Insight into Future Technologies

ILA 2016 is synonymous with innovation and leadership in aerospace. It dealt selectively with forward-looking topics in the outward looking industry, including sustainability, digitalisation, 3D printing and Industry 4.0.

Issue: 3 / 2016By R. ChandrakanthPhoto(s): By Messe Berlin GmbH, Airbus Group

With its numerous innovations and advanced technologies, the ILA Berlin Air Show 2016 demonstrated the capabilities and achievements of the global aerospace industry. A wide range of the latest high-tech products as well as research and development projects were displayed by the 1,017 exhibitors from 37 countries. During this four-day event 1,50,000 trade visitors and members of the public thronged the 2,50,000-squaremetre Berlin Expo Centre Airport. ILA 2016 was organised by the German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI) and Messe Berlin GmbH.

Boeing 747-830 Siegerflieger Fanhansa
Airbus E-Fan 2
Multirotor service drone
Let L-410NG Turbolet

Some 200 aircraft were featured in the static and flying displays. For the professionals, there were 50 congresses and conferences providing details about the latest developments in the industry. Digitalisation and 3D printing, Industry 4.0 and eco-efficiency were among the main themes. The many high-tech products on view at the new Future Lab on the stand of the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs provided insights into the technological future of the aerospace industry. The Start-up Day was another new feature this year and enabled 50 newly established companies to present their creative ideas and business models which have the potential to benefit the aerospace industry in the future.

Volker Thum, Chief Executive of the BDLI said, “ILA 2016 is synonymous with innovation and leadership in aerospace. It dealt selectively with forward-looking topics in our outward looking industry, including sustainability, digitalisation, 3D printing and Industry 4.0. I am particularly pleased with the entirely positive feedback from our exhibitors from all over the world. The wide and varied programme of flying displays provided impressive proof of the fascination exerted by our products.”

New Airbus Flagship – A350XWB

Highlights of the flying display this year included the new Airbus flagship, the A350XWB and the A320neo, fitted with its new and more environmentally friendly engines. The tanker and transport aircraft, the Airbus A330 MRTT, made its debut at the ILA. Visitors have been able to inspect the world’s two largest commercial aircraft, the Airbus A380 in Emirates livery and a Boeing 747-8 from the Lufthansa fleet, on the ground. The Bluecopter from Airbus Helicopters represented a new generation of helicopters.

Airbus Cockpit for Small Aircraft

The Airbus group has been intensively engaged in the development of hybrid and electric aircraft propulsion systems for several years. E-Fan is the name of a technology platform being used as the basis for the development of current series of two- and four-seat light aircraft for training purposes (E-Fan 2.0, entirely battery-powered) and cruising (E-Fan 4.0 with combustion engine/hybrid propulsion unit to recharge the battery). A prototype integrated cockpit was at the ILA Future Lab on the stand of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

Heinrich Hertz – New Era for Satellite communication.

The new technologies that have been developed for communication satellites are exploring the limits of mobility and accessibility. In some 20 experiments involving communication, antenna and satellite systems the Heinrich Hertz test platform will be subjecting innovative technologies to extreme conditions that are found in space such as high levels of radiation, massive temperature fluctuations and weightlessness. The satellite was on show.


Alternative Fuels for Lower Emissions

The Emission and Climate Impact of Alternative Fuels project (ECLIF) analyses the emissions of alternative fuels using various methods: by combustion in a laboratory, on combustion chamber test-beds and by measuring emissions during flight tests. At ILA a liquid fuel combustion device in combination with a screen presentation was presented on how different alternative fuels display different combustion characteristics for use in aviation.

Part Drone, Part Airship

At ILA hybrid-airplane from Baden-Baden displayed the prototype of an eco-friendly hybrid aircraft, the world debut of this device. The first impression of H-AERO is of a flying saucer. In actual fact it is a miniairship filled with helium and propelled by two solar-powered electric motors. The patented aircraft is three metres wide and has a five-metre wingspan, with the electric motors attached to the wings. Its overall weight is ten kg and the maximum payload is three kg. Designed by Csaba Singer, the aircraft can fly to over 2,000 metres and can remain airborne for unlimited periods.

Copter Race Drones

Radio-controlled multicopters, also known as drones, have changed the face of the model aircraft racing scene. At ILA the German Model Aircraft Association (DMFV) set up a course measuring 30 by 20 metres for daily copter races. The aircraft, most of which are home made, flew through gates at speeds of up to 100 kmph, guided by pilots wearing video goggles.

Rolls-Royce Exploring Joint Venture

For its planned production of Trent XWB engines for the Airbus A350 in Dahlewitz, Brandenburg, Rolls-Royce intends to introduce various elements from Industry 4.0 and to set up a smart factory. A declaration of intent to investigate possibilities for a joint venture was signed by Alastair McIntosh, Chief Executive of Rolls-Royce Germany, and Martin Eves, a member of the management board of QiO, in the presence of the Brandenburg Minister for Economic Affairs Albrecht Gerber.


MTU Bets on Geared Turbofans

Digitalisation and interconnection help to increase the pace of innovation, according to Reiner Winkler, Chairman of the Board of MTU Aero Engines. This engine manufacturer is concentrating on improving performance even further in its core areas of high pressure compressors and low pressure turbines. For the next 20 years the geared turbofan that has been developed jointly with Pratt & Whitney will remain the dominant power plant. Winkler reports that the initial software problems with the PW1100G for the Airbus A320neo have now been resolved and the delay in introducing these engines has been reduced by means of a physical fix and software support the production of the Eurofighter powered by the EJ200, which is manufactured by the Eurojet consortium, can be safeguarded after 2020.

IABG Tests Pilatus PC-24

The stand of Industrieanlagen-Betriebsgesellschaft (IABG), Ottobrunn, at the ILA presented an impressive computer animation of a test rig in which the main focus is on the new Pilatus PC-24 business aircraft from Switzerland. “We are delighted that, after intense competition, Pilatus has entrusted us with this strategically important contract”, says Monika Peters, press spokesperson for IABG.

Air Berlin Shows its Colours

Not only is Air Berlin the second largest German airline, it is also the capital’s flag carrier. Stefan Pichler, Chief Executive Officer of Air Berlin, said: “We are delighted to be back at the ILA again this year with one of our aircraft, thereby demonstrating our close links with our Berlin base.” The Airbus A321 with the registration D-ABCT was on display at the ILA site. It is one of the new and eco-efficient aircraft that make up the Air Berlin fleet. This jet has so-called sharklets, wing tips designed to improve the airflow and reduce fuel consumption by an average of 2.7 per cent. As a result, each year and on each aircraft of this type, Air Berlin achieves fuel savings of up to 250 tonnes. Moreover, air craft fitted with sharklets can climb more steeply, thereby reducing noise levels on the ground. “Charlie-Tango” is the latest addition to the Air Berlin fleet, which it officially joined on June 2, 2016.

Debut for the next-generation L410

The Czech manufacturer Aircraft Industries used ILA to introduce the prototype of its L410 Next-Generation regional aircraft. The success of this aircraft is reflected in the fact that over 1,200 have been manufactured since 1969. Compared with the preceding version it is now equipped with two H85 turboprops with a power rating that has been improved by 50 to 850 HP. The payload has also been increased, from 1.8 to 2.15 tonnes. The wing, with its built-in fuel tanks, has been redesigned to double the flying time to ten hours and to increase the maximum range from 1,520 to 2,630 kilometres. Certification is expected during the coming year, when series production will commence. It will initially be manufactured concurrently with the L410 UVP-E20, ten of which are due for completion this year.