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AIAA 2020 AVIATION Forum Day 4 Summary - What Did You Miss?

  • 1.  AIAA 2020 AVIATION Forum Day 4 Summary - What Did You Miss?

    Posted 18 Jun, 2020 20:07

    AIAA AVIATION FORUM – Day 4 (June 18, 2020)

    Forum Theme: We Get You Here, There and Now Everywhere

    Day 4 Theme: Commercial Mobility

    Today's theme, commercial mobility, is interesting in that it is easy to jump to your own interests or perhaps to your own place in the industry.  One could be forgiven to instantly think, Urban Air Mobility, But if you're from the large civil transport segment of the industry, you probably look at the evolving technologies that address aviation's environmental impacts and affordability.  Today's Plenary Address and Forum 360 Panels covered the range of what we do in commercial mobility – from the Airbus A350 to Harbour Air's float plane fleet.  How one, the A350 is being used as a testbed for autonomous flight and how Harbour Air's float planes are being converted to the world's first all-electric fleet.  It's almost as if the Aviation Forum is a teaser for the myriad of exciting opportunities in our industry in R&D, product design and development, test & evaluation, operations and strategic planning, and policy/regulation. AIAA remains your Institute and the place to convene and meet with people across the breadth of our industry.            

    Day 4 Top Three Take-Aways:

    1. Leaders need to ensure a diverse workforce - gender, ethnic, racial, etc. - and more importantly to make sure that diversity can express itself.  It's risky for an organization if everyone thinks the same way.  As a leader, you may want to hear things that confirm your biases, but this too is risky.  Ironically, diversity of opinions and perspective will keep you safe.  Grazia Vittadini noted that Airbus, because of its structure, has lots of ethnic diversity built-in. As one of only a few Italians at Airbus, she found it liberating in that it allowed for diversity of thought and perspective. A great lesson-learned – thank you, Grazia, for sharing that experience. 
    2. Electric Propulsion will be utilized in smaller air vehicles with limited range – it is viable for this class of operations.  For larger air vehicles traveling father distances, electric, or batteries, are not now a viable option. If you look beyond existing aviation fuels, i.e., Jet A, then you need to look at options like hydrogen. This is the case because of battery technology – both in terms of storage capacity and energy density.   Earlier in the week, Conner Prochaska from the Department of Energy's Office of Technology Transition was at the Forum talking about connecting and innovating with DoE.  It sure seems like there is opportunity for aerospace to inform how DoE prioritizes their research – maybe an existing AIAA committee could write a white paper defining aviation's battery development requirements that can then be worked with the DoE -  I'm thinking that AIAA would be a natural for that type of workshop and effort.
    3. As the demand for air travel comes back, the airplane manufacturers, the airlines, and the industry trade organizations are working to make air travel safe.  They are working to keep the COViD-19 virus off the planes, they are developing and instituting "clean airplane programs" similar to existing maintenance programs, and they are looking at the features of the planes, such as air handlers, that can stop, or at least minimize the spread of the virus if it does make its way on to a plane.  Thanks to Mike Delaney, Vice President for Digital Transformation at Boeing, for providing an update on what's being done to keep us all healthy when we fly  

    Quote of the Day: "We've had an 80% downturn on air travel during the COVID-19 crisis.  It forces you to ask  - what is airspace really about? We connect the world. We transport people and goods faster and farther than any other means. The combination of pace at which aviation can deliver across great distances will ensure a great future for air travel." – Grazia Vittadini, Chief Technology Officer, Airbus

    Thomas B. (Tom) Irvine
    TBI Aerospace Consulting LLC
    Cedar, MI