A Honeywell senior director talks about advanced air mobility. Also, NOTAMs may be on the way for 5G cellular, PLAY airline comes to the U.S., airline executives speak before the U.S. Senate, local incentives draw Lufthansa to St. Louis, and Dynon suffers from component shortages. We also have an Australia Desk with military rotorcraft news.
Andrew Barker is the Senior Director, Sales Marketing, Urban Air Mobility and Unmanned Aerial Systems at Honeywell Aerospace. He describes the “advanced air mobility” concept that encompasses a scope larger than the “urban” notion normally associated with UAM. In fact, Andrew thinks of it as Aviation 2.0 and likens it to a new experimental aircraft world, but this time with more funding.
Honeywell acts as a vehicle-agnostic supplier of avionics and propulsion components. Some of these, like fly-by-wire, are being brought down to the UAM market. Andrew talks about Honeywell detect-and-avoid technology and sensor fusion. We also consider the progression of steps being taken by the industry – starting with the pilot in the aircraft, then progressing to SVO (simple vehicle operation) lessening the onboard task, to pilot on the ground, and ultimately (perhaps) autonomous air transport.
Andrew also touches on some of the industry challenges, like regulatory standards and public acceptance. And of course safety, the overarching imperative.
Andrew spent his youth at the airport with his father and received his PPL at age 17. That same year he flew a Cessna 150 to EAA Airventure in Oshkosh, WI. You’ll find Andrew at Osh most years.
In 2000 he became the first employee of TruTrak Flight Systems, a company that designed and produced autopilots for the experimental aircraft market. After earning his degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Arkansas in 2004, Andrew was named general manager and he joined the board of directors for TruTrak.
Andrew and his wife eventually became the sole owners of TruTrak. The company received FAA approval for the installation of an autopilot for the Cessna 172 in 2017, adding several more models in the following years.
In 2019, Honeywell acquired TruTrak and Andrew joined the Honeywell team as Sr. Director of Sales for BendixKing. In July of 2021, Andrew joined the UAM / UAS team and is now running sales and marketing.
The 5G cellular issue with possible interference to radar altimeters continues in the news. On the heels of two FAA ADs, we now see the possibility of an FAA NOTAM (Notice to Air Missions) with more specific details.
Icelandic low-cost carrier PLAY is now booking tickets from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) with service starting April 20, 2022, and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) with service from May 11, 2022. PLAY operates a fleet of Airbus A320neo family aircraft with a hub at Keflavík International Airport. Ex-WOW executives are among the leadership team at PLAY.
Airline executives appearing before a Senate Commerce Committee hearing explained the recent flight delays and cancellations. Reasons given include:
- Trouble hiring pilots, flight attendants and other staff
- Weather causing aircraft and crews to be out of position
- Difficulty getting employees to work extra shifts
- The cost of training pilots, which is not covered by federal student loans
It’s the first passenger airline service from St. Louis to the European continent in nearly 20 years, scheduled to start in June 2022. An incentive package was offered to Lufthansa that included up to $5 million in incentive payments over two years. To qualify, the airline must average three nonstop flights per week from St. Louis Lambert International Airport to Frankfurt. Landing fees are also waived for 18 months. The package was put together by local businesses, the St. Louis County government, and the airport.
Dynon Avionics says they will be “unable to manufacture or ship experimental SkyView HDX, SkyView Classic, and SkyView SE displays” due to supply chain issues with components. Demand is up, supplies are down, and lead times are longer.
Australia News Desk
This week’s Australia Desk takes a look at the withdrawal from service of the Army’s S-70-A9 Blackhawk fleet, and the announcement by the government that the MRH-90 Taipan fleet will also be replaced in favour of up to 40 new-build UH-60M Blackhawks.
In airline news, Qantas has announced its intention to replace its 737-800 fleet over the next ten years with Airbus A321’s…but will they actually do it??
Hosts this Episode
Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, and Rob Mark. Contributors: Steve Visscher and Grant McHerron.