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vfw614
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General Atomics Takes Over Dornier 228NG Programme From RUAG And Launches Dornier 228NXT

Tue Mar 02, 2021 12:11 am

Following the announcement of its intention in October 2020, General Atomics (of MQ-9A Predator B/Reaper.fame) has now closed the deal with RUAG to take over RUAG Aerospace Services (the former Fairchild Dornier Services division) and thus the Dornier 228NG programme (plus maintenance operations of civil business jets and military helicopters). The new subsidiary of General Atomics Europe has been been re-named to General Atomics AeroTec Systems GmbH (GA-ATS). Not included in the deal is RUAG Aerostructures (another former Fairchild Dornier divison) that remains with RUAG.

The CEO of General Atomics Europe, Harald Walter Robl, has given interviews marking the occasion. These are not particularly detailed, but some takeaways are:

- main focus of the deal is to acquire a going concern specialized in the development, manufacturing and maintenance of civil aircraft
- main potential is seen in the combination of General Atomics' know-how in the field of unmanned aircraft and RUAG's know-how centered on the Dornier 228
- strategic focus on unmanned civil cargo operations
- the Dornier 228 is seen as a platform "for innovative development", e.g. unmanned cargo flights
- plans to develop a prototype with the option for manned or unmanned operations by the end of 2023
- sees potential for an increase of sales of the slow-selling Dornier 228NG and intends to send a "strong signal" (whatever that means)
- changes to the Dornier 228NG (declined to go into detail) resulting in the Dornier 228NXT
- good feed-back from potential customers (what else...) and apparenlty already letters of intent
- declined to say whether another aircraft will be added to the product portfolio, but sees exciting opportunities for manned and unmanned aircraft and hinted at a larger aircraft for which the Dornier 228NXT would be the stepping-stone
- open-minded with regard to a co-operation with Deutsche Aircraft (manufacturer of the re-launed D328ECO) (which is also headquartered of OBF airport and another legacy of Fairchild Dornier)
 
Armadillo1
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Re: General Atomics Takes Over Dornier 228NG Programme From RUAG And Launches Dornier 228NXT

Tue Mar 02, 2021 10:33 am

I think this is a deliberate disrespect for members - post without any link.


https://aviationweek.com/aerospace/urba ... production


the only link i able to find (paywall?)
 
vrbarreto
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Re: General Atomics Takes Over Dornier 228NG Programme From RUAG And Launches Dornier 228NXT

Tue Mar 02, 2021 10:39 am

Armadillo1 wrote:
I think this is a deliberate disrespect for members - post without any link.


https://aviationweek.com/aerospace/urba ... production


the only link i able to find (paywall?)


There's an RUAG press release

https://www.ruag.com/en/news/ruag-inter ... ics-europe
 
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vfw614
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Re: General Atomics Takes Over Dornier 228NG Programme From RUAG And Launches Dornier 228NXT

Tue Mar 02, 2021 12:25 pm

Armadillo1 wrote:
I think this is a deliberate disrespect for members - post without any link.

https://aviationweek.com/aerospace/urba ... production

the only link i able to find (paywall?)


Thank you for your kind words. You are welcome.

As a service for the a.net community, I spent like half an hour summarizing a number of German newspaper and aviation mag articles as, unsurprisingly, coverage about RUAG/Dornier in Germany is quite extensive, whereas nothing besides the useless RUAG press release was available in English at the time of writing.

As a matter of fact, when starting threads in the past I used to link to German-language articles - only to get flak from folks like you for linking to "useless" non-English language sources. However, if you want to try your German, here you go:

https://www.sueddeutsche.de/muenchen/st ... -1.5220999
https://www.sueddeutsche.de/wirtschaft/ ... -1.5221361
https://www.aerotelegraph.com/interview ... tpotenzial
https://www.flugrevue.de/zivil/forschun ... ffenhofen/
https://www.welt.de/wirtschaft/article2 ... erden.html

Damned if you do and damned if you don't. Typical a.net.
 
Noshow
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Re: General Atomics Takes Over Dornier 228NG Programme From RUAG And Launches Dornier 228NXT

Tue Mar 02, 2021 12:28 pm

Thanks VFW I appreciate your input. There was no reason for the rude attack against this news.

Interesting that the good old Do 228 is earmarked to become some unmanned freighter.
 
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Aesma
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Re: General Atomics Takes Over Dornier 228NG Programme From RUAG And Launches Dornier 228NXT

Tue Mar 02, 2021 12:36 pm

I guess it's the right company to develop pilotless civil aircraft.
 
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vfw614
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Re: General Atomics Takes Over Dornier 228NG Programme From RUAG And Launches Dornier 228NXT

Tue Mar 02, 2021 12:45 pm

Interesting trivia mentioned in one of the articles is that the Blue family (owners of General Atomics) has German roots and that the sons of Neal and Linden Blue (who are now both in their mid-80s) speak German.

When reading about the plans, I was wondering if the likes of DHL, UPS and FedEx are behind this interesting development with some sort of commitment - not sure why General Atomics would otherwise tap into that market segment.
 
texl1649
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Re: General Atomics Takes Over Dornier 228NG Programme From RUAG And Launches Dornier 228NXT

Tue Mar 02, 2021 12:52 pm

Interesting that HAL builds a lot of the aircraft components, though they are assembled in Bavaria. This seems like an odd combination, imho.

https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news ... er-do228ng

I think they were only building around 4 per year still, yet have had good feedback from what little I know.

https://www.airinternational.com/articl ... y-do-228ng

https://www.ga-europe.com/files_db/1614 ... 249__7.pdf

“Harald Robl, Managing Director of General Atomics Europe, said: “We have prepared well for this takeover. In order to achieve it, we have developed a strategic future con- cept that will open up prospects for new growth and value-added for the Ober- pfaffenhofen location that, despite the current economic crisis, go far beyond the exist- ing business areas. For example, we see great potential for combining our know-how of the Do228 and the competencies of General Atomics in the field of unmanned air- craft. Here we are confident that we can play the role of a major innovation driver in civil freight aviation. At the same time, we are clearly committed to our group’s market- leading position in unmanned military systems. We are convinced that we offer an at- tractive range of products and services in this segment, and that we will be a reliable partner not only for our six existing European customers, but also for the German armed forces.”

I’m intrigued with what they might do both for civilian freight (possibly unmanned?) and as well a concept for the Luftwaffe. The Germans/Netherlands/Danes have a couple for MPA duties I think, and plausibly an unmanned updated derivative for such a mission might be of interest/value and serve as a bit of a check to P-8 considerations, particularly if linked to some sort of Predator communication system/network...
 
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armagnac2010
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Re: General Atomics Takes Over Dornier 228NG Programme From RUAG And Launches Dornier 228NXT

Tue Mar 02, 2021 1:05 pm

Thank you VFW614. I read the interview in German, but did not undertake the summary/translation in English.

In my own (irrelevant) opinion, this has much better chance than the Dornier 328 ECO.
 
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vfw614
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Re: General Atomics Takes Over Dornier 228NG Programme From RUAG And Launches Dornier 228NXT

Tue Mar 02, 2021 2:13 pm

texl1649 wrote:
Interesting that HAL builds a lot of the aircraft components, though they are assembled in Bavaria. This seems like an odd combination, imho.

https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news ... er-do228ng

I think they were only building around 4 per year still, yet have had good feedback from what little I know.

https://www.airinternational.com/articl ... y-do-228ng

https://www.ga-europe.com/files_db/1614 ... 249__7.pdf

“Harald Robl, Managing Director of General Atomics Europe, said: “We have prepared well for this takeover. In order to achieve it, we have developed a strategic future con- cept that will open up prospects for new growth and value-added for the Ober- pfaffenhofen location that, despite the current economic crisis, go far beyond the exist- ing business areas. For example, we see great potential for combining our know-how of the Do228 and the competencies of General Atomics in the field of unmanned air- craft. Here we are confident that we can play the role of a major innovation driver in civil freight aviation. At the same time, we are clearly committed to our group’s market- leading position in unmanned military systems. We are convinced that we offer an at- tractive range of products and services in this segment, and that we will be a reliable partner not only for our six existing European customers, but also for the German armed forces.”

I’m intrigued with what they might do both for civilian freight (possibly unmanned?) and as well a concept for the Luftwaffe. The Germans/Netherlands/Danes have a couple for MPA duties I think, and plausibly an unmanned updated derivative for such a mission might be of interest/value and serve as a bit of a check to P-8 considerations, particularly if linked to some sort of Predator communication system/network...


My understanding from the various articles is that at this point there are no plans for "advanced" military developments of the Dornier 228. Robl was only talking civil/cargo applications and was quite keen to stress that no drones will be touching down at OBF airport (they will carry out military maintenance there but without actual flight movements). But of course once the Dornier 228NXT can be operated remotely, a lot of military applications become feasible. The question really is whether they require an aircraft-style vehicle with a fuselage, cockpit etc. or if drones are a more practical solution.
 
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alberchico
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Re: General Atomics Takes Over Dornier 228NG Programme From RUAG And Launches Dornier 228NXT

Wed Mar 03, 2021 5:51 am

vfw614 wrote:
texl1649 wrote:
Interesting that HAL builds a lot of the aircraft components, though they are assembled in Bavaria. This seems like an odd combination, imho.

https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news ... er-do228ng

I think they were only building around 4 per year still, yet have had good feedback from what little I know.

https://www.airinternational.com/articl ... y-do-228ng

https://www.ga-europe.com/files_db/1614 ... 249__7.pdf

“Harald Robl, Managing Director of General Atomics Europe, said: “We have prepared well for this takeover. In order to achieve it, we have developed a strategic future con- cept that will open up prospects for new growth and value-added for the Ober- pfaffenhofen location that, despite the current economic crisis, go far beyond the exist- ing business areas. For example, we see great potential for combining our know-how of the Do228 and the competencies of General Atomics in the field of unmanned air- craft. Here we are confident that we can play the role of a major innovation driver in civil freight aviation. At the same time, we are clearly committed to our group’s market- leading position in unmanned military systems. We are convinced that we offer an at- tractive range of products and services in this segment, and that we will be a reliable partner not only for our six existing European customers, but also for the German armed forces.”

I’m intrigued with what they might do both for civilian freight (possibly unmanned?) and as well a concept for the Luftwaffe. The Germans/Netherlands/Danes have a couple for MPA duties I think, and plausibly an unmanned updated derivative for such a mission might be of interest/value and serve as a bit of a check to P-8 considerations, particularly if linked to some sort of Predator communication system/network...


My understanding from the various articles is that at this point there are no plans for "advanced" military developments of the Dornier 228. Robl was only talking civil/cargo applications and was quite keen to stress that no drones will be touching down at OBF airport (they will carry out military maintenance there but without actual flight movements). But of course once the Dornier 228NXT can be operated remotely, a lot of military applications become feasible. The question really is whether they require an aircraft-style vehicle with a fuselage, cockpit etc. or if drones are a more practical solution.


Getting regulators to sign off on allowing an unmanned cargo aircraft the size of the 228 to fly around densely populated areas of Germany is going to be a very tough sell. Didn't Germany abandon the purchase of the Global Hawk UAV a while back because they could not attain an acceptable margin of safety when operating over European airspace ? Think about the amount of modifications the DO-228 will need to add redundancy, improve reliability and cover every possible contingency that an unmanned vehicle could face. Not to mention all the expensive ground infrastructure needed to control a large fleet of unmanned aircraft. It might be more cost effective to simply keep the 2 pilots. I think upgrading the flight deck to allow single pilot operation is the most practical way forward.
 
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Aesma
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Re: General Atomics Takes Over Dornier 228NG Programme From RUAG And Launches Dornier 228NXT

Thu Mar 04, 2021 2:06 pm

Apparently the 228NG was already planned with cockpit/avionics for single pilot ops.
 
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Revelation
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Re: General Atomics Takes Over Dornier 228NG Programme From RUAG And Launches Dornier 228NXT

Thu Mar 04, 2021 3:56 pm

To me the most interesting take-away is:

- plans to develop a prototype with the option for manned or unmanned operations by the end of 2023

So we have the world's most experienced drone maker buying a manufacturer of commercial aircraft, saying their goal is to produce an optionally unmanned aircraft in the next 2-3 years.

That's pretty big news.

vfw614 wrote:
As a service for the a.net community, I spent like half an hour summarizing a number of German newspaper and aviation mag articles as, unsurprisingly, coverage about RUAG/Dornier in Germany is quite extensive, whereas nothing besides the useless RUAG press release was available in English at the time of writing.

As a matter of fact, when starting threads in the past I used to link to German-language articles - only to get flak from folks like you for linking to "useless" non-English language sources. However, if you want to try your German, here you go:

https://www.sueddeutsche.de/muenchen/st ... -1.5220999
https://www.sueddeutsche.de/wirtschaft/ ... -1.5221361
https://www.aerotelegraph.com/interview ... tpotenzial
https://www.flugrevue.de/zivil/forschun ... ffenhofen/
https://www.welt.de/wirtschaft/article2 ... erden.html

Damned if you do and damned if you don't. Typical a.net.

Thank you for the very interesting summary, yet it doesn't help to counter rudeness with rudeness. You are here long enough to know the forum rules, the link is at the top of the forum home page. Factual posts rather than opinion posts need links. English is the language of choice because our moderators cannot be expected to cover every world language. A thick skin is needed, same as any other social media channel. Expect to be flamed, it's just a part of life. Maybe next time point to the presser and say "augmented by my own reading of German-langage sources".

alberchico wrote:
Getting regulators to sign off on allowing an unmanned cargo aircraft the size of the 228 to fly around densely populated areas of Germany is going to be a very tough sell. Didn't Germany abandon the purchase of the Global Hawk UAV a while back because they could not attain an acceptable margin of safety when operating over European airspace ? Think about the amount of modifications the DO-228 will need to add redundancy, improve reliability and cover every possible contingency that an unmanned vehicle could face. Not to mention all the expensive ground infrastructure needed to control a large fleet of unmanned aircraft. It might be more cost effective to simply keep the 2 pilots. I think upgrading the flight deck to allow single pilot operation is the most practical way forward.

I agree. I think pretty much every new clean sheet cockpit architecture will be designed with pathways to get to unmanned operation. It just doesn't make sense to not at least design in the key architectural features needed for single pilot or unmanned operation. I think you will see an airborne cockpit looking a lot like the ones you now see for drone ground stations, highly automated and with very few "dials and knobs". Single pilot cargo flights will be used to build up a comfort level with this level of automation. Links to ground will be used to allow remote control if/when needed. Eventually if this tech advances we may see single pilot pax operations and unmanned cargo operations. The labor savings are too big to ignore.
 
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vfw614
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Re: General Atomics Takes Over Dornier 228NG Programme From RUAG And Launches Dornier 228NXT

Thu Mar 04, 2021 4:16 pm

Revelation wrote:
To me the most interesting take-away is:

- plans to develop a prototype with the option for manned or unmanned operations by the end of 2023

So we have the world's most experienced drone maker buying a manufacturer of commercial aircraft, saying their goal is to produce an optionally unmanned aircraft in the next 2-3 years.

That's pretty big news.


Indeed. and I find it surprising that it gets relatively attention inside and outside a.net. Hence my speculation whether one of the integrators or someone like Amazon is behind the move - unmanned smaller aircraft must be ideal to serve low volume markets from the larger hubs.

Revelation wrote:
alberchico wrote:
Getting regulators to sign off on allowing an unmanned cargo aircraft the size of the 228 to fly around densely populated areas of Germany is going to be a very tough sell. Didn't Germany abandon the purchase of the Global Hawk UAV a while back because they could not attain an acceptable margin of safety when operating over European airspace ? Think about the amount of modifications the DO-228 will need to add redundancy, improve reliability and cover every possible contingency that an unmanned vehicle could face. Not to mention all the expensive ground infrastructure needed to control a large fleet of unmanned aircraft. It might be more cost effective to simply keep the 2 pilots. I think upgrading the flight deck to allow single pilot operation is the most practical way forward.


I agree. I think pretty much every new clean sheet cockpit architecture will be designed with pathways to get to unmanned operation. It just doesn't make sense to not at least design in the key architectural features needed for single pilot or unmanned operation. I think you will see an airborne cockpit looking a lot like the ones you now see for drone ground stations, highly automated and with very few "dials and knobs". Single pilot cargo flights will be used to build up a comfort level with this level of automation. Links to ground will be used to allow remote control if/when needed. Eventually if this tech advances we may see single pilot pax operations and unmanned cargo operations. The labor savings are too big to ignore.


With regard to the issue of UAVs in Germany: GA will develop the aircraft in Germany and possibly build it here.I am pretty sure we will see very few, if any unmanned Dornier 228NXT in operation in Germany. They will target overseas markets where the concept makes much more sense.

Revelation wrote:
vfw614 wrote:
As a matter of fact, when starting threads in the past I used to link to German-language articles - only to get flak from folks like you for linking to "useless" non-English language sources. However, if you want to try your German, here you go:


Thank you for the very interesting summary, yet it doesn't help to counter rudeness with rudeness. You are here long enough to know the forum rules, the link is at the top of the forum home page. Factual posts rather than opinion posts need links. English is the language of choice because our moderators cannot be expected to cover every world language. A thick skin is needed, same as any other social media channel. Expect to be flamed, it's just a part of life. Maybe next time point to the presser and say "augmented by my own reading of German-langage sources".


Well, I was trying to follow this forum rule: "Use of non-English links is discouraged. If the only available sources are not in English, then it is the user’s responsibility to provide an adequately translated summary of the article content". I did no understand it the way that the discouraged link must be included anyway, but maybe I was wrong and some non-intelligible links must be included to make sure that someone is not simply making stuff up...
 
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Revelation
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Re: General Atomics Takes Over Dornier 228NG Programme From RUAG And Launches Dornier 228NXT

Thu Mar 04, 2021 4:54 pm

vfw614 wrote:
With regard to the issue of UAVs in Germany: GA will develop the aircraft in Germany and possibly build it here.I am pretty sure we will see very few, if any unmanned Dornier 228NXT in operation in Germany. They will target overseas markets where the concept makes much more sense.

Seems they are buying a substantial manufacturing base in DE and a product with a regulatory basis in DE. I would think it makes sense to use those resources but it can't hurt to have negotiating leverage to find the best manufacturing and regulatory environment for the program to move forward.

I think the next step is single pilot operation with ground acting as a standby asset able to take over in case of emergency.

vfw614 wrote:
Well, I was trying to follow this forum rule: "Use of non-English links is discouraged. If the only available sources are not in English, then it is the user’s responsibility to provide an adequately translated summary of the article content". I did no understand it the way that the discouraged link must be included anyway, but maybe I was wrong and some non-intelligible links must be included to make sure that someone is not simply making stuff up...

Fair enough, this is just a friendly suggestion, but yes, I am someone who sometimes runs the unintelligible links through Google Translate and finds some interesting stuff that way.
 
iamlucky13
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Re: General Atomics Takes Over Dornier 228NG Programme From RUAG And Launches Dornier 228NXT

Fri Mar 05, 2021 1:32 am

Aesma wrote:
I guess it's the right company to develop pilotless civil aircraft.


I would not be at all surprised if the main motive is existing interesting from a military customer, with possible civilian interest being secondary.

The US DoD has been exploring unmanned cargo options for over a decade. Unconventional aircraft, especially VTOL models have gotten the most attention, but I could see a desire to have a STOL aircraft capable of cost-effectively delivering a larger amount of cargo to a forward operating base where there is a relatively high ManPADS threat.
 
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alberchico
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Re: General Atomics Takes Over Dornier 228NG Programme From RUAG And Launches Dornier 228NXT

Fri Mar 05, 2021 5:09 am

iamlucky13 wrote:
Aesma wrote:
I guess it's the right company to develop pilotless civil aircraft.


I would not be at all surprised if the main motive is existing interesting from a military customer, with possible civilian interest being secondary.

The US DoD has been exploring unmanned cargo options for over a decade. Unconventional aircraft, especially VTOL models have gotten the most attention, but I could see a desire to have a STOL aircraft capable of cost-effectively delivering a larger amount of cargo to a forward operating base where there is a relatively high ManPADS threat.


You bring up a good point. Getting regulatory approval to fly these unmanned aircraft over remote areas for military missions would be a lot easier and would be a useful proving ground for this type of technology. Not many people know this, but the U.S. has already flown an unmanned helicopter in Afghanistan, but its range and payload was limited. A larger STOL aircraft, like the DO-228 would be much more useful.

https://www.kaman.com/aerosystems/solut ... al-systems
 
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c933103
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Re: General Atomics Takes Over Dornier 228NG Programme From RUAG And Launches Dornier 228NXT

Sun Mar 07, 2021 5:07 am

alberchico wrote:
iamlucky13 wrote:
Aesma wrote:
I guess it's the right company to develop pilotless civil aircraft.


I would not be at all surprised if the main motive is existing interesting from a military customer, with possible civilian interest being secondary.

The US DoD has been exploring unmanned cargo options for over a decade. Unconventional aircraft, especially VTOL models have gotten the most attention, but I could see a desire to have a STOL aircraft capable of cost-effectively delivering a larger amount of cargo to a forward operating base where there is a relatively high ManPADS threat.


You bring up a good point. Getting regulatory approval to fly these unmanned aircraft over remote areas for military missions would be a lot easier and would be a useful proving ground for this type of technology. Not many people know this, but the U.S. has already flown an unmanned helicopter in Afghanistan, but its range and payload was limited. A larger STOL aircraft, like the DO-228 would be much more useful.

https://www.kaman.com/aerosystems/solut ... al-systems

I don't think there is a , or there can be a, separate certification program that certify aircraft to fly only over remote areas?
 
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Revelation
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Re: General Atomics Takes Over Dornier 228NG Programme From RUAG And Launches Dornier 228NXT

Sun Mar 07, 2021 3:27 pm

c933103 wrote:
I don't think there is a , or there can be a, separate certification program that certify aircraft to fly only over remote areas?

It is a good point.

In the US, military aircraft do not need to be certified by civilian authorities, but they do need to be able to comply with ATC regulations if they enter controlled air space.

I would think in the case of current drone airplanes or helicopters they are disassembled and carried into the combat area then reassembled and flown.

It makes sense for the military to sponsor development of larger cargo aircraft with one pilot or no pilot, IMO.

Then such aircraft could be flown to the combat area as single pilot aircraft, then in the combat area they could be unmanned.
 
avier
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Re: General Atomics Takes Over Dornier 228NG Programme From RUAG And Launches Dornier 228NXT

Sun Mar 07, 2021 4:21 pm

texl1649 wrote:
Interesting that HAL builds a lot of the aircraft components, though they are assembled in Bavaria. This seems like an odd combination, imho.

https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news ... er-do228ng

In addition to supplying the main aircraft components , HAL builds the entire aircraft too in India and has built more than a hundred of them. However that's used mainly in India and has a seperate type certificate.
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/bus ... 914636.cms

I wonder how this new acquisition by General Atomic affects the licensing HAL also has over the same model, and if they are working together for the upgrade considering HAL builds most of the aircraft i.e the fuselage, wings and tail sections .
 
WayexTDI
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Re: General Atomics Takes Over Dornier 228NG Programme From RUAG And Launches Dornier 228NXT

Sun Mar 07, 2021 6:50 pm

c933103 wrote:
alberchico wrote:
iamlucky13 wrote:

I would not be at all surprised if the main motive is existing interesting from a military customer, with possible civilian interest being secondary.

The US DoD has been exploring unmanned cargo options for over a decade. Unconventional aircraft, especially VTOL models have gotten the most attention, but I could see a desire to have a STOL aircraft capable of cost-effectively delivering a larger amount of cargo to a forward operating base where there is a relatively high ManPADS threat.


You bring up a good point. Getting regulatory approval to fly these unmanned aircraft over remote areas for military missions would be a lot easier and would be a useful proving ground for this type of technology. Not many people know this, but the U.S. has already flown an unmanned helicopter in Afghanistan, but its range and payload was limited. A larger STOL aircraft, like the DO-228 would be much more useful.

https://www.kaman.com/aerosystems/solut ... al-systems

I don't think there is a , or there can be a, separate certification program that certify aircraft to fly only over remote areas?

Actually, wouldn't that be part of the certifications limitations? Like the 747-400 LCF has operations limitations:
These airplanes are not approved for commercial freight hauling operations of material other than that approved per Exemptions 8769, 8769A and 8769B. Only cargo that supports Boeing corporate lines of business is allowed for carriage.

Source
 
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c933103
Posts: 5733
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Re: General Atomics Takes Over Dornier 228NG Programme From RUAG And Launches Dornier 228NXT

Sun Mar 07, 2021 7:52 pm

WayexTDI wrote:
c933103 wrote:
alberchico wrote:

You bring up a good point. Getting regulatory approval to fly these unmanned aircraft over remote areas for military missions would be a lot easier and would be a useful proving ground for this type of technology. Not many people know this, but the U.S. has already flown an unmanned helicopter in Afghanistan, but its range and payload was limited. A larger STOL aircraft, like the DO-228 would be much more useful.

https://www.kaman.com/aerosystems/solut ... al-systems

I don't think there is a , or there can be a, separate certification program that certify aircraft to fly only over remote areas?

Actually, wouldn't that be part of the certifications limitations? Like the 747-400 LCF has operations limitations:
These airplanes are not approved for commercial freight hauling operations of material other than that approved per Exemptions 8769, 8769A and 8769B. Only cargo that supports Boeing corporate lines of business is allowed for carriage.

Source

A big question is how do you define the term remote area here? What being remote to the general public could be the home of others, which is the problem things like Concorde have ran into

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Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos