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Airbus ‘Bird Of Prey’ conceptualization for next generation of engineers

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Underscoring how next generation engineers can make a difference by applying technologies researched at Airbus in hybrid-electric propulsion, active control systems and advanced composite structures.

Airbus_Bird_of_Prey_plane_infographic
Airbus Bird Of Prey Conceptualization Credit: Airbus

Just over a month ago KLM released their Flying-V concept jet where passengers would be seated in the wings. This week, Airbus released a design of its own called ‘Bird of Prey’ at the Royal International Air Tattoo air show in the UK. This release of the concept was timed to underscore the UK’s aerospace industry leadership, and also highlights the 50th anniversary of Airbus as an aircraft manufacturer.

Senior manager at Airbus Martin Aston explains, “Our Bird of Prey is designed to be an inspiration to young people and create a ‘wow’ factor that will help them consider an exciting career in the crucially-important aerospace sector. One of the priorities for the entire industry is how to make aviation more sustainable – making flying cleaner, greener and quieter than ever before. We know from our work on the A350 XWB passenger jet that through bio-mimicry, nature has some of the best lessons we can learn about design”.

Inspired by the efficient mechanics of birds, it has wing and tail structures that mimic those of a bird of prey, while featuring individually controlled feathers that provide active flight control. The theoretical design is a hybrid-electric, turbo propeller aircraft for regional air transportation.

“While not intended to represent an actual aircraft, Airbus’ Bird of Prey is still based on realistic ideas – providing an insight into what a future regional aircraft could look like. It includes a blended wing-to-fuselage joint that mirrors the graceful and aerodynamic arch of an eagle or falcon, representing the potential of bio-mimicry (the design and production of materials, structures and systems inspired by nature)”, Airbus states.

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Boeing takes a $20 Million liking to Virgin Galactic

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Virgin Galactic Test Flight

Virgin Galactic has already invested $1 billion of capital towards building reusable human spaceflight systems designed to enable more people to experience space. Boeing now wants a piece of the pie.

KEY POINTS

  • Sir Richard Branson’s space tourism company, Virgin Galactic, is in the final stretch of testing, with CEO George Whitesides saying the company “still feels good about going into operation next year.”
  • Virgin Galactic is planning to list on the New York Stock Exchange later this year, through a merger announced in July with Social Capital Hedosophia.
  • When Virgin Galactic does go public, Boeing’s venture arm, HorizonX, will take a $20 million minority stake in the company.
  • Boeing and Virgin Galactic will work together to broaden commercial space access and transform global travel technologies.
White Knight Two carrier aircraft, VMS Eve on tarmac at Spaceport America, Virgin Galactic's Gateway to Space
White Knight Two carrier aircraft, VMS Eve on the tarmac at Spaceport America. Credit: Virgin Galactic

In July, Virgin Galactic announced its intent to become a publicly-listed entity via a business combination with Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. (“SCH”) is a partnership between the investment firms of Social Capital and Hedosophia.

Boeing has just announced its commitment to spend $20 Million dollars to acquire a minority stake in Virgin Galactic once it has listed. This investment from Boeing brings together two companies with extensive experience in the space industry.

Virgin Galactic is a pioneer of commercial human space flight and is the first and only company to have put humans into space in a vehicle built for commercial service, having built and flown a Mach 3 passenger vehicle. Through its manufacturing and development capabilities, Virgin Galactic can design, build, test, and operate a fleet of advanced aerospace vehicles.

Boeing has unsurpassed experience transporting people to orbit and building and operating large structures in that challenging environment. A part of every U.S. manned space program, Boeing serves as NASA’s prime contractor for the International Space Station (ISS) and is preparing the new, reusable, Starliner space capsule for launch to the ISS.

Virgin Galactic Space Ship Two
Virgin Galactic is a pioneer of commercial human space flight. Credit: Virgin Galactic

What Boeing says

“Boeing’s strategic investment facilitates our effort to drive the commercialization of space and broaden consumer access to safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible new forms of transportation,” said Brian Schettler, senior managing director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures. “Our work with Virgin Galactic, and others, will help unlock the future of space travel and high-speed mobility.”

What Sir Richard Branson says

“This is the beginning of an important collaboration for the future of air and space travel, which are the natural next steps for our human spaceflight program,” said Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic. “Virgin Galactic and Boeing share a vision of opening access to the world and space, to more people, in safe and environmentally responsible ways.”

What the Virgin Galactic CEO says

George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic, noted: “we are excited to partner with Boeing to develop something that can truly change how people move around the planet and connect with one another. As a Virgin company, our focus will be on a safe and unparalleled customer experience, with environmental responsibility to the fore.”

Boeing to invest in Virgin Galactic
Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity soars into space. Credit: Virgin Galactic

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Newly named Edmiston London Heliport Revealed

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The Battersea London Heliport has now been revealed as the new Edmiston London Heliport after yacht company Edmiston takes over the title sponsorship.

Edmiston London Heliport aerial view
Aerial view of the Edmiston London Heliport.

If The London Heliport has been looking a little more spritely lately its because she’s just celebrated her 60th anniversary this year and has been given the go-ahead to paint the town red thanks to Edmiston Yachts who have taken over naming rights and invested in a major re-fit of the interior and exterior.

Located in Battersea, The London Heliport which is owned by UK billionaire’s the Reuben Brothers since 2012, has been operating since 1959 and is the only Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approved heliport in the Capital to handle 12,000 take-offs and landings per year, making it one very busy heliport.

Helicopter at the Edmiston London Heliport
The Edmiston London Heliport can handle 12,000 takeoffs and landings per year.

“For us this is more than a branding exercise. “

Edmiston Chief Executive – Jamie Edmiston

In a recent statement, Edmiston Chief Executive, Jamie Edmiston commented, “we have made a long-term commitment to this key London gateway.  For us this is more than a branding exercise. Our aim has been to bring the rigorous focus, attention to detail and teamwork that you would find on board a large yacht, to the operation of this heliport. Working in close partnership with the management and owners of London Heliport, our objective is to deliver the best possible experience for those who use London Heliport.”

Edmiston London Heliport Lounge
Edmiston London Heliport Lounge.
Edmiston London Heliport landing pad
with a 16t limit the Edmiston London Heliport can accept helicopters as big as the 7 passenger Leonardo AW109
Leonardo AW109 Helicopter
The Ferrari of Helicopters – The Leonardo, formally AgustaWestland, AW109 can land at the Edmiston London Heliport.

As well as catering for both business and leisure clients with charter services and “seat-only” sightseeing flights (that even have a separate entrance to maintain privacy for its VIP guests), the heliport also provides valuable services to the Air Ambulance (HEMS) and Police Air Support units, with the upgrades to the facility the heliport allowing them to continue offering the best support possible.

London Heliport General Manager Simon Hutchins is also pleased with the developments, stating “Edmiston is a prestigious luxury brand to be aligned with and Jamie Edmiston has overseen a significant investment that has revitalised the whole look of the heliport. We are looking forward to showing off the new branding to customers and industry friends soon.” 

Edmiston London Heliport

And with some of those customers undoubtedly being Edmiston Yacht clients, the partnership makes perfect sense. What quicker way to reach your private superyacht and get your holidays started than a helicopter transfer?

Edmiston London Heliport aerial view
Aerial view of the Edmiston London Heliport.
Edmiston London Heliport Entrance
Edmiston London Heliport entrance.
Edmiston London Heliport front desk
The Edmiston London Heliport reception.

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Leonardo: Solid presence in the Brazilian VIP helicopter market with new orders

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New contracts with a total of nearly € 30 million continue Leonardo’s success in South America’s VIP/Corporate multi-engine helicopter market.

São Paulo, Brazil: During the regions largest luxury helicopter expo, the Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (LABACE), Leonardo announced the marquee was building on it’s success in South America’s VIP/Corporate multi-engine helicopter market with new orders for a total of five units valued at nearly 30 million euro.

AW109 orders

The official distributor of Leonardo’s AW109 Trekker in Brazil, ICON, has signed firm orders for two units in VIP configuration. Additionally, one more VIP AW109 Trekker and one AW109 GrandNew were purchased by two different private regional operators. The Trekker combines the popular AW109 Grand airframe and large cabin with state-of-the-art Genesys Aerosystems core avionics and skids.

Leonardo AW109 Trekker
Three new Leonardo AW109 Trekker helicopters have been ordered in South America. Photo: Leonardo
Leonardo AW109 Grand New
One Leonardo AW109 Grand New has been ordered. Photo: Sloane Helicopters

AW169 orders

Brazil has also readily embraced the new generation AW169. The country is adding one copy, upping the total AW169 VIP fleet to 5 by the end of 2019 which will join a further eight units in service across the Americas by then for VIP and EMS roles. The AW169 features top-notch soundproofing, entertainment systems, and extensive personal customization. Its Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) mode is a victory for safety and comfort, offering complete climate control (heat or cooling) and on-board system use and management while the rotors remain fully stopped. The large cabin seats up to 10 people with room to spare. Over 200 AW169s have been sold to customers worldwide to date to carry out VIP/Corporate transport, EMS/SAR, law enforcement, offshore transport, electronic news gathering, firefighting, utility and for government/military duties.

Globally Leonardo has a 40% market share in the VIP multi-engine segment. In South America that represents 220 helicopters, with over 170 of those flying in Brazil.

Leonardo AW169 helicopter
Leonardo AW169. Photo: Sloane Helicopters (Leonardo distributor)

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