New aircraft opportunities

New aircraft opportunities amid aerospace industry woes have emerged from Vertical Aerospace. Michael Cervenka traces his interest in engineering back to his grandfather’s influence. “He was an organ builder and had me sorting out screws on his workshop floor when I was 18 months old,” he says.

That interest literally took off. He is now the boss of Bristol-based Vertical Aerospace and has progressed to electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) machines. With the potential to be quiet and economical, these aircraft have been touted as the next big thing in passenger aircraft.

Vertical is working on the VA-1X, an aircraft intended to fly between regions. That regional emphasis matters as eVTOL machines have often been promoted as air taxis, whizzing around our cities under the banner of “urban air mobility” (UAM).

New aircraft opportunities

Michael Cervenka says pilot-free aircraft are a long way off

New aircraft opportunities could mean electric flight for everyone

Some even suggest these vehicles could scoop up passengers and whisk them along pre-arranged flight corridors without a pilot. Vertical dismisses this as a fantasy. “Our aircraft will be heavily automated,” says Mr Cervenka. “But both regulations and the public will require a pilot for years to come.”

An automatic response to an obstruction on a landing pad below will pull VA-1X up and away from a collision. However, people still want to see a highly trained aviator in charge of their flight. Using multiple propellers that point skywards for take-off and then rotate to tilt forward to fly horizontally, the VA-1X aims to carry four passengers and a pilot over short distances more cheaply than a helicopter.

Airlines operate within a framework of strict regulation, so how will this entirely new category of machine pass the scrutiny of international safety bodies? Mr Cervenka says he is working closely with UK and European regulators.

Excellence in engineering

The technology behind VA-1X has been tested at a remote airfield in Wales using a prototype called Seraph. This is a piloted black box surrounded by six arms mounting rotor blades. These new design ideas are helping create new aircraft opportunities that help climate change.

Seraph’s chunky appearance belies its role in proving the systems that should keep VA-1X’s eight electric motors pointing in the right direction. And if a motor fails Seraph can still hover and land.

With a winged design, as opposed to some of the wingless flying car proposals in the eVTOL world, Vertical’s VA-1X gains lift. So, the wings take pressure off its electric power source, which is derived from a car battery. Vertical employs 25 ex-Formula 1 engineers and a battery engineer from Jaguar Land Rover.

The company claims its aircraft will be 30 times quieter than a helicopter. In theory it will make more use of existing heliports where the frequency of landings is restricted by noise regulations.

It spies a market for travel between locations not served by high-speed rail networks and regional airlines. Regional connectivity is the name of this game.

Connecting people with places

“We will offer an ability to connect places that are not well connected today,” says Mr Cervenka, who is eyeing up a London-to-Brighton service, a route notorious for rail delays and traffic jams.

Covid has slashed airline passenger numbers. It is important for the aerospace industry to investigate new aircraft opportunities. So, Mr Cervenka reckons new purchases of large airliners are off the menu. But airlines might use eVTOL flights from a major airport into the centre of a city to attract business or first-class flyers as part of their fare.

The 150mph (240km/h) VA-1X will need a full battery recharge every 100 miles, but a 25-mile short hop from an airport to city centre would allow for a fast recharge and quick turnaround.

Pilot free aircraft

Vertical Aerospace is testing technology on its Seraph aircraft

The legal view about new aircraft opportunities

David Tait, a lawyer studying emerging technologies for the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority, says he expects eVTOL craft to gain regulatory approval for certain services. However, he also pours cold water on the wilder promises of flying taxis.

“Consumer on-demand services are a long way away,” he says, citing the air traffic management challenges of putting too many machines into the air above a major city.

Designs such as the octo-engined VA-1X have no single point of failure, unlike a helicopter where the loss of rotor blades or power can be catastrophic.

“Our view is that eVTOL should be at least as safe as existing vehicles,” Mr Tait says. “Our expectation is that these will be quieter, cleaner and safer.”

Approximately 300 eVTOL projects are under way around the globe and Germany’s Lilium is one of the most advanced, attracting engineers from Boeing and Airbus.

New aircraft opportunities are the future of air travel

Its distinctive eVTOL machine has 36 electric engines buried inside slender white wings and tail planes. These are ducted fans, sucking in air and blowing it out in the manner of a jet engine but without mixing it up with fuel. This mass of fans creates a strong current that will push the little five-seater jet to 300km/h (186mph) and give the pilot control over direction.

Remo Gerber, its operational chief, says that despite this radical design Lilium is “following a classic aviation approach”, with safety dictating design features such as the Kevlar shell around the fan blades, ensuring that if a blade flies off it will be contained within the tough material.

A technology demonstrator flew at its base outside Munich in 2019 and the larger production machine is intended to carry four passengers and a pilot like the VA-1X. These light passenger loads reflect the power limitations of electric motors.

Mr Gerber shares the view that UAM has been oversold: “We struggle with UAM. We don’t see the benefits.” He argues that very short distances make no sense for eVTOL. The final section of the trip still will have to be made by road. Lilium is also focussing on the regional transport market.

European ideas

Lilium plans a regional network based around Dusseldorf and Cologne airports in Germany’s densely populated North Rhine-Westphalia area. The idea is to connect smaller cities such as Aachen and Munster to the airports via Lilium aircraft by 2025.

It is also designing eVTOL airports – what it calls “vertiports”. With a relatively small footprint these present an affordable alternative to airports and railway stations. These could link up a region with hundreds of daily flights and multiple high-frequency flights from different locations, and would carry more passengers than rival first-class rail services at equivalent fares.

Vertical say, manufacturing will see components such as the VA-1X’s cockpit displays arriving to be integrated in a final assembly. So, Mr Cervenka’s very early experience putting many parts of a machine together may still pay dividends.

IT support with business development in mind

We are not experts in new aircraft opportunities. Where our clients benefit working with us is future planning. What do we mean by that? We are nearly at the end of the year. What are your plans for 2021? Are you moving office? Are you opening a new branch? Do you need to upgrade your systems? Are your systems secure?

Contact the LIS Help Desk to speak to one of our Support Technicians. We will undertake a complete IT audit of your business. Work with you on your future goals and make recommendations to improve your systems. Whether you need IT Support, Telecoms, cloud services or security, we are here to help. We can’t fly planes, but we can help you get to your business destination and achieve your goals.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#Aerospace #PassengerAircraft #LooksABitTerminatorToUs

Pointless emails

They’re not just irritating; they have a massive carbon footprint. Above all, more than 64 million pointless emails are sent in Britain every day. Along with clogging up our inboxes they are also damaging the environment.

Stop! Don’t send that pointless email

Don’t offer thanks or send a jokey message. If you do, you will add to your carbon footprint. Be rude, say nothing – and save the planet. An article published by David Molloy, BBC Technology Reporter, explores the effects of pointless emails on the environment.

A new study commissioned by energy company OVO reckons Brits send more than 64m unnecessary emails every day, and that if every adult in the UK sent one fewer “thank you” email a day we would save more than 16,433 tonnes of carbon a year – equivalent to 81,152 flights to Madrid or taking 3,334 diesel cars off the road.

These are the sorts of stats beloved of green energy companies trying to get a bit of free publicity. But it’s all true, according to Mike Berners-Lee, a professor in the environment centre at Lancaster University, author of How Bad are Bananas: The Carbon Footprint of Everything, and brother of Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the web. True in very general terms anyway: he probably won’t vouch for all those flights.

Pointless emails

Do you really need to send the next email? Inside Facebook’s Lulea data centre in Sweden.
Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian

Think before you click send

How can one little pointless email destroy the planet, I ask Mike Berners-Lee, who advised OVO on the research. “When you are typing, your computer is using electricity,” he says. “When you press send it goes through the network, and it takes electricity to run the network. And it’s going to end up being stored on the cloud somewhere, and those data centres use a lot of electricity. We don’t think about it because we can’t see the smoke coming out of our computers, but the carbon footprint of IT is huge and growing.”

The electricity I grasp; the cloud is a bit beyond me. “It’s made up of enormous data centres all over the world,” Berners-Lee explains. “They are burning through huge amounts of electricity.” Super-efficient communication and storage is killing us. Every silver lining has a cloud.

In addition, Berners-Lee admits the numbers are “crude estimates”, but says they are a useful way of making a general point. “When we take a small action to cut carbon,” he says, “it’s a message to yourself that you care about the climate emergency.”

Does he blame his brother for all this? He laughs. “Many good things have come out of the web,” … but only if we use it selectively.

Top 10 most pointless emails sent

  1. Thank you
  2. Thanks
  3. Have a good weekend
  4. Received
  5. Appreciated
  6. Have a good evening
  7. Did you get/see this?
  8. Cheers
  9. You too
  10. LOL

How LIS help with email support?

Email support is one of the main channels of customer support for most companies today. The majority of customers say that email support is a preferred way to communicate with clients and suppliers.

Do you have a new member of staff? Has a team member left? We support our clients by setting up new email addresses and removing old email accounts. Fed up with receiving junk mail? Our clients benefit from our anti-spam service. Control who you wish to block and make sure junk mail is a thing of the past. Are you secure? We provide anti-virus solutions that help stop outside attacks.

In conclusion, make sure your email systems are set up efficiently and are kept secure. Contact the LIS Help Desk to discuss your options or to book an IT audit.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#Emails #ITSupport #AntiSpam #AntiVirus

How to clean your laptop

Welcome to our guide on how to clean your laptop. Given how our hands are the easiest means of bringing germs and viruses into our homes, and how our tech is touched by us every day, it’s vital that we go about cleaning it properly.

So, we’re going to show you how to clean your laptop. It is important to get rid of debris that’s been residing between your keys since ancient times. As well as sanitizing it so you don’t need to worry about spreading bacteria between your hands, your tech and around your home and office.

Before starting, remember to wash your hands (and dry them, of course!). Now turn off your laptop and unplug it from the mains.

How to clean your laptop

Businessman cleans and disinfects his laptop in the office, using disposable wipes. Credit: Getty Images

Vacuum-clean your laptop

Hoover your laptop

To get rid of dust you should vacuum-clean every part of your laptop apart from the screen using the brush end of the vacuum cleaner. LCD screens are fragile and would be scratched by the brush bristles. They need to be cleaned more gently than the rest of your laptop. We’ll get round to cleaning the screen later.

Make sure you use the vacuum cleaner on a low setting. You’re just picking up dust and small bits of debris here and setting it too powerful may damage your keyboard keys.

As well as the keyboard, make sure to vacuum any speaker holes and vents on your laptop. These can build up a lot of dust that’s been pushed out from inside your laptop over the years. Keeping them clear is vital to your laptop running nice and cool.

Clean your laptop keyboard

Wipe your keyboard

The next step to a clean laptop is a clean keyboard. Now that you’ve vacuumed your keyboard, it should be dust-free and ready for more thorough cleaning. You could start by using some cleaning putty. A sticky, rubberised substance that you roll over your keyboard to pick up stubborn particles and debris stuck between your keys. You should also roll this putty over the speaker holes on your laptop.

Once the putty has worked its magic, lightly dampen (not drench) a microfibre cloth and wipe your laptop keyboard down with it. Apply more pressure to any stains or crusty bits that may be stuck to your keys.

Clean your laptop ports

Clean your laptop ports

Cleaning putty is also great at cleaning your laptop’s ports, which are another hotbed of debris and easily overlooked dirt. Squish the cleaning putty into your laptop’s various ports to pick out the debris from them. Whether or not you used the cleaning putty, you should also get a Q-tip or cotton bud stick. Moisten it in isopropyl alcohol, then stick it into your ports and swab around inside them.

The alcohol-moistened stick will serve the dual role of pulling debris out of the ports and sanitizing them. Don’t worry about moisture in the ports, as isopropyl evaporates almost instantly.

Isopropyl is one of the most widely used solvents for sanitizing and disinfecting surfaces. You don’t necessarily need to use the 99% strength stuff either. 75% isopropyl can be just as effective at killing bacteria. Because the purified water it’s diluted with acts as a catalyst in breaking down microorganism cell wells. It also takes longer to evaporate, increasing the exposure time between it and the microorganism.

Clean your laptop screen

Wipe your screen

The screen is one of the more sensitive parts of your laptop. So slightly different rules apply when it comes to cleaning it. Moisten a microfibre cloth with some isopropyl alcohol and gently wipe the screen in circular or straight-line motions.

Note that if you have a screen with an oleophobic layer (generally touchscreens), then you shouldn’t use isopropyl as this may deteriorate that layer over time. For these kinds of screens, use a mild non-alcoholic screen cleaner instead.

Once the isopropyl has evaporated, give your screen an extra wipe with a screen cleaner like Ecomoist or WHOOSH! Both are alcohol-free screen cleaners designed to get rid of smudges. They also have anti-static qualities that will help the screen repel dust for longer.

Sanitize your laptop

That isopropyl isn’t just for your screen. It’s an all-round surface cleaner that you should now use to wipe down the rest of your laptop. Moisten a microfibre cloth in isopropyl and wipe down your laptop all over – keyboard, speaker holes, vents, ports, you-name-it.

The high alcohol content in the isopropyl will help remove stubborn stains and smears on your laptop’s surface. Rub a little harder on tougher stains and the alcohol should help them come away. The isopropyl will evaporate soon after wiping and once it does you can rest assured that your laptop is clean and germ-free.

It’s a good idea to clean your laptop regularly, particularly in these uncertain times. As an extra precaution during the covid-19 outbreak, you should always wash your hands before sitting down at your laptop. Especially after coming in from the outside world and wipe it down with isopropyl alcohol at least once a week.

Spring clean your IT system

We can help you keep your IT system free from bugs and viruses. Our clients benefit from our anti-virus and anti-spam solutions. Keep your office systems secure and up to date with Office 365 and our Security Package. Are you fed up with your old technology or slow Internet speeds? It may be time for an upgrade.

Contact the LIS Help Desk to speak to one of our knowledgeable support technicians. We are more than your IT partner, consider us your IT doctor!

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#Laptop #CleaningTips #GermFree

 

Wi-Fi connection

Does your Wi-Fi connection keep dropping whilst working from home?

There often seems to be no reason behind Wi-Fi connections that randomly drop off or weaken. However, there are actually several common scenarios where an otherwise strong Wi-Fi connection can become unreachable. When that happens, there are a few things you can try to get your Wi-Fi back up and running again in no time.

Harriet Meyer a contributor for forbes.com takes a look at some solutions to dropped or lost Wi-Fi connections.

Insufficient Wi-Fi network range and power

Your wireless access point is going to reach only so far. When you’re accessing the internet on the outer edges of the range limit, you’ll notice the Wi-Fi connection start and stop, probably over and over. Of course, as you move even further away from the router or modem delivering the Wi-Fi, your connection will stop permanently.

You might be suffering from weak Wi-Fi access if your router is buried in a closet. It may be stuck in the corner of your basement, three rooms away, or is simply old or nearly broken. The solution might be as simple as moving closer to the router or moving the router closer to you. As you lessen the distance between the router and your device, you strengthen the odds of a good connection.

If you’re on a wireless device like a phone or tablet, it’s easy to move where the Wi-Fi strength is the strongest. On the other hand, relocating your computer or other gear isn’t always a practical solution.

Another option for improving Wi-Fi strength is to consider an antenna upgrade on your access point or on your computer, if possible. Similarly, mesh networks and range extenders are other common solutions to Wi-Fi range problems — but you don’t need both.

Wi-Fi connection

When a wireless device is experiencing an intermittent connection, it can be quite frustrating.
You want to fix it as quickly as possible so you can continue to work.

Wi-Fi connection radio interference

Radio signals from various consumer electronic products around your house can interfere with Wi-Fi network signals. For example, cordless phones, Bluetooth devices. As well as garage door openers and microwaves can each take down a Wi-Fi network connection when they’re powered on.

So, if you notice that your phone stops getting Wi-Fi when you’re right next to the microwave, chances are this is your problem. It’s best to look into what that new device is and how it works since the way it transmits wireless signals might be what’s interfering with other devices in the house.

Reposition your network equipment to improve your Wi-Fi coverage. Another solution, which might be easier, is to turn off those other devices that could be interfering with Wi-Fi. If you’re in the kitchen when Wi-Fi drops, move away from the microwave or avoid using it if you need to also use your phone, laptop, or other device.

The network is overloaded

Your hardware and home might be set up perfectly to accommodate Wi-Fi signals and avoid interference. However, if there are too many devices using the network, the available bandwidth for each device is limited.

When each device lacks enough bandwidth, videos stop playing, websites won’t open, and the device might even eventually disconnect and reconnect from the network, over and over, as it tries to hold on to enough bandwidth to keep using Wi-Fi.

You can test your internet speed to see if you’re getting the speeds you were promised. If the test shows a significantly slower speed than you pay your ISP for, there’s either a problem with your modem or router or you’re using too many devices on your network at once.

Take some of the devices off of the network. If your TV is streaming movies, turn it off. Someone gaming on your network? Ask them to take a break. Multiple people browsing Facebook on their phones? Ask them to disable their Wi-Fi connection to free up some of that bandwidth.

Cloud storage updates could affect your Wi-Fi connection

If someone’s downloading files onto a computer, see if they can use a program that supports bandwidth control. Less bandwidth will be used for that device and more will be available for your Wi-Fi device. In particular, Microsoft OneDrive tends to use all available upload bandwidth when it syncs large files. Temporarily pausing OneDrive could free up immediate bandwidth for other people.

If your network is still slower than you think it should be and Wi-Fi isn’t stable, restart your router. Sometimes, the router’s memory becomes full and needs flushing in order to work properly.

Keeping you connected

There is nothing more infuriating than trying to fix your own Internet and IT problems. Especially I you are not tech savvy. All you want to do is have the problem fixed so you can continue to do your work. Contact the LIS Help Desk to speak to one of our support technicians. We will remote into your PC and will be able to diagnose the problem.

Our clients benefit from our monthly IT support and security packages. We can also help you with your telecoms providing you with super-fast broadband, phone lines and mobile services. Think of us as you IT partners.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL WORLD

#tech #internetdown #troubleshooting #remoteworking

 

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is perfect for video calls. Have you been using Zoom for your video calls? Microsoft Teams is a better business solution and keeps all your activity with your staff in one place. Here’s our round-up of the latest video call features added to Teams.

Joel Khalili from TechRader asks what is Microsoft Teams? How it works, latest features and top alternatives.

8 reasons your business should be using Microsoft Teams

It enables effective communication

One of the key features of Microsoft Teams is its threaded conversations. Microsoft Teams allows group and private messaging with threaded and persistent conversations.

Users are able to create different channels to organise their communications by topic. This real-time chat function allows you to store brainstorming sessions, conference calls, and other meetings into one, easy-to-find place.

  • You can also integrate audio and video chats
  • You can @mention individuals to bring important messages to their attention
  • Group conversations are visible to the whole team to view, like, share and add to
  • Newly added members can easily get up to speed as everything is archived

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams can be used anywhere, anytime, on any device

As a Cloud-based platform, Microsoft Teams is accessed anywhere via the desktop or mobile application and is supported on Windows, Mac, as well as iOS and Android. All you need is a connection to the internet.

Your productivity is increased

If you use traditional email to work on a project, you can often lose crucial information in ever-multiplying email threads. With Microsoft Teams everyone receives the same message at the same time. As a result, people can collaborate and keep the discussion flowing, helping you reach solutions faster. If a new team member joins, they can access prior conversations with instant access to all project-related files.

It’s fully integrated to Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft Teams is fully integrated to Microsoft Office 365. This includes Word, Excel, Skype for Business, SharePoint and PowerPoint as well as newer tools such as OneNote, Planner, Power BI, Yammer, and Sway.

Your meetings are synced

Microsoft Teams syncs with your calendar and pulls in all your existing appointments. It suggests times when all the other attendees are free. It gives you the option to choose if the meeting is private or open (particularly useful if you are hosting voluntary training or brainstorming sessions). Once created, attendees can post about the meeting in a separate chat thread, set agendas and upload relevant documents. You can also schedule and join meetings using Skype for Business with HD video, VOIP and additional dial-in audio options.

Work better together

With Microsoft Teams everyone can work on the same document at the same time. You can all view the same Word document; edit the same Excel spreadsheet; collaborate on the same PowerPoint presentation while logging persistent chat around that content. It combines chat, meetings, notes, and attachments allowing teams to seamlessly interact with each other wherever they are. Calendars, files and emails can also be shared. The scalability means it is easy to add new users as your business grows.

Customise your workspace with Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams allows you to integrate third-party tools as well as your favourite Microsoft apps. If Twitter updates are just as important to your marketing team as a message from the Director, you can customise your workspace to reflect this.

Faster processes

Microsoft Teams lets you speed through common tasks faster and share files easier with a helpful set of slash commands.

Want to get Microsoft Teams for your business?

Lodge Information Services is an accredited Microsoft Partner and can advise you on Office 365 and Microsoft 365 subscriptions. We will find the best solution for your business needs, licence it and install it. Our friendly support technicians are always happy to help. Contact the LIS Help Desk.

LIS – SECURING YOUR DIGITAL YOUR WORLD

#MicrosoftTeams #NewFeatures #MoreProductiveMeetings