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A person who feels appreciated will always do more than what is expected Tiffany Evans
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. This edition of African Pilot appears to have been a hit with readers gauging comments made by many of the visitors at the South African camp in Oshkosh.
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
Airbus Beluga first XL test flight
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
What happened in aviation over the past week?
FL Technics lands Comair Limited as a new customer
FL Technics, a global provider of integrated aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul services, has announced the signing of an agreement with Comair Limited, a private domestic airline operator from South Africa and listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). Comair Limited is a South African aviation and travel company, offering scheduled and non-scheduled airline services within South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands, as its main business. The company operates under its low-fare airline brand, kulula.com, as well as under the British Airways livery, as part of a license agreement. According the agreement, Comair Limited will receive extended Base maintenance services. “The first aircraft, a Kulula.com Boeing B737-800 will be undergoing a six year ‘C Check’, said Zilvinas Lapinskas, CEO at FL Technics.
RSA aerobatic pilot joins European airshow circuit
Last week South African aerobatic pilot, Neville Ferreira, announced his participation in the European aerobatic and airshow circuit. In the eight years since he started with competition aerobatics at Vereeniging and five years actively on the local airshow circuit he was contracted to display the Genpro from Genevation, which has been in process since January of this year. In Neville’s press release, he gave thanks and respect to Stu Lithgow who introduced him to aerobatics and trained him in 2004. Bertus Du Preez was also mentioned who shaped Neville’s Yak skills from 2008-2012 and finally the drive from Nigel Hopkins, encouraging new aerobatic pilots to keep on progressing to the next level.
Neville’s new portfolio will be as the English spokesperson for the Hungarian company and official Display pilot. On the Competition side he is joined by Daniel Genevey who flies Redbull #78. From next year’s 2019 airshow season thy will fly as a three-ship formation team. During Neville’s visit to the factory in May, he discovered the extreme low speed manoeuvring capabilities of the Genpro while flying the freestyle programme. Not knowing it at the time, but this personal style landed him the new career to display the Genpro around Europe and the USA. His new coach for both Freestyle and Aerobatics is ‘Coco’ Claude Bessiere from France. Neville wished his thanks to every person who contributes to aviation in South Africa in helping pilots in all types of sport flying.
What is scheduled for the next few weeks?
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
RV Day at Kitty Hawk
Contact Irmarie Jooste Tel: 012 802 0942
SAPFA Secunda Fun Rally Secunda Airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 855 9435
20 & 21 October
SAC North-West Regionals Klerksdorp airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
23 & 24 October
Avi Afrique 2018 Africa Aviation Innovation Summit CSIR
Contact ATNS Percy Morokane E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
24 to 27 October
Marrakech airshow RMAF Military Base, Marrakech, Morocco
Contact Houda Medkouri e-mail: email@example.com
6 to 8 November
Dubai Helishow Royal Pavilion Al Maktoum Airport
Contact Mr Abel Bajamunde E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA Fun Rally at Springs Airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 855 9435
1 & 2 December
SAC ACE of Base Brits airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
We will be opening the 2019 aviation calendar shortly, so please start thinking about the most suitable date(s) for your planned events or airshow.
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Egypt received at least 12 Ka-52 helicopters
Russia has delivered at least 12 Ka-52 attack helicopters to Egypt’s military. Recent satellite imagery shows 12 of the helicopters at Katameya International Airport outside Cairo. Last year Russian Helicopters General Manager Andrei Boginsky said 15 Ka-52s would be delivered to Egypt by the end of 2017 and another 31 would arrive over the next two years. The first three Egyptian Ka-52s were handed over in mid-2017 to be used for pilot training, whilst 30 pilots and 70 technicians underwent training in Russia last year. Egypt is also looking to acquire navalised Ka-52K Kazan helicopters.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Stolen plane crashes after unauthorised take-off at Seattle airport
At around 20h00 on Friday a ground employee of Horizon Airlines, Richard Russell who was a ramp agent with towing qualifications and some experience on Flightsim Dash 8 stole a Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. North American Aerospace Defence Command scrambled two F15 fighter jets to accompany the plane, which was steered away from Seattle and Tacoma by air traffic control, on its hour-long flight. The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said the two F-15s were not involved in the subsequent crash that happened on Ketron Island, which is southwest of Tacoma, in south Puget Sound. The small island has only about 20 year-round residents. The employee who stole the plane was 29 years old, from Pierce County and called ‘suicidal’ by the sheriff’s department. Horizon Air COO Constance von Muehlen confirmed the man was an employee of the company. The sheriff said this was not a terrorist incident.
“Most terrorists don’t do loops and barrel rolls over water,” Sheriff Paul Pastor said. “This might have been a joyride gone terribly wrong.” The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department has a number of vessels on scene, while the US Coast Guard is on scene as well. Many passengers awaiting take-off tweeted that their planes were stopped on the ground during the incident. The FBI said it was in contact with officials, but it was too early for them to comment on specifics. Preliminary information suggests the employee stole the Horizon Air Q400 and the crash occurred because the man had decided to commit suicide after doing stunts in air.
This situation appears to be much like the Air Botswana incident in 1999 at Gaborone, where Chris Phatswe stole an ATR 42 to commit suicide. He also performed some aerobatics, but the difference was that Chris had been an Air Botswana pilot who was grounded for medical reasons. It seems now that in addition to pilots, ICAO will have to bring in new laws about the mental status of airline ground employees. Fortunately, this suicidal ‘wannabe pilot’ did not take anyone with him, but what happens when another mentally ill person decides to crash a stolen plane into a densely populated area?
Air China takes delivery of its first Airbus A350-900
The national flag carrier is the first Chinese mainland customer to order and take ownership of the world’s newest and most efficient twin-engine widebody aircraft. Powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, Air China’s A350-900 aircraft features a comfortable three-class cabin layout of 312 seats: 32 business, 24 premium economy and 256 economy. The airline will initially operate the new aircraft on its domestic routes, followed by flights to international destinations. As of July 2018, Air China operates an Airbus fleet of 201 aircraft, including 142 A320 Family aircraft and 59 A330 Family aircraft.
Russia’s Aeroflot risks flight-ban due to new US sanctions
Russia’s largest carrier, Aeroflot, may be facing tough measures if the government does not comply with the U.S. demands concerning the production and use of chemical weapons, following the Skripal poisoning in the UK earlier in 2018. Kremlin now has 90 days until the second round of measures takes force, posing a serious risk to the national carrier, but says Moscow will retaliate with its own penalties against US airlines.
On 8 August 2018, the US State Department announced new sanctions against Russia. Imposed under a 1991 law, the measures include provisions on chemical and biological weapons control. They come as punishment for the alleged poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal in Salisbury (UK) on 4 March 2018. The first round of sanctions will come as early as 22 August 2018. However, if Russia does not agree to end its alleged chemical and biological weapons programme, among other conditions, in three-month time, the second round of measures will kick-in and they could include the suspension of flights to the US by the state-backed airline.
This would surely hurt the national carrier Aeroflot. It has already taken a hit following the announcement by the US State Department: the carrier’s shares fell to an almost two-year low on 9 August 2018, plunging as much as 12% in Moscow. On the same day, when talking to reporters, Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov highlighted the unpredictability of President Trump’s administration. “Now you can expect anything from Washington, it is a very unpredictable participant of international relations,” he said when asked about the possibility of imposing restrictions on flights for Aeroflot. Meanwhile, if the US does decide to impose a flight ban on Aeroflot, Moscow would respond accordingly, assured Maksim Suraev, a member of the State Duma Committee on Transport and Construction. “We can’t allow our company to get squeezed from the market. We can’t let Delta take Aeroflot’s place,” he was quoted as saying.
Ryanair cancels 400 flights but denies strike in Netherlands
On 10 August Ryanair cancelled about 400 flights in Germany, Belgium, Sweden and Ireland due to a joint pilot strike. The low-cost company claims operations will not be affected in the Netherlands, despite the Dutch personnel joining the movement. The cancellations represent a sixth of 2400 flights scheduled for 10 August. 250 flights were reported cancelled in Germany, 104 in Belgium, 22 in Sweden and 20 in Ireland. About 67 000 passengers should be affected. The scale of the strike makes it the biggest in Ryanair 34 years-history. On 9 August 2018, the Dutch Airline Pilots Association (Vereniging Nederlandse Verkeersvliegers – VNV) announced they would join the strike. A day before, Ryanair asked the Harlem court to prevent Dutch pilots from striking, claiming they failed to provide a notice for the airline in due time. Despite the court ruling in favour of the VNV and allowing the strike, Ryanair still denies that any flights from the Netherlands would be cancelled on 10 August 2018.
Indoor skydiver’s freefall into world record books
The longest indoor freefall Guinness World Record has been jointly achieved by two Russian adventurers, Viktor Kozlov and Sergey Dmitriyev, in the city of Perm on Tuesday 10 July 2018. The record took place at the innovative FreeFly Technology wind tunnel. The skydivers flew uninterrupted for 8 hours, 33 minutes and 43 seconds to beat the record of indoor freefall set before. The result was made official by a representative of the Guinness World Records Association.
Each minute of indoor body-flying is the equivalent of one skydive and the whole 513 minutes is the same as falling 1280 miles continuously or the distance from New York to Cuba. FreeFly Technology wind tunnel is built on a technology allowing the air to move upwards at approximately 167 mph, the terminal velocity of a falling human body belly-downwards. It can provide the wind speeds and the feel of real skydiving. Such kind of vertical wind tunnels are frequently called ‘indoor skydiving’ tunnels due to their popularity among skydivers, who report that the sensation is extremely similar to skydiving. As a sport, it has grown exponentially in the last few years. Indoor skydiving is a good approximation of steady-state freefall in a confined horizontal area.
Five likely fatally injured in Alaska accident
On Saturday a de Havilland Beaver on a sightseeing flight with five people aboard impacted terrain near Denali in Alaska, the tallest peak in North America. All five people on board the aircraft are feared fatally injured. The accident occurred on a remote mountain at an altitude of nearly 11,000 feet. The Anchorage Daily News reports that the pilot and at least some of the passengers, who were from Poland, initially survived the accident. The pilot was identified by the National Park Service as Craig Layson of Saline, MI. He and his wife had spent the last two summers in Alaska. Layson made two calls from a satellite phone in the hour after the accident and said that there had been injuries. The plane was equipped with a survival kit that included sleeping bags, a small stove, food and first-aid supplies.
On Monday a National Park Service ranger was able to reach the accident scene during a brief break in the weather. The plane was found in a crevasse on the mountainside, according to climbing ranger Chris Erickson. He confirmed that none of the people on board had survived but was only able to account for four of the people. Erickson was suspended from a helicopter flying above the crevasse. He stood on the airplane, which he described as ‘unstable’ and the inspection of the aircraft lasted less than five minutes as the weather was deteriorating. Erickson said there was no evidence that anyone had been moving around in the airplane and could see no tracks or any indication that anyone had left the accident scene, so he presumed that all five bodies were still in the Beaver’s cabin. The ridge where the plane impacted the mountainside is described as a ‘mix of near-vertical rock, ice and snow.’
The plane was operated by K2 Aviation. The passengers had booked the sightseeing flight through an agency in Poland. K2 is reportedly cooperating with all authorities in the investigation.
Former Alaska Airlines pilot sentenced
On 25 July 2018, David Arntson was sentenced in US District Court, Santa Ana, California, to 12 months and one day of incarceration, three years’ supervised release, a $10,000 fine and a $100 special assessment fee. On 26 February 2018, he pleaded guilty to operating a common carrier while under the influence. Arntson was a captain for Alaska Airlines, Inc. (Alaska) for more than 20 years. On 20 June 2014, he performed safety sensitive functions on Alaska flights 580 and 573 while under the influence of alcohol. Specifically, he piloted flight 573 from San Diego, California, to Portland, Oregon and flight 580 from Portland to Santa Ana, California. He was selected for a random drug-and-alcohol screening, which took place after flight 580 landed at the John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana. The first test measured Arntson’s breath alcohol concentration as 0.134 percent. A second test was administered 15 minutes later and his breath alcohol concentration was 0.142 percent. The maximum breath alcohol concentration permitted for pilots operating an aircraft is 0.04 percent. Arntson’s sentence also prohibits him from piloting an aircraft or applying for an airman’s certificate from FAA. He is scheduled to surrender to begin his jail term on 5 September 2018.
US Air Force releases light attack aircraft draft request for proposal
The US Air Force shared a draft request for proposal for the Light Attack Aircraft with Sierra Nevada / Embraer and Textron Aviation following the conclusion of the second phase of the Light Attack Experiment. This is the first step in working with industry towards the final RFP release that is expected in December 2018. US Air Force acquisition officials indicated there are items that still need to be finalized prior to the release of the final RFP, but it is prudent to begin the dialogue with industry in order to adjust the RFP as appropriate in order to meet the timelines. Pilots flew the Sierra Nevada / Embraer A-29 Super Tucano and the Textron Aviation AT-6B Wolverine this summer as a live-fly experiment to gather additional information about aircraft capabilities, as well as partner nation interoperability, prior to a potential light attack purchase.
Rockwell Collins’ Pro Line Fusion avionics chosen for AVIC MA700 turboprop regional aircraft
Rockwell Collins has signed master contracts with AVIC Aircraft Co., Ltd (AVIC Aircraft), a subsidiary of Aviation Industry Corporation of China, Ltd. (AVIC), to supply its Pro Line Fusion® advanced avionics system and air data systems for MA700 turboprop regional aircraft. AVIC has also chosen Rockwell Collins’ HGS™-3500 Head-up Guidance System, an innovative, all-in-one compact head-up display (HUD) solution as an airline-selectable option. The MA700 is expected to perform its first flight in November 2019 and receive certification by 2021.
The Pro Line Fusion flight deck for the MA700 includes the following features and capabilities:
- Four interchangeable 14-inch widescreen flight displays to optimise dispatchability
- MultiScan™ weather radar with predictive wind shear capability, providing unprecedented atmospheric threat assessment capabilities
- Pilot-configurable primary and multifunction display windows that can show any system information, flight-critical data and synoptic diagrams of aircraft system information
- Touch-interactive graphical maps with eyes-forward flight planning, real-time onboard weather radar overlays, obstacles and geopolitical boundaries
- Built-in, geo-referenced electronic navigation charts that display ‘own-ship’ aircraft position for enhanced situational awareness during approaches that easily transitions to the airport chart after landing to make surface navigation easier
- Fully-featured flight management system positions airlines for airspace modernization with localizer performance with vertical navigation (LPV) approach capability and radius-to-fix (RF) legs
Work will take place at a number of Rockwell Collins facilities in the United States and Hyderabad, India, as well as with the company’s joint venture partner, Rockwell Collins CETC Avionics Company (RCCAC), in Chengdu, China. In addition, Rockwell Collins has collaborated with the Aeronautics Computing Technique Research Institute (ACTRI) in Xi’an, China, to support avionics development and integration with other on-board MA700 aircraft systems.
Stratos Aircraft introduces the Stratos 716
The Stratos 716 is an evolution of the 714 Proof of Concept (PoC) aircraft. “When we introduced the Proof of Concept aircraft last year the marketplace feedback was tremendous,” said Stratos CTO, Carsten Sundin. “It was clear that the market is looking for the performance and comfort we were offering, but in a true six-place aircraft, which we have achieved this with the 716.” The Stratos 716 has a 31 inch longer and 3.5-inch wider cabin than the 714 PoC aircraft introduced at Oshkosh in 2017. The Stratos 716 is a ‘multi-role’ VLJ designed to comfortably seat six people to support personal, business and air taxi use.
The Stratos 714 test aircraft has completed 130 test flights and logged 185 hours. “We will first offer the 716X, as an experimental kit aircraft. We see producing a limited number of kit aircraft as a logical step towards certification. It also allows customers who don’t want to wait for certification an opportunity to own and operate a Stratos 716X much sooner,” said Sundin.
The all carbon fibre 716X features trailing link gear, is powered by a Pratt & Whitney JT15D-5 and is configured with dual G3X screens, GTN 750 MFD, integrated Garmin Autopilot, dual standby attitude indicators, custom switch panels, fully automated pressurisation system and air conditioning. The Stratos 716X kit will be comprehensive and include a builder’s assist programme. The first position for the Stratos 716X has been sold and is currently in production at the company’s facility in Redmond, Oregon. Stratos Aircraft will announce the cost of the 716X kit and other programme details and take orders in Q4 of this year.
Luxembourg Defence orders two H145Ms
The Government of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg has ordered two H145M multipurpose helicopters for defence and security missions. Together with the helicopters, Airbus will also provide a training and support package to its customer. The helicopters will be delivered before the end of 2019 and will enter into service beginning of 2020.
With a maximum take-off weight of 3.7 metric tons, the H145M can be used for a wide range of tasks, including troop and passenger transport, surveillance, air rescue, reconnaissance and medical evacuation. The helicopters will be equipped with a hoist, a fast roping system, a high-performance camera, a search light, advanced communication systems and will have provisions to install a light armour protection kit. The latest technologies to allow the helicopter to operate in adverse weather conditions and during night time are incorporated in the design. The helicopters will be operated and serviced at Luxembourg Findel Airport.
CalTech engineers taught a drone to herd birds away from airports
Engineers at Caltech have developed a new control algorithm that enables a single drone to herd an entire flock of birds away from the airspace of an airport. The algorithm is presented in a study in IEEE Transactions on Robotics. The project was inspired by the 2009 ‘Miracle on the Hudson,’ when US Airways Flight 1549 struck a flock of geese shortly after take-off and pilots Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles were forced to land in the Hudson River off Manhattan.
Current strategies for controlling airspace include modifying the surrounding environment to make it less attractive to birds, using trained falcons to scare flocks off, or even piloting a drone to scare the birds. These strategies can be costly or in the case of the hand-piloted drone, unreliable, says Chung, who is a researcher at Caltech’s Center for Autonomous Systems and Technologies. “When herding birds away from an airspace, you have to be very careful in how you position your drone. If it is too far away, it won’t move the flock and if it gets too close, you risk scattering the flock and making it completely uncontrollable, which is difficult to do with a piloted drone,” Chung said. Herding relies on the ability to manage a flock as a single, contained entity; keeping it together while shifting its direction of travel. Each bird in a flock reacts to changes in the behaviour of the birds nearest to it. Effective herding requires an external threat; in this case, the drone to position itself in such a way that it encourages birds along the edge of a flock to make course changes that then affect the birds nearest to them, who affect birds farther into the flock and so on, until the entire flock changes course. The positioning has to be precise. However, if the external threat gets too zealous and rushes at the flock, the birds will panic and act individually, not collectively.
In 2013, while he was an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Chung received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award to tackle the problem. Originally, Chung intended to build a self-guided, flapping robot whose flight would mimic that of a falcon, figuring that the bioinspired design would make it even more effective at controlling flocks by presenting them with a natural-seeming threat. While the work in that direction did yield an entirely new style of drone; the ‘Bat Bot’ that Chung unveiled in 2017, he found that an off-the-shelf quadrotor drone was just as effective at herding birds.
To teach the drone to herd autonomously, Chung and his colleagues, including Aditya Paranjape of Imperial College London, one of his former graduate students, studied and derived a mathematical model of flocking dynamics to describe how flocks build and maintain formations, how they respond to threats along the edge of the flock and how they then communicate that threat through the flock. Their work improves on algorithms designed for herding sheep, which only needed to work in two dimensions, instead of three.
The team tested the algorithm on a flock of birds near a field in Korea and found that a single drone could keep a flock of dozens of birds out of a designated airspace. The effectiveness of the algorithm is only limited by the number and size of the incoming birds, Chung says, adding that the team plans to explore ways to scale the project up for multiple drones dealing with multiple flocks. The study, titled ‘Robotic Herding of a Flock of Birds Using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle,’ was also co-authored by Hyunchul Shim from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. Support for the research came from the National Science Foundation.
Wing makes US first delivery by drone in Vancouver
The USA’s first commercial BVLOS delivery by drone brought ice cream to a two-year-old in a demonstration conducted in Virginia by Alphabet’s Wing. It was reported that the delivery flight covered 1.4 miles and arrived within eight minutes from the time the order was completed by the mom of the lucky toddler. It was conducted under new rules that allow some states and other government entities to experiment with BVLOS drone flights put in place last year.
Among those in attendance at the demonstration was Earl Lawrence, director of the FAA’s UAS Integration Office. “You did see something historic today,” Lawrence said. “They can share the fact that the US does have package delivery in its future.” Virginia listed package delivery through a partnership with Wing as one of its goals in its application with the FAA for participation in the programme. The state proposed three areas for delivery testing; Wise county, Montgomery and Roanoke counties and Loudoun county. Wing CEO James Burgess said the company will only set up operations for drone delivery where it is wanted, but said the company plans a full launch of the service in the near term.”
Drones involved in alleged assassination attempt against Venezuelan President
On Saturday 4 August drones carrying bombs were reportedly involved in what is being called by the Venezuelan government an assassination attempt against President Nicolás Maduro. The President was uninjured in the attack. The Washington Post reports that six people described as ‘terrorists’ have been detained in connection with the attack. The Venezuelan government said drones carrying explosives targeted Maduro as he gave a nationally-televised speech at a rally. Interior Minister Néstor Luis Reverol said in a statement that all of the ‘material and intellectual authors inside and outside of the country’ have been identified but did not elaborate. Seven soldiers were injured in the attack, which was captured on video. Maduro accused ‘far right’ extremists with links to Venezuelan dissidents and Colombia living in the United States for planning the attack. Reverol said two drones, which he said were DJI M600s, were used to carry the explosives. They did not reach their target area before the bombs were detonated. In videos said to be captured at the scene, one drone impacted a building and the other exploded in mid-air. But the veracity of the videos is in question. Opposition leaders in Venezuela say the government is using the apparent attack as a reason to round up dissidents and army deserters and to distract the public from the country’s economic problems.
Swift Engineering successfully flies VTOL drone Swift020 in Kobe, Japan
Swift Engineering has flown the first fully autonomous flight demonstration in the port city of Kobe, Japan. In attendance during the event held on 21 July was Governor of the Hyogo prefecture, Toshizo Ido and Mayor of Kobe City, Kizo Hisamoto as well as other government officials and media. The flight took place in Meriken Park, located in the Port of Kobe City in the Hyogo Prefecture.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to release drone legislation, including beyond the line of sight provisions before the end of 2018. The Swift020, the first UAS featuring X-Blade Technology, is the culmination of over 18 years of research and development in unmanned systems. The Swift020 Unmanned Air System (UAS) vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) technology takes off and lands anywhere and transitions to efficient fixed-wing forward flight without additional launch and recovery equipment allowing it to reduce operational time and cost. The Swift020 UAS is a family of systems servicing linear infrastructure, oil and gas, maritime, emergency services, delivery, agriculture, scientific research, surveillance and security markets.
HAL successfully demonstrates 22-pound rotary-wing UAV
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has demonstrated a 22-pound rotary-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (RUAV) in the presence of its board of directors. The RUAV features a two-stroke gasoline engine; twin blade main rotor and tail rotor; payload capability of 5.5 pounds, including live stream video camera and range of the vehicle is 4.8 to 5.3 nautical miles with an endurance of one hour. The demonstration flight lasted for about 10 minutes during which the attitude control attitude hold (ACAH) mode, position control, position hold mode (autonomous hover) and low speed flight in forward, backward and sideward directions, were demonstrated. The video feed from onboard the helicopter was streamed live and shown on the dedicated video receiver. The status of the helicopter, its parameters and its real-time position on the map were also shown. To achieve self-reliance in the aviation field and to enhance its R&D efforts, HAL is working closely with premier educational institutes and has established chairs at IITs (Madras, Roorkee, Kharagpur, Bombay, Kanpur) and IISc Bengaluru. The RUAV is developed in association with IIT Kanpur and is the first outcome of HAL’s tie-ups with academia.
ParaZero’s drone safety system saves costly payload and the drone
A drone safety system developed by Parazero Israel Ltd has successfully saved hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of payload mounted on a commercial drone that almost crashed a couple of weeks ago. The mission was executed by a commercial drone operator in the homeland security domain. ParaZero’s drone safety system identified a critical failure in the flight and autonomously deployed a ballistic parachute during the customers’ operations. While the drone was in the air, ParaZero’s sensors continuously monitored the flight path, looking out for abnormalities. The safety system identified a critical failure and triggered the flight termination system, shutting down the power to the rotors. In addition, the patented parachute launcher opened the chute to full canopy in a fraction of a second, bringing the drone and expensive payload safely to the ground and minimizing the impact energy.
Airbus Zephyr Solar high-altitude pseudo-satellite sets endurance record
Airbus Defence and Space announced the successful landing of its first production aircraft of the Zephyr program, the new Zephyr S HAPS (High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite). After taking off on 11 July in Arizona, Zephyr S logged a maiden flight of over 25 days, the longest duration flight ever made. An application has been made to establish this as a new world record. This maiden flight of the solar powered Zephyr S proves the system capabilities and achieved all the flight’s engineering objectives.
The previous longest flight duration record was also logged by a Zephyr prototype aircraft a few years ago, achieving then more than 14 days continuous flight, which already was ten times longer than any other aircraft in the world. This new record flight was supported by the UK government and reflects the UK Ministry of Defence’s position as the first customer for this innovative and potentially game changing capability.
Zephyr is the world’s leading, solar–electric, stratospheric Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). It harnesses the sun’s rays, running exclusively on solar power, above the weather and conventional air traffic; filling a capability gap complimentary to satellites, UAVs and manned aircraft to provide persistent local satellite-like services. Zephyr will provide the potential to revolutionise disaster management, including monitoring the spread of wildfires or oil spills. It provides persistent surveillance, tracing the world’s changing environmental landscape and will be able to provide communications to the most unconnected parts of the world.
Cyberhawk completes first UAV ABS Class survey and inspection of an oil tanker
A full class inspection across 19 tanks onboard an oil tanker was conducted a shipyard in Singapore. This included 12 Cargo Oil Tanks (COT), two slop tanks and five ballast tanks. Attending was the American Bureau for Shipping (ABS) to ensure the quality of the inspection complied with the specific ABS rules (ESP) set for tankers. The inspection also had to satisfy the US Coast Guard’s Critical Area Inspection Plan (CAIP) as the vessel was American flagged and operated in Alaskan waters. The traditional method of inspection for this type of tanker would be to erect scaffold the inside of the tank and have ABS surveyors perform a visual survey and NDT technicians take thickness measurements. There are multiple liabilities associated with this type of working, from potential dropped objects caused by lowering equipment into the tank, to potential damage to the tank coating, to working at height in confined spaces. Furthermore, the time required to set up and remove the scaffold, together with the time required for inspection, is roughly seven days per tank compared to one day per tank by Cyberhawk’s two-man team.
Rope access is another possible alternative. However, the ABS surveyor would need to be rope access trained, or a live feed from the rope access technicians back to an ABS Surveyor on the tank top would be required. This methodology would require significantly longer inspection time compared with UAVs (approximately three times longer) and require an ABS surveyor to be available for the duration.
Even with the new efficiencies provided by UAV inspection, NDT technicians were still required to take thickness readings (at accessible levels) to meet the ABS survey requirements for this class of vessel.
However, in summer 2018, Cyberhawk is due to conduct its first proof of concept on a UT solution from UAVs that would negate the need for scaffolding, rope access technicians or rafting solutions for this type of tanker survey. The Cyberhawk team completed more than 350 flights and collected over 600GB of data. The data is being hosted in iHawk, Cyberhawk’s cloud-based visual asset management software, which has been designed to host the huge volumes of data captured by UAVs or other sources and allow the user to access this data in a functional and intuitive way.
iHawk is providing the client with a 360-degree view of the inside of the tanks, with defects and areas of interest highlighted. High definition imagery is provided which allows the user to see these points of interest in great detail, allowing them to make evidence-based asset management decisions. iHawk is also providing the client with a complete visual record of the tank, which can be referred to on an ongoing basis to monitor the condition of the tank and the degradation of any defects.
Aviation enthusiast Van der Merwe and his wife went to the fair at Parys airfield. Van was most impressed with the ﬂying and was told that it would cost R500 for a ten-minute flip.
But, said the pilot, “I’ll make a special deal with you. If neither you nor your wife make a sound, you can have the ride for R250.”
“Done” said Van.
Mr and Ms Van der Merwe ﬂew up with the pilot and not a sound came forth in the roll or the loop.
“Well, I must congratulate you,” said the pilot after they had landed.
“You are the first couple I have taken up who have kept quiet, so you can have the ride for R250.”
“Thank you,” said Van, “but I must admit I almost yelled when my wife fell out.”
Weekly News from African Pilot
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Until next week, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)
African Pilot ‘Serious about flying’.
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