploy hyperspectral sensors in space.

Energy Transfer selected OSK to monitor its Permian Basin assets as part of its Partnership-wide pipeline integrity programs designed to ensure the continued safety of its pipelines. The use of OSK’s satellite technology allows Energy Transfer to go above and beyond the minimum regulatory requirements in monitoring the integrity of its pipelines, something Energy Transfer has done for decades. OSK’s satellite technology enables earlier detection and prevention of leaks along pipeline rights of way, using hyperspectral data analysis to drive broad improvements in community safety, environmental performance, and overall operating efficiency. 

“Energy Transfer’s selection of Orbital Sidekick is a testament to our asset monitoring solution addressing a real and emerging market need,” Daniel Katz, CEO & Co-Founder of OSK, said. “Operators at Energy Transfer are able to assess the integrity of its pipelines daily, for a reasonable price point and in a more sustainable fashion.”  Further, Peter Weaver, OSK’s Vice President of Business Development, said “Energy Transfer is an ideal partner to stretch our capabilities to meet the next level of industry demands.”

Upon deployment of OSK’s GHOSt constellation, beginning late 2022 / early 2023, OSK will offer frequent monitoring of pipeline assets to the global oil and gas industry through its SIGMA Platform. OSK’s technology will help the industry meet its compliance & regulatory obligations as well as help transition towards more sustainable operations.

Joby Acquires Avionyx, Established Aerospace Software Engineering Firm, to Support FAA Certification Testing

Jobyhas acquired Avionyx, an established aerospace software engineering firm, to support its aircraft type certification program with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 

Based in San Jose, Costa Rica, Avionyx has been a respected provider of software development and verification solutions to the aerospace community for more than 30 years. The acquisition allows Joby to scale resources rapidly to support the Company’s certification activities through the integration of an experienced team with a proven track record. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Software verification is a critical element of commercial aerospace certification programs, requiring engineers to review, analyze, and test the software deployed across the aircraft according to FAA regulations and standards. Avionyx has extensive experience performing software verification services to both FAA and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) standards.

Joby first awarded Avionyx a contract in 2021 to assist with software testing and verification activities for the Company’s electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, which has numerous systems onboard that require extensive review, analysis, and testing pursuant to FAA regulations for flight software.

“Acquiring Avionyx puts us in excellent position to meet the regulatory requirements necessary for us to bring the Joby aircraft to market,” said Tom Ferrell, Development Assurance Lead at Joby. “Having worked alongside Avionyx for the last year, I’m continuously impressed by the wealth of experience they bring to our software verification activities.”

This transaction demonstrates Joby’s continuing progress on software verification activities, following the recent completion of the Company’s first Compliance Review with FAA representatives at the end of last year. These reviews evaluated Joby’s approach to the development and verification of aerospace-grade software and airborne electronic hardware.

Using its Vehicle Software Integration Lab (VSIL) at Joby’s facility in Marina, CA, the Company will leverage flight simulation and hardware emulation capabilities to rapidly conduct thousands of pre-programmed tests necessary to validate and verify the performance of various aircraft software systems. A similar facility will be set up in San Jose, Costa Rica, to accelerate software verification efforts.

“For more than 30 years, Avionyx has been privileged to work closely with a number of aerospace companies to bring innovative aircraft to market with increasingly vital software systems,” said Larry Allgood, CEO of Avionyx. “Joby’s aircraft is one of the most transformative projects that I have seen during my career, and our team is excited to play a part in making it a reality.”

Joby’s piloted five-seat eVTOL aircraft can carry four passengers at speeds of up to 200 mph, with a maximum range of 150 miles on a single charge. With more than 10 years of development and over a thousand flight tests completed, Joby is targeting the launch of its aerial ridesharing service in 2024.

In addition to supporting Joby’s FAA certification program, Avionyx, an AS-9100D-certified supplier, will continue its work in support of the broader aviation community.

Panasonic and 8Tree Expand Partnership

Panasonic Avionics and 8tree announced an expansion of their relationship and availability of the dentCHECK dent-mapping and reporting service. The expanded service will now include support for Large Area Dent Mapping at customer locations.  This builds on the existing Ad Hoc dent-mapping services offered at Panasonic Technical Service (PTS) regional line stations at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and London Heathrow (LHR) area airports.

The introduction of large area dent mapping service is particularly suited to hail damage scenarios and follows a series of very successful service jobs completed by Panasonic Avionics and 8tree. In the aftermath of an extreme hail event in Roswell, New Mexico late last year, several severely damaged wide-body aircraft – as many as a thousand dents each – were inspected using dentCHECK’s large area panoramic mapping feature.  A comprehensive itemized digital report, containing key damage metrics, were completed in days, as opposed to the months it would have taken with traditional manual methods.

This service offering will allow Panasonic Avionics customers yet another convenient, accurate, and efficient way to protect their commercial aircraft investment, avoiding unnecessary costs and time delays.  Further, the service will complement PTS’s existing line of best-in-class products and services, continuing its history of being a premier MRO service solution provider.     

“We are pleased to announce the expansion of our relationship with 8tree,” said Sean Gavin, SVP of Panasonic Technical Services. “Using the 8tree scanning technologies allows us to deliver highly accurate information much more quickly than previously possible using traditional methods. This allows our passenger and cargo airline customers to make very timely, data-driven, operational decisions. Our global network, combined with 8treetechnology creates a high-value, cost-effective service for dent mapping and aircraft safety solutions.” 

“After the incredible results in Roswell last year, expanding the scope of our dentCHECK service relationship with Panasonic Avionics was a natural choice”, said Arun Chhabra, CEO of 8tree. “Operators will benefit from the faster, more efficient mapping of catastrophic hail damage, allowing them to make more informed decisions about aircraft serviceability and return to service, while alongside building more robust aircraft records. Working with the Panasonic Avionics team to deliver this large area mapping service, we look forward to seeing operators return their aircraft to service faster and with greater confidence.”

AMADA WELD TECH Announces MM-410A Handheld Resistance Weld Checker

AMADA WELD TECH released the new MM-410A handheld resistance weld checker, for both monitoring and troubleshooting issues in production. The compact unit supports a wide range of resistance welding technologies, including AC, DC inverter, AC inverter, transistor, and capacitive discharge. Featuring a simple and intuitive user interface and color touch panel display, the MM-410A provides information on current, voltage, weld time, and force.

The MM-410A is ideal for use in process troubleshooting, where it can be used to correlate waveform and numeric data with process results and provide detailed weld data for process optimization and validation. If used continuously in a production environment, it reduces scrap by detecting drifts in the weld process and alerting operators before process failure. The MM-410A also reduces the frequency of destructive testing and provides an independent way of monitoring the welding power supply by detecting any drifts in welding power supply calibration.

The unit provides ISO17657-compliant measurement for current (when used with available ISO-compliant toroidal coil). It offers easy set up using the 5.7-inch color touch panel. The unique seam welding mode monitors AC current and voltage or DC voltage for up to 5 minutes. Data storage is available using an onboard flash drive. The MM-410A offers Ethernet (TCP/IP), and RS-232/485 communication. Multi-language support includes English, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, German, and French.

Available accessories for the MM-410A handheld resistance weld tester include toroidal coils, force sensors, and current/force sensors.

MTI Instruments’ WiFi-Enabled 1520 Portable Signal Simulator/Calibrator Brings Enhanced Functionality, Laboratory-Grade Accuracy Directly to Flightline and Test-Cell

MTI Instruments has introduced the 1520 Signal Simulator and Calibrator offering WiFi connectivity, ergonomic and visualization features, and up to 10 hours of battery life. Designed to support MTI Instruments’ proven jet engine vibration measurement and balancing systems, the portable signal simulator brings laboratory-grade accuracy directly onto the flightline and to the test-cell. The unit features a rugged, two-handed controller for glove-friendly operation and a color touchscreen for viewing high-precision graphical waveforms. Unlike other simulators/calibrators, the 1520 needs just one technician to set up signal simulations at a location and then, via wireless login, conduct the test while observing and adjusting values at another.

The 1520 adds functionality and versatility to MTI Instruments’ existing, well-respected handheld 1510A Signal Simulator. The key features of the new 1520 Signal Simulator and Calibrator include

 WiFi Capability – Wireless login and control of full functionality enables fast and easy testing of hard-to-reach sensors and devices at the flightline and test-cell
 Portable, Rugged – Ergonomic design includes glove-friendly buttons as well as a color touchscreen
 High-Precision Waveforms – Custom, sine, square, triangle, pulse, tachometer and sawtooth waveforms from 0.1Hz to 100kHz n 0.1 Hz increments
 Long Battery Life – Operates up to 10 hours on a single charge
 Bridge Circuit Simulation – Easy to command microvolts to simulate strain gauges
 Standards Compliant – Comes with NIST-traceable calibration certificate
 Cost Effective – Delivers high-precision laboratory-grade functionality at a competitive price

“Our new 1520 has upgraded features that jet maintenance technicians have been waiting for in a portable signal simulator and calibrator: Wireless capability and ergonomic design that can be used with gloves, excellent waveform visualization – and up to 10 hours of battery life,” said Moshe Binyamin, President and CEO of MTI Instruments. “Thanks to the unit’s WiFi feature, many routine flightline sensor test procedures can be performed by a single technician. MTI Instruments makes it easy for technicians to bring laboratory-grade test equipment onto the flightline and into the field where maintenance and testing is taking place.”

The 1520 will be on display at the 2022 NBAA Maintenance Conference, Booth 639, May 3-6, in San Antonio, Texas. The 1520 signal simulator is ideal for use with MTI Instruments’ jet engine test equipment, including the recently introduced PBS eXpress portable engine balancing system geared to the business and regional jet market.

MTI Instruments Introduces Portable Engine Balancing System for Business and Regional Jets

Albany, NY—April 26, 2022—MTI Instruments, a U.S.-based manufacturer of advanced test and measurement equipment, introduces the PBS eXpress aircraft engine vibration analysis and balancing system. The PBS eXpress is designed to optimize small-frame turbofan and turboprop engines, commonly utilized in regional jet, business jet and general aviation. The PBS eXpress runs advanced algorithms to record vibration and speed and generate a one-shot balancing solution. The portable system features intuitive setup and operation as well as powerful visualization tools like vibration surveys, exportable data and PDF reporting. Supported propulsion systems include the most popular small-frame engines and APUs from major OEMs such as Honeywell, Rolls-Royce, PWC and Williams.
The PBS eXpress utilizes the same “DNA technology” as the company’s
PBS-4100+ family – the most respected turbo-fan engine vibration and balancing solution on the market today – to deliver this compact, feature-rich system.

Market-leading features of the PBS eXpress include:
– Modern Interface – Color touchscreen operates the entire Windows-based user interface
– Extreme Simplicity – The Trim Balance Wizard streamlines the dialog process with simple-to-follow steps
– Advanced Functionality – Rapidly calculates optimized engine balancing solutions accounting for existing weights on the engine and generates detailed “before and after” PDF reports
– Convenience – Lightweight and portable system operates 6-plus hours between charges
– Ease of Migration – Connects directly to existing cables and sensors
Competitive Pricing – An introductory offer is 20% – 30% less than competitive options

“The PBS eXpress offers many of the advanced features found on more sophisticated engine balancing systems – but at a price point and form factor that is optimal for MRO organizations and operators who maintain and fly small-to-mid-sized corporate and regional jets,” said Moshe Binyamin, president and CEO of MTI Instruments. “The PBS eXpress’s intuitive user interface enables first-time users to perform vibration analysis and engine rotor balancing, with minimal training.”

The PBS eXpress was on display at MRO Americas 2022, last week. In addition, MTI presented its next-generation 1520 precision signal simulator as supporting equipment for the PBS eXpress. With proven accuracy, Wi-Fi connectivity and rugged construction, the portable 1520 allows technicians to bring a laboratory-grade precision function generator directly to the flightline.

GE Begins First Adaptive Cycle Engine Tests at Arnold Engineering Development Complex

The U.S. Air Force and GE initiated Phase 2 testing of GE’s second XA100 adaptive cycle engine at the Air Force’s Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC) in March. This milestone marks the first test of an Adaptive Engine Transition Program (AETP) engine at AEDC.

“AEDC’s advanced testing facilities are a unique national asset. We’re thrilled to begin testing here and continue maturing this propulsion system that we believe represents the future of the F-35,” said David Tweedie, GE Edison Works’ general manager for Advanced Combat Engines. “Our testing to date has validated the XA100’s transformational capability, and we’re looking forward to seeing the performance data from Phase 2 testing.”

GE completed Phase 1 testing of this XA100 test engine in November 2021 in Evendale, Ohio. Phase 2 testing will take place entirely at AEDC, representing the capstone of AETP and signaling readiness to transition this technology into full-scale development.

GE’s XA100 became the world’s first ever flight-weight, three-stream adaptive cycle engine in December 2020 before initiating tests on its second engine in August 2021. GE’s engine is uniquely designed to fit both the F-35A and F-35C without any structural modifications to either airframe, enabling better aircraft range, acceleration, and cooling power to accommodate next-generation mission systems, while also ensuring durability and enhanced readiness.

“The XA100 simultaneously provides transformational improvements in fuel efficiency, thrust, power, and thermal management that simply cannot be matched by legacy propulsion systems,” Tweedie added. “These improvements will help ensure the F-35 remains a preeminent fighter platform not just in the near-term, but for decades into the future, and will enable lower operational and sustainment costs for the services.”

Virgin Galactic Appoints Latimer Director of Flight Test

Virgin Galactic Appoints Latimer Director of Flight Test

Virgin Galactic announced that veteran pilot and retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Kelly Latimer has been promoted to director of flight test. Latimer joined Virgin Galactic in 2015. She currently serves as a pilot for the mothership, VMS Eve, and was pilot in command for the Unity 21 mission and second in command for the historic Unity 22 mission. She will continue to serve as a Virgin Galactic pilot and will fly the company’s spaceships on future test and commercial missions.

In her new role, Latimer will oversee the entirety of the company’s flight test program including design, planning, execution, and post-flight analysis. This includes leading the flight test engineering team and managing mission control engineers who gather and analyze flight data to validate the safety and performance of the spaceflight system. Latimer will supervise the completion of the flight test program for Virgin Galactic’s current fleet, which is scheduled to resume later this year, and will work in parallel on the development of the company’s new motherships and Delta class spaceships.

“The role of Director of Flight Test is essential to our mission,” said Mike Moses, president, space missions and safety at Virgin Galactic. “We are on the precipice of delivering commercial space travel at scale, and the safe, efficient, and timely execution of our flight test programs will be a key part of our success. I have had the privilege of working alongside Kelly since she joined us more than six years ago. She is not only a world-class pilot but has the experience and leadership skills to grow and run a high-performing team responsible for the flight test programs for our current and future vehicles.”

“I am honored to be named director of flight test for Virgin Galactic to lead both a distinguished team and flight test program,” said Latimer. “My whole career has been devoted to piloting and testing aircraft in an effort to design and develop technologies and open up new frontiers. It has been a lifelong passion to make space more accessible, and to contribute to this effort alongside the talented men and women at Virgin Galactic is an absolute privilege.”

Latimer joined Virgin Galactic from Boeing where she was a key team member supporting system development, aircraft design, engineering and certification. She also served as deputy director for airlift operations and chief pilot for Boeing’s C-17 program and was responsible for global operations and managing test pilots and other aircrew for test flight operations.

During her 20 years of service with the U.S. Air Force, Latimer flew on more than 90 combat missions. She retired from the Air Force in 2007 to serve as the first female research test pilot at the NASA Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center. At NASA, she conducted experimental flight test and test support on the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy 747SP, T-38, C-17, 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, BE200 and T-34 for various NASA research projects.

During her career, she has logged more than 7,000 flight hours and more than 1,000 hours in test flight in more than 40 aircraft. She is type rated in heavy aircraft and fighters including B767/B757, B737, B787, and T-38/F-5.

Most recently, Latimer also served as the chief test pilot for Virgin Orbit’s launch vehicle, “Cosmic Girl” – an adapted Boeing 747 – in support of the company’s LauncherOne program.

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