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“One’s mind once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions” Oliver Wendell Holmes
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 and selling well. 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. We watched the COWS Pitts Special formation team fly their routine at the Ermelo airshow on Saturday 7 April.
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 was on Friday 13 April, but we still have some capacity for late advertisers.
What has changed at African Pilot?
Now you can get your favourite aviation magazine online
As our digital capability has grown, we have 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 also archived:
Video of the week
The F-4 Phantom II is a legendary fighter with a bad reputation. This is a fantastic video is best viewed in full screen HD digital with sound on: www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9dAMykOBxY
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
SAAF shows a shortfall of more than R7 billion for air defence programme
According to the Department of Defence (DoD) 2018 Annual Performance Plan, the South African Air Force (SAAF) has a shortfall in excess of R7 billion to provide ‘prepared and supported air defence capabilities for the defence and protection of South Africa.’ According to the 300-plus page document,s R6 415 901 000 has been allocated for the air defence programme for the 2018 medium term expenditure framework. Against this the full cost of the air defence programme the SAAF says it needs is estimated at R13 571 069 777, which is a shortfall of R7 155 168 777.
The document states the limited funds available to the SAAF are to for provide four helicopter squadrons (15, 17, 19 and 22 squadrons flying Oryx, Agusta A109 and Super Lynx out of air force bases Durban, Hoedspruit, Swartkops and Ysterplaat) and one combat support helicopter squadron (16 Squadron at AFB Bloemspruit flying the Rooivalk), as well as an air combat squadron (2 Squadron based at AFB Makhado flying the Gripen) as well as round-the-clock command and control capability.
Flight training conducted at 85 Combat Flying School at AFB Makhado and Central Flying School at AFB Langebaanweg is not considered part of the national air defence programme. The lack of funding will impact on an existing maintenance backlog as well as planned and scheduled maintenance of capabilities.
Speaking at a Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) media briefing at AFB Waterkloof last year, SAAF Chief Lieutenant General Zakes Msimang said actions were being taken to minimise maintenance backlogs. He expects the situation to change by mid-year, particularly with regard to the availability of aircraft at 21 Squadron, the SAAF’s VIP transport unit.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
Draken International Signs Agreement with Paramount Aerospace Systems
Draken International, a global leader in advanced adversary air services, has signed an agreement with Paramount Aerospace Systems, a subsidiary of Paramount Group, for the overhaul and ongoing engineering support of their recently acquired fleet of Mirage F1M aircraft from the Spanish Air Force.
Draken acquired 22 Mirage F1M and F1B fighter jets in an effort to enhance adversary services for its US Department of Défense and allied nation customers. The Mirage F1Ms were predominantly flown by the Spanish Air Force and received a full radar and avionics suite modernisation in the late 1990s. This acquisition along with the most recent purchase of twelve supersonic radar equipped South African Denel Cheetah fighter jets increased Draken’s fleet size to over 150 fighter aircraft.
With the completion of the procurement phase, the Mirage F1Ms will now undergo reassembly, restoration and airworthiness certification by Paramount Aerospace Systems at Draken’s Lakeland, Florida maintenance facility. Paramount Aerospace specialises in the modernisation of fixed wing platforms including leading the previous modernization of the Mirage F1M while still in Spanish Air Force military service. Paramount possess extensive capabilities on the Mirage F1 with full airframe and engine overhaul capability, as well as the ability to upgrade, modernize avionics and mission systems.
Draken’s core competency is its ability to acquire, regenerate, modernise and operate affordable, supportable, credible and capable fighter aircraft. This is demonstrated by the over 150 fighter aircraft Draken has acquired in the last six years and the numerous government contracts being supported in the United States DoD and abroad. Draken also remains dedicated to tracking and evaluating aircraft globally with proven success operating fleets of aircraft that include the Mirage F1M, Denel Cheetah, A-4 Skyhawk, L-159 Honey Badger and Aermacchi MB-339.
Paramount Group acquired the entire South African Mirage F1 fleet, along with spares, simulators, training aids and other related material. The Mirage F1 represents an ideal solution for low cost Super Sonic Fighter capability and Paramount offers a complete air-power package, with full training and technical support for the aircraft. Paramount also operates a fighter aircraft pilot training Academy in South Africa, the only of its kind on the African continent. “We are extremely excited by the partnership with Draken International and the establishment of long-term relationships in support of the US Air Force,” said Ivor Ichikowitz, Group Chairman of Paramount Group. “There are very strong synergies between our organisations in meeting the ever-increasing demand for the effective utilisation of legacy aircraft in adversary training. Our collaboration with Draken underlines the importance of strategic partnerships for providing flexible, scalable and affordable solutions for the US Air Force.”
SAPFA Rally National Championships – Brits Airfield 12 – 14 April 2018
By Rob Jonkers
This year’s rally championships were hotly contested with seven unlimited teams taking part with the prize being a place in the South African team to represent the country in the World Rally Flying Championships in Slovakia in August. This year we had a new team taking the plunge with going into the Unlimited class for the first time, these being Mark Clulow and Shane Britz, well known EAA members, and given their results for sure a team to follow.
Selectors Walter Walle, Arddyn Moolman and Hans Schwebel were on hand to select the team to represent South Africa in Slovakia in August, they are Frank & Cally Eckard, Rob Jonkers and Martin Meyer, Jonty Esser & Sandi Goddard, with Mary de Klerk as Team Manager. By all accounts the three-day event was splendidly organised and well managed. The full story will be featured in the May edition of African Pilot.
What is scheduled for the next few weeks?
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
Algerian military transporter crashes
On 11 April an Algerian Air Force Ilyushin IL-76 transport plane crashed at Boufarik military airport (ICAO: DAAK), near Algiers, capital of Algeria (North Africa). The plane was heading to Bechar and crashed soon after take-off according to local sources. The official report from the Ministry of Defence states that the crash made 257 casualties (10 crew members and 247 passengers). Most of the passengers were personnel of the Algerian People’s National Armed Forces or member of their families.
In 2014, a similar crash involving a C-130 from the Algerian Air Force had killed 70 people, both off-duty military personnel and civilians. The Ilyushin IL-76 is a Russian medium airlifter developed during the Soviet era in the 1960s. It can transport up to 145 passengers. According to the Aviation Safety database, the Ilyushin IL-76 has been involved in 79 crashes with a total of 875 casualties since it entered service in 1971.
How the free movement of people could benefit Africa
By Tshepo T. Gwatiwa and Michael Noel Sam
The idea was first set out in the Abuja Treaty, which was endorsed in 1991 at the establishment of the African Economic Community. The AU’s protocol defines free movement as the right to enter and exit member states and move freely within them, subject to the states’ laws and procedures. It regards the freedom to travel or move goods across the continent as likely to boost the economic integration of Africa.
There are several reasons why the protocol is an important development:
1) Up until now the effects of most of the AU’s treaties and protocols have filtered down to people’s lives from a distance, if at all. This protocol applies directly to citizens’ movement.
2) It moves the AU closer to the progress that sub-regional groupings have made on migration. For example, the East African Community (EAC) launched its passport in 1999 and has recently started a process to issue an EAC e-passport. This is a passport with digital identification features. In West Africa, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) launched a regional passport in 2000, but implementation by member states has been slow.
3) Free movement of people in other regions has been beneficial. For example, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development reports that the average unemployment rate has been lowered by 6% in Europe due to free movement within the European Union (EU). According to the International Monetary Fund, free movement has resulted in better institutions and better economic management in Eastern Europe.
Advantages of free movement
There is a great deal of evidence that migration boosts the economies of receiving countries. Free movement in Africa can be expected to enhance business and investment as the EU example has shown. According to an African Development Bank report, tourism in the Seychelles increased by 7% annually between 2009 and 2014 when the country abolished visas for African nationals. By 2015, thanks to increased revenues, it had become a high-income country with thriving real estate, aviation and service industries. The same report also states that African travel to Rwanda has increased by 22% since it eased its visa requirements in 2013. Since then Rwanda’s cross-border trade with Kenya and Uganda has increased by 50%. This is evidence that free movement of labour and capital, boosts economic activity.
Addressing the challenges
But the protocol in its present form doesn’t go far enough and the AU needs to revisit parts of it. For instance, it should choose a biometric African identification card rather than an African passport. A biometric ID is cheaper to produce than a passport and could be based on existing designs of national IDs instead of new documents. This could help overcome resistance to the passport on the grounds of cost. The biometric ID could be introduced alongside existing national IDs. It could be rolled out in instalments and, for example, issued to diplomats, business people and students to begin with. The ID would accompany ordinary sub-regional passports and exempt the bearers from visa requirements. It is instructive to note that national IDs can and do facilitate free movement. For example, 15 ECOWAS member states have introduced national IDs and plan to launch a biometric card to serve as a travel document in the region. Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda have an agreement to use national IDs for travel within the three countries.
There are some overlaps between the protocol and other African Union instruments such as the Refugee Convention, which recognises the special needs of vulnerable groups. Rather than restate the provisions of the convention, the protocol should be refined to provide unique protections for these special groups.
Security issues and xenophobia
Free movement does not have to become a security threat for individual member states. The protocol does not encourage undetected movement. Rather, it requires stricter security controls at ports of entry. This means that blacklisted individuals who could be a threat to national security can be kept out. The AU’s Special Technical Committee on Defence and Security can also be given the job of improving intelligence sharing as well as cross-border police co-operation. Xenophobia is also a legitimate concern when it comes to free movement. The AU could use structures and instruments like the Continental Early Warning Systems and the Economic, Social and Cultural Council ECOSOC to help it manage issues of security and xenophobia.
Gains to be made
The protocol is poised to deliver significant gains for Africa. It embodies the spirit of African integration and marks progress in regional partnerships. It promises great investment and trade opportunities, as well as the possibility to boost physical infrastructure such as roads, as has been the case in America and Asia. However, various state and non-state actors must sensitise domestic populations on the benefits of free movement in order to avoid a surge of nationalism, anti-immigrant hysteria and the kind of right wing politics that has swept across Europe and America over the past four years.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Eurocontrol warns airlines about Syria air strike risk
On 11 April European air traffic control agency Eurocontrol warned airlines to exercise caution in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and the Nicosia flight information region (FIR) due to the possible imminent launch of air strikes into Syria. Citing the European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) rapid alert notification for the eastern Mediterranean and Nicosia areas, Eurocontrol warned that air-to-ground or cruise missiles could be launched in the next 72 hours over the designated area of airspace. The agency also said there was a possibility of ‘intermittent disruption’ of radio navigation equipment.
SpaceX’s value ascends to $26 billion
Elon Musk’s aerospace venture SpaceX authorised a new round of funding for $507 million on April 5, 2018. According to a filing seen by Reuters, the initial value of the Series I shares is $169 per share, which is a 25% increase from its previous fundraising round in 2017. This round would bring SpaceX value to $26 billion. SpaceX authorized three million shares of stock for this Series I round. According to Forbes, approximately $100 million of shares will be purchased by the founder himself, which would make Musk’s share of SpaceX worth roughly $11.5 million. The remainder of $400 million should come from other investors like Fidelity investments, Google, Founders Fund and Draper Fisher Jurvetson.
At the new $26 billion valuation SpaceX would become the third-highest-valued private company in the U.S., after Uber and Airbnb. The valuation comes after a great year for SpaceX with seven successful launches, including the historic launch of Falcon Heavy, which is now the most powerful operational vehicle in the world. In addition, the company is working on an even more powerful spacecraft, the BFR (Big Falcon Rocket) which is supposed to be the first transport vehicle to Mars. SpaceX estimates that first cargo launches should start in 2022.
Falcon Heavy launch - game changer for industry
On 6 February 2018, SpaceX’s super heavy-lift vehicle Falcon Heavy successfully put a car into space. Despite a few hiccups along the way, it marks a huge step forward not only for the company, but the space industry as a whole. In addition, the company recently received good news concerning their launch of $3.5 billion ‘Zuma’ spy satellite. The satellite failed in orbit after its launch in January 2018. The company is now cleared of any responsibility for the failure, which was attributed to the contractor of the satellite.
IATA reports jet fuel price up by 22%, trend to continue
The International air transport association (IATA) reported jet fuel price at $1.88 per gallon and $623 per metric ton as of 2 March 2018, up 21.9 percent from 2017. IATA is among those who predicted higher jet fuel bills for airlines around the globe in 2018, as strong travel demand as well as oil prices 2continue to grow. According to data released by the industry association, as of 2 March 2018, Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) saw 24.5 percent rise in jet fuel price from a year earlier, meanwhile, North America saw 21.1 percent rise in jet fuel expenses compared to a year earlier.
IATA states the jet fuel price average for 2018 being at $81.6 per gallon. The impact on 2018 fuel bill of the global airline industry amounts to $34.8 billion. Jet fuel prices ended down 4.2 percent at $79.1 per gallon as of 2 March 2018. To compare, jet fuel price was $76.5 per barrel on 17 November 2017, which is 35 percent higher than a year earlier. On 26 January 2018, the jet fuel price was $85.5 per barrel, 30 percent higher than a year earlier. All in all, 2018 jet fuel prices have started more than 20 percent more expensive than they were a year ago across a broad spectrum of global markets Airline fuel bills for this year are expected to be 20.5 percent of airline operating costs, up from 18.8 percent in 2017.
SAS strives for all-Airbus fleet, orders 50 A320neos
SAS is creating a single type fleet for the first time. The Scandinavian airline ordered 50 A320neo aircraft as it is phasing out old Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 aircraft, expecting the change to be completed by 2023.
The new A320neo aircraft should be delivered to SAS from spring 2019 through 2023. The order is split into two parts, with the first 15 new aircraft, secured through declarations of intent with lessors, to be delivered from the spring of 2019 through 2021. The remaining 35 A320neos are planned to be delivered directly by Airbus up to 2023. The aircraft order also includes options for an additional five A320neos and the possibility to increase the aircraft number that can be leased from lessors.
The order is to be financed through a combination of finance leases, sale and leaseback and cash flow generated by the airline’s operations. The list price of the 35 A320neo aircraft directly purchased from Airbus alone amounts to just below $4 billion at list prices (including engines). However, the engines have not yet been selected. SAS, who has been Airbus customer since 1980, currently has 17 Airbus A320neos in service. With the newest addition, it will have ‘at least’ 80 Airbus A320neos in service during 2023.
Aegean Airlines sings MoU for up to 42 Airbus Α320neos
Aegean Airlines signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus for 20 A320neo and 10 A321neo aircraft. The order might increase even further by up to 42 new generation aircraft of the A320neo family. The deal is estimated to be worth $5 billion at list prices, making it ‘the largest private investment in Greece’, according to the company. The MoU was announced on 28 March 2018, by Airbus and Aegean Airlines in two separate press releases. The French manufacturer claims the signed order includes a total of 30 A320neo family aircraft, also revelling the carrier’s intentions to obtain ‘a significant number’ of 320neos from leasing companies.
Aegean Airlines is a Greek airline, biggest in the country by numbers of passengers, destinations and fleet size. It operates short and medium-long haul flights using current fleet of 46 Airbus aircraft (37 A320s, 8 A321s and 1 A319) and 12 turboprops. This company is planning an overall fleet expansion and renewal programme, expected to take place in 2020 – 2025.
IndiGo plans to order up to 50 A330s in a deal worth $13 billion
India’s largest airline by passenger numbers and fleet size, IndiGo plans to order as many as 50 A330 wide-body jets in a deal that would be worth $13 billion. The purchase would pave way for the carrier’s expansion into low-cost long-haul flights. IndiGo’s plans have not yet been made public, but according to unnamed sources familiar with the matter, the low-cost carrier aims to take the upgraded A330neo version. This comes as the carrier is developing plans for long-distance flights while building up a fleet of more than 150 A320 narrow-body aircraft operated in the region. IndiGo’s plans to expand beyond short-haul flights are reasonable since the country is set to become the world’s third largest aviation market by 2020.
According to Airbus latest India Market Forecast, India will require 1,750 new passenger and cargo aircraft over the next 20 years to meet an exponential rise in both passenger and freight traffic. To meet this growth, Airbus says, the country will need 1,320 new single-aisle aircraft and 430 wide-body aircraft valued at $255 billion.
Airbus considers A330neo cargo model, competitor to Boeing 767
Airbus is considering building a freighter version of its A330neo wide-body jet, after receiving requests from potential customers Amazon.com and UPS. According to Reuters, analysts had predicted that American’s decision over the orders would be important for the future of the A330neo programme, ether spurring further sales or unleashing new defections. The decision should worry the European plane maker as it now needs to prevent the A330neo’s main buyer AirAsia X, changing its mind after announcing an order of 66 aircraft back in December 2014.
Boeing, American Airlines sign major order for 47 787 Dreamliners
Last week Boeing and American Airlines announced the world’s largest airline will more than double its 787 Dreamliner fleet with a new order for 47 of the super-efficient airplane plus 28 options. The 47 787s are valued at more than $12 billion at list prices and makes American Airlines the largest 787 customer in the Western Hemisphere. American originally ordered 42 787 Dreamliners and has been using the airplanes’ tremendous fuel efficiency and superior passenger amenities to open new routes around the world, including Asia Pacific and Europe, as well as to boost its network efficiency. While American still has more airplanes on the way from its initial order, the airline is buying the additional Dreamliners: 22 787-8s and 25 787-9s to further modernise and expand its fleet.
Built with lightweight composite materials and powered by advanced engines, the Dreamliner family lowers operating costs by more than 20 percent compared to previous airplanes and nearly 10 percent compared to today’s competing jets. American becomes the latest airline to place a repeat order for the 787 Dreamliner. More than half of the programme’s 71 customers have done so, which has helped the 787 programmes achieve more than 1,350 orders to date.
Boeing, Qatar Airways sign LoI for five 777 Freighters
Boeing and Qatar Airways have signed a letter of intent to purchase five 777 freighters, valued at $1.7 billion at list prices. The letter of intent was signed during a ceremony attended by Qatari Minister of Finance and Qatar Airways Chairman His Excellency Mr. Ali Sharif Al Emadi, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President & CEO Kevin McAllister. Presently Qatar Airways operates a fleet of nearly 100 Boeing widebody airplanes and has about 100 more Boeing airplanes on order. Boeing is the air cargo market leader, providing over 90 percent of the dedicated freighter capacity around the world.
Bittersweet delivery: Norwegian takes the final 737-800
On 19 February 2018, Norwegian took delivery of its one hundredth direct purchase Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The milestone aircraft is the last of this type to join Norwegian’s fleet, as the low-cost carrier is now awaiting more environmentally-friendly B737 MAX jets. Norwegian originally ordered 42 737-800 in 2007 and leased 26 of these aircraft between 2008 and 2016. The airline has a total of 126 737-800 aircraft in its fleet.
In 2017, Norwegian took delivery of the first six Boeing 737-8 MAX jets, used to launch service between the North-eastern United States and six European destinations, primarily in Ireland. The delivery of additional 12 Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft is expected in this year. The planes will be used to launch additional medium-haul routes throughout global network, the carrier claims. In total, Norwegian has 110 Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft on order.
Jet Airways enters sale and leaseback deal for 13 Boeing 737MAX 8s
SMBC Aviation Capital announced signing a sale and leaseback deal with India’s Jet Airways for 13 Boeing 737 MAX 8s powered by CFM International LEAP-1B engines. The first aircraft set to deliver in August 2018. The leasing company notes that the transaction is ‘its most significant single deal to date in India’. SMBC Aviation Capital is currently leasing three B737-800 aircraft, delivered in ‘recent months’ to Jet Airways.
Air Lease to purchase eight Boeing 737 MAX airliners
In April Boeing and Air Lease Corporation announced finalising an order for eight 737 MAX 8 airplanes, valued at $936.8 million at list prices. Air Lease Corporation (ALC), one of the world’s leading airplane lessors, has been a major supporter of the improved 737 airliner. This new order raises ALC’s total 737 MAX orders to 138. The 737 MAX family is designed to offer customers exceptional performance, with lower operating costs and additional range to open up new destinations. The 737 MAX incorporates the latest CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets, Boeing Sky Interior, large flight deck displays and other features to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market. Boeing has delivered more than 100 737 MAX airplanes to over 20 customers worldwide, including four to ALC, with the fifth delivery scheduled for May 2018.
airBaltic receives first CS300 aircraft in 2018
The Latvian airline airBaltic received the eighth of its 20 Bombardier CS300 jets, registered as YL-CSH, in Riga on 3 February 2018. By the end of 2018, airBaltic plans to have a total of 14 CS300 aircraft on its fleet. So far airBaltic has carried over 760 000 passengers on its CS300s with every fourth airBaltic passenger flying on the aircraft. CS300 have completed more than 7 354 flights and flown over 19 345 block hours. By the end of 2019 airBaltic is planning to have 20 Bombardier CS300 aircraft on its fleet.
With an average jet fleet age of two years, airBaltic, as an all-Bombardier operator, is hoping to have one of the youngest jet fleets in Europe.
After Air France, Lufthansa cancels 800 flights
Affected by strikes on 10 April 2018, both airlines were forced to cancel numerous flights. Air France announced that 75% of its flights would operate, whilst Lufthansa was forced to cancel about 800 flights. The strike in the public sector by airport personnel affected 90,000 passengers in four different airports. The ver.di trade union along with several others representing at least 2.3 million federal employees.is asking for a 6% raise in wages.
On the other side of the Rhine, employees of Air France are also asking for a 6% raise of their wage. For this sixth day of strike since February 2018, the French national company estimates that 35,3% of its pilots, 20,2% of its cabin crew, 13% of its ground staff were on strike. The salary conflict at Air France has seen a new development: 71% of its pilots have voted to go on a strike that could last up to six days. The management of the company will apply a raise of 0.6% in April and 0.4% in October 2018. Despite a raise of 42% (€1,488 billion, €588 million coming from the French part) in its operating profit in 2017, the Air France-KLM group states that a 6% general raise is currently unaffordable. The strike has already cost €170 million according to the company.
SriLankan loses A320/1neo certification after in-flight shutdown
After an engine shut down during a flight on one of the airline’s aircraft earlier in 2018, SriLankan Airlines lost certification to operate its new A320neo and A321neo aircraft on ETOPS with 90 minutes diversion time, following an order from Sri Lanka’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). On 21 January 2018, SriLankan Airlines A321neo aircraft, flying from Colombo, Sri Lanka, to Hong Kong, suffered an in-flight engine shutdown (IFSD). The flight was diverted to Bangkok, Thailand, due to debris detected in the engine’s oil monitoring system. As a result, Sri Lanka’s CAA withdrew certification granted to the airline ‘to conduct A320/321 aircraft on ETOPS (Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards) with 90 minutes diversion time’, citing the safety lapse as very serious.
Without the ETOPS approval, SriLankan Airlines cannot operate its A320neo and A321neo aircraft for more than an hour outside the range of airports suitable for emergency landings or diversions. Flights to such destinations as Hong Kong, Bangkok and Canton, usually conducted with the A320/321neos, must now comply with the 60 minutes ETOPS rule. This means flying an extra hour and a half both ways on the adjusted routes, which also requires carrying additional 2000 kg (4409 lbs) of fuel. SriLankan currently operates an all-Airbus fleet, comprising of A330-300s and A330-200s, as well as A320/321 and A320/321neo aircraft.
Bye Aerospace has confirmed that the prototype Sun Flyer 2 aircraft has made its first flight
The prototype aircraft flight test programme, which began in late March, is being conducted at Centennial Airport (KAPA), south of Denver, Colorado and are now progressing to increased speed, altitude and endurance capabilities. EP Systems provided the energy storage system for the Sun Flyer 2 prototype aircraft being flight tested, including battery modules (packs), battery management unit and power distribution unit. The battery cells are LG Chem ‘MJ1’ lithium-ion battery cells with a 260 Wh/kg energy density. Bye Aerospace will soon announce who its electric motor partner will be for the family of FAA-certified Sun Flyer aircraft.
Airline chiefs convicted over multi-million theft from passengers
A U.S. court convicted former chief executive officer and the former vice president of a now-bankrupt public air charter operator for their role in a scheme to steal millions of dollars of passengers’ money for future travel from an escrow account. Following a seven-day trial, Judy Tull and Kay Ellison were both convicted on several counts of fraud. The executives participated in a scheme to steal passengers’ money for future travel from escrow account by artificially inflating the amounts and falsifying letters telling banks to release the money.
To cover up their fraud, the defendants falsified profit and loss statements to make the company look like it was making rather than losing money. These falsified documents were then sent to credit card companies and banks to trick them into continuing to do business with the company. “Judy Tull and Kay Ellison stole passengers’ money to try and prop up their failing company,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan. “Their brazen scheme created a multimillion dollar shortfall that left passengers stranded at airports, and banks and credit card companies scrambling to pick up the pieces.” Testimony at trial established that two financial institutions sustained losses of nearly $30 million for having to refund thousands of passengers their money that should have been held for them in escrow but was actually stolen by the defendants as part of their fraud. Tull and Ellison were both found guilty and are awaiting sentencing.
World Drone News
Germany to purchase four drones from US for $2.5 billion
The Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DCAS) announced an approval of the sale of four MQ-4C Triton drones on 5 April 2018. This comes after the cancellation in May 2013 of the EuroHawk programme, a joint cooperation between Northrop Grumman and Airbus. The programme was supposed to give Germany a High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) drone based on the RQ-4 Global Hawk but fitted with an Airbus-developed sensor array. The objective was for Germany to replace its aging Breguet Atlantic SIGINT.
After the drone was officially delivered to Germany and underwent several flight tests on 13 May 2018, it was finally announced that the drone would not be approved by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) if it was not equipped with an anti-collision detector. The cost for this upgrade was another $780 million. Two days later, Germany ended the programme.
In 2017, in lack of a better solution, the Bundeswehr decided to acquire three Northrop Grumman MQ 4-C Triton, the naval version of the RQ-4 and to fit it again with Airbus sensors. According to the DCAS statement, Germany should purchase one more drone than planned, along with a command center, spare parts and pilots formations, for a total of $2.5 billion. This acquisition should allow Germany to fill the gap of the Breguet Atlantics SIGINT that have been decommissioned since. The four MQ 4-C should be operational by 2025.
Workhorse Group receives patent for HorseFly
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued a patent, number 9,915,956, to Workhorse Group for the HorseFly Truck Launched Drone Package Delivery System. The HorseFly UAV Delivery System is a custom-built, high efficiency delivery UAV that is fully integrated with the Workhorse line of electric / hybrid delivery trucks. The HorseFly system conforms to FAA guidelines for UAV operation in the U.S. Most notably, being fully integrated with delivery trucks, the system is designed such that a driver or driver’s assistant can maintain line-of-sight operation of the UAV delivery process. Designed to assist the delivery driver, the HorseFly drone delivery system helps reduce driving time and allows faster deliveries. The result is considerably more efficiency in everyday delivery routes.
The patented HorseFly truck-launched drone delivery system works in this manner:
1) The truck delivery driver loads the package and launches the HorseFly drone
2) The HorseFly drone autonomously launches from the roof of the delivery truck, proceeding to the delivery location
3) At the delivery location the drone automatically descends and delivers the package
4) The HorseFly drone returns to the delivery truck at a planned stop and autonomously redocks and recharges for its next delivery.
Now, the winner of last year’s Darwin Award (awarded, as always, posthumously):
The Arizona Highway Patrol came upon a pile of smouldering metal embedded in the side of a cliff rising above the road at the apex of a curve. The wreckage resembled the site of an airplane crash, but it was a car. The type of car was unidentifiable at the scene. Police investigators finally pieced together the mystery. An amateur rocket scientist had somehow gotten hold of a JATO bottle (Jet Assisted Take Off, actually a solid fuel rocket) that is used to give heavy military transport planes an extra ‘push’ for taking off from short airfields.
He had driven his Chevy Impala out into the desert and found a long, straight stretch of road. He attached the JATO unit to the car, jumped in, got up some speed and fired off the JATO! The facts as best as could be determined are that the operator of the 1967 Impala hit the JATO ignition at a distance of approximately 3.0 miles from the crash site. This was established by the scorched and melted asphalt at that location.
The JATO, if operating properly, would have reached maximum thrust within five seconds, causing the Chevy to reach speeds well in excess of 350 mph and continuing at full power for an additional 20 -25 seconds. The driver and soon to be pilot, would have experienced G-forces usually reserved for dog fighting F-14 jocks under full afterburners, causing him to become irrelevant for the remainder of the event.
However, the automobile remained on the straight highway for about 2.5 miles (15-20 seconds) before the driver applied and completely melted the brakes, blowing the tyres and leaving thick rubber marks on the road surface, then becoming airborne for an additional 1.4 miles and impacting the cliff face at a height of 125 feet leaving a blackened crater three feet deep in the rock.
Most of the driver’s remains were not recoverable. However, small fragments of bone, teeth and hair were extracted from the crater and fingernail and bone shards were removed from a piece of debris believed to be a portion of the steering wheel.
Epilogue: It has been calculated that this moron attained a ground speed of approximately 420-mph, though much of his voyage was not actually on the ground.
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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