“Once a word has been allowed to escape, it cannot be recalled”
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 national distribution phase well before the end of the month. The digital edition was 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 week 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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SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Comair navigates strong headwinds
On Wednesday 26 February Comair Limited reported a headline loss of R564 million in its interim results for the six months ending on 31 December 2019. The full report on Comair’s statement will be published within the April 2020 edition of African Pilot. R450 million of that loss is attributable to the increase in the IFRS 9 loss allowance on the SAA damages claim. Comair Group CEO Wrenelle Stander said, “Comair Limited is facing strong headwinds as a result of its fleet renewal programme, the transition of its fleet from South African Airways Technical (SAAT) to Lufthansa Technik Maintenance International (LTMI), the impairment of the SAA claim as well as the extended grounding of the 737 MAX 8. “We have taken decisive steps to implement far reaching cost-cutting measures and to increase revenue through improved ﬂeet availability and aircraft utilisation. In addition, negotiations with Boeing are underway to mitigate the impact of the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 and to pursue the full outstanding settlement amount owed by SAA, notwithstanding the provision made by Comair for the full amount. We are also divesting from non-performing investments.” A more comprehensive report will be published within the April 2020 edition of African Pilot.
US Transport Security official says security at SA’s main airports is excellent
The official from the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says South Africa’s main airports, OR Tambo International in Johannesburg and Cape Town International, have security that is as good as those rated the most secure abroad. Chris Hadinger, who is the TSA’s representative in southern Africa and works out of Johannesburg, says security at major South African airports is ‘stellar’. As points of departure for direct flights to the US, the international airports in Johannesburg are his focus, but he also has praise for security at SA’s regional airports.
The TSA is in the process of selecting countries that it will recognise as having security that it considers to be of the same standard maintained at US airports. SA along with a number of Western European and Asian countries are on this TSA list, which is in the process of being drawn up. In SA, Hadinger, who has been in the country for three years, works with the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) and the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA), on aviation security. While the immediate concern of the TSA is the security around direct flights to the US, Hadinger says his agency regularly exchanges information with South Africa on a range of airline security issues. Despite a distant political relationship between the US and SA, Hadinger says there is close cooperation between the two countries on airline security matters.
SAAF Oryx helicopter sea rescue
On Thursday this past week an Oryx helicopter based at 22 Squadron AFB Ysterplaat-based formed part of a multi-agency search and rescue operation in Western Cape. The helicopter together with the National Sea Rescue, SA Police Service sea borderline patrol craft, law enforcement marine unit craft and the EMS/AMS Skymed rescue helicopter searched for 13 men believed lost when a rigid hull inflatable sank off Mouille Point. The Oryx helicopter located two men floating off Bakoven. A rescue swimmer was deployed from the helicopter and secured one man. A sea rescue craft secured the second man who was taken aboard a sea rescue craft. Both men, suffering hypothermia, were recovered into the helicopter using a basket hoist and airlifted to hospital where they are recovering. According to information received on Friday the search was continuing with a police dive unit involved. Assistance and co-ordination of the operation is coming from MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre), TNPA (Transnet National Ports Authority), NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) and NSRI shore controllers with Telkom Maritime Radio Services helping with VHF marine radio communications.
What is scheduled for the next few months?
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.
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.
EAA Talk Show Karl Jensen to be interviewed by Scully Levin
Bookings accessed at http://eaa.org/events-coming-up
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
29 to 30 June
Airforce Africa Forum Senegal
Contact +971 4 456 78 00 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
African Pilot’s 2020 calendar
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
Taiwan donates two Bell UH-1H helicopters to eSwatini (Swaziland)
According to Jane’s Defence Weekly, on 21 February the two aircraft were formally handed over to the Umbutfo eSwatini Defence Force (UEDF) Air Wing by Vice Minister of National Defence Chang Guan Chung. The helicopters were received by His Majesty King Mswati III at the Lozitha Royal Palace. Five UEDF Air Wing pilots and five ground technicians have been trained by Taiwan to operate the used helicopters. The eSwatini Observer reported one of the pilots as saying the helicopters are bigger and better than the aircraft used at present and will be used for disaster relief and medical evacuation.
King Mswati III said eSwatini was strengthening its defence force so that it can contribute to the United Nations and Southern African Development Community. eSwatini plans to upgrade its Air Wing to an Air Force, with Taiwan assisting with the training of personnel. Taiwan decommissioned its final six UH-1H helicopters in October 2019, with the aircraft replaced by UH-60M Black Hawks. Taiwan’s Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) produced 118 UH-1Hs under license for the country’s military from 1970.
Russian fighter deal for Algeria worth US$1.8 billion
Algeria’s chief of staff of the Air Force, Major General Hamid Boumaiza, signed for the supply of 14 Mikoyan MiG-29M/M2 and 16 Sukhoi Su-30MKA fighters at the 2019 MAKS Moscow Aerospace Exhibition. The MiG-29M/M2s will replace the survivors of about 56 first generation MiG-29s purchased from Belarus, Russia and the Ukraine from 1999-2005. These aircraft originally equipped four squadrons. An earlier attempt to replace the first-generation MiG-29 failed when Algeria rejected a batch of 34 MiG-29SMTs after 15 had been received because they were based on old used airframes rather than new-build aircraft, as stipulated in the contract. The rejected airframes were then placed into Russian service.
The MiG-29M (and two seat MiG-29M2) is an improved version of the MiG-29, with a lighter airframe, improved RD-33MK engines, increased internal fuel, an in-flight refuelling probe, as well as improved avionics and a full glass cockpit. It has a new infrared search-and-track (IRST) system with TV and laser channels, integrated with a new helmet-mounted target designation system. Forty-six have been supplied to Egypt.
The Su-30MKA is a variant of the tandem-seat, multi-role, two-seat Su-30MK, manufactured by Moscow’s JSC Irkut Corporation. There are two families of Su-30, manufactured by competing factories within the United Aircraft Corporation, which also owns the Sukhoi Design Bureau: the JSC Irkut Corporation Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Plant (KnAAPO) and the Irkut Corporation. The Irkut-built Su-30s include the Su-30MKI, Su-30MKM and Su-30SM for India, Malaysia and Russia respectively, as well as Algeria’s Su-30MKA. These aircraft feature canard foreplans, Lyulka-Saturn AL-31FP turbofan engines with thrust-vectoring nozzles and a long-range NIIP N011M Bars passive electronically scanned array (PESA) radar, capable of tracking multiple airborne targets and targeting four simultaneously.
Algeria’s Su-30MKAs were ordered in batches from 2006. The first batch of 28 were delivered between December 2007 and November 2009, with pairs of aircraft being transported to Algeria on board Antonov An-124 cargo aircraft. They were assembled in the country by specialists from Irkut (IAZ) and then flown by Russian test pilots. Algerian pilots were trained at Zhukhovskii, near Moscow (where two of the Algerian Su-30MKIs were temporarily based). Test and evaluation trials began at Oum El-Bouaki Airfield in November 2008, when the first 12 aircraft had been delivered to Algeria. From 2009, the aircraft began to re-equip the 12e Escadre de Defense Aerienne (12th Air Defence Wing), which eventually had single Su-30MKA squadrons at Aïn Beida, Ouargla, Tamanrasset and Reggan. The first four aircraft were delivered in a two-tone camouflage scheme and may have been designated Su-30MKA(R) or Su-30MKR, perhaps indicating a reconnaissance and electronic warfare commitment. A further batch of 16 Su-30MKA was agreed in April 2010, these aircraft being supplied in place of 34 Mi-29SMTs, which Algeria was unhappy with and refused to accept. This took the Algerian Su-30MKA force to 44 aircraft.
WORLDWIDE ACCIDENTS AND INCIDENTS
SACAA’s ZS-CAR Cessna Citation accident - preliminary report
After reading the preliminary report AIID Ref No: CA18/2/3/9855 on the SACAA’s Cessna Citation tragic accident near George in the Western Cape, my immediate assessment was that this was a well-prepared 35-page interim report that was compiled in a very short time – one month. My next comment is that if the SACAA can do this for its own accident, why cannot the same attention be applied to all accidents?
What we can clearly take-away from this report, is that the crew flew from Visual Flight Rules (VFR) into Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) and subsequently lost control of the jet. Of course, the first question to be asked is: “why was the crew conducting calibration flights in known IMC when George airport is located very close to a significant mountain range?” The crew was performing a specialist task and therefore the second question to be asked is: “did the operator ensure that the crew was adequately trained for this specialist task over and above the regular proficiency training requirements?”
The aircraft was fitted with a Flight Data Recorder (FDR), which was downloaded in France under the supervision of an RSA IIC. According to available preliminary graph FDR results, as the aircraft levelled off at 3 900 feet (QNH 1018), a rapid descent occurred and the aircraft lost 1 500 feet in approximately nine seconds. Three seconds prior to impact, the aircraft’s nose pitched up and the aircraft impacted a relatively flat section of the mountainous terrain at 2 192 feet.
Of course, we will have to wait for the final accident report to fully understand this tragedy, but the above information certainly paints a very clear picture of why this accident happened. My feeling is that had the crew been flying the Citation ZS CAR in good weather, this tragic loss of three lives would not have happened. A substantially more detailed analysis of this tragic accident taken from the preliminary report and which I discussed with several Designated Flight Examiners (DFEs) will be published in the April edition of African Pilot.
Reply from the SACAA
The South African Civil Aviation Authority has noted the release of the Preliminary Report on the Flight Inspection Unit aircraft accident. The Report serves as the initial step towards providing the much-need clarity on what might have led to the accident on that fateful day, the 23 January 2020. Although the report is not final, the SACAA duly notes its contents and will continue to provide the necessary co-operation and space needed by the investigation team to conduct a thorough probe and to issue a final accident investigation report.
Glider tow plane down in Hawaii
On Saturday 22 February a glider tow plane went crashed after taking off from Dillingham Airfield on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii resulting in the fatal injury of the two people on board the aircraft. According to Hawaii News Now, the aircraft was owned by Honolulu Soaring. FAA records indicate that the aircraft was a Cessna Ector, also known as an O-1 Bird Dog manufactured in 1979. The airplane did not have a glider in tow at the time of the accident. Scott Blackley, the owner and manager of North Shore Aviation Services, said that the aircraft was engaged in a training flight. Blackley said that the pilot doing the checkout was ‘highly experienced in that type of aircraft.’ The names of the persons on board have not been released, though one was described as a man in his 60s, whilst the other was a 78-year-old man.
A witness to the accident said he heard the engine ‘sputter’ before it went down. The witness, who was not identified, added the plane ‘just took a dive. No smoke or anything like that.’ The State Department of Transportation closed the airport indefinitely. Some, including US Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) have called for longer or permanent closure of the airport. The state recently announced that it would be ending its lease for the airfield later this year, returning the property to the US Army.
Flat earther ‘Mad Mike’ killed in homemade rocket crash
On Saturday 22 February Michael ‘Mad Mike’ Hughes was killed in the crash of his homemade steam-powered rocket in California. It was the second launch for Hughes in his mission to prove the Earth is flat by eventually taking photos of the lack of curvature of the planet from space. Hughes (64), launched from the desert northeast of Los Angeles and the flight lasted about 20 seconds when the rocket crashed nose first at high speed. As the rocket launched, the recovery parachute separated from the rocket. The craft arced to the right before reaching about 1,000 feet and then plummeted to the ground. The Science Channel was covering the launch as part of its series Homemade Astronauts. Medical personnel were on hand for the launch and reached the crash site immediately but there was no chance of survival.
Steal a Beaver?
When some guy went on a demolition derby with a 70-year-old Beaver floatplane in Vancouver Harbour last week, it raised inevitable questions about the security of the seaplane terminal and the security of aircraft in general. News anchors were in full furrow about the fact that someone could just waltz into the terminal and take a joyride in a commercial airliner. Did you know you don’t even need keys to get them started? The Vancouver incident is different in that it was clearly a deliberate act and could not have been carried out without the culprit knowing exactly what he was doing. The biggest security feature most aircraft have is that it normally takes at least some knowledge or skill to get them going. Those who have that skill also have a pretty good appreciation for the consequences of accomplishing the De Havilland Beaver joyride. The airlines involved and the police aren’t saying anything and that tells me they probably know a lot about who is behind this and I suspect an arrest is imminent.
Spanish Air Force C-101 Aviojet trainer crashes into the sea
During a training formation flight on 27 February 2020 an A C-101 Aviojet training aircraft belonging to the Patrulla Águila, the aerobatic team of the Spanish air force, crashed into the Mediterranean, near Murcia. The pilot did not survive. That crash is uncannily similar to another one that took place less than six months ago. On 26 August 2019, another member of the Patrulla Águila died while he was flying the same type of aircraft, in an accident that occurred under almost identical circumstances. Coincidentally, it appears that the commander that was killed in the second crash had been appointed to replace the one that died in the first as the #5, the soloist of Patrulla Águila. The aerobatic patrol is based in San Javier, in the region of Murcia, along with the Academia General del Aire, the Spanish Air Force officers’ school. Pilots of the Patrulla Águila act there as instructors.
The C-101 Aviojet is a low-wing single-engine advanced trainer conceived by the Spanish manufacturer Construcciones Aeronáuticas Sociedad Anónima. It entered service in Spain in 1980 and is operated by four air forces around the world. In June 2019, the Spanish government announced that €225 million would be allocated to find a replacement. No aircraft has yet been officially chosen, but according to the local press, the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II and the Pilatus PC-21 are being considered.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Mapping the impact of the coronavirus to the aviation industry
As the coronavirus COVID-19 is yet to reach the peak, airlines around the world have been forced to cancel their flights to mainland China and other countries, including Iran and Italy. Carriers, forced to adjust their flight schedules, have also adjusted their financial outlooks: while some have lowered their full-year earnings predictions, others were more direct when reporting their earnings. Whatever the case might be, the virus outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China, has affected airlines all around the world. Due to obvious reasons, airlines in the Asia-Pacific are currently feeling the most pain. However, as the industry is more connected to China than ever, carriers in all parts of the world have assessed the impact of COVID-19.
South Africa will evacuate its citizens from Wuhan
After significant deliberations, the South African government has decided to evacuate South Africans from Wuhan in China, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak. The evacuation and subsequent quarantine is estimated to cost the country R80-million. The Mail & Guardian understands from sources close to the discussions that the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security cluster, has agreed to repatriate citizens from Wuhan in Hubei province, where Covid-19 broke out in January. According to the department of international relations and co-operation, there are 199 South Africans in Wuhan, of which 132 have asked to be evacuated, whilst 13 have chosen not to leave. A further 54 people are yet to be traced. The decision follows an inter-ministerial sub-committee, offering two options; leave or stay for South Africans in China, where Covid-19 has claimed more than 2 500 lives. The M&G has also reported that the International relations department had requested the South African National Defence Force to assist it with the evacuation. Defence force officials visited Thaba Nchu and the Tempe Military base near Bloemfontein to assess its suitability for purposes of quarantine and screening people for Covid-19.
What is a coronavirus?
According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), there are many different kinds of coronaviruses. Some affect birds and mammals, including humans. In people it is usually associated with upper respiratory tract illnesses such as the common cold. But sometimes the viruses jump from animals to humans. Severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS was thought to have come from civets and about 800 people died. The current outbreak of Covid-19 is spreading far more rapidly than SARS and killing many more people. The name corona refers to the crown-like sugary protein ‘spikes’ projecting above the surface when viewed under an electron microscope.
Covid-19: A few facts
On 9 January, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that a new coronavirus had been identified in China, associated with dozens of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan, Hubei province. The coronavirus disease is named Covid-19 and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the name of the new virus. Initially a majority of those affected were dealers and vendors at a seafood, poultry and a live wildlife market in the Jianghan District of Wuhan city in Hubei Province. The source of the virus is not known yet, although it is rumoured to have come from an infected wild animal, probably a pangolin.
Kerrigan McCarthy, of the NICD, said: “The virus starts with common cold or fever, sore throat, shortness of breath among other early symptoms. With early detection and proper treatment, the majority of people recover from the virus. It is very similar to the common cold and literature written about the virus suggests that it has a high mortality rate.”
Is South Africa prepared?
South Africa has undertaken readiness measures to ensure detection, referral and management of cases. The department of international relations and co-operation has said that it has introduced screening and testing at all international airports for people who have travelled outside the country. To date, there have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus in South Africa, but it has been reported that surveillance has been actively placed into certain places to detect should any case occur. The NICD advises that people who develop symptoms of respiratory illness within 14 days of travel to countries where Covid-19 is known to be circulating should seek medical care immediately. To date South Africa has trained more than 1 500 healthcare professionals on the Covid-19 virus.
Latest statistics about Covid-19 dated reported up until Saturday 29 February 2020
According to the WHO, some 82 000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 2 800 have died. More than 40 people have died outside of mainland China. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, 3387 medical practitioners in China (90% of them residents of the country) contracted the virus. Dr Li Wenliang was one of the first to raise the alarm about the virus died on 7 February after succumbing to the disease. The first case of Covid-19 in Africa was reported in Egypt and the second in Algeria.
What about the African continent?
The first case of the coronavirus in Africa has been confirmed in Nigeria. The patient is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria who flew into Lagos from Milan on 25 February.
According to South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), two South Africans on board the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship outside Toyoko have tested positive for the coronavirus. “We confirm that these citizens are currently being treated in Japan and are in good care,” said a statement by the. “The two are being treated in Japan and the latest reports indicate that they are currently asymptomatic,” the statement said.
Kenya’s High Court has ordered flights from China temporarily suspended, following a petition by the Law Society of Kenya. “I find that unless conservatory orders sought are granted Kenyans will continue to be exposed to the deadly disease coronavirus,” Judge James Makau said.
How does the virus spread?
The virus is spread from person to person through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, but in most people the illness is mild. The WHO advises that you wash your hands with soap, avoid touching your eyes and nose, keep a distance from people coughing and sneezing, sneeze into a handkerchief or tissue, if you feel mildly ill – stay at home, but if you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, get medical help as soon as possible. In most cases people who have been infected have been in close contact with people who have Covid-19, including health workers.
What changes are coming to Qatar Airways fleet?
Of the three large Gulf Carriers, Qatar Airways operates the most diverse fleet of all. While Emirates fleet is made of just two types, famously the Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s and Etihad Airways has five different types, Qatar Airways flies a whopping eight different aircraft families and that is not including freighters and different models of the same aircraft family.
Qatar Airways current fleet is currently large, young and mixed. The Gulf carrier has 207 passenger aircraft, with an average age of approximately six years. It operates a wide array of Airbus aircraft (six families ranging from the smallest A320 (A319) all the way to A380 superjumbos) and just two types of Boeing jets (namely, the Triple Sevens and Dreamliners). But when it comes to the number of actual aircraft, Qatar’s fleet reflects no clear preference for either plane manufacturer: the dominant aircraft types are Boeing 777 and Airbus A350 XWB. However, in the near future the situation is going to change. The airline is moving towards a simplified fleet and is planning to operate only four aircraft families for passenger service instead of the current eight.
Group chief executive Akbar al-Baker revealed in May 2019, “From 2024, our fleet will consist of Boeing 777s and 787s and Airbus A350s and A321s.” This means that Qatar Airways is planning to wave good-bye to its two A319s (already over 15 years old), 31 A320-200s (average age less than 10 years old) and 24 A330s (average age 11 years). The Airbus wide bodies are expected to leave the fleet by 2022 and to be replaced by A350XWBs and 787s.
Qatar Airways’ A380s are also already approaching the mid-life service, as the airline plans to retire them once they reach 10 years. “For the A380s, on the 10th anniversary, we will retire them,” as al-Baker told the Aviation Analyst in February 2019. The average age of the superjumbos is currently just under five years, meaning that they are likely to leave the fleet around 2025. What will step into the A380’s place is the new Boeing 777X that will enter the market in 2021. In addition, the airline also has a voluminous order for 50 Airbus A321neos; the version it does not yet currently fly.
Qatar Airways is also due to expand its A350XWB and Boeing Dreamliner fleets. Having already received all 34 of its A350-900s from Airbus (and added five more aircraft on lease), the Gulf carrier is still awaiting deliveries for two-thirds of its A350-1000 order, Airbus order book shows. Whilst the Gulf carrier already flies the Boeing 787-8s, the slightly larger Dreamliner version, the 787-9, is also going to be a novelty in the fleet. Since December 2019, the operator has already received seven 787-9s, but the aircraft are not yet introduced to service. The planes are going to feature Qsuites (Qatar Airways business class suites), but there reportedly are issues with getting the Qsuites installed.
FAA proposes new AD for 737 MAX airplanes
The proposed AD was prompted by a report that certain exterior fairing panels on the top of the engine nacelle and strut (the thumbnail fairing and mid strut fairing panels) may not have the quality of electrical bonding necessary to ensure adequate shielding of the underlying wiring from the electromagnetic effects of lightning strikes or high intensity radiated fields (HIRF), which could potentially lead to a dual engine power loss event from a critical lightning or HIRF exposure event.
This proposed AD would require a detailed inspection of the thumbnail fairing panels and mid strut fairing panels for excessive rework of the metallic (aluminium foil) inner surface layer, replacement of any excessively reworked panels and modification of the thumbnail fairing assembly to ensure adequate bonding. The FAA is proposing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products. The FAA has received a report from Boeing indicating that exterior fairing panels on the top of the engine nacelle and strut (the thumbnail fairing and mid strut fairing panels) may not have the quality of electrical bonding necessary to ensure adequate shielding of the underlying wiring from the electromagnetic effects of lightning strikes or HIRF. Excessive rework of the surface of the metallic (aluminium foil) inner layer of those panels can result in cuts to that layer. This metallic layer functions as part of the shielding for aircraft wiring, including wiring associated with the engine control systems. Cuts to the metallic layer, depending on their size and location, could create the potential for HIRF exposure or lightning attachment to induce spurious signals onto the underlying airplane wiring, including wiring associated with the engine control systems.
Such spurious signals could cause a loss of engine thrust control. This loss of thrust control could simultaneously affect both engines in two different ways. The wiring for both engines could be independently exposed to the electromagnetic effects from the same HIRF or lightning event, or the signals induced on one engine’s control system could be induced onto the other engine’s wiring via common avionics system connections. This condition, if not addressed, could result in a forced off-airport landing or excessive flight crew workload due to loss of thrust control on both engines.
The FAA estimates that this proposed AD affects 128 airplanes of US registry and estimates the following costs to comply with this proposed AD: Inspection: five work-hours X $85 per hour = $425 per airplane. The comment period will be announced when the AD is posted to the Federal Register.
Pilot survey reveals high levels of stress and job insecurity
Many airline pilots feel stressed and undervalued by management and, despite record demand for flight crew globally, worried about job security and automation making their role redundant. Those are among the findings of a landmark survey by pilot and aviation recruiter GOOSE Recruitment and aviation publisher FlightGlobal, which polled more than 1,300 working pilots worldwide on attitudes to their work.
Despite a perception that a cockpit career is glamorous, well-rewarded and a job for life, the survey reveals that pilots often feel anxious and insecure. Findings include:
• 40% of pilots feel ‘most stressed’ in their dealings with management, with rotations (the number of airport turnarounds they must carry out in a day) the second biggest contributor to stress
• 59% feel their employer does not care about their wellbeing
• More than half of pilots have worried about losing their job in the past two years
• 29% of pilots do not plan to fly to retirement age
• 43% would not recommend a career as a pilot to young people
• 40% of pilots are concerned that autonomous technology will make the role of the pilot redundant.
Among other findings, pilots rate work-life balance as the highest priority when choosing a flying job, ahead of salary, company culture, training and career development. Interestingly, the list is almost reversed for pilots at the start of their career, who give company culture the highest rating, with work-life balance the least important. The survey also reveals that Lufthansa, Air France and Virgin Atlantic are the three airlines pilots would most want to work for.
“These results show that, despite the appeal of a career as an airline pilot and demand for their services being higher than ever, airlines have significant challenges to address when it comes to the job satisfaction and wellbeing of their most important employees,” says Mark Charman, CEO and Founder of GOOSE Recruitment. “While our survey does highlight many positive aspects of being a pilot, employers cannot ignore their responsibilities when it comes to issues like stress and mental wellbeing. We hope that these insights will help airlines adapt some of their human resources policies,” said Sophie Wild, Director of Content Partnerships and Recruitment at FlightGlobal.
Man arrested for targeting police aircraft with laser
Last week a California Highway Patrol aircraft was targeted by a person with a blue laser, leading to the arrest of the man wielding the device. It was reported that 33-year-old Christopher Larsen was arrested in possession of a ‘laser device’ in connection with the incident. According to the CHP, the agency’s Air-31 aircraft was en route to Napa County Airport (KAPC) when a blinding blue light entered the cockpit. A CHP official said that the suspect “pointed the laser directly at our aircraft striking our pilot in the eye. The pilot was able to maintain control of the aircraft due to the auto pilot being engaged. The Flight Officer directed the camera towards the direction of the strike as the suspect (continued) to strike the CHP aircraft.” The suspect was identified by Solano Sheriff’s officials who placed him under arrest. He was booked into the Solano County Jail on two counts of interfering with CHP air operations.
Jazz pilot blinded by laser beam before landing in Ottawa
A pilot of the Canadian airline Jazz received injuries to his eyes from a laser beam as he was on approach to Ottawa. The plane, a De Havilland Dash 8-300 registered C-GEWQ, was carrying out domestic flight QK8013 from Montreal Airport (YUL) to Ottawa International Airport (YOW), Canada. As the flight was 25 kilometres (14 nautical miles) from reaching its destination airport, a green laser beam aimed at the cockpit struck the first officer in the eyes. The captain immediately reported the incident to an air traffic controller and requested medical assistance upon landing. The aircraft landed normally and the first officer was met with paramedics that took him to a hospital. When struck by a laser, pilots are required to have an ophthalmology evaluation.
Since June 2018, Transport Canada took security measures to prevent laser strikes from distracting, temporarily blinding or even damaging the eyes of the pilot. “The security measure prohibits the possession of a portable battery-powered laser of more than one milliwatt (mW) in all public places within the municipal limits of the major agglomerations of Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver and within 10 kilometres of certified airports and helipads, unless these lasers have a legitimate purpose, including work or education,” stated the authority.
WORLD DRONES NEWS
US Air Force budget ends MQ-9 Reaper programme
Air Force Magazine reports that the US Air Force revealed in its FY2021 that it will buy its last 24 Reapers this year, which cuts the total acquisition of the aircraft to 337 units. The final Block 5 drones will be delivered in 2023 and 2024. According to the report, the USAF believes that the MQ-9 can no longer be effective against new air defences and aircraft developed by countries like Russia and China. The USAF now plans to spend $302.5 million between 2021 and 2023 to wind down production.
Growing threat at high altitude: innovation to fight drones
Over the past ten years, the growing availability of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), commonly known as drones, has been a blessing for video enthusiasts and other tech addicts. But it also created a headache for safety authorities. To respond to this flourishing market, countermeasures are being developed in parallel and represent a full-fledged business today.
Very early after their appearance on the market, drones invited themselves on the battlefield. In 2014, the Islamic state was already using versions (Phantom 3 or 4) for reconnaissance. Then came the suicide drones, fitted with makeshift grenades. Conventional armies are also increasingly relying on them. If the United States used to have a quasi-monopoly on offensive UAVs at the beginning of the 21st century, countries such as China, Russia and even Iran are constantly trying to fill the gap.
In 2019, a wave of Iranian-made Qasef drones operated by the Houthi rebels took Saudi Arabia by surprise. Despite the presence of modern anti-aircraft missile systems such as the Patriot, the refineries of Abqaiq and Khurais, eastern Saudi Arabia, were heavily damaged, placing half of the country’s oil production to a halt.
Even in times of peace, UAVs can constitute a threat. In January 2019, drones caused a panic at London Gatwick Airport (LGW), United Kingdom, in the days preceding Christmas. The airport was closed for three days, creating a financial loss of several millions of pounds (but this drone threat was never proved). The following months, less successful drone incidents also disturbed traffic at Changi Airport (SIN) in Singapore and at London Heathrow (LHR). To raise awareness of this danger and the lack of readiness, Greenpeace activists intentionally crashed several drones against French nuclear plants.
In a similar fashion to the airports that have decided to rely on falconry to prevent bird strikes, Fortem Technologies has decided to fight fire with fire. The US-based company offers several solutions to secure sites at risk from drone threats. A centralised system called SkyDome relies on an array of sensors, cameras and radars to monitor the surroundings and identify potential threats. The integrated artificial intelligence is capable of differentiating a bird from a drone and to judge if the latter poses a threat or not. Once the threat is identified, SkyDome sends the HunterDrone capable to intercept the culprit and to fish it out of the air using a projectable net.
The Israeli company Rafael also offers a centralised system, but with a different solution. Named DroneDome (in reference to the Iron Dome that defends Israel from missile threats) it relies either on a precise jammer, or on a powerful laser. It was this system that put an end to Gatwick’s mayhem. It was also used in 2018 to secure the G20 Buenos Aires summit.
Man-portable solutions also exist. During the last national day in France, the military presented to the officials two anti-drone rifles (the Nerod F5 by the French-based MC2-Technologies and the DroneGun Tactical by the Australian company DroneShield). The purpose of those Star-Wars-like devices is not to destroy the enemy drones as one could expect, but to jam their signals.
Weekly News from African Pilot
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Until next week, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)