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Airbus is building a flying, driverless taxi to test in 2017

airbus

A team of Airbus engineers based out of Silicon Valley is currently working on the development of a new autonomous flying vehicle platform — one that’s been dubbed “Vahana” by those involved.

The flying-vehicle platform — which is intended to be both used for cargo transport and passenger transport purposes — is slated to begin real-world prototype testing by the end of 2017.

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“We believe that global demand for this category of aircraft can support fleets of millions of vehicles worldwide,” stated Rodin Lyasoff, lead Airbus engineer on the project at A3 (the Airbus innovation outpost in Silicon Valley). “In as little as 10 years, we could have products on the market that revolutionize urban travel for millions of people.”

“Many of the technologies needed, such as batteries, motors and avionics are most of the way there,” continued Lyasoff. The project will also require very reliable sense-and-avoid technology, he noted — while such technologies are now being deployed in the automotive sector, no mature solutions are yet available for the aviation sector.

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“That’s one of the bigger challenges we aim to resolve as early as possible,” stated Lyasoff.

Airbus is apparently anticipating high demand for Vahana, which would drive associated costs down, making the technology more economical than it may seem at first.

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“A3 is powering ahead with Vahana, and as is typical for Silicon Valley, the company thinks in terms of weeks, not years,” an Airbus statement read.

AVweb provides more: “Officially underway since February, the project’s team of internal and external developers and partners has agreed on a vehicle design and are beginning to build and test vehicle subsystems. Meanwhile, developers in France and Germany are working on an electrically operated platform concept for multiple passengers, Airbus said. This aerial vehicle, which goes by the working title of CityAirbus, would have multiple propellers and would resemble a small drone in its basic design. While initially it would be operated by a pilot — similarly to a helicopter — to allow for quick entry into the market, it would switch over to full autonomous operations once regulations are in place, directly benefitting from Vahana’s contribution. The feasibility study has already been completed and the conclusion is favorable, Airbus said.”

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The company envisions a scenario where interested customers could simply book a seat on a CityAirbus through a smartphone app, then proceed to the closest helipad and “climb aboard to be whisked away to their destination.”

Courtesy : Clean Technica

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He is an aviation journalist and the founder of Jetline Marvel. Dawal gained a comprehensive understanding of the commercial aviation industry.  He has worked in a range of roles for more than 9 years in the aviation and aerospace industry. He has written more than 1700 articles in the aerospace industry. When he was 19 years old, he received a national award for his general innovations and holds the patent. He completed two postgraduate degrees simultaneously, one in Aerospace and the other in Management. Additionally, he authored nearly six textbooks on aviation and aerospace tailored for students in various educational institutions. jetlinem4(at)gmail.com

Asia

Singapore Airlines emergency landing after severe turbulence

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 Aircraft lands at Singapore Changi Airport (Incident aircraft not pictured)

One passenger passed on, while dozens of passengers were injured when a Singapore Airlines Boeing B777-300ER aircraft experienced severe turbulence while en route to Singapore from London Heathrow Airport. The aircraft diverted to Bangkok, and landed at 3:45pm Local time on 21 May 2024 

The flight landed with 211 Passengers and 11 Crew members at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. According to the Airport Director Kittipong Kittikachorn at a news conference, there were 7 passengers who suffered serious injuries, while a number of other passengers suffered injuries of varying seriousness.

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It was also confirmed that the passenger who passed on was a 73 year old British Man. In a statement from Singapore Airlines ‘ As of 0505 hours Singapore Time on 22 May 2024, 79 passengers and 6 crew members from SQ321 remain in Bangkok’. In another statement, it was reported that a relief flight with 143 passengers and crew members arrived in Singapore at 0505 hours Singapore time on 22 May 2024.

According to aircraft tracking site FlightRadar24, the 16 Year Old Boeing B777-300ER aircraft descended sharply from 37,000 feet to 31,000 feet in a short time. It was also further reported by FlightRadar24 that the descent was commanded by Autopilot, instead of being caused by turbulence.

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Shortly afterwards, the pilot declared an emergency by squeaking 7700 on the transponder, indicating an emergency situation onboard the aircraft. The Boeing 777 aircraft then diverted to Bangkok, instead of continuing on its planned journey to Singapore. 

In view of this incident, Singapore Airlines mentioned in a statement that they are working with the relevant authorities on the investigation into this incident.

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The National Transportation Safety Board, a US Government investigative agency for civil aviation incidents, is sending an accredited representative and 4 technical advisors to support the investigation by Singapore’s Transport Safety Investigation Bureau (TSIB). TSIB mentioned in a statement that it ‘is in touch with its Thai counterparts and will be deploying investigators to Bangkok’. 

Boeing, the manufacturer of the Boeing B777 aircraft mentioned in a statement that they are in contact with Singapore Airlines regarding the ill-fated flight, and ‘stand ready to support them’. 

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This situation is developing, more details will be added when they become available. 

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Airlines

US DOT says Airlines must now pay automatic refunds for cancelled flights

US DOT says Airlines must now pay automatic refunds for cancelled flights

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has released a final regulation requiring airlines to quickly reimburse passengers with automatic cash refunds when owed, according to a statement made by the Biden-Harris Administration.

Under the new regulation, passengers will find it easier to get refunds when airlines dramatically alter or cancel flights, cause severe delays for checked baggage, or don’t supply the additional services they paid for.

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According to a statement from the Biden-Harris Administration, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has published a final rule mandating airlines to promptly compensate customers with automatic cash refunds when they are eligible. The new rule would make it simpler for customers to receive refunds from airlines in cases when they drastically change or cancel flights, cause significant delays for checked luggage, or fail to provide the extra services they charged for.

Under the latest rule from the USDOT, passengers are guaranteed refunds in several scenarios:

  1. Canceled or Significantly Changed Flights: Passengers are entitled to refunds if their flight is canceled or significantly altered, including changes in departure or arrival times exceeding 3 hours domestically or 6 hours internationally, departures or arrivals from different airports, increased connections, downgrades in service class, or changes less accommodating to passengers with disabilities.
  2. Delayed Baggage Return: Passengers filing mishandled baggage reports can claim a refund for checked bag fees if their luggage is not returned within specific timeframes after flight arrival.
  3. Unprovided Extra Services: If airlines fail to deliver paid extra services like Wi-Fi, seat selection, or inflight entertainment, passengers can request refunds for those fees.

The final rule streamlines the refund process, ensuring it is:

  • Automatic: Refunds are issued automatically without requiring passengers to request them.
  • Prompt: Airlines must refund credit card purchases within seven business days and other payment methods within 20 calendar days.
  • In Original Form of Payment: Refunds are provided in the original payment method used for purchase.
  • Full Amount: Passengers receive full refunds minus the value of any portion of transportation already used, including government and airline fees.

Suggest banning family seating junk fees and ensuring that parents can travel with their kids at no additional cost. No airline promised to ensure fee-free family seating prior to efforts from President Biden and Secretary Buttigieg last year. Family seating is now guaranteed free of charge on four airlines, and the Department is working on a plan to eliminate family seating junk fees.

Propose to make passenger compensation and amenities mandatory so that travelers are taken care of when airlines cause flight delays or cancellations. 

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Middle East

British Airways Resumes Daily Flights to Abu Dhabi, After 4-Year hiatus

British Airways Resumes Daily Flights to Abu Dhabi, After 4-Year hiatus
Photo: Wikipedia

British Airways made its way back to Abu Dhabi, landing at Zayed International Airport. Following a four-year break in service, both crew and passengers were greeted with enthusiasm.

In the summer of 2024, British Airways plans to launch a daily route, utilising a Boeing 787-9, from London Heathrow to Abu Dhabi. The new route enhances ties between the UAE and the UK and expands  vast worldwide network, catering to passengers who may be visiting friends and family or travelling for business.

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Arriving in Abu Dhabi at 08.30+1, flight BA073 to Abu Dhabi leaves London Heathrow at 22.25. Departing at 10.10 and landing at London Heathrow at 15.20 is the inbound flight (BA072).

The chief executive officer and managing director of Abu Dhabi Airports, Elena Sorlini, stated: “We are delighted to welcome British Airways to Zayed International Airport. Their daily schedule is expected to improve connectivity and stimulate travel and business.” Visitors may experience the dynamic capital of the United Arab Emirates like never before at our brand-new, award-winning, state-of-the-art terminal, where they will be welcomed with the best kind of Emirati hospitality.”

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Flight schedule:

London Heathrow (LHR) to Zayed International (AUH)All times are local
 
SeasonFlight numberDeparting LHRArriving AUHFlight numberDeparting AUHArriving LHR
Summer ‘24BA7322:2508:30+1BA7210:1015:20
Winter ‘24BA7322:2509:30+1BA7211:1015:20

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