For the past 17 years, I have been producing African Pilot’s weekly aviation news as a FREE service to anyone who has an interest in aviation and this has proved to be a valuable promotional tool for African Pilot’s aviation magazine. This marketing strategy has worked very well, especially within the digital space as information technology has changed over the years.
Today African Pilot is the only aviation publication in the world that has three aviation media platforms:
- Monthly printed aviation magazine
- Digital magazine that is the same as the printed version, but where advertisers have direct links to their websites – a first for an African aviation magazine.
- APAnews that fills the long gaps between the monthly magazines. Of-course there are many electronic platforms that provide up-to-date aviation news with excellent illustrations, but African Pilot is the only aviation media that provides the ‘complete solution’ for the promotion of your business.
<span “font-size:12.0pt;font-family:”arial=”” narrow”;mso-bidi-font-family:=”” “arial=”” narrow”;mso-fareast-language:en-za”=””>The cost of a single download is R16 (US$2) or R160 (US$20) for a 12 month subscription.
<span “font-size:12.0pt;font-family:”arial=”” narrow”;mso-bidi-font-family:=”” “arial=”” narrow”;mso-fareast-language:en-za”=””>If you happened to miss out on a particular article or edition, back editions will also be archived:
<span “font-size:14.0pt;font-family:”arial=”” narrow”;mso-bidi-font-family:”arial=”” narrow”;=”” mso-fareast-language:en-za”=””>www.mysubs.co.za/African-Pilot
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
In addition, the SACAA has lifted the grounding of CemAir’s Dash-8 Q400 aircraft. The aircraft is one of Bombardier’s flagship airliners offering turbo-prop short-field performance with jet-like speeds and comfort. CemAir will be operating the aircraft on selected domestic routes. CemAir’s newest addition to its fleet, the 90-seat CRJ900 is also due for imminent release into operation. As the ‘big brother’ to CemAir’s 50-seat CRJ 100/200 fleet, the CRJ900 is an impressive aircraft which is extremely popular in the North American and European markets but is the first of its variant registered in South Africa.The SACAA has committed to expediting the inspection and release back into operation of the remaining 11 grounded aircraft. “The safety and well-being of our customers, our people and our aircraft is our top priority” said Miles van der Molen, CEO of CemAir. “For this reason, we are working closely with the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) and based on the progress achieved to date we expect to return to full operations soon. I wish to thank our customers for their patience and their loyalty. I am sorry that we have let you down during this period. We are working hard to return to full capacity within the next two weeks and in the interim, where possible, chartering 3rd party aircraft to enhance capacity.”
CemAir’s safety compliance has been recognised by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which requires all of its members to pass its comprehensive and globally benchmarked biennial IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA). CemAir renewed its IOSA accreditation last September and is on the IOSA register of approved airlines. The interim schedule of operations is published on the CemAir website www.flycemair.co.za.Ticket-holders should contact CemAir central reservations department on Tel: 0861 236 247 for further information. As we are experiencing high call volumes, queries can also be emailed to any of our offices at any of the following addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Further updates will be posted on www.flycemair.co.za
With immediate effect the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has lifted the suspension of CemAir’s Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO) approval. This is subsequent to the operator’s successful completion of a five-phase certification process that included among others, document evaluation and demonstration phases. The SACAA has also noted the fact that the operator has put in place measures that seek to enable them to meet their obligations to their customers. The SACAA acknowledges CemAir’s cooperation and the SACAA will continue to guide the operator to ensure that all the commitments outlined in their corrective action plan are met.
Last week Fireblade Aviation processed its first international flights at the Fireblade terminal at OR Tambo International Airport. The seven-star facility successfully handled international tourists arriving in South Africa. This marks the culmination of years of effort following a rigorous approval process and is a significant milestone for Fireblade, the South African aviation sector and South Africa’s high-end tourism industry.
Amongst other officials, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and the South African Police Service (SAPS) were on-site at the Fireblade terminal to provide the required government clearance for the international flights. The handling of these arrivals at the Fireblade terminal is done through a sterile customs and immigration facility adjacent to the business lounge, designed by and under the strict control of government officials.
Jonathan Oppenheimer, CEO of Fireblade Aviation, commented: “We are excited to service international movements, which will complement our current domestic aircraft movements and enable Fireblade Aviation to fulfil its intended potential. We encourage all privately-owned and chartered aircraft to use the Fireblade terminal when flying to Johannesburg and South Africa.”
Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) stated: “There are several benefits to having fully operational international border control capabilities at Fireblade. Our main terminal at O.R. Tambo International will be freed up for additional capacity when commercial business aviation can use the Fireblade terminal. Runway crossings will be reduced tremendously, which will both improve safety and reduce time for departing and arriving aircraft. There is also a genuine need for the premium services offered by Fireblade at the largest airport in Africa since the lack of these facilities currently affects our reputation and brand.”
As is the case with many Fixed-based operation facility (FBO) terminals across the world, the provision of this world class service by Fireblade demonstrates that collaboration between public and private sectors can bring significant benefits to South Africa, especially within the tourism sector.
Cell: 083 653 2101 or e-mail: email@example.com Website: www.bunduflyinestate.co.za
A Boeing 737 will be transported to Fourways Mall on Tuesday‚ potentially affecting traffic on the busy route. ‘Motorists are advised of potential traffic delays’ between 05h00 and 17h00. Affected areas include Jet Park‚ Isando‚ Choolorkop‚ Midrand‚ Dainfern and Fourways. The plane is being transported for the launch of KidZania in South Africa. KidZania is a Mexican chain of indoor entertainment that comprises mini cities built within shopping malls and it will be located within Fourways Mall that is scheduled to open to the public late in 2018. The Fourways KidZania will be 8‚000m² in size and will anchor the family entertainment offering within the mall.
Contact Tel: (+971) 44312299 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
Contact Pieter Venter E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org April Ermelo Airshow
Contact Andre van Rooyen E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 417 0174
12 to 14 April SAPFA Rally Nationals and Fun Rally at Brits Airfield
Contact Frank Eckard E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083 269 1516
14 April Robertson annual Fly-in breakfast
Contact Alwyn du Plessis E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 083 270 5888
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.
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org April to 1 May NAC annual fly-away 10th edition
Contact Deneys Potgieter E-mail: email@example.com or Cell: 082 891 4354
27 to 29 April EAA National Convention Vryheid Airfield over the last weekend in April. Besides a great by the Vryheid Wings Club, you can also win a trip to the world’s greatest aviation event – Oshkosh AirVenture! By making sure you are an EAA (South Africa) member, pre-registering and attending the event, you will stand in line to win this exciting prize! The draw will take place at Vryheid at the awards dinner on the airfield. Contact Marie Reddy firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 804 703228 April Wings & Wheels Uitenhage
Contact Lourens Kruger E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 320 2615
5 May SAAF Museum Swartkops Airshow theme ‘Our Indomitable Spirit’
Contact Officer Commanding E-mail: email@example.com Tel: 012 351 2290
7 to 9 May Airport show in Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Contact Reed Exhibitions Middle East E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Frank Eckard E-mail: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
12 May Lowveld Airshow at the Nelspruit Airfield Tel: 013 741 6412
Contact Monica Fourie E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 083 619 3597
12 May Swellengrebel Flying Club 60th birthday fly-in
Contact Pieter Venter E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
17 & 18 May 8th Aviation Training and Education Summit Shanghai, China
Contact Josephine Zhu E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com May CAASA Conference to be held at Lanseria
Contact Louise Olckers Tel; 011 659 2345 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
24 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
26 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
For the quarter ended on 30 September 2017, the Group and the Company recorded profits of 11.8 million euros and 11.6 million euros respectively. For the corresponding quarter of 2016, the Group and the Company had recorded profits of 13.8 million euros and 13.6 million euros respectively. Total passengers carried during the quarter increased by 2.5% to 426,910 as compared to 416,485 passengers carried during the quarter ended on 30 September 2016. The number of seats offered increased by 5.6% and the passenger load factor decreased from 83.7% to 80.7%. The passenger yield also witnessed a drop of 4.3%. The operating revenue of the Company increased by 1.5% from 133.9 million euros to 135.9 million euros. Despite an increase in the level of operation by nearly 4%, the increase in operating expenses was contained to 0.8%. For the half year ended on September 30, 2017, the Group and the Company posted profits of 6.6 million euros and 6.3 million euros respectively. For the corresponding period last year, the Group and the Company had recorded profits of 15.9 million euros and 15.5 million euros respectively.
The number of passengers carried went up by 6.6% to reach 810,239 as compared to 759,957 during the half year ended 30 September. Seat capacity increased by 7.0% from 1,007,896 to 1,078,297, resulting in the passenger load factor marginally decreasing from 80.6% to 79.3% mainly due to an increase in capacity. In addition, cargo activities continue to show the encouraging result with an increase in tonnage of 27.5%. However, the operation of two brand new A350s, one of which was delivered in October 2017 and the second delivered in November 2017, will enhance the customer experience and boost traffic and contain the operational costs.
Paramotoring is effectively flying with a motor tied to your back and a paragliding wing above your head and is growing rapidly as a sport. After three hotly contested editions in the United States, the last won by paramotoring legend Tucker Gott, July 2018 sees the Icarus Trophy migrate across the Atlantic to take to the skies above southern Africa.Like its predecessors the race will be roughly 1000 miles long, depending on the route contestants choose, but the 2018 edition, which begins just north of Johannesburg, before heading over Botswana and Zimbabwe and finishing near Victoria Falls in Zambia, will have the added complication of pilots having to cross international borders. As compensation the route will take in some of southern Africa’s most iconic landscapes, including the Kalahari Desert, numerous mountain ranges, the Okavango Delta and salt pans and give contestants views of these environments and their wildlife like no other.
The race is split into two divisions; one for more experienced pilots racing for glory and an Adventure Division for the less seasoned racer who wants to take things at a more ‘leisurely pace’. Racing Division pilots are expected to cover the 1000-mile distance in a few days, with the record standing at a rather incredible four, whilst those in the Adventure Division will take around 10 days to fly the course. Organisers of the event, The Adventurists, said: “Probably the key part of any adventure is the adventurous bits and that means setting out into the world and fending for yourself. Anything else becomes a bit less exciting. It starts to remove all the fun bits, like ‘where the hell will I sleep?’ or ‘what do I do now I have run out of fuel?’ It starts to become a bit of a guided tour.”
All competitors must carry their own food, clothes, a way to sleep (although if you land near a hotel there’s nothing in the rules against you sleeping in luxury) and basic parts to fix their paramotors should anything go wrong. However, the organisers do track your course, provide you with an SOS tracker, should you need emergency assistance and send you specialised weather reports. There is also a ‘support truck’ which follows the competitors just in case there is a major incident. However, it will probably take a while to reach you if you land in the middle of the desert, so best pack some sandwiches.
You don’t have to have flown a paramotor before to get involved in the Icarus Trophy, at least in the Adventure Division and the organisers’ website www.icarustrophy.com details everything you need to know to get yourself off the ground and experienced enough to take part. All you really need to get going is a head for heights, a spirit for real adventure. For experienced pilots, head over to the same site to find out about how to enter the 2018 Icarus Trophy or one of the Icarus-X Series events that will be happening over various weekends in the UK, USA, Australia and the latest addition, southern Africa.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Officials from the region told state media that the wreckage of an Iranian plane that crashed with 65 people onboard was found in central Iran on Monday, 19 February 2018. Severe weather in the mountainous area has hampered search operations. The Aserman Airlines flight disappeared from radar screens on Sunday, 18 February 50 minutes into its journey from the capital, Tehran, to the southwestern city of Yasuj.
It is believed the ATR-72 went down in severe weather, crashing into the Mount Dena area, about 14 miles (22 kilometers) from its destination, in a remote area of southern Iran. State media reported the deputy governor of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province saying the wreckage was found near Dengezlu city, in Semirom county, Isfahan province. The plane was carrying 59 passengers and six crew members. Iran’s Press TV broadcast footage of a helicopter joining the search and showed ambulances and rescue vehicles preparing to reach the site on Mount Dena, which is about 14,400 feet (4,400 meters) the site being at a height of 11,500 feet (3,500 meters). The Aseman Airlines ATR-72, a twin-engine turboprop used for short-distance regional flights, was just over 24 years old.
On 20 February Airbus announced the delivery of its brand-new A350-1000, the longest-fuselage version of A350 XWB jetliner to launch customer Qatar Airways. The aircraft is the first of 37 A350-1000s ordered by Qatar. The carrier is both the largest Airbus A350 XWB family customer with 76 aircraft on order and the largest A350-1000 customer.
The A350-1000 features a high level of commonality with the shorter-fuselage A350-900 versions, as both models share 95% common system part numbers. Differences with the A350-1000 version include Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines and enhanced main landing gears with six wheels. The A350-1000’s seven-metre-longer fuselage has greater capacity, accommodating 366 passengers in standard three-class configuration. This is 40+ more seats than the A350-900. It is suited for long-haul routes, as its range is the same as the A350-900.
As of November 2017, 11 customers from five continents have ordered a total of 169 A350-1000s. Combined bookings for both the A350-1000 and A350-900 stood at 858 from 45 customers as of 31 October. The A350-900 first entered airline service in January 2015; today more than 120 of these jetliners have been delivered to operators around the world.
Last week Cirrus Aircraft announced that new customer aircraft deliveries for the company’s best-selling SR Series soared to over 350 aircraft in 2017, a recent record high. As the global SR Series fleet approaches 10 million flight hours in over 60 countries, the company has also ramped up production of its single-engine Personal Jet™, the SF50 Vision® Jet, with 25 Vision Jets currently delivered and in service around the world.
The past year marks the fourth consecutive year that Cirrus Aircraft has delivered more than 300 SR Series aircraft. Enterprise growth also propelled facilities expansion and employee growth across all Cirrus locations in Duluth, Minnesota, Grand Forks, North Dakota and Knoxville, Tennessee with nearly 300 jobs added in total over the last year. Included in the expansion is the Knoxville-based Vision Center campus, which will open the doors to its new world-class Cirrus Approach™ training center later this year. The new training center will include a Level D full-motion Vision Jet simulator for the most advanced Cirrus transition training in the world.
Cirrus Aircraft continues to transform pilot training and safety with Cirrus Approach™. As a comprehensive programme, Cirrus Approach provides ongoing training to new and experienced pilots with their lifestyle in mind through award-winning in person and online training courses. More than 12,000 pilots and owners have joined the programme and 2018 will bring further expansion and continued industry-leading initiatives.
In addition to Cirrus Approach, the company also launched Cirrus Embark™ in 2017, a unique programme designed specifically for owners of Pre-Owned Cirrus Aircraft. This revolutionary programme provides Cirrus-specific, standardised differences and transition training for a licensed pilot who purchases a pre-owned Cirrus Aircraft. Included in the programme is access to the Cirrus Approach Learning Portal, a copy of the Cirrus FOM and aircraft POH, access to the iFOM and one-on-one Cirrus Transition Training with an authorised Cirrus training provider. More than 500 new owners of pre-owned Cirrus Aircraft have already taken advantage of the programme since its launch in July 2017.
Professional flight training organisations continue to grow their fleets with the technologically advanced, industry-leading SR Series aircraft as they prepare the much sought after next generation of pilots for a career in aviation. Two of the largest global airlines, Lufthansa and Emirates, added fleets of the SR Series aircraft to their training programmes in 2017. While other world-renowned flight training academies, including Japan Civil Aviation College, Southern Utah University and Vincennes University, purchased new SR training fleets from Cirrus.In addition, the Cirrus Perception™ – the company’s sensor-capable special mission aircraft – continues to enhance law enforcement search and rescue efforts. Ideal for a broad range of law enforcement and civilian survey missions, the Minnesota State Patrol recently used its Cirrus Perception aircraft to monitor the skies during the big game in Minneapolis.
Last week in a move set to revolutionize the light attack and tactical C4ISR aircraft industry, the launch of the BRONCO II aircraft was announced by newly created Bronco Combat Systems (BCS) USA. The original Bronco was renowned for its impressive mission capabilities. The BRONCO II, which is based on the AHRLAC aircraft (Advanced High-Performance Reconnaissance Light Aircraft), is a two-crew C4ISR and precision strike aircraft, capable of carrying a wide range of weapons, sensors and systems in extended airborne mission operations. It is a unique platform that is built for purpose; uses a pusher propeller and has an open system architecture allowing for the rapid incorporation of current and emerging systems, setting a new standard for mission flexibility and adaptability.
Paramount Group International Chairman Ivor Ichikowitz said, “This aircraft is a real game-changer for the war fighter. It is unique in that it has been designed specifically as a light attack and ISR platform from the onset. This is not simply an armed variant of a civilian crop-duster or a modified training aircraft. Every inch of this aircraft is designed for purpose; specifically for the kind of asymmetrical warfare that sophisticated military forces are now being asked to conduct. These missions demand rapidly deployable, hybrid ISR and close air support capabilities for which no other platform has been specifically designed.”
AHRLAC, the platform upon which the BRONCO II is based, is already in production using the latest advanced aerospace manufacturing technologies. The fact that the aircraft is 100% digitally designed makes the ability to industrialise the BRONCO II in its totality in the United States a reality. Work has started on establishing a manufacturing base that will enable the full production of the airframe and mission systems integration in the United States.
Ichikowitz went on to say, “BRONCO II was designed with the US market in mind; it contains significant American content and we are now excited to be able to commit to bringing full production of the aircraft home to the USA.”
The BRONCO II’s internal Interchangeable Multi-Mission System Bay (IMSB) allows a single airframe to be easily and rapidly re-configured to perform multiple roles, incorporating high-performance targeting sensors, network communication systems, precision weapons, an electronic self-protection suite, and mission planning systems. The aircraft is a purpose-built, sophisticated airborne Find/Fix/Finish/Exploit/Analyze (F3EA) system able to operate for extended periods in remote theatres with minimal infrastructure and a small logistics and maintenance footprint. The BRONCO II operates at a fraction of the procurement and lifecycle cost of an aircraft with similar mission applications and capabilities.
Fulcrum Concepts LLC will lead weapons and system integration for BRONCO II. Fulcrum Concepts Co-owner and President of Engineering Solutions Scott Richman said, “BRONCO II is the ultimate solution to the F3EA capability, a truly multi-role aircraft with real-time C4ISR perfectly suited to the kind of light attack requirements we are seeing coming out of the U.S. military forces and a number of other programs in the U.S. market. We are excited by the opportunity to be one of the lead partners in bringing this innovative capability to the United States.”
Dr Paul Potgieter, the CEO of the Aerospace Development Corporation which designed the aircraft, stated: “This aircraft is a completely clean-sheet, next-generation design, using the latest CATIA and digital design systems specifically for digital production. Even the factory in which this aircraft is currently being produced embraces the innovative principles of the Fourth Industrial Revolution by emphasizing the use of rapid digital prototyping, laser additive and 3D printing and a jig-less manufacturing approach.”
Bronco Combat Systems has been established as a US based entity which will bring the aircraft to the US end user. The founding partners are Paramount Group USA, Fulcrum Concepts LLC, and ADC, who designed the AHRLAC platform. Bronco Combat Systems are actively engaging with other domestic US partners to scale the entity in both capability and reach. Further information relating to the BRONCO II and the Bronco Combat Systems team will be released in the coming weeks. www.broncocombatsystem.com
Textron Aviation has now confirmed that it has discontinued the TTx, the often renamed high-performance single it acquired 10 years ago. The company removed the sporty and well-equipped aircraft from the product line on its website a week ago and confirmed the end of the programme. “At Textron Aviation, we continuously monitor the market as it fluctuates and adjust our product offerings accordingly,” the company said in a statement. “Our strategy continues to focus on bringing new products to market and aligning business priorities with market demand. We remain dedicated to offering a modern product portfolio, ensuring our customers have access to the latest technology and supporting our existing customer base across all platforms.”
Cessna acquired the Columbia 400 programme from Columbia Aircraft in 2007 as a foil for the rapidly expanding Cirrus Design. It renamed the aircraft the Cessna 400 and continued to build the aircraft in Bend, Oregon. In 2009, it closed the Bend plant but named the aircraft the Corvalis, after the neighbouring town of Corvallis. The aircraft remained in limited production at Cessna’s Independence, Kansas, factory, but sales of the well-reviewed model have been weak. It sold 23 TTx models in 2017.
Announcements of specific aircraft and programming during EAA AirVenture 2018 will be made as they are finalised.
The US Air Force (USAF) is welcoming back its second female F-35 joint strike fighter pilot. A certain weight restriction introduced due to safety concerns prevented pilots from flying the jet for several years. With new modifications on the aircraft, the restrictions have been lifted and USAF’s second female pilot is now cleared to fly the jet. In October 2015, the managers of the F-35 programme restricted pilots under 136 lbs. from flying after discovering problems with the design of the Martin Baker US16E pilot escape system and the weight of the F-35 helmet. The flaws posed ‘an unacceptable risk of neck injury during parachute deployment / opening for lighter-weight pilots at low-speed conditions.
The USAF and F-35 contractors have now fixed the issue by integrating new modifications into the aircraft; a lightweight switch to delay the deployment of the main parachute and a head support panel between the parachute risers to protect the pilot’s head during parachute opening. So far, it is reported that eight aircraft at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona have been upgraded with a new ejection seat designed to accommodate lightweight aircrew. As a result, pilots weighing 103-245 lbs. are now cleared to fly the jet, allowing the unnamed female to begin training.
In fact, the weight restriction was already officially lifted in March 2017, but was delayed due to difficulties incorporating the modified equipment into the fighter’s fleet management system. Popular Mechanics writes that it will take until 2019 to complete the fixes on the 200 early versions of the F-35 currently flying worldwide. The new aircraft ordered in 2017 will have the safety modifications already installed into the jets.
The first female F-35 pilot, Lt. Col. Christine Mau, a former F-15E Strike Eagle pilot and deputy commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing Operations Group, began training on the F-35 in May 2015, at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, but has recently retired from the USAF. Back then, the event signified several milestones; it was the first woman to fly an F-35 anywhere in the world, demonstrating the increasing integration of female combat pilots into flight operations.
In November 2017, the Israel Air Force (IAF) reached a similar milestone by appointing a female fighter jet pilot as deputy commander of a combat squadron. The unnamed officer, an F-15 navigator, is to serve in the Spearhead Squadron, which flies F-15 fighter jets out of Tel Nof Airbase in central Israel, The Jerusalem Post reported at the time. This makes her the highest-ranking woman in the IAF so far.
For your added reading enjoyment, every week I will include an aviation story that may appear to be ridiculous, but sadly these things happen.
Last week, the captain of a Transavia flight found it necessary to declare an emergency and land his airplane when a fight broke out in the main cabin because one of the passengers refused to stop passing gas. According to Fox News, the flight was en route from Dubai to Amsterdam Schiphol. It was reported that the passenger was asked to stop his emissions by two Dutch passengers, but he either could not or refused. Apparently, the airline crew was not particularly helpful in the matter, which led to a fight in the cabin. The captain warned the passengers that he would land the plane, but the fight continued. So, like a dad with fighting kids in the car, he declared an emergency and landed the plane at Vienna Airport.
After the plane landed, police arrested two men and two women whom the captain described as ‘passengers on a rampage’. However, the two women, sisters who were removed from the flight, are suing the airline saying they were not involved in the fight. 25-year-old law student Nora Lacchab, one of the women removed from the flight, said that they had no idea who the men in the fight were. “We just had the bad luck to be in the same row and we didn’t do anything,” Lacchab said to the De Telegraph Newspaper. “All I will say is that the crew were really provocative and stirred things up.”
None of the four passengers removed from the flight were charged with a crime, but they have been banned from flying Transavia in the future.
The bank manager and its staff all enjoy a good laugh at the blonde for using a R5 million Rolls Royce as collateral against a R10,000 loan. An employee of the bank then proceeds to drive the vehicle into the bank’s underground garage for safe storage. Two weeks later, the blonde returns, repays the R10K and the interest, which comes to R141.66.
The bank manager says, “Miss, we are very happy to have had your business and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out and found that you are a multimillionaire. What puzzles us is, why would you bother to borrow R10,000?’
The blond replies: “When I am away on an overseas trip, where else in Johannesburg can I park my car safely for two weeks for only R141.66 and expect it to be there when I return?”
Finally, a gifted blonde!
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’.