Light Sport Weight Exemption
After many months we can finally announce that Vickers Aircraft has received our FAA weight exemption for the Wave™ LSA. This will allow a MTOW of 1850lbs, so we can incorporate additional safety features, that will set the Wave apart and help us achieve our long-term goal of moving aviation forward. Some of these safety features include, water manoeuvring thruster, CrossOver Landing gear, increased horsepower and the required fuel capacity to ensure the Wave™ is operated safely and can perform its mission.
We have designed the Wave™ for this increased MTOW and have incorporated the required additional structure. This sets up the Wave™ to transition into the LSA rule changes that are on the horizon, that will include adjustments to the LSA weight rule.
We are very excited by this announcement as we move close to flying the Wave™.
The aviation industry is known for its high barriers to entry. While everyone sees the final product (the aircraft) out there flying, what they don’t see are the years of work that go into the company structure behind it. A structure that requires Vickers to not only meet business regulations but also health and safety, environmental, design, flight and manufacturing criteria as well as aviation authority regulations prior to the first aircraft even operating.
With this in mind, the last 12 months has seen Vickers not only progress the aircraft design but also move into an employment phase to bring in the necessary people to meet all of our regulatory requirements. This has seen the doubling of the Engineering (Design) Team numbers and the employment of a Quality and Systems Manager.
The increased staffing levels allowed Engineering to move into the stress testing phase of the design programme; a phase that effectively proves the strength of the design. This phase includes physical coupon testing to demonstrate Vickers can manufacture the parts to the design strengths and to verify our structural analysis. This phase has to be complete before the flight test aircraft is manufactured to ensure it operates as expected.
This period has also seen the finishing touches being put into the manuals and processes that ensures Vickers meets all of its regulatory requirements but in typical Vickers fashion, we are using technology to do it smarter and quicker. Vickers shall have a paperless work environment from the Engineering Office to the Manufacturing Facility to the Fleet Support Office. Ensuring that all data is generated and stored electronically cuts down on development time, physical storage space while providing improved levels of control of the build of individual parts and aircraft. The use of portable electronic devices such as phones and tablets, allow staff to directly monitor, using IoT, the manufacturing equipment such as ovens and freezers. This also enables the approval of work and the ordering of parts and materials electronically.
The benefits to the customer are that our Fleet Support Officer can quickly retrieve this data both onsite and offsite, immediately understanding the configuration of any aircraft we have built. This provides accurate and fast response times to customers anywhere in the world. There will be no more needing to wait until the office opens in the morning.
This period has also seen increased discussions with the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAA) and the Federal Aviation Authority of the USA (FAA), ensuring a common understanding between all three parties of the path to market that the Wave™ shall take. These conversations allow all parties to plan in advance and to remove any surprises that can arise along the way. Vickers’ work with these two authorities accumulated in Vickers being invited to present on the LSA industry at the recent 21st FAA Asia-Pacific Bilateral Partners Conference.
The upcoming period will not only see the continued development of the Wave™, but behind the scenes will see work completed on the issuing of our CAA Manufacturing Certificate. We will also obtain CAA approval of our Flight Test Programme and continue to build the business structure behind the Wave™, to ensure we hit the ground running.
The challenge of meeting these aviation entry barriers and the challenge of building an exciting new amphibious aircraft, are challenges that we happily accept because after all, “if it was easy, everyone would be doing it”.
Finally, Vickers have some new Strategic Partners to announce so watch for our next update later in 2019, you will not want to miss it!