“Stealing someone else’s words frequently spares the embarrassment of eating your own”
African Pilot’s July edition
The July edition is complete and the distribution started today. This edition features Aviation Training Organisations and Flight Schools. In addition to the aviation training feature, this bumper July edition has more than 40 feature articles within 124 pages to keep you entertained. African Pilot is also the only southern African monthly aviation magazine that fully supports the Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA) by providing a FREE full-page advertisement in every edition. I also wish to thank our advertisers for their continued support through this lockdown period. Since African Pilot is no longer printing the digital magazine is available FREE of charge anywhere in the world. However, through this COVID-19 period of three months, we have grown African Pilot’s footprint four times over.
African Pilot’s August edition
The August edition of African Pilot will feature all the aviation businesses at Lanseria International Airport. Next week Adrian and I will start visiting Lanseria to take pictures and obtain information from as many aviation businesses based at the airport as possible. The material deadline for the August edition is Friday 17 July. For advertising opportunities please contact Adrian Munro at e-mail: email@example.com or Cell: 079 880 4359. All editorial material should be sent to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank You.
The following are links to all the magazines that African Pilot produced this year so that you can download all the 2020 editions in magazine view format:
WhatsApp your questions or concerns to
+27 (0)60 012 3456
About African Pilot
There is no doubt that African Pilot provides the finest overall media reach of all aviation publications in Africa where we are in a position to provide professional video and stills photography, website development, social media platforms, company newsletters as well as several other important media services to our customers. Naturally the monthly printed magazine has an incredibly long shelf life due to its excellent design and layout. Then of course the monthly magazine is also available as a digital edition where ALL advertisers have enjoy the direct routing to their websites at a touch on a smart phone or tablet as well as a click of the mouse on a computer screen.
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Visit www.APAcom.co.za and register yourself as a user
Video of the week: Desert aerial of Epic Aircraft
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
SAAF PC-7 MKII allocation and utilisation
Based at Air Force Base Langebaanweg, the Silver Falcons are presently not participating at any airshows due to COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings. The main purpose of the Silver Falcons aerobatic team is to enhance the image of the South African Air Force (SAAF), encourage recruitment and instil national pride. In accordance with the amended Regulations on Disaster Management the SAAF have cancelled all events until further notice. At present the SAAF members are under continuous staff and instructors training. The Silver Falcons will resume training as per the schedule of Central Flying School at Air Force Base Langebaanweg.
Delta returns to Cape Town after 10-year break
US carrier Delta is to restart flights to Cape Town with an extension to its route from Atlanta to Johannesburg. The SkyTeam alliance member will be operating a daily service from 24 October. Delta withdrew from the route ten years ago. Tickets for the domestic sector in South Africa will not be available.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
Aero Club communique June 2020 # 4
Status on GA / RA flight operations in Level 3 – Update: Further to Communique June #3 sent on Saturday 20 June, our attempts to obtain a go ahead on the flight proficiency system has unfortunately not been successful at this time, with another week having gone past. However that said, the Level 3 Phase 2 industry proposal submitted to the DoT is gaining traction for implementation from 1 July, where GA/RA is planned to be more opened up, the detail of what this will entail is not yet known, other than it contains our proposal which included GA/RA local flying as well as sport flying in all our disciplines. We will continue to work with the DoT & SACAA on details as they come to hand.
Thus, we wait a little longer, with good news in the offing. The maintenance flight system is working well, with a resurgence of applications on their next flight cycle and will continue to be supported. Details available on the Aero Club and CAASA websites. Overall, we recognise the frustrations there is right now, we are doing our collective level best between all parties to get us airborne, each allowance we get is a pathway to achieve a return to normality.
What is scheduled for the next few months?
African Pilot’s 2020 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.
In view of this dreadful COVID-19 situation, I have decided to suspend the publication of aviation events for the present, since there is no point in repeating what we have published over the past two months. Instead we will concentrate on the 2020 aviation events that have not been scrubbed at this stage.
EAA Chapter 322 monthly meeting @ 18h30 to be a zoom meeting
Contact Neil Bowden chairman E-mail: email@example.com
Join Zoom Meeting: EAA 322 Monthly Gathering
Meeting ID: 848 9097 9836 Password: 790971
CAASA Symposium venue and meeting method TBA
Contact Sam Keddle E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 011 659 2345
2 to 5 July
Zim Navex Charles Prince Airport, Harare
Contact Marion Kalweit E-mail: email@example.com Tel +26 377 257 0009
10 and 11 July
EAA Taildraggers at Warmbaths airfield
Contact Richard Nicholson E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 490 6227
EAA Flying Legend Talk Show 18h30 with Karl Jensen
EAA of SA Auditorium Team E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 083 259 7691
Eventually, we will be able to enjoy an interview of Karl Jensen hosted by Scully Levin. We have been waiting for this Talk Show long before the March 2020 date that was set for the event before lockdown. Even with the current restrictions, we have joined the revolution and for the time being, will be hosting Talk Shows virtually, until such a time that we are able to gather at the Auditorium in person. Diarise now and we will keep you informed and circulate the meeting details to all members at a later stage.
EAA Chapter 322 monthly meeting to be a zoom meeting
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
6 and 7 August
SAC National Championships New Tempe – Bloemfontein
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
SAC full day airshow New Tempe – Bloemfontein
Contact Conrad Botha E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 465 4045
8 to 10 August
SAPFA Rally Training Camp at Brits airfield
Contact Mary de Klerk E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 084 880 9000
11 to 14 August
NAMPO Harvest Day at NAMPO Park outside Bothaville new date!
Contact Bennie Zaayman, Wim Venter: E-mail: Wim@grainsa.co.za Cell 082 414 8099
Contact Stephan Fourie E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
21 & 22 August
SAPFA Middelburg Speed Rally Middelburg airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 855 9435
27 and 28 August
Africa Drone Conference virtual conference by means of a webinar
Contact Tel: 011 886 0433 Website: www.vukanicomms.co.za
Sling Aircraft breakfast fly-in at Tedderfield airfield
Contact Shanelle McKechnie E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 066 224 2128
4 to 6 September
EAA Sun ‘n Fun and Fun Rally Groblersdal airfield
Contact Karl Jensen E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 331 4652
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 804 7032
Rand Airshow E-mail: email@example.com
Contact Stuart Coetzee Tel: 011 827 8884 Cell 082 444 0407
Due to COVID-19 and the problem of social distancing this airshow has been cancelled
11 and 12 September
SAPFA Secunda Speed Rally at Secunda airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 855 9435
16 to 20 September
Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition AFB Waterkloof Pretoria
Contact Leona Redlinghuis E-mail: email@example.com
Great Train Race and Fly-in to Heidelberg airfield – Heritage Day
Contact Van Zyl Schultz E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 560 2275
Garden Route airshow at George Airport
Contact Brett Scheuble E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 084 418 3836
SAPFA Witbank Fun Rally at Witbank airfield
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 804 7032
3 and 4 October
SAC Western Cape Regionals Swellendam airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
3 and 4 October
Newcastle airshow at Newcastle airfield
Contact Johan Pieters E-mail: Johan@champ.co.za Cell: 082 923 0078
18 and 19 October
Aviation Mena 2020 Hilton Cairo Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt
Contact Alison Weller E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.aviationmena.aero
24 and 25 October
SAC North West Regionals at Klerksdorp airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
26 to 28 October
Airport Show, Airport Security and ATC Forum DWTC, Dubai
Registration is now open for Airport Show, Airport Security and ATC
Forum. FREE registration: https://bit.ly/2SnJ33S
SAPFA Landing Championships at Stellenbosch airfield
Contact Ron Stirk E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 445 0373
9 to 14 November
SAPFA World Rally Championships Training week – Stellenbosch airfield
Contact Frank Eckard E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 083 269 1516
CAASA Awards at CAASA House Lanseria International Airport
Contact Sam Keddle E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 011 659 2345
15 to 20 November
SAPFA World Rally Flying Championships in Stellenbosch
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 804 7032
Or Mary de Klerk E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Cell 084 880 9000
27 and 28 November
SAPFA Speed Rally at Springs airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082855 9435
Aero Club of South Africa annual awards at Rand Airport
Contact Sandra Strydom e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 011 082 1100
5 and 6 December
SAC Ace of Base at Baragwanath airfield
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: email@example.com
African Pilot’s 2020 calendar
As further dates are sent to me, I will continue to update the aviation calendar.
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Air Mauritius - Understanding the MK crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic is having a huge impact on aviation and air travel industry globally and particularly on insular economies. It has led to ‘a complete erosion of the revenue base’ of Air Mauritius (MK) while tourism activities are at a halt. The Mauritian government announced that borders will remain closed until 31 August 2020.
Despite government support to the national carrier and vital sectors to restart economic and industrial activities, Air Mauritius is facing an abyssal financial problem. According to several sources, Air Mauritius expects to report a loss of MUR 9.5 billion Mauritian rupees (USD 238 million) for the current financial year, ending March 2021. In his first budget speech for the fiscal year 2020/21 on 4 June 2020, the Mauritian Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Renganaden Padayachy, told parliament that the government had earmarked MUR7-9 billion (USD175-225 million) for Air Mauritius to keep the company afloat. Like over 70% of airlines (IATA source), Air Mauritius had only three months of cash-cover by March 2020. It is more a question of survival with a day-to-day management of crisis. The airline is cutting staff numbers by 50%. Employees of various departments are waiting for their letters in an atmosphere of anguish and uncertainty. Trade unions are trying to negotiate or delay the process while employees are looking for alternatives in a complex scenario.
In April Air Mauritius entered voluntary administration following a total collapse in revenues due to the COVID-19 crisis. The airline announced this dramatic measure following a board meeting which met on 22 June to consider the latest financial status. Sattar Hajee Abdoula and Arvindsingh K. Gokhool of Grant Thornton were appointed, under sections 215 and 216 of the Insolvency Act, as administrators of the company.
Last January, a Transformation Steering Committee was set up to address the financial difficulties of the airline and to review its business model for ensuring a sustainable future. Consultations were held with all stakeholders in view of elaborating an action plan to be submitted to the board. It seems that the nomination of Sherry Singh as president of the committee caused some tension which finally led to the resignation of the airline’s CEO, Somas Appavou, in March. Even though, he said it was a ‘personal choice’ as he had accepted a work proposal abroad, the ‘latent tension’ was quite noticeable within and without the company. Then, came the crisis which aggravated the situation, plunging the airline in an imbroglio.
Morocco orders 24 Boeing AH-64E Apaches
Morocco is the 17th country to acquire the Boeing AH-64 Apache through a contract for 24 of the helicopters that was recently signed. Boeing has delivered nearly 2,500 Apache helicopters to 16 nations to date, including the US, Netherlands, Greece, United Kingdom, Japan, India, Singapore, South Korea and Saudi Arabia. Deliveries to Morocco are expected to begin in 2024. The AH-64E Apache is the latest configuration of the attack helicopter. It is designed and equipped with an open systems architecture including the latest communications, navigation, sensor and weapon systems. It has an improved Modernised Target Acquisition Designation System that provides day, night and all-weather target information, as well as night vision navigation capability. In addition to classifying ground and air targets, the Fire Control Radar has been updated to operate in a maritime environment. Boeing will build and deliver the new Moroccan Apaches under a contract with the US Army through the US government’s Foreign Military Sales process.
De Havilland Canada delivers first Dash 8-400 aircraft to TAAG Angola Airlines
Last week the De Havilland Aircraft of Canada delivered the first of six Dash 8-400 aircraft to TAAG Angola Airlines E.P, the state-owned, national airline of Angola. The order was disclosed on 18 June 2019 during a ceremonial signing event at the Paris Air Show that was attended by the Honourable Ricardo Viegas D’Abreu, Minister of Transportation, Angola, David Curtis, Chairman, Longview Aviation Capital and Todd Young, Chief Operating Officer, De Havilland Canada.
The Dash 8-400 aircraft has proven its reliability and flexibility in Africa’s most challenging environments, including the hot and sandy regions in North Africa and the Ethiopian Highlands. The aircraft’s hot and high operational capability, along with its jet-like speed and comfort, while retaining turboprop economics are well suited for Africa and contribute to the aircraft’s diverse customer base.
WORLDWIDE ACCIDENTS AND INCIDENTS
Pakistan International report: non-stabilised approach and poor communication
The preliminary report on the PIA Airbus A320 that crashed in Karachi in May reveals a crew that started its approach to landing late, failed to re-extend the landing gear and performed a go-around after dragging the engine nacelles along the runway. The Pakistan aviation board (AAIB) also reveals a series of communication breakdowns between approach and local tower controllers.
The report, released on Wednesday last week, confirmed that the A320’s gear was retracted and the flight crew refused two opportunities to maneuverer for the purpose of bleeding excess altitude. Flight data released in the interim report confirms the Airbus was excessively high and fast throughout the initial approach. The crew had received a clearance to cross MAKLI intersection at 3000 feet MSL but was, in fact, still at nearly 9800 feet, still traveling at 245 knots indicated airspeed.
Karachi Approach offered the crew the chance to maneuverer or orbit to lose altitude, but the pilots declined. Instead, the crew continued the rapid descent and then extended the landing gear at 7221 feet MSL while just 10.5 NM from the airport. They continued the rapid descent, at points exceeding 250 KIAS. Once reaching glideslope and localiser intercept, the crew raised the gear, retracted the speed brakes and put out the first increment of flaps, which caused warnings in the cockpit to go off. At 500 feet AGL, the Airbus was traveling at 220 knots indicated airspeed and descending 2,000 feet per minute. The crew continued the approach to landing, eventually touching down on the engine nacelles halfway down the runway. The crew initiated braking and reverse-thrust sequences before initiating a go-around. ‘Both engines scrubbed the runway at various locations causing damage.
During the first part of the go-around, the report says the flight data recorder noted ‘a brief action of selection of landing gear lever to down position, which was immediately followed by its movement to up position.’ Nevertheless, the Airbus dutifully began its climb out until ‘both engines failed. The ram air turbine (RAT) was deployed to power the essential systems. FDR data recording stopped during this timeframe. The aircraft crashed trying to return to the airport with both engines inoperative, killing 97 of the 99 aboard.
Complicating matters was a lack of communication throughout the landing sequence. The flight was still communicating with Karachi Approach, which was coordinating with the tower via telephone. The landing clearance was given from the tower and conveyed to the flight through approach. When the tower controllers noticed the Airbus scraping the runway, they did not attempt to alert the aircraft but instead told Karachi Approach, which did not tell the crew.
In a separate report, the Pakistani minister for civil aviation, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, reported that the crew was discussing the coronavirus situation during the descent and landing. “The pilots and the air traffic controllers both did not follow the protocol,” he said. “The pilot ignored the instructions of the air traffic controllers and the ATC, on the other hand, did not inform the pilot about the engines’ collision. The fault was at both ends. The ATC was at fault as well when it saw the plane doing the touchdown on the engines and saw a fire erupting, it should have informed the pilots but the control tower did not and when the pilot took off, both the engines were damaged by that time,” the minister said.
After alarming report, PIA takes action on ‘fake pilot licenses’
The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority carried out an investigation that found that 40% of pilots in the country held fake pilot licenses. In response to the findings, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) suspended 150 of its 426 pilots pending further investigation. The investigation, which was launched in February 2019, found that 262 out of 860 active Pakistani pilots had not sat the pilot exams themselves. ‘Pilots were also appointed on political basis. This alarming result comes as the preliminary report into PK8303 crash blames the flight crew and the air traffic controllers for the accident that killed 97 people on 22 May 2020. The captain and first officer were adequately qualified and experienced to undertake the said flight, but their records and documents are currently under scrutiny.
Faking degrees: a recurring problem for PIA
A spokesperson from PIA said that nearly 150 of its 426 pilots have been found to hold ‘questionable’ certificates. The suspected pilots will remain suspended while their documents are being examined further. It is not the first time that the flag carrier of Pakistan takes such measures. In December 2018, PIA already indicated that over 50 of its employees, including pilots and cabin crew, were sacked for holding fake high school degrees. Earlier in December 2018, the CAA had reported to the Supreme Court that five of PIA pilots had not completed their matriculation.
PIA sacks over 50 employees including pilots for fake degrees
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), has terminated the contracts of at least 50 employees, including pilots and cabin crew, for holding false degrees. The case, which is being investigated by the country’s aviation authority, has reached Pakistan’s top court, revealing some of the airline’s pilots have not even completed high school. The specific approach of each airline to verify the authenticity of pilot licenses plays a major role. Some carriers only require a pilot to send their license, hours logged and medical records. All three can easily be faked in a country with more lenient civil aviation authority. To try and address that issue, other airlines now ask for a License Verification Letter to validate the authenticity of a foreign license. In addition, the annual License Proficiency Check and Operator Proficiency Check simulator sessions help track the skills of a pilot.
NTSB preliminary: Cessna 175
On 5 June 2020, a Cessna 175, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Redlands, California. The pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. Recorded Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) showed that the airplane departed Big Bear City Airport (L35), Big Bear City, California and proceeded south-westerly as it ascended to 9,300 feet mean sea level (msl). The airplane began a descent followed by a left turn to a south-easterly heading; about 3 minutes, 12 seconds later, the airplane descended through 7,200 ft msl.
About three minutes later, a right turn to a southerly heading was observed about 5,150 ft msl. A left 270° turn was observed at 5,125 feet msl. The data showed that the airplane completed the turn on a west-north-westerly heading at 5,275 feet msl. About one minute later, a left turn to a south-westerly heading at 3,975 feet msl was observed. The airplane remained on a south-westerly heading and continued to descend until ADS-B contact was lost at an altitude of 2,775 feet, about 436 feet northeast of the accident site. There are no known witnesses to the accident sequence. San Bernardino County Sheriff Air Units located the wreckage.
NTSB factual report: Waco YMF F5C Aircraft
The pilot of the tailwheel-equipped bi-plane was performing practice take-offs and landings on a 75-foot-wide turf runway following an uneventful local flight. During the fourth take-off, the airplane accelerated down the runway and after the pilot raised the tailwheel, the airplane suddenly drifted toward the left side of the runway. The left-wing tip contacted trees and brush near the runway’s left edge and pivoted the airplane left into the trees. Post-accident examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration Inspector revealed that both wings and the fuselage were substantially damaged. The pilot reported that that there were no mechanical anomalies with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. The pilot also reported that ‘modest but variable and gusty winds’ prevailed at the time of the accident.
NTSB preliminary: Air Tractor AT502
On 16 June 2020, an Air Tractor AT-502B, N879JA, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Atmore, Alabama. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 aerial application flight. According to the pilot’s wife, he departed earlier on the morning of the accident to dispense two small ‘loads.’ On his return home he called and asked her to come outside of their residence to watch the airplane fly over. She said that the airplane flew over the house before making a climb straight up. The airplane then banked to the left, rolled right, descended straight down and she heard a loud ‘boom’ shortly thereafter.
Two witnesses that were fishing on a nearby lake saw the airplane flying below the tree line before it climbed straight up. They said the airplane rolled and descended straight down nose first. They heard a ‘loud thud’ and then silence. The witnesses contacted emergency services and assisted local responders in finding the wreckage.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Another COVID-19 casualty Reno 2020
The Reno Air Racing Association has announced the cancellation of the 2020 STIHL National Championship Air Races originally scheduled for 16 to 20 September. The Reno Air Racing Association Board of Directors reiterated their principal concern for the safety and health of all involved and in light of continuing uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus and government-imposed restrictions for large scale events has decided to turn all efforts to 2021.
With the 24 June announcement that the state of Nevada will remain under Phase Two guidelines for the foreseeable future we cannot feasibly move forward with planning our event. “We are deeply conscious of the cultural and economic loss to the community due to the cancellation of so many special events this year. We look forward to hosting the 57th STIHL National Championship Air Races scheduled for 15 to 19 September 2021 but know we will need the continuing support of our fans and community more than ever,” said Telling.
Business Aviation: Likely the first to recover
According to a white paper published this week by the Argus, business aviation could recover in the next year to 18 months. Citing the ability to be flexible and for passengers to better control social distancing, the paper predicts that the recovery of business flying will happen sooner rather than later, though the outlook has plenty of question marks. “As states have already begun opening in the US we have seen activity almost double from our April lows and the current trends show us reaching 73% of normal in June and 83% of normal in July and August,” the paper says. “If the August forecast holds then we will see approximately 225,000 business aviation flights in North America for the month. That is off from the 2019 monthly average of 260,000 but it would represent a 300% increase from our April low of 74,771 flights.” According to separate data from FlightAware, business aviation has actually had one day this year with more flights than on the same day last year; for the most part, traffic has been a small fraction of what it was in 2019.
Emirates flight EK380 brings 29 COVID-19 cases to Hong Kong
This past week, the Government of Hong Kong indicated that the city’s Centre for Health Protection (CHP) has discovered 46 new COVID-19 cases within the city. Many of the new, asymptomatic cases arrived from Pakistan on an Emirates flight from Dubai. On 22 June 30 new cases were identified while 16 people tested positive for COVID-19 the following day. Documents issued by the CHP show that on 20 June and 21 June, many of the virus-carrying people arrived from Pakistan. The authorities stated that 29 cases arrived in Hong Kong from Dubai via Emirates flight EK380, reported South China Morning Post.
DHL signs up for three additional 767 P2F conversions
On 22 June Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), announced that DHL signed up for three Boeing 767-300 aircraft to be converted to freighters, including an extra fourth aircraft as an option. The deal, which IAI indicated is ‘valued at tens of millions of dollars’ comes at a time when the demand for cargo is ever-increasing, stated the Tel Aviv-based company. In total, DHL will receive three converted passenger-to-freighter converted aircraft, including one option, if the German company wishes to exercise it. As of 22 June 2020, DHL owned 11 Boeing 767 freighters, 10 of which were converted from passenger aircraft.
Piper fleet for Spartan College
Piper Aircraft and Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology have completed an order for its first tranche of 22 factory-new training aircraft. To date, Spartan has taken delivery of 10 Piper Archers and 2 Piper Seminoles, with 10 additional Piper Archers expected to be delivered in Q4 2020. According to Beau Schrader, Spartan’s Chief Pilot Officer, “Spartan’s Flight location at Richard Lloyd Jones Airport in Tulsa, Oklahoma has been re-energised by the brand new, technologically advanced fleet of training aircraft.” The new 180 HP, G1000 NXi equipped Piper Archers and Seminoles began delivery in late-2019, as Spartan continues its multi-year enhancement of its training fleet.
Wizz Air continues aggressive expansion with three new bases
Despite the current market conditions and a clear slump in travel, Wizz Air has continued to aggressively expand throughout Europe. On 18 June 2020, the low-cost carrier announced three new bases in the continent, including an increase in capacity in Belgrade, Serbia. The airline will establish three new bases in George Enescu International Airport (BCM), Bacau, Romania, Dortmund Airport (DTM), Germany and Pulkovo Airport (LED) in St. Petersburg, Russia. Wizz Air will base two, three and one Airbus A320 family aircraft at the airports, respectively. Furthermore, the airline plans to operate 12 new routes from BCM, 18 new routes from DTM and five new routes from LED.
Fuselage join begins for first Il-114-300
Fuselage mating has commenced for the first Ilyushin Il-114-300 to be manufactured using serial production technology. The aircraft is being assembled at the Lukhovitsky plant of RSK MiG near Moscow. Joining of the fuselage sections is being performed on an automated rig specially designed and built for the task, says United Aircraft. Intended for regional services, the Il-114-300 will accommodate 68 passengers. Once complete the assembled fuselage will be mated with the turboprop’s wings and tail sections, beginning in the third quarter of this year.
Russia tests new hypersonic anti-ship missile for Tu-22M3M bomber
According to a Russian military source, already feared as a carrier-killer during the Cold War because of its Kh-22 missile, the latest iteration of the Tu-22M will not only receive the updated Kh-32, but also a mysterious, brand new hypersonic missile. European countries also aim to address this new threat. In November 2019, the missile manufacturer MBDA received the green light for its Twister (Timely Warning and interception with Space-based monitoring Theatre) project, an interceptor able to handle emerging threats such as ‘manoeuvring ballistic missiles with intermediate ranges, hypersonic or high-supersonic cruise missiles, hypersonic gliders and more conventional targets such as next-generation fighter aircraft.’ The programme regroups Finland, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy under the industrial leadership of France.
Wireless monitoring of Aero Oxygen systems introduced
Aithre and Aerox Aviation Oxygen Systems have collaborated to integrate Aithre wireless monitoring technology into Aerox’s line of portable oxygen tanks for general aviation pilots. The agreement also establishes Aerox Aviation Oxygen Systems as an authorised distributor for the entire Aithre product line. Under the terms of the agreement, Aerox will be the exclusive bundler of the Altus Meso wireless portable oxygen tank monitoring system for new portable oxygen systems. Aithre and Aerox will also co-brand the Aithre iOS tank monitoring app that links the Altus Meso to any iOS device.
GE Aviation delivers first F414 engine to South Korea for KF-X programme
During May GE Aviation delivered the first F414-GE-400K engine to Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd (KAI) for South Korea’s next-generation indigenous fighter, known as the KF-X. Developed for the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF), the F414-powered KF-X will deliver significantly greater mission capability, extended combat radius and longer lifespan compared to current aircraft. South Korea’s Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd (KAI) selected GE Aviation in May 2016 to supply F414-GE-400K engines for the KF-X fighter. The multi-role KF-X aircraft, a $7.4 billion project, is being designed and built by KAI. The KF-X aircraft will replace Korea’s F-4D/E Phantom II and F-5E/F Tiger II fleet. The development programme is scheduled to be completed in 2026, which includes the production of 15 F414 flight test engines and six prototype fighters by 2021. Flight testing will occur in 2023. 120 KF-X aircraft are scheduled for production serving the South Korean armed forces. GE Aviation will provide 240 F414 production engines plus spares.
Rolls-Royce puts net zero carbon by 2050 at the heart of future innovation and growth
Last month Rolls-Royce joined the UN Race to Zero campaign in the run up to COP26 with a bold ambition to play a leading role in pioneering a resilient, inclusive, net zero carbon future. This will see Rolls-Royce become net zero carbon in its operations by 2030 and set an ambition to play a leading role in enabling the sectors in which we operate to reach net zero carbon by 2050 through the development of new products and technologies. As we emerge from the shadow of this pandemic, this task is now more urgent than ever. To meet the demands of a growing, more connected society, the power that matters must be sustainable, net zero carbon power. We are determined to use our position as a leading industrial technology company to play a significant role in achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Later this year, we will set out the technology pathways through which we can achieve net zero carbon emissions across our operations, and the products we are proud to pioneer. Planning to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions from our operations and facilities by 2030, by using 100% renewable energy, pioneering closed loop manufacturing techniques on high value metals, and deploying our cutting-edge microgrid capabilities to support our estate. Nigel Topping, UN High Level Climate Action Champion for COP26 added: “With 2.6 billion people and over half of global GDP now covered by net zero goals, Rolls-Royce is positioning itself to meet huge growth in demand for net zero transport and power. As a company operating in some of the hardest to abate sectors, this a big act of industrial technology leadership.”
Did Covid-19 put commercial space travel on hold?
Following the global spread of COVID-19, many countries have placed most commercial flights on hold, urging people to avoid any global travel. In March 2020, the EU implemented a 30-day ban on non-essential travel. The same month, the US government issued ‘no travel’ advisory. According to the Pew Research Center, at least 93% of the world’s population now lives in countries with COVID-19 related travel restrictions. After borders’ closure, many planes were sent to the storages or so-called boneyards, until the governments will give air traveling green light. However, it might not happen very soon.
But how did the current epidemiologic situation affect commercial space travel? Will COVID-19 stop Elon Musk and other tech entrepreneurs from launching their space projects? Despite that humanity made a huge step in space technology, the preparation for space travel has always been a serious mission. It requires a lot of time, precautions, and staff training to send people into space with minimum risk to their lives. The industry representatives are reacting to the pandemic differently. Most of the rocket launches have been rescheduled or paused. Such launching provider as Rocket Lab, a privately funded American aerospace manufacturer and smalls at launch service provider, suspended its flights. Although the launches were stopped, Rocket Lab continues its testing.
Boeing has announced that they will be testing another uncrewed Starliner later in 2020. Guiana Space Center, used by the European Space Agency and the French government to launch satellites into space, has put all launches on hold. A part of the tests continues, some of them are delayed; some companies still operate, and others have shut down or put the processes on hold.
Some of the businesses, like Arianespace, the multinational satellite launch company, continue their launches according to their schedule. The manufacturers continue to produce satellites and launch vehicles. However, due to a reduced workforce, the companies had to push back the dates of completion. Due to the pandemic, such manufacturing businesses as Soyuz-2 had to cease their production. Some of the companies, like London-based satellite start-up, OneWeb have filed for bankruptcy protection in the US.
In its response to the pandemic, NASA space agency ceased the work of Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama and the Michoud Assembly Facility in Louisiana. The facilities were closed except for the work required to protect life and critical infrastructure. NASA has also temporarily halted most production and testing of its Space Launch System (SLS) mega rocket and Orion capsule. The spacecraft is planned to bring astronauts to the moon and Mars.
SpaceX’s missions during the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic put space-related businesses into a different environment to which they are learning to adapt step by step. The perfect example is the Elon Musk’s project SpaceX Crew Dragon. On 27 May the capsule had to send NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station (ISS).
During the preparation for the mission, the SpaceX team had to take additional safety measures to secure health and life, not only of the two astronauts on the Dragon capsule board. More importantly, the space agency had to assure the safety of the International Space Station crew. Getting sick on Earth is not a pleasant experience. Imagine if that happens in the space? Which is why the company had to take even more precautions.
As a standard operating procedure to reduce the chance of infection, NASA quarantines astronauts shortly before lift-off. However, in response to the coronavirus threat, the agency has elevated its health and safety procedures. The agency has minimised contact with Behnken and Hurley for weeks. Most of the training has been done virtually. When there were no possibilities for remote sessions, the number of people on such events was minimized. To avoid infection transfer from the outside, all people that were in contact with astronauts had to wear protective gloves, face masks and protective screens.
Extra precautions were taken on launch day. The space agency rearranged the layout of control rooms at the launch site to ensure that workers were be able to maintain two meters distance from each other. The various rooms where astronauts stay are systematically cleaned and sanitised. To avoid human crowds that space shuttle launches always attract, due to pandemic NASA told people to stay at home and watch the mission from there.
The two astronauts went through mandatory pre-flight quarantine at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Before their travel to the Space Coast aboard a NASA jet about a week before lift-off, Behnken and Hurley had remained in quarantine all the while. The 1st crewed flight, known as Demo-2, was scheduled to launch on 27 May. The mission was rescheduled to 31 May due to weather conditions that could put the astronauts to a bigger risk.
WORLD DRONE NEWS
False drone arrest results in costly pay-out
The last year or so was a tough year for the drone business, as regulators went overboard with ideas about how to keep drones from crashing into manned aircraft as well as being used to spy on people. The paranoia was tough to deal with and did a fair amount of damage to the industry, which is fighting for respectability and a fair shake.
In late 2018, during the height of paranoia over unproven drone sightings near Gatwick Airport, which shut things down for days, Sussex’s finest carried out an assault with at least a dozen officers on the home of Paul and Elaine Gait, holding them for 36 hours. No drones were found and they were reportedly working and accounted for at the time of the alleged incidents. Eventually, the two were released, without charge whereupon the innocent pair sued the Sussex PD for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment. Now, it appears that there has been a resolution to the matter and Sussex PD will have to dig deep into their piggybank, to the tune of some 200,000 pounds for the settlement amount and all the associated legal fees.
Sussex Police issued a statement in response to media reports about the compensation paid to the Gaits: “Sussex Police has paid £55,000 in a joint settlement to a couple arrested during a drone incident at Gatwick in 2018. The settlement was made on a no liability basis, avoiding lengthy court proceedings. We remain in discussion in relation to their request for legal costs. “All parties agreed that the allegations of unlawful arrest and detention were matters that could only be settled through the courts. “However, we recognize that things could have been done differently and have apologized to them for the impact of their experience.” Though no one was charged, nearly 100 people were investigated in the case. The investigation reportedly cost the public some £790,000.
DDC’s Sparrow drone to deliver healthcare related cargo
With help from Air Canada, Drone Delivery Canada (DDC) has entered into a commercial agreement with DSV Air & Sea Inc. Canada (DSV), the Canadian arm of the global transport and logistics company DSV Panalpina A/S. Through the agreement, DSV will use DDC’s Sparrow cargo drone to deliver healthcare related cargo from its warehouse in Milton, Ontario to DSV customers locally. Once the Sparrow reaches its destination, the UAS will hover at a lowered altitude and drop untethered cargo in a designated area shared by multiple DSV transactional customers before returning to DSV’s Drone Spot. The drone will be equipped with the cargo drop capability that DDC announced earlier this month. The route is approximately 3.5 kilometres. DDC will remotely monitor the flights from its operations control centre located in Vaughan, Ontario. DDC will begin implementing the solution during the third quarter of this year and the drone delivery services under the agreement are expected to begin during that same quarter. DDC notes that there is potential for more routes to be added this year as well. All operations will be conducted in accordance with the Canadian Aviation Regulations and Transport Canada flight authorisations. The term of the Agreement is three months.
GA-ASI demonstrates MQ-9A Reaper automatic take-off and landing enhancements
As part of the ongoing USAF contract for MQ-9A Reaper modernisation, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) demonstrated three expanded Automatic Take-off and Landing Capability (ATLC) enhancements that provide the MQ-9A with a dramatic increase in operational flexibility. One enhancement enables the MQ-9A to land at an alternate or ‘divert’ airfield in which no Ground Control Station (GCS) is present and under satellite communication (SATCOM) control. The second enhancement expands the crosswind limits of the MQ-9A. The third increases the maximum landing weight for normal and emergency landings.
Weekly News from African Pilot
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Until Thursday, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)