Check out the July 19 edition of What's Trending in Aerospace, where editors and contributors for Avionics International bring you some of the top headlines and stories across various segments of the global aerospace industry that you should be aware of for the week ahead.
At the 2018 Farnborough International Airshow, a concept of the Tempest sixth generation fighter jet concept aircraft was on display. (Leonardo)
Farnborough International Airshow Goes to All Digital Experience This Week
The 2020 Farnborough International Airshow (FIA) is presenting an all digital webcast experience this week in place of its bi-annual live gathering at Farnborough International Airport.
In 2018, there were 80,000 visitors from 96 countries at FIA, which should mean a large online participation this week as the airshow has planned for five days of keynote speeches, presentations and networking opportunities. Topics featured on the agenda include space exploration, real time operating systems, sixth generation fighter jet technology and several sessions dedicated to the future of sustainability in aviation.
FIA is providing free registration for the event via its website here.
Boeing Announces Second Quarter Aircraft Deliveries
In a July 14 press release, Boeing announced its major program deliveries for the second quarter, that included 20 commercial aircraft deliveries. That brings the total number of commercial aircraft delivered year to date for Boeing to 70.
"Our commercial airplane deliveries in the second quarter reflect the significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our customers and our operations that included a shutdown of our commercial airplane production for several weeks. We have and will continue to work with our customers on specific timing and adjustment to deliveries," said Greg Smith, Boeing executive vice president of Enterprise Operations, chief financial officer and interim leader of Communications.
Stratos Aircraft Achieves First Flight of 716X
Stratos Aircraft achieved the first flight of its 716X six seater jet. Photo: Stratos Aircraft
Stratos Aircraft announced the first flight of its Stratos 716X model – registration N716X. The flight lasted 22 minutes, according to a July 10 press release published by the company.
The Stratos 716X is a "multi-role" VLJ (Very Light Jet) designed to seat six people to support personal, business, and air taxi use.
Flown by test pilot Sean VanHatten, the Stratos 716X is a spacious six-place jet with generous space for baggage. The all-carbon airframe, single-engine jet is designed to cruise at 400 knots. The first flight was a full power takeoff and climb to 13,500 ft. A series of maneuvers were then conducted to evaluate handling characteristics. The flight is the first of an extensive flight test program that will span the next several months, according to Stratos Aircraft.
The 716X is 4.5 ft longer, and has a wider cabin, than the 714 Proof of Concept (PoC) aircraft introduced at Oshkosh in 2017. The all-carbon-fiber 716X features trailing link gear, is powered by a Pratt & Whitney JT15D-5 turbofan, and is configured with dual G3X screens, GTN 750 MFD, integrated Garmin Autopilot, dual standby attitude indicators, custom switch panels, fully automated pressurization system, and air conditioning.
VersaLogic Has a New Embedded Computing System with Error Correcting Memory
VersaLogic Corp. has released a new compact and rugged embedded computing system with error correcting (ECC) memory. This is VersaLogic’s eighth product family released in the popular Embedded Processing Unit format.
Named “Owl”, this new computer features error correcting memory combined with Intel®’s latest 5th generation Apollo Lake processors (dual or quad core). The Owl also includes TPM 2.0 hardware security, on-board power conditioning, Mini PCIe expansion sockets, and analog input ports, along with standard USB and Ethernet I/O ports.
On-board I/O includes dual Gigabit Ethernet, one USB 3.0 and four USB 2.0 ports, eight analog inputs, eight digital I/O ports, and four serial ports. A SATA interface, eMMC Flash, mSATA slot, and a microSD socket provide a range of data storage options, according to the company.
Microchip Expands Transient Voltage Suppressor Portfolio
Microchip Technology introduced its newly-expanded portfolio of Transient Voltage Suppressor (TVS) vertical arrays – the MDA3KP Transient Voltage Suppressor (TVS), a 3 kW diode family of more than 25 products with different screening levels, polarities and qualification standards.
Microchip’s MDA3KP TVS diode array family provides an integrated multi-diode solution. These voltage-clamping devices provide fast-reacting Avalanche Breakdown Diode (ABD) features that divert excess current around sensitive components to protect them from electrical overstress, the company said in a press release.
“Digital controls, logic and diagnostic system circuit blocks require highly reliable, secure current and power protection to ensure operations in extreme environments,” said Leon Gross, vice president of Microchip’s Discrete Product Group business unit. “This diode family also addresses the challenges system designers face with a more efficient vertical construction and requirement for less board space than other devices.”
Skydio Raises $100 Million, Releases New Hardware/Software
Skydio, a U.S.-based developer of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for recreation, commercial and military use, closed $100 million in Series C funding, bringing its total funds raised to $170 million.
Known primarily for its industry-leading autonomy systems and producing high-quality video footage of recreational activities, Skydio also has contracts with the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and Drug Enforcement Agency. It’s one of a few domestic companies the Pentagon is hoping will be able to provide secure, affordable small drones after the DoD acted to ban the use of Chinese-made DJI drones due to data security concerns.
Last May, Skydio was one of six companies the Army chose, through the Defense Innovation unit, to develop short-range reconnaissance (SRR) platforms. The other five are Altavian, Teal Drones, Lumenier, Vantage Robotics and Parrot.
Alongside the fundraise, Skydio announced a new family of drones it calls X2, available in enterprise and military configurations. The military version meets the Army’s SRR requirements, pairing Skydio’s autonomous navigation technology with a ruggedized airframe, folding arms, a thermal camera and up to 35 minutes of flight time.
The Pentagon recently announced $13.4 million in awards to UAS and related technology developers through the Defense Production Act Title III, as part of the national response to COVID-19. Skydio received $4 million to continue work on their flight controller hardware and software and data link.
As policymakers continue to voice concerns about Chinese-made DJI drones and data-harvesting, Skydio is well-positioned to capture a significant share of the enterprise and military market looking to move away from foreign UAS.
Honeywell Offers New GPS-Denied Navigation System
Honeywell is introducing HGuide n380, a new inertial navigation system that communicates position, orientation and velocity of an object even if GPS signals are unavailable. This version is developed to offer a smaller, lighter, lower-priced version of similar systems, for use on smaller, more weight-constrained aircraft.
“We recognized a need for a small, high-performance inertial navigation system in areas like 3D mapping, surveying and other applications where space is at a premium and performance cannot be compromised,” said Chris Lund, offering management senior director, Navigation and Sensors, Honeywell Aerospace. “We responded by developing the HGuide n380 inertial navigation system, which provides our customers with proven, cost effective inertial sensor technology, created for aerospace applications, but that can be integrated into almost any architecture.”
This new inertial navigation system is composed of Honeywell’s HGuide i300 inertial measurement unit (IMU), a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receiver and Honeywell’s proprietary sensor fusion software, which is based on the algorithms used for navigation on millions of aircraft every day. Inputs from these components are fused together to determine position, orientation and velocity to deliver critical navigation information even in areas where a satellite signal is degraded or altogether unavailable, such as canyons, bridges, tunnels, mountains, parking garages or dense forests.
Urban Air Mobility
Lilium Selects Toray Industries As Carbon Fiber Composite Supplier
German air taxi developer Lilium, which is working to certify its five-seat, all-electric, vertical takeoff and landing Lilium Jet, is partnering with Toray Industries to supply high-performance carbon fiber composite for production of future technology demonstrators and eventual manufacturing of its aircraft.
“Securing this supply agreement marks an important step in the maturity of our supply chain and in our preparations for serial production,” commented Daniel Wiegand, co-founder and CEO at Lilium.
The agreement also paves the way for further collaboration between the two companies, both in the provision of other high-performance materials and the establishment of research and development partnerships.
Lilium, which expects to begin commercial operations in 2025, recently added Bailie Gifford as a shareholder and brought its total funds raised to date up to $375 million.