“Truly superior pilots are those who use their superior judgment to avoid those situations where they might have to use their superior skills”
African Pilot congratulates the Springboks on their outstanding Rugby World Cup final achievement by beating the England side 32 to 12 points. There was no doubt that the tactical game the ‘Boks’ played, especially with the scrums showed that they are the most prepared and fittest of all the rugby nations. To Siya Kolisi and his team congratulations for your dedication to the game and for bringing the cup home again.
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 are exposed on our various media platforms. In addition, this edition features ‘Gifts for Pilots’. The November edition has completed its distribution phase and is now in the various retail stores around South Africa. In addition the digital edition of African Pilot went out to subscribers on Friday 25 October.
African Pilot’s December 2019 edition
The final magazine for this year will feature business at OR Tambo International Airport as well as our annual Drones / UAV’s feature. The closing date for all editorial and advertising was last Friday but we have extended the deadline to this Friday 8 November due to late advertisers and also so that we can include the EAA Sun ‘n Fun this coming weekend. For advertising positions please contact Lara Bayliss at Tel: 0861 001130 Cell: 079 880 4359 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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: Absolute Aviation and young Timothy
Should you be interested in having your aviation event filmed, please contact email@example.com
Neil Bowden’s Sun ‘n Fun tour to Florida USA
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
ACSA and BMW South Africa launch electric vehicle charging stations
Last week Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) and BMW South Africa announced the launch of BMW ChargeNow electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at OR Tambo International Airport, Cape Town International Airport and King Shaka International Airport. EVs accessing the BMW ChargeNow stations will now enjoy exclusive parking bays at three airports. O.R. Tambo International and Cape Town International Airport will each have two ChargeNow stations that accommodate up to four cars at a time, while King Shaka International Airport has one ChargeNow station able to charge two cars at a time. The BMW ChargeNow stations are located at prominent areas with maximum exposure and can be found at:
OR Tambo International Airport, conveniently located in Parkade 2 South, level 2 (follow the Premium Parking directional signs)
Cape Town International Airport, on the ground floor of Parkade 1
King Shaka International Airport, on Level ‘0’ of the Multi-Storey Parkade
To welcome the partnership with BMW South Africa, Airports Company South Africa will cover all electricity costs associated with the charging stations for a period of 12 months from date of launch. In addition, BMW EV drivers will enjoy free parking (for a maximum of four days at a time) at the three airports during the month of November. This is to allow other EV users the opportunity to park and fly as well.
Speaking at the launch event held at OR Tambo International Airport, Airports Company South Africa Acting Chief Executive Officer Fundi Sithebe said: “Our airports continue to break new ground in terms of innovation and the introduction of infrastructure that seeks to enhance the passenger experience. BMW has been rolling out charging infrastructure across the country since it launched the BMW i3 and BMW i8 in 2015 and these charging points take the tally of BMW ChargeNow charging points to more than 60.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
Leonardo signs distributorship agreement with Absolute Aviation Group in South Africa
The Agreement, which has the potential to be extended to other Southern African nations in the future, includes the AW119Kx single engine, the AW109 GrandNew and AW109 Trekker light twins, the AW169 light intermediate and the AW139 intermediate twin types. Absolute Aviation Group has also signed a contract for an AW119Kx and an AW109 Trekker, with a commitment to purchase further units from the various models in the next couple of years. Deliveries of the two aircraft are expected in 2020. The order marks the entrance of the AW109 Trekker, the newest light twin model in the Leonardo product range, into the South African market and builds on the significant, well established success of other AW109 variants in the country for a variety of roles. This latest AW119Kx order also grows the presence of the unique single engine helicopter in the country. A ten-day demonstration tour of an AW119Kx was recently completed at airports in four different regions in South Africa to showcase its extraordinary capabilities in terms of performance, advanced avionics, reliability and versatility. The demonstrations have been deemed a significant success by those attending, accounting for nearly 50 operators who have been given the opportunity to experience its best-in-class performance and power margins, the capability to fly and carry out its mission in demanding windy conditions, in addition to its outstanding safety standards. A full report with pictures will be contained within the December 2019 edition of African Pilot.
EAA Chapter 322 Johannesburg Chairman’s dinner
On Saturday evening Christine and I attended the wonderful EAA Chapter 322 (Johannesburg) chairman’s dinner that was hosted at the German Country Club in Paulshof, Sandton. In all about 80 EAA members attended this prestigious function, where awards were handed out to EAA Chapter 322 members who had significant achievements over the past year including builders of planes that few for the first time in the year as well as those member who have supported the movement. Thank you to EAA Chapter 322 for once again recognising the media coverage that African Pilot publishes on a regular basis, not only within the monthly magazine, but also within the APAnews platform. The article with pictures will appear in the December 2019 edition of African Pilot.
Sentian Aerospace wins AVI Awards 2019
Local aviation innovation company, Sentian Aerospace has become the overall winner and SMME winner accolades at the 5th annual AVI Awards 2019 held at the 8th AVI Afrique summit at The Canvas in Riversands, Fourways, Gauteng. The AVI Awards High School Winner was awarded to Samuel Nkgoeng from N.M. Tsuene High School in Ga-Rankuwa, Gauteng. The annual AVI Awards, hosted by the Air Traffic and Navigation Services SOC Limited (ATNS), recognise those individuals who contribute to innovation, elevate the aviation industry through intelligent design of products and processes and enhance the capabilities of the aviation industry.
“Our awards winners truly impressed us with their innovative and unique aviation concepts which speaks volumes of the sheer talent we have and also bodes well for future innovation and development,” says Thomas Kgokolo, interim CEO of ATNS.
Sentian Aerospace won the Overall Winner award for the design of its Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that can carry up to 15kg of payload over 1400 kilometres nonstop. This eliminates the need for runways and heavy, complex launch equipment. Furthermore, the hovering ability allows for stationary surveillance of infrastructure such as stockpiles, power lines and pipelines. After take-off, the Sentian Aerospace UAV switches to cruise mode in the fixed wing mode to save on energy consumption, allowing for long distance and endurance missions while carrying payloads. Explains Muzi Dune, CEO of Sentian Aerospace: “The idea behind our design was reduce the cost of aerial transport. A typical helicopter can cost in excess of R10 000 an hour and we’d like to cut it down to about R2 000 an hour.
“We believe Sentian Aerospace is uniquely positioned as we can in the future also offer services and products that can save lives such as delivering critical medical supplies to rural hospitals.”
The Sentian Aerospace UAV features the following technical specifications:
Cruise speed – 120km/h
Maximum speed – 280km/h
Minimum speed – 0km/hr (hover)
Endurance -12 hours (Engine: Payload as fuel)
Endurance -2 hours (Full electric)
Range – 1400km.
Samuel Nkgoeng won his AVI Awards High School Winner awards for his unique concept of lowering a wind turbine in an aircraft to provide energy to power small electrical items.
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.
8 to 10 November
EAA Sun ‘n Fun at Brits airfield
Contact EAA National Committee Marie Reddy 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
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
SAA Museum airline collectables fair at Rand Airport
Tel: 076 879 5044 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.saamuseum.co.za
30 November – 1 December
SAC Ace of Base Vereeniging Airfield
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: email@example.com
African Pilot has started preparing the 2020 aviation events calendar
Do you have an aviation event planned for 2020? If so please let me have the details so that I can add this information to the 2020 aviation calendar that has already started. Information is shared with the following organisations:
Air Show South Africa (ASSA)
The Aero Club of South Africa (AeCSA)
South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA)
Sports Aerobatic Club of South Africa (SAC)
Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA)
South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA)
Commercial Aviation Association of Southern Africa (CAASA)
Capital Sounds – Brian Emmenis
Nearly ALL other aviation media use this calendar for the information they publish
Several other organisations both in South Africa as well as abroad.
Please send details to: firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you.
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Russia cancels contract for supply of Zambian presidential jet
Despite the Zambian government having made a down payment for the purchase of a Sukhoi Superjet 100, last week it was reported that the Russian government had cancelled a contract due to the country’s failure to finance the purchase. In September 2018, Russia’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Denis Manturov, disclosed that Russia and Zambia had signed an agreement for the sale of one VIP-configured SSJ 100/95 and added that the two countries were in talks over the acquisition of four more.
When News Diggers! asked Zambia’s minister of Transport and Communication Dr Brian Mushimba to explain why government was buying another VIP plane for the Head of State, he denied having any knowledge of the transaction, describing the announcement as fake news. “I think it’s fake. I have no clue what that story is talking about… I can’t talk about the President buying a plane for himself or not, that is not in my domain. But Zambia or a Zambian company has not bought planes to start flying in Zambia,” said Mushimba.
However, it emerged that the five planes were being procured under the Ministry of Defence and the VIP version was meant for the President. The Ministry of Defence Permanent Secretary Stardy Mwale then confirmed that government was buying planes through the Zambia Air Force, explaining that some of the planes would be used for commercial purposes under the revived Zambia Airways, which actually falls under the Ministry of Transport. He confirmed that one of the planes would be used to maintain airspace and monitor poaching, one for VIP use, while the other three would be for commercial purposes.
“This procurement of aircraft and associated air assets is a lengthy process and still ongoing due to the time it takes to select appropriate aircraft and equipment. Whenever budgetary allocations have been available and procurement guidelines completed, we have, as an on-going process, purchased the required air and ground defence assets to respond to the defence and security needs of the country,” Mwale said in October 2018.
The Russian aircraft manufacturer later explained that it would only supply one VIP Sukhoi Superjet for the Head of State, after a revised deal was arrived at. The company’s vice-president Yevgeny Andrachnikov explained that the VIP jet would cost about US$50 million. “The contract was signed and in 2019 the Sukhoi Business Jet in the VIP version will be delivered to the President of Zambia,” Andrachnikov told the Russian Business Aviation Exhibition forum in his presentation. “This airliner costs $45-49 million. It is much more expensive than the passenger SSJ-100, which costs about $30 million.”
However, speaking on the side-lines of the Russia-Africa summit, the Russian Minister of Trade revealed that Zambia had indicated a lack of capacity to finance the deal. “The contract for the supply of a SSJ 100 aircraft in the VIP version to Zambia has been suspended because the country does not have enough funds to finance the contract,” Manturov told TASS as part of the Russia-Africa Forum. “We take into account the experience of working with the Mexican market, where we delivered more than 20 aircraft. In addition to changes in the economy of the region, which affected the operation of the delivered aircraft, some maintenance issues were not completely resolved, there were certain malfunctions in this part. In Africa, for example, we signed a contract for the supply of a VIP version of the SSJ 100 to Zambia. But in Zambia, besides the advance payment, there were no funds to finance this aircraft, so the contract has been frozen,” Manturov told tass.com.
Assisting humanitarian efforts with Airbus’ versatile C295 airlifter
The Airbus C295, which demonstrates its transport capabilities in daily service with military operators around the world has also underscored the multi-role airlifter’s performance during life-saving humanitarian missions. This activity includes the maiden deployment of a C295 operated by Kenya-based DAC Aviation International, sent to Mozambique in March following one of the worst-ever tropical storms to hit Africa: Cyclone Idai.
A bridge providing the only way in and out of Espungabera township in Mozambique was destroyed, and the area was cut off; without a road to connect to the rest of the country, Espungabera residents faced a serious food shortage. As the town is located on top of a mountain and the ‘airstrip’ is simply an open area on the side of the mountain, landing most airplanes would be impossible. With its impressive carrying capacity and its excellent take-off / landing performance from unprepared landing zones, the C295 was flown into Espungabera, as well as to other affected areas, opening ‘air bridges’ that significantly enhanced relief efforts. The food and medicine it delivered provided enough supplies to support these communities until surface transportation was reopened.
Humanitarian uses of the C295 in Mozambique did not end with disaster relief: following the outbreak of cholera, the aircraft also is transporting lifesaving anti-cholera kits from Maputo, the country’s capital, to Beira. In addition, the C295 transported food and water, along with sanitation and hygiene goods. The C295 is revolutionising the way humanitarian operations are conducted. From airdrops to the evacuation of up to 70 people and reaching remote areas on missions without refuelling, the airlifter responds to the needs of relief efforts.
Russian Helicopters present at Russia-Africa economic forum
Russian Helicopters holding company (part of Rostec State Corporation) took part in the Russia-Africa Economic Forum held in Sochi on 23 and 24 October. The company showcased a modernised Mi-35P attack helicopter, a corporate version of the civilian multipurpose Ansat helicopter and a mobile service centre for overhaul of Mi-8/17 helicopters. More than 900 helicopters made by Russian Helicopters’ enterprises are registered in African countries. This is almost one in four helicopters on the continent, while the share of military rotorcraft is almost 40%. This certainly provides for huge potential for cooperation in servicing, modernising and renovating the fleet.
African countries operate over 250 helicopters of Mi-24/35 type. The holding company offers the modernised version of the Mi-35P helicopter to all African partners who are interested in it. The helicopter has new engines, the new sighting and navigation system and more weapons. Mi-35P helicopter is made by Rostvertol, an enterprise of Russian Helicopters. It can be used as a military helicopter for destroying tanks and armoured vehicles and as a troop-carrying helicopter transporting eight military men. It also has sanitary and transport modifications. Control of the helicopter has been significantly improved, whilst its weapons system has been optimised. The Mi-35P helicopter can be used in high mountains, in hot and humid climate, day and night.
As part of Rostec State Corporation JSC ‘Russian Helicopters’ is a leading player in the global helicopter industry, the sole Russian designer and manufacturer of helicopters. The Holding Company was established in 2007 and is headquartered in Moscow. We operate five helicopter assembly plants, two design bureaus, component production and maintenance enterprises, aircraft repair plants and one helicopter service company providing after-sales support in Russia and abroad. The customers of the Holding Company are the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Home Affairs, EMERCOM of Russia and other state customers, Gazpromavia, UTair Aviation company, large Russian and foreign companies.
AviAssist to cooperate on promoting aviation safety in Africa
Flight Safety Foundation and the AviAssist Foundation have renewed their long-standing relationship with the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) that will see the two organisations work more closely to promote aviation safety in Africa. The MOC was signed on the side-lines of the ICAO 40th Assembly. Under terms of the MOC, the organisations agreed to support each other’s activities broadly, and to work together to improve aviation safety in Africa through a variety of means, including sharing data and information, organising safety-focused events and executing joint studies and projects.
“We greatly value our partnership with Flight Safety Foundation to build on the successes in African safety and elevate it to the next level,” said Ron Louwerse, chairman of the AviAssist board and managing director of Rotterdam The Hague Airport for the Schiphol Group. “The Foundation is looking forward to close cooperation with AviAssist. We are both independent and impartial non-profits focused exclusively on aviation safety, so working together on a common goal makes a lot of sense,” said Foundation President and CEO Dr Hassan Shahidi. “Aviation safety in Africa is making significant strides and we think we can contribute to that success story.”
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
IndiGo signs for 300 A320neo Family aircraft
India’s IndiGo has placed a firm order for 300 A320neo Family aircraft, which marks one of Airbus’ largest aircraft orders ever with a single airline operator. This latest IndiGo order comprises a mix of A320neo, A321neo and A321XLR aircraft. This will take IndiGo’s total number of A320neo Family aircraft orders to 730.
Airbus lowers 2019 commercial aircraft delivery target
In the first nine months of 2019, Airbus saw incoming orders drop by half, while delivery results have increased. As a consequence, the plane maker has lowered its 2019 commercial aircraft delivery target. On 30 October 2019, Airbus has reported positive company results for the first nine months of 2019. Thanks to higher deliveries and foreign exchange rate development the consolidated revenues increased by 14.36% to stand at €46.2 billion (compared to €40.4 billion at the same time in 2018). The adjusted EBIT and the net income both increased by more than 50% to reach respectively €4.31 billion and €2 billion. Airbus indicated it recorded 127 net orders during the period, against 256 last year in corresponding months. The order book stood at 7,133 commercial aircraft as of 30 September 2019. On 29 October 2019, Airbus received a record-breaking order for 300 A320 family aircraft, including the newest member of the family, the A321XLR, from the Indian low-cost carrier, IndiGo.
Qantas confirms checking 33 737 NGs for pickle fork cracks
Qantas has officially confirmed that the airline is prematurely checking 33 Boeing 737 NG aircraft for cracks in the suspension system, nicknamed pickle forks, which connects fuselage with wings. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD) for all Boeing 737 NG aircraft on 3 October 2019. A week later, reports emerged that over 30 aircraft around the world, including 737s in Southwest Airlines and GOL Linhas Aéreas’ fleets, were affected by pickle fork cracks so far. Meanwhile, Qantas says that it will complete inspections on their potentially damaged aircraft by 1 November 2019, something that the airline is doing ‘months ahead of schedule’.
Fifth prototype of COMAC C919 takes to the skies
Last week proved busy for the manufacturer Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC): the fifth prototype of the C919 commercial single-aisle aircraft took off for the first time on 24 October 2019. Two days later, its ARJ21 regional aircraft was flying its first international route. The COMAC C919 105 took off from Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) for a flight of one hour and thirty-seven minutes. The C919 105 is the fifth of six-test aircraft for the Chinese programme.
This test aircraft will be tested in extreme weather conditions, high heat and cold temperatures, as well as flight tests related to environment control, electrical power and whole-aircraft drainage, says the manufacturer in a press release. The other four first prototypes conducted test flights in Xian, Nanchang and Shandong Province. The latest flight test aircraft, the 106, is expected to make its debut by the end of the year. The C919 should be certified by 2021.
Pilatus 50th delivery of PC-24
Pilatus celebrates the 50TH delivery of the new and very popular PC-24 Super Versatile Jet to a US customer. Certified in over ten countries, the global PC-24 fleet now exceeds the 14,000 flight-hour mark. The fleet leader has already amassed 1,400 flying hours in just 20 months of service. With such a versatile cabin, the PC-24 is used by a wide range of customers: fractional ownership structures, charter operators, public companies, private individuals, air ambulance operators and government authorities. Demand for the PC-24 remains exceptionally high. Pilatus and the Authorised Pilatus Sales Centres are currently taking orders for aircraft which will deliver in the latter half of 2021.
Over the past year, Pilatus has gathered feedback on how the first PC-24 customers are making good use of the flexible interior. At the National Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), Pilatus unveiled a PC-24 with a forward galley designed to provide additional storage space for coffee, ice, beverages and catering. Like other furniture and seats in the PC-24, the galley will be modular and interchangeable with the currently available coat closet. Pilatus is also working on a retrofit option allowing the lavatory to be placed in the rear of the cabin. More than a few operators have expressed an interest in this. Like the PC-12, the PC-24 was designed as standard with a forward lavatory to ensure maximum flexibility for cargo in each cabin configuration.
Gulfstream G500 earns European certification
The Gulfstream G500 has received certification from the EASA, clearing the way for European Union registrations and customer deliveries. “The G500 has been very well received in Europe,” said Gulfstream president Mark Burns. “Customers in the region have been drawn to the unprecedented level of technology and innovation in the flight deck and the impact that has on safety and efficiency. In the cabin, they can see the effect technology has on the passenger experience with a rejuvenating environment, advanced ergonomics, award-winning seats and unmatched comfort.” The G500 entered service in September 2018. The aircraft has set 35 city-pair speed records across the world including Seville, Spain, to Abu Dhabi in 5 hours and 45 minutes; Geneva to Chicago in 8 hours; Doha, Qatar, to Shannon, Ireland, in just over 7 hours and 30 minutes; and Farnborough, England, to Las Vegas in 10 hours and 20 minutes.
Avidyne introduces Atlas multifunction FMS for business aviation
The Avidyne Atlas includes a Satellite-based Augmentation System (SBAS) GPS navigator with Required Navigation Performance (RNP) and Area Navigation (RNAV) capability, including Localiser Performance with Vertical Guidance (LPV), Lateral Navigation / Vertical Navigation (LNAV/VNAV), LNAV-Only and Approach Procedures with Vertical (APV) approach modes. The system also features a full QWERTY style keyboard, with Avidyne’s unique ‘Page & Tab’ and hybrid touch-screen user interface, allowing the pilot to get to any function in only one or two button pushes. The touch screen also provides full colour Moving Map, plus geo-referenced Jeppesen Electronic Approach Charts and Airport Diagrams.
USAF F-16 fighter jet crashes during training in New Mexico
On 30 October a United States Air Force F-16 fighter jet crashed near Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. The aircraft was on a training flight, the pilot ejected successfully. It is the second crash of a USAF F-16 in less than a month. The aircraft was assigned to the 49th Fighter Wing stationed at Holloman Air Force Base, from where it took off. The crash happened approximately 80 miles (130 kilometres) south-west from the base, according to a statement released by the Wing public office. The F-16 was destroyed.
Daher continues the sales network expansion for its Kodiak product line
Daher has appointed two new sales agents in Asia for its Kodiak aircraft line: Altair Business Aviation based in Turkey and Forth Corporation based in Thailand. This expansion into Asia will supplement the Kodiak’s existing representation throughout Southeast Asia. Forth Corporation has based its operations and maintenance service centre in Bangkok, Thailand. Its territory includes Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Singapore.
Piper announces new M600 SLS
Piper Aircraft has announced the next generation M Series aircraft; the M600 SLS, standard equipped with the new HALO Safety System, enhancing safety, luxury and support for one of the world’s leading personal use, Basic Med compliant aircraft. It will now also be the first general aviation aircraft in the world to be certified with Autoland capability. The HALO safety system is a compilation of innovative technologies unique to the M600 SLS and the Garmin G3000 avionics suite. The system includes Auto-throttle, Emergency Descent Mode, Enhanced Stability and Protection, Surface Watch, Safe Taxi, Flight Stream connectivity and more. However, of greatest significance is the addition of Garmin Autoland; digital technology that safely lands the aircraft at the nearest suitable airport in the event that the pilot is incapacitated.
Tecnam signs up sales for the P2012 Traveller at NBAA-BACE
Tecnam had a successful showing at NBAA-BACE in Las Vegas last week, signing contracts for 11 P2019 Traveller airplanes during the show. Walter Da Costa, Tecnam’s Global Sales and Marketing Director signed contracts with Naseer Ismail, CEO of TAMIFIELD (Pty) – a member of the AMRHO Group, from South Africa for six P2012’s with the option of an additional twelve. Capt. Alfredo Andres Ortiz Osoria, CEO of Charter Express (SAS) from Columbia, ordered five P2012’s with the option of an additional five. A full report on NBAA’s exhibition in Las Vegas this year including the Tecnam order will be featured in the December edition of African Pilot.
Diamond Aircraft DA50 first flight with retractable gear
In April 2019 at AERO Friedrichshafen, Diamond Aircraft announced changes on the DA50 programme, including a new engine concept with the 300 hp Continental CD-300 and retractable gear. On Thursday, the airplane flew for the first time. “The first flight was conducted by the crew as planned and all systems were working as expected,” said Sören Pedersen, Head of Flight Test, Diamond Aircraft Austria. “Since all new elements are already well known from other aircraft out of the Diamond aircraft family, the DA50 made a very mature impression from the first lift off on. A first cruise performance test point showed that the expectation could be met easily. The DA50 showed a good agility and an ‘easy to fly’ behaviour, meaning that the handling qualities were very satisfying on the first impression.” The all carbon fibre DA50 with an extra-large luxurious cabin and excellent payload will be ideal for single piston pilots needing more seats and space and for charter operators looking for a low-cost alternative. Diamond Aircraft is aiming for basic certification from EASA for the five-seat version equipped with CD-300 engine and retractable gear in the summer of 2020.
First all-electric flight school launched
Flight Design general aviation and Aero-Nor AS are pleased to announce that Pilot Flight Academy of Sandefjord, Norway has chosen the F2e as the backbone for their new concept of an all-electric based Flight school. The future is here and Flight Design is proud to be in the vanguard of development of the next generation of single engine aircraft for commercial use in flight schools. The F2e is made in cooperation with Siemens eAircraft and will open new possibilities for the practical use of electric aircraft. The Flight Design F2 is a high wing strutless design which is largely manufactured using carbon fibre composite technology.
Training is one area that generates the best opportunity for improvement in the environment for nature, nearby residents and airfields as noise emissions are concentrated in that one place, the airfield, where future pilots spend a lot of time flying. With a wingspan of 31 feet and a modular manufacturing concept, the F2e is based on standard components that are used in the Rotax 912iS powered F2 variant. The propulsion system provided by Siemens eAircraft includes the 55-kW electric direct drive ‘SP55D’, an inverter and the modular control system ‘EPUIII’ consisting of the Vehicle Control Unit, Cockpit Control Unit, Battery System Master and Power Supply Unit. The propulsion system has already been extensively tested in laboratory and ground tests as well as flight tested for hundreds of flight hours under the supervision of Siemens eAircraft.
The conventionally powered F2 and soon the four-seat F4 will also be delivered with modern, efficient engines for low cost operation. This will give customers the advantage that they can buy airplanes with the same platform, for different purposes. Perfect for users which want to reduce the noise level when doing local training, but still need the possibility to have the same type of airplane for traveling and longer flights.
US bans scheduled flights to all Cuban airports other than Havana
In a letter sent to the DOT, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said “To further the Administration’s policy of strengthening the economic consequences to the Cuban regime for its ongoing repression of the Cuban people and its support for Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, in the foreign policy interests of the United States, I respectfully request that the Department of Transportation suspend until further notice all scheduled US carrier flights between the United States and all airports in Cuba, except Jose Marti International Airport (HAV) in Havana.” The ban goes into effect on 10 December 2019. The blog onemileatatime.com reports that US airlines currently fly to five airports other than Havana in Cuba. American Airlines has the most flights to those airports, while JetBlue operates some as well.
The order would cancel flights between Miami and Fort Lauderdale to:
• Santa Clara
Lockheed Martin finalises contract for less expensive F-35s
On Tuesday the F-35 Joint Programme Office and Lockheed Martin finalised an agreement for the production and delivery of 478 F-35s. The $34 billion contract represents the lowest cost per aircraft in the F-35 program’s notoriously expensive history, with the F-35A unit price dropping an average of 12.8 percent over the three lots (Lots 12-14) covered by the agreement as compared to Lot 11. Unit prices for the F-35B and F-35C variants dropped an average of 12.3 percent and 13.2 percent respectively.
“With smart acquisition strategies, strong government-industry partnership and a relentless focus on quality and cost reduction, the F-35 Enterprise has successfully reduced procurement costs of the 5th Generation F-35 to equal or less than 4th Generation legacy aircraft,” said Lockheed Martin F-35 Programme Vice President and General Manager Greg Ulmer. “With the F-35A unit cost now below $80 million in Lot 13, we were able to exceed our long-standing cost reduction commitment one year earlier than planned.” By Lot 14, the F-35A is expected to cost $77.9 million per unit with the F-35B at $101.3 million and the F-35C at $94.4 million each. According to Lockheed Martin, the F-35 fleet currently includes more than 450 aircraft stationed at 19 bases around the world. The fleet has accrued in excess of 220,000 flight hours.
US Air Force’s jet-powered robotic wingman is like something out of a video game
The US Air Force has successfully tested an advanced, jet-powered drone called the XQ58-A Valkyrie, that could someday accompany human-piloted fighter jets on missions. The concept is a bit like something we have seen in video games, a drone (or swarm of drones) can fight alongside a human pilot or absorb enemy fire in their place. The vehicle was developed as a partnership between the Air Force Research Laboratory and Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems as a relatively cheap platform that can fill an electronic warfare, strike and surveillance role on the battlefield, controlled by a piloted aircraft on its own or as part of a swarm group. It can carry a small payload of bombs and can use a conventional runway or can be launched via rocket.
The prototype completed its first test flight (of five planned missions) on 5 March over the Yuma Proving Grounds in Arizona and the US Air Force says that it ‘behaved as expected’ over the course of its 76-minute flight. The battery of test flights that it will go through will look at how well the drone’s systems worked, and how well it takes off, flies and lands. What is interesting about this particular plan is that this is an early demonstration of a concept called ‘loyal wingman.’ While this test saw the drone fly on its own, not alongside the fighter aircraft that it’s designed to accompany in the future, the idea is that it could fly alongside a piloted vehicle, which would control it. From there, it could do everything from provide a bit of extra force projection in the air, fly ahead to scout out terrain, or even taking enemy fire in place of its human-piloted companion.
GE Aviation and Hybrid Project Team on high-endurance UAV project
GE Aviation announced a teaming agreement with Hybrid Project to provide a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAV designed for high endurance commercial applications at scale. Flight testing will commence in Q4 this year with commercial availability targeted for Q1 2020. The agreement enables Hybrid Project’s 35-pound hybrid-powered SuperVolo VTOL UAV with a full stack airborne computing hardware platform, flight and safety management and integration from GE Aviation and Auterion. GE Aviation’s computing platform enables flight control and airborne computing power at the edge while maintaining an independent and authoritative safety controller. Auterion’s Enterprise PX4 operating system resides on the vehicle, in the cloud and the ground station. This integration is the result of an agreement announced earlier this year between GE Aviation and Auterion to provide all-in-one hardware and software platform for commercial drones.
Hybrid Project’s SuperVolo has been designed from the ground up with an emphasis on endurance flight, ease of maintenance and being modular. The combined system is comprised of technologies and services which have the capability to enable commercial operations in complex environments while meeting regulatory and mission outcomes. Auterion’s Enterprise PX4 software is built on top of open software standards that are supported by a global developer community. Auterion’s enterprise software also provides the infrastructure enabling online workflows, compliance monitoring and enterprise fleet management. The full solution is designed specifically for commercial operators and service providers.
Uber Eats announces San Diego deliveries to begin soon
San Diego residents may be able to have meals delivered by drone by Uber Eats as soon as later this year, whilst the company will start testing a purpose-built drone for the service in 2020. San Diego Television station KGTV reports that Uber made the announcement at the Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Summit. The company said it will begin testing Uber Eats delivery drones next summer, but that they may begin delivering food before the end of 2019 using partner drone operators. The Uber Eats delivery drone will have six rotors that rotate, allowing for vertical take-offs and landings, but providing greater speed in horisontal flight. It is designed to carry a meal for two people as far as 12 miles from its point of origin. The total range for the aircraft is estimated to be 18 miles. The delivery drone is designed to fly below 400 feet and comply with current regulations. Uber Elevate says the drone can perform a delivery in eight minutes, including loading and unloading time. The aircraft has passed the design review phase and a first flight is expected before the end of the year.
Volocopter expands into utility drone business with heavy-lift VoloDrone
On Wednesday this past week Volocopter presented the demonstrator of its VoloDrone. This marks the company’s expansion into the logistics, agriculture, infrastructure and public services industry. The VoloDrone is an unmanned, fully electric, heavy-lift utility drone capable of carrying a payload of up to 200 kg (440 lbs). With a standardised payload attachment, VoloDrone can serve a great variety of purposes from transporting boxes, to liquids, to equipment and beyond. A team of specialists based at the special airfield in Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich developed the aircraft. “Since the very beginning, we have worked with strategic partners across different industries to develop a product that will provide significant value in their specific use cases. It is therefore designed as a universal air-lift vehicle, that can be adapted to different use cases by special-purpose implements. Listening to the market demands is key for us,” says Christophe Hommet, Chief Engineer VoloDrone.
Weekly News from African Pilot
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Until next week, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)