We are on the cusp of a new era of aviation. You can feel excitement in the air. Digitization, automation, connectivity, sustainability, urban air mobility. All of these things are being explored, expanded and brought to fruition right now. These things are all interconnected. That excitement is exactly why we wanted to begin covering all of the developments happening in our industry with the new publication you are looking at right now, Aerospace Tech REVIEW.
With the momentum from our successful Aerospace Tech WEEK event, we aligned the publication’s coverage with the topics from the conference tracks and will add in stories about the innovations and new directions our industry is discovering. So, as developments occur throughout the year, we will be bringing that news and information to you with regular updates on our website: AerospaceTechREVIEW.com and in-depth articles and commentary from experts around the world in this magazine.
In addition to the rapid pace of change in avionics, connectivity and software aimed at making flight operations, MRO and testing faster, more efficient and productive, as mentioned we will also be following and reporting on the innovations and new directions our industry takes, and how they are all interconnected.
Let’s start with connectivity. Airbus began flight trials of their IoT connected cabin recently. They are calling the platform the Airspace Connected Experience and Airbus visionaries believe it will bring a new passenger experience to market which, since all things are interconnected, will lead to new operational efficiencies and revenue streams. Airbus says passengers will have targeted experiences like “pre- and remote ordering of preferred meals, booking of private bin space, setting of individual seat positions as well as a tailor-made inflight IFE offer.” Passengers are becoming more dependent on connectivity and all the airlines hope to be able to monetize this experience.
Better cabin connectivity is also making things like partnerships with online streaming services happen. This will be a crucial year for cabin connectivity and inflight entertainment (IFE). There will also be intertwined benefits like predictive maintenance. Experts envision more efficient crew tools and mobile smart devices allowing crews to monitor and operate components. Learn more in our connectivity story on page 14.
ICF’s Martin Harrison has some interesting ideas about what the next big thing to impact our industry will be. So, let’s talk about the environment. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), air transport contributes to 4.9 per cent of human-caused climate change. A new and fervent movement among young people is happening and the aviation industry is taking notice.
Sustainable fuel is non-fossil based hydrocarbon fuel that, once certified, can be used without any restrictions. It is making its way into aviation with a steady beat. These fuels are certified as Jet-A1 and do not require any technical modifications to aircraft. At this year’s National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) conference in Las Vegas, all of the major OEMs reported that their display aircraft at the show had flown in on sustainable fuel. One speaker said, “This sustainable fuel doesn’t just perform like Jet A…it is Jet A.” Take a look at Martin Harrison’s commentary on page 56 and our feature story on fuel management applications on page 38.
We are also going to look regularly at aerospace testing. Thom Patterson visited the recently completed Delta TechOps test cell in Atlanta, Georgia and gives us a look at that enormous facility and the potential within. Currently, it is the largest test cell in the world. With engine MRO shops full across the globe, TechOps timed that addition to their engine capabilities well. Read all about it in Patterson’s story starting on page 32.
We will also keep track of happenings in the MRO IT space. As important as tracking is, MRO IT has evolved into so much more. We delve into digital twins and how they are being used to take maintenance to the next level. No longer just used in simulating engine wear and tear, these model simulations can be used for most parts and now, even processes can have digital twins. See how companies like Rolls-Royce, GE, IFS and Test Fuchs, Lufthansa Technik and Ubisense are creating next level virtual twins in our feature, Twinning on page 46.
We also have included an excellent look at the current status of the ADS-B equipage mandate one month out from the January 1, 2020 deadline. While the gap between equipped and unequipped aircraft has narrowed steadily, the FAA’s own data shows that hundreds or even thousands of aircraft could potentially be unable to fly come January 1. Will there be an onslaught of requests to complete the installation of ADSB in January? If so, there will also need to be special dispensations given by the FAA to anyone wishing to fly their aircraft to a facility to have the work done that should have taken place months and months ago. Read Kathryn Creedy’s ADSB update on page 26.
We hope you enjoy this inaugural issue of Aerospace Tech REVIEW and please let us know what areas you would like to see included in the next issue – Urban Air Mobility? Blockchain? Autonomous flight? Email me at Jfinnegan@aerospace-media.com with suggestions and tips. I look forward to hearing from you.