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Gulfstream G650 ER sets another record

From Bombadier to Gulfstream

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Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. today announced the ultralong-range Gulfstream G650ER once again proved its unrivaled performance, beating a recent competitor speed record while at the same time increasing the distance flown for the farthest business jet flight in history.

G650ER Flying over Lake
Gulfstream G650ER keeps setting records Photo: Gulfstream Aerospace

The G650ER flew from Singapore to Tucson, Ariz., at an average speed of 597 miles per hour/960 kilometers per hour over a distance of 8,379 nautical miles/15,518 kilometers. The G650ER’s performance beat the previous record by 44 minutes and more than 225 nm/417 km, asserting the aircraft’s title for flying farther faster than any other jet.

The G650ER departed Singapore’s Changi Airport at 4:53 p.m. local time March 29, crossing the Pacific at an average speed of Mach 0.85 and arriving in Tucson at 5:16 p.m. local time March 29, with fuel in excess of National Business Aviation Association instrument flight rules reserves. The flight took 15 hours and 23 minutes.

“The G650ER has no equal when it comes to its incredible combination of speed and range,”

Mark Burns, president, Gulfstream Aerospace.

“Worldwide, you just can’t go farther faster, and this record proves it. With 350 aircraft in service, the G650 and G650ER show day in and day out that they are class-creating and -leading aircraft that set the standard when they were announced and continue to do so today. Simply put, all others follow.”

G650ER Flying over canyon
Gulfstream G650ER Photo: Gulfstream Aerospace

Since the G650ER entered service in 2014, it has demonstrated both its real-world performance capabilities and exceptional comfort. Along with its sister aircraft the G650, the G650ER has earned 90 speed records. In 2015, the G650ER flew 8,010 nm/14,835 km from Singapore to Las Vegas in 14 hours and 32 minutes. Then, in 2019, the G650ER flew 7,475 nm/13,843 km from Singapore to San Francisco in 13 hours and 37 minutes. These flights clearly and consistently show that the G650ER continues to lead with its world-class combination of speed and range.

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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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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.

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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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Aircraft wings that change shape mid flight and flex like a birds – MIT and NASA

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A ‘morphing wing’ system that is made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic and assembled by small robots.

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Each of these flight scenarios, takeoff, landing, cruising and maneuvering etc, has its own set of optimal wing shapes. A conventional fixed wing aircraft (one shape) is a compromise that is not optimized for any of these, and therefore sacrifices efficiency and fuel usage. A wing that could alter its shape during operation could provide the best configuration at each stage of flight.

With this in mind a team of engineers built and tested a radically new kind of airplane wing, assembled from hundreds of tiny identical pieces. The wing can change shape to control the plane’s flight, and would provide a significant boost in aircraft production, flight, and maintenance efficiency, the researchers say.

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Eli Gershenfeld, NASA Ames Research Center

Instead of requiring separate movable surfaces such as ailerons to control the roll and pitch of the plane, as conventional wings do, the new assembly system makes it possible to deform the whole wing, or just sections of it, by incorporating a mix of stiff and flexible components in its structure. The tiny sub-assemblies, which are bolted together to form an open, lightweight lattice framework, are then covered with a thin layer of similar polymer material as the skin.

The result is a wing that is much lighter, and thus much more energy efficient, than those with conventional designs, whether made from metal or composites. Because the structure, comprising thousands of tiny triangles of matchstick-like struts, is composed mostly of empty space, it forms a mechanical “metamaterial” that combines the structural stiffness of a rubber-like polymer and the extreme lightness and low density of an aerogel.

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Tiny pieces placed together to form metamaterial eventually done by robots Credit: MIT

While this version was hand-assembled by a team of graduate students, the repetitive process is designed to be easily accomplished by a swarm of small, simple autonomous assembly robots. The design and testing of the robotic assembly system is the subject of an upcoming paper, Jenett says.

Because the overall configuration of the wing or other structure is built up from tiny subunits, it really doesn’t matter what the shape is. “You can make any geometry you want,” he says. “The fact that most aircraft are the same shape” (essentially a tube with wings) “is because of expense. It’s not always the most efficient shape.” But due to massive investments in design, tooling, and production it has been easier to stay with long established configurations up to this point.

The individual parts for the wing uses injection molding with polyethylene resin in a complex 3-D mold, and produces each part. These are essentially a hollow cube made up of matchstick sized struts along each edge made in just 17 seconds, he says, which brings it a long way closer to scalable production levels.

nasa-madcat-morphing-wing-individual-piece

“Now we have a manufacturing method,” he says. While there’s an upfront investment in tooling, once that’s done, “the parts are cheap,” he says. “We have boxes and boxes of them, all the same.”

The resulting lattice, he says, has a density of 5.6 kilograms per cubic meter. By way of comparison, rubber has a density of about 1,500 kilograms per cubic meter. “They have the same stiffness, but ours has less than roughly one-thousandth of the density,” Jenett says.

The new approach to wing construction could afford greater flexibility in the design and manufacturing of future aircraft. The new wing design was tested in a NASA wind tunnel and is described today in a paper in the journal Smart Materials and Structures, co-authored by research engineer Nicholas Cramer at NASA Ames in California; MIT alumnus Kenneth Cheung SM ’07 PhD ’12, now at NASA Ames; Benjamin Jenett, a graduate student in MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms; and eight others.

While it is possible to include motors and cables to produce the forces needed to deform the wings, the team has taken this a step further and designed a system that automatically responds to changes in its aerodynamic loading conditions by shifting its shape — a sort of self-adjusting wing.

This is all accomplished by the careful design of the relative positions of struts with different amounts of flexibility or stiffness, designed so that the wing, or sections of it, bend in specific ways in response to particular kinds of stresses.

Cheung and others demonstrated the basic underlying principle a few years ago, producing a wing about a meter long, comparable to the size of typical remote-controlled model aircraft. The new version, about five times as long, is comparable in size to the wing of a real single seater plane and could be easy to manufacture.

The same system could be used to make other structures as well, Jenett says, including the wing-like blades of wind turbines, where the ability to do on-site assembly could avoid the problems of transporting ever-longer blades. Similar assemblies are being developed to build space structures, and could eventually be useful for bridges and other high performance structures.

The team included researchers at Cornell University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of California at Santa Cruz, NASA Langley Research Center, Kaunas University of Technology in Lithuania, and Qualified Technical Services, Inc., in Moffett Field, California. The work was supported by NASA ARMD Convergent Aeronautics Solutions Program (MADCAT Project), and the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms.

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