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Joby acquires autonomous flight developer Xwing

Joby Aviation, a company developing electric air taxis for commercial passenger service, last week announced the acquisition of the autonomy division of Xwing. While Joby appears to be at the forefront of the wave of start-ups looking to certify eVTOL air taxis next year, Xwing is an industry leader in the development of autonomous technology for aviation.

Founded in 2016, Xwing has been flying autonomous aircraft since 2020, using the Superpilot software it has developed in-house. Superpilot is the world’s first fully autonomous gate-to-gate flight technology. With 250 fully autonomous flights and more than 500 auto-landings completed to date, Xwing became the first company to receive an official project designation for the certification of a large unmanned aerial system (UAS) from the FAA in April 2023 and the first to receive an Air Force Military Flight Release in 2024. Xwing’s autonomous flights were completed using a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan. In early 2024, the aircraft participated in the Air Force’s Agile Flag 24-1 Joint Force exercise, during which it completed daily flights, covering around 2,800 miles and landing at eight public and military airports, demonstrating the ability to integrate autonomous aircraft into the national airspace system.

JoeBen Bevirt, Founder and CEO of Joby Aviation, said: “The aircraft we are certifying will have a fully-qualified pilot on board, but we recognize that a future generation of autonomous aircraft will play an important part in unlocking our vision of making clean and affordable aerial mobility as accessible as possible.


Using 100% SAF reduces non-CO2 emissions

Results from the world's first in-flight study of the impact of using 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on both engines of a commercial aircraft show a reduction in soot particles and formation of contrail ice crystals compared to using conventional Jet A-1 fuel. The ECLIF3 study, in which Airbus, Rolls-Royce, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and SAF producer Neste collaborated, was the first to measure the impact of 100% SAF use to emissions from both engines of an Airbus A350 powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines and followed by a DLR chase plane. Compared to a reference Jet A-1 fuel, the number of contrail ice crystals per mass of unblended SAF consumed was reduced by 56%, which could significantly reduce the climate-warming effect of contrails. The impact of contrails was estimated to be reduced by at least 26 percent with 100% SAF use compared to contrails resulting from the Jet A-1 reference fuel used in ECLIF3.


EBAA launches S.T.A.R.S. programme at EBACE2024

S.T.A.R.S. represents an initiative offering a holistic framework for organisations to develop and seamlessly integrate environmental and social strategies. By aligning with both the Business Aviation Commitment on Climate Change (BACCC) and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, S.T.A.R.S. propels business aviation companies towards a brighter, more responsible future. Holger Krahmer, EBAA Secretary General, emphasised the programme’s leadership role, adding, “EBAA launched S.T.A.R.S. to demonstrate that business aviation is not just committed to sustainability, but it aims to lead in this process through concrete and measurable actions.”

Tier 1 of S.T.A.R.S. involves self-measurement and writing a policy for continuous progress towards environmental and social sustainability goals. Policies should address areas such as greenhouse gas emissions reporting, waste and water usage, non-discrimination, a new code of conduct, and data privacy and security. Tiers 2 and 3 are the implementation stages. They are modelled to be compliant with global international standards. Companies interested in registering for the programme can find out more on the S.T.A.R.S. website:


People: Didier Kayat becomes Chairman and CEO of the Daher Group

Victor CEOs Toby Edwards (left) and James Farley (right)

Daher’s Board of Directors recently appointed Didier Kayat as the Daher Group’s Chairman of the Board, succeeding Patrick Daher – who has been the Chairman since 2016. Didier Kayat retains his current position as the Group’s Chief Executive Office. Olivier Genis, a Daher family-appointed Board Director since 2020, becomes the Group’s Vice President of the Board.

Didier Kayat, who has been the CEO since 2016, supported Patrick Daher from the early 2000s in the company’s development, helping to position it among the top 50 global groups in the aeronautics sector. Kayat joined Daher in 2007 as VP Marketing & Development, moving on to VP Strategy and M&A in 2009. In 2012, he was appointed Executive Vice President of the Group and President of the Nuclear & Energy and Capital Goods divisions.Before joining Daher, Kayat set up the strategy and organizational consulting firm Ylios in 1993, whose clients included Daher.

Didier Kayat graduated from the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris (ESCP) business school in 1987, and began his career in marketing and sales with multinationals, including Henkel, S.C. Johnson and Saatchi & Saatchi.

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