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“We seem to be getting closer and closer to a situation where nobody is responsible for what they did, but we are all responsible for what somebody else did.” Thomas Sowell
African Pilot’s February 2019 edition
The February 2019 edition features most aviation businesses at Grand Central Airport as well as our annual Piston Engine aircraft over 650Kg feature and the OR Tambo ACSA awards. The magazine was sent to the printers on Wednesday last week and will be ready for its distribution phase this week.
African Pilot’s March 2019 edition
African Pilot’s March edition will feature business enterprises at Rand Airport as well as Business Jets. The closing date for editorial content is Wednesday 6 February and advertising material Friday 8 February 2019. For advertising positions please contact Lara Bayliss at Tel: 0861 001130 Cell: 079 880 4359 or e-mail: email@example.com
What is developing at African Pilot?
Now you can download your favourite aviation magazine online
We have re-designed the option for the electronic version of African Pilot to be uploaded via our website. The cost of a single download is R16 (US$2) or R160 (US$20) for a 12-month subscription. In addition, we have created several other options. If you happened to miss out on a particular article or edition, back editions are available.
Do you want instant aviation news and opinions?
Visit APAcom and register yourself as a user
This is easy, just visit www.africanpilot.co.za/apacom and register on the APAcom portal once only.
Video of the week: Having recently completed the Grand Central Airport feature in the February edition this is the promotional video we produced for the airport.
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
South African Airways shuts down Blantyre operations following a Level 1 finding by SACAA
In what the South African aviation regulator described as a welcomed move and an expected response from a responsible operator that understands the importance of aviation safety; South African Airways (SAA) has opted to cancel its operations into and from Blantyre, Malawi. The self-imposed sanction was the airline’s reaction to a Level 1 finding raised by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) following base inspection of SAA operations in Malawi.
A Level 1 finding can be described as a severe non-compliance that poses serious safety risk and requires immediate closure by the license-holder and failure of which necessitates immediate enforcement action by the regulator. The Level 1 finding raised against the national carrier primarily relates to the inadequacy of aviation infrastructure facilities and related emergency support services offered at Chileka International Airport, one of the two Malawian bases utilised by SAA.
The SACAA inspection exposed several non-compliances some of which are cause for serious concern. Notably, the airport’s perimeter fence is vandalised and falls short of the set international standards. Due to lack of maintenance, both the ambulance and fire engine are not dependable.
This state of affairs may have catastrophic consequences for the airline’s passengers and crew in an event that one of their aircraft or surrounding facilities caught fire because as things stand, that would mean that emergency support services would not be instantly available as prescribed by civil aviation regulations world-wide.
After receiving the inspection report, which also detailed the findings, SAA developed and submitted a corrective action plan (CAP) to the SACAA. Before the SACAA could complete the CAP review process, SAA informed the regulator of its intention to halt operations into and out of Blantyre. The cancelation of SAA’s Blantyre operations is effective Saturday, 19 January 2019 and will remain in place until such time that the findings raised by the SACAA have been satisfactory addressed and a follow up inspection to ratify the successful closure of the findings has been conducted.
While the CAP submitted by SAA offered sufficient detail in terms of how the findings would be addressed; the decision to cease operations is most certainly a welcomed move and depicts a determination by the operator to prioritise safety and compliance above anything else. This gesture was once the hallmark of the South African aviation industry and the bedrock of its remarkable safety record in scheduled commercial operations. It is the SACAA’s wish to witness the immediate restoration of this exemplary and mature approach to air transport services and the associated aviation safety and security.
Mango Airlines to install split scimitar winglets on Boeing 737-800 NG fleet
South Africa’s Mango Airlines has ordered split scimitar winglet technology for its Boeing Next Generation 737-800 fleet from Aviation Partners Boeing (APB). Mango Airlines plans to perform the first installation of the Split Scimitar Winglets in February at South African Airways Technical facility. The Split Scimitar Winglet modification reduces Boeing Next-Generation 737 block fuel consumption by an additional 2.2% over the blended winglets. Since launching the Boeing Next-Generation 737 split scimitar winglet programme APB has taken orders and options for more than 2,000 systems and nearly 1,200 aircraft are now operating with the technology. APB estimates that its products have reduced aircraft fuel consumption worldwide by over 9.1 billion gallons to-date thereby saving over 96 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
Excellent service from SACAA’s aircraft registration division
Airworthiness certificate here AW 23584
During this past week the SACAA’s registration department finalised the Certificate of Airworthiness for our Cessna 182 ZS ILD within a few days. With all the correct paperwork in place the certificate was issued on Thursday 17 January and I would like to single out the two people who were most accommodating in this process: Firstly the head of that department Jurie Gouws and then the lady who actually handled the registration Ms Lebo Manamela. Thank you for your efficiency in getting the job done within less than one week.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
SAPFA navigation training at AeroSud Canteen Pretoria
The South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) certainly raised the bar on Saturday when Mary de Klerk conducted an all-day rally training lecture at AeroSud’s canteen kindly arranged by Rob Jonkers. Attendance was recorded as the best ever with just under fifty people present, which is an amazing feat for the sport. As an observer, I was very impressed at Mary’s knowledge, whilst many of the senior SAPFA team members were present to support her. More about the exciting developments within the various air sport categories that SAPFA runs will be published within the March edition of African Pilot. In the interim if you wish to find out more about SAPFA rallies, speed rallies and the President’s Trophy Air Race (PTAR), please look at the African Pilot calendar on our website: www.africanpilot.co.za Thank you.
Sports Aerobatics Club (SAC) Gauteng Regionals at Vereeniging airfield
The consolidated results for the free and unknown sequences in each class as an overall percentage, were as follows:
Results: Sportsman overall
- Johan van Solms 77.69%
- Simon Cowie 77.46%
- Roger Deare 74.30%
- Wian du Plessis 72.31%
- Machiel du Plees 69.98%
Results: Intermediate overall
1.Conrad Botha 57.85%
The consolidated results for the free and unknown sequences in each class as an overall percentage are as follows:
Results: Sportsman overall
- Johan van Solms 77.69%
- Simon Cowie 77.46%
- Roger Deare 74.30%
- Wian du Plessis 72.31%
- Machiel du Plees 69.98%
Results: Intermediate overall
1.Conrad Botha 57.85%
Results: Advanced overall
1.Elton Bondi 74.76%
- Pierre du Plooy 69.35%
Results: Unlimited overall
1.Nigel Hopkins 80.44%
- Barrie Eeles 78.55%
What is scheduled for the next few weeks?
SAPFA Rand Airport Challenge – Rand Airport
Contact Frank Eckard cell: 083 269 1516 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA Cape Speed Rally – hosted by the Morningstar Flying Club
Contact Hans Potgieter e-mail: email@example.com
Aeronautical Society of South Africa at MATA 17h00 OR Tambo International Airport
Contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
BARSA Aviation Summit Registration 07h30 the Polo Room at the Inanda Club
Contact Phushaza Sibiya Cell: 072 870 7085
7 to 10 March
Aero Club Air Week and mini airshow at Middelburg
Contact Richardt Lovett Cell 082 771 8775 e-mail: email@example.com
Aero Club Alan Evan Hanes Tel: 011 082 1100
SAPFA Aero Club Speed Rally
Contact Rob Jonkers cell: 082 804 7032 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
9 and 10 March
Swellendam Flying Club host Sport Aerobatic Club Regional Championships
Contact Pieter Venter e-mail: email@example.com
12 to 14 March
Saudi Airshow Thumah Airport, Riyadh
13 to 15 March
Ageing Aircraft & Aircraft Corrosion seminar at OR Tambo International Airport
Contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
FASHKOSK at Stellenbosch airfield
Contact Anton Theart Cell: 079 873 4567 E-mail: email@example.com
SAPFA Virginia Fun Rally – Virginia Airport
Contact Mary de Klerk cell: 084 880 9000
4 to 6 April
SAPFA Rally Nationals & Fun Rally – Stellenbosch Airfield
Contact Frank Eckard cell: 083 269 1516 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Robertson Annual Breakfast fly in
Contact Alwyn du Plessis Cell: 083 270 5888
Pilot Career Show venue TBA
Contact Greta Senkevie e-mail: email@example.com
Contact Lourens Kruger E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cell: 082 320 2615
4 to 14 April
Stars of Sandstone Ficksburg, Eastern Free State
10 to 13 April
AERO Friedrichshafen, Germany Global show for General Aviation
Contact Stephan E-mail: email@example.com
Rand Airport Easter fly-in
Contact Carolle Olivier Tel: 011 827 8884
SAPFA EAA Convention Adventure Rally – Vryheid
Contact Rob Jonkers cell: 082 804 7032 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
26 to 28 April
EAA National Convention in Vryheid
Contact EAA National Committee Marie Reddy
27 & 28 April
SAC Judges Trophy venue TBA
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: email@example.com
29 April to 1 May
Airport Show 2019
Grab this opportunity to take part in Airport Show, the world’s largest annual gathering for the airport community on 29 April – 1 May 2019 Dubai. BOOK YOUR STAND (https://bit.ly/2P2PyVZ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or via mobile at +971 50 662 6371
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Ethiopian Boeing 777F intercepted over Indonesia and forced to land
On 14 January 2019, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 777 freighter registered ET-AVN, was initially supposed to perform an empty flight ET-3728 from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to Hong Kong where it was to collect cargo. However, according to an Ethiopian Airlines executive, the flight was modified at the last minute to deliver a Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine to a workshop in Singapore. The aircraft was intercepted as it entered the Indonesian airspace without an overflight permit and then escorted by Indonesian F-16 fighter jets to Hang Nadim Airport (BTH) on Batam island, Indonesia.
After landing in Hang Nadim Airport (BTH), the flight crew was taken to a hotel while the plane was secured by military personnel, according to a spokesperson of the Indonesian Air Force. Two days later, the aircraft had not moved. Ethiopian Airlines argued that it did not seek to obtain an overflight permit as ‘in accordance with the ICAO Chicago Convention Article 5, by which non-scheduled flight can overfly the air space of a friendly country without prior permission.’ The airline said it was currently discussing the matter with Indonesian authorities.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Two Su-34 collide over the Sea of Japan, only one pilot found
On 18 January 2019 two Sukhoi Su-34 strike aircraft of the Russian Air Force vanished from radar during a training flight near Komsomolsk-on-Amur. One of the pilots managed to eject and was rescued. According to the Russian Defence Ministry, the two fighter-bombers collided during an exercise above the sea of Japan, 35 kilometres away from the coast. ‘The planes were not equipped with ammunition,’ the ministry said. A rescue operation was launched with the help of an An-12 aircraft and two Mi-8 helicopters. At least one parachute was seen on the spot and shortly after, one of the pilots was found alive and he was picked up by a helicopter. The fate of the second aircraft and its crew is still unknown. A TASS source said that it might have been able to return to base.
Su-34 is a fighter-bomber capable of conducting strike missions on air, sea and ground targets. It is operated by a crew of two. The sole rescued navigator was evacuated to Khabarovsk to receive medical treatment. The research operation continued throughout the day in adverse weather conditions. Four ships of the Russian Pacific fleet and a Tupolev Tu-142 maritime reconnaissance aircraft are involved. The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Pacific Fleet opened a criminal investigation regarding a possible violation of flight rules.
A220 gets milestone approval for longer flights
A major step forward in the ongoing operational development of the aircraft formally known as the Bombardier CSeries, the Airbus A220 occurred when the Canadian Civil Aviation Authority, Transport Canada gave approval for 180-minute extended operations. The milestone approval was granted to both the A220-100 model and the larger A220-300. This means the baby Airbus aircraft can now operate up to 180 minutes flying time away from the nearest airport, which could possibly lead the way for transatlantic operations for the type. With a range of some 3200 nautical miles (5920km) and the 180 minutes ETOPS approval could open up new routes for existing and new customers for the type, at least that is what the European plane-maker Airbus is hoping for. The A220 already has the ability and approval to operate steep approach and departure needed at London City Airport, so maybe in the not too distant future, we could see the type crossing the Atlantic. With an order book of over 537 aircraft to date, the A220 is already performing well, this new ETOPS approval adds another option for the types operators to better serve the needs of their customers, so perhaps that order book might grow even more rapidly.
Airbus expands into the United Sates with new A220 assembly line in Mobile
Continuing its American expansion, Airbus launched a new assembly line on its Mobile manufacturing site in Alabama, United States, on 16 January 2019. The facility is to assemble the new A220 (former Bombardier CSeries) for US-based customers. The new factory joins the already existing A320 assembly line that opened in 2016. It required an investment of $300 million and will need the hiring of 400 additional people, placing the number of Mobile total workforce at 1,100 employees. According to Airbus, aircraft production should start in Q3 2019, with first delivery of a Mobile-assembled A220 aircraft scheduled for 2020. The goal is to meet the current output of the A320 in Mobile at four aircraft per month, by the middle of the next decade. Meanwhile, the Mirabel site in Quebec, Canada, that Airbus acquired from Bombardier is expected to deliver 10 aircraft per month. In total, the European manufacturer expects to deliver 250 aircraft per year by 2025 from its Northern-American based assembly lines.
GOL Airlines B737 shoots fireballs out of engine, forced to land
A regular one-hour flight to São Paulo on Tuesday afternoon, 15 January 2019, turned into a ‘blazing’ experience for passengers flying with GOL Airlines. Footage taken by a passenger on board has spread online showing the moment the Being 737’s engine started ‘shooting fireballs’. Flight G31025 operated by the Brazilian carrier GOL (Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes) took off from Santos Dumont Airport (SDU) in Rio de Janeiro. It appears that on its ascent over the city, filmed by an unidentified passenger sitting near the wing of the plane, the São Paulo-bound Boeing 737-800 suffered some alarming engine troubles. In the footage of the climb, taken by the passenger on board, blasts of fire can be seen shooting from one of the engines under the wing of the 737.
Textron Aviation announces enhanced flight deck features for piston aircraft
Enhanced flight deck capabilities are now available for new production Cessna and Beechcraft piston platforms. The features include new standard and optional equipment as part of Garmin’s G1000 NXi next-generation integrated flight deck, which provides pilots with enhanced control and connectivity in the cockpit. New equipment includes the latest Garmin GMA 1360 audio panel with enhanced audio capabilities and Bluetooth audio link to pair portable electronic devices to the flight deck. Other equipment includes the GFC 700 Autopilot with Enhanced Automatic Flight Control System (E-AFCS), now standard on 2019 production Cessna Skylane, Cessna Turbo Stationair HD, Beechcraft Bonanza G36 and Beechcraft Baron G58 pistons, and optional on the Cessna Skyhawk. With E-AFCS, pilots benefit from a line-up of automated features designed to help maintain an optimal flight envelope, while enhancing situational awareness. The added features include Electronic Stability and Protection (ESP) with auto-level functionality, Underspeed Protection (USP) and Coupled Go-Around.
Factory-new Baron G58 aircraft are also equipped with Garmin’s new GWX 75 Doppler weather radar, which provides pilots with onboard weather information, and allows operators to customize the weather picture on each individual display in the cockpit. When used with optional turbulence detection and ground suppression technology, the radar enables Baron pilots to more easily navigate around challenging weather.
Other optional features for all Cessna and Beechcraft pistons include Garmin GSR 56 Iridium satellite receiver, which provides near worldwide access to downlink weather services and allows pilots to make voice calls and send text messages. A subscription service is available through Garmin and can be customized based on need.
Airbus achieves a new commercial aircraft delivery record in 2018
Airbus SE delivered 800 commercial aircraft to 93 customers in 2018, meeting its full year delivery guidance and setting a new company record. Deliveries were 11 percent higher than the previous record of 718 units, set in 2017. For the 16th year in a row now, Airbus has increased the number of commercial aircraft deliveries on an annual basis.
In total, the 2018 commercial aircraft deliveries comprise:
- 20 A220s (since it became part of the Airbus family in July 2018)
- 626 A320 Family (vs 558 in 2017), of which 386 were A320neo Family (vs 181 NEOs in 2017)
- 49 A330s (vs 67 in 2017) including the first three A330neo in 2018
- 93 A350 XWBs (vs 78 in 2017)
- 12 A380s (vs 15 in 2017).
In terms of sales, Airbus achieved 747 net orders during 2018 compared with 1,109 net orders in 2017. At the end of 2018, the backlog of Airbus commercial aircraft reached a new industry record and stood at 7,577 aircraft, including 480 A220s, compared with 7,265 at the end of 2017.
Over the last 16 years, Airbus has steadily increased its production year-by-year with the final assembly lines in Hamburg, Toulouse, Tianjin and Mobile complemented by the addition of the A220 line in Mirabel, Canada, during 2018. A notable contribution to Airbus’ delivery increase in 2018 came from the final assembly lines in the US and China. For the top-selling A320 Family in particular, the Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Mobile, Alabama, saw its 100th delivery and is now producing in excess of four units per month. Meanwhile, Airbus’ ‘FAL Asia’ in Tianjin, China, achieved its 400th A320 delivery, while in Germany Airbus commenced operations of its new, fourth production line in Hamburg. Overall, the A320 programme is on track to achieve rate 60 per month for the A320 Family by mid-2019. The Airbus teams successfully reached an important industrial milestone for the A350, achieving the targeted rate of 10 aircraft per month.
Brazilian government clears Boeing / Embraer strategic partnership
The government of Brazil has approved a proposed strategic partnership between Embraer and Boeing that will position both companies to accelerate growth in global aerospace markets. The government’s approval comes after the two companies approved terms for the joint venture that will be made up of the commercial aircraft and services operations of Embraer. Boeing will hold an 80 percent ownership stake in the new company and Embraer will hold the remaining 20 percent. The companies have also agreed to the terms of another joint venture to promote and develop new markets for the multi-mission medium airlift KC-390. Under the terms of this proposed partnership, Embraer will own a 51 percent stake in the joint venture, with Boeing owning the remaining 49 percent. Once Embraer’s Board of Directors ratifies its prior approval, the two companies will then execute definitive transaction documents. The closing of the transaction will be subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. Assuming the approvals are received in a timely manner, the transaction is intended to close by the end of 2019.
US Air Force accepts KC-46A
This is a major milestone for the next generation tanker and will allow Airmen to begin operational testing and flight training. The US Air Force has identified and Boeing has agreed to fix at its expense, deficiencies discovered in developmental testing of the remote vision system. The Air Force has mechanisms in place to ensure Boeing meets its contractual obligations while initial operational testing and evaluation continues. The formal delivery ceremony at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, will occur in late January.
During extensive flight testing, six KC-46 completed more than 3,800 flight hours and offloaded more than four million pounds of fuel to A-10, B-52, C-17, KC-10, KC-135, KC-46, F-15E, F-16 and F/A-18 aircraft. The Pegasus has been rigorously tested throughout all aspects of the refuelling envelope and in all conditions, including day, night and covert. With the signing of what is known as the DD250 paperwork, the delivery activities can proceed. McConnell Air Force Base will receive the first four KC-46 aircraft, all of which are ready for delivery, with four subsequent aircraft destined for Oklahoma’s Altus Air Force Base, beginning as early as next month. Boeing is on contract for 52 of an expected 179 tankers for the US Air Force. The KC-46, derived from Boeing’s commercial 767 airframe, is built in Boeing’s Everett, Washington facility.
Poland to acquire four additional M-346 advanced jet trainers
The Armament Inspectorate of Polish Ministry of National Defence has exercised an option for acquiring four more M-346 Advanced Jet Trainers (AJT) as outlined by the contract signed in March 2018. The option, valued at approximately $148 million, also includes a support package as well as an upgrade of the entire M-346 fleet to the NATO STANAG 4193 Edition 3 IFF standard developed by Leonardo. With this decision, the Polish Air Force will complete its lead-in-fighter training fleet modernization with deliveries within 2022. By acquiring four more M-346s, Poland’s fleet expands to 16 aircraft, becoming the second largest M-346 export customer. To Date a total of 76 M-346s have been ordered by Italy, Poland, Singapore and Israel.
German Federal Police strengthen Super Puma fleet
In December 2018 the German Federal Police (Bundespolizei) took delivery of three heavy H215 helicopters, with a fourth to follow in June 2019. These twin-engine multi-role Super Pumas will enter operation at the beginning of 2020 supporting the Central Command for Maritime Emergencies (CCME), which oversees maritime missions off of Germany’s coast. These aircraft will complement the German Federal Police’s existing fleet of Airbus helicopters, which includes 42 H135 family helicopters, 19 Super Pumas (AS332 L1s), 19 H155s and 8 H120s.
Airbus Space Systems
The first of the CSO (Composante Spatiale Optique) Earth observation satellites for the French Armed Forces, has been successfully launched on a Soyuz launcher from the Kourou European Spaceport in French Guyana. CSO will provide very high resolution geo information intelligence to the French Armed Forces to its partners Germany, Belgium and Sweden. The CSO satellites are equipped with a very agile pointing system and are controlled via a secure ground control operations centre.
As prime contractor for the CSO satellites programme, Airbus has provided the agile platform and avionics, including responsibility for the integration work, testing and delivery of the satellites to CNES. Thales Alenia Space provided Airbus with the very-high resolution optical instrument. Airbus teams will also continue leading the User Ground Segment operations, as they do currently with operating legacy programmes (Helios, Pleiades, SarLupe, Cosmo-Skymed). Airbus was awarded the CSO contract at the end of 2010, by CNES, the French space agency acting on behalf of DGA, the French Defence Procurement Agency. The contract included an option for a third satellite, which was activated after Germany joined the programme in 2015. The satellite’s tremendous agility and stability enable it to quickly provide users with extremely high-quality images from the Thales Alenia Space instrument, even for the most complex acquisition schedules. Airbus has made use of the latest generation of gyroscopic actuators, fibre optic gyroscopes, on-board electronics and control software to optimise weight and inertia and significantly increase the pointing speed.
France orders three more Airbus A330 MRTT tankers
Airbus Defence and Space has received a firm order from the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) for a further three A330 MRTT Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft. The aircraft, known as Phénix in French service, constitute the third and final tranche of the multi-year contract for 12 A330 MRTTs signed by the French Ministry of Defence in 2014. The first of the fleet was formally handed over in October and the remainder will be delivered by the end of 2023 under an accelerated timescale requested by France.
In French service the A330 MRTT will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines and equipped with a combination of the Airbus refuelling boom system and underwing hose-and-drogue refuelling pods. The aircraft can be configured in a variety of layouts carrying up to 272 passengers as well as medevac arrangements including the French MORPHEE intensive care module carrying up to ten patients as well as 88 passengers. The combat-proven A330 MRTT has been ordered by 12 nations, which have now placed firm orders for 60 aircraft, of which 34 have been delivered.
LIFT Aircraft unveils personal multirotor aircraft
Matt Chasen, founder of uShip, has unveiled a new venture called LIFT Aircraft. LIFT has developed an electric, vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft and plans to open up LIFT locations where anyone will be able to rent aircraft and experience an entirely new kind of flying – pilot’s license not required.
LIFT is launching the world’s first experiential entertainment business leveraging eVTOL aircraft and plans to own and operate fleets of aircraft in scenic and uncongested areas near major metro areas, tourist destinations and entertainment hubs. After training in their virtual reality simulators, anyone over the age of 18 and up to 6 foot 5 inches tall and 250 lbs, will be able to fly for up to 15 minutes at a time. The aircraft, named Hexa, resembles a large drone with 18 sets of propellers, motors and batteries. It has one seat for the pilot and weighs only 432 lbs, which qualifies it as a Powered Ultralight by the FAA so no pilot’s license is required to fly.
Electric multirotor aircraft fly using something called distributed electric propulsion (DEP), which allows an aircraft to be controlled simply by varying the speed of multiple electric motors, a task that is accomplished by flight control computers. Chasen believes that modern drone technology and autonomy can be used to make flying ten-times safer than with today’s general aviation aircraft. Hexa is semi-autonomous so, regardless of what the pilot does, it will only fly in a safe manner within the limits programmed into the autopilot computer. Unlike traditional helicopters, Hexa can even fly with up to six of its eighteen motors out, has a ballistic parachute that autonomously deploys in the event of an emergency, has five floats to safely land on water and can be controlled remotely by LIFT trained safety pilots in the event of an emergency.
Chasen and his international team of designers, engineers and flight technicians have been busy – in just the last year and a half they have designed, prototyped, manufactured, assembled and tested their first production design aircraft. After four months of unmanned flight testing, Chasen flew Hexa for the first time last month and says, Chasen thinks leveraging Ultralight eVTOL aircraft for recreational flying is a necessary step for the nascent eVTOL industry before it’s ready for commercial transportation.
Companies ranging from small start-ups to aerospace giants like Boeing and Airbus are pursuing opportunities in this new eVTOL industry, including Uber that is developing an air taxi service. “What is unique about what we are doing is that we will be flying years before anyone else – in fact, starting today we are letting people join our waiting list for flights in 25 cities and will open up locations based on where we get the most demand,” said Chasen.
WORLD DRONE NEWS
FAA to propose relaxing drone rules
The FAA is proposing relaxing rules for flying drones over people and at night. The FAA released a draft of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Monday. The NPRM will be published in the Federal Register ‘at a later date.’ A draft Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was also released laying the groundwork for public input into the myriad concerns the public might have about integration of drones into the National Airspace System. The full information package is tucked deep in the FAA website and was announced with little fanfare. In the NPRM relaxing flights over people, the FAA establishes three levels of risk based on the size of the drones and the operating circumstances. The FAA establishes the likelihood of injury if someone is hit by a drone to determine the classification of risk. Those thresholds establish whether a drone is harmless, unlikely to injure or unlikely to kill a person on the ground. Drones in the upper two categories also can’t be able to cut people with spinning blades.
Category 1: Drones weighing less than .55 pounds (0.25 Kg) will be allowed to fly over people with no additional restriction beyond the regular rules governing drone flights. The FAA says there is little risk from tiny drones and operations over people will be allowed as soon as the rule takes effect.
Category 2: manufacturers of drones weighing more than .55 pounds and up to 55 pounds (25 Kg) will have to be able to prove that a crashing drone can’t cause serious injury. This threshold is an international standard based on the transfer of the equivalent of 11 foot pounds of kinetic energy when it hits someone. While mass and velocity determine kinetic force, its effect can be mitigated through technology and engineering, such as crumple zones or breakaway parts or the ability to avoid a collision. Compliance with that injury threshold would have to be proven but there will be no operational restrictions in Category 2.
Category 3: At the top end of the scale in which the drone might be capable of hurting someone (but unlikely to kill them) by hitting with a force up to 25 foot pounds of kinetic energy. The FAA proposes to mitigate the drone’s ability to clobber someone by restricting operations. Potentially injury-causing drones wouldn’t be able to fly over any ‘open-air assembly of people.’ They could be used over a closed or restricted space as long as the people inside have been notified there are drones overhead. If the drone is being used outside a closed or restricted space it’s not allowed to hover over people.
The FAA will also allow night operations as long as the pilot is trained and the drone has an anti-collision light visible from at least three statute miles. Anything outside the new rules and drones weighing more than 55 pounds will require a waiver from the FAA. The draft rules were unveiled at a low-key event in Washington on Monday but were supposed to have been announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. She stayed in Washington because of the government shutdown and announced the proposed changes at the Transportation Research Board annual meeting.
Spynel 360° panoramic camera ensures airport safety against drone over flights
The recent incident at London Gatwick airport caused major travel disruption for more than a day after drones were spotted flying over this sensitive area. This incident once again highlighted the need for anti-drone technologies to address this evolving threat and secure the safety of flight. Following the episode, the US Federal Aviation Administration was instructed to develop a strategy to allow wider use of counter-drone technologies across airports. Detecting drones, and any UAV threat is a real challenge for many reasons. HGH Infrared Systems with its family of renowned SPYNEL thermal sensors offers a unique set of solutions to address this evolving threat and ensure true, real-time airport security.
In these times of heightened UAV threats, the SPYNEL IR imaging camera provides an innovative solution which guarantees the ability to detect, track and classify any types of drones. Whereas the drone technology is constantly evolving, bringing on the market many different types of drones including fixed wing, multi rotor drones, drones with GPS, autopilot and camera, autonomous drones emitting low or no electromagnetic signature, the SPYNEL thermal imaging technology, makes it impossible for a UAV to go unnoticed: any object, hot or cold will be detected by the 360° thermal sensor, day and night. Driven by the CYCLOPE intrusion detection software, the panoramic thermal imaging system tracks an unlimited number of targets to ensure that no event is missed over a long-range, wide area surrounding. SPYNEL is thus fully adapted to multi-target airborne threats like UAV swarming. SPYNEL is a versatile, multi-function sensor with a large field of view enabling real-time surveillance of both airborne and terrestrial threats at the same time.
The CYCLOPE automatic detection software provides advanced features to monitor and analyse the 360° high resolution images captured by SPYNEL sensors. The ADS-B plugin enables aerial target identification and the aircraft ADS-B data can be fused with thermal tracks to differentiate an airplane from a drone. With the forensics analysis offering a timeline, sequence storage and playback possibilities, it is also possible to go back in time to analyse the behaviour of the threat since its first apparition on the CYCLOPE interface. Moreover, the latest CYCLOPE feature makes 3D passive detection by triangulation available when using several SPYNEL sensors at the same time. The feature consists in analysing the distance and the altitude of multiple targets, creating a kind of ‘protective bubble’ around the airport.
Part of the complete surveillance equipment of an airport, the SPYNEL thermal imaging sensor is the must have security equipment for such a high-risk infrastructure, operating with complementary detection sensors. Military facilities, correctional institutions, stadiums and other critical infrastructures have already chosen to integrate the SPYNEL sensor with their other security and facility systems, such as radars, PTZ cameras, Video Management System and more. SPYNEL can also be rapidly deployed as a standalone solution for temporary surveillance, to face urgent cases. With its 24/7 and panoramic area surveillance capabilities, the SPYNEL thermal camera provides an early warning and an opportunity for rapid and accurate detection over large areas, to support proactive decisions.
DJI urges caution in evaluating reports of drone incidents
DJI is monitoring recent reports of drones flying in close proximity to various airports, and has offered assistance to investigators and airports where these sightings have occurred. To date, none of these reports have been confirmed, and there is no proof that any of these alleged incidents occurred. Despite the lack of evidence, new sightings have been reported at more airports, raising the prospect that new reports are being spurred by publicity from past incidents.
DJI urges caution in evaluating initial reports of drone incidents, because many of them turn out to be wrong. The true culprits have included a plastic bag (UK, 2016), structural failure (Mozambique, 2017), a bat (Australia, 2017) and a balloon (New Zealand, 2018). While there have been isolated cases of drones being flown improperly, drones have amassed an admirable safety record around the world, and the overwhelming majority of drone pilots want to fly safely and responsibly.
“This recent rash of unconfirmed drone sightings may reflect the power of suggestion more than actual use of drones at airports,” said Brendan Schulman, DJI vice president of Policy & Legal Affairs. “As more airports and airlines use drones for their own inspection, surveying and security purposes, aviation stakeholders must determine how to respond to drone sightings in ways that help ensure safety but cause the least disruption. DJI stands ready to assist the industry with this important work.”
DJI deplores any attempt to deliberately cause harm with a drone and fully supports criminal sanctions against people who are proven to have done so. DJI has also developed technological solutions to help ensure drones remain a safe and beneficial addition to the skies. The company says its Geospatial Environment Online geofencing system is designed to automatically prevent drone operators from flying near airports, prisons, power plants, major sporting events and other sensitive locations. Our AeroScope remote identification system allows authorities to monitor drones in sensitive airspace, as well as to locate the pilots of those drones and record their serial numbers. Its AirSense receiver in our latest professional drones warns drone pilots if a helicopter or airplane appears to approach them.
DJI continues to develop safety and security solutions for drone operation, even when they are not required by law or regulation. DJI also works with aviation authorities around the world as they seek to provide easy ways for drone pilots to register their craft, prove they understand the rules for safe drone operation and fly in full compliance with the law.
DJI welcomes new UK drone regulations
The UK’s Department for Transport’s new regulatory measures announced on 7 January have been welcomed by DJI. The amendments to the Air Navigation order strike a sensible balance between protecting critical infrastructure such as airports and allowing British businesses and the public at large to enjoy the benefits of drone technology.
The new rules thoughtfully reflect input on the government’s prior proposals that were provided by many stakeholders, including DJI. The vast majority of drone pilots fly safely and responsibly, and isolated drone incidents, such as the one at Gatwick, must not be the basis for unnecessarily restricting the legitimate use of this emerging technology. Governments, aviation authorities, and industry including drone manufacturers continue working together to create a reasonable regulatory framework, learning from incidents and drawing proportionate responses.
“We are pleased to see that the new rectangular restriction zones around airport runway approach paths address the risk at airports in a way similar to the latest version of DJI’s geofencing technology,” said Christian Struwe, Head of Policy at DJI EMEA. “This will provide smarter protection for airplanes in critical areas during take-off and landing and is in line with established aviation practices.”
DJI believes it is important that law enforcement officials will be given increased training and education relating to both use and enforcement of drone technology and the company will continue to offer technical assistance and comply with appropriate requests from police and aviation authorities.
As an advocate of education in Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) fields, DJI appreciates that the UK government does not propose an age restriction for pilots of unmanned aircraft as it supports young people’s early use of technology that can build vital skills for later life. As the British government and other stakeholders continue their risk-based evaluation of drone technology, DJI says it stands ready to provide technical expertise or any other necessary assistance.
An American tourist walks into an aviation pub near OR Tambo Airport and clears his voice to the crowd of drinkers. He says, “I hear you South Africans are a bunch of hard drinkers. I’ll give 500 US Dollars to anybody in here who can drink 20 bottles of beer, back-to-back!”
The room is quiet and no one takes up the American’s offer. One large young pilot even left the pub. About thirty minutes later the same pilot who left shows up again and taps the American on the shoulder. “Is your bet still good?” asks the pilot.
The American says yes and asks the bartender to line up 20 bottles of beer. Immediately the pilot tears into all 20 of the bottles, drinking them all back-to-back. The other pub patrons cheer as the American gapes in amazement. Amazed, the American gives the pilot the $500 and asks, “If ya don’t mind me askin’, where did ya go for that 30 minutes ya were gone?”
The pilot replies, “Oh… I had to go to the pub down the street to see if I could do it first.”
Weekly News from African Pilot
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Until next week, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)
African Pilot ‘Serious about flying’.
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