“The first step towards success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself.” Mark Caine
African Pilot’s April 2019 edition
The April edition of African Pilot is complete and has entered its distribution phase. This edition features 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: Wonderboom National Airport
With the launch of APAdigital late last year, the African Pilot team is working on producing a new video for APAnews every week. This has resulted in several new commissioned assignments being undertaken where the use of my superb new Canon 4K digital video camera, as well as stills pictures, are taken to provide website publicity as well as magazine publicity for our valued customers.
Zandspruit Bush and Aero Estate
This past long-weekend Christine and I travelled to the magnificent Zandspruit Estate in Hoedspruit to undertake an assignment for the production of a two and half minute marketing video as well as a 15-minute loop video that will be shown at AERO Friedrichshafen in a few weeks time as well as AERO South Africa in July. What a wonderful experience to combine our two passions of aviation and the wilderness at one magnificent estate. For more information on Zandspruit please call Martin den Dunnen Cell: 082 449 8895.
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Update on the integration of the Recreational Aviation Administration of South Africa (RAASA) functions into the SACAA
In 2008 the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) designated the oversight of recreational aviation to the Recreation Aviation Administration of South Africa (RAASA) in response to a need for the Regulator to strengthen safety and security oversight in this sector of the industry. Before this time, the SACAA had delegated these functions to the Aero Club of South Africa, and due to the gaps that existed in this designation model at the time, the Regulator sought a more progressive structure that would ensure optimum oversight of the activities in this sector of the civil aviation industry.
RAASA was therefore registered as a non-profit company in 2008, and designated to provide oversight of recreational aviation until 31 March 2019. With effect from 1 April 2019, the recreational aviation functions will be integrated into the SACAA and the following changes will apply:
Recreation Aviation Service Bouquet
All the services currently being offered by RAASA will be offered in totality by the SACAA under a new department, named General Aviation. These services will be offered at the current RAASA offices at Rand Airport.
The current RAASA premises will continue to be used until the SACAA moves to the new SACAA Head Office. The RAASA offices at Rand Airport will therefore remain operational until further notice.
RAASA Staff Movements
On 01 April 2019 all current RAASA employees will officially be SACAA employees. All the staff members will remain at the current RAASA offices at Rand Airport until the Regulator moves to the new premises at OR Tambo in the near future. Only one staff member, who is joining the Legal and Aviation Compliance division, will move to the SACAA offices in Midrand as of 01 April 2019.
All RAASA employees will be contactable on their current RAASA email addresses. Their new SACAA e-mail addresses are being introduced gradually, to avoid any confusion.
The old telephone numbers will continue to be operational, except for the one staff member who is moving to the SACAA premises from 01 April 2019.
Tel: (011) 545 1000 Website: www.caa.co.za
The old RAASA website will continue to be available for a period of six months. From 01 October 2019, all recreational aviation information will be available on the SACAA website on www.caa.co.za.
Structural placement of Recreational Aviation within the SACAA business
The bulk of the RAASA functions will be placed under the Aviation Safety Operations division as from 01 April 2019. The new name of this department is General Aviation.
Forms and other official documentation
With effect from 01 April 2019, all applications for licences, permits and approvals will be done on official SACAA branded stationery that will be available on the current RAASA website. All official communications will be done by using the official SACAA letterhead.
From 01 April 2019 all EFT payments for recreational aviation services must be paid into the following account:
Account Name: South African Civil Aviation Authority
Standard Bank, Brooklyn: Branch Code: 051001: Account number: 0013007971
Reference: “OTHERRAASA” followed by licence number, or name, or invoice number, or other
identification number. (You will be limited to 17 additional characters.)
There is a deposit reference validation that is performed at Standard Bank branches and for Standard Bank Internet banking, and if the deposit reference does not start with the characters “OTHERRAASA” the transaction might be rejected by the system.
Proof of payment has to accompany applications. The proof of payment must be sent to
email@example.com. All current RAASA clients’ payment queries will be handled by Ms Natasha Steyn and her email address is Steynn@caa.co.za.
Any further queries related to this transition can be directed to the Client Service office, using the
following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org or direct queries can be directed to Ms Lerato Molefe at 011 545 1345. The normal RAASA contact details, also available on the current RAASA website, can be used for any recreational aviation queries.
Ms Poppy Khoza
Director of Civil Aviation
What happened in aviation over the past week?
FASHKOSH airshow at Stellenbosch
By Charlie Hugo
The Stellenbosch 2019 airshow known as FASHKOSH sold out the 5 000 tickets for a capacity crowd by Wednesday last week. The show was a mix of vintage and modern General Aviation aircraft, as well as the highly acclaimed Absolute Aviation Aerobatic Team Extreme. The SAAF participated with the Air Force’s premier display team the Silver Falcons, showcasing their personal flying capabilities. The highlight of the day had to be the Mango Airlines Boeing 737 flown by doyen of airshows, Captain Scully Levin, Captain Rodney Chin and Bruce Hyde. The Stellenbosch Flying Club can be proud of staging a most successful airshow with an interesting mix of seldom seen aircraft types. A full illustrated report will be published in the May edition of African Pilot.
What is scheduled for the next few weeks?
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 ‘face lift’. 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 is 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 zone, 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
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 provides 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 or available from email@example.com
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: 18h00 for 18h30
Place: EAA auditorium, Hurricane Ave, Rand Airport, Germiston
Available on the Aero Club website www.aeroclub.org.za 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 email@example.com 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.
General Aviation Hangar Talk with the SACAA Nelspruit
RSVP to Mpho Ramoshaba Tel 011 545 1601 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
General Aviation Hangar Talk with the SACAA Cape Town
RSVP to Mpho Ramoshaba Tel 011 545 1601 E-mail: email@example.com
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
Tragedy at Matsieng, Botswana
The Matsieng Flying Club regrets to make the following announcement: At approximately 18h20 GMT on 23 March 2019 a 2016 Beechcraft Kingair B200 aircraft A2-MBM was involved in an ground impact incident resulting in the death of the pilot Charl Viljoen and the destruction of infrastructure at Matsieng airfield. Earlier that afternoon Viljoen had been an uninvited guest at a private function held at the Matsieng Flying Club facility. Witnesses said that Viljoen allegedly had too much to drink and got into a fight with his wife, when he assaulted her, resulting in Viljoen being removed from the party. Chris Briers said “They had a party at Matsieng, a baby shower and one of the pilots of the Kalahari Air Services pilots had a fight with his wife there and he actually hit his wife and everybody told him to Fxxx Oxx (bad language) off because you don’t treat a woman like that.”
He allegedly drove to the capital, Gaborone, stole a King Air 200 aircraft belonging to Kalahari Air Services. At approximately 18h15 the aircraft approached Matsieng airfield from the direction of Sir Seretse Khama Airport and made a number of low level fly pasts from different directions past the Club facilities next to the air traffic control tower. It was understood that Viljoen made a cell phone call to a friend at the party, asking where his wife was, after which the friend advised the party guests to run and flee the club house. The person narrating the voice note says it is believed that as many as 50 people would have died in the crash if the club house had not been evacuated in time. The Club facility and Matsieng ATC tower was destroyed on impact. The post impact fire destroyed 13 parked vehicles. Fortunately there were no serious injuries to any person in the vicinity of the accident scene. The emergency services of the Kgatleng District Council were on the scene within minutes to attend to the post impact fire and distress. These response actions are to be commended. The loss of life and damage is regretted. The relevant authorities are currently completing investigations.
Egypt orders Su-35 fighters
According to Russian newspaper Kommersant, Egypt has ordered Sukhoi Su-35 multi-role fighters from Russia for an estimated $2 billion. The contract involves several dozen of the fighters, which will supplement the MiG-29M/M2 fighters it is receiving and help replace obsolete MiG-21s and J-7s.
As its sources, Kommersant cited two defence industry executives, who said that Egypt will be getting at least two dozen Su-35s after an order was placed at the end of 2018. Deliveries are due to take place from 2020 / 2021. The aircraft will be built at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant.
China ordered 24 Su-35s and Indonesia ordered 11 of the type. The Su-35 is one of the latest evolutions of the Su-27 ‘Flanker’ and first flew in February 2008, after which it was placed into production for the Russian Air Force in 2014. Compared to its predecessors, the Su-35 features new avionics including the Irbis phased array radar with a range of 400 km and more powerful AL-41F1S engines (14 500 kg of thrust) with thrust vectoring control.
The aircraft has a maximum take-off weight of 34 500 kg and a maximum range of 3 600 km on internal fuel. Payload is 8 tonnes on 12 hardpoints in addition to a single GSh-30-1 30 mm cannon. The Su-35 can deploy air-to-air missiles of up to 300 kilometre range and can carry the heavy Oniks anti-ship cruise missile, as well as a multitude of air-to-ground weaponry.
Over the past decade, Egypt has taken delivery of large amounts of hardware from Russia. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), this includes Tor-M1 (SA-15), Igla-S (SA-24), S-300VM (Antey-2500/SA-23) and Buk-M2 (SA-17) surface-to-air missile systems, ten Mi-17V-5 helicopters and a Project 1241 / Tarantual fast attack craft as well as air-to-air and anti-tank guided missiles. Egypt is also receiving 46 Ka-52K attack helicopters and 50 MiG-29M/M2 fighter jets from Russian manufacturers.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
USA Department of Transport (DOT) calls for audit of 737 MAX certification
US Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has asked the DOT’s Inspector General to audit the FAA’s approval of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. This closely follows a detailed investigative piece by the Seattle Times revealing mischaracterisations of the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), preliminarily thought to be a component of the two fatal crashes of 737 MAX 8 aircraft. The Ethiopian transport minister, who had been presented with preliminary data from Ethiopian Flight 302, said there are ‘clear similarities’ to data from the Lion Air crash in October 2018.
Secretary Chao told IG Calvin Scovel, “To help inform the Department’s decision making and the public’s understanding and to assist the FAA in ensuring that its safety procedures are implemented effectively, this is to confirm my request that the Office of Inspector General proceed with an audit to compile an objective and detailed factual history of the activities that resulted in the certification of the Boeing 737-MAX 8 aircraft.” Boeing requested an amended type certification for the MAX 8 and 9 aircraft in 2012 and received approval in March 2017.
The Times report revealed that the MCAS had far more authority over stabiliser trim than was originally thought and could create yoke forces of more than 100 pounds for pilots trying to regain control of the aircraft. Boeing had previously stated that software fixes were in progress; reports are that the MCAS will be connected to both angle-of-attack sensors (not just one, as currently configured) and be limited to the number of times it can move the stabiliser should it sense an impending stall. The Boeing 737 MAX series remains grounded worldwide.
MCAS certification flawed
The Seattle Times investigation published that the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation (MCAS) system at the centre of investigations into two fatal crashes of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 was misunderstood and mischaracterised in a flawed certification process as Boeing and the FAA rushed to bring the new jet to market. Citing named and unnamed sources, the Times’ Dominic Gates says the final certification of the system, which was intended to give pilots a control feel on the aerodynamically different MAX similar to that of previous iterations of the 737, not only gave ‘unlimited authority’ to the stabiliser for nose-down trim, it literally fought the pilots’ attempts to correct the condition possibly to the point where they were physically unable to fight the stabiliser down force any longer.
“It had full authority to move the stabiliser the full amount,” Peter Lemme, former Boeing flight controls engineer, told the Times. “There was no need for that. Nobody should have agreed to giving it unlimited authority.” The Times story said the profound ability of the system to take over a key flight control action should have resulted in close scrutiny in the certification process. But the original specifications of the system called for MCAS to limit its ability to move the horisontal stabiliser 0.6 degrees at a time. By the time deliveries began, it could pitch the stabilizer 2.5 degrees, about half its total travel, in one movement, the result of flight testing tweaks aimed at finessing the flight control feel.
The system would also pivot the stabiliser that much repeatedly as long as data inputs indicated the aircraft was about to stall, regardless of the pilots’ strenuous efforts to overpower the system. In the October Lion Air crash, which killed 189 people, the flight data recorder counted the captain countering the system 21 times with the first officer taking over for few tries before the captain’s final futile efforts to arrest a 500-MPH dive. The data indicated the nose-down yoke forces peaked at a little more than 100 pounds.
The newspaper’s investigation said that engineers involved in the safety assessment of MCAS were not aware the system could move the tail five times more than the original specifications called for. The certification documents should have been amended to reflect the final configuration but they apparently were not. If they had been, the seriousness of a potential failure of the system would have required it to receive data from at least two sources.
MCAS receives data from only one of two angle of attack indicators on the MAX and the flight data recorder on the Lion Air airplane showed the AOA feeding MCAS was malfunctioning. “A hazardous failure mode depending on a single sensor, I don’t think passes muster,” said Lemme.
The newspaper is reporting that Boeing’s software fix will wire MCAS to both AOAs and only allow the system to move the tail feathers once, instead of repeatedly battling manual control inputs. It will also require additional pilot training and operating manual changes, both of which were called for by pilots unions following the Lion Air crash.
Boeing’s position, endorsed by the FAA, has been that because MCAS is only supposed to trigger in extreme circumstances such as high angles of attack and accelerated stalls that additional pilot training was not necessary. The company has also said that it assumed that based on their existing training on earlier models pilots would recognise the erroneous nose-down commands and hit cut-off switches that would disable the system. This is a standard runaway trim scenario for all aircraft.
However the Times quoted an unnamed FAA safety engineer as saying; “The assumptions in here are incorrect. The human factors were not properly evaluated.” The story also suggests that due to budget cuts the FAA’s certification managers were under increasing pressure to delegate more and more of the safety assessments to Boeing itself. The unprecedented levels of self-certification in the MAX were compounded by the urgency to get the airplane into service because of competitive pressure from Airbus’s new A320neo series. “There wasn’t a complete and proper review of the documents,” the former FAA engineer is quoted as saying. “Review was rushed to reach certain certification dates.”
Third MC-21-300 aircraft joins flight test programme
On 16 March 2019, the first flight of the third MC-21-300 test aircraft took place at the airfield of Irkutsk Aviation Plant, the affiliate of Irkut Corporation (a UAC member). The duration of flight was 1 hour 30 minutes at an altitude of 11,500 feet and a speed of up to 253 knots. The plane was piloted by the crew of Andrey Voropayev and Roman Taskaev test pilots. According to the crew report, the task was performed completely, the flight was in normal mode. According to Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, it was decided to hold the premiere public debut of the MC-21-300 aircraft with a passenger interior at the Moscow international aviation and space salon MAKS-2019. “This will allow us to visually demonstrate to potential customers and future passengers one of the most important competitive advantages of the Russian airliner – an increased level of comfort,” Manturov said. Yuri Slyusar, president of UAC and Irkut Corporation, added that in 2019 the fourth MC-21-300 prototype, built at the Irkutsk Aviation Plant, will join the flight tests. “Airplanes are built on new automated lines that provide high precision and quality of assembly,” Slyusar said.
Civilian passenger unexpectedly ejected from Rafale B jet
On 20 March, as a twin-seat Rafale B fighter jet was taking off from Saint-Dizier 113 airbase for a training mission a civilian passenger was accidentally ejected from the aircraft. The pilot managed to land shortly after the incident and his hands were slightly injured by broken glass from the canopy. The passenger, a man in his sixties, was hospitalised. His back was reportedly injured as he fell on the runway. He is now in a stable condition.
Several investigations, including one from the French investigation bureau for State aviation safety (BEA-E) and one from the Gendarmerie de l’Air, were opened. They will determine if the ejection seat was triggered voluntarily, involuntarily or following a malfunction. The Rafale ejection seat, the Mk-F16F, is supplied by a joint venture between French company Safran and the iconic ejection seat manufacturer Martin Baker.
Faradair announces plans for hybrid electric commercial flight by 2025
The British aerospace start-up Faradair, has revealed its intention to certify its revolutionary 18 seat, hybrid electric ‘BEHA’ aircraft (Bio Electric Hybrid Aircraft) by 2025 for passenger operations. Designated the BEHA_M1H, this hybrid-powered aircraft utilises a design patented ‘Triple Box-wing’ high-lift configuration, delivering Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) capability requiring less than 1,000 feet of runway. With twin contra-rotating ‘propfans’ within a vectored thrust, acoustic reduction duct that improves efficiency and reduces noise to a target of just 60 dba at take-off.
After four years of development, both simulated and scale model testing, the design has evolved into a utilitarian configuration, capable of carrying 18 passengers or three LD3 cargo containers, with an internal payload capability of five metric tons. The aircraft will be able to change configuration in 15 minutes from cargo to passenger and the company is already in discussion with potential civilian and non-civilian customers for this class leading capability. London to Manchester could be flown in just 42 minutes at a cruise speed of 200 knots (HS2 would take 1 hour and 8 minutes by comparison).
As one of the earliest hybrid electric aerospace start-up’s founded in 2014, UK based Faradair has had to survive on angel investment funding and partner input in order to develop its new aircraft design. The UK aerospace innovation funding environment is geared toward the major Tier 1 aerospace primes, with just 4% of Government aerospace innovation funding going to SME’s in recent years.
Whilst there is a boom of interest in Urban Air Mobility and E-VTOL aircraft globally, there is very little UK based VC or Private Equity interest in young aerospace programmes, despite the significant revenue opportunities. Unlike many E-VTOL projects currently proposed, the Faradair BEHA is a traditional aircraft, certifiable to existing Part 23 standards, able to operate from existing airfields but more importantly, able to operate from runways of 1,000 feet or less of any surface and be able to integrate within existing air networks. Its hybrid propulsion system combing electric motors with a Turboprop engine will result in lower operating costs, lower emissions and increased safety redundancy. The aircraft will use existing battery technology for emergency power and ground operations.
JU-Air flies continue operations
JU-Air in Switzerland and has begun a project to completely restore its three historic Junkers JU-52. The company’s 70 and 80-year-old aircraft are currently completely dismantled and being overhauled.
For this most comprehensive revision work in JU-Air’s 36-year history, operations will have to be reduced this summer and next. For the summer of 2019, JU-Air plans to use only one aircraft, HB-HOS, which has undergone comprehensive corrosion tests in addition to the annual maintenance since November. New, high-resolution borescope cameras were used to illuminate and examine the wing spars and even the smallest cavities in the wings, tail units and fuselage. An institute specialising in materials testing additionally examined all connection points within the wings. This X-ray based process is new to the JU-52 and first had to be thoroughly tested and calibrated. The investigations therefore took longer than originally planned. The analysis of the investigations are nearing completion. The optical and baroscopic examinations, X-rays and the expertise of materials scientists and experts in structures and engines have so far revealed no evidence of safety-related deficiencies in the aircraft HB-HOS. If no such deficiencies arise, JU-Air will submit an application to the Federal Office of Civil Aviation for flight operations in 2019. However, due to the delays in the investigations, the start of HB-HOS operations can not take place before the end of May.
JU-Air has used the additional examination time to begin the overhaul of HB-HOS. She will receive new electrical wiring, a redesigned cockpit, a renewed fuel system and a new cabin until the resumption of flight operations. By 2020, the aircraft will be disassembled and the wings will be overhauled by a specialist company. With the sister aircraft HB-HOP, this procedure will be carried out this summer; she had been dismantled last November. JU-Air anticipates it will be able to use them again in one year and ensure flight operations in 2020.
The ten-years younger HB-HOY, a Casa-license airplane built in 1949, will be exhibited until further notice in Mönchengladbach and will not be flown for the time being. Contractual agreements do not allow a deduction of the JU-Air’s youngest airplane at the moment. As soon as the HB-HOY can be brought to Switzerland, it will also be overhauled.
JU-Air says the overhaul of the three machines is not directly related to the accident involving HB-HOT last August; it is a voluntary investment in the safety and value of the aircraft. However, the tragedy and the resulting uncertainty about the causes and alleged defects in the accident aircraft caused JU-Air to comprehensively overhaul the three aircraft.
There are still no indications that a technical issue would have led to the accident of HB-HOT.
The Swiss Federal Office for Civil Air Safety has sent a letter to JU-Air announcing that it intends to place the operation of the JU-52 on a new, legal basis. As the manufacturers of aircraft and engines cease to exist, the FOCA requires, among other things, the creation of an organisation consisting of several specialised agencies, which can regulate and monitor the future maintenance of the aircraft.
For JU-Air, the safety of future operations is a top priority. It is solidly funded, ready and able to set up the required organisation to ensure future operations and to engage the necessary external experts and organisations.
World’s first 9-bladed propeller starts flight test programme
MT-Propeller has begun a flight test programme on the world’s first 9 bladed propeller and reports that initial results are very promising. According to the company, function, handling and operation of the aircraft is similar to propellers, which have been in service for years. This new development is designed for low noise, high performance future airplanes driven by electric powered engines, turbine engines or geared piston engines for propellers with low RPM. Depending on propeller driven airplane designs, top speeds of up to 430 knots are possible with such an installation while reducing fuel consumption.
MT-Propeller says the milestone proves that innovation in propeller driven airplanes is just beginning, and flying an airplane with comfort comparable to a jet, combined with lower fuel consumption, is possible in the near future.
Rolls-Royce takes major step towards electrifying flight
Rolls-Royce has taken a significant step towards realising our ambition to provide hybrid-electric propulsion systems for the next generation of aviation, with successful ground tests of a hybrid system using our M250 gas turbine; a highly successful engine usually powering helicopters. The tests are part of one of the world’s most comprehensive hybrid aerospace turbine engine development and integration programmes and pave the way for experimental flights on aircraft in 2021.
Rolls Royce successfully tested the hybrid version of the M250 gas turbine in a ground demonstration setting in three operating modes: Series Hybrid, Parallel Hybrid and Turbo-Electric. The M250 hybrid is planned to be used as a propulsion plant with power ranging from 500kW to 1MW and has the potential to transform aviation power. The system will be used across a range of transport platforms to enable distributed electric propulsion, including EVTOLs (hybrid electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles), general aviation aircraft and hybrid helicopters.
Rolls-Royce engineers based in the United States, UK and Singapore have developed this engine into a hybrid-electric propulsion system. The M250 gas turbine engine has powered more than 170 varieties of fixed-wing military, civilian aircraft and helicopters since its initial development. Rolls-Royce selected this engine for its maturity, power-density, ease of maintenance and reliability. In the past half-century, M250 variants have logged more than 250 million flight hours and nearly 33,000 M250 engines have been delivered to customers.
The Rolls-Royce hybrid electric propulsion system demonstrator integrates a M250 gas turbine engine with a high energy density battery system, electric generators, power converters and an advanced power management and control system. The power management system optimises overall propulsion performance in order for the system to be suitable across a variety of platforms, including EVTOL, while delivering efficiency gains, reduced noise and lower emissions.
eVTOL aircraft market worth $411 million by 2030
According to the new market research report ‘eVTOL Aircraft Market by Lift Technology (Vectored Thrust, Multirotor, Lift Plus Cruise), MTOW (<250 KG, 250 – 500 KG, 500 – 1500 KG, >1500 KG), application, mode of operation, type of propulsion, range and region – Global Forecast to 2030’, published by MarketsandMarkets, the eVTOL aircraft market is projected to grow from $162 million in 2025 to $411 million by 2030, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 20.42% from 2025 to 2030.
The growing demand for an alternative mode of transportation in urban cities due to increasing road traffic congestion globally is a major factor driving market growth. Based on lift technology, the eVTOL aircraft market has been segmented into vectored thrust, multirotor and lift plus cruise. The vectored thrust segment is projected to grow at the highest CAGR from 2025 to 2030. This projected growth can be attributed to the higher efficiency and endurance achieved by eVTOL aircraft due to the vectored thrust technology. With significant investments pouring into the development of drone infrastructure, the possibility of using drones for passenger and cargo transport is on the rise. The capability of the vectored thrust technology to support eVTOL aircraft operations for longer distances as compared to other lift technologies is expected to grow this segment at a higher rate.
Based on mode of operation, the eVTOL aircraft market has been segmented into piloted and optionally piloted. The optionally piloted segment is projected to grow at a higher CAGR than the piloted segment during the forecast period. The growing demand for autonomous eVTOLs for commercial application is expected to drive this segment. Autonomous aerial vehicles can be used in several areas of operations. These vehicles are programmable autonomous robots that can carry out tasks at high altitudes with increased power capacity.
At the airport for a business trip, I settled down to wait for the boarding announcement at Gate 35. Then I heard the voice on the public address system saying, “We apologise for the inconvenience, but Delta Flight 570 will board from Gate 41.”
So my family picked up our luggage and carried it over to Gate 41. Not ten minutes later the public address voice told us that Flight 570 would in fact be boarding from Gate 35. So, again, we gathered our carry-on luggage and returned to the original gate. Just as we were settling down, the public address voice spoke again: “Thank you for participating in Delta’s physical fitness programme”.
Weekly News from African Pilot
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Until next week, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)
African Pilot ‘Serious about flying’.