African Pilot’s aircraft of the week identification quiz
The following persons identified this strange hybrid helicopter correctly: Dawid Hanekom, Sean Harland, Raul Del Fabbro, Sean Stedman, Erwin Stam, Jeff Knickelbein, Righard de Plessis, Nigel Maistry, Herman Nel, Mark Cope, Theo Naude, David Plew-Chsholm and Fanie Pauley
Close but not the correct aircraft: Shaun Barron
African Pilot Digital Calendars
Since we are not printing the paper magazine any longer, African Pilot is making digital calendars available to all its readers. We will be releasing a new one each month. Examples are January and February to download, print or use as your computer’s background wallpaper. Go to our website to download the calendars in three different resolutions.
South Africa’s aviation industry ‘may collapse’ as SACAA's revenue drops by 98%
The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) is in ‘deep financial difficulty’ and has expressed concerns about being able to ‘continue operating’ due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the overall failure of the national airline, South African Airways (SAA). The regulatory body has reported that it has had little income revenue over the past 12 months. Their latest financial report weighs-up the possibility of a ‘collapse’ for the flight industry, expressing ‘significant doubt’ about SACAA’s ability to survive the pandemic. The latest report also confirms that its shareholders, the Department of Transport (DoT) will be asked to provide ‘financial assistance’. SACCA’s revenue is down by 98%, due to the significant drop-off in passenger numbers. More than seven-tenths of the SACAA’s income stream is generated mainly from passenger taxes, user fees and fuel levies. With so many aircraft grounded, the impact has been devastating.
The lockdown and its effect on the aviation industry is a disastrous reality on its own. With this reality, conjoined with the news of the possible closures of three key South African airlines, the situation has turned into a distressing calamity. A material uncertainty exists that may cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern.
However, who is to blame for the present situation?
Over the past 20 years, those of us involved in General Aviation have watched the head count at the regulator spiralling out of control, just as it has at nearly all government State Owned Enterprises, ANC controlled municipalities and overall theft by government employees throughout South Africa. The determination of the ruling party to drive its BBEEE agenda to the point of political suicide has resulted in overpaid ‘fat cat’, badly educated, lazy and blatantly corrupt persons at every level in government. Whilst the number of aircraft (all types), licenced pilots, airports, aircraft engineers, air traffic controllers, aviation safety personnel and a whole host of other disciplines that require the oversight of an efficient regulator have not increased dramatically, the SACAA’s staff has multiplied many times over. Then throughout the COVID-19 shutdown period, SACAA staff drew full salaries, whilst those of in the aviation business took severe salary cuts to survive and many persons lost their employment when aviation businesses shut down.
My personal view is that this implosion was coming and the pandemic has just placed its seal on the severely compromised dysfunctional regulator. One only has to look at the fact that the SACAA sent five individuals to France to train as future pilots. After nearly two years only three of the five have actually gone solo. When I did my Private Pilot’s licence many years ago, I flew solo after three weeks, but then I was paying for my instruction myself. This situation is particularly exacerbated by the fact that it probably cost three times more to send the youngsters to France than it does to train them at one of the many excellent South African flying schools.
The SACAA has a horrible track record of wasting the hard-earned cash that the South African aviation industry and airline passengers pay in levies and taxes to the regulator. In addition, even though the actual workload at the SACAA has been greatly reduced, the service levels have never been worse. There is so much more that I could reveal about South Africa’s dysfunctional aviation regulator, but I will wait to reveal many of the examples within the March edition of African Pilot.
African Pilot’s February 2021 edition
The February edition of African Pilot is complete and has also been completely distributed. This edition features Piston engine aircraft over 650 Kg as well as the piston engines and propellers that drive piston aircraft. At 280 pages, the February 2021 edition has set a new record for aviation publishing not only in South Africa, but for the entire world. As you examine the varied content, beautiful pictures and outstanding layout, you will also appreciate that there is no other aviation publication that supplies as much to its readers anywhere. This edition also includes the most recent aviation news from all over the world as well as historical aviation features.
African Pilot’s March 2021 edition
The feature of the March edition will be Turboprop aircraft, turboprop engines and propellers. This feature will also include information about the many aftermarket enhancements available for turboprop aircraft types. As you will notice with ALL editions of African Pilot, we publish important aviation news, historical aviation features as well as news from the Experimental and Space sectors. There is no other African Aviation or International Aviation publication that provides as much information together with superb pictures to its audience.
About African Pilot
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Wouter Botes’ e-book ‘Flights to Nowhere’
Wouter Botes’ E-book on Flight to Nowhere is available by visiting www.africanpilot.co.za and click on the button provided on the home page. We have provided an option for payment of R60 per download on the page.
AERO South Africa news
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Aero Club member support initiative
Aero Club coffee table Centenary Yearbook
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SAPFA Witbank Speed Rally and Grand Prix Air Race postponed
Please be advised that due to the inclement rainy weather and the forecast for this weekend, SAPFA has decided to postpone the event scheduled for this Saturday to next week, when hopefully the weather would have improved significantly. Therefore, please diarise Friday 12 for the arrivals and race numbers hand over and Saturday 13 for the Speed Rally and Grand Prix race. African Pilot will be attending on the Saturday to record this amazing aviation event.
SAPFA Rand Airport Challenge 30 January 2021
by Mary de Klerk
The 17th Rand Airport Challenge was scheduled to take place at Rand Airport on Saturday 30 January. However, the weather gods were not playing ball this time and with cyclone ‘Eloise’ blanketing almost the entire country in clouds and rain, we had to revert to Plan B.
With the 22nd World Rally Flying Championships postponed to November 2021, the pressure is on to train and select the best Air Rally Team to represent South Africa at this prestigious event. With most of the ‘old guard’ still in place and planning to take part, the opportunity exists to bring some new fresh blood into the South African Rally Flying Team.
The sport of Rally Flying is not an easy sport, requiring an exceptionally strong ‘two-person’ team of pilot and navigator. Unlike most of the other Air Sporting disciplines which are flyable at competition level, as long as one member of the team is well trained, in Rally Flying a strong pilot without a strong navigator and vice versa is as good as having no team at all.
For this reason, Jonty Esser, who himself is a well-seasoned Protea Rally Flying Pilot (as well as a local aerobatic pilot) has been selected to coach the 2021 South African Flying Team to victory as soon as they have been selected which should be post the National Championships in April 2021. Now for the official team to be selected, this team must be sufficiently trained to fly to the required standard criteria as laid down by the world organisation.
The past decade (plus) of Fun Rally programmes, introduced by Frank Eckard and Mary de Klerk and the more recent programme of Speed Rallies introduced by Jonty Esser and Rob Jonkers, has produced a remarkably high standard of potential Protea pilots and navigators that now need to practise rally flying training modules.
There was no better opportunity to start the 2021 training programme than the cancelled Rand Airport Challenge on Saturday 30 January. No less than 25 exceptionally keen potential team members arrived for the ‘on the ground’ training modules. The Pilots were herded off into a separate venue and were taught some intricacies of rally flying in terms of fine tuning their approaches and timing at turn points by Jonty Esser. The navigators were put through their paces by 30-year rally veteran, Mary de Klerk, who spent the best part of four hours unpacking plotting procedures, tools required and methodologies with the teams. She was adequately assisted by the other Protea Rally veterans, Frank and Cally Eckard, Hans Schwebel, Ron Stirk, Rob Jonkers, Martin Meyer and Sandi Goddard. It is interesting to note that even though the ‘old guard’ have between them, thousands of hours of local, national and international experience, they still managed to find time to drive through to Rand in the rain in order to sharpen their own skills and assist with all the newbies.
Rally Flying is a well renowned international sport recognised by the FAI. To represent one’s country at an international event is a supreme achievement. I applaud everyone who is taking the sport seriously to improve their own personal skills and achieve what many others would only dream to achieve. However, nothing comes easy; it all requires many hours of hard work and input to succeed. Training training training …… Watch this space to monitor all the upcoming training sessions and who the final South African rally flying team will be to represent our country and the World Championships this year.
Kenya Airways converts 787 Dreamliner cabins to carry freight
Kenya Airways and Canadian aerospace company Avianor have converted the passenger cabins of some of the airline’s Boeing 787 airliners to carry cargo. Kenya Airways is a public-private partnership (with the State as the biggest but not the majority shareholder) and is the country’s national flag carrier, while Avianor is a Canadian enterprise specialising in aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul and the integration and completion of cabin interiors. This was the first time, anywhere, that passenger cabins of 787s were repurposed to carry freight. The airline operates nine 787s, of which two have undergone the non-permanent modification. The process started in December and was completed last month. Kenya Airways started carrying cargo in the passenger cabins of its 787s earlier last year, but with the passenger seats still fitted. This constrained the volume and weight of cargo that could be carried in the cabins.
Pilot dies in first solo in weight-shift control aircraft
On 2 February 2019, an Airborne Windsports Edge X weight-shift-control aircraft was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident at Jumbolair Airport (17FL), in Ocala, Florida. The noncertificated pilot died in the crash. During a post-accident interview, a friend of the pilot said he was driving away from the airport when he saw the aircraft take-off and climb to about 100 to 125 feet above ground level. The aircraft then veered left and right, briefly flew straight and seemed ‘to be pushed’ to the right. Then the nose dropped and the aircraft hit the ground in a nose-low attitude. The pilot’s friend reported the engine “never missed a lick.’
During a separate post-accident interview, the pilot’s friend also described that the engine was at full power during the climb out and that the wings were ‘wagging’ before the aircraft crashed. The pilot’s friend stated that he had been flying with the pilot since 2001 and had made about 25 to 30 flights with him, during which he rode in the back seat. The pilot’s friend estimated that the pilot had about 40 to 50 hours of total flight experience in weight-shift-control aircraft.
According to a friend of the witness to the accident, his friend had been providing the pilot with flight instruction for about a year and the accident flight was the pilot’s first solo flight. The friend of the witness showed a video from his friend’s social media account depicting the aircraft taxiing to the runway and a verbal statement indicating that the pilot was making his ‘first solo and he was probably nervous right about now.’ A search of FAA airman records revealed that the pilot did not hold a student pilot certificate. The friend of the pilot also did not possess a pilot or flight instructor certificate.
A post-accident examination revealed that the aircraft hit the ground about 300 feet west of Runway 36 on a magnetic heading of 330°. The fuselage was on its side with the nose crushed up to the engine area. The right wing was broken midspan, and the left wing was intact. Examination of the engine and fuel system revealed no pre accident discrepancies that would have precluded normal operation. The aircraft was equipped with a whole-airframe ballistic parachute system, which was found partially deployed.
Two die when Piper is lost in the ocean
On 1 February 2019, a Piper PA-32RT-300 was presumed destroyed after radar contact was lost over the Atlantic Ocean. The private pilot and passenger were presumed fatally injured. A review of voice, radar and weather data revealed that the airplane departed Palm Beach County Park Airport (KLNA) in West Palm Beach, Florida, under visual flight rules. The pilot subsequently obtained an instrument flight rules (IFR) clearance to Leonard M. Thompson International Airport (MYAM) in Marsh Harbour, The Bahamas. The controller cleared the airplane to progressively higher altitudes and provided vectors to avoid areas of precipitation in its flight path. The controller instructed the pilot to fly heading 080° to avoid weather and described an area of light and moderate precipitation at the pilot’s 11 o’clock position and 10 miles ahead. The pilot acknowledged. About two minutes later, the controller instructed the pilot to turn 10° to the right to stay away from the precipitation. About four minutes later, the controller instructed the pilot to turn another 10° right to remain clear of precipitation. The pilot read back the instructions and said, “I don’t know what happened, my autopilot it just kicked off.” The controller acknowledged the pilot and instructed him to climb and maintain 6,000 feet; the pilot repeated the altitude assignment.
Just a few minutes later, the controller again instructed the pilot to turn 10° right for weather and stated that the airplane did not appear to be on the correct heading. The pilot said he was “really fighting” to maintain heading. One minute later, the controller informed the pilot that the airplane had turned south and asked if he required assistance. The pilot replied, “it’s just really squirrelly up here, it’s weird.” The controller advised that the airplane was turning north toward an area of heavier precipitation and instructed the pilot to turn south toward “any heading.” The pilot stated that the airplane was having autopilot issues and that he was going to turn off the autopilot and fly manually. The controller then advised the pilot that it appeared the airplane was heading eastbound and instructed him to maintain 6,000 feet. The controller also stated that he would advise the center controller that the airplane was having “some sort of an autopilot issue.”
The controller next advised the pilot that the airplane had turned back to the northwest and asked if he was going to return to an eastbound heading. The pilot responded that he was “fine” that his instruments were “acting really goofy” and that he would turn the airplane to a 090° heading. The controller instructed the pilot to maintain 6,000 feet and no higher than 7,000 feet. The pilot did not respond. Shortly after, the airplane entered a sharp right turn from a northerly heading and began to descend. The radar track showed the airplane in an increasingly steep right turn as it rapidly descended and was lost from radar in an area that depicted heavy precipitation.
The United States Coast Guard conducted a search for the airplane by air and sea over an area of 1,115 square miles without success. After 36 hours, the search was suspended. The pilot received a weather briefing through Leidos Flight Service about an hour before the flight began. The briefer provided the convective outlook, Center Weather Advisory, METARs and winds aloft. The pilot asked about the line of weather off the coast and stated that if it was moving north, he would fly south of it. The briefer responded that the line of weather was “just sitting there.” The pilot told the briefer he “saw that one little red blob out there.” The Center Weather Advisory valid for the accident site at the accident time warned of areas of moderate rain showers and isolated thunderstorms with heavy precipitation with tops to 28,000 feet.
2020 was the worst year in history for air travel
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced full-year global passenger traffic results for 2020 showing that demand (revenue passenger kilometres or RPKs) fell by 65.9% compared to the full year of 2019, by far the sharpest traffic decline in aviation history. Furthermore, forward bookings have been falling sharply since late December 2020.
- International passenger demand in 2020 was 75.6% below 2019 levels. Capacity, (measured in available seat kilometres or ASKs) declined 68.1% and load factor fell 19.2 percentage points to 62.8%.
- Domestic demand in 2020 was down 48.8% compared to 2019. Capacity contracted by 35.7% and load factor dropped 17 percentage points to 66.6%.
- December 2020 total traffic was 69.7% below the same month in 2019, little improved from the 70.4% contraction in November. Capacity was down 56.7% and load factor fell 24.6 percentage points to 57.5%.
- Bookings for future travel made in January 2021 were down 70% compared to a year-ago, putting further pressure on airline cash positions and potentially impacting the timing of the expected recovery.
- IATA’s baseline forecast for 2021 is for a 50.4% improvement on 2020 demand that would bring the industry to 50.6% of 2019 levels. While this view remains unchanged, there is a severe downside risk if more severe travel restrictions in response to new variants persist.
- Should such a scenario materialise, demand improvement could be limited to just 13% over 2020 levels, leaving the industry at 38% of 2019 levels.
“Last year was a catastrophe. There is no other way to describe it. What recovery there was over the Northern hemisphere summer season stalled in autumn and the situation turned dramatically worse over the year-end holiday season, as more severe travel restrictions were imposed in the face of new outbreaks and new strains of COVID-19.” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
International passenger markets:
- Asia-Pacific airlines’ full-year traffic plunged 80.3% in 2020 compared to 2019, which was the deepest decline for any region. It fell 94.7% in the month of December amid stricter lockdowns, little changed from a 95% decline in November. Full year capacity was down 74.1% compared to 2019. Load factor fell 19.5 percentage points to 61.4%.
- European carriers saw a 73.7% traffic decline in 2020 versus 2019. Capacity fell 66.3% and load factor decreased 18.8 percentage points to 66.8%. For the month of December, traffic slid 82.3% compared to December 2019, an upturn over the 87% year-to-year decline in November reflecting pre-holiday momentum that was reversed toward the end of the month.
- Middle Eastern airlines’ annual passenger demand in 2020 was 72.9% below 2019. Annual capacity fell 63.9% and load factor plummeted 18.9 percentage points to 57.3%. December’s traffic was down 82.6% compared to December 2019, improved from an 86.1% drop in November.
- North American airlines’ full year traffic fell 75.4% compared to 2019. Capacity dropped 65.5%, and load factor sank 23.9 percentage points to 60.1%. December demand was down 79.6% compared to the same month a year-ago, a pick-up over an 82.8% drop in November reflecting a holiday surge.
- Latin American airlines had a 71.8% full year traffic decline compared to 2019, making it the best performing region after Africa. Capacity fell 67.7% and load factor dropped 10.4 percentage points to 72.4%, by far the highest among regions. Traffic fell 76.2% for the month of December compared to December 2019, somewhat improved from a 78.7% decline in November.
- African airlines’ traffic fell 69.8% last year compared to 2019, which was the best performance among regions. Capacity dropped 61.5%, and load factor sank 15.4 percentage points to 55.9%, lowest among regions. Demand for the month of December was 68.8% below the year-ago period, well ahead of a 75.8% decline in November. Carriers in the region have benefitted from somewhat less severe international travel restrictions compared to the rest of the world.
- China’s domestic passenger traffic fell 30.8% in 2020 compared to 2019. It was down 7.6% for the month of December versus December a year-ago period, which was a deterioration compared to a 6.3% decline in November amid new outbreaks and resulting restrictions.
- Russia’s domestic traffic fell 23.5% for the full year, but 12% for the month of December, much improved over a 23% decline in November. Full year results were supported by booming domestic tourism over the summer and falling fares.
The bottom line
“Optimism that the arrival and initial distribution of vaccines would lead to a prompt and orderly restoration in global air travel have been dashed in the face of new outbreaks and new mutations of the disease. The world is more locked down today than at virtually any point in the past 12 months and passengers face a bewildering array of rapidly changing and globally uncoordinated travel restrictions. We urge governments to work with industry to develop the standards for vaccination, testing and validation that will enable governments to have confidence that borders can reopen and international air travel can resume once the virus threat has been neutralised. The IATA Travel Pass will help this process, by providing passengers with an App to easily and securely manage their travel in line with any government requirements for COVID-19 testing or vaccine information. In the meantime, the airline industry will require continued financial support from governments to remain viable,” said de Juniac.
Air travel may get expensive as aviation fuel prices hiked again
Air travel can get expensive for passengers’ as the prices of Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) has increased by three percent. This is the fifth increase in ATF prices in the last two months amid rising international crude oil prices. According to the price notification of the public sector petroleum companies, the price of ATF has increased by Rs 1304.25 per kl to Rs 53795.41 per kl. Earlier on 16 January, ATF prices had increased, when the price was increased by Rs 1512.38 per kilolitre.
France orders 12 replacement Rafale aircraft
On 29 January 2021 Dassault Aviation received an order for twelve new Rafale aircraft from the French Air and Space Force. These aircraft will replace the 12 Rafales of the French Air and Space Force (FASF) sold to the Hellenic Air Force. The contract was signed during a visit by the French Minister of the Armed Forces to the Argonay plant in Haute-Savoie which has produced the flight control systems for all Dassault aircraft since 1963. Dassault Aviation and its industrial partners would like to thank the French Ministry of the Armed Forces, the French defence procurement agency DGA and the Armed Forces for their renewed confidence.
Boeing’s F-15EX fighter jet goes vertical on its first flight
On 2 February, the new Boeing F-15EX fighter jet completed its first flight paving the way for the early delivery of the first two jets to the US Air Force later this quarter. The jet took off and landed from St. Louis Lambert International Airport, completing a 90-minute test flight before returning to the airport. Boeing F-15 Chief Test Pilot Matt Giese checked out the multirole jet’s avionics, advanced systems and software. A test team monitoring the data collected during the flight in real time confirmed that the aircraft performed as planned.
The fighter’s digital backbone means it can serve as a testbed for future technology insertion, a key capability for the Air Force. Modern variants of the F-15 also include fly-by-wire flight controls, an all-new digital cockpit, modern AESA radar and the ADCP-II, the world’s fastest mission computer. The F-15EX, the most advanced version to date, features the Eagle Passive / Active Warning and Survivability System, electronic warfare system to improve mission effectiveness and survivability for operators. In July 2020, the US Air Force awarded Boeing a contract to build the first batch of eight jets. However, future plans call for as many as 144 aircraft.
US All In Aviation recognised by Cirrus Aircraft, as ‘Training Center of the Year’
On 1 February 2021, All In Aviation announced its recognition as North American “Training Center of the Year” for 2020 by the leading global manufacturer of personal aircraft, Cirrus Aircraft. All In Aviation was presented with the distinguished honour during Cirrus Aircraft’s annual Cirrus CX Symposium, where the company’s affiliated training partners convene each January to discuss the future of the private aviation industry. This year’s convention took place virtually.
With training centres in nearly every state in the S, Cirrus Aircraft certifies its partners based on a number of criteria including maintaining stringent standards, meeting performance targets and employing smart electronic and safety technologies. Training centres must also demonstrate Cirrus Aircraft’s industry commitment to safety when it comes to maintenance and pilot training.
In this country, Cirrus South Africa based at Lanseria International Airport also has a proud history of being an internationally recognised Cirrus Training Centre, Cirrus authorised Aircraft Maintenance Organisation and Cirrus Aircraft Sales Centre.
US Navy begins search to replace MH-60R/S, MQ-8C
The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations has launched an analysis of alternatives to identify what maritime strike capabilities need to be replaced when the MH-60R/S and MQ-8C fleets begin to reach their end of service in the 2030s. The service is calling the effort the ‘Future Vertical Lift Maritime Strike Analysis of Alternatives’, according to a request for information posted online on 28 January.
The MH-60R/S is the service’s premier submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopter, though it also has a secondary role as a utility helicopter that conducts search and rescue, cargo resupply, personnel transport, medical evacuation and communication relay work. The MQ-8C is an unmanned maritime helicopter, which only reached initial operating capability in 2019. It currently conducts limited intelligence and surveillance and reconnaissance, as well as precision targeting, work, though the USN is examining whether weapons and additional sensors could be added to it.
The USN’s decision to name its effort “Future Vertical Lift Maritime Strike” likely foreshadows a plan to dovetail with the US Army’s Future Vertical Lift umbrella initiative which is already underway. As part of that, the US Army aims to replace its Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk, predecessor to the MH-60 Seahawk with the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA). The US Army also aims to replace its retired OH-58 Kiowa Warrior scout helicopter with the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA).
Sikorsky’s Raider X, a rigid co-axial helicopter with a pusher propeller, is competing against Bell’s 360 Invictus, a compound helicopter, in the FARA competition. A Sikorsky-Boeing team’s Defiant X, a rigid co-axial helicopter with a pusher propeller, is competing against a production variant of Bell’s V-280 Valor demonstrator, in the FLRAA competition. The US Army wants to field FARA by 2028 and FLRAA by 2030, meaning the USN could piggyback on development and production efforts of those programmes by ordering maritime variants of the rotorcraft later.
Starship SN9 launches, but still does succeed the landing phase
After days of turmoil with the FAA, Elon Musk’s SpaceX obtained clearance to launch Starship SN9 in the second such test of a higher altitude flight, this time to 10 kilometres, with a re-entry transition and final reorientation for landing and again, SN9 got almost all of it right. This time, it appears that in the final transition to the landing attitude and reignition of two Raptor engines, that one not only did not fire up properly but video suggests it may have come apart, as debris was clearly seen near the descending machine right after reignition. SN9 hit the landing pad a high rate of speed and inclined some 45 degrees off axis and offered the usual fiery explosion, post-impact.
Keep in mind that not only is the Starship vehicle still experimental, but so are the Raptor engines that power it and that future versions of the Starship will use dozens of the things to (hopefully) loft some folks to Mars. In the meantime, SN10 is already on the pad and was close by as SN9 demonstrated it is RUD (Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly) abilities some six minutes and 26 seconds after roaring to an all-too brief life. One SpaceX spokesperson indicated that SN10 might fly before the end of the month but a lot will depend on what happened to the errant Raptor (if that is what occurred) and what fixes may be required.
First private space mission announced
Shift4 Payments and Draken International founder Jared Isaacman has booked a trip with SpaceX that is being called ‘the world’s first all-civilian mission to space.’ Named Inspiration4, the multi-day orbital flight is currently being planned for the fourth quarter of 2021. Isaacman, whose accomplishments as a pilot include two around-the-world speed records and more than 100 airshows as part of the Black Diamond Jet Team, will lead the mission. He is donating the other three seats, the first of which will go to an individual selected by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The occupant of the second open seat will be chosen by random drawing from a pool of members of the public who have donated to St. Jude’s via the Inspiration4 fundraiser. The final seat will go to an ‘inspirational entrepreneur’, selected by a panel of judges who has launched an online store with Shift4Shop.
“Inspiration4 is the realisation of a lifelong dream and a step towards a future in which anyone can venture out and explore the stars,” said Isaacman. “I appreciate the tremendous responsibility that comes with commanding this mission and I want to use this historic moment to inspire humanity while helping to tackle childhood cancer here on Earth.”
Inspiration4 will use SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft, Resilience, which launched on its first crewed mission in November 2020. According to SpaceX, crew members will undergo the company’s commercial astronaut training that will include lessons in orbital mechanics, operating in microgravity, zero gravity and stress testing along with emergency preparedness training, spacesuit and spacecraft ingress and egress exercises and partial and full mission simulations. Inspiration4 will launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Airbus studies ‘Moon Cruiser’ concept for ESA’s cis-lunar transfer vehicle
Airbus has been awarded a CLTV (Cis-Lunar Transfer Vehicle) study for a ‘Moon Cruiser’ by the European Space Agency (ESA). According to the study concept (two parallel Phase A/B1), the CLTV is a versatile, autonomous logistics vehicle that could, for example, provide timely and efficient support to NASA and ESA in the implementation of the future Artemis Moon missions. The spacecraft will be based on existing and proven technologies and will complement the multipurpose European Large Logistic Lander (EL3).
The execution of lunar missions, including landing on the Moon and setting up upcoming lunar space station, Gateway, is a complex and challenging task for the international community. It requires a precisely planned chain of supply and logistics missions. The Airbus Moon Cruiser concept supports these challenges in several ways:
- Gateway logistics: the CLTV can transport cargo or fuel for refuelling in lunar orbit and to the Gateway, the international project led by the two main contributors NASA (United States) and ESA (Europe), supporting a sustainable presence on the Moon and exploration beyond and a pillar of NASA’s Artemis programme
- Transfer of a large Lunar Module into Low Lunar Orbit: The CLTV is required to fly a lander or an ascent stage between the Gateway and the low lunar orbit, to perform landing and ascent missions with larger and more extensive services
- CLTV’s versatility will also allow it to support missions to post-ISS orbital infrastructure in LEO as well as missions in the field of GEO satcom servicing.
The CLTV’s design allows multiple mission types to be carried out with a single vehicle and is compatible with various launchers. Airbus’ solution is a mature, versatile and modular concept based on a large portfolio of mission and vehicle designs for Human Spaceflight and Exploration built by Airbus for ESA including the Orion European Service Module (ESM), as well as five successful Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) space transporter missions, carrying a total of around 30 tons of cargo into space.
Smart drones to be tested in battle against East Africa locust swarms
This acquisition comes after successful sulphur sniffer operations in Denmark and France. The Camcopter S-100 was also recently operated for the world’s first full-scale offshore UAV cargo delivery to the active oil and gas platform Troll A in Norway. These operations were both carried out by Nordic Unmanned and Schiebel.
Schiebel and Nordic Unmanned are both under contract with EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency) to fulfil its Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) services. Nordic Unmanned specifically for maritime pollution and emissions monitoring. The Camcopter S-100 measures the ships’ sulphur emissions to check compliance with the EU rules governing the sulphur content of marine fuels. Measurements are transmitted in real time through the EMSA RPAS Data Centre to the relevant authorities. The Camcopter S-100 operates day and night and can carry multiple payloads with a combined weight of up to 50 kg. Due to its minimal footprint and size, it is well suited for maritime operations.
Thought for today
Twice Weekly News from African Pilot
Should you miss out on any edition of APAnews, please visit the website: www.africanpilot.co.za and click on the APAnews link on the front page. All past weekly APAnews publications have been archived on the website.
Until Monday, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)