IDAG orders three MD 350F helicopters

IDAG orders three MD 350F helicopters

The three new MD530Fs will be used by the Slovak Training Academy to train international helicopter crews. MDHI

MD HELICOPTERS Incorporated (MDHI) announced the sale and delivery of three MD 350F helicopters to International Defense and Aerospace Group (IDAG) on July 5, 2019. Based in Pennsylvania, IDAG is an authorised sales agent for the MDHI range of helicopters and the three new MD 350Fs will be utilised by the Slovak Training Academy, based at Košice, Slovakia. The trio will join the academy’s existing fleet of helicopters, including five MD 500Es, and will be used to support the tactical and nightvision goggle training of military and paramilitary helicopter pilots from around the world. Lynn Tilton, MDHI CEO, said: “We are excited about the sale of this MD 530F, and the opportunity to have military and paramilitary pilots from around the world train in the MD 530F. MD Helicopters and International Defense & Aerospace Group are aligned in our commitment to delivering excellence in product quality, support and training, and in our belief that the MD 500E and MD 530F airframes offer the best performance in their class for training, law enforcement and military operations.” The new MD 530Fs are powered by a Rolls-Royce 250- C30 turbine engine, producing 650shp and MGHI said IDAG’s right-hand command MD 530F is the first type-certified 369FF aircraft to be produced with the company’s all-glass cockpit, which also features night-vision imaging system cockpit lighting, extended landed gear, and a 21-US gallon (79-litre) Fargo auxiliary fuel tank.

Airbus Helicopters acquires Aersud Elicotteri

AIRBUS HELICOPTERS has acquired its Italian distributor Aersud Elicotteri, the company announced on July 12, 2019. Aersud Elicotteri has been partnered with Airbus Helicopters, via the former Sud Aviation and Eurocopter, for 50 years. Airbus Helicopters said it would now integrate the Veronabased company into its global customer support network. Riccardo Aichner, President of Aerosud Elicotteri, said: “Aersud Elicotteri has been an extraordinary adventure on a personal and professional level for two generations of my family and I am very proud of our contribution to the Italian aerospace industry. Throughout the years, the people at the company have been led by their passion for aviation, putting their expertise and dedication at the service of our customers. I am sure that these same principles will guide the new period we are now starting, under the name of Airbus”. According to Airbus Helicopters, there are more than 250 of its helicopters operating with over 90 Italian com

Mi-38 completes hot and high testing

RUSSIAN HELICOPTERS announced on July 4, 2019, that Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant has successfully completed a series of flight trials, carried out under instrument flight rules, of its Mi-38 helicopter under hot and high conditions. Some of the testing was conducted in the city of Astrakhan, including in excess of 50 flights in ambient temperatures up to 45°C (113°F). The high-altitude testing was carried out at Mt Elbrus in the Caucasus Mountains of Southern Russia, confirming the helicopter’s ability to operate at altitudes up to 9,840ft (3,000m) above sea level. The results have now been submitted to Russia’s Rosaviatsiya (Federal Air Transport Agency) for inclusion in the Mi-38’s type certification. Andrey Boginsky, Director General of Russian Helicopters, said: “Considering there’s high interest in the helicopter from both Russian and foreign customers, we’re trying to test and document its capabilities to the maximum. In particular, we are planning to test a new surveillance system and certify new hardened main rotor blades [which will also be used on the Mi-171A2] in the near future.”

ACH160 to the Philippines

The sale of the Airbus Corporate Helicopters ACH160 to an undisclosed customer in the Philippines will mark the debut of the type in the region. Airbus Helicopters

AIRBUS CORPORATE Helicopters announced on July 22, 2019, that it has sold a single ACH160 corporate helicopter to an undisclosed customer in the Philippines. The helicopter will be used by the customer for private and business flights within the Philippines archipelago and the sale also represents the first of the type in the Southeast Asia and Pacific regions. The ACH160 is exclusive version of the helicopter, which features two wide cabin doors and electrical footsteps and is capable of carrying up to eight passengers. Frederic Lemos, Head of Airbus Corporate Helicopters (ACH), said: “Launching the ACH160 in Southeast Asia with a new Philippine customer underlines the global attractiveness of our corporate helicopters offering to meet the evolving travelling needs of our customers. We are equally excited to see our ACH products gaining good success in the growing Philippine private travel market.” The medium, twin-engine Airbus Helicopters H160 is aimed at the offshore transportation, business and private, public services and commercial passenger transport markets, and is expected to enter service in 2020.

Turkish Ka-32A11BCs

The three recently delivered Kamov Ka-32A11BC helicopters will be operated by Kaan Air (Turkey) on fire-fighting operations. Russian Helicopters

RUSSIAN HELICOPTERS Holding Company, part of the Rostec State Corporation, announced in July 2019, that it has delivered three Kamov Ka-32A11BC helicopters to Turkey’s Kaan Air, where they will be used for firefighting operations. The delivery of the three helicopters is the result of a contract signed by Kaan Air (Turkey) in July 2018. Andrey Boginsky, Director General of Russian Helicopters Holding Company, said. “The Ka- 32A11BC is the helicopter with the best technical equipment for fire-fighting missions. This rotorcraft is capable of solving a wide range of tasks. We are looking forward to further fruitful co-operation with our Turkish partners as far as delivery and aftersales support of helicopters are concerned.”

Kaan Air is the Turkish sales agent for the Ka-32 helicopter and is responsible for delivery and aftersales support, as well as a range of helicopter transportation services and fire-fighting operations. Viktor Kladov, Director for International Co-operation and Regional Policy at Rostec, said. “Right now, Turkey is interested in expanding its fleet of fire-fighting aircraft and Rostec intends to continue developing its cooperation with Ankara in this field. We estimate the current Turkish market for this type of helicopters as several dozen machines.” The Ka-32A11BC is capable of lifting up to 5,000kg (11,023lb) of cargo on an external sling and can be equipped with various fire extinguishing systems, including Bambi Bucket and Simplex systems. It can also be fitted with a horizontal fire extinguishing system for fighting fires in the upper floors of high-rise buildings, as well as industrial complexes such as oil and gas processing plants.

More details about the Learjet 75 Liberty

Bombardier says the new Learjet 75 Liberty will be able to connect city pairs such as Las Vegas and New York, Seattle and Washington DC, and Mexico City and San Francisco. Bombardier

ON JULY 2, 2019, Bombardier unveiled the latest member of its iconic Learjet family of light business aircraft, the Learjet 75 Liberty. The six-seat Liberty will be priced at $9.9 million and deliveries are expected to begin in 2020. David Coleal, President of Bombardier Aviation, said: “The Learjet 75 Liberty represents a step up for customers in the light jet segment, with unprecedented spaciousness and Bombardier’s renowned smooth ride.” According to Coleal, the Liberty will offer a range of 2,080 nautical miles (3,850km), sufficient to connect Las Vegas to New York, Seattle to Washington DC and Mexico City to San Francisco, non-stop.

The aircraft will be certified to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 25 regulations, which is applicable to commercial airliners, rather than the current industry standard of FAA Part 23 certification. Cockpit features will include Bombardier’s Vision flight deck and the recently announced Garmin G5000 avionics upgrade. Bombardier said passenger features will include a flat floor throughout the cabin, a standard pocket door between the cockpit and the Executive Suite and a Gogo ATG 4G wireless connectivity solution. Like its forebears, the Learjet 75 Liberty will be produced in the United States, at Bombardier’s facility in Wichita, Kansas. Tonya Sudduth, Bombardier Aviation’s Vice-President of Operations at the Wichita production facility, said: “I’m extremely proud that the Liberty will be built in Wichita, where the Learjet dream first took flight. Our Wichita facility today has a diverse mandate supporting Bombardier’s extensive fleet of business aircraft, but to introduce the newest member of this iconic brand is of special significance to our team.”Nigel Pittaway

300th Gulfstream fitted with Jet ConneX in-flight

Gulfstream has recently fitted Inmarsat’s Jet ConneX in-flight broadband internet system to the 300th aircraft. Gulfstream Aerospace

GULFSTREAM AEROSPACE announced on July 17, 2019, that it has installed the Inmarsat Jet ConneX in-flight broadband service on the 300th aircraft, since the first aircraft was modified in May 2017. The system is fitted to Gulfstream’s in-production largecabin aircraft, including the G550, G650, G650ER and the new G500 and G600. Of the 300 aircraft now modified, Gulfstream said that almost half of them have been retrofit installations to earlier build aircraft. Derek Zimmerman, President of Gulfstream Customer Support, said: “The office-inthe- sky experience is very much a reality with Gulfstream and Jet ConneX. Our customers value our ability to efficiently incorporate this technology on our aircraft and the consistent and reliable global coverage it provides. They are enjoying live TV programmes, video streams and video connections, such as FaceTime, with their colleagues, family and friends.” The system has been certified by both the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States and the European Aviation Safety Agency and can transmit data at speeds up to 15 megabits per second. Inmarsat has also recently announced the launch of its enhanced JX-Pro Ka-band solution, which is capable of transferring data up to 20 megabits per second.Nigel Pittaway

US West Coast operator buys one Global 5500

Bombardier has sold a single Global 5500 to an unnamed customer on the US West Coast. Bombardier

BOMBARDIER ANNOUNCED on July 9, 2019, that it has secured an order for one Global 5500 business jet from an undisclosed customer based on the West Coast of the United States. The order was supported Jet Transactions, based in Van Nuys, California. Bombardier said the deal is valued at $46 million at 2019 list prices.

Brant Dahlfors, co-founder of Jet Transaction, said: “The combination of additional range, large cabin comfort, smooth ride and short-field performance capabilities makes the new Global 5500 aircraft uniquely suited to meet our clients’ west-coast missions. We are delighted and proud to represent this remarkable aircraft programme’s first end user on the US West Coast.” In other news, Bombardier revealed on July 11, 2019, that it delivered 60 Challenger 350 super mid-size aircraft in 2018, claiming 58% of the market in that segment. Bombardier said the aircraft delivered takes total Challenger 350 production to 300 units. Peter Lickoray, Senior Vice- President, Worldwide Sales and Marketing at Bombardier Business Aircraft, said: “The delivery of the 300th Challenger 350 business jet in only five years after its entry into service represents another exciting milestone for Bombardier, and underscores the trust our customers place in this industryleading aircraft.” Nigel Pittaway

Garmin G5000 certified on Citation Excel and XLS

TEXTRON IS now offering the Garmin G5000 integrated flight deck on its Cessna Citation Excel and Citation XLS business aircraft, the company announced on July 1, 2019. The new flight deck is available following the completion of certification work recently and is intended to modernise the existing avionics systems of the two Citation aircraft, as well as addressing obsolescence and regulatory requirements. Kriya Shortt, Senior Vice- President of Textron Aviations’ Global Customer Support business, said: “The Citation Excel and Citation XLS continue to be two of the most popular business jets in the world. The G5000 will modernise the cockpit to offer customers additional situational awareness, lower cost of operation and an improved in-flight experience in the aircraft.” Textron said the G5000 integrated flight deck incorporates three landscapeoriented displays with split-screen capability, intuitive touchscreen controllers and geo-referenced Garmin SafeTaxi airport diagrams. A new feature available as standard on the Citation Excel is an emergency descent mode, which is enabled by the autopilot in the event of a loss in aircraft pressurisation. Textron said that operators will gain access to more airports and lower approach minimums throughout the world because of the G5000’s PBN/RNP 0.3 with LPV/ APV approach capability.

Speedbird salute

British Airways Boeing 747-436 G-BYGC (c/n 25823) in BOAC livery leads the Red Arrows at RIAT. Ian Harding

IT IS rare to see large airliners flying at airshows outside the big trade exhibitions like Paris and Farnborough. Manufacturer testing requirements, customer deliveries and busy airline schedules mean these aircraft are simply unavailable most of the time. The appearance of a British Airways Boeing 747 in the flying display during the Saturday of the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford was therefore notable, and a sight made even more special because it involved the 747-436 retrojet G-BYGC (c/n 25823) in British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) livery flying with the Red Arrows. The formation marked British Airways’ centenary (its callsign was ‘BA100’). The 747 and the Red Arrows’ Hawk T1s formed up in a hold near RAF Brize Norton before performing two passes over RIAT, one from the east and one from the west, flying by at 500ft at 250kts (463km/h), although a 30kts (55km/h) tailwind created a 280kts (518km/h) ground speed.

Naturally, for the two passes the Hawks streamed red, white and blue smoke, which from August to October will be seen in the United States and Canada as the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team conducts Exercise Western Hawk 19, its first tour of North America since 2008 and its largest there since 1993. The BOAC-liveried G-BYGC is one of four BA retrojets, the others being 747-436 G-CIVB (c/n 25811) in the Negus livery of 1974–1984, 747-436 G-BNLY (c/n 27090) in the Landor scheme of 1984–1997 and Airbus A319-131 G-EUPJ (msn 1232) in the ‘red square’ livery of British European Airways, the airline merged with BOAC in 1974 to create British Airways. A formation of dissimilar aircraft, especially one involving a large aircraft like a 747 with nine much smaller ones, obviously requires detailed planning. Key factors are the speed and altitude at which the elements will join, the formation’s route and operating profile, how it will separate and escape manoeuvres in case of emergencies. Red Arrows pilots visited BA’s 747 simulator at Heathrow in late June to liaise with the flight crew flying the Jumbo: Captain Richard Allen-Williams (commander and Pilot Flying), Senior First officer Tom Perrins (Pilot Monitoring) and Captains Jonny Lutton and Simon Scholey (Safety Pilots). A cabin crew member aboard was Julia Lowes, whose brother Dan is one of the Red Arrows pilots.

The leader is crucial in formation flying. He or she must make smooth and timely control inputs with clear communication over the shared frequency to enable the wingmen to anticipate movements and hold position, so all the aircraft move as one and the formation looks neat and tidy. Replying to a question on Twitter from this correspondent, Capt Lutton explained that with the 747- 436 assuming the leader’s role, the Pilot Flying called the turns to the Reds on a discrete VHF radio frequency, with Red 1 making the smoke on/off/colour calls. The Safety Pilots provided an external lookout, monitoring lateral and vertical profiles, communicating information to the Pilot Flying and ensuring adherence to the planned profile and procedures. The flypasts at RIAT added to a long tradition of British Airways/ Red Arrows showpieces. A Concorde flew with the team at the 1985 International Air Tattoo; during that sortie the formation also overflew the QE2 underway in the English Channel. (The resulting photograph was used in advertising by both BA and Cunard.)

There were subsequent BA Concorde/Red Arrows formation flypasts for Heathrow Airport’s 50th anniversary in 1996, the opening of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh in 1999 and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in London in 2002. More recently, in 2013, a BA A380 flew with the team at RIAT. The airline’s involvement in RIAT over the years also includes Concorde, 747-436 and 777 charters into the show and, in 2015, a static appearance by Airbus A318-112CJ G-EUNB (msn 4039), at the time operated by BA on all-business class services between London City and New York JFK. Following the pomp and circumstance of the flypast, it was quickly back to the longhaul routine for G-BYGC. Within five hours the aircraft was turned around and away from Heathrow as BA293 bound for Washington, DC. Roundtrips in subsequent days included Riyadh, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

BA has for some time operated more 747s than any other airline, with 34 currently in its fleet. Other destinations served by these aircraft just now include Beijing, Boston, Cape Town, New York JFK, Miami, San Francisco and Toronto. The 747 is entering its twilight years with British Airways as the airline receives A350-1000s, 787-10s and eventually 777-9s to join the 787-8s, 787-9s, newer 777-300ERs and A380s for its long-haul routes. According to plans outlined by parent company IAG, two 747- 400s will be withdrawn from use this year. The Jumbo fleet will then shrink by a further five aircraft to 27 jets in 2020, before drawing down further to 20 aircraft in 2021 and then 13 in 2022. Only three examples will remain by 2023. BA has said G-BYGC will retain the retro BOAC livery until retirement in 2023, so it looks set to be one of the airline’s last Jumbos. The RIAT flypasts were to be savoured, then, because the sight of a British Airways 747, so common for so long, is about to become a lot rarer. Mark Broadbent

The formation photographed in the hold prior to flying over RAF Fairford. Cpl Ashley Keats/Royal Air Force

Improving vision

The view from the visible camera. Technical University of Munich
TUM’s Diamond DA42 testing an autoland system in Austria. Technical University of Munich

FULLY AUTOMATED landings are only carried out at large airports thanks to the complex ground infrastructure of the instrument landing system (ILS) transmitting localiser and glideslope signals via radio, with advanced flight guidance and control equipment guiding in aircraft in poor visibility conditions. Large aircraft have been equipped with autoland systems for decades – the Sud Aviation Caravelle, Hawker Siddeley Trident, Boeing 747, Concorde and Airbus A300/A310 were the first large commercial jets to be capable of landing in poor visibility – but the infrastructure required to make these landings possible is simply unavailable at smaller airports.

Navigation systems developed more recently such as the global navigation satellite system (GNSS) use satellite data for landings, but as GNSS requires a ground-based augmentation system to provide differential GPS corrections and integrity verification near an airport (replacing ILS) these systems still require ground infrastructure. Researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Technical University of Braunschweig (TUB) have been working together in recent years on a project called C2Land studying how to tackle the issue of providing autoland at smaller airports. The resulting system has recently undergone testing on the TUM’s own dedicated research aircraft, Diamond DA42 OE-FSD, which is equipped with a fly-by-wire system enabling control by means of an advanced autopilot, also developed by the TUM researchers. As a TUB statement noted: “Automatic landings are very attractive for commercial, as well as general aviation and for unmanned flight systems. Precise positioning, control and reliable integrity monitoring are indispensable.”

The solution from these two German academic institutions is an experimental automatic landing system that functions without any ground-based systems, instead using optical information from onboard cameras in conjunction with satellite positioning data. The C2Land system, which received research funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, works as follows. Two forwardfacing cameras mounted on the aircraft, one in the normal visible range and the other in infrared range, provide data that is processed by custom-designed software and integrated with GPS data to determine the aircraft’s position relative to the runway.

To achieve this and make automatic landings possible, additional image-processing functions are integrated into the software on the DA42’s autopilot. The algorithm in these functions enables data from the cameras to be compared with GPS signals from satellite data, which allows the system to determine the aircraft’s position relative to the runway and calculate a virtual glidepath for the approach. A statement from TUB said: “With the aid of optical positioning, independent onboard autonomous monitoring of the satellite-based navigation system especially below the previously valid minimum altitude of 200ft is ensured.” In late May, OE-FSD demonstrated fully automatic landings at the Diamond Aircraft factory airfield at Wiener- Neustadt in Austria. Test pilot Thomas Wimmer commented: “The cameras recognise the runway at a great distance from the airport. The system then guides the aircraft through the landing approach on a completely automatic basis and lands it precisely on the runway’s centreline.” The TUB noted several flight test campaigns were carried out before the DA42 flights by the TUB’s Institute for Flight Guidance at Braunschweig Research Airport (operated by the DLR, the German Aerospace Center) using the Institute’s Dornier Do 128-6 research aircraft, with various landing approaches flown manually to develop and validate the image processing algorithms with the recorded data.

The TUM added that the visionbased system could also improve navigational accuracy, not just final approaches. It said: “Autopilot systems use GPS signals to navigate. GPS signals are, however, susceptible to measurement inaccuracies, for example due to atmospheric disturbances, and the GPS receiver installed on an aircraft cannot always reliably detect such interferences.” Project partner Spark AVIONICS GmbH designed a cockpit display for the pilot and a subsystem for collision avoidance that automatically monitors the airspace and initiates an evasion manoeuvre if required. Another project partner, messWERK GmbH, evaluated automatic guidance. According to Martin Kügler, research associate at the TUM Chair of Flight System Dynamics, technology to make automatic landings possible at smaller airports is “essential” for the future of commercial aviation, especially given the efforts under way to make automated cargo and passenger transport in urban areas a reality. Mark Broadbent

The view from the infrared camera. Technical University of Munich

Transpacific JV approved


A JOINT venture (JV) between Qantas Airways and American Airlines for transpacific flights has received final approval from the US Department of Transportation (DOT). The carriers are now expected to begin coordinating their planning, pricing, sales and frequent flyer activities on transpacific flights, with new options and customer service enhancements The DOT noted: “The Final Order [for the JV] includes conditions that will protect competition, promote public benefits such as additional flights and increased seat availability, and enable the department to monitor the effects of the joint venture for consumers. “The Department [requires] that American and Qantas report annually on the progress of their commercial cooperation and provide a detailed assessment after seven years. “This assessment would undergo a comprehensive, data-driven review by the department based on clear benchmarks laid out in the final order. The joint venture would be the third in the US-Australasia market.” Mark Broadbent

Skywise on the rise

S Ramadier/Airbus

AIRBUS HAS confirmed its Skywise open data and digital services platform is now in use on more than 6,000 aircraft worldwide. The Skywise portfolio was only launched in 2017, when an initial four airlines formed the first customer group. By mid- 2019 more than 70 airlines were using it. Airbus has recently further expanded the Skywise portfolio with a new enhanced Flight Hour Service (FHS) offering, which will progressively introduce applications to simplify and accelerate decision-making about components to improve aircraft availability and optimise resources and component inventories. The system is applicable to the entire Airbus aircraft family. Airbus explained: “It will aggregate in one common interface all information required to make informed decisions faster. It will automatically identify the required components and associated consumables and expendables, ensure the selection of the optimum logistics routes, provide live ‘track and trace’ and manage inventories dynamically.” Airbus said the FHS offering was conceived following airlines’ extensive operational feedback that the system will continue to be developed closely with customers, partners and suppliers. Mark Broadbent

Bird of Prey

The striking Airbus Bird of Prey concept is designed to inspire a new generation of engineers. Airbus

AIRBUS UNVEILED a futuristic conceptual design for a hybridelectric turboprop airliner dubbed the ‘Bird of Prey’ at July’s Royal International Air Tattoo. The company emphasises the Bird of Prey is not intended to become an actual aircraft, and its primary purpose is to inspire the next generation of aerospace engineers and serve as a flag-bearer for the UK aerospace industry’s capabilities in high-value design. However, the Bird of Prey is notable because the concept highlights several key technologies: biomimicry, hybrid-electric engines, control systems and advanced materials. Biomimicry refers to the design and production of structures, materials and systems modelled on biological entities and processes. Martin Aston, Senior Manager at Airbus, said: “[Nature] has some of the best lessons we can learn about design.” Airbus says the concept is, “grounded in reality and gives an insight into what a future regional aircraft could look like. It is an extrapolation of what could be done with technologies that currently form the basis of research within Airbus.” The concept is for a regional aircraft able to carry 80 passengers and have up to 810 nautical miles (1,500km) range. Such an aircraft would be powered by hybridelectric engines, with fuel burn 30–50% lower than current aircraft, Airbus says.

The most eye-catching aspect of the striking CGIs of the concept issued by Airbus is the bird-like blended wing and tail structure, which according to the manufacturer has been designed to mirror the aerodynamic arch of a bird of prey. The wingtip feathers mimic the complex tip feathers of an eagle’s wings to provide active flight control and minimise drag and noise, and a split tail is designed to give control, with the lack of a vertical tail reducing drag. F urther notable features of the Bird of Prey are super-efficient, distributed hybrid-electric turboprop engines designed to significantly reduce emissions, and a lightweight carbon-fibre fuselage of geodesic design. Airbus told AIR International: “The purpose of Bird of Prey was to challenge our thinking. We don’t have the answers, but we are looking to set the research agenda so we can start the necessary research to make it a reality. If only 10% of these ideas come to reality, then we will be at the cutting edge of tomorrow’s technology.” The announcement about the Bird of Prey came shortly after Airbus issued information about its AlbatrossOne demonstrator, which undertook flight trials earlier this year (see Commercial News, August 2019 issue). The AlbatrossOne is a small remote-controlled system created by Airbus UK engineers in Filton featuring wings with a semiaeroelastic hinge that enables the wings to ‘flap’ freely in flight, just like a bird’s do. The wings lock for long-distance soaring and unlock when wind gusts occur to allow for manoeuvring.

The idea is the wing tips react and flex to gusts, reducing loads and the need for heavily reinforced wingboxes and enabling lighter and longer wings and a reduced airframe weight overall. AIR International asked Airbus if AlbatrossOne is an example of how it is exploring the ideas embodied in the Bird of Prey concept in a practical way. A company spokesperson replied: “Informally, there is a very strong linkage with AlbatrossOne, as the creative ideas for both projects stem from our colleagues in Filton. However, AlbatrossOne is very much focused on a promising technology that could feed into future product development options, whereas Bird of Prey is all about ‘visioneering’. “Nevertheless, they are complementary, and if you looked at them on an x and y graph, with the x axis being time and the y axis being level of innovation, then current flying tech is bottom left, AlbatrossOne is near half way up a 45o straight line and Bird of Prey is top right. “Bird of Prey might not be real in terms of current Airbus product planning, but it provides a ‘headmark’ for future aspirations.” James McMicking, Chief Strategy officer at the Aerospace Technology Institute, commented: “This concept illustrates the creative potential in aerospace to exploit radically new technologies and design ideas. If we are to incorporate these ideas into future products, we will need to develop new and better design capabilities that are able to explore beyond the current design paradigm, validate complex solutions and radically reduce the cost of development.” Airbus added: “We need a new type of engineering and a new breed of engineers and [we] want the Bird of Prey to show the younger generation that engineering is entering an exciting new era and that they can make a difference.” Mark Broadbent