African Pilot’s aircraft of the week identification quiz
Those persons that identified the aircraft correctly this week: Rennie van Zyl, Brian Spurr, Hilton Carroll, Willie Oosthuizen, Anthony Bass, Peter Rossouw, Bernard Stander, Erwin Stam, Mark Cope, Raul Del Fabbro, Branko Brkljac, Righardt du Plessis, Ron Wheeldon, Christo Botha, Dirk de Vos, Mike Transki, Alex Berry and David Plew-Chisholm.
The response to Monday’s APAnews where I exposed the progressive failure of the SACAA and its complete lack of understanding its mandate has resulted in many far-reaching responses from people not just here in South Africa, but from many parts of the world. Now it is time for the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct their respective investigations into the South African regulatory body. Should you have comments to make, please send it to me: email@example.com. Thank you.
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.
African Pilot Digital Calendars
Wallpaper calendar for the months of January and February
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.
About African Pilot
There is no doubt that African Pilot provides the finest overall aviation media reach in Africa.
We are positioned to provide professional video and stills photography, website development, social media platforms, company newsletters as well as several other important media services to our customers.
The monthly magazine is available as a digital edition where ALL advertisers enjoy the direct routing to their websites at a touch on a smart phone or tablet as well as a click of the mouse on a computer screen or tap on any smart phone device.
Then of course this APAnews service has been part of African Pilot’s line-up since the inception of the magazine 20 years ago.
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Visit www.APAcom.co.za and register yourself as a user
African Pilot’s shop window
Over the past few weeks, I have received several e-mails asking for my assistance to place aviation friends in contact with service providers or to supply important information to assist them with answers within aviation. Understandably, I am not an expert in many aviation subjects, but via African Pilot’s considerable media reach including APAnews, I can assist to provide people with answers as who to contact for the respective inquiries. Please note that this is yet another FREE service to anyone in aviation and all you need to do is contact me via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
View and download African Pilot’s last three (3) 2020 editions.
Click on the covers below.
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
Early bird rates available for the ONLY dedicated General Aviation show in South Africa
AERO South Africa is the perfect platform to showcase your products and services and build profitable relationships whilst engaging with over 4000 visitors across the general aviation industry. Exhibitors to the show will also benefit from FREE landing, approach and ground handling fees, making AERO South Africa the most cost-effective opportunity to reach a niche target audience of general aviation enthusiasts and businesses.
Book your space at the premier General Aviation Business-2-Business event and benefit from a discounted rate, contact:
Marlene Bosch: Marlene.email@example.com or 084 622 3931
Annelie Reynolds: Annelie.firstname.lastname@example.org or 083 308 1251
Aero Club member support initiative
Aero Club coffee table Centenary Yearbook
The AeCSA Centenary Yearbook is now available to purchase from the online shop. Please visit www.aeroclub.org.za/shop.
SAA Pilot’s Association media statement
Click here to continue viewing the SAA Pilot’s Association media statement.
ICAO mental health in aviation
Click here to continue viewing the electronic bulletin.
SAPFA Witbank Speed Rally and Grand Prix Air Race this Saturday
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.
Airlink’s Sishen flights to resume on 15 February 2021
The route is being relaunched to provide vital air connectivity to the crucial iron ore mining centre.
Airlink will operate the following weekday flights between Johannesburg and Sishen
Mondays and Thursdays
4Z 773 departing Johannesburg at 05h45, arriving at Sishen at 07h00
4Z 778 departing Sishen at 17h40, arriving at Johannesburg at 18h55
4Z 773 departing Johannesburg at 05h45, arriving at Sishen at 07h00
4Z 774 departing Sishen at 07h20, arriving at Johannesburg at 08h55
4Z 777 departing Johannesburg at 16h00, arriving at Sishen at 17h15
4Z 778 departing Sishen at 17h40, arriving at Johannesburg at 18h55
Airlink’s flight schedule is available on: www.flyairlink.com/flightschedule
ACSA is considering selling cargo terminals, hotels, worth R4.5bn due to COVID-19
The Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) wants to monetise non-core assets that do not deal with actually moving airplanes and passengers around. The list includes petrol stations, hotels and cargo terminals. It would prefer to hang on to the underlying land, but buildings and development rights will be up for grabs. ACSA says it will look at outright sales as well as joint ventures and other ways to cash out. Clearly the parastatal needs cash and it intends to find it by monetising property in and around airports in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and Bloemfontein.
COVID-19’ devastating impact on aviation has seen it adapt its strategy to ‘focus on its core aeronautical mandate and release wealth associated with non-core assets’, the state-owned company has told potential deal advisors. Although ACSA’s income is firmly rooted in people and goods moving through airports, it has an investment valued at some R7.7 billion. In total, ACSA says has a little under R4.5 billion worth of non-core assets to put to market:
Office parks worth R1.6 billion
Hotels worth R1.4 billion
Cargo terminals worth R900 million
Industrial buildings worth R440 million
Filling stations worth R120 million
“It is ACSA’s wish to at a minimum to preserve shareholder value from its investment properties and use the commercial transactions to improve the liquidity of its business,” it said in a call for proposals distributed on Monday. Outright sales are not necessarily the only route ACSA will take, though it will consider such proposals. It is also in the market for sale-and-leaseback deals, handing over real estate as its contribution to a joint venture and concession transactions.
Ethiopian Airlines carries first COVID-19 vaccine shipment to Africa
On 6 February 2021, the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine in Africa arrived on an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Beijing (BJS) to Addis Ababa (ADD). The largest airline in Africa, Ethiopian Airlines announced it had transported the first COVID-19 vaccine shipment to Africa on a dedicated flight. “We are pleased that we have launched the delivery of our mission-critical service with the distribution of the much-anticipated COVID-19 vaccine,” said the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Tewolde GebreMariam. “We will be repeating the remarkable and globally recognised success in leading the fast delivery of PPE a few months ago with similar delivery speed, professional handling and maintaining the cool chain during the global vaccine distribution,” added GebreMariam.
The delivery is part of the partnership agreement, signed in December 2020, between Ethiopian Airlines and Cainiao Smart Logistics Network, to launch cold chain cargo operations for the transportation of temperature-sensitive medicines. Already in November 2020, Ethiopian Cargo, Ethiopian Airlines’ cargo division, announced it was ready for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine across Africa and the rest of the world. With a capacity of one million tons, the company has the largest cargo terminal in Africa and temperature-controlled storage facilities.
Poor decision making and spatial disorientation blamed for S-76B crash
During a public meeting on Tuesday the NTSB determined the pilot’s decision to continue flight under visual flight rules into instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in the pilot’s spatial disorientation and loss of control, led to the fatal crash on 26 January in Calabasas, California. The pilot and eight passengers died when the helicopter, operated by Island Express Helicopters, Inc., entered a rapidly descending left turn and crashed into terrain. The flight departed from John Wayne Airport-Orange County, Santa Ana, California and was bound for Camarillo, California.
About two minutes before the crash, while at an altitude of about 450 feet above ground level, the pilot transmitted to an air traffic control facility that he was initiating a climb to get the helicopter ‘above the cloud layers.’ The helicopter climbed at a rate of about 1,500 feet per minute and began a gradual left turn. The helicopter reached an altitude of about 2,400 feet above sea level (1,600 feet above ground level) and began to descend rapidly in a left turn to the ground. While the helicopter was descending the air traffic controller asked the pilot to ‘say intentions’ and the pilot replied that the flight was climbing to 4,000 feet msl (about 3,200 feet above ground level). A witness first heard the helicopter and then saw it emerge from the bottom of the cloud layer in a left-banked descent about one or two seconds before impact.
Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s likely self-induced pressure and plan continuation bias, which adversely affected his decision making. The NTSB also determined Island Express Helicopters Inc.’s inadequate review and oversight of its safety management process contributed to the crash.
“Unfortunately, we continue to see these same issues influence poor decision making among otherwise experienced pilots in aviation crashes,” said NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt. “Had this pilot not succumbed to the pressures he placed on himself to continue the flight into adverse weather, it is likely this accident would not have happened. A robust safety management system can help operators like Island Express provide the support their pilots need to help them resist such very real pressures.”
The report discussed during Tuesday’s meeting highlighted Island Express Helicopters Inc.’s inadequate review and oversight of its safety management processes. Island Express Helicopters Inc.’s lack of a documented policy and safety assurance evaluations to ensure its pilots were consistently and correctly completing the flight risk analysis forms, hindered the effectiveness of the form as a risk management tool.
The NTSB concluded a fully implemented, mandatory safety management system could enhance Island Express Helicopter Inc.’s ability to manage risks. Based upon its investigation the NTSB issued a total of four safety recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration and to Island Express Helicopters Inc. These recommendations address safety issues including pre-flight weather and flight risk planning, spatial disorientation, inflight decision-making, the benefits of a mandatory safety management system and the benefits of a flight data monitoring programme.
Three National Guard pilots killed in Idaho Black Hawk crash
An Idaho National Guard helicopter was flying in bad weather over mountainous terrain when it crashed, killing three soldiers aboard. The Idaho Army National Guard suspended flight operations indefinitely following the UH-60 Black Hawk crash just outside of Boise about 20h00 local time on Tuesday, said Army Lt. Col. Nicole Washington, who commands the Idaho Guard’s 1st Battalion, 183rd Aviation Regiment. She said all three soldiers aboard the Black Hawk were experienced pilots who had often conducted similar routine training flights in that area of the crash, just south of Lucky Peak State Park, west of Boise.
Pilot hits power lines while attempting to avoid flock of birds
The Navion pilot reported that, while on a three-mile base leg to the airport in Patterson, Louisiana, he encountered a flock of large birds circling. He aborted the base leg and made a rapid descent to avoid the birds, but the birds followed. He continued the dive and observed power lines in the vicinity. He took an ‘evasive manoeuvre’ to avoid the power lines, but the vertical stabiliser hit the power lines, shearing off the vertical stabiliser and rudder. Fortunately, the pilot-maintained control, climbed, declared ‘mayday’ and requested flight following to an airport without a crosswind for landing. He approached at a higher airspeed to reduce the left turning tendencies and, during the landing roll, the airplane veered left off the runway into an adjacent grass and mud field. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the vertical stabiliser and rudder.
NTSB preliminary report: Piper PA-28-161
On 24 January 2021, a Piper PA-28-161, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Boynton Beach, Florida. The pilot was fatally injured. The pilot was conducting a night visual flight rules flight from Palm Beach County Park Airport (LNA), West Palm Beach, Florida to Merritt Island Airport (COI), Merritt Island, Florida. The flight was operated by a flight school and the pilot had filed a company flight plan with them.
A preliminary review of voice communication and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADSB) data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the airplane departed from runway 10 at LNA under visual flight rules about 1955 and turned to a southerly ground track before contacting air traffic control (ATC). While in a cruise profile about 1,000 feet, the pilot requested flight following services to COI and routing ‘along the shoreline.’ ATC approved the request, issued the altimeter setting and instructed the pilot to proceed offshore and ‘follow the shoreline northbound at or below 500 feet.’ The pilot acknowledged the instructions and repeated the altimeter setting as the airplane began a descending left turn to the east. The airplane continued an eastbound descent on a ground track about perpendicular to the shoreline when the controller assigned the airplane a new transponder code. When the pilot acknowledged the transponder code instructions, the airplane was at 300 feet and descending. The airplane’s transponder code changed to one that was a single digit off of what was assigned. At that time, the airplane was crossing the beach at 225 feet and descending. Once over water, the airplane’s track depicted a shallow, descending left turn. Soon afterwards the controller repeated the transponder instructions, but the airplane’s ADS-B position was no longer being received and there were no further communications with the pilot.
According to FAA records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land and instrument airplane. The pilot’s most recent FAA first class medical certificate was issued on 4 October 2019. The pilot was enrolled at 2Fly Airborne in an airline pilot training curriculum and according to school records, he had accrued about 190 total hours of flight experience, 95 hours of which were in the accident airplane make and model. The pilot earned his instrument airplane rating on 20 January 2021.
The airplane was recovered from the Atlantic Ocean about ½ mile off the coast of Boynton Beach, Florida by a commercial salvage operator on 26 January 2021 and was examined at their facility under the supervision of two FAA inspectors. The engine cowlings were impact-damaged, the engine mounts were broken and the engine rested in a ‘nose-down’ attitude in relation to the airframe. The cockpit and cabin areas appeared intact. The pilot’s seatbelt and shoulder harness were not buckled / attached and appeared intact. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to all flight control surfaces. The right wing was separated by impact and remained attached by the aileron control cable and electrical harness. Wing-mount fractures revealed failure features consistent with overload.
The main and standby vacuum pumps and the vacuum-operated attitude indicator were disassembled and revealed no pre-impact anomalies. The electric fuel boost pump operated normally with electrical power applied. The engine’s crankshaft was rotated by hand at the propeller and continuity was confirmed from the powertrain through the valvetrain to the accessory section. Compression was confirmed at each cylinder using the thumb method. The position of each magneto was confirmed before they were removed, drained, dried and remounted in their as-found positions. Ignition timing was confirmed and when actuated, both magnetos produced spark at all terminal leads. The carburettor was damaged by impact, but the engine controls all remained attached. The engine-driven fuel pump was removed and functioned as designed when actuated by hand. Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no pre-impact mechanical anomalies.
IATA offers free training to former cabin crew transitioning into the job market
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is offering an online training course to help laid-off airline cabin crew members re-enter the job market. This course will be offered free of charge for those who register between 9 and 23 February. A survey of 800 cabin crew who have lost their jobs in the crisis found that 78% wanted help to identify skills that can enable them to transfer into other roles.
The three-hour Cabin Crew, Leveraging Professional Skills course was developed with input from former crew members to meet this need by enabling crew to enhance, promote and recognise professional skills that can be leveraged in other jobs. In addition, crew will learn practical tips for preparing for the job application process and will have an opportunity to learn from the experience of colleagues that have already transitioned to other roles outside the industry. To learn more and register for the course, visit the IATA Training course web page.
Robinson’s cockpit video camera now available
The use of in-cockpit video is accelerating for a number of good reasons, especially in terms of flight training and other commercial operations where documentation and the ability to review a flight, can have a number of significant benefits. Robinson’s Cockpit Video Camera introduced at Heli Expo 2020 is now optional on R22 / R44 helicopters and standard on R66 helicopters ordered after 15 January 2021. Securely mounted in the ceiling for minimal vibration and optimal field of view, the 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels) video camera records video, intercom audio, radio communications and GPS position to a removable 128 GB USB flash drive. Recording starts automatically when the helicopter is turned on and stops when it is turned off. Recording video and / or audio to the flash drive can be independently controlled with separate switches. The flash drive, supplied with each camera, stores approximately 10 hours of video and when the drive is full, the newest video automatically overwrites the oldest video. Recordings can be used as a training tool, maintenance aid, or aerial-tour souvenir to share with family and friends.
Bell announces the sale of six Bell 505s to Jamaica Defence Force
The newly acquired Bell 505s will be configured to support Public Safety missions in country and be used by the Force’s Caribbean Military Aviation School (CMAS) to train international rotorcraft pilots. In 1963, JDF began its operations with two Bell 47G aircraft and has expanded their fleet and relationship with Bell throughout the years. This new aircraft delivery will grow JDF’s current fleet to 10 Bell helicopters, which serve in search and rescue missions, medical evacuations, natural disaster relief, national security and military training operations. With a speed of 125 knots and useful load of 1,500 pounds, the Bell 505 is Bell’s similarities with the Bell 429 platform allow for a smooth pilot transition as JDF begins training operations. With a G1000, the platform shares similar avionics with JDF’s Fixed Wing Trainer aircraft and reduces pilot workload, enhancing the students’ learning experience.
New interior highlights Cessna CJ4 Gen2
Textron Aviation has dramatically updated the interior of its CJ4 business jet and rechristened it the Gen2. New seating allows several configurations for up to 10 passengers and allows installed seats to be converted to storage areas, according to Cessna. Described as being a ‘home away from home,’ the CJ4 Gen2 also has a new airstair door, CoolView skylights and overall improved ‘consistent natural lighting’ throughout the cabin. Many other upgrades to the Gen2 jet will be exposed with pictures in the March edition of African Pilot.
RED A03 a powerful, fuel efficient, green piston engine
In today’s current climate, the need for aircraft operators and manufacturers to reduce their environmental footprint has never been greater. This, twinned with increased fuel costs, means that new innovative solutions are required. The RED A03 series piston engine provides an ideal solution.
The RED A03 is a fuel-efficient, high compression, 12-cylinder piston engine developed using a clean-sheet design to save fuel and reduce environmental impact for operators. By using less fuel, any engine can reduce its environmental impact. In this sphere, the RED A03 excels. Compared to a similar-sized turbine engine, the RED A03 burns significantly less fuel, reducing fuel burn by up to 50%. Fuel flow is continually monitored and optimised by the onboard Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC). The reduction in fuel burn does not come at the cost of power, range, or endurance. Compared to a standard turbine, operators can expect similar performance in terms of output from the RED A03.
RED A03 technical specifications:
- Output shaft power: 500 Hp
- Engine speed range: 300 to 4000 RPM
- Propeller speed range: 1595 to 2127 RPM
- Maximum operating altitude: 50,000 feet
- Sea level fuel consumption: 12 USG Hr
- Best Brake Specific Fuel Consumption: 215g / kWh
- Control: FADEC (Integrated dual-lane redundancy)
- Weight: 363 Kg
- Cost per unit US$ 220,000 (without installation kit)
Aerion and NASA to conduct supersonic technology study
Aerion Supersonic has announced that it will be partnering with NASA to study technology that would support the development of ‘high-Mach’ passenger aircraft capable of cruising in the Mach 3 to Mach 5 range. According to the company, teams from NASA’s Langley Research Center and Aerion will focus their research on the suitability of a range of propulsion systems and thermal management technologies. They will also look at integrated power systems and cabin technology for high-Mach passenger jets. “At Aerion, our vision is to build a future where humanity can travel between any two points on our planet within three hours,” said Aerion CEO Tom Vice. “This partnership enables the development of technologies that will help realise such ultra-high-speed point-to-point global mobility solutions.”
Aerion is in the process of developing the AS2 supersonic business jet, which is expected to cruise at around 1,000 MPH. The company wrapped up wind tunnel testing with the AS2 design late last year and plans to begin production at its planned facility in Melbourne, Florida, in 2023. Aerion says its work with NASA will support development of its next-generation AS3 high-Mach passenger jet, which is already in the works alongside the AS2.
Could China launch fighter jets from its theme park aircraft carriers?
Presently the United States operates eleven aircraft carriers capable of launching fixed-wing aircraft. France, India, Italy and Russia have only one such carrier each, while three other world powers have two. One of them is the United Kingdom, another the Chinese military, whilst the third is the Chinese entertainment industry. Two of their massive ships, Kiev and Minsk, are ex-Soviet Kiev class heavy aviation cruisers transformed into tourist attractions. One of them is docked at the Binhai theme park and houses a luxury hotel and a casino. Another one used to be the center piece of Minsk World theme park in Shenzhen but has been towed away for repairs and is set to become a part of Nantong resort in 2022. That is not counting two mock-up Nimitz class carriers in Binzhou and Quingpu, but those are a story for another day.
While the story of Chinese businessmen buying decommissioned warships for commercial use may seem innocent and straightforward, China has a history of having ulterior motives with its purchases. The first aircraft carrier the country got its hands on was HMAS Melbourne, a heavily modified Australian light carrier dating back to the 40s. It was sold to Chinese shipbuilding company for scrapping in the mid-80s, but caught the interest of the army, which decided to use it as a jumpstart for their its aircraft carrier programme. Melbourne was dismantled and studied, some reports indicating that over a decade had passed before the ship had actually been scrapped.
China’s first actual functioning aircraft carrier was ex-Soviet Kuznetsov class ship Varyag, put on sale by Ukraine in 1992. After inspecting it, the Chinese delegation declined the offer, only for the rusting hulk to be purchased several years later by a Macau-based company. The purpose of the purchase, officially, was for the carrier to become a floating hotel. By 2011, Varyag was refurbished, restored and modernised. A year later it was commissioned into Chinese navy as Liaoning. By 2016 it was fully combat-ready.
Which brings us to Kiev and Minsk and their seemingly innocent purpose in Chinese waters. Both ships were well kept and structure-wise are even in a better state than the rusty Varyag during its acquisition. Both of them are sea-worthy, they have retained their flight decks and even house a large collection of old fighter jets. Also, China’s aircraft carrier programme is in full swing: domestically built Shandong, very similar to Liaoning, was commissioned in 2019. Two even larger ships: Type 003 and nuclear-powered Type 004 are under construction. The rush is understandable: China’s territorial disputes in the seas on its east are near endless. The primary purpose of an aircraft carrier is to project military power, act as a mobile airbase, delivering firepower to a point far from the homeland. Being able to launch large-scale aerial strikes allows a country to intimidate unfriendly neighbours much more effectively, threatening shipping routes, fishing areas and military outposts on remote islands.
Following this logic China could want to reconstruct the two ex-Soviet ships and place them into service. But would that be possible? Both Kiev and Minsk currently are just empty shells of themselves: engines, armaments and all the other equipment were removed, to make way for hotel suites, interactive entertainment installations or simply because it was too dangerous or too expensive to be left as is. Restoring the military capability would mean massive investments. But it would surely be cheaper than building a carrier from ground-up, right?
British Airways to start flying on sustainable fuel in 2022
British Airways (BA) is on the journey to the greener skies as it plans to invest in a new US plant to be built in Georgia, United States, by LanzaJet, which will produce sustainable aviation fuel from sustainably sourced ethanol. BA expects the fuel to be available to power several its flights by the end of 2022. The green initiative of developing sustainable aviation fuels is part of British Airways commitment to achieve net zero carbon emission by 2050. British Airways’ parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG) (IAG), said it will be investing $400 million in sustainable aviation fuel in the next 20 years.
“Progressing the development and commercial deployment of sustainable aviation fuel is crucial to decarbonizing the aviation industry and this partnership with LanzaJet shows the progress British Airways is making as we continue on our journey to net zero,” said British Airways’ CEO Sean Doyle.
The SAF would create 70% less carbon emissions than conventional jet fuel, according to the airline. However, SAF can be used to substitute for up to 50% of standard fuel and most of the previously conducted demonstration flights used only 5% of greener fuel. In January 2021, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines said to have operated the world’s first commercial flight using sustainable synthetic kerosene on route from Amsterdam to Madrid. “The transition away from fossil fuel to durable alternatives is one of the biggest challenges facing the industry,” said CEO of KLM Airlines Pieter Elbers. The same month, plane manufacturer Boeing announced that all of its commercial planes would be able and certified to fly on 100% sustainable fuels by the year 2030.
Rolls-Royce conducts unblended SAF tests on business jet engine
On Monday Rolls-Royce announced that it has conducted its first tests using 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in a business jet engine. For the tests, the company used its Pearl 700 engine, which was developed for the Gulfstream G700. Testing took place at Rolls-Royce’s facility in in Dahlewitz, Germany. “This test demonstrates once again that our current engines for large civil and business jet applications can operate with 100% SAF as a full ‘drop-in’ option, laying the groundwork for moving this type of fuel towards certification,” the company said. “At present, SAF is only certified for blends of up to 50% with conventional jet fuel and can be used on all current Rolls-Royce engines.”
The SAF used in the Pearl 700 tests was produced by Paramount, California’s World Energy, sourced by Shell Aviation and delivered by SkyNRG. According to Rolls-Royce, unblended SAF has the ‘potential to reduce net CO2 lifecycle emissions by more than 75% compared to conventional jet fuel.’ The company also used unblended SAF for the first time in engine ground tests on a Trent 1000 engine last month.
Gulf Air to start European long-haul flights with Airbus A321LR
Bahrain’s flag-carrier Gulf Air announced it would start long-haul operations to Europe with the Airbus A321LR (long range) aircraft, as it was recently delivered from the Airbus centre in Germany. The new Gulf Air Airbus A321LR landed at its new home at Bahrain International Airport (BAH) on 5 February 2021. The aircraft is the second of the 17 A321neo aircraft order the airline has. The new Airbus A321neoLR is designed with the 70th anniversary Golden Falcon livery, which gives the jet a vintage look. The latest Gulf Air’s delivery also introduces 16 new flat-bed seats and 150 economy class seats.
Aviation enthusiasts launch bid to save Lufthansa Boeing 707
A group of German aviation enthusiasts have launched a bid to save an ex-Lufthansa Boeing 707 located in Hamburg. Last week Hamburg Airport revealed that the historic aircraft would be scrapped over the coming months, with key parts sold on auction. A group of aviation enthusiasts is seeking to save an ex-Lufthansa Boeing 707 from the scrap heap. The Boeing 707 is a historic aircraft, both for aviation and Lufthansa. For the German flag carrier, the aircraft brought about the start of the jet age. However, despite the aircraft’s historic status, two Boeing 707s in the Lufthansa livery are currently destined for the scrap heap. While one had fallen into a state of disrepair, there are hopes that the other can be saved. It is fair to say that not everybody was happy when Hamburg Airport revealed that a former Lufthansa Boeing 707 would be scrapped. There was an outpouring of disappointment from aviation fans worldwide that the airport was giving up on such a historic aircraft.
To preserve the aircraft and its history, a new group called Verein zur Rettung der Boeing 707 D-ABOD (Association for the rescue of the Boeing 707 D-ABOD) has been formed. The group ultimately aims to secure the aircraft’s future and has already written an open letter to the CEO of Hamburg Airport, calling for a meeting to discuss its fate. Hamburg Airport said the decision had been made given maintenance costs tied with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the group hoping to save the aircraft reports that the German Technik Museum, home to a Concorde and its Soviet equivalent, was not approached to help keep the aircraft. To reach its goal, the group has already been in contact with professionals in engineering, law and commerce, in addition to potential sponsors.
At 60 years old, D-ABOD has been in the aviation industry for some time now. The aircraft was delivered new to Lufthansa in April 1960. Under the name Frankfurt, it flew for the German flag carrier for 15 years. Having been removed from service, D-ABOD became a training aid for Lufthansa Technik. After another 24 years, the aircraft was sold to Hamburg Airport for €1 ($1.20). In the years since the aircraft has been everything from a museum piece to a film prop. At one point, the aircraft wore a special Hamburg Airport livery. However, today it is dressed in the Lufthansa livery once more.
Special guest: cat stowaway in Boeing 737 cockpit
Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) aviation photographer spotted a cat in the cockpit of a parked Israel’s El Al Boeing 737-900 aircraft. Israel’s El Al Boeing 737-900, registered as 4X-EHB, has last operated a flight LY978 from Dubai International Airport (DXB) to Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) on 24 January 2021. Since then, Boeing 737-900 has been parked at TLV airport. On 7 February 2021, an aviation photographer Ido Wetchel spotted a cat lounging in the sun on a parked El Al Boeing 737-900 aircraft cockpit. The cat may have been trapped for about two weeks, if it has been on the plane since then. It is not the first time Israel’s El Al encounters a cat presence in its aircraft, as its Boeing 787 Dreamliner got stuck in Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) after cat paw prints were found on the airplane’s cockpit prior to departure on 10 November 2020.
Drone pilot apprehended near Super Bowl
The office of United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez has confirmed the filing of a criminal complaint charging Henry Alejandro Jimenez (33), Orlando with violating national defence airspace. If convicted, Jimenez faces a maximum penalty of one year in federal prison. According to the complaint, on 3 February 2021, the FAA issued a temporary flight restriction (TFR) covering an area extending outward from downtown Tampa. This TFR, along with others, was issued as part of a comprehensive security plan designed to protect and secure the events leading up to and including, Super Bowl LV. That day, FBI agents saw a UAS flying near the Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk, an area within the TFR. The FBI agents then located Jiminez, the operator of the drone, nearby in downtown Tampa. Jimenez stated that he is an FAA-licensed remote pilot UAS operator and that he was aware that a TFR was in place for the Super Bowl.
A review of his drone’s flight path showed that it had travelled over Julian B. Lane Waterfront Park, which was hosting public events related to the Super Bowl. Jimenez also appears to have operated his drone without maintaining an uninterrupted visual line of sight for the entire flight, as required by FAA regulations. Furthermore, Jimenez flew his drone over people and moving vehicles. “This is a perfect example of the serious consequences drone operators face when they choose to ignore the temporary flight restrictions,” said FBI Tampa Special Agent in Charge Michael McPherson. “The TFRs are in place for your safety during Super Bowl week. Be aware of the NO DRONE ZONES and report any suspicious activity to the FBI or local law enforcement.” This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Patrick Scruggs.
The importance of having an advanced engineering support ecosystem in the drone industry
Since the use of drones is becoming more popular, whilst there are new applications every month, the drone industry has grown exponentially over the last years. Meanwhile UAV manufacturers are trying to adapt their systems to the requirements of this never stopping market but designing a new unmanned system or adapting an existing version to the new requirements, takes a lot of time and dedication. UAV manufacturers need all the help and assistance possible to move forward and arrive to the final stage of their projects as soon as possible.
It is obvious that the autopilot system is one of the most critical components that a UAV can integrate. Configuring this system correctly is the starting point that decides how the whole project will evolve and if it will finally meet the mission requirements. Before moving to the real flight with the autopilot it is vital to simulate and see if the configuration of the system has been successfully defined, that is why the services that the manufacturer of the autopilot can provide, will help many UAV designers to move faster with its project. Besides the simulation process and autopilot configuration, once the field operations start and it is time to perform real flights, having advanced technical support from the autopilot supplier can make the project timing schedule shorter and achieve successful and complete flights.
Having 15 years of experience in the UAV industry, at Embention, we closely collaborate with our customers and partners with the integration of Veronte Autopilots and other critical components on all kinds of professional UAVs, drones and UAM systems, providing remote and onsite support for drone projects worldwide. For early stages of the projects at Embention we usually offer the HIL Simulator License and Veronte Autopilot configuration and HIL model by which our engineers create a digital model of the customer’s platform to simulate with it in X-plane Simulator, at the time that preconfigure the autopilot according to the platform parameters, that way when the customer receives the autopilot is almost ready to fly needing only the fine tuning and final adjustment to be ready to fly. Despite this service includes wiring diagram assistance, flight phase definition, control channel and automations configuration and failsafe integration according to vehicle and mission requirements.
Embention also offers onsite advanced engineering services in the customer’s facilities for the integration and configuration of the whole system, assuring that way that everything is ready to perform a real flight with the level of safety and reliability required. This service also includes training the team to understand how to manage the system and control all the configuration and customisations that the system, due to its flexibility. Presently due to the COVID-19 pandemic it has become impossible to travel to many countries, therefore our engineers have increased their efforts to provide high quality remote engineering service via video call, e-mail, etc. since our customers are all worldwide. All the products and services provided by Embention have one main goal, to enable the drones to populate our skies.
Twice Weekly News from African Pilot
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Until Monday, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)