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“When you choose the lesser of two evils, always remember that it is still an evil.” Max Lerner
African Pilot’s February 2019 edition
The February 2019 edition features most aviation business at Grand Central Airport as well as our annual Piston Engine aircraft over 650Kg feature and the OR Tambo ACSA awards. The was delivered to past week and has entered its distribution phase.
African Pilot’s March 2019 edition
African Pilot’s March edition will feature businesses 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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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: SAPFA Rally Flying Navigation Training 2019
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
The following is the notification we received from the SACAA
CemAir’s urgent application dismissed by Johannesburg High Court
CemAir’s urgent court application to overturn the South African Civil Aviation Authority’s suspension and grounding notice has been dismissed, with costs. The ruling was made on 23 January 2019, at the Johannesburg High Court. This means that CemAir’s Part 121 and 135 Air Operator Certificates (AOCs) remain suspended until such time that the airline has adequately addressed the safety concerns or findings uncovered by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) during a recent renewal audit. The suspension came into effect on 11 January 2019 and effectively means that, without the requisite AOCs, CemAir cannot operate as an airline.
The court’s decision also paves the way for the SACAA audit team to demand the return of the Certificate of Airworthiness for the grounded aircraft as well as to proceed with their intention to recommend to the Director of the Civil Aviation that CemAir’s AOCs be revoked.
The SACAA does not view the Johannesburg High Court’s decision as a victory for the Regulator, but more as a confirmation that the safety of the people will always take precedence when decisions of aviation safety and security are made. It is hoped that it also serves as a reminder to the aviation community that we all have a duty to prioritise the lives of those who put their safety in our hands.
It is vital to note that what is often dismissed as mere ‘administrative’ or ‘paper work’ burden is in effect, in auditing and aviation terms, a bona fide evidence and demonstration of a commitment and ability to comply with safety obligations on which the entire air transport network is based. The evidence of the maintenance status of an aircraft is tracked through paper work. As such, a paper trail is extremely vital and forms a crucial component of the physical examination of an aircraft. The adage saying that ‘if you cannot produce proof that it has been done, the conclusion is that it was never done’ is befitting and applicable to aviation auditing.
It is the Regulator’s view that anyone that does not subscribe to the basic aviation principle, which is safety first, does not deserve an opportunity to take to the skies. While the Regulator appreciates and respects the right of operators to ask the courts to review its decisions; it is also of the view that the time spent going to court could be used gainfully by operators to engage genuinely with the Regulator to ensure compliance with the prescribed civil aviation regulations. The tendency to pressurise our courts to hastily decide on matters of aviation safety and security is precarious and simply amounts to coercing the judiciary to uphold non-compliance by casting doubt on the decisions of regulators and specialised agencies such as the SACAA.
As it is always the case with all operators, the SACAA is willing, able, and readily available to assist CemAir to comply with the requisite civil aviation regulatory prescripts.’
Within a 33 page document (which I have read), Judge EF Dippenaar handed down his judgement about the grounding of Cemair’s Part 121 and Part 135 fleet by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) on Wednesday 23 January. In an apparent victory by the SACAA in this tragic matter, CemAir’s application was dismissed with costs.
Indeed, this is a very sad day for South African aviation, because there are no real winners in this saga. The fact that CemAir may not survive this grounding is very real and hundreds of aviation jobs will be at stake. At the same time I believe that the two parties should have sat around the same table and worked out a lasting solution. As the editor of African Pilot, I certainly will not and cannot take sides, but I appeal to all operators involved in similar disputes with the regulator to count to ten before rushing off to the courts. In aviation common ground is essential if this industry is to move forward in an orderly and regulated manner. Once all the facts are understood in this complex case, African Pilot will offer a detailed report for our readers.
Successes and challenges for Denel Dynamics
Denel Group division Denel Dynamics recorded a R460 million loss for the 2017 / 2018 financial year in spite of progress with several programmes, including the Seeker 400, A-Darter and Al Tariq. According to the latest Denel annual report, with revenue of R1.278 billion for 2017 / 18, Denel Dynamics contributed 20% of the Group’s revenue. Around half of this was from export contracts. However, the division made a loss of R463 million, compared with a loss of R2 million for 2016 / 17. One of the main contributors to the loss was the Al Tariq guided bomb. “In June 2018, we completed the production of the Al Tariq precision guided munitions together with Tawazun Dynamics. The design portion of the contract had been delayed leading to further delays in the production. This was at a severe cost contributing R319 million in losses for the current year,” the Denel annual report for 2017 / 18 stated.
Denel designed and developed the Umbani (Al Tariq) bomb kit system to improve the accuracy and range of Mk 81 and Mk 82 bombs. It provides the user with an all-weather, day or night operational capability, utilising GPS / INS guidance or imaging infrared (IIR) with a complete automatic target recognition (ATR) capability or a semi-active Laser (SAL) seeker for increased targeting accuracy.
A center of excellence for manufacturing these weapons has been established in the United Arab Emirates as a part of a joint venture established by Denel and the country’s partner Tawazun Dynamics, which also contributes to Denel’s offset obligations. The programme accounted for revenue of R308 million (2016/17: R168 million) during the year.
On the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) front, Denel Dynamics has made progress with the Seeker 400 UAV and was contracted to supply the Seeker 400 to the United Arab Emirates. Denel said the product offering is a comprehensive solution consisting of six aircraft, two ground control stations, six electro-optic payloads, as well as the integration of other sensors, such as the synthetic aperture radar (SAR), satellite communication (SATCOM) and the integration of weapons. The weapon of choice for the client is the P2, recently designed for Tawazun Dynamics.
The Seeker 400 system produced for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has been successfully completed with the handover of the system during the 2017 / 18 financial year. Finalisation of the military type certification was due to follow in the last quarter of 2018 after the end user’s operational tests and evaluation. This is expected to be accomplished in the 2018 / 19 financial year and marks the completion of the programme. The value of the programme is R339 million of which R333 million has been invoiced to date.
Regarding air-to-air missiles, Denel noted that the performance qualification flight trials for the A-Darter air-to-air missile were successfully completed. This also completed the critical design review and established the product baseline ready for industrialisation and manufacturing. The initial batch of four acquisition trainer missiles is planned for delivery to the South African Air Force (SAAF) in the 2018 / 19 financial year with the final batch of operational missiles scheduled for delivery in the 2021 calendar year. The value of the joint South Africa / Brazil programme is just over R2 billion. The follow-on production contract for the SAAF with a value of R939 million was placed with Denel in March 2015 and revenue to the value of R223 million (2016 / 17: R219m) was recognised during the last financial year.
Meanwhile, the radar seeker for the Marlin missile was tested in a number of ground and captive flight tests during the year under review. After completing successful integration on the missile during November 2017, a successful guided flight test was conducted from a ground launch to a maneuvering target. The test proved the maturity status of the missile and the radar seeker design, Denel said.
In 2017 / 2018 Denel Dynamics was contracted by Patria Aviation Oy to upgrade the Umkhonto-IR Vessel Mounted Equipment (VME) on four Hamina class vessels of the Finnish Defence Force. This includes the supplying of services for the commissioning of all four Hamina-class vessels. The contract also includes the supply of integrated logistic support training and documentation for the upgraded Umkhonto-IR surface-to-air missile system.
Progress was also made with the EO-SAT1 earth observation satellite being designed by Denel Dynamics. High resolution payload detailed design of the satellite was completed (optics and detector electronics). The first successful radiation tests on electronics components was carried out and data reduction completed. Communications between satellite and ground station was achieved with software-defined radios.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
SAPFA Rand Airport Challenge
I attended the excellent briefing and presentation by Frank and Cally Eckhard at Rand Airport on Saturday, whilst the full article will be in the March edition of African Pilot. Thank you to Rand Airport management who waived all landing fees for aircraft taking part in this rally.
The results were as follows:
The Fun Rally section:
Pilot Navigator Points
1 RC Shillaw CJ Shillaw 319
2 Thys van der Merwe Gerda 870
3 Kim Pratley Andrew Pratley 1231
4 Piet Meyer Pieter Kriel 1410
The Intermediate Section:
Pilot Navigator Points
1 Shane Britz Karen Stroud 750
2 Jonty Esser Jonathan Esser 967
3 Adrian Pilling Adam Pilling 982
4 Don Lucas Andre Kluyts 1488
5 Leon Bouttell Karyn Purchase 1955
6 Mark Clulow Renee Clulow 2170
Unfortunately the two teams consisting of Phil Wakely and Mary de Klerk and Jakes Jacobs and Franz Smit did not complete the course due to aircraft mechanical problems.
The Unlimited Section:
Pilot Navigator Points
1 Rob Jonkers Martin Meyer 409
2 Hans Schwebel Ron Stirk 766
3 Antony Russell Pamela Russell 1344
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of this sport and are all very motivated to take part in the next events:
⦁ 1-2 February Cape Speed Rally, Morning Star
⦁ 16 February – Training Day in Brits, with the focus on the role of the pilot and cockpit-management
⦁ 23 March Virginia Rally, Durban (with a training course on 22 March)
⦁ 4 to 6 April Rally Nationals, Stellenbosch
For further information please enter online at the website: www.sapfa.org.za
What is to be decided about RAASA?
By Alan Evan-Haynes general manager of the Aero Club of South Africa
As 2019 is gathering momentum for what will be a busy year, I interviewed Neil de Lange present CEO of the Recreational Aviation Administration of South Africa (RAASA) to look at the progress with the transferring of recreational aviation functions to the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA).
The following is my take-away from our discussion:
The original thought that RAASA operations and most staff would remain much the same as they are at present (but rebranded) is no longer true. Although there has been no finalisation on staff movement, it appears that the multiskilled RAASA approach will be changed to one of specialists dealing only with single aspects, so staff who previously dealt with National Pilot’s Licences (NPLs) and Authorities to Fly (ATFs) will now only process one or the other, whilst some staff members may move to completely new areas. All NPLs and ATFs will be processed and issued on the new XXX EBS system. These are new processes and a new system so some teething problems should be anticipated. The new processes do not always align with current internal protocols and some changes may be required. Delays in the processing of applications can be mitigated by pilots and aircraft owners by handing in paperwork pre-emptively at least two weeks prior to expiry.
The new EBS system does cater for the issuing of NPLs and ATFs, whilst it is envisaged that the Rand Airport Regional Office and Midrand Office will both be in a position to process applications. The system is migrating from a paper-based to digital workflow and as with all new situations, there could be some delays as teething problems are addressed. Final decisions still need to be made, therefore AeCSA we will keep you advised.
For the AROs, Approved Persons (Aps) and Aviation Training Organisations (ATO) flying schools there is no clarity at this stage. The EBS system, as it is currently configured, only caters for Aviation Maintenance Engineers (AMEs) and fully fledged ATOs. Neil is promoting the practice of keeping the administration of APs and AROs as a manual process within the system for the moment, issuing longer validity periods, during which time all those affected can find common ground for a sustainable and safe future.
The industry has long since asked that the SACAA provides a commitment to service levels and these are in process of being developed. It is hoped that the regulator does not opt for the longest possible reasonable processing time, but for a reasonable processing time, whilst we also understand that exceptions may occur.
AeCSA recommends that where delays appear to be unreasonable, we will raise these on an individual basis. RAASA, SACAA and Aero Club all agree that no person wishes to see any unreasonable impediments to operations. The AeCSA remains committed to the same excellent service standards previously performed by RAASA, which we know will be possible for all to achieve.
Decline in NPLs
Since 2009; RAASA has issued 5,500 NPLs of which only 1,980 have been renewed and are current. RAASA has suggested an internal review to establish the reasons for this situation, with the view to support anyone requiring regulatory assistance (unfortunately not financial).
What is scheduled for the next few weeks?
African Pilot’s 2019 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.
SAPFA Cape Speed Rally – hosted by the Morningstar Flying Club
Contact Hans Potgieter e-mail: email@example.com
EAA Chapter 322 monthly meeting at the Dicky Fritz Moth Hall, Edenvale
Contact Kevin Marsden E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Aeronautical Society of South Africa at MATA 17h00 OR Tambo International Airport
Contact e-mail: email@example.com
Rustenburg Flying Club breakfast fly-in
Contact Mauritz Muller 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
EAA Chapter 322 monthly meeting at the Dicky Fritz Moth Hall, Edenvale
Contact: Kevin Marsden E-mail: email@example.com
7 to 10 March
Aero Club Air Week and mini airshow at Middelburg
Contact Richardt Lovett Cell 082 771 8775 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Aero Club Alan Evan Hanes Tel: 011 082 1100
SAPFA Aero Club Speed Rally
Contact Rob Jonkers cell: 082 804 7032 e-mail: email@example.com
9 and 10 March
Swellendam Flying Club host Sport Aerobatic Club Regional Championships
Contact Pieter Venter e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
FASHKOSK at Stellenbosch airfield
Contact Anton Theart Cell: 079 873 4567 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
Robertson Annual Breakfast fly in
Contact Alwyn du Plessis Cell: 083 270 5888
Pilot Career Show venue TBA
Contact Greta Senkevie e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Lourens Kruger E-mail: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
29 April to 1 May
Airport Show 2019
Be in the know about the next Airport Show
The new theme of Airport Show 2019 will bring together the most influential innovations that are shaping the design, features and day-to-day operations of the modern airport
- Exhibitors who have revolutionary technologies will be highlighted on the show floor
- The new Innovation Hub will present a selection of innovators from across the globe who will be showcasing their breakthrough technologies set to shape the future airport experience
- A new Smart Airports Conference will take place on day 1 GALF.
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Nigerian Air Force to receive Mi-35 and AW109 helicopters in March
According to Nigerian Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) expects to take delivery of six Mi-35M and AW109 helicopters from Russia and Italy in March this year.
Abubakar said the deliveries will comprise a single Mi-35 gunship from Russia and five AW109 utility/attack helicopters from Italy, which will be used to fight insecurity in the country. During his visit, Abubakar said that the ultimate objective for Gembu was to have a fully functional NAF Base, complete with helipads and possibly an airstrip. He said this would allow for the deployment of some of the new NAF combat helicopters procured by the Federal Government to Gembu, when they arrive.
Abubakar noted that the NAF had already commenced the construction of a helipad at Birnin Gwari to boost the anti-banditry operations in the Northwest of the country and also intended to commence the construction of a helipad in Gembu. The Nigerian government has already budgeted for two AW109s but more are likely to be ordered as the government allocates more money in future budgets. According to the 2018 Federal Appropriation Bill that was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari on 20 June, the government has set aside nearly N6 billion ($19 million) for the procurement of two new AW109 helicopters from Leonardo Helicopters. These will join the AW109 LUHs already in service with the Nigerian Air Force and the A109Es in service with the Nigerian Navy.
Nigeria also has 12 Mi-35Ms on order, with the fourth delivered in mid-2018. They were ordered in September 2015, with the first two being delivered in December 2016 and inducted into service in April the following year. Since then, the NAF said they have been contributing significantly to the counterinsurgency and other internal security operations in the country. The NAF lost an Mi-35M on 2 January whilst engaging Boko Haram terrorists in northern Borno State. All five on board were killed.
The Nigerian Air Force is due to be further boosted with the delivery of 12 Super Tucano aircraft from the United States. It recently received another Alpha Jet (NAF 476) from the United States. This was ferried into Nigeria on 6 December 2018. Nigeria acquired four examples from a US company in 2015, with three (NAF 475, NAF 477 and NAF 478) delivered in January 2016. It is not clear why the last aircraft was held back.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Tu-22 down in Murmansk
A Tu-22M3 bomber crash landed in a blizzard after a routine training flight. The plane, which was not carrying weapons, fell apart on impact with the runway. The Russian ministry said that two crew members died, whilst two other crew members were taken to hospital, but one later died. Only one of the four crew members involved, all of whom were able to eject, was rescued alive. The incident occurred at Olenegorsk in Russia’s northern Murmansk region. The Tupolev Tu-22M (NATO reporting name: Backfire) is a variable-sweep wing, long-range strategic and maritime bomber originally developed in the 1960s. A crew of four operates the aircraft.
The Tu-22M3 variant first flew on 20 June 1977. The accident bomber was produced in 1986 and underwent a major overhaul in 2012. The Russian Air Force operates around 60 Tu-22M bombers, including Tu-22M3 and Tu-22MR variants. They are to be equipped with the new 1,500 km-range Kh-50 cruise missile. The aircraft has been used in Russia’s campaign in Syria.
E-cigarette battery causes baggage hold fire
Canada’s Transportation Safety Board has determined that a small lithium ion battery used to power an e-cigarette caused a baggage compartment fire that resulted in a Mayday and subsequent emergency landing in Calgary last summer. The WestJet Boeing 737-700 with 58 people on board had just taken off for Vancouver on 14 June and was climbing through 9,000 feet when a cargo hold fire light came on. The crew hit the fire extinguisher and headed back to Calgary where the plane was met by fire trucks. By then, the fire was out but the potential was obvious. The batteries were in an outside pocket of a backpack and the bag was loaded with that side down against the fire-resistant liner of the baggage compartment. The TSB determined one of the batteries had a thermal runaway. The subsequent fire consumed much of the outside of the bag and scorched the liner but did not spread to any other bags. WestJet policy is that all e-cigarettes and their batteries have to travel in the cabin and the battery terminals have to be protected. The bag’s owner said he knew the policy but forgot he had two spare batteries and their charger in the backpack. The bag was screened but the batteries were not spotted.
Airbus threatens to leave UK amid Brexit ‘madness’
Concerned about the possible ‘no-deal’ Brexit scenario, Airbus CEO Tom Enders has called for a pragmatic agreement and an ‘orderly’ UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. If not, the company ‘could be forced’ to redirect its future investments to other countries. For Airbus, Britain is one of its four home markets and the one in which it manufactures all wings of its commercial aircraft. In a no-deal Brexit case, Enders admits the company would not be able to withdraw all of its factories from the UK immediately, but ‘could be forced’ to rethink future investments.
The Toulouse-based company has plenty to worry about. In the past, it has been open about the fact that a no-deal Brexit would be a hard blow for its business. In June 2018, the company outlined the risks associated with the scenario, admitting that in such case its production could be ‘severely disrupted’ and the company would need at least €1 billion worth buffer stocks, not including costs related to lead time and logistics disruptions.
However, now Enders states harm that Brexit and thus, a potential Airbus’ leave, would bring to Britain. Listing 14,000 direct jobs and 110,000 indirect jobs as well as six billion sterling yearly turnover by Airbus UK programmes, he states: “Please don’t listen to the Brexiteers’ madness which asserts that, because we have huge plants here, we will not move and we will always be here. They are wrong”.
Boeing unveils ultra thin, folding wing concept
On 8 January 2019, Boeing revealed Transonic Truss-Braced Wing concept, aimed to ‘higher and faster’ that previous concepts of such wing. The ultra-thin, folding wing has a span of 170 feet (approximately 52 meters) and is made possible by a truss, which supports extended length of the wing. Originally the wing was intended for flying at a speed of Mach 0.70 – 0.75, Boeing states, but it has been increased to Mach 0.80, getting closer to the speed of sound (Mach 1). The cruise speed was improved by optimising truss and modifying wing sweep. The wing is still at conceptual phase. The design is part of Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research programme, that Boeing has been carrying out with NASA for nearly a decade now.
FAA recalling furloughed safety personnel
More than 2,000 FAA inspectors and engineers furloughed due to the partial government shutdown that began on Dec. 22 have been recalled to work, according to an FAA statement made on Tuesday. The latest revision of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) plan for operations during the shutdown (PDF) now categorizes a total of 3,113 Aviation Safety positions as necessary for life and safety and therefore excepted from furlough. The previous version (PDF) of the plan listed only 216 life-and-safety excepted Aviation Safety positions.
“We are recalling inspectors and engineers to perform duties to ensure continuous operational safety of the entire national airspace,” said an FAA spokesperson in Tuesday’s statement. “We proactively conduct risk assessment, and we have determined that after three weeks it is appropriate to recall inspectors and engineers.” According to the DOT’s revised shutdown plan, some previously suspended activities will also be resumed including “certain evaluations, audits and inspections” and “certain certification activities.”
As with other federal employees still at work, the recalled personnel are not expected to receive paychecks during the shutdown. More than 24,000 jobs at the Air Traffic Organization, which is responsible for providing safe and efficient air navigation services in the U.S., make up the majority of life-and-safety excepted positions at the FAA. 13,944 FAA employees will remain furloughed of a total 44,687 positions.
Plane carrying soccer star down in the English Channel
A Piper Malibu carrying Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala from France to England went down on Monday in the English Channel and no sign of any survivors has been found. Sala and the pilot were the only people believed to be on board the aircraft. Sala had travelled to Nantes, France to say goodbye to his former teammates. He had just signed a $19.3 million contract with the English Premier League club Cardiff City. It was on the return flight that the plane disappeared from radar while over the English Channel in what was reported to be stormy weather. According to CNN, there was no distress call from the airplane. Authorities have searched nearly 1,200 square miles of the English Channel without finding any evidence that anyone survived the accident. Some debris was found, but it could not be confirmed to have come from the Malibu. On Tuesday, Guernsey police said on Twitter that if the plane managed to ditch in the Channel “the chances of survival are at this stage, unfortunately, slim.”
Dassault Aviation acquires ExecuJet’s MRO operations
Dassault Aviation and Luxaviation have announced the acquisition by Dassault Aviation of the worldwide maintenance activities of ExecuJet, a Luxaviation subsidiary. The integration process will be phased in 2019, after administrative authorisations have been obtained.
“The acquisition of ExecuJet’s MRO (Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul) operations will strengthen Dassault Aviation’s global footprint, especially in Asia-Pacific, Oceania, Middle-East and South Africa. With ExecuJet, we will continue the development of our high-quality customer support network, while growing our Falcon market share”, said Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.
“Since 1991, the ExecuJet network has gained confidence of clients operating a variety of aircraft types. I am very pleased with this opportunity, to develop our MRO business within the Dassault network”, said Graeme Duckworth ExecuJet’s MRO Executive vice-president.
Frozen hell: 250 United passengers spend night stranded in a 777
About 250 passengers of a United Airlines flight from New York to Hong Kong spent the night in their grounded plane after it diverted to Happy Valley-Goose Bay airport on 19 January 2019. The temperature was about -30 degrees Celsius. A Boeing 777-224ER, registered N76010, left New York Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to carry out flight UA179 to Hong Kong International Airport (HKG). However due to a medical emergency, it diverted to Goose Bay Airport (YYR) in Canada. A passenger was transported to the hospital.
However, when the time came to continue the flight, a technical problem prevented the plane from taking off. A spokesperson for United Airlines informed local CBC News that a frozen mechanism was blocking a door which could not be closed and the temperature was low in that part of Canada, around -30°C at the time. Passengers were not allowed to disembark. Different reports say that either Goose Bay Airport was not fit to house the 250 passengers, or that no customs agent was present at the time the plane was grounded. United crew distributed blankets for the passengers to spend the night.
It was only 14 hours after the plane landed in in Goose Bay Airport that a rescue plane took the passengers back to Newark International Airport, forcing many travellers to cancel their trip to Hong Kong. On 11 November 2018, Air France faced a similar situation when one of its Boeing 777-300 heading from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) to Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) found itself stuck in Irkutsk International Airport (IKT) after an emergency landing. 282 passengers and 16 crew members were on board. The rescue plane sent by Air France was unable to take-off after its hydraulic system froze. It was only the third Boeing 777 of the company that managed to take the passengers to their destination, three days after they left Paris.
Collins Aerospace goes supersonic on new X-59 QueSST demonstrator aircraft
In line with its vision to redefine aerospace, Collins Aerospace has been selected by Lockheed Martin to provide avionics for the new X-59 Quiet Supersonic Technology (QueSST) aircraft. The X-59 is being developed by Lockheed Martin for NASA to collect data that could make supersonic commercial travel over land possible through low sonic boom technology.
Collins will provide developmental engineering support to tailor its Pro Line Fusion avionics to the specific requirements of the X-59. By jointly developing software applications side-by-side, Lockheed Martin will receive an optimized solution which will also include Collins’ award-winning touchscreen primary flight displays with tailored multi-function windows, head-up display (HUD) symbology, synthetic vision, ARC-210 communication radios, and a suite of navigation and surveillance equipment. Lockheed Martin will house a System Integration Lab for the Pro Line Fusion avionics at its facility in Palmdale, California.
In addition, Collins will provide a dual multi-spectral enhanced vision system (EVS-3600). In order to achieve supersonic speeds with a low sonic boom signature, the X-59 must have a long and slender shape. This shape also makes a forward-looking window impractical. The EVS-3600 will enable pilots to land in nearly all conditions using advanced visual sensors leveraging long wave, infrared technology.
The X-59, which is expected to make its first flight in 2021, is designed to create a sound about as loud as a car door closing, instead of a sonic boom. It will be used to collect data on the acceptability of the quiet sonic boom generated by the aircraft, helping NASA establish an acceptable commercial supersonic noise standard to overturn current regulations banning supersonic travel over land.
Airlander 10 prototype will not be rebuilt
Hybrid Air Vehicles will not be rebuilding the prototype Airlander 10 airship after six flights and two incidents. The 302-foot long aircraft was slightly damaged in 2016 on its second flight when it bumped into the ground during a landing attempt. In 2017, the hull of the prototype automatically deflated as designed when it came loose from its moorings, sending a female employee of the company to the hospital. The damage was considered “very significant” and HAV’s insurer agreed to pay about $26 million, which was well below the $41 million HAV told its shareholders was the “maximum insured value” of the aircraft.
That second incident led the company to drop its plans to use the prototype as a “test bed and sales demonstrator,” according to a report from The Guardian newspaper. Instead, the company will be focusing on developing a “production ready” variant of the aircraft following the grant of Production Organisation Approval from the CAA. HAV says the POA places it in a “strong position” to launch production and it hopes to have a new Airlander flying in the early 2020s.
HAV said that the prototype had done its job, successfully completing final testing and providing reams of data that will help in the development of the production aircraft.
Suit filed in mountain crash
Family members of passengers killed in the 2016 crash of a Cessna 182 in Tennessee are claiming controllers should have warned the non-instrument-rated pilot he was about to hit a mountain in IMC. Pilot David Starling, his eight-year-old son Hunter and the pilot’s girlfriend Kim Smith died when the Skylane hit the cloud-shrouded 6,500-foot mountain at the 5,400-foot level. WKOV reported the suits, filed by the mother of the child and Smith’s son, claimed the “approach controller never warned the pilot that he was at an obvious risk of colliding with the mountain.”
The NTSB report said the pilot was cleared to begin his descent from 9,500 feet to his destination airport but was instructed to maintain VFR. Instead, he descended through a cloud layer at 7,000 feet and was still in cloud when the plane hit the mountain. The report cited the pilot’s “anti-authority attitude,” noting his medical certificate had expired and the plane was overdue for an inspection. The NTSB interviewed a flight instructor who said the pilot frequently flew in IMC even though he wasn’t rated. In its response to the suit, the government said the crash was the result of “the negligent acts and omissions of the pilot.”
Hi Fly tries ‘plastic free’ flights
Portuguese wet-lease carrier Hi Fly is testing out passenger-carrying flights without single-use plastic items commonly used for service including food packaging, cutlery, blankets and toothbrushes. So far, the company has run a total of 16 trial flights. Four of the flights were operated entirely without single-use plastic items and 12 with “significant plastic reduction.” Hi Fly says its goal is for all of its flights to be single-use plastic-free by the end of 2019.
A total of 4400 passengers were onboard for the trial flights and approximately 3300 pounds (1500 kg) of plastic were saved. According to Hi Fly, single-use plastic items were replaced by compostable plant-based catering disposables, paper, card, pla and cpla bioplastics, bamboo, chinaware, glass and stainless steel. The company says food waste and packaging from the flights were collected and taken to a licensed waste management operator to be processed for energy production.
Pipistrel and Honeywell collaborate on aircraft technologies for urban air mobility
Pipistrel and Honeywell have signed a memorandum of understanding that will bring both companies together on the exploration and development of solutions for the urban air mobility market. As part of their collective effort, the companies will work together to integrate Honeywell avionics, navigation, flight control systems connectivity, and other beneficial products and services onto a future Pipistrel vertical take-off and landing air vehicle to support fully autonomous operations in the future.
“This is the beginning of a long-term relationship to collectively pursue the future of urban air mobility,” said Ivo Boscarol, Founder and president of Pipistrel. “Honeywell’s expertise in integrated avionics and flight control systems, systems integration, certification and manufacturing, combined with our capabilities in designing and developing advanced light aircraft, makes us the perfect pairing to advance the urban air mobility market. Pipistrel was chosen to be one of Uber’s vehicle development partners for their urban mobility solution and our VTOL features next generation propulsion technology for achieving embedded lift. We have the concept which unlocks cost-attractive eVTOL opportunity by addressing efficiency and noise hurdles in vehicle lift, hover and cruise stages of flight.”
Honeywell possesses more than 100 years of experience pioneering aircraft technologies across every application from commercial airliners to military platforms. This century of expertise and a wealth of technology innovation in avionics, navigation, propulsion and more has positioned Honeywell to effectively collaborate with Pipistrel on defining a future for the emerging urban air mobility space.
WORLD DRONE NEWS
JD.com complete drone delivery flight in Indonesia
Two weeks ago China’s largest retailer, JD.com announced the completion of Indonesia’s first government-approved drone flight. The successful pilot project opens the door for future commercial drone use in Indonesia and the Southeast Asia region, subject to further regulatory approvals. Representatives from Indonesia’s Ministry of Transportation, Civil Aviation and Air Navigation were present for the flight.
The test flight took place on 8 January 2019, in West Java, Indonesia, where the drone flew from Jagabita Village, Parung Panjang to MIS Nurul Falah Leles Elementary School to deliver backpacks and books to students. The items delivered by drone were part of a larger donation of supplies from JD.com to the school. JD has a long history of offering philanthropic support to those in the communities where it operates. The company often taps its technology and nationwide logistics network to provide immediate support for natural disasters such as earthquakes in China.
JD.com and its JV partner, e-commerce company JD.ID, were early movers in bringing high quality e-commerce to Indonesia. JD.ID, which launched e-commerce operations in 2016, sells 1 million SKUs and serves more than 20 million consumers across the country. Its operations leverage a logistics network consisting of ten warehouses across seven islands, covering 483 cities and 6,500 counties. Given the fact that the country is spread out across many islands, the implementation of drones for regular use in e-commerce deliveries, as well as other logistics-related services, will enable citizens in Indonesia to enjoy more efficient and reliable services and help JD.ID realize its goal of being able to deliver 85% of orders same or next-day. JD.ID is also committed leveraging its logistics and other resources to support humanitarian efforts like earthquake disaster relief.
JD.com is a strategic partner of WEF and a partner of WEF’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The C4IR is a global hub for multi-stakeholder cooperation to develop policy frameworks and advance collaborations that accelerate the benefits of science and technology. Leveraging drone technology to deliver supplies to areas in need is a high priority on the C4IR’s agenda. WEF and JD have been working closely together to ensure the success of the pilot in Indonesia.
Weekly News from African Pilot
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Athol Franz (Editor)
African Pilot ‘Serious about flying’.
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