Archer Unveils its Production Aircraft, Midnight

Archer Aviation publicly unveiled its production aircraft, Midnight, a pilot-plus-four-passenger eVTOL aircraft during its open house event in Palo Alto, Calif. Midnight is the evolution of Archer’s demonstrator eVTOL aircraft, Maker, which has validated its proprietary twelve-tilt-six configuration and key enabling technologies.

Archer says Midnight is designed to be “safe, sustainable, quiet and, with its expected payload of over 1,000 pounds, can carry four passengers plus a pilot.” Midnight is optimized for back-to-back short distance trips of around 20-miles, with a charging time of approximately 10 minutes in-between. Archer is working to certify Midnight with the FAA in late-2024 and will then use it as part of its UAM network, which it plans to launch in 2025.

“From day one Archer’s strategy has always been about finding the most efficient path to commercializing eVTOL aircraft,” said Adam Goldstein, Archer’s founder and CEO. “We believe our strategy and team’s ability to execute on it has allowed us to establish our leadership position in the market, and is why we are confident we will be the first company to certify an eVTOL aircraft in the U. S. with the FAA.”

Archer’s approach to designing Midnight focuses on combining high function and high emotion, inspiring passengers to want to experience it, similar to the feeling that was evoked in this country during the Golden Age of aviation in the 1950s. Archer is confident that Midnight will lead the way in this new era of vertical flight. Midnight marries cutting-edge electric propulsion technology with state-of-the-art aircraft systems to deliver the key attributes of our eVTOL aircraft: Safety. High redundancy and simplified propulsion systems make for a significantly safer aircraft compared to a helicopter. Midnight has no single critical points of failure, meaning that should any single component fail, the aircraft can still safely complete its flight. In addition, the electric motors used in Midnight have significantly less moving parts than those found in a gas turbine or piston engine, allowing it to operate with less maintenance and lower overall risk. Low noise. Designed to cruise at approximately 2,000 feet, the design of Midnight is such that the noise that reaches the ground is expected to measure around 45 A-weighted decibels (dBA), almost 1,000 times quieter than that of a helicopter. During forward flight, the aircraft’s tilt propellers spin on axes that are aligned with the oncoming air flow, rather than edge-wise to the flow, as is the case with traditional helicopters — further decreasing noise levels. Since Archer’s aircraft is spinning 12 small propellers rather than one large rotor, it can also spin them at significantly lower tip speeds, resulting in much lower noise levels. Sustainable. Midnight is all electric, resulting in zero operating emissions. Archer is committed to sourcing renewable energy wherever possible to power its aircraft. Archer’s design and engineering teams have worked tirelessly to integrate materials into this aircraft that have their own unique sustainability stories. For example, Midnight’s seats are constructed out of “flax” fiber, a natural plant which requires very little irrigation and is highly absorbent of CO2. In addition, Archer’s design uses fabric made from recycled contents like plastic bottles.

“We continue the push towards commercialization, with the vast majority of our resources focused on completing the development and certification of Midnight, building out our manufacturing and supply chain capabilities and hardening our go-to-market plans.” said Mark Mesler, Archer’s CFO.

In August, Archer completed Midnight’s preliminary design review covering all aspects of the aircraft’s specifications and manufacturing requirements, which enabled it to determine that the design is feasible for Type Certification and commercialization. 

Archer has also made rapid progress on Maker’s flight testing program and is on schedule to complete a full transition flight in the coming weeks, just twelve months after its first hover flight. Achieving this milestone will further validate the flight physics of Archer’s proprietary twelve-tilt-six configuration that it uses on both Maker and Midnight, as well as a number of the key enabling technologies, such as the aircraft flight control system. The Maker flight test program has generated invaluable data that Archer has leveraged in the development and certification path of Midnight. 

Turnkey Aircraft Interior Modification Programs Reduce Risk

Airlines planning for a post-pandemic era are predicting return of international business travel by late 2023 or 2024. Since it can take one to two years to complete a typical integration program for delivery of a reconfigured aircraft, the time to start conducting future planning is now.

Jeremy Hunter, senior sales and marketing manager, and Don Wren, Jamco America’s executive vice president, both from Jamco America, an experienced interior products supplier and turnkey aircraft interiors integrator, answer some key questions about how airlines can mitigate risk as they reconfigure aircraft with dividers, bulkheads, and monuments, including closets, video control cabinets, lavatories, and premium seating.

Q: Why is turnkey for aircraft modifications a better option for airlines?

A: A key issue airlines face when modifying their aircraft interiors is risk. Interior installation and reconfigurations are complex programs, involving design, engineering, testing, certification, manufacturing, and final installation. These are extensive undertakings and airlines often focus on mitigating risks associated with schedule, cost, and quality. That is why the ability to offer a complete set of products and services and/or to integrate third party supplier products is so critical. This method essentially hands the keys of a completed interior to an airline, significantly reducing the many risks involved.

For example, Jamco America has a suite of services at its facility in Everett, WA, including fully staffed engineering, technical publications, manufacturing teams, testing capabilities (electrical, dynamic, thermal, acoustic, life cycle, and material strength), as well as an on-site Federal Aviation Authority Organization Designation Authorization (FAA ODA) certification department. This investment in commercial aerospace capabilities provides a turnkey experience that proactively mitigates risk.

By contrast, alternatives that increase the number of suppliers supporting a given interior modification requires increased coordination among suppliers, thereby inducing additional risk to the program.

Q: What are the main areas in the course of a program that cause delays?

A: Some of the major issues that interior installation/retrofit modification programs face include testing failures, other certification compliance findings, manufacturing delays, and quality issues – sometimes late in a program.

For example, one of Jamco America’s recent interior installation programs resulted in a dynamic testing failure, which is not uncommon with product development. However, with a testing facility right next door to the engineering team, the integration team was able to quickly react to resolve the issue, retest, and avoid impact to the program schedule.

Another area of potential delay that can be mitigated by use of a turnkey organization is certification compliance issues found on products or with the installation of products late in a program. The presence of on-site ODA enables FAA unit members to review the product and installation engineering in real time using multiple internal design reviews that occur during a program. This can significantly reduce risk when compared to situations in which the certification organization works with a separate engineering design firm or is dependent upon limited FAA resources, which may have more critical priorities to support.

“Yes, schedule delays are very often the biggest risk for airline customers during an aircraft interior modification program,” explained Wren. “Any delays in the modification schedule can impact fleet maintenance planning and even route planning. Interior modifications are typically performed to prepare a number of aircraft for the introduction of a new route or to introduce a new class of service on existing routes. Both can be time-sensitive for the airline to remain competitive and meet commitments to their own customers and shareholders.”

Q: Are there benefits to using a turnkey organization even for isolated portions of a program?

A: Using an organization with turnkey knowledge and experience is beneficial even for an isolated portion of work. Because the organization has experience in all aspects of an aircraft interior modification program, it can provide more efficient and effective coordination compared to companies that do not have that level of experience or understanding.

Q: Are there any negatives to using a turnkey organization?

A: Resources must be carefully managed to avoid a situation in which the turnkey organization takes on too much work. For example, Jamco America constantly monitors its resource capacity using a variety of management tools to avoid overextending resources.

Q: What is the value of integrator as part of providing a turnkey solution?

A. Aircraft interior modifications often include more than one supplier. Problems could arise if no organization involved has turnkey integration capabilities. In that case, it would be the airline’s job to manage the program and ensure there are no gaps or overlaps in roles and responsibilities among all the multiple suppliers. The airline already has a full time job moving passengers, so there is a high risk that a gap will result — potentially putting the whole program at risk. A turnkey integrator will oversee all the other supplier activities to ensure a unified schedule and work scope for the program. In effect, this integrator is the airline’s eyes and ears and will manage all technical milestones and deliverables. The integrator is an indispensable team leader who will assist the airline to overcome all hurdles along the way, and with unequivocal focus on staying on time, on budget, and at the highest quality.

Q: How are complex interior programs managed?

For complex programs, the key to success is a highly qualified and experienced program manager. While there will always be challenges, experience and product maturity within a program will keep risk to a minimum. Understanding each applicable aircraft and the respective pre- and post-mod configurations will ensure the program can launch smoothly. When there are unknowns, decision gates must be set. There are often major milestone meetings, for example, the initial technical coordination meeting, preliminary design review, and critical design review. If the milestone entrance and exit criteria are managed well, the program will run smoothly. Proper notice, tracking, and resolution is the only way to mitigate any impacts. For example, each program manager in Jamco America’s program management office holds PMP certification and has more than 25 years of commercial aerospace experience.

LHT’s Redesigned A320 Unveiled – Hydrogen Aviation Lab is Taking Shape

A decommissioned Airbus A320 is being given a new lease of life in the service of science. The Hydrogen Aviation Lab, Hamburg’s new field laboratory for testing maintenance and ground processes for future hydrogen-powered aircraft, was unveiled recently. Hamburg’s Senator for Economic Affairs Michael Westhagemann – whose ministry funded the joint project between Lufthansa Technik, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the ZAL Center for Applied Aeronautical Research and Hamburg Airport – today inspected the repurposed Airbus A320. The presentation of the Hydrogen Aviation Lab also marks the start of the installation of the hydrogen components in the coming months.

The aviation industry is striving to become climate-neutral, with hydrogen widely expected to play a role as a future energy carrier. This requires not only new aircraft but also new infrastructure on the ground. Hamburg is forging a path towards such a hydrogen infrastructure: Lufthansa Technik, DLR, ZAL and Hamburg Airport have joined forces to design and test maintenance and ground-based processes for hydrogen technology. The project is funded by Hamburg’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Innovation as well as the city’s investment and development bank (IFB Hamburg).

The company reports that the project has reached a new milestone. Lufthansa Technik has prepared the aircraft — which flew for Lufthansa Group for 30 years as “Halle an der Saale” — for its crucial next stage. Over the next few months, the Hydrogen Aviation Lab will be fitted with a full suite of test systems as well as an internal tank for liquid hydrogen and an onboard fuel cell, paired with supporting ground-based hydrogen infrastructure.

Lufthansa Technik CEO Soeren Stark, DLR Executive Board Chairwoman Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla, ZAL Managing Director Roland Gerhards and Michael Eggenschwiler, CEO Hamburg Airport, met with Senator Westhagemann to have a close look at the new laboratory and to provide insights into its design and project focus. While this Airbus A320 will no longer be taking to the skies, it is capable of being towed to locations at the Lufthansa Technik base and Hamburg Airport to enable real-world research of ground-based processes.

“With the Hydrogen Aviation Lab, Hamburg has embarked on a great project. It will make a valuable contribution to enabling the use of hydrogen as a fuel for aviation,” Senator Michael Westhagemann said. “The focus on maintenance and refueling procedures should provide us with insights that will be important for developing hydrogen infrastructure. This real-world lab lets us add a crucial building block to Hamburg’s strategy to make aviation more sustainable. We are following two strategic goals: the development of a hydrogen economy in Hamburg and the decarbonization of the mobility industries. We are very pleased to be able to make this world-first project possible through the Special Aviation Fund.”

With the Hydrogen Aviation Lab, the project partners want to prepare for handling and maintenance of hydrogen-powered aircraft, whose entry into service is forecast for the middle of the next decade. Yet the laboratory will also spur on developers of future hydrogen-powered aircraft generations by helping optimize the procedures and safety levels during maintenance work or ground-handling.

A particularly striking example is refueling with liquid hydrogen (Liquid H2, or LH2 for short). Using current technology, the refueling for a long-haul flight could possibly take several hours. Given the pressure on aircraft turnaround times in the airline industry, this would be clearly impracticable. LHT says the Hydrogen Aviation Lab is designed to address this and many other areas of research.

Honeywell Supports NASA’s Artemis I Launch and Orion Spacecraft

Honeywell technology is helping enable NASA’s Artemis I launch, as well as several other aspects of planned NASA missions that will bring astronauts to the moon and Mars. Over the course of NASA’s Artemis program, Honeywell technology will play an increasingly critical role in the Orion spacecraft and the Artemis missions. 

Honeywell provides the full navigation and guidance system for the Artemis I launch vehicle. This allows the spacecraft to know exactly where it’s going, stay on course and return safely to Earth. Honeywell technology is also helping control the thrust on rockets that travel 73 times faster than the cars in the Indy 500.

“We’re incredibly proud that our technology is supporting the Artemis missions to bring Americans back to the moon, and eventually Mars,” said Mike Madsen, president and CEO of Honeywell Aerospace. “Honeywell has been a part of every crewed space mission in NASA’s history, which is a big source of pride for all of us here. Although we’re proud of our legacy with previous NASA missions, I couldn’t be more excited that our employees are shaping the future of human space exploration through the Artemis missions.”

Honeywell will provide 14 product types for crewed Artemis missions III through V, including both hardware and software solutions, to support NASA’s lunar missions. Some of those key technologies are:

  • Guidance and Navigation Systems: Key navigation and guidance solutions, including the barometric altimeter, which tracks the altitude of the Orion capsule in Earth’s atmosphere, as well as the inertial measurement system and GPS receiver, which track the position and movements of the capsule.
  • Command Data Handling: Several data-handling products, including the vehicle management computer, which acts as the central computing platform supporting flight and vehicle control, as well as spacecraft communication functions.
  • Displays and Controls: Three display units and struts, seven control panels and two hand controllers used inside the spacecraft to help astronauts in the Orion capsule monitor and control the vehicle.
  • Core Flight Software: Includes the integrated modular avionics software, a key system responsible for supporting maintenance functions sharing flight data information.

United Becomes First U.S. Airline to Invest in Biofuel Refinery

United Airlines Ventures (UAV) has announced a strategic investment in NEXT Renewable Fuels (NEXT), which is permitting a flagship biofuel refinery in Port Westward, Oregon, with expected production beginning in 2026. NEXT is a Houston-based company developing the biorefinery which, at full production, could produce up to 50,000 barrels per day of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), renewable diesel, and other renewable fuels. UAV could invest as much as $37.5 million into NEXT, as long as the company meets certain milestone targets.

“Right now, one of the biggest barriers to increasing supply and lowering costs of sustainable fuel is that we don’t have the infrastructure in place to transport it efficiently, but NEXT’s strategic location and assets solve that problem and provide a blueprint for future facilities that need to be built,” said Michael Leskinen, president of United Airline Ventures. “We believe this investment will not only bolster NEXT’s ambitions and create near-term solutions to expand our SAF supply, but further demonstrates our commitment toward producing SAF at the scale necessary to decarbonize the aviation industry.”

NEXT’s biorefinery offers several unique benefits including access to a deep-water port, an existing industrial-grade dock, and multi-modal logistics options, which facilitates access to feedstock options and fast-growth SAF offtake markets on the west coast. NEXT has secured an agreement with BP for sourcing 100 percent of its feedstock, further de-risking supply issues smaller facilities have historically experienced. NEXT has also received a crucial air permit from the State of Oregon. Once all the necessary approvals and permits are obtained and the biorefinery is operational, it has the potential to be used as a platform to scale SAF and deploy additional future technologies.

“The clean fuels industry is taking off and our access to feedstocks, multi-modal distribution, and major industry players positions us to be a leading SAF supplier on the West Coast,” said Christopher Efird, CEO and chairperson of NEXT. “United’s investment in NEXT strengthens our resolve to be one of the clean fuels leaders in the transportation sector.”

The announcement marks UAV’s fifth SAF-related technology investment, and its first investment directly in a biorefinery. United has been an industry leader in advocating for alternative jet fuel for years – including investing in more SAF production than any other airline in the world and flying the world’s first passenger flight using 100% SAF in one engine. United also launched the Eco-Skies Alliance program, which among its 30 corporate participants, has collectively purchased more than seven million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel.

Launched in 2021, UAV is a sustainability-focused ventures fund that targets startups, upcoming technologies, and concepts that will complement United’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050 – without relying on traditional carbon offsets such as voluntary offsets or planting trees. To date, UAV’s portfolio includes SAF producers and other companies advancing technologies including carbon utilization, hydrogen-electric engines, electric regional aircraft and air taxis.

Joby and Skyports Partner to Deliver Living Lab for Urban Air Mobility

Joby and Skyports Partner to Deliver Living Lab for Urban Air Mobility

Joby Aviation and Skyports Infrastructure announced they are developing a Living Lab passenger terminal that will enable the two companies to test a variety of technologies and procedures that will help define how passengers experience vertical flight in the future.

“Our all-electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft is set to revolutionize the way we travel in and around cities. Joby riders will skip the traffic, flying directly to their destination at over 200 mph,” said Eric Allison, head of product at Joby. “But to realize the vision of everyday flight, we need to deliver a seamless and more rapid experience on the ground. The Living Lab will allow us to rethink the terminal experience, keeping our customers front and center throughout their entire journey,” he added.

“We expect the Living Lab to be instrumental in our efforts to engage regulators, government officials, and the public to demonstrate the benefits of electric vertical take-off and landing operations and promote acceptance of this new form of mobility,” said Duncan Walker, CEO at Skyports. “Our aim is to develop vertiport infrastructure that delivers a ‘zero-wait’ check-in experience for customers, and we’re delighted to be working with Joby, one of the leading companies in this sector, to prepare for that future,” he added. Earlier this year, Skyports announced a UK government funded project to develop a vertiport at a London General Aviation aerodrome and the company’s European vertiport testbed will launch in November this year at the Pontoise-Cormeilles aerodrome, Paris.

MBDA and MILTECH Sign R&D Contract for Stealth Materials

MBDA and MILTECH have signed an R&D contract in the field of novel infrared stealth materials for military applications, in collaboration with the University of Patras. This contract falls under the co-operation programme associated with the FDI HN (Defence and Intervention Frigates for the Hellenic Navy), and supports European efforts towards independence in the defence industrial base.

“The contract that we’ve signed today with MILTECH is a perfect example of how we champion innovation and co-operation at MBDA,” Eric Béranger, CEO of MBDA, said. “By moving forward in the research of deeply innovative and disruptive technologies we have also reinforced for the long term the historical partnership we have built with Greece”.

MBDA has supported the Greek Land, Marine and Air forces for over 25 years which has allowed the creation of many collaborations with Greek Defence companies, as well as the identification of particular competences in several advanced technologies.

This is the reason why MBDA started advanced negotiations with several companies (INTRACOM, AKMON, ELFON, TEMMA, DASYC, SSA, HAI and MEVACO) to set up industrial co-operation projects, including competency transfers, for the benefit of the Greek armed forces.

The purpose of these co-operation programs, associated with contracts such as providing the FDI HN frites with missile systems, is to directly embed selected Greek companies in MBDA’s supply chain. By doing so they can benefit from the opportunities that future international contracts represent in the long term.

Jamco’s New “Quest Seat for Elegance” Business Class Seat Concept Combines Efficiency and Elegance

Jamco Corporation, an aircraft interior products supplier and turnkey integrator in the aerospace industry, highlights the new “Quest for Elegance” seat, a brand-new business class seat concept that meets the demand for an inventive, spacious seat for high density business class interior cabins without compromising comfort. Featuring a new patented angled tilt monitor and an industrial design focused on providing an elegant premium hotel in the sky while maintaining competitive density, the Quest seat maximizes the passenger experience. In recognition of this design excellence, Jamco’s Quest seat was awarded the iF DESIGN AWARD 2022, one of the most prestigious international design awards.

The Quest Seat features a one-of-a-kind tilting entertainment screen with a wide-angle adjustment, allowing passengers to enjoy entertainment in either reclined, sleep, or bed mode position. The tilting monitor option results in 30 percent more knee space than any other high density business class seat offered.
For those traveling in pairs, the Quest Seat reveals a roomy super full-flat bed when two center seats are combined. Also available for those seeking more privacy are easily deployable partitions and an optional aisle side door.
Jamco expects to have the Quest ready for installation in 2024 or early 2025.

AIMING FOR MORE EFFICIENT ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL SYSTEMS

AIMING FOR MORE EFFICIENT ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL SYSTEMS

Environmental control systems for aircraft need to be robust, lightweight and high performance. Usually they are forgotten by travelers. But the ventilation of aircraft cabins during covid brought them to the forefront and the Center for Disease Control and National Institute of Health added comments about these aircraft systems on their websites. Now that travel is recovering, the focus is on innovation and efficiencies.

Environmental control systems are amongst the most energy demanding systems on aircraft. They typically rank at number one in terms of power draw from the engines over the aircraft life cycle. It is no surprise that much of the effort on the advances of these systems is concentrated on making them more energy efficient. Industry experts provide an update on the technological advances of environmental control systems.

Technological Advancements and the Pandemic

According to Laurent Hartenstein, expert fellow at Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse’s engineering directorate, the technologies used in environmental control systems are highly dependent on the high-level aircraft and engine design choices. “Besides, thermal management of new power systems (batteries, fuel cells, high by-pass ratio engines, etc.), and the associated consuming systems have become a large contributor of potential optimization, with direct links to functions or technologies used in environmental control systems,” he says. “Technological advances in environmental control system are therefore requiring large panel technology advances to support various needs at equipment and system level and at system integration level. At equipment and system level, the needs are to support increased efficiency of products, for example by developing energy recovery modules in the turbomachine to recover the otherwise wasted thermal, or cabin pressure energy. At system integration level the need is to design optimum thermal management between heating and cooling power sources or means available on aircraft.”

Laurent Hartenstein Liebherr-Aerospace
Laurent Hartenstein
Liebherr-Aerospace

Technological advancements have improved the robustness and the reliability of cabin environmental systems, according to Andreas Bezold, Cabin Air Quality & Ventilation Systems Expert at Airbus. “Reducing the fuel consumption of the ECS with more energy efficient system design is another essential design objective. This is reflected in our latest R&T projects focusing on this design parameter primarily. This also includes modifications in the frame of maintaining our cabin air quality standards, investigating the use of improved filtration devices,” he says. “The pandemic has led to increased R&T efforts focusing on air distribution patterns, infection risks in aircraft cabins etc. R&T efforts are continuing on sanitizing surfaces.”

The pandemic has put a lot of public focus on cabin air quality as a key topic for environmental control systems design, affirms Hartenstein. “Although airplanes already display ‘indoor’ environment superior to that available in our everyday life, several avenues are being investigated to further address this demand: with new architectures of systems using air supply directly taken from outside the cabin, and compressed, or with enhanced cabin air filtration systems, such as volatile organic compound (VOC) or high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters,” he says.

HEPA filters have been common for quite some time on commercial narrow body and wide body aircraft, observes Teledyne. “Plenty of existing information has been written describing the advantages of HEPA filters, particularly during the Coronavirus pandemic, but what has not been documented in detail is the airlines’ ability to monitor the effectiveness of their HEPA filters, i.e., are they blocked with particulates and require changing, and how the airlines are monitoring their effectiveness,” says Teledyne. “The only way to answer those questions is with a cabin air quality monitoring system – which is why we developed the ACES solution in order to aid airlines in answering these questions in addition to providing confidence for the traveling crew and passengers, that the environment they are in is safe.”

jet isle

HEPA Filters

HEPA filters are standard on almost all commercial aircraft produced today, starting back in the 1990s, observes Teledyne. “Aircraft not equipped with HEPA tend to be older generation aircraft. The advantage of HEPA filters is their ability to capture or block very small particles. As it relates to COVID-19, with an approximate size of 100 nanometers, the typical HEPA filter easily captures particles with 99.9% efficiency, down to 10 nanometers (HEPA filters actually increase in efficiency while in use). Good practice when replacing a HEPA filter would include gloves and a N95 mask,” says Teledyne.

While the HEPA concept is still the most efficient and practical method for removing dust and pathogens from air since decades, some enhancements have been made regarding the materials used to improve their durability and performance, observes Bezold. “Furthermore, architectural improvements were implemented to increase the capacity of HEPA filters. Some recirculation filters are available with absorber stages to reduce the concentration of odorous substances in the recirculated air,” he says. “Airbus has always taken great care to enable a safe environment on board an aircraft — a commitment which remains unchanged and enhanced in a post-pandemic world. Our aircraft are designed and equipped by leveraging the latest technology for the most rigorous and absolute best in health, safety, and comfort. Strict compliance with the published maintenance procedures is key to maintain good air quality. This also applies to troubleshooting and decontamination in the case of a cabin air event.”

As to the maintenance that is needed on HEPA filters, Hartenstein affirms that such filters require periodic replacement on airplane for optimum performance, with adapted procedure for removals and disposal by the maintenance crew.

Automation

Environmental control systems are highly automated control systems, affirms Hartenstein. “The control algorithms are typically designed to adjust the energy drawn from the aircraft to the necessary levels to ensure safe and comfortable environment in the cabin, in terms on temperature, air changes in the occupied compartments, humidity, pressure, and rate of pressure variation in the cabin during the mission,” he says. “Human factors are clearly a key element in the design of the monitoring, indication, and crew/system interfaces. The system interfaces are inherently designed with human factors and crew operation specialists to prevent selection of inappropriate conditions for the cabin (e.g., temperature, pressure), and provide comprehensive reporting and indication of malfunctions should crew actions be required.”

A key objective of environmental control systems’ design is aiming at minimising crew workload while providing smooth controls and superior thermal comfort where automation is a key enabler, observes Bezold. “Human factors are an essential element in the design of environmental control systems because they need to be considered to design systems with low crew workload and to achieve a smooth and efficient operation of the ECS maintaining a comfortable environment for passengers and crew,” he says.

There is currently no information to pilots or cabin crew if there is something else that they need to worry about – e.g., chemical substance that has the potential to harm crew and passengers, or potential gradual lack of oxygen which could be hard to detect until it is too late, according to Teledyne. “We want to empower the crew and the airlines with enhanced cabin environmental systems that assist in making informed decisions sooner, through the use of rich data,” says Teledyne.

Reliability and Maintenance

The reliability figures of environmental control systems have improved over the years due to extensive analysis of in-service data and consequent improvements of affected equipment and system areas, according to Bezold. “Thanks to a huge aggregation of operational data Airbus gains a deeper insight into operational effects. Hence the design teams are in a position to permanently improve reliability and reduce maintenance efforts of the customer. This is based on smart algorithms for data analytics and predictive maintenance functions,” he says.

Environmental control systems are typically complex electromechanical systems, operating continuously, and submitted to very harsh environments- i.e., high temperature, pressure, and vibration levels, observes Hartenstein. “The reliability of the equipment, the ease of maintenance, and the operational reliability of the system are key and have been the subject of considerable design efforts for improvement over the years,” he says. “For example, the implementation of newer generation of systems with better controls, optimized architectures, and improved equipment, has demonstrated multiple in-service merits, and specifically an improvement of reliability of key equipment up to a factor two or three and a reduction by a factor two or three of aircraft operational interruption due to air systems, while at the same time offering optimized energy draw from the engine reducing by up to 20% fuel burn associated with environmental control systems.”

Delta Throws in with Joby Aviation for AAM Partnership

Delta Air Lines is embarking on a multi-year, multi-market commercial and operational partnership with Joby Aviation, a partnership they hope will deliver transformational, sustainable home-to-airport transportation service to Delta customers. The initial service will begin in New York and Los Angeles. The companies will work together to integrate a Joby-operated service into Delta’s customer-facing channels, providing customers who travel with Delta through New York and Los Angeles the opportunity to reserve a seat for seamless, zero-operating-emission, short-range journeys to and from city airports when booking Delta travel.

Delta has made an upfront equity investment of $60 million in Joby, with the opportunity to expand the total investment up to $200 million as the partners achieve substantive milestones on the development and delivery of the service. The partners will work together to create a differentiated, premium experience for Delta customers featuring seamless booking, simplified transit and greater time savings. This will run alongside Joby’s standard airport service in priority markets. The partnership will be mutually exclusive across the U.S. and U.K. for five years following commercial launch, with the potential to extend that period. 

“Delta always looks forward and embraces opportunities to lead the future, and we’ve found in Joby a partner that shares our pioneering spirit and commitment to delivering innovative, seamless experiences that are better for our customers, their journeys, and our world,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian. “This is a groundbreaking opportunity for Delta to deliver a time-saving, uniquely premium home-to-airport solution for customers in key markets we’ve been investing and innovating in for many years.”

Delta has long made strategic investments in unique commercial partnerships that deliver value and drive growth for individual businesses. From investments in companies such as CLEAR and Wheels Up to a worldwide network of alliance partners Delta’s partnerships have played a key role in Delta’s efforts to transform the travel experience.

“We share Delta’s unwavering commitment to delivering seamless and sustainable journeys to customers,” said Joby Founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt. “Their history of innovation, along with their vast operational expertise and leadership on climate change, make them incredible partners for Joby, and it’s an honor to be working alongside them.”

Joby’s aircraft is designed to fly fast, quiet and sustainable trips in and around cities. The aircraft has flown more than 1,000 test flights, demonstrating its range, speed, altitude and low noise profile. The company was the first eVTOL company to be granted a G-1 (Stage 4) Certification Basis for its aircraft by the FAA and recently received its Part 135 Air Carrier Certification.

“Delta is differentiating and amplifying the customer experience with premium products, choices and solutions across the journey,” said Allison Ausband, Delta’s E.V.P. and chief customer experience officer. “Addressing what matters most to our customers is foundational to our focus, and our work with Joby is the latest in a series of ways we’re making the experience of travel more seamless, enjoyable and wait-free.”

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