E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 0861 001130 or Cell: 079 880 4359
It is with deep sadness and respect that Border Aviation Club confirms the passing of a long-time club member and highly respected member of the community, John Waterson and his assistant Gerald Murahwi. John and Gerald were involved in a fatal aircraft accident near the Browns Landing airfield Morgans Bay. A massive search effort by the local community was launched after the aircraft did not return from a flight as planned on Wednesday evening. The search effort was managed and coordinated by ARCC. (Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre). The search, conducted by land, air and sea, included South African Police, Department of health EMS, NSRI and an unbelievable number of volunteers from the local community. It is with overwhelming humility and gratitude that we acknowledge each and every individual that took part in this operation. From driving rural farm trucks in the middle of the night to flying personal aircraft in a grid pattern searching. Ultimately it was a volunteer ground hiking party that discovered the scene, obscured from aerial view by bush and trees. The sense of belonging to a community that will respond this way, without question, when others are in need is unarguably a huge comfort. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Waterson and Murahwi families at this difficult time. To John: you were a friend, mentor and outstanding gentleman. You have made a positive contribution to life as a whole and to aviation in particular. Godspeed friend.
Editor comments: I knew John personally as a devoted EAA member for decades and a good friend to all who knew him. The Savannah LSA aircraft that he built at his factory close to East London is a fine aircraft and all John’s customers have expressed their shock at this tragic accident. Some years back I undertook an article on the Savannah and spent many hours with John as I undertook a tour of his factory and conducted splendid air-to-air pictures from another Savannah. To John’s family, friends and work colleagues, we are thinking of you at this tragic time. To John may your flight to that great hangar in the sky be as smooth as possible.
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VIDEO OF THE WEEK
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
On Friday evening Christine and I were invited to join an exclusive event at Grand Central Airport and when walking through the executive departure lounge I could not believe my eyes, because a Gripen C was parked right outside the terminal building. In addition, three helicopters including a NAC Bell 525, SAAF Agusta 109LUH and Airbus BK117 helicopter were on show. Surrounding the aircraft were a number of executive vehicles and within the departure lounge an art exhibition as well as collectable wines of the finest quality were on show for tasting. The function was attended by Johannesburg’s ‘most wealthy persons’ who enjoyed this rather different aviation experience.
I was fortunate to meet with Lt Col. Mashaba aka ‘Boerboel’ the pilot of the Gripen who told me it took only 20 minutes to fly from AFB Makhado to FAGC, but that the ground crew took four and a half hours to travel the same distance. My impression of this pilot who has served in the SAAF for 17 years was one of a humble man who absolutely loves his calling. At about 20h00 Lt Col Mashaba fired up the Gripen and set sail for Makhado with a full afterburner take-off – what an incredible sight!
Indeed, all the persons involved in this exciting event were wonderful to meet and I feel privileged to have been the only media person to have been invited. I want to compliment the management and staff of Grand Central Airport for staging an exceptional aviation event that will keep people talking for weeks into the future.
Aviation Calendar 2018
APAnews promotes ALL KNOWN calendar events several months ahead. APAnews also provides for aviation events banner adverts at a nominal cost of R200 per insertion or R1000 for a package of eight insertions. Our usual price is R600 per insertion, therefore the price for airshow and event organisers is a considerable discount.
Contact Frank Eckard E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 083 269 151610 February SAPFA AGM Rand Airport at 14h00
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 804 703215 to 17 February SAPFA committee bosberaad – Paddafontien, Thabazimbi
26 Feb to 1 March HAI HELI-EXPO in Dallas, Texas, USA
Contact: Karen Gebhart E-mail: email@example.com
3 March SAPFA Virginia Fun Rally – Virginia Airport
Contact Mary de Klerk E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 084 880 9000
9 to 11 March Aero Club of South Africa Air Week at Middelburg airfield
Contact Alan Evan-Hanes E-mail: email@example.com
This event will be planning for:
- Spot landing competitions (for everything that got airborne, including hot air balloons and gyrocopters
- Fun rallies for all aircraft types and speeds (short duration introduction navigational rallies)
- Fly markets (sell the aviation things you no longer need)
- On airfield camping. Arrangements are being made for those who want to but do not want to carry a tent – just like Oshkosh, which will be managed by Neil Bowden. In addition, I will be present with my trailer top camper for the two nights.
- Drone racing
- Forums on various topics
- Introduction to Aerobatics – all classes and judging initiation
- Balloon nightglows (needs to be seen)
Anything that flies (except mosquitos) are welcome. This is an aviation event for aviators. Lots of Avgas available. Come showcase your plane and in turn get to look at all the things you wanted to. The sky will be kept as open as possible for you to fly, take a friend for a flip.
Contact Andre van Rooyen E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 417 017412 to 14 April SAPFA Rally Nationals and Fun Rally at Brits Airfield
Contact Frank Eckard E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 083 269 151614 April Zebula Airshow
Contact Hans Potgieter E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 460 4970
AERO dedicates itself to offering a significant collection of aviation related products and accessories. Exhibitors will be showing engines, modern ultra-lights, powered aircraft, avionics and related products and services. Over the years, this show has gained a huge reputation from all over the world and the positive reaction from the attendees have motivated the exhibitors to improve the existing range and manufacture more such effective spare parts and products.21 & 22 April SAC KNZ regionals – Ladysmith airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com to 28 April EAA National Convention Vryheid Airfield
Contact Karl Jensen E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
27 April to 1 May NAC annual fly-away 10th edition
Contact Deneys Potgieter E-mail: email@example.com or Cell: 082 891 4354
28 April SAPFA EAA Convention Fun Rally Vryheid Airfield
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 804 7032
28 April Wings & Wheels Uitenhage
Contact Lourens Kruger E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 320 2615
5 May SAAF Museum Swartkops Airshow
Contact Officer Commanding E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 012 351 2290
7 to 9 May Airport show in Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Contact Reed Exhibitions Middle East E-mail: email@example.com
Contact Frank Eckard E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083 269 151611 to 13 May Battlefields Country Lodge Annual fly-in Website: www.battlefieldslodge.co.za
Contact Dave O’Halloran Tel 079 496 5286 E-mail: email@example.com May Lowveld Airshow at the Nelspruit Airfield Tel: 013 741 6412
Contact Monica Fourie E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083 619 3597
12 May Swellengrebel Flying Club 60th birthday fly-in
Contact Pieter Venter E-mail: email@example.com
15 to 18 May NAMPO Agricultural Trade Show near Bothaville, Free State
Contact Wim Venter Tel: 086 004 7246 E-mail: Wim@grainsa.co.za
16 to 18 May Drone Con 2018 Vodaworld Centre in Midrand
Contact Byron Walters E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
17 & 18 May 8th Aviation Training and Education Summit Shanghai, China
Contact Josephine Zhu E-mail: email@example.com
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org to 26 May President’s Trophy Air Race Tempe Airfield, Bloemfontein
Website: www.sapfa.org.za E-mail: Race@sapfa.org.za
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 804 7032
Race director Robin Spencer-Scarr: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org May Matsieng Airshow
Contact Riaan van Vuuren E-mail: email@example.com Tel: +26 771 66 1201
29 to 31 May European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland.
Contact Bianca Dorneanu E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +32 2 766 00 72
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
After receiving 12 AT-802s from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), it has been confirmed that Egypt is operating the AT-802 as a counter-insurgency aircraft. IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly reports that two AT-802s were seen at Bir Gifgafah in DigitalGlobe imagery taken on 16 January and three on the following day. In January 2015, the publication reported that the UAE had donated a dozen AT-802s to Egypt in support of counter-insurgency operations in the Sinai, but the aircraft have not been seen until now.
Iomax was originally contracted to provide 24 AT-802s to the UAE before launching the Archangel model. Iomax uses the Thrush 710P as the basis for the Archangel rather than an Air Tractor airframe. Some of the UAE’s AT-802Us have been passed on to Jordan and Yemen, amongst others. The UAE received ten Block 1 Air Tractor AT-802Us from Iomax between November 2010 and May 2011 and a batch of 14 similar aircraft to Block II standards, modified to carry heavier payloads and with other enhancements, followed from January 2012. Iomax delivered the first 24 Archangel aircraft to the UAE Air Force in June 2015. It is understood that the type has been used operationally in Libya, Egypt and Yemen in the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and light attack roles. Last year it emerged that Egypt was in talks with Iomax over the upgrade and support of its AT-802s and the acquisition of nearly a dozen Archangel border patrol aircraft.
The African Union Commission is set to launch the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) project, which is also the first project in the AU Agenda 2063. The project is set to start on 28 January 2018, in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) as a historic event at the African Union Summit, nearly two decades after the adoption of the 1999 Yamoussoukro Decision.
“With preparations continuing on schedule, the launch of the Single African Air Transport Market will spur more opportunities to promote trade, cross-border investments in the production and service industries, including tourism resulting in the creation of an additional 300,000 direct and two million indirect jobs contributing immensely to the integration and socio-economic growth of the continent,” said Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission. According to the commissioner, aviation industry currently supports eight million jobs in Africa and hence SAATM was created with the aim of enhancing connectivity, facilitating trade and tourism, creating employment and ensuring that the industry plays a more prominent role in the global economy and significantly contributing to the AU’s Agenda 2063.
“The AU Summit will also see the adoption of the regulatory text of the Yamoussoukro Decision, that is, the competition and consumer protection regulations that safeguard the efficient operation of the market,” the Commissioner added. So far, 23 African countries out of 55 have subscribed to the Single African Air Transport Market whereas 44 African countries signed the Yamoussoukro Decision. The African Union Commission (AUC), the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) are also advising African countries to open their skies for enhancement of connectivity and efficiency of air services in the continent.
The Declaration on the establishment of a Single African Air Transport Market, as a flagship project of the AU Agenda 2063, was adopted by the African Union (AU) Assembly in January 2015. Immediately thereafter, eleven AU Member States declared their Solemn Commitment to establish a Single African Air Transport Market through full implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision of 1999 that provides for full liberalisation of market access between African States, free exercise of traffic rights, elimination of restrictions on ownership and full liberalisation of frequencies, fares and capacities. To date, the number of Member States that have adhered to the Solemn Commitment has reached 23, namely: Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Togo and Zimbabwe.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecasts a rise in the size of Angola’s air transport market to 7.1 million passengers a year by 2036 at the forecasted annual growth rate of 6.7%. However, IATA believes even faster growth with greater socio-economic benefits for Angola could be achieved if the country opens up its market and prioritises its participation in the continent-wide connectivity efforts, unblocks funds, consults with industry to improve infrastructure and maintains world class safety standards.Blocked funds and denied access to foreign exchange in Africa is an increasing problem. In nine African countries, international carriers are unable to repatriate their foreign currency earnings, while locally-based airlines experience difficulties making on-time foreign currency payments to their suppliers and business partners. The second is improving connectivity. Enhanced connectivity will stimulate demand and competition, making air travel more affordable and in doing so, enable higher volumes of trade, tourism and commerce between Angola, African nations and the rest of the world.IATA’s recent study found that if 12 key African markets, including Angola, were opened up, an extra 155,000 jobs and US$1.3 billion in annual GDP would be created in those countries. In Angola, the benefit would be an extra 531,000 passengers taking to the skies, the creation of 15,300 new jobs and the generation of US$137 million in additional GDP. Modern infrastructure is critical for aviation to deliver its economic and social benefits. Luanda’s new international airport will play a major role. However, consultation is needed to ensure that it is aligned with airline requirements. Airlines need airports that match demand with capacity while delivering the functionality, levels of service and efficiency to support operations and customer experience requirements now and in the future. All of this must be delivered in a cost-effective manner. Unnecessary capital investment leads to higher costs for airlines, which translate into higher costs for passengers, resulting in reduced demand for air travel.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
As part of the restructuring effort the Gulf carrier is currently undergoing, Etihad has grounded five Airbus 330 freighters and opted for all-Boeing freighter fleet. Presently Etihad operates five Boeing 777 freighters. Reuters reported that the grounded Airbus aircraft will be sold or leased. Reuters also quoted a source who said that pilots were asked to take an unpaid leave, but Etihad declined to comment on this.
At the beginning of January 2018, Etihad also announced six new appointments to key roles at Etihad Airport Services Ground division, which manages Group’s investment in catering, ground handling and cargo logistics operations businesses. In July 2017 Etihad sent a shockwave when it reported an impressive loss of $1.87 billion for 2016, compared to a profit of $103 million in 2015. It was the first time the airline reported a loss since it became profitable in 2011. Consequently, a ‘comprehensive strategic review’ was announced with the purpose to turn things around.
On 22 January 2018 ATR announced its commercial results for 2017, revealing 113 aircraft orders along with 40 options. Compared to 36 orders in 2016, ATR made a significant bounce-back. The turboprop manufacturer delivered 80 aircraft of which were 70 ATR 72-600s and eight ATR 42-600s in addition to two second-hand ATRs. The company also stabilised its annual turnover at $ 1.8 billon, announcing the best performing financial results of its over-35-years history. ATR turboprops took a leadership in all the sales of regional aircraft below 90 seats.
In 2017, the manufacturer sold aircraft in every region of the world and invested substantially in growing markets. IndiGo, an Indian based low-cost carrier was the biggest ATR customer with 50 ordered ATR 72-600s. The second biggest client was U.S. express package carrier, FedEx with 30 orders for a new freighter model-ATR 72-600F. ATR was founded in 1981 as Franco-Italian joint venture headquartered in Blagnac, France, and is the world leader on the market for below-90-seat regional aircraft. To-date, ATR has sold nearly 1,700 aircraft and equipped the fleets of 200 airlines in 100 countries.
After declaring bankruptcy in March 2017, the Italian flag carrier Alitalia is still on auction, struggling to find suitable bidders. Germany’s Lufthansa, British low-cost carrier EasyJet and U.S. private equity fund Cerberus are among companies that have already been named as potential buyers, while it appears that Air France-KLM prefers to bid incognito. The latest company to publicly express an interest in obtaining parts of Alitalia is the Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air. Wizz Air joins three other major bidders, named on 13 January 2017 by the Italian Industry Minister Carlo Calenda. These include Cerberus, Lufthansa and EasyJet, although for the latter two cases there appears to be terms and conditions that apply.
Lufthansa’s desire to acquire the Italian carrier is based on the condition that it undergoes ‘major restructuring’, including cuts of jobs and fleet. “While recognising the valuable measures that have been undertaken to date, we strongly believe that there remains a considerable amount of work to be achieved before Lufthansa would be in the position to enter comprehensively into the next phase of the process,” wrote Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr sent a letter to Italian Industry Minister Carlo Calenda.
British low-cost carrier EasyJet is interested in Alitalia’s short and medium-range connections. Frances Ouseley, EasyJet’s director for Italy, told La Republica on 23 January 2018, that his company “is strongly focused on the short and medium range”. The publication also notes that the Italian government is looking to preserve the entire network of Alitalia’s connections. This is where the Franco-Dutch carrier Air France-KLM comes in a picture, as it could bid jointly with the British carrier and take over intercontinental routes. On the one hand, Air France-KLM appears to be interested in the troubled carrier and ANSA news agency reports that Air France-KLM had a meeting with Alitalia representatives over a possible takeover and was granted access to the data room of the troubled carrier in order to ‘have access to information it did not previously have’.
Just over a year ago, Iran Air received its first brand new airplane in over 24 years. It was also the first new aircraft delivery for the nation as a whole, following the lifting of sanctions through the Iran Nuclear Deal. Since 11 January 2017, when the nation saw a brand-new Airbus A321 painted with the Homa tail land in Tehran, Iran Air has taken delivery of two Airbus A330 and eight ATR 72-600 aircraft. Last year, Iranian airlines also received second-hand aircraft, including Iran’s ATA Airlines, which added the Embraer ERJ-145 and Boeing 737-500 to its fleet and Karun Airlines, which also added the Boeing 737-500 to its fleet.
Since economic sanctions were lifted, many Iranian carriers have rushed to make deals for new airplanes. Multiple carriers have reached agreements for new aircraft to be bought and used in the country. Iran Air, the nation’s flag carrier, has received the green light to receive aircraft from Airbus, Boeing and ATR. Since receiving the positive decision, it has moved quickly, ordering a total of 220 new airplanes.
Iran Aseman Airlines also made headlines last April when the carrier announced its intent to purchase 30 Boeing 737 MAX planes worth $3 billion, with an option for 30 more. So far, that deal has not experienced any disruption from U.S. carriers and the first jet is expected to arrive in two years. Also, last June, Airtour Airlines signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for 45 A320neos and Zagros Airlines signed an MoU for 20 A320neos and 8 A330neos. The latest deal is between Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier and a new airline in Iran, Fly Qeshm. The airline is a new joint airline created by private investors in both Iran and China, according to AviationIran.
The Qeshm Free Zone Investment and Development Company is behind the contract with Bombardier and will soon sign the deal to purchase 10 CRJ900 NextGen aircraft. The two companies have been in talks for over two years and now they are just waiting for the Qeshm Free Zone Investment and Development Company to sign the finalised contract. If the current contract is signed, Bombardier will finance 80 percent of the deal for the 10 jets. Deliveries of the new planes are expected to commence 10 months after the deal is signed, with Bombardier being expected to deliver two aircraft every three months. Initially, the company which will operate Fly Qeshm wanted to order 25 aircraft. However, as they were unable to due to limitations of financial resources, they have settled for ten, for now. If this deal is signed, it would prove to be a historic one for Bombardier and Iran as no Iranian carrier has ever operated a Bombardier aircraft.
Presently there are about 150 airplanes flying in Iran today for the 14 different passenger airlines and three cargo airlines. With the current deals, more than 300 new airplanes would be added to the fleets of the country’s various carriers. However, new deals will continue to be made as the country is in need of at least 500-600 passenger jets to be able to keep up with the rising demand for air travel in the nation. With the strong demand being present, many carriers are placing orders for aircraft that would help to double their fleet. Though, in a nation where the average aircraft age is over 20 years, some of the new planes will be replacements for some of the nation’s oldest aircraft.
As the E190-E2 new generation narrow-body jet approaches certification, Embraer announces some final results from flight tests confirming that the aircraft is better than its original specification and even more efficient than other single aisle aircraft. In fuel consumption, the E190-E2 proved to be 1,3% better than originally expected, which represents a 17,3% improvement when compared to the current generation E190, and nearly 10% better than its direct competitor. The E190-E2 also becomes the most environmentally friendly aircraft in the segment, with the lowest level of external noise and emissions. The cumulative margin to ICAO Stage IV noise limit increases from 17 to 20 EPNdB, which results in 2 EPNdB better than its direct competitor.
Flight test results also confirmed the E190-E2 to be better than its original specification in take-off performance. The aircraft’s range from airports with hot-and-high conditions, such as Denver and Mexico City, increases by 600 nm compared to current generation aircraft. Its range from airports with short runways, such as London City also increases by more than 1,000 nm allowing the aircraft to reach destinations like Moscow and north Africa.
E190-E2 also becomes the aircraft with the longest maintenance intervals in the single aisle market with 10,000 flight hours for basic checks and no calendar limit in typical E-Jets utilisation. This means additional 15 days of aircraft utilisation in a period of ten years compared to current generation E-Jets. Another key programme target where the E190-E2 obtained better results than initial expectations is in pilots’ transition training time. Pilots of current generation E-Jets will need only 2.5 days of training and no full flight simulator to fly an E2.
Embraer is the world’s leading manufacturer of commercial jets with up to 150 seats. The Company has 100 customers from all over the world operating the ERJ and the E-Jet families of aircraft. For the E-Jets programme alone, Embraer has logged more than 1,800 orders and 1,400 deliveries, redefining the traditional concept of regional aircraft by operating across a range of business applications.
Portugal’s leading flight training organisation (FTO) has placed and order for 10 Tecnam P2008JC Mk II aeroplanes. Sevenair currently operate a training fleet of 20 aircraft, which includes both the Tecnam P2010 and P2006T twin. This new and significant investment is part of Sevenair’s commitment to continue to not only become one of Europe best and largest FTO’s but ensure potential commercial pilots are being trained on state-of-the-art aircraft such as on its wide range of Tecnam models. During this year the Sevenair Academy will be celebrating 30 years of operations. Throughout this period, it has trained thousands of pilots, aircraft maintenance technicians and flight dispatchers which are now employed by some of the largest airlines in the world
Alexandre Alves, Chief Commercial Officer of Sevenair Group said: “The Tecnam P2008JC Mk II is without doubt the best replacement for our legacy trainers such as the Cessna 152, due to its design, superlative performance, technology and innovation. Our Tecnam aeroplanes have more than proven their value too in terms of operational capability, reliability, training advantages and cost effectiveness.”
Walter Da Costa, Tecnam Global Sales and Marketing Director said: “This major acquisition reaffirms the Sevenair Academy endorsement of the superlative range of Tecnam aeroplanes. Their Tecnam fleet enables Sevenair to offer their students the most cost-effective training by employing state of the art aircraft, equipped with advanced avionics.”
Thanks to a $993,000 award from the FAA, two flight engineers at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Eagle Flight Research Center (EFRC) in Daytona Beach, Florida, are working to remove lead from aviation gasoline (avgas). Currently, there are more than 167,000 piston-engine general aviation aircraft in the United States and more than 230,000 worldwide, using avgas. According to the FAA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, avgas is the only remaining lead-containing transportation fuel in the country and avgas emissions have become the largest contributor to lead emissions in the United States. In 2016, the FAA began its second and final phase of testing of two 100-octane unleaded fuel formulations; one from Shell Oil Company and one from Swift Fuels LLC as part of the Piston Aviation Fuel Initiative (PAFI) programme. The initial two-year, phase one ground testing began with 17 different formulations from six fuel producers and was completed in 2015. The change to unleaded fuel would be the most substantial change in avgas since the 1940s, when the mixtures being used today were developed for airline and military radial engines with high levels of supercharging.
The testing of the experimental fuels for Embry-Riddle’s Eagle Flight Research Center is the co-responsibility of Borja Martos, an accomplished flight engineer and research pilot, primarily in research aircraft and Scott Martin, a senior scientist and EFRC flight test pilot. Both researchers are excited to be working on this project to help create an aviation fuel with less environmental impact.
The two engineers have been asked by the FAA to evaluate many aspects of how the new fuels interact with the aircraft fuel systems and engines, such as how the vapour pressure is affected by altitude. Is the freezing point compatible with the current fuel? How does the new fuel’s different chemical components affect seals or gaskets in the engine, hoses and pumps?
The work is confidential, but Martos can acknowledge that he and Martin are using multiple aircraft in evaluating different performance categories during flight; cold and hot fuel performance, anti-detonation performance, fuel systems compatibility, engine power and performance and engine start ability.
Will the new formulation work for most of the general aviation aircraft with little or no additional hardware? Martos’ and Martin’s research over the next year will be an important part of the answer.
This past week Bell Helicopter responded to the NTSB’s recent report on the crash of a Bell 525 during a test flight in 2016. “In the time since the accident, a small team of Bell flight technology engineers, pilots and flight-test specialists have worked with the NTSB through the course of the investigation,” company spokesperson Blakeley Thress said. “Several changes to the aircraft have been implemented and a carefully planned test approach is in place to complete the envelope expansion and certification testing.” The company remains committed to the 525 programme, Thress added. “The continued work of the programme team will result in a reliable, innovative helicopter with advanced rotorcraft safety features when it comes to market.”
Company officials also said that Bell technicians had “carefully studied the cause of the vibration, which had never been encountered before.” The vibration was caused by “an unanticipated combination of very high airspeed with a sustained low rotor RPM condition,” according to the statement. After the crash, Bell enhanced its filtering system on the side-stick controller, so its vibrations are not passed on to the rotor system. Also, filtering was added to the control system to stabilise the aircraft during gusts and manoeuvres. The two pilots were conducting tests that included shutting off one of the aircraft’s two engines to see how the helicopter would perform if one engine failed. Both pilots died in the crash.
Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov said that foreign airlines may be allowed to carry football fans within Russia during FIFA 2018 World Cup. According to Russian law, only national carriers can perform flights within the country borders. In order to make transportation for foreign fans more accessible, the transport ministry of Russia intends to open access to some domestic routes. According to Sokolov, foreign applicants will gain an unprecedented access to Russian skies. “We hope this should help alleviate probable travel constraints on routes to hosting cities,” Sokolov said.The FIFA World Cup tournament will begin on 14 June and will last until 15 July. The games will take place in 11 different cities in the European part of Russia, including not only Moscow and Saint-Petersburg, but also Kazan, Kaliningrad, Ekaterinburg, Rostov-on-Don, Sochi, Samara, Saransk and Volgograd. Qatar Airways and Qatar Airways Holidays already announced special travel packages that were designed to make the main sports event of the year as accessible as possible. The travel packages will include flights, hotels and official FIFA 2018 World Cup tickets. Qatar Airways has already boosted capacity to Russia and now offers flights to Saint-Petersburg and Moscow. The Qatari airline will perform its daily St. Petersburg service on Airbus A320s.
Former Major League pitcher Roy Halladay had three drugs in his system when his Icon A5 crashed off the coast of Florida in November. The retired ballplayer had trace amounts of morphine and amphetamine along with an intoxicating level of the sedative zolpidem, commonly known as Ambien, in his bloodstream according to an autopsy report obtained by TMZ. More than 50 nanograms per milliliter of zolpidem is considered by the FDA to be “capable of impairing driving to a degree that increases the risk of a motor vehicle accident” and Halladay’s level was 72 nanograms. Cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma and drowning.
Halladay was observed diving, climbing and doing low-level steep turns over the Gulf of Mexico off Clearwater and boaters who shot cellphone video of this flying were the first on the scene of his accident. Halladay had the first of 100 “Founder’s Edition” A5s and shot a promotional video with Icon talking about his lifelong desire to fly, which was interrupted by a 16-year MLB career that included two Cy Young Awards. The NTSB has only issued a preliminary report to date but will be aided by a comprehensive suite of flight data recorders that should enable investigators to plot every moment of the fatal flight.
With assistance from the jet stream, Norwegian Airlines is laying claim to the fastest non-Concorde airline flight between New York and London (Gatwick). On Monday the Boeing 787-9 achieved a top groundspeed of 674 knots and made it to the airport just south of London in five hours and 13 minutes, almost an hour faster than usual. “We were actually in the air for just over five hours and if it had not been for forecasted turbulence at lower altitude, we could have flown even faster,” said Capt. Harold Van Dam.
All airlines are taking advantage of the strong tailwinds and heading for the altitudes that have the fastest west-east flow, which is up to 160 knots for the next few days. It also means they’re battling headwinds on the return trip but can adjust their routes and altitudes to get away from most of it. The Dreamliner normally cruises about 490 knots but has a top operational speed of 515 knots. The winds are expected to persist for several days.
WORLD DRONE NEWS
Should the plaintiffs be successful, the FAA has been hit with another lawsuit over its drone registration database and this time the agency is facing nearly $840 million in penalties. Drone attorney Jonathan Rupprecht wrote on his blog that the case has been brought by Robert Taylor. He is the brother of John Taylor, the attorney who won a case against the FAA that temporarily suspended the FAA’s drone registration requirement. Rupprecht says that this case is a Class Action suit of at least 836,796 members against the FAA.
According to Rupprecht: Count I is alleging that the FAA collected personal information and money under the Part 48 registration regulations which were declared illegal under the Taylor v. Huerta case. Even after the Taylor v. Huerta ruling, the FAA continued to collect and retain all of the personal information and money. They did not delete the registry or refund the money. “The Privacy Act mandates that agencies that maintain a ‘system of records’ must ‘maintain in its records only such information about an individual as is relevant and necessary to accomplish a purpose of the agency required to be accomplished by statute or by executive order of the President.’ The FAA maintained the personal information of the individuals when the FAA lacked statutory authority, made clear by the Taylor v. Huerta case and thus violated the Privacy Act. Because the FAA acted intentionally or wilfully, each injured party is entitled to $1,000 in statutory damages.
Count II of the lawsuit alleges that under the Little Tucker Act, the Federal Government’s sovereign immunity is waived when the government takes money from individuals in violation of a statute. This is the same thing being alleged in another class action against the FAA, Reichert v. FAA, regarding the FAA illegally taking the $5 during registration. They want everyone’s $5 back.
Count III alleges that the FAA “violated Plaintiff and the Class’s Constitutional and privacy rights by unlawfully promulgating the Registration Rule and enforcing the Registration Rule without any statutory authority to do so. Further, once the D.C. Circuit vacated the Registration Rule, the Defendants did not delete the private and personal information of Model Aircraft owners and did not refund their registration fees. In addition, the Defendants unlawfully continued the registration process and unlawfully maintained Plaintiff and the Class’s private and personal information even after the D.C. Circuit held that the Defendants were prohibited from doing so.” Basically, the constitutional right was the right to judicial review in Article III of the Constitution and the FAA just ignored the D.C. Circuit’s ruling.
Count IV alleges unjust enrichment by collecting over four million in fees. The lawsuit is seeking $5 back for the class ($4,183,980), Privacy Act violation statutory damages of $1,000 each for the members of the class, or an estimated $836,796,000. The total would be nearly $841 million, plus attorney’s fees. In December 2017, Congress passed, and President Trump signed the National Défense Authorization Act, which overturned the initial Taylor v. Huerta ruling and put the drone registration regulations back in place.
“Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?”
To which I replied, “If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?”
He smiled knowingly and nodded, “That’s why we ask.”
Should you miss out on any edition of APAnews, please visit the website: www.africanpilot.co.za and click on the APAnewslink on the front page. All past weekly APAnews publications have been archived on the website.Until next week, please be ‘Serious about flying’.Athol Franz (Editor)
African Pilot ‘Serious about flying’.