Eurocopter performed a demonstration flight of an “optionally piloted vehicle” (OPV) version of the EC145 in late April, with the goal of eventually employing any of its models in unmanned operations such as automated surveillance and cargo hauling. Secret flight-testing began two weeks earlier at Istres air force base in France. The project’s coordination team is based at Eurocopter’s research and development center in Donauwörth, Germany, where the first flights, with a monitoring pilot, took place.
Industry wisdom that civil aerospace is continuing its super-boom while defense prospects waiver was clearly confirmed in the headlines from last month’s Paris Air Show (June 17 to 23). The 50th staging of the biennial event was dominated by yet more airliner orders, plus breakthroughs in new aircraft coming to market and significant deliveries.
The second production A400M for the French air force (MSN8) was at the Paris Air Show, and President François Hollande flew into the show aboard one of the prototypes. However, Airbus Military has missed its target of making its first delivery of the new airlifter in the second quarter. According to operations director Bruno Sainjon from the DGA, which is the French defense agency responsible for approving the aircraft for service, “there are still some certification issues to take care of. We are still negotiating a bit.”
Airbus Corporate Jet Center is the first completion shop to install and activate a Ku-band-based “global communication suite” on a single-aisle Airbus, in this case an ACJ319. Installed in close collaboration with Panasonic, the system’s Ku-Band antenna provides “superior performance” at high latitudes and in the equatorial region, offering high-speed data and live TV anywhere around the world. Ku-band antennas are typically used by airlines, though ACJC said demand is picking up for this technology in the business jet market.
EADS is demonstrating here at Le Bourget a number of electric- and hybrid-propulsion technologies developed under its commitment to reduce aircraft CO2 emissions. In cooperation with Royan Aero Composites, EADS has developed and built the E-Fan fully electric general-aviation training aircraft and, separately, has engineered with Diamond Aircraft and Siemens the Diamond Aircraft DA36 E-Star 2 hybrid-electric motor-glider. EADS also cooperated with Rolls-Royce on the future distributed-propulsion system concept, and all three projects are dubbed “E-aircraft.”
A team of students from the University of São Paulo in Brazil have claimed the top prize of €30,000 as winners of Airbus Fly Your Ideas 2013. Team Levar won for its proposal for a luggage loading and unloading system for airplane cargo compartments to reduce the workload of airport baggage handlers with an air cushion solution inspired by air hockey tables. Supported by Unesco, Airbus Fly Your Ideas is a biennial competition that challenges students worldwide to develop ideas for a more sustainable aviation industry.
Airbus introduced C4you, a new customer care center for its private jet customers that provides dedicated access to an experienced team co-located within Airbus’s Airtac center in Toulouse. Customers will have access to technical advice on both their airframe and their cabin through a single point of contact and will also be able to benefit from packaged services such as arrangements to implement service bulletins.
Aircraft propulsion and actuation systems supplier Woodward is nearly doubling its manufacturing footprint in Rockford, Illinois, reflecting the increased content the company has won on new narrowbody aircraft and derivatives.
Honeywell and Safran said they have completed the first major phase of testing of their electric green taxiing system (EGTS), which is installed on an Airbus A320 that will conduct daily demonstrations at the Paris Air Show through Friday. On Monday, the companies announced a memorandum of understanding with Air France to further develop the system. The agreement “will enable Air France to analyze the potential technical, operational and financial benefits of the EGTS,” according to the companies.
Under the theme “Delivering Innovation,” EADS and its divisions–Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter–are showcasing a wide range of products it says will help shape the future of the aerospace industry. Meanwhile, the EADS human resources team plans to conduct a number of events at the show for those interested in starting or furthering their careers in aerospace and defense.