Observant readers will notice this week that I have added a new section called Air Taxi News to this week’s APAnews. I find it fascinating that there are many companies in the world, large and small that are working on the concept of autonomous air taxis. This is mainly due to the challenge that the largest single taxi company in the world UBER set about a year ago to its conference in Dallas USA to have economical flying taxis by the year 2020.
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VIDEO OF THE WEEK
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
The DEA concluded the appeals process and has now ruled that the runway project may proceed.
Deidre Davids of Cape Town International Airport, is pleased that the airport’s plans have reached this important milestone. “The team has worked long and hard to get us to this point. We have gone out of our way to engage interested and affected parties and today we celebrate. We remain committed to be a responsible developer upholding all environmental and other requirements. Part of being a responsible developer is to be most mindful of the current water situation when we construct”, said Davids.The airport will realign the primary runway and construct parallel and rapid exit taxiways. The realigned primary runway will be 3 500m in length and will be built to international specifications. The new runway and associated infrastructure will facilitate greater air access into Cape Town and the Western Cape and will enable growth of passenger and cargo traffic that is essential for tourism and economic activity.The developments will improve access for larger aircraft with a wingspan of 65m or more, such as the Airbus A380. Given the efforts around air access and the resultant passenger growth, the timing of the approval of this project is apt. If all processes, such as detailed design, are concluded timeously, construction of the runway will start in 2019. Airports Company South Africa will notify the Department of Environmental Affairs at least 14 days before construction of the runway realignment project commences.
Contact E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 011 082 11007 April Ermelo Airshow
Contact Andre van Rooyen E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 417 017412 to 14 April SAPFA Rally Nationals and Fun Rally at Brits Airfield
Contact Frank Eckard E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083 269 151614 April Robertson annual Fly-in breakfast
Contact Alwyn du Plessis E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 083 270 588817 & 18 April African Aviation Summit Cairo, Egypt Website: www.aviationafrica.aero
Contact Mark Brown E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
AERO dedicates itself to offering a significant collection of aviation related products and accessories. Exhibitors will be showing engines, modern ultra-lights, powered aircraft, avionics and related products and services. Over the years, this show has gained a huge reputation from all over the world and the positive reaction from the attendees have motivated the exhibitors to improve the existing range and manufacture more such effective spare parts and products.
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com April to 1 May NAC annual fly-away 10th edition
Contact Deneys Potgieter E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or Cell: 082 891 435427 to 29 April EAA National Convention Vryheid Airfield over the last weekend in April. Besides a great expected turnout of aircraft, a fantastic venue and a superb function being organised by the Vryheid Wings Club, you can also win a trip to the world’s greatest aviation event – Oshkosh AirVenture! By making sure you are an EAA (South Africa) member, pre-registering and attending the event, you will stand in line to win this exciting prize! The draw will take place at Vryheid at the awards dinner on the airfield. Contact Marie Reddy email@example.com
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 804 703228 April Wings & Wheels Uitenhage
Contact Lourens Kruger E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 320 26155 May SAAF Museum Swartkops Airshow theme ‘Our Indomitable Spirit’
Contact Officer Commanding E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 012 351 22907 to 9 May Airport show in Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Contact Reed Exhibitions Middle East E-mail: email@example.com
Contact Grant Rousseau Cell: 082 329 3551E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org to 13 May Battlefields Country Lodge Annual fly-in Website: www.battlefieldslodge.co.za
Contact Dave O’Halloran Tel 079 496 5286 E-mail: email@example.com May Lowveld Airshow at the Nelspruit Airfield Tel: 013 741 6412
Contact Monica Fourie E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083 619 359712 May Swellengrebel Flying Club 60th birthday fly-in
Contact Pieter Venter E-mail: email@example.com to 18 May NAMPO Agricultural Trade Show near Bothaville, Free State
Contact Wim Venter Tel: 086 004 7246 E-mail: Wim@grainsa.co.za16 to 18 May Drone Con 2018 Vodaworld Centre in Midrand
Contact E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org & 18 May 8th Aviation Training and Education Summit Shanghai, China
Contact Josephine Zhu E-mail: email@example.com
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org May CAASA Conference to be held at Lanseria
Contact Louise Olckers Tel; 011 659 2345 E-mail: email@example.com to 26 May President’s Trophy Air Race Tempe Airfield, Bloemfontein
Website: www.sapfa.org.za E-mail: Race@sapfa.org.za
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 804 7032
Race director Robin Spencer-Scarr: E-mail: email@example.com
Contact Riaan van Vuuren E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +26 771 66 120129 to 31 May European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland.
Contact Bianca Dorneanu E-mail: email@example.com Tel: +32 2 766 00 72
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
According to the Lusa news agency, the Angolan military has ordered three C295 transport aircraft from Airbus and will use them for transport and maritime surveillance duties. Angolan President Joao Lourenco authorised commodities trading company Simportex to finalise the contract for the aircraft with Airbus Defence and Space. The contract is worth 159.9 million euros. It will be financed by Banco Bilbao and Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) of Spain and be included in the contract of the Public Investment Programme of the Angolan government.
It appears the C295s will be used by the Angolan Navy for maritime surveillance. Given the price tag, it is likely that this includes specialised maritime surveillance equipment. Maritime patrol variants of the C295 are fitted with the Fully Integrated Tactical System (FITS) for mission control and this includes a search radar, electro-optical sensors, magnetic anomaly detector and other avionics. Weapons can include torpedoes, missiles, mines and depth charges.
A growing number of countries in Africa have acquired the C295, the most recent being Mali, which received a single winglet-equipped C295W in December 2016. Mali’s selection of the aircraft was apparently influenced by Ghana’s use of the C295 in support of the Minusma mission in Mali from 2014, with the aircraft exhibiting good endurance and unrefuelled range as well as the ability to operate on unpaved runways. The C295W is the standard production version. It was unveiled in 2013 with the aim of improving performance and fuel economy, especially in hot and high conditions. The winglets improve cruise and fuel consumption through a reduction in drag and increase in lift. According to Airbus, a total of 206 C295s have been ordered and 165 delivered, with 163 in operation around the world today. One of the most recent customers was Brazil, which ordered an additional C295 for search and rescue, taking its fleet up to 15.
The Força Aérea Nacional de Angola (FANA – National Air Force of Angola) took delivery of its first two Sukhoi Su-30K fighters in September 2017 and is due to receive 10 more by early 2018. Angola placed a $1 billion order for a range of Russian defence equipment, including 12 Su-30K fighters, during a visit by Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Dmitry Rogozin, to Luanda in October 2013. Deliveries were originally expected to begin in 2015 but were delayed due to the need for unexpected upgrades, including improvements to the radar and navigation system and installation of a video recorder.
Though designated as Su-30s, these aircraft bear little resemblance to the family of advanced multi-role ‘Flanker’ derivatives delivered to India, Algeria, China, Malaysia and Venezuela. They more closely resemble standard Su-27UB trainers, with minimal modifications for operational use. Angola’s Su-30Ks are drawn from a batch of 18 early model aircraft (10 Su-30MK and eight Su-30K fighters) that were originally delivered to India between May 1997 and December 1999. The aircraft were briefly used as an interim solution while India took delivery of 200 more advanced Su-30MKIs in a number of batches. The Su-30MKI featured uprated avionics, Bars PESA radar, canard fore planes and thrust vectoring.
India had initially intended to upgrade these early aircraft, but it soon became clear that they could not economically be brought to the same standards as the new Su-30MKIs and instead they were used in part-exchange for the new aircraft.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
On Tuesday 13 March thousands of Boeing employees gathered at the company’s Renton, Washington factory to celebrate the 10,000th 737 to come off the production line. With this airplane, a 737 MAX 8 for Southwest Airlines, the 737 has broken the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for the most produced commercial jet aircraft model. The 737 previously held this GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title in 2006 for the 5,000th airplane to come out of the Renton factory, a mark that took almost four decades to reach. Due to growing market demand and higher production rates, the 737 programme reached the 10,000th airplane milestone only 12 years later. Boeing will increase 737 production from the current rate of 47 airplanes per month to 52 airplanes per month later this year. The 737 programme has more than 4,600 airplanes still on order fuelled by sales of the newest version of the 737, the 737 MAX.
Boeing 737 facts
- A 737 takes off or lands every 1.5 seconds
- On average, more than 2,800 737s are in the air at any given time
- More than 22 billion people have flown on a 737
- The 737 has flown more than 122 billion miles, the equivalent of five million times around Earth
After Donald Trump signed an order for tariffs on steel and aluminium imports and threatened up to $60 billion tariffs on Chinese imports, serious concerns over its impact on the United States companies like Boeing followed. While tariffs do not pose a serious threat for Boeing as steel and aluminium alloys are just 1.7% of the total production costs, the potential trade war could threaten its sales. The 25% tariff on steel and 10% tariff on aluminium on imports with the exemption of Canada and Mexico is widely believed to be directed at China. Trump’s threat to impose additional tariffs of up to $60 billion on Chinese goods like tech, telecoms and apparel further prove this point.
As a response, Chinese government threatened to retaliate which could result in a trade war and Boeing might be at the center of this. According to Aviation Week, at least 20% of Boeing’s exports go Chinese customers and the aircraft manufacturer estimates that in the next 20 years, at least 7,200 aircraft orders will go that country. In the past five years, one of every four Boeing jets went to a Chinese customer, supporting US workers. Bloomberg claims that since most of Boeing’s customers in China are state-owned airlines and lessors affiliated with government-controlled banks, the company is at a big risk. In addition, even the few independent Chinese customers could be easily pressured by authorities to defer existing orders.
After the tariffs’ announcement, China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, criticized Trump’s approach, saying that given the globalisation of the world, a trade war is a mistake. However, according to The Guardian, China would respond “China would have to make a justified and necessary response,” the minister said,
Following the tariff announcement, a sharp stock market sell-off in US and Asia was triggered. Boeing’s shares have fallen 9.4% since 24 February 2018, following the announcement. According to Market Watch, the company is now on track for its largest weekly decline in over two years, as concerns over the negative effects of tariffs continued to weigh the manufacturer. As of 14 March, Boeing’s shares have dropped $24.26, or 6.8%, during the week. The week’s price drop has accounted for 167 points, or 29%, of the Dow’s 578-point selloff.
So far, Boeing has not yet released a statement, concerning the tariffs. Interestingly, before the tariff announcement, Boeing had done quite well under Trump administration. CNBC reports that the company’s stock has jumped 117% since December 2016, directly contributing 24% to the Dow Jones Industrial average since then. Whilst Boeing may be a casualty of a trade war, the severity of China’s retaliation remains to be seen. According to CNN, one of China’s nationalist papers suggested that the country could retaliate by shifting its aircraft orders to Boeing’s biggest rival Airbus, yet some experts are sceptical. Considering the extraordinary growth of China’s aviation industry, Airbus would not be able to meet the demand at the moment. Aerospace analyst Carter Copeland told the news outlet that “Airbus can’t just ramp up its production immediately. There is not much flexibility to just switch from one manufacturer to the other”. Right now, Airbus and Boeing share approximately half of the market each, but in the future, China may switch to Airbus to send a message.
Presently whilst the largest threat to Boeing is China’s retaliation, it is not the only country receiving the company’s exports. Roughly 70% of all Boeing’s commercial business is done outside of the US and it is expected to grow in the next two decades with estimated deliveries of 41,000 airliners worth $6.1 trillion. Yet while the European Union also threatened retaliation to the US tariffs whether Boeing would be impacted is questionable.
A week following the tariff’s announcement, Trump visited Boeing’s testing facility in St. Louis implying that there could be a deal for the company’s F-18 Super Hornet if they work out a good price. “Maybe we can work out a good price. Otherwise, we are going to buy them from somebody else, but it will all be in the United States, right?” the president said. Trump said that the U.S. plans to buy 24 F-18 jets praising the capability of the planes saying, “latest and the greatest stealth and a lot of things on that plane that people don’t even know about.” However, while Boeing is negotiating service life modification contract that could add some components native to a stealth aircraft with the Navy, at the moment, the F-18s are not stealthy – they are not capable of evading radar.
Leonardo will act as prime contractor for the programme management with the end customer and Airbus will be responsible for the final assembly and delivery of 16 NH90 TTH aircraft from its facility in Marignane, France while Leonardo will be responsible for final assembly and delivery of the 12 NH90 NFH helicopters from its Venice, Tessera facility in Northern Italy.
Qatar Airways is set to report a large loss for the current financial year ending later this month, the Doha-based carrier’s CEO Akbar Al Baker confirmed on 7 March 2018. The carrier remains defiant as it faces a blockade placed on Qatar by its Middle Eastern neighbours by announcing new flights to numerous destinations across Europe and Asia to be launched in 2018-2019. Speaking at the recent International Travel Trade Show in Berlin which took place from 7 to 11 March 2018, Al Baker said he expects Qatar Airways will announce a large loss for its financial year, the magnitude of which has not been detailed yet, making it a huge step back for the airline which enjoyed continuing growth and a significant jump in net profit in fiscal year 2017. While at the International Travel Trade Show in Berlin, Qatar Airways announced these new destinations: London Gatwick, United Kingdom; Cardiff, United Kingdom; Lisbon, Portugal; Tallinn, Estonia; Valletta, Malta; Cebu and Davao, Philippines; Langkawi, Malaysia; Da Nang, Vietnam; Bodrum, Antalya and Hatay, Turkey; Mykonos and Thessaloniki, Greece, and Málaga, Spain. With these new routes, the carrier will be flying to some destinations already served by airlines from the blockade countries, including Etihad and Emirates.
And as for the cuts the airline has had to make to its network following the blockade, in a press conference Al Baker commented: “These destinations are not the whole world. There are so many other nice places in the world. So, we have not lost anything. As a matter of fact, it is their loss to lose such an important airline, but at the same time, to lose what we always thought was a family member.”
Eight IndiGo and three GoAir planes were grounded by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for technical reasons, related to Pratt and Whitney turbofan engines. The concerned planes had been subject to repetitive engine failures. At least three A320neo owned by Indian companies have had emergency landing in the last three weeks. Overall, Times of India recorded 69 single engine failures on IndiGo planes in 18 months. The repetitive problems, usually a rare occurrence is due to the knife edge seal in the high-pressure compressor of the PW (Pratt and Whitney) 1100 turbofan engines equipping some of the A320neo. On some models that have been identified, the faulty component has been showing early wear under the high-pressure condition it is subjected to.
The Canadian company Pratt and Whitney announced that engines would not be repaired before the end of June 2018. Airbus has stopped the testing and deliveries of the A320neo powered by the faulty PW 1100. Of 113 A320neos powered with PW engines that have been delivered by Airbus, 45 are used by IndiGo and GoAir. The grounding of the 11 planes by the DGCA already led to the cancellation of about 65 flights. Cancellations will affect number of companies’ flights in the months to come. This can become a benefit for SpiceJet, another Indian company that shares routes with GoAir and IndiGo. IndiGo might also reconsider its order of 50 A330neo that was previously announced.
As investigators start to look in to the helicopter crash in New York, more details emerge about the deadly accident that killed all of five passengers on board. The pilot of the aircraft, who was the sole survivor of the crash, told investigators that the crash may have been caused by one of the passenger’s bags, The Guardian reports. According to the pilot, one of the passenger’s bags may have caught onto and engine-fuel button and turned it off. Officials are also looking into one of the helicopter’s inflatable pontoons, New York Post reports. According to an anonymous source, close to the investigation the helicopter may have sunk more quickly because one of its inflatable pontoons did not deploy properly. In addition, the faulty pontoon may have caused the helicopter to flip over, making the rescue efforts even more time sensitive.
The accident happened on 11 March 2018, when the Liberty Helicopter Tours’ Eurocopter AS350, carrying six people, crashed into the river near Roosevelt Island. Two of the three passengers died on the scene while others were taken to the hospital in critical condition but did not survive. The pilot of the aircraft was able to free himself from the helicopter and was later picked up by one of the fire department boats responding to the scene. Just before crashing into water the helicopter pilot reported engine failure to an air traffic controller calling “mayday, mayday, mayday. East River. Engine failure.”
Numerous people witnessed the accident and immediately contacted the authorities, New York Police Department (NYPD) said in a press conference few hours after the accident. Police and the fire department responded along with the coastguard. Divers had to free the passengers trapped in the helicopter by cutting the harnesses as they were tightly retrained in the inverted helicopter underwater.
According to the rescuers who responded to the scene, the rescue and search conditions were quite difficult as the current of the river was quite strong at five miles per hour, and the water was freezing just below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4°C). At the time of the response, the helicopter was already approximately 50 feet (approximately 15 meters) under water.
According to researchers, when the abandoned Chinese Tiangong-1 space station makes an uncontrolled re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, there is a chance it will impact the planet in lower Michigan. The UK newspaper The Daily Mail reports that, according to the Aerospace Corporation research organisation, parts of southern lower Michigan have a high probability of being hit by falling debris. Up to 40 percent of the space station may survive re-entry and it is carrying substances that are reported to be ‘highly toxic’, according to the report. Other northern US states are also at risk from the debris, as are portions of northern China, central Italy, northern Spain, the Middle East, New Zealand, Tasmania and southern Africa.
ESA’s Space Debris Office in Darmstadt, Germany predicts that the Tiangong-1 space station will re-enter the atmosphere sometime between 24 March and 19 April. Because of the uncontrolled nature of the re-entry, it is impossible to predict with any accuracy where it will fall until much closer to the actual re-entry date and time. Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist from Harvard University said that it will be much clearer during the final week before the event. “Remember that a one-hour error in our guessed re-entry time corresponds to an 27,000 km (17,000 miles) error in the re-entry position,” McDowell explained.
On 8 March Voom launched its on-demand helicopter booking platform in Mexico City. The Mexican capital is now the world’s second city after São Paulo, Brazil, to offer helicopter commuting services.
Voom is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Airbus Helicopters that was launched in 2016 as an on-demand helicopter booking platform allowing passengers to request a seat on a helicopter within minutes. By providing a more efficient transportation option to daily commuters, it aims to address challenges associated with rush-hour traffic by offering an alternative form of transportation in some of the world’s most congested cities.
Voom provides travellers both convenience and reliability in the most affordable and accessible way available today. Passengers can book and take-off in as little as 60 minutes or plan their trip up to seven days in advance and only need to arrive at the helipad 15 minutes before boarding time. Offering several boarding times per hour, the service’s convenience pairs with a significant savings in commute times. With a population of 23.9 million people and well-known traffic congestion, Mexico City was a natural choice for Voom’s second launch. Furthermore, Mexico City has substantial helicopter infrastructure already in place, with more than 200 helipads in its metro area. Mexico also has a dedicated air traffic control for helicopters, allowing for more efficient air transportation.
Hawaiian Airlines announced the decision to buy ten Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners for a total of $2.82 billion, with an option for ten more. The Honolulu-based airline also announced cancelling its previous order of six Airbus A330-800neos. It is a turn in Hawaiian Airlines fleet composition, which was previously dominated by Airbus. Hawaiian flagship fleet is currently composed of 24 A330-200 and should soon be reinforced by an order of 16 A321neos. Although Airbus lost the battle this time, it is only the first one of many to come. The Asia Pacific market is booming and could soon require from 3500 to 4000 middle market planes to be ordered in the years to come. So far, the Airbus A321neo has been the most convincing aircraft in this segment.
While Boeing is developing its own middle market plane to overcome the A321neo, the American manufacturer is facing a major design problem. According to Domhnal Slattery, CEO of the aircraft leasing firm Avolon, Boeing has two design options: either to prioritise the growing Asian market by creating a plane with a large cargo hold or have a larger and more comfortable cabin, but with reduced cargo; to appeal to the American market, where all three major airlines are about to renew their aging fleets of B757s and B767s.
Last week Textron Aviation announced that the Cessna Citation Longitude completed a non-stop trip from Singapore to Sydney, Australia, demonstrating the outstanding range and payload capabilities of the aircraft. The flight follows the Citation Longitude’s demo tour throughout the Asia-Pacific region and its regional debut at the Singapore Airshow earlier this month. The Citation Longitude flew a crew of two pilots and five passengers on the 3,504-nautical-mile trip from Seletar, Singapore (XSP) to Sydney, Australia (SYD), making a direct climb to 41,000 feet for a total flight time of 7 hours 39 minutes at Mach 0.80.
Textron Aviation’s Singapore Service Center is part of a robust international support footprint of factory-direct service centers, equipping customers with access to a team of expert service representatives delivering timely maintenance, inspections, parts, repairs, avionic upgrades, equipment installations, refurbishments and other specialised services.
With a range of 3,500 nautical miles (6,482 kilometers) and full fuel payload of 1,600 pounds (726 kilograms), the Citation Longitude will be able to travel nonstop within the Asia-Pacific region from Singapore to Beijing or from Hong Kong to Mumbai with four passengers. The Citation Longitude is designed to elevate passenger expectations in the super-midsize class by delivering the quietest cabin, a low cabin altitude (5,950 feet/1,814 meters), more standard features and a comfortable, bespoke interior. With seating for up to 12 passengers, including an optional crew jump seat, the Longitude features a stand-up, 6-foot tall flat-floor cabin. A standard double-club configuration delivers the most legroom in the super-midsize class. Fully berthable seats are designed and manufactured in-house and a class-leading walk-in baggage compartment is accessible throughout the entire flight. State-of-the-art cabin technology enables passengers to manage their environment and entertainment from any mobile device, while high-speed internet maximizes in-flight productivity.
Air Taxi News
According to The New York Times, the reality of a VTOL electric flying taxi service may be a little bit closer. Kitty Hawk, a company backed by Google co-founder and Alphabet CEO Larry Page, has been flight testing a two-place electric VTOL aircraft called Cora in New Zealand and an official announcement is expected from the New Zealand government soon that the autonomous aircraft is engaged in an official certification process. According to the Cora website, the aircraft is designed to operate between 500 feet to 3000 feet above the ground. It has a 36-foot wingspan and is powered by 12 independent lift fans, which enable it to take-off and land vertically like a helicopter. Fixed-wing flight is powered by a single pusher propeller. The aircraft is expected to have a range of about 54 nautical miles at a cruising speed of about 95 knots.
According to the website, Cora currently has an experimental airworthiness certificate from both the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the FAA. The goal for the project is to certify the aircraft and bring an air taxi service to the commercial market in as little as three years, according to the New York Times. In an e-mail, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that working with Kitty Hawk on Cora sends a message to the world that “our doors are open for people with great ideas who want to turn them into reality. We’ve got an ambitious target in New Zealand of being net carbon zero by 2050,” and given that the Kitty Hawk vehicle is fully electric, “exciting projects like this are part of how we make that happen.”
WORLD DRONE NEWS
Last week it was announced that the major aircraft manufactures Airbus will be attending to speak about their drones’ division and solutions for drone needs in Africa. Airbus has all the drone technology for surveillance, search and rescue, construction and utilities. Together with Datumate from Israel; who will take you through insights of Drone use in mining, GIS and surveying this year’s conference will cover everything you need to know with regards commercial drones. Sponsorship and exhibition opportunities are available. For more information, you can visit the website: www.dronesconference.co.za
“Which book helped you most in your life?”
“My husband’s cheque book.”
Should you miss out on any edition of APAnews, please visit the website: www.africanpilot.co.za and click on the APAnewslink on the front page. All past weekly APAnews publications have been archived on the website.Until next week, please be ‘Serious about flying’.Athol Franz (Editor)
African Pilot ‘Serious about flying’.