Iceland’s Play Has Financial Backers Lined Up

Icelandic low-cost startup PLAY has reportedly secured the backing of powerful financial supporters. As such, CEO and chairman…

Iceland’s Play Has Financial Backers Lined Up

Icelandic low-cost startup PLAY has reportedly secured the backing of powerful financial supporters. As such, CEO and chairman Skuli Skúlasson says the airline is ready to seize any market opportunity that opens up, noting the ongoing problems at flag carrying Icelandair.

PLAY has got the financial backing it needs. Photo: PLAY

PLAY is ready to go

The coronavirus crisis has not thwarted the eagerly anticipated launch of a new low-cost carrier in Iceland. In fact, Icelandic startup PLAY seems to be on track to become a reality as and when the timing is right.

In an interview with Icelandic publication Mannlif toady, Skuli Skúlasson, chairman and CEO of PLAY, said that the company has secured powerful financial backers. However, he declined to comment on who they might be.

He says that this places the startup airline in a strong position to take advantage of any gap in the market left by an ailing Icelandair. The Icelandic flag carrier has already laid off more than 2,000 of its workforce, and may even become at least part-government-owned after the state mooted taking a stake in return for financial support.

Icelandair 767
Both airlines are ready to step in should Icelandair fail. Photo: Getty Images

PLAY is not alone in its ambitions to fill any gap left by Icelandair. Bluebird Nordic, a cargo airline based in Reykjavik, has said it is willing to help out with passenger transportation should Icelandair go bankrupt. As reported in IcelandMonitor today, chairman Sigurður Örn Ágústsson said,

“We have a quick and safe access to aircraft, if needed. We’re not going to compete with Icelandair, but we could possibly assist temporarily with keeping passenger transport going.”

PLAY has also said it is willing to step in quickly. It is reported to have access to one or two aircraft that could rapidly launch, thanks in part to the strong financial backing the airline has now received.

When will PLAY launch?

It’s the million-dollar question, and one that we can’t wait to have answered. Clearly, now is not a great time to launch an airline, so it makes sense for PLAY to move slowly until the current situation abates. Skúlasson told Mannlif that,

“We have nothing left in the country and I am optimistic about the future. The date when Play takes to the air is determined by external conditions rather than the other. We are very relaxed with this and nothing will hurt us.”

Skúlasson further stated that PLAY is no less of an option for passenger transport in Iceland than Icelandair is. However, it would take time to build up and neither PLAY nor Bluebird Nordic would be a full replacement for Icelandair.

Icelandair, Boeing 767, Heart Flight Path
Icelandair’s importance to the nation’s economy cannot be underestimated. Photo: Getty Images

Jóhannes Þór Skúlason, Managing Director of the Association of Tourism (SAF) in Iceland, told Morgunbladid this week that,

“It is very positive if the parties can step up and start passenger flights. Play has some preconditions now, but the Bluebird may have only a little experience. However, we need to beware of the fact that neither of these companies can step in entirely for Icelandair.”

It’s certainly positive to see that things are still happening at PLAY despite the current situation in aviation. Perhaps the damage done to the market could actually prove to be an opportunity for PLAY, and a kick-start for a successful business.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Lockheed Martin’s GCAS technology saved 10 pilots and 9 F-16 fighters

Weapons maker Lockheed Martin Corp. takes pride in announcing that its Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System, or GCAS, helped save the life of 10 pilots and nine F-16 fighter jets—since the system entered service with the U.S. Air Force in late 2014. GCAS is a technology designed to save a pilot from crashing into the ground […]

Lockheed Martin’s GCAS technology saved 10 pilots and 9 F-16 fighters

Weapons maker Lockheed Martin Corp. takes pride in announcing that its Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System, or GCAS, helped save the life of 10 pilots and nine F-16 fighter jets—since the system entered service with the U.S. Air Force in late 2014.

GCAS is a technology designed to save a pilot from crashing into the ground in the event of a sudden loss of consciousness or target fixation by activating and taking control from the pilot to return the plane to safe altitude.

The Auto GCAS utilizes sensors on the plane, terrain data and other various on-board monitors to determine a probable ground collision. Based on the plane’s trajectory, speed, and lack of input from the pilot, the system then calculates the best way to recover to a safe trajectory.

The Auto GCAS, developed jointly by Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, the Air Force Research Laboratory and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), is designed to reduce incidents of what is known as controlled flight into terrain, or CFIT. According to U.S. Air Force statistics, CFIT incidents account for 26 percent of aircraft losses and a staggering 75 percent of all F-16 pilot fatalities.

According to Ed Griffin, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works’ program manager for the Automatic Collision Avoidance Technologies (ACAT) Fighter Risk Reduction Program, the system consists of a set of complex collision avoidance and autonomous decision making algorithms that utilize precise navigation, aircraft performance and on-board digital terrain data to determine if a ground collision is imminent. If the system predicts an imminent collision, an autonomous avoidance maneuver—a roll to wings-level and +5g pull—is commanded at the last instance to prevent ground impact.

The Auto GCAS executes in the background and automatically provides protection whether the pilot is distracted, task-saturated, incapacitated, or unconscious. No action is required by the pilot, though the system does have a pilot override function.

“Based on the data we’ve seen so far, the Auto GCAS is doing exactly what it was designed to do: save priceless lives and valuable military aircraft,” said Griffin. “Many aviation professionals believe autonomy is emerging as the new frontier in aviation and Auto GCAS currently represents the leading edge of autonomy as it applies to manned platforms.”

The Auto GCAS capability is currently operating on more than 600 U.S. Air Force F-16 Block 40/50 aircraft worldwide. Auto GCAS flight testing was also recently completed on U.S. Air National Guard F-16 Block 30 aircraft and the capability is expected to be fielded on that fleet in 2020. Lockheed Martin and the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) completed F-35 Auto GCAS integration and flight testing in 2018 and plan to begin fielding this proven life-saving technology in June 2019. The Auto GCAS will ultimately protect more than 3,200 F-35s and their pilots worldwide. The F-35 Joint Program Office estimates the Auto GCAS will prevent more than 26 ground collisions during the service of the F-35 fleet.

In addition to the Auto GCAS, Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Government have also developed an Automatic Air Collision Avoidance System (Auto ACAS). As its name suggest, Auto ACAS is designed to avoid air-to-air collisions. Together, the two systems form the Automatic Integrated Collision Avoidance System (Auto ICAS), the world’s first fully automatic integrated combat flight safety system designed to prevent both air-to-air and air-to-ground collisions.

Source : Aviation Defence More   

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