“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I will remember. Involve me and I learn” unknown
African Pilot’s April 2019 edition
The April edition of African Pilot is complete and is printing. This edition will feature business at Wonderboom National Airport and Turboprop Aircraft types. With the launch of APAdigital, I have been filming extensive video footage at the airports in order to produce videos that illustrate the various regional airports as they have never been seen before.
African Pilot’s May 2019 edition
The May edition will feature all helicopter types and helicopter operations available in southern Africa, whilst at the same time, our team will complete the annual African Pilot Service Guide to be distributed together with the May edition. The closing date for editorial material is Wednesday 3 April and the advertising material deadline is Friday 5 April. We have made this deadline earlier for the May edition due to the many public holidays in the month of April. For advertising positions please contact Lara Bayliss at Tel: 0861 001130 Cell: 079 880 4359 or e-mail: email@example.com Thank you
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?
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: Middelburg airshow and Aero Club Air Week by Athol Franz
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
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 Tel: 0861 001130
Cell: 079 880 4359 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you.
AERO South Africa scheduled for 4 to 6 July Wonderboom National Airport
AERO SA is already more than 65% 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: email@example.com
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 the 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo and Video Experience 26 to 28 July Kyalami Grand Prix circuit
Forget static displays and traditional expos. Immerse yourself in an experiential world of interactive zones, workshops, live demos and compare the latest innovations side by side. The Photo and Video Experience has never been done in South Africa before, and as the name suggests, this event gives you an opportunity to immerse yourself in a world of action, colour, fashion and lighting. Not forgetting the phoneographers; there really is something special for everyone and anyone that loves taking pictures or videos. Whether you are a smartphone user or pro-photographer, this event is a must attend! Don’t miss out on experiencing 6 interactive zones, learning from 27+ workshops, observing 30+ live demos and meeting 100+ exhibitors this event has to offer. For more information, visit website: www.photoandvideoexperience.co.za. Secure your tickets online now: https://bit.ly/2WOrRGa
What is scheduled for the next few weeks?
The Coves Flying Carnival takes off
The annual ‘Coves Fly-In’ has been a popular event on the aviation calendar since 2011. The Coves is a beautiful lifestyle estate on the Western shores of Hartbeespoort Dam. This year promises to be particularly exciting. To reflect many enhancements to the event, The Coves community has renamed the event ‘The Coves Flying Carnival’.
Aviation activities will start at sunrise, with a full programme for the day. We are expecting more than 70 visiting aircraft, plus 30 that are resident at The Coves. Several aviation activities not seen in previous years are confirmed. These include displays of powered paragliders, parachutists, radio controlled aircraft (both powered and gliders) as well as formation flying. Highlights are several aerobatic displays by some of the most sought after teams and individuals on the continent. Helicopter flips will be available to visitors to the Carnival.
To complement the aviation, food stalls, shaded seating areas, ice cold drinks, proper sanitation will be provided. Local produce and crafts, as well as aviation toys and memorabilia, will be for sale. The voice of aviation, Brian Emmenis and his Capital Radio broadcast team will guide, entertain and keep us all informed and safe during the day.
The Coves Flying Carnival is by invitation only. Invited guests and registered aircraft are welcomed to experience a unique lifestyle estate. Visitors can enjoy a meal or drink at The Oaks bistro and see the dam and the various Coves we love to live in. Above all, the natural beauty and grandeur of living at the foot of the majestic Magaliesburg Mountain range provide an unforgettable experience.
Visiting aircraft will be welcomed for arrival up to 11h00, after which there will be sterile airspace for the various displays, The runway will reopen at 15h00 for departures. These timelines will be strictly enforced. All aircraft types are welcomed to visit for the day, as long as they abide by the Coves Aero Club rules, approach procedures and the indemnity requirements laid out on www.thecoves.co.za
All arriving aircraft must complete their arrival and indemnity forms by no later than 5 April, to gain access to our private airfield. Please e-mail all forms confirming your understanding and possession of the rules of the day to The Coves Aero club chairman. JP Fourie, at email@example.com
Pilots are required to register on arrival at The Coves Pilot Welcome Centre, adjacent to the Outside Broadcast unit. where we shall provide our visiting flying folk with a meal and coffee voucher, in appreciation of their aerial visit, to The Coves Flying Carnival. Diarise 6 April 2019, as a must attend event if you are an aviator. You don’t want to miss this event!
Aero Club of South Africa AGM
This is to advise you of the upcoming 78th Annual General Meeting of the members of The Aero Club of South Africa. The details of this meeting are as follows:
Date: 23 April 2019
Time : 18:00 for 18:30
Place: EAA auditorium, Hurricane Ave, Rand Airport, Germiston
Available on the Aero Club website are the following documents:
• The Agenda
• The Draft Minutes of the last AGM no 77
• Proxy form
• Nomination form
• Council Members Election Process – extracts from the Constitution (given as part of the nomination form document)
Should you wish to place any items on the Agenda under General, please notify the Aero Club Office at firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion.
As per the Council Members election process to be found in the Constitution, any nominations to be made to serve as Council office bearers are to be made 30 days in advance of the AGM, this being by 23 March 2019 by completing the prescribed nomination form and submitting in writing to the Aero Club office. See you there.
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.
Please take note that the Race for Rhinos scheduled for 27 to 30 June has been cancelled by the organisers. However, there is some talk about a scaled-down version taking place at Matsieng in Botswana.
Also, the SAAF Museum airshow that was scheduled for Saturday 4 May has also been postponed, due to the general election taking place on Wednesday 8 May. Although African Pilot has not received any communication from the SAAF Museum, we have received this information from a reliable source. As soon as these events have been confirmed, African Pilot will keep you informed about the details.
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 Hartbeespoort 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
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 held on Lake Constance as Europe’s general aviation center. 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.
Witbank Aeronautical Association fly-in Easter breakfast
Contact Robert Clark e-mail: Comms@flywaa.co.za
Rand Airport Easter fly-in
Contact Carolle Olivier Tel: 011 827 8884
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
10 and 11 May
Lowveld airshow at Nelspruit airport
Contact Monica Fourie Tel: 083 619 3597 E-mail: email@example.com
10 to 12 May
Contact Dave O’Halloran E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
10 to 12 May
NAC annual fly away Letsatsi Game Reserve
Contact Deon Wentzel Cell: 082 458 5719 E-mail: email@example.com
14 to 17 May
NAMPO Agricultural Trade Show near Bothaville, Free State
Contact Wim Venter Tel: 086 004 7246 E-mail: Wim@grainsa.co.za
SAPFA Sheila Taylor Fun Rally – Krugersdorp Airfield
Contact Frank Eckard cell: 083 269 1516 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
18 & 19 May
SAC Free State Regionals Tempe Airport
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: email@example.com
Botswana International Airshow Matsieng Aerodrome (FBMA)
Contact Hentie de Wet E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Zambia receives a new presidential jet
On 28 February a new Gulfstream G650 VIP jet arrived from Israel in the Zambian capital Lusaka. The aircraft (AF001) is believed to have been ordered at a cost of $65 million via Israel, where it was fitted with self-defence systems. In Zambia Air Force markings, it was seen in November arriving in Basel, Switzerland, for an interior upgrade at AMAC Aerospace after flying from Gulfstream Aerospace’s Savannah, Georgia, facility. The G650 takes over from the Challenger 604 (9J-ONE) used by the Zambian government for VIP transport.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
President Trump orders all 737 MAX airliners grounded in the US
In the wake of the Ethiopian Boeing 737 MAX 8 disaster last Sunday as well as the Lion Air disaster five months ago, President Donald Trump has signed an order grounding all Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 airliners. “Those planes are grounded effective immediately,” Trump told reporters. “Safety is our paramount concern.”
USA Today reports that the U. was the last nation to order airlines to stop flying Boeing’s newest jetliners. Canada issued an order grounding the aircraft Wednesday morning. On Tuesday the FAA had issued a statement saying that it was not planning to order the airplanes to stop flying. That information was updated Wednesday. “The FAA is ordering the temporary grounding of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft operated by US airlines or in US territory. The agency made this decision as a result of the data gathering process and new evidence collected at the site and analyzed on Wednesday,” the agency said in a statement posted on its website. “This evidence, together with newly refined satellite data available to FAA this morning, led to this decision. “The grounding will remain in effect pending further investigation, including examination of information from the aircraft’s flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders. An FAA team is in Ethiopia assisting the NTSB as parties to the investigation of the Flight 302 accident. The agency will continue to investigate.”
Industry reacts to order to ground Boeing 737 MAX fleet
The US aviation industry is weighing in on the FAA’s decision to ground the domestic fleet of Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 airplanes. Boeing said in a statement that it continues to have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX. “However, after consultation with the FAA, the NTSB and aviation authorities and its customers around the world, Boeing has determined (out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure the flying public of the aircraft’s safety) to recommend to the FAA the temporary suspension of operations of the entire global fleet of 371 737 MAX aircraft.
“We are supporting this proactive step out of an abundance of caution. Safety is a core value at Boeing for as long as we have been building airplanes and it always will be,” Boeing said. “There is no greater priority for our company and our industry. We are doing everything we can to understand the cause of the accidents in partnership with the investigators, deploy safety enhancements and help ensure this does not happen again.”
Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA)
“ALPA supports the decision by the FAA and Transport Canada to ground the Boeing 737 MAX. The FAA reports that it made its decision ‘as a result of the data-gathering process and new evidence collected at the site and analyzed today.’ Out of an abundance of caution, North American regulators have acted in the best interests of aviation safety. “ALPA continues to monitor the situation and is working alongside aviation authorities in the United States and Canada to uphold the safety and integrity of our air transportation system. We strongly encourage the investigative authorities responsible to expedite the investigation of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and identify any corrective action if necessary in order to return this aircraft to service.”
Association of Professional Flight Attendants
“We are relieved the US Government issued an order to ground the 737 Max 8 and 9, days after the tragic accident in Ethiopia. The announcement was made shortly after an interview I conducted live on CNBC and while I was being briefed by American Airlines senior management that a grounding was imminent,” said APFA National president Lori Bassani. “Our members, the Flight Attendants of American Airlines were growing increasingly concerned with their safety and the safety of our travelling public as days passed and news stories aired of global groundings. Flight Attendants are aviation’s first responders and safety is in our DNA. We deserve a thorough and transparent investigation into how this accident occurred and how an accident such as this can be prevented in the future. American Airlines has assured us they are working to minimise any inconvenience to our members and passengers who may be impacted by this grounding.”
“We have removed our 34 MAX 8 aircraft from scheduled service. Southwest operates a fleet of more than 750 Boeing 737s and the 34 MAX 8 aircraft account for less than five percent of our daily flights.
“We have been in constant contact with the FAA and Boeing since Ethiopian Airlines’ accident last Sunday. While we remain confident in the MAX 8 after completing more than 88,000 flight hours accrued over 41,000 flights, we support the actions of the FAA and other regulatory agencies and governments across the globe that have asked for further review of the data, including information from the flight data recorder related to the recent accident involving the MAX 8. The safety of our customers and employees is our uncompromising priority and today’s action reflects the commitment to supporting the current investigations and regulatory concerns.
Boeing delays the rollout of its 777X
With the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 dominating the news, Boeing announced late on Sunday that it will delay the rollout of the 777X that was slated for Wednesday. The company has not said when the public debut will take place. The 425-passenger 777X is an evolution of the 777 twinjet, billed as the ‘most efficient twin-engine jet in the world’ and features new composite wings with 21 feet of additional span and folding wingtips to make the 777X fit into more airports. Refitting the 777 with the GE9X engine will result in a fuel efficiency bump of at least 5%. Overall, Boeing says the 777X will use “12% less fuel per seat than any competing aircraft.” It was also a turbulent morning on the stock market for Boeing, which saw shares fall by more than 12% in early trading but rallied to end the day down 5.3% at $400.01 per share.
Lufthansa orders 20 additional A350-900 wide-body aircraft
Lufthansa Group has signed an order for 20 additional A350-900 widebody aircraft, following a decision by the company’s supervisory board. This latest agreement brings Lufthansa Group’s total orders for the A350 XWB to 45, with 12 aircraft already in operation around the world. The A350 XWB has set new standards for long haul flying, combining extra-long-range capability with the lowest seat mile cost of any large widebody airliner and offering passengers the highest standards of comfort. Lufthansa was one of the first operators of the A350 XWB and has been deploying the aircraft efficiently across its global network, becoming one of our best ambassadors for this great aircraft. Lufthansa’s decision reinforces the Group’s status as Airbus’ largest airline customer and operator, with 674 Airbus aircraft on order (including the latest A350 order) and 574 Airbus aircraft in the Group’s current fleet (as of 31 December 2018), including 28 A220 Family, 420 A320 Family, 100 A330s/A340s, 12 A350s and 14 A380s.
BRS saves 400 lives
Last week and for the 400th time, BRS Aerospace documented the 400th and 401st lives saved, a worthy milestone in aviation safety. “This milestone and all of the lives saved are a testament to Boris Popov, who conceived the idea and whose vision for the company he founded overcame initial resistance to the very idea of aircraft parachutes from some naysayers,” said BRS President and Director, Enrique Dillon. “The concept’s legacy are the pilots and passengers who survived to continue to live fruitful lives and the thousands of families who have enjoyed added peace of mind when their loved ones fly.”
The system is designed to be a last resort for pilots and passengers when all other attempts to recover the airplane in case of emergency or pilot incapacitation have failed. Numbers 400 and 401 entered the BRS save logbook when the pilot of a Cirrus aircraft with an engine out deployed the whole aircraft rescue system over water more than 20 miles from Grand Turk Island in the Turks and Caicos. BRS reported that pilot and passenger were uninjured and that they were picked up by a cruise ship.
The BRS parachute system is deployed in life threatening situations by a rocket to slow the aircraft in the airstream and then lower it and occupants to the ground in a measured descent. The parachute and solid propellant ballistic rocket assembly are enclosed in a canister mounted inside the fuselage that is activated manually or automatically. With more than 30,000 systems installed during the past 35 years on sport aircraft, certified aircraft and military trainers, approximately one of every 120 systems has been activated as a last resort for pilot and passenger safety in potentially lethal situations.
TBM 930 sets New York-to-Paris speed record
On 9 March Dierk Reuter and Phil Bozek used their Daher TBM 930 to beat a 34-year-old speed record averaging 364 knots between Westchester County Airport (HPN) near New York City and Le Bourget Airport in France. Their eight-hour, 37-minute flight beat a record set by Chuck Yeager in 1985 in the C1e class for turboprop aircraft with a take-off weight under 13,200 pounds. He made the trip at an average of 325 knots. To make this trip, the TBM 930 was fitted with custom fuel tanks that doubled the its standard 300-gallon capacity and required a take-off weight of 9200 pounds, some 1800 over standard. (As is common, the aircraft had a waiver to operate above the manufacturer’s max weight.)
The flight consumed 520 gallons of Jet A. Although the record flight was delayed by two hours due to heavy frost at Westchester County, the pilots said it was largely uneventful. “After encountering moderate winds during the first part of the trip, we experienced very favorable winds later, which propelled us at astonishing groundspeeds up to 458 knots,” said Bozek. The flight was more than a year in the making for TBM owner Reuter, a Chicago-based global finance expert with 4500 hours, who had owned a TBM 850 version for nearly 10 years. At 31, Bozek, a Michigan-based real estate investor, is said to be the youngest owner of a Daher TBM.
SpaceX crew Dragon splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean
The Crew Dragon landed safely in the Atlantic Ocean on Friday morning, with a splashdown as scheduled. The uncrewed craft had been on a test flight in which it docked with the International Space Station. The successful test and splashdown is “an amazing achievement in American history,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, who called the SpaceX flight the “dawning of a new era in American human space flight.”
The splashdown was closely monitored at SpaceX’s mission control in Hawthorne, California, where parachute deployments and other developments brought whoops of celebration. The yells then turned into roars of cheering applause after Crew Dragon finally hit the water safely and well within sight of its recovery boats off the Florida coast. The Atlantic Ocean landing is the first in nearly 50 years for a capsule that was designed for humans, NASA says. The last such incident: the Apollo 9 splashdown on 13 March 1969.
GECAS delivers AEI’s first-ever 737-800 converted freighter to Ethiopian
GECAS has delivered AEI’s inaugural passenger-to-freighter converted 737-800 to Ethiopian Airlines. Completing the conversion of the prototype aircraft in December, Aeronautical Engineers Inc (AEI) has now received the supplemental type certification (STC) from the FAA for their 737-800SF. In 2015, GECAS became the conversion programme launch customer of both AEI and Boeing, providing the prototype aircraft to each. In April 2018, Boeing delivered their first converted 737-800 to GECAS customer West Atlantic (see more here). To date, GECAS has announced plans to convert at least fifty 737-800 passenger aircraft to freighters.
The converted 737-800SF carries more payload (up to 52,800 lbs. 24 000Kg) and has a longer range than other standard-body freighters, providing capability to open new markets. The 737-800SF also offers operators newer technology, lower fuel consumption and better reliability than standard-body freighters and is primarily designed to carry express cargo on domestic / short haul routes.
Global Ultralight and Light Aircraft market worth $13.9 billion by 2030
A new report from ASDReports says that the ultralight and light aircraft market is estimated at $7.1 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach $13.9 billion by 2030, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5.80 percent from 2018 to 2030. Factors such as the increasing demand for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) across the globe and increasing global deliveries of ultralight and light aircraft supported by the demand for air taxi and urban air mobility are leading to the growth of the market. However, risks associated with passenger safety and restrictions on flying commercial drones are limiting the overall growth of the market.
Based on aircraft type, the ultralight aircraft type segment is expected to lead the ultralight and light aircraft market during the forecast period. This segment considers the growth potential of the disruptive technologies, such as passenger drones, E-VTOL, hybrid and electric aircraft which are expected to drive the market during the forecast period.
Based on end use, the civil and commercial segment of the ultralight and light aircraft market is expected to grow at the highest CAGR during the forecast period. Increase in demand for urban air mobility and increase in the funds raised by technology developers for civil & commercial applications, such as passenger drones and E-VTOL are projected to drive market growth during the forecast period. Also, increase in deliveries of conventional aircraft for civil & commercial applications, such as medical, business transport, and recreational flights are projected to drive market growth during the forecast period.
Asia Pacific is projected to lead the ultralight and light aircraft market during the forecast period. Growth of this market is supported by new infrastructure devolvement for urban air mobility, thereby providing various opportunities for ultralight and light aircraft manufacturers in the region. Major players in the ultralight and light aircraft market include Aeropro (Slovakia), American Legend Aircraft (US), Autogyro (Germany), Cirrus Aircraft (US) Costruzioni Aeronautiche TECNAM (Italy), Evektor-Aerotechnik (Czech Republic), Flight Design General Aviation (German), P&M Aviation (UK), Pilatus (Switzerland), Piper Aircraft (US), Pipistrel (Slovenia), Quicksilver Aircraft (US), Textron (US), and Vulcan Air (Italy), among others.
Boeing completes acquisition of ForeFlight
ForeFlight has partnered with Boeing for the past two years to bring aviators Jeppesen’s aeronautical data and charts through ForeFlight’s popular mobile platforms. Now, the teams will integrate talent and offerings to bring innovative, expanded digital solutions to all segments of the aviation industry. The acquisition of ForeFlight aligns with Boeing’s growth strategy of complementing organic investments with targeted, strategic investments that position the company for long-term growth. Terms of the approved deal are not being disclosed and do not affect Boeing’s financial guidance or the company’s commitment to returning approximately 100 percent of free cash flow to shareholders. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, ForeFlight has approximately 180 employees.
PAL-V unveils production model of its limited edition Flying Car
A vehicle billed as the world’s first production model flying car has been unveiled at the Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) 2019. PAL-V is unveiling the unique features of the PAL-V Liberty Pioneer during the show. The 90-piece limited edition, based on the PAL-V Liberty which was unveiled last year at the GIMS. Among other features, the PAL-V Liberty Pioneer Edition is equipped with a dual control cockpit and the Electronic Flight Instrument System. The full carbon package clearly distinguishes the Pioneer from the standard Liberty as well as a tailor-made interior and exclusive characteristic two-tone color scheme.
Developing a flying car takes a long time and a lot of persistence. It’s a revolutionary development, especially as PAL-V developed a commercial vehicle that complies with existing regulations, very different from an interesting technical concept. “Although more and more flying concepts are announced, only a handful of companies work on a real flying car: one that can both fly and drive, ideal for city to city mobility. The combination offers unprecedented freedom: personal door-to-door flying mobility,” said Mike Stekelenburg, Chief Engineer at PAL-V. “The gyroplane principle not only provides us with a safe and easy-to-operate flying car but it also enables us to make it compact and within existing regulations, which is the most important factor to build a useable flying car.”
Drone maker EHang plans US IPO
Chinese drone maker EHang is reportedly looking at ‘Going Public’ with a US Initial Public Offering that could raise as much as $500 million for the company. Reuters reports that sources with knowledge of the plans say that Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse are working on the plan. When contacted, Credit Suisse said they had no comment, while EHang and Morgan Stanley did not respond to the requests.
EHang is currently working on both unmanned aircraft and passenger drones. It unveiled its eVTOL concept aircraft in 2016, which the company said would retail for under $300,000. The single-seat aircraft, for which the company says it has completed initial flight tests, can fly at speeds up to 70 knots, according to EHang. EHang also holds a Guinness World Record for most drones flown simultaneously. Last May, the company conducted 13-minute flight that involved 1,374 drones spread over a kilometer. EHang’s small drones are focused mainly on aerial landscaping. Its market penetration is dwarfed by fellow Chinese company DJI.
While IPOs don’t get the kind of attention they did 20 years ago, several Chinese companies have taken advantage of US funding. Those include the live game-streaming playform Douyu, which has made a confidential filing and Lucking Coffee, a Chinese version of Starbucks which sources say tapped three US banks for an IPO that could be valued at as much as $3 billion. Reuters reports that Chinese companies raised $9.1 billion in US IPOs last year.
South African Seeker 400 export order
Denel Dynamics has announced that an undisclosed country in the Middle East is the launch export customer for Denel Dynamics’ Seeker 400 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), with an order for six aircraft.
According to the latest Denel annual report, which states that the Middle Eastern customer ordered a ‘comprehensive solution’ consisting of six aircraft, two ground control stations, six electro-optic payloads, as well as the integration of other sensors, such as synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and satellite communications (SATCOM).
The customer has also ordered the integration of weapons. “The weapon of choice for the client is the P2, recently designed for Tawazun Dynamics,” the Denel annual report stated. The P2 is a small diameter weapon that was developed for the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE’s) Tawazun Dynamics, now known as Barij Dynamics. It is a low-cost, medium range precision-guided munition ideal for platforms like unmanned aerial vehicles. It was designed and developed in 18 months after a contract in September 2015, with a programmed flight test in November 2016 and a successful guided flight test in March 2017. The 14 kg P2 is GPS-guided, but will have an active laser sensor in the future. In addition to the Seeker 400, it has also been qualified on the Seeker 200.
As the launch customer for the P2 is almost certainly the United Arab Emirates (UAE), it is highly likely that the launch customer for the Seeker 400 is also the UAE, which has also ordered Seeker 200 aircraft to complement its Seeker II fleet. News of the Seeker 400 export order first emerged last year, with Denel initially only saying the contract was ‘substantial.’
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) was the launch customer for the Seeker 400 and took delivery of its first aircraft in late 2015, although operational testing and evaluation by the Defence Intelligence division was still underway late last year ahead of granting full military type certification.
The Seeker 400 is somewhat unusual in that it can carry two sensor payloads (weighing a combined 100 kg) at the same time, such as an optronic sensor turret like the Argos II and a synthetic aperture radar or electronic intelligence package. When carrying two payloads it is known as the Enhanced Seeker 400.
The Seeker 400 can be used for a wide range of military and civilian missions, including maritime surveillance and disaster reconnaissance. It has up to 16 hours endurance at altitudes up to 18 000 feet. At typical operating altitudes of between 4 500 and 9 000 feet, it is not visible from the ground by the human eye and is effectively inaudible. The UAV’s line-of-sight range is 250 km from its ground station, but this can be doubled by using a forward ground station with deployed forces. The Seeker 400 can be armed, including with lightweight Impi and Impi-S missiles or the P2. The Impi series is based on the laser-guided Mokopa, but scaled down for lightweight platforms like UAVs.
New UK drones law punishes British Model flying community
According to the British Model Flying Association (BMFA) and the All-Party Group on General Aviation (APPG-GA), a new set of regulations intended to tighten rules on drone operators is in danger of having a disproportionately negative effect on the model flying community. The broad thrust of changes to the Air Navigation Order which are supported by the APPG-GA, will see new restrictions imposed on small unmanned aircraft from 13 March. However, these include larger exclusion zones around airfields and an extension of rules to cover any unmanned aircraft regardless of mass.
David Phipps, Chief Executive of BMFA expressed the community’s concern by saying “Many long-established clubs have been operating from sites on and around airfields perfectly safely. At a stroke, this rushed new regulation threatens to sweep some of these long standing arrangements aside.
“We are already hearing reports that some airfields are reluctant to renew permissions due to a perceived increase in liability; this represents a real threat to the model flying community which has established an excellent safety record over almost 100 years.”
The APPG-GA and the BMFA are working together to highlight the issue to Government and convince them to make appropriate changes. Chair of the APPG-GA, Grant Shapps MP, said “It is important to recognise that both the model flying and drone community are supportive of this new regulation and in the context of recent events at Gatwick it makes perfect sense. However, we do think the lack of concessions for the tried and tested model flying club community is a serious omission which the Department for Transport needs to address urgently”.
The APPG-GA and the BMFA have published a joint letter to the Aviation Minister, Baroness Sugg, to highlight the concerns of the model flying community. In the letter, the groups highlighted that model flying is a fundamentally different activity from drone flying. The aerodynamics of the model aircraft require a greater level of pilot skill to operate and model flyers must therefore be trained to a higher standard than most hobbyist drone operators. This also limits the performance of model aircraft to well within visual line of sight- a restriction which does not necessarily apply to many types of commercially available drone.
ParaZero SafeAir For DJ’s Phantom 4 complies with new ASTM standard
Drone safety systems company ParaZero Technologies says it is having continued success enabling safe and legal UAS flights over people. Using ParaZero’s SafeAir System, North Dakota UAS operator, Botlink, was able to secure the first ever FAA waiver for flight over people with a DJI Phantom 4. To provide this ability to the rest of the commercial UAS industry, ParaZero is releasing the ASTM compliant, SafeAir Phantom System to the market for sale on its website.
For the past year and a half ParaZero together with the FAA, DJI and others, have worked to create a standard for sUAS parachutes that would enable flight over people. The standard (ASTM F3322-18) was released in September 2018 and defines the requirements for the design, manufacturing and testing of sUAS parachute systems. This past December, ParaZero, together with the Standard Institute of Israel (SII), completed the strenuous process with a series of 45 aerial deployments to test and prove the reliability and effectiveness of the system. Based on the measured descent rate, a Phantom 4 equipped with a SafeAir Phantom is expected to meet the requirements for flight over people in the FAA’s recently published draft rule. The SafeAir Phantom System is a smart parachute system that monitors UAS flight in real time, identifies critical failures and autonomously triggers a parachute, a flight termination system and an audio-warning buzzer.
The DJI Phantom 4 is one of the most popular drones in the world. Commercial operators use the UAS for construction, inspections, news and media and more. The certificate of compliance including the SII testing validation report are critical components of a waiver application. These will enable operators to expand their use of Phantom 4 drones for more efficient operations in areas that were previously restricted.
XQ-58A Valkyrie demonstrator completes inaugural flight
On 5 March the XQ-58A Valkyrie demonstrator, a long-range, high subsonic unmanned air vehicle completed its inaugural flight, at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona. The Air Force Research Laboratory partnered with Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems to develop the XQ-58A. This joint effort falls within the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Low Cost Attritable Aircraft Technology, or LCAAT, portfolio, which has the objective to break the escalating cost trajectory of tactically relevant aircraft. The objectives of the LCAAT initiative include designing and building UAS faster by developing better design tools and maturing and leveraging commercial manufacturing processes to reduce build time and cost.
Developed for runway independence, the aircraft behaved as expected and completed 76 minutes of flight time. The time to first flight took a little over 2.5 years from contract award. The XQ-58A has a total of five planned test flights in two phases with objectives that include evaluating system functionality, aerodynamic performance and launch and recovery systems. “XQ-58A is the first example of a class of UAV that is defined by low procurement and operating costs while providing game changing combat capability,” said Doug Szczublewski, AFRL’s XQ-58A Program Manager.
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Until next week, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)
African Pilot ‘Serious about flying’.