Boeing unveils Australian-developed unmanned drone

Boeing has introduced its newest unmanned platform, the Boeing Airpower Teaming System.
Designed for global defense customers by Boeing Australia, it is the company’s largest investment in a new unmanned aircraft program outside the United States.
The aircraft will complement and extend airborne missions through smart teaming with existing military aircraft.
A model of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System was unveiled at the Australian International Airshow by the Australian Minister for Defence, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP.
As a research and development activity, the Australian Government and Boeing will produce a concept demonstrator called the Loyal Wingman – Advanced Development Program that will provide key learnings toward the production of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System.
“The Boeing Airpower Teaming System will provide a disruptive advantage for allied forces’ manned/unmanned missions,” said Kristin Robertson, vice president and general manager of Boeing Autonomous Systems. “With its ability to reconfigure quickly and perform different types of missions in tandem with other aircraft, our newest addition to Boeing’s portfolio will truly be a force multiplier as it protects and projects air power.”
The Boeing Airpower Teaming System will:

  • Provide fighter-like performance, measuring 38 feet long (11.7m) and able to fly more than 2,000 nautical miles
  • Integrate sensor packages onboard to support intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions and electronic warfare
  • Use artificial intelligence to fly independently or in support of manned aircraft while maintaining safe distance between other aircraft.

“This aircraft is a historic endeavor for Boeing. Not only is it developed outside the United States, it is also designed so that our global customers can integrate local content to meet their country-specific requirements,” said Marc Allen, president, Boeing International.
“The Boeing Airpower Teaming System provides a transformational capability in terms of defense, and our customers – led by Australia – effectively become partners on the program with the ability to grow their own sovereign capabilities to support it, including a high-tech workforce.”

Boeing goes pilotless

Boeing has successfully completed the first test flight of its autonomous passenger air vehicle (PAV) prototype in Manassas, Virginia. Boeing NeXt utilised Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences to design and develop the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft and will continue testing to advance the safety and reliability of on-demand autonomous air transportation.
The PAV prototype completed a controlled take-off, hover and landing during the flight, which tested the vehicle’s autonomous functions and ground control systems. Future flights will test forward, wing-borne flight, as well as the transition phase between vertical and forward-flight modes. This transition phase is typically the most significant engineering challenge for any high-speed VTOL aircraft.
“In one year, we have progressed from a conceptual design to a flying prototype,” said Boeing Chief Technology Officer Greg Hyslop. “Boeing’s expertise and innovation have been critical in developing aviation as the world’s safest and most efficient form of transportation, and we will continue to lead with a safe, innovative and responsible approach to new mobility solutions.”

Powered by an electric propulsion system, the PAV prototype is designed for fully autonomous flight from take-off to landing, with a range of up to 50 miles (80.47 kilometres). Measuring 30 feet (9.14 metres) long and 28 feet (8.53 metres) wide, its advanced airframe integrates the propulsion and wing systems to achieve efficient hover and forward flight.
The test flight represents the latest milestone for Boeing NeXt. The division works with regulatory agencies and industry partners to lead the responsible introduction of a new mobility ecosystem and ensure a future where autonomous and piloted air vehicles safely coexist. In addition to the PAV, the Boeing NeXt portfolio includes an unmanned fully electric cargo air vehicle (CAV) designed to transport up to 500 pounds (226.80 kilograms) and other urban, regional and global mobility platforms. The CAV completed its first indoor flight last year and will transition to outdoor flight testing in 2019.
“Boeing was there when the aviation industry was born and in our second century, we will unlock the potential of the urban air mobility market,” said Steve Nordlund, vice president and general manager of Boeing NeXt. “From building air vehicles to airspace integration, we will usher in a future of safe, low-stress mobility in cities and regions around the world.”

Boeing gets ready for drone-filled skies

Boeing and SparkCognition will launch SkyGrid, a new company that will enable the future of urban aerial mobility. SkyGrid will develop a software platform to ensure the safe, secure integration of autonomous cargo and passenger air vehicles in the global airspace.
Using blockchain technology, AI-enabled dynamic traffic routing, data analytics and cybersecurity features, SkyGrid’s platform will go beyond unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) traffic management (UTM). The platform will enable SkyGrid customers to safely perform a broad range of missions and services using UAS, including package delivery, industrial inspections and emergency assistance.
“The Boeing and SparkCognition partnership is unmatched in industry today,” said vice president and general manager of Boeing NeXt Steve Nordlund. “SkyGrid is building the digital infrastructure that will make safe, seamless commercial and personal transport possible for billions of people around the world.”
“SkyGrid merges expertise in AI, blockchain, security and aviation to deliver breakthrough technological advancements for the rapidly-growing urban aerial mobility industry,” said Amir Husain, who will serve as CEO of SkyGrid in addition to his role as founder and CEO of SparkCognition. “By offering scalable and robust capabilities in a single, integrated framework, SkyGrid will make large-scale air vehicle applications more practical and accessible.”

CSIRO scoops Boeing award for second year running

Members of CSIRO and Boeing’s leadership teams recently met at CSIRO’s space facility in Canberra.

Global aerospace giant Boeing has named CSIRO as technology supplier of the year for 2017.
It is the second consecutive year that Australia’s national science agency has picked up the top award, building on the recognition it received as Boeing’s academia supplier of the year in 2010.
Selected from a field of more than 13,000 suppliers from 50 countries, CSIRO was one of 13 organisations – and the only one from Australia – to be recognised this year.
Delivering technology innovations that “were instrumental to Boeing worker safety”, helped advance production efficiency and “delivered Boeing’s competitive advantage in the avionics business” were cited as some of the reasons for CSIRO retaining the Technology Award it won in 2016.
The Boeing relationship is one of CSIRO’s most enduring and productive. Since 1989 the organisations have invested in projects that take in everything from software to safety systems, cyber security to space science, production efficiency to advanced materials.
In January 2018, the two parties announced an agreement to perform joint research and development in space technologies, signalling a new phase in the partnership.
This was followed by last month’s announcement that CSIRO and Boeing’s respective investment funds were backing Australian nanosatellite communications start-up Myriota.
“We greatly value our long and strong relationship with Boeing, because it’s built on shared values, including trust and respect, safety of our workers and striving for excellence in everything we do,” CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said.
“Like Boeing, CSIRO was founded to deliver national missions – we are united by a common purpose to make life better, whether it’s on the ground, in the air, or on Mars.
“We’re excited to be expanding our partnership into space, creating opportunities for not only new knowledge about our Universe, but new opportunities for humankind.”
Over the course of their 29-year partnership CSIRO and Boeing have delivered a range of technological breakthroughs, creating jobs and growth in Australia and the US.
CSIRO’s “Paintbond” technology, for instance, has been applied to more than a thousand Boeing airplanes, including some in the skies above Australia, saving millions of dollars in maintenance costs.
The strong relationship with CSIRO was a key factor in Boeing choosing Australia as the location for its largest research and development operation outside the United States.
Last year the two organisations signed a new $35 million five-year deal to work together on a broad range of areas of mutual interest including space sciences, advanced materials and manufacturing.

Adelaide goes from cars to satellites

Boeing has announced its investment in Adelaide, Australia-based Myriota, an Internet of Things (IoT) start-up seeking to revolutionise satellite communications by providing low-cost access to high-value data in remote locations, such as freight transport.
Myriota developed technology enabling two-way communications between ground-based micro-transmitters and low Earth orbit (LEO) nanosatellites to securely share data over narrow bandwidths. This direct-to-orbit platform enables applications across the logistics, defence, utilities, agricultural, environmental, transport and maritime industries, where IoT connectivity via traditional means is extremely challenging and expensive.
Boeing HorizonX Ventures’ investment in Myriota is its first in a company outside of the US and its 10th since Boeing HorizonX was launched in April 2017.
“Part of the mission of Boeing HorizonX is to pursue and accelerate innovations coming out of start-ups around the world. By investing in Myriota, we are proud to support Australia’s start-up ecosystem and growing space industry,” said Steve Nordlund, vice president of Boeing HorizonX. “Myriota’s technology influences how we think about space-based communications and connectivity in remote locations.”
Founded in 2015, Myriota builds on the work of its founders with the University of South Australia’s Institute for Telecommunications Research. The company’s direct-to-orbit technology enables massive-scale, low-cost communications for IoT devices anywhere on Earth.
“We formed Myriota to solve a major connectivity problem: hundreds of millions of devices that need to communicate but don’t have cost-effective, battery-friendly networks to do so,” said Myriota CEO Alex Grant. “The scale of this investment, with strong domestic venture capital leadership and strategic participation by global investors is significant for Myriota, and our vision to deliver IoT connectivity for everyone, everywhere.”
Boeing HorizonX Ventures participated in this US$15 million Series A funding round led by Australian firms Blue Sky Venture Capital and Main Sequence Ventures, which manages the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Innovation Fund. Other investors include Right Click Capital and Singtel Innov8.
For Boeing in Australia, Myriota is the latest example of the company’s continued investment in Australian technology that spans internal R&D, suppliers and partners, and universities. So far this year, Boeing announced a set of space-related R&D projects with CSIRO and the launch in Queensland of the company’s largest autonomous systems development program outside of the US. In South Australia, Myriota joins Boeing’s expanding presence in Adelaide, which Boeing announced last year in addition to an AU$500,000 (US$383,000) investment over five years in the Adelaide-based Techstars global accelerator program to support local start-ups.

Boeing unveils unmanned freighter prototype

Boeing has unveiled a new unmanned electric vertical-take-off-and-landing (eVTOL) cargo air vehicle (CAV) prototype that will be used to test and evolve Boeing’s autonomy technology for future aerospace vehicles. It is designed to transport a payload up to 227kg for possible future cargo and logistics applications.
“This flying cargo air vehicle represents another major step in our Boeing eVTOL strategy,” said Boeing chief technology officer Greg Hyslop. “We have an opportunity to really change air travel and transport, and we’ll look back on this day as a major step in that journey.”
In less than three months, a team of engineers and technicians across the company designed and built the CAV prototype. It successfully completed initial flight tests at Boeing Research & Technology’s Collaborative Autonomous Systems Laboratory in Missouri, USA.
Boeing researchers will use the prototype as a flying test bed to mature the building blocks of autonomous technology for future applications. Boeing HorizonX, with its partners in Boeing Research & Technology, led the development of the CAV prototype, which complements the eVTOL passenger air vehicle prototype aircraft in development by Aurora Flight Sciences, a company acquired by Boeing late last year.
“Our new CAV prototype builds on Boeing’s existing unmanned systems capabilities and presents new possibilities for autonomous cargo delivery, logistics and other transportation applications,” said Steve Nordlund, Boeing HorizonX vice president. “The safe integration of unmanned aerial systems is vital to unlocking their full potential.”
Powered by an environmentally-friendly electric propulsion system, the CAV prototype is outfitted with eight counter rotating blades allowing for vertical flight. It measures 14.57m, 5.49m wide and 1.22m, and weighs 339kg.
According to Megan Hilfer from Boeing Communications, the prototype is a flying test bed that will be used to mature the building blocks of electric vertical-take-off-and-landing (eVTOL) and safe, reliable autonomous flight.
“This maturation will lead to market-driven products that will someday offer customers the ability to carry hundreds of kilograms over broad distances in a way that makes it useful and relevant to them,” she said.
“The technology tested on this prototype will open up new possibilities for delivering time-sensitive and high-value goods, conducting autonomous missions in remote or dangerous environments, and other cargo and logistics applications. This could include oil rig and ship resupply, port operations, mining, construction, and logistics companies that move goods between distribution centres. We fully expect partners around the world will create new ways of applying this technology.”


Get your pilot’s licence

Boeing Global Services forecasts 1.2 million pilots and technicians needed by 2036, with the largest number in the Asia Pacific region. The study also found that the 20-year demand for cabin crew exceeds 800,000
Now in its eighth year, the outlook is a respected industry study that forecasts the 20-year demand for crews to support the world’s growing commercial airplane fleet.
Boeing forecasts that between 2017 and 2036, the world’s commercial aviation industry will require approximately:

  • 637,000 new commercial airline pilots.
  • 648,000 new commercial airline maintenance technicians.
  • 839,000 new cabin crew members.

The 2017 outlook shows a slight increase of 3.2 per cent for pilots over the 2016 outlook, and a slight decrease in the need for airline maintenance technicians (4.6 percent), primarily driven by the reduction in maintenance hours required on the 737 MAX.
Projected demand for new pilots, technicians and cabin crew by global region for the next 20 years is approximately:

RegionNew pilotsNew techniciansNew cabin crew
North America117,000118,000154,000
Latin America52,00049,00052,000
Middle East63,00066,00096,000
Russia / CIS22,00025,00028,000


Safety inspections ordered for Boeing 737s

The US Federal Aviation Agency has ordered the inspection of more than a thousand Boeing 737 jets amid concerns a faulty part on the tail fin could cause serious safety issues.

The air safety regulator ordered the "airworthiness directive" for all 737 aircrafts that fly in the U.S airspace.

Australian airlines will also need to inspect 120 new Boeings, with six models said to be affected.

The agency in concerned that the tail plane fixing pins in the horizontal stabilisers underperform when they corrode. The horizontal stabilisers manoeuvres the plane’s movement up and down, cbcnews reported.

"We are issuing this AD to prevent premature failure of the attach pins, which could cause reduced structural integrity of the horizontal stabilizer to fuselage attachment, resulting in loss of control of the airplane," the FAA said in a release.

The directive requires airline to look for and, where necessary, replace corrosion-prone pins.

The total cost of replacement parts is expected to be around $10 million.

Image: Bernadett Szabo/Reuters

Emirates wins again, gets special Boeing 777

Emirates SkyCargo has added four highly coveted accolades to its impressive trophy collection in the last week, together with the 75th Boeing 777ER to come off the production line.
Emirates’ cargo division won the premier prize at the prestigious Cargo Airline of the Year Awards, one of the leading events in the cargo industry calendar, hosted by Air Cargo News (ACN) in London.
The Dubai-based intercontinental carrier, which last won the ACN Cargo Airline of the Year in 2001, was also voted Best All-Cargo Airline and, for the 21st successive year, Best Middle East Cargo Airline.
It also took the prize for Best Air Cargo Carrier – Middle East in the 2009 Asian Freight & Supply Chain Awards (AFSCAs) in Hong Kong. This is the 14th consecutive year that Emirates SkyCargo has won this award.
Organised by Cargonews Asia, the AFSCAs are widely regarded as the most authoritative for the industry in Asia.
Winners must meet the strict criteria, such as offering variety and usefulness of cargo product range, clearly set performance standards, satisfactory and timely resolution of problems, size and reach of international network, effective and user-friendly IT system, and damage-free cargo handling, and have large-scale public support.
Ram Menen, Emirates’ divisional senior vice president cargo, who was in London to accept the three awards there, said: “Emirates SkyCargo is truly honoured to have received these incredible accolades from our partners in the international cargo community. This recognition once again, coming at such a challenging time for everyone in our industry, provides the best possible acknowledgement of our continued investment and commitment to providing a world-class cargo operation.”
Emirates SkyCargo won the awards at a time of continued development across its operation, with the recent arrival of its first Boeing 777F, joining its freighter fleet of seven Boeing 747-400F aircraft. Emirates SkyCargo will take delivery of a second Boeing 777F – the quietest and most fuel efficient freighter in the sky today – later this year, with a further two of the type on order.
Later this year, Luanda and Durban will become the 17th and 18th destinations on Emirates SkyCargo’s African network, served with belly-hold capacity in Airbus A330-200 aircraft.
Emirates SkyCargo currently serves a global route network of 100 destinations in 60 countries, with a fleet of 133 aircraft (including eight freighters).

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