African Pilot’s aircraft of the week identification quiz
Enjoying African Pilot’s digital magazine
At African Pilot we often receive questions about African Pilot’s digital magazine and if the magazine will ever print again. In order to answer the questions raised, I have prepared the following:
Q1) Will African Pilot ever resume printing?
A1) It is unlikely that we will ever print again because the distributors and many retailers have all but shut down. The CNA Group closed last year and what stores will be left will become privately owned franchises anyway.
Q2) What costs are involved in the printing process?
A2) It used to cost African Pilot around R120K per month to print and then the distribution costs were a further R10K. Since a magazine such as African Pilot only receives a limited income from magazine sales (R30K), it is a no brainer that the past system was far too expensive.
Q3) How do I make it easier to read African Pilot?
A3) Since the monthly magazine is now FREE to anyone in the entire world, you can simply download every edition at no cost. This means that you will receive your monthly aviation fix direct to your desktop. Therefore, investing in an additional large screen from any computer store is a good idea. For example, an excellent large Dell screen will cost you around R2500 and you will have all magazines, newspapers and digital information at your fingertips.
Q4) How does African Pilot survive if there is no income from magazine sales?
A4) The answer is that the only income we can source in the new digital ages is from advertising revenue. At the same time expanding the advertiser’s ability to market their products via embedded videos and picture galleries as an interactive experience becomes vital to the future of the publication.
Q5) What changes has African Pilot made to increase its market penetration?
A5) African Pilot has produced a digital magazine since 2008, but the digital publication was always an exact copy of the printed magazine. With the ‘new normal’, our team sourced an alternative method of digital publishing so that we could enhance the reader experience. This is the reason why African Pilot purchased the 3D licenced software so that we could make a serious change to the presentation format.
Q6) Has this new method of publishing worked for African Pilot?
A6) The short answer is YES! The fact that the pandemic has changed everything was actually a catalyst that would have been inevitable and the world has changed forever. Fortunately, due to African Pilot’s considerable reach throughout the world today, the magazine has sourced advertising revenue from international advertisers throughout the world. Advertisers will always support a well-produced, functional and newsworthy publication. For the African Pilot team, the task of making every article, every picture and illustration relevant has been our top priority.
B) In still air, one and a half minute outbound and inbound legs above FL140.
A) In still air, One minute outbound and inbound legs below FL 140
African Pilot’s January 2021 edition
The January edition has completed its international circulation. This edition features Professional Aviation Services in terms of aircraft and pilot insurance as well as aircraft financing and other aviation financial services. Advertisers can now see the benefits of marketing their products and services to a vast international aviation audience including short videos, picture galleries and actual virtual shops, they will realise that marketing is most important for future profitability. In South Africa and the African continent, African Pilot is the only aviation publication that has purchased the latest 3D software to provide digital enhancement to any advertiser anywhere in the world. At the same time African Pilot is also the only aviation magazine that is easy to read on any digital smart device, because our team understands the importance of ensuring the ease of use in this ‘new normal’ digital age.
It is now obvious that ALL other local aviation publications are attempting to copy what African Pilot has pioneered, but this was to be expected. However, at least African Pilot publishes correct aviation information such as the calendar of events on a regular basis. It was most interesting to see that a certain aviation magazine claimed that it was the first to publish its weekly ‘newspaper’, when African Pilot has been publishing APAnews for the past 20 years.
African Pilot’s February 2021 edition
The February edition of African Pilot will feature Piston engine aircraft over 600 Kg as well as the piston engines and propellers that drive piston aircraft. In 2021 we decided to no longer feature the major South African General Aviation airports, mainly due to the new international nature of the magazine. Instead, I will be featuring many of the smaller airfields and flying clubs at these airfields. Some of these airports have remarkable histories as well as colourful pilots that are building interesting aircraft. The idea is to expose more about sport and recreational aviation within South Africa and to other countries in the world.
The material deadline for the February 2021 edition is on Friday 22 January 2021.
All editorial content should be sent to me Athol Franz e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For advertising positions please contact Adrian Munro
Tel: 0861 001130 Cell: 079 880 4359 or e-mail: email@example.com
About African Pilot
There is no doubt that African Pilot provides the finest overall aviation media reach in Africa.
We are positioned to provide professional video and stills photography, website development, social media platforms, company newsletters as well as several other important media services to our customers.
The monthly magazine is available as a digital edition where ALL advertisers enjoy the direct routing to their websites at a touch on a smart phone or tablet as well as a click of the mouse on a computer screen or tap on any smart phone device.
Then of course this APAnews service has been part of African Pilot’s line-up since the inception of the magazine 20 years ago.
Do you want instant aviation news and opinions?
Visit www.APAcom.co.za and register yourself as a user
View and download African Pilot’s last three (3) 2020 editions.
Click on the covers below.
Launch of Wouter Botes’ e-book ‘Flights to Nowhere’
Wouter Botes’ E-book on Flight to Nowhere is available by visiting www.africanpilot.co.za and click on the button provided on the home page. We have provided an option for payment of R60 per download on the page.
AERO South Africa news
Take your business to NEW HEIGHTS this August at the one-stop business to business platform. The platform will be active for 12 months, allowing you to market your products and services to a targeted global General Aviation market and engage with visitors and other exhibitors on the portal. Want to book your booth on the AERO South Africa Virtual Marketplace or simply find out more? Contact one of our team members below to take your business to new heights.
Aero Club member support initiative
Aero Club coffee table Centenary Yearbook
The AeCSA Centenary Yearbook is now available to purchase from the online shop. Please visit www.aeroclub.org.za/shop.
Aero Club Communique Dec 2020 # 3 year-end message
By Rob Jonkers
This past year has been a calamitous one where the world order has fundamentally changed. Nowhere with more consequence and impact than in aviation, with substantial repercussions in the airline industry that all but collapsed world-wide. Downstream effects were also felt in the General and Recreational Aviation industry, as lockdown restrictions curtailed most flying for some months and even with restrictions lifted to allow maintenance and later proficiency flying, the activity levels were restricted. Thereafter, with significant backlog in CoA and ATF renewals as the regulator returned to work, it is been a challenge to get airborne in any significant way.
The Aero Club and its sections were instrumental in working with the regulator & the DoT to secure the lifting of restrictions from April onwards defining protocols at the various lockdown levels to allow us access to flight, these included from Level 3 to be able to hold sporting events under specifically developed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) which were shared amongst all our sections.
2020 was also a significant year in that it celebrated a Centenary of Recreational Aviation, started in 1920 by the Millers Boys, with power flying as the prime activity and in this year the Aero Club had planned a Centenary Airweek, the Silver Queen Air Rally and a 100 aircraft fly past, which all had to be shelved. As a silver lining the Centenary Yearbook originally planned for publication in April, was extended to add more content, with the resulting 560-page compendium of all SA Recreational Aviation is a gem to have and recommended reading.
This past year has also seen the Aero Club gain much interaction with the SACAA and began to establish monthly meetings from March with the regulator on a number of advocacy topics, which has allowed us to re-orientate a more comprehensive interaction post the RAASA era with the various SACAA functions that had integrated the previous RAASA functions. This has proved successful to a point that a GA/RA Industry Liaison Forum (ILF) has been formally constituted. Regular communications have been sent out to the membership on each of the meeting interactions. We will continue to take concerted efforts to ensure Recreational Aviation is embraced by you the recreational aviator and supported by the regulator to uphold our charter of ensuring Freedom of Flight. Foremost activities include simplifying the ATF renewal process and establishing multi-year licencing protocols, and reducing the service level turn-around times, amongst others.
The SACAA also released its General Aviation Safety Strategy (GASS) plan to be rolled out in the next five years. The Aero Club will provide volunteers to take part in developing the details of this plan from 2021. The idea is to develop improved safety standards, also looking at devolution of powers to achieve a measure of self-regulation in our GA/RA environment, how this will be achieved will take significant participation by all our various entities to develop the eventual protocols. We still need more volunteers to participate in the various focus groups, thus those able to take part can let the Aero Club know. Details on the content are available from the SACAA website and from previous Aero Club communication.
Over the last number of years, the overall membership of the Aero Club and its sections has been in decline, a loss of 1200 members over the last five years where the AeCSA now has a membership less than 3000. Surely this is a sign of increasingly tough economic conditions, a turbulent regulatory environment and a few other challenges that we find ourselves in that plays a large part in lessening the recreational participation within the sections. This continues to place significant pressure on the Aero Club budget and we continue to operate without the services of a general manger. The workload is shared amongst members with the requisite skills in various advocacy and technical areas co-opted to represent us on the various forums dealing with these matters. The membership fee was significantly reduced in 2019, with a CPI increase applied for 2020; with a view to ensure affordability going forward.
One of the many benefits of being an Aero Club Member is the third-party insurance scheme. Within context of a wide membership base, can enjoy significant discounted premiums especially in the category of aircraft below 600 kg from 25% to 75% depending on aircraft type (see the Aero Club website for details). Similarly, with NTCA aircraft above 600 kg and below 2700 kg, there is also an Aero Club benefit Third Party Liability Scheme. In many cases the premiums in terms of benefits far outweigh the membership fees. The Aero Club is also still working on Insurance to cover APs, as well as benefits for Aero Club members on a wider insurance cover, these will be communicated as they come to hand. The Aero Club has also renewed its Airmeet Third Party Policy, which covers all the events that the Aero Club and its sections hold throughout the year, which number close to 80 or so events.
The Aero Club is also the National Aero Club (NAC) representing sporting events for competitions held Internationally under the auspices of the FAI, as such is affiliated to SASCOC in governing the conferring of Protea Colours. The FAI has also gone through some troubling fiscal times in the past two years with the withdrawal of major sponsorships and with income severely reduced in 2020 with virtually no international events having taken place. The General Conference held in early December was held via Zoom, also a first and indicative of the future of holding such conferences. With many of the NACs having downgraded their memberships, a new funding model will be looked at as a project for 2021.
Celebrations and activities for the Centenary Year of 2020 have of course has been scuppered. However, many of the planned events will now take place in 2021, these will include amongst others, Airweek as our signature Centenary event to be held end of April at Middelburg Airfield that encompasses all our sections with the ambition to achieve an Oshkosh type of event which is a fly-in, forums, air displays, fly markets, camping, to bring together our recreational fraternity and also promote youth development in aviation. Furthermore, the planned Silver Queen Air Rally will be held in conjunction with the SAAF Association as well as a 100 (101) aircraft flypast at Zwartkops and hosting of an International Event which SAPFA have won the rights to hold the World Rally Flying Championships in November of 2021 to take place in the scenic area of Stellenbosch.
Our aim continues to focus to make aviation appealing to the recreational aviator and the youth, for them to share and progress in the wonderful passion of all types of aviation sport offered by the various sections of the Aero Club in South Africa. We are fortunate to have in our midst many professional and retired career and military aviators that continue to share their mentorship and guidance freely to anyone who is interested in aviation in South Africa. With this and with 2020 essentially behind us, let us all work together and support the structures that represent recreational aviation to make 2021 a year of recovery, growth, focus and revitalisation, as it will only be our coordinated collective efforts that will ensure the survival of our disciplines into the future. If you have any comments or contributions to make you are most welcome to contact us at the Aero Club.
The AeCSA yearbook is now available to purchase from our new web shop: www.aeroclub.org.za/shop
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Man, who hitched a ride from OR Tambo airport and survived gets UK asylum
The South African man who survived 9000km flight at -60C by stowing away in the wheel-well of an airliner OR Tambo to Heathrow gets asylum. Stowaway Themba Cabeka (30) has spoken for the first time of his terrifying 11-hour journey and is the subject of a new Channel 4 documentary. Cabeka has now adopted a British name, Justin. Clinging to the undercarriage of a jumbo jet and survived an 11-hour, 9000km flight from South Africa to London has spoken for the first time of his terrifying journey, recalling how he emerged from a coma months later to learn his best friend had fallen 5,000 feet from the aircraft to his death. Cabeka was unconscious in hospital for six months after being discovered on the grounds of Heathrow Airport.
He had been starved of oxygen and subjected to temperatures of -60C as the British Airways jet flew from Johannesburg on 18 June 2015. Only two people have lived after stowing away to Britain: Pardeep Saini, a car mechanic from Punjab, who endured a ten-hour flight from Delhi to London in 1996 and now Cabeka.
Tragedy struck only minutes before landing when Cabaka’s friend, Carlito Vale, who had crawled with him into the wheel arch of the Boeing 747-400, fell to his death from BA Flight 54. His body was found atop an office block in Richmond, some six miles from Heathrow. ‘When the plane was flying, I could see the ground, I could see the cars, I could see small people. After a little time, I passed out through lack of oxygen. The last thing I remember just after the plane took off was Carlito saying to me: ‘Yeah, we have made it.”
Little was known about Cabeka until Channel 4 producer Rich Bentley tracked him down to a flat in Liverpool for a TV documentary, ‘The Man who fell from the sky,’ that was screened on 4 January. Cabeka tells his story: “The airport was guarded so we jumped over the fence when it was dark. We dressed in black because we have to dress like no one sees us; two T-shirts, three jackets and two jeans.’ After getting over the fence, they hid for about 15 minutes until they spotted a plane ready to take-off. They deliberately avoided American airliners because they did not want to fly over large expanses of water.
The BA jumbo to London took off at 10.15pm. It was the first time either of them had been on an aeroplane. “We had to force ourselves to be squeezed inside. I could hear the engines running. My heart had pounded before, but that day it was not in my mind at all because I had just taken the decision to do it. I knew how dangerous it was but I just took my own chances. I did not care whether I lived or died. I had to leave Africa to survive.”
Cabeka said he tied himself to the plane with an electric cable wrapped around his arm. Aviation experts said it is very rare for stowaways to survive in an unheated, unpressurised part of an aircraft.
There is room, though, in the four sets of a 747’s landing gear, each in a housing the size of a car, as long as they stay in one of the corners away from the wheels when they retract. Very soon, though, Cabeka passed out through lack of oxygen. He says he still cannot believe he managed to survive temperatures that would have dropped to -60C.
The first thing he recalled was lying on the runway with a shattered leg. “The thing that made me wake up is the way I dropped out on the runway,” said Cabeka, who still uses crutches because of the injuries sustained when he fell. “I was here. The plane was there. I was asking myself; how did I get out of the plane?” I could see these guys, they were the guards, they carried me up and I passed out again. I woke up in hospital after being in a coma for six months.”
Doctors believe Cabeka survived because the freezing temperatures kept him in a state of what is termed ‘suspended animation.’ With a lowered core body temperature, the heart, brain and other critical organs are placed into a ‘standby mode’ in which they do not require nearly as much oxygen, thus limiting damage to cells and organs. “I was lucky not to hurt my head,” he said. “I had two burn marks on my arm, but it is OK now because I had surgery. But something is still wrong with my leg. I am hoping they can sort it out.”
Cabeka applied for asylum to stay in the UK and was granted leave to remain, though he is coy about on what grounds that was granted. He simply says: ‘When I was applying as an asylum-seeker, I went through the process and was accepted.’
Cabeka, or rather Justin, now lives in a one-bedroom flat in Liverpool and is unable to work due to his injury. “I am now waiting to get a passport. It takes five years to get a British passport and then I will be able to fly on a plane. I will be a Scouser then.”
So, what do you believe should have happened to Cabeka? Should he have been deported by the British authorities? What does this miraculous survival say to many people who may have similar ideas out there?
WORLDWIDE ACCIDENTS AND INCIDENTS
Improperly installed control cables contribute to crash
During an instructional flight, the Piper PA-24-250 pilot said he had to extend the downwind leg of the traffic pattern while on approach to Wilkes-Barre Wyoming Valley Airport (KWBW) in Pennsylvania due to a departing aircraft. He turned on to the base leg at an altitude of 1,000 feet above ground level (agl) and extended the landing gear, but the gear did not fully extend. He said the gear-handle was ‘stuck.’
He removed the access door for the emergency landing gear extension handle, but he could not get it to release. At this point, the flight instructor said, “You better put power in,” but there was no response from the engine and the tachometer read ‘0.’
The airplane was unable to reach the runway and the pilot made a forced landing to a soccer field. The airplane hit a ditch, resulting in substantial damage to the airframe. All three propeller blades were also damaged. According to the flight instructor, the pilot extended the landing gear on the base leg of the traffic pattern, but it extended mid-way and stopped. The pilot then said, “the engine quit.” The flight instructor noted that the mixture control was ‘jammed up sideways’ in the full rich position and could not be moved. A post-accident examination of the airplane and engine revealed no obvious pre-mishap mechanical issues with the landing gear system or the engine.
However, the pilot subsequently admitted that he knew what caused the simultaneous loss of engine power and the landing gear malfunction. He said the mixture cable got caught on the nose wheel assembly when it was trying to extend, which caused the mixture control on the carburettor to move to the lean position. The pilot said that after the forced landing and against the advice of his flight instructor, he opened the engine cowling and saw the mixture cable caught in the nose gear structure and unsnagged the cable so it was not immediately obvious to investigators.
The pilot, who was also an airframe and powerplant mechanic, performed maintenance on the landing gear a few weeks before the accident. He retracted the gear 10-12 times and it worked ‘flawlessly.’ He said he used plastic tie-wraps to make sure the throttle / mixture / carburettor heat cables were positioned away from the nose-gear, which does not have a protected well on this airplane.
He last flew the airplane about a month before the accident. After he landed, he placed the airplane in his hangar and did not install covers over the landing gear to prevent mice from getting into the engine compartment. According to the pilot, there were a lot of mice in his hangar and he thought a mouse got up in the engine and chewed off the plastic tie wraps, allowing the mixture cable to come loose. Prior to the flight he did not check inside the engine compartment for any rodent damage.
New Year celebration left MEA aircraft damaged by bullets
On 1 January 2021, four brand new MEA aircraft parked at Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport (BEY) in Lebanon were damaged by bullets fired as a New Year’s celebration. One of the airplanes reportedly had to be removed from service to be repaired while others were back on the scheduled flights. It was reported that this happened to three new MEA Airbus A321neo planes and an A330. Prior to the New Year’s celebration, the director of Beirut Airport Security Service requested the Interior Ministry to prohibit the potentially dangerous tradition. Shooting with guns and rifles is a common way of celebrating in Lebanon. It is used during weddings, birthdays and big holidays, including the New Year. While officially illegal, it remains widespread. In October 2020, MEA took delivery of its newest Airbus A321neo aircraft, expanding its fleet to a total of 19 Airbus aircraft. Previously, the national flag carrier of Lebanon received two other A321neo jets between 9 July and 30 July 2020.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
100th PC-24 delivered since 2018
Less than three years after the first delivery, the 100th PC-24 has just been handed over to its new owner. The PC-24 is now present on every continent, flying innumerable missions every day: providing medevac flights in Australia and the USA, for example, business travel for a German automobile manufacturer and transport for government officials in South Africa and Switzerland. The 100th Super Versatile Jet is now in use as a business aircraft with its new owner, Jetfly Aviation. This handover marks another milestone in the still young history of the first Swiss business jet. The global fleet has clocked up over 33,500 safe hours in the air so far, of which over 2,375 hours have been accumulated by the fleet leader.
Aviation reinsurance rates rise by up to 250%
Reuters reported that aviation reinsurance rates rose by up to 250% at the key 1 January renewal date, with the market still reeling from the impact of Boeing 737 MAX crashes two years ago. The 737 MAX resumed commercial flights in the United States last week, following a 20-month safety ban after two fatal crashes in five months killed 346 people. Insurers and reinsurers face claims from the crashes relating to hull and product liability that could amount to more than $2 billion, a large sum in a relatively small insurance sector, Willis Re International chair James Vickers told Reuters. Aviation underwriters are also suffering from lower premiums due to worldwide lockdowns and travel bans, as insurance contracts are often negotiated based on the amount of time planes spend in the air.
Reinsurers, who share the burden of large risks with insurers in return for part of the premium, are also seeing rate rises in other sectors after years of falls. Property and casualty reinsurance premiums are up by 25-30% for the riskiest areas of business, the report showed. Analysts at Jefferies said the report showed a reinsurance hard market, in which premium rates are rising was ‘underway’, highlighting gains in US property, global casualty and specialty lines such as trade credit and political risk, as well as aviation.
Top 20 safest airlines named
Use this oneAirlineRatings.com, a global airline safety and product rating website, has announced its top twenty safest airlines 2021 from the 385 different airlines it monitors. The top 20 in order are:
Qantas, Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, EVA Air, Etihad Airways, Alaska Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, British Airways, Virgin Australia / Virgin Atlantic, Hawaiian Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, SAS, Finnair, Lufthansa, KLM and United Airlines.
According to AirlineRatings.com Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Thomas, these airlines are standouts in the industry and are at the forefront of safety, innovation and launching of new aircraft. “For instance, Australia’s Qantas has been recognised by the British Advertising Standards Association in a test case as the world’s most experienced airline,” Thomas said. “Qantas has been the lead airline in virtually every major operational safety advancement over the past 60 years and has not had a fatality in the pure jet era,” he added. “But Qantas is not alone. Long established airlines such as Hawaiian and Finnair have perfect records in the jet era.”
According to Thomas, the editors analyse: crashes, serious incidents, audits from aviation’s governing bodies and lead associations; government audits and fleet age in making their determinations. “However, all airlines have incidents every day and many are aircraft or engine manufacture issues, not airline operational problems. It is the way the flight crew handles these incidents that determines a good airline from an unsafe one,” Thomas said.
Boeing to close its storied Seattle manufacturing R&D center
From outside the Boeing security fence, the giant windowless, box-like building across the road from the Museum of Flight looks unremarkable. In yet another sign of Boeing’s shrinking Seattle footprint, managers told affected employees just before Christmas that in the next four to six months the facility, known as the Advanced Developmental Composites (ADC) center, will be shuttered. Just 10 years ago, Boeing expanded the facility and portrayed it as a hub of future innovation for in-house manufacturing capabilities. Though relatively few people work at the facility right at this point, its symbolism will add to worry about the future of the plane maker in this region. This is where for decades Boeing conducted its most important and secretive manufacturing research programmes, both military and commercial.
In 2020 aviation deaths rise worldwide as fatal incidents and flights fall
Reuters reports that the number of people killed in large commercial airplane crashes rose in 2020 to 299 worldwide, even as the number of crashes fell by more than 50%. Aviation consulting firm To70 said in 2020 there were 40 accidents involving large commercial passenger planes, five of which were fatal, resulting in 299 fatalities. In 2019 there were 86 accidents, eight of which were fatal, resulting in 257 fatalities. Large commercial airplanes had 0.27 fatal accidents per million flights in 2020, To70 said, or one fatal crash every 3.7 million flights, up from 0.18 fatal accidents per million flights in 2019.
The decline in crashes came amid a sharp decline in flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Flightradar24 reported commercial flights it tracked worldwide in 2020 fell 42% to 24.4 million. More than half of all deaths in the To70 review were the 176 people killed in January 2020 when a Ukrainian plane was shot down in Iranian airspace. The second deadliest incident was the May crash of a Pakistan airliner crashed in May killing 98. Large passenger airplanes covered by the statistics are used by nearly all travellers on airlines but exclude small commuter airplanes in service.
Over the last two decades, aviation deaths have been falling dramatically. As recently as 2005, there were 1 015 deaths aboard commercial passenger flights worldwide, the Aviation Safety Network (ASN) said. Over the last five years, there have been an average of 14 fatal accidents for commercial passenger and cargo planes resulting in 345 deaths annually, ASN said. In 2017, aviation had its safest year on record worldwide with only two fatal accidents involving regional turboprops that resulted in 13 deaths and no fatal crashes of passenger jets. The United States has not had a fatal US passenger airline crash since February 2009 and one fatality due to a US passenger airline accident in that period.
China Airlines schedules final passenger flight with Boeing 747
Taiwan-based China Airlines will retire its passenger Boeing 747 aircraft with a special final farewell flight that will take passengers from Taiwan, around Japan and back to Taiwan in February 2021. China Airlines announced that its final commercial passenger Boeing 747 flight will occur on 6 February 2021. The airline will use its last remaining Boeing 747-400 (registered as B-18215) to conduct a flight-to-nowhere ‘leaving full of memories in this warm little journey.’ The aircraft, which was the final passenger-carrying 747-400 that Boeing produced, will bow out with a five hour and 40-minute flight. The Queen of the Skies will depart from Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) to circle around Japan, including around the famous Mount Fuji.
Starting from 6 January 2021, tickets to the flight will be available for three classes: Economy, Business and Business class on the upper deck of the Boeing 747. China Airlines received its first passenger Boeing 747 in September 1976, with the arrival of the 747-100 (registered as B-1860). The carrier’s first Boeing 747-400 arrived in Taiwan in June 1993. The Taiwanese flag carrier was one of the airlines which have conducted various flight experiences for passengers following border closures during the COVID-19 crisis. In July 2020, China Airlines allowed travellers to go through the ‘whole’ airport experience, including check-in, security, duty-free and boarding. However, the flight never took off. The following month, the airline launched two flights that departed and landed back at Taoyuan International Airport (TPE).
Following the farewell flight, the Boeing 747-400 (registered as B-18215) will be under the ownership of GA Telesis, a US-based commercial aviation services company. In November 2020, China Airlines and GA Telesis announced reaching an agreement for the remarketing of four 747-400s, including the aforementioned aircraft that will conduct China Airlines’ last passenger flight with the double-decker.
Cracks found in composite fuselage of Qatar A350 XWB
Qatar Airways’ Airbus A350-900, registered A7-ALL, was ferried to Shannon Airport (SNN) in Ireland, on 13 November 2020. There, aviation painting company International Aerospace Coatings (IAC) was supposed to give it a special livery to celebrate the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be held in Qatar. However, after the original livery was removed, cracks in the fuselage were reportedly found in the composite (CFRP) fuselage. It should now be ferried to Airbus headquarters in Toulouse for inspection and repairs.
Qatar Airways was the launch customer of the A350-900, taking delivery of its first A350 XWB in December 2014. The A350-900, under the registration number A7-ALL, was delivered in November 2016. On 7 July 2018, the aircraft was involved in an incident, when an AirAsia X A330 collided with it on the apron of Malé-Velana International Airport (MLE), Maldives. As it received its 53rd A350 XWB on 31 December 2020, Qatar Airways surpassed Singapore Airlines (SIA1) (SINGY) and became the largest operator of the aircraft type in the world.
EASA merges General Aviation and VTOL certification
EASA has reorganised its certification directorate, merging the department’s handling General Aviation fixed wing and vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft, including drones. The new department opened on 1 January and is being led by David Solar, who reports to EASA certification director Rachel Daeschler. Solar previously was in charge of the VTOL department, which includes helicopters.
“This will deal with all general aviation products (including business jets) and all VTOL types, as well as the certification of eVTOL (aircraft) and of drones,” explained a spokesman. However, the directorate does not cover the regulation of operations and flight crew licensing for these categories of aircraft.
The European aviation safety agency said it now expects to publish the final version of its means of compliance for its new Special Condition VTOL type certification rules in early 2021. The spokesman confirmed that it deferred planned publication in December because it needed more time to take account of the large volume of industry comments it received to draft proposals published on 25 May 2020. EASA also said that the final version of the means of compliance for a special condition
Twice Weekly News from African Pilot
Should you miss out on any edition of APAnews, please visit the website: www.africanpilot.co.za and click on the APAnews link on the front page. All past weekly APAnews publications have been archived on the website.
Until next week Monday, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)