African Pilot’s aircraft of the week identification quiz
Congratulations to the following persons who got it right and e-mailed me within a few hours of APAnews 03.2021 going out: Mark Cope, Righardt du Plessis, Alex Diers, Bernard Stander, Pieter Gent, Mike Melton, Rassie Venter, Dave Entwistle, Erwin J.W. Stam, Pierre Hanekom, Nigel Maistry, Marco De Matos, Herman Nel, Brian Millett and Tony Regnart. Well done!
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.
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.
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
EAA Chapter 322 zoom meeting
On Wednesday evening EAA Chapter 322 (Johannesburg) staged its monthly meeting via the zoom platform due to the continued social distancing requirements of the level 3 lockdown rules. Chapter chairman Neil Bowden had planned an excellent meeting with two guest speakers.
Once the Chapter business had been concluded the meeting was handed over to Mike Blythe from Sling Aircraft. Mike provided an informative introduction to the new Sling high wing aircraft that flew for the first time on 28 December 2020. Since then, the prototype plane has flown about 8.5 hours with many pre-flight briefings and post flight analysis of the overall performance of the new type. In his usual eloquent way Mike described some of the refinements that will be addressed as well as some of the performance parameters of the high wing. Thanks to Mike Blythe and everyone at Sling Aircraft for another amazing South African aviation success.
Karl Jensen followed with a brilliantly illustrated talk on the SAA Boeing 707 tragedy when the almost brand-new airliner flew into the ground shortly after take-off from Windhoek airport on an evening flight destines for Luanda and then onto Europe. It was amazing to listen to Karl who described about the many short comings of this flight operation and the fact that there were several survivors of the tragedy.
I have always found EAA Chapter 322 talks very valuable and I urge any pilots who would like to become members of the Johannesburg Chapter to contact Neil Bowden: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hi-Fly Marketing launches Africa’s first dedicated aviation talent and resourcing service
Hi-Fly Marketing has launched Africa’s first dedicated aviation industry personnel agency, Hi-Fly Talent and Resourcing, to match airlines, aircraft maintenance providers and other aviation businesses across the continent and beyond with qualified and competent African executives and specialist talent. The new agency is a natural extension of Hi-Fly Marketing’s successful business which has been providing Africa’s aviation industry with IT and technical services over the past 12 years.
According to a recent IATA study, “Africa’s aviation industry boasts a wealth of experienced talent. The sector employed over 500,000 people in 2018. About half of them were employed by airlines or handling agents with airports, air navigation services, aerospace manufacturing and other service providers accounting for the other 50 percent. COVID-19 has shaken up the industry and the job market. It requires a fresh and innovative approach to talent spotting and recruiting,” explained Hi-Fly Founder, Alexandra Guillot.
The new agency takes advantage of Hi-Fly Marketing’s extensive African aviation industry knowledge and contact network to provide consultative, research-based and solution-oriented sourcing services. This fills the void left by other more general or geographically limited temporary and permanent placement agencies.
“As the industry starts to rebuild, there is an opportunity to establish effective teams using regional expertise. We know how crucial and challenging it can be to find the right candidates in Africa, but we are opening the door to those new recruitment possibilities by matching aviation businesses with the best professionals right across the continent,” added Ms Guillot.
Hi-Fly Talent and Resourcing uses a unique and personalised assessment process to maintain a focus on identifying the best quality (not quantity) candidates for temporary and permanent placements. The agency is specifically aimed at qualified professionals, who are specialists in their various fields, such as aeronautical engineers, safety managers, technical sales and marketeers, airport and operations managers, network schedulers, fleet managers, etc.
About Hi-Fly Marketing:
The company was established in 2008 and is based in Cape Town, South Africa from where it provides consultancy services throughout Africa’s aviation industry. It represents various global service providers in the region and has supported more than 50 airlines and other commercial aircraft and helicopters operators at each step of their development, mainly through dedicated IT and engineering solutions. Hi-Fly Marketing’s success is built on its unique set of strong client and industry partnerships.
Contact: Alexandra Guillot E-mail: email@example.com
Tel: +27 (0)21 813 6980 | Cell: +27 (0)82 574 9694
Investigators point to air duct failure after FlySafair flight gives passengers nosebleeds
According to a preliminary investigation into an incident in November, the failure of an air duct on a FlySafair plane ‘drastically reduced the efficiency of the left-side air-conditioning pack system’. Three passengers had nosebleeds, whilst five reported severe ear pain, after a pressurisation problem on a flight between Cape Town and East London. The plane made an emergency landing at George, without deploying oxygen masks. Trouble closing a door just before departure has not been linked to the issue.
FlySafair says it is satisfied its crew acted ‘by the book in terms of safety protocols’. A broken pipe on a flight between Cape Town and East London appears to have been at the root of a ‘serious incident’ aboard a FlySafair flight in November, according to a preliminary report of the SA Civil Aviation Authority’s accident and incident investigations division. The regulator recommended that similar parts on other planes be checked during standard maintenance inspections.
In its initial findings, the SACAA said a failure of cabin pressure at very nearly 33,000 feet cruising altitude for the flight left one passenger in need of medical assistance, three with nosebleeds and five with severe air pain. Things were bad enough that the pilots put on their oxygen masks, as part of standard procedures, but ‘oxygen masks were not deployed in the cabin area’ before an emergency landing in George. The report is part of a process intended to promote aviation safety and is explicitly not intended to apportion blame. FlySafair said it was too early to add much to an ongoing investigation but praised the actions of its crew. “We would like to acknowledge our crew who managed the situation by the book in terms of safety protocols and did an excellent job in ensuring a safe landing in George,” spokesperson Kirby Gordon said.
2020 SAAF pupil pilots course delay caused by COVID-19
The delay for pupil pilots at Central Flying School not finishing their courses last year is due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the regulations declared in terms of South Africa’s national state of disaster, now in day 292. SA National Defence Force (SANDF) corporate communications informed the media that like all other SAAF flying units and government departments, Central Flying School Langebaanweg has been negatively impacted by COVID-19”.
“Flying training at Central Flying School has been intermittent due to various reasons related to COVID-19 such as availability of spares (customs clearance delays) and positive cases of infection among personnel, which required isolation / quarantine as per COVID-19 containment directives,” Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi, director defence corporate communication said. “Flying training was suspended for the end of year (2020) period and will resume on 18 January. Pilot wings course 128 is expected to be completed toward the end of 2021. The statement says: “Pilot wings course 129 is expected to report to Central Flying School at AFB Langebaanweg in January 2022 to commence flying training.”
What happened in aviation over the past week?
Paramount Group launches new training division
On 11 January, Paramount Group has announced the establishment of a new division that will provide advanced training solutions for modern day ‘concept of operations’ and battlefield management to governments experiencing rising security challenges such as terrorism, violent extremism and insurgencies. The new division, Paramount Advanced Training and Support will also consolidate the Group’s existing global training, support and skills development capabilities across its land, sea and air operations. To bolster the capabilities of its new division, Paramount Group further announced that it has taken a strategic ownership stake in Burnham Global, a Dubai-based firm that specialises in providing a range of training solutions to security services around the world.
Training and support capabilities of the new division will cover modern battlefield strategies and management, the development of ‘concept of operations’, special forces operations support, pilot and vehicle operator training and medical training. This will enable governments to implement strategies that will strengthen connected battlefield operations, reduce risk and threats to armed personnel and minimise collateral damage.
Paramount Group already operates a number of training facilities, including its specialised training facility in the North West which trains special operators, K9 handlers and rapid intervention forces. It also offers training in improvised explosive device (IED) and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) Detection, advanced life support and trauma and medical support. At its Wonderboom Airport facilities and Polokwane International Airport, the Group operates rotary and fixed wing training facilities providing pilot and technical training for police and air forces.
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
US Air Force Secretary visits Niger and Nigeria
This past week US Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett visited Niger and Nigeria in the framework of cooperation with these countries’ air forces. Within this framework, there will be several deliveries of air assets by the USAF. Barrett took part in the ceremony for the delivery of the first C-130 to Niger, making it the 70th country to use this model of aircraft. The ceremony took place at the 101st Air Base in Niamey, where the United States has improved the facilities to locate the aircraft.
The United States has invested around $30 million in Niger’s C-130 programme, thus supporting not only the acquisition of the aircraft but also the training of Nigerian personnel to optimise the use of the aircraft. In this way, the United States has trained 16 pilots and more than 30 professionals involved in maintenance and operation, from flight engineers to crew chiefs.
Barrett has met not only with the US ambassador in the country, Eric Whitaker, but also with the Nigerian defence minister, Issofou Katambe and his chief of staff, General Mody. During the events the US investment in the infrastructures of other air bases, costing $17 million, was also pointed out. These improvements also include a hangar at the US-built Base 201 in Agadez, where it maintains its MQ-9B Reaper to operate over the Sahel.
In addition to Niger, Barrett also visited Nigeria, where in his meeting with political and military authorities, including the country’s defence minister, the United States pledged to deliver a dozen A-29 Super Tucano aircraft later this year. As with Niger, the United States will also be responsible for training up to 60 pilots, instructors and maintenance specialists for these aircraft over a two-year period.
During this visit, Barrett also referred to a principle of collaboration between the two air forces in relation to space, taking advantage of the first anniversary of the establishment of the US Space Force.
Upgrade project at Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport launched
The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) has started a project to renovate and upgrade Terminals 1B and 1C of Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). The airport is Kenya’s largest aviation facility, the aviation gateway to the country and the busiest airport in East Africa. The project will run for 12 months and cost 963-million Kenya shillings (about $8.79-million or R136-million). It will be focused on the departure halls and will improve the check-in, security and retail operations, as well as the passenger lounges. The upgrades will also improve passenger flow through the terminals.
WORLDWIDE ACCIDENTS AND INCIDENTS
Sriwijaya Air Flight 182 crash places Indonesia’s aviation safety under fresh spotlight
Indonesia’s chequered air safety record is again in the spotlight after a Sriwijaya Air jet carrying 62 people crashed into the Java Sea minutes after take-off on Saturday, marking the country’s third major airline crash in just over six years. The Sriwijaya crash of a Boeing 737-500 follows the loss of a Lion Air 737 MAX in October 2018 that contributed to a global grounding of the model and the crash of an AirAsia Indonesia Airbus SE A320 in December 2014.
The Lion Air crash, which killed 189 people, was an outlier in that it mainly revealed fundamental issues with the plane model and triggered a worldwide safety crisis for Boeing. Even excluding the deaths from that crash, Indonesia would rank above Russia if there are no survivors from Saturday’s crash.
Indonesia, an archipelago of thousands of islands, is highly dependent on-air travel and its safety issues illustrate the challenge relatively new carriers face as they try to keep pace with unstoppable demand for air travel in developing nations while striving for standards that mature markets took decades to reach. Between 2007 to 2018, the European Union banned Indonesian airlines following a series of crashes and reports of deteriorating oversight and maintenance.
The United States lowered its Indonesia safety evaluation to Category 2, meaning its regulatory system was inadequate, between 2007 and 2016. Indonesia’s air safety record has improved in recent years, receiving a favourable evaluation by the United Nations aviation agency in 2018. But in a country with a large death toll from vehicle and ferry accidents, the safety culture is battling against a mindset that makes it inevitable for some crashes to occur, experts said.
Authorities located the Sriwijaya jet’s flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder on Sunday, but experts said it was too early to determine the factors responsible for the crash of the nearly 27-year-old plane. The flight took off from Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, the same airport from which the Lion Air jet took off and soon crashed into the sea. Investigators would look into factors including mechanical failure, pilot actions, maintenance records, weather conditions and whether there was any unlawful interference with the plane. Most air accidents are caused by a combination of factors that can take months to establish.
Indonesian Navy recovers engine from Sriwijaya Air wreckage
One of the engines was recovered from the wreckage of the Sriwijaya Air Boeing 737-500 that crashed in the Java Sea with 62 people on board on 9 January 2021. Now that the flight data recorders have been located, rescue operations continue to try and retrieve them. Throughout the following days, search and rescue operations recovered debris from the wreckage. On 11 January 2020, the National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) announced that one of the CFM56-3B1 engines was recovered.
Two killed in Citation 560 crash
The pilot and passenger on a Cessna 560 were killed when the aircraft struck mountainous terrain on the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon on Saturday. Aerial photos from the scene suggest the aircraft hit the ground nose down at high speed. The aircraft was on its way from Portland to Boise and according to FlightAware’s track log it entered a ragged descent about 20 minutes into the flight and the speed varied between 360 and 400 knots. It lost about 26,000 feet in eight minutes with numerous heading changes during the descent. The plane was registered to SX Transport LLC, of Portland and transferred to the current owner in October of 2020.
Forced landing next to N4 highway
On Monday 11 January, a pilot was forced to make an emergency landing next to the N4 near Pretoria. The aircraft, a Safari Light Sport Aircraft (LSA), made the emergency landing shortly after take-off from Kroon airfield and he intended to land back at the same airfield. African Pilot is pleased to report that the private pilot was no injured during the incident. Although the aircraft was damaged, it is likely that it will be re-built and returned to the skies.
South African registered Cessna 210 crash landing
It appears that a Cessna 210 crashed on landing at Cibuyu, a fishing lodge in Zimbabwe. Fortunately, none of the four occupants on board were seriously injured. From the pictures posted on various forums the runway looks very narrow.
Aborted landing ends with student hitting windsock
During a solo cross-country flight, the student landed at an airport in Miami with a crosswind from the right, without flaps. During landing, the Cessna 172’s airspeed was fast, so she aborted the landing. However, her airplane was ‘very close’ to another airplane in front that had also aborted its landing. She decided to continue the landing but landed long. She then tried to exit the runway at the last available intersection, but the airplane ran off the left side of the runway
NTSB preliminary report Zenair CH750 Cruzer
On 10 September 2020, an experimental amateur built, Zenair CH750 Cruzer airplane, N656BN, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Boaz, Alabama. The pilot was fatally injured. On the day of the accident, the pilot planned to fly from Tom B David Field Airport (CZL), Calhoun Georgia, to Tupelo Regional Airport (TUP), Tupelo, Mississippi, to Northeast Alabama Regional Airport (GAD), Gadsden, Alabama and then return to CZL. According to a family member, this was a ‘test run’ for a flight he planned to conduct on 14 September 2020 to Cantrell Field Airport (CXW), Conway, Arkansas.
The pilot had never flown to CXW and the pilot thought the flight to TUP would be a good test, as the flight leg to TUP approximated half the distance to CXW. During the flight, the pilot texted a family member that he had reached TUP and was on his way back. She believed that the pilot texted her during the flight and that he had not landed at TUP. Later that day, when the family member did not hear from the pilot and learned that the airplane had not returned, she asked the airport manager at CZL to call the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA issued an alert notice for the overdue airplane. The airplane was subsequently located on 12 September 2020 by a first responder.
Examination of preliminary radar and automatic dependent surveillance data by the NTSB revealed that on the day of the accident, a target consistent with the airplane was first identified as it departed runway 25 at CZL, and then turned westbound until it was about six nautical miles (nm) east of Tupelo, Mississippi (around the area of Mooresville, Mississippi); the airplane then reversed course and flew east-southeast in the general direction of GAD at varying altitudes during cruise between about 2,500 to 5,400 mean sea level (msl). As it passed Nectar, Alabama, the airplane turned to the north, until reaching the area of Cleveland, Alabama and then turned to the east-northeast in the direction of CZL.
About 22 nm later, when the airplane was about 10 nm north-northwest of GAD (about 1.7 nm from the accident site) the airplane descended through 2,325 feet and radar contact was lost. The pilot obtained a weather briefing the evening before the accident flight. He did not file a flight plan and there was no contact with air traffic control during the accident flight.
Examination of the accident site and wreckage by an FAA inspector revealed that the airplane had impacted about 45° nose down, after striking treetops in a heavily forested area. There was no indication of an inflight fire or explosion. The left wing was bent downward at the wing root and a corresponding bend was visible on the lift strut for the left wing. The right wing displayed crush and compression damage, whilst the right aileron was separated from its outboard attachment fitting but was still attached to the inboard attachment fitting. The engine was pushed back into the firewall. The throttle control was at idle and the fuel selector was selected to the left tank.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Boeing reaches a deal with Atlas Air for four remaining 747-8Fs
The United States-based Atlas Air will take delivery of the final four Boeing 747 aircraft to be produced. Namely, the cargo, passenger charter and leasing airline will bolster its fleet with four 747-8F cargo aircraft, the last-ever variant that Boeing has produced of the Queen of the Skies. Presently Atlas Air operates 53 Boeing 747 aircraft, including 10 Boeing 747-8F cargo aircraft. According to planespotters.net data, six of them are operated for DHL.
Boeing’s previous plan of ending the production of the 747 in 2022 has not shifted and the year will mark a 54-year production run of the double-decker. However, Boeing’s Order and Deliveries data, as of 30 November 2020, have not included Atlas Air under the company’s unfilled orders tab. 12 orders remained for the 747-8F, with nine going to USP, while three other frames were destined to go to Volga-Dnepr Airlines.
Former Volga-Dnepr aircraft?
The Russian cargo carrier and Boeing were in conflict regarding the former’s remaining deliveries of the Boeing 747-8F. So much so, that Volga-Dnepr sued Boeing in Seattle, United States in May 2020, as the manufacturer refused to deliver four remaining aircraft of the type to the company.
“Boeing seeks to sell them to another buyer instead, while at the same time wrongfully retaining tens of millions of dollars that plaintiff has already paid to Boeing,” was alleged in the complaint. The Seattle-based plane maker was supposed to deliver one 747-8F, registered as VQ-BIO, in February 2020. However, a month prior, Volga-Dnepr indicated that it did not have the required financing to take deliveries of VQ-BIO, the three other Queens and sometime later also informed Boeing that it could not finalise the purchase of several 777F aircraft.
As ironic as it sounds, the COVID-19 crisis turned things around as the cargo sector had a sudden resurgence in business due to numerous passenger aircraft being grounded, taking belly cargo capacity with them, Volga-Dnepr was now ready to purchase the 747-8F and other aircraft.
General Aviation in the UK heavily restricted due to national lockdown
Following the National Lockdown in England, the Department for Transport has issued further guidance for General Aviation in England this past week. National lockdown rules apply in England. For General Aviation (GA), this means that no leisure flying is permitted.
Permitted GA activities include:
GA flying is permitted for the purposes of work, where it is not reasonably possible to work or provide those services at home. Social distancing measures must be in place and observed at all times.
Flying training organizations providing training for professional pilots, for the purposes of work, may continue to do so. Individuals undertaking such activity may continue to attend for these purposes. Social distancing measures must be in place and observed at all times.
Engine health and maintenance check flights can only take place where there is a critical safety requirement to do so, and alternative options are not available. Such flights, where conducted, must be kept to the minimum duration possible and should land at the same airfield from which they departed, except where this is outside the reasonable control of the pilot.
Chinese incursions in Taiwan airspace hit record highs in 2020
Following the abrupt plunge in preowned aircraft sales in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the International Aircraft Dealers Association (IADA) report they experienced a rising wave of transactions, highlighted by a fourth quarter surge of more than 550 closed deals. IADA officials began tracking sales metrics in April on a monthly basis as a result of the volatile used aircraft sales transactions caused by the impact on the economy from the COVID-19 contagion. Representing the top 7% of the world’s aircraft dealers, IADA is generally responsible for 40% of preowned aircraft sales, according to association officials.
“In total, IADA dealers accounted for 1,011 transactions in the April-December time period, not counting preowned aircraft sales handled by our OEM members,” said IADA Executive Director Wayne Starling. “Our dealers registered 285 sales in December alone, by far the most active month of the year and double any other COVID-19 impacted month.”
Looking towards 2021, IADA dealers ended the year by putting another 74 aircraft ‘under contract’ in December. Strikingly, dealers reported that only 36 of the 554 transactions closed in the fourth quarter involved lowered prices, IADA officials said.
Marking a return to stabilised prices, that contrasts with 45 deals that involved aircraft with lowered prices in the second quarter, as the industry began recovery from the unprecedented plunge in activity during March, officials report. “While it is way too early to say the industry has rebounded completely, as the pandemic is still raging, the activity in the preowned aircraft marketplace is certainly trending upwards across all of our dealers,” Starling said.
The organisation’s marketing arm, AircraftExchange.com, handled 638 transactions for aircraft that were listed exclusively by IADA dealers, worth more than $5 billion during 2020. Today, the organisation lists more than 500 business aircraft for sale on its site, ranging from turboprops to long-range business jets.
New York air traffic controllers receive threatening message
New York air traffic controllers received a message threatening to avenge Iranian general Qassem Soleimani’s death. The warning was received on Monday, just one day after the anniversary of the US drone strike ordered by President Donald Trump that killed Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. “We are flying a plane into the Capitol on Wednesday. Soleimani will be avenged,” a voice is heard saying in audio that was obtained by CBS News. It has not been verified by NBC News and it is not clear who sent the threat. The Federal Aviation Administration said it referred the matter to the FBI. Government officials told NBC News they do not believe the warning of an attack is credible, saying that it is not difficult for a person to gain access to the radios.
Indian government order of fifty-six C295W tactical transport aircraft
The contract was a long time coming, as it was initially outlined back in 2015. At list prices, the deal is valued at $2.5 billion. The European medium military transport aircraft will replace the Indian Air Force’s aging Avro 748M fleet, which entered service within the Indian Air Force (IAF) in the 1960s. Under the current contract, 16 C-295s should be imported, while the remaining 46 aircraft will be assembled locally under license at a factory near Bangalore owned by the Tata group. The first IAF C-295W should enter service by 2024. The Indian Air Force will become the world’s largest user of the aircraft, ahead of Brazil, Canada and Spain, where the aircraft is produced.
As part of a different contract, the Indian Coast Guard already ordered six C295Ws equipped for tactical transport and offshore search and rescue missions. Their delivery should take place between 2021 and 2024. With cabin dimensions of 12.7 meters (41 feet) in length, the C295 can transport 71 combatants, 48 equipped paratroopers, 24 stretchers or five pallets. It can operate from short (no longer than 670 meters / 2,200 feet) and unprepared airstrips. The C295W version equipped with winglets is capable of transporting more payload over larger distances in hot and high conditions and increased safety margins in mountainous regions.
COVID exposure issue shuts down Van’s Aircraft shipping
Van’s says that “Due to a recent, unfortunate COVID-19 exposure event, we have sent our parts and hardware shipping team home for a 14-day quarantine period. That means we have only a couple of people in place to try to support a workload that is normally staffed by more than 10 individuals. As a result, our shipping department is currently considered to be closed until 15 January, with the exception of bonified emergency shipments. If you have an aircraft stranded on the ground or another similarly legitimate emergency need, we will do the very best we can to help you out. Note that this closure primarily affects shipments of RV parts, accessories and hardware. We will continue to ship RV kits (larger crated items), which are packed and managed by a different team. If we discover cases where certain kit-related items cannot be included we will backorder those individual items, if and when necessary, and ship them to you when available.” During this time, the shipping team will not be available to answer phones, therefore if you have an urgent need, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to include your order number and other specifics.
French Air Force receives first modernised Mirage 2000D
The aircraft will now be put to the test by the Military Air Expertise Center (CEAM) in Mont-de-Marsan Air Base 118, in southwestern France. The purpose of the modernisation was to update the Mirage 2000D avionics and allow the employment of the MICA anti-air missiles instead of the current MAGIC. “It will provide the Mirage 2000D with improved air-to-ground and air-to-air capabilities, as well as a complementary, tactile and centralised navigation and attack system, which will facilitate dialogue between man and machine,” explained the French Air Force. In addition, a new cannon pod, called CC422, was developed specifically for this standard. It is a shortened version of the 30mm CC420 cannon carried by the late Mirage F1B. 55 Mirage 2000D fighters should receive the upgrade.
The Mirage 2000 is a multirole fighter jet developed by Dassault Aviation in the 1970s. The D (Diversified) variant is an updated version of the airframe with two seats. Based on the Mirage 2000N (Nuclear), which was the main nuclear strike platform of the French Air Force until 2018, the Mirage 2000D was designed for long-range precision strikes using conventional weapons. As for the nuclear role, it has since been taken over by the Rafale, another Dassault aircraft.
Aerolease cancels deal with Mitsubishi Aircraft
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation announced that its deal with Aerolease Aviation for the SpaceJet has been cancelled and the two sides agreed to ‘revisit’ a possible contract when Mitsubishi restarts development of the regional jet. Aerolease Aviation has been a customer since 2016 when it signed for 10 firm orders and 10 options for the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), the predecessor of the SpaceJet that Mitsubishi has been developing for years. With Aerolease’s cancellation, the total number of firm orders for the SpaceJet now stands at 153, the majority of them to Japanese carriers. Mitsubishi Aircraft also has 114 options for the type, according to Cirium fleets data.
‘Vision’ system aims for the stars to replace GPS
The ‘Vision’ system is a daylight stellar finder currently in development by the French companies Safran Electronics & Defence and Sodern. With such a device, an aircraft could find its bearings without the use of satellite geolocalisation (GPS or Galileo). Stellar finders are usually employed by spacecraft to measure the coordinates of one or more stars and use them to estimate with precision its position or trajectory, using a pre-recorded database. Sodern already produces the stellar finder used by the M51 intercontinental ballistic missile.
A test campaign of the ‘Vision’ system was carried out between November and December 2020 and the technology demonstrator showed promise. Two ground tests demonstrated the system’s ability to track multiple stars, day and night. Following the ground testing, ‘Vision’ was installed onboard an ATR42 aircraft for four test flights. “Many stars were caught and tracked in a fine way by the demonstrator, throughout the flight paths and a precise estimate of the position of the aircraft was obtained,” said the Defence Innovation Agency of the French Ministry of Armed Forces.
Additional tests will be carried out throughout 2021 to improve the performance of the demonstrator. The Ministry eventually expects the technology to be used in ‘transport and refuelling aircraft, long-endurance drones, airplanes weapons, ships or even, in the longer term, missiles.’ Mass production of the system is expected by 2025, with plans to eventually expand it to the civilian market.
WORLD DRONE NEWS
uAvionix announces launch customer Airbus Zephyr for ping200X and truFYX
Airbus has successfully integrated and flown the uAvionix ping200X ADS-B transponder and truFYX GPS throughout its Zephyr High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) 2020 flight test campaign in Arizona.
Zephyr is a solar-electric, stratospheric UAS that flies above weather and conventional air traffic, filling a capability gap complementary to satellites. With a wingspan of 25m and relying on solar energy, onboard batteries are charged during daylight and have sufficient capacity to power overnight flight. Zephyr currently holds the world record for the longest flight duration at 25 days, 23 hours and 57 minutes. The Zephyr team needed a certifiable transponder, ADS-B, and GPS solution which not only meets global airspace requirements as it ascends and descends through Class A airspace, but just as importantly does so with minimal size, weight and power (SWaP) consumption consistent with what a long-endurance solar-powered aircraft can support.
Earlier this year, the FAA published its Upper-Class E Traffic Management (ETM) Concept of Operations (CONOPS). Operations in upper Class E airspace have historically been limited due to the challenges faced by conventional fixed-wing aircraft in reduced atmospheric density. However, recent advances in power and propulsion technology, aircraft structures, flight automation, and aerodynamics have increased the number of vehicles like Zephyr that can operate in this environment. The utilisation of traditional aviation technologies such as ADS-B and Mode S transponders are a key component of this CONOPS to allow for interoperability with existing Air Traffic Control (ATC) infrastructure and Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) avionics.
FLY-R unveils its new range of UAVs based on the Rhomboidal wing configuration
The aerodynamics formula of the rhomboidal wing is a technology breakthrough and was largely proven by FLY-R on its R2-150 and R2-240 UAVs. It has now been extended to new models of UAVs up to 6m wingspan. The new project announcements from FLY-R also include the R2-HSTD, a rhomboidal wing Hight Speed Target Drone powered by a jet turbine. FLY-R is also entering the final development test and qualification of its autonomous recovery system for fixed-wing UAVs on a moving platform.
FLY-R has applied the rhomboidal configuration to a commercial aircraft thus bringing the advantages of excellent aerodynamic efficiency and therefore high performances for low fuel consumption. The CR-1200 project is powered by a hybrid motorisation system including two electrical motors. The rhomboidal configuration also translates in a small footprint on the ground and short take-off and landing distances. The company, located on Réunion Island (France), has specialised in the design, development and manufacturing of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) using composite fixed-wing aircraft. It has unique know-how related to the Rhomboidal Wing Aerodynamic formula that presents numerous advantages and allows to improve on current applications and consider new ones for the aircraft of the future.
Twice Weekly News from African Pilot
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Until Monday, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)