“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I do not believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want and, if they cannot find them, make them.”
George Bernard Shaw
African Pilot’s August edition
The August edition of African Pilot that features all the aviation businesses at Lanseria International Airport that took part in this feature is complete. The August edition has entered its circulation phase and will be fully circulated by early next week. Apart from the Lanseria feature, this bumper edition of 174 pages has more than 34 fully illustrated articles published. It has also become abundantly clear that African Pilot is the only South African aviation publication that has being interacting with its clients and readers on a regular basis throughout the COVID-19 lockdown period.
African Pilot has made significant changes to the August edition
Someone once said the only thing that is sure is that things will change. Over the past 19 years that African Pilot has been publishing its monthly aviation magazine, we have been fixated on the printed version. Now that the magazine is being published in the digital format, we will be increasing the font size by 50%, adding many more pages and preparing several other changes that will greatly enhance the reader’s experience on digital platforms. The August edition will probably land up as a 160 to 170-page edition, because as a digital publication, the number of pages does not affect the production. The fact that readers will be positioned to access the August edition on any device means that the African Pilot will become far more user friendly. This will be the first of a series of enhancements that will culminate in an interactive publication with provision for picture galleries and short videos by the end of this year. The August 2020 edition will be the first magazine to adopt some of these changes, with others to follow from September onwards.
The material deadline for the August edition was on Friday 17 July, we still have openings for those aviation businesses to publish their marketing messages. For advertising opportunities please contact Adrian Munro at e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or Cell: 079 880 4359. All editorial material should be sent to me at: email@example.com. Thank You.
African Pilot’s September edition
The September edition of African Pilot will feature Avionics and Instrumentation, which is normal since I usually bring the newest developments of the exciting developments announced at AirVenture in Oshkosh each year. However, this year I will have attended several online webinars during the AirVenture week to find out as much as possible about what is to be launched to the aviation world.
The material deadline for the September edition in on Wednesday 19 August 2020.
For advertising opportunities please contact Adrian Munro at e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or Cell: 079 880 4359. All editorial material should be sent to me at: email@example.com.
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
The following are links to all the magazines that African Pilot produced this year so that you can download all the 2020 editions in magazine view format:
WhatsApp your questions or concerns to
+27 (0)60 012 3456
Video of the week: Video of the week: EAA Oshkosh. We missed AirVenture 2020 so I thought that I would find an EAA video from 2019 to remind all of us about what we missed.
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
George Airport opens as CemAir lands the first commercial flight since the start of the national lockdown in March 2020
CemAir is proud to have operated the first scheduled airline flight between Johannesburg (JNB) and George (GRJ) since the lockdown began in March this year. The aircraft departed JNB at 11h30 on Friday 24 July and touched down at George Airport just after 13h30. The aircraft, a CemAir 78-seater passenger plane departed from OR Tambo International earlier this morning carrying 50 people. CemAir expects to operate four flights per week between the centres with an increased schedule once COVID-19 travel restrictions are eased. CemAir is delighted to be the first scheduled flight returning to George after almost four months of complete shutdown. The region has always been an important part of the airline’s network and we look forward to growing the JNB and Cape Town services as South Africa emerges from the devastating effects of the lockdown.
We encourage passengers to have confidence in airlines as the industry remains a key player in the economic recovery of the region and the country as a whole. CemAir is an established regional airline in South Africa having offered flights from SA’s major cities to smaller centres for more than eight years. During the lockdown CemAir assisted in repatriating nearly 1500 citizens from 24 countries across Africa and the Middle East.
SAA creditors give extension for rescue plan
Bloomberg has reported that creditors of South African Airways have given the government more time to find the money to fund a rescue of the bankrupt state-owned airline. It said that at a meeting convened by the airline’s administrators, creditors voted to extend the deadline to 27 July from an initial deadline of 22 July. If the funds are not guaranteed by then, another creditors meeting will be held on 30 July to decide the way forward. The administrators have previously said the airline could be liquidated.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
South African Power Flying Association (SAPFA)
SAPFA is slowly bringing to life back to sport aviation while in this level of lockdown. You will have received notification of an update to the General Notice on proficiency flying that events now can take place under direction of an applicable SOP. SAPFA had a committee meeting this week to weigh up options and the committee decided to hold two events. The first being an Air Navigation Race (ANR) which is a type of rally, whilst the second will be a Speed Rally. The ANR will be held at Brakpan on 15 August and the Speed Rally at Secunda on 12 September. At this point no other events that are listed on the SAPFA calendar are taking place for the remainder of the year. SAPFA will review options post these two events. Note that these events will be limited in size to keep the numbers below 50 and will have no public / spectators. It will be limited to participants and officials. Both events will be day only events, i.e. no previous day inbound flying overnighting etc. This will be challenging for the speed rally as we normally would do speed tests the day prior but will have to figure an alternative solution. SAPFA will start planning for these events shortly and hope we can make a good success of them.
What is scheduled for the next few months?
African Pilot’s 2020 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.
EAA Chapter 322 monthly meeting to be a zoom meeting
Contact Neil Bowden E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA ANR at Brakpan Airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 855 9435
27 and 28 August
Africa Drone Conference virtual conference by means of a webinar
Contact Tel: 011 886 0433 Website: www.vukanicomms.co.za
Sling Aircraft breakfast fly-in at Tedderfield airfield
Contact Shanelle McKechnie E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 066 224 2128
SAPFA Secunda Speed Rally at Secunda airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 855 9435
23 – 24 September
KZN Spring Carnival – Inanda Dam
Contact John Neilon 082 485 5514 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Great Train Race and Fly-in to Heidelberg airfield – Heritage Day
Contact Van Zyl Schultz E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 560 2275
Garden Route airshow at George Airport
Contact Brett Scheuble E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 084 418 3836
SAPFA Witbank Fun Rally at Witbank airfield
Contact Rob Jonkers E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 804 7032
3 and 4 October
SAC Western Cape Regionals Swellendam airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
3 and 4 October
Newcastle airshow at Newcastle airfield
Contact Johan Pieters E-mail: Johan@champ.co.za Cell: 082 923 0078
18 and 19 October
Aviation Mena 2020 Hilton Cairo Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt
Contact Alison Weller E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.aviationmena.aero
24 and 25 October
SAC North West Regionals at Klerksdorp airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
26 to 28 October
Airport Show, Airport Security and ATC Forum DWTC, Dubai
Registration is now open for Airport Show, Airport Security and ATC
Forum. FREE registration: https://bit.ly/2SnJ33S
SAPFA Landing Championships at Stellenbosch airfield
Contact Ron Stirk E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 445 0373
9 to 14 November
SAPFA World Rally Championships Training week – Stellenbosch airfield
Contact Frank Eckard E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083 269 1516
CAASA Awards at CAASA House Lanseria International Airport
Contact Sam Keddle E-mail: email@example.com Tel: 011 659 2345
27 and 28 November
SAPFA Speed Rally at Springs airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082855 9435
Aero Club of South Africa annual awards at Rand Airport
Contact Sandra Strydom e-mail: email@example.com Tel: 011 082 1100
5 and 6 December
SAC Ace of Base at Baragwanath airfield
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
African Pilot’s 2020 calendar
As further dates are sent to me, I will continue to update the aviation calendar.
AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Qatar Airways launches investment arbitration against Egypt
The other three arbitrations are against the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Akbar Al Baker, Group CEO of Qatar Airways, said, “The decision by the blockading states to prevent Qatar Airways from operating in their countries and flying over their airspace is a clear breach of civil aviation conventions and several binding agreements they are signatories to. After more than three years of efforts to resolve the crisis amicably through dialogue yielded no results, we have taken the decision to issue Notices of Arbitration and pursue all legal remedies to protect our rights and secure full compensation for the violations. The blockading states must be held accountable for their illegal actions in the aviation sector, which includes a failure to comply with their obligations under bilateral agreements, multilateral agreements and international law.
Angolan Air Force operating Kodiak aircraft
According to news reports, Angola’s Air Force is receiving Daher Kodiak 100 aircraft, which it will operate on behalf of the recently formed Centre for Public Security. A Kodiak in Forca Area Nacional de Angola (FANA, National Air Force of Angola) markings was seen at Monchengladbach Airport in Germany on 23 June ahead of delivery. The CISP (Centro Integrado de Segurança Publica, Centre for Public Security) was opened by Angolan president Joao Lourenco in December 2019. It was set up to respond to public security matters and disasters and coordinate responses between police and security agencies across the country.
Angop reported, the CISP project saw more than 700 security cameras installed in the capital Luanda, which is home to the central unit, although 16 provincial centres are being built. The central node incorporates a video surveillance room, dispatch service room, rapid response command centre, laboratory and other infrastructure. It was funded through a Chinese line of credit. The publication added that ‘to ensure the stable and effective functioning of the integrated public safety system, border patrol aircraft, command and communication vehicles were purchased.’
WORLDWIDE ACCIDENTS AND INCIDENTS
PS752: black box data confirms ‘illegal interference’ by Iran
On 8 January 2020, Ukrainian International Airlines Boeing 737 crashed shortly after take-off from Tehran International Airport, Iran, killing all 176 people on board. After a few days of denial, the Iranian authorities eventually admitted that the aircraft was shot down. An operator of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), stationed in Bid Kaneh, allegedly mistook the commercial flight for a cruise missile and fired two missiles from a Tor-M1 surface-to-air system.
According to Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister Yevhenii Yenin, the preliminary analysis of the data extracted from the two recorders of the Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS752 confirmed an ‘illegal interference with the plane’. “We are waiting for the Iranian side for the first round of talks next week,” Yenin said on Twitter. Among other issues, both parties have to solve legal issues regarding the compensation for victims’ relatives, as well as to Ukraine International Airlines for the loss of aircraft.
The work to extract and decipher the data was completed on 23 July 2020, Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) announced. It was carried out in Paris by the Iranian Air Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) with the assistance of the French Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA). “The work in Paris is finished, but the investigation is far from over. There are still many key questions that need to be answered,” Kathy Fox, the chair of the TSB, said in a statement. The data extraction was carried out in the presence of Ukraine International Airlines, Boeing, Safran, as well as other foreign aviation regulators representing the victims’ countries.
In an interim report published on 13 July 2020, the Civil Aviation Organisation of the Islamic Republic of Iran claimed a ‘human error’ in setting up radar was the main cause that led the Flight PS752 to be shot down by the air defence system of Tehran. However, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said it was too early to make such a conclusion.
Pilot tuned to wrong frequency causes inflight collision
An airline transport pilot in an aerobatic low-wing airplane, an Extra 300, with a passenger on board was landing while an airline transport pilot in a high-wing airplane, a Cessna 172, near maximum weight with two passengers on board, was conducting a short / soft-field take-off from the non-towered runway on North Fox Island, Michigan, which was surrounded by tall trees.
The Extra pilot and passenger reported that the pilot’s landing intention was communicated on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) with no replies. They saw an airplane at the opposite end of the airstrip, and the pilot decided to land. The Cessna pilot reported that he monitored the CTAF and then taxied down the center of the runway. He heard a radio call on the frequency from an airport on a nearby island.
The Cessna pilot made his departure radio call on the CTAF in the blind and conducted a rolling departure with as much runway ahead as possible. He said he did not hear or see any other airplanes. The Cessna lifted off about 5 to 7 feet above ground level and accelerated to best angle of climb speed plus 10 knots.
The Extra pilot indicated he did not see any aircraft while he was on final approach to landing until his airplane was about 20-30 feet above the landing surface. That is when he saw a bright object out the right side just in front of the wing. The Extra and the Cessna then collided.
The CTAF frequency at the island airport is not recorded. However, a witness monitoring another CTAF frequency on a nearby island overheard the pilot of an airplane calling intention to land and remarked to a customer that the call was on the wrong frequency. It is likely that the Extra pilot was transmitting on the CTAF frequency for the airport on a nearby island. The Cessna pilot likely heard this transmission but attributed it to a pilot landing at the other airport.
The airport leaseholder’s website contained a link to pilot information, which included a safety briefing for the airport. The briefing recommended that the airport’s CTAF, as well as another local airport’s CTAF, be monitored. The briefing also recommended that arriving aircraft fly over the airfield and scan for aircraft on the ground using a left traffic pattern. The briefing advised that the airport is in the Unimproved Airport Category and that pilots ‘land at your own risk.’
The Extra pilot’s use of an incorrect CTAF precluded him from hearing the Cessna pilot’s transmission of his intent to depart. In addition, trees surrounding the runway precluded the Extra pilot from seeing the Cessna’s departure until it was too late to take evasive action.
Pilot mistakes service road for taxiway
The pilot was taxiing the Piper PA-46 and receiving progressive taxi instructions from an air traffic controller at the airport in West Columbia, S.C. He asked if he should turn onto the taxiway and was instructed to do so. However, instead of proceeding on the taxiway, which had a continuous painted yellow center line, he turned left onto a vehicle service road, which had a painted white ‘stop’ marking and an adjacent stop sign. The underside of the left wing hit the stop sign, which resulted in substantial damage.
NTSB preliminary report: Cessna 180
On 5 July 2020, a Cessna 180C airplane, sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident at Lake Hood Airport (PALH), Anchorage, Alaska. The private pilot and one passenger were not injured. According to the pilot, at the time of the accident, they were returning from a remote lake to PALH in their float-equipped airplane. The pilot stated that the departure from the remote lake was normal, with about 10 to 12 mph of wind on the lake creating a light chop on the water’s surface and no object was struck during the take-off and departure. After a normal approach to PALH and just after touchdown the left float dug into the water and the airplane veered abruptly to the left, subsequently nosed over and began to sink. He stated that he and his passenger were able to quickly exit the partially submerged, sinking wreckage.
An airport security camera captured the accident sequence, revealing that shortly after the airplane’s floats touched down on the water surface, a large water column sprays outboard of the left float, just forward of the float’s step. The airplane then veered abruptly to the left and the right wing struck the water. Then it veered sharply to the right, followed by another veer to the left, before it violently nosed over and began to sink. An initial post-accident examination of the left float revealed a large hole in the bottom of the float just forward of the step. Corrosion was present around the hole and no impact signatures were present on the bottom of the float.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
FAA warns of Boeing 737 double-engine power loss
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive (EAD) for all stored Boeing 737 Classic (CL) and Boeing 737 NextGeneration (NG) aircraft. If left unchecked, the fault could potentially lead to a double-engine shutdown without the potential ability to turn on the engines again. As a result, the FAA concluded, the event could lead to a ‘forced off-airport landing.’ The EAD covers the engine bleed air fifth stage check valve on both of the CFM56 variants that power the 737CL (CFM56-3 series) and the 737NG (CFM56-7 series) on aircraft that were stored for seven or more consecutive days, notes the administration.
FAA issued the emergency directive following four separate events where a single engine of the Boeing 737 shut down during a flight. The shutdowns were caused by corrosion on the engine bleed air fifth stage check valve. The agency also ordered airlines, which operated the aircraft for less than 10 flight cycles, to check for corrosion on the valve. To make sure the valve has not corroded, an inspection should take place whereupon the flapper plates of the valve need to be rotated at least three times, according to the EAD. ‘If the flapper plate moves smoothly, without signs of binding or sticking, from the fully closed position to the stop tube using gravity force alone, the engine bleed air fifth stage check valve has passed this inspection,’ reads the directive. The flapper bushings should also be separated by at least 0.004 inches (0.102 mm) on both engines in order for the valve to pass the inspection.
If the engine bleed air fifth stage check valve passes the first two inspections, a visual inspection to check for any signs of cracks, fractures, and missing bushing heads must also be done, according to the FAA. Flapper bushings, after being pushed by hand, should not rotate in the flapper plate. Flappers themselves should not rub against the valve body. If they do not, they are cleared to fly. The EAD comes after many of the world’s airlines have begun re-introducing their aircraft into service after the COVID-19 pandemic almost completely halted air travel, forcing carriers to significantly reduce their capacity and place aircraft into storage.
Bureaucracy commences as 737 MAX prepares for October relaunch
Possibly the most troubled aircraft of our times, the 737 MAX gears for long-awaited ungrounding. Yet a lot of barriers stand in its way, as the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) continues to follow a checklist of procedures necessary to certify it for the renewed service. The last round of certification flights were completed in early July 2020, when changes to the automated flight control system were tested, verifying elimination of the main culprit of Boeing’s troubles. This led to changing the Airworthiness Directive (AD), the document keeping 737 MAX on ground.
On 31 July 2020 FAA announced plans to issue Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), thus providing the public with a possibility to review and comment on design changes and procedures, an attempt to keep the certification process transparent. The AD documentation will become public, waiting 45 days for society’s judgement. As the designated period ends, Boeing 737 MAX will have to pass a review of proposed training for flight crews and design documentation, then wait for Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community, before the FAA rescinds the Grounding Order and issues Certificate of Airworthiness. Some of these steps will also include an issue of the NPRM, further extending the airplane’s time on ground.
As reported by Reuters, an unnamed official from the FAA pinpointed the date of possible return to service sometime in October 2020, saying it is unlikely for the aircraft to be declared airworthy before. Boeing commented stating it would cooperate with the FAA and other agencies as long as needed: a bitter remark for the company which has not seen such a crisis in a long time.
Airbus aims to end subsidy tariff row at crucial time
In a game of chess over tariff disputes in the aerospace sector in Europe and the United States, Airbus announced it made the ‘final step to stop the long-standing dispute’ between the two countries at the World Trade Organization (WTO). The first move was made in 2004, when the United States Trade Representative (USTR) filed a case against the European manufacturer over unfair subsidies. 16 years later, the Toulouse, France-based aerospace giant shook hands with the French and Spanish governments to make changes to the Repayable Launch Investment (RLI) contracts dedicated to the launch of the Airbus A350 XWB. “These additional amendments to the A350 RLIs demonstrate that Airbus has left no stone unturned to find a way towards a solution,” stated Airbus chief executive officer (CEO) Guillaume Faury.
The move to end the chess match, which rather looks like two toddlers throwing tantrums, could not come at a more crucial time, as from top to bottom, every part of the aerospace industry has suffered massively due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “This is a clear signal of support to those who are suffering from the severe impact of the tariffs imposed by the USTR, especially at a time when industries are hard hit by the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis,” added Faury. In a situation where every penny matters, the move to end the tariff dispute comes in crucial for both Airbus and its United States-based airlines.
Crucial United States market
Throughout its history, Airbus has always faced an uphill battle versus Boeing in the United States market. Starting with its first commercial aircraft product, the A300, the European aircraft maker exhibited its fair share of ingenuity to make sales over the other side of the Atlantic. The first iteration of Eastern Air Lines was the first US based airline that took the risky decision to purchase the Airbus A300 in 1978, after the manufacturer offered its first aircraft to the airline on a trial basis with no strings attached in 1977.
Still, throughout the history of the company, Airbus had little success in North America. Out of the total 16,214 narrow-body aircraft ordered, 2,267 of those orders came from North American airlines, including Canadian airlines. In the wide-body section, a total of 426 aircraft were ordered, out of the total 3,941 throughout Airbus’ history. But securing crucial cash flow during the COVID-19 crisis, when almost every customer wants to defer their deliveries due to their lack of cash, is vital to the manufacturer.
An intake of aircraft
The two manufacturers have to face a harsh reality, as the pandemic ravages the aviation industry from the inside out. As airlines are unable to fly their full networks and passengers are unwilling to travel, whether it would be due to the associated risks or economic uncertainty, the result is that air transport companies are bleeding cash hard. As a result, Airbus managed to deliver 196 during H1 2020, compared to 2019’s result of 389. For Boeing, which is in an even deeper crisis due to the situation with the 737 MAX, the COVID-19 crisis could not come at a worse time. In H1 2020, 70 aircraft left Boeing’s factories, while a year earlier, deliveries amounted to 239.
2020 is miserable for Boeing and Airbus, but not to equal amount
As is confirmed by the results of aircraft deliveries and orders from the second quarter of 2020, production and sales of commercial aircraft by industry giants Boeing and Airbus shrank dramatically in comparison with 2019. Yet one is faring better than the other. Nevertheless, a bright spot for Airbus was the fact that some US airlines are still keen to take in deliveries. For example, JetBlue happily took in four new Airbus A321 aircraft throughout the year, three of which were delivered from March 2020 onwards, planespotters.net data shows. This is despite the fact that in Q1 2020, the New York-based airline negotiated with Airbus to revise its delivery schedule, resulting in a $1.1 billion capital expenditure reduction through 2022. It expects to take a further five new aircraft from Airbus, including four A321neos and one A220.
Qatar Airways demands $5 billion from blockading countries
After firing all flight attendants, Icelandair welcomes them back
The flag carrier of Iceland, Icelandair, had an eventful weekend. After firing its every single cabin crew member and discontinuing the relationship between the airline and the union on 17 July, the company welcomed all of them back on 19 July 2020, as the flight attendants caved in and agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement. Beforehand, starting 20 July 2020, the airline planned to use its pilots as flight attendants, as Icelandair had an abundance of them due to the fact that operations are currently scaled-back due to the COVID-19 crisis. However, after reaching an agreement with Icelandic Cabin Crew Association (FFI), the Iceland-based airline backtracked the decision and welcomed back its flight attendants after firing every single one of them three days prior.
The new agreement is valid until 25 September 2025. The goal is to improve productivity and flexibility, at the same time ensuring ‘competitive compensation’ for FFI’s members. Furthermore, Icelandair would reduce its operating costs ‘without negatively affecting the employee terms of cabin crew members,’ according to the airline’s statement. The news comes after Iceland’s flag carrier announced it had three months’ worth of cash left, as it looked to launch a new round of shares to improve liquidity. In addition to negotiations with stakeholders, aircraft lessors and an unidentified credit card acquirer, the FFI union was one of its stumbling blocks. The union’s members rejected the new employment contract, agreed by the management of the union and Icelandair on June 25, 2020.
FAA grants production certification to Epic for E1000
By late July Epic had delivered three of its E1000 but is planning to ramp up production now that it has obtained FAA production certification. Epic Aircraft received FAA production certification for the E1000, clearing the way for the Bend, Oregon company to ramp up manufacturing of its carbon-fibre, six-seat turboprop single. A production certificate (PC) authorizes the manufacture of duplicate products under an FAA-approved type. With the PC, Epic can manufacture, flight test and issue airworthiness certificates with reduced FAA presence, the company said.
The COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel restriction pushed off the production audit, a precursor to certification, Epic noted. But the FAA worked with the manufacturer to develop new processes, including the use of remote technologies, to complete as much advance review and audit work as possible before the final on-site assessment. Powered by the Pratt & Whitney 1,200-shp PT6A-67A, the E1000 has a top cruise speed of 333 knots, climbs at a rate of 4,000 feet per minute, can fly up to 34,000 feet and has a 1,100-pound full fuel payload.
WORLD DRONE NEWS
DJI statement on recent reports from security researchers
Reports from the US Department of Homeland Security, Booz Allen Hamilton and others that have found no evidence of unexpected data transmission connections from DJI’s apps designed for government and professional customers. These researchers found typical software concerns; with no evidence they have ever been exploited. The app update function described in these reports serves the especially important safety goal of mitigating the use of hacked apps that seek to override our geofencing or altitude limitation features. As the only major drone manufacturer with a Bug Bounty Programme, we encourage all researchers to responsibly disclose security concerns about our products at security.dji.com.
We design our systems so DJI customers have full control over how or whether to share their photos, videos and flight logs and we support the creation of industry standards for drone data security that will provide protection and confidence for all drone users. When our systems detect that a DJI app is not the official version, for example, if it has been modified to remove critical flight safety features like geofencing or altitude restrictions, we notify the user and require them to download the most recent official version of the app from our website. In future versions, users will also be able to download the official version from Google Play if it is available in their country. If users do not consent to doing so, their unauthorised (hacked) version of the app will be disabled for safety reasons.
Unauthorised modifications to DJI control apps have raised concerns in the past and this technique is designed to help ensure that our comprehensive airspace safety measures are applied consistently. Because our recreational customers often want to share their photos and videos with friends and family on social media, DJI integrates our consumer apps with the leading social media sites via their native SDKs. We must direct questions about the security of these SDKs to their respective social media services. However, please note that the SDK is only used when our users proactively turn it on.
DJI GO 4 is not able to restart itself without input from the user and we are investigating why these researchers claim it did so. We have not been able to replicate this behaviour in our tests so far. The hypothetical vulnerabilities outlined in these reports are best characterised as potential bugs, which we have proactively tried to identify through our Bug Bounty Programme, where security researchers responsibly disclose security issues they discover in exchange for payments of up to $30,000. Since all DJI flight control apps are designed to work in any country, we have been able to improve our software thanks to contributions from researchers all over the world, as seen on this list.
DJI has long called for the creation of industry standards for drone data security, a process which we hope will continue to provide appropriate protections for drone users with security concerns. If this type of feature, intended to assure safety, is a concern, it should be addressed in objective standards that can be specified by customers. DJI is committed to protecting drone user data, which is why we design our systems so drone users have control of whether they share any data with us. We also are committed to safety, trying to contribute technology solutions to keep the airspace safe.
EASA publishes proposed standards for certification of light drones
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has published a proposal of airworthiness standards for the certification of most light unmanned aircraft. These standards will greatly contribute to the safe operation of drones for a wide variety of services, such as parcel delivery in urban environments, railway and power line inspection or delivery of essential supplies into crisis zones.
The proposed standards, now open for public consultation, are known as special condition light UAS and will be applicable to unmanned aircraft under 600 kilograms (1,323 pounds) operated in the specific or certified category in accordance with regulation (EU) 2019 / 947, which enters into force on 31 December 2020. Most drones currently under certification in EASA will adopt this certification basis.
Setting certification standards for drones presents challenges. Design concepts vary hugely, technologies develop rapidly and there is a strong economic pressure to bring new products to market quickly. While committed to ensuring safety, EASA is therefore taking a flexible approach by defining certification requirements which are objective and proportionate to the risk of the operation, an approach well suited for such an innovative product segment. Detailed means of compliance will be addressed in a second phase, but, due to the expected variety of products and operational concepts, a strong link will remain with projects and EASA will continue to assess proposals from applicants.
Publishing of the proposal for the future certification basis is expected to stimulate new design and certification initiatives for drones and to contribute to the safe integration into populated environments of beyond visible line of sight (BVLOS) operations, where the remote pilot cannot actually see his or her drone. The proposal is open for comments until 30 September 2020.
Not so humorous
Twice Weekly News from African Pilot
Should you miss out on any edition of APAnews, please visit the website: www.africanpilot.co.za and click on the APAnews link on the front page. All past weekly APAnews publications have been archived on the website.
Until Thursday, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)