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“Alas, how many have been persecuted for the wrong of having been right?” Jean-Baptiste Say
African Pilot’s November 2018 edition
The November edition of African Pilot has been fully distributed into the retail market as well as the various airports that we service. This edition contains our annual Cape Town Airports feature as well as Gifts for Pilots. There is no doubt that as a well designed and superbly produced monthly aviation magazine African Pilot has significant reach. In addition, African Pilot is now printing significantly more monthly magazines than any other aviation magazines on this continent, whilst at the same time African Pilot’s influence within the digital on-line magazine is ever increasing, not only in Africa, but also throughout the world.
African Pilot's December 2018 edition
The December edition will feature the various General Aviation and Airlines based at OR Tambo International Airport. In addition we will feature an illustrated report on the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) annual general assembly staged in Livingstone, Zambia at Victoria Falls. The closing date for this edition is Friday 2 November 2018. For advertising positions, please contact Lara Bayliss Cell: 079 880 4359 Tel: 0861 001130 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
What has changed at African Pilot?
Now you can get your favourite aviation magazine online
As our digital capability has grown substantially and we have developed aviation news blasts that advise our significant audience about breaking aviation news. We have re-designed the option for the electronic version of African Pilot to be uploaded via our website. The cost of a single download is R18 (US$2) or R180 (US$20) for a 12-month subscription. In addition, we have created several other options. If you happened to miss out on a particular article or edition, back editions are available.
Video of the week
Epic grass runway landing | Airplanes landing on unpaved runway:
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
What happened in aviation over the past week?
The two-day programme staged at the CSIR convention centre on 23 and 24 October was well-attended and many very interesting topics were unpacked. However, the SKA as a global science initiative presented by Dr Adrian Tiplady (SKA South Africa) drew high levels of criticism for the manner in which the SKA group has gone about its work, without consulting the various role players within the aviation sector. African Pilot will be preparing a full report with pictures within the December edition of the magazine.
Flight delays: an open letter from Erik Venter, CEO of Comair
To our valued customers and stakeholders,
You may be aware that domestic airlines in South Africa have encountered flight delays in recent months. Unfortunately, Comair’s two airline brands, kulula.com and British Airways (which Comair operates under licence in Southern Africa), have also been affected.
Comair holds itself to highest standards of performance and won’t compromise on safety. The delays are a result of problems with the scheduling of maintenance and challenges with logistics at SAA Technical, which maintains the aircraft of Comair’s two airline brands, and those of other local airlines.
We are actively working with our internal and external stakeholders to address the underlying causes of the delays and return our on-time performance above the 85% threshold our customers are used to. Some of the steps we are taking are as follows:
- As far as possible, Comair has moved all major maintenance requirements overseas
- Comair has, with Lufthansa Technik (LHT), initiated registration of an AMO (Approved Maintenance Organisation), with the objective of moving Comair’s new aircraft deliveries directly to LHT AMO as they arrive in South Africa. Unfortunately, it takes some time to obtain all the necessary licences from the SACAA (SA Civil Aviation Authority) and ACSA (Airports Company of SA)
- Comair is retaining five full-time back-up aircraft to its fleet of 21 scheduled aircraft. This is an extraordinary reserve ratio for any airline but necessary in the current circumstances
In addition, Comair has instituted a wet-lease (hiring an aircraft, including its crew) of an Airbus A320. This will ease pressure on our aircraft availability, crew and rosters. Comair will retain the lease as long as needed
- Comair has also instituted an ad-hoc wet-lease of a Boeing B737-300. This is a smaller aircraft than the other types in the Comair fleet and Comair has requested permission from British Airways to use it for the British Airways brand as well, so the aircraft can operate on lower-volume flights and routes
- Comair has cancelled all non-critical crew duties to ensure maximum crew availability for flight operations, especially where crew duties have been disrupted by delays
- Comair’s engineering team is actively involved at SAAT from 04h00 every day to ensure that its aircraft are ready for operation, as well as to improve co-ordination with Comair’s operations department
- Comair’s customer relations team is implementing further improvements in communication to customers when un fortunate delays occur
- Comair will take delivery of two new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft in February 2019 and then five B737-800s on lease, which will arrive between April and September 2019. All these aircraft will be maintained at the new LHT facility. These aircraft also have a less demanding maintenance schedule than the aircraft that they replace: less time on the ground, more time serving our customers.
I realise that this is a rather technical explanation, but I hope it helps clarify that Comair takes very seriously any inconvenience experienced by our customers and has budgeted R100 million to attempt to alleviate the situation while working on long-term solutions. As stated, we will not compromise on the safety of our personnel and valued customers and we are working on and investing in ways to resolve the cause of the problem. We have taken the decision to manage the delays and still get our customers to their destinations, rather than to simply cancel our flights, which would improve our on-time statistics but at the expense of our customers.
Thank you for your support during this disruptive period.
African Pilot received this communication from Comair this past week. I would like to suggest that it takes a brave CEO to be incredibly truthful about the actual situation at the airline. Also to place this situation into context, Comair is the only airline in the entire world that has delivered a profit to its shareholders every year of its 60+ years of operation. In fact knowing Erik Venter rather well, I believe that he has the vision as well as managerial skills that allow the entire Comair management tem to operate as a unified and specialised example to all other airlines in the world. As Erik says “Comair is an IT company that has two airline brands.”
I have often asked the question: “Why does Comair not have its own dedicated maintenance facility?” This question has probably been answered in this Comair press release, in that Lufthansa Technique will probably set up a world class dedicated maintenance facility at OR Tambo International Airport, or am I reading far too much into this situation?
SAPFA fun rally at Baragwanath airfield
Baragwanath Fun Rally – 27 Oct 2018 by Rob Jonkers (by Rob Jonkers & Andre Venter)
The South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA) together with the Johannesburg Light Plane Club based at Baragwanath Airfield) organised a successful Navigation Fun Rally on Saturday 27 October 2018.
Saturday was an excellent day for flying, with clear weather predicted all day, although there was some wind from the north east. There were 18 entries posted on-line prior to the event and all 18 were able to arrive on Saturday morning, the Baragwanath field parking area was full.
What is scheduled for the next few weeks?
EAA Chapter 322 meeting. Dicky Fritz Moth Hall, Edenvale
Contact Marie Reddy 083 259 7691 E-mail: email@example.com
EAA / SAPFA Sun ‘n Fun Adventure Rally Brits Airfield
EAA contact Marie Reddy 083 259 7691 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 804 7032
16 & 17 November
Sandstone Estates Cherry Festival steam weekend
Contact Alina Tel 051 933 2235 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Aero Club of South Africa awards dinner Wanders Club 17h00
Contact E-mail: email@example.com
SAPFA Fun Rally at Springs Airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 855 9435
1 & 2 December
SAC ACE of Base Brits airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: email@example.com
The 2019 aviation calendar has been well populated by the many people involved in aviation sending the information about the scheduled fixture to African Pilot – thank you. Please send any further fixtures to me: firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you the entire 2019 calendar.
African Pilot’s 2019 calendar
19 & 20 January
SAC Gauteng Regionals at Vereeniging airfield
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: email@example.com
SAPFA Rand Airport Challenge – Rand Airport
Contact Frank Eckard cell: 083 269 1516 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA Morningstar Speed Rally – Morningstar Airfield
Contact Hans Potgieter e-mail: email@example.com
9 and 10 March
Swellendam Flying Club host Sport Aerobatic Club Regional Championships
Contact Pieter Venter e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
12 to 14 March
Saudi Airshow Thumah Airport, Riyadh
13 to 15 March
Ageing Aircraft & Aircraft Corrosion seminar at OR Tambo International Airport
Contact e-mail: email@example.com
FASHKOSK at Stellenbosch airfield
Contact Anton Theart Cell: 079 873 4567 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA Virginia Fun Rally – Virginia Airport
Contact Mary de Klerk cell: 084 880 9000e-mail: email@example.com
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
EASA is pursuing its relationship with Central Africa to enhance aviation safety
For the first time EASA is managing a technical cooperation project funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the region itself. EASA has launched a new project with the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), named PASTA-CO (Projet d’Appui au Secteur du Transport Aérien en Afrique Centrale et Occidental, or, in English, Air Transport Sector Support Project to Central and Western Africa).
This project aims to enhance aviation safety in the region by providing capacity building, through training of the technical personnel of both the Regional Safety Oversight Organisation (RSOO) and national Civil Aviation Authorities (CAA) of the region. The project will particularly focus on those two levels: regional and national, with the purpose to reinforce the RSOO and move towards its operationalisation. This project is complementary to the former EU funded project ATA-AC (Amélioration du Transport Aérien en Afrique Central, or, in English, Improvement of Air Transport in Central Africa), which ended in December 2017.
The region has embarked on the adoption of EU-based rules, which will facilitate not only regional integration, but also the process of keeping the rules up-to-date and in compliance with international standards. The newly launched project will provide initial and refresher trainings. It will also initiate the autonomation of the region in terms of training, by training instructors and running workshops for CAA managers. Its areas of activities will cover the domains of personnel licensing, operations, airworthiness and aerodromes. The project budget is $1.93 million.
New Maldives airline will start operations with the latest generation ATRs
Manta Air, the new domestic airline in the Republic of Maldives, has secured its first two ATR 72-600’s through Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC). The first will be introduced in November 2018, with the second planned to join Manta Air’s fleet before the end of the year. The aircraft will ensure improved connectivity between the beautiful Maldivian atolls. They will be initially operating from the main Velana International Airport, to three airports: Kudahuvadhoo in Dhaalu atoll, Dharavandhoo in Baa atoll and Thimarafushi in Thaa atoll.
Edward Alsford, Chief Operation Officer of Manta Air, declared, “Manta Air is an exciting new domestic airline based in the Republic of Maldives. Our mission is to make flying an enjoyable and effortless experience by ensuring the highest safety standards are established and maintained. We are introducing two brand new ATR72-600’s aircraft into the Maldives. This demonstrates Manta Air’s dedication to high standards, and our commitment offers the best levels of service for our passengers. These aircraft benefit from having the most modern and comfortable turboprop cabin. Manta Air has taken the unusual step of removing a row of seats to provide our passengers with additional legroom in both economy and business class.”
Martin Møller, Chairman of NAC, declared: “We are pleased to see our first ATR 72-600 aircraft being introduced in the Maldives and contributing to the further development of the air connectivity in this region. The ATR 72-600s perfectly match the requirements for short-haul travel in terms of low operating costs, comfort and ability to take-off and land at small airfields.”
Stefano Bortoli, CEO of ATR, added, “It is a special occasion to be part of the launch of a new airline such as Manta Air. Their choice highlights their confidence in the ATR 72-600 as the best aircraft for their successful daily operations in the Maldives. It demonstrates once again the value of ATR for connecting island communities whilst allowing airlines to take advantages of its unbeatable economics and comfort.”
The eco-efficient ATR 72-600s will operate on domestic routes from runways as short as 1200 meters, thanks to their unmatched take-off and landing performance. The aircraft will feature a very comfortable and spacious cabin, with an increased legroom seat, offering a new travel experience across the Maldives.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Lion Air flight crashes into sea after take-off from Indonesia
A search and rescue effort has been launched after the passenger jet lost contact 13 minutes after take-off on Monday morning. Families have arrived at an Indonesian airport desperate for news of their loved ones after the plane they were travelling on crashed into the sea. The Lion Air flight between Jakarta and an island off Sumatra went down on Monday morning, with the passenger jet having lost contact just 13 minutes after take-off.
Indonesian search and rescue officials have said only bags, mangled mobile phones and what appear to be pieces of aircraft have been found so far, although local media are reporting that bodies have also been recovered. Among the 189 people on-board were crew, one baby, two children and around 20 members of staff from the Indonesian finance ministry.
The Boeing 737-MAX-8 was only delivered to Lion Air in August this year. Lion Air said the aircraft had a previous ‘technical problem’ that had been resolved. Lion Air flight JT610 departed Jakarta for Pangkal Pinang at 06h20 local time (23h20 UTC) on 29 October and lost contact shortly after departure. Flightradar24 received the last ADS-B message from the aircraft at 23:31:56 UTC at an altitude of 425 feet AMSL. The flight was operated by Boeing 737 MAX 8 registration PK-LQP. The aircraft was delivered to Lion Air on 13 August 2018, just over two months ago and entered service with the airline on 18 August. It is powered by two CFM LEAP-1B engines.
The crew of a tug boat nearby told authorities they saw a plane falling from the sky and Yusuf Latif, a spokesperson for the search and rescue agency, said “it has been confirmed that it has crashed.” He said it had crashed into water about 30 to 40 metres deep.
Southwest, American agree to pay $60M in price-fixing lawsuit
An ongoing nationwide litigation by passengers who claim that the four largest U.S. carriers – American Airlines, Delta, Southwest and United (the ‘defendants’), conspired along with US Airways and Continental Airlines to increase fares by limiting capacity on domestic flights, has reached a turning point. Southwest and American Airlines (the ‘settling defendants’) have agreed to pay a total sum of $60 million to settle the litigation. “If you purchased a domestic airline ticket on American, Delta, Southwest, United, Continental, or US Airways between 1 July 2011 and 14 June 2018 your rights could be affected,” opens the official website for the Domestic Airline Travel Antitrust Litigation Settlements. According to the website, a class action lawsuit has been filed against the four largest US carriers, claiming the defendants agreed to limit capacity on domestic flights. The lawsuit alleges that ticket purchasers may have paid artificially inflated prices as a result.
The affected include persons and entities who purchased tickets ‘for flights within the US and its territories and the District of Columbia from American Airlines, Delta, Southwest, United, Continental, or US Airways at any time between 1 July 2011 and 20 December 2017, for the Southwest settlement and between 1 July 2011 and 14 June 2018, for the American Airlines settlement”.
As of 19 October 2018, two settlements have been reached: Southwest has agreed to pay $15 million and American Airlines has agreed to pay $45 million, the settlement documents indicate. The settling defendants also agreed to provide certain cooperation in the ongoing litigation against the non-settling defendants. Both Southwest and American deny that they did anything wrong and have asserted defences to the Plaintiffs’ claims.
Bombardier says Mitsubishi ‘misappropriated’ data
The Seattle Times reported that Bombardier, based in Canada, has sued Mitsubishi Aircraft, of Japan, claiming that some workers recruited from Bombardier by Mitsubishi e-mailed batches of Bombardier’s proprietary information, before they left, to their new employer. The suit was filed last week in a US Federal Court in Seattle, Bombardier claims Mitsubishi Aircraft and its Seattle contractor, AeroTEC, hired about 92 former Bombardier employees. Mitsubishi was looking for information that would help get its regional jet, the MRJ, which has faced multiple delays, to achieve certification by the FAA, according to the suit. Mitsubishi has denied the allegations. “We strongly reject this lawsuit and find their allegations and assertions without merit,” the company said in a statement posted online Monday. “We see these proceedings as a recognition of our competitive product and this lawsuit primarily as an attempt by Bombardier to stifle global competition,” according to Mitsubishi’s statement. “We will strongly defend our position in this case.” Bombardier’s suit seeks monetary damages and a court injunction that would stop Mitsubishi and AeroTEC from recruiting Bombardier employees and stop them from using any ‘misappropriated’ information. Mitsubishi’s MRJ has experienced ongoing delays for about 10 years, but is expected to reach the market in 2020.
NTSB calls for 25-hour CVR duration
The current requirement for cockpit voice recorders to store just two hours of data is not enough, the NTSB says in a new safety recommendation report and 25 hours’ duration should be required. “These recommendations are derived from the NTSB’s experiences with investigations that lacked access to relevant CVR data,” the board said. In its most recent aviation investigation, into the near-miss last year in San Francisco, the board noted that cockpit voice data was not available, because the airplane had continued to fly after the incident and by the time the board sought the data, it was too late. The recommendation asks the FAA to uphold the 25-hour minimum for all newly manufactured airplanes that must have a CVR. Also, all airplanes now in service that are required to carry both a CVR and a flight data recorder should meet the 25-hour standard by 1 January 2024. “These recommendations are derived from the NTSB’s experiences with investigations that lacked access to relevant CVR data,” the board said.
Stratolaunch undergoes taxi tests
Just a few days after the passing of Paul Allen, whose tech fortune has been paying for its development, the huge Stratolaunch airplane completed its latest round of taxi tests in Mojave. The airplane, designed to carry payloads into low Earth orbit, reached speeds up to 90 MPH, which the company called ‘medium-speed’ taxi testing. It first rolled out of the hangar last May and began taxi tests in December. Stratolaunch has designed a family of launch vehicles that will be carried to high altitudes by the aircraft, and then will be deployed to carry satellites to orbit. The aircraft is expected to be in service by 2020.
Stunt Rapper' dies in wing walking accident
A Los Angeles-based ‘stunt rapper’ died on Saturday while wing walking for a video shoot in southern British Columbia. Details are scant but early reports said Jon James McMurray, a professional skier who set videos of himself and others engaged in extreme sports to his own hip hop music, fell off the wing of an airplane that had gone out of control and was too close to the ground for him to deploy his parachute. His body was found in a farmer’s field in the rural community of Westwold, about 250 miles northeast of Vancouver and he was pronounced dead at the scene. The aircraft landed safely. McMurray, a Canadian born in Calgary, lived in Los Angeles. “He was a stunt rapper, so his music and his background in extreme sports, he married the two,” McMurray’s manager Ryan Desrochers told Global B.C. News. “Honestly he’s smiling at us from the other side right now because this is what he loved doing, and he passed doing something he absolutely loved with all his heart.”
FedEx funds US$2.5 million in scholarships
Last week, EAA committed a million dollars to flight-training scholarships and this week, FedEx stepped up, funding $2.5 million in scholarships for students pursuing aviation professions; not just pilots, but also maintenance technicians and more. “E-commerce is driving increasing demands on both air and ground transportation networks at a time when large numbers of workers in these fields are retiring, or nearing retirement,” said FedEx Express CEO David Cunningham. “We are working with schools to strengthen the pipeline of talented and diverse pilots, mechanics and other aviation professionals.” The grants will fund scholarships for students pursuing aviation careers at the University of Memphis (Tennessee), Delta State University (Mississippi), University of North Dakota, Indiana State University, Tennessee College of Applied Technology and Arkansas State University Mid-South. The scholarships will benefit students in FedEx’s Purple Runway programme, which helps mentor students along a career track from college to the FedEx feeder airlines. “The FedEx Purple Runway Aviation Scholarship helps lay that foundation for an individual to have a promising and successful career,” Cunningham said.
The many casualties of European airline industry
October has certainly not been a kind month for European aviation in the past few years. As it happens, neither legacy airlines nor low-costs seem safe from failure. Nordic budget carrier Primera Air failed on the one-year anniversary of the collapse of British holiday airline Monarch, which occurred on 2 October 2017. Just recently, on 17 October 2018, Cyprus-based low-cost carrier Cobalt Air announced its closure and now, Air Belgium might be considering shutting down as well. Cobalt ceased operations after only two years of flying. It had entered the short-haul market by taking advantage of the vacuum left by the failure of the national carrier Cyprus Airways. The Denmark-based ultra-low-cost Primera, on the other hand, had been flying for 14 years before it ceased operations. The two budget carriers both flew a fraction of Monarch’s passengers following its demise.
After almost 50 years in operation and numerous injections of cash, Monarch Airlines was finally forced to hang up its hat and enter into administration. The airline had a long association with holiday and charter service before re-positioning itself as a purely scheduled carrier. Speaking of British aviation, this month, on 12 October 2018, saw a home-based ACMI/VIP charter airline Cello Aviation terminate its activities. But the one collapse aside of Monarch (and very much similar in circumstances to it) that sent shockwaves through the European industry was Italy’s loss-making national carrier Alitalia, which was forced into administration in May 2017. For now, the airline is being kept afloat thanks to the Italian government as well as a $1 billion (€900 million) loan from the European Union. But as the 31 October 2018, deadline to find a buyer for the airline approaches, Alitalia’s future remains unknown.
In October last year, it was Air Berlin, Germany second-largest carrier that stopped its activities for good, having filed for bankruptcy in August 2017. Like Monarch, it had been struggling for quite some time (around a decade, in fact) and faced many financial losses. Air Berlin’s main shareholder and part-owner Etihad Airways is what allowed it to stick around for such a long while. After the carrier’s fall, Germany’s national carrier Lufthansa purchased 81 of its aircraft and employed more than 3,000 of Air Berlin’s former employees.
As for what you just read about Air Belgium, the airline might be heading down the same lane as well. Founded in 2016, the Brussel-Charleroi airport (CRL) based carrier immediately ran into difficulties and did not start operations until this year. The start up had been serving only one destination, Hong Kong, until it suspended those scheduled flights in September 2018. When news emerged a general meeting by the company’s executives would be held 18 October 2018, there was speculation it may be considering shutting down. But it seems Air Belgium’s board decided to continue focusing its efforts on wet-leasing, hoping the several ACMI contracts will keep the carrier airborne while it seeks a new Chinese partner.
Honeywell engines to power Embraer's latest executive aircraft models
Honeywell engines will power two Embraer aircraft models introduced at the National Business Aviation Association 2018 event. The engines bring a combination of best-in-class reliability, enhanced dispatchability, reduced noise and increased fuel efficiency. Embraer is also equipping these models with Honeywell’s auxiliary power units, cabin-related management systems, pressure and control systems, and environmental controls, along with optional inertial reference units.
The HTF7500E engine was designed from the beginning with ‘built-in’ thrust potential to accommodate growth. By taking advantage of the HTF7500E’s full power capability and excellent fuel efficiency and through the addition of advanced winglets and fuel capacity, Embraer achieved a 3,900-nautical-mile range for its super midsize aircraft, the Praetor 600. Its midsize sibling, the Praetor 500, achieved a range of 3,250 nautical miles.
The HTF7500E is part of Honeywell’s growing HTF7000 family of engines. With a proven track record of class-leading reliability and low cost of ownership, the HTF7000 family has achieved more than 4 million flight hours. Designed for on-condition maintenance, the HTF7500E’s periodic inspections and standard maintenance are easily performed on-wing, reducing costly downtime. Line replaceable components can be removed and replaced using common hand tools. The engine is designed to be environmentally friendly, with emissions well below the International Civil Aviation Organization’s environmental protection standards. The HTF7500E is backed by Honeywell’s global support network, and with Honeywell’s maintenance service plan (MSP), Praetor 600 and Praetor 500 operators will enjoy predictable costs and improved dispatch reliability versus non-MSP operators.
FlightAware announces flight tracking coverage growth
FlightAware has announced that they are now able to track aircraft anywhere in the world, including positions in the air and activity on the ground. “Since most disruption happens while an aircraft is on the ground, there’s tremendous value in having insight into what’s going on before and after take-off, particularly for our business aviation customers,” said Daniel Baker, FlightAware Founder and CEO.
FlightAware’s terrestrial ADS-B network has grown by over 35% in the first 3 quarters of this year, with over 19,000 sites in nearly 190 countries. This terrestrial network will provide surface coverage at over 1,000 airports and 2,000 FBOs. FlightAware recently enabled its receivers to capture Mode-S weather data, including wind vector (direction and velocity) as well as outside air temperature and pressure. The Mode-S update also captures autopilot settings and nav modes.
Through its FlightFeeder programme, FlightAware manufactures and distributes terrestrial ADS-B receivers to volunteers around the world. The devices track aircraft emitting ADS-B signals for over 250 nautical miles and can also track planes that are not yet ADS-B equipped through a process called multilateration. “Our network of hosts represent a worldwide effort to improve flight tracking,” said Eric Carlson, product manager of FlightAware’s ADS-B network. “This community is enabling us to really innovate the way flights are tracked in the air as well as on the ground.” In addition to FlightAware’s terrestrial network, which provides once-per-second position updates for aircraft on the ground and flying over land, FlightAware has partnered with AireonSM to eliminate flight tracking coverage gaps over oceanic, polar and desert regions. Aireon’s space-based ADS-B network is hosted on the Iridium NEXT constellation of low-earth-orbit satellites and provides 100 percent truly global flight tracking coverage with once-per-minute position updates.
Until recently, Aireon space-based ADS-B wasn’t available to most business aviation operators. FlightAware delivered it primarily to commercial operators through its APIs, partnerships with the industry’s leading Aircraft Situational Display (ASD) providers such as SITAONAIR and through GlobalBeacon – an alerting dashboard developed jointly by Aireon and FlightAware for compliance with the Global Aeronautical Distress Safety System (GADSS).
Combining Aireon space-based ADS-B with surface coverage from FlightAware’s terrestrial network allows operators to track their aircraft from the moment it powers on at its destination to the second it parks at its destination FBO or airport. Positions are updated at least once-per-minute in the air and at least once-per-second on the ground. “For business aviation operators, this combination improves operational safety while supporting reliability and optimisation,” Baker said.
Satcom direct redefines business aviation connectivity
Satcom Direct (SD) has launched SD Xperience to simplify and improve business aviation connectivity and operations. The new fully-synchronised, end-to-end solution combines cabin and cockpit communications services, aircraft connectivity hardware and flight operations software. SD Xperience will deliver purpose-built technology that satisfies the unique, evolving requirements of business aviation, allowing SD to create tailored solutions based on customer requirements.
SD’s existing Ka-band, Ku-band and L-band offerings for high-speed data, basic internet and safety services are included in the SD Xperience portfolio. Today, the SD Xperience portfolio was further enhanced with the addition of a new broadband service in partnership with Intelsat and Astronics AeroSat. SD is the Master Distributor of FlexExec, Intelsat’s new managed service powered by Intelsat’s global Ku-band satellite fleet, which features the Intelsat EpicNG high-throughput satellite (HTS) platform. The service is uniquely designed to support business aviation, meaning capacity is not shared with commercial aviation or consumer broadband customers, ensuring that business jet passengers will have seamless, on-demand global connectivity. The network architecture is delivered via the upgraded AeroSat FlightStream (T-310) tail-mounted antenna system.
The service has been undergoing in-flight validation with SD Flight Operations since July 2018, delivering average speeds between 8-10 Mbps. The service will be available in Q1 2019 for STC development with aircraft OEMs for applicable aftermarket airframes. SD Xperience also brings innovative new pricing structures to market which address the specific and varied requirements of business aviation. SD customers can benefit from simplified ‘Power by the Hour’ pricing, inclusive of FlexExec service, SD Hardware, SD Pro and SD Scheduler, for one hourly rate. Plans can be customized to the needs of each individual aircraft or fleet to enable more efficient planning and budgeting. Fully integrated with SD’s ecosystem, including its SaaS platform SD Pro®, SD Scheduler, and SD Avionics cabin technology, SD Xperience aims to enhance the user experience while simplifying and optimizing flight operations.
Gulfstream G650 family surpasses 75 speed records
Last week Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. announced the Gulfstream G650 family has now achieved more than 75 city-pair records, just a few weeks after the ultra-long-range aircraft demonstrated steep approach capabilities at London City Airport. “Even with more than 315 G650ER and G650 aircraft in service around the world, we continue to enhance the utility, flexibility and real-world performance of these already class-defining aircraft,” said Mark Burns, president, Gulfstream.
The G650ER demonstrated its performance advantage with the following records, pending approval by the National Aeronautic Association:
Keflavik, Iceland, to Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, 11 hours 46 minutes; average speed of Mach 0.90
Beijing to Paris in nine hours 18 minutes at an average speed of Mach 0.90
Tel Aviv, Israel, to Kiev, Ukraine, two hours 41 minutes; average speed of Mach 0.90
Kiev, Ukraine, to London in two hours 50 minutes; average speed of Mach 0.90
The G650 flew several take-offs and landings in September as part of the London City Airport Operations and Control Department’s evaluation of the aircraft family’s steep-approach capabilities. Aircraft that operate at London City require steep-approach certification and operational validation due to the airport’s short runway and Central London’s stringent noise abatement requirements. The airplane must demonstrate capability to perform the 5.5-degree approach and be able to operate on the short runway of 4,327 feet for landing. On average, most airport runways have an approach angle of three degrees and a length of at least 6,000 feet. Once approved for London City, the G650 family will be the fastest, largest, longest-range business aircraft to operate at the airport.
Sikorsky S-97 Raider exceeds 200 knots
Sikorsky’s self-funded X2 Technology is backbone of company’s next generation helicopters. The Sikorsky S-97 Raider light tactical prototype helicopter is advancing rapidly through its flight test schedule, recently exceeding 200 knots at the Sikorsky Development Flight Centre. Raider, developed by Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) company, is based on the company’s proven X2 Technology, enabling speeds twice that of conventional helicopters. “The Sikorsky S-97 Raider flight test programme is exceeding expectations, demonstrating Raider’s revolutionary speed, manoverability and agility,” said Tim Malia, Sikorsky director, Future Vertical Lift Light. “X2 Technology represents a suite of technologies needed for the future fight, enabling the war fighter to engage in high-intensity conflict anytime, anywhere as a member of a complex, multi-domain team.” Sikorsky continues to demonstrate the application of its X2 Technology as the company prepares its proposal for the US Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) competition, driving forward the Army’s efforts to revolutionize its aircraft fleet as part of what is known as Future Vertical Lift.
Royal Dutch Touring Club ANWB and Airbus sign framework contract for six H135s
Airbus Helicopters and air rescue operator Royal Dutch Touring Club ANWB, have signed a framework contract for up to six H135s with Helionix. Additionally, they have activated a first batch of three aircraft to be delivered in 2019 and 2020. “The people in the Netherlands rely on the HEMS services we provide in cooperation with four university hospitals and we are confident that the H135 is the best helicopter available for our missions,” said Petra van Saaze, Director of ANWB Medical Air Assistance. “Helionix will especially help us to enhance our 24/7 operations.”
Helicopter crash on board USS Ronald Reagan
On 19 October a US Navy MH-60 Sea Hawk assigned to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 crashed on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) shortly after take-off. All injured personnel were in stable condition under evaluation by Ronald Reagan medical staff. While some personnel would probably be medically evacuated ashore, none of the injuries were life-threatening. At the time of the mishap, the Ronald Reagan Strike Group was conducting routine operations in the Philippine Sea. Ronald Reagan remains fully mission capable and has resumed flight operations.
The Ronald Reagan Strike Group is forward-deployed to the US 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific Region.
Boeing opens first factory in Europe, chooses UK
On 25 October Boeing inaugurated its first production plant in Europe and to take its first footstep, the US manufacturer chose Sheffield in the United Kingdom. Boeing has invested £40 million ($51.24 million) into the factory of 6,200 square meters that produces aluminium and steel parts for the 737 and the 767. Raw materials should come from thirteen suppliers, mainly from the United Kingdom. The parts are currently being produced using ten completely automated machines, that are capable of performing all processes required for each part. Once manufactured, the components should then be transported to be assembled in Portland, Oregon, before reaching the final assembly line in Seattle, Washington. The final output of the factory should be of 7,000 to 8,000 parts per month, with 25 automated machines.
However, this is not the first installation of Boeing in Sheffield. In 2001, the manufacturer already co-founded the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Sheffield University, Rotherham. The manufacturer solutions of the AMRC should be applied at the Boeing Sheffield plant. The creation of this new plant follows Boeing’s recent years strategy to diversify parts production and gain in independence. In October 2018, Boeing acquired aviation parts provider KLX Aerospace Solutions which supplies chemicals and composites for the sector. The same month, the European Commission approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the creation of a joint venture between Boeing and French aerospace manufacturer Safran to manufacture auxiliary power units (APUs).
Vanuatu awards international drone companies with commercial contracts for vaccine delivery
In a global first, the Vanuatu Government has awarded two international drone companies, Swoop Aero and Wingcopter, with commercial contracts to trial the use of drones to bring lifesaving vaccines to children living in remote rural islands. “Ensuring vital supplies at health facilities are consistently available is an ongoing challenge for Vanuatu due to geography, logistics and high costs. An important step for dealing with some of these challenges to providing healthcare to vulnerable communities is looking at innovative ways such as the use of drones,” said Director General of the Ministry of Health in Vanuatu, George Taleo. The first phase of the drone trials will take place during the week of 3-7 December when these two drone companies will test the viability of delivering vaccines to inaccessible areas.
“UNICEF is proud to partner with the Vanuatu Government in such an innovative initiative to trial drones for delivering a reliable supply of vaccines to children living in remote communities,” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Sheldon Yett. “The challenges of reaching children in the remote islands of Vanuatu are immense, nurses often walk several hours to deliver vaccines to health clinics in these communities. Every child in the world has the right to lifesaving vaccines and this technology is a step towards reaching those children most at risk,” he added. Vanuatu is an island country in the Pacific, an archipelago of 83 islands that covers 1,600 kilometres. About one-third of the inhabited islands have airfields and established roads, which creates considerable logistical challenges to reach, engage with and support remote communities.
Through the Government’s competitive procurement process, a total of twenty bids from drone companies within the Pacific region and from countries around the world were received and evaluated, with two contracts awarded to Swoop Aero Pty Ltd of Melbourne, Australia, to cover health facilities on Epi and the Shepherd Islands as well as Erromango Island with vaccine delivery. Wingcopter Holding GmbH & Co. KG of Darmstadt, Germany, was awarded the third contract to deliver vaccines to facilities on Pentecost Island. During the first phase of the drone trials in December, drones will take-off from the old Takara airstrip, North Efate. Flying over the offshore islands of Emao, Pele and Nguna drones will drop off a package at a cordoned off area at Siviri football field returning to land at Takara. The second phase of the trial, which will transport vaccines to health facilities on the three islands, is expected to commence in early January 2019.
The drone trials will engage healthcare workers from the facilities on the selected islands, as well as teachers, children and government officials, which is vital to share knowledge and expertise.
This initiative is led by Vanuatu’s Ministry of Health and Ministry of Infrastructure & Public Utilities through the Civil Aviation Authority of Vanuatu. Technical support and financing are provided by UNICEF and the Australian Government’s InnovationXchange Accelerator Fund.
A deer is on the runway…
Tower: Cessna XXX cleared for take-off.
Student: ‘What should I do? What should I do?’
Instructor: ‘What do you think you should do?’ (think-think-think)
Student: ‘Maybe if I taxi toward him this will scare him away.’
Instructor: ‘That is a good idea.’ (Taxi toward deer, but deer is macho and holds position.)
Tower: Cessna XXX cleared for take-off, runway NN.
Student: ‘What should I do? What should I do?’
Instructor: ‘What do you think you should do?’ (think-think-think)
Student: ‘Maybe I should tell the tower.’
Instructor: ‘That is a good idea.’
Student: Cessna XXX, uh, there is a deer down here on the runway (long pause)
Tower: Roger XXX, hold your position. Deer on runway NN cleared for immediate departure.
(Two seconds and then, by coincidence the deer bolts from the runway and runs back into the woods.)
Tower: Cessna XXX cleared for departure, runway NN. Caution wake turbulence, departing deer.
It had to be tough keeping that Cessna rolling straight for take-off.
Weekly News from African Pilot
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Athol Franz (Editor)
African Pilot ‘Serious about flying’.
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