Monthly Archives: February 2018

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PPG Launching Speedy New Sealant Spray


Pro-Seal 815M promises to reduce aircraft assembly times through significantly quicker curing.

PPG is launching its new Pro-Seal 815M aerospace sealant spray next month. According to the company, the new sealant spray has the potential to reduce aircraft assembly times by curing the surface of the sealant to a tack-free state in two to three hours compared to the time required for untreated sealants to reach the same condition, which can range from six to more than 40 hours.

“I have never met a customer who was not actively looking for ways to speed up the sealing process of an aircraft, while also expecting the applied sealant to look perfect,” says Bill Keller, PPG’s global market segment manager, aerospace sealants. “The artisans who apply aerospace sealants commonly spend vast amounts of time tooling the sealant to meet dimensional and appearance specifications. To accelerate this process, they often use unapproved solvents that could be detrimental to the sealant’s performance and longevity.”

According to Keller, Pro-Seal 815M is both quicker and easier to use than other comparable products. The clear spray, which can be used throughout the aircraft anywhere polysulfide aerospace sealants are applied, comes ready to use in a non-aerosol recyclable pump bottle. Once sprayed on wet sealant, Pro-Seal 815M helps break the surface tension and cures the sealant at 25C (77F), which allows for easier smoothing and fairing to meet dimensional requirements and optimal appearance.

PPG says the idea for the product was first developed approximately four years ago and the company leveraged its expertise in aerospace sealant technology and application to accelerate its development. Before the March launch of the product, PPG will be offering advance samples of Pro-Seal 815M. Samples will be available by request and at the 2018 Singapore Airshow this week.

Source: MRO Network

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AAR sells Telair Cargo for $725m


US aircraft component manufacturer TransDigm has bought Telair Cargo Group, a subsidiary of US-based MRO AAR, for $725m.

US aircraft component manufacturer TransDigmhas bought Telair Cargo Group, a subsidiary of US-based MRO AAR, for $725m.

The group designs and manufactures baggage and cargo handling systems for widebody and narrowbody aircraft, as well as providing aftermarket support for its products. Telair says it supports more than 50 carriers.

The sale of the group, expected to be complete by May 31 2015, includes Telair International, Telair US and Nordisk Aviation Products.

AAR has also confirmed that it plans to sell its “unprofitable” precision systems manufacturing business and will report a charge of $40m in Q3 2015 as a result.

David Storch, chairman and CEO of AAR, said: “These transactions are an important strategic step positioning AAR as a pure-play, industry-leading global aviation services company and will allow us to focus our attention where we see the best opportunities for the company.

“We also expect the sale will create value for our shareholders by crystalizing our valuation, improving AAR’s overall return profile, and reshaping our balance sheet while returning capital to shareholders.”

Source:MRO Network

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Where Are Narrowbody MRO Costs Heading?


Mechanics wages and engine parts prices are rising, but real MRO cost per flight hour is decreasing.

Yearly aircraft maintenance spending fluctuates according to a number of factors—fleet age and size, intensity of modifications and airline profitability—that affect discretionary maintenance and upgrades. Historically, the most meaningful measures of MRO cost—real spending per flight hour or seat-mile—have been gradually trending downward.

This is true even though current-dollar maintenance costs, unadjusted for general inflation, may rise and despite the fact that inputs to maintenance, such as labor and parts, may escalate in cost. For example, U.S. mechanics’ wages increased 7-12% from 1999 to 2016 after adjustment for general inflation, and real engine-part prices were up 17% during the same period. But real MRO cost per flight-hour dropped 9% and real seat-mile expenses declined 17% as average seating capacity of aircraft grew.

These decreases are only 0.5-1% annually and easily masked by short-run factors, but over time they are crucial to more efficient flying.

The declines are enabled by two basic causes. OEMs continue to build better jets and engines, which need less maintenance and downtime. And OEMs, airlines and MROs grow smarter about how to perform maintenance.

The first cause should continue for  newest twin-aisle aircraft: the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350. With more composite structures, these jets were designed to be maintenance-stingy.

But these new midsize widebodies will represent only 12% of new aircraft deliveries over the next 20 years, according to Boeing’s Current Market Outlook. By far the greatest portion of new aircraft— nearly three-fourths of deliveries—will be single-aisle jets. And for at least the near-midterm or more, this means new versions of the 737 and A320.

The 737MAX and A320neo were designed chiefly to help airlines reduce fuel burn with better engines, when fuel costs were skyrocketing and pressure to reduce emissions was on the horizon. But airframe and engine OEMs also have been paying attention to reliability and maintenance.

Both Boeing and Airbus have been working on two paths. First, they are exploiting experience with their veteran narrowbodies to develop better maintenance plans for existing and new types. And second, the new types have been designed to ease further maintenance burdens.

Source: MRO Network

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News Roundup From The 2018 Singapore Airshow


A quick dive into all of the biggest MRO news coming out of the 2018 Singapore Airshow.

Asia’s largest aerospace and defense event brought a flurry of news this year, including new contract signings, joint ventures, regional aerospace facilities and company rebrandings. Take a look at our roundup of some of the biggest news coming out of the 2018 Singapore Airshow.

Source MRO Network

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Copa Plans To Expand Fleet in 2018


Flag carrier of Panama plans to grow fleet by 25% by 2020.

Copa Airlines is in a growth mode—it plans to increase its fleet by 25% by 2020—with the first of 71 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft arriving in August.

This year it should receive five 737 MAX aircraft, followed by 10 in 2019 and 22 in 2022, says Ahmad Zamany, VP technical operations, speaking at Aviation Week Network’s MRO Latin America event. The last of the 71 should arrive in 2025.

Zamany says entry into service (EIS) plans are on schedule and is confident from a technical perspective that it will stay on target. Copa, which started EIS tasks such as aircraft configuration in 2016, has issued purchase orders for the first batch of spare parts and tooling. Staff training is underway.

Its predominant fleet—737-800s–will cap out at 71 this year—up from 69 in 2017.

Its Embraer 190 fleet will decline from 20 to 19 this year and stay level through 2020, says Zamany.

Based on fleet reliability findings, Copa is the process of extending the 737-800 A checks to 90 days from 60 (with hour and cycle limitations), which will decrease aircraft downtime. However, the extended checks will require “a few additional task cards and a few that need to be done in between,” yet the A checks can still be completed overnight, says Zamany.

To accommodate the expanding fleet, the Panama-based carrier broke ground on a new maintenance hangar in 2017 that should be finished in the fourth quarter of this year, says Zamany. The hangar, capable of fitting three 737 Max 9s simultaneously, is a pre-fabricated concept hangar built by GMI of Mexico, which is also laying the foundation.

Source :MRO Network

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Could seaplanes be the future of transatlantic flight?


(CNN) — In the future, transatlantic flights could be smooth sailing, literally. Rather than slamming down on a runway on the outskirts of a city center, passengers could land on along the coast in a jumbo seaplane.
According to Dr. Errikos Levis, a researcher in the Department of Aeronautics at Imperial College London, seaplanes could be the answer to at least two of modern aviation’s greatest burdens: airport congestion and noise pollution.
“We can use seaplanes to move noise away from population areas and reduce the need to have extensive infrastructure,” he says.
Dr. Levis co-authored a study on the potential of seaplanes as tomorrow’s jumbo, passenger aircraft. Together with Professor Varnavas Serghides, he’s come up with the design of a family of seaplanes that could accommodate anywhere from 200 to 2,000 passengers.
Though theirs is a radically new concept design, seaplanes are in fact a very old idea.

“Seaplane development basically stopped after the mid-40s, because they were substantially less aerodynamically and structurally efficient than land planes,” he says.
Seaplanes, for starters, traditionally demand tip floats, a heavy apparatus that ensures lateral stability on the water’s surface but also increases the plane’s drag penalty by up to 20%. The awkward shape of the aircraft body, particularly the V-shaped hull — which is necessary to help the plane navigate through water — also traditionally added to the drag factor.
Design basics
To reduce the air resistance incurred by the V-shaped stepped hull, the team employed a blended wing body, where the hull sweeps upwards to merge with the underside of the aircrafts’ wings. He also decided to get rid of the tip floats altogether.

“The inboard sections of the wing itself actually provides that lateral stability,” says Dr. Levis.
The engines will also move to the top of the plane, which will help shield them from spray (“A big problem for seaplanes,” says Levis). The move will also deflect noise so that those living underneath a flight path won’t be as affected by the engine’s roar.
The bigger the better?
Dr. Levis doesn’t believe seaplanes would replace land planes, and he notes that they’re still no match in terms of fuel efficiency at smaller sizes.
“We still couldn’t quite beat what the current state-of-the-art land planes consume, especially at smaller sizes,” he admits. At sizes of 800 passengers and above, however, the efficiency is on par and sometimes better than that of current aircraft, he adds, using what he deems conservative assumptions for the aircraft’s final structural weight to determine his calculations.
He also noted that seaplanes wouldn’t be under the same size constraints as landed planes, which are limited due to fixed runway widths. As a result, a 2,000-person seaplane is feasible, and at the larger sizes, a seaplane could even use the more environmentally-friendly hydrogen fuel — something traditional aircraft can’t use as easily since hydrogen takes up four times the volume as Jet-A1 fuel.
“We can’t put passengers underneath the waterline for safety reasons, so what we found is we have a lot of empty space there, which we can use to fit in hydrogen,” says Levis.

Source :CNN

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How to upgrade to a private jet for $300



Getting bumped up to first class is good. But upgrading to a private jet is even better.
Delta Private Jets, a subsidiary of the airline, will soon offer some travelers the chance to upgrade their commercial ticket to fly on a private jet that would otherwise be traveling empty.

Private jets often travel empty when they have to drop passengers in one city and then pick up the next paying customer in another city.

“Say we had 50 flights today, those flights would generate 30 to 31 empty legs throughout the country,” said David Sneed, chief operating officer at Delta Private Jets. “We don’t make any money on those legs.”

Until now.

Elite-status passengers headed to the same city as an empty private jet can now upgrade. But it will cost them: around $300-$800. And as demand increases, Sneed said so could prices.

Still that’s a pretty good deal. At Delta Private Jets, the hourly rate for a midsize jet can start at $6,700.

Here’s how it could work: You’re scheduled to fly from Atlanta to New York City at the same time an empty private jet is also headed to the Big Apple. You’ll get an e-mail at least 24 hours ahead of travel time offering an upgrade for a fee. You have until 6:00 the evening before the departure to accept. Once a flier accepts the upgrade, anyone holding a ticket that was bought by the same person can also be upgraded. So if you are flying solo, you’ll be enjoying your own private jet.

The upgrade includes transportation from the terminal to the private aviation area at the airport and on-board catering.

Flying private also means skipping airport security lines.

Only already-ticketed Delta (DAL) fliers are eligible to upgrade, and there’s a hierarchy. Fliers with Delta Private Jet Cards, which start at $100,000, get priority. The hierarchy then moves down the four tiers of Delta’s Medallion program for frequent fliers.

To achieve Silver, the lowest level Medallion status, travelers must fly 25,000 miles or take 30 flight legs this year, and also spend $3,000 at Delta. “My sense is we won’t see a lot of Silver Medallions get the opportunity to upgrade,” said Sneed.

The program hasn’t launched yet, but Sneed said it could go live as early as this week.

It’s a win-win for Delta: It will expose more people to the luxury of flying private while offsetting the cost of the empty legs, and the airliner can resell the now-upgraded passenger’s commercial ticket.

Delta Private Jets has 66 aircrafts in its fleet in various sizes and ranges, and will fly in and out of 52 cities under this new program, but there are plans to expand, said Sneed.

Source :CNN

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Meet the youngest female commander of a Boeing 777


Becoming a pilot is far from easy, but challenging gender stereotypes and becoming a female aviator is even harder.
This didn’t stop Indian pilot Anny Divya from trailblazing her way to the top. Thirty-year-old Divya is now the youngest female commander of a Boeing 777 aircraft in the world.
Divya holds the high position with Air India — the culmination of a childhood dream of flying the skies.

“I always wanted to become a pilot, from my childhood,” Divya tells CNN Travel. “I didn’t have anybody around who knew about piloting at that time. I had no guidance […] I just wanted to fly.”
Divya was fueled by her passion and determined to succeed. She looked for people who might point her in the right direction. Eventually she was sent an advertisement for flying school by a friend and she applied at the age of 17.
“I got selected,” she recalls — but this marked the beginning of a steep learning curve.
Many of Divya’s new coursemates had flying experience — or family who worked in the aviation industry.
For Divya, it was all brand new.
“I had no clue about any aircraft, technology, nothing,” she says. “I’d never had any flying background or anybody to guide me, the whole subject was very new to me.”

Determination to succeed
On top of this, Divya found there were cultural differences to overcome.
She hails from Vijayawada, a small city in the southeastern part of India. Arriving in Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state in India, was a shock.
“I had issues with the language and cultural changes, even the way I would dress was different because I came from a smaller city,” Divya says. “The others were from good cities and had gone to good schools and colleges […] I had language barriers, I had cultural barriers.”
It was tough, Divya recalls, but she had a strong work ethic and was committed to succeeding.
“We all have some success stories and failures — but we have to focus on what we need and to keep learning,” she says. “I wanted to become a pilot, that’s what I wanted to do. So even though I was not doing OK initially, I was very determined to just do it.”

Flying high
Divya enjoys every aspect of her high-flying profession.
“I love each part of the job, traveling and wearing the uniform,” she says. “We take off from different airports […] flying into new airports everyday. It’s never monotonous, it’s very adventurous.”
The airwoman is already planning the next step on her upward trajectory.
“Right now I want to fly new aircrafts, with more advanced technology,” she says. “I also want to get into teaching, I want to become a trainer.”
Divya is overjoyed that her story might inspire others to follow in her footsteps.


Source : CNN

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How real is the hypersonic aircraft revolution?


(CNN) — We live in an era of fast technological change: self-driving cars, drones, artificial intelligence.
Yet the tube-shaped subsonic airliners we keep flying on wouldn’t look out of place in the 1960s.
Take, for example, the Boeing 737.
A 50-year-old design that remains one of the workhorses of the airline industry.
And going strong: Its latest iteration, the Boeing 737 MAX is expected to enter service next year.
To be fair, although from the outside it may look structurally similar to its earlier versions, decades of cumulative improvements have made the airliner of today a vastly more sophisticated, efficient and reliable machine.
Aircraft-making is an extremely capital-intensive activity and, given the financial and technical risks that launching an entirely new model entails, it’s understandable that the industry prefers to keep milking proven concepts.
But how long before the current generation of airliners reaches its limits?
From electric propulsion to hypersonics, from NASA to private entrepreneurs, the quest for new, truly groundbreaking, aircraft concepts is on.
And it has the potential to forever change our idea of air travel.
High-voltage innovation
Airbus, for example, has unveiled its future aircraft concept.
This isn’t exactly a new aircraft program, but a depiction of what would be possible if all of the futuristic technologies envisaged by Airbus could be combined to create the ideal airliner.
Across the Atlantic, Boeing is also working, together with NASA, on a number of futurist aircraft concepts within the framework of the New Aviation Horizons initiative.
The SUGAR program (that stands for Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research) has come up with some truly innovative aerodynamic and propulsion solutions.
These include an aircraft with eye-catching truss-braced wings and an hybrid gas-electric propulsion system fed by liquefied natural gas.
The search for new modes of propulsion is particularly important, as aviation remains one of the few major industries where replacing fossil fuels remains an unresolved challenge.

Biofuels may offer a stopgap solution, as they can be adapted to fit current engine technology and supply infrastructure.
But it’s electrically powered flight that’s captured the attention of a handful of visionaries.
It’s a technology still in its infancy, but one that benefits from the enthusiasm and resourcefulness of entrepreneurs, not unlike the mavericks of the early days of aviation.
By competing with each other to break the next record, they contribute to the advancement of the aeronautical science.
In 2015, as the long-winged Solar Impulse tried to circumnavigate the globe on solar power, teams were vying to be the first to cross the English Channel on an electric-powered aircraft.

French scientist and former yachtsman Raphael Dinelli is also preparing a solo crossing of the Atlantic later this year on a hybrid biofuel-electric light aircraft called Eraole.
His plane derives part of its energy from solar power. If successful, a derivative of Eraole might soon be serially produced for the private aviation market.
Beyond the boom
Electric and hybrid aircraft will make flying greener, but what about speed?
Significantly increasing the speed of current jetliners means, inevitably, breaking the sound barrier, which presents a whole set of challenges, not all of them technological.
Supersonic flight isn’t exactly new: The Concorde linked both sides of the Atlantic for more than three decades until economic and political issues led to its retirement in 2003.
The sleek Franco-British airliner remained an aeronautical curiosity, an experiment without continuity or replacement.
NASA has been particularly active in developing a new generation of more efficient, quieter supersonic airliners to revive commercial supersonic air travel as a viable proposition.
It’s worked on such concepts with Boeing through the New Aviation Horizons initiative, and recently teamed up with Lockheed to research Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST).
The key is to find a way to smother the sonic boom that’s produced whenever an aircraft breaks the sound barrier.
Concorde, for example, was only allowed to make full use of its supersonic capabilities when flying over the ocean, thus significantly limiting the number of markets it could serve.
A lower sonic boom may allow a future supersonic airliner to fly routes over land, vastly increasing potential markets.
Speed will still come at a cost, though. This why any supersonic comeback is likely to start with those that are most able to pay for it.
The Aerion Corporation, a Nevada-based private aircraft manufacturer, and Airbus have already started work on a supersonic private jet, the Aerion AS2.
Expected to enter service early in the next decade, it’ll be able to carry up to 12 passengers at speeds of Mach 1.6.
Hypersonic hype
Once you’ve broken through the sound barrier, why not double down?
Although still closer to sci-fi than the tangible realities of today’s aviation industry, several research organizations, from Europe to Japan, are making inroads into hypersonic flight.
We’re talking about aircraft capable of Mach 5 to 8, five to eight times faster than sound.
Realistically these revolutionary concept aircraft — with names like Lapcat and the Hikari — are several decades away, but they’re starting to appear like a very feasible possibility.
One of the most ambitious concepts in the field of hypersonics is the SpaceLiner, being developed at the German Aerospace Center (DLR).
The SpaceLiner applies space technology to commercial aviation in order to achieve speeds of up to Mach 25, enough to travel from London to Australia in under 90 minutes.
In achieving this amazing speed, the SpaceLiner takes its passengers to the edge of space.
In fact, it’s a two-stage concept, reminiscent of the, now retired, space-shuttle.
A booster takes a civilian-carrying stage to a height of roughly 80 kilometers, where the passenger vehicle detaches itself to carry up to 50 passengers to the other side of the globe.
In line with stringent safety requirements, the passenger cabin can also double as a rescue capsule.
Both the booster and the capsule are fully reusable, an essential requirement to keep costs under control.
That’s a principle well understood also by SpaceX and the emerging private space industry, that has also focused on developing reusable space vehicles.
Dr. Olga Trivailo, a researcher at the German Space Center, DLR, says the SpaceLiner is also an environmentally friendly concept, using a rocket propellant mix of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen that produces only water vapour upon combustion.
Thus, hydrogen has potential as a non-fossil fuel alternative, although first, a way would need to be found to manage the associated higher costs compared with kerosene, predominantly due to new infrastructure requirements.
Dr. Martin Sippel, head of the Space Launcher Systems Analysis department at DLR’s Institute of Space Systems in Bremen, says it would be reasonable to expect wider use and implementation of hydrogen propellants in the next 35 to 50 years.
The bionic cabin
While it’s difficult to anticipate which one of these different approaches to the aircraft of the future will prevail, one thing seems sure: The air travel experience will be transformed.
Ergonomic and lighting improvements such as those found today on the newest airliners are just a foretaste of what lies ahead.
Even if Airbus’ vision of a “bionic smart cabin” made of natural, smart materials that adapt to the needs of each passenger is only partly realized, the scope for improvement is massive.
Paradoxically, though, and because of aerodynamic requirements, the supersonic and hypersonic aircraft of the future may well be windowless.
The need to make up for the lack of windows, plus the seating solutions that it opens up, is likely to spur a new wave of innovation that’ll further redefine the in-flight experience.
The aircraft of the future will certainly take us to our destination in a faster, greener and more comfortable way.
Source : CNN

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What passenger planes might look like in 2068


(CNN) — If time travelers from 1968 found themselves in an airport today, there might be plenty of changes that surprise them. But the planes would look reassuringly familiar.
While there have been vast improvements in materials, engines and avionics — helping 2017 become the safest year in aviation history — commercial aircraft remain structurally similar to those of the 1960s.
In fact, the Boeing 737, one of the best-selling airliners ever in its many successive versions, flew for the first time in 1967.
But what might air travel look like 50 years from now?

CityAirbus: A futuristic concept that Airbus is working on is CityAirbus, with a maiden flight scheduled for 2018. Just like Vahana, it’s self-piloted and will be able to take off and land vertically, making it ideally suited for urban use.

Attempts and failures
Over the years, there have been some attempts to change the aircraft design paradigm.
The 1970s promised a future of supersonic travel that never really took hold, apart from the limited flights of the Concorde and its Soviet equivalent, the Tu-144.
And, the idea of a blended wing airliner, resembling the stealth Northrop B-2 bomber, has sometimes been touted — but without much success so far.
A combination of technical and financial reasons has led the aviation industry to discard these rather outlandish propositions and focus on the more canonical designs that are the norm today.
Will the next 50 years continue along the slow, steady path of the last half-century? Or will we once again see the rapid technological disruption that characterized aviation in the years between the end of World War I and the Apollo moon landings?
Don’t be fooled by the apparent lack of spectacular breakthroughs. Some big changes are in the offing.

The airliner of 2068 is already in the making — and electric propulsion is set to play a major role.
Most short-haul flying is likely to go electric within the next few decades and this will transform the way we think of air travel.
Smaller electric motors will enable distributed propulsion, like the one found in NASA’s X-57 prototype. Lower noise levels and operational costs will make it possible for electrical-powered aircraft to fly much closer to where people live and work.
In fact, several of today’s most advanced electrical aircraft projects aim to not only replace ground transportation between cities — as with the nine-to-12 passenger Zunum and Eviation concepts aim to do — but within them.
Flying taxis will become a reality very soon, but it remains to be seen whether the futuristic-looking Vahana and CityAirbus concepts are really the face of things to come.
In any case, door-to-door flying is not the exclusive preserve of electrical aircraft.
Although not a new concept, the use of tilt-rotors — meaning aircraft can transition from vertical lift to fixed-wing configuration — has so far been confined pretty much to the US military.
However, Italian helicopter manufacturer Leonardo is now readying the commercial launch of a civilian model, the AW609, that if successful, could potentially transform executive and regional aviation.

Global air traffic has been increasing steadily for decades and now that there are all these new uses for aircraft, the question is: Who’s going to fly them?
“It is estimated that the global commercial aviation industry will need some 600,000 pilots in the next 20 years,” says Pascal Traverse, general manager for the Autonomy Thrust at Airbus.
Compare that to the approximately 200,000 pilots currently in service. This is one of the reasons automation will become more important,” he adds.
Suddenly, the idea of a pilotless airliner doesn’t sound so far-fetched.
Bjorn Fehrm, an independent industry aviation expert at Leeham News, refers to one- and half-pilot airplanes, a term some industry executives already use to refer to the latest generation of aircraft.
“Take this concept a bit further and, in a few years, with enough automation built in, you may really need just a ‘safety pilot’ to be there, in case something unexpected happens,” he explains.
A fully pilotless airliner isn’t envisaged in the foreseeable future.
“One of the main challenges is modeling the unknown unknowns. When the unexpected happens, a human pilot should be able to react or to draw analogies with similar situations and resolve it, but it is not so easy to teach a machine to take into account all that many variables,” says Traverse.

Redesigning the passenger experience

Airliner automation may not itself translate into changes in aircraft design.
However, some experts see in the combinations of all these new technologies an opportunity to redesign the passenger experience from scratch.
“The emergence of electrical aircraft will lead to new fuselage designs that can accommodate passenger needs much better,” says Victor Carlioz, founder with Matthew Cleary of ACLA Studio, a California-based design studio specializing in airline cabin design.
Could it be time for the tailless “flying wing” to make a comeback?
“One of the issues of the flying wing was actually the passenger experience,” explains Fehrm. “People would be seated in an amphitheater-style cabin, many abreast, and no windows.
In this set-up, people at the edges could eventually have felt dizzy every time the aircraft turned. As dizziness depends on your visual references, you may be able to solve this by projecting images into the cabin and changing the points of reference.”
Even if you are able to replicate the window-gazing experience, Carlioz still sees a strong case for keeping windows on aircraft. “Some futuristic concepts show windowless aircraft and, while there may be some structural benefits from getting rid of the windows, there is also another line of thought that says the opposite: having some point of communication with the outside improves the passenger experience”.
It’s not a coincidence that Boeing’s Dreamliner, its most modern clean sheet design, features large windows and that Airbus devised a cabin with transparent walls in the vision of the future it presented at the 2011 Paris Air Show.
The appeal of large windows has been taken one step further by Embraer in one of its executive jet designs. The Kyoto cabin, designed for its Lineage 1000E aircraft, features large panoramic windows running along most of the lateral walls of the cabin.
There is one area where it seems that commercial aviation has gone backwards instead of forward.
Back in the day, it was possible to fly supersonic across the Atlantic, but nowadays even those with the deepest pockets have to content themselves with subsonic speeds.
Some start-ups are working to fix this.
Boom Supersonic, a startup that has Silicon Valley incubator Y Combinator and Japan Airlines among its investors, is developing a commercial aircraft that will be expected to fly at speeds of Mach 2.2 with lower costs than the Concorde.
The Aerion AS2 is another civilian supersonic aircraft project, this one aimed at the executive market. Although it’s still under development, it already boasts a $2.4 billion order from fractional jet operator Flexjet for 20 of its AS2 planes, capable of flying at Mach 1.5.
But even those speeds pale next to the hypersonic speeds envisaged by some ambitious research programs.
The Spaceliner, a project led by DLR, the German Aerospace Research Institute, would travel at the edge of space in order to fly 25 times faster than the speed of sound. This way you would be able to travel from, let’s say London to Australia, in about 90 minutes.
“Very often in aerospace the challenge is not technological, but financial or operational,” says Rolf Henke, executive board member for aeronautics research at DLR, the German Aerospace Research Institute.
“Blended wings have already been talked about in the 1920s and hypersonic flight since the 1930s, but you need someone willing to take the risks and invest huge amounts of money.”
Source : CNN

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