Aviation Technology

Boeing and Microsoft deepen partnership in digital aviation

digital aviation
Boeing Company and Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday announced they are deepening their strategic partnership to accelerate Boeing's digital transformation. Through the expanded collaboration, Boeing will leverage the Microsoft Cloud and its AI capabilities to update its technology infrastructure and mission-critical applications with intelligent new solutions that are data driven, further opening new ways of working, operating and doing business. 

"Today's announcement represents a significant investment in Boeing's digital future.  Our strategic partnership with Microsoft will help us realize our cloud strategy by removing infrastructure restraints, properly scaling to unlock innovation and further strengthening our commitment to sustainable operations," said Susan Doniz, Boeing chief information officer and senior vice president of Information Technology & Data Analytics. "Microsoft's demonstrated partnership approach, trusted cloud technologies and deep industry experience will help us achieve our transformation goals and strengthen Boeing's digital foundation."

"Boeing and Microsoft have been working together for more than two decades, and this partnership builds on that history to support Boeing's digital future by helping it optimize operations and develop digital solutions that will benefit the global aviation industry. The power of the Microsoft Cloud and its AI capabilities will serve as the core component to Boeing's digital aviation strategy by providing flexible, agile and scalable solutions that are intelligent and data driven on a secure and compliant platform."

Judson Althoff, EVP and chief commercial officer at Microsoft

This partnership builds on a long history of the companies working together. As a leader in aerospace, Boeing was among the first to leverage the Microsoft Cloud, centralizing many of its market-leading digital aviation applications on Microsoft Azure and using artificial intelligence to drive customer outcomes and streamline operations. Today's announcement will enable Boeing to unlock tangible and sustainable value held within its vast data estate and reinforces our mutual commitment to lead aerospace innovation for decades to come.

About Boeing
As a leading global aerospace company, Boeing develops, manufactures and services commercial airplanes, defense products and space systems for customers in more than 150 countries. As a top U.S. exporter, the company leverages the talents of a global supplier base to advance economic opportunity, sustainability and community impact. Boeing's diverse team is committed to innovating for the future, leading with sustainability, and cultivating a culture based on the company's core values of safety, quality and integrity. 

About Microsoft
Microsoft enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

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Aviation Technology

Joby Subsidiary H2FLY Completes World’s First Piloted Flight of Liquid Hydrogen Powered Electric Aircraft

Business Wire | September 14, 2023

H2FLY, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Joby Aviation, today announced the successful completion of the world’s first piloted flight of a liquid hydrogen-powered electric aircraft. H2FLY, acquired by Joby in 2021, continues to lead the industry on the development and testing of hydrogen aviation propulsion systems. The company completed a series of piloted flights with its HY4 demonstrator aircraft, including one that lasted more than three hours, fitted with a hydrogen-electric fuel cell propulsion system and liquid hydrogen that powered it for the entire flight. The flights demonstrate the viability of using cryogenically-stored liquid hydrogen instead of gaseous hydrogen, which enables significantly lower tank weights and volume, leading to longer range. The successful installation and demonstration of flight with liquid hydrogen is believed to increase the range of H2FLY’s HY4 demonstrator aircraft from 466 mi (750 km) to 932 mi (1500 km), marking a critical step towards the long-term decarbonization of mid- to long-range aviation. “H2FLY are pioneers in their field, and we’re proud of them achieving this watershed moment in the use of liquid hydrogen to power aircraft,” said JoeBen Bevirt, Founder and CEO of Joby Aviation. “In the years to come, battery-electric and hydrogen-electric propulsion systems will enable us to build aircraft that are quieter and make mid- to long-range air travel possible with zero emissions. It’s critical we take action now and invest aggressively in these technologies for the health of our planet and future generations to come.” The successful flights are the culmination of Project HEAVEN, a European-government-supported consortium assembled to demonstrate the feasibility of using liquid hydrogen in aircraft. The consortium is led by H2FLY and includes the partners Air Liquide, Pipistrel Vertical Solutions, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies, and Fundación Ayesa. Following this test flight milestone, H2FLY will increasingly focus on its path to commercialization. In June, H2FLY announced the development of its new fuel cell systems, which will be capable of providing their full power range at altitudes high enough to enable commercial hydrogen-electric aircraft, demonstrating real-world commercial aircraft applications. About Joby Joby Aviation, Inc. is a California-based transportation company developing an all-electric, vertical take-off and landing air taxi which it intends to operate as part of a fast, quiet, and convenient service in cities around the world.

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Aviation Technology

Wheels Up Finalizes New Investment with Delta, Certares, Knighthead and Cox

Wheels Up | September 26, 2023

Wheels Up Experience (NYSE: UP) today announced that it has closed the previously announced investment by Delta Air Lines, Certares Management LLC, Knighthead Capital Management LLC and Cox Enterprises. The new investment structure combines the experience of Delta, the No. 1 premium airline, with the travel and tourism focus of Certares and turnaround and restructuring experience of Knighthead. It includes an agreement for a $500 million credit facility to Wheels Up, with funds contributed by Delta and CK Wheels LLC, which is co-managed by affiliates of Certares and Knighthead, and Cox. The announcement follows last week's selection of George Mattson as the company's new CEO. "This investment represents both an important source of capital for Wheels Up to support our strategy for financial stability, future profitability and long-term growth on behalf of our members and customers, as well as a vote of confidence in our path forward from a group of investors with deep experience in the premium travel space," Mattson said. "We look forward to working closely with Delta and our other investors to deliver best-in-class operating performance and an exceptional customer experience which, as we deepen our commercial partnership, will also enable us to provide a one-of-a-kind seamless connection between private and premium commercial travel." "Wheels Up is an integral part of Delta's portfolio of premium partners, and this deep relationship offers a significant opportunity to deliver compelling benefits to our customers that are unique in the travel space," said Dan Janki, Wheels Up Chairman and Delta's Chief Financial Officer. "This investment and new leadership puts Wheels Up on a strong path to future success." The credit facility is comprised of a $350 million term loan funded at closing from Delta, CK Wheels LLC and Cox and a $100 million revolving credit facility from Delta. The terms of the credit agreement permit a new lender to provide a $50 million term loan after the closing date, as approved by Delta, Certares, Knighthead and Cox, and it is anticipated this additional funding will close in the near term. In connection with the closing of the credit facility, the lenders will initially receive newly issued Wheels Up common stock representing 80% of the company's outstanding equity as of the closing of the credit facility, on a fully diluted basis. After approval by Wheels Up's stockholders of an amendment to its certificate of incorporation, the company will issue to the lenders additional new shares such that the lenders will own 95% of the company's outstanding equity as of the closing of the credit facility, on a fully diluted basis. Wheels Up also announced a new structure for its Board of Directors. Under the new structure, Delta Air Lines will appoint four directors, Certares and Knighthead each will appoint two directors, and Cox will appoint one director. In addition, one company executive will join the Board and two independent directors are expected to remain from the previous Board. The parties were assisted in the transaction by a number of strategic advisors, including: Davis Polk, Jefferies LLC, Kirkland & Ellis and PJT Partners. About Wheels Up Wheels Up is a leading provider of on-demand private aviation in the U.S. and one of the largest private aviation companies in the world. Wheels Up offers a complete global aviation solution with a large, modern, and diverse fleet, backed by an uncompromising commitment to safety and service. Customers can access membership programs, charter, aircraft management services and whole aircraft sales, as well as unique commercial travel benefits through a strategic partnership with Delta Air Lines. Wheels Up also offers freight, safety and security solutions and managed services to individuals, industry, government, and civil organizations. Wheels Up is guided by the mission to connect private flyers to aircraft, and one another, through an open platform that seamlessly enables life's most important experiences. Powered by a global private aviation marketplace connecting its base of approximately 12,000 members and customers to a network of approximately 1,500 safety-vetted and verified private aircraft, Wheels Up is widening the aperture of private travel for millions of consumers globally. With the Wheels Up mobile app and website, members and customers have the digital convenience to search, book and fly.

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Aviation Technology

Joby Delivers First eVTOL Aircraft to Edwards Air Force Base Ahead of Schedule

Joby | September 28, 2023

Joby Aviation, Inc, a company developing electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for commercial passenger service, today announced it has delivered its first aircraft to Edwards Air Force Base approximately six months ahead of the expected 2024 delivery date. On-base operations with Joby aircraft will be used to demonstrate a range of logistics missions, including cargo and passenger transportation, and will be operated by both Joby and U.S. Air Force personnel. In partnership with the U.S. Air Force, NASA will also use the aircraft for research focused on how these aircraft could fit into the national airspace, benefiting the entire air taxi industry. Joby’s aircraft, which has already begun flying at Edwards AFB, is the first electric air taxi to be stationed on a U.S. military base and is believed to be the first delivery of an electric air taxi in the U.S., as part of Joby’s $131 million AFWERX Agility Prime contract with the U.S. Air Force. Joby’s current and previously completed work with the Department of Defense represents a total potential contract value of $163 million, the largest in the industry. The Agility Prime contract includes the provisioning of up to nine aircraft to the U.S. Air Force and other federal agencies, reinforcing the U.S. government’s continued leadership in developing and adopting eVTOL technology, and ushering in a new era of electric aviation. A second aircraft is planned to be delivered to Edwards in early 2024. The aircraft, which was the first built on Joby’s Pilot Production Line in Marina, CA, will be stationed at Edwards Air Force Base for at least the next year, with charging and ground support equipment provided on-base by Joby in a facility purpose-built by the Air Force for joint flight test operations. The U.S. Air Force and Joby will conduct joint flight testing and operations to demonstrate the aircraft’s capabilities in realistic mission settings. On-base operations will also include the training of Air Force pilots and aircraft maintenance crews, which will provide the DOD with valuable insight into the performance of eVTOL aircraft and will give Joby on-the-ground operational and training experience as the company prepares for the launch of commercial passenger service in 2025. “We’re proud to join the ranks of revolutionary aircraft that first demonstrated their capabilities at Edwards Air Force Base, including the first American jet fighter, the first supersonic aircraft, and many others that have pushed the boundaries of aviation technology,” said JoeBen Bevirt, Founder and CEO of Joby. “The longstanding support of the DOD and NASA has been critical to the rapid development of electric aviation and eVTOL aircraft, and demonstrates how successful public-private partnerships can bring new technology to life at speed. Their work will have profound implications for continued American leadership in both commercial and defense aerospace technology,” he added. Joby’s partnership with the DOD dates back to its 2016 engagement with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), which granted the company early funding as well as access to test ranges and expertise that have aided its aircraft development program. “Agility Prime’s stated objective in 2020 was to work towards an operational capability for transformative vertical lift in the DoD by 2023. The arrival of Joby’s aircraft at Edwards AFB is an important step towards achieving this objective,” said Col Elliott Leigh, AFWERX director and Chief Commercialization Officer for the Department of the Air Force. “The delivery of this first eVTOL aircraft is the start of a new chapter in Edwards’ rich aerospace history,” notes Maj Phillip Woodhull, director, Emerging Technologies Integrated Test Force. “This partners private industry with the 412th Test Wing’s world-renowned test management execution. We are excited to agilely test, experiment with, and evaluate this new technology for potential future national defense applications.” In partnership with the U.S. Air Force’s AFWERX program, NASA will also be supporting this testing at Edwards Air Force Base with NASA’s pilots, researchers, and equipment as part of their commitment to advancing the Advanced Air Mobility industry as a whole, for the benefit of all. NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center is located on Edwards Air Force Base, and has a long history of supporting important technological milestones in aviation and space – supersonic and hypersonic flight, digital fly-by-wire control systems, and the space shuttles. “NASA’s participation in the Joby and AFWERX project will provide our researchers with hands-on experience with a representative eVTOL vehicle, concentrated on how these types of aircraft could fit into the national airspace for everyday use, that will inform NASA’s effort in supporting the entire eVTOL industry,” said NASA research pilot Wayne Ringelberg. “The research will include a focus on handling qualities evaluation tools, autonomy, and airspace integration, which is all needed research to push the industry forward.” Over the past year, the U.S. Air Force and Marines have made multiple visits to Joby’s manufacturing and flight test facilities in Marina, CA. Four U.S. Air Force pilots completed full remotely-piloted transition flights of the Joby aircraft in April, and two groups of Marines visited in May to conduct mission analysis regarding potential logistics and medical applications of the aircraft. With a range of up to 100 miles plus energy reserves and a top speed of 200 mph, the Joby aircraft is capable of transporting a pilot and four passengers quickly and quietly with zero operating emissions. The delivery will be celebrated at an event held this morning at 10:00am PT at Edwards Air Force Base. The event can be watched live via this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qVLQsz_YJc. Media assets, including photos and videos of the Joby aircraft in flight, are available here. About Joby Joby Aviation, Inc. is a California-based transportation company developing an all-electric, vertical take-off and landing air taxi which it intends to operate as part of a fast, quiet, and convenient service in cities around the world. About AFRL The Air Force Research Laboratory is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 11,500 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. About AFWERX The innovation arm of the DAF and a directorate within the Air Force Research Laboratory brings cutting edge American ingenuity from small businesses and start-ups to address the most pressing challenges of the DAF. Employs approximately 325 military, civilian and contractor personnel at six hubs and sites executing an annual $1.4B budget. Since 2019, has executed 4,671 contracts worth more than $2B to strengthen the U.S. defense industrial base and drive faster technology transition to operational capability.

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Aviation Technology

BETA Technologies picks Garmin for its all-electric aircraft

Aerospace Manufacturing and Design | October 10, 2023

Garmin has a long-term agreement to provide the state-of-the-art Garmin G3000 integrated flight deck to BETA Technologies for its CX300 electric fixed-wing aircraft and A250 electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. The conventional fixed wing CX300 aircraft and A250 eVTOL aircraft are designed to enable a diverse range of missions and operations including short-haul transport operations for military, cargo, medical, and passenger applications – all with zero emissions and lower operational costs. BETA intends to enter into service as early as 2025 with its ALIA CTOL (CX300), and as early as 2026 with its ALIA VTOL (A250). "We've been strategically working with BETA for several years in their effort towards bringing a sustainable aviation solution to the market. It's an honor to have our integrated flight deck chosen for the revolutionary A250 and CX300 aircraft and we are thrilled to be part of BETA's mission to grow the electric aviation market," said Phil Straub, Garmin executive vice president & managing director, Aviation. Garmin's integrated flight deck boasts vibrant high-resolution flights displays and the latest communication, navigation, surveillance air traffic management (CNS/ATM) based on a lightweight and highly flexible open system architecture design enabling a seamless integration with BETA's flight control, propulsion, and battery management systems. Garmin's flexible architecture and agile development process enables BETA to leverage the latest in flight deck technologies while seamlessly integrating BETA's innovative fly-by-wire system and human machine interface designs for electric propulsion and novel operations in an eVTOL aircraft. "Garmin is widely recognized as the leader in avionics, we're excited to be able to bring this familiar and time-tested experience to our customers. It's gratifying to have the support of this legacy aerospace company as we look to bring our electric aircraft to market. They've been a true strategic collaborator as we work together to develop the next era of sustainable aviation," said Kyle Clark, BETA founder and CEO. Garmin International Inc. is a subsidiary of Garmin Ltd. which is incorporated in Switzerland. Its principal subsidiaries are in the United States, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. Garmin and G3000 are registered trademarks of Garmin Ltd. or its subsidiaries.

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