*** Please forward this newsletter to your friends in aviation ***
When you rise in life, your friends know who you are! When you fall down you know who your friends are – Unknown
Be warned that there is a group going around to private homes, pretending to be officials from Home Affairs. They have documents with the letterhead of the Department of Home Affairs, claiming to be confirming that everyone has a valid ID for the upcoming elections in 2019. In fact, they are robbing homes. Take note that there is no initiative like this from the government. Please send this message to everyone you know so that they can avoid this latest scam.
African Pilot’s June 2018 edition
The June 2018 edition of African Pilot featuring Lanseria International Airport as well as the EAA South Africa’s annual convention in Vryheid, the excellent SAAF Museum airshow, the Lowveld airshow as well as many other interesting feature articles is printing and will be entering its distribution phase this week. Thank you to the many aviation businesses and individuals that assisted with various aspects of this edition.
African Pilot’s July 2018 edition
Perhaps one of the most important editions of the entire year, the July edition will be featuring all aspects of aviation training. This year African Pilot will be undertaking a far more in-depth look at the value of training organisations in South Africa with particular focus on the youth of our country who would like to become involved in the exciting world of aviation. This is the ideal time to present the ‘Aviation Training’ feature, because later in the year matric students will be preparing for their final examinations and they certainly don’t have time to focus on career options. Does your training organisation wish to be part of this valuable feature?
African Pilot will also be introducing a new chapter within the monthly aviation magazine from July 2018. Entitled ‘Flying Cars, part of the new exciting ‘disruptive technology’ that is presently being unfolded by many of the major aviation corporations in the world, including every one of the major players. UBER is by far the largest taxi organisation in the world, but the company does not own a single taxi. Through continuous innovation as well as exciting drone technology, we will be seeing new city transport ideas develop, but what is clearly understood by all regulators is the fact that they are not ready for this new technology and frankly most regulators do not know how to deal with ‘disruptive technology’. Perhaps the time has come for ICAO to include a group of young professionals who understand this new technology within its organisation so that new innovations will be embraced into the future. In order for aviation to advance within all spheres of society, we need people who are clear thinkers, whilst those regulators who do not wish to understand what is happening within the world of innovation, should make way for younger people who are not encumbered by historical aviation technology. I clearly understand that what I am writing here is also disruptive to many of African Pilot’s readers, but we have to accept that the world of aviation is changing and will become very different to what we presently know in the not too distant future. So, what do you think?
For advertising positions, please contact Lara Bayliss Cell: 079 880 4359 or e-mail: email@example.com for inclusion into this edition. Thank you.
What is changing at African Pilot?
Now you can get your favourite aviation magazine online
As our digital capability has grown substantially, we have started developing daily aviation news blasts throughout the 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
Real Top Guns F-111 Belly Landing
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
FlySafair R4 sale a massive hit
- More than 32 000 R4 tickets sold
- More than 260K people in the waiting room
- Airline manages over 2700 calls, 3400 Whatsapps and 2400 Twitter and Facebook queries
On 17 May 2018, low-cost airline FlySafair sold over 30 000 flight tickets for just R4, including airport taxes. The company started this annual tradition in 2015 when it sold the same number of tickets for just R1 each and South Africans have been waiting with baited breath every year since.
As per last year the airline created a ‘waiting room’ where visitors were held and released onto the FlySafair website in small batches so as to protect the site from crashing. “We’re thrilled that the site held up so well, because the volume of traffic that this sale generates is absolutely incredible” says Kirby Gordon, Head of Sales and Distribution at FlySafair. The doors to this digital waiting room opened for the first group of customers at 09h00 and tickets sold incredibly quickly. Just before 11h30 the airline announced that the tickets were all sold out.
PSG Insure acquires Airborne Insurance Consultants
On 1 May 2018, PSG Insure aviation team acquired Airborne Insurance Consultants, Africa’s fastest-growing independent aviation insurance specialists. PSG Insurer’s aviation team, under the management of our aviation specialist advisory office run by Reon Wiese, forms part of PSG Konsult, which is listed on the Johannesburg and Namibia stock exchanges. It is made up of a team of specialised aviation insurance brokers with more than 100 years combined insurance experience.
The move positions PSG Insure as one of the largest aviation insurance brokerages in South Africa and the only one that offers a full-service offering across all classes of short-term insurance (commercial and personal lines). “This is an exciting and mutually beneficial association for our business,” said Scott Smith, managing director of Airborne Insurance Consultants. “PSG offers a comprehensive range of products to meet a full suite of client needs and has established relationships with respected product providers. It also offers the benefit of an influential brand, watertight legal and compliance infrastructure, and technological capabilities,” said Smith.
For PSG, the Airborne Insurance team brings significant aviation insurance experience and a substantial client footprint across Africa and South Africa. The move has increased the number of aircraft owners insured through PSG to over 1000. “This increased scale will allow us to access better products and better premiums for our clients,” said Wiese. “The Airborne team also brings valuable expertise with the London insurance market, and we’ll be able to tap into that to enhance our offering to clients.”
What happened in aviation over the past week?
DroneCon staged at Vodaworld
The brainchild of Sean Reitz, CEO of United Drone Holdings, says: “The aim of the three-day convention is to get the various players in the industry talking to each other; from the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) to the industry’s Commercial Unmanned Aviation Association of South Africa (CUAASA).” There is much to talk about, starting with the fact that there are still only 25 licenced commercial operators in the country, who possess ROCs (Remote Operating Certificates) and that takes two years and about R500 000 to get one. The drones have to be airworthy, just like any other aircraft and registered with the SACAA and their pilots qualified with RPLs (Remote Pilot Licences). The licensed commercial sector probably makes up just 1% of the entire drone or UAV and the problem lies with the 99%, from operators who fly unregistered and under the radar to the ‘buy and fly’ hobbyists.
As Ken Venn, UAV entrepreneur and CUAASA board member explained in the very first session on Wednesday 16 May, the bureaucracy and the cost are barriers to entry that are being treated like the e-tolls of the air. The net effect is that small entrepreneurs are being cut out and the potential for job creation stifled – Reitz estimates this could reach 26 000 people, most of whom would be young and black. Reitz reckons there could be anything up to 50 000 drones in use in South Africa, from the buy and fly hobbyists to the unregulated and unlicensed commercial operators.
African Pilot was the only aviation magazine media partner with DroneCon this year and is also the only aviation media publication that has a regular Drone Pilot chapter However, unfortunately I could not spend as much time as I wanted at the symposium, due to the deadline of the June edition. The sessions that I attended were most educational.
There is a fundamental problem in South Africa in that we are the only country in the entire world that requires a ROC for commercial drone operations. This is likened to an airline of a charter company registering for its operation, which is a ridiculous situation. Present requirements require that any operator that wishes to become compliant with South African UAV laws will have to licence pilots and then wait between 18 and 24 months to obtain an operating licence from the Department of Transport. Then there is the cost of more than R120K and sometime up to R500K to add to this ridiculous scenario. Frankly there are very few operators that can afford these costs and allocate the significant waste of time trying to be licenced, so what will happen is that most small commercial drone operators will naturally work undercover.
Now comes the next problem. Due to the fact that the 24 licenced operators have already gone through the pain of the ridiculous South African requirements, they will start reporting any drone flying, even if this is completely innocent and has no commercial intention anyway. Part of South Africa’s overall problem is that the various authorities wish to regulate any new innovation with additional costs and taxes and this is why innovation in our country is effectively stalled.
One only has to look at the energy sector to see how developed countries have been dealing with solar power at the most basic level and then understand that in this country there is already a suggestion that personal solar power should be taxed. I give up in this debate that shows a complete lack of initiative and forward thinking!
What is scheduled for the next few weeks?
CAASA Conference to be held at ExecuJet 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
With only one week to get racing at New Tempe in Bloemfontein, get your entries in, visit the sapfa.co.za website to register.
Contact Riaan van Vuuren E-mail: email@example.com Tel: +26 771 66 1201
Aero Club of South Africa would like to notify you that due to the failure of a quorum being present at the Special General Meeting held 15 May 2018 the financials were not approved. As per the Aero Club of South Africa’s Articles of Association the Aero Club need to adjourn the Special General Meeting to Tuesday 29 May 2018 at 18h00 in the EAA Auditorium in Rand Airport, Germiston. Kindly make every effort to attend the meeting to approve the financials and confirm your attendance to the meeting on or before 25 May 2018.
Tel: 011 082 1100 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Contact Johan Pieters E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 923 0078
6 to 10 June
Zim Navex Prince Charles Airport Harare, Zimbabwe
Contact Marion Kalweit E-mail: email@example.com Tel: +26 37 725 7009
SAPFA Bethlehem Fun Rally Bethlehem Airfield
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 804 7032
Brakpan Aero Club Cessna Fly-in from 08h00 for the day
Contact: Cell: 071 5422 993 E-mail: email@example.com
The new committee of the Brakpan Aero Club is wanting to place FABB firmly on the map for breakfast fly-ins and so much more. With our excellent restaurant ‘The Flying Grace’ run by the delectable Minnie van der Merwe, two kilometers of tarred runway and tarred taxiways, competitively priced fuel, clubhouse and swimming pool, the folk at FABB believe that they have the best airfield and Flying Club for a thousand square miles. This will be a fabulous day for all pilots and their friends.
Reef Steamers Train vs Vintage Planes, Cars and Bikes
From Krugersdorp departing 09h15 to Magaliesburg return 15h00
Contact: Ian Morrison E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 903 9463
24 to 28 June
South African Hot Air Balloon Championships Skeerpoort North West Province.
Contact Richard Bovell email@example.com
28 to 29 June
Drones Conference and workshop 2018 at Emperors Palace Convention Centre
Contact Jerry Davidson E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
28 June to 1 July
Race for Rhinos at Sua Pan, Botswana
Contact Chris Briers E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 568 7988
13 to 15 July
Taildraggers Fly-in to Nylstroom
Contact Richard Nicholson Cell: 082 490 6227
SAPFA Hoedspruit Fun Rally Hoedspruit Civil Airfield
Contact Frank Eckard E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083 269 1516
14 to 15 July
SAC Nationals Coastal venue TBA
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
73rd CAASA Annual General Meeting CAASA House Lanseria International Airport
Contact Office@caasa.co.za Tel: 011 659 2345 Time: 09h30 for 10h00
23 to 29 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! African Pilot will be attending again this year – my 18th consecutive year in a row and I am looking forward to meeting all of wonderful friends in Camp Plakkerfontein again this year.
Grand Central Airport Oshkosh competition
To be drawn together with the June fuel competition. Refer to the website: www.grandcentral.co.za
1 to 5 August
SAC National Championships Tempe Bloemfontein
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
5 to 11 August
SAPFA World Rally Flying Competition Dubnicac Slovakia
Contact Website: www.akdubnica.sk
16 to 26 August
SAC Advanced World Championships in Romania
Contact Annie Boon E-mail email@example.com
Rand Airshow (Sunday) Rand Airport
Contact Stuart Coetzee E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 011 827 8884
24 & 25 August
Contact Stefan Fourie E-mail: email@example.com
SAPFA Sheila Taylor Fun Rally at Krugersdorp Airfield
Contact Grant Rousseau Cell: 082 329 3551E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Ethiopian Airlines looks at Bombardier CSeries or Embraer E195 jet order
East African nation’s flag carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, the largest airline on the African continent, has been grown over the past five years securing new deals and jet orders over the last few months. Along with plans to expand to new destinations and establish multiple international offshoots, the airline just announced plans to buy new regional jets in preparation of the re-launch of Zambia Airways. According to Ethiopian Airlines CEO, Tewolde GebreMariam, the choice for the new jet order that is planned to be placed over the next month, has been narrowed to Bombardier C Series and Embraer E2-family E195 aircraft.
The latest news comes after Ethiopian signed a firm $332 million order on 27 April 2018, to purchase 10 Bombardier Q400 turboprops, with purchase rights for five additional Q400 jets. The carrier’s current passenger fleet consists of 96 aircraft. It operates A350-900s, Boeing 787s, 777s, 767s, 737s and Q400s. As of March 2018, Ethiopian had 62 jets on order, including 30 Boeing 737 MAX 8s. Ethiopian could decide to order additional 787 Dreamliners as well as A350s later year. In 2012, Ethiopian became Africa’s first 787 Dreamliner operator.
Ethiopian (a government owned airline) plans to establish several international offshoots before the end of 2018. With its newly revised expansion strategy, introduced back in 2010, the carrier is hoping to dominate markets across the African continent, one-upping its rivals Kenya Airways and South African Airways. Ethiopian will take equity stakes in new operators in Zambia, Chad, Mozambique and Guinea. At the same time, it will help manage existing carriers in other African nations; Equatorial Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Ethiopian Airlines acquired a 49% stake in Malawi Airlines. Five years later, in January 2018, Ethiopian finalised an agreement to take a 45% stake in the soon to be re-launched Zambia Airways. The Zambian government will remain the majority shareholder with 55% stakes in its national airline that had ceased operations back in 1995. In February 2018, Ethiopian Airlines also signed a memorandum of understanding with Chad to help establish the country’s new national carrier, Chad Airlines with a 49% stake. The company will also entirely own the planned Ethiopia Mozambique Airlines as well as have a 49% stake of Guinea Airlines.
The company’s expansion strategy is aimed at gaining a ‘competitive advantage’ not only against African rivals, but also such as those in the Gulf, Ethiopian’s chief told Reuters. 80% of Africa’s aviation market is currently served by non-African carriers. As for carrier’s plans to expand to new destinations, one of the latest developments was Ethiopian’s announcement on 14 May 2018, that it is adding flights between the country’s capital, Addis Ababa and Manchester (UK). The airline states it will offer a four-times-a-week service on B787s and A350s starting on 1 December 2018, initially via Brussels, Belgium.
According to Ethiopian Airlines, the new route will unlock connections to more than 58 countries across the African continent. Ethiopian is already the leading African carrier with the widest network in the continent. It is currently flying to 112 international destinations, 58 destinations in Africa and to more than 20 domestic destinations. “We have expanded more than we planned,” commented GebreMariam. “We had to revise the objective to have at least 150 airplanes or more by 2025,” he was quoted as saying. The 112 international destinations are actually short of the Airline’s 2025 target by eight destinations. But for the moment, it is safe to say that Ethiopian will continue growing and expanding.
Eurowings to fly to Windhoek, Namibia
Europe’s fastest growing airline, Eurowings has expanded its portfolio to Namibia as the airline expands its long-haul operations from Munich in the southern part of Germany. The first flight, operated with an Airbus 330 long-haul jet, arrived in the early morning on Tuesday 8 May 2018. Eurowings is now offering three weekly flights to Germany, whilst the airline already serves the route Cologne to Windhoek.
Sudan receives FTC-2000s
On 16 May Sudan’s defence ministry said the FTC-2000 squadron was inaugurated during a ceremony attended by Chief of Joint Staff Lieutenant General Kamal Abdul-Marouf Al-Mahi, the deputy chief of staff Major General Awad Khalafallah Marawi and the Chinese military attaché. The ministry said the new aircraft are a qualitative addition to the Air Force’s combat effectiveness and contribute to enhancing Sudan’s defence capabilities. The FTC-2000 is the export version of the JL-9 trainer in service with the Chinese air force and navy and is marketed by the Aviation Industries Corporation of China (AVIC). Sudan is the only known export customer for the FTC-2000, but Wenfei indicated that other African countries, including Nigeria, were also considering acquiring the type. AVIC has also sold the L-15 jet trainer to Zambia, which has purchased six aircraft. Sudan already operates the F-7, making the acquisition of the FTC-2000 a sensible one in terms of logistics and spares. Sudan’s air force has 12 F-7s and 12 K-8 jet trainers in service.
AVIC officials told IHS Janes that an undisclosed African country had ordered the FTC-2000 during the 2015 Paris Air Show. GAIC director general Wang Wenfei revealed Sudan as the export customer in an interview with China Aviation News on 3 November 2016. According to AVIC, the FTC-2000 Mountain Eagle (Shanying) is capable of providing both basic and advanced pilot training and also has a secondary combat capability. The company says its cockpit layout and low intakes are designed to improve visibility for the pilots. The aircraft is fitted with a pulse Doppler radar, INS/GPS, weapons computer etc. Top speed of the FTC-2000 is Mach 1.5.
The FTC-2000 is heavily based on the Guizhou JJ-7/FT-7, the Chinese-developed trainer version of the Shenyang-built MiG-21. The JJ-7 has subsequently been retired from Chinese service while the JL-9 was first introduced to the People’s Liberation Army Air Force in 2011. The FTC-2000 performed its maiden flight on 13 December 2003.
According to the Chinese defence ministry, the JL-9/FTC-2000 is capable of training pilots for aircraft like the J-7, Shenyang J-8, Chengdu/Pakistan Aeronautical Complex JF-17, and Sukhoi Su-27. The JL-9 is powered by a Guizhou Liyang WP-13 turbojet equipped with an afterburner. The aircraft has five hard points, of which three can carry fuel tanks and a 23 mm cannon. Sudan’s aircraft have been seen with external fuel tanks and possibly weapons.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Cuban Boeing 737 disaster kills more than 100 people
A Boeing 737-200 airliner crashed shortly after taking off from Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport on Friday, killing more than 100 people and officials said 104 passengers were on board. It went down between the airport and the town of Santiago de Las Vegas. The plane impacted terrain in a field of yuca-root plants. It appeared to be substantially damaged and a post-impact fire ensued. Cuban media reported that the crew of the flight was foreign but gave no information on the nationalities of the passengers, but most are thought to be Cuban citizens. Photos from the scene show crowds of people gathered around pieces of the plane as smoke rises from the wreckage. Rescuers and emergency services rushed to the area and video showed at least one person being taken away on a stretcher. The nation’s media reported that three people survived the crash. An official from Havana’s Calixto Garcia hospital told Reuters that the three survivors, all women, were in serious condition. However, one person died in the hospital following the crash. The plane was leased by Cubana (Cuba’s national airline), which has been criticised recently for its service and has taken several older airplanes out of service in the past few months due to mechanical issues.
Cracked windows and windshields breaking off: pilots’ perspective
“Suddenly, the windshield just cracked…The next thing I know, my co-pilot had been sucked halfway out of the window.” These are not the words you want to hear neither as a passenger nor as a pilot on any flight or airline. However, this was the situation that the captain and his co-pilot experienced on a Sichuan Airlines flight on 14 May 2018. It is the latest in a series of window malfunctions on commercial aircraft around the world and pilots have something to say about it.
Air France-KLM names interim executives after abrupt CEO resignation
On 15 May 2018, CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac officially presented his resignation to the board, eleven days after 55,44% of Air France employees refused the draft agreement for a multi-year wage increase. The board of directors of Air France-KLM has set up a temporary governance. Anne-Marie Couderc has been appointed as non-executive chairman of both Air France-KLM group and Air France boards. She will be supported by a management committee within the group: former Finance Director Frederic Gagey will act as CEO of the group, Franck Terner as CEO of Air France and Pieter Elbers as Chairman of the Board at KLM.
This temporary governance is set up for ‘the shortest-possible period’ while the nomination committee board is looking for a long-term replacement for Janaillac to present to the board. The new CEO will have to face the ongoing social struggle that Air France is experiencing. In the meantime, the management of the airline will not be able to negotiate with the unions and modify the strategic plan which was already approved, as stated by the board.
In the Netherlands, KLM workers are frustrated and concerned about the unrest in their sister company. Their reaction shows the social and cultural differences between the two countries. “Asking for a raise from the top of the barricade and waving a flag is absurd,” declared Robert Swankhuizen, head of the Dutch Association of Aviation Technicians (NVLT) to AFP, “in the Gulf States they are now celebrating, they will take some of our shares on the European market”. However, director Pieter Elbers told the Dutch unions that separating the two companies was not thinkable, as they are now ‘too intertwined’ with each other.
Unions have been asking for a 6% wage increase following a profitable year in 2017. The group Air France-KLM saw a raise of 42% in its operating profit in 2017. Of the 1.488 billion euros profit, only 588 million came from the French part. An adviser to Emmanuel Macron told reporters on 15 May, that the French government has no intention to reduce its 14.3% stake in Air France for now. However, this may change in the long run. On 6 May, the French Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire had already announced that the government would not bail out Air France.
Second phase of light attack experiment underway in the US
Pilots have been flying the Sierra Nevada / Embraer A-29 Super Tucano and the Textron Aviation AT-6B Wolverine during a three-month, live-fly experiment to gather additional information about aircraft capabilities, as well as partner nation interoperability, prior to a potential light attack purchase. “This second phase of experimentation is about informing the rapid procurement process as we move closer to investing in light attack,” said Lt. Gen. Arnie Bunch, military deputy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition. “If we can get light attack aircraft operating in permissive combat environments, we can alleviate the demand on our 4th and 5th generation aircraft, so they can be training for the high-end fight they were made for.”
During this phase of experimentation, aircrew included fighter, attack, or special operations pilots, plus test pilots and flight engineers from the USAF, US Air National Guard and US Air Force Reserve. Collectively, they average more than 1,000 flight hours and more than 100 combat missions, whilst all pilots have been instructors in one or more aircraft.
Scale replica B-17 coming to AirVenture
Jack Bally, EAA 348338, and test pilot Richard Kosi, EAA 666459, have announced their plans to bring Jack’s remarkable 1/3-scale B-17, named Obsession, but best known as the Bally Bomber, to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018. Jack, who worked for decades as a carpenter, started on the project in 1999, working from a set of plans for a 1/9-scale RC model. After scaling up the plans, he started toiling away at his home in Dixon, Illinois, estimating that the project would be finished in about five years.
Seventeen years, 25,000 rivets and approximately 40,000 man-hours later, the airplane made its first flight in November of 2016. As that flight was unintentional an unexpected gust turned it from a taxi test to a take-off. The video that was shot that day doesn’t actually show the airplane in the air, a fact that proved especially tantalizing to the thousands of enthusiasts who’d been watching the project for years. With the airplane on display at AirVenture, thousands of followers will finally get the chance to see it in person. The Bally Bomber is expected to be on display all week, alternating between Boeing Plaza and the Replica Fighters Association.
Bell V-280 Valor marks flight test milestone
On 11 May the aircraft flew in ‘cruise mode’ for the first time, reaching a true airspeed of 190 knots.
The flight marks the first time the airplane has transitioned from vertical to horizontal flight by pivoting the rotors to a forward-facing configuration. Vertical Magazine reports that the team will continue to gradually expand the aircraft’s flight envelope with a goal of achieving the designed cruise speed of 280 knots. The V-280 Valor is powered by two 5,000 Hp GE T64-GE-419 engines. It is designed to carry a crew of four and up to 14 passengers at a combat range of between 500 and 800 nautical miles. The aircraft first flew on 18 December 2017 and has accumulated more than 27 hours of flight time and 90 hours of rotor turn time. The V-280 Valor is Bell Helicopter’s entry into the US Army’s Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator (JMR-TD) programme, a precursor to the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) programme.
FAA considers changes to supersonic flight ban
Presently the FAA’s rules prohibit civil aircraft from exceeding speeds in excess of Mach 1 over US land areas and the FAA says this is not going to change. However, last week the agency said it wants to support the development of civil supersonic aircraft and will propose two new rules that suggest a move in that direction. The first proposed rule will address the noise certification for supersonic aircraft, whilst the second aims to make it easier to get the special authorisation needed to conduct supersonic flight testing in the US. The FAA also said it is ‘working within the existing statutory and regulatory authority to consider the range of permissible supersonic operations.’ In addition, the FAA is assessing the current state of supersonic aircraft technology in terms of mitigating the noise impacts associated with supersonic overland flight.
The FAA said that two proposed rules will be published next year. The rules would not rescind the prohibition of flight in excess of Mach 1 over land. Yet the FAA said it is ‘working within the existing statutory and regulatory authority’ to consider the range of permissible supersonic operations. In addition, the FAA is assessing the current state of supersonic aircraft technology in terms of mitigating the noise impacts associated with supersonic overland flight. Several companies, including Aerion and Boom, are working to develop supersonic business jets. Members of Congress have pressured the FAA to revisit its prohibition on supersonic flight.
NTSB finds wing crack in Piper trainer
On Tuesday NTSB investigators working to determine the cause of the recent in-flight breakup of a Piper trainer have discovered a wing crack in another Piper PA-28R-201 aircraft. The crack measured about 0.040 inches long and deep. “The plane inspected had a similar number of total airframe hours and cycles to the accident airplane and was used exclusively for flight training of students.” After the crack was found, the wings were removed. “The airplane’s wings were subsequently reinstalled and examined using new inspection procedures developed by Piper Aircraft,” the safety board said in its investigative update. “A bolt-hole eddy current inspection probe was used to confirm the location and size of the previously identified crack.” Nine additional PA-28R-201 airplanes were inspected using eddy-current inspection (ECI) techniques under NTSB supervision. No crack indications were detected in those inspections, the board said.
A student pilot from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and an FAA examiner were killed in April when the Piper PA-28 they were flying crashed shortly after take-off from Daytona Beach International Airport. A wing detached from the aircraft prior to the crash.
USAF selects locations for B-21 aircraft
The United States Air Force announced that the B-21 Raider will replace B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit aircraft at three existing bomber bases beginning in the mid-2020s. The USAF selected Dyess Air Force Base, Texas; Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota and Whiteman AFB, Missouri, as reasonable alternatives to host the new B-21 aircraft. Using the current bomber bases will minimise operational impact, reduce overhead, maximize re-use of facilities and minimize cost, USAF officials said. “Our current bomber bases are best suited for the B-21,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather A. Wilson. “We expect the first B-21 Raider aircraft to be delivered in the mid-2020s.”
Air Italy begins new era, receives first B737 MAX
The first of the twenty Boeing 737 MAX 8s ordered by Air Italy was delivered to its base of Milan-Malpensa airport (MXP) on 12 May 2018. The delivery marks the beginning of the company’s fleet modernisation and expansion. Configured for 189 passengers in one class, this first aircraft will start its operation on 16 May 2018. Two more B737 MAX 8s are expected for 2018 and the 17 others should join the company within the next three years. They will replace the five B737NG currently operating in the company and will initially be used for domestic routes.
Air Italy also ordered 30 B787 Dreamliners for its long-haul operations. Until their delivery starts in May 2019, five Qatar Airways’ Airbus A330-200s will replace them. The 50 new airliners are part of a fleet expansion plan that was started by the Qatari company, after it acquired 49% in Meridiana in October 2017, of which Air Italy was a subsidiary at the time. The two Italian brands were since merged in February 2018, under the name Air Italy. Taking advantage of Alitalia’s decline, Qatar Airways expects to turn Air Italy into the country’s largest international carrier with intentions to become the new flag carrier.
Second MC-21 prototype completes maiden flight
The second prototype of the MC-21-300 took off for its maiden flight on 12 May 2018, at Irkut testing aerodrome, in Irkutsk, Russia. The plane maker, part of the Russian United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), aims for mass production by 2019. The maiden flight was composed of primary tests regarding the plane stability, wing configuration and landing gears retraction. Its speed did not exceed 400 km/h.
The MC-21 (short for Magistral Aircraft of the 21st Century), is a narrow-body, twin-engine, short-to-medium-haul jetliner. It has the capacity of 132-211 passengers across its MC-21-200 and MC-21-300 configurations, respectively, with the range of up to 3,240 nautical miles (6,000 km). Presently, work is proceeding only on the MC-21-300 variant, which will be followed by a shortened MC-21-200.
Alaska Airlines flight makes emergency landing at Philadelphia airport
An Alaska Airlines flight scheduled to fly from Los Angeles to New York was forced to make an emergency landing in Philadelphia over concerns raised by an oil pressure warning. A representative for the Philadelphia International Airport confirmed to Fox News that the plane landed safely on Tuesday morning. The Philadelphia International Airport was also the site of Southwest Flight 1380’s emergency landing in April, after one engine blew apart on a flight from New York to Dallas. Schrapnel from the engine had also pieced a window, causing a passenger to be partially blown out of the aircraft. The passenger, Jennifer Riordan, was later declared dead at a Pennsylvania hospital.
Duo bail out of TBM Avenger
A Chicago pilot and his passenger survived bailing out of their TBM Avenger on 7 May over north-eastern Arizona. Ron Carlson and Kenny Franzese hit the silk near Fort Apache in Navajo County after an apparent engine failure in the freshly restored warbird. The two were ferrying the big single-engine torpedo bomber from Phoenix to Chicago when things went wrong. “I was on the instruments and I heard a big bang in front and everything just started shaking,” Carlson told NBC’s Chicago affiliate. Carlson said there was no place for a forced landing on the rugged terrain below and smoke was filling the cockpit and he was also afraid he wouldn’t be able to see if he tried for a landing. He told Franzese to abandon the aircraft.
Franzese went first and clung briefly to the wing before letting go. Carlson followed and both were pretty banged up but mobile when they landed. Carlson had a broken rib and sprained ankle and Franzese needed surgery to fix a major facial injury. They spent a night separated before they found each other on a gravel road the next morning. Franzese followed a gravel road and found help, returning in a pickup truck with two forestry workers. “An hour later I was taking a rest and boom, a pickup truck came by with Kenny in it,” Carlson said. “So, I knew at that point, the adrenaline just went out and the next thing I knew I had a cold Gatorade in my hands, so that was the best thing.” The wreckage of the aircraft has not yet been found.
Carlson bought the aircraft in flying condition in Australia in 2017 and it underwent restoration in Stockton, California. He was flying it home from restoration when the mishap occurred. The Avenger was built for the U.S. Navy but spent most of its life in Canada, first in the Royal Canadian Navy and then as a waterbomber in British Columbia before going through various owners in the U.S. and finally being exported to Australia in 2006. The plane was re-registered in the U.S. in 2017 and underwent a thorough restoration, including making the wing-mounted machine guns functional.
F-16 service life extension programme is a ‘great deal’ for DoD and taxpayers
The Ogden Air Logistics Complex reached a major milestone in extending the life of one of the USAF’s most tested and flown multi-role fighter fleets. An Air Force Thunderbird jet is the first of what will be roughly 300 refurbished C and D model F-16’s that will roll off the shop floor of the 573rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron here after receiving multiple structure-strengthening modifications. The F-16 service life extension programme will keep the jets flying until nearly 2050, thanks to a partnership between the Ogden Air Logistics Complex and the USAF’s Lifecycle Management Center’s F-16 Systems Programme Office. The programme combines a dozen structural modifications into one repeatable package; from bulkheads to wings and canopy. The jets, which became operational in 1979 and were originally deemed air worthy for up to 8,000 flight hours, will have their life extended up to 12,000 flying hours or possibly more, said Capt. Randy Nemerson, F-16 SLEP acquisition manager.
All the stateside SLEP modifications will be completed at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Years of planning and testing have gone into the programme here. AFLCMC, depot and contract engineers have worked together to lay the groundwork,” said Nemerson.
Flying cars – urban transport and disruptive technology
NASA and Uber to explore safety and efficiency of future urban airspace
NASA has signed a second space act agreement with Uber Technologies, Inc., to further explore concepts and technologies related to urban air mobility (UAM) to ensure a safe and efficient system for future air transportation in populated areas. Under this agreement, Uber will share its plans for implementing an urban aviation rideshare network. NASA will use the latest in airspace management computer modelling and simulation to assess the impacts of small aircraft, from delivery drones to passenger aircraft with vertical take-off and landing capability in crowded environments. More on these developments within the July edition of African Pilot.
Pipistrel reveals new eVTOL concept at second Uber Elevate summit
As part of Uber’s second annual Elevate Summit, aircraft designer and Uber Elevate partner Pipistrel revealed its newest eVTOL concept and design. The new aircraft utilizes dedicated propulsion systems for both cruising and vertical lift and embraces an aircraft family approach of eVTOL able to carry from two to six passengers. The new Pipistrel eVTOL concept, developed as a partner of Uber Elevate, will be able to go longer distances at higher speeds than previous models. Utilising a new integrated vertical lift system, the vehicle is designed for scalability and will lower operating costs while offering an upgraded rider experience.
Astro Aerospace continues its journey by building the future of flying
Astro Aerospace has acquired the assets to VTOL industry leader, Passenger Drone. Porsche Consulting states that vertical mobility offers mankind a serious shot at turning the dream of flying into a reality for everyone, and inspection, goods and passenger services have the potential to become a global market worth $74 billion. Astro Aerospace’s Passenger Drone is a state-of-the-art aerial transport vehicle that is slated to improve urban mobility and enable passengers to arrive at their destination swiftly and safely. Designed from the ground up for maximum reliability, the drone’s wide cabin glass design that encases the cockpit optimises the travel experience by providing 360° surround views and enhanced seating comfort.
BRS Aerospace addressing urban eVTOL parachute recovery system
On 15 May BRS Aerospace announced that it was developing vehicle recovery systems technology that will allow electric-powered vertical take-off and landing aircraft to reach safety levels equivalent to standards established in the automotive industry. BRS Aerospace shared its existing whole aircraft recovery parachute technology with participants at the urban aviation summit, which discussed the future of air mobility in largely populated cities around the world. Other gap technologies, critical to the successful development of eVTOL transportation, included asymmetrical low noise rotors, avionics and electrical propulsion systems.
FAA not committed to Uber Elevate 2023 timeline
At the second annual Uber Elevate conference last week, acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell was supportive of the company’s efforts to offer automated eVTOL air taxi service in the US, but also said that approval may not come by the stated 2023 target date. Elwell met privately with Uber Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden during the summit and said that while Uber hopes to be operational by 2023, “I am certainly not going to make any commitments. What I will tell you unequivocally is that there will be no degradation in safety as we know it today,” Holden suggested that designated air corridors might be established for the operation of the eVTOL air taxis, but Elwell said he prefers integration rather than an airspace carve-out for the aircraft. “Even if we are going to do eVTOL from airports into the city, my hope is you are going to be able to do it in an integrated way. To be honest the airspace around complex and dense traffic areas, corridors are going to be far more difficult than cracking the nut of true integration,” he said.
Uber signs Karem Aircraft to develop eVTOL concept
As part of its second annual Elevate Summit, Uber and Karem Aircraft have formally announced a partnership to develop eVTOL technology. Abe Karem, Karem Aircraft’s Founder, is a pioneer in VTOL technology, with decades of experience designing flying concepts including the Predator drone and A160 Hummingbird. His newest invention ‘Butterfly’ represents a rider-friendly adaptation of optimum speed rotor technology pioneered by Karem’s team, the newest vehicle partner on the Uber Elevate Network.
Uber’s flying taxis could achieve massive scale with Corgan’s future sky port
At the Uber Elevate Summit last week, Corgan revealed their Uber Mega Skyport concept; CONNECT, providing the infrastructure to support and scale UberAIR service. The leading architecture and design firm’s plans support vertical take-off and landing, passenger throughput and maintenance for a fleet of aerial vehicles with the flexibility to scale up to 1,000 landings per hour, revolutionising point to point transport into a seamlessly integrated urban ecosystem. Corgan’s modular system is adaptable anywhere and can operate independently, be paired for efficiency, or be stacked to maximise throughput at Uber Mega Sky Ports. Where individual landing pads provide on-demand connectivity at popular locations, Corgan’s design coordinates with established highway networks to create new travel arteries that can accommodate the higher throughput required of mass adoption. Built above highways, the design solves for widespread infrastructure by repurposing familiar frameworks and amplifying efficiency and convenience to create a new culture of urban mobility while reconnecting the communities they serve.
Drone assists Stafford, Vancouver sheriff’s office apprehend domestic violence suspect
On 26 April 2018, Deputy Steven Kellam responded to a call regarding a domestic disturbance in the East Street area of southern Stafford. Upon arrival, the deputy found a woman locked inside a building behind a residence. The woman stated that her intoxicated husband would not leave her alone and she feared for her life. She was sobbing uncontrollably and had severe bruising and swelling to the right eye as well as lacerations all over her face. The victim told deputies that she tried to call 911 following a heated verbal argument, which prompted her husband, identified as Troy Wayne Rodgers (54) of Stafford to assault her. Rodgers took the phone out of his wife’s hands, struck her in the face and then threw her on the ground multiple times. Each time she was thrown on the ground, Rodgers kicked her in the face.
The victim told deputies that Rodgers left the scene following the assault. She then provided a description of the suspect. Deputies successfully tracked the suspect by utilising the drone team and K-9 Lobo and his handler, Deputy Alex Smith. The drone observed the subject walking along the railroad tracks northwest of the residence and the drone operator was then able to direct the K-9 and handler to the suspect. Rodgers was incarcerated at Rappahannock Regional Jail without bond. He is charged with domestic assault and battery, prevention of 911, malicious wounding, abduction and public intoxication.
Weekly News from African Pilot
Should you miss out on any edition of APAnews, please visit the website: www.africanpilot.co.za and click on the APAnews link on the front page. All past weekly APAnews publications have been archived on the website.
Until next week, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)
African Pilot ‘Serious about flying’.
*** Please forward APAnews to your friends in aviation ***