Happy Charles Taylor Day!

Charles Taylor, who was the Wright Brothers’ mechanic and is considered the father of aviation maintenance, was born on May 24th. AMT Day is celebrated each year in the aviation maintenance industry and honors Charles Taylor on the date of his birth. Like Taylor, aircraft mechanics are truly the unsung heroes of the aviation industry. Congress passed a resolution supporting the goals and ideals of National AMT Day in 2008. After several years of continuous effort, Senate Resolution #SRES335 passed in December 2016, joining Congressional Resolution #RES#444, recognizing May 24 as AMT Day, and the day is now observed in many states in the U.S. Here’s to all the people who work selflessly to ensure the safety of our air transportation system.

GE Aerospace to Hire More Than 900 Engineers This Year

GE Aerospace says it plans to hire more than 900 engineers in 2024, reflecting its continued focus on innovation to support current aircraft engine programs and develop new technologies for the future of flight.

Hiring has already started and will take place throughout the year. Openings include experienced engineer roles for programs like CFM International’s Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engines (RISE) technology demonstrator and advanced military engine programs.

Most engineering roles are expected to be filled in the U.S. with positions available globally.

“Throughout our history, GE Aerospace has been at the forefront of innovation,” said Mohamed Ali, vice president of engineering for GE Aerospace. “Today, we’re entering a new era of technology development focused on reducing emissions with new architectures, advanced materials, manufacturing processes, and supercomputing capabilities revolutionizing what’s possible. Now as a standalone public company with innovation at the core of what we do, we look forward to welcoming more engineers to help us invent the future of flight.”

Top disciplines in high demand include mechanical and thermal design, analysis, systems, controls and aerodynamics.

“GE Aerospace is proud to power the flying military fleet and supply advanced avionics and electric power systems to military and commercial customers around the world,” said Darin DiTommaso, vice president of engineering for GE Aerospace Defense & Systems. “Our revolutionary new technologies and capabilities are laying the foundation for generations to come, and we are excited to welcome experienced engineers who will help ensure continued U.S. aviation superiority.”

Continued Investment
In 2023, GE Aerospace spent approximately $2.3 billion on aviation research and development, including external customer and partner funding. To continue advancing technology building blocks to redefine the future of flight, plans for research and development spending in 2024 are in the range of 6-8% of revenues including external funding.

Engineering hiring efforts for technology innovation follows an announcement made earlier this year that GE Aerospace plans to invest $650 million in its manufacturing facilities and supply chain. These investments look to increase production and strengthen quality to better support commercial and defense customers.

Innovative Engineering
The company says testing and development for the CFM RISE program continues to progress. Unveiled in 2021, GE Aerospace says the RISE program is advancing a suite of pioneering technologies, including advanced engine architectures like Open Fan, compact core, combustion technology, and hybrid electric systems to be compatible with 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). The CFM RISE program targets more than 20% better fuel efficiency with 20% lower CO2 emissions compared to the most efficient engines in service today.

Additionally, GE Aerospace says it has completed the next series of testing on its XA100 adaptive cycle engine to gather additional data and advance this next-generation technology for future combat aircraft. Adaptive cycle engines are critical to ensure U.S. combat aircraft maintain their superiority by providing 30 percent greater range and significantly more thermal management compared to today’s most advanced combat engine.

Cultivating Talent
Engineers at all stages of their career can impact aviation for decades to come at GE Aerospace, with a strong need for experienced engineers. The company offers multiple talent development programs, such as the longstanding early career Edison Engineering development Program and Take2Flight, a new career relaunch program for engineering professionals ready to return to work after a break of one year or more.

The GE Aerospace Foundation says it is also making investments in the next generation engineering workforce and recently announcing a $20 million dollar commitment to expand the Next Engineers program. This program aims to increase the diversity of young workers in engineering, bridging the gap from middle school to college and has reached nearly 18,000 students since it began in 2021.

Patrick de Castelbajac named Chief Strategy Officer for GE Aerospace

GE Aerospace announced Patrick de Castelbajac will join the company as chief strategy officer, effective June 24, 2024, reporting to GE Aerospace chairman and CEO, H. Lawrence Culp Jr.  

De Castelbajac will lead the company’s enterprise strategic planning, working in partnership with GE Aerospace’s business and functional teams to support long-term growth by optimizing capital deployment with strategic investments across the company.

“Patrick is well regarded as one of the aerospace industry’s leading strategic operators,” said H. Lawrence Culp, Jr., GE Aerospace chairman and CEO “With his deep experience in enterprise-wide planning and execution, he will shape our investment in technology to enable the future of flight, and unlock new opportunities to drive focused, disciplined growth.”

De Castelbajac previously served in several executive positions at Airbus, including as Executive Vice President of Strategy & International, where he led the launch of the company’s zero-emission/hydrogen initiative and steered the acquisition of Bombardier CSeries (rebranded A220 Program), and additionally as President, Asia-Pacific. He also served as CEO of ATR Aircraft, the Airbus-Leonardo turboprop joint venture. More recently, he was CEO of Nordic Aviation Capital, where he successfully navigated the COVID-19 pandemic through contract and debt restructuring.

“I’m both thrilled and honored to join GE Aerospace at this pivotal moment in its great history and am looking forward to working with the teams to unleash their full potential, developing actionable strategies and supporting the sustainable growth of our industry,” said de Castelbajac.

Saudia Group and Airbus Sign the Largest Aircraft Deal in Saudi Aviation

Saudia Group announced the largest aircraft deal in Saudi aviation history with Airbus during the first day of the Future Aviation Forum 2024 held at the King Abdulaziz International Conference Center in Riyadh under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. This landmark agreement encompasses 105 confirmed aircraft and marks a significant moment not only for the Saudi aviation industry but also for the wider MENA region. The ceremony, in the presence of the minister of Transport and Logistics Services and chairman of Saudi Arabian Airlines Corporation, Saleh Al-Jasser, was attended by dignitaries, country ambassadors and key figures from the global aviation sector, as well as a multitude of media representatives and industry experts specializing in travel, aviation, and transportation.

The deal, signed by Ibrahim Al Omar, the director general of Saudia Group, and Benoît de Saint-Exupéry, executive vice president sales of the commercial aircraft business, includes A320neo and A321neo models. These aircraft will be distributed between Saudia and flyadeal, the group’s low-cost carrier. Saudia will acquire 54 A321neo aircraft, while flyadeal will receive 12 A320neo and 39 A321neo aircraft.

The new aircraft directly supports Saudia Group’s objectives to connect the world with the country, aligning with several key pillars of Saudi Vision 2030. These include the transportation and logistics objective to increase guest capacity to 330 million and expand destinations to 250 by 2030, and the tourism objective to attract 150 million visits by 2030. This is in addition to the Hajj and Umrah objective to contribute to the increase of Umrah pilgrim capacity to 30 million by 2030.

“The new additions of the A320neo family aircraft will play a vital role in contributing to Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030 plan,” said Benoît de Saint-Exupéry, EVP sales of the commercial aircraft business. “It will enable Saudia Group’s strategy to advance the Kingdom’s aviation capabilities while enabling both airlines to benefit from the A320neo Family’s exceptional efficiency, superior economics, highest level of passenger comfort as well as lower fuel-burn and emissions.”

Porter and Ottawa Airport Celebrate Grand Opening of Aircraft Maintenance Base

Porter Aviation Holdings Inc. (PAHI), parent company of Porter Airlines, and the Ottawa International Airport Authority (OIAA) are celebrating the grand opening of Porter’s YOW aircraft hangars and maintenance base.

The two aircraft hangars are approximately 150,000 sq. ft. in combined size, supporting the maintenance of Porter’s growing Embraer E195-E2 fleet and existing De Havilland Dash 8-400s. The airline has up to 100 E195-E2s on order, with 33 currently in service. The Dash 8-400 fleet totals 29 aircraft.

OIAA has constructed a new taxiway and related infrastructure to support the hangar development. The growth at the airport represents a combined $125 million investment in YOW’s future.

YOW will be a primary maintenance base for Porter, with 200 local team members being hired to support its operation. This includes 160 Aircraft Maintenance Engineers (AMEs), plus shop technicians, stores clerks and administrative support. These represent highly-skilled roles that will be based in the city. To support this endeavor, Porter and Algonquin College are establishing a long-term strategic partnership to enhance work-integrated learning opportunities across all areas of the business, and to support program development and training, with specific activities taking place at the Ottawa hangars. Notable programs at Algonquin College include Aircraft Maintenance Technician and Aviation Management. These initiatives are designed to align with the growing needs of the aviation industry and demonstrate the shared commitment to the future of aviation professionals.

Ottawa is Porter’s fastest-growing market outside of Toronto, feeding into the airline’s strong Eastern Canada network and its growing western markets. This summer, Porter will offer more daily flights from YOW than any other carrier, with 16 non-stop routes and approximately two million passengers travelling through YOW in 2024. By the end of this year, Porter expects to employ more than 400 team members in Ottawa, representing customer service, pilots, flight attendants and maintenance.

OIAA invested $15 million constructing Taxiway Romeo in the airport’s north field area. This represents the first airside expansion project in the OIAA’s 20-year history. It accommodates Porter’s hangar development, as well as future federal government needs, and other commercial aviation-related development.

“The investments we are making in the new aircraft hangars and local hiring are foundational to Porter’s future in Ottawa,” said Michael Deluce, CEO, PAHI. “Porter’s presence at YOW has grown significantly in the past year, with new non-stop routes using both our E195s and Dash 8s, and plans to add an E195-E2 crew base at the airport. Our partnership with Algonquin College is extremely valuable for both organizations, providing us with access to local talent and giving students career opportunities that are close to home. We are meaningfully investing in Canada’s Capital Region and see more growth in its future.”

Claude Brulé, president of Algonquin College added: “Our collaboration with Porter Airlines is a cornerstone of our strategy to integrate industry-leading practices into our curriculum and provide our students with unmatched real-world experience. This partnership not only aligns with our mission to transform hopes and dreams into lifelong success but also enhances our contributions to the aviation industry.”

Sustainability

The hangars are designed and built with sustainability in mind, including the following features:

  • A predominantly electric fleet of vehicles that will be used for towing and servicing aircraft, as well as ground support.
  • Design criteria that exceeds current energy efficiency standards, including for insulation, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting and electrical power systems.
  • The hangars are clad in Insulated Metal Panels (IMPs).
    • Superior to the standard metal siding usually found on aircraft hangars.
    • The anticipated lifespan is greater than 60 years.
    • Constructed with approximately 35% recycled steel and, at end of life, can in turn be recycled.
    • Constructed from materials that have a low embodied carbon footprint – 28% lower than conventional tilt-up assemblies.
  • The structure spans 85.6 m (280 ft.). This substantial clear span has been achieved using prefabricated trusses. The steel tonnage to span ratio is approximately 30% less than conventional rolled steel section beams.
  • Fire protection involves dual systems. In addition to a conventional sprinkler system, the aircraft parking and maintenance areas are equipped with an instantaneous foam deluge system. In the event of a fire, the multi-layers of fire suppression do not rely on a conventional single source of water supply. The city hydrant system is fully supplemented by an onsite underground water storage tank containing approximately 1.2 million litres of water.
  • Stormwater management has become an important factor in both commercial and industrial developments. Instead of rain/stormwater flowing directly to and overstressing existing city mains, two 173,000-litre underground tanks are being installed at the Porter hangars to capture excess.

The hangars are designed by Scott Associates Architects, with PCL Construction acting as Construction Manager, together with Span Construction & Engineering.

FLYHT and MBS Partner to Enable Data Loading Solution to Fully Comply with New Security Requirements

FLYHT Aerospace Solutions has announced a partnership with MBS Electronic Systems, a provider of secure data loading solutions that enable compliant avionics software maintenance and safer flight operations. The two companies have been collaborating to develop a secure wireless avionics software and onboard data loading solution, and recently announced the official partnership to bring that solution to the market.

“Airlines are seeking airborne data loading and data transfer solutions that meet new cyber security requirements,” said William Cecil, senior sales director at FLYHT. “This partnership exemplifies FLYHT’s “best of breed” technology strategy and we’re excited to combine MBS’ data loading technology with FLYHT’s industry first 5G AFIRS Edge platform hardware. With our combined expertise, we have created a streamlined, secure turn-key solution for airlines based on a single unit that gives airlines a fast path to complying with aircraft software security requirements and improving maintenance efficiency.”

Added Thomas Nicholls, technical lead at MBS, “As a leader in the secure portable data loader field, we have seen increased demand from airlines for a “plug-in” onboard data loading solution that meets the guidance of ARINC 645-1 for software distribution and loading. Together with FLYHT, we look forward to serving this growing need among the airlines.”

FLYHT and MBS say they plan to showcase the new solution to airlines at upcoming shows, including the annual Airlines Electronic Engineering Committee (AEEC) General Session and Aviation Maintenance Conference (AMC) in Phoenix on May 19-22, 2024 as well as the Aircraft Commerce MRO & Flight Operations IT Conference – EMEA in Amsterdam, June 4-5, 2024.

The AFIRS Edge is an aircraft interface device (AID), connecting aircraft data with electronic flight bag (EFB) applications and providing airlines with Wireless Quick Access (WQAR) capabilities, all while serving as a gateway on the aircraft for critical real-time information and onboard data storage. The Edge also serves as a data port for FLYHT’s actionable intelligence services, such as fuel management, aircraft health monitoring, real-time engine data reporting and airport gate performance monitoring. Further, when coupled with a real-time IP satellite connection, the Edge enables weather data customers to work with airlines to implement FLYHT’s weather solutions for enabling enhanced weather forecasting capabilities, providing more accurate and timely warnings of extreme weather, and in the detection and avoidance of contrail generation.

frontline.io and Hololight Partner to Deliver AR/VR Solutions for Industrial Training and Support at Scale

frontline.io, a pioneer in AR/VR solutions for training and operational support, and Hololight, the leading specialist in XR streaming solutions for industrial enterprises, today announced a strategic partnership aimed at transforming the enterprise XR market for training and operational support. The combination of frontline’s strengths in interactive 3D virtual training and remote augmented reality support with Hololight’s enterprise XR streaming platform, Hololight Hub, will create a superior offering for manufacturing companies, covering a wider range of use cases through high fidelity visualization, enhanced security and eliminating the need for data preparation. As a new member of Hololight’s ISV Partner Program, frontline.io will leverage Hololight’s proprietary XR streaming technology and the Hololight Hub streaming platform to set a new standard for delivering augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and digital twin technology to global machine hardware manufacturers.

Training and Remote Support Powered by XR Streaming

Operations are hampered by heavy reliance on experts, long training times, and poor update/feedback processes. Skill gaps, low millennial engagement, and high travel costs add to the operational burden and require immediate action to improve efficiency and reduce costs. frontline.io improves operational efficiency through its suite of immersive training and support software tools. Its unique SaaS platform simplifies and transforms training and support, improving productivity and reducing costs.

By leveraging the Hololight Hub infrastructure, frontline.io users will benefit from a centralized XR streaming platform that further simplifies the distribution and management of AR and VR applications. This integration will provide seamless access to frontline.io’s tools, ensuring high-quality, highly secure, interactive training and support across multiple devices. In addition, combining Hololight’s XR streaming technology with frontline.io’s platform will enhance performance and scalability, delivering an unparalleled immersive experience to users worldwide. Manufacturers can easily empower their teams with frontline.io, saving time and money with interactive 3D virtual training, augmented reality remote support and real-time analytics. In addition, this partnership offers Hololight customers the opportunity to leverage frontline’s innovative solutions through the Hololight Hub platform, strengthening both companies’ presence in the current market and opening doors to new markets and customers.

Driving Business Innovation with Immersive Technologies

“frontline.io is an exceptional solution that addresses the key challenges manufacturing companies face in their field operations. By leveraging our breakthrough XR streaming technology and robust management platform, Hololight Hub, together we are setting a new standard for how AR and VR can improve operational efficiency and learning experiences,” said Helmut Gulde, chief corporate development officer at Hololight.

“Our partnership with frontline.io marks a significant milestone in our journey to redefine the landscape of enterprise spatial computing,” added Florian Haspinger, CEO of Hololight. “By combining our strengths, we are not only expanding the capabilities of AR, VR and digital twin technologies, but also ensuring that these innovations are scalable, efficient and secure for enterprises around the world.”

”This partnership marks an exciting moment in our journey to transform the way hardware manufacturers around the world train, engage and support their customers. We are confident that our combined technology, customer network and expertise will accelerate adoption of AR and VR solutions across multiple industries, bringing services and support into a new, more efficient era,” said Itzhak Pichadze CEO, frontline.io.

By joining forces, frontline.io and Hololight are strengthening their shared vision of using immersive technology to create real value for businesses.

Commercial Jet Gains 737 MAX Certification

Commercial Jet Services (Commercial Jet) announced the 737 MAX series aircraft has been added to its Dothan, Alabama MRO facility certification. This allows the company to provide full maintenance, modification, and overhaul services on the MAX series aircraft.

Commercial Jet’s Miami, FL MRO facility has had the 737 MAX capability and has already been servicing the aircraft type. 

“We are very excited to now have the 737 MAX added to Commercial Jet’s Dothan, Alabama facility’s list of aircraft MRO capabilities,” said Rick Townsend, Commercial Jet’s vice president of sales & marketing. “With our complete MRO and modification capabilities including a state-of-the-art paint facility, Commercial Jet – Dothan increases its comprehensive lease transition and MRO services we can offer to our commercial operators and leasing companies. This new approval now expands our capabilities to better serve all our customers.”

Both Commercial Jet facilities in Miami and Dothan are FAA and EASA certified repair stations, in addition to holding various approvals from other global civil aviation authorities.

Kaman Measuring Highlights High Precision Displacement Sensors for Extreme Environments

The Measuring Division of Kaman Precision Products is highlighting the availability of high precision displacement sensors for extreme environments such as power generation including nuclear and aerospace propulsion, materials research and development, with operating temperatures from -320°F to +1000°F (+1200°F short term) at pressures up to 5000 psi.

Originally designed for NASA and the nuclear power industry, these sensors provide non contacting measurement of conductive surface motion with unsurpassed accuracy and reliability under the most hostile operating conditions.

Kaman’s sensors are made with hermetically sealed, laser-welded Inconel housings and use metal jacketed, mineral-insulated cable to stand up to high temperature, high pressure, vibration and environmental contaminants.

Three displacement measuring systems are available, all able to operate at high temperatures. KD-1925 withstands pressures up to 5000 psi; and KD-1950 and KD-1975 withstands pressure up to 3500 psi.

The sensors use the versatile KDM-8206 signal conditioning electronics. Single channel systems are available in the NEMA-enclosures or bench-top/ rack-mountable Eurocards. The NEMA enclosure houses an internal power supply, digital panel meter and window kit. Up to twelve measuring channels are available in the rack-mountable KDM-8206.

AJW Group Announces Promotion of Louis Philippe Mallette to President of AJW Technique

AJW Group announced the promotion of Louis Philippe Mallette to the position of president of AJW Technique, AJW Group’s world-class Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility located in Montreal, Canada. 

Bringing more than 25 years of international operational and strategic expertise in the aviation industry to his new role, Mallette has cultivated a distinguished career, which includes his role as MRO workgroup president of Aéro Montréal supporting Quebec’s aerospace cluster, in their mission to increase cohesion, optimize the competitiveness and driving sustainable growth in the region. 

Prior to joining AJW Technique, Mallette spent 23 years at Bombardier, where he rose to the role of general manager. Since joining AJW Technique as senior vice president in September 2021, Mallette has adeptly steered the facility through its post-pandemic resurgence.

As president of AJW Technique, Mallette assumes responsibility for all facets of the facility’s operations to optimize operational efficiencies with an ongoing mandate to propel strategic growth initiatives and nurture a culture of innovation and excellence. Mallette will continue to report to and collaborate closely with AJW Group’s CEO of AJW Aviation and AJW Technique, Clyde Buntrock FCILT.

“We are delighted to announce Louis’s promotion to President of AJW Technique,” Buntrock said. “His extensive experience and leadership qualities make him the perfect fit to lead our world-class MRO facility to even greater heights.”

In response to his appointment, Mallette said: “I am honoured and excited to take on this new role at AJW Technique. I look forward to working closely with the team to drive innovation, operational excellence, and growth in the aviation industry,”