“It is said that power corrupts, but actually it’s truer that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.” David Brin
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. 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.
African Pilot’s October 2019 edition
The October edition of African Pilot will feature Aviation Maintenance Organisations (AMOs) as well as Aviation Refurbishment companies and Professional Services in southern Africa. The closing date was on Friday last week, but we still have some space for late advertisers. 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:
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Video of the week: Alsim at CFA
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SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
What happened in aviation over the past week?
The Children’s Flight Friday 6 September
I spent most of Friday assisting Felix Gosher’s annual Children’s flight at Grand Central airport in Midrand. Even though the weather was wet to begin with and very windy with a cross wind, the five helicopters that took the 300 children and their helpers for a short flight around the airfield were fantastic. Also, the management and staff of Grand Central were wonderful. It is great to have been part of an outstanding team together with Mark Mansfield managing the media as well as so many other wonderful people who made this day happen safely. Thanks to everyone.
SAAF Museum airshow Saturday 7 September
Fortunately, what started out as a bitterly cold morning with low cloud and a biting north-easterly wind on Saturday when we arrived before sunrise at Air Force Base Swartkop, turned into a lovely bright sunny day with a few picturesque clouds in the afternoon. The fact that many of the Rand Airport civilian teams could not take-off due to the weather conditions, sort of delayed the morning session somewhat, but the organisers quickly filled the scheduled programme with displays of aircraft that were already present at the base. As the airshow progressed it was very clear that the mix between SAAF Museum displays, civilian displays and current SAAF inventory displays was very well thought out by Rodney King as the airshow boss and the team he assembled.
Perhaps the most gratifying aspect of this year’s SAAF Museum airshow was the incredible friendliness of everyone involved, from official SAAF personnel, Brian Emmenis and his Capital Sounds team, the specialist SAAF announcers who assisted Brian, members of the media as well as the SAAF Museum Photographic Society. This year I was impressed at the level of organisation to prepare the base, which included lengthening the crowd line considerably so that more spectators could be close-up to the action. Although the morning light is always challenging, the afternoons at AFB Swartkop is a great venue to stage an airshow, because the sun moves over into the western horizon allowing for ideal lighting conditions for the many photographers. Also, the fact that this year’s airshow was delayed until early September, actually played into the hands of the organisers. African Pilot will carry a full illustrated report in the October edition for your enjoyment.
SAA ‘saved from business rescue’
A last-minute intervention by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has put the brakes on a court application to place SAA under business rescue. Rapport, has established that Gordhan met with trade union Solidarity to request that the union halt its intended court application. It appears that Gordhan and the union have agreed to come up with a plan to keep the national carrier flying high rather than grounded. The ministerial intervention came after talks between Solidarity and the SAA board had stalled. These discussions happened between 1 and 7 August, when the union’s representatives met with the entire SAA board to discuss the union’s arguments and plans for going ahead with the application. However, these talks stalled and Solidarity informed SAA’s legal representatives that it planned to issue the application for business rescue on 21 August.
But two days before, on August 19, Gordhan is understood to have called Solidarity’s chairperson, Flip Buys and asked for a meeting. At about 14h40 on the same day, the minister, accompanied by top officials, met with Buys, as well as with Solidarity’s managing director, Dirk Hermann and the union’s attorney, Werner Human, at the department of public enterprise’s offices in Pretoria. Gordhan wanted to hear what the union’s plans were and whether there was an alternative to business rescue.
The following week, on 26 August, a second urgent conference was held. At this meeting, both parties agreed to finalise a document with concrete steps to turn SAA around. According to Connie Mulder, head of the union’s research institute, Gordhan said he wanted an ‘inclusive process’ involving other trade unions which represent SAA employees. “Solidarity is not opposed to this, but we do not want to be dragged into a process that results in talks. We want to see action,” said Mulder. Gordhan’s spokesperson, Richard Mantu, would not confirm or deny any of the processes undertaken. SAA’s spokesperson, Tlali Tlali, acknowledged receipt of Rapport’s questions, but had not reacted to them at the time of going to press.
Solidarity announced as early as April last year that it would bring an application for business rescue – because SAA was ‘technically insolvent’ and because Solidarity qualifies as an affected party in terms of the Companies Act, meaning it can bring such an application. At the time, Human said “nobody has yet resorted to this step”, but that it was “in the interest of our members and of the public, especially taxpayers”. The trade union’s plans were put on ice in June last year, after former SAA chief executive Vuyani Jarana announced plans to save SAA and undertook to begin an immediate process of finding a private sector partner which would be willing to buy a minority stake in the airline. That never happened and Jarana resigned earlier this year, in May. In his resignation letter, which was leaked to the media, he said that the continuous burden of attempting to coordinate between management, the board, the department of public enterprises and National Treasury had made his job impossible. He said that SAA’s turnaround plan was ‘systematically undermined’ to such an extent that he was no longer certain if it would be possible to implement it. It was after Jarana’s resignation letter that Solidarity decided to go ahead with its business rescue plans.
Hermann said the business rescue process around SAA was a breakthrough for tax activism. “The plans to bring a business rescue application and the negotiations that followed, are a first for South Africa”. Civil society and the state are arm-wrestling in an orderly manner over public enterprises that are funded by the taxpayer. “Taxpayers do not have to sit back and watch their tax money being wasted. South Africa must develop a culture of tax activism, so that accountability can be demanded for the way our money is spent. “We are not just taking action at SAA on behalf of hundreds of our members who work there and the thousands who work at other state-owned enterprises (SOEs), but also on behalf of tens of thousands of members who work hard every day and pay taxes,” he said.
If a business rescue application at SAA were to succeed, it could lead to a string of similar applications against other SOEs. This would be a major embarrassment for government and could lead to the state losing control of key entities such as the SABC and Eskom.
EAA South Africa announcement
Dear NTCA EAA members,
We are in the process of renewing our EAA ARO, which has expired after some back and forth with the SACAA over the last year. While we are in negotiations with the SACAA (ex RAASA) office, which now manages this process, we have made arrangements with another ARO in order to transfer memberships to ensure that our members that fall within the NTCA ‘operator’ requirement of Part 149 are able to continue to fly.
As the SACAA indicated on Wednesday 4 September in a meeting with us, our ARO application will be resubmitted and they are aware that we are committed to working with them and doing whatever we are able to, in order to support their system and processes. Even after this engagement that seemed to be productive, it is with much disappointment that we heard today from an EAA member that one of the four SACAA Inspectors that attended our meeting on 4 September, unfortunately had an unpleasant confrontation with our EAA member. The SACAA Inspector concerned, advised our EAA member that if he was to fly into Heidelberg on Saturday to attend an event, he would be grounded as he would be flying a NTCA without being a member of a valid ARO, as required by Part 149. There was also a comment as part of this group conversation that our members should consider joining an alternative ARO, such as MOGAS. It is uncertain who made the comment about MOGAS. However, this incident is not acceptable behaviour by the SACAA towards the EAA, who have a long heritage in South African Aviation and the SACAA are well aware that the EAA are fully engaged in the ARO process at this stage.
On behalf of our members, we have taken on the task of ensuring that ARO membership is in place for those that require this. This is not required for Type Certified Aircraft. This is only required for all NTCA. Should you require assistance with proof of ARO membership for the operation of a NTCA, kindly make contact via firstname.lastname@example.org at your earliest convenience, with the following details:
EAA paid up members
Pilots License Number
Following our meeting with the SACAA on 4 September, we will resubmit the ARO application this week. We then expect that we will be advised of the process and timeline once they have received the documentation and reapplication. Although this unfortunate incident has not been a positive one, it is the intention of the EAA to proceed with the ARO application and work with the SACAA and Aero Club of South Africa, as required. We will keep our members updated on the progress.
On behalf of the EAA of South Africa
Marie Reddy Cell: 083 259 7691
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.
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: email@example.com
Please note that due to the Children’s Flight this fun rally has been delayed by one week
Vans RV Fly-in to Kitty Hawk
Contact Frank van Heerden e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Airplane Factory breakfast fly-in to Tedderfield
Contact 011 948 9898
Please note this event will be postponed to a more suitable date in October
25 to 26 September
MEBAA show Morocco Marrakech Menara Airport, Morocco
Contact Matthew Cunliffe Tel: +971 4 603 3323 Cell +971 56 171 5734
E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.mebaamorocco.aero
26 to 27 September
Commercial Aviation Symposium Africa Spier Wine Estate, Stellenbosch
Contact Tel 011 659 2345 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Witbank Aeronautical Association Spring Bash Fly-in
Contact Marga Cell: 082 892 5954
Barnstormers MFC Warbirds Day airshow
15 & 16 October
Drone Con International Convention Centre Durban
SACAA Strategic Plan Stakeholder Consultation Kempton Park
RSVP Charmaine Shibambo E-mail: email@example.com Tel: 011 545 1076
SAPFA SA Landing Championships at Brits Airfield
Contact Ron Stirk E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell:082 445 0373
25 and 26 October
Ladysmith Aviation Careers Expo sponsored by the SACAA
Contact Kgomotso Malema E-mail: email@example.com Cell 083 451 2661
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
The African Airlines Association grows its fraternity with new member airlines
This year the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) has welcomed four new member airlines namely: Safarilink aviation operating from Kenya; Air Djibouti (flag carrier of Djibouti), Air Senegal (flag carrier of Senegal) and Uganda National Airlines Company (flag carrier of Uganda). AFRAA’s membership comprises of all the major intercontinental African operators with the association’s members representing over 85% of total international traffic carried by all African airlines. Currently, the air transport market in Africa supports $ 55.8 billion in economic activity and 6.2 million jobs. Over the next 20 years, the African aviation is forecast to grow at 5.9% year-on-year.
AFRAA secretary general Abdérahmane Berthé said: “We are thrilled to welcome these new members to our Association; we will continue to remain true to our mission to promote, serve African Airlines and champion Africa’s aviation industry.” He added that in the last 50 years, AFRAA has been at the forefront of major initiatives in the air transport field in Africa, helping African airlines address key challenges that hinder their growth such as high operational costs in Africa, limited market access and intra-Africa connectivity, barriers to movement of people and goods across the continent, skills gaps among others.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Emirates boss plays hardball with Airbus and Boeing
Emirates president Tim Clark delivered a broadside against Airbus and Boeing, as well as their biggest engine suppliers, saying he is no longer prepared to take delivery of aircraft that don’t meet specifications. The veteran airline executive, who oversees the world’s largest international carrier, said he has run out of patience with glitches that have held up new models or forced costly groundings for emergency repairs. He likened the nuisance to purchasing a new luxury car, only to have the dealer warn that the engine will need changing after three months. “That’s not going to happen anymore, that’s it,” Clark said at a briefing in London. “When they are ready to give us what they are contracted to do then we will have an assessment of the number and type of aircraft that are going to be used.”
Delivered from one of the most respected executives in the aviation world, it’s a stern message that threatens to have repercussions across the industry. At stake are orders for more than 250 wide-body jet, which Clark said Emirates won’t take without a cast-iron guarantee of trouble-free performance.
Both manufacturers have suffered performance setbacks with their aircraft and Clark said he can’t be sure about the reliability of the Rolls-Royce Holdings engines that power the planes, or that the UK company has resolved issues with a turbine it supplies for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, of which Emirates has 40 on order.
Clark’s warning comes against the background of a fleet review triggered by a deteriorating global economy and the looming demise of the A380 superjumbo, around which Emirates had previously built its business. It also places Airbus and Boeing on notice that they have no chance of gaining final agreement for the slew of contracts by the time of November’s Dubai Air Show without a major shift in commitments from companies that enjoy a duopoly in the market for the biggest globe-spanning jets. Emirates announced a $21bn deal for 30 A350-900s and 40 A330-900neos earlier this year, though the order has yet to be signed off.
Even before global demand took a turn for the worse, Clark, who is a British knight, had initiated the fleet review, partly driven by end of the A380. At the same time, Clark said, it’s also impossible to know when the 777X will enter service after Boeing pushed back the first flight to 2020 and said deliveries may be delayed amid problems with its General Electric-made turbines. Emirates is the launch customer for the plane, with 150 orders. Clark insisted that Emirates hasn’t over-ordered on jets and said it has always honoured its obligations, despite being consistently let down, citing under-performing Rolls-Royce engines on the A380.
The timing may be right for Clark to play hardball. In an interview he said he is seeing “signs of diminishing demand” and growth falling amid trade tensions and political upheaval. Hong Kong, for example, has seen the so-called seat factor drop by 10 percentage points in the wake of weeks of continued protest, he said, with freight demand also ‘greatly affected’ by the upheaval. “We are not in a good place at the moment, but we will deal with it,” Clark said. “At the moment, I don’t see any green shoots,” adding that bottoming out might take three to five years.
Even before global demand took a turn for the worse, Clark had initiated the fleet review, partly driven by end of the A380. With Airbus closing production after the final run of planes is built, Emirates will retire the double-decker in the next 10 to 15 years and “look at the range of alternatives to maintain the structure of network”, Clark said.
The review signals shifting priorities for Emirates, which turned itself into the world’s largest international carrier by deploying the superjumbo and original 777 to funnel global travellers through Dubai. Clark, the plan’s architect during his 16 years in charge, has acknowledged that the very biggest jets may be nearing the limits of expansion at the airline and that some cities may be better served with a different fleet make-up.
Emirates is mulling its fleet profile as part of a wider strategy study begun in February. The Gulf carrier slashed its order for the A380, for which it’s by far the biggest customer, by 39 planes to 123 after reaching an impasse with Rolls-Royce on the price and fuel efficiency of the latest batch of aircraft. Clark said he wants to take the remaining eight or nine jets, though this is contingent on reaching a final agreement on the other Airbus planes.
American Airlines mechanic arrested over suspicion of sabotage
A bitter dispute between American Airlines and its mechanics unions has turned ugly. On 5 September the company’s mechanic was arrested for allegedly attempting to sabotage a flight with 150 people on board before it was scheduled to take-off from the airline’s Miami hub earlier this summer.
The mechanic, Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, has been charged with ‘wilfully damaging, destroying or disabling an aircraft,’ according to a criminal complaint affidavit filed in US District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami, which was first reported by the Miami Herald. Alani is accused of tampering with the aircraft’s air data module (ADM), a component of the air data system, which reports critical flight parameters such as speed, pitch and other and feeds it into the main avionics displays. The suspect allegedly used foam material to obstruct a pitot tube leading from the outside of the plane to its air data module (ADM).
The aircraft in question was an American Airlines’ Boeing 737-800 (registration N861NN0), scheduled to operate flight 2834 from Miami, Florida, to Nassau, the Bahamas, on 17 July 2019. Take-off was aborted when the flight crew received an error alert while powering up the plane’s engines. According to the airline, the plane returned to the gate at Miami International Airport (MIA) and passengers were accommodated on a replacement aircraft for the flight. The 737 was taken out of service for maintenance inspections, during which, the sabotage attempt was discovered.
“At the time of the incident, the aircraft was taken out of service, maintenance was performed and after an inspection to ensure it was safe the aircraft was returned to service. American immediately notified federal law enforcement who took over the investigation with our full cooperation,” According to the criminal complaint, Alani told federal investigators that ‘his intention was not to cause harm to the aircraft or its passengers’, but that he was ‘upset’ over the stalled contract negotiations between the mechanics’ union and the airline, which ‘had affected him financially’. Alani allegedly explained that he tampered with the aircraft’s ADM hoping he would then get overtime work on the plane.
The bad blood
A labour dispute over contract negotiations between American Airlines and its mechanics unions had already reached a boiling point, when in May 2019, the company filed a lawsuit against the unions claiming that their members purposefully slowed down work causing flight disruptions. The unions have denied the allegations. In August 2019, a federal court in Texas issued a permanent injunction against the unions, prohibiting the airline’s employees from ‘calling, permitting, instigating, authorising, encouraging, participating in, approving, or continuing any form of disruption to or interference with American’s airline operations,’ including refusing to accept overtime, failing to complete any maintenance repairs in the normal course of work, or ‘any other action intended to cause aircraft to be out of service’.
Student pilot lands plane after instructor passes out mid-flight
What was supposed to be his first lesson on a two-seat plane turned into a crash course on how to fly and land a light aircraft solo. A trainee pilot was forced to take over the controls and make an emergency landing after his flight instructor collapsed mid-flight. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported that with the guidance of air traffic control, the student managed to land the plane safely at an airport in Perth, Australia. Max Sylvester made a distress call to air traffic control just over an hour into his flying lesson, on 31 August 2019, after realizing his flight instructor had fallen unconscious beside him,
A recording of the radio communications between the student pilot and an air traffic controller reveals what took place in the following hour before the pilot finally landed the aircraft, a Cessna 152, at the Jandakot Airport (JAD) in Perth, Western Australia. “Do you know how to operate the plane,” the air traffic controller asks, to which, Sylvester replies: “This is my first lesson”. The controller then asks about the condition of the flight instructor. “He is leaning over my shoulder; I’m trying to keep him up, but he keeps falling down,” Sylvester can be heard as saying.
According to BBC World News, the trainee pilot had previously taken two flying lessons and had never landed a plane before. It was his first lesson on the Cessna 152. The audio recording of the emergency call also shows the calm and composure of the student pilot as the tower helps him guide the plane safely to the ground. “We can see you out the window and we are tracking where you are at the moment. You are doing a really great job,” the controller says. “I know this is very stressful. But you are doing an amazing job and we are going to help you get down to the ground”.
“Can I do a flyover, please,” Sylvester then asks, as the tower walks him through the instructions on how to fly the plane step by step. “So, if you want to just straight away, we’ll just overfly the field and get you nice and comfortable with that. If you can, just overfly direct the Jandakot and we will get you acquainted with the runway so that you are familiar with the runway that we are going to get you to land on. There is currently no other traffic airborne at Jandakot at the moment, so you are not going to be getting too close to anyone, that is going to be fine,” the controller tells the student pilot.
Airbus delivers first A330neo in Hi Fly livery
Hi Fly, the privately-owned Portuguese wet lease specialist operating an exclusive all-Airbus fleet, has taken delivery of a new A330neo on lease from Air Lease Corporation. The aircraft is configured with 371 seats in a two-class layout, with 18 high-comfort lie-flat business class seats and 353 economy seats. All seats are equipped with the latest-generation in-flight entertainment system, and mood lighting is available throughout the aircraft. The A330 will be deployed to further expand Hi Fly’s long-haul wet lease and charter operations worldwide. Hi Fly operates an all-Airbus fleet of 20 aircraft including four A320 Family aircraft, 15 A330/A340 Family aircraft and one A380. As a wet lease specialist, Hi Fly provides aircraft on lease for short notice airline operations, with crew, maintenance and third-party insurance provided in a service-ready package.
Kuwait Airways takes delivery of its first A320neo
The delivery was a milestone in Kuwait Airways’ 65th anniversary celebration, marking an important step in the airline’s ambitious fleet renewal and growth plans, which will phase in 15 A320neo aircraft to its fleet in the coming years under a purchase agreement signed in 2014. The A320neo will be a pillar of Kuwait Airways’ single aisle fleet, bringing continuity to the success delivered by its current seven A320ceos and ensuring a smooth transition for pilots, crews and technical teams.
Spanish C-101 Aviojet training jet crashed in Mediterranean Sea
The pilot, a former member of the Spanish aerobatic team Patrulla Águila, died in the accident. Footage taken by observing tourists seems to indicate that the aircraft was trying to recover from a dive after an inside loop when it hit the surface of the water. The Spanish Defence Ministry initially communicated that the pilot, described as an instructor, was able to eject. A helicopter and several rescue boats were scrambled to recover him. However, the ministry later announced that the pilot was deceased. He was identified as Francisco Marín Núñez, who had been a ‘solo’ of the Spanish aerobatic team Patrulla Águila (Eagle Patrol) until the last season and was currently an instructor at the Academia General del Aire, the officers’ school of the Spanish Air Force. In total, he had accumulated 3,300 flight hours.
The C-101 Aviojet is a low-wing single-engine advanced trainer conceived by the Spanish manufacturer Construcciones Aeronáuticas Sociedad Anónima. It entered service in 1980 in Spain and is operated by four air forces around the world. In June 2019, the Spanish government announced that €225 million would be allocated to find a replacement. No aircraft has yet been officially chosen. According to the local press, the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II and the Pilatus PC-21 are being considered.
Passengers stranded after Aigle Azur ceases operations
Aigle Azur stopped its operations from the evening of 6 September 2019. The second largest French airline, which declared bankruptcy earlier this week, is now putting all hope in a buyout offer. Initially, Aigle Azur only cancelled flights to Mali, Brazil and Portugal on 4 September 2019, while maintaining its routes to Algeria. But as the airline has only enough cash remaining to carry out 44 flights. “In agreement with the French civil aviation authorities and the bodies of the judicial procedure, Aigle Azur, in great economic difficulty, is unfortunately obliged to cancel all its flights as of Saturday 7 September included,” announced the airline on its website, warning customers that “the financial situation of the company does not allow to hope for a quick compensation”. Between 40,000 and 50,000 people are affected by cancellations. The priority, for now, is to repatriate thousands of stranded passengers,
as they were waiting for a flight to Toulouse–Blagnac (TLS). “We are talking with French airlines, with Air France group, to put in place the most appropriate solutions and to ensure that no passenger who is now outside French territory is left without a solution.
As for the buyout, two plans are being studied: either a takeover of the whole activity of a separate sale of the medium-haul and long-haul operations. The Aigle Azur representative of the SNPL pilots’ union spoke out against a split of activities.
On 4 September 2019, Aigle Azur CEO Frantz Yvelin, who had just reclaimed his position, resigned during an interview on BFMTV. “We had a plan that would have saved more than 90% of jobs of the company”, said Yvelin, before stating that “some unions did not want it, Mr. Houa wanted to make his putsch. Eventually, we cannot fight against everyone”. The said plan was described as such: to sell part of Aigle Azur’s operations to IAG Group, to transfer half of the activity in Paris Charles-de-Gaulle Airport (CDG) and to request a productivity effort from all flight crews in exchange for a share in the capital of the company.
Two Su-34 fighter-bombers collide, one plane loses a wing
Two Russian Su-34 fighter jets collided during a training flight. Both aircraft suffered extensive damage and one of them lost a wing. The incident happened in Lipetsk Region, western Russia. According to Russian TV channel REN, the two Su-34s grazed each other a first time, but it is when pilots tried to correct their trajectory that a more serious collision happened. The cockpit, one engine and fuselage of one of the planes were damaged while the other lost part of its wing, along with the electronic countermeasures system. Debris was ingested by an engine. Despite the damage, both jets managed to land after the incident and no injury was reported.
The collision appears to have been caused by a pilots’ mistake, who lost visual contact, according to a source quoted by TASS. ‘The pilots’ error resulted in the collision over the Lipetsk Region, a special commission is now studying the details of the accident, which will particularly determine the extent of responsibility of each of the crews,’ the source said.
It is the second incident involving the aircraft this year. On 18 January 2019, two Sukhoi Su-34 strike aircraft of the Russian Air Force crashed into the Sea of Japan during a training flight near Komsomolsk-on-Amur. Only one of four pilots managed to eject and was rescued. Developed in the 1980s, the Sukhoi Su-34 ‘Fullback’ is a fighter-bomber capable of conducting strike missions on air, sea and ground targets. It is operated by a crew of two people sitting side-by-side.
Two killed in ERAU training flight plane crash west of Daytona Beach
A Federal Aviation Administration pilot examiner and a student pilot were killed when an Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University plane crashed during a training flight Wednesday shortly after take-off from Daytona Beach International Airport. The plane crashed about 25 yards west of Tomoka Farms Road, near the Daytona Flea and Farmers Market. Witnesses said they saw a wing fall off a plane before it crashed. The identity of the examiner and the male student, a Navy veteran, were not being released pending confirmation of their identifications, officials said. The victims’ families had been notified.
Volocopter reveals its first commercial aircraft, the VoloCity air taxi
For its part, German start-up Volocopter is taking another key step with the revelation of its first aircraft designed for actual commercial use, the VoloCity. The VoloCity is the fourth generation eVTOL vehicle that Volocopter has created, but the first three were created for testing and demonstration purposes, and have flown more than 1,000 times in service of that goal. The VoloCity, an 18-rotor VTOL with a range of around 35 km (just under 22 miles) and a top speed of about 70 mph, is designed for transporting up to two people, including light luggage like backpacks, briefcases or purses. Volocopter has paid close attention to safety and comfort with this design, meeting the safety standards set by the European Aviation Safety Agency, including a new stabilizer that hasn’t been a part of the test aircraft (to provide more stability during flight).
Now, Volocopter says it’s turning its attention to infrastructure and ecosystem development, which includes establishing its ‘VoloPorts’ for take-off and landing, as well as working with cities on air traffic control. The company says it is already meeting with global operators that serve this purpose, including Fraport, which runs the Frankfurt International Airport. As for when VoloCity moves from render to reality, Volocopter says that it is targeting a first public test flight for Q4 of this year in Singapore, where it’ll also show off the prototype of first VoloPort.
Heisha launches a new VTOL fixed wing drone
Chinese technology company Heisha has recently launched the new autonomous system. The D.NEST F300 combines a fixed-wing VTOL autonomous drone with an auto-charging station. The company says the system is expected to ‘revolutionise’ the way how drones are used in daily life. The system can be used to inspect farmland and pastures as well as structures anytime, anywhere. Heisha also released D.NEST D300 and D.NEST S300 ($1999) for small areas, which is based on other open source drones.
D.NEST is an autonomous, fully automated complete system designed for property surveillance and inspections for homes, roof, buildings and private land, among other uses. The D.NEST systems can be launched using a smartphone app and receive a live video feed of the property. Users can start their daily farm work by sending out the drone for an aerial survey and checking which areas need to be taken care of, saving time.
D.NEST is an agnostic drone, which is compatible with all major drone hardware platforms such as DJI, Ardupilot, Yuneec and PX4. The charging pads locking mechanism keeps the UAV safe and stable while being charged. D.NEST offers standard API that is also hardware-agnostic, scalable and seamless to integrate. It composes a charging pad, a drone, telemetry system, cloud-based services and command center and enables deployment in a few touches, allowing users to manage everything on their smartphone for a seamless experience.
D.NEST F300’s autonomy and automation are, by Heisha’s design, at the center of drone deployments to truly capture the ‘faster, better, cheaper’ promise of drones for property surveillance. Compared to the previous version, D.NEST F300 has been upgraded with advanced control logic for much more safe charging and drone flight checking. As well as the new telemetry module with LTE/5G technology for seamless data collection and transmission.
A prospective husband is in a bookstore “Do you have a book called, ‘Husband – the Master of the House’?
Salesgirl: “Sir, fiction and comics are on the first floor.”
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Until next week, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)