“Don’t take the wrong side of an argument, just because your opponent has taken the right side” Baltasar Gracian
African Pilot’s March 2019 edition
The distribution of African Pilot’s March edition has been completed. This edition features business at Rand Airport, Business Jets, Supersonic Business Jets as well as the famous DH Mosquito. I would like to thank all those businesses that supported this magnificent edition with an incredible cover picture by Gavin Conroy from New Zealand.
African Pilot’s April 2019 edition
The April edition will feature business at Wonderboom National Airport and Turboprop Aircraft types. For this reason, I have worked over several days at Wonderboom National Airport this past week that included a wonderful helicopter flight with Martin Jacobs owner of Powered Flight to capture superb images and video material of ALL the businesses at Wonderboom Airport. This week we will also be spending considerable time at Wonderboom Airport paying personal visits to the many successful aviation companies based at this airport to take new pictures and understand the requirements of these businesses first hand.
With the launch of APAdigital, I have been filming extensive video footage at the airports in order to produce a video that illustrates the regional airport experience. The closing date for the April edition will be on Wednesday 6 March 2019.
For advertising positions please contact Lara Bayliss at Tel: 0861 001130 Cell: 079 880 4359 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
What is developing at African Pilot?
Now you can download your favourite aviation magazine online
We have re-designed the option for the electronic version of African Pilot to be uploaded via our website. The cost of a single download is R16 (US$2) or R160 (US$20) for a 12-month subscription. In addition, we have created several other options. If you happened to miss out on a particular article or edition, back editions are available.
Do you want instant aviation news and opinions?
Do you want instant aviation news and opinions?
Visit APAcom and register yourself as a user
This is easy, just visit www.apacom.co.za and register on the APAcom portal
Video of the week: Jetson’s Speeder, Racing VTOL?
Poznan, Poland-based Jetson Aero has completed initial flights of what it hopes will be a personal drone fast and nimble enough to make for entertaining racing. However, for now, the Jetson Speeder is less an aerial go-kart and more an eight-motor aircraft-aluminum H-frame with a carbon-fibre seat in the middle. In the video, the proof-of-concept Speeder completes a series of low-altitude, low-speed manoeuvres in Tuscany, Italy, during its second flight. Lofted by eight 18-HP motors claimed to produce 94 pounds of thrust each, the Speeder is said to have a maximum speed of 62 MPH (100 KPH) and 15-20 minutes’ endurance. Weight with batteries is said to be 75 Kg.
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
This past week South African EAA founder Mike Spence entered the departure lounge
How does one describe a man who had so much passion for aviation that he together with Bill Keil, (also departed) founded one of the finest aviation movements in our country? Following the amazing success of the Experimental Aviation Association (EAA) in the USA, Mike and Bill brought the EAA concept back to South Africa and the success of EAA in our country has been amazing. I have personally been an EAA Chapter 322 member for nearly 40 years and enjoyed every moment of my time with some of the most special aviation enthusiasts that I have had the privilege to be part of.
On Friday 1 March Mike was laid to rest at a moving ceremony that celebrated his wonderful life that was always a passion for aviation. I will never forget those early EAA Chapter 322 meetings at the Midrand library, all those years ago when Mike would open his ‘Spence spares’ moment on the agenda with an aviation joke! This was refreshing, whilst at the same time, he always encouraged members to enjoy the monthly meeting, which continues to the present time under the chairmanship of Captain Karl Jensen, at the Dicky Fritz hall venue in Edenvale.
When I was much younger I had the privilege to fly with Mike in his DH Chipmunk, very low level and even under the sewage pipes at the Dainfern Estate, but he was always a safe pilot. On behalf of African Pilot and I believe so many people in aviation, we wish you Mike bon voyage to that great hangar in the sky.
African Pilot appointed by AERO South Africa to produce official exhibition catalogue
In addition to having been appointed an official ‘media partner’ this past week, African Pilot has been appointed as the official Exhibitors’ Catalogue partner for this prestigious event. This means that ALL exhibitors that have already reserved their show stands with AERO will be included within the show catalogue. Our team is looking forward to working with all aviation exhibitors as well as the show organisers to make this event most successful.
For further information please contact Lara Bayliss at e-mail: email@example.com. Thank you.
AERO South Africa scheduled for 4 to 6 July Wonderboom National Airport
AERO SA is already 63% sold out and set to be Africa’s largest General Aviation trade show. This event will cover the full spectrum of services and products for the General Aviation industry. Great news, because last year African Pilot partnered with AERO South Africa as a ‘media partner’. However, this past week African Pilot was appointed to manage the AERO South Africa official exhibition catalogue. This is a great honour for our team of creative designers and operational staff who will ensure that only the finest exhibition catalogue is delivered to the AERO team. For advertising positions within this exhibition catalogue please contact Lara Bayliss at Tel: 0861 001130 Cell: 079 880 4359 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
This year EAA celebrates it's 50th year of hosting the US annual convention and fly-in at Oshkosh
By Neil Bowden
Only five months to go before we depart for the 2019 edition of AirVenture and if you are thinking of attending this is the time to start planning! The Experimental Aircraft Association will be celebrating 50 years of Oshkosh this year and they have plans to make AirVenture something special. Homebuilt aircraft was what started EAA and in order to celebrate this anniversary, EAA will be making major upgrades to the homebuilt display area, which will bring exhibitors, forums, workshops and display aircraft into a campus like a plaza. It will also feature an interview area, similar to the highly popular Warbirds and Vintage areas.
Aerial fire fighting will be one of the themes for this year’s Oshkosh. The public is not usually aware of what this important branch of aviation is about as airspace around operations are usually shut down and the public does not get to see these systems in operation. This will be a unique opportunity to showcase the firefighting pilot and the firefighter on the ground. Other features of this year’s AirVenture include the two-night shows (Wednesday and Saturday) which will once again include the drone show, SR – 22 Raptor display and Boeing’s celebration of 50 years of the 747.
2019 tour options
Once again booking has been brisk for the 2019 Air Adventure Tours availability as follows:
Tour A – Emirates Airlines
Tour departs OR Tambo on Friday 19 July and gets into Chicago on Saturday 20 July at 15h30. This option lands back in Johannesburg at 05h00 on Tuesday 30 July, making it an ideal option for anyone having to catch a connecting flight on return. Price sharing R28 450 or single R29 850
Tour B – KLM Airlines
This option offers shorter layover en-route. It departs from OR Tambo on Friday 19 July and gets into Chicago at 14h10 on Saturday 20 July. Passengers will arrive in Oshkosh at approximately 18h00 that evening. The tour arrives back in Johannesburg on Monday 29 July at 21h20. Price sharing R31 150 or single R32 550
This option excludes airfares and the tour departs from Terminal 5, O’Hare International at 15h00 (Bus 1) and 16h30 (Bus 2) on Saturday 20 July and gets back into Chicago at approximately 12h00 on Sunday 28 July 2019.
DC 3 Flabob Express
We still have nine seats available on this classic flight into Oshkosh where you arrive at AirVenture in style! The flight will depart from Kenosha Airport, just outside Chicago. Passengers will be dropped off on the way to Oshkosh. Seat cost is $275. Please e-mail me email@example.com to book your seat.
Athol’s notes on Neil Bowden’s Oshkosh experience
I have travelled to Oshkosh 18 times in a row with Neil’s Air Adventure Tours and I can honestly say that I have never become tired of returning to what has become recognised as the largest airshow / aviation event in the entire world. What make the South African camp so very special is the sheer level of organisation, where all travellers are treated to an exceptional aviation experience on the airfield, whilst enjoying the relaxing friendship back at ‘Camp Plakkerfontein’. Not only do you get a chance to see some of the most spectacular airshow performances day and night, but when you return to the campsite you are amongst many of the finest South African aviation enthusiasts, many of whom are regular visitors that travel with Neil’s tour. Yes we actually speak Afrikaans in the camp, just to confuse the Americans. Whilst speaking about our American hosts, they are just like us, with amazing commitment to our type of aviation. The South African group has always enjoyed a fantastic reputation for their energy and friendship, which has earned Neil several accolades about the consistency of delivering an aviation experience that has grown consistently over the years. On a personal level, I would like to welcome each and every person who travels with Air Adventure Tours to Oshkosh this year and hear your own personal aviation story.
To book please contact Neil: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on Cell: 084 674 5674
Entries for the 2019 PTAR are open
SAPFA has given the President’s Trophy Air Race a ‘facelift’. The format has been changed to the new and exciting Speed Rally format that has proven to be liked by many Air Racers. Reserve Thursday 2 to Saturday 4 May 2019 at Saldanha Bay. Click on the link below to enter:
Major changes are:
⦁ All aircraft handicaps are set back to zero after each race. If you are happy with your handicap from previous races then you have the option not to undertake a test flight test as this is not compulsory. However, a flight test will be available to determine your new handicap.
⦁ Handicap will not change after day one (Friday) of the PTAR, unless the judges see a big discrepancy, which may require an additional test flight
⦁ Pre-printed maps are provided 20 minutes before your take-off time with the route and magnetic headings
⦁ The PTAR 2019 can expect around 12 turn points left and right
⦁ Turn points are given as clear photographs for referencing
⦁ As in the past, PTAR will not allow GPS nor auto-pilot to be used during the race, unlike the Speed Rallies
⦁ The handing out of race numbers is an exciting event on Thursday evening, not to be missed as all pilots are introduced to the racers with theme songs, video content and great entertainment
⦁ All loggers have been upgraded to provide altitude accuracy of between 5 and 30 feet
⦁ The only way to be excluded is to fly 100 feet or lower on any part of the race route, whilst any other infringement will be given time penalties.
Johnty Esser will be available to chat with the entrants on Cell: 082 855 9435 – If I don’t answer please send me a WhatsApp message or e-mail: email@example.com.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
Comair takes delivery of its first Boeing 737 MAX
Comair becomes the first airline in sub-Sahara Africa to operate the fuel-efficient jet. The airplane is the first of eight 737 MAX airplanes on order for Comair as the airline looks to refresh its fleet and offer better service for its passengers. “The arrival of the MAX 8 aircraft is a continuation of our fleet renewal programme and builds on the most modern and efficient fleet in South Africa,” said Wrenelle Stander, Executive Director, Comair’s Airline Division. “It is the first of these aircraft to operate in Southern Africa. These newer aircraft, which showcase state-of-the-art technology, will improve our customer experience, enable us to hedge against fuel price volatility and enhance our operating efficiency.”
The new airliner enters a growing African aviation market, where the domiciled fleet has almost doubled in the past two decades and over the next two decades, Africa will require nearly 1,200 new jets. Comair operates an all-Boeing fleet that includes 18 Next-Generation and seven Classic 737s for its kulula.com and British Airways (operated by Comair) brands. The 737 MAX 8 will allow Comair to achieve 14 percent better fuel efficiency and lower emissions while flying 600 nautical miles farther than its predecessor.
SAA pilot operates with fake licence for 20 years
In news that broke this past week, it was reported that a senior SAA pilot was forced to resign this year after the airline discovered he had flown aircraft for more than 20 years with fraudulent paperwork.
SAA discovered that William Chandler’s airline transport pilot licence (ATPL) was a forgery during an investigation into a ‘reportable incident’ on a flight where he was the co-pilot., the airline said this week.
Although little is known about the incident, it was reported that it involved Flight SA206 from OR Tambo International Airport to Frankfurt, Germany that occurred in November over Swiss airspace.
Two well-placed SAA sources say Chandler, who was the monitoring pilot (co-pilot) on the trip, had the controls at the time of the incident. “When faced with reportable incidents such as this one, the airline undertakes investigations to gather relevant details, establish facts and make a determination on what course of action must be embarked on, whether remedial, disciplinary or otherwise. This process forms part of our standard operating procedures,” said SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali. It was reported that Chandler had previously refused to be promoted to captain, a process that would have required him to resubmit his certification. Industry insiders said his refusal should have rung alarm bells; pilots who joined SAA alongside Chandler in January 1994 became captains in 2005 yet he remained a senior first officer (SFO). Besides passing theory exams, medical and other requirements, a pilot working at an airline needs to log 1 500 hours’ flying time, of which 100 must be at night, to get an Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence (ATPL).
SAA was not in a position to reveal when Chandler first claimed to have an ATPL but, given that he joined the airline in 1994 he would have needed it by 1999 because the airline’s policy requires all pilots to get an ATPL within the first five years of employment. According to sources, prior to 1994, Chandler worked at SAA as a flight planner. Tlali said the airline was calculating, with a view to recovering, remuneration Chandler had earned as a result of his fraud. This is expected to be in the millions and includes the perks.
Chandler resigned as soon as it became apparent his licence could be a forgery, several insiders said. He allegedly initially denied the fraud when German authorities confronted him. Due to a comprehensive exercise conducted it was established that the ATPL of the SFO had discrepancies.
Industry insiders have questioned how the airline and the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), the body that issues the certification, could not have noticed that Chandler’s paperwork was suspect. Pilots are required to refresh their licences annually in a process that involves operating a simulator, physical exams and submitting their licences to an external examiner.
Besides opening a criminal case of fraud against Chandler, Tlali said SAA has tightened up its authentication and validation processes. “We have identified vulnerabilities in our processes and have since introduced changes in our processes and steps now include the airline liaising with the regulator or the examining authority directly in cases where documentation must be validated or authenticated.”
This includes the airline asking the Civil Aviation Authority to peruse all its pilots’ licensing files.
SACAA spokesperson Kabelo Ledwaba said the regulator was working with counterparts in Germany to get the bottom of the incident. “Our view is that this is an isolated case. However, as the aviation regulator and the entity that issues pilot licences, we have earnest interest in this matter and hence we are also conducting our own investigation in order to establish where the loopholes are and whether there is a need to introduce additional countermeasures,” he said.
Chandler, along with the captain and flight crew, were grounded pending investigation into the incident. Tlali said the investigation was ongoing. A SAA insider with knowledge of the incident but no authority to speak on record said of the flight said: “There were some strange turns that the aircraft made in the air that were not understood by anybody, even in the cabin crew. “When they landed, obviously they had to write a safety report and apparently there was even a problem with the jet itself because of what he had done.”
SAA has also suspended its safety officer for allegedly trying to conceal that Chandler’s paperwork was dodgy. The officer allegedly approached SAA operations executive Zuks Ramasia for help in covering for Chandler, but instead was suspended. Ramasia is the executive responsible for all operations, including flight crews.
The Air Line Pilots’ Association one of the unions that represent pilots at SAA, said Chandler was a member but has since had his membership revoked. “We do not condone the actions of this pilot and we do not tolerate fraud of any kind,” association president Captain William Rooken-Smith said.
“This association represents pilots who are trusted to conduct their affairs in a manner that benefits themselves and their profession at all times.”
What is scheduled for the next few weeks?
African Pilot’s 2019 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.
EAA Chapter 322 monthly meeting at the Dicky Fritz Moth Hall, Edenvale
Contact Ronel: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
General Aviation Hangar Talk with the SACAA Durban
RSVP to Mr Mpho Ramoshaba Tel 011 545 1601 E-mail: email@example.com
SAPFA Speed Rally at the Middelburg Aero Club Air Week
Contact Rob Jonkers cell: 082 804 7032 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
9 and 10 March
Swellendam Flying Club host Sport Aerobatic Club Regional Championships
Contact Pieter Venter e-mail: email@example.com
12 to 14 March
Saudi Airshow Thumah Airport, Riyadh
13 to 15 March
Ageing Aircraft & Aircraft Corrosion seminar at OR Tambo International Airport
Contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
FASHKOSH at Stellenbosch airfield
Contact Anton Theart Cell: 079 873 4567 E-mail: email@example.com
SAPFA Virginia Fun Rally – Virginia Airport
Contact Mary de Klerk cell: 084 880 9000
Coves airfield fly-in (west of Hartebeespoort Dam)
Contact: JP Fourie E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083-625-4804
Thys Kuhn E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082-568-5614
Jan Hanekom E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083-279-6572
Robertson Annual Breakfast fly-in
Contact Alwyn du Plessis Cell: 083 270 5888
Pilot Career Show venue TBA
Contact Greta Senkevie e-mail: email@example.com
Uitenhage Air Festival
Contact Lourens Kruger E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 320 2615
4 to 14 April
Stars of Sandstone Ficksburg, Eastern Free State
10 to 13 April
AERO Friedrichshafen, Germany Global show for General Aviation
Contact Stephan E-mail: email@example.com
The 27th AERO, with its comprehensive range of products and services on offer, will be held on Lake Constance as Europe’s general aviation centre. The spectrum of aircraft exhibited in Friedrichshafen will extend from gliders and ultra-lights to Echo class planes through to helicopters and business jets. Drones for civilian use and vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) air taxis of the future will play a role at AERO. Electric flight will be even more prominently exhibited at the e-flight-expo. Avionics Avenue, the Engine Area and Be a Pilot are areas that will round out AERO’s specialised exhibits and programming. The Flight Simulator Area will appeal to both beginners and experienced pilots among the trade visitors.
SAPFA EAA Convention Adventure Rally – Vryheid
Contact Rob Jonkers cell: 082 804 7032 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
26 to 28 April
EAA National Convention in Vryheid
Contact EAA National Committee Marie Reddy
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Aviation Africa summit officially opens in Kigali, Rwanda
The Aviation Africa Summit and exhibition was opened this past week by Rwandan President, H.E. Paul Kagame with a strong message of support for the aviation industry along with a reaffirmed determination to see Africa progress with its ‘Open Skies’ actions. President Kagame was chairperson of the African Union (AU) in 2018 when the agreement for the introduction of a Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) was signed by African nations.
“Sixteen countries in Africa are landlocked, including Rwanda, which is almost one-third of Africa, but every country is air-linked. So, geography should not be seen as an excuse for underdevelopment. This highlights the importance of regional integration where there have been some notable achievements over the past year, chief among these is the Single African Air Transport Market,” said President Kagame. “However, the full promise of this pact only becomes apparent in the wider context of the African Continental Free Trade Area and the Protocol of the Free Movement of Persons which were also signed last year.
The fourth edition of the Aviation Africa Summit & Exhibition saw more than 800 delegates from 71 countries converge on the Kigali Convention Centre. The audience included government ministers, air chiefs of staff and directors general of civil aviation authorities with representatives from 35 African nations. Industry was well supported in the exhibition hall with 100 exhibitors including Host Sponsors Nexus & Wyvern, Platinum Sponsor Gulfstream and Gold Sponsors Bestfly and Airbus. “The Aviation Africa summit has established itself as an important business event on the African calendar,” said Hadi Akoum, vice president, sales for Sub-Sahara Africa & the Indian Ocean Islands at Airbus. “With urbanisation, population growth and economic expansion, Africa’s air travel market is doubling in size every 15 years, making it one of the fastest expanding markets. When one takes a broader view, aerospace in Africa also presents significant opportunities for industrial, social, knowledge-based and entrepreneurial partnerships that are essential to sustainable development.” The event was continued on 28 February. Further details on www.aviationafrica.aero
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Superior Air Parts grounds / buys back XP-382/400 engines
In a far-reaching decision that affects over 100 engine owners and operators, Scott Hayes, VP, Sales and Marketing for Superior Air Parts, Inc., has confirmed that the company is implementing an immediate and mandatory buy-back of all the Superior Air Parts XP-382 and XP-400 series experimental aircraft engines in the field. “We have already contacted a number of our owners and while it’s no surprise that they are not happy with the situation, they understand that we are doing this because it is the right thing to do. In fact, the typical response has been them thanking us for keeping their safety as our top priority.”
Bill Ross, A&P I/A and Superior Air Parts’ VP Product Support explained that the company’s decision to take all of the XP-382 and XP-400 engines out of the market comes after a lengthy evaluation and testing process. “When we first learned of the breadth of the detonation problem, we contacted XP-400 engine owners and paid to have them ship their engines to our facility for evaluation,” Ross said. “We disassembled, inspected and tested the key components in each engine.”
“The good news was the majority of the engines were absolutely clean, with no signs of stress wear or damage,” he said. “The bad news is of the few we found with issues, neither our engineering team or our metallurgy specialists were able to define a consistent root cause of the issues.” Ross added that even after the company took all the available steps to adjust the engine’s ignition timing to reduce internal stress, the results were still unsatisfactory. So to eliminate the possibility of any future occurrences, the company is grounding all XP-382 and XP-400 engines immediately.
While the detonation problems are currently confined to the XP-400 engines, Hayes said that because the XP-382 shares so many of the same internal components, that the decision was made to include that model in the program as well. “I want to be 100-percent clear that the grounding and buy-back mandate does not include any XP-320 or XP-360 engines,” he said.
Boeing signs a deal for up to 42 777X Airplanes with IAG
Boeing and International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways, have announced the airline has committed to purchasing up to 42 777X airplanes, including 18 orders and 24 options. The airline joins a group of leading carriers that have selected the new 777-9, which will debut next month as the largest and most efficient twin-engine passenger jet in the world. The commitment, valued at up to $18.6 billion at list prices, will be reflected on Boeing’s Orders and Deliveries website once it is finalised.
Boeing and Bamboo Airways announce order for 10 787 Dreamliners
Valued at $3 billion according to list prices, this order for the super-efficient and longest-range member of the Dreamliner family was unveiled during a signing ceremony in Hanoi, witnessed by US President Donald Trump and General Secretary and President of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong. This order was previously unidentified on Boeing’s Orders & Deliveries website.
Bamboo Airways, a start-up airline founded in 2017, began commercial operations in January 2019, offering flights linking the capital of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with cities in Vietnam. The airline plans on offering up to 40 domestic routes in 2019. In addition, Bamboo is preparing to launch international service to Thailand, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan and Australia, before broadening service to other destinations in Asia, Europe, and North America. Bamboo Airways is wholly-owned by the FLC Group, a Vietnamese multi-industry company, focusing on aviation, real estate, resorts, farming and golf.
Boeing, Vietjet announce order for 100 737 MAX airplanes
The Vietnamese carrier has purchased 100 additional 737 MAX airplanes, taking their MAX order book to 200 jets. During a signing ceremony in Hanoi last week, United States President Donald Trump and Vietnamese Communist Party General Secretary and President Nguyen Phu Trong joined leaders of both companies to unveil the $12.7 billion order, according to list prices.
The deal includes 20 MAX 8s and 80 of the new, larger MAX 10 variant, which will have the lowest seat-mile costs for a single-aisle airplane and be the most profitable jet in its market segment. In ordering 80 MAX 10s, Vietjet becomes the largest Asian customer of the airplane type. The carrier plans to use the added capacity to meet growing demand across Vietnam, as well as to serve popular destinations throughout Asia. Vietjet placed its first order for 100 737 MAX airplanes in 2016, which set the mark for the largest commercial jet purchase in Vietnam’s aviation sector at the time. In addition to airplane purchases, Boeing will partner with Vietjet to enhance technical and engineering expertise, train pilots and technicians as well as improve management capabilities at the airline and in Vietnam.
The carrier also uses Boeing’s digital solutions to optimise its operations, including flight planning & Tech Log Book.
Air Vanuatu selects Airbus A220 for major fleet expansion
Air Vanuatu, the national flag carrier of the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, has signed a firm order with Airbus for four A220s (two A220-100s and two A220-300s). Air Vanuatu’s first ever order with Airbus makes it the launch customer of the A220 in the Pacific region. Based at Bauerfield International Airport in the capital Port Vila, Air Vanuatu operates to 26 domestic airports and internationally to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and New Caledonia. It began services in 1987, and has played a vital role in establishing Vanuatu as a tourist and investment destination. Currently the airline operates a Boeing 737 and ATR 72 fleet.
Avionics spending up 17 percent
The Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) annual market report contains good news for avionics manufacturers and shops. Compared to 2017, last year’s total sales topped $2.7 billion, a gain of 17.3 percent. This uptick follows a modest 2.9 percent rise from 2016 to 2017, that in turn followed two years of single-digit decline. Of the total, 53 percent came from retrofit sales with the remainder being new avionics purchased by airframe manufacturers for new installations. These so-called forward-fit sales saw a strong bump in 2018 from $984 million to $1.2 billion, which mirrors the rise in airframe deliveries last year.
According to Geoff Hill, director of communications for AEA, the retrofit push is driven by the looming ADS-B deadline. “The retrofit market may be positively impacted due to an uptick in the aircraft equipage rate ahead of the FAA’s 2020 deadline for ADS-B Out avionics. The retrofit surge also might be partially attributed to the possibility that aircraft owners are choosing to have additional avionics work done while simultaneously coming into ADS-B compliance. Many avionics shops are telling us that aircraft owners are electing to order full-panel avionics upgrades rather than just the ADS-B equipment.” The majority of these sales were in the US and Canada, according to the AEA; just 22.3 percent of the volume was attributed to international sales.
Lithium batteries prohibited in passenger aircraft cargo
The FAA has issued a new rule prohibiting the transport of lithium ion cells or batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft. This revision of the Hazardous Materials Regulations also requires lithium ion cells and batteries to be shipped at not more than a 30 percent charge on cargo-only aircraft and limits the use of alternative provisions for small lithium cell or battery shipments to one package per consignment. The rule was issued in coordination with the US Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).
The PHMSA identified 13 incidents ‘involving lithium batteries and smoke, fire, extreme heat or explosion’ in aircraft cargo between 2010 and 2016, along with three accidents where ‘lithium ion batteries transported as cargo were suspected as either the cause or a factor that increased the severity of the fire.’ The agencies noted in the rule that although the likelihood of a thermal runaway event occurring on an aircraft is low, they believed the consequences, especially given the inability of the aircraft fire suppression systems to address lithium cell or battery fires presented an unacceptable safety risk.
The rule does not prohibit passengers or crew members from bringing devices with lithium cells or batteries onboard and cargo-only aircraft can still transport them at a greater than 30 percent charge if they are ‘packed with or contained in equipment or devices.’ It was issued as an interim final rule, meaning it will be effective immediately upon publication in the Federal Register and can be enacted without requiring advance notice and opportunity for public comment. After publication in the Register, the rule will be open for comments for 60 days and may be amended based on comments received.
Leonardo announces three AW139 helicopters for Victoria Police of Australia
As part of Victoria Police Air Wing’s fleet modernisation effort to provide enhanced airborne capabilities Leonardo has announced the choice for three AW139 intermediate twin engine helicopters. The helicopters will be supplied by StarFlight Victoria to carry out a range of law enforcement, patrol and surveillance as well as maritime search and rescue missions from the Essendon Airport on behalf of the Victoria Police Air Wing. Configured for policing operations across the State of Victoria, the new aircraft will feature a wide range of tailored equipment including, among others, advanced mission console, camera, wire cutter and rescue hoist.
Virgin Galactic returns to space
On Friday 22 February in its fifth supersonic rocket-powered test flight, Virgin Galactic reached space for the second in the skies above Mojave California. Spaceship VSS Unity reached its highest speed and altitude to date and for the first time, carried a third crew member on board along with research payloads from the NASA Flight Opportunities programme.
This space flight means Chief Pilot Dave Mackay and co-pilot Michael ‘Sooch’ Masucci become commercial astronauts and the 569th and 570th humans in space. Beth Moses, Virgin Galactic’s Chief Astronaut Instructor, flew as the third crew member in a first, live evaluation of cabin dynamics. She is the 571st person to fly to space and the first woman to fly on board a commercial spaceship. In addition to this element of envelope expansion, VSS Unity flew higher and faster than ever before, as its world record-holding hybrid rocket motor propelled the spaceship at Mach 3.04 to an apogee of 295,007 feet.
The crew enjoyed extraordinary views of Earth from the black skies of space and during several minutes of weightlessness while the pilots ‘feathered’ the spaceship in preparation for a Mach 2.7 re-entry, Beth floated free to complete a number of cabin evaluation test points. The human validation of data previously collected via sensors and the live testing of other physical elements of the cabin interior, are fundamental to the provision of a safe but enjoyable customer experience.
The glide back home was followed by a smooth runway landing and a reception from the crowd on the flight line, which included staff and some of Virgin Galactic’s 600 Future Astronaut customers. Chief Pilot Dave Mackay, a born and bred Scotsman as well as an ex-RAF test pilot and Virgin Atlantic Captain, led his crew of newly qualified astronauts from VSS Unity accompanied by a kilted piper.
Friday’s flight notched several additional firsts for the industry: The flight was the first time that a non-pilot flew on board a commercial spaceship to space and it was the first time that a crew member floated freely without restraints in weightlessness in space onboard a commercial spaceship; it was the first time that three people flew to space on a commercial spaceship and Dave Mackay became the first Scottish-born astronaut (Brian Binnie, who was raised in Scotland, flew to space in 2004).
Brazilian Navy orders three multi-role H135s from Airbus
Three H135 light twin-engine helicopters are to be operated by the 1st General Purpose Helicopter Squadron (HU-1) of the Brazilian Navy. The aircraft will be dedicated to a wide range of missions such as special operations, transport of troops and freight, naval inspection, search and rescue and medical evacuation. Two of these aircraft will be equipped with aeromedical kits. Other equipment will include a cargo hook, an emergency flotation system, a winch, as well as weather radar. To date, more than 1,280 helicopters of the H135 family are in operation around the globe, having flown 4.9 million flight hours.
CAAC issues ‘guidance on UAV airworthiness certification’
On 23 January 2019, the Airworthiness Department of Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) issued the Guidance on UAV Airworthiness Certification based on Operational Risks (hereinafter abbreviated as ‘Guidance’), aiming at establishing a risk-based UAV airworthiness management system by the end of 2019. A total of five Chinese UAV companies were authorised as pilots to initiate and develop different UAV programmes in exploring airworthiness standards and certification methods for UAVs for transporting cargos, inspecting powerlines and carrying passengers. EHang is a member of the CAAC specialised management group for civil UAVs and also China’s first company on the world’s leading programme for the piloting and testing of the cutting-edge passenger Autonomous Aerial Vehicles (AAV).
In recent years, the industry of civil UAVs is witnessing rapid growth in China. Going beyond aerial filming, the connection with 4G/5G network further expands various ‘UAV+’ applications including logistics, smart city management, emergency rescue and urban air mobility. Two days before the Guidance release on 21 January, China’s President Xi Jinping specifically emphasised the importance of accelerating the legislation process for UAV industry on the provincial and ministerial seminars.
According to the Guidance, CAAC aimed to build up China’s UAV airworthiness certification management with Chinese characteristics guided by three principles:
⦁ Exploring a certification method by closely orchestrating hierarchical certifications with different levels of operational risks.
⦁ Exploring a certification process by extracting CAAC certification standards and regulations from industrial standards.
⦁ Exploring a certification mode with a more tolerant, open and service-oriented mind by encouraging UAV companies to jointly participate the airworthiness management through integrated information system.
As long as UAV companies establish a qualified airworthiness system and its UAV products have met airworthiness standards, CAAC will issue the airworthiness certificate. Meanwhile, the Guidance disclosed that China’s UAV airworthiness management system based on operational risks is to be established preliminarily by the end of 2019. The further technology development and business mode innovation promise the ultimate trend of incorporating UAVs into the current civil aviation system. In the near future, it is expected by CAAC that the UAV industry will eventually be on a par with the general aviation industry, or even replace some applications of current general aviation aircraft in certain fields.
As the major programme receiving CAAC authority attention, EHang’s proprietarily-developed AAVs represent the key element shaping the future urban air mobility, an emerging and promising industry that is expected to provide a new mobility method for humankind. According to the UAV airworthiness certification procedures of CAAC, all UAV products of EHang, including the passenger AAVs, have so far completed the real-name registration. EHang is assisting CAAC in analysing operational risks and jointly establishing relevant standards and basis based on the actual operational data.
Drone Light Show returns to illuminate night sky at AirVenture 2019
The dazzling drone light show that made its debut at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh last year is returning in 2019, with more than 100 lighted drones taking flight during the night airshows on 24 and 27 July 2019.
The 67th annual Experimental Aircraft Association fly-in convention is scheduled for 22 to 28 July at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The night airshows have become a favourite of the weeklong event, featuring a new perspective on the precise flying skills displayed by aerobatic pilots.
The EAA AirVenture demonstrations will expand on the 2018 debut by Great Lakes Drone Company, based in Watervliet, Michigan. The company is one of just two US companies authorised by the FAA for such displays.
Man arrested for shooting a drone out of the air
On Saturday Suffolk County, New York Police have arrested a man for shooting a drone out of the air. Members of Missing Angels-Long Island, an organisation that searches for missing pets, were using a Mavic 2 Zoom drone to search for a missing dog when the drone they were using became unresponsive. The group used the drone’s GPS to determine the drone was last above 18 Rutherford St. in St. James. Following an investigation by Fourth Squad detectives, it was determined a resident of the home, Gerard Chasteen, fired three shotgun shots into the air from the yard of his home, striking the drone. Multiple shotguns were confiscated from the residence. Chasteen, 26, was charged with Criminal Mischief 3rd Degree and Prohibited Use of a Weapon. Chasteen was issued a Field Appearance Ticket and will be arraigned at a later date.
Kalashnikov debuts suicide drone
The idea of a combat drone isn’t really new, but Russian arms manufacturer Kalashnikov is trying to bring the scale and cost of UCAVs (unmanned combat aerial vehicles) to a new low. Introduced at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi last week, the KUB-UAV is just four feet wide, perhaps ushering in a new aero term: miniature exploding ‘suicide’ drone. With 30 minutes’ flight endurance at a maximum of 81 MPH, the electric KUB-UAV is designed to be used against ground targets at relatively close range. According to the company, it can carry 6.6 pounds of explosive. “This is a very accurate and most effective weapon that is very difficult to fight with using traditional air defence systems,” said Sergey Chemezov, CEO of Rostec, which is Kalashnikov’s parent company. The KUB-UAV has been test flown, but there is currently no word on production timelines or intentions.
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