Aircraft Maintenance Technology

MAR 2018

The aircraft maintenance professional's source for technological advancements, maintenance alerts, news, articles, events, and careers

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2016 Siemens Extra 330LE The Extra 330LE aerobatic plane was debuted at AERO 2016 in Germany. It made its first flight in July 2016. Airbus' partner Siemens exhibited an aircraft that had nearly 10 times the power level of all its predecessors. The Extra 330LE, built by Walter Extra from Germany, is a high-performance, Extra aerobatic airplane, which has been modified to fly with an electric motor delivering 260 kw of power (348 hp) in a 50 kg (110-pound) package — a 500 percent improvement in power density over previous generations of motors. The 330LE demonstrated its ripeness and validity of a project by setting many world records. In December 2016, it set a world record for fastest-climbing airplane in its class. In March 2017, the Extra 330LE was timed at 337.5 km/h (209.7 mph) and officially became the fastest electric airplane with MTOW less than 1,000 kg. At the Paris Airshow in 2017 it was daily flying and towing a glider. 2016 EAS House Airbus and Siemens have partnered on a ground test facility in Munich called the Electric Aircraft Systems House (EAS House). It is Airbus' primary development laboratory for electric propulsion technology and is able to test power systems in excess of 20 mw. It is where Airbus is developing the power system behind CityAirbus — its much larger, four-seat, all-electric VTOL aircraft that is core to Airbus' Urban Air Mobility strategy. A first flight is scheduled to take place next year. 2016 Skyways The Skyways drone is a fully autonomous octocopter that flies parcels in containers located on its underside along routes called 'aerial corridors' to and from designated stations where it is automatically loaded or unloaded. In February 2016, Airbus Helicopters signed an agreement with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore for "Project Skyways" to experiment with, and develop the regulations, technologies, and operational requirements to safely operate a drone parcel delivery service in urban environments. The project signed up Singapore SingPost in April 2017 as its logistics partner to trial small parcel delivery via autonomous drones to designated stations on the campus of the National University of Singapore. The Unmanned Air System (UAS) has successfully completed its first flight demonstration at the National University of Singapore (NUS) on Feb. 8, 2018. 2017 Vahana Vahana is the next technological breakthrough in urban air mobility according to Airbus. Project Vahana intends to open up urban airways by developing the first certified electric, self-piloted vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) passenger aircraft. Airbus envisions Vahana being a cost-comparable replacement for short-range urban transportation like cars or trains. A core premise of this project is that full automation and sense-and-avoid technology will allow it to achieve higher safety levels by minimizing human error while allowing more vehicles to share the sky. As a platform, Vahana can be as diverse as its wheeled grounded counterparts when being used for cargo delivery, emergency services, search and rescue, or even as a tool to deploy modular infrastructure in disaster sites. Vahana, the all-electric, self-piloted, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft built by Airbus' innovation outpost in Silicon Valley, A3, successfully completed its first full-scale flight test, reaching a height of 5 meters (16 feet) before descending safely. The test was completed at 8:52 a.m. Pacific on Jan. 31, 2018 at the Pendleton UAS Range in Pendleton, OR. Its first flight, with a duration of 53 seconds, was fully self piloted and the vehicle completed a second flight the following day. 2018 CityAirbus The CityAirbus is a self-piloted electric VTOL multicopter which uses for propulsion four ducted rotors, each fitted with two direct-drive electric motors (100 kw each, Siemens SP200D) which spin fixed pitch propellers. Its rotors do not swivel, the cabin resembles that of the modern helicopter and should be capable to haul up to four passengers on 65 knots (120 km/h) speed with 15 minutes autonomy. It is intended for short flights in dense urban areas, with the aim of connecting major transportation hubs. The full-scale demonstrator will be tested on ground initially. Recently, in December 2017, the CityAirbus program reached another important milestone: the completion and "power on" of the "iron bird" in the ground test facility in Taufkirchen, Germany. This enables the verification of the entire electric propulsion system of CityAirbus, developed by Airbus' E Aircraft Systems unit. The first fully electric propulsion test bench has the capability to operate the propulsion system chain from flight controls to the dynamic loads of the propellers. After being maturated and verified on the "iron bird," the propulsion system will be embedded on the demonstrator by mid 2018. The first flight is scheduled for the end of 2018. In the beginning, the test aircraft will be remotely piloted, but later a test pilot will be on board. Airbus is aiming to operate the craft along fixed, predetermined routes, with top air speeds of around 80 mph. Only short flights are now planned as today's batteries are not capable of longer flights. Fast battery unit swapping or autonomous dock charging is expected. 2020 E-Fan X Dropping plans to produce an E-Fan 1.0, 2.0, and 4.0 family of personal aircraft, Airbus has moved into developing a larger, more powerful aircraft, the E-Fan X, that could fly within three to four years. Airbus, Rolls-Royce, and Siemens announced in January 2018 that they have formed a partnership — bringing together some of the world's foremost experts in electrical and propulsion technologies. The goal is to develop a near-term flight demonstrator which will be a significant step forward in hybrid-

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