“The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.” Albert Einstein
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 was on Friday 5 April, but we still have space for further advertising material. We have made this deadline earlier for the May edition due to the many public holidays in the month of April. For advertising positions please contact Lara Bayliss at Tel: 0861 001130 Cell: 079 880 4359 or e-mail: email@example.com Thank you
Why is African Pilot your best advertising platform in Africa?
1) Presently African Pilot prints and distributes more magazines than any other aviation magazine on the African continent
2) All major advertisers have digital enhancement as a click through to their websites within the digital edition of the monthly magazine
3) APAnews is the only FREE weekly communication delivered by a printed publication in the entire world that has an audience in excess of 100 000 readers per month
4) APAcom attends to your aviation communication and public relations requirements
5) APAdigital is the video service offered to ALL customers of the monthly magazine as well as value-added services including website design and development, results-driven digital marketing and search engine optimisation solutions
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Video of the week: This is the video I took at the Puma Energy / Flying Lions customer day at Rand Airport on Sunday 31 March
Aero South Africa 4 to 6 July 2019
After months of planning and preparations, the Aero South Africa team is excited to announce that visitor registrations to Africa’s inaugural trade show for the general aviation are now OPEN. Exhibitors will cover the full spectrum of services, so this is the ideal place to source new products, view the latest technology and even sell or buy new aircraft. Daily seminars will be FREE to attend. Secure your FREE visitor pass online now and get ready to discover the latest industry innovations available to the African market: https://www.tisevents.co.za/Event/AERO/Default.aspx?id=3651
Mayday-SA needs your support so that we can continue supporting pilots and their families
Dear Fellow Aviator,
We know the stresses and demands of our profession, the requirement to cope and the responsibility for safety. As Mayday-SA, we want you to know that support is available to you to perform at your best when taking to the skies! Our volunteer pilot peers from all sectors of the aviation industry support the health and wellbeing of colleagues, whether through personal stresses or operational events.
SA’s disastrous economic conditions has impacted us with donations being suspended, putting Mayday-SA at serious financial risk. Although our cost structures are low, Mayday-SA requires funding to equip the Peers with comprehensive training and other organisational expenses.
For this reason, we are launching this appeal to the aviation community to support us through this time. Please graciously consider making any level of donation: R100, R1000, R5000 so that Mayday-SA can continue playing its vital role in offering a safe and supportive environment and world class support for license holders in our industry. Supporting us in this way will enable us to continue offering support to pilots and other license holders.
Please deposit directly into our FNB account:
Peer to Peer Mayday-SA
Rivonia Branch: 250355
Account number: 62407812488
Swift Code: FIRNZAJJ
Wendy Santilhano (CEO)
African Pilot’s commitment to Mayday-SA
In the past African Pilot has supported Mayday-SA as a worthy cause where all pilots who impacted by stress-related events in their lives may receive peer support from Mayday-SA’s experienced pilot peers. As part of this ongoing support I pledged an amount of R2000 to Mayday-SA’s cause and I challenge all those individuals and companies in the aviation market to also make a donation to this vital organisation within South African aviation. I am also aware that EAA Johannesburg Chapter 322 has made a R10 000 pledge to Mayday-SA. Congratulations to Captain Karl Jensen and the members of the chapter.
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
What happened in aviation over the past week?
The Coves ‘Flying Carnival’ takes off
What a fantastic day at The Coves fly-in on Saturday. Although the early morning prediction from SA Weather Services was for serious thunder storm weather all day, as usual this service was incorrect. When I called Rand tower early in the morning, I was told that Rand Airport was IMC, so we decided to drive to the event, which was disappointing, because the weather was perfect ALL DAY. I have posted just a few of the more than 500 pictures I took today as well as many video clips that African Pilot will use to show the whole of South Africa that it is still possible to stage a totally successful fly-in without all the ridiculous paperwork that an airshow requires. In my opinion this is the way to go so that organisers can get on with their responsibility of planning an incredible aviation event, without all the usual bureaucracy of the authorities. Everything at The Coves was very well managed and totally safe, because local aviation team had prepared for a wonderful day at a splendid venue with backdrop of the majestic Magaliesburg Mountains. As Brian Emmenis said, this venue certainly challenged the awesome backdrop of the Stellenbosch airshow two weeks ago. Well done to an exceptional team at The Coves, headed up by NAC’s J P Fourie, we are looking forward to the 2020 Coves fly-in, but just perhaps you may consider doing this again in September this year – just a thought!
FlySafair scoops second consecutive TripAdvisor top airline award
FlySafair has once again officially been named Best Airline Africa and Indian Ocean in the 2019 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice™ awards for Airlines. The Travellers’ Choice Awards highlight the world’s top carriers based on the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for airlines worldwide gathered over a 12-month period. The airline performed well across the ratings categories, scoring particularly high marks under onboard experience, customer service, check-in and boarding, value for money and cleanliness.
What is scheduled for the next few weeks?
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.
Pilot Career Show venue The Aviator Hotel near OR Tambo International Airport
Contact Greta Senkevie e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Lourens Kruger E-mail: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 and SAPFA Easter adventure rally
Contact Rob Jonkers e-mail: email@example.com cell: 082 804 7032
Contact Carolle Olivier Tel: 011 827 8884 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA EAA Convention Adventure Rally – Vryheid
Contact Rob Jonkers cell: 082 804 7032 e-mail: email@example.com
26 to 28 April
EAA National Convention in Vryheid
Contact EAA National Committee Marie Reddy
EAA Chapter 322 meeting Dicky Fritz Moth Hall Edenvale
10 and 11 May
Lowveld airshow at Nelspruit airport
Contact Monica Fourie Tel: 083 619 3597 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
10 to 12 May
Contact Dave O’Halloran E-mail: email@example.com
10 to 12 May
NAC annual fly away Letsatsi Game Reserve
Contact Deon Wentzel Cell: 082 458 5719 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
18 & 19 May
SAC Free State Regionals Tempe Airport
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Botswana International Airshow Matsieng Aerodrome (FBMA)
Contact Hentie de Wet E-mail: email@example.com
Contact Johan Pieters E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 923 0078
6 and 7 June
Africa Drone Conference – Emperors Palace Convention Centre
Contact Simon Mkitlane E-mail: email@example.com Tel: 011 886 0433
SAPFA Bethlehem Speed Rally – Bethlehem Airfield
Contact Jonty Esser e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org cell: 082 855 9435
10 to 16 June
SAPFA World Precision Flying Championships – Castellon Spain
Contact Hans Schwebel cell: 082 656 3005 e-mail: email@example.com
5 to 8 June
Zimbabwe Air Rally
Mel Cooper Cell: + 263 773 218426 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
20 to 23 June
SAC National Championships venue TBA
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: email@example.com
21 to 23 June
EAA Chapter 322 flight training Boot Camp at Mwala Lodge
Contact Neil Bowden Cell: 084 674 5674 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Relibile Mofokeng E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 073 837 0162
Reefsteamers train, plane, vintage car event from Krugersdorp to Magalies
Contact Ian Morrison e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
23 to 28 June
South African Hot Air Balloon Championships Skeerpoort North West Province
Contact Richard Bovell e-mail: email@example.com
27 to 30 June
SAC National Championships Malelane airfield
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Embraer delivers first E175 to Mauritania Airlines
In a ceremony held in São José dos Campos, Embraer delivered the first E175 to Mauritania Airlines. The airline signed a firm order with Embraer for two E175 jets in 2018. The contract has a value of $93.8 million. The second aircraft will be delivered in the second quarter of 2019. The E175 for Mauritania Airlines is configured with 76 seats in a comfortable dual class layout. The introduction of E175 is part of Mauritania’s fleet modernization, replacing old aircraft and complementing their modern narrow-body aircraft.
Mali receives donated Cessna ISR aircraft
The European Union donated a Cessna 208 Caravan configured for intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) to Mali’s Air Force to help Mali combat terrorism and insecurity. The aircraft was handed over to Malian authorities on 2 April at a ceremony held at the Sénou Air Base in Bamako. The European Union said the aircraft was delivered with training and ‘state of the art equipment’ for a combined total value of five million euros as part of the support programme for strengthening security in the regions of Mopti and Gao as well as the management of border areas (PARSEC). It will be deployed at Mopti-Sevare airport where the military’s Air Base 102 is located. The aircraft is fitted with an electro-optical payload on the left hand side of the fuselage.
Violence by Islamist militants has proliferated in the sparsely populated Sahel in recent years, with groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State using central and northern Mali as a launchpad for attacks across the region. Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM) – an umbrella group for al Qaeda-linked militants in West Africa and the Maghreb, disrupted Mali’s presidential election in July 2018, launched a spate of attacks in neighbouring Burkina Faso and killed 10 Chadian peacekeepers in Mali earlier this year. Mali has been in turmoil since 2012, when Tuareg rebels took over the north and advanced towards the capital, Bamako.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Report at odds with claim that Ethiopian Pilots followed Boeing guidance
According to a preliminary accident report, the pilots of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX that crashed on 10 March were unable to manually counter significant nose-down trim before losing control of the airplane in a dive that reached 500 knots. The report, released by the Ethiopian government on Thursday, confirms that the MAX 8’s MCAS subsystem, a stall-protection add-on, rolled in nearly maximum nose-down trim in response to a faulty angle-of-attack sensor.
But the report, which draws no final conclusions, is silent on whether the crew simply didn’t know how to use mechanical manual trim or if trim input was inhibited because the airplane was flying at such high speed. The pilots retained take-off / climb power throughout the accident sequence. Ethiopian Airlines said that following the crash of a Lion Air MAX 8 last October in Indonesia, the crew was briefed on Boeing-provided information on how to disable MCAS. Although some mainstream news organisations have reported that the Ethiopian pilots followed Boeing’s checklist, the report suggests they departed from it in one key detail: After initially disabling electric trim to isolate MCAS, they reengaged it later, allowing the malfunctioning system to trim the airplane nearly full nose-down.
Manoeuvring Characteristic Augmentation System (MCAS) was added to the MAX series because the engines are heavier and mounted farther forward than on previous 737 models. As a result, in flight test, the airplane demonstrated a pitch-up tendency at high angles of attack and / or high load factors. To counter this, MCAS automatically adds nose-down trim at high angles of attack when the airplane is hand flown with the flaps up. Boeing has described it as a stall-protection system, but it also increases perceived pitch force before stall angle of attack is reached.
MCAS is fed by a single AoA sensor and in both crashes, the sensor furnished inaccurate information to the flight computer. The Ethiopian report said that the left-side AoA indicated 74.5 degrees less than a minute after take-off, while the right side indicated 15.3 degrees. This activated the left-side stick shaker and MCAS eventually responded by rolling in nose-down trim. It also gave the crew airspeed and altitude disagree alerts between the left and right side displays.
Following Lion Air, Boeing’s guidance for this situation, published in the Ethiopian preliminary report called for several steps that combine its existing standard runaway trim with the MCAS’s peculiarities. Specifically, the checklist calls for disengaging the autopilot and autothrottles and, if the runaway continues, setting electric trim to the cut out position, disabling electric trim. Boeing said it should remain off for the remainder of the flight. The checklist advises to trim manually with the mechanical wheel and to ‘anticipate trim requirements.’ Following Lion Air, Boeing also said that a significant out-of-trim condition caused by a runaway could first be corrected with electric trim before the cut outs are used. Flight data appears to show that the Ethiopian crew did not do this.
At 5:38:58, the captain, who was flying, called for the first officer to engage the autopilot, opposite of Boeing’s guidance. At that point, the crew had a left side stick shaker, some of the fault warnings and a master caution light Boeing listed, including airspeed and altitude disagree. It is unclear if this had any bearing on the accident scenario, since MCAS is disabled when the autopilot is engaged. (The autopilot disengaged 33 seconds later.)
Shortly after the autopilot disengaged, the FDR showed that automatic nose-down trim activated for nine seconds, confirming that MCAS was reacting to and trying to resolve the erroneous AoA indication. The captain countered this with electric trim with his yoke thumb switch and later asked the first officer to ‘trim up with him.’ The aircraft began a series of pitch and altitude excursions, but the power was never reduced below 94% N1, an unusually high power setting.
After struggling against the automatic pitch trim and excursions for several seconds, at 5:40:35; about two and half minutes after take-off, the first officer called ‘stab trim cut out’ twice. The captain concurred and the report indicates the cut outs were used. The 737’s trim system is operated by an electric motor / jackscrew arrangement that trims by moving the entire horizontal stabilizer. In the event of a trim runaway, the cut out switches on the lower pedestal disable the electric motor. But the 737 still has manual mechanical trim wheels on either side of the pedestal that are accessible to both pilots.
Six seconds later, the FDR showed that more automatic nose-down trim was commanded, indicating that MCAS was still sensing high AoA. However, the data showed the stabiliser did not respond to this command, confirming that the cut out switches were engaged. MCAS can only move the stabiliser if electric trim is active.
The report indicates that shortly after the cut outs were used, the trim gradually moved nose-down from 2.3 to 2.1 units. It’s unclear why this happened, since electric trim was disabled. At this point, according to the report, both pilots were exerting pitch-up force on the control columns, after the captain asked the FO to assist him.
At 5:41:46, a little over four and a half minutes after take-off, the captain asks the FO “if the trim is functional.” The FO replied that it wasn’t and asked the captain if he could trim manually. What is unclear is if the FO meant trim manually with his yoke-mounted electric trim switch or the 737’s mechanical wheel. The training manual for the 737 MAX includes a warning that excessive air loads on the stabiliser could require the effort of both pilots to correct a mistrim condition. ‘In extreme cases, it may be necessary to aerodynamically relieve air loads to allow manual trimming. Accelerate or decelerate towards the in-trim speed while attempting to trim manually,’ the training guidance says.
The data indicates the stabiliser was never moved manually mechanically. However, 32 seconds before the crash, the FDR trace revealed two momentary manual electric trim inputs commanding nose-up from 2.1 to 2.3 units.
This indicates that counter to Boeing’s guidance, the crew reengaged electric trim, allowing MCAS to once again regain control of the stabiliser. In five seconds, it moved the trim nose down from 2.3 to 1.0 unit, a value that is nearly maximum nose-down in the 737, according to sources. The aircraft reached 40 degrees pitch down before impacting at 500 knots, according to the FO’s data. According to the report, power was never reduced from the take-off / climb value.
Ethiopian Airlines said that its pilots did follow the Boeing guidance and in a press statement, the airline said, “We are very proud of our pilots’ compliances to follow the emergency procedures and high level of professional performances in such extremely difficult situations.”
For its part, Boeing continues work on a new software package for the 737 MAX, but it is not known when it will be available. For the time being, more than 370 MAX series 737s remain grounded throughout the world. In a press statement, Boeing said, “The preliminary report contains flight data recorder information indicating the airplane had an erroneous angle-of-attack sensor input that activated the MCAS function during the flight, as it had during the Lion Air 610 flight. “To ensure unintended MCAS activation will not occur again, Boeing has developed and is planning to release a software update to MCAS and an associated comprehensive pilot training and supplementary education program for the 737 MAX. “As previously announced, the update adds additional layers of protection and will prevent erroneous data from causing MCAS activation. Flight crews will always have the ability to override MCAS and manually control the airplane.”
Air Force One replacement at US$5.3 billion
The final price tag for two new almost-new VC-25B executive transport aircraft for the Air Force is now pegged at $5.3 billion. Defence One is reporting the Pentagon has asked for $4.68 billion for the conversion of two mothballed Boeing 747-8i airliners in its 2020 budget request and full implementation of the programme will add the other $600 million or so to create the aircraft, which are used to fly the president and are designated Air Force One when he is onboard. The final programme cost is about $1.4 billion higher than the $3.9 billion that had been touted by the administration. After intervention from President Donald Trump over the cost of the programme, the Air Force bought two white-tailed airframes from Boeing that had been orphaned in desert storage by the bankruptcy of Russian airline TransAero. It’s believed stripping the seats and some of the civilian systems from the planes, which have been stored in the open for more than two years, will add to the cost. The sticker price for the two Russian airframes is $390 million each but the Air Force has never released what it actually paid for them. The first of the stored aircraft took off from Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville last week heading to the Kelly Field Annex in Texas where modification work will begin in 2020.
Included in the $600 million of programme implementation costs is a new hangar for the aircraft at Joint Base Andrews near Washington. There is nothing wrong with the existing hangar except it is a few feet too small to hold the longer and wider 747-8i. The new hangar is expected to cost $86 million. Despite the ballooning cost, the new airplanes will lack the endurance of the existing VC-25Bs because they will not be able to refuel in flight. By using inflight refuelling, along with large refrigerators for food and provisions for other necessities, the existing aircraft were designed to stay in the air for days at a time in times of crisis.
Piper Aircraft receives another record-breaking fleet contract
At Sun ‘n Fun on Tuesday Piper Aircraft announced that L3 Commercial Aviation has placed an order for up to 240 new Piper aircraft options to expand and modernise its aircraft training fleet across its Airline Academy pilot training sites. The new fleet will support the growing demand for its cadet pilot programmes in light of the global shortage of pilots. This is the largest civilian fleet order received in company history and comes on the heels of a similar deal announced in 2018 for 152 aircraft from Fanmei Aviation Technologies.
The aircraft on order will be equipped with the latest technology used on commercial jets, providing the perfect training environment for pilots of the future as they prepare for their goal of joining a commercial airline. As part of the contract, the first 26 aircraft will be delivered in 2019 from April onwards. The order includes 19 single-engine Piper Archers and seven twin-engine Piper Seminoles.
The new aircraft will be based at L3’s Airline Academies in Florida, US; Ponte de Sor, Portugal and in the UK. The deal represents a significant investment in L3’s infrastructure and training capacity throughout its international footprint.
Global 7500 aircraft makes transatlantic crossing in record time
Last week Bombardier announced that the ultra-long-range Global 7500 jet has again proven its unmatched performance capabilities, adding another significant city-pair speed record to its list of remarkable achievements, this time during a transatlantic flight from White Plains, NY to Luton, UK. The record is pending certification by the US National Aeronautic Association. The aircraft completed the transatlantic mission in 5 hours and 26 minutes under seasonal winds, establishing the record and making it the fastest flight for a business jet between these two major financial centres. During the flight, the aircraft reached a top speed of M 0.925, with an average speed of M 0.92, demonstrating exceptional speed, all while providing the smoothest ride.
Since its entry-into-service, the Global 7500 jet has emphatically proven itself to be the highest-performing aircraft in the industry. With unmatched capabilities, the Global 7500 aircraft is on a record-setting streak. Earlier this month, it completed the longest flight in business aviation with an 8,152-nautical-mile mission between Singapore and Tucson, landing with 4,300 lbs of fuel reserves, representing nearly 1.5 hours of additional flight. This week, it also set a record-breaking speed flight from Los Angeles to New York in 3 hours and 54 minutes, sustaining a speed of Mach 0.925 for more than two hours. The Global 7500 aircraft continues to set the bar for unprecedented excellence and performance in the world of business aviation.
Icelandic Coast Guard upgrades to Airbus H225 rescue helicopters
Airbus Helicopters is supporting the Icelandic Coast Guard (ICG) with the entry into service of two Airbus H225 heavy search and rescue (SAR) helicopters as the first step in a renewal of the agency’s helicopter fleet. The aircraft are replacing two of the ICG’s three existing Airbus AS332L1 Super Pumas, the first of which entered service in 1995. They are being leased from Norwegian helicopter lessor Knut Axel Ugland Holding AS and will both be in service by the end of April 2019. The ICG plans to purchase permanent replacements for all three aircraft in its fleet by 2022. Airbus Helicopters is providing pilot and technician training on key features of the H225 and ongoing maintenance and support under an HCare Smart Parts By the Hour contract.
RAF Typhoons intercept Russian aircraft over the North Sea
On Saturday 30 March RAF Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) Typhoon fighter aircraft scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth, with an RAF Voyager from Brize Norton, to monitor two Russian Blackjacks approaching UK airspace. The RAF worked closely with NATO partners to monitor the Russian aircraft as they passed through a variety of international airspace before they were intercepted over the North Sea.
The RAF routinely identify, intercept and escort Russian aircraft that transit international airspace within proximity to the UK’s area of interest and continue to be on call every day. This is the second time in the past week RAF aircraft have taken to the air to investigate Russian activity, following a similar incident on Wednesday evening, but on that occasion, an intercept by the Typhoons was not necessary.
Embraer Praetor 600 completes flight tests
Embraer completed certification flight tests of its new 3,900-nm super midsize Praetor 600 model as it remains on track for approval and it is going to deliver in mid-year. The 3,250-nm midsize Praetor 500 sibling is expected to follow this year. The company is now turning to a flight maturity campaign as it preps the models for market entry. The certification flight test campaign had accrued 339 flight hours and 472 flight cycles, with the maturity campaign so far collecting another 32.2 flight hours and 14 flight cycles.
The $21 million Praetor 600 launched in October 2018 along with the smaller Praetor 500, which has logged 30 hours of flight testing in 18 sorties. Certification and service entry of the $17 million midsize aircraft are due in the third quarter. Improving on the capabilities of the Legacy 500, the Praetor 600 gains new winglets and two extra belly fuel tanks, while more powerful Honeywell HTF7500E engine thrust increased by 500lb (2.2kN), taking the range to 3,900nm (7,200km). Both models will share an assembly line with the Legacy duo in Sao Jose dos Campos, and at Embraer’s US business aviation manufacturing facility in Melbourne, Florida.
The Praetors are the only midsize and super-midsize business jets with full fly-by-wire technology and active turbulence reduction, with the latter designed to give customers ‘The smoothest possible ride’, says Embraer. From class-leading cabin comfort, including best-in-class cabin altitude to more destinations with best-in-class range and enviable performance in challenging airports, the Praetor 600 expands the journey and delivers the utmost value. Paying attention to detail and superior craftsmanship are the elegantly conceived six-foot-tall flat-floor cabin. Whether working or dining, the cabin’s fold-flat tables offer plenty of space and with the most generous baggage volume in its segment; including a practical, in-flight accessible baggage compartment owners will have everything they need aboard this unique aircraft.
NASA receives first air-to-air images of supersonic shockwave interaction in flight
NASA has successfully tested an advanced air-to-air photographic technology in flight, capturing the first-ever images of the interaction of shockwaves from two supersonic aircraft in flight. The images were captured during the fourth phase of air-to-air background oriented Schlieren flights, or AirBOS, which took place at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Centre in Edwards, California. The flight series saw successful testing of an upgraded imaging system capable of capturing high-quality images of shockwaves, rapid pressure changes which are produced when an aircraft flies faster than the speed of sound, or supersonic. Shockwaves produced by aircraft merge together as they travel through the atmosphere and are responsible for what is heard on the ground as a sonic boom.
The system will be used to capture data crucial to confirming the design of the agency’s X-59 Quiet SuperSonic Technology X-plane, or X-59 QueSST, which will fly supersonic, but will produce shockwaves in such a way that, instead of a loud sonic boom, only a quiet rumble may be heard. The ability to fly supersonic without a sonic boom may one day result in lifting current restrictions on supersonic flight over land. The images feature a pair of T-38s from the US Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, flying in formation at supersonic speeds. The T-38s are flying approximately 30 feet away from each other, with the trailing aircraft flying about 10 feet lower than the leading T-38. With exceptional clarity, the flow of the shock waves from both aircraft is seen and for the first time, the interaction of the shocks can be seen in flight for potential regulation changes to enable quiet commercial supersonic flight over land.
While NASA has previously used the schlieren photography technique to study shockwaves, the AirBOS 4 flights featured an upgraded version of the previous airborne schlieren systems, allowing researchers to capture three times the amount of data in the same amount of time. Additional images included a ‘knife-edge’ shot of a single T-38 in supersonic flight, as well as a slow-speed T-34 aircraft, to test the feasibility of visualising an aircraft’s wing and flap vortices using the AirBOS system.
The images were captured from a NASA B-200 King Air, using an upgraded camera system to increase image quality. The upgraded system included the addition of a camera able to capture data with a wider field of view. This improved spatial awareness allowed for more accurate positioning of the aircraft. The system also included a memory upgrade for the cameras, permitting researchers to increase the frame rate to 1400 frames per second, making it easier to capture a larger number of samples. Finally, the system received an upgraded connection to data storage computers, which allowed for a much higher rate of data download. This also contributed to the team being able to capture more data per pass, boosting the quality of the images.
In addition to a recent avionics upgrade for the King Air, which improved the ability of the aircraft to be in the exact right place at the exact right time, the team also developed a new installation system for the cameras, drastically reducing the time it took to integrate them with the aircraft.
In order to capture these images, the King Air, flying a pattern around 30,000 feet, had to arrive in a precise position as the pair of T-38s passed at supersonic speeds approximately 2,000 feet below. Meanwhile, the cameras, able to record for a total of three seconds, had to begin recording at the exact moment the supersonic T-38s came into frame. The data from the AirBOS flights will continue to undergo analysis, helping NASA refine the techniques for these tests to improve data further, with future flights potentially taking place at higher altitudes. These efforts will help advance knowledge of the characteristics of shockwaves as NASA progresses toward quiet supersonic research flights with the X-59 and closer toward a major milestone in aviation. AirBOS was flown as a sub-project under NASA’s Commercial Supersonic Technology project. The study of how shockwaves interact with each other, as well as with the exhaust plume of an aircraft, has been a topic of interest among researchers. Previous, subscale schlieren research in Ames’ wind tunnel, revealed distortion of the shocks, leading to further efforts to expand this research to full-scale flight testing.
While the acquisition of these images for research marked one of the goals of AirBOS, one of the primary objectives was to flight test advanced equipment capable of high quality air-to-air schlieren imagery, to have ready for X-59’s Low-Boom Flight Demonstration, a mission that will use the X-59.
Russian Airline owner dies in Epic LT crash
The co-owner of Russian Airline S7 (Siberian Airlines) and one of Russia’s wealthiest women, Natalia Fileva (55), died in the crash of an Oregon-produced Epic LT turboprop single outside of Frankfurt on Sunday 31 March. Two other people on the plane were also killed. Epic, based in the resort town of Bend, Oregon, is owned by Russian MRO company Engineering LLC but it’s not immediately clear what, if any, relationship there is between the airline and the MRO. Social media reports connect the three companies. The crash airplane had Russian registration and Epic promotional text on its exterior. The aircraft is an experimental in the US. It is the owner-built version of the Epic Dynasty, which has been undergoing a lengthy FAA certification after the company changed hands several times. The Russian owners are reported to have fully funded the certification effort. Fileva was flying from France to Frankfurt when the aircraft went down in field near Egelsbach. There were no details immediately available on the crash. The LT is the forerunner of Epic’s Dynasty certified model that will be built in Bend. It’s a high-performance single that was built as a factory assist experimental in Bend until recently. The provenance of the crash airplane wasn’t immediately known.
FAA prepares for ADS-B deadline with landing gear boots
Think the FAA is not serious about preventing non-ADS-B equipped airplanes from using controlled airspace after the 1 January 2020 deadline? Think again. The agency has been stockpiling boot devices it intends to place on the thousands of airplanes it anticipates will not have the proper equipment installed by the end of the year. The FAA has records of the N-numbers of aircraft which have had the proper ADS-B Out devices installed. In the memo, FAA acting administrator Daniel Elwell says that TSA will be provided with the registration numbers and last known airport location of aircraft which have missed the deadline. The memo indicates that the effort will prioritise business aircraft such as business jets and high-performance pistons that are most likely to be using controlled airspace. But all GA aircraft will be ‘targets of opportunity’ for a boot.
United Technologies introduces hybrid-electric airliner
United Technologies has released a white paper detailing what it calls ‘Project 804’, the development of a hybrid-electric airliner. The plane is an initiative of UTCs newly-established United Technologies Advanced Projects (UTAP); a start-up-like organization at the heart of UTC that disrupts from within. UTAP moves at intense speed to build and pilot ambitious product and service demonstrators, while simultaneously distilling UTC’s curious and collaborative culture.
The Project 804 X-plane will be based on a Bombardier Dash 8 Series -100 aircraft, re-engined on one side with a two megawatt-class propulsion system. Its configuration will consist of an engine optimised for cruise efficiency augmented by a battery-powered electric motor to assist during the missions’ 20-minute take-off and climb. The engine and electric motor will each generate about one megawatt of power in a parallel hybrid configuration. While the battery cells are off-the-shelf, the packaging and battery management system (BMS) are custom-designed for efficiency and to meet necessary safety requirements. This approach could be suitable for a clean-sheet regional design as well as a retrofitted option for existing airframes. The demonstrator’s novel architecture is expected to provide an industry-leading total fuel savings of at least 30% during an hour-long mission, with some of the fuel savings attributable to the latest in engine technology, not just the added electrification.
UTC believes the electrification of flight represents a significant opportunity for the industry, air travellers and the environment. By combining UTAP’s bold, risk-tolerant approach with UTC’s industrial roots and engineering expertise, Project 804 will make hybrid-electric flight a commercial reality with efficiency and speed. According to the paper, a regional turboprop requires high take-off power to carry large payloads but flies relatively slowly under relatively low power. Project 804 leverages this large ratio between peak power and steady-state power to create significant total energy savings. The propulsion system uses a 50/50 power split, parallel-hybrid configuration between an engine and an electric motor. The electrical assist is high-power and short-duration allowing the size and weight of the energy storage device to be manageable within the aircraft maximum take-off weight. The configuration also allows the engine to be optimised for the cruise portion of the flight only. Full system capability is within the 2MW power class for the 30-50 passenger regional turboprop market.
CAAS tightens regulatory regime on alcohol abstention for pilots
Starting on 31 March 2019, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has tightened the regulatory regime on alcohol abstention to mitigate the risk of pilots operating under the influence of alcohol. CAAS has a zero tolerance policy towards alcohol consumption. On 31 March CAAS implemented the Airport Alcohol Testing Programme (AATP) and commence random alcohol testing of pilots at Changi and Seletar airports. The alcohol abstinence standard will be 0.02 grams per 210 litres of breath. Pilots found to exceed an alcohol limit of 0.02 grams per 210 litres of breath will not be permitted to fly. In addition, pilots found to be operating under the influence of alcohol may be subject to criminal penalties, of up to S$50,000 (approx. $37,000 US) and/or imprisonment of up to two years for the first offence and up to S$100,000 (approx. $73,000 US) and/or imprisonment of up to five years for repeat offenders.
In addition, Singapore Air Operator Certificate holders will be required to strengthen their alcohol abstention policies. From 1 May 2019, they will be required to implement an Airline Alcohol Management Program (AAMP) to proactively identify, manage and rehabilitate pilots with problematic use of alcohol. The AAMP must include components such as a comprehensive peer and self-reporting system, as well as an alcohol rehabilitation program for pilots. These enhancements to the regulatory regime have been developed following a comprehensive review and consultations with the aviation community. They will also be complemented with other actions by airlines, pilot associations and unions.
Florida man sentenced in laser incident
A Pasco County, Florida man has been sentenced to nearly two years in a federal prison for aiming a laser at a Sheriff’s Office helicopter that was assisting in an encounter with a barricaded suspect. Ryan Fluke (27), was arrested for shining the laser into the cockpit of the aircraft in December 2017, temporarily blinding and disorienting the Sheriff’s deputies in the aircraft. They aborted their mission and landed in a nearby parking lot. The pilot of the helicopter, Stephen Bowman, walked to Fluke’s home and placed him under arrest. Fluke initially denied committing the crime, but he eventually pleaded guilty to a third degree felony and was sentenced last week to 21 months in a federal prison. The FAA received 6,754 reports of laser incidents in 2017.
Flying cars could take-off as soon as 2023
From a one-person flying car to a luxurious five seater, companies are racing to launch the first flying car. CES is an annual trade show organised by the Consumer Technology Association. Held in January at the Las Vegas Convention Centre in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States, the event typically hosts presentations of new products and technologies in the consumer electronics industry. The Bell Nexus hybrid electric air taxi concept was on display. While CES attendees are still quite a few years away from being able to hop in a flying car and travel to the annual technology show, several concepts displayed at the 2019 event this week provided a glimpse of what the future could look like.
At CES, Textron’s Bell division, a partner in the Uber Elevate flying car initiative, showed off its new air taxi concept called the Nexus. While it may fly, make no mistake, the Nexus looks more like a car than an airplane. The concept uses six tilted fans to aid in take-offs and landings, which are powered by a hybrid-electric propulsion system. Inside the vehicle, four passengers and a pilot can see their flight path projected onto a screen.
Uber has said it’s planning to roll out its air vehicles by 2023 in certain cities, targeting the Dallas-Fort Worth area and Los Angeles as its first domestic markets. Future flying car passengers were able to get a glimpse of what travel will be like by trying a VR simulator that allows them to pilot the Pal-V Liberty concept, which looks like a hybrid of a sports car and a helicopter. While the idea of flying cars has long been regarded as a science fiction dream, the new prototypes show that it’s even closer to becoming a reality. However, the adoption of flying cars still faces major regulatory roadblocks. The legal hurdles related to small flying machines are arguably a bigger challenge than mastering the technology. These issues will make it hard for personal or compact commercial aircraft to take flight and even harder for a substantial number to offset ground traffic.
However, the future does look promising. Uber’s forecasts show how its Uber Elevate ambitions could make longer commutes economical: According to a forecast from Uber, a commute between San Francisco and San Jose, which would typically take two hours during rush hour and cost $111, would be cut down to just 15 minutes. That route by air could initially cost $129, with the price dropping to $43 in the near term and $20 in the long term.
Schiebel obtains EN 9100 certification
Last month Schiebel was awarded the widely recognized EN 9100 certification for quality management systems in the aviation, space and defence industry. Throughout the civil and military aerospace industry, EN 9100 is the quality assurance standard in development, production and maintenance along the entire supply chain. With this international quality management certification, Schiebel provides evidence that its quality processes meet all requirements of customers and regulatory authorities.
Created by the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD), EN 9100 is identical to AS 9100 in North America and JISQ 9100 in Japan. Around 18000 companies are currently certified globally, 52 of which are located in Austria. Schiebel thus solidifies its position among the best of the best in the industry.
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’.