African Pilot’s June edition
In a departure from previous years the June edition of African Pilot has presented a comprehensive Light Sport Aircraft feature covering 49 LSA types from all over the world. This time the LSA types have been presented as an editorial, whilst providing readers with the website of every LSA manufacture so that as a reader you can check out the details of the aircraft type. Once again due to the COVID-19 lockdown, where most shops are still closed the June edition will be sent to all readers in its digital format. This exciting new method of publishing has many advantages such as almost immediate access, high quality in page view format, little or no cost to readers and instant access to ALL advertisers’ websites. Frankly, there are very few disadvantages, especially now that almost every person has a smart device such as a cellphone, iPad or computer. The world has changed and things will never be the same again!
African Pilot’s July edition
Now that the June edition has been completed, our team has made a start on the July edition that will feature Aviation Training and Flight Schools. The deadline for the July edition has been revised to Friday 12 June and I wish to thank all contributors and advertisers for their wonderful support during this sad period in South African and indeed world history. For advertising opportunities please contact Adrian Munro at Cell: 079 880 4359 or e-mail: email@example.com. Thank You
The following are links to all the magazines that African Pilot produced this year so that you can download all the 2020 editions in magazine view format:
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About African Pilot
There is no doubt that African Pilot provides the finest overall media reach of all aviation publications in Africa where we are in a position to provide professional video and stills photography, website development, social media platforms, company newsletters as well as several other important media services to our customers. Naturally the monthly printed magazine has an incredibly long shelf life due to its excellent design and layout. Then of course the monthly magazine is also available as a digital edition where ALL advertisers have enjoy the direct routing to their websites at a touch on a smart phone or tablet as well as a click of the mouse on a computer screen.
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SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Tobacco products during lockdown
I am not a smoker. In fact, I am vocally anti-smoking, but the persistence with the ridiculous COVID-19 lockdown rules, even into Level 3 show that the government appears to have lost the plot. You may well ask, what does this have to do with aviation? The real problem here is that the very same government leaders who are making the rules that have already caused thousands of people to lose their employment as employers close their businesses, including many within the aviation sector. At the same time the corruption within the ruling party continues unabated.
In South Africa, a pattern emerged soon after lockdown began. Alcohol and cigarettes sales were banned with nonsensical explanations as to how doing so would help in the fight against Covid-19. Apparently, it was believed that the coronavirus thrived on joy, so depriving the nation of it would help stop the pandemic from spreading. During the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown, Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma made a U-turn announcement regarding the lifting of the controversial ban on the sale of tobacco products within the Republic. This was met with intense criticism considering a family member Edward Zuma has shares in Amalgamated Tobacco Manufacturers, a major producer of cheap cigarettes in South Africa. The national lockdown, with its increasingly bizarre regulations, was starting to feel less like a way of saving lives and more like a foray into controlling them.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma had previously been accused of using funds from self-described cigarette smuggler Adriano Mazzotti to fund her unsuccessful bid for the presidency of the ANC and South Africa. DA leader John Steenhuisen accuses Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma of enriching cigarette smuggler. Instead of making things better, a public statement by Mazzotti labelling claims that his cigarette business was capitalising from the lockdown as ‘outrageous’ and denying having a relationship with the minister only added fuel to the fire.
An already existing black market quickly stepped up to fill the void, particularly with cigarettes, while home brewing became a national pastime. Shady cigarette products with bad packaging and questionable quality took the place of brands established for generations. Suddenly, illicit cigarettes that were selling for R18 a box were being sold under the table for two, three, four and even five times their previous prices.
Aero Club and CAASA news
Over the past week between the Aero Club of South Africa (AeCSA) and the Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA) they have manged to organise for more than 500 General Aviation flights to take place at various airports all over South Africa. Within the first six days about 200 aircraft had completed flights that were approved. A further update will be presentenced in Mondays edition of APAnews.
World Rally Flying Championships postponed to 2021
The South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) and the Aero Club of South Africa (AeCSA) have announced that the World Rally Flying Championships scheduled for November have been postponed to the same time in 2021. After four long years of hard work and after extensive consultation with the SAPFA committee and the FAI, it was decided to make this call. The new dates will be 6 to 20 November 2021.
Call for South African government to provide financial relief to the aviation sector
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) and the Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa (BARSA) are calling on the South African government to provide specific financial relief to the aviation sector to address the severe impact of the COVID-19 crisis. IATA estimates that revenues generated by airlines in the South African market will fall by $3 billion (about ZAR 55bn) in 2020, 56% below 2019 levels. That puts at risk 252,100 South African jobs and $5.1billion (about ZAR 93bn) of South Africa’s GDP, which is generated by aviation directly and air transport-dependent tourism.
South African authorities have provided support for air transport by temporarily suspending airport slot use rules and extending the validity of personnel licenses and certifications, which have been welcomed by the air transport industry. However, urgent financial support from the government is needed now to keep the sector alive and ensure that its air transport system emerges fit and capable of fulfilling a crucial role as a primary economic enabler and job creator.
“Aviation is vital for connecting markets and moving people and goods between them. It is not an indulgence of the rich, but an enabler of economic wealth for everyone. Without a viable air transport sector, recovery will be drawn out and painful. South Africa’s economy had already slowed before the crisis, with unemployment at record levels. Fully supporting aviation now is critical if the economy is to expand at a pace that will make a positive difference to its citizens’ lives,” said Muhammad Albakri, IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East.
Aviation-specific relief instruments at the government’s disposal include:
1) Direct financial support to passenger and cargo carriers
2) Financial relief on airport and air traffic control (ATC) charges and taxes
3) Reductions, waivers and deferrals of statutory taxes and user-fees imposed on flights and passenger tickets
“During these extraordinary times, as the South African government announces the relaxation of lockdown from level 4 to level 3, it is important to ensure that aviation is well positioned to be able to provide air services to support business and the travelling public as the economy continues to open up,” said Chris Zweigenthal, CEO of AASA. “The concessions and support requested becomes even more critical at the time of the re-start of aviation where there will be pressure on depleted cash reserves to fund operations. It is essential that urgent action is taken now to support airlines and the industry as a whole in these difficult times. We all need to work together to minimise the impact by creating a platform for recovery from the unprecedented damage being inflicted on international air carriers including South African Airlines. Acting too slowly would result in the post-pandemic economic recovery being seriously impeded by the reduced availability of air transport for both passengers and cargo,” Zuks Ramasia, CEO of BARSA.
The associations are also urging the South African government to ensure all businesses from the tourism sector are considered when allocating funds under the small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMME) relief fund as they generate jobs for hundreds of thousands of South Africans and positively impact the livelihoods of millions more.
WORLDWIDE ACCIDENTS AND INCIDENTS
What do we know about Pakistan International Airlines crash?
Ninety-seven people were killed after the crash of flight PK8303 from Lahore to Karachi airport on Friday 22 May 2020. As multiple elements emerge on social media, the thesis of an aborted belly-landing seems likely. The A320 registered AP-BLD took off from Lahore Allama Iqbal International Airport (LHE) shortly after 08h00 (UTC). It was scheduled to arrive at Karachi Jinnah International Airport (KHI) 1,5 hours later. On board were 99 people, including 89 passengers and eight crew members. Data extracted from flightradar24 shows that the approach was higher than usual for Karachi airport. 10 miles away from the airport, the plane was still at an altitude of 7,000 feet instead of the nominal 3,000 feet.
According to local media, Karachi air traffic control warned the flight crew three times of their faulty altitude, to which the pilot responded by saying that he was ‘satisfied.’ It appears that the A320 had not deployed its landing gears when it touched runway 25L, as shown by footage released by the country’s Civil Aviation Authority. Instead, the engine nacelles impacted the runway. Scratch marks of the left engine appear at the 4,500 feet mark from the threshold, whilst more scratches, this time from both engines, at 5,500 feet. From this moment, pilots aborted the landing and decided to carry out a go-around. A nearby plane spotter took a picture of the aircraft, with both engines damaged.
The flight crew radioed ATC to report they lost engine power. “We are proceeding direct, we have lost engines,” said the captain, shortly before crashing in a residential area, about 4,400 feet from the airport runways. 97 people were killed, two survived and were hospitalised in stable condition. No ground casualties were reported on the ground, but eleven people were injured. However, an intriguing element, comes from a nearby CCTV camera that captured the aircraft seconds before impact. In the video, the A320 can be seen stalling with its landing gear down. The investigation will have to determine if the landing gear was faulty, or if the flight crew simply forgot to extend the gear before landing.
The flight data and cockpit voice recorders have been recovered. An interim report should be published within three months. The A320 registered AP-BLD entered service in 2004 with China Eastern Airlines, before entering the fleet of Pakistan International Airlines in 2014. Both companies leased the plane from GECAS. According to the airline, the last check of the plane was completed on 21 March 2020.
Conclusion / recommendations
From what I have read about this specific tragic accident is that there is a serious cultural problem within Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). This accident is just another example of a long list of recent PIA accidents. The following is the conclusion of a document that outlines the problems within the training of the pilots at the airline. A major part of the blame is the Pakistan Airline Pilots Association (PALPA) involvement in everything related to pilot in the name of safety is a big hoax and PALPA needs to be held accountable after scrutiny and deep cleansing of PIA training system and implementation of OM-D (training manual). Also, all PIA pilots must be put through a third-party audit to determine the professionalism benchmarks defined internationally and the recurrent training of all pilots must be carried out by Emirates, Etihad and Qatar ATOs (approved training organisations) instead of being assessed by PALPA pilots. This crash has pointed out several fingers world-wide and tremendous loss of life, so to access the professionalism of PIA pilots is a must.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Boeing restarts production of the still-grounded 737 MAX
The plane had been grounded worldwide but on Wednesday Boeing decided to slowly restart production. On the day when Boeing announced more than 12,300 jobs cuts in the US, with almost 10,000 of those in Washington state, the company also chose to push the button on re-starting 737 MAX production. “Today, teams in Renton started to warm up the factory’s central production line,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Stan Deal in a message to employees Wednesday afternoon.
Following the crash of a Lion Air MAX in Indonesia, the MAX was grounded soon after the deadly crash of an Ethiopian Airlines MAX in March 2019, with a combined death toll of 346 people. Boeing’s future business relies upon the rebirth of this troubled airplane, which still has a backlog of more than 3,800 orders. The 737 in its various models has typically provided about half the revenue of the Commercial Airplanes division. Boeing has no alternative to offer in this size category of workhorse domestic jet, especially now after the huge financial hit from the pandemic, there is no question of Boeing being able to pay for the launch of a new plane in its place.
As engineers worked throughout 2019 on a fix for the MAX’s flawed flight control system that brought down the two airliners, Boeing continued to build the plane at a lower production rate. But when approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the jet to fly again was repeatedly pushed out, Boeing finally halted production of the jet in January. Boeing is still hoping to win FAA clearance for the MAX in late summer or early fall and will slowly ramp up from Wednesday’s restart of the assembly line to be ready. During the production halt, Boeing said it has implemented more than a dozen initiatives to improve the way the 737 MAX is built.
These seem aimed not only at making the process more efficient but also at addressing serious quality control issues that have surfaced repeatedly at Boeing in the past two years, including on the MAX programme. These have included instances of debris and tools left in the innards of finished airplanes.
In February, Boeing found debris in the wing fuel tanks of completed MAXs that had been parked and stored, forcing it to do inspections for Foreign Object Debris (known as FOD in the aviation world) in all 385 planes that had been built but not delivered. It also recommended that the airlines who had taken delivery of the MAX jets inspect the wing tanks of their parked aircraft. Earlier this month, according to a person with knowledge of the incident, a bag of screws was found inside a MAX wing tank.
In his message, Deal outlined the changes to the MAX assembly process:
• A new standard set of tool kits and work processes for each work position in the factory.
• New control centres beside the assembly line on the factory floor, where engineers can provide real-time support to mechanics.
• A reconfigured factory layout to eliminate unnecessary equipment and provide teams a clear line of sight to the airplane.
“These initiatives will help us reach our goals of zero safety incidents, zero FOD, 100% quality and 100% of each job completed in its position,” Deal wrote in his message. Deal said the restart of the line heralds “a slow ramp up of production over the remainder of this year.”
Acknowledging the current collapse in demand for new aircraft due to the coronavirus pandemic, he added that Boeing plans to make gradual rate increases next year “consistent with our customers’ recovery to the market.”
Boeing removed from its backlog more than 200 orders for the MAX last month, half of those outright cancellations and the rest taken out because the commitment was considered no longer solid enough to be counted. Industry experts anticipate more cancellations as airlines downsize to match the drastic drop in air travel. However, at least a few airlines say they will want their orders relatively soon. American Airlines has retired its older aircraft and when business picks up again, plans to replace them with new MAXs.
In an interview with Bloomberg News Tuesday, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said he is betting on the return of the MAX to take advantage of any recovery next year as rival European airlines falter. “That is very much why we want to go ahead and take delivery of the MAX,” O’Leary said. “Clearly there is going to be a huge drop in traffic in 2020, but we think in 2021, there will be a lot of growth opportunities.”
Proposed AD affects 7,000 Cessna taildraggers
The FAA is proposing an AD on some Cessna taildraggers requiring an inspection of the tail cones and horizontal stabilisers. Almost 7,000 180s, 1802s and 185s are affected and comments are open until 29 June. Textron issued a mandatory service letter in 2017 and the AD basically follows its directives but instead of applying to only aircraft with more than 3,000 hours or 10 years in service, the AD will apply to all of the listed models. Cracks in the tail of a 185 prompted a further look and 29 aircraft were found to have similar damage. The extra loads endured by taildraggers during landing are presumed to be behind the cracking and the inspection, which will take about two hours, is comprehensive and follows the service letter ‘procedures for inspecting the stabiliser hinge brackets, tail cone reinforcement angles, corner reinforcements, stabiliser hinge reinforcement channel, stabiliser hinge assemblies, stabiliser aft spar reinforcement and the lower half of the stabiliser aft spar.’
Weekly News from African Pilot
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Until Monday, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)