New Jamco Augmented Reality Technology Creates Efficient Maintenance Service

A partnership between Jamco America, a commercial aircraft interior and services provider, and Object Theory, a pioneer in mixed reality, has created a new training tool for efficient maintenance service to support customer needs. The augmented reality (AR) technology developed through this partnership provides a much-needed advancement in product maintenance training for the aerospace industry.

Jamco America, a subsidiary of Jamco Corporation in Japan, was established in 1982 as a commercial aircraft interior products and services provider. Located in Everett, WA, Jamco is an experienced interior products supplier and turnkey aircraft interiors integrator.

As part of the Jamco Corporation, Jamco America, has developed premium class seating for commercial aircraft, providing forward facing business class seating, such as their trademarked Journey seats in 2015 and the new Venture reverse herring-bone business class seat in 2019. Alongside the Venture business class seat, Jamco America is introducing the latest AR technology to aerospace interior training and maintenance. Jamco says they understand that overall success goes beyond design and delivery. Current product maintenance training – although effective – relies on video tutorials, face-to-face demonstrations and written training guides with supporting component maintenance manuals. That’s why Jamco is investing in cutting-edge AR technology to develop more efficient maintenance services for its customers.

AR is the process of superimposing a three-dimensional computer-generated image onto a user’s view of the real world. This provides a composite view that can easily guide a user through key maintenance tasks. This technology can be displayed through a variety of hardware, from handheld tablets to the latest Microsoft HoloLens headset.

In 2018, Jamco America established a partnership with Object Theory, apioneer in mixed reality located in Portland, Ore. Object Theory’s founders, Michael Hoffman and Raven Zachary, alumnus of Microsoft and Apple, have built what Fast Company Magazine named one of the “Most Innovative AR/VR Companies.” Jamco America says they are “very excited about this collaboration,” as it will provide a more seamless and repeatable product maintenance training service for their valued customers.

Jamco America’s vision is to ensure that the airlines’ operational efficiency is maximized. With the implementation of the HoloLens, trainee mechanics can work on their product hands-free, in real time, and without the need to refer to a separate manual. This system audibly communicates step-by-step instructions to the user as computer-generated images create a guiding overlay on the product. At the same time, the user has complete control over the pace of their work by selecting when they are ready to proceed to the next step.

In addition, documents like the component maintenance manual will be easily accessible within the AR device. This combination of visual guidance and textual information provides a field ready, efficient, and comprehensive maintenance tool to solve problems as they arise.

Sometimes, aircraft interior products require additional troubleshooting as they travel to destinations across the globe. Jamco America says their AR system will provide the ability for mechanics in the field to access whatever assistance is required, no matter where in the world a problem arises.

AR instruction isn’t the end of Jamco America’s support. A drive for outstanding customer service, paired with this exceptional technology, will allow Jamco America Product Support representatives to communicate in real time with mechanics via remote assist. In those cases, both individuals will be able to see the same product and work together – through AR – to resolve the customer’s concern.

Jamco America says that “delivering a product to its customer is only the beginning. In-service product support for airlines is critical as well.” With the use of AR technology, Jamco says they will improve safety and efficiency for their customers.

5G Providers Agree to Delay Launch

AT&T and Verizon announced they are delaying the rollout of 5G in some towers that are located near certain airports. The delay of the rollout, which was scheduled for Wednesday, January 19, 2022, is the result of concerns and warnings of “dire consequences” for air transport.

5G providers like AT&T are working with aviation industry groups and the FAA to gather more information before initiating those select locations near airports. But AT&T said in a statement, “We are frustrated by the FAA’s inability to do what nearly 40 countries have done, which is to safely deploy 5G technology without disrupting aviation services, and we urge it do so in a timely manner.” AT&T says they are “voluntarily” limiting their 5G network around airports.

Verizon is also limiting their rollout and also calling out the FAA. “The FAA and our nation’s airlines have not been able to fully resolve navigating 5G around airports, despite it being safe and fully operational in more than 40other countries.

Those two companies say they will continue on with their launches everywhere else. Meanwhile, the White House says they are working on a solution to these concerns that could lead to major delays for the airlines if the rollout proceeded. FAA, FCC (Federal Communications Commission), airlines and OEM manufacturers are working to find a way to proceed safely.

Numerous airlines sent a letter to the White House at the beginning of the week urging intervention saying 1,000 flights a day could be impacted due to “interference with radar altimeters” used in IFR landings. The 5G providers say the concerns are unfounded and that there were no problems in other countries that have already launched the service.

ZEVA Completes Historic First Test Flight

ZEVA successfully achieved its first untethered, powered, controlled flight test for its full-scale ZEVA ZERO flying wing airframe utilizing its eight zero-emission electric motor-driven propellers. The major milestone for the Tacoma-based startup occurred in rural Pierce County, Washington, on Sunday, January 9th, 2022 as part of its rigorous test program to achieve FAA airworthiness certification.

The uncrewed ZEVA demonstration aircraft completed four flights, totaling more than four minutes of controlled hovering, simulated taxiing maneuvers at slow speeds, and limited vertical climb maneuvers. Its compact airframe is designed for a single pilot and is small enough to fit in a standard automobile parking space. The vehicle is projected to cruise at speeds of up to 160 mph with a range of up to 50 miles, optimizing point-to-point travel.

“This is a huge inflection point for ZEVA as we join an exclusive set of proven flying eVTOL platforms, and a testament to the relentless hard work and ingenuity of our entire team over the past two and half years,” said Stephen Tibbitts, CEO and Chairman of ZEVA. “We are dissecting our learnings from our critical first taxiing flight, which is a direct result of the support we’ve received from our investors and community, leading us to bring in additional talent to spearhead this historic moment. We are eager to continue to our next stage of hover flight testing on our road to certification and eventual autonomous flight allowing anyone, not just pilots, to access zero-emission point-to-point travel.”

ZEVA experienced tremendous growth this year, with the addition of Gus Meyer as flight control engineer and several other key hires. The team completed more than 50 successful tethered flights, showcased the ZEVA ZERO aircraft at the Dubai Air Show in November, and was awarded a grant by Washington’s Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation (JCATI) to work with Washington State University on ZEVA Aero’s aerodynamic configurations to optimize the vehicle’s thrust and controls. ZEVA has also worked with NASA in conjunction with its Urban Air Mobility Grand Challenge.

“The ZEVA team has done an incredible job with the design and manufacturing of this aircraft, which was evidenced in this exceptionally smooth and successful first flight,” said Gus Meyer, the test pilot controlling the ZERO via a remote radio link. “This achievement is also a testament to the extraordinary talent and experience of the team, and the supportive partnerships that helped make this a reality.” ZEVA will continue hover flight tests and advance to transition flight testing this spring to fine-tune the unique Superman-like trajectory of the aircraft design. The patent-pending design is expected to be available for pre-order for consumers for a $5,000 deposit as early as spring of this year, with an eventual price tag for the first production units estimated at under $250,000.

Airbus Begins Delivery of All Aircraft from its U.S. Plant with U.S.-Sourced Sustainable Aviation Fuel Blend

Airbus has begun delivery of all aircraft from its U.S. manufacturing facility here with a blend of U.S.-sourced sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and conventional jet fuel. Airbus says the initiative is a further step in their ongoing commitment to carbon-neutral growth in the aviation sector, with a long-term goal of developing a zero carbon-producing commercial aircraft by 2035. 

“Delivering every one of our Mobile-produced aircraft with SAF is an important, iterative step toward solving the carbon challenge,” said C. Jeffrey Knittel, chairman and CEO of Airbus Americas. In November, Airbus began delivering aircraft with a SAF blend to some of its customers, gradually ramping-up to encompass all deliveries from the Mobile final assembly line. Henceforth, every aircraft delivered from the Airbus US manufacturing site will have SAF on board.

“SAF is a positive contributor to enhanced sustainability in aviation since it enables up to an 80% reduction of CO2 across the fuel lifecycle.  We are committed to making sustainable aviation fuels an everyday reality with use on an increasingly larger scale, and this announcement is further evidence of that.”

Since the launch of this initiative, American Airlines, Breeze Airways, Delta Air Lines and Spirit Airlines have taken delivery of Airbus aircraft with SAF on board. The remainder of Airbus customer airlines will be added to this list in accordance with delivery schedules. “We have reached an agreement with Signature Flight Support to supply SAF to our Mobile facility,” said Daryl Taylor, vice president & general manager of the Mobile manufacturing site.  “This initiative advances our commitment to reducing the carbon footprint of the aviation industry,” he said. Signature Flight Support is working in partnership with World Energy to provide the U.S.-sourced SAF to Airbus.

The FAA’s 5G Guidance Took the U. S. by Surprise—and Europe

By: Steffen Ring

Global 5G standards help speed next generation wireless network rollout; altimeter makers should consider coordination and publishing their technical standards. 

The November 2 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) bulletin that 5G transmissions in the 3.7-3.98 MHz band could potentially interfere with flight systems (altimeters) in the 4.2-4.4 MHz band took the European telecom and aviation sectors by surprise. The FAA took this action in conflict with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the expert U.S. telecom regulator that studied this issues and designed the rules for 5G deployment in this band. European mobile operators are already using 5G in the same band without reported interference to aviation. Now European regulators must study a problem they did not have before. Had altimeter standards been public, a high school student could assess the compatibility between the highly standardized 5G system and flight systems. To resolve the matter quickly, altimeter makers must publish their product specifications and provide all of the testing data being used to support its position.  A mutual consultation might have mitigated this rift across the pond and an expensive and unnecessary delay in the rollout of 5G in the C-band. 

While Europe has not experienced flight interference from 5G, the FAA’s bulletin has stoked fear. As a result, the European Communications Committee (ECC) and European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications (CEPT) decided to issue an official report and address the aviation systems manufacturers and the European Commission with a view to get the most recent updates of altimeter specifications such that ECC spectrum engineers can investigate the US matter. Fortunately, European 5G systems in the C-band behave exactly as they do in the US because 5G is standardized globally through the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).

Transatlantic Cooperation and Standardization of Aeronautical Devices is needed

Ten years ago, the EU and US signed a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) on the telecommunications sector. The MRA facilitates industry and authorities to recognize and approve technical parameters and measurement results developed by each other’s laboratories. This has helped to speed technology trust building and expedite regulatory measures on both sides of the Atlantic. We should push for an MRA on the aeronautical electronics sector to obtain much faster and more credible exchange of vital engineering parameters and a smooth resolution of conflicts.

The de jure standards for mobile wireless technologies are powerfully developed and promoted through 3GPP, where the technology experts from around the world come together to write the technical specifications for new products and services. The US is in 3GPP represented by the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS); Europe by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). 3GPP is open for anyone to find the technical specifications for 5G and assess potential interference scenarios with 5G involved.  Had we had similar official technical standards for altimeters, this situation with alleged unknown device characteristics and the subsequently raised potential flight safety issues could have been resolved very fast—or perhaps avoided all together in the first place.

About the Author:

Steffen Ring is the CEO and owner of Ring Advocacy LLC, ( ), which he inaugurated in 2015 after retirement from Motorola Inc. (now Motorola Solutions Inc.). The corporation is registered in the European Union (Denmark) and serve clients globally.

Ring served for Motorola Inc. as spectrum, standards and regulatory expert for 39 years, the last 10 years as officer in the Global Government Affairs dept., Washington D.C. 

Ring is inter alia specializing in mission critical radio systems and one of the first chairmen in the ETSI Project TETRA, where the globally accepted TETRA standard was developed from the early ‘90. He also worked close with the NATO HQ in Brussels in order to promote a civil-military spectrum sharing agreement (signed in Ottawa 1994) for public safety authorities’ access to the band 380 – 400 MHz for TETRA in NATO Nations, except the US. Later the TETRA standard was also introduced in the US market, alongside the P25 standard for Public Safety.

EASA Releases its Concept Paper “First usable guidance for Level 1 machine learning applications”

In line with the first major milestone of the EASA Artificial Intelligence (AI) Roadmap 1.0, EASA says this concept paper presents a first set of objectives for Level 1 Artificial Intelligence (‘assistance to human’), in order to anticipate future EASA guidance and requirements for safety-related machine learning (ML) applications.

The goal of this document is twofold:

  • to allow applicants to have an early visibility on the possible expectations of EASA with respect to the implementation of AI/ML solutions.
  • to establish a baseline for Level 1 AI applications that will be further refined for Level 2 and Level 3 AI applications.

This document has been matured over the last 1.5 years and underwent several stages of consultation including a 10 weeks period of public consultation from April to June 2021. It covers only an initial set of AI/ML techniques and will be enriched with other advanced techniques, as the EASA AI Roadmap is implemented.

In 2022, this document will be further developed to include the provisions for more advanced types of AI, the so-called level 2 AI applications, involving a higher degree of collaboration and even teaming between the human end user and the AI-based systems.

Near Earth Autonomy and L3Harris Demonstrate Drone System that Delivers Life-Saving Blood to Medics in the Field

Near Earth Autonomy and L3Harris Technologies have successfully demonstrated an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) capable of autonomously delivering life-saving blood and other medical supplies hundreds of miles from operational bases to medics in the field.
Whole blood is the ideal fluid for hemorrhagic shock treatment in tactical combat care. The U.S. Army’s Medical Research and Development Command’s (USAMRDC) Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) sponsored the demonstration to identify ways to save Warfighters’ lives in situations where access to whole blood in the field can be challenging. The project also addresses the problem of whole blood going unused and wasted by recovering it to blood banks in reusable condition.
Near Earth successfully integrated its autonomous flight systems and L3Harris’ FVR-90 hybrid VTOL
aircraft to demonstrate multiple delivery scenarios. In one example, the UAS analyzed landing areas
using onboard sensors to find a safe, unobstructed location. In other tests, the ground was too cluttered for the vehicle to land, so transport pods were dropped from a low altitude hover or released via parachute. The demonstration took place in Ft. Pickett, VA, in August of 2021.
“Near Earth and L3Harris have developed a compelling technical solution to a challenging problem
statement derived from current needs and future operating concepts. Together, they have smartly
integrated their aircraft autonomy and blood storage system with a capable UAS, demonstrating the
ability to support field care, when immediate patient evacuation is not possible, through long-range
delivery and recovery of critical supplies without requiring any forward infrastructure,” said Nathan Fisher, chief of the Medical Robotic and Autonomous Systems Division at TATRC and the government sponsor.
“This achievement leveraged L3Harris and Near Earth’s broad UAS expertise to address the exact type of advanced missions that our Warfighters need,” said Dave Duggan, President, Precision Engagement
Systems, L3Harris. “When combined with autonomous delivery zone evaluation, vertical takeoff and
landing and long-distance flight can transform field supply logistics.”
Sanjiv Singh, CEO of Near Earth, said, “This project allowed us to demonstrate the utility of autonomous, safe landing in complex, unstructured environments. It is especially gratifying to speak to end users who can benefit from the life-saving applications that are now possible through this innovative program.”

FAA Statement on 5G

Thursday, December 23, 2021

The FAA is working with the aviation and wireless industries to find a solution that allows 5G C-band and aviation to safely coexist. While that work is underway, the FAA alerted operators that Notices to Air Missions (NOTAMs) may be issued to restrict operations in areas where 5G interference is possible. It also provides additional information about aircraft systems that could be affected.

These recently published documents provide further information to operators about steps that will be required in areas potentially affected by 5G C-band interference.

Merlin Labs and Ameriflight Partner on Autonomous Flight Solutions

Merlin Labs has reached an agreement with Ameriflight to equip the cargo airline’s fleet with autonomous and semi-autonomous flight capability. By offering access to Merlin’s enhanced technology, the partnership will allow Ameriflight to capitalize on long-term growth opportunities.

The nation’s largest Part 135 cargo airline, Ameriflight provides regional cargo aircraft services for overnight express carriers such as UPS, FedEx, and DHL. With this partnership, Ameriflight will add more experience and capabilities to its aircraft through Merlin’s technology, complementing its current pilot makeup. Ultimately, Ameriflight hopes to future-proof its aircraft with early implementation of autonomous capabilities, ensuring the company will be nearly ready when that form of flying is industry-approved and allowing for seamless customer retention.

“We believe Merlin’s technology is not only the furthest along, but also the most applicable to what our customers need,” said Ameriflight President and CEO Paul Chase. “It will potentially allow us to provide autonomous or semi-autonomous flight at a cost of added deployability that we think works best for our customers relative to other options.”

Merlin is creating sophisticated software and hardware that fulfill the functions of a human pilot. The company has flown hundreds of takeoff-to-touchdown missions, performed thousands of simulated test hours, and integrated its platform into four different aircraft types (from single-engine to complex, multi-engine aircraft). In September, Merlin became the first company to reach an agreement on an approach for the certification of aircraft autonomy.

Merlin’s “crawl, walk, run” approach to deploying autonomy — and commitment to safety — resonated with Chase.

“Today, a pilot might come to us with a thousand hours of flight experience,” Chase said. “With the processes that Merlin uses to certify its technology, we’re putting the equivalent of much more experience into the cockpit on Day One. You don’t have this learning curve that pilots need to go through, and that lowers the overall risk profile to the airline. That’s a win for our pilots, our customers, and our company.”

According to Chase, the industry’s pilot shortage is a major driver for the partnership with Merlin. Finding skilled pilots in the current environment is difficult enough, he noted.

“That’s just a reality for our growing business,” Chase said. “It’s imperative that we complement — not replace — our existing team of fixed wing pilots with autonomous pilots. We have ample opportunities for growth in front of us with the increased level of e-commerce, disruptions in the supply chain, et cetera. But we can’t capitalize on that in any significant way unless we solve this staffing problem in a scalable and cost-effective way.”

Another key driver for Ameriflight is cost savings. The airline’s current aircraft are a good fit for its customers when it comes to size and rate. Updating the existing fleet with next-generation technology will allow Ameriflight to pair world-class technology with best-in-class pricing.

“Merlin is designing a solution to allow our existing fleet to become autonomous rather than requiring us to upgrade our fleet, which would come at a very high capital cost,” Chase said. “By using the aircraft’s existing functionality and enabling us to update the cockpit and avionics equipment, Merlin is making it possible to extend fleet life at a relatively affordable cost.”

“Having recently announced our first-in-the-world certification basis, we really have to focus on how to bring our system to the market in the short term,” said Matthew George, Merlin Co-Founder and CEO. “Partnering with Ameriflight supports this goal while also giving us a great deal of credibility in the commercial cargo space.”

FAA Awards Research Grants to Build Sustainable Aviation Fuel Supply Chains

The U.S. Transportation Department’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is tapping some of the nation’s top research institutions to build sustainable aviation fuel supply chains in different regions across the United States. More than $1.4 million will go to five universities to undertake the research.  Since 2014, the FAA has invested more than $13 million in the effort being conducted by ASCENT, the FAA Center of Excellence for Alternative Jet Fuels and Environment. 

“Sustainable aviation fuels are a critical part of meeting our climate goals for aviation, and we want to help that industry grow and create jobs right here in the U.S.,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “These funds will help build regional supply chains so that communities across our country – many of them rural – feel the economic benefits of producing sustainable aviation fuel.”

The universities’ research concentrates on identifying regional feedstock that can become sustainable aviation fuel using the region’s existing infrastructure, creating a dependable supply within reach of airport demand. Researchers have and continue to look at other barriers that need to be eliminated to drive down the cost of sustainable aviation fuel. 

The investment builds on the Biden-Harris Administration’s announcement this September of the Sustainable Aviation Fuels Grand Challenge, a government-wide initiative designed to catalyze the production of at least three billion gallons per year by 2030.

The research teams on this project include:

Washington State University: $412,000 

  • Examine the potential for retrofitting existing pulp and paper mills, sugarcane mills, dry corn ethanol plants, and petroleum refineries to enable jet fuel production from forest harvests, waste materials, and various crops. 
  • Evaluate supply chains for their ability to create jobs, aid U.S. industry, and add resiliency to the national liquid fuel supply. 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology: $450,000 

  • Consider the economic and environmental sustainability of a range of fuel pathways, including the co-production of sustainable aviation fuel in existing petroleum refineries. 

University of Tennessee: $100,000 

  • Support the development of an industry to produce sustainable aviation fuel using woody biomass feedstock in the Central Appalachian Region.

University of Hawaii: $100,000 

  • Develop a model for tropical oil supply chains and assess gasification systems to produce fuel and/or hydrogen from construction and demolition landfill waste.

Purdue University: $350,000 

  • Understand the land use impacts of sustainable aviation fuels on greenhouse gas emissions.

Today’s funding is part of $14.4 million in grants to teams at 13 universities across the country to undertake research critical to building a sustainable aviation system. A detailed description of all 35 projects and their associated grant amounts can be found here. Among these is a new project that builds on a supply chain effort to examine how hydrogen production can be leveraged to produce sustainable aviation fuel with maximum greenhouse gas emission reductions at the lowest possible costs.

Last month, the U.S. released its first-ever comprehensive Aviation Climate Action Plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Earlier this year, the FAA announced more than $100 million in matching grants to increase aircraft efficiency, reduce noise and aircraft emissions, and develop and implement new software to reduce taxi delays.


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