Ducommun wins $200m contract for engine nacelle components

Ducommun secured a long-term contract, valued at more than $200m, from an unnamed engine original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to build nacelle components.

The ten-year long contract will be valid until 2029.

As part of the deal, Ducommun will manufacture the nacelle components using its VersaCore Composite technology to support a single aisle commercial aircraft.


China developing spacecraft to extend satellite lifetime

A team of researchers at China Aerospace Science and Technology unit China Academy of Space Technology is developing a spacecraft to bring de-orbiting satellites back to their intended trajectory.

The new spacecraft will ultimately help the satellites running out of fuel or experiencing technical issues to continue their operation for at least ten additional years.

The new service spacecraft is designed to use robotic arms to make contact with a target satellite. Afterwards, it will provide attitude control assistance and push the satellite back into its original orbit.


Orix to buy 30% stake in aircraft lessor Avolon for $2.2bn

Japan-based financial services group Orix, through its wholly owned subsidiary Orix Aviation Systems, agreed to purchase a 30% stake in Ireland-based aircraft leasing company Avolon for $2.2bn.

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The stake will be purchased from China’s HNA Group unit Bohai Capital, which acquired Avolon for $2.5bn in 2015.

Subject to customary closing conditions and Bohai shareholder approval, the deal is scheduled to be closed by the last quarter of this year.


Bye Aerospace’s StratoAirNet prototype completes maiden flight

Bye Aerospace completed the maiden flight of the solar electric technology demonstrator prototype of its ‘StratoAirNet and ‘Solesa’ families of medium-altitude aircraft at Northern Colorado Regional Airport in the US.

The piloted flight was followed by a series of subsequent flights at the Northern Colorado Regional Airport.

Bye Aerospace’s Solesa and StratoAirNet family of aircraft are designed to support various long-endurance commercial and government security missions, including patrol, observation, utility, mapping, precision agriculture, search-and-rescue, and surveillance.


NIAS opens new centre to reduce air hazards from drone

The Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) launched the Nevada Drone Center of Excellence for Public Safety (NDCOE) with the aim of saving lives and minimising air hazards caused by drone incursions.

NDCOE is expected to boost the US Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) vision of safely integrating drones into the commercial air traffic system.

Situated in Las Vegas, Nevada, the centre will provide safety incursion research data, drone technology best practices and educational materials.


Report fails to determine cause of missing MH370 flight

A report on the missing MH370 flight released by the Malaysian authorities was not able to provide a concrete conclusion on the disappearance of the flight.

However, the authorities offered a number of possibilities that could have caused the Boeing 777 aircraft operated by Malaysia Airlines to disappear in March 2014 with 239 people onboard.

The safety investigation report highlighted protocols and guidelines that were not followed by the air traffic controllers in Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.


Floreat selects MUFG to source $500m aircraft portfolio

UK-based investment group Floreat selected Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) to source an aircraft portfolio worth $500m.

Floreat’s aviation division will acquire the new portfolio, which will include a fleet of Boeing and Airbus aircraft that are currently being operated by airlines worldwide on lease.

As part of the deal, MUFG will arrange debt financing for the portfolio with Floreat and its clients offering the equity.


UCLan unveils graphene skinned unmanned aerial vehicle

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in the UK revealed a graphene-skinned unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) named Juno.

The 3.5m-wide vehicle is equipped with graphene batteries and 3D printed parts and is the world’s first graphene-skinned aircraft.

Juno has been developed by UCLan’s aerospace engineering team in collaboration with Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), University of Manchester’s National Graphene Institute (NGI), Haydale Graphene Industries (Haydale) and several other businesses.


Aerospace demonstrates laser communications from CubeSats

US-based Aerospace demonstrated a new laser communication system using two low-Earth-orbiting optical communications and sensor demonstration (OCSD) CubeSats named AeroCube-7B and Aerocube-7C.

During the demonstration, the CubeSats transmitted data at a rate of 100mbps, which is 50 times higher than the typical communication systems carried out by satellites of this size.

The OCSD mission is funded and managed by Nasa’s Space Technology Mission Directorate Small Spacecraft Technology programme, while Aerospace designed and built the OCSD spacecraft.


IATA and CFM partner to boost engine maintenance services

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) signed an agreement with aircraft engine maker CFM International to increase competition in the maintenance, repair and overhaul services (MRO) market for engines manufactured by the latter.

As part of the deal, CFM has adopted a set of ‘Conduct Policies’ to offer additional opportunities to third-party engine components and MRO services providers of CFM’s CFM56 and the new LEAP series engines.

CFM has also agreed to allow the use of non-CFM parts or repairs by any licensee of the CFM Engine Shop Manual.