“There are two freedoms; the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; the true, where a man is free to do what he ought.”
African Pilot’s November 2019 edition
Within the November edition of African Pilot, we have promoted the various Cape Town Airports and the businesses based at these airports to be exposed on our various media platforms. In addition, this edition features ‘Gifts for Pilots’. Presently this edition is printing and will become available later this week for national distribution. The digital edition of African Pilot always goes out on the 25th of the month or if this date falls on a weekend we try to send it out slightly earlier.
African Pilot’s December 2019 edition
The final magazine for 2019 will feature businesses at OR Tambo International Airport as well as our annual Drones / UAV’s feature. The closing date for all editorial and advertising is Wednesday 30 October – a little earlier than usual due to the many public holidays that happen at the end of the year. For advertising positions please contact Lara Bayliss at Tel: 0861 001130 Cell: 079 880 4359 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you
Ordering your business 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 company’s name is prominently seen on the wall of your executive clients 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.
Further information is available from our marketing manager Lara Bayliss at e-mail: email@example.com or call her on Cell: 079 880 4359. Thank you.
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.
Do you want instant aviation news and opinions?
Visit www.APAcom.co.za and register yourself as a user
Video of the week: Wings Over the Rockies - Harrison Ford
Should you be interested in having your aviation event filmed, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
South Africa spent R42m to fly undocumented migrants’ home in just over a year
Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi confirmed that R8 956 713.41 has been spent on charter flights and/or airlines by his department to deport undocumented migrants for the period 1 April to 31 August this year. For the 2018 to 2019 financial year, R33 070 629.90 was spent on flights for the deportation of undocumented migrants.
In a newsletter published on Monday morning, Ramaphosa said: “The recent public violence targeting foreign nationals has challenged our efforts to build stronger ties with other African countries. Fuelled by misinformation spread on social media, these attacks provoked much anger in different parts of the continent leading to threats against South African businesses and diplomatic missions.” Joint and special operations to combat illegal migration are planned and conducted by law enforcement agencies at national, provincial and local level through inter-governmental security structures. All metro municipalities are represented in local security, provincial and national structures such as the provincial joint operational structures and the national structure.
Mirage F1 unveiling
On Sunday 13 October, African Pilot attended the official unveiling of Gordon Dyne’s decoy replica of a Mirage F1 at his hangar at Brakpan airfield. It was beautifully restored and will be displayed next to his hangar.
Many aviation enthusiasts attended to celebrate in this rare occasion. A delicious lunch & something ice cold to drink was hugely appreciated due to the soaring temperatures. Thank you for your hospitality Gordon!
Liqui Moly / FlySafair photoshoot
African Pilot’s digital specialist, Johan Botes arrived at OR Tambo International Airport at 05h00 on Saturday, 12 October 2019 to participate in the Liqui Moly / FlySafair photoshoot. We look forward to publishing more information in the December edition of the magazine.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
Airlines Association of Southern Africa 49th Annual General Assembly Reunion Island
Staged on the beautiful tropical island of Reunion, this year’s Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASAs), theme was ‘What is stopping us? What is not? In his opening address, Mr Chris Zweigenthal (CEO) of AASA said “Every year I consider the world we live and operate in and I think: ‘Next year it will be different, because it can’t get any crazier!” I’m wrong. It can! Look at what’s happening in the US, the UK, EU and BREXIT, trade wars, China, Russia, Ukraine, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, etc, let alone regional and local developments.
So, where do we find our industry in this context? The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects the global scheduled airline industry to achieve a US$ 28 billion profit this year. Although down from a US$ 35 billion profit in 2018, it is a positive result. In contrast this in Africa, where airlines are collectively expected to lose another US$ 300 million in 2019. This is a re-run of 2018 and the ninth straight year of losses for the continent. The picture is similar for our sub-region. For almost a decade we have failed to turn to the red ink to black. However, his and many of the fine speakers at the all-day Friday conference were fairly upbeat about how technology would be the key driver to future airline operations. More on this subject as I unpack the many ideas tabled at the wonderful airline conference in the December edition of African Pilot. Also, a big thank you to the team at AASA for making this very special destination a huge success.
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.
15 & 16 October
Drone Con International Convention Centre Durban
15 to 18 October
SACAA ARO regulatory development workshop Ambrosia Hall, Midrand
SACAA Strategic Plan Stakeholder Consultation Kempton Park
RSVP Charmaine Shibambo E-mail: email@example.com Tel: 011 545 1076
SAPFA SA NAR and National Landing Championships at Brakpan Airfield
Contact Ron Stirk E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell:082 445 0373
Contact Rob Jonkers cell: 082 804 7032 e-mail: email@example.com
25 and 26 October
Ladysmith Aviation Careers Expo sponsored by the SACAA
Contact Kgomotso Malema E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com
30 October – 2 November
SAPFA Rally Championships – Stellenbosch airfield
Contact Frank Eckard cell: 083 269 1516 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
8 to 10 November
EAA Sun ‘n Fun at Brits airfield
Contact EAA National Committee Marie Reddy E-mail: email@example.com
Aero Club of South Africa annual awards Rand Airport
Contact AeCSA office 011 082 1100 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
22 to 24 November
NBAA-bace 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: email@example.com
28 and 29 November
Drones and Digital Aviation Conference Emperors Palace Convention Centre
Contact E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.bussynet.co.za
Elders Flight at Rand Airport
Contact Felix Gosher Cell: 066 485 0407 SMS only
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:
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)
Capital Sounds – Brian Emmenis
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
Crash of presidential cargo plane in Congo kills eight people
On 10 October 2019, the Antonov An-72 cargo plane, registered A-72903, departed from Goma Airport (GOM), Democratic Republic of Congo and was on a domestic flight to N’djili International Airport (FIH) in Kinshasa, the country’s capital. About one hour into the flight, ATC lost contact with the plane without any distress signal from the crew, according to a press release by the Congolese Civil Aviation Authority. The wreckage was located the next day in a forested area near Punia, about 300 kilometres (185 miles) west of Goma. Four crew members and four passengers were on board, including the president’s main driver, a logistics manager and two bodyguards. According to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti, the flight crew may have been composed of Russian citizens. None survived. The plane was also transporting the presidential car. The Congolese President had returned from Goma to Kinshasa on the same day in another aircraft.
The many incidents of Congolese Antonov planes
The last incident in the country dates back to 24 December 2018, when an Antonov AN-26, registered 9T-TAB, belonging to the Congolese Air Force, overran the runway of Beni Airport (BNC), with 72 people on board including a crew of four and 68 soldiers that were being dispatched to the region. The aircraft went down an embankment before coming to a stop and catching fire. All occupants survived.
A year prior, on 30 September 2017, a 54-year-old Antonov An-12B cargo plane crashed shortly after take-off from Kinshasa International Airport. Conflicting reports say that between 8 and 12 people were on board and the aircraft, registered EX-001 (EX being the registration prefix of Kyrgyzstan), had been leased by the Congolese Air Force and was operated by a Ukrainian crew. The deadliest incident of the country also involved an Antonov aircraft. On 8 January 1996, an An-32B, registered RA-26222, operated by Air Africa and wet-leased from Moscow Airways failed to take-off from N’Dolo Airport in Kinshasa due to overloading. The plane fell into a market where it allegedly killed up to 350 people, making it the deadliest crash in history in terms of ground fatalities.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
ATR launches plane for short take-off and landing
Presented at the Paris Air Show 2019, the ATR 42-600S has been officially launched by the Franco-Italian regional aircraft manufacturer. ATR says it has already received 20 commitments for the new variant. The ATR 42-600S stands for Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL), allows for take-offs and landings on 800-meter (2,600-feet) runways only, with 40 passengers on board. It was approved by ATR Board of Directors on 9 October 2019.
The new version will receive a larger rudder, which will allow for increased control of the aircraft at low speeds. While it will be powered by the same engine as the ATR 42 and 72, it will allow pilots to switch between the ATR 42 and 72 engine ratings, depending on their need for more power for STOL operations, or more fuel efficiency for conventional runways. The ATR 42-600S will also be able to deploy its spoilers symmetrically to improve landing braking efficiency and will feature an automatic braking system that will ensure full braking power immediately upon landing.
ATR received 20 commitments from operators and lessors for this new aircraft, including Elix Aviation Capital, launching renter, and Air Tahiti, launch operator. The former ordered 10 ATR 42-600S while the latter two during Paris-Le Bourget International Air and Space Show 2019. The manufacturer said that close to 500 airports have a runway comprised between 800-1,000m and could welcome the ATR 42-600S.
Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767 catches fire; lands safely in Dakar
On 8 October 2019 an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767-300ER registered ET-AMG, has encountered a serious problem on Flight ET908, the airline confirmed in a press release. As the aircraft departed Blaise Diagne International Airport (DSS) in Dakar, Senegal for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with a stop at Bamako, Mali, the right-hand engine of the 767 caught fire and the flight crew was forced to declare an emergency. The aircraft managed to safely turn around and land at Dakar. The 90 passengers and eight crew members debarked the aircraft without sustaining any injuries, as firefighters rushed to the scene. Ethiopian Airlines confirmed that some passengers were rebooked to fly with other carriers on the same day, while some stayed overnight at a hotel to wait for a flight on 9 October 2019.
Currently, the Ethiopian flag carrier operates six Boeing 767-300ER aircraft with an average age of 17.3 years. The airframe in question, ET-AMG is a 19-year old jet equipped with two Pratt and Whitney PW4062 engines, delivered to Ethiopian Airlines on 7July 2007. However, on average, Ethiopian’s aircraft are 6.4 years old.
US F-16 fighter jet crashes during training near Trier, Germany
On 8 October 2019 a F-16C fighter jet belonging to the United States Air Force crashed near Zemmer, close to the German border with Luxembourg. The aircraft was on a training flight involving several other F-16s at the time of the incident. The aircraft, serial number CC-33, was part of the 480th Fighter Squadron, also known as the ‘Warhawks’, attached to the 52nd Fighter Wing based in Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. It crashed in a wooded area near the village of Zemmer, north of Trier. “The pilot ejected safely and has been recovered with minor injuries,” said the 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs office in a press release. The police of Trier closed down several roads around the crash site while emergency services carried out the rescue operation, which was eventually taken over by USAF personnel. Before the crash, the transponder of the F-16 callsign Warhawk 11 squawked a code 7700, which corresponds to a distress signal. A board of US officers will investigate the incident.
Boeing to buy Virgin Galactic stake for US$20M
On 8 October 2019, Boeing announced it planned $20 million investment into Virgin Galactic. To this day the Virgin Galactic is the only company which has placed humans into space in a vehicle built for commercial service. Boeing is investing into Virgin Galactic in return for shares with expectations for the transaction to close by the end of 2019. Virgin Galactic, a company co-founded by Richard Branson, announced plans to become publicly listed in July 2019. The two entities plan to explore commercial space ‘access’ and travel technologies, it stated, without revealing specific projects the two plan to collaborate on. “Boeing’s strategic investment facilitates our effort to drive the commercialisation of space and broaden consumer access to safe, efficient and environmentally responsible new forms of transportation,” Brian Schettler, senior managing director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures.
In April 2018, Virgin Galactic conducted a successful supersonic test flight on its SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity passenger rocket. SpaceShipTwo is designed to carry passengers and other payloads to suborbital space. The journey on the vehicle would take travellers approximately 62 miles (100 km) above Earth to experience a few minutes of weightlessness and see the curvature of the planet.
Robinson R22 converted for unmanned crop dusting
Aerial application solutions company UAVOS announced that it has converted a Robinson R22-UV helicopter for use as an unmanned agricultural drone. In addition to the modifications necessary for remote operation, the R22-UV ‘agro-drone’ has been equipped with a 100-liter (26-gallon) tank and spray system for liquid chemical delivery. According to the company, the aircraft has an endurance of approximately two hours.
“The R22-UV can be operated in the regions without airfields, under severe weather conditions and at night, in the conditions with a high probability of risk for the pilot,” said UAVOS. “Unlike heavy machinery, which cannot go into a field immediately after a heavy rain, UAV has no impact on the ground. UAVs also enable growers to spray their crops precisely and at will, which is critical for fighting herbicide-resistant weeds.”
UAVOS specialises in the development and manufacture of unmanned vehicles, autopilot systems and components including servo drives, pan-tilt platforms and rescue/emergency landing systems. The company has offices in Hong Kong, the US and Switzerland.
US administration considers withdrawing from Open Skies Treaty
The Trump administration is reportedly considering the withdrawal of the United States from the Treaty on Open Skies. The chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Eliot Engel urged the government against this decision. Ratified in 2001, the Treaty on Open Skies allows for surveillance flights to be carried out over the territory of the 35 signatory countries, which include Russia and the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), to monitor each other’s military movements.
“I am deeply concerned by reports that the Trump Administration is considering withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty and strongly urge you against such a reckless action,” wrote Engel in an open letter, adding “withdrawal risks dividing the transatlantic alliance and would further undermine America’s reliability as a stable and predictable partner when it comes to European security.”
The Administration’s decision could be motivated by the fact that Russia refuses for the treaty to apply to Kaliningrad and to the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, according to Engel, who argues that it does not constitute a breach of the Treaty. “Dialogue and interaction with Russia is important during this time of heightened tension and increased potential for miscalculation,” defends the lawmaker. He now calls for the Administration to include the Congress as well as allies and partners of the United States in the decision process.
Is the demand for Airbus A220 growing?
For some, the Airbus A220 has become the saviour and the backbone of an airline’s fleet. When Airbus announced that the company has completed the purchase of a majority stake in the CSeries programme, the queue for the aircraft increased significantly. By the end of 2017, the firm order backlog for the CS100 and the CS300, which turned to the A220-100 and the A220-300 stood at 348 jets, according to Bombardier. Just a year later, Airbus announced its 2018 results, including with the first 20 deliveries of the A220, the backlog increased to 480 of the Canada-built jets. However, since then, big orders are few and very far between and the long-term sustainability of the programme is questionable.
Nevertheless, the European aircraft builder is confident that the A220 has ‘all the credentials’ to capture the 100-150 seat market, estimated to be responsible for 7,000 aircraft. However, just like in August 2019, the question remains to this day; is there truly a demand for the aircraft at this moment?
FAA may ban passengers on vintage aircraft flights following deadly B-17 crash
US Federal investigators will take a hard look at the possibility of restricting or banning rides for the public aboard World War II-era aircraft following the fiery crash of a restored B-17 Flying Fortress bomber in Connecticut last week that killed seven and injured eight. “That is something we will look at down the road,” National Transportation Safety Board member Jennifer Homendy said when asked whether the owners of vintage aircraft should be permitted to keep taking paying customers up for brief flights at airshows and heritage events. “We are still at the very early stages of this investigation and we’ll have to determine that at the appropriate time,” Homendy said at an 4 October news conference at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut where the B-17 crashed in an emergency landing attempt.
The NTSB is expected to make a preliminary report on the crash later this month, but recommendations on what actions the Federal Aviation Administration should take to ensure the safety of vintage aircraft flights will likely not be made for several months. “Our mission is to determine what happened, why it happened, and to prevent it from happening again,” Homendy said. The B-17 that crashed was owned and operated by the Massachusetts-based Collings Foundation. The record of previous fatal accidents involving heritage flights of World War II-era bombers will play a part in the current investigation, she said.
Since 1982, when the NTSB began tracking safety issues in the heritage flights, there have been a total of 21 accidents involving World War-II era bombers, resulting in 23 fatalities and one injury – not counting the death toll last Tuesday, Homendy said. Three of the previous accidents involved B-17G bombers of the same type that crashed at the Bradley airport, Homendy said. Currently, there are 16 B-17s registered to fly in the US, including the one that crashed in Connecticut, according to the NTSB. “Every accident is different. We will take a look at the history and make appropriate recommendations,” Homendy said.
In response to the tragedy, the Collings Foundation announced that it was ‘suspending its flight operations and the Wings of Freedom Tour for the remainder of the 2019 season.’ The various groups and foundations that seek to preserve and fly vintage aircraft profess safety as their primary concern in the display and flights of vintage aircraft that they see as a vital part of the nation’s history. However, vintage aircraft owner and aviation attorney Michael Slack said the FAA should consider keeping passengers off them. “There is not a problem with these aircraft flying demonstrations and in tributes. We can continue to enjoy these aircraft from that perspective,” said Slack, a former NASA engineer who owns a biplane P-6 Hawk military aircraft from the 1930s. But, he said, there is a ‘legitimate risk’ in taking passengers aboard. “These airplanes were designed to do one thing – deliver bombs and return. There was no incentive to create passenger-friendly aircraft,” he said. Federal authorities, he added, should take “a serious look at simply ending taking up passengers” on heritage flights.
“Most WWII aircraft are now 70-plus years old since they were manufactured and the pool of pilots with the skills to fly these planes diminishes daily,” said Slack. “The maintenance on these aircraft also requires special skills and knowledge and replacement parts are very difficult to find and are often fabricated.” In addition, “vintage aircraft are not equipped with modern technology to prevent post-impact fires and fuel dispersal,” he said. “When I fly my P-6, I know I am placing myself at some risk,” Slack said. As a lawyer, Slack is currently representing a plaintiff in a civil suit against the owners of a vintage twin-prop C-47 Skytrain, the military version of the DC-3, that crashed and burned on take-off in July 2018 in Burnet, Texas. The plaintiff suffered burns as a passenger on the C-47, Slack said.
The vintage aircraft are exempt from the rules for commercial aircraft requiring the safety features that have been developed since World War II, according to the FAA. In a statement to Military.com, FAA officials said the vintage aircraft “are not eligible for sightseeing flights. They are only eligible for the ‘Living History’ Flights, which provide the passengers with an experience of what it was like to fly aboard these types of aircraft.”
“Living History Flight Experience (LHFE) exemptions provide operators relief from several FAA regulations, allowing exemption holders to carry passengers for compensation or hire in ‘historically significant’ aircraft holding a limited or experimental airworthiness certificate,” the FAA said.
The accidents involving vintage aircraft are not limited to bombers. In November 2018, a World War II-era P-51 Mustang fighter crashed into the parking lot of a housing complex in Fredericksburg, Texas. The pilot and a passenger, a World War II veteran were killed, according to the NTSB. In September 2011, a P-51 Mustang participating in the Reno Air Races in Nevada crashed into the crowd, killing the pilot and ten spectators, whilst injuring 69.
In statements last Friday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, said the focus of the investigation should be the safety of future of vintage aircraft flights and whether they should be permitted to carry passengers. The crash last Wednesday “has put this industry at an inflection point and the NTSB, plus the FAA, need to address the repeated and imminent dangers that have been demonstrated over the years,” Blumenthal said. “These planes are a profoundly significant part of our history and they should be revered and preserved but respected with adequate safety standards if they are going to be flown and that is why a broader examination and investigation is absolutely necessary here,” he said. “Not to say these planes need to be grounded, but they do need to be inspected and maintained and repaired with a frequency and intensity that guarantees their air trustworthiness.”
At the news conference Homendy said the B-17, after the pilot reported an ‘issue with an engine’, hit the approach lights about 1,000 feet from Runway 6 at Bradley International Airport while attempting to make an emergency landing. The aircraft knocked over about 30 approach lights on breakaway poles before skidding off the runway into a de-icing plant and catching fire, Homendy said. The B-17 that crashed in Connecticut had a crew of three and ten passengers aboard. The pilot of the bomber, Ernest ‘Mac’ McCauley (75), of Long Beach, California and the co-pilot, Michael Foster (71), of Jacksonville, Florida, a retired Navy captain and naval aviator, were killed in the crash. Both McCauley and Foster were flying the B-17 under exemptions granted by the FAA. Commercial pilots must retire at age 65, but pilots of vintage aircraft can keep flying as long as their medical certificate, training and testing are current, according to the FAA. Homendy said McCauley had more than 7,300 hours flying B-17s and was believed to be the most experienced B-17 pilot in the US.
Southwest pilot union SWAPA sues Boeing over 737 MAX groundings
Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA), which represents over 9,000 Southwest pilots, is suing Boeing for ‘deliberately misleading the organisation and its pilots’ regarding the airworthiness of the Boeing 737 MAX. SWAPA filed the case with the District Court of Dallas County, Texas. The lawsuit alleges that the groundings have cost over $100 million in compensations for Southwest Pilots. This is due to the fact that the airline expects to transfer 8% fewer passengers in 2019, as it had to cancel over 30,000 flights since aviation authorities grounded the 737 MAX in March 2019.
Besides costly losses, the lawsuit also claims that Boeing falsely represented the fact that the 737 MAX was ‘the same as the time-tested 737 aircraft’ and was an airworthy jet. But ‘these representations were false’, as the design mistakes ‘cost the lives of 346 people’, hurt the ‘critical bond’ between pilots and passengers and impaired opportunities for ‘air travel across the United States and around the world’, according to the lawsuit.
The pilot association ‘demands a trial by jury’ and in turn appeals for Boeing to pay out the lost compensation, which SWAPA ‘has incurred and is continuing to incur’ and to pay legal fees related to the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission investigations. The union also demands that the manufacturer pays pre-judgment interest and ‘other relief’, which SWAPA would be entitled to if the Court deems it just and proper.
SpaceX Starship unveiled
SpaceX has formally unveiled the massive retro-looking spacecraft it intends to use for interplanetary flights and CEO Elon Musk says it could be doing earth orbit flights within six months. The Starship is made of stainless steel, stands 164 feet tall and is 30 feet in diameter and that’s just the spacecraft. The massive booster needed to lift it will be more than 200 feet tall and be able to push 220,000 pounds into space. Front and rear fins give it a retro-futuristic look and Musk said this week it will not only allow manned flights to Mars it will sharply reduce the cost of that kind of flight because the vehicle can be reused multiple times. But while the Mars potential captures most of the attention, Musk is also considering uses much closer to home, according to The New York Times.
For instance, a single Starship could deploy about 400 of Musk’s Starlink satellites, small satellites used for beaming internet services to earth. Perhaps the most intriguing potential use is as a hypersonic airliner, capable of taking passengers anywhere on earth in 30 minutes or less. “It’s basically an ICBM that lands,” Mr. Musk said. “Nothing gets there faster than a ICBM. It’s just minus the nuclear bomb and add landing.” Musk said the company has the money to do orbital testing and perhaps “a loop around the moon” but he’ll need to raise money for a moon landing or a trip to Mars.
Romanian Ministry of interior orders three Airbus H135s
Airbus Helicopters and the Romanian Ministry of Interior have signed a contract for the purchase of three H135 helicopters and associated support and services for air medical services and search and rescue (SAR) missions in the country, following a four-year framework agreement signed at the end of July 2019 that foresees the procurement of up to ten H135s. “During 15 years of air medical services – the well-known SMURD mission, the H135 has proven its utility, being a rotorcraft, which adapts rapidly to all types of requests. All advantages; mainly the flexible maintenance, management of space for the transport of passengers and patients, the speed, the capability to land in a limited area, the possibility to operate life-saving medical interventions during flight, the capability to fly during day and night, and its versatility for mountain missions thanks to the hoist – are essential when it comes to critical lifesaving missions,” said Commander Dache Paul Catalin, IGAv general inspector. “Airbus has been an active player in Romania for almost 50 years and we are proud that the Ministry of Interior has selected the H135 for such critical missions. As a market leader with more than 600 helicopters in service for air medical service missions worldwide, I have no doubt that it will be a valuable life-saving asset to the country,” said Georges Durdilly, Head of Airbus Helicopters in Romania.
Rolls-Royce admits Trent 1000 blade issues to prolong groundings
Rolls-Royce is facing yet another stumbling block in the way of solving its intermediate pressure turbine (IPT) blade problems on the Trent 1000 engines. Having previously announced being ‘about to fix’ the issue, the manufacturer now is pushing back the date of when grounded aircraft numbers could return to a single-digit level. In the past two months, Rolls-Royce accelerated defective intermediate pressure turbine (IPT) blade replacements with final standard ones on a ‘limited number’ of Package B and C engines, which has led to more engine removals, the engine manufacturer explains in a statement on September 20, 2019.
Thus, the return to ‘single-digit level’ of Trent 1000 powered aircraft on ground is now expected to be delayed until the second quarter of 2020. Issues related to the high-pressure turbine (HPT) blade on Trent 1000 TEN engines also remain a ‘challenge’, according to the company. As it had previously warned, the problem caused an additional MRO load, which means that the rate of un-grounding aircraft affected by Trent 1000 problems is ‘likely to be slower’ than previously planned.
In August 2019, upon revealing 2019 half year financial results, the manufacturer stated that the number of aircraft grounded due to Trent 1000 problems was decreasing ‘slightly below our original plans’. At the time it also explained that the Trent 1000 TEN HPT problem was being managed ‘through proactive inspections’, while new blade design and certification was ‘underway’. “We have made good progress on resolving the Trent 1000 compressor issue, though regretfully, customer disruption remains,” Warren East, Chief Executive was quoted in a statement as saying.
Unusual corrosion in Trent 1000 intermediate-pressure turbine (IPT) blades was detected in early 2016. The problem results in early wear and cracking on Trent 1000 Package C engines. Two years later, in June 2018, it was discovered that the Package B was also affected. In January 2019, early wear of the high-pressure turbine (HPT) blade of Trent 1000 TEN was also detected, prompting for more inspections.
Porsche flying car could happen with help from Boeing
The flying car has been a dangling carrot in front of consumers for over half a century and George Jetson’s flying car has been an unfulfilled promise for generations. However, a new partnership between Porsche and Boeing may change that one day down the road. Porsche and Boeing have signed a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ to explore ‘the premium urban air mobility market.’ The partnership will create a team that will work ‘to address various aspects of urban air mobility.’ The team will analyse the market potential for premium vehicles and how people could use them. But there is more to the partnership than just exploring the idea.
Porsche, Boeing and Aurora Flight Sciences, a Boeing subsidiary, along with Porsche Engineering Services and Studio F.A. Porsche, will build and test a prototype of a fully electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle. The idea of a flying car sounds terrific. Take off from home and buzz to work, school, or wherever straight as the crow flies. Congested intersections are gone. Car crashes that clog highways are a thing of the past. The idea is good if you don’t think about it too much; it’s the actual real-world experiences that remain uncertain.
Porsche’s move into the ‘premium urban air mobility market,’ which sounds like a market for wealthy people who don’t want to be reminded poor people exist, is bolstered by a 2018 study by Porsche Consulting that sees the market growing after 2025. The study also concluded that air transportation could transport people ‘more quickly and efficiently’ than our current means of getting around.
Flying cars remain a novel idea and one that will likely come and go for another half-century, at least. Companies have made bold promises about the future of flying cars in the past and you know how that has turned out. Developing a vertical take-off and landing vehicle is only one part of the long-promised world of flying cars. Regulations, laws and safety standards all need to be decided, because no one wants to open that can of worms yet.
3DroneMapping opens offices in Kampala, Uganda
3DroneMapping has recently opened its doors in Uganda. This strategic move is to supply the growing demand for affordable and high-resolution aerial surveys in East and Central Africa. Assisted by its partners in East Africa, 3DroneMapping has been able to offer much-reduced site establishment costs as well as far quicker response times for its clients. Uganda is very well geographically positioned with easy access to a number of neighbouring countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Kenya and Tanzania.
The fleet consists of primarily aerial survey aircraft, the most notable of which is our dual-engine long-range platform with large format imaging sensor. This has a typical range of 350km and an endurance of four hours and can do approximately 6000ha in a day with normal light hours. Data is processed both in Uganda as well as the primary photogrammetry workshop in South Africa.
3DroneMapping has a few new aircraft making their way into service in East / Central Africa soon. A number of smaller fixed wings used for aerial survey of sites up to 500ha with tight take-off and landing abilities as well as a larger VTOL for very long endurance work with multiple payload options. 3DroneMapping has a number of pilots, surveyors and ground crew that have completed their training and experience will be deployed on projects soon.
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Until next week, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)