There’s no doubt about it: Aerospace companies are growing quickly as interest in using flight technology to benefit humankind increases. At Knight Aerospace, the opportunity for growth is expanding by the day. CEO Bianca Rhodes is working to take the San Antonio-based OEM to the next level, specifically focusing on creating a standard of safety for how in-flight medical care is administered.
‘It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way’
Aerospace technology is lifesaving, especially when it comes to getting military members out of tough situations to get needed medical assistance. In the past, many soldiers have dealt with less-than-desirable conditions when flying to receive treatment.
Knight CEO Bianca Rhodes is working to change that.
Rhodes has an industry-famous catchphrase: “It doesn’t have to be this way.” Rhodes and the team at Knight are working to change in-flight medicine to provide soldiers with the care they deserve from the moment they’re lifted from the field.
An outbreak of Ebola years ago prompted Knight to focus on how to create aircraft that weren’t just better for patients but also crew members, care providers, and other passengers. Concerns were raised about the lack of containment for passengers carrying highly contagious viruses. When infected patients infect the staff of an aircraft, the entire plane may need to be put out of commission until replacement staff members are found and the vehicle is thoroughly decontaminated. Creating an aerospace module for patients who may be experiencing severe communicable diseases is critical for efficient, effective, and safe treatment.
Michael Knight, the senior vice president of international sales for Knight Aerospace, says: “The back of a cargo aircraft is loud and dark, and most importantly, it’s not environmentally-controlled. These factors negatively impact any sort of medical care needing to be provided during in-flight missions. This is what led us to find a better solution and ultimately inspired the development of the aeromedical module.”
Listening to the Experts
Knight Aerospace realizes that while its team members have the aerospace technology necessary to change the way air medicine is performed, they don’t have the expertise to know exactly what soldiers need during transport.
Engineers at Knight are working to create solutions that make sense for the military, and they’re working closely with people in the field to understand how aerospace medicine needs to change.
Michael Knight says it’s key to understand the environment in which they’re working and the technical aspects of what needs to happen to create the right space for soldiers who need medical treatment.
In addition to working closely with military flight surgeons, military experts, and others who understand the ins and outs of military medical treatment, Knight strives to create an ongoing partnership to continuously improve the craft. According to Knight, “We actually bring them in to serve as permanent advisers to us while we work to expand and improve the technology and engineering and all the products.”
Beyond Earth: How Knight Is Staying on Top of Aerospace Trends
Aerospace travel is no longer limited to Earth’s atmosphere. While billionaire dreams of flights to Mars are what make headlines, Knight Aerospace is working on using atmospheric travel to benefit Earth in different ways.
The future of aerospace is not just about atmospheric travel but suborbital and orbital travel. Use cases for Knight could be suborbital transport to take critical equipment or people from North America to Australia in far less time than it currently takes. Knight aims to help create the cargo standards for these sort of missions and even the medical standards for safe orbital travel.
Raising the Bar
There’s no way around it — aerospace is a fast-paced business and companies that rise to the top need to be innovators and creators. Knight is working to revamp the way cargo systems currently operate in cargo carriers bound to the Earth’s atmosphere. The change in design — moving from a plane to a rocket — offers new options that could streamline shipping processes.
“There’s an opportunity to create a standard for spacecraft because now you’ve got to get the cargo vertically to the tip of the rocket up high,” says Michael Knight. “It’s no longer a roll into a horizontal fuselage; it’s standing on its tail. There may be an opportunity for us to set those standards and be the lead.”