The Wingcopter 198 achieves FAA airworthiness criteria - the first delivery drone company worldwide to have achieved so
14 May 2022
14 May 2022
In what can be termed a critical milestone in the certification process of Wingcopter’s flagship delivery drone in the US, the Wingcopter 198 unmanned aircraft, has secured a Special Class Airworthiness Criteria from the FAA.
With the Airworthiness Criteria, the FAA defines technological requirements under title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR), §?21.17(b) that must be met to have an aircraft type-certified for regular commercial operations in the United States.
Wingcopter 198 - tech and specs
Built on the patented tilt-rotor technology, the Wingcopter 198 is an eVTOL aircraft that surpasses various performance metrics & durability standards.
The unique aerodynamic design enables an efficient forward flight with a wide centre of gravity for flexible payload attachments, making it an optimal drone for cargo delivery.
The winglets extend the surface of the wing making it more efficient in a fixed-wing mode without compromising the compact size of the drone.
Designed to adhere to stringent safety standards, it features redundant system architecture with dual airspeed sensors, dual heading and positioning systems, and dual flight controllers., thereby rendering it an extremely high degree of reliability and safety.
Survey Instruments Services
Range75 km with 5 kg85 km with 3 kg95 km with 1 kg110 km without payloadSpeed144 km/h in maximum cruise speedAltitude5000 m PayloadUp to 6 kg total payload, max. 5 kg with triple dropTelemetryCellular 3G/4G/5GSatellite IRIDIUMAwarenessADS-B in, FLARM, Remote IDOptical Awareness SystemGround Awareness Systemwingcopter.com
What is the "triple drop"?
The Wingcopter 198 can deliver up to 3 separate packages to multiple locations with a total weight of 5 kg during one single flight.
For each delivery stop the Wingcopter 198 transitions from forwarding flight mode to hover mode and lowers the package in a matter of seconds.
The achievement of the airworthiness certificate is expected to streamline Wingcopter’s further certification efforts such as with the National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) in Brazil or the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB).
Furthermore, Wingcopter will be able to fly conventional routes through airspace and overpopulated areas, ultimately providing the basis for scaling commercial drone delivery operations across the United States that will help save and improve lives, once type-certified.
We are proud to be among the first delivery drone companies worldwide to ever get their Airworthiness Criteria approved by the FAA. This is a very important milestone for us, not only in our Type Certification Process in the United States, but also for our international expansion efforts and for achieving our vision of building logistical highways in the sky. I would like to thank my team as well as the FAA for all the effort and great collaboration to reach this milestonesaid Tom Plümmer, co-founder and CEO of Wingcopter
Wingcopter is a German-based company, specializing in the manufacture of fixed-wing unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and provider of drone delivery services. Having operated in various geographical settings, from the Arctics to the Middle Eastern desert and from remote islands in the South Pacific to San Diego Bay in the United States, the company boasts five years of experience in delivery drone operations.
Jet Airways will have the best possible app, website and IT systems and services among all Indian carriers without losing the human touch, its CEO Sanjiv Kapoor said on Friday, May 13.
"Human interaction cannot be fully replaced by technology — it must always be there as a backup, especially when things go wrong (during irregular operations, etc)," he stated in an email to employees.
Kapoor said, "The Top 3 priorities for any CEO should be 1. Create the right culture, 2. Hire the best people, treat them well, and pay them fairly and on time, 3. Help develop the best strategy. In that order."
Sanjiv Kapoor, CEO, Jet Airways
In his letter on May 13, Kapoor said that his 'five foundation blocks' to focus on were securing Air Operator Certificate, buying new aircraft, having robust systems and processes to support operations, securing slots, and building a new team of employees.
Jet Airways is already in talks with major aircraft manufacturers and lessors and will soon take a call on the kind of aircraft to procure which aligns with the airline's long-term plans, added Kapoor.
The CEO, in his email, enlisted 10 guiding principles for employees. The tenth principle said that Jet Airways is a people-focused airline for the digital age.
Jet Airways to have the best app and website; proving flights soon
"We will have the best app, website, and IT systems and services possible. However, we will not give up the human touch — there will always be the option to speak with a human. We are in the people and customer business," Kapoor elaborated.
The first principle stated that as an airline, safety is paramount and therefore, there will be absolutely no room for short-cuts or compromises. The second principle said that common sense, values and principles will guide Jet Airways and not some "rigid" rulebook.
"At all levels, people will be empowered to make decisions by values and common sense; values such as respect, fairness, empathy, transparency, decency and hard work," Kapoor elaborated.
Jet Airways is already in talks with major aircraft manufacturers and lessors and will soon take a call on the kind of aircraft to procure
The third principle mentioned that the company’s culture would be based on love, passion and mutual respect and not fear. Open, transparent and regular communication between senior management and other employees will be the fourth principle, according to Kapoor.
Political views should be kept outside the office, the fifth principle said. There should be no "chalta hai (anything goes)" attitude, the sixth principle noted. The seventh principle elaborated on the fact that professionalism must be maintained in "our dealings and our appearances, at work or outside of work".
The eighth principle stated that the results and output of each employee will be the final adjudicator for efforts and contribution and not face-time. "A desire to 'Think Different' while being customer-driven" will be the company’s ninth guiding principle, Kapoor mentioned.
Jet Airways’ proving flights on May 15 and May 17
Jet Airways’ proving flights, the last step for the carrier to obtain the air operator certificate (AOC), are scheduled to take place on May 15 and May 17, officials of aviation regulator DGCA said on Friday. Jet Airways conducted its test flight to and from Hyderabad in a step towards obtaining the AOC.
Jet Airways’ proving flights on May 15 and May 17
ALSO READ - Jet Airways conducts test flight after more than 3 years
Proving flights are similar to commercial flights but with officials of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), executives and flight crew of the carrier concerned on board. On May 5, Jet Airways conducted its test flight to and from Hyderabad in a step towards obtaining the AOC.
The airline plans to restart commercial flight operations in the July-September quarter. DGCA officials said the proving flights of the airline, using its B737 aircraft, are scheduled to take place on May 15 and May 17.
The airline in its old avatar was owned by Naresh Goyal and had operated its last flight on April 17, 2019. The Jalan-Kalrock Consortium is currently the promoter of Jet Airways.
The Jalan-Kalrock Consortium is currently the promoter of Jet Airways.
Kapoor’s email said the airline will "very soon conduct" its proving flight, the last step before obtaining the AOC.
ALSO READ - Jet Airways 2.0 gets security clearance from Home Ministry
Recently, The Union Home Ministry has granted security clearance to Jet Airways which is planning to relaunch commercial flight operations in the next few months, according to an official document. The letter was also sent to aviation safety regulator DGCA and aviation security regulator BCAS.
Jet Airways had suspended operation in April 2019. It will be the first airline to resume operations under the insolvency rules.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) recent decision to inspect cabins of aircraft being used by Indian carriers during night parking and random spot checks is leading to the discovery of many deficiencies in some birds due to a lack of timely repairs and replacements.
ALSO READ - DGCA to begin conducting night inspections of the cabins of older planes
DGCA's findings include an aircraft lavatory not marked unserviceable despite a cracked toilet seat, broken armrests and a “transparent tape arrangement” on one seat to fill in for a missing armrest. It also found 6 infant life vests kept in a bag meant for life vests for adults.
DGCA finds several deficiencies in 280 aircraft during night inspection
DGCA teams have between May 2 and 8, 2022, inspected 112 aircraft — 50 of SpiceJet and 62 of other Indian carriers — and carried out spot checks on an additional 168 aircraft — 100 of SpiceJet; IndiGo (18); Vistara (17); Air India (11); GoAir (10); AirAsia India (9); Alliance Air (2) and Flybig (1).
“None of these aircraft had to be grounded for repairs. The cabin deficiencies revealed during the spot checks and inspections are being brought to the notice of the airline concerned and they get most of the issues repaired at night itself,” said a senior official.
“We are working with our airlines to upgrade passenger experience by attending to maintenance issues in the cabin. Needless to add, the main focus of our audit is safety. But simultaneously we are goading operators to take appropriate care of the cabin."Arun Kumar, Chief, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)
Other issues that do not affect safety are being given a week to be fixed and the regulatory teams will check if those deadlines are being met.
The ongoing special cabin audit is in addition to regular engineering inspections. Airlines globally, with India not being an exception, are under severe financial strain since the outbreak of Covid. In particular, the DGCA is focusing more on old airplanes and airlines with weak finances.
The ongoing special cabin audit is in addition to regular engineering inspections.
Post-Russia’s war on Ukraine, jet fuel prices globally have touched record highs. For Indian carriers, the problem is compounded as the Rupee has touched a record low. Many airline costs like lease payments and aircraft maintenance are dollar-denominated.
Accordingly, the DGCA spot checks and inspections of the aircraft cabin is focussing on -
The external condition of the aircraft to check for damages, missing panels and leakage.Condition of cabin interiors including seats, side panels, hat-racks, windows, galley equipment and door seals.Availability and conditions of emergency equipment.Checking logbook for reported defects and their rectification.Availability of necessary manpower and availability of necessary facilities including tools, equipment, and maintenance data.
The cumulative effect of weak finances pre-2020; traffic being hit severely after March 2020 and now rocketing operating costs is showing up in the cabins of aircraft being checked.
Findings of the inspection
The defect logbook of an aircraft showed that one of its toilet seats has cracked. But the airline had neither secured this lavatory for not being used nor reduced its seating capacity to factor in one less lavatory.
On another aircraft, the defect logbook showed the date of carrying out the required repair was deferred for 10 days and then this date kept getting extended due to “unavailable spare parts like missing passenger seats hinge and armrest covers, torn seat, ceiling lights and air outlet gasper.”
On another aircraft, it was found the airline had not carried out annual inspections of cabin portable fire extinguishers as required. The same aircraft’s refuel panel upper latch was found not serviceable. Its repair had been deferred for 120 days.
Several deficiencies were found with aircraft belonging to SpiceJet, IndiGo and Air India, and also the maintenance processes.
At one such night surveillance at Mumbai airport on May 6, several deficiencies were found with aircraft belonging to SpiceJet, IndiGo and Air India, and also the maintenance processes.
In one of the Airbus A319 aircraft, the main landing gear tyre-changing work was undergoing, but without the availability of a maintenance engineer. No work order or maintenance data was found with technicians on the job. Also, the lighting to carry out the task was not proper.
At Hyderabad on May 10, an Airbus A319 plane was found with door panel defects that were reported in March this year but were not addressed. In another Airbus A320 plane 'fasten seat belt while seated' and ‘life vest under the seat’ decals were found missing in six rows.
(With Inputs from The Times of India)
China's Tibet Airlines said all passengers and crew had been evacuated from an Airbus A319 plane that caught fire after an aborted takeoff in the southwestern city of Chongqing on Thursday, May 12.
There were no deaths and only minor injuries among the 113 passengers and nine crew members on board, the airline said in a statement.
Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said 36 people suffered bruises and sprains during the evacuation of flight TV9833 and were sent to local hospitals for examination.
China's Tibet Airlines aircraft caught fire after an aborted takeoff
The front portion of the Airbus SE A319 aircraft was engulfed in flames and enveloped by thick black smoke. Passengers carrying bags and other items were seen on the tarmac running away from the burning jet.
The pilots had interrupted the takeoff in line with procedures after experiencing an abnormality, CAAC said in a statement, leading to an engine scrape and fire after the plane veered off the runway. Emergency plans were activated and investigators rushed to the scene.
The incident came less than two months after the deadly crash of a China Eastern Airlines plane led the country's aviation regulator to launch a safety drive.
Unverified video on social media showed a Tibet Airlines plane, a subsidiary of Air China, with heavy smoke and flames pouring from the left side of the aircraft as passengers and crew walked away.
The aircraft involved is a nine-year-old A319, one of the smallest versions of the A320 family. It is powered by CFM56 engines from CFM International, a joint venture between General Electric and Safran.
Tibet Airlines is a regional airline based in Lhasa. It has a fleet of 39 planes, including 28 A319s.
Tibet Airlines is a regional airline based in Lhasa. It has a fleet of 39 planes, including 28 A319s.
ALSO READ - China Eastern B737-800 crash – here’s what is known so far
On March 21, a China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 with 132 people on board crashed in mountains in southern China, killing everyone on board. So far there have been few clues about the cause of the accident.
The tragedy shocked a country which had vastly improved its safety record to become one of the best in the world. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, China was one of the world's fastest-growing markets for aviation, measured by passenger traffic, during the past decade.
Chhattisgarh govt's helicopter crash at Raipur airport - What is known so far?
A Chhattisgarh government AgustaWestland AW 109 helicopter crashed at the Raipur airport on Thursday, May 12 night, killing two pilots, police said.
The incident took place during a flying practice at the Swami Vivekananda Airport in Raipur under Mana police station limits at around 9:10 PM, said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Prashant Agrawal.
Two pilots on board the chopper were seriously injured in the crash and immediately taken to a nearby private hospital where they were declared dead, said the SSP. The deceased were identified as Captian Gopal Krishna Panda and Captain A P Shrivastava, said the police officer.
Chhattisgarh govt's helicopter crashed at Raipur airport, both pilots dead
According to preliminary information, the crew was conducting a night flying training sortie at the airport when the chopper crashed while landing at the rear end of the runway. It was an AgustaWestland 109 helicopter, said sources. Officials said they are assessing if the runway has suffered any damage.
The cause of the crash was not immediately known. A detailed technical investigation on behalf of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Chhattisgarh Government will be undertaken to ascertain the exact cause.
The black box of the helicopter, which has been retrieved from the wreckage, will also be examined by DGCA experts to determine the sequence of events in the final minutes before the crash. Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel expressed grief over the tragedy and condoled the death of the pilots.
This is the second state-owned helicopter to crash.
Baghel tweeted, "just got sad news about a state helicopter crashing at the airport in Raipur. In this tragic accident, both our pilots Captain Panda and Captain Shrivastava passed away. May God give strength to their family members and peace to the departed soul."
The state helicopter was regularly used for VIP movement and travel of senior officers within the state. For the last eight days, senior officials mostly used this chopper during chief minister Bhupesh Baghel’s ongoing mass contact programme in north Chhattisgarh, sources said.
This is the second state-owned helicopter to crash. In July 2007, a chopper crashed on the hills of the Chhattisgarh-Maharashtra border while returning to the state after maintenance in Bhopal. Two pilots, an engineer and a senior technician were on board the ill-fated chopper.
The tail rotor of the helicopter led to the crash
The state chopper that crashed was overhauled twice after it was purchased in 2007. “The twin-engine ‘AW 109 power elite’ was overhauled twice, last in 2017, and the right engine was overhauled once and later was replaced with a new one around a year back,” said Neelam Namdeo Ekka, director, aviation, Chhattisgarh, adding that there were no technical problems in the engine.
The chopper had reportedly suffered a tail rotor snag due to which it “fell like a rock, straight down” from a significant height.
A team of the directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) reached Raipur for investigation even as officials said that there could be a malfunction in the tail rotor of the chopper that led to the crash.
The chopper had reportedly suffered a tail rotor snag due to which it “fell like a rock, straight down” from a significant height. Officials investigating the crash say both the pilots — Captains Gopal Krishna Panda and A P Shrivastava — were highly experienced.
A statement issued by the Chhattisgarh government on Friday said that the said helicopter was acquired from Hong Kong-based company Sharp Ocean Investment Private Limited, an authorised seller of Agusta-Westland Company, Italy, for USD 65.70 million (INR 26.58 crore).
Officials claimed that the same chopper suffered technical glitches three times earlier also. In 2016 and February 2018, technical snags were reported when the then chief minister Raman Singh was flying while in 2016, the then state minister Brijmohan Agrawal, had to make a precautionary landing after an engine snag was found.
However, the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) — which conducts probes into serious accidents — is currently not headed by a technical person and an Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA&AS) officer is its DG. Similarly, the DGCA does not at the moment have a deputy DG (DDG) of air safety. The DDG and AAIB technical heads coordinate for probes into serious accidents.
The NASA X-59 QueSST supersonic aircraft inches closer to reality after passing 2 key tests
13 May 2022
13 May 2022
It wasn't just a jet, it was an exclusive club - The mighty Concorde. The idea of supersonic flight- to travel at speeds faster than the speed of sound and because it’s extremely fast - had the potential to reduce time in the air and cut down hours off trans-oceanic flights, has always been appealing to man.
The Concorde | Smithsonian Magazine
The quest to sustain sustainable supersonic travel has never been a bed of roses as it was always beset with challenges, right from regulatory hurdles to solving noise pollution. According to some experts, the idea of a green supersonic flight is almost self-contradictory. The Concorde, they note, was pretty terrible in terms of emissions.
Nearly two decades now, after the Concorde was retired, the race is still on to get the supersonic birds up and flying again.
Lockheed Martin has now released footage which provides a new update on the X-59 aircraft it is developing in collaboration with NASA. In the video, Michael Buonanno- the X-59 Air Vehicle Engineering Lead, says the aircraft has successfully undergone two crucial tests, a structural proof test and a fuel system test that showed the aircraft measures fuel accurately. And now that makes it ready for its first flight test.
What is the X-59 and why build a quiet supersonic aircraft?
The X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology (QueSST) is a collaboration between NASA and Lockheed Martin designed to fly faster than the speed of sound-"quietly".
Illinois Institute of Technology
Supersonic flights are synonymous with the iconic "sonic boom" and that's one of the reasons why commercial supersonic flights are banned in the US.
X-59 Cockpit | Illustrative | The Mirror
What is a sonic boom?
A sonic boom is the result of compressed pressure waves at the front and rear of the aircraft merging into a singular shockwave as they can no longer get out of the way of each other before they reach the ground.
Sonic Boom | Illustrative | DK Find Out!
To get a perspective, consider the crack of a bullet, which has the same effect as a sonic boom, although on a much smaller scale. The shockwaves are known to cause hearing damage in veterans. Now scale it a notch higher, to the size of a jet, and it becomes capable of causing structural damage and noise of up to 120 decibels. Therefore commercial supersonic jets flying overhead have the potential to shatter windows in their path, and hence supersonic flight above land is prohibited.
The X-59 is Lockheed Martin and NASA’s answer to the ever-prevalent sonic boom issue. Current commercial airliners typically fly at a speed of 460-575 miles per hour at a cruising altitude of about 36,000 feet. The X-59 is designed to see how it can endure the challenges of supersonic speeds, so it only yields a more desirable “sonic thump” instead of the unsettling sonic boom.
Illustrative | Interesting Engineering
The "sonic thump', while still not ideal enough, is touted to significantly reduce the noise and potential damage created by a sonic boom, which both Lockheed Martin and NASA hope will allow the ban on overland supersonic commercial flights to be lifted.
NASA | Chris Hanoch
Digital engineering has been integral to the design of X-59 since its earliest stages. Unlike traditional aircraft where we extensively used wind tunnels to shape and understand the flow around the configuration. We use thousands of computer simulations to characterize the nuance of every single flow feature on the aircraftBuonanno explains
Tony Delagarza, who lead the X-59 Finite Element Analysis team, underscored the role of aeroelastic modelling that helped achieve the required "quiet" boom levels. According to Delagarza, the X-59's supersonic boom would be comparable to a "car door slamming" in comparison to the Concorde's massive supersonic boom which could "shatter windows".
With the X-59, we want to demonstrate that we can reduce the annoying sonic booms to something much quieter, referred to as "sonic thumps". The goal is to provide noise and community response data to regulators, which could result in new rules for overland supersonic flight. The test proved that we don’t just have quieter aircraft design, but that we also have the accurate tools needed to predict the noise of future aircraftsaid John Wolter, lead researcher on the X-59 sonic boom wind tunnel test
The X-59 is scheduled to fly later this year, that is, if everything goes by as planned. Further acoustic validation flights are planned for 2023 followed by community overflights in early 2024 to test the loudness of the sonic boom.
NASA plans to deliver results of the community overflights to the International Civil Aviation Organization and Federal Aviation Administration in 2027. With that information in hand, regulators will be able to decide if a change should be made in rules that prohibit supersonic flight over land- a decision that would be expected in 2028NASA
What do you think will be the fate of commercial supersonic air travel this time around? Will history repeat itself as we've seen in the case of Concorde? With private players entering the supersonic arena and billions being invested, do we have a new supersonic jet-age coming?
COVER: Wikipedia Commons