“It is an unfortunate reality in many of the journalistic environments we exist today. We cannot criticise certain people, or dig into certain stories, or follow our noses on the trail of corruption if it means upsetting our publishers, sponsors and donors.” Zaid Jilani
When one takes two perfectly good Yak 55s and combine them into a single Yak 110 and add a spare jet engine. Most of the time when you have a crazy idea, you inevitably think, ‘Well, that is just crazy,’ and the concept goes no further. But if you are airshow pilot Jeff Boerboon, you turn your crazy ideas into pure magic. “One day about 10 years ago,” Boerboon recalls, “I saw my airplane sitting on the ramp next to another Yak 55 and I had the idea of combining two Yak 55s together.” From there, a lot of hard work happened and the result is the one-of-a-kind Yak 110, complete with two cockpits, two big radial engines, two tails, one extra-long wing and for good measure an extra jet engine in the middle. The one-of-a-kind aircraft made its airshow debut and I witnessed this unusual aircraft’s incredible aerobatics performance at Oshkosh 2019.
The Yakovlev Yak 55, first built by the Soviets back in the 1980s, has competition in its very DNA. In its first year on the circuit, the Soviet teams for both men and women flew the clean-cut single-seat monoplane to first place in the World Aerobatic Championships, proving the beautiful design excels in its niche. The Yak 55 is still in production, with few changes and has always been Boerboon’s favourite aerobatics aircraft. To create the 110, he hunkered down with partners Chad Bartee and Dell Coller for about a year in an Idaho hangar to meld two airplanes together into one powerful aerobatic creation.
The final result weighs in at just under 5,000 pounds, with Boerboon in the cockpit ready to go and the three engines produce a combined 6,000 pounds of thrust. “This gives a much better than one-to-one power-to-weight ratio,” says Boerboon. That means he can accelerate with the aircraft pointing straight up, something generally only found among high-performance fighter aircraft and he can perform just about any other aerobatic manoeuvre, as well, with power to spare.
“The concept of combining two aircraft together and adding a jet engine has never been done in the history of aviation,” says Boerboon. “The airplane is incredible to fly. I have only scratched the service of the manoeuvres that are possible.” Boerboon and his crew debuted the airplane at airshows all over the United States, including the world’s largest, EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Those persons who correctly identified this aircraft: Bob Gurr, Danie Viljoen, Brian Millett, Steve Dewsbery, Ted M, Jan Sime, Jeremy Rorich, Rennie van Zyl, Colin Austen, Brian Ross, Ahmed Bassa, Jeffrey Knickelbein, Alewyn Burger, Selwyn Kimber, Alf Ljundqvist, Kevin Farr, P. Rossouw, Righardt du Plessis, Willie Oosthuizen, Anton Horstman, Wouter van der Waal, Gregory Yatt, Hilton Carroll, Rex Tweedie, Pierre Brittz, Andre Breytenbach, Karl Jensen, Francois Greef, Ari Levien, Mickey Esterhuysen, Peter Gilbert, Greg Pullin, Johan Venter, Zak Fourie, Brian Melmoth, Pierre Hanekom, Charlie Hugo, Nic Manthopoulos, Edward Bourhill, David Plew-Chisholm, Herman Nel, Cecil Thompson, John Moen (43)
The 336-page May 2022 edition of African Pilot with 25 videos, 13 picture galleries and four brochures features Helicopters and Gyrocopters is complete. In addition, the feature covers helicopter engines, AMOs as well as helicopter parts and accessories. This edition was fully circulated on Wednesday 4 May and is larger by number of pages than many previous editions of African Pilot.
The June edition featuring Flight Training and Aviation Careers and Flight Simulators is complete and will be distributed by the end of this week. African Pilot has embraced the digital publishing age so that the magazine can be read on smart phones or any digital device. African Pilot changed its publishing philosophy nearly two years ago to embrace the digital age so as to discontinue publishing a typical print style Magazine that is impossible to read, even on laptop computers.
African Pilot will publish its popular Light Sport Aircraft, Amateur Built Aircraft and South African built aircraft in the July edition of the magazine that will be distributed to the world during the last week of June 2022. The feature is an opportunity for all Light Sport Aircraft manufactures, Amateur Built aircraft and South African built aircraft. The feature provides an important shop window for advertisers to display their Light Sport Aircraft in a focussed manner which includes editorial content to cover the features of their business.
Wallpaper calendar for the month of June. Go to our wallpaper page to download the calendars in three different resolutions.
27 to 29 May
Bona Bona Fly-in
I have been informed that accommodation for the Bona Bona flyaway has already been fully subscribed. However, there is still space for campers and of course day visitors will be welcome to fly to this inaugural event.
AOPA Air Safety Institute posts ‘early analysis’ video on fatal STOL crash
The AOPA Air Safety Institute (ASI) released a video today (May 24) exploring the May 20 fatal accident during the MayDay STOL (Short Take-off and Landing) event in Wayne, Nebraska. Competitor Tom Dafoe was killed when his Cessna 140 crashed on final approach during a STOL demonstration. As part of the institute’s Early Analysis series, the video is designed to focus on what is known about the accident and recommend cautionary strategies for pilots.
ASI Senior Vice President Richard McSpadden said, “In ‘Early Analysis: N76075,’ the AOPA Air Safety Institute wants to help pilots understand what is known about the accident. We look at factors that are likely to be the subject of an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).” Citing cell phone video of the accident, McSpadden said, “It appeared Dafoe’s Cessna 140 made an S-turn for spacing behind a Zenith 701 to compensate for the Cessna’s faster speed, leading to a stall / spin accident. A lesson general aviation pilots can take away from this accident is to always have a Plan B when following closely behind a slower aircraft, including breaking off and performing a go-around.”
McSpadden enumerated possible safety enhancements for STOL competitions, including: sequencing faster aircraft ahead of slower aircraft; increasing the spacing intervals to 30 seconds (video indicates that the MayDay STOL competition launched at approximately 25-second intervals, he said); establishing mandatory turn points in the pattern; disallowing spacing turns (S-turns or other) on final approach; only allowing one aircraft on final at a time; delegating a safety observer with a radio to direct pilots to break out of the pattern if necessary and briefing competitors on break-out procedures before the competition.
‘Top Gun: Maverick’ finally arrives on Friday, but until then…
The long-awaited release of Tom Cruise’s “Top Gun: Maverick” will finally arrive in theatres on Friday 27 May and the aviation world is champing at the bit. As a sidebar teaser to the release, Cruise teamed up with Late Late Show host James Corden for a legitimately funny and very well-filmed 15-minute video that opens on the ramp of Burbank Airport at 04h56. Cruise arrives in a HondaJet, then spirits Corden away to a desert airfield where the British talk show host reprises the role of ‘Goose’ from the back seats of, first, Cruise’s P-51 Mustang and then an Aero L-39 Albatros jet. The air-to-air footage is top notch. Cruise does all the flying in the warbirds, while Corden does an admirable job of holding onto his lunch.
As for what to expect from the actual two-hour 17-minute movie, National Public Radio reviewer Justin Chang’s headline warns, “Top Gun: Maverick’ is ridiculous. It ss also ridiculously entertaining.” Besides Cruise’s aging-but-still-hot-headed Maverick, key characters include the original-film backs eater Goose’s son ‘Rooster’ and a poignant reprise of actor Val Kilmer’s ‘Iceman.’ Chang calls the film “an intergenerational male weepie, a dad movie of truly epic proportions.” One thing the film is not, is computer-generated. All the characters who played pilots learned what it is like to really fly, because Cruise insisted that they actually do so.
Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines announce an order for five 777 freighters
On Wednesday 25 May Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines announced the carrier is further expanding its all-Boeing freighter fleet with an order for five 777 Freighters. The order is currently unidentified on Boeing’s orders and deliveries website. “The addition of these five 777 Freighters into our cargo fleet will enable us to meet the growing demand in our cargo operation. While cementing our partnership with Boeing with new orders, the growth of our freighter fleet takes the capacity and efficiency of our shipment service to the next level,” said Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mr. Mesfin Tasew. “We always strive to serve our customers with the latest technology aircraft the aviation industry could offer. Our cargo terminal is Africa’s largest, coupled with fuel-efficient freighters and well-trained cargo handling professionals will enable our customers get the best quality shipment service. Customers can rely on Ethiopian for wide-ranging cargo services across five continents.”
Boeing’s market-leading 777 freighter is the world’s largest, longest-range and most capable twin-engine freighter flying with 17% lower fuel use and emissions to prior airplanes. Ethiopian Airlines operates a fleet of nine 777 Freighters, utilising the model’s range of 4,970 nautical miles (9,200 km) and maximum structural payload of 107 tonnes (235,900 lb) to connect Africa with 66 dedicated cargo centres throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas.
In early March 2022, Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines also announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for the carrier’s intent to purchase five 777-8 Freighters, the industry’s newest, most capable and most fuel-efficient twin-engine freighter. Ethiopian Airlines also operates three 737-800 converted freighters, as well as a combined passenger fleet of more than 80 Boeing jets, including 737s, 767s, 777s and 787s.
GE Aviation completes testing of Passport engine using 100% SAF
GE Aviation has completed successful testing of its Passport long-range business aviation engine using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), a lower carbon alternative jet fuel. The Passport engine can operate on approved SAF and the recent testing shows the capability of the engine to run on 100% SAF. It was the first time the Passport engine was tested with 100% SAF. Currently, SAF approved for use is a blend of petroleum-based Jet A or Jet A-1 fuel and a SAF component with a maximum blend limit of 50%. ASTM International, an organisation that develops technical standards, has not yet qualified 100% SAF. One of GE’s fuel experts chairs an international task force to develop standardised industry specifications supporting adoption of 100% drop-in SAF, which does not require blending with conventional jet fuel.
Ground testing was conducted with one engine over several days in March at GE Aviation’s Peebles Test Operations in southern Ohio. The purpose of the test was to assess the performance and operability of the engine technology with 100% SAF compared to conventional Jet A. The type of SAF used in the testing, HEFA-SPK, is the most widely available SAF today and can be made from cooking oil and other waste fats, oils and greases. Preliminary test results of the Passport engine are favourable, with the engine performing similarly to when it runs on petroleum-based jet fuel.
Leonardo introduces C-27J Spartan Next Generation with new fire fighter configuration
Leonardo’s C-27J Spartan Next Generation reaffirms its versatility for multi-mission capabilities with a new Fire Fighter configuration, equipped with a second generation, roll-on / roll-off Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS II). Dealing with environmental emergencies is an increasingly complex challenge that requires integrated problem-solving management and the implementation of multiple, latest-generation, strategic and technological tools to protect people and the territory.
The Fire Fighter configuration proposed by Leonardo is a flexible solution, ideal for enhancing the capabilities of the C-27J Next Generation multi-mission aircraft and has significantly lower purchasing and operating costs than a dedicated firefighting platform. The system consists in the installation of a removable tank with a capacity of over 8,000 litres of water or 7,600 litres of fire-retardant liquid in the aircraft’s cargo bay. A complete set of tools that includes a pressurised tank, an outlet nozzle, a pressurised door and a ground support system. In around 90 minutes, the C-27J can be transformed from a tactical transport aircraft to an aerial firefighter, thanks to the palletised Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS II), developed by United Aeronautical Corporation, a world leader in advanced aerial application systems.
Gogo goes global
Gogo Business Aviation will launch the first global broadband service in business aviation to use an electronically steered antenna (ESA) on a low earth orbit (LEO) satellite network. Gogo’s exclusive antenna assembly, designed in conjunction with Hughes Network Systems, LLC (Hughes), will be small enough for installation on the fuselage of business aircraft from super light jets and large turboprops to ultralong-range jets and will operate on OneWeb’s high-speed, low-latency broadband global network.
To access the network, the new service will require just one Gogo AVANCE LRU inside the aircraft, which means existing AVANCE customers will only have to install the ESA antenna, with a single cable for power in and a single cable for data out. The OneWeb network will deliver performance comparable to terrestrial broadband services, with game-changing low latency that is significantly less than geostationary satellites (GEOs). A multitude of users will be able to simultaneously perform data-heavy interactive online activities such as conducting simultaneous live video conferences, accessing cloud solutions such as Office365, watching live TV, streaming video applications like TikTok and much more. OneWeb’s LEO constellation is fully funded and will consist of 648 satellites, 428 of which have already been launched.
Unlike GEO solutions, Gogo’s LEO service will include one fuselage-mounted unit with an integrated antenna, modem, power supply and RF converter; will only require 28 volts of DC power; will not rely on aircraft-positioning data and will include an AVANCE router. “We have designed the system to reduce costs by simplifying the installation,” Aguirre said. “We have long delivered affordable, high-quality connectivity and award-winning customer service to aircraft owners in North America and now we want to bring those same benefits to all aircraft owners in the rest of the world.”
The Gogo broadband service for business aviation will be available soon after the OneWeb network is fully launched and commercially available. Gogo will provide global customer support through its network of 118 authorised dealers, including 24 that operate outside the United States, serving Gogo’s more-than-1000 non-US narrowband satellite customers that today operate in 83 countries around the world.
Bombardier ups the Bizjet game with speedy Global 8000
Bombardier has unveiled the newest member of its business jet portfolio with the introduction of the Global 8000 aircraft, reportedly designed to be the world’s fastest and longest-range purpose-built business jet. With a range of 8,000 nautical miles and a top speed of Mach 0.94, the Global 8000 aircraft promises much. “Today, Bombardier solidifies once more its position as the leader in business aviation with the newest member of the industry-leading Global family,” said Éric Martel, Bombardier’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “The Global 8000 aircraft leverages the outstanding attributes of the Global 7500 aircraft, providing our customers with a flagship aircraft of a new era. We remain unmatched, which for an innovation-focused team like us, is great.”
Some of the performance capabilities of the new Global 8000 aircraft were witnessed as early as May 2021, following a demonstration flight with a Global 7500 flight test vehicle. The aircraft, accompanied by a NASA F/A-18 chase plane, repeatably achieved speeds in excess of Mach 1.015, a key step in enabling a maximum Mach operating speed (MMO) of M0.94. During the demonstration flight, the aircraft also became the first Transport Category airplane to fly supersonic with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
The Global 8000 also features the lowest cabin altitude in its class of 2,900 feet when flying at 41,000 feet and is equipped with Bombardier’s Pur Air and advanced HEPA filter technology. The Global 8000 includes an available Principal Suite with a full-size bed and a stand-up shower in the en-suite.
In the cockpit, the Global 8000 aircraft features the Bombardier Vision flight deck with fly-by-wire technology. Performance-wise, the Global 8000 offers the capability of even more city pairs, including Dubai-Houston, Singapore-Los Angeles, London-Perth and many others. Expected to enter service in 2025, the Global 8000 aircraft development is ongoing and the programme is progressing to plan. For current Global 7500 operators, the performance enhancements on the Global 8000 will be retrofittable when the aircraft enters into service in 2025.
Sonaca to halt production of S200 aircraft
Sonaca CEO Yves DeLatte describes the measure as a ‘necessary decision’ engendered by the COVID-19 pandemic’s adverse impact on general aviation and, in particular, pilot training. The S200 is a low-wing, aluminium, monoplane airplane based on the Sling II, a South African two-seater aircraft designed and produced by Sling Aircraft in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Sling gained notoriety in 2009 when the specially modified second prototype successfully circumnavigated the Earth in forty days. The feat was the first for an aircraft of its class.
Type-certified in 2018 and specifically designed for pilot training and leisure flights, the S200 features an MTOW of 750 kilograms (1653 lbs) and a normal cruise speed of 115 knots. The aircraft’s corrosion-resistant, aluminium-alloy construction; tricycle landing gear; docile flight-characteristics; 70 litre (18.5 gallon) fuel capacity and 360° visibility are well suited to its design purpose.
The S200 is powered by a slick, turbo-charged, four-stroke, 115-HP, four-cylinder, horizontally-opposed, Rotax 914 engine with air-cooled cylinders and water-cooled cylinder heads. A subsidiary of the Belgian Aerospace conglomerate Sonaca Group has committed to offer employment to all employees formerly engaged in the production of the S200. The company states it will ‘fulfill all its obligations and facilitate the continuity of essential activities for customers, i.e. services and after sales.’ Whether or not the post COVID world will see the S200 resurrected remains to be seen. What can said with certainty, is that Sonaca built a promising airplane that vanished too quickly from an uncertain world.
Calgary’s Kanata Aviation Training selects ALSIM’s AL250 simulator
ALSIM is proud to announce that Kanata Aviation Training has purchased an ALSIM AL250 simulator. Based at High River Airport in Alberta, Canada, this will be their first ALSIM device. The AL250 simulator addresses initial phase training needs (PPL, CPL, IR/ME) and is SEP/MEP re-configurable simulator certified as an EASA FNPT II and TC Level 2 IPC. In addition, it offers both classic and glass cockpit instrumentation for each flight model at the simple flick of a switch. This device has been extremely well received since its creation and more than 65 of these have already been installed and are in successful operation worldwide. Dr Scott Firsing of ALSIM’s North America office adds: “We are pleased to welcome Kanata Aviation Training to the ALSIM family. The new AL250 simulator will help provide consistency and quality in their training. We are excited to see the superb pilots Kanata produces.”
Cebu Pacific employs SAF on new plane delivery
Cebu Pacific (CEB) has used green fuel to power its new Airbus A33neo on its delivery flight from Airbus facilities in Toulouse, France, to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila. The flight departed Toulouse, France and was powered by a blended mixture of SAF and conventional fuel and arrived in Manila on 20 May. The new aircraft is CEB’s third A330neo and is the greenest aircraft in the industry given its fuel efficiency and carrying capacity. CEB’s A330neo is configured with 459 seats in a single-class layout and is fuel efficient, achieving 25 percent less fuel burn than previous-generation aircraft. CEB intends to use SAF for the delivery of two more A33neo aircraft later this year.
SAF is a ‘drop-in’ replacement for fossil fuels, produced from renewable resources. The use of SAF results in an up to 85 percent reduction in carbon emissions across the SAF lifecycle. The chemical and physical characteristics of SAF are almost identical to those of conventional jet fuel and these can be safely mixed with regular jet fuel to varying degrees. SAF does not require any adaptations to the aircraft or engines and does not have any negative impact on performance or maintenance.
The airline’s sustainability goal is aligned with global aviation’s commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. To respond to this challenge, CEB invested in appropriate technologies and is practicing fuel-saving and emission reduction strategies. The airline’s three major pillars on its sustainable journey are fleet modernisation which aims, among others, having an all-Neo fleet by 2027; resource optimisation, which includes pushing for fuel efficiency best practices and utilising SAF by launching green routes by 2025 and using SAF for its entire network by 2030.
Boeing’s Starliner successfully docks to ISS on key flight test
Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft successfully docked to the International Space Station (ISS), completing the main goal of its uncrewed Orbital Flight Test-2. The spacecraft, which is designed to take astronauts to the ISS, launched on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at 18h54 Eastern time from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on 19 May 2022.
On 20 May 2022 at 19h28 Central Time the spacecraft made its first connection with the space station. Because there were no astronauts onboard, the CST-100 Starliner’s autonomous systems and ground controllers in Houston guided the spacecraft through the manoeuvres required to get closer to the ISS and dock. ISS astronauts also gave the spacecraft some commands to verify controls. It was the third attempt for Boeing to launch the Starliner and dock to the ISS. A maiden uncrewed flight in 2019 failed to attain the proper orbit, while the next launch attempt in July 2021 had to be postponed twice after system errors were found. On its way to the ISS, Starliner performed some system demonstrations to verify the health of the spacecraft. Now the spacecraft has docked to the orbiting laboratory, ISS astronauts will float inside the spacecraft, conduct an initial tour of the cabin and perform system checks while ground controllers evaluate the data gathered.
NASA said astronauts opened the hatch for the first time to Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft at 12h04 EDT on 21 May 21 on its uncrewed Orbital Flight Test-2. Inside, astronauts Bob Hines and Kjell Lindgren welcomed Rosie the Rocketeer, a dummy astronaut sitting in the commander’s seat. Rosie is outfitted with sensors to collect data on what astronauts can expect when they take a flight on the Starliner. For the flight test, Starliner is carrying about 500 pounds of NASA cargo and crew supplies and more than 300 pounds of Boeing cargo. Once it is certified, Starliner will carry up to four crew members to the station, which NASA said will enable the continued expansion of the crew and increase the amount of science and research that can be performed aboard the ISS. Starliner was due to depart the space station on 25 May 2022, when it will undock and return to Earth, with a desert landing in the western United States.
Volocopter collaborates with Microsoft on VoloIQ Aerospace cloud project
Urban Air Mobility (UAM) company Volocopter announced a strategic collaboration with Microsoft to develop an aerospace cloud system in Microsoft Azure that will address the nascent cloud computing requirements for eVTOLs, UAM, and autonomous aviation. Once primed for commercial use, Azure will support the digital platform VoloIQ, the operating system for Volocopter’s UAM services and its subsequent transition to autonomous operations.
Volocopter plans to make the VoloIQ its standard UAM operating system for all electric passenger and drone flight operations. Its modular structure will be vast, covering aspects such as booking and commercial scheduling, e-commerce, operational network planning, flight planning, flight monitoring, supplying airspace digital twins and vehicle data logging and analysis. Volocopter has chosen Microsoft Cloud / Azure to securely interconnect all these UAM ecosystem elements into one integrated set of services.
Volocopter and Microsoft will begin collaborating by ensuring Microsoft Azure meets the VoloIQ’s needs for commercial operations. Azure will then enable the VoloIQ’s flight and service support for Volocopter’s electric vertical take–off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft (VoloCity, VoloDrone and VoloConnect), alongside ground infrastructure (VoloPort) support in real time.
The VoloIQ’s aim is a straightforward one: to provide complete digital transparency and greater ecosystem efficiency in real time. By utilising this digital resource, Volocopter’s services and all the relevant process elements needed to realise this service will be user-friendly and digitally accessible for customers, pilots, operators and stakeholders alike. Furthermore, the VoloIQ’s solid scope will streamline Volocopter’s transition into an autonomous air taxi services provider when the time comes and bolster its efficient maintenance and infrastructure as soon as it becomes operational.
Lilium teams with Honeywell and Denso for eVTOL motors
Honeywell Aerospace and automotive group Denso are to provide the electric motors for Lilium’s even-passenger eVTOL aircraft. The motors will power the all-electric vehicle’s 30 ducted fan engines that are installed in the Lilium Jet’s wing and canard. Announcing the new partnership at the EBACE show on Monday, Lilium reported it has been working on the motor with the companies for the past two years. It said the air-cooled design provides more structural simplicity and ease of maintenance versus liquid-cooled motors. The piloted Lilium Jet, which will have a range of 155 miles and fly at speeds up to 175 mph, is intended to provide regional services connecting cities, rather than flying within cities. Lilium believes the design could be scaled up for a version that would accommodate between 10 and 15 seats.
Each 100-kW motor, weighing just over four kg (8.8 pounds), incorporates a rotor and stator in a centrifugal or ‘radial’ configuration that differs from traditional axial designs. According to Lilium, this approach lowers the component’s weight, manufacturing costs and susceptibility to foreign object damage.
Honeywell makes turbofan, turboshaft and turboprop engines for a variety of business airplanes and helicopters. The US group is already developing the Lilium Jet’s avionics and flight control systems and invested in the company last year. Denso is expected to provide expertise in high-volume production rates, based on its background in manufacturing engines for cars. Lilium’s other suppliers include aerostructures group Aciturri and battery specialist CustomCells.
Lilium recently resumed flight testing in Spain with a sub-scale technology demonstrator and intends to start building the first production-conforming aircraft for the EASA type certification process in 2023. This will lead to the start of a flight-test campaign expected to run for between 15 and 18 months leading to type certification in 2025. Lilium has previously indicated that it was working toward a goal of getting approval for the all-electric aircraft and being ready to start commercial operations in 2024. Founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand told reporters on 31 March that the decision to delay is based on “the current status of design activities to develop the safest possible aircraft, our discussions with regulators and even taking into account the continued supply chain disruption.”
In a letter to shareholders on 28 February, Lilium reported that following a preliminary design review in the fourth quarter of 2021, it is reducing the number of electric ducted fans for the Lilium Jet from 36 to 30. The company said this change has been made possible by using a slightly larger and more powerful engine design and will reduce the parts count, weight and system complexity, as well as improve the aerodynamic balance between the main wing and canards.
The German start–up is working to achieve EASA type certification in 2025. Under the European agency’s Special Conditions VTOL rules, eVTOL developers like Lilium will have to prove that there is no single point of failure in the propulsion system. The company has not stated what redundancy there will be in terms of how many of the electric motors can fail without compromising a safe landing.
In February, Lilium reported that it is working to finalize an agreement with US-based private aviation group NetJets to purchase rights for 150 Lilium Jets. The companies are discussing terms under which the fractional ownership and charter group might market the aircraft to private owners and also become an operating partner for Lilium’s planned service network. It already has a provisional operating partnership agreement with Europe-based business aviation group Luxaviation.
US-made drones delivering insulin to diabetics in Ukraine
Draganfly, a Los Angeles-based drone manufacturer, confirmed that one of the first of the humanitarian drones it is shipping to Ukraine has arrived and will soon be delivering insulin to diabetics in the war-torn country. There are 2.3 million people living with diabetes in Ukraine, many of whom are Type 1 diabetics who need daily injections of insulin to survive. For those living in high-conflict areas of the country, access to life-saving insulin is limited or non-existent.
The non-profit charity, Revived Soldiers Ukraine (RSU), will use Draganfly’s Medical Response drones to deliver NuGen MD’s needle-free injection devices, pre-loaded with insulin, to conflict areas across Ukraine, as well as other crucial medical supplies, according to Draganfly officials.
Draganfly’s first Medical Response Drone was delivered to Iryna Vashchuk Discipio, RSU president, and members of her staff, including pilots, at a facility in Poland on 1 May 2022. The drone was then transported to Ukraine, where the company’s pilots conducted virtual training with RSU’s drone operators.
The Draganfly Medical Response drones are equipped with temperature-managed payload boxes that can transport up to 35 pounds of blood, pharmaceuticals, insulin and other medicines, vaccines and wound care kits, according to company officials.
Draganfly officials reported, in addition to donating three drone systems, Draganfly received an order for its Medical Response and Search and Rescue Drones from Coldchain Delivery Systems for immediate deployment with RSU. The initial order calls for 10 drones, with the full order calling for up to 200 drones.
Hera is the most effective drone for public safety
RtR Hera can now do ‘more from less’, better than anybody else by a tremendous margin of two to ten folds. It is the most powerful individual combat drone ever made. With backpack portability, Hera can be as easily deployable as soldiers. Hera fits in a backpack with battery and camera included. Wherever soldiers go, Hera is there with them ready to serve. By having two EO-IR on both ends, Hera can scout 360 degrees of the ground day and night, whilst at the same time can carry any munition up to 30 pounds (on top of the two cameras). Nothing can really escape the visibility of Hera in its flight path.
Hera can find targets and carry out combat missions better than any other copters currently available. The closest backpacked competitors can typically carry only one camera and approximately three pounds of warhead. Hera is the only tethered drone that can provide spherical awareness covering 360 degrees of the ground and sky simultaneously and still has enough lift capacity to carry cellular communication equipment to turn itself into an aerial cell tower to deliver video, images, voice, or data to team members operating on the ground.
Wherever first responders go, with its backpack portability Hera is there with them ready to serve. With two EO-IR cameras on both ends, HERA can double the scouting area and find victims twice as fast as any other drones, whilst at the same time still have enough lift capacity left to deliver any lifesaving / medical kits up to 28 pounds.
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