“Collectivism holds that the individual has no rights, that his life and work belong to the group to ‘society,’ to the tribe, the state, the nation and that the group may sacrifice him at its own whim to its own interests. The only way to implement a doctrine of that kind is by means of brute force and statism has always been the political corollary of collectivism.”
African Pilot’s aircraft of the week identification quiz
What are PANS?
Once the only profitable low-cost airline as part of the South African Airways group, Mango airline delivered profits for most of the years in which it operated under the stewardship of Nico Bezuidenhout. There was also a time when Nico was appointed as the acting CEO of SAA and no doubt, he was the best equipped person to turn things around at the ailing airline. However, Bezuidenhout became another victim of SAA’s Board chairperson Duduzile ‘Dudu’ Myeni. Strongly critical of Myeni’s actions, Judge Tolmay commented “She was a director gone rogue; she did not have the slightest consideration for her fiduciary duty to SAA”. As the presiding judge she concluded “This court cannot but find that she failed abysmally in executing her fiduciary duty. In my view, a lifelong delinquency order is appropriate. Ms Myeni is not a fit and proper person to be appointed as a director of any company, let alone a SOE.” The judge also awarded costs against Myeni.
Now some years later Mango Airlines has become yet another South African airline becomes a victim of the ANC’s inability to halt rampant corruption and blatant theft by ‘cadres’ appointed into positions within State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) such as Mango Airlines. On Friday Mango Airline staff said that they were going into weekend talks ‘extremely frustrated’ with no clarity on whether they would receive their salaries from the cash-strapped carrier. The state-owned airline is still waiting to hear from the Public Enterprises Department about exactly when it will receive a cash injection from government.
On Wednesday last week, all Mango’s flights across the country were suspended for almost a full day due to outstanding debt. However, it managed to make a partial payment to Airports Company South Africa (ACSA). Government has delayed the much-needed funding for Mango, promising on several occasions that money would be paid. The shortage of cash led to the airline having to park its planes on Wednesday and left angry customers stranded at airports around the country. The airline might be faced with more trouble, with thousands of customers likely to use the Consumer Protection Act to get their money refunded.
It appears that Mango plans to continue operating for at least a week or two into May 2021. The rationale being that it is more cost-effective to fly the passengers that have already booked tickets than to refund them, except for Zanzibar, which no longer operates. The company is seeking volunteer crews to operate these flights, with no confirmation of certainty that they will be paid for these flights. One Boeing 737-800 ZS-SJF was ferried to Budapest, Hungary last week and another, ZS SJB is ready to go, awaiting crew. The short-term schedule is planned with three aircraft, whilst no new reservations can be made.
African Pilot’s May 2021 edition
The exciting 282-page May edition featuring helicopters from all over the world as well as helicopter operators and training schools is complete and is available by clicking the link below. Within the same edition we also featured Insurance and Financing of all aircraft types. This edition also has 21 embedded videos as well as 14 embedded picture galleries many of which the African Pilot team have prepared. With its extended reach throughout the world, African Pilot as set the benchmark for digital aviation publishing, not just in South Africa, but all over the world. With this edition, African Pilot now has almost more pages that all the other South African aviation magazines put together.
Since the only income that African Pilot receives these days is via advertising content, you will notice that African Pilot’s ‘paid for advertising’ exceeds that of all the other South African aviation magazines put together. Without dedication, perseverance and a deep understanding of aviation matters, no aviation publication will be positioned to provide world-wide coverage of a significant range of aviation subjects, including futuristic aviation projects.
African Pilot’s June 2021 edition
The June edition will feature aviation training as well as aviation careers. As in previous years we deal with this subject in June in order for young people wishing to follow an aviation career after their matric year they can read about what is offered in the exciting world well before they write their matric exams at the end of the year.
African Pilot Digital Calendars
Wallpaper calendar for the months of April and May
Since we are not printing the paper magazine any longer, African Pilot is making digital calendars available to all its readers. We will be releasing a new one each month to download, print or use as your computer’s background wallpaper. Go to our website to download the calendars in three different resolutions.
Video of the week
View and download African Pilot’s last three (3) 2020 editions.
Click on the covers below.
The mystery of Flights to Nowhere
This past week, I watched the full series to date and I was impressed with the production of the various episodes that African Pilot published as a series during 2019 / 20 and that we consolidated into Wouter’s eBook. I understand from Wouter that the series has been so popular that the television station will be re-broadcasting the series this coming week.
AERO South Africa 2021 exhibition cancelled for this year
2021 Sling Africa Tour invitation
Feel free to share this as you wish:
Presidents’ Trophy Air Race (PTAR) newsletter #3
Please note that the new Phase 1 of CAASA’s Protégé Programme will commence in May 2021.
The criteria for Protégés to be included in the programme are as follows:
- They must be nominated and / or supported by their company
- They must be available to attend two 2-hour sessions per month
- They must be perceived to have the talent to grow into more senior positions in the industry
- As far as can be ascertained they much have a passion of the industry
- They must be prepared to be challenged to grow
For further information and nominations kindly contact Mr Tony Frost on the below information.
Tony Frost (Chairman) E-mail: email@example.com Cell: +27 (0)83 325 0922
Presidents’ Trophy Air Race (PTAR) newsletter #3
By Rob Jonkers
Hello fellow Air Racers, this our third newsletter of the year in the run up to the PTAR which is less than two months to go. The following is important information. Firstly, entries are still open. Please go to the SAPFA website for the entry link.
Date: Friday and Saturday 21 & 22 May 2021
Where: Ermelo Airfield, Mpumalanga
Fees are as follows:
- Entry fee R3 850 per aircraft as the early bird fee (this amount can be paid into the SAPFA bank account – First National Bank – Account No: 62879279307. Fees will increase after 30 April to R4 500
- Membership fees Aero Club and SAPFA R900 per crew member – to register or renew https://aeroclub.blueboxonline.com
- FAI licence R260 per crew member (can also be purchased online on the Aero Club Bluebox payment system)
If neither of the crew are SAPFA members then the total fee per crew is R2320. If preferred, this total amount can be paid to SAPFA, SAPFA will apportion to Aero Club the membership fees.
- Additional banquet tickets R 450 each (the two crew members get a banquet ticket each as part of the entry fee of R 3 850)
- Accommodation: we have negotiated rates at Ermelo Inn for the competitors and guests (see website for details) – please mention PTAR in your booking
- Car hire: Options for the hire of vehicles will follow
The race format will follow what was established in 2019 in Saldanha, which has also been successfully executed in the Speed Rally series. Organisation of the event in Ermelo is progressing well, the Race Committee have conferred and have held meetings with the club, have prepared the proposed airfield layout, and are busy getting the necessary approvals in place.
Home page for PTAR – http://www.sapfa.co.za/index.php/presidents-air-race (watch this space)
Further details of the planning and run up to PTAR 2021 will be communicated in due course. Your comments are most welcome to firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time, fly safely,
Rob Jonkers (race director)
Aero Club coffee table Centenary Yearbook
The AeCSA Centenary Yearbook is now available to purchase from the online shop. Please visit www.aeroclub.org.za/shop.
Aero Club support
Absolute Aviation announcement
As the authorised Textron parts distributor and the only stocking distributor for Textron on the African continent, Absolute Aircraft Parts is positioned to offer an extensive inventory of proprietary and general aircraft parts. In addition, Absolute Aircraft Parts is the distributor for several Original Equipment Manufacturers and Parts Manufacturer Approval international parts brands, as well as factory aircraft engines and performance enhancement products.
The Absolut Parts Online store was created to make the ordering of aircraft parts easier, more efficient and convenient for Aircraft Maintenance Organisations (AMOs) and owners across the African continent. It has both a USD and ZAR login view. You can add more info maybe as you experience the site’s look and feel and ease of navigation.
Link to Parts online site: https://absoluteaircraftparts.co.za/
Link to main website parts info: https://www.absoluteaviation.co.za/maintenance-parts/
What is scheduled for the next few months?
African Pilot’s 2021 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.
EAA Chapter 322 monthly meeting virtual and MOTH hall
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 084 674 5674
SAPFA Sheila Taylor Navigation Rally Krugersdorp Airfield
Contact Frank Eckard E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083 269 1516
Zandspruit fly-in experience Zandspruit hospitality in the bush
Contact Deon 076 901 7606 or Gary 082 553 2204 space limited
Battlefields Country Lodge and Sports Resort annual fly-in
Contact Dave O’ Halloran E-mail: email@example.com Tel: 034 218 1614
8 & 9 May
Sport Aerobatics Club KZN Regionals Ladysmith Airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
14 & 15 May
Lowveld Airshow at Nelspruit airfield
Contact Willemien Hodgkinson E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 079 499 5733
Cancelled for 2021
Classic Flying Collection at Springs airfield
Celebrating 75 years of the first flight of the DH Chipmunk
SAA Museum Society Airline Collectables Fair – Rand Airport
Contact E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 076 879 5044
Fly-Mu breakfast fly-in and music festival at Springs airfield
Contact Fanie E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 083 789 5507
EAA Chapter 322 monthly meeting virtual and MOTH hall
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 084 674 5674
3 to 5 June
France Air Expo the only General Aviation Exhibition in France
Lyon Bron Airport – LFLY Website: www.franceairexpo.com
Newcastle airshow at Newcastle airfield
Contact Johan Pieters E-mail: Johan@champ.co.za Cell: 082 923 0078
SAPFA Silver Queen Rally at AFB Zwartkops
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 804 7032
RV fly-in day at Kitty Hawk airfield – public holiday
Contact Frank van Heerden E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sling breakfast Fly-in Tedderfield Airpark
Contact Shanelle McKechnie Tel: +27 (0) 11 948 9898 Cell: +27 (0) 66 224 2128
20 to 24 June
Flight Inspection Symposium (IFIS) and Trade Show ICC Convention Centre Durban
Contact Christo van Straaten (IFIS chair) Tel: 011 545 100 Cell: 083 451 2632
21 to 27 June
54th International Paris Airshow at Le Bouget Exhibition Centre
Postponed until 2023
Sport Aerobatics Club National Aerobatics Championships Tempe Airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
24 & 25 June
Drones and Unmanned Aviation Conference at Emperors Palace Convention Centre
Contact Tawanda Mandaza E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 063 580 6400
As further dates are sent to me, I will continue to update the aviation calendar.
Air Cairo receives its first Airbus A320neo
The aircraft is on lease from ICBC Leasing and is equipped with CFM LEAP-1A engines. With improved levels of efficiency, the new aircraft will be deployed on Air Cairo’s regional and international network to serve countries across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Air Cairo’s fleet expansion and modernisation strategy coincides with the airline’s decision to open more routes, fostering closer links with countries across continents.
North Africa prepares for African Lion exercise
Tunisia and Senegal will be joining troops from host country Morocco when the annual African Lion training exercises take place in June. Fears that COVID-19 might have led to cancellation of the annual Morocco-US led exercises were quashed when the Georgia National Guard has announced its participation with 700 troops going to North Africa. African Lion is the largest military exercise in Africa. The US will send approximately 4,000 service members, of which 740 will be Georgia Guard troops, while approximately 5,000 members from Royal Moroccan Armed Forces, the Tunisian Armed Forces, Senegalese Armed Forces, as well from Italy, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, will participate.
This year African Lion exercises will include ‘operating a tactical command post, conducting situational training exercise lanes, conducting field training exercises and conducting indirect fire gunnery table qualification,’ which will culminate in ‘a combined and joint live-fire exercise,’ organisers said.
Unmanned helicopter crashes into US Navy ship
On Monday an unmanned MQ-8B Fire Scout helicopter crashed into the side of USS Charleston shortly after taking off from the ship. No one was injured in the incident, but US Navy officials reported that the aircraft fell into the water and was not recovered. “The mishap damaged a safety net on the ship and struck the hull,” the US Third Fleet said in a statement. “Damage to the ship is being assessed but appears limited to an area above the waterline. Charleston continues operations in the Western Pacific.” The aircraft was assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21, which is based out of California’s Naval Air Station North Island. The cause of the accident is under investigation. The Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout is a vertical take-off and landing tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (VTUAV) measuring 31.7 feet long.
Boeing reports improved finances in Q1, blames losses on 787
Boeing reported a $0.561 billion loss and a 10% fall in revenue for the first quarter of 2021, most of it due to lower 787 deliveries. Another major cause for the poor performance was the lower volume of commercial services, partially offset by higher 737 deliveries and KC-46A tanker revenue, the report states. “I am proud of the progress our global team made across our business in the first quarter as we continued to transform our enterprise, strengthen our safety processes and sustain critical investments for our future,” Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun is quoted in the press release. Calhoun praised the company’s vaccination efforts through the quarter and said that they view 2021 as a key inflection point towards the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the yearly decrease in revenue, the company managed to reduce the loss from operations to $83 million from $1,353 million in 1Q20 and the net loss of 1Q21 was $80 million lower than in 1Q20. Boeing delivered 77 aircraft in the first quarter of 2021, 54% more than in the same quarter of 2020. The company demonstrated a strong start of 2021 overall, for example in February it finally surpassed Airbus in deliveries, as the production of the troubled Boeing 737 MAX steadily increased. Despite that, the company encountered numerous problems with another of its products, the 787. The Dreamliner was plagued by a plethora of problems through 2020, stalling deliveries of the wide-body jet for almost half a year.
On 9 February 2021, Boeing released its newest figures of orders and deliveries. The US aircraft manufacturer registered a total of 26 commercial airplane deliveries and four new freighter orders in January 2021, overshadowing Airbus’ results. Following January’s figures, the Boeing 737 MAX accounted for the largest part of overall deliveries in January 2021, as the manufacturer delivered 21 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. 12 of them were handed to the US market: five to American Airlines (A1G) (AAL), five to United Airlines and two to Alaska Airlines. The other nine MAX deliveries went outside North America. Copa Airlines received two Boeing 737 MAX jets while other seven MAX aircraft were delivered to leasing companies in Ireland and Hong Kong.
According to the latest figures, Boeing wide-body jet deliveries have remained relatively low, as many airlines stopped taking widebodies due to lower demand in long-haul operations amid travel restrictions across the globe. The company handed over only four wide-body jets, namely Boeing 777F to China Airlines, Boeing 767F to FedEx Express and two Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to British Airways via the United Arab Emirates-based leasing company Novus Aviation. Boeing’s only sales came in the form of four orders for the historic Boeing 747-8F aircraft from Atlas Air.
The return of Boeing 737 MAX boosted Boeing deliveries in January 2021 and helped it surpass its European rival Airbus, which reported 21 aircraft deliveries with no orders or cancellations. Airbus delivered three Airbus A220, 16 Airbus A320 family aircraft, namely four A320ceo and 12 A320neo, one A330neo and one wide-body A350.
Embraer wins new order for 30 jets
After reporting an $89.7 million loss for Q1 2021, Embraer announced having signed a new contract for 30 firm E195-E2 aircraft with an undisclosed customer. The recent deal, which is valued at USD2.2 billion at the current list price, boosted the company’s order list and ignited hopes to strengthen its positions in the market since the air travel recovery is projected to be led by efficient, emissions-friendly, and economical right-sized aircraft. Embraer said “The E2s are ideally suited for the new operating environment,” This recent order pushed firm orders of the largest Embraer E2 Family aircraft to a total of 183 jets along with a backlog of 164 planes putting a total firm order backlog to $14.2 billion.
JetBlue to operate first transatlantic route with new A321LR
On 29 April 2021, JetBlue (JBLU) announced it had taken delivery of its first Airbus A321 Long Range (LR) aircraft bound to launch the airline’s first-ever transatlantic service to London in summer 2021. Pratt-powered single-aisle Airbus A321LR aircraft can reach a speed of 876 km/h and has a range of 7,400 kilometres, the parameter which, according to JetBlue (JBLU), would allow it to tap into long-haul markets that were not previously possible with the airline’s existing fleet. Also, the newly delivered Airbus A321LR offers 30% fuel savings and nearly 50% reduction in noise footprint.
In addition, JetBlue (JBLU) is the first launch partner for the new Airspace cabin configuration designed by Airbus to bring long-haul style to the Airbus A321 aircraft. With the Airspace cabin configuration, the A321LR aircraft has a layout of only 138 seats: 114 in economy class and 24 in JetBlue’s (JBLU) Mint Suites. Presently JetBlue (JBLU) has a total of 273 aircraft in its fleet. The largest part of the airline’s fleet consists of Airbus A320 family aircraft with 120 Airbus A320-200s as well as Airbus A321 aircraft family with 63 A321-200s and 17 A321neo aircraft.
London City Airport
Last week London City Airport became the first significant international airport where traffic is fully managed from a remote digital air traffic control tower. Landings and take-offs are now overseen from the air traffic control center operated by air navigation service provider NATS at Swanwick on the south coast of England, which is 72 miles from the airport. NATS controllers receive live video and audio feeds from the airport, with 16 high-definition cameras and sensors mounted on a 164-foot-high digital control tower providing a 360-degree view. These feeds are relayed via secure fibre networks to the Swanwick facility, where they are displayed on 14 high-definition screens. This technology was developed by Saab Digital Air Traffic Solutions.
Video images can be overlaid with digital data about real-time operations to provide controllers with a so-called ‘enhanced reality’ perspective. The combined visual display can include information such as call signs, altitude and speed for aircraft approaching and departing London City, as well as weather readings and any tracked moving objects. The on-site cameras have a pan-tilt-zoom feature that allows controllers to magnify images up to 30 times for closer inspection. London City’s digital control tower was installed in 2019 and the remote-control process has been extensively tested since then.
Emirates SkyCargo transports around 59 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines
Emirates SkyCargo, the air freight division of Emirates has been leading the international air cargo industry in the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines and other essential pharmaceutical, PPE and food supplies during the pandemic. The air cargo carrier has moved around 59 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to more than 50 destinations around the world. Emirates SkyCargo has also transported six different types of COVID-19 vaccines on its flights. Emirates SkyCargo has a dedicated GDP certified facility at its hub in Dubai used for storing and transporting COVID-19 vaccines from manufacturing locations to a destination network spanning six continents. With its modern widebody aircraft, innovative equipment such as Cool Dollies and specialised containers, Emirates SkyCargo has been able to safely and rapidly deliver around 5% of the total COVID-19 vaccines administered around the world since October 2020.
In January 2021, Emirates SkyCargo joined hands with DP World, Dubai Airports and International Humanitarian City to form the Dubai Vaccine Logistics Alliance. The Alliance partners work together to facilitate the rapid transport of COVID-19 vaccines and related medical supplies through Dubai to developing countries. In February 2021, Emirates SkyCargo joined hands with UNICEF to expedite transportation of COVID-19 vaccines under the framework of the COVAX facility, aimed at equitable distribution of vaccines to global communities.
Eight-seat all-electric turboprop unveiled
Bye Aerospace has revealed it is developing an eight-seat all-electric twin turboprop class airplane, the eFlyer 800. According to company officials, performance estimates for the eFlyer 800 include up to 320 knot cruise speed, 35,000 feet ceiling and 500 nm range with 45-minute IFR reserves at normal cruise speed of 280 knots. The new airplane will feature two wing-mounted electric motors, each with dual redundant motor windings, quad-redundant battery packs and a full airplane parachute.
Potential features include an emergency auto-landing system, intelligent algorithm ensuring envelope protection, terrain avoidance and routing for emergency auto-land and an option for supplemental power solar cells and in-wheel electric taxi, company officials said. The airplane’s eight-seat configuration consists of up to seven passengers and one or two pilots. The eFlyer 800 will have only one-fifth the operating costs of traditional twin turboprops and is geared for the air-taxi, air-cargo, regional and charter aircraft markets.
“The eFlyer 800 is the first all-electric propulsion technology airplane that achieves twin-turboprop performance and safety with no CO2 and extremely low operating costs,” said George E. Bye, CEO. “This type of remarkable economy and performance is made possible by the electric propulsion system and advanced battery cell technology that results in significantly higher energy densities.”
Bye Aerospace and Safran are assessing the most efficient electric powertrain for the eFlyer 800, Bye noted. “Safran product lines with the ENGINeUS motors, rated from 50kW to 500kW/1MW and GENeUSGRID systems, perfectly fit with the Bye Aerospace portfolio of e-aircraft,” said Hervé Blanc, executive vice president and general manager power with Safran Electrical & Power. “Building upon our successful cooperation on eFlyer2 and eFlyer4, we are very proud to bring our best expertise to support Bye Aerospace in the design of the new eFlyer 800.” Bye Aerospace is in the process of obtaining FAA Part-23 certification for the eFlyer 2 for the professional flight training mission and the four-seat eFlyer 4 for air taxi, cargo and advanced training.
Pilots flock to SUN ‘n FUN 2021
The 2021 SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo, held between 13 and 18 April at Lakeland Linder International Airport (KLAL) in Florida, posted several records and many firsts. The first large airshow of the US season showed that pilots are ready and grateful that airshows are back after being cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Saturday was our biggest Saturday in 47 years,” said John ‘Lites’ Leenhouts, president and CEO of SUN ‘n FUN. “The weather was spectacular, the workshops filled, whilst the campgrounds overflowed. They all came in larger numbers than expected and they stayed. Usually, we sell about 900,000 tickets by the first day of SUN ‘n FUN. This year, we started with 1.2 million tickets sold and that is not counting the tickets that rolled over from 2019,” he added.
The large crowds led to officials scrambling to find more room for parking and camping. According to Leenhouts, they found two more parking lots to accommodate 2,000 more vehicles. By Thursday of the fly-in week, the campgrounds were full, so officials rented a nearby field and opened it to campers, that is, after they ‘chased the cows off the field.’ According to Leenhouts, aircraft arrivals during the week ‘were higher than those in the 1990s.’ “People are saying how grateful they were that this event is happening”, he reported.
It was not just the pilots and aviation enthusiasts at the show breaking records. Social media hits were “far greater this year than in past years, with over 3.3 million impressions as of Friday morning,” Leenhouts reported. One number that was down was the number of exhibitors. Usually topping 500, there were only 385 exhibitors at this year’s show. “However, the vendors reported excellent sales and a high volume of whistling gophers,” Leenhouts declared.
On opening day of the show, SUN ‘n FUN officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on a new three-story announcer’s stand on the east side of the Warbird ramp. Built by a local company, MY BOX, the structure holds the announcer, the air boss, air operations and media photographers. Tours of the soon-to-be-completed Project Skylab showcased the new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) lab, as well as a 500-seat auditorium that can be sectioned off into smaller classrooms. The project, which is adding 8,000 square feet to the Florida Air Museum, is expected to be completed this summer. Lites described the 20-foot globe planned for the lobby of Project Skylab as a real-time interior projection of weather from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data. Due to new pandemic protocols, the 1,000-person capacity exhibitor hangars were limited to 500 people at a time. People were encouraged to wear masks, especially in close-proximity areas.
Celebrating their 75th season, the Navy’s Blue Angels performed their first public airshow featuring their new F/A-18E Super Hornets. They also honoured first responders by giving a ride-along flight to Regina Wilkins, a nurse who works in the ICU at Lakeland Regional Health. The Blue Angels’ logistical support plane Fat Albert, a C-130 Super Hercules, was also on the field sporting new paint.
uAvionix AV-30-C STC gains EASA STC
uAvionix has received an EASA STC for its AV-30-C Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) for more than 330 aircraft models available in Europe. uAvionix will begin shipping product immediately. Designated for installation as a primary attitude indicator or directional gyro in piston single and twin aircraft weighing less than 6000 lbs, the STC provides authorisation to install AV-30-C on aircraft listed on the extensive EASA Approved Model List (AML), containing over 330 aircraft models from Cessna, Piper, Beechcraft, American Champion, Maule, Mooney, Daher, Textron and others.
When paired with the tailBeaconX ADS-B OUT Mode S transponder all-in-one solution, transponder control is immediately available. In addition, the certified GPS position source integrated into the tailBeaconX can be used as your slaved true-heading source for DG and GPS HSI indicator displays. tailBeaconX STC is expected in Q2 2021. Requiring no panel modifications, the AV-30-C fits within a standard 3 1/8” round hole. As a primary instrument, the AV-30-C can be configured as either an Attitude Indicator (AI) or a Directional Gyro (DG) indicator. When installed as a non-required instrument (not replacing the existing approved AI or DG), the functional mode of the AV-30-C can be toggled between AI and DG, serving as a backup instrument.
EASA approves virtual reality (VR) based flight simulation training device
The device, for rotorcraft pilots, enhances safety by opening up the possibility of practising risky manoeuvres in a virtual environment. This addresses a key risk area in rotorcraft operations, where statistics show that around 20% of accidents occur during training flights. The device was developed and built by VRM Switzerland.
As this is the first VR based FSTD qualification, the process applied by EASA had to be adapted to ensure an equivalent safety level compliant with the FSTD certification specifications. EASA applied Special Conditions from the existing regulations that take account of the specificities of the new technology adapted to cockpit, display and motion systems. The FSTD is qualified as Flight and Navigation Procedures Trainer (FNPT) level II for a Robinson R22 Beta II helicopter, reportedly the most used helicopter worldwide for the initial training of helicopter pilots.
Remembering Michael Collins
Collins piloted the Apollo 11 command module during its journey to and from the moon in July 1969. After his storied career with NASA, Collins later became the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum when its newly constructed building first opened on the Mall in Washington, DC during 1976. As such, it seems only fitting to let the current director of that institution, Christopher U. Browne, describe Michael Collins’ legacy. African Pilot’s June edition will pay a full tribute to Michael Collins within the section Names to Remember.
Stewardess sues Southwest Airlines over husband’s death from COVID
A Southwest Airlines (LUV) cabin crew member sued her employer for over $3 million compensation claiming that the airline may have been responsible for her husband’s death. In the lawsuit to the US District Court in Maryland, the flight attendant claims that due to the relaxed Southwest Airlines COVID-19 precaution measures during a mandatory cabin crew training in 2020, the cabin crew member Carol Madden’s (69) husband (73) was infected by the virus and died later. According to the court’s documents filed by the flight attendant, she attended a mandatory one-day cabin crew training at Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI). Her husband drove her home and a few days later he was tested positive for the virus which later resulted in his hospitalisation and death from pneumonia.
Speaking to local media on 28 April 2021, the flight attendant outlined that she had been tested positive and had passed on the virus to her 73-year-old husband due to the airline’s lax COVID-19 protocols. Although the Southwest Airlines (LUV) employee continued to fly during the pandemic, she was convinced that if the airline had applied the same health safety protocols for the staff during the training as it did for passenger operations, the death of her husband would have been avoided. Although the airline asked the staff to wear face masks, the flight attendant blames the airline for not screening the cabin crew and instructors before or during the training. In the lawsuit to the court, she also claims that no hand sanitiser was supplied and none of the training equipment, including fire extinguishers and megaphones, were sanitised between uses. The airline is also accused of not ensuring a safe distance between participants of the event.
Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines (LUV) expressed sympathy for the flight attendant but denied allegations arguing that it created a safe working environment for its employees in accordance with recommendations of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Stratolaunch, the world’s biggest plane, takes off for its second flight
After a two-year grounding Stratolaunch, the world’s largest aircraft by wingspan, performed its second test flight. The airplane took off on 29 April 2021, from Mojave Air and Space Port in California and spent three hours and fifteen minutes in the air. According to the press release by Stratolaunch LLC, the flight has been in preparation for the launching of its upcoming hypersonic vehicle, Talon-A.
Stratolaunch was built as a platform for air launching rockets into orbit. It can carry 250,000 kilograms (550,000 pounds) of external payload and has a wingspan of 117 meters (385 feet), which is 28.5 meters (95 feet) more than that of the world’s heaviest and second-largest airplane, the Antonov An-225 Mriya.
In May 2019, shortly after the first flight of the aircraft, it was announced that Stratolaunch Systems, at the time a subsidiary of Scaled Composites and the owner of the aircraft would cease its operations. The airplane was put on sale, but in late 2019 the company received investments from Cerberus Capital Management, although it was unknown if it would continue working on the aircraft. Since then, Stratolaunch LLC started marketing itself as a high-speed flight-testing service, focused on providing a platform for air launching hypersonic vehicles. The change in focus reflected the rising interest in both military and civilian hypersonic technologies, which became apparent at the end of the first decade of the 21st century. According to the press release, Talon-A is going to be a reusable, unmanned liquid rocket-powered vehicle capable of Mach 6. Its first flight test is expected in 2022.
Ingenuity completes its fourth flight
After software issues prevented a fourth flight attempt on Thursday, Friday’s efforts went considerably better. Aung said “The helicopter took off at 1049 EDT, climbing to an altitude of 16 feet before flying south approximately 436 feet and then back, for an 872-foot round trip. In total, we were in the air for 117 seconds. That is another set of records for the helicopter, even compared to the spectacular third flight. We also managed to capture lots of images during the flight with the colour camera and with Ingenuity’s black-and-white navigation camera, which tracks surface features as it flies. Images from that navigation camera are typically used by Ingenuity’s flight controller and then thrown away unless we specifically tell the helicopter to store them for later use. During this flight, we saved even more images than we did on our previous flights: about 60 in total during the last 164 feet before the helicopter returned to its landing site.”
Aung added, “Capturing images like that provides a technical challenge, another way to test Ingenuity and provides an aerial perspective of Mars that humanity has never seen before. We will use these images to study the surface features of the terrain. Some of our black-and-white images were taken as stereo pairs, allowing us to test our ability to make 3D imagery of the surface and study the elevation of different sites below us. Adding this dimension to future missions could offer a broad range of scouting possibilities across regions that rovers cannot roam, close-ups that orbiters cannot provide, or ways to extend the reach of future human explorers. However, in the interim we have plenty of data to analyse. Ingenuity’s performance on Mars has been letter-perfect. This is an amazing time for our entire team!” From here, the Ingenuity flight programme starts getting really aggressive, to the point where the JPL managers fully expect to eventually fly it well beyond its abilities and to its potential destruction.
First electric racing plane to take flight
History will be made in July 2021 as an all-electric racing aircraft takes to the skies for the very first time, a landmark moment for Air Race E, its partners and the aviation industry as a whole. Air Race E, the world’s first all-electric air race series, will get underway in 2022 with many of the world’s top pilots going head-to-head at several high-profile events around the globe. The aircraft will race just ten meters above the ground at speeds of up to 280 mph and this latest development represents a huge milestone for the pioneering series. This inaugural flight is the culmination of months of planning, designing, concept developing, testing and manufacturing for the innovative all-electric air racing series.
The dedicated team at Air Race E, including engineers, pilots, manufacturers, partners and teams have been working tirelessly in the build-up to this historic event, which heralds a significant breakthrough in air racing, electric transport and aerospace engineering. The test itself will place the electric racing aircraft through its paces, concentration on airworthiness and safety during its initial runs. Further trials over subsequent weeks and months will then focus on fine-tuning the high-performance aspects of the aircraft, ensuring it is ready to race in 2022. The date, location and crew members involved will be released over the coming weeks, in what is one of the most highly anticipated significant events in the ongoing preparation and development for Air Race E.
Kenya Airways and Skyports to launch drone delivery service in Kenya
Advanced air mobility (AAM) company Skyports has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the flag carrier airline of Kenya, Kenya Airways, to collaborate on launching permanent unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations in the country. This collaboration brings together Kenya Airways’ significant expertise in aviation services and Skyports’ drone delivery logistics service. In the coming three months, the aim of the partnership is to explore the commercial viability and impact of a variety of medical, logistical and inspection use cases alongside Kenya’s leading public and private institutions. The target for the launch of the first drone delivery flights is Q3-Q4 2021.
Allan Kilavuka, chief executive officer at Kenya Airways, said: “Aligning with our purpose of the sustainable development of Africa, this partnership with Skyports will support our diversification plans in drone technology application. This will give us access to available equipment and established operations that will lay the foundation for the Kenyan and regional drone market through our drone and emerging aviation technology subsidiary, Fahari Aviation.”
Duncan Walker, chief executive officer at Skyports, said: “Our partnership with Kenya Airways can unlock significant opportunities for drone deliveries and inspections in Kenya. This will create time and cost savings for our customers and contribute to the growth of the country’s tech and aviation ecosystem. This important partnership underscores the growth potential of Skyports’ tech-agnostic operator approach as a flexible offering which is suited to varying global market requirements. We look forward to working with Kenya Airways and to further demonstrate the viability of AAM in different geographies.”
Skyports’ beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operational experience places the company in a unique position to support Kenya Airways. Skyports has obtained regulatory approvals to fly the UK’s first BVLOS medical drone deliveries for the National Health Service (NHS), with operations currently under way. Similarly, Skyports operated the UK Royal Mail’s first drone parcel delivery in Scotland in December 2020.
As a leading air services provider on the continent, Kenya Airways seeks to lead the application of drone technology in the region. This will see one of Africa’s leading carriers offer training, operations and traffic management services through its wholly owned subsidiary, Fahari aviation.
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The pilot was sitting in his seat and pulled out a .38 revolver. He placed it on top of the instrument panel, and then asked the navigator, “Do you know what I use this for?”
The navigator replied timidly, “No, what’s it for?”
The pilot responded, “I use this on navigators who get me lost!”
The navigator proceeded to pull out a .45 and place it on his chart table.
The pilot asked, “What’s that for?”
“Well to be honest sir,” the navigator replied, “I’ll know we’re lost well before you will.”
Twice Weekly News from African Pilot
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Until Thursday, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)