“The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded.”
Charles-Louis De Secondat
Some of the best from 2019 EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
The full week of 2019 EAA AirVenture was completed on Saturday with mainly departures and limited activity on the Sunday. Oh what a week of contrasts from severe storms at the start to wonderful weather through the week, a cloudy Friday with some rain and a brilliant sunny Saturday ready for the grand finale being the night show. Naturally African Pilot will feature the many announcements made at Oshkosh this year as well as specific interviews on some of the unique aircraft we discovered on the airfield during the week within the September edition. A word from the African Pilot team on the amazing Camp Plakkerfontein that Neil Bowden manages every year. How he does this with his usual calm demeanour is special as every year his guests that travel to Oshkosh with Neil’s Air Adventure Tours? We were treated to yet another wonderful entertaining time in the South African campsite. Within the next few weeks African Pilot will complete the 2019 Air Adventure Tours video to show everyone how special this event has become for all of us who travel to the most important aviation event in the world every year. All of the AirVenture participants at Neil’s South African camp will receive a FREE one year digital subscription to African Pilot starting from the September edition. Thank you to Neil and your various assistants for making this trip so special!
African Pilot’s August 2019 edition
This edition features Light Sport Aircraft types up to 600Kg as well as our annual Nelspruit Airports feature. In addition this edition will provide extensive coverage to AERO South Africa that was staged at Wonderboom National Airport between Thursday 4 and Saturday 6 July. The printing of the August edition is complete now in its distribution phase. I would like to thank all the advertisers that supported the August edition as well as the AERO South Africa exhibition catalogue.
African Pilot’s September 2019 edition
The exciting September edition will feature the 50th anniversary of EAA AirVenture being staged in Oshkosh an in addition, this will be my 19th visit in a row to the largest General Aviation show in the world. We will also feature some of the European airshows as well as African Pilot’s annual Avionics and Instrumentation feature. The reason why we feature the avionics and instrumentation within the September edition is because most avionics companies wait for AirVenture to announce their new products. For advertising positions please contact Lara Bayliss at Tel: 0861 001130 Cell: 079 880 4359 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
The Airplane Factory Sling High Wing
At a press conference held on the Thursday at Oshkosh at the Sling show stand, Mike Blythe and James Pitman introduced the new Sling 4-seat High Wing, which the company has already started developing. This version of the well-renowned Sling family of aircraft has been very well accepted, even with an order taken at AirVenture making up the 500 Sling orders to date, whilst several other orders were taken at the show this year. The wing will be the same metal cantilever wing that is found on the Sling TSi and will also be powered by the Rotax 915iS engine. African Pilot interviewed the two intrepid aviation explorers on video and they said that by AirVenture 2020 the two of them will be flying the prototype Sling High Wing from South Africa to Oshkosh, something they have done successfully several times in past years to demonstrate the ability of this superbly manufactured South African design. Naturally African Pilot will be following the progress of this new type to the Sling stable and we will bring you the news of the development of yet another superb production from the Airplane Factory.
New South African designed composite aircraft to take flight soon
By Guy Martin - defenceWeb
After nearly eight years of development the PCAD 700 composite aircraft, designed and built in South Africa, will soon take to the skies. The PCAD 700 is the brainchild of Abrie Muller, whose company Performance Composite Aircraft Designs (PCAD) is developing the aircraft, along with his partner Pierre van der Walt, the owner of Wonderboom-based Sport Plane Builders. The aircraft is very loosely based on the design of the Ravin 500, which is in itself a composite development of the aluminium Piper PA-42 Comanche, now also owned and built by Performance Composite Aircraft Designs. Muller started out in a joint venture with Ravin Aircraft but the PCAD 700 is a rather different aircraft with many upgrades and changes from the Ravin aircraft.
Like the Ravin 500, it is built largely from composite materials, which in addition to being lighter than metal, is cheaper to manufacture, results in fewer parts used and also gives a clean aerodynamic profile as rivets and other fasteners are not needed. Retractable landing gear also gives the aircraft a clean profile. An added benefit is that since composite materials do not interfere with radio frequency signals, external antennas are not required. The PCAD 700 is powered by a GE turboprop engine giving an estimated top cruising speed of 250 knots (450 km/h) at 4 600 metres (15 000 feet). A fuel capacity of 700 litres should give an estimated range of 2 200 kilometres or endurance of five hours.
Originally the aircraft was fitted with a Walter M601-B turboprop developing 690 hp, but the engine was never run in the aircraft and was changed for the fully certified General Electric 601-E in 2017, but the PCAD 700 will be offered with the General Electric H75 with FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control). Muller said the General Electric engine was chosen as it is imperative to deliver support through a reputable engine manufacturer, whilst the company has been assisting. Engine runs and testing will soon be undertaken ahead of a first flight planned for around November 2019.
Although the first prototype will not be pressurised, future aircraft will be built to be pressurised to 28 000 feet or 8535 metres. The PCAD 700 comes standard with a six-seat cabin but this is reconfigurable (it could fit seven at a push). Payload is 2 500 lbs (1 100 kg), with gross weight of 5 850 lb (2 650 kg). The cockpit is equipped with a modern Garmin avionics suite. The PCAD 700 was unveiled to the public for the first time in 2016 and was displayed to positive response at the inaugural AERO South Africa aviation exhibition at Wonderboom airport between 4 and 6 July this year.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
AirVenture, Oshkosh all week – aviation overload!
In 1953, a small but enthusiastic group of pilots and airplane enthusiasts gathered together for what was to become the very first EAA fly-in, a minute event in comparison to the massive aviation showcase that now takes place in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Now for its fiftieth year in this location AirVenture has grown exponentially. Please look forward to our report within the September edition as the African Pilot team brings you some of the many new aircraft experiences, announcements, interviews and the overall experience. Let’s do this again in 2020 with yet another superb South African group camping on the airfield. Interested in booking early? Please contact Neil Bowden: Neil1@telkomsa.net.
What is scheduled for the next few weeks?
African Pilot’s 2019 calendar
We will publish the aviation calendar within APAnews three months ahead, but you can always visit African Pilot’s website: www.africanpilot.co.za if you would like to obtain the full calendar for the entire year.
3 & 4 August
SAC KZN Regionals Ladysmith airfield
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
21 to 31 August
SAC Unlimited World Championships in France
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: email@example.com
Contact Stephan Fourie e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
26 to 28 August
Commercial Aviation Symposium Africa Spier Wine Estate, Stellenbosch
Contact Tel 011 659 2345 E-mail: email@example.com
SAAF Museum Airshow – AFB Zwartkops, Pretoria
The date has been changed for the third time
SAPFA Grand Central Fun Rally – Grand Central Airport
Contact Rob Jonkers cell: 082 804 7032 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vans RV Fly-in to Kitty Hawk
Contact Frank van Heerden e-mail: email@example.com
25 to 26 September
MEBAA show Morocco Marrakech Menara Airport, Morocco
Contact Matthew Cunliffe Tel: +971 4 603 3323 Cell +971 56 171 5734
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.mebaamorocco.aero
Wings & Wheels in Matjhabeng – Welkom airport
Contact Dirk Smit 082 558 3914 or Ian Buchanan 083 388 1678
5 & 6 October
SAC Western Cape Regionals – Swellendam airfield
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: email@example.com
10 to 13 October
Airlines Association of Southern Africa 49th Annual General Assembly – Reunion Island
15 – 16 October
Drone Con International Convention Centre Durban
SAPFA SA Landing Championships at Brits Airfield
Contact Ron Stirk E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell:082 445 0373
23 to 25 October
AVI AFRIQUE Innovation Summit 2019
E-mail: AviAfrique@atns.co.za Website: www.atns.com
22 to 24 October
NBAA-BACE Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
SAPFA Baragwanath Fun Rally – Baragwanath Airfield
Contact Frank Eckard cell: 083 269 1516 e-mail: email@example.com
SAPFA Rally Championships – Stellenbosch airfield
Contact Frank Eckard cell: 083 269 1516 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
8 to 10 November
EAA Sun ‘n Fun at Brits airfield
Contact EAA National Committee Marie Reddy E-mail: email@example.com
SAPFA EAA Sun & Fun Adventure Rally
Contact Rob Jonkers cell: 082 804 7032 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
CAASA Awards Ceremony venue TBA
Contact Tel: 659 2345 E-mail: email@example.com
Aero Club of South Africa annual awards Venue TBA
Contact AeCSA office 011 082 1100 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
22 to 24 November
NBAA- BASE convention and exhibition in Las Vegas Convention Centre, Nevada, USA
SAPFA Springs Speed Rally – Springs Airfield
Contact Jonty Esser cell: 082 855 9435 e-mail: email@example.com
30 November – 1 December
SAC Ace of Base Vereeniging Airfield
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Comair appoints aviation veterans as joint CEOs
The Comair board has announced that aviation sector veterans Glenn Orsmond and Wrenelle Stander will take over as joint CEOs from 31 July 2019. Stander will serve as Joint CEO: Airlines, while Orsmond will serve as Joint CEO: Non-Airline Business and Financial Services. The announcement follows Erik Venter’s resignation two months ago and he hands over the reigns this week.
Both incoming CEOs bring a wealth of experience to their roles: Wrenelle Stander is currently Executive Director of Comair’s airline division. She holds an MBA from Oxford Brookes University in the United Kingdom, as well as a BA (Hons) degree from the University of Cape Town. Wrenelle has held a range of executive leadership positions within the South African civil aviation industry, including: Managing Director: Air Traffic and Navigation Services Company, Deputy Chief Executive Officer: South African Civil Aviation Authority and Chief Director: Aviation and Maritime Regulation: Sasol Gas.
Glenn Orsmond, a chartered accountant, was Comair’s Financial Director for eight years from 1995 to 2003. He too has had an illustrious career in the South African aviation industry, having held senior leadership roles including Financial Director at Sun Air, co-founding Group Financial Director, Group CEO of 1Time (and co-founder), CEO at Jetworx Aircraft Maintenance and most recently CFO at Star Air Cargo.
Comair’s diversified portfolio covers brands in the airline, tourism and hospitality industries, a training academy with a global customer base, as well as a business providing technology support and solutions for the tourism, travel and aviation sectors. Comair has had joint CEO’s at the helm before. The board believes that the combined experience of nearly 60 years in the aviation industry, supported by their individual strengths will be the recipe for success to further build on Comair’s legacy of achieving 73 years’ uninterrupted operating profit.
South African Airways’ Airbus A350s will come from Air Mauritius
South African Airways will use Airbus A350s to fly to New York from its hub in Johannesburg. Currently, this flight is operated by an A340-600. However, SAA intends to replace the A340-600 on this route with an Airbus A350 coming from Air Mauritius. Clicanoo reports that two brand new Airbus A350s will join South African Airways’ fleet instead of Air Mauritius for the time being. These aircraft will be leased out to South African Airways for a period of three years. Delivery is expected to occur before the end of the year. This will allow South African Airways to place the A350 in service by the end of 2019. Air Mauritius outfits its A350s with 326 seats. This includes 28 business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. In economy, Air Mauritius offers 298 seats in a standard 3-3-3 configuration. It seems that South African Airways will be going with a new configuration onboard. This reportedly includes 30 business class seats and 246 economy class seats. Most likely the aircraft will have 3-3-3 configuration in economy.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Embry-Riddle selects the ultimate training aircraft, the Cessna Skyhawk
At Oshkosh Textron Aviation announced a Memorandum of Understanding to supply Cessna Skyhawk aircraft to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Embry-Riddle has agreed to an initial purchase of at least 60 aircraft between 2019 and 2022, with options for additional units. “Having a customer like Embry-Riddle commit to long-term selection of the Skyhawk as tits preferred trainer of choice is a continued testament to its status as the most popular single-engine aircraft ever built,” said Ron Draper, president and CEO of Textron Aviation. “Textron Aviation continues to build on its strong relationship with Embry-Riddle going back more than 20 years and we look forward to helping train the next generation of pilots.” Embry-Riddle has purchased more than 75 aircraft, primarily Skyhawks, from Textron Aviation since 2014. The aircraft, which are based at both Embry-Riddle facilities in Daytona Beach, Florida and Prescott, Arizona, support the University’s need for enhanced training platforms as its flight programme continues to grow. The new aircraft will primarily replenish the school’s current fleet of Skyhawks.
Extra introduces the NG aerobatic aircraft
At AirVenture on Monday, Walter Extra introduced his newest model that is supposed to be both a step up in performance and cradles the pilot in a luxurious seat in front of avionics not common in older aerobatic types. “What differentiates this airplane from the others is that it’s just another step forward. We have more performance, we have more manoeuvrability. It is a huge leap forward in terms of comfort. I’ve never been in a cockpit close to this, at least when it comes to aerobatic airplanes,”
“I was reluctant to do a composite fuselage for a long time because I really appreciate the behaviour of tubular fuselages when they are exposed to partial overload. You have redundant safety in tubular structures and that is very important to me,” Extra said. The NG is equipped with a rigid full-carbon fuselage structure and a carbon fibre wing assembly with integral fuel tanks. In front of a titanium firewall, it has a 315-HP Lycoming AEIO-580-B1A swinging a Muhbauer three-blade composite propeller. Extra declined to discuss the details of how carbon fibre was used in the NG because he has filed from a patent on the methods used. The carbon fibre fuselage directly impacted cabin comfort. “Since there is no more tubular structure inhibiting your elbow clearance, we have gained a lot of room.
Quest Aircraft announces completion of fleet deal
The Quest Aircraft Kodiak displayed within the Aerocet booth at Airventure is a part of a recently completed three-Kodiak fleet deal with Dimor Aerospace, the German-owned company that owns Waco Aircraft. Dimor will be equipping their Kodiaks for humanitarian aid and will be operating throughout Brazil, along the Amazon. Two of their Kodiaks will be outfitted with Aerocet 6650 composite floats. Delivery of all three aircraft is complete and Dimor is in discussion with Quest about future aircraft.
Similar to new Kodiak customers, Dimor will be enrolled in Quest Aircraft’s KodiakCare customer service plan, which Quest quietly launched in 2018. In addition to the standard two-year airframe warranty, KodiakCare provides owners 24/7/365 AOG Response teams, as well as 24/7 phone and e-mail technical support, and online access to technical publications. Additional KodiakCare features include a POH/AFM revision service, one-year enrolment to CAMP and two-years / 400 hours of enrolment in the ESP Gold Lite programme for engine maintenance.
Quest also announced that beginning with its 275th Kodiak, due to be completed in September, Kodiaks will be now equipped with the latest Garmin GMA 1360 Audio Panel with Bluetooth connectivity. Owners and operators will enjoy the ability to connect their personal electronic devices directly to the aircraft audio panel. The pilot and passengers will be able to stream audio infotainment wirelessly with the enhanced audio panel. In addition, Quest announced the effective elimination of the Kodiak’s Maximum Zero Fuel Weight (MZFW). The removal of the MZFW limitation provides Kodiak operators with increased payload, mission capability and operator flexibility, especially during shorter flights. This change is fleet-wide, covering all earlier model Kodiaks as well. In June it was announced that Daher, the manufacturer of the TBM family of aircraft, intends to acquire Quest Aircraft Company. The acquisition’s closing is expected to be completed by the end of 2019, subject to approval by the appropriate authorities in both countries.
Blue Line Aviation expands its training fleet
North Carolina headquartered flight training provider Blue Line Aviation has ordered 11 new jet-fuel burning Diamond Aircraft. The order includes 10 new DA40 NG’s and one DA42-VI twin aircraft and will be delivered over the next 18 months. The purchase comes less than a year after the company ordered six Jet-A burning DA40 NG aircraft and one DA42-VI that have been rolling into service in 2019. Combined, these orders will bring their total fleet to 22 training aircraft, of which 20 are jet-fuel burning pistons from Diamond Aircraft.
Blue Line Aviation has been a LifeStyle Aviation Network Partner since their formation in 2012 and the two companies have worked closely together to grow and develop their successful flight training business model. Recently Blue Line also announced plans to build a $13-million, 50,000-square foot training facility at Johnston Regional Airport (JNX). The new planes are part of this expansion and some of the units are expected to be delivered to the new facility in 2020.
Electric-powered airplane brings historic message from Milwaukee to AirVenture
EAA Chapter 18 president, Jeff Point sent a congratulatory letter via an all-electric airplane to signify the immense progress sport and general aviation has made in that time and to congratulate EAA on its 50th AirVenture Fly-In in Oshkosh. The message was carried by Pipistrel USA’s Michael Coates, who flew a production class Pipistrel Alpha Electro, all-electric composite airplane that is fast setting new standards for innovative next-generation light aircraft. Coates departed Milwaukee’s Timmerman Field and proceeded to Oshkosh on battery power, alone. Instead of conventional airplane fuel, the Alpha Electro has 277 pounds of LiPo cells, though the water-cooled electric motor weighs under 25 pounds, much less than the equivalent gasoline engine. It has a useful load of 380 lbs, whereas a Cessna 152 has between 350–480 lbs. useful load.
The aircraft stopped at the Fond du Lac Skyport, to demonstrate the aircraft’s electric powerplant recharging capability for no more than one hour and then proceed the rest of the way to Oshkosh’s Wittman Field. The flight from Timmerman to Fond Du Lac took approximately 40 minutes. Upon reaching Oshkosh’s Wittman Field, approximately two hours after the start of the programme, Coates landed at the lightplane area on the southside of the airport and taxied to the north to the Pipistrel Oshkosh display area, whilst delivering Point’s letter to EAA President and CEO, Jack Pelton.
Portugal places firm order for the multi-mission airlift KC-390
Two weeks ago the Portuguese Government announced a firm order of five multi-mission airlifters Embraer KC-390 as part of the process to modernise Portuguese Air Force capacities to support national Armed Forces operations and increase readiness in missions of public interest. Deliveries are scheduled to start in 2023. The KC-390 is designed to set new standards for efficiency and productivity in its category while presenting the lowest life-cycle cost of the market. The aircraft can perform different types of military and civilian missions including humanitarian support, medical evacuation, search and rescue and firefighting, while fully meeting the requirements of the Portuguese Air Force, adding new superior cargo and troops transport, aerial delivery and aerial refuelling capabilities.
Portugal is the largest international partner of the KC-390 programme and its participation in the development and production of the aircraft is recognised as having had a positive economic impact in the generation of jobs, new investments, increased exports and technological advances. The KC-390 has received its Civil Certification from the Brazilian National Aviation Agency (ANAC) in 2018 and is now in full serial production. Entry into service is expected to occur in the 3rd quarter of 2019 with the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), with follow on deliveries to occur throughout the year.
Dynon expands AML for SkyView HDX
A division of Dynon Avionics, Dynon Certified announced a dramatic expansion of the approved model list for its SkyView HDX line of products. With this AML expansion, Dynon’s full suite of certified avionics is now approved for nearly 600 type certificated piston single-engine aircraft. Features approved include primary and backup flight displays, synthetic vision, VFR mapping, flight planning, and navigation, engine monitoring, Mode S Transponder with 2020-compliant ADS-B Out, ADS-B In Traffic and Weather and Dynon’s Com Radio.
SkyView HDX is Dynon’s flagship avionics suite that allows most GA pilots to comprehensively update their aging legacy avionics at an affordable price. Pilots benefit from an uncluttered, elegant panel layout that reduces workload, is intuitive, fun to fly and enhances safety. A Dynon certified installation typically reduces aircraft weight by 50 to 80 pounds after replacing the original instruments and usually allows the removal of unreliable legacy equipment like the vacuum pump.
Base SkyView HDX configurations including primary and backup flight displays, synthetic vision and VFR mapping, flight planning and navigation start at $7630. The SkyView HDX system is fully integrated but modular, allowing pilots to tailor installations to their aircraft’s unique mission and needs. Additional options available for all approved aircraft include complete engine monitoring with CHTs, EGTs, fuel flow, fuel computer and lean assist; Mode S Transponder with 2020-compliant ADS-B Out; ADS-B Traffic and Weather display; Com Radio; and Electronic Flight Bag features. In addition, Dynon’s fully-integrated autopilot, featuring IFR approach capability when SkyView is integrated with a compatible navigator is available in Cessna 172 F-S and Bonanza P35-V35B models. The Bonanza approval includes yaw damper capability. Autopilot approvals for additional aircraft will be continuously released over the coming months. As of July 2019, Dynon is actively working on autopilot approvals for Bonanza 36s, Cessna 182s and Piper Seneca models.
Sonex Aircraft announces two-seat SubSonex project
The SubSonex JSX-2T is designed to be the lowest cost jet trainer ever. It will be a perfect trainer for the single-place JSX-2 and for those who want to share the unique experience of jet-powered flight in a light aircraft. JSX-2T is configured with side-by-side seating for optimum flexibility in CG / loading and offers an ideal training environment for its crew. With a wing span of 21.8 feet JSX-2T will have similar wing loading and handling to the single-place JSX-2. The two-place jet will utilise the same proven PBS TJ-100 turbojet engine system. An optional, more powerful PBS TJ-150 will achieve improved performance.
The SubSonex Personal Jet aircraft first began development in 2009 and is now being sold around the world as the most popular and affordable kit jet aircraft. The SubSonex, a popular and serious aerobatic airshow performer that delivers high top speeds and a true fighter jet feel, but also shares the docile, low speed handling characteristics enjoyed by the Sonex, Waiex and Onex designs.
FRASCA RTD is the flight simulator of choice for top flight schools
RTD customers include American Flyers (6 units), Metropolitan State University, Eagle Flight Center, Liberty University (4 units), Purdue University, CAE Global Academy (3 units), Hillsboro Aero Academy (2 units), Rainier Flight Service, the University of Dubuque and Pilot Proficiency with several additional orders in progress. The Frasca RTD is easily reconfigurable between different aircraft models including the Cessna 172 and Piper Seminole and between legacy and Garmin G1000 avionics. The RTD is built using robust hardware for reliability and features a browser based Instructor Operator Station (IOS) which can be controlled by phone, tablet or desktop computer. The RTD can be configured with a single or three channel visual display system and includes digital sound simulation.
Benefits of the RTD include easy maintenance and diagnostics and a modular design that takes up minimal floor space and will fit through a standard sized door. The RTD can also be easily installed by the end user and is backed by Frasca’s outstanding customer service. Frasca’s RTD provides a high level of realism that enables the students to transfer a greater amount of learning from the AATD to the aircraft. Frasca’s aerodynamic models have been validated by the FAA on higher level Full Flight Simulators and include physical modelling of all significant components and effects of the aircraft class. The RTD was launched in 2018 at EAA AirVenture and was on display available for test flights this year.
Thirteenth annual electric aircraft symposium lands in Oshkosh
Two dozen of the world’s leading electric aircraft developers and technology experts spoke at the CAFE Foundation’s 13th Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium (EAS) at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, between 20 and 21 July 20-21 (the weekend prior to AirVenture 2019). Electric and hybrid electric powered aircraft have the potential to significantly reduce air transportation costs, carbon emissions and community noise. The CAFE Foundation and Vertical Flight Society have been working to advance electric aviation for many years and have partnered again for this year’s EAS. For example, since the 12th EAS in 2018, four regular participants: Ampaire, Bye Aerospace, Eviation and magniX, have all announced significant aircraft orders or commitments from customers in the flight training, regional airline, business aviation and recreational aircraft markets.
BendixKing certifies new products in time for AirVenture
At AirVenture 2019 at Oshkosh, BendixKing was showing off three STC’d products, some of which have been snagged in the certification process for years. First, the KI300 retrofit EFIS, which the company calls AeroFlight. The big news surrounding the KI300 is that it can replace the aging and maintenance-intensive King KI256/255 vacuum-driven autopilot gyro that’s an integral component in a variety of King KFC-series autopilots. Priced at $5330, the KI300 has a backup battery for powering the display for up to one hour, has speed and altitude tapes (which can be turned off) and can be installed as the primary (or backup) attitude indicator as long as the airspeed and altimeter indicators are retained. The initial STC includes the Piper PA46 series, but the company said a wide variety of approvals will follow within weeks.
BendixKing was also showing the now-certified KFC230 AeroCruze autopilot, which is designed as a drop-in replacement for the KFC/KAP 150, 200 and 225-series analogue autopilots. Priced at around $10,000, the AeroCruze uses most of the existing autopilot wiring (the mounting tray needs to be changed) as well as the existing autopilot servos. The KFC230 has a colour touchscreen feature set, which has a screen layout that can be custom configured. BendixKing is also covering the existing autopilot servos with a two-year warranty after the installing dealer confirms that they work correctly.
Lastly, the AeroVue Touch retrofit EFIS system that BendixKing was showing for experimental aircraft at last year’s AirVenture now has an STC for hundreds of certified aircraft. Priced at $14,995, the system has a near 4K display resolution and comes standard with Honeywell’s synthetic vision, electronics charting provided by Seattle Avionics and a wireless Bluetooth interface. The AeroVue Touch is compatible with third-party avionics including Garmin and Avidyne GPS navigators and can display a variety of traffic and weather sensors. At the media briefing, BendixKing announced a new partnership with Pipistrel to equip the new Pipistrel Alpha King training aircraft with the AeroVue Touch and other BendixKing electronics. It said there will be more product announcements and certifications in the immediate future and we’ll report on them as they develop.
Pipistrel displayed extensive aircraft line-up at AirVenture
International aircraft designers and manufacturer Pipistrel, was set to once again ‘electri-fly’ the annual EAA AirVenture Fly-In and Tradeshow in Oshkosh. Pipistrel displayed its extensive selection of aircraft, with a special emphasis on revolutionary, new, electrically-powered, training aircraft, including:
Pipistrel Virus SW, a two-place, Rotax-powered high-wing LSA
Pipistrel Sinus FLEX, multi-purpose, two-place, high wing, Rotax-powered LSA
Pipistrel ALPHA Trainer, Technologically Advanced Aircraft (TAA) for the flight training markets
Pipistrel ALPHA Electro, a two-place, high wing, fully electric aircraft. The first LSA accepted electric aircraft in the world.
The Pipistrel 801 eVTOL electric aircraft 50% scale model, a leading contender in the UBER programme
AirVenture attendees can also see Riley Speidel’s Pipistrel Sinus that was used by the youngest solo pilot to cross the USA coast-to-coast at age 14. The airplane will be on display at the soaring Society of America site.
ATP purchases Skyhawk fleet
At AirVenture ATP Flight School signed an agreement with Textron Aviation for orders and options for up to 100 Cessna 172 Skyhawks. According to ATP, the new aircraft will be supplementing and replacing aircraft in ATPs fleet and will be used exclusively by students in the school’s Airline Career Pilot Programme. The agreement extends through 2023. “Our students count on us to provide them with the most efficient path to the airlines and we rely on the Cessna Skyhawk for delivering on the commitment,” said ATP President Justin Dennis. “Continuing to invest in our students’ success with this fleet order allows us to put the best training aircraft into their hands, setting the foundation they’ll carry with them throughout their career as they go on to fly for our airline partners and every major US airline.” ATP operates a fleet of over 375 aircraft and says it flies approximately 31,000 hours per month. The school’s fleet currently includes 162 Skyhawks, 20 of which it has taken delivery of over the last year. ATP also operates Piper Seminoles and Piper Archer TXs.
Lycoming introduces electronic ignition
Lycoming debuted a new electronic ignition meant to be a bolt-on replacement for conventional magnetos. Dubbed the Electronic Ignition System (EIS), the devices have no internal moving parts and slip right into conventional magneto housings on four-cylinder Lycoming engines. Currently the EIS is available only for the experimental market but the company is working toward FAA certification for retrofits. One exception is the CarbonCub XCub, which debuted this system with its CC393i. Also, six-cylinder versions are in development. For experimental aircraft, variable timing will be available later via a built-in sensor to measure manifold pressure and assign a variable ignition curve based on estimated load. Lycoming says the EIS will have one advance curve only and be factory configured for each engine model. For now, though, the available EIS modules are fixed timing only.
For certified aircraft, the EIS initially will be configured for fixed timing, just like a magneto. The initial approvals are expected in the third quarter of this year, with Lycoming continuing development of a variable-advance version in early 2020. In either fixed or variable timing configuration, the EIS requires ship’s power to function; it is not self-powering. Because of this, Lycoming recommends retaining one conventional magneto when a redundant power source is not available. For dual installations in certified aircraft, Lycoming expects to provide an external, redundant power source. For experimental types, builders are encouraged to construct electrical systems with sufficient redundancy or purchase the Lycoming-built backup battery system.
Epic Aircraft approved for type inspection authorisation
At AirVenture Epic Aircraft, manufacturer of high performance, all carbon fibre, single-engine turboprop aircraft, announced it has been approved for Type Inspection Authorisation (TIA) by the FAA. TIA allows FAA pilots to conduct the final phases of conformity inspections and flight testing. It is also a crucial precursor to type certification (TC), as it confirms the aircraft design, structural and flight test results demonstrate compliance with FAA regulations. Just days ago, Epic also completed the last of over 4000 company-conforming flight tests, concluding another key certification milestone.
Epic launched FT1, its first flight test article, in December 2015. FT2, the second and final flight test article, joined the programme in January 2018. Both aircraft have flown over 1000 combined flight hours, completing all critical FAA test flight manoeuvres and confirming handling quality and capabilities. “In addition to complying with FAA-required protocols, flight testing allows us to assess, monitor and improve certain operational features and functions,” explains King. “Last year, we saw an opportunity to boost engine performance by further optimising the airflow induction system. As a result, we are now seeing industry leading cruise and climb rates throughout the FL340 service ceiling. We also enhanced pilot safety and ease of use with improved lighting, rigging, flight controls positions, and a stick/shaker pusher stall protection system,” added King. “While these enhancements caused some delays, we believe the performance and safety benefits justified the schedule trade offs.”
The company completed structural testing last summer, one of the more demanding phases of its TC programme, as FAA-mandated structural strength requirements for carbon fibre designs are higher than those imposed on metal aircraft. Epic manufacturing has doubled its composite fabrication capacity, invested heavily in tooling and equipment, as well as refined workflows to accelerate E1000 production ramp. The company is currently running two production shifts, with plans to expand operations later this fall. The first three E1000 customer aircraft are in various stages of fabrication, bonding and assembly, slated for delivery immediately following TC. Epic has nearly 90 confirmed E1000 reservations from around the US, as well as Canada, Mexico, Central / South America, Europe, Russia, South Africa and Australia. Priced at $3.25 million fully-equipped, Epic offers uncompromising performance at a price point well below the competition. The sleek E1000 all-composite airframe, powered by the 1200- horsepower Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67A engine, cruises at speeds over 330 knots, with a range of 1,650+ nautical miles and a full-fuel payload of 1,100 pounds.
Drone delivery of temperature-sensitive medicines demonstrated
A consortium led by humanitarian aid organization Direct Relief has announced the successful completion of a programme testing the potential to deliver temperature-controlled medicines and vaccines by using unmanned aerial vehicles. It is the fourth in a series of proof-of-concept missions the group has undertaken to demonstrate the potential of using UAVs to safely deliver temperature-dependent medicines and vaccines to hard-to-reach locations. Direct Relief, Merck (known as MSD outside the U.S. and Canada), Softbox, AT&T and Volans-i are working together on the project.
The successful pilot and the potential of UAV technology could represent an important step forward in biopharmaceutical supply chain innovation and for humanitarian efforts around the world. The pilot was conducted in the Bahamas. The group previously conducted test flights in Switzerland and Puerto Rico. While the technology is promising, the potential viability of the technology for real-world application will depend on several factors, including tackling diverse and evolving regulatory challenges around the world. The pilot test was conducted fully autonomously with cold-chain delivery technology allowing for precise temperature control of medicines and vaccines at temperatures as low as minus 70 degrees Celsius, the temperature required for storing and transporting some life-saving medicines and vaccines. It utilized live, continuous temperature tracking through the duration of the flight with cloud-based, real-time data analysis and collection, designed to ensure safe and effective delivery. In the test, a UAV flew over open water between the islands of the Bahamas, beyond the operator’s line of sight. Volans-i built and operated the all-electric drones and the temperature-controlled payload box was developed by Softbox and connected by AT&T. Merck initiated the idea and provides supply chain expertise. The collaborators will now advance the pilot programme so the technology can be tested in Africa and Latin America. The group of organisations involved in the successful pilot plan to continue to explore ways in which this technology can be used to deliver life-saving medicines and vaccines to the communities that need them most.
How drones are a powerful force for good
Every time drones hit the headlines it seems to be for the wrong reasons; usually shutting major airports down. However, a drone expert says they are a powerful force for good with many positive uses that can benefit our society and even our history. Former RAF fighter pilot and instructor Jon Parker, who now runs UK drone training company Flyby Technology said: “People often ask ‘so what are drones used for?’ and the answer is they do far more good than you may have ever imagined.” Drones can be used to carry out exceptionally detailed surveys on buildings, saving a fortune in scaffolding and time. Drones harness the very latest technology yet are used by the likes of the National Trust and Historic England to carry out detailed surveys of some of the UK’s oldest and most outstanding historic buildings.
For example, Drones on Demand, based in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, was commissioned by Ecclesiastical Insurance to take drone footage of historical landmarks and they have already done Blenheim Palace and Worcester Cathedral, getting into the nooks and crannies invisible to the naked eye and virtually impossible to reach for a manual inspection. This has included roofs, gutters and ornate features and the drone footage showed up loose slates and stonework along with missing pointing and places where water was gathering which could have caused serious damage if it wasn’t sorted out. Jon said: “Drones don’t just carry cameras, they can also use laser scanners and highly specialist imaging units to capture precise measurements on buildings.”
The National Trust says images taken by drones are used on its website and publications to show breath taking properties from angles visitors will have never seen before. Laser-mapping of the properties by drones will lead to 3D models being created as a way of helping visitors to understand why they were built the way they are or, if they are in ruins, recreate what they once looked like. The National Trust is also responsible for 1,000 square miles of countryside so drone footage will show up where bridges, walls, paths and fences need maintenance work.
Drones were deployed in the aftermath of severe flooding in Lincolnshire in June which left many homes under water and without power in Wainfleet near Skegness. This led to a state of emergency being declared so the Lincolnshire Police Drone team took to the skies to help the Environment Agency get a full picture of the severe impact the flood was having on the area. Jon said: “Drones and aircraft aren’t supposed to mix yet Air New Zealand is one of several airline companies now using drones to massively reduce the time it takes engineers to inspect an aircraft. They are doing an inspection job that used to take six hours for an engineer on a lift just one or two hours instead. It’s far more cost-effective having highly trained engineers working on planes to maintain or repair them than spending ages checking them over. This also means any repairs can be started sooner and the aircraft is back in the air faster.”
Drones are increasingly used by the military, saving the need to put pilots, soldiers and sailors at risk. Jon has listed a few of the other ways drones can be deployed in a positive way and the list is constantly growing. They are used by the emergency services for search and rescue to go along river banks or up into rocky crags and cliff faces searching for missing people; by oil and gas companies to survey their rigs at sea; analyse major construction projects from the air; by estate agents to capture amazing images of high value property for sale and tiny drones can even film 360 degree walk-throughs inside; inspecting power lines and power pylons for bird’s nests, lightning strikes, rust / corrosion and damaged bolts; inspecting bridges and other high structures that are incredibly difficult to reach. The film industry is saving a fortune by using drones instead of helicopters for aerial filming; video and photos taken by drones operated by news organisations add massively to the way stories are reported and far more cheaply and safely than hiring helicopters; security companies use drones for large, sprawling sites and they can stream live pictures if an alarm is triggered.
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Athol Franz (Editor)