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.
EADS has set itself an ambitious target for its E-Thrust hybrid propulsion concept, a joint effort with British engine maker Rolls-Royce that went relatively unnoticed when it was revealed at the Paris Air Show in June. The E-Airbus, under its new moniker, is to enter into service in 2030 as a 100-seat regional aircraft.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Sustainability Program presented West Star Aviation with the Colorado Governor’s Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) Silver Award. It is the third time West Star has received the Silver Award since it was first recognized as a Bronze Achiever in 2010.
GE Aviation, which consumes more than 10 million gallons of jet fuel annually at its engine testing centers, will broaden its fuel source beginning in 2016. A 10-year agreement calls for GE to purchase 500,000 gallons of cellulosic synthetic biofuel annually from the D’Arcinoff Group. The company will use the low-emissions jet fuel at its main jet engine testing facility in Peebles, Ohio. Options are in place to order up to 10 million gallons of the synthetic biofuel annually.
In what the organizers claim is a first, an aircraft–in this case a chartered Dassault Falcon 900B carrying 12 photographers and amateur astronomers on November 3–was used to intercept an extremely short total solar eclipse with a “perpendicular crossing” of the eclipse path. While aircraft have previously been used to capture solar eclipses, they flew with the eclipse path and waited for the shadow to catch up with the airplane.
Pittsfield (Mass.) Municipal Airport recently completed a runway extension and safety improvements project. The undertaking brought the runway into compliance with federal safety standards by adding 1,000 feet of overrun. Work also included vegetation and storm water mitigation, culvert installation, roadway relocation, runway extension and safety area paving and lighting installation. Funding for the $22.5 million project included $13.4 million from MassDOT, $6 million in federal funds and more than $3 million from the City of Pittsfield.
The FAA is adopting a new airworthiness directive for certain Bombardier CL600-2B16s (CL601-3A, CL601-3R, and CL604 variants). It was prompted by reports of airspeed mismatch between the pilot’s and copilot’s airspeed indicators during or after heavy rain. The AD requires inspecting for drain bottles having certain part numbers and replacing affected drain bottles.
The wreckage of a Polish-built M18 Dromader water bomber was located on October 30 in the rough terrain of southeastern New South Wales. A witness to the October 24 accident, which killed the pilot, reported that one of the wings broke off before the aircraft hit the ground. Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority grounded seven other models of the same aircraft as a precaution.
New York investment banking behemoth Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) is placing a big bet on one helicopter services company supporting the offshore oil-and-gas industry. Last month KKR took a $200 million stake in Malaysia’s Weststar Aviation Services. Weststar provides offshore support to a variety of energy companies in the region, including Petronas Carigali, ExxonMobil, Carigali Hess, CPOC, Talisman, Petrofac, Newfield, Total, KPOC, Lundin, Schlumberger, Hess, Shell, Tullow Oil, Mubadala Petroleum, CGG Veritas and ConocoPhillips.