Ampaire Conducts First Airline Flight Trials for a Hybrid-Electric Aircraft
Electric aviation pioneer flies low-emission aircraft between Hawaiian island destinations demonstrating potential for sustainable aviation
Ampaire, a global leader in electric aviation, is the first to complete a demonstration flight of a hybrid-electric aircraft along an actual airline route. The company flew its Electric EEL aircraft on November 22nd on a 20-minute flight from Maui’s Kahului Airport across the island to Hana and back on a single charge.
Ampaire is now flying the route regularly in a one-month demonstration program with Hawai’i-based Mokulele Airlines, one of 15 airlines to have signed a Letter of Interest with the company. It is the first use of a hybrid-electric aircraft under the FAA’s Experimental-Market Survey category, allowing Ampaire to fly with their crew and essential personnel for crew training and other exploratory market activity. The flight trials are supported by Elemental Excelerator, a global climate-tech accelerator.
“We’re following the successful path of hybrid-electric automobiles in transforming ground transportation by taking that model to the sky, ” said Ampaire CEO Kevin Noertker. “By upgrading current aircraft with hybrid-electric propulsion we can enter the market quickly and take advantage of existing infrastructure for fixed-wing aviation.”
The trials serve two purposes, according to Noertker: demonstrating electric aviation’s potential to reduce harmful emissions and evaluating the robustness of Ampaire technology. “We can take lessons from this series of flights and apply them to subsequent, larger aircraft designs already in the works.”
The Electric EEL technology demonstrator used in the Mokulele trials is an upgrade of the popular six-seat Cessna 337 twin-engine piston aircraft. The aircraft has a 300-horsepower piston engine in the rear and a 160 kW-capable electric power unit in front, plus a battery pack carried in an under-fuselage aero-optimized shell. Due to the contribution of the electric power unit, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are reduced by approximately 40-50 percent.
For the flight trials, the only change to ground equipment was the requirement to wire a Mokulele hangar with a 208-volt 3-phase outlet. Ampaire has been working with the Hawai’i Department of Transportation and the Hawaiian Electric Company to explore longer-term infrastructure solutions to support a fleet of hybrid- or fully-electric aircraft.
“The future for regional airlines is electric,” said Stan Little, CEO of Southern Airways which operates one of the largest commuter airlines in the U.S. and owns Mokulele Airlines. “We expect to put hybrid- and all-electric designs into service as soon as possible, and we know other regionals are watching us with great interest.”
“We’re excited to partner with Ampaire to pave a path to electric aviation that unlocks more accessibility to rural and island communities and increases green jobs while invigorating the aviation industry,” says Danielle J. Harris, Director of Mobility Innovation at Elemental Excelerator. “Building a climate-positive aviation industry is about much more than just a plane. It requires rethinking everything from airport infrastructure to pilot behavior, and that’s what this project is really proving.”
“The market for electric aircraft will expand as airlines perceive that electric aviation is not only environmentally desirable but economically advantageous,” said Noertker. “Electricity cost is an order of magnitude less expensive in comparison to fuel, which is the largest cost item for airlines.”
“Ampaire is focused on the regional market where we can provide viable range for typical routes,” he said. “The average regional airline route in the U.S. is less than 500 miles. Upgrading today’s aircraft for electric power is a relatively low-cost, low-risk path to aircraft certification. Then we expect to move on to increasingly efficient and capable clean-sheet designs.” UBS, the Swiss investment bank, forecasts a $178 billion market for hybrid-electric aircraft.
Huawei Records Decline in Profits For 2022 as US Sanctions, China’s Pandemic Impacts Earnings
Chinese leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and smart devices Huawei has reported a decline in profit for 2022, attributing the decline to US sanctions and China’s pandemic controls.
The tech giant company recorded a net profit of 35.6 billion yuan ($5.18 billion), a 69% year-on-year decline, which is reported to be the company’s biggest annual decline since 2011.
Huawei which is one of China’s first global tech brands was caught up in China-U.S. tensions over technology and security. This prompted U.S. officials to disclose that the company is a security risk and might enable Chinese spying.
The U.S., therefore, banned U.S. companies from doing business with Huawei, cutting off its access to chips and software such as Google services for its smartphones, also preventing it from selling its telecommunications gear to U.S. customers.
This move by the U.S. affected Huawei’s smartphone business which was once the number one in the world. Huawei’s consumer business which houses its smartphone unit, fell more than 11% to 214.5 billion yuan in 2022, a significant decline from 2021. However, the company recorded a huge profit after it sold off its Honor brand to a consortium of over 30 agents and dealers to keep its budget smartphone unit alive.
Speaking on the business operations for the year 2022, Huawei’s chief financial officer Sabrina Meng said, “The year 2022 is a year where Huawei pulled ourselves out of a crisis mode. U.S. restrictions are now our new normal and we’re back to business as usual.”
Also commenting is the rotating Chairman at Huawei Eric Xu who said, “In 2022, a challenging external environment and non-market factors continued to take a toll a Huawei’s operations. In the midst of this storm, we kept racing ahead, doing everything in our power to maintain business continuity and serve our customers”.
Investors King understands that Huawei has since sought to diversify its business into new areas such as cloud computing and automotive after a few years following U.S. sanctions that took a toll on the company’s revenue. For now, these businesses seem to have paid off as Huawei’s enterprise business revenues in 2022 grew 30% from a year earlier to 133.2 billion yuan ($19.4 billion).
Google Removes 5.2 Billion Ads, Over 4.3 Million Ads Restricted for Violating its Policies
Giant tech company Google in its Ads Safety Report 2022 revealed it removed 5.2 billion ads, restricted over 4.3 million ads, and suspended over 6.7 million advertiser accounts in 2022 for violating its ads policies.
The company also stated that it has blocked and restricted ads from serving over 1.57 billion publisher pages across over 1,43,000 publisher sites compared to 63,000 in 2021.
Reports reveal that the 5.2 billion ads that were removed violated Google’s policy which includes misleading financial ads, dangerous products, and services, trademark violations, counterfeit goods, sensitive events about the Russian-Ukraine war, etc.
On the other hand, the over 4.3 million ads contained unacceptable content such as copyrights, alcohol, financial services, healthcare and medicines, adult content, gambling, local legal requirements, and restricted businesses.
Speaking on the report, Google Ads safety and privacy director Alejandro Borgia said, “Bad actors use online advertising to cause harm. We are committed to keeping you safe online by building products that are secure by default, private by design and put you in control. This promise extends to your online ad experience, which is why we are committed to blocking or removing bad advertisements.
“To create safe ads for users, we have updated 29 advertiser and publisher policies. This policy creation cycle is continuous and as we detect new issues that are emerging on the internet, we are constantly refining our policies and creating new policies when necessary. We will continue to invest in policies our team experts and enforcement technology to stay ahead of potential threats”.
Investors King understands that Google is also rolling out an Ads transparency center or a searchable hub for all ads from verified advertisers where users can see what they have run on the platform, the formats, and more.
It is interesting to note that there have been incessant complaints from users stating that Google’s search results are increasingly stuffed with paid ads, and they expressed concerns that spam sites are getting better at pushing themselves up in search results by gaming the company’s algorithms. Users disclosed that using the site was becoming less helpful and more annoying even as it remains the primary tool more than 4 billion people use to search the internet.
Looking ahead into 2023, with the first quarter (Q1) almost over, Google has revealed that it is committed to providing a safe and trustworthy ads experiment for users, which it disclosed is the company’s critical mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. The giant tech company further promises to stay diligent in its efforts to combat abuse across its platform while helping advertisers and publishers grow their businesses.
Nigeria’s EFCC Arrests Olumide “D.O” Olusanya, Founder of Kloud Commerce
Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has taken Dr. Olumide “D.O” Olusanya, the founder of Kloud Commerce, into custody, according to sources.
The EFCC officers reportedly detained Olusanya on Monday while he was in the middle of a meeting at the Lekki offices of Gloopro, one of the business ventures he led. Olusanya’s previous startup, Gloo.ng, was also shut down.
Investors have alleged malfeasance and deceptive practices by Olusanya, who they claim provided false updates on the growth of Kloud Commerce. At least 18 institutional and individual investors had provided capital to the now-shuttered startup.
Former executives and employees who worked with Olusanya at Kloud Commerce had described him as an abrasive founder who presented a positive picture to investors despite scarce progress while continuously demotivating the team he had assembled.
Kloud Commerce had raised USD 765 K in pre-seed funding in 2021 to develop a multi-channel commerce solution for African businesses, starting in Nigeria. However, the startup closed its doors a year later after a prolonged period of questionable management and disputes that left the company crippled for several months.
At the time of publishing this report, Olusanya remains detained, and further clarification on the matter is still pending.
The situation serves as a reminder of the importance of transparency and accountability in the startup ecosystem, where trust and credibility are vital factors for attracting investors and customers.
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