“Aviation is the proof that given the will we have the capacity to achieve the impossible”
Edward V. Rickenbacker
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: email@example.com. Thank you
Ordering your business 2020 executive wall calendars - The closing date is this Friday 25 October
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: Airlines Association of Southern Africa AGA 2019
Should you be interested in having your aviation event filmed, please contact email@example.com
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
CemAir is back in the air
On 17 October 2019 CemAir received its renewed Aircraft Operating Certificates from the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) meaning that CemAir can again operate commercial flights on its South African registered aircraft. As communicated previously, on 29 April 2019 the Civil Aviation Appeal Committee found that CemAir was illegally grounded by the SACAA on 11 January 2019. Despite the uncontested judgement, CemAir was unable to resume operations due to the natural annual expiry of the aircraft operating certificates on 28 January 2019. The processing of the renewal by the SACAA was finalised last week.
This week CemAir will announce the first flights to be resumed on its domestic schedule. The airline expects to provide its leisure destinations of Margate and Plettenberg Bay with flights for the upcoming holiday season with the possible addition of other destinations. CemAir respects the authority and decisions of the Civil Aviation Appeal Committee, an independent panel constituted by the Department of Transport to adjudicate the actions of the SACAA. The 82-page judgement comprehensively deals with all allegations made by and all suspension notices issued by the SACAA. CemAir notes the contents of the SACAA’s press releases and highlight with concern the inconsistencies between these statements and the 29 April 2019 judgement. The SACAA’s website continues to display inflammatory media releases, the contents which have been proven to be false and in contravention of the Civil Aviation Act under which the SACAA is constituted. A copy of the full judgement is available at www.flycemair.co.za.
CemAir is the only truly independent scheduled airline operating regional aircraft and provides services to smaller towns and regional centres. The airline is privately owned and receives no subsidy or funding from the State but rather contributes considerably to tax revenue. In February 2019 the airline employed more than 310 staff and was the only airline connecting Margate and Plettenberg Bay to major centres. CemAir voluntarily participated in the IOSA programme, the global gold standard benchmark safety standard for airlines devised by IATA and CemAir has enjoyed an impeccable safety record across all operations.
“We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience caused throughout this ordeal. We realise that many thousands of travellers were stranded and hundreds of jobs lost directly and indirectly as a result of the SACAA’s illegal actions. We continue to process refunds and can now (at a customer’s election) offer a credit towards future travel. We thank all those who stood by us through this difficult time. We look forward to your continued support as we re-establish our services.” CemAir said.
Denel to close Aerostructures business
As part of its return to profitability, Denel has closed its Aerostructures business. After receiving government approval, South Africa’s Denel is winding up its struggling Aerostructures aircraft parts business the state arms company. As a cornerstone of South Africa’s once-mighty defence industry, Denel is battling to emerge from a financial crisis and has pledged to shutter loss-making divisions. The decision to close Aerostructures comes after Denel reached an agreement with Airbus to stop producing parts for the European plane maker’s A400M military aircraft. A Denel statement said 230 employees would be affected by its decision to close Aerostructures. Some employees will be transferred to other positions within Denel and voluntary severance packages have been offered.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
Absolute Aviation flight of a lifetime for young Timothy
On Friday I had the privilege to undertake a photo and video shoot of young 10-year-old Timothy who has become an incredible fan of Team Extreme at airshows around South Africa. Timothy met his heroes Nigel Hopkins and Jason Beamish when Absolute Aviation provided for a flight in Jason’s Extra, with Nigel Hopkins in formation. What a blast! For African Pilot this and I was an absolute pleasure to be recognizing a young child who love aviation to the point where his wonderful parents take him to as many aviation events as possible. We will produce a video and a story about this special occasion where a youngster could live out his dream.
SAPFA ANR rally
Bloodhound LSR team lands in desert and gears up for high speed runs
The Bloodhound LSR car has arrived safely at the Hakskeenpan desert, Northern Cape, South Africa, which for the next month will be home for the team and the setting for the car’s first high speed test runs. Before that can happen, the initial task is to re-assemble the car, which has travelled in a semi dismantled state from Luxembourg to Johannesburg by airfreight, before making the final 570-mile journey to the desert on the back of an articulated truck.
The high-speed tests will see the Bloodhound LSR car blasting along the Hakskeenpan desert racetrack for the very first time, providing a spectacular showcase of British engineering to a global audience. The Bloodhound team’s primary objective is to engage and inspire people of all ages through the most extreme application of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The most powerful straight-line car ever was transported on the same pneumatic tyres as the car ran on in Newqua and, as well as allowing the car to be manoeuvred on tarmac, they also increase the effective damping of the car, further protecting the car and systems from any shocks during its travels. Unable to stand up to the extreme stresses of high-speed driving, these will be swapped out for precision machined solid aluminium wheels ahead of launch. Once these narrower wheels, made specifically for desert testing, are fitted, engineers will be able to re-attach sections of carbon fibre composite bodywork to the front of the car, along with the nose section, which is vital for effective aerodynamics. The tail fin will also be fitted, completing the chassis and making the car ready for action.
The 25-strong team who flew out with the car joined an advance party who have been working tirelessly beneath the South African sun to set up the 50 x 50 m Desert Technical Camp on the edge of the Hakskeenpan desert. As well as the Bloodhound car itself, it houses a temporary workshop, complete with the precision tools needed to fine tune performance and maintain the car, including a lathe, milling machine and welding equipment.
The Bloodhound LSR car will be unveiled in all its fully assembled glory on 21 October, before it begins the high-speed test programme, during which it will build speed gradually in 50 mph increments over a month. The culmination of the four to five weeks will see the car hitting mind-blowing speeds of 500+ mph (800+ km/h).
Bloodhound LSR driver and current World Land Speed Record holder Andy Green said: “After years of work to prepare the car and following almost a decade of preparation of our desert track by the Northern Cape Government, we are delighted to finally be here. The next few weeks will allow us to test the car and train the team, ready for our assault on the Outright World Land Speed Record next year.”
World’s new straight-line racing track
The 10-mile (16 km) desert racetrack has been prepared by 317 members of the local Mier community, funded by the Northern Cape Government. They have moved a staggering 16,500 tonnes of rock from 22 million square metres of dry lakebed – the largest area of land ever cleared by hand for a motorsport event and testament to the partnership forged between the Bloodhound team, the local community and the Northern Cape Government.
Bloodhound CEO Ian Warhurst explained: “The section of the track we will use is 16 km (10 miles) by 250 m, with large safety areas on both sides. This allows us to lay out up to 25 individual tracks side by side, if we need them. This is important as we can’t run over the same piece of ground twice because the car will break up the baked mud surface as it passes. We need multiple tracks so we can build speed slowly and safely; going up in 50 mph (80 km/h) steps, comparing real-world results with theoretical data – and Hakskeenpan is the perfect place to do this. “The surface is hard, too, which means we have been able to design slightly narrower wheels that reduce aerodynamic drag. The desert surface also has a slight degree of ‘give’, which will work with the suspension to give a smoother ride, reducing vibration inside the car.”
For more information, interviews, imagery and videos
Jules Tipler firstname.lastname@example.org Tell: +27 630 085 900
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.
22 to 24 October
NBAA-bace Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
30 October – 2 November
SAPFA Rally Championships – Stellenbosch airfield
Contact Frank Eckard cell: 083 269 1516 e-mail: email@example.com
8 to 10 November
EAA Sun ‘n Fun at Brits airfield
Contact EAA National Committee Marie Reddy E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA EAA Sun & Fun Adventure Rally
Contact Rob Jonkers cell: 082 804 7032 e-mail: email@example.com
Aero Club of South Africa annual awards Rand Airport
Contact AeCSA office 011 082 1100 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
17 to 21 November
Dubai Airshow DWC Dubai airshow site
CAASA Awards Ceremony venue CAASA House Lanseria International Airport
Contact Tel: 659 2345 E-mail: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
28 and 29 November
Drones and Digital Aviation Conference Emperors Palace Convention Centre
Contact E-mail: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com Thank you.
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Tunisia to purchase 12 T-6C Texan II trainer aircraft for US$234 million
Tunisia’s military is looking at acquiring 12 T-6C Texan II trainer aircraft from the United States and the US State Department has okayed the sale of the trainers to the North African nation. Tunisia had requested the possible sale of 12 T-6C Texan II aircraft, spare engines, flight trainer, spares, ground handling equipment, support equipment and support worth an estimated US$234 million. The proposed sale will replace Tunisia’s aging trainer fleet and allow Tunisia to continue training pilots to support its counterterrorism and border security missions. Tunisia has been battling jihadis and as such the new fleet will facilitate the mission both domestically and in the region that has been seeking to prevent ISIS from establishing a safe haven. Tunisia is set to join Morocco as a T-6C operator as well as NATO’s Flying Training in Canada programme, Mexico, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Argentina, Greece, Israel and Iraq.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Asiana A380 engine catches fire at Seoul Incheon Airport
The engine of an Airbus A380 belonging to the South Korean carrier Asiana Airlines caught fire during refuelling in Seoul airport on 18 October 2019. Fortunately, the incident caused no injuries. The superjumbo, registered HL7652, was at its gate to carry out flight OZ202 from Seoul Incheon Airport (ICN), South Korea, to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the United States. During the start-up test, smoke and sparks occurred in the Rolls Royce Trent 970 engine No.1, which then caught fire. The airport emergency services were dispatched immediately and put out the fire. At the time, none of the 401 passengers had boarded the jet yet. Another A380 (HL7634) was chartered as a replacement and took off four hours after the planned departure.
Spicejet Boeing 737 intercepted by Pakistani F-16 fighter jets
A SpiceJet Boeing 737 flight SG21 from New Delhi (DEL) to Kabul (KBL) was intercepted by Pakistan Air Force fighter jets when it entered that country’s airspace. The airliner, with 120 passengers on board, was then escorted by the F-16 fighter jets until it reached the Afghani airspace, an official of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said. The mishap might have resulted from a confusion over the flight call sign by the Pakistani ATC, which led the authorities to believe it was an unscheduled flight.
The incident took place on 23 September 2019, a month after Pakistan reopened its airspace to Indian flights. On 27 February 2019, a violent escalation saw the air forces of the two countries fight each other over the disputed Kashmir region, resulting in the loss of an Indian MiG-21. Hours later, Pakistan had announced it would close its airspace. The restriction forced flights between Europe and Southeast Asia to fly further south. According to India’s aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri, quoted by Reuters, Air India suffered $71.6 million of losses, The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority announced its airspace was reopened months later, on 16 July 2019.
Miscommunication can often lead to such situations. On 16 January 2019, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 777 freighter, performing a non-scheduled flight from Ethiopia to Singapore, was intercepted as it entered the Indonesian airspace. It was then escorted by Indonesian F-16 fighter jets towards the nearest airport where it was forced to land. Indonesian authorities justified the interception saying the flight had no overflight permit, to which Ethiopian authorities responded it did not need.
Airbus delivers 1000th A320neo to IndiGo
The A320 neo programme is based on the previous Airbus’ bestseller the A320ceo. Launched at the very end of 2010, the new airliner took the skies for the first time in September 2014 before entering commercial passenger service with Lufthansa in January 2016. The A320neo family has three aircraft types under its umbrella: the A319neo, the A320neo and the A321neo. The latter one also features two long-range variants, the A321LR and the newcomer A321XLR, which was launched this year and is expected to enter service in 2023. The airliners are produced at four manufacturing sites across the world: Toulouse (France), Hamburg (Germany), Tianjin (China) and Mobile (the United States). Airbus says the A320neo has the ‘widest single aisle cabin’ and incorporates ‘the very latest technologies’, such as Sharklets on wings and, of course, new generation engines.
Air Austral signs order for three A220-300 aircraft
France’s Réunion Island-based airline has signed a firm order for three A220 aircraft, Airbus’ newest family member. With this order Air Austral becomes the first A220 customer based in the Indian Ocean region. Benefiting from a 20% reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emissions, the A220s will enable Air Austral to reduce its costs and carbon footprint on international routes in the region.
The design of the new clean sheet single-aisle aircraft allows for more seats, offering extra revenue potential to airlines, especially to those located in remote areas, and extra usable cargo volume capacity. The A220 is the only aircraft purpose-built for the 100-150 seat market; it delivers unbeatable fuel efficiency and widebody passenger comfort in a single-aisle aircraft. The A220 brings together state-of-the-art aerodynamics, advanced materials and Pratt & Whitney’s latest-generation PW1500G geared turbofan engines to offer at least a 20 percent lower fuel burn per seat compared to previous generation aircraft, along with significantly lower emissions and a reduced noise footprint. The A220 offers the performance of larger single-aisle aircraft.
Swiss grounds its A220 fleet after series of engine incidents
Swiss International Air Lines grounded all its Airbus A220s after a new engine incident affected one of its aircraft. Two similar occurrences were reported in the last six months. The fleet will undergo a complete inspection, forcing the airline to cancel some of its flights. The fleet of nine A220-100s and 20 A220-300s (formerly Bombardier C-Series) that Swiss operates has been affected by recurring problems in the past months, prompting the company to act. Twelve out of fifteen flights between London and Geneva were cancelled. The latest incident dates to 15 October 2019. The flight LX359 from London Heathrow Airport (LHR) to Geneva International Airport (GVA) was forced to make an emergency landing in Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) after one of the A220 engines failed mid-flight.
Following the July and September incidents, the Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la Sécurité de l’Aviation Civile (BEA), the French authority for civil aviation safety, was handed the investigation, with the assistance of the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Another probably unrelated problem involving a Swiss A220 was reported on 26 September 2019, on a flight from Geneva to London. After a technical problem was detected on an A220-100 about to take-off, a similar aircraft was chartered. However, a malfunction alert of the flight control system appeared in the replacement plane, prompting it to turn back and land in its departing airport.
Emirates does not expect to receive a single 777X in 2020
As the relationship between Emirates and the two major aircraft manufacturers becomes more challenging, the airlines’ president, Tim Clark, has provided an update on his expectations about Boeing’s 777X delivery timeline. Just a month ago, on 6 September 2019, Clark commented on his disappointment about Airbus and Boeing for their lacklustre reliability on new aircraft. Whilst speaking at The Aviation Show MEASA 2019 on 14 October 2019, Emirates’ president once again took a dig at a new aircraft programme – this time it was the 777X. By the end of 2020, Emirates expected to have eight aircraft delivered. “Now it doesn’t look like we will have any”, he added.
The last update Boeing provided on the 777X programme was when the manufacturer announced its biggest quarterly loss on 24 July 2019. The company was still hopeful to fit into the timeline of delivering the first 777X to Emirates in 2020. However, in a statement Boeing warned there was a ‘significant’ risk to that schedule due to the challenges with the GE9X engines. The challenges are pretty significant, because according to reports, General Electric is in the process of redesigning a component on the GE9X, a stator vane in the second stage of the high-pressure compressor.
On 17 June GE Aviation revealed that it was redesigning a part for the in-development GE9X engine set to power the Boeing 777X after an issue with the component was detected during recent testing. The upgrades mean certification of the engine is unlikely to take place until US autumn 2019 and will delay the maiden flight of the 777X by ‘several months’ as the necessary fixes are applied. The power plant on the newest Triple Seven is not the only issue Boeing is facing, as the Federal Aviation Administration was certifying the aircraft, during load tests to a static frame of the 777X, a cargo door blew open. On 10 September 2019, Boeing responded to the reports, stating that the company did not expect that this would have a significant impact on the design or the test schedule of the aircraft.
Clark’s optimism about the 777X programme seems to be diminishing. During a media briefing event in September 2019, he was already sceptical about Boeing sticking to its initial promise to deliver the aircraft in June 2020. Together with the folding-wingtip aircraft, Emirates expected to introduce Premium Economy to its cabin offering. In total, the launch customer of 777X placed an order for 150 aircraft during Dubai Air Show in 2013.
European Commission approves €380 million loan to Condor
Condor, which was a subsidiary of the now-bankrupt Thomas Cook group, will continue to fly for the near future, as a crucial bridge loan for the leisure airline was approved by the European Commission (EC). Following the approval, Condor will use the loan to get through the limited cash flow months of winter and continue operations as normal. EC officially approved a $419 million (€380 million) six-month bridge loan, which the German Federal Government and the local Government of the State of Hesse via a public development bank KfW granted on 24 September 2019. The governing body of the European Union justified the move saying that the loan will ‘ensure the orderly continuation of flight services’ as it is in the best interest of Condor’s passengers.
Ralf Teckentrup, Chief Executive Officer of Condor, was more than happy with the “timely and positive decision” from the European Commission, as the loan is not only an “important step towards securing the future” of the German airline but will also help maintain a “proper” operating aviation market within Germany and Europe. However, the loan comes with a few conditions to avoid disruption of competition. Firstly, Condor will receive the loan in instalments, as the airline will have to showcase its needs every week and will get the required cash only if the previous instalments were used up completely. Secondly, Condor will have to repay the $419 million loan fully in six months and if Condor is unable to pay, the leisure carrier will have to go through a comprehensive restructuring process in order to ensure its long-term stability. The European Commission will approve and assess the potential restructuring plan and confirm its viability. According to Teckentrup, the current trends in bookings have surpassed the airline’s expectations, thus the airline is ‘in advanced discussions with all tour operators for a good and successful booking level for summer 2020’.
CF Snowbird crashes at Atlanta airshow, pilot ejects safely
A member of the much-vaunted CF Snowbird military jet demonstration team ejected from his aircraft just prior to the start of a performance at the Atlanta airshow. The Snowbirds reported via social media that, ‘Snowbird 5, Capt. Kevin Domon-Grenier was forced to eject from his aircraft shortly before our performance in Atlanta and he made it safely to the ground, whilst the aircraft crashed into an unpopulated area and no one was injured. The Fayette County Sheriff reports that the impact area is 13 miles southwest of the racetrack in the 600 block of Grant Road near Brooks, Georgia.
Embraer and Ufes conduct first autonomous aircraft test in Brazil
A scientific and technological cooperation between Embraer and the Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo (Ufes), in the areas of autonomous robotics and artificial intelligence resulted in the first test of an autonomous aircraft in Brazil. The successful initiative made it possible for a prototype to perform the taxiing operation on its own, moving along a previously established path without human interference. The sensor and image navigation set led the autonomous systems technology demonstration aircraft through the runway, taxi area and patio independently, without outside assistance. A pilot followed the cockpit operation in case of any interference. The test took place in the last week of August, at Embraer unit in Gavião Peixoto, in São Paulo state.
For the past six months, researchers from Embraer and Ufes have worked together on mathematical and computational models of automation, software development, hardware, laser sensor kit, GPS and cameras, as well as systems integration into the aeronautical platform. The autonomous land navigation system was tested in a simulator during preliminary assessments prior to actual operation.
The integrated artificial intelligence system monitored the aircraft’s external and internal conditions, which acts independently on the acceleration, steering and braking commands and accurately performed the movement along the indicated path. The test aircraft platform, the same one used for the development of the modern executive jets Legacy 500 and Praetor 600, integrated features of the Intelligent Autonomous Robotic Automobile (IARA) system, result of an autonomous cars’ research that began in 2009, at the Ufes High Performance Computing Laboratory (LCAD).
“This success demonstrates the excellence of what we have been developing at Ufes in the last 10 years in the areas of autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence. It puts us once again at the scientific forefront in these areas worldwide. Doing all this in partnership with Embraer fills us with pride and satisfaction”, said Professor Alberto Ferreira de Souza, project coordinator.
The proposal for the scientific development of autonomous aeronautical systems, using a technology demonstration platform, constitutes an effective and efficient precompetitive research instrument for learning, training and maturing of technologies prior to application in future products or development of new market segments. Initiatives such as this, combined with long-term incentive policies, can enhance, for example, Brazil’s ability to enable a new era of air mobility that is more accessible to the population.
SyberJet SJ30i makes first flight
SyberJet Aircraft has announced that its SJ30i business jet successfully completed its first flight earlier this month. The SJ30i is an upgraded version of the SJ30-2, adding the Honeywell Epic 2.0-based SyberVision avionics suite and features such as a synthetic vision system, moving map display, dual flight management systems and onboard weather radar. The aircraft’s first flight took place out of the company’s facility at Texas’ San Antonio International Airport (KSAT) and marks the start of a planned 18-month certification test programme. According to SyberJet, the SJ30i ‘retains all of the same performance characteristics of SyberJet’s current SJ30-2 model.’ The Williams FJ44-2A-powered SJ30i has a top cruise speed of 486 knots, 2,500-NM range and service ceiling of 49,000 feet.
New owner for Stratolaunch
According to an announcement made last Friday, Space launch solutions company Stratolaunch has been sold. The future of Stratolaunch has been uncertain since the death of founder Paul Allen in 2018, with reports surfacing last June that the company might be closing after unsuccessful attempts to sell it. The identity of the new owner and the details of the transaction have not been released.
“Stratolaunch LLC has transitioned ownership and is continuing regular operations,” the company said in a statement. “Our near-term launch vehicle development strategy focuses on providing customisable, reusable and affordable rocket-powered testbed vehicles and associated flight services. As we continue on our mission, Stratolaunch will bring the carrier aircraft test and operations program fully in-house.”
As previously reported Stratolaunch’s eponymous aerial launch platform flew for the first time in April this year. The six-engine Stratolaunch aircraft, which has a wingspan of 385 feet, was a joint project with Scaled Composites. It was designed to carry payloads of up to 500,000 pounds to altitudes of around 35,000 feet for launch.
Garmin, uAvionix resolve patent lawsuit
ADS-B solutions company uAvionix announced that it has resolved a patent lawsuit brought by Garmin that has been ongoing since June 2018. According to the company, the agreement will allow uAvionix to “continue offering and supporting” it’s skyBeacon, tailBeacon and echoUAT products. The exact terms of the resolution have been kept confidential.
The original lawsuit alleged that uAvionix had taken and used Garmin’s ADS-B technology without permission to develop products including skyBeacon and EchoUAT. uAvionix contended that it had not infringed on Garmin’s patent and had its own method “for using Mode 3/A and altitude information.” As previously reported uAvionix received a patent for its “Aircraft Navigation Light ADS-B Radio” in December 2018.
Montana-based uAvionix was founded in 2015 with a focus on “bringing safety solutions to the unmanned aviation industry in order to aid in the integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System (NAS).” It introduced the skyBeacon ADS-B Out solution in July 2017. Last week, the company announced that it was expanding its product line with the acquisition of AeroVonics, a start-up avionics company based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Kitty Hawk unveils latest eVTOL concept aircraft
The latest eVTOL concept aircraft developed by Kitty Hawk has been publicly unveiled in a short video produced by the company. Called ‘Heaviside’ as an homage to noted physicist and electrical engineer Oliver Heaviside, the aircraft is said to be 100 times quieter than a conventional helicopter. Wired reports that Kitty Hawk has been developing the aircraft for about two years and joins two other eVTOL aircraft to be introduced by the company. The single-seat Flyer is intended for recreational use and operated at up to 10 feet above ground level. The larger, 10-rotor Cora is being tested in New Zealand as part of the Uber Elevate programme. The Heaviside has eight motors driving rotors. Six of those are mounted on a forward-swept wing, while two are on a canard surface on the nose of the aircraft. The wings generate most of the lift during horizontal flight, while the rotors assist in low-speed control.
In the video released by the company, the aircraft is shown flying at about 1,500 feet while producing about 38 decibels of sound, compared to about 60 dBA from a conventional helicopter at a similar altitude. A company spokesperson said that so far, all of the flights have been conducted through remote control. Kitty Hawk has kept its goals for the Heaviside aircraft pretty close to the vest, but it does appear to be a move towards a final candidate for Urban Air Mobility and a more fully developed noise-control strategy.
Altitude Angel presents its UTM to the European Commission
The world’s leading unmanned traffic management (UTM) technology provider, Altitude Angel has showcased to the European Commission the market-leading technology it deployed during the recent Gulf of Finland project at Digital Transport Days 2019. Hosted by INDanube, Digital Transport Days 2019 took place between 7 and 9 October in Helsinki, Finland. The conference, which offerd a European viewpoint to digital solutions for transport and mobility, was attended by Europe’s leading public officials and experts as well as industry and service providers.
Altitude Angel showcased the technology it successfully deployed during the GoF project at the conference. Altitude Angel demonstrated a comprehensive range of U-Space 1-3 services, including:
• Collation of multiple telemetry and surveillance sources (ADS-B, primary and secondary radar, FLARM, integrated ground control stations and GSM trackers)
• Flight planning, approval and In-flight instruction
• Dynamic geofencing
• Remote ID
• FIMS integration through a SWIM architecture.
Simon Wynn-Mackenzie, Altitude Angel, Head of Products, said: “The Gulf of Finland project was a great success so I’m thrilled Altitude Angel were asked to present our industry-leading UTM solution to the European Commission. “Through demonstrations like the ground-breaking Operation Zenith and the Gulf of Finland trials, Altitude Angel has been able to consistently demonstrate how its platform can safely integrate drones into a range of dynamic airspace situations such as urban operations, blue-lights support, search-and-rescue and international coordination.”
European partners begin stealth tests of nEUROn drone
The technology demonstrator nEUROn is carrying out its fourth test campaign. Called ‘Low Observability’, it aims at testing the stealth capability of the nEUROn against different sensors.
But those ‘future technologies need to be developed now for subsequent flight testing and qualification’ if the deadline for operational service by 2040 is to be met. Airbus and Dassault Aviation highlight ‘how quickly both companies had jointly concluded agreements and prepared themselves to move forward’, unlike the French and German authorities. The programme has indeed been stalling since the Paris Air Show 2019. The first problem to emerge was that the two governments disagree on the exportation rules of their future fighter jets, with the German side proving more restrictive. But an agreement between them might not be enough, as the most vocal discontent lies elsewhere.
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, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)