*** Please forward this newsletter to your friends in aviation ***
“We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
African Pilot’s July 2018 edition
Perhaps one of the most important editions of the entire year, the July edition featuring all aspects of aviation training was completed last week. This edition also features the President’s Trophy Air Race (PTAR) in Bloemfontein as well as the Botswana Wesbank Matsieng International airshow on the same weekend, the Newcastle airshow and the CAASA Symposium held at ExecuJet Lanseria. We have also introduced a new Chapter about ‘flying cars’, since this sector of aviation is developing rapidly. The July edition id printing and will enter its distribution phase this coming week.
African Pilot’s August 2018 edition
The main features of the August edition will be our annual Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) survey as well as our annual feature on the two Nelspruit airfields. This edition will also feature the Botswana Race for Rhinos to be covered by Charlie and Fiona Hugo for African Pilot. The closing date for all submissions is Friday 6 July. For advertising positions, please contact Lara Bayliss Cell: 079 880 4359 Tel: 0861 001130 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 will be developing aviation news blasts with ‘breaking news’ as and when this happens.
We have also re-designed the option for the electronic version of African Pilot to be uploaded via our website. The cost of a single download is R18 (US$2) or R180 (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
B-1 BOMBER! This may be the greatest Rockwell B-1 Lancer ‘in action’ compilation video ever made!
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Court order granted to 43 Air School, Port Alfred
Renowned 43 Air School aviation academy in Port Alfred has been granted an interim high court order restraining the EFF from burning the facility.
The EFF is upset with 43 Air School of the following:
- The arrival of a SAA heritage plane which had the old SA flag on its fuselage
- Denel-funded pilot training being given to Supra Junior, who is the son of toppled North West premier Supra Mahumapelo.
On 24 May Grahamstown Judge Jeremy Pickering granted the rule nisi order. He ruled: “The 14 EFF respondents are restricted and restrained from threatening to commit acts of arson and committing acts of arson at the business premises of the applicant at 43 Air School. The members of the SAPS are hereby authorised to take such action as may be lawfully permitted to be taken in the event that any of the respondents refuse to comply with the instructions of the sheriff, or the obstruction of the sheriff in the execution of their duties.”
According to the air school’s court papers, the application follows events of May 21 when Sarah Baartman EFF leader Xolisa Runeli, EFF sub regional spokesman Phaphama Nobebe and 12 others allegedly interrupted activities at the school and threatened violence. In the application, the air school’s director and CEO Willem Adriaan Niemann claimed that on 21 May 21 at 13h15pm Runeli and others breached the security of the school while aircraft were taxiing out of hangars and threatened him.
Niemann’s affidavit says that Runeli pulled a knife on him while others shouted: “We are coming for you”, “You are racist”, “We will burn down the 43 Air School”, “We are going to close the school because it is a white business”, “We will bring more people – we are used to prison”, “We are telling the students to pull out and leave” and “Go to hell Attie – voetsek”.
According to Niemann the drama erupted after a vintage DC4 aircraft sporting an old SA flag on its doorway landed at the school. Niemann distanced the school from both the flag and the aircraft, saying it was a ‘museum/ heritage aircraft’ belonging to the SAA Museum Society. Niemann said the row broke out at a time when the air school was dealing with allegations in the media about corruption in a R1-million 17-month pilot training scholarship awarded by Denel to Supra Junior. Niemann states that the air school has more than 300 pilot trainees on its books and more than 100 of these students were foreigners.
The EFF 14 have approached advocate Matthew Mphahlwa to represent them in this matter. “I can confirm that I am on brief in that matter representing EFF and the rest is for the court to deal with and I cannot comment,” Mphahlwa said. EFF Eastern Cape spokesman Yazini Tetyana said: “We support our members at the Ndlambe sub region for standing up against racism at that school, which is dominated by white students.”
Clearly these EFF people are acting just like thugs that want to destroy anything in their paths. For heavens sake the Douglas DC4 is part of South African aviation history and we are fortunate that the SAA Museum Society has kept this iconic aircraft and others in perfect flying condition for the next generation to experience. Perhaps the young EFF members need a lesson in history, that is if they will accept any sort of explanation. What a sad racial situation we are seeing unfolding before our eyes in South Africa when certain sectors of our society have become intolerant of the views and hard work of many of the majority of the good people of our country.
NSRI Kommetjie station
by Ian Klopper, NSRI Kommetjie station commander
A NSRI Kommetjie crewman, onboard an International flight that departed from Cape Town, about seven hours into the flight, flight crew called for a doctor using their in-flight public-address system. Our NSRI Kommetjie coxswain Johnathan Bakker approached flight crew and on confirming that he was an NSRI Sea Rescue crewman with a Level 3 First Aid qualification they led him to assist a female passenger believed to be aged in her 50s that Johnathan diagnosed to be suffering a suspected Heart Attack. Johnathan summoned flight crew to bring him their onboard AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) and he placed the defibrillator pads to the lady’s chest when a passenger who is a doctor approached and he assisted in the medical treatment of the female.
The AED indicated that a shock was required and, on the AED, delivering a chest electrical shock the patient’s heart rhythm returned to normal. The doctor continued with medical treatment and monitoring the patient during the flight and we believe she was taken into the care of paramedics on landing. NSRI commend the actions of Johnathan who acted in the true tradition of an NSRI volunteer irrespective where in the world we are.
NSRI Still Bay
by Arrie Combrinck, NSRI Still Bay station commander
At 13h03, Tuesday, 12 June, NSRI Still Bay duty crew were activated following reports of a light aircraft ditched in the Goukou River, just North of the bridge at Juliesebaai. The SA Police Services, WC Government Health EMS and EMS rescue squad, Local Municipality staff responded.
Disaster Risk Management were placed on alert. On arrival on the scene the two crew of a Mohawk Light Aircraft were both safely ashore and not injured after they were able to exit the aircraft after landing in the river and they waded ashore into the care of bystanders. They were a 48-year-old man and his 16-year-old daughter.
On consultation with the Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) NSRI were requested to assist to remove the aircraft from the water and the NSRI sea rescue craft was used together with a local private rubber-duck and a local private man’s 4×4 vehicle. The aircraft has been removed from the water and SACAA are investigating.
100 days to Africa Aerospace and Defence 2018
On Tuesday 12 June the organisers of the 2018 Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2018 exhibition staged a ceremony to mark the 100-day countdown to Africa’s largest aerospace and defence trade exhibition. The Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA) is the main organiser this year. Leon Dillman, CEO of CAASA, said 2018 is a special year for AAD, as it marks 20 years of the show being in existence. More than 80 000 people attended AAD 2016, including 56 000 general public and 33 000 trade visitors.
Before Chief of the South African Air Force, Lieutenant General Fabian Msimang, delivered the keynote address at the Officer’s Mess outside Air Force Base Waterkloof, Dean Polley, the President of the Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Association of Southern Africa (CUAASA) flew a drone across the room carrying a ‘100 days’ countdown banner in what was a special moment. “It is now a matter of record, that AAD 2016 was a resounding success. Otherwise we would not be here launching the show’s tenth instalment as scheduled for the week 19 to 23 September,” Msimang told assembled guests.
Msimang said that Africa is facing regional challenges that include conflict, piracy and poaching and facing these is key to strengthening democracy and promoting socio-economic development. He added that cyber warfare is threating countries worldwide and as a result at AAD a work session is planned to address cyber security.
“AAD is not only a national and continental asset. AAD is also the means and the platform for sourcing the latest technologies, equipment, services and solutions whilst availing and exposing them to our partners. This ensures we are collectively enabled and empowered to cooperate and complement each other’s efforts in addressing the challenges as and when they arise. It is for this reason that we will continue to support and host this exhibition and to grow it into a bigger and better show well into the future,” Msimang said. Msimang’s address was followed by a signing ceremony that included delegates from official carrier South African Airways (SAA), and host city Tshwane, which, were given special recognition for making the road to AAD possible.
Kevin Wakeford, Chief Executive of state procurement agency Armscor, said that AAD reminds the political economy of South Africa that without a defence economy it is not possible to have a strong economy. He said that defence is a catalyst for high-end economic growth and is a major exporter.
Wakeford said that the country needs a military because at the end of the day the military is about peacekeeping, disaster relief and protecting the sovereignty of the country.
The theme of AAD2018 is ‘unlocking Africa’s aerospace and defence potential’. An indication of the interest in the exhibition can be seen in the fact that 95% of indoor space, 99% of outdoor space and all the chalets have been booked. There are 15 national pavilions and so far, more than 30 aircraft have been confirmed, with many more expected. Several regional air forces will be bringing aircraft to the show, for static and flying displays.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
Cessna fly-in to Brakpan airfield on Saturday 16 June
Although the weather was bitterly cold, about 30 aircraft of which 18 were Cessna types arrived at Brakpan airfield on Saturday. The Absolute Aviation Group had sponsored this fly-in and Gordon Dyne welcomed many people to his magnificent ‘Man Cave’ home on the airfield for early morning tea coffee and delicious snacks. Thanks to Gordon’s wife Susan and some helpers no one was left out. One of the members of my AFOS syndicate, Cor Meyer flew with me in our new Cessna 182 ZS ILD and again I was so impressed with the sheer power of this 182’s engine as we reached 140 knots indicated on the short flights to and from Rand Airport. Archie Kemp arrived in his concourse Cessna 195, the subject of the front cover of the July edition of African Pilot. Thank you to everyone, especially the Brakpan organising committee for a wonderful day spent with wonderful aviation friends.
What is scheduled for the next few weeks?
Reef Steamers Train vs Vintage Planes, Cars and Bikes
From Krugersdorp departing 09h15 to Magaliesburg return 15h00
Contact: Ian Morrison E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 903 9463
24 to 28 June
South African Hot Air Balloon Championships Skeerpoort North West Province.
Contact Richard Bovell firstname.lastname@example.org
28 to 29 June
Drones Conference and workshop 2018 at Emperors Palace Convention Centre
Contact Jerry Davidson E-mail: email@example.com
28 June to 1 July
Race for Rhinos at Sua Pan, Botswana
Contact Chris Briers E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 568 7988
SAA Museum Society monthly meeting at Rand Airport from 10h00. Bring and Braai
Contact E-mail: email@example.com
13 to 15 July
Taildraggers fly-in to Nylstroom
Contact Richard Nicholson Cell: 082 490 6227
14 to 15 July
SAC Nationals Coastal venue TBA
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
Hotels in Appleton contact Calvin Fabig E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Action, education, entertainment, enrichment 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 our wonderful friends in ‘Camp Plakkerfontein’ again this year. This is almost your last chance to join the South African pilgrimage to the Greatest Show on Earth this July, because time is running out if you are to get your US visas and travel arrangements in order. Neil Bowden has advised me that he has booked 210 people, which is an all-time record.
African Pilot will also be looking for those enthusiasts who want try their hands at being published in the magazine about their experiences at AirVentue2018. If you are interested, please send me an e-mail: email@example.com. Thank you.
Grand Central Airport Oshkosh competition
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
Women’s day fly-in at Stellenbosch Flying Club (Thursday)
Contact Alison 082 728 7386 or Louise 083 454 1104
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
Airbus enters partnership with government of Côte d'Ivoire
Airbus and the government of Côte d’Ivoire signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a framework of collaboration to support the development of the country’s aerospace industry which has been identified as strategic for its economic development. The MoU was signed on Friday 15 June by his Excellency Amadou Koné, Minister of Transport of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire and Mikail Houari, President Airbus Africa Middle East in the presence of his Excellency Daniel Kablan Duncan, Vice President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire and Guillaume Faury, President Airbus Commercial Aircraft.
Under the terms of the MoU, Airbus and the government of Côte d’Ivoire will explore channels of cooperation in developing the aerospace sector in Côte d’Ivoire in various areas.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
IndiGo and SpiceJet come to near collision after pilots’ mistake
An IndiGo Airbus A320-232 and a SpiceJet Boeing 737-800 came face to face on a runway of Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport (VNS) in Varanasi, India on 12 June 2018. The incident was the result of SpiceJet pilots’ failure to comply with Air Traffic Control (ATC) instructions. The SpiceJet pilots were asked to hold their position before take-off, as they were bound to do so after IndiGo VT-IHS’s departure. However, SpiceJet B737 VT-SGH made a runway incursion of about ten meters. Meanwhile, the IndiGo aircraft started its take-off procedure after being cleared to proceed by ATC. The controllers managed to notice the situation and ordered IndiGo’s pilots to abort take-off, which they safely did.
IndiGo flight was bound to Mumbai with 178 passengers onboard while SpiceJet was heading to Hyderabad. The IndiGo plane returned to the ramp for inspection, in compliance with the company policy after aborted take-off and eventually left with a delay of an hour and a half. As for SpiceJet’s, it was put on hold before being cleared for take-ff by ATC several minutes later. SpiceJet pilots were since grounded by their company and the incident was reported by IndiGo to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
Ryanair fined €1.85M by Italian authority for 2017 cancellations
On 7 June low-cost giant Ryanair received a fine of €1.85 million by the Italian competition authority 2018, for cancelling thousands of flights between September and October 2017, while failing to inform its customers properly. The Irish company was prosecuted by the Autorita Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) for ‘improper business practices’ after it cancelled more than 20,800 flights across Europe in order to ‘improve punctuality’. The AGCM claimed the cancellations caused ‘considerable inconvenience to consumers who had long planned their travels and already booked and paid for their flight ticket’.
Cancellations were attributed to pilot planning problems, as a lot of them were supposed to take holidays before 2018. However, some pilots revealed to AFP at the time that it was also symptomatic of the tensed relations within the company. Two months later, in December 2017, Ryanair announced it would recognize pilot unions. The fact that cancellations occurred not because of unforeseeable problems exterior to the company, but due to managerial and organisation issues led the AGCM to sue.
Another fault pointed out was the misguidance of the company when it came to informing customers. Even though Ryanair offered reimbursement to the 715,000 affected passengers, it failed ‘at first’ to inform of the right to financial compensation, as the European regulation EU 261 requires. However, Ryanair changed its behaviour since, by ‘sending individual communications to consumers’, which led the AGCM to reduce the original fine.
Ukraine to revive aircraft manufacturing industry by 2022
On 10 May the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers approved the ‘Strategy for Revival of the Ukrainian Aircraft Manufacturing Industry for the Period until 2022’. The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade announced this to the CFTS portal.
“Ukraine is one of the few countries in the world with the capability of a full production cycle for aviation equipment. However, we are currently seeing a decline in production and employment at aircraft manufacturing enterprises. The aircraft manufacturing industry is overly dependent on Russian counterparties. We must change this,” said Stepan Kubiv, a head of department at the ministry.
The strategy provides for the following: optimisation and modernisation of production of the ‘An’ family of aircraft; modernisation and production of Mi helicopters; substitution of components imported from the Russian Federation; structural reform of enterprises in the aircraft manufacturing industry.
The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade is hoping that implementation of this strategy will increase production of aircraft and helicopters for domestic needs and preserve at least 60,000 jobs at Ukrainian aircraft manufacturing enterprises.
In addition, the government’s goals in this area for the near future includes the creation of conditions for investment, introduction of international certification systems, improvement of the quality of aircraft manufacturing and development of new models of a variety of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as modernisation of the existing ones.
The Antonov state aircraft manufacturing enterprise has 10 unfinished aircraft of the An-148 and An-158 models, which are in the final stages of production, in its warehouses. These aircraft cannot be completed yet because of the termination of the cooperation with Russia, which provided up to 50% of the components.
Rolls Royce finds compressor issue in more Trent 1000 engines
On 11 June 2018, Rolls Royce announced that the durability issue already detected on its Trent 1000 Package C engines also affected ‘a small number of high life Package B engines’. The British manufacturer reached out to authorities and Boeing in order to conduct more thorough investigation. The Trent 1000 engine was designed to power Boeing 787 Dreamliner, along with the General Electric GEnx engine. The launch customer of the B787, All Nippon Airways (ANA), detected unusual corrosion on the compressor blades, resulting in early wear and cracking on its Trent 1000 engines in early 2016.
In April 2018, Rolls Royce determined that the Package C was the one affected. But after conducting inspections on the Package B engines, Rolls Royce discovered similar defects. The manufacturer announced it would now proceed to an in-depth inspection of the fleet B. Rolls Royce has been struggling with the repairs of the Package C engines that are equipping about 25% of all Dreamliners currently in service, according to Boeing. It will take an estimated three years to replace all blades, for an estimated cost of $454 million.
Rolls-Royce marks the launch of new Pearl engine family
Rolls-Royce announces the launch of a new engine family for business aviation, with the introduction of the Pearl. The engine has been purpose-built and will be the sole engine for Bombardier’s latest business jets, the Global 5500 aircraft and the Global 6500 aircraft. The Pearl 15 is the first of the planned state-of-the-art Pearl engine family for business aviation and marks the sixth new civil aerospace engine introduced by Rolls-Royce in the past 10 years. The introduction of this new engine family serves to reaffirm Rolls-Royce’s leading position in business aviation.
The Pearl engine combines innovative technologies derived from Rolls-Royce’s Advance2 technology demonstrator programmes with proven features from the Rolls-Royce BR700, today’s leading engine family in business aviation. Its pioneering technology, combined with outstanding performance, will support Bombardier’s successful Global family of aircraft in reaching new standards in the ultra-long-range corporate jet market.
Enabling travellers to travel farther, faster, quicker and quieter, the Pearl 15 will deliver up to 15,125lb of thrust (ISA +15), thanks to the most efficient engine core available across the business aviation sector. Despite delivering up to 9% more thrust during take-off than the BR700, the engine will be two decibels quieter and operators will benefit from a 7% improvement in specific fuel consumption (SFC). The engine will also deliver world-leading emissions performance, including best in class NOx emissions, despite propelling customers at speeds approaching the speed of sound (Mach 0.90).
The new engine, which has been developed at Rolls-Royce’s Center of Excellence for Business Aviation engines in Dahlewitz, Germany, has undergone a comprehensive test programme and received EASA certification on 28 February 2018. The engine is currently undergoing flight tests at Bombardier’s Flight Test Center in Wichita, Kansas, supporting the planned entry into service at the end of 2019. Designed for outstanding reliability, the Pearl family will be supported by the industry-leading Rolls-Royce CorporateCare service, the most comprehensive aftermarket programme in business aviation, providing full transfer of off-fuselage maintenance risk at a predictable, fixed price. For a predefined hourly cost, CorporateCare covers all engine parts and labour when the time comes for the engine to be overhauled, whether for mandatory or recommended service bulletins as well as unscheduled shop visits.
The Pearl 15 also exemplifies Rolls-Royce’s IntelligentEngine vision of a future where product and service become indistinguishable thanks to advancements in digital capability. As well as a new-generation Engine Health Monitoring System that introduces advanced vibration detection, the engine benefits from the incorporation of advanced remote engine diagnostics and bi- directional communications that allow for easy remote reconfiguration of engine-monitoring features from the ground. In line with the IntelligentEngine vision, these developments ensure that cloud-based analytics and Big Data continue to play an increasing role in delivering exceptional levels of availability and greater peace of mind for customers. To date, Rolls-Royce has delivered close to 1,700 engines to Bombardier.
Emirates looking into windowless airliners
A cabin having no windows could lighten a plane up to 50%, on top of being more structurally sound. This would greatly reduce fuel consumption (1% weight reduction leads to a 0,75% save on fuel) and thus improve the ecological impact of air traffic. The windows would be replaced by screens streaming footage captured from the outside using fibre-optic cameras installed on the body of the aircraft. CEO Tim Clark told BBC this innovation already exists on the new first-class cabin of Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ER. As centre-seats of the aircraft are not connected to the side of the fuselage, they are fitted with virtual windows where the footage was already ‘so good, it is better than with the natural eye’.
Etihad still in the red and could cancel Boeing 777X order cancellations
Etihad Airways could cancel or delay its order of 25 B777X from Boeing as part of its financial strategy. One year after its record loss of $2 billion in 2016, the company still reports a loss of $1.5 billion in its 2017 financial results. Etihad is a launch customer of the new Boeing 777X model, along with fellow Gulf companies Emirates and Qatar Airways. However, the Abu-Dhabi-based airline estimated it did not need the ordered airliners and according to Reuters sources would rather pay compensations to Boeing for breach of contract than facing losses from overcapacity.
The state-owned carrier managed to reduce its losses by 7.3% while increasing revenue by 1.9$ in 2017. In total, Etihad reduced loss by $432 million and improved its operating performance by 22%, despite increasing fuel cost and Alitalia and Air Berlin failures.
In 2017, Etihad Airways received twelve new airliners including two Airbus A380s, nine Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and one Airbus A330Fs. These aircraft replaced 16 older Airbus A340s, A330s, A319s and A330Fs, which ceased operations, reducing its fleet by four aircraft to 115 and the average age of its fleet to just six years. The airline has pending orders from more than 160 airliners from both Boeing and Airbus, including the B777Xs. Airbus could also see cuts in its orders of 36A320/321neos as well as 62 A350s.
Air Paris Academy orders fleet of Tecnam P2010s
France’s new Ab Initio Pilot flight training school, Air Paris Academy (APA) has placed an order for four Tecnam P2010 MkII airplanes with options for an undisclosed number of additional aircraft. Based at France’s Tours Airport (APA) selected the Tecnam P2010 MkII with the aim of establishing itself as one of Europe best equipped and largest FTO ensuring its students benefit from the most modern fleet of training aircraft. The P2010 MkII Is powered by the Lycoming IO390-C3B6 215 hp engine, which enables the P2010 to climb at 1,100 ft/m and a maximum cruise at 146 knots, providing 215 hp @ 2,700 rpm, coupled with a 3-bladed MT variable-pitch propeller. It has a high fuel capacity of 63.4 U.S. gallons.
The Tecnam P2010 is the first new single engine, high wing, four-seat aircraft from Tecnam that brings together an advanced technology all carbon fibre fuselage with a metal wing and stabilator. “This major acquisition reaffirms the Air Paris Academy endorsement of the superlative range of Tecnam airplanes,” said Walter Da Costa, Tecnam Global Sales and Marketing Director. “Their Tecnam fleet enables Air Paris Academy to offer their students the most cost-effective training by employing state of the art aircraft, equipped with advanced avionics.”
FAA halts flight testing of 100LL replacements
The FAA has temporarily halted flight testing for its Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative (PAFI) unleaded 100LL replacement fuels programme while issues related to the differences between the two PAFI fuels and 100LL are being assessed, according to a progress update issued by the FAA on Monday. “Both fuel producers, Shell and Swift, are currently evaluating options to mitigate the impacts that these differences will present in fuel production, distribution and operation in the GA fleet,” said the FAA.
Some engine testing of PAFI fuels has also been stopped and the FAA has said it is interested in pursuing alternative high-octane unleaded fuels developed outside of the PAFI programme while the assessment is taking place. If other potentially workable 100LL replacement fuels are found, the FAA will invite developers “to participate in a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the FAA, which will be conducted on a non-interference basis with the PAFI programme.”
The flight testing part of the PAFI programme is currently about one-third complete and the engine testing is about halfway done, according to the update. With the additional evaluations needed, the end date for the PAFI programme has been pushed from December 2018 to December 2019. PAFI began in 2014, with the Shell and Swift fuels being selected for Phase Two testing in March 2016. Before this most recent development, the FAA’s last programme update was issued at AirVenture 2017.
Ejection seat issue grounds B-1B fleet
The US Air Force has temporarily grounded the entire B-1B fleet after an ejection seat mishap in May. A Lancer diverted to Midland, Texas, on 1 May and one of the ejection seat deployment hatches was missing when it landed. However, the seat did not fire and all four crew used the belly stairway to leave the aircraft. At the time, the Air Force declined to comment on the missing escape hatch but on Thursday it confirmed that all the nuclear bombers would sit until the ejection seat issue was investigated.
B-1s are deployed around the world in deterrent and strike roles and the safety stand down comes days before President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over nuclear disarmament by North Korea. The Air Force said the grounding won’t affect the readiness of the Air Force and the bombers will be back in the air as soon as the ejection seat issue is resolved.
‘Heroic’ pilots receive cash rewards
The flight crew of a Sichuan Airlines A319 that had a windscreen failure on 14 May will split about $1.5 million in cash rewards granted by China’s Civil Aviation Administration and the Sichuan provincial government. According to the China Daily/Asia News Network, the captain on the flight, Liu Chuanjian, was granted about $800,000 and given the honorary title of ‘CAAC Heroic Captain’ for getting the airplane safely on the ground. Another captain on the flight deck got about $300,000 while the first officer, who was almost sucked out through the broken windscreen, will receive about $150,000. The six-cabin crew also received about $25,000 each and, along with the second captain and FO, were named a ‘CAAC Heroic Crew.’
The flight, with 119 passengers aboard, was on its way from Chongqing Jiangbei Airport in southern China to Lhasa, Tibet, and had just levelled at 32,000 feet when the right side of the windscreen let go. Liu was able to regain control of the aircraft and make an emergency landing in Chengdu about 45 minutes later. Other crew members pulled the first officer, who suffered a gashed face and sprained wrist, back into the cockpit. A flight attendant was also slightly injured as were 29 passengers.
NASA flies RPA without chase airplane
In a test it says moves drones closer to being integrated into the National Airspace System, NASA on Tuesday flew its Ikhana remotely piloted aircraft without a chase plane for the first time. The flight took place at the agency’s Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base. “This is a huge milestone for our Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration in the National Airspace System project team,” said NASA’s Ed Waggoner, who directs the agency’s Integrated Aviation Systems Programme. Integrating unmanned aircraft into the NAS has been an overarching goal of both the FAA and NASA, with detect-and-avoid capability for the drone a difficult technical challenge to overcome.
The FAA granted NASA special permission to fly Tuesday’s test without a chase aircraft, allowing the remote pilot to rely on the latest detect-and avoid technology, enabling the ground-based pilot to see and avoid other aircraft during the flight. The Ikhana was equipped with an airborne radar developed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., a Honeywell TCAS System, a detect-and-avoid Fusion Tracker and ADS-B.
Kitty Hawk Corporation Flyer – manned RPA
Created as an FAA CFR Part 103 Ultralight the Kitty Hawk Corporation does not require a licence for the pilot or registration for the aircraft. An interesting situation, a manned RPA (for that is what it is) needing less paperwork than a Mavic. For now, the Flyer is constrained to an altitude of three metres and a speed of 20mph. Flight time depends on environmental factors and if fat chaps like me are flying it, Kitty Hawk claim between 12 and 20 minutes. The tail numbers and press pictures indicate they have at least four of them and that they operate duel GPS. Looks like a lack of yaw pedals as the nose is very slow to follow around a corner. No price as yet but they do have a Founder Flyers group that you can apply online to join. I wonder just how many people will purchase the Flyer.
Air Shepherd launches operations in Botswana
UAV & Drone Solutions’ (UDS) Air Shepherd programme, developed to protect elephants and rhinos from poaching by using drones, has started new operations in Botswana. The announcement on 8 June coincides with the unveiling of an alliance with the University of South Carolina’s (USC’s) Artificial Intelligence (AI) department in the development of a poacher detection programme called SPOT — Systematic POacher deTector, capable of spotting poachers in less than half a second. This new technology will be implemented to assist all Air Shepherd teams moving forward.
Initially, computer scientists were using AI and game theory to anticipate the poachers’ haunts but took it a step further by applying artificial intelligence and deep learning to spot poachers in near real-time. A team of USC computer scientists, led by USC Viterbi School of Engineering PhD student, Elizabeth Bondi, in Professor Milind Tambe’s lab labelled 180 000 humans and animals in infrared videos using a labelling tool they developed to expedite the process. The team used these labelled images and leveraged an existing deep learning algorithm, known as Faster RCNN, that they modified to teach a computer to automatically distinguish infrared images of humans from infrared images animals.
In addition, the scientists working on this algorithm modified it for speed by leveraging the power of Microsoft Azure and the cloud to build a virtual computer that could accelerate the process. An alternative solution was also developed to allow for spotty interconnectivity in rural areas.
Air Shepherd, originally developed by the Lindbergh Foundation in conjunction with South Africa-based UDS, has flown in multiple African countries, including South Africa, Malawi, Zimbabwe and now Botswana. The Lindbergh Foundation then transferred ownership of Air Shepherd to UDS. “With more than 30,000 flight hours, Air Shepherd drone teams are pushing the boundaries of drone technology by flying 25 km beyond the line of sight and at night, when poachers operate,” UDS said.
The programme uses intelligence from multiple sources while infrared-capable drones fly silently. Previously, poachers were spotted on the ground by an Air Shepherd team member monitoring infrared camera footage from the drones all night, which can cause fatigue. The SPOT programme will remove that challenge from the equation by automatically detecting poachers. Rangers are then sent to intercept them. UDS said Air Shepherd drones offer more protection for rangers who, while patrolling at night, are exposed to a high level of danger from armed poachers and wild animals.
Air Shepherd’s experience on the ground has shown that when they are flying drones, poaching stops, the company said. “This SPOT technology is a game changer for us and we are thrilled with this USC alliance,” said Otto Werdmuller Von Elgg, co-founder of UDS and head of the Air Shepherd programme. “Air Shepherd is collaborating on new and improved technology every day, so we can help bring an end to poaching, because at some point, the risk will be too much for the bad guys.”
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 ***