“Many people mistake a short memory for a clear conscience.”
African Pilot’s March edition
The March edition featuring aviation business at Rand Airport as well as Business Jets available in southern Africa has completed its printing phase and is now in its distribution phase. The digital edition will be sent to all subscribers on Tuesday 25 February. Thank you to our valuable advertisers who supported this edition.
African Pilot’s April edition
The April edition will feature Wonderboom National Airport and Turboprop Aircraft Types. This means that Adrian and I will spend significant amounts of time walking the ramps at Wonderboom over the coming weeks so that we can take pictures and interact with the business owners based at this airport. The closing date for all submissions is Friday 6 March 2020. For advertising positions please contact Adrian Munro at Tel: 0861 001130 Cell: 079 880 4359 or e-mail: email@example.com. Thank you.
About African Pilot
There is no doubt that African Pilot provides the finest overall media reach of all aviation publications in Africa where we are in a position to provide professional video and stills photography, website development, social media platforms, company newsletters as well as several other important media services to our customers. Naturally the monthly printed magazine has an incredibly long shelf life due to its excellent design and layout. Then of course the monthly magazine is also available as a digital edition where ALL advertisers have enjoy the direct routing to their websites at a touch on a smart phone or tablet as well as a click of the mouse on a computer screen.
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Vince Reffet (the Dubai Jetman) lifting off from a pier on the Dubai waterfront was amazing:
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SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
What happened in aviation over the past week?
EAA Chapter 322 Flying Legends Talk Show on Thursday 20 February
Once again congratulations to everyone involved in the planning of Thursday evening’s Talk Show by helicopter pilot Steve Joubert at the EAA Auditorium, especially Marie Reddy and the dedicated EAA team. Also, to Karl Jensen who spent hours preparing for the interview with Steve, who was a South African Air Force border war Alouette III helicopter pilot. This was probably one of the most interesting EAA Talk Shows that I have attended, filled with emotion as Steve unpacked the incredible damage that this war did to him personally as well as to many of the airmen and soldiers who were involved at the time. Although there were several humours moments in Steve’s talk, the overall message was that the men and women involved in any war come away with serious emotional damage. This sentiment was born out by several senior EAA members present, who had also been affected by the tragedy of the South African Defence Force ventures into Angola at the time.
CAASA presents first 2020 CAAI on Friday 21 February
Dr Roelof Bother (economist) presented the Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA’s) first Commercial Aviation Activity Index (CAAI) on Friday. Sponsored by Aircraft Finance Corporation, the CAAI looks at specific aviation activity in all the areas of the aviation business. The report clearly showed an improvement in aviation activity with many of the graphs leaning in the correct direction. I am always fascinated at Dr Botha’s ability to unpack trends and he certainly does not mince his words when he discusses the political and social interventions required to get South African business back on track or in this case of aviation ‘back in the air’. More about Dr Botha’s illustrated presentation in the April edition of African Pilot.
What is scheduled for the next few months?
African Pilot’s 2020 calendar
4 and 5 March
Aviation Africa Summit and Exhibition Addis Ababa 2020
Contact Tel +44 (0) 170 253 0000
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
4 to 8 March
IADE International Aerospace & Defence exhibition Tunisia
March Website: www.expomediatunisia.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA Brakpan Fun Rally at Brakpan airfield
Contact Frank Eckard E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 083 269 1516
With this year’s SAPFA events culminating in the World Rally Flying Championships (WRFC 2020) to be held in Stellenbosch in November 2020, we would like to invite as many participants as possible to take part therefore we are looking for interested pilots and navigators to learn the art of rally flying. There will be further practical flight training events taking place up until April 2020, which is when we hold Nationals in Stellenbosch, for selecting our Protea Teams. We are hoping to have up to 10 teams sufficiently qualified to take part in the World Champs in November.
It is very important to book online: http://www.sapfa.co.za/index.php/component/competition/?view=pilot in order for us to adequately cater for the numbers. Thank you.
7 and 8 March
SAC KZN Regionals at Ladysmith airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Aero Club of South Africa Annual General Meeting Time: 18h00 for 18h30
Contact Sandra Strydom E-mail: email@example.com Tel: 011 082 1100
EAA Auditorium Rand Airport, Hurricane Road, Rand Airport, Germiston.
SAPFA Speed Rally at Bethlehem airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082855 9435
Sling Aircraft breakfast fly-in at Tedderfield airfield
Contact Shanelle McKechnie E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 066 224 2128
20 and 21 March
FASHKOSH airshow at Stellenbosch airfield
Contact: Anton Theart E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 079 873 4567
31 March – 5 April
FIDAE 2020 Arturo Merino Benitez Airport, Santiago, Chile
I will be representing African Pilot at this annual event this year
31 March – 5 April
Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo. Lakeland, Florida, USA
1 to 4 April
AERO Friedrichshafen, Germany Global show for General Aviation
Contact Stephan E-mail: Stephanie.email@example.com
2 to 4 April
SAPFA Rally Nationals and Fun Rally at Stellenbosch airfield
Contact Frank Eckard E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083 269 1516
3 to 5 April
Groblersdal Flying Club fly-in at Groblersdal airfield
Contact Richard Nicholson E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 490 6227
Robertson annual fly-in breakfast
Contact Alwyn du Plessis E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083 270 5888
Wings and Wheels Festival at Uitenhage airfield
Contact Lourens Kruger E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 320 2615
Garden Route airshow
Contact Brett Scheuble E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 084 418 3836
1 to 3 May
Aero Club Airfest and EAA National Convention at Middelburg airfield
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 804 7032
Contact Sean Cronin E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083 447 9895
SAPFA Middelburg Speed Rally Middelburg airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 855 9435
1 to 3 May
MISASA and SAGPA North meets South at Gariep Dam
Contact Donald Hicks Cell: 083 626 3180 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
8 to 10 May
20th Battlefields fly-in to Dundee KZN
Contact Dave O’Halloran E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 079 496 5286
SAAF Museum Airshow at AFB Zwartkops
Contact Mark Kelbrick Cell 082 413 7577 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
12 to 15 May
NAMPO Harvest Day at NAMPO Part outside Bothaville
Contact Bennie Zaayman Wim Venter: E-mail: Wim@grainsa.co.za Cell 082 414 8099
The Coves annual fly-in closed event by invitation only
Contact JP Fourie E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 083 625 4804
EAA AGM at the EAA Auditorium Rand Airport
Contact Sean Cronin E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083 447 9895
23 to 24 May
SAC Eastern Cape Regionals Wings Park, East London
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
22 to 24 May
SAPFA President’s Trophy Air Race at Ermelo airfield
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 804 7032
Website: www.sapfa.co.za E-mail: Race@sapfa.org.za
Botswana International Airshow at Matsieng Flying Club
Contact E-mail: email@example.com Cell: +267 713 10935
31 May (Sunday)
Fly-Mo fund raising breakfast fly-in at Springs airfield
Contact Fanie Bezuidenhout E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083 789 5507
5 and 6 June
Contact Johan Pieters E-mail: Johan@champ.co.za Cell: 082 923 0078
3 to 7 June
Zim Navex Prince Charles Airport, Harare
Contact Marion Kalweit E-mail: email@example.com Tel +26 377 257 0009
Maputo Air Land and Sea airshow
Contact Gavin Neil E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA Silver Queen Air Rally AFB Zwartkops
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 804 7032
15 to 19 June
SAC National Championships New Tempe – Bloemfontein
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAC full day airshow New Tempe – Bloemfontein
Contact Conrad Botha E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 465 4045
22 to 24 June
Airport Show, Airport Security and ATC Forum DWTC, Dubai
We are excited to announce that registration is now open for Airport Show, Airport Security and ATC Forum this June in Dubai. Register for FREE https://bit.ly/2SnJ33S
African Pilot’s 2020 calendar
We will publish the aviation calendar within APAnews three months ahead, but you can always visit African Pilot’s website: www.africanpilot.co.za if you would like to obtain the full calendar for the entire year.
Editor’s comment: All the aviation publications, including the online publications have access to the above calendar and all they need to do is copy and paste the correct information supplied here. In addition, the calendar of events is continuously changing as new events are recorded and unfortunately events are cancelled for some or other reason.
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Surveillance-ready King Air 350ERs start maritime patrol duties
Two King Air 350ERs equipped as Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) have gone into service with an African Navy following their delivery by Leonardo Company, which acted as prime contractor and systems integrator for the aircraft. The MPAs, equipped with Leonardo’s ATOS mission system and full complement of sensors including its Seaspray E-scan surveillance radar, will be used for a range of missions including search and rescue, littoral security and the monitoring of illegal migration, fishing and pollution.
As prime contractor, Leonardo procured and integrated all required elements and delivered a mission-ready aircraft, certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) as ready to fly. Leonardo sees this model as a growth area for the Company, with its ability to draw on its broad in-house expertise in sensors, mission systems and platform integration allowing it to offer a tailored, mission-ready aircraft to customers in a cost-effective manner. Leonardo also offers this service for mid-life upgrades, taking an existing aircraft and equipping it with advanced new sensors, all controlled through its ATOS mission system.
Green Africa adds three more A220-300s to its fleet
Green Africa has added to the news that it has ordered 50 A220-300s from Airbus by also committing to lease an additional three of the aircraft from leasing company, GTLK Europe. The aircraft will allow the Nigerian airline Green Africa to set course for its planned launch of commercial operations in 2020.
Deliveries of the three aircraft (all new) will be completed by August 2020. The further order has been placed on the back of the new Airbus order for 50 A220-300s reported on last week.
EgyptAir soars to become first A320neo and A220 operator in the region
EgyptAir has taken delivery of the first of 15 A320neo Family aircraft, on lease from AerCap, becoming the first airline in Africa and Middle East to operate both the A320neo and A220. Alongside the A220, the A320neo will be an integral part of EgyptAir’s fleet modernisation plan that will replace its existing ageing single aisle fleet. EgyptAir’s A320neo is powered by CFM Leap 1 engines and configured in a two-class cabin with 142 seats including 16 business class seats.
Stellwagen delivers second Airbus C295 to DAC
Last week the Stellwagen Group announced the delivery of a second Airbus C295 aircraft to DAC Aviation International, which will add this additional aircraft to its humanitarian operations in Africa. The Airbus C295 is ideal for humanitarian assistance organisations, due to its performance and capabilities, especially its ability to take off and land over short distances and from unimproved surfaces.
Six Diamond DA40 NG training aircraft delivered to Nigerian College of Aviation Technology
As part of a re-fleeting programme of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) that includes 20 Diamond airplanes (five twin-engine DA42-VI and 15 single-engine DA40 NG) over the upcoming years, the college will now receive the first batch of six DA40 NG. One DA42-VI was delivered in 2017. The DA40 NG is an effective training platform for commercial cross-country navigation and instrument approach / landing procedures. Currently more than 2,240 types of this aircraft are in worldwide operations.
WORLDWIDE ACCIDENTS AND INCIDENTS
Mid-air collision at Mangalore, Australia
Four people are dead after two twin-engine planes collided mid-air at Mangalore, about 120 kilometres north of Melbourne. One plane crashed to the ground immediately after the collision whilst the other travelled for some distance before crashing. One of the planes that was carrying a trainee pilot and instructor had taken off from Mangalore airfield shortly before the collision. The other aircraft had taken off from a different airport. Witnesses on the ground and in a helicopter saw the mid-air collision and the first plane crash. A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority said the incident involved a Piper Seminole aircraft registered to flight school Moorabbin Aviation Services and a Beechcraft Travel Air registered to a private owner at Tyabb, on the Mornington Peninsula.
Investigators release final 2016 Emirates 777 crash-landing report
An Emirates Boeing 777 aircraft, flying from India, crash-landed in Dubai (UAE) as it was attempting to fly a go-around, bursting into flames minutes later. While the 300 people onboard the aircraft evacuated alive, a firefighter was killed when tackling the fire. Immediately after the accident, which happened in 2016, a landing gear failure was suspected to be at fault. However, the final accident report now points to pilot error and the fact that the engine trust was insufficient for a second go-around flight.
This Boeing 777-300 crash at Dubai (the UAE) on August 3, 2016, was the first accident of such scale in the Emirates’ history. Immediately after the incident, reports emerged stating that the aircraft had issues with its landing gear, suggesting that the gear did not fully extend and the aircraft had to land on its belly. However, during the course of investigation, no issues with the Boeing 777-300’s systems or its Rolls-Royce engines were found and the investigators’ shifted their focus to the crew.
During the first landing attempt, the Emirates pilots were unable to land the airplane within the runway zone, opting for a go-around instead. While a moderate wind shear was expected on the day, the main reason for the go-around decision was due to thermals. Therefore, the crew opted for a normal go-around instead of the wind shear escape manoeuvre. However, some switches required for the second go-around were inhibited because of a touchdown. The problem was, the flight crew were unaware that there had been a touchdown, which lasted for six seconds. After becoming airborne during the go-around attempt, the aircraft had insufficient engine trust for the climb and quickly began losing height and speed. While the pilots did try to fix the situation by performing the wind shear escape manoeuvre, it was already too late. Eighteen seconds after the initiation of the go-around, the Boeing 777 carrying 282 passengers, 16 cabin crew and two pilots, crashed-landed on the runway 12L in Dubai International Airport (DXB).
After sliding on its lower fuselage along the runway, the plane finally came to a stop next to a taxiway Mike 13. Less than ten minutes later, the aircraft burst into flames as the center wing tank exploded.
Despite the fact that some passengers evacuated with their carry-on baggage, thus prolonging the procedure, the evacuation lasted for about seven minutes (6 minutes 40 seconds). During it, 21 passengers, a pilot and six crew members sustained minor injuries, while four cabin crew members were injured more seriously. Only the captain and the senior cabin crew member evacuated after the center wing tank explosion. However, the accident did result in one fatality. The explosion of the wing tank tore down a large section of the right-wing upper skin. The falling panel struck and fatally injured a firefighter. The Emirates Boeing 777 was destroyed during the fire.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
GAMA announces 2019 year-end aircraft billing and shipment numbers
On Wednesday the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) presented the 2019 year-end aircraft billing and shipment numbers, during its annual State of the Industry press conference. In 2019, aircraft deliveries reached a value of $26.8 billion, an increase over the $24.3 billion recorded in 2018. The number of piston airplane deliveries experienced the largest growth among the segments at 16.4 percent. Business jet deliveries were at their highest since 2009. Meanwhile, turboprop and helicopter deliveries decreased.
The piston engine airplane market in North America accounted for 66.4% of overall shipments. The second largest market for piston airplanes for the fifth year in a row was the Asia-Pacific market at 12.8%. Turboprop airplane shipments to North American customers accounted for 50.3% of the global deliveries. The second largest market for turboprop airplane deliveries was Latin America at 16.8%. The North American market accounted for 67.1% of business jet deliveries. The second largest market for business jet deliveries during the year was Europe at 14.3%.
Segment 2018 2019 change
Piston Airplanes 1,137 1,324 +16.4%
Turboprops 592 525 -11.3%
Business Jets 703 809 +15.1%
Total airplane units 2,432 2,658 +9.3%
Total airplane billings $20.6B $23.5B +14.3%
Piston Rotorcraft 281 179 -36.3%
Turbine Rotorcraft (*) 698 640 -8.3%
Total Rotorcraft Units 979 819 -16.3%
Total rotorcraft billings $3.7B $3.3B -11.9%
*Leonardo Helicopters fourth quarter data is not available at the time of publication. Leonardo Helicopters will release year-end results in March. GAMA excluded 2018 fourth quarter data for Leonardo in the comparison table.
Cirrus Aircraft delivers a record year fuelled by Vision Jet deliveries
Cirrus Aircraft announced a record year of growth and expansion in 2019, marked by the award-winning Vision Jet™ becoming the world’s best-selling jet in general aviation. Deliveries of the Vision Jet surpassed 80 aircraft in 2019, representing a 29% increase over the prior year, while consistent growth in SR Series deliveries resulted in a combined total of 465 aircraft shipments in 2019. With 384 aircraft delivered in 2019, the SR Series maintained its distinction as the best-selling high-performance piston aircraft in its segment for eighteen consecutive years. These combined gains in 2019 represent a 5% increase in total deliveries over 2018 and made it the fifth year in a row that Cirrus Aircraft has grown annual airplane shipments.
Growth in overall facilities and employment was also noted across the company’s locations, including significant expansion of career opportunities in engineering and product development. This growth includes plans to establish a new engineering design center in Phoenix, Arizona. The company’s global customer experience center, the Vision Center Campus, continues to grow with the inclusion of a state-of-the-art Flight Training center which features world-class FAA-approved ‘part 142’ type rating training for the Vision Jet and a custom Level D full-motion simulator. Cirrus has currently issued more than 330 Vision Jet type ratings.
FAA emergency AD grounds Cirrus Jet fleet
After a cabin ground fire destroyed a first-generation Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet, the FAA issued emergency airworthiness directive AD 2020-03-50, which grounds the fleet of jets until faulty audio amplifier circuit cards are removed from the cabin. The pilot said that he noticed smoke coming from the right rear cabin sidewall in the aircraft that melted on the ramp. The smoking components are audio amplifiers that are used to drive the 3.5-MM audio / microphone jacks in the passenger cabin. The part number of the defective circuit card is P/N 38849-01 and the AD says to simply remove all 12 of them from the cabin before the next flight. That generally takes eight hours labour to remove the interior, the circuit cards and put it all back together.
Cirrus has been on this before the AD and already issued service bulletin SBA5X-23-03 for compliance instructions. To date Cirrus has made 97 percent of the SF50 fleet airworthy again through its ASSIST mobile technical team and established service centres. It said over 170 Cirrus jets are back flying since the bulletin was issued on 7 February 2020. Nailing the communication effort, all Cirrus SF50 customers were contacted within 24 hours of the bulletin’s release.
Textron Aviation tops 2019 business jet deliveries
Cessna delivered more jets in 2019 than any other business aircraft manufacturer in its segment, according to the annual shipment and billings report published by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). In addition, the Cessna Citation Latitude remained the most-delivered midsize business jet for the fourth consecutive year. The data from GAMA arrives as the global Cessna Citation jet fleet recently surpassed 40 million flight hours. The jet line-up is recognized as the most popular series of business aircraft ever produced, with more than 7,700 delivered to customers and operators worldwide.
According to the GAMA report, in 2019 Textron Aviation delivered 206 Citation business jets: nearly 60 more than the nearest competitor. Citations joining the worldwide fleet last year include the super-midsize Cessna Citation Longitude, with 13 deliveries since its September 2019 certification. For the fourth consecutive year, the Citation Latitude topped GAMA’s list as the most delivered midsize business jet with 58 aircraft delivered in 2019. The popular midsize jet entered the market in 2015 and quickly established itself as the Citation with the highest average daily utilisation. For operators, the Latitude delivers an unmatched combination of best-in-class short-field performance with extended maintenance intervals and lower operating costs. Passengers benefit from the most refined cabin in the midsize class, offering a six-foot stand-up flat-floor cabin, added legroom and class-leading baggage weight capacity.
Boeing receives LOI for 30 747-8 passenger jets
On 7 February 2020, Boeing received a Letter of Intent (LOI) from Avatar Airlines for the purchase of 30 new 747-8 passenger version aircraft. Although Boeing is fulfilling a number of sales of its 747-8F freighter, it had no new orders in 2019 for its passenger version. Avatar promises this order could save the legendary ‘Queen of the Skies’ from extinction which otherwise appears to be inevitable. On 19 November Avatar filed for a 121 certificate with the FAA and the Department of Transportation for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the authority to operate low fare scheduled service to large major city pairs throughout the US and Hawaii. Avatar will begin with 14 747-400s transitioning to the 747-8 which it considers to be the ideal aircraft to replace the 400s. Management believes the -8 will provide an increase in both passenger and freight capacity while operating at significantly lower costs adding to its net profits.
Instead of adorning the aircraft with first class lounges, piano bars and a decadent seating arrangement reminiscent of the 70’s, Avatar plans to bring the 747 experience to the masses. With 539 economy seats on the lower deck and 42 business seats on the upper deck the company will harness the comfort, power, size and safety of the 747, enhancing the overall passenger experience that today’s ‘low cost’ carriers simply lack. Avatar’s economy fares are expected to be 50% less than other carriers.
Vietnamese Bamboo Airways to order 12 Boeing 777X jets
The contract, valued at around $5 billion at list prices, would be good news for the manufacturer that did not receive any orders in January 2020. On 18 February 2020, Bamboo Airways’ president Trinh Van Quyet told Bloomberg that the order would be placed in the second quarter of 2020. Neither the specific models nor the delivery dates were communicated. Launched a little more than a year ago, the Vietnamese company currently operates a fleet of 22 Airbus single-aisle airliners and three Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. The fast-growing airline should have 50 aircraft by the end of the year, with a backlog of 46 more A3210neo and up to thirty Dreamliners to be leased.
Vietnam scrambles to achieve FAA safety rating
Reports indicate the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) could grant Category 1 rating to Vietnam ‘soon’, allowing the Southeast Asian nation’s airlines to fly to the US and codeshare with American carriers. Vietnam’s efforts to gain the top safety ranking have been backed by US giant Boeing, as the country’s airlines are major customers of both Boeing and Airbus jets.
The news also comes as a breath of fresh air for the 777x programme, which was the first since the aircraft’s maiden flight. On September 2019, during final load testing on a static 777X frame, a cargo door blew out, placing a temporary stop to the certification process. While initially, Boeing expected the incident would not have a ‘significant impact on aircraft design or on our overall test programme schedule,’ the company delayed the aircraft’s entry into service date to early-2021. The delay led Emirates to convert 24 of its 777X orders into an order for 30 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners during Dubai Airshow, in November 2019. According to Boeing’s order book, the 777x programme totalled 309 firm orders at the end of January 2020.
Embraer delivers a total 198 of jets in 2019
Of the 198 jets, 89 were commercial aircraft and 109 were executive jets (62 light and 47 large), which represents an increase of 9% compared to 2018, when the Company delivered a total of 181 jets. The deliveries were within the outlook ranges for 2019 of 85 to 95 for the commercial aviation market and of 90 to 110 for the business aviation market. In the fourth quarter of 2019, Embraer delivered 81 jets, being 35 commercial aircraft and 46 executive jets (20 light and 26 large). As of 31 December 2019, the firm order backlog totalled USD 16.8 billion.
In the fourth quarter of 2019, Embraer delivered the first Praetor 500 business jet to Flexjet, a global leader in private jet travel, just over one year after its announcement at the 2018 National Business Aviation Association’s Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (NBAA-BACE).
Embraer also announced the expansion of its Executive Jets Service Center at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (KFLL), expanding its service capacity through a lease agreement with Jetscape Services for a dedicated hangar. Embraer’s presence in Florida is strategic for its Executive Jets customers throughout the Southern United States, the Caribbean and Central America as well as for those whose travel frequently brings them through South Florida.
In the same period, Embraer delivered the second KC-390 Millennium to the Brazilian Air Force and the contract with the Portuguese Government for a firm order for five KC-390 airlifters was included in Embraer’s backlog in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Debris discovered in fuel tanks of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft
During inspections, Boeing found Foreign Object Debris (FOD) in the fuel tanks of certain 737 MAX that were stored while waiting to be delivered to customers. The total number of affected aircraft was not disclosed. More than four hundred Boeing 737 MAX planes are currently being stored in several facilities across the United States. Boeing has also recommended for airlines that have received the 737 MAX to carry out inspections. The inspection of the fuel tanks should not delay the recertification of the model by the US Federal Aviation Administration. The authority was notified of the problem.
Boeing dedicates US$50M to families affected by the two 737 MAX crashes
Using the Boeing Community Investment Fund, the Chicago-based company allocated the remaining $50 million to the fund, which would allow the victim’s families to donate to eligible local charities of their choosing. Boeing announced the $100 million fund in July 2019. The manufacturer partnered with two United States-based lawyers, Ken Feinberg and Camille Biros to oversee the creation of the Investment Fund and the allocation of the sum. In addition, Feinberg and Biros are assigned to identify eligible charity organisations that the victim’s families would be able to choose where the donation goes. The remainder of the $50 million was allocated to the victim’s families themselves in July 2019. However, the company indicated that work is still undergoing to transfer these funds for those that were closely affected.
United States raises tariffs on Airbus aircraft from 10% to 15%
From March 2020, the United States will raise the customs tariffs imposed on Airbus aircraft imported from Europe from 10% to 15%, in retaliation for the subsidies received by the European aircraft manufacturer. Airbus reacted to the decision of the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) with a statement, saying it ‘deeply regrets’ the decision to increase tariffs that ‘further escalates trade tensions between the US and the EU, thereby creating more instability for US airlines that are already suffering from a shortage of aircraft,’ in reference to the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX for the past eleven months. Southwest Airlines and American Airlines were among the largest operators of the aircraft.
Taxes only apply to aircraft already assembled in the European Union, leaving out those coming out of Airbus’ assembly line in Mobile, Alabama. The Trump administration had originally taken this decision as punishment for the illegal government subsidies received by Airbus for two programmes, the late A380 and the A350. In addition, a 25% tax was enforced on a varied list of 89 European products. Airbus hopes that the USTR will reverse its decision once the EU is authorised to impose similar tariffs on Boeing aircraft during summer 2020. Indeed, Boeing was found guilty of receiving unjustified tax breaks from the US authorities. The WTO is currently in the process of estimating the scale of potential trade sanctions.
Riding the storm: British Airways 747 breaks transatlantic record
With the help of tailwinds from the Storm Ciara, several airliners crossed the Atlantic Ocean in record time. The ultimate winner was a Boeing 747 operated by British Airways that made the trip in four hours and fifty-six minutes, reaching speeds above 1,287 kilometres per hour. The previous record was held by a Norwegian Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which made the crossing in five hours and thirteen minutes in January 2018.
However, on 8 February 2020, a Boeing 747 and two Airbus A350s flying from New York-JFK International Airport (JFK) to London Heathrow (LHR) broke the record. Coming second to the British Airways flight, a Virgin Atlantic flight lost the race by a minute, reaching its destination in four hours and fifty-seven minutes. Coming third on the podium was another Virgin Atlantic A350 undertaking the crossing in four hours and fifty-nine minutes. The three record-breaking flights were among the lucky ones. Since Storm Ciara started sweeping across Europe, many flights were cancelled, delayed or even diverted due to adverse conditions.
On average, transatlantic flights take about six hours and fifteen minutes, but the Storm Ciara generated strong horizontal air currents above the Atlantic Ocean. Some of them exceeded 360 kilometres per hour. The transatlantic record for a commercial aircraft is still in the hands of the British Airways Concorde that reached its destination in just short of three hours, with a top speed of 2,172 kilometres per hour, on 7 February 1996.
AtlasGlobal declares bankruptcy
The Turkish airline AtlasGlobal declared bankruptcy and ended its operations after a long period of financial struggles. During a corporate meeting, employees were told not to come back the next day, as the company was now bankrupt. Ticket sales and flight operations were immediately interrupted. In recent months, AtlasGlobal had reduced operations due to its financial problems, with all flights to Europe suspended until Spring 2020. In December 2019, the airline halted flights for a month. The carrier re-launched regular flights on 21 December 2019.
Dubai Jetman: history on the fly
The video footage of Vince Reffet (the Dubai Jetman) lifting off from a pier on the Dubai waterfront was amazing. What Reffet pulled off is human flight about as pure as it can get if purity is defined as being birdlike. In this video, jetpack pioneer Yves Rossi briefly describes a manoeuvre in skydiving called tracking. We all do it at the end of every jump to put some airspace around us to open canopies safely. The body position is arms and legs back in a tight delta. For those 10 seconds, you can look down from 4000 feet and see the landscape scroll by slowly. But Reffet’s flight was something else entirely. It marked the first time either he, or his mentor, Rossi, launched from flat ground, not an airplane or a platform. He hovered, turned, circled back and landed which was another first.
Vince Reffet: Dubai Jetman
This wing pack has no aerodynamic controls at all, no ailerons or elevator, no flaps, no rudder. It’s a lifting body with undiluted thrust from four 50-pound engines vectored entirely by weight shift and body position. As if the hover and landing weren’t gobsmacking enough, Reffet turned, angled up and zoomed out over the skyline. You can almost see the thrust, weight and lift vector equations in motion.
Where is this interesting milestone in flight going to land up? Will it be just a minor footnote; a niche curiosity for a few people gutsy enough to try it? This is the world’s top skydiving team and they are on top by a margin so wide as to be a chasm to the second-place team. Thirty years ago, this level of performance couldn’t be imagined. When wing suits appeared a decade ago, some people thought it was a passing fad. It wasn’t. Having learned skills we couldn’t conceive, subtle body positions that deflect air and shift a lift vector you can feel, wing suiters now fly formations of up to 100 or more people. Although they lack the ability to sustain climb, wing suit pilots can swoop and roll like a neophyte bird.
Passenger charged with interfering with flight crew and attendants
On 16 January 2020, a criminal complaint filed in US District Court for the District of New Jersey charged Matthew Dingley with interference with flight crew members and attendants. Apparently on 9 January Dingley who was a passenger aboard a United Airlines flight from Dulles International Airport to Newark Liberty International Airport, allegedly attempted to gain access to the aircraft’s cockpit and physically assaulted a female flight attendant who attempted to intervene. A Federal arrest warrant was issued for Dingley, who is currently being held on state charges in Essex County, New Jersey. The New Jersey charges stem from his alleged assault on several Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANY&NJ) police officers after the aircraft landed in Newark.
ASX and Spirit AeroSystems developing affordable eVTOL aircraft
Airspace Experience Technologies (ASX), an aviation technology start-up and Spirit AeroSystems have signed a memorandum of understanding and a definitive agreement to cooperate on creation of affordable, certified all-electric, vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. The programme aims to converge automotive mass production techniques with the reliability of commercial-grade aerospace. The path to delivering low-cost aircraft systems starts with engineering services, then parts fabrication, and finally system integration supporting the launch of ASX’s all-electric eVTOL aircraft, the MOBi-One. ASX is enlisting the proven expertise of Spirit, a top supplier of structures, such as fuselages and wing components, to the world’s premier commercial and defence aircraft manufacturers.
WORLD DRONES NEWS
Bell autonomous pod transport 70 achieves first BVLOS flight
On 16 January the Bell Autonomous Pod Transport (APT) 70 flew its first Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flight path 10 miles at Choctaw Nation test site under the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program (UASIPP). The vehicle also completed an 18-mile flight with 60lbs of payload at Bell’s testing site near Fort Worth, Texas. To date, the APT 70 flight test programme has completed more than 120 flights. The programme will continue to test the vehicles’ endurance, range capabilities, and expand the mission sets.
APT 70 is part of the eVTOL family of vehicles Bell is developing and can reach speeds of more than 100mph and has a baseline payload capability of 70 lbs. Bell’s APT systems allow for flexible mission capabilities while keeping operations simple, efficient and fast; they are capable of twice the speed and range of a conventional multirotor. The vehicle is designed for rapid deployment, quick reconfiguration, and nimble battery swap and recharge. Through the NASA Systems Integration and Operationalisation (SIO) demonstration activity, Bell will use the APT 70 to demonstrate a simulated commercial mission in the national airspace system and conduct beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flight operations. The demonstration is expected to be held in mid-2020.
Bell is also in collaboration with Yamato, a Japanese third-party logistics provider, to integrate Yamato’s package handling system into APT 70 providing an exceptional customer experience for on-demand logistics services. The Bell and Yamato team conducted the demonstration showcasing their systems working together in preparation for entry into service anticipated by the early-2020s.
Drone Champion League fly’s multi-rotor manned aerobatic drone
A drone capable of carrying a person and performing aerobatics has been built and flown by Drone Champions AG as a way to promote its Drone Champions League video game. The DCL has released a video of the drone flying in Croatia. While the aircraft is designed to carry a person, but that person is not the pilot. The aircraft is intended to be flown from the ground. The so-called ‘Big Drone’ is built around an all-carbon aerodynamically faired frame with six arms supporting two coaxial rotors for a total of 12 rotors.
New Atlas reports that the video was captured by a Red Bull camera crew. A camera inside the aircraft gives a pretty good representation of the extreme manoeuvres of which the drone is capable. It performs loops, rolls and other stunts that will look pretty familiar to anyone who has ever watched an air show. However, the manned flight carrying Drone Champions founder Herbert Weirather was much more sedate. “We have developed and built the first-ever manned aerobatic drone with the vision to create a brand-new future racing experience and to recruit drone pilots through DCL – The Game,” Weirather said. “Everyone should have the opportunity to fly and DCL – The Game provides a starting point.”
France delivers Harfanf UAVs to Morocco
According to Intelligence Online, the Moroccan military received three Harfang (Heron) unmanned Israel Aerospace Industries-built UAVs on 26 January. The aircraft will most likely monitor rebels in the Western Sahara. Apparently, the UAVs were ordered in 2014 under a $48 million contract with France’s Dassault, which acted as the intermediary between France and Morocco. The Harfangs were previously used by the French military over Afghanistan, Libya, Niger and Mali, amongst others. According to Defenceworld, the package includes the three aircraft as well as ground stations, spares and support.
The Harfang UAS has been successfully operated since November 2008 by the French Air Force. For three years (2009-2012), the Harfang was deployed in Afghanistan to support the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) troops. In 2011, Harfang was also deployed at the Sigonella base in Italy as part of the Harmattan operation conducted in Libya. More recently, the Harfang UAS was used in several French operations in the Sahel region in Africa, notably since January 2013 in Operation Serval in Mali.
Weekly News from African Pilot
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Until next week, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)