“There are two methods, or means and only two, whereby man’s needs and desires can be satisfied. One is the production and exchange of wealth; this is the economic means. The other is the uncompensated appropriation of wealth produced by others; this is the political means.” Albert Jay Nock
(Information from Wikipedia)
The evolution of the Macchi C.202 Folgore of which it retained much of the airframe and equipment but equipped with the more powerful Daimler-Benz DB 605A engine, it entered service in April 1943 and was the first Italian fighter to bring 20 mm cannons into combat, providing the Regia Aeronautica with an aircraft capable of dealing effectively with contemporary adversaries, despite conditions of overwhelming numerical inferiority.
Some examples were used by the Luftwaffe and the Air Force of the Independent State of Croatia . After the armistice the type was employed by both the Cobelligerent Air Force and the National Republican Air Force . Post-war a small batch was exported to Egypt, serving in that country’s air force and participating in the final stages of the first Arab Israeli conflict of 1948 .
The introduction into service of the Macchi C.202 in the departments of the Regia Aeronautica, which began in the summer of 1941, constituted a clear leap in quality compared to the flight equipment then in service represented by the Fiat CR42 , Macchi C.200 and Fiat G. 50. However, the General Staff of the Regia Aeronautica had begun to examine the possibility of a new generation of fighter aircraft which, by virtue of the greater installed power, were able to ensure high performance even in the presence of an increase in weight generated by a variation in armament, which must have consisted of cannons, and in the available equipment. In view of the acquisition by the Ministry of Aeronautics of the construction license for the Daimler-Benz DB 605 A engine, engineer Mario Castoldi (chief designer of Macchi) began working on two different projects: one, a longer development, called MC205N and intended to participate in the ministerial competition for the new fighters of the so-called Series 5, the other of more immediate realization initially called MC202 bis which involved the installation of the more powerful Daimler Benz 605A engine on the cell of the MC202 Folgore. Macchi undertook to deliver the first aircraft just three months after delivery of the engine.
On 16 December 1941 authorisation to proceed by the Ministry the MC202 programme was officially launched, soon renamed MC205V Veltro, with two order letters to Macchi for one hundred examples and to FIAT for three hundred examples. With the arrival of the first Daimler Benz 605A engines from Germany in February 1942 and the start of the construction under license of the same at the FIAT factories with the name of RA.1050 RC 58 Tifone , engineer Castoldi proceeded with the construction of the first prototype of the MC205V. The modifications necessary to accommodate the new engine were carried out on an example of the IX Series MC202, taken directly from the production line.
On 19 April 1942, the first MC202 with the new engine made its first flight from the Lonate Pozzolo runway led by Macchi test pilot Guido Carestiato. On 10 May the test aircraft was transferred to Guidonia Montecelio, to the Experimental Center, for contractual flight tests. In one of these the MC205V reached the speed of 646 km/h at 8 000 m altitude. Externally the differences compared to the MC202 were minimal: the propeller nosecone had changed, becoming larger to accommodate the bulkier reducer of the Piaggio P2001 propeller, the rear landing gear became retractable and the oil radiator was doubled, taking on the characteristic shape ‘barrel’.
During the Second World War, the Macchi C.205s also fought under the insignia of the air force of the Independent State of Croatia, the Zrakoplovstvo Nezavisne Države Hrvatske (ZNDH). On 30 June 1944, three Croatian Veltros led by veteran pilots of the Eastern Front , Major Helebrant, Oberleutnant Bencetic and Feldwebel Bartulovic accompanied by three Macchi C.202s assigned to inexperienced pilots, were sent to intercept a formation of US bombers. Confronted by escorting North American P-51 Mustang fighters of the 5th FS of the 52nd FG over Bjelovar, only Bencetic’s Veltro managed to return to base: the rest of the Croatian formation was shot down by fighters or defensive bomber fire.
Four examples reached Egypt by sea from Italy on 16 September 1948, three examples on 6 October, four on 26 October and a further four on 24 November. An agreement for a second batch of eighteen machines was signed on 23 February 1949, with a contract value of £270,000. The aircraft were supplied between July and November 1949. For the assistance activities and acceptance operations of the aircraft, the Macchi Air Force made available a team of technicians who were sent to Egypt, led by Colonel Ettore Foschini and also including the test pilot for the Guido Carestiato company.
In the REAF the Macchi fighters were assigned to 2 Squadron operating from the al-Arish base in time to participate in the Arab Israeli conflict of 1948-49. Egyptian Veltros were used in combat against Israeli aircraft, with controversial results. According to some sources, on 7 January 1949 a Veltro destroyed an Israeli P-51D Mustang. The Veltros were intensively used in the Egyptian Air Force, also suffering many accidents, both due to the lack of experience of the Egyptian pilots and the frequent malfunctions of the DB 605 engines, built under license in Italy during the war period.
With the entry into service of the first jet fighters, the Macchi were relegated to advanced trainer duties concentrated in the Combined Advanced Training Squadron on the Helwan base. In December 1950 an AerMacchi mission visited the REAF bases to provide technical assistance, twenty-six examples of Macchi C.205V were still operational, distributed between the bases of Almaza, Al Ballah, El Arish, Helwan: among these there were the war veterans supplied with the first batch and four examples still appeared in flying condition. Presently there are some examples on display within Italian museums.
Those persons who correctly identified this week’s mystery aircraft:
Steve Dewsbery, Bary Eatwell, JJ Le Grange, Hilton Carroll, Ari Levien, Peter Rossouw, Andre Visser, Nigel Hamilton, Karl von Seydlitz, Kevin Farr, Johan Venter, Charlie Hugo, Anne Doig, Karl Jensen, Colin Austin, Lance Williams, Jeremy Rorich, Willie Oosthuizen, Rennie van Zyl, Alastair Mathews, Jan Sime, Selwyn Kimber, Christiaan Haak, Piet Steyn, Rahul Vala, Stuart Lane, Nic Manthopoulos, Andre Breytenbach, Clint Futter, Michael Schoeman, Magiel Esterhuysen, Rex Tweedie, Stuart Low, Geoff Timms, John Moen, TC Schultz, Aiden O’Mahony, Wouter van der Waal, Brian Ross, Andrew Evans, Ahmed Bassa, Dave Lloyd, Greg Pullin, Andrew Peace, Samuel Rawlings, (45).
Sonar image could solve mystery of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance
One of the most influential aviators of the modern age of aviation is also linked with a decades-old mystery. Amelia Earhart, a record-breaking pilot and one of the most notable female pilots in history, disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean while attempting a circumnavigational flight with navigator Fred Noonan. Numerous theories have surfaced over the years, including that the pair crashed on an island and their bodies were eaten by large crabs, but one group of underwater archaeologists has revealed sonar images that may finally answer one of the greatest modern mysteries. Deep Sea Vision, a marine robotics company based in Charleston, South Carolina, has pursued the missing aircraft using the ‘Date Line Theory,’ originally theorised in 2010 by former NASA employee and amateur pilot Liz Smith. This theory contributes the 87-year-old disappearance to forgetting to turn back the calendar one day as Earhart and Noonan flew over the International Date Line. Smith felt that Noonan had miscalculated the celestial star navigation and forgot to turn the date back from 3 July to 2 July as they flew over the line, creating a westward navigational error of 60 miles. Deep Sea Vision believes a sonar image discovered westward of Earhart’s projected landing point is the missing aircraft. More about this exciting discovery in the March edition of African Pilot.
Congratulations to our January 2024 C208 group! You all did it with flying colours.
The February edition featuring Turboprop aircraft types, Military Turboprop trainers, Boeing 737 MAX-9 problems, Fighting Westen Cape wildfires, EAA launches Young Aviators, USAF B-21 Raider and the Japan Airlines A350 accident revelation as well as many more exciting features is to be published today 1 February 2024.
The March edition of African Pilot will feature Piston Engine Aircraft, Piston Engine Propellers, Piston Engines and Piston Aircraft Maintenance. However, every month, African Pilot features all aspects of aviation from Airline business to Recreational and Sport Aviation, whilst Helicopters, Military Aviation, Commercial and Technical issues are addressed monthly. Within African Pilot’s monthly historical section, we feature the Best of the Best, Names to Remember, Fact File and our monthly historical feature.
The material deadline for the March 2024 edition of African Pilot is Monday 19 February. Also, please remember that February is the shortest month of the year.
All editorial content should be sent to me Athol Franz
For advertising opportunities please call Cell: 079 880 4359
The Sixteenth edition of Future Flight was sent out to the world-wide audience on Tuesday 16 January 2024. This 144-page edition has nine embedded videos. Due to the nature of the subject material, compiling this exciting new publication has been most rewarding, whilst at the same time, the magazine allows many of African Pilot’s advertisers to have their adverts placed in our second monthly magazine FREE of charge. I would love to receive your feedback about this new digital publication: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
News from FlySafair
FlySafair has announced a new route between Cape Town (CTIA) and Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) just outside the Kruger National Park. This new route makes travelling between the two tourism hot spots more accessible for both local and international holidaymakers. “We are very pleased to be able to start the year off with such an exciting new route. Although flights to areas surrounding the Kruger National Park are readily available from Johannesburg, there are limited commercial flight options from Cape Town,” said Kirby Gordon, Chief Marketing Officer at FlySafair.
Thanks to the concerted efforts of Cape Town Tourism, the city has experienced a boom in popularity, particularly with international visitors. International tourism in the city has boomed, increasing by 76% between January and July last year. During the busy Christmas period, the number of visitors to the city exceeded pre-pandemic levels with officials recording 317 thousand international tourists passing through the city’s main airport with two-way tickets. Local travel to the Mother City has also grown. In the first six months of 2023 alone, Cape Town saw 3.2 million domestic two-way passengers pass through Cape Town International Airport, representing a 9% year-on-year growth. As a result, many of the local tourist attractions have seen drastic increases in the number of visitors.
The addition of more capacity and a low-cost carrier to the route between CTIA and KMIA offers an exciting opportunity to spread the tourism success currently being experienced in Cape Town to other attractions across the country. The Kruger National Park is one of the most spectacular and unique tourist attractions South Africa has to offer. Beyond acting as an important source of income for surrounding communities, it also plays an important role in preserving our country’s biodiversity and wildlife heritage. Growing this route will encourage international tourists and Cape Town locals to extend their holidays to include a visit to the park. This is likely to have a marked positive effect on overall tourism in South Africa.
The inaugural flight for this route is planned for 2 April and will make use of FlySafair’s Boeing 737-800. Tickets will start at R1851.00 one way, with flights leaving Cape Town at 09h00 on Tuesdays and Saturdays and landing at the destination around 11h30. The aircraft will then be turned around, taking off from KMIA at 12h05 and landing at approximately 14h50.
Aero Club’ Airweek 8 to 10 March
Planning for this year’s Airweek is now well underway, with detail planning having started after a kick-off meeting having taken place in early December 2023. Essentially the outline theme will follow the successful Airweek held in 2023, which is an event for all our recreational aviators. Various sections of the Aero Club will be participating in their various disciplines. Please visit the website for more details. www.aeroclub.org.za/airweek/
Registration is also open for attending and those who plan to attend if you can register at this link https://forms.gle/WW75gTci6dMoyRXx6
Those who wish to camp and hire tents, the booking link is here https://forms.gle/KcnommnT4GMUuMVB7
For exhibitors wishing to book exhibition space, visit the website https://www.aeroclub.org.za/airweek-the-2024-edition-exhibitor-information/ for details and exhibitor forms.
If you have any queries or require information, please email email@example.com including any contacts for sponsorship or donations which would be welcome.
EAA Chapter 322 monthly gathering at EAA Auditorium
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cessna Skywagon breaks through ice during touch-and-go manoeuvres
On Friday afternoon a Cessna A185F Skywagon broke through the ice at Pineview Reservoir near Ogden, Utah, with the pilot and passenger safely escaping the plane before it became partially submerged in the freezing water. The plane reportedly crashed while performing touch-and-go manoeuvres but it is unknown if the plane landed on the ice intentionally or performed an emergency landing.
Weber Fire District said multiple calls reported the plane landing on the ice, where the two occupants exited the plane before it started to sink into the icy waters. The plane went down at about 12h30 and the Weber County Sheriff’s Office reported arriving with other emergency crews shortly before 13h00. The two occupants were uninjured but treated for cold exposure and emergency crews began work to extract the plane from the ice. Officials said the FAA and Department of Forest Service are investigating the incident.
Beechcraft C99 crashes near New Hampshire home
On Friday an Ameriflight Beechcraft C99 Commuter crashed into a wooded area just 70 feet from a single-family home in Londonderry, New Hampshire. The pilot was conscious after the crash and was one of the many people to call 911 to report the crash before being taken to the hospital with serious injuries. Early on Friday morning, the twin-engine cargo plane left the Manchester Boston Regional Airport (MHT) for Presque Isle International Airport (PQI) in Maine when it impacted powerlines, terrain and trees in a residential area.
Emergency responders arrived to find the plane on the property line with major damage and the pilot entrapped with serious injuries. The Fire Department extricated the pilot in 11 minutes and he was transferred to an ambulance and taken to the hospital. After the pilot was transported to an area hospital the crews shifted their focus to hazard mitigation. A HazMat team was called in to help with the aviation fuel spill control. There was no reported fire but there were about 250 gallons of jet fuel on board at the time of the crash. The NH Department of Environmental Services was also called to the scene, along with agencies needed to conduct the investigation. The FAA and NTSB will investigate the crash. The statement issued by the FAA said the NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and provide any additional updates.
Russian airline S7 suffers multiple engine failures in three-day spell
The Russian carrier S7 Airlines has reportedly experienced multiple engine failures over the course of three days resulting in several take-offs being aborted. It is claimed the S7 Airlines aircraft affected include both Airbus and Boeing-made planes resulting in hundreds of passengers facing travel disruptions. In the most recent incident, a Boeing 737-800 was due to depart Ulan-Ude Airport (UUD) for Moscow on 30 January 2024. However, the flight was aborted during its take-off run after the pilot reported a surge in the left engine. Subsequently, the Boeing 737 returned to the terminal where passengers were deplaned and booked on a flight later that day. According to Tourdom, the West Siberian Transport Prosecutor’s Office said that the aircraft had been temporarily suspended from service.
In addition, the aviation Telegram channel @aviatorshina claimed that on 29 January 2024, an S7 Airbus A320 had an issue with its right engine. According to the Telegram channel, while the A320 was coming into land at Moscow Domodedovo Airport (DME), the flight crew indicated the right engine had failed. However, despite the engine issue the plane landed safely. Then, on 27 January 2024, in separate incidents, two Boeing 737-800s experienced engine malfunctions. Finally on 27 January 2024, an S7 Airlines Boeing 737 reportedly aborted its take-off to Antalya in Turkey from DME after problems with one of its engines.
It is widely thought that Russian airlines are seeing a rise in issues with western built aircraft, particularly engines, due to international sanctions preventing the carriers from acquiring spare parts. Sanctions were put in place against Russia by multiple countries after the country invaded Ukraine in February 2022.
>h3>Alaska says MAX 9 grounding cost $150 million, expects Boeing to pay
According to a CNBC report, Alaska Airlines said the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX-9 will cost the carrier $150 million. Alaska and United Airlines, the two sole US operators of the MAX-9, were forced to ground parts of their fleet after the 5 January incident where a door plug blew out in flight. Since the incident, the FAA has instructed operators to inspect the aircraft while the agency launched an investigation into Boeing’s manufacturing practices and production lines. The FAA approved a return to service plan on Wednesday with both carriers expecting the planes to fly again this weekend.
Along with the projected $150 million loss, Alaska released its full fourth quarter results on Thursday. Prior to the grounding, the company expected full year 2024 capacity to grow 3% to 5% compared to 2023. However, given the grounding and the potential for future delivery delays, the company expects capacity growth to be at or below the lower end of this range. According to the Seattle Times, Alaska executives expect Boeing to reimburse the millions in losses. In a conference call, Alaska Air Group CEO Ben Minicucci said, “It is not acceptable what happened. We are going to hold them accountable and we are going to raise the bar on quality on Boeing. We are going to hold Boeing’s feet to the fire to make sure that we get good airplanes out of that factory.”
Boeing withdraws 737 MAX 7 FAA exemption request
Boeing has withdrawn its request for an exemption for the 737 MAX 7 to fly passengers while addressing a design flaw relating to the engine inlet de-icing system. This decision comes after the ongoing turmoil surrounding the 737 MAX line, including when a door plug was blown off mid-flight and two deadly crashes. After heavy scrutiny from the industry and government officials surrounding the petition for exemption, Boeing withdrew its request to instead focus on finding a solution.
Boeing told GlobalAir.com that they were confident the proposed time-limited exemption for the system follows the FAA processes to ensure safe operation, but have instead chosen to incorporate an engineering solution to be completed during the certification process. “As always, the FAA will determine the timing of certification and we will follow their lead every step of the way,” Boeing said in a statement to GlobalAir.com. “We are committed to being transparent, listening to all our stakeholders and taking action to strengthen safety and quality at Boeing.”
FAA halts 737 MAX production expansion, allows eligible planes to return to service
The 737 MAX 7 is the smallest of the MAX series and its entry into passenger service will be delayed until the design flaw is fixed. The petition for exemption states that the company has requested the delay from specific sections of 14 CRR as they relate to the engine nacelle inlet structure and engine anti-ice system, requesting temporary relief through 31 May 2026 to develop necessary design changes to address the overhearing that may occur in certain conditions. Overheating could result in the failure of the engine inlet inner barrel and lead to serious engine inlet cowl damage.
US Senator and pilot Tammy Duckworth, a member of the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and chair of the subcommittee on Aviation Safety, Operations and Innovation met with Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun to talk about the incident on an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 in early 2024. Duckworth met with Calhoun after she sent a letter to the FAA rejecting the petition for an exemption. In their meeting, Duckworth pushed for Boeing to prioritise fixing this design flaw rather than putting profit over the safety of the flying public.
“It is absurd that instead of prioritising fixing a safety flaw that could lead to catastrophic consequences for passengers and crew aboard Boeing 737 MAX jets, the company is instead seeking an exemption to allow more aircraft with the same exact safety defect to enter commercial use,” Duckworth said. “Boeing keeps offering assurances that it will not place profits ahead of passenger safety, but the company’s actions speak louder than its words. If Boeing really wants to demonstrate that safety is a priority, the company can prove it by withdrawing its petition seeking special permission from the FAA to bypass safety standards and rush even more aircraft into the air with a known safety defect. Unfortunately, Mr. Calhoun offered no assurance that Boeing would do so in today’s meeting, so I remain sceptical of where Boeing’s true interests lie.”
The Allied Pilots Association also voiced strong opposition to the exemption in 2022, when Senator Roger Wicker proposed an amendment to give Boeing until September 2023 to gain FAA approval. The APA felt Boeing would not meet the deadline. “Boeing needs to proceed with installing modern crew alerting systems on these aircraft to mitigate pilot startle-effect and confusion during complex, compound system malfunctions,” APA President Capt. Edward Sicher said. “Once these systems are installed and pilots have been properly trained on them, our crews will be better able to identify system failures and prioritize corrective actions that could save lives.”
According to The Seattle Times, earlier model 737s have a metal inlet, but the MAX’s engine inlet is made from the more sustainable carbon composite. When the plane flies in the cold, the de-icing system blows hot air onto the engine inlet to prevent ice build-up. Boeing discovered that if the system was switched on after leaving the icy air, the system could overheat and damage the composite structure, possibly leading to it breaking off from the nacelle. The FAA said that debris broken off could penetrate the fuselage and place passengers seated behind the wings in danger and possibly damage the wing or tail of the plane, resulting in a loss of control of the plane.
Boeing admitted there was a quality escape and said it would take immediate action to bolster quality assurance and controls in 737 production. On 23 January Boeing announced it would hold a “Quality Stand Down” on 25 January to allow employees to take part in work sessions focused on quality. During the stand down, employees would focus on hands-on learning, reflection and collaboration to identify where quality and compliance need improvement.
With mounting pressure, Boeing has taken numerous steps to show it is taking the incident seriously and looking inward to improve safety and quality for the flying public. The Seattle Times reported that if Boeing finds a fix for the de-icing flaw, the MAX 8 and MAX 9 lines will be retrofitted. MAX 7 customers like Southwest, which has 302 on order, will face delivery delays. Boeing is confident a solution will be found by 2026, but no timeline has been established.
Biden unfreezes huge F-16 deal for Turkey
Days after Turkey’s parliament approved Sweden’s NATO bid, late on Friday the Biden administration notified Congress that it is unfreezing a massive deal with Turkey to provide 40 new F-16 fighters and modernise another 79 of the aircraft already in service, an arrangement estimated to be worth a staggering $23 billion. The holdup of Turkey’s F-16s had been a major issue between Ankara and Washington. Turkey’s quest for new and upgraded F-16s goes back years, after it was booted in 2020 from the US-led international F-35 programme over Turkey’s purchase of advanced Russian radars. The same year American lawmakers had quietly frozen all major arms sales to Turkey, including F-16 upgrades.
Turkey, some key US senators said at the time, “is not behaving like a responsible actor or working collaboratively with the West at the level we expect from a NATO ally.” More recently, Turkey had tied the US approval of F-16s to lifting its hold on Sweden’s NATO membership. (Turkey, along with Hungary, had played spoiler in Sweden’s NATO bid for months.) Turkey’s parliament approved Sweden’s accession earlier this week and President Biden reportedly urged Congress to approve the F-16 deal shortly thereafter.
While the Biden administration had pushed back on any official linkage between the two issues, key members of Congress were more open that no F-16s would be approved until Turkey acted on the NATO question. In a statement Friday, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee Ben Cardin said that his “approval of Turkeys’ request to purchase F-16 aircrafts has been contingent on Turkish approval of Sweden’s NATO membership.”
“But make no mistake: this was not a decision I came to lightly,” Cardin said. “While Turkey plays a critical role in the region as a NATO ally, there is an urgent need for improvement on its human rights record, including the unjust imprisonment of journalists and civil society leaders, better cooperation on holding Russia accountable for its invasion of Ukraine and on lowering the temperature in its rhetoric about the Middle East.”
In its notice, the State Department said Turkey’s new Lockheed Martin-made planes and the modernisation effort, along with a laundry list of supporting equipment and other services, “will support the foreign policy goals and national security of the United States by improving the air capabilities and interoperability of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Ally that is a force for political and economic stability in Europe.” The State Department approval for potential sales is not the final word and lawmakers could still step in to throw a wrench into any potential deals. But as Cardin’s public support suggests, it is unlikely the Biden administration would have made the announcement if they expected resistance in Congress.
Turkey is in the process of developing a domestically manufactured next-generation fighter aircraft, dubbed the KAAN, but analysts said previously that the KAAN is likely many years away from active service and that Ankara has been eager to fill a ‘fighter gap’ that was expected to widen as its current crop of F-16s aged.
Biden approves F-35s for Greece in major geopolitical move
The fact that Turkey’s fighter clearance was paired with the long-expected approval for Greece’s F-35 purchase is no surprise, given the geopolitical tensions between the two historic rivals. “The F-35 will offset the increasing obsolescence of other Hellenic Air Force aircraft such as the F-4 and Mirage 2000. Greece will have no difficulty absorbing these new aircraft and services into its armed forces,” the State Department said. Greece made the formal request for F-35s in June 2022. At the time experts said the US was likely to approve it but warned it could strain American relations with Turkey.
“Given the strategic situation in the eastern Mediterranean, a Greek F-35 purchase is inevitable, particularly with the Hellenic Air Force’s aging fleet,” Richard Aboulafia, managing director with Aerodynamic Advisory, said then. “Despite economic challenges, Greece has prioritised a high level of defence spending. The only challenge is availability, given the limited F-35 production ramp.”
Nicholas Danforth, senior visiting fellow at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, said in 2022 that historically, “the United States has placed a huge priority on avoiding conflict between NATO allies in the eastern Mediterranean. In the past, that meant trying to maintain a very balanced position between Greece and Turkey.” Since 2022 Lockheed Martin has had a webpage dedicated to the potential for Greek F-35s, saying the plane “stands ready as the most capable solution for the Hellenic Air Force.” Prior to Greece’s inclusion, some 17 nations were involved in the development of the F-35 or have purchased the aircraft.
French Ministry of Interior orders 42 H145 helicopters
At the end of 2023 the French Armament General Directorate (DGA) ordered 42 new H145 helicopters, on behalf of the Ministry of Interior, with deliveries set to start in 2024. Of these 42 helicopters, 36 are destined for the French rescue and emergency response agency, Sécurité Civile, while the French law enforcement agency, Gendarmerie Nationale, will receive six. The contract includes an option for a further 22 H145s for the Gendarmerie Nationale and a range of support and service solutions from training to spare parts, as well as a complete initial support package for the aircraft.
The Sécurité Civile currently operates four five-bladed H145s, ordered in 2020 and 2021. The 36 H145s will progressively replace the 33 EC145s currently in operation for rescue and air medical transport services, throughout France. The six H145s will initiate the renewal of the Gendarmerie’s fleet, composed of Ecureuils, EC135s and EC145s. They will be equipped with an electro-optical system and a mission computer to perform the most demanding law enforcement missions.
Certified by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency in June 2020, this new version of Airbus’ H145 light twin-engine helicopter brings a new, innovative five-bladed rotor to the multi-mission helicopter, increasing the useful load by 150 kg while delivering new levels of comfort, simplicity and connectivity. Powered by two Safran Arriel 2E engines, the H145 is equipped with full authority digital engine control (FADEC) and the Helionix digital avionics suite. It includes a high-performance four-axis autopilot, increasing safety and reducing pilot workload. Its particularly low acoustic footprint makes the H145 the quietest helicopter in its class. Presently Airbus has more than 1,675 H145 family helicopters in service around the world, logging a total of more than 7.6 million flight hours.
LanzaJet opens world’s first alcohol-to-jet SAF production facility
The new facility in Soperton, Georgia will begin producing 10 million gallons of SAF and renewable diesel per year, created from ethanol and using a range of sustainable, low-carbon intensity ethanol like from water-based feedstocks, to increase the current amount of SAF production in the US. The fuel produced will meet both US and global standards. With LanzaJet’s tech, the current and future supply volume needed to support a scaled SAF industry, along with the White House’s SAF Grand Challenge calling for three billion gallons annually by 2030 to reduce aviation emissions.
LanzaJet’s technology is seen as the pioneering ethanol-to-SAF production process and pathway. The unique technology was introduced as the world’s first viable next-gen SAF technology, able to scale production to the levels necessary to decarbonise aviation through widely available feedstock, emerging commercial waste-based feedstock solutions and optimistic economic conditions. The Freedom Pine Fuels location represents the most capable SAF technology in close to ten years to reach commercial readiness. LanzaJet will use its proprietary ethanol-to-SAF technology to serve as a blueprint for using innovation to scale SAF production and fight the worsening climate crisis.
The new plant represents a culmination of firsts within the SFS industry. LanzaJet emerged in 2010 with the first ethanol-to-SAF technology to have derived from a collaboration with the Pacific Northwest National Lab. The technology was used on commercial flights with Virgin Atlantic and All Nippon Airways in 2018 and 2019, respectively. The SAF produced in Soperton will be used as a drop-in fuel for existing aircraft, which contribute two to three percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions from humans. The tech LanzaJet is using will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 70 percent and is produced from different feedstocks including agricultural waste, municipal solid waste, energy crops and carbon captured from industrial processes. Freedom Pines Fues is fully funded and has committed off-take agreements for all of the fuel it produces over the next decade. The plant is less than 100 miles from Savannah, located in Treutlen County, Georgia. The SAF facility will create over 250 jobs and generate roughly $70 million in annual economic activity for the local economy.
ZeroAvia announces positive test results on power inverter tech
On Monday 22 January Hybrid-powered aircraft developer ZeroAvia announced that it has successfully completed initial testing on its 200kW continuous power inverter design. Describing inverter technology as ‘highly weight-efficient,’ ZeroAvia said its test unit operated at 230kW from 800 volts of direct current (Vdc). “This inverter performance is a large step for change for the industry,” ZeroAvia said. Inverter technology takes DC power from electric power sources, such as ZeroAvia’s hydrogen fuel cells, converts it to AC power and controls the flow to electric motors that power an aircraft. Other potential power sources include batteries and other non-hydrogen hybrid systems. The company sees the capability of its inverters to efficiently transform DC power to AC as ‘an integral part of the zero-emission, hydrogen-electric aviation engines that ZeroAvia is developing.’
ZeroAvia says its core inverter technology has applications across a wide range of engine sizes, starting with its 600kW ZA600 powerplant designed for aircraft with nine to 19 seats. The 900kW HyperCore electric motor is designed to be stacked in series as the ZA2000, meant to be capable of powering 40- to 80-seat regional airliners. Val Miftakhov, ZeroAvia founder and CEO, said: “This kind of technological breakthrough will create enormous value for the company and will have massive impact on transitioning the entirety of aviation away from fossil fuels.”
European institutions join forces to boost European space sector
The European Commission, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Space Agency (ESA) have signed a collaboration arrangement at the Space Conference, to join forces to strengthen the European space sector. This will include small and medium businesses (SMEs) and start-ups and enhance Europe’s position in space. The collaboration between the three institutions aims to foster cooperation and coordination with a focus on providing financing and advisory support for European space companies. Through this collaboration, the institutions seek to improve access to finance, encourage innovation and knowledge sharing and stimulate the development of cutting-edge space technologies. By leveraging their collective expertise, resources and networks, the three institutions aim to propel Europe’s space sector to new frontiers, driving innovation, economic growth and strategic autonomy in space. This collaboration will play a pivotal role in identifying bottlenecks and streamlining access to finance and advisory services, to ensure that European space companies will have the necessary resources to bring their ground breaking ideas to fruition.
Director-General of DG-DEFIS at the European Commission Timo Pesonen stated: “Access to finance is crucial for companies, whatever their stage of development. With our CASSINI Space Entrepreneurship initiative, the Commission already provides a big boost to our New Space ecosystem by facilitating access to finance to space start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs. Yet, access to debt funding remains challenging. Today we are joining forces with the EIB and ESA to try to fix the issue. Europe is now the hub for space entrepreneurship. We need to preserve this and continue supporting our industrial ecosystem to grow, innovate and capture new markets globally.”
European Investment Bank Vice-President Kris Peeters said: “As the financial investment arm of the European Union, the EIB is committed to supporting projects aligned with EU policy objectives. We are thrilled to collaborate with the European Commission and ESA to provide strategic financing solutions and advisory services aimed at empowering European space companies and enabling them to thrive in a highly competitive global landscape.”
ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher emphasised the potential of the partnership, stating: “Today’s agreement marks a milestone in European space collaboration. The convergence of ESA’s technical and scientific expertise with the financial acumen and backing of the EIB and the policy support of the European Commission creates a formidable alliance. This partnership is more than just a commitment to collaboration; it is a testament to our shared vision. Together, we are paving the way for ground-breaking advancements and ensuring that European space companies are at the cutting edge of innovation and competitiveness.”
Skyfly and Aerovolt tie up for UK’s first eVTOL flight
British company Skyfly, which is developing a two-seat eVTOL called Axe, will work with electric aircraft charging company Aerovolt to make the flight using AeroVolt’s operational public charging network. Skyfly says the Axe eVTOL has a range of 100 miles in fully electric configuration or 300 miles in a hybrid configuration. AeroVolt’s charging network further increases the flexibility of the Axe with charging points at several General Aviation airfields such as Brighton City (Shoreham), Lydd, Dunkeswell, Bournemouth, Solent Airport and Sandown.
“We cannot wait to demonstrate this capability on a real flight route which will hopefully prove to the non-believers that electric aviation is the future of mobility. Skyfly wants to make the United Kingdom a leader in aviation again,” said Michael Thompson, CEO, Skyfly.
Currently AeroVolt offers access to its charging stations via a subscription service called Squadron. Members of Squadron are also entitled to hire AeroVolt’s Pipistrel Velis Electro fixed-wing electric aircraft. In addition, the Aerovolt charging network will soon be accessible through Octopus Electroverse, a charging app from leading energy supplier Octopus Energy which is already well-established for electric cars.
AeroVolt’s first batch of chargers are rated to 22kW and installation of larger 44kW chargers will begin in 2024. 120kW are also planned for the near future. Multiple aircraft and, in some cases, electric cars – can use any one charging station simultaneously. Using AeroVolt’s chargers, the Axe eVTOL can charge in approximately 3.5 hours.
Alan Kingsley-Dobson, COO, Aerovolt, added, “Aerovolt is really excited to be working with Skyfly. The Axe is a really forward-thinking design in the emerging eVTOL market. The availability and usability of a charging infrastructure is key for their customers and future development and AeroVolt is ready to offer support however we can. We can’t wait to see the Axe flying later this year.” The Skyfly Axe is a two-seat eVTOL aircraft that will be available to buy for US$180,000. It is designed for personal use and is claimed to be as easy to fly as a consumer camera drone. Its four-winged design, developed by well-known aeronautical engineer Dr William Brooks, enables the Axe not just to take-off and land vertically like a helicopter, but also to fly, take-off and land like a conventional aeroplane. This means the Axe can be flown with an existing pilot’s licence.
High-tech takedown: Police Drone and dog team flush out hiding thief
A thief has been jailed after officers including a drone pilot and dog handler teamed up to find him hiding in a field in Canterbury. Police on patrol in the Nackington area of the city spotted Joseph Yates, (32) running away from a business property whilst an intruder alarm was sounding in the early hours of Thursday 24 August 2023. It was later established that entry to a storeroom at the location had been forced but no items had been taken.
Yates ran and hid in a dense field near Langton Lane and could not be found until dog handler PC Lisa Milligan and Police Dog Coty picked up his scent and began to track to his location. They were supported by drone pilot PC Andy Green, who with assistance from PC Richard Gabriel was able to detect Yates’ heat source and guide them to his precise position. The offender was arrested, searched and found to be in possession of a crowbar and the keys to a car found abandoned nearby. Inside the vehicle was a pair of bolt croppers and other tools, as well as two cannisters of nitrous oxide that were found to have been stolen from a location in Sittingbourne the previous day.
Yates pleaded guilty to attempted burglary, handling stolen goods and going equipped for burglary following an investigation by PC Georgia England from the Canterbury Victim Based Crime Team. He was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment when he attended Medway Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 17 January 2024.
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