African Pilot’s July edition
The distribution of the July edition of African Pilot is complete and already my inbox is filled with e-mails from readers who are enjoying this new method of online publishing. 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 terrible COVID-19 lockdown period. Since African Pilot is no longer printing, the digital magazine is available FREE of charge anywhere in the world. However, through this period of just over three months, we have grown African Pilot’s footprint four times over and this will continue as the monthly magazine reaches new dimensions as we continue to grow African Pilot’s influence further.
African Pilot’s August edition
The August edition of African Pilot will feature all the aviation businesses at Lanseria International Airport. During the past week Adrian and I visited several aviation companies at Lanseria to take pictures and obtain information from as many aviation businesses based at the airport as possible. It has also become abundantly clear that African Pilot is the only aviation publication that has being interacting with its clients on a regular basis throughout the COVID-19 lockdown period.
Significant changes coming to African Pilot
Someone once said the only thing that is sure is that things will change. Over the past 19 years that African Pilot has been publishing its monthly aviation magazine, we have been fixated on the printed version. Now that the magazine is being published in the digital format, we will be increasing the font size by 50%, adding many more pages and preparing several other changes that will greatly enhance the reader’s experience on digital platforms. The August edition will probably land up as a 160 to 170-page edition, because as a digital publication, the number of pages does not affect the production. The fact that readers will be positioned to access the August edition on any device means that the African Pilot will become far more user friendly. This will be the first of a series of enhancements that will culminate in an interactive publication with provision for picture galleries and short videos by the end of this year. The August 2020 edition will be the first magazine to adopt some of these changes, with others to follow from September onwards.
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.
Do you want instant aviation news and opinions?
Visit www.APAcom.co.za and register yourself as a user
Early results are promising from coronavirus-vaccine testing in Seattle, USA
According to preliminary results published on Tuesday 14 July in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Seattle Times announced that a coronavirus vaccine being tested in Seattle and Atlanta triggered strong immune responses in a small group of volunteers. The results are encouraging, but researchers caution that much more work needs to be done to figure out whether the vaccine will actually protect people from COVID-19. “No matter how you slice it, this is good news,” Dr Anthony Fauci, the US government’s top infectious disease expert, told The Associated Press. After two doses of the vaccine, volunteers produced more neutralising antibodies, the type that inactivate the virus than the average levels seen in the blood of people who survived COVID-19.
The first volunteers, injected in Seattle on 16 March, were also the first people in the United States to participate in human trials of any vaccine against the novel coronavirus. Since then, the field has exploded, with more than 20 experimental vaccines now in human trials and more than 100 in preclinical stages. Dr Lisa Jackson, a senior investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle and lead author of the new report, said the speed of progress has been amazing. The Seattle trial was launched just 66 days after the virus’s genome was sequenced and four months later the first results are out. “Processes that usually take years or even decades are now being accomplished in a matter of months,” Jackson said in an interview.
But first may not necessarily be best, cautioned Mark Slifka, an immunologist and vaccine expert at Oregon Health & Science University who was not involved in the study. While the initial results look promising, they also raise some red flags and the question of how long immunity will last is still unanswered, he said. The research so far has focused solely on determining if the vaccine is safe and whether it induces a robust immune response.
The results reported Tuesday cover the first 57 days post-injection and are from 45 healthy volunteers 18 to 55 years old. The participants, who were enrolled in Seattle and at Emory University in Atlanta, received an initial shot of low, intermediate, or high dosage, followed by a booster a month later. The first shots did not induce much of a reaction, Jackson said. But after the second shot, the volunteers mounted a strong immune response. In general, responses were proportional to the dose. More than half of participants reported side effects, including fatigue, chills, headaches and pain at the injection site. Most were relatively minor and fleeting, but three participants in the highest-dose group described their side effects as severe. Jackson said the highest dose is being eliminated from subsequent trails.
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
SAA rescue plan accepted
On Monday 14 July, the majority of SAA’s creditors voted to adopt the airline’s proposed business plan. In terms of legislation this means the plan may be implemented, subject to funding obtained. The vote to adopt the rescue plan gives the national carrier a chance to avoid liquidation. The airline’s proposed business rescue plan, which would require government or a strategic equity partner to provide an additional R16.3 billion in funding. In terms of the voting apportionment allocated to creditors by the rescue practitioners according to the sum of their claims against the airline, there was an 86% vote in favour of accepting the rescue plan. In terms of the Companies Act, this means the proposed rescue plan may be implemented, subject to funding obtained. The Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) informed the rescue practitioners that it will provide a letter stipulating the funding received in time for a deadline of 15 July. The vote to adopt the rescue plan gives the 86-year-old national carrier a chance to avoid liquidation. Finance Minister Tito Mboweni did not allocate any additional funds for SAA in his supplementary budget announced at the end of June.
Just before the creditors voted, Kgathatso Tlhakudi, acting director general of the department of public enterprises, addressed the meeting to say that government supports restructuring SAA into a commercially sustainable airline, while minimising the impact of the airline’s restructure on job losses. In his view, the airline that will emerge from the restructure process will be an attractive asset for an equity partner. He also said the department will be announcing an interim board of the ‘new SAA’ soon. The interim CEO for the airline will be Phillip Saunders, currently SAA’s chief commercial officer. Tlhakudi said Saunders has a credible track record of leading airlines around the world. The national airline went into business rescue in December last year. Its financial losses totalled more than R10 billion over the past two years. Over the past decade, government has had to bail the airline out to the tune of more than R30 billion.
Aero Club Communique July 2020 # 2
Status on GA / RA flight operations in Level 3 – Phase 2 by Rob Jonkers AeCSA chairman
It has been just over a week of the implementation of the proficiency flight authority process and so far it has been going well, with around 1500 applications made in the first week, whilst the second cycle of seven days has started. I am sure that we have taken full advantage of flying activities to regain our proficiency levels. That said, although this is still a limiting flight regime, we are working in the background for further practical concessions related to proficiency and our sport, given that what we do is in very low COVID-19 risk environment. What is of course disconcerting is that infection rates have become exponential in the larger metros and new levels of protection are being implemented by the Government. We trust it will not affect aviation as long as we adhere to protocols. Enjoy being back in the air, be safe and please comply with the basics of COVID-19 protocols.
One of the matters that is also now becoming a frustration point with our members, is that of ATFs that have been very slow to be re-issues by the SACAA, given their challenges of office closures and work from home policies over the last few months. As the Aero Club, we have requested the sections to provide inputs to share experiences from their section members, so that we can collate this information for review with the SACAA to be able to find solutions. We trust that the AeCSA will be able to secure improvements in this regard going forward.
These continue to be trying times, spare a moment when you can to renew your membership if you have not yet done so. The AeCSA requires funding to support our recreational Freedom of Flight. https://aeroclub.blueboxonline.com/?
SARS makes R115.6 million rhino horn bust at OR Tambo
According to the South African Revenue Service (SARS), on Tuesday 14 July rhino horn worth an estimated R115.6 million has been discovered at OR Tambo International Airport. A total 41 pieces of rhino horn were part of a consignment declared as ‘fine art’ were discovered by customs teams aided by detector dogs. SARS said the consignment of six boxes, containing the horns that had been concealed in carbon paper and foil, was destined for Kuala Lampur. The South African Police Services’ Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (the Hawks) have been alerted of the incident. In addition, a criminal case has been registered with the South African Police Service (SAPS) for further investigation.
Meanwhile, SARS customs officials also found abalone valued at close to R1 million, destined for Hong Kong and ephedrine valued at R600 000, which had been hidden in two printer cartridges and destined for Madagascar. SARS Commissioner Edward Kieswetter lauded officials for Tuesday’s finds. OR Tambo International Airport is a major transit point for illegal wildlife products, drugs and currency, with busts and seizures happening on a regular occurrence.
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Kenyan DHC-8 carrying aid crashes in Somalia
A cargo plane carrying supplies to a flood relief mission crashed while landing at Beledweyne airport, in central Somalia. The de Havilland Canada DHC-8-400 freighter 5Y-VVU, operated by Blue Bird Aviation, was arriving from Djibouti Airport (JIB) carrying supplies for the soldiers of the African Union aiding flood victims of the Hiran region in Somalia. All three crew members were rescued before the plane caught fire, according to Colonel Abdillahi Muse, commander of Djiboutian forces in the Hiran region. No other damage or injuries were reported. The reason for the crash is unclear as of yet, but the aircraft might have suffered a gear collapse upon landing. Local media Kenyans.co.ke reports that the presence of a donkey on the runway could have caused the incident.
Niger receives Mi-171Sh helicopters
According to the website Direct Niger, the two aircraft arrived in the capital Niamey on 24 February aboard an Antonov An-124 transport aircraft along with ammunition, spare parts and maintenance equipment. Pilot training took place in Russia in late 2019 and was due to be followed by training in Niger, with thirty pilots and technicians undergoing several months of training, the website said. It is believed the aircraft were ordered between 2017 and 2019 for $47 million, according to Nigerien media.
The delivery is a major boost to Niger’s Air Force, which only a few combat aircraft in its inventory, including Mi-24 attack helicopters and two Su-25 attack aircraft, which were delivered in March 2013. Originally destined for Mali, the Su-25s were sold to Niger after the Mali deal fell through. Also, in March 2013, Niger received three ex-French Army Air Corps Gazelle helicopters, which were refurbished by Aerotech Group SAS in France prior to delivery and are armed with 20 mm cannons.
WORLDWIDE ACCIDENTS AND INCIDENTS
F-16 fighter jet crashes in New Mexico
A US Air Force F-16 fighter jet crashed at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. The pilot managed to eject. The F-16C Viper belonged to the 49th Wing, operating from Holloman AFB. The aircraft crashed as it was about to land at the base, on the early evening of 13 July 2020. “The sole pilot on board successfully ejected and is currently being treated for minor injuries,” reported the 49th Wing Public Affairs office in a statement. An investigation to determine the cause of the incident was opened. The new incident comes two weeks after a pilot was killed in another F-16 crash. On 30 June 2020, a USAF F-16CM Fighting Falcon crashed during a routine training mission at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. The aircraft was assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing. The pilot was killed in the accident. The crash is still under investigation.
Atlas Air crash: poor training history of copilot went undetected
The US National Transportation Safety Board determined that the crash of Atlas Air cargo Flight 3591 in a Texas bay in February 2019, was due to the disorientation of the copilot. On 23 February 2019, the Atlas Air Boeing 767-375BCF, operating cargo Flight 3591 for Amazon.com and the US Postal Service, crashed about 40 miles southeast of George Bush Intercontinental Airport (KIAH), Houston, Texas. None of the three pilots survived. The NTSB determined that the poor training and inability to handle pressure of the copilot contributed to the crash of Atlas Air Flight 3591. The first officer was the pilot flying the airplane at the time of the accident, as the captain was handling the approach preparation to Houston and communicating with air traffic control.
In its final report, the NTSB investigators concluded that the first officer was likely affected by what they call a ‘pitch-up somatogravic illusion’, in which a forward acceleration is misinterpreted as the airplane pitching up. The unexpected acceleration was triggered by the go-around mode which was inadvertently activated by one of the flight crew during turbulence. Thus, fearing the plane was stalling, the copilot pushed the elevator control column, sending the freighter into a descent from which it did not recover. The plane fell more than 3,000 feet (914 meters) in 30 seconds before crashing into Trinity Bay, 40 miles (64 kilometres) from its destination airport.
The NTSB points at the first officer’s employment history and training performance deficiencies, that he did not disclose to Atlas and that the company failed to identify. ‘The first officer’s long history of training performance difficulties and his tendency to respond impulsively and inappropriately when faced with an unexpected event during training scenarios at multiple employers suggest an inability to remain calm during stressful situations, a tendency that may have exacerbated his aptitude related performance difficulties,’ states the report. On that issue, the NTSB blames the Federal Aviation Administration for failing to implement the recommended pilot records database (PRD) in due time, which would have ‘provided hiring employers relevant information’ regarding the first officer.
Atlas Air’s president and CEO, John Dietrich, said his company has improved its hiring procedures since the crash and echoed the NTSB’s call for a stronger pilot database. “Of critical importance is the need for an improved federal pilot records database to provide airlines with full visibility of pilot history in the hiring process,” Dietrich said in a statement.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
RAF fighter escort for Ryanair Boeing 737
Ryanair flight FR1902 took off from Krakow John Paul II International Airport (KRK), Poland. The Boeing 737 aircraft, registered as SP-RSQ, was heading towards Dublin Airport (DUB), Ireland. As it was flying over Norfolk, England, the pilots declared an emergency. The flight FR1902 diverted to London Stansted Airport (STN), to where the airliner was escorted by two Royal Air Force fighter jets. After making a successful landing, the aircraft was taxied to a remote stand, away from the terminal area and searched by local law enforcement.
The reaction was prompted by reports of a security alert, Essex police revealed later in the day. A note, claiming there were explosives on the plane, was left in one of the aircraft’s lavatories, local media reported. The police said it searched the plane but found nothing suspicious. Nevertheless, it arrested two men (ages 26 and 47) for making threats to endanger an aircraft. This is not the first-time bomb hoaxes prompt Ryanair to adjust its flight plans. Back in October 2017, the airline’s jet flying from Kaunas, Lithuania, to Luton, UK, also got an entourage by RAF Typhoon fighter jets following a bomb hoax. At that time, the plane also diverted to and landed in Stansted Airport.
WORLD DRONE NEWS
Drone collisions: perhaps humans are the problem
You may recall the article that African Pilot published about the police helicopter that hit a police drone in northern Canada in February but only got reported in June. We quoted from the Canadian Transportation Safety Report (TSB) that both aircraft were involved in a ‘police operation’ but what we didn’t know until later is that they were employed over a flashpoint location in a protest against a controversial pipeline through territory claimed by indigenous peoples. The TSB’s description of the damage to the helicopter did not really capture the severity of the mishap. It said the pilot felt a vibration and landed safely on a road. It also said there was ‘superficial damage’ to the main blades, the tail boom and tail rotor. What it did not say is that the helicopter was deemed not airworthy and left that remote road slung under a much bigger helicopter and required tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of repairs. Also, the $100,000 drone was written off as it scattered to the boreal forest below.
That brings up the NTSB’s recent final report on the likely collision between a news helicopter and a drone that was reported. The helicopter was cruising at about 100 knots at 1100 feet over downtown Los Angeles when the pilot heard a noise, thought it was a bird strike and, like the pilot over the bush of northern British Columbia, found a place to land. Except he was not over open land, he was over one of the most densely populated places on the planet. What if that drone had hit the windshield or gotten into the engine intake? I know, I know: Life is full of what-ifs. Just because to date there has not been a ‘serious’ collision between a manned and unmanned aircraft yet, this does not mean one will happen sooner or later.
As the technology, including artificial intelligence, develops, it is becoming increasingly evident that the weak link in integrating drones into the airspace is manned aviation. It is easy to keep drones from banging into each other with the electronics available today. Humans become the wild card in a heavily automated environment that, given the advances, could eventually become almost perfectly safe if we just keep us out of it. Perhaps regulators are going about drone regulations incorrectly, especially here in South Africa. Perhaps the goal of drone integration should be figuring out how comparatively fallible human pilots can fit into drone airspace, not the other way around.
Twice Weekly News from African Pilot
Should you miss out on any edition of APAnews, please visit the website: www.africanpilot.co.za and click on the APAnews link on the front page. All past weekly APAnews publications have been archived on the website.
Until next week Monday, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)