The new focus in aircraft development, the production

By Bjorn Fehrm

October 17, 2019, ©. Leeham News: Over the last decades the focus for new airliner projects has been technological advancements in aerodynamics, structures, engines, and avionics. This has offered 15% efficiency gains for the new airliners over the aircraft they replace. While still important, the next airliner projects have an additional focus which has moved to the top of the list. The production phase and how to improve its many parts.

The parts include development for automation, efficient partnering/sourcing and how to reduce the expensive learning phase of the production. We will cover this change in a series of articles around the 9th Aviation Forum, an up-and-coming Munich conference that focuses on these themes.

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Airbus CEO says the airline industry must cut carbon emission with 50% by 2050

By Bjorn Fehrm 

June 18, 2019, ©. Leeham News: Airbus new management team has set the company ambitious targets for the future. These not only describe how to develop and produce new, more competitive airliners but also defines Airbus’ contribution to a sustainable aviation industry, contributing its part in the fight against climate change.

The new Airbus CEO, Guillaume Faury said at the opening of the Paris Air show “We must find a way to decarbonized aviation. This is for our generation to do. It’s expected of us by the flying public and by society”.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Why hybrid cars work and hybrid airliners have challenges

By Bjorn Fehrm

June 14, 2019, ©. Leeham News: In last week’s Corner we discussed why aircraft with batteries as an energy source will be short ranged for decades to come. The battery energy density is too low and it won’t change appreciably over time.

Now we look at the challenges hybrid transport aircraft face when competing with today’s turbofan airliners.

The Zunum Hybrid electric airliner. Source; Zunum.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Why Electric Cars work and Airliners don’t

By Bjorn Fehrm

June 7, 2019, ©. Leeham News: In last week’s Corner I wrote: “The reason electric cars work and airliners don’t is the Sky lacks Stoplights“.

The discussion was part of my previous series on Electric aircraft, but it was in the comment section. Here is a more exhaustive run through of the main reasons.

Figure 1. The Tesla electric car which is a functioning replacement for a combustion engine car. Source: Tesla.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Electric aircraft, the first fall on the Hype curve

Bjorn’s Corner

May 31, 2019, ©. Leeham News: Last week the new Airbus CTO, Grazia Vittadini, said we should not expect electric aircraft anytime soon when presenting at Airbus Innovation days. What is realistic is hybrid developments, not battery-based designs.

After having made the basic checks about Electric aircraft in my Corner series 18 months ago, this was music to my ears. Finally, someone was curbing expectations.

Figure 1. The Gartner technology hype curve. We are somewhere in the first peak.  Source: Gartner.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Airbus about Urban Air Mobility: Stop dreaming, Start making

By Bjorn Fehrm

May 24, 2019, ©. Leeham News: “Stop dreaming, Start making” was the angle of Airbus responsible for Urban Air Mobility (UAM), Eduardo Dominguez Puerta, presenting during Airbus Innovation days in Toulouse this week.

He also said, over 90% of the present UAM projects will not make it into a certified operational platform. Here’s why.

Figure 1. The motivation for Urban Air Mobility is strong. Source: Airbus.

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Electric aircraft builder announces new engine option

By Bryan Corliss

April 22, 2019, © Leeham News:  Electric aircraft motor builder MagniX will celebrate Earth Day today by announcing it has been chosen as one of two powerplants for Eviation Aircraft’s proposed nine-seater Alice passenger plane.

“We have been successfully testing the MagniX system with our Alice aircraft propeller for quite some time now with great results,” Eviation Chief Executive Omer Bar-Yohay said in a statement.

The MagniX motor has more than 1,500 hours on a test stand, according to Roei Ganzarski, who is CEO of the suburban Seattle engine-builder.

The Alice is a clean-sheet electric aircraft design developed by Eviation, an Israeli company that has established a testing/production facility in Prescott, AZ. Eviation has announced plans to fly the Alice at Le Bourget this summer.

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Green aircraft builder may need infusion of greenbacks

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By Bryan Corliss

April 4, 2019, © Leeham News: While one Western Washington electric aircraft company is charging forward with battery-powered flight, another may be encountering headwinds.

Zunum, which has announced plans to put a hybrid-electric-powered aircraft into the air before the year’s end, may need a cash infusion if it’s to stick to that time line.

Unlike MagniX – which announced March 26 a deal with Vancouver’s Harbour Air to start putting electric motors into the airline’s existing fleet of seaplanes – Bothell-based Zunum is pursuing a clean-sheet aircraft design.

  • Electric plane builder Zunum plans to fly hybrid test aircraft this year.
  • The company says it plans to announce a manufacturing site — or maybe an airframing partner — in 2020.
  • Reports say the company needs more investor cash to avoid schedule slips.
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