“If government could create jobs and raise children, socialism would have worked.”
African Pilot’s February 2020 edition
The February edition featuring aviation business based at Grand Central Airport as well as all currently manufactured Piston Powered Aircraft available in south Africa. This edition was completed last week and the printed magazine has been distributed nationally. The digital edition was mailed to all subscribers on Friday 24 January.
African Pilot’s March 2020 edition
The March edition will feature aviation business at Rand Airport as well as Business Jets available in southern Africa. The deadline for this edition is Friday 7 February 2020. Adrian has been distributing the February edition to the various Gauteng airports, whilst I have concentrated on Rand airport. I am pleased to report that we are receiving excellent comments on the overall quality and content of the February magazine. Thank you to our valuable advertisers who supported this edition. For advertising positions please contact Adrian Munro at Tel: 0861 001130 Cell: 079 880 4359 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
About African Pilot
There is no doubt that African Pilot provides the finest overall media reach of all aviation publications in Africa where we are in a position 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. Naturally the monthly printed magazine has an incredibly long shelf life due to its excellent design and layout. Then of course the monthly magazine is also available as a digital edition where ALL advertisers have 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.
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SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
SACAA flight inspection aircraft crash on Thursday 23 January
Statement by Ms Poppy Khoza, the Director of Civil Aviation (CEO) at the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) (shortened version).
“We called this gathering today with heavy hearts, following a tragic aircraft accident that robbed us of our three colleagues, who undoubtedly still had much to offer the aviation industry. This happened while they were conducting important work that helps uphold aviation safety standards in the country. These young and talented members of the South African Civil Aviation Authority were part of a world-class team that conducted calibration services in South Africa, Africa and the Indian Ocean.
The entire SACAA is mourning the tragic loss of our esteemed colleagues in the devastating aircraft accident that took place on Thursday, 23 January 2020 in the mountainous terrain outside the George Airport in the Western Cape Province. The aircraft, a Cessna Citation S550 owned and operated by the SACAA’s Flight Inspection Unit, took off from the George Airport at 10h40 to conduct calibration of the airport’s navigation systems. However, shortly after take-off, the air traffic control tower lost contact with the aircraft. As per procedure, a search and rescue operation was immediately activated and the wreckage was located at around 13h40.”
On board the aircraft there were three professionals, all employees of the SACAA:
Captain Thabiso Collins Tolo (49) qualified in 2013 and had 4,959 hours of flying to his credit in total. Among others, he was the first Black captain of our Flight Inspection Unit; before that he was a Manager within the CAA’s Air Safety Operations Division (between 2008 and 2011). He was also a pilot at the South African Airways between 2004 and 2008, was a Testing Standard Officer at the SA Civil Aviation Authority in 2004 and a pilot at the South African Air Force between 1989 and 2003.
First Officer Tebogo Caroline Lekalakala (33) had logged 1050 hours. She performed her last training as Flight Safety Simulator in San Antonio in the United States. Ms Lekalakala was a co-pilot and the first Black lady to fly for the Flight Inspection Unit in 2019. Prior to that she was an Air Force pilot between 2006 and 2018.
Flight Inspector Gugu Comfort Mnguni (36) had logged 1,300 flying hours. He conducted his last training at the Global Navigation Satellite System for Aviation, Eurocontrol in Luxembourg. He was trained in the Flight Inspection System at the CARNAC 30 in France. He became the first Black Flight Inspector for the FIU in 2013. Before he joined the Civil Aviation Authority, he was a Senior Technician at SIA Solution.
“Their respective families have been informed. We are offering both their families and staff members the much-needed support and counselling during this difficult time. The Accident and Incident Investigation Division (AIID) has dispatched a team of investigators to start the process of investigating the cause of the accident, and to collect evidence from the scene. Consistent with procedure, a notification of the accident was issued on Thursday, 23 January 2020. A preliminary report is expected in 30 days and 12 months thereafter an interim report, if the investigation has not been completed by then. The reports are public documents and therefore the families and the public will be informed of the outcomes.”
Firstly I wish to convey my sincere condolences to the families of the three aviation professionals who lost their lives in this tragedy. I also wish to commend the SACAA for swiftly convening the media conference I attended on Friday 24 January to provide an explanation during this difficult time.
However, I need to question why this calibration flight took place in what obvious marginal flight conditions were and when clearly the high workload required of the crew with the task of the survey does not allow for any sort of error. There are several other issues surrounding this particular aircraft and the crew involved in this tragedy, but due to the DCA’s request I will not speculate any further at this time. The fact is that if this flight had been delayed to a time when more suitable Visual Flights Rules (VFR) would apply, this accident would not have taken place.
South African Airways cancels flights ‘to conserve cash’
On 20 January South African Airways assured its passengers and stakeholders that its flights continue to operate as normal. However, on 21 January 2020, the airline cancelled domestic and international flights from two of its South African hubs, Johannesburg (JNB) and Cape Town (CPT). The airline, which is in the middle of a business rescue plan, cited the cancelations as a ‘responsible strategy’ not to burn cash and optimize SAA’s position as it anticipates an injection of capital in the future. The affected domestic routes were two early morning connections between Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa and the corresponding return flights. In addition, three connections are also cancelled between Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa with return flights also being affected. SAA noted that is working closely with its low-cost subsidiary, Mango, to minimise disruption to the passengers.
On the carrier’s international network, flights from Johannesburg to Munich, Germany were cancelled. Instead, South African Airways will re-accommodate passengers onto its flights to Frankfurt Airport (FRA) in Germany and London Heathrow Airport (LHR) in the United Kingdom. In addition, travellers will also be re-booked on fellow Star Alliance carriers, allowing them to reach Munich or any other destination if they were traveling via the Bavarian capital.
On a more interesting note, SAA further notes that flights from Cape Town were cancelled also due to the fact that it has been training pilots to fly the newest member of its fleet, the Airbus A350 XWB on domestic routes. Such developments resulted in ‘temporary surplus capacity on the routes,’ states the company’s press release. Flightradar24.com data shows that the airline’s four Airbus A350 have been operating domestic flights on a daily basis, some even since November 2019. However, ZS-SDD has departed for New York on 20 January 2020, leaving the country for the first time since South African Airways received it in November 2019.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
EAA Talk Show – ‘General’ Brian Stableford
On Thursday evening Captain Karl Jensen (retired) interviewed Captain Brian Stableford at the packed EAA auditorium at Rand airport. The auditorium was beautifully refurbished by a Marie Reddy and Eugene Couzyn late in 2019 and is looking amazing. Thank you to EAA for affording me the opportunity to video the entire interview, which I will make available as a You Tube video this coming week. Brian certainly has enjoyed a fascination aviation career, which could be the envy of any aspiring pilot. In addition, Brian spent much of his flying career training and mentoring other pilots. More about this wonderful evening in the March edition of African Pilot.
SAPFA Rand Challenge rally
Unfortunately the low cloud and light rain meant that several of the entrants that had entered this rally, could not take-off from their home airfields. However, for local pilots the skies cleared to what was to be a glorious day in the sun. The briefing was conducted by competition director Frank Eckard and fortunately there was no delay with the start time for the rally. The sky continued to clear during the course of the morning, but strong winds challenged the pilots on some of the legs, making it difficult for them to maintain their allocated speeds. Well done to the ten teams that took part on Saturday. A full report with pictures will be published in the March edition of African Pilot.
Class 3 (Fun Rally section):
Pilot Navigator Aircraft Points
1 Michael Crause Edzart Verseput Sling 4 1161
Class 2 (Intermediate Section):
Pilot Navigator Aircraft Points
1 Thys van der Merwe Kerry Matthysen C172 392
Class 1 (Unlimited or Open Section):
Pilot Navigator Aircraft Points
1 Jonty Esser Mary de Klerk C150 C 798
2 Antony Russell Pam Russell C172 1060
3 Andre Kluyts Don Lucas C 172 1709
4 Leon Bouttell Karyn Purchase Harmony 1850
5 Quentin Taylor Derick Bird Super Decathlon 1914
6 Shane Britz Karen Stroud Jabiru 2121
7 Hendrik Loots Jandre Loots Sling LSA 2366
8 Milan Daniz Caroline Koll TC07 Sling 4 No result
What is scheduled for the next few weeks?
SAAF prestige day Friday 31 January 2020
The first event to mark the centenary of the South African Air Force (SAAF), or its 25th anniversary of democratic South Africa, will be Air Force Prestige Day on 31 January at AFB Zwartkops. The first SAAF statement on the anniversary was released this week.
“The SAAF is celebrating 25 years of democracy and simultaneously commemorating its Collective Heritage in 2020. As we continue to build a cohesive society and enhance unity, it is important to reconfigure the SAAF’s heritage landscape to ensure that it reflects the diversity of our society. Our interventions are guided by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, the supreme law of the land, whose preamble partly reads: ‘We, the people of South Africa, recognise the injustices of our past, honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land, respect those who have worked to build and develop our country and believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.’ “In line with these constitutional imperatives, the SAAF is committed to the preservation and promotion of our Air Force heritage. Join us in 2020 as we continue to break the barriers of social cohesion and embrace the SAAF’s collective heritage. Join us in commemorating our SAAF pioneers, celebrating our successes and demonstrating the SAAF’s air power,” is the full text of the statement.
A quick poll conducted from a sample of military aviation enthusiasts and retired air force personnel had a single constant from responders. All said the design was lacking in that no mention is made of either the centenary or the 25th anniversary.
What is scheduled for the next few months?
African Pilot’s 2020 calendar
Editor’s comment: African Pilot’s aviation calendar is the most accurate combined calendar available and I am happy for any other publication to simply copy and paste this calendar FREE of charge.
SAPFA Speed Rally Witbank Airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 855 9435
4 and 5 March
Aviation Africa Summit and Exhibition Addis Ababa 2020
Contact Tel +44 (0) 170 253 0000
E-mail: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
4 to 8 March
IADE International Aerospace & Defence exhibition Tunisia
Website: www.expomediatunisia.com E-mail: email@example.com
SAPFA Brakpan Fun Rally at Brakpan Airfield
Contact Frank Eckard E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083 269 1516
7 and 8 March
SAC KZN Regionals at Ladysmith Airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
Aero Club of South Africa 79th AGM
Time: 18h00 for 18h30 EAA Auditorium, Hurricane Road, Rand Airport, Germiston
SAPFA Speed Rally at Bethlehem Airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082855 9435
The Airplane Factory breakfast fly-in at Tedderfield Airfield
Contact Shanelle McKechnie E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 066 224 2128
21 and 22 March
FASHKOSH airshow at Stellenbosch Airfield
Contact: Anton Theart E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 079 873 4567
31 March – 5 April
Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo. Lakeland, Florida, USA
E-mail: Neil1@telkomsa.net or email@example.com
1 to 4 April
AERO Friedrichshafen, Germany Global show for General Aviation
Contact Stephan E-mail: Stephanie.firstname.lastname@example.org
2 to 4 April
SAPFA Rally Nationals and Fun Rally at Stellenbosch Airfield
Contact Frank Eckard E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 083 269 1516
3 to 5 April
Groblersdal Flying Club fly-in at Groblersdal Airfield
Contact Richard Nicholson E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 490 6227
Robertson annual fly-in breakfast
Contact Alwyn du Plessis E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 083 270 5888
Wings and Wheels Festival at Uitenhage Airfield
Contact Lourens Kruger E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 320 2615
Aero Club of South Africa Centenary Banquet venue TBA
Contact Marie Reddy E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 083 259 7691
Aero Club of South Africa Annual General Meeting EAA Auditorium Rand Airport
Contact Sandra Strydom E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 011 082 1100
Garden Route Airshow
Contact Brett Scheuble E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 084 418 3836
African Pilot’s 2020 calendar
We will publish the aviation calendar within APAnews three months ahead, but you can always visit African Pilot’s website: www.africanpilot.co.za if you would like to obtain the full calendar for the entire year.
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
MD 530F helicopters commissioned by Kenya
The six new MD 530F helicopters recently delivered from the United States have been commissioned into service by the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF). The aircraft were delivered to Kenya in late December 2019. Kenya Army Commander, Lieutenant General (Lt Gen) Walter Koipaton, said the helicopters are a great asset for the Kenya Army and will be crucial in supporting the infantry units in the defence of the country against land-based aggression. According to the KDF, the purchase of the helicopters is part of its modernisation programme which is fully funded by the Ministry of Defence.
The US Embassy said the sale of the helicopters is representative of the US ‘total package approach’ of the United States Foreign Military Sales programme, which includes not just the equipment but also a comprehensive spare parts and multi-year sustainment package to ensure the longevity of the aircraft.
Powered by the Rolls-Royce 250-C30 650shp turbine engine, these aircraft feature an all-digital glass cockpit with tinted windows, ballistically tolerant crashworthy fuel system, FN Herstal Weapons Management System, DillonAero Mission Configurable Armament System (MCAS), 62 mm ballistic armour protection, FN Herstal .50 calibre HMP 400 Machine Gun Pods and M260 7-shot rocket pods.
Second batch of AW109 helicopters received by NAF
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) took two further AW109 Power helicopters after they were delivered by air from Italy last week. The two partially disassembled rotorcraft, along with equipment and spares, arrived at Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja on board a Boeing 737-400 Cargolux Airline aircraft from Malpensa International Airport in Italy on 15 January 2020. A team from the Nigerian Air Force and Leonardo Helicopters then proceeded to begin assembling the aircraft (NAF 579 and NAF 578) in preparation for introduction to service. The first two were inducted on 29 April 2019 during the NAF Day celebrations in Abuja.
WORLDWIDE ACCIDENTS AND INCIDENTS
Guatemalan airshow practice session results in death of a pilot and two spectators
Details are still coming in, but according to multiple Guatemalan press sources, a Red Bull aerobatic aircraft was involved in a fatal accident. Two Red Bull performers were billed to perform at an airshow conducted by the Aero Club of Iztapa, Escuintla. Both Kirby Chambliss and Steve Andelin were on the roster to fly at the show, but Chambliss’s Facebook page reports that he was alive and well and was not the pilot involved in the accident. Several videos show the aerobatic plane conducting some aerobatic manoeuvres as one terminates too low and collides with the ground, nearly level and the aircraft ultimately winds up off site and in a nearby body of water in a highly fragmented condition. Andelin was flying a Zivko Edge 540T, N540ZA.
Tragically, as confirmed by Guatemalan media reports, two spectators were struck in the accident and killed. Video of the aftermath show two persons on the ground and well within an area that would otherwise have been cordoned off in South Africa. Andelin was conducting a practice flight before the weekend’s Aero Club of Guatemala, ‘Show Iztapa LXV anniversary.’ However, due to the accident the anniversary event, the airshow scheduled in the facilities of the Aero Club of Guatemala for 25 January 2020 was cancelled.
US firefighting plane down in Australia
On Thursday a C-130 Hercules water tanker owned by Oregon-based Coulson Aviation has gone down in New South Wales, Australia while fighting bush fires in the region. According to a report from The Oregonian newspaper, three American crew members were fatally injured. In a statement, Coulson Aviation said that one of its Lockheed-manufactured tankers went down after it left Richmond in NSW loaded with fire retardant. “We are deeply saddened to confirm there were three fatalities,” the company said in a news release. “The accident response team has been activated as well as local emergency services. Coulson Aviation will be sending a team to the site to assist in emergency operations. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the three crew members onboard.” Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said there was a large fireball associated with the accident. No survivors have been located, he said. Coulson has reportedly grounded its aircraft as a precaution pending an investigation. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau will investigate the accident.
Kobe Bryant and eight others killed in helicopter crash
Retired NBA star Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among nine victims of a fatal helicopter crash near Los Angeles on Sunday. Bryant and the others were aboard a Sikorsky S-76 that went down on a wooded hillside in Calabasas about 09h47. Initial reports said he owned the S-76. It is registered to Island Express Holding Corp. The group was reportedly headed from John Wayne Airport in Santa Anna to a youth basketball game at Bryant’s basketball academy in Thousand Oaks about 20 miles from the crash site.
Conditions were reported as foggy or misty at the time of the crash with visibility of 2.5 miles and ceilings of about 1,100 feet. According to ATC recordings, the pilot requested Special VFR, which was approved and flight following, which was rejected because the helicopter was below radar coverage. The last transmission was squawking ident with Socal Approach about three minutes before the reported time of the crash. The aircraft crashed just south of Highway 101 in a rural area and the debris field was extensive. It sparked a small brush fire that was put out by firefighters. Bryant commonly used the helicopter to commute around the Los Angeles Basin.
Multiple injuries after Avianca flight sudden loss of altitude
An Avianca flight declared an emergency after suffering a sudden loss of altitude that injured eight people on board. The flight AV693 from San José-Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO), Costa Rica, to Bogotá-Eldorado Airport (BOG), Colombia, was carried out by the Airbus A319-100 registered N703AV, with 108 passengers and five crew members on board. According to flight data, nearly two hours into the flight, as it was over Panama and the cabin crew was serving food and beverage onboard, the aircraft entered into a sudden descent of about 731 meters (2,400 feet). With several injuries reported, the flight crew decided to declare an emergency and diverted to Panama City (PTY). In total, eight people received medical help. “A passenger and three crew members were transferred to the hospital for a detailed medical evaluation,” Avianca said. Pictures taken from the cabin show a fractured ceiling, blood splatter on the overhead compartment, and damaged toilets.
Young pilot survives crop spraying plane crash
Last week a young pilot engaged in crop spraying survived a frightening plane crash after a forced landing on a farm next to the Doornkop township, near the N11. Juan Steenkamp (26), is the co-director and pilot at Platorand Lugbespuiters. He started flying at the young age of 17 and has nine years of flying experience in both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. He was busy crop spraying one of the fields and had just completed a run when his aircraft started losing power. Moments after dumping the load, white smoke started billowing out of the aircraft’s exhaust and oil from one of the cylinders was spattered across the windscreen and wings. Juan realised that he would not make the airfield and that he would have to make an emergency landing in one of the nearby fields. The wet conditions of the field resulted in him losing control and his aircraft flipped over. He climbed out of the wreckage of the Grumman Ag-Cat having sustained minor injuries.
Grumman Traveller down in Tallahassee, Florida
On Tuesday a Grumman AA5 Traveller crashed near Tallahassee International Airport (KTLH) in the Florida Panhandle, but fortunately both occupants of the airplane survived the accident. Television station WCTV reports that the pilot reported ‘intermittent power cuts’ to air traffic controllers and was attempting to land at the airport when it went down a few miles from the runway. KTLH Deputy Aviation Director Jim Durwin said that the flight did not originate at the airport and it was also not their intended destination.
The plane went down in a forested area. First responders found the pilot and passenger conscious and alert when they arrived at the accident scene. They were transported to a hospital for treatment. The airplane appeared to have impacted at least one tree during the accident sequence but did not catch fire. The pilot had not filed a flight plan, so it was not known where the flight had originated or what was the intended destination.
Air ambulance down in Alaska’s Unalaska Bay
Last week shortly after take-off from an airport in the Aleutian Islands a LifeMed medevac King Air went down in the waters of Unalaska Bay. The plane and crew were enroute to Adak near the west end of the Aleutian chain to pick up a patient. According to a report from the Associated Press, the pilot, paramedic and a nurse who were on board the aircraft were all able to exit the airplane and get into an emergency life raft before the plane sank in about 58 feet of water. The King Air impacted the water about 300 yards offshore and a city harbour boat was able to reach the crew in about 20 minutes and have the crew of the plane back on shore where they were evaluated at a local hospital.
Pilot lands Cessna 182 on California city street
Last Friday the pilot of a Cessna 182 landed on a city street in Bakersfield after reporting an engine failure to air traffic control. Television station KERO reports that the incident occurred just before midnight on Friday. The plane was approaching Bakersfield Municipal Airport when the pilot reported that he had lost power and declared an emergency. The pilot landed the plane on the city street, hitting a traffic light pole with its right wing. Fortunately, neither the pilot nor the passenger was injured. There were no reported injuries on the ground, and the plane did not hit any vehicles during the emergency landing.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Airports take action against Chinese coronavirus spread
Airlines and airports in China and around the world are taking actions to contain the spread of the deadly and mysterious coronavirus that has already claimed 17 lives and infected more than 570 people. The coronavirus, also known as the 2019-nCoV virus, appeared in Wuhan, China, a city of 11 million inhabitants. Each year, more than 20 million air passengers’ transit through the city for the celebrations of the Lunar New Year, due to start on 25 January 2020. In total, more than three billion people travel during that period, making the phenomenon the biggest annual migration of humans on the planet.
Asia, the most affected region so far
To prevent a potential spread of the virus, the Chinese authorities have announced that the Wuhan would be isolated from the rest of the world from 23 January 2020, right before the celebrations. The measure includes Wuhan Tianhe International Airport (WUH), whose flights should be interrupted ‘until further notice’. However, several other cases have already been detected outside of the Chinese borders. In Singapore Changi Airport (SIN), the screening was extended from people arriving from Wuhan to all Chinese passengers.
In Thailand, which receives almost a quarter of Wuhan’s international flights, Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Krabi airports are now equipped with thermal cameras to detect syndromes of fever, with affected people being placed in quarantine for at least 24 hours. Around 1300 passengers from China fly to Thailand every day. Four people infected with coronavirus have already been detected.
Precautions extended to five main US airports
The United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began screening arrivals on direct and connecting flights from Wuhan to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), New York- John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The measures should be extended to Chicago- O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). The first case of an infected person was spotted in Washington State on 21 January 2020.
Dubai takes precautions
With thousands of visitors expected for the Lunar New Year celebrations, the General Civil Aviation Authority of the United Arab Emirates (GCAA) has announced that travellers from China would be subject to thermal imaging cameras. ‘The control will be carried out at secure (landing) doors’ by medical teams, the GCAA said. Chinese travellers represent a significant share of tourism in Dubai.
No confirmed case in Europe
China Southern Airlines operates several routes between Wuhan and European airports, where measures have been taken. Upon arrival in London-Heathrow (LHR), passengers are transported to a separate area where they are inspected by medical services. As for those arriving in Rome-Fiumicino (FCO) and Moscow-Sheremetyevo (SVO), they are inspected by thermal cameras during screening.
The only European airline with a direct route towards Wuhan is Air France. On 22 January 2020, Flight AF139 was still carried out by an Air France Airbus A330-200. “We are very concerned,” said Benjamin Smith, CEO of Air France-KLM. “We have not modified any of our procedures and none of our ‘processes’ in China”, he explained, adding that the group remained “in permanent discussions with our partner China Eastern as well as our other partners in China.” No particular precautions, such as temperature control, have been enforced yet in French international airports. However, Agnes Buzyn, French Minister of Solidarity and Health said that “all international airports have information posters.”
Coincidentally, on 23 January 2020, the Chinese Embassy in France reported being in contact with a resident of Wuhan that recently arrived in Lyon and bragged on social media about taking antipyretics to pass airport border controls despite showing disturbing symptoms of fever and cough. The authorities have yet to determine if she is or not infected by the 2019-nCoV virus.
I question what precautions the South African authorities have taken to contain any potential outbreak being brought into our country by a Chinese traveller or any other traveller for the record?
Bombardier may consider selling its corporate jet business
Within its preliminary results for the fourth quarter and full year 2019, Bombardier reported that it expects lower than previously guided financial performance, mainly as a result of actions taken to resolve challenging rail projects, the timing of milestone payments and new orders at Transportation, and the delivery of four Global 7500 aircraft slipping into the first quarter of 2020.
According to the report, aviation deliveries were strong in the quarter, totalling 58 aircraft in the fourth quarter for a total of 175 aircraft for the full year. This included 11 Global 7500, six of which were delivered in the fourth quarter. The remaining Global 7500 aircraft originally scheduled for delivery in the final days of 2019 are now expected to be delivered in the first quarter of 2020. As Aviation made good progress ramping up the Global 7500, its full year adjusted EBIT margin is still expected to be approximately 7.0%, in line with full year guidance.
With its exit from Commercial Aerospace, Bombardier is reassessing its ongoing participation in the Airbus Canada Limited Partnership Update (ACLP). While the A220 programme continues to win in the marketplace and demonstrate its value to airlines, the latest indications of the financial plan from ACLP calls for additional cash investments to support production ramp-up, pushes out the break-even timeline and generates a lower return over the life of the programme. This may significantly impact the joint venture value. Bombardier will disclose the amount of any write-down when we complete our analysis and report our final fourth quarter and 2019 financial results.
Consistent with Bombardier’s five-year turnaround plan and following a comprehensive review of strategic alternatives, the Company is actively pursuing options to strengthen its balance sheet and enhance shareholder value. This could mean divestiture of its corporate jet business. In a piece written for Forbes, business aviation analyst Brian Foley said there were few potential buyers for Bombardier’s business jets. Gulfstream already has successful aircraft in the category occupied by Bombardier’s Global line, as does Dassault, Foley said. Bombardier will provide additional information when it reports its fourth quarter and full year 2019 financial results on 13 February 2020.
Class action launched regarding Ukrainian Airlines flight PS752
A proposed class action against Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Ukrainian Airline has been filed concerning the downing of Flight PS752. The class action is on behalf of the passengers and the passengers’ families. The Aircraft was carrying 176 people, including nine crew members, 15 children, 57 Canadian citizens and 138 of the passengers were returning to Canada. New York-based litigation funding company, Galactic Litigation Partners LLC has agreed, subject to court approval, to finance the class action.
Iran ultimately admitted its missile defence system shot down the plane after initially blaming technical or mechanical error. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stated it was an ‘unforgivable mistake’. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said “shooting down a civilian aircraft is horrific and Iran must take full responsibility by compensating the families. At the time of the crash, the FAA had banned civilian aircraft from flying over the region. After the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in 2014, many airlines respect FAA notices when making safety decisions. Several airlines, including Austrian Airlines, Air France, Air India and KLM, rerouted their flights. Other airlines such as Emirates, Lufthansa, Flydubai and Turkish Airlines cancelled flights to airports in Iran and Iraq. Flight PS752 departed despite the known risks.
Sling Pilot Academy exceeds expectations in 2019
The Sling Pilot Academy came on the flight training scene with great hopes, even greater ambitions, and lots of expertise, which appears to have paid off. A quick look over the accomplishments of the first full year of operations shows that SPA created a juggernaut in terms of its attempt to bring flight training firmly into the 21st century. Much has happened, but the numbers do the real talking in this story. Currently flying over 700 hours a month (independent of the full-time simulator training that goes on, seven days a week), utilising seven Sling Training aircraft (including the new Sling NGT, Next-Generation Trainer), two Tecnam P2006T twins and two Redbird simulators. Fourteen CFIs support the Sling programme, providing plenty of instructors to fill the needs of a growing student base. Five of those CFIs are recent hires, from SPA’s own flight training operations as recent graduates of the SPA programme.
Presently the full-time Professional Pilot Course hosts 31 full-time students who are on their way from zero- or near-zero time to all three CFI airplane ratings. Four new classes are on the schedule with nearly a dozen approved up for the upcoming 15 February 2020, SPA-PPC class, with other inductions planned for 15 May 15 August and 15 November 2020. When asked to describe SPA’s 2019 events, in only a few words, SPA’s three principal partners responded succinctly. SPA’s Wayne Toddun notes that, “This is how we REALLY grow aviation! 2020 looks even more promising!” Jean D’Assonville responded that he was, “tremendously pleased with the results we’re seeing in such a short time.” And Matt Liknaitzky describes it as, “Intensely gratifying, really exciting and a powerful validation of what we hoped for.”
Hybrid Air Vehicles reveals production Airlander 10
The production Airlander 10 has been revealed as Hybrid Air Vehicles approaches the start of production, with negotiations continuing with commercial customers. The updated aircraft has a fuel-saving, lower-drag shape; enhanced landing gear; wider, longer cabin for passengers, cargo and equipment as well as many other refinements. These features will provide the flexibility needed to deliver the unique experiences the commercial market is keen to offer to its customers. “Unveiling the aircraft that our first commercial customers will receive is an exciting moment and an important milestone on our path to type certification,” said HAV CEO Tom Grundy.
The production aircraft will deliver more than just the capability and maintainability customers expect from Airlander technology. It will also deliver increased efficiency, with the Airlander 10 producing up to 75% fewer emissions than comparable aircraft. We are currently developing electric propulsion with Collins Aerospace and the University of Nottingham as we work to deliver zero-carbon. HAV is currently in contract negotiations for the first four production slots, based on signed letters of intent for over ten aircraft with organisations in the tourism and clean technology sectors. “Our current negotiations are the result of the strong interest in providing unique, responsible travel experiences that we have been seeing in the commercial sector,” Grundy adds. As HAV approaches the launch of the production and type certification programme, the company is working to secure the investment required to establish a new, made-for-Airlander production facility.
Kopter’s SH09 flies with a new main rotor configuration
Kopter continues to pursue its flight test campaign in Sicily with its third prototype (P3) having now reached more than 100 flights. P3 is equipped with a modified main rotor head and the next generation of main rotor blades. Both were successfully tested at the end of 2019 on the company’s whirl tower in Ennetmoos, Switzerland. They have now been installed on P3 in Pozzallo where Kopter has established its flight test activities since March 2019. This upgrade package is part of a scheduled configuration evolution towards the final optimisation of the production aircraft.
After an initial set of ground runs and flights have been completed, all the expected improvements have been confirmed. The new main rotor head architecture optimises the dynamic behaviour particularly in the handling qualities further reducing the pilot workload in all phases of flight. The next generation of main rotor blades is expected to improve the performance at high altitude and high weight. The full performance evaluation is the subject of the ongoing flight test campaign.
Bell Boeing CMV-22B Osprey successfully completes first flight
During the past week the first CMV-22B Osprey, built by Boeing and Bell Textron completed its first flight operations at Bell’s Amarillo Assembly Center. The CMV-22B is the latest variant of the tiltrotor fleet, joining the MV-22 and CV-22 used by the US Marine Corps and US Air Force. The US Navy will use the CMV-22B to replace the C-2A Greyhound for transporting personnel, mail, supplies and high-priority cargo from shore bases to aircraft carriers at sea. Bell Boeing designed the Navy variant specifically for carrier fleet operations by providing increased fuel capacity for the extended range requirement. The mission flexibility of the Osprey will increase operational capabilities and readiness, in addition to ferrying major components of the F-35 engine. “With the ability to travel up to 1,150 nautical miles, the CMV-22B will be a lifeline for our servicemen and women out at sea,” said Kristin Houston, vice president, Boeing Tiltrotor Programmes and director, Bell Boeing V-22 Programme. “The quality and safety built into this aircraft will revolutionise the way the U.S. Navy fulfils its critical carrier onboard delivery mission.” Bell Boeing will deliver the first CMV-22B to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (HX) 21 in early 2020 for developmental testing.
California pilot convicted of lying to the FAA
According to the US Justice Department, a California pilot has been found guilty on two counts of making false statements to the FAA, and two counts of falsifying, concealing or covering up material facts. Nicholas Beyer (34) has stated on airman medical certificate applications that he had never been diagnosed with any mental disorder. However, the Department of Veterans Affairs diagnosed him with a major depressive disorder in 2016. He also concealed the fact that he was receiving disability benefits for the depressive disorder diagnosis. Byer was indicted on 23 August 2018 by a federal grand jury. He could face penalties of a $250,000 fine and five years in prison, along with possible restitution for each count. Sentencing is set for 22 April.
Joby Aviation raises $590 million to launch air taxi service
Joby Aviation, a pioneer in the development of an electric air taxi, has raised $590 million in Series C funding led by Toyota Motor Corporation. Prior investors, including SPARX Group, Intel Capital, Capricorn Investment Group, JetBlue Technology Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures and AME Cloud Ventures, also contributed to the round. They were joined by new investors Baillie Gifford and Global Oryx (ALJ family’s investment arm). Shigeki Tomoyama, the Executive vice president of Toyota Motor Corporation, will join Joby Aviation’s board of directors. This new investment brings the Company’s total funding, including previous rounds, to $720 million.
Joby Aviation’s mission is to bring fast, affordable and zero-emissions air mobility to communities worldwide. Over the past 10 years, the Company’s team of engineers and physicists has developed a quiet, all-electric VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft, which will be instrumental in the commercial launch of the emerging on-demand urban air taxi market. Toyota will share its expertise in manufacturing, quality and cost controls to support the development and production of Joby Aviation’s aircraft. This support, along with the capital investment, will accelerate the certification and deployment of this new mode of local transportation.
WORLD DRONES NEWS
Leonardo’s Falco Xplorer drone completes first flight
Leonardo has announced the maiden flight of its new Falco Xplorer drone aircraft. Falco Xplorer S/N0001 took off from Trapani Air Force base on 15 January, cruised over the Gulf of Trapani in a dedicated fly zone, for around 60 minutes and then returned to base, landing safely. The maiden flight is a significant milestone which has been achieved through technical and engineering support, at the test flight planning stages and with other related activities, by the Italian Air Force Test Flight Center. The Remotely Piloted Air System (RPAS), which combines endurance of over 24h with a maximum payload of 350kg, will now embark on a series of flight campaigns which will assess the aircraft’s full range of capabilities including its integrated sensor system. These campaigns will also certify the Falco Xplorer against NATO’s airworthiness STANAG 4671, dramatically expanding the territory over which it can operate.
The Falco Xplorer was first unveiled at last year’s Paris Air Show. It has been designed to offer persistent, multi-sensor strategic surveillance to military and civil customers and can be procured as either an integrated system or as a fully managed information-superiority service, flown and operated by Leonardo. With a maximum take-off weight of 1.3 tons and an operating ceiling above 24,000 feet, the aircraft is an affordable and potent option for Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR).
About a third of online shoppers are looking forward to drone deliveries
According to a new survey of 528 online shoppers by Clutch, the leading B2B ratings and reviews platform drone delivery increases purchase intent for more than one-third of consumers. Meanwhile, 39% of online shoppers say that a drone delivery option would not impact their purchasing decision, while 25% would be less likely to order an item delivered by drone. Several companies are working on drone delivery technology in 2020, including Amazon, Google’s parent company Alphabet (in partnership with FedEx), and UPS. Alphabet’s subsidiary Wing Aviation began testing a commercial drone delivery programme in Christiansburg, Vancouver this year. Online shoppers said they are most excited about drone delivery’s potential of being faster (33%) and cheaper (21%) than other shipping methods.
Experts say neither of those options may be consistently true, though. Millie Radovic, market analyst at Drone Industry Insights, a market research and analytics company, said that drone delivery will likely be a more expensive option until companies can scale their programmes. However, consumers may be willing to pay more for faster deliveries. “Drones will offer a higher-end option for deliveries,” Radovic said. “Drones will improve those delivery times further, bypassing traffic congestion or queues of deliveries.” Whether drone delivery is faster than other shipping methods depends on many factors, though, including the location of warehouses, airspace restrictions and weather. Dan Khasis, founder and CEO of Route4Me, a route optimisation software, said strong winds or severe weather can severely impact drones’ capabilities. “How do you incorporate a headwind?” Khasis said. Drone delivery will likely be more expensive than traditional shipping for now and may only be faster in certain environments.
Online shoppers are most anxious about drones damaging packages during delivery (20%), getting stolen or hacked (19%), or replacing jobs (18%). Companies will continue to conduct extensive testing to minimise potential damage from drones. Package theft is an increasingly common issue for all delivery methods; scheduling drone delivery times or allowing for delivery to a consumer’s real-time location may minimize issues. In terms of drones replacing jobs, Radovic expressed scepticism: “Vans are still far cheaper and more effective means of delivery than using a drone.”
Weekly News from African Pilot
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Until next week, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)