China downgrades its Chengdu J-20 'stealth' fighter to 4th Generation but claims IAF Rafales no match for it

viernes, 31 de julio de 2020


Why the Boeing vs. Airbus fight is coming to a head


British Airways owner IAG says crisis worst in its history. Situation won't take off until 2023


EASA publishes Proposed Special Condition Light UAS | EASA published FAQs on European drones regulation


European Aviation Associations and EASA join to promote harmonised safe air travel during COVID-19


EASA publishes new AMCs on development assurance for airborne electronic hardware and management of open problem reports


EASA publishes Annual Safety Review (ASR) - 2020


Gyrocopter-Helicopter Hybrid: Airial Robotics sets out to change global commercial drone market

"Our Gyrotrak technology is a disruptive hybrid UAV solution, somewhere between helicopter and autogyro. The innovative combination of the advantages of both systems creates such a unique and special technical platform, that it leaves the current industry standards behind it… continue reading:


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Sabrewing Aims To Start Flight Tests for Rhaegal eVTOLs | EHang Selects Main eVTOL Factory Site


GULFSTREAM G700 FLIGHT-TEST PROGRAM: All-New Aircraft Surpasses Testing Milestones, Speed And Altitude Limits

SAVANNAH, Georgia, July 28, 2020 — Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. today announced the all-new, industry flagship Gulfstream G700™ flight-test program is making progress with a number of accomplishments in testing and performance. The G700, introduced in October 2019, boasts the industry’s most spacious cabin with the highest speeds at the longest range.

The G700 has flown more than 100 test flights, recently completed company flutter testing and expanded the flight envelope at both high and low speeds. As part of Gulfstream’s testing efforts, the aircraft also flew beyond its maximum operating speed and cruise altitude, reaching Mach 0.99 and an altitude of 54,000 feet/16,459 meters. In typical operations, the G700 has a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.925 and a maximum cruise altitude of 51,000 ft/15,545 m.

“These accomplishments at this stage in flight test point to the impressive maturity of the G700 program,” said Mark Burns, president, Gulfstream. “We designed and developed the G700 for our customers to fly safely, securely and efficiently while enjoying the same level of comfort as they do on the ground. With the largest galley in the industry, the utmost in technology, and the finest, freshest cabin environment, the G700 unlocks new opportunities in business-jet travel.”

With 100% fresh, never recirculated air, an industry-leading low cabin altitude, whisper-quiet noise levels, and the option for the industry’s only true circadian lighting system, the cabin on the G700 boosts wellness and rejuvenates passengers. The cabin also features 20 Gulfstream panoramic oval windows in up to five living areas and the Gulfstream-exclusive ultragalley with more than 10 ft/3 m of counterspace, as well as a master suite option with stand-up shower.

The G700 is powered by Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 engines and can fly at its high-speed cruise of Mach 0.90 for 6,400 nautical miles/11,853 kilometers or at its long-range cruise of Mach 0.85 for 7,500 nm/13,890 km. The G700 also includes the Gulfstream Symmetry Flight Deck™ with the industry’s only electronically linked active control sidesticks; the most extensive use of touch-screen technology in business aviation; and Gulfstream’s award-winning Predictive Landing Performance System.


Inspired by the belief that aviation could fuel business growth, Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. invented the first purpose-built business aircraft, the Gulfstream I™, which first flew in 1958. Since then, Gulfstream has produced more than 2,900 aircraft for customers around the world. Together with parent company General Dynamics, Gulfstream consistently invests in the future, dedicating resources to researching and developing innovative new aircraft, technologies and services. Gulfstream’s fleet includes the super-midsize Gulfstream G280™, the award-winning Gulfstream G650™, the high-performing Gulfstream G650ER™ and an all-new aircraft family, the clean-sheet Gulfstream G500™, Gulfstream G600™ and new industry flagship, the Gulfstream G700™. All are backed by Gulfstream’s Customer Support network and its worldwide team. Visit our website at

More information about General Dynamics is available at


Hurricane Hunters fly first Pacific hurricane

Hurricane Hunters fly first Pacific hurricane

By Lt. Col. Marnee A.C. Losurdo, 403rd Wing Public Affairs / Published July 28, 2020

The Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircrews flew five weather reconnaissance missions into Hurricane Douglas, the season’s first hurricane in the Pacific Ocean, July 24-27, collecting data to assist Central Pacific Hurricane Center forecasters.

The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, assigned to the 403rd Wing, Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, departed their home base, July 22, began flying missions into Hurricane Douglas from Kalaeloa Airport, July 24, and then moved operations to Kona International Airport, Hawaii, July 26, to get out of the path of the storm, and finished their last mission, July 27.

Douglas, which peaked as a Category 4 storm July 24 and began weakening throughout that day, is expected to continue to do so as it approaches the Hawaiian Islands and is projected to impact the islands until late Monday, according to the CPHC in Honolulu. When the Hurricane Hunters flew the storm July 26, it was Category 2.

The information the 53rd WRS collects assists forecasters, because while satellites do provide a lot of information, they don’t provide everything, said Maj. Grant Wagner, 53rd WRS mission commander for the weather deployment.

“The Pacific and Atlantic Oceans are data-sparse environments as they lack radar and weather balloons in the area,” Wagner said. “We are able to get into the storm, find the center, and get that ground-truth data that assists with movement and intensity forecasts. The data we collect can improve a forecast by anywhere from 15-25%.”

During a tropical storm or hurricane, a 53rd WRS aircrew, consisting of two pilots, an aerial reconnaissance weather officer, navigator and loadmaster, usually flies through the eye of a storm at about 10,000 feet four to six times, although on July 26, the crew flew through five times, said Maj. Tobi Baker, 53rd WRS ARWO, who directed the crew to the true center of the storm. During each pass through the eye, crews release a dropsonde, a meteorological instrument that collects temperature, wind speed, wind direction, humidity, and barometric pressure data as it descends to the ocean surface.

The aircraft also collects surface wind speed and flight-level data. This information is transmitted continuously throughout the flight to the NHC and CPHC to assist them with their forecasts and storm warnings.

“The data that’s provided by the Hurricane Hunters is very valuable,” said Eric Lau, Pacific Region National Weather Service meteorologist. “That ground-truth data really helps forecasters here; having the most up-to-date information on the storm helps us to provide the best forecast possible.”

In the initial stages of a storm, 53rd WRS crews will typically fly about every 12 hours, and as it approaches land, they will start to fly every six hours, Baker said.

Baker and his hurricane hunting counterparts are part of a unit that is the only Department of Defense organization still flying into tropical storms and hurricanes, a mission that began in 1944.

The squadron’s operations area ranges from the 55 longitude line in the Atlantic Ocean to the International Dateline in the Pacific Ocean. While other C-130 units receive taskings from the geographic combatant commander they support or the Air Force Reserve Command for training missions, the 53rd WRS receives their taskings from the National Hurricane Center, a Department of Commerce agency.

Through an interagency agreement, tropical weather reconnaissance is governed by the National Hurricane Operations Plan, which requires the squadron to support 24 hours-a-day continuous operations with the ability to fly up to three storms simultaneously and with a response time of 16 hours. To accomplish this, the squadron has 10 full time and 10 part-time Reserve aircrews available to fly 10 WC-130J Super Hercules to meet weather-reconnaissance taskings.

This was the case July 22-27, as it was a busy week for the Air Force Reserve squadron. In addition to deploying three aircraft and crews to fly Hurricane Douglas, the Hurricane Hunters also conducted recon operations into Hurricane Hanna, the first hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean, with three aircraft flying out of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, and flew Tropical Storm Gonzalo in the Gulf of Mexico, operating out of Keesler AFB. Hanna made landfall in south Texas as a Category 1 July 25 and Gonzalo dissipated July 26 over the southeastern Caribbean Sea, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Regardless of the challenges associated with the mission and its many moving parts, Baker said he enjoys the job because it helps people.

“These models and experience of the forecasters play into the creation of early watches and warnings of the people these storms effect,” he said. “Our small part plays a vital role in the emergency management system, which in turn affects everyone in the path of such storms.”

The risks they take though, do not go unnoticed.

“We really appreciate the risk that the Hurricane Hunters take to fly into these storms,” Lau said. “Their data provides the foundation to help us with our mission of protecting life and property.”


Fixar tilting engines fixed-wing-quadcopter VTOL Drone: Revolutionary Drone Approved For Advanced Flights in Canada

Transport Canada has approved FIXAR’s revolutionary drone design for flights in Canada, meaning the FIXAR can start flying missions in controlled airspace and near people – opening the skies to commercial and industrial clients. This breakthrough occurs as the company officially launches its product in the North American market.

The approval means that Transport Canada is satisfied the FIXAR drone meets federal requirements in accordance with Part IX of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) and that this Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) is suitable for Advanced Operations in both controlled and uncontrolled airspace in Canada.

“We are thrilled with this approval – and to bring the unique FIXAR VTOL solution to North America,” says Vasily Lukashov, FIXAR CEO and inventor. “This design has all of the benefits of both quadcopter and fixed-wing drones, with none of their downsides.”

The FIXAR takes off like a helicopter and flies like an airplane. Technically, this is referred to as a Fixed-Wing Vertical Take-off and Landing device, or VTOL. It’s a design that offers the convenience of a quadcopter but has the range and efficiency associated with a traditional winged design. It can take off and land anywhere, and no cumbersome launchers or capture devices are required.

Most VTOL drones with wings require that the angle of the motors change when transitioning from vertical to horizontal flight. FIXAR uses a patented Fixed Angle Rotor system, meaning fewer moving parts or potential points of failure. Transitions are seamless, and all motors are in use throughout missions. Unlike designs that shut down motors during forward flight, the FIXAR has no “dead weight.”

This configuration, in conjunction with its two-kilogram payload capacity, makes the FIXAR ideal for a multitude of tasks. These tasks include: Aerial photography and mapping/photogrammetry, laser scanning (LiDAR), last-mile delivery, precision agriculture, critical infrastructure monitoring and more.

“These drones have a simple but superb design, something I appreciate as a professional commercial pilot,” says Philippe Saint-Martin, who is the FIXAR distributor for Canada. “The moment I saw one of these flies, I knew they would fill an obvious void in the RPAS world.”

The FIXAR drones, designed by Vasily Lukashov and manufactured in Latvia, also utilize Closed-Source software and proprietary hardware for additional safety and security, including data integrity. The product offers a stable and reliable platform that’s already gaining interest from service providers globally.


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Laser Inversion Enables Multi-Materials 3D Printing

New York, NY—July 27, 2020—Additive manufacturing—or 3D printing—uses digital manufacturing processes to fabricate components that are light, strong, and require no special tooling to produce. Over the past decade, the field has experienced staggering growth, at a rate of more than 20% per year, printing pieces that range from aircraft components and car parts to medical and dental implants out of metals and engineering polymers. One of the most widely used manufacturing processes, selective laser sintering (SLS), prints parts out of micron-scale material powders using a laser: the laser heats the particles to the point where they fuse together to form a solid mass.

“Additive manufacturing is key to economic resilience,” say Hod Lipson, James and Sally Scapa Professor of Innovation (Mechanical Engineering). “All of us care about this technology—it’s going to save us. But there’s a catch.”

The catch is that SLS technologies have been limited to printing with a single material at a time: the entire part has to be made of just that one powder. “Now, let me ask you,” Lipson continues, “how many products are made of just one material? The limitations of printing in only one material has been haunting the industry and blocking its expansion, preventing it from reaching its full potential.”

Wondering how to solve this challenge, Lipson and his PhD student John Whitehead used their expertise in robotics to develop a new approach to overcome these SLS limitations. By inverting the laser so that it points upwards, they invented a way to enable SLS to use—at the same time—multiple materials. Their working prototype, along with a print sample that contained two different materials in the same layer, was recently published online by Additive Manufacturing as part of its December 2020 issue.

“Our initial results are exciting,” says Whitehead, the study’s lead author, “because they hint at a future where any part can be fabricated at the press of a button, where objects ranging from simple tools to more complex systems like robots can be removed from a printer fully formed, without the need for assembly.”

Selective laser sintering traditionally has involved fusing together material particles using a laser pointing downward into a heated print bed. A solid object is built from the bottom up, with the printer placing down a uniform layer of powder and using the laser to selectively fuse some material in the layer. The printer then deposits a second layer of powder onto the first layer, the laser fuses new material to the material in the previous layer, and the process is repeated over and over until the part is completed.

This process works well if there is just one material used in the printing process. But using multiple materials in a single print has been very challenging, because once the powder layer is deposited onto the bed, it cannot be unplaced, or replaced with a different powder.

“Also,” adds Whitehead, “in a standard printer, because each of the successive layers placed down are homogeneous, the unfused material obscures your view of the object being printed, until you remove the finished part at the end of the cycle. Think about excavation and how you can’t be sure the fossil is intact until you completely remove it from the surrounding dirt. This means that a print failure won’t necessarily be found until the print is completed, wasting time and money.”

he researchers decided to find a way to eliminate the need for a powder bed entirely. They set up multiple transparent glass plates, each coated with a thin layer of a different plastic powder. They lowered a print platform onto the upper surface of one of the powders, and directed a laser beam up from below the plate and through the plate’s bottom. This process selectively sinters some powder onto the print platform in a pre-programmed pattern according to a virtual blueprint. The platform is then raised with the fused material, and moved to another plate, coated with a different powder, where the process is repeated. This allows multiple materials to either be incorporated into a single layer, or stacked. Meanwhile, the old, used-up plate is replenished.

In the paper, the team demonstrated their working prototype by generating a 50 layer thick, 2.18mm sample out of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) powder with an average layer height of 43.6 microns and a multi-material nylon and TPU print with an average layer height of 71 microns. These parts demonstrated both the feasibility of the process and the capability to make stronger, denser materials by pressing the plate hard against the hanging part while sintering.

“This technology has the potential to print embedded circuits, electromechanical components, and even robot components. It could make machine parts with graded alloys, whose material composition changes gradually from end to end, such as a turbine blade with one material used for the core and different material used for the surface coatings,” Lipson notes. “We think this will expand laser sintering towards a wider variety of industries by enabling the fabrication of complex multi-material parts without assembly. In other words, this could be key to moving the additive manufacturing industry from printing only passive uniform parts, towards printing active integrated systems.”

The researchers are now experimenting with metallic powders and resins in order to directly generate parts with a wider range of mechanical, electrical, and chemical properties than is possible with conventional SLS systems today.


Swiss eVTOL Dufour completes first phase of VTOL tech demonstrator flight testing

Building on our experience in manned electric flight with our aerobatic plane aEro 1, we are proud to announce that we have completed the first phase of flight testing of our VTOL technology demonstrator aircraft. Over the course of 550 test flights, expanding the flight envelope incrementally, we have demonstrated a high degree of stability and control in all conditions, including transitions from hover to cruise and back again.

Inspired by Canadair’s pioneering work fifty years ago with the CL-84, our research has shown that tilt-wing convertible aircraft offer a high degree of safety and efficiency.

Felix Rubin, lead engineer for aerodynamics, commented, “At larger scales, slipstream airflows over tilting wings become more turbulent and harder to predict, and care is needed to ensure that the aircraft remains stable during transition. With this large-scale unmanned aircraft, we’ve now been able to demonstrate that we can achieve that stability at high Reynolds numbers.”

Jasmine Kent, CTO, commented, “From our simulations, we expected that our proprietary tilt-wing control system, developed over the last two years in collaboration with ETH Zurich, would perform well. But it’s encouraging to see that its performance and stability exceeded our expectations.”

Thomas Pfammatter, CEO, commented, “I’m proud that the team has been able to build on the electric propulsion technology and flight test processes we pioneered with aEro 1. We now have solid experience with both manned electric fixed-wing and eVTOL technology. As a helicopter rescue pilot, I’m looking forward to bringing these together.”

We are always looking for passionate individuals to join us on our mission to accelerate sustainable aviation.


Boom Supersonic teams with Rolls-Royce on world's fastest civil aircraft | Spirit Aero To Expand Work on Aerion Supersonic AS2

Spirit Aero To Expand Work on Aerion Supersonic AS2


FIAConnect 2020 - news round-up and analysis