The January 2018 edition completed its distribution phase late in December 2017 and by all accounts has been very well received by the market. This edition contains:
- An A2 wall calendar with aviation events folded and placed within the magazine
- Gyrocopters – a review of this industry
- General Aviation business at OR Tambo International Airport
- The recent Dubai Air Show
- CAASA AGM and awards
- The most successful first AfBAC full day conference at Monte Casino and two-day exhibition at the ExecuJet facility at Lanseria International Airport
- Ermelo Aeronautical Society, the first of the Flying Clubs features to run until October 2018
African Pilot is the only southern African aviation magazine that regularly covers most aviation events, aviation exhibitions, aviation conferences, annual award functions, main airport features, business developments, significant airline news and regulatory matters.
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SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Please remember that APAnews promotes ALL KNOWN calendar events several months ahead. We also provide for aviation events banner adverts at a nominal cost of R200 per insertion or R1000 for a package of eight insertions. Our usual price is R600 per insertion, therefore the price for airshow and event organisers is a considerable discount.
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Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com January SAPFA Kittyhawk ANR Kittyhawk Airfield
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23 to 25 January Modern Airports Africa 2018 Nairobi, Kenya
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10 February SAPFA Rand Airport Challenge
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10 February SAPFA AGM Rand Airport at 14h00
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15 to 17 February SAPFA committee bosberaad – Paddafontien, Thabazimbi
26 Feb to 1 March HAI HELI-EXPO in Dallas, Texas, USA
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3 March SAPFA Virginia Fun Rally – Virginia Airport
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9 to 11 March Aero Club of South Africa Air Week at Middleburg airfield
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7 April Ermelo Airshow
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12 to 14 April SAPFA Rally Nationals and Fun Rally at Brits Airfield
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14 April Zebula Airshow
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AERO dedicates itself to offering a significant collection of aviation related products and accessories. Exhibitors will be showing engines, modern ultra-lights, powered aircraft, avionics and related products and services. Over the years, this show has gained a huge reputation from all over the world and the positive reaction from the attendees have motivated the exhibitors to improve the existing range and manufacture more such effective spare parts and products.21 & 22 April SAC KNZ regionals – Ladysmith airfield
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27 to 28 April EAA National Convention Vryheid Airfield
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27 April to 1 May NAC annual fly-away 10th edition
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28 April SAPFA EAA Convention Fun Rally Vryheid Airfield
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28 April Wings & Wheels Uitenhage
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5 May Swartkops Airshow
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7 to 9 May Airport show in Dubai – United Arab Emirates
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Contact Frank Eckard E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 083 269 151611 to 13 May Battlefields Country Lodge Annual fly-in Website: www.battlefieldslodge.co.za
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12 May Lowveld Airshow at the Nelspruit Airfield Tel: 013 741 6412
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12 May Swellengrebel Flying Club 60th birthday fly-in
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16 to 18 May Drone Con 2018 Vodaworld Centre in Midrand
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17 & 18 May 8th Aviation Training and Education Summit Shanghai, China
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Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com to 26 May President’s Trophy Air Race Tempe Airfield, Bloemfontein
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26 May Matsieng Airshow
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29 to 31 May European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland.
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AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Launched in April, the Aviation Professions Centre offers continuing vocational training for existing and potential employees of companies in commercial aviation. It covers the entire airports sector, including cargo-handling, safety and security, planning and operations, certification and audit, reception, stop-over, logistics and management.CAMAS director Christel Barel said: “There is a real need for specialised training for airport professionals in Africa thanks to the growth of the commercial aviation sector on the continent. Abidjan is ideal for this as it is one of the most dynamic cities in this sub-region and it has effective transportation links.” CAMAS is experienced in aviation training and the new venture will join its existing centres on the continent, including Casablanca and Johannesburg. The group also operates in Mauritius, Mayotte and Reunion.
EGIS is a natural partner for CAMAS as it already manages five airports in West Africa, while IATA-approved CAMAS brings training know-how of operations and certification. EGIS’ Olivier Baric, director of aviation Africa said: “When CAMAS offered to join with us to set up a training centre we saw the potential for many synergies that will enable us to respond to the increasing need for training in the field of airport operations.”
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
By G. Ziemelis
The air transport industry in 2017 was definitely a ride to remember: travel bans, laptop bans, a handful of bankruptcies, all at the backdrop of unprecedented financial results for airlines. In this end-of-year post, I’d like to go back to several events that made history. This list does not intend to be complete or objective, call it a personal reading, if you may.
China spreading wings
The Asian market is growing stronger every year, all while Chinese banks are conquering the aircraft financing arena with waves of acquisitions. It is a game of giants like never seen before, with Avolon taking over CIT Group in April (a deal valued at $43 billion) being one of the many milestones that Chinese investors have reached this year.
Another important milestone (this time for the Chinese aerospace industry) was the maiden flight of COMAC C919 back in May. One can surely argue to what degree the aircraft is actually Chinese, with most of the crucial parts produced by Western companies. Despite that, putting a commercial jet in the air is an achievement only a few nations can boast about. COMAC still has a long way to go, but the whole world is already watching.
Too many bankruptcies to name
Air Berlin, Alitalia, Monarch, Niki – the list goes on. The bloodbath that was 2017 has put the spotlight on failing strategies and lost opportunities. 2018 will definitely see its victims as well, though hopefully wise executives will learn from others’ mistakes. Air Berlin and Alitalia could be called Etihad’s orphans, and this only shows that pumping billions into troubled carriers is not the wisest way to spend a company’s money.
Hell, freezes as Ryanair recognizes unions
It was hard to outcompete the Irish budget carrier; both in terms of profit margins and the number of headlines it made in 2017. Multiple cancellations and the ‘oops, we forgot to reschedule pilots’ holidays’ crisis are just some examples of Ryanair being on everyone’s mind this year. Another important development is the recognition of trade unions; a thing the charismatic CEO Michael O’Leary said would not happen before hell froze.
Airbus takes over the C Series programme
Dubbed as the ‘deal of century’, Airbus benefited from the Boeing-Bombardier fight and acquired a majority share in the Canadian C Series jet programme basically for free. A definite win for both Airbus and Bombardier, this deal shows the importance of taking leaps of faith. China, which was rumoured to acquire the programme if not Bombardier entirely lost the perfect opportunity to defy the Airbus-Boeing duopoly.
What to expect in 2018?
All forecasts are speculative in their nature, and filled with such adjectives as ‘better’, ‘faster’ and ‘cheaper’. I’m not going to repeat the obvious, but I will say this: 2017 was interesting, but 2018 will blow our minds. Multiple disruptions are on their way, like blockchain integration in such fields as ticket compensation claims and booking. The low-cost model will continue its journey around the globe, touching Latin America and other new regions. The drone market will expand, perhaps with first forays into the commercial air travel space. Virtual reality is going to reshape the training industry. Believe it or not, we are already living in the future. While some bemoan the changes, we at Avia Solutions Group see ourselves riding the tidal waves. If you want to become a part of history with us, you’ll know where to find us.
Safest year in aviation history
No large commercial passenger jets have fatally crashed in 2017, two reports show, making the year the safest in aviation history. Aviation Safety Network (ASN) estimates that the chances of fatal airliner crash are now one in seven million. It recorded a total of 10 fatal airliner accidents; five cargo and five passenger planes with 79 fatalities (44 occupant and 35 on the ground) in 2017. The previous year saw 303 deaths and 16 accidents.
“Since 1997 the average number of airliner accidents has shown a steady and persistent decline, for a great deal thanks to the continuing safety-driven efforts by international aviation organizations such as ICAO, IATA, Flight Safety Foundation and the aviation industry,” said Harro Ranter, ASN President in a statement.
Dutch consulting firm To70 also released an aviation safety report of 2017, providing an even more optimistic estimation of fatal airliner crash possibility; one in sixteen million. The company accounts a total of 111 civil aviation accidents in 2017, two of which were fatal (resulting in 13 deaths). By comparison, it accounted 71 accidents of which six were fatal in 2016. The difference in numbers provided by the ASN and To70 in this case arises from the difference of the research model. The ASN takes into account the fatal accidents of commercial aircraft; cargo or passenger flights carrying at least 14 passengers. To70 accounts the accidents of passenger flights by planes with a maximum take-off mass of no less than 5700 kg. It excludes accident numbers of small commuter aeroplanes, military flights, training flights, private flights, cargo operations and helicopters. Contrary to ASN, To70 attributes the low accident rate to ‘good fortune’ and warns to watch out for factors such as the application of new technologies, maintenance (particularly to the already-arisen ones on the 787 Dreamliner engines) and human factors (e.g. mental health issues and fatigue) in 2018.
Boeing delivered more commercial airplanes than any manufacturer for the sixth consecutive year and set an industry record with 763 deliveries in 2017, driven by high output of the market-leading 737 and 787 jets. At the same time, the company grew its backlog with 912 net orders, reflecting healthy demand for its single-aisle and twin-aisle airplanes.
Boeing reached a new high on the 737 programme, as it raised production to 47 airplanes per month during the year and began delivering the new 737 MAX, contributing to a record 529 deliveries, including 74 of the MAX airliners. For the 787 Dreamliner programme, Boeing continued building at the highest production rate for a twin-aisle jet, leading to 136 deliveries for the year. In 2017, the 787 Dreamliner family racked up nearly 100 net orders and the 777-family captured 60 net orders. Other major commercial airplanes milestones include the first flights of the 737 MAX 9 and the 787-10 Dreamliner, and the start of production of the 737 MAX 7 and the new 777X.
There is now more competition in the growing retrofit autopilot market as Garmin announced it has earned an STC (supplemental type certificate) for its GFC500 entry-level autopilot. With roots planted in the experimental aircraft market, the GFC500 joins other experimental autopilot models (including TruTrak’s Vision and Trio’s Pro Pilot) that have been awarded an STC for installation in certified aircraft.
Garmin’s STC for the GFC500 includes a wide range of Cessna 172 and 182 models, but there is more on the way. In its 3 January 2018, announcement, Garmin said it expects to expand its list of aircraft models approved for the GFC500 to include the Piper PA-28, expected in the first quarter of 2018 and the Beechcraft Bonanza 35S/35V, expected in the second quarter of 2018.
The GFC500, which has a starting price of $6996 is approved via the STC for interfacing with Garmin’s own G5 electronic DG for autopilot heading command and navigation tracking, plus the display of autopilot mode annunciation and flight director command bars when interfaced with the G5 attitude indicator. The price of a GFC500 with a single G5 DG instrument is just shy of $10,000, not including installation. Garmin said that third-party indicators are not approved.
Compared to analogue retrofit autopilots from other brands that were engineered over 30 years ago, the GFC500 makes use of a deep digital interface, something buyers will expect in a modern system. In addition to envelope protection (including overspeed and under speed), the system has a coupled approach go-around feature when it is interfaced with Garmin’s GTN750/650 panel GPS navigators. In that interface (which requires the optional GAD29 navigation adapter), a single push of the go-around button activates the loaded missed approach in the GPS and the autopilot flies the procedure. The system is also compatible with Garmin’s GNS530W/430W navigators and Garmin’s navcomm radios.
The GFC500 is equipped with Garmin’s ESP feature, which stands for electronic stability and protection. As it does in Garmin’s integrated GFC700 system for the G1000 and G3000 integrated avionics suite, ESP works in the background and is independent of the autopilot’s mode controller. For example, if pre-programmed airspeed, attitude and bank angles are exceeded (based on the aircraft’s flight envelope), the system inputs light control force in an attempt to nudge the controls back.
As proven in experimental aircraft applications, the GFC500’s drive servos should reduce maintenance efforts. That is because the GSA28 ‘smart’ servos use brushless DC motors and don’t have a mechanical clutch and shear pin arrangement for slipping the controls during pilot override. Instead, there is a gear train and internal engagement clutch that allows for back-driving the motor. The GFC500 for the 172 Skyhawk and 182 Skylane are shipping now and must be installed by an authorised Garmin dealership. Please visit the website: www.garmin.com.
On Tuesday at CES 2018, Bell Helicopter unveiled its air taxi cabin design and fully integrated user experience. The four-passenger cabin demonstrates Bell’s view of an on-demand mobility aircraft that focuses on a people-first engineered user experience tailored with an urban air taxi ride. One look inside Bell’s air taxi reveals an expertly crafted interior, fostered by years of customer insight and attention to detail. Passengers will sync into a fully integrated user experience control center, where they can catch up on world news, hold a video conference call, share documents with other passengers or simply unplug from the noisy world below in a comfortable, relaxing space.
During CES, attendees will experience an augmented reality simulator inside the cabin with a selection of consumer scenarios, from a red-carpet premiere landing to several cross-city day and night trips. Bell’s air taxi design took inspiration from the people that will benefit from it; bringing families, friends, and businesses closer together by gradually reducing the average in-car trip length. The air taxi is not a new concept, because Bell Helicopter has been moving people over urban landscapes for decades.
The first Russian aircraft, developed in the country after the collapse of the USSR, Sukhoi SuperJet 100 continues to bring losses to Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company. Despite record orders for the supply of airliners, it was not possible to fulfill the plan to break even in 2017. According to Vedomosti, which refers to top managers and sources close to the company, the manufacturer under the umbrella of the United Aircraft Corporation finished the year in the red for the 9th consecutive year, its net loss amounting to about 1 billion rubles ($17.5 million). Since 2008, when the Italian company Alenia Aeronautica entered the company’s capital, it suffered a total loss of more than $2 billion.
According to SCAC, at the beginning of December 2017 a total of 135 SSJ-100 had been produced and Aeroflot has purchased 33 planes that were sold at a price below the cost. With export demand, it is more difficult: SSJ-100 has teething problems, says Fyodor Borisov, a leading researcher at the Institute of Transport Economics. In 2016, half of the fleet of Sukhoi aircraft from Aeroflot did not fly because of the difficulties with obtaining spare parts and their high cost. The average flying time of Aeroflot on SSJ-100 was a little over three hours a day. The second largest operator in Russia – Gazpromavia flew the Sukhoi jet on average 2.1 hours a day. The main foreign buyer is Mexican Interjet flew 5-6 hours per day. By comparison, profitable low-cost carriers keep their aircraft in the air up to 12-13 hours a day.
Last month Leonardo has announced the AW109 Trekker helicopter was issued with type certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Deliveries will start in the first quarter of 2018. The event marks the entry into the market of the newest light twin-engine helicopter designed by Leonardo, further strengthening its leading position in a key market segment, in particular to meet the growing demand for greater capability, versatility and cost effectiveness for public services and utility duties
The AW109 Trekker, based on the bestselling AW109 / Grand range of helicopters, is equipped with skid landing gear and a state-of-the-art Genesys Aerosystems ‘glass’ cockpit. The cockpit display system provides pilots only with the necessary information to help reduce their workload while flying in challenging environments and in demanding weather conditions.
Reuters reports; Tata Group and Singapore Airlines are open to bidding for troubled India’s national carrier Air India. The spokesperson for Tata Group first mentioned this option in October 2017, but said the Group would first evaluate key factors such as real estate, liabilities, debts, etc. In October 2017 rumours emerged that Air India might go to its initial owner the Tata Group conglomerate, after the Group‘s chairman revealed Tata is considering the option, but needs additional information on Air India’s real estate, liabilities, debts and other key factors first. Now Tata‘s interest in the troubled carrier appears to be reassured, as Leslie Thng, the CEO of Tata Group and Singapore Airlines jointly owned Indian airline Vistara, told the media that “the two promoters are open to evaluating bids for Air India. They keep an open mind”. It is not yet clear whether such offer would be done jointly.
Air India was set up as Tatas Airlines in 1932. It was later made public and, finally, nationalised. Tata Group, in turn, had been withdrawn from the airline business for six decades before returning in 2013 with the set-up of two joined ventures. After a $3.6 billion bailout could not fix the situation of the loss-making airline, in March 2017, the Indian government announced the decision to recover Air India within five years by selling a 51% share. The country’s government is working on the plan of its strategic disinvestment in the carrier, as it is under a massive debt burden of $8 billion.
In July 2017 reports emerged that Air India might be sold in parts, to make it more appealing to potential buyers, thus speeding up the sale process. However, on 1 December India’s minister for aviation said the airline is going to be sold intact after all, without separating its international and domestic operations. Several companies have been reported expressing an interest in obtaining the airline. In June 2017, in a letter to the civil aviation ministry, IndiGo expressed an official interest to buy the national carrier in parts: the international operations and its profitable subsidiary; low-cost carrier Air India Express.
On 14 November 2017 India’s regional provider of gateway services and food solutions SATS had expressed interest in buying Air India’s ground handling unit. Earlier, Indian business conglomerate Bird Group and Celebi Aviation Holding also have shown similar interest in buying out the Air India Air Transport Service.
Turkish authorities say they still are not sure why a Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737 suddenly veered left at the end of its landing run and ended up hanging off the edge of a steep bank over the Black Sea late Saturday. The aircraft, which was on flight from the capital city of Ankara to Trabzon, on the north-eastern coast, was safely evacuated and there were no reported injuries among the 168 passengers and crew. “We swerved all of a sudden,” passenger Yuksel Gordu told the Anadolu news agency. “The front of the plane crashed and the back was in the air. Everyone panicked.”
Video of the evacuation shows the slope where the aircraft ended up was muddy and the runway was wet but Weather Underground reported winds were light all Saturday evening and generally aligned with Runway 11/29. Emergency crews were on the scene within minutes and doused the aircraft with water. Fortunately, there was no post-crash fire and drone pictures were used to show the extent of the accident.
WORLD DRONE NEWS
A British drone collision study that served in part as the basis for a proposed drone pilot registration law in the U.K. has been called into question by the U.K. newspaper The Register, which recently obtained a copy of the full report. The paper reports that its analysis of the full study, which was conducted for the British government by Qinetiq and testing firm Natural Impacts, shows that the risk to airliners was far less that has been claimed by BALPA and the U.K. Department of Transport. In a serious of tests described as ‘rigorous’, drone analogues launched against the cockpit window panes of A320-series airliners did not penetrate those windows. In announcing the drone registration scheme, the government said, ‘For airliners, the test results are more reassuring; only a much heavier drone of above around 2kg in weight would cause critical damage and only when airliners fly at higher speeds.”
The study was cited by BALPA as ‘evidence of a proven drone collision threat’ to airliners. Through a spokeswoman, the union stood by its statement. “We stand by the characterisation we made at the time of the report’s publication. Drones pose a huge potential risk to aviation safety if not flown sensibly,” she told The Register. After publishing its report, a Department of Transport spokeswoman told the paper via e-mail “The safety of the public and manned aviation is our primary consideration in the use of drones. The materials and methods used in these tests were carefully selected and expert engineers wholly agreed that the results were reliable. The study findings will be used to improve our knowledge of the potential risks caused by drones and implement mitigations to ensure they are used in a safe manner.” The spokeswoman denied using the report as a basis for the legislation.
It’s been a big year for the commercial drone industry. 2017 marks the first full year of FAA’s part 107 operators license being available. There are over 70,000 pilots flying commercially in all sort of applications. In fact, even the type applications opened up significantly. We saw the first “Flights Over People” waiver issued (Congrats CNN!) and new airspace authorisations and there were a lot of airspace authorisations because 2017 also marks the prototype-launch of the Low Altitude Airspace Authorisation and Notification (LAANC) programme to let commercial operators get airspace authorisation in seconds rather than in months.
Lots of new commercial operators combined with lots of new airspace with instant authorisation is a tremendous boon for the commercial drone industry. Since its inception, the only real constant in this nascent industry is radical change and we are going to be seeing no shortage of it in 2018. As the Chief Pilot of a commercial drone operations platform, I get a front row seat to the changing tides of the industry. These are my predictions for 2018. You may find them wrong or even offensive. I welcome your thoughtful comments, as well as your unfiltered vitriol.
Prediction: Like an unemployed millennial, drone operations are moving back in-house. When we started our company almost three years ago, we saw a plethora of freelance operators. Companies were looking to hire freelancers to offset the risk, expense and regulatory burden of flying. Unfortunately for these freelance piloting companies, they did such a good job that organisations saw a lot of value in having a drone programme. Today the regulatory burden has largely been removed and the value proposition has been proven.
Predictably, we then saw a lot of ‘Tiger Teams’ forming in large organisations. Just a few people, just a few drones, just to see if this whole crazy ‘drone thing’ was for real. These groups of highly skilled experts treated their projects like small start-ups in large organisations and they proved their ability to scale. Now, they’re going to scale – quickly. We see large organisations treating drones like e-mail or personal computers. This is a fundamental shift in the ecosystem. I’m reminded of the year when you didn’t need to be a computer hacker to write an e-mail to your co-workers. 2018 is going to be that year for drones. Instead of paying third parties, large organisations are going to train existing employees on how to operate drones safely. We are already seeing the trend increasing quite a bit. There will undoubtedly be some growing pains and some ‘reply all’-style mistakes, but the net result is a group of well-educated operators adding value to their organization with drones.
Prediction: Your commercial drone will have a Remote ID system before the end of 2018. The UAS ID and Tracking Aviation Rulemaking Committee made headlines in 2017 for issuing a set of largely divided opinions on how best to answer the question, “Who the heck is flying that?” It’s a real problem, particularly since commercial operators can be following every regulation and law to the letter but still make people extremely nervous and create extra work for first responders.
It seems likely that the FAA will move to create a mandate that if you are not a hobbyist, you are going to have to identify yourself remotely. Naturally, there is a lot of uproar over such a regulation. However, a lot of the people so vehemently opposed to such a thing have a wallet in their suit pocket that contains a government-issued ID. They have a registration for their car in their glove box. They have an N number on their Piper Cub. Remote ID is a common-sense policy that is going to empower commercial drone operators. If you don’t want to or ideologically can’t deal with Remote ID, you are probably going to be relegated to Part 101.
Prediction: Consumers will, in some places, finally be able to get that burrito delivered by drone.
The Executive Order from President Trump is, at best, an interesting attempt to circumvent the lengthy rule-making process. I think it’s going to cause a lot of trouble by creating drastically different operating climates and odd standards amongst them all. However, it’s conceivable that out of all this chaos comes some town or resort that is able to offer drone delivery. It will be their novelty du jour and the Instrabraggers and Face bloggers of the world will flock for their ‘Burrito On Belay Selfie.’
The Amazon’s, Google’s and Flirtey’s of the world have put in so much effort to perfecting these systems over the last few years that they would be silly to not be dialling every municipality they can find to offer their services. Everyone one of those Instagram celebs is going to have their drone in that selfie. It’s a veritable goldmine of good PR. Make sure you catch the roundup piece when you next read an in-flight magazine, “7 Best Places in The US to Get Drone Delivery”. In conclusion, 2017 has been an amazing year for the commercial drone industry. Big pieces of the puzzle are starting to fit together. People, Process and Product are all aligning to unlock the value of drones and 2018 looks like it will be rapidly accelerating all the pieces towards fitting together. Drones are growing up and it is quite the sight to see.
About the Author
Joshua Ziering is the Co-Founder and Chief Pilot of venture-backed drone operations software company Kittyhawk and a founding member of the FAA Unmanned Aviation Safety Team. Joshua is an FAA Part 107 certificate holder and has been flying all manner unmanned aircraft for over 15 years. As an accomplished flyer, Josh has flown professionally for the NHL, ABC Television and various manned-aviation airshows.
Should you miss out on any edition of APAnews, please visit the website: www.africanpilot.co.za and click on the APAnewslink on the front page. All past weekly APAnews publications have been archived on the website.Until next week, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)
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