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Nobody who has not been up in the sky on a glorious morning can possibly imagine the way a pilot feels in free heaven. William T. Piper
African Pilot’s week in Oshkosh
African Pilot’s office in Oshkosh was packed up on Sunday ready for the long trip back to South Africa. What a week this has been with more than 220 campers in Neil Bowden’s camp ‘Plakkerfontein!’ It has been a wonderful experience to meet with so many fellow South African, Namibian, Zimbabwean, Botswanan and other aviators from all of the sub-continent. There was a group of 43 from East London the border Aviation club and Wings Park. Then there were the UK aviators who also joined Neil’s wonderful Oshkosh camping experience. Every single person with whom I spoke was exceptionally complimentary about the way Neil and his assistants from AirAdventure Tours manage this annual pilgrimage to the ‘Greatest Aviation Show’ on Earth. As always, our American EAA hosts are incredibly friendly and welcome ALL visiting guests with open arms.
Once again, the various afternoon and night as well as forums kept everyone entertained throughout the day and well into the evenings. On Saturday the ‘Big Iron’ USAF show was brilliant with tankers simulating the air to air refueling of two F22 Raptors, B-52 bomber overhead, C-130 tanker, F-16s, F15s and other US Air Force aircraft. As always, the September edition of African Pilot will be filled with news from Oshkosh as well as beautiful pictures of the airshows.
African Pilot’s August 2018 edition
The main features of the August edition are African Pilot’s annual Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) survey as well as the annual feature on the two Nelspruit Airports. This edition also features the Botswana Race for Rhinos that was covered by Charlie and Fiona Hugo as well as the Drones Conference that I attended. The magazine completed its printing phase last week and will be fully distributed this week.
African Pilot’s September 2018 edition
Late in 2017 African Pilot was appointed as a media partner with AAD2018 and we will be exhibiting at the show between Wednesday 19 and Sunday 23 September. African Pilot is offering ALL aviation companies exhibiting at AAD2018 the opportunity to showcase their business and what they will be featuring at AAD2018. This Special AAD feature will be contained within the September 2018 edition that will be fully distributed by the end of August a few weeks ahead of the AAD exhibition at AFB Waterkloof. In order to ensure that every exhibitor at AAD2018 receives a FREE copy of the September edition, we will be increasing the print run for this edition. This bumper edition will also contain African Pilot’s annual EAA AirVenture 2018 report, the Farnborough report as well as our annual Avionics and Instrumentation report. The reason for this is that most Avionics OEMs launch their new kit at AirVenture every year and I try to attend every launch at the exhibition show stands at Oshkosh.
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 have also developed aviation news blasts within the week. We have re-designed the option for the electronic version of African Pilot to be uploaded via our website.
The cost of a single download is 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. In an effort to increase our digital footprint, African Pilot’s digital edition has now been made available on just about every digital device in production today, including iPads and iPhones through the iTunes Store, all Android devices through Google’s Play Store, Windows 8, Kindle Fire, Nook and Web. We have achieved this by partnering with a multitude of digital publishing platforms, the most noteworthy of which is Magzter, the world’s largest digital magazine newsstand with over 10 000+ magazines in its catalogue. Subscribers through our own website will still be able to enjoy the magazine as a download at:
Video of the week
Crawl through a B-29 Superfortress IN FLIGHT! Plus real-time procedures / ATC – Oshkosh AirVenture!
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
What happened in aviation over the past week?
Nothing to show for R133 million at Centurion Aerospace village
According to the Democratic Alliance (DA), what was supposed to provide a proper foot in the door for small and medium-sized enterprises to South Africa’s aerospace industry has, become another millstone around the neck of the South African taxpayer. The political party reports that the Centurion Aerospace Village (CAV) adjacent to AFB Waterkloof has absorbed R133 million spent in the 12 years since its establishment was announced.
CAV was launched in 2006 by DTI to create thousands highly skilled niche jobs by capacitating local aerospace and defence companies as suppliers of choice to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as Boeing, Airbus, Spirit Aviation and Labinal. “The reality is none of these jobs have been created and the entity’s executive management are nothing but glorified housekeepers who spend millions of taxpayers’ money on a project that has brought no tangible benefits to the job creation focus on which it was conceived. When it was launched a DTI document described the purpose of the CAV as being a home for the development of a sustainable supplier base to the aerospace sector creating ‘high tech industry clusters through selection of higher levels of sub-tier supply on the basis of established core competence and established supply to higher tier suppliers, with subsequent phases offering opportunities for new SMME entrants in the aviation sector.’
“Notwithstanding clear evidence the CAV has become a DTI vanity project, the DA delegation was told only one senior official was dismissed from the company after allegations of fraud, corruption and reckless tender appointments surfaced in 2015.” This week’s DA visit follows an allegation made by Atkinson in September 2015 that the CAV was “a vacant plot of barren land, characterised by a few piles of sand and enclosed by a rusted barbed wire fence”. At that time the DTI said there was one tenant in the development “a global supplier of aircraft components”. The DA MP said at the time the company was identified as AeroSud, which is not part of the CAV. AeroSud is headquartered on land adjacent to that of the CAV on the eastern side of AFB Waterkloof.
Atkinson will be writing to Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies requesting he intervenes to ensure the CAV starts fulfilling its mandate of creating jobs and makes meaningful progress in the next six months. “Should this intervention fail, the Minister must then consider redirecting the entity’s budget towards supporting small business players in the aerospace and defence industry who are struggling to compete with established players in local and international defence markets,” he said.
South African Civil Aviation Authority clears SA Express for take-off
Last week the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) reinstated South African Express’ Air Operator Certificate (AOC), clearing the airline for the resumption of operations. This development comes just over a month after the regional airline managed to get its Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO) approval successfully reinstated by the SACAA. With these two crucial certificates successfully reinstated, this means that SA Express can now conduct scheduled commercial operations as an airline. In addition to successfully reinstating its AOC and AMO certificates, South African Express has also managed to get Certificates of Airworthiness for two of its aircraft. As such, the airline is in the meantime permitted to operate with only two of its aircraft.
Aero Club of South Africa (AeCSA)
Every second year the African Aerospace and Defence (AAD) show takes place at AFB Waterkloof and this year the dates are 19 to 23 September 2018. As in the past, this year the AeCSA will be hosting a Recreational Aviation exhibition, where all manner of recreational aviation will be showcased, especially the 12 aviation disciplines of the AeCSA. The members of Aero Club have the opportunity and ideal platform for engaging in dialogue and to showcase their aircraft at a key International event amongst the top six exhibitions in the world, with a three-day trade exhibition which is open to media and trade visitors and a two-day general public airshow. For more information about the Airshow and Exhibition please visit the AAD website: www.aadexpo.co.za. Please contact the AeCSA if you would like to have your aircraft showcased in the Fun Fly Park at AAD2018 E-mail: email@example.com
What is scheduled for the next few weeks?
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 3551 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA Grand Central Fun Rally Grand Central Airport Midrand
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 804 7032
15 & 16 September
SAC Judges Trophy Tzaneen airfield TBC
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
19 to 23 September
Africa Aerospace and Defence AAD2018 website: www.aadexpo.co.za
Contact: Leona Redlinghuis Cell: 084 840 3215 for exhibition bookings.
SAPFA Secunda Fun Rally Secunda Airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 855 9435
20 & 21 October
SAC North-West Regionals Klerksdorp airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
6 to 8 November
Dubai Helishow Royal Pavilion Al Maktoum Airport
Contact Mr Abel Bajamunde E-mail: email@example.com
SAPFA EAA Sun ‘n Fun Adventure Rally Brits Airfield
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 804 7032
Aero Club of South Africa awards dinner 17h00 onwards
Contact E-mail: email@example.com
SAPFA Fun Rally at Springs Airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 855 9435
1 & 2 December
SAC ACE of Base Brits airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Ethiopian Airlines and DHL Global Forwarding sign agreement
The company will be based in Ethiopia and do business in the entire continent of Africa, enhancing Ethiopia’s logistics infrastructure and connections. Ethiopian Airlines, which assumes a majority stake in this joint venture, will provide regulatory and operational support as DHL Global Forwarding establishes air, ocean and road freight connections between Ethiopia’s main trade hubs and the rest of the world. Pramod Bagalwadi, a DHL veteran with over two decades of experience in management roles within the logistics industry, has been appointed to lead the new organisation. This will be an additional portfolio for Pramod, who currently leads the Industrial Projects Team for DHL in Sub-Saharan Africa and a strategic business partner for the company in the region.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Germanwings: EU publishes new rules on mental fitness of air crew
Since the 2015 tragedy of Germanwings Flight 9525, the European aviation community has been mobilized to work towards strengthening the continent’s aviation safety. As a result, on 25 July 2018, the Commission of the European Union (EU) published new safety rules; referred to as ‘The Regulation’ on air operations, including new provisions to better support the mental fitness of air crew.
The deliberate crash, as it was declared by French investigators, the Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses (BEA) of Germanwings Flight 9225 by co-pilot Andreas Lubitz in March 2015, shocked the aviation world, spurring everyone in the industry to remember that the medical and psychological conditions of flight crews, if not detected, can lead to a fatal outcome. The tragedy resulted in new rules in the UK, Germany, Canada, Australia and New Zealand among others, requiring two members of flight crew to be in the cockpit at all times. Meanwhile, the EU flagged the mandatory psychological testing in 2016 but the new rules were not published until this week.
The EU regulation
According to the Official Journal of the EU, The Regulation, which is to be directly applicable in all member states, includes the following safety measures:
Support programme: all pilots working for European airlines will have access to a support program that will assist and support pilots in recognizing, coping with, and overcoming problems which might negatively affect their ability to safely exercise the privileges of their license.
Alcohol testing: As an additional safety barrier, alcohol testing of pilots and cabin crew for all European and foreign airlines who fly into the territories of the European Union, has been added. Alcohol testing is already a well-established practice in some Member States and with this Regulation alcohol testing will now be extended to all EU Member States within the next two years.
Psychological assessment: European airlines will perform a psychological assessment of their pilots before the start of employment.
Some of these practices are already well-established in many EU states but it will be extended to all member states within two years.
The EASA response
Commenting on the publication of the new safety measures, the European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) Executive Director, Patrick Ky, said: “These new European rules take up the proposals EASA made in its swift follow-up of the Germanwings Flight 9525 accident, in consultation with the wider aviation community. With these rules Europe introduces the right tools to safeguard the mental fitness of air crew.” EASA went on to clarify that as part of a system-wide approach, the new rules (so-called Air OPS Implementing Rules) complement the proposals the agency issued to the European Commission back in August 2016, on the update of medical requirements for pilots (contained in the so-called Part-MED).
Among the EASA’s 2016 proposals were the following requirements:
- Strengthening the initial and recurrent medical examination of pilots, by including drugs and alcohol screening, comprehensive mental health assessment, as well as improved follow-up in case of medical history of psychiatric conditions
- Increasing the quality of aero-medical examinations, by improving the training, oversight and assessment of aero-medical examiners
- Preventing fraud attempts, by requiring aero-medical centers and AMEs to report all incomplete medical assessments to the competent authority.
The Regulation includes a two-year transition period to allow airlines and member states to prepare for the new measures and to set up the necessary infrastructure. The Regulation itself will apply from 14 August 2020.
P&W’s geared turbofan for Airbus A220 achieves FAA ETOPS certification
Pratt & Whitney’s PW1500G engine has been granted 180-minute Extended Range Operations (ETOPS) certification by the FAA. ETOPS certification sets the maximum allowed amount of single-engine flying time that an aircraft can be from the nearest suitable airport. Pratt & Whitney’s PW1500G engine exclusively powers the Airbus A220-100 and A220-300 aircraft fleet. To date, the GTF-powered Airbus A220 fleet has flown nearly 150,000 engine flight hours with three operators, traveling to 145 destinations. The GTF engines continue to meet performance benefits including up to 20% lower fuel consumption, 50% reduction in NOx emissions to the regulatory standard and 75% reduction in noise footprint.
Malaysia pledges final report on flight MH370 with no redactions
On 30 July Malaysia has promised it will release the long-awaited full and final report on the findings into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. The hunt for the missing aircraft officially ended in May 2018 without any significant results, marking the end of the four year-long multi-national investigation into the disappearance of the Boeing 777 jetliner. On 29 May 2018, the Malaysian government called off a privately-funded underwater search for the missing aircraft by the US-based company Ocean Infinity. Its search vessel, the Seabed Constructor, had been scouring the southern Indian Ocean since January 2018, covering 43,243 square miles (112,000 square km) within three months. Infinity failed to identify any significant findings. It was the second major search for the aircraft after Australia, China and Malaysia ended their fruitless $147.06 million search across an area of 46,332 square miles (120,000 square km) in 2017.
Upon terminating the contract with Ocean Infinity, Malaysia’s Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook confirmed that the government would publish a full report on the investigation. According to Loke, the investigation team would brief families of those aboard on the report at the Transport Ministry. The closed-door briefing will be followed by a news conference and the report published online, with hard copies distributed to families and accredited media, among others. “The whole international community will have access to the report,” he assured. The report has been written by the investigation team assembled under Annex 13 of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Besides the analysis used to determine the search areas for the aircraft, the Annex 13 investigation could look into possible causes of the accident. The investigation team involves representatives from seven international air crash investigation organisations from Australia, China, France, Indonesia, Singapore, the UK and the US.
Yet another speed record for Virgin Galactic unity rocket plane
Virgin Galactic tested the suborbital rocket plane VSS Unity for the third time on 26 July 2018, above the Mojave Desert of California, in the United States. This time, the plane reached the mesosphere. After its carrier VMS Eve, developed by Scaled Composites, dropped it at an altitude of 14km, VSS Unity fired off its rocket engine for about 42 seconds. The plane managed to reach an altitude of 52 kilometers, halfway to the border of space, while attaining a top speed of about 3 050 km/h, two and a half times the speed of sound. Comparatively, Concorde top speed was 2 179 km/h. While many other test flights are planned before VSS Unity can enter service, Richard Branson expects to see the plane operational by the end of 2018, according to Bloomberg. “Before the end of the year I hope to be sitting in a Virgin Galactic spaceship, going to space,” said the entrepreneur. The flights will be priced at $250,000 per person. Scotland and Italy already signed up to become spaceports for the plane.
Skydivers drop into AirVenture
On 26 July a number of skydiving activities took place during the airshow celebrating an area of aviation that has been less prevalent at AirVenture in past years. The Red Bull Air Force amazed the crowds with cutting-edge demonstrations and an AirVenture first, a low-altitude base jump from the famous Red Bull helicopter. The Red Bull Air Force wingsuit pilots demonstrated their manoverability while the Red Bull helicopter and Kirby Chambliss in his Red Bull Edge 540 flew formation aerobatics with the wingsuits.
The Patriot Parachute Team, consisting of US military veterans, is well-known for opening most of the afternoon and evening airshows with a patriotic display of the American flag during the national anthem.
On Wednesday, the team demonstrated what it takes to be an elite US Navy SEAL and a member of one of the premier skydiving demonstration teams in the nation.
The International Skydiving Museum Eagles, named in honour of the Eagles aerobatic team, this year included 65 jumpers, plus one cameraman, from eight countries. The team, consisting of 57 men and 9 women with a total of 384,008 jumps between them, ranges in age from 42 to 80 years old. The formation that was built over the top of AirVenture was an aircraft propeller and it was intended to be a tribute to the aviators and aviation enthusiasts.
The Vertical Elite team of 13 skydivers streaked across the night sky from miles above the ground to be part of a sensational show. Diving with their heads toward the Earth, they accelerate to 170 mph, with formations of skeletal LED visuals and pyrotechnics lighting up the sky before they land feet from the night airshow attendees.
ATP Flight School orders 10 Skyhawks from Textron Aviation
At Oshkosh Textron Aviation that long-time customer ATP Flight School has placed an order for 10 Cessna Skyhawk 172 aircraft; growing the school’s fleet of Skyhawk pistons to nearly 150 of which 50 have been delivered 2016. The 10 Skyhawks feature Garmin G1000 NXi avionics with autopilot technology that complies with the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) recently implemented Technically Advanced Aircraft (TAA) rule. Under this rule, students can exclusively train in the Cessna Skyhawk to complete both their commercial rating and their check rides for commercial and certified flight instructor (CFI) ratings. In 2017, Textron Aviation delivered 129 Skyhawk aircraft, furthering establishing it as the flight trainer of choice for pilots and flight schools around the world. With more than 44,000 put in to service, the Cessna Skyhawk has trained more pilots than any other platform.
Cessna shows full-scale Denali turboprop mock-up at AirVenture
At AirVenture last week, Textron Aviation proved that the Cessna Denali single-engine turboprop is getting closer to flight testing, displaying a full-scale mock-up of the entire passenger cabin and cockpit. The mock-up, which had a fully assembled executive interior with aft seats removed to accommodate a motorcycle, also had Garmin’s G3000 integrated avionics. Initially introduced in 2015, Textron unveiled the aircraft’s cabin concept in 2016 and has been fine-tuning the Denali’s cabin and cockpit after gathering input from its customer base. The aircraft has larger cabin windows, larger seats, a modular refreshment center and an aft-located serviceable belted lavatory, which can be removed by the crew if it needs to use the space for cargo or additional seating. The executive interior accommodates six individual reclining passenger seats, club-configured tables and a refreshment center. In a commuter configuration, the cabin accommodates nine forward-facing seats. Designed using cues form Textron’s large-cabin business jets, the company says the Denali has the largest flat-floor design of any airplane in the class.
The Denali will be powered by the 1240 shaft horsepower full FADEC-controlled Catalyst engine, which was developed by GE Aviation. It will have a digitally optimised single-lever engine / propeller control and mated with a 105-inch diameter McCauley five-blade constant-speed composite propeller, which has reversible pitch and ice protection. The GE engine will have a 4000-hour TBO and the aircraft will have a 1600 NM high-speed cruise range when loaded with one pilot and four passengers. Textron said the Denali is projected to have cruise speeds in the 285-knot range and full-fuel payload of 1100 pounds. The Denali will have a digital pressurisation system that maintains a 6130-foot cabin altitude at 31,000 feet. A representative from Cessna told me that flight testing is scheduled for early 2019, followed by production of five prototypes, whilst customer deliveries should start early in 2020.
RAF pilot Mary Ellis dies at age 101
Mary Ellis, who flew Spitfires and bombers during World War II, has died at age 101. Ellis was one of 168 women who flew for the Air Transport Auxiliary, which employed civilians to deliver planes from factories to airfields. Nearly 10 percent of the ATA’s pilots were killed during the war, including aviation pioneer Amy Johnson. After the ATA was disbanded in 1945, Ellis flew for the Royal Air Force, where she was one of the first women to fly the Gloster Meteor, Britain’s first jet fighter. After leaving the service, she became manager of the Sandown Airport, on the Isle of Wight, and lived there with her husband, Don, a fellow pilot, who died in 2009. Ellis continued to live at the airport and was still driving daily to the local shops at age 101. “Being an ATA pilot was fantastic,” she said in 2016, when she and fellow ATA pilot Joy Lofthouse were honoured by the royal family in London. “Up in the air on your own and you can do whatever you like. I flew 400 Spitfires and occasionally I would take one up and go and play with the clouds. I would like to do it all over again. There was a war on, but otherwise it was absolutely wonderful.”
United Airlines announces fleet update
Last week United Airlines (UAL) announced orders to purchase 25 new Embraer E-175 and four new Boeing 787-9 aircraft. United expects to take delivery of the Embraer E-175 aircraft in 2019 and expects to take delivery of the Boeing 787-9 aircraft in 2020. The 25 new E-175 aircraft will replace 25 CRJ-700 aircraft currently being flown by our United Express partners. These new E-175 purchases will allow United to offer a more comfortable and efficient aircraft to its customers.
The new 787-9 aircraft are part of United’s widebody fleet replacement strategy. The 787-9 is the longest-range version of the aircraft, while using 20 percent less fuel than older-generation aircraft. It will offer the airline’s all-new United Polaris business class seats and other modern amenities to provide a superior onboard experience to United’s customers.
GECAS, Boeing announce agreement for 35 737-800 Boeing converted freighters
The deal, which includes 20 firm orders and an option for 15 more, would take GECAS’ 737-800BCF order book from 15 to 50 and enable GECAS to serve the growing express air cargo market. The commercial aircraft leasing and financing arm of General Electric is the launch customer of the new 737-800BCF. It took delivery of the first converted jet in April and leased it to a Swedish cargo carrier.
This agreement, which is subject to GECAS board approval, would take the total commitments for the 737-800BCF program to 80 from more than half a dozen customers. The 737-800BCF carries more payload (up to 52,800 lbs) and flies farther (2,000 nautical miles) than 737 Classic freighters. The converted jet also offers operators newer technology, better fuel efficiency and reliability than previous standard-body freighters. Existing 737-800 passenger airplanes are modified at multiple facilities, including Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services Co. Ltd. and Taikoo (Shandong) Aircraft Engineering Co. Ltd., also known as STAECO, in China. Modifications include installing a large main-deck cargo door, a cargo-handling system and accommodations for up to four non-flying crew members or passengers.
KC-46 programme completes flight testing required for first delivery to USAF
Boeing and US Air Force teams recently achieved a major KC-46 tanker programme milestone, completing all flight testing required for first delivery. Last week, the KC-46 team concluded both its Military Type Certification testing and receiver certification testing with various USAF aircraft. Receiver certification, which began in April, was conducted from Boeing Field in Seattle and Edwards Air Force Base, California. As part of the testing, KC-46 and receiver aircraft flew at different airspeeds, altitudes and configurations to ensure compatibility and performance throughout the refueling envelope of each receiver. The KC-46 test team completed STC flight testing in April and is now working through associated paperwork prior to the STC award. The programme has six aircraft that have supported various segments of STC and MTC testing. Together these aircraft have completed 3,300 flight hours and offloaded two million pounds of fuel during refuelling flights with F-16, F/A-18, AV-8B, C-17, A-10, KC-10 and KC-46 aircraft. The KC-46, derived from Boeing’s commercial 767 airframe, is built in the company’s Everett, Washington facility.
Epic Aircraft at AirVenture
Epic Aircraft is aiming for certification of its big E1000 turboprop single by the end of the year with deliveries to begin by 2019. At a news conference at AirVenture 2018, Mike Schrader, director of sales and marketing, said the plan is to build eight to 12 customer aircraft in 2019, 24 in 2020, 36 in 2021 and reach full production of 50 in 2022. “We are fully funded and we are fully committed,” Schrader said. The company is owned by a Russian aerospace firm that also owns an airline and has been fully supportive of the project, said Schrader.
Schrader said the company is also adding a second manufacturing facility at its Bend, Oregon, headquarters to accommodate the anticipated growth. The last big milestone was structural testing and that was completed just before the show. That included testing the wing to 19,000 pounds with a 31-inch deflection and inflating the pressure vessel to 18 psi, almost three times the 6.6 psi operating pressure differential. New equipment has been added and 24-hour production will ultimately be possible.
Mooney aims for 50 per year
Mooney hopes to build 20 aircraft this year as it continues its re-entry to the high-performance single market. At a news conference at AirVenture, Director of Marketing Lance Phillips said the company is planning to ramp up to 40 aircraft next year with a goal of maintaining about 50 aircraft a year after that. Australian certification of the latest two-door models of the Acclaim and Ultra will open a market that has been historically strong for Mooney. Moony is borrowing a few marketing ideas from the automotive industry as it ramps up its business and a familiar name is again associated with the brand.
Mooney has entered a marketing alliance with iconic carmaker Porsche. However, there will be no technical cross pollination. In the 1980s, Mooney and Porsche certified the PFM 3200 an aviation version of the six-cylinder boxer engine in its 911 sports car for aircraft and while it attracted a lot of attention it didn’t sell well. One of the automotive-style marketing ideas for new Mooneys is called Fill and Fly. For the first three years, new Mooney owners will only pay for fuel in most cases. The company will cover all the scheduled maintenance and consumables in the first three years.
BlackFly multirotor makes AirVenture debut
The concept of home-to-office personal flight is sweeping the nation, and it seems multirotor ideas are cropping up each week. The Silicon Valley start-up VTOL BlackFly is showing particular promise and recently demonstrated flying prototypes under the ultralight category. It arrived at aviation’s Mecca this week. The carbon-fibre BlackFly is equipped with eight electric motors. Each motor weighs four pounds and generates 130 pounds of thrust. The company has been testing motor-rotor sets for more than three and half years, covering a distance equivalent to 20 circumnavigations of the globe. There are two batteries per each engine-rotor pod and they are constantly being monitored.
“The control systems in each wing are triple redundant, leaving room for system failures,” said Alan Eustace, director and salesperson for Opener Inc. Eustace served as senior vice president of knowledge at Google and has held the world record for highest-altitude free-fall jump since 24 October 2014.
The BlackFly is restricted to 62 MPH in the United States. The BlackFly’s unique canted wings fore and aft provide lift in level flight, easing the burden on the lift rotors. With a 25 percent reserve, it can fly for about 25 miles before a recharge. With a regular 110-volt outlet, it can charge in seven hours, and in only one hour using a 220-volt outlet. Whilst version three has not yet flown, version two has made more than 500 take-offs and landings, often with worst-case-scenario engine failures programmed into the test card.
“It was built completely with safety in mind,” Eustace said. Like a modern drone, the BlackFly has a “go to home” feature and also auto-land and a ballistic parachute. Version three of the BlackFly will be available for purchase in 2019. While it does not yet have a price, Eustace said it will be “competitive with the price of an SUV.”
Terrafugia updates Transition
Flying car company Terrafugia has announced that its Transition will be getting some new features and upgrades prior to the scheduled arrival of the first production vehicles next year. The updates involve some significant alterations, including the addition of a hybrid-electric motor for use when the roadable aircraft is in drive mode. The motor uses a lithium iron phosphate battery, which according to the company is ‘much safer than other lithium battery chemistries.’
Terrafugia also announced that Dynon will be providing an electronic flight information system and BRS a full airframe parachute for the Transition. “Developing this new technology has allowed us to test several different mechanisms and generate process improvements along the way,” said Terrafugia CEO Chris Jaran. “We are at the critical point where we can implement the best design features based on years of flight and drive testing.” Other updates include an inflight power boost feature, remodelled interior, more cargo space, improved seat belts, airbags and three rear-view cameras.
Terrafugia plans to certify the two-seat Transition as a light sport aircraft and has already received take-off weight and stall speed exemptions from the FAA to that effect. In the air, it cruises at 100 MPH, has a range of 400 miles and a useful load of 500 pounds. Maximum take-off weight for the aircraft is 1,800 pounds and the stall speed is 54 knots. The Transition has also been built to comply with National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration standards. The Transition first flew at AirVenture 2013 and was on display at Oshkosh again this year.
FAA reports that 100 thousand Remote Pilot Certificates have been issued
At AirVenture the FAA reported that more than 100,000 enthusiasts have obtained a Remote Pilot Certificate to fly a drone for commercial and recreational (not qualifying as ‘model aircraft’) use since the FAA small drone rule went into effect on 29 August 2016. Under Part 107, the person actually flying a drone; formally an ‘unmanned aircraft system’ (UAS) must have a Remote Pilot Certificate or be directly supervised by someone with such a certificate. The majority of drone pilots get certified by studying online materials and then passing an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA approved knowledge testing center. The exam success rate is 92 percent. If you already have a Part 61 pilot certificate and have completed a flight review in the previous 24 months, you have the option to take a small UAS online training course provided by the FAA to obtain your certificate. It’s important to remember that a Remote Pilot Certificate is valid for two years from the date of issue. Anyone who earned their certificate at the end of August or in September 2016 should review the certification renewal requirements and prepare to take recurrent training or testing.
FAA asserts drone authority
The FAA has ‘exclusive authority’ over United States airspace and air traffic control, the agency asserted last week, responding to efforts by cities and towns to regulate drone use. “State and local governments are not permitted to regulate any type of aircraft operations, such as flight paths or altitudes, or the navigable airspace,” the FAA said. Congress has provided the FAA with exclusive authority to regulate aviation safety, the efficiency of the navigable airspace and air traffic control. However, the regulation of aircraft landing sites does involve local control of land and zoning, the FAA noted and laws traditionally related to state and local police power; such as land use, zoning, privacy and law-enforcement operations generally are not subject to federal regulation.
For example, the FAA said, local laws may be enacted that would require police to obtain a warrant prior to using a drone for surveillance, or to specify that camera-equipped drones may not be used for voyeurism or harassment. Also, laws prohibiting attaching firearms or other weapons to drones can fall under local jurisdiction. The federal Department of Transportation is working on a UAS Integration Pilot Programme that will provide the FAA with insight and recommendations regarding how to best define the various government roles in the process of integrating drones into the national airspace. Ten state, local and tribal governments have been chosen to participate in a pilot programme, working with private-sector partners to explore the options for the integration of drone operations.
Zephyr S set to break aircraft world endurance record
Zephyr S, Airbus’ High-Altitude-Pseudo-Satellite, has surpassed the current flight endurance record of an aircraft without refuelling of 14 days, 22 minutes and 8 seconds and continues to pioneer the stratosphere. The Zephyr aircraft departed for its maiden flight from Arizona, USA on 11 July 2018.
This first flight of the Zephyr S aims to prove and demonstrate the aircraft capabilities, with the final endurance record to be confirmed on landing.
About the Airbus Zephyr programme: solar-powered aircraft, providing a wide scope of applications, ranging for example from maritime surveillance and services, border patrol missions, communications, forest fire detection and monitoring, or navigation. Operating in the stratosphere at an average altitude of 70,000 feet / 21 kilometres, the ultra-lightweight Zephyr has a wingspan of 25 meters and a weigh of less than 75kg and flies above weather (clouds, jet streams) and above regular air traffic, covering local or regional footprints. Ideally suited for ‘local persistence’ (ISR / intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance), the Zephyr has the ability to stay focused on a specific area of interest (which can be hundreds of miles wide) while providing it with satellite-like communications and Earth observation services (with greater imagery granularity) over long periods of time without interruption. Not quite an aircraft and not quite a satellite, but incorporating aspects of both, the Zephyr has the persistence of a satellite with the flexibility of a UAV. The only civil aircraft that used to fly at this altitude was Concorde and only the famous military U2 and SR-71 Blackbird could operate at similar levels. The Zephyr successfully achieved several world records, including the longest flight duration without refuelling.
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