“The past cannot be changed, forgotten, edited or erased… it can only be accepted” Athol Franz
News of devastating Cape to Cairo support plane crash
On Sunday morning we received the sad news that the U-Dream Global Cape to Cairo flight support plane, a Sling 4, crashed shortly after take-off and both pilots Werner Froneman and Des Werner (Megan’s father) were killed. According to Tanzanian officials the crash occurred shortly after take-off from Tabora airport around 07h30 on Saturday. At this stage details are not known, but it appears that the aircraft hit the ground almost vertically and caught fire. This was the same Sling 4 that Mike Blyth and James Pitman flew right around the world some years ago when they also called in at AirVenture. Our sincere condolences go out to the families and friends of the deceased, may their souls rest in that great hangar in the sky.
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 and in addition, this was 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
43 Air School announces new partnership
Based in Port Alfred, 43 Air School announced the signing of an exclusive partnership agreement with Insight Aviation as a trusted partner to select and train ab-initio pilots for the Middle East and Indian market. This follows on the announcement of Indigo Airlines as the launch customer. Insight Aviation offers a comprehensive programme that goes beyond aviation training to include mentoring, professional guidance and preparation for a career in the industry. Under this agreement, selected cadets will undergo flight training exclusively at 43 Air School in Port Alfred, South Africa.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Insight Aviation to deliver this training to Insight Aviation cadets. Insight Aviation was recently selected by India’s largest Airline, IndiGo Airlines, to select and train cadet pilots to meet IndiGo’s growing demand for pilots to cater to their phenomenal fleet growth” said 43 Air School CEO, Attie Niemann
In a press release on Friday, IndiGo said that it has appointed Insight Aviation to select and train ab-initio pilots under the IndiGo Cadet Pilot Programme. Selected cadets will undergo a rigorous three-month ground schooling at Insight Aviation’s training centre in Gurugram, followed by an immersive nine months of flight training at its exclusive authorized FTO 43 Air School (Pty) Ltd in Port Alfred, South Africa. Upon the return of cadets to India, Insight Aviation will manage the conversion of their flying licence from the South African regulator into an Indian DGCA license before they proceed to an authorised aviation training organisation for multi-crew cooperation and type-rating course.
In announcing the tie-up, Captain Ashim Mittra, Senior Vice President for Flight Operations, IndiGo Airlines stated in the press release, “We are happy to introduce this partnership as one of the newest entries into our Cadet Pilot Programme, an initiative that we believe is changing the airline industry in India and providing aspiring pilots with a life-changing opportunity.”
Total South Africa donates 100 000 litres of Jet fuel to SANParks air-wing
On 31 July 2019 Total South Africa, together with their longstanding partners, SANParks, celebrated World Ranger Day aimed at commemorating and honouring rangers (the living and those who have passed on) for the work they do to protect the planet’s natural treasures and cultural heritage with a symbolic handover from Total South Africa to SANParks at the Skukuza -Air Wing hanger, which is a continuation of to support the fight against rhino poaching by sponsoring Jet Fuel for the SANParks Air-wing Project over a period of three years, approximately 100,000 litres per year. Total South Africa also announced the redesign and reprint of a South African childhood hallmark; the Total Collectable Posters, in celebration of the diverse South African ecosystems and the beautiful wildlife therein.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
AirVenture 2019 grand finale
After leaving Oshkosh on Sunday a week ago, we travelled on Emirates Airlines to Dubai to spend three days with my good friend Etienne Becker and his family. Many years ago Etienne was my advanced flight instructor who assisted me complete my night rating and advanced instrument flying. For the past 12 years Etienne has been an Emirates Boeing 777 captain. In addition Etienne has a significant aviation interest at Morningstar airfield (Cape Town) where he has a hangar with his DH Tiger Moth and a Piper Arrow. This was a good break to try to get over some of the jet lag associated with every year’s return to South Africa from the greatest aviation show on earth.
My compliments go to Emirates Airlines for excellent service and on time performance. To Neil Bowden and his Air Adventure Tours team who hosted 160+ guests in the South African camp this year, thank you for yet another successful week in Camp Plakkerfontein. This was another memorable year with the most amazing persons who were our fellow campers for the week. To the EAA organisers who staged another wonderful AirVenture that will be a lasting memory of the many people who visited Oshkosh for the first time this year. My extensive report with assistance from several South African scribes and photographers will be published in the September edition of African Pilot.
AirVenture by the numbers
A record number of aviation enthusiasts attended AirVenture Oshkosh 2019 during the last week of July. Some 642,000 people came through the turnstiles over the course of the week-long event, an increase of 6.8 percent above of 2018’s record total. More than 10,000 aircraft arrived at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh and other airports in east-central Wisconsin. At Wittman alone, there were 16,807 aircraft operations in the 11-day period from 19 to 29 July, which is an average of approximately 127 take-offs and landings per hour.
There were a total of 2,758 show planes, including 1,057 homebuilt aircraft (including a record 592 homebuilt aircraft campsites), 939 vintage airplanes, 400 warbirds (six percent increase), 188 ultralights and light-sport aircraft, 105 seaplanes (40 percent increase), 62 aerobatic aircraft and seven in other categories.
Camping: More than 12,300 sites in aircraft and drive-in camping accounted for an estimated 40,000 visitors.
Volunteers: More than 5,500 contributing in excess of 250,000 hours.
Commercial exhibitors: 863
Forums, workshops and presentations: A total of 1,500 sessions attended by more than 75,000 people.
EAA aircraft flights: 3,051 people flew aboard EAA’s Ford Tri-Motors, while 3,173 people flew aboard EAA’s Bell 47 helicopters and 669 flew aboard EAA’s B-17 Aluminium Overcast.
Social Media, Internet and Mobile: More than 17.6 million people were reached by EAA’s social media channels during AirVenture; EAA’s website had more than 2.1 million page views; EAA video clips during the event were viewed 4.5 million times and EAA’s 2,740 photo uploads were viewed more than 13.3 million times.
In addition, EAA web streams were accessed more than 1.6 million times by viewers in more than 200 countries, who watched more than 315,000 hours of activities from the AirVenture grounds. The AirVenture app was downloaded and used by nearly 47,000 attendees.
EAA Radio reached more than 104,000 listeners in 158 countries with 6,735 hours of audio, and more than 47,000 viewers of 405,000 minutes of streaming video.
Guests registered at International Visitors Tent: A record 2,772 visitors registered from 93 nations, also a record total. (actual counts are higher since international visitor registration is voluntary.) Top countries represented by registered visitors: Canada (561 visitors), Australia (386) and South Africa (177)
The Gathering shines: The EAA Aviation Foundation’s annual event to support its aviation education programmes attracted some 1,400 people and raised more than $2.8 million that will be focused on EAA’s mission of growing participation in aviation
Media: 851 media representatives on-site, from six continents
AirVenture accounts for $170 million in economic impact for the five counties in the Oshkosh region: (Winnebago, Outagamie, Fond du Lac, Calumet and Brown), based on 2017 University of Wisconsin Oshkosh economic impact study.
Jack Pelton said: “What I am most proud of this year is how our volunteers, staff and the community joined to overcome the challenges resulting from the massive storms that hit the airport and campground just prior to opening day. It took a true team effort to meet the additional demands on time and resources to provide services to our members and visitors. Planning is well underway for next year’s event, including discussions during AirVenture 2019 about possible features and attractions for 2020. In the next few months, we will be finalising highlights in all areas to make the 68th annual EAA fly-in convention the World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration.”
African Pilot to celebrate 20 years next year
Some of you who have been following African Pilot since its humble beginnings, will know that I planned the start up of my aviation magazine in Oshkosh 19 years ago. This means that African Pilot will be celebrating 20 years of publishing in July at AirVenture 2020. I wish to sincerely thank all those persons and companies that believed in my aviation publication from inception and into the future.
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.
9 & 10 August
SAPFA speed rally at Secunda airfield
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 804 7032
Jonty Esser E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 083 855 9435
21 to 31 August
SAC Unlimited World Championships in France
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Stephan Fourie e-mail: email@example.com
26 to 28 August
Commercial Aviation Symposium Africa Spier Wine Estate, Stellenbosch
Contact Tel 011 659 2345 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
Vans RV Fly-in to Kitty Hawk
Contact Frank van Heerden e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com Website: www.mebaamorocco.aero
Wings & Wheels in Matjhabeng – Welkom airport
Contact Dirk Smit 082 558 3914 or Ian Buchanan 083 388 1678
Barnstormers MFC Warbirds Day airshow
5 & 6 October
SAC Western Cape Regionals – Swellendam airfield
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA Rally Championships – Stellenbosch airfield
Contact Frank Eckard cell: 083 269 1516 e-mail: email@example.com
8 to 10 November
EAA Sun ‘n Fun at Brits airfield
Contact EAA National Committee Marie Reddy E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA EAA Sun & Fun Adventure Rally
Contact Rob Jonkers cell: 082 804 7032 e-mail: email@example.com
CAASA Awards Ceremony venue TBA
Contact Tel: 659 2345 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Aero Club of South Africa annual awards Venue TBA
Contact AeCSA office 011 082 1100 e-mail: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
30 November – 1 December
SAC Ace of Base Vereeniging Airfield
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: email@example.com
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Air Seychelles takes delivery of Africa’s first A320neo
Air Seychelles, the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, has taken delivery of Africa’s first A320neo on lease from CDB Aviation, becoming the first African airline to operate the A320neo aircraft. The new aircraft will allow Air Seychelles to increase capacity on its network, while delivering significant fuel savings and reducing the airlines’ operating costs. Air Seychelles’ new A320neo is equipped with a new inflight product reflecting the latest trends in air travel industry, offering passengers greater level of comfort and an enhanced travel experience. With its widest single-aisle cabin, the A320neo allows Air Seychelles to offer unmatched comfort in all classes and Airbus’ 18-inch-wide seats in economy as standard.
Morocco seeking two ex-US C-130H Hercules transporters
Under the USA’s Excess Defence Articles (EDA) programme, Morocco has requested the transfer of two C-130H Hercules transport aircraft from the United States. The proposed grant is mentioned in a US House of Representatives report on the Committee on Foreign Affairs Survey of Activities. A State Department official said that the US Government has agreed to the pending transfer of two C-130Hs via the Excess Defence Articles programme and referred further enquiries to the Government of Morocco to discuss the status of their request. The Royal Moroccan Air Force already flies the C-130, with over a dozen C-130H transport and KC-130H tanker aircraft in service. These are complemented by four C-27J Spartans, half a dozen CN-235s and several Do 28s.
With the US being its largest supplier, Morocco has been acquiring a substantial amount of military hardware from the United States in recent years. Last month Morocco requested a $250.4 million support package from the United States for its F-16 fleet, which would include spares, training and logistics support. This came after Morocco in March requested an additional batch of F-16s from the United States and upgrades to its existing fleet. On 25 March the US State Department said it had made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Morocco of 25 F-16C/D Block 72 aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $3.787 billion.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Air Canada joins Southwest by cutting Boeing 737 MAX flights until 2020
Canada’s flagship carrier Air Canada, much like Southwest Airlines in the US, has given up hopes to resume its Boeing 737 MAX flights in 2019. With the release of second quarter 2019 results, the airline announced it will remove MAX flights from its schedule until ‘at least’ early January, 2020. Despite posting better-than-expected results, the company now expects the continued grounding of the planes to weigh down its performance in the third quarter.
If the aircraft were returned to service earlier than expected the airline would look for opportunities to have some enter the fleet for either replacement flying or as back-ups, something that is currently being done with other aircraft in Air Canada’s fleet to cover flights served on the MAX. The decision to cut even more MAX flights until early next year comes on the heels of Southwest’s move to extend flight schedule reductions for the model through 5 January 2019, as stated in the budget carrier’s second quarter 2019 report on 25 July 2019.
Top US carrier American Airlines had already pushed back the date of its Boeing 737 MAX fleet return to service several times. First through July, then August, then September and now, for the fourth time, through November 2019. United has followed suit by dropping its MAX jets from its schedule for another two months. Southwest is expected to follow their lead by announcing a November deadline as well. Unfortunately, the grounding of MAX planes means flight cancellations, whilst cancellations translate into millions lost in revenue for airlines operating the type.
At the time of the grounding of the model in March of this year, Canada’s largest carrier had 24 737 MAX 8 aircraft in its operating fleet. The company says it now expects deliveries of the remaining 12 planes on order, previously scheduled for July 2019, to be delivered next year. Despite posting an encouraging second quarter profit, Air Canada says it expects the continued grounding of MAX planes to weigh down the company’s performance in the third quarter 2019, resulting in reduced capacity and curbing earnings growth.
Scoot to expand fleet with Airbus A321neo order
The low-cost arm of the Singapore Airlines Group, Scoot, is set on fleet expansion with the latest purchase of Airbus A321neo aircraft. A total of 16 A321neos are expected to progressively arrive from the last quarter of 2020. The planes will be deployed on routes within six hours, the airline states. Of the 16 A321neos that are to be introduced to its fleet, Scoot will convert six A320neo orders to the larger A321neo model and lease another 10 A321neo jets to support the airline’s growth plan by the end of financial year 2020/2021. Powered by Pratt & Whitney engines, the jets will be fitted with 236 seats, 50 more than on its A320neos, the airline states. Scoot operates a total of 29 Airbus aircraft, all of the A320 Family of narrow-bodies (one A319ceo, 26 A320ceos and two A320neos). According to the manufacturer’s orders and deliveries book through 30 June 2019, the low-cost long-haul carrier has a total of 37 A320neo Family planes on order. Scoot also operates a fleet of 20 wide-body Boeing 787 Dreamliners (10 787-8s and 10 787-9s), Boeing’s customer log shows, with two more 787-8s on order.
Virgin Atlantic to phase out last A340s by end of 2019
Presently the airline still has six operating A340-600s in its fleet, at an average age 13 years. Besides the A340, the airline is also looking to replace its aging A330-300s. On 17 July 2019, the airline announced an order for 14 brand new A330-900neos, with options for six more. The airline currently operates 14 A330s: ten A330-300s and four A330-200s.
“A fundamental part of our strategy is collaboration with partners Airbus and Rolls Royce, following the launch of our A350-1000 this summer, takes our partnership to the next level,” Weiss said, referencing to Virgin Atlantic’s order of eight A350-1000 it has placed back in July 2016. At the time, besides the eight aircraft it is purchasing from Airbus, the airline also had plans to lease four A350XWBs from ALC, deliveries starting from 2020.
Airbus halted the production of the four-engined A340 in November 2011. Airbus was developing the A330 and the A340 at roughly the same time. The A340 with four engines and the A330 with two engines. First flights in the early 1990s. By then it became obvious that the airlines really wanted long-range two-engine aircraft with the more modern larger and efficient and more reliable jet engines. By the time, 131 A340-500/600s were manufactured, of which 125 remain in operation (as of 30 June 2019, including Virgin Atlantic’s six). The largest operators of the type remain Lufthansa and Iberia (both have 17 A340 in their fleets).
Embraer delivers 26 commercial and 25 executive jets during second quarter 2019
Embraer delivered a total of 51 jets in the second quarter of 2019 (2Q19), of which 26 were commercial aircraft and 25 were executive jets (19 light and 6 large). As of 30 June, Embraer’s the firm order backlog totalled $16.9 billion compared to $16.0 billion at the end of 1Q19. Embraer’s 2Q19 backlog increase is largely due to continued market demand, mainly for the new family of Praetor jets in Executive Aviation.
In the second quarter, Embraer received the Type Certificate for the E195-E2 from three regulatory authorities: ANAC, the Brazilian Civil Aviation Agency (Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil); the FAA and EASA. The E195-E2 is the largest of the three members of the E-Jets E2 family of Embraer commercial airplanes.
British Airways takes delivery of its first A350-1000
British Airways (BA) has taken delivery of its first A350-1000 at Airbus Headquarters in Toulouse, France, making it the first operator of the larger A350-1000 in International Airlines Group (IAG). In total, BA has ordered 18 A350-1000s. With its modern and comfortable Airspace cabin, BA’s A350 will usher in new levels of comfort with the launch of the Club Suite, the first new business class seat for British Airways in 13 years. The airline’s sophisticated and newly-branded ‘Club Suite’ offers direct-aisle access, a suite door for greater privacy and luxurious flat-bed seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. The three class layout includes 56 Club Suites, 56 World Traveller Plus and 219 World Traveller economy seats.
Celebrating its 100th anniversary, BA will initially use the aircraft to fly between London and Madrid prior to flying long-haul routes from September. BA operates a fleet of over 150 Airbus aircraft from the smallest A318 to the largest A380.
Aer Lingus takes delivery of its first A321LR
Ireland’s national carrier Aer Lingus has taken delivery of its first of eight A321LR aircraft, becoming the first airline in International Airlines Group (IAG) to operate the type. The aircraft on lease from Air Lease Corporation is powered by Leap CFM engines and configured in a two class layout with 16 business and 168 economy seats. The Dublin based carrier will deploy the aircraft on transatlantic routes to the US East coast. Aer Lingus currently operates a total of 50 Airbus aircraft including 13 A330s and 37 A320 Family aircraft. The A321LR and the A330 combined within the same fleet is a powerful lever to cover the needs of the medium to long haul markets.
Lion Air becomes the first A330neo operator in the Asia-Pacific region
Indonesian carrier Lion Air has received its first A330-900, becoming the first airline from the Asia-Pacific region to fly the A330neo. The aircraft is on lease from BOC Aviation and is the first of 10 A330neos set to join the airline’s fleet. The A330neo will be used by Lion Air for non-stop long-haul services from Indonesia. These include pilgrimage flights from cities such as Makassar, Balikpapan and Surabaya to Jeddah and Medina in Saudi Arabia. The flight time for such routes can be up to 12 hours. Lion Air’s A330-900 is configured for 436 passengers in a single-class configuration.
An Airbus futuristic conceptual airliner takes ‘flight’
Airbus has unveiled a bird-like conceptual airliner design with the goal of motivating the next generation of aeronautical engineers, underscoring how they can make a difference by applying technologies researched at the company in hybrid-electric propulsion, active control systems and advanced composite structures. Revealed two weeks ago at the Royal International Air Tattoo airshow in the UK, the theoretical design is a hybrid-electric, turbo-propeller aircraft for regional air transportation. Inspired by efficient mechanics of a bird, it has wing and tail structures that mimic those of a bird of prey, while featuring individually controlled feathers that provide active flight control.
“One of the priorities for the entire industry is how to make aviation more sustainable; making flying cleaner, greener and quieter than ever before. We know from our work on the A350 XWB passenger jet that through biomimicry, nature has some of the best lessons we can learn about design.” Martin Aston (senior manager at Airbus). While not intended to represent an actual aircraft, Airbus’ ‘Bird of Prey’ is based on realistic ideas; providing an insight into what a future regional aircraft could look like. It includes a blended wing-to-fuselage joint that mirrors the graceful and aerodynamic arch of an eagle or falcon, representing the potential of biomimicry (the design and production of materials, structures and systems inspired by nature).
The Bird of Prey concept was unveiled at the Royal International Air Tattoo event to underscore the UK’s aerospace industry leadership, and also highlights the 50th anniversary of Airbus as an aircraft manufacturer. The conceptual design initiative is backed by the Great Britain campaign, the Royal Aeronautical Society, the Air League, the Institution of Engineering and the Technology and Aerospace Technology Institute.
Hawaiian charter group Wing Spirit commits to purchasing 15 HondaJets
A newly-established aviation group, Wing Spirit will use its HondaJets to provide luxury inter-island transportation throughout the Hawaiian Islands. They are also exploring using HondaJets as air ambulances and for aviation education opportunities. The aircraft serving as air ambulances will be outfitted with custom medevac configurations, marking the first time this design has been implemented in the HondaJet program’s history. The most delivered aircraft in its class for two consecutive years, the HondaJet fleet is comprised of more than 125 aircraft around the globe. Currently, Honda Aircraft Company sales and service network spans North America, Europe, Middle and South America, Southeast Asia, China, the Middle East, India and Japan.
Hundreds of hot air balloons take flight to break world record
Over 400 hot air balloons took to the skies at the Grand Est Mondial Air Balloons festival last week to break the festival’s own world record of the highest number of balloons to take-off. The balloons were launched over a period of an hour in an attempt to break the world record of the most hot air balloons simultaneously taking off. Altogether 456 balloons were lined up. The launch took place in the east of France at the Grand Est Mondial Air Ballons festival at Chambley-Bussières airbase. The festival takes place every two years and at every event there is an attempt to break a world record. For 30 years, crews from around the world have gathered for these mass ascents which take place twice a day over 10 days.
Airbus: rapidly innovating autonomous UAV taxi
Airbus appropriately named its first air mobility prototype for this mythical form of transportation. The initial first users of this exotic transportation will be required to have godly wealth to afford it. (Vahana, in the Hindu religion, is the carrier of a god).
A³ (A cubed) is the Airbus’ advanced projects and partnerships ‘outpost’ in Silicon Valley. Vahana is one of its projects. The goal is to develop on demand vertical lift transportation to bring us into George Jetson’s world in the near future. The plan is that an unmanned autonomous vehicle will come to the customers location, whether a parking lot, driveway or building top, the passenger will board, the UAV will the ascend vertically to its programmed altitude and fly the customer to his/her desired destination. Initially this will be limited to what would otherwise be a taxi, Uber or car service due to limitations on battery technology. Obviously, one can envision longer trips when either batteries or other energy sources would allow.
Vahana, is an all composite aircraft (except for the skids) and has already completed over 66 test flights. It is capable of carrying one passenger and there are no flight controls in the passenger compartment. So far, no human has been a passenger. Its gross weight is 1600 lbs including a 200 lb passenger. There are eight 60 hp (45kw) electric motors and no other source of power. While the propellers aren’t constant speed, they are programmed so that they will rotate at the most efficient speed for the flight regime. The battery power limits the range to 27 nautical miles and has a top speed of 90 knots (over 100 mph). So far, the total flight time is approximately 10 hours. As a company with the financial ability and strong history of technological innovation, Airbus certainly is in a position to be one of the leaders in this exciting technology frontier.
WORLD DRONES NEWS
Successful Kruger National Park anti-poaching demonstration for Helix aircraft
CADG’s Helix ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) aircraft has carried out a successful demonstration in the Kruger National Park. The Helix was deployed to the southern areas of the park between mid-May and the end of June this year. Theo Pistorius, Helix Project Manager and Chief Pilot, said that half a dozen suspected poachers were apprehended after being detected by the Helix aircraft, including during night operations. After being tracked from the air, rangers with tracker dogs were then deployed to capture the suspects. The aircraft also took part in a demonstration where simulated poachers approached a camp hosting an anti-poaching fundraiser event, with the aircraft beaming live footage of the ‘poachers’ approaching guests before they were apprehended.
The Helix aircraft is fitted with a Hensoldt Optronics Argos II HD day and night camera, which was able to clearly track suspected poachers whilst the aircraft was flying at an altitude of 10 000 feet. Pistorius said that the camera is highly sensitive and can, for example, detect the heat from a helicopter from 20 to 30 kilometres away. When flying at 10 000 feet, the Helix aircraft is inaudible from the ground and essentially undetectable to poachers.
The Helix I is a manned aircraft and has been flying for some time. The Helix II is an optionally piloted vehicle under development and should be ready around the end of this year with the order book open by the end of 2020. It will be tested in Germany, with an unmanned demonstration planned for Portugal.
The Helix system comprises the Ecarys ES-15 motor-glider and ground control station. The aircraft is fitted with Hensoldt Argos II HD camera and two hardpoints for other systems (each hardpoint can carry 80 kg, including external fuel tanks). Data from the camera is sent to the ground control station and viewed in real time out to a line of sight radius of 100 kilometres. The ES-15 aircraft has an endurance of 8-10 hours. The Helix I can be flown with a single pilot while the mission equipment is controlled from the ground station.
The Helix aircraft has a wingspan of 18 metres, a maximum take-off weight of 1 100 kg and payload of 350 kg. It is powered by a Rotax 914F2 engine delivering 115 hp giving an operating speed of 93-270 km/h and range of 1 300 km on internal fuel or 2 500 km with external fuel. The aircraft can be configured with a single pilot and a camera mounted under the fuselage, or with two seats. Helix was developed with Stemme division Ecarys, which manufactures the ES-15 aircraft and S-Plane, which provides the hardware and software that converts the ES-15 into an optionally piloted vehicle (OPV).
The aircraft’s low radar and minimal infrared signature make it an ideal platform for surveillance missions. The Helix is not the first Stemme motor-glider conversion – France’s Sagem has used the S15 to create the Patroller unmanned aerial vehicle.
Although headquartered in Singapore, CADG has regional offices in the United States, United Arab Emirates, South Africa and Kenya and is most active in the Middle East and Africa, with operations in some 20 African countries. It provides aviation, logistics and procurement, engineering, construction and camp construction services, amongst others. Aviation services are rendered by sister company Ultimate Aviation, specialising in cargo and passenger transport in remote environments, including combat zones and disaster relief areas. Ultimate Aviation is headquartered in South Africa.
UPS forms a subsidiary and applies for FAA certification to operate drone delivery
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.
Company introduces flamethrower kit for drones
No its not 1st April! A drone has already been cast as a villain in at least one Hollywood movie and this device might just take that concept to the next level. Throwflame, a company that commercially markets flamethrowers, had developed the TF-19 Wasp kit that allows a flamethrower to be added to a drone. Throwflame says that the device is designed ‘for remote ignition of aerial and ground targets, bringing new levels of efficiency and manageability to agriculture.’ It can ignite a target up to 25 feet away, firing a stream of flame for up to 100 seconds with its one-gallon fuel capacity. The company says the device can be used to clear debris from powerlines, setting prescribed burns for forest management and firefighting, remote agriculture burns, and pest management and nest elimination.
Forest fire management and prevention is both costly and dangerous. Wildland fire fighting crews can avoid difficult terrain and adverse conditions while utilising the TF-19 WASP drone flamethrower system to ignite remote controlled burns. The TF-19 kit is compatible with most cinema / industrial drone platforms with a payload capacity of 5 lbs or more. The company says that flamethrower drones are federally legal and not considered weapons. However, users are still required to comply with the FAA’s UAS rules in addition to local ordinances.
Weekly News from African Pilot
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Until next week, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)