What’s Trending in Aerospace – August 30, 2020

By Staff Writer | August 30, 2020
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Check out the Aug. 30 edition of What’s Trending in Aerospace, where editors and contributors for Avionics International bring you some of the latest headlines happening across the global aerospace industry.

Commercial Aviation

EASA Schedules flight tests for the Boeing 737 MAX

EASA will participate in test flights of the Boeing 737 MAX next week in Canada. (Boeing)

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) will be participating in Boeing 737 MAX re-certification test flights in Canada Sept. 7, according to an Aug. 27 press release published on the civil aviation regulator’s website.

“The parties have now reached agreement that EASA’s flight tests will take place in Vancouver, Canada in the week commencing September 7, 2020,” the agency said. “Simulator tests will take place in the previous week (from Sept 1, 2020) in London Gatwick in the United Kingdom. The Joint Operations Evaluation Board (JOEB), will also take place in Gatwick, in the week beginning September 14, 2020.”

The agency noted that it has been working in close cooperating with the FAA on evaluating Boeing’s updates to the 737 MAX in preparation for re-entry into service.

Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 to Test New Technologies for ecoDemonstrator Program

A modified Etihad Airways Boeing 787-10 will serve as the next ecoDemonstrator program aircraft.

An Etihad Airways 787-10 Dreamliner decked out with special equipment that can enhance safety and reduce CO2 emissions and noise has commenced flight testing this week for Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator program.

A series of flights will gather the most detailed information to date about aircraft acoustics from some 1,200 microphones attached to the outside of the 787 and positioned on the ground. The collaboration between NASA and Boeing will improve the agency’s aircraft noise prediction capabilities, advance ways for pilots to reduce noise and inform future quiet aircraft designs.

Check out an overview of the program published on Etihad’s YouTube page.

COVID-19 Forces Layoffs, Fleet Decisions at Finnair


Finnair plans to eliminate up to 1,000 jobs as part of new operational changes the Nordic carrier is making under the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

“Almost all of Finnair’s employees in Finland have been temporary laid off for a part of the spring and summer. In addition to the planned personnel reductions, Finnair will continue to apply temporary layoffs for practically all its personnel in Finland. The temporary layoffs can be either for fixed term or until further notice,” the airline said in an Aug. 25 press release.

On the same day as announcing the layoffs, Finnair also confirmed a sale and leaseback for one of its A350 aircraft.

”COVID-19 is the deepest crisis of aviation. The pandemic and the exceptionally tight travel restrictions in Finland have impacted flight demand and we will operate only a small part of our capacity compared to last year,” said Topi Manner, Finnair CEO. “A rapid turn for the better in the pandemic situation is unfortunately not in sight. Our revenue has decreased considerably, and that is why we simply must adjust our costs to our new size.”

Embedded Avionics

Advanced Magnet Lab Selected for Electric Aircraft Propulsion Program

Advanced Magnet Lab, Inc. was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) for the development of “electric propulsion motors, drives, and associated thermal management systems for commercial electric aircraft,” according to 

The ultimate goal of the program is to develop innovative lightweight and ultra-efficient electric motors, drives, and associated thermal management systems (collectively referred to as the all-electric powertrain) that will help enable net-zero carbon emissions in commercial aircraft. Single-aisle and twin-aisle aircraft that carry 100 or more passengers account for more than 90 percent of global emissions from commercial aircraft.

“We are extremely excited to be provided the opportunity to develop and exhibit our capabilities and technologies for the future of aviation,” stated Dr. Philippe Masson, CTO of AML.

AML is collaborating with the Center for Advanced Power Systems (CAPS) at Florida State University, which is developing the high-power density power converters which will drive and control AML’s motors.


Airbus and Boeing to issue joint paper on modernising air traffic management

In the coming weeks, Airbus and Boeing will release a collaborative report warning that air traffic management must be significantly modernized to manage the influx of new small aircraft and potentially passenger air taxis that will occupy future airspace.

According to FlightGlobal reporting, the two companies are writing the report to spur greater action by regulators. The Federal Aviation Administration’s NextGen program to upgrade ATM has faced delays.

The paper was distributed to ICAO in June of this year.

AirMap Launches Defense Unit to Increase Focus on DoD

The UAS service provider launched AirMap Defense Group (ADG) to increase its focus on providing UAS services to DoD, focusing on air traffic management services — the company’s main focus on the commercial side — as well as autonomous mission planning and execution.

AirMap received $3.3 million from the Pentagon earlier this summer, as part of COVID industry support efforts, to aid product development in these areas as well as post-mission analysis.

DDC Unveils New Ultra-Compact 1553 Magnetics Solutions Save Space & Optimize System Connectivity


Data Device Corporation (DDC) announces the release of two new ultra-compact 1553 magnetics components that provide size and weight savings, enabling minimized package design and optimized system connectivity.

The new ULP series 1553 isolation transformers are the world’s smallest single channel isolation devices, providing a 46 percent smaller size with 32 percent less weight than what was previously available. This achievement enables LRU box manufacturers to fit these isolation transformers near edge connectors for more efficient data transmission and package design.

The new DBM series data bus couplers utilize the world’s smallest coupler housing body, at 1.1” (27.9 mm) long by 0.31” (7.9 mm) high, enabling more compact packaging with greater flexibility options for integrating harness assemblies with LRU’s on the aircraft, providing optimized system connectivity.


FCC Grants OneWeb Market Access for 2,000-Satellite Constellation

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted OneWeb‘s market access to expand its Non-Geostationary Orbit (NGSO) satellite constellation to 2,000 satellites with a V-band payload in addition to its Ku- and Ka-band constellation.

OneWeb petitioned to add a V-band payload to the 720 satellite Ku- and Ka-band constellation approved by the FCC in 2017, proposing 1,280 additional V-band satellites operating at a nominal altitude of 8,500 km.

According to the FCC order, OneWeb must launch and operate 50% of the maximum number of proposed space stations, or 1,000 satellites, by Aug. 26, 2026. The remaining satellites must be launched and operated by Aug. 26, 2029. OneWeb currently has 74 satellites in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO).

“We are pleased to hear the FCC granted our V-Band application. The V-band is critical for next generation satellite broadband services. OneWeb looks forward to the future growth opportunities this approval will enable as we commercialize our spectrum and execute on our mission to bring low latency connectivity to communities, governments, businesses, and people in the U.S. and around the world,” a OneWeb spokesperson said Wednesday.

Check out the full article as published on Via Satellite, a sister publication to Avionics. 

Electric Aviation

BAE Systems Adds Power Sources into Aircraft Electrification Push

This week, BAE announced it intends to focus on designing new aircraft power sources to help replace combustion engines, as a further extension of the company’s move into aircraft electrification which includes energy management systems and flight controls. Two of the company’s current clients in this space are Jaunt Air Mobility, an air taxi developer, and Wright Electric, a startup aiming to bring to market a 186-seat electric jet.

“The systems have yet to leave the runway, but stand to make a difference when they do,” BAE said in a press release. “Each system will cut emissions and help operators save on fuel. The technology opens the door for a new way to commute and could take cars off the road. Reduced traffic would open roadways and further reduce emissions in the places where we live, work and visit.”

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