“If you want to know what a man is like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals” J.K. Rowling
African Pilot’s June 2019 edition
African Pilot’s exciting June edition features business at Lanseria International Airport, the South African Power Flying Association’s (SAPFA) President’s Trophy Air Race (PTAR) that was staged in Saldanha (Western Cape), South Africa’s EAA National Convention in Vryheid (KZN) and the ABSA Lowveld airshow (Nelspruit airfield). In addition Divan Muller covered the USA’s Sun ‘n Fun staged in Florida. We also have published a comprehensive report on the AERO Friedrichshafen the premier European aviation trade show staged in Germany. This is a very busy time within the South African aviation calendar. African Pilot continues to be the foremost aviation publication that continuously brings the most important aviation events to its readers every month. The June edition is printing and will enter its distribution phase this week. African Pilot’s June digital edition will be released on Friday 24 May. Should you wish to receive your copy of the digital edition, please visit the African Pilot website: www.africanpilot.co.za and sign up using the button provided. Thank you.
African Pilot’s July 2019 edition
The July edition of African Pilot will feature our annual Aviation Careers Guide as well as Flight Training Schools in southern Africa. African Pilot specifically plans to prepare the comprehensive aviation careers guide for the July edition so as to provide matric students with the opportunity to review their options within the July school holidays. At the same time there is no point in publishing this type of information in November when learners are busy with their matric exams. This edition will also carry a report on EBACE to be staged in Geneva, Switzerland between 21 and 23 May 2019. The closing date for editorial submissions is Wednesday 5 June and advertising material on Friday 7 June. For advertising positions please contact Lara Bayliss at Tel: 0861 001130 Cell: 079 880 4359 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
SAAF Museum airshow at AFB Swartkop moved to Saturday 31 August 2019
Due to the elections on Wednesday 8 May the annual SAAF Museum airshow was postponed from its usual date at the beginning of May to Saturday 31 August after the cancellation of the annual Rand Airport airshow that had been scheduled for Sunday 1 September. The show is expected to start at 08h00 and conclude at 18h00. The AFB Swartkop airshow is important for the SAAF Museum as it is the major fundraising initiative for the SAAF Museum.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
SAPFA ANR Navigation Rally at Krugersdorp
This ANR rally was designed for the SAPFA Springbok team to count towards inclusion in the national team later this year as well as the fun rally part for those pilots and navigators who just wanted to improve their skills and have a day of fun flying. This mean that the ‘Springboks Team had two opportunities to fly the course providing the following results as supplied by Frank and Cally Eckhard the rally organisers:
Position Pilot Navigator
1 Ron Stirk Hans Schwebel
2 Shane Britz Karen Stroud
3 Anthony Russell Pamela Russell
4 Thys van der Merwe Gerda Pienaar
5 Christa Greyvensteyn Mary de Klerk
1 Shane Britz Karen Stroud
2 Anthony Russell Pamela Russell
3 Ron Stirk Hans Schwebel
4 Laura Mc Dermid Stuart Mc Dermid
5 George Gerber Gina Gerber
6 Thys van der Merwe Gerda Pienaar
Airbus Pleiades satellite image of 2019 NAMPO
Africa’s biggest agriculture trade expo, NAMPO Harvest Day, was staged last week in Bothaville in the Free State, South Africa. The image was captured as the very high optical satellite passed overhead NAMPO while orbiting 694km above Earth. Airbus is a leader in satellite earth observation and the company participated at NAMPO 2019. It operates a constellation of radar and optical satellites and for over 30 years, has shaped how imagery captured by them is used for agricultural applications.
Derek Frasca’s Radial Rocket
On Saturday I had the opportunity to have a close look at Derek Frasca’s Radial Rocket in his hangar at Krugersdorp Airfield. This all composite machine built from a kit and sporting a 400 hp Russian radial engine took Derek eight years to build and I understand it completed its first flight during the past week at the capable hands of a test pilot. A truly remarkable project this unique aircraft will be a feature within a future edition of African Pilot.
What is scheduled for the next few weeks?
African Pilot’s 2019 calendar
We will publish the aviation calendar within APAnews three months ahead, but you can always visit African Pilot’s website: www.africanpilot.co.za if you would like to obtain the full calendar for the entire year.
Contact Johan Pieters E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 923 0078
5 to 8 June
Zimbabwe Air Rally
Mel Cooper Cell: + 263 773 218426 E-mail: email@example.com
6 and 7 June
Africa Drone Conference – Emperors Palace Convention Centre
Contact Simon Mkitlane E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 011 886 0433
SAPFA Bethlehem Speed Rally – Bethlehem Airfield
Contact Jonty Esser e-mail: email@example.com cell: 082 855 9435
10 to 16 June
SAPFA World Precision Flying Championships – Castellon Spain
Contact Hans Schwebel cell: 082 656 3005 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
20 to 23 June
SAC National Championships venue TBA
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: email@example.com
21 to 23 June
EAA Chapter 322 flight training Boot Camp at Mwala Lodge
Contact Neil Bowden Cell: 084 674 5674 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Relibile Mofokeng E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 073 837 0162
Reefsteamers train, plane, vintage car event from Krugersdorp to Magalies
Contact Ian Morrison e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
23 to 28 June
South African Hot Air Balloon Championships Skeerpoort North West Province
Contact Richard Bovell e-mail: email@example.com
27 to 30 June
SAC National Championships Malelane airfield
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
4 to 6 July
AERO South Africa Wonderboom National Airport, Pretoria
Contact: Tel +27 10 599 6170 E-mail: Amanda.Dube@za.messefrankfurt.com
After months of planning and preparations, the Aero South Africa team is excited to announce that visitor registrations to Africa’s inaugural trade show for the general aviation are now OPEN. Exhibitors will cover the full spectrum of services, so this is the ideal place to source new products, view the latest technology and even sell or buy new aircraft. Daily seminars will be FREE to attend. Secure your FREE visitor pass online now and get ready to discover the latest industry innovations available to the African market: https://www.tisevents.co.za/Event/AERO/Default.aspx?id=3651
CAASA AGM at CAASA House Lanseria International Airport
Contact Tel: 011 659 2345 e-mail: email@example.com
12 to 14 July
Taildraggers Fly-In at Nylstroom
Contact Richard Nicholson Cell: 082 490 6227 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA Hoedspruit Fun Rally Hoedspruit Civil Airfield
Contact Frank Eckard cell: 083 269 1516 e-mail: email@example.com
22 to 28 July
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA
Camping on the airfield contact Neil Bowden E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hotels in Appleton contact Calvin Fabig E-mail: email@example.com
Action, education, entertainment and everything in between makes EAA AirVenture Oshkosh your perfect, affordable northern hemisphere summer destination! For seven days from sunrise to well past sunset, your Oshkosh day is filled with dazzling displays of aerobatics, informative programmes and hands-on workshops, diverse aircraft spanning all eras of flight, concerts to keep you rocking into the night and much, much more. Fun for the whole family that you will only find in Oshkosh is waiting for you at the World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration!
25 to 27 July
SAPFA Air Navigation Race (ANR) Nationals at Brits airfield
Contact Frank Eckard e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org cell: 083 269 1516
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Airbus holds African airlines business lab symposium
Last week Airbus held its annual African airlines business lab symposium in Zanzibar, bringing together airline industry experts and managers from carriers across the region, with the purpose of sharpening their businesses to take advantage of the rapidly expanding African market. Topics discussed included aircraft financing, global industry trends, digitalisation in the airline industry, aircraft evaluation and sessions on customer marketing and market growth strategies. Over the past 30 years Africa has recorded steady growth in demand for air transport, with the number of air travellers flying to, from and within the continent doubling every 15 years.
“With Africa’s population set to expand by 2.5 billion people over the next 20 years and with urbanisation and economic expansion, it will become the world’s fastest growing market,” said Hadi Akoum, Airbus vice president, sales for Sub-Sahara Africa & the Indian Ocean Islands. “Our Africa Airlines lab is a forum for discussion and shared learning in order to equip airline managers with knowledge and expertise they can use to take full advantage of this unprecedented opportunity to create sustainable growth, not just for their themselves, but the economies and societies they serve”.
ExecuJet launches new Tours & Safaris division
ExecuJet Tours & Safaris offers a range of tailor-made safari itineraries with private aircraft flights and transfers. As the launch partner, Luxury Short Safari has been hand-picked by ExecuJet for its exemplary safety and service standards, matching ExecuJet’s own. Locations include all African safari destinations and the surrounding Indian Ocean islands. Gavin Kiggen, vice president Africa, ExecuJet, says: “Safaris are an integral part of African travel, providing a window into the rich, diverse and complex environment of this astonishing continent. Private aircraft are perfectly suited to this kind of exploration; they afford you increased travel flexibility; can land on short or dirt runways so will take you directly to your destination and give our customers enhanced luxury, privacy and comfort. We are incredibly excited to partner with Luxury Short Safari, offering clients bespoke and seamless experiences across Africa.”
Alessia Lo Cascio, owner of Luxury Short Safari, said: “To experience the romance of the African savannah in a short time-span, our packages are ideal. Fill your days with game drives over land, via boat or even by hot air balloon. Or combine it with an island trip, where you can learn to scuba dive, rent a private yacht, or relax with bespoke spa and beauty services. Our selected partners provide secluded, ultra-luxury villas, with devoted members of staff to fulfil your every need. Our range of conservation areas and national parks make spotting ‘big five’ game, rare primates and breath-taking migrations completely effortless.”
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Boeing statement on 737 MAX certification and return to service
Boeing has completed development of the updated software for the 737 MAX, along with associated simulator testing and the company’s engineering test flight. To date, Boeing has flown the 737 MAX with updated MCAS software for more than 360 hours on 207 flights. Boeing is now providing additional information to address Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requests that include details on how pilots interact with the airplane controls and displays in different flight scenarios. Once the requests are addressed, Boeing will work with the FAA to schedule its certification test flight and submit final certification documentation.
“With safety as our clear priority, we have completed all of the engineering test flights for the software update and are preparing for the final certification flight,” said Boeing Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg. “We are committed to providing the FAA and global regulators all the information they need and to getting it right. We are making clear and steady progress and are confident that the 737 MAX with updated MCAS software will be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly. The accidents have only intensified our commitment to our values, including safety, quality and integrity, because we know lives depend on what we do.”
In addition, Boeing has developed enhanced training and education materials that are now being reviewed with the FAA, global regulators and airline customers to support return-to-service and longer-term operations. This includes a series of regional customer conferences being conducted around the world.
Dickson grilled on Boeing 737 MAX during US Senate hearing
In his initial hearing before the US Senate Commerce Committee on his nomination to be the next FAA Administrator, former Delta Air Lines executive Stephen Dickson faced questions about his position on the agency’s process for aircraft certification. Dickson was nominated by President Donald Trump to lead the agency and if confirmed, one of his first challenges would be the process used to certify the Boeing 737 MAX airplane that has been involved in two fatal accidents in recent months and is currently grounded worldwide.
A total of 346 people were fatally injured in those accidents. “I would never certify an airplane I wouldn’t put my family on,” Dickson told the committee. Roll Call reports that while there were tough questions about the certification issues, Dickson was generally well received by lawmakers from both sides of the aisle. The committee’s ranking Democrat, Maria Cantwell (D-WA) said she was “pleased to have such a qualified nominee before us.”
Dickson is an Air Force Academy graduate, who has flown Boeing 727, 737 and 767 airplanes, as well as serving as captain in Airbus A320s. He recently retired as vice president for flight operations at Delta. Cantwell asked how Dickson would handle what she called pilot’s over-reliance on automation when flying commercial aircraft. He said he would work to ensure that innovation continues, but that pilots continue to maintain their manual flying skills needed when technology fails. “As automation continues to advance, it provides many benefits. However it can create risks that we need to mitigate,” he said. Daniel Elwell has served as acting Administrator of the FAA since Michael Huerta stepped down at the end of his five-year term in January 2018.
Airbus Perlan mission II aims for top world aviation record
Last week Airbus Perlan Mission II officially launched its fourth season of operations with a press briefing at Minden-Tahoe Municipal Airport, the year-round home of the Perlan 2 glider, the world’s first engineless aircraft designed to reach the edge of space. When the aircraft deploys to Patagonia later this year, the team aims to achieve the world altitude aviation record for sustained, level flight.
Last year, on 2 September 2018, the Airbus Perlan Mission II team set a new world record of 76,124 feet pressure altitude, surpassing the highest known flight of the U-2 spy plane (74,000 feet). This year, the team wants to soar the Perlan 2 space glider up to its maximum altitude of 90,000 feet, surpassing the only other wing borne aircraft to fly that high above earth’s atmosphere, the SR71 Blackbird. Unlike the mighty Blackbird, which flew to over 84,000 feet, the Perlan 2 space glider has no engine and uses only the power of the wind in the stratosphere to soar.
Perlan pilots briefed media on key technological innovations and improvements that the Airbus Perlan Mission II team has made to the aircraft since its last season. The aircraft’s impressive capabilities include a visualisation system for seeing rising air currents in the cockpit; spacecraft-capable oxygen rebreathers; a drogue parachute to allow rapid descent in case of emergency and a ballistic chute for a lower-altitude emergency descent.
The glider’s true flight speed at its maximum altitude of 90,000 feet will be almost 400 miles per hour, even without an engine. A passive pressurisation system protects the crew in an environment where the air density is less than two percent of what it is at sea level. The Perlan 2 glider will begin its two-month shipping voyage to Argentina in June and by the end of July the Airbus Perlan Mission II team will have relocated its operations to the Patagonian town of El Calafate. Atmospheric conditions in this region allow the team to soar into the stratosphere on rising air currents, yielding new discoveries in aviation engineering, extreme weather and space exploration.
Virgin Galactic moves to a commercial spaceport
Virgin Galactic took a big step away from its test programme toward commercial development of space tourism with a move from the high California desert to a purpose-built passenger flight facility in New Mexico. On Friday CEO Richard Branson announced that it will be moving a significant part of its operation to a taxpayer-funded spaceport in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. All of the testing of the passenger-carrying space plane and its launch aircraft has taken place at Mojave, California, and that is just about wrapped up. The business will be conducted at an essentially private $200 million runway and hangar at Truth or Consequences built by the New Mexico government. Virgin Galactic will keep building its aircraft and space vehicles in Mojave.
More than 600 people have put up $200,000 each for a ride to the edge of space, nominally set at about 62 miles high. Branson envisions a new space tourism industry with hotels in space and a network of spaceports allowing global hypersonic flights but he insists it’s not all about bucket list rides for the rich. “Our future success as a species rests on the planetary perspective,” Branson said. “The perspective that we know comes sharply into focus when that planet is viewed from the black sky of space.” The serial entrepreneur billionaire said there is a practical side to achieving that perspective. “We need the financial impetus to be able to do all that,” he said. “If the space programme is successful as I think – then the sky is the limit.”
Two tourist seaplanes down near Ketchikan
Ten people are injured and at least five dead in a mid-air collision of two seaplanes carrying tourists from a cruise ship near Ketchikan, Alaska. One passenger has not been found. All were passengers on a Royal Princess cruise out of Vancouver. The aircraft were a DeHavilland Otter flown by Taquan Air and a Beaver floatplane on a separate sightseeing tour. The US Coast Guard said that on Monday afternoon, There as 10 people that are accounted for and they are receiving medical care. The extent of their injuries right now is unknown. We do know now that three people are confirmed deceased and we are looking for three unaccounted for people right now.” CNBC is confirming the death of the fifth passenger. “We are incredibly distressed by this situation and our thoughts and prayers are with those onboard the planes and their families,” the cruise company said. “Princess Cruises is extending its full support to traveling companions of the guests involved.”
Taquan Air said in a statement that it has suspended all flights and added, “We are devastated by today’s incident and our hearts go out to our passengers and their families. At this time, we are in the midst of an active crisis response and our focus is on assisting these passengers, the pilot, our staff, their families and loved ones, and first responders.”
According to a statement by the Coast Guard, it is searching with the cutter Bailey Barco, an Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, an HC-130 from Kodiak is flying in relief crews from Sitka and two Station Ketchikan 45-foot Response Boat-Mediums. “In a remote area such as this, given our limited resources, we rely on our partner agencies and appreciate the support that good Samaritans have rendered to this point,” said Capt. Stephen White, Coast Guard Sector Juneau commander. “With the loss of life in this case, we know that the impact to Alaska is immense and our thoughts are with the community here.”
Horten HX-2 flying wing plans trip to AirVenture
Horten Aircraft plans to bring its HX-2 flying wing prototype to AirVenture this summer after being first displayed to the public at AERO 2019 in Friedrichshafen, Germany in February. According to the company Facebook page, HORTEN Aircraft GmbH was founded at the end of 2015 by Sven Lindig, Bernhard Mattlener and Hans Heinen. Meanwhile, Flight Design general aviation and Rotorvox are also part of the aviation brand LIFT Air. Our headquarters are located at the Eisenach-Kindel airfield (EDGE).
The name ‘HORTEN Aircraft GmbH’ was chosen in honour of the visionary aircraft engineer Dr Reimar Horten (1915-1994). He is regarded as a pioneer in the field of flying wings and supported the development of the predecessor prototypes PUL-9 and PUL-10 with calculations, which Bernhard Mattlener helped to develop in the early nineties. Even though the Horten brothers made their talent available to the German Luftwaffe in World War II, there is no connection on our part to this tragic part of German history. However, we are convinced of his flying wing concept and see him as a pioneer of all Delta concepts, which is why we like to bear the name of the aviation legend HORTEN and thus cultivate the legacy of Dr Reimar Horten.
Delta Air Lines’ first A330neo makes inaugural flight
The first A330-900 widebody destined for Delta Air Lines made its inaugural test flight on Tuesday from Toulouse airport. The highly fuel-efficient twin-engine jet, one of 35 Delta has on order, is due to be delivered to the Atlanta, Georgia-based airline in the coming weeks. The A330-900 is the larger of the two A330neo variants that Airbus launched in 2014. The A330neo brings significant efficiency improvements while also introducing the award-winning Airspace by Airbus cabin, which offers the newest and most advanced in-flight experience with extra personal space, larger overhead luggage bins, latest generation in-flight entertainment system and state-of-the-art ambient lighting. Incorporating the latest-generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, along with aerodynamic enhancements – including new extended composite wingtips which provide 12 feet of increased overall wing-span, as well as increased lift and reduced drag, the A330neo is a more efficient aircraft, delivering 25% lower fuel burn than previous generation aircraft and the lowest seat-mile cost in its category. The A330-900 range is 6,550 nautical miles in a typical three-class configuration.
Dornier introduces new amphibian
Dornier Seawings has announced the introduction of the Orca, a multi-engine amphibious aircraft based on the company’s Seastar CD2 design. According to Dornier, the Orca is intended for government operations and can be outfitted for security, search and rescue, and environmental monitoring missions. Features include an all-composite airframe and optional internal and external mission equipment stations. The Orca is expected to have a 720-NM maximum range, top cruise speed of 180 knots and payload of 2953 pounds. It will be powered by two Pratt & Whitney PT6A-135A engines. Dornier says it plans to have the aircraft ready to enter service in 2022.
D-Day Squadron unveils ‘The Mighty Fifteen’
After almost 18 months of planning, fundraising and training, the D-Day Squadron, the American contingent of Douglas C-47 and DC-3 transports participating in Daks over Normandy, is about to embark on their journey to Europe to celebrate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. On 19 May the D-Day Squadron will depart Oxford-Waterbury airport in Connecticut and head East to cross the Atlantic along the original Blue Spruce route. There will be a full week of activities to kick off this event, including a special Squadron flyover of the Statue of Liberty.
The list of airplanes taking part is changing regularly, as is understandable when juggling such a monumental challenge. Some teams tried until the last minute to get their aircraft ready to take part, but the complexity of the mission, the logistical challenges and the enormous costs involved inevitably took a toll with some having to cancel their participation. The following is the only official list approved by the D-Day Squadron at this time marking the which aircraft will participate, ‘The Mighty Fifteen!’
Pegasus VTOL business jet model to premier at EBACE
South African aviation start-up Pegasus Universal Aerospace will present for the first time a one-eighth scale model of its proposed VTOL Business Jet (VBJ) at EBACE in Geneva later this month. FlightGlobal reports that the company also plans to announce its choice for an avionics supplier at the show and open its order book for the airplane. The Pegasus VBJ1 will use two GE Aviation CT7-8 turboshaft engines to drive lift fans inside the plane’s cranked dihedral wings as well as provide forward thrust through integrated gearboxes. The airplane is expected to weigh under 12,600 pounds, allowing certification for single-pilot operations. The company anticipates that the airplane will have a range of 2,300 nautical miles, which is reduced to 1,150 nm in VTOL configuration. The cruise speed is estimated to 430 knots, whilst the endurance is projected to be six hours at 35,000 feet operating from a runway, or three hours if VTOL operations are part of the flight plan.
OSM Aviation Academy orders 60 eFlyer2 aircraft from Bye Aerospace
OSM Aviation Academy flight training centres in Norway has ordered 60 eFlyer electric aircraft from Bye Aerospace to qualify pilots for the future. The eFlyer2 from Bye Aerospace in Denver offers zero emission and significantly lower noise pollution compared with conventional aircraft, along with enhanced speed and altitude performance. Espen Høiby, CEO of OSM Aviation Group, predicts that it is only a matter of time before electrical planes enter into commercial use in international air travel. He says the industry needs to be both proactive and innovative in order to keep up. “We are training the next generation of pilots and we are determined to attract the best candidates. We offer a forward-looking education which they can be proud to take part in. This order for 60 all-electric aircraft is a key step in that respect,” said Bjørn Granviken, Managing Director of the OSM Aviation Academy.
OSM Aviation has drawn inspiration from its Scandinavian roots in the quest for more climate-friendly solutions. Høiby expects the commitment to electric planes to find support at home. Ketil Solvik Olsen, a former Norwegian minister of transport and communications who is now responsible for establishing the OSM Aviation Academy in the USA, supports Høiby’s predictions. “The state-owned Avinor company, which operates most of Norway’s civilian airports, made headlines last year when it piloted test flights with an electric plane,” Solvik Olsen observes. “This made more people aware of the potential for green aviation. Now OSM shows that the business community is ready to take charge and move the industry further along this positive trend.”
Sling Pilot Academy formed in the USA to meet challenges of 21st Century aviation industry
Today’s news cycle is filled with stories about the need for properly trained pilots to meet an increasing demand that shows little signs of slowing and every sign of not only greater demand, but a requirement for even greater skills from new pilots entering the industry. A new flight training academy, based on an already successful flight school that has been serving the flight training community for the better part of a decade, has arisen to meet the increasingly difficult demands for training tomorrow’s aviation transportation professionals.
The Sling Pilot Academy, based in Torrance California, is the brainchild of three aviation entrepreneurs, Wayne Todden, Jean d’Assonville and Matt Liknaitzky, who have been working in a number of aviation disciplines for decades and are more than well-acquainted with what will be required to be competitive and SAFE as the aviation industry continues to evolve in the coming years. Equipped with all new Next-Generation Sling training aircraft, using the latest in modern powerplant and glass cockpit display technology, Sling Pilot Academy effectively wields the double-edged sword of combining proper expert preparation for tomorrow’s airline pilots, as well as providing cost-effective quality training.
Complete Professional Flight Training programmes that may be undertaken in under nine months, from first flight to course completion, are available now for under $63,000. While the price of the programme is less than many other such courses, the company leaves nothing out. A student working the entire programme completes the curriculum with more than a basic Commercial Pilot’s license with an Instrument rating, but is equipped to go right to work in today’s challenging aviation industry. They also leave SPA with a multi-engine rating as well as the three Primary Instructor ratings: Certified Flight Instructor / Airplane, CFI / Instrument-Airplane and CFI / Multi-Engine. SPA’s new programme is already training tomorrow’s airline pilots in picturesque Southern California.
Four dead as small plane crashes in Dubai
On Thursday a small plane with four passengers crashed in Dubai and all four were killed. The Government of Dubai Media Office said, “An accident involving a small plane with four people occurred resulting in the death of the pilot and his assistant and two officials. The relevant teams are on the scene.”
The Media Office also said, “All operations at the Dubai airport are running smoothly after a slight delay and diversion of some flights as a precautionary measure to ensure security following a minor incident involving a small plane.” The small plane, a Diamond 43 owned by Honeywell, crashed due to a technical malfunction. Later, the GCAA said, “The four-seat plane crashed while on a mission to calibrate terrestrial navigation systems at the airport, with all crew members, three British and a South African, killed. An investigation team from the GCAA arrived at the scene of the crash.
Pilatus prepares for the future
The business year 2018 was an exceptionally successful one for Pilatus, but also a challenging one. At around 1.1 billion Swiss francs ($1.08 billion), sales revenue was brought back to the billion mark again. The 128 aircraft delivered in total included the first PC-24, a milestone in the company history. All in all, 18 PC-24s were handed over to customers in the past year. Financially 2018 was better than the previous year. At 1,092 million Swiss francs, sales revenue surpassed the one billion mark for the first time since 2015. The operating result totals 157 million Swiss francs.
Following incoming orders worth 1 billion Swiss francs, the current order volume stands at 2.1 billion Swiss francs; the equivalent of just under two years of sales revenue. A total of 128 aircraft were delivered to customers: 18 PC-24s, 80 PC-12 NGs, 27 PC-21s and three PC-6s. The delivery of the first PC-24 to a customer in February 2018 marked a milestone in the development phase spanning over eleven years. The brand-new Super Versatile Jet was the focus of much work throughout 2018: besides bringing PC-24 series production operations up to speed, the customer service unit and entire service network also switched to ‘live’ mode. Pilatus continued to make improvements to the PC-24 in parallel, pushing ahead with various post-certification test programmes aimed at delivering all aircraft capabilities promised to customers at the outset. The next milestone is just around the corner: the reopening of the PC-24 order book.
Whilst the military sector is hugely important to Pilatus, the lack of new trainer fleet contracts in 2018 is not unduly worrying: Pilatus is focused on the necessary upstream work and has reinforced its sales efforts in this area. Constant growth in after-sales business is encouraging.
The Business Unit General Aviation also saw continued expansion of its customer service operations. The volume of PC-24s in operation grows with every week that passes, generating similar growth in the number of customers requiring support. The network of Authorized Pilatus Centres was further strengthened to offer customers around the world the level of service they are entitled to expect in the business aircraft league.
At the end of 2018 the Pilatus Group employed 2,283 people, including 127 apprentices. Over 150 new jobs were created. 93 percent of all employees work in Switzerland. At the headquarters in Stans work progresses on the construction of the new structure assembly hall: this new centre of competence for airframe construction operations will be commissioned in spring 2019, a clear sign of commitment to the location in Switzerland. The new completion centre run by the US subsidiary Pilatus Business Aircraft Ltd in Broomfield, Colorado, opened in the autumn. In Adelaide, preparatory work continued for the construction of a new, company-owned building for the subsidiary, Pilatus Australia Pty Ltd.
XTI Aircraft Company successfully tests prototype TriFan 600
XTI Aircraft Company (XTI) announced today it successfully completed the first test flights of its 65% scale prototype of the TriFan 600 VTOL aircraft as the company continues to progress on its long-range commercial vertical take-off airplane. The TriFan 600 prototype completed multiple take-offs, hover and landings, which tested and validated the electric motors, battery power system, ducted fan propulsion, flight controls, other electrical systems and instrumentation. The aircraft was on a short tether during the tests due to its location at an airport in northern California where it was constructed. Future flights at a certified UAV test facility will be untethered in hover and will also test forward, wing-borne flight, as well as the transition phase between vertical and forward-flight modes.
The test flights represent the latest milestone for XTI. The company previously reported it has booked early reservations for 77 aircraft from customers on six continents, representing $500m of future revenue and announced approval of its design and utility patents, recruitment of top industry executives, and strong supplier relationships.
The TriFan 600 is a major breakthrough in aviation and air travel. The six-seat TriFan 600 will have the speed, range and comfort of a luxury business aircraft and the ability to take-off and land vertically, like a helicopter. It will travel at 345 miles an hour, with a range of up to 1,400 miles. Using three ducted fans, the TriFan lifts off vertically. Its two wing fans then rotate forward for a seamless transition to cruise speed and its initial climb. It will reach 29,000 feet in just ten minutes and cruise to the destination as a highly efficient business aircraft. Simultaneously with the equity crowdfunding financing, accredited investors may participate in XTI’s $25 million Series B round.
FAA highlights changes for recreational drones
The FAA is implementing changes for recreational drone flyers mandated by Congress in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. While recreational flyers may continue to fly below 400 feet in uncontrolled airspace without specific certification or operating authority from the FAA, they are now required to obtain prior authorisation from the FAA before flying in controlled airspace around airports. Furthermore, they must comply with all airspace restrictions and prohibitions when flying in controlled and uncontrolled airspace.
The new requirement to obtain an airspace authorisation prior to flying a drone in controlled airspace replaces the old requirement to notify the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower prior to flying within five miles of an airport. Until further notice, air traffic control facilities will no longer accept requests to operate recreational drones in controlled airspace on a case-by-case basis. Instead, to enable operations under the congressionally-mandated exception for limited recreational drone operations, the FAA is granting temporary airspace authorisations to fly in certain ‘fixed sites’ in controlled airspace throughout the country. The fixed sites are listed online and will be routinely updated. The sites are also shown as blue dots on Unmanned Aircraft Systems Facility Maps. The maps depict the maximum altitude above ground level at which a drone may be flown safely for each location in controlled airspace.
The FAA currently has a system called the Low Altitude Authorisation and Notification Capability (LAANC), which is available to non-recreational pilots who operate under the FAA’s small drone rule (Part 107). The FAA is upgrading LAANC to allow recreational flyers to use the system. However, for now recreational flyers who want to operate in controlled airspace may only do so at the fixed sites.
Another new provision in the 2018 Act requires recreational flyers to pass an aeronautical knowledge and safety test. They must maintain proof that they passed and make it available to the FAA or law enforcement upon request. The FAA is currently developing a training module and test in coordination with the drone community. The test will ensure that recreational flyers have the basic aeronautical knowledge needed to fly safely.
Some requirements have not changed significantly. In addition to being able to fly without FAA authorisation below 400 feet in uncontrolled airspace, recreational users must still register their drones, fly within visual line-of-sight, avoid other aircraft at all times and be responsible for complying with all FAA airspace restrictions and prohibitions. In addition, recreational flyers may continue to fly without obtaining a remote pilot certificate provided they meet the eight statutory conditions of Section 349 of the Act, which are described in a Federal Register notice.
If recreational flyers do not meet any of the conditions, they could choose to operate under Part 107 with a remote pilot certification. Drone operators who fail to comply with the appropriate operating authority may be subject to FAA enforcement action. Furthermore, flying a drone carelessly or recklessly may also result in FAA enforcement action. The FAA will help recreational flyers learn and understand the changes by posting updates and additional guidance, including regulatory changes, on the FAA website.
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Athol Franz (Editor)
African Pilot ‘Serious about flying’.