Eurocopter is currently developing a production version of the electric backup motor it tested on an AS350 Ecureuil single in 2011, company CEO Guillaume Faury revealed last week, noting that improvements in motors and electric energy storage have made a sound business case for such hybrid power. While not powerful enough to act as a second engine, the system would make autorotation safer by avoiding any rpm drop and then providing some power in the flare.
Eurocontrol’s Maastricht Upper Area Control Center last week introduced a system to dynamically manage upper airspace to suit traffic flow. The new variable division flight level (VDFL) enables a flexible distribution of traffic between upper and lower sectors (from 24,500 feet to unlimited), by altering the division flight level to match changing traffic patterns. The division flight level between the upper and lower sectors was previously fixed at 33,500 feet.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture last week released a new video to reinforce the need for airport operators to report all bird strikes. The production also details how to preserve and prepare bird remains for shipment to Washington, D.C., for analysis.
Inmarsat successfully launched the first of three satellites in the Global Xpress constellation network, which–when fully operational–will provide airborne broadband around the globe at speeds of up to 50 Mbps. The just-launched satellite will cover the Indian Ocean region. The remaining satellites are expected to launch in the second and third quarters of next year, providing global coverage by the end of the year. Honeywell is exclusively developing, producing and distributing the onboard hardware that will connect users to the Global Xpress network.
The FAA has issued an Unapproved Parts Notification for MacLean Sky aircraft bolts used in certain Dynafocal mounting assembly low-profile kits that were manufactured without the benefit of an FAA production approval. According to the FAA, from 2009 to 2012 MacLean Sky, formerly Sky-Manufacturing of Commerce, Calif., was manufacturing parts for an FAA production approval holder (PAH) and selling the excess parts to Fasteners Dimensions of Ozone Park, N.Y.
The Performance-based Operations Aviation Rulemaking Committee (PARC) last week publicly released the final report that its Flight Deck Automation (FDA) working group delivered to the FAA in September. The FDA group was established by PARC, which provides industry-led guidance for the FAA, to address the safety and efficiency of modern flight-deck systems for flight-path management, including energy-state management, for both current and future operational use.
A Cessna 208B Grand Caravan operated by Tropicair crashed November 25 in the Gulf province of Papua New Guinea killing three of 10 on board. The Caravan pilot was among the seven survivors. The airplane was on a domestic flight from Kikori to Gobe when it crashed into a river near an airstrip, possibly during an emergency-landing attempt.
Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) and New Tribes Mission (NTM) are working together to deliver food, clean water and other critical aid to remote island communities of the Philippines devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. NTM, which already had three aircraft (two Cessna 206s and a Robinson R44) stationed in the Philippines, was “uniquely positioned to help.” MAF personnel traveled to the Philippines to assist the NTM crew with logistics.
This could be the shape of things to come–moving cargo into remote locations on a large, lighter-than-air (LTA) craft. Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV) of the UK is still pushing the LTA concept for a variety of missions, despite the early demise of the U.S. Army’s Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) surveillance program. HAV provided the design and key components to Northrop Grumman for the LEMV, which fell behind schedule and flew only once, in August 2012.
EADS has an ongoing partnership with Siemens and Diamond Aircraft on serial hybrid propulsion. The three companies announced the first flight, in June near Vienna, Austria, of a DA36 E-Star 2 motorglider, the propeller of which was driven by an electric motor. The batteries were recharged in-flight via a small Wankel-type engine.
Separately, the European group is already developing the E-Fan, an electric two-seater for pilot training.