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Will remote Towers enhance Air Traffic Safety ?

The growing need for remote towers was one of the hot topics discussed at the Global Air Traffic Management (GATM) conference, held at Dubai Airshow 2019 on the 19 and 20 November.

The importance of collaboration across the industry was also a key theme, as delegates heard efficiency was improved when stakeholders, even competing airlines, collaborate with each other in decision making. 

The conference was opened by Ibrahim Ahli, Deputy CEO, Dubai Air Navigation Services (dans), who highlighted the vital role of the industry in the day to day running of aviation: “Air traffic management is undoubtedly the backbone of aviation. Any disturbance in air traffic can result in a complete halt of operations within any airport environment,” he said.

Efficient air traffic management is particularly vital at Dubai International Airport (DXB), which saw its billionth passenger pass through in 2019, Ahli said. He added: “Despite the challenges around every corner, our mission is to deliver a seamless operation and a smooth flow of air traffic. None of this could be achieved without the synergy of all our stakeholders.”

Delegates also heard from experts from across the air traffic management industry, who explained how remote towers are already being utilised in a variety of situations amid a growing need for efficiency. 

Norbert Haslacher, Chief Executive Officer, Frequentis, described how it had taken seven years from concept to implementation to place remote towers for Saarbrucken and Dresden Airports at Leipzig, 400km away, due to factors including regulation and union requirements. 

Robert Graham, Head of Airport Research, Eurocontrol, said remote tower technology would be integrated as airports continue to expand, but, he said physical towers will still have a place at airports for some time to come.  

“If we are going to add another runway, do we add another tower, or do we add a remote tower? We are into the world of hybrids, using the virtual tower technology to enhance the safety of the physical tower. I think we have not seen the end of physical towers yet, we are still going to have them for some time, particularly at the larger airports,” he said. 

The spirit of collaboration was also highlighted by Kornél Szepessy, CEO of HungaroControl, who signed a deal with Farthan Guliyev, Director of Azeraeronavigation (AZANS) at Dubai Airshow. The two companies agreed to implement the Eurasia-Europe Digital Backbone, allowing for the exchange and storage of aeronautical data between them. 

In a keynote speech on day one of the GATM conference, he said stakeholders need to work together. He said: “Closer collaboration between all businesses across the aviation value chain is needed. Only close partnership can deliver efficient cost-effective and seamless services to the common customers of the members of the aviation value chain.”
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On day two of the conference, in a key panel discussion on transforming aviation with airport collaborative decision making, David Shomar, Vice President, Civil Security, Saab, said even airlines that are direct competitors need to work together for the sake of efficiency. 

He described a strict queuing system instituted at JFK Airport, New York, which meant airlines had to adhere to 15-minute slots for aircraft pushback, to minimise time between push back and take off to prevent fuel wastage. 

“If one airline sees there is an opening and they cheat and they go, the system breaks down,” he said, causing aircraft to have to wait, powering up and down, between push back and take off.  

Data showed which airline had broken the pattern, he said, and reveals the extra time spent waiting for take off, so airlines then realise they all have to adhere to the system in order to be more efficient.  

Delegates also heard how Saudi Arabia has pioneered ways to make the career of air traffic controller appealing.  
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Despite a global shortage of controllers, Haifa Hamedaldean, Transformation Project Manager, Saudi Air Navigation Services (SANS) said there was currently a 25 per cent surplus of qualified controllers in the kingdom, which had been done strategically to fulfil a future need in collaboration with the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).

Rachel Sturgess, Portfolio Director for GATM, said: “This year’s Global Air Traffic Management (GATM) conference was a productive and insightful event, demonstrating the ways in which emergent technology can be assimilated into the industry to create greater efficiency. We look forward to welcoming key industry players again in 2021 to find more synergies towards creating the air traffic management of the future.”

 

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

Aviation

South Korea Introduces Cutting-Edge MRO Center for F-35 and IAI

South Korea Introduces Cutting-Edge MRO Center for F-35 and IAI
Image:IAI

South Korea is set to make waves in the aerospace industry with the establishment of a cutting-edge Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) hub for F-35 fighter jets and IAI (Israel Aerospace Industries) aircraft.

Central to this initiative is the specialization in converting Boeing 777-ERSF, colloquially known as the “Big Twin,” from passenger to freighter configurations. Under the terms of the agreement, IAI will spearhead the conversion of six B777-300ER and B777-200LR aircraft annually, commencing in 2024. This strategic move is in response to the anticipated surge in demand for wide-body freighter aircraft capable of long-haul flights.

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Furthermore, South Korea’s forward-looking vision extends beyond aircraft conversion, with plans to establish a Lockheed Martin F-35 maintenance, repair, and overhaul depot at Cheongju Air Base by 2027. This strategic move not only enhances the operational readiness of South Korea’s air force but also positions the nation as a regional hub for F-35 maintenance expertise.

In preparation for this expansion, thirty Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) engineers and technicians are slated to undergo intensive maintenance training in the United States in 2025, a testament to South Korea’s commitment to fostering local expertise and talent.

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IAI’s visionary approach to certification and collaboration underscores the potential for transformative change. With plans for the 777-300ERSF certification process set to unfold in Israel, followed by the rigorous scrutiny of regulatory agencies such as the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the stage is set for the ‘Big Twin’ to soar to new heights of success.

In partnership with esteemed entities like STK and Incheon International Airport Corporation, this collaboration promises to unleash a wave of benefits, amplifying the resilience and competitiveness of the Korean aviation sector while catalyzing job creation and economic prosperity.

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Aviation

Lockheed Martin Expresses Interest in Joining AMCA Project

Lockheed Martin Expresses Interest in Joining AMCA Project


Lockheed Martin, a leading global aerospace and defense company, is demonstrating its dedication to strengthening collaborations with India’s research, industry, and academic sectors. With its rich experience in the aerospace industry and renowned for building some of the world’s most advanced jets, Lockheed Martin is now exploring opportunities to contribute to India’s aerospace sector, potentially providing a significant boost to aerospace technology in the country.

Randy Howard, Vice President of Global Pursuits at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, recently underscored their interest in exploring “advanced transfer of technology opportunities” with Indian partners, signaling a proactive approach towards fostering technological exchange and advancement in the aerospace domain.

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India has been at the forefront of fighter jet development since the 1970s, having produced its own cost-effective fighter jets and combat helicopters, while continually upgrading to maintain competitiveness on a global scale.

Lockheed Martin stands as a dominant force in the aircraft industry, renowned for developing cutting-edge planes like the F35 and F22, some of the most advanced fighter jets globally. They’ve also contributed to projects like the South Korean KF21 aircraft for defense purposes through collaborations.

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Now, Lockheed Martin has set its sights on India’s defense sector manufacturing processes, expressing interest in partnering with India on its most anticipated project, the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), likely to be a 5th generation fighter jet for the Indian military.

Their proposed collaboration could involve a spectrum of advanced technologies, including the Auto Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS), a life-saving technology that intervenes to prevent ground collisions, thus significantly enhancing flight safety for Indian pilots.

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Lockheed Martin is extending its expertise to design and develop an indigenous cockpit for the F-21 fighter jets, which India is procuring. This collaboration with Tata also includes the development of fighter jet wings. Established in 2023, this partnership adopts a “Ground Floor Design” strategy aimed at equipping India with an in-depth comprehension of 5th-generation cockpit technology and Man-Machine Interface (MMI) systems.

As India’s Fighter jet program advances with finalized aircraft frame and engine prototypes, Lockheed Martin has expressed interest in joining the project. They see a groundbreaking opportunity in cooperative 5th Generation Fighter Development, potentially expediting the AMCA program’s progress through technology and expertise sharing.

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Furthermore, Lockheed Martin is keen on collaborating on large-wing, jet-powered UAV platforms, which could enhance India’s unmanned aerial capabilities.

While discussions are ongoing, and specific collaboration details await finalization, this initiative represents a potentially transformative stride in India’s aerospace self-reliance journey and Lockheed Martin’s strategic engagement with the Indian market.

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Aviation

Can Airline Seat Cushions Be Used As Life Jackets?

Can Airline Seat Cushions Be Used As Life Jackets?

In the event of an aircraft ditching into water, there’s a common question: Can aircraft seats serve as an alternative to life jackets for flotation? The answer lies in understanding their respective functions.

While seat cushions can provide some buoyancy in water, they are not intended nor certified to function as life jackets. Their primary purpose is to offer cushioning for passengers during flight. On the other hand, life jackets are meticulously engineered to keep individuals afloat in water, equipped with buoyancy materials, secure straps, and reflective elements for visibility. They offer numerous advantages over mere cushions.

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While a seat cushion might offer temporary assistance in staying afloat, it’s not a dependable substitute for a proper life jacket during an emergency. It’s crucial to utilize approved safety equipment when near bodies of water. A life jacket, designed to keep a person buoyant for extended periods, offers the rigidity needed for prolonged flotation and allows for easy movement of the arms to navigate effectively.

What fabric is used in aircraft seats?


Seats are meticulously designed to fulfill multiple purposes, ensuring passenger comfort, safety, and protection from unforeseen circumstances like fires and accidents. A typical design incorporates an aluminum frame with blocks of polyurethane foam affixed to it. Additionally, a layer of fire-resistant fabric, such as Kevlar or Nomex, is often applied over this framework, topped with a layer of cloth or leather.

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Leather seats, while luxurious, are more expensive compared to traditional cloth seats. The majority of fabrics used in seat upholstery contain at least 90% wool fiber, with the remainder typically consisting of polyamide (nylon). Wool stands out as the primary fiber chosen for commercial airline seating fabric due to its desirable properties and suitability for such applications.

What is the lightest economy seat?

In recent times, airlines have been downsizing seat dimensions to accommodate more passengers, resulting in reduced cushion length and leg space. This contrasts with earlier times when airlines offered more generously cushioned seats and ample amenities.

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According to Recaro Seats Company, their SL3710 model represents the lightest economy class seat available, weighing in at a mere 8 kg (17.6 lb.), setting a new standard in aircraft seating.

For individuals weighing more than 350 pounds, fitting into a standard economy-class seat can be a challenge due to the narrower dimensions. Economy seats, also referred to as “coach,” “standard,” or “main cabin” seats, typically range from about 40 to 48 centimeters in width, further emphasizing the need for more accommodating seating options.

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