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“Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.” Dr Samuel Johnson
African Pilot’s April 2018 edition
With an increased page count of a further eight pages, the April edition of African Pilot in now fully distributed. This edition features Business Jets, business at Rand Airport and the Singapore Airshow held early in February. In addition, African Pilot’s scoop is a terrific story on ‘The COWS Pitts Specials’, (a charity that raises funds for CHOC, children’s cancer treatment) formation aerobatics team that airshow enthusiasts will be thrilled to experience throughout this year’s airshow season.
The May edition will feature our annual ‘Helicopters and Helicopter Operators’ feature. In addition, this is the month in which African Pilot features a separate publication that we have published for the past 16 years, being our annual Aviation Services Guide. The idea of the ‘Services Guide’ is that this has been an excellent reference book that contains specific information on ALL aviation business services.
For editorial submissions please send these directly to me: email@example.com and for advertising please contact Lara Bayliss. Due to the Easter holidays, the deadline for the May edition has been extended until Friday 13 April.
Now you can get your favourite aviation magazine online
The cost of a single download is R16 (US$2) or R160 (US$20) for a 12-month subscription. If you happened to miss out on a particular article or edition, back editions will also be archived:
Video of the week
Gravity is overrated. This is a fantastic video is best viewed in full screen HD digital with sound on: www.youtube.com/embed/ft5aY1I22j4
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Media accreditation by RAASA and ASSA
During the Air Show SA Board meeting held on 27 March 2018, it was resolved that Media Accreditation by ASSA and / or RAASA for purposes of Special air events in South Africa will no longer take place. This implies that air-side access at these events will no longer be allowed to members of the media and photographers, inclusive of sterile areas. It is the prerogative of event organisers to provide media vantage areas which will be under their control. Should such demarcated and constructed vantage area protrude laterally or by height into the air side, the organiser shall include this is in the layout and operational plan during the application for permit phase. The appointed Flight Display Director (FDD) shall be satisfied with the design and safety impact before the operational plan be considered for approval.
Editor comments: I suppose this action was to be expected, since many of the so called RAASA accredited photographers were in fact not working for any recognised publication anyway. However, when one door closes, others open and as photographers we will find a way to continue taking pictures at aviation events. Unfortunately, it is the very body Air Show South Africa that serves the airshow business that will lose out when publicity is denied to the airshow organisers, sponsors of airshow teams and so on. Now that RAASA and ASSA have ruled that ‘photographers’ are not to be allowed anywhere on the air side, unless this has been approved by the airshow organiser, I question what they will do about those individuals that always disregard the rules anyway, often pretending to be photographers?
What happened in aviation over the past week?
What fantastic organisation by the local Ermelo Aeronautical Society on Saturday 7 April to kick start the 2018 airshow season. I was impressed by ALL the officials, who went out of their way to accommodate those professional photographers who work very hard at airshows. The overall logistical management of fuel and smoke oil, air traffic control, spectators, vendors, sponsors, the large beer garden tent and of course the participating pilots was outstanding. This was an excellent day of exciting entertainment as the display pilots excelled to keep the crowds on their feet and cheering with delight. Thank you to Ermelo’s committee members – you were awesome! My full illustrated report will be contained within the May edition of African Pilot.
Alitalia returns to South Africa
Today 9 April Alatalia’s Airbus A330-200 touched down at OR Tambo international Airport after an absence of 16 years. The airliner was met with the traditional fire engine grey water salute as the spectators watched from the viewing deck on the third floor of the terminal building. The airline will now operate the Rome / Johannesburg route four times per week on the 250-seat Airbus A330 with passengers having the choice of three travel classes: Magnifica Business Class, Premium Economy and Economy. Alitalia is connected to a further 94 international destinations from its main hub in Rome.
What is scheduled for the next few weeks?
Legends Talk Show
EAA Auditorium, Rand Airport
Thursday, 12 April 2018 – 18:30 for 19:30
We have a wonderful opportunity, to hear about the adventures, during the Bush War, of several of our members, including Jeff Earle, Geoff Fish, Mark Clulow and Peter Cook. Those of us who are also members of RAFOC, will have heard some of the stories, which were riveting. But, there are many more to be told, so you’re unlikely to hear a complete repeat of the RAFOC event. Jeff has assured me that they will introduce new stories around their time up in Angola and Namibia (South West Africa, as it was then).
Given that the Auditorium is likely to fill up fast, as this will probably be a once in a life-time event, for many of us, booking is essential. So please drop an e-mail to ensure you have a seat(s), for the event. If you do not have access to email, you are welcome to send me a WhatsApp message, my number is 082 850 4141.
I look forward to welcoming you to this great event, which will have our usual Barman and Braaimeesters, on duty, to fill your glasses and plates. There will be no entry fee, but there will be a small charge of R25 for a boerie, or a steak roll. Please indicate with your booking, if you’d like one, or more, of the rolls, so we can ensure we don’t run out.
EAA Auditorium Convenor
12 to 14 April
SAPFA Rally Nationals and Fun Rally at Brits Airfield
Contact Frank Eckard E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083 269 1516
Robertson annual Fly-in breakfast
Contact Alwyn du Plessis E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 083 270 5888
18 to 21 April
AERO Friedrichshafen – Germany
AERO dedicates itself to offering a significant collection of aviation related products and accessories. Exhibitors will be showing engines, modern ultra-lights, powered aircraft, avionics and related products and services. Over the years, this show has gained a huge reputation from all over the world and the positive reaction from the attendees have motivated the exhibitors to improve the existing range and manufacture more such effective spare parts and products.
21 & 22 April
SAC KZN regionals – Ladysmith airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
27 April to 1 May
NAC annual fly-away 10th edition
Contact Deneys Potgieter E-mail: email@example.com or Cell: 082 891 4354
27 to 29 April
EAA National Convention Vryheid Airfield over the last weekend in April.
Besides a great April expected turnout of aircraft, a fantastic venue and a superb function being organised by the Vryheid Wings Club, you can also win a trip to the world’s greatest aviation event – Oshkosh AirVenture! Would you like to fly to Vryheid on a Douglas DC-3? The price is R1 250 per seat, it will depart from Rand Airport on Friday morning and return to Rand Sunday morning. By making sure you are an EAA (South Africa) member, pre-registering and attending the event, you will stand in line to win this exciting prize! The draw will take place at Vryheid at the awards dinner on the airfield. Contact Marie Reddy E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA EAA Convention Fun Rally Vryheid Airfield
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 804 7032
Wings & Wheels Uitenhage
Contact Lourens Kruger E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 320 2615
SAAF Museum Swartkops Airshow theme ‘Our Indomitable Spirit’
Contact Officer Commanding E-mail: email@example.com Tel: 012 351 2290
7 to 9 May
Airport show in Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Contact Reed Exhibitions Middle East E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA Sheila Taylor Fun Rally at Krugersdorp Airfield
Contact Grant Rousseau Cell: 082 329 3551E-mail: email@example.com
Lowveld Airshow at the Nelspruit Airfield
Tel: 013 741 6412 Contact Monica Fourie E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083 619 3597
Swellengrebel Flying Club 60th birthday fly-in
Contact Pieter Venter E-mail: email@example.com
15 to 18 May
NAMPO Agricultural Trade Show near Bothaville, Free State
Contact Wim Venter Tel: 086 004 7246 E-mail: Wim@grainsa.co.za
16 to 18 May
Drone Con 2018 Vodaworld Centre in Midrand
Contact E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
17 & 18 May
8th Aviation Training and Education Summit Shanghai, China
Contact Josephine Zhu E-mail: email@example.com
19 & 20 May
SAC Free State Regionals Tempe airport Bloemfontein
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
CAASA Conference to be held at Lanseria
Contact Louise Olckers Tel; 011 659 2345 E-mail: email@example.com
24 to 26 May
President’s Trophy Air Race Tempe Airfield, Bloemfontein
Website: www.sapfa.org.za E-mail: Race@sapfa.org.za
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 804 7032
Race director Robin Spencer-Scarr: E-mail: email@example.com
Contact Riaan van Vuuren E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +26 771 66 1201
29 to 31 May
European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland.
Contact Bianca Dorneanu E-mail: email@example.com Tel: +32 2 766 00 72
6 to 8 November
Dubai Heli Show, Royal Pavillion Al Maktoum Airport
Contact Mr. Abel Bajamunde E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Kfir fighters offered to Africa
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Kfir Block 60 fighter aircraft that were intended to be sold to Argentina are now being offered to an African country. Officials from that country recently visited Israel to negotiate the purchase of the upgraded fighter aircraft and other systems like different types of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). On 15 March Israeli sources said ‘political reasons’ caused the end of negotiations for the possible purchase of 12-14 upgraded Kfir Block 60 fighters. Other sources said that the US objected the sale.
The Kfir is powered by a US-made J79 engine. The Block 60 is offered by IAI with a J79 engine with zero hours after a total overhaul and Elta 2032 AESA radar. Kfir fighters are in service with the air forces of Sri Lanka, Ecuador and Colombia. The latter’s have been upgraded with Elta EL/M-2032 radar, Rafael Litening targeting pod, aerial refuelling capability and improved cockpit displays.
According to sources in Argentina, the Argentinean government received a proposal from Paris for the acquisition of between 20 to 24 second-hand Dassault Mirage 2000C fighter jets. IAI subsequently sought to sell the Kfirs elsewhere, such as to the United States for ‘Red Air’ aggressor training. Options include private companies ATAC and Draken International.
Senegal purchase four L-39NG jets
On 4 April Czech aircraft maker Aero Vodochody announced that it had sold L-39NG jets to Senegal, which are configured for light attack and training. The contract will also cover the training of pilots, including conversion, instructor and combat training, maintenance personnel training, spare parts, ground support equipment and logistic support services. Senegal’s air force has a few fixed wing combat aircraft, its most significant purchase being Super Tucanos in 2013. It has several Mi-35P Hind attack helicopters in service.
The L-39NG is based on successful aero dynamical concept of the current L-39 but is manufactured with the use of new technologies and contains modern systems. In January, Aero started up the L-39NG pre-series production line. Aero is currently producing a total of four L-39NGs. The first and the fourth aircraft will be used for flight tests, the second one for static tests and the third for fatigue tests. The first flight of the new pre-series L-39NG is planned to happen at the end of 2018 with deliveries expected to start in early 2020. Full scale production is expected by 2022 with 16 aircraft per year.
African carriers’ see freight demand increase by 15.9% in February
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released demand growth results for global air freight markets for February 2018 showing a 6.8% increase in demand measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs) compared to the same period last year. Adjusting for the potential Lunar New Year distortions by combining growth in January 2018 and February 2018, demand increased by 7.7%. This was the strongest start to a year since 2015.
The continued growth in air cargo demand is consistent with ongoing robust global trade flows. However, there are signs that the best of the upturn for air freight has passed. Demand drivers for air cargo are moving away from the highly supportive levels seen last year. “Demand for air cargo continues to be strong, with 6.8% growth in February. However, the positive outlook for the rest of 2018 faces some potentially strong headwinds, including escalation of protectionist measures into a full-blown trade war. Prosperity grows when borders are open to people and to trade and we are all held back when they are not,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
African carriers’ saw freight demand increase by 15.9% in February 2018 compared to the same month last year; the largest increase of any region. Capacity increased by 3.9%. The increase was helped by very strong growth on the trade lanes to and from Asia driven by ongoing foreign investment flows into Africa. While the surge in demand on the route looks to have stabilized, volumes still increased by nearly 24% in year-on-year terms in January.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
US Marine Corps CH-53E helicopter down
A CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter from 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing crashed in the vicinity of El Centro, California on Tuesday during a routine training mission. Four crew members were aboard the aircraft. The status of all four is presumed dead pending positive identification. The names of the deceased will be withheld until 24 hours after next-of-kin notification. The CH-53E is commonly called on for assault transport of Marine ground forces. Though long-range insertion missions are standard protocol for this Marine workhorse, it is the rapid resupply of Marines at the forefront that makes the Super Stallion one of the most used aircraft in Marine Aviation.
Thunderbirds Pilot fatally injured in Nellis accident
There are few details, but the U.S. Air Force has confirmed that one of the pilots of the Thunderbirds demonstration team was fatally injured on Thursday in a training accident. In a news release the US Air Force said “A U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds pilot was killed when his F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed over the Nevada Test and Training Range on 4 April 2018, at approximately 10h30 during a routine aerial demonstration training flight. The identity of the pilot is being withheld for 24-hours pending next of kin notification. An investigation is being conducted into the cause of the mishap.
Jet Airways announce new order for 75 737 MAX airliners
Boeing and Jet Airways today announced a new order for 75 737 MAX airliners as India’s premier international airline looks to the new and improved 737 single isle airliners to power its future growth.
Jet Airways’ partnership with Boeing goes back 25 years ever since the airline was conceived and took to the skies. This order underscores Jet Airways’ commitment to the growth and sustainability of the Indian aviation market. Jet Airways announced its first order for 75 MAX airplanes in 2015 as part of a strategy to refresh its fleet with the most modern and environmentally progressive airplanes. The newest order adds 75 more MAXs to support the airline’s future expansion. Jet Airways is set to take direct delivery of its first MAX airplane later this year.
The 737 MAX is a family of airplanes that offer from 130 to 230 seats with the ability to fly up to 3,850 nautical miles (7,130 kilometers). These jets incorporate the latest CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets, the Boeing Sky Interior, large flight deck displays and other features to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market. The 737 MAX is the fastest-selling airplane in Boeing history, accumulating more than 4,400 orders from 96 customers worldwide to date.
Jet Airways is India’s premier international airline, which operates flights to 65 destinations within India and overseas. Jet Airways’ robust domestic India network spans the length and breadth of the country covering metro cities, state capitals and emerging destinations. Beyond India, Jet Airways operates flights to key international destinations in South East Asia, South Asia, Middle East, Europe and North America. The Jet Airways group currently operates a fleet of 120 aircraft, comprising Boeing 777-300 ERs, Next Generation Boeing 737s, Airbus A330-200/300s and ATR 72-500/600s.
Cirrus Aircraft Vision Jet wins prestigious Collier trophy
On 4 April the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) announced that the Cirrus Aircraft Vision® Jet has been awarded the 2017 Robert J. Collier Trophy for developing the world’s first single engine Personal Jet™ and implementing the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System® (CAPS®) on the aircraft. The Collier Trophy is selected by a committee that includes 25 industry leaders and is awarded annually to recognise ‘the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency and safety in air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year.’ The nine nominees this year included the Edwards Air Force Base F-35 Integrated Test Force, Boeing 737 MAX, NASA/JPL Cassini Project Team and more.
“For more than a century, the Collier Trophy has recognized the greatest achievements in aviation in America,” said Greg Principato, NAA President and Chief Executive Officer. “By revolutionising general and personal aviation, Cirrus Aircraft, with its Vision Jet, has added to a great and historic Collier legacy. We at the National Aeronautic Association congratulate Cirrus on this achievement and look forward to the presentation of the Collier Trophy on 14 June 2018.”
Throughout the history of powered flight, the NAA has been the steward for the United States most prestigious aviation awards. As the most notable of these awards, the Robert J. Collier Trophy was first awarded in 1911 and represents a historical timeline of the most celebrated advancements in flight and air safety around the world. Past recipients include Orville Wright, Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 team, Chuck Yeager and the Bell X-1, Lockheed’s Skunk Works and the F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter, Boeing 747, Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, B-2 Spirit, F-22 Raptor, Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Gulfstream 650, Blue Origin and many more aviators, scientists and engineers responsible for progressing aviation for generations to come.
Successful first commercial flight for Antonov AN-225
On 3 April 2018, the Antonov AN-225 Mriya, known as the ‘largest airplane in the world’, took off from Gostomel airport (GML) in Kiev for its first commercial flight since its recent modernisation. It landed two hours later in Leipzig airport (LEJ) without any trouble. From there, the Ukrainian cargo plane should start several transportation missions from Germany towards Asian countries with heavy payloads.
This aircraft was developed at the end of the 1980s for the Soviet space programme and flew for the first time in 1988. With its six engines and 42 tyres, it can transport up to 640 tons. Since its creation, it is the biggest and most powerful aircraft ever built. After the fall of the USSR, the AN-225 was set aside for a while, but Antonov revived it in 2001 to make very specific deliveries such as relief efforts after natural disasters. The Mriya was recently modernised to integrate a new navigation system as well as new electronics. It already made a successful test flight over Kiev on 19 March 2018.
Toulouse-Seychelles flight sets new record for A321neoLR
After a direct flight from New York to Toulouse on 16 February 2018, the A321neoLR managed to link Seychelles to Toulouse, a distance of 7610 kilometers, which is a new record for the A320 family. Three fuel tanks (one additional for the LR) and two General Electric-Safran LEAP engines allowed the plane to fly for almost eleven hours. It was transporting 160 dummy-passengers and a crew of 16 people (including pilots, engineers, technicians) from Airbus to simulate a conventional commercial flight. This experiment was part of the test flights to obtain the certification from both the European (EASA) and American (FAA) aviation authorities. It should be delivered in the second quarter of 2018. The next objective will be to reach Sweden from Toulouse with 97 tons onboard, the maximum take-off weight (MTOW) for this model.
India to privatize 76% of Air India
On 28 March 2018, the Indian government announced intention of selling 76% shares of the national carrier Air India. With the stake acquisition also comes a debt assumption of $5.1 billion. The sale also concerns 100% of the low-cost subsidiary Air India Express, and 50% of the ground management company Air India SATS. The government had been bailing out the company but never managed to make it profitable. It received a public investment of around $4 billion in the last five years. Three of the six subsidiaries from Air India are in deficit.
Several companies have already shown interest for some of Air India operations, mainly of its international routes. The low-cost rival IndiGo is expected to make an offer, as it could acquire certain slots which were previously almost impossible to get. Last year, the company had already expressed its ambitions in an investor conference. Singapore Airlines could also make an offer. However, the government will keep the rights over the brand Air India and the control of the carrier should remain Indian. Bidders have until 14 May 14 to submit their offers.
Concorde successor’s first test flight in 2018
The Colorado-based start-up company Boom Technology has announced that its XB-1 ‘Baby Boom’ flight demonstrator would make its first flight in 2018. It could be the first supersonic commercial flight since the Concorde retired in 2003. The company has already attracted several buyers such as Virgin Galactic and Japan Airlines. The latter even invested $10 million in the project. In total, five airlines would be interested by the 55-seat supersonic airliner for a total order of 76 aircraft.
The final plane is expected to fly at a speed of 2716 km/h, which is 500 km/h more than the Concorde. That speed would allow going from London to Auckland in less than six hours and 45 minutes, non-stop. But thanks to new technologies regarding fuel efficiency, the tickets would be cheaper than they were for the Franco-British ‘pocket-rocket’. Its delivery should start by 2023.
Saudi Arabia to assemble An-132 starting 2021
Saudi Arabia plans to begin building a plant for assembling An-132 multi-purpose aircraft in 2019. Serial assembly of the aircraft at the plant will be launched in 2021, the CFTS reports. TAQNIA Aeronautics and the Antonov state enterprise are working on a feasibility study for construction of an aircraft plant with the participation of Western experts. Construction of the plant is scheduled to begin in 2019. The construction period will be nine months and serial assembly of the An-132 should be launched in 2021, Antonov said in a statement.
Russia launches three astronauts to ISS
On 21 March 2018, a rocket carrying two American and one Russian astronauts has been successfully launched from Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. The three-man crew should take two days to arrive on the International Space Station. This launch mission, named Soyouz MS-08, consisted of Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev and the two US astronauts Andrew Feustel and Richard Arnold.
Along with the three astronauts already in the ISS since December 2017 (Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos, Scott Tingle of NASA and Norishige Kanai of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), they will compose the entirety of the Expedition 55. Their mission will be to “study Earth atmospherics, the effects of microgravity on bone marrow, materials’ responses to space environments and biological samples’ responses to simulated gravity.” Some extra-vehicle experiences should also be undertaken. Expedition 55 is expected to last six months. In addition to the scientific material that Soyouz MS-08 is transporting, the crew is carrying a ball that will be used in the first game of the next Football World Cup held in Russia in June 2018. It should be brought back by cosmonaut Anton Chkaplerov at the end of his mission in April 2018.
Russia to start flight tests of second home-made MC-21 in May
Russia has completed assembling the second MC-21 aircraft at the Irkutsk Aviation Plant in Irkutsk, Siberia. The airliner is expected to start flight test campaigns in May 2018. It is the second large-scale Russian project after the Sukhoi Superjet 100 and is hoping to compete with Boeing and Airbus in the single-aisle market. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin has also confirmed the news that the assembly of the second MC-21 has been wrapped up at the plant.
The airliner is being developed by the Russian Irkut Corporation together with the Yakovlev Design Bureau of the Russian aerospace and defence company United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). Irkut expects certification of the aircraft by the Russian civil aviation authorities in 2019 and is reportedly hoping to receive European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) certification in 2020.
Exclin introduces ground effect recreational vehicle
London-based technology company Exclin has taken the wraps off the ‘Vertex Recreational Vehicle’, which it describes as a ‘next-generation, fuel-efficient vehicle concept that will offer pilots an exhilarating, low-altitude flight over sea.’ Based on patented Vertex Lift System technology, the vehicle will also be capable of vertical take-off and the ability to explore far-flung island locations beyond the range of a speedboat. Because it flies close to the water using ‘wing in ground-effect’ (WIG) technology, the Vertex Recreational Vehicle will be more efficient than a plane and faster than most boats, the company says.
The Vertex Recreational Vehicle is made possible by Exclin’s patented Vertex Lift System. This system takes conventional WIG technology and adds ‘lift thrust’, providing control and stability independent of vehicle speed. The technology solves a key challenge faced by conventional WIG vehicles, potentially opening up a new product class. The ‘lift thrust’ technology also means the vehicle can take-off vertically from a ground surface while still offering the flexibility of conventional take-off and landing on ground or water.
The Vertex vehicle will offer pilots the sheer pleasure of flying a high-speed craft within metres of the water’s surface, offering high levels of comfort relative to a speedboat. At 80 knots the high speed of the craft means it can reach locations further afield than most boats, such as islands and distant coves. The company believes the vehicle will be easy to fly and require limited training compared to an aircraft; providing a low ‘barrier to entry’ for pilots. To meet the specific needs of recreational pilots, it will be possible to separate the main wing from the body, in order to tow the Vertex Recreational Vehicle with a car. Classified as a ‘WIG type B’ maritime vehicle, the Vertex Recreational Vehicle will be competitive to fly, operate and own.
Exclin says that because of the Vertex Lift System, the Vertex Recreational Vehicle will represent a step forward for WIG vehicle safety; overcoming barriers to developing this product class. When the vehicle is in ground-effect mode (flying a few meters from the water surface) the lift system is designed to respond dynamically to changes in conditions such as gusts of wind, to give the vehicle extra stability and control. In addition, the vehicle will have the ability to operate in free flight, up to the maximum altitude of 500 feet allowed for a WIG type B vehicle. Although this will not be as fuel-efficient, it means the vehicle can be operated safely in harsh conditions, such as rough seas. The company says that its Vertex Lift System technology could revolutionise freight transport in maritime locations, enabling a combination of speed and efficiency that fills a gap in the value chain. Because of their range and speed, Vertex vehicles will be well placed to take advantage of the trend toward faster, point-to-point high-speed connections as an alternative to congested, hub-specific travel routes. They could also operate in destinations that are out of reach of boats, such as beaches and hangars and can fly over frozen waters or via Arctic routes. Compared to boats, Vertex vehicles would also be able to operate for a longer period of the year, making them more reliable for the needs of high-speed freight.
Bikini airlines: new destinations, old habits?
The announcement of the Vietnamese low-cost company VietJet arrival in India’s booming aviation economy attracted a lot of attention in March 2018. It was not because of its competitive prices or the new route it was opening. The company, also known as the ‘Bikini airlines’, used swimsuit-wearing flight attendants to market their arrival. However, good looking and not-so-modestly dressed stewardesses are far from new in aviation, as history shows.
Flight attendant is one of the few professions that have always attracted a lot of fantasy. The image comes from the 60s when flight attendants were known as ‘stews’ and labour laws were not as restrictive or concerned of women’s rights. At that time, some airlines hired their stewardesses as aesthetic labour to promote their companies. The argument was that the thin figures of employees were intended to reduce weight of aircraft. The most famous example was the late Pan Am, an airline that required of its stewardesses to be unmarried, childless and younger than 32.
In 1958, Qantas began employing Japanese flight hostesses to work on the ‘Cherry Blossom’ route to Japan. Qantas’s Marj de Tracy had flown to Japan to select, from 150 applicants, Yoshiko Watanabe, Teruko Oshima and Kazuko Otsu. Publicity photos of the new recruits, all in their early twenties, showed them arriving in Sydney wearing full kimonos, similar to the ones they would wear on the flights to Tokyo.
Another flight company that had no problem using the image of its flight crew was the short-lived Hooters Air. In 2003, the restaurant chain, famous for its ‘model’ waitresses, decided to buy Pace Airlines and turn it into a ‘flying billboard’ for its company. While the flights were carrying regular flight attendants, dressed in blue uniforms and orange scarfs, who provided usual services, two ‘Hooters girls’ were also there for the passengers’ entertainment. The girls were usually putting on a show while mid-air, whether singing a song or organizing a trivia quiz. All while wearing the company’s signature crop-top and orange shorts. Sadly (or not), the U.S. carrier did not survive fuel price increase after Rita and Katrina’s hurricanes of 2006.
However, VietJet is not as entertaining as it might appear from the first sight. While the company is famous for its bikini-clad flight attendants that are heavily advertised (with their own calendars!), the raunchy outfit is far from being their standard uniform. The bikinis are only worn for special events such as inauguration flights. In fact, it seems that the company has given up on such practices after receiving several fines for putting up ‘illegal dance shows’ during flights. But the popularity of VietJet keeps growing and has already turned its owner Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao into the first female billionaire of Vietnam.
World Drone News
Aerial power line inspection in Romania
In a world where everything is going airborne, it only makes sense to take that technology to the power line inspection industry. The vast majority of power line inspections are still being done by foot, which provides a time-consuming, costly, and limited view of power lines. Mantas Vaskela, the CEO for Laserpas, a company that provides solutions for aerial power line inspections, will be discussing solutions to crucial issues at Commercial UAV Expo Europe, the leading pan-European trade show and conference for the commercial drone market, on April 12th in Amsterdam.
At the conference, Mantas will be presenting a case study from Laserpas on an inspection performed Romania. He will discuss how Laserpas utilized technology such as LiDAR services alongside nadir, oblique, and thermal cameras, to perform airborne electrical scannings to determine emergent and dangerous points along the power line, along with some very important counterintuitive discoveries regarding which power lines are in need of regular inspection. He will also address how Laserpas was able to assist the Romanian power line operator to vastly reduce both the costs and time needed to check more than 55 kilometers of power lines.
This expo is Commercial UAV Expo’s second event in Europe. The first expo in Europe took place last year in Brussels after a very successful launch in the United States in 2015. Brussel’s Expo, last year, hosted over 500 attendees from 46 countries, with experts involved in capturing, processing, and utilizing remotely sensed UAS data along with professionals in various industries including process, power, and utilities.
Laserpas is an aerial inspection service for power grids. With LiDAR services alongside of nadir, oblique, and thermal cameras, Laserpas performs airborne electrical scannings that can provide clients with unparalleled data regarding the conditions of power lines and corridor spans. Laserpas has received international recognition for innovation due to the internet platform in which they conveniently deliver data to clients.
Private drone operator helped rescue a stranded man during a flood
The Logan Rogersville Fire Department in Greene County, called on a private drone operator to assist in a Search and Rescue effort last week, which led to the rescue of a driver who had been stranded during a flood. Television station KSPR reports that the pilot, Tom Baird, assisted the department to help locate the man who had driven onto a bridge crossing the flooded James River and was swept into the water. The drone is equipped with both 4K and infrared cameras and was able to locate the motorist in much less time than traditional search methods. The man was found on top of his car, and the images from Baird’s drone directed rescue personnel to his location. It was the first time Baird has flown his drone in an SAR effort, he said. He told the station that he hopes to be able to assist in future rescues in the future.
I went to a bar the other day and asked for the Wi-Fi password, so I did not use my mobile data.
I went to the bartender and said, “What’s the Wi-Fi password?”
He replied, “You need to buy a drink first.”
So, I ordered a coke with ice and lemon, which was R25.
“Great, so what’s the Wi-Fi password,” I asked.
“You need to buy a drink first. No spaces, all lowercase,” he replied.
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’.
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