Category Archives: commerce

Terrafugia ‘flying car’ completes initial flight testing

From Flightglobal:

Light aircraft developer Terrafugia has completed flight-testing of its proof-of-concept aircraft, the Transition, three months after the two-seat light sport aircraft took to the skies for the first time.

The “roadable” aircraft – dubbed the Flying Car – made 29 flights, says Woburn, Massachusetts-based Terrafugia “and has now completed the first of a four-stage process to bring the Transition into production”.

The second phase of development is under way, with work on the beta prototype already in progress. First deliveries are earmarked for 2011.

Some pictures from the manufacturer’s website:

Terrafugia_Takeoff-thumb terrefugia POCFlightImg204G TransitionRoad


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Airbus enters RNP game with ‘Quovadis’

Airbus press release:

From July 2009, QUOVADIS, a new 100 percent subsidiary of Airbus, based in Toulouse, will sell and provide ‘Required Navigation Performance’ (RNP) services to authorities, airlines and airports, ranging from RNP procedures design, testing and flight operations packaging, to RNP training.

To support QUOVADIS, Airbus has signed a cooperation agreement for RNP procedure design with the French Civil Aviation University (ENAC) in Toulouse, and CGx AERO in SYS, a specialist in aeronautical and geographic information systems based in Castres, France.

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SATSair, North Carolina officials launch subsidized air taxi initiative

Press release from NCFlyPorts:

North Carolina’s NCFlyPorts Program announced the latest in air service availability for North Carolinians. The program provided by SATSair, a provider of customized “on-demand” air taxi service in the United States since 2004, is called “Business Day-Travelers” and offers special rates for one day trips out of Raleigh, North Carolina.

“Business Day-Travelers” will enable business professionals in the Raleigh market to improve their productivity by doing more business throughout North Carolina and the Southeast in less time. Operating from the General Aviation Terminal at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), these customer-designed trips will be offered at the special rate of $495 per hour for the entire aircraft, not just per seat. Using the modern, fast and comfortable Cirrus SR-22 aircraft, SATSair’s “Business Day-Travelers” program will pick up passengers at RDU, take them directly to the airport nearest their destination, and return within a 12 hour window.

Read more…

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Raytheon awarded $2.3 million contract to study integrated CNS

Raytheon press release:

Raytheon Company has been awarded a seven-month, firm-fixed-price contract to study the NextGen Integrated Communications, Navigation and Surveillance architecture and determine the National Airspace System’s needs for 2018 to 2025. [..]
The study analyzes ICNS interfaces to operator flight planning systems, aircraft capabilities, avionics functions and Federal Aviation Administration automation systems.
The $2.3 million contract was awarded by the NextGen Institute, a venture between the National Center for Advanced Technologies and the FAA. [..]

The Raytheon-led team includes Rockwell Collins, ARINC, Aviation Management Associates and Thales.

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EXPLAINER: Avionics at the leading edge of performance navigation

Aviation International News has an outstanding wrap-up of the state of flight management systems (FMS) that offer  easy pilot control and core capabilities that set the stage for performance-based navigation (PBN).

Flight management systems have never been considered simple pieces of equipment, but the technology is quickly evolving beyond basic navigation and performance functionality to include a host of new capabilities that hold the promise of changing the way pilots fly for the better.

Absent from some of the latest integrated avionics systems are the bezel-mounted control display units (CDU) flight crews have known since the 1970s. Instead, many modern business jets and some of the latest airliners are integrating FMS controls with the flight displays and cursor control devices (CCD), allowing pilots to point and click their way through a variety of menus or drag and drop any portion of their flight route (a technique known as “rubber-banding”) to include or modify a waypoint. The changes are resulting in cockpits that are more intuitive than those of the past–and even those of the present, in many cases–while packing more capability than ever before.

At the same time, hardware and software upgrades available from FMS manufacturers are opening the possibilities for complex, curved RNP (required navigation performance) procedures and the latest WAAS LPV (lateral precision with vertical guidance) approaches. The changes expand the operational capabilities of properly equipped airplanes today while serving as a cornerstone for future operations in so-called NextGen airspace.

Required navigation performance will be a key element of NextGen airspace. The benefit of a so-called RNP SAAAR [special aircraft and aircrew authorization required] approach is that it can carve out a highly precise, curved path through the sky that usually results in lower landing minimums–sometimes much lower. But gaining approval is a costly and complex endeavor requiring submittal of monthly operational reports to the FAA, pilot simulator training and operations manual revisions. Considering that fewer than 100 RNP SAAAR approaches have been published so far, most operators probably won’t go to the trouble of gaining approval until their home airport has an RNP approach. But as more RNP procedures are created, operators who forego such approvals will be at a disadvantage compared with those who are SAAAR compliant.

To assist operators seeking to upgrade to RNP capability, Honeywell has launched Go Direct, a consulting service designed to help business jet operators take advantage of new RNP SAAAR procedures the FAA is adding at scores of airports around the U.S. The agency plans to publish 60 new RNP SAAAR procedures per year for the next two years. Some airports scheduled to receive an RNP approach in the next 12 months include Teterboro, N.J.; Aspen and Eagle, Colo.; Monterey, Calif.; and Scottsdale, Ariz. If your home airport or an airport you use often offers an RNP SAAAR approach, the approval can mean the difference between landing or having to execute the missed approach and consider other options.

The major advantage RNP procedures have over other types of approach is their tighter lateral boundaries, which allow the creation of curved pathways through mountain valleys or by using so-called radius-to-fix (RF) turns to avoid terrain or obstacles. The RNP SAAAR approach to Atlanta DeKalb-Peachtree Airport (PDK) is a good example of the benefits RNP can provide. The approach to PDK’s Runway 2R incorporates a continuous descending turn designed to avoid the tall towers that block the straight-in approach to the field. Due to the east-west flows at nearby Hartsfield-Jackson International, a straight-in ILS or WAAS LPV approach to this runway would be hard to implement, even if the obstacles southwest of the airport were removed.

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Missing a catering cart? In-flight meal too cold? New IT automation project wants to fix that.

A technology initiative supported by Airbus and the German government wants to change the way that in-flight meals make their way to your seat.

From the press release:

The project, sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (Germany), and being run in conjunction with Airbus, EADS and the Fraunhofer Institute, will create a system that drives operational efficiency in airline catering logistics and their supporting processes. The innovative system will track individual food trolleys allocated to specific aircraft, locate misplaced trolleys, and allow airlines to offer a better service to passengers, such as offering a wider choice of menus on flights. [..]

Dr. Giles Nelson, Senior Director of Strategy, Progress Software commented: “This is a really exciting project for us to be involved in, and one that is going to have a dramatic effect on airline catering logistics. We envisage that once the system is fully operational, not only will cost savings be realized, but passengers will obtain a range of benefits, including being able to order a meal just before the flight, specifying what time during the flight it is served to them and even being able to specify how hot the meal should be.”

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Naverus gets funding boost

Even in a credit crunch, it appears that venture money is available for firms that have what investors are looking for. PBN provider Naverus just raised $4 million dollars from Silicon Valley-based Foundation Capital and San Francisco-based East Peak Partners.

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