AVIATION TECHNOLOGY

Merlin Labs Partners With Ameriflight on Autonomous Flight Solutions

Ameriflight | December 13, 2021

Ameriflight News
Merlin Labs has reached an agreement with Ameriflight to equip the cargo airline's fleet with autonomous and semi-autonomous flight capability. By offering access to Merlin's enhanced technology, the partnership will allow Ameriflight to capitalize on long-term growth opportunities.

The nation's largest Part 135 cargo airline, Ameriflight provides regional cargo aircraft services for overnight express carriers such as UPS, FedEx, and DHL. With this partnership, Ameriflight will add more experience and capabilities to its aircraft through Merlin's technology, complementing its current pilot makeup. Ultimately, Ameriflight hopes to future-proof its aircraft with early implementation of autonomous capabilities, ensuring the company will be nearly ready when that form of flying is industry-approved and allowing for seamless customer retention.

"We believe Merlin's technology is not only the furthest along, but also the most applicable to what our customers need, It will potentially allow us to provide autonomous or semi-autonomous flight at a cost of added deployability that we think works best for our customers relative to other options. Merlin is designing a solution to allow our existing fleet to become autonomous rather than requiring us to upgrade our fleet, which would come at a very high capital cost, By using the aircraft's existing functionality and enabling us to update the cockpit and avionics equipment, Merlin is making it possible to extend fleet life at a relatively affordable cost."

- Ameriflight President and CEO Paul Chase.

Merlin is creating sophisticated software and hardware that fulfill the functions of a human pilot. The company has flown hundreds of takeoff-to-touchdown missions, performed thousands of simulated test hours, and integrated its platform into four different aircraft types (from single-engine to complex, multi-engine aircraft). In September, Merlin became the first company to reach an agreement on an approach for the certification of aircraft autonomy.

Merlin's "crawl, walk, run" approach to deploying autonomy — and commitment to safety — resonated with Chase.

Another key driver for Ameriflight is cost savings. The airline's current aircraft are a good fit for its customers when it comes to size and rate. Updating the existing fleet with next-generation technology will allow Ameriflight to pair world-class technology with best-in-class pricing.

"Having recently announced our first-in-the-world certification basis, we really have to focus on how to bring our system to the market in the short term," said  "Partnering with Ameriflight supports this goal while also giving us a great deal of credibility in the commercial cargo space."

- Matthew George, Merlin Co-Founder and CEO.

About Merlin Labs
Founded in 2018, Merlin Labs is headquartered in Boston, with additional offices in Los Angeles, Denver, Mojave, and New Zealand. The Google Ventures-backed company is building the definitive autonomy system for all things that fly. 

About Ameriflight
Ameriflight is the nation's largest Part 135 cargo airline. Founded in 1968, Ameriflight has grown from a small air charter and cargo service carrier to an international operator with 14 bases, 1,500 weekly departures, and 200 destinations. Ameriflight is headquartered in Dallas and has more than 500 employees, including over 150 pilots, and over 100 aircraft.

Spotlight

Electric propulsion offers dramatic new vehicle mission capabilities, not possible with turbine or reciprocating engines; including high reliability and efficiency, low engine weight and maintenance, low cooling drag and volume required, very low noise and vibration, and zero emissions.


Other News
BUSINESS AVIATION

Astronics Expands and Enhances CorePower® Product Offering for Emerging Electric Aircraft Industry

Astronics Corporation | May 09, 2022

Astronics Corporation a leading provider of advanced technologies for global aerospace, defense, and other mission critical industries, announced today that it has expanded its CorePower® product portfolio and capabilities to address the needs of the emerging electric aircraft industry. The Company’s CorePower product line offers advanced flight-critical electrical power generation, conversion, distribution and control, primarily for smaller rotary and fixed wing aircraft in both commercial and military markets. Astronics has over 50 years of experience designing and manufacturing highly efficient and reliable aircraft electrical power solutions. The aerospace industry today is making significant investments in More Electric Aircraft architectures, including specifically electric propulsion and electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft. These new aircraft aim to reduce the carbon footprint and noise pollution associated with today’s aircraft, as well as enable new business models like urban air mobility and cargo delivery. Significant investments are being made both by newcomers to the aerospace industry and established airframe OEMs. Astronics has expanded its CorePower product offerings to include a new line of high voltage power conversion products and high voltage/high current solid state switching devices, for both uni- and bi-directional power distribution, along with required load protection. These products are designed to meet stringent regulatory certification requirements, including dissimilar topologies to minimize common-cause failure modes. The new products complete a flexible, modular line of high-voltage DC power conversion and distribution capabilities required by the new aircraft, and do so with increased efficiency and lower weight, leading to aircraft benefits such as increased run time, longer ranges, and higher passenger or cargo loads. The Company has added intelligence to every element of the power system to meet industry demands for higher reliability, increased safety, and extended periods of sustained, no-maintenance operation. "Our Airborne Power and Control team has specialized in creating innovative and market leading Airframe Power solutions for small to medium sized rotorcraft and business jets - now with the advent of eVTOL and More Electric Aircraft, there are a number of new platforms that will benefit from our new CorePower high voltage products. Astronics is excited to be part of the evolution of aviation moving towards more sustainable and cleaner modes of transportation." Jon Neal, President of Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems About Astronics Corporation Astronics Corporation serves the world’s aerospace, defense, and other mission critical industries with proven, innovative technology solutions. Astronics works side-by-side with customers, integrating its array of power, connectivity, lighting, structures, interiors, and test technologies to solve complex challenges. For over 50 years, Astronics has delivered creative, customer-focused solutions with exceptional responsiveness. Today, global airframe manufacturers, airlines, militaries, completion centers and Fortune 500 companies rely on the collaborative spirit and innovation of Astronics. The Company’s strategy is to increase its value by developing technologies and capabilities that provide innovative solutions to its targeted markets.

Read More

BUSINESS AVIATION

Southwest Airlines Chooses Viasat's High-Speed In-Flight Connectivity for New Aircraft Deliveries

Viasat, Inc. | May 13, 2022

Viasat, Inc. a global communications company, announced Southwest Airlines Co. selected the Company's next generation Ka-band satellite in-flight connectivity system to be factory-installed on all new aircraft deliveries, starting this fall. By selecting Viasat's industry-leading solution for its new aircraft, Southwest Airlines will provide customers enhanced internet capabilities while onboard, including the ability to stream content and entertainment, watch live television, and access social media platforms and productivity applications on any internet-ready device, gate-to-gate. Streaming-capable Wi-Fi requires a fast and robust data connection — especially to deliver high quality service on all connected devices while in-flight, regardless of how many passengers are using the system. Viasat technology solves a key challenge in providing high quality connectivity in aviation by addressing variable concentrated demand, such as many aircraft in the same geographical area – at airport hubs or traveling on popular flight routes. The bandwidth advantage and flexibility offered by Viasat's satellite network provides a consistently high quality, high-speed, and content-rich in-flight Wi-Fi experience. "We admire Southwest Airlines' deeply customer-centric vision. The overall passenger experience is enhanced by delivering connectivity inflight that is the same as the on the ground experience, from streaming your favorite video content to live television and accessing other internet-based applications during all phases of flight. We look forward to being a part of Southwest's commitment to continually upping the bar." Don Buchman, Viasat's vice president and general manager, Commercial Aviation Capacity Today and In the Future According to a January 2022 Sandvine Global Internet Phenomena Report, more than two-thirds of today's internet traffic is driven by data-hungry video streaming or social media platforms. Viasat utilizes its current broadband satellite fleet, including ViaSat-1 and Viasat-2, along with its roadmap of satellites - including the revolutionary ViaSat-3 constellation - to meet the ever-increasing demand for data-rich connectivity. About Viasat Viasat is a global communications company that believes everyone and everything in the world can be connected. For more than 35 years, Viasat has helped shape how consumers, businesses, governments and militaries around the world communicate. Today, the Company is developing the ultimate global communications network to power high-quality, secure, affordable, fast connections to impact people's lives anywhere they are—on the ground, in the air or at sea.

Read More

AVIATION TECHNOLOGY

Air Serbia to grow revenue opportunities with retailing solutions from Sabre

Air Serbia | December 21, 2021

Sabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR) announced that Air Serbia successfully implemented Sabre's Dynamic Availability software, which will help the airline to actively respond to evolving conditions with optimized pricing information. Leveraging shopping data as well as information on traveler behavior and other key factors from Sabre's marketplace and other sources, Dynamic Availability applies machine-learning models to generate recommendations that help drive incremental revenue opportunities. The tool allows airlines to optimize their offerings by quickly and precisely responding to changing dynamics with recommendations based on real-time marketplace data. "Pricing is one of the most complex issues in the aviation industry – even more so since the onset of the pandemic, Successful pricing is an important aspect of sophisticated retailing, and airlines like Air Serbia need the right information to help maximize revenue. Beyond unlocking incremental revenue potential, our Dynamic Availably solution reduces the time spent on manual calculations, increases analyst efficiency and allows our customers to focus on delivering a superior traveler experience." -Dino Gelmetti, Vice President EMEA, Sabre Travel Solutions. To further enhance its offering agility and precision, Air Serbia is actively collaborating with Sabre to advance airline revenue management through this period of recovery. As part of this discussion, the airline is exploring opportunities to partner with Sabre on its recently launched Sabre Price IQ product. Considering traveler segment and trip intent from the shopping request combined with artificial intelligence and machine learning, Air Price IQ supports airlines in their efforts maximize revenue opportunities while providing a seamless experience to its travelers. "As we embark on a period of ambitious recovery and growth, building cutting-edge technology using real-time data, artificial intelligence and machine learning will be key to our success, We are excited to partner with Sabre on these intelligent software solutions that will redefine our fare pricing and passenger experience." -Jiri Marek, General Manager Commercial and Strategy at Air Serbia. Air Price IQ is part of Sabre's Retail Intelligence suite. Powered by Sabre Travel AI™ – an innovative capability that integrates Sabre technology with state-of-the-art AI technology and advanced machine-learning services – the new technology will allow airlines to dynamically provide offers to travelers based on preferences, marketplace insights and purchase probability, creating a more personalized and better traveler experience. About Sabre Corporation Sabre Corporation is the leading technology provider to the global travel industry. Sabre's software, data, mobile and distribution solutions are used by hundreds of airlines and thousands of hotel properties to manage critical operations, including passenger and guest reservations, revenue management, flight, network and crew management. Sabre also operates a leading global travel marketplace, which processes more than US$120 billion of global travel spend annually by connecting travel buyers and suppliers. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre serves customers in more than 160 countries around the world. About Air Serbia Air Serbia was launched under that name in October 2013 as the national airline of the Republic of Serbia. From three airports in Serbia (Belgrade, Niš, Kraljevo) it flies to destinations in Europe, the Middle East, North America and Africa, in passenger and cargo traffic. The airline also offers long-haul and international destinations in Asia, Australia, North America and Africa via its codeshare partners. Air Serbia's fleet includes one wide-body, 10 narrow-body and 5 turboprop aircraft. Find more information about the activities of the Serbian national airline at Air Serbia Media Centre.

Read More

BUSINESS AVIATION

Avcon Industries, Inc. ISR Solutions Receives FAA Approval for King Air Wing-Mounted Hard Points and SAT COM Radome

Butler National Corporation | January 21, 2022

Butler National Corporation (OTCQB: BUKS) announces that its subsidiary Avcon Industries, Inc., a leading provider of ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) and special mission solutions for aircraft, received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) approval for the installation of hard points, also known as provisions for external stores. The hard points are wing-mounted inboard and outboard with an optional cost-effective SATCOM/BLOS Radome on the Beechcraft King Air Model 200, B200, B300, 350. The collective modification package, including the Avcon lower fuselage ISR POD, defines the new Avcon ISR NG King Air platform. Avcon is increasing its focus on developing ISR Solutions across multiple aircraft platforms. With its expansion of ISR-capable products, Avcon has developed a new subsidiary, Avcon ISR Solutions, to reinforce the Avcon presence in the ISR marketplace. The ISR products are derivative of the commercial products Avcon has developed and installed for more than 50 years. Avcon will continue to develop, manufacture, and install products under its Avcon Industries, Inc. identity for the commercial market in addition to the new Avcon ISR Solutions brand. Avcon received FAA STC approval of: (1) Wing-mounted Hard Points having a payload capacity of up to 325 pounds underneath each wing for the inboard stores (STC SA04178NY) and 225 pounds (per side) for each store on the outboard pylon (STC SA01965WI); with or without the (2) Avcon SATCOM (BLOS) antenna radome KU/KA/X-band (STC SA04204NY). Avcon has deployed its King Air 350 (Model B300) airplane to expand the cost-effective product offerings to create the Avcon ISR NG King Air platform. The Avcon ISR NG King Air includes the Avcon multi-purpose special mission ISR POD (fuselage belly sensor carrying radome/pod compartment), the Avcon hard points with custom-mounted stores, and the Avcon SATCOM Radome. The King Air 350 is the first airplane to be certified with the Avcon Hard Points. Management Comments "We are excited to recognize Avcon's vast experience, specialized ISR solutions, and understanding of the ISR marketplace with the name of Avcon ISR Solutions. Avcon further appreciates the customer interest in the latest and very cost-effective Avcon King Air products. Avcon can timely complete the Avcon ISR NG King Air platform modification that includes the provisions for external underwing stores and SAT COM radome. The Avcon hard points are capable of mounting any NATO stores. Avcon fabricates and installs all the parts associated with the provisions for external stores. Avcon has significantly expanded its potential role in supplying quick turnaround modifications and cost-effective solutions in the King Air ISR / Special Mission Market. I am confident that our customers will find continued confidence in these new Avcon ISR Solutions." -Marcus Abendroth, Avcon President Our Business: Avcon Industries, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Butler National Corporation. Avcon focuses on the manufacturing and certification of aviation-related products, including special mission solutions, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance solutions, systems integration, avionics offerings and regulatory compliance solutions. Butler National operates in the Aerospace and Management Services business segments. In addition to the Avcon capabilities, the Aerospace segment also provides controls for weapons systems. Services include temporary employee services, gaming services and administrative management services.

Read More

Spotlight

Electric propulsion offers dramatic new vehicle mission capabilities, not possible with turbine or reciprocating engines; including high reliability and efficiency, low engine weight and maintenance, low cooling drag and volume required, very low noise and vibration, and zero emissions.

Resources