January 2021

                                                                                   DEFENCE SPACE
                                                                                   INDIA’S HUMAN

January 2021
Volume 48 Number 1

                                                   DEFYING GRAVITY
                                             EVTOL SECTOR CONTINUES TO SOAR ABOVE CHALLENGES
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WJD Aero Journal FP Advert 11_2020.indd 2                                                 14/12/2020 14:49
Volume 48 Number 1
January 2021

   EDITORIAL                                                                                                                   Contents
  The long haul to recovery?                                                                                                   Regulars
                                                                                                                               4 Radome                                                12 Transmission
  Many people will be glad to have seen the back of 2020 and the worldwide                                                     The latest aviation and                                 Your letters, emails, tweets
                                                                                                                               aeronautical intelligence,                              and social media feedback.
  roll-out of vaccines for Covid-19 offers a glimpse of light at the end of                                                    analysis and comment.
  the tunnel for many. The road to recovery is likely to be a lengthy one. In                                                                                                          58 The Last Word
  December, the organisers of the Paris Air Show, set to be held in June, took                                                 11 Pushing the Envelope                                 Keith Hayward considers the
  the regrettable, but wise decision to cancel the 54th Le Bourget exhibition –                                                Rob Coppinger analyses an                               technological benefits and
                                                                                                                               Aeronautical Journal paper                              the potential value to the UK
  the first time it had been cancelled since WW2. The cancellation also raises                                                 on the fuel-saving potential                            economy of Project Tempest.
  questions for physical trade events that are scheduled to take place in the                                                  of morphing aerofoils.
  first half of 2021. However, the Covid crisis, as terrible as it seems now, may
  only temporarily pause the upward growth and expansion of civil air travel.                                                 Features
  Already airlines and travel agents are looking forward to pent-up demand

  driving a surge in holiday bookings as the vaccine gradually rolls out and
  countries come out of lockdown. Even then, companies may find that the new

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       FIA Connect
  digital way of working (see Virtual Collaboration p 31) reshapes their business
  models leading to more at home and blended working. What will that mean
  for airlines and their business travellers on whom they traditionally rely? Yet all
                                                                                                                               Travelling light                                       Virtual collaboration – the
  the above, at least for the UK, may pale in comparison to the effects of Brexit,                                                                                                    good the bad and the ugly
  which will ripple down the decades, reshaping Britain’s international trade                                                  A report on the RAeS Light
                                                                                                                               Aircraft Design conference.                            The advantages and
  and global standing. As this is written, the UK is hurtling towards what was                                                                                                        disadvantages of the move to
                                                                                                                                                                                      online collaboration, learning
  once thought by some to be a million-to-one freak result – a no-deal Brexit.                                                                                                        and training.
                                                                                                                               18 A tryst with destiny
  Already the results of being caught between the trade behemoths of the EU
                                                                                                                               India prepares for human

                                                                                                                                                               Vanda D’Alonzo
  and the US are becoming visible – with the UK breaking ranks with Airbus                                                     spaceflight missions.
  partners and deciding to waive tariffs on US goods in the Airbus/Boeing WTO
  subsidies spat. For its part, Airbus is reported to be ‘furious’ with the unilateral

                                                                                                                                                                         Reaction Engines
  move and threatens future of its investment in civil aerospace in the UK. Will
  this be a foretaste of between a rock and a hard place decisions?
                                                                                                                                                                                       Call the air ambulance
                                                                                                                              22                                                       ICAO’s international project
  Tim Robinson FRAeS, Editor-in-Chief
                                                                                                                                                                                       to create the Ambular eVTOL                                                                                                                                                         flying ambulance.

      Correspondence on all aerospace matters is welcome at:
                                                                                                                               Ad Astra
Tim Robinson, FRAeS
                                           Editorial Office
                                           Royal Aeronautical Society
                                                                                        2021 AEROSPACE subscription
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                                                                                                                               The UK’s ambition to become
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                                                  +44 (0)20 7670 4354                    26 Waiting for the eVTOL                                Simulating the urban air
Bill Read, FRAeS
+44 (0)20 7670 4351                                             taxi rank                                               mobility future                  AEROSPACE is published by the Royal          Any member not requiring a print       David Learmount reports from                            There should be rich pickings
                                           Aeronautical Society (RAeS).                 version of this magazine should
Production Manager                                                                                                             the RAeS Urban Air Mobility                             for modelling and simulation
                                           Chief Executive                              contact:
Wayne J Davis                                                                                                                  Conference, held online in                              professionals in helping to
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                                                                                                                               November                                                unlock urban air mobility.                Advertising                                  Champlain New York and additional
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+44 (0)20 7670 4361                        publication is not permitted without the                                            46 Book Reviews             written consent of the Editor-in-Chief.                                             50 New Member Spotlight
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                                                                                                                               51 Obituary/Diary
Tony Pilmer and Katrina Sudell               SK17 6AE, UK                                                                        52 ISTAT
                                           Distributed by Royal Mail                                                           56 RAeS Medals and Awards
Front cover: The six-seater Y65 Plus eVTOL from Autonomous Flight (Autonomous Flight)                                          56 Elections
                 Additional content is available to view online at:                                           Read AEROSPACE magazine and the insight blog
                    Including: Sustainable aviation fuel for the UK, In the December issue of AEROSPACE, UK sets                              on your smartphone, tablet or digital devices with the
                        eyes on defending space, New Members Spotlight, Making the case for business aviation,                                                  AEROSPACE app
Online                        Ground collision highlights evacuation safety, Future intelligent cabin systems.                 APP                    available on iTunes and Google Play

       @aerosociety          i   Find us on LinkedIn       f    Find us on Facebook                                                                                     JANUARY 2021                    13
                        INTELLIGENCE / ANALYSIS / COMMENT

                          Passengers 			6                        Safety first
                          Range				80mn
                          Top Speed			125mph                     The Y6S Plus is set to be equipped with ballistic
                                                                 recovery parachute(s). The composite fuselage will
                                                                 also be equipped with a crashworthy cell to protect

                                    The Y configuration of six
                                    motors driving three pairs
                                    of rotors saves weight and
                                    reduces complexity, yet
                                    only has a miminal effect
                                    on redundancy.
    Autonomous Flight

4                       AEROSPACE

 EXCLUSIVE: Y6S Plus unveiled
 UK urban air mobility start-up Autonomous Flight has revealed a new, highly modified version
 of its Y6S eVTOL – the Y6S Plus. The Y6S Plus retains the Y-configuration of three pairs of
 rotors of the previous design but ditches the ducted fans of the forward pair. It is also larger
 and sized for six people, rather than two. The company is still in the investment phase and
 is tight-lipped about further details and project timescales, but has exclusively shared these
 renders (including the front cover) of the Y6S Plus with AEROSPACE.

                                                                 Single pilot
                                                                 The Y6SPlus willl be operated by a sin-
                                                                 gle pilot to begin with, before being de-
                                                                 veloped into a fully-autonomous version
                                                                 to allow six passengers to be carried.

Multi-role eVTOL
The Y6S Plus is being designed from the
outset to be adaptable through its structure
to other roles, apart from point-to-point air
taxi services, such as a cargo drone and air

                                                                                               JANUARY 2021   5
     AEROSPACE                                                                                                      AIR TRANSPORT

     54th Paris Air Show cancelled                                                                                  UK relaxes passenger
                                                                                                                    quarantine rules

                                                                                                   Paris Air Show
                                                                                                                    UK Transport Minister         Meanwhile, UK airports
                                                                                                                    Grant Shapps MP has           are set to receive a cash
                                                                                                                    announced a relaxation        boost of up to £8m
                                                                                                                    in rules for international    per airport from the
                                                                                                                    passengers arriving in        Government in order
                                                                                                                    the UK, with the 14-day       to protect jobs during
                                                                                                                    quarantine time cut to        the Covid-19 crisis. On
                                                                                                                    five days. The shortened      5 December, the UK
                                                                                                                    self-isolation time, which    also lifted the 14-day
     The organisers of the 2021 Paris Air Show, SIAE (Salon International de                                        came into effect on 15        quarantine time for ‘elite
     l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace), has announced that the 54th edition of the Paris Air                           December, is dependent        business travellers’ –
     Show has been cancelled. In an announcement made on 7 December, SIAE said                                      on passing a negative         which includes top sports
     that, as a result of the uncertainty linked to the Covid-19 health crisis, the show, due                       Covid-19 test at the end      people, performing artists
     to be held on 21-27 June 2021, would now return in June 2023.                                                  of the five-day period.       and journalists.

     AEROSPACE                                                           AIR TRANSPORT

     Aviation industry to lose                                           Qantas: Covid-19 vaccination will
     $118bn in total                                                     be mandatory for passengers
     The International Air         that upwards to $100bn
     Transport Association         for 2020 and 2021
     (IATA) has said that          later in June. Passenger
     the aviation industry         numbers for 2020 are
     will suffer a net loss of     expected to total 1.8bn
     $118.5bn in 2020 and          for the year, compared to
     an additional $38.7bn in      4.5bn in 2019. IATA said
     2021 due to effects of        the roll-out of a vaccine

     the Covid-19 pandemic         in the second half of
     on air travel. In February    2021 is expected to be
     2020 IATA had predicted       a ‘turning point’ for the         Australian flag carrier Qantas says it will insist on proof of Covid-19 vaccinations from
     that the industry would       air transport sector but          passengers when it restarts international services in 2021. CEO Alan Joyce, speaking
     lose $29bn as its worst-      cautioned the recovery            to Australian TV’s Channel 9, said that terms and conditions would likely be changed for
     case estimate, revising       will be gradual.                  international passengers, with proof of vaccination stored in a digital passport.

                                                                     as its next shipborne                          to land near Woomera in       CAE is to expand its civil
    New German OEM                Israel’s El Al and UAE’s           helicopter. The Sea Tiger,                     Australia on 5 December.      training offerings with
    Deutsche Aircraft has         Etihad Airways have                an evolution of the land-                                                    the acquisition of TRU
    launched a new version of     signed a MoU to explore            based NH90 Sea Lion,                           EVTOL developer Joby          Simulation and Training
    the Dornier 328 regional      co-operation and closer            already in service with the                    Aviation is to acquire        Canada. The deal, worth
    turboprop to run on           ties. The agreement could          German Navy, will replace                      Uber’s loss-making air taxi   $40m, will see CAE
    sustainable aviation fuel.    include codesharing                shipborne Sea Lynx                             division Uber Elevate. The    expand its installed base
    To be built in Leipzig, the   between the two airlines,          Mk88s.                                         deal will see Uber invest     of commercial flight
    D328eco aircraft will have    as well as co-operation on                                                        $75m into Joby as well        simulation devices, as well
    a slightly longer fuselage    MRO and cargo. Etihad              Japan has completed                            as expand its partnership     as increase its offering for
    than the original 328, seat   is set to open a regular           its six-year Hayabusa 2                        with the Urban Air Mobility   simulator support.
    43 passengers and will be     service from Abu Dhabi to          space mission to collect                       company, which aims to
    powered by two Pratt &        Tel Aviv in March 2020.            rocks from the Ryugu                           start air taxi services in    Manchester Airport Group
    Whitney PW127S engines.                                          asteroid. A re-entry                           2023.                         (MAG) has announced
    The introduction of the       The German Bundeswehr              capsule containing the                                                       a new contest to
    D328eco is scheduled for      has placed an order for            rock samples returned                          Canadian simulation           promote the adoption of
    2025.                         31 NH90 Sea Tigers                 to Earth by a parachute                        and training specialists      sustainable aviation. The

SPACEFLIGHT                                                                                      DEFENCE

   China recovers Moon rock sample                                                                      Britain bucks trend with
                                                                         A lunar lander from
                                                                         China’s Chang’e 5A
                                                                                                        £16.5bn defence boost
                                                                         unmanned spacecraft has        The UK MoD is to get the        for the effects of coronavirus.
                                                                         successfully redocked          biggest budget boost in 30      The deal will see an inflation-
                                                                         with its orbiting spacecraft   years to reverse an “era of     busting £16.5bn boost to
                                                                         on 5 December prior to         retreat” as Prime Minister      the MoD over the next four
                                                                         returning to Earth in mid      Boris Johnson backed more       years, with investments in
                                                                         December. The lunar            money for defence to invest     cyber, drones and a new

                                                                         probe touched down on          in new high-technology          Space Command. The
                                                                         the Moon’s surface on          capabilities. The surprise      budget boost now makes
   1 December, eight days after taking off from the Wenchang space centre aboard a Long                 decision saw the PM back        the UK the biggest defence
   March 5 rocket on 23 November. The lander descended near Mons Rümker in the Ocean                    Defence Secretary Ben           spender in European NATO.
   of Storms in the northern hemisphere of the near side of the Moon where it recovered up to           Wallace MP’s argument           However, it has been
   2kg of material from a depth of up to 2 metres below the surface, as well as planting a flag,        for more cash for the MoD,      reported that the MoD will
   before returning to the orbiting spacecraft. If successful, this will be the first lunar sample      when the rest of Government     still need to make £1bn
   return mission since the Soviet Union’s robotic Luna 24 in 1976.                                     was facing deep cuts to pay     worth of savings in 2021.

       GENERAL AVIATION                                                 AEROSPACE

                                                                                                                                                                          Avions Mauboussin
   First electric GA aircraft                                            Vintage French aviation brand
   included in delivery figures                                          reborn as hydrogen STOL pioneer
   Industry organisation,            deliveries increased
   the General Aviation              slightly by 1.4% to 889,
   Manufacturers Assocation          driven by a rebound in
   (GAMA) has released its           activity at flight training
   2020 third quarter delivery       schools. Meanwhile,
   and sales figures, with           turbine aircraft and all
   deliveries of electric light      helicopters were down an
   aircraft included for the         average of 24%. The third
   first time. GAMA said that,       quarter of 2020 also saw          A French start-up has resurrected the name of a 1930s’ brand with two new projects
   while overall the industry        the first electric aircraft       for hydrogen-powered STOL aircraft. Belfort-based Avions Mauboussin is planning
   was still trailing (deliveries    deliveries recorded, with         to develop a two-seat and six-seat hydrogen-powered aircraft. Its tandem two-seater
   of fixed wing aircraft were       Pipistrel shipping five           design, the M1h, would initially be hybrid-electric, before switching to hydrogen
   down 20.1%) compared              Velis Electros, the first         power. A first flight is planned for 2022. Meanwhile, a larger six-seat (one pilot and five
   to the same period in             certificated fully electric       passengers) M3c (above) is designed to be a STOL regional aircraft, with a range of
   2019, piston engine               aircraft.                         1,500km and a cruise speed of 370km/h. Entry into service is planned for 2026.

   group is offering five-years      turboprop engines and             vehicle issues and the           over 25,000 aircraft with       up to 500lb of cargo over
   of free landing fees (worth       two electric motors on            coronavirus pandemic.            410m flight hours.              distances over 200nm.
   approximately £1m) to the         the wingtips. It would            A previous mission to
   first airline to make a zero-     carry 30 soldiers over            launch the Falcon Eye            Vertical take-off and           Boeing has released a
   emission landing at one of        2,425km.                          1 in July 2019 was               landing (VTOL) aircraft         new 20-year forecast
   its airports.                                                       unsuccessful after the           developer XTI Aircraft          for the global air cargo
                                     Arianespace has                   Vega rocket failed.              Company has partnered           fleet. Dedicated freighter
   Embraer and the                   launched a UAE military                                            with engine manufacturer        operations are already
   Brazilian Air Force have          observation satellite from        Pratt & Whitney has              VerdeGo Aero to work            running at 120% of
   reveal a concept for              the Guiana Space Center           produced its 50,000th            together on XTI’s TriFan        normal levels due to
   a hybrid-electric light           on 1 December. The                PT6 turboprop engine for         200 programme. The              Covid-19 demand, with
   military transporter. The         launch of the French-built        GA and business aircraft.        project will involve using      the company predicting
   product of a joint MoU            Falcon Eye 2 aboard a             Originally launched over         VerdeGo Aero diesel             60% growth in the
   from December 2019,               Soyuz rocket and Fregat           50 year ago, the engine          hybrid powertrain to            cargo fleet to 2039,
   the STOUT (Short Take-            upper stage had been              has gone through a series        power the autonomous            with 930 new freighters
   Off Utility Transport)            delayed many times due            of progressive upgrades          TriFan 200 VTOL UAV             needed, along with 1,500
   would feature two                 to problems with launch           and currently powers             which is designed to carry      conversions.

                                                                                                                                                       JANUARY 2021                           7
    AIR TRANSPORT                                                                                            SPACEFLIGHT

    Ryanair buys 75 737 MAXs as                                                                              Rocket Lab makes
    airliner returns to flight                                                                               reusable milestone

                                                                                                             New Zealand space             while the second stage
                                                                                                             company Rocket Lab has        took the payload into a
                                                                                                             successfully launched and     310mile-high orbit. The
                                                                                                             recovered a first stage       satellites onboard included
                                                                                                             rocket which delivered        two from Millennium
                                                                                                             30 small satellites into      Space Systems for a
                                                                                                             orbit. The Electron booster   mission named DragRacer
                                                                                                             took-off from Rocket Lab’s    to test a drag-inducing
    On 4 December Ryanair ordered 75 Boeing 737 MAX 8s, adding to its previous 135                           private spaceport on the      device which could assist
    orders. Prior to this, Boeing had only received five orders for the aircraft in 2020. Ryanair            Mahia Peninsula on North      natural orbital decay, two
    expects at least 50 MAXs to be delivered to it in 2021.                                                  Island, NewZealand on         CubeSats for French
     Meanwhile, on 9 December Brazil’s Gol Linhas Aéreas made the first 737 MAX revenue                     19 November and then          company UnseenLabs and
    flight in over 20 months, with a flight from São Paulo to Porto Alegre. Boeing has also                  descended into the Pacific    24 SpaceBEE satellites
    resumed deliveries of the MAX, with United Airlines receiving an aircraft on 8 December.                 Ocean using parachutes        from Swarm Technologies.

    DEFENCE                                                          AEROSPACE

    European nations sign up Start-up unveils drone space
    to build medium helicopter launch system

    Five European NATO              helicopter fleets, which
    nations, France, Germany,       are expected to come
    Greece, Italy and the           out of service in 2035-
    United Kingdom, have            40. The Next-Generation
    signed an agreement             Rotorcraft Capability
    to launch a next-               (NGRC) will now see
    generation medium               a stated requirements
    rotorcraft programme. The       agreed, followed by a            A US start-up has revealed an innovative concept to launch small satellites using a large
    multinational agreement,        multi-phase co-operation         jet-powered autonomous UAV. Huntsville, Alabama-based Aevum’s 60ft wingspan Ravn
    signed on 19 November           plan. The NGRC letter of         X launch vehicle, seen in mock-up form with company founder and CEO Jay Skylus,
    by defence ministers, is        intent is non-binding, with      would be able to grant additional energy to a rocket on release, by not needing the same
    aimed at modernising            the opportunity for other        clearance as a crewed launch mothership before the motor ignites. Aevum has already
    a variety of European           nations to join the effort,      got its first customer, with the US Space Force set to launch the ASLON-45 small
    nations’ multi-role medium      according to NATO.               satellite in late 2021.

                                    leading to the US deciding                                                                             from foreign regulators
    The US has officially           to leave the agreement.          The first flight of a racing            On 18 November, the           in Brazil, Canada and
    withdrawn from the                                               aircraft designed to                    US Federal Aviation           Europe is also expected
    international Open Skies        NASA has revealed                break the electric speed                Administration (FAA)          to follow within days,
    Treaty, which allows for        the names of 18                  record has been delayed                 announced that the            according to the FAA.
    unarmed authorised aerial       astronauts, nine men             to 2021. Rolls-Royce,                   Boeing 737 MAX was
    spy flights to verify arms      and nine women, who              presenting at the RAeS                  now cleared to return         On 26 November, cargo
    control agreements. First       will travel to the Moon          Light Aircraft Design                   to flight after being         airline Volga-Dnepr
    signed in 1992, the US          as part of the Agency’s          Conference in November,                 grounded for 20 months        grounded its entire fleet of
    used OC-135B fleet              Artemis programme. The           revealed that its ACCEL                 following the deaths          Antonov An-124 outsize
    as its designated Open          selection of the Artemis         project will now fly in                 of 346 people in two          freighters. The decision
    Skies aircraft, which are       cadre splits 50/50               early 2021, rather than as              separate accidents.           to ground its eight An-
    equipped with cameras           between experienced              originally planned before               Commercial 737 MAX            124s was taken after an
    and other sensors.              astronauts and new               the end of 2020. It had                 flights are set to begin in   incident on 13 November
    However, in recent years,       recruits that have yet to        already been delayed from               the US, with American         at Novosibirsk, Russia,
    both the US and Russia          fly into space. Artemis          the summer, due to the                  Airlines expected to          where an An-124 made
    have accused each other         aims to land a human on          effect of the Covid-19                  be the first airline to       an emergency landing and
    of violating the treaty,        the Moon in 2024.                pandemic.                               resume flights. Approval      overran the runway after

AEROSPACE                                                      GENERAL AVIATION

UK unilaterally waives

                                                                                                                                                                       Dassault Aviation
                                                               Dassault rolls out Falcon 6X
WTO tariffs
The UK government has          illegal state aid to Boeing.
announced that it will not     The UK described the
be imposing EU tariffs from    decision as an attempt to
1 January on US aircraft       ‘de-escalate’ the long-
manufacturer Boeing in the     running spat. However,
hope of securing a rapid       the UK has said it could
post-Brexit trade deal with    reimpose the aerospace
President-elect Joe Biden’s    tariffs if a deal was not
new US administration.         reached. The unilateral
The EU is currently levying    move provoked strong            On 8 December, in a virtual ceremony broadcast from its Bordeaux-Mérignac factory,
$4bn worth of tariffs on       criticism (‘betrayal’) from     Dassault Aviation rolled out its latest super-midsize business jet, the Falcon 6X. The
US imports after the World     some quarters, with sources     aircraft, powered by Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW812D engines, has a range of
Trade Organization (WTO)       noting it would affect future   5,500nm and can carry up to 16 passengers in its ‘ultra widebody’, 102in width cabin.
ruled that the US had given    Airbus investment choices.      First flight is set for early 2021, with certification and entry into service in 2022.

DEFENCE                                                                                                  AIR TRANSPORT

General Atomics Avenger trials                                                                           Norwegian Air files for
AI for air-to-air mission                                                                       GA-ASI
                                                                                                         bankruptcy protection
                                                                                                         Low-cost, long-haul airline      for a supplementary
                                                                                                         Norwegian Air has filed          reconstruction process in
                                                                                                         for bankruptcy protection        Norway, which is aimed
                                                                                                         in Ireland as it struggles       at enhancing the Irish
                                                                                                         with the impact of the           process and re-sizing
                                                                                                         Covid-19 pandemic on air         its balance sheet. The
                                                                                                         travel. The company said         company is now hoping to
                                                                                                         on 18 November that it           restructure and downsize
                                                                                                         had filed for ‘examinership’     its fleet. Earlier in
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) has announced it has conducted                             in Ireland, where its aircraft   November, the Norwegian
a flight test which saw one of its jet-powered Avenger UAVs, equpped with an AI                          are registered, which            government refused to
‘automony engine’ developed as a DARPA project, fly an air-to-air search mission with                    gives it protection from         allocate any more money
five other simulated Avengers. The trial of the AI-enhanced drone took place in October                  creditors for 100 days. In       to bail out the stricken
at an undisclosed location.                                                                              early December it applied        carrier.

an uncontained engine
failure.                       Satellite operator Inmarsat      Correction                               ON THE MOVE
                               has announced it has             In the December edition of
The UK Army Air Corps          carried out the very first       AEROSPACE, in the feature                Oliver Walker-Jones              Robert Carey is to become
took delivery of its first     GEO to LEO commercial            ‘Pushing the Envelope’                   has joined Joby Aviation         the new President of
                                                                on synthetic fuel it was
two Boeing AH-64E              satellite data transmission,     incorrectly stated that Rob
                                                                                                         as Marketing and                 European low-cost carrier
Apache attack helicopters      linking one of its               McGinnis was the Founder                 Communications Lead.             Wizzair from June 2021,
at its base in Wattisham       communication satellites         and CEO of Carbon                                                         while Michael Delehant
on 26 November. The            in GEO with a Capella            Engineering. He is, in fact,             Sophie Dekkers has               takes over as EVP Group
                                                                the founder and CEO of the
latest Block 6 variant         Space SAR satellite in                                                    become the new Chief             Chief Operating Officer
                                                                other company in the article,
features Link 16 datalinks,    lower orbit. This opens up       Prometheus Fuels.                        Commercial Officer of            from April 2021.
extended range fire            the potential of faster real-                                             easyJet.
control radar and manned-      time transmission of data        We apologise for any                                                      NASA Associate
unmanned teaming. The          and imagery from satellites      confusion caused.                        American Airlines has            Adminstrator Steve
UK is set to receive 50        in LEO, without having                                                    announced that Meghan            Jurczyk will become Acting
AH-64Es, which will            to wait to overfly ground                                                 Montana has been                 Administrator, taking over
replace the current WAH-       stations to transmit data                                                 promoted to VP and               from Jim Bridenstine on
64 AH1 Apaches.                to Earth.                                                                 Treasurer.                       20 January.

                                                                                                                                                      JANUARY 2021                         9
By the Numbers
     Understanding the world of Aerospace through data

     SpaceX Starship makes one small (fiery) leap to Mars

                                                            Tony Bela

Pushing the Envelope
Exploring advances on the leading edge of aerospace
                                                                                                                    Robert Coppinger

Morphing aerofoil promises
44% fuel savings
        mproved aerodynamic performance of an              the airflow, like a virtual wind tunnel. One software
        aircraft could be achieved with evolutionary       is called XFOIL and is described as a subsonic
        algorithms to help design an aerofoil whose        aerofoil development system. It is written in the
        geometry is mechanically manipulated in-flight,    Fortran computer language and is free under the
        a system called direct control aerofoil geometry   GNU General Public Licence. Muller describes
(DCAG). An analysis of a wing design for a Cessna          XFOIL as fast to produce results but not as accurate
172 found that the fuel consumption of cruise              as other software. Working with XFOIL, Muller was
flight could be cut by as much as 44% with in-flight       able to produce good results from his evolutionary
geometry changes.                                          optimisation. However, the CFD software he used,
      The research has been carried out by doctoral        Ansys Fluent, which is a more sophisticated software
student, Jan Muller, at Brno University of Technology      programme, does not show the level of performance
in the Czech Republic with a paper published in            improvement that XFOIL does. Muller also admits
the January 2021 special edition of the RAeS The           that, at different angles-of-attack, the aerofoil’s
Aeronautical Journal. As well as the fuel consumption      effectiveness diminishes a lot. His DCAG is a
reduction because of reduced drag, aerodynamic lift        mechanical system combined with a stretchable wing
is said by Muller to also reach values, ‘unreachable by    skin allowing the curvature of the aerofoil to change
present technologies’. He points to shorter runways        in-flight.
and lower landing speeds as benefits of this higher
lift aerofoil design. Muller also sees increased           Bending the leading edge
manoeuvrability with an aerofoil whose shape differs
significantly along its span.                              The DCAG mechanism is designed to bend the
                                                           leading edge, from a central zero degrees axis
Evolutionary approach                                      position, down by 90º and be able to bend down or
                                                           up the trailing edge by 90º, also around this central
The evolutionary approach begins with a randomly           axis. In his original design the movement is driven by
generated ‘first parent’ population which represents a     a curved shaft as part of a rotary mechanical device.    HIS DIRECT
configuration that can be optimised without the need       The rotation drives the leading or trailing edge up or   CONTROL
for an existing aerofoil template, which has been the      down. A guide slot system allows the stretched skin      AEROFOIL
case historically. The algorithms are used to alter the    to be anchored in place at various points along the      GEOMETRY
camber, thickness and shape of aerofoil to find that       rotation. Another application Muller proposes is using
                                                                                                                    (DCAG) IS A
fuel consumption improvement. The camber of a              the mechanical stretching skin to act as a de-icing
wing is the asymmetry between the aerofoil’s top and       mechanism by moving it very slightly back and forth,     MECHANICAL
bottom surfaces. With the evolutionary approach the        like a shaker. DCAG is based on the rotary principle,    SYSTEM
best of that population goes on to produce another         which makes it possible to define the curvature of       COMBINED WITH
population, and so on. Each population is tested for       aerofoil for every turn of the rod. However, Muller      A STRETCHABLE
its performance characteristics using computational        explains, six months ago he found a better DCAG          WING SKIN
fluid dynamics (CFD) software.                             design. The original DCAG mechanism became too           ALLOWING THE
     The evolutionary approach has been found to           complicated to manufacture. As well as development
produce optimal solutions faster. For cruise flight the    of a better mechanical morphing mechanism,
                                                                                                                    CURVATURE OF
two key characteristics were aerofoil camber and           future work Muller would like to undertake includes      THE AEROFOIL
thickness. Muller has used two software packages,          producing a prototype of an optimised aerofoil and       TO CHANGE IN-
one for aerofoil design and the other for simulating       testing it in a wind tunnel.                             FLIGHT

     The research paper referenced above appears in January’s special issue of The Aeronautical Journal featuring research
        papers on ‘Smart Aircraft’ from a two-day international symposium held in October 2019 hosted by Xi’an Jiaotong
       University (XJTU), in China in partnership with the University of Manchester Aerospace Research Institute (UMARI).
                                         The Aeronautical Journal, January 2021, 125, (1283)

                                                                                                                             JANUARY 2021   11
         LETTERS AND ONLINE                                              @aerosociety        i   Find us on LinkedIn     f   Find us on Facebook                   

         The triumph of the middlemen
         With reference to Richard

                                                                                                                                                   Premshree Pillai Flickr
         Aboulafia’s article on
         national fighter aircraft
         in the November edition
         of AEROSPACE(1): The
         recurring dream prompts me
         to question our assumptions
         about the priority that the                                                                                                                                            Tempestuous pilots
         wider society places on
         aerospace and defence. As
                                                                                                                                                                               @gregbagwell [On future
         part of a strategy to develop
                                                                                                                                                                               Tempest pilots will need to
         the Indian civil market for
                                                                                                                                                                               view their Loyal Wingman as
         its products, a western
                                                                                                                                                                               squadron members to train
         aerospace company that I           India’s indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft built by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).                                           them] Friday night Happy
         am familiar with outsourced
                                                                                                                       engineering, aviation, defence                          Hour will never be the same ...
         a lot of engineering work          made in heaven, delivering         the gains belonged to the
         to India. Over the years, in       large numbers of low-              middlemen. Unencumbered                 and human development.
         pursuit of company objectives,     cost engineering hours.            by a need to invest in                  Seen in this way, India’s
                                                                                                                       current shortage of effective                           @alisdairgilbert Brings a
         job quotas were imposed in         However, supervision costs         industry-specific skills or
                                                                                                                       light fighters might be                                 new meaning to ‘he’s a bit of a
         several different ways. The        and in-house rework were           products, the middleman
                                                                                                                       interpreted as the logical                              social hand grenade’.
         importance of the strategy         persistently excessive, and        market is treated by
         allowed signs of problems          the professional development       governments and companies               outcome of numerous
         to be downplayed, in turn          gained by many Indian              alike as being of strategic             economic and business
                                                                                                                       strategies, each of which will                          @ryanramsey14 Why will
         allowing a ‘box-ticked =           engineers cannot possibly          importance. It is seemingly
                                                                                                                       have been claimed to have                               there be pilots in 2040? Won’t
         job-done’ culture to thrive.       have met the needs of              immune to the second law
                                                                                                                       been a success.                                         it all be automated?
         Superficially, that union of two   those individuals. Neither         of thermodynamics, which
         authoritarian philosophies         the lab coats nor the project      deems that the world will
         appeared to be a marriage          suits emerged victorious:          eventually lose interest in             Alan Jones CEng MRAeS
                                                                                                                                                                               @RailRunnerDan They’ll be
                                                                                                                                                                               no fighter pilots.

                                                                                                                        From the RAeS photo archives


         RAeS award winner
         Robert Scott Congrats, Dr          Dr Helen Webber, Lead Project Engineer at Reaction Engines
         Webber.                            and winner of the Sir Ralph Robins Medal for 2020 which is
                                            awarded to an individual aviation or aerospace engineer who has
                                            demonstrated excellence in engineering leadership.
         Daniel Rincon Sanz                 For a full list of this year’s winners of RAeS Medals & Awards, see
         Well deserved Helen! A real        p 54 of this issue.                                                         Austrian-born gliding champion and sailplane designer
         pleasure working with you.                                                                                     Robert Kronfeld flying his glider Wien at the Rhön
                                            Greg Maldonado                     Domenico di Cugno Hi Dr                  Competition in August 1931. Among his many successes
                                            Congratulations Dr Webber.         Helen Webber, many thanks                was becoming the first pilot to fly a glider across the
         Martin Soltau Huge                 Well deserved ma’am.               for sharing your experience at           English Channel on 20 June 1931. During WW2 he
         congratulations, Helen! A very                                        Reaction Engines.                        served in the RAF holding the rank of Squadron Leader.
         worthy winner, and the UK’s                                                                                    He was posted to the Airborne Forces Experimental
         most exciting engineering          Geoffrey Wardle Well done                                                   Establishment on military glider development during which
         project.                           Dr Helen Webber.                                                            he was awarded the Air Force Cross. In 1948, as Chief Test
                                                                                                                        Pilot for General Aircraft, he was killed in the crash of an
                                                                                                                        experimental flying wing glider – the General Aircraft GAL
                                                                                                                        56, TS507 – during stalling trials.

12       AEROSPACE
Brexit and aerospace                  First flight of the Starship
                                                                                                                                     Save the Blackburn Beverley


                                                                                                                                                                                                   Condor Projects
@Cirrusblue20 [On UK
Government provokes
Airbus anger over Boeing
WTO tariff waiver] Several
sources said the move would
reinforce studies by Airbus
to re-examine where to build
wings for future jets. ‘It is really
damaging and means the
UK can forget about further
investment,’ the senior industry
official said. Leavers knew          @mikerturner [On SpaceX                @Wait702 But a success on
what they were voting for....        Starship test flight] Really           so many levels. Good Job
                                     very low when it comes back            @SpaceX.                                                 An aerial view of the Beverley at the Fort Paull site.
                                     to the vertical!
@IanPsDarkCorner                                                                                                                     Specialist aircraft modifications and structural engineering
                                                                            @Billy_Chisholm Is it just
Considering that Shorts in                                                                                                           contractor Condor Projects is appealing for funds for a project
                                                                            me in thinking Buck Rogers
NI is, I believe, still building                                                                                                     to rehouse and restore the last surviving Blackburn Beverley
                                     @GuardedDon GBU-12                     when I look at that?
parts for Airbus under new                                                                                                           transport aircraft XB259 which served on humanitarian
                                     came to mind during the
ownership (I may be wrong on descent, especially the very                                                                            missions in Africa and Asia with RAF Transport Command
that – please correct me if so) last bit. Damn, I so enjoyed                                                                         in the 1950s. Built in 1952 in Brough, East Yorkshire, the
                                                                            @AndrewJacklin Yep!
then isn’t there another twist                                                                                                       XB259 is currently located at a museum at Fort Paull near
                                     Thunderbirds.                          Fireball XL5 vibes.
within the twist, regarding the                                                                                                      Hull which closed in January 2020. The aircraft was purchased
border that Ministers are still                                                                                                      by Condor Projects which plans to dismantle and move the
pretending won’t exist down                                                                                                          airframe to a new base at Birchwood Lodge at Selby where
the Irish Sea?                        RAeS Air Power Conference                                                                      it will be reassembled and put on public display. Condor has
                                                                                                                                     issued a crowdfunding appeal for £100,000 (https://www.
Electric flight                                                                                                                      More information on the project can also be found on www.
@ChrisMilrine Great
articles from last month on
the future of electric aircraft(2).                                                                                                  Sir Donald Spiers retires
Aviation through certification
and testing can take a vast
amount of use to implement
but it was enjoyable to read
that advancements are being
made. Would a new ATA
chapter(s) be required for       @AndrewTurnerRAF Really                     @Kcourtneybis My key
electric flight?                 great to talk at the                        takeaway from Day 1 is
                                 @AeroSociety Air Power                      that data analytics and
                                 2040 Conference tonight.                    programming skills are
 Aerospace medicine              Lots of ideas to exchange with              crucial for future air power
@ElianeRutland5 [On              allies, industry and the Society            competitiveness! We must
RAeS Aerospace Medicine          – FCAS, training changes,                   build our UK #STEM talent
Conference] Honoured             new people policies, more                   pipeline.                                               Former RAeS President Sir Donald Spiers has announced that
to present today and truly       sponsored reserves, better                                                                          he is to step down as chairman of the Farnborough Aerospace
inspired by the other speakers’ infrastructure, synthetics and                                                                       Consortium (FAC) UK aerospace and defence trade association
presentations. Well done ladies! uncrewed combat air.                        @AlanIvinghoe I enjoyed                                 after almost 20 years.
                                                                             this afternoon, and I learnt a
@Bonposselt Good results                                                     lot. I wonder how many million
(at work) aren’t an accident –        @BonnetLuke Richard                    (billion?) lines of code will be                            Launch of D328eco               @BehrPictures How often
value & respect people, always.       Franklin, Managing Director            required to make it all work,                                                               has a plan to renew the
                                                                                                                     Deutsche Aircraft

                                      @AirbusDefence in the UK               and whether we actually                                                                     DO-328 been on the table in
                                      was clear on the importance of         have the capacity, among the                                                                the last 10/15 years? Once
@TalkSpaceMed Thanks                  collaboration: “Aerospace has          participants, to write them all. I                                                          every other year would be my
@AeroSociety for the                  always needed collaboration            hope many lessons have been                                                                 guess!
wonderful symposium.                  to deliver the capability it does”.    learnt from F-35.

  1. AEROSPACE, November 2020, p 28, National fighter aircraft – the recurrent dream
  2. AEROSPACE, November 2020, p 32, Taking charge of electric aircraft

     @aerosociety       i    f                                                                                       JANUARY 2021               13
                RAeS Light Aircraft Design Conference

               Travelling light

             Electric innovation in light aviation was on the agenda at last year’s RAeS GA Light
             Aircraft Design Conference, held online in November, which also saw the winner of the
             Light Aircraft Design Contest announced. CHRIS WRIGHT reports.

                      ast year’s annual RAeS General Aviation      layout to create a six or eight seat touring vehicle,
                      (GA) Design Conference continued             electric powered intermittently, for passengers to
                      last year’s theme: ‘Electrifying General     waft gently along with a superb view to enhance
                      Aviation’. The drivers for electrification   a meal or drink together or distract them from a
                      are if anything stronger than ever before:   meeting.
         the push towards greener aviation, and the pull of            Richard also updated us on his electrification
                                                                                                                                        Above: The APTOS BLUE
         the continuing progress in electrical and electronic      of a Cassutt Racer that he spoke about last year.
                                                                                                                                        winning submission to the
         technology. The GA sector is ideally positioned           Progress has been steady but slower than intended                    2020 RAeS international
         for electric aircraft development with its ability to     due to the pandemic.                                                 Light Aircraft Design
         innovate cheaply. Also the energy density of lithium                                                                           Competition took its
         batteries is already sufficient to provide reasonable     Return of the ionBird                                                design cues from Burt
         endurance with efficient airframes in air taxis and                                                                            Rutan’s Voyager to design
         smaller regional transports. It is also ideal for short   Also returning from last year, Matheu Parr updated                   a highly efficient eVTOL air
         duration activities, such as air racing, training,        the conference on ACCEL progress. (ACCEL is
                                                                                                                                        Below: Richard Glassock’s
         parachute dropping, glider tugging, glider power          the Rolls-Royce aircraft aimed at taking the world
                                                                                                                                        touring glider proposal.
         assist and more.                                          electric aircraft speed record.) The pandemic has
             Battery power alone is likely to remain               also affected the ACCEL programme to a limited
         impractical for medium and long-range GA and              degree. The first flight has been delayed from late
         for all larger transport applications however, GA         2020 to early this year but progress has been good.
         size vehicles are ideal for hybrid power system           Matheu described how extensive ionBird running
         development. This challenge now needs to be               has been achieved and very useful in ironing
         addressed head-on.                                        (ioning?) out issues and safely demonstrating the
             Richard Glassock returned to open proceedings         demanding high current operation. The Nemesis
         with an outline of electrification projects that he has   NXT aircraft has been modified to accommodate
                                                                                                                           Richard Glassock

         worked on, including skydiving aircraft and a range       6,000 specially packaged batteries and a triple
         extender, leading onto an account of his tourist          motor power system which were described in
         leisure glider. His glider dream enlarges a sailplane     some detail. However the project has gone beyond

14           AEROSPACE
of the cost of a helicopter or a fraction of the time

                                                                                                  taken by ground transport. The drone is of simple
                                                                                                  robust and modular construction and the on-board
                                                                                                  electronics enable stable flight, accurate navigation,
                                                                                                  search and identification of destinations and even
                                                                                                  people, supply dropping and return to base. Uses
                                                                                                  extend way beyond aid into package delivery,
                                                                                                  journalism, search and rescue, crop mapping
                                                                                                  and more. ANTS Aerial Systems is setting up a
                                                                                                  network of hubs that can service all 64 districts
                                                                                                  of Bangladesh. Its programme has included a full
                                                                                                  business model and a wide-ranging STEM outreach
                                                                                                  activity, meeting with an enthusiastic response, and
                                                                                                  success will be fully deserved.
                                                                                                      The Freedom 71 presentation led neatly
                                                                                                  into the (GA) Light Aircraft Design Competition
                                                                                                  Session chaired by GA Committee member Tony
technology acquisition to be an exciting STEM          Top: The ACCEL ionBird                     Bishop. Tony, a founder of FLIMAX and a key
opportunity to engage with tomorrow’s scientists       propulsion system test                     instigator of several aviation initiatives, including the
and engineers. We look forward to the speed record                                                Barclay Eagle Labs at Cranfield and aeronautical
                                                       Below: The Faradair BEHA                   companies, has been for several years the driving
                                                       18-seat or cargo regional
    The Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)     feeder aircraft.
                                                                                                  force behind the Design Competition.
has held an annual unmanned aircraft system                                                           The RAeS Light Aircraft Design Competitions
competition since 2014. The participants undertake                                                are aimed at promoting major innovation in the
a full design and build cycle of a UAS, with this                                                 general aviation aircraft sector and this year’s theme
year’s rules and objectives including a maximum                                                   was to define a vertical take-off, electric aircraft for
take-off mass of 10kg to undertake specific                                                       a humanitarian mission. The winning submission
mission objectives, including navigating, accurately                                              is shown below, and a fuller description of the
dropping an aid package and returning to base. The                                                competition is in the box on p 17.
competition includes design, development, flying
demonstration and business case presentations.

Although of smaller vehicle size, this year’s
competition has synergy with our GA Design
Competition and so the team from the Islamic
University of Technology (IUT), which won three of
the six prizes in the IMechE competition this year,
was invited to take part in our design conference.
Tausiful Islam, a student at IUT, is the Team Leader
and Chief Operating Officer of ANTS Aerial
Systems and he presented their impressive project.

The Freedom Drone
Tausiful detailed the need for a rapid response
system to deliver urgent small package medical
aid anywhere in Bangladesh. The Freedom 71
drone system has been developed to do just that,                                                  The UK to see the light again?
responding in an hour or less at a small fraction
                                                                                                  In the past the UK has had a thriving light aircraft
                                                                                                  industry. In recent times this has declined to a small
                                                                                                  number of active companies. Some of us have cast
                                                                                                  envious eyes at successes in light aviation elsewhere
                                                                                                  in the world and especially at the remarkable
                                                       Left: Freedom 71 – the                     history of the German Akafliegs which exist in 14
                                                       Bangladesh Islamic                         universities. These have consistently designed
                                                       University of Technology’s                 and flown prototype and leading-edge aircraft for
                                                       winning entry to the                       many decades. Now, with the digital, electric and
                                                       IMechE Humanitarian                        battery revolution, RPV developments and Go Green
                                                       Drone competition 2020,
                                                       a robust easy-to-assemble
                                                                                                  pressures, there is an unprecedented opportunity for
                                                       system.                                    start-ups and new industry in the UK.

                                                                                                                                             JANUARY 2021                15
          RAeS Light Aircraft Design Conference

                                                      Delft University of Technology

                                                                                       Delft University of Technology

                                                                                                                                                                  Delft University of Technology
          David Chinn, a Council Member of the RAeS, has,                                                               Above: Delft University of       Pioneering Pipistrel
     during the course of his career in the MoD, had the                                                                Technology: examples of
     opportunity to make contact with Akaflieg members                                                                  highly effective D:DREAM         For the final presentation, Dr Tine Tomazic,
                                                                                                                        Team work.
     and operation. David shared his experience and                                                                                                      Chief Technical Officer of Pipistrel and world
     outlined some of the remarkable work in Akafliegs                                                                                                   authority on electric flight, described the history of
     and also at Delft University, and went on to share his                                                                                              Pipistrel, leading onto its extensive electric aircraft
     views on ‘DESIGN, BUILD, FLY – and his thoughts                                                                                                     experience from 2007 to 2020 and beyond.
     on developing a UK ‘Akaflieg’. Encouraged by David,                                                                                                 Initially, Pipistrel produced hang-gliders and trikes
     the GA Committee has put in place a Design, Build,                                                                                                  designed by its founder Ivo Boscarol, the first in
     Fly (DBF) working group this year. The working group                                                                                                1989. Pipistrel produced nearly 600 trikes until
     is a study group with a report due in May 2021 but                                                                                                  the early 2000s. In the 1990s the company built
     we look for the RAeS DBF group to go way beyond                                                                                                     on this experience, moving on to ultralight aircraft
     mere study, to encouraging and enabling real projects                                                                                               and making full use of composite materials. The
     to emerge in the UK in the near future.                                                                                                             resulting Sinus and Virus 2 seater aircraft have
                                                                                                                                                         been very successful, selling over 1,000 units and
     The triplane alternative                                                                                                                            leading onto the subsequent Alpha Electric Trainer
                                                                                                                                                         which is now well established. Pipistrel has also
     Faradair has recently relocated to a prime position at                                                                                              created a two-seat electric-power assist glider –
     Duxford – a key centre for GA and Business Aviation                                                                                                 the Taurus. Pipistrel is continuing into the drone
     activity. Neil Cloughley, Faradair’s MD, described how                                                                                              market with the cargo drone NUUVA V300 (and a
     Faradair is developing its BEHA – Bio Electric Hybrid                                                                                               smaller version) shown on the Design Conference
     Aircraft – to serve the need for regional flight aircraft.                                                                                          Flyer, and also is designing an eVTOL passenger
     The BEHA is a diesel-engine powered electric-hybrid                                                                                                 carrier, the Pipistrel 801, for urban air mobility.
     concept to address three core problems for regional                                                                                                      In conclusion: this and last year’s Light Aircraft
     aircraft: noise, operation costs and emissions, and                                                                                                 Design Conferences, while themed on electrical
     achieve significant reductions in these areas. The BEHA                                                                                             flight, have barely scratched the surface of both
     is a forward staggered triplane with the enclosed ducted                                                                                            activity and possibilities – it is an exciting time to
     fan also acting as a tail unit. A multirole asset, BEHA                                                                                             be involved. Next year will see the output of the
     can convert from an 18-passenger configuration to                                                                                                   DBF working group, some exciting lectures and
     cargo in just 15 minutes. Accommodating three LD3                                                                                                   events during the year and, at next year’s Design
     cargo containers and payloads of up to 5 tons, BEHA                                                                                                 Conference, we could be looking at advanced
     is an environment-neutral workhorse, maximising                                                                                                     and lightweight structures, design for safety, DBF
     revenue. The triplane layout aims to give a small field                                                                                             business models and manufacturing, design tools
                                                                                                                        Below left: Pipistrel 801
     performance, enabling operators the ability to offer                                                               UAM aircraft.                    – and more. We welcome all proposals for GA
     economical scheduled and charter flight services to                                                                Below right: Pipistrel           design and technology subject areas to explore
     regional towns and city hubs. BEHA was also shown in                                                               NUUVA V300 Cargo                 for the next conference, and we look forward to
     a military guise, capable of operating on aircraft carriers.                                                       Drone.                           you joining us next year.


RAeS International General Aviation Design
Competition 2020
The RAeS design competitions are aimed at promoting major innovation in the general aviation aircraft sector and past
winners have triggered several exciting projects. The results for the 2020 competition were announced at this year’s
General Aviation Design Conference. The competition was again run in conjunction with the Light Aircraft Association.
Its mission was to define a vertical take-off, battery-electric aircraft able to evacuate the injured from a storm swept island
in the Caribbean. The scenario was the island of Dominica which was devastated in 2017 by Hurricane Maria.
The mission was to fly a stretcher case, attendant and pilot to another island. The aim was to achieve maximum range
with reserves. This had to be backed up by a comprehensive design report and flown in a simulator. Most powertrain
parameters were defined at 2020 levels.
This was the toughest design competition yet but has led to some excellent designs. Once again, winners came from
around the world.

                                                                          The A2CAL team from Berkeley US won first place with

                                                                          its APTOS BLUE design that used extensive laminar flow,
                                                                          high aspect ratio wing and composite structure to achieve
                                                                          an exceptional 463km range. The sliding front canopy
                                                                          allows the crew entrance and egress from both sides of
                                                                          the aircraft while allowing a laminar flow along 50% of
                                                                          the fuselage length. Eight rotors are used for VTOL, two
                                                                          of which rotate for forward flight. The remainder fold into
                                                                          booms. It cruises at 113kt on 38kW.

                                                                                                                                        Skunk Werkz
Skunk Werkz from Imperial College, UK, was second with
its Vertical Takeoff Life Saver (VTOLS 1). This international
team included several from China who watched the results
at 2am! They used an even higher aspect ratio with a
double-wing to provide adequate strength.
                                                             Orca Werkz

                                                                          The Orca eVTOL team from Pécs in Hungary won third
                                                                          place with this tri-wing design. It also used laminar flow
                                                                          wings and fuselage, with entry towards the rear and it
                                                                          produced a particularly good design report.

                                                                                                                   TONY BISHOP

The competition has been organised thus far around the calendar year. However, there is pressure to change to fit in with
the academic year in future, with the competition announced around May, in time for supervisors to fit a project within
their curriculum. So the next competition will be announced in May 2021 but not closed until after the end of the summer
term in 2022.
Readers are invited to submit ideas for the next competition which must be targeted at innovation in GA aircraft. Send
ideas to

                                                                                                                              JANUARY 2021            17
               India’s human spaceflight programme

                                                     A tryst with
                                                     ATUL CHANDRA reports on how India is
                                                     powering ahead with its human spaceflight

                                                                           ndia is powering ahead with its most ambitious
                                                                           scientific undertaking yet, one that will allow
                                                                           it to join ranks with Russia, the US and China,
                                                                           in a select club of nations to have launched a
                                                                           human spaceflight mission.
                                                                          The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
                                                                     is significantly advanced in its preparations for
                                                                     ‘Gaganyaan’ – Sanskrit for ‘Sky Craft’ as the Indian
                                                                     human spaceflight mission is known. However,
                                                                     these launches will now be delayed by at least a
                                                                     year, if not more, because of restrictions imposed
                                                                     due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Work on India’s
                                                                     human spaceflight mission has been underway for
                                                                     quite some time. ISRO initiated initial studies in
                                                                     2004, however, it is only over the last decade that
                                                                     real progress was made.
                                                                          Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced
                                                                     the Gaganyaan mission during his 15 August
                                                                     Independence Day address in 2018, sparking
                                                                     off a nationwide effort, now spread across more
                                                                     than 650 companies and agencies. Two uncrewed
                                                                     space missions, Gaganyaan 1 and 2, were originally
                                                                     planned for December 2021 and July 2021,
                                                                     respectively. The first crewed space mission was
                                                                     planned for December 2021.

                                                                     A giant leap for India
                                                                     ISRO’s new Human space flight centre (HSFC),
                                                                     helmed by its Director, Dr S Unnikrishnan Nair
                                                                     and located in Bengaluru, is the hub for all human
                                                                     spaceflight-related activities. A future Indian space
                                                                     station is also planned. The spin-offs from the human
                                                                     space flight missions, such as development of the
                                                                     human rated Geosynchronous Satellite Launch
                                                                     Vehicle Mark III (GSLV MkIII), orbital crew module,
                                                                     life support systems, etc will aid in the progress of
                                                                     the space station programme. Initial information
                                                                     provided by the space agency, suggests a modular
                                                                     space station designed for a crew of three.
                                                                          ISRO has been buoyed by government support

                                                                     and funding for the Gaganyaan mission which

       18   AEROSPACE
has been plentiful, with a budgetary allocation of                                                  “To date, the Indian cosmonauts have passed
approximately Rs100bn (or just over £1bn). A total                                             a number of exams and tests, and have completed
of three Indian astronauts are planned to be sent                                              training on crew actions in the event of an abnormal
into space with a duration of seven days set as                                                descent module landing in various climatic and
the maximum mission length. The crewed orbiter                                                 geographical zones. They also passed training in
will be inserted into a 400km low Earth orbit, by                                              short-term weightlessness mode and they were
the GSLV MkIII, ISRO’s heaviest launcher yet.                                                  trained to lift aboard a helicopter while evacuating
All launches for the Gaganyaan programme will                                                  from the descent module landing point,” Dmitry
take place from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre                                                 Loskutov, Director General of Glavkosmos told the
(SDSC), located at Sriharikota on India’s eastern                                              author via email.
seaboard.                                                                                           The training of crew actions in the event of an
                                                                                               abnormal descent module landing, was completed
A new challenge
ISRO’s unpiloted missions will test the launcher,
crew module and other associated technologies
destined for human spaceflight. In January 2020,
the space agency unveiled a half-humanoid robot
that would be part of both unmanned space
missions. Named ‘Vyommitra’ – Sanskrit for ‘space
friend’, the half humanoid will be capable of
speaking two languages, performing environment
control and life support systems (ECLSS) functions,
operating switches aboard the spacecraft and
recognising voice commands.
     ISRO has a depth of experience with regards
to launch vehicles and spacecraft management
with access to extensive infrastructure in terms
of launch pads, ground tracking stations. It also
has a nationwide space technology ecosystem for

manufacture of launchers and satellites. However,
crewed space flight represented an altogether
new endeavour with aspects such as crew safety,
human rating of existing systems, crew training
and recovery, all being areas, where ISRO lacked
previous experience.                                             Opposite page: An uprated     in three distinct phases: abnormal descent module
     It is for this reason, that ISRO turned to                  version of ISRO’s GSLV        landing in wooded and marshy areas in winter
                                                                 MkIII launcher will be used
Glavkosmos (the foreign economic activities division                                           (February 2020), on the water surface (June 2020)
                                                                 for Gaganyaan missions.
of Russia’s Roscosmos State Space Corporation)                                                 and in the Steppe in summer (July 2020). Short-
                                                                 Above: Russia’s
in June 2019, for assistance on selection support,               Glavkosmos is training
                                                                                               term weightlessness training for the Indian space
medical examination and space training of the four               Indian astronauts at the      crew was completed over the course of ten flights
selected astronauts (all air force pilots). ISRO and             Gagarin Cosmonaut             aboard an Ilyushin IL-76 MDK laboratory aircraft
Glavkosmos share a longstanding relationship.                    Training Center.              in June 2020. The astronauts are also receiving
Glavkosmos, which was set up in 1985, completed                                                training at GCTC for a sustained spaceflight
successful launches of Indian remote sensing                                                   environment in a centrifuge and a hyperbaric
satellites IRS-1A, IRS-1B, and IRS-1C from                                                     chamber to prepare themselves for G-loads, hypoxia
Baikonur Cosmodrome by Soviet and Russian                                                      and pressure drops.
Vostok launch vehicles (1988, 1991) and on the                                                      Russia is also supplying Soyuz spacecraft
Molniya (Lightning) in 1995.                                                                   systems and components to India, which ISRO will
                                                                                               adapt and modify for further use on the Gaganyaan
Crew preparation                                                                               mission. The Soyuz MS made its first flight in 2016
                                                                                               and is substantially upgraded, with almost every
The four Indian astronauts are now nearing the                                                 system of the crewed spacecraft being modernised.
end of their 12-month training programme at the                                                     Glavkosmos is also supplying Sokol-KV-2
Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC), which                                                spacesuits for the Indian human spaceflight mission.
is slated for completion in the first quarter of 2021.                                         The spacesuits are designed to protect spacecraft
The training provided to Indian astronauts included                                            crew members in case of descent module
extensive training on the structure, configuration,                                            depressurisation during the most dangerous phases
and systems of the Soyuz MS crewed spacecraft,                                                 of the mission – ascent, docking, undocking and
among other things.                                                                            descent. The Sokol-KV-2 is a soft-type spacesuit,

                                                                                                                                      JANUARY 2021    19
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