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“I remember that a wise friend of mine did usually say, that which is everybody’s business is nobody’s business.” Izaak Walton
Due to two public holidays scheduled for this Friday 27 April (Freedom Day) and Tuesday 1 May (Worker’s Day), the next edition of APAnews will be published on Wednesday 2 May 2018.
African Pilot’s May 2018 edition
During this past week the May edition of African Pilot entered its printing phase and once again we have increased the magazine by a further eight pages thanks to excellent advertising support mainly due to our annual helicopter feature. Comparison shows that there is no doubt that African Pilot has more editorial features than any of its competitors by a considerable margin. African Pilot does not fill the magazine from cover to cover with advertising pages that do not provide real readership value and at the same time advertisers derive real value for their advertising investment.
The June 2018 edition of African Pilot will be featuring Lanseria International Airport as well as the EAA South Africa’s annual convention in Vryheid, the SAAF Museum airshow and the next instalment of Aircraft Technical, which is the new chapter we have added to the magazine. The closing date for all submissions and advertising is Friday 11 May.
Please contact Lara Bayliss Cell: 079 880 4359 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion into this edition. Thank you.
What has changed at African Pilot?
Now you can get your favourite aviation magazine online
As our digital capability has grown substantially, we will be developing daily aviation news blasts within the next week. We have re-designed the option for the electronic version of African Pilot to be uploaded via our website. The cost of a single download is R16 (US$2) or R160 (US$20) for a 12-month subscription. In addition, we have created several other options. If you happened to miss out on a particular article or edition, back editions are available.
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:
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
SACAA’s Director of Civil Aviation (DCA) awarded business leader of the year
On 12 April Ms Poppy Khoza was awarded the 2018 top empowered business leader of the year at the 17th Oliver Top Empowerment Awards in Johannesburg. The awards put a shining spotlight on economic empowerment and transformation initiatives in the country and give recognition to leadership and innovation that advance true empowerment. This year the focus was on crowning individuals and entities for their contributions in driving the empowerment agenda, which contributes to growth and equity in the economy. Through deliberate, targeted and well-defined interventions, public discussions and business networking sessions, Top Empowerment challenges public and private sectors to continually benchmark and improve their performance to boost growth and equity in the economy.
“As the regulator, we hope that this award will serve as a beacon of hope for the civil aviation industry, which is still lagging behind in terms of transformation. Current personnel and ownership statistics indicate that the civil aviation industry is yet to fully embrace the transformation agenda. However, this award, together with SACAA’s demographics, exemplify that with determination and focus, true and meaningful transformation can be achieved,” Khoza explained.
Ms Khoza’s individual brilliance has permeated across the organisation that she leads. Since her appointment at the end of 2013, the performance of the SACAA has drastically improved, especially in the last three consecutive financial years, which saw the SACAA attain 100% against its set targets. Most importantly and as a result of Ms Khoza’s pragmatic drive to entrench good corporate governance across the organisation, the SACAA has received the Auditor-General’s Clean Audit Award for five consecutive years. The clean audit award is bestowed on entities that not only achieve a clean or unqualified audit in terms of operational and financial performance but have also worked hard to comply with the relevant statutes and also entrenched the vital tenets of good corporate governance within their respective organisations.
“These and other accolades dispel the unfortunate myth that transformation requires or eventually leads to the dropping of standards. These honours also put to rest the argument that competent transformation candidates are hard or nowhere to be found,” Khoza elaborated.
Editor comments: Having worked closely with various sections of the SACAA over the past five years or so, I would also like to endorse this award to Ms Poppy Khoza, because although there is room for improvement at the SACAA, I have seen that there is a genuine desire to solve problems between the regulator and the aviation industry. I, together with several other serious players within the South African aviation industry recognise that Ms Khoza and her executive team are committed to the overall improvement of service delivery. At the same time the SACAA has a serious consultative structure with the aviation industry that is well-respected by those representative bodies that that this business seriously and don’t always complain about issues on aviation forums suing their pseudonyms in order to try and have some sort of anomality.
In my experience, when matters are dealt with in a formal manner with respect to the officials at the regulator, matters can be resolved speedily. However, when certain individuals show utter contempt for the authority of the regulator, then they will be ‘stonewalled’, which is a natural consequence of confrontation. The May edition of African Pilot has two articles about the SACAA’s engagement with the media and members of the aviation public that took place during April, which are a clear indication of Ms Khoza’s commitment South African aviation. Of course, if you happen to disagree with me, I welcome your comments: email@example.com Thank you.
New ticketing system at the Regulator
Please be advised of the new SACAA ticketing system for customer service similar to that of the major banks. I was notified of a new procedure on collection from the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) in that will have an impact on our daily collection of aircraft and pilot permits / licences. Other than a Letter of Authorisation required on collection, the SACAA has started a ticket system. First-come-first-service kind of method. The impact of the ticket system is that we are now required to report to reception, which will issue a ticket following requirements and to have our courier to queue, similar to SARS. There is no courier / service counter at all thus standing time will be lengthy. This also include emergency licences and permits that will be subjected to a waiting period where we will have one person stand and may be subjected to a surcharge. CAASA will investigate this new procedure and report back next week.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
The Coves breakfast fly-in
Although the early morning weather was cloudy with mist almost on the ground in many areas, aircraft started arriving once the mist lifted. Organised by Jan Hanekom and the pilots of The Coves the annual fly-in on Saturday 21 April was exceptionally well-attended. Of the seventy planes expected, altogether about fifty aircraft, gyrocopters and helicopters arrived. The Coves served a delicious breakfast, but for those that arrived late, unfortunately the catering ran out of stock. A more in-depth report will be published in the June edition of African Pilot.
What is scheduled for the next few weeks?
27 April to 1 May
NAC annual fly-away 10th edition
Contact Deneys Potgieter E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or Cell: 082 891 4354
27 to 28 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: email@example.com
SAPFA EAA Convention Fun Rally Vryheid Airfield
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 804 7032
Wings & Wheels Uitenhage
Contact Lourens Kruger E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 320 2615
SAAF Museum Swartkops Airshow theme ‘Our Indomitable Spirit’
Contact Officer Commanding E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 012 351 2290
As arrangements unfold, African Pilot will keep everyone informed about the process and procedures for the SAAF Museum airshow 2018. So far, the following contact have been made:
Media persons to contact Major Ntshangase 012 351 2236 E-mail: email@example.com
Exhibitors to contact Captain Mark Kelbrick E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
7 to 9 May
Airport show in Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Contact Reed Exhibitions Middle East E-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
Aero Club of South Africa Special General Meeting at 18h00 in the EAA Auditorium
Contact Tel: 011 082 1100 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
17 & 18 May
8th Aviation Training and Education Summit Shanghai, China
Contact Josephine Zhu E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
19 & 20 May
SAC Free State Regionals Tempe airport Bloemfontein
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
CAASA Conference to be held at Lanseria
Contact Louise Olckers Tel; 011 659 2345 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com Cell: 082 804 7032
Race director Robin Spencer-Scarr: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Senegal and Ivory Coast buying Indonesian transport aircraft
A framework agreement was signed last week during the Indonesia-Africa Forum held in Indonesia between 10 and 11 April. The agreement is worth $75 million and covers the supply of two NC-212-200 maritime surveillance aircraft and a CN235-220 maritime patrol aircraft to Senegal and a CN235-220 to the Ivory Coast for transport. The agreement was signed with Belgian company AD Trade Belgium, which is facilitating the deals with Senegal and the Ivory Coast. In December 2016 PTDI delivered a CN235-220 transport aircraft to Senegal’s Air Force. It was ordered in November 2014 via AD Trade Belgium. The aircraft is in a quick-change configuration that allows it to be used for par trooping, medical evacuation, VIP and passenger transport missions. This was followed by Senegal’s order in August 2017 for a single CN235-220 for maritime patrol, again through AD Trade Belgium.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
One person killed when 737 engine fails
A female passenger was killed when an engine failed in flight aboard a Southwest Airlines 737 at 32,000 feet on Tuesday morning, sending shrapnel flying that broke a window and entered the cabin. The crew, en route from New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Dallas Love Field diverted to Philadelphia and made a safe emergency landing. The Associated Press has reported that when the window broke, Riordan was pulled partly out the window by the sudden decompression and was pulled back into the cabin by nearby passengers, but she was severely hurt. Seven others suffered minor injuries. The death is the first to occur due to an accident aboard a U.S. passenger airline since 2009.
NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt held a brief news conference Tuesday afternoon in Washington before departing for Philadelphia. He said the engines on the 737 are the CFM56, which are very widely used. They are manufactured by CFM International, a 50/50 joint company owned by Safran Aircraft Engines and GE. Sumwalt said 144 passengers and five crew were on board the aircraft. Investigators will determine whether or not the engine experienced an ‘uncontained’ failure, he said, which depends on what parts of the engine became detached. However, it was clear that debris from the engine hit the window. This was reportedly the first fatality ever on a Southwest flight.
Tuesday evening, Sumwalt held a second briefing from Phildephia, and said a piece of the cowling from the damaged engine had been found on the ground in Pennsylvania, about 50 miles from the landing site. He also said a preliminary investigation of the engine showed that a fan blade had separated and there appeared to be evidence of metal fatigue at the point of failure. An AD affecting the engine was issued about two years ago, but Sumwalt said his team has not yet determined if the accident engine was affected by it or if so, if the AD had been complied with. He said Southwest management has already said they will begin enhanced inspection procedures for their engines, using advanced technologies beyond what is required.
FAA to issue AD for CFM56-7B fan blades
The FAA will issue an Airworthiness Directive (AD) within the next two weeks that will require inspections of certain CFM56-7B engines. The directive will require an ultrasonic inspection of fan blades when they reach a certain number of take-offs and landings. Any blades that fail the inspection will have to be replaced. NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said in a news conference that the fan blades on the engine showed signs of metal fatigue in the board’s initial inspection of the aircraft.
The Washington Post reports that the FAA has already issued an advisory for the engine type. The AD will make the inspections mandatory. The agency is supporting the NTSB investigation into Tuesday’s incident and “is in communication with the manufacturers and airlines on whether any further safety steps or amendments are needed.” All of Southwest’s 737s are powered by the CFM56 engine.
Cessna Skyhawk increased demand in China orders for 52 aircraft
At ABACE last week Textron Aviation announced that it has received orders for 52 Cessna Skyhawk aircraft. All deliveries are expected to be completed within 2018. “China’s 13th Five-Year Plan brings out favourable policies to boost general aviation development, leading to unprecedented opportunities in the aviation training market. In China, the aviation market and pilot training are growing quickly and steadily, resulting in greater demand for high-quality training aircraft,” said Kevin Wu, Vice President of International Sales, Greater China and Mongolia. “Among Textron Aviation’s highly-recognized training products, the Cessna Skyhawk is known for its reliability, flexibility and economic efficiency, whilst the type continues to be a leader in pilot training around the world.”
Both Hairuo General Aviation Co., Ltd. and Hubei Sky-Blue International Aviation Academy Co., Ltd. are authorised sales representatives and authorised service facilities for Cessna piston aircraft in China. Textron Aviation will continue to work with these two companies and other pilot training institutions dedicated to filling the gaps in China’s flight training market and propelling the growth of civil aviation.
F-35 completes most comprehensive flight test programme in aviation history
The F-35 programme has accomplished the final developmental test flight of the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of the programme. The final SDD flight occurred on 11 April at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, when Navy test aircraft CF-2 completed a mission to collect loads data while carrying external 2,000-pound GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) and AIM-9X Sidewinder heat-seeking missiles. From flight sciences to mission systems testing, the critical work completed by F-35 test teams cleared the way for the Block 3F capability to be delivered to the operational war fighter. More than 1,000 SDD flight test engineers, maintainers, pilots and support personnel took the three variants of the F-35 to their full flight envelope to test aircraft performance and flying qualities. The test team conducted six at-sea detachments and performed more than 1,500 vertical landing tests on the F-35B variant. The developmental flight test team completed 183 Weapon Separation Tests; 46 Weapons Delivery Accuracy tests; 33 Mission Effectiveness tests, which included numerous multi-ship missions of up to eight F-35s against advanced threats.
Developmental flight test is a key component of the F-35 programme’s SDD phase, which will formally be completed following an Operational Test and Evaluation and a Department of Defence decision to go into full-rate aircraft production. While SDD required flight test is now complete, F-35 flight testing continues in support of phased capability improvements and modernisation of the F-35 air system. This effort is part of the Joint Programme Office’s Continuous Capability Development and Delivery (C2D2) framework, which will provide timely, affordable incremental warfighting capability improvements to maintain joint air dominance against evolving threats to the United States and its allies. With stealth technology, advanced sensors, weapons capacity and range, the F-35 is the most lethal, survivable and connected fighter aircraft ever built. More than a fighter jet, the F-35’s ability to collect, analyse and share data is a powerful force multiplier that enhances all airborne, surface and ground-based assets in the battlespace and enables men and women in uniform to execute their mission and return home safe.
Rolls-Royce to bid for new China-Russia wide-body jet engines
The China Daily newspaper reported on 14 April 2018 that Rolls-Royce will join the bid to provide engines for the CRAIC CR929 (formerly known as C929), a new wide-body jetliner China is developing together with Russia. The request for a proposal to supply the new CR929 jet with engines was issued to manufacturers in December 2017. The British Rolls-Royce and the U.S. General Electric, among other companies, are expected to respond. The first round of bidding should start in May 2018, with the results expected to be announced by the end of 2018 or in 2019. The Chinese state-owned plane manufacturer Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) is developing the CR929 jet together with Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), in a joint venture that is known as the China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Company (CRAIC). According to Reuters; with the new jet, the company aims to disrupt the current Boeing and Airbus duopoly and to eventually take 10% of the wide-body jetliner market dominated by the B787 and A350.
Bombardier unveils the largest business jet ever built
Bombardier unveiled its latest Global 7000 aircraft which is now the largest and the longest-range business jet ever built, with a range of 7,700 nautical miles, a full 300 nautical miles farther than initial commitment. Global 7000 flight test vehicles have completed several long-haul flights to destinations including Sydney, Dubai and Hawaii. In total, 1,800 hours of flight testing are completed by now and Bombardier is finishing interior completion of the aircraft, whilst the first delivery of the aircraft is foreseen during the second half of 2018. According to the manufacturer, Global 7000 features distinct living spaces, a kitchen and a full-size crew suite.
Boeing’s first 737-800BCF receives FAA and EASA certification
The first B737-800BCF (Boeing Converted Freighter) received certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Boeing announced on April 12, 2018. The aircraft will be operated by West Atlantic Airlines. Swedish-based cargo carrier West Atlantic will be the launch customer, set to take delivery of four 737-800BCFs from GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) from second quarter of 2018. The 737-800BCF has maximum revenue payload and range capability, able to carry up to 23 tons of revenue payload with a maximum range of 3,700 km (2,000nm). The freighter can also offer 3 to 5% fuel savings on medium to long range routes, making it more fuel efficient than the classic 737 freighters, as well as more versatile in range.
Boeing outsells Airbus in the first quarter of 2018
According to the official order book, Airbus has fallen far behind Boeing during the last three months, both in orders and deliveries. The European plane maker received 45 orders and delivered 121 planes while its American rival shows 221 orders for 184 deliveries in the same period.
Airbus had to face several order cancelations since the beginning of the year, the most recently by American Airlines that cancelled 22 A350s ordered in 2013. The U.S. based company chose to buy 47 B787 Dreamliners instead. Boeing owes its success to the high demand for its 737 jetliner. 132 out of its 184 deliveries in 2018 were for its single-aisle bestseller.
As for Airbus, it saw the deliveries being greatly affected by engine problems, both with its partners Pratt & Whitney and Safran-General Electric co-company CFM International. The deliveries of the Pratt-powered A320neo have been suspended. Airbus still expects to deliver around 800 planes by the end of the year, about a hundred more than in 2017 that is already a record year for the company.
Boeing HorizonX invests in reaction engines
Boeing has made an investment in Reaction Engines Limited, a designer of advanced propulsion systems based in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom. Reaction Engines’ technology will contribute to the next generation of hypersonic flight and space access vehicles. Reaction Engines is known for its Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE), a hybrid engine blending jet and rocket technology that is capable of Mach 5 in air-breathing mode and Mach 25 in rocket mode for space flight. As part of the SABRE programme, Reaction Engines developed an ultra-lightweight heat exchanger that stops engine components from overheating at high speeds, thus improving access to hypersonic flight and space. Founded by three propulsion engineers in 1989, Reaction Engines produces robust technical designs for advanced heat exchangers, air-breathing engines and the vehicles they could power. These capabilities may lead to high-speed point-to-point transport that is cost-effective and sustainable.
Croatia to acquire Israeli F-16 jets
Croatian Defence Council has approved the offer made by Israel to sell its F-16 to modernise the Croatian air force. The decision now has to be approved by the Croatian government and the manufacturer of the jets, the US. The 12 planes should replace the aging Soviet-produced MIG-21 of the Croatian air force for a total cost of $420 million. Only four of the 12 MIG-21 were operational, according to local media. Israel was looking for a solution to get rid of the aging F-16 which were retired and at risk of degrading. Some experts say that the delivered planes will be upgraded by Israel Aerospace Industries with their latest technologies. As the planes can be fitted with Israeli missiles such as the Rafael Python, it might be that Israel will also sell ammunition to Croatia, a member of NATO since 2009.
BendixKing launches new touchscreen-enabled flight display
A primary flight display designed for experimental aircraft featuring touchscreen technology has been introduced by BendixKing. The xVue Touch is the first product from the company specifically launched for experimental category aircraft. xVue Touch is a high-quality, touchscreen-enabled primary flight display for experimental aircraft that replaces the traditional six-pack of mechanical instruments. This affordable replacement prominently features a bright and vibrant 10.1-inch display with near-4K resolution, the highest resolution currently available in the industry. The flight display is designed with no moving parts, such as cooling fans, which reduces aircraft weight and maintenance cost. It also comes standard with several features that help increase pilot safety and awareness, especially when flying and landing at night, navigating through bad weather, or approaching unfamiliar airports. The most prominent of those features are Honeywell’s SmartView Synthetic Vision System, a vertical situation display that shows flight path over terrain, and the ability to display Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast weather.
ATP Flight School places second order for 100 Piper Archer TXs
An agreement has been signed between Piper Aircraft and ATP Flight School for a second 100 aircraft fleet order. ATP, which holds the distinction of being the largest private flight school in the United States and leading supplier of pilots to the nation’s regional airlines, is now the largest Piper fleet operator in the world. ATP’s original Archer order was placed in April 2013, which included the initial purchase of 15 Archer TX, single-engine, piston powered aircraft with the option for 85 additional Archers. Over the past 5 years, ATP has consistently exercised its options and has taken delivery of Piper Archers each year and will reach 100 aircraft delivered by October 2018. This second 100 Archer TX order will bring ATP’s fleet to over 400 aircraft, therefore continuing to increase the school’s training capacity in an effort to solve the US pilot shortage. With demand for commercial pilots at an industry high, the new order demonstrates ATP’s trust in the Archer as a proven, reliable and economical trainer, capable of delivering the volume of training required to dependably supply pilots to the nation’s airlines.
ABACE2018 signals blue skies for business aviation in Asia and beyond
As the Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (ABACE) concluded its third and final day, organisers said that on several levels, the show underscored the promising future for business aviation in the Asian region. “This year’s ABACE, held under bright, clear skies and in new facilities, reflected the enthusiasm, growth and potential for business aviation, not just in China, but across Asia and beyond,” said National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) President and CEO Ed Bolen.
“The construction that has taken place at the airport represents an investment in the industry’s future, the strong attendance demonstrates an increasing appreciation for business aviation, and the involvement of government officials in the show illustrates their commitment to the industry’s growth. Clearly, six years after our first ABACE at the Hongqiao International Airport in Shanghai, momentum is accelerating.”
Taking place between 17 and 19 April ABACE2018 was jointly hosted by the NBAA and the Shanghai Airport Authority (SAA) and coordinated with the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA).
At the event, more than 175 exhibitors displayed across a show floor featuring a new, second hangar, and an exhibitor pavilion. Forty percent of the exhibitors were from Asian countries. On display at the airport were 30 aircraft, including intercontinental jets, turboprops, pistons, amphibian aircraft and helicopters. Standing aside the aircraft were 10 meeting chalets, which have become a popular feature of the event. The growing importance of the show and industry was readily evident in numerous other ways; for example:
- A host of prominent speakers representing China’s aviation sector took part in the ABACE Opening General Session on 17 April, including Captain Jiang Huai Yu, Deputy Party Secretary and Director General of the Eastern Regional Headquarters for the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC); Mr. Cai Jun, Deputy Director General of the Shanghai Municipal Transportation Commission; Mr. Wu Jianrong, SAA Chairman; Mr. Wang Jijie, SAA Vice President; and Jenny Lau, AsBAA chair.
- ABACE included participation from other prominent government leaders at the opening session, including Sean Stein, consul general of the United States in Shanghai; Axel Cruau, consul general of France in Shanghai; Weldon Epp, consul general of Canada in Shanghai; and John Bruns, Co-Chair, US-China Aviation Cooperation Programme.
- The CAAC’s Business Aviation Development Forum once again brought together top-level regional, national and international officials to discuss the continuing development of China’s emerging business aviation industry and expansion of the country’s aviation infrastructure
- As always, educational content was a central part of ABACE. Throughout the show, well-attended sessions, developed and presented by AsBAA, focused on significant topics, including aircraft cybersecurity, emerging international aircraft-emission mandates, airport access and aircraft finance, insurance, maintenance and operations. In addition, for the first time, NBAA coordinated with the Beijing Business Aviation Association to organise additional education sessions on the final day of ABACE.
- Returning to the show this year was the ABACE Careers in Business Aviation Programme. More than 200 students pursuing aviation careers attended the AsBAA-organised event to find out more about career paths and opportunities for graduates planning for careers in the industry and to meet with business aviation leaders in Greater China and the Asia-Pacific.
- More than 100 journalists attended and covered the show, representing media outlets from China, the broader Asian region and locations from elsewhere around the world.
“ABACE2018 represents a new flight level for the event,” Bolen said. “We are looking forward to building on this year’s success as preparations begin for ABACE2019.” ABACE2019 will take place from 16 to 18 April 2019 in Shanghai China.
Flying Cars News
Switchblade flying sports car passes 600 reservation holder mark
The Samson Sky organisation that developers of the Switchblade flying sports car, reached reservation position 615. The Samson Sky reservation programme was launched at Sun ‘n Fun just two years ago when the first glimpse of the wing swing mechanism for the flying and driving vehicle was released.
Samson Sky CEO Sam Bousfield, designer of the Switchblade, believes that their vehicle’s most popular feature, helping boost those reservation numbers, may be that it is seen as a truly practical flying car.
What would define a practical flying car? Most pilots would cite having the flying surfaces protected while driving, as any accidental bump could render the vehicle not flightworthy. Worse, it might be damaged while parked, without you even knowing it. While no vehicle is completely accident proof, the Switchblade does protect the wings behind clamshell doors that close around the stowed wings to protect them from being damaged or tampered with while on the ground.
Although some may argue that being a capable flying machine with reasonable range might be next on the list of features to qualify as practical, others would propose that good road handling would be equally as important. The Switchblade has outperformed everything in its wheelbase (distance between front and rear wheels) compared to Road & Track’s slalom course historical data base and it has the power-to-weight ratio of a 2017 Corvette. At an anticipated price of $140,000, it is actually somewhat affordable.
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.
Volocopter starts serial production
DG Flugzeugbau, a sailplane manufacturer in Germany, said recently it got an order to ‘manufacture a large number of Volocopters from Volocopter GmbH,’ but nobody is saying exactly how many a ‘large number’ is. A Volocopter spokesperson said “Unfortunately, I am not able to provide you with more details than this” DG Flugzeubau did say at its website that it will be manufacturing the 2X version of the Volocopter and noted it will be the first aircraft of its kind to enter serial production. “Thanks to huge investors like the Daimler AG, many engineers and technicians work hard to implement this new technology,” says the post at Flugzeubau’s website. “Getting this project into the stage of a serial production is the next big step which keeps Volocopter and DG in the market lead.”
The Volocopter 2X, is an electric-powered, multi-rotor VTOL, can fly autonomously or ‘be easily operated using a joystick,’ according to the company website. It aims to be safe, quiet and reliable. It’s also the world’s first multicopter that has been certified for manned flight. Volocopter flew an unmanned air vehicle in Dubai last September, which the company said was the ‘first-ever public flight of an autonomous urban air taxi.’ The company is working to verity the feasibility and safety of airborne taxis as a means of public transportation.
World Drone News
Airbus launches advanced indoor inspection drone
Combining Airbus’ extensive aircraft knowledge with best-in-class drone technology, this new product consists of a smart, automatic drone with an integral visual camera, a laser-based obstacle detection sensor, flight planner software and an Airbus’ aircraft inspection software analysis tool. Developed in co-operation with Airbus’ subsidiary Testia which specialises in non-destructive testing, this drone-based aircraft inspection system is optimised for inspecting the upper parts of the aircraft fuselage.
Following a predefined inspection path, the automated drone captures all the required images with its on-board camera. High quality pictures are then transferred to a PC database for detailed analysis using a software system. This allows the operator to localise and measure visual damage on the aircraft’s surface by comparing it with the aircraft’s digital mock-up. The software automatically generates an inspection report.
The new system will be available for the industry in the fourth quarter of 2018 following EASA approval of the new inspection process. Initial demonstrations have been made to several airlines which have expressed interest. It will also be offered to MRO organisations. Since it is designed for use inside maintenance hangars, the drone is equipped with a laser-based sensor capable of detecting obstacles and halting the inspection if necessary. This laser-based technology allows the vehicle to fly automatically without the need for remote piloting.
Upgrading to the new drone-based system will enable operators and MRO providers to reduce inspection time, allow the aircraft to be released earlier while enhancing the overall quality of the reports, improving damage localisation, repeatability and traceability. The new inspection process will take only three hours, including 30 minutes of image capture by the drone and will improve operator safety. By contrast, traditional aircraft visual inspection is performed from the ground or using a telescopic platform, in particular for the upper parts of the aircraft; a process which could typically last up to one day.
The new drone-based inspection system is an element of Airbus’ ‘Hangar of the Future’ (HoF), an innovation maintenance project initiated by Airbus in Singapore two years ago. HoF combines the use of innovative technologies and smart, ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT)-connected equipment such as ‘collaborative robots’ (cobots), drones, scanners, cameras and non-destructive sensors, with aircraft technical documentation and aircraft in-service data collected by Airbus’ open data platform, Skywise. Through the digitisation and automation of maintenance activities, Airbus is responding to the increasing maintenance needs of airlines with growing fleets, creating value for all stakeholders.
Ubisense and MRO Drone launch world’s first ‘Smart Hangar’ solution
Ubisense Group announced a partnership with pioneers of autonomy and creators of innovative aviation software products, the MRO Drone will offer the world’s first ‘Smart Hangar’ solution, combining automated aircraft inspection with automated tool and asset management to improve efficiency and increase productivity for MROs. Developed for operations, compliance and quality teams, Smart Hangar combines MRO Drone’s Remote Automated Plane Inspection and Dissemination (RAPID) drone, which Easyjet has successfully trailed and is now considering implementing at its European bases; Ubisense’s Enterprise Location Platform SmartSpace for tooling, asset and compliance management and Dimension4, Ubisense’s best-in-class precision real-time location system. Ubisense’s technology is used by nine of the top ten global automobile manufacturers around the world plus leading aerospace manufacturers including Lockheed Martin and Airbus.
With Smart Hangar, drone-based aircraft damage inspection reduces Aircraft on Ground (AOG) time by up to 90% and introduces measurable efficiencies across fleet maintenance. It enables increased productivity and reduction in delays through real-time visibility of tools and equipment, reliable staging of work packages as well as sensor-driven feedback of work-package execution.
Manned Helicopters vs. UAVs for power line inspection
Mantas Vaskela CEO of Laserpas, an aerial power line inspection boutique, along with Iulian Bogdan a representative from Distributie Oltenia, a power distribution company from Romania, spoke at the Commercial UAV Expo in Amsterdam on 12 April 2018. The main topic of the discussion was the use of manned helicopters vs. UAV in aerial power line inspections. Vaskela described how Laserpas was able to obtain accurate data while using a helicopter moving at speeds around 100 Km / hr, as opposed to launching a drone at each location requiring inspection. The discussion touched on the legality issues of operating drones and helicopters, but the unreliability of drones was noted as the greatest hurdle for their use in power line inspection. During the discussion, Vaskela presented all of the obstacles preventing drones from providing desired data quality. He stated that the biggest issue lies in the fact that they often crash when carrying the payloads required for inspections, but the short range of drones also creates issues. He described how power lines themselves create a multitude of issues for drones as well. When flying near a power line, drones often suffer from interference, GPS and compass problems. Furthermore, the mass amount of data generated and the time it takes to transfer it were also described as pressing issues.
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