The new Airbus BelugaXL’s first flight was a few days ago and the airplane’s “face” was just too good not to make it the rectangle for this week’s IFExpress. Following the first flight, the BelugaXL will undergo some 600 hours of flight test over 10 months to achieve Type Certification and entry into service later in 2019. The BelugaXL program was launched in November 2014 to address Airbus’ transport capacity requirements in view of the A350 XWB ramp-up and Single-Aisle production rate increases. Five aircraft will be built between 2019 and 2023 to gradually replace the five BelugaST. The aircraft will operate from 11 destinations as Airbus’ method of transporting large aircraft components they say. Based on an A330-200 Freighter, the BelugaXL is powered by Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines and can haul an incredible 50 tons of load with a total take-off weight of 230 tons! It will haul some 30% more than it’s predecessor. It is longer by 20 feet as well. The lowered cockpit, the cargo bay structure and the rear-end and tail were newly developed jointly with suppliers, giving the aircraft its distinctive look. Congratulations Airbus, the BelugaXL is a “whale” of a good looking airplane!

And speaking of airplanes, last week’s Farnborough Airshow generated over $192 Billion is plane sales/commitments with Boeing claiming over 100 airplane orders, while Airbus claimed some 60% of the single aisle business. We should note that while Airbus snagged some 70 orders from China, Boeing got none. (Hmm, wonder why?) Anyway, here are some summaries:

(Editor’s Note: The amount of airplane sales and total value of them varied at almost every report we researched. We did our best to give our readers summary numbers.)

Interestingly, the names of some 400 airplane purchases were withheld probably because of competitive reasons. Further, keep in mind, planemakers use shows to “announce” deals that were in work for months – obviously looking better at the show, and as Reuters noted: “The two companies have so far signed deals worth more than $100 billion at current list prices. However, this is a gross number. Several of the deals firm up provisional ones, disclose previously unidentified buyers, or change existing orders, making it hard to gauge the level of new business.”

We also noticed that Boeing and Airbus were selling their smaller and newest single aisle planes: Airbus A220 – 60 sales, and Embraer – 300 plane sales, as this small aircraft market also took off.

So, in summary, this year’s sales saw some 1,432 deals in aircraft, engines, and related equipment. As one writer noted: “The biannual air industry gathering recorded more than 1,400 commercial aircraft orders, valued at US$154 billion, alongside at least 1,432 deals for engines worth US$21.96 billion.”


AIRBUS

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and Airbus have renewed their framework agreement on research and technology (R&T) cooperation. This new five-year agreement builds on a long-standing relationship between the two organizations to cooperate on R&T development which spans more than 30 years. The NRC-Airbus agreement will cover a wide range of technical subjects and technologies. Recently, Airbus identified Canada as its “fifth country” for research and technology developments in the areas of drones and urban mobility.


BOEING

Boeing released its 2018 Pilot & Technician Outlook, projecting demand for 790,000 pilots over the next 20 years. This represents double the current workforce and the most significant demand in the outlook’s nine-year history.

The demand is being driven by an anticipated doubling of the global commercial airplane fleet — as reported in Boeing’s Commercial Market Outlook — as well as record-high air travel demand and a tightening labor supply. This year’s outlook also includes data from the business aviation and civil helicopter sectors for the first time.

“Despite strong global air traffic growth, the aviation industry continues to face a pilot labor supply challenge, raising concern about the existence of a global pilot shortage in the near-term,” said Keith Cooper, vice president of Training & Professional Services, Boeing Global Services. “An emphasis on developing the next generation of pilots is key to help mitigate this. With a network of training campuses and relationships with flight schools around the globe, Boeing partners with customers, governments and educational institutions to help ensure the market is ready to meet this significant pilot demand.”

Boeing offers the Pilot Development Program – an accelerated training program that guides future pilots from early stage ab-initio training through type rating as a first officer – to help operators meet their growing pilot needs. Boeing also helps operators improve crew efficiency with tools that optimize resources and minimize disruption.

Despite the commercial pilot demand forecast holding nearly steady, maintenance technician demand decreased slightly from 648,000 to 622,000, primarily due to longer maintenance intervals for new aircraft. Collectively, the business aviation and civil helicopter sectors will demand an additional 155,000 pilots and 132,000 technicians.

Demand for commercial cabin crew increased slightly from 839,000 to 858,000, due to changes in fleet mix, regulatory requirements, denser seat configurations and multi-cabin configurations that offer more personalized service. In addition, 32,000 new cabin crew will be required to support business aviation.


ROCKWELL COLLINS

Iridium Communications Inc. and Rockwell Collins signed an agreement to make Rockwell Collins the newest service provider for Iridium Certus satellite solutions over the Iridium NEXT network. Rockwell Collins will be adding the service to its comprehensive suite of aircraft connectivity applications for commercial, government and ARINCDirectSM business customers.

In addition to being a service provider, Rockwell Collins is also a value added manufacturer (VAM) for the design and production of Iridium Certus service terminals. As a VAM and a service provider, Rockwell Collins will play a critical role in delivering the next-generation L-band broadband solution to commercial, business and government aviation customers around the world.

“Adding Rockwell Collins as an Iridium Certus service provider is a major milestone for the program,” said Michael Hooper, director and general manager of Iridium’s Aviation Line of Business. “Given the FAA’s recent movement toward adopting SATCOM as a primary means of onboard communications, we believe Iridium Certus will be that much more of a shake up to the status quo within the aviation industry, bringing new capabilities, smaller hardware, faster speeds and competitive price packages. Like the services Rockwell Collins offers, Iridium Certus supports all areas of aircraft connectivity, from the flight deck to the cabin, regardless of location.”

Initial flight trials will take place later this year, with Iridium Certus commercial service introduction for aviation users expected in mid-2019. Commercial service introduction for other verticals, such as maritime and land-mobile, is planned for 2018. Iridium Certus is powered by Iridium NEXT, the Company’s next-generation satellite constellation, currently being deployed. To date, there have been six successful Iridium NEXT launches, deploying 55 new satellites to orbit. Two more launches are planned for 2018, each carrying 10 Iridium NEXT satellites, for a total of 75 launched, with 66 in the operational constellation and nine serving as on-orbit spares. The seventh launch is currently targeted for July 25, 2018 out of SpaceX’s west coast launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

“Iridium Certus will be an important new service addition to meet the connectivity needs of commercial, business and government aircraft,” said Michael DiGeorge, vice president of Commercial Aviation Services for Rockwell Collins. “For our ARINCDirect business aviation operators, Iridium Certus offers small form factor antennas and terminals which are ideal for operators of smaller aircraft requiring internet connectivity. For our airline and government customers, the Iridium Certus service enables a variety of capabilities for cockpit safety, enhanced aircraft reporting, graphical weather, EFBs and other operational aircraft services.

The new agreement builds on the long-standing relationship between Rockwell Collins and Iridium, which spans more than a decade and began with the advent of Iridium aviation service offerings.


GOGO

North America-based Flying Colours Corp. is installing Gogo AVANCE L3 air-to-ground connectivity systems in two Bombardier Challenger aircraft, a CL604 and CL605. The installation of the small form, fully integrated AVANCE L3 inflight connectivity and entertainment solution represents a first for Flying Colours which has already installed several of the AVANCE L5 systems. Once installed the Gogo AVANCE L3 system will provide passengers with access to the Gogo Biz Broadband network and will support, dependent on package, access to voice, email, web browsing, moving maps, and a selection of movies and TV programs.


OTHER STUFF

Circuit miniaturization has a new size reducing potential with kinetic inductance (reduced inductor size) – this is a big deal! The Last Barrier To Ultra-Miniaturized Electronics Is Broken, Thanks To A New Type Of Inductor