As we come into the heat of the summer and also enter a new world where the demand for air travel is heating up to new heights, we wanted to take a look around to see the hottest happenings in the our areas of coverage. These areas coincide with our two events, Aerospace Tech Week Americas, which will take place in Atlanta, Georgia on 8-9 November this year and Aerospace Tech Week Europe, which will take place in Munich, Germany on 29-30 March 2023, and include Avionics, Connectivity, MRO IT, FlightOps IT, Space, Testing and Innovation. Check out the Preshow Guide for the Atlanta event starting on page 57 to get an idea of what we will be covering. Mark your calendar and make your plans now, to attend. Let me highlight some of our stories in these categories now.
In our Avionics category, Mario Pierobon examined the latest trends in enhanced flight vision systems (EFVS) in his piece entitled, “Seeing the Unseen,” starting on page 18. When these systems were first certified in the early 2000s, there was keen interest from high-end business jet operators who always want the latest safety-related features.
The interest soon spread into the commercial operators as the benefits of increased safety at night and during adverse weather conditions were observed — when it “absolutely, positively has to be there overnight,” these systems can facilitate the safe conclusion of that famous mantra. His story looks at the level of adoption of these systems, the benefits, enablers and inhibitors of EFVS, the human factors considerations that guide EFVS development and the peculiarities of retrofitting a complex system such as this into an existing aircraft.
Next, we look at the ever growing demand for in-flight connectivity as passengers have a seemingly insatiable desire for faster, more reliable connections while onboard aircraft. OEMs like Airbus are leading the way with an expected 30,000 aircraft to be equipped by 2027. Airbus is touting its “Airspace Cabin Vision 2030,” which focuses on the digital future of the cabin experience which it says is inspired by “airlines, technology companies from Silicon Valley and start-ups and bringing to life a future flying experience.”
That story also looks at the ways satellite companies like Intelsat and Inmarsat are facilitating access to greater connectivity with their product offerings for both passengers and air traffic management. See that story on page 26.
Next, in our Flight Ops IT story, we take a look at flight data monitoring (FDM) and the flight operations quality assurance (FOQA) that goes hand in hand with it to ensure all that data is being put to good use. A story from the airline world tells of an incident that only came to light after a self-reported incident where the cockpit crew lost situational awareness and dipped extremely low on an approach. Luckily, they were able to recover and land safely and without incident. But, as the incident was examined through an ASAP report, the FDM/FOQA data showed just how serious the event had been, even unbeknownst to the crew. At that time only a few of that airline’s aircraft had it installed. When the CEO saw the report, he commanded all aircraft at that airline have the equipment installed whatever the cost. That is the power of the data.
We also look at AI/ML — artificial intelligence and machine learning in the MRO world to see how these techy wonders can impact the bottom line — because it is always about the bottom line. Can AI/ML make help make MROs more efficient? The answer is clearly yes. Ramco says their innovation lab in Singapore is working on a number of use cases that can assist a mechanic encountering a technical problem. They can consult the system, which uses historical data to identify the cause quickly.
Participants in the exciting and developing field of advanced air mobility (AAM) are making progress in their lofty goals. First flights, airworthiness certifications and continued funding are helping the momentum build even in the face of challenges like the acceptance of local communities and infrastructure needs.
We take a look at the initially-piloted group of AAM creators in this sector of our industry in Jim McKenna’s piece in our Innovation section starting on page 50. It is an exciting time for these folks and whether they are a few years or a decade away from making this new field a reality, one thing is for sure — it is coming.
You may have already seen some of the images coming from the James Webb Space Telescope. But please check out the piece about them on page 64, if for no other reason than to stare into the Cosmic Cliffs image on the opening spread of that piece. The Webb telescope is looking further into space than has ever been seen in the history of mankind. It is awe-inspiring work and the images are amazing. Kudos to NASA, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) for their collaboration and years of preparatory work to achieve these monumental and groundbreaking new views of the cosmos.
We also want to draw your attention to the winners of the EACP Sustainable Innovation Awards. The awards were presented recently and the first place winners, Coldsense Technologies has a unique product that will benefit the AAM world that is getting closer to operational reality as mentioned. See what that product is and learn about the EACP and other winners and applicants starting on page 70.
Last but not least, speaking of awards, the Aerospace Media Awards were held in London, UK on July 17. Two Aerospace and Security Media’s publications, this one and our sister publication, Aviation Maintenance Magazine, were nominated and shortlisted for 10 categories! Our sister publication won in The Best MRO Submission for a story about business connectivity. We are so proud to have been honored by these awards and look forward to bringing you more industry- and peer-recognized leading content as we go forward.
Enjoy that summer heat!