businesswire | 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.
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.
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.
PRnewswire | July 18, 2023
Loft Dynamics (formerly VRM Switzerland), a leader in virtual reality (VR) flight simulation devices for pilots worldwide, announced an unprecedented partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Loft Dynamics' simulators – the first and only VR flight simulators with regulatory approval in Europe – are now undergoing U.S. evaluation by the FAA. The FAA has selected Loft Dynamics' Airbus H125 and Robinson R22 simulators to explore, for the first time, the use of VR flight simulation technology to train pilots. Both simulators have been installed at the William J. Hughes Technical Center (WHTC), the FAA's innovation hub, where they will be used to advance national aviation safety, efficiency, capacity, and environmental sustainability goals, and to drive the evolution of the National Airspace System (NAS) toward the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).
"The adoption of VR flight simulators by international safety agencies like EASA and FAA is crucial given the current landscape. The world needs more than 600,000 new pilots in the next 20 years, and the emergence of electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles (eVTOL) will significantly add to that demand. Traditional training options absolutely cannot keep up. We need innovation to solve this quickly, and that's what we're on a mission to do," said Fabi Riesen, founder and CEO of Loft Dynamics. "To receive approval from EASA and now introduce our technology to the FAA is an exciting and important milestone. We're thrilled to kick off this partnership and collectively forge a safer, more scalable, and sustainable future for U.S. aviation."
The unique features and capabilities of Loft Dynamics' simulators allow the FAA to perform the research and development required to enhance vertical flight safety, pursue qualification under 14 CFR part 60, and advance NextGen goals. The newly installed Robinson R22 (EASA-qualified FNPT) and the Airbus H125 (EASA-qualified FTD Level 3) simulators feature:
Full-scale replica cockpit and 360-degree view for precise visual cues inside and outside the aircraft.
Realistic flight model for accurate studies of nominal and off-nominal events and development of safety metrics dependent on rotorcraft aerodynamics.
Six-degrees-of-freedom motion platform replicating haptic sensations, including sling loads, runway texture, and force feedback from flight controls.
Adaptable software for customizable training scenarios that mirror any real-world encounter, terrain, and maneuver—risk-free.
Compact size, 10 times smaller than traditional full-motion simulators.
Since its founding, Loft Dynamics has played a key role in modernizing the global aviation industry. Their state-of-the-art simulators have effectively reduced air time training among European operators, improved training safety, bridged the pilot skill gap, and helped reduce in-flight carbon emissions for companies worldwide, including Airbus Helicopters, Air Zermatt, and Mountainflyers. In December 2022, the company received its first institutional round, raising $20 million from U.S. technology investors to accelerate international expansion.
Loft Dynamics' Airbus H125 simulator will exhibit at APSCON 2023 in Orlando, FL on July 20 and 21. To experience the FAA-used simulator, attendees may book a demo or visit booth 613 to learn more about Loft Dynamics and its future innovations, including the Airbus H145 simulator.
About Loft Dynamics AG:
Loft Dynamics AG (formerly VRM Switzerland) is a market-leading company specializing in VR training devices for pilots. Founded in 2016, our mission is to revolutionize global aviation with cutting-edge VR flight simulators. Equipped with a 3D high-resolution panoramic view, dynamic six-degrees-of-motion platform, and full-scale replica cockpit with a unique pose tracking system, our simulators provide an immersive, realistic, customizable, and risk-free training experience. By offering a training solution that is 10 times smaller and 20 times less expensive than traditional simulators, we enhance training accessibility and scalability, empowering highly skilled pilots to meet the global demand. As the world's first and only qualified VR flight simulation training device (FSTD), achieving FTD Level 3 qualification from EASA, we serve leading manufacturers, airlines, operators, schools, and organizations worldwide. Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, our team comprises passionate engineers, developers, and aviation experts.
Globenewswire | July 26, 2023
Bridger Aerospace Group Holdings, Inc. (“Bridger” or “Bridger Aerospace”),, one of the nation’s largest aerial firefighting companies, today announced that it has entered into a definitive purchase agreement with Bighorn Airways, Inc. (“Bighorn”), a specialty aviation company based in Sheridan, WY. Bridger will acquire Bighorn’s fleet of 12 aircraft used for wildfire smoke jumping as well as special mission transport and delivery for government customers. The transaction, valued at $39 million, is expected to close by the end of September 2023 and is subject to normal and customary closing conditions. The acquisition will be financed through a combination of cash and stock, with the majority of consideration paid to the sellers in the form of stock.
“The addition of Bighorn’s assets to the Bridger Aerospace family expands our aerial firefighting services to new mission critical areas,” commented Tim Sheehy, Bridger Aerospace’s Chief Executive Officer. “Bighorn provides year-round logistics for the Department of Defense (DoD) which broadens Bridger’s annual recurring revenue profile. From providing aircraft and flight crews in support of the U.S. government’s smoke jumper program, to flying missions in the North Pole region of Alaska, Bighorn adds unique skills, equipment and personnel to what is now the largest specialty wildfire aviation fleet in the country. We are honored to welcome Bighorn to the Bridger family.”
Bighorn’s fleet of 12 aircraft includes three Bombardier Dash 8 featuring a 7500 lbs. payload capacity, a range of 1200 miles and the capability of low-level flights for para cargo operations. Bighorn also operates four Casa 212-200 and five Dornier 228-100 twin turboprop aircraft capable of short takeoff and landing. Bighorn is one of only a few air carriers that are approved by the DoD Commercial Airlift Review Board (CARB), holds a DoD Facility Security Clearance and is a U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) certified air carrier. Bighorn also owns and operates the Sheridan, WY Fixed Base Operation (FBO).
For the year ending 2023, Bighorn is expected to generate pro forma revenue of $22 million, and adjusted pro forma EBITDA of $5 million. While the transaction is expected to be accretive to earnings after excluding transaction expenses and before anticipated synergies, the Company is not updating its guidance at this time. Bridger will provide further information on the outlook for the Company and the addition of Bighorn during its next quarterly earnings call.
About Bridger Aerospace
Based in Belgrade, Montana, Bridger Aerospace Group Holdings, Inc. is one of the nation’s largest aerial firefighting companies. Bridger Aerospace is committed to utilizing its team, aircraft and technology to save lives, property and habitats threatened by wildfires. Bridger Aerospace provides aerial firefighting and wildfire management services to federal and state government agencies, including the United States Forest Service, across the nation.
About Bighorn Airways
Bighorn Airways, Inc. is headquartered in Sheridan, Wyoming at the base of the Bighorn Mountains. Bighorn provides a variety of aviation services, including on-demand specialty aircraft charter and government contracting, and full Fixed Base Operator (FBO) services.