Aviation Week is generating podcasts from the ILA Berlin Airhow, which runs from May 27 through June 1, 2008.
Stefan Zoller, CEO of EADS Defence & Security (8:56)
BDLI's Dietmar Schrick on ILA 2008 (11:26)
Sikorsky's Bruce McKinney on International Black Hawk (5:12)
There are also some videos:
TAP Air Portugal CEO on consolidation, carbon emission (16:27)
Ed Hazelwood on the A380 (2:46)
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Aviation Week is generating podcasts from the ILA Berlin Airhow, which runs from May 27 through June 1, 2008.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Aviation Week speculates that Northrop Grumman may be building a secret prototype of the Next Generation Bomber (NGB).
It seems Northrop Grumman's first quarter financial results include a $2 billion "restricted programs" contract that would support earlier reports that the company has a sole-source contract to build a prototype.
It is likely that the prototype will build on technology under development for the Navy's X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator (UCAS-D), putting within reach USAF's goal of a 2018 initial operational capability date for the bomber. Industry and USAF sources have talked about a competition in 2010, leading to the start of systems development and demonstration in 2011.
Much more at Aviation Week's article, Ultra Stealth.
Friday, May 23, 2008
In-flight Internet access holds a number of huge opportunities for air passengers, as well as for airlines and other operators. The entertainment and business productivity possibilities are obvious, and I suspect competitive pressures on airlines will force them to provide this service. Just look at what happened to the hotel industry - do you stay at hotels with no Internet access? I don't.
I had an opportunity to conduct an interview with Steve Goldberg, CEO of DataRunway, a newly formed company entering this market. Goldberg had some interesting things to say about this emerging business and the technology involved:
Max Flight: What is the central product or service that DataRunway is seeking to provide?
Steve Goldberg: DataRunway will be a service provider of multi-megabit broadband connectivity for aircraft in flight. In other words, a superior broadband user experience. The ground-to-air system leverages free, unlicensed frequency spectrum available in most of the world, and will first rollout in the U.S. and Canada. The 80+MHz of spectrum available will enable a robust, high capacity, high data throughput service accessed through WiFi, or similar broadband connections. In order to enable this differentiated service offering, we are now designing the required aircraft and ground infrastructure. We will work with manufacturing partners to build and certify the equipment.
MF: Who is your target audience?
SG: Given the system’s high capacity, we will support multiple aviation markets including air transport, air taxi, business and general aviation, and defense applications. Applications include Internet surfing, video streaming, security needs, cockpit applications, gaming, email/SMS, weather updates, navigation, among many others. Voice could also be easily added. The availability of our low latency, uplink/downlink symmetry, and high network capacity makes all of this possible. The challenge is not so much any single one of these applications; it’s supporting a number of them simultaneously.
MF: What is your strategy for reaching potential customers?
SG: We will work together with our manufacturing and ground infrastructure partners to directly address the airlines. Business and general aviation equipment sales and installation will be served through channel partners.
MF: What was the genesis of DataRunway? Who is involved and how did you get started?
SG: I’ve been involved in building wireless infrastructure for over 30 years. Our founder and CTO, Michael Leabman, has been designing smart antenna systems for almost 15 years since his days at MIT. The company came together when we connected the well known need for in flight broadband, the need for air-to-ground frequency spectrum to support it, the availability of the 80MHz of unlicensed spectrum at 2.4 GHz, and the availability of technology to leverage its use. During the summer of 2007 we finalized the company vision and assembled a team of hardware, software, and networking engineers to form a very unique, yet traditional, Silicon Valley startup company.
MF: In-flight internet seems to be in the press a lot these days. What do you think is the outlook for this market?
SG: Broadband Internet penetration into U.S. households now exceeds 50% and continues to grow. The average broadband connection in the U.S. is now over 2Mbps and increasing daily. Our premise is that air travelers will come to expect the same type of service in the air as they have on the ground. As we look forward 5-10 years, most cell phones, game consoles, laptops, cameras, and other personal entertainment devices will be WiFi/broadband enabled. The airlines and air travel are here to stay. It’s a reasonable expectation to say that in-flight connectivity will have to keep up with the times.
MF: There are a number of companies in this arena, right?
SG: Yes. There are a number of legacy satellite players and a few new ones. There are also a few other companies working to build ground-to-air networks using auctioned spectrum.
MF: What differentiates your company from the others?
SG: Although satellites have traditionally been used for communication to aircraft, performance and cost have always been problematic. Specifically, shared capacity, high latency, poor uplink performance, and significant antenna drag are big problems. A single satellite transponder might provide 150Mbps of capacity over a very wide area that would be shared by many users. Our network can provide up to 40Gbps over the U.S. and Canada. In the U.S., this differentiation comes from our ability to leverage the 80MHz of frequency spectrum over 200 cell sites. Other ground-based systems suffer from limited frequency spectrum and the use of obsolete technology. Our network technology includes the use of smart, electronically-steerable, lightweight antennas, digital signal processing chips, and software that enable 100 mile+ range at up to 240Mbps per cell site. Summarizing, we see DataRunway as delivering DSL/cable-like performance as compared to dial-up.
MF: The Internet is a wonderful thing, but like the rest of life it has it's dark corners. If (or hopefully when) in-flight broadband becomes common, some passengers may be offended if adult content was being viewed by the person in the adjacent seat. Any thoughts on how or if this can be controlled?
SG: The good news is that there are a wide variety of IP (Internet address) and URL (web site) blocking mechanisms already available to Internet service providers. DataRunway will work with our customers during testing and trial periods preceeding new service to 'fine tune' the right balance of controls.
MF: I understand you are looking for investors?
SG: Yes. We’re self funded at the moment and are looking for investors and partners to help us move to the next step to demonstrate the network and the technology.
MF: How should interested parties contact you?
SG: I can be reached by phone at (650 868 9040) or by email, email@example.com.
I'm personally looking forward to in-flight Internet on long flights.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
ClipWings, the new aviation community, contacted Thirty Thousand Feet with more information about their site:
Mainly, ClipWings.com is run by a small team of aviation fans, pilots, and photographers. We share our passion with the community and make use of the same language. We enjoy both flying and [the] unique fellowship within the aviation community.
No matter if you are a professional or a leisure time pilot, a glider, or a balloonist, an air show organizer or a fan of flight simulators, or if you're simply fond of flying - ClipWings.com is meant to be your virtual home. We state expressly that we intend in no way to establish competition to other aviation websites. The opposite is true: We intend to mainly serve as a virtual switchboard for all people involved in aviation of whatever kind. Using ClipWings.com is free of charge.
Set up your individual profile at ClipWings.com and present yourself as well as your aircraft. Use ClipWings.com to present or promote your own air show, or publish your pictures or videos to share them with other users internationally. Get in touch with others, meet old friends, or make new friends, and link up with like-minded people.
They are now in the beta phase so you may see some temporary problems, but they encourage feedback on how to make things better.
Give them a look.
The exhibition Flying Boats: Sydney's golden age of aviation is at the Museum of Sydney from 10 May – 14 September 2008.
These aircraft played a vital role in World War II and then opened up the South Pacific. Sydney operated the last major flying boat base in the world until 1974.
The exhibition features:
...photographs, posters, film, models, flight crew uniforms, a recreated cabin, a flying boat engine and the fascinating personal stories of travellers, crew and the workers at the Rose Bay base, Flying boats celebrates the early days of transoceanic air travel and presents a definitive account of this extraordinary chapter in Sydney’s history.
The Air Transport Association of America (ATA) issued the following statement concerning the Department of Transportation (DOT) New York Auction proposal:
“Our members and their passengers are frustrated by the DOT’s continued fixation on auctions, despite the overwhelming rejection by passengers, airlines and airports to such an experiment. These ill-conceived and unlawful proposals are driven by ideology and will not reduce congestion or flight delays,” said ATA President and CEO James C. May. “Instead of focusing on modernizing and expanding the airspace infrastructure as the traveling and shipping public expects, the government seeks to curb that demand by making it more costly to fly. We must work to expand, not limit, capacity. This experiment will penalize the public.”
That position is pretty clear.
The DOT is planning to auction off slots at John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty Airports. Continental Airlines also issued a pointed press release:
The DOT proposal to auction off 10 percent, or approximately 95, of the slots at Newark over the next five years is an unlawful taking of property that Continental will vigorously oppose. Moreover, auctioning slots will do nothing to ease congestion, but will raise the cost of air travel to consumers and act as an effective increase in taxes on an industry already known to bear an unreasonably high tax rate. Additionally, the proposal will result in reduced service to various communities and will create unnecessary market uncertainty at a time when the skyrocketing cost of oil and jet fuel has already created an extremely challenging environment for the industry.
The auction proposal does not address the real need to modernize an outdated and inadequate air traffic control system to increase capacity and meet passenger demand.
I guess the lines are pretty clearly drawn...
Friday, May 09, 2008
A representative for the Experimental Aircraft Association contacted Thirty Thousand Feet with information about the EAA-hosted program called Women Soar-You Soar.
This program offers young girls the opportunity to experience truly unique, hands-on aviation and aeronautics education through workshops and mentoring. They hope to strengthen the connections of women within the aviation field, as well as female representation in math and science-oriented fields by encouraging young women to participate in this 2-day conference.
EAA is thrilled to announce it is now accepting applications to its fourth annual Women Soar-You Soar conference. This year, Women Soar-You Soar will introduce 150 girls to a variety of aviation and aeronautical activities, including flight simulation, workshops, wing rib assembly, and mentor sessions.
The event will take place July 28-29, 2008 at the EAA Aviation Center in Oshkosh and is open to girls grades 9 through 12. Applications will be accepted through June 30, 2008, and are available online at www.airventure.org/womensoar/. The conference’s cost is $50, which includes lodging at University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh, meals and admission to the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration.”
Space is limited so apply today! For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-236-1025.