Astronics Selected for Lilium Jet’s Electrical Power Distribution System

Astronics Corporation has been selected by Lilium to design, develop, and build the Lilium Jet’s electrical power distribution system.

Power distribution units play a critical role within the Lilium Jet’s energy management system. Astronics will be responsible for the secondary power distribution units (SPDUs) and charging power distribution units (CPDUs).

Lilium Jets will each be equipped with two SPDUs and one CPDU. SPDUs are responsible for high voltage (1000 VDC) to low voltage (28 VDC) conversion and for low voltage distribution and protection. Compact and light weight, the SPDUs ensure a reliable supply of power from the batteries to the aircraft’s critical systems, including flight controls, avionics, navigation, communication, sensors, internal and external lights, and passenger comfort.

The CPDU manages the battery charging operation, as well as providing additional and dissimilar sources for high voltage to low voltage power conversion and low voltage power distribution, which minimizes common-cause failure modes between the CPDU and SPDU. It also provides an additional layer of aircraft safety by monitoring insulation and detecting and reporting short circuit risks across the system.

Jon Neal, President of Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems, said, “Astronics is thrilled to announce Lilium as a launch customer for our Corepower high voltage products designed for the More Electric Aircraft and eVTOL platforms. This partnership demonstrates the flexibility of our products and our close collaboration with our customers. Astronics is excited to join Lilium in being a part of the evolution of aviation moving towards cleaner, more sustainable, and accessible modes of transportation.”

“Astronics is our ideal partner for this very important component of our aircraft,” said Martin Schuebel, senior vice oresident procurement at Lilium. “It is our intention to collaborate with the best aerospace suppliers and leverage their expertise. Astronics’ expertise is unique, and their collaborative approach makes them a perfect match for us. The partnership will also help pave the way for the coming industrial ramp-up.”

The supplier agreement follows over a year of collaborative work between the two companies and marks a further key milestone in the industrialization of the Lilium Jet.

IBA Launches NetZero

IBA, an aviation market intelligence and consultancy company, has launched IBA NetZero – a tool that enables the aviation industry to model risk by simulating and forecasting the cost of future emissions mitigation. 

IBA NetZero enables airlines, lessors and financial institutions to model the emissions impact of their future fleet plans, define their CO2 targets to 2050, build mitigation scenarios, and assess their cost implications.  

IBA NetZero is the latest development to IBA’s award-winning Carbon Emissions Calculator, which is a finance-focused carbon modeling tool. The aviation carbon modeling tool is used by airlines, lessors and financial institutions to measure and report their carbon emissions.

“IBA’s mission is to bring advanced analytics to the aviation market intelligence industry for the first time,” said Ian Beaumont, IBA’s CEO. “The launch of our Carbon Emissions Calculator in early 2021 was our first step in measuring aviation emissions accurately and independently. 

“IBA NetZero takes the baseline functionality of the Carbon Emissions Calculator to the next level. The industry is awash with regional initiatives to tax fuel or emissions, promote supply limited and potentially expensive fuel alternatives, or develop innovative new power systems. IBA NetZero provides clarity in this fast moving and shifting landscape. 

“For the aviation industry, this implies new risks to mitigate and new opportunities to exploit. IBA NetZero and our specialist ESG consulting services provide what the industry desperately needs, today.”

Mark Streeter, managing director, REIT, Airline/EETC, Aircraft Leasing, Rail, Parcel, Freight, Shipping, Transportation HG/HY Coverage, North America Credit Research, at J.P. Morgan, added: 

“IBA has developed not just an accurate industry-wide carbon emissions model, but also the key functionality and risk analytics that deliver for aviation finance.” 

Joe McGinley, Head of Investor Relations at AerCap, said:

“We chose IBA’s Carbon Emissions Calculator after a review of the market. It has been an invaluable source for our ESG Report for the Year 2021, which was published this week.”

Commenting further on the needs for global banks, Yann Sonnallier, global head of aviation finance, Société Générale said 

“Thanks to being an early adopter of IBA’s Carbon Emissions Calculator, ‘Société Générale is at the forefront of aviation ESG. The accuracy of the carbon calculations and modelling capability was instrumental in securing our first ever aircraft financing using a sustainability linked loan for European airlines. The independent and comprehensive modelling tool continues to prove vital in our work, and we are excited to see it grow and develop in line with our evolving needs in the future.”

JetBlue Sharpens Competitive Edge with FLYR Artificial Intelligence Partnership

JetBlue has partnered with FLYR Labs to elevate the airline’s revenue optimization capabilities with accurate, real-time decision intelligence and analytics.

FLYR’s cloud-native decision intelligence platform, The Revenue Operating System, leverages deep learning technology to provide automated, AI-based revenue management capabilities that maximize business-wide revenue opportunities. Already deployed at JetBlue, The Revenue Operating System’s market performance is yielding promising results and demonstrating its ability to supercharge analyst contribution.

“We’re known for disrupting our industry and the legacy processes that came before us. Collaborating with FLYR, a pioneer of AI-driven revenue optimization software, is another example of how we can amplify the ‘JetBlue Effect’ — keeping fares as competitive as possible without compromising the customer experience — an ethos that is mirrored in FLYR’s partnership approach,” Dave Clark, head of Revenue and Planning at JetBlue, said.

JetBlue is New York’s Hometown Airline and the sixth-largest airline in the United States, serving more than 110 cities throughout the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada, and the United Kingdom. JetBlue continues to invest in FLYR’s success through its venture capital subsidiary, JetBlue Technology Ventures.

Alex Mans, CEO of FLYR, said: “JetBlue already has incredible market influence. By working with FLYR, JetBlue’s analysts will be most aware of revenue opportunities earlier than ever before. Our AI capabilities will accelerate JetBlue’s advantage by understanding and applying network-wide context, enabling fast and targeted route or pricing decisions. The Revenue Operating System can positively influence all critical commercial teams of an airline, such as marketing, cargo, scheduling, network planning, and ancillaries, which will further cement JetBlue’s reputation and deliver even more benefits to travelers in every market it operates.”

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.

Munich Airport International and Airbus sign MoU to Expand Partnership to Develop Advanced Air Mobility Solutions

Airbus and Munich Airport International (MAI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding at ILA Berlin Air Show to start marketing turnkey solutions to cities and regions interested in developing advanced air mobility (AAM) ecosystems globally. Airbus is developing CityAirbus NextGen, its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, along with key support and services offerings around it, while Munich Airport is offering ground infrastructure services and solutions.

“Munich Airport International is already collaborating with Airbus on the Air Mobility Initiative recently launched in Munich – now we are expanding that partnership globally to support select cities and regions around the world,” said Ivonne Kuger, Executive VP Corporate Development MAI. “As Europe’s first 5-star airport Munich Airport has always been at the forefront of innovation and it is crucial for airports to be actively involved in developing and paving the way for this new form of transport”, Kuger adds.

“The development of the market, industry, and the ultimate service of AAM requires a holistic view and this has been our approach from the beginning.  In addition to our decades of vehicle and technology development, certification, and support, we are actively building working ecosystems with our partners,” said Balkiz Sarihan, Head of UAM Partnerships and Strategy Execution at Airbus. “We are sure that our partnership with Munich Airport will be a key catalyst for accelerating the development of the AAM ecosystems worldwide.” 

 Balkiz Sarihan, head of UAM Partnerships and Strategy Execution at Airbus (left) and Ivonne Kuger, executive vice president Corporate Development Munich Airport International signed the MoU to develop AAM solutions.

The successful integration of the different AAM elements requires a strong cooperation between global and local stakeholders combining key competencies. The objective is to create completely new ecosystems that ensure a safe and seamless integration of eVTOL solutions with other means of mobility bringing added value to cities and communities.

Airbus has been one of the pioneers in exploring how electric propulsion can help drive the development of new kinds of aerial vehicles. In September 2021, the Company unveiled its fully electric eVTOL prototype, CityAirbus NextGen. Airbus is developing an AAM solution with eVTOLs not only to offer a new mobility service but also as an important step in its quest to reduce emissions in aviation across its product range. The company recently announced the launch of the Air Mobility Initiative, a consortium of partners dedicated to the advancement of AAM in Bavaria and Germany.

Rolls-Royce Advances Hybrid-Electric Flight iwth New Tech

Rolls-Royce is officially announcing the development of turbogenerator technology, which includes a new small engine designed for hybrid-electric applications. The system will be an on-board power source with scalable power offerings and will complement the Rolls-Royce Electrical propulsion portfolio, enabling extended range on sustainable aviation fuels and later as it comes available through hydrogen combustion.

Current battery technology means all-electric propulsion will enable eVTOL and fixed wing commuter aircraft for short flights in and between cities and island-hopping in locations like Norway and the Scottish Isles. By developing turbogenerator technology, that will be scaled to serve a power range between 500 kW and 1200 kW, we can open up new longer routes that our electric battery powered aircraft can also support.

Rolls-Royce experts based in Germany, Norway and Hungary are developing the turbogenerator design and working on its system integration and are focused on ensuring smart power distribution during flight. The turbogenerator will recharge batteries after take-off or power propellers directly, enabling aircraft to switch between power sources in flight. The research and development of this technology is being part funded by the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action.

“Rolls-Royce will be the leading provider of all-electric and hybrid-electric power and propulsion systems for Advanced Air Mobility and will scale this technology over time to larger platforms,” Rob Watson, president – Rolls Royce Electrical, said. “I would like to thank the German Government for their support. As part of our strategy, we are looking at offering the complete sustainable solution for our customers. This means extending routes that electric flight can support through our turbogenerator technology. This will advance hybrid-electric flight and mean more passengers will be able to travel further on low to net zero emissions aircraft.

Rolls-Royce is also set to build on our existing network to offer maintenance services for electrical systems. Furthermore, Rolls-Royce Power Systems is able to offer mtu microgrid solutions to support fast-charging of electric aircraft and deliver reliable, cost-effective, climate friendly and sustainable power to vertiports.”

 Last year, Rolls-Royce announced a pathway to net zero carbon emissions and its electrical technology is one way in which the company is helping decarbonize critical parts of the global economy. Rolls-Royce is committed to ensuring its new products will be compatible with net zero operation by 2030 and all its products will be compatible with net zero by 2050.

Diehl Expands Cooperation with Volocopter for the All-Electric Air Taxi Volocity

Volocopter and Diehl Aerospace are expanding their cooperation. The contract extension provides for the development and production of an optical splitter to complement the flight control system as well as other components for the battery management system for the first all-electric VoloCity air taxi. Diehl Aerospace has already developed the Flight Control Computer (FCC) for the VoloCity, including the primary and backup control computers.

The optical splitter complements the flight control system by providing control information to the VoloCity’s total of eighteen rotors. In contrast to conventional fly-by-wire control systems, the electrical signals from the flight control computer are translated into optical signals and consequently controlled optoelectronically. Instead of electrical signals via copper wires, light signals are now used via corresponding optical fibers to transmit measured values and control commands.

This so-called Fly-By-Light control is considered to be particularly immune to electromagnetic interference, for example from cell phones or transmission towers. Interference immunity is a key safety criterion, particularly in view of the VoloCity’s planned flight operations at low altitudes in cities. With the development of an optical splitter, Diehl Aerospace once again underlines its competence in flight control technology for commercial aviation.

In addition, Diehl Aerospace is developing the Data Concentration Unit (DCU) for Volocopter, which is the counterpart to the optical splitter. The DCU collects optical signals from 18 rotors via an optical interface and converts them into digital data for the avionics. This provides the pilot with feedback on the status of engine speed and temperature. With the DCU box, Diehl Aerospace completes the Volocopter’s Fly-By-Light system for the VoloCity.

With the use of the Fly-by-Light technology in the eVTOL (electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing Aircraft) VoloCity, Diehl makes a significant contribution to ensuring maximum safety and highest reliability in the field of Urban Air Mobility, a market of the future. “We are excited to further expand our partnership with Volocopter, an innovative pioneer in the UAM market, bringing our many years of experience and expertise in flight control systems to the table,” said Florian Maier, CEO of Diehl Aerospace.

In addition to the flight control system, Diehl will also supply further sub-components for the Battery Management System for monitoring the batteries of the VoloCity. The system provides a platform to manage and monitor the battery packs installed in the aircraft, thus safeguarding the operation of the all-electric air taxi. VoloCity features nine battery packs that are replaced and recharged after the flight. In order to monitor the battery status during the flight, the pilot receives all flight-relevant information via a corresponding system, for example on the remaining energy and the possibility to control the power supply.

Zipline Receives FAA Part 135 Air Carrier Certification to Grow Its Automated, On-Demand Delivery Service in the U.S.

Zipline, the global leader in instant logistics, today announced it has received U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 135 air carrier certification to operate in the U.S. Zipline is now authorized to complete the longest range on-demand commercial drone deliveries in the U.S., with operations covering the largest area and greatest distance of any uncrewed commercial aircraft delivery system (UAS) in the country. This is the first part 135 certification issued under the FAA’s BEYOND program, an initiative designed to safely integrate beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone operations into U.S. airspace.

Zipline designs, manufactures and operates the world’s largest automated, on-demand delivery service. To date, the company has flown more than 23 million autonomous miles, including BVLOS operations, and completed more than 325,000 commercial deliveries with its electric aircraft. Zipline currently operates with Walmart in the U.S., with Toyota Tsusho Corporation in Japan and at national scale in Rwanda and Ghana, where it serves more than 2,000 health care facilities. With part 135 certification, the company can significantly expand its U.S. service with its partners, including Novant Health, Cardinal Health, Intermountain Healthcare, and Magellan Rx Management.

“Zipline’s sustainable instant delivery system is transforming healthcare and retail,” said Keller Rinaudo, co-founder & CEO at Zipline. “Today, on average, Zipline makes a delivery every four minutes—ensuring people get access to the products they need, the moment they need them. With our part 135 certification, and in close collaboration with our partners and the FAA, we are one step closer to making safe, clean and quiet instant delivery a reality for communities across the U.S.”

Under this new certification, Zipline will begin flying routes of up to 26 miles roundtrip, including through Class D airspace. This service is the most complex in the U.S., and is authorized to fly over people, in controlled airspace and beyond visual line of sight. Under the FAA’s oversight, Zipline will work to expand its service to meet rising demand across new geographies and use cases, furthering its mission to transform the way goods move so that all people can access exactly what they need, when they need it, as easily as sending a text message. In doing so, Zipline will also help reduce congestion and emissions. In fact, a recent real-world sustainability analysis determined that Zipline deliveries reduce carbon emissions by up to 98 percent compared to traditional delivery methods.

Initial flights will operate out of Zipline’s hub in Kannapolis, North Carolina, which is capable of serving people within a nearly 8,000 square mile area and delivering half a ton of supplies per day. From this facility, Zipline will begin operations with its partners Novant Health, Magellan Rx Management, and Cardinal Health later this month.

Zipline is a partner of the North Carolina Department of Transportation, one of eight programs in the country selected by the FAA to participate in the BEYOND program and pave the way for safe, routine drone use in the National Airspace System. North Carolina partners have achieved many national firsts and flown an impressive amount of missions since the FAA launched its integration initiative in 2017.

In addition to operations in North Carolina, the company plans to launch deliveries in Utah with its partner Intermountain Healthcare later this year, and expand flights with Walmart in Arkansas, which began in November under FAA part 107.

Part 135 certification follows a period of record global growth for Zipline. The company has delivered over one million COVID-19 vaccines in Ghana, launched delivery of thousands of retail products in partnership with Walmart and fresh food delivery in Arkansas, begun operations in Nigeria as well as with Toyota Tsusho Corporation in Japan, announced entry into Ivory Coast and Kenya and expanded operations in Rwanda to become the world’s first 24/7 instant logistics service.

Zipline Unveils First Onboard, Acoustic Detection & Avoidance System for Autonomous Drones

Zipline unveiled its new Detection and Avoidance (DAA) system. A first for the industry, the new system uses onboard acoustic-based technology to enable safe and autonomous flights in complex, and even uncontrolled airspaces. This technology marks a significant step forward in realizing commercial autonomous deliveries at scale. 

Zipline’s new DAA system relies on a series of small, lightweight acoustic microphones and onboard processors to navigate airspace and provide 360-degree awareness with a range up to 2,000 meters. Using this onboard system, aircraft can autonomously monitor for other aircraft in real-time, and adapt to changes in their flight path.

“Our DAA system is the holy grail for drone technology,” said Keenan Wyrobek, co-founder and CTO of Zipline. “We’ve created a system that is agile enough to operate with the finest of margins, and can think for itself and adjust in real-time. DAA is the result of years of development and hundreds of thousands of flight hours. It’s an elegant answer to the challenges of flying beyond the visual line of sight in the United States not in 10 years–but today.”

Existing detection and avoidance technologies rely on bulky or ground-based systems for optical or electromagnetic awareness which are not optimal for scaling small, long-range drone operations. Zipline’s acoustic-based system combines the lightweight, affordable hardware needed for autonomous drones with the precision mandated by regulators for complex airspace. 

“We imagine a world where physical products are delivered as quickly and as easily as a text message. DAA is the linchpin of scaling instant delivery in the United States and globally,” said Keller Rinaudo, founder and CEO at Zipline. “We envision a future in which this system becomes the industry standard for all commercial autonomous aircraft to fly safely.”

The hardware has already been built into Zipline’s drones and is ready to be activated for use in many regions upon regulatory approval. 

The unveiling of DAA comes over five years after Zipline launched its first commercial operations. The company now completes a delivery every four minutes and has eclipsed 300,000 commercial flights. DAA is the next step in advancing its industry leadership and making the promise of instant logistics a reality worldwide.

Air Nostrum Group Becomes Airlander 10 Launch Airline Customer

UK-based sustainable aircraft technologies company, Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV), announced an aircraft reservation agreement with one of the largest regional airlines in Europe, Air Nostrum Group, for HAV’s pioneering hybrid aircraft – Airlander 10.

Air Nostrum Group reserved ten 100-seat Airlander 10 aircraft for delivery from 2026 onwards, with a view to begin operations as launch airline.

While the Air Nostrum Airlander 10 fleet is set for initial operations across Spain, HAV plans to launch production of the aircraft in South Yorkshire UK, this year, creating thousands of skilled jobs in green aerospace technologies and supporting levelling up across the region.

The reservation agreement follows six months of rigorous studies and modelling carried out by Air Nostrum Group and HAV into the operation of Airlander 10 on Spanish domestic aviation routes and the associated economics. Airlander 10 aircraft are expected to diversify and complement Air Nostrum Group’s existing aircraft fleet currently operating on these routes, carrying 100 passengers while producing only around one tenth of the harmful emissions.

“We are exploring each and every possible way to reduce our carbon footprint. This is something that we have been doing for many years,” said Carlos Bertomeu, president, Air Nostrum. “The Airlander 10 will drastically reduce emissions and for that reason we have made this agreement with HAV. Sustainability, which is good news for everyone, is already a non-negotiable fact in the daily operations of commercial aviation. Agreements such as these are a very effective way to reach the de-carbonization targets contemplated in the Fit for 55 legislative initiative.”

Tom Grundy, CEO Hybrid Air Vehicles added: “Airlander is designed to deliver a better future for sustainable aviation services, enable new transport networks and provide rapid growth options for our customers. Our partnership with Air Nostrum Group, as the launch airline for Airlander 10, leads the way towards that future. As countries like France, Denmark, Norway, Spain and the UK begin to put in place ambitious mandates for the decarbonisation of domestic and short haul flight, Hybrid Air Vehicles and Air Nostrum Group are demonstrating how we can get there – and get there soon.”

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