4 Industry

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The Boeing Company

Boeing manufactures commercial jetliners, defense, space, and security systems for the US and its allies. This company obviously contributes significantly to aviation by producing, maintaining, and developing new technologies and aircraft for future aviation. Along with Airbus Industries, Boeing represents one of only two major large aircraft producers in the world. Boeing products and tailored services include commercial and military aircraft, satellites, weapons, electronic and defense systems, launch systems, advanced information and communication systems, and performance-based logistics and training. Boeing employs more than 170,000 people across the United States and in 70 countries. Its 787 Dreamliner aircraft represents a quantum leap in aviation as it utilizes many new technologies to realize large aircraft ranges in a the mid-size aircraft category, while introducing many new passenger conveniences and comforts while reducing operating costs. Production of the 787 is not without its controversies, confronting labor union autonomies and a wide-range of sub-contracting orchestration. Boeing is leading aviation into the next generation of CNS/ATM, digital cockpits, and total fly-by-wire innovations. While there is probably a lot more one could say about Boeing, it represents a significant player in the aviation arena.

Air Traffic Control System Development Industry (Domestic)

Air Traffic Control (ATC) in the United States is an inherently government-run operation; although, many international ATC agencies have been privatized. In terms of ATC system development, the overwhelming majority of ATC equipment is specified by the government and procured from industry. The government utilizes systems engineering and technical assistance services from industry in developing the requirements and program management for equipment and systems procurement. The companies most associated with ATC systems development come from the aerospace industry, and many of these companies take advantage of synergy with their expertise gained from defense and other government systems development to the FAA air traffic control system development activity.
The major aerospace companies in the United States, such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, all play a role in air traffic control system development. However, there is a growing presence of international companies with a presence in the United States that also play a role. Such companies include: BAE Systems Plc (UK), Frequentis AG (Austria), Thales Group (France), and most recently Saab has purchased the US company Sensis to form Saab Sensis and Airbus, through their American entity (EADS) has purchased Metron Aviation.

National Business Aviation Association (NBAA)

Mission Statement[1]
To serve NBAA Members by promoting the aviation interests of organizations utilizing general aviation aircraft for business purposes in the United States and worldwide.
Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive, and successful. The Association represents more than 8,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention, the world's largest civil aviation trade show.
NBAA is focused on issues such as aviation safety, operational efficiency, fair and equal access, FAA reform, noise and compatible land use, peak hour landing fees, reliever airports, air support, air traffic control modernization, product liability reform, research and development, business aviation advocacy and various tax issues.
As the world of aviation has become more global, NBAA is at the forefront of international issues such as an international aviation policy and improvement and standardization of global air traffic systems.
The 8,000 Member Companies of NBAA earn annual revenues of approximately 5 trillion dollars (over 50% of the US GNP) and employ more that 19 million people worldwide.
NBAA collects, interprets and disseminates operational and managerial data related to the safe, efficient and cost-effective use of business aircraft. The Association is the focal point for identifying and understanding advances in technology and procedures important to the business aviation community.

Piper Aircraft Corporation

Piper Aircraft, Inc. manufactures and sells aircraft in the United States and internationally. It offers single-engine business and personal transportation jets, twin-engine airplanes, and training aircraft, as well as provides aftermarket parts. The company also sells apparel for men, women, and kids; and caps and visors, gear, outerwear, gift certificates, pet products, toys, and books online. It distributes its aircraft through authorized dealers. Piper Aircraft, Inc. was formerly known as The New Piper Aircraft, Inc. The company was founded in 1937 and is based in Vero Beach, Florida.
William T. "Bill" Piper was one of the first to apply assembly line techniques to aircraft production, and is often referred to as the Henry Ford of aviation. In late 1930, William T. Piper purchased the assets of Taylor Brothers Aircraft Corporation for $761 and reorganized as the Taylor Aircraft Company. In 1935 Piper bought out C.G. Taylor who had remained in the role of company president. The factory was then located in Bradford PA. Taylor left the company and went on to form the Taylorcraft Aircraft Company.
In 1937 a fire destroyed the Bradford factory and Piper relocated to an abandoned silk mill in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. By November, 1937, all traces of Taylors' involvement with the company were erased when it was renamed the Piper Aircraft Corporation.

The Piper Aircraft Corporation, which maintained its headquarters in Lock Haven from 1937 until its closing in 1984, is well known for its “Cub” and for a series of aircraft bearing Indian names such as Aztec, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Comanche, Navajo, and Pawnee. Piper Aircraft Corporation grew to become the world’s leading producer of general aviation aircraft.
Piper's annual revenues passed $100 million in 1969. By 1970, the company had produced 80,000 planes (24,000 of them Piper Cubs); one in every four general aviation planes was a Piper. Piper had added small parts plants near Lock Haven and built a new factory in Lakeland, Florida, bringing total manufacturing space to 1,000,000 square feet.
Piper had 8,800 employees at five plants in 1979. Annual sales were $495 million. Unfortunately, high interest rates, high taxes, and exorbitant product liability claims would decimate the piston engine aircraft industry in the 1980s. Shipments of small planes fell from 18,000 in 1979 to less than 10,000 in 1981, according to one estimate.
Lear Siegler Inc. bought Piper from Bangor Punta for $290 million in February 1984. Its new owners consolidated Piper's manufacturing operations in a single Vero Beach plant. In 1987, New York buyout firm Forstmann Little & Company acquired Piper. Production had fallen to fewer than 300 planes a year and the company had only 750 employees.
Newport Beach entrepreneur Monroe Stuart Millar then bought Piper (through his Romeo Charlie, Inc. holding company) in May 1987 for a reported $6 million. Millar made several moves in attempting to right the troubled company. To stimulate demand, he cut prices 20 percent and introduced new models. He also brought the classic Piper Cub back into production, selling them for $50,000 a piece. The company's Cheyenne 400LS turboprop sold for $3 million. Piper sold hundreds of new no-frill trainers called the Cadet, designed to lure people into flying.
Piper went bankrupt in July 1991. The company had a backlog worth $100 million; its assets were $75 million and its liabilities, $47 million. Piper had just 45 employees at the time of its Chapter 11 filing.
In 1992, Angus Stone Douglass, a businessman with ties to New Jersey criminal-politicians, bought all of Piper's common stock from Millar for $500,000 cash through his Duck's Nest Investment firm. In his first year in charge, the company shipped 90 planes and reported operating profits of $7 million on revenues of $47 million.
Charles "Chuck" Suma became CEO in early 1995 after Douglass was forced out of the position over a questionable stock transaction. Teledyne (later named Allegheny) and Philly investment firm Dimeling Schreiber & Park bought Piper for $95 million in March 1995, renaming it The New Piper Aircraft, Inc. In the fall of 1997, Piper announced it was developing a new single engine turboprop, the Malibu Meridian. The first prototype was rolled out in August 1998 and production deliveries began in 2000. New Piper sold 303 planes in 1998 and had revenues of $125 million that year. Revenues were $146 million in 1999 and $181 million in 2000, when Piper sold 395 planes. The industry as a whole sold 2,816 planes worth $8.6 billion in 2000.
In March 2000, Interior Pacific Flight Systems, based in British Columbia, announced it had bought rights to produce the Piper's classic PA-12 Super Cruiser, a three-seat, fabric-winged plane that had not been built since 1948. Interior Pacific was not allowed to use Piper's name; it would dub its version the Super 12. It would take advantage of the latest avionics and sell for about $113,000; Interior Pacific hoped to be building 36 of them a year within three years.
Between its founding in 1927 and the end of 2009 the company has produced 144,000 aircraft in 160 certified models, of which 90,000 are still flying.[3]

Northrop Grumman

Vision: Our vision is to be the most trusted provider of systems and technologies that ensure the security and freedom of our nation and its allies. As the technology leader, we will define the future of defense—from undersea to outer space, and in cyberspace.
Asa leader in airborne radar, navigation, electronic countermeasures, precision weapons, airspace management, space payloads, marine and naval systems, communications, biodefense, and government systems, Northrop Grumman (NOC) is a main provider of equipment operating in national airspace system. It is essential that NOC create avionics for aircraft that are compatible throughout the world. As countries’ modernize airspace with possibly different systems, NOC must be vigilant so that their electronics remain leading edge technology.
The future may provide NOC with the opportunity to move production overseas. Presently, the majority of NOC locations are in the United States. As globalization continues and if production moves to cheaper labor locations, NOC will be faced with security challenges and union issues.

Alaska Airlines (ALK)

Alaska Air Group, Inc. is the holding company for Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, Seattle-based carriers that collectively serve over 90 destinations in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Alaska Air Group was organized as a Delaware corporation in 1985.
As the national airspace traffic management continues to advance, airlines will be faced with the challenges of updating the fleet. Large investments in new technology are difficult to justify for low margin industries especially when fierce competition prevents costs from being passed along to the consumer.
Future operations where only single pilot aircraft are operated create additional challenges. Alaska airlines will face push back from the pilot’s union as furloughing of pilots and negotiation of contracts would result from reduced flight crewing. This adjustment in hiring and training of single pilot crews will add a new dynamic for Alaska Airlines.

Air Lines Pilot Association (ALPA)

The Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents more than 53,000 pilots at 37 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Founded in 1931, the Association is chartered by the AFL-CIO and the Canadian Labour Congress. Known internationally as US-ALPA, it is a member of the International Federation of Air Line Pilot Associations.
New technology and the advancing air traffic control systems are providing aircraft manufactures’, such as Embraer, the opportunity and indication that single pilot airliners are the direction of the future. Airline unions will face multiple issues as these new operations are adopted by airlines.
As airlines transition from two-pilot to single-pilots commercial aircraft, this transition will drive many challenges for the union representatives. Essentially when only half of the workforce becomes not required, ALPA will not have much leverage to bargain with.
After this transition period, ALPA may experience a decline in membership. However, if aircraft begin being remotely operated from the ground ALPA may have the opportunity to represent a different type of pilot. Ground operators will face many different challenges that ALPA will have adjust to represent effectively.


Garmin was created in 1989 creating electronic navigation and communication equipment for a variety of industries. Garmin involvement in aviation is in general aviation (Garmin Ltd., 2012). Garmin is or was a member of federal advisory committees, including RTCA (Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA), 2012) and the ADS-B Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) (ADS-B Aviation Rulemaking Committee, 2008). Garmin has been nominated to receive the Collier Trophy for their contributions to the development of ADS-B technology (FAA, 2007) and Garmin products are used or cited in aviation research studies (Garmin Ltd., 2012; Huang, Xiao, & Fagan, 2010). Garmin also has significant placement in the certified avionics market as well as portable market. Competitors for certified products include Honeywell, Avidyne, and Rockwell Collins (Garmin, 2009), with different competitors in the portable market.
Garmin’s position in the certified market for general aviation (including business aviation) is supported by equipage needs of NextGen, such as ADS-B requirements in 2020. The challenges of equipage are in fact opportunities for NextGen (personal observation).
Garmin’s position in the portable market is harder to predict given the advent of the iPad. With iPad sales exceeding 20 million, aviation insiders speculate the iPad is having an impact on the market share of Garmin’s portable business (Bertorelli, 2011). When Garmin tried to enter the consumer cell phone market with its Nuviphone, it was plagued by delays and ultimately lost out to other vendors, including Apple’s iOS technology and iPhone (Dannen, 2008).

General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA)

GAMA was founded in 1970 with “one primary purpose: to foster and advance the general welfare, safety, interests and activities of general aviation. This includes promoting a better understanding of general aviation and the important role it plays in economic growth and in serving the transportation needs of communities, companies and individuals worldwide” (General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), 2011, "About Us" page). GAMA represents 70 manufacturers of aircraft, engines, and components both in the US and worldwide (General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), 2011). GAMA is a member of various FAA committees and lobbies Congress as part of its advocacy functions.
GAMA lists the issues it faces as: aircraft certification, environmental issues, FAA funding, NextGen, product liability, safety and training, security, international issues, and leaded Avgas (General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), 2011, "Issues" page).

American Airlines

American Airlines traces its lineage back to the original airmail contracts of the U.S. (Brady, 2000). Today, American Airlines is held by AMR Corporation and is one of three major airlines in the U.S.
American filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November, 2011, having avoided the filing when other major airlines did so after the terrorist attacks of September, 2011. The bankruptcy was in part attributed to competitive forces of industry consolidation, including the Delta/Northwest merger and the United/Continental (Bender, 2011).
The challenges facing American Airlines are international competition, labor prices, and low cost competition. Part of the challenges facing American are similar to those faced by other legacy trunk carriers including higher labor costs and lower productivity compared to new entrants (Pilarski, 2007).

Regional Airlines

Regional airlines are airlines that operate regional aircraft to provide passenger air service to communities without sufficient demand to attract mainline service. There are three ways for a regional airline to do business:
  1. As a feeder airline, contracting with a major airline, operating under their brand name, filling two roles: to deliver passengers to the major airline’s hubs from surrounding communities, and to increase frequency of service in mainline markets during times of day/days of week when demand does not warrant use of large aircraft.
  2. Operating under their own brand, providing service to small and isolated communities, for whom the airline is the only reasonable link to a larger town. An example of this is Peninsula Airways, which links the remote Aleutian Islands of Alaska to Anchorage. In this role, the term commuter airline is generally used.
  3. As an independent airline larger than an air taxi or commuter airline service, that operates scheduled point-to-point transit service under its own brand, that does not meet the descriptions above or fly larger "mainline sized" (over 100 seats) aircraft".
In the United States, regional airlines were an important building block of today's passenger air system. The U.S. Government encouraged the forming of regional airlines to provide services from smaller communities to larger towns, where air passengers could connect to a larger network. Since the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, the US federal government has continued support of the regional airline sector to ensure many of the smaller and more isolated rural communities remain connected to air services. This is encouraged with the Essential Air Service program that subsidizes airline service to smaller U.S. communities and suburban centers, aiming to maintain year-round service. An alternative to some regional airline service may be the new Small Aircraft Transportation System initiative in conjunction with general aviation and VLJs (very light jets).
Many small regional airlines have grown substantially, usually using virtual mergers by use of the regional airline holding company as pioneered earlier by AMR Corporation in 1982. Among the more significant of these airline holding companies and their operating subsidiaries are:
Pinnacle Airlines Corp.
• Colgan Air
• Mesaba Airlines
• Pinnacle Airlines
Republic Airways Holdings
• Chautauqua Airlines
• Republic Airlines
• Shuttle America
SkyWest, Inc.
• SkyWest Airlines
• Atlantic Southeast Airlines
Trans States Holdings
• Compass Airlines (North America)
• GoJet
• Trans States Airlines

Regional Airline Association (RAA)

Founded in 1975, the Washington DC-based Regional Airline Association (RAA) provides a wide array of technical, government relations, and public relations services for regional airlines. The association's 31 member airlines and 280 associate members represent the key decision makers of this sector of the commercial aviation industry.
RAA represents North American regional airlines, and the manufacturers of products and services supporting the regional airline industry, before the Congress, DOT, FAA, and other federal agencies.
With more than 13,000 regional airline flights every day, regional airlines operate more than 50 per cent of the nation’s commercial schedule. Some 160 million passengers annually -- more than one of every five domestic airline passengers -- travel on regionals, and the more than 2,700 regional aircraft comprise about nearly 40 percent of the US commercial passenger fleet. Most notably, regional airlines serve 631 communities across the country and in 486 of those communities -- 77 percent of the US - - regional airlines provide the only scheduled service.


Airlines for America (A4A), formerly known as Air Transport Association of America (ATA), is America's oldest and largest airline trade association. A4A member airlines and their affiliates transport more than 90 percent of U.S. airline passenger and cargo traffic. Based in Washington, D.C., the association advocates for the U.S. airline industry as "a model of safety, customer service, and environmental responsibility." The fundamental purpose of A4A is to foster a business and regulatory environment that ensures "safe and secure air transportation and enables U.S. airlines to flourish, stimulating economic growth locally, nationally and internationally." It is the only trade organization that represents the principal U.S. airlines and is the airlines' key voice before Congress.
A4A's stated purpose is to "foster a business and regulatory environment that ensures safe and secure air transportation and enables U.S. airlines to flourish, stimulating economic growth locally, nationally and internationally."
A4A advocates on behalf of the airline industry to the U.S. Congress, state legislatures, the Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Security Administration and Customs and Border Protection. The association has played a role in many government decisions concerning aviation since its founding in 1936, including the creation of the Civil Aeronautics Board, the creation of the air traffic control system and airline deregulation.
A4A's priorities include maintaining airline safety; reforming energy-commodity markets; creating an international framework for reducing industry emissions; accelerating modernization of the air traffic control system; and reducing government taxes on airlines. Airlines for America also has been very involved in promoting fuel efficiency and the development of alternative fuels.

Business Jet OEMS - Gulfstream Aerospace

Gulfstream Aerospace is perhaps the quintessential original equipment manufacturer (OEM) in the business aviation sector. Tracing its roots to the civilian side of the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Company and the development of the venerable Gulfstream I(GI) in the late 1950’s, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, a division of General Dynamics, has been in the business of manufacturing corporate aircraft for over sixty years (Gulfstream, 2012). Gulfstream now employs 11,500 people at 11 major locations throughout the world and in the current economic environment it is the only airframe manufacturer to announce expansion plans to its facilities and production (Gulfstream, 2012; Trautvetter, 2010). As of late 2011, Gulfstream had 200 confirmed orders worth for its flagship aircraft, the new 7,000 nautical mile, .925 Mach, G650 and had accumulated a backlog of $18 billion in overall orders (Moll, 2011).
While it appears that Gulfstream is weathering the economic storm well, it faces several challenges. First, while sales of its heavier, long-range aircraft are doing well, sales of smaller aircraft are drooping, by over 16% in the first half of 2011, largely due to the economic conditions and consistent bad press business aviation receives from Congress and the President (Moll, 2011). Additionally, Gulfstream, like all OEMs, is dealing with a shortage of trained technicians (Harrison, 2012). As business aviation recovers from the economic downturn it faces a cold reality: many who were forced out of the industry are not coming back (Harrison, 2012). Finally, Gulfstream and its fellow OEMs face the challenge of adapting their aircraft to accommodate NextGen technologies. While their more modern aircraft have the capability to transmit, receive, and display NextGen/ADS-B information, their older airframes will require extensive modification to function in a NextGen environment (Thurber, 1900).

Business Jet Charter Operators – Jet Aviation

Jet Aviation, now a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics, was founded in Switzerland in 1967 and is one of the leading business aviation services companies in the world today (Jet Aviation, 2012). Jet employs nearly 5,000 personnel operating from 26 airport facilities throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North and South America (Jet Aviation, 2012). Today, the company provides aircraft maintenance, completions and refurbishment, engineering, fixed base operations, aircraft management, charter services, aircraft sales and personnel services and its European and U.S. aircraft management and charter divisions jointly operate a fleet of more than 200 aircraft (Jet Aviation, 2012).
The future challenges that face Jet Aviation and its parent company, General Dynamics, are largely economic. General Dynamics bought Jet Aviation in the summer of 2008, just weeks prior to the collapse of Lehman Brothers which signaled the beginning of the global financial crisis (Weitzman, 2011). What attracted General Dynamics, which already had a strong presence in the business-jet market with its ownership of Gulfstream, was the opportunity to diversify into business aircraft servicing and to expand its international reach via Jet Aviation’s global network (Weitzman, 2011). Jet Aviation maintains the only fixed base operator which offers maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities at its 15 locations worldwide and maintains a network of aircraft completion centers, both of which are highly dependent on the economic health of the business aviation industry (Weitzman, 2011).

Business Jet Corporate Operators – Sprint Flight Operations

Sprint Flight Operations (SFO) is the flight department for Sprint Nextel Corporation, headquartered in Overland Park, KS. Having gone through many changes in aircraft and personnel over its forty-year history, SFO currently operates three corporate aircraft: two Dassault Falcon 900EX’s and a Hawker 900XP. The department flies approximately 580 legs and 1100 hours annually, mostly inside the continental United States but occasionally to Europe and the Far East. Recently, SFO upgraded its Falcon 900EX aircraft to the Honeywell Primus Elite Avionics Suite in order to accommodate more advanced data displays in the cockpit. SFO is also considering replacing its Falcon 900EX’s with newer Dassault Falcon 2000 EX EASy aircraft which would feature the EASy avionics suite, capable of more technological expansion.
SFO, like many other corporate operators, faces several challenges for the future. First, since SFO’s fate is tied to that of its parent company, Sprint’s economic performance has a direct impact not only on the state of SFO’s equipage and personnel, but also on its very existence. Secondly, in a time of tight financial resources, SFO struggles with the economic implications of technology upgrades to accommodate NextGen and ADS-B in the larger context of the company’s overall situation. Third, SFO’s main liaison to FAA requirements vis-à-vis NextGen implementation is the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) which is, in essence, a lobbying organization with a clear bias toward its members. Often, FAA requirements are deflected or delayed by the NBAA which places SFO leadership in a difficult position when it requests funding for technology upgrades from company leadership. Finally, unless SFO purchases newer aircraft which can accommodate NextGen/ADS-B technology, it will be forced to retrofit older aircraft to accommodate that technology, possibly without OEM support. Modifying a corporate aircraft without a manufacturer-approved supplemental type certificate (STC) requires an FAA Form 337 and can often significantly diminish the value of the aircraft.

[1] http://www.nbaa.org/about/
[2] http://www.nbaa.org/about/history/
[3] https://www.facebook.com/pages/Piper-Aircraft/103752556330393

Build 2

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Build 2 Industry - Project Dashboard

Looking into the future, the aerospace industry is being shaped by emerging technologies, worldwide demographic changes, perceived and real changes in the environment and fuel supplies, physical and cyber security concerns, and worldwide upgrades to navigation and air traffic management systems.

A number of issues were examined by nine PhD in Aviation students in an effort to define the aerospace industry as it emerges in 2012 and forecast its manifestation in 2030. The issues can broadly be categorized into airspace access, aerospace manufacturing, economic structures, air traffic management and navigation systems, and security issues. While these categories necessarily overlap, they suffice as a means of organizing the student expositions.

Airspace access issues investigated include unmanned aerial systems by Jim Cistone; general aviation by David Freiwald; commercial space flights by Harold Townsend; and supersonic business jets by Chris Broyhill.

Manufacturing was investigated in the areas of large aircraft manufacturers by Shareef Al-Romaithi; the availability of precious metals, composites, and emerging trends in nanotechnologies by Donald Jackson; and systems integration and acceptance requirements by Patrick Raetzman.

The economic area was researched in the area of airline consolidation by Harold Townsend; government funding of airline technology upgrades as well as aerospace defense funding by Shareef Al-Romaithi; and general aviation equipage by David Freiwald.

Air traffic management and navigation systems was investigated in the areas of ADS-B and cockpit navigation systems by Thapanat Buaphiban; and in the area of electronic flight bags by Bill Tuccio.

Lastly, in the area of security, cyber security of aviation systems was researched by Bill Tuccio.

In this Build 2 area, all submissions were edited by Bill Tuccio.

Airspace Access | Unmanned Aerial Systems | General Aviation | Commercial Space Flights | Supersonic Business Jets | Manufacturing | Large Aircraft Manufacturers | Precious Metals, Composites, & Nanotechnologies | Systems Integration and Acceptance Requirements | Economics | Airline Consolidation | Government Funding of Airline Technology Upgrades & Aerospace Defense | General Aviation Equipage | Air Traffic Management | ADS-B and Cockpit Navigation Systems | Electronic Flight Bags | Security | Cyber Security of Aviation Systems

(back to Build 2 introduction)

Unmanned Aerial Systems in the National Airspace System

by Jim Cistone

The use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) has grown rapidly in the last decade and promises to grow even more rapidly in the future. Unmanned aircraft offer new ways of increased efficiency, reduced costs, enhanced safety, and providing life saving activities.
‍For an overview of UASs, watch this video (MITRE, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hBcugTsWRQ).

At this time in the UAS evolution, government is the largest UAS operator and is driving the requirements, which the UAS industry follows. As was the case with powered aircraft, the first practical uses of the aircraft were military, and the fledgling aircraft industry followed the lead of the army in developing aircraft for war. However, in the post war era, other civil applications for aircraft became vogue and the industry quickly followed. One might expect to see the same cycle in the 21st century, and indeed, the nature of the UAS manufacturing industry follows the military aircraft manufacturers to some extent. Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon are all strong producers of UASs, which are, after all, miniaturized versions of larger military aircraft. However, there are a large number of smaller, specialized firms that are involved with UAS manufacturing in the United States. The leading UAS provider remains General Atomics, makers of the Predator and Sky Warrior. Other insurgent firms, such as AeroVironment, one of the leading small UAS manufacturers from the U.S., is expanding rapidly. Other US industry players include AAI Corporation and Sierra Nevada, although the list of US suppliers tops 100 in length.

Currently many government agencies are studying the application of UAS operation in the National Airspace System (NAS). For example, NASA has a UAS in the NAS project that envisions performance-based access to all segments of the NAS for all classes of UAS. Of the many issues being investigated in this project, is the criticality of secure communications with the UAS such that it is not vulnerable to cyber attack or UAS hijack from hostile forces (see the section in this wiki on Cyber security). NASA’s goals for UAS communications are to develop and validate candidate secure safety-critical command and control system/subsystem test equipment for UAS, and to perform analysis to support recommendations for integration of safety-critical command and control systems and air traffic control communications to ensure safe and efficient operation of UAS in the NAS.

Cox et al., (2004) in their NASA report indicate that the notion of using UASs, in one form or another, has been around since World War I. However, the US did not begin experimenting seriously with unmanned reconnaissance drones until the late 1950s. For military purposes, the idea of being able to carry out spy missions or deliver munitions on targets behind enemy lines without harm to a pilot has been an intriguing benefit to military developers. The military events in the Middle East since the 1990s have renewed the interest levels in UASs. The performance by vehicles such as Predator and Global Hawk has also stimulated interest in UASs for civil usage.

In fact, largely due to the Middle East events during the last decade, UAS development has increased to the point where the number of requests made to the FAA to fly UAS in the NAS has increased over 900% since 2004 (DOD, 2010). As a result, the FAA adapted an existing regulatory waiver process to address the requests and to focus agency resources without compromising the safety of the NAS. Currently, federal public UAS operations conducted outside of Restricted and Warning Areas are approved through a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) from the FAA.

‍Clearly, creating a Warning Area, or any form of Special Use Airspace (SUA) along with the COA from the FAA represents a conservative bureaucratic approach to routine ‍UAS access in the NAS. Military applications as well as those of other government agencies have some natural priority within the government hierarchy; however, any demand from other public agencies, such as state and local governments, or any commercial applications, will fall short in the pecking order. The act of such a lowered priority will essentially stifle the growth of such applications and markets.

‍A synonym for UAS operation in the NAS in the 2030 time frame would be transparency. The UAS interacts with other UASs and manned aircraft as well as the air traffic management function as if the flight were manned. ‍The flight operator is responsible for multiple UAS flights, and manages these flight activities using automation tools that assist the operator with routine and mundane aspects of flight management. Of course, the UAS vehicle has the capability to fly autonomously, and responds to air traffic management commands automatically for certain classes of events; while, more severe incidents result in an exception being generated. The exception calls the flight operator into the loop, and in partnership with the automation, the flight operator resolves the exception situation. In this manner, a flight operator could oversee a fleet of UASs.

The future of UAS in the NAS lies with civil, public and commercial applications of UAS technology. Such applications include:

  • Meteorology & Scientific Research
    • Hurricane Monitoring
    • Cryospheric Research - Arctic and Antarctic
  • Civil Engineering
    • Bridge Inspection
    • Transmission Line Inspection
    • Pipeline Inspection
    • HAZMAT Inspection
    • Traffic Monitoring
    • Aerial Surveying
  • Epidemic Emergency Medical Supplies
  • Damage Assessment
    • Insurance Claim Monitoring
  • Precision Agricultural - Wildlife and Land Management
    • Coffee Harvest Optimization
    • Vigor Mapping and Frost Mitigation
    • Crop Disease Management
    • Corn Precision AG Studies
    • Herd Tracking and Management
    • Entomology
    • Forestry Inspection
    • Fisheries Management
    • Species Conservation
    • Wildlife Inventory
    • Mineral Exploration
    • Forest Fire Surveillance
    • Forest Fire Mapping
  • Environmental Monitoring
    • Volcano Monitoring
    • Oil Spill Tracking
    • Snow Pack Avalanche Monitoring
    • Ice Pack Monitoring
    • Gas Leak Detection
  • Homeland Security and DOJ enforcement
    • Terrorist Response
    • Border Patrol
    • Disaster Management
    • Port Inspection
    • NBC CBR Monitoring
    • SIGINT
    • Nuclear Facility Monitoring
    • Perimeter Surveillance
    • SWAT Operations
    • Hostage Negotiations
    • Search and Rescue

Other applications of UAS in the NAS include lighter than air unmanned vehicles. Inflatable aero structures including wings, tails and fuselage components have been present in aircraft applications since the 1950s. These components were derived from the lighter than air (LTA) airships and fabric-covered aircraft that preceded them by decades. Recent advances in materials have brought this technology to a new level of performance, enabling its application to modern unmanned aerial systems. The single greatest benefit of this technology is that it allows compact packaging of large vehicles. It makes possible the easy transport of a robust package that rapidly expands into a vehicle of greater size and performance than any mechanical competitor. One can envision carrying the UAS in the back of your SUV, stopping along the road, blowing it up with your helium pump and taking off for the clouds!

While the above applications represent comprehensive examples of public use of UAS in the NAS, they do not represent the largest potential civil usage for UAS. That usage is posed by the commercial transport industry for movement of cargo and eventually passengers. In this advanced information age,‍ time‍ is of the essence in commerce and industry. Just in time inventories and virtual manufacturing require rapid movement of cargo and goods from one producer to another user. Any industry or commercial operation is fair game. A transplant patient in New York urgently awaits a kidney from Philadelphia. Today, it is transported by special transport in a time frame of several hours. However, using a UAS from the rooftop of the sending hospital in Philadelphia to the receiving hospital in New York, take only 30 minutes to transport. Similarly for critical drug requirements, which can be manufactured and transported point to point as needed by UASs that can go from site to site without intermediate hubs or warehousing. Finally, add people to the mix, with a fleet of personal air vehicles that are parked in their garage, and transport them from the Pennsylvania suburbs of Washington, DC to downtown in 30 minutes instead of a three-hour trip by conventional automobile. Given the low altitude and traffic, autonomous UASs would be required to avoid the complications of having a highly skilled human operator at the controls for the transport. As Cistone (2004) implied, there is no alternative. Although we have been able to devise the teleportation of mail, a former staple of air cargo, teleportation technology is ‍not yet feasible, nor is it near term for other cargo material or human elements.
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General Aviation in the National Airspace System

by David Freiwald
For an overview of ADS-B and General Aviation issues, watch this video (AeroNews Network, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pr2FmRAtIVA).


NextGen includes six “transformational” programs: automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B), data communications (DataComm), System Wide Information Management (Swim), NextGen Network Enabled Weather, National Airspace System Voice Switch and Collaborative Air Traffic Management Technologies. It also depends on supporting efforts, including the $2.1 billion En Route Automation Modernization (Eram) program to replace computers at 20 FAA air route traffic control centers (FAA, 2007).
However, the Department of Transportation inspector general advised Congress in October 2011 that the costs, benefits and schedules of ADS-B, DataComm and Swim remain uncertain. And Eram has encountered significant software problems; it is expected to be completed four years late, in 2014, at an additional cost of $330 million (FAA, 2012c).
Nevertheless, the FAA is continues to implement core NextGen programs. Fifteen months after the FAA chartered it, the aviation rulemaking committee (ARC) tasked with developing a strategy for deploying ADS-B In, the capability to receive ADS-B traffic data on cockpit displays, submitted its recommendations to the agency in September. Emblematic of what one reported called “the one step forward, one step sideways progress of NextGen” (Collins, 2010), the ARC said it does not support equipping aircraft for ADS-B in at this time because the investment in displays and onboard computing cannot be justified. It is against this backdrop that future General Aviation access to the NAS must be evaluated.

ADS-B and General Aviation

ADS-B is an essential part of the planned NextGen airspace upgrade and will create better aircraft visibility at a lower overall cost than before. ADS-B equipment is built to meet one of two sets of US government standards, DO-260B and DO-282B (FAA, 2007b).
By the year 2020 all aircraft operating in the airspaces listed below will be required to carry equipment that produces an ADS-B Out broadcast. The FAA has published a rule requiring ADS-B Out transmitters in many types of airspace to take effect on January 1, 2020, but there is no mandate for ADS-B In, which receives data and provides it to in-cockpit displays (Carey, 2012).
ADS-B will offer increased safety, efficiency and environmental awareness for pilots and air traffic controllers at a lower overall cost that the current radar system. Companies have already begun selling and developing aircraft hardware systems to allow general aviation aircraft owners to equip at an affordable cost. Since the FAA has passed its final ruling on ADS-B, the uncertainty that prevented companies from producing hardware has been removed. The industry is seeing products being developed for all price points, low to high, and competitively priced equipment is nearing approval. As the technology matures more features are also becoming available creating even greater benefits for general aviation users (Collins, 2010).

Benefits of ADS-B for General Aviation

Improved situational awareness

  • Pilots in an ADS-B equipped cockpit will have the ability to see, on their in-cockpit flight display, other traffic operating in the airspace as well as access to clear and detailed weather information. They will also be able to receive pertinent updates ranging from temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) to runway closings.

Improved visibility

  • Even aircraft only equipped with ADS-B out will be benefited by air traffic controllers’ ability to more accurately and reliably monitor their position. Other fully equipped aircraft using the airspace around them will be able to more easily identify and avoid conflict with ADS-B out equipped aircraft.
  • ADS-B provides better surveillance in fringe areas of radar coverage. ADS-B does not have the siting limitations of radar. Its accuracy is consistent throughout the range.

Reduced environmental impact

  • ADS-B technology provides a more precise report of an aircraft's position. This allows controllers to guide aircraft into and out of crowded airspace with smaller separation standards than it was previously possible to do safely. This reduces the amount of time aircraft must spend waiting for clearances, being vectored for spacing and holding. ‍Estimates show that this is already having a beneficial impact by reducing pollution and fuel consumption (FAA, 2012).

ADS-B is intended to increase safety and efficiency. Safety benefits include:

  • Improved visual acquisition especially for general aviation under visual flight rules (VFR);
  • Reduced runway incursions on the ground

ADS-B enables increased capacity and efficiency by supporting:

  • Enhanced visual approaches
  • Closely spaced parallel approaches
  • Reduced spacing on final approach
  • Reduced aircraft separations
  • Enhanced operations in high altitude airspace for the incremental evolution of the "free flight" concept
  • Surface operations in lower visibility conditions
  • Near visual meteorological conditions (VMC) capacities throughout the airspace in most/all weather conditions
  • Improved ATC services in non-radar airspace
  • Trajectory-based operations providing a gently ascending and descending gradient with no step-downs or holding patterns needed. This will produce optimal trajectories with each aircraft becoming one node within a system wide information management network connecting all equipped parties in the air and on the ground. With all parties equipped with NextGen equipage, benefits will include reduced gate-to-gate travel times, increased runway utilization capacity, and increased efficiency with carbon conservation.

Concerns About the Rule

Most FAA rulemaking is safety-related, but the agency acknowledges that the ADS-B Out rule will not significantly affect safety. Instead, the mandate is intended to help NextGen ‍move‍ forward. “AOPA is not happy about this rule,” said Melissa Rudinger, AOPA senior vice president of government affairs. “We have supported transitioning through a benefits-driven process instead of a mandate—give us some benefits and [general aviation] will equip” (Carey, 2012).
Expanded coverage would be another potential incentive for GA aircraft owners to equip with ADS-B. The FAA is installing ADS-B infrastructure to provide coverage at least as good as existing radar. The industry has called for future expansion beyond the current radar service area. The FAA plans to complete installation of the nationwide ADS-B ground infrastructure by 2013 (FAA, 2012c).

Equipment and Datalink Options

‍The ADS-B equipment that is currently installed ‍in fewer than 1,000 aircraft does not meet the final rule’s requirements, although manufacturers believe most equipment could comply after upgrades or modification—engineers still are exploring their options. Eventually, ADS-B may eliminate the need for today’s Mode C transponders—but not in 2020. “The government still needs the transponder to fulfill their responsibility of traffic separation,” Rudinger said (Carey, 2012). Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) equipment installed on airliners and other primarily large aircraft rely on them. The FAA has indicated that transponders should become unnecessary sometime in the future, but has yet to specify the date.
Eventually aircraft owners will have to choose between benefits of the two ADS-B systems, the Universal Access Transceiver, a data link intended to serve the majority of the general aviation community using 978 MHz, or the Mode S 1090 MHz Extended Squitter (ES) broadcast link—the latter is a message the transponder broadcasts automatically, independent of any radar interrogation, over the busy 1090-MHz frequency.

A Less Expensive Option

In July 2010, the Soaring Society of America and the FAA, with support from AOPA, collaborated on proof-of-concept flight tests of a prototype low-cost, portable ADS-B transceiver. The prototype was built by MITRE, the private, not-for-profit engineering organization that developed UAT in the mid-1990s.
MITRE had been studying small, unmanned aircraft systems. “We looked at really miniaturizing the size, the weight, and the power requirements,” said Rob Strain, associate program manager for surveillance and broadcast applications. The 9.6-ounce prototype measures about 4 inches by 2 1/2 inches by 1/2 inch and includes a GPS receiver, temperature-compensated pressure sensor, antenna, and battery. Like other current ADS-B equipment, it doesn’t comply with the FAA’s recent ADS-B Out final rule.
The industry and AOPA would like to see transceivers priced below $2,000, and ideally closer to $1,000. The prototype’s low cost of parts should help keep the price down, if a manufacturer chooses to produce the design. Other products currently on the market are in that price range. NavWorx Inc. offers both portable and remote-mount ADS-B equipment priced from $1,500 to $2,700; SkyRadar’s portable receiver is $1,200 and shows TIS-B and FIS-B data on iPhones and other displays.
Many aircraft owners are wondering what to do in preparation for this mandate that becomes effective in slightly less than 10 years. The surprising advice from advocacy groups: ‍Do nothing. The next 12 to 18 months should provide new options and opportunities, allowing the owner/operators to educate themselves, keep up with developments in the arena, and allow the technology to mature before investing (Carey, 2012).

2030 – Future: A Perspective by David Freiwald

Moving forward to 2030 and beyond, it is inevitable that the General Aviation community will be forced to adopt NextGen technology and hardware improvements or lose access to vast areas of the National Airspace System. In the same way that Mode C transponders are necessary to access all but the smallest terminal areas for the past several decades,‍ so to will participation in NextGen services become necessary for general aviation to continue to have full access to the NAS.
Despite the desire for a global standardization it is unlikely that one will be formed which is then imposed by regulation upon the United States. Historically, GA advocacy and interest groups have proven highly effective in an obstructionist role when significant expense to their members is like to be borne as the result of regulatory action. More likely a scenario is envisioned where a minimum standard of participation is mandated in the United States forming a de facto standard for light aircraft as a result of market power.
‍Because of this projected scenario it is believed that UAT, the Universal Access Transceiver, will become the light aircraft standard while turbine aircraft will build upon existing technologies through the use of 1090ES to facilitate to European preference and eventual EASA requirement.‍ Given the FAA’s current commitment to a dual link system, this should allow light aircraft to participate in the majority of ADS-B In functionality and FIS-B services.
The rate of adoption will be driven entirely by economics; some owners and operators may find the equipment upgrades to be cost-prohibitive and opt for either reduced access or retirement of the asset, just as the operators of pre-electrical aircraft have done. This discussion has heretofore focused on the issue of access, implying the minimal standard necessary and therefore the lowest cost. Beyond the minimums for access, the limitations on functionality are solely a function of affordability. Just as there are four-place piston aircraft flying precision WAAS approaches today, there is nothing that is seen preventing the evolution of well-equipped aircraft from performing RNP approaches in the near future, let alone by 2030. Similarly, the use of electronic clearance delivery is expected to become the norm rather than the exception; indeed, the FAA has listed this as both a goal and as part of the template for future ATC staffing requirements.
While the FAA is supporting a push towards a fully digital, single-source solution by no means is the role of third-party providers necessarily imperiled. FIS-B services are very compelling and have been likened to a palliative for the costs of ADS-B implementation but they are not guaranteed in perpetuity. With user fees for ATC services more likely with each passing year and the recent decision to charge online services for access to navigation data, a scenario where the “feature” of NextGen becomes a commoditized seems likely. Just as Jeppesen charts remain as a more expensive but oft preferred option to the FAA’s own product, so too is a market likely to exist for third-party data solutions.
Given the current economic climate of the United States, as well as forecast for the next decade, it is highly unlikely that significant subsidies will be made available to general aviation, particularly at the lower end. By example, Section 221, NextGen public-private partnerships, of H.R. 658 was removed prior to passage. It is noteworthy that this section did not appear in the bill when originally introduced or when reported in the House, but only once it was passed, at which point fully 25% of the bill was changed. After being sent to the Senate and engrossed in amendment form, 95% of the original bill had been changed, including the deletion of Section 221.
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Availability of Precious Metals to Support Technologies and Composite Materials

by Don Jackson
Watch this introduction to nanotechnologies in aircraft by Russ Maguire of Boeing (KTCS9, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJZ7Q08fKbw).

When discussing the availability of precious metals to support technologies in future aviation, one must first qualify two aspects: what applications in the aviation industry of 2030 will require precious metals, and what precious metals compose the greatest source of applicability to the technologies of 2030 and aviation? To answer these questions one must ‍requisitely‍ determine, or speculate, what technologies will define the future of aviation?
Aviation has evolved tremendously in the last few decades. Most significantly are the innovations relating to the “digital cockpit” and the explosion of processed information coupled with automation. Additionally, the complex materials being employed in new composites used throughout the aircraft, especially in structural members and aircraft surfaces. ‍The applications of precious metals and composites are unlimited except by the imagination and the availability of funding for research and development. ‍However, current trends indicate that some applications are consuming these precious materials at an alarming rate.
Advances in composite materials have also led to advances in the ways aluminum is used. There are metal matrix composite (MMC) materials from aluminum reinforced with high-strength, high-stiffness ceramic fibers to form an aluminum matrix composite with high strength and high stiffness at elevated temperatures (http://www.metpreg.com/). By taking aluminum alloys to the composite region of material science, new materials are evolving which could alleviate some the most difficult engineering dilemmas facing the aerospace industry.
In the middle and late 1980s, the development of indium phosphide semiconductors and indium tin oxide thin films for liquid crystal displays (LCD) aroused much interest (Jorgenson & George, 2004). The thin-film application had become the largest end use. This use of indium tin oxide in liquid crystal displays continues to increase most notably in the mobile technology realm. However, its application is proliferating in the digital cockpit arena. Indium is produced mainly from residues generated during zinc ore processing but is also found in iron, lead, and copper ores. China is a leading producer of indium. The lack of indium mineral deposits and the fact that indium is enriched in sulfidic lead, tin, copper, iron and predominately in zinc deposits, makes zinc production the main source for indium. The indium is leached from slag and dust of zinc production. Further purification is done by electrolysis (Schwarz, et. al., 2002).

This expanded use of processed information and automation has had collateral developments in the modernized cockpits, and presents a path forward for future cockpits. As the machine becomes ever more complex, integrating autonomous automation integrating aircraft control and navigation with the complex administration of air traffic management, the machine-man interface will necessarily become more demanding. The cockpit visionaries predict a more intuitive array of touch screens, allowing the pilot to manage the aircraft in lieu of flying the aircraft. However, these touch screen arrays require sophisticated engineering and use valuable limited resources like indium. Ongoing research is seeking alternative methods and materials for this scarce resource. Thin films made with carbon nanotubes are currently being investigated at UCLA (Marquit, 2009). “Finding transparent metals, which are ideal materials for use in such technologies as touch screens and solar cells, is not easy. Indium tin oxide, ITO, is predominantly used; however, ITO is rather brittle and the indium used in the alloy is becoming scarce. Scientists have discovered that films of carbon ‍nanotubes‍ are conductive and sufficiently transparent in the visible range, offering the potential to replace indium tin oxide.

Nanotechnology has hopeful applications in other areas of future aviation. Research into nanotechnology devices for aeronautics applications must investigate the bonding of dissimilar materials, material properties, and scaling. The future aviation industry would greatly benefit from any technology that improved the ability to bond dissimilar materials (NRC, 2003).
Nanotechnology may lead to the development of new structural materials with high strength-to-weight ratios and fracture toughness, durable coatings, greater resistance to corrosion, self-healing, and multifunctional characteristics. Structural materials might have embedded sensors and actuators; custom-designed properties, such as electrical conductivity, mechanical strength, magnetic behavior, and optical properties; or improved damping properties. Self-healing materials (e.g., materials embedded with small particles of liquid that would be released and fill in cracks to prevent them from propagating) may allow flying aircraft closer to their fatigue limits, but generally the benefits of self-healing are likely to be greatly exceeded by the benefits of increased strength and reduced weight. These future perspectives on nanotechnology (an opinion of Donald Jackson and wiki editor Bill Tuccio) should be contrasted against the 3-part YouTube presentation by Russ Maguire of Boeing on nanotechnologies; a link is included in this section of the wiki.

‍The peculiarity of the properties of nanomaterials is disproportionate; nanoscale nanomaterials do not necessarily predict the properties of macroscale materials that incorporate nanomaterials. Segments of some nanotechnology fibers are about 30 times stronger than glass fibers and nano-microtubes have heat-transfer rates comparable to that of diamonds. However, more research is needed to assess the ability of nanotubes to increase the heat transfer capabilities of structural materials. The challenge is to demonstrate strength on a macroscale by combining strong nanoscale segments to form suitable matrix composite materials.
NASA affirms that researching the technologies for future aviation help the commercial aircraft of tomorrow fly significantly quieter, cleaner, and more fuel-efficiently, with more passenger comfort, and to more of America's airports. Ultramodern shape memory alloys, ceramic or fiber composites, carbon nanotube or fiber optic cabling, self-healing skin, hybrid electric engines, folding wings, double fuselages, and virtual reality windows represent just some of these developments (Bank, 2010). The NASA-led endeavor precipitated many ideas from industry and academia.
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Supersonic Business Jet

by Chris Broyhill
Introductory video about Supersonic Business Jets (SSBJ) (Aerion, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKzKBDF5N_c)

SSBJ Questions / Issues

This discussion about SSBJ will focus on four key issues:
  1. Can the regulatory issues be overcome?
  2. Does/will the technology exist?
  3. Which designs show the most promise?
  4. Does/will the demand exist for time savings?

Can the regulatory issues be overcome?

‍‍Federal regulations that prohibit civilian supersonic flight over land in the United States‍:‍
  • 14 C.F.R 91.817 and its accompanying Appendix B to 14 C.F.R Part 91 (2012) state, in part, that flight of a civilian aircraft above Mach 1 is permitted only if “(T)he flight will not cause a measurable sonic boom overpressure to reach the surface;"
  • No specifications or limitations on acceptable levels of overpressure are specified but some manufacturers are focusing on the 70 perceived loudness in decibels (PLdb) range as their targets, per NASA research targets (Garvey, 2010);
  • Most designers and manufacturers are proceeding with their work with the assumption that once technology can prove acceptable levels could be attained, the FAA will change its regulations (Aronstein & Schueler, 2005);
  • As late as 2008, the FAA maintained that supersonic aircraft can have no greater noise or sonic boom impact than subsonic aircraft although the agency concedes that “Noise standards for supersonic operation will be developed as the unique operational flight characteristics of supersonic designs become known and the noise impacts of supersonic flight are shown to be acceptable” (Federal Aviation Administration, 2008, p. 3).

Does/will the technology exist?

Sonic Boom mitigation is the most important issue to conquer:
  • Sonic booms are created by the shock waves produced at altitude by an aircraft traveling at supersonic speeds.
    • These waves then propagate to the ground, creating a change in pressure and generating a considerable disturbance (Candel, 2004);
    • A graph of the pressure wave over time resembles the letter “N” with a nearly instantaneous initial shock, spiking pressure upward above ambient pressure, followed by a nearly linear decrease to less than ambient pressure over the next several milliseconds, followed by a tail shock that recovers to ambient pressure (Aronstein & Schueler, 2005);
    • The noise level generated by the Concorde’s boom was 105 PLdb, louder than a jack hammer (Warwick, 2011b). Industry is aiming for a reduction to about 70 PLdb which is closer to a conversational noise level (Warwick, 2011b);
    • The most prevalent design theory to mitigate sonic booms was originated in a series of papers in the 1960’s and 1970’s and focuses on shaping the aircraft to correspondingly shape the shock wave, reducing the upward spike and the lower spike (Morgenstern, Arslan, Lyman, & Vadyak, 2005):
      • In 2003, the theory was conclusively proven through a series of tests funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency which used two F-5 aircraft, one left in production configuration and the other specially designed to soften the N-wave and reduce the impact at ground level (Morgenstern et al., 2005);
      • The tests showed that the shaped aircraft produced a consistent and significant reduction in the propagation of overpressure and sound to ground level, even in a turbulent atmosphere (Morgenstern et al., 2005). Gulfstream and other aircraft manufacturers performed wind tunnel tests that also confirm that shaped aircraft designs can reduce the sonic boom to acceptable levels (Henne, 2005);
      • Researchers at NASA have produced feasible designs which reduce the sonic boom to the range of 65-75 PLdb (Welge, Nelson, & Bonet, 2010);
      • NASA’s N+3 studies have indicated a low boom supersonic business jet could be technologically viable as early as 2015 (Warwick, 2010);
      • In May of 2012, researchers from Japan further confirmed the theory when they dropped two asymmetric aerodynamic bodies from high-altitude over Sweden and noted that the specially shaped body reduced the sonic boom by 50% (Warwick, 2011b).

Which designs show the most promise?
  • Aerion SSBJ
    • Aerion uses Mach Cutoff to avoid FAA regulatory issues for over land flight:
      • Boomless flight is not restricted to subsonic speeds;
      • Because of the temperature and sound speed gradients in the atmosphere, there is a cutoff Mach number below which the boom from a supersonic aircraft will not propagate to the ground;
      • For stratospheric flight in the U.S. Standard Atmosphere, the cutoff Mach number is 1.15. This represents a speed 35% faster than typical subsonic civil cruise speeds of Mach 0.85 or less (Plotkin, Matisheck, & Tracy, 2008);
      • Using a cutoff altitude of 5,000 feet for the sonic boom and depending on atmospheric conditions, Aerion’s jet could cruise at an indicated Mach number between 1.03 and 1.3 at an altitude between 45,000 and 50,000 feet and realize an average ground speed of 764 mph for eastbound trips and 754 mph for westbound trips (Plotkin et al., 2008);
      • These speeds are 29% and 47% higher than the average speeds for subsonic aircraft cruising at Mach .85 of 594 mph and 512 mph for eastbound and westbound trips respectively (Plotkin et al., 2008);
      • Most airliners and business jets cruise at Mach .80, making the speed advantage for the Aerion jet even greater.
    • An additional interesting feature of the Aerion jet is its use of natural laminar flow as a drag reduction mechanism at high speed which allows the use of a wing design that is not swept nearly as severely as that of most supersonic designs (Sturdza, 2007);
    • A wing that is more conventionally shaped allows for better slow-speed handling characteristics in the take-off and landing phases of flight without the use of sophisticated, heavy and cumbersome variable geometry designs (Sturdza, 2007);
    • Aerion’s choice of engine is an adaptation of the venerable and proven Pratt and Whitney JT8D-200 engine which currently powers the McDonnell-Douglas MD-80, Boeing 737-200 and Boeing 727 (Aerion Corporation, 2012; Pratt And Whitney Corporation, 2012).
  • Hypermach Aerospace Ltd.’s SonicStar, a jet that will enable boomless flight over land at speeds approaching Mach 4 through the use of cutting-edge technology that eliminates the sonic boom (Hypermach Aerospace Ltd., 2011a).
    • Rather than relying solely on aerodynamic design, the SonicStar relies on a unique solution, injecting plasma to rapidly heat an extended path ahead of the shock wave and thus creating a hot, low-density core through the rapid expansion of the plasma (Hypermach Aerospace Ltd., 2011b).
      • According to Hypermach’s description, the “vehicle’s bow shock expands into the core, followed by the vehicle itself. The shock bows as the core provides a route for the high pressure front to escape around the vehicle, reducing the shock strength(Hypermach Aerospace Ltd., 2011b).
    • The creation of the quantity of plasma energy necessary to produce this effect is made possible by the SonicStar’s engine, originally called S-MAGJET (“S” for supersonic), a five-stage electric-turbine hybrid engine, now being developed into a hypersonic derivative called H-MAGJET (“H” for hypersonic) by Portland, Maine-based SonicBlue (Trauvetter, 2011).
      • The S-MAGJET engine design uses a superconducting ring motor-driven fan, compressor and turbines, and a combustion chamber that converts air into plasma via the following process:
        • As air enters the engine, it is accelerated in the first stage of a dual counterrotating bypass fan section, where it enters an eight-stage counter-rotating, statorless compressor. The compressed air reaches about 2,250F, and then is forced into an ion plasma fuel combustor and ignited by an array of electric- and magnetic-field-generating fuel injectors. The air is converted into plasma within the combustor before exiting to drive a five-stage counter-rotating gas turbine and integrated superconducting electric generator (Wall & Norris, 2011);
        • The fan assembly which produces the engine’s thrust is driven by turbines that are magnetically levitated and not mechanically connected to the core, hence fan RPM is completely independent of core RPM and the fan assembly can make use of larger, more aerodynamically efficient blades, improving the engine’s efficiency (HyperMach Aerospace Ltd, 2011c; Wall & Norris, 2011);
        • The S-MAGJET design boasts a specific fuel consumption (SFC) ratio (pounds of fuel burned / pounds of thrust) of 1.05 – 1.10 (Trauvetter, 2011). While this SFC is roughly twice that of typically modern airliners, it is well less than the Concorde’s SFC of approximately 1.2 and renders about twice the speed in return (Steelant, 2006);
        • SonicBlue’s engine technology was developed in 2006 by Richard Lugg, the current CEO of Hypermach, has been granted several US patents and has been pronounced viable by at least one industry expert, Sam Wilson, the president of AVID LLC, a Virginia fan-design company that has done work for a number of aerospace companies (Wickenheiser, 2006).

Does/will the demand exist for time savings?

Yes – business jet use is tied to the value of time
  • Example:
    • Assume that a corporation requires five executives to travel from New York to Los Angeles and these executives earn a combined total of $8,000,000[1] annually, based on a 40-hour work week and four weeks of yearly vacation, that means these executives’ time, collectively, is valued at $4,167 per hour.
    • The average block time for the airline flight is 6 hours 20 minutes and if we add an hour thirty minutes prior to the flight for check-in and security screening and another half hour at the destination to depart the aircraft and claim luggage, that makes the total journey time 8 hours and twenty minutes.
    • The total trip costs appear in Table SSBJ-1 below and make the case that when opportunity cost is taken into account, the value of time can make travel by business jet the right economic decision.

Table SSBJ-1

Real Trip Costs Expressed as a Value of Time – G-550 and Airliner

Travel Mode
Travel Time JFK - LAX
Operating Costs
Airline Fares
Opportunity Costs
Total Trip Cost
5 hours 40 minutes

8 hours 20 minutes

Adapted from data from www.kayak.com, copyright 2012; data from www.arincdirect.com, copyright 2012, and data computed from Conklin and de Decker Lifecycle Cost Calculator 2011, copyright 2011.

  • Value of time translates directly into demand for aircraft
    • Gulfstream is a company which specializes in heavy, long range and expensive business jets like the G-450, G-550 and the brand new G-650.
    • Gulfstream alone shipped 107 jets in 2011, expects to deliver more than 110-115 jets in 2012 and enjoys a $17.9 billion backlog (Trautvetter, 2012).
    • As far as the larger industry picture is concerned, market analyst Forecast International’s study estimates industry output at 683 jets for 2011, 728 jets in 2012 and while most manufacturers won’t reach their 2008 peak of 1,313 jets until 2018, the study predicts a total of 10,907 new business jets will be delivered between 2011 and 2020 with an estimated value of more than $230 billion (Epstein, 2011).
    • Outlook for faster, longer range and more expensive jets continues to improve and reflects a demand that could be filled by jets that are capable of vastly increased speed.
      • Even as economic conditions deteriorated in 2008, Gulfstream announced it would be building the fastest and longest range business jet in the world, the G-650, with a top speed of Mach .925 and a range of 7,000 nautical miles at Mach 85 and 5,000 miles at Mach .92 (Warwick, 2011a).
        • As of early 2012, Gulfstream has 200 orders for the G-650, a jet that is priced at $64.5 million (Trautvetter, 2012; Huber, 2011).
      • Bombardier plans to counter with its Global Express 7000 and 8000 models in 2016 and 2017 respectively (Warwick, 2011a).
        • Both jets will feature maximum ranges over 7,000 nautical miles at Mach .85 and high-speed cruise ranges over 5,000 nautical miles at Mach .90 and both will cost at least $5 million more than the G-650 (Warwick, 2011a).
      • If companies like Gulfstream and Bombardier continue to invest in production of ever-faster, ever-longer ranged aircraft with ever increasing price tags even in periods of recession, the economic justification for the SSBJ, like the technical accomplishments required, seems to just be a matter of time.
        • Henne (2005) agrees, arguing that the ever-increasing value of time is what has led to interest in the SSBJ in the first place and concluding that the “step to supersonic speeds offers the potential of a dramatic decrease in travel time” (p. 765).

  • Time savings for Aerion SSBJ using same five executives from first example, shown in Table SSBJ-2
    • Aerion maintains that the operating costs of their aircraft, on a cost per nautical mile basis, will be comparable to those of business jets like the G-450 and G-550 (Moll, 2010).
    • On a westbound trip using from JFK to LAX using Mach Cutoff, Aerion believes their jet will realize approximately a 45% time savings over a subsonic business jet cruising over the same route at Mach. 85 (Plotkin et al., 2008).

Table SSBJ-2

Real Trip Costs Expressed as a Value of Time – Aerion SSBJ, G-550 and Airliner

Travel Mode
Travel Time JFK - LAX
Operating Costs
Airline Fares
Opportunity Costs
Total Trip Cost
Aerion SSBJ
3 hours 7 minutes

5 hours 40 minutes

8 hours 20 minutes

Adapted from data from www.kayak.com, copyright 2012; data from www.airincdirect.com, copyright 2012, data computed from Conklin and de Decker Lifecycle Cost Calculator 2011, copyright 2011; material from With SSBJ, Aerion Looks to Revive Supersonic Flight, by N. Moll N ; and material from Sonic Boom Cutoff Across the United States, by K.J. Plotkin K J Matisheck J R Tracy R R 2008 14th AIAA/CEAS Aeroacoustics Conference (29th AIAA Aeroacoustics Conference)Plotkin, J.R. Matisheck, and R.R. Tracy, R. R, 2008, presented at the 14th AIAA/CEAS Aeroacoustics Conference.

  • The Value of time is even more pronounced for Hypermach SonicStar given its advertised ability to fly from New York to Dubai in two hours and twenty minutes (Trauvetter, 2011).
    • With estimated operating costs that are twice as high as the G-550 (and the G-650’s costs will be comparable), the SonicStar’s much greater speed makes it less expensive to operate. This comparison is shown in Table SSBJ-3.

Table SSBJ-3

Real Trip Costs Expressed as a Value of Time – SonicStar, G-550 and Airliner

Travel Mode
Travel Time JFK – Dubai International
Operating Costs
Airline Fares
Opportunity Costs
Total Trip Cost
Hypermach SonicStar
2 hours 20 minutes

12 hours 15 minutes

15 hours 30 minutes

Adapted from data from www.kayak.com, copyright 2012; data from www.airincdirect.com, copyright 2012, data from www.gulfstream.com; data computed from Conklin and de Decker Lifecycle Cost Calculator 2011, copyright 2011; material from “HyperMach now shooting for mach 4.0 bizjet,” by C. Trautvetter, C., 2011, Copyright 2012 by AIN Online
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Commercial Space Transport

by Harold Townsend
Watch the video below to learn about Virgin Galactic and Space Tourism (Discover Science & Engineering, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlZg5OtjZts)

Commercial spaceflight has more recently become a reality when Russian Soyuz vehicles launching tourists to the space station (Webber, 2010). The vacationer remains in orbit 1-2 weeks and pays $20-$35 million per trip. Currently, there are a few U.S. based companies that are developing vehicles to transport passengers and cargo to space stations, however none have demonstrated the capability yet (Webber, 2010).

Virgin Galactic, a private company, has developed a vehicle that performs sub-orbital flight, attaining 100 km. These flights depart and return to the same spaceport, essentially performing a lob into space where there horizontal velocity at the peak is near zero. The proposed price for the 5 minutes of space experience ranges between $100-$200 thousand per trip (Webber, 2010).

Sub-orbital transportation between two points is an entirely different and new market. It has not been determined whether the demand for this type of flight is for passengers or cargo. Sub-orbital point-to-point flight has more in common with orbital flight or ICBM trajectories than the lob that space tourism performs (Webber, 2010). The customer and demand for this type of flight must be identified before this type of vehicle is designed and manufactured (Webber, 2010). If the launch vehicle is designed for passengers, is it business travelers or tourists and how many? If for business travel or cargo, it must be an on-demand service, otherwise the timesavings are defeated by waiting at the airport for departure. Once arriving at a spaceport the infrastructure must be in place to transport the passenger or cargo immediately onto the next form of transportation (Webber, 2010). Any delays on either end of the trip erase time saved during the flight. In the beginning of this type of operation, there will be relatively few spaceports to operate from, requiring transportation to and from spaceports to complete the trip. Any delays during connections could make transportation in current corporate aircraft faster and more economical. In determining a price for sub-orbital transportation, Webber (2010) states it will cost, at a minimum, the price of today’s space tourism lobs.

Another key issue regarding commercial space flight is the number of spaceports and locations. Eventually, a global network of spaceports must exist to operate a scheduled service. An unassigned but very necessary topic to address is who will develop the standards for the spaceport and how will flight operations including sonic booms be accepted by the populous (Webber, 2010).

This new type of sub-orbital operation will require a new vehicle then what is currently available. The vehicle used by Virgin Galactic, can only travel 200 miles horizontally. Intercontinental travel will require a hypersonic transport, capable of at least Mach 7 while passengers or cargo withstand high g-loadings (Webber, 2010). The size of the vehicle required for operations is unknown because the market has not been identified. Before commercial spaceflight becomes more of a reality, the customer must be identified. Space tourism is an initial step to commercial space travel. Passenger and cargo transport is a realistic proposal but large challenges remain to be overcome before commercial space flight becomes a reality.

Table 1

Sub-orbital Transportation SWOT Analysis

Confidence in suborbital technology after the success of SpaceShipOne
Development costs are very high
More environmentally-friendly than conventional air transportation
Initial ticket prices are projected to be very expensive and non-competitive with conventional air transport
Faster transportation method than conventional air transportation
Loss of credibility if there is a catastrophic loss
"Prestige Effect" and lure of "Space"
Lack of existing spaceport infrastructure and spacecraft that will result in real "time-savings"
Attractive and differentiated service
Possible health restrictions on passengers may constrain demand
Ability to have breakfast in Los Angeles, lunch in Paris and dinner in Tokyo - all in one day

Lack of fast trans-oceanic/continental transportation
Time-to-market may be too late along the development cycle
Legislation in favor of developing this technology is growing
A supersonic or hypersonic "Concord successor" may evolve and diminish the "time savings" achieved over conventional air transportation
Worldwide growth in high net worth individuals who are likely to be among the first commercial passengers
Lack of consensus with regard to the International Legal Framework
Worldwide growth in business-class airfares over the last decade
Conflicting airspace
Market is open and yet to be exploited
Exotic and volatile fuels and propellants may limit locations of operations
High level of investors interested in entrepreneurial venture
National security concerns may create roadblocks to international use of technologies
Note: From Adebola and 22 other authors, 2008.

The SWOT analysis in Table 1 conducted by Adebola et al. (2008) best describes the sub-orbital environment and near future. The author of this section of the wiki believes that by 2030 there will not be scheduled sub-orbital airline flights. The infrastructure to support a sub-orbital airline does not exist, the technology has not been proven and a market has not been identified. The most likely scenario is a super-sonic aircraft providing the next form of fast commercial transportation. The ticket prices will be far lower than a sub-orbital flight and attract business travel that would have previously flown on the Concorde. The infrastructure for a super-sonic aircraft is already in place and is superior to any sub-orbital flight because the trip for a super-sonic flight will be to the intended destination rather than to a few spaceports around the world.

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Airline Consolidation in 2030

by Harold Townsend
For an introduction to this topic, click on the graphic below to see a quick overview of airline changes over the last 20 years. (Cambridge Aviation Research, http://www.cambridge.aero/_blog/main/post/US_Domestic_Airline_Market_In_Motion_1990-2010/)

‍While it is impossible to predict how the airline industry will appear in the year 2030, to gain understanding, it is useful to identify forces behind airline mergers and the current trend in the United States. For a more in-depth discussion of international alliances, see the Global Wiki.

The airline industry is well described by Michael Porter’s Five Forces model (2008):
  • Established rivals fiercely compete for price;
  • Customers are very fickle at treat airline travel as a commodity, search only for the best deal;
  • Suppliers of travel and aircraft are heavily unionized and bargain away most of the profit;
  • New players continue to enter the “glamorous” industry; and
  • Substitutes for travel exist in abundance, train or car;

In an attempt to become more profitable, airlines view mergers as a strategy to improve the forces in the industry. Mergers can drive increased revenue and lower unit costs. The increase in revenue is a result of less competitors and greater load factors on aircraft. Less competition can also lead to opportunities for increased fares. Mergers also drive lower unit costs as greater passenger density or aircraft using existing infrastructure increases asset efficiency.
Recently, the Chief Executive Officer of Alaska Airlines eluded that Alaska Airlines has no desire for an airline merger (Kaminski, 2012). In this environment where Alaska Airlines provides transportation with a local touch for customers along the west coast of the United States the business model maybe sound. However, the industry continues to consolidate leaving carriers such as Alaska Airlines as viable targets. Delta and Northwest merged in 2008, United and Continental Airlines merged in 2010 along with Southwest and AirTran. As the number of airlines continues to decrease, the factor of anti-trust laws will eventually prevent further merging.
As ‍discussed‍ in the Global Wiki, the forces affecting airline consolidation can be summarized as (Fan, Vigeant-Langlois, Geissler, Bosler, Wilmking , 2001):
  • Increased globalization;
  • Increased intra-regional interaction;
  • Economic incentives;
  • Pace of liberalization; and
  • Anti-trust.

As globalization continues there is a continued need for international and intercontinental travel (Fan et al., 2001). Strategic alliances where passengers can travel seamlessly between carries will be more valuable to passengers than travel with unaffiliated airlines. This level of service is very useful for frequent business travelers.

A large force in driving consolidation is the economic benefits. Economic benefits can be realized through increased (density) revenue while enjoying lower unit costs (Fan et al., 2001). Mergers and acquisitions are a much faster method of creating a larger network than organic growth (Fan et al., 2001).

As the liberalization of the global airline industry continues so will the pace of consolidation (Fan et al., 2001). Two restrictions still remain that prohibit completely liberalizing the international air transportation market: first, the granting of air traffic rights to specific carriers is usually based on carrier country of ownership and secondly, foreign ownership limitations for international airlines. (Fan et al., 2001).

Anti-trust concerns remain an opposing force to airline consolidation. As consolidation continues and the benefits realized increase a desire for further mergers, regulation may veto all further strategic alliances (Fan et al., 2001).

Airline consolidation over the next 20 years will most likely only be attempted if a business case exists. Some airlines such as Alaska Airlines may remain in a niche market and have no desire to merge. However as many factors influence these types of decisions, it is impossible to predict where and how these alliances/mergers will develop. In the year 2030, the U.S. airline industry may consist of 3 or 4 larger companies with strong international alliances and a number of medium size airlines operating in niche markets.

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Aircraft Manufacturing and Aerospace Defense Industry

By Shareef Al-Romaithi
Watch a time lapse of a Boeing airliner in production (National Aviation Academy, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1B2sANXjm0)

Airbus and Boeing have been the world’s main manufacturers of narrow and wide body aircraft for the past several decades. Their aircraft are operated by carriers across the world to meet the ever increasing demands of passenger growth. There is no doubt that such demands require certain agility and forecasting abilities that both Airbus and Boeing attain in order to quench the market with their state of the art aircraft (Airbus, 2011).

Today’s advanced bookings for aircraft and airlines’ steady fleet expansions are no comparison to what is forecasted in 2030. According to Airbus, the world’s aircraft inventory will reach more than 31,000 aircraft by 2030, requiring 900 new factories across the globe (Airbus, 2011). On the other hand, Boeing predicts that airlines will require 33,500 airlines by 2030. Such predictions would inject $ 4 trillion in the industry (Kennedy, 2011). Asian nations such as china and Japan are accounted for 35% of that value. Table 1 presents the demand for new aircraft by region.

Table 1

Market Value and Demand by Region

$ Billions
Asia Pacific
North America
Latin America
Middle East
Note. Retrieved from www.boeing.com/commercial/cmo/pdf/Boeing_Current_Market_Outlook_2011_to_2030.pdf

With the aforementioned growth in the market, manufacturers such as Airbus and Boeing are beginning each year with a backlog from the previous year. For example, Airbus started the year 2012 with a backlog of 4,437 aircraft (Airbus, 2012). In order to meet this unprecedented growth and increase in demand, Airbus is expanding their operations and increasing its workforce by employing 4,000 additional employees in 2012. Airbus had already employed 4,500 additional staff in 2011, but obviously they still need more as the demand increases (Airbus, 2012). Boeing is actively hiring new talented employees as well. Boeing has been relentlessly attracting new people to their arena by innovating new training techniques and manufacturing strategies that would attract new graduates' attention (Boeing, 2012).

The increase in passenger growth is resulting in strict environment regulations that are obliging manufacturers to adhere to. Airbus and Boeing have been improving carbon dioxide emissions by manufacturing aircraft with better fuel burn per seat. In fact, the Airbus 380 is categorized as the best eco-efficient aircraft (Airbus, 2011). Since manufacturers are obligated to meet environmental regulations, they are seeking various designs that would aid in meeting regulatory requirements. One of these designs is bigger aircraft. Airbus and Boeing are following different strategic approaches to attract market demands. Airbus is aiming for bigger and Boeing is aiming for a relatively smaller aircraft compared to the A-380. The B-787 is a highly advanced aircraft that utilizes high end composite technology that offers eco-friendly performance. In line with the growth in travel demand, Boeing is already designing a bigger version of Dream Liners (787-900) that would cater for the growth in air travel, as well as, provide better fuel burn per seat. Both the A-380 and B-787 are benchmarks for the future of aircraft manufacturing. Both aircraft utilize highly sophisticated technology that assuages environmental regulations, as well as offer carriers better performance.

The two dominant large aircraft manufacturers have clear investments in the A-380 and B-787 strategies, as discussed. However, Gulfstream has a different point of view. Gulfstream is taking an initiative to re-create a market for supersonic jets. It is not uncommon for supersonic jets to have unfavorable features as the ones in the Concorde - high operational costs, noise pollution, and high air fares. However, Diaz (2008) describes Gulfstream’s near supersonic aircraft - GS 650, as 33% quieter with 5% less carbon dioxide emissions. But size is definitely not a factor (Gulfstream, 2011). The G650 is a business jet with a passenger payload of only eight passengers. On the other hand, the A-380 and B-787 have a passenger payload of more than 450 passengers depending on specific airline configuration requirements.

Obviously, Gulfstream is catering for a different market niche that is probably much more fragile than the already unstable commercial airline business. Nevertheless, Gulfstream has something in common with Airbus and Boeing - thrive for a better technology. The future of aircraft manufacturing will have to satisfy environmental regulations, but must also meet market demands. While fuel efficient propulsion systems enhance carbon dioxide emissions, bigger and faster airplanes will meet the growth in market demand, as well as, provide carriers with a better fuel burn per passenger seat.

Airliners play an important role in shaping the future of aircraft manufacturing. Airlines often participate in aircraft design concepts and provide manufacturers with ideas that are passenger friendly. Of course, airlines must also adhere to environmental regulations. Based on their financial capabilities, airlines tend to:

  • minimize fleet age by purchasing new aircraft;
  • minimize carbon dioxide emissions by utilizing state of the art propulsion systems;
  • meet market growth by maximizing seat configuration.

Dryden Flight Research Center at the Mojave Desert in California is a state of the art research facility that provides the American defense industry with unprecedented technological advancements. Aviation and aerospace are two of the domains researched at Dryden Center. One of their projects is the Boeing X-45A that includes all the features desired in a combat aircraft (The first unmanned combat aircraft, 2000). However, what makes the Boeing X-45A very special is not what it has but in fact what it lacks: The X-45A is an unmanned vehicle with no room for a pilot to man it.

In the opinion of Shareef Al-Romaithi, this type of aircraft is the gateway to future technological advancements in air combat. Instead of top gun and fighter pilots, the U.S. Air Force will be recruiting computer scientists and video gamers. Of course, there is an advantageous side to this advancement and that is less Americans in the battle field. However, this project will be followed by many more with better methodologies and features that would also eliminate the need for pilots. Furthermore, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has been relentlessly contributing to the advancements of aerospace and aviation. Their achievements in human factors studies plays a crucial role in flight deck design, which is a major contributor to today's airliners. Another contribution by NASA is their research in unmanned vehicles that adds to the advancements in air defense.

So, how does the future of U.S. military fleet look like? The fleet would most probably appear to have no more pilots and training academies will be filled with simulation rooms for skilled computer users to practice their flying skills. Such shift in the industry causes a complete transformation in many aspects - one of which is the training regime that is carried out today. Without a pilot at the controls of an aircraft, today's training curriculum would be obsolete. New training programs would have to be developed. That being said, the entire organization of unmanned vehicle operations would require new safety and security programs that would cater to the new operations (The first unmanned combat aircraft, 2000).

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Airline Equipage

by Shareef Al-Romaithi
The American government has been very keen at developing and enhancing the aviation industry through various streams. The FAA, along with a number of stakeholders, have been committed to conduct research in future technologies that would aid the aviation industry in numerous ways. One of their crucial projects is NextGen, which would essentially enhance operational efficiency and provide safer skies for carriers to fly in. The National Airspace System project is part of NextGen and many carriers and airports are depending on it to ease the operations in congested airspace such as in Atlanta. Moreover, the extensive coverage of NextGen and complexity behind its projects would oblige airlines to update their operational standards as they upgrade their aircraft with newly required equipment that would align with NextGen's new systems. This means that airlines would also have to update their training curriculum and facilities to accommodate with the changes.

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2012 (FAA-Reauth-HR658), provides the possibility for the government to subsidize airlines to upgrade equipment needed for NextGen efficiencies. While there is no gaurantee such provisions will be used in the future, that Congress seriously considered such language in HR 658 may be an indicator of future trends of "private public partnerships" (HR 658, Section 221).print this page

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ADS-B and Advanced Navigation Systems

by Thapanat Buaphiban
Watch this rudimentary video about the consumer perspective of ADS-B and Advanced Navigation (GE Ecoimagination, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qfZNNKdD28)

What is ADS-B, TIS-B, and FIS-B?

Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) is a system that replaces traditional radar based systems. With ADS-B, each aircraft broadcasts its own GPS position along with other information like heading, ground track, ground speed, and altitude. The ground system integrates that information and uses it to provide smart data to air traffic controllers. Then the integrated information will be rebroadcasted back to the sky by the ground system - any aircraft in range can receive the data. This data broadcast is usually called Traffic Information Service-Broadcast (TIS-B). TIS-B allows non-ADS-B transponder equipped aircraft that are tracked by radar to have their location and track information broadcast to ADS-B equipped aircraft. The ground system also broadcasts additional flight information such as graphical weather and NOTAMS. This data is called Flight Information Services-Broadcast (FIS-B) (FAA, 2005).

The ADS-B information used by air traffic controllers allows improved separation services along with additional future applications such as continuous descent approaches. ADS-B information in the cockpit allows better situational awareness and traffic avoidance along with future applications such as self-separation (FAA, 2011)

Currently, there are seven countries that have implemented a nationwide ADS-B network. These countries are China, Sweden, Australia, Canada, Iceland, United Arab Emirates, and the U.S. Global agencies such as ICAO and IATA have indicated strong support for ADS-B implementation by States and airlines. The ICAO has recognized ADS-B as a major element of future air traffic management worldwide. IATA also sends a strong message regarding the need for international interoperability of the ADS-B system that the ADS-B could save airlines the money, fuel, and time (since the aircraft does not have to fly in a zigzag pattern that follows ground radar beacon placement). It also increased situational awareness, and access to real time weather and traffic data, will allow aircraft to optimize their routes.

However, there are some General Aviation concerns that ADS-B removes anonymity of the VFR aircraft operations. The ICAO 24-bit transponder code specifically assigned to each aircraft will allow monitoring of that aircraft when within the service volumes of the Mode-S/ADS-B system. Unlike the Mode A/C transponders, there is no code "1200", which offers casual anonymity. However, the FAA is allowing Universal Access Transceiver (UAT) equipped aircraft to utilize a random self-assigned temporary ICAO address in conjunction with the use of beacon code 1200. 1090ES equipped aircraft using ADS-B will NOT have this option. For more on general aviation issues, see General Aviation in the National Airspace System in this Industry Wiki.

Types of ADS-B hardware:

  • ADS-B Receiver (ADS-B In)- This category of device can receive ADS-B data, but is not able to transmit ADS-B data to other aircraft or ground stations. An ADS-B receiver will receive both traffic information and weather information. A current limitation of the FAA's ADS-B implementation is that their ground stations will only transmit traffic data (including radar traffic data) when they receive data from a minimum of one ADS-B transmitting aircraft within range. Therefore, an ADS-B Receiver equipped aircraft may not see traffic data although there are other aircraft in the area if none of the aircraft are equipped with ADS-B transmitters. Weather information is always transmitted by the ground stations and thus is always available to ADS-B Receiver equipped aircraft within range (FAA, 2007)
  • ADS-B Transmitter (ADS-B Out) - This category of device is capable of transmitting ADS-B data. It automatically broadcasts an aircraft’s (or ground vehicle’s) GPS position about every second (FAA, 2007).
  • ADS-B Transceiver - This class of device is capable of both transmitting and receiving ADS-B data. ADS-B Transceivers are able to "wake up" the FAA's ADS-B ground stations and trigger them to start transmitting traffic data to aircraft in the local area (FAA, 2007).

Equipage requirements

In 2007 the FAA launched their nationwide deployment, and proposed mandatory equipage. FAA has mandated ADS-B Out by 2020 on all aircraft operating in current Mode-C airspace (AOPA, 2011). The rule does not impact the current transponder requirement – meaning aircraft will continue to be required to carry their transponders in addition to this requirement for ADS-B Out equipage after 2020. Read more about general aviation issues at General Aviation in the National Airspace System in this Industry Wiki.

However at this time, is difficult to identify adequate benefits in the ADS-B implementation strategy. As identified in comments from AOPA to the FAA, there are a number of concerns with FAA’s proposed implementation strategy to include:

• Collision risk. The FAA is implementing ADS-B on two independent, non-compatible frequencies. Unless general aviation pilots equip aircraft in such a way that they receive the ADS-B transmissions on both frequencies, they will likely see only one-half of the ADS-B equipped fleet. The costs and availability of dual-frequency ADS-B receiver is not known. The FAA could address this concern in two ways, 1) either provide a re-broadcast service at all general aviation airports or 2) require all aircraft to transmit on the same frequency.

• Mandate not necessary. AOPA recommended that the FAA exclude low-altitude operators from the mandate because the financial benefits all stem from operations in high altitude airspace, over the Gulf of Mexico, or when operating to/from the largest airline airports. An independent FAA sanctioned rulemaking committee confirmed the AOPA recommendation would achieve most of the benefits without the widespread mandate on general aviation. More information will become available when the FAA publishes the regulations mandating ADS-B.

• Affordability. AOPA has recommended several technical changes that would reduce the price of ADS-B systems. AOPA has also called on the FAA to permit pilots to use hand-held ADS-B receivers that can obtain free traffic, weather and airspace status content from the ADS-B infrastructure.

• Transponder removal. AOPA recommended that because the FAA plans to transition from radar and transponders to ADS-B, that general aviation aircraft should be allowed to remove their transponders. However, the FAA has rejected that proposal, primarily because they have not adapted Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) to support ADS-B.

• ADS-B infrastructure. The FAA is installing ADS-B infrastructure to provide the same coverage as radar. Except for overwater, deep in the Gulf of Mexico, no new airspace or airports are expected to receive surveillance as a result of the ADS-B infrastructure installation. Therefore, except when operating near major metropolitan areas, general aviation will largely operate underneath or outside ADS-B coverage. AOPA has called on the FAA to expand ADS-B coverage to include general aviation airports. A broad coalition of the industry has embraced AOPA’s recommendation, but the FAA has yet to respond.

Best-Equipped, Best-Served

The concept of “Best-Equipped, Best-Served” is derived from the FAA’s Next Generation Implementation Plan that users who have aircraft with higher aircraft performance/capability levels get higher levels of service (FAA, 2009). A good example of "best-equipped, best-served" is that when controllers are faced with unpredicted weather, they effectively slow all aircraft down to give the controller time to devise reroutes and communicate new clearances by voice for each one. However, with ADS-B, it can provide very fast feedback to the cockpit on the location and movement of other aircraft thereby allowing a faster reaction time to traffic changes and users who do not equip to this level of performance could find themselves temporarily unable to enter that airspace during such circumstances.
Although there is consensus about its ultimate benefits, ADS-B faces a cost conundrum. Airlines emerging from years of recession and coping now with high fuel prices are reluctant to invest in the necessary suite of airborne equipment without proof of a timely return on investment in the form of operational efficiencies made available by the FAA. It is considered (by the airlines) that ATC system should continue to be financed and supported by the federal government because that is where all the ticket taxes are going (Carey, 2011).

The FAA awarded a contract to ITT in August 2007 to deploy the ground infrastructure for ADS-B nationwide by 2013. The Equipage Fund aims to start NextGen by assisting airlines in acquiring some of the necessary equipment such as ADS-B and data communications, which airlines would lease. They would make payments on the equipment based on the FAA’s achieving agreed milestones for supporting infrastructure. In turn, the FAA would be bound by performance guarantees in a contractual way (Carey, 2011).

Advanced Navigation Systems - Ground Based

In the December, 2011, the FAA proposed a plan to transition from defining airways, routes and procedures using VHF Omni-directional Range (VOR) and other legacy navigation aids (NAVAIDs) towards a NAS based on Area Navigation (RNAV) everywhere and Required Navigation Performance (RNP) where beneficial. These capabilities will be enabled largely by the GPS and the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS). The plan takes the next step toward NextGen’s flexible point-to-point navigation enabled by geospatial positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) infrastructure and aircraft advanced navigation systems. The plan also would maintain the existing ILS network to support safety during GPS outages, but it will not build new ones.

The FAA is also working on alternate positioning, navigation, and timing (ANPT) solution that would enable “further reduction of VORs below the minimum operational network (MON).” The FAA would maintain the VORs that support international Atlantic, Pacific, and Caribbean arrivals, and it seems that ANPT might also allow their retirement.

Advanced Navigation Systems - Cockpit

In 1994, the Advanced General Aviation Transport Experiment (AGATE), which is comprised of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), FAA, and private industry, envisioned flight displays that artificially made all flying resemble daytime, clear weather conditions. The members of the AGATE group believed that by making all instrument flying displays as easy as flying on a clear day those displays would minimize the mistakes made while flying in IMC. This belief was supported by the General Aviation (GA) accident history. The AGATE program solidified the FAA, NASA, and industry desire to make all flying as close to clear day conditions as possible, not only for increased GA utility but also for enhanced safety. There are three major advanced technologies developed by AGATE that are:

(a) Synthetic Vision – It is a technology that has the potential to reduce fatal Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC), night, and low-visibility accidents. These three areas of operation represent the majority of fatal accidents in general aviation. A computer generated-SV image is a pictorial scene viewed from the pilot’s perspective that is derived from: (1) aircraft state data (including heading, airspeed, and attitude), (2) a navigation position and direction, and (3) a database of terrain, obstacles, and relevant cultural features.

(b) Highway In The Sky (HITS)- It provides a picture of the selected or programmed navigation path to the pilot using a perspective view of a path through the airspace. The three-dimensional pathway provides navigation position information to the pilot.

(c) Enhanced Flight Vision System (EFVS)- An electronic means to provide a display of the forward external scene topography (the natural or manmade features of a place or region especially in a way to show their relative positions and elevation) through the use of imaging sensors, such as a forward looking infrared, millimeter wave radiometry, millimeter wave radar, and low light level image intensifying sensor.

Future Plans

GPS is capable of providing the accuracy and integrity required by the FAA's ADS-B Out regulations that were effective August 31, 2010 and have a compliance date of January 1, 2020. However, at this time, WAAS augmentation is the only service that provides the 99.9 percent availability (equivalent to radar) needed for ADS-B. Operators that equip with other position sources, such as Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring (RAIM) based GPS, may experience periods of unavailability that limit their access to the airspace. The FAA expects that positioning from GPS combined with future positioning sources such as the L5 GPS signal and/or other GNSS signals, and GPS tightly integrated with inertial navigation systems, will also provide 99.9 percent availability.

The FAA is conducting research on APNT for service beyond 2020. The FAA will consider, in consultation with the users, whether the MON may be further reduced after an APNT solution is selected and available. The FAA is also evaluating the use of the Ground-Based Augmentation System (GBAS) in addition to ILS to provide Category II/III approach services.

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Aircraft Production and Systems Integration Standards

by Patrick Raetzman

Aircraft Production and Systems Integration Standards have advanced greatly since the inception of the airplane. These qualities are what manufacturers around the world develop and construct aircraft in accordance with. Companies such as Boeing use highly technical CAD and augmented reality programs to support design and development as shown in Figure 1 (Sims, 1994).


Figure1. Boeing CAD Model (Boeing, 2012)

International production and integration standardization is not as common as it sounds. Currently there are many standards across the globe that air framers and systems integrators such as Boeing, Airbus and Embraer design and produce aircraft to. These serve purposes such as competitive advantage and meeting governing safety requirements and operating regulations.

As more international manufacturers and air carriers enter the aviation market the need for standardizing regulations for production and integration becomes a greater necessity. The probability to have an entire international standard in place within the next five years is very low, worldwide deregulation itself is a major challenge (Scharpenseel, 2001). There are many factors that play into the international governing and regulation of building and operating aircraft.

Operating countries have varying levels and applicability of safety standards which directly relate to manufacturing standards for countries. Some aircraft manufacturers have authority to certify certain parts of the airframe during design and production phases. This requires manufacturers to build aircraft to varying standards based on the governing requirements of both the area of manufacture as well as the countries of operations (Button, Clarke, Palubinskas, Stough, & Thibault, 2004).

To standardize production and integration requirements the global aviation community must elect one global authority to regulate aircraft production and integration requirements. This is a major undertaking. There is a possibility of this occurring by the year 2030 though there has to be a great amount of movement within the global aviation community. Major governing bodies such as the FAA, JAA and ICAO need to combine and merge standards within the next 5 years. The global aviation community needs to form an internationally recognized governing authoritative body that has jurisdiction over all international commercial aviation operations (Richards, 1999).

Integrating safety standards into design, production and maintenance operations within various international organizations and manufacturers requires a great amount of cooperation. The governing bodies of the international organizations along with the manufacturers would have to standardize safety regulations and socialize them within the industry within the first 5 years. Differences in safety climate and professional attitudes exist at all levels in the varying aviation organization. Major differences can exist at even lower levels of sub-culture requiring a complete “top down, bottoms up” implementation method to standardize culture along with regulations (McDonald, Corrigan, Daly & Cromie, 2000). Safety standardization and implementation needs to follow a standard model worldwide and shown in Figure 2. Getting the world to cooperate on such a massive scale takes a large amount of resources and even more political cooperation.


Figure 2. Safety Management Model (McDonald et al., 2000)

Some smaller aircraft manufacturers and nations do not have the capital or resources to fully participate in such a large endeavor. The political and economic implications of forming a global aviation authority are massive and require cooperation at a multitude of levels. Based on the massive scale of international cooperation and sheer magnitude; it seems that this level of global coherence is nearly impossible in today’s political environment.

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Electronic Filght Bags (EFBs)

by Bill Tuccio
Watch this video for an overview of Electronic Flight Bags (IT and EFBS, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JorYaTgHe1Q)

Electronic Flight Bags (EFB) means portable systems, either modular or stand- alone, and are required to be accessible to the flight crew without the use of tools to connect or remove from the aircraft flight deck (Skaves, 2011).

Today’s portable EFBs, designated by the FAA as Class 1 and 2 systems, are limited to read-only interaction with aircraft avionics systems. That is, EFBs can receive information from the aircraft, but not transmit information into the Aircraft Control Domain (ACD). Any information transmissions from the EFB to the ACD must go through a certified avionics router to protect the ACD. Class 3 devices, which are installed EFBs, can be approved for transmission. There is also interest in wireless connectivity between the EFB and the ACD, which has benefits and security concerns, both of interference and active cybersecurity exploits (Skaves, 2011).

Skaves adds NextGen thoughts, noting, “Portable EFB systems will not be allowed to host any communication, navigation, surveillance NextGen applications for airborne applications with own-ship position. Installed EFB systems are eligible to host communication, navigation, surveillance NextGen applications with own-ship position” (2011, p. 8D1-6).

The 2030 timeframe may see portable EFBs that are part of the information environment of the aircraft, both connected and wireless (Reed, 2011). The portable EFB can become both a data display and data input device in the cockpit. At the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Conference, one conversation went so far as to attribute the U.S. Chief Technology Officer as saying EFBs could replace required displays in the cockpit (personal conversation, January 24, 2012, TRB Annual conference). Industry stakeholders--aircraft manufacturers, EFB hardware vendors, EFB software providers, and information service providers--may all see opportunities in this area. Skaves (2011) also suggests applications of uploading weight and balance information from teh EFB to the ship performance computer, display of video and infrared security images to the flight crew, and direct data communications with ground stations.

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Aviation Cybersecurity

by Bill Tuccio
Watch this video to learn how modern cars have been exploited (USENIX, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHfOziIwXic)

Cyber Security means the protection of networks against intrusions, espionage and data theft and is becoming a greater concern for government, industry, and the military (ARINC, 2011).

In 2010, Boeing asked the RTCA to create SC-216, Aeronautical Systems Security Committee (RTCA, 2011). This group will create guidance for industry to create secure integrated electronics in aircraft. Aircraft in 2030 will be faced by new standards for cyber security, as the aircraft are going to be net-centric architectures based on IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standards, as well as having wireless interfaces. These networks needs to properly managed, to avoid exploits which have been demonstrated in the auto industry (De Cerchio & Riley, 2011).

Threats to vehicle computer systems can be divided into internal and external attacks. Internal attacks are those that require a physical connection to the vehicle, wherase external attacks do not require a physical connection. Without going into extensive details, it has been demonstrated in modern automobiles that external exploits are possible, as well as internal exploits crossing from entertainment systems, such as the car radio, to the engine control systems (Checkoway, et al., 2011). Figure Cyber-1 shows exploit opportunities from the modern automobile. The exploits being witnessed on automobiles are driving the aviation industry efforts to avoid such risks to aircraft.

Figure Cyber-1. Exploit opportunities to the modern automobile. From Checkoway, et al., 2011, p. 3.

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