Aerospace Current Affairs - 2019

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AAI signs pact with Boeing to modernise India’s Air Traffic Management

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) signed a technical assistance agreement with Boeing to develop and modernise India’s Air Traffic Management.

Key Highlights

  • Roadmap: Aerospace major Boeing entered into a technical assistance pact with AAI to jointly develop a comprehensive 10-year roadmap for modernising air traffic management in India. It is expected to be developed within 1.5 years (18 months).
  • The roadmap will be undertaken with a grant from the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).
  • The roadmap so developed by Boeing will be used as guidance in the modernisation of the Indian National Airspace System (NAS). It will be based on global and local best practices of optimally utilising airspace capacity, enhancing communications and also investing in surveillance, navigation and air traffic management.
  • Boeing will also analyse current technologies and processes to identify efficiency improvements that can be implemented in project undertaken at the same time maintaining a practical and safe airspace system.
  • Collaboration: As part of the project Boeing will work closely with Directorate General of Civil Aviation (Indian aviation regulator), airlines operating in India, airport operators and other airspace stakeholders like US-India Aviation Cooperation Program (ACP).
  • Significance: Airports Authority of India (AAI) owns and manages around 125 airports across India thus implementation of modern technologies and adoption of global practices will allow India to increase its airspace capacity significantly. It will improve communications, enable flexible use of airspace in country and will also allow safe processing of additional flights using air navigation infrastructure for more efficient skies in India.

Airlander 10: World’s largest aircraft embarks maiden flight

The world’s largest (longest) aircraft the Airlander 10 has embarked its maiden flight at an airfield in Cardington in central England. It is a hybrid airship made by Hybrid Air Vehicles in United Kingdom.

Its successful flight comes 85 years after another airship the ill-fated R101 took off in October 1930 from the same airfield before crashing in France.

Features of Airlander 10

  • Airlander 10 is hybrid ship i.e. it is a partly plane and partly airship filled with helium gas. It is 92-metre-long and 43.5m wide.
  • It can fly at up to 4,880 metres and reach speeds of 148 kilometres per hour. It can also carry a 10-tonne payload.
  • It can stay airborne for more than two weeks unmanned and up to five days if manned.
  • It was first developed for the US Government as a surveillance aircraft, but the project was shelved amid defence cutbacks. It can also be used for commercial purpose