“The civilized man has a moral obligation to be sceptical, to demand the credentials of all statements that claim to be facts.” Bergan Evans
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 is complete and is printing. This exciting edition will be ready for national distribution later this week and we have a surprise for our readers with the ‘Picture of the Month’.
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.
African Pilot’s November 2019 edition
This is the edition of African Pilot where we promote the various Cape Town Airports and the business based at these airports are exposed on our various media platforms. In addition, this edition will carry a theme ‘Gifts for Pilots’. The closing date for all editorial and advertising material is Wednesday 2 October. For advertising positions please contact Lara Bayliss at Tel: 0861 001130 Cell: 079 880 4359 or e-mail: email@example.com
Ordering your 2020 executive wall calendars
For many years African Pilot has marketed executive wall calendars to aviation businesses in batches of 50 where your business name and contact details will be visible throughout the year. The idea is that this beautiful 12 leaf wall calendar is given out by your company as a Christmas / New Year gift to your most valuable customers. At R170 + VAT per calendar this is an ideal way to ensure that your companies name is prominently seen throughout the coming year. Some of the pictures to be published within the calendar are on the page above, but if you wish to view all 12 pictures, please visit our website: www.africanpilot.co.za/calendar/african-pilot-executive-wall-calendar-2020/. Further information is available from our marketing manager Lara Bayliss at e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or call her on Cell: 079 880 4359. Thank you.
Some facts about African Pilot:
1) Presently African Pilot prints, distributes and sells more magazines than any other aviation magazine on the African continent.
2) All major advertisers have digital enhancement as a click through to their websites within the digital edition of the monthly magazine
3) APAnews is the only FREE weekly communication delivered by a printed publication in the entire world that has an audience well in excess of 100 000 readers per month
4) APAcom attends to your aviation communication and public relations requirements
5) APAdigital is the video service available to ALL aviation customers of the monthly magazine
Do you want instant aviation news and opinions?
Visit www.APAcom.co.za and register yourself as a user
Video of the week: The Children’s Flight at Grand Central Airport
Should you be interested in having your aviation event filmed, please contact email@example.com
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Air Adventure Tours to Sun ‘n Fun 2020
Airshow Dates Tuesday March 31 to Sunday 5 April 2020.
Tour departs South Africa Saturday 28 March, arrives in Florida Sunday 29 March. Tour departs Florida Sunday 5 April, arrives South Africa Tuesday 7 April. Dates are flexible for those wanting to spend more time in the USA
Sharing R28 650 Single R29 850
Tour price includes return flights ex-Johannesburg, Durban or Cape Town, transfers between Orlando and Lakeland, one-night hotel accommodation, six-nights camping in Lakeland in tents provided.
Added features will be a trip to the Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral – a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch and an Atlas V501 rocket launch are scheduled for 1 April (date not guaranteed!) and a day at one of the Orlando theme parks (Disney, Universal etc). Please note – entrance fees are not included in tour price and tour price could alter if exchange rates, tariffs or airfares change.
Contact Neil Bowden Cell 084 674 5674
E-mail Neil1@telkomsa.net or firstname.lastname@example.org
What happened in aviation over the past week?
The Airplane Factory breakfast fly-in to Tedderfield
One of the partners in my Cessna 182, George Karatzas flew with me to Tedderfield Airpark to attend the annual Sling breakfast at the Sling factory located at this airfield on Saturday morning. We were going to fly onto Kitty Hawk to attend the annual Vans RV fly-in, but by the time we took off, we figured it would be too late anyway. Thanks to everyone at The Airplane Factory for your hospitality and friendship. Altogether about 20 Sling owners flew to Tedderfield and together with the resident aircraft this probably made up for about 30 aircraft, not bad for a Saturday morning.
Vans RV aircraft fly-in to Kitty Hawk pictures and text by Russell Dixon Paver
Frank van Heerden, chairman of the Kitty Hawk Flying Club told me that altogether 92 aircraft flew to the airfield to participate in the Vans RV breakfast on Saturday morning. The air traffic control was handled by veteran ATC Ricardo Afonso and his team whilst the highlight of the morning was the mass formation of 15 RV aircraft. Then it was the turn of the Raptors display team which displayed within the Kitty Hawk aerobatic box. Two T6 Harvards from Puma Energy made an appearance being flown by Arnie Meneghelli and Scully Levin. To the Kitty Hawk team, thanks for yet another well organised fly-in that was safe at all times. You can read all about this superb calendar event in the November edition of African Pilot.
SAPFA Grand Central fun rally by Rob Jonkers
This year’s SAPFA Fun navigation rally had its challenges in getting off the ground, the date initially set for 7 September, where two other events entered the fray, that being the Children’s Flight and the SAAF Museum Airshow and then the weather conspired to also be against us with foul weather on both the Friday and the Saturday. The date was moved by a week to 14 September which coincided with the RV day and the Tedderfield Sling Fly-in, it seems everybody was getting into the spring feeling to hold events. This Fun rally event is run in conjunction with Superior Pilot Services (SPS) who provide the facilities and sponsor a great breakfast at the Harvard. It is also an opportunity to allow their students to get to grips with rally flying.
For a number of years now Rob Jonkers planned and plotted the course for this event, catering for Open class and a Fun class, where the fun class introduces newbies to the sport. Entrants were planned to be around ten crews, with four from SPS and six from other airfields and with the Protea teams still in Portugal having just completed the ANR World Championships were not available to take part. Eventually on the day only four teams could take part, thus it was a small field, with two in fun class and two in the open class.
The route was planned to go out north, into familiar territory for the competitors as most of the legs were in their GF backyard. The start and finish points were just north of the N14 in the narrow Special Rules corridor between the Waterkloof and Lanseria airspace. From there the route went out over Hartebeespoort dam, across the Magaliesburg mountains ridge and into the scenic Crocodile river valley, then east across to Soshanguve and back across the ridge to the finish. After all the scores were tallied, first in Fun class was Matthew French with navigator Michael Blackburn in their very fast Mooney, second was father and son Jan and Max Coetzee in a C182. In this class the navigation accuracy allows 15 seconds at each gate before penalties are applied, one penalty per second.
In Open class in first place was Nick Christodoulou with navigator Andre Kluyts in a C172 and for this event a Route Planner class, Rob Jonkers with his trusty navigator Martin Meyer in a C182. Being the route planner Rob was expected to return with a perfect zero, but they could not find the all the photos. In this class the navigation accuracy allows two seconds at each gate before penalties are applied, three penalties per second. Many thanks extended to SPS for making all the arrangements with Grand Central Management and for the fantastic breakfast and for Franz Smit and Ashley Loynes for joining at the start and providing the teams with much needed water refreshment.
South African team in Portugal By Mary de Klerk
This past week saw the top South African Air Navigation Racing Teams participating in the World ANR championships. The event took place in the small coastal town of Santa Cruz, about an hour’s drive NW of Lisbon in Portugal. South Africa was represented by five two person teams and two International Judges, Ursula Schwebel and Barbara Frieboese. The championships were flown in very challenging weather conditions with winds gusting up to 40 knots. This discipline of flying requires the team to fly in narrow corridors of up to 0.25nm wide negotiating tight corners with straight and arced legs. Every second outside the corridor incurs penalties.
Two Accuracy Landings were performed in extremely difficult windy conditions and the team of Mauritz du Plessis and Sandi Goddard managed to achieve the Bronze Medal, coming in 3rd position with only 18 penalty points for both landings. The Championships were attended by 43 teams from 16 countries (including China and Saudi Arabia for the first time) and consisted of three navigation tracks and two accuracy landings.
The final results were delivered in three sections:
12th position: 882 penalties: Hans Schwebel and Ron Stirk
13th position: 891 penalties: Thys van der Merwe and Mary de Klerk
20th position: 1706 penalties: Jonty Esser and Jonathan Esser
22nd position: 1866 penalties: Tony Russell and Pam Russell
28th position: 2345 penalties: Mauritz du Plessis and Sandi Goddard
3rd position: 18 penalties: Mauritz du Plessis and Sandi Goddard
15th position: 73 penalties: Thys van der Merwe and Mary de Klerk
21st position: 130 penalties: Jonty Esser and Jonathan Esser
24th position: 155 penalties: Hans Schwebel and Ron Stirk
39th position: 450 penalties: Tony Russell and Pam Russell
12th position: 1621 penalties: Thys van der Merwe and Mary de Klerk
15th position: 2432 penalties: Hans Schwebel and Ron Stirk
17th position: 2525 penalties: Mauritz du Plessis and Sandi Goddard
21st position: 3006 penalties: Jonty Esser and Jonathan Esser
35th position: 6366 penalties: Tony Russell and Pam Russell
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.
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
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 events 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
Algeria orders more Russian fighters
Russian business daily newspaper Vedomosti reported on 10 September that Algeria has ordered additional Su-30MKA and MiG-29M/M2 fighters. The order was first reported by the MENA Defence website, which focuses on the Algerian military and was corroborated by defence industry sources consulted by Vedomosti. One source said the contract is worth about USD1.8 billion and covers 16 Su-30MKA (the Algerian version of the Su-30MKI) and 14 MiG-29M/M2 aircraft. He added that Algeria was expanding its fleet of Su-30MKAs – 58 of which have already been delivered and also wanted to replace some of the obsolete MiG-29s it bought from Belarus and Ukraine in the early 2000s. Another source told the newspaper that the deal would be worth more than USD2 billion when weapons and other equipment are added. Apparently, the agreements were reached at the MAKS Moscow Aerospace Exhibition last month by Algeria’s Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Major General Hamid Boumaiza.
Algeria received its most recent batch of Su-30s in 2016/17. The Su-30MKA operated by the Algerian Air Force is a specialised variant of the Su-30MK fitted with a mix of French and Russian avionics. The former includes a head-up and multifunction displays manufactured by the Thales Group and Sagem of France. The MiG-29M (and two seat MiG-29M2) is an improved version of the MiG-29 featuring longer range due to increased internal fuel, a lighter airframe, slightly more powerful and improved RD-33MK engines, an in-flight refuelling probe, multi-function displays in the cockpit and improved avionics.
Algerians assemble new plant deal with Leonardo
Africa is about to get a new helicopter assembly plant following a deal between Algeria and European manufacturer Leonardo. By 2021, helicopters are scheduled to be rolling off the assembly line at a new facility at Aïn Arnat, in Sétif province, some 200km east of Algiers. Work is now being pushed ahead on the factory, which is the result of an agreement in March between the country’s Ministry of National Defence and Italy-based Leonardo. The deal has been under consideration for some time, with an initial memorandum of understanding (MoU) having been signed in August 2016. According to reports at that time, the Algerian defence ministry envisaged assembling three types of light and medium helicopters for a range of duties, including personnel transport, cargo, medical evacuation and surveillance.
Under the agreement, the ministry will hold a controlling 51% of the joint venture (JV), with Leonardo taking the remaining 49%. The new plant will assemble, sell and support several models of helicopter from Leonardo’s range, primarily to meet Algeria’s national requirements, but also for export. In addition, the JV will provide end-users with technical support, maintenance and training services.
Many aspects of the collaboration remain shrouded in mystery. The company responded to most of a series of questions from African Aerospace with: ‘Additional details cannot be provided.’ The project will undoubtedly provide valuable skilled jobs for Algerians and boost the technical capabilities of the Algerian aerospace sector, helping it follow the growing success of aerospace suppliers in Morocco and Tunisia, which have used their proximity to Europe and common use of the French language to increasingly produce components for companies such as Airbus.
US requested to provide weapons and ammunition sale to Morocco
Morocco has requested the sale of ammunition and weapons worth nearly a billion dollars from the United States, including anti-tank missiles and armaments for its F-16 fighters. Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress on 11 September of the possible sale of F-16 weapons and ammunition worth $209 million. Apart from an extensive range of munitions also included in the requested sale are flares and impulse cartridges (to eject the flares), bomb sensors, chaff, bomb components, spares and support equipment. The principal contractors would be Raytheon, Orbital ATK, General Dynamics, Kilgore Cheming Groupe, Cheming Groupe, and Kaman Precision Products.
The DSCA said the proposed sale “will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a major Non-NATO ally that continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in North Africa. It added that the proposed sale of F-16 armament would “improve Morocco’s capability to meet current and future threats of terror from violent extremist organisations prevalent throughout the region. Morocco has requested several sales of new and second-hand equipment from the United States. In March the North African country requested an additional batch of 25 F-16 C/D Block 72 aircraft and equipment for $3.787 billion and it emerged it has requested 24 new AH-64 Apache attack helicopters. In July it emerged that Morocco requested the transfer of two ex-US Air Force C-130H Hercules transports.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Another setback for Boeing’s 777X programme
Reports indicate that the manufacturer has had to suspend load tests of the new model after the cargo door of the airplane exploded outward during a recent ground stress test. According to a report by The Seattle Times, the incident took place during the final structural testing of the 777X static test airplane at Boeing’s plant in Everett, Washington, on 5 September 2019. Subject to a high-pressure stress test on the ground, the cargo door of the airplane failed and exploded outwards. “During final load testing on the 777X static test airplane, the team encountered an issue that required suspension of the test,” Boeing spokesperson Paul Bergman said in a statement.
The cargo door failure occurred during the final testing in 777X’s certification process by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Boeing stated it is reviewing the incident to find out what exactly happened during the test. Static test airplanes are built for ground testing only and are not intended to be flown or enter commercial service, whilst flight testing is a whole new ball game. The 777X programme has already been delayed due to issues encountered by the General Electric GE9X engine. In June 2019, pre-delivery testing glitches detected on the new GE9X necessitated fixes that are now expected to push back first flight and delivery of the 777X, the 777-9 variant, into 2020.
FAA is recruiting 737 MAX pilots for simulator flights
It has been reported that the FAA is inviting a ‘cross section of line pilots from carriers that operate the aircraft around the world’ to fly Boeing 737 MAX simulators ‘as part of the overall testing and validating of new procedures’ on the airplane. The Seattle Times reports that Boeing has given suppliers a new production schedule for the 737 MAX that reflects ‘timing assumptions for the 737 MAX return to service plan.’ If the FAA clears the 737 MAX to return to service in October, Boeing apparently plans to immediately ramp up production of the single-aisle airplane from its current 42 per month to the pre-grounding level of 52 per month by mid-February 2020 and will be rolling as many as 57 planes per month off the assembly line by mid-summer next year. The pilots who fly the simulators will test new procedures related to updated software in the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). Pilots will also reportedly run through separate procedures related to another computer glitch identified in June. According to the report, Boeing and the FAA have been testing the updated MCAS software for months, the invitation by the agency for regular 737 MAX line pilots to evaluate the procedures is seen as a significant move towards bringing the airplane back into service.
Police prepare for planned drone disruption at Heathrow Airport
As a group of environmental activists plan a protest of a third runway at Heathrow Airport using drones on Friday, police say they will work to pre-emptively stop the planned disruption of flights at the airport. Two people associated with the group Heathrow Pause, a splinter group of a larger organisation called Extinction Rebellion, planned to fly consumer drones within the Heathrow Exclusion Zone this past Friday. The issued a news release saying they met with police to discuss their plans and know they risk imprisonment for their actions. Heathrow Pause describes itself as an unaffiliated group of concerned people who feel that this disruptive action is necessary to get the Government to act on the Climate and Ecological Emergency with the urgency it deserves. They are also doing so to highlight the incompatibility of Heathrow Airport’s expansion with the Government’s own legally binding commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
The UK newspaper, The Guardian reports that Metropolitan police deputy assistant commissioner Laurence Taylor said protesters taking part in the action ‘can expect to be arrested’ and police would be looking at ‘all the powers and options and tactics available to us to prevent disruption.’ “We have got tactics in place to detect and identify drone usage. I’m confident that we have got a plan in place that will prevent the activity they are proposing,” he said.
BA cancels ‘nearly’ 100% flights due to pilot’s strike
British Airways states they had to cancel nearly 100% of their flights on 9 September 2019, as British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) has begun two-day strike over pay. On the first day of two-days long industrial action, the airline cancelled ‘nearly’ 100% of its flights, affecting ‘tens of thousands’ of holidaymakers and business travellers. “Unfortunately, with no detail from BALPA on which pilots would strike, we had no way of predicting how many would come to work or which aircraft they are qualified to fly, so we had no option but to cancel nearly 100 per cent our flights,” British Airways announcement reads. British Airways has described the strike as ‘reckless course of action’; the union argues it is ‘a clear message to the company’s managers that they will not be fobbed off in their dispute over pay and benefits’.
The airline has previously offered pilots wage increases of 11.5% over a three years’ course, calling it “a very fair offer”. But BALPA demands an even higher pay raise by pointing to BA’s profits, that make up around £2 billion per year (according to the union’s estimations). The union is demanding ‘less than £5m more than British Airways previously offered’, adding that one day of strike action costs the airline approximately £40 million. Following failed negotiations with BA, the airline’s pilots voted overwhelmingly in favour (93%) of an industrial action in a strike ballot on 22 July 2019. To halt potential walkouts, BA had attempted to take legal action against the union, but the effort was defeated twice in court.
First flight: six-place Privateer Amphibious airplane
The Privateer amphibious airplane that has been in development in Florida for the past 10 years completed its first flight last month. Multiple media sources report that the flight was deemed to be successful despite some instrument issues that cut the first flight short. The six-place, carbon fibre airplane is powered by a 724shp Walter 601 turboprop engine. The powerplant has since been acquired by GE Aviation for further development. The company says the plane has an anticipated cruise speed of 215 knots at 15,000 feet and a MTOW of 5,600 pounds.
According to the Privateer Industries website, the airplane is being developed by John A. Meekins, an Industrial Real Estate developer, Pilot, Entrepreneur and Inventor. Frank Leventhal, a long-time friend and 14,000-hour Professional Pilot found an article about Bill Husa, a retired Boeing Configuration and Structures Engineer who was looking to build a custom aircraft. After a two-hour conference call with Bill, John was so impressed that he retained Bill for the prototype of the Privateer. Husa passed away in 2012.
Patty Wagstaff involved in runway excursion at St. Augustine, Florida Airport
According to local authorities, famous airshow pilot Patty Wagstaff was involved in an accident Wednesday in which her 1958 Beech K35 airplane was involved in a runway excursion and flipped over onto its back. The St. Augustine Record reports that, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, Wagstaff was landing the plane at Northeast Florida Regional Airport in St. Augustine (KSGJ) when it exited the runway and flipped over. Wagstaff (68) and her passenger were able to walk away from the accident with only minor injuries, according to the report. “We had a mechanical incident with our V Tail Bonanza this evening after landing. I wanted to let people know that I and my passenger (one of our instructors) are doing fine and all is well,” Wagstaff, who lives in St. Augustine, posted on Facebook.
Cargo plane down in Toledo, Ohio
Early on Wednesday morning on approach to Toledo Express Airport in northwest Ohio a Convair 440 went down resulting in the fatal injury of the two people on board the airplane. CNN reports that there are few details about the airplane, its cargo or its owner. The plane went down at 02h30 outside an auto repair business located just east of the airport. According to airport manager Joe Rotterdam, the aircraft impacted several unoccupied cars parked at the business and left a trail of fiery debris. Authorities found the bodies of the two occupants of the airplane, according to port authority spokeswoman Kayla Lewandowski. They were not immediately identified. The FAA said the flight had originated at Millington-Memphis airport in Tennessee.
Australia’s Matt Hall clinches 2019 RBAR World Championship in Chiba
After four Red Bull Air Race World Championship podiums including three near misses in second place, Australia’s Matt Hall finally achieved the holy grail at the season finale in Chiba, Japan on Sunday, defeating home hero Yoshihide Muroya by a single point. The FAI is pleased to congratulate Matt Hall as the winner of this ultimate race.
With some 98,000 fans watching over the weekend, Muroya had his own moments in the spotlight as he won the race and took second in the World Championship. Martin Šonka of the Czech Republic claimed third place on the overall podium. The crowds were on their feet even before the race started, and the first shock of the day came in the initial head-to-head, when Muroya, hoping to fly to the title from third place overall, lost to Great Britain’s Ben Murphy by just 0.015s.
The second stunner happened minutes later, when overall leader Martin Šonka slipped in his own opening round face off against Nicolas Ivanoff of France, pulling too hard for an Over G. The one-second penalty suddenly took the 2018 World Champion out of the running for a repeat crown. Miraculously, when the Round of 8 took off, Muroya was still in the fight, having advanced as the fastest loser. The title was down to the Japanese superstar, who was determined to win his second career World Championship, and Australia’s Hall, focused on his last-chance mission. Both made it through to the Final 4, where they would face each other as well as the USA’s Kirby Chambliss and Canada’s Pete McLeod.
In the climactic round, McLeod crumbled with penalties. Muroya played it safe for a conservative 58.630s and Chambliss was 0.971s behind him. Hall needed only to finish third to take the title and with the world on his shoulders, the Australian coolly did just what he needed to do, flying to 1:00.052 for his long-awaited honour.
Final race results: Muroya first, Chambliss second, Hall third. “I didn’t even care where I came in the race – I just knew when we all made it through to the Final 4 that I had to make the podium and then I heard about Pete’s pylon hit,” Hall said. “The conditions were tricky and I thought that I could hate myself for the rest of my life if I made a penalty, so I tried to play it safe without letting up too much. Now I need to go and absorb this, but mate, when I’m 90 I’m going to be telling everyone I am the World Champion.” Hall’s achievement came not a moment too soon. In the close to 12 World Championship seasons and 94 races, the Red Bull Air Race will not be continued past 2019, making the race in Chiba his last chance for the iconic trophy.
French team impresses at 30th FAI World Aerobatic Championships 2019
Congratulations to the French Aerobatic team on wheeling and tumbling their way to victory in both the team event and three of the other four programs at the FAI World Aerobatic Championships, which took place from 22 to 31 August. French pilot, Louis Vanel won the Mixed and Men’s events, with star female pilot Aude Lemordant, also on the French team taking first place in the Women’s competition. In the Freestyle programme, Robert Holland (USA) once again climbed to the top of the podium to continue his years-long run as FAI World Champion in that category.
Held at the Châteauroux-Déols airport in central France, this 30th FAI ‘WAC’ involved some 18 teams from countries including Australia, Switzerland, Russia and the USA. Split into five categories – Team, Men, Women, Mixed and Freestyle – the event was blessed with dry and mostly very hot conditions and attracted tens of thousands of spectators. “This year’s event has been a huge affair involving more than 240 individual performances,” Buckenham said. “Sports aviation has a strong presence in France and the competition attracted spectators from a wide area, so it’s great to see the French team putting in such a fantastic performance.”
Local organizers the Fédération Française Aéronautique (FFA) and Châteauroux Métropole also put on a spectacular entertainment programme, highlights of which included demonstrations of other air sports, test flights and, on the final day, an airshow including a wing-walking display and a superb performance by the Patrouille de France national aerobatic team.
USAF A-10 accidentally fires live rocket during training
A US Air Force A-10C Thunderbolt II accidentally fired an M156 air-to-ground rocket outside Tucson, Arizona, but no injuries were reported. The aircraft belonging to the 354th fighter squadron based in Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona was conducting a training mission on 5 September 2019, in a live-fire weapons range when the incident occurred. The live M-156 rocket landed in an uninhabited land under the Jackal Military Operations Area. The area is not designated for munitions release, said the 355th Wing Public Affairs. The M-156 rocket has a warhead that contains white phosphorus, a highly flammable material. Regulated by several international statutes, it is used by the military to produce smoke to identify targets, but also as an incendiary weapon. Fortunately, the rocket which hit a ‘desert wash’ does not seem to have started any fire.
Perlan 2 flying again in Argentina
The Perlan 2 glider reached another milestone last week, achieving its highest tow ever during a flight on 28 August. The aircraft reached an altitude of 46,700 above sea level pressure altitude before being released by the tow plane. Perlan team member Dr Daniel Johnson said on Facebook that the record was achieved because the airplane-glider tandem climbed slowly as it wandered all over the sky looking for workable wave lift that could bring the glider into the predicted strong wave high above. They did not find satisfactory lift. After release, the glider only gained about 800 feet. Take-off was shortly after noon, landing shortly before 16h00. Perlan 2 now has flown 60 times, totalling 127 hours.
Pilot may have tried bringing booze to the cockpit
A Delta pilot who may have intended to take a bottle of vodka with him on a flight he was supposed to help fly from Minneapolis to San Diego has been formally charged with operating an aircraft under the influence. Gabriel Schroeder admitted to police that he ducked into a bathroom when he saw that enhanced crew member screening was under way and ditched the unopened bottle in a garbage can. Police found the full bottle after he reportedly skipped the extra screening and they confronted him on the aircraft. He was tested and his blood alcohol exceeded the .04 threshold for pilots but was under the .08 driving limit. He also told authorities he had a beer and three vodka drinks the night before but it’s not clear if that happened within the eight-hour bottle-to-throttle prohibition under FAA rules. Most airlines demand abstinence for 12 hours before a flight. He has been taken off the schedule and will appear in court in November.
Lilium’s 36-motor flying taxi takes off for the first time
The latest would-be air taxi of the future has taken to the sky: Lilium’s new vertical-take-off-and-landing prototype made its first flight on 4 May 4, the Munich-based start-up revealed. Though Lilium says the gleaming five-seat electric can fly 186 miles in an hour, its first flight, like most such tests, was modest. Operated by remote control, it lifted off, hovered a few yards above the ground and landed. The modest first outing that is common for any new aircraft type. This followed months of extensive ground testing.
Lilium has been quiet since sowing a subscale, two-seat prototype two years ago, but it has one of the more interesting technological approaches in this burgeoning field. The ‘Lilium Jet’ uses 36 electric-powered ducted fans. Inside each, a small rotor ingests air from the front and pushes it out of the rear at higher speeds. They are not technically jet engines (so the aircraft isn’t a ‘jet’). The lack of spinning blades improves efficiency, reduces noise and eliminates the risk of turning passing birds into chop suey. Though the work of flight testing and certification remains, Lilium aims to build an on-demand air taxi service in just a few years.
First flight: Elroy Air VTOL large cargo drone
Elroy Air, an autonomy and logistics company developing vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aerial cargo systems, announced the successful completion of its first full-scale system flight test, the 1215 lb prototype reaching a height of 10 feet and hovering for 64 seconds before descending and landing safely. The test was completed on 14 August at McMillan Airfield at Camp Roberts, California in partnership with the Naval Postgraduate School. The aircraft was remotely piloted by the company’s lead test pilot. Unique to the Elroy Air system is its hybrid-electric powertrain enabling long range deliveries and its cargo-handling automation for rapid and unattended loading and unloading. Very few teams worldwide have achieved successful flight of a VTOL system of this scale. Following the successful first fight, the team will focus on additional testing, including autonomy, transitions and forward flight.
Weekly News from African Pilot
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Until next week, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)