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Issue 05 | 2022




The Gold Standard in Premium Private Aviation

Interviews Mohammed Husain Ahmed, RoyalJet CEO Erika Pearson, President of Boeing Business Jets Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer Mercedes-Benz Group AG Jim Jensen, Founder and CEO Satcom Direct ELITE WINGS MAGAZINE | 1



November | December 2022

NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition

04 2022 NBAA-BACE Highlights 29


29 The luxury helicopter designed for private pilots The Maverick Project

56 33

33 A vision into the “near” future of Bizjets cabin

Interviews Mohammed Husain Ahmed

08 RoyalJet CEO


Erika Pearson

14 President of Boeing Business Jets Jim Jensen

18 CEO and Founder of Satcom Direct Gorden Wagener

24 Chief Design Officer Mercedes-Benz Group AG 08




W W W . E L I T E - W I N G S . C O M

About ELITE WINGS Elite Wings is on a mission of providing timely, structured, validated, unbiased, and relevant business aviation intelligence.



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Any information of a technical nature contained in this document may contain inaccuracies and is subject to change and should never be relied upon for operational use. Copyright © 2022 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission of ELITE WINGS MEDIA is strictly prohibited.


2022 NBAA | BACE

OCTOBER 18-20, 2022



Picture © NBAA

2022 Latest Jets Gulfstream G800 First Display Launched in October 2021, The Ultra longrange Gulfstream G800 combines all the G700 developed advancements with a shorter G650-sized fuselage. The flight test G800 joined an impressive lineup display including a G280, G500, G600 and G650ER, as well as two fully outfitted G700 production test aircraft.

Bombardier Challenger 3500 Entry Into Service Celebration Launched in 2021, Bombardier’s new Challenger 3500 business jet entered service in September of this year. During NBAA-BACE Bombardier celebrated the official delivery to launch customer, Les Goldberg, Chairman, and CEO of Entertainment Technology Partners.

Textron Aviation | Cessna CITATION GEN 2 Textron Aviation displayed its 2022 Citation XLS Gen2 and Citation M2 Gen2. The two new jets feature a new cabin experience with enhanced styling and updated functionalities. ELITE WINGS MAGAZINE | 5

2022 NBAA | BACE Gulfstream Expands Manufacturing Facilities The 262,000 square-foot expansions add dedicated G400 production and wing lines as well as additional material delivery and distribution areas. The expansion also augments ongoing growth at Gulfstream’s wing production facility adjacent to the G400, G500 and G600 manufacturing building.

Honda Aircraft Reveals Upgraded HondaJet Elite II The “HondaJet Elite II” expands the HondaJet model range to 1,547 nm and will introduce Autothrottle and Emergency Autoland capabilities by the end of 2023. The HondaJet Elite II features also a fully redesigned cabin and a new bold Black edition paint scheme.

Bombardier Introduces an “Executive Cabin” for Global 7500 and Global 8000 The new three-workspace configuration features a unique open office concept designed to maximize corporate collaboration, productivity and networking with fellow passengers.

Textron Aviation landed orders from flyExclusive and Fly Alliance flyExclusive has agreed to purchase eight Cessna Citation XLS Gen2, and up to six Citation Longitudes. Fly Alliance placed a firm order for four Citation jets with options for 16 additional aircraft. The first aircraft, a Citation XLS Gen2 will be delivered in 2023. 6 | ELITE WINGS MAGAZINE

2022 NBAA | BACE

Sustainability The 2022 NBAA|BACE was a true showcase of an industry focused on a sustainable future. From utilizing Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) to power more and more efficient aircraft to utilizing renewable, reusable, and recycled products, business aviation stakeholders are focusing on meeting the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to ensure a greener tomorrow for the industry.

Cabin Connectivity The new era of “ like at home or in the office” Internet is becoming a reality in Business Aviation with all connectivity players actively investing in their network, aircraft hardware, and services. At this year’s NBAA-BACE, Gogo announced the completion of its 5G network with the construction of 150-sites, Honeywell announced a new generation of JetWave Satcom system aiming to deliver up to 100 megabits per second, and Viasat demonstrated its KAband network impressive videoconferencing capabilities.

2022 BUSINESS AVIATION MARKET FORECAST “The business aviation industry is greatly benefitting from a wave of first-time users and buyers due in part to changing habits brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Honeywell Aerospace President, Americas Aftermarket, Heath Patrick. “The business aviation sector is expected to recover to 2019 delivery and expenditure levels by 2023, which is much sooner than previously anticipated. Demand for new business jets is as high as we’ve seen it since 2015, and we expect high levels of demand and expenditures for new aircraft for several more years.”



A conversation with Mohammed Husain Ahmed, CEO ROYALJET




hmed has more than 25 years of experience in the government and private sectors in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Before joining RoyalJet, he was the general manager of Abu Dhabi Airports. He also spent 12 years at Global Aerospace Logistics (GAL) where he became vice president for Commercial and Government Affairs. Holding an international license in Air Traffic Control operations from the Airways Corporation, New Zealand, Ahmed is also a board member at the Abu Dhabi government flight-testing facility.


In April this year, you joined RoyalJet as the company’s new CEO, bringing over 25 years of experience in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) aviation sector. How do you see RoyalJet’s role in the UAE economy and regional aviation sector? I am delighted to have become a part of the RoyalJet family. It is an incredible honour for me to lead an organisation dedicated to delivering the UAE leadership’s vision to the world. The country’s leadership has committed itself to support tourism and global trade by investing in building a strong logistics sector. In line with their vision, we are actively looking to expand our operations by adding more aircraft to our fleet to serve our premium clientele. There is high demand for private aviation within the region, and this will grow in the next few years – as people increasingly opt for private charters to save time and travel according to their tailored schedules. We see a certain growth in this sector, especially in the region. RoyalJet plays a vital role in the private aviation sector by catering to the local market and enabling local customers to meet the flight requirement with the highest quality, privacy, and confidentiality, along with an assurance of operating in a safe and secure environment.

The pandemic period was a challenging period for most aviation sectors in the Middle East. How did it impact RoyalJet? And did you start seeing recovery in the region? 2021 was marked as the busiest year for global business jet activity. The Middle East region alone showed some of the strongest growth in business jet demands, notably from the UAE, which was up by 73% compared to 2019. The business aviation market in the Middle East maintained its growth momentum in 2022. Since the recovery period last year, demand has exceeded supply in the premium aviation industry across the region. The overall health of the global private jet market has been going strong, and this growth is expected to reach greater heights in the coming months, especially with the increasing demand for private aviation within the GCC – this includes the upcoming FIFA World Cup.


In 2021, RoyalJet was granted its Air Operator Certificate (AOC) by the Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA), and a European-based BBJ was added to your charter offering. Do you see RoyalJet expanding even further its presence outside of the Middle East region? RoyalJet was granted an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) by the Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA). The process involved in being granted an AOC can be quite lengthy and there are multiple phases and criteria to be met. The granting of this certificate allows RoyalJet Bermuda to conduct commercial operations on Bermuda-registered aircraft managed by the company. The BCAA only grants an AOC to an operator which is fully competent to safely operate the types of aircraft specified in the certificate. In order to be issued this AOC, RoyalJet Bermuda satisfied all BCAA requirements, demonstrating previous conduct and experience, availability of equipment, organization structure, qualified staffing, and sufficient maintenance and other arrangements. This is the Group’s first foreign AOC, and it expands our service offering to our existing customers while helping us continue our growth in the global market. We are always on the lookout for more expansion opportunities. 12 | ELITE WINGS MAGAZINE

Earlier this year, RoyalJet added a 12th BBJ aircraft confirming RoyalJet as the world’s largest BBJ operator. What makes 737-based BBJs an ideal fit for RoyalJet charter offering? The new aircraft's arrival will allow RoyalJet to fly further than before, and it will become the longest-range BBJ in RoyalJet's fleet. Fitted with auxiliary fuel tanks, it will be capable of non-stop flights more than 12 hours in length. The onboard experiences for the aircraft's lucky passengers will also represent some of the best that the skies have to offer. Fitted with a comprehensive right entertainment system, the 23-seat VVIP cabin features both lie-flat seats and a master bedroom with a queen-size bed. Upgraded soundproofing and filtration will also enhance the experience. The 737-based BBJs are an ideal fit for RoyalJet charter offering because it’s a niche market and we are the biggest operator. Besides, there are not too many of those in the region as well. It is also a comfortable, wide-cabin aircraft.

More than just a charter operator, RoyalJet is a full premium private aviation service provider. Can you tell us more about your large portfolio of VIP services offering? At RoyalJet, we provide various customized solutions to our VIP charter customers – from ad hoc charter for one-off flights, to block charter for more significant ongoing requirements, to dedicated turnkey aircraft solutions for heads of state and ultra-high net worth individuals as an alternative to full ownership. The RoyalJet fullservice Fixed Base Operation is located at Abu Dhabi International Airport. The highlight is our award-winning VIP lounge facility, which has been designed to embrace guests in a truly calm and relaxing environment. RoyalJet is also a proud multiple winner of the “World’s Leading Private Jet Charter” category at the annual World Travel Awards and its FBO has won multiple awards for its facilities and services. Our charter service utilizes our industry-leading fleet of aircraft; available in configurations that accommodate between 12 and 52 passengers. The aircraft features unique elements such as full-size bedrooms, private ensuites with shower facilities, high-speed WiFi for screening of high-definition video, and special upgrades to allow passengers to arrive at their destinations fresh and rested.

Our service includes end-to-end care from the moment of booking to departure from VIP lounges to an unmatched onboard experience, to arrival at the final destination. Our team handles all logistics, including departure to or from any airport worldwide.


Talking to Erika Pearson, President Boeing Business Jets

Erika Pearson was named President of Boeing Business Jets in April 2022. She has responsibility for all Commercial and Commercial-Derivative aircraft sales for the entire portfolio of Boeing Commercial Airplanes to Business Jet, Government & Military customers.


Coming from the commercial aviation world and with only a few months spent with Boeing Business Jets. What do you see so far as the biggest difference between BBJ and commercial aviation customers in terms of aircraft acquisition process?

With the recent launch of larger cabin Purpose-built business jets, this market is becoming much closer to the Bizliners one where BBJ still enjoys a large leadership. How do you foresee the Bizliner market evolving in the near future?

There are some key differences. When you are working with an airline, typically it is a multi airplane acquisition, where executives are making decisions that will impact the carrier’s fleet and ultimately its product strategy for the next 20 to 30 years. Within the business jet world, the product is much more bespoke and the customer is likely to have very exacting requirements. That being said, there are many more similarities. In every airplane sale, your customer is interested in the capability, reliability and quality of the product. That’s something that I have enjoyed about leading BBJ, in the sense that despite the intricacies and customization you find with a business jet, it is still built upon the outstanding performance of Boeing’s commercial airplane family.

We welcome the competition, as it ensures that as a business we continue to innovate, but I like our product line-up and what we can bring to our customers when we engage the full strength of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. With Boeing Business Jets we provide our customers with the ultimate cabin experience and the capability of multiple staterooms, restrooms, lounge areas, and more. In addition to the superior size, our airplanes feature low cabin altitude, integrated airstairs for independent ground operations, and flight decks outfitted for intercontinental travel. Again, because our airplanes are based on Boeing’s highperformance commercial models, we are able to deliver the most advanced, capable and reliable airplanes for private air travel.


Getting slots for aircraft and cabin completion has always been a challenge in the Bizliners market. Do you foresee BBJ evolving into more “Turn-Key” solutions and services? I think that’s a strength of the BBJ offering, for those customers who want a simplified acquisition process. While every customer has different requirements, the breadth and depth of the Boeing Company across the entire aerospace industry means that we can offer the full gamut of solutions and services to our customers. Already our BBJ products come with access to world-class Boeing customer support, but we also have a network of suppliers that can support very specific requirements, where needed. We’re proud that we can offer a range of ‘turn-key’ solutions and services if, when and where our customers need them.


The Government market (Including Head of State Transportation) is one of the key markets for BBJ. How does BBJ plan to maintain its leadership in this segment, especially after the end of production of the very popular 747-8? Without a doubt the 747-8 has proven popular among our government customers, with an unrivalled 50 years of program history, but we’ve seen tremendous interest across our entire product portfolio in this sector. Already the BBJ 777 has been extensively utilized across the government market and I am certain the BBJ 777X will continue to ensure our leadership in the widebody space. As the largest and most efficient twin-engine airplane ever, it will provide unrivaled fuel efficiency, range and a more spacious cabin that can be tailored to support our customers’ needs. Additionally, the BBJ 787 family is a great fit for many Head of State customers offering significant space and range increases from the BBJ MAX family.

Since joining Boeing in 1993 as an aerodynamics engineer in the Product Development organization, you had the chance to work in different areas of Boeing’s sales and marketing organization. What does it take to succeed in the aircraft sales field? Having the right products, with the right capabilities, at a compelling price point is the obvious answer and that’s something I have been lucky enough to be able to leverage throughout my three decades at Boeing. However, that doesn’t cover the full scope of what we do. What I think it comes down to are strong relationships, built on a mutual level of trust. Every customer is different and you need to take the time to truly understand their requirements and what is important to them. You also need to be able to honor your commitments through both good and challenging times, be able to look them in the eye when a difficult conversation needs to happen and not shy away from the issues. If you can do that, then the sales process moves from being purely transactional to something that is based on building a successful long-term partnership. ELITE WINGS MAGAZINE | 17

A conversation with Jim Jensen, CEO, and Founder of Satcom Direct. Connecting Business Aviation

and More for 25 Years!


Jim, you are best known as the Inventor of the Global One Number. A true revolution in simplifying Business aircraft connectivity in the 1990s. can you give us a quick overview of the connectivity business landscape during these early years? As an engineer by trade, I had worked in the industry for a while, and as a junior engineer recognized what others hadn’t. In the 1990s, I was researching the latest in satcom and what that meant for the industry and saw that the industry needed a reliable satellite signal to and from business jets. There was a growing need for a single, global provider of communications for aviation. The whole industry had issues that needed addressing. Billing was a mess. An aircraft operator wouldn’t necessarily know how many bills would be received, from which company, or for which sector of the world. Planning budgets was a challenge, to say the least. The infrastructure just hadn’t been developed; aircraft flying at 600mph relied on communication technologies devised for the maritime industry, which typically travels at around 10knots (about 18kmh). The technology literally could not keep up with the customer. 1998 saw the Eureka moment happen as I realized I could solve the problem with Global One Number (GON). This pioneering technology, which received its official patent in 1999, and is still available today and operating on around 7000 aircraft, supported a system that enabled direct dialling to an aircraft’s assigned telephone number while in flight, no matter its global position. Before GON, a caller would have to know where the aircraft was, look up several corresponding numbers, and eventually dial a 15- to 20-digit number to reach the aircraft. The system revolutionized calling aircraft, and two months later, I signed up the first customer. Twenty-five years later, we find ourselves in a very different place.

Satcom Direct was founded around innovation and addressing customers’ needs. How can a company keep that spirit? Several factors have kept the business ahead of the business aviation innovation curve. Satcom Direct is an independently owned business which supports pioneering innovation and enables the company to keep reinvesting, developing and evolving. Innovation is in its DNA, and I like to think that my vision, combined with my team’s capabilities, drives us forward. Two key points are vital in understanding this consistent evolution. SD positions the customer and innovation at the core of everything. Our team builds products that are not just market-driven but customer-inspired, and that invariably means creating products that nobody else does. The company’s strategy for conducting in-house development is a real differentiator from others in the space. It is also worth noting that many of the senior management team hold a PPL or have served in the US Air Force. As aviators, we understand the dynamic aviation environment, and this helps us understand the specific requirements of military, governmental and business aviation, so we can develop products with these needs front and centre. The jets also allow us to test and quality-assess products and services before we deliver them to market. This means we can identify issues, make changes, and validate that the system functions. Being a privately held company also helps us be agile in terms of development and delivery. While the future cannot be predicted, our team of experts has an eye for what will be the next trend and anticipates what is needed to meet and exceed the expectations around this. Today we supply connectivity to more than 7,000 aircraft worldwide, including head-of-state aircraft in more than 20 countries, including a significant portion of US senior government aircraft. When we started, it was all about supporting communications, but we have evolved, and our business is now about delivering connectivity beyond expectations through an eco-system that incorporates infrastructure, data management, hardware manufacturing, software as a service functionality and airtime through our partners. This is all supported by a rigorous cybersecurity proposition.


You are type rated on both Falcon and Citation business jets. How important is it for you to be able to use some of the technologies that Satcom Direct is developing? It is essential, which is why the SD flight department is so important. We consider it as a customer, and consequently, it has been integral to the evolution of product development. The global business has offices in 15 locations, and its corporate flight department operates a busy but small fleet, including a Gulfstream G550. The fleet is fully reliant on the SD Pro® platform for operations. It is used to support business travel and to trial and validate the effectiveness and functionality of new products, which is also a unique SD differentiator. Our SD Pro® operating system communicates accurate, comprehensive data for all phases of flight to the entire operations team. Throughout the mission, from scheduling to post-flight administration, critical information is visible in real time across the team from the centralized platform. The SD Flight Department depends upon SD Pro to safely and securely facilitate all its flight operations; if we depend on it, we know it is good enough to supply to our customers. The PreFlight and PostFlight modules in SD Pro are fundamental to centralized flight operations, enabling


flight departments to manage all phases of flight from a single, synchronized dashboard. The detailed scheduling and automated digital flight log capabilities improve efficiencies across the entire flight operation by optimizing workflows and simplifying communication. This synchronicity improves efficiencies, reduces workload, and can even help save costs. Everything we develop has its genesis in our flight department and how we can better improve efficiency. We are committed to developing products for business aviation, and by being our own customer, we can create solutions that enhance business aviation flight operations and efficiency. We always develop solutions from the ground up which are dedicated to meeting the specific needs of global business aviation operators. We do not repurpose products. SD Pro streamlines operating procedures and enables users to manage assets efficiently in a dynamic aviation landscape. We are committed to innovating products and systems that optimize workflows and simplify communications across all parts of the flight operation, to effectively define new standards for business aviation flight management. We know how valuable that is, so we create products that enable our customers to do the same.

In 2002, the company expanded to Military and government users. How are these customers’ needs different from SD business aviation customers? These customers have particular needs and critically are often operating in dynamic, remote environments, or locations where weather and topography are challenging. Yet the customers still need reliable, consistent, secure connectivity to communicate during mission-critical situations. These military and government customers rely on SD to deliver a complete, secure connectivity pathway from when the signal leaves the satellite to end user receipt. SD Government which supports this part of the business, streamlines what can be complex acquisition processes to ensure we are delivering exactly what the customer needs. This is buoyed up by 24/7/365 customer support and service provision delivered by those who have worked in these specific organizations – they understand how important it is to deliver the best-in-class service efficiently and reliably. Our SD Government division represents an independent, agnostic integration of multiple satellite bands and network solutions for those operating in the most challenging environments, ensuring that military and government customers remain seamlessly and safely connected at all times. It is the operating environment that is the key differentiator. With this in mind, we provide a broad set of distinct services that deliver the world’s most extensive portfolio of global narrowband and wideband services in support of multiple types of requirements, such as Interactive Services; Continuity of Operations (COOP); Broadcast Satellite Services; Direct Customer, Steady State, and Emergency Responder Operations; and Fleet & Asset Tracking and Reporting Services. We add unique value as our secure terrestrial network interconnects Inmarsat's infrastructure to its global core Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) network. The network supports Nonclassified Internet Protocol Router/ Secret Internet Protocol Router (NIPR/SIPR) services over the Inmarsat Global Xpress and BGAN networks. It enables the Department of Defense (DoD) to deploy globally with a robust information assurance posture.

we are innovators, which is why we now hold 18 technology patents. This is a testament to our pioneering spirit and core DNA of creating services that suit the specific requirements of our customers. Equipment size reduction is having a big impact on the business, which is not an issue for commercial aircraft. Previously it was only the large aircraft that could carry the weight of an antenna, and the equipment needed to be connected, but just as we saw with the cell phone movement, equipment is becoming smaller. In response to increased data demand, we’re pleased to have delivered the industry’s first purpose-built business aviation antenna series. The Plane Simple® antennas consider the unique needs of business aviation. The first antenna, a tail-mounted Ku-band variant, connects with Intelsat FlexExec, the industry’s first dedicated business aviation airtime service. We’ve also moved towards a data management model to better manage aircraft operations. Aircraft are flying digital platforms, and the ability to transfer big data, analyze it and digitize flight ops from first flight to end of life makes managing the asset paper free, more efficient, and much more convenient for the flight department. It also retains asset value. With our open architecture development philosophy, we are creating the business aviation flight department of the future – this is quite different to commercial operations.

There are a lot of activities in Aviation connectivity mostly driven by increasing commercial aviation cabin connectivity adoption. How do you see that impacting the Business Aviation connectivity landscape? There is often an exchange between the two aviation communities, but at SD, we are inspired not by other sectors but by the needs of our very specific marketplace. We design our products from the ground up for our customers and do not repurpose existing technology. It is not in our DNA to try and repurpose; ELITE WINGS MAGAZINE | 21

Looking forward, we also expect more consolidation between the airtime providers, which will bring new opportunities. SD is investing in GEO and LEO antennas to support the move towards multi-orbit connectivity offerings. Our capabilities in terms of routing, modems and infrastructure will enable us to optimize the different multi-orbit networks, which we believe will support the future of connectivity in aviation.

An engineer by trade, Jim is a visionary in the truest sense, anticipating what future customers and market segments need before they even know it is possible. His enthusiasm for the customers and his willingness to invest in company research and development has established SD as a leader in satellite communications and connectivity for aviation, marine, government, and mobile customers. 22 | ELITE WINGS MAGAZINE

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Mercedes-Benz Design Bringing Sensual Purity

Into the skies


Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer Mercedes-Benz Group AG answers Elite Wings Questions. We often hear about Mercedes-Benz Sensual Purity design philosophy. Can you give us an overview of what this philosophy encapsulates?

Important brands are characterised by their own special style – that’s what makes the difference. The style of our house, which we have continued to refine over the past 15 years, is our design philosophy of Sensual Purity. It is our aesthetic soul and the core of our brand DNA. With it, we have created independent product personalities and given all Mercedes brands an unmistakable appearance. Our design language uniquely combines beauty with the extraordinary. To create tension, for example, we link opposites – this deliberate bipolarity of emotion and intelligence characterises our designs. For us Sensual Purity is a leitmotif, but not a rigid frame. Of course, we pick up on current trends and developments. At the same time, we establish new trends ourselves with our design. The luxurious interior of the Airbus Corporate Helicopters "ACH145 Mercedes-Benz Style" is since 2011 a testimonial to Mercedes-Benz's distinctive design. Tell us more about this project. Already at the beginning of the 2000s, it was foreseeable that more and more attention would be paid to the interior of a vehicle. The times spent in it became longer and it became clear that a vehicle

interior will not just be a place where you control a machine and get passengers from A to B. All human needs had to be increasingly taken into account in this room – to gain food, to communicate, to be entertained, to inform themselves and also to use the time to work without neglecting the requirements for safe driving. A beguiling exterior design has the task of awakening desirability, but of course the interior also has to strengthen the relationship between driver and a product for a long time. It can also be said that the external shape of a vehicle is at the very beginning of this relationship. It represents the first level of relationship through its beauty and aesthetics between user and product. In addition to beauty, the inner life must also have everything to strengthen the relationship by striving for a balance between technical, safety-relevant, production-relevant and functional necessities and the generation of human well-being. This was also the leading principle in the design of our first helicopter interior. Even with helicopters, the requirements that users have changed considerably. As with our later design for the aircraft cabin for Lufthansa Technik, the focus here was on the development of a holistic design concept and not on the completely isolated view of individual assemblies. This resulted in a concept that was also convincing to the numerous customers of the final 145 series “Mercedes-Benz Style”. We are still in close contact with our colleagues at AIRBUS Helicopters and discuss possible further developments.


At the 2016 Monaco Yacht Show, MercedesBenz and Lufthansa Technik showcased a joint VIP Bizliner cabin concept. How were you able to translate the sensual purity design philosophy into such a large cabin? The aircraft interior was the result of intensive cooperation between the two companies. The challenge for the designers at Mercedes-Benz was to develop a groundbreaking aesthetic that set completely new accents. The interpretation of the design philosophy of Sensual Purity created by us for an aircraft interior was in the foreground here. Dynamic lines and shapes have inspired people since time immemorial. They convey security and well-being. Feelings that you don’t want to miss, especially on a plane. So we left well-trodden paths by leaving the classic division into floor, seating, side walls and ceiling design. Instead, the interior dresses the cabin organically and homogeneously like a protective DNA helix and takes the passenger to the center. This formal principle made it possible to realize our conception of design even in a large aircraft cabin. It was necessary to develop an all-encompassing basic gesture in which the individual functional requirements can be integrated and not treated completely independently of each other. A completely unexpected and spectacular architecture could thus be created. Also in dealing with color, surface and material, a clear reference to our understanding of how we increase the sensual perception in space could be created. Human perception arises from the experience of contrasts, which we staged through light-dark, smooth-structured and softhard pairings. But technical innovations have also been incorporated into a large number of smart detail solutions – for example, the formal integration of screens. We were particularly proud of the fact that the developers at Lufthansa Technik succeeded in achieving a complete feasibility for production.


Mercedes-Benz Design sets new impulses in luxury and satisfies a desire for beauty and the extraordinary.



Mercedes-Benz is one of the rare automotive manufacturers that can claim a true "Air Mobility" experience. Do you foresee Mercedes-Benz transforming into a holistic luxury mobility brand of the future? Bringing contemporary luxury to areas away from the automobile – that is the goal of Mercedes-Benz Style.

Gorden Wagener is one of the most influential automotive designers in recent times, he heads the global design division of Mercedes-Benz and all its brands since 2008 and has been the company’s Chief Design Officer since 2016. His goal is to build the most desirable cars in the world for the brands of the Mercedes-Benz Group. Wagener approaches this ambition with his design philosophy of “Sensual Purity,” which defines the specific luxury of the different brands.





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• info@airexpo.aero

HILL HX50 The luxury light helicopter designed with private pilots in mind.


Although the HX50 will be entirely factory-built, it will be delivered to customers with an amateur-built airworthiness approval. What’s the advantage of this approach over conventional fully certified helicopters? There has never been a helicopter built specifically to meet the needs and wants of the private pilot. The dualrole model that Hill has chosen allows an aircraft to be specifically built and tailored to the requirements of both the private market and the commercial one. The HX50 was designed with the luxury and comfort for that private pilot in mind, accomplishing it in a time frame and at a price point that makes sense. There are three main benefits of the permit to fly/ amateur built category. It allows you to bring a helicopter to market much quicker because you don’t need to deal with the long and unpredictable certification process. This means that the helicopter can reiterate more frequently. The typical life cycle of a helicopter before it gets a face lift or redesign is twenty or more years. However, with Hill’s approach you can bring a new model to market every 5-7 years with the latest features and updates. The second benefit is that the owner needs to participate in 51% of the build of the eligible parts of the aircraft at

the factory. This is being done through what we are calling the Build School. This is a 10-day in-depth safety course in which the owner will be hands-on, learning about their aircraft as they go through a carefully choreographed process on the production line of assembling their helicopter, but being taught about it at the same time. This will result in much safer pilots and much better owner operators. The final important factor of the dual role model is cost. The time it takes to bring a new aircraft to market directly affects the cost of that aircraft. The longer it takes the more it will cost. The costs associated with full certification directly affect the purchase price as well. Using this much simpler and quicker way to market has a direct impact on the cost of the HX50, which means that the purchase of a luxury helicopter is once again affordable.


The HX50 is predicted to be very successful with the owner/operator community. Do you foresee your innovative approach attracting even more first-time private owners to the helicopter market? Designing a helicopter that meets all the needs and wants of a private owner at a price that makes sense has other ripple effects as well. There is a whole market of people who have never thought of owning a light helicopter because it didn’t have the same luxury and aesthetic appeal as their high-end vehicles. With the attention to comfort, luxury, design, and elegance that Jason Hill has put into the HX50 we see it introducing a whole new group of people to the idea of private helicopter ownership. In a big rupture with conventional helicopter OEMs. Hill Helicopter is not also designing the airframe but also the avionics suite and the GT50 turbine engine for the HX50 platform. Why do you see the need to develop these technologies in-house rather than relying on established suppliers? Vertical integration is really the key to the entire success of Hill Helicopters. What vertical integration really means is that you take raw materials and bring them in the back door of the factory, you add maximum value to those materials on the shop floor, and then you ship a premium


product out the front door. When you can buy products in bulk in their raw state, and you personally add that value to those materials it means that you are cutting out the extremely high mark-ups that that are put on aerospace grade components. This also means that you can control the timeline of producing these products, as well as fine tuning the application specifically for your application. Most glass avionics suites are designed for complex fixed wing IFR flight. This doesn’t translate very well when you want to fly a VFR helicopter and there is a whole different set of wants for that digital display. Building the UI and UX in house allows us to design things from scratch to achieve exactly the way we want them to work and how we would like the pilot to interact with that display. This means we can simplify the pilot user interface and in turn create a more enjoyable and safer flying experience. The GT50 is also key to the program. Being able to design an engine in house not only allows you to control the costs but also the specs and performance. You can package everything together and make sure that it works seamlessly without friction. You can also tune that engine to have the exact performance required for your specific aircraft to ensure you get the result you want. This also means again that you control the supply chain for everything on that engine. We get to ensure that the costs are not inflated and that parts are readily available.

Hill Helicopter’s amateur-built certification path is aimed at expediting the introduction of modern and safety-enhancing technologies to the light helicopter market. Can you give us a quick overview of some of the HX50 game-changing features?

get out and explore that playground that is waiting to be explored. Bringing not only the purchase price down through vertical integration but also the long term operating cost down through longer life and on condition components means that you are going to be able to get out there and enjoy your adventures more often.

The features that we feel are game-changing on the HX50 are the speed, luxury, comfort, size, performance, user interface, and cost. The extremely low drag profile of the airframe means that you are going to be comfortably cruising at around at 140kts. This is game-changing for helicopters in this class and will mean that you can get to where you need to go much quicker, which ultimately leads to lower costs. The beautiful design of the interior as well as the exterior coupled with the comfort and ergonomic design of the cockpit mean that you will be flying not only in style but in comfort. For those longer flights that take you several hours you will hop out on the other end feeling refreshed and ready for the next adventure. The user interface with the HCD (Hill Digital Cockpit) will be quick, simple, and intuitive. The centre IPI display along with the turn puck mean that right at your fingertips you will be able to make all your major functionality changes. Having the power in the helicopter to take a full load of friends or family, your gear, and enough fuel for the mission and still go land on top of that 10,000 ft mountain means that you will really be able to

Hill Helicopter is working extensively with the U.K.’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to validate the new certification approach. Have you engaged other authorities to support the export customers of the HX50?


The permit to fly or amateur built category is not new. It hasn’t really been utilised in this way by helicopters before, but it has been successfully done in the fixed wing sector for a long time. Hill Helicopters is not only working with the UK CAA but has engaged the other major authorities to ensure acceptance by their regulators as well. Since the HX50 is being built to the full EASA CS part 27 certified standard, which is the highest standard in the world for certified helicopters, it meets the standards of all the other authorities around the world. This is something that Hill is actively engaged in and will continue to work on as the prototypes do their test flying and complete all their necessary tests. Hill has a team that is responsible for certification of the aircraft in all the territories it has orders for.


THE MAVERICK PROJECT A Vision Into the “Near” future of Bizjets Cabin


The Maverick futuristic concept was developed by Rosen Aviation, KiPcreating, and Sky-Style to envisage how cutting-edge technology and aesthetic design could be blended 35 | ELITE WINGS MAGAZINE


Rosen Aviation Founded in 1982, Rosen Aviation has grown to become the gold standard in the global aviation display industry. From its Eugene, Oregon facility, Rosen is the global leader in its three areas of business: aviation displays, sensor technologies and cabin electronics. Last year the company launched a complete line of OLED displays including 65” and 77” units in development. The thinness of OLED screens allows for unparalleled display mounting flexibility in business jets cabin where usable space is at a premium.

KiPcreating Kipcreating is a boutique visualization studio passionate about crafting storytelling visuals. With 15+ years in the 3D visualization industry, Kipcreating’s team of designers, 3D experts, and software developers use strategic digital innovation to create the most realistic animations, renderings, and VR experiences.


SKYSTYLE SkyStyle is a design studio focused on advanced aviation conceptual design, aimed at bringing innovative vision to redesign the executive aviation world. Working with Aviation giants such as Boeing, Sky-Style has been at the forefront of executive interior design and continues to test the boundaries of what’s possible in an aircraft cabin.



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