“Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance.”
C. S. Lewis
African Pilot’s September 2019 edition
The exciting September edition features the 50th anniversary of EAA AirVenture that was staged in Oshkosh. This was my 19th visit in a row to the largest General Aviation show in the world where I am always surprised by the new developments within aviation. This edition also features one of the British 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. Once the September edition completed its printing phase Lara and I have been involved in its distribution phase, which has been an exciting time so that we could personally meet our many valued customers at the various Gauteng airports. The major national and African distribution is undertaken by our distributors and will be complete by now.
African Pilot’s October 2019 edition
The October edition of African Pilot will feature Aviation Maintenance Organisations (AMOs) as well as Aviation Refurbishment companies in southern Africa. The closing date for all editorial and advertising is Wednesday 4 September 2019. Please contact Lara Bayliss Tel: 0861 001130 Cell: 079 880 4359 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you.
New series unique to African Pilot from the October edition
I was approached by Commercial Pilot Wouter Botes to publish a series on Flights to Nowhere, which we believe will become one of the most sought-after series ever published in African aviation. Historically there have been many instances where an aircraft or helicopter simply vanished without a trace. In some instances, the wreck was discovered years later, but some have never been found. This illustrated series unpacks the mystery surrounding these flights and as far as possible we are using what little we know about the examples Wouter has authored to provide illustrations in pictures and also video reconstructions of the particular event. You can look forward to the first in the series about the disappearance of the SAA Vickers Viscount – the Rietbok that crashed into the Indian Ocean off Kayser’s Beach near East London in 1967 within the October edition.
Some facts about African Pilot:
1) Presently African Pilot prints, distributes and sells more magazines than any other aviation magazine on the African continent.
2) All major advertisers have digital enhancement as a click through to their websites within the digital edition of the monthly magazine
3) APAnews is the only FREE weekly communication delivered by a printed publication in the entire world that has an audience well in excess of 100 000 readers per month
4) APAcom attends to your aviation communication and public relations requirements
5) APAdigital is the video service available to ALL aviation customers of the monthly magazine
Do you want instant aviation news and opinions?
Visit www.APAcom.co.za and register yourself as a user
Video of the week: Bethlehem airshow Saturday 24 August 2019
Should you be interested in having your aviation event filmed, please contact email@example.com
Bookings now open for Oshkosh AirVenture 2020!
As in past years we will be offering two Early Bird bookings at R25 000, save R6 250 on your trip to Oshkosh! Conditions of Early Bird offer are;
• First come, first serve
•Ticket is payable on booking
Tour A – All the Way KLM:
Outbound Flight: Departs Johannesburg at 23h15 Saturday 18 July 2020, arrives Chicago at 14h10 on Sunday 19 July 2020. Coach will depart approximately 15h00 for Oshkosh, arriving in Oshkosh at around 18h30
Return Flight: Coach will depart Oshkosh at 09h00 on Sunday 26 July 2020. Flight departs Chicago at 16h00 and arrives in Johannesburg at 21:20 on Monday 27 July 2020
R29 850* per person sharing or R31 250* per person single
Prices include airfares ex Johannesburg, transfers between Chicago and Oshkosh, EAA camping fees, accommodation in tents provided with stretcher and sleeping bag, breakfasts, commemorative tour T Shirt and cap / hat, use of AAT campsite facilities and year’s subscription to African Pilot digital magazine. Prices do not include airshow entrance ($126) and EAA USA membership ($40)
*Please note that prices are subject to alteration should exchange rates, airport taxes or tariffs vary
Tour B – Join in the USA
Inbound coach departs O’Hare Terminal 5, Chicago at approximately 15h00 on Sunday 19h July 2020 and arrives in Oshkosh at around 18h30. Please ensure that your flight into Chicago arrives well in time, be aware that it can take over an hour to get through passport control at O’Hare!
Please note – bus departure time depends on Tour A flight arrival time (KL 611)
Return coach departs Oshkosh at 09h00 on Sunday 26 July 2020 arriving at O’Hare Chicago at approximately 12h30
R8 960* per person sharing or R10 360* per person single
Prices include transfers between Chicago and Oshkosh, EAA camping fees, accommodation in tents provided with stretcher and sleeping bag, breakfasts, commemorative tour T Shirt and cap / hat, use of AAT campsite facilities and year’s subscription to African Pilot digital magazine. Prices do not include air show entrance ($126) and EAA USA membership ($40)
*Please note that prices are subject to alteration should exchange rates or tariffs vary.
To book these special tickets, please contact Neil at: firstname.lastname@example.org
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Company under Hawks and SIU investigation awarded large Limpopo tender
Report by the Daily Maverick and Spotlight
The Limpopo Health Department, which has a track record of dodgy aeromedical contracts, has awarded a lucrative three-year tender to a joint venture including Buthelezi EMS (BEMS), a private Emergency Medical Services company which is under investigation by the Special Investigating Unit, the Hawks and National Treasury. BEMS and its joint venture partner FIM Aviation have so far been unable to provide an aeromedical service in terms of the new tender; either leaving patients stranded or requiring the Limpopo Department of Health to make use of other private sector providers based in Gauteng.
One reason why the BEMS / FIM Aviation joint venture is not providing a service in terms of the new tender is that they do not have the certification required to provide an aeromedical service from the Polokwane base in Limpopo. The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) confirmed to the Daily Maverick and Spotlight that they have not inspected and certified a BEMS / FIM Aviation base in the province nor have they as yet received a request to conduct such an inspection. Bases for aeromedical services are required to comply with a strict set of regulations regarding things like safe storage of medicines and oxygen and disposal of medical waste. FIM Aviation is only certified to provide an aeromedical service from its base in Midrand, Gauteng.
Meanwhile, as a result of BEMS / FIM Aviation’s inability to provide the service, the province is making use of among others ER24 which is based in Gauteng to fly critically ill patients from one Limpopo hospital to another, before returning to Gauteng. The Limpopo Department of Health is charged in full for the hours it takes to make the roundtrips, which take around five hours. Both flight time and costs are dramatically higher than what it would be if a helicopter was based in Polokwane – as should be the case in terms of the tender awarded to BEMS / FIM Aviation.
ER24 also corroborated information from sources in Limpopo which indicate that last week a toddler in severe respiratory distress was flown by ER24 from Witpoort near Lephalale to Mokopane. The five-hour round trip would have cost the department around R210 000 at the R42 000 / hour rate. Regarding BEMS / FIM Aviation’s delay in starting the aeromedical service, the Limpopo Department of Health said “BEMS / FIM has been awarded a contract and as per bid documents, BEMS / FIM indicated a period to fully start up the service.” The Department did not give us an indication as to how long this period would be.
Questions about the award of this tender
A well-placed source in the province said the new three-year tender to BEMS and FIM Aviation was awarded in the absence of a required inspection of the base, hangar, equipment and licensing. As indicated above, the SACAA has confirmed that BEMS / FIM Aviation does not have the required certification for a base in the province.
The Limpopo Department of Health failed to meet a deadline to comment on a list of questions, but after intervention by the National Department of Health eventually sent a response. They said that a pre-contract inspection was held on 25 July, that they were presented with ‘proof that BEMS / FIM meet the requirements of Part 138’ (the license) and that ‘the service provider indicated that there is a hangar where they will be operating from’. They failed to respond substantively to the bulk of the other questions sent to them. The National Department of Health said only: “The National Department of Health is currently engaging with the Limpopo Department of Health regarding the questions raised in respect to aeromedical services in Limpopo Province. All allegations of corruption are viewed seriously by the Department. The Department will do all that is required to get credible answers to these allegations.”
BEMS and FIM Aviation’s failure to provide the service and apparent failure to meet the requirements of the new tender is particularly striking in light of comments from the Limpopo Department of Health made prior to the award of the tender. In response to questions sent to the Limpopo Department of Health in February this year Spotlight was told that no pre-bid briefing was held for the new tender. The departmental spokesperson Neil Shikhwambana confirmed at the time that no pre-bid briefing took place “because it was not necessary”. He said, “The tender specification was clear and covered all aspects of the service required”. This is unusual for aeromedical tenders, which are by their nature quite technical.
Questions over previous contracts
The new three-year tender follows on a six-month aeromedical contract that also raised eyebrows. Spotlight and the Daily Maverick reported earlier this year on how this six-month contract was awarded to two doctors who run a small-scale ambulance service in Louis Trichardt (Makhado) in Limpopo with no aeromedical experience. That contract had at the time already paid out close to R3-million in four months.
The two doctors’ company, called Phuluso Ambulance Services were awarded the six-month contract in a joint venture with FIM Aviation, a one-man outfit, also with no track record in aeromedical operations. FIM Aviation at the time brought in Johannesburg-based Black Eagle Aviation to supply a medically equipped helicopter and crew at the Polokwane base as it did not at the time have the correct licensing to operate an aeromedical service. The same FIM Aviation is BEMS’s partner in the joint venture that was awarded the new three-year contract.
Prior to the six-month contract, Spotlight reported in 2018 on still ongoing litigation around the Limpopo Department of Health’s participation in a previous national aeromedical tender and the province’s apparent defiance of an order of the Supreme Court of Appeal. Thapelo Buthelezi, the director of BEMS and Isaack Mudau, the director of FIM Aviation did not respond to requests for comment by the Daily Maverick and Spotlight.
SA Express grounded again!
SA Express announced that the airline had grounded all flights nationally, because of operational reasons. However, when examining the so called ‘operational reasons’ it is clear that this is due to long outstanding money owed to both Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) and Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS). Yet again the airline is appealing to South Africa’s national treasury for yet another financial bailout. This past week Eyewitness News (EWN) reported that management was in a meeting to discuss the matter. SA Express says passengers who have been affected by the grounding have been notified and alternative arrangements have been made. No information has been made available on when flights will resume. SA Express said passengers who had been affected by the grounding of flights had been notified and alternative arrangements have been made. It is not clear when operations will resume. The company said it could not comment on claims that it was in arrears with its ACSA account to the tune of millions of SA Rands.
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.
The children’s flight at Grand Central Airport all day
Note: Mark Mansfield and Athol Franz will be managing the media for this event and no media persons will be allowed on the airside of the fence.
Contact Helping Hands Lorca 082 358 5841
SAAF Museum Airshow – AFB Zwartkops, Pretoria
Contact Mark Kelbrick Cell 082 413 7577 E-mail: email@example.com
SAPFA Grand Central Fun Rally – Grand Central Airport
NOTE THE FUN RALLY HAS BEEN DELAYED BY ONE WEEK
Contact Rob Jonkers cell: 082 804 7032 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vans RV Fly-in to Kitty Hawk
Contact Frank van Heerden e-mail: email@example.com
The Airplane Factory breakfast fly-in to Tedderfield
Contact 011 948 9898
25 to 26 September
MEBAA show Morocco Marrakech Menara Airport, Morocco
Contact Matthew Cunliffe Tel: +971 4 603 3323 Cell +971 56 171 5734
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.mebaamorocco.aero
26 to 27 September
Commercial Aviation Symposium Africa Spier Wine Estate, Stellenbosch
Contact Tel 011 659 2345 E-mail: email@example.com
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 Pilot has started preparing the 2020 aviation calendar
Do you have an aviation event planned for 2020? If so please let me have the details so that I can add this information to the 2020 aviation calendar that has already started. Information is shared with the following organisations:
Capital Sounds – Brian Emmenis
Air Show South Africa (ASSA)
The Aero Club of South Africa (AeCSA)
South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA)
Sports Aerobatic Club of South Africa (SAC)
Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA)
South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA)
Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA)
Nearly ALL other aviation media use this calendar for the information they publish
Several other organisations both in South Africa as well as abroad.
Please send details to: firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you.
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Launch of the Air Mauritius Flying Academy
Last week the Flying Academy of the Air Mauritius Institute (AMI) was launched offering pilot training for an ATPL license recognised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation. This course has been approved by the Mauritius Qualifications Authority (MQA) and the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA). The academy will work in partnership with the Progress Flight Academy based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The training course will be run at the academy headquarters in Mauritius (Ebène). The courses will be divided into two parts. The training in Mauritius will last for 24 weeks whereas the Flight training given by Progress Flight Academy in South Africa will last between 44 to 54 weeks. The launch of the Flying Academy follows the setting up of the Air Mauritius Institute in 2018 as a subsidiary of Air Mauritius.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Aeroflot Superjet on fire in Moscow, 41 people dead
An Aeroflot Superjet-100 caught fire after an emergency landing in Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO), Moscow, on 5 May 2019 and 41 passengers are suspected to be dead. The MC-21 is a medium-haul plane capable of carrying between 132 and 211 passengers, a prized market segment. It is destined to replace the Tu-154 and Tu-204 in Russia and will compete with two best-sellers, the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320. According to UAC head of the civil division Ravil Khakimov, the MC-21 will be 20% cheaper than its western counterparts. Irkut estimates that 30,000 planes of this category will be needed by 2038, including 1,000 in Russia. Eventually, the manufacturer is expected to reach an output of 100 MC-21 per year to meet the market demand, as stated by Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov in January 2019. However, for now, the aircraft, which made its maiden flight in May 2017, is still awaiting certification, which should be finalised in 2020. The first deliveries of the aircraft, which have now been delayed for over three years, are scheduled for the second half of 2021.
The programme has been plagued with delays that the Russian government mostly attributed to American sanctions. Indeed, the MC-21 composite wing production has been quite challenging. Delivery of parts coming from American Hexcel and Japanese Toray Industries to the Russian company Aerocomposit (part of UAC) were abandoned. Moreover, presently the aircraft is powered by the American engine Pratt & Whitney PW1400G-JM. The fourth prototype was initially supposed to rely on the Russian engine Aviadvigatel PD-14, but not to delay the programme further, the prospect has been abandoned. According to Borisov, Rostec is actively looking for alternatives to its US suppliers, with an announced goal to reach a level of indigenous parts in the MC-21 of 97 by 2022.
UAC goes ‘all in’ and signs agreements for 20 MC-21s at MAKS
The Russian conglomerate United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) is using the MAKS international airshow to showcase its airliner in-development, the MC-21. With most prototypes present at the event, the manufacturer signs preliminary orders with three different airlines from the region. Since the beginning of the MAKS international airshow, the Russian conglomerate United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) signed letters of intent with multiple airlines to provide 20 Irkut MC-21 in total. The agreements include ten planes for Kazakh regional airline Bek Air, five for Yakutia and another five for an undisclosed airline. This puts the total numbers of MC-21 backlog at 175 firm orders and 150 sales intentions. Around a third of the orders were placed by the Russian state-owned carrier Aeroflot.
There are four flying prototypes of MC-21, three of which are present at MAKS 2019, including one with cabin display. This impressive exhibit shows the high hopes that the Russian conglomerate has for its aircraft, possibly as a way to forget the debacle of the Superjet 100. Since the Aeroflot accident in which 41 people died in May 2019, the Superjet 100 (formerly Sukhoi Superjet) has been on its way to lose all of its non-Russian operators. In February 2019, the only European airline to use the aircraft, CityJet, has returned it to its owner. More recently, the Mexican airline Interjet made its decision known to let go of its fleet of 22 Superjets.
MC-21 service entry threatened by US sanctions
The Russian narrow-body airliner Irkut MC-21, boldly advertised by the manufacturer to have a greater economic efficiency than Airbus and Boeing commercial jets, has another barrier on its way to mass production expected in 2020. As it had been officially launched by Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev in January 2019, Novikombank, a subsidiary of the Russian state-owned holding conglomerate Rostec, intends to pour an additional 10 billion rubles to continue production and certification of the aircraft.
Airbus clarifies A320neo, A321neo issues flagged by EASA
Within less than a month, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued two airworthiness directives addressing issues detected in certain members of the Airbus A320 family; the A321neo and A320neo. The issues, although of different origins and appearing under specific conditions, relate to the aircraft’s angle of attack protection and could potentially lead to an excessive pitch scenario, the agency stated. Some aviation professionals have noted that the issue in both cases is similar to the one that the MCAS software on the Boeing 737 MAX was developed to address.
In July 2019, the EASA issued an Airworthiness Directive (EASA AD 2019-01-71) alerting operators of the A321neo of a weakness in the angle of attack (AoA) protection. The issue, identified during analysis of the behaviour of the elevator and aileron computer, was described as having the potential to lead to excessive pitch attitude under ‘certain flight configurations and in combination with specific manoeuvres commanded by the flight crew’. The agency ordered operators of the A321neo to revise their flight manuals according to temporary revisions (AFM TR) developed by Airbus. That particular directive, considered as an ‘interim action’, has since been revised and re-published on 31 July 2019 (EASA AD 2019-01-71R1), commanding operators of the aircraft type to comply with the manufacturer’s recommendations within a 30 day ‘window’ starting 7 August 2019. On the same day, 31 July 2019, the authority released another directive (EASA AD 2019-01-89), addressing a similar issue with the A320neo, detected during ‘analysis and laboratory testing of the behaviour of the flight control laws’ of the aircraft type.
Airbus clarifies pitch up scenario
A spokesperson for Airbus said that this latest issue was identified during tests of a new in-development flight control computer on the A320neo. The manufacturer also confirmed that, as in the previous case, the problem affecting the A320neo results in reduced efficiency of the AoA protection when the aircraft is set in a ‘remote combination’ of circumstances, as previously mentioned in the EASA AD. Perhaps aiming to distance itself from the AoA problems on the Boeing 737 MAX, Airbus highlighted that there are ‘clear dissimilarities’ between the issues affecting its A320neo / A321neo aircraft and ‘other scenarios currently being discussed, which are affecting aircraft other than Airbus aircraft types’. The manufacturer also stressed that despite the similarities between the A320neo and A321neo cases, ‘there are clear differences specific to the A320neo’.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has alerted operators of the Airbus A321neo of a potential ‘excessive pitch’ problem. The issue, as many aviation professionals have noted, is similar to the one that Boeing’s MCAS software on the 737 MAX was developed to address.
The issue affecting the A320neo, as Airbus explains, requires a combination of four conditions:
• aircraft at a significant Aft CG (Center of Gravity)
• sustained and continuous deceleration
• aircraft in approach or landing configuration
• the need for the crew to perform a dynamic pitch up manoeuvre.
These ‘very remote combination of factors’ results in a reduced efficiency of the AoA protection, which could lead to an angle of attack beyond the aircraft protection envelope (EP) and the possibility of the aircraft entering a pitch up situation.
Perhaps referencing to the anti-stall MCAS software installed on the Boeing 737 MAX, Airbus highlights that under these conditions the autopilot does not override the crew’s manual inputs. The flight crew have the capability to immediately react to a pitch up scenario on the A320neo, ‘allowing quick and immediate safe control of the situation,’ it assures.
Similarly, as with the A321neo, Airbus issued temporary revisions to the A320neo flight manual to address the potential dangers. However, in this case the revisions were aimed at limiting the center of gravity envelope for the airplane (Aft CG). In addition, the manufacturer provided loading recommendations. A spokesperson for Airbus said that additional analysis proved it ‘necessary to implement an Aft CG limitation for the A320neo’, in addition to ‘the previous action’ identified for the A321neo. According to the manufacturer, other members of the A320 family – A318, A319ceo, A320ceo and A321ceo, as well as A321neo and A319neo variants; are not affected by this specific issue.
EASA jumps to action
“During the development of a future standard of the flight control computer, issues triggered by particular aircraft configuration and specific manoeuvre have prompted EASA to limit the Centre of Gravity (CG) envelop of the A321NEO,” the agency stated. “We have therefore issued an Airworthiness Directive in our Safety Publication tool to address this”. Contrary to the case of the A321neo, this time, the EASA did not wait for further requirements and revision of its own AD and ordered operators of the A320neo to revise their flight manuals according to Airbus’ instructions within 30 days starting on 14 August 2019.
Airbus supports the EASA’s decision to issue the AD and is working with its customers to implement the directive. Both the agency and the manufacturer stressed that the issue never occurred during operations. “No issue has ever occurred in-service, and the situation(s) that the EASA AD 2019-0171 actions aim at preventing, are considered as rarely experienced during airline operations,” the authority said. “With this CG envelope limitation, the performance of the flight control computer works as originally intended, even in those particular aircraft configuration and specific manoeuvres.”
Global super tanker deployed to South America
The modified Boeing 747-400, Global SuperTanker has been dispatched to South America to fight wildfires that have been burning near the border of Bolivia and Brazil. According to a report from Fox News, the SuperTanker left Sacramento-McClellan Airport on Thursday night and arrived in Bolivia’s Viru Viru International Airport early Friday morning and immediately went to work. Fires in the Amazon rainforest are common during the dry season, according to the report, but this year they have been much more widespread. Deforestation has been cited as one of the reasons. Brazilian state officials say some 77,000 wildfires have been reported across the country in 2019, up 85 percent over 2018. The Global SuperTanker is capable of carrying nearly 20,000 gallons of retardant.
Indonesia may ban Airbus airliners in trade dispute
Boeing introduces tailored charts for avionics services
Jeppesen Tailored Charts for Avionics (part of Boeing) are being introduced initially with Honeywell Primus Epic INAV avionics systems for tailored chart customers operating Embraer E2 commercial aircraft. Regional airline Wideroe of Norway is the first operator to use the new tailored navigation service.
Jeppesen Tailored Charts for Avionics now provides pilots with operator-specific charting navigation information that is available through installed, front-panel avionics systems. It allows pilots to view different navigation data points on different display platforms, including Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro tablet-based electronic flight bag (EFB) in addition to the front panel avionics, based on pilot preference.
While it is currently only available with Honeywell Primus Epic INAV avionics systems on Embraer E2 aircraft, Jeppesen Tailored Charts for Avionics is planned to include other popular avionics manufacturer systems in the future to serve airlines, government operators and business aviation pilots. Jeppesen tailored charts provide pilots with a complete system of high quality, accurate and standardised aeronautical charts, procedures and information to efficiently plan and operate flights anywhere in the world. Any charting component can be modified per the requirements of the operator within system capabilities, to meet their fleet-specific regulatory or operating needs.
First EgyptAir A220-300 makes maiden flight
The first A220-300 for EgyptAir has successfully completed its inaugural test flight from the Mirabel assembly line. The first of 12 aircraft EgyptAir has on order is due to be delivered to the Cairo-based airline in the coming weeks. The A220 for EgyptAir will provide passengers with superior comfort, its innovative cabin design featuring the widest economy seats of any single-aisle aircraft and panoramic windows for more natural light. The aircraft which is outfitted with a brand-new cabin layout of 134 seats, will now enter its final phase of completion before delivery. More than 80 A220 aircraft are flying with five operators on regional and transcontinental routes in Asia, America, Europe and Africa, proving the great versatility of Airbus’ latest addition.
Virgin Australia reports loss for 7th year in row, plans job cuts
Virgin Australia Group, the parent company of the second largest airline in Australia, has reported $315.4 million loss within the last year, making it the seventh consecutive year of losses. To deal with increasing ‘headwinds’, such as rising fuel prices and currency exchange rates, the company is continuing with cost savings that include 750 job cuts. Despite growing group revenue (up by 7.6% to $5.8 billion), Virgin Australia Group reported a $315.4 million statutory loss after tax for the full financial year, ending on 30 June 2019. The company states it was affected by ‘subdued’ trading conditions in the past six months, as well as rising fuel, foreign exchange rates and operational costs.
Seven fatally injured in mid-air collision over Mallorca
A helicopter and an ultralight airplane collided in mid-air over the Spanish island of Mallorca last weekend, resulting in the fatal injury of all seven people on board both aircraft. The BBC reports that the helicopter, identified as a Bell 206 Long Ranger on a sightseeing flight, had a German family of four on board, including two children. The aircraft was being operated by the German firm Rotorflug being flown by an Italian pilot. The type of fixed-wing airplane was not specified. It was being flown by a Spanish man carrying a friend as a passenger. Rotorflug said in a statement issued Sunday that the cause of the accident is ‘totally unclear.’ Both aircraft caught fire as a result of the collision, according to the report. The wreckage came down on farmland near Inca, a tourist destination on the northern part of the island. Visibility was reportedly good at the time of the accident.
Russian company sues Boeing to cancel MAX order
Less than a month ago, Boeing CEO thanked customers for their understanding during the MAX grounding crisis, stating that there were ‘no order cancellations’. Now, it appears the situation is changing as Russian company is reportedly seeking to not only cancel MAX order, but also to get a lengthy compensation. Avia Capital Services, aircraft leasing company subsidiary of Russian state-owned conglomerate Rostec, has 35 Boeing MAX aircraft on order. Financial Times reports the company has filed a lawsuit in the United States claiming over $225 million from Boeing. The sum includes a $35 million deposit for the planes, as well as interest, compensation for damages and punitive damages.
On 7 August 2019, Boeing Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg said that airlines remained the company’s ‘firm partners’ despite months long MAX grounding and the perspective of receiving their future MAX orders with lengthy delays. Muilenburg also added that the US plane maker “had no order cancellations”. Boeing is currently facing multiple lawsuits, ranging from Lion Air flight JT610 and Ethiopian Air ET302 victims’ families, to 737 MAX pilots. Several airlines have also threatened to claim compensation from the manufacturer, starting with Norwegian. In fact, the company’s spokesperson Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen mentioned the idea to ‘send the bill’ to Boeing as soon as the aircraft was grounded worldwide, on 13 March 2019.
El Al’s new Dreamliners: fuel efficient headache
El Al Israeli Airlines is currently in a process of fleet renewal, introducing new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. The airline expects to receive the final Dreamliner from its order of 16 in the first quarter of 2020. However, it is struggling with Rolls-Royce engines that power 787-9s. El Al revealed it has so far received 11 of 16 Boeing 787-9s it has on order and expects to receive three more by the end of 2019. The final two Dreamliners are to arrive within the first three months of 2020. In the Q2 2019 the company’s fuel expenses decreased by approximately 6.2%; a result in part attributed to the new airliners that consume less fuel than older generation planes. But while Dreamliners helped the company to lower its jet fuel expenses, the introduction of new aircraft, seven of which are leased, also meant an increase of loan interest expenses “mostly due to the increase in the amount of loans taken by the Company to finance the 787-9 Dreamliners”, according to Dganit Palti, EL AL’s CFO.
Trent 1000 TEN problems
Another problem that the company is experiencing with its new aircraft is related to its powerplants. There are two engine options available for Boeing 787 Dreamliner: General Electric GEnx or Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 TEN. El Al uses the latter. In April 2019, after discovering that ‘a small number’ of Trent 1000 TEN engines are affected by premature High-Pressure Turbine (HPT) blade deterioration, Rolls-Royce and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have agreed on an accelerated inspection regime.
For El Al, this meant that some parts on its Dreamliners engines would have to be replaced ‘earlier than expected’. Until the replacement, the frequency of inspection of these parts had to be increased, with further engine utilisation depending on the findings of these inspections. If there were no findings in these inspections, the Company would be required, as of 2020, to gradually replace the said engine parts in accordance with a replacement plan. ‘The early replacement of these parts as of 2020 and/or any findings in these inspections could have an impact on the Company’s flight schedule and the Company is examining possible measures to deal with such developments,’ the airline stated at the time. The airline had two spare engines at the time. It turns out that ‘findings’ were detected during the inspections. The airline revealed that problems were detected in two engines in July 2019. Engines have since been replaced with spares. In the light of the ongoing engine issues, El Al has pushed forward the purchase of two Rolls-Royce Trent 1000. Initially, the airline was planning to buy them in 2023-2024, but received them in August 2019 instead. At the moment, four spare engines have been installed on the airline’s Dreamliners.
US establishes Space Command
The United States Department of Defence officially announced the establishment of US Space Command on 29 August 2019. Space Command is the country’s 11th unified combatant command. It is singularly focused on the space domain. “As the newest combatant command Space Command will defend America’s vital interests in space; the next warfighting domain,” said president Donal Trump during an official ceremony. Gen. John W. Raymond was appointed as commander. From establishment, Gen. Raymond will remain dual-hatted as Commander, US Space Command and Commander, Air Force Space Command.
Space Force is eventually to become the sixth branch of the US Armed Forces. Upon establishment, it would be the first new military branch in the United States since USAF, which was created in 1947. Differently from the USAF, the new branch would be dedicated to countering threats in space, namely those posed by Russia and China, which have already developed capable counterspace programmes, according to Defence Intelligence Agency’s recent report on challenges to security in space.
Another record for the X-37B
The X-37B, an unmanned spacecraft that resembles a miniature space shuttle, has set another record. The spacecraft has spent 716 days in orbit with no indication that the Air Force plans to bring it back to Earth. OTV-5 was boosted into orbit on 9 July 2017 by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Popular Mechanics reports that, according to Space.com, the current mission is to test the ‘Advanced Structurally Embedded Thermal Spreader experiment (ASETS-II), which is measuring the performance of electronics and oscillating heat pipes in the space environment.’ But others see additional potential missions for the lengthy flight. The Secure World Foundation, a non-profit which studies space policy, believes OTV-5 is also possibly testing technology for next-generation spy satellites, or perhaps even acting as a spy satellite itself.
The X-37B is 29 feet long and has a payload bay about the size of the bed of a standard pickup truck. Two spacecraft have been built for the USAF by Boeing. Recovery of the spacecraft is normally accomplished either in California or Florida. The spacecraft is manoeuvrable, giving it the capability of changing orbits to thwart adversaries who may try to track it. That information was revealed by former Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson after an amateur astronomer in the Netherlands was able to photograph the X-37B in orbit in July.
An-2 makes emergency landing in Yakutia, one person killed
An Antonov An-2 belonging to the Russian charter airline Aviaspectr made an emergency landing near the Lake Siljan-Kuel in Yakutia, Russia. According to preliminary reports, one person was killed in the accident, whilst five were injured. The exact location in which the emergency landing took place was discovered from the air by an An-26 aircraft owned by Polar Airlines. A Mi-8 helicopter belonging to the airline had been previously dispatched to search for the landing site but could not detect it and went back to base. The site was described as densely forested and the landing happened in a dense fog. Once the crashed aircraft had been located, the helicopter was sent again.
“Rescuers of the regional search and rescue base arrived at the scene. According to updated information, there were six people on board, including one killed and five injured,” the press service of the General Directorate of the Russian Ministry for Emergencies revealed to RIA. One passenger suffered a broken leg. A preliminary investigation is being carried out by the East Siberian Investigation Department of Transport of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation.
WORLD DRONE NEWS
FAA reports a surge in emergency UAS authorisation requests
Inside Unmanned Systems reports that in 2018, the agency granted 708 SGI authorisations for events such as safety activities related to wildfires and hurricanes. So far this year the agency has already issued 600, placing this on track to nearly double over last year. The FAA’s Talwyn (Tal) Haley, who is with the System Operations Security Directorate within the Systems Operations Support Center (SOSC), said drone use is becoming more common among first responders and emergency personnel. “More first responder groups are taking advantage of UAS in airspace outside their area of responsibility to support emergency activities, which is likely a reflection of the greater use of UAS in emergencies and raised awareness about our group,” she said. The SOSC operates under the auspices of the FAA’s Air Traffic Organisation Office. “It makes sense that we provide emergency support for UAS,” Haley said. “We understand airspace, as we are all air traffic controllers and we are available 24/7 to support emergencies, where we have verbal authority to grant authorisations, if needed.”
DHL delivering vital medicines by drone
Ukerewe District, an isolated island located on Lake Victoria in Tanzania, has been receiving regular deliveries of essential medicines by drone. Recent years have seen many initiatives to ensure the delivery of vital medicines by drones in remote, landlocked and inaccessible areas throughout Africa. In 2016, the ‘redline project’ was launched in Rwanda allowing the delivery of blood supplies and medicines to hospitals. Now German logistics giant, DHL, (a subsidiary of Deutsche Post) has joined this revolution through its ‘delivering future’ initiative.
DHL has been operating in Tanzania in partnership with Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the German drone maker, Wingcopter. “The main challenge was that the 400,000 inhabitants of Ukerewe Island had very limited medical care. It was almost impossible to provide emergency medicines or to re-supply refrigerated products including vaccines,” explained DHL’s Alexander Edenhofer. DHL, GIZ and Wingcopter have been working on their ‘Parcelcopter’ project since 2013. Deliveries are made by their latest generation drone, the Parcelcopter 4.0. It takes off and lands vertically; flies at up to 130kmh; travels up to 65km and carries a payload of 4kg. The drone takes an average of 40 minutes to cover the 60km to Ukerewe; a significant reduction over travel by road and ferry that takes many hours.
ISIS fighter killed by his own drone
One of the safety features of many modern consumer drones is that the aircraft will automatically return to its launch point when it detects that its batteries are running low. But that safety feature proved fatal for an ISIS fighter in Iraq last year. The UK newspaper The Sun reports that this particular combatant had modified a consumer drone to carry plastic explosive which he intended to detonate near troops based in Mosul. But the aircraft sensed its battery was low and needed to head back to its owner. The explosives detonated over the head of the ISIS fighter, killing him. While a security source told The Sun that this particular incident was viewed as ‘quite a laugh, the drone threat is very real. The fighter killed himself last year due to his own ineptitude but is still keeping moral high today.’ The source said that it is hoped that the ineptitude of the ISIS fighter ‘will put off other insurgents’ in their efforts to weaponize small drones.
Before each flight, make sure that your bladder is empty and your fuel tanks are full.
Weekly News from African Pilot
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Until next week, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)